This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 1
MIM Notes
Oct. 15, 2003, Nº 289
The Official Newsletter of the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM)
INSIDE: SDS History Project* Under Lock & Key * Una Página en Español...
PO Box 29670
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Return Service Requested
PERMIT #56365
On the web:
You are not on a mailing list. You will not receive this paper again unless you take action.
September 15
IM and RAIL activists
attended the hearings on
Security Housing Units (SHU)
in California prisons, held in Los Angeles
by Senator Romero, Chair of the Select
Committee on the California Correctional
System. The SHUs are control units by
another name, a form of long term solitary
confinement that now exists in prisons
across the country. Long term isolation
has been criticized as a form of torture
by many individuals and governments, as
well as by the United Nations. There is
conclusive evidence that these conditions
cause mental and physical deterioration.
In this era of "tough on crime" rhetoric, it
is unusual for a government official to
even question prison programs, and in this
context we can hope to effect some
improvements in the lives of prisoners.
We attended these hearings with no
illusion that the California congress can
legislate substantial change in the criminal
injustice system. As a part of our
campaign against the SHU in California,
and control units across the country, we
attended the hearings to put forward the
perspective that the SHU must be shut
down, not just reformed into kinder, gentler
torture. We were also looking to hook up
with other control unit activists and friends
and family members of prisoners to
expand our campaign against control units
in this state and across the country.
The five California SHUs--Pelican
Bay State Prison SHU, Valley State
Prison for Women SHU, California State
Prison at Corcoran SHU, California
Correctional Institution at Tehapchapi
SHU and Corcoran SATF--are the
lynchpin for the California Department
of Corrections' (CDC) prison system.
Currently housing about 2700 people
(about 40 in the wimmin's prison), they
are the most brutal prisons in the system
and principally target those prisoners who
show the most resistance. They are
designed to break inmates' spirit. The
SHU is a threat which hangs over the
head of all CA prisoners. At Pelican Bay
prisoners are kept in windowless cells for
a minimum of 22 1/2 hours a day. There
is no education, no job training, no work,
no religious services, or hobby materials.
Prisoners are subject to strip searches
upon departure from and return to their
cell when they have not come in contact
with any other individual.
Torture can't be reformed
California senate hearings on Security Housing Units
INS threatens
Palestinian activist
n September 27 more than a
hundred people gathered in
Boston's Copley Square to
express their solidarity with the struggle
of the Palestinian people--sandwiched
between a smaller crowd of reactionary
counter-protestors and a few swing
dancers. The pro-Palestinian speakers
MIM heard took an explicit anti-colonialist
line, correctly equating Zionism with
colonialism, recounting the theft of
Palestinian lands going back to the 1967
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza
strip and even further, back to the 1948
"war of independence."
The counter-protestors were
particularly moronic, as most carried signs
mocking Democratic Presidential
candidate Howard Dean. Dean is hardly
an anti-Zionist. He says the Bush
administration's "guiding principles in the
Middle East are the right ones," and his
campaign co-chair is former president of
a large pro-I$rael lobby. True, fellow
Democrat John Kerry has criticized Dean
for recently saying the United $tates
should be "evenhanded" in the Middle
East--a standard pretense Amerikan
Presidents and Secretaries of State have
adopted for over three decades, by the
way--but that says more about the
narrow(ing) range of acceptable
discourse about I$rael than about
One of the speakers at the rally was
Amer Jubran, co-founder of the New
England Committee to Defend Palestine.
INS agents arrested Amer on the morning
of November 4, 2002--they came to his
door accompanied by the FBI while he
was in the shower, no less--days after
he helped organize a march for
Palestinian rights. The INS originally
intended to hold him indefinitely, but in
the face of international public pressure
they released Amer after 17 days
internment on a remarkably small bond.
The INS is
now pushing to
deport Amer
based on false
allegations of
t e c h n i c a l
violations in his
green card
status. The
p o l i t i c a l
motivations behind this threat are clear
from the timing of his initial arrest and
the presence of the FBI--in fact, the FBI
attempted to question Amer about his
legitimate political activities and explicitly
threatened him with indefinite INS
detention if he refused to cooperate.(2)
Amer's trial date is set for November
6. MIM and RAIL plan to send a
contingent to support him and denounce
this dangerous, politically-motivated
harassment. Keep an eye on
bostevents.html for further details.
1. Michelle Goldberg, "Howard Dean's Israel
problem," Salon magazine, 23 Sep 2003.
Continued on page 4...
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 2
What is MIM?
The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) is the collection of existing or emerging
Maoist internationalist parties in the English-speaking imperialist countries and their English-
speaking internal semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging Maoist Internationalist
parties in Belgium, France and Quebec and the existing or emerging Spanish-speaking
Maoist Internationalist parties of Aztlan, Puerto Rico and other territories of the U.$. Empire.
MIM Notes is the newspaper of MIM. Notas Rojas is the newspaper of the Spanish-speaking
parties or emerging parties of MIM. MIM upholds the revolutionary communist ideology
of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and is an internationalist organization that works from the
vantage point of the Third World proletariat. MIM struggles to end the oppression of all
groups over other groups: classes, genders, nations. MIM knows this is only possibly by
building public opinion to seize power through armed struggle. Revolution is a reality for
North America as the military becomes over-extended in the government's attempts to
maintain world hegemony. MIM differs from other communist parties on three main
questions: (1) MIM holds that after the proletariat seizes power in socialist revolution, the
potential exists for capitalist restoration under the leadership of a new bourgeoisie within
the communist party itself. In the case of the USSR, the bourgeoisie seized power after the
death of Stalin in 1953; in China, it was after Mao's death and the overthrow of the "Gang
of Four" in 1976. (2) MIM upholds the Chinese Cultural Revolution as the farthest advance
of communism in humyn history. (3) As Marx, Engels and Lenin formulated and MIM has
reiterated through materialist analysis, imperialism extracts super-profits from the Third
World and in part uses this wealth to buy off whole populations of oppressor nation so-
called workers. These so-called workers bought off by imperialism form a new petty-
bourgeoisie called the labor aristocracy. These classes are not the principal vehicles to
advance Maoism within those countries because their standards of living depend on
imperialism. At this time, imperialist super-profits create this situation in the Canada, Quebec,
the United $tates, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy, Switzerland,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Israel, Sweden and Denmark. MIM accepts people as
members who agree on these basic principles and accept democratic centralism, the system
of majority rule, on other questions of party line.
"The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is universally applicable. We should
regard it not as dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is not merely a matter of
learning terms and phrases, but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of revolution."
- Mao Zedong, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 208.
Editor, MC206; Production, MC12
MIM Notes
The Official Newsletter of The Maoist Internationalist Movement
ISSN 1540-8817
MIM Notes is the bi-weekly newsletter of the Maoist Internationalist Movement. MIM
Notes is the official Party voice; more complete statements are published in our journal,
MIM Theory. Material in MIM Notes is the Party's position unless noted. MIM Notes
accepts submissions and critiques from anyone. The editors reserve the right to edit
submissions unless permission is specifically denied by the author; submissions are
published anonymously unless authors insist on identification (prisoners are never
identified by name). MIM is an underground party that does not publish the names of its
comrades in order to avoid the state surveillance and repression that have historically
been directed at communist parties and anti-imperialist movements. MCs, MIM comrades,
are members of the Party. The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL) is an anti-
imperialist mass organization led by MIM (RCs are RAIL Comrades). MIM's ten-point
program is available to anyone who sends in a SASE.
The paper is free to all prisoners, as long as they write to us every 90 days to confirm
their subsciptions. There are no individual subscriptions for people outside prison.
People who want to receive newspapers should become sponsors and distributors.
Sponsors pay for papers, distributors get them onto the streets, and officers do both
distribution and financial support. Annual cost is: 12 copies (Priority Mail), $120; 25
(Priority Mail), $150; 50 (Priority Mail), $280; 100, $380; 200, $750; 900 (Express
Mail), $3,840; 900 (8-10 days), $2,200. To become a sponor or distributor, send
anonymous money orders payable to "MIM." Send to MIM, attn: Camb. branch, PO Box
400559, Cambridge, MA 02140. Or write [email protected]
Most back issues of MIM Notes are available free on our web site. The web site con-
tains thousands of documents, with ordering information for many more.
MIM grants explicit permission to copy all or part of this newspaper for any reason, as
long as we are credited.
For general correspondence, contact:
P.O. Box 29670
Los Angeles, CA 90029-0670
eMail: <[email protected]>
WWW: <http//>
A Black fist salute!
I just got convicted in Texas for a crime
my trial demonstrated I was not guilty of.
I clearly showed in my habeas that I was
only guily of "simple assault," a
misdemeanor, but got convicted for a
felony and sentenced to 45 years. ...
Clearly there is no justice for minorities,
especially if you are indigent. So this is
the last straw: I renounce my citizenship.
They were so gung-ho in going to Iraq
with their machine gun for glory's sake,
because they thought there were gonna
easily kick some Iraqi ass! Now they are
whining that they want to come home
because of these crazy, suicidal Iraqis that
are getting them one by one. Ha ha! Let
freedom ring for the Iraqis! Independence
And as for Ashcroft: What you gonna
do now, you Christian Nazi? Get me for
treason? Aiding and abetting the enemy?
The hell with your evil, manipulative
Patriot Act.
As a last note, there are many defiant
oppressed people like me in your gulags,
but we will win! Power to the left-wing
people and anarchists!
P.S. To comrades out there, submit your
letters to MIM in defiance of Ashcroft!
Let us rock this country. Renounce your
citizenship for this evil New World Order!
--In a Texas gulag, July 2003
MIM responds: We are glad to see
you make the connection between the
injustice system and the imperialist war
in Iraq. Amerika's practice national
oppression and exploitation is definitely
globally interconnected: that is the system
of imperialism. We are also glad to see
you renounce your allegiance to the
We do not recommend attempts to
formally renounce U.$. citizenship,
however, as a form of protest. That is
one reason we are not printing this letter
with your name (we also don't print
prisoner names because we can't verify
them or the information they contain
ourselves). It is much more important to
renounce your allegiance to Amerika in
practice, by contributing to the movement
against Amerikan imperialism, in support
of national liberation for the victims of
that imperialism, and for a new society
that sheds the oppressive nature of
capitalism and the machinations of its
We are not at a stage in the struggle in
this country where we need people to
sacrifice their lives and die for the
people--or get disappeared by Ashcroft.
We need revolutionaries to stay alive,
healthy, and active in the movement.
Open Letter to Ashcroft
Did you
There are
more than 200
back issues of
MIM Notes
available on
the MIM
website? Not
only can you
browse more
than 15 years
of the
you can also
keep up with
the very latest
on MIM
prisoner news,
all the latest
on the U$ war,
and much
more. MIM's
website is an
tool for the
movement. Get
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 3
MIM Notes: In your newspaper,
"People's War," your "Mission
statement" uses the word
"intercommunal," but not Marxism-
Leninism-Maoism. Does the "People's
War" consider itself Marxist-Leninist-
People's War magazine: PW Magazine
is a revolutionary mass news organ
published by the People's Community
Organization (PCO), a mass organization
which organizes around the issues of
survival and independence of the
oppressed black, brown, red nations
dominated by U.S. imperialism in North
Amerika. Though communists work
within the PCO, the PCO is not Marxist-
Leninist-Maoist, but rather anti-imperialist
and intercommunalist (internationalist).
The PCO upholds the revolutionary
intercommunalism of the BPP [Black
Panther Party] under the revolutionary
Maoist leadership of Comrade Huey P.
