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Kwame Shakur indicts legalized slavery

September 2, 2017

by Kwame ‘Beans’ Shakur

This is a speech written for a prisoner organized rally against censorship on Aug. 11 outside the Indiana Department of Corrections headquarters in downtown Indianapolis

Revolutionary greetings!

Prisoners’ families and supporters rallied outside IDOC (Indiana Department of Corrections) headquarters in Indianapolis on Aug. 11. The rally was called and organized by the prisoners.

The New Afrikan Liberation Collective and the Black Guerrilla Army have organized this Prison Lives Matter campaign as a call to action on behalf of all political prisoners and prisoners of war being held captive across the country inside America’s concentration camps.

Prison Lives Matter will serve as a unified front for the prison movement: the revolutionary prison class individuals and their organizations who are struggling to abolish legal slavery in America.

When the unconscious masses hear the terms “political prisoner” or “POW,” they have been conditioned to automatically picture U.S. imperialist soldiers who have been captured overseas. These fascist pigs are seen as national heroes, although they are invading the land of underdeveloped Third World nations and committing mass genocide, bombing innocent men, women and children and stealing their natural resources for the political economic gain of U.S. capitalism.

We must destroy this American colonial mentality and develop a revolutionary mentality and consciousness within the people.

The United States’ empire is a prison house of nations; the United States of America is an oppressor nation with groups or oppressed colonies of people who have been stripped of their nationality and turned into an inferior “race,” class groups who are subordinate to the upper ruling class. The predetermined social and economic conditions of the capitalist class structure create a massive disproportion of wealth and property – which creates the fundamental class contradiction of privilege and poverty.

New Afrikans and poor “white” people are a part of the proletariat class. The proletariat is the class of lowest status in a capitalist society; the working class who sell their labor in order to survive; the neo-slave who is stuck in a never-ending cycle of economic exploitation, living paycheck to paycheck while the upper ruling class profits from our oppression.

Prison Lives Matter will serve as a unified front for the prison movement: the revolutionary prison class individuals and their organizations who are struggling to abolish legal slavery in America.

Class struggles, i.e. lack of quality health care, poor housing, under and unemployment, are the politics behind our economic “crimes,” which should be seen for what they really are: the result of class contradictions and the disproportion of wealth in society.

The proletarian class must adopt a revolutionary mentality and realize that we are at war with the U.S. empire – not a “race” war, but a class war!

Let me use the revolutionary teachings of Comrade Yaki to explain our definition of “political prisoner” and “prisoner of war”:

“All New Afrikans in Amerikkka are members of an oppressed nation, which in itself is ‘political,’ and lends automatic political meaning to the conditions suffered by us all, whether in prison or out. But the recognition of the political significance that our colonial status has does not define revolutionary nationalist consciousness or practice … Thus, we say that in making our analysis of the nation, and in focusing particularly on those of us inside the kamps, we see three sectors: the captured colonials, the political prisoner and the prisoner of war.”

The captured colonials are the mass, general prison populations which Afrikans comprise. The simple status of a 20th century slave gives political character and significance to us all. But it doesn’t determine whether that political character and significance will be good or bad for the nation and the struggle.

While the “criminal” acts of all Afrikans are the result of our general economic, political and social relationships to the oppressive, imperialist state, there is no automatic, unquestionable revolutionary nationalist capacity or consciousness.

If we say that “crime” is a reflection of the present state of property relations, then we must also say that for us, these relations are those between a dominated nation and its oppressor and exploiter. The method of economic organization which governs our lives is an imperialist, a neo-colonialist method.

Although this colonial system is structured so as to force many of us to take what we need in order to survive, and although there are conscious political decisions made by the oppressor once we find ourselves in the grips of his “criminal justice system,” it must also be seen that a conscious political decision must also be made on the part of the colonial subject before his acts can have a subjective, functional political meaning within the context of the national liberation struggle.

Put another way, if the “criminal” acts of Afrikans are the result of a grossly disproportionate distribution of wealth and privilege that stems from our status as a dominated, neo-colonized nation, then the only way to prevent crime among us is to make a conscious decision to liberate the nation and establish among ourselves a more equitable distribution of wealth and privilege.

