To all those who know and love the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, now in it’s 44th year of Liberation Journalism, and to those who don’t yet know what they’re missing, we make a strong call for your help to invest in and save the Bay View.
The dynamic duo of Mary Ratcliff as editor and Willie Ratcliff as publisher is in peril.
The current situation cannot, and should not, be sugar-coated. Mary Ratcliff, now in her 80s has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Willie, at 87 years old, also has serious health issues and Mary has been his caregiver. Her greatest fear is that the print version of the newspaper will go down due to lack of funding while she takes time to attend to her medical needs. Mary, and the Bay View’s many loyal readers, feels the Bay View is more crucial than ever to bring intelligent, truthful and hard-hitting coverage to the calls for abolition, defunding the police and Black Lives Matter, and provide a rare platform for imprisoned voices, voices from community organizers and activists.
While simultaneously funding the Bay View, understand that you’re investing in the successful return of a soon-to-be formerly incarcerated person to take over this legacy newspaper upon his return September 3, 2020. Keith Malik Washington has been diligently and masterfully acting as assistant editor from Behind Enemy Lines. Affectionately known as Comrade Malik, he is part of an elite group of imprisoned journalists, activists, organizers and jailhouse lawyers who find a platform in the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. The symbiotic relationship between this newspaper and the communities on both sides of the wall cannot be understated in its importance.
We don’t want to imagine Mary not being able to be here to educate Malik on the finer points of editorship, but the reality is just too close. The viability of the Bay View is directly linked to the material and economic stability Malik (above holding the newspaper) has upon his return home. While Mary is undaunted in having to face cancer and Malik is undaunted in facing freedom after 13 years of incarceration and taking over as editor, they will need your help to keep the paper, and the voices of the inside/outside community, alive and thriving. Community participation is essential! (We thank you Kevin Epps! Beloved local filmmaker, creator of opening video).
In Unity and Love, please make your investment today!
“All that you touch you Change. All that you Change–Changes You. The only lasting truth is Change.”
Octavia Butler (Parable of the Sower)
I can see clearly that President Donald J. Trump is attempting to foment a Race War here inside the United States of Amerika. Last week when the topic was John Bolton’s new ‘Tell All’ book—Trump re-tweeted a video of a Black Man punching a White Humyn being in the face. Now, why would the President of the United Snakes of Amerika do that?? Hmmmm. This week the Hot Topic is the Russian Military Intelligence arm–the GRU, placing a bounty on the heads of U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan. The twist in this claim is that Russian Intelligence Officers were recruiting Taliban Soldiers to carry out the assassinations. Does anyone remember Congressman Charlie Wilson and the C.I.A.’s clandestine operation during the Russian occupation and War in Afghanistan in the 1980’s??(Guess I’m showing my Age!!)(LoL) For those of us familiar with covert actions, we call these operations perpetrated by the GRU and the C.I.A. as FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS. While all this was playing out on CNN and Fox news this weekend, Trump retweeted a Trump Rally where his white supporters screamed ‘WHITE POWER’ and other profanity laced expletives. These divide and rule tactics as well as the elementary diversionary strategies utilized by Donald Trump and his staff are easy to see through for those whose eyes and ears are open. Nevertheless, Trump’s actions which are supported, sanctioned, and condoned by his administration has a dangerous effect on OUR SAFETY. Let me be clear about something. When I say “OUR SAFETY” I am talking about ALL of Us who are not Trump supporters. White, Black, Asian, Arab, First Nation, and Latinx humyn beings who see this Bigot for who and what he is. Sisters and brothers, if I am being an Alarmist—please–Call me out! Admonish and confront me!! Tell me I am wrong. However, I really do not think I am wrong. Please hear me out. Police officers in Wilmington, North Carolina are caught on audio–tape referring to black people as (the N-Word). The officers were heard speaking about the necessity of a Race War here in Amerika. This is not something I am making up, this is real. The officers (who were recently Fired) claimed that their comments were brought about by the current geo-political climate and civil unrest which was the result of the Minneapolis Police Department murdering George Floyd. Lets analyze this closer and let me ask all of you a question. “If we had a U.S. president who spoke about Love, Healing, and Reconciliation between all Races instead of fanning and stoking the flames of racial hatred, would police in Amerika be talking openly about a Race War?? Think about that for a minute! These former Police Officers felt comfortable—Why is that? They felt protected and insulated. QUALIFIED IMMUNITY IS ONE HELL OF A PROTECTION FOR THE POLICE MY FRIENDS! Sisters and Brothers, I believe in the People’s Right to Self Defense. It actually is a Humyn Right that my comrade Michael Novick believes in also. However, like Michael and many of my comrades and friends, I DO NOT ENDORSE WAR AND I DO NOT PROMOTE VIOLENCE. I stand against War with Russia. I stand against War with China. I stand against War with Iran and Venezuela and I most certainly will not ever support a War against White Sisters and Brothers who stand with me in order to confront Racism, Patriarchy, and Capitalism!! We have to remember the words of our sister in Struggle Assata Shakur and never allow our enemies to tell us who are enemies or who are friends are!!!! IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE!! In November 2020 we have to get rid of the Orange Man and his racist entourage. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All power to the People!! ALL OF US!!!
Originally published on Enough 14.Written by Keith “Malik” Washington.
On April 22nd, 2020, there were two very important court decisions released by two separate jurisdictions that directly affect federal prisoners who have been impacted by COVID-19.
This article highlights the disparity in the type of justice meted out to prisoners who seek relief in the federal courts. Sometimes, as in this case, the relief sought could be the difference between life and death.
FCI Elkton is a low-security federal prison located in the Northern District of Ohio.
FCI Oakdale is a low-security federal prison located in the Western District of Louisiana.
At both locations, prisoners have brought federal suits pleading to be released to home confinement in order to escape the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has ravaged both prisoners and staff at both prisons.
The prisoners seeking relief are mostly elderly and infirm. These prisoners have been deemed the most vulnerable and most likely to be infected by the deadly COVID-19 virus.
FCI Elkton has experienced six deaths from COVID-19. There have been approximately sixty confirmed cases of prisoners with the virus and approximately fifty staff members who have contracted the virus.
FCI Oakdale has experienced approximately ten deaths. It has been reported that approximately sixty prisoners have been infected, but there has been much less transparency at FCI Oakdale than at FCI Elkton, and many feel as if the Bureau of Prisons is obscuring the details in order to downplay the seriousness of the situation at FCI Oakdale.
The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides protections to U.S. citizens from being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
There are also provisions in the U.S. Constitution which prohibit deliberate indifference to the health, welfare, safety, and medical needs of prisoners.
The federal court in Ohio ruled in favor of the prisoners at FCI Elkton and ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin releasing the elderly and inform to home confinement.
The federal court in Louisiana ruled against the prisoners at FCI Oakdale. The presiding judge seemed to admonish the prisoner plaintiffs by stating that the court would not become a “super warden” and that the BOP has the authority to act.
My question is this: What happens when we see prisoners dying and the BOP doesn’t act? Is that not a time when the federal courts should intervene in order to preserve and save lives? Apparently, the federal courts in Louisiana have ignored the humanity of federal prisoners.
In my reporting, I often interject my emotions into the pieces that I write. As a prisoner myself, I am able to empathize with the plight of the prisoner who yearns to be treated humanely.
At this point, I want to set aside my emotions and direct your attention to some quotes from members of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Specifically, I am focusing on officials from the Western District of Louisiana, the very district that has blatantly ignored the human and civil rights of federal prisoners housed at FCI Oakdale.
In the April 2020 edition of the Prison Legal News, staff writer Bill Burton wrote an article entitled, “Former Captain at Louisiana Private Prison Sentenced for Conspiracy to Violate Ban on Cruel and Unusual Punishment.” It is a short but enlightening piece of journalism that I highly recommend you read.
The Defendants in this case highlighted by Mr. Burton were correctional officers. The officers took a group of prisoners to a secluded location at the private prison where there were no surveillance cameras. The officers then forced the prisoners to kneel, place their hands behind their backs, and then the prisoners were handcuffed. The officers then proceeded to ask the prisoners if they were gang members. When a prisoner said, “No,” the public servants sprayed the prisoners directly in their eyes with pepper spray.
All five correctional officers who were defendants in the case wrote false reports in order to hide their complicity in the heinous act.
These prisoners survived, and the court ruled that there was a conspiracy to violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
I want to remind you that federal prisoners at FCI Oakdale are dying. They are dying because the Federal BOP does not have a workable strategy to combat COVID-19 at FCI Oakdale.
TESTING, CONTRACT TRACING, AND CONTAINMENT!
This is how we must combat this virus. Wouldn’t you think that the court in Louisiana would acknowledge that the loss of life at FCI Oakdale illuminates a blatant failure to protect? Or triggers a violation of cruel and unusual punishment?
Here are some quotes from Louisiana U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph and Assistant Attorney Eric Dreiband in response to the pepper spray case that was brought against the officers at this Louisiana private prison.
U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph said, “The defendant in this case ignored his role as a caretaker for prisoners [my emphasis] and violated the rights of those he was sworn to protect. My office is committed to upholding the laws of our land and the rights of all.”
Dying from COVID-19 is a lot more serious than getting pepper sprayed in your eyes. It would seem that U.S. Attorney Joseph forgot that the federal prisoners at FCI Oakdale are human beings.
However, there is more! Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband had this to add: “This blatant abuse of power will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice. Today’s sentencing demonstrates the commitment of the Civil Rights Division to vigorously prosecute those who inflict cruel and unusual punishment against inmates under their care.” (June 5th, 2019.)
This comes from the Western District of Louisiana, the same exact jurisdiction that has oversight of FCI Oakdale! I must ask the Civil Rights Division, “What happened to your commitment?” Did it weaken when the violators of constitutional rights were Department of Justice employees?
IT is contradictions like this which clearly show that there is very integrity or equality at the U.S. Department of Justice.
I continue to advocate zealously for the release of all prisoners housed at FCI Oakdale, but especially the elderly and infirm, those who are most vulnerable to being infected by the coronavirus.
I include here the case citings for the pepper spray case as well as the cites for the FCI Elkton and FCI Oakdale civil actions.
Pepper spray case:
United States v. Douglas, U.S. D.C. (W.D. LA)
Case No. 3:18-cr-00085-01
FCI Elkton case:
Wilson v. Williams 2020 U.S. Dist. Court
Lexis 70674 (N.D. – Ohio) April 22, 2020
FCI Oakdale case:
Livas v. Myers 2020U U.S. Dist. Court
Lexis 71323 (W.D. LA) April 22, 2020
As a proud and dedicated member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), I am determined to amplify the struggles of all oppressed human beings.
It is important that I remind you that the struggle for prisoner human rights as well as prison abolition will not succeed without your support for us. Share this essay far and wide.
Keith ‘Malik’ Washington
Keith “Malik” Washington is assistant editor of the Bay View, studying and preparing to serve as editor after his release in September 2020. He is also co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and Liberate the Caged Voices. Visit his website at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 34481-037, USP Pollock, P.O. Box 2099, Pollock LA 71467.
by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington IWOC, FTP, ABC, UPM and more……
“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is, rather, forcing America to face all its inter-related flaws: racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systematic rather than superficial flaws, and it suggests that RADICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF SOCIETY ITSELF IS THE REAL ISSUE TO BE FACED.”—–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In three different zones within the city of Atlanta, Georgia the police have decided to refuse to answer calls for help from citizens. This is the Police’s response and form of protest because they do not agree with the charges lodged against their fraternal brethern who participated in the murder of Rayshard Brooks.
The word on the street, is that the cops feel demoralized. How do you feel when you and I see the police murdering and ‘lynching’ our sisters and brothers every other week on national TV??? These police do not know what the word DEMORALIZED MEANS!! Try being Black in Amerikkka.
A crowd of demonstrators march to the Capitol Monday, June 15, 2020 in Atlanta. The NAACP March to the Capitol coincided with the restart of the Georgia 2020 General Assembly. Lawmakers returned wearing masks and followed new rules to restart the session during the pandemic. (Steve Schaefer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
The key phrase that got my attention during the video where Atlanta Police officers executed our brother. The police officer that shot Rayshard in the back twice said: “I got’em”. Both my cell-mate and I agreed that sounded as if the officer had just bagged a wild animal during a hunting expedition.
There was excitement and exhilaration in the tone of the officer’s voice. I and many other freedom fighters all across the world are demanding that the police be abolished, defunded, and disbanded because this system is not working for us.
I say “Us” meaning all humyn beings who are aware, awoke, and have a conscience. I want to ask all of you a question:
Don’t you think that there are white folks watching these videos of white police murdering Black men and women???
They are just as tired as we are!!!
The police have lost their mandate from the people. The police have lost their legitimacy. When we the people created the police did we give them a LICENSE TO KILL WITH IMPUNITY??
Our protests have now become large and mostly peaceful, yet CNN and Fox News do not get very excited about covering PEACEFUL BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS. Why is that?? Hello Allison Camarada–can you hear me now?
I hear President Donald J. Trump speaking about the “Good Officers”. Where were the “Good Officers” when Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck??
Watch closely how CNN and Fox News both seize upon the ‘violent’ Anarchist and Antifa narrative. Did you see them?
I found it very bias and strange that CNN and Fox News couldn’t find an Anti-Fascist or Anti-Racist Academic or Journalist who knew anything about Anarchism. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten or more qualified and competent academics, journalists, or activists that CNN or Fox News could have interviewed:
*Professor Victor Wallis Ph.D
No one wants to talk about the incredible support work that anarchists and anti-fascists continue to do inside Amerika’s prisons. No one wants to talk about the Social Justice work. Anarchists, Socialists, Anti-fascists and Anti-Racists helped to bring out the spirit of selflessness, compassion, and empathy that was hidden inside of me.
I’m still waiting for U.S. Attorney General William Barr to have a prime time news conference describing how the Department of Justice and the F.B.I. have classified the BOOGALOO BOYS a domestic terrorist organization. DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH.
Here we have another example of the ‘Wink and the Nod’ to white supremacists in Amerika that continue to engage in an over the top amount of violence. But of course there isn’t systemic racism in the U.S.!!??
Lets look at the objective facts:
An Active Duty Air-force Tech Sergeant murdered a Federal Security Officer in Oakland, California. (David Patrick Underwood murdered in cold blood by a member of the Boogaloo Boys)
Then the Boogaloos murdered a Police Sergeant in Santa Cruz, California. We must analyze what is going on in the United States. The literal lynching of Black Men in Public Parks in California. The Boogaloo Boys want to create the conditions inorder to foment a mode
We hear how voting can change things. However, I study the concrete conditions on the ground and right now I am seriously questioning the legitimacy of the voting process.
Brian Kemp was the Secretary of State in Georgia before he stole the Gubernatorial Election from Stacy Abrams.
In just about every state in the union—the Secretary of State is commissioned with ensuring the integrity of the voting process. That was Brian Kemp’s job before he became the Governor of Georgia. I want you to think critically now.
The Secretary of State has a Duty to ensure that ALL Votes are counted and that ALL CITIZENS HAVE un-obstructed access to the Ballot Box. Did any of you see what happen a few weeks ago during the Georgia Primary??? Black people were hindered from voting. Yet we have people telling us that all our troubles can be fixed by voting. I am not telling people not to vote. I am just asking that we think about tearing down this system and replacing it with something that works for ALL OF THE PEOPLE.
In closing sisters and brothers I want to say this:
If we as a COLLECTIVE Demand that the Police be Abolished then what does a World without Police Look Like??
Do you understand what I am asking? We must create an alternative. For instance, instead of Police–we create Community Protection Squads. There are still going to be individuals and groups that want to take things that aren’t theres and hurt humyn beings. Just because we Abolish, Defund, and dismantle the Police does not mean our world will be perfect. With that said, we must now come up with realistic solutions inorder to prepare for the New Society we all envision. Personally, I believe the Black Riders Liberation Party already have an organization and ideas that can help us address some of our problems. I am opening this topic up for discussion among all like minded people.
The Police System is illegitimate!
The Voting Process is Broken!
The Health Care System is in Shambles!
The U.S. President has lost the confidence of a majority of the people and is now planning on how he and his psychophants can steal the November 2020 election.
White Supremacists have infiltrated the U.S. Military, U.S. Police Departments, and are actively employed in U.S. Prisons and Jails. When are we going to talk about that?? I WON’T REMAIN SILENT!! Will You??
Dare to Struggle, Dare to win, All Power to the People!!!
P.S. PLEASE SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE!! Amplify My Voice please!
By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)
Revolutionary greetings fellow workers! Today is June 2nd, 2020. The US Department of Justice has ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to place their facilities on a nationwide lockdown.
The Inmate Bulletin issued to the prison population said that the nationwide lockdown was a precautionary measure in light of the recent rioting and civil unrest throughout AmeriKa.
My experience as a federal prisoner has taught me that the oppressors who run these prisons subscribe to and embrace a Reactionary Ideology. This Reactionary behavior has been on full display here at USP Pollock.
One reactionary policy which has gone unreported is the recent censorship of prisoner communications as well as the blocking of our access to courts.
Since March 13th, 2020, prisoners here at USP Pollock in Pollock, Louisiana have had no access to Law Library Materials which includes the Education Legal Law Library Computer.
It is virtually impossible for prisoners to litigate pending civil or criminal actions without access to the Law Library Computer. What is remarkable is that mostly all federal facilities within the BOP allow prisoners access to the Law Library database on our housing unit.
Such is not the case here at USP Pollock. When I asked the Complex Warden Chris McConnell about this anomaly he said: “I do not have enough staff to monitor the Law Library Computer.”
Access to courts is one of the most zealously protected US Constitutional Rights, even for prisoners. However, I have noticed a pattern of practice and an unofficial policy whereby the prison administration here at USP Pollock do not just block access to courts but they censor outgoing communications which discuss in detail recent legal decisions regarding THE CARES ACT and the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 22nd, 2020 there were two significant rulings by the US Courts in regard to similar petitions filed by federal prisoners in two separate facilities that have been ravaged by COVID-19. Federal prisoners at FCI Elkton in Ohio asked the US District Court to order the BOP to release those qualified to Home Confinement.
The prisoners at FCI Elkton cited the fact that most of them were not just low security prisoners but were mostly older prisoners who had pre-existing conditions which made them especially vulnerable to contracting the Corona Virus. It is noteworthy to mention that there have been approximately six prisoner deaths at FCI Elkton as a result of COVID-19.
The US District Court in the northern district of Ohio ruled in favor of the prisoners at FCI Elkton and ordered the BOP to immediately release vulnerable federal prisoners to home confinement. The BOP with the aid of the US Department of Justice did appeal the District Judge’s order. However, instead of appealing to the 6th Circuit, the BOP went straight to the US Supreme Court. This was rather unusual because most imprisoned litigators know that you cannot leapfrog the Circuit Appellate court when appealing a decision of a US District Judge. Nevertheless, in a not so surprising ruling the US Supreme Court batted down the BOP’s appeal and sent the case to the 6th Circuit where it belonged. This happened recently in late May 2020 and we are awaiting the opinion of the 6th Circuit.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, prisoners here in Louisiana at FCI Oakdale filed a similar request in Federal Court as the prisoners housed at FCI Elkton in Ohio. I have personally reported that FCI Oakdale has suffered at least ten prisoner deaths as a result of COVID-19. What is remarkable is the US District Court in the Western District of Louisiana took the opposite stance of the Court in the Northern District of Ohio, ruling in favor of the BOP. Moreover, the District Judge in Louisiana seemed to chastise and admonish the Oakdale prisoners stating that he refused to become a “Super Warden” and involve himself in a matter the BOP had authority to remedy. The point is this, rather than release prisoners to Home Confinement the BOP has chosen to hold prisoners risking the chance that they may contract this deadly virus.
I would like to provide the specific case citings of both of these similar civil cases. I want you to analyze them and question the disparity in decisions made in a Northern Federal Court and a Southern Federal Court.
