Anniversary of Suspension of Historic 2013 Hunger Strike

Save the date: Saturday, September 6, 2014
Mosswood Park, Oakland

RSVP at the Facebook event page, check often for updates; further details to come.

Celebrating the suspension of the largest hunger strike in U.S. history.  Dozens of incarcerated people carried on the fast for 60 days, ending on September 5, 2013.  The 2013 hunger strike – begun on July 8, 2013 by over 30,000 people – was the third since 2011 intended to bring an end to California’s arbitrary policy of isolating individuals on the basis of mere association, without regard to actual conduct.

Join us as we honor these courageous people and push forward to bring an end to the torture of long-term solitary confinement. If your organization is interested in co-sponsoring this event please contact us by Monday August 18, 2014, at phssreachingout@gmail.com

Sponsored by Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
510-863-0477
@CAHungerStrike

 

8/3/14 Update from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

We hope to post updates every week or few weeks about the struggle to END long term solitary confinement. If you have any feedback for how we can improve these updates, or information you’d like to see, please let us know.

IN THIS UPDATE:

Weekly Meetings

Recent News Articles

Upcoming Events

 

  1. Weekly Meetings: The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition meets every Monday night in Oakland (and on the phone).
  • The sole purpose of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition is to amplify the voices of California prisoners as they strive to achieve their Five Core Demands. The Coalition consists of family members, formerly incarcerated people, lawyers, organizations, and individuals who stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers. This weekly meeting focuses primarily on planning, promoting and reporting on actions and events directly related to the struggle for the Five Demands (primarily, to end long term solitary confinement), including prisoner updates and legal and media strategies and reports.

 

  1. Recent Newsletters, News Articles & Videos
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pz3syET3DY “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” 7/20/14 – This 20 minute segment covers solitary confinement and mass incarceration in general in the United States. Great video to share with your friends & family who aren’t paying attention to the prison crisis.

 

 

  • PRISON CENSORSHIP:
    Thanks to everyone who submitted a public comment about CDCr’s proposed censorship rules. Here is some news coverage:

 

  • August 2014 Issue of ROCK!

 

  1. Go to our CALENDAR to post or find upcoming prisoner solidarity and movement building events throughout California or any location.

 

  • “SAVE THE DATE” September 6, 2014 for an event in Oakland to commemorate the end of last summer’s prisoner hunger strike, the largest in U.S. history. We will have more information soon.

In solidarity,
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS)

The Hunger Strike One Year Later

To celebrate the movement: The California prisoner hunger strike one year later

“This is the third anniversary since we began using peaceful actions collectively to push for an end to the use of long-term solitary confinement. If we look back and remember before July 2011, we prisoners were alone, isolated, not being heard. We wrote newspapers and nothing was printed. We wrote lawmakers and never heard back. Few people knew how many of us were locked away in windowless cells for 23 hours a day (often more) here in California. Few understood how many others are kept in various forms of isolation here in our state in other SHUs, Ad Seg cells, mental health cells, including women and juveniles. Almost no one understood California’s place as the state that uses solitary confinement the most of anywhere … Today we celebrate our movement. We do not rely on the legislature or the courts alone. Only by a strong growing movement of those of us inside and our supporters outside do we have any hope to make all the changes that we need. You keep CDCR’s feet to the fire. We are grateful that you stand with us.” – Statement from Pelican Bay representatives, July 2014

One year ago on July 8, 30,000 California prisoners refused meals and work assignments, beginning a 60-day hunger strike with the core demand of ending the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. This was the largest hunger strike in U.S. history, and it presented the deepest challenge yet to solitary by bringing national and international attention to a practice that has long been condemned by human rights groups as torture.

To commemorate the historic strike and its ongoing significance to the struggle against solitary, statewide actions throughout California took place on its one year anniversary:

  • Over 100 community members held a rally and press conference in LA, including a statement in solidarity read by Danny Glover;
  • in San Bernardino, around 40 people composed mainly of prisoners’ friends and family members organized a vigil and spoke out about their loved ones inside;
  • Oakland witnessed events throughout the day beginning with a noontime rally led by family members, followed by a community gathering procession and vigil in the evening;
  • prisoners’ loved ones and supporters gathered in Santa Cruz to read out statements by prisoners, and set up a model Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell to continue shedding light on the torturous conditions of solitary.

