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[Censorship] [Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc] [Federal]
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Feds Threatening First Ammendment with New Policies

I am writing you this letter to bring to your attention as serious situation that is about to occur at this facility. On 16 March 2020, the Acting Warden is about to implement a Draconian, repressive, and extremely restrictive mail policy. This policy DOES NOT conform to the Code of Federal Regulations and is in violation of the United States Postal Regulation.

This policy includes the ability to arbitrarily censor a prisoner’s mail without warning and without providing any notification that it is being done. This new policy affects ALL General Correspondence, which includes letters from families, the courts, religious organizations, financial institutions, and every other type of correspondence that is not a newspaper, magazine, or book.

The institution is using the influx of “spice” (synthetic marijuana) as an excuse to enact this policy. A review of the existing Code of Federal Regulations already gives the institution authority to place a specific prisoner on a restrictive mail policy for specific reasons (such as introducing or using drugs). This new policy affects everybody, even though the population that is abusing the drugs is less than 5%.

Also, the local warden shouldn’t be allowed to enact new rules at the local level. I wish to provide an example. Let’s say that every local postmaster could enact local rules. A postmaster in San Francisco could raise the postage by .15 per stamp. A postmaster in Chicago could end deliveries on Saturdays. A postmaster in New York could dictate that only mail weighing less than 10oz can be delivered. If every local postmaster could enact their own postal rules at whim, this would completely disrupt the delivery of mail across the country, and I am certain the public wouldn’t allow it.

The most egregious rules are:

  1. All correspondence must be on white paper and in white envelopes, or it will be rejected. The problem with this is that most courts, and many businesses mail documents in manila envelopes.

  2. All accepted correspondence and photos will be removed from the envelopes and photocopied. The photocopy will be delivered to the prisoner and the originals will be destroyed. Basically, the Acting Warden has changed the rules so that he can destroy your property without your permission. How can an prisoner know if something even arrived? The mailroom can simply destroy it and no one would be the wiser. There is no law or federal rule which authorizes the warden to open up people’s mail and make photocopies. Think of the privacy concerns. Suddenly the institution is now storing a digital copy of your private mail somewhere. Are they keeping this in a database for future review?

I ask the reader to think of the importance of photos in your life. Childhood photos, wedding photos, graduation photos, vacation photos, etc. For prisoners who cannot have visits and are locked up for decades, photos are the single most important way to convey information of loved ones. To simply replace a quality photo, with a cheap photocopy completely diminishes this important visual connection AND since there is NO EVIDENCE that photos can be used to hide drugs, this new rule is arbitrary and capricious and only serves to increases the hardships and burdens of being in prison.

You (the Public) pay the United States Post Office (USPS) a fee (.55) to deliver the mail to the recipient (prisoner). The prisoner has signed a CONTRACT with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to allow them to open and check the envelope for contraband, then deliver the envelope with the contents. Now the Warden is violating the terms of this contract without having the prisoner sign a new contract.

Since this is a NEW RULE, ONLY the agency itself can make this type of change. In order to do so the agency MUST submit the proposed rule change to the Director of the Federal Register, who will publish it so the public and review and comment on the changes. If each local Warden can suddenly change the rules without following this process, what stops them from limiting the number of hours to access religious services, visiting, or access to medical services?

  1. All correspondence shall have no more than five pieces of white, single-sided, 8.5 x 11, paper per envelope. A person can currently mail much more than 5 pieces of paper in an envelope at a cost of $0.15 per additional ounce. This new rule effectively increases the cost to send any additional ounces to $0.55. This will negatively impact the poor.

Also, many organizations, legal firms, businesses, NEED to send in more than 5 pages, or print on both sides. This new policy will allow the Warden unlimited power to arbitrarily reject mail he doesn’t like (ACLU, Prison Legal News, etc.), under the guise that it violates the page limit rule. Again, there is no security risk to printing on both sides of a piece of paper or mailing more than 5 pieces in the same envelope.

  1. All incoming correspondence shall have envelopes which DO NOT have mailing labels. All addresses must be written in ink. Many organizations, legal firms, businesses utilize mailing labels to reduce costs. Again, this policy allows the Warden to arbitrarily reject mail that he doesn’t want.

These are just SOME of the new rules the acting warden plans on implementing on 16 March 2020. This will have numerous negative effects upon BOTH the public and the prison population. Further, if local wardens are suddenly granted the power to create any new rule they desire, without going through the proper process, then the entire federal system can be abused by a local authority, WITHOUT THE PUBLIC’S KNOWLEDGE!! The Warden ALREADY has UNDER EXISTING POLICY to reject ANY Correspondence if it is deemed to have contraband. What ISN’T ALLOWED is for the Warden to REJECT the Correspondence of ALL PRISONERS simply because of the Warden’s belief that contraband COULD be in a particular piece of mail.

As prisoners, we are often forgotten. Everybody hears and sees the stories of family separation of people from other countries at our border. But what about the on-going family separation of our citizens confined within our prisons? As prisoners confined within these prison walls, our resources are limited to fight this “EXTREMELY RESTRICTIVE” mail policy. Most prisoners want to take action but worry about being harassed and retaliated against by staff when they make their complaints known. I know this from personal experience. MY personal property has been gone through and destroyed. My mail is being rejected or “lost”. I have been threatened with sanctions and retaliatory transfer.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! Please contact your local federal representative (Congressperson or Senator), the Western Regional Director, The BOP Director, the Director of the Federal Register, The Postmaster General, post this to your Facebook page, make your feelings known on Twitter, contact a media representative and ask them to investigate, make a request to a civil rights organization (ACLU, FAMM, etc.) or a religious organization and ask for their assistance.


