Phone Zap Tomorrow to Support NC Strikers!
Boycott Juneteenth: End Mass Incarceration and Solitary
Your last three mailings were denied by the mail room. The Last one, received on 5/25/22 stated “Denied: one letter. Content inciting a disturbance. DRC – non appealable list (offender cannot appeal).” The next two denials arrived on the same day (6/6/22): “One newsletter and one packet. Contains content inciting a disturbance.” I did appeal these last two decisions.
Apparently, when a prisoner attempts to assert his rights, the mail room calls it “inciting a disturbance!?” These are the same racist dogs who can get away with denying me a photograph of my ten-year old nephew who was innocently posing while making some silly hand signs, calling that “gang related.” The kids are being kids and their hand signs have absolutely nothing to do with gangs! Had it been white kids posing in similar fashion, instead of calling it “gang-related,” these racist mail room employees would’ve called the photograph “cute.”
These are the same racist muthafuckers who loved it – and applauded – when that comic figure (D. Trump) was separating all the kids from their parents at the border, you know, that as long as it is not their kids who are being treated so inhumanely, they obviously do not care about our kids, right!? And what’s so fucked up is that when the white ‘lady’ who delivers the denial papers arrives to our cell, she pretends like she’s really upset that I would even want to receive these MIM publications. She practically turns her back on me as if I were being so un-American, or something!
But I have news for her, and anyone else of her ilk. I don’t want part of any system that snatches babies out of their arms of their mothers, or a system that allows their police forces to murder people of color with impunity, while these same fuckin’ cowards refuse to enter a school where kids are being massacred! And while the trigger-happy cowards are quick to murder unarmed civilians, none of the recent sick and deranged school shooters (or other mass murderers) have been killed by police! Why not? Because the cowardly police officers were “too scared” and chickenshit to engage the “active shooters.” Plain and simple. And each time these police officers take the stand at someone’s trial, where they will lie and perjure themselves (as they are wont to do), they will recite their “highly trained” credentials, but where are all these “highly trained” credentials when the little kids in a school are being massacred and need help?
And their “exceptional training,” without fail, goes out the window when these same police officers take the stand, not only do they (conveniently) “forget” vital details during vital parts of their trial testimony, they lie about who handled what piece of evidence, whether or not they used gloves to handle the evidence un-dated and un-sworn “supplemental reports” appear out of nowhere to “assist” these liars and “refreshen their memories” etc. And as the famous attorney Gerry Spence once remarked (an attorney who has practiced law for over 50 years), he has never been involved in a case where police did not lie or plant evidence, or engage in some other illegalities, in other words, like me, he has never met an honest cop! And like me, he’s not saying they’re not out there, I just haven’t ever met one.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Outside supporters, please join our campaign to protest censorship in Allred RHU. This censorship has ramped up in response to prisoner organizing. This is politically-motivated repression and it is illegal. You can call, write a letter, or better yet print out our postcards and get others to sign them to let them know what’s going on in Texas prisons!
In the week following Juneteenth we have received letters from all across Texas reporting on similar censorship of our mail. We need your help combat these attacks on prisoner organizing and basic rights to communication and affiliation.
The North Carolina United Front for Peace in Prisons (NCUFPP) is not a gang – it’s a variety of lumpen organizations united in peace in prisons. No one is over or under anyone in the NCUFPP and we respect and recognize everyone’s credentials/status.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Why do we oppress one another as we are being oppressed by the fox tactics of the divider and conqueror?
They’ve programmed many of our fore-fathers to accommodate in the destruction of our people (the oppressed nations). If we do not band together we will never win. The lone wolf may become timid, but together the pack has courage and we are strong.
Without the United Front the ocean will eventually swallow the land. Give the Man an inch and he’ll take a mile. First our recreation; then our picture-mail; batteries; and now tissues – what next? Everything else like visitation, rations, haircuts, supplies, and property – they take and give back when they feel like it.
When the “Man” (or should we say “children”) don’t get their way, they’ll throw a temper tantrum and turn to violence and criminal behavior. Well according to Huey P. Newton (and the U.$. constitution) we have the right to defend ourselves, don’t we?
We must never encourage their violence among any prisoner because it’ll encourage the man to continue their violent ways among other prisoners (comrades) and citizens of society in the outside world in our homes. If he’ll assault the other prisoner/prisoner group he’ll do it to you too. The man shouldn’t be consulted to; spoken to; nor indirectly lead to assume anything about another prisoner. And we all know that woofing in front of the police is dry-snitching.
