Supporting Pelican Bay hunger strikers

July 12, 2011

Beginning on July 1, thousands of inmates at prisons throughout California began refusing to eat as part of a mass hunger strike to protest repressive conditions at the state's highest-security facilities. Organized by inmates at the Pelican Bay State Prison's secure housing unit, as of July 7, the California Department of Corrections reported that some 1,700 prisoners were continuing to refuse at least some state-issued meals.

According to attorneys, a group of at least two dozen prisoners at Pelican Bay were prepared to starve to death to protest their years--in some cases decades--of extreme isolation and confinement.

"We believe our only option of ever trying to make some kind of positive change here is through this peaceful hunger strike," Todd Ashker, one of the Pelican Bay prisoners who organized the strike, told reporters in a statement through a lawyer. "And there is a core group of us who are committed to taking this all the way to the death if necessary."

Here, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a prisoner in the Ohio State Penitentiary, offers solidarity to his brothers in Pelican Bay.

REVOLUTIONARY SALUTE and shields up! It has come to our attention that the brothers in the Pelican Bay State Prison security housing unit commenced an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the inhumane and dehumanizing conditions they've been forced to endure for 25 years.

Further, it is our understanding that their protest has been inspired by the successful hunger strike that two of my comrades and I participated in during January of this year, where we received massive international support from those on the outside who believed in the righteousness of our protracted struggles to secure the same privileges as other condemned prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP).

The call has been made by those at Pelican Bay State Prison for prisoners throughout the state of California who have been suffering injustices to join them in their peaceful strike to put a stop to blatant violations of California prisoners' civil and human rights. Moreover, their call made it perfectly clear that "if [California prisoners] cannot participate in the strike, then [they should] support it in principle by not eating for the first 24 hours of the strike."

While their heartfelt plea was not made to Ohio prisoners, a growing number of us at OSP have decided to join them in their peaceful protest. We hope and pray that our united stand with those brothers at Pelican Bay will have a domino effect throughout the nation--that is, that prisoners in other states, as well as their outside supporters, will come together and stand united with the oppressed soldiers at Pelican Bay.

Their injustices have been going on for far too long. How long? Too long!

Twenty-five years is too long for human beings to be subjected to the cruel terms and dictates of their oppressors.

Regarding their challenges and the protracted nature of their struggle, we urge those brothers to brace themselves for the battle ahead. There will no easy victory, yet those soldiers at Pelican Bay must be determined to stay the course and to go forward in the spirit of past and present revolutionaries to change the oppressive conditions of their confinement, no matter how difficult the circumstances may become.

As Comrade George L. Jackson wrote, "Revolutionary consciousness is the only real hope of those oppressed by the system." Power to the oppressed People!
Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Ohio State Penitentiary

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