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Under Lock & Key

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[Control Units] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 35]
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No More Herman Wallaces!

Herman Wallace April 2013
Herman Wallace earlier this year, before his release from prison
We honor Black Panther Herman Wallace, who died on October 4, 2013 after spending 41 years in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison for allegedly killing a prison guard. These charges were always suspect, and on October 1 a U.S. District Chief Judge agreed and overturned his conviction, ordering his immediate release. Despite the State of Louisiana's attempt to block the release, Wallace was able to spend the last two and half days of his life out of prison with family and friends.

The fact that Wallace had only days to live was well-known and likely played into his release. On the same day of the decision, his close comrades, Robert King (released in 2001) and Albert Woodfox (still in solitary confinement) were able to visit him due to his dire condition.(1) Together they made up the Angola 3, three of the longest to spend time in solitary confinement. Woodfox is in his 41st year in a control unit and is still locked up.

On 7 October 2013, the U.N. special rapporteur Juan E. Mendez called for the release of Albert Woodfox from solitary confinement, saying his isolation amounts to torture. Once again, the U.N. went on record stating that "the use of solitary confinement in the U.S. penitentiary system goes far beyond what is acceptable under international human rights law."(2)

The movement to free the Angola 3 has been championed by a dedicated group and echoed by supporters of political prisoners for decades. And the three, who formed a strong prison chapter of the Black Panther Party before being put in isolation, have continued to stay politically sharp and struggle for the rights of oppressed people. Robert King has been dedicated to not just supporting his two close friends, but opposing the Amerikan criminal injustice system.

While we recognize their indominable spirits, and the pleasure Wallace must have felt in his last few days, the tragedy of wasted lives in U.$. torture chambers remains unacceptable. These men, who became dedicated revolutionaries because of the adversities they faced, were prevented from fully acting on those aims by a system that intentionally framed and isolated them for political reasons. The state wants to brand activists like the Angola 3 as "cop killers" when in reality they were dedicated to a life of serving the people. They were individuals who could have transformed the destiny of New Afrika, and supported the liberation of all oppressed people from imperialism. Instead, Wallace was tortured by Amerika for four decades, until he was within days of death.

The case of Herman Wallace epitomizes the politics behind the United $tates's sanitized version of torture, in what is the largest mass incarceration experiment in the history of humynkind. And while it may be easier for some to support a Black Panther framed for killing a cop than to support a Crip accused of being a "shot caller," we must recognize the continuity between them. Otherwise we only spend our time on the individual cases, without addressing the system. We respect the work of the Angola 3 Coalition and groups like it. On the other hand, we should not be satisfied with victories like the release of Herman Wallace 2.5 days before he dies. We celebrate the organizing that has reached international attention in California in recent years, where prisoners of all backgrounds in long-term isolation have stood together to attack its very existence. While even that is just one piece of the system that must be addressed, we can best pose a real challenge to this systematic use of torture that is used by the Amerikan oppressor to control those who might challenge their hegemony over the world by organizing all those affected by it.


Campaign info:
Shut Down the Control Units
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[Abuse] [Hunger Strike] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 35]
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"New Policies" Being Implemented in MD to Quell Protests

On 9 September an organized collective of over 30 prisoners representing the North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) movement for humyn rights submitted demands to the imperialist overlords in regards to the inhumane, unjust and degrading conditions here.

The vanguard of this "demonstration" was determined by pigs to come from the SMU, D tier. Their notice of infraction reports read, "A mass of officers was assembled and a cell to cell inspection of the entire tier was conducted."

Inside the prison, the grunts feel the movement has been suppressed, but the truth is even their tactics of not reporting strikers in need of medical attention, destroying personal effects, and elevated level of all previous oppression had no bearing on the suspension of the protest. The suspension is based on the collective recognition by the Governor, Secretary of Public Safety and DOC Director that change is needed and imminent. A total review has been issued and guarantees of policy change are at hand, as ambiguous as they were.

