A new letter from Comrade Malik.
Sisters and Brothers – Free is Me!
What’s Free – Meek Mill – feat. Rick Ross & Jay Z
From: Workers Vanguard No. 1170
21 February 2020
The following article appeared under the Partisan Defense Committee’s Class-Struggle Defense Notes masthead in the print version of this issue of Workers Vanguard. The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people. This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.
(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)
Alvaro Luna Hernandez, who prefers to be called Xinachtli, is the newest recipient of the PDC class-war prisoner stipend program. Xinachtli is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence, framed up in 1996 after he disarmed a Texas sheriff who was trying to shoot him. Targeted for his political convictions, Xinachtli is a Chicano activist who has fought tenaciously against the oppression of Mexican Americans and the wretched conditions of prisoners in U.S. dungeons.
Xinachtli grew up in the poor, rural area of Alpine, Texas, a state with a history of segregation and murderous violence against the Mexican-derived population. In his youth, he experienced the racist oppression and police brutality characteristic of the Southwest border region.
In 1976, he was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life. While behind bars, Xinachtli studied history, politics, law and the prison system. He was one of the plaintiffs in a victorious class-action lawsuit against the abuse of inmates by the Texas Department of Corrections, earning him the hatred of the prison guards. He spent most of the 1980s in solitary confinement. Xinachtli was finally released in 1991 after his frame-up was exposed by the Houston Post.
Following his release, he founded the National Movement of La Raza and organized a campaign that stopped the execution of Ricardo Aldape Guerra, a Mexican man framed for the killing of a Houston cop in 1982. Guerra’s conviction was overturned and he was freed in 1997. Xinachtli also worked as a paralegal in Alpine, defending victims of cop terror. For his defiance against injustice, he was singled out by the authorities and subjected to repeated harassment and surveillance.
In 1996, Sheriff Jack McDaniel went to Xinachtli’s house to arrest him on a bogus claim of robbery. When Xinachtli challenged the sheriff for not having a warrant, McDaniel pointed a gun at him. Fearing for his life, Xinachtli disarmed McDaniel and fled. After a massive cop manhunt, he was captured, tried and convicted of aggravated police assault for allegedly pointing a gun at the sheriff, a charge he vehemently denies to this day. At the time of the arrest, Xinachtli was investigating the activities of Sheriff McDaniel for corruption, and had also named him years before in a successful civil rights lawsuit against Alpine police.
Xinachtli is the victim of a witchhunt and a police-orchestrated vendetta. Having served over two decades of his sentence already, Xinachtli won’t be eligible for parole until 2021. He remains unbowed and said in 2010: “I will never surrender my pride and dignity nor allow the system to ‘cut my tongue’ and I will always, without fear, speak out against these war crimes and crimes against humanity, no matter if I spend the rest of my life in a prison cage” (cited in “The Ballad of Alvaro Luna Hernandez,” counterpunch.org, 16 May 2011).
It is in the interest of the entire working class to fight the special oppression of Mexican Americans, who suffered “Juan Crow” segregation and continue to face racist discrimination in jobs, housing and education. While we do not share the political outlook of Chicano nationalism, we unequivocally defend Xinachtli and other fighters who have been victimized by the capitalist state for standing up to the rulers’ system of repression.
Mexican Americans are not an oppressed “colony” or a “Chicano nation” within the U.S., as Chicano nationalists uphold. For the overwhelming majority of Mexican Americans, the struggle posed is for equality and integration, i.e., a fight for necessities like low-cost, integrated housing, free bilingual education and quality medical care. In the immediate border regions, much of the Spanish-speaking population remains Mexican though residing in what is formally the U.S. We are for the right of self-determination in those contiguous border regions. It is up to the population there to decide whether they should be part of the U.S. or Mexico.
Ending racial oppression and achieving genuine social equality requires workers revolution to uproot the racist capitalist order. A workers government in the U.S. would redress the historic injustice of the Mexican-American War by returning certain border regions that were seized from Mexico, such as the strip between the Nueces River and the Río Bravo/Rio Grande.
We send Xinachtli our solidarity and invite others to do so as well. Send letters to: Alvaro Luna Hernandez (#255735), James V. Allred Unit, 2101 FM 369 North, Iowa Park, Texas 76367-6568.
I am a US Army veteran I was trained to serve as a combat medic and in 1987 I graduated from the Army’s 91-Q10 pharmacy specialist course at the Academy of Health Sciences located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas
I have worked for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in their Pharmacy Department I have also worked as a visiting nurse, a lab tech, phlebotomy specialist, and as a pharmaceutical research assistant.
I would gladly volunteer to provide quality healthcare and to help human beings suffering in New Orleans, New York City, Detroit, Miami, California, or Texas. I would do anything that is needed in order to help heal our nation.
I have approximately 10 months, or less, on my federal prison sentence.
Like so many able-bodied and healthy human beings trapped in American prisons and jails, I am a wasted, unused, ignored, and forgotten human resource. The dormant potential which exists inside these institutions is truly remarkable.
The criminal justice system in the United States is broken beyond repair just as the healthcare system is shattered.
Nevertheless, I have digressed from the topic at hand, allow me to re-calibrate my focus.
Everyday Americans hear President Donald J Trump claiming what a wonderful job he and his administration is doing in response to the covid-19 pandemic the death tolls continue to rise and the president’s daily at updates have become a scripted political infomercial.
I’d like the public-at-large to take a closer look at the deadly covid-19 pandemic.
In the March 30th, 2020 edition of Time Magazine, an article described Donald J Trump’s first major error in respect to the covid-19 crisis. Time Magazine reported:
“Trump’s first major error in the crisis came a year and a half before the novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China. In May 2018, he authorized his then National Security Adviser, John Bolton, to eliminate the National Security Council’s global health security unit and demote its pandemic experts. It was a tiny office, but it had huge responsibilities. Its main job was to serve as an early-warning system for impending pandemics. “We definitely would have been sending up flares,” the unit’s former senior director, Beth Cameron, tells TIME. In the case of a global health emergency, its experts were in charge of helping coordinate the dozens of institutions—health agencies, hospitals, and state and local -governments—that must respond in a crisis. Bolton, long gone from the Administration, defended his reorganization of the NSC on Twitter as COVID-19 spread. But those on the front lines of the crisis felt its absence. “We worked very well with that office,” Fauci told Congress on March 11. “It would be nice if the office was still there.” Asked on March 13 about the decision to shut down the unit, Trump again sidestepped responsibility. “I didn’t do it,” he said, adding, “I don’t know anything about it.”
One of the most troubling aspects of the federal government’s covid-19 response is the government’s inability to provide life-sustaining base life-saving basics to our healthcare workers and essential personnel. The shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and even covid-19 test kits are pervasive and systemic.
Trump says he cares about “the workers” and the people but the body count and death tolls tell a different story. When US Navy Captain Brett Crozier advocated passionately for his sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Trump got rid of him in order to silence his voice.
The BBC reported on April 3, 2020, that
In a letter, Captain Brett Crozier had urged his superiors to act to prevent US troops dying outside of wartime. But acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the commander “exercised extremely poor judgment” Mr Modly told reporters that Capt Crozier was being fired for allegedly leaking the letter to the media. He said the letter “created the impression the Navy was not responding to his questions”. “It creates the perception the Navy is not on the job; the government is not on the job. That’s just not true.”
Capt Crozier had called for “decisive action”, saying uninfected sailors had to be removed from the ship and isolated.
On April 15, 2020 Business Insider reported that,
“The Navy announced the first few coronavirus cases aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 24. At that time, there were only three confirmed cases. As of Wednesday [4/15/20], the number of sailors assigned to the carrier who have tested positive for the virus had climbed to 615, around 12% of the ship’s crew and its embarked squadrons and staffs. […] Among the sailors who have tested positive, five are presently in the hospital, with one in intensive care. On Monday, a USS Theodore Roosevelt crewmember died of coronavirus-related complications after being found unresponsive in isolation and placed in the ICU at a local military hospital.”
Capt Crozier was right. The cramped quarters on the USS Theodore Roosevelt did help spread the virus to the crew, just like we have seen in cruise ships. Now one crewmember is dead and others are fighting for their lives outside of wartime.
No matter what President Trump says, this is a pandemic, not wartime.
Trump has established a pattern where he attacks his critics or anyone who deviates from his manufactured narrative. The removal of Inspector General Michael Atkinson was certainly not a coincidence. This was Trump enacting his revenge. I am not the only one implying this, on April 8, 2020, Politico reported that “a bipartisan group of senators is demanding that President Donald Trump explain why he fired the intelligence community’s top watchdog, writing in a letter late Wednesday (4/8/20) that the president’s stated reasoning was “not sufficient.”
CNN’s Chris Cillizza said April 6, 2020,
In Trump’s mind, every single person in the administration works for him and therefore needs to be entirely loyal to him. Job descriptions, oversight, necessary independence are all brushed aside as excuses. For Trump, you either are on his team or you are an enemy. It’s how he has always seen the world as two-sided: Pro-Trump and anti-Trump.
While viewing things that way is OK in private industry, it’s a deep misunderstanding of how our government is built to work. The President isn’t a king or an emperor. This is a democracy where the peoples’ will matters. There are checks and balances purposely built into the system to ensure that the voice of anyone in government who sees a problem feels comfortable saying, “This isn’t right.”
Trump doesn’t — or chooses not to — understand the difference between his old job and his new one. But we shouldn’t make the same mistake. This isn’t Trump’s government. It’s all of ours.
Chris Cillizza is right. Trump is gutting our democracy while we, the people, are fighting for our lives.
Look at the hot spots with respect to the covid-19 pandemic; New York City, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles. All the people in our urban centers are being decimated by the covid-19 virus.
In New York City they are placing human corpses in refrigerator trucks and they have had to shorten the time for a family to claim bodies and if your body is not claimed in this short time frame you are buried at Hart Island. NYC mayor said in a tweet, “The heartbreaking numbers of deaths we’re seeing means we are sadly losing more people without family or friends to bury them privately. Those are the people who will be buried on Hart Island, with every measure of respect and dignity New York City can provide.”
According to CNN, NYC press secretary Freddi Goldstein said that Hart Island has been used by the city as a public cemetery for over 150 years and is managed by the Department of Correction. The Hart island burials are mostly people who have been unclaimed at the city’s morgue for anywhere from 30 to 60 days. Now that time frame has been shortened to 14 days.
Usually, about 25 people are buried on the island each week, Goldstein said. But since coronavirus began claiming victims in the US, she said there are 25 people buried there each day.
President Donald J Trump continues to provide lackluster leadership as well as deception and lies to the American people.
Where is the accountability??
November 2020 is approaching quickly!
I refuse to remain silent. What will you do?
Dare to struggle, Dare to win, All power to the people!!
by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington—INCARCERATED WORKERS ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Greetings Comrades and Friends!!! Today is April 9th, 2020. I am still Safe and Healthy and truthfully most of the prisoners here at USP Pollock are Safe, Healthy, and Corona Virus Free!!! We are so grateful to the Staff here for following all the Social Distancing and other precautionary measures the Warden here has passionately implemented!! To be Alive is Good!
Now today the B.O.P. has instituted a New Policy which allows Federal Prisoners to Make FREE PHONE CALLS TO OUR LOVED ONES DURING THIS PANDEMIC!! A lot of us are very happy and pleased at the show of compassion by the Federal Prison Agency!!!
Also, I was informed yesterday that I will be recommended for 9 months Half-Way house time in San Francisco, California!! This will put me in the Bay Area around October 2020 and I am so excited to be able to help Mary Ratcliff the Editor of the San Francisco Bay View–National Black Newspaper!!! Our time is coming!! I desperately need y’all support as I prepare to re-enter Society!!
Right Now though I must Ask that All of you increase your Requests to Free our Incarcerated Elders throughout the United States!!! This Covid-19 Virus is effecting Black and Latinx people disproportionately and it is KILLING US!!! So it goes without saying that we must Advocate Zealously for the Release of our Elderly and Infirm Comrades!!! For so many years poor people and minorities have gotten the Short End of the Stick in regard to Medical Care. Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Heart Disease have plauged us as a people!!
We are being Ravaged by Covid–19!! Please Sisters and Brothers continue to pursue the FACTS!!! Let us not get caught up in any False Narratives being put forth by those in POWER. Please continue to stay Safe and Healthy!! I’ll do my best to keep all of you informed with the FACTS and the TRUTH!!
In Solidarity and RESPECT Comrade Malik
USP Pollock—by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
Revolutionary Greetings Comrades! Today is Tuesday, April 7th, 2020. This morning the entire prison population here at USP Pollock was screened for Covid-19 and issued protective Masks! The Registered Nurse who was part of the screening team was named Pennison. I asked Mr. Pennison Two Important questions:
#1.) Are there any Confirmed Cases of Covid-19 on the entire Federal Correctional Complex here at Pollock?
He answered: “No”
#2.) Have there been any Suspected Cases of Covid-19 on the Complex??
His answer was: “Yes, but they have been ruled out.” end of quote
Be advised that this morning a prisoner on my Housing Unit claimed to have Covid-19 symptoms! He has been placed in quarantine. Please Pray for the Best!
The Fcc-complex at Pollock includes a Satelite Camp, a Medium Facility and a U.S. Penitentiary where I am currently Housed.
Thus far I attribute USP Pollock’s Corona Virus Free status to the thorough Screening and Agressive Protective Measures implemented by the Complex Warden here at Pollock, his name is Chris McConnell.
I spoke with Warden McConnell on April 2nd, 2020 and was able to conduct an informal interview here on my housing unit B-2 here at USP Pollock.
The informal interview was directly related to the Bureau of Prisons response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. I will share the questions and Warden McConnell’s responses to my questions.
Question: I asked Warden McConnell would he have his Medical Staff conduct screening of prisoners at USP Pollock Again for Covid-19??
Answer: Warden McConnell said that screening was being planned for all prisoners at USP Pollock.
Note: As I reported at the beginning of this report–on April 7th. 2020 All Prisoners here at USP Pollock have been screened for Covid-19 and issued a Protective Mask to wear.
All B.O.P. employees are screened for Covid-19 symptomes everyday before entering the FCC-Complex at Pollock. These measures along with increased cleaning and sanitizing by the prison population have proven to be effective–thus far.
It is my suggestion that the Protocols initiated by Warden McConnell be followed and exercised throughout the B.O.P.
Question: I asked Warden McConnell would he consider having B.O.P. Correctional Officers stay on Prison Complex Property rather than leaving daily to return to their homes during Louisiana’s Statewide Lockdown??
Answer: Warden McConnell said that the B.O.P. has made provisions for this very real possibility–should the conditions deteriorate and those actions be necessary for the safety and health of all B.O.P. employees and prisoners.
Question: Lastly, I asked Warden McConnell that since I am a older prisoner who is nearing release, would the B.O.P. consider me for early release to Home Confinement in San Francisco.
Answer: Warden Mcconnell stated that the B.O.P. is not looking to release any High Security prisoners in the United States. He further explained that the B.O.P. is only considering prisoners who are Low Security and Low risk.
I found Warden McConnell to be straight forward and candid during this informal interview. He said he was familiar with the Journalism and Activism of the infamous “Comrade Malik”.
Sisters and brothers, in lightof the information provided to us by complex warden Chris McConnell I Must take this opportunity to issue a National Call for Action!!! Now!!!
I want all of you to consider the lives of our long suffering elderly and infirm Freeom Fighters and Servants of the People who have languished in these Federal and State Prisons for Decades!!
Many of our respected elders are still housed at High Security Facilities despite excellent behavior and clear disciplinary records. They are extremely vulnerable to contracting the Coronal virus!!
WE MUST DEMAND —the U.S. Congress as well as the U.S. Attorney General William Barr create some Flexibility and include Language in the Law (The CARES ACT) that will allow the immediate release of our elder and infirm comrades!!!
These elderly and vulnerable prisoners don’t have to die from Covid -19 while in Federal or State custody!
THEY MUST BE FREED NOW!!! Help Me do this!!
Allow me to take this time to name just a few of our respected elders. WITH YOUR COLLECTIVE SOLIDARITY, MUTUAL AID, AND DIRECT ACTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND OTHER MEANS WE CAN FREE OUR IMPRISONED COMRADES NOW!!
Remember! May 7th is Approaching Fast!!
FREE OUR ELDERS!!!
Sundiata Acoloi, Leonard Peltier, Imam Jamil Al-Amin, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Veronzo Bowers, Larry Hoover, and Jeffrey Fort aka King Malik!
These are just a few of the Elders in Federal Prison whom I am requesting your help with Freeing. There are numerous prisoners trapped in State Prisons across the Nation who deserve our support!!
Jalil Muntaqim, and David Gilbert both in New York!
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Ruchell ‘Cinque’ Magee, Bobby Dixon, Chip Fitzgerald, Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, and James Baridi Williamson—-ALL OF THEM IN CALIFORNIA!!
