The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Polk Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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United Action in NC Leads to Victory for Prisoners

On August 2nd my old cellmate had only been here 5 days and within those 5 days the pigs were really messing with him. Then on the 2nd they told him they were moving him, just to move an inmate across the hall into his cell. They were going to move him to the end of the hall in a sally port with a prisoner who had feces smeared on his cell wall and old food in his cell. Before the move he asked to see the Sgt/Lt, but was told no, pack up or they would pack his stuff.

After moving he and I were at recreation call and we, along with one other prisoner, refused to lock up until the Lt/Captain came down. When she came I locked up. As she approached his sally port she asked what the smell was. He explained. They got the prisoner out of his cell and janitors bleached and removed all the items from the cell, and after the weekend on 8/5 he was moved to another cell.

Had we not stood our ground that prisoner's cell would still be covered in feces. The pigs knew this and were doing nothing. All of the H-Con staff here at Polk Incorrectional institution just didn't care, and went even further to harass a prisoner who they thought they could take advantage of due to his health (he just had surgery on his foot to reattach bones and replace a steel rod after PERT team pigs shattered it during an assault using excessive use of force a few months back). We need more times of unity like this in North Carolina prisons.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a small example of prisoners uniting for common cause. And this is a good start to building the broader unity that is necessary for the United Front for Peace that will build the power and strength of the anti-imperialist movement behind bars.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
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Texas Food, Medical and Sexual Abuse

I would like to respond to an article on page 8 of ULK33: Rats Undermine United Front. The brother who sent that in to you should be on something other than what he spoke about. I feel he should've been informing you about how these pigs down here continue to bring us cold food in lockup. How they mistreat Muslims during Ramadan and all throughout their stay here as far as how they are fed. It is so ridiculous how they so blatantly give you cold half-cooked, sometimes spoiled beans and a funky crusty peanut butter sandwich in place of a "pork-free" meal. There's a sign posted in all the chow halls that says "drink at your own risk" when it comes to the juice. They put this poison out on the tables knowing that the majority of the offender population is more than likely going to drink it. We are not getting the proper portions, or enough to eat.

When you write a grievance and a step 2 followup, you get some type of frivolous disposition back on it. I have several grievances from different offices, all with the same disposition on them. It is as if the employees are trained with what to write on the back on the grievances. And they always side with the guilty officer.

Also, a female guard or nurse has power. Especially in these little hick and country-ass towns, where they wish a muthafucka would get out of line. Don't matter what color you are. When they get thru beatin' you half to death, behind something some female said, you'll more than likely be beat blue. I've seen it at least fifty times. I even had a woman lie on me and say that I had threatened her physically, from behind two closed and locked doors. The warden looked at her like she was crazy and let me make it. I was just blessed to be in the presence of a warden who knows the game.

The article should have also talked about how we get charged $100 every year for medical, but they don't pay us for working or provide a way for us to work the $100 off. Also, we only get $50 when we leave, and $50 when we go report. If you discharge they give you a whole hundred. Wow! And the windbreakers they make us wear during the winter months, and have the nerve to call it a coat. They work you in winter weather with no thermal clothing, even though they have more than enough to issue out.

Damn man, talk about the shit that's really going on. The real shit. How muthafukas came in gangsta-and-guerrilla, but leaving out like ginger bread dolls. Yeah. And you all know who you are. You boys outta control down here in the great state of Texas.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are a few points in this letter that need a response. First, we're not sure exactly what issue the author is taking with the original article in ULK where another prisoner wrote about how rats working for the prison were undermining his United Front work. It sounds like this prisoner thinks that's not important, but if we are going to fight these terrible conditions we need some unity, and building a United Front across organizations is critical to this battle. We can't just write about the problems without also talking about the solutions, or organizing successes and failures, and how to build from there.

The point this writer raises about female prison staff is a good demonstration of the gender oppression that happens in prison, that is very different from what goes on on the streets. While biological men generally have gender privilege relative to biological wimmin in Amerika, there are some differences by nationality and also within prison. In the prison situation, where most prisoners are men, female prison workers can accuse those men of sexual misconduct and get them beat or punished, without having to provide any proof. Further, numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics demonstrate this power difference: "Significantly, most perpetrators of staff sexual misconduct were female and most victims were male: among male victims of staff sexual misconduct, 69% of prisoners and 64% of jail inmates reported sexual activity with female staff."(1) Overall MIM(Prisons) sees gender privilege as the norm for both men and wimmin in the First World, relative to both men and wimmin in the Third World. But the abuse in prisons should not be ignored.


