by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Every prison is the same, and every prison is different. Every prison has its own mythos – think Alcatraz, Sing Sing, Attica – its own rhythm: hard, cool, tight, relaxed, severe or super max. And every prison is run by class, as in how courts or administrators have classified a crime according to whose interests are threatened.
For example, in every “hole” in the state, where all Death Rows are sited, men and women with the worst sentences live the least contentious lives. If they can afford it – really if their family can – they have TV, radio and other amenities, if they can afford it. Some work prison jobs for the glorious wage of around $35 to $50 a month – yes, a month. There, every mind is attuned to the ultimate sentence – death – and against such an immensity, amenities seem trivial.
Yet Death Row is a class (as in classification), and beyond it lies a chasm of classifications that are as maddening as they are mundane: AC (Administrative Custody), DC (Disciplinary Custody), PC (Protective Custody) and beyond. All are lock-up statuses, all have their distinct rules of what is or isn’t allowed and all have degrees of repression.
Every major U.S. history book has described America as virtually classless, with rigid class distinctions more a British or European thing. How then can a Nation that claimed classlessness give birth to such institutions that are so riddled with class differentiations?
Because America was never classless, and not only did it have rigid classes, it had – and has – caste, more rigid than stone. Millions of Blacks live in such a caste, as noted recently in Michelle Alexander’s excellent work, “The New Jim Crow.”
The ruling, wealthy class built prisons and courts to protect them and their wealth from the masses. They also built the ideological illusion of classlessness, which is maintained through their media. They brayed about freedom, while erecting the most massive prison complex – the prison industrial complex – this earth has ever seen.
The ruling, wealthy class built prisons and courts to protect them and their wealth from the masses.
They built Prison Nation.
© Copyright 2011 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s latest book, “Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.,” available from City Lights Publishing, www.citylights.com or (415) 362-8193. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. For recent interviews with Mumia, visit www.blockreportradio.com. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light at: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Greene, 175 Progress Dr., Waynesburg PA 15370.
A small victory for Brother Mumia Abu Jamal
by Jawad Latif Muhammad
On Thursday, Dec. 8, I saw on the evening news that Mumia Abu Jamal’s sentence was commuted to life. However, we all know the fight to win our brother’s freedom is far from over until he is out with his beloved family and the community. This victory is major for us in this important time in history, with the system having taken from us Stanley Tookie Williams, Troy Davis and many others. Many brothers and sisters who are innocent are in prison and on Death Row rotting away, losing their minds, not able to ever change the conditions of our communities.
Brother Mumia Abu Jamal has always claimed his innocence since being charged with the murder of Officer Faulkner. With many appeals, he has finally received some relief from the courts.
Brother Mumia is a shining light for those of us in the belly of the beast who are in a struggle against a wicked system. Regardless of the circumstances, we must never give up the fight against the powers that be, even if it costs us our very lives. We must understand that this system is not rooted in freedom, justice and equality, which is the basis of every human life. Brother Mumia has demonstrated to us that even on Death Row, one can still educate, inspire and motivate – some of the same things that he was doing at the time of his arrest.
Brother Mumia is a shining light for those of us in the belly of the beast who are in a struggle against a wicked system. He has demonstrated to us that even on Death Row, one can still educate, inspire and motivate – some of the same things that he was doing at the time of his arrest.
Brother Mumia Abu Jamal represents the continued struggle of our people around the world. Nothing has changed; the injustice is done in different ways so that we can’t recognize it. We cannot stop our continued fight, and in unity we can accomplish anything. That’s the only way we can see the vision of freedom become a reality for those who are innocent and all the political prisoners in America and the world. The power is the people!
Send our brother some love and light: Jawad Latif Muhammad (S. Williams), 563001, Darrington Unit, 59 Darrington Rd, Rosharon TX 77583.