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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Calipatria State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 32]
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New STG Step Down Program is a Sham

I'm a prisoner at Calipatria State Prison in California. I've been housed in this prison's Administration Segregation Unit (ASU) for almost five years pending transfer to Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit (SHU), due to my alleged association with a prison gang, now called Security Threat Groups (STGs). In recent days, Calipatria's ASU prisoners were given a 63-page instructional memorandum packet. This memorandum announces the implementation of an STG pilot policy which serves as a notice of program, behavioral and participation expectations in the new Step Down Program (SDP) for prisoners housed in segregation units.

Prison officials here have told us that in the coming weeks CDCR representatives from Sacramento will be reviewing the case file/validation package of all those who have been validated as associates of an STG here at Calipatria to determine their current and future housing needs in accordance with the new SDP placement option chart.

This new policy and SDP is a sham! It does not address the core issues and only gives the illusion that if a prisoner jumps through all their hoops he/she could escape these torture chambers. The fact of the matter is that even if the prisoner is able to gain his/her release back to the general population, s/he will be walking on very thin ice thereafter. Any infraction could bring him/her right back to these torture chambers for an additional six years minimum. If a prisoner has already been through the SDP they will have to serve two years in step one, instead of the one year for first termers in the program.

CDCR might as well place revolving doors at the entrance of every segregation unit, because this is exactly what the new policy offers. Maybe its going to take the sound of thousands of hungry rumbling bellies before CDCR listens to reason and begins to write policies that are humane and fair.


MIM(Prisons) adds: California has been housing prisons in long-term isolation for years under the guise of gang (aka security threat group) validation. The conditions in these units have provoked a number of protests from prisoners, and this prisoner refers to the upcoming July 8 strike against torture in California prisons.

In 2011, when 12,000 prisoners went on hunger strike to protest long-term isolation, the CDCR asserted that they were already working on the issue. This SDP was what they were working on. Previously they offered "gang validation" to prisoners deemed to be affiliated with one of a handful of "prison gangs" within the system. This new policy expands the gang validation, and therefore long-term isolation torture, to all sorts of organizations that are deemed "criminal" or even just "disruptive." Keep in mind that if prisoners stand up against staff abuses, this is considered "disruptive" behavior and such prisoners face regular retaliation. While none of this is new, it is now official policy. This is their idea of reforming the system.

While we know the whole system needs to be thrown in the trash, in the mean time we can at least do better than this. But it depends on prisoners organizing in unity to better the conditions of all prisoners. Work with MIM(Prisons) to support prisoner education and organizing.

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[Spanish]
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Comentario Cinematográfico: Zero Dark Thirty

Esta película pretende hacer la crónica de la larga cacería contra Osama bin Laden después del ataque de septiembre 11 del 2001, hasta su muerte en mayo del 2011. Esta es una película hollywoodense y no podemos esperar que sea un documental preciso. Pero esto no importa en realidad puesto que la película representa lo que los americanos piensan cuando se imaginan el trabajo del CIA en el Medio Oriente. Lo que obtienen es una película de propaganda que glorifica la tortura a prisioneros por parte de los americanos y presenta a los pakistaníes como gente violenta y bien estúpida. Desde el principio hasta el final de la cinta no hay nada de valor, solamente hay propaganda dañina y mal intencionada. El mensaje principal que deben tomar los revolucionarios es acerca de la manera en que el gobierno recolecta información. Desde el monitoreo de teléfonos hasta redes de personas vigilando y siguiendo a individuos, el gobierno tiene técnicas sofisticadas y extensas a su disposición. Incluso los más cautos tendrán grandes dificultades evitando un mínimo de vigilancia estatal.

La historia se enfoca casi exclusivamente en la agente Maya de la CIA, quien dedicó su carrera a encontrar pistas acerca de la ubicación de Osama bin Laden. El comienzo de la película tiene abundantes imágenes gráficas de prisioneros que han sido torturados con el fin de obtener información. Se muestran las técnicas del submarino (waterboarding), golpizas, entallamiento y privación de comida y sueño. Aunque al principio la tortura le molesta a Maya, ella pronto se adapta y se une a las interrogaciones. La cinta es en favor de la tortura, aseverando que de cada prisionero torturado se obtiene información critica, per ignora el hecho de que muchos prisioneros detenidos en instituciones americanas después del 9/11 nunca recibieron cargos, no cometieron crímenes y no poseían información.

A lo largo de la película se socava constantemente la prohibición emitida por Barack Obama en el 2009 contra el uso de la tortura como método para extraer información. Irónicamente, en la película se observa como la CIA encontró a Osama bin Laden sin usar la tortura, luego de la prohibición. Pero nos deja entendiendo que hubiese sido mucho más simple si la CIA tuviese el camino libre con los prisioneros.

