What is the Prisoners of Conscience Committee?

by Makaya
Basics Issue #10 (Aug/Sep 2008)

The Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC) is a national, revolutionary organization in America that was founded in the nine years Fred Hampton Jr. spent in prison. In his words:
“POCC was literally birthed from behind enemy lines. Its birth canal was the concentration camps, it’s umbilical cords are the prison chains.”

POCC uses what happens inside the prisons as a learning tool to understand the oppression that takes place on the outside. They define themselves as “an organization of African Revolutionary Freedom Fighters whose agenda is to liberate the minds and hearts of African and Colonized people.” Since POCC recognizes that “ain’t nobody gonna save us but us” they aim to organize as many people as possible through their own programs and through coalition building with other revolutionary organizations and peoples.

Among the many campaigns that POCC members are currently engaged in there is the ‘One Prisoner, One Contact Campaign’ that builds real contact between prisoners and people on the outside, the ‘Welcome Black to the Community Campaign’ that helps newly released prisoners re-settle into their communities and provides packages of clothes and other necessities to aid them in re-adjusting to outside life. Molded after the Black Panthers Breakfast Programs, POCC runs the ‘Feed the People Program’ which continues to feed the hungry on a regular basis. One of the organization’s main mandates is to free all political prisoners and they are working especially hard to free their own political prisoners, such as Minister of Defense, Aaron Patterson, who is currently imprisoned and already spent 17 years on death row for a false conviction.

POCC’s Code of Culture remains strict and principled in their call out to all artists and musicians who claim to support the struggle to engage in revolutionary acts with their music.
With growing campaigns and successful community programs, with legendary hip hop artist M1 as their Minister of Culture, supporters like Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, with bases in Chicago and Oakland and chapters opening up in other cities and around the world, such as in Brazil, the Prisoners of Conscience Committee is making its way into the hearts and minds of revolutionary people everywhere. Free ‘em all.