Kenny ‘Zulu’ Whitmore in Louisiana!!
and last but certainly not least our shining Princes—MUMIA ABU JAMAL AN RUSSELL “MAROON’ SHOATZ BOTH IN PENNSYLVANIA!!
SISTERS AND BROTHERS!! We Must fight hard for the Freedom, Health, and the Lives of our Incarcerated Elders Now!! On May 7th we must Add this Demand to our North Carolina Grievance Campaign BUT WE CAN’T WAIT TO ACT!!! THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW NOT TOMORROW!!!
As the Future Editor of the San Francisco Bay View–National Black Newspaper, this is the type of Advocacy you can expect from our News Paper and Me!! I am only following the instructions of Dr. Willie Ratcliff our Publisher who has told me to do the following and I quote him: “FREE THE PRISONERS, HOUSE THE HOMELESS!! STOP THE WARS! SAVE THE PLANET! and LOVE THE CHILDREN!!” I can’t do this by myself!! ANARCHISTS OF THE WORLD THIS IS OUR TIME TO RISE!!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to win, All Power to the People!!!!!!! I LOVE Y’ALL!!
By Keith Malik Washington, IWOC
Peace and Blessings Sisters and Brothers. Today is April 2nd, 2020.
I am delivering my Covid-19 update from inside USP Pollock which is located in Pollock Louisiana, near the city of Alexandria. For those who have been following my updates, you have already confirmed the death of a prisoner housed at our sister facility, FCI Oakdale Louisiana. Our prayers and condolences are extended to the family members and loved ones of our fallen comrade. On April 1st, 2020, I woke up to more restrictive modified operations at USP Pollock, As well as a rumor being circulated of one BoP employee and one prisoner here at USP Pollock suspected of having contracted the Covid-19 virus. Thus far, this is just an inmate rumor. Many I must ask for your help in contacting the complex warden, Chris McConnell. In order to ascertain the validity of this rumor. It wouldn’t be surprising that someone here contracted the virus. BoP employees are allowed to come and go daily, in and out of the FCC(?) complex at Pollock.
Sisters and Brothers, the number one carriers and transmitters of the coronavirus here at USP Pollock, will be BoP employees. Thus far, all officers are screened before entering the facility, and they are asked to self report any suspected contacts they may have had with high risk persons. We the prisoners at USP Pollock, continue to be subjected to ever increasing restrictions, yet the employees come and go as they please. There are numerous open cells here at USP Pollock, and there are numerous empty units. We propose that officers assigned to the housing units begin to stay here, rather than leave the facility daily. This may sound like a drastic measure, but please understand comrades, drastic times require drastic measures. The state of Louisiana is number two in deaths per capita from the Covid-19 virus. Prisons, by design, are a super confined environment, and once the coronavirus is introduced to the prison population, it will spread like wildfire. As we have seen with FCI Oakdale, death is an inevitable consequence of Covid-19 infections, within the confined federal prison environment. Early on in this report, I mentioned that the BoP has initiated more restrictive modified operations here at USP Pollock. For clarifications sake, let me say that these new restrictive measures are now system wide. Here at USP Pollock, only 8 cells are allowed on that flats at one time. Previously 16 cells were allowed out for two hours a day, in order to allow prisoners access to phones, emails and showers. The cells here at USP Pollock are designed to house two people. In light of these new restrictions, I will only be allowed out of my cell every other day. So my access to the phones, email and shower will be cut in half.
On its face, these new measures are an attempt by the BoP to adhere more closely to CDC recommendations for social distancing, as well as limiting the amount of prisoners allowed out of their cells at one time. It is imperative (emphasis added), that I highlight once again, that most of my fellow prisoners here are healthy are(?) risk the Covid-19 from BoP employees and not each other! Please understand this point!
In closing, I report that yesterday on April 1st, 2020 I report that my case manager, Mr. Carter, had me sign my application for Federal halfway house, and the transfer of my primary address to San Francisco, California. I ask all of you, once again, to please contact the Bureau of Prisons, and strongly encourage them to release me to my primary release address, which is the address for the San Francisco Bayview National Black Newspaper. Or, release me to Federal halfway house, as soon as possible. With your support, my transition to free society will be successful. Free world support is so very important! Please continue to stay healthy and practice distancing, but by no means stop being social with one another. Love one another, care one another, Communication rules the nation, comrades. Until my next report, I extend my clenched fist salute and say “Panther Love” to all of my comrades, allies and loved ones.
This is Comrade Malik, signing off.