I would like to encourage any prisoner who is abused in any way that is clearly counter to the regulations and department operational manual (DOM) to consider that upon exhausting the administrative process or even when it's obstructed there is another lawful way to force the CDCR prisoncrats to act on your complaint.
It's not as simple as the administrative 602 process and if you lack serious determination to force the issue don't waste your time. But it's called "administrative mandate" petitions you can file in the court. Now you can obtain basic instructions by writing the Prison Law Office and asking for "information on filing an administrative mandate" and/or buy the California state prisoners handbook which will explain to you how to force prisoncrats to follow their own rules and regulations.(1)
There is always the law library, which is the most powerful resource in the system for a prisoner who does not allow themselves to be mentally worn down. The adversarial system is just that, and prisoncrats and the CCPOA don't care about you but as a means to a pay check. This is not to belittle but encourage you to pursue lawful action if you have exhausted administrative remedies. You can sue easily in small claims where you do not have to have much legal knowledge (think of Judge Judy/Joe Brown/Matis, etc.). That's the simplest way to sue. But make sure you line your ducks up!
More complex methods of suing are available also if you are willing to do the work required seriously, as in "limited jurisdiction" and "unlimited jurisdiction" in the state courts; in addition to your ability to file in the federal jurisdiction. This is not easy, it is time consuming and it can be costly to you.
I would also consider writing complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division special litigation section if you are serious. The opposition makes use of all of its resources, I suggest you too use all of the resources you have. I am not anybody's attorney and this is not legal advice, I am simply stating the obvious so people do not lose heart. In most cases the picklesuits and prisoncrats allow the abuse of those they don't expect to offer a real challenge.
On a daily basis, we here at the McConnell Unit experience backlash for any and every thing we do to stand up for ourselves. I have been at a receiving end for some time. I have now been confined as a "security threat group (STG) member or leader" and am constantly being watched by the pigs. I am a considered a confirmed gang member despite ten years without any major disciplinary cases, gang involvement/activity, or fights.
Now, because of that my mail has gone missing, and has been denied without my knowledge. The mailroom staff has to notify and give you a pink paper to let you know your mail was denied and for what reason. My family has received two of their letters returned to them as "denied" yet I have never been called to the mailroom as per policy to be advised that I am being denied a letter. Plus the last thing I received from MIM(prisons) was the three past issues of ULK. As you can see I am targeted. I am used to it.
I spoke with the Gang Investigator two weeks ago. I told him that I am not gang related, have never been, and his response was plainly "we can start the process to get you off file, but it will take a year." This is after I have already gone through the process twice in ten years.
I have been pushing hard on our section for unity and peace amongst Latinos and Afrikan Amerikans. There is a lot of racial hatred on this unit, and no one seems to want to get along. Since 2007 I have tried and tried to make peace between two races who are always at each others' throats. I put up articles from ULK on a common area bulletin board so all these brothers can open their eyes to what they are too blind to see. I speak individually to different people and tell them they have the power to change the minds of these new "inmates" coming in and teach them that they are not inmates, they are human beings! Furthermore color is not a factor. All the pigs see is white uniform. All we see is skin color. And that is wrong, brothers.
We need to realize that together as one solid voice we can move mountains. We can be heard! We can achieve. Stop looking at each other with malice and hate. The pigs will take all your property, destroy your pictures, confiscate your commissary, and lock you up under false pretenses, yet some will overlook that only to fight the next brother because he owes a soup (25 cents) or changed the TV channel. Open your eyes! All of us!
We recently came off of a 30-day semi-annual lockdown. B-side on the unit is all lifers and medium custody prisoners. We had not been to store a week before lockdown, and after lockdown (on the 16th of July) we still have not been to commissary. Today is the 26th. So that's 47 days more or less. On the 21st we staged a sit in. We agreed that we in solidarity would go to lunch and all of us would sit down in the hallway until the majors and wardens came to speak to us. Fifty of us inside and out of the chowhalls, all in unity, sat down requesting the wardens to come speak. Sure enough all the lieutenants, captains, majors and wardens came to speak to us.
