Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas 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.

Allred Unit (Iowa Park)

Beto I Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Bexar County Jail (San Antonio)

Bill Clements Unit (Amarillo)

Billy Moore Correctional Center (Overton)

Bowie County Correctional Center (Texarkana)

Boyd Unit (Teague)

Cameron County Detention Center (Olmito)

Choice Moore Unit (Bonham)

Clemens Unit (Brazoria)

Coffield Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Connally Unit (Kenedy)

Cotulla Unit (Cotulla)

Dalhart Unit (Dalhart)

Daniel Unit (Snyder)

Darrington Unit (Rosharon)

Dominguez State Jail (San Antonio)

Eastham Unit (Lovelady)

Ellis Unit (Huntsville)

Estelle 2 (Huntsville)

Estelle High Security Unit (Huntsville)

Ferguson Unit (Midway)

Formby Unit (Plainview)

Garza East Unit (Beeville)

Gib Lewis Unit (Woodville)

Hamilton Unit (Bryan)

Harris County Jail Facility (Houston)

Hightower Unit (Dayton)

Hobby Unit (Marlin)

Hughes Unit (Gatesville)

Huntsville (Huntsville)

Jester III Unit (Richmond)

John R Lindsey State Jail (Jacksboro)

Jordan Unit (Pampa)

Lane Murray Unit (Gatesville)

Larry Gist State Jail (Beaumont)

LeBlanc Unit (Beaumont)

Lopez State Jail (Edinburg)

Luther Unit (Navasota)

Lychner Unit (Humble)

Lynaugh Unit (Ft Stockton)

McConnell Unit (Beeville)

Michael Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Middleton Unit (Abilene)

Montford Unit (Lubbock)

Mountain View Unit (Gatesville)

Neal Unit (Amarillo)

Pack Unit (Novasota)

Polunsky Unit (Livingston)

Powledge Unit (Palestine)

Ramsey I Unit (Rosharon)

Ramsey III Unit (Rosharon)

Robertson Unit (Abilene)

Rufus Duncan TF (Diboll)

Sanders Estes CCA (Venus)

Smith County Jail (Tyler)

Smith Unit (Lamesa)

Stevenson Unit (Cuero)

Stiles Unit (Beaumont)

Stringfellow Unit (Rosharon)

Telford Unit (New Boston)

Terrell Unit (Rosharon)

Torres Unit (Hondo)

Travis State Jail (Austin)

Vance Unit (Richmond)

Victoria County Jail (Victoria)

Wallace Unit (Colorado City)

Wayne Scott Unit (Angleton)

Wynne Unit (Huntsville)

Young Medical Facility Complex (Dickinson)

[Idealism/Religion]
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No Way As The Way

[Hook]
My way might not be your way
But it’s okay
It’s alright, your way might not be my way
But it’s okay
It’s alright


[Stic.man]
Yea, I used to go to church
But the church didn’t quench my thirst
Mama taught me to put god first
But she never tried to block my search
I was curious, young but serious
Why's religion so mysterious
Why is black life so hard?
They say you’re not supposed to question God
Well is it okay to question the pastor?
Was it passed down from the slave-master?
It was only the truth I was after
But I never could get a straight answer
So I couldn’t relate to the sermon
Put down the bible, then I start learning
About life, didn’t know where the path would lead
But I had to get off my knees


[Hook]


[Stic.man]
I build with the Five Percenters
On the God within us, it’s no limits
Study the Metu Neter from Kemet
All saw, I remembered
Smoke herb with the Rastafarians
Grew my locks became a vegetarian
Following the Tao, building with the Baba Laos
Jewels being handed to a innocent child
My mind is a Buddhist temple, the truth is simple
I try to be principled
Walking with a warrior spirit
Ain’t nothing like learning from first hand life experience
I’m a realist, that’s all I deal with
Respect the truth, that’s all I build with
A child of the universe
My religion is life and it’s just as valid
I strive for balance


[Hook]


[M-1]
I gotta admit, I don’t know
In the end which way it’s gonna go
Why we sit by the project window,
Instead of living off the land with my kin folk?
Is there even a master plan?
An unseen hand? Is God a man?
Some say that’s sacrilegious
Same folks selling us lies about Christmas
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny
Just so the capitalists can make money
They say God will take care of it
But you a terrorist if you say the same thing in Arabic
It’s so hypocritical
It’s a miracle, listen to the message in the spirituals
Wade in the water, I’m following Ms. Tubman and Nat Turner
I'm praying for my freedom
and heading for the border


[Hook: x3]
This article referenced in:
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[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Texas]
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Texas Censorship Rule (BP-3.91) Being Revised

TEAM ONE Primer cover

On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:

“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”

In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.

a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take affect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.

a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:

“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit" photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted."

MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.

a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)

a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.

a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.

a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.

a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.

Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.

Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.

[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]

This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.

We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.

This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.

Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.

Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?

Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.

Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?

If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.

We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.

Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.

The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.

…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.

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[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas]
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Campaign to End Solitary Confinement & Repeal B.P. 3.91

The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers like Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,

“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)

Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.

TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).

Many modern courts have found that the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )

“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictable destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. "Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)

As a study of sensory deprivation by a team of 4 psychologists at Harvard conducted for the CIA revealed:

  1. The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
  2. The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
  3. The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
  4. Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.

“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”

It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).

What is BP – 3.91?

Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.

While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.

TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.

What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?

At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.

That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:

Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.

REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.

But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?

Solidarity Actions

Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.

On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.

Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.

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[Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 74]
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Campaign to Stop Censorship of Non-nude Publications and Photos in TX

PHONE ZAP STARTS 1 AUGUST 2021 more info

In the past few years censorship in TDCJ has reached epic proportions. In March 2020, the board on criminal justice enacted new restrictive policies regarding mail correspondence, greeting cards, and receiving monies. After a year of wide-spread resistance to this fascist policy, an exposé was written by Kerri Blessinger of the Houston Chronicle’s criminal justice department along with an inside comrade of the National Freedom Movement - TX Chapter.

The public outcry that resulted from this article which spoke specifically to the denial of greeting cards, moved TDCJ officials to annul this restrictive policy and now captives are again allowed to receive cards.

If the story ended there, things would be all well. Unfortunately, TDCJ officials have sought to retaliate against the prisoner population by instituting even more arbitrarily restrictive regulations.

Set to take effect on 1 August 2021, the newly amended Board Policy(BP) 3.91 will effectively ban ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings, and images that We could possibly receive. This amendment bans any items showcasing thongs, lingerie, buttocks, sex toys, or bodily fluids, as well as photos that hides someone’s face.

Nearly all publications and photos one gets are subject to this rule. Harmless publications such as US Weekly, OK, National Geographic, Muscle Fitness, etc can/will be denied due to this rule. Accordingly, this denies TDCJ captives their visual stimuli, in the case of isolated captives in RHU/solitary such persyn will have NO visual stimuli at all.

The politicized prisoner collective known as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is calling ALL prisoners in teKKK$a$ to join Us and the souljas on ALLRED seg in Our campaign. We are striving to amass 75,000 grievances on this issue. Included please find a sample of a step 1, shortly We will distribute a step 2 and a petition to be sent to TDCJ Director of CID and the Chairman of TDCJ. We must showcase a show of solidarity as teKKK$a$ captives.


Offender Name:____________________ TDCJ#___________________ Unit:_________________________ Housing Assignment:____________ Unit where incident occurred:______________________

who did you talk to?_________________________When?________________ What was their response?________________________________________________ What action was taken?________________________________________________ sample: BP-3.91, amended on 6/25/21, goes into effect on 8/1/21, and effectively bans ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings and images that we could possibly receive. This edict is in direct violation of our First Amendment rights against censorship, and fails to satisfy the four-part Turner test as TDCJ officials have failed to justify this policy.(see: TURNER V. SAFELY, 482 U.S.78(1987))

TURNER QUESTION ONE: Is the regulation reasonably related to a legitimate, neutral government interest? These magazines are non-nude, and are commonplace with no age requirement to purchase them. Thus, TDCJ cannot possibly believe such magazines may cause disorder or violence, or will hurt a prisoner’s rehabilitation. Prisoners have a right to non-obscene, sexually explicit material that is commercially produced, MAURN V. ARPAIO, 188 F.3d 1054(9th Circ.1999).

TURNER QUESTION TWO: Does the regulation leave open another way for you to exercise your constitutional rights? No. As an Ad-Seg inmate, the only visual stimuli we receive are pictures and magazines. Yet the very images that are being banned are the EXACT same content any observer can see on TV. Newspapers have circulars with bra sales, etc. Effectively banning those as well. BP-3.91 destroys our ONLY visual link to the outside world.

