Monday, December 28, 2015

Cultivate the seed to grow: Inside prison and out, we must nurture our youth

December 25, 2015
by Mutope Duguma
I greet you all with love and respect as usual, and it’s been awhile, but I recently made a transition from Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit solitary confinement units to General Population – GP – here at Calipatria State Prison. I won’t bore you with my usual long-winded rhetoric but instead speak to some of the key contradictions that I am seeing that we as New Afrikans face in and out of these stoops.
Mutope Duguma in a photo taken Sept. 2, 2014

Our young people for the most part have been seriously compromised, and we can see this in their behavior. And we who understand how a people should be socially developed inside a society in ways that lead to one’s growth and development have to be very proactive about how we nurture our young people.
No one is receptive to the hard hand approaches, but instead time and energy have to be spent on educating these young New Afrikans who have no “sense of self.” Many have come out of communities that have been demoralized; therefore, they have no “moral compass” as to how they are to behave.
We can hold responsible the educational institutions and the deprivations that many of them have been subjected to throughout their lives, which can arise in direct relation to the poverty and economic deprivation that they – and all of us – have been compromised by.
We have to realize that when a people have been socially engineered or conditioned to be a certain way inside a “malignant sub-culture” that teaches them to devalue themselves in every aspect of their lives and to which they were colonized for centuries, we cannot expect to reverse this psychic trauma overnight. What we have to do is put examples in place of what New Afrikans look like in practice, as well as spend time with those who are receptive to education.

Our young people for the most part have been seriously compromised, and we can see this in their behavior.

It’s a lot of our young people who are very intelligent, but they don’t have the nerve or discipline to speak to their peers without being ridiculed or subjected to some form of “peer pressure” by those whose intellect has not yet been cultivated.
The young people who have developed intellect, nerve and discipline tend to have no tolerance for tackling such contradictions in their peers. Therefore, those who tend to be dysfunctional get to run around recklessly, which leads to most of the problems that many of the social groups fight over.
It is essential that those who hold themselves as “men of influence” educate these young people. To not do so speaks to what they actually mean to you.
I’ve also learned that if the men of influence are not themselves educated and disciplined, then they tend to be a part of the problem. We have a serious responsibility to these young people behind these prison walls and in society.

It is essential that those who hold themselves as “men of influence” educate these young people. To not do so speaks to what they actually mean to you.

Ending hostilities is truly our lifeline

I have been out of solitary confinement for 90 days now, and my overview of our situation is that the penal system has failed across this nation. It’s not just a California problem; it’s a national problem, where prisoners all over Amerikka are being socially compromised due to mass incarceration.
And it is an incarceration that places us inside of a man-made social experiment that cultivates each of us inside a manufactured reality that is not of our choice, but instead is the making of the puppet masters – the lawmakers – who use their political power to coalesce men and women inside their prisons, jails, camps and juvenile facilities.
We prisoners have to ask the question why are so many human beings, especially of color, being carted off to these penal institutions, where billions of dollars, if not trillions, have been spent to maintain such repressive environments that establish us under social tyranny that makes its way back to our communities.

We have a serious responsibility to these young people behind these prison walls and in society.

We have to see these penal institutions as vessels that socially engineer us into a pathological, violent behavior that is diametrically opposed to our human development. We can now concretely identify in California prisons the violent nature of prisoners being a direct result of the cause of violence in our many communities.
The prison system is manufacturing a violent prison mentality, which none of us can actually be held responsible for because our “keepers” – government and especially CDCr officials – have always had complete control over the social tyranny in prison. No prisoner can be blamed for being placed in such violent environments that their keepers have chosen for them to be housed in.

We have to see these penal institutions as vessels that socially engineer us into a pathological, violent behavior that is diametrically opposed to our human development.

The majority of us coming out of California’s solitary confinement units, such as the Pelican Bay SHU, were compromised years ago – neutralized by being removed from general population completely and targeted for extermination.
This was and is our reality, where we who survived to the extent that we did, had already started psychologically preparing ourselves to die in the wretched environment of solitary confinement. But we were able to change our reality to some extent with the Prisoner Human Rights Movement and our hunger strikes.
So where is our movement today? We are right where we started off in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and each of us who know about these eras has to stay focused on what’s at stake. To not do so will set us right back into a pit of chaos, which can render each and every one of us vulnerable to our keepers once again.
The Agreement to End Hostilities is truly our life line. It has nothing to do with your courage or strength; it’s about changing a violent prison culture into a civilized environment that eventually entails – or demands – that each of us be released from these animal cages and be allowed back to our communities.
The Agreement to End Hostilities dictates:
  1. That we prisoners establish respectful communication lines between our four principal groups;
  2. That we prisoners establish a principled standard where each prisoner holds his or her own individual discipline;
  3. That we prisoners educate the younger prisoners as to why discipline in prison benefits us all;
  4. That we prisoners recommend to CDCr, collectively, that which is needed in each prison to facilitate bringing the Agreement to End Hostilities to life, such as educational programs and privileges;
  5. That we prisoners cannot expect the Agreement to End Hostilities to be successful without us seriously getting behind it.

The Agreement to End Hostilities is truly our life line. It has nothing to do with your courage or strength; it’s about changing a violent prison culture into a civilized environment that eventually entails – or demands – that each of us be released from these animal cages and be allowed back to our communities.

It’s a real struggle on these GPs (general population yards), one that I welcome wholeheartedly, because so much has changed in these GPs that it’s like they are all modified lock-up yards. I believe in time that we can change this by demonstrating how prisons are counter-productive to a free society.
One Love, One Struggle,
Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, CSP B5-C246, P.O. Box 5005, Calipatria CA 92233.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mutope Speaks

screenshot of Mutope Duguma's spoken words The Power of the People, on Prison Radio
Mutope spoke on Prison Radio today about The Power of the People, and you can listen to his voice here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Head-up, Back-straight, Move Forward... Manifesto – for the People of Family Services - P.F.S.

