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[Campaigns] [Organizing] [United Struggle from Within]
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USW Reaching Out to Outside Orgs - Open Letter to CURE

[This article was written by the USW Coordinator of MIM(Prisons) incorporating points made by members of the Countrywide Council of USW.]

The Countrywide Council of USW, or Double C, has been working on a concerted effort to reach out to other organizations as a way to expand organizing with people on the outside, and to build a united front in general. The Double C decided to publish their letter to CURE in ULK as an example of these efforts, and to provide a guide to others. We invite all USW comrades to participate in this outreach campaign, and this article is to provide some guidelines in doing so.

First, many readers may ask, am I a member of United Struggle from Within (USW)? Can I write to other organizations as a member of USW?

Good question. Anyone could send out a letter and sign it "USW", we have no control over that. But we certainly hope you would not do that unless you are pushing USW campaigns and politics accurately. USW has two levels of membership: supporter and leader. Supporters are defined as:

"A USW supporter helps build USW in eir prison/area. This persyn may not initiate projects by eirself, but will readily implement requests from USW leaders and MIM(Prisons). Supporters may contribute in many different areas of work including: writing articles for ULK, producing revolutionary art, translating, sending in donations, running a study group or otherwise educating people and building reading skills, working on a campaign such as the grievance petition, referring new subscribers to ULK, and conducting MIM(Prisons)-directed surveys. This persyn writes to MIM(Prisons) less regularly [than a USW leader] but is responsive to letters and completes work assigned within a reasonable timeframe."

A leader is someone who launches campaigns and efforts to expand USW independent of MIM(Prisons), and/or organizes others under that leadership. Once you've developed a practice of leadership that we can verify over a period of time, you are considered a leader and you become eligible to join the Countrywide Council of USW.

As a mass organization, USW does allow for its members to also be members in other local, lumpen or nation-specific organizations at the same time. Comrades in the Double C should not identify themselves as such. Statements representing the Double C, and USW as a whole, must go through the Double C for approval first. Therefore publicly identifying oneself as a Double C representative gives a false sense of authority, while risking the security of the individual member.

The Double C is currently developing its protocol for conducting official correspondence with other organizations. If you feel comfortable representing USW work and positions, then you can write a letter from "[Your Name], a member of United Struggle from Within." However, since you might not accurately represent certain aspects of USW’s positions because you are new, the Double C will serve to provide official responses from USW to other organizations. You can even mention this in your own letters.

With this guideline, you do not need to be a USW leader to write other organizations about USW campaigns. In fact, if you’ve been reading ULK for a while, perhaps writing such a letter could be your first action taken as a USW supporter. But before you do so, you might ask: What should I write to these organizations about?

The focus should be on USW campaigns, projects and positions, and how they might overlap (and differ) from those of the other organization. A good way to structure your letter is "unity-struggle-unity." Start off talking about some aspect of USW work and how it connects to the work of that organization. If you can identify disagreements with this organization then you might bring those up as a form of struggle next. Or the struggle may just be something like, "hey, I haven’t seen you guys working on this issue, you should do more on it." Then close with more forward looking unity – try to lay out some practical steps for how they might work together with USW.

You may also write to other publications in response to a specific article or topic to point out a disagreement, or something that they missed. We often print such struggles with readers in ULK. Again, "unity-struggle-unity" is a good approach, and circling back to USW's practical work and analysis is helpful.

Regarding the letter to CURE from the Double C below, we should point out that CURE is a very different organization from ours. CURE believes imperialism can be reformed and it does not stand for the liberation of oppressed nations in this country. But the letter focuses on where we have unity and where we can work together, while pushing CURE to work with us in those areas. That is a good example of building toward a united front, where organizations with different beliefs and missions can find commonality.

What do I do when they respond to my letter? We encourage comrades to reach out to other organizations as a USW representative on your own, and in many cases we will have multiple USW members writing the same organization. This will build up USW’s reputation among other organizations, and allow our membership to grow by engaging in these dialogues. Once that dialogue reaches a point where you are not sure how to respond or proceed, you will want to hand it over to the Countrywide Council of USW or even to MIM(Prisons), depending on the topic of discussion. We will keep you in the loop on the ongoing discussion.

