This September of 2016 has seen the largest organized prison work strike in the history of the U.S. It has been massively undereported on by mainstream media even though the date of the strike was release well in advance. There are 20-46 prisons involved across 11 states with an estimated 20,000 inmates refusing to work at the peak of strike. Inmates across the U.S. Are paid between $0.00 and $0.40 per hour of labor. The mission of the strike is to end prison slavery in the U.S, although every prison involved has different demands; most of which have to do with fair wages and basic human rights. I won’t deal specifically with the inhumane atrocities of the prison industrial complex in this article, but I have included a few links at the bottom.
The date for the beginning of this strike was Sep 9th 2016, which was chosen because it was the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison riot. So to understand this strike culturally and astrologically, we will have to go back in time to Sep 9th 1971 in Attica, NY:
We have an approximate time for role call 8:20 am. After role call, but before breakfast an isolated prisoner was freed by a group of inmates. Breakfast occurred as usual, but the riot started shortly after when guards tried to bring all the inmates back to their cells rather than the yard. At 9:05 am, Uranus rose, so we can surmise that Uranus was the guiding planet for this riot: I have used this time for the chart.
Looking at this chart, a lot jumps out at once. The ruler of the Ascendant is Venus, and she combust and in the 12th house. These are both indications of the unseen, with the 12th house specifically ruling prisons. She is also in fall, which really speaks of these people being powerless. I think she would be the planet to represent the prisoners in this chart. So who would represent the guards? Logically, you might look to the 10th place from the 12th, that being the place the prisoners would have to look up to and obey, you might also look to the 7th from the 12th that being the place of open enemies. The ruler of the 6th is Jupiter in the 2nd, which does speak of those who own the prison, and Scorpio there is rather like dirty money. If you look to the 9th house, by whole sign, we have Saturn there, which really speaks to the oppressive nature of the quards and of the prison; Saturn is also the midpoint of Mars/Pluto so yes, oppressive force. The 9th houses signifies that this is a public institution which has dignity in the eyes of society.
We of course have that strong Uranus, which is the planet of rebellion and spontaneous force; in Libra we have themes of equality and justice coming up. We have Chiron exactly opposed to Uranus, which would have been setting as the events leading up to the riot were building. This speaks of a deeper kind of healing as the Healer moves into the otherworld. The 7th house puts it into a social setting and the need to be recognized for who one is, and especially in the sign of Aries, the need to be an independent human is integral. Mars was also stationary on this day, which is huge; the red planet had been retrograde and was now turning to move direct, which is truly a symbol of heroic courage and the action necessary to make changes in this world. Of course, Mars is violence and this riot was started by an incident involving an assault on an officer. Mars is also ruling Chiron, so it would have marked a turning point for the need for independence and any healing involved. In addition Mars was right on the North Node of the Moon in Aquarius; talk about fighting for human rights. Also, the Aries Point = Mars/Moon. Here is a famous quote from an inmate involved:
“ We are men! We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace, that means each and every one of us here, have set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United States. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed. We will not compromise on any terms except those terms that are agreeable to us. We’ve called upon all the conscientious citizens of America to assist us in putting an end to this situation that threatens the lives of not only us, but of each and every one of you, as well. Elliott James “L.D.” Barkley, 1971
Interestingly enough the riots took place during Jupiter’s transition from Scorpio to Sagittarius. It does seem to speak of some kind of rising from the ashes or rising from the gutter, even a final surge of Martian power. We also notice Pluto at the anaretic degree of Virgo creating an exact sextile, and if you stretch it, a mutual reception with Jupiter in Virgo. Pluto being the modern ruler of Scorpio and thus Jupiter, and Virgo being the place of detriment for Jupiter. This speaks of the subterranean need for power that oppressed people may experience; this unconscious release of oppressed power controls the principles of leadership, law and faith. Yet the organization of Jupiter, cannot advise this unconscious power in good ways. The mob was described by an officer as a “wave of human emotion.” This brings us to the Moon in Taurus, which is much about the fulfillment of bodily needs and nurturance, which of course these prisoners were not getting. It was in the 8th place, which is another unseen house, and was moving past a square to Mars which would represent the bodily harm these prisoners had experienced in the past. It was moving to a trine with Venus and is under her rule, so it speaks to the bodily rights the prisoners were willing to fight for; the dignity of the Moon in Taurus represents stamina, and it was of course supporting that Venus which represents the prisoners.
The end of the riot was a really fascinating chart to look at because we have an exact time for its moment. At 9:46 am Sep 13 1971, tear gas was thrown into the crowd of prisoners and police open fired for 2 minutes killing hostages and prisoners. This was said about the massacre by the New York State Special Commission on Attica: “with the exception of Indian massacres in the late 19th century, the State Police assault which ended the four-day prison uprising was the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War.” This chart is pretty insane because 9:46 am shows the OOB Moon in exact square to Pluto to the minute, and at the solstice point no less. The Moon, instead of supporting the prisoners from Taurus, dominates them from Gemini with the last moment of the riot analogous to the squashing of unleashed personal power represented by Pluto. The direct midpoint for Moon/Pluto was just 4 arc minutes from the South Node at 14 Leo. It was the old powers of authority that prevailed. These 2 minutes of carnage saw 22 Libra on the Ascendant.
