Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Virginia Prisons

Put ULK in your local community center, library, university, corner store. Send us $50 concealed cash with an address and we'll send you a stack of each issue for the next year. 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.

[Censorship] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Bill Clements Unit] [Santa Rosa Correctional Institution] [Florida State Prison] [Jefferson Correctional Institution] [Coyote Ridge Corrections Center] [Richard A Handlon Correctional Facility] [Stateville Correctional Center] [Virginia] [Pennsylvania] [Texas] [Florida] [Washington] [Missouri] [Michigan] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 59]
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Censors in Their Own Words - November 2017

U.$. imperialist leaders and their labor aristocracy supporters like to criticize other countries for their tight control of the media and other avenues of speech. For instance, many have heard the myths about communist China forcing everyone to think and speak alike. In reality, these stories are a form of censorship of the truth in the United $tates. In China under Mao the government encouraged people to put up posters debating every aspect of political life, to criticize their leaders, and to engage in debate at work and at home. This was an important part of the Cultural Revolution in China. There are a number of books available in this country that give a truthful account, but far more money is put into anti-communist propaganda books. Here in the United $tates free speech is reserved for those with money and power.

In prisons in particular we see so much censorship, especially targeting those who are politically conscious and fighting for their rights. Fighting for our First Amendment right to free speech is a battle that MIM(Prisons) and many prisoners waste a lot of time and money on. For us this is perhaps the most fundamental of requirements for our organizing work. There are prisoners, and some entire prisons (and sometimes entire states) that are denied all mail from MIM(Prisons). This means we can't send in educational material, or study courses, or even supply a guide to fighting censorship. Many prisons regularly censor ULK claiming that the news and information printed within is a "threat to security." For them, printing the truth about what goes on behind bars is dangerous. But if we had the resources to take these cases to court we believe we could win in many cases.

Denying prisoners mail is condemning some people to no contact with the outside world. To highlight this, and the ridiculous and illegal reasons that prisons use to justify this censorship, we will periodically print a summary of some recent censorship incidents in ULK.

We hope that lawyers, paralegals, and those with some legal knowledge will be inspired to get involved and help us with these censorship battles, both behind bars and on the streets. For the full list of censorship incidents, along with copies of appeals and letters from the prison, check out our censorship reporting webpage.

Virginia DOC

The Chair of the publications review committee for the VA DOC, Melissa Welch, sent MIM(Prisons) a letter denying ULK 56, and then the next month the same letter denying ULK 57. Both letters cite the same reasons:

"D. Material, documents, or photographs that emphasize depictions or promotions of violence, disorder, insurrection, terrorist, or criminal activity in violation of state or federal laws or the violation of the Offender Disciplinary Procedure.

"F. Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang bylaws, initiations, organizational structure, codes, or other gang-related activity or association."

Pennsylvania DOC

Last issue of ULK we reported on the censorship of ULK57 in Pennsylvania. After sending a protest letter to appeal the decision we had a rare victory! From the Policy Office, PA Department of Corrections:
"This is to notify you that the publication in issue does not violate Department Policy. As such, the decision of the correctional institution is reversed and the inmates in the PA Department of Corrections will be permitted to receive the publication. The correctional institutions will be notified by the Policy Office of the decision."

If anyone in PA hasn't received ULK 57 yet, let us know and we will send another copy to you.

Pennsylvania SCI-Camp Hill

From a prisoner we were forwarded a notice of incoming publication denial for ULK 57: "create a danger within the context of the correctional facility" p.21, 24

The description quotes sentences that can't be found within ULK including: "PREA system strip searches for harassment in PA", "Black prisoners deserve to retaliate against predominantly white ran system", and "This is a excellent reminder of PA importance of fighting." They are making up text as reasons for censorship in Pennsylvania.

Texas - Bill Clemens Unit

A prisoner forwarded us a denial for ULK 57 "Page 11 contains information that could cause a prison disruption."

In March 2017, our study pack Defend the Legacy of the Black Panther Party was censored for

"Reason C. Page 9 contains information that could cause a strike or prison disruption."
This adds to the growing list of our most important literature that is banned in the state forever, including Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat and [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlan. We need someone with legal expertise to challenge Texas's policies that allow for publications to be banned forever in the state.

