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[MIM(Prisons)] [ULK Issue 71]
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ULK71: Editor's Notes

I want to give our readers a brief status update. This is the first issue in 5 months, and the one before that was about 7 months prior. Unfortunately, we will be sticking to what we called “plan C” in the last issue, which was relaunching Under Lock & Key(ULK) on an irregular basis.

We have went ahead with the new newsprint format, which has reduced our costs. With this new format, we launched the new logo that was to go on the new newsletter. Thanks to the USW comrade who drafted, and redrew the artwork for that. Otherwise, the contents of ULK should remain about what you are used to.

Before I go on, I want to include one of the appreciative letters we received from a newer subscriber:

"I want to sincerely thank you all for altering my outlook on the world and on life in general. Not to mention politics. I don’t know how to explain it, but just in the relatively short few months that I’ve been seriously studying the various ULKs and related materials, I can see and feel so many positive changes in myself, my outlook, attitude, mindframe, actions, words, thoughts, etc.

"… For example, just navigating the daily struggle in here has become much easier for me as far as interactions with the guards, etc. I just feel like I have been equipped with a much more stable mindframe and a more mature attitude. As I’m writing this I’m actually realizing that this is probably my reactionary mentality being steadily stripped away and replaced with knowledge and wisdom of what’s really going on.

“This has even had positive effects on my personal/family life as well and my ability to express myself and communicate with individuals I had a difficult time with before. I’m able to control my emotions more and deal with sense and reason which has produced better results.”

It is letters like this that reinforce the importance of Under Lock & Key and our determination to keep it going. But we can’t do so without rallying more support.

Some of the things that go into this one project include: processing incoming letters to update our mailing list, typing articles, scanning and editing art, responding to articles, editing, formatting and proofreading, layout of the newsletter, compiling and processing our latest mailing list for the USPS, proof reading the laid out newsletter, folding and packaging the newsletters, bringing them to the post office for delivery to you, and paying for all that printing and postage. We know our readers in prison can’t do most of these things. But by promoting ULK and recruiting others around our work, you can build the network of support we need.

And many of you can send donations. Thank you to all of you who have sent in stamps in recent months despite the lack of ULKs. We are still sending out lots of letters and literature and making good use of your donations!

In addition to ULK, we are prioritizing responding to letters, providing resource guides and political literature. We remain focused on our serve the people Re-Lease on Life program, which has gained some good experience and seen some setbacks in the last year. And we are working to develop Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, so that we can expand our work to what it used to be and beyond. Finally, we continue to put time into engaging with the development of the Maoist movement here in occupied Turtle Island so that all these programs can feed into real revolutionary change in the future.

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[Fascism] [Militarism] [Philippines] [USSR] [ULK Issue 71]
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Strategizing Against Fascism

fight imperialism smash fascism

Our readership has always talked about fascism more than the mainstream because they face some of the most fascistic aspects of imperialism within U.$. borders. As the dialogue around fascism in relation to the White House enterslj6 the mainstream, it becomes more important for us to distinguish our line, and the potential strategies that follow from that line.(1)

The first draft of an article on the self-determination of the Lakota people referred repeatedly to the fascism that they faced. The parallel is certainly justified. As we know Hitler was very inspired by the Amerikan genocide and colonization of First Nations. Yet, fascism arose hundreds of years after settlers first came to Turtle Island. There are many similarities, but also differences, between Nazi Germany and the early United $tates, and the United $tates today.(2) Understanding what fascism is is important for fighting it.

Fascism as Inter-Imperialist Conflict

“Marxist-Leninists eventually argued that fascism is qualitatively more evil than ordinary imperialism. First, fascism occupied imperialist countries and exterminated national self-determination in direct ways that the other imperialists did not. Second, and less important, fascism is the open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie instead of just the more masked dictatorship of bourgeois democracy.” MC5, May 1993, “Historical applications of Line, Strategy and Tactics: The United Front”, MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue, p.76. ($5)

MC5 goes on to say that the principal contradiction during the period of the rise of fascism was actually that between the socialist and the imperialist camps. That the Nazis focused so much on the destruction of the Soviet Union, undermining their own success, demonstrates the role of fascism as a response to socialism.

Stalin’s strategy in this period was to divide the imperialist camp. It’s hard to see how the socialist camp today could employ such a strategy since we are not operating from the base of power that Stalin was (the USSR actually had the military might to stop the Nazis). But in his time, Stalin’s strategy proved correct.

A Global Threat or Bourgeois Politics

Antifa and the unorganized rebellions against the police in cities across the country have forced anti-fascism into the mainstream. Yet the mainstream rhetoric has quickly transformed the “battle against fascism” in the United $tates into a thinly veiled campaign for the Democratic Party presidential election in November. The likes of Bob Avakian, Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky have all called on people to vote for Joe Biden, citing this battle.

