Tag Archives: July 8 2013

Statement Suspending the Third Hunger Strike

Posted on September 5, 2013 by prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity
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 universal agreement that they are reasonable). The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100% committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.  With that said, we clarify this point by stating prisoner deaths are not the objective, we recognize such sacrifice is at times the only means to an end of fascist oppression.
Our goal remains: force the powers that be to end their torture policies and practices in which serious physical and psychological harm is inflicted on tens of thousands of prisoners as well as our loved ones outside.  We also call for ending the related practices of using prisoners to promote the agenda of the police state by seeking to greatly expand the numbers of the working class poor warehoused in prisons, and particularly those of us held in solitary, based on psychological/social manipulation, and divisive tactics keeping prisoners fighting amongst each other. Those in power promote mass warehousing to justify more guards, more tax dollars for “security”, and spend mere pennies for rehabilitation — all of which demonstrates a failed penal system, high recidivism, and ultimately compromising public safety.  The State of California’s $9.1 billion annual CDCR budget is the epitome of a failed and fraudulent state agency that diabolically and systemically deprives thousands of their human rights and dignity. Allowing this agency to act with impunity has to stop! And it will.
With that said, and in response to much sincere urging of loved ones, supporters, our attorneys and current and former state legislators, Tom Ammiano, Loni Hancock, and Tom Hayden, for whom we have the upmost respect, we decided to suspend our hunger strike.  We are especially grateful to Senator Hancock and Assembly Member Ammiano for their courageous decision to challenge Governor Brown and the CDCR for their policies of prolonged solitary confinement and inhumane conditions. We are certain that they will continue their fight for our cause, including holding legislative hearings and the drafting legislation responsive to our demands on prison conditions and sentencing laws. We are also proceeding with our class action civil suit against the CDCR.
The fact is that Governor Brown and CDCR Secretary Beard have responded to our third peaceful action with typical denials and falsehoods, claiming solitary confinement does not exist and justifying the continuation of their indefinite torture regime by vilifying the peaceful protest representatives. They also obtained the support of the medical receiver (Kelso) and Prison Law Office attorney (Spector—who is supposed to represent prisoners interests, and instead has become an agent for the state) to perpetuate their lie to the public and to the federal court — that prisoners participating in the hunger strike have been coerced — in order to obtain the August 19, 2013 force feeding order.
We have deemed it to be in the best interest of our cause to suspend our hunger strike action until further notice.
We urge people to remember that we began our present resistance with our unprecedented collective and peaceful actions (in tandem with the legislative process) back in early 2010, when we created and distributed a “Formal Complaint” for the purpose of educating the public and bringing widespread attention to our torturous conditions.
After much dialogue and consideration, this led us to our first and second hunger strike actions in 2011, during which a combined number of 6,500 and 12,000 prisoners participated. We succeeded in gaining worldwide attention and support resulting in some minor changes by the CDCR concerning SHU programming and privileges. They also claimed to make major changes to policies regarding gang validation and indefinite SHU confinement by creating the STG/SDP Pilot Program. They released a few hundred prisoners from SHU/AD SEG to general population in the prison.  But in truth, this is all part of a sham to claim the pilot program works and was a weak attempt to have our class action dismissed. It didn’t work.
In response we respectfully made clear that CDCR’s STG-SDP was not responsive to our demand for the end to long term isolation and solitary confinement and thus unacceptable.  (See: AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES)
Our supporting points fell on deaf ears, leading to our January 2013 notice of intent to resume our hunger strike on July 8, 2013 if our demands were not met.  We also included Forty Supplemental Demands.
In early July, CDCR produced several memos notifying prisoners of an increase in privileges and property items, which are notably responsive to a few of our demands, while the majority of our demands were unresolved, leading to our third hunger strike, in which 30,000 prisoners participated and resulted in greater worldwide exposure, support and condemnation of the CDCR!
From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals.  However, there’s still much to be done.  Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.
Respectfully,
For the Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement
Todd Ashker, C58191, D1-119
Arturo Castellanos, C17275, D1-121
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C35671, D1-117
Antonio Guillen, P81948, D2-106
And the Representatives Body:
Danny Troxell, B76578, D1-120
George Franco, D46556, D4-217
Ronnie Yandell, V27927, D4-215
Paul Redd, B72683, D2-117
James Baridi Williamson, D-34288. D4-107
Alfred Sandoval, D61000, D4-214
Louis Powell, B59864, D1-104
Alex Yrigollen, H32421, D2-204
Gabriel Huerta, C80766, D3-222
Frank Clement, D07919, D3-116
Raymond Chavo Perez, K12922, D1-219
James Mario Perez, B48186, D3-124
Link to original

From a letter by J.

