July 7, 2014
One year ago, on July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners initiated the largest hunger strike the world has ever seen. Sixty days later, 40 prisoners, who had eaten nothing in all that time, agreed to suspend the strike when state legislators promised to hold hearings on ending solitary confinement, the heart of their demands. The 2013 hunger strike followed two in 2011. In the interim, effective October 2012, the hunger strike leaders, representing all racial groups, issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, which has held with few exceptions throughout the California prison system ever since.
May 1, 2014
Our Five Core Demands of the hunger strikes have not been met. And we see that reform always equals revisionism, which means it’s no change. The food has literally gotten worse, although for a month they attempted to adequately feed us. The medical care continues to be inadequate. The educational programs and privileges are not afforded, and prisoners are still made to suffer in these inhumane conditions, now familiar to us for years on end.
March 28, 2014
Our struggle to abolish SHU torture units is inextricably linked to the broader struggle to seize cultural hegemony in the U.S. from the ruling class and its tool, the state. Our collective efforts have repeatedly exposed the state’s contradictions and sparked the people’s appetite for freedom and new social relationships. These activities undermine the reactionary character structure upon which authoritarian society is based. These actions are thus revolutionary.
February 27, 2014
I’m reaching out to inform you all that I finally finished my book, “Condemned.” This book isn’t just about me or about what happened to these men after a prison uprising. It’s about all of us. What happened to me can happen to you. Especially if you are poor. Especially if you are a minority. Especially if you are alone … or at least feel that you’re alone.
February 21, 2014
The heart of our oppression – indefinite housing in SHU – remains fully intact and has yet to be ruptured. Our Plan B should focus solely on their sacred cow and work toward getting fixed dates for SHU placement. This is where our real struggle will be. Only when our future hunger strikes and work strikes are coupled with strong activism in our communities will we have a successful Plan B.
February 11, 2014
The CDCR is proposing new regulations on “security threat groups” or “gangs,” which will be implemented after a regular public hearing, to be held on April 3. The Step Down Program, which CDCR has been executing as a pilot program, is apparently being added to CDCR’s vast number of regulations. The implementation of the official Step Down Program comes while a second legislative hearing on Feb. 11 has been organized.
February 10, 2014
Tomorrow, California lawmakers will hold a hearing about the use of solitary confinement inside its state prison system. February marks seven months since people incarcerated throughout California embarked on the mass hunger strike that has drawn legislative attention to prison conditions. The CDCR released new proposed regulations around its gang policies, and it points to changes already made. Accounts from former hunger strikers suggest that change is slow in coming.
December 30, 2013
A mass prisoner hunger strike rocked California’s prison system this past summer, drawing international attention to the extensive use of solitary confinement in the United States. Nearly all of the attention, however, has focused on solitary confinement in men’s prisons; much less is known about the conditions and experiences inside women’s prisons.
November 14, 2013
This is just a quick missive in regard to the enclosed letter that the warden is sending to people who inquire about my wellbeing. He is telling them a flat out lie. I have yet, as of this date, Nov. 3, 2013, to see a doctor for my heart or for ingesting ink. The warden also refuses to disclose the result of their investigation. I want people to read the warden’s letter and see how he is lying to the public.
October 26, 2013
Our resolve remains as strong as ever, and we continue to press forward. No one should receive a sentence from a court and then have those responsible for carrying out that sentence exact revenge and arbitrary punishments at their whim. This is the reality that 30,000 men and women lent their collective voice to opposing.
October 11, 2013
Abdul Olugbala Shakur (s/n James Harvey) has been condemned to solitary confinement for over 30 years. In the aftermath of the latest hunger strike, which he participated in for the entire 60 days, his heart may have been permanently damaged, but he can’t be sure because the medical staff at Pelican Bay refuses to run the tests. Now he reports an even more alarming health threat: poisoning.
October 4, 2013
This morning we lost without a doubt the biggest, bravest and brashest personality in the political prisoner world. On Oct. 4, 2013, Herman Wallace, an icon of the modern prison reform movement and an innocent man, died a free man after spending an unimaginable 41 years in solitary confinement. Herman spent the last four decades of his life fighting against all that is unjust in the criminal justice system, making international the inhuman plight that is long term solitary confinement and struggling to prove that he was an innocent man.
September 6, 2013
In recent times there has been an avalanche of misrepresentations, deceit, cover-ups and outright lies waged against the truth as it relates to prisoners and what is really going on out of the eyesight of the public. Now the SHU class is uniting to say enough with the deception and untruth, enough of the cruel and unjust treatment at the hands of corrupt administrators working to maintain this profitable system adverse to human life.
September 5, 2013
Representatives of the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit have based their decision on a meeting with fellow prisoners at the prison, the growing international condemnation of California’s practice of solitary confinement, as well as the commitment of California Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairs Loni Hancock and Tom Ammiano to convene a series of hearings in response to the strikers’ demands that would “address the issues that have been raised to a point where they can no longer be ignored.”
September 1, 2013
It’s important people understand prisons are the ultimate symbol of oppression. The state tries to discredit the organizers of this hunger strike with all manner of lies and defamatory comments. But the very fact these men and women refuse to surrender their beliefs or to inform on their friends is a direct contradiction of the state’s mischaracterizations. These are men and women of principle who have given everything to the struggle.
August 26, 2013
As a member of the Mediation Team, never did I think I would be a part of a Hunger Strike that would enter into its 50th day. Never did I think that I would be denied access to the face to face meetings that have taken place within the CDCR because I am a family member. And never did I think that CDCR would refuse on all grounds to meet even the most reasonable demands of the prisoners.
August 25, 2013
I come before you with the first of what may be a series of speed bumps and roadblocks in our path towards accomplishing the initial goals set forth: the five core demands. The other small demands being met are just a distraction to appease those of the prison masses long enough. Don’t be fooled! When the smoke clears, those small demands granted will be once again revoked.
August 22, 2013
As prisoners enter their 46th day of the massive California prison hunger strike, supporters continue to condemn Monday’s controversial court order that authorizes force feeding of strike participants and that disregards their medical wishes. The order has emboldened prisoners to continue their strike, while others have decided to rejoin the strike in response to the CDCR attack.
August 22, 2013
Mail in and out of Pelican Bay State Prison has been severely curtailed recently. Because news media are prohibited by California law from interviewing prisoners, their letters are the public’s only source of news on the hunger strike from inside the walls. These letters made it through the censors, arriving yesterday and today.
August 22, 2013
Secretary Beard’s public statements since coming to the job reflect a complete failure to acknowledge the gravity of the human rights abuses his agency is guilty of and an apparent commitment to defend the status quo at any cost. Now his public statements demonizing the hunger strikers and defending California’s indefensible SHUs make clear that all hope for change in this administration should be abandoned.