Florida - Santa Rosa Correctional Institution

A prisoner forwarded us a notice of impoundment of ULK 57. The reason cited: "Pages 1, 11, 14, 15, & 17 advocates insurgency and disruption of institutional operations."

We appealed this denial and got a response from Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator for the Florida DOC, reiterating the reasons for impoundment and upholding the denial: "In their regularly scheduled meeting of August 30, 2017 the Literature Review Committee of the Florida Department of Corrections upheld the institution's impoundment and rejected the publication for the grounds stated. This means that issue will not be allowed into our correctional institutions."

Florida DOC

Following up on a case printed in ULK 57 regarding Florida's denial of the MIM(Prisons) censorship pack, for no specific reasons. We received a response to our appeal of this case from the same Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator, named above.

"From the number of the FDC form you reference and your description of what happened it is apparent the institutional mailroom did not handle the Censorship Guide as a publication, but instead handled it in accordance with the Florida Administrative Code rule for routine mail. As such, the item was not impounded, was not posted to the list of impounded publications for any other institution to see, was not referred to the Literature Review Committee for review, and thus does not appear on the list of rejected publications. That means that if the exact same Guide came to any other inmate mailroom staff would look at it afresh. In theory, it could even be allowed into the institution. ... "The Florida Administrative Code makes no provision for further review."

Florida - Florida State Prison

ULK 58 was rejected for what appears to just be a list of titles of articles, some not even complete:

PGS 6 Liberation schools to organize through the wall (talk about the hunger strikes)
PGS 8 DPRK; White Supremacy's Global Agenda
PGS 11 Case law to help those facing
PGS 19 White and gaining consciousness

Florida - Jefferson Correctional Institution

Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings by James Yaki Sayles was denied to a prisoner at Jefferson Correctional Institution because "inmate has received a second copy of the same edition of this publication violating chapter 33-501.401 (16)(b) and procedure 501.401(7)(d)."

Washington state - Coyote Ridge CC

The invitation to and first assignment for our correspondence introductory study group was rejected by Mailroom Employee April Long for the following reasons:

"Advocates violence against others and/or the overthrow of authority.
Advocates that a protected class or group of individuals is inferior and/or makes such class/group the object of ridicule and/or scorn, and may reasonably be thought to precipitate a violent confrontation between the recipient and a member(s) of the target group. Rejected incoming mailing from MIM. Mailing contains working that appears to be referring to law enforcement as 'pigs' it appears to be ridiculing and scornful. There is also a section in mailing labeled solutions that calls prisoners to take actions against prison industries and gives specific ideas/suggestions. Nothing to forward onto offender."

A recent study assignment for the University of Maoist Thought was also censored at Coyote Ridge. MIM(Prisons) has not yet been informed of this censorship incident by the facility. The study group participant wrote and told us it was censored for being a "copy of copyrighted material." The material in question was published in 1972 in the People's Republic of China. Not only did that government actively work against capitalist concepts such as copyright, we believe that even by the United $tates' own standards this book should not be subject to censorship.

Washington state

Clallam Bay CF rejected ULK 58 because: "Newsletter is being rejected as it talks about September 9 events including offenders commencing a hunger strike until equal treatment, retaliation and legal rights issues are resolved."

Coyote Ridge CC rejected ULK 58 for a different set of reasons: "Contains plans for activity that violates state/federal law, the Washington Administrative Code, Department policy and/or local facet/rules. Contains correspondence, information, or other items relating to another offender(s) without prior approval from the Superintendent/designee: or attempts or conveys unauthorized offender to offender correspondence."

Canada

We received the following report from a Canadian prisoner who had sent us some stamps to pay for a few issues of ULK to be mailed to Canada.

"A few months ago, on July 18, I received notice from the V&C department informing that five issues of ULK had arrived here for me. The notice also explained that the issues had been seized because of a Commissioner's Directive (764.6) which states that '[t]he institutional head may prohibit entry into the institution of material that portrays excessive violence and aggression, or prison violence; or if he or she believes on reasonable grounds that the material would incite inmates to commit similar acts.' I grieved the seizure, among other things, citing the sections on page 2 of ULK, which 'explicitly discourage[s prisoners] from engaging in any violence or illegal acts,' and citing too the UFPP statement of peace on page 3, which speaks of the organizational aim to end needless conflicts and violence within prisons.

