Reports from Seattle, Kitchener, Ontario, New York City and St. Louis
July 20, 2011 Puget Sound Anarchists
On Wednesday, July 20th, we hung a banner that read "SOLIDARITY WITH CALI
PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE (A) DESTROY ALL PRISONS" off the sixth floor of the
parking garage on 3rd and Pine in Downtown Seattle. Below the banner, a
smoke bomb was set off in the intersection, sending enormous plumes of
orange smoke into the air. Those who hung the banner tossed thousands of
fliers into the concrete canyon below the parking garage. The fliers
rained down on the dozens of people waiting for the bus, grabbing lunch,
shopping, or simply loitering. We later saw many people on the street
reading and discussing the fliers.
This action was in solidarity with the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike which, as
of the time of this writing, has spread to several other prisons in
California. The thousands on hunger strike have been starving themselves
for 20 days, some of them losing 25 to 30 pounds and suffering from such
ailments as organ failure, loss of consciousness, and severe dehydration.
The action took place in one of the most heavily policed areas in Seattle.
It is also one of the few public places in which many people still gather.
On a normal day, the SPD and the King County Sherriffs patrol the streets
on foot and on bike, locking up dozens of people for vagrancy, public
intoxication, drinking, smoking weed, or any other reason they can think
of. When they are not doing this, they are taking pictures with tourists
at Pike Place Market, mock-arresting them and putting them in the back of
their vintage cops cars, and parading around on their shit-dispensing
horses. Despite this heavy police presence, the action was completely
SOLIDARITY WITH THE HUNGER STRIKERS AND ALL PRISONERS EVERYWHERE!
TOWARDS THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL CAGES!
text of the flier:
On July 1, 2011 prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican
Bay State Prison in California began an indefinite hunger strike to
protest the conditions of their imprisonment. The hunger strike is being
organized by prisoners in an unusual show of racial unity. Their five key
1. Eliminate group punishments.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and
Abuse in Prisons regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement.
4. Provide adequate food.
5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite
Thousands of prisoners have come together in solidarity with the prisoners
at Pelican Bay SHU, while being locked up in brutal conditions themselves.
This massive resistance and support is a testament to people's undying
will and ability to build collective power in the face of disappearance
and death. A total of 6,600 prisoners have participated in the hunger
strike across 13 prisons in California. Currently at least 200 hunger
strikers are in serious health conditions. Some have said they are willing
to starve to death.
We are amplifying the California prisoners' voices in order to break the
isolation that is both a requirement and a function of prisons. We want
both the hunger strikers to know that they are not alone that there are
those of us in the outer walls who are saying "fuck prisons, down with
every prison wall."
This prison society we live in has made it very clear, with every one of
its laws, courts, cops, prisons and networks of surveillance, that the
life we're supposed to accept is nothing more than a life sentence in an
open air prison, and--if we refuse this--a life of extreme alienation,
isolation, and degradation. The hunger strikers recognize this as they
continue to refuse the meager existence that the state and capital tries
to impose on them.
Prison has a long history within capitalism and governments as being one
of the most archaic forms of prolonged torture and punishment. It has been
used to kill some slowly and torture “undesirables” of the reigning social
order--thosr who do not fit within the predetermined mold of civil
society. Prisoners are almost all poor or working-class people, and mostly
people of color. These social classes are often used as the definition of
the "undesirable." The same people who create poverty and discrimination
are the ones who order the construction of the prisons. They create the
conditions of crime and then build the prisons to contain their criminals.
There is no solving the prison problem because prisons are exactly what
this repressive society needs to function: social control. This is why we
are not only against prisons but against the whole system that relies on
them. Whether the prison system is becoming more cruel or disguising
itself as humane, we will struggle against it. Whether it's the police and
cameras in the streets, the judges in the courtrooms, the guards in jail,
we will struggle against them.
Solidarity with all prisoners who fights for freedom around the world, who
refuse to accept forced confinement, isolation and abuse, who dream of the
day when we destroy these walls together.
For an end to prisons and the world the needs them!
"I wouldn't be free while those men ready to gun me down or lock me up and
enchain me existed on the face of the earth. I wouldn't be free while some
cold prison cell awaited me."-Xose Tarrio, Former Longterm Solitary
Confinement Prisoner (FIES Regime, Spain)
Kitchener, Ontario: In Solidarity With Pelican Bay and Nyki Kish
July 18, 2011 Anarchist News
From Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (blog)
On the evening of July 9th, to express solidarity with the hunger strike
at Pelican Bay and across California, 30 folks from Southern Ontario
gathered in Kitchener for a noise demo at Grand Valley Institution for
Women (GVI), a federal women’s prison. We marched with banners, chants,
and balloons flapping in the winds to an area near GVI where we could see
and communicate directly with folks imprisoned, many of whom were in the
yard when we arrived.