TURNER QUESTION THREE: How does the issue impact other prisoners, prison guards, or officials and prison resources? BP-3.91 treats ALL inmates, especially Ad-Seg, like sex offenders and pedophiles, creates unrest throughout the prison population, and punishes non-sex offenders, while GP sex offenders still see images that arouse them on TV. It punishes normal inmates while missing the intended targets.

TURNER QUESTION FOUR: Are there obvious easy alternatives to the regulation that would not restrict your rights to free expression? Yes. Restrict these BP-3.91 original to the Grievance DEPT. on (date) copy to my records BP-3.91 is too vague, encompassing a littany of correspondence (see: Alello V. Litacher, 104 F. Supp. 2d1068, 1045-81(W.D.Wis.2000) which struck down similar ban). BP-3.91 actually says, “Any photo that conceals or hides the face of the individual photographed in a manner that prevents identification of that person.” What penological interest does this serve? And during a pandemic when people are still wearing masks?

Action Requested: That the DRC and TDCJ repeal or annul BP-3.91 in its amended form as it does NOT pass the supreme court’s TURNER test.


ALL TDCJ inmates should file a grievance on this issue, it affects all genders and sexualities as pics with an erection will not be allowed. The paper trail begins now, and We may have to file a class action on this issue. By all means, COMBAT GENOCIDE!!

UPDATE: Grievance officers here are saying this is not a grievable matter. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We suggest that if others run into this problem they should write i60 informing the GR.DEPT that the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) says that policy is grievable, due to the fact that We are grieving the unit’s interpretation of the new board policy. Prisoners should also see Thornburgh V. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401 (1989). Be sure to attach the returned step 1 to i 60.

Here officers are also saying that we can’t grieve it because the policy isn’t effective yet, and we can do so on 8/1 when policy goes into effect. This policy must be resisted on all fronts on all units. [By the time you receive this it will be in effect.] A separate, more extensive petition has also been submitted to the Deputy Executive Director and a phone zap was scheduled to occur on 1 August by outside supporters.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
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An Ongoing Discussion on Organizing Strategy

What’s up comrades, friends, and supporters? i wanted to provide a response both to USW Comrade N’s and MIM(Prisons)’s commentary that was published in ULK 72: “Orientating USW Organizing Strategy in Light of TX Victory.” Really, my comments are more general rather than a direct disagreement with either Comrade N or MIM(Prisons).

First, ‘N’ asserts that “from an organizers perspective, these are not battles in which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less MLM.” The comrade mentioned phone access as an example of a battle ey was speaking of.

i’ll argue that the above assertion is incorrect and unscientific. MLM, dialectical materialism, is universal, meaning it can be applied to all phenomena. Further, dialectics shows us the true interconnected nature of social phenomena and if we acknowledge that is true, than how can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism? Like MIM(Prisons) added, “with the correct leadership, and keeping our eyes on bigger goals like the UFPP, and uniting others around a list of more impactful demands, reformist campaigns like phone access could be productive.”

As organizers, we are focused on inspiring commitment within the masses. Looking at the psychology of the masses under imperialism, we’ll observe that the most effective way to capture the masses attention is to organize around their immediate interests. The more mature and in-depth communist outlook will develop in stages as study and struggle continue. However, the first hurdle is to establish principled unity in furtherance of an objective/program.

Our most pressing strategic goal as anti-imperialist/Maoist organizers behind enemy lines, is developing cadres to re-enter society with the ability to be impactful in the “free world” anti-imperialist struggle. This is our link to a totalizing revolutionary strategy outside the walls. The quality-of-life reforms are connected to the strategy of cadre development because PE (political education) is made up of 3 parts. Those 3 parts are 1) organizing, 2) educating and 3) mobilizing. So in undergoing/providing proper PE we must study and practice organizing, educating, mobilizing. We must observe the knowledge-practice-knowledge method in all aspects of our development to ensure we achieve our highest potential. So there’s an identity between study and struggle, they go hand-in-hand and because we’re not in a ‘revolutionary situation’ our struggle, or practice, will undoubtedly include (some) reforms.

