Jonathan J. Rodriguez submits a drawing of the view from his solitary cell.
Reader’s Views on Women vs. Reaction; Women and Philosophy; Syria and Humanity; Support Trans Children!; Animals and Us; Repression vs. Justice; Why Read “N&L”; Voices from Behind the Bars
Shared story of a prisoner experiencing solitary confinement in Pennsylvania.
Shared story from Jesse Perez, prisoner in solitary confinement in a California prison.
Prisoner and hunger striker Faruq looks at the way forward after the historic California prisoners’ hunger strike and emphasizes the importance of “the banner of our humanism that allowed the forging of a tremendous unification across the racial divides.”
Prisoner Robert Taliaferro writes of the Wisconsin maximum security facility prisoners’ hunger strike to end the inhumane practice of long-term solitary confinement and for improved medical care for prisoners with mental illness in segregation.
On Aug. 23, California’s Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition leafletted the staging area for trips to Alcatraz prison raising discussions with locals and tourists about how solitary confinement is torture.
Prisoner Brutha Baridi tells what it means to be released from the hell of solitary confinement and experience several new “first” experiences.
Buddy Bell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence tells of their recent 150-mile walk across the state of Illinois on the issues of indefinite detention, solitary confinement and the racist U.S. prison system.
Prisoner Robert Taliaferro discusses the profit made from prisoners by the prison industrial complex and the shame of supposed rehabilitative programs that in reality are required, not for rehabilitation but for continued punishment of prisoners and profit for the prisons.
A Transgender woman former prisoner exposes what life is like in solitary confinement at Rikers Island and argues for its abolition.
Jury unanimously finds that prison guards violated California prisoner Jesse Perez’s constitutional rights.
California prisoners battle barbaric ‘justice’ system; Against ISIS attacks; Women under attack; Support Maati Monjib; The Burmese Way; Race, class & politics.
Prisoner supporters speak out on draconian proposals for Rikers Island jail.
Prisoners mourn and remember assassinated prisoner Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell.
In California the ongoing struggle of prisoners against the U.S.’s barbaric criminal justice system reached a milestone in the effort to totally transform a society in which millions of poor, unemployed and people of color end up in an inhuman gulag.
On Aug. 12, Hugo “Yogi” Pinell (1945-2015) was killed in the California State Prison-Sacramento. Pinell was a comrade of George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, James Carr, and other founders of the modern prison movement.
Pelican Bay Prison guards use court-ordered “wellness checks” to harass prisoners. They make it impossible for anyone to get any sleep as they rampage through each SHU pod for 10-20 minutes.
Readers’ thoughts on “Dialectics of Philosophy and of Forces of Revolution”; “Free Mumia!”; “Federico Arcos, 1920-2015”; and a section of “Voices from Behind the Bars.”
A discussion with Philip Zimbardo followed the San Francisco premiere of “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” a movie based on his notorious 1971 experiment. It raises questions about the meaning of being human, which for Marx turned on needing human beings as free beings whose self-determining, free, conscious activity is not a mere means but the first necessity of life.
A report of two workshops on Trans liberation at the Left Forum, one that was affirming and one that provided no way forward for Trans people except a very narrow view of both gender and the Trans liberation struggle.”
The video of Cpl. Eric Casebolt’s June 5 attack on Dejerria Becton and other kids at a pool party in McKinney, Texas, went viral because it was simultaneously shocking and commonplace. In 2015 USA, protests were inevitable and were heard around the world.
How, on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, does that document speak to what workers and prisoners are facing today?
A woman prisoner talks about how women experience Security Housing Units (SHUs) at the California Institution for Women (CIW).
Nothing can prepare you for entering the Security Housing Unit (SHU). It’s a world unto itself where cold, quiet and emptiness come together, seeping into your bones, then eventually the mind.
From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On Sept. 6 about 100 people in Mosswood Park commemorated one year since the suspension of the historic 60-day hunger strike, the third of its kind, by California prisoners opposing the torture of solitary confinement. The Security Housing Units (SHU) prisoners’ unprecedented cross-race [=>]
An appeal from prison hunger strike activists Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa and Jabari Scott about the unlawful and inhuman conditions at Tehachapi State Prison and the non-implementation of the agreements worked out between prisoners and California Gov. Jerry Brown. News and Letters Committees has been covering the prisoners’ hunger strike even before it began (see Pelican [=>]
I am an inmate at New Folsom State Prison and was personally involved in the statewide hunger strike that started on July 1 in protest of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitiation’s (CDCR) practices of cruel and unusual punishment.
From the September-October 2014 News & Letters
THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT AND THE BLACK REVOLUTION
I am in the movement still because of the Free Speech Movement (FSM)—it turned my life around. I studied everything about the New Left. I came to Berkeley and decided this is where I needed to be. [=>]
From the July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
RESPONSES TO MARXIST-HUMANIST PERSPECTIVES
The Marxist-Humanist Perspectives (N&L, May-June 2014) give a critical assessment of the polarization between the oppressive forces of capital’s social relations and humanity’s efforts to realize human dignity. It shows humans are not just passive victims of capital. First [=>]
Sacramento, Calif.–At the Legislative Hearings on Feb. 11, experts presented their analyses, which showed that even the very small changes California Department of Corrections (CDC) said they were implementing, in fact they are not. No policies are being changed to address the problems brought out by prisoners and their families. One family member was taking the legislators to task, saying that the promises of reform the legislators vow to make now, they made 10 years ago. Nothing changed. Things got worse.
