Resistance from within Management Control Units
I extend greetings of solidarity and strength to those who remain intransigent in view of the ongoing onslaught of oppression. Brothers and sisters, due to the fact that MIM does not publish the names of comrades, all my communications will be addressed to you as Matulla. I will also be submitting future articles on a variety of issues, and petition you all to become or remain active with MIM as we strive for a revolutionary vanguard to defeat imperialism and this repressive prison industrial complex.
I have been reading of your struggles against our oppressors, even as you are interned deep within the belly of the beast, i.e. MCU, SHU, etc. This isolation and its barbaric nature are common to you and I. However our seclusion must solidify our opposition to repression, and must not cause you to become dispirited. We must continue to resist and withstand the force and effect of their deceptive practices.
I have been subjected to every form of terrorism and brutality that the state can throw at me. I've been beaten and tortured, starved and whipped. They've tried to break me, and desired to see me crawl. Instead I decided on resistance by any means possible. Don't get me wrong, I am no hero, and sure as hell would like to have been someplace else, but like many of you, I understand why it is so important to defy our captors, even while we fight to survive, literally in hell. It is also important that you have the support of those on the outside, which is the primary reason I've been effective.
In spite of my circumstances, my resolve is steadfast, because I fully understand why I'm being subjected to the draconian degrees of selective political persecution that I have been forced to endure over the past 4 1/2 years. I am innocent of all the repressive administrators' false allegations. Because I am militant, I am being subjected to selective political persecution by the state for merely entertaining such militant thoughts.
I'm aware of many of the conditions you speak of at your facilities, if not all. Many prisoners, here as throughout the united $tate$, are placed in these [isolation] units without having broken any prison rules. Prisoners who have been identified as being politically subversive, or incorrigible (political), and possess or display leadership qualities or potentials are assigned to the prison's repressive "MCU" and/or "SHU" unit(s).
Many of these placements are based solely on uncorroborated administrative or confidential informant reports that are never provided to the prisoner before or after the classification hearings so they can prepare some type of defense against the confidential informants uncorroborated allegations, or seek some kind of redress after the fact, via the kourt system (which often sides with the repressive prison administrators).
Some prisoners (political and apolitical) are placed in the MCU, SMU or SHU before they are convicted or right after they are sentenced on the charges they are arrested for. In general, these units will base its decisions to intern a prisoner in these units upon its evaluation of the following factors: records of past imprisonment, disciplinary records, prison records on work assignments, adjustment to prison programs, records on past housing assignments, attitude toward authority, psychological makeup, and involvement in political, social and criminal activities while in prison. In many instances prisoners are isolated due to their involvement or alleged involvement with street organization.
We must also begin to take an in depth look at the goals of these units and how they achieve these goals. Politicized social prisoners, political prisoners, some radicalized religious prisoners, prison lawyers, apolitical prisoner leaders or potential leaders are isolated from the general population with the goal of reshaping their beliefs or to psychologically break us.
During my years in the MCU, SHU and SMU units I've seen prisoners renounce their political, religious and "gang" affiliations in order to win their release from these repressive units. It has long been my position that convictions are not a matter of convenience, because if an individual is serious about his or her convictions, no matter the consequences, he or she will remain true to them. I have seen prisoners suffer emotional breakdowns because they could no longer cope with the constant lockdown. They sometimes start taking the mind-controlling psychotropic drugs administered by the psychiatrist, to escape the realities of this never ending insanity.
Brothers and sisters, being in captivity is a terrible adversity. Many prisoners are affected in different ways. I've witnessed many become complacent in an institutionalized way, capitulate, or they become more rebellious and speak of vengeance. Other prisoners start identifying with their oppressors, the guards, and start seeing them as being humane instead of sadistic. They develop hostile tendencies towards other prisoners who recognize and expose the true sadistic nature of the guard. It all depends on the individual prisoner and his internal composition over a protracted period of time.
My petition to you is that you withstand the direct frontal assaults being unleashed against us. We must all continue to struggle, even while interned in the belly of this most relentless beast.
I too am subjected to the same deprivations as you, which are designed to make us kow-tow. Restricted contact visits, restricted law library access, "no" work and education privileges, restricted religious access, as well as having my correspondences and reading materials carefully scrutinized (more so than the prisoners in general population.) In addition, we are carefully searched every time we leave the control unit (going and coming ) in the presence of two armed security guards carrying black night sticks that they call "nigger beaters." We are subjected to restrictive outside recreation and 24 and 23 3/4 hour days locked down in these cages year-round.
In reading your missives to MIM, many of you have been given the same options as I to obtain release from these repressive units. They have advised me that I need to improve my social profile and abandon my oppositional stance prior to release consideration from the MCU. Renouncing my politics will never happen. I've never contemplated the thought of being apolitical again in my life because I have suffered so, and to pay homage to the late George L. Jackson, I want to say there is no turning back from awareness because it is our obligatory duty to act once we become aware of what is, as well as what must be done and not just spoken about.
MIM has been active when it comes to about the history and reality of control units, i.e. SHU, MCU, SMU etc., especially in the state of California. We must do our part as prisoners, to organize and form a collective behind the walls to assist them. If this means resisting physically we must resist. If we must die, let it not be like hogs, hunted and penned in an inglorious spot.
Other prisoner support organizations, and most advocates, lose interest after a while because combating the existence of SHUs and control units necessitates a protracted commitment and most people are not willing to make such a commitment. In addition, prisoners around the country who have experienced the fascist repression of these units and prison existence do not stay the course upon release. Many ex-prisoners don't help those who helped them and stayed the course with them when they were locked down deep in the repressive confines of some state or federal SHU and/or control unit. Once released they failed to act upon the promises they previously made about advocating the propaganda of serious struggle in the community at large.
I encourage all of you to remain strong and uncompromising. We must work relentlessly to replace the bourgeois injustice system with proletarian justice.
— Matulla, a prisoner in Alabama, April 2003
Shut Down the Control Units