What is the goal of this campaign? There are multiple goals. First, we hope to popularize the work of USW with those on the outside, demonstrating our scientific work on the ground. This will increase the chances of building support for that work in the future. Second, we hope to build working relationships on campaigns and projects with other organizations. We hope to expand the view of these organizations and publications beyond select popular prisoners to the prison masses as a whole. Third, we hope to increase political unity within the prison movement. And where we can't establish unity, we hope to clarify our differences. This will help everyone in the movement better grasp the issues and the different positions that organizations take.

If you think USW is focused on the right campaigns and issues, and you think others should get on board, then this might be a good project for you to get involved in. Let us know who you're struggling with and over what. Or, if it's not too much trouble, even send us a copy of your letters. We can work with you if you want feedback before you send your first letter.


An Open letter to CURE National

from the Countrywide Council of United Struggle from Within

CURE National
PO Box 2310
Washington DC 20013

5 September 2017

First and foremost, we would like to give you thanks for the service that you offer to prisoners and the families of prisoners. In these days prisoners find it hard to locate individuals and organizations worthy of praise beyond the worth that most newsletters and papers are printed on. Members of the Countrywide Council of United Struggle from Within have read the latest few issues of CURE National’s Newsletter back to front and front to back. We must say, it checks out, so thank you.

One of the first CURE National Newsletters that we received included a listing of state chapters alongside the new requirements for state and issue chapters, namely that chapters have to meet, maintain a newsletter, and report the names of their members to their office in Washington. Now, we reviewed the list and see California is listed, but has nothing more than: [an individual's name, email and phone number].

One of our Council representatives wrote Colorado-CURE, Iowa-CURE, Nevada-CURE, New Mexico-CURE and Oregon-CURE of the western branches. Two replied in favor to our inquiry to be involved in local struggles, on account that California has no official branch of its own. Dianne Tramutola-Lawson, Chair at Colorado-CURE, suggested our Council representative write to the national office with comments.

The Countrywide Council is a leading body of a prisoner mass organization under the name United Struggle from Within (USW). USW is the brainchild of members and their students within an organization by the name Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons, or MIM(Prisons). Though it is an organization that is political from the vantage point of anti-imperialism and thus is anti-prisons, USW works for any reforms that are scientifically sane with the potential to [contribute to] end prisons as they stand.

USW has a leadership in prisons across the United $tates and can attest to a strong following in the pages of our bi-monthly newsletter (free to prisoners), published by our mother group, under the title Under Lock & Key. In the state with our strongest source of political activity, California, there isn't even a CURE branch?! We believe CURE is missing out on the greatest opportunity it could have, and is why the Council is committed to help CURE remedy this.

It is the job of our members to find ways to keep our movement working on issues that have the greatest potential of reducing prison populations and partnering with groups and organizations who share our vision of a world with less to no prisons. We believe that working with CURE National to develop a CURE California, the California Statewide Council of USW can put to use much more of the information and resources available, but only in a more direct way.

Take CURE National’s policy initiative for 2016. USW missed the opportunity to involve itself with the CURE policy initiative for 2016 due to unfamiliarity with CURE and the lack of any direct line of communication with its leadership, which would be needed before we moved for the Council to follow. We commend the democratic process of decision making in regards to what struggles CURE concentrates its resources and power. Particularly, CURE National Policy 924 – prisons. As USW is a group heavily engaged in struggles with nearly every state in the United $tates – addressing "The failure of prison grievance systems", we are sure that we, and our memberships may unite in forces to bring about a uniform grievance system in prisons across the board.

USW, and its supporters, has been working on a national prisoners campaign demanding prison officials address, honor and upkeep prisoners' grievances. Petitions have been developed at prisons in all of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas. Each state has a petition drawn particularly for its local conditions and regulations. [There is also a more generic petition written for use by prisoners held outside these states.]