I told them (at all times) that it was a peaceful demonstration about our mistreatment on many issues but also concerning commissary being denied to B-Side while A side had gone twice to commissary and were fixing to go for a third time. Despite cameras to record us "initiating riots," and threats about being locked up and given disciplinary cases, we stood our ground. (Although some ran away at the first sign of the wardens coming and some did not actually attend the sit-in.)
The main warden speaking told us he would work on getting us commissary. He gave us his word and we in unity and unison got up and went back to our building. Our commissary schedule was dated as us not going to store until the 29th. But thanks to our actions we started going sooner, on the 24th.
We have 3 pods on our building and when we told the other 2 pods to help us they refused. We did it alone. Yet thanks to us they are going to store. Ironic that they believed our actions would be in vain yet enjoy the victory we achieved.
Basically we need to stand together. Not in violence. That only gives them the excuse that we belong in prison. Instead we all need to unite in solidarity. I would rather fight 5 years to live my next 15 peacefully and not mistreated rather than live all 20 under mistreatment and torture! And to all the brothers in here that sit back and take it: Why talk about war stories of you being this big bad "gangsta" out there who takes nothing from no one and give a story of "don't disrespect me" only to sit back and be compliant with the pigs?
Recently a Federal lawsuit against Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was filed regarding the inhumane heat in the prisons. TDCJ responded that it's not an issue because they employ huge fans, air blowers and cold water as preventive measures to ensure safety. What they didn't state was that only one of those fans works in every section (one sits idle) and the air blowers do not work either. And cold water is hard to get because the pigs don't let us fill the coolers up until they feel like it. So that excuse isn't even true! Open your eyes brothers in Texas. Enough is enough! The fight continues. Don't give up or give in. Never let race be a factor! Power to all people!
MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this comrade's call for unity across all groups of prisoners so that we can join together in the fight against the criminal injustice system.
Rather than define people by "race" however, we talk about nations. Racism is the idea that there are different biological differences between people. The anti-racists still claim people are separated into different "races" even though they acknowledge that there is no biological or material basis to this claim. The concept of racial differences between people is a product of national oppression that was invented as an ideological justification for colonialism and slavery of the "lesser" races.
We recognize that there are distinct nations within U.$. borders with common language, culture, economics and geography, which face subjugation as a group. So there are different groups within U.$. borders, but we advance beyond the anti-racists by defining those groups materially. The oppressed nations within U.$. borders include at least the [email protected], New Afrikan and First Nations. Rather than trying to integrate these peoples into the oppressor Amerikan nation, like the anti-racists are doing, we work to liberate them from imperialism to take control of their own national territories and form their own independent states, free from imperialism and oppression.
You ever heard that saying "crime doesn't pay"? I'm gonna keep it real with you: that's a bold face lie, or at the very least a misrepresentation of the truth. I guess it can be argued that crime doesn't pay for the person who does the crime, gets caught, and has to serve a lengthy sentence.
I don't necessarily accept that premise because for one, a person can go undetected for a long time, all the while blowing through millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains; ask Bernie Madoff. Is it reasonable to conclude that crime didn't pay ol' Bernie-Bern? And the U.$. government is running a Madoff-like ponzi scheme with some of its entitlement programs; Uncle Sam knows that crime pays.
Another dimension to this is the guy who does the crime, gets caught, gets the court punishment, but has friends in high places who sees that he gets a pardon. Such as the case with "Scooter" Libby or that California state politician's son who Arnold Schwarzenegger granted partial clemency to. Arnold basically admitted that he did it as a favor for his politician friend. Ask "Scooter" if crime pays.
Then there's the people who commit crimes, yet due to their status and position in U.S. society, never get prosecuted. Anybody remember the Iran-Contra affair? Plenty of evidence has surfaced that implicates the CIA with drug smuggling and trafficking during this era. There were reports from agents with un-compromised integrity filed within the CIA during this time and bringing this criminal activity to light within the Agency. Ironically George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and the upper level intelligence/justice officials, claiming ignorance of the crimes, avoided legal accountability for this criminal activity. Ask the Bush politicians if their crimes pay.