On or around April 25th, 2020 I wrote an article/essay entitled “Western District of Louisiana ignores Humanity of Federal Prisoners at FCI Oakdale.” I attempted to send this article to Fred Stein of IWOC-NYC and requested that he and his comrades transcribe my piece and share it far and wide. The censorship of free speech has become a favored tactic and strategy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I have also witnessed and experienced Federal BOP personnel retaliating harshly against any prisoner engaging in “Protected” conduct. The US Supreme Court has ruled that filing grievances and lawsuits fall under the umbrella of “Protected Conduct”.
As a journalist and activist I am privy to the laws that allow the reporting of events which are viewed as being of “Public Concern.” It is June 2020, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons still has not initiated a mass COVID-19 testing program for federal prisoners and employees. Remarkably, NABPP-Pc member Jason Renard Walker has reported that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has begun en-masse COVID-19 testing in its facilities.
President Donald J. Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Bryan has said that he does not believe that systemic racism exists in the criminal justice system.
As we look closely at the recent Civil Rights Complaints filed by prisoners in Ohio and Louisiana and the disparity in the meting out of justice we must understand this:
“Racism and the scourge of white supremacy does not just exist in Amerikan Police Departments. Racism and implicit bias resides inside the prosecutor’s office, the Judge’s chambers, the jury box, and most certainly racism is present inside Amerikan prisons and jails.’
President Trump went to work right away appointing judges who would uphold the tenets of white supremacy in Amerika. We have people saying that President Trump is “Crazy.” This is a huge mistake. President Donald J. Trump has moved in a very pragmatic and methodical fashion in order to dismantle any Law, Program, or Policy that can be used by the people in order to remove the foot of the Capitalist oppressor off of our necks.
As the conversation progresses in regard to how we can “fix the system” it is my strong belief that we can’t build until something is demolished or destroyed. Our greatest strength as we proceed forward is our increased mutual aid, solidarity and direct action. It is important for me to say that Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer have had decades to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system and they haven’t done it – why now?? Think about that for a minute.
As I contemplate and reflect on the Austin Police Department shooting a pregnant woman who was exercising her constitutional rights I am mortified. I was under the impression that Austin was the most liberal and progressive city in the state of Texas. I was wrong. I forgot that Austin is the home of one of the most bigoted Attorney Generals in America. Ken Paxton has shown his true colors in his zealous pursuit of keeping innocent and wrongfully accused prisoners inside Texas’s nation leading slave kamps and inhumane gulags.
However, I must ask for your forgiveness, I’ve digressed. Allow me to get back on this message and wrap up this essay.
If I were to be asked what I think may help address some of the inequality, racism, and abuse we see perpetrated by the police in America – outside of abolition of the police, I would suggest the creation of independent civilian oversight committees that have prosecutorial and subpoena power over all police departments and law enforcement agencies in America. Presidential candidate Joe Biden made a similar suggestion. I don’t trust Joe Biden. He has a horrible record when it comes to criminal justice. With Biden, black people are trapped between a rock and a hard place. Biden may be the lesser of two evils but he is not our ‘Savior’ nor is he our friend. He is a male Hillary Clinton – period.
I end this essay with a quote from journalist and activist/author Natasha Lennard’s book Being Numerous: Essays on a Non-Fascist Life: “We know better than to call upon the government or the courts to ban white supremacist events, especially under this white supremacist administration. Anti-Fascist activists have no interest in bolstering the state’s censorial oversight, and even less faith that only such censorship would ever be applied to white supremacists.”
I send out my clenched fist of solidarity to IWOC, IWW, ABC, and Black Lives Matter! I love y’all. Stay safe and stand up for Black Lives. Solidarity Forever!
FCI Elkton – Civil Complaint Filed by Federal Prisoners
Wilson v. Williams 2020 US District Court LEXIS 70674 ND-Ohio April 22, 2020. Note: ND means Northern District.
FCI Oakdale – Civil complaint filed by federal prisoners — Livas vs. Myers 2020 US District Court LEXIS 71323 (WD-Louisiana) April 22, 2020.
Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is Assistant Editor of the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. He is studying and preparing to serve as Editor after his September 2020 release. Malik is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign. Visit Malik’s website at: www.ComradeMalik.com and invite your social media contacts to visit the Bay View website: www.sfbayview.com.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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!!