Prison Lives Matter is a united front

Jalil Muntaqim, dean of imprisoned Black intellectuals, released Oct. 7, 2020, after nearly 50 years in prison, has mentored young Kwame Shakur for the past several years and has chosen Kwame to learn his strategies and lead the movement forward. Here, Muntaqim visits the grave of the man revered as the greatest Black intellectual and freedom fighter of the 19th century, Frederick Douglass.

by Kwame “Beans” Shakur

Prison Lives Matter is a united front for political prisoners, prisoners of war, politicized individuals behind enemy lines and their organizations as well as any outside formations in unison to abolish legalized slavery. The objective of PLM is to establish a national infrastructure within the overall Prison Movement that will allow us to implement a national strategy geared toward creating Regional Organizing Committees (ROCs) on both sides of the wall. 

The committees will be put in place through the work of the current Prison Lives Matter NCC (National Coordinating Committee), which is made up of some of the nation’s leading political prisoners and their outside support networks, including former political prisoners on the NCC like Jalil Muntaqim and Comrade Malik Washington, who were liberated this year. 

It is the job of NCC members behind enemy lines to set forth political education classes and cadre development programs that will help transform their environment in captivity. These environments should serve as revolutionary universities, liberation schools and cadre training centers so that upon re-entry into society we will have capable cadre leaders ready to step into the movement and continue the work needed to build and rebuild our infrastructure.

Incarcerated members of the NCC will network with other captives throughout their state in order to appoint field marshals capable of developing political education classes in each camp. This broadening of the PLM platform is what will essentially lay the foundation for the Regional Organizing Committees. Outside members of the NCC will utilize the national network of support groups, families of incarcerated individuals and other formations within the PLM Movement to establish the ROCs. 

The political education of captives, comrades and the masses is what is needed to build resistance and sustain a movement for liberation.

We have witnessed the difficulties of assembling national demonstrations with limited resources and calling on our leaders to travel around the kountry, making these things possible only once a year. This organizing strategy of the PLM-NCC and ROC will prove most effective in terms of forming regional vanguards that are able to mobilize boots on the ground and respond to the call of action when necessary.

Rather than organizing and mobilizing, the most important work of PLM both inside and out is to educate. The political education of captives, comrades and the masses is what is needed to build resistance and sustain a movement for liberation. Prison Lives Matter is not about “reforming” the existing system. Through this united front, which operates on an anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist line, we will strive to expose the prison industrial slave complex’s hidden political and economic hierarchy within the United States empire. 

Therefore, we call to raise consciousness to the contradictions that exist around how class, “race” and national oppression lead to the rise of mass incarceration – legalized slavery – and the building of more state and privatized prisons. The higher calling for the “In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela” campaign is one demanding an international investigation into the human rights violations of prisoners that exist within the United States. 

However, in order to garner the recognition and support of the international community, we must establish this infrastructure and national strategy on these shores. We are our own liberators!

Send our brother some love and light: Kwame Shakur, 149677, WVCF, P.O. Box 500, Carlisle IN 47838.