Reports on Protest & Resistance

Reports on August 1 International Day of Solidarity and Protest in Support of the Prison Hunger Strikers

View more photos from protests across the country.

This was a day of action initiated by World Can’t Wait and taken up by the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, calling for people of conscience everywhere to act to support and respect the prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison and other prisons all around California. The prisoners’ courageous 20-day hunger strike in July successfully challenged the inhumane conditions of the Security Housing Units [SHU] in the eyes of the world. The hunger strike spread to thousands of prisoners in at least 13 prisons across California, and hauled into the light of day decades of inhumane torture and abuse going on behind the prison walls. These prisoners have inspired people’s support far and wide.

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We Are Not Your Soldiers at LA Rising

LA RisingFrom the LA Chapter of World Can't Wait

 We Are Not Your Soldiers was an undeniable presence at LA Rising. Hundreds of orange WANYS bandanas were visible on arms, around necks, hanging from belts, and worn as head covers. 10 Students from the LA area, whose teacher has had the speaking tour visit his classes, staffed our table and met and talked with young people about driving recruiters out of schools.

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Declaring a Victory & Ongoing Struggle

The protest and resistance is not about gangs. It’s all about a collective effort to end the torture in these SHUs and we hope it sill serve as an example to all inmates: there’s real power in collective peaceful protest actions.

Written Statement by Short Corridor Collective (a small representative of the Hunger Strike Leaders at Pelican Bay)

To Supporters:

On July 1, 2011, a collective group of PBSP-SHU inmates composed of all races began an indefinite hunger strike as a means of peacefully protesting 20-40 years of human rights violations. The offenses against us rose to the level of both physical and mental torture—for example, the coercing of SHU inmates into becoming known informants for the state and thereby placing those prisoners, and possibly their families outside of prison, at serious risk of danger in response to being known to have informed on and caused harm to other inmates via informing on them. The decision to strike was not made on a whim. It came about in response to years of subjection to progressively more primitive conditions and decades of isolation, sensory deprivation and total lack of normal human contact, with no end in sight. This reality, coupled with our prior ineffective collective filing of thousands of inmate grievances and hundreds of court actions to challenge such blatantly illegal policies and practices (as more fully detailed and supported by case law, in our formal complaint available online here) led to our conclusion that a peaceful protest via hunger strike was our only available avenue to expose what’s really been going on here in CDCR-SHU prisons and to force meaningful change.

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Statements in Support of California Hunger Strikers

World Can't Wait supporters and friends have been writing to the California prison authorities in support of the California prison hunger strike
which is in its 17th day.  More statements are posted on Revolution.

In the next 72 hours, we need to bring public awareness and public outcry about this situation to a new level, involving respected voices of conscience, or people are going to die. Some of the hunger strikers are already in renal failure

“Our indefinite isolation here is both inhumane and illegal and the proponents of the prison industrial complex are hoping that their campaign to dehumanize us has succeeded to the degree that you don’t care and will allow the torture to continue in your name. It is our belief that they have woefully underestimated the decency, principles and humanity of the people. Join us in opposing this injustice without end. Thank you for your time and support.”
-- Statement from inmates at Corcoran State Prison

The prisoners are counting on people of conscience to act now. Write your own statement of support for the hunger strikers.
1. Email your statement to Debra Sweet so it can be widely circulated right away to the prisoners, supporters and media.
2. Send hard copy of the statement to:
--  Secretary Matthew Cate, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S Street, Sacramento, CA  95814
--  Governor Jerry Brown, State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814

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Watch: San Francisco Protest against the Bombing of Libya

Video by Bill Carpenter:

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Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers: We Are Human Beings!

By Li Onesto

“What is of note here and something that should concern all U.S. citizens, is the increasing use of behavioral control, i.e. Torture units and human experimental techniques against prisoners, not only in California but across the nation. Indefinite confinement, sensory deprivation, withholding food, constant illumination and use of unsubstantiated lies from informants are the psychological billy clubs being used in these torture units. The purpose of this ‘treatment’ is to stop prisoners from standing in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and prevent them from exercising their basic human rights.”

Statement of Solidarity with the Pelican Bay Collective Hunger Strike on July 1st and announcement
of participation by Corcoran SHU prisoners
(from California Prison Watch,
californiaprisonwatch.blogspot.com)

On Friday, July 1, prisoners in California’s infamous Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison began a courageous and determined hunger strike. This then, very quickly, turned into a display of collective outrage and solidarity among prisoners throughout the state and beyond.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) initially tried to say the strike was fewer than two dozen prisoners. But they then had to admit that by their own count, more than 500 inmates refused food at Pelican Bay State Prison and that 6,600 prisoners in 13 different prisons participated in the hunger strike on the weekend of July 2-3.

This is an extremely significant and extraordinary development, something that challenges people on “the outside” to sit up and take notice. Many have been moved to support the prisoners in their just demands.

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Veterans, Peace Activists Have Their "Day in Court" to Challenge March 19 White House Arrests

Received from Veterans for Peace

Press Availability at 8:00 a.m. at DC Superior Court, 500 Indiana Ave., NW
Contact: Elliott Adams (518) 441-2697
Mike Ferner (314) 337-8871

On Monday, July 11, 2011, nineteen veterans, members of Catholic Worker and other long-time peace activists will have a pro se trial in DC Superior Court, stemming from arrests on the White House sidewalk March 19, 2011, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

After the 8:00 a.m. press conference, they will then proceed to a trial, which will be held in Courtroom 313 of DC Superior Court.

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Bradley Manning Supporters Marched in Gay Pride Parades

New York

The Bradley Manning Coalition was spirited effort that brought the message “Free Bradley Manning” to thousands, if not millions, of people who watched and participated in the NYC Gay Pride Parade.  Many of these people (we estimated 40%), both LBGT and straight, had never heard of Bradley Manning before.  At the same time, our anti-war, pro-Manning message received rousing cheers all along the parade route. Our contingent had a clear and cogent message:  Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime and Bradley Manning is a gay hero who for his alleged acts has been treated with incredible harshness before he has even had a trial.  With whistles and drums and glorious banners , people young and old distributed 3,500 palm cards and about 1500 Bradley Manning stickers to those lining the parade route. See photos.

The coalition included World Can't Wait, the Freedom Socialist Party, Code Pink, Vets For Peace and Brooklyn For Peace, Radical Women, and Peace Action NYS.  These groups were not just endorsers, but active participants in a process of coming together in a common cause.

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US House of Representatives Disrupted by Anti-Torture Activists

Witness Against Torture Interrupts a Vote on the  House Floor with the call "Close Guantanamo!"

WASHINGTON, DC – While the US House of Representatives chamber filled for a vote today at 4:40pm, Representatives' eyes and ears turned toward the Chamber's gallery as a group of activists interrupted proceedings to call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison and denounce provisions in the Defense Appropriations Bill concerning detention policy.

Fifteen people from the group Witness Against Torture stood in the gallery to read the following statement:

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About

World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.