Human Rights Violations in Prison: Denial of health care and medical mistreatment
from a prisoner correspondent:
Hello, this correspondence is to follow-up on my last correspondence .
thank you for allowing me to use your platform to
expose the abuse of me committed by the department of correction. Since our last correspondence, the doc. Deprivation of medical treatment has intensified, my immune system is compromised by HIV. I have been diagnosed with HIV. For the last 23 years , and any infection has the potential to kill me, consequently, on 9/9/2022 my front tooth broke and the filling fell out exposing my nerve, the pain is intense, I can hardly eat, and it hurts to drink water. The doc refuse to treat my medical dental needs for the last 6 years which has resulted in this dental deterioration,
if I don’t get medical treatment soon, I will get an infection and die, because my immune system is already compromised, the infectious medical doctor specialist whom treats my HIV. Condition ordered as preventive medical treatment, that my teeth be examined by a dentist over a year ago however the doc. Failed to provide the treatment even though the u.s. constitution 8th. Amendment cruel and unusual punishment clause prohibits the doc. From acting with deliberate indifference to a prisoner health or safety as interpreted by the u.s. supreme court in the case farmer v Brennan 511 u.s.825,834-837 (1994) and Wisconsin law. Wisconsin statute 940.29 makes it a crime for prison officials to abuse a prisoner medical needs,
nevertheless, my death would work in the state of Wisconsin favor, the state of Wisconsin penological interest in truth in sentencing law operation which is being unconstitutionally applied to me and thousands of other prisoners, as I previously pointed out, thousands. Of inmates in Wisconsin have been convicted under truth in sentencing law,1997 wis act 283 and 2001 wis act 109 , which changed all felony classifications for crimes, created bifurcated sentences and terminated mandatory parole and parole eligibility respectively for prisoners like me,
my legal actions filed in the federal court challenging the constitutjonalty of the law when I succeed, would strike down the law affecting thousands off prisoners and the public alike whom have been convicted under the law or whom are being charged under he law therefore the doc is using their custody of me to kill me secretly by denying me adequate medical treatment for my medical condition to save the unlawful law and to stop my legal challenges filed in the federal courts exposing the unconstitjtionality and the abuse of me filed in the u.s. supreme court eastern district of Wisconsin cases Willie c Simpson v gov tony evers and warden dylon redtke no. 22-cv-737, Willie c Simpson v green bay correctional institution no.19-cv-1221 and Willie c Simpson v green bay correctional institution no. 19cv-1222, you can follow the cases
nevertheless, the doc is attempting to kill me by denying me medical treatment to prevent me from succeeding in court,.your platform allows me to tell my SIDe of the story in the event the doc succeeds in their unlawful actions I ask only that you expose this to the public, news stations in green bay Wisconsin wfrv, channel 5 news, wbay channel 2 news, and the green bay press gazzette news paper, because if the doc succeed in killing me the prison officials will have a different story to tell to cover-up their crime , thank you for your concern and action in his matter I will keep you informed and you can e- mail me back, I will be awaiting your responsel
TextBehind.com Willie Simpson #331230 Green Bay Correctional Institution PO Box 19033 Green Bay WI 54307-9033 PO Box 247 Phoenix MD 21131-0247 (Note Wisconsin now prevent direct communication by letter to prisoners, letters must be sent to TextBehind, with the prisoner’s name, prison ID #, and Institution, then the PO Box 247 address in Maryland.
BLOOD IN THE CLENCHED FIST ALLIANCE (2022)
By Kofi Donkur AKA L.I., with an introduction by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Defense Minister, Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party
INTRODUCTION by Rashid
The following article by Comrade L.I. exposes how he and several other Black ‘gang’ leaders were set up by government officials to be taken out, by dropping them into a prison system where racist white and Mexican gangs predominate—many of whom worked in collaboration with the pigs to target Blacks. This experience and others in the Virginia prison system, where he witnessed first hand how government gang task forces deliberately manipulate and facilitate rivalries and wars between groups, opened his eyes to the long standing practice of racist repression aimed at youth of color and the ‘gangs’ in particular. In the midst of it all he found that uniting these groups was the only real defense against these designs, which he successfully did.
During 2010 I wrote an article, “Kill Yourself or Liberate Yourself, the Real US Imperialist Policy on Gang Violence Versus the Revolutionary Alternative”. That article was addressed to the youth involved in the street tribe (so-called gang) culture, and laid out the designs of the pigs and enemy ruling class to manipulate them into cycles of criminality and violence on the scale of self-inflicted genocide.
Along with the article the New African Black Panther Party (NABPP), now the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP), initiated the Clenched Fist Alliance (CFA), an initiative that aims to return the street tribes to their original purposes of serving and defending the oppressed communities and to raise their political consciousness. The CFA is an umbrella structure which any tribe or set may join so long as they unite with the 10 point program of the RIBPP.
On a larger scale we recognize the revolutionary potential of the tribes. The youth have always been the primary force of resistance that overthrew oppressive systems of power. Which is what the pigs fear in the so-called gangs. This fear was confirmed when Bunchy Carter united Cali’s largest gang of the 1960s, the Los Angeles Slausons, with the original Black Panther Party, forming the L.A. Chapter of the BPP. In turn the pigs had Bunchy assassinated by agents in the US (United Slaves) organization that was led by Ron Karenga, and maneuvered to prevent the alliance and merger of other gangs like the Blackstone Rangers in Chicago with the Panthers. When their efforts to incite a violent rivalry between the Stones and the Chicago Panthers failed, the FBI and Chicago cops assassinated Chicago Panther chairman Fred Hampton, Sr. and maneuvered to bribe the Stones to suppress community protests in Chicago with corporate payoffs and immunity from prosecution for crimes committed in the communities.
The street gangs have since been primary targets of government subversion and manipulation into cycles of rival wars with each other and predatory behavior against their own communities including flooding them with narcotics. Which in turn has given officials ammunition to villainize and wage war on them and our entire communities. The fear generated within the communities by the gangs’ behavior and anti-gang pig propaganda also leads communities to turn to the pigs for protection against the tribes (murdering and sweeping our youth into prisons by the millions) instead of looking to these organizations for support and defense and recognizing the pigs as the real terrorist forces against our people.
We have seen the tribes live up to their potential in recent years, from the historic hunger strikes in Cali prisons in 2011 and 2013, where 6,000, then 12,000, then 30,000 prisoners went on strike against the torture of long term solitary confinement of ‘gang-validated’ prisoners in Cali, which grew into a national movement against the widespread abuse of solitary in U.S. prisons; to the work strikes that swept the U.S. prison system from 2010-2018; to the 2015 “Agreement to End Hostilities” that followed the hunger strikes where all the tribes in Cali’s prisons agreed to end rival and racial violence between themselves, which is still holding although the pigs have repeatedly tried to undermine the truce ever since; to the mass protest of 2020 in the wake of the police lynching of George Floyd.
This is why a Clenched Fist Alliance is needed and the time is ripe. The youth are more aware today of the system’s oppressions than they have been in over 50 years and the street organizations have been in the thick of the struggles.
Dare to Struggle Dare to Win! All Power to the People!
WHY I UNITE WITH THE CLENCHED FIST ALLIANCE
I’ve read Rashid’s 2010 article, “Kill Yourself or Liberate Yourself,” and found it to contain perspectives that I also share. It also gives a true account of the scheme employed by Virginia officials at Red Onion State Prison (ROSP) to manufacture rival gang conflicts to create new justification for continuing to operate VA’s two super prisons in remote southwestern VA—ROSP and Wallens Ridge State Prison (WRSP), after both had been repeatedly discredited for racist abuse by their almost totally white staff against a predominantly Black prison population and exposed as unneeded. I was one of the numerous prisoners housed in ROSP’s so-called gang pods where these rivalries were manipulated by VA officials. I am an identified East Coast Blood leader.
On June 29, 2014 ROSP’s general population was placed on lockdown, which on its face was nothing out of the ordinary. So I suspected nothing, at least not until 5 guards came to my cell claiming I had a court appearance. I was cuffed, taken to the intake area, searched, then transferred to WRSP where I was held in solitary confinement overnight.
The next morning I was again cuffed and taken to a temporary building area, where 8 others (all Black identified gang leaders) were also being held under the pretext of having court appearances. None of us had any active court cases or appeals. We could get no answers from guards as to our true destinations.
Three hours later we were put in chains, cuffs, and shackles, and loaded into 3 vans. We departed.
On the interstate, observing passing cars out the window I noticed the license plates changing from Tennessee to Kentucky, Illinois, etc. When the transport guards got out of the vans at one stop I noticed they wore Colorado DOC patches.
We rode continuously for 27 hours to arrive at our destination, the Colorado maximum security prison, Colorado State Penitentiary, where we were then taken to separate solitary units. Upon entering the cellblock, I observed all the prisoners come to their cell doors to see who was entering. All the faces were white or Mexican. There were no other Blacks in the entire cellblock.
I was not allowed to contact loved ones until five days later. After 30 days I was transferred to CO’s classification prison, Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center (DRDC). By now it was evident that whites and Mexicans were the majority of the population (95%) in CO prisons, which reversed my prison experience of 18 years. It also revealed that CO prisons have a predominantly gang population, where Latino and white gangs displayed overt racism toward Blacks. Whites wore clover, thunderbolts, 88, and various other tattoos that represented racist mentalities. These tattoos were worn with arrogance and high visibility on their faces, heads and necks. This environment came as a culture shock.
During the classification process, I and 2 of my comrades from Virginia were told by CO’s gang task force that there are various gangs in the CO prison system and if we collaborated with them to coordinate or disrupt things we’d be prosecuted to the highest degree.
It became clear that VA deliberately sent us (all Black identified East Coast organization members) into a West Coast gang population, knowing our culture and orientations are different if not completely opposite.
While in receiving, the so-called gang investigation interviewed various CO gang members in our presence, often opening the dialogue with, “There are some real Bloods that were just brought here from the East Coast.” In hindsight I know that this rhetoric was intended to, and did, create conflicts between us and the already established culture in CO.
On top of this we were dropped with no supports into that prison population to just figure things out on our own. Whether we adjusted or not depended solely on us. We received no form of counseling, no adjustment period, no visits from VA liaisons to aid our adjustment. It was left to us as individuals, placed in a racially hostile rival gang environment, to sink or swim. It was a deliberate move calculated to place us in harm’s way; exactly the sort of move described by Tookie Williams in his book, Blue Rage, Black Redemption, where gang task force agents and cops instigated and aggravated gang wars and rivalries by deliberately dropping identified gang members into rival neighborhoods to be attacked or killed.
In CO we found the white and Mexican gangs engaged in open violence against Blacks, and the white gangs openly collaborated with prison officials.
During 2017 a Black prisoner was killed by one of the white gangs at Limon Correctional Center. The prison was placed on lockdown for two weeks and all members of the white gangs were moved, but only temporarily. When the prison was taken off lockdown all those whites were moved back in and a race riot erupted. Only Blacks were on the ground hurt from the riot and guards targeted only Blacks with force under the pretext of quelling the riot. About 60 prisoners were involved but four were thrown in the hole, all of them the Blacks who were on the ground injured by the whites who vastly outnumbered them. Everyone else was sent back to their cellblocks, where a race riot erupted again in response to the attacks on Blacks.
I witnessed and was caught up in this officially instigated race violence. This experience, following on the heels of the gang rivalries manipulated and instigated in Virginia’s prisons, opened my eyes to the reality that most of the banging and racial violence between groups was at the designs of government officials. And since the white gangs in CO worked hand and hand with officials to target Blacks, I and several CO leaders got together and formed an alliance that united us all (Bloods, Crips, GDs, and others) in common defense of each other and all Black prisoners. We called this alliance Main Line Tradition. This Alliance brought the racial attacks on, and divisions between, Blacks to a halt. As the Alliance solidified I and several others were suddenly returned to Virginia.
Rashid and RIBPP are right that many of our organizations began with missions to serve and defend our communities, but because our conscious leaders were targeted and destroyed by the pigs, and others fell victim to bribery, we lost our way becoming corrupted with criminality and began preying on and destroying our communities. We need to return to our original missions, and win the love and support of our communities instead of preying on them and giving the establishment ammunition to demonize us and wage war on us and our communities in the name of suppressing gang violence.
Before my experience at Red Onion and in Colorado, I had the closed view of most members of the street organizations. I only cried about “me and mine”, and thought I understood the streets and our lifestyle. I thought we had power. These experiences opened my eyes, that the way we have been living and our deaths and losses have all been at the instigation and designs of the system. Our survival demands that we unite and defend each other and our communities against these designs. To this end my set stands with and in allegiance with the Clenched Fist Alliance and calls on all tribes to set aside their differences and join together in one common cause to unite against our one common enemy — the capitalist ruling class.
All Power to the People!
FREE RUCHELL MAGEE: VICTIM OF CORRUPTION
Note: In going through archival material to prepare for a book with indigenous political prisoner Oso Blanco, I came across this letter from Ruchell Magee in the final issue of Brother: A Forum for Men Against Sexism in 1976. Brother was a publication I worked on in the 1970s with a collective that grew out of men’s groups formed in the Bay Area, mainly Oakland and Berkeley, in preparations for the Revolutionary Peoples’ Constitutional Convention, initiated by the Black Panther Party after Huey P. Newton’s release from prison. We sent the publication to a number of political prisoners and other prisoners who requested it after the publication was covered in the SF Chronicle and TIME magazine, and Ruchell wrote back to us in response with this explanation of his case going back to his earliest illegitimate conviction and incarceration, prior to the Marin County Courthouse slave rebellion in which Jonathan Jackson and others lost their lives, and Magee was the sole survivor. Magee and Angela Davis were put on trial, potentially facing the death penalty, after Davis was captured. The cases were eventually severed when Magee persisted in denouncing judicial corruption and seeking to get a new judge, while Davis wanted to keep that judge. Davis was ultimately acquitted after an international defense campaign; Magee was sent back to prison with an additional sentence for kidnapping. He has been locked up since 1965, probably the longest-held political prisoner in the US. We have subsequently published other letters and communications from him in Turning The Tide, but felt this document was of historical note.
I am the victim of judicial corruption. Millions of people fail to ‘realize the truth. The judicial vampire (monster) values the blood of the people. People who refuse to see the monster, through ignorance feed it. However the awareness of this (reality) by the progressive forces gives us the strength to penetrate the heart; of the monster with the almighty revolutionary sword.
My search is for support by progressive groups throughout the country, in an effort to bring about radical legal changes. Many so-called revolutionary people seem to tremble or to fear presenting the truth of my plight or the truth of other cases. I get the impression people are faking: In fact I let them know when they come with their never-ending excuses. I don’t believe the communities should be left to the mercies of the monster into whose hands they have fallen. Keep the struggle rolling until we have pierced the monster’s heart: this is the only way to keep it from growing new destructive heads, in order that mankind will at last be content, secure and at peace.
Hidden beneath the surface of the false news media image is the truth of my illegal imprisonment. I’ve applied for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging my original Los Angeles Superior Court conviction as being unconstitutional. The California Attorney General is before the Federal courts with known false records and fraudulent returns (legal papers – Ed.). What they’re trying to continue to do is cover up the facts: of my court appointed attorney having entered a false insanity plea, that was then used to trick a jury intoconvicting me, in July 1965.
In May 1965, an insanity plea was entered in my behalf without foundation, over my specific objection. In July 1965 I was gagged and chained in the presence of the trial jury for objecting to the jurors hearing such a plea. The District Attorney said he would prove that I, Magee, had robbed and kidnapped Ben Brown for $10.00; then before the jury, found himself claiming that I had committed a crime but wasn’t guilty by reason of insanity. While the jury was deliberating, the court ordered the plea withdrawn, yet the jury returned with a guilty verdict based on that plea.
Court spectators (later) showed up in court under the belief that I was getting a new trial, because they witnessed the court say that since it was withdrawing the plea, that I would get a new trial if the jury returned a guilty verdict.
The Attorney General is now presenting false documents, trial transcripts, and suppressing the records of my May 1965 plea hearing, and not reporting the court’s promise of a new trial. *
I recently sent $340 for a transcript of the May I965 hearing. It was returned saying no court reporter transcript of such a hearing exists. They apparently forget that the Attorney General used and cited the May I965 hearing in a November 1971 return to a writ I had filed.
I pleaded guilty to a kidnap charge in San Jose, even though the San Francisco jury found me not guilty in March 1973, to avoid going through another jury trickery conviction and fraudulent transcript attack by the attorney general and his agents.
The attorney general and the district attorney use the courts and press to claim I am legally in prison and deceive the public. The worst crime I am guilty of is not having any parents or living relatives that I communicate with while being attacked by these cowardly pigs. Therefore I urge you in the name of press freedom and access to legal rights in court, to publish this letter.
Challenging Repression and White Supremacy in Nevada Prison System
Revolutionary Greetings comrade,
I received your letter yesterday and wanted to respond so that you knew I received it, and to update you on recent events.
It appears our efforts to challenge the new mailroom policy have been successful at least for now. The policy was attacked by a number of us immediately, and by groups such as yours, so for now, the new restrictions have been suspended. We do not know if or when they will be put in place, but we will be ready to fight against them should it occur. Thank you.
On the COVID-19 issues, we remain locked down 23-1/2 hours a day except for days we work. Few inmates actually do have jobs, so the majority are locked down with only a half-hour out of their cells. We still have no access to the yard, chapel, law library or visits, and have not since March 18, 2020.
The correctional officers here continue to interact with us without wearing their masks, or wearing them improperly (not covering their nose, etc.) and people continue to get sick.
Inmates are being denied masks. We are given one Benehal NiOSH N.95 mask for two weeks. As we work with dirty hangers, the mask turns black within a day. I have no idea how long the mask is supposed to be effective for, but I doubt it’s two weeks!
