Friday, March 14, 2014

Take A Look at Ourselves by Curtis Walker

A LOOK AT OURSELVES
We should ask ourselves this before we go on to ask anything else: How is it that we have come to be in such a pitiful state of being? Are we not, as Black men, of equal value to all other people? If we are of equal value how is it that, as human beings, we have degenerated to such conditions (mental and physical)? How is it that our very definition of manhood has become so entangled with physical expression? Are we really as we present ourselves to be: enemies of progress and productivity, enemies of our own selves and a burden on our families, where we should stand tall and proud as pillars and providers of those families and teachers of our children? What is our potential? Can we evolve to a higher level of consciousness, communication, and interaction? Can we save our­selves?
    How we've come to be in this condition is clear enough, as our devolution is part and parcel of American history itself. We must first be aware of the systematic emasculation of the Black male from the days of slavery, when he was denied his humanity in total, to the era of Jim Crow where he was being conditioned to accept that though he was indeed a man, he simply was not and never would be one of equal value with his white brethren. To subjugate a man, a man of any ethnicity, for such an extended period of time, is to plant the seed for that man's failure to reach his full potential.
The emasculation of the Black male by white society is not the cause of our current condition. We are. All of the tools necessary for us to raise ourselves above our current station, are now at our disposal. The main thing that we need to address is consciousness-raising: understanding our true worth, our true potential and our true purpose. Bringing ourselves to recognize that our fate is our own to command, that we must dictate it and that responsibility for our condition belongs to us alone. This would be a sign of our psychological and social maturity. Seeing that we can be an asset to our community would be a sign that we have really awaken to what our purpose is. It is too easy for us to look at the "man" and all of the things that he brings down upon us, as the actual cause for our woes. It is much harder for us to look at ourselves and see our own defects.
Responsibility: We must accept responsibility for our fate, collectively and individually. No one can provide for our needs
and security but us. We will have to acknowledge this and commit to improving ourselves to ensure our survival and the survival of the young bloods coming up after us, attempting to follow in our foot­steps and longing for guidance. No generation simply fails itself. It fails the next generation also. The failure of one makes it certain that the next one will stumble blindly and unprepared into a world that cannot understand them and is often hostile to the misguided aspirations of the young Black male.
Liberal laws will not keep us out of the prisons. Only our desire to survive in the form of true free men can keep us out of the many prisons and jails that have been prepared for us. Manhood is limited in prison by the tact that you cannot act freely and must submit in one way or another to the whims of an indifferent authority. By becoming incarcerated we surrender our primary responsibility to care for ourselves, our families and our community.
Freedom: "Free your mind" is a phrase that has become cliched to a degree that has stripped it of its meaning. Still, when considering freedom we must consider the condition of our minds. Freedom exist in many stages. Free in mind is the basic stage, without which regardless of whether we are physically free, we are bound. Being free in mind helps us put into context and deal with whatever comes our way, fortune or misfortune. Making ourselves mentally free requires us to put aside our hang-ups and fears, while embracing unrestrained imagination and possibility, along with brutally honest self-examination.
Freedom itself is not a luxury that is simply given to us. It is an ever-present possibility which we must seize by the force of our will and maintain with our actions. Not only is it the ability to come and go, speak or remain silent, but also the ability to
chart out your life's path on your own terms and pursue that path.
Love: Do we really lack the capacity to appreciate Love in its purest form: the love of a son for his parents, the love of a brother for his sisters and brothers, the love of a man for a woman? One of the greatest obstacles to the growth and development of our youth is the ability to give and receive love. The problems that this creates damages a young man's relationships with other people so much that it damages the essence of the present person and defines who he becomes, the type of man he becomes.
Love has many attributes but is itself an indefinable quality. Our attempts to describe it are often as unsuccessful as our attempts to find it. It is a large part of who we are, what we do and what we seek in life. It is that human desire to feel a part
of something, to feel needed, wanted and relevant. That need to be significant in the life of another so that your very existence is validated by someone else's placing of great value on your feelings and companionship. Without this we can lose that sense of our
worth and begin to devalue ourselves and others. This can define how we think and why we think what we think; our ability to relate to others; to empathize and sympathize, and limit our ability to feel and express our humanity. Love is also an essential part of our psychological health. It shapes and dictates our conscience.
So damaged are so many of us from youth, that seeking love and grasping for love becomes a dangerous endeavor. We seek it in the most harmful places, grasp for the most painful relationships
and embrace our harsh experiences as a true reflection of what love is. The result of it all are very emotionally immature and stunted men who communicate their feelings in the language that they have been taught: pain.
WEAKNESS OF CHARACTER & VULNERABILITY OF PERSON
We often confuse these two, usually to our detriment. This weakness and vulnerability are sometimes used synonymously without an appreciation for what either really mean or what they represent in people, especially men. Both are naturally occurring attributes and can be an asset or liability, depending on how we address them and ultimately control them - or are controlled by them

Vulnerability of person is that which allows us to make real and honest contact with people, contact that reveals who we are to someone else (who we are being not only what the casual observer can see, but also what only can be seen by someone invited into our unspoken thoughts, our repressed emotions and our most profound passions). Vulnerability of person is also when we do not shield ourselves from ourselves, denying how we feel deep inside and what our minds explore subconsciously. It is the free shedding of hang-ups concerning race, gender and class, as opposed to an environmental shedding - that is to say that many of us play along with whatever environment we happen to be in by acting as others act without ridding ourselves of the thing that we feel is necessary to hide.

Weakness of character speaks more toward the defects in our character such as: the inability to face things as they are with­out retreating into a fantasized version of reality; the coward's refuge - wrapping ourselves in the comfort of timidity when bold­ness is required in order to exist(live) as we truly would like; lying to ourselves and others in order to be viewed in a light that does not reflect who we really are, but rather what we think others would like to see and what might cause them to accept us.

Our task then is to become fully self-aware individuals, aware of our place in relation to others and society while recognizing our responsibilities and potential. Another great obstacle that we must face is learning to act consciously - directing our thoughts and actions toward the results that we seek so that we are not just victims of circumstance and environment, but are masters of them. This requires us to always grow, even under extremely adverse conditions and learn the lessons from our experiences, good and bad.

by:

Curtis Walker-El

#231105

Don't Just Take My Word For It/ Cell Searches


DON'T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT (CELL SEARCHES), by Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo

September 1, 2013

Sometimes when we hear things that we are ignorant of we tend to reject it solely because it came from a prisorer. So, this section I've coined, "Don't Just Take My Word For It," which will be preserved for topics that have a paper trail. The subject that I want to break ground with is an issue that affects all DOC prisoners: Cell searches.

The primary Department of Corrections rule that governs all searches of cells is "DOC 306.16 Search of inmate living quarters," which states:

(1)  Staff may conduct a search of the living quarters of any inmate at any time. Entry into the living quarters of an inmate by a staff member to retrieve state property does not constitute a search of the living quarters of an inmate.

(2)  The institution shall maintain a written record of all searches conducted under sub, (1), which shall include:

(a)  The identity of the staff member who conducted the search;

(b)  The date and time of the search;

(C) The identity of the inmate whose living quarters were searched;

(d)  The reason for conducting the search. If the search was a random one, the report shall so state;

(e)  Any objects which were seized pursuant to the search; and

(f)  Whether any damage was done to the premises during the search. (3)4f staff seize any property or damage any property pursuant to the search of an inmate's living quarters, staff shall identify the property to the inmate in writing. The institution shall reimburse the inmate for damage to any property that is not contraband. The institution shall value any property which is damaged at its fair market value, not replacement cost.

(4)  In conducting searches under this section, staff shall disturb the effects of the inmate as little as possible, consistent with thoroughness.

(5)  Staff shall read only that part of the inmate's legal material as necessary to determine that the item is legal material and does not contain contraband.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Standing My Ground

STANDING MY GROUND by Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo a/k/a Rufus West #225213 –
January 14, 2014

 I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. No longer brainwashed, I’ve washed my brain of all those submissive decrees. You know, the ones like, “Turn the other cheek” and “Never disobey your [slave] master,” Knowing you are headed for disaster, They still give you wheels to get there faster. On the shoulders of giants defiantly is where I stand, with the Law of God as my foundation—not the law of man. In my hands are skittles and iced tea—my black hoodie covers my head; racial profiling is the only reason why Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead.

That’s right, you heard what I said: I said racial profiling is the only reason why Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead. And while you’re standing your ground, I will be standing my ground too, and since convicted felons can’t carry a gun then I guess I’ll carry two, three, four, or more on my person and be the first to let one burst when you get to looking upside my dome. Because my wise dome relies on the laws of self preservation, even if that means being sentenced to life in penitentiary slave plantations where administrations advocate for the proliferation of supermaxes for the isolation of convicts who dare to speak Truth to power with no reservations. And with no public support it’s clear society doesn’t care.

 I feel like that Chinese man standing in front of four tanks in Tiananmen Square. But I didn’t come to jail to be scared even though I’ve seen a lot unfold, you may have killed Kelvin Jackson but you’ll never kill his soul. I don’t expect to be paroled because I know that whole process is kangaroo after 20 years with 8 more to go, you telling me “no” ain’t nothing new. One thing I do know is whether I’m alone or standing in a crowd, You’ll know me when you see me because I’ll be that one— Standing my ground.

 Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo a/k/a Mr. Rufus West #225213, Columbia Correctional Institution, P O Box 950, Portage WI 53901-0950 http://vanguardsofjustice.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

from Kahil Gribran on Crime and Punishment


Excerpt from book called THE Prophet by Kahil Gibran

 
ON CRIME AND PUNISHMENT,  56-57


Then one of the judges of the city stood forth and said, Speak to us of Crime and Punishment.

And he answered saying:

It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind, That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself. And for that wrong committed must you knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.

Like the ocean is your god-self; It remains for ever undefiled. And like the ether it lifts but the winged. Even like the sun is your god-self; It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent. But your god-self dwells not alone in your being. Much in YOU Is Still man,, and much in you is not yet man,But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist searching for its own awakening.

And of the man in you, would I now speak. For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist that knows crime and the punishment of crime.

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world. But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you. so the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also. And

as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all. Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self. You are the way and the wayfarers. And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone. Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who, though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumblinq stone.

And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts: The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder; And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed. The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked, and the white-handed is not clean in the doings of the felon. Yea, the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured.

And still more often the condemned is the burden bearer for the guiltless and unharmed. You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good

from the wicked; For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together. And when the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look into the who1e cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.

If any of you would bring to judgment the unfaithful wife, let him also weight the heart of her husband in scales, and measure his soul with measurements. And let him who would lash the offender look unto the spirit of the offended. And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness and lay the axe  unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots; And verily he will find the roots of the good and the  bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together in the silent
heart of the earth.' And you judges who would be just. What judgment pronounce you upon him who though honest in the flesh yet is a thief in spirit? What penalty lay you upon him who slays in the flesh yet is himself slain in the spirit? And how prosecute you hm who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor, yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?

And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds? Is not remorse the justice which is administered by that very law which you would fain serve? Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty. Unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves. And you who would understand justice, how shall you unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?  Only then shall you know that the erect and the faller are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self, And that the cornerstone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.

 

The Visit


THE VISIT by Muslim Mansa Lutalo lyapo a/k/a Rufus West, #225213, 12-20-13

He had a law library pass at 2:30 p.m., so when his cell door was buzzed open at 2:10 p.m., he immediately thought something was wrong until the officer announced that he had a visit. The smile that appeared on his face was wide

but not as wide as the smile in his heart. This was an unexpected visit as he wasn't expecting her to come until the next day. He drops everything and rushes to the visiting room.

