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Jerry Brown in Germany: ‘From Dachau with love’

July 24, 2013

by the German Network against the Death Penalty and the Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Understand that … people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act.” – George L. Jackson, former Black Panther activist, born Sept. 23, 1941, shot to death by prison wardens on Aug. 21, 1971

Prisoners in Ebensee, Austria, concentration camp, used for 'scientific' experiments liberated 050745 by NARA
Prisoners were starved by the Nazis 70 years ago, and California prisoners on hunger strike today are being starved by Gov. Jerry Brown, because he could bring the strike to an immediate end by meeting their five core demands – demands his top corrections officials promised to meet two years ago. – Photo: NARA
The German Network against the Death Penalty and the Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal wish Californian Gov. Edmund “Jerry” Brown a pleasant and instructive sojourn in the Federal Republic of Germany, which as we have heard will include a visit to the memorial at the concentration camp of Dachau. We also ask him to learn from German history and to see to the imposition of humane prison conditions in California immediately upon his return to the United States.

We welcome Gov. Brown, his wife Anne Gust Brown and their entourage in our country. We very much welcome the fact that Gov. Brown is interested in his German roots. We also very much welcome that he is not only interested in the German conditions in 1848 – the time when his grand-grandfather emigrated – but also in Germany’s more recent history. At any rate, that is what we conclude from his planned visit to the KZ Memorial Dachau.

But there is one thing we would welcome even more: namely, if his visit in Dachau would cause Gov. Brown to ensure, immediately after his return to the U.S., decent present conditions in the prisons under his authority, to put an end to solitary confinement, to decree the immediate release of about 10,000 prisoners already ordered by the courts, to give the prisoners access to appropriate medical care and to end enforced sterilization of female prisoners. And moreover, to take action to end the death penalty, to end life imprisonment and to end the current wave of mass incarceration in the U.S.

California is now the scene of the largest prison revolt in the history of mankind. And Gov. Brown is the man politically responsible for the root causes of this strike. We ask you, Gov. Brown, to set an example. In their time, the U.S. Army consigned the inhumane prison conditions at Dachau to the trash heap of history. The same thing should happen now to the unbearable prison conditions in the prisons of the United States – and especially the prisons in the State of California, which you govern.

More than 43 years ago, the imprisoned Black Panther activist George Jackson used to sign his letters from the Californian San Quentin Prison with the words “from Dachau with love.” The concentration camp Dachau existed from March 22, 1933, until its liberation by U.S. troops on April 29, 1945. At first, it was exclusively used for political prisoners, which is one of the reasons for George Jackson’s allusion to this darkest chapter of German history. But most of all, he wanted to use this provocative salute to direct attention to the inhumane prison conditions he and thousands of other prisoners were subjected to.

Black US soldier captures German soldiers 0445 by Office of War Information
Blacks, who had to fight racism at home to join the military to fight racism in Germany, were among the U.S. troops who liberated Dachau concentration camp. This soldier stands guard over Germans he captured in April 1945. – Photo: Office of War Information
Today, the prison conditions in California and the U.S. are far worse than even almost half a century ago! In California and nationwide, more than 80,000 prisoners are in prolonged or permanent solitary confinement, a condition which diverse U.N. human rights institutions say constitutes torture. For these reasons, at present about 30,000 prisoners in California prisons are on a hunger strike and refuse to work.

For these very same reasons, California is now the scene of the largest prison revolt in the history of mankind. And Gov. Brown is the man politically responsible for the root causes of this strike.

We ask you, Gov. Brown, to set an example. In their time, the U.S. Army consigned the inhumane prison conditions at Dachau to the trash heap of history. The same thing should happen now to the unbearable prison conditions in the prisons of the United States – and especially the prisons in the State of California, which you govern. Act! Put an end to these prison conditions!