However, it must be noted and articulated to the masses involved in that struggle that whatever particular battle is being waged at the moment isn’t the end-all be-all, but is only a tactical maneuver that was set in motion with the strategy in mind of advancing the organizational, educational and mobilizing capabilities for all involved. The real crux of the issue is never the demands in the prison setting. The real crux of the issue, as it pertains to linking a totalizing revolutionary strategy, lies in the practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power. For, how will we seize state power if the people lack the strategic confidence to assert their power? We have to increase the collective practical experience of contesting the state as a united body. From a lead organizer’s perspective, putting campaigns into motion, communicating internally, advancing understanding of self and the people, practicing discipline, teaching discipline etc., all this does what? It prepares you for your return to the semi-colonies and general public with experience in organizing, educating, mobilizing people to assert their collective power. The differences in context have little effect on the objective advancement of a comrade’s development.

Additionally, we must also account for other aspects of the fundamental contradiction within prisons, which is badge versus captive. In our efforts to organize, educate and mobilize, the badge is not gonna remain still or unmoved. The badge, like the bourgeoisie on the outs, is gonna utilize both coercive and brutal methods to maintain complacency with the social order among the social classes, or in this case the captives. Also, we must acknowledge that the lumpen is a vacillating class anyway and in prison the masses of lumpen will vacillate between escapism, complacency, underground capitalism, etc. anyways. Therefore, acknowledging that these currents will continue with or without our efforts of revolutionary organizing because we still operate under imperialist, bourgeois dictatorship, it is imperative that we exercise every opportunity to advance our aspect of the fundamental contradiction in prison. In doing so, we work towards manufacturing conditions within prison that will be more conducive to our anti-imperialist goals.

While organizing around more impactful demands, the badge is still gonna utilize its double-pronged strategy of coercing or abusing. When the latter won’t work, the former will come in the form of cosmetic reforms. Those cosmetic reforms, even when they’re not demanded by organizers, still hold the possibility of pacifying individuals, making them complacent sleep walkers again. My point is that, at present, we can’t escape these tendencies from either side or the results they may or may not render, but we can’t allow these tendencies to keep us on the sideline, all “study” no struggle.

Lastly, i wanna clarify that none of the above is to assert that we should chase after any old reform or ‘change.’ As MIM(Prisons) states, leaders must make that determination, and furthermore, should educate the masses on why we will or will not seek certain reforms or campaigns.

In this process, i’ve learned the necessity of adequate communication with the masses and unity-struggle-unity internally among cadres, as a tool in struggling against a tendency towards tailism. What has come of this is a re-organizing of the TX Team One under a clearer program and a better understanding (a collective understanding) of what our strategic and tactical goals are, uniting the most committed partisans around those goals, and developing these partisan’s PE. We’ve downsized, what one may call ‘purging,’ but i like to call ‘cutting the fat’ and we are working on our next courses of action.

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[Drugs] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
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The Tragedy of Officer Woods

police are weapons of mass destruction

I’ll never speak ill of the dead. However, if by telling their stories, we can prevent needless suffering, then those stories must be told. There is both beauty and power within our words. If we are to progress from erudite to enlightened, then we are obligated to speak effectively and responsibly. Sometimes, the greatest damage is done by not speaking up or not speaking out.

When I first saw Ms. Woods, I couldn’t help but ask my neighbor “Wow! Who is that?” Oh sure, I’ve seen some very attractive guards down here. But this girl seemed almost too pretty to be working at a prison. My cellie spoke up and said “Do yourself a favor bro, leave that one alone. She’s poison candy. Nice shiny wrapper on the outside… but completely toxic inside.”

I take everything with a grain of salt down here. Surely, this was an exaggeration. I thought these two were just being cynical. Time in here has a way of making people jaded. You’re either going to get better or bitter. Unfortunately, their warnings proved to be both timely and accurate. From the first moment she opened her mouth, the most venomous hatred imaginable spewed out.

For the most part, I wouldn’t have to be around her very much. I’d managed to land a good job at our unit print shop. Four days a week, I’d be gone for 12 hours a day. Guards here work 4 on 4 off. So that even further reduced my chances of seeing her. I figured I could handle just about anything for 3 days. Guess I was wrong.

My very first run-in with her happened on a Saturday. I knew to be at my cell when they called count time. They came through and did their thing. Then the lights turned out. I went into the restroom to finish getting ready for visit. I heard a door pop open moments later, only to be followed by her screaming “10 bunk!” then a string of profanities. Talk about getting caught with your pants down. She walks by while I’m still on the toilet, screaming, “You’re getting a case!”

