Why I am calling for an international day of action on Juneteenth!
“The plantation system in the American South no longer exists in its earlier historical form. The wage system of the North clearly established its hegemonic position over its competitor after the Civil War. However, the fundamental issue the abolitionists raised—the matter of slavery and slave society—was not only never resolved, but has been normalized, legalized, and expanded. We see that the most egregious institutions of the 18th century are replicated in the 21st century in remarkably similar forms with similar effects.”
-excerpt from the Black Struggle, on page 6 of the booklet: Burn Down the American Plantation, published by the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement
Peace and blessings sisters and brothers! I read a quote the other day by an anonymous author and I’d like to share it with you: “Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s okay. You’re here to live your life, not to make everyone understand.” Nevertheless, as we organize for our Juneteenth rallies, protests, celebrations, and direct actions I want to make all of you understand “Why” I have made this “call to action”.
In Texas, at the very end of the MAAFA (Black Holocaust) slave owners didn’t want to release their slaves! It was too profitable. In fact, many slave owners had erected elaborate obstacles which kept the news of “emancipation” from reaching the ears of slaves in Texas. Many of our ancestors just kept toiling away in the fields because “Massa” wouldn’t tell them they were free!
I see the similarities between what happened then as compared to what is happening now! Not just in Texas but all over the world, humyn beings are being exploited and abused by capitalist and imperialist systems of government. Since I am trapped in Texas prisons, I am most familiar with their sophisticated form of exploitation. Texas government created a “shell company” known as T.C.I, also known as Texas Correctional Industries. The business model is successful and grosses approximately $89 million a year! Its labor force is made up of prisoners who work in numerous factories throughout the state in prisons that are operated and supervised by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (sic!). Prisoners are paid nothing!
The Texas government has assembled a Board to supervise the day to day operations of the prison agency (T.D.C.J.) and the lucrative business model (T.C.I.). The Board is hand-picked by the Governor. The current Chairman of the Board is a black man and a highly accomplished Uncle Tom boot licker named Dale Wainwright. The rest of the Board is made up of individuals who all have close ties to capitalist businesses. What I want you to know is that the Texas Board of Criminal Justice has the power and authority to create rules and policies that would open the door to wages being paid to prisoners who toil in these factories. But why do that? Slavery is good! REMEMBER SISTERS AND BROTHERS “POWER CONCEDES NOTHING WITHOUT A DEMAND!”
So, I will tell you that one of the reasons I am calling for an international day of protest is to address the reality of slave labor. Slave labor is not something unique to Texas, although many of us feel as if Texas has perfected the “slave model”. We see similar programs of oppression in Alabama, Florida, and even California, as we watch prisoners fight wild fires for next to nothing. They are risking their lives to save lives and property of people who don’t care enough about them to pay them a reasonable wage for their work and sacrifice! STOP FIGHTING FIRES FOR PENNIES! YOUR LIFE MATTERS!
However, the call for Juneteenth Protests, Rallies, and Direct Actions is much bigger than just the prison abolition issue. And don’t you dare to speak out against the establishment “boy” or “girlie” or we will criminalize you, silence your voice, and if need be, assassinate you!” For those in the “movement” they know I am not lying—case in point, Colin Kaepernick!
Colin silently made a stand for Black Lives, by taking a knee, and then a group of white supremacists led by the President of the United States decided it would conspire to “black-ball” Colin and keep him from earning a living! I ask that you don’t try to divorce the motivating factor of anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism from our Juneteenth message. A bigoted group of NFL owners has formed a billionaire’s good old boys club in order to intimidate black NFL players and to send a not so silent message: “Keep your mouth shut ‘boys’ and just do what I’m paying you to do, you filthy ‘sons of bitches’. You want to know why I’m calling for Juneteenth protests? Well, I’m going to tell you! Although, some may not like what they hear.
I’m calling for Juneteenth protests, in order, to address the absolute failure of the U.S. government to address the plight of the “dreamers”. How can we not create a realistic pathway to citizenship for these humyn beings? But, then I take a hard look at Donald Trump and his U.S. Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions and I see the cloak of the Ku Klux Klan and the burning cross on our lawn! Yes! I will tell you why I’m calling for Juneteenth protests! I’m standing in solidarity with every Latina and Latino who is having their families torn apart by this racist and discriminatory immigration policy!
