California Prisoner Hunger Strike Suspended

 

Below is the statement on the suspension of the California Prisoners Hunger strike.  More updates, news and statements can be found on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website.

 

Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike

Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!

The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.

To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met (despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.  With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.

Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside.  We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation — all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety.  The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will.

With that said, and in response to much sincere urging of loved ones, supporters, our attorneys and current and former state legislators, Tom Ammiano, Loni Hancock, and Tom Hayden, for whom we have the upmost respect, we decided to suspend our hunger strike.  We are especially grateful to Senator Hancock and Assembly Member Ammiano for their courageous decision to challenge Governor Brown and the CDCR for their policies of prolonged solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. We are certain that they will continue their fight for our cause, including holding legislative hearings and the drafting legislation responsive to our demands on prison conditions and sentencing laws. We are also proceeding with our class action civil suit against the CDCR.

The fact is that Governor Brown and CDCR Secretary Beard have responded to our third peaceful action with typical denials and falsehoods, claiming solitary confinement does not exist and justifying the continuation of their indefinite torture regime by vilifying the peaceful protest representatives. They also obtained the support of the medical receiver (Kelso) and Prison Law Office attorney (Spector—who is supposed to represent prisoners interests, and instead has become an agent for the state) to perpetuate their lie to the public and to the federal court — that prisoners participating in the hunger strike have been coerced — in order to obtain the August 19, 2013 force feeding order.

We have deemed it to be in the best interest of our cause to suspend our hunger strike action until further notice.

We urge people to remember that we began our present resistance with our unprecedented collective and peaceful actions (in tandem with the legislative process) back in early 2010, when we created and distributed a “Formal Complaint” for the purpose of educating the public and bringing widespread attention to our torturous conditions.

After much dialogue and consideration, this led us to our first and second hunger strike actions in 2011, during which a combined number of 6,500 and 12,000 prisoners participated. We succeeded in gaining worldwide attention and support resulting in some minor changes by the CDCR concerning SHU programming and privileges. They also claimed to make major changes to policies regarding gang validation and indefinite SHU confinement by creating the STG/SDP Pilot Program. They released a few hundred prisoners from SHU/AD SEG to general population in the prison.  But in truth, this is all part of a sham to claim the pilot program works and was a weak attempt to have our class action dismissed. It didn’t work.

In response we respectfully made clear that CDCR’s STG-SDP was not responsive to our demand for the end to long term isolation and solitary confinement and thus unacceptable.  (See: AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES)

Our supporting points fell on deaf ears, leading to our January 2013 notice of intent to resume our hunger strike on July 8, 2013 if our demands were not met.  We also included Forty Supplemental Demands.

In early July, CDCR produced several memos notifying prisoners of an increase in privileges and property items, which are notably responsive to a few of our demands, while the majority of our demands were unresolved, leading to our third hunger strike, in which 30,000 prisoners participated and resulted in greater worldwide exposure, support and condemnation of the CDCR!

From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals.  However, there’s still much to be done.  Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.

Respectfully,

For the Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124

 

No, that racist vigilante did not rescue a family

 This first appeared at IVN.

This was a suspicious story from the beginning.

We have seen news reports of protesters doing thousands of dollars of damage to be wrong. The claims of separate attacks by protesters over the Zimmerman verdict turned out to be false. Now added to the list of  false news reports appears to be the story of George Zimmerman heroically rescuing a family of four from a burning SUV.

The initial report was that George Zimmerman was ‘just coincidentally’ driving by after a car accident occurred, that he leaped out of his vehicle, fire extinguisher in hand, to come to the rescue of the family of four trapped inside as the vehicle caught fire, pulling them to safety. That was followed by the claim that the family he rescued had planned a press event to thank George Zimmerman, but that they canceled due to threats from Trayvon Martin supporters.

It appears they may have canceled the event because they did not want to be part of the fraud of making Zimmerman out to be a hero, when that story was not precisely true.

Read more...

