Prisoner Faruq writes about new beginnings after the California prisoners’ hunger strike and the need for unity for any new movement forward.
First-hand report of a demonstration to end Urban Shield in San Francisco Bay Area, California, on March 27, 2018.
Youth in action in Bayonne High School in New Jersey, Independence, Mo., Venice High School in Calif., Vernon Township High School in New Jersey and in Charlotte, N.C.
Shared story from Jesse Perez, prisoner in solitary confinement in a California prison.
In West Auckland, New Zealand, Massey High School students and their parents petition for weather-appropriate summer uniforms; 82 Huntsville, Alabama, Grissom High School students defy the dress code for girls because the code endorses rape culture and violates Title IX rights; across the USA Muslim youth are harassed in a variety of ways making them feel unsafe, so much so that the majority of Muslim youth believe that reporting the harassment won’t make a difference.
California prisoners battle barbaric ‘justice’ system; Against ISIS attacks; Women under attack; Support Maati Monjib; The Burmese Way; Race, class & politics.
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.
Dunayevskaya’s letters on Hegel’s Absolutes; Bhopal toxic disaster; Voices from behind the bars
From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters
Los Angeles—On Aug. 17 over 1,000 protesters gathered at the downtown LA Police Department (LAPD) headquarters. We were there not only in support of Michael Brown, but also to protest the many killings over the years of Black, Brown and even a few white youths [=>]
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.
That there are two Americas when it comes to the economy and the wealth of our nation is no mystery to anyone. Everyone now knows the top 1% have essentially been the only beneficiaries of the latest “boom.” Journalists and economists take pains to point out how this jobless expansion has allowed the investors to recover from their losses of the 2008 financial collapse. Workers, though, are still left holding the bag.
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 [=>]
Displacement of lower income people in San Francisco has entered a new stage because of the massive expansion of Silicon Valley and massive real estate speculation.
Oakland, Cal.—“One day longer, one day stronger!” shouted a transit worker to kick off a noon rally on Oct. 18 at Oakland’s Lake Merritt BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station. SEIU (Service Employees Int’l Union) Local 1021 and ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Local 1555 had shut down the trains shortly after midnight.
About 90 members of environmental and community groups gathered at Frank Ogawa Plaza for “Oakland Frackdown” to protest passage of State Senate Bill 4 authorizing hydraulic fracturing in California.
Kaiser imposed added staff cuts in the same breath as it announced the “Total Health Incentive Plan” campaign. While it is promoted as voluntary, the program hides the reality of the health of workers and patients sacrificed daily in the name of cost efficiency. Workers realize they risk their own health and the health of their patients when they come to work sick. Yet we are called into disciplinary meetings when we exceed the company set limit in the number of sick days.
Women Worldwide: Turkey anti-fundamentalist demonstrations; Egypt sexual violence; California in vitro fertilization; Saudi Arabia segregation.
People may imagine that teachers here hit the beach or kick up their heels poolside, sipping cocktails and working on a suntan. For me and many other teachers, though, Monday will be the kickoff to the summer routine of registering for unemployment benefits and looking for work, as, once again, a year’s contract has come to an end.
ARCHIVES AS LIVING
I have been following the readings for the 2012-2013 Marxist-Humanist discussions with great enthusiasm. I was especially energized by the “Women as force and reason of revolution” selections. Raya Dunayevskaya’s 1970 piece “The Women’s Liberation Movement as Reason and as Revolutionary Force” was fresh and relevant to today. This is no surprise [=>]
The newly signed law that would have protected all California Queer youth from “ex-gay” therapies and therapies to change gender expression has been suspended. Federal Appeals Court judges ruled that there must be a full review of the legality of the Bill (SB 1172). The therapists who administer “ex-gay” therapies claim the law [=>]
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 [=>]
From the September-October 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Readers’ Views, Part 2
REVOLUTIONARY SYNDICALISM DISCUSSION CONTINUES
The discussion article on “Revolutionary Syndicalism” (July-August N&L) reminds me of when it was considered a major force of revolution. There was a syndicalist party, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), that thought we could vote in socialism. [=>]
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 [=>]
You’re invited to a nationwide series of five Marxist-Humanist discussions on:
Global Crises, Global Rebellion, and the Needed Philosophy of Revolution
Central to today’s reality is the worldwide capitalist economic crisis, the deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the context for occupations and revolutions across the globe. We will explore the meaning of this [=>]
Pelican Bay, Calif.—I have been a prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU) for well over 20 years. As is the case with so many, contact with the outside world is rare. I hope my voice brings an awareness to those who may care to listen.
The struggle for justice and equality carries [=>]
On June 12 prisoners’ families and prison reform advocates demonstrated on capitol steps in Sacramento, Ca. to urge the lifting of the media ban, which prevents press access to report on prison conditions.
