Editor’s note: This comes from the brilliant minds – locked away in one of the most restrictive prisons in the U.S. – who brought you “California prison hunger strikers propose ‘10 core demands’ for the national Occupy Wall Street Movement,” the Bay View’s most read story, with 9,980 pageviews, from Dec. 6, 2011, to Feb. 19, 2012.
by J. Heshima Denham, Zaharibu Dorrough and Kambui Robinson of the NCTT Corcoran Security Housing Unit (SHU)
“But beneath this conventional enthusiasm and amid this ingratiating ritual toward the dominant power, you can easily perceive in the wealthy a deep distaste for the democratic institutions of their country. The people are a power they both fear and despise.” – Alexis De Tocqueville, “Democracy in America”
Greetings, brothers and sisters. A firm, warm and solid embrace of revolutionary love is extended to you all.
As we proceed in this period of evolution in our struggles for substantive social change in the U.S. via the national Occupy Movement, the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Movement, the Anti-Imperialist Movement etc., it is imperative that we not only understand that we are all representative of a single socio-political and historic motive force, but those in opposition to our democratic aspirations are the very same political, social and economic powers that this nation has relied on to ensure the integrity of democracy, social justice and economic equality. This is a contradiction.
This historic contradiction will NOT be resolved via our disparate efforts. Substantive change will only be realized through a comprehensive strategic approach, coordinated and conducted by us all. Simply put, we are a single movement, and for us to have the social impact necessary to compel progress we must proceed with this realization as out guiding ethos. We of the NCTT (New Afrikan Collective Think Tank) in the Corcoran SHU (Security Housing Unit) have a proposal on effective strategic organizing we’d like to share with you here, but before we do so we think it is imperative that you all understand the historic significance of what we are all a part of.
It is our assessment that what is occurring today as it relates to the national protest movement (i.e., Occupy Wall Street, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity etc.) is the unfinished legacy of the struggle for social justice necessary for the U.S. to fulfill its democratic potential. This struggle is part of the rich and courageous legacy of abolitionists, women’s rights activists, organized labor, populists, human and civil rights activists and other democratic struggles of the nation’s past.
|Cincinnati – Photo: J. Cherise McIntosh|
Social revolution has always been imperative to this type of substantive change. This calls for the recognition and coming together of people – citizens from different cultural, economic and ideological backgrounds – realizing the common interest inherent in this truth: that we all inhabit the same planet, breathe the same air, are part of the human family.
The social revolution of the 1960s, once it was contained by the conservative, corporate counter-culture, was reduced to being characterized as a “sexual revolution” in the same disparaging terms that the social revolution we are waging in this nation today is being characterized as a kind of mindless, leaderless rabble who simply dislike the wealthy, or “gang members,” whose only interest is imposing themselves on the larger population. These intentionally dishonest characterizations are not being made by the average reasoning man or woman – but instead by those we’ve vested with the responsibility of governing our political, social or economic institutions.
CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton, when asked about the alleged “suicide” death of a “jailhouse lawyer” in Pelican Bay’s ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit), responded, “Why are you concerned about that? … Was the inmate someone important? You know, someone well known like Charles Manson?” This is typical of the wealthy and their tools.
Was it any surprise that former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain described Occupy Movement activists as “stupid” because they opposed the inherent institutional inequality of the capitalist arrangement? Neither were we shocked that CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton, when asked about the alleged “suicide” death of a “jailhouse lawyer” in Pelican Bay’s ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit), responded, “Why are you concerned about that? … Was the inmate someone important? You know, someone well known like Charles Manson?” This is typical of the wealthy and their tools.
We began this discussion with a quote from Alexis De Tocqueville to illustrate not only the disdain in which the power structure in this society holds the people’s democratic expression but the fear and resentment they hold towards those who dare challenge this status quo in capitalist Amerika. We represent nothing more to these overseers and shareholders – and that’s just what the politicians, policy makers, prison industrialists and corporate executives are – than billions of dollars in potential profit to be extracted from our human misery.
CDCR and its lobbying body, the CCPOA, has succeeded in extorting budgets in excess of some nations’ gross national product by using us as the centerpiece of their distortion and false propaganda campaign of fear and dehumanization.
For example, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and its lobbying body, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), has succeeded in extorting budgets in excess of some nations’ gross national product by using us as the centerpiece of their distortion and false propaganda campaign of fear and dehumanization. They’ve duped taxpayers so successfully for so long at the expense of our very humanity that we had no choice but to take up a strategy in which the ultimate sacrifice may yet be necessary.
Following the ending of the last hunger strike in October, most of us, particularly those of us in these short corridors here and in Pelican Bay, were refused any medical treatment though we lost over 20 pounds in the 13-day period the second hunger strike lasted – and we hadn’t yet recovered from the first.
The kind of sacrifices being exemplified by courageous nationalists and activists like you in the Occupy Movement – we love it, we love you and we stand with you.
Our hunger strikes were the only way to effectively resist the nonstop assault on our humanity which is the inevitable consequence of burying us indefinitely in these sensory deprivation torture units. Equally, when working wages or employment itself are so shamelessly inconsistent with the cost of living, resulting in conditions of poverty, there is a corresponding poverty of spirit. The success of the Occupy Movement, like the hunger strikes, requires sacrifice and strategic insight. The kind of sacrifices being exemplified by courageous nationalists and activists like you – we love it, we love you and we stand with you.
Seizing the reins of history
What we all must come to understand is our struggle – like the vision of a new social structure inherent in this movement – must adopt new methods of ensuring its survival and expansion. The shear absurdity of some of the political pandering and positions in this election season, from Newt “Gingrinch’s” espousal of the merits of exploiting child labor in the underclass to discussions of cutting unemployment benefits by Tea Party Republicans in the face of record unemployment and cash-fat corporations refusing to hire, highlights how out of touch these puppets of the 1 percent ruling elite are with the daily challenges of the common man or woman.
Simultaneously, we are being asked to trust these same people who are responsible for creating conditions for, and exploitation of, human misery. We have been doing so for centuries and it has only moved us from one socio-economic crisis to the next.
Only when the people, the 99 percent, seized the reigns of history has the democratic destiny of humanity and its most noble ideas – unity, equality, self-determination, cooperation, freedom, justice and human rights – been advanced to any appreciable degree. Each progressive step forward – from the Suffrage Movement, which seized a woman’s right to vote from an entrenched chauvinistic privilege, to the nonviolent protests of the Civil Rights Movement that repealed segregation, to the empowerment and self-defense tactics of the national liberation movements that followed – was punctuated by a coherent strategic approach whose relative success or failure has been equal to the resonance it found in the nation’s mass psychology.
We cannot expect paths to social change to be laid by the forces of oppression, which means we must pursue self-determination and self-sufficiency, demonstrating the validity of our vision of society through social practice.
No one with a modicum of intelligence would disagree with the validity of our message, the righteousness of the Occupy Movement’s 10 core demands or the correctness of our aspirations. Yet this is not enough to sustain a movement so vocally opposed to the entrenched power structure of the 1 percent and all the tools of repression at their disposal.
|UC Berkeley – Photo: Brian Nguyen|
No, what will be needed is nothing short of the unified might of the 99 percent, most if not all of us speaking with one voice, with one will, animated by this same spirit throughout. We cannot expect paths to social change to be laid by the forces of oppression, which means we must pursue self-determination and self-sufficiency, demonstrating the validity of our vision of society through social practice. We possess all the tools necessary to transform our occupations into practice programs which address some of the core inequities in the capitalist arrangement we currently stand in opposition to by imbedding them in the most underdeveloped and disenfranchised communities of the 99 percent, where the effects of corporate greed and institutional inequality are most visible.