Newton and today recognizes the
revolutionary leadership of the Ghetto
Liberation Political Party. Thus while PW
does not claim to be a Marxist-Leninist-
Maoist Organ, but rather a "revolutionary
Hip-Hop Magazine and Intercommunal
News Service," we are definitely friendly
to revolutionary M-L-M and genuine
Maoist revolutionary Parties around the
world and the struggles under their
MIM Notes: Can you give us some
reasoning on the 7 heads pictured on page
18 of the People's War issue of the
summer 2003? Who are they and how
do they fit together?
People's War magazine: We
forwarded your second question in regard
to the banner printed on page 18 to a
GLPP representative. We received this
"Certainly. The Heads pictured are
Marcus Garvey, revolutionary African
nationalist, anti- imperialist leader and
organizer of the largest anti-imperialist
movement of the Black nation in the
beginning of the 20th century. (Marcus
Garvey's class position was that of the
left wing of the national bourgeoisie of
the Black nation and with criticisms we
recognize the progressive thrust of his
Pan-Africanism and its historical role.)
Lenin, revolutionary communist and
leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution
which ushered in the world's first socialist
state. We uphold the Russian Revolution
from 1917-1956. Elijah Muhammad,
revolutionary African nationalist leader,
whose Teachings and anti-integrationist
stance contributed to development of a
revolutionary consciousness of African
working class as later represented by the
Malcolm X and the BPP. (Like Garvey,
Elijah Muhammad's class position was
that of the left wing of the national
bourgeoisie of the Black nation, and with
criticisms we recognize the progressive
thrust of his metaphysicism and its
historical role.) Mao Zedong, chairman
and leader of the CPC [Communist Party
of China], leader of great 1949 Chinese
socialist revolution (which altered the
world's balance of forces in favor of
socialism), opponent of the white
nationalist revisionism and Soviet social-
imperialism, leader and inspirer of the
GPCR [Great Proletarian Cultural
Revolution] which was overthrown by the
revisionist elements of the CPC in 1976.
Malcolm X, revolutionary African
nationalist and internationalist, his anti-
capitalist pro- socialist, pro-self-defense
position in his last years particularly
contributed to the founding and
development of the BPP. Kwame
Nkrumah, African communist leader,
revolutionary Pan-Africanist. Unlike
forces claiming to uphold Kwame
Nkrumah's line we recognize Kwame
Nkrumah as carrying out the historical
work of applying the universal truths of
the intercommunal working to the
concrete problems facing the revolution
on the African continent, namely 1.) the
need for an independent revolutionary
Communist Party to led the revolution in
Africa 2.) the need for an all African
People's War under the leadership of this
Communist Party 3.) With the political goal
of one unified socialist Africa under the
leadership of a revolutionary proletarian
dictatorship in alliance with the African
peasantry, at the service of the World
Proletarian Revolution the establishment
of world communism. Last but not least
is Huey P. Newton, U.S. African
communist leader and revolutionary
organizer. Founder and leader of the
Black Panther Party, which we uphold
and recognize was the most advanced
Communist Party in the history of the
U.S. The GLPP is a revolutionary
Communist Party guided by Marxism-
Leninism-Maoism Ingiaye thought and
considers itself the political and ideological
continuation of the original Black Panther
Party under the leadership of HPN [Huey
P. Newton].
"These are seven persons, out of many
others such as Stalin, W.E.B Dubois,
George Jackson, Chairman Gonzalo etc.,
who we uphold and recognize as
positively influencing the revolutionary
movement of the oppressed Black Nation
under the leadership of the African
working class in general and the
revolutionary work of the GLPP in
We send friendly greetings to MIM
Notes and are thankful for this interview
and look forward to further struggle.
In Solidarity, PW Magazine
MIM interviews "People's War" magazine
Let Freedom Ring: Winning the
War of Liberty over Liberalism
Sean Hannity
NY: Regan Books, 2002, 338pp.
reviewed by [email protected],
September 2003
Dear Sean Hannity:
We write to you on behalf of a
communist website to say we have read
your book Let Freedom Ring and would
like to interview you. What follows is a
series of facts from your book followed
by a question for each set of facts.
We are looking for a yes/no answer, as
you often push people on your show. After
your "yes" or "no," we will accept any
other details you may add and we are
happy to put your complete and unedited
responses on our website with links to
yours. We will accept written answers
or .mp3 or some other format.
Question set I: Who is the traitor?
FACT: You called Johnny Walker Lindh
a "traitor" who "deserves execution." (p.
FACT: Lindh had not attacked anyone
in the United $tates and in fact Johnny
Spann and the thousands of others went
to Afghanistan to attack him. Lindh had
been there first and had a right to self-
FACT: You said Clinton did not focus
enough on terrorism and you pointed out
attacks on embassies, the USS Cole and
let's not forget the original World Trade
Center (1993) bombing.(p. 13, 22)
QUESTION: Knowing all this about
terrorist attacks in the 1990s, by May,
2001 Colin Powell had delivered $124
million in just one year's aid to
Afghanistan where the Taliban ruled.
Colin Powell did more for the Taliban
than Johnny Walker Lindh ever did, yes
or no? Powell "deserves execution" yes
or no?
Question set II: More or fewer
CIA "human assets"?
FACT: You echoed Reagan who said
Democrats "made it sound as if the chief
threat to our liberties was our own
intelligence apparatus."(p. 28)
FACT: You spoke repeatedly for
having more human CIA assets instead
of just electronic and other mechanical
spying. You complained when "roughly
1,000 `assets'"(p. 37) were allegedly let
go by the CIA for connections to too
many murderous activities.
FACT: Osama Bin Laden was a CIA
human asset in the 1980s and Saddam
Hussein before that.
QUESTION: Do you support a rule
that would have cut Osama Bin Laden
as a CIA asset, yes or no?
QUESTION: Should someone in the
1980s have complained about CIA
human assets in the 1980s to cut training
and funding of Osama Bin Laden, yes or
Question set III: Illegal immigration
FACT: You say there are 8 million "illegal aliens" and
2 million who overstay their visas for a total of 10 million
people in the United States.(p. 54)
FACT: In the next two pages you list crimes involving
three people among those 10 million. (p. 55-56)
QUESTION: There would be no Irish or anyone else
but the indigenous peoples in the Unites States if we cut
off immigration whenever 3 out of 10 million people
committed felony crimes, yes or no?
QUESTION: You published no statistics comparing
the crimes of legal U.S. residents and citizens and "illegal
aliens"; yet you used the crimes of the "illegal aliens" to
justify kicking them out, so
you made an argument
involving a double
standard, yes or no?
Question set IV: the
theory of "peace
through strength"
FACT: You repeatedly
defended the whole
"peace through strength"
theory and found $30
billion for intelligence too
small, the weapons budget
too small etc.(e.g. p. 70)
FACT: The United
States is the strongest
country in the world.
FACT: The jumbo jets
did not crash in
Luxembourg on
September 11 2001.
theory "peace through
strength" was proven
bankrupt when terrorists
attacked the strongest
instead of the weakest
countries, yes or no?
As of 6 October 2003
MIM has received no
response from Mr.
MIM takes conservative pundit to task
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 4
In California, and across the country,
these units principally target oppressed
nations. In 1998 the CDC reported that
34% of the population in all CDC
institutions was Latino, and 31% was
Black. The population of the Security
Housing Units (SHUs) is even more
disproportionate. 82% of those in SHUs
were non-white, and 52% of those in
SHUs were Latino. This compares to a
California population that was 32%
Latino, and 7% Black in 1998. The
population appears to be about the same
today but exact statistics are not published
by the CDC for the public.
A few of us attending the hearings
drove down from the Bay Area. Driving
through the central valley of California
was a stark reminder of the battle ahead
of us in California, a state with more than
160,000 people in prison. Virtually every
town we passed by or near housed a
prison. Visalia, Tehachapi, Avenal,
Modesto, Delano, Wasco, Corcoran,
Coalinga, Salinas, Soledad, Chowchilla,
Lancaster and more, ranging from
medium security to the supermax SHUs,
the desert of California is home to many
of the 33 prisons in the state. And it takes
little imagination to understand that jobs
in the prisons are a good paying
alternative to farming, the only other big
industry around. Especially as Governor
Davis just gave prison guards a raise that
will bring their salaries to $73,000 per year
by 2006.
Outside the hearing at 8am a small
crowd gathered to protest the SHU. Led
by the Barrio Defense Committee,
activists and relatives of prisoners waved
signs and chanted demanding the SHUs
be shut down. MIM and RAIL joined this
protest with complements on our signs
designed for our campaign to shut down
control units across the country.
At 9am when the hearing began
attendees were passed through a metal
detector and forced to leave all signs, food
and water outside. There were at least
six cops outside the main entrance, eight
more up front in the large hearing hall
guarding the area where the senator and
her witnesses were to sit, two or three
more around the sides and back of the
room against the walls, and an uncounted
number more guarding the side entrances
to the hall. In a large hall that could seat
hundreds about 100 opponents of the SHU
gathered along with a small crowd of ten
or so CDC administrators mixed with a
few more cops seated in the corner with
their crowd. The level of security was
astonishing and suggested that the state
government considers friends and family
of prisoners quite dangerous.
Senator Romero questions
SHU system
Senator Romero opened the hearing
with an overview of the California SHUs,
explaining that there are 3 male SHU
prisons and 1 for wimmin, together
housing close to 3000 people. She
CA senate hearings on Security Housing Units
described accurately the conditions in the
SHU which include 23 hours/day
lockdown in the cell, prisoners getting out
only for occasional exercise and showers,
and no programming (educational, work
or otherwise). One point that the hearings
misrepresented was the expansion of the
SHU system. Although the number of
SHU beds has not officially expanded,
the CDC continues to build new
"administrative segregation" units inside
prisons throughout the state. This is just
another name for control units. Many
states use this tactic to overcome legal
or political challenges to their control
units, changing the name and pretending
they have implemented a different system.
One such unit was opened in Soledad
Romero criticized the CDC for failing
to provide her with exact information on
the cost per prisoner of incarceration in
the SHU and presented the estimates they
gave her of $37,662 per inmate excluding
health care, making the point that she
believes the actual cost is significantly
higher than this. While it is no doubt true
that it costs more money to house
prisoners in isolation units than in general
population, MIM doesn't care about this
point. Unless we are talking about putting
money into more programming for
prisoners, better food and medical care,
and better legal services, we don't care
if the state is wasting money on expensive
cells, wasting money on guards' salaries,
or wasting money paying for a recall
circus election. Our opposition to the SHU
is not based on rallying taxpayers to better
use their prison money to build more
cheaper cells because this is a losing point
of propaganda.
Romero went on to explain that the
SHU houses two groups of prisoners, first
there are those in for determinate
sentences who have supposedly
committed violent acts. The second group
is those labeled "validated" gang
members. The SHU population is split
roughly evenly between the two groups.
Romero stated "I have some very serious
concerns about the validation
process...[and the] lack of oversight of
the process by which it is determined if a
prisoner remains an active gang member
or associate." Romero went on to suggest
that she would like to see the CDC move
to a more "behavioral based criteria" for
gang validation rather than using "status"
criteria. This is a good criticism of the
SHU process, but it focuses on how to
better select prisoners for torture rather
than addressing the torture itself.
It is also important to point out that the
label "gang" is in and of itself a problem.