MIM(Prisons) adds: For those of us involved in supporting prisoners we know that the First Amendment rights to free speech and association are a constant battle field in this country. Fighting censorship in prisons and combating the unaccountable grievance system where prisoners are punished for voicing such concerns are part of defending the basic civil rights of oppressed peoples here in these United $tates.

These petty rules, like the Michigan prison that recently censored our mail for having postage stamps on it, are a blatant effort to silence certain voices and to needlessly deprive prisoners of the things that can help them.

FCI Lompoc can be contacted at: 3600 GUARD ROAD LOMPOC, CA 93436 Email: LOX/[email protected] Phone: 805-736-4154

We encourage people to write and call to express their concerns about the proposed policies. It seems that they may have already gone into place based on the timeline our comrade provided above. We will update this article as we find out more. Please email us with your updates or any reports on your attempts to contact the BOP on this issue.

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[Censorship] [Thumb Correctional Facility] [Michigan]
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No Postage Stamps Allowed on Michigan Mail

Our most recent censorship notice came from GOA T. Bates at Thumb Correctional Facility in Michigan. The reason our mail was censored? “MAIL - WITH LABEL AND POSTAGE STAMP”. So you can send mail to prisoners in Michigan as long as you don’t put a postage stamp on it. Do they understand how the postal service works?

Of course they do. Violations of our First Amendment rights for illogical reasons is common occurrence here in these United $nakes. There are no rights that we don’t stand up for and defend. Right now we are behind on fighting censorship battles, but we could use your help in increasing the pressure on such egregious cases as this. See our Prison Censorship database for examples of protest letters, and our legal/caselaw page for existing court precedents. Please email us any letters you send, or about any phone calls you make or if you have any questions.

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[MIM] [Polemics]
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On the Passing of Comrade Prairie Fire

Praire Fire LLCO

In a New Year’s statement for 2020, llco.org stated:

“While we have much to celebrate, we also mourn the loss of a once dear comrade, who passed away earlier this year. Prairie Fire, who was integral to crafting our theory and authored many of our earlier articles, lost his battle with drug addiction this past April. Although he was expelled from our ranks in 2016, we still recognize and honor the important role he played in the formative years of our Organization.”

2019 was certainly a year of loss and transformation for the Maoist movement in the United $tates.(1) While the Leading Light Communist Organization abandoned Maoism as such for its own self-aggrandizing brand shortly after forming, comrade Prairie Fire was someone who we had great unity with over the years. While our knowledge of eir work is somewhat limited, ey was someone who dedicated eir life to building a revolutionary movement.

Prairie Fire spent some time working with the Revolutionary Communist Party (UA)beforebeingwonoverbytheMIMcritiquesoftheRCP = UA brand of revisionism. Prairie Fire, having been a student of Avakian’s work, wrote some biting critiques of Avakian’s writings for MIM.(2) In its later years, MIM came to promote the It’s Right to Rebel online discussion forum as a place for Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League comrades to organize. Prairie Fire was a lead figure in the IRTR project ideologically and work-wise. MC5, later revealed as Henry Park, would come to consider the IRTR a failure and proof that you cannot out-number the fascists and cops on a public internet forum.

Not long after the IRTR experiment had begun, the original MIM Comrades cell dissolved and the etext.org MIM website was left in the hands of lead theoretician Henry Park. By this time MIM had dropped most of the infrastructure related to the prison ministry into the hands of comrades who would come to form MIM(Prisons). One of those founding comrades came from IRTR.

Once Henry Park was on eir own, eir writings became more erratic, accusatory and difficult to decipher. It was at this time that Prairie Fire began leading the call to disassociate from MIM. Another key point of struggle was MC5’s continued promotion of Mousnonya as the MIM Art Minister. MC5’s failure to denounce Mousnonya, who participated in IRTR, was very concerning for the core membership of IRTR. Comrades could not understand the free reign of creative license that seemed to be allowed to Mousnonya, whose content was inconsistent in its political message. While IRTR was condemned as a failure, swimming with fascists, MC5 hinted at other reasons for the Mousnonya relationship, but we don’t know what those were. Unfortunately, Mousnonya videos are still prominent on YouTube’s search when looking for MIM content.

Most of IRTR’s core membership followed Prairie Fire in denouncing Henry Park as having lost it and went off to form Monkey Smashes Heaven (MSH) and associated projects. These projects eventually put out the Sunrise Statement declaring “Maoism Third-Worldism” as a new, higher stage of historical materialism, intentionally distancing themselves from MIM Thought. Comrades who formed MIM(Prisons) at that same time stood by the MIM legacy and the writings of Henry Park until eir early death in 2011.(3) We put online and continue to host the latest version of the MIM etext.org site that we had a copy of before it was shut down.

At the same time that IRTR was operating, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement arose in Denver, organizing in alliance with MIM around support for Ward Churchill in eir fight for academic freedom, and anti-war and anti-militarism. As MSH wanted to to go beyond online media and art projects, it morphed into an aspiring vanguard organization called the Leading Light Communist Organization. This group was active in Denver and included 2 comrades from RAIM-Denver on the central committee, with the intent of using the RAIM name and formation as the LLCO-led mass organization.