We Remember Manuel: Photos from Anaheim's Struggle Against Police Brutality

On July 21st, 2012, a young man named Manuel Diaz was shot and killed by the Anaheim Police Department. Diaz was unarmed, but--as the story often goes--the killer cop felt that his life was "in imminent danger" nevertheless. Diaz was hit once in the buttocks and again in the back of the head, and was reported dead shortly thereafter.

Anaheim erupted into protests shortly after, and the police response only angered the community further: video evidence shows cops unleashing a K-9 unit on children and firing rubber bullets at crowds filled with angry mothers, youth, kids.

A year later, hundreds of community members and their supporters--along with the families of over 30 victims of police violence in California--assembled in Anaheim to express our continued outrage not simply at last summer's crimes, but at the continued assault by cops everywhere against particularly young Black and Latino men.

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Irrationality of love - Chris Crass on Zimmerman verdict

The following was a facebook status of Chris Crass after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin.

by Chris Crass

Zimmerman acted logically in a white supremacist society viewing a Black boy as a dangerous threat who needed to be contained and punished if necessary. The jury's verdict is logical in a white supremacist society in which Black people's lives have been and are so systemically devalued and denigrated that when Black people call injustice, the logic of white supremacy is to say "those Black people create racial hostility". When police forces intimidate, harass, threaten and arrest people across the country for protesting and rising up against this verdict they will be acting logically in a society designed to serve the interests of the ruling class and maintain white supremacy as a key principle that helps organize and maintain systemic inequality.

This is why we and all who believe in justice and equality for all people are "irrational", "illogical", "emotional". This is why we so often feel crazy in these moments of profound injustice. And this is why we must tap into our emotions, into our love and our rage, our seditious emotionality that connects our hearts to one another (against the divisions that work so hard to keep us apart), that connects our pain to the collective pain of people everywhere who know what this verdict means in the lives of children of color who are targeted and the lives of white children and non-Black children who are socialized to hate Blackness (even though we are suppose to feel alone and alienated). This is why we must expand wisdom and historical knowledge and speak truth against the logic of white supremacy (even though we are suppose to believe ourselves incapable of understanding the world around us, let along being actors shaping it).

Rage against this verdict and every verdict that tells my white son to devalue the lives of the Black children in our community. Love our people and act with courage, vision, and the logic of liberation that beats in our hearts. Solidarity is the tenderness of the people. Revolutionary struggle building mass people power for systemic change is the soul of the people. White supremacist logic wants us to feel powerless in the face of this verdict. Liberation logic wants us to go deeper into the sources of positive power to advance systemic change.

To my white people, let us step up in this moment and provide a different leadership in white communities about what this verdict means. Justice for Trayvon Martin!

 

Chokwe Lumumba voted mayor of Jackson, Mississippi

As a part of a larger plan to develop broad people's power for Black liberation, Chokwe Lumumba has successfully been voted mayor of Jackson, Mississsippi. A comrade from MXGM said to us: "now the real struggle begins." To read about the larger political plan of NAPO/MXGM, check out the Jackson-Kush Plan.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2013

NATIONAL CONTACT:  Kali Akuno

PHONE:  323.422.6025

LOCAL JACKSON CONTACT: Chokwe Antar Lumumba

PHONE: 601.629.7684

 

 

Chokwe Lumumba Elected Mayor of Jackson, MS with Clear Mandate

The People of Jackson Have Spoken: “One City, One Aim, One Destiny”

 

With more than 85% of the vote, the people of Jackson clearly voiced their support for Chokwe Lumumba’s vision of a unified, democratic Jackson.  Lumumba, an attorney with a long record of grassroots activism and leadership in Jackson and nationwide, offered his heartfelt thanks to residents for their faith and confidence in his candidacy.

