Subjected to 14 days in hell because of my political activity

By Uhuru B. Rowe
May 24, 2018
E-mail: JPay app

Below is a brief outline of the events which preceded, and resulted in, my placement on Administrative Segregation in the Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) here at Sussex 2 State Prison (S2SP).

On May 4, I drafted a position paper titled, “A Call To Action,” which described, in detail, the harsh and inhumane conditions incarcerated citizens are subjected to here at S2SP. The position paper called for our loved ones, various activist groups, state legislators, and even the media to hold rally in front of the headquarters of the Virginia Dept. of Corrections (VADOC) to draw attention to these conditions and to demand that they be remedied. LET ME BE CLEAR: This position paper was signed by no other prisoner besides me and was intended solely for the purpose of having our families and other concerned taxpaying citizens to peaceably assemble at the headquarters of the VADOC and demand that steps be taken to remedy the conditions described therein.

Continue reading “Subjected to 14 days in hell because of my political activity”

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Who Am I

By Uhuru B. Rowe
January 5, 2018

Who am I? Well, I think I have to go back to what I was so you can appreciate who I am. I was born and raised in the city of Richmond, Virginia. I was the typical Black youth from a working-class family which consisted of my mother and father and six other brothers and sisters. I was the youngest of the bunch; happy, playful, full of love and life. But I was living in a dysfunctional family atmosphere like most oppressed poor Black families trying to survive and thrive in racist America. And before long, my happiness would turn into sadness, and my sadness into rage.

Continue reading “Who Am I”

Another Letter To A Comrade

By Uhuru B. Rowe
December 15, 2017
Email: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

In regards to our exchange of views on revolutionary political theory, surprisingly, I am learning quite a few things from you. So, thank you for this continued political dialogue between us.

I am in agreement with most of the arguments in your last email, dated 11/29/17, except for the following three: that 1) “while 3rd and 2nd World workers stand to gain the most from a socialist revolution, 1st world workers would also gain”; that 2) 1st World workers “are still exploited at the point of production”; and that 3) “wages and living standards of first world workers have been and likely will continue to decline.”

First, I am of the opinion that 1st World workers will lose, not gain, from a global socialist revolution. We both agree that 1st World workers enjoy a high wage and high standard of living as a result of the super-exploitation of 3rd World workers. After a successful global socialist revolution, this super-exploitation will no longer exist, and so the high wage and high standard of living of 1st world workers will decline.

Furthermore, a global maximum wage will have to be established in order to achieve parity between 1st and 3rd World workers which will benefit the third world proletariat ONLY because the wage of the imperialist country labor aristocracy, in the absence of a super-exploited class in the third world, will have to be reduced in order to achieve such a parity. What I am talking about here is the redistribution of wealth from the 1st World labor aristocracy to the 3rd World proletariat because the 3rd world is where a majority of this wealth came from in the first place.

Second, you said that 1st World workers are still exploited at the point of production, but you failed to mention non-productive workers like cops, lawyers, doctors, judges, firefighters, insurance adjusters, real estate brokers, jail/prison guards, etc. Are these blue collar/white collar workers “productive” workers or are they just engaged in the apportionment and distribution of the products of actual productive workers labor?

A common mistake that we on the Left tend to make is lumping all Amerikan workers — productive, non-productive, white collar, blue collar, [middle class] and minimum wage poor workers — together into one class, when clearly the political economy of each are different from the other. NAFTA and other trade deals have made it possible for most of the industries and factories in Amerika to relocate to Mexico, South and Central America, and overseas to extract super-profits by exploiting cheap/slave labor. Thus, most workers in Amerika are non-productive and so are not exploited at the point of production. There is even some questions that the few workers who are productive may be paid more than the value of their labor and labor power and so being productive doesn’t necessarily define one’s level of exploitation.

The bottom line is that the majority of workers in imperialist countries are what Marx called unproductive workers and have different goals than workers in 3rd World countries. The main agenda of the vast majority of imperialist country workers is to gain higher wages — even if this means greater exploitation of their counterparts in the 3rd world — and not the overthrow of capitalism and the institution of socialism. I challenge you, Comrade, to go out and ask the average worker what it is they desire the most — higher wages under capitalism or socialism.

Lastly, you said that the wages and living standards of first world workers are declining. However, according to an article written by Christopher Rugaber in the Business section of the December 9, 2017 Richmond Times-Dispatch, the opposite is true. In this article, titled “Worldwide economy is aiding U.S. job market,” Rugaber says that “In November, U.S. employers added a substantial 228,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday. It was the 86th straight month of gains, the longest on record, and a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in the economy’s ninth year of expansion.”

This shows that declining non-productive jobs in Amerika is a common feel-good myth among the Left meant to rouse workers to action. So why hasn’t it worked?

Rugaber ends the article by saying that “Stronger economies overseas have helped boost profits at U.S. multinational corporations…U.S. companies in the S&P index derive about half their revenue from abroad.” “Stronger economies overseas” is coded language for “greater exploitation of 3rd World workers.” Once you read it in that context you will see that this, too, bolsters my argument that workers in Amerika enjoy a relatively high wage and high standard of living as a result of the super-exploitation of workers (and consumers) in the 3rd World.

To be sure, in the same business section, in another article titled “U.S. jobs report helps S&P 500 hit record high,” it says that “Paychecks…have not been getting much bigger, and hourly wages rose less last month than economists expected.” This, too, shows that wages are not declining, but are in fact rising, although at a slow pace. And when wages rise, living standards tends to rise with it because low wage workers spend more money.

Peace,
Uhuru

ME AND MY NIECE

By Uhuru B. Rowe
December 5, 2015

Today was quite extraordinary. My eldest niece came to visit me today, along with her boyfriend and three wonderful children. Its been nearly four years since she last visited me and I was so excited when she told me that she was coming to visit me on this day I could barely contain myself. Out of my entire family Nonie has been the second-most constant in my life during my incarceration- second only to my mother. Nonie and I have a pretty unique relationship in a family divided by deeds done and words said…and words left unsaid. When Nonie was younger, my mother used to baby-sit her so often that it seems as if she was staying with us on a permanent basis. But I was a momma’s boy who demanded all of my mother’s attention; and so I felt that Nonie was encroaching on my territory, so to speak. I began to feel neglected by my mother because I selfishly felt that all of the love and attention she was showering Nonie with belonged to me. And so I began to resent Nonie and I began to verbally and physically abuse her. I didn’t understand it at the time but Nonie’s presence in both me and my mother’s lives during a difficult period for the family was a blessing in disguise. My parent’s marriage was on the verge of collapse and I was battling mental and emotional problems. I vaguely remember one day when I was sitting in my room crying after suffering a traumatic experience, Nonie came to me and put her hand on my shoulder and asked me what was wrong. When I turned to look at her in the eyes, I saw nothing but pure and genuine concern for my well-being. I remember feeling quite fine after that. And here I am after nearly 21 years of incarceration, she is still showing me that same love and concern. She is quite an extraordinary person, so full of love, compassion and loyalty. I am blessed to be her uncle. Her consistent presence in my life serves as a powerful reminder that I must fight with every ounce of my being to regain my freedom.

Black people make up 60% of Virginia’s prison population- 90% of which are black men. Consequently, mass incarceration is destroying black communities and is crippling the foundations of black families. It is an injustice to keep rehabilitated prisoners behind bars for decades who could otherwise serve as a powerful and positive role model and example for our sons and daughters. America’s criminal injustice system punishes not only prisoners, but also our families and communities. I bear witness to this fact when I see the look in Nonie’s eyes when it’s time for us to part was from our visit.

Do Incarcerated Black Lives Matter?

DO INCARCERATED BLACK LIVES MATTER?
IF SO, SUPPORT UHURU’S CLEMENCY REQUEST

Uhuru Rowe is a self-educated, socially conscious, politically active brother, who has been incarcerated for 22 consecutive years in the Virginia (VA) prison system where he has often experienced retaliation from prison authorities because of his political beliefs, organizing activities, and for speaking out against inhuman prison conditions.

Uhuru was involved in a robbery back in 1995 that resulted in the shooting deaths of two people. Though Uhuru was not the trigger-man, he accepted responsibility for his actions and entered a non-cooperating guilty plea which sealed his fate. The sentencing guidelines recommended a maximum sentence of only 13 years, but former Richmond circuit court judge, James B. Wilkinson, who was known to be a racist, ignored the recommendation and sentenced Uhuru to an aggregate sentence totaling 93 years. This sentence is an unprecedented 80 years over the guidelines recommendations! Continue reading “Do Incarcerated Black Lives Matter?”

Life At Sussex 2 State Prison

By Uhuru B. Rowe
December 12, 2016
e-mail: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

Its been 95 days since I was transferred to Sussex 2 State Prison, which opened in 1998 to house what the state deemed “the worst of the worst.” Prisoners here are anything but! Its main purpose, as with most prison construction, was to create jobs and to control the population of the Black communities.

