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)
Published here too.