A comrade and brother, Ed Mead, recently wrote his opinion and analysis of the definition of POW and the continuing controversy of "Freedom Now." In it he raised the issue of how political prisoners traditionally do their time - either: a.) quietly doing it with the objective of early release; or b.) doing it by raising political consciousness in your fellow prisoners and building a revolutionary resistance movement.
While I can not and do not claim to have the background or dedication Ed does, I have to agree with his choice by building a revolutionary resistance movement. What wasn't elaborated on was the fact that the most vocal, violent and /or effective of us must expect to pay the price of our beliefs. When I finally became politically conscious no one informed me of the consequences. I write this to those who are in this stage of transition, not to detract from the transition, but to let your know the facts, so you are prepared.
Depending on what type of person you are, you have a hard road to travel. But if you have truly achieved political consciousness you will know that the harder the road, the more effective you are - and what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger.
You should look forward to your mail censorship, character assassination, isolation and strip cells, beatings, macings and if your gulag has it, fire hosings. If you're dedicated and pick up the sword as well as the pen, look for added sentences on your present one. Also look for setups and assassination attempts by prisoncrats and other prison collaborators. This is not a game; human lives are at stake. Never go into this thinking it is a game, always be serious in what you say and do. Always keep your guard up and only surround yourself by loyal comrades and brothers. When you fight the Beast, the Beast will use any ways and means to squash you. I know, I've experienced all of the above, and will probably experience much more.
If I could turn the hands of time back, I'd make the same decision today I made then. I'd make it because I can live with my conscience. I can savor the smiles and laughter of the children, who will inhabit the planet, the smile of the brother who thought he was a mere criminal, until a whole new realm of thought and perspective opened up to him. The victory cheers of comrades who have seen with their own eyes the power of unity in the cold face of oppression. Comrades who will never come back to the gulag once released, and who will treat their fellow human beings with dignity and respect. Even the looks in some guard's eyes when they realize they've been used as pawns in a chess game.
Yes, it's worth it, how could it be not
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