Aunque Zero Dark Thirty muestra a Obama como una persona pusilánime contra el terror y como un obstáculo al trabajo de la CIA, no debemos ser engañados y creer que el gobierno americano ha acabado el uso de la tortura.

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[Spanish] [ULK Issue 33]
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La Identificación del Lumpen Comienza con el Entender la Pequeña Burguesía del Mundo Desarrollado

MIM(Prisiones) está trabajando en un libro sobre el lumpen en las seudo colonias internas de los Estados Unidos. El primer capítulo, el cual se encuentra circulando en borrador para la revisión académica, se enfoca en la identificación del lumpen y en el cálculo del tamaño de este grupo dentro de las fronteras Estadounidenses. Parte de este proceso de identificación requiere que comprendamos la definición de lumpen y nos sea posible distinguirlo de las otras clases.

El proletariado es la clase explotada por la burguesía, reciben menos del valor de su trabajo y no tienen nada que perder excepto sus cadenas. Los Marxistas incluyen en el proletariado a muchas personas desempleadas que constituyen un ejército laboral de reserva, disponible para reemplazar otros trabajadores en caso de un lento desempeño, cuando estos se enferman, cuando organizan paros laborales o cuando de alguna otra manera desagradan a la burguesía. Estos desempleados contribuyen al mantenimiento de bajos sueldos y aún cuando están temporalmente desempleados, son todavía parte de la clase trabajadora permanente. El proletariado-lumpen es la clase de personas que se encuentran permanentemente desempleados.

En un articulo reciente, Nicolai Brown exploró el cálculo de como definimos el proletariado en los Estados Unidos. Brown calculó el total del valor de la labor al dividir el número de horas de trabajo por el total del valor producido:


"En el 2011, el Producto Domestico Bruto PDB global fue de $69,110,000,000,000. A mitad de año la población global fue estimada en unos 7,021,836,029. Asumamos que la mitad de las personas trabajan regularmente. En ese caso, cada trabajador produce unos $20,000 anuales. Más aún, si asumimos que cada trabajador trabaja 40 horas semanales por 50 semanas al año, el valor de la labor es de $10 dólares la hora."(1)

Esto es relevante en un momento en que el Presidente Obama está promoviendo un aumento del salario mínimo federal a $9.00 dólares la hora. Brown enfatizo la posición de la mayoría de trabajadores del mundo: "actualmente se estima que el ingreso medio global oscila entre $1,250 y 1,700 al año, unos $8,750 a 8,300 menos por año que el valor estimado de su labor."

En la respuesta a este artículo por parte de ServethePeople (Sirvan a la Gente), encontramos una importante adición a estas calculaciones:


"Mantengan en mente que no toda la producción puede ser distribuida como ingreso personal: mucho de esto va a los mecanismos de producción, infraestructura, obras publicas, desperdicios y otros fines. Si incluso la mitad de la producción, una sobreestimación considerable, esta disponible para distribución como ingreso personal, entonces el valor de la labor, de acuerdo al cálculo anterior, es solamente de $5 dólares por hora. Incluso el salario mínimo en los países imperialistas es mucho mas que lo calculado. Es así que cada 'trabajador' del Primer Mundo es un parasito."

Este punto acerca de la distribución del valor producido es valido sea que estamos hablando de capitalismo o de socialismo. La diferencia no es que el trabajador ponga en su bolsillo todo el valor de lo que produce, sino que todo el valor producido va a servir los intereses colectivos y no las ganancias privadas.

MIM(Prisiones) está de acuerdo con este cálculo, el cual informa nuestra determinación de quien califica como lumpen del Primer Mundo. Por medio de este cálculo podemos ver virtualmente que no hay proletariado en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra meta es la de separar el minúsculo proletariado y la pequeña burguesía de la clase del lumpen.

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[Spanish]
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El imperialismo cultural levanta protestas globales contra los Estados Unidos

Septiembre 15 del 2012 —- En días recientes, docenas de miles de personas en docenas de ciudades de África, Asia del Sur, el Medio Oriente y partes de Europa y Australia han protestado en respuesta a la película que fue hecha en los Estados Unidos, atacando al Profeta Muhammad. Los manifestantes atacaron las embajadas de EE.UU. y otros símbolos imperialistas tales como las escuelas americanas, un restaurante KFC y un campo de la ONU.(1) La ultima localidad fue una de muchas en las cuales las autoridades dispararon a mansalva contra los manifestantes. Muchos han perdido la vida. Quemar banderas americanas y el canto de ¡Muerte a América!" se ha convertido en símbolos unificadores comunes de estas acciones.