Solidarity demonstrations were also planned nationally and internationally in cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and London.

During last year’s hunger strike, both national and international media reported favorably about the prisoners’ peaceful action in spite of the California Department of Corrections’ (CDCR) attempts to discredit the strikers as “the worst of the worst, gang leaders” organizing a strike solely to expand their power within the prison. Hundreds of articles appeared in the press over the course of the strike, bringing an awareness of the cruelty of solitary to the public in unprecedented ways.

The call for the hunger strike was issued by a collective of prisoner representatives who had found common ground through their confinement in Pelican Bay. Their dialogue through adjacent cells led them to put aside their disputes and unite to challenge the worsening conditions in the prison system, especially to prevent more young people from being consigned to draconian sentences of indefinite solitary.

In 2012, these representatives issued the Agreement to End Hostilities, which called for an end to all violence between different groups of prisoners throughout the state. These representatives also issued the call for three hunger strikes between 2011 and 2013, articulated their demands, and sought to negotiate a resolution with the CDCR. The call for the third strike was met with an unprecedented response, with almost a quarter of California’s prison population participating in the beginning.

This strike was history-making in other ways as it fueled ongoing human rights struggles among prisoners in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia as well as among immigration detainees in Washington state and Texas. Led by hundreds in Pelican Bay who have spent decades in isolation in violation of all international standards of confinement, their demands became the basis of a renewed call from behind the bars for the public to recognize the humanity of imprisoned people and to call for an end to mass imprisonment.

Many families of prisoners became public spokespeople for the first time, realizing that the lives of their loved ones were in their hands. They organized rolling solidarity fasts, held numerous vigils, and marched in 105-degree heat to a Central Valley prison to show their support for their loved ones on strike. They met with prison officials to demand a response from the CDCR, which refused to negotiate with the strikers. They broadened the international perspective by hosting events with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez.

The courage and determination of the hunger strikers ignited a new level of solidarity among imprisoned people in California. As strikers faced intense repression by the CDCR – in the form of medical neglect, confiscation of medicine, threats of force-feeding (sanctioned by a federal judge) – prisoners shared their own limited resources, kept each other’s loved ones informed, and demanded medical care for those who were becoming increasingly ill.

After 60 days and one death, the strikers suspended their strike after California legislators committed to hold public hearings. In their statement suspending the strike, they said:

“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 percent committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.”

The 2013 hunger strike represented the highest level of self-organization, empowerment and solidarity among prisoners that the California prison system had seen in decades, since the height of the prisoner rights movement led by George Jackson in the 1970s. The CDCR reacted as any government entity facing a serious threat to its power reacts, with an iron fist. Every prisoner who refused nine or more consecutive meals was issued a write-up charging them with participation in a gang-related activity, subject to progressive levels of discipline.

The 2013 hunger strike represented the highest level of self-organization, empowerment and solidarity among prisoners that the California prison system had seen in decades, since the height of the prisoner rights movement led by George Jackson in the 1970s.

After the strike, CDCR extended its repressive tactics to include the community outside by proposing a new level of censorship, banning any materials coming into or going out of the prison that “indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society.” These measures are designed to keep prisoners from writing about intolerable conditions, criminalize their attempts to organize, and destroy the connections and support from the community – lifelines for those who are living in extreme isolation.

From the courage and determination of the strikers, a new and vibrant movement for the human rights of prisoners is taking root. It forces us to ask ourselves what place solitary confinement could possibly have in a civilized society and more, what we are prepared to do to end it.

This article first appeared in the San Francisco Bay View on July 14, 2014 as “To celebrate the movement: The California prisoner hunger strike one year later“,
by Donna Willmott.

Eureka, Oakland, Santa Cruz, SoCal observe one-year anniversary July 8

A year ago on July 8th, over 30,000 people inside the California prisons began a hunger strike to bring an end to the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. Whether you’re in Eureka, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz or Southern California, please join us as we hold statewide events commemorating the courage of the hunger strikers and push forward to bring an end to the torture of solitary confinement and meet the five core demands.