The Nevada DOC recently upped its institutionalized racism, when it locked down Hispanic prisoners it believed were Southsiders, and barred them from work. They did not, however, ban white or Black inmates they suspected of being Southsiders.
Well, comrade, I want to thank you, not only for your response, but for your work struggling against racism. I am an example that your efforts have been successful. I was raised as a white power skinhead, and was one for most of my life. Your paper played an important role in opening my eyes and turning me away from hatred and towards anti-racism. You have helped me and others. Thank you, comrade. I have since made it a point to be an active anti-racist.
I am currently writing an article about committing racial suicide, which I would like your thoughts on as well, if you would ever have the time.
I will end this here, comrade. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do.
MSI – Nevada Revolutionary Front
High Desert State Prison
PO Box 650
Indian Springs NV 89070
ABUSE AT CONNECTICUT’S WOMEN’S PRISON
Hello, I am writing because people do not understand the corruption, unethicalness, and abuse that goes on behind these gates at Connecticut’s only female facility. I want to be the voice not only for myself but for all the women whose voices are not being listened to.
In 2017-2018, I was mentally, emotionally and physically abused while in the mental health unit of the DOC. I was told I was faking an illness, and nothing was wrong with me, as I would scream and cry for help because of the severe pain. DOC employees would walk ny my cell laughing, ignoring me, or telling me that I was crazy. A little after a month of suffering, I was finally brought to a hospital, where it was determined that my gall bladder would need to be removed. I have all documentations proving these things.
In 2018, a marshal and I were having intimate contact for months when I went to court (for bribes), which ended with him forcefully sexually assaulting me. The DOC has not followed the PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) guidelines; they refused me counseling as well as other things to deal with the trauma. This is currently under investigation with Troop E Montville CT state police as I intend to pursue charges. I have experienced retaliation for filing the assault charges.
Besides my own issues with the justice system in CT, others have been affected too — like the young woman who gave birth to her baby in the toilet here a few years back due to neglectful staff, or how the whole O-Unit had to be evacuated twice in the summer of 2020 due to fire and sparks coming out of the wall outlets, I would assume due to poor electrical wiring.
I would also like to add that only some DOC officials wear a mask while around us; whereas many others do not, despite the state mandate, and the agreement put into place with the ACLU. It is putting our lives in jeopardy.
People have suffered and died here due to DOC negligence. I will not sit around and watch as others suffer, or allow myself to suffer any more without trying to put a stop to it.
There is SO much more that I could add, but really what I want is for inmates to be treated fairly, in a safe, healthy environment, and justice for all those whose rights have been violated.
Please contact me by mail if you would like, or you may call my attorney, Alexander Taubes at 203-909-0048.
Feel free to share this letter and/or my contact information.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Kristal Lis #365845, York Correctional, 201 W. Main StreetNiantic CT 06357
HOW THE PIGS ABUSE ‘GANG’ LABELS (SEPTEMBER 2020)
By Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
USING RACISM TO CREATE POLITICAL BOGEYMEN
Socially and politically charged labels have long been used (or misused) by officials as a cover for abusing and discriminating against Black and Brown people and suppressing political views that challenge or question the status quo.
During the Cold War, when the U.S. and its Western allies, were engaged in a propaganda war against Communism, the “Communist” label was used to discredit, and as a pretext to justify attacking, people, and political views that officials disliked or opposed. During the Civil Rights era, anyone (especially whites) who opposed Jim Crow segregation, lynching, and the many overt abuses faced by Blacks was labeled a Communist.
In fact, the FBI targeted Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X under its COMINFIL (COMmunist INFILtration) program using the pretext of investigating them for supposed backing from Communist countries, as cover for surveilling, harassing, and ultimately murdering them, to counter their leading struggles against white supremacy and capitalism in Amerika.
The real basis and method that officials used to incite anti-Communist sentiment across the U.S. white population weren’t political, it was racial. They did this by linking Communism with white fears of Black integration and Civil Rights in the public mind.
