by Comrade Malik, Chief Spokesperson, End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement From: SF Bayview
Revolutionary Greetings, Sisters and Brothers!
It’s that time again and I am sending out this call to action in order to encourage everyone who is passionate about abolishing all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude to come together in one united action of revolutionary solidarity on June 19, 2019, and protest against the enslavement, degradation and dehumanization of Amerikan prisoners and all human beings throughout the world who are subjected to any form of slavery or oppression!
As many of you know, June 19 is the day when Black people in Texas celebrate the freedom of their Ancestors, our Ancestors, who were held in SLAVERY for approximately two years after the entire nation acknowledged the Emancipation Proclamation. But the slave owners in Texas ignored this federal law.
This year’s call to action has special significance as the world’s eyes are trained on South Texas, where tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central Amerika come to the United States seeking a safe haven but instead have found mistreatment, abuse, racism, and slavery. The legislative and criminal justice system in Texas continues to create the foundations for institutionalized racism and bigotry.
Do you realize that the U.S. Army had to ride into Galveston, Texas, in 1867 and announce that slavery had been abolished.
The state of Texas was so hell-bent on maintaining their slaves and profiting from slave labor that the U.S. Army had to show force to make Texas eliminate the practice of slavery. But it is still alive! Prison slavery is something that is being practiced and perpetuated in every state in the union and it has been codified by the most powerful legal document in the United States, the U.S. Constitution.
We must continue to call for the exception clause – or slavery – clause in the 13th Amendment to be struck down! We must finish the abolitionist work! Remember, sisters and brothers, that this is an international campaign which seeks to address the misogynistic practices of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as the genocide waged against Palestinian people.
The bigots who operate Texas prisons wish to silence my voice. I refuse to remain silent! On June 19, 2019, stand with us!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People!
Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Or on this site: Endprisonlaveryintexas.wordpress.com!
Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3100 S. Emily Dr., Beeville TX 78103.
By Jason Renard Walker, Deputy Minister of Labor – NABPP
The legislative record on the 13th Amendment excludes any interpretative argument on the language concerning forced prison labor. Therefore it is illogical to run to the federal courts and legislators seeking recognition for fair wages.
The origins of the 13th Amendment can be dated back to Thomas Jefferson, who was the chief author of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. This document was put into effect eleven days before the start of the Constitutional Convention on July 24th, 1787, for the purpose of establishing and governing the newly-created territory north of the Ohio river, in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.
The sixth and final article of the Charter states: “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Right from the start, Jefferson was a lobbyist for forced labor as a government-imposed form of legal slavery, to provide an alternative to capital punishment. Even he saw that one day, mass incarceration would affect the state’s economic progress, and that merely spending capital to capture and kill slaves, without generating any profits, made no sense. So within the U.S. Constitution he made sure a clause existed that would allow slavery to have a continuing effect on any slave who one day won some rights and freedom.
The shameless language of the 13th Amendment has created a virtually insurmountable legal battle. That is because neither the Federal government, or any individual state, can contravene the U.S. Constitution. In order to begin the legal battle, the 13th Amendment has to be amended. Article V allows the Constitution to be amended by the exact same text of a proposed change passing both the House and Senate with a two-thirds vote, and then adoption is contingent on ratification by three-fourths of all the states.
An example of this can be seen in the Equal Rights Act, which was written by the revolutionary feminist Alice Paul, and bars the prevention of civil rights based on one’s sex. The ERA passed both chambers with the requisite supermajority on March 22, 1972. But as far as the amendment is concerned, only thirty-five of the required thirty-eight states have allowed it to pass. Sadly, a constitutional amendment is the only way of attacking the legitimacy of the use of prison labor.
Being that we cannot dissolve any of the states, a tactical approach to extending the movement against prison slavery would be to conduct an analysis on those states that haven’t passed, initiate a game plan for those states, then apply maximum pressure on their economic interests. Thus forcing those states to join in and meet the thirty-eight state threshold. It still wouldn’t require them to end prison slavery, but it would give us our class action day in court. This is only one step of the many we have to take in order to end the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) and abolish slave labor once and for all.
Being Conscious Is The Key To Liberation
Public support for the end prison slavery movement hasn’t always been as great as it is now. There was one point in time when exposed abuse in prisons created little more than a benign “shock and awe” buzz that was only picked up and circulated by off-beat media.
I can remember seeing a seven or eight second segment on an Oakland-based news channel back in the early 1990s. It spoke about a prison-initiated hunger strike for whatever reason. I sat there eating candy thinking: who’s stupid enough to starve themselves? I was only a child, I had no idea how inhumanely prisoners are treated and how such torture can instigate rebellions. Many people are still unaware, which makes their assistance non-existent. Let’s raise their consciousness.
After being incarcerated in the Texas prison system for over ten years, I have witnessed events that not only coax men and women into starving themselves, but to cut, hang, mutilate and kill themselves. Just so they could escape the madness of the inhumanity and torture of prison life in general and solitary confinement in particular.
As irrational as it sounds to refuse to eat and work at the hand of reprisals, it has given prisoners, both American and foreign, currency in manufacturing public opinion to assist us in having our problems exposed and addressed. In regards to this, we need to stick to the script, seize the time and avoid falling victim to government-sponsored reform trends, falsely held under the banner of movements and revolutions.
The hooded sweater wearing in the wake of Trayvon Martin was a trend; hands up don’t shoot posing to commemorate Michael Brown’s death was a trend; Kaepernicking, or kneeling during the national anthem was a trend; the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was somewhat of a trend; hashtag whatever lives matter is a trend; Bernie Sanders as President is far from socialism.
But what sparked these trends? What caused them to spread like wildfire? What caused them to wither away? Was a goal reached that made the trend moot? Why do people jump from one trend to the next?
Police killing kids is still going-on unchecked. Kaepernick and Reed privately settling their lawsuit out of court didn’t resolve the NFL blackballing him, or future prospects, and the civil rights of colored folk are still being violated and covered up.
