- Created: Friday, 21 October 2011 10:57
- Written by FRFI
Photo: Demonstration in support of the California prison protesters, 29 July 2011, outside the California Tourist Office in London, organised by Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, Irish Republican Prisoners Support group and London Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
On 26 September 2011, hundreds of prisoners held in California’s punitive Secure Housing Units (SHUs) resumed a protest hunger strike which had originally commenced in July, ending after nearly four weeks, having secured some immediate concessions from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The prisoners’ spokesmen made clear in July that they were not abandoning their protest, but were prepared to give the administration a ‘grace period’ in which to meet their demands. When it became clear that this was not happening, the protest resumed, ending this time after three weeks, when the CDCR promised to review all SHU prisoners whose sentence relates to the controversial process of ‘gang validation’.
These prison protests have attracted considerable support both within the US and internationally. On 17 October, in Oakland, California, Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd, the three hitch-hikers who were imprisoned in Iran for 781 days, mostly in solitary confinement, and were recently released spoke at Occupy Oakland!, urging support for the prisoners and condemning the use of long-term solitary confinement.
Along with other organisations in Britain, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! has also supported the hunger strikers, jointly organising a protest in London in July, covering the struggle in our paper (see www.revolutionarycommunist.org/britain/police-prisons/2281 ) and sending letters of support and copies of FRFI to the protesters. Shortly before the latest decision was taken, we received the following letter from hunger strike representative, Paul Abbas Redd Jr
I trust these brief lines find you all in great spirit, mind, body and soul. As for us here at Death Dungeon Pelican Bay State Prison SHU our fight for positive change to eradicate the torture/inhumane conditions continues.
I apologize for not acknowledging much sooner receipt of the newsletter. As one of the hunger strike representatives I want to thank each of you on behalf of myself and others here for your support and show of solidarity.
On September 29th all of us representatives were placed in administrative segregation along with a few non-representatives. A total of 15 prisoners.
Myself, two other representatives and one non-representative who happen to be my cellmate were released 10/5/11 from Ad Seg [Administrative Segregation] and returned to the SHU.
All our property was taken hostage and we were told our property will not be returned until the hunger strike is completely over. I am rather enjoy sitting in an empty bare cell with nothing but my focus/spirit. I am feeling from the outside support (we are loving it). A few prisoners have been able to share a few sheets of papers/envelopes till our property is returned.
Our brothers (11) still remain in Ad Seg as of October 5th, still on the hunger strike. Prison officials are giving out very little information or none at all. When they do give out information it’s false propaganda; for example they are accusing us of forcing prisoners around the state to refuse to eat (LOL)
They just refuse to publicly admit prisoners are tired of the abuse and want reasonable changes.
They have started issuing out serious CDC-115 infractions to all prisoners that went on a hunger strike. We needed this type of evidence to show retaliatory actions against us for participating in a nonviolent peaceful demonstration that violated no CDCR rules.Again thank you for the love/support.In solidarityPaul Abbas Redd Jr
For updates on the California prison struggle see http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/