Reportback - NYC Noise Demo in Solidarity with the Pelican Bay Hunger
July 10, 2011 Anarchist News
"Off the Pigs, Off the Snitches, Burn the Prisons!"
In solidarity with the thousands of comrades hunger striking behind bars
in California's maximum security prisons, over a dozen of us braved the
rain and held a noise demonstration outside of the Metropolitan Correction
Center in lower Manhattan. In the belly of the beast, there was a minimal
visible police presence but we were aware of being surrounded by the
apparatus of the State on all sides; you can't throw a stone in that
neighborhood without hitting some remnant of our common enemy - from the
MCC itself, to the federal courthouse, the infamous "Tombs" holding
facility and One Police Plaza - home to NYC's killer cops.
We used our voices, whistles, and blow horns to make contact with those on
the inside, chanting "you are not alone", "off the pigs, off the snitches,
burn the prisons!", "fuego, fuego, a las prisiones!, and "Attica, Attica,
Attica." Lights flickered and windows shook through out the MCC, and we
could see the shadows of those on the inside making contact through their
The State attempts to separate those of us on the outside as "the good
citizen" from those of us on the inside as "criminals, thugs, and felons".
But in a society that has the highest incarceration rate in the world,
these attempts are futile because it can easily be us next, and it will
always be our friends, family, and neighbors. The "good citizen" who
supports the "tough on crime" politicians, who thanks the cops who murder
us, and snitches on those he knows is a traitor who works against his own
interests and is as much an enemy as the cops and correction officers who
serve the State.
Until all cages, walls, and prisons are burned down, we will never stop!
Solidarity with the Pelican Bay hunger strikers and all those who resist
prisons - inside and out!
A few pictures from the demo can be seen at:
Balloons with flyers about the situation in Pelican Bay were released over
the grounds. Fireworks were set off, silencing the screws that approached.
The screws attempted to try and calm down the excited prisoners in plain
view on the grounds. As chants and speeches were yelled, the chain link
barbed wire fence separating the two groups became much less significant,
as the isolation was broken for a few minutes. Prisoners yelled and
whooped along with the chants that included: NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE, FUCK
THE POLICE… SCREWS, PIGS, MURDERERS…FUCK ALL PRISONS, SMASH THE STATE, ALL
THESE WALLS ARE GONNA BREAK and…NO PRISONS, NO BORDERS, FUCK LAW AND
ORDER. After many fireworks, speeches, and chants the group decided to
depart, but only after the folks inside proclaimed that they were on lock
down and 5 cruisers arrived.
The demands of the prisoners at the Pelican Bay SHU were read, after which
the prisoners at GVI responded with cheers. A part of the solidarity
statement by Corcoran prisoners was read. A statement was read in support
of Nyki Kish, a woman locked up at GVI. “FREE NYKI KISH” was chanted.
Nyki is an artist, musician and community activist from Hamilton who was
recently convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 12 years in
prison. In 2007 a street altercation in Toronto left one person stabbed to
death. The State politicized the case, using the violence as a
justification for further crackdowns on poor people. Nyki maintains her
innocence, and was convicted on March 1, 2011, with no evidence other than
that she was there and she was stabbed. She is currently in the max unit
at GVI, awaiting the appeal process.
Solidarity and love to Nyki Kish, prisoners on strike at Pelican Bay, and
prisoners in struggle for dignity everywhere!
July 8 Prison Noise Demo – St. Louis
July 10, 2011 Anarchist News
Shortly before midnight on July 8 around 35 of us gathered to hold a noise
demonstration outside the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center, the same
location as the New Years Eve noise demo seven months ago. As the group
approached the kid prison, we began yelling “our passion for freedom is
stronger than their prisons” and setting off roman candles and smoke
bombs. A banner was held up for those inside to read that said “STRIKE FOR
The bold initiative of the striking prisoners at Pelican Bay inspired this
action, along with those who have (inside and outside) continued and
amplified the strike. Also on our minds was yet another death in the St.
Louis city jails, this time caused by guards refusing to give a dying
Scott Perry his ulcer medication. His family has been having a weekly
presence outside the jail at the time of his death since he was killed
five weeks ago.
Most of all, our motivation for this action was the response we received
from inside the prison on New Years. The jumping, cheering silhouettes of
the locked-up youth had made it clear that despite all the imposed
isolation, we had shared a moment of clear communication.
This time, two teenagers (who’d seen us a few blocks from the prison and
asked what we were doing) decided to join us, saying that a friend of
theirs was currently inside the prison. The neon-glow of roman candles
bursting on the prison’s brick surface was moving and the over-all feel of
the group seemed to be up-beat.
Solidarity with Pelican Bay, Collins Bay and anyone who refuses the
conditions of this prison society.