My neighbor walks over and says “She took your I.D. bro! And your house is thrashed!” Sure enough, I get back to my cubicle and it’s a mess. Everything is on the floor. She wasn’t even doing a search. She simply did it out of spite. By the time I get things almost back in order, it’s about to be lunch. She’s still got my I.D. card, but now she’s nowhere to be found. Great. Hopefully, I can track her down before I get called in for visit.

Sure enough, lunch rolls around and I gotta tell them to punch in my number. “Ms. Woods took my I.D.” The guard at chow hall looks up and smiles, “Sucks to be you!” By the time I get back to the wing, they call me for visit. I leave to find the sergeant to explain that I can’t get into visitation without it. He tells me, “She probably went on break to write you up. Don’t worry about the case. I got you. From now on, you’d better steer clear of that one! Got it?”

The weeks fly by, and I’m fortunate enough to only see her in passing. Oh sure, she’s definitely pretty to look at, but now I avoid her like the plague. All I’m trying to do is stay out of their way.

One day my boss at print shop says “Okay, shut it down. They’re racking up the farm.” We get out to the back gate and they make me sit down. All these guards go running past us headed for one building.

Two guards are talking between themselves, but we can hear over the radio chatter that there has been another assault on staff. Now these guards start to argue, “Look, I don’t care where you put them! But they gotta be out here so that ambulance can come in!”

By the time we get back to our own building, all hell has broken loose. We can hear the warden’s voice on another radio screaming, “LOCK IT DOWN!!” They got one of the halls blocked off. As we walk by to go back in our wing, we can see all these burgundy pools of coagulated blood. This is bad.

Soon as we walk in, they ask me, “Did you hear about Officer Woods? DUDE … he beat the brakes off of her!” I look down at him and ask, “Who?” his eyes get real big when he says “Smitty! I thought y’all knew. Man … he just flipped out! Followed her right out the door into deep space, knocked her out, and then went to WORK on her! After that they say he just walked up to the desk and turned around so they could put the cuffs on him.”

After three weeks of lockdown, we were finally able to go back to work. Then I learned the rest of the story. Seems that while Smitty was off work on his bereavement, Woods went in and tossed his cell. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she took his pictures off his wall. You see … this poor man had just lost his mother, sister and baby daughter, all in quick succession within about six weeks of each other.

Now, of course, I wasn’t there to see it, but everybody says he got down on his hands and knees to BEG that woman not to take those precious photos. I’m told that even after he explained their sudden deaths, she callously laughed in his face and said “Forget your dead family.” Only she chose to use a different “F” word.

That beating wasn’t what killed her. It was the lifestyle. Reports say that they saved her life multiple times, both on the way to the hospital and in the operating room once she got there. There was extensive reconstructive surgery. Nobody will even know the full extent of the traumatic brain injury. It’s often those scars on the inside, that just won’t heal.

After a few months off, she returned to work. Doctors had done an amazing job, considering the extent of her injuries. Her entire face was pulverized. Oh, she was still somewhat pretty. But those drop dead gorgeous, model-quality features, were long gone. Her nose, eyes and cheekbones weren’t the same. People couldn’t tell if they were dentures or implants, but that smile would never be the same either.

You see … all along, she’d been manipulated and exploited by the gangs. For almost her entire tenure, she’d been smuggling in dope and cell phones. The perverts had simply preyed on her own insecurity. How could somebody so stunning on the outside be completely devoid of the true beauty that only comes from within? The only way prison officials ever found out about her activities was when they busted somebody with one of those phones.

The photos and videos were as numerous as they were explicit. So was all that contact information. It was a treasure trove of evidence. She’d also been prostituting herself. The predators had simply used her, then discarded her like some piece of garbage. Administration walked her off the unit in disgrace.

In the end, the prosecution’s job would be easy. She was facing a long list of criminal charges. I suppose the stress of an impending court trial, along with everything else, simply proved to be too much for her. I was SOOOO HOPING that all those rumors weren’t true. Unfortunately, she really did it. Ms. Woods died of a single gunshot wound to the head. She put the pistol in her mouth – just to stop the pain.

