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The Initiative Process

The PLN's coverage of the "initiative" idea was good, but I don't think it left anyone feeling any less powerless than they were before. This (legislative initiative) is going to take a lot of push. People on the outside are still in the dark about what to do.

I think two things need to be done with this project. First we need to have some outside citizens groups working to reach the voters in the communities we can't get to through our families.

Second, we need a clearinghouse for people who vote, but either won't take any further action on their own or just aren't sufficiently motivated -- even with loved ones behind bars. So this "clearinghouse" could be HQ for this project (something as simple as a family member's address) where votes or pledges or contacts via phone or letter can be received and questions answered.

Another article or a "special edition" of the PLN devoted entirely to this project will need to be done in the near future.

Sure, it's great and wonderful and nice to say we have until 1992 to organize on this, but who is going to take the actual steps to do any organizing? I think the motivated individuals capable of such organizing are already involved in this. If we are serious at all about this project then we have to be the ones to do it, to put it all together, because if we don't, no one else will.

I do not know much about the initiative process and how it works. I could be something very simple. But still, someone has to initiate, carry the word, distribute our information, complete the forms, etc. My point is that what ever needs to be done, we prisoners need to think in terms of doing it ourselves, and not waiting for or hoping some others will come forward to do it for us. This is our project. Our only material strength is in organization.

Maybe something along the lines of a "Prison/Community Alliance" which would meet once or twice a month around projects that would link up people on both sides of the walls. Such a group could be a clearinghouse for all kinds of projects, and the initiative process could be a focus for the present. Let's hear form the people on this!

-- M.R., Shelton, WA

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