Gangs are loosely defined to identify any
group of people those in authority see as
a threat. Usually this is any group of
oppressed nation people getting together
for their betterment, self-defense,
education or other activity, not always
including illegal activities. MIM has been
labeled a "gang" or "security threat
group" for our political education
programs for prisoners. And prisoners are
given "gang" classifications for their
association with us and other political
Romero also provided some useful
facts, noting that, in response to criticism,
the CDC has carried out a self-audit of
the SHU validation process. She rightly
pointed out that this process is suspect as
it involved no independent oversight.
Further she noted that there have been
403 paroles directly from the SHU since
2000 with a recidivism rate of 78%. The
recidivism rate for inmates in general
population in California is 66%. As
Romero herself stated "even that normal
recidivism rate is extremely abnormal."
MIM agrees and we understand that
prisons are not about rehabilitation at all,
they are an industry and to remain in
operation they have an interest in
continuing to build their population. There
is no effort put into giving prisoners
opportunities to live a better life after
prison. Romero expressed the concern
that community members are not safer
because of SHUs if they are leading to
more crime when prisoners are released.
Senator Polanco, the former chair of
the Joint Committee on Prison
Construction and Operations, spoke at the
hearing first. He went into further detail
on the types of SHU sentences. For a
violent act a prisoner receives a
determinate SHU sentence of up to 6
years. For being a "validated" gang
member or associate a prisoner gets an
indeterminate SHU sentence of 6 years
up to life with the only way to get out
being to parole, snitch or die. He too
objected to the lack of behavior based
criteria for gang validation.
Under his leadership some programs
for reform of the system were developed
which he noted had yet to be implemented.
He gave praise to the CDC for
"progress" but said it has slowed. MIM
sees this as just political lip service. There
has been virtually no change in the SHU
system since Polanco began his
investigation. Prisoners can now allegedly
get out of the SHU by remaining free of
gang activity for six years, but that is a
cosmetic change. Putting a prettier face
on torture and oppression is far from a
goal of MIM's and we are wary that
congressional actions like those taken by
Polanco can do more harm than good for
the oppressed.
Polanco noted that the CDC had sent
people to study the control unit systems
in other states, looking for models of how
to run things better. His complaint was
that none of the examples they had seen
were implemented. MIM looks around
the country at the control units in other
states and does not see a model for the
CDC to follow. This is one case where
MIM agrees with the CDC Director
Alameida; he pointed out that most states
are doing the same kinds of things
California is doing with control units.
CDC pigs defend torture
In some of the most interesting
testimony of the hearing Ed Alameida,
Director of the CDC took the stand along
with David Tristan his Chief Deputy
Director of Field Operations and James
Moreno, the chief of the CDC gang unit.
Alameida also brought along the warden
of Pelican Bay and a few other CDC
administrators who did not speak. For
Alameida and his men this hearing was a
process of justifying their policies so they
could get back to work and avoid cuts in
funding, but a few useful facts did come
out amid their evasions and cautious
Alameida began his testimony by giving
some background stating that prison gangs
began in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
He vehemently labeled them an organized
crime syndicate. More than once he
brought up drug and weapons dealing in
the prisons. Romero never challenged him
on this but MIM wants to point out that
these things only happen when someone
lets drugs or weapons into the prison.
Prisoners do not have any way to do this
themselves so CDC employee complicity
is a must.
In 1971 Governor Reagan established
the gang unit in the California prisons. This
timing coinciding with the harsh
crackdown on revolutionary movements
in the United $tates and the dramatic
skyrocketing of the prison population as
the government started rounding up
oppressed nationals and herding them off
to prison in an attempt to squelch any
revolutionary activity.
Alemeida's only factual evidence of the
efficacy of the current SHU program was
his statement that they began in 1971 using
a behavioral based system for gang
classification, and in 1970 the inmate
death rate was 1 per 2400. He said this
death rate increased through the 1980s
and then they implemented a status based
classification system and the death rate
fell to 1 per 12,000 in 2001. He claimed
this was a success of their current system.
California had 27,000 prisoners in 1970
and had 160,000 in 2001. Less than 2%
of the prisoners are in the SHU.
MIM can point out a few flaws in this
argument. First is the lack of information
he provided on the timing of a switch to
status based classification. Second is the
Continued from page 1...
Continued on next page...
Our opposition to
the SHU is not
based on rallying
taxpayers to
better use their
prison money to
build more
cheaper cells...
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 5
MIM prints this letter from a
Connecticut prisoner written several
years ago describing the conditions in
the control units there to demonstrate
that the conditions in these torture units
in other states can not serve as a model
for improving the California SHUs.
Control Units must be abolished in
every state, there is no way the criminal
injustice system can build a better
control unit.
I am a Black revolutionary being held
political prisoner in a concentration camp
called Garner Correctional Institution in
Newtown, Conn. I've been placed in what
they call close monitoring (gang units).
I was taken out of population and placed
in this gang unit. Not for fighting, not for
stabbing another prisoner, or taking of
other prisoners' property. But for pictures;
pictures I took in another state, not Conn.
And because my pictures have a very
expressive body language, that makes me
a gang member [in the eyes of the state].
The only hand sign in my pictures is the
peace sign. That's right! The peace sign.
When white people used it at Woodstock,
it meant "peace and love." But when
young African-Americans use it, it means
gangs. Many of my young comrades are
also here for the same thing.
The state of Connecticut's law
enforcement along with correctional
institutions have declared war on all of
Connecticut's urban communities and
have said that these low income areas
are to be considered gang territories. Let
me explain this skillfully designed, corrupt
Security Risk Group (SRG) system. SRGs
are considered to be gang members who
pose a so-called threat to the Connecticut
Department of Corrections. Information
will be gathered on an individual, whether
it's true or not. Most information is
provided by institutional snitches and is
not accurate. An individual will be given
a hearing to inform him that he will be
removed from general population and
placed in a Close Custody Unit where
this individual will be locked up 23 hours
a day, whereas in population, he's out most
of the day working or in school, learning
a vocational skill, taking college classes,
or trying to better himself by going to
Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics
Anonymous meetings.
It should be mentioned that once this
individual is placed in these concentration
camps called Close Custody, none of the
There is no model for torture
above-mentioned programs are available
to said individual. However, he is forced
into these group gang programs, and
maneuvered into spilling out his feelings
as to why he would join an organization
(which they call a gang). They are using
us; dissecting our minds in these
experimental, psychological, genocidal
labs; having us give them more
information they can use against us. This
information is then turned over to the
office of the Governor of Connecticut,
John Rowland, who will address
concerned taxpayers as to why the state
needs more money to build high- security
prisons. You see, there's big money at
stake for local police and correctional
departments that target gangs. Law
enforcement along with prison systems
are using gangs as a means of keeping
their financial stability. Connecticut's
prison system has become industrial
business. Prisons with 1,158 beds are
worth $25 million a year and 350 jobs to
the community.
Some officials sent out for color
brochures promoting prison economics.
And these gang units are one of their most
brilliant. I've been in these units for two
years. I have not yet eaten a hot meal.
All the meals here at Garner are as cold
as the outside. We are served very small
portions of food. And this is only to bring
the commissary sales up. They
overcharge us for generic products.
Officers in these units are constantly
showing aggressive behavior towards my
comrades and me in these units. We are
not receiving proper medical attention.
Some of the brothers go weeks sick.
Brothers like myself who speak out
about this corruption are sent to
segregation (the hole) on bogus prison
charges. In these units, we are not
allowed to talk with one another. We go
to recreation with only eight brothers for
one hour a day. The program is
supposedly for one year. But if a prisoner
receives an infraction, he must begin all
over. The conditions here at Garner are
at times intolerable. My brothers and
sisters of MIM, I write to you in the faith
that you will support your brothers who
are being held political prisoner in these
concentration camps called gang units....
Power to the people!
Your brother,
-- A Connecticut Prisoner, 27 October
lack of information about who did the
killing: guards or other prisoners. And third
is the correlation between the rising death
rate of prisoners and the guard brutality
against prisoners to the extent that they
were setting up fights between inmates,
betting on them, and then shooting to kill
prisoners as was exposed in Corcoran.
After this was exposed the guards were
forced to stop this practice. Certainly the
drop in guards killing prisoners can't count
as a success of the SHU classification
Moreno described the process of gang
validation in detail. Gang "behavior"
according to him, can be a violent act, a
tattoo, communication with validated gang
members or associates, photographs with
gang members or associates, confidential
information from debriefs or other
sources, letters written to validated gang
members, Christmas cards, and other
material. Romero questioned him
extensively on the non-behavior criteria
asking how a Christmas card or
conversation in the yard could be
evidence of gang membership. Moreno
tried to claim that cards and letters always
have secret messages that the CDC can't
see and so it doesn't matter what the
content is. This kind of status based
criteria is what has allowed the CDC to
put many prisoners in the SHU who have
never associated with a "gang" in their
lives. It is also conveniently easy to
validate prisoners with "confidential"
evidence, allowing the CDC staff to
target prisoners who are politically active
for SHU isolation.
The CDC staff went on to describe the
validation process which includes review
of "evidence" by the Institutional Gang
Investigator and review by the Validation
Review Committee. Prisoners
supposedly are given a copy of all
evidence against them and have the
opportunity to rebut it. Although it sounds
rigorous, a number of people testified to
the lack of training by the review
committee, the divergence of staff
interpretation on how to validate gang
members, and the reality of the system
which rarely shows the prisoners the
evidence against them or gives them any
chance to challenge it. This translates into
prison staff making arbitrary decisions to
send people to the SHU without needing
any real evidence.
Romero recently visited Pelican Bay
prison, a notorious SHU prison in
California, and interviewed several
prisoners. She said she repeatedly heard
stories of prisoners who had joined gangs
to avoid being assaulted and she asked
"what is the role of [the CDC] in setting
up conditions [that require this of
prisoners]?" This question correctly looks
at the state as the real source of safety
problems in the California prison system.
Romero went on to say outright
"Rehabilitation is absent from the mission
of the CDC".
Senator Romero seems to clearly see
the contradictions within the criminal
injustice system, and she seems to
genuinely want change, but she is caught
within the system and so on the one hand
she recognizes its failure but at the same
time she is calling for cosmetic reform
that will do little more than cover up the
problems. While MIM hopes to take
advantage of this opportunity to push
forward some changes that will improve
the lives of prisoners in the CDC, we
can't expect the dismantling of the SHU
programs without significant public protest
and organizing.
Witnesses against the SHU
Attorney Don Specter testified against
the SHU with a compelling response to
the CDC administrators. He noted that
by their own testimony there are 40,000
to 60,000 gang members in California
prisons. The SHU houses approximately
1500 "validated" gang members. So even
with the SHU full there is no chance it is
removing the gangs from the general
population. The argument that the SHU
units are keeping other prisoners safe
from gangs is ludicrous.
He noted that the CDC rules on
confidential informants are meaningless
because they decide that if any part of
the information provided by the informant
is true the CDC will consider all the
information true. And if the informant was
considered reliable in the past all his
information in the future will be trusted.
This invites informants to give false
testimony. And this is not to mention those
"validated" gang members who were
never associated with a gang and have
no real information to provide but who
want to "debrief" to get out of the SHU.
