Independent Leaders

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 17]
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Independent Leaders

After reading the article from our comrade in Pennsylvania under the title "Stand Up for Real Causes" in the Sept/Oct 2010 Under Lock & Key, I felt obligated to respond in hopes of giving some practical direction in seeking to revolutionize the prison's slave order of operation. When we examine the history of all those who organized and took action for a real cause we will learn that it was always initiated by the few, never the majority. Numbers help, but courage, loyalty, and discipline are much more important than numbers and must be without compromise the foundation in order for any unified resistance to exist, and most importantly be effective. Trust me soulja, I know first hand how frustrating and sick it can be when we see others around us willingly accept being oppressed, used up and abused. Most of them usually accept such humiliation with a big ol' Chicken George grin, in which you can almost hear "yeas sir boss!" squeezing through their teeth.

The prison's kitchen is in my opinion the easiest operation to boycott and the fastest way to bring about attention from the administration. You don't have to chase the mentally dead prisoners, they can go to work all they want but when half, or more, of the population is not going to the kitchen to eat, the administration is going to want to know why.

In 2007 I was involved in a kitchen boycott in one of Pennsylvania's state prisons and it was successful. Over half of the population didn't go to the kitchen to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner for a week straight. The administration started going around on each block talking with so-called block reps as to why and what. The boycott was initiated due to kitchen sanitation and food preparation concerns, and the prison administration made changes ASAP from our demands. However, the prisoners became comfortable and in the process things slowly but surely went back to the same poor conditions.

What made that boycott so effective was that the administration couldn't pinpoint any specific organizers because there wasn't any to pinpoint. Prisoners can't be given misconducts or lose his/her prison job, parole, outside clearance or any other privilege that they may have gained for not going to the kitchen to eat; that's our choice. There was a buzz put in the air as to why a boycott was going to happen and when it was going to happen, but trying to pinpoint where the buzz originated is like trying to pinpoint the very first piece of rice that was poured from a big sack bag into a pot of boiling hot water. You don't need to run around and give orders and instructions as to boycotting a prison operation, that type of thing will get you and others locked down under prison policy. The buzz itself will create a certain energy. And when that day comes and the cell doors open, people will not be looking for confirmation from each other. At that very moment a boycott will be born or aborted.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this letter, because we get more letters than we can print from comrades saying "things here aren't like they are in that state or this prison." These letters come from all sorts of places in every state. Of course there will be uneven development, and some places will advance quicker than others, but leaders are by definition a small minority. Leaders will recognize the self-interest prisoners have as a group in organizing themselves, but we cannot expect a spontaneous mass consciousness to take hold. This takes time to develop through education and participation. It is the job of the leaders to recognize when local conditions are changing and to push them to develop.


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