Know Thy Enemy

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Know Thy Enemy

With the growing calls and efforts to establish tangible peace and understanding amongst the litany of disparate "Lumpenos" that inhabit and coexist inside the many ghettos and over-bloated prison camps of the United $tates, and who suffer the same systematic cycles of inherent and inherited poverty, inequality, and oppression, the following is a poignant example of how no one wins but our common enemy when we allow what divides us to take precedent over what should unite us. As history has taught us, Uncle $am and his reactionary cronies will never miss an opportunity to capitalize, exploit and instigate misunderstandings and hostilities amidst the oppressed classes.

"The FBI capitalized on these recurrent tensions [between the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Chicago and the Blackstone Rangers] by sending Jeff Fort [the leader of the Blackstone Rangers] another anonymous letter. This time the bureau made the letter look as if it had come from a concerned citizen with official ties to neither group. [FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover approved the following letter on January 30, 1969:

'Brother Jeff,
'I've spent some time with some Panther friends on the west side lately and I know what's been going on. The brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there's supposed to be a hit out for you. I'm not a Panther or a Ranger, just black. From what I see them Panthers are out for themselves not black people. I think you ought to know what they're up to. I know what I would do if I was you. You might hear from me again.
'(sgd.) a black brother you don't know.'

The Chicago office explained that the purpose of the letter was 'to intensify the degree of animosity between the two groups' in the hopes that Fort retaliated against the BPP leadership."(1)

The degree of the system's stratagems against the oppressed class can be gauged and better understood by the following FBI memo written by the Sergeant in Charge of San Diego, bragging to FBI Director Hoover about the detrimental effects accomplished with the COINTELPRO scheme:


"Excerpt from an August 20, 1969 report summarizing the 'accomplishments' and plans for the BPP/US COINTELPRO in San Diego:
'Shootings, beatings, and high degree of unrest continues to prevail in the ghetto area of southeast San Diego. Although no specific counterintelligent action can be credited with contributing to this over-all situation, it is felt that a substantial amount of the unrest is directly attributable to this program.'"(2)

I hope that all of the above will help to enlighten the "Lumpenos" to the devious and dangerous nature of this beast, and to provoke conscious and productive thought and dialogue across racial, geographical, and ideological lines. What unites us is greater than what divides us, and the only winners of our ignorant misdirected hostilities is the beast. It devours us all.

Notes:
1. Curtis J. Austin, Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party, University of Arkansas Press, 2006, p. 205.
2. Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States, Boston: South End Press, 1990, p. 133.


MIM(Prisons) adds: These historical documents are a very good reminder of the importance of the United Front for Peace in Prisons principle of unity. We need the oppressed to come together to fight our common enemy. The imperialists have far more resources, and an extensive spy and disruption network in place. At this stage in our work, when we are significantly weaker than the imperialists, we must counter their disruption with good security, and by refusing to help them foment fighting amongst the lumpen. Don't judge people based on labels, rumors or second-hand information; judge based on actions. All who are on the side of the people will show this by putting in good work in the anti-imperialist struggle.

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