They have to make up information to get
Specter went into some detail
describing the system in Connecticut for
dealing with gang members. He
described some positive components like
the inclusion of programming, not using
shackles or restraints and not using
isolation after the first 120 days. But MIM
knows from our work with CT prisoners
that this system is not a model: at the
supermax in Northern CI (a control unit)
prisoners face harsh conditions, beatings
by guards, and frequent censorship
including over a year of discarding or
returning all mail MIM sent to prisoners
there. (Conditions in the CT control units
are described well by one prisoner in the
Charles Carbone, a lawyer with
California Prison Focus, was another
invited speaker at the hearing. He
provided some good evidence of the lies
told by the CDC administrators about the
validation process as well as the effects
of the SHU on prisoners and their families.
He also pointed out the important role of
the SHU debriefings in sharing
information with pigs on the street and
building databases on gang member
names, insignias and activities.
Carbone is working on a court case
right now challenging the constitutionality
of the SHU validation (Castillo vs.
Alameida) which is scheduled to go to
CA senate hearings on Security Housing Units
Continued from previous page...
Continued on page 8...
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 6
Fugitive Days
Bill Ayers
Penguin Books
Reviewed by a RAIL Comrade
and MC206
We can recommend this book as a
useful account of a group of Amerikans
who committed national suicide and
declared war against U.$. imperialism in
the name of oppressed nations
everywhere. As an autobiography of a
former member and leader of Students
for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later
the Weather Underground, this book
provides great insights into those
movements on the personal level, while
providing accurate accounts of the politics
behind them. Ayers chooses to focus on
the theme of "memory" throughout the
book, mostly to make the point that his
account is incomplete and biased.
Thankfully this perspective did not
prevent him from leaving this account for
future generations. While the style makes
it an easy read, one may find oneself
struggling to learn from this history given
some of the incomplete accounts.
An example of Ayers thoroughness in
dealing with political context is in his
discussion of the national question. This
question led to the split of SDS. On the
one side, the proto-Weatherpeople and
others supported national liberation
struggles, particularly those being led by
the Black Panther Party and the National
Liberation Front of Vietnam; on the other,
the faction led by the Progessive Labor
Party(PLP) declared all nationalism
reactionary. Ayers makes the analogy
between the oppressor nation interests of
French "socialists" and Amerikan
"socialists" by quoting Ho Chi Minh
regarding his efforts to get the French
Socialist Party to support national
liberation over French chauvinism. The
post-World War II "Socialist Party"
government refused to recognize
Vietnam's independence and fought a
bloody, futile war to retain its colony--
with Amerikan help.
Ayers tends to present each part of his
story with the perspective he had at the
time, only implying criticisms of them
afterward. One of these criticisms was
of the approach taken towards sex within
the movement. The idea of "smashing
monogamy" as a part of the patriarchy
ended up serving the patriarchal interests
of men in the groups to have unattached
sex with most of the wimmin. Some
wimmin recognized that this was the case
and that power between genders still
existed within the cooperatives and
activist communities. This is on reason
why MIM promotes asexuality followed
by monogamy as the best practices under
the patriarchy, monogamy being the best
model for relationships under patriarchy,
despite its shortcomings.
Witnessing their orgies, one older
womyn who the SDSers stayed with
compared her days as a young activist to
theirs, making the distinction that they
"confuse youth and fun with politics."
Later, Ayers criticizes cultural anarchists,
whose idea of activism was opening fire
hydrants for kids on hot days and handing
out free pastries on the street, for insisting
that the revolution must be fun. This is an
easy demand to make by those whose
lives are not directly threatened by the
system. While creativity is an asset to the
movement, anarchist-dominated
demonstrations often leave more of an
effect of a good carnival then a blow
against the system. This is an example of
where Weather's internationalism put
them far ahead of many of their
contemporaries, as well as many of
today's proclaimed revolutionaries in the
United $tates.(1) Weather people were
not afraid to make sacrifices.
However, Weather seemed to go too
far in fetishizing sacrifice and
commitment. Ayers biggest criticism
seems to be about the early days of
Weatherman. He discusses so-called
criticism/self-criticism sessions where
every aspect of a members life was
analyzed by the others--an example of
lifestyle "politics" which MIM has
repeatedly criticized.(2) For many years
in SDS and in Weather, Ayers describes
what he calls "gut checks" between
branches where each would try to out do
the previous to demonstrate their
dedication. These adventurist tendencies
leave one unsurprised by the path that
Weather chose to take, but they were little
more than demonstrations of the
insecurities of privileged revolutionaries
who can afford to put machismo over the
real needs of the struggle. In other words,
the Weather Underground took a
Christian, moralistic approach to politics
instead of a materialist one. They placed
"purity" ahead of effectiveness.
In a meeting with Vietnamese
comrades in Cuba one Weatherpersyn
reported that, "the Vietnamese were only
mildly interested in our willingness to die
for their cause and much more animated
about how we planned to reach our
Republican parents, something that didn't
interest us at all." (p.162) While the heart
and commitment of revolutionaries may
be what is often romanticized in our
culture, when it comes down to it, all that
matters is whether or not we are
Success comes from doing what will
push the struggle of the oppressed further
the fastest, not from doing what is most
fun or pleasing to us nor from doing what
gets the greatest number of Amerikans
to rally around us. That is why it is
unfortunate that Ayers comes to take a
negative attitude toward ideology and
political line, ignoring the dialectical
relationship between theory and practice
(p. 159, see "On Practice" by Mao Tse
Tung for more on this topic). While Ayers
describes the period of over-bearing
criticism within the group as focusing
constantly on `political line,' in reality the
group consistently had a problem with
recognizing the role of line--not
surprising, as for them `line' included
choice of sexual partners.
SDS started as a broad coalition and
splintered as the question of line came to
the forefront. We give the Revolutionary
Youth Movement (RYM) tendency credit
for breaking with PLP over what should
be dividing line questions; the progressive
role of oppressed-nation nationalism and
the U.$. class structure. But as a result
they went from a situation where they
figured things out in practice (rather than
applying line to come up with practice) to
a situation where everything you said and
how you spent each minute was
interpreted as ones political line. Even as
Weather moved to it's next stage, they
were unable to make the connection
between their analysis that the majority
of white Amerikans were bought off and
the inevitable outcome that focoist attacks
would only lead to increased repression
and isolation of the movement from an
unsympathetic population.
Ayers references the Cuban revolution
to justify the Weather Underground's turn
to focoism, but goes on to say, "I didn't
doubt it then, but have often wondered
since how many thousands of others
uttered similar quotable lines only to be
obliterated and erased from history the
next day or the day after that." (p.150)
To the credit of the Weather
Underground, the situation at the time was
much different, and the idea that Amerika
was about to crumble didn't seem so
farfetched as it might today. Regardless,
we can learn from the example of the
Weather Underground, a well organized,
revolutionary group with an advanced
political line for its time and place. MIM
recognizes the need for a vanguard to put
forth the most revolutionary political line.
And from the legacy of the Weather
Underground we have taken and solidified
our understanding of the labor aristocracy
within the United $tates, we have rejected
focoism in favor of Third World People's
War, and we have discredited lifestyle
politics, giving everyone room to develop
as contributors to the revolutionary
Towards the end of the book, Ayers
warns us not to turn our minds over to
the group and to stay away from
doctrinarism. MIM is not afraid to put a
line forward, call it most advanced and
try to convince others to accept it.
Although some might call that
"doctrinarism," MIM considers it
ideological leadership and the only way
to build an effective movement. But MIM
also recognizes that it is impossible that
everyone in the Party (let alone the
broader revolutionary movement and its
allies) will agree on everything--a
reflection of the class struggle. This is
why MIM encourages its members to be
ideologically self-sufficient and criticize
Party leaders taking up counter-
revolutionary positions on questions of
overwhelming importance--while
following the system of majority rule on
less important questions. This way the
Party can steer between the Scylla of
revisionism (as when the Communist
Party USA rubber-stamped Earl
Browder's decision to dissolve) and the
Charybdis of lifestyle politics and
Forward through Struggle!
1. Although the Weather Underground
vacillated on this question: after busting
LSD-guru Timothy Leary out of prison
the Weather Undergound released a
communiqué praising the libratory aspects
of "feel-good" youth culture.
wim/cong/subreform.html. In particular,
while MIM encourages revolutionaries to
put politics first in their lives--we like
political monomania--we also recognize
that such commitment does not guarantee
political line. "I wrote more articles than
you / passed out more papers than you /
donated more money than you / got less
sleep than you" is not a political argument
and cannot be used to justify an incorrect
line. This is why MIM encourages
Honorary Comrades--people who agree
with MIM's cardinal principles but are
not under the disciplinary rules which
govern full comrades' everyday lives--
to participate in its yearly Congress,
where the Party's guiding line is hashed
Autobiogaphy sheds more light on
SDS, Weather Underground
Focoist attacks only
led to increased
repression and
isolation of the
movement from the
bought-off Amerikan
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 7
Militarism is war-mongering or the advocacy of war or actual
carrying out of war or its preparations.
While true pacifists condemn all violence as equally
repugnant, we Maoists do not consider self-defense or the
violence of oppressed nations against imperialism to be
militarism. Militarism is mostly caused by imperialism at this
time. Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism--seen in
countries like the United $tates, England and France.
Under capitalism, capitalists often profit from war or its
What is militarism?
As announced in MIM Notes 287,
MIM has started a Students for a
Democratic Society history project. We
are asking former SDSers to submit
testimonials for our archive; we are also
working on reviewing relevant SDS
books. In this issue we print two of the
first submissions to the project: a review
of former SDS and Weather
Underground member Bill Ayer's
autobiography (page 6), and the first
installment of a new testimonial from
another former SDSer written for
MIM's history project (page 7).
The Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS) was the pre-eminent student
movement organization of U.$. history.
Active from the mid-1960s to early
1970s, the problem with the SDS is that
its history is increasingly dominated by
social-democrats who did not like its
increasing radicalization throughout the
There is no one history of SDS that
MIM is happy with. When MIM
predecessors were active in the anti-
apartheid movement at Harvard
University, the SDS posters were still up
in the offices we used. We were able to
piece together some of the relics of the
movement ourselves, and former SDS
organizers worked with us from the very
beginning by attending our events and
tabling for their causes, but we invite
others to help us turn our SDS web page
into a complete archive of history and
analysis. In this regard, we do not expect
all material in this archive to have the
hard-edge Maoism of the vast majority
of the late SDS. We do not seek to
suppress the non-Maoist aspects of the
SDS history. If anyone would like to put
forward memories of SDS as
testimonials for our archive, we welcome
them. Obviously we are interested in the
questions of sustaining revolutionary
commitment and how people thought
they were going to preserve unity and
their success or failure, but other topics
are welcome.
Visit MIM's SDS history page, http://
Part I
This is the first of several testimonial-
commentary documents that I want to
offer for MIM's SDS archives. I was
active in SDS in its zenith year of 1969; I
spent some years as well as a member
of one of the SDS-derived RYM II
parties. I intend my personal reflections
on these years as a contribution to MIM's
summing up of what went right and what
went wrong during that time of rapid
advancement of the revolutionary forces
in amerika. But I particularly offer these
few articles as an express challenge to
former comrades of that time to come
forward with their own recollections and
interpretations of those historical events
as a service that they are uniquely
positioned to render to the international
Now, revolutionary justice requires me
to begin at the end. That's because the
end of my SDS/RYM II involvement was
political degeneration and many long
years of turning my back on the
revolutionary struggle. This was an
ongoing crime against the peoples of the
world oppressed and exploited by the
amerikkkan imperialist system which
materially sustained me and which I in
turn supported by abandoning the fight
against it. So I begin with self-criticism
for all those years of degenerate
"apolitical" retreat into the warm bowels
of empire. And I make this self-criticism
in particular to the peoples of those nations
that MIM cites as combining in the 60's
and 70's to radicalize significant portions
of the populace even here in the amerikan
dreamland: the Black nation within u$
borders fighting for liberation, the
Vietnamese people in their death struggle
to halt extension of u$ empire, and
Chairman Mao and the Chinese people,
who were building socialism and fighting
revisionism to show the way forward in
defeating this monster of imperialism. See,
it took not just one or two, but the
simultaneous conjuncture of all three of
these momentous struggles to raise so
many amerikkkans so quickly out of the
depths of parasitism and to deliver them
through the anti-imperialist movement to
the doorstep of the planet's actual humyn
community. So that's bad enough: that
amerikans in the stupor of their stolen
luxury are so slow on the revolutionary
uptake that it takes so very much heroic
SDS history project gets off the ground
suffering and dying to move them toward
the side of the world's oppressed majority.
