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Hunger strike throughout California prison system exposes open and inhumane torture

Inhumane conditions inside the concentration camps called prisons is not new. Nor is resistance to it as seen in the Attica rebellion in 1971.
 
CALIFORNIA—On July 8, 2013, more than 30,000 inmates, from 11 different prison units in the California Department of Correc­tions and Rehabilitation concen­tration camp prison system began what was to become the largest prison hunger strike in California history.
 
Initiated by the Security Hous­ing Units (SHU) Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement based inside the Pelican Bay Unit, the hunger strike is in protest of the inhu­mane and deplorable condi­tions that is policy within the entire California system of dungeons.
 
The African People’s So­cialist Party (APSP) and the Uhuru Movement stand in complete solidarity with the struggling captives within the California prison system and the just demands they have raised. Those five absolutely reasonable demands are:
 
1. Eliminate group pun­ishment and administrative abuse.
 
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inac­tive gang status criteria. (This is a policy that dictates that once an inmate is in solitary confinement, the only way out alive is to snitch on fellow inmates.)
 
3. Comply with the recom­mendations of the U.S. Com­mission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons and end long-term solitary confinement.
 
4. Provide adequate and nu­tritious food.
 
5. Create and expand con­structive programming.
 
These sensible demands be­ing made here by the activist lead­ership and general population in the California dungeons are not too much different than those made by our courageous brothers at Attica maximum security pen in New York State in 1971, more that 40 years ago.
 
The Attica demands were met with a shoot-to-kill order. When the smoke and the smell of cord­ite cleared the air, more that 40 lay dead, murdered by an order given directly from a leading member of the white ruling class—New York governor Nelson Rockefeller.
 
We raise up Attica as a his­torical reference to demand of the State of California, “HANDS OFF STRIKING PRISONERS” which is to include not only guard and gun violence, but medical (force feed) violence also.
 
African relationship to U.S. prisons is colonialism
 
The African People’s Social­ist Party has long understood the slavish relationship Africans in the U.S. have to the U.S. prison sys­tem. We define that relationship as a colonial relationship.
 
In 1979, we knew that the government had a jail or prison cell waiting for one out of every four Africans in this country and that they could do this because we were the colonized and they were the colonizer.
 
We did not call it mass incar­ceration. We called it colonialism, just as Dedan Kimathi and the Kenya Land and Freedom Army (Mau Mau) called the roundups of tens of thousands of Africans in Kenya and throwing them into concentration camps colonialism.
 
For more than three years non-stop—from the forward motion of the struggle to Free Dessie Woods in 1977 to the founding con­vention of the African National Prison Organi­zation (ANPO) in 1979 in Lou­isville, Kentucky—wherever our Party was locat­ed, we walked door to door with a campaign to expose the colo­nial relationship and to build an organization and movement that could tear down the walls.
 
ANPO was not a prisoner organization. It was an anti-colo­nial, pro-independence formation that needs to be put back on the ground today.
 
It should be unnecessary for those of us on the outside to be sending “solidarity” statements and messages of support to our locked down comrades. We should be part and parcel of this heroic movement. Never should they have to go it alone.
 
This colonial relation­ship that Africans, Mexi­cans, and the Indigenous populations have to pris­ons inside U.S. borders is most manifested in the so-called border states of California and Texas, both former territories stolen from Mexico at gunpoint.
 
Texas holds 152,000 and California 132,000 inmates respectively. Ninety-five percent of the countries on this earth hold less people than these two states in captivity.
 
Furthermore, the state of Cali­fornia holds, according to some estimates, nearly 20,000 people in solitary confinement. A great number of them being held in iso­lation for more than 20 years con­secutively are housed in the SHU at Pelican Bay.
 
Therefore, it is no surprise that this is where this movement would have its roots.
 
Build a revolutionary movement
 
Our responsibility here is to build a revolutionary movement to generalize the understanding that the U.S. prison system is an illegitimate colonialist author­ity that has imposed its will on the African, Mexican, and Indig­enous working class people in­side U.S. borders, and this is the relationship that must be ended.
 
In the meanwhile, the hun­ger strike in the California pris­ons must be supported and their resistance popularized through­out the U.S.
 
The African People’s Social­ist Party and the Uhuru Move­ment stands with you.
 
Hands Off the Hunger Strikers!
 
Abolish the SHU!
 
Rebuild the African National Prison Organization!
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