“I want to thank each and everyone who made this victory possible. I am grateful for your vote and your trust.  I am committed to upholding that trust,” says Lumumba .  “ This has been a team effort from the very beginning.  We have always said, ‘The people must decide.’ And the people have spoken for a revitalized Jackson that works for all of us, not just the few. ”

The hotly contested race drew national attention as Lumumba is considered one of the most progressive candidates ever to be elected mayor of a major city – particularly in the South.   The Mayor Elect was outspent by more than 4-1 by his primary opponent as well as the target of vicious attack ads.  Despite the challenges, Lumumba stayed focus on issues of economic justice, democracy and the underlying root causes of Jackson’s social problems.

Read more...

Sniping Chokwe: reactionary hysteria amidst Jackson's elections

On the day of and in the week leading up to Jackson's elections, reactionary hysteria is being whipped up about candidate Chokwe Lumumba, a founding member of the revolutionary New Afrikan People's Organization (NAPO), who is running for mayor of Jackson as a part of the Jackson Kush Plan, a plan attempting to use a combination of mass movement of the people and radical left participation in elections to spark a Black liberation movement in the South of the United States. While Chokwe Lumumba was projected to win, a new endless tirade of reactionary media attacks have been launched: fliers targeted at radical Black neighborhoods claiming that Chokwe was a police informant, radio ads of Chokwe discussing religion, and more. Kasama will continue reporting on these events as they unfold. -Eric Ribellarsi

Update: Chokwe Lumumba has won this round of the elections, and now will almost certainly win the mayor position.

This article first appear on Jackson Free Press.

In the final hours of the Jackson mayoral election, a group called Citizens for a Better Jackson is making a push to beat back gains made by Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba.

The political-action committee statement of organization lists longtime political operative Bob Hickingbottom as a director. Hickingbottom's PAC, which has not submitted a legally required campaign-financial disclosure report showing the group's political fundraising and spending, is running radio spots featuring a portion of a speech Lumumba gave in 2009 in which he expresses doubt in whether Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Reached this afternoon by phone, Hickingbottom refused an interview. "I'm out here today trying to vote and pick up my grandson and I'm just so doggone hot today and I'm just not up to it," Hickingbottom said, adding that he would speak to JFP editor Donna Ladd after the election.

In the radio ad, which a Jackson Free Press reporter heard Monday morning on BDAY 99.1, Lumumba states:

"Don't come down to Mississippi talking about organizing if you're not going to be able to work with church people because if you can't organize church people, then you're not going to organize Mississippi. Now I have enough sense to know what churches to go into. I had a discussion with my minister, and I said, 'I don't know if Christ died and rose again. That's not my thing. I'm not into that."

Read more...

Hunger Strike Begins at Wallens Ridge State Prison

This first appeared on virginiaprisonstrike.

On Monday, April the 15th it was brought to the attention of the Solidarity with Virginia Prison Hunger Strikers Coalition that a hunger strike has been initiated at Wallens Ridge State Prison located in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Based off inside information there are at least 16 individuals participating in this hunger strike. The status of the strikers is unknown at this time. 

Last May a hunger strike was initiated at Red Onion State Prison, which is located 30 minutes north of Wallens Ridge State Prison and could be considered its sister site. Between the prior hunger strike and the current one, the VADOC has conducted a new effort to transport many of the prisoners formerly held at Red Onion to Wallens Ridge. Although Wallens Ridge is a lower-level security prison it is commonly said by prisoners and ex-prisoners that Wallens Ridge is a more brutal and corrupt prison than Red Onion. Even though the technical status of Wallens Ridge is security-level 4 there has now been a new security-level designation within Wallens Ridge, in correspondence with Red Onion transfers, known as security-level S. According to the VADOC January newsletter the reasoning behind this campaign is to “give...offenders more programmatic opportunities and more pathways to lower security prisons” and that it has resulted in “..a reduction in the number of Administrative Segregation offenders, a reduction in incidents, and a reduction in offender grievances.” The fact that these young men are compelled to risk their lives in order to gain a little more fairness, a little more decency, refutes whatever the official line of the VADOC may be in its efforts to keep the population under its thumb.

