Ever since prison officials at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) were made by a Federal court order to wear body cameras and to cease their terrorist practices and abuses upon the most vulnerable prisoners, the disabled and elderly, (see: Armstrong vs. Newson, et al. Case No. C94-CV-02307 CW) the RJD prison has experienced total lack of programming abilities resulting in lockdowns, modified programs, and other programming restrictions which impede or otherwise undermine one’s opportunities to earn sentence-reducing credits and to perform in a manner expected by/from the Board of Prison Terms, in order to parole. Especially on the weekends, when the Warden and other Department of Corrections administrators are unavailable to mandate corrective actions.
RJD ranking officials will tell you that this is due to a staff shortage, training mandates etc. The truth, however, upon my information, is that these are calculated and coordinated efforts of something more sinister indeed. A Union-coordinated boycott.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) at the RJD prison complex is, apparently, unhappy with the fact that years and years of beatings, false reports, lying for one another and even murder, yes MURDER, has resulted in a Federal court order in the Armstrong case, requiring the staff to wear body cameras. Cameras that not only record the video interactions of sworn personnel and those they speak to, but the audio versions thereof as well.
The actions and omissions of RJD’s sworn officers and other CCPOA members is organized, timed, and planned for maximum effects, and is very clearly a snubbing of their proverbial noses at the RJD Warden and other Corrections administrators.
Through this sophistication these officials protest and boycott the lawful orders of a Federal court judge – a judge they have subsequently claimed was/is biased and therefore should not have presided over those proceedings leading to the court-ordered wearing of body cameras.
If you’re doing what you are paid to do by the public, and if your tactics and demeanor is not disturbing and offensive, why worry about body cameras? They are allowed to turn them off in the bathrooms even.
Through a sophisticated scheme, these prison officials organize and conduct mass strikes via fraud and the misuse of sick leave and personal days, holding prisoners’ access to programs and such hostage. Knowing that, without access to and completion of which (many times, in a set time frame), the prisoners participating in such (now unavailable) programs and activities, will suffer by not being able to benefit from good time sentence reduction for successful completions.
Instead of taking its direction from the federal court (by court order), RJD corrections officers turn their ire on their employers: the CDCR and RJD’s Warden. Under injunction, the very corrections officers who so blatantly demonstrated a propensity for criminal thought processes, activities, brutality upon disabled and other prisoners, and other such criminal misconduct, now employ further, separate and additionally questionable practices intended to undermine, and to otherwise circumvent the lawful processes of the Federal court and the Honorable Claudia Wilken, United States Federal District Court Judge.
GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT AND IT’LL GO AWAY, RIGHT?
That is called ‘blackmail’ where I come from. It is illegal, anti-people, and is being committed here by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Whether by approval or turning a blind eye thereto. It is still an anti-people and illegal violation of a Federal court order in Armstrong v. Newson, C94-02307 CW.
In fact, a recent order in the above case acknowledges that many of RJD’s correctional officers have assumed a gang-like culture and behavior. The CDCR does not contest these assertions and the Federal court has openly acknowledged the veracity of same. RJD has many Mexican corrections officers who have acclaimed and begun carrying themselves in a manner akin to their Mexican Mafia prisoner counterparts. Both in vernacular, actions and conduct. Including secret identification to one another of membership. And this is anything but the first time. For more on the history of this kind of behavior in California prisons read The Green Wall by D.J. Vodicka.
Racketeering: Today, racketeering often has the broad sense of “the practice of engaging in a fraudulent scheme or enterprise.” Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, 2nd Ed. by Bryan A. Garner.
The Republic of Aztlán (ROA) is happy to announce our online study group that we are hosting with various leaders of different Brown Beret formations.
We are studying the intro study program focused on The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons (FPL). This is the study group that U.$. prisoners have been studying for years. We are applying it to Aztlán with few modifications.
This is groundbreaking that the Chicano Movement outside of prisons is studying MIM(Prisons) fundamental political line. It is important to overstand that hystorically the Chicano Movement was mostly cultural nationalist back in the days; this is changing.
We of the Republic of Aztlán have a slogan that says, “Ideology is key for Aztlán to be free!” We firmly believe that what the Chicano Movement always lacked that prevented it from developing to the next stage of struggle was a unified political line (ideology). Without ideology we cannot move as one. To obtain national liberation we will have to move as one with an ideology that guides us in the most scientific way.
We hope that by connecting the Chicano Movement as a whole to Maoist ideology it will move us closer to independence and in step with the global anti-imperialist movement.
