Refusing To Give In To Oppression
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in. When I declined to give up my seat, it was not that day or bus in particular. I just wanted to be free, like everybody else” – My Story by Rosa Parks 1992
Yesterday I conducted another protest demonstration—when my recreation time was over I refused to leave the recreation area (i.e., I conducted an occupation of the rec. yard). Ranking officers arrived on the scene and I explained why I was committing the act of civil disobedience. I addressed many of the issues concerning the new rise of oppression that have been going on around here initiated and instigated by Warden Lester and Major Smith.
In the past there have been situations in which we had to engage in protest campaigns because of the deplorable actions of rank and file staff members. For example, some years back a certain group of sadistic C.O.s had formed a gang, an actual gang they named “The Grey Shirts.” They wore rags in their back pockets and all. A few lower ranking staff members allowed them to exist and to oppress until we put a stop to it. In the Art of socio-political resistance direct actions can be used as a form of sanctions: If oppressive acts occur, we engage in acts of protest that create a breakdown in the functioning of the daily routines and shine a very revealing light on the oppressive actions. We did this and thus forced the disbanding of the little “Grey Shirts” gang.
The situation at hand is much different—90% of the C.O.s and Sergeants and Lieutenants are not the problem at all. They think this sudden outrageously oppressive campaign initiated by Warden Lester and Major Smith is absolutely asinine nonsense. Of course, there are always going to be a small number of drone-like bobble-headed “Yes Boss! Yes Boss!” imbeciles who cannot think for themselves at all who will just oppress and oppress and do whatever the higher-ups say with an ass-kissing, boot-licking Satchmo smile planted across their cowardly faces the entire time, but 90% of the staff members hate what Smith and Lester have been doing. In some ways it seems that they have been screwing with the officers more than us! It’s really quite insane.
So I was addressing many of the issues and all of the staff members couldn’t really do anything but just look at me—whether they wanted to openly admit it or not they knew they agreed with everything I said. G.T. had occupied the other side of the rec. cage with me and frustrated with the staff’s lack of response he launched into an impassioned protest speech. Just then the SWAT team arrived in full riot gear. I was hand-cuffed and promptly conducted a sit-in direct action. Sometimes you have to sit down to stand up to show that you and others are refusing to give in to oppression. I didn’t immediately comply with the order to move to my side so the Riot Team leapt upon me with force. Most engaged in proper procedure but there will always be a sad, cowardly imbecile or two—one SWAT team member shoved my face into the rough concrete so hard that my face bled and another jammed the cuffs into my wrists so hard that there are still deep bruises encircling them. I was placed into the emergency carrier and carried back to my cell while giving a protest speech the entire time. G.T. conducted a sit-in behind me and did the same. Solidarity is lovely! And with that said, I’ll sign off…
In the Spirit of Tahir:
* My Offender Participant Statement from the 5.9.11 direct action is posted below:
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Use Of Force Report
Offender Participant Statement
a. Name: Robert Will TDCJ#: 999402
b. Date force was used: 5.9.11
c. What happened before the UOF that may have caused officers to use force?
The Administration caused this UOF. The main problem is the new counter productive attitude the Administration—particularly Major Smith and Warden Lester—have created (counter productive to inmates and TDCJ interests).
d. Where were you when the force was used on you?
12 FF outside rec. yard.
e. What kind of force did staff use on you?
Major UOF was utilized—staff wrestled me to the ground and then carried me back to my cell.
f. If you think staff should not have used force on you, or they used too much force, explain why:
No, staff should not have used force. They should have congratulated me for having Honor, Integrity, and standing up for what’s right.
g. Did the force used on you leave marks on you or cause injury?
If “yes”, what are the marks or injuries?
Severe bruising on my wrists, a scrape on my face, several light scrapes on my knees, small bruise on my shoulder.
Once again I have participated in a major UOF and it is so very inspiring! Another offender engaged in yet another UOF as well. Why? Because of oppression—that is the only word that can be used to describe what has been going on around here, OPPRESSION. And the root cause: Major Smith and Warden Lester. Why have they caused a record number of UOF and staff assaults? Why? It is thoroughly counterproductive to TDCJ-CID policy. It seems that they are on some type of outrageous egomaniacal warpath that is thoroughly unjustifiable. This all happened out of nowhere, no inmates did anything. We simply want to be left alone. Death Row used to be known as one of the most calm and ‘laid back’ places in the Texas prison system. Oppressive staff members, administration, changed this! They’ve created these problems. None of the staff members, from the Lieutenants on down, want to enforce the asinine policies. Why have Major Smith and Warden Lester caused all of these problems to happen? Why have they been viciously and violently assaulting us physically and psychologically? (As many academics have noted psychological violence is many times more harmful than physical violence.) We just want to be left alone. I hope the officials reviewing this will go to www.drivemovement.org and www.freerobwill.org and take the time to read about our perspective and understand what is going on. Much of the information and writings haven’t been posted yet but they will be up in a week or two. And on a personal level I am here for a crime I did not commit. Imagine how that feels! Yes, yes, I know that a large percentage of people in prison are quite frankly full of shit, but I have never lied to staff members. (I don’t lie in general.) Feel free to read up on my case, a capital murder of a police officer case, on my website. I don’t belong here, so I think I feel the oppression of this place more deeply than others. And it bothers me that even people who are guilty are being viciously attacked. It’s wrong. Guys just want to be left alone. Yes, there are some sorry ass people here (child molesters, rapists, etc.) but there are also guys who made some very bad mistakes, stupid mistakes and regret it deeply. Ninety-eight per cent of guys here haven’t ever been violent or assaultive towards staff nor do they bother staff. The easily could though. Think about that for a minute. There are many killers here and I know this from talking to them, the vast majority regret their actions and never want to harm anyone ever again. They just want to be left alone to be calm. Even though this environment—by its nature—attacks them viciously on a daily basis, they still remain calm and unproblematic. This is what people want. But this new rise of oppression is forcing people to protest. And it’s not going to stop. All tactics have been utilized against us, and when people are desperate they will fight and fight and fight. There is nothing to lose anymore. The new rise of oppression vastly overshadows the pitiful little things such as commissary and short non-contact visits that we are given on Level I. “Level I is trash” is the new saying that is circulating. Will you allow this situation to increase and get worse for both inmates and officers or will you help put a stop to it?
In the hope that TDCJ-CID Admin officials will do the moral and right thing:
* D.R. used to have some of the absolute best conditions in all of the Texas prison system now we have the worst.WHY? The D.R. inmates haven’t done anything to deserve this. And once again this is bad for all of the lower level staff members as well.
* Why are we treated the same as g.p. Ad Seg yet probably 90% of the guys here on D.R. wouldn’t qualify as Ad Seg if they were on G.P.? If a person receives a Life Sentence for capital murder he is treated completely different than someone on D.R. (This is actually illegal.)
* 7:12 PM: This is a pitiful shame, an inmate upstairs just assaulted an officer; an inmate who, for about 7 years of being here, has never assaulted staff until this recent rise of oppression. Major Smith and Warden Lester did this. Will you allow it to keep occurring? Please don’t!!