There is another common thread running through the Occupy Movement, Hunger Strike Solidarity Movement and Anti-Imperialist Movement: Most of us engaged in these movements either champion, hail from or have been forced into the underclass of the U.S. socio-economic strata. I want you all to ask yourselves, after a cursory examination of U.S. society, who has done most of the work, most of the dying, most of the time in prison or on the unemployment line? Who has little or no interest in the maintenance of the current status quo, who has been disproportionately affected by the sub-prime loan fiasco and the socio-economic impact of corporate greed and political corruption?
Invariably we must answer it is the underclass communities of this nation, Amerika’s ghettos, hoods, barrios, trailer parks and projects. Their unfortunate position in the capitalist arrangement and desperate historical relationship to the productive system forces this segment of society to the forefront of any revolutionary scheme.
Who has done most of the work, most of the dying, most of the time in prison or on the unemployment line? Who has little or no interest in the maintenance of the current status quo? It is the underclass communities of this nation, Amerika’s ghettos, hoods, barrios, trailer parks and projects.
When the honorable Comrade George Lester Jackson expressed this same analysis some 40 years ago, people did not fully grasp what he meant. Yet here we are still pursuing the victorious conclusion of the same democratic process.
Three pilot programs
What we propose is harnessing the full spectrum potential of the Occupy Movement at every level and lining it with the untapped power and potential of the millions and millions in underclass communities across Amerika via three pilot programs which are complimentary, self-sustaining and socio-economically empowering for all of the 99 percent, while proving definitively that the spirit of cooperation is more socially fulfilling and impactful than the greed and avarice promoted through capitalist competition.
We propose organizing major segments of the movement and those they serve to not only safeguard the survival and forward progress of the cause itself, but open an entirely new front for the struggle. The Occupy Wall Street Movement, Occupy the Hood and the underclass communities, each working in coordination, could prove an unstoppable force if organized and mobilized with unity of purpose. Each segment of this broader organizing force possesses mutually beneficial qualities whose socio-economic and political impact far exceeds the sum of its individual parts.
We of the NCTT Corcoran SHU urge you to distribute this strategic proposal to all the various Occupy Movement groups nationally, all the various chapters of Occupy the Hood – especially its founder, Malik Rhasaan – and that together they bring this proposal to the underclass communities across Amerika. We want to urge all our brothers and sisters in lumpen organizations within these communities, no matter what set you claim, nation you ride – Sureño or Norteño – hood you represent or crew you roll with, to support and defend these brothers and sisters from all aspects of the Occupy Movement as they enter your/our communities, many living in and being from those same or similar communities, to build with us a new dynamic that will enrich us all.
Equally we want to urge all our brothers and sisters in the Occupy Movement to learn from the people as you enter and work with the underclass community so we all may better serve the interests of the 99 percent. For some of you, it will be a new and sobering reality, completely outside of your experience, and should provide an uncensored view of the human misery and socio-economic inequality in Amerika. It is imperative that you all look upon the interests of the movement and those communities as your very own; the survival of the movement and hope for substantive change in the daily dynamic of economic desperation and despair in the underclass communities of the U.S. may well depend on it.
We want to urge all our brothers and sisters in the Occupy Movement to learn from the people as you enter and work with the underclass community so we all may better serve the interests of the 99 percent. Look upon the interests of the movement and those communities as your very own.
The three pilot programs we are proposing are NCTT word-product, either drawn from our archives or uniquely developed to ensure the success of this enterprise. This venture will require some structural organization amongst you. We suggest you adopt a democratic centralist organizational structure which will allow everyone to air their views, opinions and suggestions – be they popular or unpopular, correct or incorrect – in group discussions on policy decisions. Yet those with the greatest knowledge and insight on the specific subject matter being disclosed should have the greatest influence on the policy ultimately adopted.
|Philadelphia – Photo: Larissa Mogano|
Such an approach will encourage the broadest possible participation in the decision making process, while securing the most viable and sagacious ideas and preventing the cropping up of ultra-democratic ideas, where someone has something to say on every little thing and nothing ever gets accomplished, just bourgeois aversion to the collective will.
These programs are intentionally designed to be universally adaptive, modifiable and amendable to work in any community. The success of some aspects of these programs will be benefited by specialized knowledge, insight or skill sets. We are aware that the Occupy Movement in its various permutations, as well as the underclass communities in which these programs will be imbedded, possess intellectuals, professionals and technicians whose knowledge and participation will prove essential, and we urge you all to begin taking stock of these skill sets and maintaining – or creating – a local database of each activist or participant’s skill sets, such as computer engineering, drywall, agricultural expertise, technical engineering, plumbing, visual art etc.
To facilitate the success of these collective work initiatives and as we see success, we expand these efforts into new areas of development.
Our brothers and sisters already doing vital work in the Occupy the Hood chapters, such as the “Feed the Hood” program, we ask you now to expand your relationship with the Occupy Wall Street Movement beyond the confines of the people of color working group and enter a new and broader phase of community development and social organization which will see a true union of all of our social forces in the practical work of building an entirely new basis for relating to the productive system.
|Oakland – Photo: Ben Margot|
Occupy the Hood is the natural bridge between all aspects of the 99 percent, and it is only through a functional union such as this that our movement can be transformed into a true social revolution and perhaps more.
Occupy the Hood is the natural bridge between all aspects of the 99 percent.
To all you brothers and sisters on college campuses or in unemployment lines across this nation, if you don’t have an Occupy Movement chapter established in your city, contact the nearest Occupy Movement chapter to you and establish one of your own. It is in your interest to alter the fundamental dynamic of human relationships and the basis for prosperity in this nation, and what we propose here may well give us the greatest possible chance to do just that.
The three pilot programs we propose are:
1) the closed circuit economic initiative;
2) the sustainable community agricultural commons;
3) the block vote democratic initiative.
We will explain each here in basic terms and should you need detailed program formats or other help, you need only contact us directly. We have done our best to give you all the necessary information needed to start here. Please bear with us. I assure you it’s worth your time.
The Closed Circuit Economic Initiative
The Closed Circuit Economic Initiative (CCE Initiative) is a cooperative economic venture designed to amplify local wealth by re-circulating it in the community in which it originated, while providing collective ownership of the venture to the community and movement, while simultaneously addressing local unemployment in the community in which the venture is based. The CCE Initiative was originally designed to address the flight of wealth from New African communities to more affluent ones that actually owned the businesses in New African (Black) neighborhoods.
We discovered that a single dollar will circulate in the Jewish community for some 35 days, in the Korean community for 28 days, yet a dollar circulates in the New African (Black) community for an average of 70 seconds. Yes, seconds. However, what we also learned through further analysis was this was in fact, to a greater or lesser degree, a universal disparity throughout underclass communities regardless of their racial or national makeup.
The wealth of underclass communities rarely, if ever, went to enriching those same communities. But there is within our power a way to change that.
Similar to the electrical charge fulfillment action of a closed circuit capacitor – where circulating a charge through a catalyst in a closed circuit will ultimately fulfill a storing device’s capacitance with no need to increase the voltage yield of the charges – it is possible to increase the economic capacity of a community by circulating its wealth in that community for a longer period. This capacitance is increased if the community itself controls the economic circuit in which current exchanges flow.
Similar to the electrical charge fulfillment action of a closed circuit capacitor, it is possible to increase the economic capacity of a community by circulating its wealth in that community for a longer period. This capacitance is increased if the community itself controls the economic circuit in which current exchanges flow.
