Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Missouri 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.

[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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[Abuse] [Missouri]
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MODOC: Promoting conflict, Discouraging rehabilitation

There are quite a few struggles here in MODOC (Missouri Department of Corrections). The biggest ones are 1. How they decide on who we can cell with. They go by a process of Alphas, Kappas and Sigmas. You see, the big problem with that is, you have violent offenders, and child molesters who are kappa and DOC says kappas can cell with anyone. Now, I’m sure that MIM knows what happens to child molesters in prison. They are put in a very life-threatening situation. I understand you can not segregate them, but you can make it to where they can only cell with other sex-offenders.

  1. There are some people who come to prison that have race problems, whether they are Black, white Latin, or Asian, you should not have to cell with someone your racism is directed towards, but that’s what they do here in DOC, they call it “compatibility.” If a white man refuses to go into a cell with a Black, Asian or Latin man, we are issued a conduct violation for refusing a “compatible cellmate.” Now if a white man goes into a cell with a Black man, and one man assaults the other, they are both given a conduct violation for a fight. They don’t take into consideration that one of the offenders may have a race problem.

  1. The policy for books, pictures and personal letters. They say you can only have 1 reading book per cellmate, 1 magazine, 1 newspaper. They also say you can only have 5 personal pictures and 5 to 10 personal letters. Now with the books, magazines and newspapers, how do you expect to read an entire magazine and newspaper in the short amount of time it takes to receive the next magazine or newspaper? I don’t understand it. Also, if they do a cell search, and you have over the limit on books, magazines or newspapers, they write you up for contraband. With the pictures and letters, how can they put a limit on how many you can have? I personally have had a correctional officer search my cell and remove the number of pictures I had over the elicit and try to write me up for it. Plus I receive 3 to 5 letters a week. What am I supposed to do, tell some of my family members that they can’t write me because i have too much mail and I get written up for it? Some people throw their mail away. I save it because it is a part of my past and memories and hard times, which gives me motivation to not go back to the man I once was, and I get in trouble for that. That is preposterous.

Last but not least, the state tip. The state tip for people who do not have a High School diploma or a GED is $7.50 and for people who do have them it is $8.50. Now if you only get $7.50 a month, but you owe money to the state, they take $2.50 from you and leave you with only $5. How is a person who gets only $5 a month to buy what is needed? After you buy toothpaste ($1.80), body wash (86 cents) Deodorant (70 cents), that’s $3.36, stamps are 44 cents and envelopes are 3 cents and writing paper is 80 cents. After you buy your toiletries you can only buy a pad of paper and a stamp. What are you supposed to do it you have legal work to send out? Forget about cosmetics and have them issue you a conduct violation report for sanitary issues?

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 14]
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Forty-three to one


I never learned to turn the other cheek,
to bow down to oppression I think is being weak;
And who taught our children to love thy enemy,
how can they have pride in themselves and,
yet be accepting of tyranny;
I will not allow our youth to be confused by
false Amerikkkan history;
I will teach them honor of Marcus Garvey, George Jackson and Joseph Cinque of the Amistad mutiny;
I will show them unity, though it be a fist of solidarity,
gloved and also in a clench,
I will dispel the myths of Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Bush and the notorious Willie Lynch;
You hold up images of Armstrong Williams, Clarence Thomas and no child left behind,
yet you outlaw Malcolm, Huey, Nat Turner and Bobby Seale’s Seize the Time;
Your greed is fed by capitalism which creates
a world of endless war zones;
You sell Israel F-14s, yet you watch Palestine
defend itself with nothing but sticks and stones;
You proclaim equality, so we had hope during the trial of Rodney King;
You spoke of love as an eventual reality,
but in 1968 you assassinated our dream;
You exploit our words with pawn shops,
liquor stores and broken down shacks;
You sell our kids guns, pork chops, Jordans,
Lil Wayne, Kools, heroin and crack;
you brainwash our youth to be killers and to
fight for ole Uncle Sam, but when they lose
an arm, a leg or just need a helping hand,
you say there’s no money in the nation’s
wealth care program;
Innocent until proven guilty, at least that’s what
the supreme court say;
It took you almost 14 years,
but you still came back to make O.J. pay;
Your credibility is reminiscent of chickens
being in the care of a sly old fox;
You gave the Amerikkkan natives a trojan horse,
infected with small pox;
You invaded the motherland, with a smile, a pistol
and filled with the holy ghost, and in the blink of an eye
it turned to mischief and bloodshed,
on Afrika’s west coast;
You stole kings and queens and tried to turn
them into slaves,
but some chose the Atlantic ocean to be their cold wet graves;
Some were passive and obedient, they did what
they were told,
some were like Harriet Tubman and sought
their freedom on the underground railroad;
One refused the draft as he floated like a
butterfly and stung like a bee,
while one used nationality and religion to help
uplift fallen humanity;
one was on the move, got bombed, so you know
that we had to keep her,
One used a podium and socialism and we coined
all power to the people;
We’ve produced lawyers and doctors
and Langston Hughes a very poetic talker;
And with great ingenuity, our first female
millionaire was the incomparable madame CJ Walker;
Some tried to shake names like Toby or George
or even Cassius Clay,
But some were called Oscar because of “Monster’s Ball” and Denzel’s Training Day;
So now we have Obama, the 44th President is our own native son,
but you still find reasons to hate us,
even though you’re still winning “forty three to one.”

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 14]
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CO undermines hunger strike, causes death

On March 6, James McKinney died at Potosi Correctional Center. In the Washington County paper it said natural causes (heart attack). Now for the real story. James McKinney was in solitary confinement with me. So I’m giving you a first person account of the events that I believe led to this man’s death. In early or mid-February McKinney was assigned to cell 2C-20 for a minor infraction. His first couple of days there he ran afoul of COI Shannon Clubbs (as many prisoners do). COI Clubbs harassed and verbally abused McKinney daily. In protest of this ill treatment James McKinney declared a hunger strike. He also sent a letter of protest to Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

When you have missed a certain amount of meals, you are automatically referred to medical personnel for a physical. Two times when he was approaching this certain amount of missed meals COI Clubbs opened McKinney’s food port and threw a noon-time meal in his cell. He then logged as if McKinney accepted a meal, effectively rescinding the food strike. The second time Clubbs did this McKinney screamed on the walk that Clubbs was setting him up, Clubbs was laughing and taunting him the whole time. To add insult to injury, he also gave McKinney a conduct violation for accepting a food tray and then not returning it when the meal was over. This is a common and favorite tactic of confinement COIs. We (all the prisoners) did kick and holler for assistance from other COIs to no avail, so when McKinney finally saw medical, he was in worse shape than they thought, because he had missed triple the meals as the files indicated because of Clubbs manipulating the files, but no one would listen to him or us. He wrote a letter to Senator Robin Wright-Jones explaining the harassment by PCC staff in general and COI Clubbs in particular. I’m not sure how long it was, but it was well past 2 weeks, maybe 3 before he was convinced to eat, the first couple of days in March early in the morning he was complaining about chest and he went to medical as a self-declared patient - 3 or 4 days later he was dead.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t know anything about his health or lack of health, but he wasn’t overweight, looked to be in good shape, a quiet respectful brother. I asked him a couple of times if he was cool and he said he had things under control. I tried to rally everyone to form a peaceful protest, but these passive-assed conformed-as-slaves won’t put up any type of resistance. My focus is COI Clubbs. Me and a couple of comrades wrote letters to Senator Robin Wright-Jones, State Rep Linda Fischer, Lisa Jones of constituent services. I have several copies of complaints on COI Clubbs in the last 6 or 7 months, about his abuse, harassment.

I just don’t know what to do next. I am not afraid of them so educate me and tool me up and I’ll stay on their asses here. Several convicts have won suits against them over the years. They pay but never change their repressive policies.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this article to continue our discussion about which strategies and tactics are available and useful to us in our struggles to end oppression worldwide. We need to analyze our options with a realistic and material perspective, and with that we need to measure their limitations. One lesson we can learn from this prisoner’s tragic death is that hunger strikes by individuals are vulnerable to manipulation by COs and administration. As we explained to another comrade in ULK 13, a protest needs to be well-planned and considered from all angles. The more we can learn about the limitations of our tactics, the better equipped we will be to use them effectively.

Another error we would point out is the assertion that COI Clubbs is a problem separate from the repression of the imperialist system. We think it is important to bring attention to this abuse, and to name names for accountability’s sake. But focusing all energy on getting COI Clubbs fired doesn’t impact imperialism in general. In fact, it does the opposite by reinforcing the idea that the system is good; that the problem is just a few “bad apples” who can be dealt with on an individual level. In our agitational work, it is important to be clear about what the true problem is and the correct strategy to address that problem.

The fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of prison staff with similar accusations against them demonstrate that firing one guard does not usually improve the conditions of prisoners at a particular facility. In other words, getting Clubbs fired doesn’t ensure that the next guy that goes on hunger strike won’t face the same fate. However, developing strategy among prisoners who are facing these conditions and building outside support will help avoid such tragedies and make comrades’ lives last longer and be more effective in their resistance.


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[Theory] [Police Brutality] [Missouri]
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"Bad Apples" in the Pig Pen

In the March 2009 Peace issue of ULK, I submitted an article entitled “More Police Not the Answer.” Since the writing of that piece, pig chief Joe Mowka has been forced into retirement after an investigative report surfaced that his estranged daughter (who has a history of drug abuse) had been using vehicles confiscated by the St. Louis City Police and held at a towing company with a lucrative contract by the City Police. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Since December 2008, there have been 13 St. Louis City Police officers charged in state and federal indictments. New pig chief Don Isam, the Black face in a high place, says that he is committed to “rooting out those who violate the laws they are sworn to uphold.” Yeah right, we’ve heard it all before… Brotha!

The first week of October 2009, one pig was fired and another suspended after they filed criminal charges against a man for allegedly trying to run over one of them with his car. But due to the diligence of the man’s girlfriend, a videotape surfaced which showed that the officers had in fact lied. All the charges were subsequently dropped.

Two other pigs were caught lying in search warrants. Pigs Vincent T. Carr, and Bobby Lee Courrett, were recently given slaps on the wrists, after being indicted in December 2008, along with pig Leo Liston (indicted in April 2009). They were indicted for stealing drug-linked money and planting illegal evidence on an innocent man and lying to cover up their wrong doing. As a result, over 1,000 cases in which these pigs were involved have to be reviewed.

Some other cases involve pigs lying in court proceedings, doing computer database checks for buddies and theft of U.$. government property. Pigs Ronald H. Jackson and Christian A. Brezill were caught in a scheme in which they would take stolen goods from thieves and keep them for themselves, sell off what they didn’t want and break bread with the rat who set up the other crooks. The indictment involves them taking what they thought was the thieves property, which actually belonged to the FBI.

But these things are not “new” to anyone, nor are they “isolated” incidents. Corruption is part of the pig culture. I can remember back to the late 1980s when George Peach was the city’s head prosecutor, sending thousands of men and wimmin to prison, only to be caught in a federal prostitution sting.

Pig abuse and pig corruption are a part of the capitalist-imperialist system. So while some “citizens” cry for more pigs to be added to the city’s payroll, we say that the imperialist system is the root of all of these problems and that the entire system must go and not just a few greedy, fucked-up pigs!

MIM(Prisons) Adds: We’d like to emphasize the argument that this comrade makes against the “bad apples” theory, which comes from the false bourgeois psychological idea of persynalities and persynality traits. The idea of persynalities serves the bourgeoisie by focusing the masses on getting rid of the few people who are inherently “bad,” instead of analyzing society and how it feeds into some people having antisocial behavior. “If we just lock up so-and-so the rapist, and so-and-so the thief, and fire so-and-so the racist pig, then society will be a better place.” This incorrect logic is used for cleaning up the pig herd as well as locking up oppressed nations. In reality, people are a reflection of the society that they live in. If you live in an oppressive society where we have unequal power, and we’re taught to behave in antisocial ways, then it’s necessarily true that some people will abuse that power, and some will have antisocial behavior.

Not only is corruption a part of the pig culture, like this comrade says, but it’s their job to do fucked up things, that’s what they get paid to do. It’s their job to kill people, exploit people, rape people, and get away with it. Pigs of all kinds are specifically hired and promoted based on their loyalty to the amerikan nation. It’s like working at a burger joint in this society. If you don’t flip the burgers and serve them to the customers, then you aren’t enabling the restaurant to work how it needs to in order to be a restaurant. Similarly, as a pig, if you’re not locking up thousands of people, or planting drugs on them, or stopping them from organizing for liberation, then you’re not enabling society to function properly. The only way to truly get rid of the “bad apples” and corruption is to address these problems on a societal level.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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My environment! Real as it gets!

I am currently in the Missouri Department of Corrections at Potosi Correctional Center. I am being housed at a prison which my state defines as a level 5 institution. Which is the most secure of our classification system. Our state has five of these institutions for people with anywhere from 8 years to life without parole and this particular prison of oppression also houses the state’s Death Row prisoners. Outrageous if I may say, because i found myself here for one reason alone, accumulation of minor write ups.

Housed with murderers, rapists and well humans I should say who have messed up and got way too much time. Why? Because this state and many other states would just assume to warehouse us for many years than try to help us. My environment is as real as it gets and here’s why.

There are six housing units on this prison yard and they break down like this: one house - supermax (where I am at right now we’ll touch on that later) holds 22 people and two suicide cells (no cameras in these cells) we have showers in our cells in one house and the temperature stays so cold it’s quite unreal, which I believe is to punish the ones who are at times in the suicide cells, which they also use for punishment/strip out/dry cells.

Then there comes two house, the worst house on the yard! This house is also the hole or segregated/oppression house. It has 3 wings A-wing consist of 30-double bunk cells, a total of 60 people. B-wing 32 single man cells and C-wing 30 single man cells. This house is out of control when it comes to custody officers. What is known to any and every prisoner is if you’re in two house you must stay on your toes, especially during the 7:30am to 3:30pm shift when the 5 “C’s” work Culton, Clubbs, Conrad, Comer, and Copeland. These oppressors are treacherous because they will deny you food, exploit your mail, ruin you property, free-case you, retaliate on you with frivolous write ups, and these five rogue oppressors have backing all the way to the sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, deputy wardens, and the top oppressor, the warden.

The things they do come natural to them: deny, abuse, exploit, deter. But all this doesn’t stop on their shift, it goes on 24/7, especially on weekends. What we refer to as the good ol’ boys, because we’re in a little prison in a little town, where damn near everyone knows everyone and they’re all related and friends.

I just watched a comrade refuse to be put in a hazardous environment man-handled by these people all except Copeland, who was the Bubble/Control Unit officer, maced this guy, pulled him out of his cell, and as soon as they were in a blind spot where no camera could see, he was slammed on his face/neck and shoulder. He is two doors down now in a cell that floods during showers.

But wait, there is more. Let’s examine why I am in a supermax cell. On September 11, 2009 I was given a medical lay in to receive a brown bag with my trays. Everything was going like it should, then comes Sunday evening dinner tray pass. I didn’t get my brown bag, was told they would order it, they gave me an excuse as I would get it later. I believed them, later came and went. This started at 4pm, it turned into 10:30pm. Still nothing so I covered my window in an attempt to see/get a Sargent, a custody count came by, they didn’t even see me. The sign in my window said I wanted a Brown Bag. I was told by one officer “your beat” the other said “wan-wan”. So I did get quite angry and decided to make the sprinkler head come alive and flood my cell and the walk. Yes, I know, stupid but can’t change it now. Well, anyways my cell started to flood and here com the oppressors. 4 or 5 blue shirts (foot soldiers) and the sargeants two or three of them. Now I’m not exactly calm so maybe I warranted 2 or 3 but 8 or 9, c’mon folks!

So I remained in the cell for about 20 minutes with oily/nasty water pouring by the gallons until I was given the directive to “cuff up”! I complied only to have the handcuffs slammed on my wrist. My door was opened and I was jerked out, put in a restraint hold with my arms lifted above my shoulder and practically drug out of the wing into the rotunda, I was doing everything I could to walk, well needless to say, on the way out of the wing I was slammed into a door frame causing a pretty nice cut across my right collar bone and a swollen eye/cheek, but they aren’t done with me yet. So far this was witnessed by quite a few. As I am being escorted out of the housing unit to medical I assume as soon as we are in another one of the blind spots I was slammed on the concrete causing quite a few inflictions. Left shoulder all scraped/cut up, left knee split open. Right side below my armpit a few scrapes. Right eye/cheek bone nice and swollen and cut open. Does this seem unreal? Believe me it’s not.

After they did the usual stop resisting shenanagins twisting my shoulders and wrist to points of probably near breakage I was lifted up and forced to walk bent over at a rapid pace into medical. I was sat into a chair while a nurse used some type of water and gauze to treat/first aid the multiple bleeding wounds. All the while I was having my wrist twisted when I made the comment. I’m not trying to resist I was told to shut up and twisted harder, again lifted up and walked say 500 feet to one house, put into the suicide cell, even though I’m not suicidal, completely naked. Searched forced onto a concrete slab onto my busted knee, almost over. Door shut unshackled and handcuffed. Phew I still have cuts and scars still healing due to improper medical care and the Good Ol Boys. I’m telling you as real as it gets this is not unusual, quite typical. People getting slammed, spit upon, mace bombs thrown in on us, riot cans of mace used, forced to subsist in freezing temperatures stark naked, it don’t stop, and when we try to organize and let our oppression be known about we are placed on limited property where we don’t have access to paper, pen or envelopes or stamps. This is outrageous. I ask myself why all this because we want our civil rights and we want our state issue (things we are entitled to) food, clothing, bedding, legal.

One more instance and I’ll be through for now. We have a chapel library assistant who was said to have been doing it for 3 years. Well just recently he was in the fabled two house and accused of bringing in contraband. No way, no how would he have if you knew this guy. Now we in two house have no chapel access.

Now back to the housing unit breakdown. Three house A-wing: 46 cells all double man cells, general population. B-wing: 23 double man cells, general population, the other 23 the hole. That’s 3 holes total! Crazy huh, and they all stay full, then we got 4 house with two wings 46 cells apiece, single-man A-wing sensitive needs unit, B-wing protective custody unit, 6-house with two wings general population, 92 double man cells total. 5-house - the honor house full privileges, no 22 hour lockdown. The ones who make no noise of the oppression are the ones who get to stay there and the ones who lay back and don’t do much of anything good or bad.

We are trying to get the ACLU involved in our struggle within. Grievances are met with excuses as to why we’re in the wrong. Seldom are they remedied inside the institution, and occasionally when they get to central office and when they are this prison doesn’t follow up. It’s chaos, it’s surreal, it’s downright bullshit!

Thanks to Under Lock and Key I know this is happening abroad and all around the U$. We must stand united. We will win!

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[Culture] [Missouri]
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Hip Hop is Dead Until it Takes Up Revolutionary Politics

Hip Hop is Dead, Biggie SmallsHip hop culture began in the late 1970s, but it wasn’t until the middle to late 1980s that the cultural life and expression of hip hop began to grow and influence youth throughout amerika and the world. Many people wrote this phenomena of hip hop culture as some fad that would soon wither away.

During the late 1980s, early 90s, the era I coin the Black Consciousness era of hip hop, Black and Latino youth found a way to use hip hop to express their anger, fears, ideas, art and frustrations within the dominant white-oppressor culture, police brutality and poverty.

Hip hop culture isn’t just about the music, it’s about a lifestyle - from the clothes we wear, style of hair, taggin’ rail cars and walls with radical art and graffiti, unity and more. It’s a culture of resistance.

However, white-owned corporations saw a profit to be made and stepped in to co-opt the movement. Yes, a lot of us found a way to eat, but the result was a lack of potency in the music and a watered-down culture where cars and ICE are the motivating factor. It is a culture that is teaching our youth that it’s all about them (as individuals). That it’s cool to be a dope field (sippin’ syrup, etc.) and to be victims of HIV/AIDS (it’s ok to have multiple sex partners). Is there any wonder why the highest rates of HIV/AIDS are among Blacks and Latinos between the ages of 13-24?

Culture in general, and hip hop culture in particular, plunges its roots into the base of the material reality of the environment in which we live in the hoods and barrios and it reflects the organic nature of society, which is more or less influenced by the dominant white society and culture of our oppressed communities.

Can hip hop be a vehicle for revolutionary culture? Yes, it can be, but it is not now. Culture is an essential element of the history of a people, and it’s social development. Amilcar Cabral once has this to say about culture: “Study of the history of liberation struggles shows that they generally have been preceded by an upsurge of cultural manifestations, which progressively harden into an attempt, successful or not, to assert the cultural personality of the dominated people by an act of denial of the culture of the oppressor. Whatever the conditions of subjection of a people to foreign domination and the influence of economic, political and social factors in the exercise of this domination, it is generally within the cultural factor that we find the germ of challenge which leads to the structuring and development of the liberation movement.”

If hip hop is to transform into a true vehicle for social change, we must demand that our artists keep it a hundred and give us more analysis in their music. Stop promoting the use of addictive narcotics, that they become more active in our communities, and give our youth the encouragement to study, unify, and resist oppression. If they fail to do this, hip hop remains sterile and dead. Long Live 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, Eazy-E, Left Eye, Pimp C, Big Pun and all other hip hop artists that paved the way for the next generation to refuse and resist.

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