Inside this prison are numerous electronically operated razor wire topped fences which are designed for optimal controlled-movement. There are barking K9 dogs which snap and drool at us when we leave our housing units. There are armed guards positioned above on the catwalk poised to shoot down at us at a moments notice. Continue reading “Life At Sussex 2 State Prison”

Different prison, same old abuse (Part 2)

Part #2

Behavior modification- made famous by psychologists like B.F. Skinner and John B. Watson- is defined as a form of psychotherapy that is concerned with the treatment of observable behaviors rather than underlying psychological processes, and that applies principles or learning to substitute desirable responses for undesirable ones. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition.) In other words, behavior modification broadly refers to the systematic manipulation of ones environment for the purpose of creating change in an individual’s behavior.

There are three basic types of behavior modification techniques that have been used in prisons–operant conditioning, classical conditioning, and aversion therapy. Aversion therapy was/is the most widely accepted method used on unsuspecting prisoners in order to suppress or associate an undesirable habit or behavior (as rebelliousness) by associating it with an unpleasant or punishing stimulus (as longterm solitary confinement and other forms of abuse and torture). The goal is to create a connection between the undesirable habit/behavior and the unpleasant stimulus so that a complete cessation or decrease in the undesirable habit/behavior will occur. (See Aversion Therapy and Behavior Disorders, S. Rachman and J. Teasdale)

One reason prisoners are subjected to group punishment/ behavior modification programs is so the government can document their effectiveness and then use those findings to formulate a much broader strategy to be used against people in society who are resisting oppression and fighting for liberation. These group punishment/behavior modification tactics were used during chattel slavery when rebellious slaves were lynched and hung from trees for other slaves to see in an effort to snuff out any revolutionary tendencies among the slaves fighting for liberation. It was also used during the radical 1960s and 1970s via J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI Counter-intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), and most recently during the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter and other anti-police brutality movements where protesters were/are aggressively opposed by and confronted with militarized Gestapo police and were/are unlawfully detained and subjected to police brutality in order to force compliance, obedience and acceptance of the status quo and to erase any idea and motivation for resistance among the broader populace.

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions…He will find his proper place and stand in it.”–Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Thought control is the sole purpose of group punishment/behavior modification–removing the ability of a person or group of persons subjected to it to think, reason, and act on their own. In other words, destroy the mind, keep the body which is then exploited by the capitalist-class for its endless source of cheap labor.

We must liberate our minds through a process of decolonization and reeducation. It takes a group commitment, group conviction, group solidarity, and most importantly, group struggle rooted in class-consciousness with the knowledge that we are a people of all races, colors, creeds, and sexuality suffering from a shared-oppression from a common enemy in order to seize power from the bourgeoisie.

To exist, collectively, we must resist!!
All Power to the People!!

Different Prison, Same Old Abuse (Part 1)

By Uhuru B. Rowe
November 22, 2016
e-mail: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

I couldn’t believe was I was seeing. I was bearing witness to the most horrible sight one could imagine. On 11/09/16 at approximately 6:20am, I was awakened by the sound of loud footsteps. When I made my way to my cell door (half asleep), I saw 15 to 20 correctional officers running up the stares into cell HU4B36. Moments later, I saw officers drag the stiff dead body of a prisoner out of the cell, carried it down the steps, placed it on a stretcher, covered it up with sheets, and wheeled it out of the pod and out of the building towards the infirmary. It is rumored he had been deceased since 9pm the previous night.

And then, it happened again.

Continue reading “Different Prison, Same Old Abuse (Part 1)”

The Big Four-Zero

By Uhuru B. Rowe
November 4, 2016
uhururowe76@yahoo.com

On the October 15, 1976, I was born at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA to Claretha and Robert Rowe. I was the last of seven children. We represented the typical working-class Black family trying to survive and thrive under racist, capitalist system. My mother and father both worked long, hard hours to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. So, when we came home from school we were often home alone and had to take care of ourselves, and each other. Being the baby in the family, naturally I was the most spoiled and devious. I could do no wrong in my mother’s eyes. So, I used to get away with a lot which drove my siblings nuts. We were all raised to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we didn’t celebrate any holiday’s (including birthdays) which bothered me, especially during Christmas. I would sit in my window and watch all the neighborhood kids play with their new toys and wished to God that I was one of them.

