Resistance came to me early in life. In the context of a broken home.
My parents separated while I was an infant. Although my father took custody of my sibling and me, he was almost never in the home because of his commitment, bordering on obsession, with rising from poverty into Amerika’s Black middle class. His was a severe case of Booker T. Washington Syndrome. Therefore, my primary care fell to my dear paternal grandmother, who was powerless to rein in my rebelliousness, which came largely in response to my absentee father.
When he did find his way home it was usually to try and repress my behavior with violence. To no avail. In turn I’d act out my own limited violence against increasingly larger opponents outside the home, which became a tendency to challenge bullies.
My father achieved his career goals and tried to steer me in the same direction, but I had no interest in such “success,” nor the artificial airs and empty trappings that came with it. Despite my father’s years of sacrifice, including absence from his family’s life, none of those I loved outside our immediate household reaped any benefits from our rise in status. So my rebelliousness persisted.
I then found myself routinely bounced back and forth between my father’s glossy suburban world and the gritty ghettos of our various poor relatives. I always preferred living among the poor, simply because that’s where life and the people were real. Free of false and superior airs.
Although I was routinely praised as being particularly bright and talented, school never held my interest. I preferred raw experience and teaching myself, and opposed the racism and condescension of the formal educational system. So I was repeatedly suspended and expelled, leading to a lengthy incarceration at age 11, “arranged” by my father, which I saw as the ultimate betrayal.
Shortly after my return home he and I fell out completely in what nearly became a fatal situation. I’d drawn the line, vowing to never again tolerate anyone’s attempt to control me with violence.
From that point life for me consisted of living on the streets, resisting the Establishment, learning the ways of the world. I lived what seemed several lifetimes of experience, in and out of juvenile confinement, until I found myself in prison for life at age 18. In prison I warred relentlessly with guards in response to their organized oppression, terror tactics and abuses targeted against me and my peers. My resistance consisted of counter-violence and ultimately litigation. I quickly learned the futility of seeking a savior in the Establishment’s institutions (the courts).
In 2001 my journey towards redemption began through exposure to and study of socialist revolutionary theory and history, beginning with the writings of George L. Jackson. I developed, refined and contextualized my learning by applying it to the realities of my experiences and day-to-day life. I found my calling in the people’s struggle against capitalist imperialism and all its attendant oppressive features, including the Prison Industrial complex. I began compiling art and essays reflecting my ideological and political development, hoping to make what contributions I could from within these walls of confinement. I also wrote and worked to expose the atrocious conditions of US prisons to the outside, while developing and working with political organizations to educate, organize and unite the struggles of the oppressed from inside to outside. These efforts have earned me heightened abuse and repression from officials. Which only fuels my determination, since it means it is having an effect. And abuse is only most effective when done in secret.
This blog is about exposure. It’s about penetrating the multiple institutional and informational barriers that conceal the realities of the world’s largest prison system from the general masses.
Those in power will never admit wrongdoing. They never have. Indeed they will and do kill to preserve their lies. This is a nation, an empire, ruled by bullies. This blog is about resistance. It is part of a larger project aimed in the direction of achieving the sort of world we all want, one free of exploitation and division. Where life can coexist as a community and interdependent whole.
As a revolutionary optimist I believe in the inherent good of the common people, and see evil as what we do when we witness oppression and don’t speak up or resist.
So here you will have it, life as it truly is in Amerika; life behind bars and stripes.