For us, the political prisoner is one who has made, and who acts on, a conscious political decision to change the present state of property relations. Although the political prisoner and the prisoner of war levels of thought and practice sometimes overlap, we use the element of organized revolutionary violence to distinguish between them – organized revolutionary violence of a distinct military type.

Political prisoners are those arrested, framed and otherwise imprisoned because of relatively peaceful political activity against the oppressive conditions of the people. Political prisoners are also captured colonials inside the walls who have adopted a “revolutionary mentality” and become politically active.

For us, the political prisoner is one who has made, and who acts on, a conscious political decision to change the present state of property relations.

Activity on part of political prisoners behind the walls results in denial of release, punitive transfers, harassment and brutality, long periods of isolation, close censorship of mail and visits, behavior modification attempts, and even assassination at the hands of prison administrators, who sometimes employ reactionary prisoners to do their jobs for them.

We regard as prisoners of war those Afrikans who have been imprisoned as a result of their having taken up arms or otherwise engaged in acts of organized revolutionary violence in its military form, against the U.S. imperialist state: the act of expropriation, acts of sabotage, intelligence and counter intelligence activities, and support activities when directly linked to acts of military organized violence and/or groups which are part of the “armed front.” Also, those activities of an overt or covert nature which are linked to the action of armed people’s defense units – those New Afrikans involved in such activities and imprisoned because of this are considered as prisoners of war.

We also regard as prisoners of war those captured colonials and political prisoners who consciously commit acts of military organized revolutionary violence while behind the walls, as well as those who join or form organizations which are or will become part of the organized “armed front” and/or part of the armed people’s defense units or “mass front.”

We use those words from the late comrade to illustrate to the people and the comrades in the outside movement that there is no separate struggle between the prison movement and the overall international struggle and movement against capitalism, U.S. imperialism and national liberation.

When Yaki says that “the only way to prevent crime among us is to make a conscious decision to liberate the nation and establish among ourselves a more equitable distribution of wealth and privilege,” this is the overall objective of all New Afrikan “Black” revolutionary nationalists inside the liberation movement, as well as poor “white” Euro-Americans who are already fighting to destroy capitalism and “racism” and establish a socialist-communist society where the working class people and independent nations control the means of production and distribution of goods.

This is why the Republic of New Afrika and the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, as well as the Black Guerilla Army believe in the Malcolm X doctrine, that we should become a sovereign independent nation, separate from the capitalist class structure and culture of America.

We have made a conscious decision to liberate the New Afrikan “Black” nation and start the decolonization process by first educating ourselves and the masses, our communities, and breaking the chains of mental slavery. We have to educate the people and destroy the prestige and the illusion that the police, the prisons, the court system, the U.S. government and their so-called laws are legitimate and authoritative over the people.

We have been programmed and trained since birth to view these fascist institutions as superior. We have been tricked and rocked to sleep by believing that something had changed or that we are free and equal. We were pacified and content with being spoon fed crumbs that fell off the massa’s plate.

Our fight was for land, independence and socialism; however, the revolution failed and the people settled and sold out for voting rights that still don’t exist and reformism.

When we are being misled, putting all our focus on voting for the Democratic presidential nominee versus the Republican, as if the Democratic Party is the only hope and savior for our people, then we are distracted from our struggle to gain independence. National liberation and total liberation require a people with self-determination, a people who determine their own destiny.

So let’s be clear. We do not view these institutions or American “law” as legitimate; therefore, we are not interested in criminal justice “reform.” We are not content or interested with a two dollar increase in minimum wage. We are not seeking to simply “reform” the prison conditions. We are struggling for a socialist revolution to overthrow the current system.

You cannot reform genocide, capitalism, colonialism or slavery. It has to be destroyed!

We have to take control of our communities and create socialist institutions that allow us to control our own educational, economic, political and social development. The problem is that we as a people don’t own anything. We depend on the oppressor and other communities for our very needs.

