Revolutionary Worker #1198, May 11, 2003, posted at rwor.org
The Revolutionary Worker receives many letters from prisoners all over the country requesting subscriptions to the RW and copies of the Draft Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The following letters show the importance of shining the light of revolution behind the prison walls. We call on people to contribute to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund so that not one request will go unfulfilled. The PRLF can be reached at: 773-227-4066. Send your contributions to: PRLF, Merchandise Mart, PO Box 3486, Chicago IL 60654.
The following are excerpts from letters from readers of the RW in prison:
Standing on the Sink
First, let me thank you for all the books you sent. They were all allowed in when they arrived on the 6th and I was looking forward to getting into them. But, that same day, I was taken to the hole for talking after 9:00 and when the pigs came in my cell to pack up my personal belongings they confiscated 38 books, claiming I was that far over the 25-book limit. And as of now I have no way of knowing which ones they took.
Then on the 12th, I finally received a response to my petition to the warden regarding the RW and he is going to allow me to possess the paper. The conversation on the Draft Programme is deep. Being able to read what other prisoners are saying and how they are responding to the Programme , and being able to bring that to even more prisoners, will undoubtedly prove useful. Already the brother who talked about being in (organizing) a "Rastafarian" group (to hold discussions) got me thinking about ways prisoners in this joint can get organized...
You know, it is crucial that people be able to overcome that sense of powerlessness pushed on us by circumstances. And in this living hell it becomes more and more clear that revolution is the only hope for the hopeless.
When will these reactionaries ever learn that the spirit of the people is invincible! Can't they see that, even if it means standing on my sink, standing there for hours, until my toes turn purple, talking MLM to my upstairs neighbor through the air vent, I am going to find a way to carry out the Party's Central Task! (And often that is exactly what it comes to.) But this gives me, under these seemingly worst of circumstances, a sense of "revolutionary purpose" that I know these Correctional Officers, these pigs will never experience. It's a little ironic. And what really sets it off is knowing that the victory of the proletariat and worldwide communism is inevitable that it is independent of man's will.
No doubt this is the meaning of my life.
Passin' the Truth On
I received the Draft Programme and newsletter about a month ago. The DP got to the prison on the 9th but I never received it until the 18th the same month. As with most prisons in the U.S., whenever they see anything that is "unamerican" it gets looked through thoroughly. Also because of my belief, which is the Nation of Islam, all my mail going in and out is read. I can't yet prove my mail going out is being read but certain letters I've sent out have never made it to where I addressed them. So I am in a never-ending battle with the prison to have them leave me alone.
I did read the whole Draft Programme and I want to first say that pages 7 to 10 are so powerful that I had goose bumps while reading it. In these four pages, it shows what America tries to hide. America wants everyone to see or think, I should say, that this government is so great, it does nothing wrong and that it will do whatever to make sure everyone can get ahead and live normal lives.
But this is just a dream they sell us, only the rich or powerful can get ahead. The rest of us go paycheck to paycheck. We struggle to get all our bills paid, hoping we don't get into a situation to cause us to spend more money, such as extreme hospital bills due to accidents or illnesses. Even in prison they make it hard, the most you can make for pay here is 42 cents an hour and the job selection is very small. And we need to buy all our own hygiene products, stationery, at outrageous prices. And unless you want scores of blisters on your feet, you better order a pair of sneakers because the state boots they give to us are close to not even wearable boots. Cable costs $13 and trips to medical are $2, plus any medication you may need ranging from $2+ -- all to see a nurse for two minutes. So trying to save in here is close to impossible.
The rest of the DP covers many areas such as "Oppression of Women," "Discrimination Against Immigrants" (which I feel needs to be stressed more!), and how America kills in wars. I also feel that the "Death Penalty" should be focused on too. How can America justify murder with murder. Because a court system grants it? But when one of the government kills our people because he "thought he had a gun," it's ok, but when a lower class person kills, he/she is a cold-blooded murderer. And this, of course, is how they make us out to be freeloaders, bums, waste of taxpayers money, or so they say. If you think I'm wrong please let me know. Maybe I need better understanding of all this.
I really love your paper and spread them all over the prison to the people I feel can handle what you got to say. One paper probably gets passed around to 20 people, and then comes back to me and I cut out the articles and photos to send home. I cannot keep the paper because the jail will try to say I got contraband if it's over two weeks old. I have a two-year-old son who I want to show these clippings to when he gets older. When he gets to high school, all of this that's going on now will be history for him and will also be chopped up to look like USA was a hero instead of the killers they are. And your paper gives it RAW, no sugar topping. So I want him to see the truth, not falsehood. We have been made blind, deaf and dumb for too long. And I refuse to allow my son to grow up with a slave mentality, but that of a righteous Muslim. So please do not stop taking the awesome photos you take.
Keep up the good work and I will do whatever I can to help. My home town has a state college and I hope to spread your paper and the DP all through the college when I get out which should be soon.
A Captive Proletarian
"There are roads out of the secret places within us along which we all must travel and move, as we go to touch others as we go."
It is evident that the Draft Programme and the RW is having a profound impact on Amerikkka's incarceration society. I read the letters from behind the prison walls in the RW and it seriously fuels the revolutionary fire burning within to know that so many of my captive comrades are feeling that true spirit of umoja (unity) and are attuned to the struggle and prepared to fight!
Comrades, there is no greater honor than to lay down one's life for the people. In the struggle there is no personal gain, it is all for the people.
I know that many of you are facing the same obstacles that I and other comrades face on these bama plantations -- opposition from the so-called conscious holy rollers in various religious communities who feel it is a glorious thing to get behind the podiums and platforms and spit their bullshit so the people can say, "He sure can speak." Their reward is the praise of the words - note: the struggle is to something that you commit to today, then go watch on the 10 o'clock news, it's a lifelong endeavor.
We have seen the results of the talking religious heads--look at the damage that the preachers have wrought upon our communities. Does he get respect? No! Does he deserve respect? No! His only interest is self, true? How many times has he been rewarded for defusing a volatile confrontation situation, i.e. Cincinnati 2001.
The preacher doesn't want to fight. He fears the fight. His religion is state promoted, supported and sanctioned. How can it be for the people?
I am thoroughly sickened by all the patriotic Muslims in this prison. How do you claim to be a Muslim in one voice and give full support to this beastly nation's slaughter of your brothers and sisters the world over? That's blatant out and out hypocrisy.
Revolutionary comrades, let us work. The time to organize is now and it is obvious that we have a vanguard Party to lead.
Captive proletarians of the world unite. Together we will win!
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497