Thursday, July 29, 2010
"Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by the human rights group Amnesty International in the early 1960s. It can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, color...so long as they have not used or advocated violence.
It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously-held beliefs."
American inner city Crime, politics and the prison industrial complex. This term “Prisoner of conscience” although coined under specific definition, I believe is relative to all in many ways. This term initially applies to many human rights collectives. One example is the plight and movement of pan-african socialists;(ie:artists Dead Prez, Black Panthers, people’s army) and black nationalist groups. The illustration of the political prisoner: M.L.K Jr, Huey Newton, Leonard Peltzer, those who demonstrated violent or non-violent resistance for social change. These examples and figures are known on a grand scale; but this term holds relation to all, especially in American inner cities.
In the inner city the criminal justice system deals with repeat felons to convicts; many times due to social conditioning, of class and race. From a bird’s eye view theory where you have a region that suffers poverty, it also suffers from under development, and is condusive to an environment of crime, an influx of narcotics and social unrest, and this becomes the culture of the community, generationally. Where the babies of yester-year easily replace those who ran the list of criminal function before. The prisoner of conscience is not only the socially conscious activist; he/she is the racially profiled individual arrested and charged with resisting arrest. He/she is the individual fighting a pending case of homicide in the event of self-defense. He/she is the individual charged with a crime they didn’t commit. All relative to conscientious decision. This essay is written in light that the prison industrial complex as stated, is not only an institution for offenders and potentially dangerous to society, but an industry..with people as the product and commodity; the prison industrial complex, is a business. An undertone of human capitalism. This fact is something to be conscious of in this modern day..of all nationalties in the urban plight, more exeptionally people of color, because systematic racism still exists. Even more with the exploitation of pop-culture; from remnants of the the upper middle class, middle to the lower. Prisoners of conscience is not a conspiracy theory, it is a reality in urban america and abroad. Peace.
"The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a 1965 book about the life of human rights activist Malcolm X (1925–1965). In 1998, Time named The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of the ten most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century."-
A Brief reflection of one of the most significant autobiographies written: The autobiography of Malcolm X. I first discovered this book in my mid-teens, soft cover copy, in my apartment in the Bronx. Just looking at the cover brought back the elements of everything I learned of this man up to that point, from systematic education to media (Malcolm X movie). At that young age I generally shared the same respect as many culturally, historically and politically for Malcolm, for his contributions to his race, culture, and all people, even to the point of martyrdom. The meaning and potency of the book didn’t impact me till my early twenties. These formative years included working, husselin’ nine to five’s and going to school at night. During these transitions the book resurfaced at about 23, where I was already several years engaged in personal study of African culture, and the African diaspora in America; ie: ghetto, class system, crime, prison, for my own understanding of the sociological conditions. In the progression of the years I only managed to thumb through several chapters; and simultaneously seeing via media etc. the praises of the book. Some bore as testimonials, where one man stated in an essence magazine article that the book inspired him to change his life and be a better father to his children.
At this point I realized the book had life changing effect; not only the weight of international acclaim but it spoke to all people of different colors nationalities and religions. Although Malcolm’s faith was Islam, I seen the principles and transparency of Malcolm’s life spoke universally; to the effect where people, religious, spiritual or indifferent would grab the autobiography before reading the Bible or Q’uran. A definite archive in American history..for any readers choice, as far as a learning experience, i definetly recommend it. Peace.
THEE URBANPRIESTHOOD GROUP LLC 2010.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In the introduction of this essay I start in retrospect; with an essay I wrote four years ago in observation to the coming developing changes to the sociological and cultural aspects to america’s inner city’s. Living in Philadelphia at the time, seeing the rise of homicides there in the transitions of 2006 and 2007, to where it toppled Camden NJ as the murder capitol, I blogged that “where or the when the darkest hour settles, the light of hope shines the brightest” (paraphrased). I stated this, seeing in the following years the consciousness of not only the people opening, recognizing the troubled times, but major artists became involved in a stream of activism, and reflected views of positive change in their music, ie:
Activism, and social activism is still relevent. In 2010, in the mainstream of pop-culture(entertainment, arts), the socio-landscape of america's inner cities, politics and the current recession(paper chase), there still remains an undertow of a sense of community; even in the face of the social ills. The challenges that plague us in our urban communities, specifically in the african and latino diaspora's, generally brings us back to a code of ethics, that seemingly suffers depletion in the culture. "Music is life"..a term i like to refer to, helps me put the social outlook of this urban discourse in perspective:
From the street's genre, ( Beans, D-block, Cassidy, Ransom) to the king's/queens of commercial mainstream,(Jay z, Drake, Nas, Jeezy, mariah) to the conscious genre's(pan-african socialists, dead prez, talib kweli, the roots, mos def, common, erykah, rebel diaz) all have one thing in common: they wouldn't refute the means of social change; especially in urban communities. Most artists of all genre's by personal experience, and overall, are conscious of the times. Unity, and understanding are primarily still catalysts for change. I write this in efforts to encourage social awareness, personal and social development among the american masses, and people of color. Peace.
THEE URBANPRIESTHOOD GROUP LLC 2010.