Having literally been raised in the fedz (age 23-40), I developed a very unique perspective/world view on the "struggle" and the varying dynamics associated with it. One of the things I saw in the fedz from the beginning was the abundance of "official" OGs on the yards. Revolutionaries and street entity! They put efforts into educating males that, at minimum, one only had to carry oneself with a certain level of convict decorum if you will, to stay on level 5 lines. The various nations policed themselves. Which in turn negated much of the reactionary interracial violence which'd typically occur.
My journey began in a United States Penitentiary (USP) where I lasted 6 months before an encounter in center hallway with an aggressive pig! Before my 1st full year was done, I'd added 24 more months to the 15 years I'd been given! That set the tone for my bid and life. In that the hatred I felt for authority manifested quite regularly over the next 2 years. Accumulating a slew of violence shots (writeups), FBI referrals for prosecution and ultimately my first SHU placement.
What I recall most of my first ADX stay (mid-late 90s) was the standard of the majority of men I met, be they euro-nationalist, Muslim, revolutionary nationalist, Chicano, tribal structures, New Afrikan, tribal cats, etc. All stood firmly against the pigs. Anti-rodent philosophies included. Granted, we had the typical frictions associated with being in unnatural environments, forced to occupy very tight spaces. Many cats got hurt, racial reactionary issues and intra-racial fratricide due to geographical biases typically. However, I recall many instances where those of us who had any "credibility" and/or "entity status" would regularly parley (i.e. politic) to maintain respect between us and thereby negate potential violence.
At this time, I personally put down my own "tribal identity" and embraced a progressive ideological precept, albeit infantile. Three specific men entered my life and changed it forever: a European communist, a founding member of the dominant Chicano structure, and last but not least, a bay area militant turned Muslim! While in "stepdown units" of ADX, each took time to work with me, share progressive literature with us, build via dialogue. Many of my/our (i.e. tribal cats) previously held biases and notions on particular ethnic groups, etc. These were proven false once we were put within the close confines of ADX and actually talked.
I learned of various German philosophers (Nieche, Clausowitch) from euro-nationalists; about Aztecs, Toltecs, etc. from Chicanos under structure; about Mao, Lenin, Marx from communists; about Chaka, Diop, Huey P., George, Fred, so many more fallen heroes (and sheroes) from Afrikan nationalists! All of which giving insight into how these men thought, crucial to forging any qualitative bonds across both tribal and/or national lines in prison! I left ADX for Lompoc, where I remained 4 years, got to finally visit my family, and where I was embraced to the revolutionary nationalist ideology via affirmation and deeds!
There I again encountered some truly conscious men who embraced one and aided in my growth from tribal reactionary towards revolutionary activist. [Many comrades freely gave of themselves on a daily to uplift all of us! What I learned from them was "struggle"! To educated ourselves and others to learn the needs of the people, stand beside all who share same struggle (i.e. quest for revolutionary political and economic change in U$). Skin color being a non-factor in assessment of one's revolutionary authenticity. This is a reality I took with me over the following 5 years, including a (3 year) ADX return. Each line I hit, my objectives stayed fairly fixed, but open to change depending on conditions and personnel. This led to many fruitful alliances with a cross section of the populace on one hand, and quite a few situations where we organized and in turn undermined the progression of our common oppressor.
The biggest hurdle that I see to Euro-nationalists truly embracing a genuinely revolutionary ideology is their own fears and inherent biases. The fear of being ostracized by other Europeans keeps majority from standing beside folks of color. Their shared sociocultural backgrounds with the pigs (in majority of states) oftentimes see the euro-captive identify with the euro-captor out of some misguided sense of cultural identity vs. those held beside them, who are of New Afrikan or Latino ancestry. Ray Luc and Richard W. (rip) showed exactly how one of European ancestry can be revolutionaries. Neither of them were cowards about reactionary BS! They walked as men, and as such, all respected them. And both had full military support of party, tribal sets, etc. should any of the racists attempt to move on them. Those who are really striving to be about the struggle stand on "people's power" not skin affiliations or entities which espouse supremacist rhetoric.
The article by Bro Rashid (ULK 55, p. 14) I related to as I am presently housed in the cesspool (twilight zone) of Oregon DOC. What he described from 2014 could've easily been today. Thus far I have lasted 1 month at East Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) and 3 months on this mainline. In both instances I was kited off yard, likely by other folks of color. My party jacket, coupled with the past tribal ties (i.e. gang) has apparently moved my captors to indeterminately SHU me. Oh, and my conversion to Islam a couple years ago likely didn't help my cause, considering all of the extremist activities going on globally, that is. It appears I shall be sent out of state at some point. Objective being to get the militants up out of ODOC so as to keep these cats asleep and complacent! Lifers content to own multiple pairs of shoes; mp3 players, etc. I am constantly amazed, daily, at how warped these Oregonians ideals are, as they relate to acceptable conduct for ethical men in prison! Kickin it with pigs is not only accepted by the so called "good dudes" (Oregon speak for a Euro-captive that is not a sex offender). Cell soldiering back and forth is a daily occurrence. I hear an abundance of anti-sex-offender rhetoric, but next to nothing about the "system" which creates misogynist cats who in turn abuse women?!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer brings up some good examples from eir history that demonstrate the potential for people to learn and grow, for unity across groups in prison, and for people of all nations to take up revolutionary struggle. While there are material reasons why oppressed nations have a stronger interest in revolutionary struggle, people from the oppressor nation in prison are in a unique situation that can inspire them to take up the struggle.
We also want to comment on the last paragraph in which this writer talks about ethical behavior in prison, as this is an important point. The ideals that make it correct to talk trash about sex-offenders but not fight misogyny is something we need to address head on. It is the patriarchy that makes males feel good to attack those convicted of sex offenses without thinking about their own patriarchal behavior. Further the idea that attacking sex offenders is correct but murderers are ok makes no sense. We need to create a culture where all crimes against the people are condemned. And then we need to struggle with those who commit these crimes to see the mistakes they have made and reform their lives.