The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Gib Lewis Unit] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
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Selective Journalism and Abuse - Cover-ups Rampant throughout Texas

"The media may not always be able to tell us what to think, but they are strikingly successful in telling us what to think about." - Media Critic, Michael Parenti

Comrades, I do not think many of us appreciate how valuable a resource Under Lock & Key really is. Not only do we get exposed to cutting edge political education we are provided a rare opportunity to shed light on the abuse and mistreatment many of us suffer at the hands of the imperialist pigs who run these slave pens of oppression.

Within the past 2 weeks 7 TDCJ Correctional Officers were arrested at the Gib Lewis Unit.(1) These Correctional Officers brutally beat and sodomized a male prisoner at the High Security Unit. We did not hear a peep about this incident from the mainstream corporate media here in Texas. Why? Did all of a sudden this prisoner become non-humyn when he donned the prison whites Texas prisoners wear?

On 22 October 2013 prisoner, Christopher Woolverton, was murdered by pepper-spray used on him by TDCJ correctional officers on the Bill Clements Unit in Amarillo, Texas. If it wasn't for the revolutionary journalism of Karl Kersplebdeb and Rashid of the NABPP-PC we would have never gotten a detailed account of this heinous act of violence.(2) It is perplexing and frustrating when I see the media go out of their way to cover a story in which a sick giraffe is fed to lions at a zoo but they remain totally apathetic and aloof to the abuse and murder of humyn beings housed in Texas state prisons. (I care about animals but I don't like pigs!)

This selective journalism is not something exclusive to Texas or prison and criminal justice issues. Time and time again we have seen the media only publish an opinion or print facts that prop up the position of the bourgeois capitalist ruling class, the only way our voices are heard is when alternative forms of media like ULK are created.

Comrades, we see clearly that there is a collusive and co-ordinated effort between the media in Texas and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to downplay, minimize, and cover up brutal acts of aggression aimed at the lumpen prisoners housed in Texas' gulags.

My interaction and study with MIM(Prisons) has raised my awareness in such a manner that I recognize clearly that the corporate-owned media has a vested interest in the oppression of the lumpen - a financial interest. The fascist-imperialist elite coerce and cajole the mainstream media to report the news in a manner which they see fit. And they ignore any news-worthy items which may portray the state in a negative light.

I end this piece by reminding all of you we must $upport the organizations which support us. MIM(Prisons) and Under Lock & Key don't just speak about it they be about it. $upport them!

As always I encourage all comrades and lumpen to join United Struggle from Within. Get involved and contribute to the struggle against these imperialist fascist pigs in Texas and beyond.

"The concept of conspiracy has long been anathema to most Americans, who have been conditioned by the mass media to believe that conspiracies against the public only exist in banana republics or communist nations." - Jim Marrs (3)


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[Abuse] [Tabor Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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A Lonely Struggle

In Tabor City Corrections, another "razor wire plantation" of North Carolina, the prisoners are treated unjustly and unfair. They are subjected to illegal treatment, such as racism, inadequate medical treatment, injustices, cruel and unusual punishments, etc. We write grievances, but sometimes they mysteriously disappear, or the grievances are answered by lies and fabrication from the facility personnel (staff). Those who are in Raleigh (capital of NC) who are in "high positions," overlook our letters and grievances or condone those egregious activities.

Only a few of us who are in the Red/Grey, "SHU" blocks stand against these acts, but the majority are scared. These pigs imposed so much fear that a prisoner is even scared to voice his opinions. What's so "ass-backwards" is that these prisoners rather oppress the same men who's struggling with them and degrade and belittle them instead of degrading or belittling these pigs. Unity is a word that is non-existent and everyone is mostly for self. This shows that the system of imperialism is effective in Tabor City and the disease that these pigs transmit (i.e. racism, injustice, etc) to these prisoners are effective as well, because the prisoner's body easily contracted these diseases and it's destroying them quick.