Since June 2013, NBCI has been on lock-down status. The "new policy" currently being implemented places the entire prison on a "level" system. Their answer to a "return to normalcy" is to allow one hot meal a day in addition to the two bags, one hour of outside recreation a week and one shower a week. Those in general population get one 15 minute telephone call a week as well. In addition, butter has been re-issued to bring the diet calorie count back to pre-lockdown levels. The pigs attempted total control through all means including the withholding of adequate required calorie count. It doesn't seem like much, but 300 calories of butter removed from a 2200 calorie diet does have an effect. Especially when bags are often shorted or withheld. The ever popular "air bag."

Many lawsuits and grievances have been labeled moot in the wake of the drafting of the new STG/step down program as it will supposedly address many of the main demands, like ending indefinite Administrative Segregation. However, nothing currently has been published and I for one hold reservations. When final products have been issued and all fall out dealt with, if copies suffice, I will send them for review.

There are a few soldiers so sick of the outlandish psychological torments that they utterly refuse to eat until they are removed or die. We have tried to reach and support these brothers as we know news reporting ceased a while back and we don't want good soldiers losing themselves to a battle when the war isn't over.

I persynally hope to unify more brothers for a future response for what will most likely be a failed reform, but time is needed to allow the overseers to implement their newest tactic in humyn warehousing and degradation. Then our time shall again be at hand to show the flaws of imperialist bourgeois ideology of suppression and exploitation.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade was organizing around the September 9 day of peace and unity campaign to promote the United Front for Peace in Prisons. It is true that our organizing will go in cycles, with some set backs, and then some forward progress. We are never optimistic that promised policy changes from the DOC or government will result in any positive changes for prisoners. But we can use these set backs to educate others about the failure overall of the criminal injustice system and point to these examples for why we need to organize outside of the system for lasting and fundamental change. These are all good examples of the importance of building an anti-imperialist movement, rather than just fighting small reformist battles. We look to the examples of socialist China to see what is possible in terms of revolutionizing prisons, and society in general. That transformation required the seizure of power from the capitalists and the reorganizing of the economic structure of the whole country. But just as that transformation began in remote villages of China, we can start it today in those who are hidden away in the prisons and control units of the United $tates.

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[United Front] [Security] [Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 35]
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Report on United Front for Peace Work in Texas

I do all I can here to educate prisoners in the science of revolution. I share Under Lock & Key, I pass MIM(Prisons)'s address around, I conduct study groups, I raise consciousness and awareness while showing solidarity. Yet, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials are agents of repression using all kinds of divide and conquer tactics against these efforts.

The other day I was conducting a study group in solitary confinement and the pigs were using disruption by instigating a racial argument between two Black prisoners and a Mexican prisoner. I tried to keep the peace and unity among prisoners, but the pigs are constantly breaking the unity and provoking racial conflict. I tried to intervene by telling these three prisoners to stop arguing about insignificant things and to set aside their differences and come together in unity, solidarity and cooperation. Then two of the Black prisoners started caling me "wet back." I just had to terminate the study group at that moment to prevent further altercations and racial conflict among these three inmates. I had similar experiences in the past when I tried to educate fellow prisoners; sooner or later the pigs manipulated the situation and use these ignorant inmates to turn against me and start calling me racial slurs.

Look comrades, I have to be very cautious when I give your address to some of these prisoners because some of them are agent provocateurs, snitches, double agents, pretenders, informants and just brainwashed. So be aware of this matter. I just don't let these pigs get to me with their dirty tactics of divide and conquer. Some comrades over here are willing to learn, others are just playing games, and others are just brainwashed and it will take too long to make them conscious of revolutionary knowledge so I rather concentrate more on those comrades willing to learn and to assimilate Maoism into their thinking.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This report from a United Struggle from Within (USW) comrade is an example of United Front work among the imprisoned lumpen. This is the more tedious stuff that dedicated comrades must engage in over years and decades before getting to more glorious examples like 30,000 prisoners refusing food on the same day in California. So we want to recognize all who, like this comrade, keep working and not letting the pigs get to them.

