Category Archives: political discrimination

From a letter by J.

7/18/13
From a letter:
Yesterday – 9 days into fasting – they finally took my and my cellie’s weight and vitals. Because it’s the first weight they’ve taken since this began, they’ll attempt to use it as a ‘baseline’ weight to measure how much weight we’ve lost. 
The problem with that is obvious: we’ve already lost an enormous amount of weight in the first 9 days of not eating. I used my weight from the last time I went to nurses line back in May (223 Lbs) to calculate how much I lost (I weighed in at 214 Lbs – 212 Lbs minus the weight of the waist chains [2 Lbs]), so as of yesterday I lost 11 Lbs. Zah went from 178 to 164 – a loss of 14 Lbs.
According to the CCHS mass hunger strike policy (IMSP+P, Vol. 4, Chpt. 22.2) states PCP visits to record vital signs, weight, and BMI should be done 1-3 days after hunger strike participation (see for a summary: http://www.prisons.org/documents/HungerStrikeSUMMARY7-13.pdf). With those of us they gaffed up in their version of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and isolated us in this rat block [unit 4A], they waited until the 9th day. 
This exposes us to the risk of premature hunger strike complications due to this negligent medical care and deviation from the established hunger strike policy. No one can tell me this is not intentional.
Also included in the policy is the provision that an FTF visit to again assess vitals, weight, height, etc. is to take place at the 4-7 day mark, the 7-14 day mark and then every week thereafter. They’ve obviously not adhered to their own policy, but instead subordinated themselves to custody and the dictates of this warden.
In any event, I.G.I. came by yesterday and returned some of my paperwork and gave me a receipt for over 100 pages of other stuff they’re characterizing as “gang material.” To give you an example of their fundamentally contradictory thought process and the arbitrary/capricious nature of how they characterize info – one document they are now characterizing this way is a document I wrote in 2005, “Cadre Development: Usalama” [Kiswahili for “security’) [C.D.U.], for revolutionary socialist parties like the “Afrikan Socialist Party,” “New Black Panther Party,” etc. to use to protect their political activities, organizations and personnel from counter-intelligence and infiltration operations by hostile capitalist state agencies. 
The I.G.I. officer in question stated the reason it was confiscated (mind you I’ve had this document in my possession, in one form of another (typed, handwritten, etc.) since 2005 when I wrote it and this same I.G.I. c/o has reviewed it at least 10 times in subsequent searches of my property and never responded this way) was the use of the term “party,” which they considered synonymous with the “B.G.F.”
When I am faced with such an obvious contradiction, the running commentary in my mind is often: “if it is your assertion that the language, activities, and information you are attaching to a particular group of people is all political in nature, and even you (the I.G.I.) are identifying what you believe this group to be as a “political party,” why then do you continue to disrespect imprisoned political activists by referring to them, their ideas, and work-product as “gangs,” “gang activity,” or “gang material”? The answer is obvious and it is the same reason I wrote the essay in the first place: in order to de-legitimate N.A.R.N. [New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism] / Revolutionary Scientific Socialism, the state must criminalize leftist ideologues, activity, and ideas.
In the 1900s they did it with the Haymarket Massacre; in the ‘40s and ‘50s they did it with the McCarthy Hearings and the Church Committee; in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s they used the Counter-Intelligence Program (CoIntelPro); today they’ve evolved and expanded CoIntelPro and use control units and the “gang” moniker to achieve this end.
Case in point, they also confiscated 43 pages of stuff a N.A.R.N. couple in Baltimore sent me over the course of a year. Virtually all of their communiqués discussed gaining a better scientific understanding of the ideology and economic applications of socialism to the modern world, as well as the challenges their communities were facing in combatting the criminal / gang mentality among some youth and the challenges of transforming that mentality (actually an expression of the dominant oppressor culture and the effects of class/race-based disparities) into a progressive or revolutionary mentality.
As you well know, I.G.I. monitors all my incoming and outgoing mail – and it was no different here – they allowed this political discourse to continue over the course of a year, and I knew why they did so – and told the sister and brother as much in two separate communiqués: this gave law enforcement an opportunity to gather intelligence on the political development and interactions of socialist activists in different parts of the nation.
