Shine the Light of Revolution Behind the Prison Walls

Revolutionary Worker #1211, August 24, 2003, posted at

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.

You can reach PRLF at: 773-227- 4066. Send your contributions to: PRLF, Merchandise Mart, PO Box 3486, Chicago IL 60654.

Captive Soul-Jah

Greetings in the Name of Truth and Right. InI have just been blessed to have the opportunity to read these gems that's within the sheets of your paper, it's always great to hear the inside scoop not what the "Power That Be" wish for you to read.

InI am a tru revolutionary in all three existence of the term--Mentally, Physically & Spiritually. I have been held captive within these walls, gates & bars for 12 years and I'm 27 years old. Yes, since I was 14 these Babylonians expose me to this unjust "shit-stem" at a young age. So there's no strange happenings. But InI haven't had the tru resources to maintain my studies of awareness. My resources are very limited on the other side of the walls, but to start receiving the RW and any other books would be appreciated. Plus the Draft Programme. I would truly appreciate it.

Another issue I would wish to bring to your attention, about how these pigs/ dogs/Babylonians are trying to do us Soul-Jah's in captivity. I am in their segregational unit/prison due to standing up for my beliefs in Rastafari. These men tried to make me cut my dread-locks for some security risk "bull- shit" they sent their tactical unit into the cell on me to handcuff shackle me, then escorted me to this place where they physically assaulted me and cuffed my legs to a gurney while five of them "correctional officers" held me down and cut my hair forcefully. They had knowledge that the cutting of my dreads was a desecration upon our "Rastafarian" Beliefs.

Well, after they committed such violence upon my head, they place me back in this filthy cell with feces and hair all over the cell. The cell was nasty. Then officers fraudulently put disciplinary infraction on me, then shipped me to another prison, because they knew I was going to file a lawsuit, so I still struggling. I've been in segregation since October 1, 2002. All because I wouldn't fold like some of these soft ones and allow just anything to happen, I'm going to stand up for truth and right even if I am by myself. Well it's about to be mail run. Thank you again for listening and speaking the truth.

Uhuru Revolutionary Love,XXX

"The Validity of Our Philosophy"

Progressive greetings 'rades,

Well I'm getting closer to being kicked back out to the main line. Been in the SHU now for 22 months. It's been a major setback in regards to me trying to attain my release, as well as the obvious separation of the already fragile ties to the outside world. Not to mention the confiscation and destruction of all my personal property... All for a bogus assault on staff where I was not only cuffed behind the back shackled at the ankles and being escorted by a whole sty of guards. Worst was I was the only one injured.

Well as you well know this is not an exception to the very rule itself. "Same song." Or even some seemingly unconnected ailment. But the simple truth is that this whole thing is set up from the starting point of ownership-distribution and relations of production. And must be tackled accordingly.

So too that goes for any possibility of those who are incarcerated of putting themselves in a position to challenge this mass incarceration. We first must understand exactly what the system is. Anyway I don't want to ramble...

Sometimes it seems this thing is too strong to be dealt with. It rolled on Afghanistan irregardless, started its war on domestic America, destroyed Iraq again...also irregardless. And still the prison doors never close. The oppressed are even more so. And the cold art of all this is that it's the same story. It does get quite old.

But out of all this even here I see the beginnings of some concern, people aren't so quick to condone the right of empire. Also people are beginning to question how facts are presented. Also and more importantly that there is an "us" and a "them."

Anyways, as you guys say, we do not usually create a situation, but we must learn to wrench as much good out of this as possible, maybe even transform it into something favorable to ourselves. Well here we are, huh? Back in the new situation Avakian wrote about--how after the 9/11 attacks the imperialists pretty much seized the deck and began to reshuffle the whole deck. Not his exact words, but the point was/is this is a new reality for us. We didn't anticipate any of this, but the fact is a thing is what it is. Dialectical materialism didn't get blown up with the towers nor with these two invasions since 9/11...

