From a prisoner:

“How and Bob Avakian Helped Transform My ‘Criminal Consciousness’ to a Revolutionary Political Consciousness”



I have been incarcerated for over 18 years. I was given 46 years to life under California’s draconian 3-strike law for a high speed chase which resulted in an injury.

This unjust sentence further fueled my anger, hate, and frustration for a system who has dismissed Black, Brown and even White lives as insignificant. And it further alienated me to a harmful “criminal consciousness.” I use the term “criminal consciousness” because as a “criminal,” I did have a consciousness. It was just misguided. It was based on anger and raw emotion from being followed, profiled, stopped, beaten, and harassed. As a young Black man I was aware and conscious of what this country felt about me. So my consciousness was built and based on abuse and mistreatment, it just had an angry emotion and misguided actions attached to it. But and Bob Avakian helped me turn my “criminal consciousness” to a revolutionary one. Here’s how they did it...

While not in any way condoning my criminal behavior/actions, they understood my energy and frustration. They told me that it could be re-directed in a positive revolutionary way. Initially I thought they were crazy. I felt no one understood. So I challenged them. With history, facts, and explanations that I hadn’t heard before they helped me see that my “criminal consciousness” could be turned around and used. Through hundreds of newsletters covering over a 10-year period, my prior “criminal consciousness” has been transformed to a revolutionary political consciousness. So it can be done. I think part of the way they were able to help transform me and countless others is their approach. They weren’t judgmental. Understanding and reaching people where they are, is I think their secret ingredient.

Another good thing is how they see value in people who society has thrown away. and Bob Avakian show those in prison they have value. And to people who have been told they are nothing, this is a big deal. Also I credit and Bob Avakian for engaging and including people from different walks of life. Respectfully and honestly disagreeing on some points, but agreeing on the goal is something else I think is good. Too many organizations are dismissive of people they don’t agree 100% with. And you lose a lot of people like that.

Another good thing I like is that they often show, print, and publish inmates’ words and writings. This is good because we feel like we are part of something. Many of us led the criminal lives we led because we didn’t feel part of anything. Amerika didn’t want us or accept us or understand us. So we went where we would feel wanted and accepted. And by showing our work, and Bob Avakian is saying “We understand you, we want you and accept you.” And with this kind of genuine relationship, there can be nothing but progress. and Bob Avakian are providing valuable lessons, if people would pay attention. They are reaching people the WORLD needs, but can’t reach. Those of us in prison can and do have the ability to improve society. Look what George Jackson, Malcolm X and countless others have done and still are doing. Amerika sees a “prison.” and Bob Avakian see a university with many willing but misguided students. Looking at me and viewing me as a student, instead of a criminal, can bring out the best in me. It can further transform and re-shape my negative, destructive, and harmful criminal ways, to positive, productive and meaningful actions.

This is true “rehabilitation.” This system offers no meaningful “rehabilitation.” The public school system failed us and taught us we are nothing. No wonder many drop out. If you’re taught you’re nothing, you often act like you’re nothing. Many of us only acted how we were taught and treated. Public schools confused and angered us. and Bob Avakian woke us up, accepted us, and transformed us.

In closing, and Bob Avakian are saving lives. Because if many of us were left in the state we were in, Amerika would have a worse problem. I would encourage many other organizations to follow in the ways of and Bob Avakian. Because if you can successfully transform a “criminal consciousness” to a political revolutionary one, you have the very allies needed to make meaningful change. And it won’t happen without us. Thank you.

Bob Avakian Straight-Up on the Revolution... and the Gangs

From: Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

Learn more about the film here.

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Get Into BA »


Graphic imagePRLF is an educational literature fund that sends Revolution newspaper (, works from Bob Avakian, and other revolutionary and scientific literature to hundreds of prisoners across the U.S.

To donate to the work of the PRLF, go HERE.



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.