From a realistic viewpoint, should we believe that without some united mass-based practical resistance, just trending, condemning, and a funky-ass progressive legislative bill every twenty years is giving us maximum progress, growth, and development as fledgling underdogs?
As prisoners, isn’t it wise for us to lay out and set out our own wants and needs rather than leaving it to snake-oil salesmen and their pop-go-the-weasel limelight shucks, who show up, attempt to derail our movement, then vanish? The only voting right I’m interested in is the right to amend the U.S. Constitution, which furthers the exclusive interest of prisoners and the end prison slavery movement. Voting has done nothing and will do nothing.
Governmental prison profiteers and other opponents of prison abolition are well aware of our progressive activities, they will never sit back and let us do our thing without a little razzle-dazzle shenanigan of their own. I’m beginning to see a connection between our progress as activists and the sly reprisals being handed out. I’m speaking of those whose artwork, writings, poems, organizing and work put in are key factors in this thing. Those who aren’t deterred by prison-sanctioned setbacks. Those who aren’t motivated by commissary or pig friendship. Those who ain’t scared to check themselves and stay on course.
These are who the administration fears the most, because they don’t see the prison as their home, they see it as an animal’s cage they will spend their life (if they have to) clawing to get out of, destroying everything in their path that tries to keep them held hostage. They can’t be bought, they can’t be tamed, they can only be expected to do what they are doing, which is to help their body follow their mind to freedom.
Just because a brotha or sista is the most intelligent or knowledgeable of history among their peer group doesn’t make them conscious. Reading a book on Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, the Black Panther Party and agreeing with them doesn’t make you conscious. Educating others about the history of their race’s past and present oppression doesn’t make you conscious – it makes you a teacher. It might make you wanna do something, it might make them wanna do something.
Picking up a gun and shooting “the white man” because of racism won’t solve the problem. Wilding out and shooting the pigs won’t do nothing either, that’ll give them legal ground to further the killer cop epidemic.
But what we can do is figure out who’s the mastermind behind these ills, who’s allowing the protectors of the ruling class to do as they please without being punished and then come up with a strategy. A failure to grasp the contradictions between an organic grassroots movement, and government reform bills, and the politics of oppression, leaves one doomed, and easy pickings to further their own oppression.
The road to liberation ain’t a walk down the yellow brick road, there’s more than one person behind that curtain pulling strings and levers that twist, manipulate and shape the reality we live in. When you see for yourself, you’ll see men and women of all races, creeds, religions. There’s gays, lesbians, racists, reverse racists, evangelists and the like. There’s some who grew up impoverished and some who’ve never experienced a lack of any want or need.
Despite their personal disagreements, they have an unbreakable bond. It’s not driven by the will to survive or to make the world a better place. This bond stems from greed and their desire to build on the billions and millions they already have.
What prevents them from launching an economic attack on each other relates to the billions of citizens all over the world who provide them with the wealth they want through the exploitation of workers’ labor. As soon as the source depletes, they’ll feed on each other, ultimately destroying the earth or causing a third world war in their race to consolidate the wealth of one country, and then the next, into their coffers.
Jails, prisons, the police state and the military play as a buffer between the string pullers and those trying to remove them. The top-down authority is manipulated into manipulating each other into serving the interests of the ruling class. So each branch is acting for a different specific reason, with the result being a disguised form of max protection for the rulers.
The military is acting under patriotism; the police state is acting as protectors of the law and its citizens; the prisons act as a reformatory for the law-breakers and the jails being holding institutions until all due process of law rights have been satisfied. This is merely a front, even those exploited by and operating these institutions are mainly unaware of this.
When was the last time an active politician or presidential candidate was attacked or killed? When was the last time one has been a victim of violence? Why are those supposedly protected by the police and military state victims of society?
Actually these institutions aren’t protecting those they claim to protect, because the so-called protected are really the oppressed. You, me, and everyone else that are economic bottom feeders, dregs of society and so on are who I’m speaking of.
Making this small qualitative leap in thought allows us to come up with meaningful ideas, put our theories into practice and learn from any mistakes or errors made. This is when we begin to wake up our consciousness.
If it’s not on your mind and in your theories and practice that liberating an oppressed people will only come by overthrowing the ruling class through an armed revolution, you are merely a fraction of the way there, still half-asleep. But still a key component of support.
When you have come to the conclusion that you are ready to die for the people, die with the people or spend your life in the struggle, doing what you can to assist those that will, knowing no progress will be made if you let up. Not only are you a comrade of mine, you are a reason why the oppressed nation will prevail.
Prisoners being bound by any form of slavery serves no penological objective. It’s an obvious tactic drawn up by the oppressor, designed to villainize, ostracize and profit off of those who refuse to conform to its deeply ingrained developmental pattern upon their release into a manipulated society. These individuals are grouped with the standard criminals.
Every person has a different level of reach and assistance. Some can go no further than writing or doing lectures, while others can’t do the former or latter, but can organize the masses. To be conscious is to learn your reach, understand what you are fighting for, and who you are fighting, then meet or surpass the standard. There is always someone waiting for you to pass the baton so they can take it further. This is a step towards advancing the end of prison slavery!
Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people!
Send our brother some love and light: Jason Renard Walker, 1532092, Allred Unit, 2101 FM 369 N, Iowa Park, TX 76367.
Revolutionary greetings comrades and fellow workers!
When we discuss the term “social death”, especially in the context of the Prison Abolition Movement, we are talking about the severance and cutting off of a human being from all ties to (free) society as we know it. I would like to share my experiences.
I was first incarcerated in Texas in October 2007, so I am now approaching 12 years of incarceration. As soon as I arrived at the Harris County Jail, I fell off into a deep depression. I know that my depression had a lot to do with my drug addiction. Right from the beginning, everyone I knew began severing ties and literally “throwing me away”!
