From a Prisoner: “Through our division we only serve the interest of the ruling class and not our own interests”

March 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following letter is in response to an interview with a former prisoner and revolutionary, which appeared online at last September in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).


February 12, 2015

Dear Comrades, Friends and Members of the P.R.L.F.:

Revolutionary Greetings! I have received your letter of January 26, 2015 with the enclosed article of the “Interview with an Ex-Prisoner.” I am returning the renewal form that was also enclosed, as complete as I can get it.

To comment on the Interview with the Ex-Prisoner I must say that more ex-prisoners need to come forward after release and inform the people of the horrific brutality of the system. The experience of captivity, degradation, animalistic treatment and torture must be exposed.

On the issue of Gangs, a number of quotes come to my mind:

Thus Europe has multiplied divisions and opposing groups has fashioned classes and sometimes even racial prejudices and has endeavored by every means to bring about and intensify the stratification of colonized societies.


By its very structure, colonialism is separatist and regionalist. Colonialism does not simply state the existence of tribes; it also reinforces it and separates them.
(From The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon)

When I think of the capitalist/imperialists cartels and monopolies of exploitation, the private corporatism, I think of many questions. Among them I ask, are these people responsible for the gang mentality? Do they have an interest in perpetuating this thinking and way of life? Are they using the youth to secure and protect their business interests for gain and profit? I know the answer is unequivocally Yes!

I reflect on this statement:

A key part of all this was the so-called War on Drugs. The authorities channeled drugs into the ghettos and barrios as a way to addict and demoralize the masses and to provide a pretext for drastically expanding the prison population and police powers and arms. This drug trade also filled the economic void left by the withdrawal of industry. As part of this, a whole dog-eat-dog, look-out-for-number-one and our hood-above-all culture around gangs and gangstersrism was allowed to flourish and then built-up.

Revolution #259, February 19, 2012

In another article, I believe BA speaks about how the capitalists/imperialists own and control the resources and means of existence to the point of actually being able to influence people’s ideas and decisions.

And I would like to add that many of our youth join these so-called gangs for protection, security and as a way to identify with something larger and more popular than themselves. Factor in the serious miseducation this system offers and after being indoctrinated with superficial understanding of certain laws, principles, codes (words/things) etc. these youth soon degenerate into the very things they sought to avoid. They remain ignorant and inadequate, and mixed with this get-high, inebriation euphoric culture the so-called gangs are pseudo at best and pawns of the reactionary structure.

So yes I have a deep degree of unity with the ex-prisoner regarding the root cause of gangs and that way of think and lifestyle being products of capitalism and imperialism. I also see that through our division we only serve the interest of the ruling class and not our own interests. We are exploited through our division...

Something else the ex-prisoner spoke on was the “need” to break from old thinking, doing away with that old lifestyle and the old ways of doing things. Chairman Mao stated that change involved breaking with old ways and experimenting with new ones and to challenge custom and convention. I see this as a very important key point, to do away with old outmoded thinking and ways of doing things.

BA has stated along with numerous comrades that the imperialists made new forms of oppression and new disguises for old practices (e.g. Jim Crow). I know we have to do likewise but on a higher, more positive, more qualitative level. We have to develop new and fresh ways and responses to the repression, oppression and fascist tactics and strategies.

While corresponding with another comrade, one or rather a few ideas were discussed about how this system could not function without our cooperation. What if the workers just didn’t go to work? From the lowest to the highest workers, what if they engaged in a hunger strike? (Happy face symbol)...

Another thing that was quite progressive and revealing was the ethnicity of ex prisoner his nationality and background. His arrival at a scientific view and understanding of race/racism. How Mexicans and Black people see each other under this capitalist system which foments racial strife and prejudice.

The view in which many people only see the struggle as black and white, how these other peoples have been largely left out of the equation. The reality, however, is that there is a very large percentage of people of so-called Mexican Spanish or Indian descent within the U.S. who are increasingly subjected to the same oppression, the same racism and repression as Blacks.

Just looking at the kidnappings and murders that have gone down in Mexico from 2006 to the present, the numbers are staggering. 120,000 killed? 25,000 people disappeared? Because of a so-called War on Drugs orchestrated by none other than who? Was it the capitalists? Was it their system? Are our struggles connected? Indeed!

When I look at the Revolution newspapers photos/pictures and see the demonstrations and protest by the courageous youth, the high school students getting out and voicing themselves, the struggle for our women for control of their own destinies... It is like an awakening. I am indeed inspired and energized. And what the ex-prisoner shared in terms of his wrangling, struggle and development, his views and perspectives, the influence of BA and Revolution. I know we are stretching out and reaching and will grasp all that we are reaching for.

In closing, I offer my most sincere thanks and appreciation... for you... all of you! BA, comrades, let us take the struggle forward in solidarity, let us continue to build and transform for revolution and change. So let it be heard! So let it be done!

In Revolutionary Solidarity,

P.S. I must have The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and another copy of BAsics. BIG LOVE!

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