We do not believe that real prison abolition can happen without there first being a revolution or radical social transformation of society as we know it.
With that being said, we have to ask our selves: then what is our vision and what is the strategy to make that vision a reality?
We believe in a two-pronged or multi-pronged approach. We do not support a strategy that involves making prisons more comfortable or kinder, gentler places of oppression. We believe in concretely supporting prisoners in their efforts to organize and in putting mechanisms and programs in place that help to transform the social prisoners’ mentality to that of a revolutionary political cadre. We believe in helping to put in place the necessary infrastructure on both sides of the wall, geared toward bringing revolutionary prisoner resistance into reality. We don’t want to make prisons more comfortable. We want to make them ungovernable, unmanageable and uninhabitable (3 U’s), while sabotaging and attacking the prison-industrial complex’s operations on both sides of the razor wire fence.
There can be no revolution inside of the prisons, but there can be insurrection and revolt inside with critical support and material resources from the external movement.
A New Approach and Assessment
At some point, the outside prison abolition movement has to stop playing by the rules laid down and established by the state. How do you allow the enemy to establish the parameters for combat, the rules of engagement?
Allowing the enemy to determine the rules of engagement is one of the reasons that the so-called “Left” has been so toothless and ineffective when it comes to building and supporting a radical prison movement. As our political prisoners and prisoners of war languish in these dungeons for decades, way up into their 70s and 80s, the tendency of the outside movement has been to only want to engage in safe forms of struggle; “legal” forms of struggle and resistance. Some of these forms of struggle have only served to expose our people and networks to the intelligence-gathering operations of the state surveillance apparatus (for expample, non-conflictual, small protests at DOC headquarters and the like). Because of this tendency to only engage in “struggle” on the state’s terms, the state doesn’t fear the left or feel it will be held accountable for it’s kkkrimes against us. Holding candlelight vigils outside of prisons while we are marched into death chambers or locked in solitary confinement for decades is an ineffective strategy for seriously challenging the genocidal operations of the prison-industrial complex.
Any serious movement that professes to be revolutionary must have some teeth and be prepared to bite.
We must have a vison of what we’re fighting for and a strategy for how to make it materialize, while also guarding against counter-productive adventurism. If we genuinely believe in fighting to bring about a revolution or cultivating the terrain to help facilitate revolutionary struggle, then we have to move in the direction of creating the infrastructures to facilitate, and more importantly, to sustain that escalation of strategies and tactics.
Instead of putting out calls for mass actions by outside elements, we believe that it would be more effective to critically support prisoners with materials, resources, etc, in developing not only inside/outside working relationships, but also in building inside infrastructures geared toward making the 3 U’s a reality.
There are other groups, both liberal and progressive, that can focus on various aspects of prison reform, solidarity, etc. This is a manual to suggest some other forms of struggle that are geared toward sharpening overall contradictions with the state. Setting an example and ushering in a new tone to be not only amplified but to be emulated. So that when we call for mass actions, we can also have those hard line elements with teeth, prepared to take a bite out of kkkrime. While simultaneously, tens of thousands of prisoners can mobilize, work strike, sabotage factories and critical equipment, shutting down the profit-driven machinery of the state… cost the state millions in lost profits, in overtime, in security costs, in replacement of equipment.
We ain’t loking for no photo-ops or likes on social media, we’re trying to strike blows toward prison abolition! We want the state to feel our pain!!!
Just imagine if tens of thousands of prisoners were striking or protesting in conjunction with outside autonomous, leaderless, strike teams carrying out strategic acts of support and solidarity as prisoners demand the repeal of the kkkrime bill, three strike laws, the abolition of the death penalty, mass release of elder or geriatric prisoners due to Covid or whatever, etc etc… it takes the struggle to a whole different level and puts it in a different light.
It exposes the hypocrisy of the US government’s claim that it doesn’t have political prisoners. It exposes the blatant, day to day human rights abuses of the prison-industrial complex, that the US commits while claiming to the rest of the world that it is the champion of human rights. It also further strips away the legitimacy of the state. It in fact exposes and kriminalizes the state, and allows other movements to step forward and educate the masses of people about the existence of political prisoners and prisoners of war in US prisons, to demand their release from a position of strength. It allows for other aboveground formations to agitate, educate, and organize amongst the people and do mass work around other popular issues and make the connections with the prison-industrial complex, especially in relation to national oppression.
Resistance Behind the Walls:Dismantle, Disrupt, Destroy (3D’s)
We want to organize revolutionary formations behind the walls and schools for cadre development. Some of these structures already exist, the key is to connect them with outside formations who are willing to coordinate and work in tandem with them, providing concrete material and tactical support. Pushing the concept of the 3 U’s and 3 D’s it is necessary to push to turn these kkkamps into guerilla training base camps, while moving to arrest the operations of these kamps. Shut it down, lock it down. When it is shut down and locked down, the state can no longer use or depend on prison slave labor. This cuts into the state’s profits. It also forces us to engage in class warfare among ourselves as prisoners, as it forces us to each pick a side. Ride with the prisoner klass or support the agenda of the state.
Military Strategy Behind Enemy Lines
While we create study and struggle groups to raise revolutionary consciousness, we also must create basic units that are for training and are militarized. Cadre who are being fielded to the outside to join the movement and those who are stuck on the inside to engage the state through a war of attrition. Historically the response to various abuses by the state or any type of armed resistance has either been spontaneous or the seizing of housing units and hostages. Then negotiating around a set of demands and calling for the media. We believe that without coordinated outide tactical support that this tactic is outdated. That in such scenarios, while briefly it might expose certain conditions and allow us to exact some form of vengeance, it has all too often placed us in a situation where we’ve only negotiated for another hundred years or been put in a situation where the state can execute us under the color of law. While the outside movement either abandoned us after the initial sparks or wasn’t strong enough to sustain any type of momentum to defend us and support us in winning our demands.
In fact, if the external revolutionary forces were developed, and with the right political practices, we wouldn’t have to make such sacrifices.
The tactic of the guerilla should be applied behind the walls. Small units of three to five cadre, self-contained cells that’s a part of larger networks operating on a mutual strategy of lightning strikes targeting high-profile targets, specifically targets that have a reputation of abusing and/or terrorizing prisoners. No discrimination against so-called race or gender. Such high profile targets will set the tone and signal to lesser important elements the seriousness of the matter.
In a lot of the older prisons, padlocks and other types of locks are used to secure areas and panel boxes. Let’s say after an anonymous list of demands have been dropped, through an organized campaign all of the padlocks in the housing units and common areas become super-glued to where none of its internal mechanisms would work. Let’s say critical machinery in key profit-driven factories come up destroyed or broken or key parts of machinery disabled. Let’s say the key components in the kitchen freezer is sabotaged and the locking device is jammed. Let’s say after outside comrades provided critical material a P.B. or an I.E.D was left in the kitchen after hours to cause it to burn down, thereby forcing the state to bring in the national guard to feed us. Let’s say while things are tense and on edge a b. . . threat was called in to the facility. Say this was during peak season of profiteering. Let’s say some of the larger slave plantations in the south where you have fields of crops. Crops that happen to catch on fire . . . tractors or heavy equipment that has sugar or cement poured into gas tanks (destroying the engines). K-9’s come up poisoned. It cost time and money to train attack, cell-phone and drug-sniffing dogs.
In most prisons their supply warehouse is located outside of the perimeter or is accessible with little security other than an alarm system and rolling vehicle patrol. Not immune to a fire.
Often the carpool of official vehicles, transport vehicles, perimeter check vehicles, etc, gators and other types of vehicles used to get around the prison are outside the perimeter. The ‘fleet’ is often unsecured and accessible. Vulnerable to sugar, cement or gasoline.
Again, these actions is capable of making a statement. A statement that will make sense where thorough groundwork and agitation has been done beforehand. We believe that such actions that can’t be swept under the rug will inspire and motivate comrades and potential recruits behind enemy lines. This is about taking the initiative to change the terrain and conditions, which we can build on.
This tactical approach also applies to DOC Central Offices and various less-secure DOC facilities. Again, you have unsecured fleets of vehicles, only camera surveillance. Arrogant and overconfident personnel that can be followed home, where they can be targeted for direct action and exposure in their communities for their oppressive and fascist actions. Why should they be allowed to return home and live in peace?? Why shouldn’t their neighbors be made aware of their krimes? Neighborhoods should be saturated with flyers. If they got school-age kids, schools should be targeted for agitation, education, organiazation… Guard recruitment and DOC public relations events shouldn’t be allowed to occur . . .Agitate, Educate, Organize (A.E.O). . .
Especially if we’re dealing with high-ranking personel in the prison-industrial complex. Pressure!! Force them to be on defense.
Why should these torturers [c/o’s involved in indefinite solitary confinement regimes, denying necesary medical treatment, etc.) not be outed, not be exposed to their comunnity? Not be held accountable when comrades like Tookie Williams or whomever is murdered by the state?? This doesn’t take a revolution or army, all it takes is people who are committed and serious and know how to keep their mouth shut. Forced on the defensive!
Prisons are generally isolated and not self-contained entities. Meaning they have to truck in their supplies. The mail, various chemicals, food products, etc. Why not a push for a divestment campaign like was organized against apartheid South Africa? As an added incentive to encourage divestment and the cancelling of contracts, we have elements do the A.E.O. around it, while we have other units hitting them where it hurts, forcing them to withdraw/reconsider contracts.
How is it that new prisons and supermax torture units are still being allowed to be built? In Germany in the ’60s and ’70s, the left was allowing such facilities to be built nearly to completion, and then blowing them up! Hitting them where it hurts!!
To us, the tactics and strategies discussed above are what would move us toward abolition. To us this is moving the movement forward and being proactive. It is also setting the tone and teaching through action and practice.
This strategy for us is what sharpens overall contradictions and removes us from the defensive/reactive posture that plagues the abolition movement’s ability to actually change anything substantial. It puts us in a position to take the offensive and be proactive about forcing concessions. Us taking it to the enemy on his own terrain!!!
It’s time to bite instead of just growling. It is also time to stop banking on some liberal administration in the white house to save the day or do for us that we know deep down we will have to fight for ourselves.
All Power to the People!!!
Comrade Frank Talk
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Note: Photo is from construction site of youth prison, set on fire during George Floyd uprising in Seattle last year.