If political prisoners as such are only a small part of the global prison population, jails are massively filled with proletarians and poor, many being from oppressed nations. The capitalist system is ruthless with those who deviate from the social control standards it has developed. We must see the struggle to defend the rights of all prisoners as being part of our global fight against capitalist/imperialist exploitation and oppression.

On July 1, between 50 and 100 prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison, California, in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), Corridor D, will begin an indefinite hunger strike.

The D corridor has the highest level of restricted incarceration in the state of California and among the most severe conditions in the United States. The rules of their confinement are extremely harsh in order to force them to “debrief,” or offer up information about criminal or prison gang activity of fellow prisoners.

Using conditions of severe mental and physical duress in order to force prisoners into confessing is torture! Many “debriefers” simply make up information about other prisoners just to escape the isolation units.

Among the demands of the July 1 hunger-striking prisoners is the elimination of group punishments. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. They also demand the abolishment of the debriefing policy that forces them to become informers if they want to be removed from the long term isolation unit.

The hunger-striking prisoners want segregation to become “a last resort,” instead of being a normal practice. They are asking for adequate food and clothing, for the right to make at least one phone call per week and the setting up of constructive programs and privileges similar to those provided in other SuperMax prisons.

We call every reader to support the movement of the Pelican Bay prisoners. To be informed about solidarity actions in Canada, see the “Events” section on The Red Flag website. For background information and updates, go to www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/july1.

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