"Well, I can now report that my grievance was upheld and that all copies of ULK were released to me, but not without the censorship of drawings deemed to portray or promote the kind of violence described in the above-cited Commissioner's Directive. It's a decision I can live with for now."

Missouri

We got reports from two people that the blanket ban on ULK in Missouri was removed and ULK 58 was received. If you're in Missouri and still not getting your ULK, be sure to let us know.

Michigan - Richard A Handlon CF

ULK 58 was rejected because "Articles in Under Lock & Key contains information about criminal activity that might entice criminal activity within the prison facility - threat to security."

Illinois - Stateville CC

ULK 58 was rejected because: "The publication appears to: Advocate or encourage violence, hatred, or group disruption or it poses an intolerable risk of violence or disruption. Be otherwise detrimental to security, good order, rehabilitation, or discipline or it might facilitate criminal activity or be detrimental to mental health. Detrimental to safety and security of the facility. Disrupts order. Promotes organization and leadership."


Read More Censorship Reports
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[Censorship] [Virginia]
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Virginia implements draconian mail censorship policy

Before I close, I want to enlighten you on the new draconian mail policy which went into effect on April 17, 2017 in all Virginia prisons. We no longer receive the actual letter and contents of the letter (e.g. newspaper clippings, pictures, greeting cards, etc.) sent to us. We receive only a copy (photocopy) of said letter and all original letters are destroyed. In addition, this policy places a restriction on the number of pages of incoming letters which is three pages (front & back). A copy of the envelope itself counts as one page so in actuality the maximum length of the incoming letter is two double-sided pages and one single-sided page.

If you want to see the actual policy for more clarity and to possibly post a link to it on your page as example of a veiled attempt to censor incoming political literature, you can view it at the following link: https://www.vadoc.virginia.gov/offenders/prison-life/mail.shtm. If comrades in Virginia are complaining about not receiving mail from you since April, this policy and its’ page limitation is the reason why. The packages you sent to me containing the literature above may have gotten through to me because you shipped them to me in a big manila envelope, and so it was handled and processed by the Personal Property Dept. here rather than the Mailroom Dept. So, keep that in mind when sending literature to comrades in the VA Prison System.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Virginia]
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Medical neglect in Virginia leads to blindness

As of today October 29th, 2017 I am in a battle with the medical department here at VA. Beach Correctional Center in the state of Virginia. As of Sept. 6, 2017, I woke up with both eyes really dry, burning and blurry. I submitted a sick call slip. I was seen by a nurse for this problem, and was told that she would see what she could do. That was on Sept. 8, 2017. Since that date I have started losing my eye sight in my left eye, it took a month for me to actually see the doctor, in which he took one look at my eye and immediately sent me to an optometrist who ordered MRI's, blood work, chest x-rays, and a lumbar puncture. All the results except the lumbar puncture have come back negative. At first the medical department said I had to pay for me to go to an outside doctor, I explained that I was an indigent inmate and could not pay for it, before they even reacted to my complaints (emergency and standard grievances).

This facility has denied me proper medical treatment for so long that there is a possibility that my blindness could have been prevented. So for the last 7 weeks I have been completely blind in my left eye, and they (medical, optometrist) don't have an idea what caused my blindness. I'm waiting to go to an optometrist neurosurgeon, for further testing. I am currently awaiting for a 2nd standard grievance to be answered, so that I could appeal to the next step, so that I have exhausted all grievances or avenues before I can file a 1983 lawsuit.

I just wanted to write and let you know what kind of issues this institution has made me go through. I also know that if put into restricted housing (SHU) they leave the lights on 24 hrs a day, you're locked in a cell with another inmate, and your handcuffed to the shower railing by one hand in which you can't properly wash your body, the only time you come out your cell is for court, medical or showers. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

So if there is any possible suggestions or information you can provide it will be highly appreciated. Thank you for your newletters and a platform to fight the injustices we prisoners face on a daily basis. I've tried to get others on the inside to push the abuse and injustice we face. There is no unity at this facility because inmates are scared of the repercussions they may have to endure. Once again thank you for your organization and your cause.

