End My Subscription, I’m Outta Here

Dear Slingshot:

Just received issue #71, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was particularly glad to see a plea for community support of anarchist book sources, which have been major providers of free literature to prisoners for years. Without support, I fear that many of these programs will cease to exist, thereby cutting prisoners off from an important tool in changing their lives through enlightenment. Even Books to Prisoners-Seattle, the oldest such program, is now threatened.

Issue #71 is my last issue, but I am not seeking to extend my subscription. I’m happy to say that I’ll be released [from prison] June 13, and will pick up Slingshot at the Autonomous Zone in Chicago from now on. I do want to extend my thanks for your excellent paper over the years. You’ll hear from me in the future, I guarantee it-only not from here. Who knows, I may even show up at Long Haul someday to do some volunteering. Support those who support ya!

You may delete me now – I’m read for it. Just promise that it won’t be painful!?

Well, I guess that’s about it from here. Take care. And may the tear gas always blow back at the oppressor’s face instead of yours.

– Ron Campbell, Menard, Il

Fuck the Ideal, Just eat good

Dear Tracy,

I just finished reading your article in issue #71 of Slingshot. First off, I have to say that it was my first time reading Slingshot. Someone threw it on my desk at work, I think by accident but I took it home to read it and boy did I read it!! Anyway, back to your article . . . amazing.

I can’t even stress enough how fucking true it is, everything you wrote. I myself was never very content with my physical appearance, always thought I was a little chubby or chunky even. I look back at old pictures and laugh at my previous thoughts of me having been a fat girl. I was merely a teenager that had not completely formed and am still growing now.. and I’m 20. It is really disgusting though to think about the root of our lack of confidence and our insecurities, they are so deviously created by the media, by commercials, by woman’s and men’s magazines, providing us the with the “ideal” image of a women- a completely flat and toned stomach, 5’9 structure and voluptuous breasts. More than half the time, we don’t even realize the crap that we are being fed but its is there, to say the least.

Anyway, it was the beginning of my second year in college when for some odd reason, (I’m not sure what, but thank God for it!) I just stopped caring about my “physical” appearance and looking the way I was “supposed” to look. I constantly had family pressure from my mother and brother mostly due to the horrible fact that they see “skinny” as being a key defining character of beautiful. Well, this is the first year where my parents and family were no longer in my hair (I was living on my own) and I finally decided eating things I wanted, doing things I wanted. Now I don’t mean eating crap, in fact, it was the complete opposite.

One afternoon, I took a piece of frozen chicken out (that my Mom so kindly bought for me), while I was touching its skin and flesh that so obviously cried out death, I became sickened at my actions. I was eating a fucking chicken, another animal who just a little bit ago had been running around somewhere (actually, it was probably stuck in some 4×4 “room” waiting for it’s pleasant death. Anyway, my point is, I soon after turned vegetarian and began taking an interest in what my body was consuming. I would stop to think about my health instead of what it would do to me physically and on the outside. Not surprisingly, I actually lost weight. Not cause I was starving myself, (I enjoy food way too much) but because I was living a healthy lifestyle. I was eating plenty of vegetables, proteins, fruits and sure, had my sweets here and there but also did a lot of walking.

My point is, I didn’t strive to loose weight or look good, I just gave up on looking the way I was “supposed” to and started doing something for myself, something POSITIVE. So, I just wanted to let you know that your article really hit home for me. I’m very glad I had a chance to read it and I look forward to more of yours and other’s literature from Slingshot.

Thanks much, Ghazal Sheei

Irony Defined

Dear Editor,

The article entitled “Invisible Hands” by The Cell presented an interesting outlook on globalization and institutionalization, but a different type of institutionalization is occurring in the state of California. It’s the buildup of prison institutions, the typical gradual manner of an acceptable genocide, the imprisoning of a poor people whose only crime initially was to farm a land that belonged to California’s ruling class.

It is difficult while being housed in Corcoran State Prison not to acknowledge that eighty percent of the guards here at Corcoran in the infamous S.H.U. units are Hispanics and eighty percent of the inmates in the S.H.U. units are also Hispanic. What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that the state’s administration is puppeteering one race to abuse and control their own? The sad thing is that these ignorant guards, most of whom have only a high school education, don’t know that what they’re doing is morally wrong. Instead they’re blinded with bribery of the illusion of social status and a pocket full of beer money, like Pancho from The Cisco Kid.. What government would not want to own an institution that can produce a million dollar industry with little to no financial overhead? The benefits are astronomical and too numerous to detail. That’s why incarcerated Hispanics are locked secretly away. We’re the only ones who fuel the destruction of incarceration of these self-sufficient economic units.

The ruling class— Gray Davis and his degenerates— don’t even have to worry about an uprising because if one Mexican in here talks revolution, he’s thrown in solitary seclusion, denied human contact and basic human senses, and then accused of gang membership. Human rights therefore are nonexistent in these institutions where prisoners are allowed out of their cells two days a year for forty-five minutes at a time.

The Barrio Defense Committee has graciously assisted in our struggle against inhumane conditions by writing letter on our behalf to the warden George Ortiz, the acting director Steven Cambra and Governor Gray Davis. We have not, however, received any relief to our abuses.

I’ll tell you what’s ironic—we’re Mexican inmates, we’re being abused by Mexican guards who are being directed by a Mexican warden, we’re being defended by Mexican lawyers in a state founded by a Mexican, but all the while the governor (a white man) sits in his mansion drinking margaritas, laughing all the way to the bank. They say we Hispanics have sixty percent of the vote in California. I say if we don’t politicize ourselves, it won’t be long before we’re extinct. Sincerely,

Cesar Francisco Villa, K-64212

3BOZ-211, PO Box 3466, Corcoran CA 93212