But, once propelled there by the sacrifices
of others, to then dis the whole thing in a
hurried scurry back to the rathole of
imperial privilege ... well, that's just
pouring the blood of the people's struggles
directly down the drain. And I and
thousands of former SDS'ers and RYM
II'ers are guilty of precisely that crime.
And any recollective analysis of those
more politically advanced times that does
not begin with their fact of their criminally
degenerative aftermath necessarily starts
off as some brand of opportunist cover-
up and essential falsification of the main
political lessons of those times.
In subsequent articles I will address
more of the nuts and bolts of my SDS/
RYM II involvement and lessons to be
learned there. But for now, just as I have
challenged former comrades of the 60's
and 70's to come forward with their own
recollections and perspectives, I also
challenge those same folks to come clean
in their particular self-criticism for our
eventual collective squandering of the
people's revolutionary energies.
SDS and RYM II: Reflections and Analysis
preparations. Yet, it is the proletariat that does
the dying in the wars. The proletariat wants a
system in which people do not have self-interest
on the side of war- profiteering or war for
Militarism is one of the most important reasons
to overthrow capitalism. It even infects oppressed
nations and causes them to fight each other.
It is important not to let capitalists risk our lives
in their ideas about war and peace or the
environment. They have already had two world
wars admitted by themselves in the last 100 years
and they are conducting a third right now against
the Third World.
Even a one percent annual chance of nuclear
war destruction caused by capitalist
aggressiveness or "greed" as the people call it
should not be tolerated by the proletariat. After
playing Russian Roulette (in which the bullet
chamber is different each time and not related at
all to the one that came up in previous spins) with
100 chambers and one bullet, the chance of
survival is only 60.5% after 50 turns. In other
words, a seemingly small one percent annual
chance of world war means eventual doom. After
100 years or turns of Russian Roulette, the chances
of survival are only 36.6%. After 200 years,
survival has only a 13.4% chance.
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 8
MIM Theory 2 and 3
Gender &
MIM's in-depth explanation of gender
oppresion, especially in the First World. A
classic collection of articles that no
revolutionary feminist should be without. 200
Send $5 cash, check, or stamps, or money
order to: MIM Distributors, PO Box
29670, Los Angeles CA 90029-0670
What questions do YOU have?
Wasn't Mao a butcher? Why do you spell it "Amerika"? Shouldn't
you try non-violence first? What is internationalism? Isn't hating white
people reverse racism? Why don't you leftists work together? Why
don't you tone it down? What is a cardinal principle? What is your
program? What is necessary to join MIM? What concrete actions can I
take? How do I write articles for MIM? What is your copyright policy?
Go to
and get real answers to these and other questions.
trial in December 2003. Through
depositions for this case he has learned
that the people in charge of validating
prisoners have virtually no training, that
about 60% of source items are
confidential (making challenges by
prisoners impossible) and that in many
cases debriefs by prisoners just involve
naming names, not even recounting
Carbone followed the vein of others
testifying by suggesting reforms to the
SHU system including changing the
classification to behavior based,
implement more frequent reviews of
prisoner's SHU sentence, offering more
programs, and providing greater
protections before validation. While MIM
does work for reforms within the system
as a part of our organizing work to bring
down the system, we think it is
irresponsible to call for these reforms
without pointing out the fundamental
flaws in the system. Particularly when
the reforms are focused on a how to
improve a system that is fundamentally
The final witness against the SHU was
a former warden Daniel Vasquez. As an
insider he spoke about the validation
appeals that prisoners can make if they
want to dispute their gang classification.
He spoke of one appeal that was returned
to the prisoner with a note stating that he
needed to do further investigation himself.
He pointed out that there is no help for
these appeals, no support, and they are
dismissed with very little attention by the
Public comments condemn SHU
After the formal testimony the many
audience members were given a chance
to speak during public comments although
they were restricted to 2 minutes each.
Parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws,
grandparents, and children of prisoners
as well as former prisoners all stood up
to speak about the injustice of the SHU.
Many family members had a hard time
finishing their testimony as they were
moved to tears recounting their
experiences with the CDC.
Family members testified to visitation
processes that made it virtually impossible
for them to see their family, keeping them
CA senate hearings on Security Housing Units
out for wearing the wrong colors,
restricting mothers with more than 2
children from bringing all of the kids at
once, having visits denied by the prison
after a family member has traveled
across the state and confirmed the
appointment by phone, the denial of
contact visits, and other humiliations and
The daughter of a prisoner spoke about
her attempts to visit her father where they
made her change clothing twice and then
told her the visit was not scheduled: "I
haven't touched my dad in 12
years...when I go visit him I have to go
through so much I feel like I'm being
punished because of the way I'm being
treated." A mother of a prisoner spoke
about her attempts to see her son in
Pelican Bay. After traveling from Los
Angeles all the way to the northern tip of
the state, spending $500 for the trip, she
was denied visits because a guard had
miscounted the prisoners. She explained
that it is not only the prisoners, "families
are also violated by this system."
The health problems of many of the
prisoners in the SHU were detailed by
their family members. Some have serious
mental health problems after years of long
term isolation. The skin color of SHU
prisoners turns yellow after extensive
denial of exposure to the sun. Many
prisoners have developed serious physical
health problems from the confinement,
lack of activity and poor medical care.
Given the overwhelming number of
SHU prisoners who are Latino in
California, it was not surprising that
several people who attended the hearing
testified in Spanish. One Mexican woman
spoke movingly about the injustices
imploring the senator to see prisoners as
The unfair and random validation
process was criticized by many. Family
members described bogus evidence used
to validate their loved ones including get
well cards. One mother of a prisoner
spoke about his validation a year ago after
which he tried to file an appeal. After he
filled out the form wrong, he was told he
had lost his chance to appeal. Another
person spoke about a man who had been
in the SHU for 15 years. After six years
he got his validation reviewed but was
denied based on evidence that included a
condolence card he sent to a friend whose
mother had died and a political letter he
had written. Another woman recounted
her husband's denied appeal of his SHU
status because of his participation in a
1999 peaceful protest where the whole
housing unit of many different
nationalities united and withheld their
dinner trays to protest the treatment they
were receiving. Several prison activists
also spoke about the men they work with
who have been wrongly classified as gang
members in retaliation for political
One mother of a prisoner spoke about
her attempts to get books into the SHU
for her son. She said the prison was
holding books she sent him for college
courses, limiting him to ten books per year,
discouraging him from using his time for
education. She correctly proclaimed
"education is a right, not a privilege."
A man who works with a politically
active SHU prisoner who was recently
assaulted by his cellmate noted that the
cellmate had two weapons when he
entered the cell, and they were not crude
weapons. These weapons had to come
from somewhere. Again and again
testimony like this pointed to not just a
broken system that needs fixing but
systematic oppression.
Several people read from the United
Nations rebuke of the U.$. prison system
in 2000 which included a focus on torture
in solitary confinement units in the four
California SHU prisons. Even
internationally the SHU system in
California is recognized as fundamentally
A RAIL speaker described the work
MIM and RAIL is doing with California
prisoners and the pattern we see of the
CDC putting politically active prisoners
in the SHU, pointing out that these are
some of the least threatening prisoners,
the ones helping others file lawsuits and
working for unity among prisoners. The
RAIL speaker described MIM's Books
for Prisoners program explaining that
many of the books and magazines we
send to the SHU at Corcoran and
Tehachapi are censored, returned not
even opened or sent back as a threat to
security. This speaker presented Senator
Romero with more than 500 petition
signatures calling for the SHUs to be shut
down, noting that along with the many
other we had mailed to her this brought
the total petition signatures submitted to
her by MIM to almost 2,500.
A MIM speaker discussed the failure
of the hearings to address the
fundamental problem with the SHU which
is long term isolation, a form of torture
condemned even by the United Nations.
This speaker pointed out that comparisons
to other torture programs are meaningless
because reforms attempting to make
torture programs better cannot succeed
in changing the fact that these programs
are still torture. We should not be talking
about better systems for determining who
should be put in torture units, we need to
talk about how to eliminate these torture
units. Putting this in the context of larger
society the MIM speaker asked people
to consider the problems with the criminal
injustice system as a whole and what in
the CDC is causing them. The detention
ministry for the Archdiocese in Los
Angeles sent two men to testify against
the conditions in the SHU. One of these
men approached the MIM speaker
afterwards to say that the testimony about
torture had really opened his eyes and
influenced what he thought he should
focus on in his work around this issue.
Everyone coming out of the hearing
was eager to get a copy of MIM Notes
and many people asked how they could
get in touch with us or get involved in the
fight against the control units. Family
members we spoke to after were
confused and frustrated by the CDC and
the SHU classification system, and
looking for what they could do to fight it.
With the Amerikan prison population so
large, the number of people in this country
with a close friend or relative in prison is
steadily growing, particularly among
Blacks and Latinos. Feeling the brunt of
the repression, oppressed nations make
up a reliable base for anti-prison
organizing. MIM will continue to reach
out to those who recognize the injustice
system for what it is, in an effort to focus
that knowledge into a broader
understanding of the imperialist system
and how it can be brought to an end, while
building support for our Serve the People
programs and campaigns centered around
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 9
MIM continues to fight to abolish the
Security Housing Units (SHU) in
California prisons. Since August we have
hit the streets at least once a week to
gather petition signatures and educate
people about the importance of this battle.
The SHU is an isolation program for
prisoners, locking them up in small cells
23 to 24 hours a day for years at a time,
under conditions that cause many to
experience physical and psychiatric
problems. Internationally condemned as
a form of torture, control units like the
SHU exist across the country.
In California thousands of men are
locked up in these torture units. They are
unable to fight this classification into the
SHU because the prisons use secret
evidence, and can keep the men there
indefinitely. While the department of
(in)corrections is pushing to expand these
control units into every prison in the state,
MIM is active in a campaign to shut them
Over the past year we have been
gathering petition signatures, protesting,
and distributing educational material to
shut down the SHU program in California.
As a result of pressure from MIM, RAIL,
other activist organizations, and many
prisoners in the SHU, state Senator
Romero agreed to hold public hearings
on the abuses that are an inherent part of
the SHU [see article this issue]. The
department of (in)corrections used these
hearings to put a prettier face on the
repressive SHU program. But MIM and
other activists were there to demand that
the changes to the criminal injustice
system be more than just cosmetic.
On the streets MIM and RAIL activists
have talked to hundreds of people in
Oakland who quickly understood the
importance of shutting down the SHUs.
Oakland, the original home of the Black
Panther Party, is predominantly Black,
and most of the people we spoke to had
been in prison or had a friend or relative
behind bars.
This contrasted with the petition
gathering done in the city of San Francisco
where most of the white people walk by
ignoring us, and a few comment that they
think prisons are good and prisoners
should be tortured. This demonstrated
clearly the national interests at play in
Amerika where repression, particularly
from the criminal injustice system, is
focused on the Black and Latino nations.
One man in Oakland refused to sign
the petition saying that he thought our first
task should be to remove Gray Davis
from office. The much discussed Davis
recall vote has gained the attention of
everyone in California. The MIM activist
responded that while we are certainly not
fans of Davis, we know that he can't be
replaced with someone better. The
problem is not the individual Governor but
the political system. And anyone who
wins the race for Governor will have to
play along with the political system.
We are working to abolish the system,
but while we are at it we fight winnable
battles for reforms that serve two
purposes: They improve the living
conditions of the oppressed, and they give
us the opportunity to educate people about
the repression inherent to the system.
While protesting the SHU program
MIM and RAIL activists have also begun
building our much needed prisoner re-
lease program in California. Working with
hundreds of politically active prisoners in
this state we come face to face with the
need for services for prisoners once they
are released. For many prisoners getting
out of prison means facing life with no
housing, no resources, and a criminal
record to keep them from getting a job.
For politically active prisoners these
problems get in the way of continuing their
activism on the outside.
San Francisco is unusual in having one
large program for released prisoners.
Independently run, the Delancy Street
Foundation has helped thousands of
released prisoners since its formation 20
years ago. Refusing any state funding, it
follows many correct principles in
organizing prisoners to help themselves,
become self-reliant, and believing that
being a criminal is not inherent in these
men and wimmin. But Delancy Street is
focused on helping former prisoners be a
successful part of the capitalist system,
rather than changing that system. MIM
sees the need for a program that gives
prisoners a new lease on life so that they
can be a successful part of the
MIM Fights SHU repression in California
revolutionary movement to change the
capitalist system.
MIM doesn't have a prisoner re-lease
program yet, but we are working to build
one. MIM does not have much money;
we are run by volunteers and fund our
work from donations. But we know that
we can't think small. We need to set up
independent institutions of the oppressed
that serve the oppressed on a big scale.
On the streets gathering petition
signatures to shut down the SHU program
we talked to many people about the
prisoner re-lease program. Former
prisoners and family of prisoners were
particularly supportive. Several people
had ideas about ways we could reach
more interested people, offered to pass
on the information to people who might
help, and one former prisoner volunteered
to take more literature back to the hotel
where he lived with a number of other
former prisoners.
We need people, cash and ideas to get
this going. There are many ways people
can help with this project: donate money,
loan us money, provide the use of space
in a building or other resources, or help
with the day to day work of getting this
program off the ground. We call on our
supporters to work with us to set up a
prisoner re-lease program, to help
prisoners get a new lease on life when
they get out, and ensure that they stay
active and productive revolutionaries on
the outside.
Sonic Jihad (2003)
Guerrilla Funk
While fellow Bay Area Hip Hop artists
the Coup pulled their controversial Sept
2001 release cover of the twin towers
blowing up, Paris came out with his post-
9/11 response sporting the graphic of a
plane flying into the white house. Two
years later Sonic Jihad has actually hit
the shelves.
Following in the wake of the
controversy surrounding Body Count's
song "Cop Killer," Paris last made a lot
of noise declaring himself a "Bush Killer."
A decade later he still stands by that label,
rapping about killing pigs including George
W. Paris is a product of hip hop days
when the Black Panthers and the Nation
of Islam and Five Percenters were
dominant influences, something he points
out is sorely missing from Black culture
today--a result of it being co-opted by
white corporate interests.
Paris is clear about who the real enemy
is: pigs on the street and politicians in
office. He points out that Amerika
neutralizes Black people with the strategy
of "put the men in the prisons, turn the
wimmin to whores." But he doesn't pull
any punches in putting responsibility on
lumpen-turned-bourgeois Blacks for
participating in their own destruction.
Constantly tearing down studio gangsters
who play into the designs of the white-
owned record companies who wants to
act "like the Black life is all gats and crack
pipes." The track "Evil" is a narrative of
how to become an oppressor, modeled
closely after the history of white
oppression of Blacks in Amerika. Here
again he talks about the oppressed killing
and pimping each other and destroying
themselves, making it clear that it is the
result of the conditions enforced by the
While he certainly takes a macho tough
guy attitude when addressing the
oppressor, Paris consistently puts forth a
positive image of Black wimmin as he
does for the community as a whole.
"Black wimmin more than asses and
breasts, I test any nigger disagreeing."
This is one point where he sees life
replicating art and the results are not
pretty when your art is controlled by
people who have committed genocide
against your people for centuries.
While Paris dedicates all praise to God
in the liner notes, he isn't waiting around
for divine intervention to make things
better. The religious tone is not noticeable
on much of the album with the exception
of the engaging demonic theme of the
Overall, Sonic Jihad is a very positive,
revolutionary album. The track "What
Would You Do?" was pre-released on the
web featuring some good analysis of 9/
11. One powerful line on that track is,
"But I remember before September how
these devils do it, Fuck Guiliani, ask Diallo
how he doin?" He goes on to say "fuck
peace," presumably in response to
pacifists in the emerging anti-war
movement following the invasion of
Afghanistan and then Iraq. He was saying
the same thing during the Gulf War,
pointing out that there is no peace for
oppressed people until we change the
system. He goes on to condemn the U.$.
role in 9/11, "You think a couple thousand
lives mean shit to killers?.. so I'm a say it
for the record/ we the ones that planned
it/ ain't no other country took no part or
had their hand in it." This is a topic he
gets into in great depth in the movie
"AfterMath" that he worked on with the
Guerrilla News Network. His website
includes links to a lot of other good
information including a video on blood
diamonds in Sierra Leone, articles on the
war and civil liberties in the u$.
So, what would Paris do? Take back
hip hop, expose government lies. Not a
bad start. But one might expect more from
longtime revolutionary figureheads like
Paris. There are many thorough accounts
of the faults of the current system, the
harder task is coming up with real
programs that can eliminate those
problems. Paris has got a lot of good stuff
to say, but his message would benefit
from a little more influence from
organizations like the Panthers whose
emblem he incorporates into his own. The
general message one gets from this album
of what is to be done is a combination of
shooting cops and rebuilding Black culture
and identity. Paris never recognizes the
need for a serious revolutionary program.
That perhaps forgivable, but vital
shortcoming aside, we can highly
recommend this album.
Cop Killer, Bush Killer, Unapologetic
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 10
Under Lock & Key
News from Prisons & Prisoners
Censorship battle
continues in Attica
Supplemental Letter In Support Of
Allowing MIM Notes
Directive #4572/2H(6), makes it abundantly
clear that "publications which discuss
different political philosophies and those
dealing with criticism of governmental and
departmental authority are acceptable as
reading material."
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the
alternative publication I receive called "MIM
NOTES." It not only represents a different
political ideology from that of mainstream
America, it also seeks to expose much of the
hypocrisy evident in this country (and others)
by offering well- researched articles in
opposition to the policies and doctrines
disseminated by the countries in question. In
short, it offers criticism when there is criticism
to be had.
That being said, I take strong issue with
this facilities media Review committee
attempting to unduly censure certain articles
within the "MIM NOTES" cited herein. What
we have here is a committee whose political
views--being in contrast to those expressed
in "MIM NOTES"- -are unreasonably leading
them to extrapolate from the contested articles
inferences which are not being expressed by
the publisher.
For instance, the MRC states that the first
article in question, "What Good Are
Petitions?" incites violence as a means to an
end. This is patently untrue. What the article
in fact addresses is that it seems at times that
petitioning the government or other body for
a redress of grievances, in the spirit of the
constitution, is a futile endeavor. Therefore,
alternative ways must be sought to compel
the petitioned body to be more responsive to
the publics concerns. Does this imply that
violence is the only recourse left? Of course
not. It simply means that a more inclusive
government needs to be formed through the
poltical process if petitions are to be more
effective. Political change is often incurred
when people are apprised of the futility of
some of their actions, and instructed how to
effect changes in their political system by
becoming more directly involved in the
political process instead. Not by violence, but
by campaigning within an alternative party
to have a seat within the government.
This is exactly what the article is expressing.
And the biased nature of the MRC is evident
in that it is imposing its own set of opinions
upon the article.
As for the next article in question,
"Inglewood Police Beating: a rite of
passage"--again, a liberal and even objective
reading of the issue presented in the article
reveals that what is being criticized is the
attitude of certain law enforcement personnel
towards a distinct segment of society(that is,
those without a voice in the government) and
how that attitude not only manifests itself in
a racist manner, but also seems to be
condoned by the very officials who are
obligated to ensure our safety.
There is no advocating of violence in this
article. What the article expresses is that those
who are being subjected to degrading
treatment should utilize every legal remedy
available to them in order to curtail the abuse;
and that, ultimately, involves a change in the
legal system. A different political philosophy,
to say the least, which Dir# 4572 protects as
free speech. To say that the article advocates
and incites violence is to make a mockery of
our right to criticize the legal system in any
significant way, as any significant criticism
can be interpreted as a form of subversion by
those whose ideology conforms to that of
the current government.
Lastly, an erroneous interpretation of the
Directive which prohibits inmate -to-inmate
correspondece is being applied by the MRC.
The section entitled "Under Lock and Key:
News From Prisoners," is essentially a forum
wherein prisoners can vent their frustrations
and inform society at large of any maltreatment
they might be subjected to. In effect, writing
to MIM NOTES is in no way different than
writing to any "legitimate" newspaper, except
that MIM NOTES gives prisoners greater
liberty to express their disenchantment with
the legal system or with certain prison
Inmate-to-inmate correspondence does not
broadly extend to inmates coming upon and
reading other inmates opinions and accounts
of their sufferings, especially when there is
no clue as to who the printed inmates are
("MIM NOTES" omits names and addresses).
Therefore, since the "News From
Prisoners" section is not directed towards any
particular inmate, but merely to the society at
large, there is no violation of the directive. It
is apparent that due to the MRC'S BIAS
against this publication, it is overreaching in
an attempt to find fault with everything it finds
unpalatable, regardless of whether or not the
opinions and views expressed are
constitutionally protected forms of free
The same can be said for the section
entitled "Solitary Used to Punish." It is an
opinion expressed by the author who no doubt
wishes to end a practice he views as being
overly punitive. It makes no difference what
unauthorized group he or she is affiliated with,
and surely it doesn't in anyway shape or form
advocate recruitment in his/her organization
by simply being the author of an article. I
therefore reiterate my contention that the
MRC is overreaching in an attempt to find
fault with any aspect of "MIM NOTES".
Wherefore, for the foregoing reasons
enunciated succinctly above, I am respectfully
requesting that all portions of "MIM NOTES"
which were deemed to be unacceptable in the
eyes of this facilities MRC be admitted into
the facility.
--a New York Prisoner in Attica
Correctional Facility, August 2003
MIM adds: We recently declared a victory
in Attica after the administration promised to
stop censoring our mail across the board
without reviewing the contents first. As can
be seen by the above letter, they have resumed
censorship of MIM Notes. Thanks to this
comrade and others work we are currently
able to get letters to prisoners in Attica and
censorship of our literature now requires
reasons from the mail room and allows for
petitions from prisoners to have the judgment
overruled. This comrade does an excellent job
of refuting their faulty reasoning for censoring
us, and we encourage others to write to Attica
to continue to apply pressure and put an end
to all censorship in that facility.