Bringing political instructors to the cadre of the Chicano Movement will inject our movimiento with the political guidance that has been lacking for the movement as a whole. The ROA sees this process of bringing MIM(Prisons) study groups to the Chicano Movement outside of the concentration kkkamp as the process of from the pintas to the pintas. So for those sisters and brothers behind the prison walls, know that the political line that you all are helping to develop is being taught out here in the internal semi-colonies!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have also been running the MIM(Prisons) intro study program on the outside for comrades who have joined Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support over the last 1.5 years. Each week we do a combination of discussing AIPS comrades’ answers and the answers from our comrades in prison. Some of you have been receiving responses to your answers with our discussions included as feedback. Since switching to a go-at-your-own-pace program for comrades in prison, we think this provides prisoners with more interaction and feedback.
In related news on our joint efforts to promote Maoist ideology in Aztlán, the 5th anniversary of the book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán was marked with a second printing by Aztlán Press.
As we said in our joint statement printed in ULK 72, MIM(Prisons) distributed over 200 copies of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán to prisoners, while most of the 1000 copies of our first printing were sold to people on the outside. This was done through our publisher Kersplebedeb online and the Republic of Aztlán on the streets. With the second printing we are all stocked up to keep the books flowing into the hands of the masses.
The book is available to prisoners from us for the discounted price of $10 in the form of stamps or cash, or for work trade. We also can take bulk orders with Monero on the outside for those looking for anonymous online payments.
Finally, we do have a new edition of FPL in the works as well as other publications, but our lack of comrade time is limiting our ability to get these out. With more supporters, we can do more of this important educational work. People outside prison should join AIPS today and get started on the study program while contributing to getting more education materials into more peoples’ hands inside and outside prisons.
News from the National Territory: Republic of New Afrika
On a 85 mile stretch of Earth in Louisiana, from the Mississippi near Baton Rouge, to New Orleans, New Afrikans who were recently liberated from the chains of Amerikkkan color-caste colonialism (slavery), managed to buy land and found numerous ‘Black Towns’ as they were called. These ‘Black Towns’ thrived for five generations, in what was once plantation country, but is now the heart of Our Republic of New Afrika. However, since the 1990s, domestic neo-colonialism has ravaged the health of New Afrikans in towns such as ‘Freetown’ and ‘Welcome’ Louisiana. So much so, that this stretch of land is commonly called ‘Cancer Alley.’
Multi-national petrochemical corporations have targeted this land in order to capitalize on various objective realities. Plentiful water, cheap land, access to natural gas, huge tax breaks and lax regulation attract these international conglomerates (Koch Industries, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and others). These imperialist companies have built over 200 petrochemical factories and refineries on Cancer Alley. Since 2015, seven huge complexes have been built, and five more are in the process of being built.
New Afrikan wimmin are now leading a fight to stop the fossil fuels pipelines and plants from multiplying and further polluting the land and air within Our national territory.
Currently, a proposed Formosa chemical complex is the center of this struggle, and as is all too often the reality, the New Afrikan masses of Louisiana leading the struggle against these Amerikan corporations aren’t receiving aid from the Provisional Government or other collectives of conscious citizens. The people need Our leadership to frame this struggle for what it is: a manifestation of the worldwide fight against imperialist greed as it pertains to environmental national oppression.
Formosa Plastics Corp. announced in 2018 that they would be building a 14 plant complex in St. James Parish, which is just north of New Orleans. These factories will not only spew various cancer-causing agents into the air and water, but will also produce the throw away plastics that We as a global community are desperately striving to eliminate. Every year the Formosa project will pump 800 tons of toxic chemicals, 6,500 tons of air pollutants and 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases into the air. Additionally, wastewater and spill dumped into the Mississippi River will further endanger sea life in the Gulf of Mexico.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has given Formosa a ten year tax break totaling $1.5 billion, which is $1.25 million per job since Formosa has promised 1,200 jobs to boost the local economy. Instead the New Afrikan sistahs who’re leading the struggle are demanding reparations for those affected by these corporations’ projects. St. James Parish is 91% New AFrikan with an average income of $17,000 a year. Surely jobs are needed, however, 85% of employment at the plants have gone to euro-Amerikkkans.
Neo-colonial puppets have exploited the dire situation of the grassroots. Although Cancer Alley, and St. James in particular, has 50 times the national average of cancer cases. Cedric Richmond spent 10 years in the House as a former congressman and ignored the people dying in Cancer Alley, his fellow New Afrikan people. Instead he allowed these corporations easy access to the land, while building his political career by heading the Congressional Black Caucus, he then co-chaired the Biden campaign, and is now a senior advisor to the President. What does this tell us? It should tell us, that for all the ‘BlackLivesMatter’ posturing done by demokkkrats, the reality is that these are still imperialist politicians and are the enemies of the people.
