The following message is from a group of prisoners who are spread throughout the Florida Department of Corrections. It was sent anonymously and compiled from a series of letters received on Nov. 26 and 27. According to their statement, these prisoners plan to initiate a work stoppage or “laydown” beginning Monday, Jan. 15, coinciding with Martin Luther King Day, in nonviolent protest of conditions in Florida prisons. They are calling it Operation PUSH.
Have you ever seen the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring actor Jimmy Stewart? He played George Bailey, who urged the members of the “Building and Loan” to “Stick together – don’t panic, ‘cause old man Potter is not selling – he’s buying!” With that same sense of urgency, I make a similar comparison. This isn’t Bedford Falls, nor is this a movie. This is the state of the state of California, as well as the United States of America, and our lives I’m talking about.
Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.
Join us in resistance and solidarity from inside to outside the prison system in an undertaking to educate and mobilize ourselves for dignified struggle to abolish the modern institution of slavery which operates today as a mean coalition consisting of the police, the courts, racist and bigoted judges, unscrupulous prosecutors, ravenous and greedy sheriffs, cash-strapped school districts, under-funded indigent defense systems, and unfriendly and hostile prison officials.
Basic logic dictates it is the community who should be vested with the power to parole, pardon or grant clemency to those who, in their determination, would have a positive impact on their communities and society as a whole if released. This is a concept developed by George Jackson University known as strategic release. To this end, we are announcing our campaign to develop – and establish nationally – New Afrikan Community Parole, Pardon and Clemency Review Board.
There really IS life after prison. Rashad Price (Mabu Shakur) and Eugene Thomas (Jama M. Shakur) were close friends in Georgia prisons for many years. They organized so effectively that officials constantly separated them. Now both are free, doing well and still keeping in touch – Rashad in his home state of Texas and Eugene in Georgia. Hear what these proud fathers have to say.
The New Underground Railroad Movement is a grassroots inside-outside organization that recognizes that the institutionalization of mass incarceration is the greatest civil rights and social issue we are faced with today. The New Underground Railroad Movement is dedicated to shutting down the “prison industrial complex” through tactical, organizational and grassroots work strikes, boycotts and class conscious empowerment.
A petition for Strategic Release, a groundbreaking initiative to free prisoners with a record of service to their communities, will for the first time be presented to the Parole Board April 2, 2015, on behalf of Abdul Olugbala Shakur. A two-sided petition form to print out, sign and circulate is posted below. Signed petitions must be returned in time to send them to the Parole Board by April 2. An online petition is also available.
I was released from prison on Tuesday, Nov. 25. I left prison with a pair of state-issued khaki pants, a white shirt, cheap sneakers, a thin jacket, and $35 – $10 of which were my own. None of this is enough to start a new life! There’s little or no help out here for the man or woman leaving prison. I’m committed to the cause from this day forth.
In short, Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) is county probation. Ironically, after nearly 16 years of being “incapacitated,” PRCS has turned out to be an unforeseeable blessing for this author! While utilizing the services and benefits available under PRCS (AB 109), my transition back into society has been virtually seamless.
Since the last hunger strike, the administration via the “Office of Corruptional Security” has instituted documented military torture tactics here at Pelican Bay State Prison in order to create hostile living conditions and attempt to turn prisoners on each other. But many of us have seen these tactics before, so we know how to deal with it.
On Nov. 6, a majority of the voters in California voted to amend the Three Strikes Law. In Cali alone, according to the film “Cruel and Unusual,” there are over 4,000 people locked up doing life under Three Strikes for nonviolent offenses. The Documentary Film Fest is featuring “Cruel and Unusual” on Nov. 11, 12 and 15 in San Francisco and Berkeley.
If we would have been self-transforming for the last 60, 50 years, there would not be millions of new slaves today and we would have the power to be making an impact and difference toward the building of the New World. Our teachers kept saying: “No matter what, we gotta keep pushing and growing. It’s the only way to continue our growth and become free.”
Against the background of the mass revolutionary Black power and prisoners’ movements in the U.S., a four day revolt began on Sept. 13, 1971, at the Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, N.Y. Its repression killed 39 people. When George Jackson, Black Panther and political prisoner, was murdered at San Quentin by the guards on Aug. 21, 1971, his book “Soledad Brother” was being passed from prisoner to prisoner and tensions were running mounting. A prisoners’ rights movement was growing.
California spends millions of dollars every year guarding physically incapacitated prisoners. California has a $10 billion budget deficit. California taxpayers will spend nearly $2 billion to pay for the health care needs of state prisoners. A large percentage of those funds are used for a small group of severely incapacitated inmates.
Would you feel like a full citizen if most of your civil and human rights were denied you? If the privileges afforded to community members were withheld from you, would you feel like a welcome member of the community?
Those of us who seek a second chance know we owe our community. Failure is not an option for a community and a people who have seen so much turmoil, who have experienced so much oppression, and yet survived only because it was group effort. I seek the shadow of a wing to survive and then thrive.
Leonard Peltier is a legendary leader of resistance against police and government oppression specifically dealing with the indigenous people of Turtle Island (Amerikkka). Now his nephew Aaron is releasing the “Free Leonard Peltier Album,” which features some of the most notable rappers on the scene today that rap for freedom. The listening party is Tuesday, Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m., at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pint St., West Oakland.
CDC (California Department of Corrections) has adopted a way to circumvent the impact of the furlough rule and, in the process of getting over by not having to adhere to this rule, never having to suffer any loss of their wages. They make extra money at the taxpayers’ expense!
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