Soledad Prison Riot w Amiri Baraka
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Soledad Prison Riot w Amiri Baraka

A while ago I spoke to a guy who had been in prison on September 11th, 2001, and we got to talking about conspiracy theories, and he told me some of those that he had heard on the “inside”. The strangest was that world powers (Russia, China, you get the idea) have all kinds of inter-continental ballistic missiles trained on the largest prisons in America. I asked him what the point was, but I couldn’t get a straight answer, on account of him feeling it was obvious. Conspiracy theories are a product of the culture which conceived them, and culture in turn is a reflection of the economic conditions from which it sprang.

If you’re ever in jail for any significant stretch of time, you’re supposed to join a prison gang, if you can. I can’t confirm that, because I’ve never been to jail, but it’s said to be a sound way to stay safe. Of course, it isn’t like joining the Auto club. You are expected to reciprocate, and in order to demonstrate and prove your capacity for physical discipline, a prison gang demands the performance of feats of physical endurance -- a friend of mine who got out of jail this weekend mentioned push-ups and things like that.

“The cause of the rioting was under investigation, corrections department spokesman Lt. Carlos Espinoza said.” This comes an article on a prison riot at the Soledad Correctional Training Facility in Central California this August. The reason, I am told, but of course have no way of confirming, is that guards there wished to collect hazard pay, so they instigated a riot and declared a state of lockdown, during which they earn several times their base hourly pay rate. They are said to have repeatedly waited for the riot to simmer down some, before discharging their weapons again to instigate panic again. I can’t confirm it, as I said. What do you think?

Amiri Baraka would have been 85 yesterday. For the love of God load up this video, and if you're on the bus, fuck it, just play it on the bus.

None of these poems were written by those present nor were any inspired by that which transpired there, as far as this editor knows. Some but not all are regarding Baraka.

  1. The Opposite of the Police
  2. We Love Music (for Amiri Baraka)
  3. Google Murray Bookchin
  4. Good Deeds for Hunks Only
  5. DON’T MATTER YOU DID OR YOU DIDN’T
  6. Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dysphoria (C.H.U.D.)
  7. One Cigarette