Letter from a Prisoner:

On the section “Disappointment, Danger, and Going Forward” from Bob Avakian’s Memoir

May 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund received the following letter from a prisoner.


20 January 2011

To RCP Publications

...I am a prisoner, currently being held in California’s XXX State Prison. I’ve just recently become a reader of Revolution newspaper and I wanted to let you know that I have never come across a more powerful message than the one found in your paper. I receive a few radical publications but most put forth idealized notions of the masses and don’t recognize the need for capable, disciplined leadership with a consistent revolutionary line. I’ve been reading a variety of radical books and pamphlets over the years and though I’ve come to share a hatred for this system I’ve been frustrated by their unrealistic, or lack of, strategies for carrying out a revolution that will put an end to all the horrors of capitalism. There are a lot of questions that I needed answered concerning the RCP’s ideology but thanks to the PRLF most of them have been answered. During the last few weeks I’ve read not only a handful of issues of Revolution, but also the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), the RCP’s own constitution, Bob Avakian’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, a series of excerpts compiled in a pamphlet entitled The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, and the RCP’s Manifesto. The words of Bob Avakian have resonated with me more than anything I’ve ever read. I understand why he has to continually be presented as a great resource for people. I’ve enjoyed reading the excerpts that have been published in Revolution though I was disappointed when I noticed that in the last two issues you stopped running excerpts from Bob Avakian’s memoir. There was one section that motivated me more than any other in the book and I was hoping you would print it. The section I’m referring to is called “Disappointment, Danger, and Going Forward” and it’s found on pages 440-442. I’ve been successful in getting a small handful of prisoners interested in reading the paper, but unfortunately half of them don’t have much interest in reading books yet. This section that I mentioned says a lot, in very few words, that can help overcome defeatism, which is something that plagues so many of the people that I try to reach in here. Though I’m not as eloquent as Bob Avakian, I could always explain the basic argument made in this section and spread it to those around me willing to listen, but I think it would be good to print that section of the memoir in the paper so that this particular analogy between the possibility and the need to find a cure for cancer and the possibility and the need to overthrow this system and create a new one, can be spread more widely both within and outside the prison system. I’m one of three prisoners, that I’m aware of, that receive Revolution on this yard. We’re in different parts of the yard but all three of us come across the same defeatist attitudes, even when we’re able to convince others that the present economic system is our common enemy. The answers are usually the same, “Yeah, but we can’t do anything about it.” I believe this section of the memoir that I’m speaking of does a lot to combat that kind of thinking in a very effective way. Prisoners can really understand it when it’s put in these terms....


We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.





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