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Submitted 3:07 p.m. EST
Letter to the Editor

I was a prisoner in Attica in 1970...It is apparent to me that nothing has changed.”

Joseph Jazz Hayden of New York, NY

I was a prisoner in Attica in 1970 and was moved 7 days before the rebellion in September of 1971. I was one of the chief organizers in D-Block.

It is apparent to me that nothing has changed. The keepers and the kept still come from economically marginalized communities; rural upstate poor communities and urban communities of poor people of color. The powers that be put these two groups together, and made one the keeper and one the kept, one predominantly white and one predominantly people of color-- both working class poor at the base of the social pyramid.

Those white guards that brutalized that black prisoner were no different than that prisoner except that they were given power over him by the state. They are little more than "Overseers" on a slave plantation. [The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery except for those who have been duly convicted of a crime.]

Would things be different if the "Overseers" we're black? Nope! Black on black violence on Rikers Island is the mirror image of Attica.

In both cases the lack of accountability and severe consequences for brutal behavior enables this Overseer mentality. Solutions: stop putting human beings in cages. Turn these cages into institutions of vocational and academic training. And, locate these prisons next to the communities from which they come and give control of them to the community.

Shut Attica down!!!

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