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.

[Medical Care] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prison Health Care System is Inhumane

Health Care is a Straight JacketI was unable to finish reading ULK10 because I was motivated to begin this letter as a contribution to issue 12: Health Care. The front page article "Brutality Leads to Death" by a Texas prisoner describes an almost identical incident that happened here at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF, in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).

On September 13, 2009, a prisoner's death occurred here in ASU Housing Unit 6, Cell 128. This prisoner died of a drug overdose, which is being blamed on one of the PM med nurses who was apparently fired and escorted off the grounds. At the same time, they are investigating another prisoner suspected of selling drugs to the prisoner. It should be noted that this unit has video surveillance security cameras.

The fact is, on August 4, 2009, a federal judicial panel found that the entire California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was in violation of the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners, that the prison health care system was inadequate and constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and that denial of adequate medical care caused at least one unnecessary death per week. In addition to the federal take over of the prison health care system, CDCR was ordered to reduce prison overcrowding by 40,000 prisoners within the next couple of years.

The most recent prisoner death can only be viewed as a criminally negligent homicide, caused not by the nurse or prisoners, but by the inhumane conditions and treatment we are subjected to every day in these disciplinary segregation units. Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and thrown in an empty cell without basic human necessities, are denied prescribed medications on a regular basis, and are ignored by custody and medical staff when they bang on the door and scream "man down" in the case of a medical emergency.

I have been confined in this ASU for nearly a year, because I "refused to double cell" with a non-compatible, sexually violent predator, a known rapist! As a Jailhouse Lawyer, I am currently pursuing two federal civil rights lawsuits for inhumane treatment, denial of due process and sex discrimination under patriarchy.

The relevance of the ongoing legal battles, deaths of prisoners, and prisoner resistance in relation to the larger anti-imperialist struggle is not lost on me. With all the hoopla about Obama's health care reform proposals in the liberal corporate-controlled media, one can't help but read between the lines and separate the real from the BS.

Let's keep it real, this health care reform will not include prisoners. Additionally, right-wing Republican legislators in congress are already raising a ruckus about inclusion of immigrants. Why not talk about the California prison health care crisis in these national debates? Or the billions of dollars being wasted in the imperialist Iraq war? Money used to commit mass murder to protect the rights of U.$. oil companies should instead be used to solve the economic and health care crises caused by capitalist greed and medical neglect in this country, and in the prison industrial complex! Revolution, not reform, is the only way to stop the oppression, mass murder, and health care neglect under U.$. imperialism.

The program of MIM(Prisons) promotes the "elimination of all oppression - the power of groups over other groups" and "independent institutions...to provide...medical care." Additionally, the MIM Platform states "Abolish the Amerikan prison system...prisoners who do not represent a violent threat to society will be relased." These are steps in the right direction. And so is the struggle against patriarchy and gender oppression!

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[Organizing] [California]
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Now let's build

The so-called war on drugs, and other "tough on crime" laws, are better defined as the war against Blacks and other Third World people. We are the direct target of the Amerikkkan injustice system. A system that plots to kill us (COINTELPRO, CIA "dirty tricks" div.), imprison us for a profit and cheap labor, and a system that wants to imprison our youth (group homes, juvenile hall, etc), keep them undereducated and growing up in a single parent home. We must stop fighting amongst each other and pay more attention to the real enemy. The enemy that has inflicted massive amounts of pain on our ancestors, the enemy that, right now today, murda our people and get away with it (police), and the enemy that sends you to court, where they give you a dump truck lawyer (public defender), and the judge hangs you from a noose (life sentence). You better pay attention or become a victim. Use your head, I'm not your enemy, I'm your brotha! (all oppressed people) Black of your Black, blood of your blood, in a soldier stance, ready to launch the attack on the animals who have been attacking us for so very long. Look around it's more of us than it is of them. It's time to unite and resist the horrific conditions they try to force us to accept and live with. It's time to stop complaining and step up! Step up or shut up! This is a revolution, and every revolution (to my knowledge), has been won by actions although words are often needed. It's a dirty game so pay attention and let's turn the table on this blood thirsty system.

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Unity works to combat unreasonable regs

On 4 September 2009, the prisoners of California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) came together in an act of protest, resistance and solidarity against sadistic pigs and oppressive administrations practice of the denial of basic humyn rights. For those who are unfamiliar with CSP-LAC, it needs to be pointed out that the prison is actually located on the outskirts of Los Angeles in what is referred to as the High Desert. Being as we are in the desert, temperatures are often either in the extreme heat or extreme cold, and even though it is only October, the temperature dropped somewhat dramatically. I'm not sure as to exactly what the temperature was, it was either in the upper 40s or lower 50s. It was definitely cool either way.