While MIM(Prisons) criticized the idea that there was a new stage of revolutionary science beyond Maoism, we saw the MSH alliance (and later LLCO) to generally uphold the MIM cardinal principles, even as they continued to find more aspects of MIM Thought and writings that they disagreed with. As the primary theoretician behind LLCO, we know Prairie Fire was a lead force in this continuous distancing from MIM.

Some time after forming LLCO, Prairie Fire decided that eir ideas had again become so distinct that they constituted a new ideology, called “Leading Light Communism.” Without discussion with other central committee members, LLCO abandoned “Maoism Third-Worldism” for “Leading Light Communism” as it continued to move its rhetoric in a direction that MIM(Prisons) found to be sectarian and dogmatic.(4) RAIM comrades in LLCO made a similar assessment, and soon split with LLCO, which in turn denounced RAIM as wreckers. At this point RAIM became a collective focused on a news blog at anti-imperialism.com without a clearly defined ideology. Over the years RAIM would go back to the “Maoist Third-Worldism” identity. As membership changed, RAIM began to come around to the MIM(Prisons) position on a new stage of revolutionary science. In its last years, RAIM was in regular discussions with MIM(Prisons), regarding plans to launch joint projects under the MIM name. As RAIM has since been dissolved, comrades who have followed the MIM(Prisons) and RAIM legacies continue to work towards a reconsolidation of the MIM.

After a struggle with LLCO over its gender analysis in 2014,(5) MIM(Prisons) paid little attention to LLCO as practical alliance had reached an impasse. While the nature of its activity was unclear to us, it seemed focused on leading struggles in the Third World. Essentially, it had gone full circle due to seeing the center of world revolution in the Third World, and it had taken up a Trotskyist strategy of leading Third World organizing from the First World. Prairie Fire had gone back to the ways of Bob Avakian.

According to the recent statement from LLCO, Prairie Fire was expelled from the organization in 2016 for drug use. It was around this time that Prairie Fire reached out to us to notify us that LLCO had been usurped by enemies, and ey was regrouping around a formation called “the Founders.” That was the last we heard from Prairie Fire.

As our movement is in a period of great transition and transformation, we wanted to take this opportunity to document some of this history now that people have passed and organizations have dissolved.

We also wanted to comment on Prairie Fire’s passing because we saw em as a fellow traveler, despite our differences over the years. While eir practice was not really known to us in much detail, we had respect for eir ideas and eir efforts. Certainly more than most organizations out there. So it is sad that we learn of eir passing.

It is also sad when we hear that a comrade had succumbed to drug addiction. Developing healthy lives in this sick system is a challenge, to say the least. That is why we have comrades currently developing a program for those dealing with addiction and other challenges related to being healthy in an imperialist society that we are struggling against. And we welcome help and input from comrades on this project, as we strive to Serve the People in addressing the effects of this society on the individual. The transformation of the individual is only completed in the individual contributing to the transformation of society.

We post the image of Prairie Fire above to commemorate and remember em. Yet it is not because of eir appearance or life story that we are writing on eir death. We are critical of eir efforts to build a cult of persynality around emself. Promoting eir image and eir persynal history is promoting pre-scientific thinking. We must be real with the people. We must strike a balance between those who see themselves as great, and make great statements, and those who shy from the vanguard role and deny revolutionary truths. We must be clear and honest about what we know, and what we are doing, and what we don’t know, and what we are not accomplishing.

At times it seemed that Prairie Fire was always striving to distinguish emself as having done something new and different, falling into the trap of post-modernism that ey emself condemned. We are not in revolutionary times. We can not have the impact or discover the truths that Mao or Lenin did in our current conditions. We mustn’t strive to be the next Mao or Lenin. We must strive to be humble, dedicated servants of the people; always struggling and striving in the direction of revolutionary transformation of society, as so many millions of people who came before us have done. We are a part of something great. We are doing great things. There is nothing great about us as individuals.

Prairie Fire was a leader. Overall ey led people in the right direction, though at times ey led people away from MIM Thought. We should strive to unite with all who are in agreement with MIM’s three cardinal principles. These are what distinguish us as Maoists, that are moving in the overall direction toward a world without oppression.

^*Notes:

  1. Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons), February 2020, MIM Line on Labor Aristocracy: Liberating Truth or Depressing Reality?

  2. Prairie Fire critique’s Conquer the World, also see our RCP study pack

  3. Soso of MIM(Prisons), September 2011, Henry Park Obituary: MIM Comrade and Devoted Revolutionary, Under Lock & Key issue 22.

  4. MIM(Prisons), March 2012, Review: Monkey Smashes Heaven 1 & 2.

  5. Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons), November 2014, A Scientific Definition of Rape and Why the Gender Aristocracy is Important, Under Lock & Key issue 41.*^

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[Education] [Theory]
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Education is Key for Releasees

Greetings to all my brothers and sisters on lock-down and on the outside fighting the struggle against oppression everywhere. This is from your hardcore revolutionary brotha in South Georgia. With great respect and love. I want to share this information with you in the hopes of you doing the same.

Education is better than incarceration!
Something we can all support!

I’ve learned in the hardest way possible that in the United $nakes of Amerikkka every felony conviction – no matter what the judge officially assigns in months or years – results, quite literally, in a life sentence. As a strong proponent of decarceration, I am encouraged by the efforts toward sentencing reform which will get some people out of prison sooner. But I am painfully aware that release from prison will present new challenges for those individuals whose futures have been made permanently fragile by their status as convicted criminals.

The lifetime consequences of a criminal conviction are evident in the diminished social status and in the devastation of poor communities and communities of blacks that have been hyper-policed, hyper-prosecuted and hyper-punished for decades.

Individuals from these communities are punished not only by virtue of the time they actually spend in prison, on probation, or in an alternative program, but because of the additional punishments that are inflicted for a lifetime. The consequences of a felony conviction include periods of voter disenfranchisement, travel restrictions, restricted access to public housing, restrictions of federal educational benefits, barriers to certifications and licensure of certain professions, and an irreversible stigma that permeates every aspect of life.

For those who spend time in prison, release is stressful even under the best of circumstances. People are released with a small stipend that barely covers the cost of living for a day or two. Without adequate assistance, many understandably fail to find meaningful employment, build healthy relationships and integrate successfully into a community. Having been released to a militaristic system of supervision that provides few services, imposes conditions that almost guarantee – and often expects – failure, many parolees end up right back in prison. I have been down that road, and I make no excuses. Those who do manage to successfully stay out remain stigmatized by the requirement that they continue to identify themselves on legal documents, job and school applications, and in numerous other places as a person who has a criminal conviction, no matter how long ago the original crime occurred.

These types of punitive responses to people who have made serious mistakes – but have already repaid their debts to society – do nothing to solve the problems. Like unemployment, which leads to crime, and hinders rather than promotes rehabilitation and successful integration into the community, it is difficult to understand why there would be any policy in place that would make it more difficult for people to come home from prison and do the right thing. I’m assuming the perspective of the mainstream in that doing the right thing means, at the very least, becoming self-supporting and living within the boundaries of the law. It has been argued that many of the barriers that are in place to restrict convicted people from certain jobs, from public housing, etc. are there to protect the public. However, the stronger arguments demonstrate that such barriers are purely punitive and that in being punitive to individuals we are actually causing further damage to society. Unsurprisingly, there is now strong evidence to show that by failing to provide convicted individuals with the tools needed to succeed once they leave the criminal justice system, growing incarceration has significantly increased poverty in the United $tates.

Among the most absurd punitive policies making it difficult to succeed after conviction are policies that restrict access to higher education. I say absurd because, at this point, even those on the most conservative side of the public dialogue about prison reform agree that “prisoners should be provided free education in order to reduce crime and recidivism.” This is a direct quote from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during a meeting of Right on Crime in Washington, DC a few years ago.

At the same time that living-wage employment has required higher skill levels, education – particularly higher education – has increasingly become the most under-appreciated, underused and under-supported tool offered inside correctional facilities. This has happened despite the numerous studies proving that education is the most reliable predictor of reduced criminal recidivism. Educational attainment, besides being a worthy goal in itself, also increases one’s prospects for securing meaningful employment, enabling individuals to support themselves and their families. While country-wide 43.3% of formerly incarcerated individuals are likely to return to prison within three years of release, the likelihood drops to 5.6% for recipients of a bachelor’s degree.

Despite this data, the growing trend is to create post-conviction barriers for individuals who are attempting to apply to college. The Center for Community Alternatives found that nearly 60% of colleges and universities country-wide screen students for criminal records during the application process. In some cases, applicants are asked whether they’ve ever been arrested – even if the arrest did not lead to a conviction. Institutions that request this information often do so without appreciation for how a criminal record may or may not impact a particular student’s ability to successfully engage in the educational process.

For incarcerated individuals who desire to access higher learning opportunities, yet another barrier exists: they are ineligible for federal Pell Grants. Established by the late Senator Claiborne Pell, the grants allowed people – including those inside correctional facilities – who could not afford college to access post-secondary education. Incarcerated students were made ineligible for Pell Grants in 1994 under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a contradiction of Senator Pell’s legacy of helping ensure that everyone could attend college. After eligibility was removed, the number of higher education programs in prisons dropped from 350 to 8 country-wide.

For more than 40 years, the goal of the Pell Grant program has been to provide need-based assistance to students to promote access to higher education. Funding flows directly to the educational institution, and eligibility for aid has been based on student need and expected family contributions. Pell Grants are available to anyone who qualifies; thus, removing the barrier to eligibility for incarcerated persons does not diminish the opportunity of any other eligible students who are motivated to pursue higher education.

As an incarcerated Black man, my incarceration does not define me, but people with criminal convictions live among us daily. It is up to you to decide how best to create systems and policies that promote public safety. Making it difficult for people to access opportunities and contribute to society is contrary to that goal, and contrary to the economic health of this country. Help support policy change to eliminate the 1994 ban on Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated persons and re-establish the opportunity for otherwise eligible people in prison to obtain college financial aid through Pell Grants for post-secondary education programs.

Straight from the “belly of the beast” on lock-down at Wilcox State Prison. The struggle continues and I fight on. One of the hardest who has ever done it. Power to the people.


