I started writing this series and planning this Campaign to Redistribute the Pain with the intention of getting everyone’s understanding up on the importance and power of economics to our struggle. We can’t march and protest our way to freedom. Instead, we have to bankrupt the corporate enterprise that was created by the 13th Amendment. I don’t make this statement lightly: The approximately 3 million people in U.S. prisons are or represent the most powerful group of labor in this country.
I am a 36-year-old socially conscious, politicized New Afrikan prison activist, jailhouse lawyer and writer. I have been held “captive” for the last nearly 19 years. In my entire existence upon this earth I’ve fallen in love only twice. The first time was with my high school sweetheart. The second time was with my very first issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper back in December of 2012. The Bay View has had my nose wide open ever since.
What we input into our minds determines our outlook and eventually determines our output. That’s the problem with today’s generation. We are simply inputting the wrong type of information into our precious brains. We need the Bay View like a fish needs water. I can’t over emphasize the importance of having knowledge.
“Imprisonment is an aspect of class struggle from the outset. It is the creation of a closed society which attempts to isolate those individuals who disregard the structures of a hypocritical establishment as well as those who attempt to challenge it on a mass basis. Throughout its history, the United States has used its prisons to suppress any organized efforts to challenge its legitimacy.” – George L. Jackson, “Blood in My Eye”
On Dec. 14, civil rights leader and political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney will have spent a year in Michigan state prison. An all-white jury convicted him of five felony counts of forgery for changing dates next to signatures on a petition drive for a recall election, though no evidence of guilt was presented. While Pinkney’s appeal proceeds slowly through the grinding gears of the judicial system, he remains in the clutches of the state.
It’s hard to believe that prison authorities’ refusal to treat Juan Jaimes’ broken back is not yet another instance of retaliation against him for being a petitioner in the Corcoran hunger strike last December and January. One prisoner participant, Christian Gomez, died in that strike, and CDCR – and its boss, Gov. Jerry Brown – seem desperate to cover it up and silence the petitioners.
Against the background of the mass revolutionary Black power and prisoners’ movements in the U.S., a four day revolt began on Sept. 13, 1971, at the Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, N.Y. Its repression killed 39 people. When George Jackson, Black Panther and political prisoner, was murdered at San Quentin by the guards on Aug. 21, 1971, his book “Soledad Brother” was being passed from prisoner to prisoner and tensions were running mounting. A prisoners’ rights movement was growing.
One of the most important ways that a tiny 0.01 percent of the population controls all of society is through its police, military and prisons. These are some of the fascist institutions within capitalism that, through its control of mass media, can shape and mold how the contradictions between the capitalist class and working class are viewed. These views never expose the truth about how capitalism is a predatory system that has to be destroyed entirely if the working class is to prevail.
Prison is a lonely, dark, cruel reality where you immediately become trapped in a time warp on one of the many modern day plantations that have sprung up like trees across America. In 2008, shortly after Hurricane Gustav ripped through several of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, a brutal sexual assault was being carried out by a sadistic corrections officer. I will conduct a sit-down with the victim of that violent act.
A shout-out of respect and solidarity from the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective to all similarly situated prisoners subject to the continuing torturous conditions of confinement in these barbaric SHU (Security Housing Unit) and Ad/Seg (Administrative Segregation) units across this country and around the world.
“The idea of this agreement going around is a positive start to a new beginning for all inmates. If we could maintain this valuable peace treaty within the prison system, why not work on spreading the word outside the prison walls so that we may put an end to the gang violence and work on becoming a bigger force?” writes a prisoner in the Pelican Bay SHU. And in a large rally outside the LA County Jail, youth called for a “parallel cease fire in the streets” to correspond to the end of hostilities inside the prisons. Prisoners need this news. Please copy and mail this story to a prisoner.
It's the party of parties! Celebrate Mumia's birthday and the release of his new book, "Jailhouse Lawyers," this Friday, 4/24, 6:30pm, Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland, with keynote speaker prison abolitionist Prof. Angela Davis, Min. of Info. JR, Mistah F.A.B., Chela Simone, Kiilu Nyasha, Tiny of Poor, Molotov Mouths, Adimu of Hairdoo and many more.
On June 2, a federal judge allowed hundreds of California prisoners to join a lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California prisons when she granted the case class action status. Class certification allows the case to include all prisoners who are serving indefinite SHU terms as a result of gang validation who have not been placed in a new step-down program.
The concept of Black August grew out of the need to expose to the light of day the glorious and heroic deeds of Afrikan women and men who recognized and fought injustice. We consecrate this month to those who have been taken from us but who will never be forgotten – for the love of freedom which their lives were dedicated to.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Having been one of the many who have been let out of the control units (SHU), I can say that there is some victory in this development, but there is much work to be done outside the SHU and still a ways to go before victory is complete. This accomplishment of opening the gates of SHU for many simply means we face new forms of oppression; it changes in form but not in essence.
As incarcerated people across the country began a three-week series of protests, a contingent of physicians, health professions students and other allied health professionals expressed their solidarity with the protestors. More than 125 students and healthcare providers signed an open letter endorsing the National Prison Strike, with many participating in local solidarity actions or making phone calls to prisons to show support for the strikers’ demands.
The genocidal slave masters, oppressors, capitalists, imperialists, colonists, racists and white pathologists continue to use any tool imaginable to attempt to sustain the imploding system of inhumanity.