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.

[Palestine] [Santa Clara County Main Jail North] [California]
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Yo Israel, Get the Fuck Out of Palestine!

fuck israel

Everyone has been watching the atrocities happening on the news and the genocide going down in the Middle East. Israel seems to think that Palestinian lives mean nothing. Many are shocked at how the news describes the situation as if Palestine is in conflict when it’s clear that Israel has reduced Palestine to rubble.

Not one persyn here has felt Israel is in the right. It is clear as day that a genocide is happening and that U.$. tax payers are complicit as the U.$. sends billions of dollars to Israel every year.

Every time the news comes on talking about Israel, one of the prisoners here yells, “Yo Israel, get the fuck out of Palestine!” Everyone claps in agreement. Some are bewildered as to why the U.$. is enabling genocide and the more conscious are explaining the history of Amerika and what it has done to this continent and beyond for the dollar. Humyn lives are worth more than profit and the courageous students in their encampments are proving that! To be arrested in a time of genocide is an honorable thing to do.

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[Grievance Process] [Civil Liberties] [Campaigns] [California] [ULK Issue 85]
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OIG Report Says Grievance System Reforms in CA Undermined

In 2018 the California Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigated the grievance process at Salinas Valley State Prison. This resulted in a new process in 2020, where any grievances alleging staff misconduct in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) would go to an Allegation Inquiry Management Section (AIMS) in Sacramento, rather than being handled by staff at the prison.(1) As we report on in almost every issue of Under Lock & Key, grievances in U.$. prisons are often ignored, denied, or covered up by staff.

One problem with this small reform is the staff at the prison was still deciding what grievances would be forwarded to AIMS. Following OIG recommendations in 2021, the CDCR changed its system for handling grievances in 2022 so that staff misconduct could be reported directly to AIMS. In March 2023, AIMS was replaced with the Allegation Investigation Unit (AIU), within the Office of Internal Affairs.

In 2010, United Struggle from Within (USW) in California initiated the “We Demand Our Grievances Are Addressed!” campaign, which has since spread across the country. We just released a petition for Indiana this year, see the report on initial campaign successes in this issue. And we just updated our petition for Texas. Since 2010, hundreds of prisoners in California have sent petitions to the California OIG and others outlining the failures of the existing grievance system and demanding proper handling of grievances. This campaign contributed, likely greatly, to the recent changes in California.

It also happens that February 2023 was the last report we have of staff in CDCR retaliating against prisoners for filing grievances (in this case for freezing temperatures).(2) So we are interested to hear from our readers how the grievance process has been working over the last year. However, the OIG’s recent report has already exposed staff misconduct since the new program was implemented.

The OIG found that in 2023 the department sent 595 cases back to prison staff to handle that had originally been sent to the AIU to investigate as staff misconduct. This was reportedly done to handle a backlog of grievances. The OIG also stressed the waste of resources in duplicating work, given that the department had been given $34 million to restructure the grievance process. In 127 of these cases the statute of limitations had expired so that staff could no longer be disciplined for any misconduct. Eight of these could have resulted in dismissal and 12 could have resulted in suspensions or salary reductions. Many other grievances were close to expiring.

Unsurprisingly, when the OIG looked into grievances that had been sent back to the prisons, many issues were not addressed, many were reviewed by untrained staff, investigations were not conducted in a timely manner (39% taking more than a year), and grievances were improperly rejected. All of these are common complaints on the grievance petitions prisoners have filed over the years.

The OIG states in their concluding response to the CDCR claims around these 595 grievances:

“The purpose of this report was not to provide an assessment of the department’s overall process for reviewing allegations of staff misconduct that incarcerated people file; that is an assessment we provide in our annual staff misconduct monitoring reports. This report highlighted the department’s poor decision-making when determining how to address a backlog of grievances that the department believed it was not adequately staffed to handle.”

Notes:
1. California Office of the Inspector General, 29 January 2024, The Department Violated Its Regulations by Redirecting Backlogged Allegations of Staff Misconduct to Be Processed as Routine Grievances.
2. AV Brown Berets, February 2023, CDCR Freezes Elderly Inmates in Retaliation of Grievance Campaigns, Under Lock & Key 81.

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[Drugs] [Political Repression] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 84]
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CA Silences Reports of Drug Trade in Prisons

MIM Distributors published my article ‘Programming/Mental Health Denied as Drug Cartel Runs CA Prison’ in ULK 82, to highlight correctional officers’ (C/Os) direct involvement in the constant infestation of drugs in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF). In April 2023, I went a step further by bypassing CDCR’s inmate grievance process in order to catch a C/O in the act of distribution.

You see, CDCR’s departmental operations manual (DOM) at Section 31140.6.2, regards felonious conduct like drug smuggling in a state correctional facility as ‘Category II’ serious employee misconduct investigated by the Office of Internal Affairs (OIA).

I figured undisputed evidence directly to OIA would not only prevent a coverup inside the prison, but also save lives of those addicted to using while confined based on accessibility, and maybe even a citizen faced with some newly released parolee on the prowl to maintain a drug high fostered therein.

I used my influence and social status with their prisoners as an investigative tool to uncover one C/O’s method of smuggling. Once I monitored and confirmed the C/O’s pattern practice, including specific inmates receiving drug shipments, I recorded the exact date, time, and location consistent with audio video security surveillance (AVSS) and body worn camera (BWC) footage installed thanks to the current Armstrong v. Newsom N.D. (94-CV-02307 CW) injunction.

Late April 2023, I completed and mailed my findings on the attached CDCR approved DOM Section 31140.6.2 Category II OIA form, directly to the OIA, emphasizing concern over my safety, requesting therefore to remain anonymous. However, on about 28 June 2023, OIA Senior Special Agent Michael Newman forwarded my reported findings and identity back to RJDCF Warden James Hill in the attached correspondence “For Appropriate Handling” which commence first with the involved C/O immediate cease of all drug shipments in my specific housing unit.

Then came direct scowls and open unwillingness to address housing needs or issues followed by rumors within the prison population of me being a “snitch on C/O’s”.

And finally, as drug withdrawal riled up many addicts’ moods from days and weeks without fix, one mustered the boldness to confront me on behalf of the involved C/O, on a rant like some four legged creature foaming from fangs, blaming me for his forced clean and sober reality.

While I no longer advocate or impose violence, I am no stranger to such since I could fuck and fight before I could read and write. I’d like to think that not sensing fear sent the man beast on his way, disappointing the gazing C/O who not only stood watching the entire antic, but set the whole play in motion.

Meanwhile, my DOM section 31140.6.2 reported findings was converted into an inmate grievance, log #459686, then intentionally delayed until all AVSS and BWC footage evidence was purged. Once so, RJDCF reviewing authority M. Palmer issued the attached grievance response discrediting me as some liar or one who simply made up this whole event.

Initially, I found it courageous and heroic to risk my own personal safety, maybe even my life, to rid the prison environment of drugs by exposing not merely the problem, but more so, the reason this problem exists and persists. I always thought with the right facts and evidence I could make a huge difference, but now I realize that stopping drugs in prison is as futile as Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs campaign.

That’s because, many officials I turned to turned out to be those who want drugs inside prison, and rather than utilize resources and power to target C/O’s who introduce drugs into prison, these officials opt to use their resources and power to target the very individual bringing detailed facts to their attentions.

To me, a sacrifice is only grand should it effect change in better for those who follow. With the extent of CDCR’s decay, this type of exposure is pure suicide, or positions one to be forced to homicide, and whether the former or latter, when it’s all said and done, drugs will continue to be made available to those in prison who want them until and unless these prisons are closed down.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that the actions this comrade took to fight state-sponsored drug trafficking was brave. It is also brave for the comrade to look at the effects of these actions, draw lessons from them, and be self-critical in front of the movement as a whole. This is a good example of learning through practice, and by sharing these stories we can all learn from each others’ practice.

We can also see how the campaign to combat drug addiction in prisons is tied to the campaign to “Stop Collaborating” among prisoners. These state-employed drug dealers are using other prisoners to attack those who speak up. These collaborators, accusing others of “snitching” on pigs, are enemies of the people. The pigs are professional snitches. To use the state to stop abuses within the state as this comrade attempted to do, is an honorable, if sometimes futile, thing to do.

As futile as this comrade’s risks taken were in the immediate term, we are not quite so pessimistic on the prospect of ending drugs in prison. As we’ve discussed many times, it is by building a community in righteous struggle for justice that we can best provide the antidote to addiction. While prisoners across the country are writing to us about the dire conditions currently, we can look to the history of socialist China, which was ravaged with widespread opium addiction across the population just decades before liberating themselves from imperialism establishing a socialist state, and ending addiction in the country for decades to come. No small task for sure, but not impossible.

While those fighting addiction feel isolated now, through the pages of Under Lock & Key we can see that there are more of you then you realize, and we can continue to share these lessons and build successful strategies to help the masses overcome drug addiction.

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[Drugs] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 84]
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Suboxone Pushed Willy-Nilly by CDCR Medical Staff

A LOT of these guys here are on Suboxone (synthetic heroin). I was offered some, by a medical staffer. I assured her that I’ve never had a drug abuse problem, but I do like Peppermint Schnapps, German beer and the occasional magic mushroom. She insisted that the Suboxone would be good for me. That creeped me out. That stuff, along with the bath salts and the bug killer these guys widely use in this facility seems to affect them like a chemical lobotomy. They have super short attention spans, and fiend for more of that shit all day, every day.


MIM(Prisons) adds: In ULK 76, we printed a report on the government-sanctioned spreading of Suboxone throughout California prisons that began in 2020. While some have found Suboxone helpful in an injustice system that offers no real solutions to the oppressed’s problems, the overall net effect has been a continued numbing and division of the imprisoned population. This comrade’s experience speaks to how the state is acting as a drug pusher on the oppressed, using drugs as weapons against us.

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[First World Lumpen] [Political Repression] [Grievance Process] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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Materialist Analysis of the Stop Snitching Slogan: Stop Collaborating!

stop snitching

Introduction: Current Existing Ideas Around Snitching

As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists it is important to apply the dialectical materialist method when it comes to handling the contradictions among the masses. In the prison context where most of our organizing revolves around, the contradictions between various prisoner individuals, national groups, and lumpen organizations can become antagonistic and it is our job to transform this antagonistic contradiction into a non-antagonistic one and resolve it from there out.

One example of idealism is around the “stop snitching” slogan and campaign. Is “stop snitching” a correct slogan? Only an idealist could answer this question without more information. The materialist method of finding out what would constitute “snitching” would be to analyze the material conditions of how this “stop snitching” idea came about, the purposes it was for, which classes were promoting it, and going from there. What we must not do is treat it like a general platitude where it can be abused for anti-people purposes and exploited by the pigs to get the masses to fight amongst themselves.

To assume the most righteous origins of the “stop snitching” slogan, we can think of various lumpen organizations, who might be in competition and rivalry with each other at times. Yet these organizations all come to agree that they have a common interest in not sending the oppressor’s cops against each other. Perhaps there is a consciousness as oppressed people uniting these L.O.s to come to this conclusion. But certainly there is a material interest in staying alive and out of prison by reducing the amount of police involvement in their lives.

The “stop snitching” campaign was a success. So much so that today, in many prisons, it has been taken up as an idealistic and dogmatic truth rather than a materialist principle to apply in differing conditions. To many this slogan is true for all times and all places. In fact, it is so absolutely true that they apply it to the police themselves! We’ve received reports from many parts of the country that comrades can’t get others to file grievances against abuse and inhumane conditions against the system because fellow prisoners don’t want to “snitch”.

Now in reality, those fellow prisoners are probably just scared of what prison staff will do to them, so they use the “stop snitching” slogan as an excuse to do nothing and live quietly under the boot of oppression which the stop snitching principle was brought up to fight against in the first place.

However, those who stand up for themselves recognize the role of grievances. We live in a bourgeois democracy. The image of the rule of law is important to the enemy even if things become lawless in the corners of society, like in prisons. There is a grievance system and the bourgeois/imperialist state says they will follow that system. That means this is a tool that can and should be used to improve conditions for comrades organizing within the belly of the beast and fight for the political rights to build independent institutions. To call that snitching is to say that something is true because it’s true; not because of any actual evidence or material basis. To call this snitching is to lack any analysis of class, nation, gender or who are our friends and who are our enemies.

And as we discussed in the last issue of ULK, we must learn to think in percentages to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Thinking in absolutes, allows the enemy to keep us divided.

Case Scenario: Inmate Collaborators and Pigs Using Anti-Snitching Sentiment to Repress Prisoners in CDCR

In one of many reports like this, a comrade in California recently wrote us:

Dear MIM Distributors,

I am a disabled person under the Armstrong v. Newsom injunction where I continue to be targeted by officers who specialize in pitting prisoners against each other to discourage and deter use of the grievance process at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD), and in retaliation for the same.

On the morning of 25 August 2023, while exiting my cell quarters to be issued my breakfast and lunch Kosher meal, one of the inmate porter workers (infamous for not only disruptions, violence, and fighting other prisoners on the unit; but also carrying out retaliatory terrorism for officers against prisoners who use the RJD grievance process to report misconduct) began to ridicule me without provocation.

Subsequent to returning to my cell and at commencement of A.M. medication, officer G. Sellano supervised pill line near my cell as the same prisoner porter worker came to my cell door and began hostile provocation calling me a “snitch” for pending grievances (Attached as Exhibit A). Both of which involve this very same inmate porter worker and officer G. Sellano.

This inmate porter worker then stood outside my cell door on a rant to provoke me by yelling “snitch, you a bitch, you wrote a buz on me and Sellano.” The whole time officer G. Sellano stood listening, watching as the inmate porter worker then openly blasted how he is able to “do what I want all around here, I can fight anybody I want and nothing will happen. I won’t even get a 115.” Challenging me to fight as officer G. Sellano stood listening and watching while supervising the A.M. medication line next to my assigned cell.

Said inmate porter worker then began yelling to the tower officer to open my cell door in order to attack me while officer G. Sellano continued to fail to intervene, act, or quell the growing disorder.

The inmate porter worker in question is allowed to volunteer work for officer G. Sellano where the inmate receives detailed information on pending grievances filed against officer G. Sellano – then uses that personal knowledge of grievance information to confront, intimidate, and provoke some violent incident with the grievant: all while officers on the unit watch.

Facility Captain Lewis has turned a blind eye to not only this particular inmate porter worker’s ongoing propensity for violence and daily disruptions on the housing unit, but also the fact that this particular inmate porter worker is and has been for months now, used as a torpedo for housing officers like G. Sellano to be programmed to target prisoners like me who use the grievance process here at RJD while Warden James Hill has been unable to prevent officers like G. Sellano from using working knowledge of department operations to gather information for the purposes of endangering the safety and the welfare of those confined therein.

Inmates vs Prisoners

Inmates are the categorical definition used by the U.$. law to white wash their crimes. It is no different politically than to call the torture of Iraqi POWs “enhanced interrogation.” Inmate also implies a more collaborative relationship between captive and captor, which is an appropriate term to use for the inmate porter described above. A politically appropriate term for the vast majority of the imprisoned lumpen in this country would be prisoners or captives. We do not live in a time where wars are officially declared or sanctioned by governments through formalized documents. Wars are declared through invasions (such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine), bombings (such as Al-Qaeda’s destruction of the twin towers), etc. The U$A has waged war against the oppressed nations inside their borders through mass imprisonment and police occupation – thinly disguised as “war on crime” or “war on drugs.” During this mass imprisonment and lumpenization of the oppressed nation masses through the criminal inju$tice system, inmates are those who collaborate with the pigs behind bars – a consciousness of a lumpen class in itself. A lumpen class for itself, as Marx used the term, would recognize the political importance of the two distinctions.

As stated earlier, the stop snitching slogan can be utilized as principled solidarity as fellow oppressed nationals within the constant anti-people activities of the lumpen class. Through popular support, such as hip-hop culture, this stop snitching principle would even extend beyond street life into the youth where telling on adults or school teachers would even be considered snitching. The principle of a specific lumpen life now become a general platitude and empty virtue. We ask our imprisoned lumpen readers, can snitching really be stopped without independent power from the oppressor? What would it mean to be loyal to “your people” or “your folks”? Can the principle of anti-snitching be applied to the enemy who it is designed to protect fellow oppressed nations or lumpen from in the first place?

We hope to move the discussion a step forward for our readers who seek to transform the anti-people gangster mentality to the pro-people revolutionary path. Using the few rights that the oppressed are given against the oppressor to build power among the masses is not snitching. Perhaps this over-emphasis on snitching on fellow criminals (as the government are criminals oftentimes in lawless corners of society such as prisons) shows the class in itself level consciousness that many of our readers might be susceptible to.

Stop Snitching!

Stop Collaborating!

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[Iran] [Independent Institutions] [Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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NPR Ignores Torture in United $tates

Yesterday, National Public Radio (NPR) aired an interview with a former prisoner in Iran to discuss the recent release of 5 Amerikan citizens from an Iranian prison. The focus was on the horrible effects of solitary confinement and how to adapt to being back in society.

In our 2008 survey of long-term solitary confinement in the United $tates, we found that there were over 90,000 people suffering in those conditions. It is strange for the NPR story to not have mentioned this problem at home as well, or how the oppressed people in this country fair after years in torture cells. The NPR report spoke of “death chambers” in the Iranian prison, yet the United $tates has electric and now injection chairs with viewing areas and what they call “death row” in prisons across this country (though only about a dozen states are actively murdering prisoners in recent years).

The United $tates has long had the highest imprisonment rate across the world. They even boasted a higher imprisonment rate of Black people than the internationally condemned apartheid regime in South Africa.

The one-sided depiction of prisons and solitary confinement in Iran on NPR revealed a strong bias in their reporting. Yet what was most shocking to learn was that these people coming out of Iranian prisons were being offered what sounded like a fully immersive program through the U.$. military for dealing with the mental anguish of being in long-term solitary confinement.

Really? Yet every year we have comrades who are released from the same conditions in this country with nothing but a parole officer watching over them, often sabotaging their efforts to maintain a job and build a new life. Tens of thousands of people every year are released from long-term solitary in the United $tates, either into general population prisons or to the streets, with no concern for their mental well-being from the state. Who the U.$. imperialists offer mental health services to is a political decision, and it is our politics that guide us to offer help to those the imperialists will not.

As of last week, the California Mandela Act (AB 280) passed a supermajority in the state house and senate, heading next to the desk of Governor Newsom. Newsom vetoed the Mandela Act just one year ago. An aspiring presidential candidate, Newsom is likely to reject the calls from the state legislator to stop this torture again. This is over a decade after the historic California hunger strikes that called for an end to long-term solitary confinement, leading to the 2015 Ashker vs. CDCR settlement where those sacrifices led only to individuals being released from the SHU, leaving the institution in place. [UPDATE: The bill has been stalled to negotiate with the Governor and will not be passed in 2023.]

For comrades currently suffering in torture cells in U.$. prisons, you can write to us for back issues of Under Lock & Key on solitary and materials from the American Friends Service Committee on dealing with isolation. For comrades who are getting out, who have spent long periods in solitary, our Re-Lease on Life Program attempts to offer mentoring, guidance and political engagement to ease the transition back into society. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to get involved in the struggle to abolish long-term solitary confinement in this country completely.

Because over 100,000 people face torture in solitary in the United $tates every year with no imperialist Army programs for rehabilitation offered afterwards, we must develop independent institutions of the oppressed to address this material need among the oppressed masses in this country.

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[First Nations] [Revolutionary History] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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Book Review: "Geronimo: The True Story of America's Most Ferocious Warrior"

geronimo most ferocious warrior

It’s uncanny how books fall into your hands at times. Recently my circle has been discussing the subject of prisoners of war (POW’s) in the United $nakes and, what do you know, a comrade slides me this book on a POW who died imprisoned, the Chiricahua Apache Chief Geronimo.

Going into the book I treaded lightly as biography type books are quite biased. Many of the tomes written on leaders of the oppressed within the empire tend to be heavily biased slander that amounts to imperialist propaganda. This book was written as an “Interview” by Barret while Geronimo was a POW at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I went into the book bracing myself for a book that would attempt to tell Geronimo’s story while promoting Amerikkkan ideals if even unconsciously. I was not wrong.

The subtitle of the book itself is an error: “The True Story of America’s Most Ferocious Warrior.” Geronimo was a First Nations warrior. America is the name of the white nation who stole the land it now occupies. The subtitle thus describes Geronimo as a member of this white settler nation which is ridiculous, as he fought against Amerikkka.

The first part of the book focuses on general Apache life with an emphasis on the mythology of the Apache creation story of origin. Steeped in the metaphysical ideas of a “God” and how a talking dragon would visit early ancestors. Sadly many of the world’s societies have such creation myths that are passed down. It highlights the need for a materialist approach to all we do and gives a glimpse of how the world would think if we were without dialectical materialism.

Part two, “The Mexicans”, answered a lot of questions I had. Here it describes how at one point Geronimo and his tribe traveled into “old Mexico” – as he calls it – and while the warrior went to trade in the town they returned to a massacre where it was reported that Mexican troops had killed everyone including Geronimo’s aging mother, wife, and three children.

I had often heard of Geronimo’s anti-Mexican sentiment, now I know why. Contradictions among the people continue today where oppressed nations fight for crumbs and leave devastation on either side. It’s disappointing to hear, knowing Geronimo’s passion for fighting Amerika it would have been beneficial for the oppressed to join forces and fight Amerika as this was in 1858, ten years after the U.$. war on Mexico and the birth of the Chican@ nation. Surely there was much resistance sparking and embers of resistance still burning.

I can’t stop to wonder had a united front of oppressed nations come together and resisted the U.$. how it would have resulted, add Black folks in the mix and it would be even better.

The first half of the book seemed to exalt Geronimo’s raids and murder of Mexican people. The first half has almost no mention of his war on the white nation, on which much of his reputation is built on.

Part three titled “The White Men” depicts various attacks and treachery when U.$. troops would call “peace” only to meet up and murder the Apache forces. At one point the Apache Chief Manigus-Colorado was called by the U.$. military for peace talks and assassinated. Geronimo seemed to be the only one who did not trust the U.$. troops or “white men” and thus never attended peace talks during that time period and lived through the treachery.

Chapter 16 titled “In Prison And On The War Path” was chilling to read. Here Geronimo contemplates war on Amerikkka and death. This portion of the book struck me more than any other of the passages. I feel his words and taste them internally. To me it’s as raw as it gets for those of us who are prisoners of war.

He states:

"In the summer of 1883 a rumor was current that the officers were again planning to imprison our leaders. This rumor served to revive the memory of all our past wrongs, the massacre in the tent at Apache Pass the fate of Mangus-Colorado, and my own unjust imprisonment, which might easily have been death to me.

“We thought it more manly to die on the war path than to be killed in prison.”

So much to unpack here. The mention of the leaders being imprisoned brought back memories of Pelican Bay SHU. The SHU was where leaders of the imprisoned oppressed nations in Califas were kidnapped and “imprisoned”. Taking leaders is a common practice of the oppressor nation. For Geronimo it triggered the Apache when they heard that their leaders would be kidnapped again. That’s a very traumatizing experience. I feel it. For those who have never been captured, tortured or kidnapped I can only say that the closest example I can give of Geronimo’s words here is that of a child who was kidnapped by a stranger, taken from their family and returned as an adult and then one day this persyn was either snatched again or told that another person would be kidnapped. Imagine the trauma this persyn would feel: the memories of being taken. The trauma likely became unbearable to the point that resistance, even resulting in death, must have seemed welcoming.

It seemed that every few pages Geronimo or his tribe would sign another treaty with Amerikkka. A lack of political investigation resulted in decisions based on subjectivity. As materialists we know that the oppressor will not relinquish power willingly, hystory has taught us that. Had Geronimo been a dialectical materialist he would have come to that realization much sooner.

Reading how the U.$. Army General Miles told Geronimo he would build Geronimo a house and give him access to cattle and provisions if he would simply stay in his place on the reservation was really revealing. Geronimo was a prisoner of war and knew it. Today many Chican@s and other oppressed don’t even know that we too are prisoners of war, for the U.$. war on Aztlan continues. We too are in a reservation called the United Snakes.

A low intensity war continues on the Chican@ nation. The U.$. government has always maintained an offensive on the colonies since the invasion was first launched, the offensive simply changes names, vehicle, and nationality, but its vision and operation remains fully intact. On April 20th, 1886 U.$. troops stationed in Arizona and New Mexico were issued this order by the U.$. War Department:

“The Chief object of the troops will be to capture or destroy any band of hostile Apache Indians found in this section of country and to this end the most vigorous and persistent efforts will be required of all officers and soldiers until the object is accomplished.”

If one were to substitute the word “Chican@s” instead of “Apache Indians” this statement could have been written last night. Insert the dreaded “gang member” which the colonizers love to use to vilify oppressed nations youth survival groups and the statement may be even more authentic to today’s mission. The pigs are tasked with accomplishing this mission in their war on the poor. Political groups or parties claiming to work in the interest of the oppressed here in the Snakes who do not move in ways that acknowledge this program of protracted soft war on the oppressed while conducting their work in the field in the so called interest of the colonized reduce their efforts to crass concerns of proletarian morality.

Today the state is resuming its offensive to “capture or destroy” hostile indigenous people (Chican@s, not First Nations in this context) and as the statement says they are obligated to do so “until the object is accomplished.” “Their vigorous and persistent” efforts today amount to the KKKourts, three strikes, “gang” enhancements, hyper-policing, and of course murder and assassination to none but a few.

It is not that Chican@ people are dimwitted and without comprehension to grasp that we are being attacked and targeted. What muddies the water is to see Chican@ or Black pigs carry out this program of “capture or destroy.” This works in the state’s interest to disguise the ONGOING onslaught on our people, that has not stopped since 1848 and before. As one long chain of oppression the state may employ Chican@ Toms and Black Uncle Toms as actors, but it is a state operation, that is: a program of white supremacy to maintain white power.

At the end of this book it’s a shame to read about Geronimo converting to Christianity to which he describes associating with Christians will “improve my character”. A warrior reduced to surrendering to the oppressor. Metaphysical thought like Christianity has not “improved” the character of the oppressed, rather, it has worked to subdue and pacify even one of the “ferocious” warriors like Geronimo. There’s even a picture of Geronimo in his Sunday best with the caption “ready for church” at the end of this book.

Republic of Aztlan

This was an interesting book that teaches one of the injustices committed by Amerikkka against indigenous peoples; but there are also lessons of how a warrior can (through the brute heel of the oppressor) become broken and surrender, and in doing so lead much of eir people into the abyss of plantation-minded Amerikan apologia. I needed to read this book at a time of extreme repression in my own life to re-energize and I think you need to read it as well. To die on the war-path for liberation . . .

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[Culture] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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Political Bloodshed

My Black and Brown brothers know this prison system entrapment
Huey said die for the people like Fred Hampton
So many comrades left oppression in the Angola Slave Plantation Box
Long live the spirit of a freedom fighter “Albert Woodfox.”
My eyes see the systemic racism of the U.$. capitalist
We will never let them break our spirits and sanity
The power’s in the Black fist.
We believe our cause is noble throughout the 44 years of solitary
My people have spent decades in the dungeons but still stand in solidarity
They have deliberately tortured us in torment but our hearts is still barbarity
We have rose above the muck and the mire of the real clarity.
Never should we forget the “Angola 3”
It’s political blood shed for you and me
We fought for freedom for Mutulu Shakur
and Ruchell Magee
This a dedication to the black liberation
We have inspired our spirits of resilience
We strive to free the land for equitable
liberty and cease violence.
My brother’s legacy is revolutionary
some are still alive and some in the cemetery
I thank NAPO and MXGM
the pillars of strength from the torch we carry

POLITICAL BLOOD SHED

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[Organizing] [Santa Clara County Main Jail] [California] [ULK Issue 82]
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Finding Outreach Opportunities in Crisis

On Sunday, 28 May 2023, Santa Clara County Main Jail went on full facility lockdown shortly after pill call when evening program (out of cell time) began.

This is not all that unusual by itself, as Main Jail goes on lockdown on average 10 times a month, often more, as it is facility policy to lockdown the entire complex for ANY disturbance, almost as if they fear a replay of the Attica uprising in September 1971 or the Lucasville uprising at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in April 1993 (which I could see being a distinct possibility).

Yet what was different about this lockdown was the guard taking off at a sprint out of our unit after screaming “lockdown!”, before making sure we all were in our cells locked down (which is against operations protocol). We could see out our unit door to the 7th floor control booth where the guards rushed by into the elevator to get to wherever the incident occurred (our Main Jail is a tower complex).

After getting back to my cell, the guards who came by to do their hourly checks were extremely close-lipped and stone-faced which they usually aren’t after their usual “reindeer games” of hosing down with O.C. spray and prying apart lumpen-on-lumpen conflicts (they’re usually giddy after getting their adrenaline fix).

The next day we knew something “big” (at least in the pig administration’s eyes) had occurred when all GTL tablets were confiscated from prisoners without a word as to why or when they would return.

Persynally, this was only a minor inconvienance, as the only thing I really use my tablet for is to use the phone app in the privacy and quiet of my cell, as the “edutainment” platform “Edovo” on them is full of bullshit and bourgeois drivel aside from several collected works of Marx and Engels though even those are contained within a course with video lectures from the bourgeois perspective of a Yale professor.

It wasn’t until after reading an article in Wednesday, 31 May 2023’s San Jose Mercury News(1) and hearing whispers gleaned from the looser lipped pigs that the full picture started to come together.

A prisoner in one of the protective custody units on the 6th floor had taken his tablet, busted it down, and out of the smashed wreckage was able to make a “crudely made knife” as the article called it, and with said knife assault two pigs with it.

Of course the bourgeois media reported the usual drivel from the sheriff’s office, that it was a “shocking and unprovoked attack”. Knowing the hystory of Main Jail in recent years, from the 3 pigs who beat mentally ill prisoner Michael Tyree to death in his cell, to the recent report of the mistreatment of another mentally ill prisoner Juan Martin Nunez at the hands of pigs and medical staff in the psychiatric unit on the 8th floor of the jail which in the aftermath left the prisoner paralyzed, this seems highly unlikely.(2) Oh and don’t forget their usual closing line, “Our correction deputies (sic) play a critical role in maintaining law and order within the correctional facilities and this attack serves as a stark reminder of the risks our deputies (sic) face daily.” The lumpen can see these for the fearmongering lies they are.

In the aftermath many crafted grievances to attempt to get eir tablets back, which I decided finally against as the assaulting of 2 pig guards along with the problems comrades across the California gulag archipelago (as well as across occupied Turtle Island) are having with their facilities’ worthless grievance systems made a win highly unlikely.

Instead, I spent the time trying (actually with some success!) to get my collection of revolutionary literature (by comrades George, Mumia, Maroon, etc and all my MIM literature) out to the masses of New Afrikan, Chican@, white, and Asian/Pacific Islander comrades who suddenly had nothing to occupy their in cell time. Many finished books/zines from my collection, some only read an article or two from ULK, but it was all-in-all a positive outcome.

On 21 June 2023, the tablets were returned, with the pigs now lording over them and having to fill out a checklist every morning and night to make sure all tablets given out are returned to the charger carts at night. Yes, it took them almost a month to come to this “brilliant” idea.

While many have gone back to eir program of zoning out on their tablets all day, I am happy that at least a few have had eir interests piqued and luckily just before another organizing opportunity, Black August.

Notes:
1) Austin Turner, 31 May 2023, “Sheriff says inmate attacked 2 deputies”, San Jose Mercury News.
2) Robert Salonga, 12 May 2023, “Jail report angers county leaders”, San Jose Mercury News.

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[Prison Labor] [California]
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Making $10 a Month Not Enough with Commissary Inflation

Thanks for sending the Power to New Afrika booklet. I am still studying and understanding the knowledge within it. Before I pass it along, I would like to speak about some stuff I read today in ULK 81. It’s about inflation and commissary prices.

I have been incarcerated for 15 years for seeing people get killed and refusing to give information to detectives. Anyhow, prices for the basic things a human being needs I have seen skyrocket over these 15 years. #1 I am in solitary confinement, which means I do not have a job and I can only spend $60 at the prison’s canteen [in California]. This 60 bucks can’t go too far when generic brand or no name toothpaste is 5 bucks, one top ramen noodle is 50 cents, a deodorant is 4 bucks and some change, purchasing bags of chips for 3 bucks and half the bags are empty. The items that the prison sell we can purchase at the 99 cent store for a $1.07. It is simply robbery. Prior to me being sent to solitary confinement, back in 2019, Top Ramen soups were 20 cents and a Dial roll of deodorant was a dollar.

I have been a cook in the kitchen, yard crew, building and education porter. I worked for free in each job I had except as a cook in the kitchen I was paid 11 cents an hour. I work from 12 noon until 8pm five days a week. I had to prepare food for over 600 inmates in four buildings. We were getting payed once a month and my checks after 55 % was deducted for restitution was only between 10 to 13 bucks each month. If I still had this job, all I will be able to get from the prison canteen is a deodorant, toothpaste, and maybe a bag of chips. Ridiculous. Most jobs in California prison are not paying jobs. I shoveled snow at 5AM at High Desert State Prison. I cleaned building at North Kern and cleaned bathroom and police offices at Salinas Valley, I cleaned showers and Corcoran State Prison and couldn’t even receive an extra dinner tray. I was payed 0 dollars.

When we refuse to work for free, cops, they take our privileges; no phone, no yard, no packages we receive a write up which also messes up our board hearings. What some in society do not understand is just because I am in prison doesn’t mean I should be degraded, humiliated, and worked to death for free labor. These are all extra punishments. When the punishment is being incarcerated away from our family. This is the actual punishment.

Due to inflation and being in solitary for 4 years, even though I spend my $60 at commissary once a month, that $60 truly doesn’t amount to anything due to the high prices for items that are not truly worth it. Being in here we still are forced to spend because the prisons do not give hygiene products and we are not allowed packages as if we were on the yard. In the SHU you get 1 bar of soap a week, 5 sheets of paper, 1 toilet paper roll, and some tooth powder. So as you see we truly need to purchase items from the prison and I know that they are truly aware of what they are doing. And in order to even spend 60 bucks my family has to send me $120 and I still owe restitution. I’ve been in prison on different plantations for 15 years and still have not paid off all this restitution. I am not rich.

This is why they need to pay more for every prison job. This prison industry can afford to pay us minimum wage. Before my incarceration, I was receiving $6.25 an hour working retail. And a prison can never run without prisoners who are incarcerated. But this is how we are treated. Prisoners cook, clean, do construction, pain, tutor, clerks, grounds keepers, and so much more.

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