Now apparently Maryland is also engaged in a peaceful protest action, and suddenly the I.G.I. assigned to monitor my mail is telling me – “I did not see this stuff” –  is both ludicrous and insulting – but not unforeseen. He (I.G.I.) told me I would be receiving an 115 for “gang activity” for numerous letters that they reviewed [and] then delivered to my door – not to mention my responses.
Of course none of this political discourse is “gang activity,” but that’s all academic. The state must have its narrative to repress political and socio-economic  development along the lines of scientific socialism, N.A.R.N. (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism), or any other leftist tendencies. There are some 2-300 different political parties and organizations who employ N.A.R.N. as their ideological base – but in every instance – be they imprisoned or in the field – the state characterizes them as “gangs” and treats us accordingly. It sets up this automatic ambiguity in the people’s minds with 2 distinct emotional and political reactions:  “gangs” are dehumanized, castigated, and treated with political disdain; “revolutionaries” are romanticized, supported and treated with political interest and consideration.
Though there is under the D.O.M. section governing “disruptive groups” a designation for “revolutionary groups,” CDCR instead chooses to characterize N.A.R.N. and Scientific Socialist prisoners as “gangs” and “gang members.” Understanding the motive force behind it does not lessen its incorrectiveness or illegitimacy. But there is always a price for progress – revolution is illegal. The state is a tool to impose the interests of one class over all others and challenges to that status quo – no matter how principled or well intentioned – are viewed as threats, attacked, vilified, and in the case of those imprisoned: confined to sensory deprivation torture units and given 115’s for someone else writing you. Perhaps in the state’s mind – this will prove a deterrent – instead it only motivates me to build even more.
As we speak I am watching an episode of Dr Oz about the profit motivation behind food fraud (false labeling of poorer quality food items: fish, spices, juices, tea, etc., etc.) and the market correlation to lax U.S. enforcement of food standards. This system is so pervasively corrupt on every level of human activity it simply cannot be “reformed.”
When we make A critical analysis of CDCR’s continued opposition to the abolition of long-term sensory deprivation confinement and characterization of our peaceful protest as “gang activity,” what we are looking at is the same antagonistic authoritarian psychosis which not only compelled George Zimmerman to profile, hung, confront, harass, and ultimately murder Trayvon Martin – but more essentially it was behind the American legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that drafted and lobbied to pass the “stand your ground laws” he relied on, and the initial, and later, failings of Sanford law enforcement in first not bringing charges, then later bungling the prosecution.
Zimmerman believed Trayvon was a criminal and a threat because he was a young New Afrikan man, the Sanford police believed he was correctly killed for the same reason, and the jury believed Trayvon did not have a right to fight back against a grown man and a stranger preventing him from going home, but Zimmerman did have a right to murder Trayvon after being on the losing end of a fight he (Zimmerman) started – for the same reason. 
Equally, CDCR feels we are “gang members” and a “threat” worthy of indefinite torture, simply because we are in prison with ideals divergent from the dominant theme, the psychosis prompts them to violate their own laws in characterizing- (and issuing 115’s based on this characterization) – this peaceful protest action as a “gang activity.” (the 1st Amendment states clearly: “Congress shall make no law… abridging … the right of the people peacibly to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”) , and to continue to resist making the necessary and humane decisions required by this circumstance, the times, and international law. Both sets of phenomena emerged from that single psychosis prevalent in U.S. white male privilege. Hold on.
Now 2 things happened today which were both positive and shocking:
  1. This morning at 6AM, the same identical I.G.I. officer responsible for most of the most inane assaults on my artistic expression and politics, went out of his way and tracked down me and my cellie’s lost laundry. He did not have to do that, and whether he was told to or did so out of pure human decency, I can only speculate  – but it was commendable and respected in either event. I actually have my thermal bottoms back 🙂 Unfortunately, over $100 worth of my books are still missing 😦
  2. They just pulled me and Zah out, took our weight and vitals again (I’m down to 210 Lbs now). We were both surprised and pleased and clearly it’s as a result of you all on the outside calling up here and checking on us – thank you.
Please relay what you can of this to my family, the comrades in the struggle across the nation.
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On the Ideological Persecution and Political Hypocrisy of the CA Department of Corrections (2003)

