Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners on What BAsics and Other Revolutionary Literature Means to Them

May 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following are excerpts from letters from prisoners and ex-prisoners received by the Prisoner Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF).


“…We have to bring together people from the bottom of society and people from middle class backgrounds who don't have the direct experience of that kind of oppression and injustice. We will never get to another world without people from the bottom and people from other parts of society being firmly committed toward humanity.” (From "Revolutionary Gregory Koger Released from Cook County Jail," November 2013)


“…Since George [Jackson] was on the scene the repressive apparatus of police, prisons and courts has developed in such a way, that out of necessity the ‘Stop Mass Incarceration Network’ has been formed, and is now being developed as a means to raise the conscious level of the masses and beat back its forces. The Leadership of Bob Avakian and the New Synthesis of Communism, with his scientific approach and method of combating those repressive forces, is constantly being developed in correspondence to all of this as well, while people like myself learn to deeply probe, investigate and experiment with reality, and begin to appreciate and understand the significance of Bob Avakian's Leadership in relation to combating and actually defeating the repressive forces of this superstructure… As I have said before, this New Synthesis of Communism is the program that we need to be getting down with, other wise we are screwed. We Need Revolution and Nothing less than that, other wise 35 yrs. from now another young Brother will be sitting in this exact same cage that I am sitting in right now dealing with this madness. In fact, the level of madness will have developed to a higher stage by then if no radical change takes place, because things are only getting worse. I say we get on board and help develop this New Stage of Communism.” (From, October 2013)


“Revolutionary greetings! I'll like to say thanks a lot to all the ‘PRLF’ donors. Thank you for paying for my education. In essence that's what you're doing with your donations. Thanks to your donations, I've been able to start learning about the rapacious economic system (capitalism) that dominates every aspect of our lives. I've been able to learn that under capitalism, society is divided into different classes—between those who can only live by selling their labor to the highest bidder, (and only as long as their labor is producing profits to capitalist) and those who live by exploiting the labor of others; between oppressed and oppressor. And consequently, under capitalism, there can never be democracy or justice for all. I've been also able to learn that such social relations were not created by nature, but were created and are enforced, by the capitalist class.

“And most importantly, I've been able to learn that a whole different and better world is possible; that capitalism can be overthrown through revolution. Thanks to your donations, I've been able to transform myself from a gang member to a revolutionary; from a homophobic and machista, to a progressive thinker; from having a defeatist mentality: ‘there isn't anything I can do, things are never going to change’; to having a radical mentality: Knowing that I can make a difference; that we are all worthy of a decent life—demanding a better life for everybody, and willing to fight for it!

“And thanks to your donations, I've been able to liberate other people, (by sharing the literature that your donations enable me to receive) and I'm fairly confident that it'll have a snowball effect. I would like to end this letter by encouraging people to keep making donations to ‘PRLF,’ or to start, if you haven't yet. Your donations are helping us (prisoners) break the mental shackles, that have been placed there by this capitalist/imperialist ran system.  – In Solidarity, Prisoner from California” (From, December 2012)


“I am currently in XX SHU [Special Housing Unit, meaning solitary confinement in conditions that have been condemned internationally as torture-editors]. I have received your copy of BAsics and in this latest issue of [Revolution] you printed the call for peace from the prisoner's. I and everybody around me participated in last years hunger strike it was a life changing experience for me. Combined with your newspaper has really opened my eyes to the injustice of this country and the need for revolution... I would like to learn more about Bob Avakian and any books or book list you could send me will be highly Appreciated. – Prisoner from California” (From, December 2012)


“...First I would like to fill you in on progress Ive Been making. I have been passing around every issue of Revolution, as well as BAsics, the RCP Constitution and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, etc. People are very open to it and I am trying to take up a collection to purchase copies of BAsics. I am trying to get sent to [another] yard where I will be able to spread BA more easily.

“Now onto my thought i want to run by you comrades. My cellie and i both crochet. It's a way to pass time. I want to help by crocheting things for the homeless Sandy victims etc. Things that comrades can pass out on the BAsic bus tour, from the book stores, etc. to those in need. I'm thinking like beanies, scarves and lap quilts. We can knock these things out from anywhere between 5 hours for a scarve to 4 days for a lap quilt…” (From, December 2012)


“Well I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying and I read ‘The Revolutionary Potential of the Masses and the Responsibility of the Vanguard’ [This is the supplement to Chapter 6 of BAsics - PRLF] and now I understand what you are doing and talking about and here I was thinking you lost faith in me. But all the time you are putting all your faith in me. To become a better man and into a revolutionary. The part I really enjoy reading was on page 199 where it talks about ‘there are plenty of people pandering to them and using them in various ways and feeling sorry for them. I hate the way the masses of people suffer, but I don’t feel sorry for them. They have the potential to remake the world, and we have to struggle like hell with them to see that.’ And that’s the same way you think of us. Then on page 200 I really do feel like he is talking about me because I do have limitation and shortcoming as the result of living and struggling to survive under this system. and I was denied education that I really need it but access to knowledge about many spheres. hell I don’t even know what a sphere is, but I will be looking it up, and at one time I didn’t know how to read, but by me coming to jail and picking up books and just reading on my own that how I learn like way spell. And yes I was illiterate and in many ways I am still illiterate. but I am trying to overcome that and my eye was closed on most the things until I met you and you showed me the way to Bob Avakian. So people out there try to fake it and to make it but not me. Don’t get me wrong sometime its hard to study thing about the revolution because I don’t understand the words I be reading and thats what makes me want to give up. But I do want to become the emancipators of humanity. and then to act in accordance with that potential and Bob said best on page 202 where he including me by saying someone who got caught up in terrible things. They are also capable of great things. I in my pass I did go down the wrong road. but now I got a family that love me for how I am not for what I did in the pass and in that way made me change. its just I still have to finish my pass mistake and get off parole and then I can move on. but while I am doing that. I can start by learning new things and start being a men and help other. well my pen ran out and I don’t have a pencil so I will write back soon and tell you more.” (From, December 2013)

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