by Addul Olugbala Shakar, Coorindator, Pelikkkan Bay Political Prisoners Coalition (PBPPC)
In 2007, after serving 24 years in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), I became eligible for release, but the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) and the Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI) denied my release solely based on my political writings and activities. I am now going on my 30th year in solitary confinement – isolation – the last 22 years in Pelikkkan Bay Prison. I recently received a disciplinary report for participating in both hunger strikes. I suspect I will receive more of these: Resistance to the Death!
I would like to briefly expound upon a subject that Brotha David Johnson had briefly touched on in the October issue of the Bay View. He spoke briefly on the political prisoner issue. At present only a handful of us at Pelikkkan Bay are recognized as political prisoners, myself and Hugo Pinell in particular, but contrary to popular misconception there are at least 30 New Afrikan political prisoners being unjustly held in solitary confinement here at Pelikkkan Bay. These New Afrikan revoluntionary brothas have been denied parole and release from SHU solely based on their political beliefs and activities, and the last time I checked this qualifies them as political prisoners and they are all active within the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM).
When a prisoners transforms his criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality and then commits himself to fighting racism, fascism, oppression, imperialism and pig brutality and he is persecuted for his political activities and belief, placed in solitary confinement and or denied parole, he becomes a tortured prisoner and legal combatant for his political beliefs, thus a “political prisoner.” He meets all the criteria supported by the United Nations and global community, and every time the Prison Rights Movement, Jericho Movement, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, New Afrikan Independence Movement and the Anarchist Movement fail to support these New Afrikan political prisoners and POWs and/or recognize their status as political prisoners and POWs, it only facilitates their political torture, persecution and isolation and fortifies their suffering and, unbeknownst to many, some of these brothas came to prison for their service to the revolution.
We are the only class of New Afrikan/Black prisoners in the entire country who are forbidden to speak the name of the author of the book “Soledad Brother” and are punished for doing so. We can’t even mention the title of his other book. We can’t quote none of his writings. It is considered gang activity and material and used as a gang validation source for prison gang membership. His books, writings and image are banned in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) here at Pelikkkan Bay State Prison. Many of us have been denied release from SHU for possessing his books and writings; some have even received indeterminate SHU sentences for this.
We are the only class of New Afrikan/Black prisoners in the entire country who are forbidden to speak the name of the author of the book “Soledad Brother” and are punished for doing so. It is considered gang activity.
No class of prisoner in this country is being subjected to this level of political persecution and political censorship. Combined we have close to 1,000 years in solitary confinement. The CDC is using our persecution as a warning for the Black prison population. If they dare to struggle, they will end up like us. Unfortunately, it has worked.
In 2007 the OCS and IGI raided our cells and confiscated our political and Black history literature. They confiscated my pictures, political drawings by Comrade Kevin Rashid Johnson, pamphlets and proposals that I wrote, over 50 of my poems, my books, such as Malcolm X speeches and Kwame Nkrumah revolutionary handbook, all material that had Comrade’s name in it, as well as my Black Liberation Army literature and Cointelpro documents. They claim it was all gang related.
Combined we have close to 1,000 years in solitary confinement. The CDC is using our persecution as a warning for the Black prison population.
People, you will be surprised at the degree of our censorship. This very article was confiscated the first time I attempted to send it to the Bay View. I also received a serious disciplinary report for writing this article and it will be used to deny my release from the SHU when I become eligible in 2014.
When I initially attempted to send this article to Sista Mary [Bay View editor], I had seven pages of printed documents that contained statements from the warden, OCS and IGI, and I had instructed Sista Mary to print an underlined portion that would both expose and validate our political persecution. IGI and ISU confiscated everything and accused me of promoting gang activity when I suggested that the warden’s statement be printed along with my article. Now as a result of this I will not be eligible for release from SHU until 2020. I guess this is supposed to discourage me. Do they not realize I am prepared to die for our revolutionary cause – Allahu-Akbar!
This very article was confiscated the first time I attempted to send it to the Bay View. I also received a serious disciplinary report for writing this article and it will be used to deny my release from the SHU when I become eligible in 2014.
The PBPPC is designed to mobilize a grassroots effort to specifically address our political persecution and censorship. The Bay View has supported us for many years and has provided us with a medium to share our stories. People, I am a New Afrikan revolutionary combatant, so I am not looking for your sympathy. Don’t cry for me. I am your first responder. I suffer so you can live in a world free of racial oppression. I relish the sacrifice.
Over 20 years I have slept on concrete floors, without mattress or blanket, determined never to be comfortable in this man-made hell. I allow the constant pain to fuel my Black rage. Is this insanity? No! I am but a soldier expressing a profound love for my people. I realize I am often misunderstood and many have accused me of being too extreme, on the brink of insanity.
I ask, is it too crazy to want an end to the suffering of our people and global community? Before you condemn me, look outside your front door and tell me what do you see? We as Black people are being persecuted on every continent, but we find time to murder each other, sell drugs to each other, abandon our parental responsibilities. We don’t even have the will to stop using the word “Nigger” – but yet I am insane? I love you, my people, and I will bid you my unconditional love.
Send our brother some love and light: Abdul Olugbala Shakur (s/n J. Harvey), C-48884, PBSP SHU, D-4-112, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532.
Pelican Bay State Prison Second Level Review: Warden’s Level Decision
With his letter, Brother Shakur sent the warden’s decision on his appeal protesting IGI, which had “stopped and retained one outgoing mailing on October 20, 2011. HARVEY feels that this was an effort to censor his political views and it was not promoting gang activity.”
In the section headed “Findings,” the warden writes: “HARVEY is a validated member of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gang with the alias of ‘Abdul Shakur.’ The BGF views themselves as political prisoners and utilizes literature as a means of spreading their ideology to other African Americans.
“The mailing in question had the address of ‘Bay View Attn. Mary Ratcliff, 4917 Third Street, San Francisco , CA. 94124.’ HARVEY speaks of censorship he feels he is under by correctional staff at PBSP. HARVEY also includes a copy of an inmate Appeal he filed in 2009. HARVEY gives Ms. Ratcliff the instruction to add the underlined portions of the Appeal to his article.
“A review of the underlined portion in the Appeal, outlines the history and ideologies of the BGF, as well as subsidiaries of the BGF. HARVEY utilizes the Appeal response in an attempt to have BGF ideologies and history published in his article.”
Under “Determination of Issue,” the warden rules: “The Second Level Reviewer examined all the pertinent documents, including all information received during the Second Level Interview. This Appeal is DENIED. By HARVEY attempting to have the history and ideologies of the BGF printed in his article, HARVEY is promoting and attempting to further the BGF by educating other individuals who would read his article. HARVEY was issued a Rules Violation Report and given an opportunity to plead his case to a staff member outside of the IGI and was found guilty of promoting gang activity through the mailing in question. Sergeant Frisk reviewed all the available information and determined the IGI staff acted in accordance with institutional policy, thus warranting the mail stoppage.”