by William E. Brown, UKB
“A wall is just a wall and nothing more at all. It can be broken down.” – Assata Shakur
Declaration of the United Kage Brothers
We, the United KAGE (Kings Against Genocidal Environments) Brothers, welcome you to our communion. We aim to unite and unionize the movement from within the belly of the beast to without. We wish to unite all people, regardless of color, race, creed, gender or sexuality.
We all have much in common when dealing with prejudices and classism. Consequently, we think that true civil rights of men and women alike emanate from the laws of nature, that all human beings are created equal. However, their rights are being capriciously usurped by the powers that be. These woes are being imposed on the proletarian class, the “lower” class.
We aim to put an end to all racial prejudice, conflict and unnecessary waging of war, both in prison and on our urban streets in the United States of America. Many lives have been lost in this struggle, but not in vain! In San Quentin all the way to Attica in 1971 and beyond, prisoners have banded together to exemplify this need for a collective push.
Through a united front in peaceful demonstration, prisoners of all races participated in hunger strikes protesting inhumane conditions and undue mistreatment in California’s SHUs (Security Housing Units) and ASUs (Administration Segregation Units), i.e., The Hole. This band of brothers set aside the ongoing “racial wars” and came together to declare an end to all wars that were being fought throughout California’s prison yards. Once again, the time for solidarity is now!
As Bobby Seale’s book title says, “Seize the Time”! quoting Huey P. Newton. When the doors of opportunity open, we must seize the time.
Umoja (pronounced oo-moh-jah) is the Swahili term for unity. We have chosen to operate our collective under the name United KAGE Brothers in order to reflect the emphasis we place on the need for united actions from a united front. This is necessary as we begin to address the problems facing our communities. We believe that any successful remedy will be the product of a united effort.
We also believe that everyone has something to contribute. Our sole purpose is to use the power of collective action to solve common challenges. We have no dues, just “do’s”! Thus, we are always looking for fresh ideas and constructive criticism.
List of demands
- Family visits: For all lifers, including Close A prisoners.
- Olympic weights: We are requesting that Olympic weights and/or weight machines and stairmasters be placed in the prison gyms.
- Joint venture programs: We are requesting meaningful jobs in all prison facilities, such as joint venture programs and money-earning jobs in the trades for rehabilitation purposes.
- Video games: As prisoners in other states have, California prisoners are requesting the use of video games under the Equal Protection Clause.
- Computers: We are requesting the use of computers with limited internet capabilities.
- Correctional officers’ diversity: We are requesting a racial balance with respect to correctional officers in Corcoran and other prisons.
- Food: We request better food that does not contain any soy meat or other synthetic meats.
- Entertainment: We request influential celebrity entertainment – music, comedy and spiritual entertainment.
- Photos: We are requesting to be able to take photos on the facility yards again.
- Nude books: CDCR had removed all nude books owned by prisoners without proper authority; the Zimmer Bill has never passed.
- Packages: We are requesting that our packages be sent personally by our families as opposed to a contracted CDCR vendor.
- Referee: We are requesting an impartial referee to preside over Rules Violation Report 115 hearings to ensure a fair hearing under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, instead of CDCR officers who have a prejudicial interest in upholding the officer’s report.
- Defective products: We are requesting that CDCR stop the selling of defective products via package vendors; TVs, CD players etc. are sometimes received with an operational defect.
- Withdrawing funds: We request that CDCR stop withdrawing funds from our trust account for restitution purposes when the money is sent by our family members or friends and is not legally considered inmate wages.
- Restitution cap: It is requested that a cap be placed on how much CDCR can take from a prisoner’s trust account. It is requested that the 55 percent now taken be reduced to 25 percent maximum.
- Equal Protection Clause: It is requested that men prisoners be able to make the same purchases in package items as women prisoners. For example, women prisoners are allowed to purchase jeans, honey and sugar products men are not allowed; there is no difference other than gender.
- Funds: We are requesting that CDCR provide funds for an outside sponsor when there is a feasible proposal by any prisoners’ constructive, self-help mentor or study group, including groups such as UKB.
- Sexual orientation: We request that CDCR provide alternatives to and resources for heterosexual male and female prisoners who otherwise do not engage in homosexual activities, such as condom vendors for homosexual prisoners, in hopes of reducing the spread of STDs. Alternatively, we are asking for sex education classes, massage vibrators and/or therapeutic dolls.
- Underground rules: CDCR has constantly utilized unwritten rules when dealing with the prisoner population. And when prisoners complain about the underground rule, the officers retaliate against the prisoners as a whole in order to make their rule acceptable to the prison population. This violates our constitutional rights.
- Wages: We are requesting a pay raise from the standard 13 cents an hour to $1.00 an hour with respect to inmate labor.
- Visiting clearance delay: We request that the long delay in processing the visiting forms be put to a halt. Due process protections are not intended to discourage inmates’ family members.
- Personal property: It is requested that the personal property of prisoners in the SHU not be sent back to the prisoner’s family with the postage deducted from the prisoner’s account.
- Hugo Pinell: We request that political prisoner Hugo Pinell, A-88401, be released from the SHU.
- Lynne Stewart: We request that Lynne Stewart be released from federal custody based on her health concerns; see lynnestewart.org.
Demands submitted Dec. 28, 2011
We the United KAGE Brothers prisoners’ union incorporate the following demands originally submitted on Dec. 28, 2011:
Demand 1) That inmates here in CSP-Corcoran ASU be allowed to possess TVs and/or radios.
Demand 2) That ASU inmates are provided access to an adequate library and/or legal assistance.
Demand 3) That inmates not be further punished upon completion of their SHU term.
Demand 4) That ASU inmates be afforded adequate and timely medical care.
Demand 5) That ASU inmates be afforded due process in 115 hearings.
Demand 6) That ASU inmates be allowed phone access.
Demand 7) That ASU inmates be provided with adequate laundry exchange.
Demand 8) That canteen food items are given in their packaging.
Demand 9) That ASU inmates be afforded educational and rehabilitative programs and opportunities.
Demand 10) That ASU inmates receive the same privileges as SHU inmates.
Demand 11) That no reprisals be taken for the employment of our rights to petition.
As we frontier our left-4-dead movement from prison to the street, we in addition demand an end to federal and state funding of the prison system and redirect those monies towards schools and education. Moreover, programs for vocational training and redemption programs for parolees must be funded.
Bring back Pell grants!
Long live George Jackson, Gandhi, John Brown and Cesar Chavez!
No more hunger strike deaths! Long live Christian Gomez!
William E. Brown, aka the rapper Pye Face, is the lead petitioner and minister of litigation and information for the United KAGE Brothers. Send our brother some love and light: William E. Brown, T-58106, CSP Corcoran 3A05-223, P.O. Box 3461, Corcoran CA 93212.