PTT of MIM(Prisons) responds: It should be clear, from the evidence this comrade cites, that the criminal injustice system is not interested in rehabilitation or helping prisoners succeed on the streets. The restrictions on Pell Grants demonstrates just the opposite: prisons are a tool of social control of certain (e.g. oppressed-nation) populations, which are disproportionately targeted for imprisonment.

Getting Pell Grants reinstated for people with convictions would help reduce recidivism, as shown in this article. And that would certainly be a good thing for the internal semi-colonies, which are disproportionately affected by the oppression that comes from split families and the many other traumas of imprisonment.

At the same time, college education, for people of any nation, is controlled by the U.$. government, and thus does not teach a liberatory education curriculum. There’s no degree you can earn in the United $tates, or any country, that’s going to teach you how to liberate the majority of the world’s people from the effects of capitalist imperialism. It simply is just not allowed to exist, and it definitely won’t be paid for by taxpayer dollars.

All self-betterment, including college education, has its positive effects. If our goal is to end oppression worldwide and forever, we need to also build our own independent institutions that can educate people in what matters for the planet. And we don’t need federal funding to do this. We can start by creating more study groups behind bars, including the mail-based study groups supported by MIM(Prisons). We can expand these educational institutions to include comrades on the streets and provide ongoing education for releasees. When we control these programs we can ensure they persist and aren’t at the whims of government funding.

Our own educational programs are no substitute for a college degree when it comes to an individual’s earnings. GED programs and college classes are important opportunities for releasees, which can increase their abilities to contribute to liberatory projects. We don’t have the resources to substitute for these institutions yet, and we can help our comrades use these educational opportunities. Therefore our work around prisoner education supports the re-instatement of Pell Grants, while building independent education programs for prisoners and releasees that are grounded in the needs of oppressed people worldwide.

Individual gain is not our end goal in any education project. We don’t win unless we all win.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Population Control

Let’s talk about population control
Where your mind will explode
From heading down this road
To get the real upload

Let’s talk about population control
Where they acted as our friends
Then they stole this piece of land
Killed the woman, child and man
Now we celebrating “Thanks for giving in!”

Let’s talk about population control
Where our babies, babies stomachs are getting swoll
And being 24 is considered as being old

Let’s talk about population control
Where they let a few out on parole
And back before you
Even get out the hole

Let’s talk about population control
Listen to the rhythm of the beats
We know these people want us in these streets
And we still won’t move our feet

Let’s talk about population control
Where they scared they about to fall
Now they threaten us with building a wall
Let’s talk about population control
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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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From Sun Rise

From sun rise
Til night falls
We remember those who fell
In our stance of solidarity

Conditions created
Thus the problem created
"So called" crimes are committed
Thus the reaction is manifest

More prisons are built
Thus the solution arises
To oppress

From sun rise
Til night falls
We remember those who fell
In our stance of solidarity

The K-9 / Pork Rinds / Pig Robots
Inherit their racist oppressive
Views and beliefs from
Generations prior
Telling me to "do the right thing"
You're preaching to the choir

Justice for the martyrs
Plus ignite the revolution
Forward

From sun rise
Til night falls
We remember those who fell
In our stance of solidarity
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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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How I Plead?

when dey ask me
am i guilty?
or did i do it?

you commit the murder?
they say you killed someone
did you do it?
did you do it?
hmm hmm hmm?

dey gave me my first homicide
at eighteen years old
i never asked for it
dey made sure i brought it
i tried
and i fought it
even though i couldn't
even afford it
so i was made to
to have paid for it

so it's no turning back
after the first murder
i didn't want it
now yes i have
homicidal impulses
a vicious
malicious
brutal murderer
non-stop
psycho-schizomaniac
criminally insane
killer

ever since then
i do kill...

i kill imperialism
i kill capitalism
i kill colonialism
i kill racism
i kill white supremacy
i kill sexism
i kill religion
i kill holy'ism
i am holier than thou
the good negro
good boy
righteous until i die
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[Abuse] [International Connections] [Florida State Prison] [Florida]
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Prisoner Support Organizations Needed for Liberation

June 16, 2017 was a day of my current prison life that I would never forget, no matter how hard I try or no matter what my mental health counselors tell me about “letting go.” On this particular day, I was being escorted down the walkway at Suwannee Correctional Institution by a prison official by the name of Sergeant Moore, when out of nowhere Sergeant Moore placed his right let in front of my shackled feet and slammed me face first on the concrete floor, splitting my bottom lip on impact and knocking out three of my front teeth. Then he began repeatedly punching me in the face while stating "I’ll catch you in this blind spot every time mother fucker."

As this tragic incident was taking place, another prison official by the name of Lieutenant Riegel ran up to me, grabbed both sides of my face, and banged by head against the floor three times before more officers responded to the scene to take me to medical. I was taken to an outside hospital for facial trauma.

The bad part about this entire incident is that neither the prison's administration nor the Inspector Generals Office did anything about this incident, because the prison officials fabricated the paperwork stating that I attacked Sergeant Moore. In reality, Sergeant Moore was the one who attacked me, out of retaliation for the ongoing problems I was having with security at Suwannee C.I.

In addition, I was in full restraints from my hands down to my waist and feet at the time of this incident, which made it impossible for me to have attacked Sergeant Moore. The prison administration new this. However, they still swept this incident under the rug like they tend to do when officers brutally assault prisoners.

