Revolutionary Worker #1145, April 7, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
There are many prisoners and political prisoners that need to get their hands on the Draft Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The brothers and sisters behind bars must be a part of this discussion and debate. To do this, we ask all people who see the need to spread the vision of a revolutionary program, to contribute to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF). PRLF is also looking for volunteers to help get the RW into prisoners' hands.
You can reach PRLF at: 773- 227-4066. Send contributions to: PRLF, Merchandise Mart, PO Box 3486, Chicago IL 60654
The following excerpts are from letters prisoners wrote to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund after receiving the new Draft Programme of the RCP,USA.
A Thirst for Knowledge
I recently obtained the Draft Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA . I was in awe. I have had a lot of ideas about a world that is VERY similar to what is projected in the ideals of the RCP. I must admit that I do not have much knowledge on Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and/or organizations. I do want to learn! I am writing in hopes that you could give me any literature, sources of literature. I thirst for knowledge. Unfortunately there is not any useful information where I am at--in prison. I would like to be put on a mailing list. Please! Thank you for putting your Draft Programme into print, it helped me realize that I am not the only person with a need to rebel against capitalist oppression. I now have hopes of proper guidance. Thank you.
Salutations comrades! I received your missive only recently due to an ongoing struggle between us and the Gestapo working in the mailroom here. To make a long story short, since your message was sent under separate cover, it arrived with a compañera of mine and they considered it "3rd party mail." I filed an appeal in haste and here I am months later with your missive at my side. Thanx!
I want to acknowledge having long since received our copy of the New Draft Programme and the continued subscription to the RW. We have composed a study-struggle group here and have incorporated the Draft in our curriculum. I look forward to sharing with you, and all, some of our "notes" on the related... I have no organizational affiliation. Quite simply, I'm a communist who has been captive since I was 15 (I'm 24 now) and who has endeavored to transform myself from the "homeboyism" culture (a product of capitalist/imperialist colonization of the barrios as it is) to a revolutionary internationalist! One, I'm open for any critique or dialogue on the related or otherwise. So don't hesitate to get at me or encourage others to.
I'm enclosing here a copy of a drawing I did in 1999 called, "The essence of capitalism."
I'll be packing in about 13 months, after having been down 10 years! And I'm trying to make some contacts and build some meaningful relationships so that I can begin organizing, agitating and educating as soon as I touch down.... Let me tell you, I've been digging into Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory and scientific socialism in general since almost day one in prison. I dug into the SWP Trokskyist line, the Mexican cultural nationalist line (I speak the Mexican language, Spanish and of course English), the New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist line, and a host of others and believe only the RIM and RCP is capable of being the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat in specific and a new revolutionary socialist/communist hegemony in general, within this country. I am confident that given the opportunity, I could contribute significantly to the RCP.
Yeah, comrades, that's a big door I'm kicking open and I hope that you may be able to respond to this in full. In closing, I extend my deepest regards and concrete solidarity to all!
A New Light
My name is XXX and I would like to thank you and the RCP for opening up my eyes to the world.
I've been reading the weekly newsletter and the Draft Programme and seeing the world in a new light. I never used to notice how censored the American newspapers were until I read the Revolutionary Worker . I like how they don't hold their tongues and how they're not afraid to speak their minds. Plus the Draft is like ten times better than the [U.S.] Constitution. It makes me want the Draft to be read worldwide. Wouldn't that make the world a better place?
I don't know what I can do to help make a difference, but if you think of anything, just let me know. My family comes to see me once a month and I'm trying to open their eyes. Some of them think that communism is just a dream, but the others are really listening to me. I don't try to beat them over the head with communism. I just tell them what has capitalism done for you? And the answer is always, nothing. I just try to let them know that they wouldn't have to struggle this hard under communism. It's capitalism that's making their lives so hard, they're breaking their backs on jobs that have no meaning. They're being open-minded and maybe when I educate myself more about communism I'll be able to educate them.