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[Gender] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 56]
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Gender Contradictions: Female Guards and Male Prisoners

I would like to bring to your attention a proliferating issue and a sophisticated form of manipulation and capitulation by certain female guards here, which is threatening my motivational efforts and energy of prisoners who are trying to mobilize pockets of resistance. The prisoners in our immediate cipher and midst on a daily basis, in the disguise of recreation, study groups, or just basic conversations, are involved in some alarming episodes of perversion here at Sussex Sucks I State Prison. If we stand by and just criticize, make fun of, or gossip and back bite about those prisoners who get snaggled up in this spider web/trap, then the pigs are going to use this misguided erotic behavior to destroy the elements of positive aspirations that iz being pushed forward by a different segment of conscious prisoners here on this slave pen of oppression.

Everyone is aware of the enormous amount of jobs that become available because of the booming rise in the prison construction throughout the Amerikkkan colony. But no one seems to have noticed the alarming amount of female guards that are subsequently recruited, hired and then trained for a job inside this bulging prison culture complex! So today, a lot of these same female guards are assigned to the actual cell blocks/pods that house many of the state's most violent male prisoners. And as a direct result of the placement of these female guards inside each of these components, you now see these same so-called violent prisoners becoming mentally and emotionally hypnotized by the astute beauty of some female guards who exhibit this aura or facade with their tour of correctional duty and within their clandestine episodes of flirtation.

In some of these housing components, I have even witnessed female guards displaying their siren characteristics in an attempt to control and compel the feeble-minded guys into conforming with the prison rules and regulations. In some cases these female guards are playing mind games, as they get off on the drama of seeing several men chasing them and even fighting over them, and manipulating them into becoming pod police by telling and doing the police job as an incentive. These female guards want the prisoners to help them stroke their own clandestine exotic or erotic fantasies while making money as a past time and advancing their career in law enforcement!

Before I commence my conclusion, it iz essential and imperative that I maintain the organizational strategy by indicating that there are numerous female guards who despise being exploited by the display of male sex organs in the workplace, and I really support all of these female guards who take a stance against this form of sexism. Because to subjugate women in general and solely on the basis of gender iz not only wrong, but dudes who believe and practice these subjective axioms and the actions that stem from this obnoxious belief are really saying that women are not worthy of genuine respect, or perhaps those prisoners think that a woman cannot be feminine without being submissive! All prisoners, brothas, all nations must begin the task of taking a personal analysis of themselves immediately and we should be self-critical. Otherwise we won't understand what our criminal thought pattern iz doing to the overall struggle of the masses here in North Amerikkka.

Correctional male chauvinism must be eliminated if prisoners really plan to make it past this adolescent crisis that arises to the level of this extracurricular prison activity.

In closing, I felt the need to proselytize to the conscious prisoner class, clearly it iz better to err acting to bring about positive change than to do nothing for fear of erring. Please spread this word and cogitate what has been evaluated and written here in adroit-like fashion, because we have to stop this new wave of mental, physical, and emotional ignorance. Peace!

I want to know if other comrades are dealing with these same issues. If so, no one is speaking on it. Stop watching the idiot box, it's hypnotizing you!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good point to raise for discussion which we hope will inspire others to write in. There is, as this prisoner explains, a general contradiction in imperialist society, with the treatment of females under the patriarchy. But in prison this situation is changed. There is still some clear gender oppression of females, but in male prisons (which are the vast majority in this country) there is a reversal of roles in some ways. Males face gender oppression due to their unique status as prisoners.

We see this with the example given here of female guards manipulating prisoners through sex and flirting. The female guards are using patriarchal objectification to keep male prisoners passive, and even serving the very system that locks them up. We need to expose this manipulation and talk about why it can happen, and what we can do about it. It should not be ok to do any guard's bidding, male or female. Are other people seeing this? What can be done to fight back?

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[Legal] [Virginia]
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Potential Legal Argument for VA Grievance Battle

I read with interest the article on the lack of a constitutional right to a grievance procedure ( Prisoners Unite Against Suppression of VA DOC Grievance Procedure) in ULK 54. This happens to be an issue I researched a few months ago. Unfortunately I'm Federal, not state, so I can't file a §1983 anyway, which is a shame because I'd just love to take this one to the Supreme Court.

This legal argument should work. However, the only place I can see it working is at the Supreme Court itself. I offer it in the hopes that someone else can run with it.