I was being held on a charge of bank robbery (with a note). The first person I reached out to was my former Public Defender Peter J. Bray. Peter worked for the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Houston, TX, which was headed by Marjorie Meyers. Peter was not nasty, but he did tell me: “Mr. Washington, there is nothing I can do to help you. The U.S. Attorney said that they have no interest in picking up your case and that you will do your time in the custody of the State of Texas. Good luck, Mr. Washington.” And then he hung up!
My first court appearance, I was informed that I was looking at 25 to LIFE! I was shocked and began experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices. I had no free-world support at the time. My former fiancée and I had separated. She had become an employee with the federal government. In fact, she was at the Pentagon with the Defense Intelligence Security Agency (DISA). I had actually encouraged her to accept a scholarship from the Department of Defense, and while she was in graduate school, I supported her financially and morally. I was actually financially stable at one point in my life! My former drug habit ruined my life!
So, I am in the county jail for approximately 7 months before I sign a plea deal for a non-aggravated sentence of 20 years, I’d be eligible for parole in 2 years so I took the deal! There was a problem. I had an outstanding charge in Galveston, Texas, and I kept telling my court-appointed attorney, who was named Brett Podolosky, about it. Brett turned out to be my enemy and not a friend. He told me not to worry about it! I knew better, but there was nothing I could do. When you are an indigent prisoner in the state of Texas, you have to take what you get, and the system is not set up for you to retain quality legal representation. I’ll never forget “good ol’” Brett Podolosky!
I don’t like to admit this, but I sought psychological counselling and help while I was housed at the Harris County Jail. At the time, a new Sheriff named Adrian Garcia was in charge at the jail, and he had instituted a new mental health program which gave Sheriffs training and education in regard to mental health issues and how they impact the prison population. The Harris County Jail had also opened a new housing wing for prisoners at the jail should they experience a crisis. I actually believe that this new program instituted by Sheriff Adrian Garcia saved my life! I am not embarrassed to say that! I am now a serious and dedicated advocate for the mentally ill and physically disabled, and if anyone studies my work, they will clearly see I spend a lot of my time focusing on these issues.
As I began to seek treatment for mental illness, I began to embrace my Islamic Faith more seriously. I grew my beard out. In fact, I wore a huge beard while living in the city of Houston, Texas, and I attended a Mosque regularly in the 3rd Ward called al-Muhayman Masjid on Cleburn Street right around the corner from the SHAPE Center. This is significant, because here we are 12 years later and my comrade and friend L. just met death penalty abolitionist Gloria Rubac, of the SHAPE Center, and Comrade Gloria said that her daughter is a parole attorney who can help me! That is pretty amazing for a guy who was thrown away and forgotten about 12 years ago! But I digress.
The dedicated and compassionate employees with the Harris County Psychiatric Center helped me snap out of my depression, and I continued to embrace my Islamic Faith, and held on to that.
In March 2008, I was transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and arrived at Garza West, which is located in the Kennedy and Beeville area. As soon as I got off the bus, a TDCJ employee said in a loud voice: “Does anyone have a problem with shaving their beard or cutting their hair?” I raised my hand. I was the only one to do so. The officer approached me, and mind you I’m not a little guy, I was about 6’4” and 260lb at the time, with a huge-ass beard! The officer asked “What’s your story?” I said, “I am a Muslim, we are instructed by our Prophet to grow our beards and trim our moustaches.” The TDCJ employee said “Well, I will tell you that if you don’t shave that beard, we are going to put you in a cell and about 4 or 5 of my buddies are going to beat your ass and force you to shave, so what do you want to do?” At the time I chose to shave!
It is important that I tell you this part of my story, because not only was my incarceration taking me literally out of society, it was attempting to destroy my identity! Destroying my Muslim identity! At that reception center at Garza West in South Texas, hundreds of us were stripped naked, showered, fingerprinted, photographed and shaved bald. Then we were given identical prison uniforms and a number! From that point up to right now, I have been treated like an animal and not a human being! Texas reminds you everyday that you are a subhuman. “Your lives mean nothing to us, we don’t care if you live or die, you are a slave and are treated as such!”
So here I was, 12 years ago. No family or community support. No clergy. No money. And very little hope.
Twenty years is not a life sentence, and I have always been an extremely optimistic person – I am not a quitter! So I began to fight in my own way! At first, I assimilated. I was a “happy slave” and a person who hustled to stay alive. I got a job in the kitchen and sold sandwiches. I was good at hustlin’. But, I was also a Muslim, and as I got more and more involved, some of my brothers told me that, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, they wanted me to suspend my thievery from the kitchen. I complied, because I love being a Muslim and I love Allah!
I began to become very interested in the law, because I received a letter from the City of Galveston, Texas. The letter was from the District Attorney, and it said that I had an outstanding charge for aggravated robbery! Remember Attorney Brett Podolosky? He said don’t worry! Brett Podolosky still practices law in Houston, and he gave me very bad advice! Boycott him!
The good news is that I went to the Unit Law Library, and filed a motion for a speedy trial. In 2010 I finally adjudicated those charges, and I did not receive a charge for aggravated robbery! I received the exact same sentence I received in Harris County, and the Prosecutor counted most of my back time and she ran my time concurrent and not consecutive. That means they did not stack the sentence! Judge David Garner in Galveston gave me a second chance. If it wasn’t for Judge Garner I’d be doing 40 years instead of 20! So I do have many things to be thankful for.
There are many people who know me now because of my activism and my journalism inside Texas prisons. You will notice that I wear a large beard now. I fought for this beard! I fought to regain my identity!