The government of Columbia sued the Phillip Morris tobacco company for smuggling Marlboro cigarettes in to that country, readily accepting large amounts of cash from traffickers, then smuggling the cash back into the U.S.(1)
Ironically this criminality didn't receive much focus in the United States, nor did the Phillip Morris decision-makers have to defend their criminal conduct in the U.S. criminal court system. Also RJ Reynolds (Nabisco) has been sued by the entire European Union for large scale smuggling and money laundering.(1) Ask the elite Wall Street collective if crime pays.
We see politicians and government bureaucrats on TV all the time speaking of their commitment to eliminating crime and their sincere desire "to see a crime-free America." I say that they're the grossest liars and flatterers, devoid of integrity and a healthy sense of shame for intentional deception. At best they tell half truths on the issue. Consider this brief excerpt from Crossing the Rubicon:
"Allegations that the CIA and Department of Justice were complicit in the flow of cocaine into South Central LA; that the Clintons were partnered with George H.W. Bush and Oliver North through the offices of the National Security Council in a little Iran-Contra arms and cocaine trafficking operation in Mena, Arkansas; and that Hillary Clinton's law firm was helping launder the local share of the profits through state housing agency securities and investments were never addressed, objectively by the corporate media."
Notice that this flow of cocaine wasn't into Beverly Hills or Orange County. Nevertheless people can speak any number of untrue things with conviction but the proof is always in the pudding, the pudding being the person's actions. The Clintons surely know that their pudding in crime makes for part of a financially filling pie.
Think of crime and how it relates to your local, state, and national economies. And of course in a capitalistic nation, one of the main obligations of a politician is to facilitate the maintenance of a strong and growing economy. I mean there's city, county, state, and federal police; jail and prison staff (guards, probation and parole agents, medical workers, education workers, maintenance workers, food service workers, etc.); court staff (judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, professional witnesses, investigators, clerks, transcribers, bailiffs, legal analysts, etc.); and surely some peripheral elements that I haven't mentioned, such as the various telephone companies who grossly overcharge prisoners for collect calls.
To eliminate crime and create this "crime-free America" would be to eliminate all of these (and more) jobs/money that crime creates. That would be catastrophic to the U.S. economy. In this crime-free environment a very slim minority of the displaced workers could be absorbed into other professions but the vast majority would remain jobless.
That many jobless citizens is unsustainable in this nation, which has a consumption based economy. Also the absence of their tax dollars would certainly diminish, very drastically, government consumption. Which in turn would cause job and service cuts in other areas, and that trend would continue on throughout the entire economy. Now, do you think these politicians really want to eliminate crime, synonymous with destroying the economy? Of course not! And I can assure you that even if everyone stopped committing acts that are currently established as criminal, then acts which are not currently crimes would suddenly be deemed as criminal. The politicians know, probably better than anyone else, that crime pays.
As for the bureaucrats, the lie is much closer to the surface with them. Many of them are employed directly in the criminal justice sector, so basically their livelihoods is directly dependent on the existence of crime. So for us to believe their professing that they want to see crime cease; we are to believe that they want to lose their hundred-thousand-dollar-plus (in many instances) annual salaries, their Cadillac benefit packages, and other job-related perks. This absurdity is almost laughable to any rational being. Even the ones who aren't employed in the criminal justice sector are well aware of the negative effects that an absence of crime would place on the economy. Like politicians, the bureaucrats know the deal: crime pays.
Here's another relevant excerpt from Crossing the Rubicon
"A certain percentage of the prisons in this country are run by private corporations which trade their stock based on how many human beings they 'house.' In pure economic terms, inmates have become inventory. The two largest of these corporations are Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of America. Both of these corporations, through their boards of directors and executive management have direct ties to U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA.
"All of this means that the corrupt economy makes money by first selling drugs to people and then putting them in prison for using drugs."