Many grassroots groups such as RISE St. James have been at this struggle for decades and have also had significant wins against these corporate entities. In 1993, 1998 and 2019, these groups led the charge in order to have proposed factories and plants blocked.
This year, Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE, spoke to the U.N. on the perils of ‘environmental racism.’ These New Afrikan wimmin are putting up a valiant fight, refusing to leave their homes and heritage (New Afrikan). This is obviously a struggle for land.
Currently the Formosa project is on hold due to community unrest. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers withdrew a wetlands permit and a lawsuit challenging 14 air permits is going to court.
To show your support to these modern day New Afrikans, sign the petition at stopformosa.org
Notes: Lois Danks, Battling racist Polluters in Cancer Alley, June-July 2021 Freedom Socialist Newspaper
I am being transferred to another prison for inciting the whole entire population with a statement that said i am an ‘Illuminati Killer.’
I’m out of their established isolation unit and now being housed in a quarantine housing unit. The housing unit is a 300 cell living unit, double cell. There are probably 30 individuals scattered throughout the entire facility/unit. All individuals housed here are from several different institutional facility yards. None are General Population(G.P.) that i know of.
SATF (Substance Abuse Treatment Facility) is bleeding the state for medical benefits, like claiming this building as a medical facility, under the guise of COVID quarantine. But the administration is using the building as an isolation unit. All of the guys housed here are said to be in transit, transitioning from some place to another, but on the cool they all are trouble makers of the California Department of Corrections and “rehabilitation” (CDCR). We get zero yard, zero dayroom, zero facility activities like law library, education, canteen, vocation, etc. They terminated all of our privileges except for writing a letter. And if one doesn’t have postage stamps, it sucks to be you.
The current CDCR 602 [grievance form] is being remodeled thanks to the San Quentin Prison Law Office’s latest negotiation to the Armstrong lawsuit against CDCR to wire the institutions for cameras and microphones to protect the disabled prisoners being abused by pigs and covered up by crooked administrators trying to protect their skeletons from being leaked to the public.
So chances of getting a 602 going anywhere right now is more slim than the yester years.
Rumor has it that a pig killed emself not long ago, due to state layoffs. So the bull shit is in the air. Free staff are refusing to come to work in support of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) work strike against prison closures. The attitude is that prisoners ain’t got shit coming right now at SATF. And if they try pushing the issue, then label them a gang leader and transfer them into an active gladiator environment.
The cadre here are educated to concentrate on being released. Don’t bite into the pigs provocation. They are doing everything they can to prevent us from seeing that free society because they understand the power that we have with zero attachments and very little loyalty to what they are loyal to. Leaders are locating Agent Smith in their comfort zones, gyms, churches, restaurants, etc and revisiting some very awkward conversations that originated on the prison yard.
Tupac Shakur responds to an interviewer That’s why i put the ‘k’ to it. Know what? Niggas was telling me about this illuminati shit while i’m in jail, right, like “the dollar, you know.” That’s another way to keep yourself in chains yo. That’s another way to keep you unconfident. And i put the ‘k’ there cuz i’m killing that illuminati shit, trust me!"
People yellin’ “Wake up!” But they’re still dreamin They say “killuminati” But they don’t know the meaning They took Pac’s saying way out of context ’Cuz what he meant is that illuminati shit is nonsense he wasn’t saying we should kill anybody, he was saying we should kill that talk of illuminati ’Cuz all it is is a bunch of hocus pocus to make us feel powerless and shift all of our focus from the corporations and the corrupt government to the secret societies and sacred covenants That’s what they want so they don’t have to take you serious They brush you off as a conspiracy theorist.
The AQLA is a radical group of anarchists who promote the school of thought that advocates anarchism and social revolution as the means to queer liberation and abolition of hierarchies such as homophobia, lesbophobia, transmisogyny, biphobia, patriarchy, and heteronormativity. In the Tennessee prison system there were no type of groups that were geared at the LGBTQ+ community. In this system, we are the minority and the oppressed of the oppressed. Often times people in the LGBTQ+ community are harassed not only by the pigs but other prisoners as well.
As a self-identified Queer person i see all this going on and it disgusted and outraged me so i felt the need to start a group that not only unified the community but would also serve as a means of educating our members and providing them with a level of political consciousness and get them to see who our enemy is. Our aim is to destigmatize the LGBTQ+ community in regards to other prisoners and lumpen organizations and to hopefully build unity with these other organizations around a common enemy.