The State of Texas promotes social death no matter what they may lie about and say. In reality, the prison agency TDCJ does not want our families and friends looking too closely at what is happening inside these slave kamps and gulags, because the agency can’t really stand intense scrutiny. There are psychologists employed by the state that come up with strategies and plans to break down the resistance of their charges. That is what ad-seg is all about! That is why you hear many of us use the term Control Units. This is part of the program of mass incarceration! Anarchy and anarchists are completely and wholeheartedly opposed to this authoritarian strategy used to break humans! Prisons are not making big money on a grand scale! No, this is something else, this is about social control!
After I regained my Muslim identity, I had to fight to regain my social identity and my rightful place in society! Anyone can go back to society and fall back into the same old pattern of drug use and crime, but how many go back to their communities as human and civil rights activists, organizers, freedom fighters and, most importantly, servants of the people?
Some of you may have heard about Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s book, entitled Defying the Tomb. Defying the tomb isn’t just about surviving prison and solitary confinement, it is about thriving in this atmosphere, and completely changing the conditions inside and outside these prisons, with our final goal being abolition!
You see, I began talking about social death, but the end-game is social life! I am becoming successful because I chose social life over social death! Even though the deck continues to be stacked against me, it is my determination and the compassion and dedication of a growing number of free-world folks who are collectively saying with their actions: No! No, State of Texas, we will not let you take Malik! We are re-claiming him as one of our own!
You have to understand that once society wants you back, no-one and no entity can hold you! The people will eventually free you! And once you are free, you have responsibilities to fulfil. Your freedom comes with a price. Don’t betray the movement! Choose social life over death! Abolish prisons now!
Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people!
Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com and endprisonslaveryintexas.wordpress.com.
Send our brother some love and light:
Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958,
3100 S. Emily Dr.,
Beeville TX 78103
“The prison industrial complex has created a kind of ‘third-world colony’ right here in the United States. Prison systems outsource prisoners for slave labor to major corporations for pennies per day. Prisoners perform data entry and work auto industry jobs that used to belong to free-world workers. The workers left unemployed become the desperate criminals of tomorrow, getting locked up and getting their old union job back … in the prison factory … for pennies a day.” – From “Why Should Free-World Workers Care About Prisoners?” in The Incarcerated Worker, Issue 2: Summer 2015, a publication of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
Revolutionary greetings, comrades and fellow workers. Well, here we are four years later and the analysis of the IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee) and the NABPP-PC should be starting to hit home and resonate in your heart, mind and soul.
It is our intention to transform “prison slaves” into respected and productive members of the international proletariat movement. As a proletarian, YOU, the sister or brother sitting on your bunk, or in your cubicle, or in the day room reading this essay – YOU are a WORKER and not a SLAVE. Your lives matter, and you have great potential to be an extremely productive and successful member of the new society we are struggling to create.
It is our intention to transform “prison slaves” into respected and productive members of the international proletariat movement.
As deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, Prison Chapter, and as the chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, I wear many hats but without a doubt my most important task is to ensure that I adhere to our PARTY LINE and teach as well as uphold it.
Many may view me as the “hype man” of our movement; however, I have assumed the responsibility to awaken and then develop the class conscious worker. In order to provide you with a clear and concise explanation of the class conscious worker, allow me to quote our minister of defense, Comrade Kevin “Rashid” Johnson.
Comrade Rashid says: 1) “The class conscious worker can be of two sorts: the militant and the revolutionary. The militant worker takes sense of commitment beyond the family into the workplace and will stand up to the bosses for workers’ rights, even to the extent of jeopardizing one’s employment, freedom and safety by participating in strikes and job actions.”
Comrades, for the past couple of years we have seen thousands of prisoners all across the United States and some in Europe and Canada embrace class consciousness and join in our solidarity actions. Now we are engaged in a process of revolutionary development, so allow Comrade Rashid to explain the other aspect of the class conscious worker.
Rashid continues: 2) “The revolutionary worker takes the sense of commitment even further and challenges the oppressive social order to change the social relations for ALL and put an end to class exploitation and oppression once and for all. The revolutionary is inspired by a great LOVE for the people and sense of DUTY to the masses and to future generations.”
And this, my respected sisters and brothers, is our aspiration and hope for ALL OF US throughout the United States, Europe, Asia the Middle East to include Israel where my Palestinian home girls and home boys are trapped in Israeli slave kamps and gulags. We are seeking to revolutionize the way you think and act.
Knockin’ doors down
Comrades, the theme I have chosen for this year’s Prison Abolition Struggle is “Knockin’ Doors Down.” Chad Butler, better known as Pimp-C of the rap duo UGK, penned a smash rap hit entitled “Knockin Doorz Down” before his untimely and some say mysterious death.
The lyrics were directed to hip-hop and rap artists in the music industry who had allowed themselves to be manipulated, exploited and turned against one another by the corporate capitalist pigs who run the major record labels in Amerikkka. Some may liken them to the pigs who operate Texas prisons and numerous other departments of corrections throughout the U.S. Whether you want to admit it or not, we have allowed ourselves to be PLAYED. Oh – they ain’t gonna like this one, y’all.
For decades, approximately five major corporations have run the record industry, telling artists what type of lyrics they can write, what topics were taboo, and what CDs would be allowed to drop and when. They even control what songs get serious rotation on local radio stations.
In order to control independent or “renegade artists” like Tupac Shakur, the major record executives have actually created beefs and rivalries between artists who for all intents and purposes should have been allies and comrades in struggle against these pigs. So Pimp-C made a clarion call of solidarity and unity among all hip-hop artists and rappers, especially in my city of Houston, Texas.
Basically Pimp-C was saying: “Let’s stop all the cappin’ and dissin’ and get this money together. Forget them corporate pigs. Let’s make our own record labels and distribute our own artistic product.”
The theme I have chosen for this year’s Prison Abolition Struggle is “Knockin’ Doors Down.”
“Knockin’ Doors Down” calls us to destroy all boundaries and walls which separate us and keep us from striving for the greater good of all humanity. As you can see, I’ve taken this concept and applied to our Prison Abolition Movement.