Notes: Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09" January 2010.

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[Abuse] [Montford Unit] [Texas]
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Exposing Guard Brutality and Coverup in Texas

On 8/13/2013 an offender who has severe breathing problems was pepper sprayed in the face. I am sorry to say it took his life. On 8/14/2013 on A3 in an isolation cell an offender had his hand in the door where the hinges are. A guard, Mr. Wright, closed the door on his hand, cutting it and breaking bones. I asked Mr. Wright about it and he said he did not do it out of malicious intent. I was working as SSI all day and had to clean up all the blood that was in the cell. A Sergeant came and told Mr. Wright that he should be careful what he says in his report, and ripped it up, and all morning the Sergeant helped him cover up the incident.

From around 8am to 2:30pm I was out cleaning pod. I cleaned isolation cells at 8am and again around 2pm on 8/14/2013. I heard them talk about it all morning. They disrespect us, harm us, and when they do something to us they high five each other. Their actions to fib on reports are backed up by each other. How to ever catch them to tell the truth is a major problem.

I am at a unit that violates multiple policies of its own. It hides its actions and harms us in many ways. I started looking into the rules and I am really not surprised at what I found. I have seen them handcuff and beat one prisoner and they later on pepper sprayed another for having his jacket on at pill call. I have filed multiple grievances and have received no answer. We can't defend ourselves at all without double punishment due to the guards being one solid group that high five each other after they beat us down. They do such mean things to us and get away with it. These officials go out of their way to do mean things to us. We are held in isolation for months even years even though we have not broken any rules. How far must we bend before we get help from outside?

One mailroom worker made sexual advances and I knew it was a setup so I filed a grievance and sent a statement to the warden. A captain came and I refused to be forced to write a statement for him so I wrote him up. On the grievance response it stated that my verbal statement was different than my written statement. But I gave no verbal statement. The grievance investigator did not even investigate.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This prisoner is right that catching the guards and exposing the truth is a major problem. This is part of the important role played by Under Lock & Key: providing a forum to expose guard brutality and abuse. By documenting these incidents we can show that they are not just individual cases, but a systematic part of the criminal injustice system, and something that we must fight as a whole. Write to us with details about abuse in your prison.

To help fight the grievance system, which denies prisoner's an avenue to appeal injustice and guard abuse, get involved in our campaign to demand grievances be addressed. There is already a petition for Texas, and petitions exist for many other states as well. If we don't have a petition for your state we can send you a generic petition which you can customize for your state.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 34]
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Force-Feeding Approved for CA Hunger Strikers

19 August 2013 - Today, a federal court approved the force-feeding of people who are on hunger strike in California prisons to protest torture in the form of long-term isolation and group punishment. The force-feeding itself is considered torture by many, including those who have been on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay since February and have been suffering through force-feeding for months.

yasiin bey force-fed crying
For those interested in why it is considered torture, Yasiin Bey bravely provided the world with a video of what that is like (click picture).

The decision in California came shortly after we posted a report from a comrade who was denied liquid supplements and collapsed on July 21 in Corcoran State Prison. Many others have collapsed since then, and the state's behavior has made it clear that the health of prisoners has not been a concern of theirs. They apply very strict rules to how they count people as being on "hunger strike," knowing that strikers depend on the state to report their numbers to the public, forcing them to abide by these rules that don't allow for any electrolytes.

The state has consistently used health care as a weapon to manipulate prisoners into submission, rather than act as the custodians of health and safety that they claim to be. Now that strikers are approaching life-threatening conditions, the CDCR is acting to prevent them from exercising one of the strongest forms of protest that they have from within these isolation cells. The attention given to the situation inside California prisons right now is already unprecedented and they fear that if more prisoners die they may lose their power to torture prisoners in the future. The torture is important to them because it is what they believe to be their best tool to prevent the oppressed from fighting their oppression (the injustice system's true purpose). The ongoing hunger strike, decades in the making, has begun to turn the tables on that idea though.

This recent report asserts that 70 of 130 prisoners currently on hunger strike have been going since July 8, 2013. There are a number of groups of prisoners in California who are ready to restart hunger strike in support of the 70 (or more) who are in it for the long haul as the struggle heightens.