The article is quite correct. There are many 4th circuit opinions throwing out prisoners' §1983 actions for denial of or retaliation against filing grievances, most of which go back to Adams v. Rice 40F.3d.72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994). This opinion, however, was before the 1995 Prison Litigation Reform Act, 1997(e). The argument is that, as 1997(e) came later than Adams v. Rice, and congress could not have intended to make a constitutional right (the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances under Amendment 1) contingent upon conduct that is not constitutionally protected, that therefore Adams v. Rice and all subsequent case law should be declared null and void.

Digging a bit deeper, I found that Adams bases its opinion on Flick v. Alba, 932 F.2d 728, 729 (8th Cir 1991) claiming there is "no constitutional right to participate in grievance proceedings."

The problem with this is that Flick v Alba states, "When the claim underlying the administrative grievance involves a constitutional right, the prisoner's right to petition the government for redress is the right of access to the courts, which is not compromised by the prison's refusal to entertain his grievance." After 1997(e), of course, that last clause is false, 1997(e) specifically and deliberately makes a prison's refusal to entertain grievances compromise the right of access to the courts. That's what 1997(e) is for!

If there be any justice, this is a slam-dunk argument. Of course, there isn't any justice. But occasionally a judge, wanting to gain status by overturning a long-held precedent might do the right thing, if only accidentally. It might also have some value as a rallying point for activism.

One might also argue a violation of equal protection under the fourteenth amendment, but I'm not sure how much that would add. A couple of paragraphs couldn't hurt, though.

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[Abuse] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia]
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Who's Keeping the Keepers (Overseers)

In the Virginia Department of Corrections, the prison officials and corrections officers who are in charge of enforcing the rules and regulations, whose duty it is to uphold the mission of each of the correctional facilities in Virginia, are not above reproach. Having been a prisoner in the Virginia Department of Corrections (Corruption) for over two decades, I've witnessed numerous violations of prison rules, state law and of the constitution of the United States. These violations are from seemingly minor to serious mistreatment of prisoners, sleeping on duty, denial of adequate medical treatment, denial of an adequate healthy diet to meet the dietary needs of prisoners, and suppression of the grievance procedure.

All of the officers and prison officials are in cahoots with each other. When guards and prison officials are reported, no disciplinary action (no matter the evidence) is ever taken. The grievance coordinators make sure of this because they suppress the grievance procedure so prisoners will not be able to exercise their right to redress of grievance. The corrections officers are subject to rules of professional conduct just like us prisoners. However, most of these officers do not follow the rules of professional conduct. Most of these prison officials and officers do not have any humanity for prisoners whatsoever.

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[Abuse] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia]
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Sussex I: Lack of sanitation, basic supplies and grievance procedure

This prison that I am housed at is a walking bed of human rights violations. And I want to explain in detail. First, the toilets. The way the system works is that the prisoner gets one four-second flush every five minutes. If the prisoner flushes twice within five minutes, the system punishes the offender by automatically shutting off all flushes for at least half an hour. There are several problems with this. One flush every five minutes is not sufficient for bowel movements, which occur according to the individual's excretory system and not a clock, the prisoner must literally go to the bathroom with a stopwatch, sitting in the stink of his waste until they can again flush. When the prisoner does flush the toilet, the four-second flush does not remove all the waste from the bowl. The more solid the waste in the bowl the more that is left after the brief flush.

A serious health hazard is created when waste is left in toilet bowls because mistakes are made in flush rate. Keep in mind there are 2 people in the cell. There will and already are rising medical costs due to health problems that occur because of human wast lingering in toilet bowls that breed germs and attract insects. It is oppressive and inhumane to take away or restrict a human being's ability to flush their waste products away from their living environment. It is bad enough living in a cell, which is nothing but a bathroom with a bed in it. No one wants to live in a sewer and no one should have to.

Second, the building I am housed in, 4D, we are supposed to do cell cleaning every Thursday. Anyway we are only given two cups of chemicals to clean our cells with. We are not provided with a broom, mop, sponge, sanitary napkins or anything that we can adequately clean our cells with including no toilet brush to clean our toilets. So imagine as I explained about the waste in the toilet building up. This is a violation of our 8th amendment rights.

Prisoners here at Sussex I State Prison receive inhumane treatment on a daily basis. They have taken our drinking cups from us, and now we have nothing to drink our water from. We have to save our Styrofoam cups from our meals. Taking our cups is unnecessary, because it doesn't hinder or interfere with security. At every other state prison, including the other supermax prisons in Virginia, Wallens Ridge and Red Onion, drinking cups are allowed.

There is no system of checks and balances here at this prison. Staff's bad and unprofessional behavior towards us goes unchecked. We have a grievance coordinator here at Sussex I State Prison who repeatedly has suppressed the grievance process and has hindered my and other prisoners' right to redress of grievances. The grievance coordinator is supposed to serve as a human rights advocate, instead Ms. Witt the grievance coordinator at Sussex I State Prison has been a human rights nightmare and she is very unprofessional and she is corrupt. When we report guards or other prison officials, no disciplinary action is ever taken, no matter how large or small the issue is.

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[Organizing] [Economics] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia]
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Take up Revolution not Drugs

For the second time in about one month over 900 prisoners at River North Correctional Center were given piss tests. Now if a prisoner is causing problems that indicate drug abuse, it's perhaps reasonable to test him. But testing the entire prisoner population is a fishing expedition just hoping to catch someone.

Do the prison pigs have some admirable goal? No. They just catch people to make lives miserable by taking jobs, suspending visits, confining in seg, etc. If each test and lab fee is just $30 then the pigs spent over $54,000 in a month on the off chance they might get to punish someone for using drugs that were not prescribed.

For thousands of years humans have used mind altering substances. The "soma" of ancient India, the mushrooms of the Incas, peyote, opium, reefer, and alcohol are but a few examples. Only recently — within 100 years — have governments made the "drugs" illegal. What have these laws done to stop drug use and abuse? Nothing, as we see drug abuse at an all time high. These imperialist laws only target people, ruining lives with jail/prison while lining the pockets of the pigs with money for funding of the "war on drugs."

A few generations ago a community had cobblers and tailors, blacksmiths and silversmiths, lamp makers and other craftspeople. The cobbler knew the people and knew the kids had warm, dry feet due to his skill. The lamp maker knew she gave them light. Today, how many of our household items are made by people we know? Our shoes are made in a factory by a kid operating a machine at exploited wages. The store with neighbors who called us by name was an imperialist casualty, destroyed by greed.

Imperialism, with its global capitalism has destroyed us. Drug abuse is merely a convulsion before death. But you can be revived. You can join us in re-structuring our communities, our form of government, our lives. That's the call of revolution. Are you willing to die in order to feel alive? Let us use the things you make and let us make the things you need. In revolution every person has an essential part and there's no time for addiction or drug abuse.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We like this author's point about the waste of time that is drug abuse, and the reality that this abuse comes from the alienation fostered by capitalist culture. We sent some feedback to this author on eir first draft of this article because it took up an anti-corporate line that seemed to promote small scale capitalism rather than anti-imperialism. We know that we have much unity with this author and so suggested ey rewrite it. This rewritten version is an improvement but still we want to clarify that small scale capitalism is still capitalism. It is true that huge corporations are a product of imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism. But we don't want to promote nostalgia for petty bourgeois businesses because that's a reactionary approach; trying to go back to another time. Another time that of course never really existed, since even the early days of capitalism were full of war, oppression, slavery and land grabbing. As this comrade explained, we need a revolution to restructure society, and when that happens we will be able to build a new society where people engage in productive labor, which benefits their community. But it will not look like the capitalism of a few generations ago. We will eliminate the system of profit-driven work, instead allowing all people to work for the betterment of society.

In the course of our discussion with this author over eir article ey correctly noted that Walmart will die when imperialism dies in North America: "Walmart exploits laborers around the globe and is a foundation of Amerikkkan imperialism with revenue that exceeds the gross national product of many small oppressed nations. Yet its foreign laborers are paid pennies per hour. Most of their products are from India (semi-fascist regime) and China (state sponsored kapitalism) where workers are exploited. Not patronizing Walmart and not purchasing products manufactured by exploited workers is an 'attack' or at least a 'stand' against imperialism. ... The corner deli or the local mom/pop shop isn't exploiting workers in any nation."