A Manifesto written by Mutope Duguma

 If we are to survive in the 21st century, we got to get back to who and what we were, not what each of us is destined to be individually. Because in the 21st century, people are moving their people forward collectively throughout the world. It is the only way we are going to resolve the many problems that plague us as a people.

I introduce this Manifesto to all New Afrikans (i.e. Blacks) and any human beings who are 'SERIOUS' about changing the inhumane living conditions that we see the people being subjected to in oppressed, impoverished communities throughout Amerika. It is crucial that we assess our conditions based on what is in our power to do, opposed to what someone can do for us. We are not beggars, nor are we a weak people. We are simply a people under attack and our contradiction is, how we respond to these attacks.

For far too long, we have allowed our lives to be in the hands of others: intellectuals, politicians, pastors, celebrities, and professional, well-to-do New Afrikans, when it's obvious that they have failed us tremendously, especially NAACP, Urban League, Rainbow Coalition, National Action Network and countless other New Afrikan organizations who allowed for the local, state and federal governments and corporations to economically deprive our communities and incarcerate our children/adults by the millions as they try to survive under inhumane living conditions in these Amerikan shanty towns and ghettos, in extreme poverty. And, many of these New Afrikan organizations use the New Afrikan peoples' contradiction(s) to advance themselves, whereas, they won't invest one penny of their money into the New Afrikan communities. All they provide is lip-service. Here is a clear example of the greed and selfishness of wealthy New Afrikan people:

In 1980, Robert (Bob) Johnson started Black Entertainment Television – BET – and ran it from 1980-2006. The New Afrikan people supported his business idea, turning it into a billion dollar business that he started with $15,000. The New Afrikan people made it what it was, although it was a lot of good/bad depictions, portrayals, stereotypical images and characteristics and exploitation of the New Afrikan people. The good, early on promoted loving, enlightened music on social issues, in the hood challenging the power that be, and honoring our people for their accomplishments and talents and service to their communities. All in all, it was for better or worst.

Bob Johnson didn’t solicit the New African community business people that he was in debt to, understandably, because he knew that the greedy capitalist oppressors had set their sights on taking over B.E.T. by monopolizing the channel’s power in order to keep Bob Johnson in debt, by not allowing him to receive meaningful advertising which is what paid for the programming.

This is why we were watching advertising that was sexually explicit – promoting sexual enhancement pills or lubricants for men and women. The real money of advertising shut Bob out, which prevented quality programming. So Bob wasn't able to expand, being in debt all the time, which is why he couldn't pull in more suitable investors, especially with the New Afrikan church on his back so he therefore went further into debt. See, our oppressors don't want us to have anything that they don’t have control over. B.E.T. afforded New Afrikans a voice no matter how small, where young people got to express themselves and show their creativity and talents. Because Bob allowed them to drop off their product, etc., and he would showcase their work on B.E.T.

Mr. Johnson sold-out without a fight for the people, which could have been a very good learning experience for New Afrikans in this country, as for how the one percenters (1%) economically bully the little guy toward maintaining control over everything. It's safe to say that Mr. Johnson would have lost but to fight back against bullies sometimes is better than giving in! After the gaining control of B.E.T., the new ownership reinvented just about everything that Bob wanted to do for B.E.T. It's important to know that the capitalists pooled their monies to purchase B.E.T., MTV, VH1 and immediately did away with all hip hop videos and the culture of hip hop in the state controlled media from a New Afrikan perspective. They also purchased Telemundo, Telefutura and Univision, taking control of the Spanish programming as well. Mr. Johnson sold out for three billion dollars and was able to pay off his creditors. He and his ex-wife would walk off with one billion dollars as reported! I often wonder what happened to all those music videos that were contributed to BET for 20 plus years.

But, based on how loyal the New Afrikan people and their communities were to Bob Johnson and his ex-wife, one would have thought that they would have at least invested something in the oppressed New Afrikan community, creating jobs for those who helped them turn $15,000 into 3 billion dollars. This is what I mean by how many use the New Afrikan people to advance themselves at the peoples' expense. Therefore, we “Poor Oppressed People” will control our own fate from now on.

Note: We don't hold any ill feelings against our people for what they did or didn’t do, because we too were trapped in a vicious cycle of violence based on our ignorance, doing everything contrary to our community development. We will be pressing forward from here on, holding everyone accountable for their lack of dedication and commitment to our struggle, especially the pastors, politicians, celebrities, intellectuals, and all New Afrikan organizations claiming to work for our interests.

  1. Our first action: will be to identify all New Afrikan politicians in our communities, who are supposed to be working for our interests. We hold them responsible for why our tax dollars are not being directly put back into our communities and what actions are they taking to ensure that these monies are making their way back to our communities.

  1. Our second action: will be to identify all the non-profit New Afrikan, civil/human rights organizations who claim to work for us locally and nationally. We hold them responsible for why they are not filing civil law suits against local, state, and federal government officials and corporations for racially discriminating against New Afrikan communities and for joining in an economic conspiracy to deprive us of a right to life, re-routing funds away from New Afrikan communities.

  1. Our third action: will be to identify pastors and their congregations, etc. to assess the means (i.e., money) which are being produced in these New Afrikan churches, especially these mega churches, in or around our communities. We want to see what percentages are being invested into our communities, locally, in respects to businesses, schools, and financial support for families.

  1. Our fourth action: will be to call out New Afrikans who are living way beyond their means, who can easily invest in our people/communities. We want nothing for free from anyone, but we want the right to know who cares and who doesn't care about our people suffering in these sub-standard living conditions. This way each would be afforded the opportunity to contribute. Because it makes no sense for over one trillion dollars to supposedly go through our hands annually and we can't find a way to take care of our people.

