DOC: Dealing Oppression Conspicuously
There are an unbelievable number of people incarcerated in prisons throughout Oregon who are either fearfully unwilling or shamefully disinterested in rocking the boat when it comes to initiating unnecessary change within the wall of their respective institutions. But quite often it is a requisite for beneficial change to capsize the boat and force the crew to flounder. As our diminishing rights become even more chewed up by the ravenous jaws of the imperialist piranhas, sitting idly by and watching the grim reality show that is our subjugation, results only in the further detriment and disenfranchisement of the socially ostracized. Unity brings potency to a revolution; solidarity releases an energy capable of crippling the most obstinate oppressor.
The State makes the prisoner an indentured servant to the correctional machine. we are forced to work for paltry earnings under the explicit fiat of Oregon law; punished if we refuse to forfeit our independence. In order to retain special privileges and certain material possessions, it is mandatory that we work our brittle fingers to the bone for the State. One could easily make the argument that it should be criminal to penalize a person for his or her refusal to be a state-sanctioned slave.
As someone doing a life term in prison, the last thing I want is to be a labor horse for the same imperialists who've taken an ax to my liberties. Whatever pittance I procure from my coerced labors must inevitably return to its original source, as I cannot avoid frequenting the commissary to purchase the bare necessities for maintaining personal hygiene and a vital connection to the outside world. The money must revert back to the State; it is a fiendish circle. Moreover, as the demand for their commodities increases, those in charge of operations within the commissary business raise the prices. Meanwhile, the monetary reward handed out to the sweating and bleeding prisoners remains invariably insufficient. But if I want to survive comfortably I must tow the line. However, perhaps it is when we grow too comfortable with our dire situations that we become reticent to speak out against our oppressors.
Those who lord over the lumpen are not to be confided in, nor are they to be greeted as yokefellows. They do not sympathize with our plight. How can they? They receive exorbitant amounts of money to imprison us, to keep us downtrodden and mentally enervated. To them we are the dregs of society, the mischief-makers whose drumbeat is not synchronous with theirs. Which is why it boggles my mind that there are prisoners who shower the corrections officers with warm cordiality as if these licensed oppressors are on equal terms with the incarcerated. I witness them in deep conversations with the officers on a daily basis, sharing information about themselves, as well as information about others. Prisoners joke around with the guards like everyone is best friends and not two socially separated classes - the oppressed and oppressor. What the oppressed prisoners seem woefully unreceptive to is the fact that these potentates of the penal system are in charge of keeping us stripped of our individuality, and hold the power to make our lives downright miserable. They raid our cells - essentially our homes - and confiscate anything that worries them or shows signs of our burgeoning dissatisfaction with our confinement. Anything we manufacture to amuse ourselves is stolen from us and tossed away like refuse. They intercept grievances, deliberately lose or discard our ail, and tell us when to wake up and when to eat. This is not a relationship of reciprocal treatment. It is a relationship where we are forced under threat of punishment to bow to authority, to respect authority, and they in turn deprive us of the same respect. They see us a dollar signs, not as friends.
The amelioration of our confinement will only see fruition when the lumpen unite as one solid and formidable engine and drive our oppressors into the ground like railroad spikes. We must learn to be smarter than them, to dodge their attacks, and to gain support not just from those in likewise wretched situations but from allies outside of the walls. We must face the challenges as bravely and indefatigably as possible. For it is not the steel bars that make the prison, but those who are unwilling to fight to break the chains.