Stopping fascism is a lower level goal than ending imperialism or building socialism. There are times, like World War II, when stopping fascism is the appropriate focus for communists. At that time fascism was waging a military assault across Europe and threatening the first dictatorship of the proletariat.

Presidential candidate Biden has already promised a significant increase in military spending, and President Trump has increased military spending during his term, despite his criticisms of the self-interest of the military industrial complex. Both candidates are clearly behind continued U.$. militarism to wage war against the oppressed peoples of the world. Neither candidate has indicated a rapacious military campaign to conquer and occupy other nations. Between the two options offered by the U.$. imperialists, we do not yet see the principal characteristic that led the communists of the COMINTERN to see fascism as a greater evil than imperialism.

Those who are crying “fascism” in the U.$. today are arguing that state repression internal to the United $tates is ramping up. So let’s look at what MC5 called the “less important” distinguishing characteristic of fascism.

The Democratic Struggle Against Fascism in the Third World

“The imperialists export fascism to many Third World countries via puppet governments. And imperialist countries can turn to fascism themselves. But it is important to note that there is no third choice for independent fascism in the world: they are either imperialist or imperialist-puppets. Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan had all reached the banking stage of capitalism and had a real basis for thinking they could take over colonies from the British and French. … The vast majority of the world’s fascist-ruled countries have been U.$. puppets.” – MIM Congress, “Osama Bin Laden and the Concept of ‘Theocratic Fascism’”, 2004

Strategy varies from place to place. An example of this from the past is when the Filipinos waged a campaign against the GATT trade agreement. In the Philippines this was a righteous campaign against imperialist control over their economy. However, in the United $tates the campaign against GATT was one focused on protecting Amerikan jobs, which implies fortifying imperialist borders against labor from other countries. So you can see how the same campaign can have very different impacts in different contexts. It is our responsibility to understand our own context and organize accordingly.

In a previous article on this same topic, we mentioned the anti-imperialist rhetoric of the newly elected President Duterte in the Philippines. After Duterte’s anti-United $tates rhetoric fizzled, the National Democratic Front in the Philippines have begun campaigning against the “fascist US-Duterte regime.” This framing is important. The fascism is coming from the United $tates and being implemented by the puppet Duterte. This allows for their propaganda to be consumed within the United $tates without fueling U.$. militarism for an invasion of the Philippines to rescue them from fascism.

This is in sharp contrast to the rhetoric around “islamo-fascism” in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This framing was of course propagated by the Pentagon, but also by many calling themselves “communists.” It fueled anti-Muslim sentiments in support of U.$. militarism in Central Asia.

The framing of fascism in the form of puppet regimes is useful for the national democratic movements in the Third World to unite all who can be united. But these puppet regimes do not signify a shift in the global balance of power that warrant a strategic re-orientation like the rise of fascism within an imperialist country would.

Don’t Vote, Build Bases of Power

Another important point to note is that there is an active People’s War in the Philippines. The National Democratic Front is led by the communist party. The united front to get Trump out of office is led by the Democratic Party, in other words, the imperialists. The imperialists are not facing the threat of a communist revolution in the United $tates like they are in the Philippines that would warrant a shift to outright bourgeois dictatorship.

The imperialists responded to the 9/11 attacks with a series of changes in law, such as the Patriot Act, which legalized some of the things Trump has been doing domestically. Initially, MIM was part of the movement to oppose the Patriot Act. However, they decided to leave that movement when it was clear it was dominated by libertarians. Other “communists” tailed this movement with calls to “Drive out the Bush regime” often referring to Bush as a fascist. These same “communists” who were effectively campaigning for Obama’s election by offering no other alternative to Bush, because they have no power, are now openly endorsing Biden.

When the Soviet Union allied with the United $tates, and the Filipino communists ally with the bourgeois forces, they do not put down their guns, or give up their goals of building socialism. To be real players in the anti-fascist struggle, we must first build power like the Soviet Union did and the Filipinos are doing. Stalin did bite his tongue about U.$. imperialism to defeat German fascism. To bite our tongue today about Joe Biden’s militarism and targeting of oppressed nations with mass incarceration is to abandon the oppressed nations of the world.

It is good to see those in the imperialist state defending bourgeois democracy. That is their role. Our role is to build public opinion against imperialism and build independent institutions of the oppressed. As Trump attempts to frame Biden/Harris as the radical left, it is important to demonstrate real revolutionary politics in this country. And the target of the revolution is imperialism. Imperialism must be overthrown before we can really begin the task of building a society without oppression. To put this goal to the side to focus on getting Trump out of office, especially at a time when more and more people are looking for systemic change, is to stop representing the international proletariat. In this era in the United $tates, anti-imperialism is the radical position, while anti-fascism and anti-racism are the reformist positions.