We found out about officer Woods’ suicide in 2019. A few months ago, we found out that Ms. Davis had met a similar fate. We are still unclear as to whether her death was a suicide or accidental overdose. The specifics of each of these tragedies is not nearly as important as the root causes of the problem, which remains the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDCJ does not care about stopping the rampant corruption and injustice here in Texas. Everyone from the newest correctional officers to the top administrative officials are complicit and therefore profits from this malfeasance!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have seen some interesting things in the last year or so. Some prison systems have instituted egregious restrictions on mail claiming it was used to smuggle drugs, and all prisons locked down completely with no visitors for months due to the global pandemic. Yet, reports from prison after prison, from state to state to the feds, have unanimously reported no change in the availability of contraband during these periods.

The imperialists portray ending crime as a great mystery that can’t be solved, a timeless problem that we can only respond to with force and punishment. This is metaphysics, it fails to look at the past, at humyn societies before classes and poverty, at countries who built socialism and virtually eliminated drug abuse, prostitution, theft, hunger, homelessness, etc. These things go hand-in-hand. Our crime-ridden society is not eternal, it stems from our economic system and is reinforced by the cultural ideas that come with such a system. Changing the economic system is hard, it will take determination and sacrifice by many. But once we do, ending so much needless suffering and conflict between humyns is not so hard.

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[Drugs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
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TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop

In the 27 years of being confined within these walls, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has always blamed families, claiming that the families are the ones who smuggle dangerous contraband (cellphones, meth, K2, heroin) into the prisons. As of today, we’ve been without visits over a year, due to COVID-19, yet this place is still full of contraband.

Last month several prisoners died from suicide, overdoses, and others hurt fellow prisoners while high on drugs. In order to cover up what’s really going on, the unit was placed on lock down, and a team was brought to shake down and tear up our property. While all this was going on, the only form of communication with our families, the phones, was turned off. We were punished because guards brought the drugs and the prisoners used them.

TDCJ officials and higher-ups refuse to admit there’s a serious problem within the system, and it’s not the prisoners. Prisoners can’t go out the gate, purchase contraband, then return to prison. It’s just not possible. How can prisoners rehabilitate themselves when there’s more drugs in here than out there? Society should take a closer look at the real problem and remember that a lot of prisoners will return to communities out there worse than before, due to the drugs the guards bring into this place.

Someone with a voice of authority and who’s willing to dedicate themselves to bringing new change, needs to step up to this problem. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars are being given to prisons, supposedly to rehabilitate prisoners – it’s the biggest lie prison officials tell the public. Only a handful of prisoners are being rehabilitated. The rest are walking around like zombies high on meth or K2.

I humbly request that my comrades at MIM please help bring this situation to the proper officials, maybe then change will come, that will truly help to rehabilitate my brothers in this place, who are dying from the poison the true criminals (guards) bring to these prisons.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In addition to no visits for a year, TDCJ has also been not allowing all kinds of mail including greeting cards and childrens’ drawings, which they allege were also a means by which family members were sending in drugs.

Under Lock & Key No. 59 dealt in depth with the problem of drugs in prisons, how widespread they were, and the very strong material interest of the prisoners and staff involved in the drug trade to keep that going. The above experiments of closing down visitation and mail demonstrate scientifically that it is primarily staff bringing in the drugs. This is not unique to Texas.

This evidence is damning. And we stand with all comrades locked up who oppose the scourge of drugs being brought into prisons by the state’s very own staff. The censorship and harassment of family members and prisoners themselves also must stop. For our whole lifetimes, drugs have been brought into our communities by the state and then used as an excuse to oppress, harass and control. The drugs themselves serving to control and subdue the people.

We are expanding the work of our Serve the People Re-Lease on Life program with a new revolutionary 12 Step Program to help those with all kinds of addictions to re-create themselves as new, revolutionary humyns. We must build a culture of true rehabilitation that the state is not providing, as this comrade points out. Only programs of the people, can really serve the peoples’ interests.

Meanwhile, we want to work with prisoners and their families to pressure the state to recognize these facts that are being exposed thanks to the pandemic. If we can get them to reduce the amount of drugs their staff sneak into prisons, we can reduce the harm they are having on our people behind bars.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 72]
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Orientating USW Organizing Strategy in Light of Texas Victory

In Under Lock & Key 71 we promoted a campaign in Texas’ Allred Unit for phone access and video visits during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The campaign won this immediate goal, although the campaign included a list of 15 demands that included an end to long-term solitary confinement, good time credits, releases related to COVID-19, the right to vote and more that were not addressed. Below one of the leaders draws some lessons from the campaign. Both of the excerpts below are from discussions among USW leaders on current conditions for organizing in prisons.


