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[Campaigns] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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USW Grievance Petition Wins Battles in Texas

Well comrades after months of trying to get the grievance department to produce a grievance that they insisted was returned, the truth has come out! In June 2012 I was housed on C-wing on Estelle Unit High Security which is located in Huntsville, Texas. At the time, my cell and many others were infested with roaches, every meal was served cold, and the smell of sewage was extremely pervasive. I and a fellow comrade filed a Step 1 (I-127) grievance.

Unit Grievance Investigator Mr. Allen Hartley lied to me, his co-worker Ms. Monica Nichols, and numerous other TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) employees and insisted that he returned my Step 1 with response on August 22, 2012. However, I never received it. A TDCJ employee told me that Mr. Allen Hartley has a "special relationship" with the prison administration on the High Security Unit in which he has agreed to destroy any offender grievances which may shed a negative light on the High Security administration.

On October 22, 2012 I sent a grievance petition courtesy of USW-MIM(Prisons) to Senator John Whitmire who happens to be the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee in the Texas state legislature. I requested that the senator have someone investigate my "mysterious" disappearing grievance. I also addressed the cold-substandard meals served on the entire unit, rampant racism among officers, and administration, as well as the collusive and conspiratorial relationship that exists between unit grievance investigator Mr. Allen Hartley and Assistant Warden Steven T. Miller and Major David M. Forrest (bonfire Klansman extraordinaire). The USW Grievance Petition does an excellent job of articulating the true nature of the problem here in Texas. Our due process rights are being trampled on and we can't get fair and unbiased resolution of our grievances under the current system (period).

Comrades I am glad to report that the food service department at Estelle Unit - High Security has been issued "Hot-Carts" which really keep our food hot/warm! The portions have improved a little and so has the quality. We even get salt and pepper once a week. This may not be fantastic in some prisoners eyes but it is progress. I believe it was a collective effort by a small group of motivated comrades who got tired of being treated like sub-humyns.

In reference to the grievance problem, the central grievance office wrote me and stated that the grievance in question has been "lost." They offered me the opportunity to re-submit the grievance. However, they failed to address the main root of the problem and that is Mr. Allen Hartley's blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution! This is not the first time that these prisoncrats have played this game. This is an ongoing problem. Their actions have rendered the grievance process ineffective. So with that being said, I have filed a complaint with the Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division - utilizing the grievance petition as my guide.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We currently have grievance petitions for many states. Write to us for a copy and if you are in a state not currently covered by the grievance campaign, we will send you a template for the petitions and you can look up citations and policies specific to your state for reference. If you do this research and send us what needs to be rewritten for your particular state, we will gladly send an edited, accurate copy back to you.

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[Censorship] [National Oppression] [Legal] [Waupun Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 30]
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Court Rules BPP Program is Gang Material

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

"Give me liberty or give me death." - Thomas Pain

The above two quotes are admired citations that most Amerikans with any educational degree deem to be master slogans this country's freedoms are based on. But these same quotes or those similar, if stated by Black men or Black women, are deemed contraband and gang related.

On August 2, 2012 the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision aimed at silencing and caging the spirit of the Panther. The court ruled that the ten point platform that the Black Panther Party (BPP) cited in every newspaper and later put forward as the core demands of the New Africans in the Amerikan ghettos, is gang-related when found in the possession of Black men. This decision was rendered from a case in one of the most racist and oppressive prison systems in Amerika: Wisconsin DOC.

The 7th Circuit Court's ruling in Tani Toston vs. Muchael Thurmer et al, no# 10 cv 288 stated that Waupun prison officials in Wisconsin could punish a Black man who allegedly has a tribal background (they used the pejorative, "gang") and who checked out two BPP books from the prison's own library, and purchased a 3rd book (To Die for the People) and copied from all three the Panthers ten point platform.

The oppressors argued that these ten points were being used to construct a gang structure simply because of the DOC's slant that he had a tribal background of defunct Gangster Disciples. They offered no evidence but their ethnocentric opinions. They punished the prisoner and gave 90 days segregation for learning Panther knowledge.

The plaintiff, who I call the Panther seeker, argued to the 7th Circuit Court that the ten point platform could not be a gang related security concern because the two books in the library recited the same program, and prisoners are permitted to get the books and to buy them. They were not on the state's book ban list.