Notes:
1. order MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet ($5) for an in-depth look at the relationship between line, strategy and tactics
2. order our Fascism and Contemporary Economics ($3) for a deeper look at the history and economic of fascism

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[Black Lives Matter] [ULK Issue 71]
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All Lives Matter in Prison

I am sincere and stand by when we say Black lives matter, but I think we should say and believe that all life matters. I am in a political/race-driven prison just like in California and Texas. We say Brown Pride, White Pride, Black Pride, then White Power and Black Power. We should take all race out of it and be power to the people!

I am 50% Mexican and 50% white and in Juvenile D.O.C. it was mostly Black and Mexican. My last name is [white-sounding] so I got jumped every day for years with a couple of the other white kids. If we are to fight hurt, pain and suffering of being oppressed and rejected. But it’s hard when we are surrounded by so much hate. I only know my dad on that side of the family, the Mexican side, hates me and disowns me cuz my mom and dad was never supposed to happen.

We only admit there’s a problem when it surfaces. I got sprayed by the cops a couple months ago for no reason, filed my grievance, but don’t have no help nor know how to take further actions. It sucks that it takes people to die to get action. …

If each one of us did what was right it would be all good, but you can’t change the people that want to look at every one else instead of being a solution. I will be the solution whether anybody is watching cuz all life matters!


MIM(Prisons) responds: Since the uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, we have received many letters echoing the slogan “All Lives Matter.” Like this comrade, they are not doing so in opposition to “Black Lives Matter” but in solidarity based on similar experiences.

We want to commend this comrade for standing with all oppressed people, and with Black Lives Matter as a movement despite eir experience being jumped by New Afrikan youths while in juvie. It speaks to the unity of the oppressed, that ey could see past that experience and not paint a whole group as eir enemy, when those who have lived much more privileged lives are quick to paint whole groups based on something they saw on TV.

In today’s globalized culture it is sometimes hard to have conversations that are limited to one audience, and as a result other audiences are often offended.

In case any of our readers are unaware, the phrase “All Lives Matter” became popular among cops and white nationalists as a rejection of “Black Lives Matter.” The implication is that “Black Lives Matter” somehow means Black lives matter more than others, when on the contrary the slogan was developed by New Afrikans who just wanted their lives to be given the same respect and value as others, specifically as euro-Amerikans. The less forgiving implication is that people who say “All Lives Matter” just want to keep Black lives in a position of less value.

In contrast to this mainstream narrative, every letter that we’ve got so far from prisoners who are white or Raza, stating “All Lives Matter” seem to be coming from a genuine place of respect for all lives. But you all should know what the implications of the saying can be.

We agree with this comrade that race should not be brought into politics, as race is a baseless concept. So why do we talk about whites, and New Afrikans and indigenous and all these other groups of people so much in our writing? Well, we are talking about nation – a group of people with a common culture, language, territory and economy. While integration is greater than previous points in this country’s history, there are still independent New Afrikan, [email protected] and countless First Nations within this prisonhouse of nations that is called the United States. And until these nations are liberated from imperialism, from the United $tates, there cannot be justice here.

What about euro-Amerikans? In prison, euro-Amerikans will generally experience life as an oppressed persyn. Certainly there are hierarchies, and there are white supremacist groups that work with the pigs, etc. But most of our “white” readers are feeling more oppression than your average persyn walking down the street in the United $tates. That is why we see uniting the imprisoned lumpen on a class basis as an important project that is primary within the prison movement, while recognizing the national contradiction as primary in this country overall. To highlight this class unity, we prefer the slogan “Prisoner Lives Matter” to demonstrate what all of our comrades are facing in the Amerikkkan gulags, where you can be murdered for nothing like George Floyd was.

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[Drugs] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 71]
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Black August: Peace and Education to Combat Behavior Modification

[Abolitionists From Within (AFW) submitted a series of essays leading up to Black August and hosted their annual poker tournament that is part of their effort to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP). Below are some of the thoughts they sent us, followed by their report on September 9.]

Wake up comrades. Evelyn Williams reminds us that all African American prisoners are political prisoners, whether or not they label themselves as such. Because of the circumstances that got them into prison as well as the harshness of sentencing applied to them. Political prisoners who became politicized inside prison walls and who oriented their lives around the struggle for social justice and national liberation include Malcolm X, George Jackson and the Attica warriors. Many other comrades of yesterday and today’s struggle would be and are encompassed in the term as political prisoners.

So to all comrades behind enemy lines, we are at war and have been and we must understand the enemy tactics. Prisons have become the battle ground in a war of attrition designed to reduce prisoners to a state of submission, psychological incompetence sufficient to neutralize us as self-directing antagonists by making us desperate enough to destroy ourselves for material gains.

So let us not be fooled any longer through our own self-destructive behaviors. You are the target Black man. Tactics of counterinsurgency and low-intensity warfare against us. Assassinated, tortured, frame-ups, imprisonment, control and alter the behavior of people resisting oppression. And as you know, prison officials will use drugs as a method of control. …

Damn comrades, ya’ll giving up. These conditions we living in is temporary. Don’t make it permanent. I see your violent outbursts, passing out, seizures, suicide attempts and serious mental breakdowns. Comrade, them symptoms of that synthetic shit. Homies lose touch with reality and lash out at the one’s who really trying to help them.

One of the comrades pass out standing up. This shit is real bro, that shit hurt me deep. Because you can tell a lot about a person from the company he keep. Comrade, you can’t say you with the business and your actions don’t match. These young warriors not going to respect those acts on the yard.

I hear the C.O.s making jokes like this shit is a game. Perpetuating the fight that the prison administration encourages. However, this Black August and Bloody September we going to continue to organize and apply the UFPP five principles. So AFW will be putting on a poker tournament here with all “ethnic” groups with one goal: Peace and awareness of the prison struggles on these yards and who is the real enemy.

Da struggle continue.


9 September 2020: Black August passed, still pushing. AFW is still building to continue the good fight on September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity with all our freedom fighters and conscious comrades and to commemorate the all the faceless comrades and to never forget about the Attica uprising and our beloved brother GJ.

I been working out with our comrades, reading, sharing books, etc. Just building doing this COVID-19 the best we can in solidarity with all comrades here struggling behind enemy lines. Today, September 9th, I fast and hit the night yard work out again and count my blessings.

I stress with our comrades to understand who the real enemy is and to learn the enemy tactics of oppression that keep us oppressed. We have to continue to push, pull and stride for unity, and the comaraderie among the brothers and all ethnic groups and continue to put an end to all hostilities among our brothers with peace on our tongue this September 9th day.

The struggle must go on.

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[First Nations] [COVID-19] [Principal Contradiction] [ULK Issue 71]
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Settlers Threaten First Nations with SARS-CoV-2 Virus

In the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the glaringly ugly nature of amerikkkan exceptionalism and arrogance has been on full display. The simple and non-threatening acts of staying home and/or wearing PPE (masks) have become rallying points for reactionary patriotic elements. For this reason, occupied Turtle Island has become the world leader in COVID cases even though the imperialist regime had ample time to prepare for the virus.

With this understanding, it is only logical that people cannot rely on parasites and pigs to secure their health. It, like all aspects of our lives, is most effectively met by the people ourselves.

In May, Republican governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem threatened to sue the Lakota Nation or rely on the U.$. government to use violence to take down the Lakota’s Emergency Health Points on their home lands.

Due in part to fear of the negative reaction from Republican constituents and their mass base, as well as fundamental capitalist-imperialist unbridled greed, Noem refused to issue stay-at-home orders. Such ineptitude placed all South Dakota residents at risk, but especially our First Nation siblings and comrades as they’re a marginalized people.

In light of this development, and understanding the hystory of bio-chemical warfare and its role in the genocide of indigenous nations, the Oglala Lakota Nation pro-actively insulated themselves on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Emergency Health Points ensured that outsiders couldn’t bring the new sickness (COVID-19) to their home.

The Emergency Health Points, allowed no one to come onto or leave Pine Ridge, unless it was an essential activity. Those going and coming were made to submit to a health questionnaire at the check points.

The Governor’s ultimatum was rightfully refused and the Lakota gave an official written statement, “you continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation.”

The oppressive nature of imperialism continues to undermine the self-determination of First Nation peoples and oppressed nations generally. For this reason, and to work towards the goal of tearing down the imperialist system, New Afrikans and all oppressed nationalities within the imperialist centers must unite in the spirit of collective growth and internationalism, around our shared mission of self-determination.

Let’s not forget, that it is this same Lakota Nation which has been a thorn in the side of our shared enemy for almost 200 years. It was the Lakota, led by Red Cloud, Chief of the Oglala Lakota, who dealt the United $tates its first military defeat in 1868. In retaliation and due to ongoing resistance, it was this same nation who the 7th cavalry massacred at Wounded Knee on 29 December 1890.

Fast forward to the early 1970s with the siege of Wounded Knee and the following COINTELPRO carried out against the American Indian Movement and its supporters on and around the Pine Ridge reservation. This operation led to the political imprisonment of Oglala warrior Leonard Peltier. (An in-depth study of these events and the imperialists’ war on the Lakota people can be read in the book Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall available from MIM(Prisons) for $10 or work trade.)

Leonard Peltier 76th birthday
Leonard Peltier just turned 76. Free Leonard Peltier!

With the understanding of the Lakota’s specific circumstances and their hystory of resistance against the occupying forces I call on all revolutionaries and people who respect the sovereignty of the First Nations of Turtle Island to raise your voices and shine a light on this issue. Being on reservations, our siblings and comrades are often hindered from garnering proper media attention or solidarity support. The mistake of past generations of oppressed nation fighters was that of failing to support each other’s causes in all aspects (militarily, economically, socially and politically). We end that practice now. In the spirit of true proletarian internationalism.

Clench fist salute to all the First Nation warriors who’ve not sold out the great War for freedom.

source: 1. The Five Percenter Newspaper, Volume 25.6, pg.10.

This article referenced in:
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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 71]
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Can We Breathe?

george floyd qualified immunity

(Remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and OTHERS)

I done seen too many mothers cry, brothers die,
while the children left to wonder “Why?”
I’m on the side of the righteous in the time of crisis,
Is the prize really worth it? I tell em that its PRICELESS.
I don’t have hope, kuz hope is for the children,
and those UNABLE to take part in what we’re building.
But we’re ALL gonna benefit when we defeat the nemesis.
A new beginning for humynity, modern day Genesis.
It’s THEM that want war kuz we’re bangin on the door,
They’d rather see us breathless and layin on the floor.
But I woke up this morning to a BEAUTIFUL site.
Black, Brown, and white, its TIME TO UNITE!!!
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[Drugs] [Release] [ULK Issue 71]
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People, Places, and Things Philosophy for Overcoming Drug Addiction

united front for peace in prisons

I had reached a point in my life where I was high for weeks at a time. I would stay awake for over a week at a time on ice. While living this lifestyle for over a half a year I was also big on the spice (K2). I was smoking an 11oz bag by myself every 2 days. When you are in this state one clearly can’t think or function properly in society on any legitimate level. I decided that I was tired of living this lifestyle and thought back to an intensive behavior modification program that I was forced to attend a few years prior to my current addicted state of being. The greatest tools I had received in this 6 month program was the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding based on these 3 words: People, Places, and Things!

If we truly want to be free from drug addiction we must change some or at times all of the people we associate with. We may have to find new employment, housing, recreational places etc. We will have to get rid of certain habits or stumbling blocks that hinder or block progress to freedom from addiction. We can not make excuses, but must stand firm in our convictions that whatever storms or difficulties may arise drugs are not our solution. They will only make things worse 100% of the time in the long run.

I found success when I completely applied the People, Places, and Things philosophy. It’s never easy, but absolutely necessary. Positive People, positive Places, and positive Practices will keep you in a positive direction. It does not make us weak feeling we need others for support during such trialsome times. It shows strength and courage when we can admit to our weaknesses and reach out for the necessary help. I hope you find success in this strategy as I have knowing that it will awaken you, clear your mind and help you move in a more PROMISING DIRECTION!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Taking the initiative to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing is a great tool for success. Unfortunately, it is not always an option (especially in prison) or easy to do. We can apply this comrades’ advice to society as a whole and understand the success of socialist China in eliminating drug addiction. They did not have policies that were particularly unique around drugs. But they were in the process of redefining their nation and their future, which offered everyone a positive roll to play, not to mention jobs, housing and health care.

We see the Chinese model as the solution to addiction. In the meantime, we must figure out how to survive and thrive in this system. That is why our Re-Lease on Life Program is developing resources for those who struggle with addiction that help connect them with a lifelong political mission. We hope to have materials to review and test out soon, so let us know if you are interested in reviewing this program.

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[United Front] [Avery/Mitchell Correctional Center] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 71]
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Fasting for September 9th Helps NC Comrades Connect to the Struggle

Comrade Tag: I fasted from 7PM on 8 September 2020 until 5PM on 9 September 2020. I did drink water though. It was intense, it was the first time I’ve ever intentionally fasted. In the streets I wouldn’t eat for a day or 2, but I had alcohol, weed, etc. to sustain me.

It was eye-opening for me. Like, “Damn, people go through this for the cause all the time!” I need to tighten up. Self discipline for me and food is poor. I write, stand up against oppression, and help educate people, but food is so essential to survival. Not eating for me is like not living. That’s why I decided to fast.

