Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Missouri Prisons

Got $20? Slip it in an envelope and send to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140. Help cover printing costs. help out

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.

[United Front] [Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 20]
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Peace Movement Destroyed in Infancy

Criminalizing a People
This letter is to inform you that the United Zulu Independence Movement (UZI) was destroyed and disbanded due to the draconian COINTELPRO-type efforts of the prison administration here in Missouri. For the past 6 months, which we are calling "6 Months of Terror!" the Missouri DOC have been sending the gang task force into general populations statewide to seize, harass, arrest, set up, transfer and jump on UZI members. Members are being pointed out by prison snitches and placed on gang file. They have also confiscated all of our literature, but cannot charge us with organized disobedience because, as you know, we have not promoted any.

The administration's view of UZI is so dark due to two major words within our radical title (United & Independence). They fear the unity of the lumpen, and they see the independent thinker as a serious threat.

I will keep in contact with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to let you know of our progress to rebuild.

It Don't Stop!
Zulu


MIM(Prisons) responds: UZI had been an active participant in pushing for a United Front for Peace in Prisons, working with MIM(Prisons) for just over a year before their demise at the hands of the state. We
hear they were doing prom- ising truce work between lumpen organizations in their region. As they allude to, they were very careful about the language used in their literature so that it could not be misconstrued to be something of a "crim- inal" nature or promoting forbidden behavior within the Missouri DOC. Despite all this, the DOC still saw it appropriate to brutally crush this peace movement, demonizing any attempt by oppressed nations to organize. We expect that more New Afrikan blood will be shed in Missouri as a direct result of this ob- struction of peace, and this blood will be on the hands of the COINTELPRO-type forces.

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[Censorship] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 23]
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The System Fails Us, but We Stay Committed

On 4 February 2011, I received a Memorandum and Order regarding the Motions of Summary Judgment on the suit that I filed on two issues of Under Lock & Key (February 2008 and September 2008) that were censored, and four pamphlets from Kansas Mutual Aid (KMA). In short, summary judgment was granted on the two ULK issues.

On the February 2008 issue, the court ruled that "the first article in the publication discusses the rate of imprisonment across the United States for different races. Other articles highlight how the prison system is otherwise unfair to African-Americans and promotes 'modern day slavery.'" On the September 2008 issue, the court concluded that "the publication does appear to encourage prisoners to 'fight back' and 'unite against the unjustice [sic] system.'" Of course, the court took these statements out of the context in which they were written and implied.

When the order was received, I was doing a 30-day hit in Administrative Segregation without any of my legal materials and didn't have the opportunity to file a notice of appeal. At the same time, the Federal 8th Court of Appeals has consistently ruled against us on these issues and most likely would have upheld the lower court's ruling and hit me for another $455 for filing the appeal.

Their Motion for Summary Judgment on the four KMA booklets was denied without prejudice and they were given the option to file another pending further information. They have subsequently filed said motion and, because of the way the courts have already ruled, I expect that the court will grant their motion. I really don't expect this case will proceed further, although I am going to file a motion in opposition to their motion for summary judgment.

A tactical victory would have certainly been a good thing. On the same token, a lesson still comes out of this — that comrades must not be thinking and acting as though we are really protected by the U.$. Constitution, state and local statutes, and the myths and lies fed the settlers and colonies of the empire about Amerikkkan "democracy" and other such nonsense.

I will however continue to fight any new instances of censorship that may arise and continue to agitate, educate and organize on this and other issues.


MIM(Prisons) Legal Coordinator responds: Here the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals — which governs the states of Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and the Dakotas — has protected a censorship incident which might otherwise be deemed illegal in another Circuit or at the Supreme Court. Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 concluded that "Wardens may not reject a publication 'solely because its content is religious, philosophical, political, social[,] sexual, or . . . unpopular or repugnant,'. . ." In the 9th Circuit, "Prison authorities cannot rely on general or conclusory assertions to support their policies," Walker v. Sumner (9th Cir. 1990) 917 F.2d 382, 385, and "Unsupported security claims couldn't justify infringement on First Amendment rights," Crofton v. Roe (9th Cir. 1999) 170 F.3d 957. Facts in Under Lock & Key on the reality of the Amerikan prison system are no different than what one would find in any halfway decent mainstream newspaper. Any connection one might claim between these facts and a "threat to the security of the institution" is absolutely unsupported, conclusory, and based on gross generalizations.