USW's most difficult task is finding public support to move forward our campaigns in a peaceful and legal way. CURE National’s policy initiatives 2015 1185 hinted at what it thinks is the root of prisoners' problems: "Introducing a Constitutional Amendment into Congress that would repeal the exception clause in the 13th Amendment. This clause provides that slavery is not abolished for those incarcerated. Prisoners are exploited, and for many groups the exploitation raises to the level of slavery." For the purpose of saving time and space, we will not share our science on the subject, but instead guide supporters of the amerikkkan Constitution to the very First Amendment and protecting it. The salvation of the entire Constitution relies on the sound voice of the civilized people. If it is believed that prisoners are slaves and not citizens then it should be understood slaves are property, not human beings. Slaves are objects of labor, tasked as tools and instruments to build or destroy an ideal society. Slaves have no voice to speak of injustice, but instead masters and lords who represent them as Power of Attorney.

Prisoners have not signed off of the grid (U.$. citizenship). So it is extreme to take up struggles to have the state abolish prison slavery, however it would be totally reasonable to educate the public about the need for public oversight and community advocacy for the First Amendment rights of prisoners to be protected. It is with greater grievance power that prisoners and their supporters may address the injustices of prisons.

Prisoners, their organizations and the support groups behind grassroots crews lead in civil rights battles with the state. The problem is that the massive so-called grassroots base is alienated when it comes to discussions regarding the general body of the massive population (or masses). We believe this comes at the expense of a care-free public. People aren't interested enough in the affairs of prisoners or their families. The general consensus is that prisoners did the crime and must face the time.

Organizations like CURE National are in a position to change the public opinion. Its members, who are of the public, may interact with communities in ways that prisoners cannot; whether it be due to high levels of censorship applied by prison guards disrupting our lines of communication, or interference from a higher power (the U.$. intelligence agencies). Prisoner leadership behind these walls requires greater socialization opportunities if the Prison Movement is to impact upon our state of existence the change that rehabilitates. So here you have it, an open letter calling on you to serve.


In Struggle,

Countrywide Council of United Struggle from Within
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140
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[Legal] [Allred Unit] [Texas]
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Inspired to Act

I just finished re-reading in ULK 53 page 12 "Texas Reform Updates." It sufficiently raised my ire enough to put pen to paper and submit my 14-page memorandum which I had the balls to place into the "Head Warden's" hand personally. I enclosed a copy of the same with this letter.

As a result of that act, 90 minutes later I had a member of the Law Library staff in my cell going through my legal paperwork, devoid of the prerequisite authorization (I-186) of a Warden to do so. Whereas, other copies of my own writings — which I sent out, had duplicated, and returned via the U.S. Postal Service — were filched and used to administer a disciplinary case claiming additional fictitious contraband.

This memorandum outlines in detail how the law library (L/L) is run "out of compliance" with BP-03.81, ATC 020, 030, 050 and the Offender Orientation Handbook (I-202).

Among other things, participants of the L/L, i.e. prisoners, are disallowed the right to vocally interact in assisting each other in legal matters.

Since that fateful day, harassment and retaliation in the L/L has steadily intensified. Not being one to take this illicit conduct, I have sent a copy (oh, about eight of 'em) to various entities akin to "60 Minutes," Texas Attorney General, Texas Governor, Access to Courts (ATC) Administrator, Houston Chronicle and other prisoner-assisting organizations.

A multitude of the L/L patrons had no idea the actual truth of how a TDCJ L/L is intended to be operated and run. The staff are actually obligated to facilitate us (prisoners) in assisting one another in legal matters. Not harassing us for spreading the litigious knowledge — as per the ATC Rules.

I have several Step 2s [grievances] under review and am just awaiting their return so I can initiate State Tort action, because the Federal Courts do not have jurisdiction to make the State of Texas follow their own laws and rules. Only the State can make the State conform to its own rules.

If you think that I'm pissed, you're right! After all, I am convicted wrongfully, and wrongfully convicted in this pissant of a state. Being former military, I do not give in. I will prevail(!!) in getting things straightened out and being exonerated. In the course of accomplishing that, I will altruistically get the L/L in this POS unit to come into compliance with the legislatures' intent and the Board Policies intents too.

Other prisoners in Texas I am certain will have use for my memorandum. Go ahead and offer it up. If we prisoners in TDCJ don't start pulling together we are destined to end up fucked off. Expose these people for what they are!


