Tag Archives: California

Welcome to the new site!

Since the Settlement of Ashker v. Brown, the NCTT-Cor-SHU team is being spread around in different locations. That is why the webteam has decided to make the move to WordPress and to give this site a new name and home.

Our new URL: NARNCollectivethinktank.org

Our new Twitter address: @NARNCTT

Our new Email address: NCTT [@] riseup.net

Thank you for staying with us in making change happen for justice, equality and progress!

ON UNITY OF PURPOSE WITHIN THE PROTEST MOVEMENT

“A Small Body of Determined Spirits Fired by an Unquenchable Faith in Their Mission Can Alter The Course of History”   Gandhi


Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

History teaches us that unity is strength; that the collective will of a people expressed toward a common goal often results in that goal being realized. This should indicate to us all the vital nature of preserving unity of purpose within the protest movement, and within the movement to abolish domestic torture units in particular (solitary connement units, SHUs, super-maxes, etc). Protest movements in the U.S. are often formed out of necessity because the U.S. state and the oppressive, exploitive methods it uses against the people who stand in opposition to, are one and the same, sharing a mutual interest in repressing a specic segment of society or reaping some material benet from their exploitation. In the case of indenite sensory deprivation connement and mass incarceration in general, we nd both an oppressive and exploitive dynamic.

The unemployed area, a necessary component of surplus labor value expropriation in the U.S. capitalist arrangement (wage slave system) is key to a process we can call underdevelopment. In the U.S. such underdevelopment is targeted and contained, for the most part, in poor and minority communities, where no viable place in the mainstream economy is available to these segments of the population. They must resort to the underground economy to survive. These survival activities, be they service based (narcotics, prostitution, illegal gambling, etc), or predatory (robbery, extortion, identity theft, etc) are all “against the law.” Exposing those forced into the underground economy to imprisonment being the predatory capitalist state that the U.S. is, corporate and political interests from across the industrial spectrum, saw an opportunity in this, reminiscent of the old southern prison bond system, only in this case it was not the prot that could be made from exploiting prisoner labor, but the prot that could be made from each prisoner representing a portion of the publics’ tax dollars which could be expropriated (taken) by a new joint venture of industry and labor aristocracy (prison guard unions and administrators) on an ever-expanding industrial scale.

With the cooperation of the politicians, who overnight created a new and powerful constituency which only required them to parrot the ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric to harness such powerful lobbying and polling resources, law enforcement and judiciaries who would, of course, see an expansion of power and privilege of their own, as legislators enacted ever more intrusive laws broadening the net and widening the gavel for potential citizens daily lives to be intruded upon by the ‘rule of law’ – and more of their tax dollars. The prison industrial complex was born, forming a sixty four billion dollar oligarchy of corporations, and the state that tendrils extend well beyond that meager dollar amount annually.

As the U.S. became the most populous prison population on earth, those subjected to those contradictions, prisoners, resisted, some becoming advanced socio-economic and political activists, who sought to actively resist the social evil of the P.I.C. The state and its corporate masters saw no distinction between these and other groups of prisoners that formed within these environments, and when pitting them against each other did not work the concept of the supermax was born, a place where those who would not submit to the prescribed role of oppressed man would be sent to, subjected to, experimental psychological torture techniques until they “paroled, debriefed or died.” These units were even more lucrative than the expanded prison yards sprouting up like mushrooms across the rural areas of the nation, their very concept and purpose requiring a more robust infusion of tax payer dollars, and giving rise to an interest to manufacture the fantasy of the “worst of the worst,” while simultaneously media access and independent oversight, but capitalism, with its imperative of “unending growth” is, as always, unsustainable, and the prison industrial complex is no different.

As contradictions of its own explosive expansion collided with the limits of U.S. socio-economic capacity, the prospect of eternal damnation in these torture units nally burned away the miasma of disunity affecting the thousands of men and women consigned to these torture units, leaving only their mutual interests behind. Finding its organizational expression within the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor collective and its unity of purpose in the historic “Agreement To End Hostilities” the movement to these torture units which began so many years ago when the U.S. government replaced Alcatraz with Marion, has not reached its highest form with this national coalition.

But, as most may realize, the unity of our coalition and thus its very purpose is under constant assault, everything from political immaturity to cointelpro-style attacks, challenge our resolve every day. As such, we feel it important to have a discussion about the most fundamental aspects of unity and how adhering to them will not only preserve our purpose, but ensure our circuit. Unity is based on dialogue and commitment; dialogue which is egalitarian and open in its inclusion, yet productive and efcient in its outcome. We should dialogue regularly at all levels around those points which we seek to unify on and from that common ground, commit to those actions and ideas which will most effectively realize our purpose.

Unity does not require uniformity. Coalition building is all about people from different walks of life, politically, socially, sexually, culturally, economically, educationally and geographically coming together to realize a shared value. In this case, the very basic human right that we should all be allowed is to live free of torture. Unity is a broad enough concept to encompass differing opinions and perspectives without it fracturing into a factualism which can be exploited by our collective opposition.

This is why dialogue is such a vital component of unity. The views and perspective of those we are waging struggle with are important, and bilateral communication is the cornerstone of conict resolution. If unity is based on its purpose, it will be difcult to encounter a dispute which cannot be resolved through dialogue. Commitment to a course of action, and to one another, is often as powerful as the unity itself.

Power concedes nothing without demand and actively seeks to destroy opposition to its authoritarian dictates. Commitment to remain unied is a form of unilateral political discourse all its own, which demands that he oppressive power bend – or break. As July 8th approaches and principled people across this nation and abroad prepare to take up this struggle with us, we should all be comforted by the victorious win underlying our unity of purpose. As we speak, hunger strikes in Guantanamo Bay have gripped international attention, yet right here on U.S. shores, over 80,000 men, women and yes children, are languishing in identical conditions, in SHUs, supermaxs and Ad Seg units, from Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Tehachapi to ADX and Oregon State Prison – solitary confinement.

There is only one force which has any hope of abolishing this inhumanity in the U.S. once and for all: The Unity of Purpose of Principled People Like You and Us. Be amazed and inspired!

N.C.T.T. – COR-SHU

Published first in: The Rock, vol. 2 (2013) nr 7 July, pp. 9-10.

Creating broken men? A discussion on the U.S. domestic torture program

December 4, 2012: SF Bay View

by Zaharibu Dorrough, J. Heshima Denham, Kambui Robinson and Jabari Scott, NCTT Corcoran SHU

“Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing a third person.” – United Convention Against Torture, Art. 1, Sec. 2

We extend our heartfelt greetings to you, brothers and sisters.

Many discussions are taking place on the nature of the indefinite solitary confinement program in the U.S. prisons and whether or not it constitutes torture. The debate on what to do about the program itself is being held at every level of social organization, from the U.S. Senate to the United Nations, from the California Legislature to the short corridors of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs.

[Corcoran State Prison – Photo: Ben Margot, AP]

Academics from multiple disciplines, from psychologists to sociologists, have all weighed in with the objective, scientific analysis that indefinite SHU confinement is not only torture, but even limited SHU confinement results in irreparable psychological damage. Yet, as with the Bush era “torture papers,” the socio-economic and political interests of the capitalist tend to supersede and supplant objective evidence, moral reason and human decency.

Such debate, which only continues in the presence of arguments contrary to the obvious reality of the U.S. domestic torture program in SHUs across the U.S., is not only ludicrous, it’s reality, and it is this lethal component to the debate which forces us to share a perspective which should end the debate definitively, leaving behind only the inescapable truth: Amerika maintains the largest domestic torture program on earth. The state of California runs the largest torture program in Amerika, and it continues to exist in your name, with your tax dollars, because you allow it to.

A recent incident here in Corcoran SHU’s short corridor compels us to give voice to the outrage we should all feel at the continued maintenance of the indeterminate SHU debriefing process of the U.S. domestic torture program: Another suicide, Armando Morales (Baby Paya), a validated Mexican prisoner from Los Angeles who had been confined to SHU for almost a decade, hanged himself after the IGI moved him from the 4B-1L-C-Section short corridor, to 4A-1R.

The reason(s) that Armando was moved are the typical ones associated with the coercive tactics employed to break men’s minds: After his girlfriend had been compromised by IGI and other state and federal law enforcement, those same agencies mounted an effort to put pressure on Armando, who was actually a baby in terms of what he did and did not know, as it relates to the enormous pressure that law enforcement will apply to coerce information from persons they’ve targeted.

In response to that pressure, he took his own life. Naturally, IGI and the state will seek to escape any culpability, and their response to this is that each person is responsible for his own conduct. We should all recognize the illegitimacy of such a position – that this is nothing more than an excuse to try and separate themselves from a situation that they are responsible for by their reckless and barbaric disregard for our humanity.

Amerika maintains the largest domestic torture program on earth. The state of California runs the largest torture program in Amerika. 

We know this primarily because the vast majority of us have been in these tortuous madhouses for decades. One day is too long and not a single illegal act or rules violation has been committed by us to justify this, which is, by international law, unjustifiable.
But we also know this because our research into the origins of the torture program reveals that this type of systematic psychological degradation to coerce information and create broken men is its purpose. The domestic U.S. torture program carried out in SHU (aka SMU, control unit etc.) style prisons finds its origins at a meeting of social scientists and prison wardens held in Washington, D.C., in 1962, recruiting the findings of Dr. Edgar Schein, which he delivered to them in his man-against-man brainwashing. In addressing the group Dr. Schein stated:

“I would like you to think of brainwashing not in terms of politics, ethics or morals, but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior and attitudes by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captive populace lives.” 

The techniques he espoused would also require, to be effective, a new type of environment conducive to altering the very foundations of one’s perception of reality. For this the state took Dr. Levinson’s sensory deprivation prison unit design and a form of Skinnerian operant conditioning called “learned helplessness.”

This last technique is a key factor of both validation based indeterminate SHU confinement and the debriefing process. “Learned helplessness” is a systematic process of conditioning to crystalize in the imprisoned victim’s mind that he has no control over the regulation of his existence, that he is completely dependent on the state and its guards for the necessities of “life,” that he is helpless and must submit to the state’s power and control.

Our research into the origins of the torture program reveals that this type of systematic psychological degradation to coerce information and create broken men is its purpose.

This is, of course, contrary to core human consciousness and a linear thought divergence into two options, “resistance or escape.” The program is designed to apply maximum punitive coercion against “resistance” from the outset – from physical removal from the general (prison) population to sensory deprivation, using informants, collaborators and agent provocateurs to erode trust amongst those of like circumstances, punishing uncooperative attitudes, prohibiting collective thought or expression while simultaneously employing group punishment, arbitrary punishment and property restrictions etc.

At the same time, those who are capable of prolonged or indefinite resistance through ideological consistency, political development or force of will – like victims of crucifixion left to rot on crosses during the Roman Empire – they serve as powerful deterrents to those of lesser psychological resilience or those in general population to not resist and instead explore the second option: escape.

The state of California has made its escape option clear since taking the Schein-Skinnerian-Levinson system to its heights in erecting the torture units at Pelican Bay SHU. There are only three escape options available to you: parole, debrief or die. Due to the successful corporate influences of the prison industrial complex on the legislative, political and, to a degree, cultural processes in the nation over the past quarter century, most validated SHU prisoners are serving mandatory minimum, enhanced or BPT (Board of Prison Terms) based sentences and their very confinement to SHU is prohibitive to their parole.

A cell in the Corcoran SHU

The Board of Prison Terms has repeatedly stated to validated prisoners seeking parole:

 “If you want a parole date, you probably want to think about debriefing.” 

This reinforces the psychological pressure on those already weakened by the enforced conviction that they have been abandoned by and isolated from society – and only through submission and subserviency can they be socially accepted as human beings.

This form of “escape” – debriefing – is consistent with points 7, 8 and 9 of Dr. Schein’s behavior modification techniques: (7) exploitation of opportunities and informers; (8) convincing prisoners they can trust no one; (9) treating those who are willing to collaborate in far more lenient ways than those who are not.

Again, our personal experience with the state and its use of such opportunistic broken men against those of us who are committed to resistance has been demonstrated here at Corcoran-SHU on a number of occasions in which agents posing as revolutionary progressives have tried to undermine the efforts of the NCTT (New Afrikan Collective Think Tank), and when those efforts failed, they locked up and debriefed.

It was only through our collective education and insight and experience with these periodic Cointelpro-style attacks on progressives which allowed us to identify and resist the attack and mitigate its political disorder. But this does not negate the damage done by the broken males to the unity and progress of resistance in the SHU population.

Though political immaturity by some elements played a role in the mistrust and disunity that resulted from it, in the broader population, it is the nature of the domestic torture program itself to create such broken males that we must understand is prohibited by the international community – and the U.S. knows this in analyzing the effects of such broken males on the psychology of certain elements in SHU. Other such examples of torture being put to such use against those who resist in Pelican Bay, here and across the U.S. is legion.

The state of California has made its escape option clear since taking the Schein-Skinnerian-Levinson system to its heights in erecting the torture units at Pelican Bay SHU. There are only three escape options available to you: parole, debrief or die. The Board of Prison Terms has repeatedly stated to validated prisoners seeking parole: “If you want a parole date, you probably want to think about debriefing.”

In the etiology of the U.S. domestic torture program, Marion Control Unit was the first. When former Marion Warden Ralph Aron was asked why the torture unit was built, he replied, “The purpose of the Marion (and all) controls unit(s) is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and society at large.” These broken males thus serve to not only damage or destroy progressives in prison but the attitudes and ideas of progressives in society at large.

It was always meant to be this way. To be sure, Dr. Broder, the psychotherapist who implemented Dr. Schein’s brainwashing program at Marion envisions those paroled broken men as “therapeutic technicians” who will take these techniques and warped views back into the community. Some 30 years later we have a snitch culture that derides objective facts in favor of a corporate media-created fantasy, and it owes some of its existence to the disastrous effects of isolation, which leads to the inevitable final “escape”: Death! Suicide rates in these sensory deprivation torture units are magnitudes higher than those in general population.

Speaking these words simply does not convey the reality of what we all know intimately: the transient appeal of the void as an alternative to endless isolation. We all know of the disastrous effects of isolation because we have seen what it does, along with the pressures that the state brings to bear on us all daily in its efforts to break us, efforts that include compelling the taking of one’s own life.

“The purpose of the Marion (and all) controls unit(s) is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and society at large.”

If this domestic torture program did not exist, Armando and so many others would still be alive today. But his is only the “escape” view of death. There is also a “resistance”-based view of death – that all of us who will never be counted amongst the broken men not only understand, but have demonstrated twice before, and may well be compelled to do again: peaceful protest in the form of hunger strikes, mass single cell, work stoppage etc.

Christian Gomez died [a year ago], not “escaping” these torture units but “resisting” these torture units, and it is this dialectical view of this final option – that death is an active and practiced form of both escape from and resistance to indefinite SHU confinement – is the final and definitive proof that it is, undebatably, torture.

During an assembly hearing on solitary confinement on August 24, 2011, a former Corcoran-SHU prisoner testified, “For someone to be willing to lie down and die just for someone to hear the situation … in the SHU program, they must be serious.” His assessment was correct. We are serious. The question is, are we as a society serious about upholding basic tenets of humanity. People are dying who could be saved while you are reading these words.

A former Corcoran-SHU prisoner testified, “For someone to be willing to lie down and die just for someone to hear the situation … in the SHU program, they must be serious.” His assessment was correct. We are serious. The question is, are we as a society serious about upholding basic tenets of humanity.

And now you know. This is a system that must be abolished. It is a system that has robbed us all of some part of our humanity and has caused us to lose our way as a nation. So many of us have stood idly by as the U.S. has strode the world stage criticizing other nations for systematic human rights abuses and demanding that others meet their obligations to the world community, while they maintain the single largest domestic torture program and the single largest prison population on earth. If the U.S. is going to continue to insist that other nations meet their international obligations under U.N. treaty resolutions, they must do the same and adhere to the U.N. Convention against Torture.

They have proven that they will not do so without compulsion. We must ensure that they do so, as a nation of the people, for the people and by the people. If we are doing anything less, we are complicit in the state’s hypocrisy.

The Pelican Bay D Short Corridor has given us the proper onus for unity in their historic “agreement to end hostilities” issued for Oct. 10, 2012. We call upon all of you brothers and sisters across the nation in prison yards and hood blocks, in SHUs and barrios: Take up this call also. Turn your attention not toward one another, but to those who have condemned us all to languish at the lowest rungs of this locked anti-poor society: the ruling 1 percent.

Many of us have stood idly by as the U.S. has strode the world stage criticizing other nations for systematic human rights abuses and demanding that others meet their obligations to the world community, while they maintain the single largest domestic torture program and the single largest prison population on earth. If the U.S. is going to continue to insist that other nations meet their international obligations under U.N. treaty resolutions, they must do the same and adhere to the U.N. Convention against Torture.

Join the movement – embrace, support, join or form your own local Occupy or anti-prison industrial complex formation. Build coalitions. And in doing so, change this world. Come, let us make peace.
Our love and solidarity,
Corcoran SHU NCTT:

  • Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, 4B-1L-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212 [53?]
  • J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Kambui Robinson, C-82830, 4B-1L-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
  • Jabari Scott, H-30536, 4B-1L-63, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212

NCTT stands for NARN (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism) Collective Think Tank. All are held in solitary confinement, an internationally recognized form of torture, in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) at Corcoran State Prison.

Published in: SF Bay View, Dec. 4th 2012

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Yes on Prop. 37 (California)

As a think tank that wrote the proposal for the “Sustainable Agricultural Commune,” we support Prop 37 Labeling of genetically modified food (GM), so please Vote Yes on Prop. 37 if you are in California and if you are voting tomorrow. 

In more than 60 countries worldwide the labeling has already been made into law. It is time Californians know what goes into the food they buy. It will save your health and also the natural environment.

Please check: www.carighttoknow.org especially this facts-page where all is explained.

[added on Nov 6th: Also, how are farm workers effected? Read this article in Nation of Change. ]

Read this article from Nature from 2003 about GM labeling in the EU (this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners):
and:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/etiquetage/index_en.htm

Also this from Natural News in September of 2012:

Don’t let the torturer define torture

by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, Oct 23rd, 2012
In: SF Bay View and California Prison Watch

In the Crawford case (In re Crawford, 206 Cal.App.4th 1259 (2012)), won by Mutope Duguma (s/n James Crawford), the three-judge appeal panel ruled unanimously that the CDCR cannot confiscate mail and claim that it contains some kind of “coded” message without proving it. It’s an important case not only because it strips the CDCR of an illegal tool that it considered important in burying people in these dungeons.

Equally important is that the judges finally had the courage to actually uphold the law for the sake of upholding the law, and there was no trade-off. There was no “I’ll do this in exchange for that,” which is pretty routine when it comes to the rights of prisoners and criminal defendants.

It really is foul and obviously so. You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people.

Correcting madness only requires courage. We are a nation governed by bullies. The judge in the Crawford decision, like Crawford himself, had courage.

Equally important is that the judges finally had the courage to actually uphold the law for the sake of upholding the law, and there was no trade-off.

You, the Bay View, your husband, the Pelican Bay representatives, the thousands who resist and supporters who have stood up and continue to stand up and really stand up against the state have courage.

We also received a copy of the latest draft – version 7.0 – of the STG (Security Threat Group, or gang) proposal, and it appears as if this will be the policy. I did not think it could get any worse.

You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people.

You can actually be given an additional SHU term for what is being called an “STG handshake.” This is the 21st century and a nation that defines itself as the greatest democracy on earth and we actually penalize citizens, put them/us in isolation for shaking someone’s hand.

This drawing by acclaimed prisoner artist Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is titled “Control Unity Torture.” The term control unit refers to the extremely restrictive solitary confinement called in California a Security Housing Unit (SHU) or Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU). U.N. torture czar Juan Mendez classifies as torture confinement in a control unit for more than 15 days. Yet the average stay in the Pelican Bay SHU is 7.5 years, 89 have been there for over 20 years and one, former Black Panther Hugo Pinell, for 42 years.

This is the best proof of how irrational the thinking is: People literally create their own reality, give it a name and then do with it as they please. There is no such thing as an “STG handshake.” There is also a provision that makes it possible for a person to be given a SHU term for “group exercise.” People are actually paid huge salaries to come up with this shit!

The sanity of these people should be called into question. The Pelican Bay representatives and SHU population are absolutely correct: This must be resisted. To not do so, particularly in the face of such disrespect, would be deplorable. It would be weak! And nothing is as pathetic as weakness.

Our hope is that we might be able to come up with something to contribute to the efforts being made by the Bay View, you and others who have been so supportive and so inspiring in the struggle. However it is that we can contribute to any of your endeavors, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

The road is long and hard and rough, but anything worth loving is worth fighting for. Take good care.

Strugglin’ with you – Michael Zaharibu Dorrough

Send our brother some love and light: Michael Dorrough, D-83611, Corcoran SHU, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212. This open letter was written to and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda, a prisoner human rights advocate whose husband, Robbie Riva, T-49359, is being tortured in segregation at Calipatria State Prison ASU.

In a personal, introductory note, Michael wrote: “Dear Kendra, Hello sis. It is my/our hope that you continue to be of sound health upon receiving this and that you will continue to maintain that magnificent fire that you possess. It is the difference between being committed to changing the inhumanities that confront us all and those who are just paying lip service to it. You could never be confused with the latter group.”

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

Feeling death at our heels: An update from the frontlines of the struggle

From: SF Bay View: http://sfbayview.com/2012/feeling-death-at-our-heels-an-update-from-the-frontlines-of-the-struggle/

January 25, 2012

from the NCTT Corcoran SHU


“Death is impossible for us to fathom; it is so immense, so frightening that we will do almost anything to keep from thinking about it. Society is organized to make death invisible, to keep it several steps removed. That distance may seem necessary for our comfort, but it comes with a terrible price: the illusion of limitless time, and a consequent lack of seriousness about daily life. As a warrior in life, you must turn this dynamic around: Make the thought of death something not to escape but to embrace. 


Your days are numbered. Will you pass them halfhearted or will you live with a sense of urgency? Cruel theaters staged by a czar are unnecessary; death will come to you without them. Imagine it pressing in on you, leaving you no escape, for there is no escape. Feeling death at your heels will make all your actions more certain, more forceful. This could be your last throw of the dice: Make it count.” 


– Robert Greene, bestselling author of “The 48 Laws of Power

“This photo was taken a few days after the first hunger strike ended. I was about 178 pounds; I’d lost 42 pounds,” Heshima Denham wrote on the back. He added these wise words: “Progress requires sacrifice; give up your life for the people.”

Written Jan. 8, postmarked Jan. 18, 2012 – Greetings, brothers and sisters: A firm, warm and solid embrace of revolutionary love and solidarity is extended to each of you from each of us.

Since the last hunger strike ended, we have weathered wave after wave of retaliation from the state’s prison administrators that continues unabated to this day. But before I catalog these manifestations of weakness on the part of state prison administrators, we feel it’s necessary to recount why this struggle began and the nature of our resolve to see the five core demands realized.

We have been consigned to ever more aggressive sensory deprivation torture units for 10, 20, 30 and in some cases 40 years, based on an administrative determination that we are members or associates of a “gang” – a term that encompasses leftist ideologies, political and politicized prisoners, jailhouse lawyers and most anyone who in the opinion of Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is not passively accepting his role as a commodity in the prison industrial complex.

“Gang” is a term that encompasses leftist ideologies, political and politicized prisoners, jailhouse lawyers and most anyone who in the opinion of Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is not passively accepting his role as a commodity in the prison industrial complex.


These administrative determinations are not due to some overt act of misconduct or pattern of rules violations. No, these “validations” are based most often on the reports, words or accounts of debriefers, rats, informants and other broken men who will say and do ‘most anything their IGI and ISU (Investigative Services Unit) handlers instruct them to, to avoid confinement in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) or carry some other favor from their masters.

After decades of fruitless legal challenges, after years of suffering the deprivations of conditions so inherently evil, inhumane and psychologically torturous that most of you simply cannot comprehend the reality behind these words, most of us came to realize an immutable truth: that the state’s mantra of “the only way out of the SHU is to parole, debrief or die” was something that they not only meant, but was in fact a key feature in developing a subservient and passive pool of prisoner commodities upon which the orderly fleecing of taxpayer dollars could be based.

Thirty years of successful propaganda, of dehumanizing underclass communities and the imprisoned, of lobbying that’s led to the dominance of the CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association) in judicial and political elections and appointments – all to mislead an ill-informed public into submitting greater control of their lives and society to an industrial interest that runs counter to the public safety concerns they were vested to protect. Many of us watched this state of affairs progress unchallenged as our protestations fell on deaf ears, year after year, decade after decade, until advanced age and the decimation of our communities forced us onto “death ground,” where you may survive if you can resist, but you will most surely perish if you do not.

We took up a strategy which would pull back the curtain on the state’s practice of domestic torture which has been so well hidden from the people for so long, a strategy in which some of us may yet die: THE HUNGER STRIKE. We would rather starve ourselves, to risk inevitable death, than to be indefinitely subjected to the deprivations of the torture unit.

We took up a strategy which would pull back the curtain on the state’s practice of domestic torture which has been so well hidden from the people for so long, a strategy in which some of us may yet die: THE HUNGER STRIKE.


What must be understood is that existence here is, in many ways, a fate worse than death; and when advancing age brings that mortality into stark focus, the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, “Death is nothing, but to live defeated is to die every day,” resonate. This simple observation defines our resolve in realizing our five core demands.

To say this is a protracted struggle is an understatement; this is a struggle in which we will win or we will die in the effort. Our actions thus far, and the awareness of this international community of their inherent righteousness, has made this adamantine resolve clear, so why then would CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) officials resort to petty retaliatory actions? The answer lies in the very nature of the tyranny and authoritarian power they represent.

Aggression is deceptive; it inherently hides weakness. Aggressors possess poor emotional control and little patience for challenges to their interests. The first waves of retaliation from these types of aggressors may seem strong to some; this is why so many non-SHU general population prisoners dropped out of the second hunger strike as those waves struck them. But, of course, we were unmoved; and the longer such attacks go on, the clearer their underlying weaknesses and insecurity become. It is an act of irrational desperation, but one they pursue out of sheer rote.

Since the second hunger strike ended, we have experienced perpetual retaliation – some overt, some carefully disguised – all designed to erode the minds and wills of those committed to resist. We were denied any medical treatment for our starvation and when we filed emergency 602s to receive renutrition treatment and hunger strike-related injuries, they were not responded to until some 40 days later.

For example, during the first hunger strike, I (Heshima) passed out due to malnutrition and dehydration; the account was detailed in a previous statement. But simply put, their own guilt and fear caused them to assemble some 26 officers before opening my cell and piling on top of my unconscious form in order to shackle my arms and legs in chains and put me in an ambulance.

Their own guilt and fear caused them to assemble some 26 officers before opening my cell and piling on top of my unconscious form in order to shackle my arms and legs in chains and put me in an ambulance.


Mind you, according to witnesses, they casually, even jokingly, left me lying on my cell floor for 35 minutes before jumping on my body. Since then I’ve had a sharp, constant pain in my right side at the base of my ribcage. Though I’ve filed two medical appeals, as of this writing I have still not been treated or even diagnosed for this.

Zaharibu’s cholesterol, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure are so far outside of normal range he is at chronic risk for stroke, heart attack and diabetes – the nurses routinely “forgetting” to bring or administer his insulin when indicated.

Shortly after the second hunger strike ended, we were told, “One of the two pumps that delivers hot water to the institution is broken and we should have the part to fix it in two days.” That was over 50 days ago and we’ve had hot water for a total of three of those 50-plus days. In that intervening time, “due to the lack of hot water” we’ve been fed on paper trays, which ensures all meals arrive cold and grossly under-portioned. Because all we have to wash or shower with in these freezing cells is cold or lukewarm water, 80 percent of us housed in this 4BIL-C-Section short corridor have contracted a cold, upper respiratory tract infection or flu.

Because all we have to wash or shower with in these freezing cells is cold or lukewarm water, 80 percent of us housed in this 4BIL-C-Section short corridor have contracted a cold, upper respiratory tract infection or flu.


Despite numerous appeals and motions to the court, they have not run law library for any of us since August, making it impossible to access legal research, copying service or verified legal mailing, thus jeopardizing the viability of numerous legal pleadings in the courts.

We have often expounded upon the fundamental unreliability of reforms as nothing more than temporary pacification measures that can be repealed at the whim of administrators, and this analysis was again proven only weeks after the second hunger strike ended. Former Undersecretary of Corrections Scott Kernan made a big to-do about the concessions being made to improve the material conditions in SHU, including giving us action at a single special purchase order to purchase newly approved cold weather items by Dec. 31 – or those items would have to be included in annual packages.

Things like watch caps, thermals, tennis shoes etc. were all “approved” for SHU. Memos trumpeting this and Operational Procedure (OP) update chronos were issued to us all, only to be followed by a memo stating the warden of CSP-Corcoran-SHU was effectively repealing the single special purchase order for cold weather items without explanation. This was soon followed by another memo stating tennis shoes orders to SHU would not be allowed until after “Sacramento” made changes to the property matrix, something that was done by Scott Kernan back in October via emergency memo.

The warden of CSP-Corcoran-SHU was effectively repealing the single special purchase order for cold weather items without explanation.


Rolling power outages have suddenly become routine here. The mailroom suddenly devised new regulations directing any phony orders to be directed to one post office box, while letters go to another, making it more difficult and confusing for those who care to see to the welfare of their loved ones here. Not to be left out, CDCR trust account officials have raised processing fees on electronic trust deposits called “J-Pays,” some 500 percent, from $1 to $5, increasing the financial burden on underclass families while maximizing their own profiteering.

All of those things are designed to fuse with the daily mental struggles of the reality of indefinite sensory deprivation confinement to have the cumulative effect of eroding the psychology of resistance, and if this were a situation where there was some psychological threshold to breach, they may well have found some here who capitulate. But that simply is not the reality.

This is not a situation where multi-spectrum retaliation – or coercive force of any kind – will somehow diminish the resolve of those of us committed to ending the perpetual torture inherent in these indeterminate SHU units. In fact, quite the opposite is true; such actions only serve to crystallize in our minds the simple fact that we cannot lose. The alternative is simply more unpleasant than the relatively quick sacrifice of death by starvation. They can ratchet up the intensity on these petulant retaliation moves a hundredfold and it will have no other effect than increasing our resolve a thousandfold.

This is not a situation where multi-spectrum retaliation – or coercive force of any kind – will somehow diminish the resolve of those of us committed to ending the perpetual torture inherent in these indeterminate SHU units. In fact, quite the opposite is true; such actions only serve to crystallize in our minds the simple fact that we cannot lose.


We must win this struggle not simply because it is morally correct, upholds international standards of humanity, opposes governmental collusion in corporate exploitation of underclass people, and serves the interests – social, political and economic – of society as a whole, but also because it’s necessarily our survival. We are men in earnest; consequences have little meaning in the face of such conditions.

Some of you reading these words are no doubt grappling with the reality behind them, attempting to find some point of relatability, some common experience from which to draw a correlation. Unless you’ve experienced this firsthand, such an attempt is an effort in futility. But for the sake of this discussion, I challenge you to run an experiment: Go to your bathroom and close the door. Imagine that you will never leave that room. Your tub and shower, that’s your bed. Yes, your toilet is only a step or two away from where you lay your head. Your food will be brought to you here twice a day.

Stay there as long as you can. How long do you last? Twenty minutes? An hour? Six hours? Imagine you sit in that bathroom for a year, 10 years, 24 years, 40 years. You will never leave that bathroom unless you are released from prison, agree to be an agent for the same people who stuck you in that bathroom, or you die of old age and infirmity. How long would you last? How strong is your will?

Would you submit to snitchery, kowtow to your torturers and become a tool to condemn others to that same fate? Or would you fight, resist to the bitter end, give your life to expose such evil, greedy, draconian hypocrites for what they really are? Hold the mirror of social reality up to the face of every man and woman in U.S. society and force them to confront the human misery being carried to sicker and more depraved depths every day in their names? What would you do?

Would you submit to snitchery, kowtow to your torturers and become a tool to condemn others to that same fate? Or would you fight, resist to the bitter end, give your life to expose such evil, greedy, draconian hypocrites for what they really are?


Some would characterize our effort as insane, as crazy. In “Hagakure: The door of the Samurai,” Yamamoto Tsunetomo quotes Lord Naoshige as saying the way of the warrior (samurai) is in desperateness. Ten or more cannot kill such a man. Common sense will not accomplish great things. Simply become insane and desperate.

None of us want to die, but all of us are prepared to do so to realize these five core demands. History dictates no less.

So we wait. We have been told the revisions and changes to the status quo in these torture units will be done this month or by February, but the relentless retaliatory blows we are absorbing as the sobering reminder of what we are dealing with: An entrenched labor aristocracy and political patronage of corporate speculators, who’ve grown rich and powerful off extorting billions from hapless taxpayers and criminalizing underclass people and communities, will resist any effort to curtail their wealth, privilege and socio-political status quo.
These vile and greedy people are extracting more of your tax dollars for their exclusive use than many nations’ gross national product by using us as scapegoats to frighten the people – when in fact many of us are servants of the people, political progressives who would willingly lay down our lives to advance the cause of freedom, social justice and economic equality in the nation.

In the case of the NCTT and those of like mind, ironically that’s why we were validated and consigned to these torture units in the first place. A common practice of corrupt political interests is to criminalize dissent and criticism. Who will care? We are prisoners; who will know these truths? They have already succeeded in lobbying to have media access to prisoners banned unless they consent to who will be interviewed. Again, who will care, who will know?

A common practice of corrupt political interests is to criminalize dissent and criticism. Who will care? We are prisoners; who will know these truths?


If you’re reading these words, you now know the only question that remains is: Do you care? Do you care that the very people who you’ve entrusted with ensuring public safety are in fact intentionally working against that interest to maintain a bloated prison industrial complex on your tax dollars and our souls? Do you care that the U.S., which is so vocally condemning other nations, is ignoring its U.N. treaty obligations and maintaining its own expansive domestic torture program in U.S. Supermax SHU prisons across this nation? Do you care that these evils, this blatant hypocrisy is being carried out in your name? Do you care? And if you don’t, exactly what type of society is this we’ve allowed to emerge?

If you are reading these words, you can no longer claim ignorance; to stand idly by now would be complicity. A wise man once said, “All that is necessary for evil men to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” We are under no illusions. The ultimate arbiter of our fate – and this society’s fate – is the people. YOU. YOU must rise up against this injustice and inhumanity. YOU must let the state know that substantive change at every level of society is something the people demand.

The ultimate arbiter of our fate – and this society’s fate – is the people. YOU.

We have supported, and will continue to support, progressive people’s movements, from the Dream Act to the Occupy Movement, because we recognize the inherent unity of purpose in this single political motive force, the reality that we do not represent disparate social interests but a single determined democratic imperative to put an end to the stranglehold that this greedy elite and its tools currently have on every area of people’s activity in the U.S., to put an end to these exploitive relationships that diminish and impoverish the many for the aggrandizement of the few.

To treat us this way is wrong, evil and unsustainable socially. Stand with us. Lend your voices, your labor, and your ideas to this historical work. We can win, but only with you all by our sides. In the final analysis, this is a struggle to determine the nature of humanity itself. We are on the right side of history; we encourage you all to stand on this same side with us. Our love, loyalty and solidarity to all those who cherish freedom, justice and human rights and fear only failure. Until we win or don’t lose.

For more information on the California prison hunger strikes or the NCTT, contact:

• Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
• J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-46, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212
• Kambui Robinson, C-82830, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.

Read these brothers’ previous stories: “California prison hunger strikers propose ‘10 core demands’ for the national Occupy Wall Street Movement,” “A brief hunger strike update from the front lines of the struggle: Corcoran-SHU 4B 1L C-section Isolation Unit” (second story in that post), “From the front lines of the struggle,”and “We dare to win: The reality and impact of SHU torture units.” This story was typed by Adrian McKinney.

We dare to win: The reality and impact of SHU torture units

Discussion in the wake of the Aug. 23 legislative hearing

In: SF Bay ViewNovember 11, 2011

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. … We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Written Oct. 12, 2011 – These sage words by Dr. King are both appropriate to the discussion we’d like to have on indeterminate SHU confinement and cautionary as to who we are and what we allow as a society in these troubled times. This second point is very relevant to this discussion and we hope you’ll stick with us, as the subject matter is both broad and disturbing; it requires us to share some inconvenient truths.

 

Security Housing Units (SHUs) like those in Pelican Bay, Tehachapi and this one here in Corcoran are torture units. They are used to indefinitely house human beings in solitary confinement based on an administrative determination that they are “gang members” with impetus towards breaking their minds in hopes of eliciting information and coercing them into becoming informants or active agents in the state.

These units are the tombs of not only alleged “gang members” but political and politicized prisoners, imprisoned human rights activists and jailhouse lawyers alike, most anyone who, in the sole determination of institutional gang investigators and administrators, is not content to submit passively to his role as a commodity in the prison industrial complex.

The U.S. and many of its media outlets, such as The New York Times and San Diego Union Tribune, prior to the U.S. War on Terror, routinely criticized China, Turkey, Syria and other nations for holding prisoners in indefinite solitary confinement under conditions of constant illumination, sensory deprivation etc. for expressing contrary political views. They universally condemned the practices as torture, citing the United Nations Human Rights Commission Treaty. Their hypocrisy was of course revealed after the policies of U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and numerous CIA blacksite prisons was exposed.

Yet what has been America’s dirty little secret is that years before Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, they were boiling men alive at Pelican Bay SHU, they were holding murderous “blood sport” style bouts here at Corcoran SHU and they had been holding people with left-wing political ideologies as “gang members” for decades in sensory deprivation torture units at Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Tehachapi SHUs. Yes, indefinite solitary confinement and constant illumination is being used right now in California SHU units, in conjunction with a program of systematic isolation and experimental behavior modification to torture prisoners every day, without end.

The California and U.S. Supreme Courts, in blatant indifference to international and constitutional law, have repeatedly refused to intervene in most cases on behalf of prisoners in Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs who’ve lived in solitary confinement under constant illumination and daily psychological stressors for 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years straight. This is gross hypocrisy wherein your nation is torturing its citizens in your names.

The “United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment” defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

This virtually defines the validation, indeterminate SHU confinement and debriefing processes, which are all interconnected. We are routinely told, quite frankly, at ICC (Institutional Classification Committee) hearings, “You’ll only get out of SHU if you parole, debrief or die”; at parole board hearings the line is no different: The panel of law enforcement officials states, “If you want a parole date, you may want to think about debriefing.”

When, after serving 24 years, most of that in these indeterminate SHU torture units, for a crime where he was simply a 16-year-old bystander and had not had a single rules violation in over a decade, had family and community support and several job offers, Sondai Ellis was told that very thing as he was denied parole again. I was, and continue to be, so furious that it is only through the discipline and adherence to principled conduct instilled in me by brothers like Sondai that I’ve been capable of keeping that fury in check at such bald-faced injustice.

To debrief one must become an informant, an agent of the state, and decades of torture and withholding of freedom are strong state sanctions to compel some of us to make something up or simply parrot what we are told to say to get out of SHU or support a law enforcement agenda. In at least two recent online articles, we see debriefers doing just this: actually advocating the merits of the very torture units that reduced them to broken men and made them thralls of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and its various units and affiliates. They – the Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI), Investigations Services Unit (ISU), prison guards etc. – are the ones who have an economic and political interest in maintaining the symbolism of these torture units as the final abode of “predatory gang leaders and organized criminals.”

The U.N. Human Rights Commission has stated prolonged solitary confinement for purposes of extracting information is prohibited as torture. SHUs are by definition torture units and specialty, experimental, ultra-supermax isolation units like Pelican Bay SHU’s D-Short Corridor and Corcoran SHU’s 4B1L-C-Section short corridor are specifically engineered to warp reality for purposes of breaking men’s minds.

Torture, no matter the supposed justification, is never an acceptable practice for a humane society. The U.N. Convention Against Torture states, “No exceptionable circumstances whatsoever, whether a state or threat of war or political emergency, may be invoked as a reason for torture.” As it stands, your correctional department, courts, some of your elected officials, and all law enforcement agencies do feel torture is justified as long as it’s applied to those they deem “gang members.”

But there is a much more insidious socio-economic and political motivation for the maintenance and expansion of SHU torture units and indeterminate SHU confinement based on “gang” validation. It is sustained by manipulating your perception of truth and humanity and by controlling your perception of these things. The prison industrialists dictate your actions, reactions and inaction to their impact on your lives and communities.

As you may know, we embarked on a historic 24-day hunger strike in July and at this writing are 17 days into a second hunger strike that began on Sept. 26 in solidarity with the Pelican Bay SHU D-Corridor collective and the five core demands recognizing our human rights. We were joined by some 6,600 other prisoners across the state, 12,000 in this second effort and countless others across the nation, and we garnered the support of principled people all over the world.

On Aug. 23, a hearing was held in response to those issues. I want to take this time to use some of the distortions, misrepresentations of fact and outright lies by CDCR Undersecretary Scott Kernan, a key prison industrialist, to illustrate just what we’re talking about here. There is an articulable basis why state-sanctioned torture units are maintained in California and throughout the U.S. And before we get into Mr. Kernan’s comments, it is necessary for you to have a clear understanding of what they are so you can understand why he would contradict himself and openly lie to a legislative oversight committee.

The purpose of SHU torture units – and “gang” validations resulting in indeterminate SHU confinement – is to ensure your financial and political support for the expansion and maintenance of the prison industrial complex as a viable business model by maximizing your fear and capitalizing on your ignorance. The foundational cornerstone of their success is convincing you that “gang members are depraved, inhuman monsters hell bent on the rape, murder and predation of innocent people,” and only they, the “gang experts,” know who these monsters are and how best to “protect” you from them.

These so-called malevolent, irrationally violent and predatory organized “gangs” are the source of all of society’s ills and the very origins of crime in our communities. By creating these torture units and proclaiming they are the abodes of “the worst of the worst,” they have a symbolic manifestation of the validity of their claims.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, chair of Public Safety Committee, speaks at the rally before convening his hearing on prison torture in the SHUs.

No one can refute their accounts or characterizations because transparency is non-existent. Prisoners have no voice. The CCPOA successfully lobbied to ban media interviews with prisoners so the public is left to a unilateral, state-sponsored view of prison conditions and their discontents. This allows them the ability to perpetuate the myth of the inhuman “gang member” unchallenged and, with tacit media support, to dehumanize an ever-growing segment of the underclass.

Have you not noticed how your local news reports on arrestees or incidents in these communities? If someone is arrested for DUI, a drive-by or petty theft, he or she is paraded on the news and the first identification made is “he’s a validated gang member.” When incidents occur in or around our children’s schools, the school is put on “lockdown,” a term derived from the California prison system to denote a prison yard being locked down after a riot or other incident.

These terms, “gang” and “gang member,” automatically conjure images of innocent drive-by shooting victims and prison rapes inspired by “Oz” and cinematic visions, divorcing these men and women from the human condition, dehumanizing them. These people, more often than not, were saddled with these characterizations because of the communities they come from and may well have never committed a violent or predatory act in their lives.

But you don’t know that. All you know is what you’ve been told by the TV anchor, police or CDCR spokesman. They know that because they’ve used millions of your tax dollars to engineer it that way.
The truth of the matter is there are no malevolent, irrationally violent predatory gangs roving the streets of your cities or the prison yards of CDCR, only desperate men and women forced to the bottom rung of society through institutional disparities in economic and race-based distribution of educational, employment and empowerment opportunities at virtually every point of human activity in the U.S.

Do gangs exist? Of course, but that’s not the relevant question. Where are they prevalent and why do they exist? This is what is of note. “Gangs” and, more centrally, gang violence are prevalent primarily in underclass – poor – communities.

The national unemployment rate – not counting the underemployed or those who’ve stopped looking – stands at 9.1 percent, yet in the New Afrikan (Black) community, it’s 17 percent and in the Latino community it’s 14.5 percent. Those without a high school diploma stand at 16 percent unemployed while those with a Bachelor’s Degree a mere 1 percent.

New Afrikans and Latinos make up 90 percent of the prison population but a scant 26 percent of the national population. The origin of crime is not gangs. Gangs are a social symptom of that origin. The origin of all crime is the disproportionate distribution of wealth, privilege and opportunity in our society.

This is not by chance or happenstance. It is by design. Wage-based employment and entrepreneurship are the only ways to “legally” create wealth in this society. When social conditions are such that a community contains a large population of surplus labor – either they are unemployed due to their lack of education or marketable skills, or the market simply cannot sustain that population of workers – the only alternative to survive is the underground economy, be that illicit services such as narcotics, the sex trade and gambling or predatory crimes such as extortion, robbery and identity theft.

There is a corresponding sense of socio-political impotence which accompanies the innate insecurity of poverty. Young men and women who have no power, no hope, no impact on their world form community-based organizations to fill that socio-political void in their existence. Those the state calls “gangs” and has decided to wage “war” on them, only furthering the isolation.

One of the reasons so few people vote in underclass communities is these disparities are institutional and systemic to U.S. capitalist economics. No matter who’s in office, their plight doesn’t change. Because these communities are a marginal constituency, public officials extend a corresponding indifference to their plight.

Families and supporters of prisoners from across California held a rally prior to the Aug. 23 hearing called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano on the torturous solitary confinement in California SHUs.

Instead of “protecting and serving” those communities, law enforcement, judicial, legislative and correctional officers all too commonly have a containment, suppression and adversarial relationship with those communities and those who come from them. Yet the bell-curve theories and notions that young men and women want to stand on a street corner selling crack or want to risk their lives and freedom by engaging in unprovoked gang violence are simply untrue.

You pick any prisoner in these SHU units validated as a “gang member” and offer him a job making $20 an hour, and I can guarantee you he won’t break the law. But the environment in these communities and most assuredly the environment in CDCR prisons are not structured to produce such success or opportunity, which brings me to my next point:

The California corrections system is an environment designed and maintained by its administrators. Thus, any failures must be attributed to those who have precluded an environment for success. CDCR effectively retards rehabilitation especially among SHU prisoners – those who by the state’s own admission most need rehabilitation – by withdrawing the vital tech-based vocational training and higher educational opportunity needed to compete in today’s high tech world. It was primarily through the successful efforts of the CCPOA that funding through Pell grants for higher education was taken from prisoners.

Of course, what followed this repeal of the inmate bill of rights was an unprecedented boom in prison building and a population expansion by 800 percent in the last 20 years. Racial antagonisms are encouraged so as to preclude broad class cooperation amongst prisoners like the unprecedented unity shown statewide in the recent hunger strike.

Underdevelopment while in prison, coupled with an emphasis on seeking most any impetus for “violation” by parole officers once out of prison, is designed to preclude successful re-integration into society, maximize recidivism rates, and undermine the underclass communities from which those ex-offenders hail – all to maintain the steady social dysfunction and economic desperation in these family units so a consistent flow of bodies is exiting these communities to enter our jails and prisons, court systems and probation departments, ensuring a recession-proof industry of profit and expansion for the prison market and those who depend on your tax dollars to sustain their privilege.

The very structure of CDCR regulations is designed to promote dependency, destroy ingenuity and self-determination and deter unity. They actually have rules which bar prisoners from running a business, which always boggled my mind in an economically depressed recessionary capitalist cycle. If there are prisoners with the insight, talent and entrepreneurial acumen to make a meaningful contribution to this state’s economy and job market, men and women who the courts have determined owe some debt to society, why would you codify a basis for them not doing so?

Outside of the same “potential for impropriety” rhetoric they use to justify accepting unsubstantiated confidential information and mere suspicion as a basis for SHU confinement, there exists no justification for such a regulation. The only basis that follows reason is to prevent independence and promote dependency on the state, thus promoting institutionalization.

If you combine this with the psycho-social decimation of men’s minds resulting from prolonged and, in some cases, endless isolation in conditions such as these, is it any wonder psychologists universally agree this type of torture effectively destroys one’s ability to function in society? Which is the point.

As we’ve stated before, the modern criminal justice system – and correctional departments in particular – are the biggest conflicts of interest in U.S. history. Those entrusted with reducing the number of criminal offenders and protecting public safety have their potential profit margin directly attached to maximizing the number of offenders under their control at any given time.

This is why the CCPOA fought so hard to stop out-of-state transfers of prisoners to reduce overcrowding. The more prisoners under their control, the larger their budgets, the greater their salaries and benefits, and the more overtime hours they can bill to your tax dollars.

But most vitally, the more prisoners held and for ever greater durations, the more ensured they are of their long-term job security no matter the fragility of the economy in this current crisis. To be sure, an economic downturn to the rest of us is an economic upturn for those in the prison industry. It means an inequitable increase in human commodities: prisoners.

According to CDCR, they spend an average $78,000 to house us in these torture unit cells each year. Perhaps a little more due to the added isolation features in 4B1L-C-Section and D-Corridor. We assure you it does not cost $78K to feed us the two small trays and sack lunch we receive each day or to keep this light burning 24 hours or power our small 13-inch TVs.

Besides being escorted in chains to the K-9 style dog cages for yard two to three times a week and five minutes in the shower three times a week, we never leave these cells. So I assure you that money is not being spent on prisoners being housed in the SHU. No, it’s spent on guards – on their salaries, benefits, equipment, training, guns and bullets – NOT US. The guard working the SHU makes the most money and with all the overtime they have action at, they can in essence write their own checks on your buck and at the expense of our minds, our bodies and, sometimes it feels, our very souls.

The CCPOA (California Correctional Peace Officers Association), the prison guards’ union, considers the California State Capitol in Sacramento its turf. It is the state’s most powerful lobby. No governor has dared challenge its power for decades, but the hunger strikers dared.

During the Aug. 23 legislative hearing, the CDCR panel representative, Undersecretary of Operations Scott Kernan, made such baseless, overly simplistic and outright false statements concerning prison life and conditions related to SHU and so-called “gangs” that they MUST be debunked with the truth. He stated “gangs” were responsible for “ordering ‘rapes’” in prison and are the primary threat for such heinous acts. This is not only an outright lie, but in fact quite the opposite is true.

For the vast majority of those housed in these SHUs, and virtually ALL those in these indeterminate SHU torture units, the forced sexual subjugation of anyone, not to mention another human in these conditions, is not simply frowned upon by SHU prisoners but forcefully opposed. Mr. Kernan’s assertion that men housed here would even condone such sickness is a testament to the fear and dehumanization-based rhetoric which has become the basis for prison industrialist propaganda over the past 20 years and is an insult to the humanity of all of us housed here.

We in the NCTT Cor-SHU collectively have over 100 years of experience existing in the most violent and reactionary prisons in California and can say with definitive confidence that the vast majority of the “8,000 assaults and stabbings the department has each year” has little to do with gangs, as Mr. Kernan states, and everything to do with overcrowded facilities and limited space.

Be it a dispute on the basketball or handball court, an unpaid gambling or dope debt, a cross word said in frustration at overcrowded conditions taken as disrespect, etc., these things have little to do with “gangs.” And in those instances where a gang member may be involved in a personal dispute – and according to CDCR everyone in CDCR runs with some gang – they report or record it as “gang related” when the “gang” in fact has nothing to do with the initial incident.

He went on to state “millions of tax dollars were ‘wasted’ each year, and ‘gangs’ would be identified as the primary problem.” Mr. Kernan has no factual basis for this statement. I can’t even conceive of the rubric by which he would venture this opinion when targeting educational and economic development programs in underclass communities and amongst criminal offenders has proven an effective means by which to reduce both predatory and market-based crime rates and reduce recidivism amongst prisoners, yet funding for such initiatives, due primarily to lobbying efforts by the CCPOA and their political cabal, has been repeatedly diverted to prison budgets under the auspices of public safety, an oxymoronic application of the term if ever there was one.

Mr. Kernan went on to state it’s “only 3,000 validated SHU prisoners in a population of 165,000 – that’s a very small number.” The Marquis de Sade is said to have tortured some 2,000 prisoners out of the 100,000 that passed through Elba – before honing his skills on women – when he was a gaoler (jailer) there. No one in the French aristocracy minded De Sade’s dalliances with prisoners much either. It’s this type of thinking that led to the use of CIA blacksites in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt and, yes, Libya under Qaddafi to imprison “under special conditions” terror “suspects” and torture them for years, continuing still, in the U.S. “war on terror.”

SHU survivor Jitu Sadiki speaks at the rally prior to the Ammiano hearing Aug. 23. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Three thousand torture victims in a population of 165,000 is 3,000 too many. Mr. Kernan went on to state, “We don’t allow media to talk to individual inmates for fear of their sensationalizing their crimes, like Charles Manson or Scott Peterson” – a patently absurd notion he knows full well was untrue. First of all, it was the media that “sensationalized” Manson and Peterson’s cases, not Manson and Peterson themselves.

But, more importantly, no one here wants to “sensationalize” their criminal convictions or past lifestyles. In fact there is a significant segment of the indeterminate SHU population, such as the NCTT, the Freedom, Justice and Human Rights Initiative, George Jackson University etc., who have dedicated their lives to not simply atoning for the damage to our communities as a result of our ignorance and lack of consciousness in the past, but putting forward meaningful programs and initiatives to improve life in those communities, such as those mentioned above.

The only prisoners in SHU that Mr. Kernan allowed the media access to, and the only prisoners such media outlets as the Sacramento Bee seem to be interested in quoting are debriefers, informants and agents of the state. Mr. Kernan did not allow media access to the D-Short Corridor collective, like Sitawa Dewberry, Todd Ashker or Mutope Crawford, or the 4B1L-C-Section collective because he did not want politically and socially conscious prisoners articulating the true basis of SHU and reason for the hunger strikes and the inescapable deteriorating psychological effects of SHU.

This is simply another example of state controlled media in a society that purports itself to be “free and open,” yet another manifestation of CDCR’s successful gambit to monopolize the conversation. I found it ironic that Mr. Kernan attempted to dismiss and redirect the blatant human rights violations which torture units represent by stating “the violence the gangs perpetuate is the human rights violation,” when the vast majority of the “8,000 assaults and stabbings” occurring in the modern CDCR are occurring on “sensitive needs yards” (SNYs) by the very debriefers and protective custody prisoners IGI has relied on, or broken, to manufacture uncorroborated and unsubstantiated “confidential information chronos” to put, and keep other prisoners in indefinite SHU confinement.

To be sure, the most violent “gang” in CDCR is “2-5” – half of “5-0,” the “prison gang” made up of debriefers and informants who directly work for IGI, ISU, SSU (Special Services Unit) and other law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Kernan was adamant that the courts have upheld the validation process and “though harsh, the SHU is not torture.” We’ve established without doubt this IS torture, so that brooks no comment.

But as to the comments on the courts, that’s not entirely true either. California courts, most judges having been elected with the backing of CCPOA lobbying dollars, rarely uphold the Constitution where prisoners, and especially SHU prisoners, are seeking human rights protection. But there are exceptions. For example, in the Koch v. Lewis case that the Supreme Court took up to address the equally harsh SMU II torture unit in Florence, Arizona, the court found that Koch’s solitary confinement violated his right to due process under the 14th Amendment, which is applicable to states because there was no evidence that Koch had committed any overt act to warrant such torture. The claim that he was an Aryan Brotherhood member was insufficient.
Substantive due process requires that evidence used must bear a logical relation to the specific deprivations.

As Judge Moran stated, “The labeling of plaintiff Koch as a ‘gang member’ does not itself create legal concerns. Rather it is the placement in SMU II as a result of the alleged association that is constitutionally significant.” After hearing evidence of SMU conditions – identical to California SHU conditions – and the psychological harm Koch and all prisoners faced, the court not only found a significant liberty deprivation but also that the very practice of sending inmates to supermax torture units based on status alone, with no charges or evidence of misconduct, violated due process.

The court concluded that there must be some evidence of misconduct, some overt gang-related act, to justify placing Koch in SMU II for an indefinite – and very likely permanent – term. Yet, as Mr. Kernan stated, virtually lifelong supermax detention for alleged “gang members” in U.S. domestic prisons continues to be judged constitutional here in California despite the ruling in the Griffith case. CDCR still has not released him from SHU despite multiple rulings to do so.

It’s not that they, or he, does not know these torture units violate basic tenets of humaneness; they simply have an overriding interest in their maintenance: money and control. Your money, their control. This assertion by Mr. Kernan that these torture units are not torture units is so outrageous and insulting, it recalls Bush era admonitions that waterboarding, Abu Ghraib, and CIA blacksites in foreign countries weren’t torturous either. It is an absurdity, and a dangerous one.

Mr. Kernan’s dogged assertion that “gangs” and more certainly those of us housed in these SHU torture units are the source of perpetual violence in CDCR ignores the inescapable reality of gross overcrowding, intentional underdevelopment and dependency and the structural conditions they’ve created in California prisons, which is the actual origin of prison violence. And until these structural fallacies are addressed, violence in California prisons will continue no matter how many prisoners are consigned to these torture units, and he KNOWS this.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano leaves the rally to convene his hearing on solitary confinement and related issues raised initially by prisoners in the Pelican Bay SHU, whose hunger strike was joined by 12,000 other prisoners simultaneously. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Mr. Kernan stated the process being considered by “all state law enforcement, CCPOA, police, labor unions, national experts and the legislature itself” would allow prisoners to “earn a way out of the system by behavior and require the department to document when we feel it is not the case.” There are four things wrong with this approach:

1) the determining body developing the policy, outside of the legislature, consists exclusively of proponents of the prison industrial complex. Thus, whatever policy is developed will reflect the same draconian, profit-driven inhumanity that’s subjected us to these torture units thus far for decades without end;

2) most of us have not had any rules violations reports in decades. What do we need to “earn” through our “behavior” that’s not already been earned through a years-long proven record of disciplinary free conduct? Or must we subject ourselves to the behavior modification experiments developed in the Marion federal torture unit?

3) indeterminate SHU confinement cannot be allowed to continue to be based on what this department does or does not “feel is the case.” The primary issue here is the arbitrary nature of gang validation and subsequent indeterminate SHU confinement;

4) what Mr. Kernan is suggesting here is no different than the sham six-year inactive review that’s already in place.

Mr. Kernan stated the CDCR gang validation policy is “intended to protect inmates we are charged with and staff,” yet anyone who’s on this side of the door knows that’s a flat out lie. The CDCR gang policy is intended to maintain their control of prison budgets, silence prisoner critics, preclude prisoner unity and continue to scapegoat indeterminate SHU prisoners who’ve not had a single instance of documented misconduct in decades as a basis for extorting billions of taxpayer dollars through over-exaggerating the threat posed by prisoners housed indefinitely in SHU on the basis of gang validations.

As I’ve stated previously, if prisoners, staff and public safety were truly CDCR’s motive force, they would have developed a prison environment and programs geared toward true rehabilitation and successful reintegration and performance in society upon release. Such an environment runs contrary to their economic and political interests and unfortunately against a significant number of the peoples’ desire for vengeance against perceived offenders.

Now then, a particularly distressing lie Mr. Kernan relayed to the public safety panel was that “all evidence used to validate is corroborated.” Simply put, this is a flat out lie. There is no corroboration via independent sources of information of confidential informants’ statements or confidential informant chronos known as “1030s.” Why he would utter a lie that is so easily debunked is truly beyond me.

A SHU survivor addresses the Aug. 23 rally outside the capitol in Sacramento.

To give you an example of what Mr.Kernan and the IGI deem corroboration, they have little boxes on the 1030 chrono listed a)-f) which state why they consider such a source reliable. In a 2008 1030 used to deny a validated indeterminate SHU prisoner “inactive status,” a debriefer – who was briefly housed with the brother – told IGI the individual spoke of the merits of socialism, the history of political resistance to racism and socio-economic inequality in Amerika, and of the validity of the political and socio-economic views of Frantz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh and George Lester Jackson. The IGI told the debriefer that the prisoner was providing “BGF education,” to which the debriefer quickly agreed and parroted what his IGI handler told him to.

Because the same prisoner wrote an article in California Prison Focus critical of CDCR and expressing some of these same political ideas (CPF Fall 2003), they considered this “more than one source independently provid(ing) the same information,” and “part of the information provided by the source has already proven to be true.” This expression of his political views and social criticism of the department’s practice of arbitrarily targeting and punishing left-wing political ideologies in prison in violation of the First Amendment and their own California Code of Regulations, Title 15, was sufficient to earn him another six years in SHU – though he in truth had no chance of release via inactive review.

Not only is political speech and expression protected by “the supreme laws of the land” – or is supposed to be – but it boggles the mind how an article in a publication CDCR not only allows into institutions, but the state delivers to our cell doors, can possibly be corroboration of a coerced informant’s scripted lies. This is what passes for corroboration in Mr. Kernan’s CDCR. The fact of the matter is there is no corroboration of evidence and no way to verify it if there was. IGI is the only one who gets to see the evidence used to consign men to these torture units forever.

Mr. Kernan went on to state, “These offenders are in the SHU with mountains of documentation of illegal criminal activities both out on the streets in public and in prison.” And it is just these types of irresponsible, intentionally dishonest statements which have cowed courts and legislators alike into turning a blind eye to wholesale psychological torture for decades in the California prison system.

The truth of the matter is most validated indeterminate SHU prisoners haven’t had a single documented instance of misconduct or rules violation report for ANY criminal act in decades. I assure you if such a “mountain of illegal activities” was documented, you’d have an equally high mountain of rules violation reports, district attorney referrals and indictments. This is a lie specifically designed to put forward a non-existent justification for that which, according to “the rule of law,” is unjustifiable: indefinite psychological torture to coerce men into becoming informants, agent provocateurs and advocates for the same heinous practices which broke their minds and subsumed their wills.

To be sure, Mr. Kernan contradicted himself in his next breath by stating, in response to the statistical data showing gang violence has only increased as sensitive needs yards – inhabited exclusively by the debriefers, informants and other protective custody designees Mr. Kernan is singing the praises of – have expanded, that “the state’s gang problem has even increased, but separating those offenders we have in SHU has led to a decrease.”

Upon hearing this absurdity, even the assemblyman had to call him on the contradiction. As the hearing wore on and the objective evidence in front of the legislative oversight committee continued to contradict the lies and distortions Mr. Kernan was offering as authority, he stated, “Let’s not lose focus on the real public safety threat perpetuated by gangs in our system.”

And it is this narrow and intentionally ill-informed perspective on public safety which has produced an 800 percent increase in the California prison population, a dysfunctional correctional and nonexistent rehabilitation system, and led to the state’s use and expansion of domestic human experimentation, torture units on the victims of a socio-economic arrangement that has forced us from the bottom rung of society into the bowels of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs.

Mr. Kernan and the rest of the prison industrialists can lay the blame for society’s ills at the feet of “gangs” all they like, and the vicious cycle will only continue ebbing toward the inexorable decline of Western Civilization. Until such time as we all accept the fact that “gangs” are the inevitable outgrowth of capitalist contradictions, of educational and labor underdevelopment in underclass communities and your political and economic leaders’ unwillingness or inability to address the gross disparities between the haves and have nots as the true origin of society’s ills, “gang” violence and systematic criminality will continue to be part of the U.S. social fabric.

Luckily, as consciousness raising efforts like the global Occupy Wall Street Movement continue to sweep across the planet, these “leaders” will be forced to acknowledge the obvious. With a multi-billion dollar budget, Mr. Kernan and his department can make some significant contributions to a new approach. But as the continued intransigence of the department shows, true public safety is a remote concern of those you’ve invested with that responsibility.

The actual public safety threat lies in the underlying socio-economic relationship between poor communities and the prison industry, our society’s indifference to that conflict, and the apparent dogged pursuit of a law enforcement and correctional policy which has been both a dismal inhumane failure and economically unsustainable. The definition of “insanity” is pursuing the same course of action repeatedly and expecting a different result.

I’d like to address one final point Mr. Kernan raised that I believe is pertinent. He stated, “An offender that wants to rehab himself, he can’t because of an inmate telling him to go stab someone or he will be killed.” This is both a misrepresentation of truth and a dangerous exaggeration. There are numerous non-affiliates in the general population of CDCR and Mr. Kernan is well aware of it. Everyone in prison knows lumpen organizations or “gangs” in prison don’t force membership onto non-affiliates, because history has proven such prisoners always become informants, agents or are easily compelled to lie on those they formerly ran with.

But that’s not the core issue here. What is, is Mr. Kernan’s willingness to dispense such tripe as “facts” in hopes of somehow convincing the people that the perpetual torture of over 3,000 human beings is somehow legitimate. This type of thinking and speech MUST be confronted and debunked. Indefinite solitary confinement of humans in California, across the U.S. and throughout the world must be opposed, resisted and abolished.

In the wake of the atrocities of World War II, a document was drafted which stated “The protagonists of this practice of human experimentation justify their views on the basis that such experiments yield results for the good of society that are unprocurable by other methods or means of study. All agree, however, that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts.” That was an excerpt from the Nuremberg Code.

The most passionate and powerful testimony at the Aug. 23 hearing came from SHU survivors and prisoners’ family members, especially Earl Fears and Glenda Rojas shown here. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

Have we as a society descended so far into the miasma of fear, hatred and dehumanization that we would condone the state-sponsored torture of thousands of humans from our communities, in our name?

I began this discussion with a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to illustrate the slippery slope we are on as a society. Maintenance of these torture units is an injustice; a continuation of the current law enforcement and correctional policy in relation to fundamental socio-economic disparities is inhumane. Injustice anywhere, even here in Corcoran SHU’s 4B1L-C-Section, is a threat to justice everywhere. Today it is us; tomorrow if may be someone you love or, God forbid, you yourself.

It was Fyodor Dostoevsky who said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” How civilized is this society? And to answer that question with another: How civilized are you, the people who make it up?

If this second hunger strike effort has taught us anything, it is that the power to transform an intransigent industrial interest such as CDCR must come from the will of the people, from exercising your limitless power. Prison authorities were fully content to let us die this time and even modified their medical responses to maximize the chance of permanent injury or death to hunger strikers, which makes the broader aspects of this struggle so significant.

This is not over. It is a protracted struggle that does not end, yet simply begins, with the abolition of SHU torture units. It is the intent of the NCTT to ensure not another human is done this way, not another soul lost to such greedy and heartless people.

Participating in the first round of the hunger strike, 6,600 prisoners and in the second round 12,000 prisoners joined their comrades in SHU to demand an end to “gang validation” and the torture of solitary confinement.

It is our intent to fight for true rehabilitation and positive empowerment, not merely for current or ex-prisoners, but for the underclass communities we all too often hail from. If we can provide community-based initiatives and programs which address the inherent social inequalities in the class arrangement, this will eliminate the motive for property crimes – which make up 98 percent of all crime in the U.S. – and give us all safer and more prosperous communities, allowing us all to partake of the inalienable rights provided for in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The nature of California state and U.S. corrections must change. But to do that we must change society. Who dares to take up such a challenge? Who dares breathe life into the promise of the Declaration of Independence? Who dares champion the poor, the most disenfranchised and underdeveloped communities, the ghettoes, barrios and trailer parks of Amerika? Who dares champion the most vulnerable and urbanized in our society – the felon, the SHU prisoner, the poor?

Who dares do the right thing when the Scott Kernans of the world swear it’s wrong? Who dares to struggle? Who dares to win? We do, and we hope you do too.

Join us! This power to shape history and the future of the society is in your hands. We have faith you will uphold the highest standards of humanity. Our love and solidarity to all those who love freedom, justice and equality and fear only failure.

This letter was typed by Adrian McKinney.

Reblogged on: Kersplebedeb, 4StruggleMag, Prison Activist Resource Center, Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle, Summary on Radical Criminology 

From the front lines of the struggle

Posted in the SF Bay View: http://sfbayview.com/2011/from-the-front-lines-of-the-struggle/

November 1, 2011

by Heshima Denham
Written Oct. 13, 2011 – A firm, warm and solid embrace of eternal revolutionary love and solidarity is extended to you all. Enclosed you will find an update statement from us on this second hunger strike effort, which I am happy to report met a victorious conclusion only hours ago with our five core demands being sufficiently realized to halt the hunger strike at this time.

For prisoners in the Corcoran SHU, “yard” means these exercise cages. During the hunger strike, they have been denied even this.

Nevertheless the struggle is far from over. The abolition of SHU torture units in California and throughout the U.S. and its interconnectedness to the struggle for socio-economic and political freedom, justice and equality for the unjustly suppressed and all underclass people in the U.S. is protracted and ever ongoing. There is much work left to be done and we here at the NARN collective think tank look forward to working with you all to accomplish meaningful change for the people.

We face many challenges. For example, we sent an update statement to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition media team on the Aug. 23 legislative hearings, which remain necessary to the people’s education and the advancement of our aims. Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI), however, were directed by the warden to intercept and confiscate all mail, legal mail, from hunger strikers in this 4B1L-C Section. Be mindful that IGI shortstops all our mail and, despite legislation, holds it up without our ability to know if and when it got out.

In addition, I am an artist, an exceptional artist, and I’ve had my efforts to use my talent to generate funds for this and other massive work thwarted by two major factors: 1) lack of reliable and trustworthy personnel with whom to work with the basic resources – i.e., internet access, quality copying capability, time and motivation – and 2) IGI interference. The latter can be overcome; the former cannot without help and I want to put a call out for that help, as it is a mutual and collective beneficial call. I cannot stress enough the potential benefit for all concerned from answering this call. My insight, business acumen and artistic talent in conjunction with this body is truly impressive. Please help us.

With that said, on a personal note, many good souls sacrificed greatly in this effort: myself and Brother Zaharibu in particular. When this started I was 223 pounds – I’m 6 feet 2 inches. As of July 1 or 2, I was 178 pounds. When the second effort began, I had not yet recovered physically nor had Zaharibu and others. I was 192 pounds on Sept. 25. Today I weighed in at 168 pounds and I was both prepared for and close to my death.

When this started I was 223 pounds – I’m 6 feet 2 inches. Today I weighed in at 168 pounds and I was both prepared for and close to my death. I want you to stop and think about that. We are warriors, yet we allowed ourselves to brush the veil of the other side, to embrace oblivion peacefully rather than exist in torturous tombs eternally.

I want you to stop and think about that. We are warriors, yet we allowed ourselves to brush the veil of the other side, to embrace oblivion peacefully rather than exist in torturous tombs eternally. That alone should tell you all you need to know about the righteousness of our cause and quality of our character. Now we must re-strengthen our bodies to match our minds and gird our loins for the next battle in this never-ending struggle for freedom, justice and quality in capitalist Amerikkka. I hope we can count on your aid and support. Our love and solidarity are with you all, always. Until we win or don’t lose.

A brief statement from the front lines of the struggle, from the NCTT Corcoran SHU

Written Oct. 9 from the 4B1L-C Section Short Corridor Isolation Unit – It is Day 13 of the second hunger strike in support of our five core demands and the abolition of SHU torture units as a means of manufacturing informants, containing progressive political ideas and maintaining the status quo for the prison industrial complex. At this writing, all New Afrikan and Southern Mexican partisans in this isolation unit (4B1L-C Section) are fully participating in the hunger strike, while our White and Northern Mexican brothers are providing moral support.

We have not eaten since Sept. 25, and the administration here has unleashed an unprecedented wave of retaliation reprisals against us aimed at breaking the hunger strike and provoking violent reaction which would undermine the nonviolent basis of the peaceful effort. They have thus far failed.

In response to this second effort, on Sept. 29, CDCR revised its medical evaluation policy for hunger strikers to minimize the amount of medical evaluation and data, while maximizing the chance of serious injury or death to those on hunger strike. They have ceased taking vital signs – blood pressure, heart rate, temperature – altogether and are weighing us only twice a week unless “it appears you need it.”

It is only because myself and Brother Zaharibu have lost so much weight since this began – over 10 percent of our total body weight from the first weigh in on July 30 – that our vital signs have been taken. Others who’ve requested it or complained of dizziness, weakness, lightheadedness etc. have been told, “Put in a sick call request,” which will cost you $5. Canteen purchases for hunger strikers have been restricted to hygiene and stationary items only – no food or drink.

On or about Oct. 3, they raided 4B1L-C Section and removed all food and drink items – even coffee and salt packs – from the cells of hunger strikers. A short time later the warden and her entourage arrived in our section laughing and joking like it was a day at the fair and ordered sandbags placed in front of each of our cell doors to prevent any fishing so as to ensure non-hunger strikers are not fishing coffee and kool-aid to those on hunger strike.

Human rights attorneys have been banned and we have been denied access to yard and law library. The warden has directed IGI to open and/or confiscate all legal mail for hunger strikers in 4B1L-C Section. RNs have been dismissive and outright verbally disrespectful to some hunger strikers in a blatant attempt to provoke us.

Human rights attorneys have been banned and we have been denied access to yard and law library.

Earlier this week, pursuant to a 1030 confidential information chrono alleging that two of our Southern Mexican brothers here “ordered the hunger strike,” those same two have had their visits taken by the administration for 90 days – an absurd accusation and blatant abuse of power clearly designed to provoke a violent reaction.

This is a peaceful human rights initiative supported across racial lines making it an impossibility for any single group, let alone individual, to “order” anything. We are all participants of our individual free will guided by a collective desire to see an end to the systematic torture and industrial profiteering at our expense.
It is from the same spirit of basic human dignity and thirst for fundamental socio-economic equality and opportunity driving the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street Movement sweeping the nation that our peaceful hunger strike derives its own political motive force. We have stated the undeniable correlation between corporate greed, socio-economic inequality, imprisonment and indeterminate SHU confinement based on “gang” validation in previous statements, most recently in our NCTT statement in response to the Aug. 23 legislative hearings.

There is a corresponding correlation in the bottom-up thrust of social consciousness now shaking the foundations of the unholy union of government and industrial capital. For this reason the NCTT Corcoran SHU wants you all to know our sacrifices here are also in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and we fully support the aims of the protestors to bring about a world where it is the 99 percent of the people who are prospering from the productive system as opposed to the historic motive force of U.S. capitalist greed, which has maintained an unchallenged opulence standard for the 1 percent ruling elite while the rest of us struggle, suffer, barely survive or languish in these concentration camps, the unfortunate victims of the race-class arrangement.

But like all historically oppressed people, like the valiant brothers and sisters from all walks of life currently besieging the halls of power on Wall Street, in Washington, D.C., Sacramento and across this country, we too will no longer accept the status quo or allow corruption, injustice and institutional inequality to dictate the nature and structure of our existence.

Each meal we miss, pound we lose and pain we suffer we dedicate not only to the realization of the five core demands, but the realization of the aims and aspirations of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, as they are one in the same. We ask you all to support each of these initiatives with your voices, your work, your blogs and, yes, your participation.

Each meal we miss, pound we lose and pain we suffer we dedicate not only to the realization of the five core demands, but the realization of the aims and aspirations of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, as they are one in the same.

Some of us here, myself (Heshima) and Brother Zaharibu included, did not fully recover from the first hunger strike, and our bodies, as with others here, are close to failing. Some of us, myself included, may well die in this effort, but we do so, if that is the Creator’s will, in service of a just cause and in support of freedom, justice and equality.
JOIN US! Stand on the right side of history and together we can forge a new world where poverty, homelessness, corporate usury, government corruption and abuses, state-sanctioned torture, criminalization, underdeveloped men and institutional inequalities are the exception, NOT the rule. You, THE PEOPLE, are the most powerful force in this nation. Let us wield that power together and forge a more perfect union. Stand with us! Our love and solidarity to all those who oppose injustice and oppression, and fear only failure.

JOIN US! Stand on the right side of history and together we can forge a new world where poverty, homelessness, corporate usury, government corruption and abuses, state-sanctioned torture, criminalization, underdeveloped men and institutional inequalities are the exception, NOT the rule. You, THE PEOPLE, are the most powerful force in this nation. Let us wield that power together and forge a more perfect union.

For more information on the hunger strike or the NCTT, contact: 

Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, CSP-COR-SHU, 4B1L-53, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212; Heshima Denham, J-38283, CSP-COR-SHU, 4B1L-46, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212;
Kambui Robinson, C-82830, CSP-COR-SHU, 4BIL-49, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.

We also urge all those who can to donate $10 or more to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition at California Prison Focus, www.prisons.org.

On the Continued Relevance of Scientific Socialism in our daily lives

On the Continued Relevance of Scientific Socialism in our daily lives

By: Heshima Jinsai
© Heshima 2005

As we witness the gap between rich and poor widen by its largest margin in modern human history, while simultaneously experiencing an unprecedented rise in the “ I/me” mentality of selfishness, greed and avarice which the system of capitalism promotes across the race-class strata, it becomes prudent for us to make a scientific analysis of the reliance of our socio-economic world view. Scientific socialism, primarily, is an economic system where the means of production are in the hands of the people; where distribution of wealth, opportunity and materiel needs is equalitarian in nature. Scientific socialism is a system of non-exploitation and puts an end to the wage slave system and the fleecing by capitalist of the surplus value of labor. Scientific socialism’s central tenet is “From each person according to their talents, to each person according to their needs.”

This principle of socialist dialectics envisions a symbiosis of objective socio-economic output and objective human need/consumption, and reveals the fallacy in logic of proponents of market capitalism. Unlike the bureaucratic totalitarian economics of planned economics in the former eastern European Soviet era, scientific socialism employs a more stringent and all-inclusive standard of materialist analysis on both the “talents” and “needs” sides by ensuring society-wide input via the democratic centralist construction of each city block, town, and rural community. Scientific socialism respects the humanity of the individual by ensuring the finest and most advanced education and training in any field the citizen may desire, while mandating general indoctrination in our core principles and ideology – not only developing them to their ultimate potential, but strengthening and fitting them in the area of our socio-economic infrastructure where their talent, education/training and personal desires all converge with the needs of the collective society as a whole (divisions of labor, specialization). This ensures the freedom to do what you like to do while maximizing productivity through the joy and enthusiasm of working in a field you enjoy with the prospect of greater influence in that field should your performance prove exemplary.

Simultaneously, need at every level of human activity (material, spiritual, psychological, medical, cultural, entertainment, scientific, technological, fellowship, etc., etc.) is met in accordance with current conditions, and surpluses are distributed equally. With the means of production and distribution in the hands of the masses, the surplus value of labor, normally extracted as profits by the capitalist class, remains intact end distributed equally across the population. This ensures a maximization in the standard of living for all and not simply a minimum needs standard for most and an opulence standard for some. This is possible only through the strict adherence to the dictatorship of the proletariat as envisioned by Marx, Lenin, Mao and Jackson.

But scientific socialism is much more than this. Scientific socialism is also a psychology and culture exemplified by our ‘principles of collective life.’ It’s a way of thinking and living that is both egalitarian and compassionate. Scientific socialists have largeness of mind. Are selfless and caring, and care more for the needs and welfare of others than for themselves.

In contrast, market capitalism has made a science of behavior modification in marketing its goods and services and promoting the fantasy that multiple, attainable paths to wealth, power and opulence exist for everyone if they are only willing to “work hard enough to attain ‘the American dream.’” This divorces the minds of the masses from the reality that capitalism presupposes the necessity of unemployed (surplus labor) and under employed (competitive class labor pool) to ensure the wage and class systems function. There is an underlying psychological phenomenon I’ve coined, “The Success Brainwashing Method” which I define as the systematic psychological conditioning of capitalist indoctrination that begins at infancy and is reinforced throughout life which enforces the premise that a man’s / woman’s worth as a human in this society is directly proportional to their ability to make money, attain upward class mobility, or achieve the trappings thereof (i.e. jewelry, fine cars, expensive clothing etc., etc.).

The motive force behind this phenomena focuses efforts on one’s individual gain and self-interest, if need be, at the expense of others – even celebrating one’ s ability to dispense with ethical standards which would impede the realization or maximization of material wealth (i.e. exploitation, betrayal, usury, manipulation, fraud, theft, misappropriation). This psychological construct encourages “getting over” on, or at the loss of, others and is all perfectly allowable; if skillfully done, it is even encouraged – no matter the adverse effects on one’s community(s), personal relationships, or even themselves. Capitalism as a productive system has as its primary motivation the development of super-profits and the growth of its markets and influence on the natural resources, political structures, and labor which sustains them. The capitalist extracts the surplus value of the worker’s labor as profits or super-profits and is obsessed with finding new ways of reducing costs and maximizing profits at the expense of labor and consumers.

The capitalist state is a tool to ensure the dominance of one class (the ruling or “capitalist” class) over the others and does so through the economic and social stratification of society via the two primary components of the capitalist state: 1) the economic class system and 2) the race/gender caste system. Racism, xenophobia and sexism are key components of the global white supremacist motive force of capitalist, market economics. Each individual class is competing with and in opposition to, the other classes – and within their own – while the reinforced race antagonisms, anti-immigrant sentiment, and sexist attitudes ensure the necessary divisions are in place, and periodically intensified, to prevent broad class cooperation or proletariat / lumpen-proletariat united mass organization. Capitalism must ensure the existence of surplus labor (the unemployed / lumpen-proletariat) while simultaneously promoting social attitudes against this segment of the population as undesirable and / or “criminal” to ensure the remaining socio-economic strata act as a check on its revolutionary potential.

Criminalization of the poor has been woven into the very fabric of the social consciousness, while police state repression supports this notion by creating a pool of souls for the prison industrial complex to both profit from the disposal of this surplus labor and act as a deterrent against effective organization (or even accurate identification of the people’s ills) at this level of society. It is though this highly refined system of racial automation which combines the psychological incentive of potential wealth with the deterrent of underlying force /violence, of divide and rule at every level of human activity, where in the ruling class’ monopoly on control is grounded. The difficulty in popularizing any alternative socio-economic system rests here. Here in the U.S., Yankee-style capitalism has systematically conditioned its population against broad based cooperation or cooperation which could threaten the continuation and expansion of exploitation of man by man.

To understand the clear polarization between these two systems of thought and production I have enclosed a thirteen (13) point comparison in simple terms of the two modes of thought (see attachment-[missing]).

Despite the inherently avaricious culture of capitalism and its facade of glitz and universal privilege, scientific socialism and principles of collective life can be popularized in the under end working classes of the capitalist economy by creating and successfully implementing programs that meet the needs of the people, providing an alternative to lift the yoke of poverty and perpetual toil from their backs without the need to abandon their humanity.*

Humans are social creatures, and capitalism promotes social ties based solely on the individual interests of those tied together. Should those individual interests change, those social ties are as transient as the sunset. Principles of collective life base success on the strengthening of social ties at every level of human activity and looking upon the success of your fellow man/woman as your own because, quite literally, they are. The resultant, collective consciousness, this united mind is far better equipped to manufacture cooperative economic programs and collective work ventures, and is more efficient as it is consistent with the social nature of the human condition. This is uniquely true for the New Afrikan. Communalism, socialism’s evolutionary origin, is indigenous to our economic culture; harkening back to the very beginnings of the historical miscarriage and throughout our subsequent struggles for survival on the shores of North America.

We are here today because those principles have served us well, allowed us to endure through the most heinous privation, evolved and refined, end now find their highest expression in our Party. But, let ‘ s be clear, modern U.S society has never been more polarized between rich and poor while, simultaneously, being as self-interest orientated, avaricious and disconnected from one another. The advent of Barak Obama has resulted in no change in the status-quo. And the nature and composition of monopoly capitalism will only be transformed as a result of a victorious revolutionary change. The popularization of principals of collective life are the first concrete steps on that path (transfer culture) providing the psychological foundation for educating, organizing and mobilizing the people for scientific, socialist revolution.

But anything new is fraught with uncertainties and peril. The potential for mistakes is great – especially considering the reactionary nature of domestic U.S imperialism and its history of violent repression-

So, in this discussion it may be prudent to revisit some of the past mistakes in the implementation of socialism as a socio-economic and political system. Though ideologies are indigenous, surely there are things we can learn. Let’s see what a cursory examination of history reveals to us:

In the chattel slave uprisings and subsequent Haitian revolution of the 1700′ s, following the final military defeat of the French, Dessalines and his successors were so traumatized by the chattel slave experience that they oversaw the systematic destruction of every aspect of the Haitian, national economic infrastructure which reminded them of the institution of slavery. This included the entire transport, mining, agriculture, and warehousing infrastructure which made Haiti the single most profitable colony in the history of the colonial era.

Instead of appropriating and maintaining this productive capacity for themselves, after decimating the infrastructure they restored communalist economics emptying subsistence farming. So fearful were they of the return of the French, and being isolated by the other (meaning all) economic powers in the western hemisphere -this fledgling socialist commune paid billions of dollars to the French right up until 1948 effectively bankrupting Haiti and taking it from one of the most productive economies in the western hemisphere to the poorest. Had Dessalines, and those that came after him, simply abolished the oppressive end exploitive relationships upon which their enslavement was based, maintained the economic infrastructure and productive capacity of the nation while instituting the same communal, (socialist in practice) mode of distribution of wealth, goods and services, the demand for Haitian sugar, rubber and coffee, globally, would have been tapped via South American and Caribbean proxies (Haiti sent military aid to Cimon Bolivar in Venezuela in the 1800’s – they had the means) effectively breaking the U.S embargo, maintaining its prosperity, despite the payoffs to the French, and today we’d see a much different Haitian history and nation – and as communal socialists may well have lived in a much different world.

As father of fascism, many on the left conveniently forget that prior to the ultra-right wing, jackboot politics of “The new Pax Romana,” Benito Mussolini was a leading official in the Italian Socialist Party, an avowed Marxist (at least in self-description). So how then did he go from a proponent of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia to the ultra-reactionary book burning, race mysticism of fascist nationalism?

The answer is two-fold and was repeated only a short time later in Germany with the Brown Shirts and Hitler’s “National Socialist” NSDAP Party (the Nazis).

  • During the height of the Great Depression Italian socialists clung to mechanistic, Marxist economic dogma which failed to feed, house, clothe and warm the deprived Italian masses, while the sure economic benefits of seizing wealth and resources by force of arms from the “lesser nations and subject races to the greater glory of the “Pax Romana” and “The New Empire” were readily understandable and visually in reach. Mussolini argued their ability to conquer others and the inability of others to stop them was all the justification needed to legitimize the fascist enterprise – the Italian people agreed and supported him as did the German people with Hitler a short time later.

  • Which brings me to point 2) Mussolini understood what the mechanistic Marxist could not: the nature and structure of patriarchal, authoritarian, European society lent itself to the social manipulation of mysticism and ultra-nationalist zealotry. He understood that psychological constructs were more capable of influencing masses of people than were data or external, material conditions – the perceptions of which could be manipulated. Amazingly, the socialist of this time discounted the existence of “psychology” as an influence on social conditions, or even a verifiable factor, period – reducing man to mechanical processes alone. Hitler continuously stressed that one could not influence the masses with arguments, proofs and knowledge, but only with feelings and beliefs. These two points are exceedingly complex end interconnected, involving everything from the misapplication of dialectical materialism to patriarchal, authoritarian, sexual conservatism as a basis for ultra-right wing reaction.

But, for the sake of expediency, I ‘ll highlight a few key points and move on. The application of mechanistic Marxism as a tool for economic and social empowerment in Italy and Germany has fertile ground in the industrial workers sector, but its narrow interpretation applied solely to the sphere of subjective economic processes and government policies. It was thus, doomed from the outset. When it tried, and failed, to implement industrial and agricultural soviets to feed the starving masses of workers (due primarily to the opposition of industrial capitalist and their program of bloody sabotage and brutal intimidation), they also failed to note or comprehend the development of subjective contradictions within the minds of these same workers .

The socialists failed to make use of their own method of dialectical materialism to comprehend this new historical reality of fascism, which neither Marx or Engels had encountered, and Lenin recognized too late. It was not that the socialists of that time did not understand the progressive farces of society where its productive farces or the contradictions of as they related to real life. They wrote the book on it. Their failure was to understand the forces that retarded social progress (such as fascism) and degenerated into hollow formulas as opposed to assessing the concrete socio-economic and mass psychological factors of the social changes that extreme economic deprivation was creating. Instead of the economic crisis leaving the mass clearly to the left, it made them feint left then ride hard for the right. The result was a split between the economic basis developing to the left, and the ideology of broad levers of society developing to the right. The role of ideology and emotional attitudes, unanalyzed and uncontested by an oblivious left, had contradictory and devastating repercussions on the economic basis for change. The left did not understand that the basic structure of reactionary man’s mind, especially in patriarchal authoritarian Europe, was capable of subordinating its objective economic interests to its subjective emotional attitudes where no opposition to this tendency was present. The failure to address those material needs through socialism further underscored the potential inherent in this new uItra-nationalistic doctrine – fascism.

What Italy teaches us is two prime points and one cognizant lesson:

  • we cannot afford to field ineffective economic policies which fail to meet the people’s needs, they will reject us, and thus, their own interests.

  • It must be understood “… revolution is a war for the minds of the masses.”

The psychological structures of the masses, and our influence on those structures towards scientific, socialist economics and principles of collective life, are central to our entire struggle.

If you all recall, in a single generation, the New Afrikan colony went from the Black Liberation Movement to reverting back to right-wing lumpen-proletariat expressions (circa 1985 to present) as a direct outgrowth of multiple, adverse psychological factors (the loss of many New Afrikan teachers to integration and busing policies, the introduction of crack and popularization of narco-trafficking and social empowerment through gang warfare, a move to the right and rejection of radicalism amongst Reagan-era New Afrikan intellectuals and co-option of radical voices or marginalization of the same, a resurgence of Baptist Evangelical Christianity in the mid-west and south, etc.).

George’s statement that, “The principle reservoir of revolutionary potential in Amerika lies in wait inside the Black colony, its sheer numerical strength, its desperate historical relationship to the violence of the productive system and the fact of its present status in the creation of wealth, forces the Black stratum at the base of the whole class structure into the forefront of any revolutionary scheme”, is still true. Yet, the practical application of socialism – or true social change – is a remote one in the New Afrika colony.

The U.S. S. R’ s implementation of a bourgeois, bureaucratic state oligarchy under Stalin, in essence removing power from the Soviets and concentrating it in the Kremlin, abandoning the 3rd. revolutionary international, and purging its most advanced elements, (Lenin and Trotsky) sounded the death knell for soviet socialism. Which warns us of the danger of totalitarian sentiments and personality cultism in the political application of socialism. A trend that was repeated with Kruchev, Breznev and Gorbatchov – ultimately dismantling the mighty U.S.S.R under Yeltsin.

But for a more contemporary view of Stalinist, Bureaucratic deformation of a socialist economy – we need look no further than China. In China we find a deformed worker’s state strangled by the global capitalist construct into accepting market reformation, in which a privileged, parasitic bureaucracy sits atop collectivized property relationships developed by the glorious 1949 revolution! Guided by a desire to protect its privileges, the bureaucracy defends state property only to the extent it fears the working masses.

As scientific socialists, we see collective economics based on democratic centralist planning as essential for truly developing the productive forces of society. We seek to liberate the creative and imaginative powers of humanity, which have been shackled by capitalism and class divisions. This brings us to the second flaw inherent in the Chinese approach to socialism which doomed it from the outset: single state socialism.

Capitalism is a global monopoly construct that, though competing with one another, unifies as a reactionary survival mechanism against anything resembling revolutionary, scientific socialism. The concept of “single state socialism”, or juche as it’s known in North Korea (the legacy of Il Jung Kim), in essence, dooms a socialist economy to the whims of monopoly capitalist pressures (through trade embargoes and other restrictions on natural resources or technology necessary to run a modern industrialized nation that cannot be domestically found, refined or produced by the socialist state in sufficient volume to meet its needs or on par with the capitalist), eventually resulting in capitulation to “market reforms” or becoming a vassal nation of another power (i.e., North Korea is a vassal state of China).

The very conception of a truly socialist future presupposes a global economic order based on the seizure of the productive resources of the advanced capitalist states through international revolutionary war. There is an inherent tendency (where personality cult does not overshadow as in North Korea) for Stalinist bureaucracy to abandon true socialism in favor of “market reforms ” with output and prices determined through micronized competition between enterprises; wages geared to enterprise profitability, price subsidies are eliminated resulting in higher inflation, the role of petty capitalist entrepreneurs is expanded, increased commercial and financial ties to western and Japanese capitalism, including joint ventures are encouraged. This all strengthens the internal forces of capitalist counter-revolution. Mao made his mistake in economic policy development by basing it on bureaucratic commands and arbitrariness instead of socialist democracy (workers communes). Trotsky, in his piece, “The Revolution Betrayed”, said of the U.S.S.R under Stalin that “Soviet products are as though branded with the gray label of indifference, under a nationalized (socialist) economy , quality demands a democracy of producers and consumers, freedom of criticism and initiative – conditions incompatible with a totalitarian regime of fear, lies end flattery (which the U.S.S.R had become under Stalin).” When we speak of political and economic revolution to establish a collective democracy it must strengthen, not weaken, the scientific socialist commune.

This dogma of “socialism in one country” is anti-socialistic. The problem of privation in the rural areas of China, across North Korea, the entire world for that matter, can only be resolved through successful international socialist revolution. To underscore this point, the entire concept of “socialism in one country” is the bureaucracies’ fruitless pursuit for “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism, a position that has undermined the defense of socialists end socialist states, not least through the betrayal of socialist revolutions internationally. Any serious talk of successful, international, socialist revolution will be decided here in the belly of the imperialist U.S beast. The lessons here are clear, ideological consistency and advance of democratic totalitarianism is central to our socialist ambitions – and we have not won until we win the World (our positive objective).

The core psychologies of socialism and capitalism are diametrically opposed to one another, their care values and motive forces in perpetual conflict. Scientific socialism is guided by principles of collective life which holds genuine concern for one’s fellow man/woman as a preeminent consideration, and puts the interests of the collective before one’s own. In contrast, capitalist psychology promotes such concepts as Gordon Gekko’s iconic “greed is good” diatribe from the movie “Wall Street” and places self -interest as the central psychological concern. Key to reinforcing this psychological state is the basis of competition as the catalyst for innovation and productivity, as a form or socio-economic “natural selection,” appealing to the basest and most predatory instincts of the human social creature. Key to the maximization of competition among workers and enterprises is the “incentive interest.” One of the prevailing arguments made by supporters of market capitalism is that the per capita productivity of wage-based labor (capitalist) is superior to that in socialist economies because superior performance is rewarded with additional material wealth which, in turn, translates into a higher standard of living amongst the populations of capitalist states. This material interest itself translates into a higher interest for capita list states workers to work harder, be more productive, and compete more intensely with other workers for the notice of management or owners which will translate into promotion(s) or increased wages – the material incentive. It is the position of market, capitalist economies that the productive power of capitalism, both individually and nationally (i.e., gross domestic product) will always outstrip that in socialist economies because the incentive interest is present in capitalist economies and absent in socialist economies. Scientific socialist, unlike vulgar Marxist, mechanistic socialist, or dogmatic “MLM” (Marxism, Leninism, Maoism) ideologies, employs dialectical materialism – not communist cannon – as the primary tool of analysis, dispassionately and objectively and there is no dispute that the additional stock option, performance-based Christmas bonus, or company car are all effective incentives to increase productivity.

The simple fact that selling one’s labor to those who own the means of production is the sole “legal” way for workers to generate money to survive in a capitalist economy, and the incentive interest is a clear path to more of that precious cash, clearly supports a motivation to increase labor productivity. If we analyze the few remaining, practicing socialist economies in relation to nations in the global capitalist construct with equitable populations and land mass – at first glance it’ s clear the capitalist states (i.e., Thailand (capitalist) vs. Vietnam (socialist) ) G.D.P far outstrips the socialist ones (i.e., the Bahamas vs. Cuba). But what is conveniently overlooked by capitalist economists is the incentive interest of capitalism notwithstanding, capitalism is a global construct of interconnected markets that support global growth while, simultaneously competing within this network of economies. The work force and industries of Thailand or the Bahamas do not have to contend with the economic sanctions, trade embargos/limitations, import tariffs and technological exclusion acts that the labor force of Vietnam or Cuba have to contend with which are designed to intentionally undermine the productive capacity and success of these socialist economies.

Such restrictions by global capitalist states are eased only to the degree that “market reforms” in these socialist states allow for the penetration of capital, exploitation of resources or labor, end access to consumers, all of which deforms the workers state end sets the stage for capitalist counterrevolution. Nevertheless, it would be unscientific to deny the productive and innovative impact of the material incentive interest in a capitalist economy. But, is this material incentive a necessary component of human productive capacity? Can man be motivated to higher performance by some incentive other than more cash? This is an important question if we’re seriously speaking of convincing the people to abandon market capitalism in favor of scientific socialism.

It is my contention that the objective economic conditions of a capitalist economy make the incentive interest a key subjective psychological factor for the acceptance of wage slavery and active participation in their own exploitation. Inversely, it is also my contention that the objective economic conditions of a scientific, socialist economy (where material needs are met by the commune) make the material incentive interest an unnecessary component, and the subjective psychological considerations of principles of collective life and the influence incentive of democratic, centralist organization sufficient motivation for equal, if not more, productive labor capacity.

Economist from Harvard University conducted an experiment with ninth grade students where they were offered a relatively significant cash reward, and the chance for more, if they maintained minimum, educational standards set by the researchers. The researchers were shocked to find a paltry 30% increase in educational performance set by the study – and one of the subjects highlighted in the study, an intentional underachiever – the popular guy and class clown – made a conscious decision that he could not trade his social life and peer standing for the effort necessary to get the cash. For this kid, and a significant number of others, the social empowerment of the peer group was a greater Incentive than the cash.

I raised this point in defense of socialism’s psychological incentive (principles of collective life) vs. the material incentive of capitalism with a friend in a conversation on the yard – his reply was: “The kid would have made a different choice if he had bills to pay.” I couldn’t argue with that point, yet it only served to underscore the compulsion of self-interest-orientated psychologies (the “I/Me” mentality) that are the hallmark of capitalism.

I also noted the flaw here in the assessment: in a socialist state, your “bills” are non-existent as your material needs are addressed by the commune. It is my contention that in a scientific, socialist economy, where survival is not contingent on the wage slave system of competitive labor, the desire to increase the prosperity of the collective and the incentive of having greater influence if you have greater insight, skill or ability in a specific field, is sufficient incentive to maximize human productive advancement and innovation. Thought (subjective) is the origin of actions which forge the material world (objective) – simultaneously, it is the objective, material conditions of life which influence what, and how we think. Living in a society where egalitarian mores are the norm, where human need is the primary motivation for material production and distribution, where being generous, sharing and selfless is virtuous not “naïve” or “perilous,” where the success of the collective is more vital than the desires of the individual, where everyone’s opinion has value and the most effective ideas are those that are adopted, will inevitably forge mindsets with motivations and incentive-triggers that are much different than those in a traditional, capitalist economy.

I, like all of us, was raised and developed in this malignant, bourgeoisie society – but, after making the transition and undergoing internal revolution many years ago – as a scientific socialist, I asked myself these same questions – and answered them frankly and honestly. Would I rather have my own freedom – or the freedom of our leading Party officials? Would I rather have $140.00 in supplies – or $20.00 worth for each of us here? Is the work I’m doing for myself – or for the Party, this body and the people (one in the same)? On and on I went -and in every instance I put the interests of the Party, people and our cause before myself and have done so for many, many years.

This, to me, signals (since I know so many others here of like mind) that our core psychology is not determined by mere objective, material conditions but also influenced by our concepts of truth and adhered to by our will and commitment to that truth. Principles of collective life are lived daily and influence every aspect of the socialists day-to-day activities.

So, how can we promote and popularize scientific socialism as a viable alternative in our own communities and daily lives? I believe it begins with the man himself, our daily practice and interactions with one another and the people. Practice selfless and equalitarian giving. Live generosity. If you are aware that someone needs something – and you can meet that need – do so without their even having to ask. In fact, actively inquire as to the needs and concerns of your Comrades and the people. Genuine concern should flow naturally and organically through your personal relationships. Facilitate cooperation among others and foster unity wherever you are. Actively think of new and imaginative ways you can strengthen and support the collective, and develop yourself and your abilities to their maximum potential so you will be more capable of making a meaningful contribution to the Collective, thereby, enriching us all. See the world and your place in it in terms of us and we – ensuring every decision is weighed with and against the interest of the Collective (the People and Party) first, and all else flowing therefrom. The popularization of scientific socialism, especially the revolutionary variety, in the context of a contra-positive authoritarian regime like capitalist Amerikkka is (and must be viewed as) an effort in social engineering which must involve both subjective and objective factors.

To that end we must, as an organization, develop, field and maintain community development initiatives and economic programs that effectively meet the people’s needs, popularizing the practice of communal economics strategically (we may well need to use different terms to identify these efforts in a population that’s been conditioned to fear and reject socialism/communism), while educating and organizing the traditionally most revolutionary segments of the population (i.e., the lumpen proletariat and proletariat).

For purposes of this discussion I’ll outline two (2) programs and one (1) organizing effort developed right here in this region, with elements in this body.

1) The Youth Community Action program (Y-CAP) – Y-CAP is both an educational / training program and a socialist, economic non-profit initiative (in disguise), which targets underclass youth and neighborhoods employing volunteers from the youth’s own community and family to work in concert with Y-CAP organizers in a two phase development initiative.

PHASE 1 – involves a five (5) times a week, 2 1/2 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 such as Mexicans and New Afrikans), computer and technological literacy, the arts and science / engineering.

Three out of five days a week the final hour will be devoted to martial arts, self-defense training, and strategic thought. Participants must comply with the participation requirements of phase one to be eligible for phase two inclusion.

PHASE 2 – involves establishing a collectively owned, community based business 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 pay / profit portion (collective work and responsibility, egalitarian distribution of wealth). The pilot venture will be a custom car garage (think “pimp my ride”) where we will seek in-kind donations of equipment and old cars (all tax deductible), cash donations, and fund raiser revenue to fund the rest. Volunteers from that industry will train each youth in exchange for marketing publicity for their own business. And we’ll seek industry related corporate sponsors (socio-economic guerrilla war – using the enemy’s own resources to strengthen you). The cars will be retrofitted, rebuilt and “pimped out” into custom low riders, ‘donks’ and Euro-tuners and 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 non-profit initiative. 20% will go to a college fund for them all and 10% will flow back into expanding their venture. We, in this manner, provide them with an economic incentive to be indoctrinated into scientific socialist practices and revolutionary progressive politics; bring the community closer to one another and the Party (mass line organization), and introduce a new source of revenue into the underclass community where that chapter of Y-CAP is based.

2) Closed-Circuit Economic Commune – The C. C. E. Commune focuses its efforts in a single designated underclass community, educating the people on the concept of collective ownership of business ventures and equalitarian distribution of wealth and employment – going to churches, mosques, community centers, street corners, and door to door with a simple informative / survey pamphlet. The concept is based on the design of a closed circuit capacitor which increases and amplifies electrical wattage by recycling a current on itself through a catalyst element like ionized zinc phosphorous or cadmium.

A dollar circulates in the average Jewish community for forty seven (47) days; in the “white” community for thirty eight (38) days; in the South Korean community for twenty eight (28) days; in the Mexican community for fifteen (15) days. But in the New Afrikan community a dollar circulates for … 17 seconds. Yes seconds. Comrades, we own so few of the economic institutions in our communities that seventeen (17) seconds after we spend one of our dollars it’s enriching some other community. I point this out not to stoke race -caste antagonisms, but to illustrate how little economic organization exists in the New Afrikan colony.

The closed circuit economic model is one that intentionally re-circulates and grows wealth within the community it was generated in initially. For example – in the south east San Diego community of Skyline reside some 10-15 thousand residents. We will request $1.00-$2.00 every two weeks from each able resident that will go to a central fund for a six (6) month period. Analyzing the purchasing habits and preferences of the residents who will use the majority of the balance of that fund (est. $100K in six months) to purchase a business which offers that most purchased good/service – say a bakery – which will be collectively owned by everyone in the community on the C.C.E. registry. we will hire only people from that community who are unemployed. All the profits (minus overhead) will go back to the central fund with 70% being paid out monthly to all registers in the form of a dividend check – the other 30% gaining interest in the central fund. We will keep collecting the $1.00-$2.00 every two weeks, depositing it in the central fund – in another six months we purchase a “sympathetic/support business” – which is a venture that depends on our contributes to the initial venture – say a grocery store. The grocery store will purchase its baked goods inventory exclusively from the commune bakery. Again, the grocery store will hire only people from that community that do not have a job. Again we repeat the process. In the next six months a cannery and packaging factory – on and on. In each successive expansion of the C.C.E commune, the unemployment rate drops until eventually we reach 100% employment. The dividend checks will grow as the number and prosperity of businesses grow, and; inevitably, we will reach complete, community economic interconnection (multiple enterprises that all do business with or support one another and the community). The central fund will continue to grow until it is sufficiently capitalized to establish our own credit commune – where people from the community can get guaranteed micro-loans, home and auto financing and standard banking services – and the community itself – own and operates it all – while being its own customer at the same time. In this way, the community becomes entirely independent of the standard competitive, capitalist economy through cooperative economics and collective work, distribution, and ownership. Once a full circuit is closed – we move to the next community, developing interrelated ventures that compliment one another and each community successfully. We only touch the capitalist economy where our own innovation and enterprises fail to meet the capacity, or is simply unable to. By means of the C.C.E commune we can clearly demonstrate that cooperation serves the interests of the underclass where competition cannot – and will not. It is a brief ‘walk’ through transfer culture from here to scientific, socialist economics.

Finally, the proletariat / lumpen-proletariat alliance initiative is a simple organizing effort between politically conscious prisoners, industrial and service labor organizations, immigrant labor organizations and unemployed or under-employed workers with class consciousness to commit to supporting one another in their mutual, class interests. This includes, but is not limited to developing strategies to organize and coordinate the various sectors of the labor force to increase employment opportunities, working condition and profit margins and benefits. Prisoners will / can strike in solidarity with organized labor, and organized labor can strike and support legislation for prisoner’s rights and community reentry initiatives such as community-based parole boards. Advanced prisoners, such as this body, can serve as strategic think tanks, research committees, policy statement authors, and immigrant workers rights drafters – churning out articles, essays and pamphlets articulating the issues and agitating in the communities. One of the primary problems facing the popularization of socialism in this nation is the disorganization of these most revolutionary segments of the population. The success of union busters and co- option of organized labor by corporate and state special interests, and the success of divisive polities which has driven wedges between prisoners, organized labor and immigrant workers dating back to Thomas Dorrs and the Hay Market massacre. We have it in our power with pen, paper and envelopes to start reforging those bonds.

Revolutionary, scientific socialism is more relevant, more necessary, more urgent now than ever. As the Vanguard Party of the most revolutionary segment of the New Afrikan colony, and the North Amerikan population – it is our duty to seek its popularization and establish its roots wherever we can. We have a world to win – let our contributions and sacrifices reflect this intent. Think on these things, they are cause for great meditation.

* “Social alienation” is a central component of market ‘sales theory’ and brand promotion in capitalist systems.

Heshima Jinsai has published multiple articles in progressive publications such as the S.F. Bay View, Prison Focus, and Turning The Tide. One of many dynamic activists in the New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist Collective Think Tank (N.C.T.T.), he co-founded the State Raised Foundation, co-authored the 10 Core Objectives for Progress and Social Transformation, as well as the 3 Pilot Programs. Imprisoned since 1993, he has been a tireless advocate for scientific socialism, community development, abolition of indefinite solitary confinement, anti-imperialism, prisoners’ human rights, and social equality. For more information, please go to ncttcorshu.org.