  1. Our fifth action: will be to assess every public school in our local area and if our children are not receiving an adequate education or if the school environment is so deplorable, then we will remove all of our children out of these schools and demand that the schools be closed immediately. How can we expect our children to do better when we send them to run-down, unsafe, and inadequate educational institutions? And we don't return our children to these schools until the problem(a) are fixed. We can educate our own children.
  2. Our sixth action: will be to assess the mental and physical health of each and every individual in our local area, by literally assigning an individual to each block to evaluate and educate our people about psychic trauma, while identifying those who are suffering in our communities. We know that where there are humans, there are care takers. Plus we have seen enough of our people suffering to know if they need help or not. And, those that do, we intend to help them.

  1. Our seventh action: will be to bring all the strong, able minds and bodies together, in our communities, to take up responsible roles in helping to rebuild our communities. Each strong individual will be assigned to groups, in order to bring them around to what we are doing to build our communities back up. Our goal is to have everyone mentally, physically and spiritually sound.

  1. Our eighth action: will be to establish collective exercise every day at certain times chosen by our community leaders. We will all do the same exact exercise. The objective is to bring about collective cohesiveness – harmony – amongst our people. If your work schedule is not in line with our daily exercise then you can join the after-work exercise, which will be at night. Amerika has worked a mojo on us, because our people are suffering from obesity, but we can fix this and heal 85% of our people from this disease. The exercise will be easy enough that anyone in their sixties can do it. Physical health is crucial for sustaining us as a people.

  1. Our ninth action: will be to empower every mother and father in the community, especially the ones who have an alcohol or drug problem, by holding them accountable to their sobriety, in order for us to help them be responsible to their children and to themselves. But our motto will be that we are all mothers, fathers, and role models to our children.

  1. Our tenth action: will be to build a propaganda machine through social media where our young, savvy, politically-inclined New Afrikan brothers and sisters can protect our people from malicious, racist attacks and the 'boot lickers' who tend to criticize and manipulate words in order to serve the capitalist exploiters' interest against the peoples' interest. We also propagate against any New Afrikans who promote anti-New Afrikan sentiments in the media, i.e. TV, that fuels Black-on-Black hatred, especially individuals who are doing it to sell a reality show, etc. where they consciously go at each other to be accepted by their white slave masters for a small fee and 15 minutes of fame at the peoples' expense.

  1. Our eleventh action: will be to establish safety and security throughout our community, where there will be individuals responsible for protecting the people and property of the oppressed. Too often we take for granted that there are predators about, preying on our people internally and externally. We want to make sure that our people are safe and secure 24/7.

  1. Our twelfth action: will be to buy up as much property in our community as possible, because we want to own every apartment complex/house in our community. Therefore, if our people fall on hard times they don't have to worry about losing their home or apartment. By having control of the property in our community, we secure a roof over our head. We do this by pooling our resources.

  1. Our thirteenth action: will be to rebuild the New Afrikan family, by taking in suitable New Afrikan men and women or whoever your love interest is, children to elders. We want the community to be populated with productive members of society. We also know that we have an unfortunate situation, due to our disproportionate gap between men and women in our community. Therefore, a lot of these relationships will have to be based on the woman's needs being met in every way, because we have to be realistic about our reality. But, what we don't want is betrayal occurring, which breeds dis-unity. It's all about us reclaiming who we are as a people. We will always be inclusive of all human beings but we have to build the type of communities we want for our people.

  1. Our fourteenth action: will be to protect our interest; we are too talented a people to be living in such poverty. We protect our talent by making sure that our young people are being nurtured as they develop their talents. The reason a lot don't come back to the community that they were raised in is because of the state of our community. Hell, the violence alone will be enough to keep someone who is filthy rich away. Our communities have to be safe havens for our talented people because too often we see our brothers and sisters compromised by the vulture(s) whose whole objective is to make money off of our people. This is stealing money out of the community. Imagine if all of the money made over the years from sports, baseball, basketball, football, track and field, gymnastics, gospel, R & B, jazz; poetry, hip hop, graffiti, rap, emceeing, break dancing, etc. would have been invested into our communities? Imagine!! Then there's the exceptional minds we have in our communities. We have to realize that the people are the value. Therefore, we have to protect our people whether they're talented or not. When our people leave our community to pursue their career, we want them to be dying to get back to their communities. Everyone has used our young people to build their economic power, while leaving them destitute. Look at the music that originated with us – some of our own people can't even sing their own songs they wrote because they don't own them. Unfortunately the music industry, as ruthless as it is, has been able to shut them out, while cultivating other talents that were copies of them but that look nothing like them. We are still a talented people, therefore we can always produce the talent but we have to learn from the Billie Holidays, Muddy Waters, and James Browns, (the list is long). This time we keep total control of our work. We sellout for no amount of money that takes away our right to express ourselves how we choose to. We want 100% ownership of our work – we pay you, not you us!

  1. Our fifteenth action: will be to establish a “Decolonization Program” throughout our communities, to re-educate our people to who they truly are, by educating them to their historical contradictions that are the true cause of their reality today. As descendants of slaves, who grew up on slave plantations, as a domestic colonized nation (DCN), none of our people will be truly free mentally until they have gone through a decolonization program, which will give them their true history as to who they are and where they come from. The decolonization program will also give them a socio-cultural, political and economic understanding as to how we New Afrikans see ourselves evolving in the world based on our ideology, not some flawed belief that derived out of a malignant subculture. Free your mind!

  1. Our sixteenth action: will be to carry out each action with love and respect for our people who suffered enough, therefore under no circumstances do we disrespect or use any form of violence against any of our people who refuse to cooperate with our initiatives. If they're not with it, we use their family and friends to bring them around, especially their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. It is our sole responsibility to bring as many of our people to the table as possible, in order to fight for our right to exist and self-determination. Our people suffer daily and our objective is to help them, not to hurt them.

  1. Our seventeenth action: will be to reconnect women and men with suitable partners from the inside with the outside. We want every man and woman incarcerated to have a partner to come home to and we will establish a program that will strengthen relationships of sound commitments between the two of them. Here we will work towards bringing our people home to be productive members within our communities with their chosen partner. Rebuilding the family unit is crucial for community development. We cannot afford to get caught up in the incarcerated stigma game where we allow our people to be demonized simply for being incarcerated. Our situation demands that we claim all of our people, leaving no one behind. The local, state and federal governments have over-prosecuted our people throughout Amerika in racist judicial institutions. We build to end our peoples' suffering.