Comrades Swift Justice and Kinetik Justice of the Free Alabama Movement and I have come to the decision that it is wise for us to work more closely together and attempt to achieve some REAL GOALS like voting rights. But that isn’t all; we also want to open up a couple other “fronts” in order to confront and destroy the School to Prison Pipeline and join in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers along with their children as they seek to either gain asylum or just be treated like human beings and not like cattle. All this falls under the auspices of ENDING PRISON SLAVERY.
The vanguard in Texas
Now the vanguard in Texas that is actually trying to change things in a positive way is made up of a loosely connected collective of Anarchists, New Afrikans, Mandingos, Muslims and others who have embraced the strategy and tactics of direct action. We are a small but very vocal minority who file lawsuits, write grievances, and engage in journalism, organizing and educating the people, our fellow prisoners. Our “watch words” are RESIST AND REBEL.
With the help of various Anarchist collectives across the nation and Europe – Canada too – we’ve been able to launch some successful political projects. Last year’s International Solidarity Action which took place on June 19, 2018, was one such project, and another project which has become extremely relevant this year in Texas is the Bamboozled Zine that Austin ABC and Central Texas ABC helped me and Norris “Fajr” Hicks create. Fajr is the other co-founder of this awesome movement which seeks to End Prison Slavery in Texas.
Bamboozled focuses on the fraudulent good time and work time credit system inside Texas prisons. If there is one thing that I have found that will get Blacks, Mexicans and whites to cooperate together in Texas, it is when we focus on a COMMON G0AL – and I can tell you WE ALL WANT TO BE FREE. Sooner rather than later. You feel me?
Our “watch words” are RESIST AND REBEL.
Texas has set-up a horribly corrupt and biased parole system, and it has been like this for DECADES.
One of our core demands during this year’s legislative session in Texas is to have legislators address this fraudulent credit system and create new laws which give us reasonable and realistic opportunities toward gaining our FREEDOM. For the most part, legislators in Texas have continued to ignore our demands for a more equitable and fair parole system even as we have seen reported in the media that Texas prison officials often SET UP prisoners with bogus and fabricated disciplinary cases when they near PAROLE ELIGIBILITY.
This is not fantasy, y’all. This is a fact. All you had to do is read the Houston Chronicle or even the Prison Legal News last year and you can see for yourself what these unscrupulous violators of the public’s trust have been doing to hold us hostage down here so they can have them some well trained slaves to till they damn fields. We the prisoners in Texas are going to have to organize and act soon. BUT WE WON’T BE TELEGRAPHIN’ OUR MOVES.
On a very positive note, we had one of our core demands recognized. The jury is still out on whether or not the bills will pass, but I can tell you that two Black Texas legislators from Houston have heard our pleas for independent oversight.
It is not exactly what we have been proposing, but Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Houston, and Texas Sen. Borris Miles, also D-Houston, have drafted identical pieces of legislation that call for the creation of an Independent Ombudsman Office. If you are interested, you can have your family or friends research these current proposed pieces of legislation: SB-188 and HB-363.
The current Ombudsman Office is under the umbrella of TDCJ and is about as effective as the current Offender Grievance System. Prisoners and their family as well as friends all across Texas will tell you that the grievance and ombudsman systems are ineffective, corrupt, biased and an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars. These people down here are stealing money from taxpayers, giving our folks the impression that they have some kind of honorable vehicle for review of our complaints.
What Rep. Johnson and Sen. Miles are proposing is placing the current TDCJ Ombudsman Office under the purview of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. My main problem with this is that all we will be doing is changing offices but retaining the same corrupt and unethical individuals working the program. For meaningful change, we need to CLEAN HOUSE AND START OVER.
The current TDCJ Ombudsman Office serves as a liaison between the public and these un-ethical pigs who run these slave kamps and gulags. My experience and the experience of my close comrades and friends has shown us that many of the current ombudsperson’s staff used to be ranking TDCJ employees who worked inside these prison facilities. One I know of is Jane Cockerham who on more than one occasion responded to our complaints in such a manner as to cover up and conceal mistreatment, abuse or unconstitutional living conditions, and I do have proof.
In the past three years my support network has filed more ombudsman complaints on my behalf and for other prisoners than any other support network in Texas. Now all of our complaints and responses are supposed to be available to the public – so all you have to do is email the Ombudsman Office and request to see all the complaints filed on behalf of Keith H. Washington, TDC 1487958 within the past three years.
One thing I can say is that I admire both of these Black legislators from H-Town because they not just acknowledged the flawed office, they have taken active steps to fix it. I encourage everyone of you reading this article to have your family or friends who have ever utilized this corrupt Ombudsman Office to resolve complaints to contact Rep. Johnson or Sen. Miles and ask them when the committee hearing is scheduled for these bills and, if you choose, how you can testify on behalf of yourselves and your loved ones. We need to make our experiences public so the world can hear how Texas has violated our rights consistently.
The power is in the people
As I said previously here, Swift Justice, Kinetik Justice and myself have come to the realization that re-enfranchisement is a goal we would like to achieve for ALL PRISONERS and former prisoners. I believe the state of Texas already has a law on the books which grants former prisoners their right to vote after they have completed their sentences and finished parole.
Florida recently passed a law which restored the voting rights of over a million women and men. However, there was a major flaw in the Florida legislation. It excluded murderers and those with sex offenses.
My problem is this: The U.S. Constitution has an Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment. Now, if you are going to restore voting rights to some and not ALL, that presents a serious constitutional question. I am hoping that the Human Rights Defense Center will address that anomaly in the law. And by the way, I send out a clenched fist salute to PAUL WRIGHT of PRISON LEGAL NEWS.
For decades – maybe even over a century – white supremacist politicians and lobbyists have come up with creative ways to stop prisoners and former prisoners from voting. We even saw a free world “agent” in North Carolina trying to sabotage the vote of free world folks during the mid-terms. However, when we consider that 85 percent of all prisoners will eventually someday be released to society, WE MUST FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHT TO VOTE SO OUR VOICES CAN BE HEARD.
