Tags New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter
Tag: New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter
On Labor Day here at the William P. Clements Unit, a prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, the prisoners awoke to a late breakfast: a single PBJ sandwich, a small bowl of dry cereal and no beverage. This grossly inadequate meal, which is our common fare during institution-wide lockdowns, signaled that a weeks- or months-long lockdown was in effect. Hunger pangs set in almost immediately.
I am a cadre of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, currently incarcerated at Red Onion Prison in the southwest corner of Virginia. I’ve been a subscriber to SF Bayview for 14 months. I recently received the August 2016 issue, which came as a pleasant surprise. Prior to that, my copies of Bayview were arbitrarily disapproved with the pseudo-justification that “content could be detrimental to offenders’ rehabilitation efforts.”
From behind the enemy lines of the California State Prison System, from within the “belly of the beast” that is the Amerikan injustice system, I greet you all and call for your full attention to the annual commemoration of Black August and invite all prisoners and families throughout Amerika to join us in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, studying and sharing respect and unity with Panther love and knowledge in the spirit of our fallen comrades.
“What sort of conditions could be so unbearable that they’d drive a person to suffer cutting through the skin, nerves, muscles and arteries of his own face, at the risk of permanent disfigurement, disability or even death?” Amerika inflicts such extreme torture on prisoners that they routinely commit such acts as could never be expected of a sane and stable mind. And this is the point: Solitary confinement drives people into insanity.
Our study group here has expanded exponentially since these demonstrations across the country. People here with me who only yesterday refused to come to terms with being victims of social injustice are now identifying with the forces of revolution. They no longer have a defeatist mentality. Ferguson has shown that RESISTANCE IS THE WAY FORWARD. We are moving – to what destination, only time will tell.
Another Texas prisoner is dead due to a combination of guard brutality and medical neglect. For three consecutive nights, medical staff were summoned to the cell of Christopher Woolverton because he was lying on the floor barely responsive. After a criminally long delay of three days, during which time he was in clear distress, he should have finally received medical attention. But that’s not what happened.
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.
I was flown here to Texas on June 14. This is a bit more dire than the February ordeal, so it calls for at least as much sustained and broad help. (Rashid was abruptly transferred from Virginia, where he’d been held, mostly in solitary confinement, since 1990, to Oregon in February 2012, where he was placed in Oregon’s Orwellian Snake River Correctional Unit, an unvarnished behavior modification program.)
“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.
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