Revolution #240, July 24, 2011
Voices of Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers and Supporters
The following are brief clips of voices of the prisoners at the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU) and other prisons, as well as supporters on the outside. Go online to revcom.us/s/pelicanbay-hungerstrike-en.html for these and other statements and news.
From a Pelican Bay prisoner's letter, sent to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund, postmarked July 8, 2011:
The conditions at Pelican Bay may shock the public, the idea that American citizens endure torture daily, yearly and for decades may be a surprise to many, or the fact that many of the conditions for prisoners being held in Guantánamo Bay are really better than Shu prisoners in Pelican Bay is hard to swallow but its true. Shu prisoners here endure 22 1/2 hours locked in their cell every day. Their cell is a windowless concrete tomb that includes a slab of cement for a mattress and a toilet and sink...
This Hegemony and Draconian existence has led to the non violent civil disobedience playing out in the Shu. Mao said where you find much repression you'll find much resistance! This resistance, although non violent is not expected to be met with a smile from prison officials but what other choice is there when you are left in your windowless cell in solitary for years with no recourse from the courts? But the efforts of the Pelican Bay hunger strike is more than the injustice unleashed on Shu prisoners. For vast swaths of the public this situation will call attention to the ills of not just the California Supermax but of the U.S. prison system in general....
From a letter posted on the blog "My Brother's Keeper" from Chad Landrum, one of the prisoners participating in the hunger strike at Pelican Bay State Prison:
As you know, I'm sincerely sick with end stage liver disease (ESLD) and a severe case of related diabetes. I'm going to end up in the hospital almost immediately and will be effectively isolated. Due to my dedication to the struggle I will continue with my strike. I won't know when to stop. If the demands have been met in whole, negotiated part, etc., I will not take the cops' word, for the pigs have proven their word to be hollow. I will need the word of you or your outside support. Likewise, please keep those convicts at the heart of this struggle in D short [corridor] abreast of my circumstances (most know me as 'Ghost' or 'Landale')....
From an email sent out by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to its supporters in California:
Prisoners across the state launched a hunger strike on July 1, demanding changes for prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in the "Special Housing Unit" (SHU). Conditions are so bad they have preferred to starve themselves to death rather than live another week in such torturous conditions and let future prisoners endure the same conditions.
As people of faith committed to ending torture, we must support this call as a part of our work to end the use of prolonged solitary confinement in U.S. prisons...
From a July 9 Revolution interview with Maria, whose two sons are among the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay:
I'm here to support my sons and ALL of the people suffering in Pelican Bay. Everybody as a family, as a friend, we have somebody in Pelican Bay suffering. I want to tell people don't forget your family or your friends because they need us.
Samir Shaheen-Hussain, a pediatrician from Montreal, Quebec, and a signatory to a statement by medical professionals on the Pelican Bay hunger strike, at the July 13 press conference in San Francisco:
We are appalled at the conditions of the prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison and other prisons in the state have to endure. Not only is the physical health of the prisoners being destroyed by the actions of the CDCR with which medical practitioners are complicit but so is the dignity of the prisoners themselves because of the conditions that they have to endure. It is a sign of utmost courage that prisoners are fighting these conditions through this hunger strike and it's lamentable that medical care is either being withheld or not adequately provided by medical professionals. The medical doctors here must step up.
Molly Porzig, a member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition and a spokesperson for Critical Resistance, and Dorsey Nunn, co-founder of All of Us or None, incarcerated in San Quentin Prison from 1971 to 1982, were interviewed on Democracy Now! July 15. The following quote from that interview is from Molly Porzig:
It's very, very clear that the CDCR is more than willing, if not wanting, people to start dying. They want this to go away quickly and quietly. They pride itself on Pelican Bay being the end of the line, not only for people in California, but to be a model for the United States, and really the world, in terms of how to repress political organizing and resistance and any sort of defiance to any sort of establishment. And I think that, you know, what the challenge is for supporters outside of prison is that we need to be tirelessly working at, in a very urgent way, taking the risks that we can to match the courage of these hunger strikers....
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