En Libia se dio la primera protesta que acaparó la atención del mundo. Allí, fuerzas respaldas por los EE.UU. derrocaron recientemente al gobierno que mantuvo el poder por varias décadas. Precisamente ocurrió en el aniversario de septiembre 11, 2001 cuando rebeldes de Al-Quaeda atacaron los Estados Unidos. Los manifestantes acapararon los titulares de las noticias cuando atacaron las embajadas estadounidenses, matando una docena de personas, incluyendo el embajador de los Estados Unidos. Desde entonces, los manifestantes han atacado embajadas imperialistas en Túnez, Yemen y Sudan, pero en estos casos sin el uso de armas de fuego.

Mientras el Presidente de los EE.UU., Barack Obama, menciona durante los discursos de su campaña presidencial su papel en el asesinato del líder de Al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden, cientos de manifestantes cantaban "Obama, todos somos Osama," en las afueras de la embajada de EE.UU. en Kuwait. La visión de Osama de una resistencia islámica global contra las invasiones e interferencias económicas americanas en el mundo islámico, ha alcanzado nuevas dimensiones esta semana.

Los medios americanos han presentado los hechos como si se tratara de protestas insignificantes, mientras que los americanos se sorprende de que se les culpe por una película contra el Islam que nunca han visto y que consideran un ignorantes, violentos e inservibles a los manifestantes. Tal como la cinta importante que la historia estadouidense en relación a las personas involucradas. Las reacciones más violentas han ocurrido en regiones que han sido bombardeadas recientemente por los militares americanos, dos de ellos por muchos años y el otro que ha sufrido el derrocamiento de su gobierno.

Los americanos arrogantes no reconocen que el embajador fue escogido como blanco por ser el representante de más alto nivel del titiritero americano en Libia.

Desde hace algún tiempo MIM ha mantenido que las organizaciones musulmanas han hecho más para pelear contra el imperialismo en años recientes que lo que han hecho los comunistas.(2) Y mientras hay muchas maneras en que los comunistas podrían hacer un mejor trabajo, no lo están haciendo. Como materialistas que somos tenemos que aceptar y trabajar con personas bajo las condiciones que nos han dado. Nosotros no debemos dudar en reconocer que el Islam nos ha traído la más grande demostración de internacionalismo y contra imperialismo que hemos visto en mucho tiempo.

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[South Asia] [Economics] [Aztlan/Chicano]
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Big Fat Elephant in the May Day Dialogue

maoist workers in the field
1 May 2013 - The so-called labor movement in the imperialist countries has long been limited in support and influence due to the overwhelmingly privileged conditions that most First Worlders live in. So in an attempt to seem relevant, and to perhaps mask their white nationalism, they proclaim "solidarity" with worker struggles across the world. In the worst cases, this "solidarity" actively works to mislead the struggle of the proletariat towards economism and tailing of First World development models. But even when it is just "solidarity" in words, it is used to defend the privilege of the exploiter populations in the First World. On this May Day, the featured interview on Democracy Now! epitomized this tendency.(1)

Charlie Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights was interviewed for a segment on the recent tragedy in Bangladesh and the labor struggle in general. Kernaghan informed us that 421 people are confirmed dead and another 1000 are still missing, meaning they are probably dead under the rubble of the factory that collapsed. He explained that the workers were not only threatened with no pay for the month, which would equal going hungry, but they faced the immediate threat of thugs with batons. As the recent fertilizer explosion in Texas showed, the profit motive under capitalism puts everyone's lives at risk. Still, there is a quantitative difference between being forced back into a dangerous situation with batons, and being unaware that it exists. The relative risk faced in the Third World is higher.

As MIM and others have shown elsewhere, there is a qualitative difference between First World wage earners in that they earn more than the value of their labor and are therefore exploiters, in contrast to the exploited proletariat.(2) The conversation around the Bangladesh tragedy degenerated into white nationalism when interviewer Amy Goodman began asking about what is to be done. After cheerleading for more protection of Amerikan wages, the guest began calling for trade barriers to goods from countries like Bangladesh until they can follow certain labor standards enforced by U.$. law. Such opposition to free trade organizes the exploiters at the expense of the exploited.

The elephant in the room became harder to ignore as the guest talked of workers making 21 cents an hour in the same breath as the immiseration of Amerikan workers. Yet, when Goodman began dancing around the wage question the guest responded:

"Well, like I said with the legislation, it's not our job to set wages around the world. That's up to the people in their individual countries. But what we can do is we can demand that if you want to bring the products into the United States, that these workers must have their legal rights."

