Survival in the midst of historical and current long-term determined torture by prison guards against prisoners under the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation is testament to the human spirit, and glaring evidence of our social decline as human beings to allow the existence of such atrocities.
What happened to them on Aug. 8, the hellistic rain of police gunfire, beatings, rape threats and incarceration, was nothing compared to what they faced in Philadelphia courtrooms, where they were denied their every right, including their alleged right to self-representation, beaten again when they refused to attend their own legal lynchings, and then, the lynchpin – convictions, and common sentences before Judge Edwin Malmed of 30 to 100 years, for third degree murder?!
As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.
Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.
For the last few months, myself and other POOR Magazine family of poverty and indigenous skolaz have been traveling to Missions across CalifAztlan alongside First Nations elders and revolutionaries to address the 21st century violence of granting sainthood to Junipero Serra by Pope Francis. Using indigenous bodies for brutal slave labor, Junipero Serra “founded” nine of 21 Franciscan missions along the Pacific coast.
In front of a packed chamber May 6, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a reparations ordinance allocating $5.5 million for many of those tortured and framed by police commander Jon Burge and his notorious “Midnight Crew” from 1972 to 1991. Burge and his “crew” extracted false confessions to win convictions of at least 120 people, mostly Black men, using electric shocks, mock executions, suffocation and beatings.
For some time now we have been working very closely with the Congolese Solidarity Campaign. We have been working to build a politic from below that accepts each person as a person and each comrade as a comrade without regard to where they were born or what language they speak. In this struggle we have faced constant attack from the state, the ruling party and others.
The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed Black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence and lie on the witness stand. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge and to discriminate with impunity.
Under the aegis of repressing a “gang” called the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF), the administration carried on a witchhunt against the political thinking of many Black prisoners and punished them by solitary confinement. This article, the second in a series of three, looks at the notion of prison gang, its relation to the prisoner’s need for defense and how that affects us beyond the prison wall.
The trial of the Dallas 6 pertains to an April 29, 2010, peaceful protest against illegal and barbaric conditions created by the prison guards in the hole at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas), including food starvation, mail destruction, beatings, medical neglect, use of a torture chair and deaths of various prisoners. The trial of the Dallas 6 will represent a moment of truth and exposure.
Rwandan opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda is reported to be in perilous condition after going on a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions in Rwanda’s Mpanga Prison, which is also known as Rwanda’s Guantanamo. Rwanda has been a close ally and military partner of the U.S. since President Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front seized power in 1994.
It’s been made quite clear that I’m here in Texas in direct response to my having brought undesired public scrutiny to Oregon’s and Virginia’s prisons. This is an account of what I’ve experienced and witnessed in just a couple of weeks here, which can only be described as Cowboy Justice – as lawless as the Wild West. It is also an appeal to public support and activism.
Unjustified imprisonment and torturous living conditions have prisoners hunger striking all over the world. Many people who read the Bay View on the regular are aware of the California prison hunger strike, which has been going on for over a month now and started with over 30,000 prisoners statewide participating. But many know nothing about another prison hunger strike that is going on simultaneously on a U.S. military base in Cuba.
When the concept of Black August manifested in 1979, many thought it was simply a focus group protest growing out of the avoidable death of Khatari Gaulden on Aug. 1, 1978, in the San Quentin prison infirmary. Survival for Africans in California’s prison population of 20,000 inmates had to that point been recognized by some as a bit more than problematic.