MIM(Prisons) responds: TDCJ's long-term goal seems to be to hide all relevant policies from the people who are interested in them most, and then just operate its facilities however it pleases. That's why we created the Texas Campaign Pack, and why this comrade sent us eir memorandum to the Warden. If the state won't provide this information, we have to do it ourselves.

Exposure and lawsuits are worthwhile approaches, but can't be our be-all-end-all. We fight to not only get the law library back in compliance, but to change society to the point where these problems are no longer possible. We want oppression to become obsolete, and we want oppressed people to have the power to make this a reality!

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[Organizing] [International Connections]
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Organize the Streets Against Imperialist Genocide

With rhetoric targeting Islamic institutions, and President Trump's policies towards fighting ISIS, today (2017 March 27) on CNN a top military adviser was questioned about these so-called air strikes which have been blamed for the death of civilians. His only answer was, "we're doing an assessment on what happened in Syria and Iraq." Americans who support imperialism, is it right to kill people for profit? Have we forgotten that corporate america has so much investments tied up in Iraq and its natural resources? Are we so truly blind to ignore the genocide of Syrians and Iraqis at the hands of globalist pigs? We need to get away from national struggles and take up international struggles as a whole.

We're so american which is a contradiction in itself. To say you're american and support a system which exploits, murders, enslaves, and justifies bombing innocent people is saying you're not true to what you base your belief in. A belief in freedom and liberty and pursuit of happiness. Is your happiness someone's else death? This system of capitalism has to be abolished and replaced with communism, where no government will have power over other governments or people having control over other people. People need to be the controllers of production. Socialism must be our goal and communism the final chapter to where all people can be equal.

We in prison must create a public opinion to change this system of oppression. Those in the streets can learn a lot from us prisoners locked away, we challenge the administrations here in prison and no matter what they do to us, we unify and get things done. If the prisoners can go on massive worker strikes for wages and make some small change I believe the street orgs can do the same. If all the workers was to strike and just have one day of solidarity and unity around all the issues which causes oppression and injustice we might see some change or create a movement which might effect others across the world to do the same. This strike will shake up the elite, and they will realize that the people do have the power not them. Without the workers, capitalism can't thrive, but there will be a percentage of people who are so addicted to consumerism and the system of capitalism and will sell out. So we must unify the masses, and help one another with food, and the necessities to make sure all are taken care of during the struggle when the system collapses.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is right on about the contradiction between people who say they believe in freedom and justice while supporting the Amerikan system exploiting, brutalizing and killing people around the world. The Amerika-first mentality that many people, including prisoners, have is in direct opposition to the value system that Amerikkka claims to uphold. And we applaud the idea of prisoners setting an example for organizers in the street with the unity and struggle being built behind bars.

One point we have to consider when comparing the potential actions of prisoners and those on the streets is where these groups fit in on a global economic analysis. The vast majority of workers in the United $tates are part of the labor aristocracy. They are actually being paid more than the value of their labor, at the expense of workers in the Third World whose profits are propping up the economy of Amerika. This is why it's so easy for Amerikans to support imperialist militarism; it is actually directly in line with their own material interest. So when Amerikan workers go on strike to demand higher wages, it ends up being a demand for even more wealth stolen from the Third World. At best this is a demand that the Amerikan bourgeoisie give the workers a bit more of their large share of this stolen wealth. Either way it's not a progressive demand.

The demands of prisoners' strikes are oftentimes far more progressive because prisoners are not getting paid from the wealth stolen from Third World workers. Also usually prisoner strikes are not focused on wages, and are tied up with issues like brutality, isolation, censorship, and medical care. So while we definitely think organizers on the streets can learn from the solidarity and activism behind bars, we have to be sure to consider differences in conditions between these two situations when applying what is learned.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Oppression of My Fathers

Laud and honor the martyrs! Even those who weren't warriors.
The unconscious brother enjoys a guilty comfort.
Not from inheritance, but rather he lives in a First World
Settled by invaders and tomb raiders, capitalist traders
raping the earth. Governments promise prosperity if only
you kneel. Can Third World tragedies find any appeal?
Or does bourgeois culture supply you with unlimited hope?
Like oppression, crime and dope. Faith in religion tickles
your conscience but that doesn't make it science.
We struggle together: The People - equal. The chains of
slavery rattle like tambourines to a new upheaval.
So laud and honor the martyrs! Even those who weren't warriors.
Flies swarm around the dung of capitalism, invoking disgust
at its chauvanisms and material greed.
Don't be part of the problem.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs]
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Re-Unify Aztlan!

Learning the difference between our friends and enemies means we know that other prisoners share more in common with us than not. It also means that within one's own nation the formations within have even more in common than not. For imprisoned Aztlán the divisions were ultimately imperialist inspired. The advanced wing of imprisoned Aztlán understands that it's time to Re-unify Aztlán.

In Califaztlán, norteno, sureno, Eme, NF, have been walls that separated. At times each formation was necessary for safety, and some formations may be more progressive than others. But these formations still separate imprisoned Aztlán. Separation for a nation is not good under any circumstances.* I believe the goal of all these L.O.s is to unite at some point, but how could it be possible?

A future glimpse of a United Aztlán

It's a fact that much animosity and/or pride for one L.O. or the other has developed. At the same time we see the End to Hostilities has allowed us all to get to know and support one another. It's now OK to assist and be there for each other, which is great. We have gone back to before north/south feuds started, however what is needed now is a leap forward.

The truth is so long as the L.O.s (i.e. NF, Eme) still have north/south formations there will not be any unification between imprisoned Aztlán. This will take steps. The implementation of programs authorized at the highest levels. One such initial program would be formally dismantling the formations of Sur/Norte. By doing this, Raza will simply be Raza again.

Tattoos of Norte/Sur would have to be banned for the future. This would help alleviate conflict/tension.

A transition period would relax the Raza and then the next stage of the unification of Eme/NF would be necessary even if they maintained separate committees with the new political org. But a new org with a new name is necessary to provide a glimpse of a new future of a unified Aztlán. At some point, imprisoned Aztlán must move on and create a name that all can come to, otherwise no side will ever win over the other side.

* While divisions are a weakness for any nation, this is not bad in relation to the oppressor nations, which MIM(Prisons) actively tries to divide as part of an anti-imperialist strategy. - editor
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[Democratic People's Republic of Korea] [Militarism]
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DPRK: White Supremacy's Global Agenda

DPRK nuclear weapons tests

Through the eye of the media, one can't help but see and understand the agendas being put forth. First look at how the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear program is being covered with emotionally-driven and fear-inspiring news coverage. In comparison to the cold war period in the United States, where that was solely ideological war due to it being two white global superpowers with different political identities the nuclear issue wasn't syndicated by news on the level that North Korea's nuclear program has been. The United States and all major countries of European descent have done everything in their collective power to keep these weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of nations, governments and people of color or hue. This is about dominance over every country in the world or simply put, 'might makes right' ideology.

Just look at what happened when Iran was building a nuke. How much these European governments were willing to do and in fact pay so that these Middle Easterners would not have the same power of destruction that they themselves wield, and the United States alone has used, on a people of color.

These global white supremacists have done everything they could to destabilize nations' governments that they could not control by creating borders on foreign continents, setting up puppet governments (often dictators the likes of Saddam Hussein and Benjamin Netanyahu who use war as a distraction of their individual greed), support contras by the sales of cocaine on the streets of their own country, in which they've colonized other peoples. Gangstering all less technologically savvy nations out of raw materials, such as petroleum, gold, silver, diamonds, chocolate, opium, uranium, spices, sugar, and factory workers who they pay slave wages. They then turn around and use this wealth to build factories in their home countries and pay their own citizens the going wages.

I say equal power is equal defense, which entitles all nations the same kind of weapons including nuclear bombs if that's what you could be faced with. These global white supremacists only respect those who can present an equal threat. History has proven these whites are the makers and users of weapons of mass destruction, from muskets, rifles, guns, machine guns, grenades, C-4, chemical gases, dirty bombs, hydrogen and nuclear bombs. They've created viruses, diseases, tortures. Yet the media is far more dangerous than any of the ones before mentioned, due to its ability to influence the minds of those not fully conscious of the reality of being controlled by the designers of this Global White Supremacy Agenda.