This was published in 2003, and shines a light on the unchanged and discriminating ways and reasons of “validating”   (= finding reasons for locking people up in solitary confunement without any end in sight) prisoners on the basis of political ideologies. See also this recent article on SolitaryWatch about the “validation-process”

Heshima wrote that this article was used as a pretext to keep him slammed in the solitary confinement torture unit. He asked the webmaster to post the attached “Confidential Information Disclosure Form” that shows the prison took this 2003 article published in California Prison Focus as ‘evidence’  of ‘gang activity,’ precisely what the article was refuting.

Published in: California Prison Focus Nr 18 (2003)

In the confines of the concentration camps which make up California’s Department of Corrections, those prisoners who express through word or deed any political belief or ideological standpoint divergent from what prison administrators deem the “norm” are labeled clear and present dangers to the general prison population and treated as such, despite the constitutional and regulatory safeguards against political persecution that the CDoC, as an agency of the state, claims to uphold. This pattern of hypocrisy and persecution  is responsible for the single largest population of purely political prisoners in the U.S.A., in the form of “validated” Afrikan prisoners in the state of California.

The CDoC has fully embraced and become a master of employing Amerikkka’s methodology of espousing an ideal on paper or within the confines of their regulations, but exercising a completely opposite pattern of behavior when such regulatory assurances benefit those who they categorize as  enemies such as  activists of revolutionary ideology. The California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Subsection 3004 states in part:

“…employees will not subject other persons to any form of discrimination because of race, religion, nationality … political belief…”.


The Constitution of the United States of Amerikkka, arguably one of the most perfectly written “theoretical” documents on socio-political freedom, ensures in the most elegant terms the right of every citizen, free or bond, to exercise whatever political belief he or she so wishes.

These assertions of ideological magnanimity on the part of the CDoC and its mother state are as empty and hollow as the cells here in Corcoran SHU. 

For example, on October 6, 1995 at Pelican Bay State Prison, L.L. Anderson, then a Lieutenant in ISU (now a Captain) stated the following in a validation memorandum on a prisoner whose political ideology was revolutionary in nature:

“Confidential memorandum dated 11/1/93.  
This memorandum clearly outlines subject’s affiliation with terrorist organizations (i.e. The New Afrikan Peoples Organization and the Afrikan Socialist Party) and support of a New Afrikan  Revolutionary Nationalism (N.A.R.N.). N.A.R.N. is considered synonymous with the Black  Guerilla Family ‘prison gang’ and is now accepted as a source for validation purposes.”

Incredulously, Mr. Anderson goes on to state:

“Some correspondence connects subject with individuals linked to the Weather Underground and the Nation of Islam. These two terrorist organizations are well noted for their sympathies to overthrow the government.”

I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of Afrikans in Amerikkka and abroad who subscribe to the political ideology of New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, Maoism-Leninism-Marxism, and Scientific Socialism, as well as the millions of Muslims who adhere to the religious doctrine of the Nation of Islam will and do take offense to L.L. Anderson, and the CDoC relegating their beliefs and faith to “prison gangs” and “terrorist groups”, not to mention the total disregard for their own regulations and the guarantees set forth in the Constitution of the United States of Amerikkka. 

This example of hypocrisy is not the exception, but the rule when dealing with progressive elements in the prison population.

