Building Societywide Support for Prisoner Hunger Strike

August 4, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The torture exposed by the California prisoner hunger strike has shocked millions. All those who hate injustice are called on in this moment to build powerful mass resistance to demand an end to the criminal torture of solitary confinement being carried out by this system. And we need societywide support for the prisoners' courageous and just struggle.

Friday, July 26—Families with loved ones who have participated in the prisoner hunger strike and Southern California activists with Stop Mass Incarceration Network held an emergency action at the CDCR in Sacramento to support the hunger strikers and to demand the State of California and CDCR stop solitary confinement torture.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) is taking up this challenge nationally as part of "building a movement to stop the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality; and the racially biased policies and practices of the police, the courts and the U.S. legal system; and to support the rights of prisoners and the formerly incarcerated." There are chapters across the country, materials people can distribute, a website (, Facebook pages and weekly conference calls—all where people can connect, get organized, and make a big difference.

Over the past months, SMIN has been focusing on broadly taking the prisoner hunger strike out to many thousands of people and organizing protest actions at key junctures of the hunger strike, including joining an important protest of 400 people at Corcoran organized by the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition.

Urgent: Help Publish "Emergency Call! Join Us in Stopping Torture in U.S. Prisons!"

A letter is being widely circulated by SMIN to urge people to donate to publish the "Emergency Call" as a full-page paid ad in the Los Angeles Times as soon as possible. "Publishing the 'Emergency Call' can play a critical role right now. It would serve notice to the State of California that the prisoners are not alone, that thousands, including many respected voices, support them, and that refusing to grant their just demands will be widely seen as unconscionable and illegitimate."

This letter has been posted for spreading on social media:

* Donate generously!

* Circulate the link to the Emergency Call widely, especially to individuals and organizations looked to throughout society—to sign, circulate and donate generously to its publication. (

* Promote the Call's publication on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

SMIN has also been building broad, societywide support for the prisoners with the "Emergency Call! Join Us in Stopping Torture in U.S. Prisons!" including in the midst of the Trayvon Martin protests. In the Los Angeles area, 25,000 copies of the call have been distributed. In the San Francisco Bay Area nearly 15,000 SMIN palm cards have gotten out—one side focusing on the hunger strike, the other on SMIN's mission and Justice for Trayvon Martin. There is a special push now to raise $15,000 to publish the call as a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times.

Many other organizations and political forces are taking up support for the prisoners' hunger strike, and SMIN is joining and supporting a number of those efforts. One online petition begun by the wife of a Pelican Bay SHU prisoner got 37,000 signatures in a matter of days. A statement by health care workers condemning the State of California's medical abuse of prisoners is being circulated ( On Tuesday, July 30, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture will join with inmates’ families in Sacramento to deliver a letter to the Governor, signed by more than 1,000 clergy and religious leaders from across the country, asking the governor and the CDCR to meet the core demands of the prisoners on hunger strike. Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition ( is coordinating a number of actions, including a July 28 "Orange Alert" rally in Norwalk and 24 hours of action on July 30-31, which includes a "Hunger for Justice" fast on Wednesday, July 31, in which prominent figures such as Cornel West, Alice Walker, Danny Glover, and Elliott Gould will participate.

All these efforts need to be quickly and radically expanded! Revolution newspaper urges people to hook up with SMIN—online or in your area—and become an organizer. You can "like" SMIN on Facebook, follow SMIN on Twitter, take out materials, spread the Emergency Call and organize protests and outreach. Check back on for updates!

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