by Damu Katika Chimurenga, s/n Hayward L. Mayhan

“Upon the thirsting for knowledge and wisdom, while attempting to understand our true Afrikan roots, once reading and researching, I would often inquire of my curriculums. In dialogue with other students and teachers within the university, I found myself doing likewise. Because of being taught to seek clarity on subjects or matters that seem the contrary to their initial meaning, my true desire has always been for a conscious mind state, more so pertaining to Blackness, revolutionary theorem and being a servant of the people. An esteemed New Afrikan (Black) elder recognized my struggle and plight in transforming from an old criminal mentality to a new productive and constructive one and states in a firm, humble voice, “It’s still the same ol’ war.” – A friend and servant of the people, “The Life” (page 17)

“The Agreement to End Hostilities,” drawn when the artist was one of the longterm SHU prisoners – Art: Michael D. Russell, C-90473, HDSP C2-122, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville CA 96127

Brothas and sistas, Power to the People who don’t fear struggling endlessly to obtain true freedom, justice and equality for the Black and oppressed masses – within these prisons and in society. All too often I hear or read about problems or issues pertaining to hostility brought about by the verbal and then physical actions of our oppressors against the people.

In turn, the people, those of consciousness, will stand up and speak out or act against the oppressors. In most cases, those of consciousness who do stand up or act against the oppressors – law enforcement agencies, departments of corruption and the like – are rarely if ever the victims. Those of us who are victims or have been victims of our oppressors, however, especially in these general population prisons, county jails and in society’s ghettos, do the contrary.

For those of you who may at this time misinterpret what I mean by “victim,” I’ll return to that subject in a moment. My main objective in addressing the people is based on re-affirming or re-adjusting our stance on the Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH).

On Aug. 12, 2012, the AEH was initiated as a positive, productive means towards curbing the on-going senseless prisoner-on-prisoner, race-on-race violence throughout these GP prisons, county jails and society’s hoods in California. The AEH was initially formulated and put into practice by Prisoner Human Rights Movement representatives in the Pelikan Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit and various supporters throughout the California Department of Corruption and Repression.

Prisoners (men) in the SHU recognized the need to come together in solidarity, setting aside any past or present differences, to formulate a humane and positive plan of programming and living for the prisoner class and lumpen. It is also important to express and stress that these same prisoners who, some would say, are our modern-day scholars and intellectuals, were validated and held in SHU indefinitely for years ranging from 10 to 40 plus and labeled “the worst of the worst.”

Most of these prisoners were validated and locked in SHU on conspiracy charges for the mere exercise of their First Amendment right to freedom of speech under the United States Constitution. These New Afrikan, Mexican and white prisoners came together through peaceful means, formulated and, with the assistance of over 30,000 CDCr prisoners, put into practice a nonviolent hunger strike and work stoppage that lasted for 60 days.

These prisoners knew no boundaries in suffering – physically and mentally. Their feet were set in stone. They led by example to better the conditions the prisoner class was living in.

My main objective in addressing the people is based on re-affirming or re-adjusting our stance on the Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH).

Before I continue, I would like to take the time to clench and raise a firm right fist overhead to you all. Like you, I’ve been held back here 15 plus years as well and know your plight in this struggle. A special thanks goes out to those of you who supported the prisoner class endeavors as well.

From those prisoners to the supporters in society, I’m expressing this because I feel that you don’t hear it enough: “We, the righteous prisoners, do appreciate you, your intelligence and courage to stand up and be willing to suffer as you did for us.”

The Agreement to End Hostilities in 2012 and the last hunger strike, in 2013, brought us much clarity as to who was receptive and down when it came time to struggle – or at least attempt to – and who was not. After all, as fellow prisoners or men cut from the same or similar cloth, we all are aware that those of us sitting on these SHU shelves were unjustly processed and held for years on end.

This was also done at the expense of the tax paying citizen in society – all for the financial benefit of our oppressors, CDCr and its employees. As we conscious prisoners are aware, that extra $18,000 to $20,000 per year per prisoner that’s paid to keep us housed in these SHU control units goes a long way on a parasitical shopping spree or to fatten a college trust fund for their children – while our children starve.

