Listen to a recording of Hybachi LeMar’s presentation at the Chicago Anarchist Skillshare, “Abolishing the Prison Industrial Complex In Our Minds (with I.D.E.A.S.)“:
Alright, right on. It’s me – your disembodied voice. This evening’s presentation will be a brief one, but it’s one I wrote as an antidote, that once remembered, can help you in any situation. The name of the presentation tonight is “Abolishing the Prison Industrial Complex in the Mind (with I.D.E.A.S.)”
I wrote this because a lot of us feel like we’ve been living in a prison inside ourselves all our lives. If you relate, you know just what I’m talking about. In an era where so many of us simply feel out of place in this world. Our disconnection is intimately related with knowing we don’t fit in, and this society that socially engineers to marginalize us. Then they board up the windows in our neighborhoods, but they can’t board up our minds. If anything, we find ways to turn boardups as a base area of resistance.
Those in power look at us like we don’t belong, but who are they to judge us? A class that’s been kicked-out and pent-in, who drink to escape! The marginalized, the excluded, who piss in alleys after being told the washroom is for “paying customers only”, who grow up ready to start shooting at police, after seeing how ready they are to start shooting at us.
Enough with this to get it together: to the abolitionist, exercising, and saying “yes”, from your wheelchairs and walkers, I hope you know how loved and important you are. Together, we can help each other, heal each other, and liberate ourselves from complexes unworthy of us, using I.D.E.A.S.
And making the conscious choice to devote our lives to the liberation struggle, it’s important that we wage war against self-directed oppression. And in this fight for our collective freedom, it’s essential that we dismantle the prison industrial complex inside of our minds.
It all starts with “I”: The I in Ideas represents Introspection, it involves taking an inward look at ourselves, and questioning our existence. Who am I? Am I content with the way I carry myself? What parts of my character do I like, what parts would I like to change? Have I evolved over the past ten years of my life? Asking ourselves these personal questions lies at the core of our mental solutions. When we know the answer to these questions, we act in ways which become satisfied with the way that we carry ourselves. Not in the past, but right now, in the present, this very moment in life.
The “D” in Ideas is for Devotion: devotion of purpose, to be exact. And knowing our purpose, and living it, we deliver ourselves from repeated the mistakes from our past and living testament of the truth that we’re now abiding. And in renouncing our former state of ignorance, we receive revolutionary redemption. Devoting our lives to a mission gives it meaning. When oppressive forces can drive us to feel like our mental health is going off-kilter, remembering our devotion of purpose helps us center ourselves and to maintain presence of mind. Our class has been conditioned to create our own prisons, and in both the material as well as the mental, we see an arrested development.
The third letter in Ideas represents Education: education as an instrument for our liberation, to be precise. As Anthony Rayson reminds us, the great Leo Tolstoy says that “the purpose of education is freedom”. Liberation education is invaluable in freeing ourselves from the psychological isolation so many of us have suffered inside of, whether as a punishment in an institution, or self-imposed in the sanctuary of open society. Abolitionist schools such as South Chicago ABC, Books Through Bars, and Midwest Books to Prisoners, are dual power structures in the field of counter-cultural education. I’m thankful for them. They facilitate in opening the mind to alternatives for revolutionaries in barbaric behavior modification programs and “cage your rage”. It’s important to bear in mind that it’s not the urban novels that glorify gangbanging that gets denied from the hands of prisoners, it’s the idea against institutionalized injustice that are banned as institutionally dangerous.
The brilliant anarchist from Brazil Domingos Passos is celebrated in Rio De Janeiro and abroad on account of his intellect and oratorical gift which he has honed in the day-to-day struggle of his trade, as a carpenter, anarchist, and militant union delegate in the early 20th century.
In 1923, fellow worker Oralndo Simoneck reflected that a remarkable feature of Domingos Passos was his relentless self-educated drive, that search for learning and culture which found him strenuously pouring over books. Domingos was known as an autodidact, meaning self-taught. Compa Domingos Passos was an expert at free-thinking, free-thinking meaning you being the one in control of your thoughtlife, and involves using the education we received to deprogram ourselves from years of government indoctrination.
Bakunin taught that we can’t subordinate our body’s instincts and movements to the instruction of our developing minds except through education and training. We free ourselves from being ignorant of our potential with education and by working on ourselves with the knowledge.
The “A” in Ideas represents Application. Applying the knowledge, we take time to reflect on, and the cause produces substantial effects. Using the knowledge we now become a living representation of what we’ve learned: as representations of knowledge, we experience it in an evocative way. It feels free to carry ourselves in harmony with our ideals, and this comes with applying to our lives the knowledge we learn.
For example, anything that we do for 21 consecutive days is, definitively speaking, a habit. Compa Nimmy teaches to always carry yourself with dignity and respect: if we do this for three weeks carrying ourselves in this way, it becomes second nature. This is helpful for several ways: one of them being that when we keep our head up, we’re able to see eye-to-eye with each other with genuine understanding. Another reason is that each of us have potential and value: knowing this power, as Anthony Browder advised, makes study and the application of knowledge a daily priority in your life.
Solidarity: the final letter, and the formula to carry with us when we can use it, is the “S” symbolizing solidarity. Abolition is a collective effort: we help each other free each other, and this is truly a revolutionary endeavor. Genuine understanding, and the recognition of the need to deprogram ourselves from a life of systemic indoctrinations, gives us the collective clarity and consistency needed to heal each other with empathy and emotional mutual aid. We release each other from the prisons of emotional pain, and in so doing, strengthens our numbers as well as the mind in the process. It only takes two people to form an affinity group: this can be done in a bus stop, a prison cell, or on the sidewalk in the streets.
In conclusion, those of us who know what it’s like to do without, whether it’s love, a place to lay our heads, something to eat, or living with the feeling that you’re not understood. You’re not alone, and in fact, you’re existentially great, with the feeling of intimacy that’s usually found among the philosophically orphaned.
We have something more valuable than money: we have freedom and love, and once we have them, neither can be taken away from inside us. Saidiya Hartman wrote that “anarchism is the inheritance of the dispossessed”, and the simplicity of this formula makes it easy to carry with you if you find yourselves confined in a complex situation. As mentioned, just as short and sweet: dissolving the prison industrial complex in the mind makes it easier to remove the sophisticated cages constructed throughout corporate America and beyond.
With this, I close, and I send you my solidarity, love and strength.
Solidarity to all the Venezuelan Migrants, and all looking for freedom, and fighting for it, solidarity, love and strength!
Thank you. I could literally feel all yall in my heartbeat! Gratitude!