Conspiracyz, Scum Pigz, & the Dept. of
'Before the conspiracy on Friday, the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED], I had seven to 10 years left inside. Now, I don't know if I'll ever make it up out of here.'
I was going to start this letter with an old story. A story about the first book that I ever "did not" receive because of censorship rulez & the banning of bookz on the inside. I will probably get to a short version of that by the end of this, but as I think about censorship & the banning of bookz & of wordz & thoughtz & people, I begin to understand this concept on another level. I've realized that this is a conspiracy created by the State.
So let me tell you a different story, a more recent one. On Friday, the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED], to be exact, I woke up at about 7:45 a.m. to the sound of banging on my door. Nothing new. However this time, there was also yelling & about 15 pigz outside my door. Banging & yelling. Snarling & oinking & whatever other noises a gaggle of pigz make when trying to startle or scare. I guess they forgot there was a 1,000 pound steel door in between us & a prisoner on the other side that gives zero fucks about what the pigz were trying to do or say.
"I haven't even brushed my teeth yet… bastards."
But I was a little lost. I may or may not have been a little stoned. There may or may not have been an after breakfast Friday wake & bake. So for a moment, I wondered if I was dreaming. Nearly a lifetime's worth of trauma dealt to me by these scum pigz has caused years of nightmarez about pigz trying to kill me. Not to mention the few times these pigz actually have tried to kill me. But I quickly realized that, no, this was not one of those nightmarez. That 15 pigz at my door has happened to me more than 50 timez, and I will never, ever get used to it.
After a few minutes of shit talking & a brief standoff, I spotted some "real" street pigz lurking in the background in their "DLE" (Dept. of Law Enforcement) camos & I figured that this was probably the best time to smash any contraband I had. So smash I did. This was followed with handcuffz, much too tight. Then they slammed me into the wall. I was taken to the showerz & stripped. Dehumanized, demoralized.
"Spread 'em… again… again."
But this time, instead of taking all of my property & throwing me back into an empty cell, I was chained, shackled, & black boxed. Then, I was dragged to a white paddy wagon-style van with no windowz. This van was escorted by another black & white truck, a black undercover (DLE) SUV, & another paddy wagon.
Now this was new. I had no clue where I was being taken. Scenes of being snatched & grabbed, disappeared & censored, played in my mind. Half an hour later, we arrived at the [REDACTED] Jail. I say "we" because they also had a Mexican homie riding with me. I didn't really know him, but he told me that pretty much the same morning scene had happened to him. When we pulled up to our destination, they snatched him out first. Peeking through the crack in the open door, I watched him be charged & booked. Then it was my turn.
At this point, I was lost. I could not think of any "crime" that I had committed while being held at [REDACTED]. But when they read me my chargez—"Conspiracy to traffic over [REDACTED] grams of [REDACTED]"—everything started to feel like another nightmare. One that I've never had before. What the fuck was going on?
Then, in a low whisper, one of the DLE scum pigz with the ugly-as-shit brown shoes and the shit-eating grin asked, "Where are your comrades at now?" This, of course, was followed by silence. Everything was followed by my silence. Every question, every comment, the response was silence or "lawyer."
And so on, and so on.
They never even questioned me about any alleged "crime," but I knew from experience to only respond with silence or "lawyer" from this moment forward. I continued racking my brain. I know the State has charged people with bullshit before. Just to silence them, just to censor them. I just never imagined it happening to me. Looking back, that was one of my most naive moments. My run-ins with the DLE have always been political & they have always been like this. Censoring. Silencing. Disappearing.
Hourz later, we arrived back at the prison. I was stripped of all my clothez & property. Everything gone. Again. Stolen. Censored. All of my writing, my jewelry, my bookz & letterz, stolen. No mattress, no sheets. No soap or toiletries. My life & thoughtz, stolen. My memoriez & picturez, stolen. Just censored. My life, for the third time, was censored, but this time at the highest degree.
So as I laid back on the concrete slab, I was deep in thought. "Conspiracy to traffic…" Conspiracy. My mind was stuck on this word. The "crime" of conspiracy was created by the State to hide people away without a crime actually being committed. When we think about "conspiracies," most people tend to think about things like Bigfoot, UFOs, Blue-Blooded Reptilianz of the Empire, & the "What-Ever-Gates" the internet tells us about. We don't often think about conspiracy as a "crime" the State has created in order to vanish people.
How do you prove a conspiracy? Something that never really happened? A crime of thought or chance? A victimless "crime"?
And how do I prove that this is all a conspiracy against me? To vanish me? To censor me? To kill me?
Now I return to the story I mentioned in the beginning, the story about the first book I was ever banned from reading. It was called The Book of 5 Rings, a Japanese self-help book renowned for over 300 years, written by a samurai named Miyamoto Musashi. It was censored because the Prison Book "Review Committee" said it taught me how to "be a samurai." This, of course, was a lie. I remember a lot of thingz about that moment. I remember I was 18 years old. I remember who I was in love with. I remember thinking to myself, "How were they allowed to ban bookz? To ban wordz? It's just knowledge. Is this a conspiracy to hide knowledge?"