Letters of protest can be addressed to
Chairman Edward O'Mara and/or Deputy
Superintendent of Programs R. Savage at:
Attica Correctional Facility Box 149 Attica,
NY 14011-0149. Please cc: MIM with a copy
of your letter. Get in touch with MIM to
provide further legal or campaigning support
to this effort.
Tips for prisoner legal
I am writing concerning the new study
group that will be offered in the future. I am
currently participating in MIM study group
of MIM Theory 11 [for California and
Washington prisoners]. I have found much
enrichment in my participation in this study
group and I look forward to participating in
study group 5. I am sending $15 dollars with
this letter to cover the cost of my involvement
and to donate to the enlightenment of others
who cannot afford the money or stamps. I
hope that my donation helps in this regard.
I am very concerned with the censorship
that was reported in other places. The U$
supreme court has outlined prisoners right to
this mail in two cases: Procunier v. Martinez,
416 US 396, 94 S. CT 1800, (1974) and Turner
v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (especially read pages
89 & 90), (1987). In California, the Calif Code
of Regulations, Title 15 §3135, 3137,
(especially see 3137(f) (3)) and 3147. These
u.s. supreme court cases make it clear that
there is no valid penological reason to deny
any prisoner in united snakes this type of
literature or MIM Notes. Corruption at CSATF
and Tehachapi can make it difficult to file
grievances in California, but with persistence
prisoners should prevail.
I have found that MIM Notes and the study
group literature are great tools for
enlightening prisoners. Although I am
engaged in helping prisoners here with their
legal cases, any type of research that I can
help with I shall make a concerned effort to
help. I wholeheartedly believe that prisoners
need to educate themselves and learn how to
overcome the oppression in these prisons.
Also, in California, prison Law Office helps
prisoners with basic information on lawsuits,
habeas corpus, and some other legal
information. The address is: Prison Law
Office, General Delivery, San Quentin, CA
94964- 0001.
-a California prisoner, September 2003
Testimony from
Corcoran State Prison is located in Kings
County in Central California. It is designed as
a SHU (Security Housing Unit). SHUs are for
convicts who have violated serious rule
violations, or prison gang members.
There are specific time limits on how long
the CDC may hold a convict in a SHU unit for
rule violations. For example, I'm serving an
18 month SHU for "battery on staff." The
average stay in the SHU is 24 months.
SHU units are devoid of most privileges,
you have no access to the phone, no contact
visits. By law you are allowed 10 hours a week
of yard time. However, in my building, I only
get about 3 hours every 2 weeks. The CDC is
also mandated by law to provide library
service to SHU inmates. But here it's a joke.
There is a cart of about 20 dated romance
novels. You may have one book every two
weeks. You may have only a minimum of
personal property. You are not allowed any
personal clothes, your photos are limited to
You are allowed a TV or a radio if you have
one. You are also allowed a $45 a month
canteen draw where you can buy cosmetic
and food items. Indigent convicts are supplied
with soap, toothpowder and little else. You
may receive books from the outside, if you
are fortunate enough to have someone send
You are restricted to your cell 24 hours a
day. The cells themselves are made of solid
concrete. Two slabs side by side, a toilet/sink
is at the front of the cell. A small frosted
window sits in the back. You have no direct
access to the lights. Bright lights are on from
6:00am until 10:00 pm. Then the lights are
dimmed all other hours.
You receive 3 meals a day. Breakfast, a bag
lunch and dinner. All combined you receive
about 2000 calories a day. The food is not
very good, and the portions are very small.
Just enough to keep you alive.
The cops are mostly mean spirited and
petty. That is true in most other prisons. I
personally try to avoid any interaction with
them. The staff here at Corcoran were
involved in criminal and civil litigation in the
late 90s.
They were accused of arranging fights
amongst prisoners and gambling on the
outcome. They were also accused of murder.
By shooting two convicts to death. The
involved staff were acquitted at jury trial on
the criminal charges and the CDC settled the
civil suit for $600,000. $600,000 for a human
There are 3 SHU units in California. Pelican
Bay, Tehachapi and here at Corcoran. I have
been to all 3 and Corcoran is by far the worst.
By American standards, this is probably one
of the worst prisons in the country as far as
living conditions go.
-- a Corcoran prisoner, August 2003
I was glad to hear about your work to try
and abolish control and SHU units. As a
person who has spent many years in these
type of units, I know first hand that they serve
no purpose, other than punishing prisoners
severely. The CDC covers themselves by
saying that prisoners conduct that endangers
the safety of others or the security of the
institution shall be housed in a SHU. Of course
this makes sense in the abstract. However,
the criteria is not that rigorous. The
disciplinary process for offenses that warrant
SHU terms is a joke. The hearings are set on a
"preponderance of evidence" standard. These
hearings are a kangaroo court system, and
you can only appeal to the same staff that
has already decided you are guilty.
Moreover, the CDC decides for themselves
which prisoners are a threat to the "safety
and security" of the institution. This term is a
cover-all term and is not defined. They use
this term "safety and security of the
institution," any time they whish to deny any
privilege or right that a prisoner has by law.
The CCR Title 15 allows the CDC to nullify
any legislation, simply by coining this term.
The worst case scenario is when the CDC
gives prisoners indeterminate SHU terms for
being a so-called prison gang member. Once
the CDC decides you are a prison gang
member, the only way you can be released
from a SHU unit is by "debriefing." which in
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 11
Facts on U$ imprisonment
The facts about imprisonment in the United $tates are that the United $tates has been the world's leading prison-state per capita for the last
25 years, with a brief exception during Boris Yeltsin's declaration of a state of emergency.(1)
That means that while Reagan was talking about a Soviet "evil empire" he was the head of a state that imprisoned more people per capita.
In supposedly "hard-line" Bulgaria of the Soviet bloc of the 1980s, the imprisonment rate was less than half that of the United $tates.(2,3)
To find a comparison with U.$. imprisonment of Black people, there is no statistic in any country that compares including apartheid South
Africa of the era before Mandela was president. The last situation remotely comparable to the situation today was under Stalin during war
time. The majority of prisoners are non-violent offenders(4) and the U.S. Government now holds about a half million more prisoners than
China; even though China is four times our population.(5)
The rednecks tell MIM that we live in a "free country." They live in an Orwellian 1984 situation where freedom is imprisonment.
Notes: 1. Marc Mauer, "Americans Behind Bars: The International Use of Incarceration 1993," The Prison Sentencing Project, 918 F. St. NW, Suite
501, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 628-0871 Reference: SRI: R8965-2, 1994
2. Ibid., 1992 report.
3. United Nations Development Programme, "Human Development Report 1994,:" Oxford University Press, p. 186.
4. Figure of 51.2 percent for state prisoners there for non-violent offenses. Abstract of the United States 1993, p. 211.
5. Atlantic Monthly December, 1998.
turn makes that person an informant. In the
prison society informants are despised
second only to child molesters. So in all, if
the CDC terms you a prison gang member, for
you to be released from the SHU you must
risk your life by informing on other prisoners.
To say nothing of your integrity, or the fact
that you may not even have any information
to de-brief.
Further, the criteria for being a gang member
is far too easily met. Things like "confidential
information." Any inmate could tell staff that
a prisoner is a gang member and that will be
used against that prisoner. Or "association."
For example if I decided to play a game of
chess with validated gang member, I would
then be deemed a gang member. This is clearly
a method the CDC uses to remove any
prisoner they feel is a threat.
Again...these units are designed strictly for
punishment. Total sensory deprivation.
Furthermore, the rules change in prison
society for prisoners in these units. All
prisoners must follow two sets of rules. One
outlined by the CDC, and secondly, and more
important, are rules set out by other prisoners.
These units condition prisoners to become
more violent, and less forgiving than normal.
When a person is incarcerated, they take an
evolutionary step backwards. A more war like
and less tolerant, almost animal society, and
these are people who may have violent
tendencies to begin with.
For the most part, the units make prisoners
worse. So what purpose do they serve? And
for the benefit of whom? I cannot see a
prisoner that would be able to interact with
people in society at any normal level after
being exposed to long term SHU housing.
When a person becomes powerless over their
own life, that person only has two choices.
One, submit and two, act out. Most people
will not submit, so they act out. Either choice
does no one any good. Not the prison
administration, and certainly not the prisoner.
Common sense would dictate not to kick an
already violent dog.
-- a second Corcoran prisoner, September
Washington State
criminal injustice
priorities are wrong
Confined to a max custody Intensive
Management Unit (IMU) prison cell 24 hours
of the day, combating the symptoms and
effects of sensory deprivation, long periods
of isolation, illusions, hallucinations, paranoia,
difficulty with concentration and memory, I
wonder if the way I am viewing events taking
place at this time are with a clean clear sense
of perception.
With Washington State's current economic
and employment crisis, revenue forecasters
said that Washington will face a budget short
fall of at least $2 billion this coming budget
cycle.(1) It is ironic that this state's
bureaucrats would lay off teachers, reduce
pay, cut classes, or even close schools when
the average cost of incarceration per inmate
is between $22,000 to $24,000 per year with
cost per prison cell construction at $54,000.
Washington State currently has a prison
population of more than 15,000 inmates, and
the DOC also has 15,304 registered sex
offenders (statistics of 2001) that are not
This state has more registered sex offenders
than it does incarcerated prisoners. With the
recent media attention on this state's dilemma
of what to do with civil committed sex
offenders the DOC and DSHS is billing the
state of Washington up to $800,000 per
prisoner per year to house, treat and maintain
24 hour supervision of non-treatable
My question is, should we lose any of our
pedagogical education professionals, or
precious students who are our future
generation, our senior citizens who can't
afford the high cost of prescription drugs,
some who travel all the way to Canada to find
affordable prices? Should any of our schools
or social programs suffer? There is a Iroquois
teaching: "We are walking upon the face of
those yet to come."
In a report by the Justice Policy Institute
(JPI) "Cell blocks or class rooms?" there is a
state by state analysis of corrections and
higher education spending. JPI shows the
fiscal impact of nation's overuse of prisons
as a solution to social problems.(2)
Between 1985 and 2000 the nationwide
increase in state spending on corrections was
nearly double that of the increase to higher
education ($20 billion versus $10.7 billion).
The spending on higher education by states
was 24% compared with 166% for corrections.
In Washington between 1985 and 2000 state
spending on corrections grew by 138% while
state spending on higher education grew by
only 13%, a spending difference of 125% for
a population of just 15,000 prisoners.(3) The
cost of one prisoner a year of $24,000 could
increase the salary of six teachers by $2,000
each or the salary of one teacher for a year.
That sum alone could fund academic
educational programs for students. The state
of California spends $7,000 each year on every
child but spends $27,000 each year on every
Every election year the politicians sing the
same old song "tougher on crime and better
funding for education." The state legislature
has to start a process of immediate criminal
justice reform, changing, creating laws, and
repealing existing ones such as the persistent
prison misbehavior RCW 9.94.070, a frivolous
law passed in Aug 1, 1995. An inmate of a
state corrections institution commits the crime
of persistent prison misbehavior if the inmate
knowingly commits as serious infraction that
does not constitute a class A or class B felony
after losing all potential earned early release
time credit; this law serves no penological
objective nor does it deter misbehavior and it
does not apply to all prisoners.