7/18/13
From a letter:
Yesterday – 9 days into fasting – they finally took my and my cellie’s weight and vitals. Because it’s the first weight they’ve taken since this began, they’ll attempt to use it as a ‘baseline’ weight to measure how much weight we’ve lost. 
The problem with that is obvious: we’ve already lost an enormous amount of weight in the first 9 days of not eating. I used my weight from the last time I went to nurses line back in May (223 Lbs) to calculate how much I lost (I weighed in at 214 Lbs – 212 Lbs minus the weight of the waist chains [2 Lbs]), so as of yesterday I lost 11 Lbs. Zah went from 178 to 164 – a loss of 14 Lbs.
According to the CCHS mass hunger strike policy (IMSP+P, Vol. 4, Chpt. 22.2) states PCP visits to record vital signs, weight, and BMI should be done 1-3 days after hunger strike participation (see for a summary: http://www.prisons.org/documents/HungerStrikeSUMMARY7-13.pdf). With those of us they gaffed up in their version of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and isolated us in this rat block [unit 4A], they waited until the 9th day. 
This exposes us to the risk of premature hunger strike complications due to this negligent medical care and deviation from the established hunger strike policy. No one can tell me this is not intentional.
Also included in the policy is the provision that an FTF visit to again assess vitals, weight, height, etc. is to take place at the 4-7 day mark, the 7-14 day mark and then every week thereafter. They’ve obviously not adhered to their own policy, but instead subordinated themselves to custody and the dictates of this warden.
In any event, I.G.I. came by yesterday and returned some of my paperwork and gave me a receipt for over 100 pages of other stuff they’re characterizing as “gang material.” To give you an example of their fundamentally contradictory thought process and the arbitrary/capricious nature of how they characterize info – one document they are now characterizing this way is a document I wrote in 2005, “Cadre Development: Usalama” [Kiswahili for “security’) [C.D.U.], for revolutionary socialist parties like the “Afrikan Socialist Party,” “New Black Panther Party,” etc. to use to protect their political activities, organizations and personnel from counter-intelligence and infiltration operations by hostile capitalist state agencies. 
The I.G.I. officer in question stated the reason it was confiscated (mind you I’ve had this document in my possession, in one form of another (typed, handwritten, etc.) since 2005 when I wrote it and this same I.G.I. c/o has reviewed it at least 10 times in subsequent searches of my property and never responded this way) was the use of the term “party,” which they considered synonymous with the “B.G.F.”
When I am faced with such an obvious contradiction, the running commentary in my mind is often: “if it is your assertion that the language, activities, and information you are attaching to a particular group of people is all political in nature, and even you (the I.G.I.) are identifying what you believe this group to be as a “political party,” why then do you continue to disrespect imprisoned political activists by referring to them, their ideas, and work-product as “gangs,” “gang activity,” or “gang material”? The answer is obvious and it is the same reason I wrote the essay in the first place: in order to de-legitimate N.A.R.N. [New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism] / Revolutionary Scientific Socialism, the state must criminalize leftist ideologues, activity, and ideas.
In the 1900s they did it with the Haymarket Massacre; in the ‘40s and ‘50s they did it with the McCarthy Hearings and the Church Committee; in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s they used the Counter-Intelligence Program (CoIntelPro); today they’ve evolved and expanded CoIntelPro and use control units and the “gang” moniker to achieve this end.
Case in point, they also confiscated 43 pages of stuff a N.A.R.N. couple in Baltimore sent me over the course of a year. Virtually all of their communiqués discussed gaining a better scientific understanding of the ideology and economic applications of socialism to the modern world, as well as the challenges their communities were facing in combatting the criminal / gang mentality among some youth and the challenges of transforming that mentality (actually an expression of the dominant oppressor culture and the effects of class/race-based disparities) into a progressive or revolutionary mentality.
As you well know, I.G.I. monitors all my incoming and outgoing mail – and it was no different here – they allowed this political discourse to continue over the course of a year, and I knew why they did so – and told the sister and brother as much in two separate communiqués: this gave law enforcement an opportunity to gather intelligence on the political development and interactions of socialist activists in different parts of the nation.