We’ve noticed that these children are spraying/gassing comrades for knocking on the window for necessities such as tissues and then attack them and placing them on sanctions (taking their property). While there is no call buttons here for prisoners to use when they need necessities, this shit is out of order. But don’t let it get you down. Take a break; enjoy yourself; set back; and relax. Save your energy for Juneteenth. The last day of our oppression. Listen for the Juneteenth memo on the yard/seg!
The Florida mailroom staff who seized the pamphlet checked two reasons for impounding it:
“(15)(i)is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, rebellion, organized prison protest, disruption of the institution, or the violation of the federal law, state law or Department Rules”
“(15)(p)otherwise presents a threat to the security, order, or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or the safety of any person.”
Since the pamphlet is actively preventing harm to the safety of any person and actively training people to stop breaking the law or engaging in destructive behavior, we must wonder what are the “rehabilitative objectives” of the Florida Department of Corrections.
MIM(Prisons) appealed this.
Texas on the other hand did not give MIM(Prisons) the opportunity to appeal, as required by Federal law, and only notified us of the censorship after the review committee’s final decision, which, like Florida, cited the “Entire publication contain security concerns.”
The reason they cited:
“Publication contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve a breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots or security threat group activity.”
Literally no reasonable person would think this.
But as we’ve been reporting on, the TDCJ is openly trafficking drugs to sell to the people they imprison. So it is not surprising that they find our efforts to combat addiction to be a disruption to their operations.
It’s also no secret that the oppressor prefers us to be drunk and high, rather than thinking clearly and doing good for ourselves and our people.
Prisoners can help by getting our Censorship Guide and appealing any censorship as the comrade in Texas did. People on the outside can help by volunteering to help us appeal and hold these state agencies accountable. Legal expertise with these issues is also something you can contribute.
Download and print this flyer to hang or hand out.
We are also asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and activists in Allred to freely communicate. There has been a rise in mail censorship as organizing has progressed.
With just a month remaining before the first series of actions around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, we have received reports of repression of activists by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ).
One of the hearts of this campaign comes out of the brutal Allred Restrictive Housing Unit(RHU) where people have spent decades in isolation. We’ve recently learned that one organizer at Allred hasn’t received half a dozen letters we’ve sent em over the last few months. Eir outgoing mail is also delayed or gone missing. This mail tampering is illegal. We wrote the warden of Allred to stop this censorship.. If he doesn’t stop it, we know this political repression is intentional from the top of the TDCJ to suppress our boycotting of Juneteenth.
We are asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and these activists in Allred to freely communicate. The pdf below can be downloaded, printed on card stock and cut into four postcards. Then you can ask people to sign them, put a postcard stamp ($0.40) on them, and drop them in a mail box. Over the next couple months we want to show TDCJ that people outside are paying attention and supporting the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. This is one way to do that. You can also call Warden Jimmy Smith @ (940) 855-7477 (**069).
Stevenson Unit in Texas has also stepped up censorship related to materials about the Juneteenth boycott. The TX Team One Primer was censored for the reason:
“Page(s) 4 contains information advocating prison disruption.”
Prisoners are very limited in what they can do when their grievances are ignored. Most actions will lead to repression. A boycott is the most passive action. There are no calls to violence nor do the plans threaten security in any way. Just a peaceful demonstration of solidarity, demanding some basic humyn rights be applied in Texas prisons. Yet this is being outlawed by the state.
Even worse, in eir most recent update, one comrade in Stevenson reported that:
“last night I was placed in handcuffs and marched off to solitary confinement, the place from where I currently write. I woke this morning to find I’m being charged with 2 new rules violations: 1) Attempt/threat to assault a correctional officer and 2) Assault of a correctional officer.”
There was no assault. In fact this comrade is not even supposed to be housed on the second floor because of eir health conditions. Ey believes this is retaliation for the appeals ey filed against the censorship of literature sent by MIM Distributors. Meanwhile, MIM Distributors was not given the opportunity to appeal, and only received the final decision from TDCJ.
As our comrade in Stevenson Unit so eloquently concluded,
“They will never succeed in snuffing out my flame and their attempts to silence the truth only causes it to roar even louder! They cloak themselves in legitimacy and the trappings of power because deep down they know they are weak and the system is crumbling – to be swept aside along with all the silly liberal reformers and we build a better world over their ruins, a new society based on equality and respect and compassion and truth and justice and”love" – a human society fit for fully involved and determined human beings at peace with themselves, each other, and the world around us."
Organizing is spreading around the Dillard v. Davis, et al. Civil Action No. 7:19-cv-0081-M-BP lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s use of long-term solitary confinement. Prisoners held in Allred Unit, ground zero for the Restrictive Housing Unit, and Michael Unit have filed motions to join the class action suit.