Contact the German Network against the Death Penalty and the Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal via Annette Schiffmann, Moselbrunnenweg 2/1, 69118 Heidelberg, phone 0049-172-77 40 333, email anna.schiff@t-online.de or visit www.freiheit-fuer-mumia.de.

Gov. Brown should not use the Holocaust to hide racism

Jews decry Brown’s visit to Dachau while at home he condones racism

by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

As California prisoners’ massive hunger strike against long-term solitary confinement, group punishment, and other cruel and inhuman policies of the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) entered its second week, Gov. Jerry Brown left for a two-week vacation to Germany and Ireland. To add insult to injury, it includes a visit to the Dachau concentration camp.

It is shocking for the governor to have chosen this time to go on vacation while the CDCR refuses to meet the hunger strikers’ five just demands that would end the torture of prisoners in the state he is supposed to be responsible for governing. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network is outraged that Brown dares to exploit the Nazi genocide to distract from his complicity in the repression and racism against prisoners, disproportionately people of color and low income people, women and transgender people, in order to make money for the lucrative prison industry in California.

“The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its Black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.”

The racism that allows Brown to be silent about a massive hunger strike is the same racism that allows for the massive and disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown people in California and nationwide. “No other country in the world imprisons so many of its racial or ethnic minorities,” said the Rev. Dr. J. Car. Gregg in a recent sermon.

“The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its Black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.” To bring these statistics closer to home, “In Washington, D.C. … it is estimated that three out of four young Black men – and nearly all those in the poorest neighborhoods – can expect to serve time in prison.”

Brown dares to exploit the Nazi genocide to distract from his complicity in the repression and racism against prisoners in order to make money for the lucrative prison industry in California.

This same racism allows for the extrajudicial killing of Black people with impunity, of whom 17-year-old Trayvon Marton is just one. Last week his killer literally got away with murder as a jury found Zimmerman “not guilty” based on a Florida law that gives (white) people the right to use deadly force to defend themselves, their homes and their vehicles.

As documented in a report by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the government in the U.S. killed a Black man, woman or child. A total of 313 Black people were killed by police, security guards and vigilantes.

Magic Johnson, Anne Gust Brown, Gov. Jerry Brown at California Hall of Fame induction ceremony Sacramento 120811 by Hect
Gov. Jerry Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown pose with Magic Johnson at the California Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Sacramento on Dec. 8, 2011. That was when the third and less well known hunger strike of 2011 was declared by prisoners at Corcoran State Prison. Though the strike was quickly and brutally put down, one striker, Christian Gomez, died because Gov. Brown refused to negotiate their demands. He apparently had more important things to attend to. – Photo: Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee
Over the past two years, hunger strikers in California and Palestine have shared a struggle against inhumane treatment. Today, Palestinian prisoners strike against isolation and the use of “administrative detention” – the indefinite and arbitrary detention of Palestinian people, including children, by Israeli occupying forces without charge, evidence or trial.

Sheikh Khader Adnan, a former Palestinian political prisoner, whose 66-day hunger strike in protest at being detained without charge attracted worldwide attention, wrote in support of the California hunger strike:

“The policy of isolation is a cheap weapon in the hands of those who hold power. The policy of isolation is used against American citizens who are victims of the political, economic and social order and system that thrives on greed, discrimination and the deprived, including the African-Americans and Palestinian resistors such as Sameeh Hamoudeh and Sami Al-Aryan. …

“Hunger strikes are a courageous step and a real tool for all those who are deprived of their rights to lift the existing oppression, and I hope that these prisoners will gain their rights and their demands. Today, the hunger strikes of the Palestinian prisoners inspire those who are detained to engage in hunger strikes to guarantee that they are treated humanely and with respect and dignity.”

It is therefore a grotesque charade that Israel would offer the United States “ethical” tips on how its doctors can force-feed Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strike. The United States and Israel face prisoners on hunger strike due to similar repression and inhumane treatment of those they have imprisoned. In both countries, prisons are used to repress political dissent, to target those whose daily survival challenges a system designed to suppress and/or eliminate them, and to create an underclass whose lives are valued at nothing, who are deemed unworthy of protection, whose very existence is criminalized.

