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Received your August issue and as good as ever, but one story had me a little uncomfortable. The article about the Lompoc Prison Strike...the source Out of Time (3543 18th St. San Francisco, CA) [ PLN , vol. 3, #8 August]
The United States Penitentiary Lompoc and the F.C.I. Lompoc are two different facilities but located in close proximity of each other. In March several organized prisoners within Lompoc Penitentiary got together and coordinated a work stoppage, through covert tactics. It was a general consensus by those participating in this organized stoppage that over 80% of the general population would not participate, as rumor of such protests were always the order of the day. It was decided that through disinformation and a little pressure by tactically placed groups within the institution to dissuade the weak from reporting for work would get the message across. This was the only way to get the message across that there were observers and those who went to work would be chastised by the other convicts. In so far as solidarity and unity within U.S.P., there never was any and never will be as the inmates are not concerned with such bullshit...as they say! But this is another story in itself. The three day strike was a success because other inmates were scared to go to work for fear of reprisals by other convicts, but even then there were those who sneaked out and were paid for the whole day for reporting. These particular individuals still walk the line and associate with others who would have done the same having the opportunity. It was also general gossip that inmates could recoup the financial loss in wages by working overtime, and many did just that!
The projected overview was to cripple Unicor Industries through extended absenteeism hoping that other U.S.P.'s would follow suit and eventually negotiate for Good Time Allowances. The F.C.I. next door to us was in no way connected to this work stoppage and was carried out only by Lompoc U.S.P. The prison-wide strike that Mr. Shakur is speaking of must be something else, as the incident at the F.C.I. was attributed to a power outage and spontaneous destruction. In so far as the prisoncrats being threatened by convict unity, it is a well established fact that there is more unity with institution informants and undercover D.E.A. agents than with the wanna be convicts. I myself have tried to educate the prisoners in solidarity for the last six years but they don't want to hear it...I'm an asshole, heat source, antagonist etc. etc. As a Canadian convict our principles are somewhat different but on either side of the border we deal with the same prison bureaucracy and same convict ethic. Prisoners forget that bureaucracies can be overcome with well-placed tactics and strategies. For example, the Administration here thought the rumor of a work strike was just that, they've heard it time and time again.
It is sad that many individuals are programmed by Unicor and other prisoncrat industries. I see it every day 7:30 am they are lined up at the Unit doors with their coffee and sweet rolls ready to rush out to put millions of dollars in the prisoncrats hands...the very same hands that lock you down and beat you into submission for exercising your rights as a prisoner. Many convicts sit in Marion, Pellican Bay, and other lock-down facilities remembered for only their violent acts. Few remember why such acts were committed. In Canada there is a day of reflection for downed and murdered brothers. On August 10 of every year we do not work or eat for one day. Should there not be a day for all those in American prisons who shed blood and fight continuously for the privileges we enjoy today?
There is struggle going on within the Federal Bureau of Prisons as I write this letter and only through discrete and anonymous maneuverings will we succeed, and at the same time educate so many who really do not know the principles of being a convict in this era - when so many incarcerated have their priorities confused.
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