Jasiri X is a hip hop artist from Pittsburgh who raps the news over some dope beats produced by The Grand Architect Paradise Gray of X Clan. The two release these tracks as videos on youtube.com in a series titled "This Week with Jasiri X." Jasiri X is popular in activist circles, frequently performing and speaking at benefits and rallies. We've been bobbing our heads to his tracks since the release of OG3 - Oscar Grant Tribute in January 2009, but in light of his most recent release, American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires, we decided to take a closer look.
OG3 tells the story of the murder of Oscar Grant and the rebellions following his murder, from the points of view of Oscar Grant and the protesters. Although the facts aren't 100% correct in OG3, it is a good example of the many tracks Jasiri X has released about police brutality and aggression against Black people in Amerika. A track titled Free the Jena 6 was one of the first that got peoples' attention, and he continues to shout out victims of police execution and violence by name.
When working on an international piece, Jasiri X correctly draws connections between police brutality here and imperial aggression against Third World peoples around the world. He recently released a track about the uprisings in Egypt with M-1 of Dead Prez, titled We All Shall Be Free!
Despite his revolutionary lean, Jasiri X still holds on to his Amerikanism on several issues, which comes up big time in American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires. The video for this song was shot inside the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, against a backdrop of labor aristocrats raising a stink to keep their "fair share" of the imperialist pie. The title implies that a line is being drawn between Amerikan "workers" and the capitalist multi-billionaires with this union busting legislation. However, as outlined in several articles and books(1) Amerikan "workers" are actually fundamentally allied with the imperialist, capitalist class on an international level. It is only because of the pillage of resources and lives in the Third World that the government employees in Wisconsin even have health care in the first place. Defending this "right" to health care is essentially the same thing as supporting Amerikan wars, which Jasiri X says he is against. History has shown that the multi-billionaires won't give up theirs without a fight.
"When did the American worker become the enemy? Why is wanting a living wage such a penalty?" - Jasiri X from "American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires"
The Amerikan "worker," or labor aristocrat, is the enemy of the majority of the world's people because their lives are subsidized by the economic exploitation of the Third World. Third World peoples' sweat, blood, and lives are wasted to pay for the Amerikan "worker's" pensions and health care. This is because most of the "work" that Amerikans do does not generate value; we have a service-based economy. The only reason our society has such a disproportionately high "living wage" (as if those who make less die) is because we are comfortable swinging our weight around in imperialist wars of aggression to extract wealth from the Third World. Jasiri X seems to be opposed to this extraction of wealth, but does not make the connection that Amerikan "workers" are directly benefiting from it, and not just the multi-billionaires.
Jasiri X seems to adhere to an anti-racist model of social change. Besides being supported by an incorrect analysis of history, it also has him defending Obama as a Black man, rather than attacking him as the chosen leader of the largest and most aggressive imperialist country in the world. Jasiri X correctly pins Obama as an ally of the Amerikan people; their key to a comfortable lifestyle and fat retirement plan. But as an ally of the oppressed, Jasiri X should accept that Obama, and the labor aristocracy, are enemies of the majority of the world's people, and leave patriotism behind. Agitating for the betterment of people in Haiti, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, etc. as Jasiri X does through some of his raps, while at the same time defending Obama and the Amerikan "worker," is a recipe for stagnation. If we want to end oppression the world over, we need to have a clear idea of who are our friends and who are our enemies.
I want to illuminate my thoughts regarding a "secret" Massachusetts DOC policy that this state utilizes to hold us for long stretches in solitary settings. We are frequently charged with violating a secret regulation (103 DOC 514), yet we have no access, nor does the public, to view this secret policy. The DOC expects us to abide by a regulation that we are not allowed to read.
103 CMR 430 seeks to ensure fairness in the prison disciplinary system by clearly defining and providing transparent notice of the procedures by which disciplinary issues are handled. If the goal of 103 CMR 430 is to promote order in the Massachusetts prison system and affect positive change in prisoner behavior, the applicable regulations, and standards, must be clear and readily available to the prisoners who are held accountable for transgressing these behavioral benchmarks. If they are not, the result on the prison population will be confusion, not conformity. Prisoners cannot change their behavior to abide by a set of regulations they are not allowed to view. We are owed due process under the 14th Amendment, but due process is not being afforded to us.
In Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 US 539 (1974), the Supreme Court held that advanced written notice of regulations a prisoner is allegedly violating is one of the minimum requirements of procedural due process. Furthermore, a common person could only guess at what does or doesn't constitute engaging in STG activity. Charging us continuously with STG-related offenses while denying us access to definitions of STG or STG activity conflicts with the purpose of 103 CMR 430, and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. We must stand up and demand that the Massachusetts DOC reveal this secret policy!
As suspected, our appeal to the corrupted grievance system was denied. It has been decided that we continue our punishment here in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), all because we 16 Brothers were observing Black August.
These pigs can stop a revolutionary but they will never stop a revolution, by the words of Brother Fred Hampton. Black August is a peoples' holiday, so why should I be punished for it? It's a proven fact that this administration used my observation to place and keep me in Ad-Seg.
The mentality of tyranny is a war of psychology via technology, technically diversified con-fused like a tie-dye'd brain is stained with illusion and lies dispel, rebel, and defy the pail; head like a bucket, it's time to chuck it life on the line - F...K it!
You have an obligation time to stop duckin', time to start buckin' Revolution is bubblin'
Peroxide da line Oxygenate ya mind We have been deprived all of our lives given enough scraps to barely survive I'm feelin a vibe of Free ya mind its in vogue don't be so shallow and the rest will follow led by the dialectical materialist kind
Now lets begin - power up equip to it and stick like Bruce Lee Roy's chop sockie flick a sho' nuff revolutionary kick Word, it's a U-N-I-T-Y hit!
Who did what who called the shot I just don't know all I know is that it shouldn't have been so Malcolm should have lived until he was a thousand years old or even more some say it was the COINTELPRO of that I'm sure but what made negroes gun down our hero and turn around and practice non-violence towards a savage who threatens our very existence while Malcolm was plotting a resistance against the nemesis these imbeciles was plotting against the shining prince they're worse than Judas because Judas had a conscience so he hung himself after his treacherous action but after the treason these Judases are still breathing why don't they just die and make us rejoice with joy non-believers disguised in Black skin sabotaging the struggle that they don't believe in so they use their skin to deceive men
niggas killed Malcolm X and niggas will probably kill me too
You got to be naive to believe you can determine friend from foe just based on skin color alone and not by the content of the character I see the niggas but where my brothers at Bob Marley said that they sold Marcus Garvey for rice Then they ambushed Bob Marley in the night They say the eyes never lie but experience tells me that they don't always tell the truth
niggas killed Malcolm X and niggas will probably kill me too
Huey Newton was still an asset yet slugs put him in his casket while agent provocateurs that deserve death remain in our midst misfits in positions of leadership navigating the lives of the less fortunate the blind leading the blind now we can't find our way out of this maze that got us trapped and strapped with gats that we only aim at Blacks
niggas killed Malcolm X and niggas will probably kill me too
I'm analyzing this self hatred wondering why this Black life of mine ain't considered sacred in a blink of an eye a nigga would lay me dead on the pavement but if my pigment was white a nigga would think twice fifty times before he contemplates homicide I've stared into the eyes of these boys who claim to be real men and I've seen the fear that paralyzes that make them throw away their weapon when the cops hit the intersection we're conditioned for submission so the prisons are full of Blacks who hate Blacks and back stab each other because they're petrified of the real nemesis life sentences and these fools are complacent with just being jail house celebrities all is vanity buy up the commissary and live good in the penitentiary while we're becoming liabilities to our families where's the sanity?
niggas killed Malcolm X and niggas will probably kill me too
I was recently able to read a new publication which was published by the RCP-USA titled "Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America" (draft proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
I have been at many prisons in California where I came across RCP literature, including its newspaper 'Revolution.' While at first glance this RCP literature may seem "progressive," and a novice revolutionary may even think the RCP is fighting in the best interest of the masses, a closer look into its political line may surprise many prisoners who are developing their political stance.
The society that U.$. prisoners dream of is one that turns the pyramid of power upside down where those on the bottom of today's totem pole are the ones who have a say in running a society based on new democracy as was seen in Mao's China where landless peasants were freed from the chains of oppressive feudalism and colonialism. The prisoner in today's capitalist Amerika understands that such a society will not come easy and we learn this valuable lesson by attempting to change the oppressive environment behind prison walls. We learn 'grass roots' organizing and how hard it is to kick start even simple resistance to injustice on a micro-level.
As we learn these lessons we also begin to see what it will take to change a society, combat the capitalist and build the revolution. One of the key components of transforming society is a vanguard party; this is common sense as we know from the prison experience that issues that are not coordinated often prove disastrous. So on a large scale effort like transforming society we can see how a political party would be needed to lead the masses on the right path to liberation on all fronts. Understanding this we often meet others in prison who seek out political parties and begin the arduous work of studies in all the revolutionary groups' theories, their political line, so that we can determine who is the vanguard party, who has the correct political theory on what it will take to reach liberation here in the belly of the beast.
I began to really study the RCP literature as it is a party that claims to be struggling on behalf of the people. Along my path of really analyzing the literature of the RCP is where I stumbled upon its stance on the oppressed nations' right to self-determination.
The portion of this constitution that is of concern is "Article 11. Regions, localities, and basic institution, Section 3. minority and formerly oppressed nationalities." This section starts off pointing out the crimes and injustices that were perpetrated against oppressed nationalities by the former government of the USA. It explains how in the future socialist state they believe elections and legislature would work, among other new rights, in the interest of the oppressed. Subsection "A. African-Americans" correctly states that under a new socialist state Black people would have the right to self-determination all the way up to the right to secede and form a separate country outside a new socialist republic if Black people so choose. This is correct. The ability for an oppressed nation to govern themselves is a right that all should have under a socialist society.
Under Subsection "B. Mexican-Americans" the guarantee to the right of self-determination up to the right to secede does not exist. Rather in subsection B2 it states:
"Relations with Mexico, and policy with regard to the former southwest region of the imperialist USA, shall, from the time of the founding and in the first few years of the new socialist republic in North America, take into account the nature of the society and government - and the level and character of revolutionary struggle - in Mexico, as well as the actual extent of territory which has been liberated through the revolution which led to the defeat and dismantling of the imperialist state of the USA and the founding of the new socialist republic in North America. At the same time, the necessary consideration shall be given to the situation in the world as a whole, in determining how to proceed with regard to this region. In this over all context and also taking into account the sentiments and aspirations of the people in the region, in particular those of Mexican origin and descent, the question of whether to return at least parts of this region to Mexico, and/or whether there should be established, within parts of this region, a country that is separate from both Mexico and the New Socialist Republic in North America, shall be taken up by the government of the New Socialist Republic in North America."
The above portion of the RCP document is an incorrect line. The fact that RCP feels that once a "socialist republic" is established that the Mexican people would not be entitled to their right to full self-determination but rather their right to secession would be "taken up by the government of the New Socialist Republic in North America" as they put it is simply wrong. All communists should uphold the right to self-determination! The Leninist principle of self-determination is an essential aspect for a socialist party in general and would surely be a requirement for a vanguard party in particular.
The RCP has also stated the same line for the "Native Americans" - that if it took power the RCP itself would decide on the future for "Native Americans" but would allow "autonomous zones" for the "Native Americans" within an RCP socialist republic.
This line will prove to be a grave error for any party that sets its sights on attaining state power. National liberation struggles will not cease to exist until oppressed nations acquire full liberation - regardless of who is in power, denying their freedom. Lenin understood this and thus promoted self-determination as he understood that the basis for revolution is liberty at its core.
What seems to be lost on the RCP is that the oppressed nations, whether Latino, First Nations or any other, are not going to put their lives on the line to transform this society only to allow themselves to be ruled by what the RCP feels is best. Once oppressed nations see a New Socialist government is truly in the interest of the people it is for them to decide to join this republic. The vast majority of the land today is First Nation/Mexican land and for RCP to state they'll decide on who lives where is ludicrous. This position is as ridiculous as if the oppressed East Indians and other Asians living in South Africa were to create a party, gain power and then tell the native "Black" South Africans "we'll decide if you can secede or where you'll live"! This colonization is incorrect and does not represent a righteous revolutionary line.
