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From Rikers To Santa Rita: Close The Death Camps!

Statement linking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with a call to support the ongoing hunger strikes happening within Rikers Island and Santa Rita jail.

Hunger Strikers still striking!

January 27, 2022/25th Sh’vat 5782, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps, where so many of our ancestors were incarcerated and enslaved, raped and robbed, maimed and murdered.

We are an anonymous collective of Jewish New Yorkers who are striking this day, across the five boroughs of NYC/across occupied Lenapehoking, in solidarity with the hunger strikers at Rikers Island and with all who are resisting this genocidal regime.

This is a regime which took the lives of 15 fellow New Yorkers last year alone – a number which has continued to rise in the new year[.](https://nymag.com/intelligencer/amp/article/rikers-inmates-died-2021.html].) Add that to the 44+ incarcerated people across New York State who perished after becoming infected with COVID in custody. We know a death camp when we see one, and Rikers Island is a death camp.

90 years after Rikers Island Correctional opened its doors, more New Yorkers than ever are waking up to the horrors which continue to be inflicted every single day upon the more than 4,000 detainees (at least 90 percent of whom are Black, Brown, and/or Indigenous) held captive in this 21st-century concentration camp.

We are the bearers of an abolitionist tradition, steeped in the spirit of militant resistance to fascism in all its forms. In our time, there is nowhere that fits the bill quite like Amerikkka’s prisons, precincts, jails, juvie halls, and detention centers.

Amerikkka’s ruling class will never close the death camps of its own good will. All of us, wherever we are, whether inside or outside the walls of Jericho, must do that ourselves. Together we can tear down the walls once and for all, along with the investments in police and prisons that make them possible and profitable for the 1%.

Today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we can hear our one million dead cry out for justice: for decarceration and for liberation, for abolition and for revolution against this genocidal regime (a regime which formed part of the inspiration for the Nazi system/the Final Solution in the first place).

As Comrade Baldwin wrote in his open letter to Comrade Angela, published 1/7/1971:

If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name. If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own – which it is – and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.

In solidarity with prison rebels everywhere, from Rikers to Santa Rita!Close New York’s death camps, abolish the Department of Correction!Stop killing Black people, abolish the New York City Police Department!

Close Rikers NOW! No New Jails! Free Them All or Else!