From a Prisoner:

“Constantly Straining Against the Limits”

February 3, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


“I remember reading... where Lenin said something like, there are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen.”

29 December 2012

As always my warmest greetings and best wishes are sent to you and everyone else at the PRLF.

I received the interview “What Humanity Needs,” and the article “The Critical Importance of Leadership” by Lenny Wolff. Thank you, as always I am very grateful and will study it thoroughly. I had actually already began digging into the article as soon as the first part was printed in the paper, and I also got back into the interview itself as part of that. I missed the second part because I didn’t get issue No. 287 [December 9, 2012] of the paper due to the move, so I’m really glad you sent me the whole thing.

The article is definitely something to reflect on. I struggle every day to develop my level of understanding and ground myself more firmly in what I’ve learned from studying BA’s body of work. Doing that while also trying to pull others to do the same isn’t easy. I feel the pulls of everything going on around me and my old ways of thinking every day, but I fight in one way or another to stay on the course I’m on with an even firmer understanding of what it’s all for. That’s why I found this article so relevant to what I’m facing here in prison. Every time I make a breakthrough with one prisoner, there’s a thousand things pulling him in the opposite direction. We’re not as irredeemable as most people think, but I don’t want to romanticize prisoners either. It’s hard getting them to abandon their old ways and raise their sights to something really worthwhile. I understand how difficult it is to make that leap. I’ve had my own problems with drugs and everything else. I am by no means done but the changes I’ve made are so far pretty dramatic so I think (to paraphrase a donor to the PRLF) “If I can change, who else can change?”

I remember reading a quote once where Lenin said something like, there are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen. This made me think of the concept of hastening while awaiting and how it could be applied here in prison as another hunger strike is coming up in July. There’s more time to organize before the protest and the number of participating prisoners promises to be a lot higher than last time. There seems to be a potential for an explosion of resistance just below the surface and also a possibility that the unity achieved so far between prisoners will turn into its opposite. There was an “Agreement to End Hostilities” in October but race riots aren’t that easy to prevent. There was one here in this prison about a week after I got here and we’re on lockdown for that now. There’s such an urgent need for prisoners to take up ideology as things are coming to a head but the reality is that most prisoners want to leave ideology out of it. I try to figure out how to “constantly strain against the limits” and try to “transform the objective conditions to the maximum degree possible” so that decades happen in weeks and leaps are made in people’s thinking as this particular struggle intensifies. I’ll get into the Lenny Wolff article and BA’s interview as part of this and do my part to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.

On another note, do you have anything that analyzes Cuba and North Korea? When I tell people that we need socialism, these two countries always come up, especially Cuba. I’ve been able to read a little bit of Cuba but not North Korea. Anything you could send on either of these two countries I’d really appreciate.

Alright then you and the PRLF staff take care and keep up the great work. Thanks again for everything. I hope to hear from you again soon.



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