We were made to walk to a chow hall opposite the yard, and we were not given any jackets, so many prisoners decided to wear their personal thermals under their prison blues. Upon arriving to the dinning hall about four or five fellow prisoners were returned to our buildings by the yard pigs for the simple act of wearing a thermal in an attempt to try to stay warm. Upon arriving back to the building those same prisoners asked to speak with the sergeant in order to discuss this ridiculous regulation. The pigs on the scene refused to call the sergeant, so the prisoners decided to simply take a seat on the tables and wait for the pigs to call him.

As I arrived back to my building I saw those four or five brothers in captivity seated. I'd already heard what was going on so I approached them and took a seat with them as I was interested in speaking with the lead pig myself. As the rest of our brothers returned, many looked on in confusion. Some saw what was going and in a collective show of solidarity simply walked over and sat with us. By the time everybody returned, our numbers grew from six to about ten or eleven. Needless to say, this was a pathetic amount of people for a building that holds about 200. It is important however to point out that this was a completely spontaneous event and the majority of people were not aware of what was going on, so there is no blame.

However, after about 20 minutes, a couple of prisoners scared themselves into submission and decided that this wasn't worth going to the hole over. We explained that there was nothing to go to the hole over, we were simply asking to speak to the sergeant, and even if they did send us to the hole, then we were prepared to go. If that was the price of speaking up for ourselves and our basic humyn right of keeping warm, then so be it. Not 5 minutes later the pigs hit the alarm on us. We immediately took a seated position on the floor as the pig Sgt. Jameson trotted in, foaming at the bit, waving his little stick at us, while verbally insulting us and threatening to spray us with his OC if we didn't get down, but we were already down.

We were all cuffed and taken outside and lined up along the yard fence, made to face away from our oppressors. While we were cuffed some of the pigs suddenly found their courage and began to make their little smart ass remarks. Some of us began to speak up and merely explain our position and that all we wanted to do was have a conversation with the sergeant. At this time the piece of shit sergeant resumed with his posture of threats and verbal abuse. At this point we finally just said "fuck you and everything you stand for" to which his reply was to call for an exaggerated request for re-enforcements. All yards were ordered to shut down and have their pigs flood our yard. All this for a handful of prisoners who were already in restraints. About 10 minutes later the secondary response arrived, however there was not much for them to do except to supervise the locking up of the remaining prisoners on the yard who were in no way involved with us.

After about 20-30 minutes the yard was finally clear of prisoners except for those of us in restraints. All the while we were cuffed and on our knees facing a wall. As the secondary response team slowly evacuated the yard another alarm went off. It turns out that the prisoners in the gym witnessed what was going on with us and simultaneously decided to get off their bunks directly disobeying orders and refusing to lay back down. They decided to protest the fact that they were being made to lay down, and stay on their bunk all day long. They were also not being allowed to go to their work assignments. So the gym said "fuck it" and the secondary response team had to run in there and extract about 30 people. Thirty people is a small number compared to the capacity being held in the gym, but still better numbers than the so-called "high security" prisoners. All in all I counted about 42 people out there. Three people were chosen to be interviewed by ISU (Investigative Service Unit). They basically wanted to know what it was that brought all this about. They were told that all we wanted to do is to have a simple discussion with the facility sergeant as to why we weren't being allowed to wear our thermals. We did nothing wrong, nor did we disobey any order to lock it up. As a matter of fact, we were never told to take it into our cells; the prison pigs just hit the alarm.

We were then interviewed by the yard lieutenant and assistant warden. We repeated our line and also stated that as far as we knew their little rule about us not being allowed to wear our thermals was bogus since the Title 15 no longer stipulates whether we can or cannot. We were also not being allowed to look at the prison DOM (Departmental Operational Manual) and every pig we asked concerning the "no thermals in the chow hall" rule refused to confirm or deny whether the regulation is actually on the books or not, or whether this is all just part of the yard administration's power trip, which makes me think that since they've not confirmed or answered our questions, and only gave vague answers, then they're obviously hiding something.

