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Working towards the success of the Millions for Prisoners March has been a central theme of the Amend the 13th’s agenda since the outset. In a movement dedicated to not only abolishing legal slavery in Amerika, but transforming the nature and structure of unequal social, political and economic relationships upon which mass incarceration is based, support for the March is of course an obvious priority – but what is not so obvious is why this march is vital to the very future of progressive social change in Amerika.
From behind the enemy lines of the California State Prison System, from within the “belly of the beast” that is the Amerikan injustice system, I greet you all and call for your full attention to the annual commemoration of Black August and invite all prisoners and families throughout Amerika to join us in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, studying and sharing respect and unity with Panther love and knowledge in the spirit of our fallen comrades.
In the December 2015 issue of the San Francisco Bay View, I wrote an article entitled “Do Black Lives Matter Behind the Walls” and introduced to the Bay View audience the newly formed New African Liberation Collective (NALC). While this particular issue was allowed into prisons throughout the state, it was seized at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, where I was being housed, based upon the orders of the Internal Affairs Department as a security risk.
We as prisoners did not forfeit our citizenship when we came to prison or the laws which are designed to protect our basic human rights and dignity. The implementation and enforcement of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was a clear procedural deprivation of our rights under the Fifth and 14th Amendments. The Fairness and Restoration Act 2015 is about restoring fairness and justice to those who were denied it.
Once again, the nation is compelled to mourn the death of police officers. Rightly so, if such mourning changes the dynamics of the relationship between para-militarized police and the communities in which they patrol. By no sense of the imagination should anyone be cavalier about the killing of a police officer, no more than they should be when a police officer wrongly kills a civilian, especially an unarmed civilian.
For many months here in Texas, Comrade Rashid, our minister of defense, and I have struggled hard to shed light on the heinous acts of barbaric violence perpetrated by Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees against prisoners of every race, nation and creed. If it was not for Dr. Willie and Sister Mary Ratcliff, publisher and editor of the San Francisco Bay View, revolutionary voices might never be heard by the public at large.
I was validated on the mere basis of my New Afrikan revolutionary beliefs and political activities, expediently defined and treated as “gang activity.” I was literally told that my political writings were in the hands of others and would I consider not writing such because of their “concerns.” Naturally I refused to conform to their illegal requests, but a clear message was delivered to me: CDCR prefers that prisoners not evolve politically but to remain gang oriented inmates.
Following a mass hunger strike by prisoners in California last year, some state legislators promised to reform the use of Security Housing Units (SHU). This week, Assembly Bill 1652, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill becomes law, prisoners would only be sent to SHU for specific serious rules violations that come with determinate SHU sentences.
The only way that we can stop the bleeding is by prisoners ending it first. By embracing the Agreement to End Hostilities, we can change our prison oppression into a more productive prison environment that serves the interests of us prisoners, as well as put an end to the policies that are inhumane.
The CDCR should have to prove its accusations of gang activity, membership or association, providing the full panoply of constitutional protections. If the courts will not discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights, then the people must demand a change as is our/your right.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who waged a more successful war on drugs than the entire U.S. government, was concerned with people like Ronald Reagan and George Bush, who made enormous profits from this trade by flooding urban America with poison. Her efforts to investigate were suppressed by Porter Goss, who then chaired the House Intelligence Committee. Now Goss heads the ethics office that charged Waters with ethics violations for her legitimate advocacy for Black banks and economic justice for Black and Brown people.
Tell Congress to reject the $5 billion in the stimulus package that would hire 13,000 more cops and fund the war on drugs and gangs.