Upon arriving at the visiting room area, his shoes and socks are searched, whereafter he enters the visiting room and has a stimulating four-hour dialogue. It was a great visit! Her good-bye-hug was longer and tighter than her greeting hug. It felt so good that he didn't want to let her go.

After she left he was escorted back into the search room where he was strip searched. "Open your mouth. Lift your arms. Let me see both 'sides of your hands. Let me see behind your ears. Lift your sack. Turn around and let me see the bottoms of your feet. Now bend over and spread your cheeks. Okay, now get dressed." He could never get used to the humiliation of 'being strip searched. His thoughts overwhelm him to the point where he has forgotten all the visit he just had, albeit briefly. He quickly dresses and leaves the area barely aware of the staff's, "Have a good day" comment.

Once back in his cell, he washes up and says his prayer thanking God for allowing him to have a visit and prays for her to have a safe ride home. He meditates on his visit. The one thing that stands out the most is when she told him, "You don't belong in prison." Sure, other people may have made similar comments over the years. Yet, this time it was different. Not only did she say it verbally; she also said it with her eyes. His meditationis, occasionally interrupted by Brothers asking him, "How was your visit?" .

He tells them, "Great!" With that said, he picks up where he left off at prior to his visit, i.e. working on his criminal case as he tells himself, "You don't belong in prison."

excerpt from "Catching Pigs" by unknown


EXCERPT FROM "CATCHING PIGS" by Unknown
You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn.When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down on one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the
fence up with a gate on the last side. The pigs which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly, the wild pigs have lost their 'freedom.
They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used
to it that they have forgottenhow to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

EXCERPT FROM FRANTZ FANON


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EXCERPT FROM A BOOK BY FRANTZ FANON
The habit of considering racism as a mental quirk, as a psychological flaw, must be abandoned. One must consider the behavior, the defense mechanisms of the men who are a prey to racism.
In an initial phase we have seen the occupying power legitimizing its domination by scientific arguments, the "inferior race" being denied on the basis of race. Because no other solution is left, the racialized social group tries to imitate the oppressor and thereby to deracialize itself. The "inferior race" denies itself as a different race. It shares with the "superior race" the convictions, doctrines, and other attitudes concerning it.
Having witnessed the liquidation of its systems of reference, the collapse of its cultural patterns, the native can only recognize with the occupant that "God is not on his side." The oppressor, through the inclusive and frightening character of his authority, manages to impose
on the native new ways of seeing, and in particular a pejorative judgment with respect to his original forms of existing. This event, which is commonly designated as alienation is very important, and found in the official texts under the name of assimilation.
Now this alienation is never wholly successful. Whether or not it is because the oppressor quantitatively and qualitatively limits the evolution, unforeseen, disparate phenomena manifest themselves.
The inferiorized group had admitted, since the force of reasoning was implacable, that its misfortunes resulted directly from its racial and cultural characteristics.
Guilt and inferiority are the usual consequences of this dialectic. The oppressed then tries to escape these, on the one hand by proclaiming his total and unconditional adoption of the new cultural models, and
on the other, by pronouncing an irreversible condemnation of his own cultural style.
Yet the necessity that the oppressor encounters at a given point to dissimulate the forms of exploitation does not lead to the disappearance of this exploitation. The more elaborate, less crude economic relations require daily coating, but the alienation at this level remains frightful.
Having judged, condemned, abandoned his cultural forms, his language, his food habits, his sexual behavior, his way of sitting down, of resting, of laughing, of enjoying himself, the oppressed flings himself upon
the imposed culture with the desperation of a drowning man.
Developing his technical knowledge in contact with more perfected machines, entering into the dynamic circuit of industrial production, meeting men from remote regions in the framework of the concentration of capital, that is to say, on the job, discovering the assembly line, the team, the oppressed is shocked to find that he continues to be the object of  racism and contempt.