Liberate the Caged Voices

Bound-by-the-amerikkkan-flag, Liberate the Caged Voices, Behind Enemy Lines
In some respects, we are all bound in struggle by the oppressive and genocidal practices of colonial-settler capitalist, imperialist, white patriarchal pathology, but none so like the prisoner class. And those of us who remain non-compliant, complicit or cowed are bound in revolutionary love and a higher power, making our movement toward abolition boundless and therefore unstoppable. – Artist unknown

by Editor Nube Brown 

Greetings of love and light to all of you behind enemy lines,

This will be a heartfelt and unconventional missive as I have received such extraordinary gestures of love, support, uplift and respect from many of you regarding the November article about the ‘rock star informant’ for which I must acknowledge you – so I beg your indulgence in my desire to do so, as it will continue as long as I and the Bay View receive such letters.

I will not use any names here for safety and privacy reasons and these are only excerpts from mail that has been received – considering what’s taking place within California’s prisons (see below) it’s possible your mail hasn’t arrived, not that it hasn’t been acknowledged. 

I also wish to make it absolutely clear upfront that my support, my commitment and my revolutionary love for all of you who make up the prisoner class, the modern-day enslaved, is, if anything, even stronger after all of this. You show me every day why I’m an abolitionist and you inspire me every day. 

Through this painful ordeal you have shared playlists and poetry; you’ve shared wisdom, uplifting philosophies, sayings and quotes; you’ve shared your pain and your righteous anger; you’ve sent your prayers and words of support and care; you have shared yourselves in the highest integrity, intimacy and respect.

You’ve shared your time and used your pen to show me, and thus the Bay View, your unwavering support and commitment to our struggle together to liberate ourselves and build together a self-determined future for ourselves and our children in revolutionary love and shared humanity.

For this I am deeply grateful, humbled and completely blown away that this level of heart expression makes its way from out of that hellhole called prison, confirming that you are the shining examples of humanity – despite what this corrupt and illegitimate system tries to sell us!

May it inspire others inside to never let anyone define you or deter you from your quest for righteous liberation and to inspire those out here to become allies in this fight and to see what humanity looks like.

I’m sure you won’t mind that I receive this praise and support you’ve given me also on behalf of all the women and other supporters in this struggle working to dismantle and eventually to abolish this genocidal system called modern-day slavery taking place within the prison industrial slave complex – we are each other’s keeper.

I also hope you don’t mind that I share some of what you all shared with me – again without names attached. I can’t in good conscience keep this all to myself! It is my hope to continue to shift the narrative about who you are – people of integrity, principal, passion, intelligence, faith, heart, humanity and depth. 

May it inspire others inside to never let anyone define you or deter you from your quest for righteous liberation and to inspire those out here to become allies in this fight and to see what humanity looks like:

“My prayer is that you find peace within the depth of your soul and continue to elevate your principles and values above individual comfort … Brothers, sisters and komrades, there are some deep and rich lessons to be drawn from this level of betrayal by the agent double-0 negro, Keith Washington. Love, betrayal, a woman’s fortitude and conviction and selflessness, the cognitive conditioning of the colonial subject to be an agent of repression, the co-optation of our organizational ranks with old COINTELPRO methods in the 21st century and the fear that this level of infiltration [still] breathes.” Licking, MO

“What angered me most is when you stated ‘… also in anger grabbed me by the throat and pushed me against the wall and put me in danger in other ways …’ filled me with an anger I have not felt in years … I thank Allah for giving you the strength to put him out of your life. You’re a strong woman, period, an asset to humanity. From this day forward you and your son will be in my salute.” Vacaville, CA

I pray

“Nube there is so much that I pray for / Moments of calm and comfort / in the midst of heartache / I pray for your deep inner strength / as you find the days ahead / and your way through / Even when you need to be still and breathe / I pray to the lord you are able to find sanctuary / Somewhere to rest and renew your spirit / And most of all / I pray that you know you are not alone in this.” Amarillo, TX

“I want to thank you for all that you do for the People, and not that it hasn’t, but this too shall pass … and something positive can and will be born of it.” Livingston, TX

. . . hella disturbed when I read how Keith betrayed virtually everyone, himself included.

