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November 30, 2018

The National Coalition Against Censorship sent a letter (see attached) to Florida prison officials calling on them to cease their frequent impoundment and censorship of the Militant, a socialist newsweekly published in defense of the interests of working people since 1928.

The November 28 letter signed by Christopher Finan, the coalition’s executive director, and 13 prominent organizations and individuals, calls on Florida prison officials “to halt the frequent and unjustified efforts to disrupt the distribution of the Militant, which violate First Amendment rights of both the publication and the inmates who wish to read it.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Amnesty International USA and PEN America have also sent letters opposing censorship of the Militant. Benjamin Stevenson, writing for the ACLU of Florida in its letter to the Florida Department of Corrections, said that “prison officials have abused their power to censor.”

“We welcome the support of the National Coalition Against Censorship, the ACLU of Florida and other organizations,” said John Studer, editor of the Militant. “They are helping defend the rights of workers behind bars to read literature of their choosing, to think for themselves and to be part of the world.”

“The overwhelming vote for Amendment 4 restoring voting rights to ex-prisoners shows that working people oppose attempts to take away constitutional rights,” Studer said. “Fighting censorship and defending the Bill of Rights in prisons helps to unify the working class.”

Florida prison officials have impounded nearly two dozen issues over the last two years. All but five of these were finally overturned by the Literature Review Committee after prisoners and/or the Militant challenged the bans.

Letter from National Coalition Against Censorship
Letter from ACLU of Florida