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.