Readers’ Views addressing: challenging fascism across all borders; charter teachers strike; pitfalls of bourgeois politics; women on the march; prison strikes big and small; and the racist criminal injustice system.
Readers’ Views: Marx’s concept of theory; we are not a game; voices from behind bars.
Michigan prisoners protest in various ways–including a hunger strike–the inhumane, unhealthy, unlivable conditions in Michigan Department of Corrections prisons.
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.
Moroccan professor on hunger strike in protest of suppression of rights of journalists
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.
A roundup of youth activism worldwide including hunger striking students at Tufts Univ., students at Rio Grand High School protesting standardized tests, students in Puerto Rico marching against the government cutting education, and more.
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.
A roundup of women’s actions worldwide including: feminists jailed in China before International Women’s Day; the unfair and punitive jailing of Purvi Patel for having a miscarriage; the fightback against the increase in sexist, racist, homophobic and classist harassment in Sci-Fi fandom; and the women’s hunger and work strike against terrible conditions at the Karnes Detention Center in Texas for migrant women and children.
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
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 [=>]
“My decision to go on hunger strike points to the need for new forces to defend the idea of universal human rights. Although the number of inmates refusing to take food at Guantanamo has recently declined substantially, solidarity remains a vitally important factor.”
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).
Below are excerpts of a Nov. 5, 2012, statement by Kurdish prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey since Sept. 12. Now thousands more prisoners are joining the hunger strike, making it one of the largest hunger strike protests in history. [On Nov. 18, after press time, the strike was called off. The strikers won the [=>]
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 [=>]
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 [=>]
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 [=>]
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).
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 [=>]
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 [=>]