Here is how we will accomplish this: The Occupy Movement will prepare fliers and pamphlets outlining this initiative in clear, easy-to-understand terms, specifically referencing the unique conditions on the ground in the local underclass communities you hope to begin in. The larger the community, the more impactful it will prove.
|Oakland – Photo: David Bacon|
Occupy the Hood activists, organizers and leaders from the community slated for the initiative, along with Occupy Wall Street activists, will canvas the hood together distributing these educational fliers door to door, to churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, pool halls, the street corners, the hood spots and homie hangouts, salons, barbershops and wherever our people congregate, answering questions and promoting the value of the initiative.
Next a survey flier will have to be produced which asks each individual in that community the three top goods and services they most frequently spend their money on – and/or the largest portion of their money on – and/or the largest portion of their money every month. This may vary depending on the community, from groceries to gasoline, from laundrymat services to parking. Once these surveys are collected and their results compiled and we have the top three goods and services that particular community spends their money on, we’ll have the basis for our first economic venture and a business plan to produce based on the No. 1 pick.
For example, let’s say food and home supplies is the area where the most money is spent in Southeast San Diego’s Skyline community. The first venture in this community’s CCE Initiative would be a grocery store, which brings us to our next step: a true community organizing meeting – or several – will have to be held with the entire community and movement activists participating to elect economic trustees for the CCE Fund: one from Occupy the Hood, one from Occupy Wall Street, and two from the community in which the venture is based.
These four will collectively oversee the CCE Fund for that community, allowing those funds raised to be accepted only by those four persons together – no single individual will have access to the fund – and only for the CCE Initiative venture agreed to via the democratic will of all involved. This will ensure checks and balances are maintained and trust is assured.
To fund the grocery store, we will ask each individual in that community to contribute $1 or $2 bi-monthly, along with their names, addresses and phone numbers to the CCE Initiative for a six-month period. Let’s say there are 10,000-15,000 residents in this community, along with those local Occupy Movement activists who wish to contribute. Each individual will receive a CCE certification card for their contribution, no matter how small.
All these funds will be deposited in the CCE Fund’s interest earning account, which would raise an estimated $100,000 in that six-month period. We use the lion’s share of those funds to purchase or build our own grocery store in that community, owned by that community collective who are on the CCE registry; if you contributed, you’re on the registry.
We will then hire only people from that community or from the local Occupy Movement who are unemployed. Those Occupy Wall Street activists with accounting, business, tax, zoning, law, real estate, grocery or other related expertise should provide that expertise to ensure the success of these ventures and receive a CCE certificate for their contributions to the effort’s creation and continued success.
Once established, we need not worry about patronage or marketing because those who own the venture – the community itself – will, of course, shop in their own grocery store and encourage others to also before going elsewhere. All the profits, minus overhead, will go back to the CCE Fund with 60 percent being paid out monthly to all CCE Initiative registrants – those with a CCE certificate of contribution – in the form of a dividend check, the other 40 percent gaining interest in the CCE fund.
We need not worry about patronage or marketing because those who own the venture – the community itself – will, of course, shop in their own grocery store and encourage others to also before going elsewhere.
We will keep contributing and collecting the $1-$2 every two weeks, depositing it in the CCE Fund. Also, in the next six months, we purchase a “sympathetic-support venture,” one that depends on or contributes directly to the initial venture; let’s say a bakery. The grocery store will purchase its baked goods inventory exclusively from the CCE Initiative bakery. Again, the bakery will hire only people from that community or local movement without a job.
Again, we repeat the process. In the next six-month period we purchase a second sympathetic-support venture; let’s say an organic grain and produce farm, again hiring only those from the community and local movement who are unemployed. Grain, flour and product inventories for the bakery and grocery store will be purchased from our farm – all of these ventures buying and selling to one another while servicing the broader community which owns them.
|Miami – Photo: Miami Workers Center|
Again we repeat the process in six months, this time acquiring a small cannery and packaging factory to begin offering our own canned foods and packed goods from both our farm and bakery to our grocer – and on to the broader market. Again, we hire only from that community and local movement’s unemployed.
As this proceeds with each expansion of the CCE Initiative venture, the local unemployment rate drops, the amount of dividend checks paid out to CCE Initiative registrants rises, until eventually that community reaches 100 percent employment, with a second revenue stream directly linked to their own consumer choices. As the prosperity of our collectively-owned businesses grows, we will inevitably reach complete community economic interconnection and social empowerment for the people and the movement.
As the prosperity of our collectively-owned businesses grows, we will inevitably reach complete community economic interconnection and social empowerment for the people and the movement.
The CCE Initiative dividend checks may begin as small as $.30 or $.40, yet in 18 months could be $30-$40. The CCE Fund can then turn its attention to establishing a local credit commons, where the community can invest in its own people’s interests, not to generate profit from usurious interest rates, but to promote community prosperity and meet human needs. Here, people from the community and local movement can get micro-loans, home and auto financing, and standard banking services.
|Cincinnati – Photo: J. Cherise McIntosh|
In this way, the underclass community becomes entirely independent of the standard competitive capitalist economy through simple unity, cooperative economics and collective work, distribution of wealth and ownership. All dividend adjustments will be distributed equally amongst everyone in the CCE Initiative, regardless if you contributed $1 or $2 or your specialized knowledge and insight. So long as you contribute to the CCE Initiative, you’ll receive an equal share of dividends.
By means of the CCE Initiative, we can clearly demonstrate cooperation serves the interests of the 99 percent where competition has clearly been unequal to the task.
Once a full community economic circuit is closed, it can be joined to others in the region or nationally, providing a socio-economic alternative to the yoke of wage slavery offered us all by the 1 percent ruling elite. We need only touch the corporate capitalist economy where our own innovation and enterprises fail to meet the capacity or are simply unable to. But we here of the NCTT are always thinking and, in truth, the only limitation to the CCE Initiative meeting the material needs of the 99 percent is your own imagination; we assure you there are further options.
By means of the CCE Initiative, we can clearly demonstrate cooperation serves the interests of the 99 percent where competition has clearly been unequal to the task. By those means we establish a true transfer culture from which substantive change in the nature and structure of U.S. society can be realized. This CCE Initiative corresponds to Nos. 1, 2, 9 and 10 of the 10 core demands of the national Occupy Movement.
The Sustainable Community Agricultural Commune
Chronic poverty and underemployment – the legacy of corporate greed and political corruption in Amerika – can be directly linked to chronic disease, high obesity rates and the plethora of health problems that accompany them. These types of physical debilities impact underclass communities disproportionately due primarily to anemic access to quality produce, meats, grains and vegetables in our communities.
Of equal concern is the ecological impact of multinational corporate agri-concerns, from the exploitation of Third World brothers and sisters – some 90 percent of the produce consumed in the U.S. is grown in the Third World, while the majority of the rest comes from large corporate farms – to the adverse environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping food thousands of miles to reach our tables. Yet it is within our power to change this dynamic by embracing sustainable urban farming as a viable alternative.
Throughout the underclass communities of Amerika, especially in the wake of record foreclosures and the intentional gentrification of our communities, there are vacant lots, open plots and tracts of aimless dirt that we can reclaim and transform into urban gardens that will not only feed the communities healthy and nutritious food, but also provide a valuable and significant source of revenue for them.