Anyone who has read one full issue of Under Lock & Key knows that the reason given by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for denying the February 2008 issue is taken completely out of context, like this comrade says. MIM(Prisons) is constantly putting forth the line that armed struggle under unfavorable conditions should be avoided if at all possible; any fighting back we may advocate is only within legally acceptable means, like lawsuits. More clearly explained in Under Lock & Key issue 7 (March 2009),

"MIM(Prisons) only engages in and promotes legal means of combating injustice. When the prison staff represses every educational and legal outlet for prisoners to redress their complaints then it is clear what kind of strategies they are promoting. In those prisons, we predict there will be violence, and they cannot blame it on us because they have kept us out. This is similar to what we say about all struggles for justice around the world. We believe violence is necessary to end injustice because history has demonstrated that the oppressor never stops oppressing any other way. We do not want or promote violence, we are merely stating our conclusion from reading history. In every case of revolutionary war, it was up to the oppressor to decide whether violence was used or not. History shows that the same has been true in the prison rights movement; the struggle for prisoner rights has only become violent when the state initiated such violence."

Regarding the censorship of the September 2008 issue for calling on prisoners to unite against injustices: anyone who has read a few issues of Under Lock & Key knows that unity against the injustice system is the quickest way to reduce violence in prisons and on the streets. The article Peace in the Streets, also from ULK issue 7, shares a bit of the history of the many efforts made by lumpen organizations to join together for peace, and the efforts of the pigs to shut it down. In 2006, the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talks were underway in Crescent City, California; "I was able to bring all relevant parties to the table, a peace plan was adopted and a cease fire was implemented." There, also, the pigs undermined the unity.(1)

More recently, comrades all across the country have come together to develop and sign on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons. This United Front (UF) is an effort to stop the unnecessary killings and divisions in the prison environment which lead to our destruction. Interestingly, one of the points of unity of the UF is Growth, with emphasis on education. The pigs don't recognize this, but we know from experience and our study of history that political education leads to peace amongst the oppressed. Far from being censored, Under Lock & Key should be distributed widely to prisoners in the United $tates, because it will have a direct impact on the safety and security of the actual people in the prisons every day, including the guards.

This comrade has adopted a positive and correct attitude in the face of disappointment and censorship. Even though s/he is unable to receive these two issues of Under Lock & Key, s/he has not lost h commitment to apply science to strategy; h Plan B isn't to lash our or give up. More of us should follow h example and put science and the study of correct strategy, not emotions, at the forefront of our political work.

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[Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 19]
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Segregation for Observing Black August Continues

As suspected, our appeal to the corrupted grievance system was denied. It has been decided that we continue our punishment here in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), all because we 16 Brothers were observing Black August.

These pigs can stop a revolutionary but they will never stop a revolution, by the words of Brother Fred Hampton. Black August is a peoples' holiday, so why should I be punished for it? It's a proven fact that this administration used my observation to place and keep me in Ad-Seg.

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[Download and Print] [Religious Repression] [Political Repression] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Missouri]
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Downloadable Petition Against Violations of Constitution, Missouri

Missouri Petition
Click to Download PDF of Missouri Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure or censorship of music and literature. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Tom Clements, Director of Adult Institutions
P.O. Box 236
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Chris Pickering, Inspector General (MO DOC)
P.O. Box 236
Jefferson City, MO 65101

U.S. Department of Justice
PhB 950 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Marianne Atwell, Director of Offender Rehabilitative Services (Missouri)
P.O. Box 236
Jerrerson City, MO 65101

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

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[Political Repression] [South Central Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 18]
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Punished for Observing Black August

In [uel=https://www.prisoncensorship.info/ulk/15]ULK 15 is an article on Black August, it was suggested that we eat only one meal a day throughout the month of August and fast completely August 7 in honor of Jonathan Jackson, on August 21 in honor of George Jackson, and on August 31 in honor of Hasan Shakur.

I was in AdSeg and I was doing 5 days for creating a disturbance rule 19.1. I decided to fast on August 21 and I decided to refuse my tray in honor of Black August. Well I was written up, and given a year more to do in AdSeg. The violation report read like this: "[X] refused his tray and declared a hunger strike along with 16 other offenders." And so from my understanding we all were given a conduct violation and now we fight the IRR system we were denied. I explained that I was practicing my faith and now it's in the hands of the corrupt grievance procedure. We were all written up for "organized disobedience."

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[Legal] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 17]
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Campaign Update from Missouri

Censorship Campaign Update

In April 2010, we embarked upon a legal campaign to protest the Missouri DOC's decision to place a blanket ban on all CDs and tapes which carry a parental advisory label. We suggested that prisoners send in a complaint to DOC and government officials, and other prisoners' rights organizations.