No matter what, the New Afrikan Brotherhood Organization (NABO) is continuing to struggle forward and fight for the brothers on lock, no matter what the consequences are. We're tired of being treated like slaves and we will see that change occurs. Their system will slowly but surely be eradicated because brothers of the NABO have filed a 1983 class action civil lawsuit against these pigs and the Department of Corrections for violating our rights. The struggle continues and justice will be served.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The New Afrikan Brotherhood Organization in North Carolina is not alone. There are many small groups and individuals who are struggling against the blatant political repression there. In a state where every issue of Under Lock & Key has been put on the statewide ban list for over 3 years, it is not surprising for comrades to feel lonely. And given all the repression some are feeling desparate. One comrade in North Carolina reported on the new step program that the superintendent says is to "protect inmates and staff and maintain a peaceful living environment." The comrade replies: "However, assaults have doubled and the men are becoming more and more bitter. Many of us, myself included, want to resolve the matter peacefully."

As we've been saying for years, the state's attempts at peace and security are complete failures, and MIM(Prisons) has an alternative approach that is promoted in every issue of Under Lock & Key but censored by North Carolina for "promoting violence" and "illegal activities" (which activities they do not specify).

NABO has the correct attitude and approach. This is a protracted struggle and we must be strategic as conditions evolve. The ban on ULK in North Carolina came after a surge in subscribers and activity in that state. And while we have a hard time getting material to these comrades, their numbers and activity have remained high throughout the years. Comrades are working on building a lawsuit to fight the illegal censorship in North Carolina and others have already achieved reform victories in their struggle against guard brutality in the courts. We are confident that comrades in North Carolina prisons will continue to contribute to victories in the years to come.

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[Legal] [Campaigns] [California]
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Limit on Number of Grievance Appeals Attacks Prisoner's Legal Rights

Although the law says we can aid others (illiterate or unskilled) on appeals and legal work, we can no longer legally pass papers "cell to cell," so now we can only help others verbally. (Thanks to Assistant Warden Robertson).

In addition, the 2011 CDCR rules limit all grievance appeals to one single issue appeal per 14 days. If we "Abuse" this abuse of our 1st amendment right to file grievances on the government, it is cut to one per 30 days. When I got here (in 1983) it was 2 appeals per week (104/year). Then cut to 1 per week (52/year), then 1/2 per week and 1/30 days if you exercise your 1st amendment rights. I'm on my second year of the limit to 1 per 30 days because of my work exercising my legal rights.

I'm fighting this under 42 USC 1983. "Judge" Rogers keeps stalling but I got her sleazy and false dismissal reversed.

UPDATE February 2016: This case has entered court as Clark v. Jeffrey Beard CV-11-03520. The comrade fighting this has reported that Judge Rogers has thrown out all testimony from M.L. Davis (Appeal boss of San Quentin) on 4 perjuries and 1 faked document, Davis has since retired to keep his pension rather than be fired.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This limit on grievance appeals is a blatant example of the Amerikan criminal injustice system restricting prisoner's legal rights. Grievances are one of the only opportunities for prisoners to fight abuse and illegal policies and restrictions. Often these grievances are ignored or "lost". Because of these practices, and restrictions like the ones described here, United Struggle from Within initiated the grievance campaign, first in California and now in ten states across the country, with petitions for these states that prisoner's can use to demand our grievances be addressed. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state, or to help create one if you do not live in a state where this has already been done.

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[Spanish]
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Las noticieros que publican lo de la Señorita Venezuela ignoran al mayor asesino

Los medios de comunicación le han dado mucha atención al asesinato de la Señorita Venezuela, ganadora del segundo lugar en el concurso de Miss Universo. Los expertos de noticias son rápidos para indicar que hubo más de 25,000 homicidios en Venezuela el año pasado y que es la capital mundial del homicidio. La muerte de cualquier persona mediante el asesinato y la avaricia es triste y trágica, pero los medios fallan en mencionar el índice de asesinatos en Amerika.