I myself was validated as a member of the so-called “Prison Gang/Terrorist Group”, the Black Guerilla Family at High Desert State Prison in August of 2001 in perhaps one of the most ridiculous examples of fabrication of evidence and misrepresentation of facts in the history of the validation process.

Nonetheless, the primary content and theme of this ridiculous validation packet was my affiliation with, and belief in, New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, Scientific Socialism, and my assertion of the inherent behavioral obligation to righteousness and egalitarian mores. Not a single document, or piece of paper, even those I.G.I. Correctional Officer D.D. Shaver fabricated, made a single reference or allusion to the BGF or any other organizations in particular-but as L.L. Anderson stated back in 1995, 

“…New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism is considered synonymous now with … prison gang(s)…”.
It is my contention that the reality of political freedom and the right to exercise such does not extend to those whose freedom has been abrogated by the legal farces men call “courts of law”.


Despite the obvious hypocrisy of the CDoC and its insistence on persecuting New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalists, I’m not naïve enough to react emotionally to this phenomena, quite the contrary, I approach virtually everything with cold objectivity and analytical emotional detachment and therefore can understand intellectually why the state fears us so. 

As an ideological system, New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist and Scientific Socialism is in diametric opposition to the actual “penological interests” of the CDoC which is the genocide of Afrikan and Latino males in this state. In order to justify the existence and prevalence of the prison industrial complex as a societal necessity here in California, the state must relegate the proponents of Nationalism/ Socialism/ Egalitarianism within the concentration camp environment to the status of “criminal”, “terrorist”, or “gang member” in order to neutralize the organizing and psychological liberating effect the proponents of such have on the masses of otherwise uninitiated prisoners who find themselves, more often that not, in the clutches of the Department due primarily to the socio-economic disenfranchisement, behavioral modification, and educational/employment disparities based on race which are systemic built-in mechanisms for the Amerikkkan social infrastructure. The entire so-called criminal justice system and the prison-industrial complex it serves, is not a solution to the ills of society and I  challenge any objective analyst to state its aims are “justice”.

This entire machine is nothing more than a mechanism to “legitimately” exterminate a specific portion of this Nation’s population, particularly Afrikans and Aztecs, but first creating the social conditions which offer no other viable choice to meet the basic needs save the transgression of countless laws, then ensure the conviction and lengthy incarceration of those who do transgress, ending in the doom of the strongest aspects of the non-white male population, and all in the name of the law.

Allowing the purveyors of revolution in the concentration camp environment, the political freedoms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and the California Code of Regulations, would be in effect allowing the prisons of California to become revolutionary universities.

Men who entered these pits of perdition, instead of becoming more savage and inhumane would be truly rehabilitated in the sense that the former capitalist-criminal ideals, which lead them to prison in the first place would be replaced by egalitarian mores, and the state would be release true democratic idealist and scientific socialists into the uninformed chaos of mainstream society where they will educate and influence the poor, oppressed masses to a truth that would mean an end to the capitalist ideal and the reality of the system of white supremacy.

This is something the current system of power is not prepared to do. One must concede, from a purely intellectual and objective point of view, were I a “Babylonian”, I would do whatever necessary to maintain my position of power as well, including crushing the rights of my incarcerated citizens and throwing those who would expose me for the charlatan and fascist that I am in the deepest, darkest, dankest cell I could find.

Here in California, these cells are called Corcoran and Pelican Bay SHU. For this reason, those who embrace the ideology of social change should be aware of the fact that the second you are identified as such you will be persecuted in the California Department of Corrections.

In fact, if you take up the mantle of the revolutionary activist, and you fear or feel you could not withstand the full force of the state brought to bear on you in the most hospitable ways-perhaps you should not embrace revolution. I have stated many times before that the most difficult occupations on the face of the Earth is that of the professional revolutionary. You must be a historian, sociologist, and intelligence officer, detective, psychologist, counselor, military strategist, and warrior.

