Neo-Dachau/ A Letter To A Compañera
Updated: Apr 23
I received your letter and card over 10 days ago and I’ve been hurrying to finish the legal work I’m working on so I can sit down and write you a nice long letter. I finally finished it so here I am! The mail room has been rather treacherous lately, taking up to 3 weeks to deliver mail from overseas. The poem you sent from Miguel Hernández is beautiful. It makes me think of our duty as Human Beings to honor Nature and in doing so honor Humanity. Every person on this Earth deserves the right of Self-determination and Liberty. We are extensions of the trees, flowers and animals of the Earth. It’s our duty to serve and protect Nature and Liberty -She’s been assaulted for far to long!
Speaking about the word Hispanic what do you think of it? Hispanic comes from the world Hispania, I believe , which is the Latin for Spain. Is that correct? So, essentially, Hispanic would mean one who is from Spain! The US media refers to everyone who is from South & Central America, Mexico and the islands of Cuba, the Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico as Hispanic. I personally don’t like that word just as I don’t like the word white. Classifying numerous ethnic groups and cultures under one identifying term leads to misinformation and marginalization.
For example, there has been a lot of talk in the news recently about immigration issues. The corporate news reporters keep saying Hispanic immigration this and Hispanic immigration that. By grouping all immigrants together under one label they skate around the issue that really need to be discussed . Hmmm… I haven’t heard any corporate media sources talking about why people are coming to the US illegally. What about NAFTA? What about the FTAA (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas) and CAFTA? What about the fact that many immigrants from South and Central America come to the US fleeing from the genocidal dictatorships that the US put into power in their countries? Oh, and guess what else? No one seems to want to talk about the fact that a large part of the southern US used to be Mexico! Or, perhaps we should venture back into history a bit…
I have a suggestion for all the reporters: let’s talk about the fact that this country was founded on the exploitation and systematic murder of its indigenous population! Before I ramble on forever on that issue, I’ll get back to addressing your letter. (I don’t think the corporate media will change their word usage for us anyway!) I’ve been having some big problems with getting information out to the public. Some of the crazy right-wing pro death penalty groups have been trying to get my website and the DRIVE site taken off of the Net. They’ve been petitioning the company that hosts the site. It’s rather ridiculous, I mean, isn’t the US a country that promotes free speech? The 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right of free speech. Of course, this is supposed to be a democratic country also. Yet, the US foreign & domestic policy is anything but democratic. Think of the etymology of the word democracy: from the Greek demos (people) and kratos (power). Perhaps a kleptocracy or a plutocracy but hardly a democracy.
Many of our updates have been disappeared as well. I think Augusto Pinochet is secretly in charge of the mail room! Things are slowly getting worked out though & things are moving much more smoothly. We remain determined and nothing will change that! Many times I’ve had the exact same thoughts as you about those in control of the system -How can they do what they do? How can, say, for example, the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, actually condone state-sanctioned murder? How can these officers actually enjoy beating and gassing people (hold on a few minutes! We’re on lock downs and they just passed out Johny Sacks (little sack lunches they pass out. This one had a hot dog bun with peanut butter in it, a piece of bologna and a palm full of raisins). I think the oppressors can sleep at night because they demonize those they are oppressing. They dehumanize those they hurt.
The Honduran man who works hard everyday for 5 years to save up money to travel illegally to the US with a dream of sending money back to his family, so they can better their living conditions, becomes the Criminal Hispanic Immigrant. The teenager who was selling drugs to survive, then gets locked up, becomes the evil criminal. In their depraved minds, in the collective fascists psyche, it’s not immoral to hurt the less than the lower class! They create the conditions which cause poverty and crime yet they blame the poor for being poor & criminals for being criminals! The ruling class does portray certain situations as a way as to make them inconceivable for the masses…
I fell asleep on you! I had been up writing all day and night then I passed out right after I wrote the word masses. I wake up a little while ago to a knock on my cage door. It was a mail-room officer passing out legal mail. I just found out that my state habeas appeal was denied. I’m still rather stunned. I feel like someone just put a gun in my face and said you may only have a little over a year to live!!! I just re-read an article which quotes the TDC spokesman saying that the average death row inmate exhaust his appeals in 5-6 years! I’ve already been looked up for over 5 years so it’s kind of scary! But an excellent lawyer has been looking into my case. We’re waiting to see if the federal court will appoint him to my case. I’ll know within a week or two.