A comrade in Stevenson Unit wrote to say that there are only 12 restrictive housing cells there and they are only used very short-term. But ey is sharing the motion and other campaign materials with contacts inside and outside to support those in RHU fighting for their humyn rights.
Shutting down long-term solitary confinement is one of the key campaign demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, calling for a boycott of Juneteenth until real freedom is attained in this country. The lawsuit points to the irreparable harm on mental health caused by long-term solitary.
Anyone who is in a Restricted Housing Unit in Texas can use the linked example motion to join this lawsuit. The motion should be sent to all three addresses listed at the end of the attached PDF. Please download and distribute to those you know in Texas torture chambers!
28 May 2022 UPDATE from Tx TEAM ONE member - Telford Unit: I have submitted my interest in becoming a co-plaintiff to all inhumane conditions in all Ad-Seg/RHU buildings, especially on this unit, and the inhumane/treatment and living conditions endured by all alleged STG prisoners. Because for almost forty (40) years, those of Us that are considered STG’s have been in these living conditions.
I have already written to the Eastern and Northern Districts, United States District Courts. And I have also written to the United States Department of Justice…
Within the prison movement there is much talk about ‘political education’ and ‘raising consciousness’. Truthfully, even when We reflect on recent and distant episodes in Our collective struggles against the bourgeoisie, many of us often lament upon the fact that a key ingredient that has always been lacking from Our movements, parties, organizations, and the unorganized masses, is the lack of a systemic and organized framework to political education. Assata Shakur expressed her criticism of the Black Panther Party for the same reason. Veterans of the [email protected] movement i’ve spoke with have expressed the same criticisms, stating that had more deliberate, organized approaches been given back in the days it may have progressively altered the cultural nationalist tendencies of the movement towards a revolutionary nationalist praxis. Yet and still, today We’re still stressing, and rightly so, the paramount importance of political education. However, the question has become, must become, what is political education, how do we apply it, and why is it so important?
Political education takes many forms, and phases, and the correct application of it, or what is paramount for a persyn to know is dependent upon the conditions one finds themselves in. Thus i begin with Fanon,
“It is commonly thought with criminal flippancy that to politicize the masses means from time to time haranguing them with a major political speech…But political education means opening up the mind, awakening the mind, and introducing it to the world…To politicize the masses is not and cannot be to make a political speech. It means driving home to the masses that everything depends on them, that if we stagnate the fault is theirs, and that if we progress, they too are responsible, that there is no demiurge, no illustrious man taking responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people and the magic lies in their hands and their hands alone.” (1)
Now as i was saying conditions will determine quite alot. So it is the line of USW, and many others, that amerika is a settler-neo colonial imperialist empire, and as such holds actual nations of people subjugated, meaning their/our self-development is thwarted, within its borders as well as in the Third World.
Hystory indicated that this line is right and exact. When We recall the process of how amerika was established we understand that it (nation of euro amerikan settlers) settled upon this land, removed, and committed genocide against the native nations of people, some of which are still among us today. So those (the indigenous) are just one group of nations within the borders of amerika, which We call the First Nations. Of course We all know about the forced migration of millions of Africans, and We know they underwent slavery at the hands of those same settlers, as did some Natives. What We often fail to analyze is that slavery, is only an economic system, it is a mode of producing social value, however, to describe the plight of the African people in amerika by mere economic lingo alone is highly insufficient. What is the term that would encapsulate the experience of the economic exploitation, social and political repression that the African people in amerika eventually triumphed over? Slavery? No, servitude? No. That one word which encapsulates that struggle is COLONIALISM.
Well, what the heck is colonialism? Quoting from the Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary;
Colonialism - foreign domination of a country or a people, where the economic, political and military structure is controlled and run by the occupying force. (2)
So African people residing in the United $tates are not merely the offspring of enslaved people, but a colonized people, and because of that diametrically opposed nature of a colonized people to its colonizer, the African people residing in amerika developed organically into a nation, that is a people distinct from the settler by its culture, its language, its land, and thus We call this nation today New Afrika, but others call it Black Amerika, or Black nation, or a host of other titles. No matter the title New Afrikan people are deep down aware that they’re distinct and separate, but the reality of a nation within an empire doesn’t register to some, to most, after a substantial time frame of this reality being obscured from the public consciousness.
Having roots in, but eventually developing distinct from the First Nations, there is the [email protected], and Puerto Rican nations/colonies. Overtime all these domestic colonies subjugated by the settler amerikan empire have developed thru struggle, and have reached a new and different phase of colonialism, called neo-colonialism, which can be characterized by the power structure now formally allowing representatives of these oppressed peoples to integrate into the economic, political and military structures, and in many ways act as a buffer between the ruling class and the masses of neo-colonized people.
This brings me back to Our discussion on organizing, and political education. See, depending on what We organizing for, one will require different political understanding. Fanon says,
“A political informed [person in a colonial situation] is someone who knows that a local dispute is not a crucial confrontation between [them] and [the system]”
“It is the repeated demonstrations for their rights and the repeated labor disputes that politicize the masses.” (3)
So basically what Frantz Fanon is saying here is that first one must understand they are indeed colonized, and this understanding disallows them from settling for any ol’ concession that can come from a ‘local dispute’. And here when he says local, We can put it in Our immediate context and understand it to mean, ‘prison struggles’.
What does this mean? It essentially means that We utilize, and in fact manufacture these ‘repeated demonstrations for their/our rights’ as a means to politicize the masses. However, if We are organizing the masses utilizing such demonstration alone We run into a few pitfalls. The one which i’ll deal with here can be understood by the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for you just might get it.” So in Our context, in the prison movement, what happens to the momentum of the masses, of the people as a whole if We as organizers manufacture a or a few demonstrations and the administration actually concedes? If the masses don’t understand the complexity of Our situation, that We’re colonized, dehumanized, an alienated sub-class, the dregs of the society, and that not only must these realities change, We must change within Ourselves, and We must take part in changing these realities, then the masses the people will quit the struggle after what they’ve perceived to be success, and they’ll resume their normal ways of existence. This pattern is counter-productive to the cause of revolution. We must at all times possible keep the masses active, and that activity pertaining to the struggle. Fanon said, “The colonized subject is at constant risk of being disarmed by any sort of concession.”(4)
So an understanding of what Our issues are, colonialism, neo-colonialism or racism, or individual wrong decision making, will determine the strategies and tactics We take moving forward. If We begin Our study of literature proceeding from the perspective that We’re colonized nations of people, We study how anti-colonial struggles have developed, failed and triumphed around the world. Furthermore We realize that unless an action fundamentally eradicates Our colonial existence than it is only a reform and does not solve Our fundamental problem(s) which stem from Our thwarted development under neo-colonialism. Thus We don’t even seek certain reforms, or concessions, and the ones We do are to advance Our strategic goal.
The question now becomes again HOW to maintain the masses attention before, during, and after demonstrations? The answer leads us to ORGANIZATION. Those who have a study level of political vision must take the initiative in forming real organized organizations. Within these organizations leaders should allow for activities to be carried out by the rank & file and must be sure that activities assigned to a comrade are in alignment with the talents, interests, and abilities of said comrade. In this way one keeps the masses involved and engaged. If able weekly or bi-weekly meetings should be established. Minutes should be kept of the meetings, meaning, write down what you’re doing, what you’re talking about, what are the plans going forward, etc. At said meetings each comrade should have a progress report, which entails what they’ve been doing since the previous meeting.
If a comrade can draw, they should be assigned something to draw. If a comrade can write, they should be assigned something to write. If a comrade has a typewrite they should be tasked with typing up the documents of the group. In fact it is good to take up one project that the entire collective can attribute to. Say a pamphlet, of course you need writers, We need art work, and We’ll need a typist, We’ll need some donations of stamps to circulate it to publishers, and in this way every one not only feels involved, but more importantly feels that immeasurable feeling of accomplishment. In understanding the complexities of Our class (lumpen) We must understand a lot of us have not accomplished much of anything in the way of real world accomplishments. A lot of us have been caged, stagnated in a state of arrested development, since Our pre-teen and teen years, and thus are persynally under-developed in many ways. This feeling of accomplishment motivates and inspires one to continue to chase that good feeling, and particularly when the feeling is derived from doing something productive, it overtime alters a persyn internally, and this is what We, as revolutionaries especially within the lumpen class want most.
Organizations in their many varieties are the vehicles of the people and their struggle. Vanguard elements must seek to organize all aspects of the people’s struggle, all aspects of the people’s lives under their leadership and influence. This doesn’t mean everyone has to or will be a member of a particular leading organizational body. What it means is that organization must make itself seen & heard & felt in each aspect of the people’s lives. The musician they listen to should be expressing some theme derived from the organization. The farmer should have the organization’s line on collectivizing agriculture and land. The prisoner and their family should know that the prisoner, if deemed capable can/will have a place of refuge, work, and re-humanization with the organization. The womyn must know she has a group trustworthy and capable to care for her kids collectively, and ensure her access to safe abortion if necessary. Those in the LGBTQ community must feel at one with the organization, enabled and empowered.
In a nutshell the proper organization will galvanize the popular masses of the people, educating and organizing the most capable from every and all sectors, and from there synthesize the aspirations, and ambitions of the people’s struggle with practical and concrete measures to realize these objectives.
