Revolutionary Spirit Kindled by Isolation and Political Repression
In this environment (prison), I am a prison activist. I was placed in high security because I got fed up watching prison officers abuse and mistreat elderly and disabled prisoners on Estelle Unit. I went to Unit Classification Committee and I made a threatening "political statement." That direct action landed me in high security.
When I came to Estelle in 2011 I had never ever been in any serious trouble; I was the "model inmate." But something changed when I observed the abuse and foul treatment of the most vulnerable prisoners. I became more politically aware, and my former cellmate gave me a copy of Under Lock & Key. I was impressed with the cerebral, scientific, and pragmatic approach to facing these prisoncrats. I discovered that people listen to me and respect my opinions. I stepped up my commitment to Islam, giving Katbahs and hosting Tawleem, speaking more.
On March 14, 2012 I witnessed an officer slam the fingers of an elderly blind Latino man in a chow hall doorway. I wrote it up, Step 1. I wrote Senator Whitmire and Mr. Oliver Bell at the Office of the Inspector General. I was very angry at the injustice. And then the retaliation began: bogus and fabricated disciplinary cases, threats, and before I knew it, I had 50 days commissary and recreation restriction. I was devastated. There was a collusive and concerted effort to shut me up and set me up. However, instead of breaking a man they helped awaken a revolutionary! My main focus is to maintain this same passion, energy and fervor when I am released.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade's experience speaks directly to a contriction of oppression: on the one hand, oppression keeps a certain population down; but on the other hand, the oppression leads that population to resist and rebel. One of our jobs as revolutionaries is to tap into that urge to resist and rebel, and to guide it in the most productive way possible. We need to reach these people and plug them in to campaigns and strategies that fit into our revolutionary objectives. Under Lock & Key will always be a medium to recruit new comrades into the struggle, and to push that resilient warrior spirit in a direction that will fight oppression everywhere.