On Oct. 10, 2012, the day the prisoner-led Agreement to End Hostilities took effect, the Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles held a major demonstration to show their determination to put it into practice in the hoods as well as the prisons.

The torture of thousands of prisoners who were left on these SHU shelves to rot like old produce meant – and still means – nothing to those CDCr employees who have gotten a taste of the good life on someone else’s dime. But those fascists only saw the way it was: prisoner-on-prisoner, race-on-race violence and more of us constantly entering the doors of solitary confinement, bringing that extra cash flow and overtime. They did not see or expect to see the AEH coming and holding in place for as long as it has.

Beginning a peaceful process such as the AEH with one or another group or race that one considers an adversary is a difficult task to fathom let alone to process and act on for most of us. Yet this was done and the AEH concept took on a positive, productive shape of its own – long after the hunger strike of 2013 ended.

Before I continue, I had mentioned being a “victim” of our oppressors. I want to elaborate on what I mean when saying how our conscious people stand up for those of us who are victims of our oppressors – while the victims do the contrary. By calling out “the victims who do the contrary,” I do not mean the woman, child or defenseless person who is being raped, molested, robbed, abused, mistreated or taken advantage of.

I mean the man or young man, the lumpen, who is strong and intelligent enough to know when and how to fight back – but doesn’t! At least not against those who are actually oppressing him or his people. Instead of retaliating against or refuting those who have placed the yoke of constant despair, dejection and hardship on his neck – along with their boot – he turns to those carrying that same or similar yoke and does to them what the oppressor did to him.

The oppressed don’t deserve your bellicose foolishness or your violent mood swings. What we need is your partisanship and leadership. We need you soldiering alongside us, the prisoner class, in struggle to accomplish meaningful improvements within our environments.

All too often in these prisons and society’s hoods, we become very familiar with these “victims” who are capable of defending themselves against the “powers that be” – the oppressors – but choose not to. Again, these prisoners, these men, are turning their fear, frustrations and anger away from our true adversaries and toward the same prisoners or neighbors in their own environments, abusing and committing crimes against them.

In a nutshell, they are doing more harm than good to the people and the community. These individuals who are constantly corrupting our society and these prisoners are oftentimes the ones who are bullies or have sizable incomes and keep the cheat off of themselves by giving others materialistic things, which causes those “receivers of rent” to turn a blind eye to the undesirables and ignore their stench.

Beginning a peaceful process such as the AEH with one or another group or race that one considers an adversary is a difficult task to fathom let alone to process and act on for most of us. Yet this was done and the AEH concept took on a positive, productive shape of its own – long after the hunger strike of 2013 ended.

It’s not always – or never – about how much such an opportunist has to contribute materialistically. A coward, snitch or sex offender can’t give me nothing! A man – even another prisoner – with a few million dollars cannot buy my friendship or alliance if he’s doing something to destroy my people, my community. I’m kool!

These types of characters – drug addicts, alcoholics, gamblers, drug pushers, pimps – who have a lack of self-control are the main individuals infecting our people, our community. They are keeping us, the Black and oppressed masses, down. They are the main individuals who are constantly keeping our immediate environments infected with hostile attitudes.

Not long ago, a New African elder made a solid and wise statement that will stick with me for years to come. He said, “A sane person who knows that his actions from gambling, consuming alcohol or drugs, excessive negative conversations, or just being a loudmouth day in and out without consideration for those sharing the same environment as himself is 100 percent worse than a person with mental health issues or illness, because he knows right from wrong. Or at least he claims to know!” The brotha-soldier is on to something, fo’ real!

In our current state of being faced with such incompetent, racist and fascist leaders as U.S. President Donald Trump in his “White House” Oval Office, as well as being constantly oppressed and repressed by the Department of Corruption, now seems like the best time ever to declare to the world that we are determined to live and strive productively as a Black Nation if we cannot co-exist in this state – or penal system – as other citizens do, with freedom, justice and equality. We must demand to live as such in prison and society.

