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California Prisoners Struggle

2013 Prisoner Strikes

For more news about the 2013 prisoner strikes, see:

Some background documents:

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A New Beginning or the Beginning of the End: A Question to the Leadership

It is said that history repeats itself. There is some truth to be found within this statement. All existing matter, be it organic or inorganic, and social phenomenon alike, have a history of endless development, a process of becoming, being, and passing away and into something qualitatively new altogether.

But development does not, nor should it be misunderstood, as proceeding along a straight line. Linearism is a product of the human mind, a human construct, that fails to correspond with the external material world and the laws inherent within it that govern the direction and development of its endless transformation. ...........READ MORE


Michelle Alexander Writes to California Hunger Strikers

Michelle Alexander is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, an essential work exposing the white supremacist core at the heart of the u.s. drug war and its system of mass incarceration.

November 25, 2013

To the Hunger Strikers in California’s Prisons:

I know that some time has now passed since your courageous hunger strike was officially suspended, but I want you to know that the memory of what you risked and what you accomplished  continues to inspire me and thousands of others in the United States and around the world.

When ...........READ MORE


New Book from Sanyika Shakur: Stand Up, Struggle Forward!

“It was over 20 years ago that the book Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member exploded on the scene and gave us all a front row seat to explore the genocidal brutality of the neo-colonial world of gangbanging. A world that exists at the expense of New Afrikan communities and New Afrikan youth in particular, through our social savage way of attempting to gain power through AK’s, bats and beat downs … it was in the belly of the beast (prison) that ‘Monster’ underwent a revolutionary transformation, dissecting and re-building himself from the inside out, slaying the colonial ...........READ MORE


Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike

Greetings of Solidarity and Respect!

The PBSP-SHU, Short Corridor Collective Representatives hereby serve notice upon all concerned parties of interest that after nine weeks we have collectively decided to suspend our third hunger strike action on September 5, 2013.

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 ...........READ MORE

The Rock vol. 2 #9, September 2013

Editorial by Ed Mead

“If we give in the terrorists win.” That is essentially what Secretary Beard told the mediation team. He said there will be no negotiations with prisoners or their outside representatives. I write this on August 4th, just four days before the hunger strike has gone on for a full month.

Things may change between now and the time you read this. And what I am writing here is largely aimed at general population prisoners and their family members and loved ones on the streets. I hope you won’t think me arrogant or presumptuous for suggesting a ...........READ MORE


California Hunger Strike

We are now approaching the end of the second month of the California prisoners’ hunger strike.

So far there has been one death, in a strike that was supported by 30,000 participants at its beginning, and still remains strong with several dozen who have gone eight weeks without food, risking permanent injury and death.

Some readers of this site may have noticed that things have seemed quiet this summer. Part of the reason is that, confronted with the daily reality of people risking their lives in an ongoing action, you just want to hold your breath, to not make a ...........READ MORE

Amid a Week of Rallies in Support of Prison Hunger Strikers, CA Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Urges Action, Resolution to Strike


Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Ph: 510.444.0484

Oakland–California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano issued a statement today urging the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to meet with prisoner hunger strike mediators and work toward meeting the prisoners’ demands. Prisoners throughout California have been on hunger strike for 25 days, demanding an end to indefinite solitary confinement, comprehensive changes in draconian “anti-gang” policies, an end to collective punishment, and the provision of nutritious food and constructive programs and educational services.

“These are not minor prisoner complaints, they are violations of international standards ...........READ MORE

The Murder of Billy Sell

The above image is a self-portrait of Billy “Guero” Sell, hunger striker who died at Corcoran state prison on July 22, 2013. CDCR attempted to cover this up, not even informing prisoner advocates it met with in the following days that a death had occurred. When outside supporters were informed days later by other prisoners, CDCR reluctantly confirmed the news, but insisted that Sell had not been on hunger strike, but had “merely” committed suicide by hanging. (Which in itself would say plenty about the conditions he was being held in!)

Perhaps not so coincidentally, in the intervening days, the ...........READ MORE

Prisoner in Corcoran SHU Dies While on Hunger Strike: Fellow Prisoners Mourn, Advocates Raise Questions About His Death

Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Ph: 510 517 6612

Oakand–Mediators working on behalf of hunger striking prisoners have received disturbing news that Billy Sell, known to his friends as Guero, died while on strike at Corcoran State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU) on Monday, July 22. His death is being ruled a suicide by prison officials. Fellow prisoners have reported that Sell was participating in California’s massive statewide hunger strike–now in its 20th day. They further reported that Sell had been requesting medical attention for several days prior to his death. They described Sell as “strong, ...........READ MORE

Panel Discussion on California Hunger Strike

Panel Discussion: The California Prisoner Hunger Strike & Ending Long-term Solitary Confinement on 7-17-13 at Revolution Books in Berkeley, CA

Andres Thomas Conteris, – Stop U.S. Torture in Gitmo and U.S. Prisons; Director, Program of the Americans of Nonviolence International — recently interviewed hunger strikers in Pelican Bay SHU

Steven Czifra is a UC Berkeley student who spent a total of eight years in solitary confinement, including five in the Pelican Bay SHU. Along with other UC students and professors, he is taking part in a rolling solidarity fast in support of the prisoners and their demands.

Larry Everest, ...........READ MORE