How is it that we can enforce child labor laws, but when it comes to wages the Third World is suddenly on their own? How can you talk about international "labor solidarity" without talking about an international minimum wage? The idea is ridiculous and the only reason it happens is that the Amerikan labor leaders know that the average wage in the world is well below what they are already making. They want to keep earning more than their fair share, while putting up trade barriers for products produced by exploited labor.

We presume that the people of South Asia will not mistake people making $20k a year, and much more, as being part of the proletariat. But as we come closer to the heart of empire, the proletariat's class view becomes more and more skewed. There is no better example of this than in Aztlán today, where migrant workers see the vast wealth around them and the possibility of getting a piece of it. After the oppressed nations took over May Day in the United $tates seven years ago, the left-wing of white nationalism worked overtime to infuse this new proletarian movement in the belly of the beast with the line of the labor aristocracy.

Today, as the federal government claims to be close to enacting "immigration reform" that will amount to more Amerikan exceptionalism and favoritism, we favor the focus on reunification of families that some in Los Angeles called for on this May Day. This is an issue that ties in well with the national question, rather than economist demands for more access to exploiter-level wages. Reunification challenges the repressive border that keeps families apart, and keeps whole nations of people alienated from the wealth that they produce. As integration in the United $tates has advanced, challenging the border and fighting white nationalism, or better yet First Worldism, needs to be at the center of a progressive proletarian movement in Aztlán. These are the issues that really sparked the massive May Day rallies in 2006 in response to pro-Minutemen Amerika.(3) This is the spirit that we celebrate this May Day.

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[Death Penalty] [Texas] [ULK Issue 32]
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Texas Murder Milestone: 500 People Executed

As we approach the midpoint of 2013, the state of Texas is about to surpass a horrific benchmark. On 7 May 2013, the state of Texas will have killed 500 men and wimmin via their barbaric death penalty which is nothing more than the state sponsored murder of humyn beings [update: According to http://www.texasmoratorium.org, the 498th execution is scheduled to occur as we go to print. The 500th is currently scheduled for 26 June 2013]. Governor Rick Perry of Texas has signed the death certificates of 250 men and wimmin all by himself!

Governor Rick Perry's hands are dripping with blood, dripping with the blood of the citizens of Texas, many who were actually innocent. The state of Texas has paid out $65 million dollars to exonerees — people who were wrongfully convicted of capital offenses, many who were facing death. Texas exceeds every state in the union in exoneree payments ; it is number 1 in wrongfully convicted humyn beings. However, the $65 million dollar question is: "How many innocent people sentenced to death were not exonerated?" How many innocent people have actually been murdered by this bloodithirsty governor? Remember Todd Willingham (an innocent man executed in Texas in 2004)?

Also, where is the international outcry? 500 murders by the state of Texas! Texans cheer, while Amerikkkans whimper or simply remain silent. Silent to the systematic genocide happening right under their noses. Then when the "chickens come home to roost" intelligent humyn beings scratch their heads, perplexed as to why the Grim Reaper has visited the Lone Star State, and Colorado. Definitely tragedies, but is the state of Texas simply an innocent victim? Do I need to mention the disproportionate number of Black and Latino humyn beings who are sentenced to death in Texas? I say the state of Texas along with Governor Rick Perry are guilty of systematic genocide. They know what they are doing.

We have tried pursuing the violation-of-civil-rights route by appealing to the "Big Boss Man" in Austin, Texas to recognize our civil rights struggle. The bottom line is this: Governor Rick Perry is guilty of heinous crimes against humynity and should be tried at the International Court in the Hague!

Texas legislators tell their constituents "times are hard we have no money." They cut $5.6 billion dollars from the state public education budget, robbing our children of the resources they need to compete in today's technology advanced world and economy, paving the road to the penitentiary while obstructing the path to success. And you tell me this is not a systematic plan?!

Texas legislators ignore the fact that each humyn being sentenced to death in Texas costs the state two million dollars when they exhaust all judicial appeals. Remember, these humyn beings are fighting for their lives, literally. So most, if not all, are going to exhaust every avenue possible to save their lives at the tax payers' expense and countless children suffer for lack of quality education that could be funded by this blood money!

Is there a sentence of death under socialism? Yes there is. However socialists and communists don't use the death penalty as a covert tool to ethnically cleanse the lumpen masses. At the end of the day, that is what Texas is up to — ethnic cleansing. Get rid of the niggers and wet backs so the good white folks can feel safe. So now you know the truth. The question is, what are you going to do about it?


