"What Better Time Than Now?" - New Text on Gang Unity Available for Joint Anarchist/Prisoner Efforts

  • Posted on: 8 June 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://prisonbooks.info/2012/06/08/what-better-time-than-now-new-piece-o... Books</a>

The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective is proud to have just published a new piece of prisoner's writing on unity, truce efforts, and political consciousness in US gangs. The zine presents a number of interesting topics like the forming of identity through historical consciousness and revolt, the co-optation of such identity through musical and artistic forms, and the role of street gangs in the rebellions of the future.</td><td><img title="The future is looking pretty Gibson to me" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/venus_sunright.jpg"></td></...
Of particular note is the connections the piece draws between the lived experience the author, a self-identified gang member and "social" prisoner, on the one hand, and the analysis of well-known anti-authoritarian and/or anti-colonialist heads like Lorenzo Ervin, Russell Maroon Shoatz, and Frantz Fanon, on the other. Many writings of these kinds come from the pens of known "political" prisoners; we've been excited to correspond with and present a discussion on gang truce and prison organizing efforts from a prisoner with a slightly different background. Of particular note for this editor is the simultaneous critique of a self-destructive gang culture and the urge to use these organizations as liberating forces - this wax and wane between a tendency towards self-destruction and "constructive" rage finds reflection in a wide variety of social movements all over the globe in the last year.

Needless to say, the issues discussed here are fairly universal to the facilities all over the US, and we encourage anarchists around the country who do correspondence with, maintain literature distros or libraries for, or who generally support prisoners' organizing and rebellions to print and copy these en masse. This piece joins a number of other related texts in our collection, including "No, We Can't All Get Along" by Jeff Chang and "Liberation or Gangsterism" by Russell Shoatz, that folks are also encouraged to make use of.

To view a pdf, go to http://prisonbookscollective.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/gangunitytotal.pdf


This will lead more inner city youth to becoming anarchists and finally our actions will have legitimacy.

No one was baited by my troll :(

Obvious troll is obvious

edited by sweet tea and designed by pnab
a winning combination!

I hurd Sweet Tea was some scrawny sorry ass LOSER.

i heard he s an arm breaking bully, so whatever.

Sweet Tea loses asses?

i wish they would combine in bed

I wish they would combine in bed with me. Dreamy.


Nice, this in particular--

"Of particular note for this editor is the simultaneous critique of a self-destructive gang culture and the urge to use these organizations as liberating forces - this wax and wane between a tendency towards self-destruction and "constructive" rage finds reflection in a wide variety of social movements all over the globe in the last year."

Yeah, let's stop the youth from being subjugated by capitalist and neo-colonial mechanisms of alienation and the capitalist tactic of divide and conquer. Destruction must be specific and not random.

specifically, everything.

i cant actually quite tell if this is sarcasm - the internet lacks some of the subtleties of such...But just for some clarity in case of trollish snarkitude, the author who wrote this piece (not the intro but the actual text which this is introducing) is a long time crip who is dealing with extremely serious murders and retaliations on the inside, and trying to apply a radical analysis to what he sees as a necessary but basic organizing work of resolving internal conflicts, so as to pull folks together for more productive conflict with the prisons themselves.

Some specific context for readers out there is that in NC facilities right now, administrations have been intentionally provoking internal warfare between gangs, by doing things like intentionally transferring people to blocks with people they know they have beef with, or giving them yard time with rivals, etc., and then capitalizing on the violence that results. Recently every single close custody facility in our entire state was put on lockdown cus of this, and the administrations use this to take away a bunch of "privileges," put people on solitary so they cant see their families, deny them radical lit. that we send in, etc.

So many, many radical folks on the inside in NC, some who are in gangs and some who arent, or arent anymore, have identified gang truce efforts as a major first step towards larger showdowns. Im of the feeling that a lot of us on the outside can get behind this?

To read this as some larger theoretical statement arguing for destruction to be "specific" rather than "random" is maybe missing the point, though personally i am in a place of just accepting a paradoxical and complicated dynamic of self- or nihilistic destruction vs. "focused" attacks within struggles im a part of...call it taoism in my old age or some shit....

PS unfortunately PNAB played no part, though we wish they had and send them our love and kisses.

And of course, if im being sensitive and this wasnt sarcasm (who can tell on anews anymore?), then apologies - and yes, or whatever. (?)

I bet you feel silly

not if its those little naked neon haired trolls. theyre cute.

also, doesnt being sarcastic but tricking someone else that youre being serious seem kind of, i dunno, too easy, when its on the web? I mean, really....Wouldnt it be more fun to like, do it to people in person?