Consider that less than 2 percent of the food consumed in metropolitan areas in the U.S. is grown there. Yet urban areas consume billions of dollars worth of food each year, including junk food, sodas, fast food, condiments and processed snacks that, unfortunately, are staples of many poor folks’ diets because the stuff is cheap and filling. But if our food was locally produced, it would not only be healthier and 50 percent cheaper than if you bought it at your supermarket, but also serve as a source of revenue for the community by selling the surplus to local chefs, restaurants and our own farmers markets, while relying on organic and other agricultural advances to increase both quality and yields.
Less than 2 percent of the food consumed in metropolitan areas in the U.S. is grown there. If our food was locally produced, it would not only be healthier and 50 percent cheaper than if you bought it at your supermarket, but also serve as a source of revenue for the community.
I’d like to illustrate what we propose more clearly using Cleveland, Ohio, as an example. According to Entrepreneur Magazine (October 2011), by increasing local urban farming by 5 percent in greater Cleveland it would translate into $750 million more in revenue for local purveyors. When was the last time a $750 million business was relocated to your community, let alone the hood, barrio or trailer park?
Cleveland based business development analyst Michael Shuman did a study on what would happen if northeast Ohio managed to provide 25 percent more of the food it consumed. This report revealed that such a move would create over 27,000 new jobs, increase annual regional output by $4.2 billion and grow tax revenue by more than $125 million.
If northeast Ohio managed to provide 25 percent more of the food it consumed, it would create over 27,000 new jobs, increase annual regional output by $4.2 billion and grow tax revenue by more than $125 million.
In 2007, Cleveland became the first city in the U.S. to zone for community gardens. It now subsidizes farms in the city’s core and the 6-acre farm plot that opened recently in the heart of the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, only a few blocks from the Riverview Towers projects, not only services surrounding restaurants, but our brothers and sisters from the Riverview projects can buy fresh produce just outside their building, closer than the Safeway, Kroger or fast food joint, and 50 percent cheaper than its regular price. Now imagine if that 6-acre farm was collectively owned and operated by the residents of the Riverview Towers projects. That’s exactly what we are proposing here.
|Orlando – Photo: Beverly Campbell|
We call on our Occupy Movement brothers and sisters – both Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the Hood – to link with local underclass community organizers and pool their assets, expertise and labor to educate, organize and mobilize the community’s residents for the sustainable community agricultural commune (SCA commune).
We call on our Occupy Movement brothers and sisters – both Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the Hood – to link with local underclass community organizers and pool their assets, expertise and labor to educate, organize and mobilize the community’s residents for the sustainable community agricultural commune (SCA commune).
Simultaneously, another survey of that community and the local businesses which use produce and poultry must be conducted to determine which fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains are most widely consumed, popular and commercially valued in that community and area.
Once done this must be compared to which crops among those will grow most effectively and profusely in that unique climate and environment.
In so doing we must also consider new agricultural innovations such as vertical urban gardening, poultry cultivation through modern chicken coops such as those offered by “chicken cribs” (go to Backyardchickens.com) and free range techniques. The diversity of industry and innovative insight based in the Occupy Movement will prove particularly valuable as we seek contacts and assistance from conscious industry proponents, such as Jac Smit of the Urban Agriculture Network, Michael Shuman, author of “Community Food Enterprise,” who is currently a consultant at Cutting Edge Capital in Oakland, California, or Dickson Despommier of the Vertical Farm Project and those amongst movement activists with the same expertise, insight or skill set.
Equally essential at this stage will be our brothers and sisters of Occupy the Hood in organizing movement activists, community organizers and residents into the divisions of labor necessary to initiate the commune. Following the collective ownership format, we go to the people soliciting contributions of $.50-$1 from community residents and movement activists over a 90-day to six-month period, while securing volunteers from across the community and local movement to work the farms on a rotating basis. If one cannot contribute money, they can contribute their labor or both if they like.
Everyone who contributes something to that cycle will be given a commune membership card entitling them to 50 percent in produce and 50 percent in dividends. Therefore 50 percent of the seasonal yield will be set aside to feed the commune and 50 percent will be put on the market for sale. All produce sold to residents of that community will be discounted at our farmers’ markets, while chefs, restaurants and other businesses interested in our locally grown produce will receive it at the going rate.
Sixty percent of all profits (minus overhead) from the SCA commune fund will be divided amongst commune members equally as dividends, while 40 percent will continue to incur interest in the fund as the $.50-$1 that community residents and local activists continue to contribute to the fund to expand our farms and branch out into poultry production and other husbandry. This will provide quality, organic and free range meats for our commune and potential customers in the same percentages and allotments previously discussed.
We encourage the movement to reach out to conscious businesses like Greenaid, a L.A.-based guerilla gardening company that makes clay, compost and seed balls that can be tossed in derelict urban areas to make them green spaces, and Urbio, a San Francisco-based company that makes planters for vertical urban gardening, for donations to this effort of equipment and material. As the commune grows, the SCA fund can turn its attention to funding other sympathetic ventures, such as a mobile slaughterhouse and produce distribution trucks, all employing only people from the communes or that community’s local movement who are unemployed, broadening the scope of our farms and their positive impact on the underclass communities in which they are based.
Our urban farms will provide a safe place of peace and prosperity for our people, our children and our youth to fellowship as they build a brighter future for themselves, their communities and this world, all from the power of their hands, heads and hearts.
The SCA commune will serve to literally root the movement in the community while effecting positive change in the daily lives of the people. By providing these communities with healthy and nutritious food, creating a vital source of collective wealth, reclaiming and breathing life into what would be eyesores or an impetus for fascist tools of the ruling 1 percent – police, sheriffs etc. – to harass poor people in their own communities, we improve the quality of life for those of us most adversely affected by the current social order.
Our urban farms will provide a safe place of peace and prosperity for our people, out children and our youth to fellowship as they build a brighter future for themselves, their communities and this world, all from the power of their hands, heads and hearts. In addition we open an entirely new industry with limitless economic potential in the center of the underclass communities of Amerika, and it’s owned, operated and patronized by those who are its residents, the 99 percent. This program corresponds to No. 2 of the 10 core demands of the national Occupy Movement.
The Block-Vote Democratic Initiative
In our last communique we definitively established that the ruling 1 percent had successfully hijacked the political process in Amerika. If any of you have been watching the partisan insanity playing out in Congress, the tripe being spouted by mental midgets like Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, the ultra-right wing pandering of Mitt Romney or the fence straddling timidity and status-quo maintenance of the Obama administration, you should have no doubt we speak the unvarnished truth.
We have also articulated the fact that the reason so few people vote in underclass communities is the socio-economic and race-based disparities that are responsible for the human misery in these communities are institutional and systemic to U.S. capitalist economics. No matter who they vote into office, their plight does not change. The problem is not the democratic process, which is as yet unfinished in Amerika. No, the flaw lies in the legalized corruption of politicians at the local, state and national level.
The reason so few people vote in underclass communities is that no matter who they vote into office, their plight does not change.
Similar to the conflict between federalists and republicans during the inception of the U.S. two-party system in the 1700s, once the people elect these pawns of the 1 percent, they feel the people should just sit down and shut up, while their ears turn only to the voices of lobbyists, special interests, and those who can improve their political careers and coffers. But it need not be this way if the incalculable power of the democratic will of the underclass can be awakened.
Before the sleeping giant of underclass democratic power – the poor man and woman’s vote – can be strategically harnessed, there must be some assurance that their interests will be realized. This effort will provide that interest for all the 99 percent.
What we propose in the Block-Vote Democratic Initiative (BVD Initiative) is to do just that by bypassing these corrupt politicians altogether by putting the policies we, the 99 percent, support on the ballots of local, state and national elections via petition with a simultaneous voter registration “block” comprised of Occupy Movement activists and entire underclass communities, so the shear number of affirmative votes passes the policy measures outright.