Can you believe that many of the anti death penalty groups here in Texas don’t support what we are doing?! They say we’re breaking the rules and they can’t support that. They don’t understand this System, they just basically think the death penalty isn’t nice. One of our main goals is showing the brutality of the System -its inherent hypocrisy and insanity. The basic line the oppressor -judge, district attorneys, police, politicians, etc -take is that those who commit crimes are brutal so they need to be put in cages. They say that criminals chose to be criminals and they need to be kept away from society. Of course, as we know those in control don’t truly believe that, but the masses can’t be told that their main goal is preserving and financing the system (specifically the Prison Industrial Complex) so the oppressors spew the tough on crime rhetoric.
The officers violent reactions to our non-violent peaceful protest shows that this system is brutal! Perhaps, we cause people to start questioning the validity of the system of capital punishment and the judicial system here in Texas and elsewhere. Actually, I know we’ve been making excellent progress. I’ve received letters from people telling me that because of reading my website and the DRIVE site their views on the death penalty and prison have totally changed. One thing that I’ve found interesting is that most people are amazed when they learn that the officers use chemical gas on us.
I’ve a copy of one of my use of force reports here. Hold on, let me dig it out and I’ll give you the exact name of the chemical agents they use…
OK the name is OC LEID Crowd Control. I think that the brand-name is Top Cop. On what logical basis can they justify using military grade riot-control gas on people engaging in non-violent protest? Even the prison rat apologists who should have a hard time coming up with an excuse for that!
How is to talk about religion in the US? In on unbiased and objective manner? Nearly impossible. In the South its even worse! I just thought of something -a memory from when I was about 13 years old. I was in class at school and the teacher was talking about religion. They were probably 25 kids in class. We were about to get out of school for Christmas break and the teacher was asking everyone what they were going to do over the Christmas holidays.
She was going down the line asking each student questions and letting them talk. The teacher was asking things like what does Christmas mean to you? and basically she was giving a little sermon… There was a Jewish girl in my class. She never talked to anyone and every time someone would try to talk to her she would answer with I’m Jewish… Of course, most kids replied with the same bad attitude and some smart remark. Needless to say, no-one liked the little girl and she didn’t like anyone either. I’ve always been the type of person to talk to those who are labeled different by the majority. I came to the class in the middle of the semester so when I arrived the girl was already ostracized. I saw no-one talked to her. I asked her if she wanted to go hang out with me and some of my friends after school and listen to some music. No, I’m Jewish she replied with a mean little look. Unlike everyone else, I didn’t have a smart-ass response, I just asked her what exactly does that mean? Can you not listen to music or something? She scowled at me and didn’t say anything else. Guess what I did from that day on? When I’d come to class I’d basically flirt with her and she finally started being nice to me. Now when I think back, I don’t think the girl was Jewish by ethnicity, I think her parents were probably into the 12 Tribes of Israel thing. There are groups/ churches in the US who consider themselves members of the original 12 Tribes of Israel. There’s a big group in Texas. They basically believe that the other 11 Tribes -minus those who are today consider Jews- migrated out of ancient Israel and one of the Tribes came to the US they consider themselves the original Holy Chosen People of God……
I’m not really sure, but, anyway, she told me how she didn’t believe that Jesus was any type of prophet and she basically had the attitude that all the other kids were irrational and ridiculous. I always felt that way as well. I’ve always questioned everything and thought outside of the box! So, back to the day the teacher was asking everyone questions and talking about Christmas. She got to the Jewish girl and her answer was concisely I’m Jewish, I don’t celebrate Christmas!