Now don't get me wrong, I've always heard of officers jumping on inmates in full restraints, but when it actually happened to me, my eyes were instantly opened to the corruption that's taking place in the Florida prison system, especially at prisons like Florida State Prison, Suwannee Correctional Institution, and Union Correctional Institution.

For example, there's something call the "Cell Extraction Team," which is a group of five officers, dressed in riot gear, whose sole purpose is to go inside of a cell and restrain a prisoner who allegedly "refuses" to submit to hand restraints. However, instead of sticking to the sole objective, these officers are often times going inside these cells and brutally beating inmates by kicking them, punching them, kicking their teeth out, etc. And while they're doing this, they're yelling "stop resisting." How can an inmate possibly resist when five officers are beating him? The entire time they're doing this, another officer stands in the doorway to block the view of the camera. I'm currently speaking from personal experience.

Another example is there's something called "Property Restriction," which is when officers strip a prisoner of all his property and clothes and leave them inside their cell in just a pair of boxers to sleep on the hard metal bunk, for allegedly "misusing" their property. However, instead of using property restriction for what it's intended for, officers are using this is a tool to simply strip a prisoner of all their clothes, and they are mainly doing this in the winter time. Once again, I am speaking from personal experience. Most states have actually abolished property restriction practices in prisons, deeming it cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, but it is still going on in the Florida prison system.

Truth be told, officers aren't the only ones that's participating in the corruption. The nurses are guilty as well because whenever officers assault inmates, instead of documenting our injuries, nurses are covering up for the officers by not documenting our injuries.

In addition to that, whenever we file grievances reporting what officers are doing to us, the grievance coordinators are throwing away grievances. Which is why I've decided to write this short story to shine some light on the corruption that's taking place.

The worst part is, the Florida Prison system administration is fully aware of this cruel and inhuman treatment that's being inflicted upon inmates, because they're the ones who sign off on the paperwork. Yet still they're not doing anything about it.

No one deserves to be treated this way. The readers of this article can even go online and see with their own eyes that Suwannee C.I. was under investigation for this same corruption a few years ago.

Now, I know some people may feel like we are criminals so we deserve to suffer in prison. However, our mistakes don't define who we are as a person. It's our heart. And I know there's people in the community who know some very good-hearted people that's locked up in prison. In addition to that, since I've been incarcerated, I've written three novels and I'm currently working on my fourth novel, which shows that coming to prison has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Because if I hadn't come to prison I would have never discovered my God-given talent.

My only desire now is to expose the corruption in the Florida prison system because not only are these officials mistreating us, but they are also taking advantage of us.

I'm just trying to show the community how corrupted the prison system is, and it should be this way. Prison is supposed to be a place for prisoners to rehabilitate themselves before they go back into society. But how can we rehabilitate ourselves if we are constantly being mistreated in prison, and then they wonder why prisoners get out of prison and do the same thing. Because we didn't learn anything.

And whether or not the community believes it, prisons are some of the most corrupted places in the world. I've seen officers purposely put two inmates in the same cell, knowing that both inmates were having problems with each other. And these are just some of the things prison officials have been doing.

Consequently, I'm sincerely asking that the community assist us with pushing the "Prison Lives Matter Organization" (PLM Organization) because it's only so much us as inmates can do from behind the doors. I've already written the blueprint for the PLM Organization and I don't mind sharing it with someone who's interested in being the co-founder of the organization. However, I'm looking for people who's sincerely going to put their heart and dedication into bringing about a change in the Florida Prison System. If you are a serious inquiry, then you may contact MIM Distributors for information on how you can contact me, and you can be part of the PLM Organization.

PTT from MIM(Prisons) responds:We fully echo this comrade's call for people on the outside to get involved in supporting prisoners' struggles. We are even recruiting for our own outside-support organization, and it's in a similar phase as PLM Organization. The main thing lacking right now is people getting involved. If you are inspired to contribute to prisoners' struggles in Florida or elsewhere, but can't join MIM(Prisons) at a cadre level for whatever reason, we would be ecstatic to support the development of a new prisoner-support mass organization.

We have a policy that we don't build organizations outside of the MIM(Prisons) umbrella, but a prisoner-support mass organization led by MIM(Prisons) can work in united front with other groups like the PLM Organization. Or maybe the Maoist-led mass organization takes on the work that encompasses what PLM is out to transform, so prisoners have an organization they can turn to rather than needing to start their own from behind bars as individuals. There's a great opportunity here and we encourage "people who's sincerely going to put their heart and dedication into bringing about a change" to get in touch with MIM(Prisons) directly via our contact page.

We have a different view than this comrade about the role of prisons and the causes of criminality in our present United $tates society. Where ey says that going to prison was a blessing in disguise, we ask, "why aren't there opportunities for certain populations of people to develop their talents outside of prison?" And where ey says mistake don't define a persyn, we ask, "why are people committing these mistakes in the first place?" And "who gets to say what counts as a crime, or not?" Clearly there are many, many people in U.$. society who do things that harm many other people, and they are not considered to be criminals, and are not punished by the court system. So, why is that?

It would be great if prisons were a place where people who harm other people go to see the errors of their ways and transform into people who are able to contribute to society. Like this comrade who started writing novels and advocating for prisoners' rights behind the walls. In fact, that's what prisons were like in communist China under Mao Tse-tung, and that's a social model that we look to for inspiration and guidance on how we can create it in our own future. Chinese society under Mao is where we get our name "Maoist" from. We are big fans.

