Correspondence from Prisoners

Shine the Light of Revolution Behind the Prison Walls

Revolutionary Worker #1226, January 25, 2004, 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. The PRLF can be reached at: 773-227-4066. Send your contributions to: PRLF, Merchandise Mart, PO Box 3486, Chicago IL 60654.

Revolutionary Embracements!

It has been a few months since I've corresponded with you. I decided to take a while to analyze and digest all of the literature that you have sent me thus far. (The Draft Programme, Chicano Struggle and the Proletarian Revolution, For A Harvest of Dragons, The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tsetung .) The power, truth and validity of Marxism has on every step of this task revealed itself to me, and my revolutionary class-consciousness is developing and strengthening with each new insight and understanding.

The revolutionary science and outlook of MLM is taking my consciousness somewhere I never thought I'd get to. But I hunger for more! In fact, my burgeoning consciousness demands that I grasp dialectical materialism more firmly so that my service to the people increases both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Along with the works mentioned above, I also had the opportunity to consume two other works by Lenin: The State and Revolution and Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism . Both were excellent and highly enlightening. But I must say, due to my limited experience with literature such as this, and coupled with my inability to comprehend some of the complex analysis and phenomena expounded therein, it's been difficult--though not impossible--for me to really grasp and substantially enhance my understanding of what I've studied so far.

I have gleaned a fundamental understanding of dialectical-materialism, Imperialism, historical- materialism, etc. But I'm so hungry for a deeper knowledge and still have many questions about what I've already soaked up.

In Struggle, XXX

Revolutionary Greetings,

So much on my mind right now, my biggest battle is learning to stay rooted in dialectical materialism. More than that is to apply it in a living way. I have to continually reaffirm over and over that this is a process and will develop one way or the other irregardless. We either learn to exploit our situation and environments or we get swept along. There is no middle ground.

It's sad to be in prison, it's sad to be anywhere that is a breeding ground for bourgeois bullshit and not have a sanctuary, a place to turn to, to draw strength from like-minded people, to assess our collective strengths and weaknesses.

Yea, it is quite difficult to maintain a revolutionary tenseness without a revolutionary collective. This is the reason I say Dialectical Materialism is so important and learning to like it even more important still. This way we can take full advantage of each contradiction also so that we will always be looking for more and better ways to secure our revolutionary aims. Seizing power, preparing minds.

I wanted to tell you of some things when I was in the SHU at Pelican Bay but couldn't just then. [SHU is Special Housing Unit, an extreme high-tech maximum control system used in the prison systems of California and other states.] As you know this whole prison complex is merely bourgeois society's response to bourgeois society. What else do you do with the leftovers? In the draft it indicated that prison in the new society will be radically different. Me personally, I don't see any need for prisons. They are repressive institutions. In socialist society, besides those few people so sick they need specific attention, I don't see a need for prison because I can't see people the same in communist society.

Anyways, Pelican Bay SHU is specifically designed to punish and warehouse. To justify it, they use the pretext of prison gangs. Which they have a lot to do with, pitting one inmate against another, one group against another--recall Corcoran SHU.

But to uphold the need for such severe.institutions, to receive higher government funding to create public opinion for such bourgeois institutions, they give the impression that these inmates or groups are so violent they now need special attention. Well the food strike was because these inmates and groups are tired of being singled out...

I'm well, just put the draft RCP Programme down and want to do an essay on revolutionary responsibility. I don't think one could over-emphasize the point of democratic centralism, mass line, etc. etc. There are so many things we can pull from the draft.

I still have a hard time getting people to get past the word communism. Bourgeois media and propaganda have done a cold number on the average cat's mind. The refutation of evolution where did the mountains come from or why are we not still changing or some other nonsense. The refutation of communism is it part of a world conspiracy which of course comes from some cat who indicates America was once a great nation.

Once you get people to want to study and investigate it's not so difficult to bring them to the legitimate question and answers. Grasp Revolution.

Just read a response from Dolly in San Francisco about the Draft. I do dig that she is on top of the Draft so tough.

Me personally, the thing I hear most and what I get most as well from the responses you publish are economics, transition period (socialism), and religion. Here is a question, if you meet a sister or brother who identify themselves as communist yet professed that they believe in a god or goddess would it be acceptable to tell them they were not a true communist? Don't get me wrong, I'll be the first to present the facts of evolution and dialectical materialism.

As far as the other question of transformation. I think maybe this will be the most difficult period of the revolution. As the proletarian revolution in China indicated, this will be a time of tremendous responsibility. I really appreciate that the RW continues to present different points of revolution, revolutionaries and revolutionary society, and the fact that we are continually challenged to challenge ourselves. I'm really diggin the Draft Programme. It has been my staging ground for two years now. And even though I haven't been able to surround myself with all that many people whose sole focus is revolution, just the fact that this gives me a firm ground to stand on in challenging bourgeois society, ideas, and institutions, as well as being able to present what our future society can look like. I absolutely love the RW , adore the Party, livin for revolution.

I'll write soon,

Love your comrade,XXX

Revolutionary Greetings Comrade,

I hope that this brief scribe of mine finds you still in revolt! I would have sent you a response to your scribe but due 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 Fredrick 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 demand. It never did and it never will.

Find out just what any people 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 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 potent. 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 on a few of their sessions where they gossip about all that pussy they got, the people they've stuck up and the money they made. This is their mindframe 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 their own selves.

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 upon 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 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 GI Resistance part 2). The things he speaks upon goes hand in hand with the struggle of the soja's in this capitalist society.

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.

In Revolt,XXX

Dear Comrade,

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 and 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 Proletarian 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 condition. 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 simultaneously, 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 prove 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 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. In learning the meaning of the relations of production they should be taught their current position in society and how the relations of production are related to them. Then next how the superstructure rests upon that basis.

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 the Struggle, XXX