Revolution #249, November 6, 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:

“Part of the human saviors of humanity”

Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund received the following letter:

“Us prisoners, along with all the unemployed, the homeless, the starving are the ‘human waste material’ that Bob Avakian mentions in BAsics 3:16.”

4 October 2011

Dear PRLF,

Revolutionary Greetings! I hope this letter finds all your staff doing well and full of revolutionary energy.

I just received Issue No. 246 (25 Sep. 2011) of Revolution newspaper. I was waiting anxiously for this issue last week. When I didn’t receive it I suspected that there must’ve been some mention of the California prisoners’ hunger strike which resumed on September 26. The prisoners who participated in this righteous act of solidarity here in this prison (SATF-Corcoran) began eating after a few days, but we are aware that this is a continuing struggle. Apparently prison staff decided to withhold this issue until after we started accepting food so that we wouldn’t feel encourage by the support that we are receiving from the outside.

CDC has called this peaceful protest of unjust conditions and policies a “mass disturbance” and threatened us with “disciplinary action” for participating. One prisoner in this cell block was immediately removed from the yard and thrown in the hole on a baseless suspicion of “leading a mass hunger strike”. He was put in a building separate from the regular Ad-Seg Unit surrounded by protective custody inmates and mentally ill prisoners making him unable to know when the rest of us started accepting food. Once we started eating he was brought back to the yard.

At this point I’d like to make clear that I don’t speak as part of any HS leadership or on their behalf. I am but one of the many thousands of prisoners who found it important to participate in this statewide demonstration to call attention to issues that affect us all in one way or another. My personal reasons for participating have to do with my hatred for injustice and recognition of the need to stand together with all those who protest against what this system does to them. Us prisoners, along with all the unemployed, the homeless, the starving are the “human waste material” that Bob Avakian mentions in BAsics 3:16. We need to understand that we’ve all been cast off by the same system. Whether we recognize it or not our struggle is part of the class struggle. Our struggle is against the oppressive forces of the bourgeois ruling class. The police who snatched us off the streets, the courts that sentenced us, and the prisons that hold us are all instruments of class rule. Their fundamental function is social control to enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression that cause poverty, homelessness, hunger, and overall misery not only in the neighborhoods we grew up in but also out there in the Third World. The same system that allows the police to brutally murder poor people in the ghetto is the same system that drops bombs on poor people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. The same system that tortures prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Here and all over the world we can find millions of victims of these relations of exploitation and oppression that CDC, the police, the courts, the military, and the bureaucracies are meant to enforce. When we recognize the capitalist-imperialist system as our common enemy, we can come together not just to challenge its latest outrage but in a conscious effort to overthrow it and rid ourselves for good of all the things that people continually feel the need to protest or rebel against.

It is my hope that through this struggle more people come to recognize the true nature of this system. That any “disciplinary action” taken against us only serves to awaken us out of the complacent stupor in which we’ve found ourselves for far too long. That we recognize not only the need for change but our collective capacity to bring about that change. That we raise our sights, come together in even greater numbers, and “Become a part of the human saviors of humanity”. There are sacrifices to be made but we’ve had very little to lose for a long time. I for one welcome the struggle ahead.

Thank you for your time and your support. Please continue with the amazing work.

In solidarity


P.S. I also just received Away With All Gods. The envelope was postmarked Aug 22, 2011. Thank you.


Letter from a high school teacher

“I proudly answer the call to create a new society.”

What nobler calling is there for the oppressed than to challenge the system that has cast them aside? As a descendant of slaves, I think of my ancestors whose blood and sweat fertilized the ground they worked for centuries building this society. They were denied human treatment for over a century after the Emancipation Proclamation, lynched and hung for the slightest assertion of their humanity. I think of the original people who populated this land that were brutally pushed out of existence or forced to eke out a living on concentration camps termed reservations. From the beginning up to the present this nation’s architects have viewed most of the population as dispensable.

The forms of exploitation and marginalization of groups of people have only become more sophisticated over time and have scarcely diminished. Today we see millions cast aside. A large portion of America’s black population is considered superfluous. No longer able to compete with new immigrants for low wage jobs and deemed unemployable, they are fodder for the prison industrial complex.

As the youth of our society, black and brown in particular, are pegged for prison in elementary school due to failure to fit into established roles. Funding that could provide decent education is cut and teachers are laid off. Armed police officers are used to intimidate and coerce our children on high school campuses instead of them receiving proper guidance from concerned adults. The youth are placed on probation or sent to detention centers for infractions that were once treated as “boys will be boys” behavior such as fighting, stealing and minor drug possession. They are literally placed on a track to prison designated as “throw away” before they are old enough to recognize what’s happening to them.

This system sweeps millions of the poor and oppressed into dungeons where many are beaten, tortured and turned on one another like animals. They are sent back into their communities branded as felons, treated as a pariah class unable to find work or secure housing only to inevitably return to prison. This cycle continues as the prison industrial complex constantly eats and regurgitates its prey.

What type of free and democratic society is this when the educational system doesn’t educate, the corrections system doesn’t correct and the justice system doesn’t promote justice? What type of society do we live in when those whose duty is to protect and serve can shoot down America’s poor like animals in the street and the state knowingly murders the innocent?

There is a profound outrage and loss of faith in the systems that govern us. This type of treatment cannot be carried out with impunity indefinitely. These problems were not voted into existence, so the electoral system will not solve them. The Constitution will not solve these problems. Only when the angry, dispossessed, and cast aside step to the forefront can this system be turned around. I proudly answer the call to create a new society.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond