Prisoners Report on Conditions in

California Prisons

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www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[COVID-19] [Organizing] [Valley State Prison] [California]
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Exercise Your Influence, Lead by Example

In early March [2020], at the beginning stages of the public information campaign regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, I was informed of preventative methods such as wearing a mask and hand washing by family and friends on the outside. I began to educate the other prisoners at Valley State Prison (VSP) of the pandemic and how the administration was trying to down play the severity of the situation.

I decided to exercise my influence by leading by example, so my first step was to create my own face mask, second step I wore it in public every time I got the chance. At first I looked and felt rather silly because I was the “only one” wearing a mask not even medical staff were wearing masks, people were calling me paranoid and hypochondriac, they said it was not that serious and the virus would not come into prison. One day while going to A-yard dining hall a really rude officer named miss Avila stopped me and confiscated my mask and told me “Inmates are not allowed to wear a mask.” I was also warned by another officer that worked regularly in my building, that I was causing a hysteria among the prisoners by wearing my mask he also said he believed the pandemic was just a hoax.

By the end of April, CDCR’s Prison Industry Authority(PIA) starts creating and distributing masks to all of California’s imprisoned population. Medical staff began to wear mask, but custody staff officers still refused to wear any masks. Officers would harass any prisoners not wearing masks, although it was hot and the masks were uncomfortable we wore the masks as a symbol out of solidarity we want to protect one another in particular our elderly population and those with high risk medical conditions but the officers still refused to participate with us by wearing a mask. On 24 April 2020 we united around a common interest as imprisoned lumpen striving to build a healthy environment and we filed a group Appeal L (602) Log# VSP-A-20-01089 with 12 prisoners and on 5 May 2020 a memorandum was issued ordering “All Staff” Mandatory wearing of cloth barrier masks by warden R. Fisher Jr. On 5 June 2020 our inmate appeal was partially granted and all staff was mandated to wear “cloth barrier masks.” I want to thank MIM for encouraging me to exercise my influence by creating a united front and helping me to turn my knowledge into political organizing.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This is an example of real leadership. Recognizing what the material needs of the people are, and sticking your neck out to lead by example in how to meet those needs. The people soon recognized this leadership and followed. This is just one of many examples we have printed in recent weeks of prisoncrats actively resisting safety measures to protect prisoners (and staff). This is everyday treatment of those in U.$. prisons, it just has more immediate relevance to the outside world because of the global pandemic. Supporters of United Struggle from Within join these comrades in these day-to-day struggles to say “Prisoner Lives Matter!”

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[COVID-19] [Political Repression] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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San Quentin: Greatest Concentration of COVID-19 after Guards Refuse Masks and Put Hands in Prisoners' Food

15 May 2020 - During the 2 weeks that came and went since my last report, I’ve encountered quite a bit of backlash. Another prisoner and myself are always reminding these so-called “essential employees” here at San Quentin to wear a face covering. On 14 May 2020 during second watch food service we observed two “essential employees” NOT wearing masks. Upon pointing out the obvious, one (Alwhart) approached the prisoner’s cell who spoke up. Alwhart then threatened the prisoner, saying “Shut up and mind your own business if you know what’s good for you, PC piece of shit.” Alwhart mumbled something else (unintelligible) as he walked away to be confronted by another prisoner about the same thing.

Later, when yard release program was called, Alwhart arrived at the cell of the prisoner he threatened earlier and began the process. The prisoners are required to hand the “essential employee” the items they are bringing with to their assigned yards. The prisoner passed Alwhart a clear plastic ziplock bag containing lunch fruit, bread slices, antiseptic scrub (within its own clear ziplock labelled KOP) and a small ziplock containing a small amount of dry beverage. The first thing Alwhart did was open the clear ziplock, then he began stirring the contents with his gloved hand. As he stirred, Alwhart said to the prisoner he was clearly harassing: “I’m going to search the shit out of your cell too when you go to the yard because you need to learn to shut up.” The prisoner he just threatened for a second time said: “I figured you might go that route so I left you a note with copies of Title 15 3084(g) and 3287(a)(2).” The prisoner continued, “Your threats of violence don’t sway me a bit and you need to wear a mask or I’m writing you up for violating 15CCR 3271 and Marin County’s mandate that all”essential employees wear a mask at their place of employment at all times." Alwhart then threw the prisoner’s searched property back into the cell and falsely reported to the assigned tier officer (Costa) that the prisoner refused yard program. True to form, Costa packed Alwhart’s play and feigned ignorance about the arbitrary yard denial. Sgt. Guitierrez (who also does NOT wear a mask) tactically avoided paying any attention to the unbecoming conduct of the essential employees under his supervision. That’s to be expected. That Sgt. also refuses to respond to a CDCR Form 22 attempting to resolve the issue of the other disrespectful sows in his pen NOT wearing masks.

