Struggle


STRUGGLE

To live, to fight for what you believe in, to fight for what you have coming to you. To overcome adversity, to eliminate all distractions and to remove self-destructive influences from your life. To fight for your freedom.

To survive, to resist, to become stronger under dire circumstances, to revolutionize and politicize your mind while confined behind enemy lines. To fight against enemies who are more powerful than you, with no fear in your heart and no doubt in your mind.

To oppose the oppressive elements of the system, to oppose government and all elements of authority and power, while building yourself up, educating yourself and putting your knowledge into practice. To achieve self-discipline. To organize yourself and your people, even under the most extreme circumstances and to make solid connections with serious comrades, that will lead to uplifting movements.

Struggle is being able to maintain a sense of confidence while living under the most despairing situations, it’s being able to stand your ground no matter what, it’s being able to maintain a sense of self, while moving with purpose. Struggle is being able to move forward while striving against great odds.

Struggle is life and life is struggle. It’s what makes us stronger, it’s what makes us intelligent, it’s what makes us grow inside. There’s nothing like struggle, there’s nothing greater than achieving the things you’ve set your mind on, there’s nothing like helping your people rise up. Struggle is an essential to life.

El Coyote
E.S.P. 2007

Strategy and Power


Here another part of a Zine by Coyote.

Strategy and Power

Knowledge is power but for anarchists it’s the essence of life. In a prison cell I sit, hungry for knowledge, but not power. My enemies are powerful, so to stay on my toes I have to be as smart, or smarter, than them. There are a lot of people in prison who are naturally intelligent but do not seem to realize or understand the depth of their intelligence because they have been caught in the system for so long. The system is oppressive to growth and intelligence. But even under these oppressive circumstances we can still grow inside, both intellectually and spiritually. In fact, it’s usually in the confinements of a cell that many prisoners eventually take the time and effort to awaken the intelligence inside of them. Usually this is done as a mean to survival, because keeping the mind keen and c1ear of destructive thoughts or illusions is indeed a way to resists the psychological oppression that prisoners often go through in isolation.

In my essay “The Importance of Resistance”, I briefly mentioned how a lot of prisoners study books on power, warfare and strategy only to end up using that knowledge on other prisoners. I would like to expand on that in this essay.

It is important that oppressed people and imprisoned people take the time to study strategy. It is even more important that we study and learn strategy as a mean to protect ourselves against corrupted people’s manipulations and deceptions, but not to become corrupted ourselves and not to manipulate or deceive.

As prisoners we are a powerless people. In these maximum security prisons they’ve got us confined to these cells, we don’t have power over anybody but ourselves. A lot of prisoners are under the impression that being powerful is to maintain power over other people which in truth only contributes to a “self-destructive mentality.”

As an anarchist I don’t buy’ into the concept of power and control. I am being held in prison against my will because of my enemies’ power and control, so I know first-handedly that when people are given a position of power over other people, their power is abused and used to control and oppress. The only type of power that I strive for is self-empowerment. Self-empowerment is the only type of power that does not corrupt.

To learn strategy is learning how to survive. This is important in these dark corners of incarceration because most of us have inadvertently been trained to believe that we can’t trust each other and that we have to survive by any means and that’s their best strategy against us because it keeps us divided and conquered, under their oppression.

If you’re locked down, confined and with nothing in your cell, studying strategy would be a productive way to pass your time. Even if you have appliances in your cell you should still try to find the time to study up on different strategies, because these are essential studies for anyone who desires to engage in resistance.

Study strategy, practice what you’ve learned, memorize and recite these lessons everyday and you will soon become one of the most cunning and strategic prisoners around. Just be sure to use this knowledge for the means of arming yourself and protecting yourself from other’s deceptions and for the means of uplifting yourself and others and be careful not to let this knowledge corrupt you or make you scandalous.

Life in prison is a struggle. A lot of us are living real foul and doing “hard time” in here.
Some of us don’t have friend and family on the outside to send us money to buy food and hygiene products, so we are forced to hustle or go without. It’s situations like these that turn a lot of us out, as we become unprincipled; doing scandalous deeds; being manipulative and dishonest just to make ends meet.

It’s cool to have a hustle and to make money, but you’ll get farther and feel better about yourself if you use creativity to make money rather than having to “be slick” just to get by. There are all kinds of hustles a prisoner can get going for himself if his head is in the right place and if he stands by his principles as a “convict.” We shouldn’t have to be forced to associate with rapists, child molesters, snitches and P.c. – just to get by in here, we shouldn’t have to be slick or dishonest just to make a couple of bucks.

