The United Auto Workers have endorsed a cease-fire, making them the largest national union to do so in a major development for labor and the larger movement for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. Brandon Mancilla, Director of United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 9A, which represents 50,000 active and retired workers within the larger UAW, announced the union’s call for a cease-fire publicly on Friday at a news conference outside of the White House where organizers and activists have been on a hunger strike. “We opposed fascism in World War II, we opposed the Vietnam war, we opposed apartheid South Africa and we mobilized union resources in that fight,” Mancilla says.
Fishers, organizers, and concerned citizens in Texas, Vietnam, and Louisiana — areas that are home to existing or proposed Formosa plants — have supported each other’s efforts to mobilize against the Taiwan-based firm, forming the organization International Monitor Formosa Alliance (IMFA). Now the alliance is launching a hunger strike to demand that the victims of a 2016 environmental disaster in central Vietnam caused by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, a subsidiary of the Formosa Plastics Group, be compensated for their losses, that the polluted area be restored, and that those who have been jailed for protesting be released.
Last weekend, hundreds of people detained at the Stewart Detention Center announced plans for a hunger strike in response to inedible food and inhumane conditions inside the notorious Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in rural southwest Georgia. Though detainees have continued to eat while they negotiate with the facility’s staff, as many as 800 people are set to refuse food starting this week if their demands are not met. On the morning of Saturday, Aug. 26, roughly 300 people held inside the Stewart Detention Center were brought out of their holding cells for their morning meal.
At two Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers in California’s Central Valley, a cycle of resistance and retaliation has been intensifying over the past three years. Detainees at the facilities, which are operated by for-profit prison company GEO Group, have organized against abysmal conditions, prompting detention center authorities to respond with increasing levels of punitive action. A motion was filed with the Eastern District Court of California on May 18 as part of an ongoing class-action lawsuit against GEO pertaining to the facilities. The filing marked a major escalation in a multipronged campaign being waged by current and former detainees, and outside advocates, to hold ICE and GEO accountable for their mistreatment.
Khader Adnan was not a ‘terrorist’ with ‘Israeli blood on his hands,’ as pro-Israeli propagandists have been repeating in the news and on social media. If the former Palestinian prisoner, who died in his Israeli prison cell following 87 days of an uninterrupted hunger strike, was indeed directly involved in armed resistance, the story would have had a completely different ending. Armed Palestinian resistors are either assassinated or detained and tried by Israeli military courts to spend prolonged sentences in Israeli prisons, following brief trials that lack fairness or due process. Adnan was a charismatic leader but not an actual fighter by the strict definition of the word.
Across the US, some 50,000 incarcerated people are kept under conditions of solitary confinement. Advocates and prisoners have pushed to define the practice as a form of torture, pointing to the devastating psychological and physical effects it has on victims. In Texas, dozens of prisoners are now hunger striking against the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, which they say disproportionately targets Latinos. Jorge Antonio Renaud, National Criminal Justice Director of Latino Justice, joins Rattling the Bars to discuss the hunger strike and conditions of solitary confinement in Texas.
On Sunday, September 25, 30 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails started an indefinite hunger strike to protest the Israeli policy of administrative detention without charge or trial. The strike demanding an end to this policy has been organized under the slogan: “Our decision is freedom..our strike is freedom.” The prisoners issued a joint statement before the formal commencement of their strike which was read outside the Israeli Ofer prison by their family members along with members of Addameer and other prisoner solidarity groups. Some of the leading figures participating in the hunger strike are Nidal Abu Aker, Ghassan Zawahreh, and the French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri.
Washington, D.C./Boujdour, Western Sahara – Ruth McDonough, a US/British citizen, began a hunger strike on Wednesday, May 4, in order to bring attention to human rights abuses occurring in Boujdour, Western Sahara. Dr. Tim Pluta, US/Irish citizen, will be supporting McDonough as caretaker. Both McDonough and Pluta have been guests in the home of the Khaya family since March 15, 2022. Their arrival came on day 482 of an arbitrary detention in which Moroccan agents had periodically broken and entered the Khaya family home, attacked, beaten, and raped Sultana Khaya and her sister, Waara, in front of their 84 year old mother, Mitou. The agents had also destroyed nearly all furniture, cut electrical wires, turned off the water, poisoned the well water, tortured the sisters and injected Sultana with unknown substances, and forcibly prevented visitors entrance to the house.