Contraband Books: What Texas prisons have against Michelle Alexander, Frederick Douglass, and Alice Walker
Bookseller Julie Poole tried to do a customer a solid by shipping books to a Mississippi prison. The process turned out to be harder than she ever imagined. How the human right to read is being restricted in Southern prisons.
While in prison, I have learned that there is a "list" of banned & censored bookz that is actually a huge three-ringed binder. I spent dayz upon dayz thumbing through it, learning what bookz were not yet banned so I could have my family order them. I also learned that this "list" is ever-growing, almost impossible to challenge, & frustrating to look at. Created by the Literature Review Committee, which, if you ask me, is run by a White Supremacists and Odinist who I believe prides himself for banning The Militant newsletter from DOC.
About a year later, I received a few zines—ones that were actually banned but slipped through due to the laziness of pigz. These zines truly helped radicalize my thinking and gave me the revolutionary perspective that helped mold me into who I am today. The three zines were written by a dear Komrade and Hermanito I never had the chance to meet in person, Komrade Jose Cruz AKA King Blaze (REST IN POWER). These zines were "The Evolution of Ghetto Style Organization" and "Riders of the Storm" I & II. These zines actually lead to my first "Gang Related Activity and Paraphernalia" charge, followed by 30 dayz in the hole for possessing them.
This was also the first—but far from last—experience of my poetry & writing being stolen, censored, & banned. My letterz leaving the prison started to disappear, never making it home. The letterz coming in started to vanish or show up a month late. What followed were many instances of me getting thrown in solitary confinement for my writingz & poetry. This is the norm for me now. One day, I may write all of these storiez, really getting into conceptualizing every fuckn event.
This story of being censored, or having bookz or zines, or literature, or pictures & art banned is not rare on the inside. Me & all my homies & Komrades have experienced this constantly. This was happening way before I thought to read Che's Guerilla Warfare or Komrade George's Soledad Brother. Way before I fell in love with Assata or found True Kingizm through King Blaze's zines. I could go on & on. I could tell you about all of the banned bookz that I read just because a Komrade or I owned them. But that's not the point of this writing.
Something that has begun to stick out to me, especially after Friday the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED], is that all of these people—whether radical or revolutionary or even just too gangsta for AmeriKKKA—all experienced one conspiracy or another. Whether charged with one, or killed for one.
The censorship of bookz is more than the banning of wordz or thoughtz. It's a conspiracy from the state to vanish history. It is how they have disappeared or censored the stories of the lives of those who have been conspired against.
George & Jonathan Jackson, Assata Shakur, Che Guevara. Conspiracyz. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Africaz, Safiya Bukhari. Conspiracyz. The disappeared Young Lords & murdered Black Pantherz. Conspiracyz. King Blaze, Lord Gino, K. Blood. Conspiracyz. Jeff Fort, Monster Kody, Larry Hoover, Tookie. Conspiracyz. Kwame 'Lil Beans' Shakur, King Soloman, Komrade Heru, & all three being buried in the SHU (Special Housing Unit, essentially solitary confinement) right now. Conspiracyz. Maroon Shoatz, Karen Smith, Rashid Johnson. Conspiracyz. Leonard Peltier, the guerilla educator Walter Rodney, Los Macheteros, the BLA (Black Liberation Army) & the Real Underground Antifa Movementz. The hacktivists and Guantanamo Bay survivorz (& those who didn't). The Indigenous Water Defenderz & Land Protectorz & so many more that I have no more room on this page to write because I'm still on strip status with no property, writing on scrapz of paper.
All conspiracyz. All have stories we will never hear because of the censorship rules & banning of bookz & writingz on the inside. You will never get to read some of my favorite poetry & essayz & short stories & letters & communiquez I have written in the last 20 yearz. And I can just imagine how many essayz & art & poetry we will never get to see, read, & experience from those I have just named here & more.
How many more people will be silenced & have their books & art stolen? This conspiracy that has been brought against so many, inside & out, the murder & broken spiritz, & the people forced underground & exiled. The lost communitiez of our people. The anti-censorship & anti-book banning campaign is more than us wanting to fight against bookz being banned, or writingz being censored. It's about the conspiracy of storiez lost forever at the hands of the State & the evil empire that has vanished us & kills our loved ones.
Before the conspiracy on Friday, the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED], I had seven to 10 years left inside. Now, I don't know if I'll ever make it up out of here.
by Ezzial Williams
How prisons use communication to generate revenue and spy on the incarcerated: "Some of these companies have even lobbied prison legislators the sentiment that the more an inmate communicates electronically, the more likely they will self-incriminate."