If I can spread communism by word of mouth, I will. I will do anything that I can to help the struggle. I really want to make this world a better place for our women and children.
"Putting a Puzzle Together"
The weekly issues of the Revolutionary Worker and the Draft Programme have been received and it is my duty to criticize what needs to be criticized. It's like putting a puzzle together--you have to find out what pieces fit and what pieces don't.
First of all with this so-called "War on Terrorism" nobody has seen to take it into consideration as to whether or not bin Laden was behind the plane crashes. First of all, there has been no evidence that he actually was behind it. Secondly it is hard to believe that a handful of people would hi- jack an airplane with box cutters. All of us have seen a situation where somebody has done something and then made it look like somebody else did it and this might very well be the case. The question is why would the U.S. government plot and carry out such a thing and part of the answer to that question is why wouldn't they -- with the capitalist system and their conspiracies -- to bring about a New World Order, a One World Government with some of their most ruthless killers in office such as President George Bush who murdered over 34 people as the governor of Texas; such as Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge who bombed the MOVE organization and tried to have Mumia Abu-Jamal executed while he was governor of Pennsylvania; such as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who has been behind the murder and police brutality in New York?
As to criticizing your Draft Programme , I haven't read all of it yet. Page 11 states, "The proletarians are trapped in a vicious circle--they have to work in order to live." Well, that's the whole catch to it; they don't have to do nothing; they have been fooled into thinking that they have to work to live and when they work, they still don't live because most of the time somebody else (the ruling class) receives the profit behind what they work for and to those that do receive some, it is designed to have it taken right back from them. We live in a system of trickery. It's like, Okay, I got what you want and to get it you gotta do whatever it is I want you to do. An example is what goes on back here in prison. When it's time for an officer back here to gas someone or restrain them by use of force you can see the look in their face showing that they really don't want to do it and many will admit that they don't want to do it and that they know it's wrong, but they say that they need the job, the money to survive so they end up becoming bribed. But when you are dealing with a briber you have to make sacrifices and it must be understood that usually what you are bribed for ain't usually worth it. The ruling class never allows you to make it to the top with them. Their intention is to use you and get rid of you, to bring you in and kick you out.
As to all of your emphasis on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Well, if Mao lived in a desert and you lived in a jungle and you are trying to grow a garden, there is nothing you can learn from Mao to help you grow one because someone from the desert knows nothing about growing a garden. This is why Sun Tzu said in the Art of War that circumstances never repeat themselves exactly and so the rules of strategy can never be set out in such detail that every situation is catered for in advance. So it is not necessary to specifically apply the rules of Marx, Lenin and Maoism...
I hope I have said enough to keep us going in the same direction, if not you have to further show me where you are going and how you are getting there so that I may learn the same.
Keep the papers coming and hopefully we can get together more often and in more ways.
"The DP will work"
I hope my letter has found you in good health mentally and physically. I am always glad to sit down and write you a letter. I am glad because it is really difficult to find a party that boldly voices its opinion as the Revolutionary Worker does. All the other socialist-communist parties read more like the bourgeoisie than the right wing media. Sometimes I wonder are they reformist- liberals.
The Draft Programme is really revolutionary as I have said before. The only thing that is wrong with the Draft is that it is printed on bio-degradable paper.
The Draft reads on page 37, "A truly revolutionary party is the deadly enemy of the bourgeoisie." All those other so-called communist newspapers sugar-coat the story about how this imperialist society is destroying people's lives around the globe. They act as if they are afraid to speak out against imperialism. But the Revolutionary Worker and the Party pulls no punches.
I was reading also at the end of page 39, "To win victory, the Party must be made up of those who embody the best qualities of the proletariat and are prepared for great sacrifice, jail, even execution at the hands of the ruthless enemy." These are true words to the last letter. I look at people in prison and many of them realize that some of us must die in order to free ourselves from the clutches of our oppressors. But everyone is waiting for someone else to die. Everyone cries loudly for unity and the Draft Programme clearly states, "But without the initiative and independent role of the class- conscious proletariat, the unity that is built with other class forces will not be as broad or as powerful as it can be. The proletariat, through its vanguard party, must strive to lead the united front." (page 57).
