Monday, January 23, 2017

Marquette Branch Prison: Hostility Inside the Wall

(This piece was written by Rev. Pinkney when he was still in Marquette.)

If you fail to pay a traffic ticket or court fine or child support for an offence, all too often you can end up in prison. If you do end up in prison, those costs will keep you there, forever trapping you in a downward spiral of prison and more debt.
However, if you are a wealthy corporate executive, like the heads of Volkswagen or General Motors, you can get away with killing people as long as it's on behalf of increasing profits. At most you may have to pay fines amounting to a slap on the wrist.
I am sitting in Siberia, over 500 miles from my family, friends, and community. In a place called Marquette Branch Prison, better known as the concentration camp of America.  Even Adolf Hilter would be proud of the way Warden Robert Napel is operating the concentration camp. The torture begins when you wake up, the agony of the mind and body, extreme pain is inflicted by the warden, Robert Napel and his staff.
The very first thing Marquette Branch Prison does to the prisoner: they attempt to silence you by removing all contact with the outside world. The MDOC attacked my communication by stealing my telephone communication first. They lied and said I was making a three way call, which was impossible, it was a conference call. The MDOC and the the untrained, unskilled, unprofessional, and uneducated correctional officer, misspelled my name or put the wrong name on the misconduct ticket and was founded not, not guilty, but the Warden Robert Napel had my telephone pin shut off before the misconduct was given and after I was founded not guilty he became upset and he decided my telephone service would be removed for 180 days, which is illegal and against the Michigan Department of Corrections' rules and procedures. The MDOC do not follow their own rules.
Then, the Michigan Department of Corrections attempted to remove all visitors by charging me with smuggling knowing I had not smuggled anything in or out of the prison. They claimed one of my visitors, David Sole, was trying to smuggle notes out of the prison which once again was untrue and was found not guilty.
The problem is the taxpayers are paying for the unchecked discretion. The taxpayers must stop watching television and start paying attention to this 2 billion dollar budget the MDOC has. The MDOC is pimping the public. We must start understanding the real problem and be able to handle the truth.
The time is right: The Michigan Department of Corrections has slated me to die in this concentration camp. They have done everything they could to hurt me and destroy me. I have what my captors will never have: spiritual strength, dignity, integrity, honest, and love for the people. A commitment to revolution and the ability to read The Writing on the Wall.
Now I know, now I believe I know how the Jews felt in Nazi, Germany concentration camp, better known as the death camp. The Warden sent his boys after me. Correctional Officer Schetter, Correctional Officer Luukkala, Correctional Officer Balsa, Correctional Officer Sare, and several others after me.
I have been told by other correctional officers that the warden is gunning for me. I have been placed in areas that are full of Black Mold and I am never to be moved. It is even written in the MDOC logbook.
Then the threatening, harassing, intimidating behavior continued every single day. They used speech, action, gesture, and movement that cause physical and mental intimidation, along with humiliation they also use abusive, threatening, profane language and actions which degrade and belittle black people. The policy is clear: an employee shall not discriminate against others by word or action on the basis of race or color. An employee must report any incident of harassment to the designated harassment counselor or the appropriate supervisor. This will never happen because there is unbridled discretion. The exercise of too much discretion by too many people has made the Marquette Branch Prison the concentration camp of America who believe the MDOC is above all laws, rules, and procedures. We must stop them!
I have a psychological theory. Guilt has a constructive angle. Maybe a way to mend the evil, wickedness, and hatred of Blacks by the administration and the correctional officers. The evil and wickedness, plus the hatred by some of our white brothers her at Marquette Branch Prison, better known as the concentration camp of America. I am resisting with love, love will conquer all.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We Must Confront the Evil Capitalist Empire!

The capitalists just collect the profits. This atrocity of gouging the poor for life-saving necessities exposes the very core of capitalism: a system where profits for the tiny few come before human needs.

A legislator is a parasite. He is one that makes the law for his political buddies, a member of the legislative body, an organized body of parasites. The legislator is a non-producer who produces absolutely nothing. The worker produces all the material wealth, which is now in the possession of the capitalist class that was produced by the workers.

None of the expenses of production come out of corporate profits. All expenses are, in fact, paid for by the labor of the workers who produce the products, and who are also the consumers of these products.

None of the costs and expenses of business come out of the pockets of the commanders of capital. To the capitalist, everything in the world is free--even the cost of war and all the dead bodies. The police, the schools, the prisons, the roads, trains, planes and automobiles, and the most important: their very own taxes.

These are all expenses paid for by the labor of the working classes and the taxes we are forced to pay out of our earnings. We workers are paid only a tiny proportion, as little as the boss can get away with, of the actual wealth we produce through our labor. It's factored in with all the other expenses on the production line. The prices are determined by calculating the desired profits the capitalists want and expect to see from the sale of these products, so they raise the price of the drugs as high as possible and lower the wages as much as possible to ensure their profits.