With the formation of Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., the Texas USW re-branded, We have formed the vehicle for the Texas prisoner’s struggle. We have thus far established multiple wings which can/will be used to activate the stored away genius of the masses. We have the legal wing for those writ-writing jailhouse lawyers, a space for like minded cats to put their heads together to attack certain aspects of the system that can help us better build the movement. We have established, in its early stages, a wimmins & LGBTQ wing, which is again an avenue for certain people to step up and utilize what they already know how to do, in concert with the rest of the organized body to get what We want. We’ve established the Worker’s wing a lane where people around the state can collectively struggle for worker’s rights, and incorporate those struggles with the others and in combination gain bigger gains…We’ve established and/or influenced the establishment of numerous committees with the members therein playing roles in the ‘wings’ mentioned above. In all this We’ve done well in applying lessons learned from MIM(Prisons), and some of Our own experiences, thus synthesizing theory & practice.
It must be said however that We have made many mistakes. We began organizing as Fanon said, around demonstrations. We learned in practice, some of us without ever having read Fanon, that the masses, and Ourselves could easily get complacent after concessions are made. The mistake came by not initially focusing on ideo-theoretical questions. We had to learn that the truth of the matter that prior to any organization the people in question must sit down and individually intake information, after a certain amount of information has been accumulated they must come together and discuss their findings and thoughts, establish their points of unity, modes of organization, and other such matters. Of course this isn’t to say that all organizations come together like this. Many take on a more spontaneous approach to development and this approach is observed in their style of work.
The re-occurring theme will always be political education, the need for it will never cease, and the need to bring all the people to an active level of consciousness, that is a level where they can be/are active in the struggle.
In Our campaign to end RHU, it was selectively chosen for a multitude of reasons. One of which is to show & prove We can shut it down if & when We organize Ourselves and the people correctly. Because of conditions that prevail in long-term isolation, many of the most radical and politically astute people are in or have been in long-term isolation, if We could multiply those types of elements, and then get them out on the pop city We can make conditions more conductive to politicizing more and more prisoners sending more and more of these to the outside. To illustrate the contradiction that despite the various levels of illegality present within the solitary confinement apparatus, it still continues, and yet We’re the so-called criminals. There is of course the fact that if We can eliminate the punitive answer for dissent then We leave the enemy with little recourse once Our collective resistance picks up. In this way We take a tool out of their tool kit. However, the underlying goal is simply to shut seg down, what if they just capitulated and gave us what We wanted? What becomes of the struggle then? IF that was Our actual GOAL and not a MEANS TO AN END, then Our entire struggle would have been defeated, at least temporarily, not by bullets, or bombs, but by sugar-coated bullets, by concessions, by reforms, which weaken the intensity of contradictions rather than increase them. Mastering this delicate balance will determine the successes and failures of Our organizing methods.
“At first disconcerted, they then realize the need to explain and ensure the colonized’s consciousness does not get bogged down. In the meantime the war goes on, the enemy organizes itself, gathers strength and preempts the strategy of the colonized. The struggle for national liberation is not a question of bridging the gap in one giant stride. The epic is played out on a difficult, day-to-day basis and the suffering endured far exceeds that of the colonial period. Down in the towns the colonists have apparently changed. Our people are happier. They are respected. A daily routine sets in, and the colonized engaged in struggle, the people who must continue to give it their support, cannot afford to give in. They must not think the objective has already been achieved. When the actual objectives of the struggle are described, they must not think they are impossible. Once again, clarification is needed and the people have to realize where they are going and how to get there. The war is not one battle but a succession of local struggles, none of which, in fact, is decisive.” (5)
We’ve picked this discussion back up, as some of us felt that somethings were still left unsaid or unclear.
We’ve articulated previously that one’s method to organization is logically dependent upon one’s goals, and also one’s circumstances or conditions. It is Our view that the conditions and circumstances being what they currently are in North amerika, the lumpen-prisoner class is a highly dynamic entity. This class, Our class is also a vacillating class, meaning its members can be like see-saws, moving from one side (revolutionary) to another (reactionary) as their emotions and whims take them. However, We assert that the other classes of North amerika have become so bourgeoisified that the social vehicles for social revolution are so slim to none that the last objectively repressed class in amerika, the class that still has little to no stake in the bourgeois democracy, is the lumpen.
We’ve reached this conclusion by analyzing the social forces and classes within North amerikan society. Observing their material benefits of being cozied up to their bourgeoisie. We’ve observed how and why social movements only advance so far, being largely unwilling, or sometimes unable to carry the struggle to higher levels, due to a certain level of comfort in the status quo. And We logically look to Our own class and see that these factors, though still present are vastly diminished. Therefore, arriving at this class analysis We say that it is most conductive to Our goal of social revolution to invest time and resources into the lumpen in order to politicize them, and that investment should be in proportion to the classes potential to lean towards a revolutionary line and practice.