The oppression and marginalization of queer and trans people in prison is all too prevalent and for the most part we’re left to suffer at the hands of pigs and inmates alike. But it’s my aim in forming this organization to see that we are seen as humyns who are worthy of respect in this environment. We have a rich hystory of courageous revolutionary comrades who struggled for our freedom all throughout the Gay Liberation Movement. We want to build alliances with other prisoners and L.O.s and hope to educate them and get them to put aside their insecurities or prejudice towards us and build unity to overthrow the common enemy. We hope for fellow captives to gain security in themselves and therefore have respect for our struggle seeing that we are an oppressed people. We implore them not to use racist or prejudiced attitudes toward us. We are NOT a threat to them. We have a right to be free from violence and oppression just like any other group. But we are determined to fight for our respect and freedom. Here’s what the 5 principles of the UFPP mean to us:
Peace: We strive to cease the endless drama and animosity that is prevalent within the u$ penal colony. We are divided enough already by the oppressive pigs and prisoners so we do not need to fight against ourselves over petty prison politics and macho/alpha-male foolishness. We need to stand together and defend ourselves from oppression.
Unity: We seek to unite with those facing the same struggle as us for common interest. To accomplish this, we must have open lines of communication and learn to talk civilly. We know the pigs will use “Divide & Conquer” strategies any chance they can and will gain control if we’re not unified.
Growth: Education and the freedom to grow is crucial when building unity. As revolutionaries, we must always strive to get our politics as flawless as possible and bring the level of political consciousness to the highest possible point.
Internationalism: We must seek the collective liberation of ALL oppressed people. We all are victims of the oppressors but we must go from victims to victors. We must all unite against the common enemy because we can’t liberate ourselves if we’re participating in the oppression of others.
Independence: We must have organizations that are fully independent from the u$ government and all its branches, even down to the police. The racist, capitalist, imperialist system does not serve us or have our best interests in mind. If able, they will co-opt our groups and water down anything we’re trying to do. By instituting independent power we won’t have to compromise our political goals.
As a group we fully pledge ourselves to the United Front and will work to abolish the imperialist u$ empire. We will gladly unite with any group who promotes an end to capitalism, imperialism, fascism, patriarchy, etc., etc., and I want to thank you at MIM for helping to bring the people to a place of constructive revolutionary purpose.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome the newly formed AQLA as an ally in the anti-imperialist prison movement. Gender is one line of division used by the oppressors against the imprisoned lumpen, and we support their efforts to counter that through outreach and alliances with other lumpen organizations.
Anarchists differ from communists, in short, by disagreeing with point 2 of MIM(Prisons)’s six main points. While we share in our end goals, we differ on the strategy on getting there. This is a difference that would prevent comrades from joining MIM(Prisons) or the organizations it leads, such as United Struggle from Within. The function of the united front is for organizations like ours to join forces for a common cause, without giving up our differences on other key points such as this.
April 2021 - The San Quentin (SQ) administration has been running two modified programs on Death Row under the guise of social distancing since the pandemic began. Both look so good on paper, but how they look on paper and how they really work are the only things six feet apart and the result was putting many six feet under.
Death Row’s seven group yards were divided into 14 yards back in the first quarter of 2020. That was accomplished by sending half of East Block (EB) out one day, then the other half the next day with Death Row prisoners warehoused in Donner Section (DS). Which side of EB DS went out with switched at least three times – before, during and after spikes of COVID-19 on Death Row and throughout the prison. In addition to the switches thrown on the tracks of this crazy train, at no time was there a maximum allowed number of prisoners set for each of the yards. Requests to set a maximum number per yard and prepare daily lists by going cell to cell through both sides of EB and the DS tiers (as is done for ‘walk-alone’ due to the limited number of cages) were ignored all the way to Sacramento. Does CDCR prefer the truth be released at half capacity perhaps? Appeal#SQ-A-20-01123 remains unanswered since it was sent for final review on 14 July 2020.
No emphasis on social distancing regarding the shower program in DS exists anywhere but on paper as well. The Daily Program Status Report (PSR) fabricated 14 July 2020 explains only four showers can be used at a time. It conveniently omits the fact there are only four showers total. These consist of steel mesh cages – each sharing a mesh wall with the other. Three are approximately 3 1/2’ x 3 1/2’. The fourth is designed to accommodate a wheelchair. Nobody using these showers can be 6’ away from the prisoner in the adjoining cage. Perhaps CDCR hopes to bring in waterboarding. That would certainly be the effect if you wear a mask in the shower.
Prisoners can refuse to go to yard unless there’s a unit search. Prisoners can even refuse to shower, opting for an in-cell ‘bird bath.’ However, the San Quentin administration is now moving all Death Row prisoners from DS to EB. So, the four shower cage problem disappears as if in a mist of droplets, because the EB showers only accommodate one prisoner at a time.
It ‘seems’ all the moves are deemed safe and if that is indeed true, there is still no purpose for a 14 yard program except to keep something looking good on paper. It’s not working good at all if you read about it on this paper though. That’s because this explains how CDCR managed to execute prisoners even during a moratorium.
