Today California prisons hold the largest prison population in the U.S. and when it comes to the S.H.U. i.e; torture kamps, Chicanos are the largest population being targeted by the state to be sent to the SHU’s. This means that within prisons, ground zero for repression and the front line for the offensive that is aimed at Chican@, can be found in California’s pintas. Anyone who has ever studied the natural laws of development will know that wherever you find the most injustice you will find the most resistance, for this reason I believe that the New Chicano Movement will find it’s fiercest fighters within these torture kamps.
It was no surprise to anyone who is in the pinta or who has ever been to the pinta, that the largest hunger strike in U.S. history would be spearheaded from the SHU’s in Califas. These are the laws of dialectics. These SHU’s and particularly the torture kamp at Pelican Bay is designed in my opinion to dehumanize us and to destroy our ability of Chicanos to not just endure these horrific conditions and specifically solitary confinement, but go on to struggle and rise up. There is no denying the fact that the SHU has done damage to Chican@s, but something else began to happen that even surprised me, people began to develop under this repression like a nopal growing through concrete.
What destroyed the Chicano Movement of the 1970’s was the state’s COINTELPRO and other methods which sought to neutralize our Movimiento. Chican@ organizations were infiltrated and undermined by agent provocateurs, Tio Tacos (Chicano uncle Toms) and the Feds. Revolutionary groups like the Brown Berets, Black Panthers and the Young Lords were seen as a threat to the oppressor nation and were destroyed. But this destruction had another effect on Aztlan where Chican@ revolutionaries no longer showed the path to liberation for the barrios of Aztlan and as a result survival groups “gangs” grew and the barrios which at one time were seen as our base areas for the Chicano Movement were now engulfed in inter conflict and self-destruction.
Chican@s in prisons have begun to see and understand that there is an offensive aimed at Aztlan and we see it because when it comes to the Chicano nation, it is imprisoned Chican@s who are feeling that bald oppression of life in Amerika. Those of us in SHU fully understand that our oppressor has two choices for us, attempt to assimilate or die. But only those who taste the least bribes in a society are ready to resist at all costs, just look to the Palestinians resisting to get a contemporary example of this.
What is being forged in today’s pintas is the backbone of the New Chicano Movement. People are studying and learning from the past in order for us to change our future. We know that Aztlan is in trouble but many out in society are caught up in the struggle to live and do not really look the repression in the eye like prisoners. Ex prisoners will take on a more active role in us re-building Aztlan. These pintas are transforming and Chican@s being released will do in so many cases fully conscious, therefore these pintas are breeding resistance.
What is occurring to Raza (Latin@s) who are migrating to the U.S. is disgusting. Children being thrown in rooms stacked on top of each other, it all smacks of what the Japanese went through with the internment kamps. Having a strong and mobilized Aztlan will fight off these attacks. But like what the SHU is doing to the imprisoned Chican@, so too is the hunting of Brown skins by Migra and their affiliates doing for Chican@s and Raza in general, it is breeding resistance.
Our jale is not done on both sides if the prison walls. Our lucha will continue in so many forms which will at times overlap and ebb and flow, but it will continue until Chican@s obtain self -determination.
-Jose H. Villarreal