  1. Our eighteenth action: will be to hold anyone coming to prison for crimes and abuse against the oppressed people accountable once they enter the prison system. We will do this by implementing our non-violent approaches such as ostracizing them from our New Afrikan prison collective and having them pay for any damages caused by their actions, if repairable, going through an aggressive decolonization program, apologizing for any actions of transgression(s), But for acts of murder against the oppressed poor people of our community, we establish in each community: if any son or daughter commit a murder against the people, they will lose all family support on the outside and are ostracized once they enter the inside or they will have to dedicate the rest of their lives to the peoples' struggle, in order to get back in favor with the people.
Each prison class will be responsible for establishing such a principle standing inside of each of their respected communities/prisons.
Now, we understand that our communities are plagued with violence but 95% of this violence is senseless killings of our people. We aim to end this violence against our people. We want it to be widely known that to transgress or to exploit violence against the oppressed comes with grave consequences. This is why the community has to stay tied to the inside, so that they can expose those who violated the people in the community. Although the consequences are grave, none are violent – we have no violent form of punishment, because all it does is add to the cycle of violence.

  1. Our nineteenth action: will be to build and manufacture our own that is within our power to do so. We will seek out/call on New Afrikans and others who have the professional skills to teach us how to rebuild and manufacture on our own. Those who are friends and supporters of the New Afrikan people will always be treated with the utmost respect and love. We don't care what color they are or where they come from, whatever they can teach us/assist us with we will accept graciously and we will pay them for their services afforded to us. Our objective is to get to a place where we can rebuild our families and communities toward becoming independent.

  1. Our twentieth action: will be to develop a think tank to critically analyze and assess our internal/external contradictions in and out of prisons, this way we are always assessing our situations and developing ways on how to solve our problems before they materialize. Each and every individual in the think tank has to have strong ties to the community. It can't be an external think tank but a grassroots one, for and by the people.

  1. Our twenty-first action: will be for every poor New Afrikan family in Amerika to adopt one poor family on the continent of Afrika or in the Afrikan diaspora who are descendants of Afrikan slaves, living in subhuman conditions, because some of us here in Amerika at times negate that our struggle is both national and international. We also happen to be disconnected, which is understandable based on our struggles here in Amerika but we have to get back to doing what is meaningful and beneficial to our people. We spend money unwisely, money that can literally help our people out of very horrible living conditions. For example: when we purchase something such as a pack of cigarettes, jewelry, excessive shoes and clothes, etc. which we tend to do socially on a regular basis, we have to realize that these monies can make a difference of life and death for our Afrikan brothers and sisters in many places throughout the world. In undeveloped countries, our people are living on fifty cents to one dollar a day, so money becomes very valuable to someone living in more dire conditions. Now this doesn't mean that we are well off, because we are far from it. Our poverty is just as real as theirs overseas but we are dealing with a different level of poverty. Theirs happens to be an extreme case of poverty, where they are deprived of water, food and housing, etc. This is why you have just about every oppressed group living in Amerika sending back money to their mother-country of all races. This will allow us to rebuild new bonds with our people, suffering all over the world, while helping them out at the same time. Unfortunately for us, our situation is a bit different due to our historical contradiction, i.e. slavery, where we were cut off from our ancestors and our mother country. Therefore, we will establish a direct line of communication with our adopted families, this way we will avoid the scams and cons out there lurking about.

The People of Family Services – PFS – will be responsible for laying out the functional application(s) for each of these 21 initiatives in this manifesto – PFS. Who are the People of Family Services? They are incarcerated New Afrikan prisoners who are politically conscious, jailhouse lawyers, political prisoners, prison activists, etc. Men and women who are committed and dedicated to the rebuilding of the New Afrikan people, communities, and families, as well as other oppressed human beings on the planet. They are held in modern day slave plantations, the prisons, all over Amerika.

Note: It should be clear that we the poor, who suffer day in and out, each and every day of our lives, the mothers and the fathers whose sons and daughters are being gunned down in the many streets throughout Amerika, the young innocent brothers and sisters out on the streets of Amerika struggling in these impoverished conditions in hoods called the ghetto, or the grandmother who’s taking care of her grandbabies on pennies, or the drug user, alcoholic or dope pusher, pimp, gangsters, hustlers, welfare recipients, homeless, prostitutes, strippers and the incarcerated, we call on you to be the leaders of your own liberation.

We know that no one in a suit and tie is trying to get their knees dirty nor are they in these streets willing to address the on-going poverty and despair that we face daily in our lives. Therefore we got to do this ourselves, we pull up all the energy that has allowed us to survive thus far in these streets and prisons. As I previously said, many generations have been lost and the same song keeps playing over and over. It's time for some new grimy tunes that the people can feel, one that sets the mood for real change for the people who are directly affected by the state sponsored oppression of our people. This is a poor peoples' movement. The Happy N_____s living in their mansions, driving their Benz, have no concern with the peoples' suffering and this is something we have to realize by all means. We don't hate them for it, we just remember who they are and those that step up to assist our struggle we love and respect them for coming to their peoples' aid.

All power to the oppressed people of the world...   

Mutope Duguma

Friday, July 3, 2015

Four years since our hunger strikes began, none of our core demands have yet been met: Our protracted struggle must continue

Published in: SF Bay View, June 21st 2015

by Mutope Duguma, Pelican Bay short corridor

Let’s not forget that CDCr can lock you up for being an alleged leader, as an influential individual – on just this alone.

2015 marks four years since we collectively got together and launched our peaceful protests to end long term solitary confinement. We have not been able to get any policy, outside of STG (Security Threat Group) 1 and 2 and SDP (Step Down Program), which we have to keep in mind is again CDCr continuing to violate our civil and human rights by holding men and women in these solitary confinement torture chambers – SCTC – indefinitely.