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 [=>]
Wise County, Va.—On May 19 an inmate from Red Onion State Prison (ROSP) phoned a member of Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change (SPARC), informing her that on May 22 at least 11 inmates were going on hunger strike to protest the inhumane conditions of Red Onion.
The group of participating prisoners spanning two cell [=>]
Prisoners at Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, Virginia, went on hunger strike on May 22. More details can be found at the Solidarity with Virginia Prison Hunger Strikers blog, which lists the ten demands here. You can join a facebook group to support the strike.
News and Letters Committees issued this solidarity statement:
The courageous [=>]
Berkeley, Calif.—On Feb. 17 over 500 people joined a “March for Dignity,” endorsed by Occupy Oakland, in support of the over 200 mostly Latino workers fired the previous month, despite Berkeley being a “sanctuary” city (meaning the city pledged to not cooperate with discrimination based on legal status). An I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form, for [=>]
Readers’ Views (part 1)
THE STATE OF THE WORLD AS WE BEGIN 2012
I’m deeply enamored of the contents of every issue of N&L. This is because the articulation of the various issues addressing the multitude of socioeconomic crises, brought on by economic contraction affecting capital relations, points to how deep the revolution must go. In [=>]
by Htun Lin
The spreading Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has gripped the attention of the country. Some signs in these tent cities say “Occupy Everything!” The police continue to look for leaders while city leaders try to figure out a way to remove the tent cities.
The California Nurses Association (CNA) declared its support for [=>]
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, [=>]
Editor’s note: On Aug. 6, 15 young Mexican workers and student activists picketed the Robertson Car Wash for seven hours in support of low-wage immigrant car wash workers. They again picketed on Aug. 14, along with additional students from the AFL-CIO Union Summer program.
Of the very few drivers who came to have their cars washed, [=>]
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).
Pelican Bay, Calif.–The hunger strike among California prisoners, consigned to perpetual solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU), was suspended on July 20. The conditions that drove many prisoners to severely endanger their health by not eating for three weeks persist. According to prison officials themselves, at one point 6,600 inmates in at least 13 [=>]
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 [=>]
Editor’s note: Prisoners at Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHUs) are going on a hunger strike July 1 to demand the prison recognize they are human beings. This follows the Georgia prison uprising and the Ohio prisoners’ actions earlier this year. Prisoners at Corcoran State Prison announced they are joining the strike. Several cities, including [=>]
Los Angeles–In the school district where I work, they have cut two hours per day from the non-teaching staff. It affects insurance for employees with a family. A security worker told me, “I lose $700 per month.” Teachers are losing six furlough days per year, and step increases are frozen. That is in an economy [=>]
Rulers & Rebels: A People’s History of Early California, 1769-1901 by Laurence H. Shoup.
Laurence H. Shoup presents the history of California from the European incursion of Native America by the Spanish to the Great San Francisco Waterfront Strike of 1901. His interest is agency from below in the form of direct action: “The stories told in [=>]
News & Letters, Vol. 56, No. 3
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2011-2011
Revolution and counter-revolution take world stage
Revolution and counter-revolution have forced their way to the center stage of history. In Tunisia and Egypt, revolutions have opened tremendous possibilities and spread the fire of their passion all across the Arab world and from China to the [=>]
From the March-April 2011 issue of News & Letters:
Los Angeles–On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, over 700 city workers gathered for one hour at City Hall under the theme “I love LA” to protest cuts in city services and layoffs, with more furloughs and deferred raises. A speaker said that the $588 million giveback from deferred [=>]
Hundreds of low-income and unemployed people and people with disabilities marched through San Francisco on Feb. 28 wearing signs identifying services they would lose under Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed draconian cuts. They chanted, “They say lie down and die/we say organize,” and demanded budget solutions that do not devastate lives. Their sentiment was that the [=>]
Editor’s note: On Jan. 19, after months of inaction regarding the murder of Donna Gross at Napa State Hospital, the workers held a rally. Below we print excerpts from the talks.
Napa, Calif.–As graduating medical students we took an Oath of Hippocrates, with a special obligation not to do harm. Now I am asking the state [=>]
by Htun Lin
Recently, two nurses were killed on the job by patients at state healthcare facilities in California’s Bay Area. Contrary to management’s attitude, these are not isolated incidents. More than 50% of emergency room nurses, for example, experience violence by patients on the job. For many years, like nurses all across the country, the [=>]
Save schools, libraries
Los Angeles–On Oct. 7, over 100 activists from many Leftist groups assembled at the Los Angeles Board of Education Building to protest continuing austerity measures against the working class. Organized by the March 4th Committee to Defend Public Education and Social Services, they demanded reinstatement of all terminated teachers, library workers and other [=>]
Stop education cuts!
From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters:
Workshop Talks: Who lost to SEIU?
by Htun Lin
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced the results of the recent union election at Kaiser Permanente in California. The media declared that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) had won a “decisive victory” to continue to represent some 45,000 [=>]