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Designing A Theater Of Resistance: Preliminary Steps

Wednesday


“To accurately see an opponent’s energy, feeling and mood, and to act accordingly in their presence is called the vanguard of the moment. This effective action is a specialty in Zen, where it is referred to as the Zen dynamic.”

The Book of Family Traditions on the Art Of War, Yagu Munenori (1571-1646)


We’ve been engaging in many strategic actions that will to a more systematic and collective direct-action protest campaign. To divulge tactics and strategy would be quite counter-productive, but please believe me, we know what we are doing. I’ve been trying so very hard to promote the idea of peaceful, non-violent resistance, what one could call passive resistance, or perhaps, peaceful protest or the term I prefer, Satyagraha, but the Polunsky Administration has been has been engaging in so very many unprecedented acts of extreme mechanical and physical violence that it’s hard. The foul and corrupted spirit of the Rise Of the Right is indeed alive here on Texas Death Row—but we are combating it with a relentless determination! Here is the text of several updates I wrote a few days ago.

Sunday, 4.17.11 2:32 PM: My blissed out dance with Shiva was just interrupted by my neighbor beating on my wall and yelling: “The Lieutenant is on the pod with a canister of riot gas!” So I just quickly picked up my trusty Thor-blessed battleax (my pen) and I’m documenting what is happening…


The Lieutenant just went around the corner towards the outside rec. yard. Whoa, a gang of officers just followed—there is obviously an incident occurring on the yard. Their body language betrays their angst, their stress. They left someone in the shower in order to rush over to where the incident is occurring and the guy in the shower is repeatedly screaming, “Get me out of the shower!! Get me out of the shower!!” A guy, Big W, was just pulled off of the rec. yard and the nurse is doing an extensive physical exam of him, a post Use of Force examination.


This dungeon cell plexiglass is hard to see through but I’m trying to see what all is going on. Whatever incident is occurring it is definitely a protest action. Do you understand that no one in prison wants to be on “disciplinary status?” I think that many people in society generally think that prisoners “just act up” and cause trouble just because—just because they are, well, you know, prisoners and that’s what prisoners do. This is absolutely not true at all. The human animal by nature seeks comfort and prisoners especially seek to carve out a comfortable life in what is by its very nature an extremely uncomfortable environment.

No one wants to be attacked, assaulted with riot control chemical weapons, beaten and have what little privileges they have taken away from them. People are pushed into acts of resistance, people are forced to protest.


2:52PM: It appears Big W is back in his cell but W. is out on the yard. Someone just yelled out that they overheard “the SWAT team is suiting up.” There is such a thick weight of intensity in the air you can almost taste it, smell it, feel it.


3:18PM: The 5-man SWAT team is on the pod and they’re stomping towards the outside rec. yard! Dammit, it is so hard to see through this double security wire and plexiglass and it’s hard to hear through it as well. Someone is screaming out something from the other section…O.K., now another guy is relaying this message: W. just conducted a sit-in demonstration and made the SWAT team carry him back to his cell. Righteous. A Haiku just came to mind:


Visions

(A Haiku)

Blurred visions of angst

Through the dirty grey glass that

Bears years of war scars.


***

That was the piece I wrote on 4.17.11 describing the direct-actions that took place that day. Things have been intense lately, but there is a certain beauty to this intensity. Here is the piece.


Monday, 4.18.11 12:35PM: Sleep is a luxury in this environment, well sought after luxury. One craves with a passion but can rarely obtain. Really, I think I never actually sleep much so perhaps I should say “I rest”–well, my rest was just disturbed by someone yelling out, “The riot team is on the pod!” I had been engaging in a strenuous workout and was just about ready to attempt to relax and get some rest…but now an act of protest is occurring so I’m up standing with my pad of paper on my door (pen in hand) writing down what is happening. A dude I’m cool with is in the dayroom right in front of me working out so, what the hell, I might as well join him and do the same…push-ups with squats in between…


12:38PM: Someone in the other section just let me know that Jasiri is on the yard with another dude on the other side of the cage. They’ve occupied the area and are refusing to leave. A crowd control OC tear gas grenade was just thrown at Jasiri…push-ups, running in place…O.K., exercising right now is just not going to work—my nose is running, my eyes slightly burning and I can feel my respiratory system starting to react to the tear gas…Now writing has become a bit of a challenge, whew, this riot gas is bad.


12:44PM: They just fired on Jasiri with the crowed dispersal OC assault weapon. I believe, Yes, someone said that’s what they saw. This is insane—an anti-riot military grade CS chemical weapon grenade and shots from an OC crowd dispersal semi-automatic assault rifle?! My God, these people have gone insane. Now they’re running in! A 7-man SWAT team?! “They’re beating him!” someone just yelled. Cowards! Absolute cowards!—A sick display of the very epitome of cowardice, the absolute most putrid subterranean depths of cowardice!! Now they’re ripping off Jasiri’s clothes. And they’re carrying him out and he’s giving a protest speech. The door’s closed so he’s back in his cell.


12:52AM: The SWAT team just left the pod and I can barely write because I’m having trouble breathing because of the deployment of the chemical weapon grenade.


12:56AM: The Sargent just went over and used several thick wet towels to pick up the shell of the grenade. The approximately 10-inch x 4-inch chrome metal cylinder that is the grenade shoots about 8-inch white-hot flames out of each side like a blowtorch. The smoke cloud that it puts out completely consumes an about 5-square-foot area and the canister remains too hot to touch for maybe 30 to 40 minutes after deployment. The grenade is something serious. Now the Sargent is gone and it’s completely quiet. Everyone is unable to speak because of the riot gas—they all have wet towels wrapped around their faces. I’m standing at my door embracing the tear gas. Another Haiku just came to mind:


II

Visions

(A Haiku)

Inhale exhale slow

Eyes closed tight with raw-fire pain

But mind’s eye sees sharp

***

So there is the piece I wrote on 4.18.11. Things are intense and there is so much work to be done in order to create the right dynamic, so I’ll sign off with a Spartacus-Dionysian shout of:

!Venceremos!

Rob Will

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