The parallels between private, for profit prisons and slave plantations are numerous. Big business are in on the secret, crime pays. So whether we like to admit it or not, this nation generally realizes a benefit from crime. It's always about the dollar here in the United States and crime-related professions combined makes up a substantial portion of the Gross Domestic Economy, largely aiding the efforts to maintain a strong dollar. You can believe those who chant "crime doesn't pay" if you want to. As for me, I know crime may not pay for those who are ground to dust in its machinations (prisoners, parolees, probationers, and drug addicts) but for many others, crime does in fact pay.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This author makes a good point about the economic value of the criminal injustice system to capitalists as a way to employ many labor aristocrats. As we expanded on in our review of the book The New Jim Crow, the system serves primarily as a tool of social control. While there would be economic consequences to dismantling or significantly reducing the reach of the criminal injustice system in Amerika, we can look around the world and see examples of capitalist countries with much smaller injustice systems which manage to keep their population employed and living happily off the super-exploitation of Third World peoples. While in the United $tates a change of this magnitude is unlikely given how entrenched the injustice system is in the economic and social fabric of society, it is the social control aspect that we see as the dominant driving force behind the growth and maintenance of this system.
A couple weeks ago National Public Radio (NPR) aired a series called "guilty and charged" that talked about the way states are charging defendants and even criminalizing them for not paying court fees.
The series followed and interviewed different people who were caught in this cycle of repetitive imprisonment. A couple of facts are worth mentioning, particularly that in New Jersey 4,000 people surrendered themselves to pay for fines. That is, they got arrested for a misdemeanor and can't pay court fees so they get issued a warrant for their arrest. These charges can be settled with a reduced payment or a couple months in jail.
In essence the poor are being not only criminalized and imprisoned for being poor but punished by an injustice system that is not blind! Forty-one states now charge room and board for people in county jails, forty-three states charge a defendant for a public defender. In a supposed democracy where everyone is equal before the law, this is not only a complete farce but a system put in place to check oppressed nations, and more so poor people of oppressed nations. Although mention was given how in 40 years the prison population has boomed 400% and the rise can be attributed to Richard Nixon in the 70s for his "war on drugs," there was not much content on how there is a political context to this high incarceration of oppressed nations.
It's no secret that the poor and marginalized will have a harder time paying court fees, and as mentioned earlier, oppressed Blacks and Latinos are most likely to end up incarcerated, furthering a system of criminalization.
Most oppressed nations know first hand the injustice system in the United $tates. As there is no profit from imprisonment to U.$. imperialism, the rise of imprisonment is not for profits but for political reasons. The high cost of imprisonment is taking its toll on the department of justice, county jails and tax payers. It's likely that defendants will be charged more and penalized even more for not being able to pay these charges.
While agitation, protest and attention should be given to combat this issue along with a long list of other "wrongs," a reformist attitude wil only go so far. People should get into a movement to overthrow this imperialist system and install a more just society in a socialist manner.
In May 2014 I arrived at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility - Corcoran State Prison. When I arrived they were about to serve dinner so I told them I eat Kosher. I'm Jewish. I didn't get any food. I was housed in G-yard where I got no Kosher meals. I have proof that I was approved for Kosher meals at a previous prison, but have been denied here because I won't let the Rabbi in Sacramento call my mother.
Keep in mind that there are Muslims and Skinheads that get the Kosher meal. I have names and numbers of those prisoners. I have been assaulted twice so far by officers and a lieutenant. Lt. Akin slapped me in the back of my head, officer Ruiz and another officer grabbed me and knocked me down. I was refused medical attention and told by medical, "oh you're a hunger strike patient, go back to unit." I've lost 17 or more pounds in a little over a month, but still have been given no Kosher meal. They keep searching my locker and taking all my food. I have a hell of a paper trail proving this.
The Pastor Alvarez here put me on the Jewish service list on 4 June 2014, but I have still been denied access to go to Jewish services as of 18 June. The Jewish prisoners (only 7 of us) send me food and the police take it.
One doctor sent me to a crisis bed. Others sent me back an hour later saying it's not a mental health issue, it's a religious issue. The doctor has tried to trick me into signing a paper to volunteer to go to a hospital. I said no, I'm being abused and starved.
