Filed under: Incarceration, Midwest, Political Prisoners, Repression
These posts first appeared in the San Francisco Bay View and on the IDOC Watch homepage, and details the need to help revolutionary Indiana prisoners Kwame Shakur and Angaza Iman Bahar.
“For us, the political prisoner is one who has made, and who acts on, a conscious political decision to change the present state of property relations.” – Kwame Shakur, Co-Founder and Chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective
Kwame Shakur is a New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalist and political prisoner currently held in the Indiana slave kamp known has Pendleton Correctional Facility. Over the past few years he has become a brilliant exponent of revolutionary thought who has captured the attention of revolutionaries throughout the country. He has worked tirelessly, under the most extreme conditions of isolation, censorship and repression to rebuild the New Afrikan Independence Movement, set it on a properly revolutionary nationalist footing, and consolidate a coalition of cadres and organizations to form the united front essential to liberation.
As the co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, Kwame has spent the last few years communicating with and educating various cadres across the country. His writings have appeared in the San Francisco Bay View and numerous other media platforms.
His clarity, wealth of theoretical knowledge and uncompromising partisanship to the cause of New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism are seen as explosive threats to the passive subjectivity the prison administration imposes on the inmates in its kamp. The maintenance of order in the prison – the kind of order which means safety for the prison staff and starvation, pain and death for the inmates – relies on the alienation from one another and silence of the prisoners. Kwame Shakur, having become a conscious political prisoner during his time at Pendleton, has not allowed the sadistic methods of the U.S. carceral state to prevent him from performing his political work.
The state of the Indiana prison slave system has tended in a more reactionary direction to the same or greater degree that Kwame Shakur and the NALC have tended towards the revolutionary. Last year, the Indiana Department of Corrections enforced a ban on all correspondence not written on white, lined paper – effectively preventing the mailing of printed documents or typed messages of any kind.
At the same time, the IDOC (Indiana Department of Corrections) was embroiled in a censorship battle over its inmates receiving the San Francisco Bay View, a battle it has more or less lost but yet continues to try and ban the Bay View under the pretext that it contains materials relating to Security Threat Groups (STG).
It was in this context that Kwame and NALC put out the call for a demonstration at the IDOC headquarters, bringing his organizing work, which until that point had reached beyond Indiana, to the front lawn of his own direct oppressors. This turn of events has incited the IDOC to go on the defensive, and now they have attempted to strike back.
Kwame’s work has required the persistent maintenance of communication, efforts which have consistently been frustrated by the prison authorities who in full consciousness of his revolutionary activities have ceaselessly attempted to silence and isolate him from the outside world. On Dec. 30 of this past year, Kwame Shakur was assaulted by corrections officers at Pendleton Correctional Facility during a shakedown of his cell.
The COs badly beat him, attempting to break his fingers and threatening to break his neck. A campaign of pressure on Pendleton resulted in an internal investigation which at this moment has not yielded results other than the knowledge that the administration is aware of Shakur’s communications and media activities, such as his semi-weekly radio show, “Freedom Fridays with Kwame Shakur.”
With his influence broadening as well as outside support for his activities, the administration of Pendleton Correctional has responded with a draconian reprisal. Just a few days ago they informed him that he was being charged with 36 violations of phone usage which would have resulted in his being banned from JPay video and email as well as all use of the phone for a period of 10 years.
It is evident that the authorities waited for an opportune moment to retroactively bring forward supposed violations in a last ditch effort to censor Kwame’s political speech. However, it became clear that the Internal Affairs director blatantly violated policy, and the charges were reduced to six Class C felonies and six months suspension from JPay.
The charges will be heard in an internal disciplinary hearing, the prison’s own institution of Willie Lynch justice. Inmates have no recourse to defense in these hearings, they are provided with representation directly under the influence of the prison administration and the proceedings are shrouded in complete secrecy. Inmates have no civil rights in these kangaroo kourts, not even the right to review the evidence used against them.
The initial charges, though proven to be against policy and largely withdrawn, were a shot across the bow, indicating that the IDOC is nervous at the prospects of Kwame’s political influence, as they rightly should be. We should expect that these kinds of reprisals will continue and only become more severe.
Kwame Needs Your Help Now
Kwame Shakur requires outside supporters to shine a spotlight on Pendleton Correctional Facility. They must let the warden know that they are aware of what is being done, that it violates any standard of human decency and international human rights law, and likely prison policy regarding the retroactive application of disciplinary reports.
Please call Warden Dushan Zatecky, at 765-778-2107. You can also attempt to contact him via email at [email protected], and email the commissioner and deputy commissioner at [email protected] and [email protected]
State that you understand that Pendleton recently attempted to silence Michael Joyner (Kwame Shakur), IDOC No. 149677, through an illegal use of multiple citations and that this type of censorship will not be tolerated. Additionally, demand that Joyner be transferred to Indiana State Prison in Michigan City as has been approved.
And write to Kwame: Michael Joyner, 149677, FCF, 4490 W. Reformatory Rd, Pendleton IN 46064. Lots of mail protects him; it tells authorities he has many supporters who keep watch and vigorously protest when needed.
Call to Action: IDOC Watch Founder Angaza Iman Bahar
IDOC Watch has received the following call to action from its founder Angaza Iman Bahar, please read on for action items:
“I am calling on all Comrades out there to rally in support of a fellow incarcerated Comrade who is being subjected to racial harassment and intimidation by an employee of Miami Corr. Fac. That employee is Sgt. Bales and i am the prisoner he has chosen to target for his racist abuse.
All this begin back on Jan.6,2018 two weeks after i was transferred to MCF. Sgt. Bales and c/o Renseller had been ordered to search my cell to confirm if i had any shoes. Sgt. Bales used this as an opportunity to vindictively seize my personal property, which included a pair of 4x sweatpants($13.50), a 5x sweatshirt(16.47), 8 bars of Irish Spring Soap ($8.00), a 32oz bottle of Dail Bodywash ($12.00), a 21oz bottle 0f Jergens Lotion ($7.00) and an Address Book ($2.35). Despite the fact that IDOC Policy 02-01-101 Sec. XIV clearly states that when a staff member seizes anything from a prisoner they are to issue that prisoner a Notice Of Confiscated Property to properly document the seizure. Sgt. Bales not only failed to issue me my confiscation form but toss all of my property in the trash. His actions was caught on the unit’s surveillance system and i request that this video be held for evidence but in the investigation that resulted from the grievance i filed the grievance specialist failed to review the video and attempted to conceal Sgt. Bales misdeeds. That grievance is currently working its way through the grievance process.
In retaliation for this grievance on Mar.26, 2018 Sgt. Bales target me for racial harassment. I was moving my property over from the phase 2 to the phase 1 side of the facility when he stop me on the walk and demand to search my person. He was standing in a crowd of officers (all of whom were white) including 2 K-9 ofcs. After he search me he then went through my property an took my headphone splitter and extension. Then turned to the male K-9 ofc. and said i bet this nigger will think twice before he file another grievance. In this incident he did not give me a confiscated form either.
Please get on top of this asap i need all of u”
Please call MCF Warden William Hyatte:
(765) 689-8920 (follow extensions)
Say that you are aware that Jimmy Jones #891782 (Angaza) has been the target of racist harassment by Sgt. Bales and that Sgt. Bales be reprimanded accordingly. Additionally, demand that Jimmy Jones be issued the proper documentation for his confiscated property and that property be returned immediately.