Comrades, I want to highlight the issues surrounding the Erick Riddick case because I feel it did not get enough media coverage. Sure there was enough attention given to free him after 30 years, however that is only because he knew a famous rapper. What about the thousands of other people in prison who don’t know any famous celebrities?
[Editor: Erick Riddick was released in May 2021 after 30 years in prison in a deal for time served for a guilty plea. His case was championed by Meek Mill, who he met in prison, and brought his case to the attention of some law students at Georgetown University.]
Riddick’s case disturbed me personally because I too tried to raise a claim of actual innocence in court only to be told that claims of actual innocence are not cognizable. For all who do not understand legal language, that means ‘so what if you have evidence of innocence, the law does not permit one to be freed on those grounds.’
The inequality of Herrera v. Collins 506 U.S. 390 (1993) should enrage anyone who has an atom of decency in them. All of these prejudiced kind of laws are opined in private, however the very moment it is brought to the public’s attention at large, like with Erick Riddick, the pretense of justice is miraculously assumed.
Riddick had solid evidence of his innocence and yet that was not enough for his release from prison after 30 years! Because of Herrera v. Collins, Erick Riddick had to plea to a 3rd degree murder charge in exchange for release. The very notion of the plea deal is illegal – words like extortion, ransom, kidnapping, come to mind – but when are government officials ever subject to the law?
When I was in county jail the sheriffs officers there would boast that a court can not order them to do anything. They would say “a court order is only a suggestion.”
Does anyone in the free world care that 4% of the U.S. population has a ‘do whatever you want’ license or is it ok so long as it don’t happen to you? What? You didn’t know that 4% of the U.S. population works to incarcerate Americans? Look around, someone standing close to you locks people in a cage for a paycheck. They take off their uniform before entering the public domain because they know they are enemies of the people. They are hiding their evil, that’s why they change clothes before leaving work at the police station.
I am doing a life sentence, so that you will be frightened into submission. Any who are complicit encourage further tyranny. I don’t have anything to lose but my chains, but I guarantee you this, if you do not stand against the police now your kids will suffer a much worse fate than mine.
None but prisoners know how unjust the laws are. Judges are paid in excess of $300,000 annually to give life sentences but the jury has no right to know what sentence a guilty verdict carries. The Riddick case should be mainstream media. The public deserves to know that the law don’t care if a man is innocent, their only concern is intimidation, life sentences for some so that all will cower down & pay heavy taxes.
4% of the population roams around with a gun and a badge and a fat belly, living off the working man’s hard work! They carry that gun because they are too lazy for a real job. When will government officials be held accountable for their crimes against humanity? The time to stand united against the police is NOW!! It is me today, tomorrow it will be you. Resist NOW!
A USW comrade wrote: …the USW Coordinator said, “We are struggling to maintain our programs FIRST because our former comrades left, but second because the people we support for years are not coming out here and putting in work into these programs.” i think first this is a good example of what i was saying to the comrade in NY, u acknowledged first your internal factors, while also acknowledging external ones and these are FIRST and SECOND in that order of importance.
As to what u said i feel WE comrades on the inside have to start treating MIM(Prisons) and USW as if they’re OURS, which in reality they are. The comrade in ULK 72 made a good point about comrades making donations now that i’m sure a lot of Us have received the imperialist pacification funds garnered from imperialist super-exploitation, and oppression. So here in this forum for the supposed advanced and more dedicated comrades i wanna challenge us all to donate what We can even if its just stamps, and thereby help OUR comrades, teachers, and supporters at MIM(Prisons) get some of the other programs up and running again. That’s called resolving a contradiction internally!
For years, MIM(Prisons) had tried to raise funds to publish ULK more frequently, well, now WE comrades got $$$ and instead of giving that shit back to the enemy state lets invest in OUR independent institutions, and there-by invest in OUR growth and development. i’m putting my $$ where my mouth is, i’ve already sent the comrades 30 stamps and will be sending 30 more with this letter, for a total of 60. WHO GONNA MATCH ME, COMRADES????
MIM(Prisons) adds: We’ve decided to print this commentary addressed to other USW leaders for all of our readers. Turns out the USW leaders have stepped up big time! In March and April of 2021 we received the most donations in 2 months that we’ve received in over 3 years. And back then we had a lot more subscribers.
For years we campaigned to get our readers in prison to fund 10% of the costs of ULK, but never reached the goal. Well in the last few months we’ve received donations from the inside totaling about 33% of the cost of this issue! This is due to 3 things: 1) our mailing list shrunk, decreasing our costs; 2) we made changes to how we do ULK so that it is cheaper; 3) comrades stepped up with big donations.