It’s better to have integrity than to live foul. People will get farther in life by keeping it real with themselves and with whoever they decide to associate with. These locked down situations are sucking the life out of us and depriving us of our ability to socialize.
They’re trying to strip us of our souls in these graveyards. There’re trying to decimate our minds, alter our senses and crush our hearts in here, to the point that we don’t know who we are, what we’re living for, or where we’re going with our lives. We are living in devastating circumstances. We can’t let them get us like that, we can’t forget who we are, we have to really get in touch with who we are or else we will end up letting them determine that for us. We can’t let them determine who we are. We have to know ourselves.

I know what I live for, what I aim for, what I struggle for. I know what I’m striving for and believe me, it’s not power! Every day that I am alive is another day of resistance and every breath I breathe is an act of resistance. We are all struggling the same, but we’re not struggling together. There are too many amongst us who are motivated by greed, power, materialism and corruption, causing others to take up the same attitude and behavior just to protect ourselves in this somewhat primal environment, and it is destroying us.

When it comes down to it, we don’t have control over anybody but ourselves and the only time someone has control over us is when we let them have that control. Control is nothing. Power is nothing. There are more important things in life. Let us stop this madness, instead of trying to control other people’s thoughts and actions, let us start trying to take control of our own lives …

(written by Coyote)

Solitary Enslavement


By Coyote

…. We sit in these cells like dead bodies sit in cemeteries. Death fills our lungs, fills our minds, fills our hearts and fills our souls as it lurks and lingers and seeps through the concrete. Our minds go numb and our spirits fade into inactivity. We sit here waiting to waste away, erode, dissolve, and disappear into the cracks of the cement.

Solitary confinement. What an evil concept, what a wicked notion, what a clever way to destroy a man without even laying a finger on him. Solitary confinement — the murderer of minds, hearts, and souls. The person who designed such an evil conception must’ve had murder on his mind and hate in his heart.

We die alone in these cold cells, as our hands stretch out to clutch concrete, but fail miserably to hold anything in their grasp other than the death-stenched air. We die alone — a lonely, miserabIe, suffering death. We die alone….

Buried Alive


They’ve got us confined to these cells, where we are intellectually suffocating, in desperate need of literature, books, love, compassion and support. Being in this graveyard is like walking down an endless, dark tunnel, with no end, no light, no hope in sight, trapped in a box with no visible exit. We have to be soldiers in these circumstances where the means of survival go beyond guerrilla warfare: this is a battlefield for the mind.

Looking at my situation, I see myself confined, locked down in the darkest layers of a dungeon cell, surrounded by animals: human animals. Animals who were once human, but who have been stripped of their sanity, and who have no control over their own mental capacity. These beasts have lost their souls and there’s nothing nobody can do about it, and they try to inflict their insanity upon me so that I can be miserable like them. Call it paranoia, but I feel like the administration has intentionally put these sick motherfuckers next to me, above me and around me, just so they can show me what type of ‘weirdo’ they want me to be; what type of sick monster they want me to become.

But on the contrary, the more I’m subjected to these miserable “mind-torturers”, the more love I have for myself, and the more I love myself the more I hate these pigs, ‘cuz I see what they’re trying to do to me. I strive to be stronger, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. The harder I strive, whether it be for strength, for unity, for solidarity, or even self-education, it seems, or feels like the more these pigs are trying to knock me to my knees. They try to knock me down and tear me apart, they try to tear my soul apart, my mind, they try to tear me apart from friends, family, comrades and fellow convicts. This is how I feel as these walls seem to close in on me, I feel like these pigs are trying to destroy me, I feel like they’re trying to bury me alive in this graveyard.

We sit here and rot in these chambers of torture, designed to murder our wills, break our hearts, devour our spirits and bury us in our own agony, in attempts of transforming us into animals like the weirdoes who are caged in the cells next to us, above us, and all around us.
So many youngsters get locked up in this foul ass system, and it seems like consciousness has died in the hearts and minds and spirits of many of the incarcerated youth. There’s no inspiration, no direction, no worthy cause to believe in, no reason for them to come together and settle their disputes, no reason to put their guards down and unite. I don’t see it, I don’t feel it, except in my own heart. People around here are lost, confused, mislead, and it’s a tragedy.

I want to encourage the prisoners at Ely State Prison who read this to start studying the law and find ways to buck the system, beat and cheat the system that’s beating and cheating you. Study anything you can study, whatever interests you. I want to encourage prisoners to start taking true strides to pick themselves up, to move forward, to better themselves, and to buck the system that contains you and holds you captive to this ongoing madness. I want to encourage prisoners to start turning their televisions off at least twice a week and spend the day reading, studying and writing. Do something to benefit and strengthen your mind. Do something to benefit and strengthen your position in life. Just ‘cuz they’ve got our bodies held captive, doesn’t mean we should let them hold our minds captive. Once we start taking serious strides to improve ourselves and improve our conditions, once we start doing something real with our time, then we can start doing something real with our lives.

Because they’re trying to bury us alive in these graveyards, leaving us to sit alone in these suffocating cells until our mind goes crazy, deteriorates, or until we are so messed up that all we can think about is murder, violence and revenge, because that’s what this long-term isolation does to us, if we let it.

I’m still alive, in good spirits and my mind is intact, so I must be doing something right. They try to knock me down, but I’m still standing. I have one mind, one heart and they can’t strip me of my soul, I’m too strong for that. The more they try to break my will, the stronger I have to be. It’s all about resistance, it’s all about keeping the mind, body and spirit in good shape. I’m sitting here doing things, elevating and educating myself, engaging others, talking and listening and there are people in here like me, just trying to maintain their existence. We’re living it the only way we know how. I live in struggle and I struggle to live, and this all I know! They want to bury me alive, but I’m plotting on ways to take that shovel out of their hands and beat them over the head with it! That’s what’s happening.

From the depths of this darkness,
Coyote
Ely State Prison, Nevada

For letters of encouragement, please send letters to Coyote:

Coyote Sheff #55671
P.O. Box 1989 Ely,
Nevada 89301-1989

Blood in the sky


In prison I’ve died and rose again. Becoming the phoenix of my own creation, the Frankenstein of my own mind, facing a new battle, a new challenge, every single day, dying over and over again, just to keep rising, like the sun in the sky, who are both blood, in my eye and what I see is what they say, as they relate to each other, each and every day.

This is poetry for the imprisoned, written by the imprisoned body of a man whose mind is free when the sun rises, so do I, when the sun sets why does it leave its blood in the sky? Challenge me, I’ll honor you, betray me and I’ll always remember who you are, just like a scar on my heart, but that’s what they mean when they say time is art.

I´d rather see blood in the sky, than the blood of the land, but I only say that ‘cuz I’ve washed all the blood off my hands. no god, no master, what a beautiful disaster that would, could and should be. Will it be something that I’ll ever live to see and will it be something better than all of the misery and poverty that I’ve already seen?

Picture a snake, shedding its skin. Picture a caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly, try to remember the beginning and then, try to picture the end. Picture a picture in a paragraph. Picture a paragraph that made you cry, yell or laugh. What does it feel like to feel? Does it feel like freedom?

In prison I’ve died and tried again. I’ve lied and flied again. I´d hide and decide again; that it was time to ride and then ride again and with all my might I´d fight again and because I’ve done it before I might again, as the day turns to night again and if this is a dream I’m living in, then whose fight am I fighting in? Whose dream am I dying in? Again and again? But here I am, to begin again, as the blood dries in the sky, like the tears from my eyes, again I rise, still I rise, what a pleasant surprise.

EL COYOTE
ABC – NEVADA PRISON CHAPTER
ELY STATE PRISON
MAY 29TH 2007

E.S.P.: The Basic Rundown


Ely State Prison is a so-called maximum security prison that was opened in 1989 out in the middle of nowhere, outside of a small miner’s town called Ely, Nevada. This prison is surrounded by the mountains of Nevada’s Great Basin. There are mountains on all sides of this prison. It is very secluded and a four hour drive to any of the nearest major cities.

There are eight units in this prison (not including the infirmary and the camp that sits outside of the prison) and all but one unit is locked down. When I came here in 1998 for battery on a correctional officer, this prison was still opened up, or less restricted I should say.

Units 1, 2, 3,and 4 are all disciplinary segregation units, also known as “the hole”. There are 2 wings on each unit. “A-wing” and “B-wing”. There is a control pod in between each wing (In ESP everybody calls the control pod “the bubble”). The officer in the control pod can monitor both wings and communicate with us (or eavesdrop on us) through the intercom.