I am the commenter that wrote "YOU GOT TROLLED / I bet you feel silly" but I am not the commenter that wrote the comment starting "Nice, this in particular--" that you originally replied to. You can see that the account hal9000 wrote the "Nice, this in particular--" comment. I only post as anon.

and now I feel silly

Thanks for expanding on the context of this zine and the situation in NC prisons. I think maybe too often this type of non-sexy nuts and bolts context isn't given and so keyboard-anarchists get all harsh on the abstract.

>Wouldnt it be more fun to like, do it to people in person?

TROLLING IS SO MUCH BETTER TO DO IN REAL LIFE. If you do it for too long you develop a nasty credibility problem and people stop inviting you to pizza. Still, TOTALLY WORTH IT!

It just looks designed just like everything that PNAB designs.
I guess we all just design things to look the same now.

Y'all are awesome.
Stay Strong.

This doesnt look like pnab at all. What are you talking about,

Nope its not sarcasm, confinement is just the first step in authority's assertion of having total control and power over the individual. Up until the iron door clangs shut there may be compromise,,,the payment of fines,,,for the privileged it may be suspended sentences for financing the legal/executive classes,,,or a deal like snitching/spying to obtain exception and pardon, these conditions just illustrate the farce that is state justice within the capitalist paradigm, i.e. property appropriation, self-administered drug related offences and violence in self-defence comprise 90% of inmate population, not really crimes.
The second step is either a process of re-indoctrination and the breaking of the will which equates to 'die or do what we say'.
Alienation is perpetuated and laterally extended from the ghetto through into the prison system as is the MO of any authoritarian regime.


Bwahaha! Gang members are the biggest fucking idiots around. I mean if you think jocks are bad at least they don't shoot people for minor insults. Most gang members are not oppressed. Most grew up with free schooling, free food from tax payer money, free houses. They do their drug dealing and shit not because they are starving but because they don't want to get real jobs, They consider it embarrassing to actually earn things with sweat instead of pushing people around. Gang bangers have as much opportunity to go to college as anyone else or to get jobs as anyone else.Animals like that can fucking rot behind bars.Even more useless than oogles.

Troll trolls trolls troll.

Sadly, this is not entirely untrue, despite the moronic way it was presented. Gang members are violent people, and violence is sometimes meted out randomly (or with little provocation).

But isn't shooting people for nothing kinda bad-ass in a way that anarchists can only dream about?

I think you underestimate the oppressive nature of growing up in poverty, but despite that the severe lack of a quality education makes the conclusion that they had the same chance to go to college less meaningful.

Everyone had the same chance to be Bill Gates and President of the US by this logic. But oddly, both of those people went to elite schools - which as a class claim their specialness by how many people they don't let in - so it seems to be meaningless to claim "equality of opportunity".

"But isn't shooting people for nothing kinda bad-ass in a way that anarchists can only dream about?"

1. No it is not bad-ass.
2. Anarchists can shoot people too.

1. It is bad-ass, and self-evidently so
2. Can, sure, but any senior citizen /can/, but gang members /do/ and anarchists /don't/ even if they /can/.

My brief experience with gang members was how much they don't talk about violence but have no hesitation - when a situation is called for - to be violent. Anarchists - despite all the talk and reading and writing about violence - are mostly peaceful people. Go figure, eh?

I think "machismo" might be a factor. There is intense social pressure among gang members to be proud of their membership and to feel a right to respect, and to punish swiftly anyone who injures their entitlement to respect.

They engage in contempt towards those who are likely to not show them respect.

Maybe it's just that anarchists aren't really proud of who they are?

Shooting random people is self-evidently bad ass?

"I think 'machismo' might be a factor. There is intense social pressure among gang members to be proud of their membership and to feel a right to respect, and to punish swiftly anyone who injures their entitlement to respect."

Bowing to social pressure is bad ass?

You are an idiot.


Yep. And asking a question is not a reply, so you must agree.

"bowing to social pressure..."

If you think you are immune to social pressure, I'd like for you to describe for me almost anything you do, living in the woods as you do, without any social pressure to conform (or even to rebel against, which might be said to be a kind of "reverse social pressure").

Describe for me, O individual one, your haircut (or lack), your clothing (or lack) and your work (or lack)?

I think if you look into a mirror you'll see an idiot staring back at you.

just because a critic is not immune to social pressure does not therefore mean that the critique of machismo/social pressure in favor of violence is incorrect.

I agree. However, the implicit position was "those who are pressured" versus those who are presumably 'not pressured'. I'd agree with you that everyone is subject to social "pressure" (and reward).

A social pressure for violence is not a priori "incorrect" depending on the context of the violence. Military, police force, gangs, terrorist groups and others are all social groups that sanction violence with social pressure (and esteem).

Unless your anarchism is a 100% non-violence position (in which case you're social pressure is against the other kinds of social pressure) I think it tends to not make sense. Also, violence is quite notable in anarchist history. Also, attacking property - which seems in vogue now - is, some would say, an act of violence (and is clearly being esteemed).

also, there's a total hottie staring back at me.

