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Saturday, January 18, 2020
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Behind Enemy Lines

Stories from the prison industrial complex.

The hearts of warriors

The connection between the minds and hearts of the people has grown so distant, so impersonal, so unlike the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s that the heartbeat of the movement can barely be felt or heard anymore. Come closer. Has the system been so effective in beating the fight out of the struggle that, when the eyes of warriors meet, we no longer recognize each other?

Last minute appeal from death row: Vote No on 34 to protect our due...

If Proposition 34 passes, it will endorse everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system and allow the appeals of innocent people on death row to go unheard. It will take away the one guarantee, through habeas counsel, that death row prisoners have to be able to clear their names and prove their innocence. Vote No on Prop 34; do not destroy due process rights.

Sensory deprivation is depravity

From within and beyond the $100,000 8-by-14-foot steel and stone sensory deprivation cell that is designed for my mental, physical and social dehumanization, I bring to you this letter of concern regarding the adverse effects of long-term sensory deprivation. Upon seeing me for the first time in over a year, a fellow prisoner shook my hand and then proceeded to put both arms around me to embrace me.

Indigenous Day, not Columbus Day

Some of our people, as well as ourselves have decided to call today Indigenous Day instead of Columbus Day and it makes me really think about how many people who still celebrate Columbus, a cruel mass murderer who on his last trip to the Americas, as I have read, was arrested by his own people for being too cruel.

Build unity: Don’t let CDC undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities

The hunger strike victory – settlement of the class action suit against solitary confinement – is fantastic, but now, more hard work confronts them all. They will continue to be in a relentless fight to prevent COs from destroying the unity and continued political determination of the vision for prison reform in California. There will come a time in which the prisoners will need to essentially rebrand, identify and complete what they started – the five demands.

On the abolition of solitary confinement

More than a year after our July 1, 2011, peaceful protest hunger strike actions, calling for an end to decades of SHU/Ad-Seg abusive confinement, CDCR has yet to meet our five core demands, all of which they admitted were reasonable, so now we're focusing on two non-negotiable demands: 1) CDCR must abolish “intelligence” based solitary confinement, and 2) A four year step-down process is too long. For more than 25 years, CDCR has placed thousands of us in solitary for being gang members or associates, even though we never committed a gang-related criminal act.

Our own political action committee can expand the prisoners’ rights movement

I was pleased to read about the current talk of creating a political action committee (PAC) for prisoners. There was a time when I despised the whole oppressor political apparatus, but I was lucky enough to have comrades who explained that there is nothing wrong with being involved in local politics because these are the ways that we can transform our communities at the current stage in our struggle.

Hunger striker: Don’t stop pushing, pounding on the system

Don’t let the California prison hunger strike and the support that flowed from various media outlets, including the Bay View, go for nothing. All prisoners are obligated to contribute in some way. Get organized, develop a plan, stick to the plan and make it happen. Don’t give up! We cannot stop now.

Call for Prisoner Day of Solidarity Sept. 9

We are calling on all potential allies for a planned Day of Solidarity action for prisoners across the country. This is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Attica uprising and is intended to draw attention to our devolving treatment and escalating abuse of prisoners by the state.

Combat police oppression in our communities

Black and Brown communities are terrorized by police on a daily basis on a physical and emotional level. We are all too familiar with the physical terrorism: bodies being slammed on pavement with knees penetrating necks, batons beating against skulls mimicking a life-size piñata that spills blood instead of candy and, last but not least, the iconic image of a body riddled by a volley of bullets.

Refuse to work, boycott canteen!

Gustavo Chavez expresses a few ideas of his own that will have a devastating impact on the prison economy.

The hunger strike was a success

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.

Antonio Guillen: May Day message to the working class people of the world from...

I am one of the hunger strike representatives from Pelican Bay State Prison. I along with my family are also part of the working class people of America. As a young boy, I’d watch my parents in their daily struggles. Even now, while I’m in prison, my wife and children are part of the daily grind that is the work force!

The Bay View has been my strength

After 12 years I have finally made it to a halfway house. Through my entire struggle behind the walls, your paper has played a major part in my political and cultural awareness. I could not have done it without you. My mission is to become a success story by giving recidivism a black eye and preventing these younger brothers from contributing to genocide as I once did when I was young and unpoliticized.

Beating back Batson

The U.S. Supreme Court's 1986 Batson v. Kentucky decision prohibited the state from removing Black jurors for racial reasons. Still, courts have been loathe to grant relief.

A victory for Maroon!

On Friday, Feb. 12, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying both parties’ motions for summary judgment and ordering a trial in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenges the 22-year solitary confinement of Abolitionist Law Center client and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. The trial will mark the first in the country in a case challenging long-term solitary confinement.

Solidarity of Calipatria ASU

I would like to extend our utmost love and respect to all who remain strong and positive against CDCR’s death grip of long-term segregation. It has been eight months since the last Pelican Bay-California Statewide Hunger Strike and there have been some “material changes” here at Calipatria ASU. Our objective as a whole is to see an end to all wrongful validations and long-term segregation/isolation.

‘Intolerable’: a call to action to free Lorenzo Johnson

In the words of Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson, his situation is “intolerable.” He speaks for all innocent prisoners. It is estimated that in the United States 100,000 or more factually innocent people are in prison. Many, like Lorenzo, are on “slow death row,” serving life without parole. Action for Lorenzo Johnson’s freedom is part the fight for all the innocent in prison and a challenge to this system of injustice.

I will not allow the beast to win!

Locked inside the belly of the beast, a system built by men to hold men, this system was meant to rehabilitate, but it has failed miserably! The justice system has failed, the prison system has failed, the government has failed.

Hunger strikers, supporters refute CDCR gang propaganda

With the historic California prisoner hunger strike in its 37th day, supporters are outraged that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to characterize the peaceful protest as a gang conspiracy, rather than negotiating with prisoners about their human rights demands.

Latest News

Poetry, prayers, protest against gentrification and displacement planned for MLK Day

On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., noted Bay Area grassroots leaders will host a protest rally at the Oakland City Church to highlight the plight of the unhoused.

Voices of the California Progressive Alliance

“Support for Bernie Sanders is definitely one of the threads uniting most of those here today. The California Progressive Alliance voted to endorse him, and there’s tremendous support for him here in California.” – Whitney Leigh, California Progressive Alliance Steering Committee

The art of David Bruce Graves’ ‘Heaven and Earth’ – Artist...

At a time when ignoring the planet and its species hastens the end of life as we know it, Graves’s work poses options, some involving magical thinking. The artist illustrates across multiple compositions how powerful Black people are.

Give Dr. King the birthday present he wants: VOTE in Cali’s...

What would MLK think about our fractured and divisive country and world of today? He would be shocked by so many unhoused, hungry, suffering people, mass incarceration, children in cages, extreme poverty, the climate crisis, and trillions spent on the Pentagon, ongoing wars and now, nukes in space (Space Force), a new war for oil looming, and extreme income inequality. He would be upset by the lying fascists running and ruining our country.

‘My Friend Fela’ doc, a definitive view of a man on...

This is a very important film for today’s times. Fela was a political Black revolutionary who used music as his sole weapon to address injustices perpetrated by the government, mostly in his country of Nigeria.