Officials openly advanced these views. As the chairman of the Washington State Investigative Committee expressed, “If someone insists that there is discrimination against Negroes in this country, or that there is inequality in wealth, there is every reason to believe that person is a communist.” Also, the head of the board of the Federal Department of Loyalty expressed, “of course, the fact that a person believes in racial equality doesn’t PROVE that he’s a Communist, but it certainly does make you look twice.” (1)
The FBI perpetuated the same views and targeted people accordingly. “FBI agents spotted white communists by their ease and politeness around Negroes, or by the simple fact that they socialized with Negroes at all.” (2)
In 1948 president Harry Truman aimed, according to his own political strategist, “to identify [presidential candidate Henry Wallace who promoted liberal views on race] and isolate him in the public mind with the Communists.” (3) As a result of these policies linking anti-Communism with race, when Wallace toured the South during the 1948 election campaign, violent white mobs screamed charges against him and his entourage as a “Communist” and “nigger lover!” This in the South was the “Communist Menace.” (4)
Officially manipulated racism formed the basis of the mass hysteria that fueled the Red Scare and McCarthyism of the Cold War.
The pigs even tried to use the Communist bogeyman to turn Black communities against the Black Panther Party. Of course, it didn’t work because Blacks had no racist basis upon which to manipulate them to fear Communism, while they whole-heartedly supported the BPP’s community service programs like the Free Breakfast for Schoolchildren program. Fred Hampton, Jr, the Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the BPP described the pigs’ failed attempts. How they tried to turn the community matrons against the Party by describing the BPP and its programs as Communist—although the BPP actually was a Communist organization. Here’s Fred in his speech, “Power Anywhere There’s People!”:
” [Y]ou ain’t seen nothin’ till you see one them beautiful sisters with their hair kinda’ start gettin’ grey, and they ain’t got many teeth, and they were tearing them police up! They were tearin’ ’em up! The pigs would come up to them and say, “You scared of communism?” And the Sisters would say, “No—scared of it? I ain’t never heard of it.”
“You like socialism?”
“No, I ain’t never heard of it.”
The pigs, they be crackin’ up, because they enjoyed seeing these people frightened of these words.
“You like capitalism?”
“Yeah, well, that’s what I live with—I like it.”
“You like the Breakfast for Children program, ni**er?”
“Yeah, I like it.”
And the pigs say “Uh oh.” The pigs say, “Well, the Breakfast for Children program is a socialistic program. It’s a communistic program.”
And the women said, “Well I tell you what, boy. I’ve been knowing you since you was knee-high to a grasshopper, ni**a. And I don’t know if I like communism and I don’t know if I like socialism. But I know that that Breakfast for Children program feeds my kids ni**a. And if you put your hands on that Breakfast for Children program, I’m gonna come off this can and I’m gonna beat your ass like a….’”
INVENTING NEW BOGEY MEN—TERRORISM AND GANGS
As the late historian Howard Zinn observed, when the Soviet Union collapsed at the turn of the 1990s, U.S. officials had to create a new racially charged bogey man with which to incite ‘majority’ public opinion against those countries, people, and ideas they opposed. This time they used Arab terrorism. But this label didn’t readily apply to whipping up fear WITHIN the U.S., using people of color who remained marginalized and whom the establishment desired to continue to hold back socially, politically, and economically. So another racially charged bogey man had to be created and used that could be readily applied to people of color within the U.S. This was the ‘gang’ label.
During the 1960s and ‘70s, U.S. officials systematically targeted for destruction independent Black political leadership like Malcolm X and the BPP, that was winning and influencing large numbers of Black youth to take up the fight against segregation, racism, endemic poverty, and the myriad abuses that inhere in the capitalist system.
In turn, through blaxploitation films and other entertainment media, hustlers, drug dealers, pimps, and especially the mafia were glamorized to poor urban youth as the images of social rebels whom they should emulate and imitate, while outright government terrorism was used to discourage them from identifying with and joining groups like the BPP.
At the same time the government flooded the poor Black communities with narcotics and assault weapons that destabilized the communities and gave rise to the growth of, and violent conflicts between, youth street gangs. The resulting drug epidemics and gang wars were used to bolster the bogey man image of gangs by officials bent on continuing to marginalize, exploit, and repress Black people. I discuss and extensively document the government-engineered process of dumping drugs in the Black communities and generating the violent rise of gangs and gang conflicts in my article, “Kill Yourself or Liberate Yourself: The REAL U.S. Imperialist Policy on Gang Violence Vs. the Revolutionary Alternative” (2010), http://rashidmod.com/?p=626.
With gangs as the new bogey man with which to demonize and justify repressive policies against the Black community at large, officials maneuvered to label any and every young Black male and view they opposed as gang-related. Indeed they labeled Black youth who didn’t even exist as gang members, to inflate gang databases created to stigmatize entire Black communities as gang-affiliated.
