“I Can’t Breathe,” Could You?, By Chairman Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu

All power to the people!

Northern State Prison, like most prisons, constitutes one huge cesspool of corruption, connected to one huge machine called Mass Incarceration. This huge machine conforms to the capitalist logic of maximization of the rate of profit.

Our minds and bodies (mental and manual labor) in the Mass Incarceration system undergird the foundation of profit. They utilize our labor power to manufacture “things” that are then put on the “Market” for a price. We get nothing in return. Northern State Prison is a part of that nation-wide system of exploitation.

So for 15 years – 8 years at Northern State Prison – I’ve been in my battle stance raising my voice in opposition to terroristic practices of the correctional officers who flagrantly violate and traduce our human and Democratic Rights. As a leading member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) it is my duty to make prisoners aware it is Right to Rebel! against our capitalist oppressors. This rebellion and unity of action spring out of a sense to simply be ourselves, to be able to stand with the Black and Brown oppressed communities bellowing that Incarcerated Lives Matter as well.

Our oppressors have other plans, and those plans require conformity and silence from the prisoner-class. Panthers don’t bow down to social injustice. We resist. To let the rapacious enemy reduce us to subhuman creatures, fit to be ruled by stick and carrot, and tied forever to menial work disturbs our conscience, because the oppressor wants us to accept the erasure of our dignity and self-determination. We will not kowtow. People that study and identify with comrade George Jackson don’t beg … they mass the people for revolutionary education, agitation and organization.

We are aware that the racist pigs here at Northern State Prison want me to “shut the fuck up” – to use the phrase of the Special Investigation Division (S.I.D.) who recently railroaded me on a bogus disciplinary charge. We will not comply.

To speak is an act of revolutionary resistance. That is why the Mumia Gag Law won’t work on us. When you hear and read a Mumia Abu-Jamal, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson or Jalil Muntaqim, you are seeing prisoners affirm their rights to be human beings.

Northern State Prison opened in the late 1980s as a way of addressing the economically strapped urban areas that surround the prison. The advent of de-industrialization not only left the rural area looking like a wasteland, a non-community, but with racism as a driving force, Black and Brown oppressed communities resembled favelas and shanty-towns we see in underdeveloped nations. Jobs were really non-existent, food was non-existent. Communities of love were non-existent as the Washington Consensus or Neo-Liberalism uprooted the factory – literally the whole production plant was shut down, put on a ship and re-opened in Economic Enterprise Zones based in Asia, Afrika, and Latin America.

So there was nothing to bribe and pacify the multi-racial working class. The workers were able to see the capitalist class for what it is: a small group of rapacious thieves! Anger was mounting in the country. The prospect of Bacon’s Rebellion part two, sent fear throughout the bourgeoisie.

So our oppressors stumbled on an idea: Build prisons in depressed economic areas! To do this they first needed to make the case. Black and Brown youth were depicted in the enemy corporate media as violent, depraved, gun-toting monsters out to rape white women in Central Park. With the youth totally demonized and dehumanized, the U.S. Government declared a “War on Drugs,” a “war on crime,” and like robots the political class in consultation with Corrections Corporation of Amerika (CCA) devised nefarious legislation that allocated monies to the prison binge in white rural communities. Most whites hired on as correctional officers didn’t have the “stuff” to cut it as Army and police officers. These white recruits carried with them a psycho-social conditioning manifested in white supremacist culture that the main “problem” with Amerikkka is the Black and Brown youth who needed a karate chop to the throat every chance the opportunity avails itself.

With the construction and opening of the prison, institutions like housing, shopping malls, hospitals and recreation centers arose on the foundation of the prison.

New Jersey was reading the reports from the capitalist-imperialist think-tanks and foundations (Brookings and Heritage): it works! With then Mayor Sharp James presiding over the City of Newark, New Jersey, state legislators and construction companies sat together to negotiate the terms and conditions. It was stipulated that for a number of years only Black and Brown people from the adjacent urban areas could be hired at Northern State Prison.

For nearly 30 years, Northern State Prison was a meal ticket for members of the aspiring Black and Brown middle class. That has all ended now. The racial demographics have dramatically changed. Those first Black and Brown correctional officers hired nearly 30 years ago are now retiring or being forced out. Taking their place are young white officers who hate anything moving. They have preconceived ideas on how to keep Black and Brown youth in their place, which usually involves violence. They have paramilitary mentalities. Correctional officer Bobby Wasik is the undisputed leader of these unsophisticated and impressionable white correctional officers. We should make it clear to the whole prison establishment in New Jersey that they need to put pig Wasik back in the pigstye or else face the prospect of court proceedings.

Repression is a part of the revolutionary process. The fascist state has outlawed revolution. We revolutionaries in New Jersey are operating from the premise that they can jail and kill our bodies, but an idea whose time has come cannot be jailed orkilled. The New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter is committed to serving the people mind, body and soul, as enumerated in our 10-point program, and with our strategy of “Turning the prisons into Schools of Liberation,” and building base areas of cultural, social and political revolution in the context of building a united front against capitalist-imperialism.

I am no longer with my comrades in general population. But Pantherism, the ideological and political line of NABPP-PC, holds us together. When Comrade Rashid and I founded this party in 2005, we were in separate states and separate prisons, but what held us together was Panther Love and the principles ofcomradeship.

I want the comrades in general population across the country to know that we are bound by a supreme unity that our oppressors should not be able to sever.

Long Live Revolution!
Panther Love!
Dare to Struggle – Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!

Chairman Shaka Zulu

K. KersplebedebK. KersplebedebK. Kersplebedeb

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