On 29 June 2010 the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri responded to the letter I sent to them. In short order, they said they couldn't represent "me" in the complaint set forth in Our complaint letter, although I stressed that this was an issue that affected the entire class of prisoners in this state.

On 13 July 2010, Natania Gazek, Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.$. Justice Department responded to Our complaint and letter. Her response was that the U.$. Justice Department would not get involved in "individual" cases, but does have the authority to initiate civil action in the name of the Unite $tates. against state and local officials to remedy conditions of confinement which violate the constitution.

We shouldn't be surprised by these responses. These officials represent the interests of the state, which is imperialist in word and deed. However, what surprised me was that I wrote to over 40 organizations and groups which have memberships in these prisons including but not limited to the NAACP, NOI, Missouri CURE, Human Rights Watch, Critical Resistance, rcp=U$A, ASPS, the Fortune Society and not one of these groups had enough respect for Our struggle to even respond to Our call for help.

From this you should take that it is exceedingly important that we support groups such as MIM(Prisons) and USW who have shown in their actions that they support our struggles. We must withdraw all moral and financial support of groups and leaders who don't give a damn about our repression, yet want our membership dollars.

Legal Work

I have current federal litigation filed that alleges that the censorship policy is a violation of Our 1st and 14th Amendment rights. This case deals specifically with DOC officials' censorship of issues of Under Lock & Key and other MIM publications.

What will strengthen this case and the new case that I'm preparing is if those of you in Missouri who have had issues of ULK and other literature from MIM Distributors censored would write out declarations or affidavits stating when and what was censored and send them to the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic, who will send them to me. I will present this evidence to the Asst. Attorney General as proof that these illegal actions are happening in other prisons and it is not just me as an "individual" who is suffering.

In all, the lesson here is that we can't expect "justice" from our enemies and that we must organize ourselves and build independent institutions that speak to our needs. Rest assured that our enemies know full well the social implications of their policies. A persyn can only proceed as far as their knowledge will carry them and they plan to keep prisoners ignorant, addicted and coming in and out of prison as a constant source of income.

Ups to all of those who took the time, energy and efforts to send in complaints, file grievances and educate fellow prisoners on these issues and others. If you have other ideas, suggestions or strategies please send them in. Keep your heads up, stay strong, unite and organize.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [Education] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 16]
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Educate to Liberate, Spread ULK

As revolutionaries who are conscious and active in the national liberation struggles of oppressed nations' anti-imperialist movement in general and in the United $nakes in particular, there is a need to understand the motive forces controlling our lives and how these relate to oppression.

As materialists we believe that knowledge is key to understanding these forces. The masses read bourgeois newspapers and media and take up the political line of the imperialists without really consciously knowing. I'm speaking here of the politically unconscious. For example, after 9/11 there were many oppressed nations prisoners saying "we need to bomb those terrorists and kill them all, them dudes are crazy."

Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Huey all taught us that we need to develop independent media institutions of the oppressed to build public opinion for revolution. It is with this thought in mind that I am proposing that all members and associates of the United Struggle from Within work to increase the subscriptions and readership of Our independent media outlet, Under Lock & Key. How do I suggest we do this? By (1) getting prisyners in your unit or prison to write in and request to be on the ULK mailing list, (2) making copies, if possible, and circulating them, and (3) having friends, family members, other groups, etc., send money in for subscriptions and check out MIM(Prisons)'s website. My persynal goal is to get 50 prisyners to write in and request a subscription over the next six months.

Most prisyners are poor and will readily write in for any type of reading material that they can get free. Our duty is to appeal to that particular material interest as a way to spread the word and share knowledge.

I believe that the more people become exposed to new ideas, programs, etc., the better chance we have of bringing them into the movement. After all, a lot of people simply don't know. So they can't be held accountable for their actions. By exposing people to the real world we take away their excuses and they have to make a conscious choice — to be on the side of the oppressed or the oppressor. Educate to liberate!

MIM(Prisons) responds: Our principal task in preparation for socialist revolution in the United $tates is to build public opinion and independent institutions of the oppressed to end imperialism. Under Lock & Key is an independent institution that builds public opinion, primarily among the imprisoned lumpen. USW provides more content for ULK than any other group, and we would encourage comrades to take up this call to begin a real campaign to expand distribution everywhere that USW is active.

We want to echo this comrade's call for financial support as we just completed discussions of how to better ensure that our distribution methods are effective and resources are not wasted. MIM(Prisons) has no paid staff and we work with a very small budget with no funding from outside institutions. Therefore, donations sent go a long way.