The Rally to End All Racial Hostilities was held Oct. 10, 2012, outside the Los Angeles County Jail. – Photo: Virginia Gutierrez

Most of us Black people are treated as if we are foreigners from a third world country – in these prisons and society – by those state officials and prisoners who are in the positions of power. We are treated with contempt and rejection or as degraded slaves on a plantation and constantly abused mentally and physically, more so for the sake of law enforcement and other racist and fascist training based on one goal: how to remain in power or control, keep the Black and oppressed masses inferior and/or subordinate to the oppressors and all else by instilling fear in them as the norm.

Of course, to those of us who do not succumb to fear, they dangle the carrot from a stick or attempt to ostracize us from the population. Those of us who are lacking in consciousness are naive to what’s going on and so tired and afraid of being oppressed that we free ourselves, we justify ourselves, we split equally the spoils gained – by joining in with the oppressors at the breaking of our own oppressed peoples’ minds because some of us have been “broken” by them.

Not me. I’m not of a pessimistic and cowardly mindset or attitude, which normally derives from being or feeling defeated by someone stronger and more intelligent than ourselves. I’m conscious. I stand up for and with the people, especially the Black people.

Personally, I do not work with the pig state, meaning I do not clean their clothes, shoes or egos. I do not pay ear to their divide and conquer games or gossip, especially about other prisoners who myself and the community can off who are standing up for the people, the prisoner class, against the pig state. Although I may disagree with certain types of warfare when engaging combatively against the oppressors or my adversaries, in times of war, we must consider utilizing whatever is reasonable and civilized at our disposal to defend ourselves.

I disagree with various types of unethical behavior that many prisoners get caught up in or do – such as “IEx” (indecent exposure) towards females, no matter their occupation. As a matter of fact, I am not one who takes lightly any sex offenses or debriefing (snitching) for that matter. But again, I do not function with the CDCr pig state and cannot or will not allow no police or correctional official to give me another prisoner’s documents or tell me about their business for the sake of provoking peril on their person.

All too often, that is what pigs and their agent provocateurs do to provoke prisoner-on-prisoner and race-on-race violence when they produce documents, mail or gossip based on a prisoner’s personal or internal business. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in these types of webs, we are inviting hostility of some kind upon the prisoner class that’s bound to lead to conflict or violence against another prisoner or an oppressed person that will only benefit the oppressors, our true adversaries – not us.

Although I may disagree with certain types of warfare when engaging combatively against the oppressors or my adversaries, in times of war, we must consider utilizing whatever is reasonable and civilized at our disposal to defend ourselves.

Well, people, it’s now time that the prisoner class review and hopefully reestablish and reimplement the AEH, those of us who wish to support it. I mention that because up here in SHU there has been much disregard and disrespect amongst the prisoner class lately. Most of the younger fellas who came from general population mainlines claim that their sense of conduct – excessively loud, intoxicated, belligerently boisterous – is the norm out there.

They lack receptiveness in compromise. It’s their way or no way. These same prisoners are fed small portions of food on the norm, don’t receive their personal property for three to four months, laundry bags are destroyed or clothes come up missing, constantly moved from one unit to the next without a complaint, but must turn their nose up at another prisoner.

Well, people, it’s now time that the prisoner class review and hopefully reestablish and reimplement the AEH, those of us who wish to support it.

There are prisoners complaining or disrespecting other prisoners over jobs they hold that the pigs should be doing: “Don’t tell me to keep something clean that the pigs are paying you to keep clean.” My advice:

  • Don’t get intoxicated and say aloud that you and your people are racists, then act like it’s kool when you are sober.
  • Don’t poison my people, deliberately or not, and remove someone and act like it’s kool.
  • Don’t shake with my people or me then backbite us as if we’re freeloading and act like it’s kool.
  • Don’t be listening to everything we say or do, like the police or COs, and convey it over these tiers like it’s kool.
  • Don’t be trying to get me or my people to socialize with sensitive needs yard/protective custody.
  • Don’t be talking to me about courtship with security threat groups from across these sections and pods, because things like that ain’t kool!