“You want to think the best of individuals. Texas prisons breed a certain type of character, creating perpetrators and fraudulent men crafting their skills to prey on people’s trust, ending up taking advantage of desperate people trying to get home to their loved ones … I’ve been down that [same] road as Mr. Barton – so-called prison writ writers flipping the narrative to profit with the state. It becomes a struggle to hold onto faith and you even question God during these encounters living life’s lessons … Although I’ve questioned God, I have no doubt about Him being real and existing. Ms. Brown, another life lesson to grant yourself privilege to survive that minor scrape and gain much wisdom from it: Snakes can’t change their nature no matter how many people try to make pets out of them; eventually they will bite you.” Kenedy, TX

“November’s issue has just been received! The insipid nonsense activity an agent infiltrator projected and promoted as akin to that of a ‘rock star’ has been concretely analyzed dialectically! The subject’s concept of intelligence and intelligence operatives and operations constitutes a warped perspective and/or application, also lacking morality!” Corcoran, CA

“I was hella disturbed when I read how Keith betrayed virtually everyone, himself included. After my initial shock, my first thought was you. My heart broke into the tiniest fragments because I could literally feel your pain. Your hurt became my own.” Homer, LA

Five out of a 20-song playlist: “Forever” by Sa Roc; “Book of Life” by Stahhr; “The Real American Dream” by Spoken Word; “Umbilical Cord to the Future” by Sister Souljah; “Utter Silence” by Tiff the Gift. He concluded with this statement: “I read the article in November’s issue of the Bay View, and I have one word: Resilience.” Moberly, MO

“Sister Nube, my deepest concerns and empathy for the letdown you and your son have had to endure. I implore you not to allow the disappointment(s) to deter you from your mission and to never permit this travesty to dim the glow of compassion you possess and its wonderous possibilities.” Woodville, TX

A-prisoners-gift-e1640831571953, Liberate the Caged Voices, Behind Enemy Lines
A prisoner sent this clipping, this precious gift, and explained why: “Nube: Took this off my wall. I’ve had it now for about two and a half years. It reminds me of what I’m fighting for – I hope it will remind you of the same. It’s a little worn, been traveling with me everywhere I go.” Moberly, Missouri

“Sista Nube Brown, thank you for your dedication to our struggle behind enemy lines. However, reading November 2021 Bay View had me sick. I was feeling your pain and your son’s – it felt like I was betrayed. My prayer goes out to you and your family … Thank you for all your work and love you have given to the struggle; I got your back.” Calipatria, CA

“I am saddened, yet enraged to hear of Malik’s betrayal and dishonesty in regards to Brother Bradley Barton; I send my support and prayers … I am disappointed to hear of the infiltration of SFBV by someone we both trusted, smh (shaking my head) … As an F+M it is a struggle for me to campaign these injustices of solitary confinement successfully, but with the help of SFBV I have survived and continue to stand my ground on this battlefield … I thank you for your bravery, integrity … God bless you! Please stay strong and keep hope alive. Don’t let Malik steal your light, joy and/or motivation. Fist in the air!” Gatesville, TX

“I’ve just seen the article about the cat who got in your heart and then got out and betrayed the movement, etc. That has nothing to do with you! It’s all love and gratitude towards you and the staff and people liberating for us all!” Jonesville, VA

“Solidarity greetings! My condolences – reading about Keith Washington made me so mad. Keith did the same thing Colins Caesar did to me. I’m trying to get the paperwork out of my property. And it was agent Brewer out of Houston FBI office that helped Caesar with his fraud. Don’t blame yourself; that’s on us in prison.” Thomson, IL (editor’s note: This is on no one but Keith Washington).

All I have to give in return is my continued commitment to making sure your voices get out and helping to get you free!! 