I’m not going to keep quiet while Texas legislators like Sen. John Whitmire misrepresent our interests. When prisoners were down here dying of heat stroke, Sen. Whitmire was lobbying against air conditioning – FACT.
Swift Justice, Kinetik Justice and myself have come to the realization that re-enfranchisement is a goal we would like to achieve for ALL PRISONERS and former prisoners.
When Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was a member of the Texas Legislature, he crafted a bill that called for zero tolerance of retaliation against those who file grievances or federal civil complaints. Sen. Whitmire stopped the bill – claiming that TDCJ already had policies prohibiting retaliation.
Sen. Whitmire knew good and well what was happening down here to litigators such as myself and Kevin “Rashid” Johnson. And Rashid’s case is exceptionally disturbing because there were deaths of Texas prisoners at the hands of TDCJ prison guards – and Sen. Whitmire pretty much was complicit in the retaliation against Rashid when TDCJ prison officials conspired with the Florida Department of Corrections to send Rashid away when he exposed circumstances that showed these deaths of prisoners at the Bill Clements High Security Unit were actually MURDERS.
And there is no statute of limitation on murder or investigating cold cases, folks. Even now in the heated climate and atmosphere in which Texas citizens are screaming for independent oversight, we have legislators like Texas Rep. James White who claim everything is all right. NO need to change the system, Rep. White has been saying. Sisters and brothers, this system is BROKEN, period.
We must secure our voting rights and use them so we can vote Whitmire and other Dixiecrats like him out of office. We the people have power if we tap into it.
Y’all reading this essay knew it wasn’t going to be no “Jeffin House Negro” and “Uncle Tom Trash.” I am a servant of the people and I’m gonna put the truth and the facts in they face. We must collectively encourage our loved ones and friends in the free world to get directly involved in the political process. Attend a committee hearing, send an email, make a phone call, organize a rally or a protest. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.
We must secure our voting rights and use them so we can vote Whitmire and other Dixiecrats like him out of office. We the people have power if we tap into it.
Why should prisoners join the IWW?
Sisters and brothers, I am going to end this provocative essay with an invitation to all prisoners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, as well as South and Central Amerika to join our ranks of fellow workers. I will quote a section right from our wonderful publication: The Incarcerated Worker:
“The majority of people in prison will get out and return to prison again. The prison system creates a class of people unable to successfully advocate for themselves, robbing them of necessary skills, catching them in a revolving door.”
“Prisons are used for economic purposes. Prisons are a way to lock up the unemployed and to create desperate people to work rotten jobs at low pay. This serves the interests of the rich and powerful and it harms the workers and the poor.”
“Prisons are used for political purposes. Prisons lock away the poor, those who are in favor of more ‘radical’ solutions. Taking away votes and power from the poor communities, prisons ensure that politicians will be puppets of the war mongers and fear mongers.”
“Prisons are used for demographic purposes. Black men are the largest segment of the prison population. Black women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population. Prisons are used to maintain radical inequalities.”
“Children with at least one parent in prison are far more likely to go to prison also. Children of prisoners are the prison population of tomorrow. The cycle continues for generations.”
“You cannot change this situation through a grievance process that doesn’t work or through courts that are clearly against you or through petitions to lawmakers who don’t care about you because you don’t vote or through hunger strikes against prison officials who want you to starve or through letters to newspapers who have ignored this situation for decades.”
“We know what will happen if you DON’T join the INDUSTRIAL WORKERS of the WORLD (IWW). Let’s see what happens when you DO. PRISONER MEMBERSHIP IS FREE. Join the Industrial Workers of the World TODAY. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.”
Comrades, I’m leaving you with some addresses for the IWOC, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, so you can get your application to both the IWW and IWOC. Basically we are one organization but the IWOC exclusively serves our incarcerated fellow workers. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People.
Kansas City IWW and IWOC, P.O. Box 414304, Kansas City, MO 64141-4304
Oakland IWOC, P.O. Box 6305, Oakland, CA 94603
Milwaukee IWOC, P.O. Box 342294, Milwaukee, WI 53234
UK IWOC, P.O. Box 7593, Glasgow, G42 2EX, UK
Postscript: A call to action
Sisters and brothers, I am sending out a national call and request for civil and human rights lawyers to take an interest in the struggles of my comrade and friend Jason Renard Walker as well as myself. Jason and I have been subjected to a coordinated campaign of harassment, retaliation and racial hatred by employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (sic.). White supremacist Klansmen jumped on my comrade Jason in November 2018 at the Ellis Unit located in Huntsville, Texas.
Even the federal courts have joined in the campaign against Jason and I. I have had a “mysterious” Fusion Center Report placed in my file and, without a board certified lawyer, we may never know exactly what is in that report and why this corrupt and unethical agency refuses to release me from Ad-Seg. We need help gaining the attention of Texas legislators now that the legislative session has begun.
I’d also like to echo the call of Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun of the Free Alabama Movement as he has called for the creation of an app whereby lawyers, activists and legal aid organizations can gain direct immediate access to the various abolition movements and groups throughout the United Snakes of Amerika as well as Europe and gain specific information about our various struggles – right now.
I am hoping that Queen Tahiyrah’s words proclaiming Justice in 2019 will prove to be prophetic as we head into unchartered territory in a tumultuous world. It most definitely is time to END PRISON SLAVERY and together we will achieve that goal. UHURU! Free Comrade Jason! Free Comrade Malik! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
Send our brother some love and light: Keith Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3100 S. Emily Dr., Beeville TX 78103.
“…there is an underlying issue here on this unit and Lieutentant Javier Muro has established a pattern of attempting to harass and intimidate Muslim prisoners!”