Prisoners been held for over four decades for no other reason than a prison label called prison gang validation, based on confidential information provided to prison officials by snitches, rats, informers, turncoats etc. And in looking into a lot of these cases, we would learn that it was the prison officials who manufactured this information in order to subject prisoners to a life of hell.

We have been able to examine, evaluate and investigate the STG and SDP policies and we unanimously reject them, because, simply put, they are more of the same. They empower the previous policies that we were initially peacefully protesting.

We all will continue to be vulnerable to the validation policies, even though they are for non-behavior issues, and this means confidential information will continue to place us in these SCTC and hold you here. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are; these policies take the good with the bad.

Individual accountability

The individual accountability Core Demand No. 1 (End group punishment and administrative abuse) was crucial for establishing a fair and just policy. CDCr’s power stems from the threats that they place over prisoners by labeling us with groups and holding us responsible for the actions of that group.

Core Demand No. 1 (End group punishment and administrative abuse)

That practice is flawed; other than a gang title by which the group or individuals are labeled as members or associates, simply based on the group’s alleged gang title, nothing else allows for CDCr to blatantly target racial groups and individuals. Prison officials want these targeted individuals off of General Population in order to subject them to SCTC. But individual accountability, satisfying Core Demand No. 1, would have put an end to this policy, where predominantly white prison gang officials target mostly New Afrikans and Mexicans – racism.

These validations are a matter of life and death, because to subject and isolate prisoners for indefinite periods of time in SCTC takes a serious toll on our health and mental stability, regardless if we appear to be a reflection of strength. We see how young human beings can naturally develop into strong men and women under natural circumstances. We also see how, if able to grow older, they develop eventually into fragile individuals, so as you age, it’s a matter of life and death.

Even if you’re being provided the proper nutrition and socialization – we know this is not the case for prisoners, especially those of us held in SCTC, where the isolation deprives us of natural sunlight etc. – SCTC has an adverse effect on one’s life and it is these grounds that should end SCTC use. The CDCr has the responsibility to protect each and every prisoner, regardless how the authorities may feel about us.

CDCr officials have allowed the six-year review procedures to stand, despite STG 1 and 2 and the SDP policy, so far, for two years and counting. We remain on a dual policy. When your six-year active/inactive review date comes, you will go before an IGI (Institutional Gang Investigator) and OCS (Office of Correctional Safety), who will determine if you are active or inactive. If you are active, you are to be retained in SCTC pending your case-by-case review with DRB (Departmental Review Board). If you are inactive, then you are referred to DRB and seen relatively quickly.

Now the process is that IGI collects the alleged information and prepares it for the OCS, and the OCS determines if this information is sufficient for an active or inactive re-validation. Then the DRB, which makes the final decision, decides if you will be detained or not, regardless of what OCS recommends.

Active or inactive

After six years of waiting to go before the DRB, a prisoner should be referred and seen, regardless if it’s an active or inactive recommendation or if it’s a validation as active, and should see the DRB immediately. To tell someone who has been deemed active that he or she has to wait for their DRB case-by-case review, which the same CDCr official refers you to, is a grave injustice.

I believe it’s a 14th Amendment violation under the equal protection clause, because prisoners being reviewed for active/inactive re-validation should also be seen by OCS and then the DRB, which makes the final decision based on the OCS recommendation. This would not allow CDCr gang officials to discriminate against prisoners they want to retain in SCTC, because under the new policy, whether you like it or not, as soon as you are in a SDP Step 1-4, you are on a three-year course toward getting the hell out of the SCTC.

Whether you are released or not is irrelevant, but you cannot even begin to challenge the new contradictions (problems) with the system if you are not afforded the right to be processed into the new Step Down Program policy. Plus, we cannot deny that these steps do afford prisoners privileges: most importantly a phone call with family. Many of us have not talked to a family member in over 10 years, which is especially painful when family members – or the prisoner – are very ill.

My six-year active/inactive review was on Dec. 10, 2014. This is my second one. If I am to be deemed active, I don’t get referred to the DRB, but instead would be held on that active recommendation, or re-validation, pending case-by-case review by the DRB, which can take months or even years. But regardless of the position the DRB takes, when IGI reviews you, you still will be placed in a step.

We, in our Core Demand No. 2, demanded in part, an end to the active/inactive review, because it retains prisoners indefinitely in SCTC without any real due process or procedural due process. The debriefing policy is still in effect and its sole purpose is to have prisoners snitch on one another for a release from the SCTC that they are held on indefinitely. We understood that the State power can create situations for or in our lives that render us vulnerable to the authority/ power that they have been entrusted with by the People, and, it is the abuse of this power/ authority that has allowed CDCr to structure up a system of torture for thousands of Human Beings held in these SCTC, unjustly.

We, in part of our Core Demand No. 2 (Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria), have demanded an end to this debriefing policy that tortures men and women for information on other men and women by using state sanctioned powers to carry out their attacks.

Core Demand No. 2 (Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria)

We continue to be held indefinitely in long term solitary confinement. The new policies do not negate this fact. Humans who have been in solitary confinement for 20 or 30 years are now being placed in Step 1 under the new STG and Steps 1 and 2 under SDP (the steps furthest away from relative freedom in General Population).

This speaks to the inhumanity of the CDCr officials who are heartless to the fact that these prisoners have endured enough suffering. The placing of anyone into Step 1 on the basis of frivolous confidential information is unjust and cruel and unusual. So, if you been in SCTC for 30 years and you are placed in Step 1, that’s three more years added to that 30 years, an extension of long term SCTC.

I personally have witnessed individuals who we all know will easily transition into General Population, but they are placed in Steps 1 through 4 due to political material which is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which the CDCr supersedes, and confidential information. The SDP is another scheme to hold countless individuals in long term SCTC.

Long term solitary confinement

We, in our Core Demand No. 3, demanded an end to long term solitary confinement. We see that CDCr has basically just condemned us to three more years in SCTC, which amounts to torture and long term solitary confinement.