It's true those who follow the pigs' manipulations are ignorant, and someday they will probably recognize that and feel great shame. But this story itself is an example of a teaching moment. By setting a good example, others learned something that day about the roles of the pigs because of the efforts this comrade made to build unity. And it is by consistently providing examples like this to the masses that ignorance is overcome. When an individual overcomes their ignorance and opens up to new ideas, those are the people who should get your persynalized attention to develop their theory and practice.

Finally, we are aware that many people write us with bad intentions. Some have requested that we not send materials to such people. But this allows the very people we are trying to avoid to manipulate us into censoring ourselves. And in the current format of our work, there is no certain way for us to identify all pigs. As we have written in articles about security in the past, we must judge people based on their actions, and only give out information on an as needed basis. So we are very conscious about what information is public and what is not, and we will spread public information as widely as we can. As we recently wrote, comrades should not mistake Under Lock & Key subscribers for USW members. Just because we send someone mail, does not tell you anything about our assessment of that individual's political reliability.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 35]
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Striker Still Seeking Justice After Brutal Claw Hammer Beating

As a member of the Georgia hunger strikers of 2012 and the focus of Georgia's prison beating, I strive to awaken these brothers here in Georgia. I have been spreading ULK to all here and to a lot of associates at other prisons. As of 16 September 2013 the video of me being beaten with a claw hammer by these pigs has gone viral. A comrade and myself have filed charges on those pigs, and due to all the exposure, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is doing their best to do damage control, but the damage is too great. Two state Senators are calling for the whole ordeal to be investigated, including the Internal Affairs and Georgia Bureau of Investigation. I'm still at the so-called Special Management Unit.

To the brothers in California I salute you all! To all the fallen comrades: your sacrifice will not be in vain!


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good example of the power of media to expose injustice. Unfortunately, mainstream media has little interest in exposing imperialism or the criminal injustice system, as that would not sit well with their advertisers or their Amerikan readership. This is why we need an alternative press. ULK fills this role for prisons in particular. And we can best cover news when prisoners write about what's going on in their state. The 2012 Georgia hunger strike was not written about extensively in ULK because we had to rely on non-prisoner sources. Our ability to contribute to struggles like this one is greatly enhanced with comrades like this writing in with news about the struggle. Exposure does sometimes embarrass the pigs into making changes, and even when it doesn't, we must continue to educate people about the abuse and injustice going on across the criminal injustice system.

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[Spanish] [Security]
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El Negocio del Web en el U.$. no es Seguro - MIM(Prisiones) Cierre del Correo Electrónico

El burguesía parece estar perdiendo la batalla por libre empresa contra el gobierno represivo de Estados Unidos, y no puede más ser que algún servicio comercial de correo electrónico que no proporcione acceso directo a toda la información de los usuarios a Las Agencias del Inteligencia del los Estados unidos. Nos enteramos de esto hoy cuando nuestro servicio de correo electrónico, Lavabit.com, no estaba más accesible y el propietario envío puso un mensaje declarando,

He sido forzado a hacer una difícil decisión: estar en complicidad con crímines contra la gente americana o alejarme de cerca diez años de duro trabajo cerrando Lavabit. Después de significativo examen de conciencia, he decidido suspender operaciones.

La clara implicación es que los federales se acercaron a el a demandarle acceso a las comunicaciones en su servicio. Comunicaciones que existen fueron anunciadas como inaccesibles a cualquiera menos a el usuario quien poseyere la cuenta. Para no soltar mas información del usuario a los federales el cerro la mesa de servicio; una decisión seguramente no tomada a la ligera cuando personas dependían en sus correos electrónicos para mucho en sus vidas diarias.

Justo a principios de esta semana esto fue revelado por un servicio popular de presentación, que Tor Hidden Servicios estaba comprometido y sitios en ese servicio estaban infectados con malicioso lenguaje computarizado (Javascript) para revelar las direcciones IP de los usuarios (usualmente escondidos por la Red Tor) a un servicio localizado en Virginia. La implicación evidente allí esta operación estaba relacionada a las Agencias de Inteligencia del Estados Unido$ las cuales dominaban la región. Uno de los más populares sitios afectados por este ataque fue Tor mail, otro proclamado el mismo como un servicio seguro de correo electrónico.

