|By Uhuru B. Rowe
November 5, 2015
By now, most of us have seen the viral video of the young black Columbus, South Carolina high school student who was viciously assaulted on October 26, 2015 by a senior deputy who was moonlighting as a school resource officer. The video sparked national outrage. The deputy, later identified as Ben Fields, is seen yanking the 16-year-old girl out of her seat, slamming her to the floor, and tossing her across the classroom like a rag doll after she refused to acknowledge Fields’ authority. Prior to being assaulted by Fields, the girl was asked by school officials to leave the class because she was using her cellphone in class. When she refused, then enters Fields who, according to students, is known as “officer slam”, apparently because of his penchant for using excessive force against students. Because of the violent nature in which the young girl was assaulted, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suspended Fields without pay and called for an investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Fields was later fired, probably to stave off future protest and acts of civil disobedience that were sure to come.
This incident should awaken us to the problem of criminalizing the behavior of students via zero-tolerance policies which disproportunately affects students of color, which inevitable facilitates the school-to-prison pipeline. This incident should also remind us that domestic imperialism via state police terror spares neither the young or the elderly.
Remember Marlene Pinnock? Pinnock, a then-51-year-old African-American great-grandmother was savagely beaten in the face while laying on the ground of a Santa Monica, California Highway. The perpetrator: A highway patrolman; or should I say just another racist pig. The video of Pinnock’s July 1, 2014 beating went viral on YouTube.
What about the young black girl that was man-handled and thrown to the ground at a pool party earlier this year in Texas.
These cases exemplifies the decadence of America’s criminal justice system and police state terrorism which spares neither our women.
The population of women in America’s prisons has grown by nearly 800% since 1980. Approximately 70% of incarcerated women are mothers and the majority were the primary caretakers of their children before they were sent to prison. Approximately 80% of women in prison experienced physical abuse either as children or as adults. Consider too that Black women and trans women of color are the fastest growing sector in America’s prison.
These are reasons why patriarchy needs to be abolished.
July 7, 2014
Feeling that my essay “From Unity to Collective Liberation” did not sufficiently (or specifically) express my solidarity with the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and the California and Palestinian hunger strikers, this letter is to serve as my expression of solidarity with the above brave souls. Continue reading “Uhuru Baraka Rowe’s statement of solidarity with people in prison who are on hunger strike in Alabama, California, and Palestine…”
This is a reminder that if we collectively struggle against the Prison Industrial Slave Complex from inside the Belly, we can win!
I put out a Call to Action during the summer of 2013 to the prisoner-class which was published in Prison Action News. This call to action, inspired by the California prisoner hunger strikers and those comrades who organized the Agreement to End All Hostilities, was meant to encourage hose of us who consist of the prisoner-class to actively and aggressively organize a boycott and letter-writing campaign against Access Secure Pak’s (a subisdiary of Keefe) egregious price-gouging tactics being perpetrated upon us through its quarterly “gift package” program which is designed to accomplish one goal: maximize profits by exploiting prisoners and our families.
I am putting the prisoner-class on notice that this boycott and letter-writing campaign is bing expanded to include all commissaries in all prisons owned and operated by the private corporate vender “Keefe Commissary Network Sales” which has been allowed to monopolize all prison commissaries here in the Commonwealth of Virginia and many other localities throughout this Imperialist Empire.
Keefe is a virus which, if left unchecked, will slowly spread while feasting on the prisoner-class and our families. Its belly is bloated with the funds they secure through blatant price-gouging tactics; funds that we voluntarily give them that we’ve earned from our slave-wage jobs; and funds they gain from our families – many of whom are working-class and poor families that barely survive on minimum wage.
If the prisoner-class at large feels no motivation to struggle against private corporate interests operating inside these prisons, consider this: private corporations like Keefe, Global Tel Link (GTL) and Corizon invest a portion of the money they gain from us to hire lobbyists and make political campaign contributions to politicians’ political action committees (PAC). These “hired” politicians (at the urging of the lobbyists working for the corporations) then introduce legislation to congress, which, if passed (and many of them are), will result in much longer prison terms and an increase in the overall prison population. The longer prisoners stay in bondage, the more money these monopoly corporations like Keefe, GTL, and Corizon stand to gain.
Thus, the more money we of the prisoner-class spend with Keefe, the more we unwittingly pay and invest in our own incarceration. We need to research the laws of our respective states to learn how we collectively con lodge Federal Anti-Trust and Consumer Protection complaint against Keefe. Is Keefe price-gouging the hell out of us? Is the quality of products Keefe sells of poor or defective quality? Then we must organize across racial, organizational, political, and gender/sexual lines to oppose and boycott Keefe. Buy only essential items from Keefe’s commissary such as hygiene and stationary. Don’t order a “gift package.” Organize letter-writing campaigns against Keefe, Located at PO Box 17490, St. Louis, MO 63178 and put them on notice that we are boycotting their price-gouging tactics and that the boycott will be ongoing until they dramatically lower their prices and start selling products that are of “like grade and quality” as products sold out in the general public. File complaints against Keefe with the Consumer Protection Division at PO Box 899, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Together we can WIN! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE AND TO THE PRISONER-CLASS!