While this comrade is right that big corporations like Walmart are doing far more exploitation of Third World workers than small shops, we don't agree that the corner shop isn't exploiting workers in any nation. They are selling the same products or using the same raw materials that everyone else in the United $tates is selling/using: most of it comes from Third World labor at base. Most products in Amerikan stores are manufactured in other countries. So we shouldn't mislead people into thinking the stuff they buy in a smaller store is exploitation-free. Further, the companies that promote "Made in America" products are not off the hook. Many of them are still buying raw materials and machinery from labor in Third World countries and just assembling products in the United $tates. Finally, most of the U.$. economy is not even productive industries. The service and financial sectors employ most Amerikans, distributing the wealth within U.$. borders, exploited from other nations via trade and extraction of real goods. There is no way to escape participating in the economy of exploitation.

So we don't tell people to boycott Walmart because we don't want to mislead people into thinking that they are going to make a difference under imperialism by favoring one type of exploitation over another. If the exploited workers in another country initiated an action against Walmart (or any other corporation) and asked for our support with a boycott, that would be a different story because that is not Amerikan consumerism feeling good about itself by switching where we spend our ridiculous wealth. That would be internationalist solidarity for exploited people rising up against imperialism.

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[Organizing] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 53]
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Sept 9: Virginia Comrades Meet, Study, Discuss, Build

On Sept 9th, we open, as usual, upon the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles. Our comrade did spoken word: "Frustrated" and "Black Angel" (our comrade is working on a CD of spoken word).

Another comrade spoke on revolutionary consciousness — what it means, how it applies to us and our conditions (open discussion). A third comrade introduced the ten point agenda (we recently sent you a copy of the 10 point agenda). We are ready to accept responsibility/accountability for ourselves and our conditions — we will have our marching orders (the basic point that Marx emphasized is profoundly true: "If the masses don't fight back and resist their oppression, even short of revolution, they will be crushed and reduced to a broken mass and will be incapable of rising up for any higher thing."). Our attendance was 32 people.

On September 15th we spoke on "Building Prison Study Groups" from ULK 45 (July/August 2015). Numerous articles within, and questions/comments were given. The discussion was moderated by two comrades and 41 people attended. We want to assure ourselves, we are working towards effective grouping/organizing, keeping the political line, and keeping the pigz out of our planning. We wish to be peaceful, organized, and most important, as effective as possible.

We are organizing for the Grievance campaign - we've received the sample sheet from MIM(Prisons). This has been an issue, here at Sussex I and throughout Virginia DOC. I recently sent you an article titled "Suppression the Grievance Procedure".

My comrades, we are working. We've got support from Bloods (over 200), GDs (over 25), MS-13 (20) and Muslims, Christians and 5%ers. I can only say we will work and work for results!

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[Organizing] [Education] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 53]
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Virginia Study Group Organizing for Education and Action

Greetings Comrades! We, the study group here at Sussex I State Prison – Virginia, submits our Ten Point Agenda, after organizing around the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles.

After weeks of meeting, discussing our needs to organize (orderly and peacefully), agreeing on statement of principles, and the ideas/ideals presented by MIM(Prisons), we've gained verbal organizational agreements, to work to rid ourselves of violence, destructive behaviors, engage in revolutionary ideas/ideals and work for greater good: Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, and Independence.

We've deputized coordinators, in duties not names, of: Finance/Business, Education, Arts & Culture, collecting donations, and using ULK and like materials to be teaching/educational tools (we will need more).

We've identified areas we can work on, and need improvements. Collectively, we will move to address these concerns. Our first step: educate the captives of our disadvantages, empower them with measures we can use to confront these disadvantages (including holding each of us accountable), complete, collect and mail in request forms, complaint forms, if need be file legal litigations. If no resolve, use our greater willpower – fasts, spend no money campaign, etc.

We have an educational coordinator, who will guide the movement as it relates to the Ten Point Agenda – reporting every two weeks of progress, need action, etc. (We will give the oppressor fifteen days to answer our concerns, if no response, we move to Step II.)

This Ten Point Agenda is not an end-all plan, but it does allow us to establish a line of politics, keep and maintain the line, and enables us to confront social controls and oppression.

As we work the plan, we plan to contact outside organizations (including MIM) to aid in our plight to get forms of social and systematic justice. (We have experienced individuals, including myself, willing and ready to teach on filing 42 USC 1983 civil suits.)

You have inspired us to mobilize, organize, mobilize and organize! After 8 weeks and numerous pod meetings we have arrived. We will continue to keep you abreast on our progress, needed materials. We will continue to donate, send artwork, and articles to aid your work.

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