Eureka/Humboldt:
Folks heading to Crescent City in the morning.  Solidarity and Hunger Strike Commemoration Rally across from Pelican Bay State Prison at 12:00pm (noon). *
Please contact Verbena for rideshare or other info at (707) 442-7465 or peoplesarc@gmail.com. Hosted by Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community.

Oakland:
*
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Oscar Grant Plaza; lunchtime rally, hosted by California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) (more info here)
*
6:00–8:00 p.m. Alan Blueford Center for Justice, 2434 Telegraph Ave. (Vigil & Procession to 27th and Telegraph at 8:00 p.m.) (more info here)

Santa Cruz:
*
6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Clocktower (Water & Pacific Ave.) Hosted by Sin Barras. (more info here)

Los Angeles:
*
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 300 S. Spring St. Hosted by CFASC. (more info here)

San Bernardino:
*
6:00 p.m. Vigil, Perris Hills Park 1135 E Highland Ave. Hosted by CFASC. (more info here)

July 8th Events in L.A. and San Bernandino to Commemorate Largest Hunger Strike in History

CFASC- JULY 8- 2014- EVENT FLYER-3FAMILY MEMBERS, LOVED ONES, SUPPORTERS:
Join at  300 S Spring St, Los Angeles
11:00am – 1:00pm

ALL OUT FOR LARGEST HUNGER STRIKE IN HISTORY….ONE YEAR AGO on July 8th, 2013 …. 30,000 IMPRISONED PEOPLE BEGAN A CALIFORNIA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE TO RAISE AWARENESS TO THE TORTUROUS CONDITIONS OF ISOLATION AND THE ABUSE THAT GOES ON IN OUR PRISON SYSTEM …

Join California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) and Family Unity Network on July 8th, 2014 to commemorate the largest & longest hunger strike in history ….

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL later in San Bernandino at 6:00pm.

Continue reading

Celebrating California’s Historic Hunger Strike, One Year Later – Oakland

A year ago on July 8th, over 30,000 people on the inside began a hunger strike to bring an end to California’s use of indefinite solitary confinement.

This was the largest hunger strike in U.S. history, and dozens of incarcerated people carried on the fast for 60 days.  Join us as we honor these courageous people and push forward to bring an end to the torture of long-term solitary confinement.

PHSS July8flierPlease Join/Invite/Share FACEBOOK EVENT:  Celebrating California’s Historic Hunger Strike Continue reading

Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike Suspended After 63 DAYS

From their hospital beds the hunger strikers remain steadfast in their cause: “Administrative detention contradicts democratic and humane values, especially in the arbitrary way that Israel uses it, as there is no justification. There should be strong resistance by everyone in prison or outside against this policy because it greatly harms people, their dignity, family and children.”

Hunger Strike Suspended

Wednesday, June 25 2014:  The Palestinian “Prisoners Center for Studies” has reported that hunger striking Palestinian detainees, held by Israel under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, announced suspending their strike after reaching an agreement with the Israeli security officials, and Prison Administration officials.

detaineessick.jpg

In a statement, the detainees said that, as the Israeli aggression escalates against the Palestinian people, and in an attempt to give the families of the detainees some relief, following 63 days of hunger strike carried out by their detained family members, a decision was made to suspend the strike.

“To grant our families some relief, especially before the holy month of Ramadan starts, and following 63 days of ongoing hunger strike, we have decided to suspend our strike”, the statement reads, “We held meetings with Israeli officials, and will release details of the agreement after all hospitalized hunger strikers are discharged”. Continue reading

Excellent Article: CDCr’s Attempt to Silence Prisoners, Ban Critical “Oppositional” Publications

Censored and ‘Obscene’ in Solitary

by Sarah Shourd
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/21/censored-and-obscene-in-solitary.html

After a huge hunger strike to protest the state prison system’s inhuman conditions, California is threatening to ban any written material deemed “oppositional to authority and society.”

