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Kevin Rashid Johnson

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Kevin Rashid Johnson is a social activist, founding member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and inmate in the Virginia Department of Corrections. Johnson, a former drug dealer, was convicted of murder in 1990, and sentenced to life in prison. He maintains that he is innocent and was wrongfully convicted.Johnson was charged with inciting a riot on January 10, 2018, after helping to organize a prison strike centered in Florida, and after publishing a related article on the anarchist website It's Going Down. In the piece, entitled Florida Prisoners Are Laying It Down, Johnson detailed what he views as the "objectionable conditions" of prisoners, including unpaid labor, price gouging, and the "gain-time scam that replaced parole". Although the state of Florida maintains the strike never occurred, prison rights groups released statements claiming that "prisoners in more than a dozen facilities either went on strike or were preemptively punished to prevent them from doing so." Johnson's lawyers have alleged he was tortured in retaliation while held in solitary confinement, and was confined in an unheated cell in freezing temperatures.Johnson was previously transferred from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to the Florida Department of Corrections for allegedly having a weapon in his cell, although he claims he was transferred as the result of "persistently publicizing the abuses of the Texas prison system".Johnson is a frequent contributor to the newspaper San Francisco Bay View. According to his official biography, he has spent some 18 years in solitary confinement, during which he studied law and subsequently filed a number of lawsuits against the prison system.Johnson maintains that prison labor is a form of modern slavery, writing in The Guardian:

At the end of the civil war in 1865 the 13th amendment of the US constitution was introduced. Under its terms, slavery was not abolished, it was merely reformed. Anybody convicted of a crime after 1865 could be leased out by the state to private corporations who would extract their labor for little or no pay. In some ways that created worse conditions than under the days of slavery, as private corporations were under no obligation to care for their forced laborers – they provided no healthcare, nutritious food or clothing to the individuals they were exploiting.

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