MIM(Prisons) responds: In response to the deaths of hundreds in a collapsed factory in Bangladesh this April 2013, the people have called for the execution of the factory owner who forced workers into such unsafe conditions. This is a prime example of the people's line on justice, and a situation where a socialist state might utilize the death penalty. Ultimately, by eliminating the profit motive and the power of an elite over the masses we can eliminate such events from happening in the first place, therefore making the question irrelevant to begin with. Crime is a social phenomenon. This means it can be eliminated via social change. But social change also requires holding those in power responsible. And it is those with more power that can commit the most heinous crimes, as this author describes.

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[U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 32]
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Boston, Confusion and Collective Responsibility

garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh
People of Savar come together around collapsed factory to join rescue effort and find loved ones.
The recent events around the bombings in Boston has been confusing to internationalists. Last week, we mourned the 3 unnecessary deaths and over 200 injuries that occurred in Boston on 15 April 2013. Today we mourn the over 250 unnecessary deaths (and counting) and over 800 more who remain trapped in the rubble in Bangladesh [10 May 2013 update: the death toll has passed 1000]. Yet we are confused, though not surprised, by expressions of sadness that are so disproportionate among Amerikans surrounding these two events. Both were unnecessary results of imperialism. Reports today from one of the bombers in Boston state that he was motivated by the U.$. invasions and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan — both imperialist occupations for Third World resources. The deaths in Bangladesh came after a garment manufacturer, who produces goods for the U.$. market, threatened employees with starvation to get them to work in an unsafe building, which then collapsed while they were inside.

People die in bombings everyday in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where there has been heavy U.$. military involvement, and yet we don't see Amerikans respond like they have over the last week. Those who got teary-eyed over the deaths in Boston, while barely registering those in Bangladesh as a blip at the bottom of their TV screen, are emblematic of the problem of national chauvinism in the United $tates. In place of this view we promote a view of collective responsibility. Humyn society is a product of humyn actions that we, as a collective species, determine. For those of us who are citizens of the most powerful country on Earth, our responsibility is that much more grave.

So, the Amerikan reader might ask, should we bow to the demands of anyone who plants a homemade bomb in a crowd? Of course not. What we are saying is that if Amerikans paid as much attention to deaths caused by their nation as they did to deaths inflicted on their nation, then the latter would be less frequent. Of course the latter already pales in comparison to the former, as Amerikans kill far more people of other nations than vice-versa. Taking responsibility for this fact and acting to change it is the single most practical thing one can do to prevent unnecessary deaths of all peoples. Most of the "response" to the bombing in Boston has been political posturing and emotional subjectivism — all show, no substance. For the people of the world who face death on a daily basis, such platitudes are not enough and only real solutions earn respect, not empty words.

A peaceful world is possible. But a peaceful world is precluded by one without exploitation. You cannot maintain wealth inequality and profit motives without the use of force. MIM(Prisons) stands for an end of such use of force, an end to all oppression and exploitation, and an end to the unnecessary deaths that are the result of the system of imperialism in so many forms. We challenge U.$. citizens to join us in taking collective responsibility for the actions of our government and the deaths and destruction that result from it. Taking responsibility means taking action to change those things, while combating the culture of chauvinism that dominates our society.

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[Abuse] [Nevada]
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Nevada Assaults and Abuse Exposed; Prisoners Fighting Back

On April 2, 2013 I was finally released from the hole. Since that time there's been one assault on a Black prisoner by pigs while a supervisor (i.e. Sergeant) looked on and attempted to justify the conduct. During a minor altercation on the day following, one prisoner was shot in the head and 2 in the face, costing one prisoner his eye. During the feeding at dinner, a prisoner in need of bathroom facilities was directed to defecate on the floor in the dining room (during feeding!) by a Sergeant (with the full consent of approximately 7 pigs standing around laughing). Foreign items in our food, reduced food portions and the obvious lacing of food continues.

We are preparing to initiate an action consisting of written complaints, grievances and pressure from outside sources. This type of behavior needs to be exposed and addressed for the reprehensible and cowardly expression that it is. We are also attempting to enlist the support of people outside and give advanced notice in anticipation of retaliation (again).

This year has brought a number of assaults by pigs on Black prisoners, especially those engaged in struggle. In response we are also going to begin exposing the names of all involved officers for all abusive, assaultive or other conduct that is a display of anti-prisoner/counter-human sentiment.

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[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Gang Validation] [Florida] [ULK Issue 32]
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MIM Investigated as STG in Florida

It has recently been brought to my attention by the Security Threat Group (STG) coordinator at this Correctional Institution that the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) and cells thereof is/are currently pending STG classification in the Florida Department of Corrections. As a result all MIM publications will be subject to censorship as "STG material," the possession of being punishable by disciplinary action/confinement.

I am discontinuing my subscription(s) as well as correspondence due to the coordinator's interview as mentioned above.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are still gathering information on this situation in Florida. We have seen a complete blackout of our literature to select individuals, but not the overall population.

We have repeatedly addressed similar situations in the past, stressing that the physical safety of both prisoners and staff at facilities where prisoners study Maoism and work with MIM(Prisons) has only improved to date.(1) Meanwhile, according to U.$. law, it is still illegal for the state to censor political speech, affiliation or association because they find it disagreeable.

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[Mental Health] [Medical Care] [Organizing]
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Building Healthier Revolutionary Lives in Prison

Amongst the four goals put forward in ULK issue 31 was the humyn needs such as healthy food and water along with fresh air and exercise. To some these things are assumed to be met, many especially out in society would be shocked to learn that in fact these things are not met for many in U.$. prisons. Indeed ULK is one of the few prisoners rights publications which not just highlights these oppressive conditions in U.$. prisons, but which also keeps perhaps the largest archive on prisoner's rights violations, particularly on censorship of U.$. prisons. This dedication to prisoners, those cast off of U.$. imperialism, is what first brought me to work with ULK and USW. This is what stood out to me when I would open up a MIM Theory or MIM Notes and see Amerika called out in such bold fashion. This drew me to learn more, especially when a lot of the substance of their articles were prison-based, a section of society that even many so called "progressive" peoples have abandoned.

As prisoners, healthy food is out of our reach for the most part. The truth is if we were to eat everything on these trays we would still not consume the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to call our meals healthy. Most of this slop would make a raccoon's stomach turn and could not be sold to the public, so it finds its way to the dungeons. A review of your past issues of ULK would show that prisons across the United $tates have slop. This is no surprise but what needs to be developed is how can we acquire the healthiest food under our circumstances. We got to do what we can with what we have as there is a connection between the body and mind. How can we be good revolutionaries if we are sick, have no energy or have diseases because of foul eating habits? This would hinder our ability to exist as people, much less as revolutionary people, which demands more energy, more focus, and more strength.

Those who are financially able to purchase food items from the canteen or from packages (once a year here in SHU) have a choice of mostly junk food i.e., food that is saturated in sodium, transfats and unnatural chemicals which work as artery cloggers. These junk foods are unhealthy, so how can we be revolutionaries but spend all our money on candy and chips? This is akin to considering yourself a revolutionary but being a dope fiend at the same time, or being a revolutionary but an alcoholic. This applies to comrades out in society as well. Indeed, studies have recently found that in the lab, mice have become addicted to fast food and that this addiction was stronger than being addicted to crack. In prison being addicted to junk food is destroying your body and this destruction is serving the imperialists not the people, because with a revolutionary out of commission, inflicted with high blood pressure, heart disease, etc., it is one less revolutionary on the front line.

Now if we look at this from an economic perspective, by us purchasing all the junk food we are basically lining the enemy's pockets with the few dollars our families or comrades have been able to send us. We are basically providing financial support to the terrorists=U.$. capitalists. We are funding them and supporting their business. If we are to truly empathize with the oppressed of the world and analyze the world from a Third World perspective, how can we do so by being consumed with corporate products? By us living in a capitalist society we are already forced to utilize corporations for everything we do. Even in prison we are forced to use electricity owned by corporations, consume and use hygiene products from corporations, even the paper I use and envelopes I purchase are not exempt. But these are items we must purchase for our work, we do not however have to purchase chips and candy, just as the comrade out in society does not have to purchase that big mac or french fries all the time. Of course we are not robots and as humyn beings it is ok to celebrate and indulge in something you like once in a while, but this is different than always chasing these items and living an unhealthy lifestyle.

If we are attempting to set an example to others this should also include our eating habits. So how can we revolutionize our food while in prison? Some will incorrectly think we can do nothing because the 'all powerful' state we live under controls this, but we need to toss out this self-defeatist thinking and learn from Mao when he said the imperialists are paper tigers. As with all battles with the state we just need to find the contradiction and focus our efforts therein.

As far as our trays we really only have two paths, one is the appeal process, like finding a violation or lack of calories, and two is how we have included this in our demands in the strike here in Cali. But in the realm of canteen or package items there is much more potential as nothing hurts the capitalists more than the economic pinch. What happens when nobody buys that certain toothpaste or soap for months? It is usually replaced with a different brand. And why have some items such as Folgers coffee been on the canteen list for decades? Because this is bought by many, so there is a market for this. Why then can't we replace or have them replace all the candy and chips with healthy foods? We can and I will tell you how with an example from a recent struggle.

