Continental Conference Call to Support the Hunger Strike

THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR JOINING IN ON THIS CALL!

If you have more questions after this, please email us at: prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity@gmail.com or call 510-444-0484. Please keep checking the blog: prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com for further updates!!!

Goals, Logistics and Agenda:

Goal: Share updates about what is going on inside and outside in meeting the 5 demands

Logistics:

  • unless you’ve been confirmed to give an update before hand, everyone will be “muted” since it’s not a private call, and so that people don’t interrupt each other, etc.
  • not a decision making call, not a politicking call due to logistical obstacles
  • Send an email to prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity@gmail.com or text [number taken out of notes due to call being over] to get questions answered

Agenda:

  1. Review Demands of Prisoners
  2. Update of the Prisoners
  3.  Update on Family Support
  4. Update on Organizing Work
  5. Update on Media work Being done

Review of the Demands and the Setup of support on the outside:

Demands:

1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse

2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria -

3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in  America’s Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term  Solitary Confinement

4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food

5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates.

These demands either already have been promised to prisoners and havent been met or they coincide with standards of other institutions

Strike spread across 13 prisons rapidly – at least 6,600 people participating inside

Coalition was set up in the spring after organizations were contacted by people in Pelican Bay. Asked by prisoners to primarily support through legal and media work and to help with communication.

Primary strategy is to pressure legislators, CDCR negotiate with the prisoners in good faith

Main challenge has been severity of surveillance (of mail, visits, communication)

Update on Prisoners

The biggest issue at present is communication. CDCR has stated that 400 prisoners in 4 prisons that were participating. As of Monday, at least 70 new people joined in Corcoran.

Medical conditions- They aren’t following medical protocols. They’re supposed to do weighing, physical conditions and hydration status. Also, prisoners are being weighed and examined inconsistently. Medications are being reduced or elimated entirely. Receiver has ordered that multivitamins and tablets be offerred – as of Friday, this had not occurred. Individual cases – loss of 20-35 lbs, critical medical issues.

Many have signed a Do Not Resucitate (DNR). Should prisoners need food passively, they’d need to be taken to another facility in order to do so as Pelican Bay is not currently equipped to handle this support.

Family Member Support

Family members are meeting with each other after visits to Pelican Bay to meet and comfort one another. Family members have been being interviewed in the Bay. One family member is advocating to send in postcards as they get in faster. Many family members are at the current rally.

Family members can email prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity@gmail.com to get messages onto the blog.

State of Mediation

Prisoners have created a team of 4 principle negotiators,  called the Short Corridor Collective to represent the hunger strikers and the 5 core demands

Outside Mediation team  (approved and requested by the hunger strike leaders) has 5 members with 2 attorneys.

CDCR is unwilling to negotiate with the prisoners. They are being advised by a prisoner official from Pennsylvania. PA takes a hard line with “non-violent offenders” and political repression.

Based on what the CDCR has offered (a vague look into possibly changing some policies) to the prisoners, the leaders unanimously decided to continue the hunger strike as they do not believe that the CDCR is acting in good faith with them, and clearly have not addressed the demands.

Organizing Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) has been doing

The Coalition has been working to organize legal visits weekly since before the hunger strike began through August. Also, some visits have been organized for Corcoran.

Held a Rally on July 9th, an international day of solidarity (other rallies in CA and the US held on same weekend) in San Francisco

Weekly vigil in Oakland has begun starting last Thursday after work 5 -7 pm. Other cities are encouraged to do similar weekly events on the same day.

Busload of people went to Sacramento with 7500 signatures to give to CDCR in support of the hunger strike (still marching & rallying at the time of this call)

Downloadable images – to create postcards with demands to send in to put pressure on CDCR and also support prisoners- as well as other flyers and posters on the blog.

Organize folks to call in to CDCR and the governor and urge them to negotiate with the prisoners

Media Work

Fielding media requests to family members

Coalition has also been making its own media to inform and activate: blog & you-tube video

Blog set up to be used as an organizing tool. Has letters from prisoners as well as a take action page that support international organizing to support prisoners independently of the coalition. Need support with expanding the media coverage. If people have contacts, please email PHSS gmail account. There are press releases that can be forwarded and also talking points for people who need them to connect with media.