However, this was only about 10 comrades who contributed this money, and over 90% of the money came from comrades who are USW leaders. We’d hope and expect that USW leaders contribute more than others. But we doubt these comrades will be able to keep up this pace alone. So the next phase of our funding campaign is to bring in donations from the rest of you.
We also must recognize that our donations would have been larger if we could accept checks. A number of people attempted to send us checks last month. However, as we indicate in every issue of ULK and elsewhere, we cannot do anything with checks made out to MIM. Especially if you are having your family send us $5, please don’t waste time and money on money orders, just have them send us the $5.
With the success of Ehecatl’s call, we have decided to do what many organizations do and have an annual fund drive. This will help you keep track of when it’s time to renew your contributions. And we’ve chosen the Fourth of You-Lie imperialist holiday as our day to raise money for truth-telling, independent media.
At our current rate of distribution, if you send us 7 stamps by 4 July 2021 you will have covered the cost of your subscription for one year. That’s it. Seven stamps every 4th of July for the voice of the anti-imperialist movement Under Lock & Key to your door. Please help out!
Karl Marx was writing at a time when bourgeois democracy had triumphed, and political parties ruled the day. These political parties represented the various oppressive classes, primarily the bourgeoisie itself. A radical idea at the time was to form a party that was for and by the proletariat.
V.I. Lenin led the first successful project to build a proletarian party, a Communist Party, and take power from the hands of the oppressors and put it in the hands of the oppressed. Lenin left us with many lessons on how to do this, how such a party should be organized and how it should operate. The Party as the vehicle for the transfer of power from the oppressor to the oppressed has been a foundation of revolutionary science ever since.
The Maoist Internationalist Movement began in 1983. In 1990 the first MIM party, MIP-Amerika, was formalized. In 2006, the Party dissolved and put out a plan for a new cell structure for the MIM. In 2007, MIM(Prisons) formed as a cell. There remains no functioning parties within the MIM today.(see Continuity and Rupture: A Counter-Narrative to JMP’s History of Maoism for more on MIM timeline)
A CA USW comrade: “[The journal] Kites hit it square on the head though as MIM has said we really don’t have a vanguard. But I thought Kites’ pointing out a squandered opportunity in 2020 on point. This is our job, to seize opportunity out of the objective situations and especially the crisis amongst the enemy itself. The only thing missing regarding the external factors (we can’t control) is 3rd world revolutionary revolts. But we have no mass support but 2020 should’ve been a god-send for that. And it wasn’t.”
Actually, MIM has never said we don’t have a vanguard. MIM has always said the vanguard is the most advanced political line, which could be held by a tiny organization or even one individual when conditions are very undeveloped. What this comrade gets right is our situation remains very undeveloped.
We won’t get into a deep analysis of revolutionary forces here. We do think 2020 was an opportunity to expand our influence that we could have done more with if we were stronger. But the essential character of the U.$. population did not, and has not changed from 2019 or from 2001. The vast majority in this country benefit from the current imperialist order.
MIM(Prisons) has argued that the cell structure makes sense at this strategic stage, even within a Leninist model, because we are not vowing for state power at this time, or tomorrow. Another USW comrade in Federal prison contends that the lack of a party:
“complicates the task of implementing a totalizing strategy for revolution and building the mass base to carry it forward.”
This comrade argues that we need a united leadership to guide us down the correct road now. We touched on the inherent contradiction of the cell structure in our Reassessing Cell Structure 5 Years Out where we pointed out that it allows for one cell to decide its time to form a party, while others disagree. If only that were the main problem we were facing today.
The question is, do we need a party for a united strategy? And what are the downsides of moving too quickly into a Party formation to try to achieve that? We actually have a question about the weaknesses of the a party structure in our introductory study course. Here are some recent answers:
"B.D.S.: Bad leadership could cause death of the movement
Ocelotl: Easier to target and infiltrate
Iashstiem: Security is more easily compromised
Adonis Salvo: More difficult to control and keep organized and focused
The Sober Souljah: Slacking in security by accepting strangers
F.L.A.V.A. 1: It will bring more of a spotlight on the party depending on its action in the revolution
Anarchy in VA: Prioritizing actions to take
Jups: Snitches/spying break down organization"
The primary answer, and the primary reason given by MIM for adopting the cell structure, was security. The second reason offered by comrades here is a fear of putting all your eggs in one basket type of argument. If we can allow for a diversity of approaches, we have more possibilities for success. This could be especially important in the early phases of our development as a movement. If five people come together and form a “Party” all we have is five self-appointed leaders. MIM(Prisons) often mentions the development of leadership that occurs through the forced self-reliance within small cells. It is when we have cells around the country who can elect leaders to represent them in a Party that such a project becomes viable.