Core Demand No. 3 (End long term solitary confinement)

National and international opinion clearly deems long term solitary confinement torture, but these laws are not respected by CDCr, which reduces these laws to opinions. We continue to see prisoners die due to medical neglect and inadequate medical treatment.

Health care and food

We all hear the horror stories – and have our own that have routinely been allowed to occur – where countless men and women have died in agonizing pain due to not being diagnosed or not treated for medical conditions that eventually manifest into deadly diseases that the prisoners suffer the rest of their stay in SCTC. In part, we have demanded in our Core Demand No. 4 that inadequate medical treatment cease.

Core Demand No. 4 (Cease inadequate medical treatment)

We continue to be fed non-nutritional foods and issued regularly disproportionate servings, so that prisoners held in long term solitary confinement go hungry and become unhealthy, since it is a concrete fact that nutritional foods maintain one’s good health. CDCr continues to defy this documented fact under the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010,” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The case can be made that the food being fed to prisoners routinely is not only non-nutritional but unhealthy for consumption, especially pancakes and waffles with sugar-free syrup and peanut butter with sugar-free jelly. Turkey, beef and chicken is all by-product meats, meaning there is a small percentage of the original meat present.

So we are eating mostly soy and pink slime, which is why you don’t get meat texture, but instead a flimsy piece of meat. It is questionable whether the soy is safe, let alone healthy for consumption. And let’s keep in mind this is the worst form of processed meat you can eat.

The milk is 60 percent water; it truly has no nutritional value. The two ridiculously small servings of vegetables we get a day is insufficient to maintain our health.

And those on Halal diet here at Pelican Bay State Prison are deprived of much of their food simply because they have opted to be on a diet that’s consistent with their religion or principles with respect to how their meat is prepared. They are retaliated against and denied side dishes with these meals frequently; their dinners can be under 400 calories.

I can go on and on about the inadequate food prisoners are forced to eat – or starve; much of it provides no nutritional benefits. In part, our Core Demand No. 4 demanded an adequate, balanced, nutritional diet be provided and an end to the small servings.

Core Demand No. 4 (Provide an adequate, balanced, nutritional diet and end the small servings)

Education vs. warehousing

We are still held inside these solitary confinement torture chambers (SCTC), where no meaningful educational programs and privileges have been implemented that could encourage our mental stability and physical development. When we talk about educational programs, we are talking about CDCr changing their routine practice of just warehousing prisoners in these SCTC, but instead giving them access to modern world technologies that can be provided at a prisoner’s expense or state expense.

We definitely need to bring in limited computers that can provide national and international geographies and cultures we can study. The outdated educational programs that CDCr provides at PBSP serve no educational purpose whatsoever.

The world is getting smaller and smaller and prisoners are like dinosaurs in our thinking, especially those of us who have been in 25 years or longer – and it’s worse for those of us held in these SCTC. We need to be exposed to the many new social and cultural developments that have occurred over those years.

A lot of us, out of being uniformed, have no clue as to how far the world has advanced, and continued isolation is a tragedy – and this refers to all prisoners in respect to outdated educational programs that provide us no education – especially when CDCr tells the public it is “rehabilitating prisoners.”

True rehabilitation would mean transforming all prisons into colleges and universities. Tapping into the thousands of mentalities behind these prison walls may discover prisoners, who, once given the opportunity, can become the world’s best scientists, doctors, lawyers, philosophers, judges, cooks, teachers, computer geeks, biologists, dentists, architects and artists.

True rehabilitation would mean transforming all prisons into colleges and universities.

We need real courage and a commitment to real education for prisoners. Allowing our mental energy to die or waste away in these man-made tombs does nothing for anyone. I’d prefer to be studying for a doctorate than to be just sitting here wasting away like this. And once we earn our degrees, we should be afforded the opportunity to serve humanity nationally and internationally.

But, if CDCr only intends to warehouse prisoners until we are dead, then we prisoners have to demand an end to the senseless killing of prisoners by proxy. Humans are a resource, and the state can invest in them positively or negatively. The current investment in prisoners is negative, relegating the human being to nothing.


Privilege is simply allowing prisoners access to activities that enrich our lives. This can only be a benefit to everyone. Family visits and contact visits are privileges, even an hour visit out of 24 hours a day on two days, Saturday and Sunday, and in some prisons, just one day for an hour.

PBSP afforded an hour and a half and, after our peaceful protests, now three hours. But traveling to PBSP is like going to another state, so even three hours is insufficient considering the distance. We should be allowed five or six hours.

Privileges should always contribute to one’s social development. The more exposed we are to positive programs, the more we apply what we have learned in practice. That’s the natural process for us and all humanity.

We have, for the last 50 years in California, been conditioned around violence, and violence has been a regular practice throughout our stay. Thanks to our Agreement to End Hostilities, a lot of this violence has been deterred to some extent.

But what will keep this violence at bay? Because it definitely won’t sustain itself if prisoners’ energy is not being challenged in the educational programs and privileges that would hold their attention and produce the development that will enrich their lives.

Our Core Demand No. 5 (Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates) demanded that in order to deal with the idle time and the physical and mental development and social development of each and every prisoner, there must be real rehabilitation.

Core Demand No. 5 (Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates)

None of our core demands have been met! We are at a stage in our protracted struggle where we have to ask ourselves a tough question: Where do we go from here?

None of our core demands have been met!

CDCr has afforded some of us access to the General Population who should have never been held in these SCTC in the first place and have been held for far too many years. Our class action lawsuit was filed to end indefinite, longterm solitary confinement for all of us.

However, CDCr can render our class action lawsuit moot by placing everyone in the SDP, especially those of us who’ve been here in PBSP SHU 10 years or more, which is the only requirement of the lawsuit. (CDCr’s effort to defeat the suit by placing plaintiffs in the Step Down Program and moving them to other SHUs has been derailed by the court since this was written. – ed.)