MIM(Prisons) adds: In July, August and September the Democratic People's Republic of Korea launched a series of aggressive nuclear missile tests. The DPRK reports it has developed a more advanced hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an inter-continental ballistic missile(ICBM).(1) They've also reported that their ICBMs can now reach the mainland of the United $tates. Meanwhile, the United $tates has launched recent tests of their B61-12, a bomb that delivers nuclear weapons by fighter jet.(2) The United $tates and Russia still have far more nuclear warheads than other countries, 2 orders of magnitude the number of what the DPRK has.(3)

People who grew up during the cold war, lived in a culture of fear of a nuclear attack. So we do not agree that the threat was ignored during that period because it was "white" countries involved. If anything, we'd argue that we've grown too comfortable with the risk of nuclear disaster that these weapons continue to put us in since the collapse of the social-imperialist Soviet Union. And this cold war was also an imperialist reaction to potential resistance. Although the Soviet Union gave up socialism and turned to state capitalism in the 1950s, the United States held on to the anti-communist fear. Socialism in the Soviet Union (and China, and other countries) was a significant threat to imperialism, and so the United $tates prepared for a war to defend their wealth and dominance.

Otherwise, we agree with the author above on the hypocrisies of the imperialists. Militarism is integral to the economic success of the imperialist countries. The DPRK has never used its military to gain wealth by exploiting or stealing from other nations. Rather it sacrifices resources from its isolated economy to ensure it can militarily protect itself from imperialists who would otherwise use their weapons against the Korean people to gain access to the labor and markets that the DPRK government denies them. The leverage of nuclear weapons decreases the need to mobilize the able-bodied population into military maneuvers in response to U.$. operations on its border. There are two massive military exercises led by the United $tates on the Korean peninsula each year. One, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, occurs in August when it is harvest season.(4) The other, Foal Eagle, occurs in the spring, often overlapping with the planting season in the northern hemisphere.(5) By increasing the technological capacity of its military, the DPRK allows for more labor time to be dedicated to agricultural production and better protects its food supply. Because of sanctions, the DPRK cannot rely on importing food from other countries when harvests are short. In other words, these new developments are a logical product of the U.$. imperialists' stranglehold on the DPRK through economic sanctions and massive military provocations.

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[Organizing] [Prison Labor]
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Millions for Prisoners March on DC

millions for prisoner DC march

19 August 2017 — Hundreds rallied outside the White House today for the "Millions for Prisoners' Human Rights March." The event was organized by U.$. prisoners and outside groups to focus on the issue of the 13th Amendment, which allows for the slavery of convicted felons in the United $tates. During the march to the White House, the most common signs were: "Abolish Mass Incarceration", "End Racist Prison Slavery" and Industrial Workers of the World membership cards. The latter were hard to read for the casual observer and did not reinforce the message of the march. There was one red, black and green flag, and representatives of the Republic of New Afrika in attendance.

While more than half of the participants were local, people from many states were in attendance, including New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, California and even Alaska. The crowd was a mix of movement elders, the formerly incarcerated, self-described "socialist" organizations and many youth for whom this was their first participation in the prison movement.

Last weekend's neo-nazi march, and murder of a young womyn, in nearby Charlottesville, Virginia was a motivator for a number of people to come out today. Some were there because of prisoners who had told them about the rally and asked them to participate. On the one hand this demonstrates the ability of prisoners to provide leadership to people on the outside. But these people were reachable by prisoners because they were involved in the movement already and the misnamed "Millions" for Prisoners rally proved the goals of the organizers to be a bit loftier than what was achieved.

In contrast to the hundreds in D.C., the so-called "Free Speech" rally in Boston today brought out tens of thousands of counter-demonstrators. Of course, they had the benefit of free advertising from all of the corporate news networks. The sight of hundreds of torch wielding white men marching, chanting Nazi slogans, last weekend was rightfully jarring to many. Yet, innocent Black and Brown men are much more likely to die at the hands of the police or prison guards at this time than at the hands of a neo-nazi (that isn't employed by the state).

"Prisoner Lives Matter!" was one chant that rang true in D.C. For if there is any group whose lives are at risk, and whose unnecessary deaths receive little attention, in this country more than New Afrikan people in general it is prisoners.