Legislature officials should really take a
look into the mirror as to the severity of
economic, employment, educational, and
social situations we are facing due to the
budget crisis and government
There is also the recent tragic event of the
murder suicide of Tacoma police chief, David
Brayn, and his wife, due to Domestic Violence
issues and the subsequent on-going
investigation. It is shocking to find out that
this officer of the law should never have been
in law enforcement, but due to this state's
infestation of nepotism in all branches of law
enforcement agencies, he was hired,
progressed and promoted through the ranks
to chief of police after being evaluated by
departmental psychologists as not fit to be a
public servant.
What's ironic is this officer was charged
with rape, but the charges and allegations
were swept under the rug, overlooked. One
has to wonder, while he held the office of
Chief of Tacoma, how many criminal acts he
allowed by officers under his charge and
supervision? His wife has made numerous
charges of abuse and domestic violence only
to have them ignored by the good `old boy
network. The law states that anyone
convicted of a domestic violence charge are
prohibited to even carry firearms. There are
hundreds of law enforcement employees that
fit this criteria. As Mumia Abu Jamal says
"they may be sworn to protect the people but
they are paid to protect the established."
Notes: 1. Prison Legal News, May,, 2003,
Vol 14, No5 2. 3. Justice
Matters, 2002 Vol4, no2
-- a Washington prisoner, June 2003
Money and corruption
in Oregon prisons
The Oregon educational and psychological
evaluations are based on standard outdated
pre 1960s format series that determines your
placement in the adult education classes or
classes in which one can obtain a GED. The
majority of inmates do not possess a high
school education, thus society condemns
them to a substandard lifestyle which
encourages abnormal behavior in these
individuals offering them nothing more than
another free trip to prison. However, this does
not mean they are not smart, most are very
intelligent, it's just that their energies are
focused in the wrong direction.
It is unfortunate that Oregon's penal system
does not provide for their advancement and
training needed to make them productive
citizens because of budget shortfall, declining
revenues from a 7.5% unemployment rate
coupled with the mismanagement of public
funds entrusted to them. This prison system
has a budget deficit of $21 million. The state
campaigned like hell to entice voters to vote
for a tax increase by using scare tactics such
as having to close prisons and have to release
`dangerous prisoners' back into the general
public. Luckily John Q. Public did not believe
this hype and the measure was defeated.
What was amazing was how government
officials managed to find the $21 million
hidden somewhere in the fiscal budget. It's
funny how you never ever see our elected
officials eliminate or reduce wages for any
government position. It seems that this is the
time they select to introduce an increase in
their own salaries.
DOC's training programs for the staff leave
a lot to be desired. Many would fail any
standard psychological evaluation. Guards
are not thoroughly screened during the hiring
process and many have untreated emotional
issues, others are rejects from society, but
the majority are uneducated country boys
who, once in a position of power and
authority, treat inmates disrespectfully at the
same time demanding respect themselves.
They are taught to ridicule, belittle, and
intimidate inmates into behaviors not in their
character in the hopes that they will overreact
and say something out of hand so that they
can be sent to disciplinary segregation.
They encourage inmates of different racial
backgrounds to have negative interactions
so that they can invoke gang status charges
against them in order to stigmatize them for
the remainder of the incarceration. The whole
system is predicated in the belief that we can
get away with anything and any charges
brought against us will be squashed by
higher-ups. What could an inmate possibly
do. If he files charges against a guard by the
time an inmate goes through the tangle of the
grievance process and legal requirements, the
inmate's sentence has either expired or he has
been released.
With DOC, an inmate who initiates charges
against any guard, the institution, or DOC
they are immediately transferred to another
institution so that the inmate has to re-file all
of his paper work in the new county he has
been transferred, not to mention having to
pay the filing fees again. Attached and
associated with this is the harassment he is
subjected to during this process.
-- an OR prisoner, March 2003
Degrees not Strikes
So quick to condemn,
Making choices in spite
Opportunity for degrees should
Replace that of strikes,
Education replaces the ignorance
Of crime,
Basic logic even for the
Simple mind,
Yet where are the opportunities
For the incarcerated today?
Rather replaced with strikes
Affecting every life in some way,
The abduction of education
Makes me say yikes!
Message is
Degrees not strikes
-- a CA prisoner, May 2003
MIM Notes 289 · October 15, 2003 · Page 12
Notas Rojas
oct 15, 2003, Nº 289 Fragmento del Periodico Oficial del Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista
¿Que es el MIM?
El Movimiento Internacionalista Maoísta (MIM) es un partido revolucionario
comunista que ejerce el Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoísmo. El MIM es una organización
internacionalista que trabaja desde el punto de vista del proletariado del Tercer Mundo;
es por esto que sus miembros no son amerikanos sino ciudadanos del mundo.
El MIM lucha para acabar con la opresión de todos los grupos sobre cualquier otro,
naciones por naciones, clases por clases, y géneros por géneros. La revolución es una
realidad para los Estados Unidos mientras su ejército continúa extendiendose en su
esfuerzo por asegurar la hegemonía mundial.
El MIM difiere de otros partidos en tres puntos basicos: (1) El MIM sostiene que
después que el proletariado conquiste el poder estatal, existira aún el potencial para una
restauración de tipo capitalista, bajo la dirección de una burguesía nueva dentro del
mismo partido comunista. En el caso de la Unión Soviética, la burguesía se apoderó del
gobierno después de la muerte de Stalin, en 1953; y en China después de la muerte de
Mao y del derrocamiento de la llamada "banda de los cuatro' en 1976. (2) El MIM
sostiene que la Revolución Cultural en China es la fase ms avanzada a la que llegó el
comunismo en la historia. (3) El MIM afirma que la clase trabajadora blanca de los
EE.UU. es primordialmente, una élite trabajadora no revolucionaria en el presente. Es
por esto que no es el principal vehículo para avanzar el Maoísmo en este país.
El MIM acepta como miembro a cualquier individuo que esté de acuerdo con estos
tres puntos basicos, y que acepte al centralismo democrtico, el método de gobierno por
la mayoría en lo que se refiere a cuestiones de línea del partido. El MIM es un partido
clandestino que no publica los nombres de sus miembros para evitar la represión estatal
dirigida históricamente contra los movimientos revolucionarios comunistas, y anti-
imperialistas. Si Ud. desea una suscripción para cualquiera de nuestros periódicos o
libros teóricos, en español o en inglés, por favor mandar dinero en efectivo o un cheque
al nombre de MIM a esta dirección:
MIM · P.O. Box 29670 · Los Angeles CA 90029-0670
Artículo revisado, 18 de julio de
Traducido por Células de Estudio
para la Liberación de Aztlán y
América Latina.
Según los periódicos peruanos y la
publicación de Yahoo!, el Europe Press,
Adolfo Olaechea fue arrestado por las
autoridades españolas el 4 de julio de
2003. No disponemos de detalles
confiables pero, según varias fuentes,
Adolfo Olaechea estaba de viaje de
negocios en España.
El embajador peruano solicitó una
extradición de Adolfo Olaechea al Perú
denominando a éste un "terrorista" y
sosteniendo Olaechea había tenido lazos
con el Partido Comunista del Perú y la
guerra civil peruana desde el año 1980,
a pesar de que la guerra civil peruana
comenzó años después de la salida de
Olaechea del Perú.
El título del artículo que aparece en
Yahoo! dice: "El terrorista peruano
Adolfo Olaechea..." De modo que la
histeria gringa en torno al "terrorismo"
tiene resonancia en todo el mundo- algo
común entre la popular retórica
"antiterrorista" propagada por
gobernantes que buscan encubrir
cualquier tipo de oportunismo y fechoría.
Adolfo Olaechea lleva casi 40 años
fuera del Perú. Ha sido residente
permanente de Inglaterra durante los
últimos 25 años. Según una entrevista
realizada por El Comercio, Olaechea no
formaba parte del Partido Comunista del
Perú. Tenía un documento emitido por
la Embajada peruana que le permitía
viajar dentro del Perú, por lo tanto,
Olachea no tenía problemas con viajes
a Perú durante dos semanas. La
pregunta es ¿a qué se debe la acusación
reciente de "terrorismo", si los gringos
no están moviendo los hilos de los
títeres? Como señala la entrevista de El
Comercio, las personas que han acusado
a Olaechea en el pasado hoy en día están
presos por acusación de tráfico de
drogas, soborno y asesinato en masa.
El jefe del servicio de inteligencia V.
Montesinos, quien ocupó el cargo
durante la presidencia de Fujimori, se
encuentra encarcelado.
A la luz del reciente descontento con
el fallido régimen peruano, los resultados
de la encuesta sobre la popularidad de
Toledo quien había obtenido su
educación en la Universidad de
Stanford, y el descontento global con el
patrocinador de Toledo, los EE. UU.,
no nos sorprende el amplio alcance de
la búsqueda de chivos expiatorios,
aunque los detalles de tales noticias
siempre son muy raros. Mientras el
pueblo peruano organiza marchas en
contra del desempleo y se preguntan
porqué Toledo no lleva a cabo sus
promesas electorales, resulta fácil hacer
demagogia y distraer a la gente con la
aserción de que la guerra civil peruana
originó en Londres.
En su publicación, Caretas afirma que
Adolfo Olaechea "propaga a favor del
Sendero Luminoso". Burlándose de las
denuncias que Olaechea hizo en contra
del régimen peruano desde Londres,
Caretas lo llama un trabajador cultural
que debería ser castigado aunque
Olaechea no fuera "un líder histórico"
del Sendero Luminoso.
Les sugerimos a escritores tipo Caretas
que en vez de buscar respuestas fáciles
como la caza de refugiados en Londres,
amplíen su información, por ejemplo,
con una reseña de las condiciones en el
campo para entender a qué se debe el
origen de la lucha armada. Si un
gobierno no sabe aguantar ciertos
discursos o artículos escritos desde
Londres, a este gobierno le tocará caer
tarde o temprano; cuanto más pronto
se reconozca este hecho y se abandone
a este tipo de gobierno débil, menos
sangre será derramada.
Uno de los pasos tomados por
Olaechea en Inglaterra antes de su
arresto fue el intento de asegurar el
apoyo de los Tories en contra de la
guerra con Irak. Olaechea instigó a
Adolfo Olaechea arrestado en España: el chivo
expiatorio de lacayos estadounidenses en el Perú
Inglaterra a que "salvara nuestra
democracia"- una posición afín a la
opinión inglesa, según la cual en un país
que tiene sus propios recursos
petrolíferos, la mayoría de la gente no
estaba a favor de la guerra, sino que fue
obligada a brindar su respaldo a favor
de la misma por Bush y su títere Blair.
Mao dijo una vez que un ataque del
enemigo es un honor y un hecho positivo.
En el caso de Adolfo Olaechea, el honor
de haber sido convertido en un chivo
expiatorio es extraño pero significativo.
¿Es posible que el régimen peruano tenga
tanto pánico a los escritos y los discursos
de Olaechea que decida correr el riesgo
de aparentar desesperado en público?
Surge la pregunta de qué tan eficaz es
el motor de la justicia. Aún está por verse
si lo que está pasando es un resto del
despotrique anterior de Fujimori, ahora
que existe una orden internacional de
arresto en contra del mismo. La imagen
que se crea en torno a Perú es la imagen
de una "república bananera" caprichosa
y arbitraria. Según la entrevista de El
Comercio, en una ocasión Perú le otorga
a Olaechea una entrada para su luna de
miel por dos semanas. En otra ocasión
se ordena un arresto de Fujimori/
Montesinos por cargos de corrupción,
tráfico de drogas y asesinatos en masa.
Encima de esto, el Perú parece actuar
según órdenes que tal vez hayan sido
emitidas por Fujimori.
El MIM espera obtener más detalles
sobre esta rara historia.