Unit 3A houses all death row inmates, they get to come out together, in sections, for tier time and group yard (12 men at a time). Unit 3B is “the hole” or disciplinary segregation unit, that houses death row inmates who are doing “hole time” (or “D.S. time”). and death row inmates who are on protective custody status, and it also houses some of the regular inmates (non-death row) who are doing hole time.

All throughout these different disciplinary segregation units there are protective custody inmates, jail house snitches, and psych-patients housed on the same tiers as inmates who come back here from general population to do their hole time. This creates a weird atmosphere and a funny-style environment.

Units 5, 6, 7, and 8 are all considered General Population (“G.P.”), but unit 8 is the only unit 8 at is open. Unit 8 inmates get tier time and they all get to come out together on the big yard. Most of those inmates are allowed to have jobs that support and uphold the operations of the prison. They get to work in the kitchen, in the laundry, on yard labor crews, some are allowed jobs as barbers who come to the different units and cut the inmates’ hair.

Units 5, 6, and 7 were once General Population units, but now that this prison is slammed down I call it “General Populockdown”. We are allowed a few extra “privileges” and accommodations that we can’t get in the hole. Like, for example, we can wear our blues (in the hole we are only allowed t-shirts, socks, boxers, and an orange jumpsuit). We can order hobby craft and get items oft the commissary that we can’t buy in the hole. In order to get out of the hole and go to General Populockdown, the caseworkers say that we have to find a cellie. You have to have someone to live with. Someone that you will be locked down with in the cell for 23 hours a day. lts crazy. This place is a joke.

In the 10 years l’ve been here, I’ve seen this place go from bad to worse. Slowly but surely, they’ve taken so many things away from us and they’re creating an even more hopeless situation for us. Every time things change around here, they always change for the worst.

This is just a basic rundown of what its like here at E.S.P. right now. But there’s been widespread rumors that things are about to change in October of this year (2008). The rumors have it that they’re going to shut down unit 8 and bring in campers from the outside to work the inmate jobs that keep the prison functioning. If these rumors are true, its gonna be all bad for all of us. No hope, just misery.

Coyote
E.S.P.
August 2008

Prisons


Note: We will be publishing a series of (parts of) Zines from Coyote on here. Prisons is another one he sent us. These writings form part of “an impressive collection of writings and artwork created by incarcerated persons from all over the United States. All of these zines are published and distributed by Rayson through his South Chicago ABC Zine Distro.”

Anthony´s collection can be visited, on the DePaul University website (here you can view all titles in the collection of Anarchist and other writings). Thank you Anthony.

Prisons are not here to help us. Prisons are not here to rehabilitate. US prisons do not stop, deter, or prevent crime and they never will. The people in power can continue to lock people up and they can keep building more prisons and crime is still going to happen, because we live in an unbalanced world. Everybody wants to be in control, everybody wants to be able to control other peoples’ opinions, actions, and options. Nobody wants to break away and take control of their own lives.

It doesn’t matter whether we are in or out of prison. The way we are living as people is foul. If you are in prison, however, then you have the opportunity to really sit back and think about things. Whether you take advantage of that opportunity or not, is up to you. We can sit back and think about revolution, freedom, life, and death. We can sit back and think about creation and destruction. We can use this time to destroy our old ways of thinking and reconstruct new ways of thinking and new ways of living in the world.

Prison has no place in this society because there are as many criminals in this society as there are in prison. Even the people in power can be considered criminals. What kind of people are they who let the poor suffer while the rich get richer? What kind of people are they who value money more than another person’s life? The people in power get to define the meaning of a criminal only because they are the people in power. I could tell you that the people in power are as criminal as I am, but it wouldn’t matter because I am in prison and they are in power. What they decide to do with their power will never be in my best interests because who am I but a prisoner? What the people in power do with their power will rarely be in the best interests of the people, because who are they but powerless people?

So, they leave us with two options: we can be powerful or we can be powerless. We can have or we can have-not. Of course, everybody is going to try to be a person of power and the ones who don’t are going to be the ones who end up getting controlled by the people who have power. In this way, we conflict with each other as we strive for power.

All the while, the people who really have all the power benefit from our conflicts, because they’re the ones who control our options. As long as we give them that control, they are going to do whatever they want with their power, whether we like it or not.

This is what I think about while I´m in prison, but one should not have to be in prison to think about these things. I should not be in prison, because this prison should not be here. Think about that…..

From a cell, I salute you!

El Coyote 2007
Ely State Prison
Anarchist Black Cross
Prison Chapter

Note: Here’s a revolutionary idea: “Lets hear what ´the scum of the earth’ have to say!”