So, considering the slow pace of progress in the Legislature and the possibility the lawsuit may not succeed, the responsibility to make change will come back to us prisoners. So we have to start strategizing around what we have to do in respect to our peaceful protests in order to end the continued abuse of authority.

CDCr has turned up its attacks, making it worse for each and every prisoner and his or her family. New regulations on personal property and on “obscenity” – actually censorship, a direct attack on free speech – have been implemented, and the proposed regulations to use canine searches of visitors – a direct attack on our families – are not yet approved but are in effect “on a temporary basis.”

These new regulations are about nothing other than prison officials abusing their position of power in order to retaliate against all of us who participated in the three hunger strikes and against all prisoners, activists and our families who supported us. The fact that CDCr can use the power that has been entrusted to them by the people to attack the people for their peaceful protests speaks volumes to how CDCr officials have no respect for the offices they hold.

We prisoners need to prepare for a massive peaceful protest and work stoppage if prison officials don’t change
1) The culture to which prisoners and their families are subjected: so much mental and physical torment;
2) End long term solitary confinement, as they promised; and
3) Implement our five core demands. If not, we have to think about our immediate future and long term future behind these walls.

Too many humans are suffering who don’t need to be suffering.

We also have to begin to educate prisoners on how to file writs and civil complaints in the state and federal courts in the interests of prisoners, ending the routine abuses that have been systemic throughout the state. The work stoppage, if necessary, should last anywhere from a month to years.

Our support committees need to release a report on the health consequences that many prisoners suffered during our last hunger strike, such as when we were temporarily taken to New Folsom. Many prisoners suffered immeasurable consequences in the name of our peaceful hunger strikes – the most recent having lasted from July 8, 2013, to Sept. 5, 2013 – that I personally recorded. We lost six lives, and we continue to lose lives.

One Love, One Struggle!

Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, D2-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pattern of Practice: Centuries of racist oppression culminating in mass incarceration

January 26, 2015
by Mutope Duguma
Published in: SF Bay View

In 1619, the first Africans were brought to North America by force to be slaves. From 1619 to 1776, this brutal chattel slave system was able to flourish in the 13 British colonies. From 1776, the United States government would take over the reins of this land, including its brutal slave system. From 1776 to 1865, while declaring its independence from its mother country, Great Britain, on July 4, 1776, the U.S. nevertheless held onto all of its evil practices.

The so-called Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 would end slavery as we know it. At the end of the Civil War in 1865, these so-called freed slaves would be subjugated by a new system of exclusion and exploitation under the Black Codes. Instituted by the slave states as slave codes, the Black Codes effectively re-enslaved Black people identified as vagrants, replacing their freedom with forced labor.

After the brief period of Black involvement in government known as Reconstruction, from 1865 to 1877, Black freedom was also denied for almost 100 more years by legalized racial segregation under the Jim Crow laws. After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights: the right to vote, the right to employment, the right to freely move about, the right to own land, the right to education, the right to decent housing, the right to adequate food and clothing, the right to a fair and just judicial system and much more, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Jim Crow segregation in one form or another was practiced nationwide.

Pattern of practice

Our Afrikan ancestors were forced to make their own way, while being denied everything and subjected to vicious racist attacks by local, state and federal government officials. The state would use vagrancy laws in order to criminalize New Afrikans because they did not have a job. Unemployment was considered a violation of state law, although the same system shut them out of the job market.

Once they were convicted under the vagrancy laws, they would be off to the penitentiary, where they would be forced back into slavery, legally, under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. So the government was able to use its judicial proceedings in order to incarcerate thousands of New Afrikans under these vagrancy and Jim Crow laws in order to force them back into free slave labor, which was the government’s objective.

Pattern of practice

The struggle for civil rights in this country can easily define what I mean by pattern of practice. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, but the law still passed. It was supposed to give New Afrikans citizenship and extensive civil rights for all men born in the United States, except “Native Indians.” The Enforcement Act of 1870 was passed to re-enact the Civil Rights Act of 1866 once the 14th Amendment made its enforcement unquestionably constitutional.

Much of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 was codified into federal law as Section 1983, but its influence waned as Reconstruction ended. Then the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed to outlaw discrimination in public places because of race or previous servitude. But in 1883, the act was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, which stated that the 14th Amendment, the constitutional basis of the act, protected individual rights against infringement by the states, not by other individuals.

Pattern of practice

The Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1968 were basically testaments to the consistency of a resistance struggle for civil rights in this country by New Afrikans and the countless human beings who would join in this Civil and Human Rights Movement, yet the system would continue to interfere with and obstruct the human and civil rights of New Afrikans every step of the way for over 100 years. And today we are right back where we started, fighting for our human and civil rights.

Pattern of practice

We very well could be fighting for our human and civil rights in this country as long as the Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives – the legislative branch of the United States government, continues to deny New Afrikans our human and civil rights indefinitely. Government intransigence forces New Afrikans to address this issue every 20 years or so. This is where the real injustices occur, speaking to the real racist application of such pattern of practice. Throughout our struggle, the Civil Rights Movement was and is of astronomical value in our Resistance Movement.

Brief historical perspective

It would be counterproductive not to mention Denmark Vesey, Martin Delaney and especially Marcus Garvey and the contributions he and the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) made toward our struggle for independence, which nationalized us as a people, because that organization would be the catalyst for many freedom movements to come.

The civil and human rights organizations were all instrumental in laying a foundation for more progressive struggles that would take center stage in our struggle to be liberated, starting with the Nation of Islam (NOI), the Black Liberation Movement (BLM), which would give life to the Black Panther Party (BPP), Republic of New Afrika (RNA), Black Liberation Army (BLA) and countless other revolutionary formations that would become the face of the struggle for Black liberation, i.e., freedom in Amerika.

