“From Guantanamo to Pelican Bay, hunger strike all night all day!
“From Palestine to East L.A., hunger strike all night all day!”
This was the chant as some 250 people marched on Corcoran State Prison in California. They were marching in support of the some 30,000 prisoners in California who are on hunger strike. These hunger strikers are protesting the brutal conditions inside the prisons, especially the use of solitary confinement, which is a form of psychological torture.
The turnout was a mixed group — all ages and backgrounds. But one might wonder why this hunger strike hasn’t gotten more publicity.
The reason is that every wing of Corporate America – the US capitalist class – supports this torture that is hidden behind prison walls. They need it for a variety of reasons: They need to feed the mentality of revenge and brutality in order to justify denying medical care to the sick and food to the hungry and shelter to the homeless. And although all races receive this torture (are locked up in solitary), it is black people who suffer from this the most, and Corporate America needs racism like a vampire needs blood.
The fact that every wing of Corporate America supports this torture is shown by the fact that no wing of the Democratic Party has supported the opposition to this torture of prisoners. And following behind them is the leadership of the mainstream unions, who are equally silent on the issue.
Almost all US workers are living in tremendous insecurity. Just as the prisoners are enslaved inside the prison walls, most workers are chained to their paychecks like wage slaves. Many face absolutely brutal conditions. In 2011, 4,693 workers were killed on the job – an average of 13 every day, and 50,000 died from work related injuries.
While the US military and its police apparatus are powerful, its propaganda apparatus is even more so. Through Hollywood, the school system, the news media, etc., tens of millions of Americans are mentally imprisoned. The struggle to stop the brutality and torture of prisoners behind physical bars in the US is one and the same as that to end the exploitation and oppression of those who are merely in “minimum custody” as George Jones (in the interview) calls it.