While prisoners are often indigent, oppressed nations in the United $tates benefit materially due to imperialism (they get the crumbs from the king's table), so we wouldn't say that the only thing holding many people back from joining the anti-imperialist movement is their ignorance, as this comrade does. However, s/he is correct to say that exposing people to revolutionary ideas will enable and force them to consciously choose what side to be on. So push the revolutionary movement forward and help expand the distribution of Under Lock & Key!

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[Organizing] [Missouri]
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The Call for Unity

The case for unity has been argued in word and demonstrated by action many times throughout history. From the violent struggle for liberation led by Nat Turner to the peaceful protests of Ghandhi and King the call has always been to unite in a common cause. Though every revolution has been ignited by the spark of one person's vision progress has never been the result of unilateral effort. Only through the co-mingling of the group dynamic can we hope to create the necessary environment to usher in an era of positive change.

We, the men and women held as prisoners of war in these so-called United States, face a unique challenge. In order to begin the process of change we must first let go of the petty differences we have for each other. The incarcerated in Amerika come from all walks of life. We are white, black, brown, red and yellow. We are Aryan, Muslim, Christian and we are Jew. Our most enduring common denominator is that we all are treated as nothing more than as commodities for the profiteers of the prison industrial complex. The so-called boundaries of race or religion or gang affiliations no longer apply to us. These are the tools of these modern-day overseers to keep us separated and at each others' throats. It no longer matters through what eyes you see the fences, they are clear to all of us. We are all under the yoke of oppression. We are all subject to the whims of jack-booted thugs who pass themselves off as correctional officers. The time has come to put away the childishness of racial and/or religious supremacy, join together in one cohesive unit and face our common enemy together.

Brothers and Sisters, I must warn you that it will not be easy. Our struggle may very well be long and arduous. The pigs and their handlers have perfected their game for decades while we were still killing each other over any perceived disrespect. There will be losses as there were losses in the past. But if we implement a gradual strategy of non-violent rebellion our losses will be minimal while theirs will be mountainous.

Step One: Everyone in their respective institutions stage a boycott of the chow hall. It could be a meal that is particularly disliked by the majority. If your place is anything like mine there will be many to choose from. Make an organized effort to enforce this demonstration. Those Brothers and Sisters who have it to give, give it to those that don't. Nothing can break this action faster than a bunch of people running to the chow hall. So, for those who lack the discipline to miss one meal give them a soup or something to tide them over. If there are Brothers or Sisters who need to eat something for medicinal reasons, feed them first.

What this will do is demonstrate to the screws that we are willing to sacrifice together. If asked, and you will be asked, what is going on, tell them: This is a peaceful demonstration of solidarity amongst us prisoners of war in protest of the living conditions here. Submit a written list of grievances to the warden's office with the promise that the demonstration will not escalate if there is reasonable effort on the part of the administration to adequately rectify your demands to the satisfaction of the whole population. Remember to be clear that there is no plan for violence. Send a copy of your demands to a trusted outside source for external verification that you are engaged in a non-violent protest of the deplorable living conditions at your institution.

Be prepared. Your institution may go on lock down. Don't panic. This is the usual response. There may be massive shakedowns so remove all contraband from your living areas as any violations of institutional rules will be ammunition for them to undermine your efforts. They are relying on our desire for rec time to break the demonstration. We must hold fast. Take pleasure in the fact that they are spending more time and money to feed you than they would if you were to continue taking your meals in the chow hall. Kitchen workers, at this point, should continue to work in the kitchen to maintain that the meals are prepared in a sanitary manner. If Step One is ineffective and/or is taking too long move to Step Two.

Step Two: Organize a institution wide boycott of the canteen for one week. No one goes to the store for anything. Resubmit your list of demands to the warden's office and to the outside source. Reiterate that you are engaged in an act of non-violence. For this action refuse to yield until positive action is taken to remedy your grievances. This hits them where it will hurt the most. Granted we all like to be able to prepare some treats for ourselves every now and then but sacrifices must be made. You have broken no law and therefore any action taken against any of you is proof of continuing injustice. Again, be prepared for lock downs and shakedowns. Some Brothers and Sisters may be targeted as suspected ringleaders. There may be transfers. All this is to be expected. If they occur they are retaliatory and punitive. The standard reasons will most likely be in regards to the safety and security of the institution. Be sure to document all such punitive transfers or retaliatory sanctions and make your outside source aware. This information will help you in a class-action suit that may be filed on your behalf in the future. As no laws are being broken or institutional policies infringed on you will have a strong counter-argument against the safety and security of the institution. If Step Two is ineffective and/or taking too long add Step Three into the mix.

Step Three: Strike!!! No one goes to work anywhere. Realize that we run the prisons. If we don't do it they will have to do it. Or hire outside help to do it. We get paid pennies per hour. Any outsourced labor will demand at least minimum wage. This is the only step of the three in which Brothers and Sisters can and, most likely will, be charged with a crime. The U.S. Constitution maintains that slave labor is legal for prisoners of war in war time and prisoners of war in prisons any time in the so-called United States. Make certain that your outside source is fully aware of your intentions as there may be a need for legal representation. We must maintain discipline within the ranks. The pigs will use trickery and slickery to attempt to break your momentum. Do not let them. Make sure that anyone who gives in knows that they are weakening the revolution and that there will be consequences for their betrayal in the future. I'll leave you to decide what is best in that regard.

We all understand the language of violence. Some of us are fluent in it. But I'm here to tell you that violence is the last act of desperation. We have no win if we engage in violence. The pigs hold all the weapons and will wield them at the merest hint of provocation. The time may come but that time is not now.

Without shedding a drop of blood, if we stand united together, we can put the powers-that-be on their back feet. By maintaining an aura of solidarity we can take back some of the power that was stolen from us. And when we prove that we can last longer than they can, they will come running to the negotiating table. The prison industrial complex is a business and we do nothing more that to help the facilitator facilitate when we spend our money in their company stores. Individually we are weak but together we can move mountains.

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[Organizing] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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Continuing the Struggle from Inside Ad-Seg

Today I find myself really motivated to again try to inform my fellow convicts, no, I mean offenders. For we know the days of the "convict" are long gone, especially in lame-ass Missouri, where even guys with "all-day & without" don't even want to make a stand in fear of receiving a damn CDV. Like it's gonna make a difference one way or another to their case.

I'm housed here at Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston Missouri where offenders are subjected to outright violations of any retirement what-so-ever. They use tactics such as grabbing offenders off the yard and placing them on bogus investigation without telling them what for, keeping their mail from them, manipulating the offender's law clerks to keep CDC policies from offenders. Say "this or that policy no longer exists" when in fact there's no way that can be true when policy's supposed to govern Rules and Regulations. When an offender tried to file on an issue it's denied solely based on another staff's statement.

To make matter worse, that staff starts issuing you bogus conduct violations to further keep you in Ad-Seg. As I try to explain this to my fellow offenders they be so broken down from being locked down in the hole that no matter what they just want to get out and once they do it's "so what" until the next time.

At times I become so livid about just how badly we're treated that it almost turns me into a monster, wanting only to hurt them like they're hurting me. But then I receive your newsletter and read the articles and see it's all over this so called "great country" called the USA. This leads me to believe that it truly starts at the very top, meaning our government. I don't think the public has any real idea as to the conduct that's being put upon the mass of people locked up. Really, for one to come to work just to do these type of actions, it makes me think who the real criminals the public should be worried about, the ones locked up or the ones who go home from these places at the end of their hateful 8 hours!

I'm proud to say that this is one convict who will never give up the fight and I will continue to do my part in this struggle. I will support MIM to the best of my ability.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Developing a class consciousness of prisoners, and the lumpen in general, is the purpose of sharing all the stories from around the country in Under Lock & Key. We're always glad when a new comrade comes to grasp the big picture. S/he gets it exactly right. Prisons serve a purpose for the state, which is an institution of class oppression. Currently the exploiter classes are in power, including the labor aristocracy pigs who are well aware of the conditions in the prisons they run and their families pay for through taxes.

This is why we refer to "prisoners" and not "convicts" or "offenders." All people incarcerated in the united $tates are prisoners of the imperialist state to serve its exploitative interests. Many did not even do anything to "offend" another humyn being. And even the many that did aren't the big criminals, as this writer points out, who are responsible for mass murder, torture and ecological destruction.

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[Campaigns] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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You Say We're Not, But We Are

06/21/2010

In this response to the Missouri petition, the Deputy Warden of Potosi Correctional Center (PCC) "argues" that staff at PCC do not violate the First Amendment rights of prisoners held there. When it's a pig's word against a prisoner's, the trend in Amerikan society is to trust their own.

While this administrator likely considers this case to be closed, we instead view his correspondence as another example that there are no rights, only power struggles. To build public opinion in favor of national liberation struggles, we draw out, collect, and expose these flaws in the "justice" system. We also try to push people to change their minds against reformism as an ultimate goal, and to respond to these examples with actions to build a new society. Put in work!

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