In opposing the Panther seeker and rationalizing their reactionary measure, the prison defenders in the 7th Circuit stated: "...prison librarians can not be required to read every word of every book to which inmates might have access to make sure they contain no incendiary material. There is no reason to think that a librarian or other employee of the prison read cover to cover any of the three books that contain the ten point program."

Yet, they expect prisoners to know they could not write down the same, though they did reverse and remand the due process claim that the prison never told him he could not do so.

They further stated: "And even if the prison read the books and made a determination the book was not gang lit. on whole, that does not preclude disciplinary proceedings if an inmate copies incendiary passings from it."

It seems the court took issue with point #8 of the program, which calls for "freedom for all Black men held (implicit also women) in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails." The court states the seeker is Black and that the BPP were implicated in many acts of violence including murder, and Huey himself may have killed a cop. Their source is Hugh Pearsons The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America.(p. 145-46 1995). They also cited the case People vs. Newton, 87 Cal. Rptr, 394 (CA), app. ct. 1970) and the case in which Black Panther leader Richard Moore was convicted of assault in a shootout between Black Panthers and Oakland police (Clener vs. Superior Court, 594 p.2d 984, 985-86 (Cal. 1979), In Re Cleaver, 72 Cal. Rptr. 20, 23-24 (Cal. App. Ct. 1968)).

They even went so far as to cite a coloring book as their source research in coming to this ethnocentric ruling. "Black Panther coloring books" depicting children murdering police, which were developed and distributed under their own FBI's COINTELPRO.

Then they had the disrespect to cite our beloved brother Fred Hampton's estate lawsuit which was filed after the Chicago pigs' assassination of the beloved. Hampton vs. Hanrahan 600 F. 2d 600, 654 (7th Cir. 1979) (dissenting opinion).

They wish to project they are fair. But how fair are they when they cite all these biased cases and omit the fact that the police, FBI, and others were actively seeking to destroy the BPP and even pacifists like MLK, and these incidents were self-defense. The BPP was a self-defense response to a racist system. How can you fault a people who stand up for their human and constitutional rights and label them criminals for defending the same principles this country was established on? The answer is clear: what white leaders say, Black ones cannot say.

The court defended their ruling by saying: "The BPP is history. But the ten point program could be thought by prison officials as an incitement to violence by Black prisoners - especially since there is a new BPP active today, which claims descent from the original. And like its predecessor both advocates and practice violence."(Citing: Southern Poverty Law Center, New BPP).

They go on to cite disputing evidence to their conclusion by stating: "In context, in the book of Huey's writings, point #8 is much less inflammatory than when read in isolation on the paper the plaintiff wrote down and had in his foot locker." They claim, in all three books, there are explanatory commentary around each of the ten points and that explanation is "innocuous" on point #8. "We believe that all black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial." (To Die for the People. Bk. At. p5)

They seek to soften the blow of their ethnocentric cudgel: "...although Newton's book advocates revolution, it could no more be regarded as a criminal incitement than the Communist Manifesto could be. But this underscores the difference between a book as a whole and an arguably inflammatory nugget plucked from it." So what say they if we cite Thomas Pains "give me liberty or give me death"? Same as Huey's statement in point #8.

The court went on to justify their favoritism to a ethnocentric/racist prison by stating: "Not being experts in prison administration, but aware of the security problems in American prisons, judges sensibly defer within broad limits to the judgements of the prison administration."

How can the court make a fair ruling if they don't acquire some expertise in prison administration? That is the court's job as arbitrators of the case. We as prisoners need to present evidence on the expert level of how prison administrators exaggerate the facts and cite spookisms in their affidavits and summary judgement motions. As prisoners we are and should be experts in prison administration operation and the lies they tell. So why are we not illustrating the same in our litigation.

On the question of the "security problems in american prisons," again, these perceptions are all based upon what the prison officials report and claim; hardly a fair assessment as to what is really going on. This is possible because we are not disputing and putting the truth out there. We are not uniting and pooling our resources to fight the lies the prison system puts out.

The Beard vs. Banks case illustrates this fact. The lawyers/prisoners did not submit anything disputing the alleged facts in the defendant/prison official's summary judgement motion. As such, the court accepted all their exaggerations as true. Though they probably would have accepted the prison exaggerations anyway, we cannot make it so easy or allow them to justify it without exposing their favoritism and bias. The fact is that this case had lawyers, so the court could have given the disputes more weight than pro se disputed facts. This is the litigation war we are engaged in. No capitulations allowed.

The Van den Bosch case shows how censorship is allowed when we write articles like this one here. There, an article on how Wisconsin is #1 in creating conditions in segregation for petty stuff and these conditions leading to what I call intentional conditions for "suggestive ideation" (suicide). The court accepted the Wisconsin prison administrator's exaggerated security claim that criticizing these conditions could be viewed as incitement because people were killing themselves and the article stated officials were to blame. We cannot even complain or express our opinions.

We see how the court forgets that the BPP was attacked by the pigs and FBI, and they also forget all the cases in which the prison administrations have been proven busted and exposed for presenting lies. However, I stress again, it is our job to present such overwhelming facts/evidence to not allow the courts to easily accept the judgements and defer to the prisons, because we know they are straight up liars. This is war in facts.

This fact is shown by what the court wrote: "The nexus between plaintiffs copying the ten point program from "To Die for the People" and gang activity may seem tenuous, but the defendants argue that the likeliest reason the plaintiff copied the ten point program was to show it to inmates whom he hoped to enlist in a prison gang, a local cell as it were of the Black Panthers, the ten point program would be the gang's charter". They go on to say "this is merely a supposition, but it is not so implausible that we can dismiss as groundless the prisons concern."

They support that racist logic on the affidavit submitted by the prison's so-called gang coordinator, a racist named Bruce Muranski, who has been discredited in at least one case as possibly manufacturing so-called informant statements. "In the U.S. the main organizations that monitor intolerance and hate groups are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have deemed the new BPP as a hate group... there would be no other purpose...in the ten point program other than recruiting group members and establishing, reinforcing and maintaining an organizational structure for furthering gangs..."

In another part of the affidavit Muranski claims: "isolating the ten point from these library books allows it to be taken out of context, easily circulated and simultaneously possessed by gang members and changed or adopted for the specific needs and activities of the group... (another prisoner, other than plaintiff) was alleged to have unsanctioned security threat group items in his cell...(including) a hand written paper titled 'notes on African American leaders'. This sheet of paper contained the ten point which was identical in content to the ten point found in plaintiff cell..."

There we have it. All Black leaders who were willing to say in their own words or actions "give me liberty or give me death" are deemed contraband. Yet, I can have all the quotes I wish of white revolutionaries and Amerikan founding fathers. White "inciteful" language against the British crown is protected expression while George Jackson, or a Hoover or Malik, or Huey Newton is contraband.

The fact is that damn near every BPP or associated case, in law books or on the computer, has the same ten point program in it. So all we would need to do is buy a Panther case and circulate it if we wanted to share the ten point program. We see this decision is about intimidation and instilling inferiority. For even the cases the court cited have the ten points in them. Surely they knew that.

Still more, the case in which they made this racist ruling itself can now be used to promote and propagate the ten point program. So it's clear: the prison has no lawful reason to exclude the ten points even if they subsequently ban the books, which I'm sure they might try. The ruling is a joke and more about suppression and control.


MIM(Prisons) adds: While it is a set back for revolutionaries when important historical literature is banned or access limited to sharing this literature, it is something of a public admission of the strength and value of the Black Panther Party political line that this court felt the need to decree it as gang material. Prisoners who are labeled as part of a "Security Threat Group" are often actually organizing for the betterment of oppressed people, and promoting the peace and security of prisoners. This exposes the lie of the prison's claim that they want security. The only security prisons promote is job security for the guards and other prison workers. Prisoners' lives are far from safe and secure, due to conditions created by the guards and the criminal injustice system in general.

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [California]
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Challenging Conditions of Confinement in SHU

I have a habeas corpus petition in the Superior Court which challenges the "conditions of confinement" in California Department of Corrections and "Rehabilitation" (CDCR) Security Housing Units (SHUs), and the pro forma sham "periodic reviews" that CDCR purports to conduct for possible release from SHU.

