Readers’ Views on: What Is Philosophy? What Is Revolution?; Prisoners’ Quest for Self-Development; Voices from Behind Bars; Why Read N&L?
Voices of family members of prisoners and other supporters speaking out as they demonstrated in front of Soledad prison.
Several hundred people, including many family members of prisoners at San Quentin Prison, Calif., demonstrated for the fifth time in the last three months to protest the state’s murder of prisoners by COVID-19.
Prisoner rights activist Tasha Williams relays reports from prisoners at Soledad State Prison of a brutal attack by guards on Black prisoners. Guards beat them, used chokeholds on them and several other attacks as well as being maskless and yelling at the Black men: “By the time this is over, you N—ers will have COVID-19!”
Urszula Wislanka reviews the book “Prison Truth: The Story of the San Quentin News” by William J. Drummond. Prisoners’ humanity is not alone their individual transformation or “personal redemption” as a “human interest” story, as shown by the Pelican Bay hunger strikes.
Readers’ views on Methology and liberation; LGBTQ liberation; Worker-student victory; Immigrants and the court; Black August; and Voices from behind bars.
Protesters in front of San Quentin prison demanded freedom for Chanthon Bun. Instead of honoring the board’s decision that he was suitable for parole, the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation intends to transfer him to an ICE detention center.
Incarcerated people are producing masks to protect people from COVID-19, but the vast majority of them are not receiving these masks for their own use.
Press release from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners reporting on the incarcerated women at the California Institution for Women, who are producing masks to protect people from COVID-19 but report that the vast majority of incarcerated people are not receiving these masks for their own use.
Baridi, one of the signers of the 2012 “Agreement to End Hostilities,” talks about the contradictions of the U.S. prison system.
Ex-prisoner Faruq takes up the revolutionary history of Black August Memorial and relates it to his life and the historic Pelican Bay Hunger Strike.
Families of prisoners and supporters rallied in front of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation’s (CDCr) headquarters against the CDCr-induced violence that many of their loved ones are experiencing.
Pelican Bay Prisoners speak of the third anniversary of the landmark agreement in the class action lawsuit that ended indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons.
Prisoner Faruq writes of his pending parole and the obligation to fight the designation that prisoners are the “worst of the worst,” to fight the dehumanization of prisoners; he forwards the importance of prisoner activism in changing draconian conditions.
Prisoner Faruq writes about new beginnings after the California prisoners’ hunger strike and the need for unity for any new movement forward.
Lawyers in the lawsuit brought by California prisoners against indefinite solitary confinement filed a motion for the monitoring to continue because the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities have been removed from general population to Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating inmate informants.
Prisoner Human Rights Movement representatives call on California government officials to provide mental healthcare, support groups and other relief to prisoners formerly in solitary confinement who are living with PTSD.
Bay Area Californians rally against all forms of solitary confinement including for those released from indefinite solitary into level IV general population who are experiencing conditions worse than they experienced in solitary.
Readers’ Views on Cooperative Form of Labor vs. Abstract Labor; Marx vs. Trump-Putin; Voices From Behind Bars
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.
An article by a formerly incarcerated person who gives a critical review of a conference on the criminal (in)justice system that leaves out the heart of the issue because it leaves out those most impacted by incarceration.
Jury unanimously finds that prison guards violated California prisoner Jesse Perez’s constitutional rights.
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.
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 [=>]
From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
Readers’ Views, Part 2
PHILOSOPHY, ACTIVITY, ORGANIZATION AND SOCIALISM
I appreciate how Dunayevskaya relates Hegel’s Absolutes with the concrete tasks of building a revolutionary organization. History is the process of becoming. Hegel said that Being and Nothing are abstractions, whereas [=>]
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 July-August 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—On June 14 Critical Resistance (CR), an organization working for the abolition of the prison system, held a community forum on California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr). (Prisoners refuse to capitalize the “R” because there is no “rehabilitation.”)
The forum took up new [=>]
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.
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).
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 over 30,000 prisoners in California started an indefinite hunger strike to demand their human rights. Prison officials have retaliated against the prisoners’ right to peacefully protest.
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.
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 [=>]
The March-April 2013 issue of News & Letters is available on the web.
News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 2
March – April 2013
From India to Egypt to U.S., women fighting for freedom
Two recent events have shown the deep and seemingly intractable worldwide oppression of women and, at the same time, revealed women’s militancy and determination to [=>]
From the January-February 2013 issue of News & Letters:
Pelican Bay families support prisoners
Editor’s note: California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC) came together during the prisoners’ 2011 hunger strike initiated by prisoners in Security Housing Unit (SHU). To support the prisoners’ ongoing movement, specifically the Agreement to Cease Hostilities (see Nov.-Dec. 2012 N&L), CFASC [=>]
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 [=>]
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, [=>]
Los Angeles–On Aug. 13, 30 youths, mostly young women, gathered at the County Twin Towers Prison to support the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike. With the drumbeat and the performance of Aztec dancers, the protesters held individually made signs that read: “Prisoners are human beings, give them their rights”; “We stand in solidarity for prisoners’ [=>]
Pelican Bay, Calif.–Here in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU), a number of us prisoners decided to launch a peaceful collective protest in the form of a hunger strike starting July 1. This action is necessary due to the anti-human, draconian institutional policies implemented by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
A special report from News and Letters Committees:
Stop torture in California prisons!
The hunger strike among California prisoners, consigned to perpetual solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU), officially ended on July 20th but what persists are the conditions that drove many prisoners to severely endanger their health by not eating for three weeks. Prisoners we [=>]