prisoner 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.

Remembering Attica Forty Years Later

by Dennis Cunningham, Michael Deutsch & Elizabeth Fink

PRISON LEGAL NEWS     VOL. 22 NO.9      Sept 2011
https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/includes/_public/_issues/pln_2011/09pln11.pdf

This year, September 9 will mark the 40th anniversary of the rebellion at Attica State Prison in upstate New York. As one of the prisoner leaders, L.D. Barkley, announced to the world, the rebellion was “but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.”
The sound of Attica was heard loud and clear, but the fury at the time was reserved to the assault force: several hundred violently angry white state police officers and prison guards who carried out the massacre that ended the rebellion on September 13, 1971, with 43 men dead. The fury of the oppressed themselves has been a work in progress since that time.

L.D. was one of many politically aware prisoners in New York and elsewhere who identified with the struggle for liberation world-wide, with consciousness growing out of the civil rights movement, the urban uprisings of the 60s, and the ideology and practices of Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. This consciousness was given voice in the writings of George Jackson and Eldridge Cleaver, especially Soledad Brother and Soul on Ice, whose searing indictments of injustice, racism and cruelty in California prisons echoed across the country and inspired resistance.

A manifesto demanding reform had come out of California’s Folsom Prison in 1970 and made its way around the country and into Attica, and the prisoners there had delivered a manifesto of their own to New York state authorities, which was ignored, several months before the rebellion. George Jackson was assassinated at San Quentin on August 21, 1971; a few days later the prisoners at Attica staged a surprise protest at breakfast, during which nobody ate and nobody talked. The guards were stunned and unnerved at the unanimity of the protest action.

A number of the prisoners had been involved in previous, smaller rebellions at the Tombs jail in New York City and the state prison at Auburn. Various chapters of political groups on the outside had formed inside, including the Black Panther Party and the Puerto Rican Young Lords, and the Black Muslims had a large organized contingent at Attica as well as in all other New York state prisons at that time. Political literature flowed freely, and the groups were often able to gather in the exercise yards and at various work sites and other locales in the institution. Grievances against the guards, the administration and the system were many and widely shared, especially on the part of the Black and Latino prisoners who came mainly from New York City, and almost all the rest from other big city environments like Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.

The entire staff at Attica at the time was white except for one Puerto Rican guard who worked in a watchtower and had no contact with prisoners. The surrounding rural area of Western New York where the guards came from was mostly what some call “up South,” to denote the level of racial antipathy and outright bigotry endemic in the local population, and thus in the prison work force.

At the same time there was a strong and growing belief among the prisoners that they had clear-cut rights under the Constitution that guaranteed fair and decent treatment, as well as freedom from discrimination; that despite years of peaceful petition and advocacy, their rights were largely ignored by the prison administration; and that much of the abuse and brutality they experienced from the white guards was a matter of official policy. Many prisoners had come to feel that something must be done.

* * *

September 2012 Issue of Rock Newsletter

Here is the September issue of the Rock newsletter. It was mailed out to prisoners August 29, 2012. This and previous issues are available by clicking on the “Rock Newsletter” link at http://www.prisonart.org.

DOWNLOAD September 2012 Rock Newsletter HERE (small file pdf): http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net/files/Rock 1-9.pdf

"Working to extend democracy to all."  Communication is a human right!

NC Prisoner Hunger Strikers Call for Boycott and Solidarity Actions Against Canteen Profiteers

BOYCOTT:

KEEFE Supply Company, in St. Louis, MO – Sells snacks and junk food.

American Amenities, located in Woodinville, WA – Sells hygiene items.

JM Murray Center, Inc. in Cortland NY – Sells toothpaste.

Four-in-One Co. Inc. in Mountainview, CA – Sells salad dressing and mayo.

Heinz Co. in Pittsburgh, PA – Condiments, etc.

Ascent Battery Supply LLC in Harland, WI – Sells batteries.