You must above all love the people, and do all of this while attempting to conceal what you are in plain sight of an enemy who would love nothing more than to throw you in a SHU cell for the rest of your life. George Lester Jackson stated in his sage masterwork, Blood in My Eye, that “…revolution is a war for the minds of the masses”, and it is my contention that the only thing that separates the makers of history for those whose histories are made for them, is the power to alter their environments, the power of change. 

That power, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing more or less the power of information. Revolutionaries educate the masses, but it is virtually impossible to do so in the concentration camp environment, while living according to the ethical and behavioral precepts you are espousing, and not eventually be compromised. No matter how progressive the results engendered by revolutionary agent in any particular prison sector, for or against prison administrators; no matter how righteous the aims or outcome of such activism-it will be deemed a threat, and the proponents of change will be attacked and relegated to the harshest, most isolated conditions these “people” can concoct. This is merely the reality of the situation, and must be addressed as such. The political (and all too often actual) survival of revolutionary activists within the concentration camp environment depends solely on one’s ability to remain clandestine.

The CDoC’s hypocrisy, and the states support thereof, should be viewed by all revolutionary activists and proponents of human rights, as verification of the righteousness of our cause and should serve as a motivational factor for true commitment.

Oh yes, if you believe in New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, Scientific Socialism, or a plethora of other progressive political beliefs, and you find yourself in a California prison, you will be persecuted for your belief. But this does not negate the fact that it is your human, Constitutional and regulatory right. The level of persecution you sustain for exercising this right will vary from individual to individual, but it will be directly proportional to the effectiveness of your influence on the people and the social conditions you find yourself in.

Nonetheless, in the final analysis no level of persecution or obvious hypocrisy will alter the truth, and the truth of the matter is those who prescribe to such political beliefs as New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism, are not members of a “prison gang”, nor are they “terrorists”, they are fearless men and/or women who call the oppressor an oppressor, and are prepared to do whatever is necessary, including enduring persecution, to alter that reality. I state, without apology, that if we apply the CDoC’s description, the BGF are not a “prison gang” or “terrorist group”, these brothers are a revolutionary organization no different, or less legitimate than the Afrikan Peoples’ Socialist Party, the New Afrikan Peoples’ Organization, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and I’m sure they, like all other progressive organizations do not see the future of the world through the prism of Amerikkkan geopolitical interests, and thus by the CDoC’s definition, are a threat to those interests.

Yet under the rubric of Amerikkkan psychology, Israel, a state that bombed Palestinians out of their homes to create this nation-state after W.W.II is an ally-Nation, and the Palestinian people who resist with force the apartheid-like conditions, they are forced to live under are “terrorists” and “extremist”. In fact, any organization, group, state, or nation opposed to Amerikkka and its interests are labeled “criminals”, “gangs” or “terrorists”. Namibian foreign minister Theo-Ben Gurirab, a leading office of the Afrikan Union, while at a recent summit of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Coolum, Australia stated: “We think the…definition of terrorism is built only around enemies of the U.S….” [see: http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0320/p09s01-woaf.html], and I must not only agree, but raise my fist in solidarity with every other Afrikan prisoner “validated”, and serving and indeterminate SHU term in the state of California in declaring to the world-we are living examples of this reality; that even in the confines of prison, we are hunted down, rounded up, and buried under the penitentiary.

However, what is more important and vital to this discussion, and what I wish to share with every reader of this beautiful publication, is: sacrifice is the basis of all struggle and no level of persecution or hypocrisy will deter the truly committed from serving the people, the party, and the revolution-this is my human right-and yours as well-exercise it…think on these things, they are cause for great meditation.

          Heshima DenhamOriginal: http://www.karnataka.prisons.org/documents/cpf18.pdf

In PDF

Click to enlarge: Confidential Information Disclosure Form: see under nr 3.