By Keith “Malik” Washington
Peace and Blessings, Sisters and Brothers!
Today is Wednesday, October 3, 2018. I woke up this morning and went to outside recreation. Before being escorted to rec the officers came to my cell with a male Sergeant named Espinoza. He had the video cam-corder in his hand and I was asked to submit to a strip search. I complied. These strip searches are humiliating and degrading!
TDCJ has be me classified as a High Profile Inmate but no one here has actually told me why I have been placed on High Profile status! The only reasons I’ve been given is “you have lawsuits.” However, this supports by argument that the prison agency TDCJ has been retaliating against me for accessing the courts!
Last year I won a civil lawsuit when I challenged TDCJ’s unconstitutional beard and religious headgear policy–while I was litigating that suit I was not subjected to this humiliating treatment. So why now?? Why the video camera??
After my recreation time in a cement box cage a female Sergeant named Dorian Garza shows up with the cam-corder. I ask to speak with her before I am ordered to strip naked. I explain to her that I am a devout Muslim and it goes against everything I believe for me to strip naked in front of a woman who is not my wife but the extra indignity of stripping naked while she films me is more than I can bear.
Sergeant Garza agrees! She orders her officers to strip me and after they are done she returns with the cam-corder to film me. I am taken to my cell in order to pick up my shower items–towel, face cloth, soap, shampgoo and shower shoes. I tell Sergeant Garza that I’ll be five minutes.
However, I am left in the shower for an hour!! While in the shower Lieutenant Javier Muro conducts a search of my cell. He takes my mostly “state” items, extra necessities… He leaves me with only one sheet, takes down my clothes line–no big deal. But there is an underlying issue here on this unit and Lieutentant Javier Muro has established a pattern of attempting to harass and intimidate Muslim prisoners!
Up to this point I’ve been silent on this topic, just watching and waiting. Nevertheless, these ongoing strip searches coupled with the fact that a Muslim I’ve known for ten years reached out to me for help, has pushed me over the edge!! I am requesting an organized response here! I want at least 1,000 free world friends to contact Texas Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier, and Texas Representative James White and ask them specific questions and this time, sisters and brothers, we must demand answers and solutions to these issues.
Please, I really need your help on this:
Why did TDCJ state classification committee member Kelly Enloe approve of my release from Ad Seg yet I have been returned to Ad Seg with no excuse?
What was the reason for dismissing me from the Ad Seg Transition Program?
Upon arrival at the McConnell Unit why have I been classified as a High Profile Inmate? What behavior or historical data is TDCJ using to justify the humiliating strip searches with cam-corder?
Does TDCJ train their officers to be tolerant and respectful of prisoners who practice Islam or follow the Judaic faith? Does the Agency monitor instances of religious discrimination and harassment of the prisoners?
Sisters and brothers, I have never ever been “the boy who cried wolf.” I am known throughout the nation and even in some parts of Europe as being a truthful and respected authority on the conditions inside Texas prisons. There is a Muslim here on McConnell Unit named Phrory Gamble (TDC# 1426500). His Muslim name is Abdur-Razzaq and he has been on hunger strike for a couple weeks! I was just notified two days ago. Something is wrong! I’ve known this brother for nearly 10 years and he is not someone who engages anything like a hunger strike unless something is extremely wrong!!
The name that keeps popping up is: Lieutenant Javier Muro!! The McConnell Unit has recently been placed on what I believe is semi-annual lockdown so we need some concerned citizens to call up here immediately and talk to Senior Warden Phillip Sinfuentes in order to ascertain what the problem is!! McConnell’s phone number is (361) 362-2300.
I also suggest all of you contact the TDCJ Ombudsman as well as TDCJ’s C.I.D. Division and request statements be obtained directly from Phrory Gamble and myself in order to get a true grasp of the situation here.
I always say that the best antiseptic for injustice is sunlight. TDCJ has been doing a lot of dirt in the dark for far too long. We need media exposure!
An update on other matters:
Before I close, I’d like to provide an update on sexual harassment of female officers who work at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas. While at Eastham, I noticed Major Blake Norman exhibiting perverted behavior toward female subordinates! He was also a hater of Muslims! Well, sisters and brothers, the chickens have finally come home to roost. Major Blake Norman was demoted to the rank of Sergeant and transferred! Norman had a big influence on me being sent to this hell hole in Beeville, TX. Hopefully he will learn to respect all wimmin!! Karma is real! Hell yeah! 🙂
Dare to struggle, dare to win. All power to the people!
“Any kind of act that’s designed to delay or deprive you and me, right now, of getting full rights, that’s the government that’s responsible. And any time you find the government involved in a conspiracy to violate the citizenship or civil rights of a people in 1964 [or 2018!–Malik] then you are wasting your time going to that government expecting redress. Instead you have to take that government to the World Court and accuse it of genocide and all of the other crimes that it is guilty of today.” –Malcolm X, excerpt from “The Ballot or the Bullet,” King Solomon Baptist Church, Detroit Michigan, April 12, 1964
Revolutionary Greetings, Sisters and Brothers!
Well, it is Black August, and the white supremacists and fascists at the FBI have collaborated with all the white supremacists and fascists inside the Texas prisons, and have tried to bury my ass in a cement slab death-trap in Beeville, Texas. Don’t be fooled or tricked — this is a well-coordinated retaliation and repression campaign.
I don’t need to be long-winded to actually describe to you what is happening and what I would like some of y’all to do inorder to aid me to overcome this.
I should be headed to general population, but the Central Texas Fusion Center which works in concert with the FBI and the DHS decided to label me a National Security Threat!! So they got slick. Made it “look like” I was getting out of Ad-Seg. Even went as far as transferring me Ramsey I Unit in Rosharon, Texas. They took all the shackles and chains off, let me walk to chow, get some hugs and some ‘dap’ from brothers who know me and love me, and then the next morning at 4:30 AM, they came and got me!!
