Rob Riot
Attica: Rebellion & Massacre

In September 1971, the political landscape of the American Empire was very different from today’s. Detroit, Newark, Watts, and other cities still smoldered with the embers of urban insurgency.

The imperial army in Vietnam was disintegrating from open mutiny in the last days of a failed foreign war. Guardsmen and cops gunned down college students at Kent State and Jackson State, and martial law ruled the streets of Berkeley, California following riots over People’s Park. Functioning as political police, the FBI coordinated a nationwide secret and sometimes murderous campaign against dissidents. But rebellion continued, and in the prisons the spirit of the times reverberated and intensified. The uprising at Attica Correctional Facility in Upstate New York in response to the everyday horrors of prison life became a conscious political insurrection that soon to be murdered inmate spokesman Elliot Barkley described as “but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.”