I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Live From Death Row: Talkin' Bout My Generation.

Here it is, folks. Tuesday, January 19, 2010. Mumia is reporting on racism in America from behind bars, and the Philly DA is seeking the death penalty. That was nearly thirty years ago. 

And that's the story today. 

I'm the babiest of the baby-boomers, and we are a pathetic lot, my generation of Americans. Some revolutionaries. We're a bunch of tenured professors now. Those of us who didn't go off to prison over racism, Reagan or Bush sure sold out with Clinton. We sold out all our prisoners in the 90s. We stripped them of almost all their rights while we were so worried about defending Bill's right to screw around on his wife with our time. 

What a wasted presidency. And he pardoned Rich, of all people - a guy who should have been in prison because of his selfishness and greed - he didn't even have worthy politics. People took up arms in this country to resist South African apartheid, a piece of our history that too few Americans of any color  are aware of. They sacrificed their lives trying to end our death squads and coups in Central and South America - and Ollie North got a presidential pardon and his own TV show for his efforts.

Has anyone really ever had justice in America? Do the real criminals ever get their due? Most seem to draw pensions from us...through all the halls of government.

Leonard Peltier, The Cuban Five, the Puerto Rican Independistas, and all those Black Panthers - why are they all still in prison? Why are they still in so much danger? Why are the political prisoners by and large silent now? Why have they been condemned to die in federal prisons across the country - one after another this summer and fall - without us rising in united opposition and outrage? Do we know who they are anymore? 

Do we even know who we are?

What will we do today when the Supreme Court tells us they're going to let PA kill Mumia? Tune in to Jon Stewart at 11?

Where is the Change We Believed In, anyway?

It was never going to come from high offices or the White House. That's why it's taking so long for us to get anywhere - we keep following the other guy's leaders. Wake up, everybody - they let him in; we didn't really put him there. The Change will have to come from us. We are the ones who abandoned our elders and revolutionaries, our poets and dreamers. Our real activists. We've left their executions to the next generation. 

We couldn't even end the death penalty. We won't leave them with universal health care. We are leaving them as the world's largest incarcerator - not the Land of the Free. We are the ones who need to make amends now. We need to make this right somehow. 

We can't surrender again. Respect for their "due process" should not entail sacrificing ours - or anyone else's.  Look at all those kids going in from the Green Scare - we set them all up for that, dammit, not Bush. America's due process is racist, classist, sexist - need I go on? It works the way it's intended to - it supports the power elite at everyone else's expense - extraordinary expense. 

"Fixing" their system makes it work "better" - I don't think that's what we really want to do. Fixing the prison industrial complex (the Supreme Court just tops it off) is often compared to fixing the institution of slavery. That's why I decided abolition was the better approach. It's not as easy an answer, but at least it doesn't have me trying to figure out how I'm going to accommodate thousands more prisoners in the next few years, like Pearce is. That's a real visionary: more prisons for the grandkids to live and work in.

So, I ask again: what will we do when the court returns their decision? I don't know the answer -  I don't even know what I'll do. I'm afraid we'll respond with a stunned silence. We can pretty much guess how it's going to play out - like all those parole hearings have been going: our people are getting fried. 

Whatever happened here Saturday, the anarchists are making  a lot more sense to me these days than anyone else, frankly. We need to take to the streets. I want all our political prisoners free, but shame on anyone who sits by with nothing but a sign after this day until ordinary families can stop worrying about their loved ones being raped or killed or burned alive doing time for their poverty, mental illness, or a crime that they never even committed. No one should have to go through any of that in the state's custody and "care".

At the very least our signs damn well better say "fuck you" to the Supreme Court if they vote to execute Mumia...

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