Las estadísticas del reporte del FBI en Crime in the U.S. (Crímen en E.U.) para el 2010-2011 tiene un índice de 14,612 asesinatos y homicidios negligentes. Esto es inferior a los 24,000 homicidios en Venezuela (2010-2011), pero no toma en cuenta los asesinatos cometidos por las Fuerzas Armadas de los E.U. alrededor del mundo. El numero de violaciones forzadas en E.U. fue de 85,593 para el 2010-2011. Esto no toma en cuenta las violaciones no reportadas ni las violaciones en la militar los noticieros con portavoz-gubernamental en los E.U. describe viciosamente los problemas y defectos de otro país para poder mantener los ojos curiosos del mundo alejados de E.U. La gente alrededor del mundo debe luchar para extinguir el crímen en sus comunidades. Pero más importante aún es que la gente entienda que el abuelo de todos los criminales es el sistema imperialista aquí en Amerika.

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[Economics] [Boycott] [Organizing] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 38]
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Solitary for Encouraging Prisoners to Refuse to Buy Commissary

I was recently convicted of a major category offense: participating/encouraging others in a work stoppage/group demonstration. My confinement in segregation for 30 days and a loss of 30 days good time was based on a finding that I encouraged a "stoppage of buying commissary."

It is not against the rules to refuse to buy commissary, but I was convicted of encouraging people to not buy commissary. In other words I was convicted of encouraging prisoners to do something that is permitted by the rules.

In the past three years I've been convicted of only one other charge, also a major category offense. I was convicted for refusing to pay $21.50 to obtain a copy of my birth certificate.

The pigs wanted a copy of my birth certificate to put in a file. I was told I could neither see the birth certificate nor have a copy of it. I told the pigs I would give them permission to get a copy at their expense since it was for their files. The pigs refused and demanded I sign a paper granting them permission to take $21.50 from my account. I refused and I was convicted of refusing to comply with programming.

The connection to these two offenses and convictions is the only subject dear to the soul of a kkkapitalist: profit. $21.50 for a photocopy of a sheet of paper is a hefty profit when multiplied by 30,000 prisoners. And multi-million-dollar commissary sales at hugely inflated prices are orgasmic to these pigs. Destroying the swine is the only option.

Soldiers, the only course is to replace the thug and the U.$. go-vermin-ent with an authentic proletarian state. The united snakes kongress and injustice system is kkkorrupted beyond salvation because of imperialist ideals. Like cancer, imperialism has caused every limb and fiber to rot. The truth of kkkapitalist greed is found even in the tiny crevices.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We are seeing growing activism in Virginia prisons this year, which is no doubt leading them to invent these new "offenses" and charge perceived leaders with them. While we agree with this comrade that the prisons are eager to extort money from prisoners whenever possible, there isn't any profit coming directly from prisons themselves. The U.$. prison economy is a money-losing operation, subsidized by profits exploited from the international proletariat. Any money taken from prisoners just helps to offset this loss. This point is important because it underscores the true purpose of the Amerikan prison system: social control.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [ULK Issue 38]
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The Struggle is Young, Many More Can Be United with Education

First and foremost let me say this is not a shot to put down any of my fellow comrades, rather this is a plea to you to step up. I am a young comrade who fortunately had the privilege of being around some good brothers who basically educated and raised me into the revolutionary I am today.

But like many, even though they taught me, they too are part of the problem we face as a whole. I say that because they took a chance with me because I stayed with a book in my hand. But I watched them for years doing the same thing I found myself doing until a year ago: Denying fellow brothers in the struggle knowledge due to stereotypical reasons.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some out there who will hurt our movement more than help, but so many times I see brothers come through with so much fight, so much fire, but they lack the knowledge to do anything with it, so it's useless. And we write them off as a fool, a hothead, and think they're unteachable. And to that I say this: It's time for us to start taking a chance and stop making excuses to not help.

We complain that there's no unity or organization in our movement but we are our own problem. It's not the brothers' fault that don't know any better, it's our fault for not teaching them. It's time for us to start taking responsibility and stop making excuses for why we didn't, and start making a plan for how we can.