Continue reading “The Big Four-Zero”

SOS: My Appeal to Citizens of Conscience

By Uhuru B. Rowe
October 23, 2016
E-mail: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

This past October 15th marked my 40th Birthday. But rather than talk about how old I am getting and how I’m experiencing some sort of real or imagined mid-life crisis, I want to talk about something more important.

What I write, express, and relate to you via my blog posts concerning my experiences in prison aren’t just gripes or complaints about my situation. The corporate news is prohibited from having free access inside prisons here in Virginia. So I am attempting to use this platform to educate and enlighten members of the public about what is taking place behind the walls of prisons in the U.S., especially since it is tens of billions of your tax dollars being used to construct and operate these prisons.

“All you do is complain about your situation; just remember how you got in there,” is what one person expressed to me alluding to the crime I committed that landed me in prison. Is that how most of you feel about about what I share on this blog?

Listen, none of us “on the inside” are innocent by any stretch of the imagination, except those who are truly innocent of the crime(s) for which they have been unjustly convicted. But, does that mean the Dept. of Corrections has the right to subject us to dehumanization, mistreatment, torture and abuse? Even detainees labeled as terrorists and enemies of America and held indefinitely in deplorable conditions inside concentration-like prison camps in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, demand humane and just treatment and often go on longterm hunger strikes until these rights are afforded them. Some detainees have been hunger striking for years and are often subjected to torture via painful force-feeding techniques.

But, how many of you remain unwilling and unmotivated to speak up and advocate on our behalf?  Even after you’ve become aware that the dehumanization, mistreatment, torture and abuse of prisoners that is taking place right here in America’s prisons. Is your silence and non-action on these issues indicative of your tacit approval and acceptance of what is happening to us?

There are well-known, influential, million dollar mainstream organizations advocating on behalf of animals like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A.) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (A.S.P.C.A.). These organizations are right to exist because animals are incapable of speaking up for themselves and have a right to live peacefully without mistreatment, torture and abuse just like any human being. But where are organizations equal in size, scope, funding and mainstream appeal advocating on behalf of incarcerated people whose very lives are in the hands of those who wield ultimate power and authority with little oversight, transparency, and accountability? Do we not have a similar right to exist without mistreatment, torture and abuse just like animals do and the right to protest without fear of retribution and retaliation from those in authority over us who sadistically aggravate our suffering on a daily basis? Where are organizations like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Prisoners (P.E.T.P.) or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Prisoners (A.S.P.C.P.)?

There are numerous, much smaller grassroots organizations which advocate on behalf of, or work in solidarity with, incarcerated people that can potentially fulfill the role of an organization like P.E.T.P. or A.S.P.C.P., but these are either localized, unknown, under supported, underfunded, lack mainstream/national appeal, or have little to no influence or sway in the political arena.

Until people from every section of society come together and agitate, organize, and form organizations that have the potential to catapult prison issues to a national agenda, then the physical and mental abuse, neglect, mistreatment and dehumanization of incarcerated people will persist unabated, thereby putting your communities at risk. How so?

With the transition of the penal system away from an environment which prioritizes reform, treatment, education and rehabilitation towards a more punitive, exploitative, and dehumanizing form of imprisonment, most people are unaware that the torture, abuse, mistreatment, and dehumanization of incarcerated people exacerbates our antisocial personalities, attitudes, and behaviors, which increases the odds that we’ll commit new crimes against unsuspecting citizens and return through the ever revolving doors of incarceration.

“Man, when I go home, the first thing I’m going to do is buy me a package [drugs] and a gun so I can get money,” one young man says to another during a typical conversation in prison. This is the type of attitude and mentality which proliferates in an overly oppressive and harsh prison environment which cares little about education, treatment and the mental and moral development of those it incarcerates; but, rather, focuses on the exploitation of prisoner labor and the myriad of schemes designed to extort funds from prisoners and our loved-ones to offset the costs associated with operating prisons in the face of bloated corrections budgets.

So people in society should be concerned with and have a vested interest in how we are treated behind these prison walls. To do so is not to be considered “soft on crime” but “smart on crime,” considering that nationally, thousands of prisoners are released back into society every year to communities all across America. What type of formerly incarcerated person do you want living in your community? One who has been properly educated, humanely treated, and reformed while in prison and leaves with a renewed sense of purpose, or one who has been neglected, abused, mistreated, and dehumanized, and leaves in a defeated, broken, angry, bitter, agitated and parasitic state? Your answer will reflect if you truly care about reducing crime in your community.