What we propose is to have Occupy Movement activists – both Occupy the Hood and Occupy Wall Street – prepare informative pamphlets specifically targeted to their local underclass communities and districts containing our 10 core demands and issues of particular interest to that community which the vast majority of the people support. Once we’ve assessed the will of the people, ballot measures and signature petitions should be prepared based directly on those policies most widely supported, with voter registrations drives to register everyone in the community and movement who supports the policy. Each local policy initiative or position on a bill should be organized as a block capable of passing – or defeating – the initiative outright.
On the state level, greater coordination between underclass communities will have to be organized through Occupy Movement activists, and again if possible our “block” should be so overwhelming as to pass the initiative outright. On the national level that will prove even more difficult as the concurrence on the specific policy will lose resonance in direct proportion to the site of the population we seek to serve.
Nevertheless, we should still seek to pass these measures outright. To facilitate this, each measure’s vote should be preceded by at least two weeks of demonstrations corresponding in size to the measure’s social impact – i.e., local measures warrant local demonstrations, state measures should warrant a statewide wave of demonstrations, and national measures should see demonstrations from coast to coast. This will raise awareness and galvanize support in other segments of the social strata ensuring the measures pass.
There are three possible measures reflective of our 10 core demands we are fairly certain would find overwhelming support in underclass communities across Amerika:
1) A total ban on all corporate and financial influences, including lobbyists and “strategic analysts,” from any aspect of the electoral process. Only individuals should be able to influence the polls with their votes and campaign contributions – see No. 7 of the 10 core demands of the national Occupy Movement.
Only individuals should be able to influence the polls with their votes and campaign contributions.
2) Establishment of community based parole boards, with a panel from the community where the offender actually lived and would return, determining when an indeterminate term – such as 25 to life, three strikes etc. – has been sufficiently satisfied and he or she is ready to return home. This contrasts with the current panel of DAs, police and other law enforcement officials that make up parole boards today. Most prisoners hail from underclass communities and it is these communities who should decide when they are sufficiently rehabilitated to return. This corresponds to No. 6 of the 10 core demands of the national Occupy Movement.
Most prisoners hail from underclass communities and it is these communities who should decide when they are sufficiently rehabilitated to return.
3) Establish universal health care for the poor. All individuals making under $25,000 a year and families making under $50,000 a year should be provided access to a comprehensive universal health care system. This corresponds to No. 2 of the 10 core demands of the national Occupy Movement.
Establish universal health care for the poor.
Such measures would pass overwhelmingly in the underclass communities of Amerika, serve to empower those most disenfranchised segments of society, and improve the quality of life for over 100 million people in the U.S., all because we, the 99 percent, via the BVD Initiative, removed corrupt politicians from the policy creation and implementation process. Any force opposing this undiluted expression of the will of the people would be by definition undemocratic.
It is our sincerest hope that you all see the merits of what we propose here and act in accordance with it. In any conflict resolution scenario, the first step that should be made is a strategic analysis of yourself and those forces aligned against you to ascertain your relative strengths and weaknesses. The wise know such assessments, especially in socio-political conflicts, must be constantly studied and reassessed because they are in a state of constant change.
If this is done correctly, we can calculate the prospects of victory or defeat. Conflict resolution and warfare are based on identical principles. Sun-Tzu, in his sage masterwork, “The Art of War,” stated, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of 100 battles.”
If we analyze the actions and reactions of the tools of the ruling 1 percent, it’s clear they are pursuing a course of encirclement, isolation and marginalization against the national movement, hoping that their control of the mass media and a lack of broad-based organization in the movement will allow them the opportunity to erode support for it over time, isolate it from positive public opinion and ultimately destroy it. It is a posture and strategic approach that has worked for them in the past. This is possible only if we allow it.
The ruling 1 percent are pursuing a course of encirclement, isolation and marginalization against the national movement, hoping that their control of the mass media and a lack of broad-based organization in the movement will allow them the opportunity to erode support for it over time, isolate it from positive public opinion and ultimately destroy it.
The most prudent way to counter such an attempt is to place the movement in a position of invincibility, while simultaneously redefining the nature of the conflict itself. The movement is strong – we’ve shown that on every front, be it on the streets or behind these walls – yet it’s largely unanchored to the material interests of those we represent. A seed in the ground is easily uprooted, a tree with deep roots, however, is a monumental task to remove.
Zhuge Liang, a famous general from ancient China’s “warring states era” (180-234 A.D.), in the chapter, “Discerning Bases,” in his essay, “The Way of the General,” said: “If you attack evils based on social trends, no one can rival you in dignity. If you settle victory based on the power of the people, no one can rival you in achievement. If you can accurately discern those bases of action and add dignity and faith to them, you can take on the most formidable opponent and prevail over the most valiant adversary.” Truly basing the movement in the people ensures no force on earth can prevail against it. It truly becomes invincible.
Conclusion: You can transform the world
For all of you reading these words, we want you to really understand what you are involved in and what’s at stake. You are on the cusp of making history, of quite literally changing the world. Right now you have it within your hands to transform the nature and structure of the most powerful nation on earth, and thus transform the world.
You represent the ongoing struggle for democratic change in the U.S. A historical legacy reaching back hundreds of years is now in your hands. The means for victory are at our collective fingertips; you need only reach out and seize this opportunity. Will it be easy? Of course not. Nothing of value comes without cost or sacrifice. Power concedes nothing without demand.
But what must be understood is that we, the people, the 99 percent, are the most powerful force in this world and our cause is just. Proceeding from this truth with strategic intent we cannot lose. We are on the right side of history. Our ideas are moral; our cause is just.
We, the people, the 99 percent, are the most powerful force in this world and our cause is just.
But understand we cannot assume this is self-evident, nor that it will be enough to win. We must promote and demonstrate the correctness of our view through social practice. Understand we will not win this conflict without public and political support, but people who may agree with us will still not join the movement unless it’s clear our cause is righteous and just.
Yes, the corporate-political power structure is authoritarian, hypocritical and avaricious. Greed and corruption define the very fabric of U.S. institutions and power considerations. You are expressing the frustration and hostility the people already feel. But still this is not enough. There must be a qualitative transformation in that moral outrage.
If we view morality from a historical perspective, it has evolved over time into a system of ethics societies use to create values that serve the public good. If these values cease to fit the vast majority of the people’s interests, the morality of society slowly shifts, evolving new values. The morality of corporate capitalism, where “Gordon Gekko” clones live, the ethos “Greed is good” does not fit the vast majority of the people’s interests; it never has. Yet now, that moral self-realization is inescapable.
The highest form of strategy is to win without fighting. When time is not an option, we must rely on an approach just as good: to win first and fight second. This is what we are proposing here. If you succeed in waking the sleeping giant of socio-political and economic potential lying dormant in the underclass communities of Amerika in pursuit of this equalitarian democratic imperative, we will have already won. Should the 1 percent, or their tools, be fool enough to oppose the inevitable conclusion of such a social revolution, they will reap a fool’s reward.
If you succeed in waking the sleeping giant of socio-political and economic potential lying dormant in the underclass communities of Amerika in pursuit of this equalitarian democratic imperative, we will have already won.
U.S. Army Col. John Boyd, in his analysis of how to suppress guerrilla insurgencies or popular revolutions, stated the only effective countermeasure to our strategic approach: “Undermine the … cause and destroy their cohesion by demonstrating integrity and competence of government to represent and serve the needs of the people rather than exploit and impoverish them for the benefit of a greedy elite. (If you cannot realize such a political program, Boyd noted, you might consider changing sides now to avoid the rush later.) Take political initiative to root out and visibly punish corruption. Select new leaders with recognized competence as well as popular appeal. Ensure that they deliver justice, eliminate major grievances and connect the government with its grass roots.”