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Killer Police declare "Frozen Zone" in Brooklyn

The following is an excerpt from a report by Will, a member of Fire Next Time. Will  witnessed nights of protests in East Flatbush following the police killing of 16-year old Kimani “Kiki” Gray. His larger report appears  here. 


We hope to post more reports and information as we get them. And we urge everyone to express strong solidarity and find ways to take action to oppose the police repression and murder. Share with us your thoughts.

* * * * * * *

By Will

...The legend of the outside agitator has returned.... I was there at last night’s rebellion, and let me tell you: there were fewer then 10 white people involved in a rebellion of hundreds of young Black militants.  Last night was led by young Black militants. Period.

For hours, Black politicians and activists–many of them veterans of, or influenced by, the 1968 generation–yelled and berated the young people to keep the “peace” and “respect.” The NYC Black establishment brought its best efforts to bear in hopes of keeping the affair civil.  Crowds of Black men and women listened for almost two hours.  They were told that the keepers of the peace felt their pain, that they understood. There was silence from the crowd of angry faces.  The tension could be felt. The crowd had selected no spokesperson to respond, and none emerged organically in the moment. Will one emerge tonight?

At some point at night, the Black militants decided to march. No white people told them to march. As the march moved through the streets of Flatbush, it was Black militants who picked up bricks, cinder blocks, and beer bottles and threw them at the police.  There were almost no white and Latino or African American faces involved in this.  It was largely a Jamaican and Afro-Caribbean rebellion.

eastflatbush2

And perhaps that is the problem.  We need to flip the script of the outside agigator.   Are brothers and sisters from the Bronx outside agitators? The same people who are stopped and frisked in the Bronx become outside agitators to Jumanee Williams and his friends.   It is time for the rest of the NYC working class to jump in and get involved.  If the divisions of racialization are going to be broken down, white, Brown, and Black working class people must face the cops and go to jail together.  New solidarities must be built.  Now is the time for everyone who has felt the pain of the police to converge in Flatbush. Bring presents, bring your anger, and bring your running shoes.

The target has been the 67th Precinct all week, but we have not had enough forces to take it on.  All the crews across New York should converge in Flatbush and then march towards the 67th precinct.

eastflatbush1

...

During Occupy, hundreds of people joined up with Occupy the Hood in hopes of building movement in working class black and brown neighborhoods. Now the opportunity is here. Will those who identify with these goals come down on the side of the people in the streets, or toe the line of the politicians? Only they can decide.

Letter from Rashid: Drugged, beaten, and in grave danger

I was then confronted by a mob of guards in riot armor and gas masks with a large canister of gas and told to submit to handcuffs which I did. I was brought out of the holding cell and chained by my waist to a wall, where an argument ensued and the guards attacked me literally ripped off all my clothes, put me in a pair of underwear, strapped me into a restraint chair and wheeled me to the IMU disruptive unit (unit A), where I was dumped enraged into cell 07...

the medical staff literally tried to let me die. Their actions and attitudes made clear to me and the attending guards that they didn’t want me there because of my race. Not only did they do nothing to have the drugs disgorged from my stomach, they had me sit for two hours in a secluded room with no care, extracted only a small syringe of blood ahtough admittedly needing 3 large vials to conduct appropriate blood tests, then sent me back to the prison claiming there were no traces of pills in my system. The entire incident of me swallowing handsfull of pills was audio-video taped and confirmed by the riot armored guards who immediately removed me from the cell, including segeant Morthorst.

The following undated letter comes from Rashid, a revolutionary communist political prisoner. It includes confirmation past reports from another prisoner that Rashid was in fact drugged by the police, beaten, and intentionally denied access to healthcare. -eric r

“Keep this will need it to recollect everything. Also use it as factual basis for protest and help. I’ve begun writing this at 10:00pm on Feb. 9th 2013. At this moment I am severely dehydrated, tongue coated with white film. Staff refuse any monitoring of vital signs or care. Urine looks like rust water. kidney (left) hurts.

