By Kijana Tashiri Askari
There has been a great deal of progress made on several levels with our human rights movement primarily from the international exposure that it garnered, but in particular, from the perspective of the power of the people (prisoners) finally being realized after 20-plus years of continued struggle from within California’s torture chambers (slave kamps) and abroad. It is evident that progress has manifested as a result of our hunger strikes in July and September of 2011. It is a beautiful feeling to be a part of this transformation in which the politics of “petty prison culture” is being pushed to the side in favor of unity amongst all racial nationalities.
The positive energy amongst the captive prisoner class is definitely alive & well within the belly of the beast. Prisoners are now greeting one another with love & compassion, whereas before, greetings amongst prisoners constituted misplaced hatred, animosity, racism, etc. We must continue to wage struggle, by building upon our positive direction & objective of unity, to replace the negative “petty prison culture” that once existed amongst us. Our positive examples of unity can and only will be sustained through practice so that the seeds of hope and change can be spread to every gulag within the U.$.
But this can only be accomplished with the support of the people in the free communities!! We need people in the community to step forward in the capacity of mentors and counselors in order to offer guidance and support to the prisoners.
Currently, the prospect for change on the issue of abolishing solitary confinement is the only viable deterrent to the politics of the “petty prison culture”. It would be a grave mistake on our part to ignore this dynamic and allow things to revert back to the same old nonsense!! I have read several prisoner’s rights publications since our huger strikes, and it has become clear that there are several prisoners in these gulags that are searching for positive direction.
In light of the contradictions of state sanctioned torture and the human rights abuses that we have been subjected to for the past 10 to 40-plus years now being exposed to the world communities, which has garnered a great deal of solidarity, it is now time for us to start identifying and evaluating the “talent-value” of our human rights movement, so that we can take our course of struggle to the next level!! Meaning: What type of skills and resources do each individual and/or organization have that will enable us to build upon the momentum that we have forged thus far? This will allow us to develop and orient various teams with specific responsibilities in order to simplify and centralize our work as a movement.
For example, on the issue of “prisoner mentorship”, we need capable teachers, in the form of actual teachers, professors, psychologists, sociologists, ministers, counselors, etc. to help us political prisoners and politically conscious prisoners, etc. to transform and heal the prisoner culture within these prisons.
The community must understand that the captive class of prisoners is an extension of every poor oppressed community out in babylon. Hence, we have an opportunity right before us to stage some intervention on behalf of our communities by helping us to redeem the people who will eventually be paroling back to our communities. If we fail to act upon our ability and the chance to save our communities then we only have ourselves to blame when CDCR state operatives begin dumping the prisoners that they have “damaged”/“destroyed” (e.g. mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) back into our communities!! …Which would only further compromise the health of our communities.
Prisons are a microcosm of society at large and the negative contradictions that exist in every community also exist within these slave kamps, such as racism, police brutality, drug and alcohol addiction, sexism, classism, illiteracy, economic exploitation etc… For example, the Prison Industrial Complex, is a formidable part of the New York Stock Exchange, which is owned/controlled by the fascist corporate world. Prisoners that work in the prison industries are forced to work in conditions that are a mirror reflection of the “sweat shops” that exist throughout the world communities. It is well known that Amerika’s corporations which include it’s military apparatus, has long been profiting from and exploiting prisoners as a source of cheap labor, as prisoners get paid next to nothing for manufacturing products for corporations such as: Microsoft; Boeing; Honeywell; IBM; Revlon; Pierre Cardin; Compaq; Victoria’s Secret; Macy’s; Target; Nordstrom; just to name a few. These factors have contributed toward the current systemic state of joblessness/unemployment that exist in oppressed communities.
We are better suited if we work together as one!! I am one of many New Afrikan Black political prisoners, revolutionaries, activists, etc. who have long since transformed our criminal values, thinking and behavior that initially brought us to prison. We have developed several community-based proposals, initiatives, etc. that have been constructed towards redeeming our communities politically, socially, economically, spiritually, culturally, etc. via qualitatively developed solutions. But these proposals/initiatives will remain in their dormant state without the support of people in the community. So we’re calling upon all truly committed human rights activists and organizations to step forward and join us in our struggle to help save, restore and redeem our communities through the continued building of the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement via the perfect balance of connecting the inside with the outside.
Build to win!!
-Kijana Tashiri Askari
PS: I urge all interested persons to get in touch with me at:
Kijana Tashiri Askari
S/N Marcus Harrison #H54077
P.O. Box 7500/D3 122/SHU
Crescent City, Calif. 95531
To learn more about me and my revolutionary transformation, write to:
Attn: South Chicago ABC Zine Distro
C/O Anthony Rayson
P.O. Box 721
Homewood, Ill. 60430
Ask for a copy of my published pamphlet called “from self destruction to the reconstruction of self”, which is free to the community.