My stomach complained a lot at first, but after awhile it stopped. I had a goal in mind, so it followed my lead. My thoughts tried to scatter, but I focused on explaining to guys why I fasted. Also, more causes were brung to my attention.

All in all the day was a success! The feast with Comrade L was supportive. Ey is new to being aware and learning about the struggle. I explained my appreciation for eir support. Thank you for sending ULK No. 57, it was a great read and perfect timing. Thanks again for your time and support.

In Struggle!

Comrade L: Hello, my name is [Comrade L] and I participated in the September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity. This is the first time I’ve fasted in relation to prisoner awareness. I did this to show my support and to have something to do.

I’ve done a few things this year to further our causes here at Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution. This 11 hours (6AM - 5PM) helped me to think about what I do. I feel a little more aware of what others have had to go through so prison could be better.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Also, I feel good when I broke the fast with Tag NC. Ey said I should write my feelings so ey could send it with this letter today. I hope you are happy with my support.

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[Hunger Strike] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 71]
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Hunger Strike in Allred Unit Wins Promise of Phone Contact with Family and Friends

[UPDATE: Phone Zap/Petition campaign targeted around 14 September 2020]

I would like to update you all on what’s been transpiring the last month here in tekkk$a$. The last time i wrote i believe i mentioned my organizing of a hunger strike. We were initially set for the national date of Black August 21st through Bloody September 9th. However, due to the advent of the social uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s lynching, We collectively decided to begin on the imperialist’s independence day. Due to receiving word thru inmate moles and rats, the Senior Warden Jimmy Smith, called one of our committee members out along with another participant. This committee member laid our just demands down. The most immediate of which was access to communication with loved ones via telephones being put on each dayroom. (This is for isolated-solitary-restrictive housing) and an alternative to visitation (video visits) and TV for audio/video stimulation, rehabilitation, education, cultural socialization classes or functions, and a clear path for release from isolated solitary RHU confinement. In addition, there were a few smaller, in-house demands. These were the main ones though.

Of course the warden attempted to negotiate without us actually striking. This was 1 July 2020. The committee member wasn’t hearing it. On 2 July 2020 all phones (in general population) were suddenly out of order. Of course this was a tactic by the fascist pig power structure to keep this in house as much as possible. We committee members were ahead of them; 2 weeks prior, we had provided 250 stamped envelopes, written memos, and passed them out at 30 a piece on five out of six total pods. These went out to an array of media outlets.

On 4 July 2020 we began with 141 hunger strike participants out of about 600 prisoners on the building. This was a multi-national, multi-organizational collective campaign. The committee is composed of 2 [email protected], 1 New Afrikan and 1 Anglo-amerikan.

On 5 July 2020 Gang Investigators (G.I.) searched every strikers’ cell. It was merely an intimidation tactic, because all they did was inventory the commissary for those who had any. 2 people ended their strikes for the time being due to not wanting the G.I. in their cells. So we were down to 139. By policy (Management of Offender Hunger Strike G.53.3) after 72 hours (9 meals) without eating, a hunger strike becomes “official.” This means medical will begin getting vital signs, urine samples, and weight at this time.

On 7 July 2020 we all were supposed to be pulled out per policy. However, on each pod, more than half of the strikers weren’t pulled out. I wrote a grievance, and flooded the tier out that night. I was told medical had to catch up on some people the next day. This was a lie. On the next day, 8 July, i was still not on medical list, along with about 3 or 4 others on my pod. I can’t account for the other pods on that date.

This refusal of medical was an administrative tactic utilized to:

  1. discourage the participants, so that those of less determination will quit our mission

  2. To keep the reported numbers as small as possible. After 72 hours the unit must report all the numbers to the prisonkkkrats in Huntsville daily.

I scribed an urgent communique to others of the committee , and it was then passed down to all the participants. The communique basically outlined how we were to conduct our own independent 1095 for this specific reason. It called on the people to stay encouraged, and also our counter-tactics if/when such things continued.

On that same day, 8 July, I was in the dayroom for my out of cell time. I hijacked the dayroom, forcing pigs to come down and speak to me directly. A particular Sergeant whose pretty fair came down and i informed him of the problem. A nurse, whose very favorable to prisoners had previously informed me that Major Washington, an Uncle Tom, was in charge of viewing security cameras to verify whether we were taking trays. Therefore he was the one falsifying state documentation. I informed the Sergeant of this directly. Also that there would be a mass of LIDs (life in danger) filed on the Major and all rank who i’ve informed who do nothing. The Sergeant took a list of each persyn who was being neglected medical attention.

