Revolution #215, October 21, 2010
Prisoner Letter on the Upcoming October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation
The following is a letter from a prisoner. We greatly appreciate receiving these letters and encourage prisoners to keep sending correspondence. The views expressed in letters from prisoners are those of the writers, and not those of Revolution.
The upcoming National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation is a day I await with much delight. This day is very endearing to me as I am a product of this war on poor people.
The economically depressed barrios I was born and raised in were the perfect hunting grounds for the white supremacist claiming to "protect and serve" while chasing down poor people like runaway slaves. Growing up, the brutalization from so called "law enforcement" was constant and consistent out in society and incarceration was never an interruption of the horror. My "meet and greet" with the police was before I was even school age, watching my front door get kicked off the hinges and my uncle get beat unconscious for a suspected property crimes case.
Growing up in these oppressed conditions this brutalization becomes the norm for many and is seen as "the way it is." But every now and then a person reach a tipping point and rebel to this dehumanization and rise up in many ways. The police brutality that millions face in this country does real damage to many. It is a tool to a much bigger situation, police terror is unleashed as a tool of capitalism-Imperialism in this country. It is designed to keep poor people in "their place," to instill fear and break the will and spirit of a colonized people, of a potentially revolutionary base of support. This is why in any city in America where you find the biggest concentration of poor Latino and Black people, you’ll also find the highest rate of not only police brutality, but of these people of color being murdered by police in these areas. The reason is that these poor people of color are the backbone of a future Revolution in this country. Poor people live in a police state in this country as anytime we leave our front door we know we may not come back. Prison or morgue awaits us any time we go out in public, whether to go to work or simply a walk to the park. Yet we get labeled as criminals and street terrorists when we make any act of defiance or resistance to the brutality we face in this society!
Growing up as "state raised" I have learned more from other oppressed people about the police brutality and criminalization of poor people than I ever learned from any textbook. And part of what I learned from talking with people, poor imprisoned people whether they were Latino, Black, Asian, white or native was that just as the slaves of old had rejected the entire institute of slavery when they refused the whip whether by running away or self defense, so too had many imprisoned (neo slave) rejected the entire system of capitalism and this criminalization of a generation when an act of defiance or will to live led one to end up incarcerated. For many these small acts that led to incarceration were in fact acts of poor peoples’ struggles for liberation. The Ruling Class understands this and respond by employing laws such as the three strikes law where stealing a slice of bread warrants a neo slave to life in a U.S. Dungeon.
As I stated above police brutality is a tool, as the first line of defense for capitalism-Imperialism is the police who occupy Barrios and Ghettos. The triple threat that all Barrio and Ghetto dwellers face from the cradle to the grave is poverty, police assault/murder and prison. These are all elements of an occupied war zone, this is life for the oppressed nations in America.
Just as the people of Palestine live under the constant threat, poor people in America also understand that police in this country will not answer from the courts for any action taken against poor people. I have had friends shot and killed by police, one in the back while he was running unarmed away from his hunter and still no prosecution by the courts.
The last time I was on the prison general population I began to file a law suit against the prison guards for refusing to give prisoners yard time outside our cells. This brought repression in the form of harassment, having my cell turned upside down, mail undelivered or missing pages, phone calls cut off "mysteriously" and outright threats. When I continued with my legal work, I was ambushed by guards and Rodney Kinged where I was beaten so bad I urinated blood for a week and then charged for fighting them! This was years ago and I have been in the hole ever since with false allegations piled on top of each other to keep me housed in the hole. Police Brutality does not discriminate to any areas where the poor reside, it is an equal opportunity abuser.
But this is the difference between a capitalist society that relies on such methods to keep its system intact and that of a socialist society. In Mao’s China prison guards were happy to work in prisons as they knew by working to educate prisoners they were building the Revolution. The prison cells were all stocked with revolutionary books and prisoners would have study circles every day where they would discuss revolutionary theory and political line. Brutality was not an issue by the jailers as they knew these prisoners would be released and be helping to build the Revolution as well. It was a lively time for all people in society, even prisoners. The 2+ million languishing in U.S. gulags suffer a very different fate.
This criminalization of a generation is in all honesty a criminalization of a poor generation as this stepped up police activity is rarely seen in suburbs or gated communities. Hyper policing is mainly targeting the inner cities where large concentrations of poor reside and although the intensity to lock up young people may have increased, the reasons for actions such as there have been here since the birth of the capitalist system on these shores. Over 500 years ago there was the invasion of what is now Mexico where the native populations’ males were enchained and literally branded with the letter "P" for prisoner or his owner’s name on his cheek. We also seen the African kidnapped slaves brought to America and branded for the same reason as cattle. We seen during the McCarthy era where people were "branded" with the word communist and were locked up, fired from jobs, etc.
Today we are seeing this same "branding" occur with labels such as "terrorist", gang member and now ex-felon to create the same outcome. The outcome is control. Those who this rotten system feels most threatened from will always be labeled and targeted to control. The so-called Justice system, i.e., the Courts are not designed for poor people of color. A look at all the pictures at this October 22nd protest of those murdered by police and how those responsible have gone unprosecuted shows what we are really up against. It is not a game, this is a war on poor people.
Over 200 years ago the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in "The Social Contract" that: "In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing." Of course, Rousseau wrote these words before any Socialist society was ever created so this statement was obviously written about the capitalist system. I think we see this playing out here in America where the laws are used to uphold the grip of the Ruling Class while at the same time repressing the have nots.
We recently seen it happen when comrade Gregory was arrested for simply holding a camera. The state somehow twisted up the actions of a person simply doing something that is not only legal but supposedly written in the U.S. Constitution, and yet somehow a judge who claims to practice blind justice and all that, criminalizes this young man. This I am sure was a shock to many, a great injustice as it very well is. Yet for a large portion of the U.S. population this is part of life. So when I first heard of the "Bear Witness" event I thought it's almost in my mind and I know many will agree, that it's almost like asking someone to recall every other day or every week of their life, as police brutality is for many a way of life.
As the article "Stop and Frisk" pointed out 2,000 arbitrary stops in New York City in one day - to see these numbers is pretty crazy. It is crazy as Revolution pointed out that nine out of ten of the people stopped will be Black and Latino. It is also crazy that with these disproportionate numbers we are not hearing more about this targeting of Black and Brown people from news media in this country and it is because the craziness is designed by the society we live in and nobody will right these wrongs but us! Nobody will raise these injustices in print via Independent Press such as Revolution newspaper but us! And nobody will eventually liberate humanity but us! So this October 22nd know that many are in unity with you to end this madness. Even those buried alive in America’s dungeons are raising clenched fists with nothing to lose, so fight the power!
P.S. Please send me the new Constitution [for the New Socialist Republic of North America (Draft Proposal)] publication when possible.
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.