A CA prisoner comments: "I was very impressed with ULK’s answer to the Potash book on Tupac. Until now I did not know that anyone other than myself was aware of the extent the intelligence community is involved in eliminating dissidents of their empire and the psychological warfare against civilians in the U.S. thru COINTELPRO and other intel ops against civilians. I was astonished to have my innermost suspicions confirmed by ULK. With the elimination of our leaders, we can not succeed thru unity, We must adopt independent cells as a model as you are obviously aware, every time a potential leader arises that can restore basic human rights and dignity and even freedom itself, the U.S. government is quick to eliminate our leader.
“And so you are correct in educating the People… Thru mass education, hopefully the People will awaken and do the work independent of any one leader, as a duty to the idea of freedom, not as a part of a bid for acceptance… True freedom can only come from socialism… We face a giant and to truly succeed we must be very wise. We cannot win by force yet so let us educate ourselves and know that against our common enemy we all must fight our own battle.”
This comrade touches on security, our strategic stage and the strategy of People’s War as opposed to great man theory. Education is always important, but at this stage it is principal over the use of force. This comrade’s approach to mass education as the best hedge against losing the leaders we depend on is in line with the Maoist strategy of People’s War. This strategy involves building a People’s Army that is embedded in the people, engaging in productive work and educational campaigns side-by-side with the people as we work towards developing base areas. Ultimately, as this comrade points out, Mao’s emphasis on how the people must learn to wage war through waging war rings true.
In our culture, social media reinforces practices that put individuals in the spotlight. We must develop ways to utilize the reach of the internet, without promoting ideas of great man theory or revealing persynal information of our leaders.
Security practices is one area where we must do more education. The only people MIM(Prisons) has interacted with that have good security practice seem to be individuals working alone. The state of basic security practice among revolutionaries is horrible. There is no way to succeed in a serious struggle with such practices. Yet, we must move beyond isolated individuals posting anonymous content to actually do real organizing.
A NY USW comrade asks: “Is the cell ideology productive? As a single unit I have not been able to grow. I do not believe it is me. Is there more I can do somehow else?”
The original MIM resolution on cell structure pointed out that a one-persyn cell is the most secure. But is it effective? MIM(Prisons) critiqued the idea of a one-persyn cell in general in its lack of ability to develop knowledge dialecticaly with just one mind. Some may be able to do it, but we don’t think it is a path that will move us forward fastest.
So what of the single-persyn cell trying to grow that can’t seem to recruit? In prison this problem is distinct in that you have no control over who and how many people you have access to. That is a separate problem. And we’d say you can reach others and recruit outside your prison by writing and producing artwork for Under Lock & Key, for example.
Whether in prison or not, the question becomes what can the party or larger organization give you as an individual to increase your success? We might think of things like a newspaper, mass campaigns, sharing experiences around what works and what doesn’t, connecting people and projects to make our work more efficient, imposing rules and discipline on cadre. It is not clear to us that we need a party for any of these things. We propose that technology today allows us to do all of these things in an anonymous and efficient manner.
MIP-Amerika was known to have better security practices than most self-declared communist parties in the United $tates, and yet they saw security as a weakness that led to their demise. We should take this lesson to heart. It will be premature to launch a party before cadre have come to understand security practices and power struggle. Our conditions include a level of surveillance and Liberalism that other revolutionary movements did not face. We must have real strategies for addressing these problems before we embark on the Party-building project.
The problem with the cell structure as it exists in our movement is that there is no centralized strategy for layering our security practices. The problem faced by small organizations concerned about security is how to separate out roles and tasks when your cadre is limited. The cell structure can force this situation onto us. The advantage of the Party is being able to do this bigger-scale and longer-term strategic construction. But we argue that we are not at this stage yet.
The cell structure is pointless without good security practices. That would play to our weaknesses by needlessly dividing our limited forces. It is only by developing security practices that would allow for a successful bid for state power that the cell structure really becomes operational. In the early stages of Party formation we should aim to maintain some of the policies of cell structure as a fail-safe. As our position becomes stronger, the security problems of a centralized party become less of a concern.
As always, politics must stay in command. This type of strategic thinking must come after an ideological consolidation. We seem to be in the stage of “letting 100 flowers bloom” as different interpretations and applications of Maoism in occupied Turtle Island are doing their things, watching and criticizing each other. While we have criticized a number of these trends as revisionists of Maoism, the diversity of people we see studying Maoism is a step forward. We will need many more cells organizing around the MIM cardinal principles, with demonstrated practices, before the question of party building becomes concrete for us.
