Interview with an anonymous inmate at Marion CI, Marion, NC about anti-police uprisings and the Black Lives Matter movement.
How did you first hear about the anti-police uprisings and #BlackLivesMatter protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, Oakland, and other cities, of 2014-2015: friends and family, other prisoners, corporate media, and/or radical publications?
You know, coming from the class of the “proletariat” you relate to all the above uprisings, because oppression, capitalism/imperialism does not discriminate against one certain nationality! As long as the tyrant can exploit us Blacks, Browns and poor white class we are the same to them! So when such organizations such as #BlackLivesMatter stand firm against these murdering pigs we can all relate, so we look through newspapers, etc. for the uprisings. Because it fills those with consciousness with pride to know someone is out there standing up for those who are unable to do so and those who are unconscious. Being held as a captive within the gulags of these “razorwire plantations,” access to every detail of the marches, riots, and takeovers is very limited, and if you are conscious then nine out of ten times you are going to be housed on a control housing unit, where you are locked in a cell 24-7 where you only have a radio with stations controlled and that promote capitalism/imperialism. So without the Bay View paper we would all be in the dark about the actions taken by the people. But Bay View can only expose so much due to certain guidelines they must follow, being that they are considered a national paper. Whoever is reading this missive: We the conscious in bondage within the gulags of these Razorwire Plantations need to come together and form a newsletter to bring awareness to the comrades within these walls, as well as those who are not. We are silenced by mail censorship, limited access to organization that can be our voice, because our lives matter also! We are only limited to what we limit ourselves to.
How did you react? What were your initial thoughts and feelings?
See, when being a victim of oppression, repression, and fascism, and you hear or witness any form of revolt it fills you with joy, pride, and the desire to unite and revolt yourself against any form of oppression you may be facing at the time. That’s why the administration—the “overseers” of these plantations—try to keep those of us who are conscious on lockdown, because they fear we will unite with other prisoners and riot. When you love the people, and you see the oppressed people stand up it makes you so happy, because they are a reflection of you. So with my fist in the air I say this with pride, continue on and its all power to the people.
There were and are a lot of contradictory and conflicting elements to these protests and rebellions. Right-wing media has used coded, racist language blaming “thugs” and “criminals”, while left-wing media and some activists have also at times decried the rioting, blaming it on “outside agitators.” Do you have thoughts on these conflicts over tactics and strategy? Do they resonate with debates going on over resistance inside prisons?
You see fables such as these placed on the proletariat since the early 1400’s. When a nationality or a group resists and revolts against the fascist ideology, they call us savages, thugs, criminals, etc. See the media uses those titles to brainwash the public, to make the public believe what the protesters and freedom fighters are doing is for their own personal gain. So if they call us these names then it places a negative image on us, so the unconscious will not support the move. For many years the media has been used to the advantage of the capitalist-imperialist. There is not a group of resistance nowhere right now in the State of North Carolina’s plantations because 90% of these guys suffer from “Stockholm Syndrome.” The ones that are conscious, they separate us. It’s known facts that the capitalist uses any bad situation for their advantage.
Did it feel to you like there was a racial dynamic to how prisoners reacted to the news of these mostly Black uprisings? Was there more or less racial unity with regards to anti-police sentiment in the prison? Did it seem like white or Latino/a prisoners could relate?
See here in NC’s plantations, racism is not an issue. Yes, there are some that are racist and you have some racist groups, but they keep to themselves. Like I said, nationality does not matter when it comes to the lower class we are all one class, and we have nothing to lose but our chains. So regardless of skin color if you are of the lower class you can relate because we can feel their pain.
What do you think the relationship can or should be between these anti-police rebellions on the outside and resistance inside prisons? Is there resistance or organizing going on at your facility you want to mention or hold up?
Sekou Odinga stated the USA would have you believe that I am a criminal, that we are all criminals. That just isn’t so: I am a POW and we have an absolute right to fight for our freedom. That is a human right. That is not a right you have to ask or beg for. Like all people that want to be free, what is necessary to exercise that right is to stand up like a man or woman and exercise it. If it calls for fighting, then we fight!
I myself will continue to fight for the people, as well as myself, regardless of relationship with those on the other side of the razorwire. Should there be a relationship? Very much so. There are many conscious political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and many more that could give so much insight to these anti-police groups, because he has fought the fight and still is fighting. But once we get behind these walls we are forgotten. Companionship is the basic need of human nature, for without it man becomes disturbed mentally, physically, and emotionally. How can they forget about us when we are victims of what these organizations are fighting against!? Before I bring this to an end I would like to mention the United Panther Movement and quote some words from Kevin Rashid Johnson: “Racism is not going to go away, nor is repression, nor the continued cycles of mounting crises created by the capitalist-imperialist system. These can only be ended by proletarian socialist revolution.” As a member of the White Panther organization I’d like to say this with my fist in the air: Dare to struggle, dare to win!