People at the march reported that some prisons had visiting shut down or were on lockdown today to prevent any group demonstrations on the inside. This is another example of why MIM(Prisons) thinks the First Amendment is a more important battle front than the Thirteenth. Just the idea that prisoners might organize a protest is enough to trigger state repression. Organized prisoners are the lynch-pin to a meaningful prison movement, so the right to organize must be at the forefront.

When this correspondent asked participants what the most important issue in the prison movement was, many weren't sure because they were new to it. Many had a hard time picking just one issue because there are so many things wrong with the U.$. injustice system. But the one response that was more popular than ending slavery in prisons, was the disproportionate arrest, sentencing, imprisonment and mistreatment of oppressed nations. While almost always phrased as "race" or "people of color", it does seem that the national contradiction is at the heart of what people see as wrong with prisons in the United $tates. Even the focus on the 13th Amendment was regularly tied to the history of slavery of New Afrikans by speakers. One speaker called prisons the "new plantation", which is true in that they were both institutions to control the New Afrikan semi-colony. But one was an economic powerhouse fueling global imperialism, while the other is a money pit that the prison movement aims to make a liability to the imperialists.

Perhaps an even bigger distinction was in the answers given by the recently imprisoned. Their focus was on their struggles upon release and the needs of those recently released. One New Afrikan man talked about his mother dying while he was in prison and him not even knowing at first. He got the news in such a callous way he didn't even believe it at first. To this day he has not figured out where his mother's body is. Yet he has been out of prison for two years and is already working for the mayor's office providing release support and doing motivational speaking.

It is a good thing that the state is doing more to provide services to recently released prisoners. But we still need programs for those who dedicate themselves to changing the system. The state can't provide that. And it can't serve self-determination for the oppressed. There is much work to be done to build bridges to revolutionary political organizing for comrades being released all over the country. And ultimately, as the state knows and demonstrates, the only successful release programs are those that are led and run by releasees themselves.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Revolutionary Soulja

I'm revolutionary,
So in other words
I'm evolutionary.
Molded by Larry Hoover
So that makes me visionary.
To some,
This would actually seem scary.

I'm revolutionary,
So I stress it to my family.
I tell them the time is near
For me to be.
To become the living prodigy
So I must not be weak.

I'm revolutionary,
So it's the youth whom I guide.
Within closed walls
for that youth,
I cry.
Knowing that to open their eyes
I'll most likely have to die.
Die so that they
May live free.

Like the Messiah
Is how I shall approach thee.
Fist held high
And it shall stand for
PEACE.
As I march through the fire,
A Revolutionary Soulja I shall be.

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[Hunger Strike] [National Oppression] [Civil Liberties] [Martinez Detention Facility - Contra Costa County Jail] [California]
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Strike Against Arbitrary Group Punishment at MDF

TogetherBreakChains

Contra Costa County Martinez Detention Facility (A) module is a General Population (GP) setting that houses northern Hispanics and African American prisoners. The prejudiced treatment of hispanics who are classified on (A) is a continuous issue and the rules seem to bend for us. As a result of an incident in 2011, we were separated from all other GP races. This continues today although we can program in all other GP modules. In 2012, we were subject to lockdown style program of 3 hrs free time a week, no bible study, etc. This lasted up until 2015. Note that none of us were even involved in violating Title 15 §1083, yet were treated as we if we were in fights even straight from intake.

We on (A) live amongst GP African American prisoners, as well as others, and other hispanics. Yet we are still "Administrative Separation"(Ad-Sep). We seek an integration process to all other GP units, including the other jail (Contra Costa County - West Detention (WCDF)), which is for less serious offenders and offers more opportunities, programs and privileges. We acknowledge current overcrowding issues. However, there is no reason why us GP prisoners are deprived of those same opportunities: vocational, parenting, etc. Especially those who qualify for such housing. Being deprived of such opportunities is a punishment, which is the underlying issue here. We've been battling administration through verbal and written remedies to no avail. Our valid requests and grievances go nowhere, don't reach the chain of command, are ignored, they given inadequate responses, and denied appeal rights. Even when attempting to follow policy regarding grievances it falls on deaf ears.

