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Saturday, January 18, 2020
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Behind Enemy Lines

Stories from the prison industrial complex.

Modern day slavery is real

Modern day slaves, sanctioned by the United States government under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution … Yes! By subjugating, marginalizing and disenfranchising the oppressed human beings, by way of economic discrimination or depriving humans of decent wages, that forces humans to live half-butchered lives that subject humans to the many social ills produced inside a society – a slave, criminal and gangster mentality that devalues, demeans, degrades and dehumanizes humans.

Prison hunger strike supporters to protest outside Alabama’s Limestone Prison Saturday, June 22

As the U.S. Department of Justice has so far failed to pursue action by way of a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Corrections, those who have confined loved ones argue that their inaction is proof that the DOJ does not believe incarcerated individuals in the ADOC are worth protecting. This mobilization demonstrates that those directly impacted by incarceration, and those fighting for change on the inside, will continue to make their own voices heard.

Heroic or heinous: The death penalty case of Thomas Porter

Thomas Porter is a 42-year-old Black man held on Virginia’s Death Row for the Oct. 25, 2005, shooting death of a Norfolk, Virginia, cop. At his trial, it was undisputed that the cop walked up and grabbed him around the throat without warning, then tried to throw him to the ground. Thomas reflexively pushed the cop back, asking what he was doing. Without warning or explanation, the cop pulled his gun and fired on Thomas but missed. In a split second reaction, Thomas pulled and fired his own gun, fatally hitting the cop in the head – a clear case of self-defense.

Black August Resolution

Since Aug. 20, 1619, with the arrival of the first documented slaves planting their feet on the soil of American land, Black resistance has been an important aspect of what it means to survive while Black in America.

Lost in time: Lift up our brother Sitawa and strike down indefinite incarceration

Sorrow is felt among the whole prison population for our brother Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, who, along with countless fearless prisoners, pioneered our Prison Human Rights Movement (PHRM) to the world’s stage leading the largest-in-history California hunger strikes, yet he continues to be held indefinitely. The prison system is covertly executing all of its lifers.

Imprisoned people facing medical neglect and violence: Family members and organizers speak out

On Nov. 11, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of male guards, and kept without water, food or restrooms for 11 hours. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.

Pelican Bay earthquake prompts double locking of cells, reveals need for united front

Know your enemy from your friend. On March 10, not too far from Pelican Bay State Prison, a 6.9 earthquake struck in Eureka and the powerful vibration was felt miles around. At that moment my thoughts began racing and the thought which prevailed was this: “If these haphazardly-designed concrete slabs began collapsing, we’d all be in the same damn boat – crushed dead.”

Lucasville Prison Rebellion 20 years later: an interview wit’ political prisoner Imam Saddique Hasan

Twenty years ago, there was a prison uprising in Lucasville. A correctional officer and several prisoners who collaborated with the prison administration were murdered. Imam Saddique Hasan and other prisoners who acted as spokespeople for the prisoners were eventually charged with the murders and have been held on Ohio’s death row ever since.

Blood in my pen

My pen cutting wounds into the surface, forming letters, creating words that express my existence. --- Wounds that never seem to heal because they are real testaments to who I am, where I come from, and what I been through. --- Peroxide only seems to palliate the damage, making the healing process dawdle. --- Locked in solitary confinement, fighting a war that’s within myself.

From Pelican Bay: CDCR to offset prison population cut by putting more men in...

The reduction of 35,000-40,000 prisoners equals a potential loss of $2 billion in the yearly CDCR budget and 7,000 CCPOA members. The “security threat group” (STG) scheme enables CDCR to segregate a lot more men. Segregation costs nearly double general population and requires more staff.

Two years after historic settlement ending indefinite solitary confinement in California, CCR details ongoing...

Two years after the historic settlement of Ashker v. Governor of California marked the end of indefinite solitary confinement in California, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel filed a motion to extend the terms of the settlement by one year, noting that substantial reforms are still needed and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to violate the constitutional rights of Ashker class members.

Family of California prisoner who died on hunger strike speaks out

The death of Christian Gomez, 27, the first California hunger strike martyr, will be covered by Democracy Now! on Friday, Feb. 24, on 1,024 TV and radio stations around the country and online at DemocracyNow.org. His family is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents are avoided in the future. While CDCR emphasizes Gomez' conviction to discourage public sympathy, his sister contends his conviction was wrongful, and according to a late report, the assault charge that sent him to segregation was about to be dropped.

Court rules Human Rights Coalition’s prison censorship lawsuit can move forward

The suit details a series of confiscations of Robert Saleem Holbrook’s mail since January 2012 that includes academic correspondence with a college professor, scholarly essays from the anthology “If They Come in the Morning,” a Black history book, and a newsletter published by HRC, The Movement, which focuses on prison abuse, solitary confinement, and ways that prisoners’ family members can come together to challenge human rights abuses and injustice in the criminal legal system.

Join the fight to free Chip Fitzgerald! Chip ends hunger strike, demands met

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, the longest serving Black Panther political prisoner, has ended his hunger strike. Calls from supporters convinced the warden to release him from AdSeg - the hole - and return him to general population at Kern Valley State Prison. He is also being promised the medical care he needs. This is a people's victory!

Prison strikes’ financial impact in California

Sept. 9, 2016, was the start of the largest prison strike in U.S. history. Over 72,000 incarcerated workers in 22 states refused to provide their labor to profit the prison industrial complex. California forces 5,588 incarcerated workers to labor in exchange for little or no compensation. Another 4,000 earn $2 a day fighting Californian wildfires with inadequate training and equipment. The prison system in California reaped $207 million in revenue and $58 million in profit from forced labor in 2014-15.

Gang validation: The new inquisition

It is prisoners' identification with George Jackson that makes him symbolically powerful and very much alive. And for this, he must be vilified and punished, over and over again – suppressed and chased away from anyone who dares consume his words.

Duguma wins major court victory: Without a fight it can’t be no struggle

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco has ruled in a 3-0 decision that alleged members and associates of the New Afrikan revolutionary leftist organization titled the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) and all New Afrikan prisoners have a First Amendment right to expression of their United States constitutional rights to speak to the New Afrikan nationalist revolutionary man ideology. These are clearly our political beliefs.

Prisoner advocate in love with tortured man has compassion for thousands more

In July, when over 12,000 California inmates of all creeds and colors united for the first time for the historic peaceful Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike, an “ordinary” woman, Kendra Castaneda, 29, began her transformation into the key national human rights defender she is today, overcoming one adversity after another in advocating for tortured prisoners.

Hunger strike in the supermax: Pelican Bay prisoners protest conditions in solitary confinement

As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, inmates in solitary confinement at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison are standing up for their rights in the only way they can – by going on a hunger strike.

Leonard Peltier: Statement of solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal

Whether or not you approve of capital punishment is irrelevant as long as minorities are executed with alarming disparities. Whether you approve or not is of secondary concern when people like Mumia Abu Jamal, myself and many others are convicted and sentenced to die with evidence that would exonerate ‘most any white man. As such, every single progressive organization should oppose the death penalty as we now know it.

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.