In essence, to defeat us they would have to capitulate to our 10 core demands without struggle. Well, brothers and sisters, with the unholy alliance of corporate interests and political patronage that defines the modern political and economic power structure in the U.S., we need not fear such countermeasures anytime soon.
It is our sincerest hope that you all find some value in our counsel and take up these ideas as your own. Our love, loyalty and solidarity to all those who love freedom, justice and equality and fear only failure. Until we win or don’t lose.
|J. Heshima Denham|
For more information on the NCTT Corcoran SHU or details on these programs, contact:
Read these brothers’ previous stories: “Feeling death at our heels: An update from the frontlines of the struggle,” “California prison hunger strikers propose ‘10 core demands’ for the national Occupy Wall Street Movement,” “A brief hunger strike update from the front lines of the struggle: Corcoran-SHU 4B 1L C-section Isolation Unit” (second story in that post), “From the front lines of the struggle,” and “We dare to win: The reality and impact of SHU torture units.”
This story was typed by Adrian McKinney.
December 6, 2011
by Heshima Denham, Zaharibu Dorrough and Kambui Robinson
“The Constitution, then, illustrates the complexity of this American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers to build a broad base of support. The slightly prosperous people who make up this base of support are buffers against the Blacks, the Natives, the very poor Whites. They enable the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law – all made palatable by this fanfare of patriotism and unity.” – Howard Zinn
Greetings, Brothers and Sisters. A firm, warm and solid embrace of revolutionary love is extended to you all. These words by Brother Howard Zinn are particularly relevant to the survival of the evolving Occupy Wall Street Movement, as these truths have been integral to the success of populist organizing in the U.S. historically and are central to the proposal we’re putting forward here.
Like the Arab Spring, which is still rocking the Middle East, and our own struggle to abolish indefinite confinement in sensory deprivation SHU torture units (see the five core demands from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity), the Occupy Wall Street Movement expresses a fundamental rule of materialist dialectics as they apply to social development – i.e., the transformation of quantity into quality – expressed eloquently by the Honorable Comrade George Lester Jackson some 40 years ago: “(C)onsciousness is directly proportional to oppression.”
“(C)onsciousness is directly proportional to oppression.” – Honorable Comrade George Lester Jackson
The purpose of the NCTT primarily is to act as a clearinghouse for progressive and meaningful solutions to the ills of society from our unique and scientific perspective. As we have followed and supported the Occupy Wall Street Movement, discussing its great potential, analyzing its character, composition and socio-economic motive force, predicting the inevitable violent reactionary response of the fascist state in defense of its capitalist masters, the ruling 1 percent have never, nor will they ever, concede anything, surely not substantive changes, without struggle which requires unity of purpose, broad-based organization, fluid strategy and effective tactics.
Populist and progressive movements in this nation have succeeded or failed, lived or died, based on how effectively they understood and adapted to this reality. We learned this in the epoch following the Civil War as reconstruction gains were effectively repealed and Jim Crow law was introduced.
The Civil Rights Movement taught us the necessity of broad-based organization and accurate agreement of the opposition’s center of gravity: their point of weakness. Only a few years later we learned not to underestimate the power of the ruling 1 percent and insidiousness of its state tools when the Counter-Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) dismantled the Black Liberation Movement, imprisoned many of us, and ushered in the world of individualistic pursuits, greed, corruption, gross inequality and mass incarceration you all have now inherited.
As we watched the National (International) Day of Action unfold and the days that have followed, witnessing the predictable brutal response of the tools of the 1 percent as they beat young men and women bloody, pepper sprayed and pummeled peaceful youth at UC Davis, destroyed the people’s property across the nation, and even peppersprayed and dragged away 68-year-old women and pregnant ladies alike, with great effort we detached from our rage and analyzed the comments, ideas, and responses of various political pundits, common people on the streets, agents of the state and our protestors themselves.
Three things immediately became obvious from that analysis: 1) The mass media and far too many of the various pundits were in essence counting on the national Occupy movements to just peter out and fizzle away. It was this message that those who own these mass media outlets – the 1 percent – want to be disseminated as broadly as possible to undermine mass support for the movement.
The mass media were counting on the national Occupy movements to just peter out and fizzle away. It was this message that those who own these mass media outlets – the 1 percent – want to be disseminated as broadly as possible to undermine mass support for the movement.
2) We, the 99 percent, have no intention of going anywhere until substantive change is realized, and though most in this nation not involved directly in the occupations themselves agree with our ideas in opposition to corporate greed and institutional inequality, there were no clearly articulated demands or objectives around which the movement could organize the broader masses. 3) This lack of clearly articulated demands/objectives and coherent strategic and tactical organization by the national Occupy Movement was undermining its intent, diluting its potential, and degrading its motive force.
This state of affairs left unaddressed, as in most every similar movement in the U.S. historically, will lead to its isolation. This cannot be allowed. The first step in defeating an enemy as powerful, all-encompassing and organized as the ruling 1 percent is understanding the nature of struggle and the basis of their power. When you analyze opponents, you must see beyond the superficial for the origins of that power, the point of vulnerability upon which it is based. Striking this point of vulnerability will inflict disproportionate damage.
It must be understood that substantive, radical, progressive social change is no different than warfare and warfare is a form of power. Power systems, no matter their myriad manifestations, share the same basic structures. The most visible thing about them is their appearance, what is seen and felt.
Great power systems first try to ignore challenges to them, to dismiss them. When this fails, they opt to crush them. This is exactly what the Occupy Movement has experienced thus far. But all too often this outward display is a deceptive fabrication, a manifestation of insecurity, since power dares not expose its weaknesses.
The key lies in determining what their point of vulnerability is, and to do so you must understand the structure of the power system and the culture in which it operates. I began this discussion with a concise analysis of just this point by Howard Zinn.
The real point of vulnerability in American democracy is the social and political support of its citizens.
Unfortunately, the key apparatus in influencing public opinion is the American mass media – yet, ironically, they are equally vulnerable to the power of the mass support of the people. The key factor thus far in failing to harness this mass support is the lack of broad-based, articulable demands/objectives around which the uncommitted people who may support our message but not our movement can be educated, organized and mobilized to join the movement and transform not only the nature and structure of U.S. society, but the WORLD.
The key factor thus far in failing to harness the mass support of the people is the lack of broad-based, articulable demands/objectives around which the uncommitted people who may support our message but not our movement can be educated, organized and mobilized to join the movement and transform not only the nature and structure of U.S. society, but the WORLD.
To that end the NCTT Corcoran SHU has made a comprehensive analysis of statements from participants of all the national Occupy movements and some of those abroad and compiled these ideas into 10 core Objectives of the Occupy Wall Street Movement national coalition.
We call on you brothers and sisters to disseminate these 10 core objectives to all the Occupy movements across the nation and the world, and we call on all the Occupy movements to convene a national forum – which can take place online or at a national convention – to discuss the adoption of these 10 core Objectives as the definitive goals and organizing points around which the movement is based and the next level of our struggle is to be waged.
These 10 core Objectives can be modified, augmented or amended to take into account the broadest cross-section of the 99 percent possible and the collective will of the movement:
The 10 Core Objectives of the Occupy Wall Street Movement National Coalition
1. We want full employment with a living wage for all people who will work, and for employment to be enforced as the right which it is.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence states in part “that all men … are endowed … with certain inalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” “Life” is thus a right guaranteed by this nation and the means to live – work, making a living wage for all of those who will and can work – must be equally guaranteed as the right which it is – as must a guaranteed income for those who can’t work. This is the responsibility of the federal government.