A USW comrade in Texas: Seven days after the phone zap all prisoners in Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU), even those on level 3, began receiving free phone calls weekly. The admin bought cordless phones, there is one on each pod. Each day one section gets calls. There are only 6 sections per pod, so 1 day of the week is ‘stuck out phone call day’ for those who may’ve gotten moved, downgraded etc. So the zap and the strike were a success, but I also observed some keen lessons. Oh, before I say that let me say that the above arrangement is supposed to last until the OTS bluephones are installed. This is what we’ve been told, although I don’t believe it.

Now the lessons: #1. A more profound respect for the necessity to remain underground. This coincides with #2 which is that the masses, both those within the organized body (the rank & file) and outside that body, are EASILY pacified with the simplest reform because for most lumpen the “invincibility” of the state and admin remains intact. Therefore if in the event the admin actually budges in any way it is considered a monumental victory and complacency sets in. That’s what I’m dealing with now surrounded by masses on the “outside of the body.”

Backtracking to #1, I find myself surrounded by masses on the outside now because the admin was made privy to my position and influence among the active protagonists (Team One). As you know, I was isolated, rehoused. Since then some captives have used their outside contacts to apply pressure to admin – this resulted in the discontinued practice of isolation of dissidents on level 3 pods. Consequently I was moved again, and although things are favorable here in most ways, the point is that the admin’s success in separating the cadres has circumvented my attempt to mobilize peers to push the movement forward.

However, I truly think that once the ‘free’ calls are taken away, and it goes back to $15 for a 5 minute call, and no OTS phones have been made available, people will see exactly what I’ve been preaching to them the last 3 months or so, then the material conditions will be ripe again. In the meantime, I’m working on developing new cadres.


MIM(Prisons): The comrade above reported on repression and bad-jacketing efforts by the state, but has worked against them through mass contact and political education. While the focus of the campaign became the immediate goal of phone access during COVID-19, the demands highlighted much bigger concerns, including the end to long-term solitary confinement, which MIM(Prisons) has spent a lot of time campaigning for over the years. Another USW Leader addressed the issue of organizing around immediate, minor reforms in the USW leaders meeting while discussing local conditions in eir prison:


USW comrade N: The most pressing issues at this facility are of course important to all who feel strongly about them (i.e.: phone access to loved ones during the lockdown). However from an organizers’ perspective, these are not battles in which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM), without veering into reformist practices of little tactical or strategic value. I am aware that arguments on principle can be mounted to the contrary, but absent a practicable, totalizing strategy for revolution domestically being put forward by an MLM organization that is actionable in the here-and-now (notwithstanding the exemplary work MIM(Prisons) has exhibited in their particular field of operations), we cannot effectively utilize many of these prison struggles as a proper springboard to corresponding actions in other areas, actions which do not translate into long-term pacification which benefits their prison administration in an objective, cost-to-us, benefit-to-them analysis.

If we cannot muster the resources and external manpower to mount a facility or state-specific campaign for a tactical reform to push our agenda and continually imprint firmly in the minds of all incarcerated that we have their best interests in mind, it may be advisable to abstain from participation lest credit for the reforms go elsewhere and becomes politically-neutered, or, worse yet, the system co-opts the struggle as its own and touts its successes (ie. The First-Step Act). Otherwise, we are gaining no more than sporadic traction amongst those we are attempting to revolutionize, and then only of a transient nature. We should not be trying to ‘improve’ American prisons, much like we should not be attempting to cut a bigger portion of imperialist profits from Third World super-exploitation for the lower class, yet still relatively privileged, citizens of empire.

If we are to engage in any prison organizing, then censorship battles concerning our political ideology, the UFPP and the Re-Lease on Life programs should take center stage. I find it harder to advocate quality-of-life reforms which are not linked to a totalizing revolutionary strategy outside the walls. Our goal is to radicalize those on the inside, for subsequent outside work. As for our comrades who do not have the luxury of a release date, or have sentences which essentially translate into the same, their best hope for release lies not in reforms but with an all-sided MLM revolutionary organization planning their release through eventual Peoples’ War. It goes without saying that for them, and for everyone suffering under American imperialism, the sooner, the better.