The next day, 9 July 2020, while in the dayroom again the nurse i mentioned above informed me that i and the other comrades were still not on the list. I was infuriated to say the least. All the day rooms were hijacked. The Warden was on the building i was told, but eventually i fell out. Upon this development, various ranking pigs, medical and other pigs cautiously entered the dayroom while i lay motionless on the floor. I hear SGT Barbara Atteberry threaten me while pulling her riot baton. I hear a comrade who is known for severely hurting pigs threaten her in return. The kkkaptives began going crazy. Burning things, flooding the tier. The dayrooms is still hijacked and of course the shouting of expletives is the soundtrack. After this reaction to her threatening me, i guess Atteberry changed her mind. I was rolled out in a wheelchair, when after finally getting my vitals taken, Atteberry told me i would be going to suicide cell if i didn’t get off strike. I refused. Yet the “pretty fair” Sergeant vetoed her decision and i was eventually put in my cell. I told the pigs i wasn’t satisfied because there were others who hadn’t been pulled out.

Later that day, certain committee members were pulled out, “investigated” by regional Gang Investigators due to a pig and agent provocateur-circulated rumor that a conspiracy to murder prison guards in the “free world” and in the prison if we didn’t receive our demands was in play.

On 10 July i was finally placed on the medical list. During this time i’ve been denied books, letters, pictures, law library materials. Other prisoners were being denied chronic medication such as blood pressure, seizure meds, psych meds as long as they’re on strike.

Also around this time, we began being told that phones have been approved. We’re skeptical of this information. I neglected to mention on 9 July at about 12 midnight nine pigs came to each door ordering those with commissary to relinquish it or they would be taken off strike and gassed. This was a Lt. Mason leading the charge, under orders from Head Warden J. Smith. Most didn’t fall for the banana in the tail pipe and gave up their commissary. We did lose 60 souljas however. This reactionary tactic is of course outside of rules and regulations, not to mention the sensory deprivation caused by the harassment of interrupting sleep not 1, not 2, but 3 times to get one’s commissary finally at 5:00 AM.

We filed all manner of complaints, yet the admin dangled the commissary in front of our faces saying “You’ll get it back when you get off strike.” Most stayed on.

Fast forward to 23 July, we finally ended the strike in abeyance after a diplomatic decision was reached within the Team One organization and the committee met with J. Smith. We were given a communique on TDCJ letterhead saying that TDCJ leadership was requesting phones in each RHU dayroom statewide and video visits as an alternative for visits during COVID. This is being requested to the TBCJ (Texas Board of Criminal Justice), which meets every August to determine new board policy. Upon a 30-45 day abeyance we will re-assess our material conditions and if need be implement stage 2 of our plan.

This is the short version of events. I want the comrades within the walls to know that We truly have power in unity and determined action. Comrades must also reach out to these support orgs and individuals. Network. Get your voice and vision out there. In the words of Nas: “We stronger now, my peoples the time is now!”

[24 July 2020 this comrade was rehoused where ey is further isolated in a unit with active COVID cases and faced regular tampering of eir mail since then.]

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Militarism] [ULK Issue 71]
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50th Anniversary of Chicano Moratorium - Bring Resistance to U.$. Militarism

no mas raza in the us armed forces

In July 2020, there was a Chicano Moratorium event in Oakland, CalifAztlán at San Antonio Park. On 5 September 2020, there was another Chicano Moratorium event in Arroyo Viejo Park, organized by the Chicano-Mexicano Resistance and local Brown Berets. These were beautiful events that celebrated the resistance of the Chicano Nation and remembered the initial event of 1970.

These events were held in the spirit of the demonstration held by the Chicano Moratorium Committee Against the Vietnam War on 29 August 1970 in East Los Angeles. That action was 30,000 strong, and at the time it was protesting the Vietnam War and the overwhelming deaths of Chicano soldiers in the U.S. war on Vietnam (20% of the deaths, while only 10% of the population). At least 4 people were murdered by the pigs that day.

The 2020 actions were joyous. The sun was out, familias were out, kids, babies, mamas and Raza. Chicano revolutionary organizations were there like the Republic of Aztlán, the Oakland Brown Berets and the Chicano Mexicano Resistance. Music performers were lively playing revolutionary rap by a local Chicano rap artist named Aztlán Native who performed. There was Chicano spoken word, Chicano poets, speakers and even an African group performed showing that Brown and Black unity.

One of the speakers at the July event was “Big John,” formerly of the Chicano Revolutionary Party (CRP). The CRP was active in Oakland in the 1970s-80s. This speaker spoke of him being at the original Moratorium in 1970. I thought that was cool to hear about what took place in 1970 from someone who was there. Other speakers spoke of the need for anti-imperialism and liberation of the Chicano Nation. The crowds were very into the message of a Free Aztlán with shouts of “Chicano Power!”, “Viva la Raza!” and “Chinga la Migra!” heard. Many attendees were interested in the book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán that comrades had at the events, and some told us they already had a copy.