Todo esto comenzó inmediatamente después de la liberaciones de información sobre el sistema de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA) de los Estados Unido$, de monitorear todas las comunicaciones electrónicas en el mundo. La información publicado hace esto claro que todas las mayores compañías comerciales de computadoras (software) han proporcionado acceso para entrar en la red de sus computadoras y servicios por linea, al gobierno de Estados Unido$. Con la destrucción de Lavabit y Tormail, esto parece evidente que los Estado$ Unido$ no tiene intención de dejar algunas excepciones para que ese sistema continuara. El anunciador, Edward Snowden era conocido por usar Lavabit, como su correo electrónico, llevando a muchos a deducir que Lavabit fue una víctima de la cacería de Estados Unido$ por Snowden mismo. Otros han especulado que el ataque a Tor fue un intento de asustar gente de la tan llamada Red Oscura (Darknet) y de regresarlos a los brazos amistosos de Google, Microsoft, et al.

Mientras que usando supuestamente servicios seguros en línea que puedan proporcionar una capa extra de protección, no puedes confiar en un grupo desconocido para tu seguridad en todo caso. Eso es porque servicios con medidas de seguridad PGP encriptadas, como hushmail.com, son un chiste desde el principio. Hushmail.com, trabaja abiertamente con el gobierno americano aunque ellos no son una compañía de Estado$ Unido$. Ciertamente otras naciones intentaran apoderarse de la ventaja competitiva que ellos ahora tienen sobre un negocio que hace tiempo ha sido dominado por las compañías del Estado$ Unido$. Y como recientemente dijimos, lo positivo de todo esto es un aumento en demanda e innovación en el terreno de seguridad informática.

Por ahora, no puedes enviar correos electrónicos a MIM(Prisones); en vez de eso, ve a nuestra pagina de contacto. Estaremos investigando soluciones alternativas y las imprimiremos en nuestros anuncios en la pagina de contacto una vez que ellos estén disponibles. Si todavía estas usando correo electrónico sin inscripción para trabajo político, tomate el tiempo y empieza estudiando nuestras conexiones de seguridad en nuestra pagina de contacto. La última generación revolucionaria subestimado el papel de COINTELPRO hasta que esto fue demasiado tarde. Esto sería un crimen contra la gente como para que nosotros hagamos el mismo error con todo lo que sabemos hoy.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [International Connections] [Campaigns] [ULK Issue 34]
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ULK34: Prisoner Health a Systematic Problem

Humyn health is perhaps the most basic measure of oppression that we have. More than economic exploitation, humyn health measures the degree to which the basic survival needs of people are being met. Looking at the conditions of health in U.$. prisons, as well as reservations, barrios and ghettos across the United $tates, does not paint a favorable picture of imperialism and its ability to provide for humyn needs, not to mention even worse conditions across the Third World. Given this, health becomes an issue that we can rally the oppressed around to both serve the people and oppose imperialism.

We've been pushing this very issue in United Struggle from Within (USW) circles in California for some months, in some cases leading to state repression. With the recently suspended mass hunger strike in that state, a rash of deaths in Texas and the usual array of abuses across U.$. prisons, we thought this was an opportune time to focus an issue of ULK on health struggles.

Health was a central theme in the California hunger strike where prisoners began to pass out from lack of food and other complications. Bill "Guero" Sell died after a approximately two weeks on hunger strike. The state says it was suicide, but however he died, the SHU was the cause of death. One San Quentin prisoner's kidneys shut down, and many complained of the lack of medical monitoring and the aloofness of medical staff. We have been sending regular updates to comrades in California about what has been going on over the last two months. For those who want to see more reporting in ULK, send in your donations to help reach the goal of $250 to add 4 pages to a future issue.

In at least two Texas prisons we have comrades organizing around the murders of prisoners by staff abuse and neglect, the most basic health campaign. In Texas we also have positive examples of organizing sports as a way to bring people together and improve health. Meanwhile comrades in more restrictive conditions in one California prison were punished for organizing group exercise, calling it "Security Threat Group activity."