Lt. Akin and Sgt. Ibarro threatened to have inmates rape me if I don't eat their food. Yet, other prisoners actually took a CDCR 602 group grievance and over 50 prisoners signed it verifying the abuse. I never asked anyone to do this, making this a great show of prisoner solidarity against the abusive officers.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a clear example of prisoner abuse and the power of solidarity fighting this abuse. If prisoners can step up to demonstrate unity without solicitation and organizing, imagine the power of a unified prisoner movement led by conscious brothers and sisters spreading education and drawing connections between these individual cases of abuse and the broader anti-imperialist struggle. We call on United Struggle from Within leaders to take these opportunities to build the movement.
"Everyone should know by now that prison is politics, it is part of the imperialistic policy of exploitation, oppression and domination over the internal colonies." From "Who are the Political Prisoners?," MIM Theory 11: Amerikkan Prisons On Trial
The pigs at Ironwood State Prison are at it again. Bored with the apparent lack of excitement and disturbances at this relatively peaceful and quiet yard, they have decided to manufacture their own entertainment to the detriment of the imprisoned. Within the span of two short days the pigs here have decided to raid people's houses without any kind of factual proof but only unfounded allegations from "anonymous" sources and supposed "snitches." To understand the actions of the past week however I must first recount the actions of a couple months ago.
It all began when pigs from Ironwood's Special Investigative Unit raided the cell of a born-again Christian in the early hours before breakfast because they'd supposedly received an anonymous kite stating that the Christian was going to stab a Corrections Officer. The Christian was taken to the hole pending investigation and everyone here was left somewhat surprised at this news, as everyone who knew this guy knew that he'd long since left the lumpen lifestyle behind and was only concerned with helping people out. Anyways, after finally getting out of the hole because the investigation turned up nothing, he confided in a couple people that on the day he went to the hole the pigs showed him a picture of another prisoner and asked him if he knew who this persyn was. He lied and told them he didn't, to which they responded, "that's the person who told on you."
Fast-forward to last week when two pigs unexpectedly ran to a cell and ordered the two cellmates to step out. When they asked the pigs what for, they were told not to worry about it and just step out. When the prisoners refused, the pigs immediately pulled out their batons and ordered them a third time to step out. Feeling threatened the prisoners complied. Once in restraints and out of their cell the prisoners were taken to the pigs' local command post on the yard, A-Facility program office. Once there the prisoners were stripped naked and put into holding cages where they were accused of making wine and subsequently treated to verbal assaults. Both prisoners denied the allegations, which proved to be false as the pigs searched and tossed up their cell and found nothing.
As a result the pigs had no choice but to let them go, but not before showing them the pictures of a couple other prisoners. The pigs then asked them if they knew who those two people were, and they said they didn't and were then cut loose. However, after returning to their building they started telling everyone what had happened and that the two prisoners who were in their building had snitched. Tension began to rise and it looked as if people were beginning to take sides preparing for the worst. In the end however, cooler heads prevailed and crisis was averted between the New Afrikan and [email protected] population, as these were the two nations being pitted against each other by the pigs' actions. And even though I started out this story by saying that this is something of a peaceful yard, at the end of the day it's still a prison and things happen.
The very next day almost the same scenario played out when ten or fifteen pigs rushed another person's cell and forced him out the same way they done to those other prisoners the night before. Again, just as the previous night the pigs said they were looking for wine, and just like the night before they found nothing. As the pigs were exiting this person's cell however they told him to thank the prisoners who'd gotten their cell searched the night before for their visit, thereby implying that those prisoners were somehow responsible.
These events from last week caused me to think deeper about the pigs' actions, as well as the prisoners' response to them and I'd like to discuss it here. Now, before jumping to conclusions because you took a pig at his/her word like most who are confronted with this scenario often do, why don't we first stop and actually think about what's really going on? The real issue in the examples given above aren't about who supposedly snitched on who, but about the motivation that the pigs have in exposing their supposed informants to us. Let us hypothesize that in all the examples given above the pigs were actually telling the truth and the people identified by them in their pictures were really snitching, what then? Should we handle our business in keeping with prison etiquette or do we conduct our own investigation in an effort to get to the truth?