But when the pigs walk through the pod, you or your people are as friendly as a church mouse.

“Exposed Intentions” – Art: Steven Winston, 513304, Chippewa Correctional Facility, 4269 W. M-80, Kincheloe MI 49784

Since I’ve been back up here, I’ve had to deal with so much pig and prisoner racism and fascism that it ain’t funny. On top of all this, the pigs have implemented their gestapo tactics by way of arming certain prisoners – or moles – with hearing monitors, by which said lackies inform them and those listening on everything certain prisoners are doing in their cell or saying. Many prisoners are well aware of what I’m speaking on, too.

I’m appalled at the fact of literally knowing that prisoners are working hand-in-hand with the pig state to disrupt productive constructiveness of any sort. There is nonsense going on 24/7 back here. There are lousy, no-good, decrepit creatures – or inmates – broken men surviving only off the foul stench, pus and infected wounds they sustained because the lion, hyena or wolf pack became tired of them and their nonsense, who are constantly showing signs of mental illness while provoking the immediate population into chaotic childishness.

Coming back up here, I envisioned PBSP SHU to be as it was, prisoner-wise. It’s not. That’s not a good thing.

Keep in mind about those “victims” of our oppressors: With the recent events back here and with the prisoner-on-prisoner violence occurring throughout the general population yards, especially this PBSP SHU Level II, and allegedly rising once again, I am truly embarrassed and angry at myself for being so dedicated towards endorsing the Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) to all the prisoners and lumpen I know and meet only to see it contradicted lately.

NO! Don’t get it twisted. I do not apologize for endorsing the AEH at any time because I felt and still feel it to be a positive and productive means of programming and living when it comes to the prisoner class and lumpen’s survival. In these departments of corruptions, whether general population mainlines or SHUs, which we are forced to inhabit, we are made to feel inferior to our oppressors and superior towards one another.

By continuing to do our best to uphold the AEH, we demonstrate that we not only understand our unfortunate plight – being incarcerated and oppressed – but that we will not allow our oppressors to dictate what sense of humanity we hold within ourselves and the prisoner class. If all else fails, as a Nation, Black people must continue to press on in solidarity and in progressing the AEH for the sake of our survival.

I do not apologize for endorsing the AEH at any time because I felt and still feel it to be a positive and productive means of programming and living when it comes to the prisoner class and lumpen’s survival.

In conclusion, as a Black Nation alongside all oppressed people and as a prisoner class, we have come too far since the Agreement to End Hostilities and the last hunger strike of July 8, 2013, which 30,000 prisoners partook in to break the chains of our inhumane solitary confinement and our inadequate educational opportunities and medical treatment, to allow ourselves to lose focus on the AEH and what its existence has done to enlighten society that we still have our humanity.

Keeping the AEH in effect should not have to be the task of a few good, solid New Afrikan, Mexican and Euro-Amerikan prisoners and their supporters. It should be the focus of the majority of the prisoner class and the community.

I get angry and tired of seeing my New Afrikan/Black elders, brothas and sistas constantly being on the frontline at pushing these reforms and progressive, productive agendas while others seem to aid in the demise of the AEH. I’m still not free from SHU, yet I still believe that we – not just my Black people and myself – must continue to demonstrate that we want to abolish these SHUs and reform these DOCs.

This cannot stop. Nothing must be allowed to hinder or protract the struggle any longer. To do so will give our oppressors just cause to re-open these inhumane and unjust SHUs and practices all over again.

