Saying “No” To the Political Repression of Prisoners
by Kasim O. Gero
Transcribed by Kilaika Baruti
Edited by Alafia Medina
The Fascist administrative bodies known as the Department of Corrections around this country have been busy ramping up its apparatus nationwide against political prisoners and those of us who have politicized ourselves underneath the oppressive weight of prison conditions. These attacks have materialized as targeted against the political writings of our most conscious, as well as against any publication that contains these writings or displays a preference toward the defense of prisoners’ rights. At issue of course it is an attack on a prisoner’s first amendment right. These rights bring the rights to receive any publication regardless of its political, social, or cultural content ( sans those overt threats to the security of the gulag-as this is always the excuse given) ; to be able to write any articles or books detailing the deplorable conditions and degradations suffered in prison and the ”justice system.”
The assault being waged against radical or conscious publications and newsletters by the Fascist CDCR, in an attempt to repel prisoners’ receivership of articles written or inspired by prisoner struggles and experiences, is exposing itself as political repression of the gestapo-type and reactionism that blacks/new Afrikans and activist have long grown accustom to. The raids being carried out at the PBSP SHU, Corcoran SHU, and other places I’m sure and the deliberate splitting up of our most resolute organizers and representatives (though their release from the SHU is the most desired result) is a part of this political censorship and terror.
The reports coming from Wawenzi at Corcoran SHU, PBSP SHU, Mwenzi Rashid (who not only needs our political support, but also our legal/health support), we can see that the fight against our first amendment freedoms goes far beyond the legal repression of our human right to conscience. Shake downs, administrative measures, confiscated property in literature and books, pamphlets and writings, and bribes of loosening the noose from around our necks in exchange for our discontinuation of political writings and educational, agitational, and confrontational activities is equal to a brutal reaction against the awakening of our black, brown, and European Amerikan imprisoned class.
The latest advance of this reactionary response to our political activism is the decision to pass reactionary legislation in Pennsylvania against our dearest ndugu, Mumia Abu-Jamal and against all politically active captives, known as the Mumia Gag Law (Revictimisation Relief Act). Making it effectively a crime for a captive within the P.A. gulag system to speak to the world through writing or recording, where this speech makes victims/victims family feel revictimised.
Before our eyes we are witnessing a not so new paradigm which demands the oppressed to apologize for exercising our constitutional rights in this fascist country. Let us finally declare our general struggle not as civil rights, but as human.
Even in the suspension of the California, Maynard, and Georgian hunger strikes, the nationwide fascist administration known as the Department of Corrections (as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons) cannot possibly believe that our prison class of workers have been defeated! No way! For us, defeat is not an option. Nor is it a possibility. The goal and aims remains the same: Not simply to demand that our constitutional rights and human rights be upheld, but as well to end the torturous and barbarous conditions which confronts all of our sisters and brothers from California to Maine, New York to Florida, Detroit to Texas; and internationally in every corner of this imperialist dominated world.
Our movement for human rights and an end to long-term solitary confinement (an end to solitary confinement) is part and parcel to the demand that freed our companieros the Cuban 5; the demand to remove Assata Olugbala Shakur from the FBI most wanted terrorist list and her safe return home; to exonerate all BPP, BL, AIM, and class struggle revolutionary men and women from state, local, and federal terrorist institutions; to bring an end to police brutality, in-custody deaths and outright police murder of our people (of all/any people) and to maintain the right of prisoners internationally to participate in political activities and radical progressive activism to impact prison conditions and the consciousness in our communities.
Kufa wa watu! Watu wangu, have we forgotten? Victory cannot visit a people without first the dress rehearsal to conquest. Experience can only be obtained through action, through trial and error, and our political awakening is not yet complete. Our enemies at the state and federal level know this. Because of our cornered position as prisoners their only course of action is to choke us of the breadth of knowledge, the dream of taking away our resolve, of taking away our dreams, our humanity, our courage. In defense, all able-bodied women and men have the responsibility to meet this challenge with a unified cry of: kwa ukombozi na mapinduzi! Kufa kwa watu!
We must remain resolute in declaring that the only way for us to be suppressed is for us to silence ourselves and declare further that as we raise our own demands, we are against any attempts by state and federal governments to bring force or fear to bear against any oppressed people in their quest for peace, justice, and equality.
On behalf of myself, my Marcus Garvey Study group, led by the George Jackson University and all other conscious black/new Afrikan warriors, radicals, revolutionaries, and activist in the state of Maryland, we say to those who have stood up for us all as a class of imprisoned nations: Mtu ni Watu (“No one man is an island, or I am because we are.”)
Freedom to all political prisoners. Freedom of political activity for all imprisoned women and men! End long-term solitary confinement and abolish step-down, and debriefing programs! Free Nestora Salgado, Jalil Muntaquim, Bomani Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angola 3, Sundiata Acoli, Omaha 2, and all women and men who remain victims of political repression and Cointelpro.
Our struggle began with colonization and the enslavement of African life, it will not end until we regain the self determination that was robbed from us. The conquest of power by our workers and framers toward the establishment of socialism can only begin with independent political action. The sooner begun the sooner done and history will absolve us.
Katika Shindano kwauhuru na Mapinduzi!