by Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa
A warrior of the people, I spent my life strong and actively involved with the struggle for freedom from a man-made social and psychological jungle during a time when New Afrikans sought to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which act as the breeding ground for crime and acts of self-annihilation.
In 1980, at the virile age of 22, the tentacles of the system snatched my freedom and altered the course of my life forever – and it was there in the confines of a 6-by-8-foot cage that I came face to face with myself and a single, life changing decision: become politically conscious, educated by the Brothers, or remain stuck on stupid.
Suffice it to say, I chose the road to political consciousness and a life devoted to helping others. Originally, I just read books and studied political theory and cultural knowledge, which led to history and an understanding of the common denominators that we all share as members of the human family.
Because of an African Methodist Christian upbringing and four sisters who had a strong belief in God, coupled with a deep faith, I read the Bible daily and prayed whenever depression and doubt set in – and to get past CDC/CDCr corruptibles! Understand that the fear of change is rooted in us not wanting to take the more difficult path because of the work involved, but if we look within and question our hearts, the spirit of truth within will lead and guide us to take each painful step.
One who has the gift of natural leadership is a threat when they are unwilling to be used as a tool and a fool.
And that is how the transformation from Ronnie Norris Dewberry to Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa took place. At the age of 24, I changed my thought processes, my behavior – pattern, emotional sphere and spiritual pulse. This altered my vision of self, others and the world around me so that by the time I reached the age of 40, I had a program and practice that would assist hundreds of other men in the art of “using time.”
On May 15, 1985, CDCr/IGI custody lieutenants used my popularity amongst all ethnic groups as a way to make and substantiate a claim of “gang activity” while using my association with all revolutionary members of my vast community and last residence to validate me as BGF – as a member of an organized Revolutionary Organization. Understand that one who has the gift of natural leadership is a threat when they are unwilling to be used as a tool and a fool.
Since 1972 and the George Jackson affair, CDCr has sought to control the political education process and identify or isolate every politically conscious, socially aware prisoner with influence amongst the prison populace, including me!
Unbeknownst to most newcomers and those prisoners committed after 1990, the vast number of problems and level of violence which now permeates the joint is a direct result of a power struggle that has existed between old influential convicts and new cops and administrators, who imagine themselves as master manipulators of the prison culture or prison politics.
Note: Prison politics is the art of lying, the ability to take one aspect of truth and entwine it in a thousand lies. It is also the ability to manipulate circumstances and conditions of a prison yard for the purpose of power and financial gain within CDCr.
So, there has always been a class of prisoners that held to the belief that we control our own destiny, even behind the wall. Seeing this concrete reality has moved CDCr to identify and isolate “the most influential” and necessarily “the most dangerous” on Level 4 yards – because tactically speaking, administration thought that they could 1) control the random element, 2) manage the prison system better, 3) control the political education process and production of militant prisoners – they could control none of them!
The ultimate objective of the administration is control of energy and manpower (violent) that can be legally employed “for the good of the nation” per the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
However, the influx of younger, more undisciplined prisoners in the ‘90s mixed with politically uneducated men who came during the early 1990s made things complicated, while we Revolutionary Nationalists had been held in solitary confinement throughout state prisons, particularly in Pelican Bay and Corcoran. Understand that with no grooming process in place, this wayward set of prisoners came into the prison and brought with them the same uncouth behavior and disorganized confusion as that which they had practiced in California Youth Authority (CYA) and the hood.
When administration realized that the magnitude of the problem was entwined in the lack of leadership and a program that upheld The Prisoner Code of Conduct, they strove to impose order on the state of chaos and confusion unfolding: First, by releasing some older influential convicts, second by setting up networks that not only introduced drugs into the prisons en masse, but used those drugs as the “new and improved” control mechanism for the wild bunch.
This second tactic was a stroke of [evil] genius on the part of the administration as most of the young prisoners who came into prison in the early ‘90s were crackheads, weed heads and drug dealers, so drug and gang violence was a part of their culture and street gangs to prison gangs was their path, with CDCr assisting.
Remember, that the ultimate objective of the administration is control of the tremendous power (in number) and violent potential that gangs possess – CDCr gang members and associates as well – control an energy and manpower (violent) that can be legally employed “for the good of the nation” per the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Understand that gangs have always been an integral part of Amerikkka’s subculture, and this is an element of the social stratum that is feared. Hence, the unremitting effort to control or destroy or, as J. Edgar Hoover put it when creating COINTELPRO: “To disrupt, misdirect, discredit or neutralize the activities of Black hate groups and their leadership, membership and supporters.” That is part of an internal memo to the FBI agents back in 1968 and is still the basic modus operandi of the police, courts and prison administrators where New Afrikans are concerned.
We move forward together as people of color and those Jane Browns and John Browns of the world.
Support the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM)!
Get behind the Agreement to End Hostilities, inside and outside!
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa