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How I survived 22 years of solitary confinement

November 28, 2017

by Kamau M. Askari

These New Afrikan revolutionaries – George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, Jonathan Jackson and Khatari Gaulden – led the brief, heroic California Prison Movement that set the bar high for today’s and tomorrow’s leaders and thinkers. It was the principles they taught that helped hunger strikers survive not only decades of torturous solitary confinement but 60 days without food on the final hunger strike that drew 30,000 participants at its peak.

“I” is “We” in Afrikan science. In terms of surviving 22 years of solitary confinement, “I/We survived” primarily because the indomitable spirit of our Afrikan ancestors lives on in each of our spirits.

“We survived” but we were not unaffected. “We survived” but we did not leave solitary normal. “We survived” because we refused to be counted among the broken men.

“We survived” because the repressive tactics and measures inflicted upon us by our captors bred a fierce resistance within us. For we knew from the words of Comrade George that the New Afrikan (Black) revolutionary within the prison microcosm is twice doomed.

In terms of surviving 22 years of solitary confinement, “I/We survived” primarily because the indomitable spirit of our Afrikan ancestors lives on in each of our spirits.

Therefore, “We survived” by making a concrete analysis of our concrete conditions discovering synthesis in the fact, the terms and conditions of our solitary confinement would either bring out the very best in us or destroy us altogether.

“We survived” because the bond underlying our commitment to the welfare of each other and the lofty New Afrikan revolutionary organizational ideological and political ultimate objective to which we aspire was and continues to be tested every step of the way.

“We survived” because it is within these varying chambers of confinement many of us rediscovered our humanity, straightened our backs and reaffirmed the dignity of self and New Afrikan heritage.

“We survived” by studying and learning from the many lessons our New Afrikan revolutionary organizational and national history has taught us. The fruitful and fruitless undertakings of a given situation, the consequences of our travels and the events we’ve experienced. “We survived” because we recognized the need and assumed the responsibility to establish a process and inherent practices that propagate our continued qualitative existence individually and collectively, mind, body, and soul pursuant to the circumstances confronting us and providing for our critical treatment of New Afrikan revolutionary organizational experience.

“We survived” by applying New Afrikan Materialist Dialectics (NAMD) in apprehension and resolution of the contradictions confronting our captive status, interconnected to carrying out the work of the New Afrikan revolutionary and correcting the ills of Amerikan Kapitalist society.

“We survived” because it is within these varying chambers of confinement many of us rediscovered our humanity, straightened our backs and reaffirmed the dignity of self and New Afrikan heritage.

“We survived” by achieving a Unity of Purpose (UOP) and initiative in taking action to advance New Afrikan revolutionary activities and culture. Thus, “We survived” by remaining disciplined to our New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist (NARN) concept: Can’t stop, won’t stop, until our work and New Afrikan revolutionary will has been completed and the light of freedom, justice and equality shines down on all humanity.

“We survived” because the scale of our New Afrikan morality constituted a bulwark against the demoralization campaign of our oppressors, and/or their attempts to drive wedges between us or otherwise create a state of disequilibrium within our ranks by projecting us in various lights of instability.

“We survived” by recognizing the practicality in being righteous and just in our interpersonal relationships and social interactions with each other, rooted in our common belief that “justice is the upholding of human rights transferred to a common power apex through a mutual agreement of two individuals, or groups of individuals. The quality of being just, rectitude in dealing with others: impartiality, a contract drawn up to maintain the rights of all equally.”

“We survived” because the foundation was laid and the standard for our struggle had already been set by those staunch, unflinching, intrepid New Afrikan revolutionaries who preceded us and willed us a powerful legacy, as exemplified by the profoundly courageous and determined examples of W.L. Nolen, Comrade George L. Jackson, Manchild Jonathan P. Jackson, and our beloved Jeffrey “Khatari” Gaulden in service and interests of the New Afrikan working klass and the oppressed poor.

“We survived” because the foundation was laid and the standard for our struggle had already been set by those staunch, unflinching, intrepid New Afrikan revolutionaries who preceded us and willed us a powerful legacy.

The final interpretation is materialistic: “We survived” because we are national builders commencing with the construction of one hard “Family.”

Send our brother some love and light: Kamau M. Askari (Ralph A. Taylor), D-03780, HDSP D3-219, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville CA 96127. Kamau is founder of the New Afrikan (Black) Family Unity and Advancement Foundation (NABFUAF) and the High Desert State Prison (HDSP) New Afrikan Collective Think Tank (NCTT).

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