This is a call to all my fellow comrades to step up and stop standing down. Stop setting limitations. Oldheads help the young, Blood help the Crip, Black man help the white. Our fight is not each other, it's those who oppose this movement. So stop focusing on the frivolous things that weaken our strength and let's truly stand on what we claim to stand for. Then and only then will we ever have a chance.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this call as an antidote to all those who write to us complaining about the lack of unity in their prison without stepping up to do anything about it. We know the battle is uphill; the capitalists have all the power and they create a culture that discourages unity and supports violence and strife. But it is our duty as revolutionaries to create opportunities to build unity. The reporting in Under Lock & Key demonstrates that the imprisoned lumpen are united by their common material conditions, even though individuals are at different stages in terms of how they respond to those conditions. It is logical to begin by uniting those who will listen, but we mustn't stop there if we hope to reach the true potential of unity among the oppressed. Work with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to develop strategies to reach the majority of prisoners and build this on a scale broad enough that we can eventually take down the criminal injustice system as a whole.

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[Campaigns] [Texas]
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More Restrictions on Correspondence in Texas

Each year the big wigs running Texas prisons decide on what to take from the prisoners next. This year it involves indigent mail and stationary sent in from the outside. Prisoners who have no money on their trust fund account are able to receive supplies (paper, pen, envelopes) and send out letters through the indigent mail. Before this March prisoners could send out five letters a week, now it's just five letters a month. Going from twenty to just five letters a month shows how indifferent and uncaring towards our family members and friends the prison administration really is. What's worse is that we're charged for indigent mail services. Whenever we get money on our account, the cost for every letter mailed and each supply is deducted.

Prior to this March our friends and family could have stationary from an outside store sent to us. This was eliminated, and now our only option is purchasing stationary from commissary, and paying their prices. Like any oppressor, TDCJ enjoys coming up with new ideas and ways to make life more difficult for their captors. There's strength in numbers. The more of us who write grievances, send letters to state politicians, and get the word out to our family and friends, the better chance we have of telling our oppressors that we're not going to take this lying down.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right on about the strength in numbers. We have a number of prisoners across the state working on this campaign to end the restrictions on correspondence in Texas, and we've come up with a few key steps for prisoners and supporters to take.

Some jailhouse lawyers have created guides to fighting this injustice as well as a broader grievance guide for Texas, and we are seeing an influx of prisoners requesting these resources. We look forward to the results of this growing activism in this state with the largest prison population and one of the highest incarceration rates in the country.

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[Abuse] [United Front] [Texas]
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Call for Unity in Texas

Texas prisons are notoriously rough and primitive. Some inmates work in TCI (Texas Correctional Industries) sweatshops making products like t-shirts, shorts and detergent. We work for free and then the state sells us these products at a high cost through the prison commissary. Nonviolent prisoners earn good time and work time which is often not honored. We're caged in hot boxes with no air conditioning, and prisoners die each summer as a result. In addition to the new limits on correspondence, last September marriage by proxy was eliminated. Inmates can no longer marry their loved ones on the outside, meaning they can't get contact visits with them, or their own children. The list goes on and on.

The term divide and conquer still holds true today. TDCJ is glad the majority of us are fighting amongst ourselves, and are more consumed with television, radio and gossiping, than unity and change. Texas prisoners, do you like working for free? Do you like being a model inmate who's changed, but gets their parole denied year after year? Do you enjoy living in a negative repressive environment? If you don't, then let's drop the racial and gang nonsense. Let's quit worshipping the TV, our radios and commissary. Let's bring Texas prisons out of the dark ages and into the twenty-first century. Make sacrifices for the great good of all prisoners and our families. Oppressors only have control over their captors as long as the oppressed allow them to.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 38]
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Georgia SMU Prisoners Fight to Maintain Peace

Comrades here at Special Management Unit (SMU - long-term isolation) are doing what they can to protest and fight against the illegal housing that they are being subjected to. Prisoners here are going on hunger strikes and are suffering due to the lack of outside support. Further, the DOC has taken actions to keep outside inquiries from being made public and the news media is refusing to expose the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Georgia's SMU unit.

