Ex-prisoner on 1000 Years–$1000 for BA Everywhere:

"If this is not done this system is going to continue."

Updated May 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Editors' note: The following is a slightly edited version of an interview with an ex-prisoner who is taking up 1000 Years–$1000 for BA Everywhere.


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Question: Talk a little about your experience in prison.

Answer: When it snows where I was locked up, it snows a lot. So they literally stripped me buck naked and buried me in the snow from head to toe. And left me there to die in shackles. Because the prisoners started setting fires burning things because they saw what was going on, they had to come and get me and they took me to the special housing unit and beat me all the way down there. From that beating and that was just one of many beatings that I took in the prison system cuz we were organizing and they didn't want that.

We became politicized and we did our best to organize the prisoners, the best we could, organize prisoners and to them that was a crime. And then the thing is, after all that, they want me to take personal responsibility for all the things I done. And let me tell you, I done some things out here when I was young, I done some things that I really feel bad for. I feel bad for the people that I hurt and I take responsibility for the shit like that, but I'd never take responsibility for the shit that they've done to the people, the millions of people that they torture and beat around the world. And they will never take personal responsibility for the crimes that they commit against humanity, but they want us to take personal responsibility for the people we've robbed, people we've murdered, the people we've raped, because of the conditions we live in that forced us to go in that route, and most of us do. Once we go through that prison experience and read and become politicized.

It's hard for me to really speak about these things without really breaking down. The anger is still there. It's not an anger toward the people, it's not an anger. It's an anger that I have against the system that have done this to the people like me. And I'm not talking about me as an individual, I'm talking about the millions of people that they do this to around the world.

Q: I want to read BAsics 3:16 and ask you what you think.

A: The call is right but the problem I see with that is the people he's making that call to, the people who've been cast down—there's a Party out there that has a strategy to end this horror. I don't see them coming to that realization on their own, that science has to be brought to them.  They won't spontaneously see it doesn't have to be this way. And you see it, I'm talking to people, they'll tell you, 'that's the real' 'it is what it is.'  They don't add that it could be transformed.  That part has to be added by a Party that's going to lead them.  And that's us and there's people like me and other people that have been to prison that have transformed ourselves and can help lead these people who have been cast out.  Lead them toward the Party and toward revolution.

Q: So, what does BA Everywhere—a campaign aimed at raising big money to project Bob Avakian's voice and works throughout society—to make BA a household word—have to do with that? And specifically 1000 Years–$1000 for BA Everywhere?

A: I think that's one of the most important components of the strategy because if people, if you get BA out everywhere and people start to see that there is a person that has a strategy, that changes things. Because at one time, you have to remember in the prison system BA wasn't there. Back when I was there in prison. There was the older stuff there. Like George Jackson. But actually that's the old stuff. BA has a strategy that has evolved from all that, from the '60s, he's developed that strategy and that science today and that's why it's important to get BA out everywhere and not just get Malcolm out everywhere. Because Malcolm had a program back in the days but it only led to a certain point. This strategy that BA has is revolution—nothing less. And that's the importance of it.

It means that this horrible system is not going to go away with anything else, it's not going to go away through praying, it's not going to go away through reform, through a new civil rights movement. This system has to be destroyed. That's what that means to me. And that's what should be made known to the people. That revolution—nothing less is going to get you out of this horror. Nothing else. The leader is there, the strategy is there, what's needed is you, like it says.

Q: What are you pledging to do here?

A: Well, I been in prison more than 30 years. I'm going to pledge to raise that amount of money and get people to help me and get people involved to raise this money.

Q: How about challenging people who may not have experienced this to match that? If you were speaking to people who are reading this, challenging them to match that $30 and the hundreds that will be raised by other prisoners and family and friends.

A: I would say the same thing that we just spoke about. If this is not done this system is going to continue. The mass incarceration that's going on now, it's going to continue to go on. People are going to continue to go to prison. People are going to continue to be tortured. And what we're doing here is we're trying to get this money raised so that we can get BA out everywhere including in the prison system which is an important thing. Getting BA into the prison and this is out there, this is why we're doing this, so that we can get this BA into the prison, when it wasn't there when I was there and it was needed.

Q: What would be your challenge to young people?

A: If the youth out here begin to see a movement that's brewing in the prison system, where prisoners are coming out transformed and coming into the community, that could definitely have an impact on the youth out here. Because a lot of the youth out here look up to people who are in prison already. Cuz they, "Oh you know my man Rob who he did two robberies, he doin 25 years, he told me it ain't shit, he be out in a minute." This is what the youth talk about. But if these same guys come out transformed with a message, telling people that reading BA, reading this science is important, if they could come out with that information, then that would have an impact out here. That's why it's important to challenge people to getting involved in this thing.

Q: How do you see the potential?

A: I can imagine a time where this mass incarceration where they got a pipeline, where they're sending all these youth to prison. I can imagine the prisoners coming out and really getting active and putting an end to that, the prisoners got the material BAE and came out here and started to talk to these youth, I could imagine a transformation where they plugging up that pipeline, where the youth are getting involved. In revolution. In building a movement for revolution. And that would be a very important point in this process. When you reach that point there, where you get the youth to become in revolution and not the bullshit they're involved in now because of the system, that could be a leap. A leap. I mean a big leap. Because this system cannot exist without sending all these fucking youth into the prison system. These youth are out here building a movement for revolution, that is a problem for them. That would really attack their legitimacy to rule. Their legitimacy to rule would be seriously challenged by that alone. That's just one thing, cuz we have an ensemble of things going on, this thing that we're doing right now is a really good thing because it speaks to what I'm just talking about.

I just want to say this to all the people who may read this: This system that we living under is not gonna disappear on its own. That's not inevitable. This system is not gonna grow a heart. Like you hear some black petty bourgeoisie ‘oh we need to vote’— this system's not going to suddenly grow a heart and become suddenly more humane to people. That's not going to happen. This system has already been analyzed scientifically, by its very nature it's oppressive and exploitative and it brutalizes humanity. This system needs nothing less than a revolution. The leadership and the science exists today. Revolution is possible. We have the leadership, and we have the science and that leadership is the Revolutionary Communist Party headed by Bob Avakian and this is why it IS important to get BA out everywhere. So it is important to get BA out everywhere and that's my analysis of this whole thing. That's real. That's real there.

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