Tag: “Defying the Tomb”
After six years of being bounced from state to state, having been exiled from the Virginia prison system for my political views and years of publicizing and resisting the brutal and racist abuses in its prisons, on June 12, 2018, I was returned to Red Onion State Prison (ROSP) in remote Wise County, Va. Even before I began publicizing these conditions, organizations like Human Rights Watch were reporting on them, bringing almost instant notoriety to ROSP after it opened in 1998.
We are excited about the impending release from prison of our beloved friend and comrade, Frank “Outlaw” Reid, on July 14. Outlaw will finally walk free! Allies in D.C. and Virginia have been raising financial support for his re-entry. Our latest effort is a mixed media zine called Justice for Outlaw, which includes an intensive study, by Outlaw, on the origins of the Virginia prison system and how it functions today.
On Monday, Oct. 28, a jury began hearing testimony in a civil suit filed against four prison guards in Wise County, Virginia, for an attack on Wallens Ridge prisoner Frank Reid in July 2009. Reid filed the suit after defeating prison officials’ charges of aggravated assault in the same incident. Reid is charging the guards with violating his constitutional rights as a prisoner of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VA-DOC).
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.
“Comrade” connotes equality and respect. It implies “I’ve got your back” and “we are one.” Comrades stand united unconditionally and, if need be, to the death. It implies a relationship that is inclusive, not exclusive, and not based on any triviality but revolutionary class solidarity. It represents the socialist future we seek to represent in the struggles of today and the eventual triumph of classless communist society.
Even before I began my political journey in 2001, I maintained certain principles – a variety of things I just don’t do. And usually, if ever I deviated from those principles, even in error, I’d end up in a tangle of trouble. February 2013 was an ordeal. I broke some of my rules and things got ugly. What happened is yet another experience that those who blindly trust the system – and those who don’t – need to know about.
In protest against the ongoing foul and inhumane conditions at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison – one of America’s most notoriously abusive and racist prisons – dozens of inmates went on a hunger strike. The strike began on May 22 and lasted several weeks. I was imprisoned at Red Onion for over a decade.