A group of people or nation that doesn’t control their own means of production, who depends on another group of people, i.e. the upper ruling and middle class, for employment, housing, food, clothing etc., becomes subordinate to the capitalist class structure and is not in control over their own lives.

You cannot reform genocide, capitalism, colonialism or slavery. It has to be destroyed!

Colonialism is control by one power over a dependent area or people – the key word being “dependent.” You cannot colonize and exploit a nation of people with self-determination who have put the power into the hands of the people and decided to fight back and change the order of things.

So, once the captured colonial has made a conscious decision to transform his or her self into a political prisoner, resist the conditions or existence of modern day slavery in these camps and struggle to wake the masses by turning these prisons into revolutionary universities, he or she becomes a threat to the institution because he or she no longer has a colonial slave mentality. Therefore, we can no longer be controlled by the oppressor administration.

You have to ask yourself, “Why are there so many jails and prisons in America? Why are more people locked up in America than any other country in the world?”

All these prisons and courthouses didn’t exist during the 1600s and 1700s, or first half of the 1800s. There was no need for them. We were already enslaved on the plantation and all other poor working-class people were considered non-citizens and not allowed to own property. The United States empire was funded and built on slavery and oppression, so once we were so called “freed,” or emancipated, in 1865, their empire would have crumbled without the capital from slavery, or if Afrikan people were allowed to become a truly free and independent nation, economically self-sufficient.

You have to ask yourself, “Why are there so many jails and prisons in America? Why are more people locked up in America than any other country in the world?”

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to abolish slavery clearly states that the only exception is prisons and jails. Their Constitution reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

These jails and prisons replaced the plantation. This is modern day slavery. We are slaves to the state.

No one is committing what they call “crimes” for a hobby or pastime. These are acts of survival; no one who owns their home, has a refrigerator full of food, who is able to take care of their family and make ends meet is out stealing, robbing or selling dope.

These jails and prisons replaced the plantation. This is modern day slavery. We are slaves to the state.

There are more jails, prisons and more people locked up and enslaved in America because of the massive disproportion of wealth, because we live in a capitalist society that is designed to keep the poor poor while the rich get richer. The police and these slave camps exist to keep New Afrikans and all other poor people in check and protect the capitalists and their property.

Myself and my comrades have been kidnapped and are being held captive against our will. There is nothing legit or legal about this entire process. We are under attack as we struggle to expose the prison industrial slave complex. We are being thrown in 23-24-hour solitary confinement and long-term segregation. We are strategically being silenced and censored by the state in an attempt to cover up their crimes of daily genocide and colonial violence.

The state is stopping any newspaper or publication that speaks out against modern day slavery and the economic exploitation of our families; they are now stopping any books that educate people to these issues; they are attempting to cut us off from the outside world by restricting incoming mail and limiting phone calls to one 20- or 30-minute call a week.

The police and these slave camps exist to keep New Afrikans and all other poor people in check and protect the capitalists and their property.

Again, this is a call to action for our families and supporters to take a stand. If U.S. troops, or any other human being besides those labeled “criminals,” were being subjected to these inhumane conditions, there would be national and international support and outrage.

If your loved ones had been kidnapped and held captive in cages by anyone other than the prestigious state, you would be doing everything in your power to free them and overthrow their captors.

There is no difference. We must organize and mobilize against the powers that be in order to abolish legal slavery in America!

ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

One Love, One Struggle!

Kwame “Beans” Shakur, co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective and ambassador to the Black Guerilla Army

Send our brother some love and light: Michael Joyner (Kwame Shakur), 149677, Pendleton CF, 4490 W. Reformatory Rd., Pendleton IN 46064.

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Filed Under: Prison Stories
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4 thoughts on “Kwame Shakur indicts legalized slavery

  1. writepaperforme

    Private prisons are a serious crime, period. The punishment for having anything to do with instituting them should be disqualification (for life) for any public service position, and fines commensurate with the prison profits.

    Reply
  2. Phuoc Thanh

    talk to me who are struggling to abolish legal slavery in America. it really helpful with me on behalf of all political prisoners and prisoners of war being held captive across the country inside America’s concentration camps.

    Reply

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