In the months leading up to July 8, there was some debate about the return to the hunger strike tactic, particularly as previous attempts were aborted prematurely without any changes from the state. But those first two strikes resonated among the oppressed across the country, and particularly in California where 30,000 prisoners stood up against long-term isolation on July 8, 2013. As we approach 50 days on strike, and repeated assertions from participants that they will not stop for mere promises this time, this struggle is approaching a crucial point. To date, control units have been a fairly effective tool of repression. But if oppression breeds resistance, then even these tools of total control can be overcome. At no other point have we been closer to that goal than we are right now. Those who have and will give their lives for this struggle must not die in vain. Those 30,000 plus prisoners who supported this campaign must take every opportunity over the coming months to build, educate and organize to prepare for the next phase of this struggle. A failure to seize this moment in the prison movement will mean much more suffering for the imprisoned lumpen in the decades to come.

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[Hunger Strike] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria Hunger Strikers United for Week Long Protest

I'm writing to report on the hunger strike from Calipatria State Prison. Everyone here on the facility showed their support. Not all of us agreed on the tactics that some chose to pursue but nonetheless we all participated. Some people refused to go to work while others chose only not to accept food. Everyone who chose not to go to work received write ups (CDCR 115) for refusing to work and participation in security threat group (STG) activity. So now those people have STG points against them. Some guys were trying to force everyone not to work but calmer heads prevailed and they allowed people to make the choice themselves.

Out of the 850 prisoners on this yard, at least 700 participated. It only lasted for a week. The staff passed out a flyer on what can happen medically to a person who goes without food for long periods of time. They sent the nurse from door to door asking if people were alright but it didn't get to the point where they had to start weighing people.

A lot of questions are now being asked like what did that accomplish? Although we had a high level of participation we had no one to actually explain what the strike was for or what are the goals we are trying to accomplish. Most guys just get involved because they were told to. The people who are socially conscious and politically conscious didn't want to speak up for fear of being labeled as inciting the strike which will land you in the SHU. A lot of guys who have been down for 30 years have been broken and refuse to stand up to the administration.

All in all we here at Calipatria showed our support until next time.


MIM(Prisons) responds:First let us recognize what this comrade said about prisoners receiving STG points against them for a peaceful refusal to eat or go to work. This is what the CDCR is using to label people a Security Threat Group member and put them in torture units for years or even decades - the main thing that the strike is protesting in the first place! Such outrageous injustice should fuel the struggle for basic humyn rights in Calipatria.

Second, let's acknowledge the amazing accomplishment of having 700 out 850 prisoners participate in a united action that was part of a planned strategic approach towards change in the interests of all prisoners. This is historic, and it is happening all over California!

That said, the masses are correct to ask, "What did this accomplish?"
This report exposes the importance of building political consciousness and educating our comrades behind bars both before and during protest actions. We must build leadership to ensure that the political message of these protests is effectively conveyed, both to those participating and to the target of our protests.

Of course, the application of leadership in such closely monitored conditions should be done cautiously as the comrades in Calipatria did. Materials like Under Lock & Key can be tools for spreading education and providing leadership. But even then we face censorship, and prisoners get written up just for possessing literature, which presumably was given to them by prison mail staff in the first place. The solutions to this are tactical questions that should be part of the sum up of the experiences in California prisons this summer. As the masses are struggling for answers, now is the time to step in and have these discussions however you can in your locality. What is the opinion of the actions? What do people think should have been done differently? How did leadership fail, and how could you build differently in the future? If you come up with universal conclusions send them to us to share, however as conditions vary over time and place, most of these conversations should be applied locally.

On the large scale we can make a few points. First, the strike was about ending conditions of torture in California prisons, in particular in the long-term isolation units (SHU, ASU, etc.). And the strike continues with almost 300 people having not eaten for over 40 days according to the CDCR, and an unknown number of others still participating who are not being counted. So the struggle continues there.

If comrades in Calipatria are asking what their one-week actions accomplished, we encourage them to look back at the agreement to end hostilities and the United Front for Peace in Prisons statement on page 2 of Under Lock & Key that were used to form a basis for the massive support seen this time around. The goals of these projects are to unite prisoners around their mutual interests as prisoners and prevent the state from pitting them against each other as a form of social control. We hope that comrades in Calipatria were inspired by the tremendous level of solidarity this author reports on. There are many ways to build on this unity through things such as study groups, health campaigns, literacy programs, and other forms of mutual support. In our own work we model such programs after the Black Panthers and Chinese Serve the People Programs, which had the purpose of providing for survival needs pending revolution.