As we move to the next step of ideological consolidation, we must address this strategic question: when is it time to build a Party? This is a question of utmost importance as we have no successful revolutionary strategy in conditions like ours to learn from. We must not rush to form a Party in a way that suddenly reveals all of our fiercest leaders to the state. As the state will move to kill, imprison, bad-jacket and pit these leaders against each other. Perhaps we can achieve ideological unity and strategic unity prior to forming a party. At this time we believe we should strive to preserve the benefits of cell structure without promoting isolation.
Out here in California there’s a buzz going through the state that 76,000 prisoners are eligible for an early release as of 8 May 2021. This is some great news that there’s going to be a mass expulsion of prisoners from these koncentration kamps. There’s a high chance that comrades of New Afrika and Aztlán who are most dedicated to the struggle of the liberation from the grip of imperialism will be freed into society to reach and teach those who inspire to make a positive step for growth and development for the lumpen in Amerikkka through the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP).
While it is great to hear that so many prisoners are now eligible for an early release in the state prisons in California, we can’t forget about our political leaders and soldiers who are still locked away in the FEDS, and those in exile. We can’t forget about Larry Hoover Sr, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Bomani Shakur, Assata Shakur, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown, and many others who sacrificed their all for the liberation of the lumpen of the United $tates of Amerikkka from capitalism and imperialism. To be honest, we owe it to our political leaders and soldiers to fight for their freedom twice as much as them who fought for us back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
With the release of 76,000 prisoners, a lot of comrades will be hitting the streets and it’s time to go into overdrive. We can’t afford to get out there and fall by the wayside and end up becoming reformist or joining the pop culture revolutionary popularity contest. We don’t do this for popularity or none of that other self-glorifying bullshit. We do this for the reason that liberation of our peoples and folks NEEDS TO BE DONE! PERIOD! Teach the youth of our communities about the truth of their past, what’s really going on around them in the present, and tell them about our leaders who are not being publicly and world-widely advocated for. Let it be known that prisoners are still HUMAN BEINGS; human beings that are majority from our lumpen communities, and that our lives, our political leaders and soldiers lives matter. Regardless of what the individual was convicted for or alleged of doing, inhuman treatment shouldn’t be the punishment.
In the words of Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Even though it is crucial that we do re-educate as many mis-educated imperialist/capitalist brainwashed adults as possible, we’ll have a more productive output if we put more focus on teaching the youth through building University of Maoist Thought schools, classrooms or at the least study groups.
“When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself with what he will do. He with low self-esteem is more likely to accept social conditions that society expects of him. He will seek sympathy and handouts as he feels he cannot raise from his beggar’s status.” - Carter G. Woodson, in The Racial Race p. 217
As long as the lumpen masses are stuck in this beggar mindset, then situations like the murder of George Floyd, where multiple bystanders who could have stopped the murder by pushing the pigs off of him instead of begging, pleading and calling the pigs on their fellow co-workers for the checking and correction of unjustified behavior and conduct of so-called officials.
Our leaders will be in these koncentration kamps dying a slow, miserable, tormenting death and many more in our communities will die on the streets and in these kamps if we don’t change as many minds of the new generation as we can.
Right now we’re in the middle of a war, a lot of individuals who are in the class of the petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie, who benefit from capitalism is going to deny, but we of the First World lumpen(FWL) all know better than to fall for the lie. As of now we’re working on building up our strength to overthrow the imperialist government and put in our own which will be the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations (JDPON). To accomplish this, those who are going to be in the wave of releases from CDCR must reach those who are the local leaders of the BLM and NAACP, get them in the studies of the concepts and ideologies that’ll lead to Maoism. If they refuse to change their reformist and revisionist ways, then we show the youth the contradictions of the BLM and NAACP and show them the difference of us who are not reformist or revisionist.
Let it be known that it’s more of a duty than a natural right to defend oneself from any and all attacks by whomever, most importantly and especially the pigs! How long are we going to stand by and let these so-called officials murder us without even attempting to defend ourselves? If we must die like the artwork on the 73 issue cover of ULK states, then it’s best one dies on their feet defending oneself, if they can’t get away. The reformist, revisionist and history has proven that non-violent approach doesn’t get the job done, to obtain freedom, justice and equality. A United Front of armed resistance is the only way.
Through dialectical materialism, historical materialism and deep studying of one’s true history and of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, we’ll get our moral correctness. And through learning hand-to-hand combat (i.e. martial arts, boxing etc.), obtaining licenses to carry for those who can, also make our own rifle clubs and be our own security force for the protection of our neighborhoods, when we rally, etc. This will be our way to achieve freedom from imperialism through armed resistance as we build our strength to overthrow imperialism, once and for all. Let’s get to work comrades!