Prisoners have many issues in the California Prison System. But they spend most of their time fighting with each other on racial issues like who will have what side of the yard. Or who owes who for "a-you-know-what-debt." And when the races do unify, the unification is for a superficial issue like we need candy bars in the canteen, or we should fight to get can goods in a package. That is why The Communist Manifesto says: The communists are distinguished from the other working class parties by this only: In the national struggles of the proletarians of different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality; 2: In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movements as a whole.
The Manifesto goes on to read, "The communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working class parties of every country." In order to break past these walls of prison inertia created by the prison administration, the communists in every prison must quickly seek out other class-conscious communists and start holding study groups under the guise of religion or whatever means of meetings are available. The Draft Progamme will work but we communists must be willing to exhaust the study of the Programme and put its policy into practice. Because the Draft Programme will work. It is based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
"What do you think?"
I like to thank you for your letter dated the 31st day of January 2002. Thank the sponsor for my sub, it will help me keep up with the struggle. I believe the RCP Draft Programme needs to give the youth of the world more rights to control their own life - e.g. jobs, education, body, relationships and marriage. That is what is wrong with the world governments killing the young people. They can't get a job, marriage, sex, etc. The world treats them as property of the parents and/or government. What do you think?
Thoughts on Rehabilitation
Greetings to all my brothers and sisters united in the struggle for revolution and ultimately freedom. I am reaching out to you from the belly of the beast -- the ultimate incarnation of political and social oppression. Not to mention the emotional, physical, and mental oppression and abuse inflicted upon prisoners literally 24 hours a day.
On pages 69-70 in the Draft Programme , there is an appendix with the title, "Prisons and Prisoners." This has caused our "study group" (which must be kept underground due to prison rules) to have many interesting and thoughtful debates. I am of the view that no crime is nonviolent. Allow me to explain. Nonviolent crime would mean that no one has been hurt by the crime. If you take a man's money in a nonviolent way such as a confidence game or credit card scam or just steal his wallet, do you deprive him of the money needed to support his family or himself? Does this not cause pain? Although possibly not physical pain, it can cause emotional pain. It can cause hardship to a family even if only for a week or two. A nonviolent crime has caused pain.
Let us look at nonviolent drug offenders. Drugs are a poison and the harm they cause not only to the user but also anyone who comes in contact with the user can be very violent. Speaking from experience the things I have done to get the money to buy drugs have caused untold pain and suffering to not only my family but to many innocent people who did not even know me.
Drug dealers perpetuate violence and pain and misery. Certainly I don't know a man's hustle but I call it the way I see it. Dealers know what their clientele do to get the money to supply their habits. They know what harm the drugs they sell cause to society. So to consider their crimes nonviolent to my way of thinking is ludicrous.
I understand the underlying principles behind dealing drugs and I know the different reasons why a person uses drugs. However I don't feel that merely giving the "lower rung" criminal type of individual the revolutionary outlook is going to solve substance abuse and all it entails. On page 69 on the "Lumpen proletariat" the DP states, "But winning them to the revolutionary cause will be possible only by exercising an absolutely firm hand and sharply struggling to instill in them the revolutionary outlook of the proletariat." This phrase has the sound of forced indoctrination. It gives the sense of, "We will not permit this so do what you're told or else." There is no inducement in such a phrase and one phrase can stick in a person's memory and color his judgment far into the future.
To rehabilitate prisoners you will need much more than socialist revolution. Once the common enemy is gone where do you channel all the hatred?
I will continue these thoughts in the near future. However my time this evening is limited so I must cut this letter short. I will be certain to share more of my and our study group's thoughts with you soon. United in the struggle for freedom.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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