The Struggle Must Continue: Li Onesto

(Li Onesto, no need of introduction. It’s a name known to all, who have keen interest in People’s Liberation Movement. She has written many articles concerning to the Ten years People’s war of Nepal. We have the book  Dispatches  from the People’s war in Nepal, and it is available also in Nepalese language. The Next Front has posted already an extract from this book–’Guns, Drums and Keyboards.’

The hunger strikes of Pelican Bay Prisoners is not the question of some strikers and the prisoners of particular country or region. To express the solidarity to these prisoners means to participate in the movement of oppressed people. It is also a humanitarian question.  Li Onesto, she is writing  regularly on this issue. ‘Prisoners at Pelican Bay End Hunger Strike…The Struggle Against the Inhumanity of Solitary Confinement Continues’ is her newest article posted in  Revolution, 241, July  31, 2011. ( revcom.us).

This IS Just the Beginning—The Struggle Must Continue

“We all realize that it took over 20 yrs of state sponsored torture and discrimination for us (prisoners) to come together and challenge this system under one Banner; that of liberty and justice, and that if we don’t hold our ground and win this fight, not only will that keep the chains on us, but more importantly, it will allow future generations to remain forever enslaved to this injustice as well. So for this purpose we remain committed to see this through until the bitter end.”

From a hunger striker at Pelican Bay Prison, writing to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund

The struggle does continue. The hunger strike shined a light on an absolutely intolerable, inhumane situation. It has built awareness and support among many different kinds of people. In cities around the country, people held press conferences and rallies in support of the hunger strike. And many statements of support were written, from legal, religious, and community organizations, family members, actors, prominent intellectuals, and others. Many people took a clear stand that NO human being, no matter what they have done, should be tortured, should be subjected to this kind of long-term solitary confinement.

The day after the strike ended at Pelican Bay, the L.A. Times reported that “California corrections officials acknowledged more than 500 inmates continue to refuse meals at three other state prisons.” So it is important to find out what is happening with other prisoners who have been on the hunger strike. And there is a real need to find out the medical condition of all the prisoners who participated in the strike.

Especially as it became clear that some of the hunger strikers were in a medical crisis, many people on the outside saw this was a life-and-death situation and recognized the urgency of supporting the prisoners’ demands. This has been extremely important—and must be built off and developed even further into a mass, determined movement to put an END to these prison torture chambers.

The fact is: tens of thousands of prisoners are being held in the kind of barbarous conditions that the prisoners at Pelican Bay have so courageously rebelled against. These prisoners are dying a slow, horrible death. The fact is: a life-and-death situation exists for these prisoners every day. And it is in the interests of those who oppose injustice and oppression to wage a determined fight to put an end to this. Whatever the outcome of any particular battle in this struggle to put an end to the torture going on in U.S. prisons, the challenge from the prisoners to people on the outside remains. We cannot stand to the side, it is up to us not only to continue but to build this struggle even further. An important factor in whether or not prison officials are forced to give any concessions to the prisoners will be the level of outside support for the prisoners, including the degree to which this grows and spreads awareness of this struggle more broadly in society, among all kinds of people.

The hunger strikers—by asserting their humanity, by demanding that they be treated like human beings—have issued a challenge to people on the outside, to assert their own humanity by continuing the fight against the crimes against humanity being carried out in prisons throughout the USA. The support that has been built around this hunger strike is a good beginning. But it is only a beginning—many, many more people need to join this fight.

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