Recognizing that we're being granted an audience with prison administrators some of us took the opportunity to bring up a variety of issues affecting the population. We told them we weren't being allowed to use the phone, go to yard, etc. Their response was that as far as the thermals were concerned we are in fact not allowed to wear them to the chow hall. However, they still did not confirm whether it is a mandated regulation or not. They then apologized for not issuing out jackets. They said that we're supposed to have been issued jackets weeks ago but there was some delay. The warden was currently making some calls trying to get us some jackets. By the end of the interview we were told that they'd found us some jackets and that they would be issued Monday. However, we were also told not to take this as them somehow giving in to our demands. Yeah right. We were told that concerning the program on the yard, we had ourselves to blame because of supposed safety risks that we are always causing. At the end of the interview they told us that we were all going to be punished for participating in a disturbance. We were then sent out back to our cells.

Hours later those jackets that were nowhere in sight or on the prison grounds were somehow "found" and distributed. Funny how that works.

Now today, for the first time in four months, a huge portion of the population was allowed access to the phones.

Who knows, maybe tomorrow we'll finally get some yard.

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[National Oppression] [Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 11]
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Foreign Nationals Face Brunt of Population Crisis

The State of California faced a "two-pronged" problem this year with regards to housing "alien" prisoners. The first came as a result of the economic calamity which eliminated most forms of tax receipts, which in turn finance various State programs. Secondly, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), has been ordered to reduce the massive number of prisoners held (often more than twice design capacity).

Unfortunately, any perceived relief will be looked upon not as "safeguarding human rights," but being "soft on crime." Regardless of political party affiliation, if a legislator can be shown as being remotely compassionate to criminals, his life in politics is in dire straits, almost certainly at an end. This creates a rather hypocritical dogmatism between being "financial stewards," and "tortuous demagogues." So, the "powers-that-be," have chosen a rather stealth-like hypocrisy that appears sound to the tax-payers, and helps continue the ethnocentrism of the post-9/11 era: Deportation of Aliens Who Completed Their Prison Terms.

Consider this for a moment:

If "Jose Garcia" [arbitrary name] is arrested and convicted of any criminal offense, he will face deportation only after serving his time in an American prison. In some cases, it makes no difference, because the "Alien" is serving an Indeterminate Sentence (Life; Life Without Parole; Death; etc...), and will not be released. It does not matter whether his "papers were in order," or if he waded the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, he still faces deportation. In some rare cases, the prisoner will not be deported because he faces death in the receiving country (Libya, Syria, Iran, China, etc...), but this is also open to "political interpretation." An Iraqi citizen may be sent "home," because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, and there is a "legitimate government in Iraq" (Bush #43's words, not mine) and the threat of torture has been lessened (compared to what?). So, "Jose", serves his term and is hustled to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gulag, pending decision to deport.

The insidious nature of this legislation/Court Order, is that it neither provides relief for the refugee who has fled his country's economic abyss, or provide "security" for prisoners who are existing in nightmarish dungeons that lack essential medical and mental health services. Meanwhile, the state legislators continue to support prisons in their districts for their own profit and for jobs for their constituencies.

State courts are simply an extension of their political friends hypocritical policies, and generally refuse to accept reality as a guiding principle. The Federal Courts, while not without their flaws, are more likely to answer the complaints of the down-trodden with something similar to justice. The problem with the Federal Court is that they drag on forever and create such insurmountable complexities that most people are incapable of succeeding in their quest for "justice." The recent cases noted before (Plata v. Schwarzenegger, and Coleman v. Schwarzenegger) have been active for eight years and eighteen years, respectively. The recent court order was for the reduction of the prison population by 40,000 over the next two years. On the surface it seems like a victory for the Prison Abolition Movement, but the State has twisted it around and essentially no relief will be seen. Instead of a legitimate reduction in sentences, or other mannerism which might have a perceived legitimacy, the CDCR has announced that they will start sending people to ICE more rapidly, and will shuffle papers and falsify reports until the State implodes.

I personally know a man who has lived in this country for most his life, but due to his extensive criminal record, may be deported to Iraq (he's Armenian). ICE is kind of in a "Catch-22": Politically, to send someone back to Iraq would show "faith in the new Iraqi government"; but to refrain, would keep a "Career criminal" on American streets. Do they recognize the absolute surreal failure of the American "gulag archipelago?" No. They proclaim a lost war won, and sacrifice someone who might well be killed upon arrival, as a sign of "success" in Middle-East policy.

Needless to say, the "California Dream" is now excluding non-naturalized foreigners, and any attempt at succeeding without the appropriate documentation is hazardous to your "Freedom."

Handling Deportation Threats

When asked by foreigner prisoners, on how to proceed, I examine several factors before making any recommendation:

1. Where are you from? (What is the political climate there?)
2. What offense brought you to prison? (Murder, rape, etc. are hard to defend. Petty possession, shop-lifting, etc. are easier to bring "mitigating circumstances" into the question.)
3. What kind of skills do you bring to society? (A dope fiend with no education will find little sympathy, where an engineer or a doctor will be of some interest.)
4. What political affiliations do you have? (The "Red Scare" still exists, as does massive disinformation about anarchism. If you are perceived as a possible threat, you will be neutralized.)
5. Finally, are there any advocacy groups who specialize with your country, region, political group, religion, et al.? (Being from Mexico will only help you if you can convince your captors that you face death if returned to Mexico (drug war). Guatemala and Honduras have significant political strife that can be used to prevent deportation back there. Other places have different circumstances that should be publicized by the U.S. State Dept. or various news agencies. Reach out early for help and publicity.)

Seek out copies of Prison Legal News and the addresses of whatever embassy or consulate is pertinent to your citizenship. Most nations require "detaining nations" to notify them of having possession of one of their citizens (see: "Consular Notification and Access," U.S. State Department). Within this guide, are the "basic instructions" of political rights, printed in 13 languages, along with the telephone numbers of most consulates and embassies. In a few circumstances where the United States does not have "Diplomatic Relations" with a country, you have access to either the United Nations Delegation or a Neutral Country (Sweden, Switzerland, etc.), who will contact your nation of origin (if you so wish).

The key point for anyone facing deportation to remember is that the political climate of the United States is precarious at best, and if you are facing deportation to a reasonably stable area (no warfare, drug gangs, massive infectious disease issues, kidnapping, rape, etc.), and you are not facing extra detention as a result of being deported "home," it may be better to utilize what contacts you've made in the United States and improve the conditions of your "home" country. If, while incarcerated, you learned how to repair computers, or used more modern construction techniques, perhaps you can be of value there. Further, if you developed friends in this country, possibly they can continue communicating with you and possibly bring relief to the economic scene in your locale.

Regardless of the circumstances, you are not alone. There are scores who have faced the same crisis before, and likely even more will face similar in the future. No matter what, keep your dignity. A coward dies a thousand deaths. A brave man only one. Fascist, sociopathic lunatics may be ruling most countries, but their effect upon you is where you can limit their power. If you refuse to bow down to their nonsense, they lose the battle over your will. You hold the power to determine your fate: use it wisely and with honor.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 11]
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Transgender Struggles in Segregation

I'm a 40 year old transgender prisoner activist. I've been held prisoner by the state of California for 20 years, including 10 years in Pelican Bay SHU and am currently confined to Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), awaiting transfer to Tehachapi SHU for the past year.

I was initially placed in ASU for "refusing to double cell" and put in disciplinary segregation for objecting to random housing assignments with sexually violent predators because I am a transgender female on hormone therapy. I was placed in punitive, inhumane conditions, simply for exercising my constitutional right to personal safety.

Subsequently I was charged with "battery on a peace officer" for spitting on the lieutenant in ASU. Then I was physically assaulted by Correctional Officer Llamas, who falsified a report charging me with "battery on a peace officer" because I stuck my arm out of the food port on my cell door; he pepper-sprayed me and twisted my arm for demanding to see his supervisor.

I am an experienced jailhouse lawyer and am currently pursuing two federal civil rights lawsuits: 1) concerning medical neglect at Pleasant Valley State Prison, and 2) inhumane conditions and sex discrimination at RJDCF-ASU.

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[Culture] [California]
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Culture is a Tool to Direct Society

Culture is something we interact with on a daily basis, and it affects everything we do as well as how we think. Yet it's something most people in u.s. society pay no mind to, or do not think deeply and critically about. Culture is a very powerful instrument of the state. Like a gun, culture can be used for bad, destructive purposes, or for good, liberating purposes.

Culture is something learned in a society. We are not born understanding culture. So just as people and a society can change, so can a culture change. When culture is passed from child to child, or from elderly to children, generation to generation, this is called "enculturation." When someone is "enculturated" it means they learn what is funny in society, what is offensive, when to eat, when to sleep, why to get angry and why to be content. All this stuff we learned through "culture." Everything, like how to sleep, what to struggle for, how to sexually satisfy, all of it is determined by culture. We have learned this stuff as a child. We observe and see what is socially acceptable in this society and at times we learn some of this culture in public schools where the teachers "enculturate" us.