Looking at the chart of the Attica Prison Riot outside of the U.S. Chart paints a slightly different picture:
To find the prisons in the U.S. Chart (Sibly), we look to the 12th. In the U.S. Chart we find the ruler Mars in the 8th place from the 12th, which doesn’t look good in terms of conditions in the prisons. Mars is in the 7th house of open enemies, suggesting the U.S. Has no problem demonizing these people publicly. And there is a sextile from Mars to Chiron which is in the 6th place from the 12th, which really doesn’t look good in terms of prisoner health and rehabilitation. The other ruler for the 12th is Pluto in the 2nd house which speaks of dirty money again.
If we’re looking for the prisoners at Attica in the larger context of the U.S, we can look to Jupiter who resides in the 12th. This speaks of a kind of last chance to break free, because Jupiter is about to leave the 12th house of the U.S. It’s kind of a last hope or bit or faith. We can also see this event was a Chiron return for the U.S. so there was a a chance for healing regarding the health of the prisoners. Without getting too into this chart, because it is a bit of a rabbit whole with many nuances, we can look to the Saturn/Uranus contacts. From Attica’s perspective the Uranian impulse for freedom through rebellion was oppressed by the U.S’s Law and Order; and the Saturn that represented the oppressive force was unleashed by the Freedom provided to Law enforcement by the U.S. From the U.S.’s perspective, its Law and Order regarding the citizens of the country (perhaps themes of equality) were tested by a Uranian uprising; and the U.S.’s Uranus points to an anything goes situation when dealing with open enemies, Saturn here might have showed us how rigid we are in dealing with conflict. In any case, we’re dealing with themes of Freedom and Captivity, Ingenuity and Restraint. Who’s to say where the lesson is exactly, and did this event set something into stone regarding the way we deal with prison uprisings?
Current Prison Strike:
Flash forward to the present and we have a movement now that echoes this event, in name and in time. Let’s take a look at the chart for this Prison work strike, which demands better living conditions and an end to slave labor within prisons. This strike is taking place all over the country, so we have no place and exact time for the event, which means we will read it a bit differently. I’ve chosen to do a sunrise chart for September 9th 2016 over Attica to symbolize the dawn of a new day in an old battle.
A few things immediately jump out. Venus is at the same degree of Uranus in the Attica chart, which speaks to a strong level of unification in this new stage of rebellion; I think of the fact that 20 prisons in 11 states across the country are participating in the strike. She’s getting a hard aspect from Pluto meaning this will not be easy, yet she is the one dominating. We see that Jupiter is at the anaretic degree of Virgo (where Pluto was during Attica), and will ingress into Libra in the next few hours. It speaks of the wealth of old power, the rememberance of the power that was reclaimed and a new hope regarding that power. Jupiter in Libra is of course divine law, balance, justice and even retribution. It is fascinating that Attica took place during Jupiter’s ingress into Sagittarius; what is it about Jupiter moving into a new place that inspires courage? We also see this event is part of the Uranus opposition of Attica; and Uranus is right on the descendant of the chart when the tear gas was dropped at Attica.
Of course, it was a first quarter Moon this day, which is potent when you realize this movement started between two eclipses. That New Moon eclipse was at 9 Virgo which exactly squared the Saturn/Mars/Antares conjunction. Now the quarter square here is right smack in the middle of Saturn and Mars. Mars is also OOB in this chart. We’re clearly dealing with issues of power, oppression and fighting against boundaries. These eclipses were on the Virgo/Pisces axis which has to do with purification of the Soul and Body, Service, Order and Chaos. Sep 9th was just one day before the last exact square between Saturn and Neptune which deals with dreams and realities; perhaps a dream for a better life against the harsh boundaries of prison. The Attica riot was under a Saturn/Neptune opposition.
We know that the prison industrial complex is intimately intertwined with the lives of African Americans in this country; we know it was largely started after the slaves were emancipated in this country. I do believe this is linked with the current Black Lives Matter movement. There was another prison strike, a hunger strike, at Pelican Bay Prison in CA that involved 30,000 inmates. This strike was started on July 8 2013 just 5 days before the BLM movement started. Part of the reason the Attica prison strike was started in the first place was the introduction of 1000 new African American inmates into a facility that was not capable of caring for them.
Why is this happening now? Well there has been an increase of prison riots over the last 2 years. Here’s a good diagram: https://thinkprogress.org/protests-planned-across-country-to-expose-slave-like-prison-labor-a38e0c3335f9#.8632315z2 . This could be part of the U.S.’s very first Pluto return, and in fact Pluto is opposed the U.S.’s Sun right now dredging up the darker parts of our nation. Can we come to terms with our own power as a nation which is fueled by suffering, hate and greed (talk about a 2nd house Pluto? Pluto is also in exact square to the U.S. Saturn which could be a great crumbling of structure or further loss of citizen power in Law.
As always with these political astrology articles, it should be much longer. I encourage all astrologers to talk and write more about politics, because it is so fascinating and everyone has a different take.
June Rose Trimbach
List of Companies that use prison labor: http://returntonow.net/2016/06/13/prison-labor-is-the-new-american-slavery/
Even public school teachers are benefitting from prison labor!!: http://www.vice.com/read/whos-getting-rich-off-the-prison-industrial-complex
All of the quotes in this article from the the wikipedia page on the Attica Prison Riot.