“Don’t Let the Look ‘Fool” You” is the title given to this drawing by the artist, who, years later, wrote this story. Damo wrote this note on the back of his drawing: “It’s not the art work itself that should always capture the onlooker’s attention; for that, the message is even more important.” – Art: Damu Katika Chimurenga, s/n Hayward L. Mayhan, P-60322, PBSP SHU C11-224, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

There were and still are many prisoners who suffer internally, physically and mentally, from the effects of both being held in SHU and what it took to be free from this misery. A lot of the same prisoners are now being harassed or rehoused back into solitary confinement all over again for merely seeing the same or worse ills they suffered in these SHUs for so many years going on on the mainlines and yards and speaking up on or appealing them.

To those prisoners, let me say I salute you with a firm right fist overhead. You are not the broken men. You have not accepted freedom from these SHU cell caskets for the mere sake of escaping SHU, as many other prisoners do who refuse to continue the fight for prisoner and human rights, for better conditions overall in prison and society.

I may not have an articulate skill set, but my vision and motives are sincere and clear when it comes to what is occurring and what needs to occur for the prisoner class to maintain and exceed our past achievements. By being outspoken on the things I see or hear that cannot be ignored and exposing them openly to the public, I hope those prisoners who are genuinely concerned can enlighten those siblings of theirs in hopes of correcting them.

Currently as I see it from this environment alone, there are more important things going on back here than the AEH topic that I could be spending my time, ink and paper on. However, at the moment I’ve felt the need to assist at keeping the Agreement to End Hostilities in place because a lot of prisoners seem to drifting off course on the AEH.

We are all men; we are not kids. The childish and loud ass bellicose antics need to stop. As it is true that some may be stronger or weaker than others, have more homies or financial means of support than others, this does not give anyone the right to press up on those have-nots or those who are attempting to function cordially with the whole prisoner class.

No matter where we are housed, in SHU or GP, if we are under the control of CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation), we are all faced with the same plight: trying to make this miserable, decaying penal system and its contemptable staff members aware that they are dealing with men, not animals.

Nothing must be allowed to hinder or protract the struggle any longer. To do so will give our oppressors just cause to re-open these inhumane and unjust SHUs and practices all over again.

We are all faced with helping to come up with new resolutions on how to better our living conditions, from food, education, recreation, restitution, the inmate welfare fund, etc. to getting heart-ship and/or clemency releases for our elders, our OGs. This would be wise to ponder as a prisoner class, not just a few conscious, scholar-minded New Afrikan (Black), Mexican and white prisoners who’re always the same men fighting for the whole – suffering for the whole.

We owe it to ourselves as a prisoner class to push harder to tone down the violence and fight for more productive things that we need, like weights, real foods, cheaper package and special purchase vendors, to name a few.

With the above mentioned I’ll end this piece on this note: We are all products of this environment, the CDCR. As it is true we may have been the cause of our own capture and incarceration for whatever reasons, we are also victims of oppressive circumstances within the environments we were brought up in – in society. We were taught to survive by any means necessary as lumpen of an undercaste, a lower class.

This is a process of thinking that must be broken and replaced with a more solid, productive mindset. We want to lessen the employment and/or institutions of our oppressors and their counterparts. We want to put an end to solitary confinement – SHUs, Ad Segs etc. We want books, literature and curriculum material that we, the Black and oppressed prisoner class, can relate to without being harassed and penalized.

But we will never be allowed to change the past and current state of this miserable, decaying prison system or our neighborhoods if the oppressor state sees and can utilize our violent, hostile actions toward one another to show just cause to retaliate. This is why I am taking the time to speak to the public to reaffirm or re-adjust our stance on the Agreement to End Hostilities.

From a psychiatrist’s revolutionary manuscript, I learned how, in the period of their helplessness, prisoners’ mad impulse to commit violence is an expression of their unconsciousness. If this repressed rage fails to find a moment of release, it turns inward and devastates the oppressed masses themselves.

In order to free themselves, they even do harm to each other. The different tribes fight among themselves since they cannot face the real enemy – and you can count on the oppressors to keep up their rivalries. Recognize, act and rebuild.

Send our ‘Brotha-Soldier,’ as he calls himself, some love and light: Damu Katika Chimurenga, s/n Hayward L. Mayhan, P-60322, PBSP SHU C11-224, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

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