Revolution #183, November 15, 2009
Years of Police Terror Finally Gave Painful Birth to a Revolutionary
We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The viewpoints expressed here are those of the writers and not Revolution newspaper.
Greetings and a clenched fist comrade salute to all you brothers and sisters. I write you from a dungeon known as California’s supermax prison "Pelican Bay." This country is undergoing a dramatic "facelift" in its political arena, the blatant disregard for humanity that Bush II displayed forced the ruling class to dig deep in its trump chest so that once more the people can be corralled into their Bourgeois politics with all the false hopes and empty promises that come with it. Thus the need to bring to light the cold truth is needed now more than ever.
First, I speak from the inner core of the nation of prison, from deep within the Beast’s Rancid innards known as the Security Housing Unit (S.H.U.). I know first hand the bottom end of oppressive U.S. Imperialism, I have been state raised since age 11. Juveniles, Boys Camps, Reformatory schools, then Prison and now control unit. The streets of the Barrio were everything to me, and the broken home-life would be the fuel for the anger I always feel for growing up with empty hands and constant harassment from the police, because I was Latino in a poor neighborhood, dressed a certain way, hanging out with other poor kids my age, no direction and hungry as ever. These are the conditions of millions of youth across this country who turn to petty crime as they don’t understand why their circumstances are so bleak, or any other alternative to changing these conditions.
As I began to become caught in the prison trap, time spent in the "hole" began to be time to read, learn and study. I began to read my own history of Latin America and the many Revolutions and struggles; this led me to take up Revolutions worldwide and realize that every Liberation struggle for the most part was fought against U.S. backed Regimes. This was eye opening! as I thought, "I never read about this in Jr. High or elementary classes." I began to want more because I realized this history had been kept from me all my life as Bob Avakian says I had "been locked out of politics" and so naturally wanted to learn more! It was at this point that I realized that my lumpen lifestyle was time lost with misdirected anger and it was at this point that the years of police terror of night sticks, mace and the heel of the boot finally gave painful birth to a Revolutionary! And as I began to study the works of Marx, Lenin, and Mao and develop my understanding of dialectical materialism, I realized my situation of being raised in gulags and solitary confinements enduring the degradation and humiliation of being left in bare concrete cells at times with nothing but toilet paper, shackled every time I left my cell like a wild animal, strip searched and left in phone-booth-like mesh cages for hours on end, it was through living a tortured life in U.S. Gulags that rather than allow my treatment to crush my spirit and any concept of why this occurs or of a better world that I chose rather than lay down and become the self hating criminal "worst of the worst" I began to develop consciously! I began to study and do all I could to obtain reading materials, papers, books, literature from my concrete cage for intense study, a Revolutionary classroom that was open 24 hrs a day! This is when I realized what I was seeing develop in myself and others held in repressed holes, solitary, control units (supermax) was Marxism, It was Dialectical Materialism in practice! I was using the very tools of repression from the state to psychologically and ideologically beam me down to strengthen my resistance and sharpen my political line! I then see the beauty of Dialectical Materialism and it was then that I knew that the ideas posed by Marx were indeed applicable to all levels of society, even to prisoners.
My awakening to Revolution has led me to challenge the state on numerous lawsuits, protests and other actions while in prison. This has unleashed the state to take me out of general population and be housed indefinitely in a control unit (S.H.U.). This has only strengthened my understanding of this society’s repressive nature and my belief that another world is necessary!
Today Obama is used on the one hand to corral Black People into bourgeois politics while on the other hand Latinos are now being brought into bourgeois politics by the appointing of Sotomayor to the supreme court, the truth is Sotomayor will continue upholding the laws of the ruling class and burying Latinos, Blacks, and others in the vast network of their prison palooza. If Sotomayor or Obama were true "representatives of their ethnicities" or even had a smidgen of concern for people of color, why have they not spoken about the disproportionate amount of Latinos and Blacks in the prison system? Why has the racist three strikes laws not been an issue worth addressing? Because they support and uphold this rotten system! These are the "representatives" that the people have to choose from in Capitalist America, these "representatives" that say nothing when fascist militia groups kick down the door of proletarian families and gun them down in cold blood as minutemen did on May 30, 2009 in Arivaca, Arizona, murdering Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia Flores. Yet these "representatives" don’t utter a word! When Oscar Grant is executed in Oakland, California, by the Gestapo like police again no word uttered! These are not "representatives" of the people they are Imperialist running dogs as Mao liked to say! The truth is that the facets that compose the Capitalist American society such as repression on Latinos and BLACKS will never truly be challenged by members of the U.S. Government. It is solely up to the people to build and strengthen these contradictions. The capitalist culture fuels the prison boom and Incarceration of vast multitudes of Latinos and Blacks; they work hand in hand to compliment and feed off one another. On the one hand Government complains of prison overcrowding while at the same time increasing penalty and stiffer repressive laws like the three strikes. But isn’t increasing longer prison time for petty crimes (i.e. life in prison for stealing a candy bar) increasing prison overcrowding??! The Prison Phenomenon we are witnessing is doing far more to Latinos and Blacks that will not be felt fully for generations to come.
The incarceration of large numbers of people of color is not simply a matter of taking people’s freedom, but this also affects whole communities in general and families in particular. This ripping parents away from their family smacks of the days of slavery when families were split up and households broken, the family unit was destroyed then and is being destroyed again! This weapon of chronic incarceration being unleashed on the people, this low intensity warfare being waged on the masses is worse than flooding the neighborhoods, barrios and ghetto projects with vast amounts of drugs as not everyone in these economically depressed areas do drugs or sell drugs, many commit petty crimes to eat and support their family when no other resource is available so these repressive racist laws work to target these other elements in the poor communities. The children left behind, being nothing more than residue in the mind of the capitalist ruling class, will serve to be the future reserve army of incarcerated, this does the same job as flooding poor neighborhoods did in the 1980s only this is "legal," and there will be no Iran Contra Scandal. It will all be supported by the courts. This Mass incarceration wreaks havoc on the oppressed communities and the millions of potentially revolutionary people are warehoused in prisons and broken down further resulting in suicide, drug addiction, religion or political coma.
The struggle for a better world should not be exclusive to a struggle of poor people. I write from the vantage point of the oppressed as this is the condition I was born and raised from, but there is also a need from those with very opposite lives who have never felt the pain of having a childhood friend gunned down in the street or the pain of being a child and watching as your home is raided by police and your family members dragged off to jail; there are those who have lived different or even sheltered lives yet through circumstances in life have come to identify with the people’s struggles and have seen the racism that has plagued America since the first settler arrived, these are the people that we also need who stand by the people for what is morally correct.
In building public opinion there is a need to create a new culture outside the spheres of capitalist society. We need to enculturate or rather re-enculturate in some cases people to experience the world in a revolutionary viewpoint in all levels of society, from art, music, literature, poetry, media, etc. This will take people from all backgrounds to engage and radically alter culture and thinking in this society. Newspapers such as Revolution is one such vehicle to teach the people truth. I have been receiving Revolution/Revolutionary Worker for about 8 years now, this has been possible through the PRLF and people’s donations—power to the people! Thus the people themselves have made it possible to send me Revolutionary nutrients. I in turn have shared my papers over the years with all I’ve come in contact with in all the prison general populations, holes and control units and planted hundreds if not thousands of revolutionary seeds, so please do not feel as if your efforts/donations are a waste in any way as Revolutionary shoots are sprouting, though sporadic, they are consistent! I am living example of this development!
La Lucha Continua
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