Before I proceed, we can all concede to the fact that there is a strong probability that the Willie Lynch letter is a hoax and that there exists no credible documented evidence that Willie Lynch even existed, though some claim Frederick Douglass once made reference to Willie Lynch. So not to get in a quagmire or distracted in the debate over the validity of the Willie Lynch letter, we can all unequivocally concede that within the context of that hoax letter there exist factual descriptions of some of the methods that were actually employed by slave masters and kolonialists across the country and the world. It is these documented methods that we call the Willie Lynch System.
I choose to use the title the Willie Lynch System to facilitate the content of this message with the hope of illuminating how these methods are being applied in the 21st century. These methods are still a functional stratagem within the ideology of kapitalism, though they are often inconspicuous within society. But within the prison industrial slave-complex, the 21st century plantation, these methods are magnified tenfold and the wardens serve as the slave masters overseeing their concrete plantations.
The slave masters had developed and executed a multitude of methods designed to preserve the proliferation and longevity of the genocidal slave system, and the wardens throughout the country have implemented a number of similar methods within their government-sanctioned concrete plantations, but my focus here is to briefly illustrate a method that was designed to discourage Black prisoners from relinquishing their criminal mentality and becoming New Afrikan Revolutionaries.
During the years of genocidal slavery, the slave master would identify the most rebellious and incorrigible Black slave and whip and beat him to death in front of all the other slaves as a vivid reminder of the severe consequences for resisting the will of the slave master. The warden overseers have incorporated a similar method, but a modified application to meet the new set of circumstances and goals, and the Prison Industrial Slave Complex is one of the leading pioneers in the advancement of the Willie Lynch System and methods.
Within the scope of their operational deployment, the execution aspects are less brutal, but brutal nonetheless, and just as effective. Within the realm of the Prison Industrial Slave Complex, the warden overseer and his/her agents – e.g., Office of Correctional Safety (OCS), Institutional Gang Investigations Unit (IGI), Investigative Services Unit (ISU) – identify those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners who they fear possess the potential to transform the Black criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality and place them (us) in solitary confinement and then subject them to a number of torturous tactics designed to both break our will and serve as a warning to discourage Black prisoners from making that transformation.
Wardens and their gang investigators identify those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners who they fear possess the potential to transform the Black criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality and place them (us) in solitary confinement and then subject them to a number of torturous tactics designed to both break our will and serve as a warning to discourage Black prisoners from making that transformation.
In order for us to fully grasp the significance of the modified application of the Willie Lynch System – based on our definition of the Willie Lynch System (WLS) – in the 21st century, we must first identify its present goal(s). During the era of genocidal slavery the slave masters employed the WLS to facilitate and guarantee the continuity of Afrikan slavery. The warden-overseers’ objective is similar. Their goal is to preserve the Black criminal mentality to guarantee Black recidivism to facilitate that path from the hood to prison.
This extremely rare photo, one of several just received by the Bay View, is of the cell of Abdul’s neighbor, Todd Ashker, in the Pelican Bay SHU, taken in July 2007. Describing this picture, Todd writes: “Front view of cell D1-119. The locked tray slot is where I get my food trays, mail etc.” Not only is the cell very small, but the lights are always on and, because the front wall is perforated steel, there is no privacy whatsoever. The outside wall is uninsulated, so the cell is freezing cold in winter. Todd has lived in a Security Housing Unit (SHU) for more than 25 years, since August 1986, and in the Pelican Bay SHU nearly 22 years, since May 2, 1990.
My people, we are losing thousands of our young people annually due to Black-on-Black gang violence and thousands monthly due to mass incarceration. Our communities are like factories producing raw commodities – human commodities – to fuel the PISC. We cannot effectively abolish the PISC (Prison Industrial Slave Complex) without addressing those conditions which are conducive towards fueling the PISC, such as Black-on-Black violence.
We can resolve the epidemic of violence and criminal survival in our communities without working with the pigs, government or the Prison Industrial Slave Complex. The New Afrikan Revolutionary Prisoners understand this crisis better than anyone and the warden overseers are aware of this and this explains their oppressive campaign against our New Afrikan Revolutionary Collective nationwide. Our isolation and the censoring of our voice and political views, as well as our torture, is designed to interfere with our endeavors to transform the Black criminal mentality.
My beloved people, it is critical to our success that we as a people understand the systems that we are up against. Our plans often fail because we lack a practical comprehension of that which oppresses us. Though we can concede that the Willie Lynch letter was a hoax, no one can deny the methods that were described in that hoax letter were factual. This is well documented and we need not have to debate with any 21st century house slaves to confirm the validity of these methods.
When our New Afrikan girls identify the White doll with beauty and the Black doll with ugly, this is clearly indicative of self-hate. There exist hundreds if not thousands of living examples that can and will confirm the validity of these methods described in the Willie Lynch letter. Though we are over a hundred years removed from genocidal slavery, we are still suffering the ramifications of an enslaved and tortured people. We have yet to fully recover. Just because many of our people have succeeded – according to their individual definition of success – does not negate the psychological effects or the existence of the methods employed by the slave masters that we now choose to call the Willie Lynch System.