Medique Products in Ft. Myers,, FL – Ibuprofen and other medical supplies.

Sony

New Balance

Coca Cola

It goes without saying that the companies who sell their products in prison canteens make millions of dollars off the most perverse kind of monopoly capitalism imaginable.

Support Prisoners on Hunger Strike at Three North Carolina Prisons!

Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike at Three Facilities In NC

On Monday July 16th 2012, prisoners at Central Prison in Raleigh, Bertie CI in Windsor, and Scotland CI in Laurinburg all began a coordinated hunger strike. The men have issued a series of demands revolving around food, healthcare, abuse by guards, and in particular for a return of prison law libraries, and are encouraging other prisoners to join in with their own actions and demands. They are also calling for the release of those on I-Con status and the abolition of separate control statuses. The prisoners have vowed not to eat until their demands are met. [see prisoners' demands below]

Correspondence with the prisoners has confirmed the strike at several facilities, and that at least at Central Prison over 100 prisoners began the strike on Monday. Prisoners have encouraged supporters to call or fax the administrations of these different facilities as well as Director Robert Lewis (see information below), to “march or protest in front of Central Prison and others,” “boycott all products being sold in these prisons,” and to “contact media outlets and let them know what we are doing.” 

Urgent Call for Support: Red Onion State Prison Hunger Strikers in VA

Risin' up from the gulags of the largest incarcerating system in the world and from its streets and workplaces! Amplify the voices of those behind the walls!

  10 DEMANDS of Hunger Strikers & WAYS to SUPPORT BELOW

UPDATES AT http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com/

May 22nd, 45 prisoners at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia began a hunger strike to protest inhumane and torturous treatment and the warden’s refusal to resolve their grievances. We’re working to build exposure and a list of endorsers as fast as possible.

Sign PETITION HERE!

We’re also asking people to send short, personally written letters to everyone possible within the VA prison system to inform them of what’s going on. We have contact information for dozens of men detained in both Red Onion State Prison and Wallens Ridge State Prison. We’ll prioritize ROSP and WRSP and then branch out across the state. The Virginia Department of Corrections will try hard and fast to silence this and keep it from spreading, so we will have to act quickly.

Support Palestinian Hunger Strikers! SIGN PETITION

Prisoners Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, who started the strike and have been detained for 2 years without charges, are at grave risk of death, now entering their 74th day (5/11/12) of fasting. For reference, Mahatma Gandhi ended his longest hunger strike on day 21; Bobby Sands died on day 66. 

...on the Class Action Lawsuit Against CA's Use of Prolonged Solitary Confinement

(Telephone press briefing held on May 31, 2012)  

“My name is Marie Levin. I am the youngest sister of Ronnie Dewberry.

“Ronnie has been held in the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison since 1990. That is truly cruel and unusual punishment.

“When I heard about the inhumane conditions in the SHU, I broke down crying uncontrollably.

“Ronnie lives in a cramped, windowless cell for at least 22.5 hours a day. He is let out of the cell only to exercise alone in a concrete enclosure and to shower 3 times weekly.

“He is allowed no phone calls and they only receive one package per year.

“His food is often cold and rotten.

“Ronnie has chronic stomach problems, swollen thyroid glands, and a severe Vitamin D deficiency. He also suffers from high blood pressure and has at times been denied his medication.

“He says that being in the SHU feels like psychological torture.

“This is traumatizing knowing that a loved one is suffering and there’s nothing you can do about it.

“Ronnie and I are 10 months apart, and we were very close growing up.

“At first, he was in [a] prison near our family and we were able to visit regularly. I was able to visit him regularly.

“Since he was transferred to Pelican Bay in 1990, I have seen him only 5 times. The drive is almost 8 hours in a car in travel…very expensive.

“There is much time between visits that each time Ronnie looks much older.

“After the long, costly trip, we are only permitted to visit for 1 hour through a piece of glass. I have not been able to hug my brother in over 2 decades.