Most recently we had an issue here in SHU where we wanted access to purchase a combination TV/Radio since we are only allowed 1 appliance, we wanted to receive a TV with a radio combo. The prison said no. This was included in our demands during the strikes of 2011 as well, the prison finally broke it down saying we could get the TV/radio combo, but that the manufacturer has to make a clear model. Time passed and nothing. The manufacturer finally made one clear but with a speaker so the prison said they must make it without a speaker. We waited and nothing. The prison blamed the company and the company said nobody from the prison contacted them so we got creative and persistent. The short corridor collective issued a statement to prisoners in California calling for everyone to write the company demanding a TV/Radio combo should be made available to us or we will boycott their company. Friends and family on the outside were told to call and e-mail the company doing the same. With the thousands of prisoners in Cali who keep this business afloat the pressure was too much, and within 60 days the company provided the TV/radio which we can now order for the first time in the 20+ years this prison has been open. So this is a way to get vendors to sell us the products we want and has proved to be effective, but it must be done by all prisoners in a state as we did it here.

Some may wonder how can all prisoners in a state know about a project like this. This is the importance of prisoners to subscribe to prisoners' rights publications which address issues. If prisoners in all prisons in a state subscribe to certain publications then when issues arise the people won't be in the dark. ULK is one such publication, write to ULK for a subscription, communicate and let your voice be heard!

If we don't buy junk food and we write companies to demand they start selling us more healthy goods that are more in line with our culture, once the companies know that they may be boycotted they will break it down as they did with our TV/radio combo.

Certain diets also provide healthier non-processed food like the halal kosher or veggie diets. Those rare times when I get a few bucks and go to canteen I buy the most healthy products. We will never have the ideal healthiest products in prisons under capitalism but the best we can do is with dry goods such as dehydrated rice and beans. I also will get the saltine crackers since this prison forbids us from having salt, which our bodies rely on, and the crackers at least give a small bit of salt. I try to get the dry oatmeal as well for fiber and iron. The beans give me protein which the mystery meat does not give. Some prison canteens allow people to purchase beef jerky which is good as well, all this allows us to supplement the shitty prison food with reasonably healthy food. Packages for those who are able provide items such as power bars, granola, nuts and beef jerky, wheat crackers, and for those on the mainline more opportunities exist like peanut butter, dried fish, mushrooms, spices, honey and salami, cheese etc. We must see that our eating habits are tools, they are weapons in our battle to be the best revolutionaries possible. While under lock and key, our health should be seen as our first line of defense! This is because with piss poor health how can we advance the revolution? How can we advance our nation if we are bed-ridden or all drugged up on meds for diseases? It slows us down in our work.

I used to listen to the rap group 'Dead Prez' talk about eating healthy and the need to be healthy. They had it right because there is a connection between our health and our mind, one affects the other and if one is off the other will follow suit.

But not everyone has the ability to buy canteen items or get packages, some folks are broke and have no outside support so what is to be done? One way to get around this is to cultivate a support system. Comrades here have developed a 'peoples support system' (PSS). This PSS ensures that anyone in the pod who goes to canteen or receives a package distributes these goods to everyone who has not received a package or canteen. In this way no one goes without. This process of building a PSS is easier when prisoners involved are conscious or at least have been doing time for a long time, and is more challenging when those involved are new to prison or suffer form extreme forms of parasitism. But even then it can be developed with time and the use of modeling behavior.

Modeling behavior occurs when someone sees a behavior and then mirrors this same action. For example, a child who sees their parent pick up the toys and throw them in the toy box, the child eventually picks up the toys herself and tosses them in the toy box without ever having been told to do so. In this same way when someone enters a pod or block and sees prisoners looking out for each other regardless of ones nationality or LO the new person will soon begin mirroring this behavior, so it is up to us conscious prisoners to set the tone on a tier, pod, block or yard. This is revolutionizing our environment, it is putting theory into practice.

Don't get it twisted I'm not saying this is always easy. It may take months or years to get someone to take a class approach, and some will never grasp that prisoners as a whole are a class, but this does not mean we will stop what we do. The Brown Berets - Prison Chapter (BB-PC) have come to understand the PSS is needed in every prison in order to cultivate our united front efforts in our battles, and we know this also leads to raising the consciousness of prisoners when coupled with other forms of education and agitation. At times building a PSS will start with one or two people, but as time goes on more and more people will do so and then all the new people will adopt this "tradition" and these are the revolutionary traditions, the kind of revolutionary culture we want to create so that when we get moved or transferred we know we left a foot print that will continue onward.