The manipulation of people through chemical substances is another common health theme. Many comrades are being denied medications they depend on and facing life-threatening conditions. At the same time oppressed communities fight the use of recreational drugs to oppress their people as seen in the struggle of the Oglala Lakotah. The exposure of this form of low-intensity chemical warfare right here in North America is particularly relevant at a time when the blood-thirsty imperialists have been ramping up for an invasion of Syria based on unsubstantiated claims of chemical weapons use by the government there.

From rotten potatoes in Massachussetts, to inadequate servings in Nevada and people forced to rely on vending machines in Florida, basic nutrition is denied to people in a country where 40% of food is wasted. Recently, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that greenhouse gases from global food waste is more than the emissions of any single country except China or the United $tates.(1) Water, another vital resource, is also used to produce all this wasted food. From U.$. prisoners, to the global countryside where malnutrition leads to thousands of deaths daily, to the environmental services that all of humynity depend on, the capitalist profit system has failed to serve humyn need.

We can look to the barefoot doctors in revolutionary China, or the mobile health units of the Black Panther Party or the Young Lords Party as examples of serving the people's basic health needs in a revolutionary context. The Chinese also took a completely different approach to mental illness, which bourgeois society does more to cause than to remedy. Materially, the capitalist economic system can produce enough for everyone, but cannot provide it to them. It's a system that uses the denial of basic health as a form of social control, because if it did not the system would be overthrown. Rather than begging the oppressor for a little relief, let's implement real solutions to these problems.

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[Campaigns] [California]
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MIM(Prisons) Support for Hunger Strike was Critical

I must commend you on your continued effort to keep the masses informed. I did receive the latest Under Lock & Key after all the demonstrations reached their pinnacle. People are now in the recovery stage, preparing their total being to reach a strengthening height. I also received the chronology of events leading up to the suspension of the protest. Mail was, and continues not to be a priority as far as delivery is concerned, so it's basically, we get it when we get it. So much was in flux, so, patterns have not set in. I just moved back to this address, we were scattered all over the place.

There are many occurrences that occupied ones time, so I am in the process of hopefully catching up in extending my profoundest respect and gratitude to all the support we received in this massive and historical action. MIM(Prisons) definitely played a critical role in helping propagating and educating the masses which helped us breach through the enormous machinery of our adversarial relations. This large scale struggle would not have been possible without the giant sacrifices of people from civil society. Even as we pursue justice in recognition of our plight, we must remain cognizant to the larger picture of oppressed people. This struggle is basically an aspect of the struggle in civil society against a surveillance state and the erosion of civil liberties.


MIM(Prisons) adds:We have received feedback from a number of comrades since the latest phase of the struggle went on hold saying they are putting the updates we sent to good use for further organizing and building. We are currently working to continue those efforts to reflect and build on what has been achieved.

The movement to end torture in California prisons has certainly reached impressive levels. About time, we might add, after many comrades have faced the torture of the Security Housing Units for decades. And many different types of people and organizations have been pushing this common cause in the ways that they can. Our focus is on facilitating prisoner organizing, and this is a strategic decision in this movement because we see prisoners as the motive force behind it. With all the hard work and important contributions from various sectors, prisoners must continue to come together and stand solidly for this cause for it to succeed. We act in united front with all who oppose torture and demand an end to long-term isolation across the imperialist United $nakes of Amerika.

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[United Front] [Campaigns] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 35]
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Peace and Solidarity Protest in Nevada

September 9, 2013 has come and gone, and while the turn out was significantly improved over last year, there is still room for much improvement. This is, of course, reflective of the general malaise which has infected the population concerning prison conditions and prisoner solidarity. But it is also the result of an inability to reliably communicate between units and custody levels here at High Desert (HDSP).