“My mother has had several strokes and is now paralyzed, speaks with difficulty, and suffers from dementia. She longs to see her only son but she is no longer able to make the long and difficult trip.

“Though Ronnie is eligible for parole, he will not be paroled while he is in the SHU.

“I fear our mother will pass away before she and Ronnie can see each other again.

“In 2001, our oldest sibling, Carol, suffered kidney failure and Ronnie set about trying to donate a kidney for her. He was able to get tested and found out that he was a compatible donor. But the prison would not allow him to make the donation.

“For years, Ronnie fought for permission to save his sister.

“Carol died in 2010 in a pool of blood, bleeding out after a dialysis treatment. She was 59-years-old.

“I am very grateful for this lawsuit and for all of the support that has been given to Pelican Bay prisoners since the hunger strike.

“The movement to end these barbaric conditions has lifted Ronnie’s peers as well. For the first time in a very long time, I felt hopeful that Ronnie’s situation might change for the better.”

###

Transcript of Remarks by Marie Levin, family member of Pelican Bay SHU prisoner Ronnie Dewberry, on the Ruiz v. Brown class action lawsuit challenging California’s use of prolonged solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison

Read more: Lawsuit challenges California’s prolonged solitary confinement policy

2011 in Photos: From the Front Lines of the Bay

by Bay of Rage  Saturday Dec 31st, 2011 2:15 AM

Over the past few years, a skeptical optimism began to emerge among those in this country who had defined themselves in open antagonism towards capital and the state. It seemed possible that maybe, just maybe, the terrain of struggle was finally shifting and the balance of forces would slowly tip in our favor.

The Shame of California

THE SHAME OF CALIFORNIA 

    I’ve been eating well this summer, enjoying the local fruits and vegetables of northwest California, while sixty miles away a group of men risked their health by refusing to eat for three weeks. I’m in Big Lagoon, surrounded by ocean, lagoon, and forest in an area of coastal California described by National Geographic as among the top twenty “unspoiled” tourist destinations in the world. An hour’s drive north of here is Pelican Bay State Prison, a state-of-the-art hellhole that was recently the center of a three-week hunger strike led by prisoners in the Secure Housing Units (SHU).

List of OCTOBER 13 Events in Solidarity with Hunger Strike!

Los Angeles

Thursday, October 13th, 5-7pm: Vigil to Support the Hunger Strikers! 200 North Spring Street. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (We will be in front of City Hall, 1st and Spring Street on the North Steps). Click here for more info

San Diego

Thursday, October 13th, 5-7pm: Vigil to Support the Hunger Strikers! On the Corner of University & Fairmount in East San Diego. Click here for more info

Santa Barbara

Oct 14th EMERGENCY ACTION to Support CA Prisoner Hunger Strike, San Francisco

Medical condition of hunger strikers deteriorates, some days away from death

October 11, 2011

Join the emergency action to support the California Prisoner Hunger Strike on Friday, Oct. 14, 10:30 a.m.‐1 p.m., at McAllister and Van Ness in San Francisco and tell CDCR and Gov. Jerry Brown to meet the strikers’ five core demands

by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Isolation: Californian, Palestinian, and Zapatista Prisoners On Hunger Strike!

CDCR Increases Isolation for California Prisoner Hunger Strikers

Families of hunger strikers were denied visits this past weekend, as the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) continues to crackdown on the hunger strike.

Before the strike resumed Under-Secretary of CDCR Operations, Scott Kernan, threatened an escalation of violence on hunger strikers. Since lawyers from the prisoner’s legal & mediation team have been banned from communicating with hunger strikers last week,rs pose a threat to CDCR’s security, denied visits are an added punishment that increase family members of hunger strikers have also been denied visits. While the CDCR claims families and lawyers pose a threat to CDCR’s security, denied visits are an added punishment that increase isolation for hunger strikers in an attempt to break the strike and conceal retaliation.

Pages