Voice from behind the walls: ‘I’m not imprisoned, I’m enslaved’

One of the main reasons I send this letter is because I have been reading Workers World for approximately the last four years, and I’m not sure if journalists at WW are aware that certain words/phrases may be misleading and/or unknowingly aid in keeping “prisoners” uninformed.

Prime example: The overseers use words like “Inmate Employment Office,” “Work Assignment,” “Hourly Wage,” “Raise,” “[no] Overtime Pay,” etc., to give the illusion that they see us as something other than slaves.

Even the words prison and prisoner are misnomers since approximately one-half century ago, their own experts advised that no new institutions for adults should be built, and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed. This is based on their finding that prisons, reformatories have achieved nothing but an overwhelming failure, and overwhelming evidence proves such institutions create crime rather than prevent it.

Labeling us “prisoners” misleads one to think there was some legitimate need for our “confinement” instead of showing it’s all about greed and economics. And it helps hide the fact that Lincoln never ended slavery; they simply remodeled plantations and renamed them penitentiaries.

I’m not imprisoned, I’m enslaved. I’m not in a prison, I’m on a plantation. We’re not just workers, we’re being worked.

And please understand, this letter is not an act of criticism; I only wished to show the words we choose to paint with determine whether the picture ends up being 2-D or 3-D.

I believe it was in one of your articles that it said: “This fight won’t be won in the courts, but instead it will be won in the streets,” or something to that effect and in line with what Audre Lorde said, “The Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house.”

And I understand that sometimes we have to articulate to people on the level they understand, but the masses likely don’t realize we’re slaves if the majority of “prisoners” don’t even recognize it.

I had to pull out the U.S. Constitution and show numerous “prisoners” before they would believe they’re slaves.

And Harriet Tubman said: “I could have helped free a lot more slaves if only I could have made them realize that they were slaves.”

Only when I realized that I was a slave did I become mentally free. Now these overseers will have to kill me before I pick any more cotton or build his pyramids.

Thank you for your attention in this matter and all the help you provide in giving a voice to the voiceless.

Sincerely in Solidarity,

Abdul Elshabazz

SCI Rockview, Pennsylvania

Simple Share Buttons

Share this
Simple Share Buttons