Everyone just stared at her with looks of stunned contempt. After a few moments of very uncomfortable silence the teacher moved on. When she got to me I can’t remember exactly what she asked me but we ended pretty much debating religion. I was only like 13 years old so I was basically just asking her simple questions, trying to get her to pragmatically justify her beliefs. I remember I said, It just doesn’t seem logical to me that Jesus walked on water or rose after being dead for 3 days. That just doesn’t make any sense.
Silence. Everyone including the teacher was staring at me with looks of horror on their faces. I remember feeling like their stares were physically weighing down upon me. Shocked, horrified, enraged- everyone was just staring at me and I didn’t understand why. (I, of course , do now though). Anyway the teacher was so mad that she kicked me out of class! After the other kids come out one girl come up to talk to me. We were friends, I think her name was Jesse.
We were talking about Jesus and Christianity and she was telling me how she couldn’t believe that I could question the popular Christian belief system. We were debating something about the divinity of Jesus and she got mad and our conversation ended with her exclaiming, mimicking the Jewish girl, well I guess ‘you’re Jewish’!! and me replying sarcastically yeah, I guess I am!!
That’s just one example of how it is talking about religion in the US. The South is known as The Bible Belt a term H. L. Mencken come up with. What’s strange is that the popular Christians as I call them have a belief system that is directly contradicted by the teaching of Jesus. They say Do not judge but they condemn anyone who questions their beliefs or sense of morality to the Eternal depths of Hell!
They simple ignore all of the compassion, mercy and generosity of Christianity. They ignore and deny the Ethic of love that Jesus taught as his fundamental life lesson. In turn, they deeply and fervently embrace every form of pious denial they can conjure up, they demand the strictest punishment for every offense that reminds me that George W. Bush signed the Abortion bill in 2003 with: The right to life cannot be granted or denied by government because it does not come from government it comes from the creator of life.
Yet, he approved of and oversaw more state-sponsored executions as governor of Texas than any other politician ever. A perfect example of popular Christian hypocrisy! We essentially live under a theocratic government here in the US or perhaps what Niccolo Machiavelli would call an Ecclesiastical Princedom! Bush promotes the idea that he has been divinely ordained by God himself. He does this rather covertly but still affects the subconscious of the masses. I do believe that he’s the first US president to declare war from a cathedral! That’s essentially what he did when he gave his post September 11th speech from a cathedral church. So, on one hand the masses are bombarded with theo-patriotic rhetoric from those they elected into office. Then, through church, media and school they’re indoctrinated with popular Christianity, They’re taught to be rabidly xenophobic -they fear anything strange (xenos: greek for strange) or foreign.
And it’s basic human nature to dislike things we fear. So, when a popular Christian – the majority of US citizens fit into that category – is engaged in dialogue about religion with someone who doesn’t agree with him or her, this equation comes in to play: recognition of something strange = fear = hate – Yes, it’s very hard to have an honest objective discussion about religion here in the US. I really don’t know how to answer the question 'do I have any religion?' I guess you can say I have an anti-clericalist secular Humanist religion or something! Or, perhaps a Gnostic Naturalist religion or something like that. I’ve studied just about every religion and as History has shown us no single religion has been able to create a peacefully society. Actually, the opposite has been True -more blood has been spilled in the name of religion than form any other reason throughout history. Spirituality is good, religion for the most part is dangerous. Am I sounding unfair? Perhaps I should soften my stance and say that the way most people practice religion is deplorable but there are plenty of good religious people. I mean, since you signed an armistice with Swedish I suppose I can do the same with the pious and the just! : )
Let me close by sending you un abrazo solidario y todo mi respeto! Keep your mind clear and your Spirit high compañera!
With peace and Strength