Prisoners are being transferred to SMU for refusing to participate in the so-called tier step down programs they've started in Georgia. The DOC is trying to force lumpen groups to be housed two men in a 24-hour lockdown cell, thus placing prisoners in physical jeopardy, in order to start a war. Just another attempt to enact the Willie Lynch mentality amongst these prisoners. Before, the prisoners enacted peace and brotherhood policies amongst and between the lumpen groups, and there was no tier step down program. So this program is to create strife amongst the brotherhood by building enough stress and confusion to destroy peace that prisoners worked hard to establish.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have received a lot of reports about the hunger strike in Georgia, and the struggles against SMU classification. The unity and awareness being built in Georgia prisons is definitely frightening the prison administrators. This is an important lesson for organizers: when we build for peace among the lumpen organizations our enemies will take this as a call to war. The United Front for Peace in Prisons is bringing together organizations and individuals in this important battle. Get involved today in building peace in your prison.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [Central Prison] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 38]
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North Carolina Prisoners' Preliminary Victory on Use of Force Lawsuit

On 27 March 2014, a Federal judge in the United States District Court issued an order requiring prison staff to record any use of force, should force be required on a prisoner.

Some other prisoners and I filed a lawsuit because the pigs at Central Prison in Raleigh used blind spots in the current video system to hide from surveillance so they could beat prisoners. We also informed the courts of the "lack of policy for proper method of investigation in any use-of-force incidents."

As a result, Judge Terrance Boyle appointed an expert (former corrections administrator Eldon Vail) to review the prison's surveillance system. Based on several problems he found, he made five recommendations.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) prisons adopted four of the recommendations but said using a hand-held video camera is not feasible and placed "undue burden upon Central Prison." However, on Thursday, 27 March 2014 Judge Boyle ordered the fifth recommendation be adopted. His order stated "...defendants are placed on notice that if there is not voluntary compliance and implementation of the recommendation, a preliminary injunction will ensue."

The pigs deny any abuse, saying they used minimal amounts of force required to deal with prisoners characterized as the "worst of the worst" among the prison system's population.

Still the state agreed last year to install more security cameras to cover previously unmonitored areas. But Vail's report said the new cameras still don't monitor all the blind spots where prisoners say the abuse occurs. Vail also reported finding lenses so out-of-focus and smudged with grime that it was difficult to make out what the camera was recording.

The recommendations made by Vail that must be followed are:

  1. Adjust each camera that demonstrates a pattern of "freezing" to improve motion detection sensitivity.
  2. Establish a written preventive maintenance schedule for lens cleaning, camera refocusing and replacement of faulty cameras.
  3. Install additional cameras to view the sally ports of each cell block in Unit 1.
  4. Modify the video surveillance retention policy and procedure to clarify the responsibility to provide notice to the video retention officer to preserve a video by the unit supervisor from the investigator's responsibility to request a copy of the video for the investigation.
  5. Change the use of force policy, SOP 4.100, to require that a handheld video camera operator respond to the scene of spontaneous use-of-force incidents and that a camera remain on until the event is over and [prisoner] has been safely placed in a cell.

This fifth recommendation means that during an anticipated use-of-force (any use-of-force) a hand-held camera will be used until a prisoner is no longer in contact with the pigs.

We are now getting ready for a pretrial conference. But we are one step closer to getting justice. We have at least made the prison safer. Now the pigs will not have anywhere to hide.


Notes:Case 5:13-ct-03201-BODE's 182, and 198.
News article from www.wnct.com March 27, 2014
News article from www.charloteobserver.com by Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press, 3/27/2014
Letter from Elizabeth G. Simpson, Staff attorney, NC Prisoner Legal Services, 3/31/2014


MIM(Prisons) adds: This update to the ongoing legal battle in North Carolina is good news for this carefully planned and hard fought legal battle. We know that often we cannot win when fighting abuse by employees of the criminal injustice system in their own courts. But sometimes the courts have to pretend objectivity and, when presented with facts that show the NCDPS is violating their own laws and policies, we can win some improvements to conditions. While the courts won't be where we make revolutionary change, for now we can use them as one tool to struggle against abuse. We must always accompany these court battles with publicity and education about the case, using them to expose both the brutality we are fighting and the injustice when the courts rule against us.

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