LOL. ok you win. That was funny.

Plenty of small business people started out as poor as any American gang member. American inner city poor arent really that poor anyway. With food stamps nobody is really starving. Most folks in the ghetto I know got cable and video games and roofs very their heads whether they work or not. I was on food stamps growing up and I was still able to go to community college and get decent work. Coming from lower classes is not a condemnation to remain so in America today.

IGTT 11/10

Its not starvation but (existential?) alienation that drives people into gangs. Plus, gangs actually recruit people directly and indirectly. Competing gangs may target non-gang members thus creating a "protection" dynamic for the other gangs.

Recruiting non-adults as drug dealers may provide some instant employment for high unemployment groups, which being a dangerous unregulated trade may necessitate some protection scheme (or a tax may be imposed on them for operating in their territory).

Extortion, gambling, prostitution, drug dealing, armed robbery - when anarchists move into these skilled trades perhaps they will be able to offer an ideological motive for them:

1)Extortion against business owners is simply expropriation on monthly instalments
2)gambling is something the state interferes with and all people have a right to do
3)Prostitution is just female (male) empowerment and shouldn't be regulated by the state
4)drug dealing, like gambling, is something people have a right to do
5)armed robbery - see extortion.

So now that we have an ideological veneer for (gang/criminal) activities and gang members (I mean anarchist affinity group members, sorry) are now reading the latest in insurrecto lit we're that much closer to...

You ever tried to get food stamps with a felony? Oh shit, its probably because you can't. You know how many people 'in the hood' have felonies. No, I don't know and I ain't gonna google that shit because I'm to busy yelling at yalls cracker asses from mother fucking space. feel me?

You can get EBT with felony.

This is absolutely true.

This assumes that gang culture is somehow weaker than radical culture and then when married the gang culture will be subjugated and transformed by radical culture. I think the radicalization of prison and gang culture in the 60s (the NOI, the various AIM, chicano and radical black power movements, etc) showed that what emerged from radicalizing prisoners wasn't necessarily a radical culture that saved gang members, but gangs which were now more militantly organized and could offer a veneer of radicalism for their actions (i.e. but weren't really a threat to the status quo, but could co-opt the radical chic and ethic insular cultures of such "pride" movements).

Anarchist/radical culture can barely compete with non-gang culture which, I believe, is much weaker, less well organized and more easily gotten out of than gang culture. It takes years of committment and sometimes personal relatives to be an accomplished gang member. For some gangs you have to be personally known to even be an "acquaintance" and if you're the wrong race you're only going to go so far, if you go at all.

Anarchists have trouble recruiting and holding middle class dropouts who have an ideological penchant and nothing really compelling them.

Gang member culture is not particularly politically correct (as I've noticed it) and homophobia, a love of wealth, the 'domination' of women, the weak, and so on are considered to be fairly normal values. Then again, there's nothing to say anarchists are so enlightened, but at least they often pretend to be against those things.

I guess the idea is that both are "against the police" but I think that's not quite accurate. Gangs are against the police because they are a nuisance to what they really want to do (violence, deal drugs, etc) while anarchists are simply against the police because they object to what the police represent (and when they throw rocks at bank windows or try to take over a building the police are a nuisance there too). When gangs decide to break windows and take over empty buildings there may be some common ground.

How will gangs decide to break windows and take over empty buildings without 'radicalization'?

Your last line says what is required to have 'common ground' but your first paragraph seems to exclude attempts to move towards that ground.

I appreciate your analysis but I want you to go further.

Maybe its just a result of this conversation happening online but I'm an anarchist who probably has more affinity with a "violent drug dealer" than I do with you.

It seems like the first paragraph of this misses whats going on in this writing. The point of this zine, or the efforts that led to it happening, is not to "marry" our" radical "culture" to gang culture - there is not really a cultural exchange going in here, so much as a political one. Obbviously, the two arent unrelated. But this author reading some of the same things as we re reading on the outside doesnt represent a marrying of the typical anarchist culture with the gang culture, but a an application of some of the political lessons we ve learned within a (perhaps) different context. Its an exchange of analysis, and goals, and experiences.

And in no way at all is the intent or result in my experience to "subjugate" gang culture to radical culture. Thats just silly. Will/would gang culture(s) be affected and change if they (re)developed a more explicit political stance? Sure, probably, but what would result wouldnt be an adoption of "our" anarchist culture; i think much more likely would be entirely new political and cultural forms, which we might recognize in one instance and find strangely foreign the next.

Of course, in the last two paragraphs youre mainly describing the way gangs are now, which is actually elaborated on in critique in the piece itself that we re talking about.

