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A copy of this historic document in its original form was sent to Bay View arts editor Wanda Sabir by Kumasi, a Los Angeles-based prison movement scholar and central leader of the Black August Organizing Committee who was a close comrade to George Jackson. Kumasi was reminded of this Manifesto when he learned of the National Prison Strike that began in Black August 2018 and believed Bay View readers would value the opportunity to witness prison movement evolution.
Few prisoners, if any, at San Quentin State Prison participated in what was reported to be the largest prisoner-led strike in United States history. There are many reasons for these prisoners’ lack of involvement. Most of the men imprisoned at San Quentin were unaware of the strike and the groups involved with it like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the Bay Area National Prison Strike Solidarity Committee.
California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation (CDCr) had been locking classes of prisoners up in solitary confinement since the ‘60s as part of CDCr’s para-military low-intensity warfare, to break the minds and spirits of its subjects, California’s prisoner class. CDCr’s solitary confinement has two operating components: 1) punishing you and 2) physically and mentally destroying you.
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
I have been in the system over 30 years and was in the system when Yogi and George Jackson and the rest were all in the Adjustment Center, and the guards and George were killed in 1971. An entire generation has come and gone since then. Very few in the system today even know who they are. Nor do they know how bad conditions were back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, especially for Black and Brown people both in the system and out in the streets.
On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, government officials and first responders continue to lack the ability to plan for emergency situations. San Quentin State Prison, California’s oldest prison, is still on a virtual lockdown – or “modified program” – as normal programs for all inmates have ceased since Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, after “one confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease” was discovered, Warden Ron Davis’ Aug. 27 bulletin said.
Under the aegis of repressing a “gang” called the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF), the administration carried on a witchhunt against the political thinking of many Black prisoners and punished them by solitary confinement. This article, the second in a series of three, looks at the notion of prison gang, its relation to the prisoner’s need for defense and how that affects us beyond the prison wall.
A recent study concluded that even a moderate deficiency of Vitamin D results in a 53 percent increased chance of developing dementia. The most abundant source of Vitamin D is a chemical reaction which occurs when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight. Sunny California’s torture units feature dog-run style, walk-in closet yards which consist of four solid walls and a plexiglas or metal grating for a roof, both of which obstruct direct sunlight.
The comment period prior to formal adoption of the STG Pilot Program closes April 3, when a hearing will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the East End Complex Auditorium, 1500 Capital Ave., Sacramento, CA 95811. Submit your comments before April 3 to CDCR, Regulation and Policy Management Branch, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento CA 94283-0001, by fax to 916-324-6075 or by email. If you have questions, call branch chief Timothy Lockwood at 916-445-2269.
Once upon a time a pen full of corrupt pigs all of a sudden realized the dirt on them was being exposed to the public. Articles describing some of the asinine antics common to their clique written by an anonymous author had been posted online and circulated in print via local and national “telling it like it is” publications such as the one you’re reading now.
The prison system and the SHU is not going to shut down anytime soon. So we will have to be more realistic and pragmatic in our approach to addressing the mental health of prisoners. We can start off as prisoners by pledging we’ll not become collaborators with the CDCR in their endeavor to assault our sanity!
“Champion ended his strike Oct. 19, after having lost over 51 pounds and having at least one major demand met: He has been promised that he will be released from his highly restrictive confinement after seven years of being held in ‘the hole.’”
Word has just reached us that Steve Champion, a prisoner on San Quentin’s death row well known as an inspirational advocate for justice and as one of the trio with Stanley Tookie Williams and Anthony Ross, began a hunger strike last Thursday, Oct. 4. His demands – still unmet – are listed in “The struggle never stops,” published in the July Bay View and reprinted here, and he asks that all who believe in justice flood the San Quentin warden and Corrections Department (CDCR) spokespersons with calls and emails.
Aug. 21, 2012, marks the 41st anniversary of the rebellion at San Quentin prison that ended in the assassination of Comrade George Jackson. The rebellion came to be known as Black August. At the time of his death at age 29, George Jackson was the best known prison revolutionary in the United States and field marshal of the Black Panther Party.
I was validated as a prison gang member on one source of false information, even though CDCR regulations require “three (3) independent sources of information that is proven to be reliable.” Being falsely accused of prison gang membership and consequently being housed in SHU/CMU indefinitely amounts to state sponsored persecution for our political beliefs.
Comrade was an exceptional individual and driven by his passion for revolution. The immense amount of knowledge he had acquired prior to our meeting he had honed to be as sharp as a samurai sword. While in prison, he studied economics, history and philosophy, transforming himself into a political theoretician and strategist.
I had never believed in hunger strikes, thinking that they’re counter-productive. However, when the gang unit began to work in concert with the chief medical officer, I decided to participate in this and the next hunger strike. Here's why.
William Wright, a prisoner on San Quentin’s death row, began a hunger strike on Monday, Jan. 17, to protest a myriad of discriminatory actions aimed at him.