Some other prisoners in Reception and the death row tier are beginning to understand how the insolence and pig-headedness of these so-called “essential employees” is going to adversely affect the entire prison population. We (death row) are already on an unbalanced yard rotation schedule. There are no visits and no mental health yard program. Once any death row prisoner is tested positive for COVID-19, contact tracing would not require Dr. Bright to shine light on the obvious.


MIM(Prisons) adds: San Quentin has been making lots of news around the epidemic staff have brought there. This began when prisoners were transferred from the California Institute for Men (CIM) in an attempt to protect them from COVID-19. It turned out some were already infected and brought it to San Quentin. And as this comrade reported in April staff have continued to intentionally put prisoners at risk, even after it was clear that the disease had arrived at the prison, violating federal, state and local mandates.

As of 27 June 2020, San Quentin has the most COVID-19 cases within CDCR (614) and CIM is second with 514.

notes: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/population-status-tracking/

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[Civil Liberties] [Brown Berets - Prison Chapter] [National Oppression] [Political Repression] [Police Brutality] [White Nationalism] [Black Lives Matter] [California]
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Lynchings in the Midst of BLM Uprisings

THEY TRIED TO BURY US

THEY DIDN’T KNOW

WE WERE SEEDS!!!

Black & Brown Unity Justice for George Floyd

Re: BLM

16 June 2020

Revolutionary Greetings!

Hello - Saludos y Respeto to all those in the struggle, the struggle is real. I must weigh in on the events unfolding in Southern Califas. Namely the two lynchings, the first in Palmdale CA, the second in Victorville CA. What do they have in common? Answer: the Sheriff’s Department! Both racist-both departments have a long history of working together and as a political prisoner held in CDCR these are the same two departments that joined forces to try and silence my voice and bring down the AV Brown Berets.

Both Departments have deputies that are card carrying members of the racist Minute Men, the new KKK. And having shined the spotlight on this fact earned me a Life sentence for crimes I did NOT commit.

And in both cases there is no doubt in my mind there is Departmental involvement. And nothing can surprise us coming from these two historically racist departments.

In both cases these were meant to send a message to the BLM movement against police brutality going across this nation right now, and to discourage it! The Evil and racist regime in Palmdale has a long history of using these tactics to silence the voice of the PEOPLE. And if they can’t kill you, they will bury you behind the wall. And this will not stop until they are made to understand the world is watching and will hold them responsible and accountable for their actions. But the racism and prejudice is systemic NOT only in the Sheriff’s Dept. but also in City Government in the Antelope Valley and Silver Valley (The Sinister Valleys) to a mind-blowing degree.

My heart goes out to the families, friends, and loved ones of these latest victims of these Evil Regimes. I spent years of my life trying to expose the racist and criminal practices of these two partners-in-crime, it has come at a great cost. My family, my freedom, not to mention all my worldly possessions but I will NOT stop until justice has been done, and the Evil has been exposed; because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the ONE. In the end the TRUTH ALWAYS comes out! We must continue to move forward and not be discouraged!

LA LUCHA SIEGE!!! VIVA LA CAUSA!!!

(Justice for Ro Alvin Harsh)


MIM(Prisons) adds: Six lynchings, 5 of them New Afrikans and one [email protected], have been reported on the heals of the recent uprisings against police terrorism.

  • Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old, New Afrikan man hung from a tree in Palmdale, CA is under investigation

  • Malcolm Harsch a 38-year-old, New Afrikan man hung from a tree in Victorville, CA has been declared a suicide by police and the family

  • Dominique Alexander, a 27-year-old New Afrikan man hung in a Manhattan park and was ruled a suicide by the police, who later said an investigation continues

  • a 17-year-old New Afrikan boy was hung from a tree in Spring, TX was ruled a suicide by police

  • a [email protected] man was hung in Houston, TX was also ruled a suicide after family stated he was suicidal

  • Otis ‘Titi’ Gulley, 31, a New Afrikan transgender woman hung in a park in Portland, Oregon was ruled a suicide by police

notes: 22 June 2020, The Sun

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[Campaigns] [COVID-19] [California Medical Facility] [California] [ULK Issue 70]
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Return Life-Saving Machines to Prisoners at CMF

Revolutionary Greetings!

10 April 2020 – Filing my April Report from the California Medical Facility (CMF) at Vacaville, California.

This is a hospital, we are all here because we are high risk medical and most of us are 55+ years of age if not older. And those of us with Obstructive Sleep Apnea suffer from a life-threatening condition for which we require the use of a CPAP/BiPAP breathing machine to allow us to keep breathing as we sleep. Today the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), using Gastapo tactics, has come in and confiscated our DMEs (Durable Medical Equipment). Thereby placing all our lives at risk under the color of law.

I requested C.O. Gorbe, our dorm officer who since his assignment to our dorm has made a hostile environment, to make a copy of my health care 602 [grievance form] with supporting documents attached, as is my right before I submitted it. I was denied this request and for this reason I submitted this health care 602 attached to a CDCR 22 form with the CDCR 602 H.C. Grievance. And I have been successful in encouraging others to follow suite and file appeals.

My people have been calling the facility and they are denying these as allegations, refusing to acknowledge to our loved ones this even happened. And telling us this is to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Which makes NO sense. I am not infected and their reporting no cases here at CMF. Yet they are placing our lives at risk of our OSA.

I’m sure this is going on at other facilities within CDCR and I encourage all our brothers and sisters to also file paperwork together we can make a difference!

I have wrote similar letters to: - The Prison Law Office - Office of Internal Affairs CDCR - Office of the Inspector General - U.S. Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division - CDCR, office of the Ombudsman - Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld UP attorney at Law - Cal-vets

I would like to respectfully request copies of the grievance petition forms, and also suggest all our effected brothers and sisters to also file and make this a real campaign. And contact your loved ones beyond the walls to call in and make the system aware that people outside are aware of their actions. Together let’s hold them accountable for their actions!


Take Action:

Monday 11 May 2020

CALL: (707) 448-6841

Suggested message: “I am calling on behalf of prisoners who have had their Durable Medical Equipment taken away during the COVID-19 pandemic. These machines help people with life-threatening conditions. I am requesting that prisoners at California Medical Facility be given access to these machines immediately. Can you tell me why these machines were taken away and when we can expect them to be returned?”

MIM(Prisons) adds: As this comrade states ey does not have symptoms of COVID-19. While there are reports online that CPAP machines could spread COVID-19, these patients should be tested for the virus if that is the concern. The fact that COVID-19 is becoming so widespread in prisons is a complete failure of the staff to protect prisoners. With proper practices, prisoners likely would not even be exposed to the virus – in many ways, imprisonment is the epitome of “shelter in place..” Prisoners with existing health conditions need not be put under additional threats to their health.

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[Civil Liberties] [COVID-19] [Calipatria State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 70]
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Prisoners Win Phone Rights During COVID-19 Restrictions

Abolitionists From Within (AFW) is back at you all with a little update on the struggle here at Calipatria State Prison A-Yard. CDCR and its C.O.s here have a corrupt culture of denying prisoners our rights. An issue was brought to my attention about prisoners in A2B class not receiving they phone calls during this time of war. The institution has been on a modified program to further promote social distancing in response to COVID-19.

Where there is oppression, it breeds resistance. The people must stand and the young mwenzi stood up and at the end had something to smile about. Privilege breeds complacency, so some mwenzi stood with hate in their eyes. I just love to see the peoples shine so i smile with the young mwenzi. C.O.s tried to take our constitutional rights from us because the prison officials were acting and behaving in a prejudiced manner toward the A2B class making aggravating remarks, dividing A1A against A2B, done in a retaliation for complaints by prisoners filed against guard misconduct. So we made that pen bleed back to normal program (everybody gets phone calls). Power to the People!

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[Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [La Palma Correctional Center - Corrections Corporation of Americ] [California] [Arizona]
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AZ Confiscates New Afrikan Materials From CA Prisoner

Lastly I recently experienced an illegal confiscation of my property. In November of 2017 I was sent to an out-of-state facility, La Palma Correctional Center in Arizona. California has been using contract beds for a while. Anyways my property was inspected without me being present. I set as a new arrival without my property for 3 weeks. When I did receive my property a bulk of my property was missing (which included pictures, writings, self-help paperwork, religious material, phone books, and books including a dictionary and college textbooks). This was done under the guise of “gang material” upon me arriving off of the bus STG. Lt. Freeman was documenting my tattoos with pictures (I have several Afro-Centric tattoos that represent my culture and heritage).

Upon further inspection of my property I noticed anything that was Afro-Centric or point blank had black people on it was confiscated along with greeting cards and my medallion which is an Ank. Things that you can’t interpret any other way but for what it is was taken. Since then I received some things back but majority of it is still being withheld and as you see I’m back in California. I’m currently on the 3rd level 602 process.

I just want to let brothers aware of what’s going on at LPCC in Arizona. Anyone who is scheduled to be transferred there or is there needs to be aware. Out there we are still governed by CDC’s title 15 yet Arizona is not abiding by it with their policies.

PEACE your brother on the struggle.

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[Non-Designated Programming Facilities] [Special Needs Yard] [California] [ULK Issue 70]
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We Can Choose the Next Phase of CDCR Prison Culture

On the subject of non-designated yards, the fact that the state’s actors have sanctioned this social experiment where the labels that the state themselves created are now being altered by their creators means that the G.P./SNY dual system has run its course and failed miserably.

It also means that prisoners have to be re-educated on the history of prison labels in California, understanding that at one time all prisoners went to any yard where there was space and they fit the classification points criteria. The only prisoners who got sent to special yards at that time were the wealthy, the law enforcement convicted prisoners, and those media vilified infamous. These yards held low numbers of prisoners and weren’t easy to get to, or gain reliable information about. However, once the state actors came up with 50/50 yards, SNY yard, it created new problems that would not only affect prisoner sub-culture in prison but an even huger problem on the streets due to the criminals’ new option not to play by the old rules of the GAME that is not a game.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all on the who’s who level, on the G.P. nor SNY lines – there are snitches on both sides, rapists on both sides, hustlers on both sides, politicians on both sides, killers on both sides, thinkers on both sides, lumpen orgs on both sides. What needs to be analyzed is why are we still judging one another based solely on convictions when we have seen 13, White Like Me, we’ve read The New Jim Crow, Blacked Out Through White Wash, The Black Panthers Speak, Locked Up But Not Locked Down, A Taste of Power, and Dark Alliance, etc.

WE know that all the courts care about is convictions and not truth or facts. We know that many people who go to trial get railroaded and made an example of. We know that many of us were forced to make deals based on the public defender’s inability to provide adequate defense and we know many prisoners are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to decades behind these walls. Yet we keep judging our fellow prisoners based upon convictions from a corrupt system that works to justify its high percentage of convictions and deals, plea bargains, bails, etc. As one of the GODS that’s locked inside of this INJUSTICE system I refuse to take our open enemy’s word about another oppressed prisoner, nor will I act on behalf of the STATE and harm another prisoner based on what happened as a result of the United Snakes Criminal Injustice system. Where I judge is based on the individual’s personal conduct and willingness to act when the time demands action or when I see them deal with difficult situations – if they’re rational, measured, and are they using reason-based decision making or not.

Comrades, we’ve got to think about what unity would bring us that is impossible if we continue being separated based upon STATE TITLE and LABELS. The question to all you self-styled revolutionaries is: can people change? Does experience and education reform an otherwise broken individual? Can we inspire the Blind, Deaf and Dumb to wake the fuck up and unite on some active social dynamics that is mutually beneficial to all commonly oppressed prisoners? Will we educate the next Revolutionary that will make change a reality? Or are we just pen and paper revolutionaries?

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[Mental Health] [Abuse] [Mule Creek State Prison] [California]
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Quarantine Eliminates Required Mental Health Services

Today is the 5th day of a quarantine of approximately 100-200 prisoners, for just about 20 prisoners or less being sick. This is occurring at Mule Creek State Prison’s A-Yard Building 5. This is not a medical unit or has self-contained individual air circulation. By doing so CDCR puts all the other prisoners including myself at risk of catching the illness the other prisoners have.

Furthermore, the entire building full of prisoners are EOP (Enhanced Outpatient Program) a mental health unit. As such, by federal laws we are legally supposed to obtain a set amount of dayroom and yard time, as well as mental health groups and therapy. But this is not occurring at all! By doing this, CDCR knows they are willingly putting us at physical & mental risk. Such risk has already caused 1 EOP prisoner to cause him to ignite his cell on fire with his own self still within it!

This is proof of the CDCR being imperialists and our continued struggle to no longer be slaves and not under lock & key no more! As I send out this letter I also send out letters to the Prison Law Office in San Quentin.

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[Non-Designated Programming Facilities] [Soledad State Prison] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California Correctional Institution] [California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 69]
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CDCR Creating Volatile Conditions Across California Prisons

sept 9

We continue to try to keep abreast of developments in relation the Non-Designated "Programming" Facilities (NDPFs). And while MIM(Prisons) and USW have seen this as a potential opportunity to push our campaign to breakdown divisions between G.P. and SNY, most of our readers have recognized the integration as an attempt to create violent situations by the state.(1) Below are some reports that we have received recently on how this is playing out on the ground.

"I am a G.P. prisoner and only want to finish my time with G.P. prisoners. My family feels the same. We are being forced to be put in bad situations where they now have used STG (Security Threat Group) status. On 15 February 2019 me and many others were not part of a riot at RJ Donovan in San Diego. We have been in Ad-Seg ever since; limited to $55 at the store, 1 hour behind the glass no contact visits, three hours every other day yard, every other day showers. Locked all day in a cell. No disrespect but my family wants me to program as a mainline G.P. prisoner and not abuse the system like EOPs or SNYs. They all have their own real problems that I would like to remain away from."

We're not sure what this persyn means by "abuse the system like EOPs or SNYs." But we will reiterate that we do not take sides here. We have very good comrades in all types of prisons in California, and there is all kinds of bullshit happening in all places, as comrades in this issue of ULK allude to. Last issue, we heard the other side of the coin where more conscious comrades are being sent to NDPFs as a form of punishment.(2) While many NDPFs are not succumbing to the inter-prisoner violence that everyone feared, conditions are still problematic, and "programming" is reportedly non-existent.


From California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, a comrade reported on 1 May 2019:
"I was transferred from Centinela level 3 to SATF level 2 50/50 yard or so-called Non-Designated Program Facility (NDPF). Well, I will say the transition from SNY to an NDPF was an easy one here at SATF, but to call this a program facility is a stretch. They run a split tier type program, and night yard or dayroom is non-existent for the most part (on F yard, I don't know about the others). If they run program at all, it won't be until after 8pm to 9:15 with only 2 phones. It leaves only 8 sign up spots for 88 people so you can see the problem when you only get 3 night dayrooms a week. Prop. 57 said they were sending lifers to level 2 for more access to family and more program, well this isn't happening, not here anyway. Our MAC chairman just becomes a yes man to the free staff.(3) As you know, when you limit someone's family contact it causes stress and stress leads to violence. All of this is an easy fix but it doesn't seem to be going in that direction, not here anyway."

Finally, we heard reports on 15 August 2019 of a riot in Soledad State Prison in other press outlets. There were a reported 200 prisoners involved, 60 injured, and 8 had to be taken offsite for medical attention. Supporters in touch with prisoners at Soledad blame the practice of "gladiator fight" setups, where prisoners who are known to have beef are let out of their cell one-by-one to recreation. We have not read of Soledad being a NDPF, but we have never had much of a base there either.

As we approach September 9th, we reiterate the call for peace and reconciliation in California prisons. Though comrades will not get this issue of ULK until after September 9th, this struggle to weaken the biggest divide among the imprisoned lumpen in California continues. The Agreement to End Hostilities was a step in the right direction, and we must keep moving that way by including more sectors of the prison population into the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 69]
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An Open Letter (of promise)

Here in California, the Agreement to End Hostilities has ushered in a new era for all of us behind bars and on the streets. Prison yards in California are a laboratory for society at large. If we can do it here then so goes the rest of the country. It's not easy to undo racial antipathy, but we are doing it here in California. Every time we forge a new friendship or business association with those of other races it is one more bridge across what divides all of us.

"The pig system" has tactics to separate us so we are weak without unity. But those of us with an open eye toward the future work to minimize what can be used against us. I myself am nearly 50 years old and have spent over 30 years as a serious hater as part of a well-known street/prison gang. The 21st century will be one of great change for us all. The best advice I can give my fellow humans is to let go of the dogmatic ideology of the 20th century and evolve in a constructive manner. Our fight is not between one another but between the "haves" and "have nots." We are the "have nots," no one will give anything to us; we will have to take what we need for our people.

Educate yourself in history, politics and economics. The United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) Statement of Principles is a good place to start. Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, Independence is a sound formula for success. If you are reading this it is not by accident. Mankind, in order to survive, will have to reach for the stars at some point. But first we must refine ourselves in the furnace of evolution. If we humans as a species can cooperate with each other, in time we will cross the threshold. It starts with the man in the cell next to you or across the way. Peace.


In Struggle,
A reformed Nazi

MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this as a testament to the strength of the AEH, the UFPP, and especially the anti-imperialist prison movement that inspires those who've held all sorts of backwards lumpen mentalities to become arbiters of revolutionary unity and change.

However, it is easier to win over those who have matured and learned the errors of their ways over time. To be successful we need the 20-somethings, the youngsters, the up-and-comers to take the revolutionary road. We must develop tactics to accelerate the education and maturation of the young lumpen leaders and would-be leaders in our midst.

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