What happened to Balagoon, Father of the Fruit? Part 2

Prisoners-pray-under-surveillance-at-Folsom-Prison-1963, What happened to Balagoon, Father of the Fruit? Part 2, Abolition Now!
Prisoners pray under surveillance at Folsom Prison in 1963.

by Minister Balagoon K. Mohammad

Editor’s reminder: We continue to provide a platform for the telling of our modern-day enslaved community members’ experiences as an invitation to act in Ubuntu (swahili for shared humanity) by choosing to acknowledge the humanity of the teller. We can learn and change so much more together. Let’s bring them home!

Excerpt from Part 1: “For 17 years now, I’ve been confined to a wheelchair and isolated in the hospital in a Level 4 Critical Treatment Center. However, I now have a lot more faith in myself than I did 17 years ago. I’ve been blessed to redevelop the diamond-hard brilliance that once allowed me to see and understand the sacred purpose in everything happening in our world.

“And this is very important today; as someone must at all times be willing to stand forth and convey the actual facts inherent in the life lessons which grow out of every set of circumstances and conditions that New Afrikans find themselves in. As it is these life lessons that set the tone and context of the struggle – kind of like the cancer (bone and blood) that I now struggle against day in and day out. It requires extreme struggle and a level of discipline that transcends the imagination of most people.

“Needless to say, the lesson is this: If there is no struggle, there is no progress. So I’ve had to make a commitment to the process of staying alive.” – Balagoon

In 2008, I was discharged from the hospital and returned to the Handicap Short Corridor at Corcoran State Prison for 10 more years. And from that point on I lived my life as an example of my message of unity, consolidation and group operation amongst New Afrikans.

As a bona fide Warrior and New Afrikan in service to the people, I struggled with strength, dignity and determination to continue the great work of my father and constantly urged all people of the noble African genotype to politically educate themselves and end petty grudges and all other negative approaches to our problems.

While in the SHU (Security Housing Unit), I also worked to fully develop programs like The Golden Ankh Relief Organization, Higher Grades Gang Intervention Program and a spiritual initiative that would allow New Afrikans to engage the critical issue of self-development and survival.

As a political prisoner of war (on Blacks in general and Muslims in particular), I believe that freedom and the practice of self-government begins in the mind, and ultimately fulfills itself in the liberation of the masses, or activity that results in the freedom of the people from the debilitating, demoralizing and demonic elements of this society.

In 2013, word reached me regarding the impending Hunger Strike (California Hunger Strikes, of which there were three starting in 2011. The 2013 strike culminated in 30,000 imprisoned people participating). I clearly understood the objectives of it, as the parole board had just used my validation as a BGF (Black Guerrilla Family) to deny me parole and the self-improvement group to claim I was still active.

It was a matter of self-preservation over victimization – active resistance to sanctioned repression.

So, I immediately began the process of expanding the New Afrikan struggle to one of aligning all racial groups into ranks of resistance, especially for those of us suffering against the diverse circumstances and conditions of long-term SHU programs – as I knew that only a progressive Huemanist Movement of committed people throughout CDCr, working in tandem with a common goal, to not only secure freedom from the SHU but to expand the realm of truth as it related to the underhanded practices of the CDCr, would work.

This goal, and its greater objectives, went beyond the simple struggle for freedom over confinement, or self-defense over police brutality and systemic corruption. For me as a handicap and Muslim, validated as BGF because of my faith and activism, it was a matter of self-preservation over victimization – active resistance to sanctioned repression.

So, in transcending racial passion I stepped up and beyond the Pro-Afrikan realm of “Blackness,” so that I and others could negotiate the terms of the Hunger Strike, and the needs of the people, with conscious men of other races. My many years of studying and living amongst other races has given me an understanding of their history, culture, language and folkways and created in me a moral sensitivity to other nationalities and their ethical commitment to struggle and survival.

This is not to say that my rise in consciousness or transcendence of racial passions made me love everyone or forgive the savagery of my opponents in battle, historically speaking. It is simply to imply that I now had a new mission profile that required me to draw a clear line of distinction between New Afrikans as Revolutionary Huemanists and them as radical survivalists dedicated to a tradition of struggle. As the Most Honorable Marcus Garvey said: “They could not be our advisors,” nor the selector of our battles and wars for freedom, justice and equality. But in this endeavor we could struggle side by side, in lockstep.

In light of the Hunger Strikes and our new racial paradigm, I pursued an alliance with the EME first and showed them how we as a struggling class of men should exist in harmony and relate to our environment and the cops in a certain way.

The medical issues we now live with are lethal – medical issues that must now be paid for out of the people’s tax dollars.

I remember sending their highest ranking member a kite pointing out the fact that: “Most of us are getting old back here, and some of us are on the verge of dying. So, we really can’t afford to be squabbling over the small issues, as our lack of organization as a prisoner union or confusion about identity as convicts is working against us. It’s time for us older cons to assume full responsibility for a lot of these young cats that don’t know the heavy price that’s already been paid by all races.” 

Suffice it to say, we all went into the Hunger Strike of 2013 and stood strong and steadfast in the ranks of resistance even after the first death and the department’s efforts to force-feed us.

It was out of this powerful experience that the Prisoners Human Rights Movement was created –  the first movement 1000% devoted to restoring the humanity of prisoners and shaping a new history of peace and sound race relations behind the wall, and the result of our Agreement to End Hostilities.

On Aug. 6, 2013, an old Aryan brother and I were the last two validated (handicap) convicts out of the black site at Corcoran State Prison. Many others had already been released from the SHU at both Pelican Bay and Tehachapi and Corcoran’s 4B-1 Left – some of us with cancer, some of us with clotting blood, some of us with kidney failure, respiratory distress syndrome and a slew of other debilitating ailments associated with our time in the SHU.

Today, Brotha Sitawa (Nantambu Jamaa) and I sit in a hospital bed in a medical Short Corridor contemplating all these affairs and our long struggle, now realizing that all of us have been blessed to come forth from the SHU with our minds intact. But our bodies are wrecked and ravaged by years of poor diets, polluted air, extreme workouts, poison food, contaminated water and old age. The medical issues we now live with are lethal – medical issues that must now be paid for out of the people’s tax dollars, but could be drastically reduced if the state simply granted parole to most of us and compassionate release to the convicts who served over 30 years in these koncentration kamps.

No matter what they do we will continue to dare to survive the impossible!

Minister Balagoon Kambone Muhammad 

Editor’s note: Minister Balagoon went up for parole in June 2022 and was denied three years. Shame on CDCr! And shame on us for not holding them to account! Call the governor at 916-445-2841.

Send our brother some love and light: Balagoon Kambone Muhammad, C95955, CHCF D1A-129, P.O. Box 213040, Stockton CA 95213.