Hunger Strikes; Prison Protests

Yesterday the Georgia Green Party called for Georgia residents to join a hunger strike protesting prison conditions.  The Black Agenda Report covers it here.    

I was unfamiliar with the “Georgia 38,” a multi-racial group of prisoners who 18 months ago began a strike in which they refused to leave their cells to attend meals or complete their work assignments.  I searched Google News for other stories about the case, and could only locate the two above (and the links therein).  Nothing.  

I am sure were I to dig I could find some coverage (Google News is strongly biased toward recent stories), but this leaves me with two observations.

1. Are hunger strikes effective (relative to other non-violent tactics)?

2. What tactics help convicted prisoners get on the agenda?

Mobilization for collective action is extraordinarily challenging (try it).  If 38 prisoners acted in concert I am willing to assume, pending further information, that considerable grievances exist (admittedly, my prior belief on prison conditions in the US, and around the world, leads me to the same conclusion: I skim AI and HRW reports).  And given this scant information, it appears that this particular case is likely to contribute to evidence against the efficacy of hunger strikes as a an effective tool for convicted prisoners to achieve reform.


About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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