Tag Archives: 3 pilot programs

Jackson Rising: New Economies – May 2-4, Jackson, MS

The Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference will explore the possibility of making Jackson, Mississippi a center and example of economic democracy by building strong cooperatives and other forms of worker owned enterprises and financial institutions that will create jobs with dignity, stability, living wages, and quality benefits.

The primary objective of the Conference is to educate and mobilize the people of Jackson to meet the economic and sustainability needs of our community. In the process, we aim to expand the discussion about alternative economic models and systems and to confront the harsh economic realities confronting low-income and impoverished communities.

For more information: Jacksonrising.org

We of the NCTT-Cor-SHU would like to participate with our Pilot Programs: Sustainable Agricultural Commune (SAC), Closed Circuit Economic Initiative (CCEI), but because of our coordinators being confined, we have to rely on you to distribute flyers at the conference and send us flyers of your organizations, in hopes we can make a joint venture with you!

Contact us if you want to help us spread our ideas:

Email: NCTTCorSHU at gmail.com
Facebook Page for the SAC

A Discussion on the Agreement to End Hostilities as a Basis for Socio-Economic Empowerment and Inter-communal Independence From the NCTT-COR-SHU

A Discussion on the Agreement to End Hostilities as a Basis for Socio-Economic Empowerment and Inter-communal Independence. From the NCTT-COR-SHU
“To overcome the intelligent by folly is contrary to the natural order of things; to overcome the foolish by intelligence is in accordance with the natural order. To overcome the intelligent by intelligence, however, is a matter of opportunity” (Zhuge Liang)
Greetings brothers and sisters. On August 12, 2012 the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) in all prison and juvenile facilities and called for its extension to our communities. The strategic and material benefits for our ongoing human rights struggle, [for] thousands of prisoners and their families is obvious.
What may be less obvious is the unprecedented opportunity for social progress and community development represented by the A.E.H.; and more precisely why its popularization in the communities from which prisoners hail, and all similarly affected communities nationally, is so vital. The potential benefit to our interests collectively is equally as vital as the abolition of domestic torture units and mass incarceration as a whole, and in fact, may serve as a new front in that struggle.
In a recent 60 Minutes” exposé a New Jersey state trooper and former Iraq/Afghanistan Occupation Force Veteran began employing counter-insurgency techniques imported from those Middle Eastern battlefields to “clear and hold” poverty-stricken communities in New Jersey. As we watched this program they employed everything from quantification of tattoo I.D. and inter-communal violence data, to “winning the hearts and minds” of residents in order to increase informants amongst the population. The increase in arrests and convictions stats which followed came as no great surprise…nor did the corresponding imprisonment that followed. We noted the lamentable that followed. We noted the lamentable economic condition of the state and this community, in particular at the outset of the story, but only a passing reference was made to potential economic development opportunities that had any hope of empowering that community and those that lived in it.
One of the prevailing factors which prompted this further militarization of law enforcement was the alleged violence between street tribes (i.e., “gangs”) and that surrounding the local drug trade knowing full well these phenomenon are structural aspects of the capitalist arrangement which force many in those communities to form (or join) street tribes for social empowerment or enter the underground economy (narcotics trafficking, etc.) as a survival activity, it reveals this new counter-insurgency-inspired approach was just the latest tactic to win public support for yet another streamlining of the school/poor community to prison pipeline and expansion of the prison industrial complex (PIC).
The NCTT is not simply an analytical body. It is an analytical body whose goal is to provide practical solutions to society’s ills. We immediately began to make inter-connections on the theoretical level between these phenomena, the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.), collective community development programs, and a commitment to total community inclusion. This New Jersey community could have been any community in Watts, L.A., West Oakland or Southeast San Diego. We thought: would such repressive and authoritarian state measures be justifiable if an effective A.E.H. was in place?
Furthermore, if there were community-owned and operated economic ventures, educational development initiatives, and socio-political empowerment platforms inclusive of, and beneficial to, everyone in the community would there even be a needfor the residents to sell dope to, or ride on, one another?
If our communities were self-sufficient, politically-empowered, and markedly less violent would that not translate into less of our brothers, sisters and children being exposed to the prospect of imprisonment and our communities being subjected to the militaristic occupation tactics of the state? It is our contention that the potential exists for this and much, much more.
The violence and rebellion against private property and bourgeoisie “law” which accompany the desperation of poverty and social alienation have long been the foundation for justifying the introduction and passage of draconian laws and GeStaPo-style enforcement tactics in depressed communities. We can assure you, the NYPD is not pushing “stop and frisk” on the [denzins] of the Upper East Side. These self-fulfilling prophesies of underdevelopment have decimated entire generations of young men (and women), consigning them to the (maw of the) PIC. It has also been utilized as the chief cornerstone in the state’s justification for the maintenance and expansion of SHU torture units. It is the very basis of the “worst of the worst” propaganda that Stainer and his ilk continue to spout.
The A.E.H., designed to preserve and expand the solidarity of our prisoner human rights struggle has also had the objective effect of further undermining the state’s untenable position by taking that argument away from them. If intra-prisoner violence is no longer occurring as a result of the A.E.H., how then can intra-prisoner violence be used as a way to confine men to torture units indefinitely as “the worst of the worst?” It obviously can’t.
However, what may not be obvious is the A.E.H. provides us with a unique opportunity to also take that argument from community-based law enforcement agencies and remove tenuous justifications they’re currently employing to terrorize our communities. It is a crime to be poor in America. From the indentured servitude and pauper’s prisons of the 18thand 19th century, to the array of criminalization measures used today (i.e., “gang injunctions,” prohibiting citizens from congregating with their own friends and neighbors; “stop and frisk”- powers which legalize profiling, and mandatory drug testing for recipients of public financial aid–the ugly essence of criminal presupposition) the U.S. capitalist state has always sought to criminalize the poor.
The A.E.H. can alter the historic dynamic by providing our communities with an environment in which to restructure our socio-economic reality and common ground upon which to pursue mutually beneficial cooperative efforts, independent of the hostile, antagonistic state and its modern predatory capitalism.
But how would that look on the ground? To answer that question we discussed the validity and practical application of such an undertaking, in relation to the realities on the ground. The final interpretation of that analysis led us to two basic conclusions:
1) Many of our younger brothers and sisters are so embroiled in these cycles of violence and retribution that if the A.E.H. were embraced en masse beyond the walls, not only would it require a productive program of genuine material benefits for them, to act as an incentive and fill the void previously occupied with contra-positive activities, but
2) We’d also need principled and respected soldiers on the ground to mitigate misunderstandings.
The remainder of this discussion will thus be a direct outgrowth of these two primary prerequisites.
The NCTT-COR-SHU has previously articulated within the context of comprehensive community development and social transformation three pilot programs. It is our contention that these same pilot programs and other initiatives specifically developed for youth social empowerment, such as “The Youth Community Action Program (YCAP)”, initiated within the confines of a universally-adopted and mutually enforced Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) can give us the tools to reclaim our own communities from police state occupation, rebuild them into bastions of collective prosperity and shared success, while denying the PIC and the capitalist state the opportunity to exploit our young homies, g.homies, comrades and the intra-class/race contradictions we’ve had to endure under this corrupt system (divide and rule).
We took the time to explore the viability of these ideas by engaging those right here in this torture unit (Corcoran-SHU) from every cultural group on whether this would be something their homies and communities would be interested in. If brothers and sisters didn’t have to worry about being tripped on, or having to ride on cats that rode on their homies, would they be interested in pursuing and working in community-owned businesses and agricultural communes that kept all the funds, fruits and employment in their community? Prison industrialists, corporations and politicians are consistently drafting laws to criminalize our daily lives and cultures. Would they be interested in organizing all their families, homies and home girls without felony records into voting blocks and lobbying bodies to push legislation that benefited theirinterests (i.e., abolishing the slavery provision of the 13thAmendment that precludes those convicted of a felony from voting, creation of community-based parole boards so their loved ones could finally get a date, or abolishing “gang injunctions” that criminalize associating with friends and neighbors you’ve grown up with all your life)? We held these conversations with young and old alike, from every cultural group and affiliation, and the response was universally positive. Some had never even viewed these concepts as a possibility, but by the wisdom of the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective the A.E.H. has given rise to possibilities previously unimaginable.