Healthy water is also essential, I have had many cellies who really did not drink water, but as humyns we need water to exist. We are supposed to drink about 8 cups of water a day to stay healthy, not 8 cups of coffee or koolaid but water. Water helps us flush out our system and maintain healthy kidneys. Water is free to us, and people in the Third World wish they had access to clean water. Many die because of lack of clean water so let us drink this clean water in order to stay healthy so we can help the struggles of Third World peoples. If it was up to the imperialists they would rather deny us clean water, at times some prisoners are denied clean water. Those who have been to Tracy prison in Cali know about the brown water. Likewise in ULK issue 9 we read the article Contaminated Water OK by CDCR. There was arsenic in the water at Kern Valley State Prison and the prisoner reported that "lead levels that are over the EPA's legal limit" were found in the water. So I'm sure comrades across Amerika can speak about foul ass water in dungeons all over.

Exercise is another aspect that needs to be taken seriously by all revolutionaries, exercise is so important that the state has targeted it and labels it STG activity. They will validate you and send you to solitary confinement for decades for doing push ups with a comrade. This is how much they see exercise as a threat, because it strengthens us as humyn beings and it is a weapon we use to combat the effects of prison life. The state seeks to strip us of any forms of resistance, anything we draw strength from hinders there project of instilling a sense of helplessness in all prisoners so that we go along with their oppression and never dare to resist the oppressor.

As revolutionary prisoners we need to develop methods of exercise to keep our bodies in top shape. This helps us not only physically, but science tells us that there is a connection between our physical health and our mental health. Exercise prevents not only disease but also depression, stress, anxiety and anger. Our world in these dungeons is filled with all this negativity which harms us just like the bullets and batons even though we often cannot see this damage in its physical form but we react to it in negative ways, so exercise helps us keep this stuff in check. These emotions will not go away but exercise helps us better deal with them without them overpowering our lives.

A good exercise regime is from forty five minutes to an hour, this is usually done from four to six days a week. I have found burpies and calisthenics to be the most fulfilling. Our bodies need to sweat in order to flush out the toxins and many times push ups just won't do it. California prisons no longer have weights so in the holes and SHUs people mostly do burpies. This tradition, which many Cali prisoners are not aware of, came from George Jackson and his comrades who developed exercise regimes utilizing burpies and calisthenics. At the time, in the 60s and 70s, prisoners were not exercising in this way as these were military style exercise regimes. Comrade George was a step ahead in identifying the inter-connection between a strong body and mind. The early 80s saw Chicano prisoners from Northern Cali develop this same exercise regime, and the late 90s saw Chicano prisoners from Southern Cali along with white prisoners soon follow this tradition that started with Black prisoners. This is good that prisoners exercise, it is a positive thing, but now the state is using it against us so we must find ways to combat this.

One way to fight the STG labeling of exercise is for all prisoners to work out together. If all prisoners work out at once it can no longer be seen as STG activity. I believe this is a positive step forward for a united front, however I don't think the state will thus be prevented from labeling group exercise STG activity, just as all prisoners of all nationalities participate in hunger strikes yet it is still seen as STG activity. But prisoners working out together would also be an unprecedented step forward. Since most group exercise are done in the hole and most holes consist of cages side by side, I can see a future exercise regime consisting of each cage calling out an exercise, regardless of what nation or sub-group one belongs to, and everyone exercising together. In the SHU we can't see no one, as everyone is in an individual cell. Some people work out and some don't so this is a little more difficult. If you find yourself in a hole and people are in individual cages, one is free to jump in and participate with those exercising but the ideal is to have everyone participate. This is something to work on and begin discussing, by working out together it does not mean we are one car, it does not mean you're joining another nation or LO, it's simply exercise. If we can starve together why not sweat together?

Today's prisons are no longer like the prisons of our grandfathers, conditions have changed and we must find ways to change with these times. If we are to ever regain things like trailer visits for lifers, weights, parole dates for lifers, and all the rest, we must be more in sync. If we want the 'end to hostilities' to really last than we need to do more, we need to implement methods which reinforce such policies as an 'End to Hostilities' and group exercise involving all nationalities and subgroups reinforce this.

The transformation of prisons should begin in every dungeon, and those who find themselves in prisons which are not conscious should learn from prisons who have already taken steps toward this transformation. Those prisons which have already taken such steps should constantly find new ways to push our momentum even further.

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