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[Organizing] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 34]
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Maryland Prisoners Commemorating September 9th

I will be fasting this September 9. I've been on lockup since 2011 but I will refuse my trays from midnight to midnight Sept 9, 2013 to pay homage to the fallen brothers of the cause in Attica and everywhere else! And I will encourage other brothers to do so as well.

The pigs decided to give us showers today. They are walking each cell to the shower individually. Three pigs for one inmate, one of which is holding an assault rifle looking gun that shoots paintballs of mace. Cowards!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade for stepping up to the United Front for Peace in Prisons call for a solidarity demonstration on September 9th after reading only one issue of Under Lock & Key. We would not call the pigs cowards for their vast outnumbering and assault weapon use with prisoners: this is realistic fear of the power of the oppressed. Right now we don't have the level of unity in the prisons to present more than sporadic points of resistance, but the very event this comrade mentions, the Attica uprising, demonstrates the potential power of prisoners when acting in unity. This unity is built through struggle and discussion, something that is much easier when prisoners have contact with one another. And for this reason, this active prisoner, and tens of thousands of others, are on lockup in isolation cells, being kept from contact with others so that they can not spread the dangerous ideology of unity and peace among prisoners.

We have received word from another comrade in Maryland that others are participating in this 24 hour fast on September 9th to commemorate the Attica brothers unity and organization.

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[Hunger Strike] [Mental Health] [Martinez Detention Facility - Contra Costa County Jail] [California] [ULK Issue 34]
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Debating Mental Health Treatment in Ad-Seg

[In response to the article MIM(Prisons) printed about the Martinez hunger strike demands, calling on prisoners there not to isolate the "mental health" prisoners from the "non-mental health" prisoners, we received the following update and clarification.]

Maybe we were not clear on the housing of mental health prisoners here in Ad-Seg. Our point is that there is an entire module for mental health prisoners where they can get help for their issues with trained staff. There is no mental health staff stationed in Ad-Seg, and no groups or therapy for prisoners. Bottom line is, mental health prisoners should not be housed in Ad-Seg on the whims of classification unit. Yes these guys are a headache to have in Ad-Seg, but more importantly they receive no help and deteriorate further by being warehoused in Ad-Seg. We are not trying to cause division in the prison population.

There are 53 inmates housed in Ad-Seg here. 13 prisoners did a 24 hour support strike while 5 of us continued for 6 to 12 days. We continue to support all those still on strike. Our strike is suspended, not stopped. If we do not continue to move forward in our demands or we come to a place in time when it is warranted, then we will continue our strike.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter addresses our criticism of the demand by MDF prisoners to "immediately cease and desist the unconstitutional custom, practice and unofficial policy of improperly housing inmates with mental health issues among the non-mental-health-status Ad-Seg detainees" as unnecessarily divisive. The original demand complained of the disruptive behaviors from the mental health prisoners but did not mention the lack of treatment options for these individuals. If conditions are better in the mental health module, it would be an improvement for these individuals to escape Ad-Seg and be placed there. However, the "treatment" for people with mental health problems in the United $tates is, at best, a targeting of the symptoms, and at worst leaves people either physically or medically restrained in a drug-induced stupor.

Mental illness in prisoners can often be linked to the conditions in which they are housed, especially long-term isolation. So we are naturally skeptical of any treatment offered by those same captors who insist on locking people up in conditions that induce the health problems in the first place. But we appreciate the additional explanation that the MDF prisoners did not intend the demand for mental health prisoners to be divisive but rather targeted treatment for these individuals. We hope they will consider carefully the wording of such demands in the future.

In the short term, we know that capitalism will continue to produce new cases of mental illness which can not be successfully treated until we address the problems of a society that generates these illnesses. We look to China under Mao for an example of successful treatment of mental health conditions by addressing both the immediate problems and the systemic roots of these conditions.

Meanwhile, the comrades in Martinez are not the only ones on suspended hunger strike. A number of comrades have reported a willingness to restart in support of the five core demands as the struggle heightens.

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[Hunger Strike] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Medical Neglect as Another Hunger Striker Goes Down

On July 19th I was escorted to the medical clinic to request liquid nutrients, vitamins and proper directions on the re-feeding process after hunger strike. I was denied all requests. I was specifically told by nursing staff that CDCR officials have told all medical staff not to intervene in the on-goings of hunger strike patients until otherwise directed. I continued to request said items during daily nurse/medical rounds for the days leading up to July 21st only to be denied with some sort of unprofessional response.