Now We reach the basic question, how do we maximize the dynamic potential of this vacillating lumpen class? How do We ensure that the majority of lumpen are progressive, neutral, or all the way revolutionary and not objective enemies of the people? The answer again points to ORGANIZATION. The only way to maximize the people’s initiative in general and the lumpen in particular is to formulate them into tightly organized units/groups. The lumpen struggle is a class struggle, and thus We must organize the First World Lumpen on a class basis.
What does this mean, what does this look like? What is a class? There is often mention of the prisoner class, or a particular class of prisoners. However, very rarely do comrades utilize class in a Communist framework.
A ‘Class’ 1) shares a common position in their relation to the means of production; common economic conditions, relative to their labor and appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations,;i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries, and constitutes a national bond; 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’, and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’ (6)
We must also clarify that Marx differentiated between a ‘class in itself’ and a ‘class for itself’. The difference between the two can be summarized by saying that a class in itself simply shares a common economic position but lacks the other listed criteria. Whereas a class for itself is an entity fully organized and meeting all listed criteria.
Therefore, what We are saying here is that We must organize in a manner that will bring the lumpen from the level of class in itself, to the elevated level of a class for itself. Our organization should be modeled in a way to obtain the collective mobility, ingenuity, and potential of the lumpen as a whole. We must ‘nationalize’ these structures, meaning expand them state-to-state, with each one developing its own relative strength locally.
The next question is how do We get there? How do we reach this point of mass participation and organization? We’ll quote Fanon here:
“The duty of a leadership is to have the masses on their side. Any commitment, however, presupposes awareness and understanding of the mission to be accomplished, in short a rational analysis, no matter how embryonic.” (7)
Here he stresses the basic conscious political education of the people. We continue:
“The people should not be mesmerized, swayed by emotion or confusion. Only [under-developed people] led by a revolutionary elite emanating from the people can today empower the masses to step out onto the stage of history.” (8)
I’ve put the above in bold to illuminate certain mistakes We often make. We often capitulate to the weaknesses of the masses in Our good intended desire to win them over. One of the weaknesses of this sort is the masses never-ending desire to be entertained. This desire almost always precedes from a desire to escape reality, and when done too much establishes a state of complacency with oppression and exploitation and undermines revolutionary or productive/progressive activity. When We reach out to the masses We often make the mistake of trying to move them into immediate action with a fiery speech, with the showing of the video of the latest police killing, or whatever We believe may move them. Although We have good intentions this method has hystorically proven inadequate for carrying out revolution. Instead, because it relies on emotions, which fluctuate, the activity it renders, if it renders activity at all, is necessarily fluctuating, and vacillating.
We can see this in real time if We observe the ebbs and flows of social movements in North amerika. George Floyd’s taped murder shook people emotionally. It awakened pent up anger and frustration from many sectors. People took that, and nothing else, no political education, no political organization, no political vision, only anger and frustration into their protests, and rebellions, and uprisings. Soon, the only people left in the streets were politicized people. Anarchists, Socialists, Abolitionists, and this sort. The masses however, had long since retreated back into the comforts of their amerikan life of escape, and leisure, isolating what was then allowed to be percieved as extremist/terrorist elements.
This what Fanon calls the ‘weakness of spontaneity’ showed its face. We must learn from this. In the quote above the ‘under-developed people’ are those masses of North amerikans. They reside in the land of excess, material excess, but the land of political sleep-walkers. These are the people Fanon says must be led by a REVOLUTIONARY elite. Now what does he mean by this? Because of the under-developed state of the people’s sociopolitical consciousness, those cadre elements who’ve struggled to grasp the complex concepts of political-economy, and revolutionary theory, although not desiring to be perceived as an elite, meaning above the rest, they actually do represent a higher stage of development, and in that context ONLY are they ‘elite’. The key phrase of the quote is the necessity that these ‘elite’ emanate from the people, meaning they must be one of their own, or perceived as such. The cadre-organizer must take care to balance its level of understanding with the level of the masses. There will be a contradiction between these masses and the politicized persyn, there should be, but this should not be an antagonistic contradiction. The people should be able to look to you for example, not look at you in disdain. As one might do to someone who thinks their shit don’t stink. Now we move to exactly HOW does these cadres, EMPOWER THE MASSES,
“…On the condition that We vigorously and decisively reject the formation of a national bourgeoisie, a caste of privileged individuals. To politicize the masses is to make the nation (or class) in its totality a reality for every citizen. To make the experience of the nation (or class) the experience of every citizen.” (9)
“Only the massive commitment by men and wimmin to judicious and productive tasks gives form and substance to this consciousness.” (10)
“No leader, whatever their worth, can replace the will of the people, and the national government, before concerning itself with international prestige, must first restore dignity to all citizens, furnish their minds, fill their eyes with human things and develop a human landscape for the sake of its enlightened and sovereign inhabitants.” (11)
It is Our intention as USW leaders in Texas, as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. cadre, to have Our organization act as a vehicle to organize and mobilize and educate the masses of lumpen in North amerika. We hope you will be inspired to join us.
1) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.138, chapt.3
2) Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary, pg.4
3) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.63 chapt.2
4) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2
5) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2
6) see; Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; also Karl Marx, The Holy Family;also, Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles, pg. 286
7) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.140, chapt.3
10) ibid, pg.144, chapt.3
Following up on some recent warnings and reports from comrades on Subxone(buprenorphine), we conducted an updated survey on drugs in U.$. prisons this past winter.(1) We received survey responses from NC, PA, VA, WV, MI, CA and TX.(2) While we heard from Michigan in ULK 75 all of the other states were represented in our original survey, which was distributed more widely and received more responses.
So has anything changed in the last 5 years? In 2017, Suboxone use was reported to be common in many states in the northeast and midwest United $tates. Specifically comrades in NY, KS, WV, TN, CT, WI, and especially PA reported Suboxone use being popular. We do not have info on whether the Suboxone was obtained from the prison or not in that data set. In 2022, we can add California, Virginia, North Carolina and Michigan to the list of states where Suboxone is abused in prisons. Of those four, only Michigan was not represented in our 2017 survey, meaning Suboxone seems to have become popular in the other 3 in the last five years. Texas is the only state we got responses from this year that reported Suboxone still not being available at all.
Our comrade in Michigan reported this new drug appeared on the scene in 2012, and had become the most common drug abused in the MDOC, with perhaps 5 in 10 prisoners using it. (until recently when K2 took over)
We have updated info from Pennsylvania affirming that it is prescribed there and that people can stay on it for as long as they are held in prison. About 1 in 7 people are using Suboxone at SCI-Dallas.
In North Carolina, Suboxone is very popular, though less popular than K2, which has been increasing in use. Suboxone may be more popular with white prisoners there.
Our Virginia respondent is in a “big mental health/drug rehab” unit, where ey says “we can’t order self-help programs nor books.” Imagine that! Yet you can get a Suboxone subscription with no indication that there are any classes to go along with it. Some are continuing their Suboxone subs from the streets.
Michigan and West Virginia do not prescribe Suboxone according to our survey respondents. Yet it still gets into the prisons there and is quite popular.
The biggest shift we learned from our second round of surveys was the new introduction of Suboxone, which Ehecatl already reported in ULK 76 started in 2020. A recent study reported a sharp increase in buprenorphine consumption in prisons from 2020-2021. The number of incarcerated people consuming it rose an estimated 250,000 from January 2015 to May 2021. With only 115,000 prisoners total, CDCR may have been a good chunk of that growth, but clearly was only part of it.
That said, one comrade in California reported that they now “give anyone and everyone Suboxone. I know a bunch of people who never have used drugs and went to see the doctor and got put on Suboxone.” The price of Suboxone on the black market has decrease from $100 to only $2-4 as a result. This comrade continued,
“I’ve been in solitary confinement for over 4 years so I signed up to get put on Suboxone and I got put on it a week after seeing the doctor. I’ve been a drug addict my whole life, but was still surprised how easy it is and was to get put on Subxone.”
We’ve always held that solitary confinement is used as a tool of social control in the U.$. injustice system. We also see Suboxone being used in the same way. Here they are being used in conjunction as a way to help people adjust to the torture of solitary confinement. When used outside solitary, most prisoners reported its use leading to people retreating from socializing and not engaging in any kind of group organizing.
Another CA comrade had put in a request in December 2019 after the CDCR publicized a new drug to help with addiction. By March or April 2020 ey was approved for Suboxone. Doses there range from 8mg to 20mg. As for counseling, this comrade did report that, “while I was receiving it we were seeing a C.O. Healy and ex-drug user facilitator bringing us 5 days of work on Monday and coming back on Monday to pick up the homework.” It is not clear why ey stopped receiving Suboxone.
“Buprenorphine use in jails and prisons increased by 224-fold, from a daily mean of 44 individuals in June 2016 to 9841 individuals in May 2021 (Figure). Most of this increase occurred from 2020 to 2021. Nationwide, across all retail and nonretail settings, buprenorphine use increased by 53.9% from a daily mean of 466,781 individuals in January 2015 to 718,591 individuals in May 2021. By May 2021, correctional settings accounted for approximately 1.5% of all buprenorphine use nationwide. An estimated 3.6% of the 270,000 incarcerated individuals with [Opioid Use Disorder] in the US received buprenorphine.”(3)
These numbers are likely underestimated as they are based on retail sales numbers from one source. But the sharp increase in prescribed Suboxone starting in late 2019 is certainly something of note.