Instead of just smashing on the alleged rat because a pig told us to, why not at least confront this person with the information given to us by the pigs and ask him if it's true before smutting him up? As a matter of fact, since when is a pig's word even worth anything?
You can even go further than this and tell this person exactly what the pigs told you and if he denies it then we can offer to file some kind of paperwork together against that very same pig. Whether it be thru your local grievance procedure or thru the courts, put it on paper and put the pigs on blast. This way there will be documentation which shows how these pigs are putting the lives of prisoners at risk; either because you mistakenly assaulted another prisoner due to a pig manipulating you or because the person in question was really a snitch - it doesn't matter!
Stop blindly taking the pigs at their word and doing their bidding, otherwise you're just a sucker who'll believe anything, as well as a tool of the establishment. We should strive to create unity out of the pigs' attempts to divide us. Turn their divide-and-conquer tactics against them and UNITE! These actions on our part could potentially have a two-fold outcome beneficial to us. First, if the pigs see that we're no longer biting into their little games they might stop baiting us, and secondly, if the rats know the pigs are giving them up and you're gonna confront them then they might think twice about telling, thereby reducing any additional oppression of all prisoners concerned. This way bad things can be turned into good.
I know that many reading this are probably laughing and thinking it's a joke, and yes to a certain degree what I'm proposing is somewhat ideal, but the harm we keep inflicting on each other is not. The possibility of creating a United Front becomes less viable without finding ways to settle contradictions amongst ourselves without resorting to violence, and we must begin somewhere.
As such, within the prison realm there are generally two different types of social contradictions: those between ourselves and the pigs and those among the prisoners themselves. The two are totally different in nature, and since they are different in nature the contradictions between ourselves and the pigs and those among the prisoners themselves should be resolved thru different methods. In order to resolve the very many contradictions that inevitably arise among ourselves we should look to the methods of discussion, of criticism, of persuasion and education, and not the methods of coercion or repression, i.e. violence. This way we can arrive at a new unity with these unstable prison elements on a new basis and against the real enemy.
Now, for those of you still reading this and still wondering if the people pointed out by the pigs were really snitches, that I don't know. What I do know however is that one of the supposed "rats" is constantly pushing paperwork against the pigs on a variety of issues which concern the prisoner population. While one of the other prisoners involved recently go this life sentence commuted to a lesser term after serving almost twenty years; the pigs knew this and didn't like it.
These pigs don't care about us and it doesn't matter to them what inmates are "snitches" and what inmates are "solid". To them we're all just prisoners and the same. Perhaps we should take that as a lesson and start looking at each other as one.
To all those people who are really snitching, start showing some self-respect and stop harming the people you should be working with to unite against the pigs. If you can't stop telling them, at least tell on a pig and not another prisoner. For everyone else, stop being a pawn to these pigs and at least conduct your own investigation before erroneously labeling someone a snitch, smutting him up and getting him or yourself hurt. You never know, next time the pigs might flash your picture to someone and call YOU the snitch.
Since my last correspondence I've experienced the greatest oppression in my entire 8-year sentence. This past week or so also presented me with revelation into the power of positive energy and the adverse effects of negative energy, which can affect your mental and physical health.
At Sussex II State Prison, a pig ran in and dribbled my head 3 times between his knee and the ground, when I was cuffed and already grounded. Then, that same pig tossed me in the box and stuck his knee in my neck with intensive force. At this same time, my arm was being bent so far back that breaking it was highly anticipated. Furthermore, my ankles and thumb were in the hands of the pigs. My thumb had nerve damage for 2 or 3 months.
At Red Onion State Prison I was sprayed for a false claim of assault by a super redneck. The pig first grabbed the shackles as if he was going to strike me with them, he looked around, and then had his partner use the can. They rinsed me fully clothed, returned me to storage and then I tried to refuse to give up the leg irons. They then took me out on the block and tackled me to the ground. During this they twisted me, bent my fingers and yelled "stop resisting." Afterwards I was stripped naked and 8-10 pigs placed a turtle suit on me - chained me - and left me for about 15 hours. This happened because the officer refused to correct my negative meal, and I stuck my arm out of the slot because of it.