If the corporate U.S. businessmen will not provide full employment even as they sit on trillions of dollars in cash reserves fleeced from the surplus value of labor, then the means of production should be taken from them and placed in the community so the 99 percent of the people can organize and employ all the people, ensuring a quality standard of life for all.
2. We want an end to institutional racism and race- and class-based disparities in access to, and quality of, labor, education, health care, criminal defense, political empowerment, technology and healthy food.
We recognize institutional racism – the U.S. race caste system – and systemic class disparities in the U.S. capitalist structure as not simply an obstacle to equitable educational opportunities, labor access, wage equality, proportionate rates of chronic disease management, access to quality and preventable health care services, non-predatory community policing, equitable treatment of criminal offenders, access to the political process for all, access to communications technology, the internet and fresh, unprocessed foods but as structural features of U.S. market capitalism primarily designed to prevent broad class cooperation between the 99 percent from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
We will no longer allow this divide and rule arrangement to govern the socio-economic relationships upon which the nature and structure of U.S. society is based.
3. We want decent and affordable housing for all people and for it to be enforced as the right which it is.
We recognize that housing, like living wage employment, is a fundamental necessity of life and as such a right that we have invested this government with securing on our behalf. Instead, government has consistently sided with those on Wall Street, who are responsible for the single greatest loss of housing in the nation’s history, while federal, state and local officials have in essence criminalized homelessness and chronic poverty and made a practice of attacking, destroying the property of and displacing the homeless wherever they’ve tried to erect shelters in this locked, anti-poor society.
Since it was corporate greed, government deregulation and financial speculators that led to the creation of exotic financial instruments like credit default swaps and sub-prime loan bundles which fleeced the 99 percent of much of their wealth and home equity, the government should mandate a “cost of living” readjustment to home equity debt on all U.S. homes so what the people owe actually reflects what these properties are now worth.
This would eliminate “underwater” homeowners and bail out the 99 percent of the people for a change. Simultaneously, vacated and empty federal housing authority properties (FHA) should be made into cooperatives so that our communities, with government aid, can create and build decent housing for all.
4. We want affordable and equal access to higher education for all and access to education that teaches the true history of colonialism, chattel slavery, repression of organized labor, the use of police repression and imprisonment as tools of capitalist exploitation, and the perpetuation of imperialism in the development and maintenance of modern U.S. power systems and corporate financial markets.
As current trends in the national unemployment rate indicate – for the 99 percent nationally, the rate is 14 percent for Latinos, 17 percent for New Afrikans (Blacks), yet only 4 percent for those with a college degree – higher education has a direct correlation to socio-economic opportunity and prosperity.
Since equal opportunity is a fundamental right of U.S. citizenship, the 99 percent should have equal access to higher education without speculative corporate profiteering in industries related to higher education driving up tuition costs and student loan interest rates to usurious levels, leaving most in perpetual debt and simply pricing the very prospect of higher education out of reach for those in communities of color and the poor.
5. We want an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of oppressed people in the U.S., particularly in the New Afrikan (Black), Latino, immigrant and underclass communities and among those protesting in this nation.
We recognize the police and other state paramilitary agencies – sheriffs, FBI, correctional guards etc. – are, and have always been, the enforcement army of the ruling 1 percent. This was again proven when these fascist forces moved nationally, en masse, to attack, pepper spray, beat, destroy the property of, arrest and attempt to crush the national Occupy Movement and its supporters at the two-month anniversary of the worldwide action and every day since. We recognize such brutal and unwarranted treatment is the daily existence of New Afrikan (Black), Latino, immigrant and underclass communities and people in this nation now, and historically, all to ensure the 1 percent “keeps us in our place,” the unfortunate victims of the race/class arrangement.
We recognize the police and other state paramilitary agencies – sheriffs, FBI, correctional guards etc. – are, and have always been, the enforcement army of the ruling 1 percent.
Self-defense is a human right and both the action and means are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and state laws (see the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and California Penal Code Section 50).
We believe community organized oversight and self-defense forces should be organized to monitor and record all police interactions with the people and defend them against ruling class directed and racist attacks when necessity dictates.
The hypocrisy of the government and media is exposed as they criticize Syria, China and Iran for attacking peaceful protestors while they do the same across the U.S. daily. We will suffer no more attacks like those at UC Davis, no more Scott Olsens, Fly Benzos or Oscar Grants to be injured or killed at the hands of the tools of the 1 percent.
The hypocrisy of the government and media is exposed as they criticize Syria, China and Iran for attacking peaceful protestors while they do the same across the U.S. daily. We will suffer no more attacks like those at UC Davis, no more Scott Olsens, Fly Benzos or Oscar Grants to be injured or killed at the hands of the tools of the 1 percent.
6. We want an end to the expansion of the prison industrial complex, as a profit base – from our tax dollars – for the disposal of surplus labor and the poor.
We want an end to the use of indefinite solitary confinement torture units in the U.S. as they are inhumane and illegal. The mass incarceration of people of color and the poor will no longer be tolerated as an acceptable alternative to enforcing socio-economic equality in America.
The disproportionate distribution of wealth, privilege and opportunity in a society is the origin of all crime. The U.S. has one of the greatest disparities between haves and have nots on earth. As a result, the U.S. has the largest prison population on the planet with some 2.7 million of our citizens in prison, 67 percent of them New Afrikans (Black) or Latinos, though they constitute only 26 percent of the nation’s population.
The prison population in the U.S. has exploded some 600 percent since 1981, with state and federal prison budgets in excess of hundreds of billions of our tax dollars a year lining the pockets of corporate interests that build, supply and maintain these prisons, jails, courts and staff, not to mention the labor aristocrats like the CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) guards union, who’ve created a socio-economic and political power base that guarantees their job security and ever increasing salaries and benefits, while maintaining a lobbying stranglehold on state politicians.
We recognize, in the face of such a corrupt cabal of government and business, the purpose of imprisonment in the U.S. now has little to do with public safety and rehabilitation and more to do with the development of a self-perpetuating, poverty-fueled, recession-proof industry and an accompanying socio-political accommodating labor aristocracy of prison guards, cops and staff as a support base for the interests of the ruling 1 percent.
Prison is a socially hostile microcosm of society’s contradictions, possessing the same race/class and state/class contradictions that currently define the socio-economic inequality that is capitalist Amerika. Prisons serve as warehouses for surplus labor, the poor and those who have been forced to the bottom rung of society.
It is the systemic race/class disparities, intentional criminalization and underdevelopment of poor communities and social apathy which have forced most offenders into the underground economy as the only viable option to survive.
This is unacceptable and unsustainable, equally repugnant, fundamentally inhumane, and illegal as the continued gross violation of the U.N. Convention Against Torture – to which the U.S. is a signatory and we agree is the law of the land – which prohibits long-term solitary confinement for extracting information, political views or as punishment for any reason – which is the very purpose of SHU units – as torture, but it is being practiced in numerous U.S. prisons with government approval.
The continued indefinite confinement of human beings in SHUs, SMUs and other supermax torture units must be abolished in the U.S., as they violate the basic tenets of human rights this nation has sworn to uphold.
The basis of true rehabilitation, such as tech and computer-based vocational programs, access to higher education for prisoners and community-based parole boards must become the new order of the day. This is the only way to guarantee true justice in an unjust social arrangement and see our imprisoned citizens are capable of making a meaningful contribution to our society and prosperity.
