Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Pelikkkan Bay censorship reveals thought control agenda

March 31, 2013

by Jose H. Villarreal

Thought control should be a thing of the past, a barbaric form of repression that no longer exists or – if it does – is in a distant land most know nothing about. This notion is wrong, as the thought police are alive and well in the 21st century, particularly in Amerikkka’s prisons.

'Pelican Bay Censorship' by Michael Russell, web
“Pelican Bay Censorship” by Michael Russell
Most cannot identify the reasoning behind thought control in prisons. The uninformed will quickly blame an agency, guard or racist inspector in the mailroom of any given prison as the source of prison censorship. Although this is true in many cases, the true foundation of prison censorship lies in social control of the prison masses.

Here in Pelikkkan Bay SHU, we undergo extreme forms of social control that include the censorship of all forms of mail. From letters and books to periodicals, everything is heavily scrutinized by our captors, who censor anything that does not fit their agenda; anything that empowers the people, speaks truth to power or challenges white supremacy is quickly denied those of us held in these torture chambers.

The social conditions that enable a program to be in place for decades which locks thousands of poor people in solitary confinement has a direct link with censorship. Amerikkka’s suppression of free speech and thought does not stop at the prison gates; rather it accelerates to meet its objective, particularly in control units. The whole purpose of control units is to crush any form of resistance to the state, so withholding mail and publications that prisoners can draw strength from seems the natural course of our oppressors.

Our captors censor anything that does not fit their agenda; anything that empowers the people, speaks truth to power or challenges white supremacy is quickly denied those of us held in these torture chambers.

Many people out in society would be surprised to know that in prison, the practice of one’s art, culture or language is misused by authorities to slap a label of “subversive” – or the repackaged “gang activity” – on prisoners. One cannot even read publications that speak of prisoners’ rights without being censored. This is the crude reality in American prisons, particularly in control units which are popping up like fast-food restaurants across America.

Recently, many of us in Pelikkkan Bay have experienced censorship of a prisoners’ rights newsletter called The Rock. We are gearing up for legal action in response. Many other publications, including the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, have suffered this same groundless censorship by prisons as well.

The whole purpose of control units is to crush any form of resistance to the state, so withholding mail and publications that prisoners can draw strength from seems the natural course of our oppressors.

The purpose of preventing access to progressive literature that gives voice to the voiceless is to instill a sense of helplessness, and take away any hope for a more productive future for those often marginalized in this society. Hopelessness works to strengthen the oppressors’ goals in constructing these torture camps and encourages the idea that the state is unapproachable and unquestionable.

But we have seen many instances that prove otherwise. One’s strength is drawn not only from personal experience, but also from the experience of others. As social beings, our development not just relies on, but demands interaction and socialization.

The purpose of preventing access to progressive literature that gives voice to the voiceless is to instill a sense of helplessness, and take away any hope for a more productive future for those often marginalized in this society.

Those who dare to publish publications which speak to the prison experience and give voice to the New Prison Movement understand this quite clearly. It is this deep understanding and humanity that steers them to amplify our voices from within these concentration camps. Publications highlight our oppression so that we are included with all those out in society who dare to struggle for a better day and a society that is not held hostage by Wall Street and its lackeys.

The state understands that the more prisoners learn about their rights, the history of prison struggles, prison revolutionaries and theory, the more they will look around at their concrete conditions and begin to question this foulness that consumes prisons in America. More threateningly – to the system – the oppressed will find ways of overcoming the human rights abuses which plague prisons.

Jose Villarreal 2005
Jose Villarreal 2005
Education is what scares the state the most and results in the state apparatus employing a culture of repression in prison by building control units and censoring what we are able to read, write or listen to on the radio.

Publications highlight our oppression so that we are included with all those out in society who dare to struggle for a better day.

Lenin said, “Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.” This quote speaks volumes to the importance of being able to theorize and develop one’s understanding of the world. Prisons understand this as well and react by censoring theory that is not in sync with their oppressive agenda. They commit this censorship even if it means breaking their own laws.

We must understand the interconnection between censorship and our overall institutionalized oppression. We need to get the public to understand that the thought police operate in today’s prisons to the point where not only books, magazines and other publications are censored, but some prisoners are not even allowed to receive letters!

Education is what scares the state the most and results in the state apparatus employing a culture of repression in prison by building control units and censoring what we are able to read, write or listen to on the radio.

How can a country ironically claim to uphold “democracy” when prisoners are subjected to thought police that smacks of a Gestapo-controlled police state?

Send our brother some love and light: Jose H. Villarreal, H-84098, PBSP SHU C11-106, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532.

 

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements
San Francisco Comcast
Advertisement