Judges are also parasites. They produce nothing. A parasite depends on the workers or taxes or something else for their income or existence, or even support without making any useful or adequate return. For example, judges like Judge Dennis Wiley, Art Cotter, Sterling Schrock, Angela Pasula, and Schofield are all parasites who work for the establishment to oppress the people. Along with prosecutor Mike Sepic, they are worthless and bring nothing to the table.

I am reminded every day of the German Jews who watched a monumental evil gather itself against them, all the while assuring one another that things weren't as bad as they seemed, that their country would soon return to its senses. But in the meantime, the box cars were being filled with over 5 million German Jews on their way to the death camps. Maybe we are not alarmist enough.

This nation's hypocrisy has no limits. This nation has a large credibility gap. I call it lying to the people. It's up to the people today to make your fellow citizens see the other side of America. In your great numbers lies great hope. We must move from words to deeds. We must go back to our communities and organize against fascism. We must eliminate the parasites and let another world be born. I believe that the unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final words. In reality that is why, right now, temporary defeat is stronger than evil triumphant. We must confront the evil empire!

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

Monday, January 16, 2017

Listen to the New Rustbelt Abolition Radio

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, listen to the first episode of Rustbelt Abolition Radio! This is an excellent answer to anyone who says abolition is “not realistic” or that “it is not time.” Abolish prisons and police now! Thank you to the folks at Rustbelt Abolition Radio.

Click here to listen.
In this episode we turn to recent news of the deepening impacts of the biggest prison strike in U.S. History, as we look at Kinross Correctional Facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We also speak with Professor Liat Ben-Moshé on our carceral society and the political imaginary of abolition. We wrap with a phone interview with Chaz, an imprisoned trans woman in Michigan who is fighting for queer and trans prisoners’ liberation.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Support Requested for Fellow Inmate

Mr. Juan Hawkins is having a tough time, having lost his cousin a few weeks ago. He is a fellow inmate with Rev. Pinkney at their level I (lowest security level) facility. Rev. Pinkney requests that supporters send Juan letters/cards of support. Also, if you are willing, Juan would like a longer-term pen pal. Connection to the outside is so important for morale.

You can write to Juan at:
Juan Hawkins, #261184
Brooks C.F.
2500 S. Sheridan Dr.
Muskegon, MI 49444

Friday, January 13, 2017

Rev. Edward Pinkney's Work Pays Off!

Berrien County Hires New Chief Public Defender

Berrien County recently introduced the new Berrien County public defender after Rev. Edward Pinkney, along with BANCO and allies, advocated for over 15 years for a public defender's office. This is a major victory for the people!

Eight new defense attorneys, who will represent indigent clients as part of Berrien County's first public defenders office, were introduced to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners last month. During the commisioners' administration committee meeting, Prosecutor Mike Sepic said he might need more prosecutors to keep up with an increased workload.

In over 20 years, court-appointed attorneys Ernest White, Scott Sanford, Richard Sammis, Fuller, and James Jessie never won a single case in Berrien County on behalf of indigent defendants. This group refused to file any motion for the defendants. This very same group worked with former prosecutors Jim Cherry and Art Cotter, and now prosecutor Mike Sepic, to send as many defendants as possible to prison.

Berrien County provided the poorest quality of legal defense through 15 to 18 contract attorneys who handled about 5,000 felony and misdemeanor cases per year.

First Rev. Pinkney argued for over 15 years and then the statewide commission took up the argument for an indigent defense system with a lower case load and independent of the judges and the court, who previously ran the Berrien County indigent defense system.

Chief Public Defender Carl Macpherson selected his team from 50 applicants and 20 finalists, who were interviewed. Among the new attorneys are Jennifer Lamp, a Jackson County attorney who has been practicing for 15 years and Stephanie Farkas of Oakland County with six years of experience. The other attorneys are Ryan Seale of Kent County who has five years' experience practicing law, Jonathan Baber of Wayne County with three years, Brandon Barthelemy of Kenty County with one year, Jennifer Field with one year, and Kaitlin Locke of Kent County with six months.

Macpherson, a University of Michigan graduate, has worked in criminal defense systems in Washington, D.C., Portland, OR, and Washtenaw County in Michigan.

This is the very first step. Mr. Macpherson must be strong and committed to justice for all. He has to deal with the power of the land grabbing, job out-sourcing, blood-sucking criminal enterprise of Whirlpool Corporation that has its headquarters in Benton Harbor.

Mr. Macpherson must also stand tall and deal with the corrupt judges. Judge Dennis Wiley, Judge Charles LaSata, Judge Schoffield, Judge Art Cotter, Judge Angela Pasula, and we cannot forget the most corrupt of all prosecutors, Mike Sepic.

County Commissioner Bill Chickering said the wild card is the (corrupt) judges and how the judges react to the new system.

We must confront the corrupt justice system. Let's make this struggle a victory for all the victims of the corrupt criminal justice system in every city and town in America.