During the years of slavery, there were over 2,000 documented Black slave masters, but this fact does not abrogate the fact that the U.S. system of genocidal slavery was a racist-based construct, and this is still applicable today. Our success or liberation will not be determined by the Negro Kapitalist, neo-Kolonialist upper and middle class. Our success and freedom will be determined by the New Afrikan oppressed under-Klass, not by a knee-grow minority, nor shall we allow the Black Kapitalist to define our truths and realities!
Before I end this text, it would be remiss of me to neglect to make the following declaration: It is imperative that we thoroughly understand that there exists a connection between the Prison Industrial Slave Complex and the ills that inflict our communities, such as gang violence, and that we can’t abolish the PISC without resolving those ills which are destabilizing our communities. This would necessitate a concerted effort.
We must support one another tangibly
We need to get past all the unnecessary feel-good rhetoric and begin to work on a pragmatic, practical and collective agenda designed to get the job done. Our support for one another must become more tangible, beyond hollow words. For example:
1) The Bay View must become the people’s voice. We spend – i.e., waste – money buying subscriptions to magazines that only promote Kapitalism with a Black face, such as Ebony, Essence and Black Enterprise – plantation periodicals. The Bay View speaks to our culture of resistance, justice and freedom. A voice for the unheard.
I am compelled to ask, when was the last time a subscription to Ebony, Essence or XXL saved the lives of our children? When was the last time spending over $100 for a pair of Nikes stopped Black-on-Black gang violence? When was the last time a $400 weave prevented teenage pregnancy or the spread of HIV/AIDS?
I ask, why are we so eager to invest our money into those things that are of no moral or cultural value – while allowing those things, such as the Bay View, that are of great value to go unfunded? Is this not a profile of a damned slave? The Willie Lynch letter may be a hoax but the methods are more real today than they were back then. We think and act as if we’re inferior, not our true selves. We have no sense of priority as a community, but we are quick to blame racism for our failure to act responsibly.
Why are we so eager to invest our money into those things that are of no moral or cultural value – while allowing those things, such as the Bay View, that are of great value to go unfunded? The Bay View must become the heart and soul of the New Afrikan Black underclass.
The Bay View must become the heart and soul of the New Afrikan Black underclass. We must mobilize our energy and resources to guarantee its longevity and pledge our support to Willie and Mary Ratcliff and Brotha JR in their endeavors to make the Bay View the heartbeat of the people’s movement and true New Afrikan egalitarianism.
The purpose of locking up 80,000 Americans in 8- by 10-foot coffins like this (this is the bunk/office area of Todd Ashker’s cell in the Pelican Bay SHU) is to terrorize all Americans into abandoning any effort or thought of rebelling against a system so powerful and cruel it buries living human beings this way for years and decades.
As I have always, I must ask: What have your eyes seen to wish to see no more? And what have your ears heard to wish to hear no more? Can deafness and blindness be our collective desire? Can you hear beyond your own voice, or see beyond your own vision? Have we become that mentally handicapped where we have lost our natural capacity to grasp our true sense of humanity? Have we fallen that far where we are no longer able to find our true self? What have we done for you to ask no more?
2) I ask, how serious are you about resolving the Black-on-Black gang violence, recidivism? Then you must go beyond just expressing your frustration. I encourage you to tap into the people’s think tank where we are committed to solving the problems that confront our communities.
At present we are developing a revolutionary think tank completely dedicated to building strong and self-sufficient communities. We are solution-oriented beyond hollow rhetoric and revolutionary slogans. This think tank will consist of New Afrikan (Black) community activists, New Afrikan scholars and students and New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners. Together we can and will make a positive difference.
Our revolutionary think tank is known as the Bunchy Carter Institute for Revolutionary Change (BCIRC). Our present goal is to get more community activists and students involved in the BCIRC.
The solutions and proposals we develop cannot serve our community trapped in this concrete hell with us. But the Bay View will serve as that bridge. Community activists, parents, students and youth can tap into this think tank via the Bay View. This is why it is imperative for our people and community to subscribe to the Bay View.
Let’s say an activist or parent is interested in addressing the gang issue in their community. They can send their question or concerns to the Bay View and this is why it is imperative for the community to support the Bay View, the only national newspaper that provides lifesaving and life-sustaining service to the New Afrikan community.
The solutions and proposals we develop cannot serve our community trapped in this concrete hell with us. But the Bay View will serve as that bridge. Community activists, parents, students and youth can tap into this think tank via the Bay View. This is why it is imperative for our people and community to subscribe to the Bay View, the only national newspaper that provides lifesaving and life-sustaining service to the New Afrikan community.
My people, we can’t keep living off the ancient glories of our ancestors. What form of pyramids are we going to leave behind? Our communities should become the pyramids of the 21st century and not the ruins of ancient past. As New Afrikan political prisoners and POWs and politically conscious prisoners will never capitulate to the trappings of the Willie Lynch System, but our light can and will shine much brighter if we connect as one for this common cause. I reiterate, we can’t keep blaming racism for our own failure to do what’s in our own best interest. I now bid you peace and solidarity.
Haki Kweli Shakur ATC NAPLA NAIM