by Michael Africa
On the move!
Solitary confinement is a position that most true activists experience regardless of their location. Whether on a cell block or a street block, the life of an activist is one of isolation.
Public officials want to isolate the activist in the community in an attempt to contain them. Old acquaintances distance themselves when they realize the activist is aggressively confronting the same system they have been taught all their lives to fear and avoid. But as old friends distance themselves, new comrades emerge who also feel compelled to confront a system that has terrorized your power of purpose. These comrades, however, are always subject to be snatched away by the system.
Once these same activists are thrown in jail, the isolation tactic increases a thousand fold. All the tactics the system employed in an attempt to break the will and the spirit of the activist are applied non-stop 24/7 to the political prisoner (P.P). The authorities then figure they have the P.P exactly how they want him or her: beaten and silenced. Or so they figure.
In a further attempt to silence and contain the P.P., officials then keep some P.P.s in the holes of the worst prisons in the country. And as demonstrated by the prison guards turned soldiers and sent to Iraqs Abu Gharib terror camp, these guards have employed the same tactics on P.P.s in this country - and continue to do so today. The torture of P.P.s in this country is a continuous tool of the ghouls that run these slave camps. And the more the P.P.s stand up to these cowards, the more they are targeted and isolated.
P.P.s like Mumia Abu Jamal and the Angola 3 have been isolated in these dungeons for a quarter of a century by people who find it intolerable that people stand up and speak the truth. MOVE people have been forced into the holes for five and seven year blocks at various times during the various rigged up sentences we have been given.
The torture and isolation for the P.P. also extend to the families of P.P.s, as was demonstrated by Philadelphia officials when they targeted MOVEs home on May 13, 1985, dropping a third bomb on the house and murdering all inside: four men, two women, and five babies!!! Four of them were the children of the embattled MOVE women and men in the holes from earlier confrontations with the same Philadelphia officials and terror cop brigades that assaulted and massacred MOVE on May 13, 1985.
Being a P.P in isolation means enduring a multitude of gut wrenching experiences on a daily basis. It means watching guards that swear they will find a way to further harass you bring you your meals, your mail, come to get you for a shower where you have to completely expose yourself by coming out of your cell wearing only a towel. It is watching these same guards harass your family and friends when they come to visit you, treating them like criminals as well, in an attempt to discourage them from supporting you.
Being a P.P. in isolation is sometimes getting to see yourself in the mirror and not recognizing the changes in the reflection.
Being a P.P is watching your parents grow old as they continue to visit, less frequently until too many clendars prevent them. It is being told of your loved ones passing by people who hate you and only use the news as another tool to dig at you.
Being a P.P is watching your siblings grow more unfamiliar to you with each passing year. Watch as they struggle to carefully keep disturbing family news away from you. See them not realizing that, after decades of this treatment, you no longer feel like the brother, the son, but a kind of guest in your own family.
Being a P.P makes you feel terrified of touching things that you keep locked up in the recesses of your mind. Like the first day your young children woke up without you anywhere near. How it must have been for them to only know you through an entire lifetime of brief visits under the ever-watchful eye of people they know hate you - and because they hate you, look upon them with much suspicion.
Being a P.P. means watching your family struggle, locked into a lifetime of battles of support on your behalf. Defending you and then having to defend themselves from the corporations that exist only to try to exploit the families and friends of prisoners. The lawyers, the phone companies, the commissaries, the suppliers, all of whom jack up their prices when dealing with prisons.
Being a P.P is watching your sister (Merle Africa, one of the MOVE 9) die in a prison having spent the last twenty years of her life in a goddamn dungeon for a crime that even the mayor of the city admitted he knew she was innocent of and nevertheless would do nothing about as she died in a prison where she was sent by his courts and terrorist cops.
Being a P.P means taking all of these things and using them as motivation to keep fighting, knowing that this is exactly the kind of injustice that compelled you to want to stand against and confront the system in the first place.
All P.P.s should be supported and freed! The system only gets away with this treatment of P.P.s because the people allow it to. The silent give their permission by their silence. It is past time that all P.P.s are freed and given the same kind of support that they have always shown to the people for whom they sacrificed their lives.
On the move!
Long live MOVE
Long live the revolution
Long live John Africa
---------- Post added at 02:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:24 PM ----------
There are about 100 political prisoners held in various prisons across America. These women and men are listed and recognized by numerous Human Rights, Legal Defense, and progressive/socialist organizations as political prisoners. These people all come from the popular social justice and national liberation movements within the U.S. of the past 30 years—specifically from the Civil Rights/Black Power/New African Liberation struggles, the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, Indigenous Peoples survival struggles, anti-imperialist/anti-war movements, anti-racist/anti-fascist struggles, the Women’s Movement, social and economic justice struggles, and the environmental movement. They are Black, white, Latino and Native American. Most of these political prisoners have been in captivity since the 1970s and 80s. Some were convicted on totally fabricated charges, others for nebulous political conspiracies or acts of resistance. All received outrageously large sentences for their political beliefs or actions in support of these beliefs.
Additionally there are thousands of revolutionary minded politically conscious prisoners in U.S. jails. Many of these are people who became more politically aware and active once they landed in prison. A lot of these prisoners also get singled out for extra harsh and restrictive treatment, like the political prisoners. Since September 2001, the U.S. has also imprisoned hundreds of Arab and Muslim visitors to this country, as well as some Islamic citizens and residents.
The U.S. government likes to deny that it holds political prisoners. The punitive, restrictively harsh conditions of confinement, often in special “control unit type” prisons, that the political prisoners face day in, day out, decade after decade, exposes and refutes this government myth. Not only does America hold political prisoners, but they are being held under longer sentences than any kind of prisoners, anywhere in the world! Despite this, these women and men remain committed to their communities, movements and people. As best as they can, through their voices and very lives, they continue to uphold the politics of justice, equality and liberation, especially for the poor and working class people throughout the world. Political prisoners in the United States want and need your awareness, support and help.