We must begin to see these Sistas and Bruthas as our honorable men and women who have made sacrifices and continue to stand in struggle, while always remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) would be established and our struggle continue for self-determination, enabling us to govern ourselves as a New Afrikan independent nation within the borders of Amerika. New Afrikans would attempt to mobilize our people around socio-cultural, political and economic principles that speak to our humanity as a people, bringing into focus an ideology that represents the core of our identity, life style and beliefs that’s inclusive of all humanity.

These movements would progress until the mid-1970s , when state and federal governments made a concerted effort to stamp out all New Afrikan movements. Whether they were peaceful or radical, the government would conduct a vicious campaign, where the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies would work in conjunction to murder and incarcerate any New Afrikans who dared to fight for their basic humanity and right to self-determination.

These repressive attacks by the government jeopardized our political and ideological development as a people. The brutal suppression programs waged against our people put fear in many, and the struggle for freedom had to take a back seat. To some extent, fear took the fight out of the people.

Pattern of practice: Lost communities

This would open up the floodgates to the many street vices that would be introduced and unleashed on the New Afrikan communities: extreme poverty, drugs, alcohol, police, guns, etc., etc. – all weapons of mass destruction.

At the same time, New Afrikans would move toward re-assimilation into the fabric of Amerikan society, especially the professional New Afrikans, who could provide a service that could be exploited for the interests of corporate Amerika, not the people, and many abandoned their old neighborhoods. The more economically deprived the New Afrikan community was, the more desperate it became, and it is here where all sense of community would begin to be lost – where each individual would be trying to survive at the expense of everyone else, by any means necessary.

The generations to come, from 1975 to the present, would be left to their own devices, causing many to be compromised by the very vices just spoken to.

Pattern of practice: Weapons of mass destruction

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, PCP pills and heroin were heavily pumped into our communities; in the 1980s and 1990s, it was PCP and crack cocaine; in the mid-1980s and 1990s, guns saturated our communities – every inner city ghetto and all the other residential areas largely populated by New Afrikans. Drive-by fast-food joints saturated the community, causing mass obesity; liquor stores saturated the community, causing addiction to a legal substance; toxic chemical plants saturated the community, causing all kinds of ailments. Militarized police departments saturated – and occupied – the community, murdering our children and people with impunity.

Over the years, the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities: In the 1800s, it was a war on unemployed “vagrants,” where countless so-called newly freed slaves were incarcerated in order to re-enslave them under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a war on crime, and thousands of New Afrikans would be criminalized; in the 1980s and 1990s the war on drugs would be used to imprison New Afrikans at alarming rates, until 40-50 percent of the population of the prison industrial slave complex (PISC) would be New Afrikans; in the mid-1980s, 1990s and 2000s the war on gangs would be used to terrorize the New Afrikan communities, with battering rams, SWAT teams, gang injunctions, gentrification, illegal evictions and mass incarceration.

In the mid-1990s, the war on domestic terrorism would seal the fate of thousands of prisoners serving life sentences, when the then so-called first Black president, Bill Clinton, signed off on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) that would subject thousands of poor New Afrikans to civil death.

These are all coded declarations of war on the New Afrikan people.

Pattern of practice: Economic deprivation

Government and corporate Amerika have been active participants in making sure that New Afrikans and their communities are economically deprived by refusing to keep up the property they own and control. The people who were born and raised in these communities have to watch their property values drop while they are not allowed to maintain or utilize those facilities for the interests of the community.

And when the people offer to purchase such desolate property, then the true intentions of the government and corporate owners are exposed. They attempt to hide behind some state or federal policy to explain why the property cannot be sold or given to the people to improve, or the corporate owners will attempt to place some huge, out-of-the-ordinary price on such desolate property that they have no use for, other than as an instrument to devalue the already struggling, economically deprived communities.

This is nothing but a scheme that’s been used for over a century to create poverty-stricken environments all over Amerika, especially in the New Afrikan communities.

Pattern of practice: Political prisoners

State and federal prisons hold the many New Afrikan political prisoners all over this country in solitary confinement units, where they are tortured by state and federal government workers for their political beliefs. We’re talking about the most educated of our people, kept in isolation for decades, with no end in sight for release from these state and federal torture chambers.

Many have dedicated their lives to helping improve our living conditions and empowering the people to control the socio-cultural, political and economic systems that ultimately dictate their lives. We must, as fellow humans, reach back to these men and women who have sacrificed so much.

Pattern of practice: Modern day slavery

The government deliberately calculated that building its prison industrial slave complex (PISC), which is humongous, throughout the United States in strategic areas would not only provide a surplus of modern day slaves. The new system of plantations would be welcomed into many dilapidated, economically deprived white, rural communities with its promise to create jobs – at the expense of other impoverished human beings – which has been a very clever way of laundering taxpayers’ money back into white communities. We’re talking about billions of dollars, if not trillions, over a period of time.

Pattern of practice: Main culprits

Corporate Amerika works hand in hand with the United States government against the New Afrikan community by using its institutions to carry out race and class warfare, by glamorizing on the television and in movies a malignant sub-culture that was to dehumanize, devalue, degrade and desensitize New Afrikans to the rest of the world, as well as ourselves – a marketing campaign toward our genocide. There has always been an indictment against New Afrikans in the U.S. by local, state and federal goverments that is implemented through policies and laws that can be tracked easily from 1619 to today.

The politicians who are the power brokers of this nation use the Black establishment, the Asian establishment, the Latino establishment etc. as willing participants in carrying out institutionalized racist policies that have been genocidal toward humanity.

Pattern of practice: Conclusion

There seems to be one thing that the Democrats, Republicans and Independent politicians can agree on unanimously, and that is the declaration of war against New Afrikan and other oppressed people, while depriving those humans of basic necessities, such as adequate educational institutions, adequate jobs, adequate housing, adequate food and clean water etc.

We, the people, have to address corporate and institutionalized racism if we are truly about social justice. It is the only way we can attempt to achieve something in respect to ending the prevalent injustices that plague us as humans.

Mutope Duguma, Sept. 2014
One love, one struggle!

Mutope Duguma

Send our brother some love and light: Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU D2-107, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.