I was re-shackled and re-chained, and then I was sent to the worst Ad-Seg unit I have ever been to — McConnell Unit Administrative Segregation located in Beeville, Texas! Now the game done got dirty, y’all — I need some legal help, ’cause this ain’t right!
The oppressors have been treating me like I am Osama bin Laden! For some reason, I can only be pulled out of my cell with a video camera on me. So the officers here use that as a reason to deny me showers and recreation! The in-cell temperatures here reach 110˚F! But it’s just this specific section — allow me to elaborate.
I’ve been placed in an Ad-Seg cell on 2-Row on F-Pod, F-Section. My cell is F-82. It is covered with black soot from a previous fire. The ventilation (HVAC system) is “broken”, so they say. One officer however said, “They had it shut off when they brought you here, Malik.” Yeah, just about everybody here, even the pigs, know me as Malik or Comrade Malik.
This entire section is exposed to deadly heat extremes — right now! On 1 Row, we have seven cells F-71 through F-77; on 2-Row, it’s F-78 through F-84. There is absolutely no ventilation inside these cells. There are tiny holes in our cell doors; they are covered with Plexi-Glass! No oxygen, folks! Just a small crevice at the bottom of the door — it is a formula for disaster.
These cells are made of concrete slabs, which absorb extreme heat during the day and then release it at night!! The senior warden here is Philip Sifuentes and the Assistant Warden over Ad-Seg is G. Miller. They know all about the inhuman conditions inside these cells, but when I try to discuss the problem with them, they say something slick like, “Tell the taxpayers; I don’t give a damn, I work with what they give me!” Pretty professional, huh?
The Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice has a multi-billion dollar budget. They have over 110 prison facilities. They don’t have to force human beings to live like this, but they do it! What is very unsettling to me in this particular section F-Pod (F-Section), the living conditions are horrible.
I’ve noticed that a disproportionate number of the prisoners in this section are Black males!! There are appearances of a type of unwritten racial profiling program which targets Blacks specifically for placement in the Hot Box — the racist oppressors did this in South during slavery!
Something illegal, unethical, and unjust is happening right here in the McConnell Unit. And what is happening is being promoted, condoned, and sanctioned by the Federal government! That’s right, the Feds!!
You see, I have become a target because I say #BlackLivesMatter! Because I say, #EndPrisonSlavery! because I say, Let Our People Go! Because I say #AbolishICE! I have become a target because I say that we are not so much facing a RACE WAR but we are engaged in a CLASS WAR!
Listen to these names: Abe Martinez (US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas). Miguel Martinez (TDCJ Region IV Director). Phillip Sifuentes (Senior Warden, McConnell Unit). These ‘sound like’ names of individuals who should be comrades in the struggle! But like so many Brown and Black people, they have sold their soul for a jelly roll, and do the bidding of the fascist imperialist oppressors! In fact, sisters and brothers, they ARE the oppressor!!
For sure, racism in Amerika is alive and well, but there is something more sinister going on. Sean Swain is a white male prisoner in Ohio who has a big ol’ beard like me; he served in the US Army just like me; he is a member of the IWW like me and he is an abolitionist just like me! Even though he’s a white man and I am Black! And like me, the US government has conspired with the Ohio Department of Corrections to place Sean in a position where perhaps death seems to be the only option. I say to Sean Swain — Stay strong, comrade! Help is on the way! We will expose this Federal repression program together!
What I really need down here in Texas is media exposure, legal aid, and I really need y’all to contact state and federal legislators! Remember, the best antiseptic for injustice is sunlight!
Chief Spokesperson for End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement
“Those who sell out their people to the highest bidder do not have the same relationship with the power-broker that the 99% have. Our response is not patient or conciliatory–it is about chopping off heads and taking no prisoners. I am speaking philosophically here, as warfare is more spiritual than physical. We are so powerful, we can think the enemy into his grave.” — Wanda Sabir, “Black Panther: Reflection on cultural solidarity and historic debt”
Peace and Blessings, Sisters and Brothers!
All of my life, I have wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. We have been taught to want for your brother what you want for yourself. In this moment in history, I want freedom for ALL political and politicized prisoners. Power to the people!!
Kwame Shakur is the co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, and he has begun a Prison Lives Matter movement which is holding a remarkable event in Indiana on July 18, 2018. The theme will be “Prison Lives Matter: In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela.”
The intention of holding this event is to draw international attention to the freedom struggles of our long-held political prisoners here in the United Snakes of Amerika!! The U.S. continues to strut across the world stage falsely portraying itself as a bastion for human and civil rights. We all are clearly seeing that these are lies being fed to a blind public. Well, the time has arrived to remove the blinders, remove the rose-colored glasses, and open people’s eyes.
Wake up Amerikkka! The time for talk about New Afrikan unity is over! Like the great rapper Keith Murray would say: “It’s time for some action!”
Imprisoned Comrades such as Jalil Muntaqim, Mutulu Shakur, and the venerable Sundiata Acoli have been locked up in Amerikan prisons for far too long. We must not remain silent.
There has been an epidemic of prisoners murders by employees of the Florida Department of Corrections and legalized slavery is promoted, sanctioned, and condoned by the buffoon in the White House.
Meanwhile, here in Texas, we are suffering from deadly heat on a daily basis, with summer temperatures inside these un-air-conditioned units sometimes reaching into the triple digits!
So you can see why it is necessary to say loudly and publicly that PRISON LIVES MATTER! I am requesting that anti-racists, anti-fascists, anti-imperialists and freedom fighters of every stripe come to Indiana to support us on July 18!
On a personal note, I’d like to inform all of you that July 19, 2018 is my 50th birthday! It would be a wonderful gift to me if you would consider traveling to Indiana to support Kwame Shakur and his comrades!
I leave you as I came: in the spirit of peace. And remember, prison lives matter!
Dare to struggle, dare to WIN. All power to the people.