Now apparently Maryland is also engaged in a peaceful protest action, and suddenly the I.G.I. assigned to monitor my mail is telling me – “I did not see this stuff” –  is both ludicrous and insulting – but not unforeseen. He (I.G.I.) told me I would be receiving an 115 for “gang activity” for numerous letters that they reviewed [and] then delivered to my door – not to mention my responses.
Of course none of this political discourse is “gang activity,” but that’s all academic. The state must have its narrative to repress political and socio-economic  development along the lines of scientific socialism, N.A.R.N. (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism), or any other leftist tendencies. There are some 2-300 different political parties and organizations who employ N.A.R.N. as their ideological base – but in every instance – be they imprisoned or in the field – the state characterizes them as “gangs” and treats us accordingly. It sets up this automatic ambiguity in the people’s minds with 2 distinct emotional and political reactions:  “gangs” are dehumanized, castigated, and treated with political disdain; “revolutionaries” are romanticized, supported and treated with political interest and consideration.
Though there is under the D.O.M. section governing “disruptive groups” a designation for “revolutionary groups,” CDCR instead chooses to characterize N.A.R.N. and Scientific Socialist prisoners as “gangs” and “gang members.” Understanding the motive force behind it does not lessen its incorrectiveness or illegitimacy. But there is always a price for progress – revolution is illegal. The state is a tool to impose the interests of one class over all others and challenges to that status quo – no matter how principled or well intentioned – are viewed as threats, attacked, vilified, and in the case of those imprisoned: confined to sensory deprivation torture units and given 115’s for someone else writing you. Perhaps in the state’s mind – this will prove a deterrent – instead it only motivates me to build even more.
As we speak I am watching an episode of Dr Oz about the profit motivation behind food fraud (false labeling of poorer quality food items: fish, spices, juices, tea, etc., etc.) and the market correlation to lax U.S. enforcement of food standards. This system is so pervasively corrupt on every level of human activity it simply cannot be “reformed.”
When we make A critical analysis of CDCR’s continued opposition to the abolition of long-term sensory deprivation confinement and characterization of our peaceful protest as “gang activity,” what we are looking at is the same antagonistic authoritarian psychosis which not only compelled George Zimmerman to profile, hung, confront, harass, and ultimately murder Trayvon Martin – but more essentially it was behind the American legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that drafted and lobbied to pass the “stand your ground laws” he relied on, and the initial, and later, failings of Sanford law enforcement in first not bringing charges, then later bungling the prosecution.
Zimmerman believed Trayvon was a criminal and a threat because he was a young New Afrikan man, the Sanford police believed he was correctly killed for the same reason, and the jury believed Trayvon did not have a right to fight back against a grown man and a stranger preventing him from going home, but Zimmerman did have a right to murder Trayvon after being on the losing end of a fight he (Zimmerman) started – for the same reason. 
Equally, CDCR feels we are “gang members” and a “threat” worthy of indefinite torture, simply because we are in prison with ideals divergent from the dominant theme, the psychosis prompts them to violate their own laws in characterizing- (and issuing 115’s based on this characterization) – this peaceful protest action as a “gang activity.” (the 1st Amendment states clearly: “Congress shall make no law… abridging … the right of the people peacibly to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”) , and to continue to resist making the necessary and humane decisions required by this circumstance, the times, and international law. Both sets of phenomena emerged from that single psychosis prevalent in U.S. white male privilege. Hold on.
Now 2 things happened today which were both positive and shocking:
  1. This morning at 6AM, the same identical I.G.I. officer responsible for most of the most inane assaults on my artistic expression and politics, went out of his way and tracked down me and my cellie’s lost laundry. He did not have to do that, and whether he was told to or did so out of pure human decency, I can only speculate  – but it was commendable and respected in either event. I actually have my thermal bottoms back 🙂 Unfortunately, over $100 worth of my books are still missing 😦
  2. They just pulled me and Zah out, took our weight and vitals again (I’m down to 210 Lbs now). We were both surprised and pleased and clearly it’s as a result of you all on the outside calling up here and checking on us – thank you.
Please relay what you can of this to my family, the comrades in the struggle across the nation.

