Letters from Pelican Bay hunger strikers six weeks in

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.

We can’t be intimidated by psychological ploys like calling the strike a ‘gang power play’

by Randall Sondai Ellis

Randall Sondai Ellis 091712Written Aug. 18, 2013 – I received your note along with a copy of the Beard op-ed; I agree with you about his comments, which aren’t surprising. Beard is a psychologist, so when you place a psychologist in charge of a prison, he will engage in psychological ploys.

Everything he’s done since July 8 has been designed to gain the psychological edge, which is why they reported the 30,000 prisoner participation rate so fast – a number they knew wouldn’t hold up! Psychologically, they sought to take the steam out of the strike, as they did with the issuing of the memos allowing additional property – cups, bowls, typewriters and clothing – just days before the strike.

As of Aug. 18, those memos have been rescinded. But what they miscalculated was those of us who do not fall prey to the psychological ploys, those who are committed to the end.

They took 40 days and 40 nights to mean the strike would last 40 days, but biblically 40 days and 40 nights is just the beginning. There are men here willing to die who can’t be silenced by intimidation or cheap psychological gimmicks like “this is a ‘gang power play.’”

What they miscalculated was those of us who do not fall prey to the psychological ploys, those who are committed to the end.

Either you stand up for yourself or you’ll be sitting here while they play these same games for the next 30 years.

As of last Monday, I had lost 26 pounds. I weighed 160, down from 187 pounds.

Send our brother some love and light: Randal Sondai Ellis, C-68764, PBSP ASU H-199, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532-7500.

We’ve heard nothing new about talks on the hunger strike

by Tracey Miller

Written Aug. 18, 2013 – I’m in the Pelican Bay SHU and haven’t heard anything new in regards to talks on the hunger strike. Honestly, with the communication being so bad, you guys probably find out before most of us back here.

Recently someone from Sacramento ordered the COs (correctional officers, or guards) to do security checks every 30 minutes, and all these high paid COs are crying about that and a lot have got job changes to avoid getting up and doing their rounds. I guess they don’t get paid enough to do their job.

Also, we just went on a modified program because they say there’s a lack of staff, but I’m guessing it’s retaliation due to the hunger strike. So now we are getting yard only four days a week, which is only six hours a week, though we are entitled to no less than 10 hours a week. No memo was passed out, so I’m further speculating that this is Pelican Bay’s doing, as no one is willing to put their name to it.

All those who have participated in the hunger strike received write-ups – RVRs (Rules Violation Reports) or 115s.

Send our brother some love and light: Tracey Miller, H-20057, PBSP SHU C10-216, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

The hunger strike is about helping all prisoners achieve their humanity

by Mutope Duguma

Mutope Duguma (James Crawford) from Penny Schoner, webEditor’s note: Mutope had asked JR Valrey, Bay View associate editor who is also producing and hosting a series of hunger strike specials on KPFA, to interview him weeks ago. We asked permission for a phone interview that could be recorded for broadcast, but CDCR denied that request. So right away, JR sent Mutope a list of questions to answer and mail back. But Pelican Bay has been blocking the mail, so in this letter, the first we’ve received from him in weeks, he asks JR to try again.

Written Aug. 19, 2013 – I have not received the letter from the Brother JR, so I do not know what’s up with that. But if he sent a letter to me, tell him to please remember when, because everyone is telling me they sent me this and that, but I am not receiving anything. I’ll need declaratories from everyone because we are keeping a record of out and incoming mail.

I didn’t receive your mail until Aug. 17, and that should tell you how they’re trying to deprive us of any effective communication in order to compromise our correspondence. Hate has always followed hate, so they cannot change what they are – and that is vindictive, overzealous, reactionary individuals. And sadly they cannot even say why they do what they do.

Let the Brother know that he should hurry up because I am 53 pounds down, have not eaten in 44 days and I am weak and fragile, Mary, but my mental capacity is strong still.

Tell the Brother JR he can come up and visit or he can send me a questionnaire and I will give him the whole 411 at the root of our struggle and how it will serve all Californians. We are not just about changing our SHU solitary confinement placement; we are talking about helping all prisoners achieve their humanity through a sound, productive and constructive education that will help them be more aware of their lives and their actions.

Plus, let the Brother know that he should hurry up because I am 53 pounds down, have not eaten in 44 days [Mutope began his strike a day early, on July 7], and I am weak and fragile, Mary, but my mental capacity is strong still.

We are still in Ad Seg under Gestapo guard.

Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP ASU G-2185, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.