*In case it may not appear as such, all of the above is written in the spirit of “Unity-Struggle-Unity.”


MIM(Prisons) adds: Comrade N echoes MIM(Prisons) in calling for campaigns around censorship battles, building a United Front for Peace in Prisons and developing Re-Lease on Life programs. Ey reflects our general practice in shying away from inherently reformist campaigns; ones that do not contribute to our long-term goals and projects. We include the struggle against long-term isolation on that list, which Team One included in their demands, but was perhaps dismissed as a throwaway demand.

Our comrade in Texas suggests that organizing may start up again when the state doesn’t keep its promises. And we should note that it can be hard to separate out UFPP development work from reformist campaigns. Formations like Team One serve to unite different lumpen formations for common cause. With the correct leadership, and keeping our eyes on bigger goals like the UFPP, and uniting others around a list of more impactful demands, reformist campaigns like phone access could be productive. At this point we rely on the leaders of Team One to make that determination.

We think both the comrades here are contributing greatly to work on the ground and to developing the knowledge and line of our movement overall. We can also say that only focusing on the reformist campaigns, without the longer goals, is not going to change anything in regards to ending oppression and injustice. Scientific leadership liquidating its demands in the masses is an error that will not get us anywhere good either. We’ve seen many who say they unite with our goals but argue that the masses aren’t ready for them so they hide their true politics. This is called tailism, and it has not proven effective in building the communist movement.

Finally, Comrade N makes the point that we need a broader communist movement to be guiding our work in a strategic way. The fact that we are just a prison ministry focused on prisoner support, without a larger organization/formation to be guiding our work leads us much more susceptible to the trap of reformism. This is why it is important for us to be involved in the development of a broader communist movement in this country and to link up with other forces that have the correct orientation around key questions for communists.

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[Grievance Process] [Abuse] [Ellis Unit] [Texas]
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Locked Down and Threatened with Psych Eval for Complaining About Food

I filed a grievance on food service here on the Ellis Unit followed by an Ombudsman complaint. I was put on lock down by the investigating officer (Captain Wiggins) for no valid reason. Kept there for seven days, while the “investigation” was done. After that I was threatened by Captain Livas saying he would lock me up again, justify it by ordering a psych eval on me and then move me around every two days to “fuck with me.” He then forced me to sign a statement saying I had no complaints.

I would like the Texas grievance packet and state-level petition/grievance campaign info.

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[Idealism/Religion]
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No Way As The Way

[Hook]
My way might not be your way
But it’s okay
It’s alright, your way might not be my way
But it’s okay
It’s alright


[Stic.man]
Yea, I used to go to church
But the church didn’t quench my thirst
Mama taught me to put god first
But she never tried to block my search
I was curious, young but serious
Why's religion so mysterious
Why is black life so hard?
They say you’re not supposed to question God
Well is it okay to question the pastor?
Was it passed down from the slave-master?
It was only the truth I was after
But I never could get a straight answer
So I couldn’t relate to the sermon
Put down the bible, then I start learning
About life, didn’t know where the path would lead
But I had to get off my knees


[Hook]


[Stic.man]
I build with the Five Percenters
On the God within us, it’s no limits
Study the Metu Neter from Kemet
All saw, I remembered
Smoke herb with the Rastafarians
Grew my locks became a vegetarian
Following the Tao, building with the Baba Laos
Jewels being handed to a innocent child
My mind is a Buddhist temple, the truth is simple
I try to be principled
Walking with a warrior spirit
Ain’t nothing like learning from first hand life experience
I’m a realist, that’s all I deal with
Respect the truth, that’s all I build with
A child of the universe
My religion is life and it’s just as valid
I strive for balance


[Hook]


[M-1]
I gotta admit, I don’t know
In the end which way it’s gonna go
Why we sit by the project window,
Instead of living off the land with my kin folk?
Is there even a master plan?
An unseen hand? Is God a man?
Some say that’s sacrilegious
Same folks selling us lies about Christmas
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny
Just so the capitalists can make money
They say God will take care of it
But you a terrorist if you say the same thing in Arabic
It’s so hypocritical
It’s a miracle, listen to the message in the spirituals
Wade in the water, I’m following Ms. Tubman and Nat Turner
I'm praying for my freedom
and heading for the border


[Hook: x3]
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