Alarming: Corcoran SHU administrators are directing staff to dispense with California law and state procedures/policy regarding mass hunger strikes

On Monday April 8th they ran no yard on 4B facility in Corcoran-SHU. We of course investigated as to why we were, yet again, denied yard access without explanation and discovered staff had all gone to some sort of “training.”

By chance, or design, one of the N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU coordinators was under escort by 2 officers who, by happenstance or design, began discussing the nature of this training that would take another 2 days of additional training to complete:

In preparation for the July 8th peaceful protest action (hunger strike, work stoppage, etc.) Corcoran SHU administrators are directing staff to dispense with California law and state procedures/policy regarding mass hunger strikes and instead will institute a policy designed to raise the potential for maximum casualties (deaths) amongst prisoner participants, while negating the existence of input data or any health care services monitoring information.

CDCR staff at Corcoran have been directed that there will be no weigh ins, blood pressure checks, or other medical monitoring of hunger strike participants for the duration of the July 8th peaceful protest. Instead, a single officer will be given a video camera to “monitor” participants every few days or so. The facility will be locked down, a state of emergency enacted and all yard, visits, and medical ducats will be suspended. No one will leave the cells. No medical intervention of any kind, including health care services daily nursing observations and weekly pcp evaluations as mandated by California CorrectionalHealth Care Services Policy Manual 1.m.s.p.&p., vol. 4, chapter 22.2, will be allowed.

Once a participant loses consciousness, if he is discovered by staff before he expires (dies), he will then receive medical intervention in the form of force feeding (physicians order for life sustaining treatment). Once this occurs the participant will be considered no longer on “hunger strike.”

Many of you may see the obvious contradiction in prison staff being trained by warden Gilespie to intentionally violate the law and health care policy, with the complicity of prison doctors, nurses and technicians, to intentionally jeopardize the lives of peaceful protestors – but what’s not obvious, and in our opinion most insidious, by willfully preventing input data to even be collected, eliminating visits, and confining any proof of the hunger strike to correctional officer videography – CDCR can control the narrative completely.

With plausible deniability pre-structured, this approach allows CDCR to under-report actual hunger strike participant numbers, claim those on hunger strike are actually eating by recording on video non-participants who are eating, releasing the video’s to the press characterizing them as hunger strikers who are not actually striking, and do all of this while denying protestors access to mandated health care evaluation and clinical monitoring, ensuring serious injury or death befalls at least some protestors. When it does, just like with Christian Gomez, they can claim the victim was only hunger striking a day or so and instead died of a “pre-existing medical condition unrelated to the hunger strike.”

That this premeditated violation of their own policy is both illegal and immoral is a given, and in fact of secondary concern. That they are doing so to maintain this domestic torture program, with all its inhumane and arbitrary components intact, at the expense of your tax dollars, our minds, bodies, and very souls is what should outrage us all.

Our cause is a righteous cause, our peaceful protest to realize the 5 Core Demands just and fair. We can not allow the state to undermine the purpose and impact of these sacrifices. We are prepared to die to end great injustice, should we not be allowed the dignity of these sacrifices being accorded the state’s policy and our opposition acting within the guidelines of their own law? A criminal is defined not by what he/she is called, but by what they do. Who are the criminals in this case? The answer is as obvious as the question, all that’s left to be decided is if you will stand idly by as this crime is committed.

A Luta Continua

N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU  – Ncttcorshu.org  – Twitter.com/ncttcorshu
April 10, 2013