Clarifying questions:

Will there be a recording or notes of this call?

Yes to notes (Recording will not be made available)

Are visits off of the table indefinitely?

Mediation team was given 2 phone calls with the prisoners (SHU prisoners do not have access to phones). Mediation team is uncertain whether they are no longer allowing visits but Carol on the team knows of an attorney who went to Pelican Bay that was denied entry. Legal visits should happen again this week, if we are not denied.

Can non-mediation team lawyers do legal visits?

Yes, has already been the case. Pelican Bay needs to continue to be monitored after the strike. Questions – carol@prisonerswithchildren.org

Are there plans to meet with the Governor’s office?

Not currently but as CDCR does not seem capable or willing to negotiate, it appears that the Governor’s office has to get involved

Is it useful for people outside of CA to contact the governor’s office?

Yes, Absolutely. Also, you can contact your state legislator to help influence CA.

How can out of state people support if a vigil isn’t possible where you are?

Commenting on articles online is really helpful. Also, doing call-ins to CDCR and governor’s office are really important. Let progressive organizations that you know in your community know that this occurring. Donations can also be made to California Prisoner Focus (look at prisons.org) and also writing to the leaders and sharing words of support and encouragement. Also can write to anyone and everyone you know locked up and share info with them on the strike, the demands, and how much support their is outside. Also telling everyone you know generally about this issue, referring them to the blog and online petition and asking them to make calls to CDCR and state legislators (outside of CA too).

Prisoners leading the hunger strike have letter’s & statements posted on the website and you should definitely write to them.

Is the postcard template available?

It’s available for sale on leftwingbooks.net. It is also posted on the blog.

Where is there a downloadable/paper copy of the petition?

There will be one posted on the website within the next few days

Is there any further content of the offer that the CDCR put out that can be shared?

CDCR stated that they would do some studying of alternatives but no commitment of whether anything would be changed or how.

Where can you donate money?

California Prison Focus 1904 Franklin 505 Oakland CA 94612

Are there any plans to file a lawsuit?

There are plans. If anyone is interested, please contact Carol at carol@prisonerswithchildren.org

Are there plans to involve and reach out to high profile people? That would be a great thing for out of state people to do. Contact dorsey@prisonerswithchildren.org or ari@criticalresistance.org

Are the number of strikers increasing now that the CDCR has made their offer?

Yes

Are there any legislators that are supporting the prisoners?

Tom Ammiano attended the rally and offerred to hold a hearing and the coalition is still attempting to coordinate this.

Action Updates:

Figure out how to do work outside of California and make sure that we’re heard outside of CA.

Hunger Strike e-newsletter – email: hstrikenews@yahoo.ca to subscribe

Demonstration in Sacramento, LA, Las Vegas and Philadelphia today/right now

Standing Demonstration in Oakland and Montreal

Pieces in New York Times, LA times, Al Jazeera, and tons more coverage on blogs, community/independent outlets, radio, some on TV, including Democracy Now.

Organizational petition may get started. Change.org has a petition currently with 7000 signatures.

Rally last week in Chicago at Cook County Jail, and demonstrations internationally in over 20 cities

There may be a legislative hearing in August around the conitions that created to hunger strike as well as in general throughout the CA prison system

NAACP was asked to send a delegation to Pelican Bay

Religious community can also be mobilized as well.

SACRAMENTO UPDATE:

200 people are there and were able to deliver the petition to CDCR office and are on their way to the governor’s office. There is almost an equal police presence and have been threats of arrest.

Global Women’s Strike Campaign is creating an international day of solidarity.

Ohio State Penintentary is holding a rally from 2-5pm in Youngstown, OH

Medical Community is currently circulating a support letter that can be found on the blog if you are part of that community and would like to participate.

2 thoughts on “Continental Conference Call to Support the Hunger Strike

  1. Pingback: Repression Breeds Resistance! | Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

  2. Pingback: Repression breeds resistance! | San Francisco Bay View

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s