We Must Resist the “Happy Slave” Mentality in Texas Prisons

Letter from Keith “Malik” Washington, in Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Nov. 2014)


Prison conditions in Texas are horrible. Now we are delving into the deep nuances of the “Happy Slave” mentality, which is so very pervasive in Texas and is counter to any movement which seeks to liberate us. In order to liberate our bodies, we must first liberate our minds.

Some years ago when the Federal authorities took over the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a question was put to the prisoners by the USDOJ (Department of INjustice). “Would you like to get paid for work you perform in Texas prison, or would you rather receive ‘good time’ and ‘work time’ credits that could be counted for reducing your sentence?” Prisoners given such a choice would opt for early release. But the prisoners were bamboozled and hoodwinked. I have seen numerous men who had prison time-slips that showed an accrued combination of flat time (actual time served), good time (awarded for good behavior), and work time (credit awarded for working) that had exceeded their official sentence length by almost two times!

What I am saying is that there are men and women in Texas prisons who have been “credited” time which exceeds their actual sentence by 50% and in some cases 100%. That means on paper they have served up to 200% of their sentences!Why are they still in prison?! The Texas Department of Criminal Injustice told “Uncle Sam” they would honor a prisoner’s good time and work credits instead of paying for the work. Comrades, we have been lied to! The oppressors who run the Texas government have attached a numeric monetary value to prisoners, and so there is no way the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will ever honor these bullshit credits and release us.

So with this and many other relevant factors considered, we must ask ourselves, “When is enough, enough?” How many more comrades must we see murdered before our eyes? Howmany timeswill we allow the Office of Inspector General in Texas to rule these homicides to be accidents, or suicides, or justified? How much longer must we wait for journalists in Texas to give fair, honest and equal coverage to our suffering? When will we all come together in order to resist and  rebel against an oppressive system which has no interest in our success or future happiness? Can we, the lumpen-underclass in Texas, match or surpass the efforts of 33,000 determined and single-minded prisoners housed in the state of California who finally had enough and, with their 2013 hunger strike, took their destiny into their own hands? Our path to freedom in Texas starts with proper education. Grasping the concepts set forth by Mao, Lenin and Marx is a start.

In “Liberation or Gangsterism Part I and II” Comrade Russell Maroon Shoatz tells us that the imperialist oppressor will initiate and implement programs to sabotage the success of a revolutionary movement or destroy it from the inside out: cooptation, fear,  or as in the case of Comrade Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, separating the most advanced revolutionary element from the people.

Serving the People is a big part of being a New Afrikan Black Panther. Educating the lumpen, our fellow prisoners, and ‘free’-world supporters and comrades is one aspect of serving; awakening the lumpen is another. There is something exciting going on in Texas! I encourage you to learn more about us and the work we are doing in Texas and beyond. We definitely could use all of your help and support.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! All Power to the People!

Keith “Malik” Washington – Deputy Chairman, New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter) TDC #1487958 Ramsey I 1100 FM 655 Rosharon, TX 77583