hunger strike

"When Will Solitary End?" by Carlos Marvin Argueta Jr.

 

When Will Solitary End?

I sit in solitary confinement,

Monitored and evaluated,

Psychologically tested,

Tortured in more ways than I care

To remember or burden you with,

With hopes I’d crack and beg,

Beg to be let out of this torturous place

And crack, losing the bit of sanity I have left

Like so many others before me and so many others

Yet to fall, fall prey to the prison’s administrators,

To the countless tactical torturous games they play.

 

I am but one of a few hundred who still stand strong,

Fighting to survive, accumulating deep embedded scars

With each passing day, learning to be resilient to all

That’s thrown and piled up against me

In such a difficult, miserable place.

 

Lonely and deprived of so much, I sit here

Beyond desperate for a helping hand, for something,

Someone, for a movement, for human rights lawyers

And all the advocates out there to put an end

To this heinous practice of solitary confinement

And take me away from this place with my dignity intact.

I hope it’s soon, before many more fall prey

And lose themselves in this dungeon of hell and misery

That’s been in place for far too long.

_____

 

My actions will soon come

Hoping that they’ll draw the attention needed

To end this heinous practice

Once and for all.

Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons

We throw thousands of men in the hole for the books they read, the company they keep, the beliefs they hold. Here's why.

 

IT'S BEEN SEVEN MONTHS since I've been inside a prison cell. Now I'm back, sort of. The experience is eerily like my dreams, where I am a prisoner in another man's cell. Like the cell I go back to in my sleep, this one is built for solitary confinement. I'm taking intermittent, heaving breaths, like I can't get enough air. This still happens to me from time to time, especially in tight spaces. At a little over 11 by 7 feet, this cell is smaller than any I've ever inhabited. You can't pace in it.

Like in my dreams, I case the space for the means of staying sane. Is there a TV to watch, a book to read, a round object to toss? The pathetic artifacts of this inmate's life remind me of objects that were once everything to me: a stack of books, a handmade chessboard, a few scattered pieces of artwork taped to the concrete, a family photo, large manila envelopes full of letters. I know that these things are his world.

"So when you're in Iran and in solitary confinement," asks my guide, Lieutenant Chris Acosta, "was it different?" His tone makes clear that he believes an Iranian prison to be a bad place.

He's right about that. After being apprehended on the Iran-Iraq border, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and I were held in Evin Prison's isolation ward for political prisoners. Sarah remained there for 13 months, Josh and I for 26 months. We were held incommunicado. We never knew when, or if, we would get out. We didn't go to trial for two years. When we did we had no way to speak to a lawyer and no means of contesting the charges against us, which included espionage. The alleged evidence the court held was "confidential."

What I want to tell Acosta is that no part of my experience—not the uncertainty of when I would be free again, not the tortured screams of other prisoners—was worse than the four months I spent in solitary confinement. What would he say if I told him I needed human contact so badly that I woke every morning hoping to be interrogated? Would he believe that I once yearned to be sat down in a padded, soundproof room, blindfolded, and questioned, just so I could talk to somebody?

I want to answer his question—of course my experience was different from those of the men at California's Pelican Bay State Prison—but I'm not sure how to do it. How do you compare, when the difference between one person's stability and another's insanity is found in tiny details? Do I point out that I had a mattress, and they have thin pieces of foam; that the concrete open-air cell I exercised in was twice the size of the "dog run" at Pelican Bay, which is about 16 by 25 feet; that I got 15 minutes of phone calls in 26 months, and they get none; that I couldn't write letters, but they can; that we could only talk to nearby prisoners in secret, but they can shout to each other without being punished; that unlike where I was imprisoned, whoever lives here has to shit at the front of his cell, in view of the guards?

"There was a window," I say. I don't quite know how to tell him what I mean by that answer. "Just having that light come in, seeing the light move across the cell, seeing what time of day it was—" Without those windows, I wouldn't have had the sound of ravens, the rare breezes, or the drops of rain that I let wash over my face some nights. My world would have been utterly restricted to my concrete box, to watching the miniature ocean waves I made by sloshing water back and forth in a bottle; to marveling at ants; to calculating the mean, median, and mode of the tick marks on the wall; to talking to myself without realizing it. For hours, days, I fixated on the patch of sunlight cast against my wall through those barred and grated windows. When, after five weeks, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground utterly broken, sobbing and rocking to the beat of my heart, it was the patch of sunlight that brought me back. Its slow creeping against the wall reminded me that the world did in fact turn and that time was something other than the stagnant pool my life was draining into.

When, after five weeks, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground utterly broken, sobbing and rocking to the beat of my heart, it was the patch of sunlight that brought me back.

Here, there are no windows.

 

Youth Justice Coalition Oct. 10, 2012 STATEMENT TO THE STREETS & ALL YOUTH LOCK-UPS

Statement to the Streets and All Youth Lock-ups

Last summer, people held in the SHU - Security Housing Unit - at Pelican Bay State Prison declared a hunger strike to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions inside. The hunger strikespread to more than 7,000 people locked up in California prisons. People from all "sides" - blacks,whites, Asians, Surenos and Nortenos put all politics behind and came together to demand their human rights.

On this day, October 10, 2012, the men in the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay are againleading all of us. They have called for "an end to all hostilities" within our state's prisons and jails. After doing so much time, the men in the Pelican Bay SHU have realized that they are being recycled over and over through the same dead-end system. For all of us, there must be a cut off point - a time at which we stop participating in our own destruction.

