Monday, April 01, 2013
THE ARYAN BROTHERHOOD, PRISON LIFE, AND WHY YOU MIGHT GIVE A DAMN
I figured today would be a good one to take a look at the Aryan Brotherhood, well sort of. You know why. But I wanted a look not from some "experts," who have spent their lives "studying" groups like this, keeping track of them, writing about them (though all of that is fine by me and necessary). I also didn't want to hear from those like me with a built in ideology and who have been involved in one way or another with anti-racist work, anti-fascist work. I thought, let's look for people who have been inside and actually had to deal with these guys...and who aren't necessarily from the "choir." Consequently, don't expect to agree with everything, or even anything, you read in the two posts below. However, you might want to pay a little attention.
The second post below is the one that for me personally is the most interesting. I was in prison but it was before the prisons were totally turned into gang city. While the prisons I inhabited were definitely divided up by race I wasn't forced into the weird position that as a Jew I didn't have any gang to join for protection even if I wanted to do so. However, even though I was an anti-racist and even though I was a red even then, I realized prison life was going to be different. I did my best to get by and survive. I didn't engage in racist shit. I did associate with people of color some (mostly in the living area where you could get away with some of that, and definitely not in the eating area where you could not). In fact, it was a black guy who took me aside on my first day inside and sort of explained things to me. I don't know who he was, but I was glad he took the time to do it.
I got by in El Reno (a pen for younger convicts and rated somewhere between moderate and maximum security at the time) hanging out with some young, but pretty experienced, respected cons who knew what they were doing and took me in (I think because they probably found me weird, and my crime - bombing conspiracy - interesting). I got by at Leavenworth during the final part of my time by hanging out with people associated, believe it or not, with organized crime. How this happened is two fold. First, as there were Jewish mobsters there who associated with the Italian ones and well, I was a landsman, so to speak. Secondly, my "girlfriend" who was in law school at the time was working on an appeal case for a guy who was, shall we say, a mob soldier out of Chicago and because of her, he decided to take me under his wing. He was about 6'6" and tough as shit, so that didn't hurt.
But I digress into "old times."
I would most definitely not want to find myself having to deal the prison world today. Of course, I could never (even if I wasn't a Jew) align myself or befriend the likes of a white racist group like the Brotherhood, but, boy it would be some scary shit, I presume. I'd be pretty much on my own and being on your own inside may sound cool, but it ain't.
Better out here, then in there...
The first post below is from the Daily Beast. The second is from the blog of robert Kelsey. The blog is generally a promotion for his self improvement, be more confident type of book. The guy was at one time, believe it or not, a banker. However, what he has to say here is interesting, though sometimes totally off base (in my opinion).