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Letter from Akili

August 11, 2006

Dear 4strugglemag folks…

I just finished the last issue of 4struggle, and it seems the printed version is growing by leaps and bounds.

The purpose of this quick note is to make a suggestion. I noticed a couple of the articles hit on a common dilemma we politicized prisoners of conscious seem to have. The main questions are how do we fit into the struggle to support PP/POWs? What should our role be? What’s expected of us? Also, How do we settle and come to terms with the new contradictions living and growing up in these times present? What I mean is for us, the “hip hop generation,” to use a catch phrase, the need for struggle or (better yet) the avenues for struggle have been somewhat buried under a mountain of illusory success, gold chains, big houses, endorsement deals worth millions of dollars, etc. etc. The hip hop culture as screwed as it is by big corporations is now the driving force of amerikan commerce, so of course it’s the driving force of everything that goes with that: oppression, dope, capitalism, war, etc etc.

My question is, how would you feel about doing a hip hop issue, or section where we can juxtapose hip hop’s role and our job as members of the hip hop generation and PPOC/POCs. You could set it off by asking 3 or so questions in the next issue. I would suggest something like:

1. How has hip hop influenced consciousness of the hip hop generation?
2. Does the Hip Hop Generation have a role in struggle today? What is it?
3. What should PPOC/POCs be doing, or how should we he using hip hop to bridge the gap and support PP/POWs?

That will give some of the brothers and sisters time to collect their thoughts and send in some articles, poems, etc. The point is that we are losing our true leadership. You cats aren’t getting any younger, sitting in these hell holes and the system is constantly mouthing into new forms of keeping PP/POWs off the streets and out of the limelight.

For example here on the doc of the bay – they just implemented a system now where they’ve taken all the old solid cats like Hugo and others who’ve been struggling, fighting, and not bending, breaking, or cracking, for all those years under the worst conditions the state can offer, all while still educating the next generation like myself, and stuck them in 3 or 4 units away from the rest of the population in the SHU. So now you’ve got isolation, in isolation, in isolation. They’ve created a super SHU, within the SHU to deliberately keep the older guys away from the younger ones. No guidance. No leadership. No experience. So what do you think will happen – all we have to do is look at our communities for the answer! Chaos, petty criminals pretending to be leaders, etc. etc.

Not to mention the fact that the rallies, the world wide marches, the petitions to the UN…and all the asking for justice from an unjust system, government…isn’t going to, hasn’t been working by itself. Someone…a group of someone’s have to begin to take up the mantle of responsibility just as the PP/POWs did for us, and address the need for liberation of all illegally held prisoners of war and political prisoners, with direct action. This is the type of direction the politicized prisoners of conscious and prisoners of conscious need to receive. This is the message hip hop must begin to send. I think a good place to start is with 4struggle, by opening up that dialogue…and a section on the role of hip hop and PPOC/POCs who are part of the hip hop generation will do that just fine.

Strength and continued courage,

Akili (Aron Castlin)
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532 USA

Editor’s note

4strugglemag welcomes and endorses Akili’s suggestion. Political prisoners are a very small part of the overall 2 12 million prisoners in America today. We of course continue to stand for the revolutionary principles, morality and struggle our lives are dedicated to, and we will continue to contribute as we can.

There are thousands upon thousands of revolutionary minded prisoners, “Prisoners of Conscious and Political Prisoners of Conscious (POC, PPOC)” as Akili names them, within prisons across America today. The majority of these people are young men and women of color and they are and will be, the leaders, thinkers and actors in the coming wave of survival and liberation struggle.

The three questions Akili proposed are a good starting point for a wide discussion, for both prisoners and people outside. 4strugglemag will help facilitate this dialog by printing material we receive. This material can be a letter or essay, graphics, poetry or rhymes. We will reserve a section in the next issue (no. 8) to begin this discussion, and as it continues we can devote more space or an entire issue to this question.

Communicate to Educate-Educate to Liberate!

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