In a society, a culture must determine its food, shelter, laws, education and the arts, as well as the production relations. Here in America the culture is a capitalist culture so everything is based around the profit system. Whether the people go without, suffer or are exploited is beside the point. We learn from public school that America is a liberator (which is bullshit), but we do learn this. We learn that all are equal (except those we call terrorists). We learn all this patriotism about BBQing on the 4th of July, making a turkey on thanksgiving, and adding to the economic stimulus every X-mas by making sure we run down to the mall and purchase lots of merchandise for "X-mas presents." All this is part of capitalist culture in the U.S.

It is so saturated by corporations that even the people are corporate billboards, walking advertisements for corporations. Look on any street or in any public school, and you'll see people wearing shirts with the words "nike," "adidas" "tommy hilfiger," and all the corporate sports teams. This is basically millions of flying billboards where the people are used to advertise products without even realizing it themselves. Even the movies we see coming out are patriotic and glorify the dollar and luxurious living. Music is the same and rap music in particular, for the most part is talking about bling bling and everything revolving around that lifestyle. U.S. society is so saturated with capitalist culture that the vast majority can't even comprehend any kind of culture that is based on the peoples' interests. Most of the U.S. population has never studied revolutionary culture or seen how culture is a tool to direct society, so it is completely outside of their comprehension.

Looking at what shapes culture today particularly in the oppressed nations communities in the U.S. is most definitely the hip hop movement. Rap music is a vital element for young people today in shaping their culture. We saw back in the late 70s when hip hop had kids all across the U.S. walking the streets with boombox radios, in sweatsuits, breakdancing and popping and locking. This cultural phenomenon spread from the ghettos to the suburbs. In the 1980s when Eazy E and NWA came out, people across the U.S. started doing drive-by shootings and drinking Old English 40 ouncers. So this too had a big affect on how kids were acting and the things they were doing in society.

The 1990s saw in the beginning years of hip hop a lot of talk of dope and money, pimping, etc. But toward the end of the 90s, 2pac started bringing a slightly different vibe to music. A more revolutionary scant to his music began developing, and then he was assassinated. So the 2000s came and it's more "bling bling or die trying bling bling" type of music in the hip hop arena. And so kids across the U.S. are once more affected by having gold and diamond encrusted mouths, and driving SUVs with tens of thousands of dollars worth of stereo equipment and accessories. This is the current culture of U.S. society when it comes to hip hop today. Of course there are a small handful of rappers who put out a more progressive form of rap like Dead Prez, Paris, The Coup, etc. But most people haven't heard of these groups because they are not getting the Madison Avenue advertisement contracts and are not getting signed to major record labels that are more corporate-friendly. So a progressive or revolutionary rapper may be from California and have been rapping and selling CDs and tapes since the 80s, yet someone living in Detroit never heard of them.

What makes hip hop so powerful is it attracts so many young people, worldwide. It is thus a vehicle for revolutionary culture and building public opinion. But this is something that not only revolutionaries have noticed. The imperialists are also aware of this. Anything that can potentially threaten capitalist society will be monitored and by any means manipulated.

I just finished reading this book called "Malcolm X: The FBI Files." It was basically a chronology of Malcolm X's life, but the most interesting part of the book, after reading about "white devil" this and "white devil" that, was how the feds sought any Black leaders and written in the feds internal memos, would be things like "do not allow a charismatic leader to unite Blacks, use manipulation, disinformation" etc. So basically this applies to all oppressed nations people: should the people begin to unite or organize, the state would target us for the purpose of destroying whatever we have going. In this book it also had a designation term called a "key figure." Once they designated a person as a "key figure" not long later that person was assassinated. In the book the "memos" on Martin Luther King designated him as a key figure, and soon after he was dead. Malcolm X was designated a key figure and soon after that he was dead. When these memos spoke of a key figure and said it was one who could "electrify" his people and unite them; someone who has an overwhelming influence on the community.

