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On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
There was a sense of shock and disbelief when news was released about the death of Thomas Eric Duncan on Oct. 8 at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The Liberian-born 42-year-old was the first reported case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which emerged in the U.S. and resulted in death. Reports during the week of Oct. 6 mentioned that Duncan’s medical condition was worsening and that he was “fighting for his life.”
The battle over the future of Tamms became the most visible and contentious example of a phenomenon seen around the country: Otherwise progressive unions are taking reactionary positions when it comes to prisons, supporting addiction to mass incarceration. And when it comes to issues of prisoners’ rights in general, and solitary confinement in particular, they are seen as a major obstacle to reform.
The prisoncrats, as expected, seek to downplay and minimalize the success of the mass hunger strike that began on July 1, 2011, by its typical damage control tactic of spoon-feeding their spin to their Sacramento Bee stoogie who, like most of the public, believe their misleading and inaccurate assertions.