It is our contention that a concerted effort by all cultural groups and affiliations to extend the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) to all communities in society where we have influence, coupled with designating specific personally-respected and reputable soldiers – to ensure the A.E.H. is understood and adhered to by their communities would give us both the social climate and manpower to organize effective closed-circuit economic initiatives, sustainable agricultural communes, and block-vote democratic initiatives.
In so doing we would transform the socio-economic paradigm in our communities, increasing the options and opportunities of our peoples without having to submit to the expropriation of our labor and talent by those who’ve built an industry around our inequality and enforced human misery.
What are we suggesting is extending the A.E.H. to the streets as a basis upon which to build an independent economy, our own self-sustaining agriculture and organized political power capable of ensuring our communities and loved ones are no longer a marginalized segment of the population preyed upon the fuel the prison industrial complex (for more information on the NCTT three pilot programs go to: NCTTCorSHU.org or see “A Discussion on Strategy for the National Occupy Movement” @sfbayview.com and nettcorshu.org.
But there is even more opportunity for us here, brothers and sisters. One of the universal complaints of responsible thinking soldiers from all cultural groups is [that] our young brothers and sisters are receiving no meaningful development and are left to the tender mercies of the U.S. capitalist counter-culture of predatory greed and reactionary violence. They are emulating the irrationality inherent in the poor and powerless preying on the poor and powerless as a path to power and prosperity. This is not to castigate the quality of our young soldiers but to acknowledge structural setbacks in orientation and development.
Those who were following the “Each One, Teach One” tradition are either (to a great degree) isolated in prisons, SHU’s or have turned their backs on the community completely for upward class mobility. There is even an unsavory segment who are actually taking advantage of this situation of uneven development for their own selfish gain. In either regard, all of us can agree that increasing the quality of young men and women being developed in our communities will empower us all, further improve the problem-solving skills of our young brothers and sisters, and improve the quality of life for all our people(s).
To that end, we propose the adoption and implementation of the “Youth Community Action Program” as a model for both developing and empowering our young sisters and brothers in the hoods, projects, barrios, rural towns, suburbs and trailer parks where our communities are situated. The Youth Community Action Program (YCAP) is both an educational/training program and a co-operative economic nonprofit initiative which targets underclass youth and neighborhoods employing volunteers from the youth’s own community and family to work in concert with YCAP activists in a two phase development initiative.
Phase I – Involves a five (5) times a week, 2-½ hour (after school) educational and training initiative that focuses on history (from the true perspective, think: Zinn, Diop, and Dela Valle); cultural awareness to retard racial conflicts and strife between oppressed nationalities and citizens stemming from stereotypes and misconceptions of Asian, New Afrikan, Mexican/Latino, Euro-American, and Middle Eastern (etc.) cultures; computer- and technological literacy, the arts (visual, music, dance, etc.) and science/engineering; three out of every five days a week the final hour will be devoted to martial arts, self-defense training and strategic thought (to promote self-discipline and critical thinking). Participants must comply with participation in Phase I to be eligible for Phase II inclusion.
Phase II – Involves establishing a collectively-owned community-based venture which each youth participant will own an equal stake in and be trained in the area of the venture which best suits them. All will receive equal revenue portions/pay (collective work and responsibility, equalitarian distribution of wealth).
Perhaps one of the more enjoyable commonalities shared by all the cultural groups engaged in A.E.H. is a fondness for the custom-car cultures. Building on the intra-cultural commonality, the pilot venture can be a custom-car garage (think “pimp by ride”) where we can seek in-kind donations of equipment and old cars (all tax-deductible), cash donations and fundraiser revenues to fund the rest. Volunteers from this industry will train such youngsters in exchange for marketing publicity for their own ventures while we also seek industry-related sponsors. The cars will be retrofitted, rebuilt and “pimped out” into custom low riders, donks, and euro-tuners and then put on the lot for sale and website auction. The proceeds from each sale or client “fix-up” will be split equally among the youth (50% of the profit), 20% will go to expand the nonprofit initiative, 20% will go to a college fund for them all, and 10% will flow back into expanding the venture. We, in this manner, provide them with an economic incentive to be indoctrinated into collective practices and progressive activism, bring the community closer to one another, and introduce a new source of revenue into the underclass community where that chapter of YCAP is based.
The positive social impact on our communities for our people who live in these communities should be significant. But equally impact-ful is all this progress would originate with the A.E.H., and the A.E.H. originated from prisoners in the SHU (the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective, to be precise). Can you all imagine the political success for our movement to abolish indefinite SHU confinement which would glow from such irrefutably positive public opinion? In the face of such success we would eradicate the myth that we are “the worst of the worst” while exposing the intention underdevelopment and predatory law enforcement practices of a capitalist state which has effectively dehumanized our communities, our families, our very children.
Central to understanding and responding to our indefinite torture as validated SHU prisoners and to human misery endemic of underclass communities where the majority of us come from is understanding the nature and structure of U.S. capitalism and our relationship to the productive system. The fact that we are holding this discussion with you from a SHU, and underclass men/women are virtually the entire prison population, is the best proof that the relationship between our communities and the ruling class of the productive system is a hostile one, one where we seek to wrest power from them sufficient to reclaim our humanity and enforce our dignity in the arenas of social life, while they in turn are disinclined to relinquish their authority to dehumanize and exploit us. As long as we are bound by the paradigm of the dominant culture, functioning within the labyrinth of our own exploitation by a socio-economic structure which institutionally disfavors both our communities and ourselves, regardless of cultural character, will continue the cycle of torture and misery.
What must be understood is the small social forces which have deemed our communities “high crime areas” and we (SHU prisoners) “the worst of the worst” are the same social forces that have reduced the social ties between people to naked self-interest and callous cash payment; the same forces who have transformed personal worth into mere exchange value, and subordinated countless of our hard-won freedoms to their one and only freedom – the freedom of “free trade.” We are mere commodities to them, piles of human flesh they can use to expropriate a specific annual amount of the social product (taxes) depending on where they warehouse our flesh (G.P., SHU, Administrative-Segregation (Ad-Seg.), etc.) – our exchange value tabulated by prison industrial labor aristocrats (CCPOA, Administrators) and corporate interests to determine exactly how they need to manipulate public opinion and the electorate to maintain their privilege. We have an opportunity with the A.E.H. to fight back!
We have the opportunity to forge a new socio-economic and political paradigm which is structured outside the confines of the dominant culture, and definitely serves the interests of our communities, our families, us. The only question is do we collectively possess the political will to carry the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.) to its logical and victorious conclusion?
But this is all theoretical, a discussion designed to promote and inspire a glimpse of one possible future and encourage us all to consider it. We have a chance to not only change our communities for the better, but to definitively turn public opinion in our favor in the protracted struggle to abolish the domestic torture units SHU prisoners are condemned to endure.
No matter where this discussion leads, the very foundation of the premise would not exist if not for the wisdom of the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective in enacting the Agreement to End Hostilities (A.E.H.). We all, and society as a whole, owe them their thanks. Think on these things. They are cause for great meditation.
For more info on the NCTT-COR-SHU or its work product go to NCTTCORSHU.org or contact:
Zaharibu Dorrough, D80611, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
J. Heshima Denham, 38283, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1l-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Kambui Robinson, C82830, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Jabara Scott, H30356, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.
For more information on the NCTT three pilot programs go to:

Twitter: @NCTTCorSHU

This essay was also posted on: SF Bay View (August 30th, 2013)

Working the room: Inmates in solitary confinement tell their stories and move people to action against torture and systemic oppression

From: SF Bay View

January 30, 2013by Destiny N. Thomas

Inmates trapped in segregated housing within prisons across the state of California are banding together, setting aside their differences, to expose the human toll of torturous living conditions inside state prisons. While undergoing abusive treatment and sensory deprivation, these organizers have managed to ignite calls for prison reform and self-sufficient communities in a way that transcends the very walls that house them – bringing a voice to a population whose silence is mandated by codes of conduct.

J. Heshima Denham after hunger strike 0711, headshot, web

Heshima Denham

Heshima Denham provides a glimpse of what a day in the life of a prisoner housed in SHU torture units is like. He maintains a daily exercise regimen from within his cell, as he is hardly ever allowed to leave his cell. While the small television in his cell shows the daily news of global oppression, the sharp pain Denham has experienced in his side as a result of a previous hunger strike is his constant reminder of the importance of surviving and resisting while housed in the Corcoran SHU.

The food selection never alternates and is designated by day; it is served at below room temperature, in small portions. In an attempt to maintain some degree of humanness, Denham greets guards with a “thank you” only to be met by laughter. Because bathing is not permitted on a daily basis, Denham takes a birdbath in his cell’s sink.

His day is filled with self-assigned research, caseloads, activism and journalism. The law library at Corcoran is indefinitely off limits. This adds to Denham’s frustrations. Where a person outside of a SHU torture unit would seek other inmates for education on legal and political matters, SHU confines enforce sensory deprivation, so communication is prohibited altogether. The only form of permitted communication, mail, often arrives an entire month after its postmark. To top it all off, Denham has grown accustomed to waking up with migraines, as he has been exposed to constant illumination for 12 years.

The effects of constant illumination

Constant illumination, an unvarying exposure to light around the clock, is a customary practice in prisons nationwide. The effects of continuous exposure to light are vast. Courts have yet to officially recognize this as cruel and unusual punishment as put forth by the Eighth Amendment. One court has cited the benefit to the safety of guards as outweighing the damaging effects of the conditions, although the brightness of the light could possibly be evidence of torture. It was found, constant illumination could only be deemed a violation of human rights if it “causes sleep deprivation or leads to other serious physical or mental health problems.”
However, studies show, constant illumination leads to dramatic decreases in dopamine levels, a biological chemical that affects a person’s ability to control body movement and other sensory-related bodily functions. This leaves people vulnerable to extreme anxiety, hallucinations, decreased motor skills, and likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease.

In 2008, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) launched a documentary titled “Total Isolation.” Six volunteers agreed to be confined to a cell, much like those of solitary confinement in prisons, and live alone in complete darkness for a total of 48 hours. Before being locked away, volunteers were tested for “visual memory, information processing, verbal fluency and suggestibility.”

By the end of the two-day study, volunteers were unable to maintain any meaningful sense of time, they experienced hallucinations, both visual and physiological, and one volunteer was certain his sheets had been soaked. In the two-day time period, volunteers lost the ability to perform basic tasks like thinking of words beginning with the letter “f.”

The participants in “Total Isolation” understood they would be released soon and they entered into the cells without the fear of being abused by staff or retaliated against for expressing discomfort. Prisoners trapped in solitary confinement in the United States have none of these assurances. One could only imagine the ways this would amplify the effects of sensory deprivation.

Solitary confinement a violation of human rights globally

Many have asked the question: Is solitary confinement torture? It is. The United States goes on record as being against inhumane treatment of international prisoners while contradicting itself right here in the United States. The United States – reluctantly – signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture in 1988, three years after Afghanistan, a nation the United States has accused of inhumane practices. One of the main themes in this document is the emphasis on the definition of torture: “any state-sanctioned action by which severe pain or suffering, mental or physical, is intentionally inflicted for obtaining information, punishment, intimidation or discrimination.”

Yes, solitary confinement is torture; it is a violation of some of the most basic of human rights; and the agents of the state responsible for carrying out this abuse need to be exposed.

California’s Pelican Bay State Prison has 1,000 cells delegated to segregation and torture and many prisons nationally assign segregated housing for indeterminate periods of time. Heshima Denham, a prisoner in the torturous SHU at Corcoran State Prison, explains the conditions barred by the United Nations Convention Against Torture virtually “define the validation, indeterminate-SHU and debriefing processes” of state prisons.

Denham goes on to explain, “You’ll only get out of SHU if you parole, debrief or die.” Debriefing, here, is the state’s term for coercing a prisoner to give up information about another prisoner in exchange for being released from the SHU. Often times, the information an inmate is forced to confirm is imposed by prison officials. Whether the information gathered is true or not – this type of coercion leads to murder at the hands of general population inmates and is torture, as defined by the United Nations.

In 1890, the Supreme Court in James J. Medley’s request to be released from solitary confinement found it to be unconstitutional for a prisoner to be held to a sentence handed down by the courts only to then be subjected to more sentencing, in the form of indeterminate segregation, at the will of prison officials. While this same case did not result in a finding that solitary confinement is entirely unconstitutional, justices went on record noting the devastating blow to mental and physical health that these conditions cause.

A common challenge to solitary confinement is the Eighth Amendment – a claim of cruel and unusual punishment. No cases have successfully proven the conditions in solitary confinement are, in fact, cruel and unusual at the United States Supreme Court level.

Where courts have agreed constant darkness poses a hardship on physical and mental health, prisons now enact constant illumination. Where a prison administration finds segregated prisoners’ complaints may be valid, parallel conditions to those of solitary confinement are then imposed on those in general population, making it difficult for prisoners to prove their hardships are due to conditions unique to solitary confinement.

The Supreme Court requires, to prove an Eighth Amendment violation, prison officials must be shown as having been purposefully unresponsive to the harshness of conditions. In Sandin v. Conner (1995), the Supreme Court noted, if a move to segregated population led to an “atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life,” a prisoner would have a cause of action.

The vagueness of the Sandin v. Conner requirements for proving Eighth Amendment violations – the precondition of proving something is in fact harsh and then showing prison officials were aware of the harshness and took no action of improvement – has led to prison officials imposing policies and conditions that conceal the true harshness of conditions.

The courts do not require a significant improvement in conditions when harshness is demonstrated. So prisons make minor changes that satisfy the need for action but don’t necessarily improve conditions – barring inmates from claiming intentional harm was inflicted on them.

For example, where courts have agreed constant darkness poses a hardship on physical and mental health, prisons now enact constant illumination. Where a prison administration finds segregated prisoners’ complaints may be valid, parallel conditions to those of solitary confinement are then imposed on those in general population, making it difficult for prisoners to prove their hardships are due to conditions unique to solitary confinement.

The state’s evasive tactics for avoiding bad publicity

Several inmate organized hunger strikes have brought attention to the harsh conditions of solitary confinement. Prisons now face pressure from the media and public who demand immediate changes to prison policies. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) claims to be in the midst of making changes to the SHU assignment and release procedures. However, there is no mention of changes being made to actual conditions within SHU, where significant degradation of health begins to set in within the first several hours of isolation and sensory deprivation.

Specifically, the CDCR claims to be making temporary changes to the “way [they] manage gangs.” Institutional Gang Investigators are establishing new gang profiling tactics, no longer singling people out as gang members by association or symbols. This policy change does not equate to the immediate release of inmates already confined to SHU for tattoos, artwork and writings as a result of the previous policy. In fact, a new “step-down” program has the potential to increase time spent in the SHU.

What the CDCR says will not change is the “option” to debrief – now formally called “cooperation.” The new policy grants more arbitrary power to prison officials when deciding to lock someone up in the SHU.

Self-sacrifice and the toll of resisting behind bars

Organizing against capitalism while behind bars poses a significant risk to the physical and mental health of politically organized prisoners. While participating in nation-wide hunger strikes in 2011, Heshima Denham lost approximately 45 pounds. Denham’s story is not unique. Many prisoners succumb to the stress on their bodies entirely.

Knowing inmates were experiencing health complications as a result of the hunger strikes, in addition to outright denying strike participants food, the CDCR “revised its medical evaluation policy for hunger strikers to minimize the amount of medical evaluation and data … They have ceased taking vital signs – blood pressure, heart rate, temperature – altogether and are weighing [inmates] only twice a week unless “it appears [they] need it.”

One wonders to what extent retaliatory SHU housing impacts a prisoner’s quality of life and will for freedom. Solitary Watch, a web-based collective with the aim of exposing the realities of solitary confinement, tells the story of Armando Morales (CDCR No. P-80673) who hanged himself to death in his solitary confinement cell at the California State Prison in Corcoran on Aug. 28, 2012. “He was found on his cell floor with a shoelace and a blue blanket wrapped around his neck.” Another inmate housed in Morales’ unit reported Morales was intimidated and threatened by IGI efforts to force him to debrief.

Inmate calls to action

The New Afrikan Revolutionary Nation (NARN) is a community of Black people who seek transformative discourse, nationwide networking and an end to systemic oppression. Their common interest in anti-oppression work unites them, even while behind bars. The NARN Collective Think Tank (NCTT) is active in the torturous SHUs of California’s prison system.

'NARN Collective Think Tank NCTT' logoInspired by the Occupy Wall Street movements across the country, Occupy NCTT works to develop and implement programs, policies and initiatives that align themselves with “Occupy” objectives and community activists globally. The NCTT is a collective that ultimately works toward the day when “freedom, justice, equality and human rights are extended to all mankind,” heavily aligning with the 10 Core Objectives of the global Occupy movement.

Heshima Denham, a very active coordinator of the NCTT, works daily with fellow members to develop “programs that improve the daily lives and material living conditions of the people and contribute to the end of oppression of man/woman by man/woman.” Denham likens systemic oppression to a wooden board, saying the likelihood of shattering that board is far greater when the hand – the fingers representing individual groups resisting oppression – is a clinched fist, as opposed to an open hand of stiff fingers.

Following this rationale, according to Denham, solidarity does not require a monolithic stance. With that, the NCTT seeks to rally solidarity through a central blog for the purposes of networking amongst interest groups, activists and those with the common goal of ending oppression – fortifying the proverbial fist.

NCTT Closed Circuit Economic Initiative

The NCTT Closed Circuit Economic Initiative was born out of the realization that lower income communities – not just Black ones – do not spend money in ways that enrich their own communities. The idea is that a neighborhood is more likely to thrive when that community is self-sufficient and invests close to home. The Closed Circuit Economic Initiative solicits the help of the broader Occupy movement in educating communities about the benefits of investing in one’s own neighborhood and about the program itself.

By surveying the community, organizers will be able to identify which goods and services are of greatest importance to that particular community. Once those goods and services have been identified, the most common good or service will become the basis for a cooperative economic venture in that community, thereby keeping funds circulating within the community for that particular commodity.

Essentially, with each member of the community committing to a minimal monthly financial contribution of even $1, a grocery store would be kept running on a monthly basis until it could sustain itself. The business would be jointly owned by all who contributed, with those who have technical expertise also owning a share and contributing their know-how to the maintenance of the business.

Sixty percent of profits would be paid to members of the community who contributed and 40 percent would be kept in an interest-bearing account. The money from this savings account would then be used to purchase and support additional businesses that support the initial venture.

NCTT Sustainable Community Agricultural Commune

The NCTT is very vocal about the need for accessible, quality food and resources in lower income communities. The Sustainable Community Agricultural Commune relies on alliances with Occupy the Hood and Occupy Wall Street. It calls for a joint effort in taking inventory of all land on a per-community basis – making note of who owns what – for the purpose of converting unused land into community-owned agricultural land. With the incorporation of innovative farming techniques and minimal contributions of community members in the form of labor and/or $1 per month, per resident, the commune would be able to distribute 60 percent of the revenue brought in by the agricultural space and farmers’ markets to community members and utilize the rest of the profits for expansion.

The belief here is that the availability of healthy, affordable food promotes healthy living, creates community-based jobs and lessens the likelihood of incriminating activities associated with the present lack of resources and income in underserved communities.

NCTT Block Vote Initiative

In response to tainted political representation and political corruption, the NCTT proposes a uniform platform centered on interests that generally improve the quality of life for those who seek to dismantle systemic oppression. The idea is that through surveys, public forums, community education and dialogue, the agreed upon will of the people participating in the initiative becomes the national platform for their public political voice.

A Voter Access Fund would work to ensure people are properly registered and prepared to vote. Where a policy or political action is either supported or challenged by the Block Vote Initiative collectively, related public actions would take place to insure sufficient public awareness. The pre-established initiatives would then become a national push for legislation. The proposed initial actions include:

  • A total ban on corporate lobbying and “strategic analysts” during elections;
  • An establishment of community-based parole boards so that the actual community the incarcerated person is returning to is able to make their own decisions about whether or not a prisoner is ready to return home, as opposed to probation decisions being left in the hands of law enforcement, the DA and members of traditional parole boards typically not as interested in community well-being and sustainability;
  • Comprehensive, universal healthcare for those earning under $25,000 and families earning under $50,000.

'Occupy the Beat' graphic by Heshima Denham

Occupy the Beat

The three proposed NCTT initiatives are in need of publicity, funding and organizers. One mode for raising the necessary startup resources is Occupy the Beat, a benefit concert series designed to create awareness about oppression and raise funds for the development of these and future initiatives.

A Nationwide Call to Unity

Heshima Denham explains a ban against media interviewing prisoners has meant endless retaliation by prison authorities and a lack of transparency that leads to increased prisoner vulnerability, especially following the last two hunger strikes. This leaves mainstream media in a position to misrepresent and further “dehumanize” the prison population. Without the protection of direct media attention – and with newly incorporated prison medical procedures for those participating in hunger strikes – prisoners need to mobilize to protect one another from within.

With that, an “Agreement to End Hostilities” was issued to take effect on Oct. 10, 2012, by a group of prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. The significance of this document is in its call to end racial tensions within prisons for the sake of banding together to demand prison reforms and improved housing conditions. Specifically,

“beginning on Oct. 10, 2012, all hostilities between our racial groups in SHU, ad-seg, general population and county jails will officially cease. This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end. And if personal issues arise between individuals, people need to do all they can to exhaust all diplomatic means to settle such disputes; do not allow personal, individual issues to escalate into racial group issues!”
The agreement, signed by members of each racial group represented in the prison system, warns inmates of possible administrative retaliation and divisive tactics, but encourages inmates to remain vigilant and move in solidarity.

By taking to heart the experiences shared by Heshima Denham, housed in the Corcoran State Prison’s Secure Housing Unit (SHU), we learn that one of the greatest gestures of support and reassurance of the safety of prisoners who are vocal about their circumstances is constant visibility. The danger and risk associated with being in prison is magnified if at any point a prisoner becomes just another voiceless number.

This notion is not far from the realities underserved communities face daily. The reality is that all evidence points to capitalism. To put it succinctly, yes, solitary confinement is torture; it is a violation of some of the most basic of human rights; and the agents of the state responsible for carrying out this abuse need to be exposed.

Destiny Thomas, a graduate student at the California Institute of Integral Studies studying prison activism with Anthropology Department Chair Andrej Grubacic, can be reached at destinynthomas@gmail.com. Readers are encouraged to write to Heshima Denham, J-38283, Cor SHU 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212.

Update on our Pilot Program Block-Vote Democratic Initiative

With less than 30 days left to the presidential election, and our major fundraising event to benefit the 3 Pilot Programs (“Occupy The Beat”) still being organized, the Block-Vote Democratic Initiative will not be funded and fielded in time to impact this election cycle.

This, however, does not mean aspects of the B.V.D.I. cannot be adopted and implemented by you. There are 34 states that have recently passed these racist, anti-poor, disenfranchisement statutes requiring voters to purchase special ID’s to vote.

It is a blatant gambit by the Republican party to neutralize entire segments of the electorate opposed to their ultra-rightwing authoritarian agenda. We can not allow it. Democracy can not allow it. We urge you to adopt and employ those segments of the Block-Vote Democratic Initiative that you can, where you can.

It is our assessment that churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, college campuses and community centers are all ideal, self-contained institutions where this type of organizing can be carried out. We urge you all to act.

If you simply cannot do the work required to carry forward such an effort but want to support the B.V.D.I. or one of the other Pilot Programs, please go here to our fundraiser site and donate whatever you can to see these vital initiatives are implemented as fast as possible. All that is necessary for evil people to prevail is for good people to do nothing.

Please join us in this vital work. 

N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU / Occupy N.C.T.T.

Re-asserting the cultural revolution in the National Occupy Movement

From: SF Bay View: http://sfbayview.com/2012/re-asserting-the-cultural-revolution-in-the-national-occupy-movement/
April 26, 2012

Waging and winning the cultural revolution means throwing off oppression by convincing the people that the interests of the ruling 1% are opposite, not identical to those of the 99%

by Zaharibu Dorrough, J. Heshima Denham, Kambui Robinson and Jabari Scott of the NCTT Corcoran Security Housing Unit (SHU)

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Michael Zaharibu Dorrough and his family are not the sort of patriarchal, authoritarian family that prepares children to confuse the interests of the ruling 1 percent with their own interests and to submit to oppression without protest.

Steadfast greetings, brothers and sisters. Our love and solidarity to you all. We felt it appropriate to open this statement with Dr. King’s call, which has been applicable to any given period where injustice is rife. We felt compelled to provide some necessary clarity and context to the struggle taking place.

The National Occupy Movement has been magnificent in how it has changed the framework in which the discourse on unequal distribution of wealth must be made. But in order for the movement to develop into the popular movement that it must become to effect permanent and meaningful change, the slogan, “We are the 99 percent,” must become a reality. It is imperative that both Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and Occupy the Hood (OTH) struggle together to form a popular movement.

It is crucial to any lasting progress that we reignite the cultural revolution that was started early in this nation’s history but never fulfilled: John Brown’s revolt, Thomas Dorr’s rebellion, the civil and human rights struggles of the 1950s-‘60s, the armed revolts throughout this nation’s history, including the rebellions in Watts, Oakland (Kambui and Jabari’s hometown), Harlem, Detroit, Cleveland (Zaharibu’s hometown), Chicago (Heshima’s hometown), and Kent State, to name a few.

These struggles laid the foundation for the cultural revolution that the U.S. was in the process of undergoing up until the later 1970s. No society can make the necessary transformation from a capitalist, patriarchal, authoritarian, racist, sexist, homophobic, unjust one to one in which democratic ideals can prevail and fulfilling one’s potential is actually possible and encouraged without undergoing a cultural revolutionary transformation.

We are not talking about what kind of government we want; that can and will occur in time, and you will know when that time comes just as you knew that the time had come to fight this battle. A cultural revolution occurs during the transitional stage in the struggle and consists of people from different cultural – i.e., racial, ethnic, religious – backgrounds and schools of thought varying politically, economically, socially, spiritually, intellectually, educationally and sexually all coming together to realize a vision for the kind of society they want to share and live in. It is quite possibly the crucial step in a society transforming itself. That’s exactly what was underway toward the mid- to late 1970s.

We believe that because of the overall political immaturity of all but a few of the liberation groups at that time, the movement was not able to develop into a cohesive popular movement. As a result, groups were crushed, individuals either went into exile, were assassinated or imprisoned, while a lot of others in the movement were co-opted by the system.

Billions of dollars were spent on social programs during the Johnson administration. Yet most, perhaps all, of these programs no longer exist. The cultural revolution of that time – traditionally called the “social revolution” – was re-characterized as the “sexual revolution” by the ruling class, reduced to a period of time in which citizens engaged in promiscuous sex – nothing more.

It was part of the ruling class’s effort to de-legitimize the efforts made by those brave citizens who dared to struggle! Simultaneously, they were re-enforcing the puritanical component of the authoritarian mass psychology. It was also the intention of the ruling class to re-write the historical record of the period, thus depriving future generations of a historical record to build on.

There is already an understanding of the underlying conditions that are responsible for so much misery, and those conditions have always existed, but what is not as clear is why have so many accepted these conditions for so long? We will try to address that here.

But what must be clear at the outset is change, developing a popular movement, must consist of OWS and OTH forging meaningful coalitions with one another. Coalitions that recognize that this struggle is not a “white” struggle; it is a people’s struggle.

The Occupy Movement is not a “white” struggle; it is a people’s struggle. The middle class must be prepared to take the necessary steps to reach these goals and that includes reaching out to the underclass.

It must be recognized that in order for OWS to mature into a popular movement, the participation of OTH is required. Those citizens within OTH, the leadership, must mobilize with OWS. This is a protracted struggle. The middle class must be prepared to take the necessary steps to reach these goals and that includes reaching out to the underclass and OTH. OTH must see that it is in their interests to reach back and unite in this struggle.

What is a cultural revolution?

But what is it that we are struggling against? Exactly what is a cultural revolution? Why is it necessary, and what does it entail? How can it be waged successfully?

The answer lies in the nature of the struggle of the National Occupy Movement itself, the struggle between the interests of the ruling 1 percent and those of the 99 percent. It is a struggle between ideas that have been imposed on the people as a direct result of the changes in economic modes of production and the people’s unconscious acceptance, support and identification with those ideas and new ideas that reflect these warped artificial psychological structures in favor of those that free them from an exploitive political and economic relationship that serves a wealth elite.

It must be understood that our movement will NOT succeed in effecting a fundamental change in the mass psychological structure which supports this exploitive relationship. This is the core purpose of a cultural revolution, to eradicate unprogressive values, tendencies, sentiments and modes of thought. But before we can expound upon the characteristics of the cultural revolution, we first need to clearly analyze the core impediment to the successful conclusion of attempted cultural revolutions in the past.

The chief obstacle to the realization of progressive social change here has always been the patriarchal authoritarian psychological structure of reactionary men and women in the U.S. These concepts may be complex for those new to them, so we’ll attempt to be as clear and brief as possible.

For most of U.S. capitalist society’s existence, it has brutally exploited the labor, ideas and political will of the vast majority of its population to maintain and expand the wealth, power and privilege of a greedy elite ruling class the movement has identified as the 1 percent. It has been this way for hundreds of years and each time progressive social forces have attempted to cast off this yoke of oppression or move the nation closer to the idealistic sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Independence, those forces have been repressed, not simply by the ruling 1 percent and its tools, but by vast segments of the oppressed masses themselves.

What causes this illogical contradiction? What prevents the socio-economic situation they’re suffering through from reflecting the psychic structure of the masses? Again and again, throughout the history of progressive social movements, we see the economic and ideological situations of the masses in the U.S. not coinciding and in fact being at considerable variance. The socio-economic reality of the people is not directly and immediately translated into political consciousness; if it were, the social revolution would have been realized years ago. The answer lies in the unique historical processes that forged the character structure of the average Amerikan worker.

That process began with the introduction of patriarchy as the dominant force in social ideology in Europe and its impetus toward authoritarian control of every aspect of social life of the remaining members of the family unit, especially as it relates to the negation of natural social and biological processes. In the figure of the “father” the authoritarian ruling class has its representative in every family, so the family unit becomes its most vital instruments of power.

This patriarchal authoritarian process’ chief component is puritanical repression, and this is also the manner in which the ruling 1 percent chains the ideological structure of the lower middle and middle classes to its own interests. Unlike patriarchal authoritarianism, puritanical repression as a tool of mass social control is fairly recent – in the last 300 years.

If we analyze the history of puritanicalism and the etiology of the repression of natural human biological expression, you’ll find its origins aren’t at the beginning of cultural development. No, it was not until the organized establishment of patriarchal authoritarianism and the class system that puritanicalism starts to assert itself and begin to serve the interests of the ruling 1 percent in amassing material profit.

There is a logical reason for all of this when seen from the perspective of the thriving exploitation of human labor and the apparent enthusiasm of the people to accept that exploitation. You see, the ruling 1 percent very rarely need to resort to brute force to maintain control of society, as the owners of the means of production prefer to employ their ideological power over the oppressed as their primary weapon, for it is the ideology of puritanical patriarchal authoritarianism that is the mainstay of the ruling elite.

The ruling 1 percent very rarely need to resort to brute force to maintain control of society, as the owners of the means of production prefer to employ their ideological power over the oppressed as their primary weapon.

It is within the authoritarian family that the merging of the economic arrangement and the puritanical structure of society takes place; religious and other puritanical interests continue this function later. Thus, the authoritarian state has an enormous stake in the authoritarian family; it becomes the factory in which the state’s structure and ideology is molded.

Man’s authoritarian psychology is thus produced by embedding these puritanical inhibitions, guilt feelings and fear of freedom to experience natural forms of human expression. The suppression of one’s economic needs compasses a different psychological reaction than one’s natural human drives.

The suppression of one’s economic needs usually incites resistance, while the repression of natural biological needs removes those desires from the consciousness, embeds them in the subconscious and erects a “moral defense” against them, and in so doing prevents rebellion against both forms of suppression. The result is the inhibition of rebellion itself.

How the 1 percent suppresses the cultural revolution

In the average Amerikan, there is no trace of revolutionary thinking. It is this process that has strengthened political reaction in the U.S. and made far too many victims of economic inequality here passive, indifferent and apolitical. It has succeeded in creating a secondary force in man’s mind, an artificial interest that supports the authoritarian order of the ruling 1 percent.

In the average Amerikan, there is no trace of revolutionary thinking.

Yes, most are truly “trapped in the matrix.” This is observable at every level of this capitalist society. It is the conservative who first suggests reactionary repressive measures or curtailing civil liberties in the face of civil disobedience or broad political dissent. The Occupy Movement continues to experience this firsthand at the hands of national police forces.
The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition here in the Corcoran State Prison SHU and in Pelican Bay continues to experience waves of retaliation from state prison industrialists. This “fear of freedom” is inherent to the authoritarian character structure of conservative man.

The conflict that originally takes place between natural desires and authoritarian suppression of these desires later becomes the conflict between instinct and morality within the person. This, of course, produces a contradiction within the person. Since man is not only the object of the historical processes that created the economic and ideological influences of his social life, but also reproduces them in his activities, his thinking and acting must be just as contradictory as the society from which they arose.

The U.S., for instance, is a society founded on the premises of “equality, freedom and the unalienable rights of man,” yet its formation, history and modern structure contradict this. When we speak of the realization of U.S. “manifest destiny” or the development and maintenance of its global hegemony, we are speaking of the systematic genocide of Native Americans, the organized theft of Native land, the slavery and brutalization of Africans and New Afrikans, the maintenance of institutional racism and sexism, imperialist war mongering, state-sponsored kidnapping, torture and targeted assassinations, suppression of sexual democracy, state imposition of religious moral imperatives that deprive others of their equal rights, the naked exploitation of human labor and suppression of organized labor, and the mass incarceration of the poor and people of color – all while espousing the ideas of “opportunity, fairness and equal protection under the law.”

This is the historical legacy of contradiction in the development and maintenance of U.S. society. These same contradictions are reproduced in the psychic-structures of its people.

Should the middle strata of White Amerika lose these warped concepts of “morality” to the same degree it continues to lose its intermediate position between the average worker and the upper class, this would seriously threaten the interests of the ruling 1 percent. You see, lurking also among this strata of the people, ever ready to break free of its reactionary tendencies, is the inherent revolutionary imperative of their socio-economic situation.

This is why since the start of the 2008 recession the FCC and virtually every segment of public and private enterprise has increased its push for “morality” and “strengthening traditional marriage,” because the authoritarian ideology and family unit forms the link from the wretched social reality of the lower middle class to reactionary ideology and social conservatism: The ideology of the 1 percent.

Where this ideology is uprooted from the compulsive family unit, the authoritarian system is threatened. They sense it on the horizon, and historically this is when the greatest ideological resistance asserts itself.

The socio-economic exploitation of the 99 percent, in its myriad manifestations, would not be possible without the psychological structure of the masses that accepts that status quo.

It is when the economically disenfranchised and dissatisfied classes begin to organize themselves, begin to fight for socio-political improvements and begin raising the cultural level of the broader masses that these authoritarian “moralistic” inhibitions set in. The bottom line here is every social order produces in the masses of its members that structure which it needs to achieve its main aims.

The U.S. is no different. The socio-economic exploitation of the 99 percent, in its myriad manifestations, would not be possible without the psychological structure of the masses that accepts that status quo. There is a direct correlation between the economic structure of capitalist society and the mass psychological structures of its members, not only in the sense that “the ruling ideology is the ideology of the ruling class,” but more essential to the question of a resurgence of the cultural revolution in the U.S. is that the contradictions of the economic structure of society are also embodied in the psychological structure of the subjugated masses.

The role of the cultural revolution

Which brings us to the cultural revolution itself. The role of the cultural revolution is to uproot these old unprogressive ideas and values which have served to keep us shackled to the legacy of oppressive relationships that define the majority of U.S. history and usher in new values which reflect the universal mores of freedom, justice, equality and human rights.

A cultural revolution is a reconstruction of a people’s way of life in order to move them to a given objective; it forms a new historical continuity in which re-evaluation of self, the people and the society compels us to cast aside historical revisionism. It will place the political power back in the hands of the people, rescue democracy from the stranglehold of corrupt political influences and corporate super-PACs.

The role of the cultural revolution is to uproot these old unprogressive ideas and values which have served to keep us shackled to the legacy of oppressive relationships that define the majority of U.S. history and usher in new values which reflect the universal mores of freedom, justice, equality and human rights.

A true cultural revolution entails more than simply chanting slogans, protest actions, hunger strikes or occupations. It’s more than changing our looks or altering our polling strategy to more closely reflect support for those issues dear to the movement. No, it entails changing our core psychology, how you think, changing your conduct and activities, your interactions and methods in order to transform society as a whole.

Cultural values are produced by economic and political systems. As we struggle against the institutional inequalities inherent in the U.S. capitalist arrangement, we will lose the cultural values of that system and will forge more humane values as the basis of new political and economic relationships.

Such a revolution must encompass the common man and woman, illuminating for them the inherent interests in this national transformation of values and how it will positively impact their lives and the lives of their friends and loved ones. This is the reason the National Occupy Movement must organize and grow together.

Cultural values are produced by economic and political systems. As we struggle against the institutional inequalities inherent in the U.S. capitalist arrangement, we will lose the cultural values of that system and will forge more humane values as the basis of new political and economic relationships.

This calls for unity, the conscious development of united fronts and strategic alliances that grow deeper and richer as they experience trials and adversity, pass through ease and danger. Essentially this process IS the cultural revolution.

What must be understood is these different groups represent different class interests, political interests and economic interests and have different ideologies. It is the reality of this dynamic that has been the basis for the divide and rule politic that has governed life in this society and most others since the rise of monopoly capitalism. It is the basis of the primary contradiction now.

We have demonstrated how for the vast majority of this nation’s history, the ruling 1 percent has been successful in convincing desperate segments of society to identify their interests with the ruling 1 percent’s. Playing on “this” economic class interest of the middle strata or “that” religious moral lean of the lower middle strata, all along ensuring that whatever the ultimate outcome, their interests, the interests of the 1 percent elite, will be preserved as the ruling interests.

For the vast majority of this nation’s history, the ruling 1 percent has been successful in convincing desperate segments of society to identify their interests with the ruling 1 percent’s.

They’ve been consistently able to do so despite centuries of material evidence of their duplicity because they’ve been capable of maintaining control of not simply the context of these national discussions, but of the apparatus in which they’ve been held – corporate mass media – and the very cultural values upon which those discussions are based.

There is a relevant maxim which states, “The ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class.” The current struggle we are waging now in the National Occupy Movement, prisoner hunger strike solidarity movement, anti-imperialist movement etc. is a manifestation of the people’s consciousness that their interests and the interests of the ruling elite are not the same interests and in fact are and have always been diametrically opposed.

Winning the cultural revolution

It is for this reason that corporate entities, government officials, their police forces and corporate-owned mass media have made a collective and coordinated effort to downplay, discredit, underreport, dismiss, brutally attack, pass laws against and ultimately crush the movement before it can lead to a true cultural revolution which could force upon them a progressive transformation in the nature and structure of U.S. society.
This has been the historical trend in the U.S.:

• The gains of “Reconstruction” for New Afrikans were erased by the “1877 Compromise” that paved the way for Jim Crow and Lynch Law;
• The 1839 Anti-Renters Movement was crushed by brutality under the guise of law by 1845;
• Thomas Dorr’s rebellion for election reform in 1841 was crushed by 1842 and buried with the Supreme Court decision in Luther v. Borden in 1849;
• The Labor Movement of the International Working People’s Association of Albert Parsons and August Spies was crushed at the Haymarket Massacre on May 4, 1885;
• The aborted cultural revolution led by the Socialist Party and IWW in the 1900s was crushed by reform and brute force like the 1913 Ludlow Massacre in Colorado;
• The potential cultural revolution of the Civil Rights Movement was aborted by co-option, reform and assassinations;
• The cultural revolution of the late ‘60s to late ‘70s, which encompassed the Black Liberation Movement, Women’s Rights Movement, New Left Movement, Prison Movement, American Indian Movement and Anti-War Movement was systemically crushed by the FBI’s counter-intelligence program, superficial reforms and brutal, bloody force.

Cultural revolutions of these types in the U.S. historically all have a central purpose: to destroy the oppressors’ conditioned mores, attitudes, ways, customs, philosophies and habits that the dominant power base has instilled in us which allow these exploitive and repressive relationships to exist.

A cultural revolution is a revolution of one’s values, and the ruling 1 percent recognizes your values dictate your actions. They also realize where such a transformation in your worldview would lead; it was even noted in the Declaration of Independence: “(A)ll experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.”

A cultural revolution is a revolution of one’s values, and the ruling 1 percent recognizes your values dictate your actions. As long as the ruling 1 percent can keep you convinced that its values and interests are your own, you will continue to suffer oppression without protest.

As long as they can keep you convinced that the interests of the ruling 1 percent are your own, you will continue to be content to suffer the “evils” that you have without protestation. Thus, at all costs they must ensure you don’t realize that the values that have been instilled in you for generations – those of greed, racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, elitism, naked self-interest, religious intolerance, classism and thinly-veiled hypocrisy – were instilled to ensure you never realize you’ve long since been “reduced under absolute despotism,” and the political and economic choices available to you, no matter what your decisions, favor their interests first, and whatever interests support theirs most effectively secondly.

The entire purpose of socio-economic stratification and institutional racism is to ensure the ruling 1 percent can maintain control with “a minimum of force, a maximum of law, all made palatable by the fanfare of unity and patriotism,” as Howard Zinn wrote in “A People’s History of the United States.”

Brothers and sisters, this will not be easy because the most vital battles will have to be waged within you. But the reassertion of the cultural revolution is necessary if the movement is to realize actual success and not become just another footnote in the crushed movements of American history.

We will stand with you, wage struggle with you, but in the final analysis only you, the people, the 99 percent, can hoist this banner and carry the cultural revolution to its victorious conclusion – and on the other side a new and brighter world for us all. Until we win or don’t lose.

For more information on the NCTT (NARN (New African Revolutionary Nationalism) Collective Think Tank) Corcoran SHU and its work product, contact:

• Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L #43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
• J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L #43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
• Kambui Robinson, C-83820, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L #49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
• Jabari Scott, H-30536, CSP-Cor-SHU, 4B1L #63, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212