Occupy for Prisoners National Day of Action: Next Steps!

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, February 2012
Dear Friends, 

Occupy San Quentin demonstration on February 20, 2012

As you know on February 20th, over a dozen rallies and demonstrations were held throughout the US for a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners,” including in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.

At Occupy San Quentin in California, despite the prison administration’s attempts to close off access to the protest, over 700 people gathered at the prison’s East Gate to hear statements from prisoners and family and community members of prisoners, former prisoners, and people directly affected by the prison industrial complex speak out against the destructive impacts of imprisonment.

Many prisoners sent words of encouragement and vision to be read at the actions. Prisoners in Ohio State Prison went on hunger strike in solidarity with the national day in support of prisoners. Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit at Corcoran State Prison wrote a statement of solidarity and have raised 10 demands for the Occupy Movement. The N.C.T.T (NARN Collective Think Tank) at Corcoran SHU, a group of prisoners who participated in the CA hunger strike in the summer and fall and have been writing reports and statements about prisoners’ struggles inside, writes:

You champion us all with your ideas and the courage of your convictions, just as we continue to support you with our sacrifices and insight. It is now time to take the movement to its next evolution and ultimately to its inevitable conclusion: victorious revolutionary change.

 

Some of the San Quentin 6, formerly incarcerated San Quentin prisoners--friends and comrades of George Jackson, who had been accused of rebellion when he was murdered by prison guards in 1971--spoke to the demonstration on 2/20/12.

Your greatest power lies in your unity and cooperation and ultimately your organizational ability. The power of the people far surpasses all the repressive violence of the Babylons attacking you/us or the wealth of the 1 percent, who will stop at nothing to silence us all.

This is a protracted struggle; there will be no 90-day revolution here. Victory will require sacrifice, tenacity and competent strategic insight. The question you must ask is, Are you prepared to do what is necessary to win this struggle? If you answer in the affirmative, commit to victory and accept no other alternative. The people, as we are, are with you. Until we win or don’t lose, our love and solidarity to all those who love freedom and fear only failures.


Read the full letter, including ten demands for the Occupy Movement from the NCTT at Corcoran SHU here.

Let’s make these words come alive and show active support for prisoners!

TAKE ACTION TODAY !
150,000 Calls in Support of Prisoners
Support the CA Hunger Strike & Call, Email & Write CA Legislators TODAY!

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity is calling for hunger strike supporters to jam the CA legislature’s communication with overwhelming support for the hunger strike.

Visit our blog for sample phone & email scripts, as well as an open letter you can send in or fax, and flyers to pass out at Occupy’s National Day in Support of Prisoners and other events. Continue reading

Occupy movement stages day of protests at US prisons

Joined by the three hikers detained in Iran, activists point to overcrowding and inhumane conditions in US prison system

,guardian.co.uk, Monday 20 February 2012

Occupy4Prisoners protest outside San Quentin State Prison in California. Photograph: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Occupy demonstrators participated in a nationwide day of action to protest against the US prison system on Monday, with demonstrations carried out at over a dozen sites across the country, including prisons in California, Chicago, Denver and New York.

The call to protest was issued by activists with the Occupy Oakland movement and was co-ordinated to coincide with waves of prison hunger strikes that began at California’s Pelican Bay prison in July. Demonstrators denounced the use of restrictive isolation units as infringement upon fundamental human rights. The hunger strikes followed a US supreme court ruling in May which stated that overcrowding in the California prison system had led to “needless suffering and death.” The court ordered the state to reduce its overall prison population from 140,000 to 110,000, which still well-exceeds the state’s maximum prison capacity.

Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer – the American hikers who were held for over a year by Iranian authorities – took part in demonstrations outside San Quentin prison in Marin County, California. Addressing the crowd, Shourd described the psychological impact of solitary confinement, saying her 14 and a half months without human contact drove her to beat the walls of her cell until her knuckles bled. Shourd noted that Nelson Mandella described the two weeks he spent in solitary confinement as the most dehumanising experience he had ever been through.

“In Iran the first thing they do is put you in solitary,” Fattal added.

Bauer said “a prisoner’s greatest fear is being forgotten.” He described how hunger strikes became the hikers’ own “greatest weapon” in pushing their captors to heed their demands. According to Bauer, however, the most influential force for changing their quality of life while being held in Iran was the result of pressure applied by those outside the prison. It was for that fact, Bauer argued, that “this movement, this Occupy movement, needs to permeate the prisons.”

Occupy supporters are calling for a fundamental change in the US prison system, which today houses one quarter of the planet’s prisoners; more than 2.4 million people. As of 2005, roughly one quarter of those held in US prisons or jails had been convicted on a drug charge. Activists point out that in the past three decades the nation’s prison population has increased by more than 500%, with minorities comprising 60% of those incarcerated. The number of women locked up between 1997 and 2007 increased by 832%.

Demonstrators are broadly calling for the abolition of inhumane prison conditions, and the elimination of policies such as capital punishment, life sentences without the possibility of parole and so-called “three strikes, you’re out” laws. Continue reading

February 20: Occupy 4 Prisoners at San Quentin

Barbara Becnel / Occupy4Prisoners / Occupy Oakland / F20

akenower on Feb 13, 2012

Occupy4Prisoners action at San Quentin will feature reading of statements by people in prisons, art, music and bringing together our movements. This demonstration is in solidarity with those behind prison walls, their loved ones, and formerly incarcerated people. These communities ask that the spirit of solidarity create a safe space for all on February 20th.

http://occupy4prisoners.org/

http://occupyoakland.org/

Important information for the demonstration at San Quentin on February 20th, 2012. The demonstration will be from 12noon to 3:00pm at the East Gate.