30,000 California prisoners launch hunger strike, plan Saturday rally

Media Updates on Joint Prisoners’ Struggle: The Electronic Intifada covered prison struggles from California, to Palestine, to Guantanamo, in a comprehensive piece by Nora Barrows-Friedman, while the San Francisco Bay View shared Palestinian support for the California prisoners’ strike.

screen-shot-2011-06-19-at-1-30-37-pm30,000 prisoners in California began a massive hunger strike throughout the state’s prison system on Monday, July 8.  “This is likely the largest prison strike in U.S. history. The prisoners have five demands, centered on stopping long-term solitary confinement, group punishment and administrative abuse, as well as other issues of appalling prison conditions, many of which can be classified as torture. The strike is uniting prisoners across lines of race and nationality throughout the California prison system,” wrote Fight Back News Service.

The striking prisoners have organized for months, with five key demands:

1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse.
2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria.
3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006. Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement.
4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food.
5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for those living in the SHU.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network also expressed its solidarity with the strike, noting “Both Israel and the US use policing, imprisonment (and especially solitary confinement), and surveillance as tools of political repression—often sharing technology and training. In the US, the prison industrial complex plays a central role in American racism—harassing and incarcerating Black and Brown youth, brutalizing Black and Brown bodies, and devastating communities of color. Israel plays a significant role in the training of police forces in the United States and elsewhere in population control and Israel and the US share technologies and strategies of surveillance and repression across borders…”

Updates on the strike are being covered extensively at the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/ A mass rally is planned for July 13:

TAKE ACTION (Action requests from the Hunger Strike Solidarity site):

  1. Take the Pledge of Resistance to Stop Torture in the SHU
  2. Sign the petition to the Governor
  3. Come to the Hunger Strike Solidarity Rally at Corcoran State Prison Saturday July 13
  4. Plan a solidarity event
  5. Donate

NEW Statement from Pelican Bay Short Corridor Representatives (July 9, 2013)

We are grateful for your support of our peaceful protest against the state-sanctioned torture that happens not only here at Pelican Bay but in prisons everywhere.  We have taken up this hunger strike and work stoppage, which has included 30,000 prisoners in California so far, not only to improve our own conditions but also an act of solidarity with all prisoners and oppressed people around the world.

We encourage everyone to take action to support the strike wherever they live.  Sign the petition demanding California Governor stop the torture; plan rolling solidarity fasts if you are able; use every means to spread the word; and participate in non-violent direct action to put pressure on decision-makers.

If it was not for your support, we would have died in 2011.  Thank you everyone.  We are confident we will prevail.

In Solidarity,

– Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP-SHU, D4-121

– Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP-SHU, D1-121

– Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C-35671, PBSP-SHU,D1-117

– Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP-SHU, D2-106

The PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Representatives