There is implicit bias and prejudice in the court system and it is not just here in Amerika. Courts and judges as well as the police and prisoners all over the world have engaged in a conspiracy to TARGET people of color! I’ve specifically looked at the Ministry of Prisons, in the United Kingdom. These prisons are beginning to overflow with Pakistanis, Africans, and poor English and Irish beings!
In Amerika, we are all too familiar with the track records of the police. And then in Parkland, Florida we see something which bolsters the argument that the police are only interested in protecting the lives and property of the rich or capitalist elite. But when the lives of ‘common folk’ are at risk they stand idly by like cowards while children are slaughtered like sheep! So, the question presents itself: “Who do the police really ‘protect and serve’?
So, yes! Juneteenth protests are about shedding a discerning light on the corrupt and racist courts and police agencies in Amerika and beyond!
And what of the environment? Our planet? Clean air? Clean water? If free citizens fight for clean and safe drinking water supplies and still don’t receive it! How do you think prisoners fair when facing a system, which refuses to even acknowledge them? If it wasn’t for the campaign, which seeks to Fight Toxic Prisons, I don’t think the Environmental Protection Agency would have even considered its new implementation of the EJ Screen as a tool to examine the impact that environmental hazards have on imprisoned populations. Things are absolutely crazy in Texas. In 2015, Professor Victor Wallis and I collaborated, in order to craft an Ombudsman Complaint. This complaint addresses the presence of high levels of arsenic in the water supply, at the Pack I Unit located in Navasota, Texas. I can tell you that the prison agency T.D.C.J. along with maintenance personnel on the Unit, with employees from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) all conspired to lie and say that “there are no traces of arsenic in the Pack I water supply.” In June 2016 a federal judge named Keith P. Ellison issued a finding that the water at the Pack I Unit contained 2- 41/2 times the allowed amount of Arsenic! And now I release to the public the actual response from the TDCJ Ombudsman office, where you can clearly see a conspiracy exists to violate the Humyn and Civil Rights of Texas prisoners by fabricating lies about conditions inside slave kamps and gulags!
You want to know why I’m calling for Juneteenth protests? I’ll tell you why! It is to recognize the struggles of my sisters and brothers at Standing Rock and to highlight the inadequacy of a government, which has still not fixed the problem in Flint, Michigan and to protest the impotent and lack-luster response to the humyn beings in Texas, who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey!
FEMA is a corrupt and failed agency, who was more interested in hunting down undocumented workers than meetings the needs of the communities who really needed help and who still need help to recover from unprecedented natural disaster!
There will be no utopian anarchist or socialist society without a planet to live on! Juneteenth is about saving our planet! Don’t say I didn’t articulate my point!
And what about the abuse of wimmin? What about the demonization of the LGBTQ community? I’m not shutting up! Wimmin don’t need a man to protect them! That is not why I’m speaking out! But what happens when the system of checks and balances is so broken that when a womyn does scream “No!” or cries “Foul!” that the courts, the police, the media, which have a strong undercurrent of patriarchy and misogynistic tendencies ignores their voice of protest?
And what happens when the President of the United States is the leader of a movement, which seeks to silence our voices? His mantra: “Profits by any means and shut all dissenting voices down!” Mr. President you think we all stupid, don’t you? Hope Hicks goes in front of the Russia Probe Committee and tells the truth that she has lied to protect you! And then you conveniently force her out and have your press officer say her leaving had nothing to do with her testimony! We aren’t as stupid as you think!
You want to know why I’m calling for Juneteenth protests? It is a beginning of our organizing and actions to finally confront this filthy, rotting carcass of a system you call capitalism! I don’t have the influence to get everyone to get on board and act on Juneteenth, but don’t say I didn’t tell the world what this is about. Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, the genocide of the Palestinian people and the humyn rights disaster of the Rohingya Muslims who suffer in refugee camps in Bangladesh. This is a call to action to all socialists, communists, anarchists, freedom fighters to include Antifa, black bloc, and all progressive and revolutionary New Afrikans! United we stand divided we fall! Fascists must be defeated!
Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people!
Keith “Malik” Washington is a co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign. You can view his work at comrademalik.com or you can write him directly at Keith “Comrade Malik” Washington, 1487958, Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Rd. 1, Lovelady, Texas 75851.