Opening Page Winter 2002-3
A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature
Prison Poets Issue
Vol. 18, No. 3
13261, Detroit, MI USA 48213-0261
email: firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 1094-9399
All the poems, short prose pieces and drawings in this issue of Struggle are by inmates of the American prison system. The fundamental cause of what we call crime is the economic and social (including racial) inequality enforced by the bloodsucking capitalist economic system. Despite technology capable of providing for everyone, capitalism never provides life-sustaining jobs for all its subjects. Additionally, the state machinery (governmental bureaucracy, police, courts, armed forces, etc.) brutally enforces the rule of wealth. Especially in the last 20 years, during Republican and Democratic administrations alike, hundreds of thousands of Black, Latino and other youth have been convicted on dubious grounds and/or over-sentenced to long terms for relatively minor offenses. DNA testing has been exposing many wrongful convictions for Death Row crimes. The criminal justice system is revealing its criminal class nature. At the same time, the big-time criminals in the White House are planning mass murder in a war for oil. This Prison Poets issue is timely.
Our prisoner-writers do not aspire to crime. They have taken hold of their lives, reflected deeply on the nature of capitalist society, and become rebels. The variety and subtlety of their poetic voices is remarkable. They write from Death Row, from maximum security, from under all the repression the system can bring. Their language is firm, clear, bold -- it moves you. They are rebellious subjects whose very existence refutes the academic post-modernist lie of the impossibility of rebellion.
Various political trends contend among them. Some believe in the lumpen-proletarian line which exalts the hustler and cannot see the revolutionary potential of the working class. Many are moving toward a proletarian class opposition to rapacious capitalism and imperialism. One calls for "Maoist internationalists" but the writer is clearly calling for Marxist socialism, not Maoist state-capitalism. Some of the writers -- and many other prisoner-readers of Struggle -- are asking for revolutionary literature.
A new seed is germinating whose growth will bring down the prison walls.
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I wish to thank those readers whose generosity has made it possible for Struggle to continue for another issue. However, we remain in financial difficulty and continue to need subscriptions and contributions.
By Tim Hall
"Arrested me for murder, an I ain't harmed a man
Arrested me for forgery, an I cain't even write my name…."
-- Furry Lewis, Memphis blues man, 1920's
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