I salute all of you for your resilience. I appreciate you for your dedication to a higher principle and I love you because you are my people, my passion. 

I’m certain I could never truly express what your words of encouragement, wisdom and empathy mean to me – especially coming from you who are experiencing the worst of conditions – prison in amerikka, inc. Because while this is an unfortunate personal experience for me, it pales in comparison to what all you and Bradley Barton, along with his family, are enduring continuously and for far too long. All I have to give in return is my continued commitment to making sure your voices get out and helping to get you free!! 

With that said, I must admit it’s been difficult to give my focused attention to our California Hunger Strikers who are the authors and signers of the Agreement to End Hostilities; who are the organizers of the historic California Hunger Strikesthat culminated in 30,000 people participating – a core group of men vowing to hunger strike to their death if need be; who are survivors of decades of the torture of solitary confinement in Pelican Bay State Prison, most notably; who were victorious in ending indeterminant solitary confinement through the Ashker v. Brown class action lawsuit that also brought to the world’s attention this egregious human rights violation and torture taking place within CDCr; who are the organizers and creators of Black August and who are political prisoners and the reason for Liberate the Caged Voices. 

Here is a piece from a small collective of them:

Close CDCr institutions! Reduce mass incarceration! The California Correctional Peace Officer Association (CCPOA) is stopping the suitability preparedness and release of incarcerated persons

by The Freedom and Justice Center

State prison guards continue their work stoppage protest known as “staff shortage.” This latest scheme is led by their guard’s union, the CCPOA – senior influential guards formerly called Green Wall, a prison guards’ gang – who have organized guards into daily lay-in crews that don’t report to work on designated days each week throughout the month. 

California taxpayers have billions of their collective funds being removed from their paychecks and given to CDCr (California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation) annually to pay these guards who are not even working! [The implications here on prison conditions for prisoners and their families and loved ones cannot be overstated].

Why does California still have all its CDCr prisons, institutions, camps, detention centers etc.?

During the 1980s, the state and its private investors embarked upon what is known as the California prison boom, constructing numerous prisons, solitary confinement facilities and cages to warehouse, repress and even torture tens of thousands of men, women and youth for decades leading up to and through the historic California Prisoner’s Hunger Strikes (2011-2013). See www.prisons.orgwww.phss.orgwww.ccr.orgPrisoner Human Rights Movement.

It’s a threat to CDCr and the CCPOA prison guards’ jobs – they do not want to see prisoners qualify as parole-suitable and go home.

During the historic Hunger Strikes, a call was issued to follow the monies going into the pockets of correctional and public officials, and both CDCr and the CCPOA were publicly exposed in news reports and state legislative hearings on Aug. 22, 2011, and in October 2013.

Yet, to date they still have an annual multi-billion-dollar budget. Although they’ve promised to put adequate money into real rehabilitative programs to enable incarcerated persons to access and complete those required parole suitability programs by the Board of Parole Hearing (BPH), it never worked out because it’s a threat to CDCr and the CCPOA prison guards’ jobs – they do not want to see prisoners qualify as parole-suitable and go home.

Especially those held in SHU (security housing units) solitary confinement for years into decades and subjected to the state’s no parole policy for those classified as Indeterminate SHU class, many of whom remain incarcerated after being subjected to decades of state-sanctioned torture by extreme isolation, sensory deprivation, dehumanization etc. resulting in a new form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-Solitary Confinement (PTSDSC).

With laws changing to reduce California’s mass incarceration numbers, why hasn’t the state closed more prisons and stopped allowing CDCr and CCPOA to continue its public fear-mongering schemes to hold the taxpayer’s monies hostage for their billion-dollar budgets?

California is long past due for change, starting with reducing its overcrowded prison system, closing its prisons and disempowering the CCPOA guards’ stranglehold on CDCr and the taxpayers’ monies. Close CDCr institutions now!

Correspondence can be sent to: The Freedom and Justice Center, Freedom Outreach Fruitvale Station, P.O. Box 7359, Oakland, CA 94601.