Officials used the drug infestation and gang proliferation THAT THEY CREATED THEMSELVES to carry out this agenda. As one report explained, “Operation Hammer [a campaign created by the LAPD targeted at the Black communities of Los Angeles] was a counterinsurgency program that sometimes resembled the Phoenix program in Vietnam. There were hundreds of commando-style raids on ‘gang houses.’ More than 50,000 suspected gang members were swept up for interrogation based on factors such as the style of dress and whether the suspect was a young Black male on the street past curfew. Of those caught up in such Hammer sweeps, 90 percent were later released without charge, but their names were held in a computer database of gang members that were later shown to have included twice as many names as there were Black youths in Los Angeles. [LAPD chief Darryl] Gates sealed off large areas of South Central as ‘narcotics enforcement zones.’ There was a strict curfew, constant police presence, and on-the-spot strip searches for those caught outside after curfew.” (5)
Alongside these attacks on the Black communities, a parallel program was occurring inside U.S. prisons and jails, where officials were also engineering the growth of gangs while purging them of leaders who might lead them in positive directions and replacing them with ones who could be controlled through their own self-interest and desire for power and money into cycles of violent conflict and drug proliferation and addiction. The pigs use these elements to control prisons, target non-affiliated politically conscious and otherwise ‘problematic’ prisoners, and to justify increasingly draconian measures and calls for increased funding and resources for ‘gang intelligence’ measures and staff, and the construction of more prisons, especially supermax, and solitary confinement units.
THE SECURITY THREAT GROUP LABEL
To allow the gang label to be applied more generally and broadly to any prisoner or prisoner group that officials wish to target, prison officials have created the term Security Threat Group (STG), which is a more broadly inclusive euphemism for gang.
As with the cops on the outside, everyone and every idea prison officials wish to suppress, they label as STG related. More often than not, the STG label is used to target things in manners that are facially absurd and in no way related to any STG matter. Often the motives are blatantly racist.
Indeed most STG investigators and their staff are white and have no connection to communities or cultures of people of color. Yet, the vast majority of prisoners targeted as STG affiliated are Black and Brown. The few exceptions in cases of more racially diverse STG officials occur in prisons that are located in areas where there is a more diverse local population. But in many such cases, the STG staff are still white officials shipped in from other places to run the STG operations.
Overall the entire STG corps is trained into a hostile doctrinaire view of the so-called gang culture, which stereotypes Black and Brown communities, culture, people, and history and is blatantly ignorant of and prejudiced toward them. In all prison systems, the STG label is used to suppress and censor literature that expresses views and teaches histories from critical Black and Brown perspectives. Often it’s used to censor media that criticizes racism and racist groups.
Florida prisons, where I was confined from 2017-2018, routinely banned publications as “STG material,” citing articles that criticized racially discriminatory government practices or the actions of white supremacist groups in society.
I’ve witnessed over and again, STG officials endorsing and permitting the spread of white supremacist groups and their teachings while targeting and repressing Blacks and Browns.
As an example of how absurdly the STG label is abused and used as an illegal tool of censorship by so-called ‘expert’ gang officials and investigators, a recent issue of SOCIALIST VIEWPOINT magazine was banned by STG investigators here at Indiana’s Wabash Valley prison, where I’m confined. They claimed the magazine violates the prison system’s STG policy (policy # 02-03-105, which can be read on the Indiana Department of Correction’s [IDOC] website). The magazine, they claimed, had “hand signals” in it. People from all walks of life are routinely seen using hand signals, presidents using the “V” for victory, which among others is a general peace sign and even clenched fist. Sports people and rock stars are commonly seen with thumb and pinky finger extended, or thumb, pinky and index fingers extended, and so on.
But in the fevered minds of prison gang ‘experts,’ any and every hand sign in a publication coming into a Black or Brown person is problematic. Aren’t these ‘expert’ gang investigators supposed to know how to distinguish between gang communications and everyday people using everyday body language? Of course, they are, which is what demonstrates the foul motives behind what they do. This case is telling.
The IDOC’s STG policy which was cited as banning the magazine in no way applies. As a threshold matter, the policy defines an STG. Here’s what it says:
“SECURITY THREAT GROUP (STG): A group of offenders that set themselves apart from others; pose a threat to the security or safety of staff or offenders, or are disruptive to programs or the orderly management of the facility.”
By this policy’s own definition, the magazine has no connection to any STG. SOCIALIST VIEWPOINT, which can be also be viewed online, is a Socialist magazine published and edited by two elderly white women, with obvious Jewish last names, who are not prisoners and have never been to prison. They are obviously not a “group of offenders.”
