Revolutionary Worker #1180, December 22, 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 that prisoners wrote to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund about the new Draft Programme of the RCP,USA.
The following letter was recently received by the PRLF.
Living in prison as a revolutionary has many aspects to grasp and build upon.
First, I do not believe that being locked up has to be a situation where all we can do is wait (although it does feel like that). Yet, at times, wait we must do. It is what we do as we wait that will help determine what we can do when the time for "action" arrives.
In prison there are many people who are confused about the process of making revolution (I was and to some extent am one of these people) who think that fighting the system is all about the physical actions that are taken against the enemy. These physical actions are usually hurtful to a handful of individuals who might be bourgeois, but are not the capitalist system that is exploiting us. That is how I got here, I had always heard of "for the cause" and "fuck the system," but I was not exposed to true revolutionary lines, I was on my own to determine which methods to use in my battle against the beast.
After my crime and arrest I refused to let go of the rage, and I sought out those who were still fighting the system. I didn't find anyone to help me, but I found the Draft Programme which had the RCP's address in it. There I found the PRLF and people who will really help, all of us, to build an understanding of what we are up against. My enemy transformed drastically, from the Caucasian, to the bourgeois to the ruling class and now to the actual system of capital-imperialism. This changed my fight from attacking a place of business to attacking the business of businesses; capital-imperialism. Since my struggle has changed because of this, the ways I must fight have also changed. This has actually heightened the chances of winning. So, an important task for Revolutionary Prisoners is to develop methods for us to fight that are not destructive, especially those contradictory to methods of making "people's war." At the same time we must not lose our aggression.
Prison is where I learned this and for many, prison is where the same will happen. It is vital that Revolutionary Prisoners understand and anticipate this. There are many people from different strata that can be won over to the revolution, proletarian revolution . Those of us already here can join the battle by seeking out the ones who are willing to learn and fight and expose them to the materials that the PRLF has bestowed upon us. I know that in prison there are a lot of pure criminals or lumpen proletariat who just don't care, not to mention the bourgeois that end up here. But the fact remains that there are many who will join the fight. I also understand that prisons are all different, some are open yards, some are closed and others are straight lockdown. I have never had the chance to be on an open yard, but on a closed yard I have been able to share and discuss the literature and topics sent to me by the PRLF. Now that I am in lockdown my opportunity to share is at best minimum but I have the use of this time to enhance my knowledge so that when I am back on the yard I am better equipped to take action. That action is spreading the Maoist line. This is powerful, by learning and sharing this strong revolutionary line we weaken the oppressive beast that has swallowed us. We stop becoming part of their return rate and even if we do return, hopefully, it would be due to an action taken for the people and not one that will only strengthen the system that oppresses us.
"How does the central task of the party apply to prisoners and prison life?"
By continuing and stepping up the process of spreading the MLM (Marxism-Leninism-Maoism) theory and making prison a virtual production site of true and thorough revolutionaries instead of confused, damaged and worsened lumpen-proletariat, we are actively and aggressively struggling against the system.
Even if one learns strictly on a personal level, which might be the case for some brothers and sisters in isolation, they are still preparing themselves. To not study and learn would be the contradiction and that can lead to a backwards course of action(s).
As Revolutionary Prisoners, our struggle is constant and urgent. On the last page of the Draft Programme , in the section, "Standards Set by the Vanguard Party," it says,
"They should be fearless in the face of the enemy and be prepared for persecution, imprisonment and even death in the service of the revolution." Plus in the RW I am reading of the increasing risk posed to communists and others who oppose the imperialists, that they stand an ever greater chance of being arrested for their dissent. We should be ready for them because the threat is real. It will be terrible to neglect the support that the PRLF is offering and then when the time comes that revolutionaries are being thrown in prison and we, those who have this time to prepare, are not ready.
Jumping back to page 60 of the Draft Programme , in the "Prisons and Prisoners" section, it states clearly and correctly,
"The prison system is an instrument of bourgeois dictatorship designed to terrorize the masses broadly and to further degrade them. It offers no real retraining or rehabilitation, but rather unspeakable brutality and increasingly, slave labor."
As Revolutionary Prisoners we will be instrumental in making those conditions change. We might not get the vocational training or college degrees that we want, but we can participate in the revolutionary training offered by the PRLF. It is a great thing what the PRLF is doing and I think that we should and can show them that the struggle will be picked up and carried out in prison. We should make prisons a "stronghold," the same as those brought up on page 50 on the "Central Task."
I'll sum this up with two more passages from the "Central Task," on page 49 in the "Building the Party Itself is a Crucial Part of Revolutionary Preparation" section.
"The party is made up of the most dedicated fighters for revolution, those who devote their lives to this cause and who struggle wholeheartedly to grasp and apply the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism."
In the next paragraph:
"The party must continually bring in and train fresh forces, particularly from the proletariat as well as the revolutionary youth, training all members to constantly deepen their grasp and application of MLM."
I'm not trying to say that we are the Party and I know that there are many, many obstacles in our way, but we can use these last two paragraphs as models, along with the generous PRLF to give our lives a strong revolutionary purpose.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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