Continue reading

From Palestine to Pelican Bay, prisoners and their loved ones fight for justice and freedom

June 18, 2014

by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
[Full Article includes solidarity actions you can take]

“Our message to the world is that we are peacefully resisting our arbitrary detention, despite the threat the hunger strike imposes on our health … Our bodies are weak, but our determination to end injustice and achieve our demands has never been stronger … According to international law, the occupation’s practice of administrative detention is arbitrary and violates all international human rights regulations and laws that call for respecting human beings, their rights, freedom and lives …

“Without international and media pressure, nothing will change. The humanitarian side of the issue should be revived; it is not a matter of numbers and years. There are children, sons and daughters, parents and families that are suffering from the raids, arrest processes and administrative detention renewals and everything else that is directly connected to these conditions.” – Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike, Day 55, June 17, 2014

SIGN PETITION HERE: http://ymlp296.net/xgmmbeyhgmguu

From California to Palestine to Guantanamo, prisoners are resisting the torturous conditions to which they were never sentenced. On July 8, 2013, 30,000 prisoners across California began a hunger strike and work stoppage protesting long-term solitary confinement and horrific prison conditions. The day after, Palestinian former political prisoner Sheikh Khader Adnan, whose 66-day hunger strike protesting being detained without charge, attracting worldwide attention, wrote in support of the California hunger strikers:

“The policy of isolation is a cheap weapon in the hands of those who hold power. The policy of isolation is used against American citizens who are victims of the political, economic and social order/system that thrives on greed, discrimination and the deprived, including the African-Americans and Palestinian resistors such as Sameeh Hamoudeh and Sami Al-Aryan …

“Hunger strikes are a courageous step and a real tool for all those who are deprived of their rights to lift the existing oppression, and I hope that these prisoners will gain their rights and their demands. Today, the hunger strikes of the Palestinian prisoners inspire those who are detained to engage in hunger strikes to guarantee that they are treated humanely and with respect and dignity.”

Now Palestinian prisoners are in acute need of our support. Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons launched an open-ended mass hunger strike on April 24, 2014. Since then, detainees have been subsisting on only water and salt. This is the latest in a series of mass and individual hunger strikes since 2011 protesting Israel’s policy of “administrative detention,” whereby Israel holds Palestinian men, women and children without charges or trial, or the opportunity to hear the evidence against them.

The Israeli military commander issues detention orders for periods of one to six months, which can be renewed indefinitely. In its indeterminate length, lack of due process or transparency, and its use as punishment for political activity, administrative detention resembles California’s Security Housing Units (SHU).

Administrative detention has been used against tens of thousands of Palestinians; detention is a constant threat in Palestinian daily life. Random incarceration and torture are used to collectively punish Palestinian people, as they seek to survive and resist Israeli military occupation and colonization. …

Read the full article at San Francisco Bay View

http://sfbayview.com/2014/from-palestine-to-pelican-bay-prisoners-and-their-loved-ones-fight-for-justice-and-freedom/ Continue reading

Palestinian Prisoners In 57th Day of Hunger Strike

Administrative detainees on hunger strike issue their will as they stand “at the edge of death”

by Shahd Abusalama, Wed 06/11/2014

Palestinians in Gaza City have launched a solidarity hunger strike in a sit-in protest outside the Red Cross. (Ahmad Abu Hussein)

Palestinians in Gaza City have launched a solidarity hunger strike in a sit-in protest outside the Red Cross.
(Ahmad Abu Hussein)

Our Palestinian detainees have been battling the Israel Prison Service (IPS) with their empty stomachs since 24 April, embarking on the longest-known mass hunger strike in the history of the Palestinian prisoners movement. Hunger is the only remaining weapon they can use against the IPS and its well-armed Israeli occupation soldiers.

They launched this hunger strike to call for an end to their detention with no charge or trial based on secret “evidence” submitted to a military court that is kept from the detainees and their lawyers — an unjust policy that Israel calls administrative detention.  …

Despite the chains and the prisons’ bars and walls, this is a will from those who are standing at the edge of death to the guards of our homeland, Palestine. …

Full ARTICLE with PRISONERS’ LETTER HERE (letter smuggled out June 8, 2014)

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/shahd-abusalama/administrative-detainees-hunger-strike-issue-their-will-they-stand-edge-death Continue reading