I know our antiwar movement didn't fail even though the monster still attacked Iraq. Our struggle against this monster didn't start on 9/11. So you constantly say stopping the juggernaut and making revolution is what we're all about, and so our orientation and outlook must serve those aims.

Also it's not just stopping this slaughter of the Middle East and making revolution. It's stopping this monster, period and making revolution.

So even though things have changed, even though the antiwar movement couldn't prevent this invasion, it doesn't disqualify the validity of our philosophy.

The point is to raise consciousness about what this thing is, and what it'll take to stop it and to unite with all those that can be united with to whatever extent they'll allow themselves to be united. Like Avakian said it's not an express train with no local stops that goes only to revolution.

So now more than ever it's important for us to see the contradictions and aspects of this whole process. And to have a firm grasp of dialectics.

I was in a slump for a little bit about how powerful this monster is and heartless to top it off. These isolation cells beat on me from all sides. There is also not much political consciousness here. Definitely no talk about dialectics, imperialism or capitalism. But one thing I tried to keep in mind was, as you all say, isn't this what we live for?

So I talk to people according to where they're at. Absolutely no Black inmate can dig this war. Only one Brown cat and he doesn't ever voice his opinions any more because his own homies began to make little jokes. One thing I try to do any time I'm able to talk about all this--being that other people can and do listen--is to get people to understand that these monsters aren't just wrong for their war-mongerings in the Middle East but globally. Africa, Mexico, Asia, etc., and of course right here.

Also I try to get them to understand that this is a specific system, and economics determine much of this.

I can't talk about the proletariat, capitalism commodity production, etc., but most Blacks are tired [of all this] and many of the Brown brothers understand as well. Lots of whites here are into some pretty crazy philosophies so they just don't get it. Also many of the Brown brothers here admire gangsterism so that's a big obstacle. And there is a tendency for Blacks to go no farther than Black and white.

So it's real good to hear about people from all walks out there making all these differences irrelevant and oppression a common thing.

So I just had to sit back and take a look at all this. Was real happy to get into the article "The challenge ahead: We must stop this war." And the question posed and answered: Have the protests made a difference? Yes and the antiwar movement hasn't disappeared and can and could continually be strengthened.

Well I'm gone, you all be careful and keep ten toes down.

In Struggle, XXX

P.S. I wanted to write earlier about some things & let you know I thoroughly enjoyed Ardea Skybreak's book. "Beautifully done." She did that! Thanks for everything. I'll definitely write soon, just had to run this past you first.

Love and Loyalty XXX

Studying the Science

I hope everything is going okay with you and the other Party members. I am always privileged to sit down and write you a letter. I am still struggling to understand Marxism, Leninism, Maoism. Now I am looking into critical thinking so whenever I get back to the streets I will be that much better able to understand the concrete situation that confronts the masses, and I will be a good representative of the Party. That is one of my major goals and that is to struggle for the masses through the Party.

I want to help "create public opinion, seize power; prepare minds and organize forces for revolution." I believe strongly that this can be done. But what I find in prison is that these potential proletariat revolutionaries are not asleep; they have become comfortable in their situation. We may not like our situation, but we have become secure in our miserable conditions. Because some of us do not really want change.

We think, say and feel we want change. But do many of us actually see social change as a tangible reality? Some of us do not want to struggle by studying Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism. We want our conditions to change spontaneously, without struggle--and if there must be struggle, we want someone else to struggle for us. Perhaps we are looking for the "pie in the sky."

Marx and Engels were absolutely correct in the Communist Manifesto: "they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, and endeavor, by small experiments, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way for the new social Gospel." These ideas still are alive and well today, as they were when Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto. "Everybody has a hungry heart," people are looking for answers to their social problems, but they really do not quite understand that the answer is within themselves. If they were to learn to apply Mao Tsetung Thought, they would understand, "The people and the people alone are the motive force in the making of world history."