ENVIRONMENT UNDER THREAT
Recently I attended a talk near Berkeley, Calif., by a retired professor about the effect of environmental damage on political instability in the Middle East. He spoke disparagingly of Arab countries, but was full of praise for Israeli technology and “adaptive science.” He stated that autocracy was the best way to confront [=>]
Readers’ Views from the Nov.-Dec. 2013 N&L: SYRIA AND WORLD POLITICS; WARS PAST AND PRESENT; PHILOSOPHY AND MASSES; PRISONERS READ & SPEAK
The only way to get out of Administrative Segregation is by attending the Gang Renouncement and Dissociation Process. After many months I was told that I could not attend this program because the units do not house inmates with wheelchairs and don’t have cells or showers for the handicapped.
Faruq, a prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison in California, reviews “Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz” (PM Press, 2013), written by a revolutionary theorist forced to endure the psychological and physical torture of solitary confinement for the past 40 years.
Alex Sanchez, co-founder of Homies Unidos in Los Angeles, spoke in support of prisoners’ call to cease hostilities, backing the solutions arrived at by those who used to be part of the problem.
The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on Sept. 5, 2013. To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state-sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable).
Solitary confinement in Contra Costa County juvenile hall; New Bedford theater expulsion; Providence school makes disabled students work manual labor for little or no pay
Editor’s note: Marie Levin spoke at many of the demonstrations. This statement is from July 31.
Oakland, Calif.—My name is Marie Levin. My brother, Sitawa Jamaa, is in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay. He has been on hunger strike since its beginning, 24 days now. It’s a shame that our government has allowed [=>]
On July 8, 2013, another hunger strike was launched here inside the security housing unit (SHU) in an ongoing effort to try to bring an end to the injustice of long-term SHU confinement. On July 12 I was prevented from receiving the July-August issue of N&L because page 9 had an article on the Pelican Bay hunger strike.
Since February, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have carried on a massive hunger strike to protest indefinite detention in abusive conditions with no end in sight…. On July 8th California prisoners being held in solitary confinement at the Pelican Bay “security housing unit” (SHU) for indeterminate periods will resume their hunger strike.
The rulers are not about to sit back and let revolt freely develop. All sorts of reactionary ideas and attitudes have been ushered into the mainstream of politics and the media.
News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 3
May – June 2013
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2013-2014
Capitalism’s violence, masses’ revolt show need for total view
The world today is riven between the creativity of masses in revolt and the violent degeneracy of counter-revolution, whose destructiveness even extends to the revived specter of nuclear war two decades after the collapse [=>]
Sacramento, Calif.–On Feb. 25, around 100 people, mostly family members of prisoners organized as California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), gathered on the state capitol steps. They shared their stories before a historic second legislative hearing on California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC) policies regarding prisoners held in the Security Housing Units (SHUs). An [=>]
Agreement to End Hostilities
(NOTE: All names and the statement must be verbatim when used and posted on any website or media, or non-media, publications)
August 12, 2012
To whom it may concern and all California Prisoners:
Greetings from the all PBSP-SHU [Pelican Bay State Prison-Security Housing [=>]
San Francisco—The San Francisco Mime Troupe invited the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Support Coalition (PBHSSC) to put up a mock Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell at their performances of “The Poor of New York,” a satire on bankers. The SHU is where prisoners are kept in perpetual [=>]
A new pamphlet
From the Introduction:
Hunger strikes by California prisoners, fighting perpetual solitary confinement, arose in mid-summer 2011 and the fall just when the Occupy movement took off. The prisoners’ thoughts and actions put the criminal justice system on trial in the same spirit as the Occupy Everywhere movements put the [=>]
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2012-2013
Counter-revolution’s rise shows need for a total philosophy
Revolution, having forced its way to center stage over the last year and a half, cannot easily be bottled up. That explains the viciousness of the counter-revolution, whether the violent police attacks on occupations from New York to Oakland or the Syrian state’s torture [=>]
September 28, 2011
The SHU prisoners hunger strike started again as of Sept. 26….Apparently the level of prisoner participation surprised California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)….Despite the attempt to undermine and stigmatize the latest effort, the general consensus of the prisoners is that there is no stopping until some real quality changes are made [=>]
Pelican Bay, Calif.–On Sept. 26 Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisoners resumed their hunger strike, suspended on July 20, to give California prison authorities a chance to make good on their promises to address the prisoners demands (see “Pelican Bay SHU struggle continues!” Sept.-Oct. N&L). Especially important to the prisoners was getting out of perpetual solitary confinement, [=>]