FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Inside California’s Prison Hunger Strike

Editor’s note: Sitawa Jaama has been held in the “Security Housing Unit” (SHU) of California’s Pelican Bay State Prison for 29 years. Along with hundreds of other prisoners throughout the California prison system Sitawa has been on hunger strike for 43 days. Sitawa is a member of the Short Corridor Collective, an interracial group of prisoners based in the Pelican Bay SHU. The Short Corridor Collective has been influential in calling for 3 hunger strikes in the past 2 years, as well as authoring the ‘Agreement to End Hostilities’ document, a political call for prisoner unity, and an end to all violence between different groups of prisoners throughout the state, from maximum security prisons to county jails. (http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/agreement-to-end-hostilities/)  30,000 prisoners throughout California have participated in the current hunger strike over the past two months. At the center of the striker’s 5 demands (http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/the-prisoners-demands-2/) is a demand to end California’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. Of the 12,000 people being held in solitary confinement, hundreds have been isolated there for decades.

Statement by Brutha Sitawa: August 14, 2013/ SHU PBSB

CDCR 9.2 Billion Dollar Corrupt Machinery vs. Prison Human Rights Movement

I would like to reiterate that the Agreement to End All Hostilities, August 12, 2012,   is significant for all prisoners because CDCR has encouraged prisoners in their 33 prisons to not only engage in self-destructive behavior but have also helped heighten racial hostilities – the catalyst for internal warfare, racial warfare and gang warfare. all of which all has been magnified inside the prisons and throughout our communities.

We decided to address these contradictions head on by engaging in a dialogue that was meaningful, sincere and honest with each respected entity.  We realized that our responsibility was to end actions that were contrary to the growth and development of each and every prisoner.

We have been attempting to end hostilities for the last 13 years but the CDCR was not a willing participant in the process. In 2000, we were allowed to get together and work on ending racial and gang riots, and to end internal violence.  The CDCR, after realizing, that we were successful in our attempts, became very irritable and obstructionist toward our work and proceeded to deliberately sabotage it.  During a racial riot in 2000, a young prisoner was murdered by a prison guard.  Young prisoners were being murdered in these racial riots, their actions were used by prison guards to justify their being shot for being armed with a weapon (i.e. makeshift prison knife).  Countless prisoners have been murdered in cold blood under the CDCR’s “no warning shot policy.”  The prison guards justify killing the prisoners because they thought they saw a weapon or witness one prisoner advancing on another.  We consider this to be cold blooded murder. We called for an end to hostilities to eliminate giving prison guards an excuse to kill prisoners.

We realize that the justification for locking men/women away in solitary confinement on prison gang validations indefinitely while also subjecting us to a military debriefing process as the only way to program out constitute  attacks to our physical and psychological well-being. Prisoners can no longer withstand such torture.  This process has led to many debriefings and mentally ill prisoners throughout CDCR: in PBSP-SHU, Corcoran SHU, Tehachapi SHU, Folsom SHU and San Quentin Adjustment Center. (Death Row).  As people who have suffered under such a brutal, diabolical system, we realize that it is our responsibility to help change the course of violent prison systems that have made their way to our communities.  Orchestrated activities are carried out by de-briefers and collaborators whose sole role is to maintain hostilities, deepen infiltration and entrapments within our communities in association with the law enforcement in the streets.

We had been talking about playing a greater leadership role for the last 13 years throughout the PBSP-SHU, but we were unable to agree collectively due to our isolation.  So when powerful entities within the California prison system—Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI), , Investigations Services Unit (ISU) and Office of Correctional Safety(OCS)  –isolated  us together in the short corridor (i.e. Super-Max SHU) we were able to re-open our dialogue and agreed  to ending the blatant attacks that our families, friends, and associates were being subjected to –  the same attacks that we were being subjected to in solitary confinement.

We realize nothing productive can be done to change the current state of our situation, our prison environment, unless we end the hostilities between prisoners, and ending all racial/gang violence within the CDCR.

We feel that prisoners are the victims of a systematic process that manipulates them through racial and gang violence in order to prevent greater unity.

In solidarity, struggle, love and respect,

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa

PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective

More articles by:
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail