Some of those familiar with Our organization, who’ve read Our Tx TeamOne Primer, and Our other numerous articles, or followed us on Twitter, may ask what is the purpose for this writing. For you would have already known that Texas TeamOne is not a nationality-specific organization.
The articulated reason some have become confused and muddle-headed is because a comrade here decided to initiate campaigns on dates some associate with New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism, and have taken exception to this.
The campaigns in question were initiated on Black August 21st and ended September 9th. The other campaign is one We’re working on now, and have promoted in Under Lock & Key (ULK) which is Our Juneteenth Freedom Initiative.
First let’s look at Black August 2st - September 9th and why We chose that. These two dates are associated with George Jackson’s assassination and the Attica uprising. What were Jackson’s politics? Jackson, at the time of his death was a Communist. Jackson expressed his desire to eradicate ‘racism’ and the necessity to differentiate himself and others as Black, or whatever color. Jackson said “Black, white and Brown are all victims together.” i say this to say that Jackson was more than just a Black man; to see him as such is to showcase one’s own limited perspective. Jackson was and is a paragon for imprisoned people entering the realm of revolutionary ideas and practice, he was a living legend to an entire state prison system, even to those who did not like him. Telling of all this is that on his death date the other prisoners who rose up in defense to smite their enemies, and were charged and came to be known as the: San Quentin Six, some of these comrades were Chican@s. Hugo Pinnell, one of this group and also a supposed Black Guerrilla Family member, was Puerto Rican.
So when We take these hystorical facts into account We have a better understanding that August 21st isn’t merely about George Jackson but also solidarity to the death, shown by those comrades that day. Furthermore, August is also the month of the Chicano Moratorium, and is commemorated each year, as Chican@s learn of their hystory of revolutionary struggle around this time.
September 9th, the day of the Attica uprising, is clearly a day of multi-national prisoner solidarity, when New Afrikan, Amerikan and Puerto Rican comrades occupied the prison compound as one body. This is held up as the ultimate example of multi-national unity among prisoners.
In regards to Juneteenth, i believed that in 2022 the connections would be clear to everyone, but apparently not. Apparently some think that only New Afrikans were and are slaves. This is not the case. According to the U.$. constitution all those in prison are slaves. The contradiction is that Juneteenth commemorates a day when slavery was supposed to have ended, and Biden’s regime has made this a federal holiday now, while millions of ‘slaves’ still exist in this kkkountry, and their colors vary like the rainbow. The Juneteenth actions are so set in order to raise the visibility of this flagrant contradiction, a method used to tell the public, to showcase that while most are busy incorporating themselves into amerika INC, We, the lumpen-prisoner class are among the last unincorporated people, or class resident to North America. This is the most basic ideal behind Our Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, but not the only. The J.F.I. consists of three stages, the first mentioned above, is to publicize, the second acts to bring the issue of targeted mass incarceration and its role in the genocide of oppressed nationalities domestic of N. America, to the federal level.
The third stage acts to bring these two issues to the international level. We’ve released a more in depth communique surrounding the J.F.I. Please write in to MIM(prisons) to obtain it and be sure to provide postage via stamps.
In political struggle there are many forms of oppression and exploitation. However, these many can summarily be broken down into three primary forms of oppression, and these are national, class and gender.
In Our quest as people to undermine and ultimately devour this oppression We formulate specific types of organizations and organizational methods that We infer will best allow us to meet Our goals, and do so swiftly. Some organizations are organized around gender, for example, the National Woman’s Organization, while others are organized around nation(al) issues, like the Black Panther Party, NAACP, UNIA, RNA, Black Lives Matter and many many others. And still there are some which organize around issues of class, United Struggle from Within, Socialist Workers Party, Prison Lives Matter, and such organizations are examples here.
After much discussion within the Texas TeamOne organizational body it has come to Our attention that We must make Our position clear on the question of the basic purpose of Our organization. Some within and without the organization seem to assume that Texas TeamOne is a New Afrikan-based organization, and thus is organizing on the question of nation and nationality and this has subsequently alienated some, or at least been an excuse for their inactivity. Therefore, i would like to use this platform to publicly declare that although some in Texas TEAMONE are New Afrikans, We’re not a New Afrikan-based organization. Some of Our comrades are Chican@s/Mexican@s, but We’re not a Chican@-based organization either. Texas TEAMONE is focused upon uniting the prisoner(lumpen) class, as a class statewide, guiding this class in asserting its class interest in a manner aligned with proletarian internationalism, and working within the masses of this class to develop political cadres (professional revolutionaries) to send out to the ‘free world’ to assist in freeing Our peoples. This is Our long-term mission.
So to be clear, what is a ‘class’? Marx didn’t see classes as simply economic groupings. Instead, Marx gives-us indispensable criteria, which could be listed as: 1) that class members must share a common position in their relations to the means of production, i.e., common economic conditions, relative to their labor and the appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations, i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries and constitutes a ‘national’ bond: 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’ and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’.(1)
So while Texas prisoners are ‘naturally’ a ‘class-in-itself’, by meeting the first above criteria alone, We at Texas TeamOne are about leading the charge to make the Texas prisoner class develop into a ‘class-for-itself’, “which will depend on the acquisition and development of the remaining elements. Meaning the group must develop consciousness of itself as a class; create political organizations engage in unified action to oppose and defeat class enemies; begin to build a new society free from all exploitation and oppression and: eliminate all class division”.(2)
Texas prisoners already share a definite and distinct way of life separate from the rest of society’s classes represented in Texas. As many of you already know, despite Our inability to unify strongly in massive numbers, We do have common interests, however We get in Our own way. Numbers four, five, and six are the role Texas TeamOne shall occupy for prisoners in this state, and We will contribute to the countrywide lumpen/ prisoner class organizing being done by USW, and groups like Prison Lives Matter. The key is to build solid cadre state-to-state, then organize these cadres across the country to actualize the mighty reservoir of revolutionary potential that lays dormant behind these walls.
Before i close this out, i would like to express the importance of an in-depth study and comprehension of WORLD hystory. The oppressed nations in the United $tates have an extended hystory of organized unity. Remember Santa Anna? Why did the General call for the war against Anglo-Texan colonizers? Was it not to force them to abolish slavery? Why do people celebrate Cinco De Mayo? When the French, led by Maximillian I, invaded Veracruz, Mexico to re-institute slavery, didn’t the Mexican people fight admirably to repel the French? Didn’t free New Afrikans stand in solidarity with their/ Our Mexican counterparts? Cinco De Mayo was initiated by the Mexican Amerikan Union Army veterans in the SouthWest(Aztlán) to commemorate the Mexican victory over the european invaders who were hell-bent on re-enslaving the people. It was a holiday symbolizing national independence, resistance to imperialism, and the abolition of slavery. What is telling is that the Mexican Amerikan Union was actively fighting in the Amerikan civil war on the anti-slavery side while they called for the Cinco De Mayo celebration.
What’s my point here? In case you’ve missed it, the point is that Chican@, Mexican@, Indigenous, and New Afrikan people have been intrinsically connected throughout Our hystory. We would do well to remember this, to not see Our struggles as separate but see them as Our ancestors did. For they always knew that if one allowed an Indian to be colonized, a Mexican would be colonized next. If the African was mired in slavery, the Mexican would be returned to it. Thus their unity was one of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and international abolition.
As a final note, in recent years, because of the legacy mentioned above surrounding the days of Aug 21st & Sept 9th, comrades within the countrywide prisoners movement have utilized this period of time to mobilize outside support and action, as well as inside. This call has already gone out to mobilize for this year’s ‘Shut ’Em Down’ demonstrations, as they’ve come to be called. This adds to the reason why comrades have chosen those dates, and We hope that this brief piece dissolves any assumptions, myths regarding Our work, and that many others will actively join us in our level of commitment.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We want to acknowledge that a comrade in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, the MIM(Prisons)-led organization for outside supporters, also contributed to this confusion by posting an image on social media promoting last year’s hunger strike against RHU in Texas calling for support for “New Afrikans.” Once we noticed this we asked the comrade to change it, which took some days to happen. This is a lesson to the outside supporters of anti-imperialist prison organizers who may not be aware of the sensitivities among the oppressed nations to these questions.
What Team One is experiencing is something MIM(Prisons) has experienced for many years. To an extent it is unavoidable in a country where the oppressed nations are constantly pitted against each other, we will continue to alienate some readers when we support national liberation struggles. But we can be careful in how we do this, be clear on our politics, do our best to promote a diversity of voices and campaigns when they exist, etc. As the definition of United Struggle from Within on p. 2 reads:
“USW won’t champion struggles which are not in the interests of the international proletariat. USW will also not choose one nation’s struggles over other oppressed nations’ struggles.”
As the local representation of USW in Texas, Texas Team One shares this line as they describe above. Likewise, they echo the spirit and line of USW in this statement.
Sources: 1. Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles; pg. 286; citing Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; Karl Marx, The Holy Family. 2. Ibid, pg.287
i am taking the time to write this because i would like the readership to know the truth about what’s been going on recently at the TDCJ Allred unit in regards to COVID-19 and targeted repression of socio-political leaders.
Many of you reading this are already aware of the spike in COVID infections related to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here at Allred, particularly in the restrictive housing unit, which houses some six hundred plus people in conditions internationally recognized as inhumane, there has been a dangerous and life threatening pattern of administrative negligence in regards to the effort (lack thereof) to quell the spread of this aggressive virus.
Back in August of 2021, captive persyns held on the Allred RHU and other units held a hunger-strike protest. One of the issues raised and forwarded to unit, regional, and state level administrators was, ‘#10- follow all CDC COVID-19 protocols’. Even after people have literally starved themselves, the unit administration still has refused, and neglected to implement, and re-implement basic CDC COVID guidelines.
On January 6th, Comrade Ozomatli, co-founder, and key figure of the TX TeamOne organization, was strategically targeted for harassment, by way of an unlawful search and seizure, and purposely exposed to COVID-19. On the above date Ozomatli was taken from his cell and placed in a holding cage in the building’s main hallway for five hours!
i am not too good with math and measurements, but i know the cage in question is absolutely too small to place a full grown human in for that amount of time. There is no where to relieve ones self, not anywhere to comfort ones self. Regardless, Ozomatli remained in this holding cage while a multitude of agents of repression searched his usual abode. i raise the question, what possibly could they be looking for, and not find if it were there, in such a small space, for such an extended period of time?
To even begin to analyze this question We must first point out that the incident on January 6th was the second such incident targeting this same comrade in the last few months. Previously the only thing confiscated were the comrade’s contact information written down on various papers and inside books. On January 6th, the comrade’s entire cache of persynal property was confiscated, and he would remain property-less for a week.
During this ordeal, Ozomatli was placed in danger, recklessly, of catching COVID-19. Agents of repression who escorted him from and returned him to his cell weren’t following proper COVID guidelines. Afterwards, in the matter of days, a new COVID outbreak ensued on the RHU building, and unsurprisingly the outbreak has been largely centered on the pod which Ozomatli inhabits. When other prisoners on other pods show symptoms they’re re-housed on the same pod as Ozomatli. Furthermore, prisoners are being constantly moved around, leaving and being brought to the unit and thus constantly exposing more and spreading more and more COVID. Daily so-called ‘integrity checks’ are still in operation, along with unnecessary cell extractions, and are also inducing the spread of COVID.
Administrators are refusing to test or even symptom check prisoners, as was done in the mid 2020 days of the pandemic. There’s this untrue belief that the pandemic is over, despite the fact that less than 70% of people (prisoners & guards combined) are vaccinated. An untold number of prisoners have mass filed grievances, but of course appealing to the same source of Our predicament has rendered little to no results.
i would be remiss if i didn’t acknowledge the underlying political undertones of Ozomatli’s being harassed, and also pinpoint other similar patterns adhered to by the unit administration sometimes at the behest of the state level agents of repression.
Ozomatli, as i have said, is a leader with the Texas TeamOne Organization. TeamOne is an organization of politicized prisoners dedicated to politicizing prisoners and consolidating those in TX into a class that can actively struggle for its interests, as well as, and more importantly, reinsert people into the larger society as assets to communities which are all too often neglected in the realms of social, political and economic development.
Ozomatli is an abolitionist, a Chican@, and a leader that leads by example. Thus it goes without saying that Ozomatli’s very existence as a Chican@ revolutionary imprisoned in tekkk$a$‘s gulags, is seen as a threat to the enemy-state and the prison administration, and this is the underlying politics of his harassment. Ozomatli has recently been working with other comrades and formations, independent of his work with TeamOne, in mobilizing a Texas prisoners’ political action committee, it is during the time span of this work in that sphere that the administration has targeted him.
The clearly politically motivated repression tactics, in a supposedly ‘free’ country, do not stop there. i myself have been a constant target for similar tactics of intimidation, and retaliation. i have been ‘sentenced’ essentially to LIFE in TDCJ’s RHU. This repression came on the immediate back of Our collective hunger-strike effort in August (thru September 9th). i was seen in absentia by the State Classification Committee four days later. i was denied release to general population, after having been without any disciplinary incident in over four years time. The reasons given for this miscarriage of justice was that i am staff assaultive, and prone to possess weapons, and the main one, written in large bold letters, was the fact that i am currently serving an unjust sentence of Life Without Parole. The third reason was provided as the main reason for my denial of release. The catch is that i can not, on my own accord, alter my sentence therefore this decision summarily acts to confine me in isolation for the remainder of my sentence (life).
Of course the timing and the fact that these issues have never been previously brought up at these hearings, testifies to the fact that the decision is a retaliatory measure being used to quell the momentum being built up among the captives here and around the state. IT WILL NOT WORK!
Other measures of retaliation such as illegal mail tampering/disappearance are common place. Outgoing letters of even a neutral nature take up to two months to even leave the unit, and incoming mail, including books and other packages have the same waiting time. The former mailroom supervisor was made to resign for ‘undisclosed reasons’, yet mailroom negligence, and deliberate tampering continues even under the watchful eyes of one, Major Murdock, whose been made to keep eyes on mailroom staff.
By no means is this all the repressive tactics utilized by administrators, nor is it only TeamOne affiliates, or political prisoners. For the sake of time however We will hold these slights as a small example. it is important i say that none of this is meant to discourage activism and justified rebellion. In fact the contrary is the intent. i assert here that if more of the captive populace took liberatory ideals and practices more seriously We could actually begin to pose a threat, not only to the prison institution, but the established order as We know it. As George said:
“If we can reach each other through all of this, fences, fear, concrete, steel, barbed wire, guns, the hystory will commend us for a great victory won…” - Soledad Brother
As a sign of solidarity, We call on the public to report the administrative negligence surrounding Allred’s handling of COVID-19 to the following; (prisoners should write complaints regarding their own units):
Dept. of Health & Human Services, region6, regional director Marjorie McColl Petty 1301 Young St. ste#1124 Dallas, Tx 75202 or call 214-767-3301
Also, outside supporters should be sure to make a report to the following:
David Blackwell, regional director-region 5 @ 806-296-4500(ext 400)
In the forthcoming piece We would like to point out the particular inter-connectedness of many of the enemy-states’ recent counter-offensive to Our collective progress. When We speak to ‘progress,’ we’re speaking to the strategic goal of establishing a national prison movement - a revolutionary oriented prison movement. A national revolutionary prison movement that is intrinsically connected with a national revolutionary oriented united front on the outside. In this piece We’ll attempt to illuminate to the reader that recent and present ‘security’ and censorship methods enacted by the enemy-state are indeed counter-offensives and are intrinsically inter-connected both outside and inside.
Any conscious observer will readily concede that in recent years, particularly within the prisons across the empire there has been an increase in censorship tactics. In some cases these methods border on extreme.
For all intents and purposes We can understand that the current prison movement took its first primitive steps forward towards nationalization with the hystoric hunger strikes organized in California from 2011-2013. The underlying blueprint for these actions, the Agreement to End Hostilities, showcased the way forward for many around the empire. Furthermore, and what’s harder to measure, is the amount of inspiration that those actions initiated.
We have a small window into this reality, as it has been recorded that prison officials in other states, by the advent of the third and final strike, began pleading with CDCR to settle the issues the comrades in Califas raised, as they had began dealing with similar unrest in their state’s prisons.
Here it may be necessary to pinpoint that the prison movement as We know it today didn’t begin in 2011. Rather there have been other organizations that have connected the functions of prison to the human rights movement. A notable organization is the Human Rights Coalition led by elder BLA and BPP veteran political prisoner/prisoner of war Russel Maroon Shoatz. [Rest in Power, Shoatz died on 17 December 2021, at age 78, less than 2 months after eir release from prison with cancer.] However, beginning with the Califas hunger strikes there was a substantial qualitative leap forward in both participation and interest, inside and outside countrywide.
Moving forward towards the 2016 National Prison strike; the collective action, along with its subsequent 2018 sequel, did wonders in nationalizing the Prison Human rights movement gaining corporate media attention and subsequently grasping the attention of previously uninterested parties. Some of these parties were prison officials, C.O. unions, police unions, and others intrinsically woven into the criminal injustice apparatus. Others were concerned persyns: a new generation of abolitionists began to spring up, usually deriving from the college campus sector. The spokesperson of the national prison strikes, Sis. Amani Sawari, along with imprisoned activists within key organizations like Jailhouse Lawyers Speaks, Free Alabama Movement, and many in Califas helped bring the key “Ten Demands” of the National Prison strike to the mainstream as these issues began to be debated among presidential candidates throughout 2019 and 2020.
Before We move on it is important to pinpoint here that the Prison Human Rights Movement, has had and continues to have much stratification within its ranks. The first and major stratification point derives from differences in political line surrounding the role of the movement.
Similar to the days of the Civil Rights movement, when the question of ‘non-violence’ was seen by some as a philosophical or theological commitment, while for others it was simply a tactic, one to be discarded if/when it proved un-useful. The current prison movement has many of the same components. While there are many more revolutionary oriented groups/persyns who see the success of the prison movement with the advent of voting rights, or other prison reforms. Instead many of these groups agree that prisons can not be reformed, as it is an intrinsic part of the state apparatus. These groups agree that revolutionary consciousness and commitment are the most meaningful things that can come of the prison movement.
Simultaneously, in recent years there has been an upsurge in radical activity on the outside. Much like in the prison movement there are many youthful combatants, and much decentralized activities. The fact that these movements have risen parallel among each other should not be considered a coincidence, nor should the corresponding and parallel counter-offensives be seen as unrelated coincidences.
As BlackLivesMatter and abolitionist praxis protests arose around the country, particularly in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, reactionary lawmakers (persuaded by reactionary constituents) began implementing new repressive laws to quell protest. Federal lawmakers, led by the Trump-Pence duo led the way and most states followed suit. Such laws, or rather counter-offensives, included making the blocking of traffic, as had been done repeatedly in recent years, a first degree felony. In states like Tekkk$a$ that means that such protests would be punishable with sentences of 5-99 years!
Also, in a move to revamp Black Liberation era counter-offensives, federal legislators (followed by various states) felonized crossing state boundaries to partake in protests. Some students of the movement may recall that this measure was first enacted against Imam Jamil Al-Amin, the former H. Rap Brown of SNNC, BPP, and RNA at the apex of the Black Liberation struggle.
These are only a few key examples of the criminalization of radical dissent as it pertains to those on the outside. However, C.O. unions, DOC headquarters, and various reactionaries began their countervailing efforts on radical and revolutionary forces on the inside first.
In the almost immediate aftermath of the 2016 National Prison Strike, DOC’s around the empire all began complaining of the same issue: an illusionary influx of drugs coming through the mail. Reading from the limited research materials i have in my cell, it seems that the counter-offensive attacking prisoner mail under the pretext of a major drug influx began in 2017, and the first states to initiate this offensives were Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida. States like Tekkk$a$, initiated a different sort of attack on prisoner correspondence by severely limiting indigent mail in 2015. However, relating to the “influx of drugs” ruse, many other states have since followed suit. Another related component to the attack on prisoner mail is the wide spread switchover to digitized mail services. States have begun denying all physical snail mail and mail that have implemented this repressive tactic have also by and large prevented prisoners from receiving books from “unauthorized” vendors, basically mandating that reading material be sent from a sole approved vendor.
All these measures described above are ‘on trend’ among the various states around the empire, meaning these measures are likely to be making their way to a prison near you. What We’re experiencing now is a proving ground for the state, in which they’ve been observing to see which countervailing measures will stir the masses the most, which ones will survive the initial jailhouse lawyer onslaughts.
Again, it must be understood that the major drug influx cited by (all) these state DOC’s is illusionary. That isn’t to say drugs aren’t in prison, but they’re flowing in the same frequency as prior to 2016 (national prison strike). So why now? Why suddenly the state-to-state focused attack on prisoner correspondence, and the digitizing of mail, only after 2016? The answer points to a New-COINTELPRO type program (NCTP). Part and parcel with this NCTP is the widespread, coordinated countervailing attacks against progressive and revolutionary prisoners. From Califas, Oregon, Nevada to New Mexico, Indiana to Pennsylvania; from Virginia to North Carolina, South Carolina to Florida, Alabama to Tekkk$a$, dissident prisoners are under attack. These attacks range from down right malicious assaults to poisoning of food/water supplies, from permanent solitary placement to the systemic silencing of these militants. In places like TDCJ’s Allred Unit, which Texas uses to isolate and torture political prisoners and captive journalists. They’ve employed a specialized individual, ex-military/ex-cop, to survey ‘specific inmates’ mail and book deliveries. Is it clear yet?
As the 2020 summer uprisings raged on into the late fall in some areas of the empire the Trump-Pence regime had already began laying the foundation to begin the mass warehousing of political dissidents on the outside utilizing some of the new laws mentioned above. As these protests raged on, political radicals have filled up prisons and jails around the empire. Do you all understand what this could mean for the prison movement?
The last time in movement hystory that We experienced a mass influx of militants and revolutionaries entering the prisons was during the Black Liberation era (late 1960’s into the 1970’s). Atiba Shanna, and the New Afrikan Prisoner’s Organization did a superb job illustrating the effect political prisoners entering the prisons in mass had on the already bubbling prison movement:
"As a result of the repression exercised upon the struggle taking place outside the walls in the late sixties and early seventies, leaders and activists in these struggles were captured and imprisoned. These were the political prisoners and prisoners of war. Their initial imprisonment was a result of consciously motivated political actions.
“The escalation of struggle outside the walls also resulted in a significant increase in the number of politicized prisoners already inside the walls… We can admit that the economic and socio-psychological ties that these politicized prisoners had with the oppressive system were such that they represent the most conscious element among us - the most conscious, that is, of the presently waging undeclared war between themselves and those who rule. Thus, they are the most receptive and responsive to the need to become ‘the people in uniform.’ BUT, their politicization resulted primarily from their being members of oppressed nations!” (1)
The people who are responsible for holding people in cages, and keeping us in cages, are acutely aware of the possible and very likely culture shock that is to overtake U.$. prisons that experience an influx of political radicals. Never forget that in the time frame mentioned above by Comrade Atiba, that the activities of the BLA and other similar formations eventually led to the U.$. moving to build more newer, more ‘secure,’ and high tech prisons designed to keep Our political prisoners and prisoners of war within them, and to prevent anymore political prisoners of war from arising from among the captive populace.
Therefore i concur that We’re currently experiencing such countervailing efforts by the enemy-state so that they may monitor captive militants, their networks and families (with the design to turn them into captive militants themselves) and prevent the rise of a more militant, more ideologically consolidated, more revolutionary national prison movement that is intrinsically inter-woven with a more militant, ideologically consolidated, more revolutionary outside united front.
By this point We hope it is clear that just as the prison movement and the movement on the other side of the walls have a dialectical relationship; the enemies on both sides of the wall also have a dialectical relationship, they also work together to the detriment of Our progress. As more revolutionary oriented comrades advance the national prison movement forward, repression will increase in intensity. We must begin to operate in a way that one’s struggles become all Our struggle. If comrades in one state are being overly repressed We must band together in multiple states, letting the pig power structure know “WE SEE YOU AND WE WON’T STAND FOR IT: 1LOVE 1STRUGGLE!” We must reach such a level of organization and operation, and We are on the cusp of it NOW. I encourage progressive and revolutionary captives to begin dialoging, corresponding, with each other. Seek out the means to do so. We must keep each other abreast to the local happenings from unit to unit, state to state. Comrades that is why publications like Under Lock & Key, San Francisco Bay View, and others are so important. However, We aren’t utilizing these platforms to their greatest extent if We aren’t constantly sending in reports, articles, informing other comrades on what’s happening. And We must also begin to support these institutions more effectively as a whole. I challenge all ULK subscribers to raise at least 10 stamps to mail to MIM(Prisons)! Which state can raise the most funds? TX where ya’ll at!? Those 10 stamps can go a long way towards prisoner organizing and educational efforts.
RE-BUILD TO WIN
1. Notes from a New Afrikan P.O.W. journal #1 by Atiba Shanna
I have to praise my fellow prisoners at the Allred Unit for challenging the injustices that have been happening to all alleged/suspected STG’s. I have been unjustly confirmed as a member of the “Mexican Mafia of Texas” since 1986. But, was suspected prior to that year. And all, because I was one of the few prisoners that got tired of correctional administrators in the 1980’s using some prisoners to conduct their dirty work for them. This is where, I believe, that I became suspected as an STG member. Which is why I have a lot of respect for my fellow prisoners that stood their grounds along with me at the Ferguson Unit in 1983, until I was shipped in 1985.
Back then I was a young person. So fighting was my type of show, my true colors. But now as an older adult I have a different mindset. Don’t get me wrong I can still get my boxing game on, only if I have to defend myself. But now I believe that a pen and paper is mightier than a sword.
This is why I believe that the only way that we’ll end all types of violence or hostile activities is for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division(TDCJ-CID) to be open to “STG” prisoners being released to the general population with unit level agreements between all “STG” members of different groups.
At this moment there are two types of renouncement programs. The first is known as Reg. GRAD for ex-members that enrolled not considering that the form they signed is unconstitutional because those individuals incriminate themselves and probably others. The second renouncement program is called “Population Release - GRAD.” And they have to allegedly incriminate themselves and others, and renounce all gang activities. But, I believe, that if the two types of GRAD groups are combined together that would open up the other STEP DOWN the prison violence by releasing “STG”s with a different kind of mindset. Because the majority of these two GRAD programs at present time are full of young set-minded street gang individuals.
I believe I am being set up by someone in the Unit’s “Security Threat Group Management Office”, with ex-members of different groups that have enjoyed “general population” for decades. They target those who don’t believe in the constitutionality of the now existing renouncement programs due to 2 reasons:
the incrimination of each enrollee and the incrimination of others; and
the “waiver of liability” for the TDCJ-CID
These are two serious violations of the 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 19 of the Texas Constitution.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a familiar story for those of us who were part of the struggles against SHU and validation in California over the last decade. We encourage the comrades in Texas to study the lessons from that struggle and develop proper leadership so that the masses are not led into the same dead ends as they were in California where SHU still exists and the list of STGs was greatly expanded.
Ultimately, making organizations of the oppressed illegal is reflective of the class nature of the state. It is only by replacing the current bourgeois state with a proletarian one that we will see the oppressed allowed a true path to redemption. It is only in a proletarian state that the oppressors and exploiters will be seen as the criminals rather than the poor and struggling. We must keep this goal in mind as we organize for the state to recognize basic bourgeois rights to free speech and association.
There are no rights, only power struggles. The second the oppressed let up as they did in California, the oppressor is there ready to tighten the screws back down. That is why we must build strong, independent organizations and not put all our energy into short-term battles.
In the recent history surrounding Texas prison reform there has been an erasure surrounding the plight of those held captive in solitary confinement as it’s practiced by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s(TDCJ) Restrictive Housing Units(RHU). There are numerous groups and persyns who proclaim that they advocate for the interests of the Texas prisoner class, but their class interests prevents them from aligning themselves with the objective struggles of this prison system’s cast-a-ways in RHU.
Many of these groups whom i’ve had the choice opportunity to dialogue with via correspondence, or have spoken to captive representatives of these groups, have fallen into the keeper’s trap of the ‘violent’ offender as the new boogey man. This line of thought ultimately concedes that those of us trapped in these isolation tombs deserve such conditions, that we’re beyond redemption. Sometimes, such persyns spew the rhetoric that We in solitary are actually well-off, and living a privileged existence. They say, ‘your food is brought to you, your laundry, and everything else’ They assert that all We have to do all day and night is basically chill, and We should be appreciative. Some officers express a form of jealously, that We don’t pay bills, yet have a handful of privileges, and seemingly unlimited downtime.
What people like this do not understand is that solitary confinement as it is practiced via TDCJ’s RHU, is an artificial environment. By artificial this means that it is an unnatural habitat. It is unnatural to relinquish all civil and domestic responsibility from humankind. We must also pose the question as to whether or not such circumstances are productive for the individual or the society? Of course not! Who benefits from the cultivation of a sub-class of people who’re forcefully and entirely dependent upon everyone else in the society, and do not provide any sort of productive function in return? When humans cultivated civilization the world over and social responsibility was entrusted to those of the peer group, these responsibilities were not merely for the betterment of the social cohesiveness, but also for the better and more balanced function of the individual as well. In short, humyns need to be engaged in meaningful and proactive activities in order to function at their highest levels of consciousness.
The conditions of TDCJ’s solitary confinement debilitate rather than rehabilitate thousands of people each day. i’ve spent 8 1/2 of the last ten years in solitary confinement. At no point in this time frame have i ever had the opportunity to take part in any form of organized instruction. i entered these isolation tombs as a politically ignorant cast away. i’ve evolved, and redeemed myself via my own independent efforts, without the interference or assistance of my keepers. Despite the state’s stated mission to have the best interests of the general public at heart, their true motives and intentions for their warehousing of so many prisoners is clear. This class of people who at any time find themselves confined in RHU are intended to be kept in an unending state of dependence and politico-economic alienation. This is even, and especially, after release. It is with this notion that i assert that it is this class of prisoners whom embody ‘paper-citizens’ in amerika, as coined in the ‘New Afrikan Declaration of Independence’.
New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist political prisoner Mutope Duguma articulated one profound statement, ‘Ask yourselves why is it that so many New Afrikans who have a strong political line just happen to be locked up in solitary confinement units. We know they are not terrorists, We know they are not gang members & We know that they are not criminals.’
The organization and movement proactively mobilizing Texas’ captive population is known as Tx TEAMONE. We’re an organization founded for and by the captives themselves, not by opportunistic outside (or inside) elements, but by proletarian conscious prisoners. One of Our main tactics in Our Mission of elevating the socio-political commitment and awareness of Texas’ lumpen class, is the prisoner-led mobilizing for the abolition of solitary confinement as it’s practiced by TDCJ’s RHU.
A Case Study on Why RHU must Go!
Beginning with the general and moving to the particular, a conscious observer can readily notice that around the empire, from state to state, politically active prisoners are being held in the most barbaric, and unthinkably repressive conditions imaginable. Almost invariably these captives are sitting in solitary confinement cells. The few that aren’t are being shipped from state to state, sea to shining sea in a federal effort to ostracize these captives from their political base(s).
Solitary confinement advances the same purpose within each prison facility. A politically active captive’s political base begins with their peers whom are also in captivity. The productive revolutionary behind the walls is the one who’s successful in organizing their peers behind a revolutionary program. (think; Attica; Angola BPP etc) Therefore, the tactical use of solitary confinement to quell revolutionary organizing has been a re-occurring reality in prisons around the world in the imperialists’ task of keeping the masses of people blind, deaf, and dumb to the socio-political truths of Our collective predicament as oppressed nation people in the era of imperialism.
Whether We look to Califas, where revolutionary New Afrikans were kept warehoused in SHU’s, or in Indiana were Bro. Kwame Shakur is being tortured in a SHU, or the domestic exile of Shaka Shakur, or the thousands of unnamed, lower-profiled politically active prisoners, New Afrikan or otherwise, it is clear that long-term and indefinite solitary confinement is being utilized to strategically remove political dissent off the face of the amerikkkan empire.
In tekkk$a$, there is a long hystory of not only warehousing political dissenters, but assassinating them. In June of 2000, innocent death row captive, Shaka Sankofa s/n Garry Graham, was murdered by the state of tekkk$a$. Not only had evidence came out that Shaka was innocent but he, unlike most of death row prisoners or prisoners in general, had become politicized while in captivity. Garry Graham revolutionized his self into Shaka Shakur, a New Afrikan revolutionary. Consequently, tekkk$a$ saw him as better off dead than alive as a freedom fighter. Six years later Shaka’s comrade Derrick Frazier, aka Hasan Shakur, another innocent Black captive whom while on tekk$a$’ death row revolutionized his self into a New Afrikan ‘revolutionary socialist to the 10th power’. He too was subsequently executed on Black August 31st 2006, while serving as both the founder of the Human Rights Coalition-TX chapter, and Minister of Human Rights of the then-named New Afrikan Black Panther Party. Lastly, yet not for lack of more victims, there is the case of Sandra Bland, a New Afrikan womyn and activist who was mysteriously found dead in a tekkk$a$ county jail.
i think it is logical to pose the question that, if the deceased freedom fighters had not been politically active New Afrikans, would they’ve still met the same fate? For We know and it has been substantiated by the recent International Jurist’s verdict, that there has been/is a systemic genocide against New Afrikan, and indigenous people in north amerika. We also know that those who possess a revolutionary orientation are the people’s only hope of defeating this genocide, and of course this reality renders such political prisoners as prone to enemy attack and sabotage.
tekkk$a$ has warehoused and isolated political prisoners in what is now called RHU for decades. Revolutionary Chican@ political prisoner Xinachtli has been in such a predicament for over 20 years. Xinachtli was signaled out for assassination by sheriffs in Brewster County tekkk$a$, for his legal advocacy for a Chican@ death row prisoner who in turn wasn’t killed by the state. Xinachtli defended his self by disarming the pig sent to murder him and for exercising his humyn right to self-defense this comrade has languished in prison for over two decades, most of which in solitary confinement.
Recently officials of tekkk$a$’ prisons have identified Texas TEAMONE cadre as ‘enemy combatants’ and singled key members out for indefinite solitary confinement (for those who weren’t already serving indefinite terms), unprovoked cell raids, in which the only confiscated materials are ones’ outside contact information. Cadre have been victims of harassment by illegally confiscating typewriters of journalist comrades, illegally disappearing mail, and upping the level of publication censorship – specifically that which is politically orientated.