And we look to Chinese society under Mao for how we can create a culture and economic system that means people aren't committing crimes that stem from survival needs, or mental health issues, or historical trauma. Imagine how much less harm there would be in the world if these low-level "crimes" became obsolete — if people's survival needs were met, mental health was taken care of, and historical trauma was healed and not perpetuated. Not to mention if the capitalist crimes against humynity were abolished, and we had clean rivers, and all peoples were allowed to thrive.

So we think prisons in this country are working exactly as designed. They're not really "corrupted," because the entire purpose of them is for social control, to keep certain populations and certain ideas suppressed. Every act that communicates that "prisoners' lives don't matter" and "you can't do that" is part and parcel to prisons under capitalism. When you consider that capitalist prisons aren't meant to rehabilitate "criminals," you can see that they are actually working perfectly. Whether by punishment (beatings, isolation) or reward (TV, privileges), U.$. prison administrators are doing their job and doing it well.

MIM(Prisons) aims to get at the root of this suffering, which we see as the capitalist economic system itself. On the surface, the economic system might seem unrelated to abuse of prisoners, and to a certain extent we could have better prison conditions (prison reform) under capitalism. But as Maoists we are out to create a world free from all oppression, not just a relief of some oppression for a few groups. Where some groups are given privileges, other groups are still suffering and often times suffering worse to make up for it. We believe that only through addressing the root cause of the suffering — capitalism and imperialism — can we fully support prisoners' struggles here and around the world.

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[MIM]
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MIM Line on Labor Aristocracy: Liberating Truth or Depressing Reality?

As the launch of a new Maoist Internationalist Movement newsletter was scheduled to occur in the next week or so, we are addressing in part the events of the last 6 weeks that have delayed this project indefinitely. There were a series of splits, degenerations and internal struggles within our movement that came to a head last month. We are still assessing where things will fall, as we work to keep the prison ministry projects operating.

On 10 December 2019, remaining members of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement announced, "After nearly 13 years of existence, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM) is no more. Contradicting lines and practical inadequacies have been allowed to fester to the point of intractability, resulting in several splits and the widespread abandonment of our organization."(1)

RAIM was our primary partner in the planned newsletter. There have been promises of more thorough assessments of RAIM's history and shortcomings, but the most detailed commentary right now is at the link in the notes below. One of the key things it highlights is the challenges of revolutionary organizations to engage in the practice that allows us to learn from and bind ourselves to the masses in real struggle while in a non-revolutionary situation. There is a challenge in distinguishing ourselves in action, not just words, from the countless non-profits, non-governmental organizations, liberal reform groups and other bourgeois institutions misdirecting energy and resources from the struggles of oppressed people in this country.

The announcement from RAIM was followed shortly by the sudden resignation by a cadre member of MIM(Prisons). This loss seems to echo some experiences coming out of the RAIM camp, and this article is an attempt to analyze it in terms of phenomena that stem from our conditions in particular and that we must try to combat.

In contrast to some other struggles that had happened within MIM(Prisons) and within RAIM, this comrade who left MIM(Prisons) said they had no political disagreements and therefore there was nothing to discuss or struggle over. In their resignation they stated, "I've come around to the belief that the humyn race is likely doomed at its own hand." Ey went on to say, "I don’t see a better political line out there, instead I see a problem with me and my First World conditions. I'm no longer able to rally the energy to continue contributing."

For some of us, this is a hard position to understand. For some of us there is no life free of despair outside of a committed struggle for a world without oppression. However, we must understand that we live in a predominately petty bourgeois country, and what the class interests of that class is, and what its political outlook is. Only then can we understand and combat these types of conclusions.

On the one hand, it was mostly true that this comrade did not see a better political line. In fact, until eir last days with us ey was upholding that line in practice, even challenging others who were wavering in their own belief that Maoist organizing, in the form it took within our movement anyway, was the best way to struggle against oppression.

However, it was just a few weeks prior when i was editing an article this comrade had written reviewing the recent Terminator movie. In it they had commented on capitalism marching towards the annihilation of nature and humyn life. I argued we should change the clause to "annihilation of the current balance of life on Earth that humyns depend on." The "annihilation of nature" is such an absolute concept that i'm not sure humyns could be capable of such a thing if they tried. Even the elimination of humyn life is an extreme outcome.

This seemingly subtle change hit at an underlying line struggle that emerged as em leaving the movement completely because ey thought "the humyn race is likely doomed at its own hand." This type of apocalyptic outlook is unfortunately common in our petty bourgeois culture. The petty bourgeoisie is a class whose purpose is based in consumption, leading to a different type of alienation than what Marx talked about; one that leads towards nihilism. And this is a truly First World problem that we should take seriously.

Whether it's lifelong communists retreating to the comforts of a consumer life built on the exploitation of the Third World, or imperialist warhawks attempting to literally initiate a biblical rapture, First World nihilism is a threat to humyn life. Whether it will kill off all of the humyn race aside, we sure know it kills a lot of us, and it is happening every day as long as imperialism stays in place.

There are two main forms of political degeneration that we see. There are those that abandon attempts at change to take up a bourgeois position as this comrade did. Then there are those who sneak bourgeois politics into their practice. The more obvious examples of the latter are comrades leaving to join single-issue reformist groups. The more insidious are those who take up a revisionist, or non-revolutionary line that hides in Maoist clothing. Really there is only one form of political degeneration: it is the abandoning of proletarian politics for bourgeois politics in one form or another.