We received the most responses to our second survey from Texas, and things seem to have not changed much there. Everyone agreed that Suboxone was not available in Texas. K2 appeared there around 2013 or 2014 according to our respondents, and has been on the increase ever since. Many people report tiers filled with the smoke being a common occurrence in the TDCJ. K2 use rates reported in TX this time around estimated 10%, 20%, 30% and in the RHU up to 75% of people.
Our correspondent from Allred’s RHU reports that back in 2013-2016 “drugs were virtually non-existent… 1/2 that time there were no cameras, yet there still was no drugs, no cell phones, no contraband at all really. Since i’ve been back here there has been at least a 70% increase in contraband” (2017 to present). This comrade points to a huge cultural shift among staff leading to the change.
Ey goes on to explain the social effects of this influx of drugs and how it serves as a tool of social control:
“We had a good thing going here after working to bring all New Afrikan lumpen groups and people together, but clashes over drug debts have undermined the unity… We were able to organize 1/3 of the RHU population against their confinement. With the drugs one year later, barely 50 people!”
As far as effective efforts to combat drugs, we once again got a resounding “no” answer to that question form all states. One TX comrade reported, “the Christians and Muslims are the only social groups openly condemning drug use, simultaneously, some of their”coordinators" are getting officially charged with possessing it!"
Another comrade who struggled with prescription psych meds as well as illicit drugs explained, “One of the worst parts of my own ‘addiction’ was the shame and guilt that came from using these ‘illegal drugs.’” This is just one reason why the approach to drug addiction in this country is ineffective. We encourage comrades to try our new Revolutionary 12 Step Program, which will walk you through addressing these feelings of shame.
A couple of respondents reiterated a preference for “natural” drugs rather than ones that are synthesized by multi-national corporations. But we’d point out the reason we can’t trust modern technology is because of capitalism. It is not the fact that humyns made it that makes it unsafe, but rather the profit motives that cause humyns to hide and overlook any safety issues that come up. There are lots of things that grow naturally that can kill you. In a system that operates in the interests of the people, we wouldn’t be making things to add to that list like the capitalists do.
1. [see the results of our first survey on drugs in prison in Under Lock & Key 59]
2. The response size for this survey was much smaller and only included the following number of responses by state: NC-1, PA-1, VA-1, WV-1, MI-1, CA-2, TX-5
3. Ashish P. Thakrar, MD1; G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Trends in Buprenorphine Use in US Jails and Prisons From 2016 to 2021. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2138807. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.38807.
As imperialist crisis deepens, national liberation grows. The right for national self-determination is gaining mainstream discussion with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The imperialists are boycotting Russia to support Ukraine, when they punished those boycotting I$rael for denying the self-determination of Palestine. Meanwhile, here in occupied Aztlán comrades are engaging the [email protected] movement on this topic, which has forced the largest reformist parties to discuss national liberation in the current political climate.
Before the next issue of Under Lock & Key comes out we have two events that we are asking you to support. One is our second annual Fourth of You-Lie fund drive. Thanks to all who donated already this year, we are off to a good start rivaling last year’s steady increase in donations. If you haven’t donated yet this year, we’re asking every reader to send us 7 stamps or more by July 4th. We just received notice that, like most things, printing costs will be increasing this summer.
And more importantly, June 19th marks the boycott Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. The campaign is centered in Texas, where comrades are organizing a general strike in prisons across the state. Different custody levels will be organizing different forms of action leading up to and continuing after June 19th. We will be sending updates to USW comrades in Texas over the next month. Campaign demands include:
End Solitary Confinement!
End Restrictive Housing Units!
End Mass Incarceration!
Transform the prisons to cadre schools!
Transform ourselves into New People!
Speaking of transforming ourselves, we released the Revolutionary 12 Step program this winter as promised. USW leaders should have that in their hands already. The Power to New Afrika pamphlet is almost done, and should be out shortly after this ULK. The new The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons however, is not on schedule and we do not know when we will be able to complete that. For now our introductory study program will continue using the old version. We are also very behind on responding to comrades in the intro study program. As always, we need more outside supporters to help with basic tasks like transcribing, editing, lay out, and promoting prisoner-led campaigns. We just don’t have enough comrades out here to keep up with everything comrades need in there. Thank you to our newest supporters who helped with this issue, we hope to have a long and revolutionary relationship!