Looking at hip hop again in a new light, we can see how hip hop can indeed "electrify" the people and unite different levels of society. We had a 2pac who practically every kid in the U.S. listened to, and who influenced all these people in the U.S. As he began to become more politically conscious in his music, waking up even suburban kids to some of our political prisoners, I could imagine thousands of white suburban kids at the dinner table after listening to Pac ask their parent, who may be in law enforcement, or even a fed, "what's a political prisoner?" We can see how the state can see someone like 2pac as a possible rising figure a vehicle to help build revolution in the U.S. We can also see how if someone in the hip hop community like 2pac took on a real revolutionary stance in his music, it could have made millions conscious of what this country is really about. Public opinion would have received a major thrust forward. This could have changed hip hop culture into revolutionary hip hop where all major rappers began to speak reality, opening up more minds to real struggle. The possibilities are endless. Hip hop plays a major role here in the U.S., as the youth, the oppressed nations, and the lumpen will be the backbone of the revolution in this country.

To get an idea of what revolutionary culture would look like one need only look to China under Mao, 1949-1976. In Chairman Mao's Peoples Republic, China underwent dramatic change from and in all areas of life. China's past was one like most third world countries, where exploitation was considered the norm, peasants were worked to death by the greedy landowners, children were sold to pay off debts, prostitution ran wild, opium was as common as cigarettes are today, women were property, illiteracy was the norm if you weren't wealthy... Basically the majority was ruled and exploited by the few.

When the revolution came, Chinese society was transformed. All areas of life, entertainment (culture), were now in the interest of the people. The peasants no longer toiled the fields for 18 hours, or in some cases 20 hours a day, to pay off a debt to the landlord. Now peasants worked half days in the land they were given, or in the collective farm, and the rest of their day they went to school to learn to read, write and discuss revolutionary theory. Thousands of teachers and doctors from the cities volunteered to go out to the country or the mountains where the peasants had never seen a teacher or a doctor. They did this not for better pay or a nicer neighborhood. Instead they did it to help, or as Maoists say, serve the people. The ballet and opera no longer showed plays of a capitalist nature. Now the ballet and opera showed plays of the people struggling for revolution. In the school children no longer learned poison, as today's U.S. children learn: that murderers, rapists, and genocidal psychotics like Christopher Columbus, Hernan Cortez, or Amerigo Vespucci were American heroes.

Instead, in Mao's China, children learned who the exploiters were and who were the real peoples' heroes, as well as the many revolutionary leaders worldwide, and political theory. Unlike in U.S. prisons where every prison cellblock has 30 bibles in the dayroom or half the prison yard is christian or muslim, and religious chaplains make their rounds door to door, in Mao's China every prison cell had a stack of revolutionary books of leading theoreticians so that prisoners could learn of many struggles taking place all over the world. This was provided by the revolutionary government. Every day prisoners were allowed to participate in a large study group where they would discuss what they were reading and grapple with theory. Even in the factories the workers would take breaks to rest and discuss political theory in groups. Women with children were provided collective childcare in their neighborhood free of charge so they would work half day and partake in study the other half to contribute to the revolution. This was the environment in Mao's China, and this is the revolutionary culture we can look forward to. In revolutionary culture everything is done to advance the revolution. In this type of environment the people will give their all as they know their comrades right beside them are doing the same, not for personal gain or money but for the people.

Today's culture in the U.S. is all about money and everything is done with personal gain as motivation. So a revolutionary culture in this country would reverse all of this and every sphere of society would be contributing to the people. En la lucha.

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[Culture] [California]
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What is Culture

A people's culture is as important to their survival as food is. Without the guide-posts and direction signs that a culture offers to its adherents, they can soon become disillusioned, confused and easily led into self-detrimental paths. That "lostness" is what is being demonstrated by the hip hop culture of today. Obviously, hip hop has taken on the 'look' of a culture, but what kind of culture is it? From this writer's perspective, it is for the most part, a very negative and rebellious way of life. Make no mistake, the dominant culture that we live in here in Amerikkka is definitely not the way that we are supposed to and should live, but with that clearly understood, to put in it's place the glorification of violence and the degradation of your women, is just as bad!

As far as hip hop having a revolutionary value that can generate a positive environment that is conducive to rearing a nation that is capable of taking control and making manifest Justice and Equality for all, this has yet to be demonstrated. This culture-of-death that we operate in today has taken complete control of the hip hop movement and any signs of life; any signs that hip hop may have some redeeming values is quickly put to death through this culture's use of materialism and ruthless violence!

The awakening to our true culture is going to happen and a Hip-Hop culture that is dominated by artists such as: KRS ONE, DEAD PREZ, ASKARI X, etc., will play an important role in that culture!

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade's critique of hip hop today as needing to take up more revolutionary politics and disavow glorification of violence and degradation of wimmin. See our article on hip hop for a more complete critique.

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[Legal] [Abuse] [California]
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Wasting Money Prosecuting Lifers in California

I would like to shed some light on a scam being run by the establishment here on level 4 SHU yards in California. I'm certain if tax payers knew how their money was being wasted they would have a problem. People here in the SHU with life sentences already are getting taken to court for frivolous prosecution for knives, mutual combat, participating in riots, crap like that.

Now if a person with life doesn't murder anyone you can't upgrade his time so the question arises, why are they trying lifers for petty crimes? Then it dawned on me, these capitalist crooks don't pass up a chance to make a dollar, even if they have to waste resources. California is broke, but the pig has the audacity to waste money on frivolous prosecution, just so they can boost their conviction rate and feed that propaganda to the public about how awful prison is. And in doing so the public is not paying attention to the wastefulness and lies of the establishment. I thought I'd share this fraud with the brothers locked in the struggle.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This prisoner exposes a good example of the criminal injustice system creating reasons to pass around the profits of imperialism and keep the prison system growing. This is very wasteful, but we are under no illusions that alerting the tax payers to this waste would rally them to join the fight against the criminal injustice system. Even in this economic downturn, Amerikan tax payers are benefiting from the profits of imperialist exploitation of the majority of the world's people. And the prison system is a tool of this imperialist system. A majority of Amerikans will continue to support that system even when presented with evidence of it's abuses. Just like a majority of Amerikans support the imperialist wars that murder innocent people around the world and cost billions of dollars.

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[International Connections] [California]
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Migrants Treated Unequally

I start off by writing that I will not be using the term "illegal aliens" as a way to refer to my people. As it is only used by oppressors to debase emigrants. It is senseless to have such a label since this country was formed on migrants. Furthermore CA was one of the many states tripped from Mexico. Indeed. That clear, I move on to the issue at hand, non-citizens contributing to the growing prison population. I use my personal story as a foundation to paint a bigger picture.

I was born in Mexico, at the age of four. Regardless of what your native country may be, we all seem to paint a wonderful picture of what the U.$. has to offer us. Yet it is completely the opposite of what we dream. When we arrive to the "land of opportunities" we are welcomed with degrading and low wage jobs. Due to us being migrants we are forced to accept these conditions. Victims of oppression, we work for the rich while they gain from the poor.

Some of my fellow migrants realize this, but go about it in the wrong manner, i.e. committing crimes. Being victims of oppression does not justify participating in or conducting illegal activities, but does in fact play a role with why we end up incarcerated. The government magnifies crimes committed by migrants to form stereotypes that all illegals come to the U.$. with the intention of committing crimes, which is not true.

Until everyone is treated equally and with dignity, the prison population will continue to grow. While the bourgeois injustice system is in effect, we can expect no such change. While we live in an imperialist state we can expect no change at all.

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[Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Fighting Abuse of Authority in Texas

I am currently fighting a battle in court regarding the abuse of authority and unconstitutional treatment of prisoners here in Donovan. I currently have the court ordering RJDCF an informal response to my allegations. It is due July 23rd and it's July 19th.

I have been housed in administrative segregation for 14 months awaiting a non-adverse transfer to a lower level institution. Ad-seg is for prisoners who are serving a period of disciplinary detention for committing wrong acts. I have not done any wrong. I have been in adseg because of someone else's security concerns.

So here I am 14 months later, unfairly without any privileges I have rightfully earned. I lost my paying job, my ability to attend religious services, go to normal yard, socialize with friends, regularly attend law library, lost my property because staff failed to pack it up as required. The guards constantly degrade us and call us names. They threaten us, and harass us, feed us portions of food not suitable even for a small child. They act as if their shit don't stink and like they're better than us. I don't like it and I have decided to take it to the courts. But as you likely know, it's the legal system. The injustice system. I don't expect to win. But I sure am going to try. It's just sad that most of the other prisoners are too chicken to do anything about it.

I have a small group (6) who have joined my fight because they get the same treatment. I have tried to get more and still am, but most of them fear the likely retaliation from the guards. I only have just under 12 months left. I'm tired of their (the guards) shit and how they get away with it because they keep scaring people from stepping up to the plate. I'm going to do this. I want to prove to them that they are no better than we are.

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