The people must be meticulously taught the dynamics of society, how society works, and how the people interact, and how we are all interrelated in society. And what I mean is that they should be made aware of what Marx called the basis of society, which is the productive forces and the relations of production. They must understand what the productive forces are, and what is the meaning of the relations of production, they should be taught their current position in society and how the relations of production is related to them. Then next how the superstructure rests upon the base.

I believe that these ideas will be essential in teaching the masses. But even more in depth, that Marxism is a systematic effort to gain a scientific explanation of how human society developed. They must understand that people do not live in a vacuum. But that we live in groups. Therefore, the history of human social development is a history of social groups.

I am going to close this letter, but never my appreciation and desire to struggle in the Party for the masses.

In Revolt

I hope that this brief scribe of mine finds you still in revolt! I would have sent you a response to your scribe but owe to my legal responsibilities I've been caught up. I'm striving to prepare myself an effective defense against these wicked oppressors. I'm sorry to hear of the funding troubles, a few of the brothers and myself are striving as we speak to gather envelopes to assist you all in postage. Comrade, I admire you because you exhibit true revolutionary potential, you know we must live the struggle, in all our words, actions, deeds, etc. Our every thought and action must be geared to the aim of ushering in the day of revolution (liberation). Throughout my travels, I've come across many brothers who lacked the ability to properly define "historical materialism," which denotes that revolutionaries should look at the concrete realities under global imperialism, sum up the material conditions and history and base ideology and strategy on what has been most successful historically to end oppression. Violence is not optional; revolution is the process in which one class stages a bloody insurrection to overthrow the oppressor class. As Frederick Douglass said, the whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle...

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters..."

This struggle, he said, may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them and these will continue till they are visited with either word or blow or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Some of these brothers will come around eventually, but at present, they are lonely and suffer the usual misery of prison life. They ache for release, for another chance to be (from their perspective) a positive, productive member of their community. They ache for a chance to redeem themselves, to show love to a woman, family, children, etc. For some, revolutionary medicine is too patent. We can't give them the cure all at once. We must make the proper diagnosis and administer the dosage accordingly. Some will become conscious of the harsh reality of class struggle. There is no middle-ground, as comrade Marx said, "It's bloody insurrection or extinction."

I've observed these brothers around here close, I even sat in a few of their sessions where they gossip about all the pussy they got, the people they stuck up and the money they made. This is their mind frame when they first enter the system. But within 30 to 60 days, reality strikes and the same guy you seen 30 to 60 days before talking about the pussy, money, stickups, etc., is now carrying a bible or Qu'ran in his hand talking about he lives for Christ or The Prophet Muhammad. This is nothing more than a form of escapism. They embrace religion with open arms because it is a crutch to be utilized to not do anything for them ownselves. They lack the ability to see that religion is one of the root causes of their disunity. Each religious sect is advocating that their religion be supreme while all talk shit about the other.

They are so caught up in religion that conflict is the inevitable (that which cannot be avoided) when it comes to organizing them around their real needs. This is so because religion is a relief for them, and any time you speak up on something that's contrary to what they believe in you're simply trying to condemn their religion or you're speaking against their god. Sounds crazy, right? But it's true.

The struggle means nothing to them because they've been in struggle all their lives. They see they're catching hell from the oppressive powers that be as a punishment from god or a natural thing. So they welcome hell and defeat with no resistance whatsoever. The above has become to them (the oppressed) a natural tendency.

Comrade, the mail wagon just pulled up and I'm expecting my RW for this week. I've been catching the words of comrade spokesperson Carl Dix ("Days of Resistance," Part 2). The things he speaks upon go hand-in-hand with the struggle of the soja's in this capitalist society. They lack knowledge of the true "enemy."

In closing, I will add that there are a few materials I wish to look over and critically analyze which are Mao's Selected Writings and Che Guevara (Cuban Revolution). Also I would like to have "Uncle Ho." Any material you have concerning these three comrades please forward them to me as soon as possible. You have my most sincere regards. Any material you send me I will be sure to pass it on to comrades who are ready for it. Also send me a few copies of the MLM material you informed me of.

In Revolt XXX

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