We already know that officials don’t like socialist and Communist views, and have linked suppressing those views with racist opposition to equality for Black people. Indeed they’ve used racially charged labels to suppress those views, which is EXACTLY what is occurring in this case…the racially charged STG label is being deliberately misused to suppress a socialist magazine.
From “Communism” to “terrorism” to “gangs,” the agenda of using racially charged labels to suppress people of color and ideas that officials dislike continues. It’s the same racist imperialist shit in the same racist imperialist toilet.
Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!
1. David Coute, THE GREAT FEAR: THE ANTI-COMMUNIST PURGE UNDER TRUMAN AND EISENHOWER (NY: Simon and Shuster, 1978) p. 168
2. Taylor Branch, PARTING THE WATERS: AMERICA IN THE KING YEARS, 1954-1963 (NY: Simon and Shuster, 1988) pp. 209-10
3. Robert Griffin, et al., Athen Theoharis, “The Politics of Scholarship: Liberalism, Anti-Communism and McCarthyism,” THE SPECTRE: ORIGINAL ESSAYS ON THE COLD WAR AND THE ORIGINS OF MCCARTHYISM (NY: New Viewpoints, 1974) p. 278
4. Patricia Sullivan, DAYS OF HOPE: RACE AND DEMOCRACY IN THE NEW DEAL ERA (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1996) pp. 260-63
5. Alexander Cockburn, et al., WHITEOUT: THE CIA, DRUGS AND THE PRESS (NY: Verso, 1999)
Our mailing address is:
Kevin Rashid Johnson
6908 S Old US Highway 41
Carlise, IN 47838
Statements from Oso Blanco in Support of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and the Recent Email/Letter Zap for Indigenous Prisoners
In support of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ):
I, Oso Blanco, support and encourage the autonomous zone reclaimed in Seattle. In the name of Dragging Canoe, in the name of Tecumseh, and in the name of Crazy Horse, I encourage all occupants of the sovereign area to invite the Suquamish people to have a voice in all matters, in benefit of the people, for you are on their land. I love you all and I encourage you to continue. My heart is extremely proud and filled with hope. You are on the correct course – continue on no matter what.
And don’t just defund police. Also defund prisons, local jails, and ICE detention centers. Defund the courts and every part of the prison industrial complex.
Response to the email/letter zap in support of Indigenous prisoners at Victorville:
I thank all my comrades, brothers and sisters, for helping to email and write letters in support of the native community getting the pipe back. El Saddiq has twisted the story around and changed it into his version of why the pipe was taken. Nevertheless, I will deal with this matter later, in setting the record straight. I love you all, my comrades, brothers and sisters – we are almost there. Remain strong and keep going.
We Can’t Breathe: On the Lynching of George Floyd (2020)
by Kevin Rashid Johnson, M.O.D., New Afrikan Black Panther Party
On May 24, 2020, a crowd of onlookers witnessed the slow death by asphyxiation of a handcuffed Black man in Minneapolis. This was a public lynching.
Only, unlike in times past, this crowd didn’t cheer but instead pleaded over and over for the cop who murdered George Floyd, to let him breathe; to take his knee off his neck and let him up. Several times onlookers tried to physically intervene, only to be themselves threatened with pig violence.
Also, unlike days of old, this murder was filmed for the world to also witness. And Minneapolis exploded! Thousands poured into the streets in protest.
Until just a few years ago, the world and Amerika at large denied that Black and Brown people in Amerika were routinely murdered by the cops.
The advent of cellphone technology and social media enabled everyday people to force a world in denial to bear witness to the reality of our lives under racist imperialist occupation.
Proportionally, more of us are murdered today by cops than were killed by lynch mobs during the Jim Crow era. And just like during Jim Crow, our killers are protected by a system that closes ranks to villainize the victims and portray our abusers as well-intended arbiters of justice. They’ve even crafted language to recast these killings as benign and something other than murder. Instead of calling it what it is, they’ve coined the euphemism, “police-involved shootings.”
What they are is a continuation of lynching. The cops have always participated in this sort of violence. They’ve never been a source of service or protection in our communities.
Black and brown people have always been corralled into marginalized spaces of Amerikan society where we’ve lived a suffocated existence. We were suffocated to death by everyday Amerikans at the instigation and participation of their elites, political leaders, and often the cops when we were hung from trees.
The lynching by suffocation of George Floyd, like that of Eric Garner in 2014, as they protested over and over “I can’t breathe!”, is but a continuation of the same in a racist capitalist society that must be fundamentally overturned. We’ll never be able to breathe free until it is!
Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!
-Kevin Rashid Johnson, MOD New Afrikan Black Panther Party