In a recent twist, this writer was recently sentenced to ‘life without parole’ in solitary confinement. After some officials had elected to release Triumphant from solitary, those in the know regarding ey’s political orientation and activity demanded this comrade be retained in such conditions. Even going as far as scratching out the handwriting which stated that Triumphant shall be released. When asked for the reasoning for said continued confinement, officials listed ‘LWOP’. Of course this sentence, placed on Triumphant’s shoulders unjustly, will not remove itself from reality in six months when the next arbitrary hearing is to take place. Therefore, the state has announced that it intends to confine, isolate, and destroy, yet one more New Afrikan political prisoner in order to perpetuate amerikkka’s genocidal campaign against the oppressed nations of the globe.
In case it still is not clear to you. All freedom fighting peoples, those outside and inside, have in their best interest to work with TX TEAMONE as We struggle to politicize tekkk$a$’ captive population, while doing just that We are even more determined and justified in Our quest to abolish long-term and indefinite solitary confinement in TX prisons and prisons around the globe.
Revolutionary salutations to all Texas USW comrades, leaders, supporters, and those reading this wonderful newspaper for the first time. In issue #75 there was some dialogue regarding the BP 3.91 and i would like to speak to some things.
Comrades, as you all read in the last issue, Allred RHU went on hunger strike in protest not only against B.P.-3.91, but also the illegal use of solitary confinement as practiced via RHU, and we also fought for other pressing issues. Due to this action, on September 8th i was pulled off the outside rec yard, and brought to a cage; this cage is very similar to the one illustrated by the comrade in the last issue. Me and another New Afrikan brother were the only two of all the strikers who went through this. After standing in the cage for about 30 mins to an hour I was informed by an inmate worker that “they takin all yo shit.” By this i assumed he meant food/beverage items of which i only possessed empty condiment bottles so I had no worries. Half an hour later, the property officer and a lieutenant come to escort me. They tell me i will have to send property, particularly books, home; i have too many and they may not be given to another prisoner. As they say this i have heated words with the property officer, and have to be escorted by a major and some others. They bring me to the office and outside my property (all of it including state property) is slung everywhere. I’m irate to say the least.
It is at that time that i entered an office with regional director David Blackwell, along with three unit wardens. Here is a brief overview of what was said pertaining to the B.P.-3.91 policy.
So this policy was supposedly pushed for by these “family groups”. He mentioned Texas Inmate Families Association(TIFA) as the main culprit. Supposedly one of the TIFA members has a brother who’s a sex offender(S.O.), and she learned that he was allowed to write pen pals who sent her brother sexually charged letters. Further investigation led the sister in question to observe that he could also view/receive pictures of women as long as the female wasn’t showing her “parts”. This woman was immediately concerned that her brother was not being allowed the proper environment to rehabilitate his behavior, and this is what led to the rule change.
In case you don’t know, every week, like clock work, TIFA and other family groups like the Families for Air Conditioning in TDCJ, have phone/zoom conferences with the executive director and other top personnel. In these conferences these groups are having influence on policy changes and other things that affect us here in prison. The issue is that these groups are not in contact with the masses, which in this case is US, the captives. TIFA has a $25 membership fee yearly, and imprisoned people can join. However, imprisoned voices are a minority, and are/will be over rode by the petty-bourgeois/labor aristocrat elements which dominate this terrain and don’t allow prisoners to practice any level of self-determination. Even worse is that these groups (TIFA in particular) do not even reply to inquiries from prisoners. The pigs mentioned above provided me with their info to contact and begin dialogue. I’ve wrote, I’ve e-mailed, I’ve DM’d, and have gotten no response. This is on trend as we of TX TEAM ONE have repeatedly contacted them in the past during our previous 3 hunger strikes in the last 4 years, not including this year’s. Never have we received any reply. So what does this tell us?
It tells us that the class divide is very profound in the TX prison movement, even on the “left”. It tells us that at this present juncture we can not collaborate with such reformers in any concrete way. Our movement MUST be prisoner-led.
Speaking specifically to the BP-3.91 issue, from observation one can see that these pigs are picking and choosing when/where to enforce this rule. THE RULE DID PASS! Initially we were told that it hadn’t, that’s not the case. Not only did this Director tell us so, but as i scribe this, Allred Unit has been under rolling lock down and the pigs (from what We in RHU are being told) are solely focused on pics, mags, etc. We in RHU haven’t been hit yet. Last week the ACA came to the unit. An audit. The pigs were verbally reprimanded (the wardens were) by ACA personnel for even operating the lockdown/shake down while they are/were still supposed to be under COVID protocol. This is a violation of CDC guidelines, which is one of the things we called attention to during the strike. The ACA demanded the wardens to cease the shake down. They did so for the week the ACA was here, yet today (9 November 2021) We’ve heard that they’ve resumed on the ECB building, and are to be coming here next. U.S. weekly and Cosmopolitan have been denied here.
The legal standing they’re trying to stand on with this move is that if they were to target specifically sex offenders with this rule while not applying it to the masses of the prison population who are not S.O.s then they open themselves up for suit by the S.O.s for discrimination. What it boils down to is We’re gonna have to come together and fight this through litigation. Simple.
We encourage others who are SERIOUS about litigating this issue to contact us. While our writers within TEAM ONE are busy challenging RHU confinement, We can possibly put all Our heads together to formulate a way forward. All those who’ve filed step 1 & 2, and look to move forward towards litigation should reach out to us: Tx TeamOne/ 113 Stockhom, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221
First, on B.P.-391 in Texas, there are units that are fighting this policy, yet here on Connally Unit they are taking and denying everything they can and they are not allowing us to appeal anything. We’ve written a bunch of grievances and they all got returned saying that the issue is not grievable, and when we file step 2’s, they are all getting thrown away. We have no wins here on Connally.
Second, we’ve contacted the TDCJ ombudsman on multiple ranking officers and regular officers. In doing that we are getting retaliated on and harassed. They are cell searching and destroying our property, tearing our pics, denying us our privilege of commissary, rec or day room. We’ve sent multiple grievances on these officers and they never come back. The wardens are letting them retaliate on us and not doing anything about it! The Connally Unit is steadily short staff only on their Fridays and payday. Right now we’re short staffed and when we asked a question about what’s going on, they put us on 23-hour lockdown – for asking a question. They are playing with peoples’ lives and freedoms here on Connally Unit. We can’t grieve officers because they always come back saying “this isn’t grievable.” We’re in a no-win situation here!
MIM(Prisons) responds: If they won’t let you grieve, then it’s time to come together with all who can be united there and get creative. We’ve been fighting the grievance battle for years. It is only a tactic. It will never solve comrades’ problems overall because the rules are only applied when they want them to be.
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of Texas TEAM ONE, a prisoner-led organization committed to organizing us captives of Texas as a class, and collectively struggling for human rights. While We do not believe that the fight behind enemy lines is Our end all and be all, We do believe and hope that by inspiring the masses of TX captives to collectively organize, learn and demand their rights, along with establishing independent institutions for Ourselves, that We can slowly but surely develop Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) into a quasi-university, turning masses of socially alienated delinquents into empowered activists for change, productivity, and revolution.
To begin this process of ‘transforming the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality,’ We need YOU to join your fellow prisoners in mobilizing the masses for collective direct action.
As you may know, Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday in amerika. On this day many will sing the praises of Our oppressors or otherwise negate the reality of the lumpen (economically alienated class), that according to amerika’s 13th amendment We are STILL SLAVES. While We do not wish to nullify the intensity of the exploitation and oppression that New Afrikan people held in chattel slavery faced, We must pinpoint to the general public, those upcoming generations of youngsters looking to follow Our footsteps, that to be held in captivity by the state or feds is not only to be frowned upon but is part and parcel with the intentions of this amerikan government, and its capitalist-imperialist rulers. We say NO CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH until the relation of people holding others in captivity is fully abolished!!
Furthermore, as you may also know there has been in recent years a national push to end all forms of extended isolation/solitary confinement. As usual Texas remains stubborn, still holding thousands of us in cages in an inhumane and illegal manner. We, TX TEAM ONE, seek to work with all Our fellow captives to finally bring the torture that is long-term isolation to an end.
Strategically, if We are to ever be able to utilize these prison colonies as cadre-development schools/universities, it is of paramount importance that We remove this tool of repression out of the state’s toolkit. For decades this environment now called Restrictive Housing Unit(RHU) has been used to strategically alienate the best of the best of Our lumpen class. Those who will not capitulate to the destructive and oppressive roll of the state. Political prisoners, writ writers and socially influential captives find themselves in long-term isolation as a form of retaliation, and to maintain the ignorance perpetuated within the daily prison environment. It is past time now that We all, no matter our affiliation or way of life, We must NOW begin to work together to the detriment of Our keepers.
If you like what you’ve read thus far, We ask you to join us in mobilizing the captives on your unit, We are looking forward to Juneteenth 2022. On that day We wanna statewide general strike. Depending on ones level of custody We will organize different plans of action.
If you’re interested in this campaign and wish to take a stand, We need you! Female, Male, LGBTQ, Black, Chican@, Mexican@, White, multi-ethnic! We need all of you!
As We scribe this message We are and have been on hunger strike for two weeks in protest against those above mentioned injustices, along with others. Those of Us Souljahs on the Allred RHU have been battling this system and building our level of experience and organization. We summed up the many lessons learned, and the main one is that We must GET ORGANIZED on a statewide level, pop city to the isolation tombs, as one strong and organized body We can effect change and build Ourselves and those of Our peer group into NEW PEOPLE. If you wish to organize with or under the banner of TX TEAM ONE We encourage you to connect with us directly at the following address: TX TeamOne, 113 Stockholm #1A, Brooklyn, NY 11221.
We Look Forward to Hearing From, and Working With, YOU
Dare 2 StruggleDare 2 Win
Tx TeamOne Allred Committee
Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. 12 Point Program
An end to racist practices and policies that allow prisoners to be held indefinitely in conditions of solitary; Restrictive Housing Unit.
We want ALL STG confirmed prisoners to be allowed the opportunity to return to general population if and when they have maintained a satisfactory disciplinary hystory.
We want a mandated LIMIT on the amount of time one can remain in RHU-solitary confinement; We want this mandate in line with the international standard put forth by the U.N.’s ‘Mandela Rules’, which limits said confinement to fourteen days.
We want those who are in RHU to be allowed the opportunity to stimulate their intellect through literacy programs, education programs, life skills, job training, parenting classes, drug & alcohol treatment, arts/crafts programs, support groups, and the building of unions and political formations, all in accordance with Texas state law (Tx.Gov.Code§ 501.009 - Volunteer Organizations), captives should be free to exercise these rights without state interference or obstruction.
We want ALL discrimination against prisoners to CEASE; this is in accordance with Texas state law (Tx.Gov.Code§ 501.001).
We want an independent agency established that will fully investigate grievances and citizen complaints against the governmental institution of TDCJ and its agents.
We want an end to unpaid labor in TDCJ.
We want parole requirements capped off at 35%.
We want captives to be afforded meaningful goodtime/worktime.
We want an end to death by incarceration (death penalty, life without parole, virtual life sentences).
We want life terms capped off at 25 years.
We ultimately want an end to the social and economic relations and political policies that create the conditions of mass class control and national oppression (mass incarceration).
We are asking that any TX prisoners who wish to commit themselves to Our program, to use the above 12 points to inspire activism, and to develop peers in a revolutionary manner via trial and error, to contact us:
TX TeamOne/ 113 Stockholm, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221
When my brother first articulated the vision for the new venture, Forever Protecting the Community, and his general desire to uplift Our people, We were in a supermax prison, in the middle of nowhere. He himself had just days prior been released from a similar prison and had come to visit me. It was Our first time seeing each other in six years, since my trial, in which i was unjustly sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Thick, shatter proof glass separated Us in the visitation booth. i expressed through the phone, between static, my approval and tipped my head in acknowledgment of the self-development and maturation process that i knew had led up to this point in his life. i knew the process intimately, as i myself have undergone it as well in my own way. It is a process of social and mental growth that many before us have gone through. It is a process that sees one evolve from a state of self and socially induced ignorance, towards a state of a more completely functional humyn being, one who is engaged with the community and world around them, being productive therein. It is this way which We were meant to live among each other, but through the process of social-economic development, from a communal economy, into a hyper capitalistic society, We’ve become a mutation of Our true selves. Individualism dominates collectivism, greed has taken the place of contentment. Being as We are born and bred in such a world it takes a process of re-education and re-commitment in order to shun these counter-productive characteristics and act in the furtherance of productivity and communal upliftment.
Sometime later after Our visit, Prisoner A asked me to make a contribution to a collection of short stories that he wished to publish under the banner of Forever Protecting the Community. He stated that his vision was to correct those of Our homeboys behind enemy lines with the movement that was/is in process in the streets. As it is, when Our people are held captive by the state they’re often forgotten about, or merely become just another hashtag, as the world moves on. Additionally he figured, and i agreed, that brothers such as myself who are living the effects of social alienation, political disengagement/dependence, and economic insecurities, the combination of which has led to lives tarnished by and through captivity, should have much to express in regards to the direction of Our communities and Our nation (that is the nation of Black people in Amerika which i refer to as New Afrikans).
In responses to my brother’s request i consciously refused to contribute a ‘short story’. Reason being, short stories are fictional, while the subject matter surrounding the necessity of Forever Protecting the Community is far from fiction. It is real life that drugs and STD’s have ravished Our communities. It is real life that millions of New Afrikans – Black children, wimmin, and men are currently in captivity or under the ‘supervision’ of the state. It is real life that the public school system is failing Our youth, not providing the necessary tools to live a self-sufficient life but only to enter the ranks of the wage slaves. It is real life that in areas which We call ‘Our community’, property ownership among New Afrikan people is less than 5%, this number includes homes, commercial real estate, and ‘essential infrastructure’. These property relations are significant, as it is this factor which creates ‘social alienation, political dis-engagement/dependence, and economic insecurities’, so it is real, very real, that many of us live and die without having owned Our living spaces, and under the rules of Amerikan settler-colonialism and imperialism, it is increasingly difficult to own Our very identities, both collectively and individually.
So because this is Our real life, and has been for sometime, i felt what was/is needed more than mere entertainment is some ‘real talk’ as it pertains to ‘us’. Therefore i’ve offered up this place to shed light and open much needed communal discussion.
The word ‘protect’ means ‘to guard’; ‘to secure’; ‘to hold in safe keeping’; all these definitions imply that there is a force, or forces which seek to bring destruction, in whole or in part, to whatever entity needs guarding, security, safekeeping, or protecting. In Our context We are alluding to the need to secure Our ‘communities’, which are essentially semi-colonized territories dependent upon and occupied by outside forces.
It follows that if and when there is an entity that seeks the destruction of Our territory, Our community, Our nation, Our family, Our people, and Our self, that said entity is an avowed enemy to Our cause and Our interests. So therefore i pose the question, ‘who are Our enemies and who are Our friends?’ 402 years ago with the advent of the Maafa (African slave trade; tragedy) an unresolved contradiction arose. This contradiction has been characterized by the colonization of New Afrikan Black people, first as slaves, a nation of slaves, and oppressed and exploited free people, until now, where Our colonization is characterized by the forced dependence upon the United States, settler-imperialist neo-colonial empire, for the basic functions of modern nationhood. That is free development of independent political, social, and economic production and advancement.
During the last 402 years, what it means to be a New Afrikan in Amerika has been tied to Our ongoing collective struggle to express Ourselves in the full extent of Our humynity, to cast off the old forced colonial relationship, which saw us as completely dependent pawns in the ‘game’ of world affairs, and to exercise a role and position which has been guaranteed to almost all other peoples of the world, that is to determine for Ourselves who We are, what We are (a colonized nation), and how We wish to organize Ourselves for the daily survival of Our people.
For the settler-empire’s part in this contradiction they’ve sought to undermine Our natural, independent, development at every turn. All the empire’s actions towards Our people, whether they be in the field of military intimidation (police terrorism), propaganda, political policies, and all other matters, they have all been to further the relation of dependence upon their governance and economic structure.
Due to these simple truths and the multitude of ramifications that they produce, it shouldn’t be lost on the reader that the enemy of New Afrikan–Black people is the system of economic and political power that has been FORCED upon us. This system is called capitalism-imperialism, and the u.s. government at both federal and local levels is the world leader of this system which is the cause of not only Our collective misery, but that of the majority of the world’s people.
We, as a people, must come to understand that, ‘yes’, ‘protection’ is needed and it is needed from the forces of power. Our enemies are not those of another block, set, or turf who not only look like us, but more importantly, are victims of the same systemic oppression and alienation as us, which has fostered Our like conditions. Our enemies are not those whom the real enemy has told us are the ‘gangs’ and ‘criminals’. These We must begin to see as Ourselves, Our siblings, Our allies, in this struggle. Allies whom have not yet been awakened to their place and position within the ranks of Our New Afrikan Independence Movement.
Forever Protecting the Community, as many of you reading this already know, has grown out of the legacy of the Forum Park Crips, in particular, and that of New Afrikan-Black street organizations in general. Modern street organizations within Our colonies (communities) have for a long time possessed the tendency to re-imagine their identities and the role in which they intend to play in the development of Our people, that of destroyers or builders.
Prior to the creation of the original Crips of Los Angeles in 1971, there were other street organizations. During the mid-1960’s as Our nation was on a collective march to determine for Ourselves Our own destiny, several Black Power organizations began to recruit effectively within the class of people in Our colonies that were or would likely become members of street organizations. These Black Power revolutionaries impressed upon the sisters and brothers that the most effective way to combat the mistreatment they all faced was to unite on the basis of nationhood, and the shared quest for self-determination.