As young people who have experienced bloodshed on the streets of Los Angeles, and the violence and humiliation within juvenile halls, Probation camps and Division of Juvenile Justice Youth Prisons, we are also calling for an end to the war between the youth.

What is the meaning of the California prisoner hunger strikes? A statement in support of the hunger strikers

by Kevin Rashid Johnson
Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, Prison Chapter

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

Six thousand six hundred California prisoners participated in a 3-week-long hunger strike in July, seeking relief from unjust and inhumane conditions. In the face of California Department of Corrections (CDC) officials failing to honor settlement negotiations, the hunger strike resumed on September 26th, with nearly 12,000 prisoners participating in thirteen of that state’s prisons.

It is a truism that oppression breeds resistance. Indeed, the U.S. Declaration of Independence enshrines the right and duty of the oppressed to resist their oppression.

My Guantánamo Nightmare, by Lakhdar Boumediene

My Guantánamo Nightmare   by LAKHDAR BOUMEDIENE   Jan 7, 2012

On Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.

Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.

Testimony About TORTURE in CA Solitary Housing Units

Hidden Behind Concrete and Barbed Wire: Hearings Expose Torture in California's SHUs

"My brother has been in Pelican Bay SHU for the last ten years. I'm here today to be the voice, not only for him, but for all of the prisoners who are suffering in the SHU and for all of the prisons in California. There are a lot of questions that I want answered. I want to know what our elected officials are going to do to change what's being done? Why is it 30 days later and still nothing has been done when the CDC agreed to part of the prisoners' demands? I want to know why my brother is tortured on a daily basis year after year. Why is he not fed correctly and why is he so pale and skinny? Why does my mom have to cry every time she goes to see him? Seeing everybody that has come out today just lights my fire, because I know that I am not alone and I can let him know that he is not alone."

Amber

12, 000 Hunger Striking Prisoners! FACEBOOK links & VIDEO

Prisoner Hunger Strike Grows to Nearly 12,000!

Numbers released by the federal receiver’s office show that on September 28th, nearly 12,000 prisoners were on hunger strike, including California prisoners who are housed in out of state prisons in Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma. This historic and unprecedented number shows the strength and resolve of the prisoners to win their 5 core demands and is a serious challenge to the power of the California prison system and to the Prison Industrial Complex in general.

Sat & Sun (10/1 & 10/2) Show Support for Prisoner Hunger Strike Outside Pelican Bay!

California prisoners are on hunger strike again! The hunger strike that started on July 1 of this year in support of 5 demands, has been resumed by thousands of prisoners at Pelican Bay, Calipatria, CCI Tehachapi, Centinela, Corcoran, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Salinas Valley State Prison.

The prisoners say that the California Department of Corrections has retaliated against prisoners for participating in the strike and made only nominal policy changes in response to the strike. Prisoners say it is necessary to continue to put pressure on the CDCR to meaningfully change long-term solitary confinement policies and practices. Up to date information can be found at http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/.

Oct.5th Sacramento Demo: Support the Prisoner Hunger Strike! End Long-Term Solitary Confinement

October 5th: in Sacramento
12pm to 2pm  
CDCR Headquarters,
1515 S St.
More info call: 415-238-1801

Support the Prisoner Hunger Strike!  Support the Five Demands!

All out to Sacramento!
In SOLIDARITY, a group of us will be leaving Eureka on Tuesday night (10/4) to participate in the Oct.5th demo.  We'll stay the night in Oakland and rideshare with Bay Area folks to Sacramento on Wednesday morning!  We will return to Eureka on Wednesday night (10/5).

If you want to go, please contact Redwood Curtain CopWatch at 707.633.4493 or email copwatchrwc@gmail.com.


Find updates on the hunger strike at

Determined Mass Support Outside the Prison Walls is Urgently Needed.

Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) are resuming their heroic hunger strike on Monday, September 26th. They are demanding to be treated as human beings; to end barbaric conditions of imprisonment, and to end long term solitary confinement  – internationally recognized as TORTURE.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is not only refusing to meet the prisoner's demands, it is retaliating against hunger strikers and mounting a public relations campaign to defend the conditions of torture in the SHU.

New issue of Turning the Tide - summer 2011

Download it HERE:

The new issue of Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research &
Education, Volume 24 Number 3, July-September 2011, is now out from
Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART).
PDFs will be available on-line at <http://www.antiracist.org>www**
.antiracist.org <http://www.antiracist.org>

The latest issue includes the latest compilation of "Rumors," a blotter of
recent on-the-street anti-racist and anti-fascist actions, as well as an
exchange of views generated by the antifa confrontation with the NSM in
Pemberto, NJ, including "Off the Nazis!...But How?" from 'the Brigade' in
Bring the Ruckus, and a "Response" by Jerry Bellow. These address the
interconnection between public organizing and potentially illegal

July 8 RALLY (Eureka) TO SHOW SOLIDARITY With Prisoners Hunger Strike

Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison (Crescent City, California) will begin an indefinite hunger strike July 1, 2011 to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
has been found guilty of constitutional rights violations by federal courts, and its practice of long-term isolation, particularly at Pelican Bay, has been identified by human rights monitors as constituting a form of psychological torture.

The lives of the prisoners who say they are going to participate in the strike are at great risk.

 

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