January 27, 2022/25th Sh’vat 5782, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps, where so many of our ancestors were incarcerated and enslaved, raped and robbed, maimed and murdered. We are an anonymous collective of Jewish New Yorkers who are striking this day, across the five boroughs of NYC/across occupied Lenapehoking, in solidarity with the hunger strikers at Rikers Island and with all who are resisting this genocidal regime. This is a regime which took the lives of 15 fellow New Yorkers last year alone – a number which has continued to rise in the new year. Add that to the 44+ incarcerated people across New York State who perished after becoming infected with COVID in custody. We know a death camp when we see one, and Rikers Island is a death camp.
As soon as media reports emerged regarding a deal between Palestinian prisoner, Hisham Abu Hawash and the Israeli prison authorities, Israeli extremists, led by Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir, angrily the Assaf Harofeh Hospital where Abu Hawash was being held. A Palestinian political activist, Abu Hawash, 41, is a father of five. He was arrested by the Israeli army from his home in the town of Dura near Al-Khalil (Hebron) in October 2020. For the last consecutive 141 days, prior to the agreement, Abu Hawash a hunger strike, which will go down in the history of Palestinian resistance as one of the longest and, arguably, most consequential. Ben-Gvir and other right-wing Israelis were enraged by the government’s to release Abu Hawash on February 26...
The huelga de hambre has been used for thousands of years. It has won many struggles,” said Ana Ramirez, 42, who fasted for 24 days this spring to demand that undocumented people and other excluded workers in New York receive stimulus and unemployment money. “Esther the reina won a battle with the hunger strike.” Ramirez is referring to Queen Esther of the Old Testament’s Book of Esther. The queen and her supporters fasted for three days in advance of going to ask her husband, Persian King Ahasuerus, for permission to have her enemies — who were trying to wipe out all Jews in the empire — killed. She prevailed. Mahatma Gandhi used the hunger strike. So too Cesar Chavez. South African political prisoners hastened the end of the apartheid era with their hunger strike.
On November 3, New York City reached an agreement with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), the union fighting to relieve drivers of thousands of dollars in debt they owe for medallions, the physical permits to operate taxis. According to the NYTWA, the average debt owed on medallions by taxi drivers is $600,000. “Today marks a new dawn, a new beginning for a workforce that has struggled through so much crisis and loss,” said Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of NYTWA, in a statement. “Today, we can say owner-drivers have won real debt relief and can begin to get their lives back. Drivers will no longer be at risk of losing their homes, and no longer be held captive to debt beyond their lifetime.”
Israel agreed on Thursday to release a hunger-striking prisoner in four months after lengthy negotiations. Miqdad Qawasmeh suspended his hunger strike on Thursday after refusing food for 113 days to protest his detention without charge or trial after Israel agreed to release him in February 2022. His victory came after lengthy and arduous negotiations between the leadership of the Hamas prisoners’ group and Israeli authorities. The 24-year-old was the youngest of six Palestinian men who have been refusing food for weeks and months in protest of Israel’s detention of them without charge or trial. Five others are still fighting for their freedom on empty stomachs.
In early November, after 46 days of picketing and 15 days of hunger strike, members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance won what they deserved all along: a measure of relief from the vast debts incurred when the inflated value of their city-issued medallions crashed in recent years. Under a three-way agreement among the NYTWA, the de Blasio administration, and the city’s largest medallion lender, drivers — who owe, on average, $550,000 each — will see their debt written down to $170,000 and amortized so that monthly payments don’t exceed $1,122. Most important, the city will guarantee each of these rescue loans in the event of default. It was only fair that the city agree to back the loans
On Wednesday, October 20, Palestinians staged a protest at the al-Manara square in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank in solidarity with six prisoners who are on hunger strike against their illegal administrative detention in Israeli jails, reported Al Jazeera. Several Palestinian civil society groups and prisoner rights groups participated in the protest, along with the families of those who are on hunger strike. They called for immediate and unconditional release of the six prisoners and expressed fear about their health. The six prisoners are Kayed Fasfous, on hunger strike for the last 100 days, Miqdad al-Qawasmi (92 days), Alaa al-Araj (76 days), Hisham Abu Hawwash, (66 days), Shadi Abu Aker (58 days) and Ayyad al-Hraimi (28 days). All have suffered deterioration in their health, with the first four prisoners being shifted to nearby hospitals.