The liberation of Aztlán (what is currently the southwestern U.$.) under an all Latino socialist government must be the primary objective of all Brown revolutionaries in North America. By showing its true colors, RCP demonstrates once more that many parties claim to fight for all, but in the end don't truly seek liberation for the oppressed nations, as MIM has correctly taught. It is the oppressed nations ourselves who must seek self-determination, this can only be done by using Maoism as the primary vehicle.
We need political parties that guarantee the Leninist principal of self-determination! we need to build Maoist parties led by and for the oppressed nations! Long live the national liberation struggles worldwide.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We have not reviewed this rcp=u$a document but this criticism is consistent with our readings of other material by this organization which fakes left but actually opposes the liberation of oppressed nations, instead favoring the struggles of the Amerikan white oppressor nation for a bigger piece of unearned imperialist pie.
Based on this comrade's review, we can condemn the chauvinism of the rcp=u$a that is writing the plans for some utopian white socialist state, while asserting that the future of Aztlán is uncertain. If anyone's future is uncertain it is the hundreds of millions of Amerikans whose nation must be destroyed as part of the anti-imperialist struggle. It is hard for us to imagine how this will happen without the indigenous people of the southwestern U.$. already being well onto the socialist road. If we're going to predict the future, we should be thinking about how the socialist republics of Aztlán, New Afrika and countless First Nation states will determine the form of transition for a large Amerikan population who is generally opposed to the socialist project.
The land question is no more settled for New Afrika than it is for Aztlán, and certainly not more so than for First Nations. We support all nationalism, including struggles for independent territory, that is opposed to imperialism.
West Tennessee State Penitentiary (WTSP) has a lot of house policy issues. For one, their policies are not always legitimate under Tennessee Department of Correction penological justifications. On Feb 1st 2001 WTSP Warden Henry Steward and AWO Tommy Mills put out a memo to the maximum/segregated prisoners about them violating in-house policies. I am a maximum security/segregated prisoner and therefore I can speak about the mistreatment and un-professionalism of the prison officials and administrators.
Max prisoners endure a lot of foul talk and other things that are unprofessional from the correctional officers who run the units/pods. Neither the Tennessee Commissioner or Governor has been notified nor approved of the memo from February. The memo allows the administrators to take away their personal property, such as TVs, commissary, and other articles we bought over the years of our incarceration. This is in clear violation of the 8th and 14th amendments. The 14th amendment protects prisoners against the deprivation of personal property and liberty without due process of law. When state law and regulations substantively limit the discretion of confinement, the state creates an expectation, and the 8th and 14th amendments protects against the intentional, malicious or sadistic acts by prison officials towards prisoners. At the end it's all cruel and unusual punishment.
All the maximum/segregated prisoners have filed a petition on this issue and are waiting to hear back from the commissioner. I believe these prison administrators fail to realize that we as prisoners still have rights. I again thank you for the help in the U.S. prison struggle.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome the news that our comrades in Tennessee are coming together to fight repressive policies. We encourage those in other states to take up their example, and be sure to report on your work in ULK so that we can share these reports and learn from each others struggles.
Beanies/caps have been provided for all prisoners in Administrative Segregation D-yard and Z-unit here. Strip searches will be indoors only (cells and showers) when it's 50 degrees or lower.
Due to the petitions sent to internal affairs and the ombudsman about the violations of the 602 appeal process that were taking place here in High Desert, an investigation was initiated by the main office of CDCR. All those who sent said petitions were interviewed here in Z-unit by an investigator for Internal Affairs and if my memory serves me correctly the secretary of CDCR.
These "suits" asked about the ongoing issues taking place here in Z-unit particularly, and High Desert in general. Some complaints were the need for warming wealth gear, the 602 process, TVs, cleaning supplies, access to the law library, transfers for validated inmates and those going to SHUs and mainlines, unjustified validations, and more.
The results of these interviews as well as the hard work of MIM(Prisons) and all comrades involved has bore fruit. Although we are used to these charlatans giving us better drag than an eloquent speaking pimp the following was granted: instead of having an "informal level," the 602 form goes directly to the appeals coordinator making it harder for him/her to screen us out unjustly. Also a new "Form 22" has been provided so that our requests may be answered in a timely fashion by COs, with a receipt. Now we have a clearer paper trail to use should K9s decide to implement their underground rules. Attached with this letter are the notices the administration passed out to us here in Z-unit.
Beanies were provided but no gloves. And as I write this, shelves and necessary wiring are being installed in one of these sections/tiers here in the zoo. The K9s cleared out one whole section in order to start the renovation on February 7 2011.
Although some requests were granted we should all reflect on this whole situation and take from it an important point that a challenge to this penal system in solidarity should constantly and consistently be pressed in order to receive our rights, while at the same time keeping our sights on abolishing this human warehouse that only benefits this corrupt capitalist system and nothing else.
I entered Washington DOC less than a year ago, but in that time I've experienced and witnessed first hand the "Department of Corruption." We have rights bestowed upon us by our forefathers through the constitution of the united states of america, so why is it we are belittled to such a point that we aren't treated like men, or for that matter prisoners, but animals in a cage?
The COs and Sgts don't care about our rights, they only come here to receive a paycheck. They cuss at us, disrespect us and use excessive force. In turn we file a grievance or grievances on said officers and actions and these "grievance coordinators" throw out our claims. Or if they do respond we get responses like "rewrite" or "not enough info," something just to shake us up and to detour us from what happened. This works to their advantage because most prisoners are too lazy and they just throw in the towel!
Persistence, organization, education and unity as a "whole body" is the key to gaining the upper hand against these punks. We need to rise up, unite and take matters into our own hands because it's apparent that the facilities and the states they're in are stuck on power and control over the individual prisoner. It's us coming together and standing for our rights, fighting the system to be recognized and treated as people and not animals.
I believe wholeheartedly that a neutral outside company or corporation dealing solely with grievances and our claims is the only way that we as prisoners will be treated fairly and with justice. Until that happens we will continue to be treated like animals and file grievances that most likely won't be read and therefore will be forgotten and thrown out, especially if it's in the staff member's best interest.
Is this fair, just or even legal? No it's not, but until we stand up to these people and put our proverbial foot down, things will continue as they are and I guarantee it will only get worse with time.
Comrades, it's about time something was done about these injustices! Until next time, keep on fighting the good fight and one day things will change. Strive for communism!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is an important issue to organize around. Not only is it something we can unite all prisoners around, it can also be the spark to begin developing independent power. Only a prison population that studies, struggles and works together can protect themselves from abuses by an oppressive captor.
Comrades in United Struggle from Within have already initiated a grievance campaign in many states. Join this coordinated fight to demand our grievances be addressed. Write to us for letters and petitions you can use in your own states.
by a Pennsylvania prisoner February 2011 permalink
The U.$. Government is trying to find a new way to kill people of color. This is suppose to be a country of justice, equality and freedom, yet thirty five states still carry out the death penalty. Each state now seeks a new way to carry out an execution because the drug used in the lethal injection (Sodium Thiopental) is not being produced or exported to the U$ any longer.
The people who sit on death row are mainly Black and Latino. Death Row serves as a modern day lynching house for Blacks and Latinos. The state of Georgia just carried out an execution of Emanuel Hammond with Sodium Thiopental from an unlicensed company operating out of the back of a driving school in London, England [Similar controversy occurred recently in California - ULK editor].
We need to understand what's going on around us and know our struggle is never over. And we need to start letting our voice be heard. Look at what's going on in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia. These people are standing up to their government, letting their voices be heard.
Let's stand up for our people in Death Row and stop this modern day genocide.
MIM(Prisons) responds: As MIM explained well many times already, the death penalty is good for nothing more than national oppression. It does not affect the crime rate, but it does get applied disproportionately against Blacks and Latinos. We call for an end to the imperialist death penalty, but not because we are pacifists. We know that the death penalty might be needed under socialism to deal with enemies of the people but we would not use this tool widely and we work towards a society where neither police nor prisons are needed.