Revolution #239, July 17, 2011

Pelican Bay Prisoner Hunger Strike Update: July 14, 2011

At the time of this posting it has been 13 days since the prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison SHU went on a hunger strike—demanding an end to the inhumane way they are treated on a daily basis (see earlier coverage at As we have said, this is an extremely significant and extraordinary development, something that challenges people on "the outside" to sit up and take notice. And many have been moved to support the prisoners in their just demands.

The first weekend of July 2-3, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) reported that 6,600 prisoners, in 13 different prisons, refused food in solidarity with the strike. It is hard to determine how many prisoners are now on the hunger strike—in large part because of the restrictions the CDCR is putting on the press and family in terms of communicating with the prisoners. But there are reports that hundreds are refusing food and there is a hardcore of prisoners who have made it clear that they are willing to die if their demands are not met. And it is clear that the situation is very urgent—with reports of a number of prisoners in a very dire medical condition.

The prisoners are putting their lives on the line—demanding that they be treated like human beings. No human being should be tortured and subjected to isolation and sensory deprivation that will drive them crazy. And there is an urgent need for people from all walks of life to speak up with courage and determination to support the prisoners' just demands. As the article "Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strikers: We Are Human Beings!" says:

"These striking prisoners are going up against a lot, they are risking a lot. And their actions aim to challenge everyone else to think about what this means. Revolution is hearing from many people who are inspired by how they are standing up—shining a light on and demanding an END to the way they are being tortured.

"This hunger strike has the potential to impact how people look at prisons and prisoners, and the mass incarceration of millions. It can open people's eyes to the horrible injustices that are going on—and cause them to reject the system's justifications for their torture chambers. It can contribute to creating more favorable conditions for struggle against all the different ways the system oppresses the people. This struggle can shake up and challenge those who say 'this is the way things are and you can't change it.'"

Because of the tremendous importance and urgency of this situation, we are posting materials that are being sent to us daily, including letters that the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund receives from prisoners participating in the hunger strike.

Read our earlier coverage at News from Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike, July 2011… check frequently for news and updates, including announcements from those building solidarity actions…. and help spread Revolution's coverage and analysis of this extremely important struggle.

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