Those are just two of the oppressive events I experienced in kaptivity.
This week though, it was oppression from kaptive residents. The oppression came by high energy/high volume gossip, to spread wildfire word of myself being homosexual. The fire starter(s) knows nothing about me, knows no one within or outside the block who knows me, and has no evidence of such activity. Fifteen to twenty people whispered this around. The way this happened in a rapid and collective manner, you would've thought I was of great status and/or a part of a group that calls for questioning and violation. I got into a 30-second-or-so bullshit fight and received rejection from workout crews. The fight was with a comrade who was supposed to be a good friend and solid individual, but he needed to protect himself and reputation, so he got defensive and helped the spread.
My point in presenting this is: I'm not gay and this event is coming my way at a time when my sentence is over. I've never seen or heard of this shit before. It was so collective and everyone possible was engaged. Yet, never is this type of bullshit/energy applied to the fight against the true enemy of imperialist oppression. We have to acknowledge that in order to get others to move within/for the struggle, the key influencing factor(s) have to be identified.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This report of abuse by the guards is nothing new to the pages of ULK, though it is important to remind our readers on the streets of the brutality of prison guards and document it for our records. But this report of prisoner-on-prisoner attacks in the form of gossip and attempts at character assassination is particularly important for us to discuss.
This is an example of the lack of unity in prisons across the United $tates, where, as this comrade points out, more energy is put into attacking other prisoners than into fighting the true enemy of imperialism. But just as important, we want to address the use of gender in this particular attack. Claiming someone is gay as an insult or character attack is a more fundamental problem than just disunity. This is no different than accusing someone of being Chicano as if that would be an insult. We can not allow the oppressors to divide us along lines of gender or nation. Sexual orientation and identity are not a measure of a persyn's character. We should look to people's work fighting oppression, the way they treat others, and their political outlook. Lowering ourselves to considering labels and gender/sexual orientation/identity as decisive is putting ourselves on the level of the pigs who lock up and beat up people for the very same reasons.
We must build a United Front of all prisoners, coming together against the common enemy of imperialism. Reject the guards' attempts to pit prisoners against each other.
Over the past few weeks many of us locked up within Amerikkka's prisons have watched, read and heard about the genocidal war crimes currently being committed against the oppressed nation of Palestine by the white settler state of I$rael. What these events show us is not only the carnage and slaughter of a one-sided war, but that the oppressed will never be free to forge their own destinies so long as the monster of imperialism remains intact.
With forked tongues like the pit of vipers that they are, the United Nations (UN) sits idly by and does virtually nothing to help the people of Palestine as the Zionist regime attempts to bomb them out of existence. The so-called "international community" does nothing for Palestine other than speak hypocritically about the need for a cease fire on both ends and the continued need for a two-state solution, as if the mounting deaths (1,432 deaths as of today)(1) and the balance of war was even! Even as the world watches complacent and content through their pacifist, non-interventionist actions, and some begin to complain about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths, the United $tates continues to arm I$rael. The worthless UN has thus shown its true color: yellow! The international community is guilty of complicity thru complacency, thus Palestinian blood is also on the hands of the United Nations.
As prisoners of good conscience we reject the genocide and slaughter which has hystorically been imposed on the people of Palestine and which is currently being played out by the Jewish state ever since the creation of I$rael in 1948. And while the Amerikan imperialists and their general citizenry and population have found us guilty of crimes against civil society, we prisoners likewise find them guilty of crimes against humynity for their collusion with the state of Israel to exterminate the Palestinian nation.
Within these walls we are as yet powerless to tap into the potential of the imprisoned lumpen, but we are not yet powerless to sign a piece of paper to denounce the state of Israel and their support in the United $tates. Therefore with this declaration we angrily express our indignation with the state of Israel for committing genocide, and the Israeli people for allowing it to happen in the 21st century after vowing "never again."
