Revolution Online, October 13, 2011
Voices of those cast off by the system
Revolution issued a call in August to our readers to respond to the 3:16 quote from BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, "An Appeal to Those the System Has Cast Off." We received many responses written by those the system has cast off, as well as from many others. We featured responses from prisoners, an ex-prisoner and high school students in an oppressed community in the print edition of Revolution #247 and posted many more online. The following are new responses we have recently received:
From a day-laborer immigrant:
Well I am one of those discarded one's. First it happened to me in my country of birth. I had to leave because otherwise I may well have died of hunger. Leaving my children my wife behind. Not knowing when I would ever see them again. I left without a penny in my pocket heading to a place I didn't know. There is no work; we stand on the street hoping someone needs some work done. We are treated like criminals like animals you read in the papers about immigrants killed by racists.
I have raised my sights to where I know that we have to talk to the people that we have to do away with this system.
We can let them trap us into just living to survive, we have to see and live for this. There is a world to save and to win. I have never been in jail but I share the same fate as those who have been and those who still are in jail. We must become an active force no matter where we came from or where we are—we are the discarded ones. We must get to the point where everything we do is part of making revolution to free the world.
Richard Brown, former Black Panther, Member of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR):
Most of us, when we think about prisoners, in our mind we think of them as, "those people," never realizing how much we have in common with them.
If you stop and really think about it, there's not that much difference between us and the ones incarcerated in the inhumane institutions run by CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation]. The system refers to them as the worst of the worst. While those of us in the large institutions, commonly referred to as (our community), are referred to as thugs, hoodlums, or just plain old undesirables. Stop and think brothers and sisters. There are those in this society who refer to all black people as "those people," and that's when they're being polite. So where's the difference?
You say prisoners are confined to their cells 23 hours a day, well, we're confined to our communities 24 hours a day, and most young black men cannot even leave the block they live on without fear of being murdered. Murdered by some other young black man, or by the so-called police who invade our community like an occupying force—a para-military organization using Gestapo tactics in order to control the masses, (blacks). So where's the difference?
You say prisoners have no rights! Correctional officers can go into their cells at any time, day or night, and search for contraband. Have you forgotten that the so-called police can come into our homes at any time without a search warrant, looking for drugs, and, or weapons. They stop us on the street, and violate our constitutional rights, by searching our vehicles or our person without probable cause, and if you ask why? More than likely you'll end up being arrested. For what you say? For resisting arrest. So where's the difference?
You say most prisoners work for low or no wages, well, most young blacks have no wages at all, unemployment in the black community is ridiculously high. So where's the difference?
It's time for us to stop allowing the system to place barriers between us and our brothers and sisters by labeling them as the worst of the worst. Therefore encouraging society to turn their backs and allow these men and women to be treated as less than human beings. It's time for us to remember that the only real difference between us and "those people" is that our exercise yard is a little bit bigger than theirs.
Throughout my life I have fought to try and show the community how they are being played upon, and how this game of divide and conquer is being used between those locked down inside and those with a little more freedom.
All of us should relate to the words of Bob Avakian and focus on the real enemy and fight for a truly free society.
I know this is asking me to be serious. This is about risking your life, but making it worth it. I know because it was scary to me when the communists came around the first time; and I had to retire! I had to retire, but now I'm back, 'cause we're the ones being asked to make revolution and this is serious. This is more than just about Brownie (reference to a man killed by police in the hood). This is about a whole new world. There might be some who say it would be going too far, but in a way what choice do we have? They're puttin us in jail and keepin us there; and it's just going to keep getting worse until we get serious with our lives.... People need to know about BA.
It's real hard; but I'm down for this revolution. I know they're talkin about me when they talk about no job and no home; and here it is my birthday and I'm having to scrape for something to eat. I'm always saying I got to come first. It's hard to "raise your sights" above all this, but this book (BAsics) is really speaking to me about doing it, being a gravedigger of this system... Something's got to give, but we got to be there, and be willing to sacrifice to make it happen. I know that! I want to see Bob Avakian lead this; and I hope to meet him some day. Yeah it's hard, but it's not impossible; and I'm glad y'all are here.
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