The fact that this comrade, who had served the people and upheld the proletarian line against attacks for so long, did not see eir decision as a disagreement in political line makes no sense. The MIM line is very clear that our strategic confidence comes from the 80% of the world's people who have a material interest predominately opposed to imperialism. Mao Zedong said that the imperialists were paper tigers, and proved in practice what that meant; that they are dangerous on the surface, but will collapse in the face of organized peoples' power. So clearly the comrade had disagreements with Maoist political line.

Apparently this comrade felt ey had made up eir mind and didn't want to engage in struggle anymore. This reminds me of the many times people have told me they don’t listen to the news anymore because it just makes them depressed. And sure, I can relate to getting upset at times at things that I hear on the news. But most often I listen to the news with an open mind to understanding the world around me, the good and the bad. To stick one’s head in the sand is easier than looking for answers. But if you are just getting depressed every time you listen to the news, it is because you are not engaged in the process transforming our reality and/or you think humynity is doomed and there are no answers to the massive problems we are facing. To believe there are no answers is metaphysical thinking – ideas that things just are the way they are, or maybe even that humyn nature is just bad. This is religious/idealist thinking. And it is strange to come from a comrade who spent many years railing against religious and idealist thinking and advocating Maoism based in a historical materialist analysis of history.

Knowing what this comrade knew, the lie ey told, perhaps to emself, about not disagreeing with us politically can only be explained as an excuse to do what this persyn subjectively wanted to do. If they were being honest with us they might have said something like "i feel that my life will be happier, more fulfilling, more rewarding by abandoning the struggle against oppression and imperialism." And i know what you're thinking, what kind of sick mind could think that? Well, we are surrounded by sick minds, present company included. Here in the belly of the beast, to seek out and uphold a proletarian position takes real effort and fortitude. It is going against all we are taught. And that is why this struggle to transform society is dialectically a struggle to transform ourselves. All the self-help books and therapy sessions cannot transform us in to the new socialist humyns we are striving to be. Only revolution can transform us to the point that we have eliminated this sickness.

Well, you say, aren't we in the First World hopeless then, because revolution is so far off? For one, revolutions happen quickly. It is true that our movement has been saying for decades that we do not live in revolutionary conditions. But that could change in a matter of months. And for the oppressed, crisis is opportunity, not the individualist, nihilist fantasy of the zombie apocalypse or the end of humynity that the petty bourgeois culture prophesizes. Secondly, we do not have to achieve a stateless communist utopia to begin to transform ourselves. In fact, we transform every day. It is up to us whether we are training our brains to become more responsive to capitalist advertising and consumption or training ourselves to better embody the proletarian line and morality that leads us to struggle every day. That struggle defines us. And it impacts those around us. And together we lay the groundwork for a better tomorrow. Tomorrow can be better, a step in the right direction, or not. It is in the act of making revolution that we can cure the disease that has infested all our minds, and the system that requires unnecessary death and suffering to grease its wheels.

The recent events have created a significant shake up in our plans. These were long-term plans that were closely reaching their due date. Needless to say the setbacks have brought temporary disappointment and discouragement. At the same time we have been striving for a new path, and this shake up can help us get there. To date we have had a very small, though dedicated, membership. We have already begun to transform that reality in recent weeks as we develop relationships with a number of new comrades. Even here, in the heart of empire, we know the number of potential comrades out there vastly outnumber what we have managed to unite to date. And we know it is our responsibility to be effective at we do, to inspire the masses to join our movement. It will take us some more months to get back up to speed. And we don't foresee any newsletter coming out before that. But we are rebuilding. And we invite you to join us.

Notes: 1. https://old.reddit.com/r/mao_internationalist/comments/e8wmjv/announcement_the_revolutionary_antiimperialist/
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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Shadow

The silhouette of his shadow which is cast upon the dirty concrete floor has finally become his only true trusted yard companion yet even then his cautionary ways still cause him to entertain a certain shadow of a doubt. Wondering if he can afford to exhale with a strong sense of content.

Is it safe to simply assume that it's a solidified fact that his shadow will always have his back? Or is that simply psychological lore?

If solitary forms of confinement nothing more than a plotted plan to lure, bait and seek out the weak.

If the only true permanent fact found in the parable of "anything behind the back will eventually try to attack."

If that should be the case, then how does one strategically wage an effective battle against his own damn shadow?

Is this a simple reflection of a parable and rhyme of a true reclusive mind or is it actually a classic example of a chicken shit battle of a man scared of his own damn shadow?

Although I believe this poem is somewhat entertaining, I simply used it as a vehicle to express something much deeper. That would be the psychological toll that it takes on one's mind when they are subjected to years of solitary confinement. Especially after being entwined one way or another in continuous acts of bloody violence all in the spirit of survival.

Sometimes trying to preserve one's way of life. Other times defending one's belief system. Or simply trying to stay alive to push forward and fight another day.

Adding to the mix and price of the psychological toll is the back stabbing acts of betrayal by those you once cared for, trusted, and in many ways still love. Amongst many other psychological issues it becomes extremely hard to know who and when to trust as your actual life and freedom can depend on it.

The stakes are high and the toll is heavy, so paranoia can and does run deep and rapid.

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