The disproportionate distribution of wealth, privilege and opportunity in a society is the origin of all crime. The U.S. has one of the greatest disparities between haves and have nots on earth.
7. We want an end to all corporate and financial influences in the political process in the U.S.
We recognize, since its inception, the nature and structure of U.S. society has been one of the rich, for the rich and by the rich, in which the 99 percent have served as a source of exploited labor and a consumer market for the goods and services of those who own the means of production.
This pattern of usurpations has evolved into a political process in which public policies and elected officials are more often than not determined by lobbying dollars, manipulation of public opinion by corporate-controlled mass media, and the overwhelming influence of financial markets and industries on policies and policymakers, effectively marginalizing the people, their interests and their will, reducing them to pawns in a game of corporate pandering.
This will stop now. The U.S. will finally become a nation of the people, for the people and by the people, where only individual citizens may have any influence in the nature and structure of the democratic process in the U.S. This means banning all lobbyists, donors, financial market proxies, strategic advisers and special interest groups from local, state and federal electoral and legislative processes in the U.S. We are sick of this “legalized” corruption.
8. We want an end to imperialist wars of aggression and sending our youth off to kill and die to enforce the economic interests of big oil and other corporate concerns seeking new resources to exploit, new markets to open for sale of their goods and services and as an impetus to keep from addressing domestic ills.
We recognize, as Bolton Hall said, “If there is a war, you will furnish the corpses and the taxes and others will get this glory. Speculators will make money out of it, that is, out of you (us).”
Thousands of our young men and women died in Iraq and across the Middle East and caused the deaths, either intentionally or unintentionally, of many thousands more Third World people, all based on the lies of greedy and bloodthirsty politicians with multiple ties to big oil and corporate interests. The current administration has only slightly modified this same imperialist tendency by shifting it to a more palatable target at the cost of billions of our tax dollars and thousands of our youth that could have been contributing to the prosperity of the nation and its people.
We support our young men and women, but we do not support imperialism.
9. We want a bottoms-up approach to economic development and labor-capital relations in the U.S.
This nation is empowered by “we the people,” the 99 percent, to secure our rights to life, liberty, and prosperity; yet we recognize the state has aligned itself so intimately for so long with the exclusive interest of the ruling 1 percent that it has become enamored exclusively to a top-down approach to socio-economic and political solutions which always favors the rich first and everyone else when or if possible. This has resulted in a 281 percent increase in the growth of wealth in the top 1 percent of this nation, while the bottom 90 percent have seen their incomes flat over the past 20 years.
We recognize that this fascist alliance between corporate capital and government has become obstructive to the ends of securing the rights of life and prosperity to the 99 percent of this nation’s people and will now come to an end. Socio-economic and political policy must now uplift the quality of life from the bottom rung up – empowering the disenfranchised, providing opportunities for those with no options and directing bailouts and subsidies to the people, not banks and billionaires.
We recognize the state has thus far been a tool to guarantee the dominance of one class over others, of the 1 percent over the 99 percent, and that arrangement will now come to an end.
Socio-economic and political policy must now uplift the quality of life from the bottom rung up – empowering the disenfranchised, providing opportunities for those with no options and directing bailouts and subsidies to the people, not banks and billionaires.
10. We want a more equitable distribution of wealth, justice and opportunity at every level of society, reflecting the objective reality that it’s the socio-economic, political, intellectual and cultural contributions of the 99 percent upon which this society stands.
We recognize that there is enough food in this nation that no one need be hungry, enough unoccupied structures in this nation that no one need be homeless, enough educators, institutions, knowledge and technology in this nation that no one need be without a degree or skilled trade, enough work to be done that no one needs to be without a job; and it is only due to the insistence of an entrenched, super-rich 1 percent and their stranglehold on every institution and apparatus of this nation’s infrastructure from the government to the mass media that their opulence and privilege be maintained at the expense of the 99 percent.
We recognize that this is not our national reality, the ruling class has mismanaged our society – woefully and criminally mismanaged – and those in power at every level are either unable or unwilling to change the nature and structure of capitalist society. So it falls to us, the 99 percent, to forge a new basis upon which socio-economic relationships will be based, ushering in a new social order in Amerika and around the world, that serves the interests of all the people and not simply the privileged few.
It is our request that all of you please send a copy of this proposal to each individual Occupy Movement coalition, which includes but is not limited to Occupy Wall Street (New York City), Occupy Oakland, Occupy NOLA (New Orleans), Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Boston, Occupy L.A. (Los Angeles), Occupy Seattle, Occupy UC Davis, Occupy Phoenix, Occupy Fresno, Occupy Cleveland, Occupy Chicago et al. Post a copy of this proposal online at as many sites for the Occupy movement as possible. Post it on Facebook, blog sites and wherever social commentary is held.
In addition, we call on each individual Occupy Movement to begin organizing in and with the underclass communities in your city or town and for all my brothers and sisters in the ghettos, projects, barrios and trailer parks across this nation to begin organizing with Occupy Movement coalition reps around collective programs that can serve to begin realizing these 10 core Objectives by our unity and contributions alone. The NCTT, both here in Corcoran SHU and Pelican Bay SHU are committed to making meaningful contributions to the development of such community action programs, which we will outline in our next communication.
We call on each individual Occupy Movement to begin organizing in and with the underclass communities in your city or town and for all my brothers and sisters in the ghettos, projects, barrios and trailer parks across this nation to begin organizing with Occupy Movement coalition reps around collective programs that can serve to begin realizing these 10 core objectives by our unity and contributions alone.
But what must be understood is social movements of this nature are supported only to the degree that their ideas find resonance in the psychological structures of the masses, but even this is not enough. To ensure the realization of any substantive change in the nature and structure of U.S. capitalist society and to prevent this movement from being isolated and neutralized by the forces of repression, it must be firmly embedded in as broad a cross-section of this population as possible.
There are some 47 million people in Amerika living below the poverty line, another 150 million or so barely getting by – two thirds of this nation’s population, all of them part of the 99 percent. It is here that we will find our most lasting support, and thus it is here that you must begin forging meaningful ties. These are overwhelmingly New Afrikan (Black), Latino, immigrant and poor communities.
You champion us all with your ideas and the courage of your convictions, just as we continue to support you with our sacrifices and insight. It is now time to take the movement to its next evolution and ultimately to its inevitable conclusion: victorious revolutionary change.
Your greatest power lies in your unity and cooperation and ultimately your organizational ability. The power of the people far surpasses all the repressive violence of the Babylons attacking you/us or the wealth of the 1 percent, who will stop at nothing to silence us all.
The power of the people far surpasses all the repressive violence of the Babylons attacking you/us or the wealth of the 1 percent, who will stop at nothing to silence us all.
This is a protracted struggle; there will be no 90-day revolution here. Victory will require sacrifice, tenacity and competent strategic insight. The question you must ask is, Are you prepared to do what is necessary to win this struggle? If you answer in the affirmative, commit to victory and accept no other alternative. The people, as we are, are with you. Until we win or don’t lose, our love and solidarity to all those who love freedom and fear only failures.
Send our brothers some love and light:
Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, CSP-COR-SHU 4B1L-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, CSP-COR-SHU 4B1L-46, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
and Kambui Robinson, C-83820, CSP-COR-SHU 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.
And read their previous stories: “A brief hunger strike update from the front lines of the struggle: Corcoran-SHU 4B 1L C-section Isolation Unit” (second story in that post), “From the front lines of the struggle,”and “We dare to win: The reality and impact of SHU torture units.”
This story was typed by Adrian McKinney.