Dachau concentration camp 1005
This is the Dachau that Gov. Brown and his wife will visit. It doesn’t look much different from a California prison. Another similarity is that Dachau, the Nazis’ first concentration camp was built in 1933 to house political prisoners, dissidents fighting for justice. Today in California, because the several thousand prisoners entombed in solitary confinement indefinitely are overwhelmingly Black and Brown, labeled “gang leaders” for reading books by George Jackson, studying Aztec art or helping others win their freedom as jailhouse lawyers, they are known as political prisoners behind the walls. Gov. Brown, while you celebrate the liberation of Dachau, liberate California!
For Gov. Brown to commemorate the horrors of Dachau while allowing the horrors of solitary confinement for years and decades is hypocrisy and brutality. While a death camp is different from a prison, the underlying logic of the racism and repression of the Nazi genocide resounds: that certain groups of people can be isolated, tortured and killed because of who they are and/or what they believe in.

As Jews in solidarity with prisoners organizing from Pelican Bay to Palestine to Guantanamo, we say “Never again for anyone” and demand that Gov. Brown insist that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation meet the dignified demands of the brave and brilliantly organized hunger strikers for humane treatment.

In both countries, prisons are used to repress political dissent, to target those whose daily survival challenges a system designed to suppress and/or eliminate them, and to create an underclass whose lives are valued at nothing, who are deemed unworthy of protection, whose very existence is criminalized. For Gov. Brown to commemorate the horrors of Dachau while allowing the horrors of solitary confinement for years and decades is hypocrisy and brutality.

Please take a moment to sign the Pledge of Resistance to stand with California prisoners on hunger strike!

Contact the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, which works in Argentina, Canada, England, Europe, India, Israel and the United States, at ijan@ijsn.net or visit www.ijsn.net.

 

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2 thoughts on “Jerry Brown in Germany: ‘From Dachau with love’

  1. Hillary's Agenda

    Governor Jerry Brown,Who Needs The Death Penalty in California Anyway When Isolation Is Available ?

    California Prison Isolation Reality TV Show in The Work$ ?

    The State of California is now preparing to cash in on reality TV by possibly signing a multi million$ deal with NBC TV for a new 2014 Isolation Prison Torture Reality show featuring Arnold the CA Terminator & his attentive student California Governor Jerry Brown.

    NBC reports Dick Cheney has just Ordered California to Send Tortured Isolation Prisoners to Syria Prior future USA Missile Attack ..

    Arnold The California Terminator Mentors Governor Jerry Brown on State Prison Torture,Girly Men & Dick Cheney ..

    California lawmakers continue pleading with President Obama not to attack Syria until they send the States Isolated Tortured Prison inmates there 4 a little Rendition R&R ..

    Have to wonder what is going through California Governor Jerry Brown’s mind knowing CA voters elected him to represent his State in a fashion that brings Inter+National acclaim,not horrified cries from tortured prison inmates !

    We understand Jerry Brown the man does not condone CA prison torture,but everyone knows only Girly Men think isolation for years in California prisons amounts to torture.

    Should all American’s need to pray that California sends tortured isolated prison inmates to Syria’s Bashar Assad for rendition so they can live ?

    We remember well the innocent $3 million richer Canadian citizen who requested his rendition to Syria from Canada via Uncle Sam !

    We support Jerry Brown and hope he decides to now focus his keen mind on CA tortured prison residents plight being isolated in his States Penal System..

    ** When everything goes well in California,Governor Jerry Brown deserves and should receive the citizens praise & appreciation ! Likewise when California Prison injustices continue to bring the State of California Inter+National negative attention,the buck again stops on Governor Jerry Brown’s Desk..

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