I was moved by California Department of Corrections (CDC) Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) officials. This now separates me from my jailhouse attorney, so I won’t be able to continue with my cases. This move was retaliation; PBSP knew very well about my lawsuit against them and knew that by separating me from that unit they would make it impossible for me to proceed.
“The purpose of the ... control unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and in the society at large,” said former Marion Supermax Prison Warden Ralph Aron. What is shocking to many is how can some not only resist such systematic psychological torture, but actually improve themselves under such conditions of extreme duress.
A shout-out of respect and solidarity from the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective to all similarly situated prisoners subject to the continuing torturous conditions of confinement in these barbaric SHU (Security Housing Unit) and Ad/Seg (Administrative Segregation) units across this country and around the world.
If this second hunger strike effort has taught us anything, it is that the power to transform an intransigent CDCR must come from the will of the people, from exercising your limitless power. Prison authorities were fully content to let us die this time and even modified their medical responses to maximize the chance of permanent injury or death to hunger strikers, which makes the broader aspects of this struggle so significant. Who dares to struggle? Who dares to win? We do, and we hope you do too. Join us! The power to shape history and the future of the society is in your hands.
I had never believed in hunger strikes, thinking that they’re counter-productive. However, when the gang unit began to work in concert with the chief medical officer, I decided to participate in this and the next hunger strike. Here's why.
Mediators who met with hunger strike representatives at Pelican Bay confirm that prisoners there have decided to stop their hunger strike after nearly three weeks. The prisoners have cited a memo from CDCR detailing a comprehensive review of every SHU prisoner in California whose SHU sentence is related to gang validation.
“Imprisonment is an aspect of class struggle from the outset. It is the creation of a closed society which attempts to isolate those individuals who disregard the structures of a hypocritical establishment as well as those who attempt to challenge it on a mass basis. Throughout its history, the United States has used its prisons to suppress any organized efforts to challenge its legitimacy.” – George L. Jackson, “Blood in My Eye”
With the second phase of a massive California prisoner hunger strike in its third week, prisoners have begun to report grave medical issues. Prisoners at Corcoran have stated, “Due to what they have done here to us, some men have stopped drinking water completely, so we may well be close to death in a few days.”
As the renewed prisoner hunger strike enters its second week, the federal receiver’s office reports that at least 12,000 prisoners were participating during the first week. Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported that their visits this weekend were denied by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. “Historically, prison officials have used extreme measures, including physical violence to break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers.
The 21st of August marks the 40th anniversary of the execution of George Lester Jackson. Many of the strategies and tactics that he and his fellow comrades employed in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s were used by prisoners at Pelican Bay, Corcoran and other California prisons in the recent hunger strikes.
After hunger strike leaders reached an agreement last week with the CDCR to end the hunger strike that swept across California’s prison system, prisoners have started to transition to eating food again. Their concerns include not wanting fellow prisoners to die.
Reaching at least 6,600 prisoners across 13 prisons, this massive and inspiring act of solidarity and people power across prison-manufactured and exacerbated racial and geographic lines has dumb-founded the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation).
At least 400 prisoners at Pelican Bay continue to refuse food and thousands more around the state are striking in solidarity, making it the largest hunger strike in the history of the embattled California prison system. “We are urging our state representatives and Gov. Brown to step in and force the CDCR to recognize the prisoners’ demands,” says Manuel La Fontaine.
For the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike to be successful, every available resource must be brought into play. Starting IMMEDIATELY, prisoners can start the process of improving their conditions of existence by implementing a peaceful work strike in every prison in the state.
I got a letter today from Yogi Bear, Hugo Antonio Lyons Pinell. As most of you know, Yogi has been tortured in the Pelican Bay SHU since 1990 and in other California gulags since the early 1970s. He began his incarceration in 1964 at age 19. He has joined the hunger strike and writes ...
Support for the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike is strong and expanding as people inside and outside prison all over the world are connecting the Pelican Bay hunger strike to local struggles against powerlessness and inequality.
It has been 83 hours since I last chewed on anything. I stand with all my brothers still on hunger strike inside the SHUs at Pelican Bay and Corcoran and on the mainlines in Centinela and Folsom and all other prisoners throughout California and the nation in solidarity with the hunger strike.
Ask anyone who has ever been on a hunger strike; the process of intentionally starving oneself is a very painful ordeal. And yet, there are places on this planet where the idea of death is preferable to continuing down a path that offers no hope or relief from suffering. I live in such a place; I know.
The Black August Organizing Committee stands in full solidarity with those of our brothers and sisters persecuted and tormented daily within the confines of America’s concentration camps.