The following is a chronology of events leading to my present state. All are significant jointly and severally in revealing gross abuse and corruption here.

Jan. 28 (on or about) while exercising inside my cell I cut my groin area on loose nylon stitching from my pants and began bleeding heavily. On noticing the stinging sensation then, upon inspection, blood. I notified the unit guard N. Claudio who contacted medical staff. After a bit of back and forth wrangling I was taken to the SHU nursing station where a nurse (name unknown) inspected the laceration gave me a wad of gauze and ordered me given a shower. She also instructed me to keep the area clean and dry.

A couple nights later I caught the same nurse while she was passing out evening medication and got a small packet of antibacterial ointment from her.

Read more...

EMERGENCY: Fight to save the life of Kevin Rashid Johnson (Update)

Update: Kasama has received word that Rashid was in fact drugged against his will (but not by whom). He is now stabilizing. New x-rays have confirmed that he does not have any razer blades in his system, he has returned to drinking liquieds, and his urine has returned to normal.

Rashid has said that he is still being denied access to his literature, his mail, and his ability to write letters. People are encouraged to continue pressuring the prison to demand the he receive these things.

Kevin Rashid Johnson is a political prisoner and leader of a prison organization called the New Afrikan Black Panther Party. He is an outspoken communist revolutionary whose life is in danger.

Kasama recieved the following from zzzzz:

CALL IMMEDIATELY: 541-881-5000 and then press "0"

UPDATE: 

inspector general's line: (877) 678-4222 

number for the or-doc: 503-945-9090. they're open 8am-5pm.

Kevin Johnson #19370490
S.R.C.I.
777 Stanton Blvd.
Ontario, OR 97914

I have not heard from Rashid for about two weeks, which is surprising, because he normally sends me 2 or 3 letters a week, sometimes for other prisoners. I just received a letter written Feb. 11, at Rashid's request, by another Snake River prisoner, xxxxx. xxxxx's letter begins as follows (edited for spelling etc):

"This is about Rashid. We need a lot of help. They are trying to kill him. On Jan. 31 they put something in his food that made him crazy. On Feb. 2 he took 30 pills. They did not do anything to get the pills out of him.... On Jan. 4 [sic; I assume he means Feb. 4] he ate 3 razor blades. This is all on videotape. They lied and said the X-ray showed nothing. The [blades] are still in him right now. He has not eaten since Feb. 3. He has not drunk anything since Feb. 5.... He is passing out and they won't do anything to help him.... Said he is the one that won't eat or drink so they are not helping him at all. He is peeing blood and has bad kidney pains.... Med staff will not give him IV fluids.... [As of Feb. 10 he had] lost over 16 pounds. His blood pressure is 191/100 and his urine is the color of coffee...."

I phoned Snake River immediately. If you want to speak with anyone, you have to dial 541-881-5000 and then press "0". I left messages with his counselor, Alice Tomlinson and also with a staff member named José Delgado. So far I have not heard back from either of them. I then called again, saying that it's an emergency and I needed to speak to someone who would pick up (I mentioned the warden's office). They connected me with a Sergeant Di Andrea. He looked up Rashid on his computer and said he was "all right"; I said I wanted to know more specifically, so he put me back onto the counselor's answering machine. Obviously he is not "all right"; on the other hand, I think that if he had died, they would have had to tell me. I will keep trying. We should make many calls, reaching as high up as possible.

There are obviously a lot of questions here. How could it have been on videotape? How could he have obtained all those pills? etc etc. The idea that he would try to destroy himself is totally out of character; on the other hand, I suppose that with certain kinds of drug, many strange things are possible. Let's all stay in touch if we get any news.

I am sending this both to the listserv and to the individual addresses I have, just to make sure everyone gets it.

Ironically, just 2 days ago I mailed Rashid the proofs for the article of his that we will be publishing in the July issue of Socialism and Democracy.

Let's all write to him (address below). Even if the letters aren't delivered, the officials will know that a lot of people are ready to protest whatever abuses they inflict.

zzzzz