Join UFPP; Not the Imitations

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[United Front] [Principal Contradiction]

Join UFPP; Not the Imitations

For those that don't know, the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) was created in 2011 by a council of anti-imperialist leaders in prison, facilitated by MIM(Prisons). In 2012, one of the groups who later signed on to the UFPP initiated what became the annual September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity in recognition of the brothers in Attica in 1971. While the initial day organized by that comrade may have seen the biggest mass action to date, we have increased the number of prisons in various states participating in years since then. We have also developed an organizing pack that is available to prisoners building for September 9th in their facility. Most of our readers agree that the lack of peace and unity is the biggest obstacle to any real change for the oppressed languishing in Amerikkka's koncentration kamps.

As the UFPP slowly grows with time, we have begun to see some copycats. Imitations that may appear similar, but are lacking in content. We have ULK subscribers who are calling on us to support the Call to Action Against Slavery in America(1) on 9 September 2016, who have never reported lifting a finger to build for peace and solidarity on that day. We have someone in North Carolina promoting a new movement whose main tenants are Peace, Unity & Growth, copying the explanations for each point from the UFPP's Statement of Principles. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but we want to be clear about why the United Front for Peace in Prisons is better than the rest.

What it comes down to is anti-imperialism. While the United Front is meant to be a broad base for unity and is not an explicitly anti-imperialist thing on its own, its founding leadership was. And this is why the Independence and Internationalism are such important points. The North Carolina prisoner mentioned above sent us a copy of a letter sent on behalf of eir movement to staff, literally trying to strike a deal for some petty improvements in exchange for more peaceful conditions and more money flowing into the canteen. It is clear why ey dropped the Independence point from the UFPP. We don't want peace because we're pacifists, we don't want peace in order to get more canteen privileges, we want peace and unity because that is the only way to build power. And with power we can actually make the world a better place and change things for real.

Independence is crucial for change. Independence means not being a part of the existing system, not being a state sanctioned and approved operation. Obviously the state will not sanction something that is trying to change it in ways it does not want to change. And Internationalism is both our source of strength and a protection against degeneration. Our strength comes from the majority of the world's people who stand against oppression. And by keeping an internationalist focus we can assure that the UFPP does not become something that can be used by some to oppress others, directly or indirectly.

To help people recognize our differences with the imitators we use language to focus on the anti-imperialist struggle. Instead of talking about the "prison industrial complex," we talk about koncentration kamps as the modern form of colonization faced by New Afrikan, Chican@, Boricua and First Nations. Instead of talking about slavery like it's the 1700s, we look deep into the lumpen class and the conditions it faces in the United $tates today. It is by understanding the modern forms that imperialism takes that we can best find solutions to our problems.

1. see Soso of MIM(Prisons), Fighting the Real Enemy on September 9 Solidarity Demonstration, Under Lock & Key, Issue 50, May/June 2016.