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anti-racism | prisons & prisoners

Truth Behind Prison Violence

Statement from the Chicano Mexicano Prison Project.
Feb. 10, 2006
San Diego
Statement from the Chicano Mexicano Prison Project.
Feb. 10, 2006
San Diego

THE TRUTH BEHIND PRISON VIOLENCE AND WHAT WE MUST DO

During first week of February (2006), hundreds of Mexicano Indigenous/Raza and
African prisoners have been seriously injured and at least one death has been
reported due to the brutal violence taking place between Raza and Africans locked up
in jails and prisons in California. While many are surprised or find this brutal
warfare to be something new, those of us involved in the struggle for the liberation
of our peoples have known, have exposed, and have struggled against the conditions
and situations which lead to the violence between oppressed nationalities.

Founded in 1993 as a project of Unión del Barrio, the Chicano Mexicano Prison
Project (CMPP based in San Diego, CA) for over 13 years has struggle daily to expose
the human rights violations of Mexicano indigenous prisoners and those of other
nationalities. We are one of the few Raza organizations, along with the Barrio
Defense Committee (San Jose, CA), who are dedicated to doing this type of work. Our
work has included organizing protests and pickets, regular community/barrio
outreach, conferences, and the mailing of newsletters/newspapers every three months
to thousands of prisoners locked up in concentration camps (prisons) throughout
Occupied America (United States) -from Pelican Bay in California to Marion State
Prison in Illinois. Many of our members, either have family in prison, have done
time in prison, or as barrio residents, experience the same conditions which have
led many of nuestra Raza into prison. It is on this work and experience upon which
we base our analyses and
perspectives.

As we read the newspaper accounts, see T.V. reports, and statements from officials,
in which they claim to be concerned for the well being of prisoners and that they
are doing everything possible to bring calm to the prisons and jails, we can't help
but be outraged by their hypocrisy and blatant lies. Not only do sources that we
work with, but mainstream media accounts as well, have exposed time and time again,
how prison officials and the government have either instigated violence between
Mexicano Indigenous and African prisoners, or have created the conditions of over
crowding and imposition of ignorance upon the mass majority of prisoners which have
led to explosions of violence.

The "gladiator fights" organized by guards, as well as the denying of training and
educational programs, limitations on visits, banning/censorship of reading material,
lack of adequate medical services, and recreational/ exercise activities, have
contributed greatly to an atmosphere of fear, anger, ignorance, and violence.
Moreover, everyday the CMPP gets back issues of our newsletter from prisons labeled
as "undeliverable" because of its progressive and revolutionary political content,
proving that prison officials would rather keep prisoners ignorant and violent,
rather than allowing them
to grow politically and become productive members of the communities from which they
come.

We are also greatly disappointed by those so-called activists and cultural workers
who have never responded to our call for assistance and to work united with us in an
effort to address the terrible inhumane conditions which exist in every prison:
rape, the torture of the SHU cells (Security Housing Units), early death cause by
lack of medical care, guard brutality (physical and psychological), and prisoner on
prisoner violence. In fact, many have criticized us for working with prisoners or
our political views, rather than doing something concrete to help our people. On the
other hand, the majority of Hispanic middle class and professionals (sell outs) have
called for more imprisonment and harsher conditions, joining the racist-U.S. ruling
class in the oppression and genocide of the Mexicano Indigenous, African, and other
oppressed people.

And not to be disrespectful, but we must also struggle to inform the masses of our
people that no amount of "praying" (in any language or particular religion) is going
to end prison violence and death. We must explain clearly to those "clergy" who were
invited by the "devil" (prison, jail, and government officials) to go into the cells
to talk "peace" to prisoners, that it is not religion which is oppressing us and
therefore it will not be religion which will liberate us.

The reality is that the United States (Occupied America) is a prison of nations
where a small rich-racist capitalist ruling elite, with the assistance of the
neocolonialists (sellouts, uncle toms, and vendidos) oppresses the great majority of
the Mexican-Indigenous, African, Filipino, Puerto Rican, and other nationalities, as
well as poor whites. Moreover, this oppression not only takes place within the
current borders of the United States, but throughout planet earth.

The truth is that the main objective of prisons is to keep under control (and
colonized) the oppressed nationalities and at the same time bring billions of
dollars of profits to construction and utilities companies, judges, D.A.s, prison
officials, corrupt politicians, and so forth, at the expense of the suffering of
prisoners and their families. This is known as the Prison Industrial Complex.

We therefore argue that only the destruction of capitalism and colonialism will
eliminate the need for prisons and thus put an end to prison violence. It doesn't
take a genius to discover that the true human rights activist must aim hers/his
actions against the twin pillars of human oppression, capitalism and colonialism
(imperialism/global capitalism). This can only be done by supporting and joining
organizations who are dedicated to eliminating capitalism and who are for true
democracy, justice, and peace -not just here in within the belly of the beast
(United States), but for the masses of humanity throughout the world.

The CMPP is committed to continue the struggle for the human rights of prisoners and
the liberation of the Mexicano Indigenous people. In the future we will work even
harder to reach out to our people in an effort to end the violence among the
oppressed communities.

Another World Is Necessary
Venceremos
Chicano Mexicano Prison Project/Unión del Barrio
contact: uniondelbarrio.org

homepage: homepage: http://www.uniondelbarrio.org

Organizations 13.Feb.2006 02:14

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which make a lot of noise about destroying capitalism don't get much sympathy in this country.

After 13 years, you have probably figured that out.

So why don't you get to work on capitalism, and let somebody else support prisoners?

Old time Leninist used to insist that the vanguard must provoke repression, in order to force the masses to choose the correct analysis. This proposition has been discredited. The masses, while too dumb to find the correct analysis, proved smart enough to see who was causing trouble. Some vanguard theoreticians even ignored the correct analysis long enough to notice that the masses were not responding as prophesized (and were prompted expelled).