Tonight, Tuesday July 12 at 7 pm at Revolution Books!
(the discussion of BAsics, chapter 2 which was scheduled for tonight will be rescheduled to a later date)
On Friday, July 1, prisoners in California's infamous Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison began a courageous and determined hunger strike. This then, very quickly, turned into a display of collective outrage and solidarity among prisoners throughout the state and beyond.
More than 500 inmates refused food at Pelican Bay State Prison and 6,600 prisoners in 13 different prisons participated in the hunger strike on the weekend of July 2-3. At least 2,000 prisoners at 11 California prisons are still on hunger strike, and there is a hard-core group of 50 prisoners in the highest-security special isolation wing in the SHU who say they will refuse to eat until their demands are met.
These prisoners are subject to brutal, inhumane and illegal conditions that amount to torture. This includes, according to prisoners, "indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination and use of unsubstantiated lies from informants."
Prisoners have courageously stood up and demanded justice. This is an extremely significant and extraordinary development. It demands our full support!.
Come to Revolution Books to discuss the situation and how to build broad and determined support for these courageous hunger strikers.
Demands of Prisoners on Hunger Strike at Pelican Bay SHU
1. End "group punishment" where an individual prisoner breaks a rule and prison officials punish a whole group of prisoners of the same race.
2. Abolish "debriefing" and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. False and/or highly questionable "evidence" is used to accuse prisoners of being active/inactive members of prison gangs who are then sent to the SHU where they are subjected to long-term isolation and torturous conditions. One of the only ways these prisoners can get out the SHU is if they "debrief"-that is, give prison officials information on gang activity.
3. Comply with recommendations from a 2006 U.S. commission to "make segregation a last resort" and "end conditions of isolation."
4. Provide Adequate Food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food. They want adequate food, wholesome nutritional meals including special diet meals and an end to the use of food as a way to punish prisoners in the SHU.
5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates-including the opportunity to "engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities..." which are routinely denied. Demands include one phone call per week, one photo per year, 2 packages a year, more visiting time, permission to have wall calendars, and sweat suits and watch caps (warm clothing is often denied even though cells and the exercise cage can be bitterly cold).
Go to Revcom.us for in depth coverage of the strike: