Tag Archives: J. Heshima Denham

Typewriters for Heshima, Malik for Human Rights Work

Please Donate!
We are fundraising for Heshima and Malik for their human rights work: they need typewriters to more efficiëntly do their work (writing!).

We need $225 for a typewriter for Heshima, and $300 for a Photo of Heshima Denhamtypewriter for Malik (he himself has to order it, so we need a bit more as the prison deducts costs). We already have $100 for Malik. So we still need a total of $425 or a little more to include ribbons, paper, etc.

UPDATE:Artwork of Malik Washington by Rashid
March 11 2017
We have now gathered enough money for one typewriter, that we have ordered for 
Abdul Olugbala Shakur, initiator and founder of the George Jackson University (GJU). 


Our first Crowdfunder message:

Heshima and Abdul are two dedicated Human Rights Activists who have survived years (decades) of isolation in the California “SHU.” They kept their spirits active by writing articles (using penfills), reaching out, organizing protests, creating programs meant to establish  vibrant communities that can look after their own, stopping the pipeline from poverty to prison. 

Heshima and Abdul, and other activists inside are now allowed to use electronic typewriters with which they can type letters, articles, flyers, etc. Abdul’s first typewriter was broken when guards dropped it. We will use your donation to purchase 2 typewriters via an approved vendor, plus supplies like paper, ribbon, correction tape, for a year. 

Your donation will be of great help to the progressive organizers of positive change for people who are vulnerable to being incarcerated because of their race or their lack of opportunities due to being born and raised in poverty.
Heshima and Abdul have proven themselves to be unselfish fighters for the good cause. You can learn more about their work by reading their articles on the SF Bayview website or going to websites that were established by outside support, with their imput, such as Amendthe13th.org, or the Concrete and Steel Center of Excellence.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION!

On the Correlation Between the Willie Lynch Method and the Debriefing Process

This is a Zine or Pamphlet written by J. Heshima Denham, a member of the N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU, in 2005. It was also published in: Prison Art Newsletter  Vol, 5 (2005) nr 5 (where we found it, link is gone).


By J. Heshima Denham, with an introduction by Ed Mead

The cause of progressive social change is the guiding ideological force behind the Party’s works, policies, and programs and it’s in fact the very reason for its existence.

For purposes of this essay, “The Party”, encompasses all imprisoned revolutionaries, including all politically aligned units and organizations, as well as individual revolutionary activists. Yet, in recent decades, the Party’s functional ability and influence have been drastically curtailed due primarily to its leadership’s inability to truly trust the functional apparatus of the Party’s membership following devastating instances of betrayal and compromisation by Party personnel who have “debriefed.”

Debriefing  is a process which entails revealing Party and operational secrets, doctrine, self-incrimination, and the implication of other Party personnel in revolutionary activity. It is the contention of this piece that the origins of this functional blight on our glorious Party lie in the Willie Lynch Method of slave making—man breaking; and it is the correlation between the William Lynch Method and the debriefing process which is the single most insidious evil plaguing the Party’s functional ability.

Throughout the history of New Afrikaans resistance to slavery, cultural annihilation, brutality, racism, and second class citizenship there has also existed a seldom spoken about, but all too often attested to, Legacy of Mistrust amongst the truly committed elements carrying forth that resistance.

Following many decades of retribution, escape, sabotage, and outright rebellion by Afrikaans slaves in the New World, many white slave owners sought to develop methods of control to secure their economic interests in those slaves. This delving into the process of psychologically bonding and bowing a people to the yoke of servitude reached its loathsome heights in 1712 with the William Lynch Method of slave control. The Willie Lynch Method of slave making and man breaking is perhaps the greatest psychological bane to the cause of revolution that has ever plagued the New Afrikaans collective.

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglas observed of this phenomena: “conscious of the injustice and wrong they were every hour perpetuating and knowing what they themselves would do were they the victims of such wrongs, they were constantly looking for the rst signs of the dreaded retribution. They watched therefore, with skilled and practiced eyes, and learned to read, with great accuracy, the state of mind and heart of the slave, through his sable face. Unusual sobriety, apparent abstraction, sullenness, and indifference—indeed, any mood out of the common way afforded grounds for suspicion and inquiry.”

The William Lynch Method was developed specifically to thwart that “dreaded retribution” before it was ever allowed to blossom into the fertile hearts and minds of the oppressed by thoroughly stamping out the DESIRE for such retribution, let alone the cognitive and emotive faculties to carry it out. As stated by Willie Lynch himself: “I have a full proof method of controlling … slaves. I guarantee that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least 300 years … I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes.”

No self-respecting professional revolutionary or political historian can deny the fact that the bane of every major revolutionary political movement by Afrikans in Amerikkka has been to a greater or lesser degree hampered, halted, or destroyed by fear amongst the uncommitted, distrust by one faction of another, or envy of this leader or group by another or its own subordinates.

The historic examples of this methods effect on Afrikan Revolutionary Movements in this nation are legion, but I will attempt to shed light on a few of the more glaring examples in hopes that you will grasp the crux of this new perspective on an old problem. Nat Turner, himself a chattel slave, led a successful rebellion that had the potential to become a much larger resistance movement had slaves from the Jones plantation not taken up arms against Nat and his forces in defense of their “master.” These slaves feared freedom and retribution, more than harsh bondage and the whip: they trusted the man who beat and humiliated them, while distrusting a fellow slave come to free them. Willie Lynch’s admonition that, “you must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us.
They must love, respect, and trust only us…” Each time I examine the failure of Turners slave rebellion, these words ring tauntingly through my mind.

Denmark Vesey, in 1800, developed a plan to seize a military outpost / port town in Charlotte, North Carolina but was betrayed by one of his own lieutenants who, it is said, did not appreciate the “lofty manner in which Denmark Vesey spoke down to him.” Discovering the enormity of the conspiracy, and the alarming certainty of its success, Denmark Versey and 16 of his inner circle where discovered and summarily hanged without getting off a single shot.

In the early 1900s through the 1920s Marcus Garvey, and his United Negro Improvement  Association, were one of the most dynamic forces in the cause of Pan-Afrikan Liberation and self-determination the world has ever known. With his rousing oratory and the comparative success of his Black Star Line, Garvey sparked the imaginations, stirred the spirits, and raised the hopes of countless millions of Afrikans the world over. However, it was primarily the relentless attacks of W.E.B. DuBoise and his NAACP which led to the Federal investigations that resulted in the Honorable Marcus Garvey’s incarceration, disgrace, and failure. This, of course, coupled with the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars (unbeknown to Garvey) by his own accountants, tolled the death knoll of perhaps the greatest Black Power movement of the 20th Century. Garvey was the victim of DuBoises’ envy, and an inability to trust his own financial agents.

However, it was the launching of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTEL PRO), and CDC’s accompanying validation and debriefing process which first staggered, then stalled, the Black Liberation Movement of the 60s and 70s and now decay the Party and its revolutionary apparatus under an insidious mold of mistrust. As revolutionary activists and political dissidents were arrested, imprisoned, and maltreated in the sweep of COINTELPRO, some uncommitted elements rather than make the necessary sacrifices for the cause, chose instead to compromise Party and organizational secrets. Not only becoming informants, but giving the tools of reaction the necessary ability to infiltrate the Party and other progressive organizations.

This process, coined “debriefing” by FBI handlers, became the crux of mistrust and rifts, not only amongst the various progressive political organizations but within the Party itself. Some claim such functional mistrust was the reason comrade Jonathan Jackson failed to have the necessary operational support present, allegedly promised by other Party personnel, which resulted in the death of this beautiful warrior and five other comrades that fateful day at the Marin County courthouse. Others contend this is also the reason comrade Fred Hamptons’ security detachment was conspicuously absent the morning he was assassinated. 

With so much “rattery” and betrayal occurring, no one knew who could or could not be trusted. In the wake of the Black Liberation Movement, and on through the transition to the New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, as more of the Party’s functional apparatus in California was imprisoned and they turned to  revolutionizing the criminal mentalities of those Afrikans who also found themselves in the concentration camp environment—seeing the success the Party was having—the California Department of Corrections turned to the same, seemingly effective tool as the FBI began, first validating progressives and revolutionary activists, and then offering them the option of debriefing—of further compromising the Party in return for their freedom and a role as a continuing informant.

Naturally, with the William Lynch Method still prevalent in the psyche of the uncommitted, they were successful in penetrating Party security with the aid of those willing to comprise their principles for a cell in a different party of the concentration camp. This was the beginning of mistrust in the imprisoned Party.

There exists a direct link between the William Lynch Method and mistrust in the Party, so profound, that it is eroding our functional ability as surely as the Colorado River continues to carve away at the Grand Canyon.
It is my contention that the origins of uncommitted personnel and their subsequent actions (such as debriefing and informing) lay in the unevolved slave mentalities they yet possess despite their political indoctrination. If one ever wishes to find the origins of his circumstances and reality he need search nor further than his own thoughts.

Our thoughts dictate our actions; our actions dictate our circumstances; our circumstances dictate our reality. If we could bring forth the collective uncommitted elements who have compromised the Party from its inception on, and analyze their psychology individually, we would invariably discover that they each, to a greater or lesser degree, still cling to ideas and behaviors reminiscent of the slave mentality. Liberal sentimentalities; envy and back biting of the truly committed; a willingness to still engage in unethical or criminal activity; intransigence; trepidation or outright cowardice in the face of sacrifice; ignorance; greed; selfishness; all remnants of the slave mentality, all the fruit of the Willie Lynch Method. Such Party personnel were never truly committed to the cause nor the Party, only to what they themselves could wrest from the People, Party and Revolution.

It is within our inability to foster ‘Internal Revolution’ (that process by which one’s psychology and very being are changed) first, in all Party personnel prior to their indoctrination where lies the reason these uncommitted elements have even been able to infiltrate our ranks. What must be understood is not that uncommitted elements exist in the Party, but why they are uncommitted elements; and the answer is because their minds have yet to be liberated. They are still for all intents and purposes slaves; and thus their actions are those of slaves.

As William Lynch states …”I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect or admiration. The Black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.”

These words are an ominous portent comrades, 287 years later and the slave mentality still plagues us and our efforts at collective liberation. But what is more damaging to the functional apparatus of the Party, the truly committed, is not merely the presence of the uncommitted in our ranks, it is CDC’s ability to sew dissension and mistrust within our functional ranks through the debriefing process.

The manner in which they accomplish this end is two-fold, and I will attempt to illustrate those with correlates from the Willie Lynch Method in hopes they illuminate my points more vividly, though macabely. In the Willie Lynch Method of slave breaking the Afrikan female is made to watch the strongest, most rebellious male beaten to bloody ribbons, tied between two horses, tarred, feathered, and set on re before the two horses tear him apart. As Willie Lynch states: “the next step is to…beat the remaining (slave) male to the point of death in front of the female and the infant… We have (now) reversed the relationships. In her natural uncivilized state she would have a strong dependency on the… (slave) male, and would have a limited protective tendency toward her independent male offspring, and would raise females…to be dependent like her… we reverse nature by burning and pulling one… apart… and whipping the other to the point of death—all in her presence. By being left alone, unprotected … the ordeal caused her to move from her psychological dependent state to a frozen independent state…what have you got? You’ve got the (slave) woman out front and the (slave) man behind and scared. This is a perfect situation for sound sleep and economics.”

Similarly, after witnessing supposedly solid comrades, debriefing and informing and in many instances being debriefed and informed on, truly committed personnel begin (and understandably so) to mistrust all Party personnel to a greater of lesser degree, who aren’t in their similar set of circumstances and standing rm. They are thrust into a quasi “frozen independent state”, fiercely guarding those few Party secrets and resources from all but a few, because they feel they can no longer depend on those who haven’t “gone bad yet.”

This is a perfect situation to ensure the political progress and operational range of the Party is curtailed by the Party itself. And as Willie Lynch states, “Before the breaking process, we had to be alertly on guard at all times. Now we can sleep soundly, for out of frozen fear, his woman stands guard for us. He can not get past her early infant slave molding process. He is (now) a good tool…”; and comrades, unfortunately this too is relatively true—before the inception of the debriefing process the forces of reaction “had to be alertly on guard at all times”, now they sleep soundly because we stand guard for them against our own great potential.
And comrades, potential unused is as good as having none at all. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

The second is even more insidious, because it is more self-destructive than it is passively degrading. In our attempts to weed out uncommitted and philistine elements from our functional ranks, truly committed personnel are finding any fault, even those perceived and not necessarily existent, within other truly committed personnel resulting in further fear and mistrust.

A subtle, but constant organizational self-mutilation is occurring within our ranks; like a rabid dog which gnaws off his own foot in an attempt to separate the infection from his healthy form, yet only serving to increase his injury. And here in lies another correlate from our nemesis Willie Lynch, as he states:

“Don’t forget you must pitch the old Black male vs. the young Black male, and the young…vs. the old… you must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skinned slaves… and the female vs. the male… if used intensely… the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful…” 

Though the Parties’ own internal rivalries often flow along the lines of young or new comrades vs. old or veteran comrades; differing ideological branches; different sectors; and conflicting personalities, the correlate is none the less relevant. It is the ever present specter of the debriefer, the rat, the  betrayer which causes us to seize on the most minor or middling infraction and raise them to the level of major breaches in Party discipline, protocol, or procedure. Even I have found myself in an instance, too quick to condemn another comrade to the ranks of phillistia and uncommittedness; and I berated myself and asked the forgiveness of the comrade in question and the Party as a whole for such rashness in the throes of my zeal because, most importantly, it was wrong. I see in it, not the vigilance of the truly committed to Party security, but instead the subtle influence of our enemies in their attempts to foster dissention in our ranks. I say thee nay, comrades! We can not allow them to manipulate us into slowly devouring ourselves. Strict adherence to doctrine, discipline, and security are paramount, but this descent into organizational mutilation and mistrust of Party personnel is nothing less than slow suicide for our glorious Party and the Cause of Revolution as a whole.

The effects of this mistrust are crippling not only the Party’s ability to function, but our ability to evolve, grow, and develop. The primary purpose of all professional revolutionaries is fighting to build the Party, but I have seen firsthand comrades, this is a fight we are losing. Our ranks are dwindling. Though the masses cry out for progressive leadership there are too few truly committed, or even willing voices to answer. I have traveled the State of California for the last year, and what I have witnessed is truly disturbing. The Party’sinfluence, once deep rooted and far reaching, is now virtually symbolic alone. Though always assuming a leadership role, and gaining deference from the various Afrikan tribes, units, and organizations I encountered—that deference is almost that which is rendered to an honored elder who’s day has passed. When speaking of the Party, though with the utmost respect and admiration, the masses speak, as if referring to a great and awe inspiring warrior who fought valiantly to the death, but is dead none the less. There are those who actually believe the Party no more! This alone should alarm the entire New Afrikaans Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, all those who love freedom, justice, and equality, and most of all, every Party member alive, man and woman. Is our strategic and tactical expertise so awed that we can not evolve to the point where we can balance Party security with our need to grow and our ability to influence the People? I know this is not true, because I know this Party—I know my comrades—and our ranks boast some of the greatest social, political, military, economic, and cultural minds of our time, so I can only conclude that it is this insidious phenomena of perpetual mistrust which is crippling our personnel, crippling our Party, crippling our cause.
Revolution, radical progressive social change, is illegal in the oppressor nation in which it takes place; therefore imprisoned Party members are a natural outgrowth of pursuing the cause of righteousness in this Evil Empire. But for the truly committed revolutionary agent, imprisonment does not stop the forward progression of the Cause; and so the forces of reaction developed “validation” and adopted the debriefing process and its Willie Lynch Method correlations have served to do great damage to the Party’s functional ability, thus gravely harming the Cause, weakening its proponents, and degrading the Revolution.

If the Party is to continue to exist as an organizational entity and more importantly if The Cause is to continue to be carried forth, the party must resist and overcome this phenomenon.

When a thing’s small, at its beginnings, it is easily uprooted or destroyed… A seed is much more easily uprooted than a tree. But this evil that plagues us is centuries old; a gnarled tree with thick canopy, many branches, and deep roots—but if we are to remove this “tree” so the “sun” of organizational success can reach us again—we must wrest this vile tree up by its roots, we must strike at its origins. Acknowledging the William Lynch Method as the true origins of the debriefing process is the key to halting its affects upon imprisoned revolutionaries. By being aware of the subtle psychological effects of the William Lynch Method that vibrate through the undercurrents of the decisions being made by imprisoned revolutionaries which are hampering our collective efforts, we can begin to devise and implement successful psychological counter measures and operational procedures which will forestall this vile evils’ effects on our Cause and finally sever this centuries-long link with the slave mentality.

We are aware, painfully so, of the myriad methods that Willie Lynch, those who employed his methods, and now the Department of Corrections have used over these many years to destroy the trust, unity, cohesiveness, and influence by which we depend on to carry forth the works, policies, and programs of the People, Party, and Revolution. Therefore we must make ourselves equally, no, more intimately familiar with those methods which will not only counter their effects but give the imprisoned revolutionary the means by which to evolve to a new and higher level of operational sophistication.

Primary among these is, and always will be, the insurance that those who claim allegiance to the Revolutionary Cause and expect to serve the people in any organized capacity must have first undergone internal Revolution before they are initiated into the secrets of the professional revolutionary Party. Internal Revolution is the process by which an individual’s psychology is so drastically changed in the direction of righteousness, progression, and willingness to sacrifice for that progress toward what is right, that he is virtually a new being. Internal Revolution is the only reliable path to true commitment, and only truly committed elements can be unfailingly relied upon to be free of the Willie Lynch Methods affects or its correlates, no matter the form they may manifest themselves (threat of validation, fear of debriefing, etc.). Lip service is one thing, but the truly committed will reveal themselves by their day to day actions and can be tested reliably in the service of the Cause. This, our ability to develop truly committed elements is the single greatest weapon we have against the debriefing process, it’s Willie Lynch correlates, and any other sinister machinations the enemies of the masses can and will throw at us.

I’m sure none would disagree with me when I say security is the preeminent concern in any clandestine political movement; and I can say with equal alacrity that it has been our strict adherence to this dictate which has been the crux of some of our own self-immolating decisions. Our fear of compromisation has bred an almost paranoid distrust amongst those in positions of responsibility and trust within our various units and organizations, of their own membership at large: and this is understandable. I myself have been informed on while promoting revolutionary sentiments and socialist mores, I myself have been validated, and uncommitted elements have compromised me in their debriefing processes. Instances of such betrayal are legion. 

But instead of succumbing to my own innate desire to put everyone in the “suspect” category, it made me more determined to build trustworthy personnel wherever I encountered revolutionary minded men and women. This is real simple: the Party must trust its membership, despite this phenomenon… or die. We must adapt already existing procedures and protocols to deal with our enemies’ evolution in intelligence capability, and develop new ones to account for future breaches in our operational security. There have been instances where legitimate revolutionary functionaries have reached out for logistical, tactical, or operational assistance from those in positions of responsibility and trust, and received only silence in reply, dooming potentially beautiful operations or sinking progressive programs by cutting their own personnel off from the well spring of functional capability. It’s killing us…slowly… but as surely as malignant cancer. But unlike cancer, there will be no outside intervention, no group of concerned individuals  to treat our organizational ills; the cure will come from one place and one place alone: ourselves.

Only we can take the necessary steps to place our functional personnel in a psychological and operational position where they all can feel comfortable trusting one another, of depending on one another, of having faith in each other and thus our cause.

Only we can wield our potential as it was meant to be wielded, and be condent that we can be relatively safe doing so. Only we can identify, develop, and encourage Internal Revolution in others, thus forging truly committed personnel. Only we can stamp out the fear, mistrust, and pettiness plaguing the imprisoned revolutionary collective. Only we can bury Willie Lynch’s vile influence, which yet haunts us like a ghost, in the impenetrable tomb of our own determination. Let us be about the business of doing so. Let us say to the forces of reaction: “Bring on your lies and false labels; bring on your SHU cells and torture; bring on your rats and informers, for we shall never surrender, never give up, never submit, never give in… and in the end we shall win.” Solidarity to all those who love freedom and fear only failure. Think on these things, they are cause for great meditation.

Prison Art Newsletter vol 5 nr 5 (2005)
And:

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

Please micro-donate to us via Flattr, thank you!

On the Ideological Persecution and Political Hypocrisy of the CA Department of Corrections (2003)

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

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

Published in: California Prison Focus Nr 18 (2003)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Incredulously, Mr. Anderson goes on to state:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In PDF

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

A day in the life of an imprisoned revolutionary

by J. Heshima Denham
In: SF Bay View, May 8th 2012

“The purpose of the … control unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and in the society at large.” – Former Marion Supermax Prison Warden Ralph Aron

“In several instances (the control unit) has been used to silence religious leaders. It has been used to silence economic and philosophical dissidents.” – Federal Judge James Foreman, U.S. District Court, East St. Louis, Illinois, 1980


“This type of struggle gives us the opportunity to become revolutionaries, the highest form of the human species, and it also allows us to emerge fully as men; those who are unable to achieve either of those two states should say so now and abandon the struggle.” – Che Guevara, Bolivia, 1967


Heshima wrote on the back of this photo – a rarity, as prisoners in isolation often go decades without being photographed: “This photo was taken a few days after the first hunger strike ended (last July). I was only 178 pounds; I’d lost 42 pounds.”

Greetings, brothers and sisters. Perpetual existence in the sensory deprivation torture units of Amerika, like any form of socio-political violence, is virtually impossible to understand if you’ve not personally experienced it or some other form of coercive force over a prolonged period. Though the human imagination is infinitely capable of conjuring fantasies of such horrors, what appears equally shocking to many is how can some not only resist such systematic psychological torture, but actually improve themselves under such conditions of extreme duress.

Ironically, the answer lies in the motivation of the torture itself. The origin of our resistance lies in the very nature of the core contradictions of capitalist society in conflict with the advanced elements of its most oppressed strata: the bourgeois state’s attempt to stamp out revolutionary sentiment amongst the lumpen-proletariat in hopes of maintaining and expanding its reactionary character, in contrast with the struggle of political and politicized prisoners to raise the consciousness and revolutionary character of the entire underclass, all while resisting the fascist state’s attempts to silence our dissent, crush our will to struggle and foment defection.

We have consistently sought to expose the objective reality of our collective exploitation, of what society’s ills are, their origins in the arrangement of the productive system, and how to change them in the interests of the vast majority of the world’s people. We have consistently been tossed in control units for doing so.

Prison is a socially hostile microcosm of society at large.


Prison is a socially hostile microcosm of society at large. The same structures and relationships – political, social and economic – that make up U.S. society are reflected on any prison yard, stripped of the pretense of patriotism and unity. Those social forces who dictate society’s guidelines – i.e., the ruling class, bourgeois state, the 1 percent etc. – have ensured “the rule of law” is structured to sanction those who would disturb the maintenance of the core contradictions upon which capitalist society is based – i.e., social production leading to private appropriation, the economic class structure, the race card system etc.

Should critics or dissenters rock the boat too far outside the bourgeois prescribed course, they invariably find themselves ostracized or imprisoned. Once in prison nothing is different. Abuses of imprisoned revolutionaries dates back centuries in the U.S. The legacies of John Brown, Eugene V. Debs, Melvin B. Tolsen, Clifford James, W.L. Nolan and George L. Jackson continue today in the indefinite sensory deprivation isolation of Leonard Peltier, P. Sangu Jones, Mumia Abu Jamal, Sondai Ellis, Zaharibu Dorrough, Sitawa Dewberry, Jarvis Masters, D. Mutope Crawford, L. Powell, Wembe Johnson, F.Y. Carter and so many more principled servants of the people and champions of humanity, all daily subjected to indefinite psychological torture solely because they will never renounce the struggle against the oppression of man by man … and neither will I. I am a product of this unbroken legacy of revolutionary thought, action and eternal commitment and have shared the same torturous fate for 12 years, and will continue to do so until we win or don’t lose, until victory or death.

But I’ve been asked, “What is it really like, a day in your life?” We share a functional collective consciousness, so sharing a single day from my life should give you a glimpse into the “lives” – the existence – of all these examples of humanity’s most noble spirit: the revolutionary in perpetual resistance to indefinite torture.

I’ve been asked, “What is it really like, a day in your life?” We share a functional collective consciousness, so sharing a single day from my life should give you a glimpse into the “lives” – the existence – of all these examples of humanity’s most noble spirit: the revolutionary in perpetual resistance to indefinite torture.


I wake to darkness and cold. It’s 4:30 a.m. and I’m in my small cell in Corcoran SHU (Security Housing Unit). I turn my head slightly to see the photos of my children and grandson on my wall and close my eyes to thank the creator for giving me another day of life in which to make some contribution to the cause of freedom, justice, equality and human rights. I ask that my comrades, my children and my siblings be watched over, their health preserved.

I then open my eyes and rise. It’s particularly cold this morning as I lace up my shoes, fold my linen, and roll my mattress back. After attending to my morning ablutions, clean the sink and sweep my floor, I turn on my TV to the news and enjoy a cup of coffee in preparation for my routine.

I have to be extra careful as I change the channel since the last power surge fried my TV cord and if I move my TV it’ll blow out again. The c/o (correctional officer) walks past flashing his light into my cell. I have the cell light that glares 24/7 blocked using a piece of string and sheet so I can stave off the migraines that accompany the constant illumination we endure daily.

I watch the various stories engaging bourgeois state-controlled media today: Multinational and domestic corporations, sitting on trillions in cash reserves, are refusing to hire because they claim a combination of “regulatory uncertainty and adverse consumer sentiment” has them sitting on the sidelines of the labor market. I see through this blatant gambit to manipulate the working class into opposing greater financial regulation and health care reform in seconds.

In an economy fueled by consumption, which is directly proportional to wage labor payrolls, corporations are intentionally prolonging the depressed economic cycle by not hiring, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of reduced consumption creating the perception amongst the exploited workers that re-establishing the deregulated free market – which is what caused this current recessionary-recovery cycle – and repealing the petty bourgeois policies of the Obama administration in favor of more industrial bourgeois policies that are championed by Republicans is their only course to broader employment.

I shake my head in a combination of pity, anger and disgust as I hear these deluded patsies parroting the ideas of the ruling class as they languish “trapped in the matrix,” their desperate conditions blinding them to their own interests. They continue to grasp and flail ineffectually to realize their immediate interests, seemingly oblivious to any conscious aspirations of changing the system itself, of seizing power and structuring society so the ownership of the means of production and distribution actually reflects the reality of social production and human need.

I immediately berate myself for the direction of my frustrated thought: I remind myself, as I rise and begin my warm-up routine of jumping jacks, that it’s not the people’s fault when the revolution fails; it is the fault of the vanguard party, our fault … MY fault. I/we must redouble my/our efforts, I think. We must combine our ideas, analyses and efforts in a more effective and efficient form to get our words heard, these ideas understood, these theories tested in the vital arena of social practice.

It’s not the people’s fault when the revolution fails; it is the fault of the vanguard party, our fault … MY fault. We must combine our ideas, analyses and efforts in a more effective and efficient form to get our words heard.


I did weight work yesterday, filling my laundry bag with stacks of transcripts and old magazines, then lashing them down with pieces of sheet and string to make a weight bag. So today I’ll do circuit training. I settle on 10 circuits of five exercises: 50 pushups, 40 crunches, 50 split-lunges, 20 dips (between the dunks) and 50 three-count squats.

The pain in my right side, which has been there since the first hunger strike, is like a piece of shrapnel in my side and by the sixth circuit I’m feeling my age, my body wanting to quit. “No one’s here but me,” I think. “I’m sweating, I’ve pushed my body, why continue to endure this pain?” Almost instantly a more insistent voice answers: “What if you were in the field of battle and the lives of your comrades and the people depended on you fighting on? What is pain to the future survival of the people, the party and the revolution? Nothing at all.”

All life is suffering; it is the nature of your existence, the price of your unwavering commitment to what is right. I heed this second voice. I ignore the pain and exhaustion and push on. I feel the cold stone under my palms and the sweat flowing from my pores, but none of it registers in my mind. I am fueled by images of combating the sick bastards on this TV who are dragging an old woman away in cuffs, her head bloodied, from an Occupy Movement protest line.

I strive to control the fire, to channel it into my exercises, and just as the rage against all the injustice I’ve witnessed and endured at the hands of this sick system seeks to overwhelm my reason, my discipline clamps down on it, I detach from my emotions, and finish my last set. I pace my small cell and drink a cup of warm water, re-asserting greater control of my breathing and heart rate in preparation for the next half of my morning regimen, cataloguing the work I have before me today and prioritizing it.

The c/o’s walk by for morning count and unlock the barbox – the sound of the metal gears falling into place, of tray slots being unlocked in preparation for chow signaling the start of another day in the torture unit. When they leave the section, I put up my window blockers and do 45 minutes to an hour of kata and martial arts training.

Here in the 4B1L-C section short corridor, the windows in the gun tower are mirror-tinted and the section windows blacked out. They can watch you, but if they’re staging a raid or monitoring your in-cell activities, you can’t see them. You thus live in a state between perpetual uncertainty and hyper-vigilance, never knowing when you’ll have your cell torn up and property destroyed or confiscated.

They are aware most imprisoned New Afrikan revolutionary nationalists practice some form of self-defense, and they believe they have sufficient documentation as to the extent of my decades of attention to these sciences in my C-file and elsewhere, but they really don’t, so I prefer to train in conditions of privacy to keep the extent of my expertise to myself. I end with some light moving meditation and then take my bird bath.
Around this time they are coming through the section door with chow. It’s scrambled eggs and potatoes today; it’s Tuesday. The menu never changes. You know the meal by the day of the week. We’re being served on paper trays, the food is grossly under-proportioned and ice cold. I go to the door and accept my small tray of food and sack lunch, looking at these c/o’s laugh and joke about the game they enjoyed over the weekend.

Through hooded eyes, I speak politely, thanking them for the cold food and wishing them a good morning. Startled by this response, they offer a nervous pleasantry in reply. I deposit my meal in a white paper cup, place the 2 slices of bread over it and scoop the 3-½ spoonfuls of cold cracked wheat cereal into my mouth and wash them down with some warm water.

I see this for the subtle psychological attack it is, reminding myself provocation and/or mental degradation is its intent. I form the opposite reaction, remembering there are men and women right now in some CIA blacksite prison in Uzbekistan being raped with a cattle-prod for breakfast yet maintaining their ideological integrity. I’ll do no less. The fact that they’ve been feeding me this way for 12 years and counting only strengthens my resolve. I’m desensitized by this point. I eat only to survive. I stopped eating for taste, texture or temperature years ago.

The food is grossly under-proportioned and ice cold. I see this for the subtle psychological attack it is and form the opposite reaction, remembering there are men and women right now in some CIA blacksite prison in Uzbekistan being raped with a cattle-prod for breakfast yet maintaining their ideological integrity. I’ll do no less.

I finish my “bird bath,” clean my sink, toilet, walls and floor, then sit down and eat half of my eggs and potatoes, saving the rest to eat with my lunch. My sack lunch – one slice of bread, two thin slices of bologna, a pack of two graham crackers and a small pack of almonds (12 almonds in a pack) – needs these extra calories to hold me till chow at 5 p.m.

I make my coffee pack, sit down and open my “office.” I intentionally maintain a massive workload so all of my time is consumed with activity. I am very conscious of time, of the quantity and quality of my daily service to the revolutionary cause.

I’m doing a portrait of a family who’s befriended my comrade Kambui in hopes of strengthening those social ties and displaying the quality of my/our work to a broader public audience; I’m designing new pieces for my/our greeting card line in hopes of raising funds for our progressive community development programs; I’m litigating a medical civil rights claim on behalf of a prisoner here with diabetes where I’ve been forced to file four different motions for extension of time because we’ve not been given law library access since August.

We’re supposed to get law library access today. I have several chapters and papers I have to review in various texts on economics, politics and mass psychology for a new piece we’re writing on the practice application of revolutionary scientific socialism in the U.S. today. I’m helping some good comrades gain a broader understanding of the ideas of Fanon, Marx, Engels, Mao, Trotsky and Ho Chi Minh as they relate to the ever-evolving conditions in modern society, trying to finish some work for our brothers and sisters in the progressive media and the Occupy Movement and putting the finishing touches on a Japanese cultural piece I/we initially intended to donate to the Fresno Museum of Art to auction off for the Japanese Tsunami Relief Fund but can only assume the museum director never wrote back because we are prisoners and she could not see past the propaganda of the state and its corresponding social stigma.

I take on all these projects, and more, intentionally. Enforced idleness is a key element of the sensory deprivation torture unit. The isolation is designed to concentrate the psychological impact of this endless idleness. The mind is supposed to turn in upon itself, warping reality. It is structured to re-enforce the concept that you have nothing to look forward to but the same nothing … forever. Its purpose is to break the minds of weak men, to transform them into craven informants, agents of the state, rats, debriefers.

The mind of the developed and committed revolutionary cannot be broken. Whenever it encounters such adverse conditions, it changes those conditions. I/we have no “idle time.” From the lowest, most oppressive conditions in this society, the SHU, we struggle daily to advance the progress of humanity itself.

We must work 10 times harder than any other segment of society to have the most miniscule influence on human affairs because we have such overwhelming power arrayed against us with the sole purpose of repressing our ideas – i.e., IGI (Institutional Gang Investigations), ISU (Investigations Services Unit), prison administrators, state officials, the U.S. federal government, decades of false propaganda and entrenched social stigmas which have created an aversion and irrational skepticism of anything positive and progressive originating here.

I/we have no “idle time.” From the lowest, most oppressive conditions in this society, the SHU, we struggle daily to advance the progress of humanity itself. We must work 10 times harder than any other segment of society to have the most miniscule influence on human affairs because we have such overwhelming power arrayed against us with the sole purpose of repressing our ideas.


We have a monumental task just overcoming the obstacles to communicate with you all. We have far too much work to do by writ of our chosen lifestyle to ever fall prey to such an innovation in psychological coercion. We are not simply immune, but where the truly committed are concerned, such attempts have the opposite effect: The fact that they would even attempt such attacks on dedicated servants of the people only hardens our resolve to resist. It makes us more revolutionary, better servants of the people and better men.
So I sit here for the first half of my day and work on this portrait. As I work, my thoughts tend to drift to my regrets. I’ve been imprisoned for most of my children’s lives and thoughts of their welfare and safety consume me: What are their interests and views, what do they value, what do they love? I look at the photo of my daughter Jawanda. I’ve never seen her face in real life or heard her laughter. I write them all (I have five children) at least once a month or more, but it’s been years since I’ve heard from most of them. I’m convinced my daughter Jawanda hates me for not being there for her and her brother as they grew up.
I push the thoughts away, comforted in the knowledge that my daily efforts in the cause are the greatest gift I could give them: a world where the interests of the many actually govern its direction and nature, democracy in form and not simply in word. Though I will not live to see the victorious revolutionary change for which I have labored all their lives, and will continue to for the remainder of my own, their children just might usher in this new social order on the heels of our contributions.

I hear keys as the section door opens and IGI officers enter the section wearing their arrogance and warped perceptions literally on their sleeves. They’re here to escort someone to ACH (hospital clinic). As they do so, the nurse and escort officer walk the tier dispensing medication. I accept and take my own meds, treatment for the inescapable damage done to my own mind which has manifested itself in an actual imbalance in my brain chemistry. I ask the officer, “Are they going to run law library?” They haven’t called with a list yet. But “doubt it,” he says.

I leave the door and return to my work, suppressing the sharp spike of anger at their continued refusal to allow us to access the courts to redress these inhumane violations of our rights. Another log on the pyre of the daily usurpations of our basic rights. Before I know it, it’s noon and I set my artwork aside and prepare my lunch while the news plays in the background.

I pick up the book Zamarabu sent down to me, “New Theories of Revolution” by Jack Woddis, and I pick up where I left off as I finish my meal. Most of the texts and concepts Brother Woddis is critiquing are close at hand and by the time my meal is finished and sufficiently digested, I have several tomes opened, cross-referencing ideas and concepts while I simultaneously view them through the prism of current social conditions and my own dialectical analysis.

I save two slices of bread, my apple and a slice of bologna from my lunch so I’ll have something to work forward to this evening. With that done, I turn my attention to addressing a question one of my comrades had on whether the practice of several small businesses trading among themselves to keep their overheads low equated a form of socialism, having seen the same story on PBS. I explained to the comrade his question underscores the importance of ideological development and a firm grasp of historical materialism when analyzing socio-economic phenomena.

What he had observed was a barter system amongst petty-bourgeois proprietors in an intra-class conflict with the more powerful industrial bourgeois interest – in this case Wal-Mart; this was not socialism. Those small businesses continue to offer their goods and services to consumers at a profit mark-up, continue to appropriate the surplus value of their workers’ labor, continue to support this system of white male privilege, race-class divide and rule, and labor exploitation. They are not socialist or revolutionary; quite the opposite, they are reactionary as they seek to turn back the wheel of history to the point where their mode of small production was the dominant segment of the bourgeois class base, where now they seek to bank together against the ruling bourgeois strata to keep from being cast back down into the working class because they can’t compete with the ruling bourgeois’ industrial scale mode of production and labor exploitation.
Socialism does not seek to “reform” capitalist property relations amongst the bourgeois elements; no, socialism seeks to abolish bourgeois property relations altogether. I went in depth on the question as did other comrades. Mind you, because we are in a sensory deprivation torture unit, these discussions cannot be held verbally, no. We must write them on paper, then shoot our lines and “fish” them to and fro amongst each other, sharing ideas, lending moral, emotional, psychological, material and spiritual support to one another via a piece of string and a weighted item tossed down the tier from one cell to another.

Because of blockers welded to the base of the doors and c/o’s who will snatch and break your line, this is of course difficult. But again none will deter us from exercising our fundamental human rights. We are here only because we believe the oppression of man by man should be opposed.

Because we are in a sensory deprivation torture unit, discussions cannot be held verbally. We must write them on paper, then shoot our lines and “fish” them to and fro amongst each other, sharing ideas, lending moral, emotional, psychological, material and spiritual support to one another via a piece of string and a weighted item tossed down the tier from one cell to another. Because of blockers welded to the base of the doors and c/o’s who will snatch and break your line, this is of course difficult. But again none will deter us from exercising our fundamental human rights. We are here only because we believe the oppression of man by man should be opposed.


By the time I finish, evening chow has come. I set my cake aside as a special treat for later and watch “Nightly Business Report” as I finish my meal, assessing and analyzing the daily permutations of global capitalism; then I watch BBC News and PBS Newshour. I then get back in “the office” and work on political pieces for various media interests, until I run out of gas around 8 p.m.

But I have one more thing to do. Today is special to me, and as I’ve done for the past 17 years of my imprisonment – this is now my 18th – I write a letter to my son giving him the benefit of my life’s experiences for the year, summing it up by recounting a story of children in India who are sent in bulk by labor firms to plantation factories as young as 9, 10 and 11 to pick cotton and work the gins in conditions as deplorable as those we experienced in the chattel slave epoch to develop textiles for a mega-rich British multinational. I explain to him that this was evil and how all that was necessary for such evil to continually prevail was for good people to do nothing.

I end my letter, slide it into the tray slot and sit down to enjoy a comedy program on TV while I eat the items I’ve saved from my earlier meals. Conscious of the pain in my side and health benefits of laughter, both chemically and psychologically, I release my emotional control and allow myself again to feel. I let go of the melancholy which is my constant companion and allow the mirth to strike me in the belly as the underclass antics of “Raising Hope” play across my TV.

Conscious of the pain in my side and health benefits of laughter, both chemically and psychologically, I release my emotional control and allow myself again to feel. I let go of the melancholy which is my constant companion and allow the mirth to strike me in the belly as the underclass antics of “Raising Hope” play across my TV.


I hear the section door pop, the bar box being opened and the gears being locked back in place as the other c/o passes out mail. It’s a special day, I’m expecting some mail and hoping to hear from my son. I receive a card wishing me holiday greetings from the beautiful brothers and sisters from a Pasadena community parish in solidarity with the prisoner hunger strike coalition. It fills me with gratitude and warmth. It’s 29 days old and postmarked, meaning IGI held this meager card for at least 26 days. I also get a ducat for blood draw in the morning.

I leave my door and laugh away the disappointment of not hearing from my family on this day, as I enjoy the 10 o’clock news. I see a wonderful story in honor of Muhammad Ali’s birthday, on how he defied the U.S. war machine by refusing to submit to coercion into their imperialist adventure in Vietnam. I suddenly feel even better, knowing I’m in such good company.

I look at my children’s photos and the images of Chairman Mao, Bob Marley, Jonathan Jackson and Buddha that are the only other images on my wall. I again close my eyes and ask the creator to watch over and bless my comrades, my children, my siblings, parents and all the people languishing under the yoke of this global Moloch of greed we call the capitalist “free market.” I close my eyes wondering why I heard from no one. I cut off my TV. I have an early start in the morning. I’m not as young as I used to be. Today was my birthday: Jan. 17, 2012.

Our existence here is one of struggle, of constant, ever present, inescapable daily struggle. I/we have attempted to convey this reality to you in many ways, but these are words, only valid if they serve to influence you positively in some way. What must be understood in the final analysis is we here are not “gang members” when speaking of adherents of NARN (New Afrikan Revolutionary Nation) Scientific Socialism; we are revolutionaries. We think, act and communicate differently than those who have not given their lives to the people.

I say this not to disparage anyone; it is simply a statement of fact. The Honorable Comrade George Lester Jackson stated, “Revolution is a war for the minds of the masses.” The state has buried us in these torture units specifically to ensure we cannot effectively communicate the reality of the collective subjugation of 99 percent of those in this society to the whims of an avaricious ruling elite. They seek to criminalize legitimate political discourse, to disparage the truth in favor of an ever-evolving lie. The truth of the matter is you and I both are nothing but commodities to these people, our values being exploited or intentionally suppressed as the interests of their profit margins dictate.

Saul D. Alinsky in his book “Rules for Radicals” said, “When you are trying to communicate and can’t find the point in the experience of the other party at which he can receive and understand, then you must create the experience for him.” I have tried to do that here without horrifying you. What must be understood is some of the greatest political, social, economic, cultural, scientific and military minds of our time are languishing in the short corridors and cell blocks of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs. Many of you in progressive circles are familiar with my writing, but I am merely a product of the phenomenal principled men I mentioned at the beginning of this discussion and the unfinished legacy of democratic change and equalitarian struggle that is the hallmark of the evolution of civilization.

The state has buried us in these torture units specifically to ensure we cannot effectively communicate the reality of the collective subjugation of 99 percent of those in this society to the whims of an avaricious ruling elite. They seek to criminalize legitimate political discourse. Some of the greatest political, social, economic, cultural, scientific and military minds of our time are languishing in the short corridors and cell blocks of Pelican Bay and Corcoran SHUs.


Under these conditions – indeterminate SHU confinement – we have the full weight of the state arrayed against us. Our words in some instances are our only effective tools. If I/we write or say something I/we consider revolutionary, that I hope will alter the nature and structure of society and improve mankind, but in the final analysis fails to move anyone in a substantive way, it is not revolutionary or progressive. Communication that fails to effect its intent is so much idle chatter.

The concrete analysis of such concrete conditions would be nothing has been changed. The reason we commit so much time and effort into understanding the history and present interconnections of all human activity in our world is the ability to change people’s minds, to alter their perspectives so a previously hidden truth becomes self-evident. It’s a serious matter, as serious and strategic as war, because revolution is a war.

As you read this I’m waging that war now, against entrenched biases and artificial social stigmas manufactured by a specific socio-economic interest. This is why we are so hard on ourselves, why we intentionally expose ourselves to conditions that would crush most men’s minds and subsume their wills: Failure to communicate these ideas to you effectively is to fail you.

We are speaking of the future evolution of the world, of forging a society more reflective of human decency than human misery. We cannot fail. Our cause is just because our cause is you – serving the people.
It is my sincerest hope that you leave this brief discussion with not simply a greater grasp of this injustice, but more centrally with a determination to insist the state end this hidden hypocrisy. The U.S. – and the state of California – cannot continue criticizing Syria, China, Burma and Russia for their alleged repressive measures against dissent and maltreatment of political prisoners, yet continue to maintain its own domestic program of torture against political prisoners. It is inhumane, illegal, hypocritical and just plain wrong.

Our imprisonment has no bearing on the truth and validity of our ideas. If this is truly a nation which values democracy, equality, human rights and fundamental fairness as its social imperatives, surely its people cannot allow this practice of political repression to continue unchallenged. Surely you will challenge it.

Our imprisonment has no bearing on the truth and validity of our ideas. If this is truly a nation which values democracy, equality, human rights and fundamental fairness as its social imperatives, surely its people cannot allow this practice of political repression to continue unchallenged.


If nothing else, I hope sharing a day in my life will compel you to value your own a little more and cherish that of your fellow man or woman as you do your own. My/our love, loyalty and solidarity to you all … until we win or don’t lose.