On July 21, during my allotted rec time my body shut down. I fell, hitting my head on the concrete and knocking myself unconscious for at least two minutes. I was brought to the emergency prison hospital and once again provided with inadequate medical care. After blood/urine/vitals samples and testing I was told there was the possibility of death if I were to continue hunger strike for 24 hours. I obviously requested liquid nutrients/vitamins/etc. And I was denied. I was told by the doctor that CDCR officials are not letting med staff intervene in hunger strike participants and was told to go back to cell with no medical help.

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[Abuse] [Gender] [Bill Clements Unit] [Connally Unit] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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Oppressive Conditions and Sexual Assaults Widespread in Texas Prisons

Recently a report was released by the U.$. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division. The report concerned a survey conducted relating to sexual assaults and abuse taking place in Amerikan prisons and jails. The state of Texas was at the very top in terms of sexual assaults and abuse reported by prisoners. In fact, the Bill Clements unit located in Amarillo, Texas and the Mark Stiles unit located in Beaumont, Texas rated high in prison rape cases as well as sexual assaults. There has been no evidence to suggest the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is overly concerned about the persynal welfare and safety of the humyn beings held captive in their modern day gulags. Recent evidence shows the blatant disregard for humyn life in Texas prisons.

In Kennedy, Texas where the Connally Unit is located. A drought has caused 2 of the 10 water wells servicing the area to dry up. In a sign of extreme stupidity the warden of Connally Unit offered the water wells servicing the prison to the civilian population in Kennedy!

Some viewed this as an admirable gesture of good will. Although no one stopped to think about the prisoners housed at Connally. In Mid-August there have been reports of no-showers, no-toilet flushes, no-water being offered to prisoners on the unit. What the hell was the warden thinking? That's the point comrades, the oppressors down here don't think. A prisoner in Texas is less than humyn, a barn animal, cattle, chattel, dog or cat but far from being viewed as humyn.

This is why political and legal education is so very important for the lumpen underclass housed in Texas state prison. We cannot organize against these oppressors if we don't embrace the stage we are in. Cutting edge revolutionary scientific analysis tells us we are at the stage of A) Educate B) Raise awareness and consciousness and C) Garner public support for our struggle!

If the U.$. Department of Justice knows Texas allows the abuse of prisoners, what do they intend to do about it? A fancy report doesn't do jack to solve the problem. We need tangible realistic solutions. We must lobby hard for these oppressors to be held accountable. This executive director Brad Livingston?! Out! This Prison Rape Elimnation Act Ombudsman Ralph Bales?! Out! This Warden on Connally Unit who has ignored the basic needs of the humyn beings in her/his care? Out! And add some civil rights violations and criminal charges to their resume and perchance they will take their job more seriously.

As always I encourage all comrades in Texas and beyond to join USW in order to learn how to remove the boot of the oppressor from your neck!

Notes:
1. Texas Observer, August 2013. By Emily Deprang - DOJ report on Sexual Assaults.
2. The Prison Show! KPFT 90.1 FM. August 9th 2013 - Report on Water Shortage on Connaly Unit - Kennedy, Texas

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Imperialism


Imperialism;
you are the highest elevation of capitalism,
you are the cause, and the source of all racism,
you murdered egalitarianism, communism
and gave birth to this oppressive machanism
called prison.
Imperialism;
you built and bought the slave ship Jesus,
that brought my innocent ancestors into slavery.
You hired the guns that assassinated bravery,
you paid for the ropes that lynched knowledge
and courage,
you are the main cause of all our sufferage.
Imperialism;
you have caused slaves to become overseers,
local representatives of the oppressor,
by placing the needles in the veins of our
so-called niggero brothers and sisters.
Imperialism;
you created the miseducation that keeps us blind,
and the mis-justice that keeps us confined.
You created poverty;
and when you created poverty, you created crime.
You locked up our bodies when you locked up our minds
and I'm not just making up excuses.
I'm a clock, best believe, I know the time.
Imperialism;
your agenda may be instilled in our every move,
your ideals may be in every thing we learn and know,
show and prove,
your hands may be in every aspect of our lives,
your blood may be in every one of our husbands
or wives,
your products may be in everything we consume,
but none of this will stop or prevent your doom.
Imperialism;
Your tel-a-lie-vision, weapon of mass distraction
and destruction is evil,
but no amount of lies and weapons can defeat
the fighting spirit of the lumpen proles - the people.
Egalitarianism, communism will rule Supreme,
you may win the fight, but the war you will not win.
Once red and blue, black white brown and yellow
unite under MIM, United Struggle from Within
Imperialism;
you already know, you are the ultimate sin.

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