(BTW several of the gang members or ex gang folks we correspond with in prison here were SUPER stoked about a couple of the building occupations as well....so maybe this common ground shouldnt be seen to be too far off. Of course, these are folks reading anarchist and radical shit, so....)

ya'll seem to be forgetting the Black Guerrilla Family that was founded by George Jackson. They are a violent/large gang with radical ideology, seemingly less now than they did before. On second note, so are the Aryan Brotherhood. Both illustrate that gang cult are often founded out of political motivation, whether it's for good or for bad. And like any authoritarian organization, they will fall into the same old shit with any redeeming value lost. After all, the gang culture is no different than the radical culture, in that it's easier to fight among ourselves than to fight the state.

A gang truce is paramount and anyone who has had any real interaction/relationship with gang members on the in or on the out, knows this. And no, watching it on HBO does not count

Where is it?
You have not actually read the zine.

Yes, I really am the greatest. At least, I was the greatest. Thanks for reminding me and the politically challenged youngsters on this site.

-- Bob Black (pig ffffucker and city councilman)

This is really cool


Good morning, white people!

niggas don't read zines. unless you lock us up.

not the sports page, or a magazine

Gangs are authoritarian in nature. They exist to enforce a social order violently. They shoot or at least beat anyone who insults them because to not do so would mean to risk not being the king of the mountain. I assure you if society and government collapsed the gangs would not be working for some equal society but setting their own little feudal tyrannies up. Gang member are as likely allies as cops.

Lol. Families are authoritarian in nature. They exist to enforce a social order violently. They shoot, send to bed without dinner, enforce education and the work ethic, or at least beat anyone who insults them because to not do so would mean to risk not being the king of the suburban mountain. I assure you if society and government collapsed the family would not be working for some equal society but setting their own little feudal tyrannies up. Family members are as likely allies as cops..

"Gangs are authoritarian in nature" "Gang member are as likely allies as cops."

The fuck are you from? You ever meet an actual gang member aside from when their stealing your punk ass lunch money? Shut the fuck up

You used "their" instead of "they're"

I do not pay for my ass-lunch.


Ass rotting? Eeeewww!

Christ how young do you have to be to still romanticize two bit thugs. Maybe we should get skinhead and Straight edge crews involved too. Instead of one gang the police running your neighborhood you want to have another gang. Either way it's gonna be the people who's sole purpose is to dominate others. That's why gangs exist. They exist to be top dog. Spend some time in the hood and see the level of subordination that goes on out of fear people have of these violent morons.

KM from ATL?


two-bit thug + 1 bit = militant fighter
gangs exist because society is defined by violence and the threat of it.
any serious challenge to the powers that be will include a militant group.

the only difference between defending your community and dominating others is a bit of analysis.

And the difference between cops and others who use force to maintain an order? And also to answer my own question of how young must be. To even consider gangstas as even human you are probably young enough to consider everyone who thinks the ideas here are stupid to really be cops.

I'm just a lumpenprole friend, pushing 30, having lived most of my adult years relying on "crime" as a sizeable portion of my modest income. I also see the massive hole in the analysis of most folks who are anti-cop when they have to deal with a situation where dialogue is completely pointless.

Your mistake is that you assume you can make categorical statements about thousands and thousands of people you've lumped together as a homogenous entity in your mind. I know plenty of "violent criminals" who have principles and I know a few egocentric sociopaths and 1 or 2 psychopaths and none of them would have much patience for you.

dominating others + having an analysis = defending community?

go get your consciousness raised, idealist.

Bad math.

More like this

Militants (street soldiers) - analysis = mindlessly dominating others.

Militants + class analysis + ??? = defending the community.

Also, you're a dick and yes, I'm an idealist.

nobody said anything about wanting anyone to run our neighborhoods, dumbass. How about you spend some time off the fucking internet and in the hood with people you just assume some violent ass shit about. There is more common ground than you think. real talk.

"sole purpose [of gangs] is to dominate others"

really, thats your analysis? It seems like a pretty shitty way to go about it, doncha think? I mean, theyre not really that good at dominating others - constantly squabbling, constantly going to prison, spit on by society, constantly harassed by cops.

Sure, they internally war and hurt and abuse people, but calling them some kind of apparatus of domination, where that is their inherent or ultimate function, is bizarre.

Originally much gang culture in the US started out on various trajectories of community upliftment or organization - in the economic and racial contexts of the 70s and 80s they devolved into basically violent economic enterprises in some places. But they still serve a majorly important social role of protection and mutual aid for a lot of people, nonetheless. Dismissing gangs as a form of social organization in anti prison or anti police organizing is a surefire way down the road of irrelevancy.

"Warriors, come out and play!"

All anarchists are unified as one.

HAH! good one

wtf yu fuckin talkin bourt you lookin at sfuckin relationdhips like er its set in fuckin plaster u gotta look at da fuckin depth of fuckiun poverty theft of fucvkin food is nfuckin crimw+++++ and thereforre the western uckin code,is capo,,.8ball

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