On the West Coast, the main Black Power groups leading the shift in social philosophy and participation among the ‘street class’, were the Black Panther Party, and the US organization. The former would succeed in consolidating ALL of the New Afrikan Black street organizations on the West Side of South Central into one mass body. This effort was led by Panther deputy chairman Alprentice Bunchy Carter: a former leader of the ‘Slausons’ street organization, and convict, turned political revolutionary while in California’s San Quentin Concentration Camp. Bunchy Carter would help politicize most of his former ‘gang’ buddies, recruiting them into the Panther organization and more importantly, re-install the sense of common-unity (community) among the working class of the surrounding area, with the former ‘destroyers’, the ‘gang’ element. This was only possible once the people could see that the 5,000 strong Slausons had made themselves a vehicle for productivity in opposition to the people’s REAL enemies instead of assisting the enemies of the people in the destruction of the people and Our areas of residence. Forever Protecting the Community, if it lives up to its calling, will follow down this same path of self-liberation, utilizing the examples set by the Slausons and others to build upon the advancement of Our nation in Our quest for self-determination and independence.
"The time is NOW for a total refocusing of Our efforts, away from non-productive distractions and other elements of temptations, and focus towards those disciplines that will make us real [contributors] in Our communities. We must stop the gangbanging and drive-bys. Our [nation] is being destroyed by the killing [drugging and imprisonment] of Our own youth. We must stop hating one another because of the block, hood, turf, and color We represent, these actions only continue the cycle of self-destruction.
“And finally, in my sincere appeal for peace and unity: Those of us that have experienced being Our brother’s keeper – We must educate Our members around Us. Education brings about awareness. Awareness generates the ability to think. Our youth must know the end result of crime is shame, disgrace, and imprisonment to themselves, as well as the community. We must come to the point of outlawing those who willfully disrupt Our communities and Our call [to Forever Protect the Community]. Crime must not be accepted as the normal way of doing things.” – Larry Hoover’s 1993 ‘Call For Peace’
As articulated previously, there has been a tendency among New Afrikan-Black street organizations to re-imagine their identities and the role in which they play, or intend to play in the development of Our people, that of destroyers or builders. Larry Hoover leading the transition of his organization from ‘Gangster Disciples’ to ‘Growth and Development’ is one of the most noteworthy and informative examples that We can/should take lessons from. Yet before We delve more into the lessons We can take from this grouping, it is important that We illustrate the hands of the enemy in regards to the growth and expansion of today’s street organizations and the sanctioned culture of gangsterism.
Going back to the mid-60’s, as the Slausons and other similarly situated groups began to cast off the self-destructive, and counter-productive behaviors, they consequently began engaging in the socio-political battles Our people faced at the local, ‘national’, and global levels. Once it became clear to the masses that Our oppression was/is political and economic and that the political reinforced the economic, it became evident that the interests of Our people had to be represented, by Our people, in the political sphere, and subsequently political bodies were formulated. The Black Panther Party, along with the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, were two of the foremost leaders among these such groups. On a national level, the ‘street class’ began to be involved in the development of themselves, and their people on an objective basis, as such naturally their priorities began to shift, instead of clubbing, slanging and banging, this class of people, many of Our predecessors, began to initiate community political education classes, free health clinics, community ‘face lifts’, and clean up programs, free busing to prison for visits, and a host of other ‘survival programs’.
It was during this time, because Our people had clearly drawn a line of demarcation between themselves and the enemies of the people, furthermore the same elements of the New Afrikan-Black Nation which had, by force of circumstance, been most dependent upon the u.s. federal and local governments couldn’t and/or wouldn’t. Such a development signaled to the people that they themselves had the necessary power to liberate themselves, hence the popularity of the phrase, ‘Power to the People’.
Much of the oppressors continued rule depends upon the people’s belief that they’re utterly helpless without the structure of the settler-colonial imperialists. Once this illusion is unmasked and the essence of the establishment is exposed, the oppressive state apparatus must solely rely on brute force to maintain its illegitimate rule upon the people, Our people. The establishment seeks to bypass such a reality. Overt violence for the sake of political repression usually swells the ranks of those in opposition to the illegitimate governmental authorities.
It was this exact situation which saw the federal government intensify the contradiction which began in Black August 1619 to the level of a domestic war between two opposed and contradictory entities, through the FBI’s declared war on the various organizations and people within the Black Liberation Movement, by way of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).
The u.s. government’s carrying out of COINTELPRO in order to prevent the self-developed expression of the New Afrikan-Black experience as a colonized nation held captive for centuries by the u.s. government, resulted in numerous political assassinations of New Afrikan-Black liberation combatants, the political/false imprisonment of various souljahs and activists of Our cause, and the subsequent obliteration of what has been up until this point the most progressive era of Our collective struggle in 402 years (the Black Liberation Movement).
The defeat of the movement is important to this discourse on FPC, because it was in the wake of the defeat of the movement that the Crips, Bloods, Folks and Peoples established themselves. The establishment of these street groups was facilitated by the war initiated on the movement, and the subsequent elimination of progressive, productive, and revolutionary leadership in the colonies which We call communities. Ajamu Niamke Kamara (Stanley Tookie Williams), co-founder of the Crips, said the following:
"i’m convinced that had the Black Panther Party still been recruiting - uninterrupted by the duplicitous COINTELPRO… Huey Newton and Bobby Seale would have salivated over the untapped youthful potential We represented.
“Throughout this state and country, We embodied only a small divided body within a multitude of reckless, energetic, fearless, and explosive young Black warriors. Though we were often seen as social dynamite, i believe We were the perfect entity to be indoctrinated in cultural awareness and trained as disciplined soldiers for the Black struggle.”
Unfortunately for the original Crips and Bloods, and the many multitudes who have since followed in their foot steps, in 1971 while Tookie Williams and Raymond Washington were establishing the teenage clique that would become an international menace, the Black Panther Party was enduring a major split within its ranks, which was caused, partially, by the assault(s) of COINTELPRO, that would be the beginning of the end for the Party and the movement.
In the wake of the defeat, the establishment initiated a wide variety of methods to ensure that the widely dispersed wave of righteous rebellion and the desire of an internal colony to free itself from the forced yoke of imperialism and neo-colonialism, would never happen again. To insure that Our people would remain collectively divided and conquered, and sleep, the enemies invented and distributed crack cocaine, and military grade weapons throughout the mid 1980’s and into the 1990’s, allowed for the AIDS/HIV epidemic, created laws and policies that would hold millions of Our youthful and vibrant siblings in captivity based on fabricated and over-exaggerated portrayals of Our colonized territories and peoples, and Our responses to Our colonial oppression.
While the movement for self-determination was brutally crushed by the u.s. government, that same government, wherever it could, assisted the growth and expansion of the street organizations. The very industry that was factually created by the CIA (the Crack Trade) was the vehicle which drove Crips, Bloods, Folk, and Peoples factions in their growth across the u.s. empire. This subsequent growth and expansion led directly to the formation of the street organization, Forum Park Crips, an independent Crip faction in Houston, Texas, along with countless other similar factions and groups. What could have been the u.s. establishment’s motive in instigating the growth of parasitic groups, while murdering and torturing the productive organized bodies? The answer can only possibly be the intended destruction of Our nation and people.
With this realization that We have been manipulated, on a large scale, to act against Our own interests and that of Our nation, the formation of Forever Protecting the Community, though not the solution within itself, surely takes a step in the correct direction.
“… Our women and children are suffering greatly at the hands of an oppressive, dominant, racist political system… We can no longer afford the forced luxury of non-involvement or non-participation. The question remains: How can We contribute within Our limited capacities? .. i say to you: If We accept a partial responsibility for the plight of Our own people, then We must take an active role in the game of POLITICS.” – Larry Hoover’s 1993, “Call to Action”
Where Do We Go From Here? As stated above, the formation of Forever Protecting the Community is not a solution in and of itself, and it remains to be seen whether or not this formation will live out its full potential. What has already taken place however is the necessary act of determining for ones self what your identity and purpose will be. There will be naysayers who will point to all sorts of negative aspects of those who are or become active with the new FPC movement. They will, if hystory is any indicator, deter the general public from supporting and identifying with the movement of Our people and colonies.
In order to get out in front of this foreseeable roadblock to Our progress, We must do one of two things. 1) Abandon the words and personification of ‘gang’, and ‘criminal’, to those who have defined them (Our enemies) so that now they will have purely negative connotations; 2) redefine those words/personifications - or create a new word or phrase to describe organized groups within Our oppressed colonies (communities).
Whichever choice is made, NEW concepts must be developed that reinforce NEW forms of activity that should begin to appear on the basis of the NEW concept. Forever Protecting the Community is the NEW concept, and now what the leaders of this organization must act towards is organizing a wide variety of people of the community to work collectively to transform the ‘gang’ into a progressive organization of New Afrikan people, which struggles and works in the interests of Our people. The problem within Our colonies (communities) isn’t that there are ‘gangs’, but it is the real problems which all peoples under capitalist domination face, it is capitalism itself, and the social, economic and political alienation it creates, which indirectly gives birth to ‘gangs’ and ‘crime’.
Forever Protecting the Community has taken one step towards empowerment – one critical step closer to a new sense of collective identity, purpose, and direction – by using the power that We already have, to define Ourselves, name Ourselves and speak for Ourselves – instead of being defined and spoken for by others. The next step consists of leading all the people of the community to share in the responsibility for providing a NEW broader sense of collective identity, purpose, and direction – for Our children and Ourselves. It is time now to promote NEW ideas about the life We wanna live and the society We wanna live in. Its time to promote NEW definitions of Our problems (e.g. ‘racism’ or capitalism/colonialism) and the real solutions to Our problems (e.g. ‘empowerment’ or genuine independence). We must begin to promote among Our people the idea that Our purpose isn’t to simply own a nice car, jewelry, a house, or even to quasi control a few city blocks, but to share in Our control of entire cities, entire states, and eventually, to share in the control of Our independent nation.
The task is to begin to formulate a community coalition behind the idea/motto/slogan of Forever Protecting the Community. By a coalition i mean connecting with a variety of people who identify with and support the cause of the organization. Particularly, the following elements within the community should be sought out for support and assistance:
“What We have to do is get together the conscientious progressive thinkers within these [street] organizations that know that they have to make a change in order to survive… We have to put together a concerted effort by all segments of Our community– clergy, business, activists, and progressive thinkers within street organizations [local elected officials, educators, health care providers]. You have to go within these organizations to change them… You can’t just write off a generation… It is time for [New Afrikans] from all over the country to realize what has happened to Our people, and that while much of it can be attributed to outside forces We have to begin to take responsibility for Ourselves.” – Larry Hoover
As a politicized prisoner, and activist, co-founder of the prison activist organization Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., i extend my hand, and that of my comrades and supporters on both side of the walls, in support and solidarity of the Forever Protecting the Community organization, and more importantly i look forward to workin with my brothers, the 10’zzz, on concrete actions both FPC and Team One can collab on that will suit both Our missions.
We of TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. believe the current United Struggle from Within movement which We support, along with the general prison resistance/abolition movements, align perfectly with Forever Protecting the Community’s mission. As such, We humbly ask that if you are a part of or support the mission to FOREVER PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY, that you also contact and actively support the souljahs behind enemy lines within the TX Team One formation fighting against legal slavery in Texas prisons, and the inhumane use of indefinite, and long term solitary confinement, as a toll of social and political repression.
Dare 2 Struggle Dare 2 Win; 1 Love 1 Struggle for LAND AND INDEPENDENCE
“Look you a Blood, i’ma Crip, but i figure we can get back to that Black shit, instead of killin and bangin for crack shit, is n****z too stuck in they ways? i know We long overdue, but is We ready for change? Stand under one flag like an ARMY brigade. Time to put the deuce-deuce down and pick a ‘K’, and if We bangin on sum Black shit. Let’s ride for the dead homies and get the burners for Malcolm and Nat Turner. Talkin’ to them other n*****z, my so called enemies We don’t own one block but We live and die for these city streets. Even though the pain runs deep, REAL n*****z know its time to make PEACE so We can FOCUS ON THE PAYCHECK.” – Nipsey Hussle
“Now if We wanna live the THUG LIFE and the gangsta life and all that, okay, so stop being cowards and let’s have a REVOLUTION. But We don’t wanna do that, dudes just wanna live a character. They wanna be cartoons, but if they really wanted to do something, if they was tough alright, lets start Our OWN COUNTRY, lets start a REVOLUTION, let’s get out of here [prison], let’s do something.” – Tupac Amaru Shakur
Triumphant TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E Co-founder New Afrikan Independence Movement
Here we’ve formulated the Team 1 movement. An anonymous and autonomous collective of lumpen dedicated to facilitating a movement that attacks living conditions, corruption, discrimination, and nepotism which permeates tekkk$a$ prisons. Team 1 is a multi-national, multi-organisational collective. Team One’s ‘15 Point Program’ is listed below. (It has been edited for security reasons.)
We want an immediate end to long-term and indefinite isolated confinement in Restrictive Housing. This is in accordance with the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment which outlines cruel and unusual punishment, as well as the international standards of imprisonment set by the United Nations’ ‘Mandela Rules’, which outlawed confinement for 22 or more hours a day for over 14 consecutive days.
We want a housing environment and living conditions fit for human beings while housed in RHU. Namely we want less restricted movement (group rec), OTS/state phones accessible to prisoners in RHU without officer escort, televisions visable to level one RHU which will act as positive re-enforcement for the psychological well-being of prisoners and the social productivity of the communities which we will return to.
We want the Texas Parole Board and state classification to adhere to the sanctioned letter of the law regarding prisoners serving stacked sentences, namely (Michael Lane VS. Director of TDCJ-CID 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26319) which ruled that an inmate serving stacked sentences begins her/his subsequent sentence when s/he would have been eligible for parole, not when they’ve been granted parole. We are seeking an executive order from Governor Abbot on this issue so that many inmates will now be eligible for parole and released. This is to quell the furtherance of the COVID-19 within the over-populated Texas prison system.
We want retroactive legislation and an executive order that mandates the parole board recognize good conduct time, work time, and flat time credit for 3-G (Agg) sentences/offenders: This will make many prisoners eligible for parole and allow for a mass de-carceration, which will help contain this spread of COVID-19 virus within Texas Prison System where people are helpless to protect themselves from the effects of COVID-19.
We want retroactive legislation and an executive order that mandates parole eligibility for (all) Texas Prisoners, including those currently serving life w/o parole, we want the requirements for the eligibility of parole reduced for all prisoners currently serving under the 1/2 (50%) law from that 50% minimum flat time before parole eligibility to that of serving 1/4 (25%) before parole eligibility.
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic we want an executive order mandate in the immediate release of all prisoners who’re within one year of their discharge date.
We want retroactive legislation and an executive order which mandates mandatory short-way for all first time prisoners with satisfactory disciplinary records, which reflect an effort at rehabilitation. We want identical retroactive legislation should be passed for all youthful offenders (those between the ages of 13-25 at the time of the commission of their offense).
We want an immediate improvement to the food trays prisoners are provided. This is accordance with (Keenan V. Hall, 83 F.3d at 10911 - “Prison food must be adequate to maintain health”), Morales Feliciano V. Calderon Sierra 300 F.Sup.2d 327-341 (DPr 2004) says failure to provide prescribed diets implicates 8th Amend. right violation…
We want food which is edible, (Hot);
We want a recantation of the unconstitutional Board Policy enacted March 1st 2020 which prohibits or otherwise restricts who may send inmates funds.
We want the administration to institute an act of mediation in the event prisoners receive outside mail, novelty cards, postcards, flyers, cutouts etc, all those items deemed impermissible by the new mail room policy enacted March 1st, 2020. We ask that the mailroom be made to photocopy the contents of cards, postcards, flyers, cut-outs etc, which will negate the said ‘security risk’ while still allowing inmates contact with the outside world. Furthermore, prison sensitive tablets may be a logical recourse if made available to prisoners.
We want the re-instatement of current/former prisoners’ right to vote in Texas.
We want all prisoners to be paid for their labor; via monetary funds and/or work time credits which go towards parole eligibility.
We want an immediate end to, and a federal investigation into the retaliatory, racial profiling of prisoners in TDCJ, namely the ______ Unit; The administration, Office of Inspector General, Gang Investigators, routinely falsify State documents, by falsely labeling prisoners as “Gang” or “STG” members without due process of law or meeting the burden of proof. Furthermore, they actively seek legal prosecution on purposely trumped up charges on innocent prisoners in order to coerce inmates to give false testimony on other prisoners, thereby putting their lives and safety in danger. This is a reoccurring problem involving the ______ unit Safe Prisons, OIG, and GI and condone by head Warden ______ and local ______ County district attorney.
We want the legislators to pass the bill filed by House of Representative District 139, Jarvis Johnson in the legislative session of 2019; this bill will establish an independent Ombudsman that will be independent from TDCJ. This agency will ensure that prisoners constitutional and human rights are met by TDCJ officers and officials.
While we struggle actively to bring this program into fruition the activities which will bring that about will simultaneously (A) elevate the class consciousness of the masses of lumpen through activity and (B) carry us to the next stage of development or at very least entrench us more within the current stage - (Stage (2))
As of now we are attempting to spread this ‘15 Point Program’ far & wide to comrades inside and those outside, in order to garner support for mass direct action approaching on the anniversary of George Jackson’s death - through the anniversary of the Attica rebellion.