Furthermore, with this declaration we express our concern, condolences, solidarity and humynity with the people of Palestine. We grieve your loss. I$rael must pay! Just as Palestinian prisoners of war showed their support and solidarity with the California hunger strikers by issuing a statement of solidarity to end solitary confinement in the United $tates, we must now do the same. We must recognize and acknowledge that their struggle is our struggle and we must say no to I$rael and no to the genocide of Palestine.
Long live the people of Palestine! Down with I$rael! Charge and convict the war criminals! Free Palestine!
A few years ago, former Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) Director Jeffrey Beard relocated to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Director Beard was known for his tyrannical style of utilizing confinement and isolation for more sadistic than safety purposes, by increasing constantly the number of prisoners placed on the restricted release list (RRL). Once on this list, the only persyn who can finalize your release back to general population is the Governor of Pennsylvania. Beard, after seeing the practice of the California STG program, informed current PA DOC Director, John Wetzel, of these tactics of oppression, suppression and repression. In the summer of 2012 the Pennsylvania security threat group (STG) unit was started.
In Pennsylvania, a security threat group is any group of persyns who continuously ignore the department's administrative rules, i.e. any unauthorized group activity. The word "group" is the concealing factor of the oppressive practices in place in the PA DOC. Members of religious "groups" such as Muslims, Jews, Moors, Nation of Islam, Nation of Gods & Earths, etc., are placed on the list of documented STGs violating the First Amendment right to freedom of religion and freedom of association. Members of political "groups" such as the New Afrikan Communists, New Afrikan Independence Movement, Black Liberation Army, etc. are placed on the list of documented STGs, violating the first amendment right to freedom of political identification and freedom of association.
Of approximately 175 captives brought to the Pennsylvania STG program, 95% (166) are of oppressed nation heritage. Out of this percentage, about 20 were actually told why they were abducted for the program, i.e. why they were labeled STG members, although the reasons were mostly untruthful and unjustifiable. There is no appeal process in place to combat placement in the program. There is no validation/assessment hearing or procedure in place to present your side of the alleged claims or bring forth any evidence or witnesses on your behalf. Those who do attempt to refuse this assignment are placed on RRL. In order to be released from there you have to agree to do the STG program (the same program you refused in the first place!).
The tactics employed here are quite surely the same as any other STG unit. Obstruction of correspondence (incoming and outgoing), no visits (unless earned through advancing in the program), no phone privileges (unless earned through advancing in the program), inadequate legal services and materials (unless earned through advancing in the program), thought police/Orwellian indoctrination and debriefing systems disguised as cognitive restructuring. Those who hold firm the belief this is an injustice are labeled as "in denial and unwilling to give up participation in group activity." Those who express their opinions are titled as "thinking criminally" or using a "gang mentality." The guidelines, procedures and policies governing the programs are restricted to the public. Instead a prisoner supplement handbook is issued to each captive which quite surely differentiates from the restricted policy.
Exercise, food, commissary and restraints are used as an enticement method as well as punishment. For example, you may hear a pig say "if you program, you won't have to wear handcuffs." Or "if you don't complete the assignments you won't be able to order commissary." To increase the allure of these "privileges" they make contrasting practices as hard and uncomfortable as possible. They feed you next to nothing to increase hunger and craving for commissary. They make all movements restrained to add to the uncomfortability. This is all done in hopes of breaking your spirit or to make you "give in to the inevitable," to quote a pig.
These are only a few of the ever-changing, ever-occurring issues here for myself and the komrades. There is a resistance to struggle not only for our liberties but for those who would come after us as an example of unity, komradery and solidarity in struggle.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We are seeing this STG classification used to target activists in Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan, as well as California and no doubt many more states. While the development of STG programs is a sign of the strength of the oppressed nation organizations and political activists, it is also a dangerous tool of repression that we must expose and fight. Targetting prisoners for "group" or "gang" activity has long been an excuse to bring down oppression on those with the greatest interest and organization in fighting the criminal injustice system.