Thursday, March 23, 2017

From inside the wire

One of the things the organization Critical Resistance does that hardly anyone does is ask prisoners what they think. Prisoners have their own, multifaceted and not necessarily uniform, takes on the goings on in the world outside.

Recently, [CR] asked imprisoned people to share their reflections on Trump's presidency and how to strengthen our resistance to what some see as rising fascism. Lacino, Robert, and Asar (quoted here), as well as others have generously offered their analysis and experience.

... The testimonies include excerpts of letters from immigrants, Black men and other men of color, people sentenced to the death penalty or life without parole (the other death penalty), gay people, and people imprisoned in California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and South Carolina. 

The entire collection of responses, including images of original letters, are posted at Prisoners Speak Out: Analysis and Perspectives.

Asar Imhotep Amen wrote from California State Prison - LA County:

"Trump's regime will greatly affect me, along with the community at large as well as all presently incarcerated people... Trump's regime serves a deliberate and specific purpose in sustaining white terror, power, and domination. In other words, the relationship between people of color, along poor white folks in America and the holders of state power in the United States is similar to that which exists between the colonized and the colonial master."

Lacino Hamilton, imprisoned at Chippewa Correctional Facility, Kincheloe, Michigan, had this to say:

Repression doesn’t come and go, it merely becomes more or less evident, as its "spectacular episodes" are spaced closer or farther apart. Donald Trump being an expression of a "spectacular episode". Repression is a permanent blanket covering the movement. Many people don't think this is so, because you don't notice the difficulty you have trying to breathe. This is because you’ve become accustomed to the reality and the weight of the blanket, long gaps between "spectacular episodes” have given many of us the impression that the blanket had been "pulled back” or “lifted". But it’s been here all the time, before Trump was elected president, and we’ve learned to move under its weight, and now consider this type of repression to be normal.

Robert Chan, imprisoned at California State Prison - LA County, added his view:

Now is the time to stand with our free-world allies as they daily protest Trump's latest ugly declarations and executive orders. In our thoughts and in our prayers, with our hearts and with our words, we stand with the oppressed and all progressives fighting for social justice. Never before have I been so surprised and inspired by the outpouring of unity that's coalescing in the sea of courageous people stepping up against tyranny.

I figure I'm called to live up to Mr. Chan's expectations -- will I?

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