The turn out for this unit was approximately 8% but this may or may not be representative of prison-wide participation. There appears to have been significant participation from our brothers and sisters at Ely State Prison and our utmost respect and gratitude goes out to you all for standing with us. There have been some indications here at HDSP that there is a storm on the horizon and there is currently some discussion and preparation in anticipation. But we must wait until events begin to unfold before embarking on any course of action. This includes pushing September 9, 2014 harder and longer this year.

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[Spanish]
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California aprueba imponer alimentos a los huelgeros de hambre

19 de Agosto, 2013, este día, una corte federal aprovó alimentación forzada a personas que han estado en huelga de hambre en las prisiones de California, para protestar torturas y el aislamiento de largo tiempo, incluyendo los que han estado en huelga de hambre en Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) desde Febrero y han estado sufriendo alimentación forzada, por meses.

La decisión en California llego, después de que pusimos un reporte de un compadre que le negaron suplementos líquidos y colapsó el 21 de Julio, la prision estatal de Corcoran. Varios más han colapso desde tal fecha y el comportamiento del estado ha revelado de que la salud en las prisiones no ha sido de interes. Ellos aplican estrictas reglas para que se cuenten personas en "huelga de hambre," sabiendo que los huelgeros dependen del Estado para que reporten los números de ellos al público, y forzandolos a estas reglas que no dejan ningun substanciado.

El Estado ha usado consistentemente el cuidado de salud como una arma para manipular el rendimiento de los presos en lugar de actuar como custodios de salud y seguridad, como según ellos claman que son. Ahora que los huelgueros tocan condiciones de peligro de vida, el Departamento de Correcciones y Rehabilitación, esta tratando de evitar que practiquen una de las formas más poderosas de protestar que mantienen dentro las celdas de castigo.

La atención que se le ha dado a la situación adentro de las prisiones en California, al momento ha sido sin presidencia y temen que si siguen presos falleciendo, pueden perder el poder de torturar a los presos en el futuro.

La tortura es importante para ellos porque ellos creen que es la mejor arma para prevenir la lucha de los oprimidos hacia el sistema de la injusticia.

La huelga de hambre en curso, construida por décadas, ha iniciado a cambiar esa idea.

Este recién reporte asegura que 70 de 130 prisioneros al momento han estado en huelga de hambre y siguen, desde el 8 de Julio, 2013. Existen grupos de números de prisioneros en California que están listos para empezar huelgas de hambre para apoyar a los 70 (o mas) que han continuado hasta que la batalla altere.

En los meses anteriores hasta el 8 de Julio, 2013, ha sido tal debate de que regresen a la táctica de huelga de hambre, particularmente como atentos anteriores que fueron abortados prematuramente sin ningún cargo del Estado. Pero esas primeras huelgas resonaron entre los oprimidos sobre la región y en particular en California donde 30,000 prisioneros reaccionaron contra el largo interno de castigo el 8 de Julio, 2013.

Conforme llegamos a los 50 días de huelga, y retidas acertaciones de participantes que no van a parar solo por cualquier promesa esta vez, esta batalla esta lleganda a su punto crucial. Al la fecha, las unidades de control han sido armas efectivas de represión, pero si la opresión cría resistencia, entonces estas armas de total control pueden ser derrotadas.

Al ningún otro punto hemos llegado tan cerca a tal meta como a la que estamos ahora. Esos que han y que ponen sus vidas por esta batalla no morirán en vano.

Esos 30,000 y más prisioneros que soportaron esta campaña tienen que tomar cada oportunidad sobre los siguiente meses para generar, organizar, educar para la siguiente fase en esta batalla. Al no tomar este momento - será un fracaso en al movimiento y será más sufrimiento para los encarcelados en masas, en las siguientes décadas.

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[Campaigns] [United Front] [Hancock State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 35]
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Peace and Solidarity Fast in Georgia

It was a good fast day for me on the most recent day of Peace and Solidarity, a powerful underground movement. I am in the midst of a lot of things right now and I may be getting transferred soon, I don't want to put the re-mailing cost on you, because I know that there are a lot of people who look forward to your paper. I am also enclosing a few stamps to help out with the financial element of the movement. I'll get in touch as soon as I move.

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