The mood was that Raza were happy to be amongst each other celebrating our continued Chicano resistance as a nation. People were dancing and having a good time.

Today the need for a Chicano Moratorium is just as relevant and probably even more necessary. Despite being 20% of the deaths during the Vietnam War, Raza have historically been underrepresented in the U.$. military. While [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán discussed military enrollment of Raza increasing from around 10% to 11.3% of active military from 2004 to 2012, 2017 data indicate that has jumped to 16%.(1) The U.S. military is browning. Just as the future of the U.S. population is becoming razafied (increasing to 18% in 2019), so too is the U.S. military. The U.S. military is what allows U.S. imperialism to continue exploiting the periphery. Whether dying in Vietnam or dying at Fort Hood like Vanessa Guillen, the military is not in the interest of Raza. And the key to stopping U.S. imperialism lies in a Chicano Moratorium.

Peeling Back the U.S. Military’s Onion

When we think about an effective Chicano Moratorium, we soon realize in today’s day and age We need to do more than simply march – even in the tens of thousands. We obviously need to add some manteca to the frying pan. Although marches and protest actions are needed and provide for good agitation, we also need to focus on other elements of the U.S. military’s support structure. Shut off the valve from which its nutrients flow.

ROTC: We know that the Chicano nation is the U.S. military’s prime focus because the numbers tell us that the fastest growing population of recruits today is Raza. There is also evidence that of Raza, it is wimmin Raza who are at the helm. Wimmin overall have gone from 5% of enlisted officers in 1975, to 16% in 2017.(1) But how are they recruiting [email protected] in such high numbers? One way is via ROTC in the schools. The U.S. military typically has ROTC in Barrio schools or impoverished areas where the [email protected] population is high. This is a direct assault on [email protected] youth where Amerikkka is turning its schools (brainwash camps) into military recruitment centers. So if we are to truly build a [email protected] Moratorium with teeth, a campaign to remove ROTCs from the schools should be included.

[email protected] Mass Education: Because We have all been born and raised under this occupation, many of us do not know that Amerikkka is a colonizer. We do not know that the U.S. military is the muscle used to oppress and exploit the Third World. Sadly, most [email protected] do not even know what the Chicano Moratorium is. The enemy will never arm a people it colonized with truth of its misdeeds. So there is a strong need for mass education of the oppressed nations and allies in general, and the [email protected] masses in particular.

Mass education is needed on a national level, from families teaching their households, Barrios teaching each other, [email protected] educators teaching students, parks having educational events, protest actions ensuring at least 1 speaker mentions it, graffiti artists writing it, musicians singing and rapping about it. The Chicano Moratorium needs to be mentioned in every movement paper, every activist blog and revolutionary website. All left parties, groups and orgs should ensure their members understand the Chicano Moratorium.

We must continue to highlight the stories of lives lost to U.S. militarism like Vanessa Guillen, so that the youth know the true nature of this system. Wimmin are being sexually assaulted regularly, oppressed people are being hung and murdered, and you don’t even have to go to a war zone. It’s right in Fort Hood, Texas, in occupied Aztlán.

vanessa guillen family protest
Vanessa Guillen’s sister said, “They don’t care about us!” as she protested Ft. Hood military base

There should be [email protected] actions monthly in every county to educate the local [email protected] community on the Chicano Moratorium. At some point, after momentum is built, statewide actions can be held. Eventually nationwide actions can take place where [email protected] from all seven states can converge on one state for an annual [email protected] action.

Boycotts: Another element used by the U.S. military is media. Using commercials to show [email protected] youth proudly enrolling in the military. Some of these commercials are in Spanish. These are propaganda commercials meant to entice our youth with depictions of Raza youth being educated, prosperous and happy if they join the colonizer’s military. We need to locate every TV station that plays these propaganda commercials and boycott the hell out of them.

A campaign to expose and boycott these propaganda stations should be spread and supported far and wide. This is another part of the oppressor nation’s recruitment and brainwash program that needs to be shut down.

Conclusion

By utilizing this 3 prong approach of focusing on 1) ROTC, 2) [email protected] Mass Education, and 3) Boycotts, we will see a genuine Chicano Moratorium. One where we finally deal a blow to U.S. imperialism. The vanguard pushing today’s Chicano Moratorium is unapologetically communist. We understand the social reality of Aztlán and thus can create campaigns whose main thrust is in driving Aztlán on the road to national liberation.

Notes:
1. Barroso, Amanda. 10 September 2019. The changing profile of the U.S. military: Smaller in size, more diverse, more women in leadership. Pew Research Center.

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