Another thing we seek to battle is the biased intake process, where we are left on (2) intake/disciplinary mod for unreasonable amounts of time without write-up, hearing, or a procedural due process.

As of 4 August 2017, approximately 72 inmates are on hunger strike due to these injustices. The following are the demands turned in to the administration:

We've been seeking just treatment through verbal and written remedies to no avail. This does not get us nowhere. We will be boycotting such prejudicial treatment. Following are more than fair demands that are not out of reach to administration and just according to inmate rights:

1) Cease Ad-Sep label: Equal treatment to those who've not committed any infractions within the jail. Non-existent Ad-Sep label creates a negative aura which pursues us all the way to our cases. We're forced to leave (A) in shackles giving negative impressions in court, lobby visits, etc. Ad-Sep does not exist in Title 15 and inmate handbook. No one asked for Ad-Sep, Ad-Seg, or special housing during intake process. We are GP, should be treated and labeled as such. Just like (B) and (C) inmates who've not broken any rules. Cease punishment violating T.15 §1083(c) over 2011 incident, cease Ad-Sep label because of a bad environment created by classification affecting us in our case.

2) Start process of integration to all GP units including WCDF. If this is not immediately possible there is no reason why we can't receive access to all other programs available in those parts of the jail, such as vocational, parenting, etc. Those who qualify for WCDF should receive opportunities. To deny such opportunities is to bestow a punishment we don't have coming, which is the underlying issue here.

3) Create adequate grievance process, following policy, and chains of command when there is in fact a valid grievance. Provide appeal rights that are denied and give adequate responses.

4) Cease biased intake process where inmates destined for (A) are left on (Q) for unreasonable amounts of time deprived of GP setting and privileges without write-up, hearing, creating negligent meal service by having PCs serve food. You make room for those punished from other mods, you can make room for those without any type of infractions.

Note: We have set forth reasonable and realistic requests and grievances. In a nutshell we simply wish to cease biased treatment and be treated like all other GP inmates. We acknowledge overcrowding problems regarding housing circumstances. However, we should not be denied access to those programs and opportunities. We are separated/segregated from other races unnecessarily. As well as treated with prejudice from setting foot in intake to court.

References:
  • Title 15 §1083(c)4019.5 "Punishment to inmate/group over others actions" (2011 incident)
  • 14th Amendment "equal protection of the law" - cannot treat inmates differently than others without reason (race is not a valid reason)
  • Title 15 §1053 Ad-Seg (not fitting criteria)
  • 8th Amendment "Due process procedural rights" (violated)

MIM(Prisons) adds: In July 2013 prisoners at MDF staged a hunger strike from Ad-Seg. Some of the demands related to clear classification and adequate rec time echo those of the comrades on strike now. Despite the report of victories, we see similar problems continuing at the same jail in 2017. This is why winning some reforms should only be seen as the first step of a struggle and not the end. The imperialist system is based on national oppression after all.

We support these comrades' just demands, which ally with ongoing campaigns to end long-term isolation as well as to provide proper avenues for having grievances heard. As the comrades point out, that this treatment based on supposed affiliation with people who did things before they were even in this jail is an obvious violation of basic civil rights and just treatment. We work to build the anti-imperialist movement so that we can replace the current system with a just one.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Rhymes/Poetry]
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Where I Come From

Where did I come from you ask?
I came from a great civilization
A people who knew what day it was
While the rest of the world did not.

I come from a people who knew
Where the Earth fit in relation to the universe
While the rest of the world knew not.

I come from a civilization
Of great art and rich culture.
A people advanced in mathematics and building structures
Which were symmetrical to the sun.

I come from a people that fought
For its independence
From three foreign nations
In one century alone!

I continue to survive this bloody annexation
And to this day
I maintain my identity
Against pressure to assimilate.

I come from a civilization
Which has been here since the beginning of time.
I am heir to traditions of Cuauhtemoc,
Benito Juarez, and Emiliano Zapata.

I am indigenous to this land
And now I hear these ignorant voices
Telling me to go back where "I" come from?
"I" am from here!
My civilization was founded on the very earth we stand on!
You and your people go back to where you come from!

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