My "conditions of confinement" challenge is based upon the fact that 30% of the validated "gang affiliates" in SHU are actually "gang associates," which are basically prisoners who had a social relationship with one prisoner who was a former gang "associate" [or member], or an "associate" who had been classified by CDCR as no longer "active" in the gang, i.e. a guy who has been "inactive" for a minimum of six years, or who had a social relationship with a "gang" member. How such a one-on-one social relationship constitutes "associating" with the gang is a leap of logic only a CDCR mentality could make.

It is unconstitutional for the government to find a person guilty of "association" sans any overt acts of personal misconduct. So it is very curious that prisoners are the only group of citizens who are consistently placed in SHU on the sole basis of being "guilty by association" without any charge of personal misconduct, and without any finding of guilt of any acts of personal misconduct, or of any acts of misconduct on behalf of or at the behest of a "gang."

Since Title 15, Section 3312(A) mandates that all prisoner misconduct be handled in the specific manners set forth in that section/regulation. Either CDCR is in violation of Section 3312(A), or there has been no misconduct! If there has been no misconduct, then a prisoner cannot be subjected to punitive treatment. Punitive treatment includes conditions of confinement that are historically recognized as punishment. So, it is all about identifying the conditions in SHU that are historically recognized as CDCR (or general prison) punishment, such as: loss of privileges, loss of property, solitary confinement, etc.

I know that making the SHU more comfortable is not an acceptable alternative to closing the SHU. But if you take the whip away from the CDCR, and SHU becomes just another general population facility with just a "maximum custody" designation, it then loses its value to CDCR.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Why would the government want to torture people for talking to someone? Presumably they fear this persyn. This has nothing to do with "misconduct" or "safety" and everything to do with politics; one group oppressing another. Yet, control units are still torture, no matter if the population decreases or increases by 30%. As this comrade states, there is no humane alternative to abolishing the SHU altogether.

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 31]
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Debating Trans Rights

The sentiment expressed in the Men Against Sexism review in ULK 29 that we should not be fighting for sex reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy, is exactly the type of infighting that cuts comrades off from each other. How can a man be against sexism, yet support the oppressor's sexist stance on hormones? This is exactly why resistance is so watered down in Amerikkka. All the so-called resisters make a hobby of petty posturing and holier-than-thou attitudes which is nothing more than sugar-coated (and thinly at that) bourgeois ego games. The sad part is the gay crowd was at one point the outsider like us trans people are now but they are playing pass the shit-stick. How pathetic.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In the article this prisoner criticizes, we wrote that we do not fight for sex reassignment surgery in the same way we don't fight for gay marriage, because both amount to further privileges for people already benefiting from imperialism. We could equate these struggles with the fight to get more women in executive positions in companies, or the fight to get a Black man in the white house. They represent steps forward in equality for Blacks, wimmin, gays and trans people in reaping imperialist spoils of war and gender oppression on Third World peoples. These struggles do not help advance the fight against imperialism, to liberate the Third World peoples.

Most trans people in the Third World don't have the privilege of even thinking about hormone replacement therapy, and Third World gays certainly are not pre-occupied with their right to marriage. These people are focused on day-to-day survival, getting enough to eat, and avoiding getting raped or killed by Amerikan-backed militias. We mislead people when we focus on battles that distribute the imperialist privileges more equally among the already privileged labor aristocracy. We must focus on the real enemy of the majority of the world's people, an enemy that won't stop exploiting and killing through the ballot box. Gay and trans people in Third World countries deserve all of our attention and energy, to help ensure their survival and ultimate liberation.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 31]
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Expanding the Debate over the Political Prisoner Label

I'm responding to ULK 29, "Less Complaints, More Agitation and Perspective." While most of the position is on point, I believe that important considerations were left out by both this comrade and MIM(Prisons)'s response.

I agree with the broad definition of political prisoners as announced in MIM Theory 11: Amerikan Prisons on Trial (article "Political Prisoners Revisited") precisely because courts are maintained as a tool of political oppression and inseparable from political oppression. Thus the political component is inseparable from those who become further oppressed by imprisonment. The hierarchy of society, cops, courts and state is one of a functioning cadre in this country.

I also understand the distinctions this comrade makes between inmates, convicts and the rest — an inmate is the prison version of the "sleeping masses," but whether or not these people recognize their oppression does not determine whether they are oppressed. And we can't forget that distinctions such as inmate, convict, POW, PPOW, PP, PS, GP are meaningless outside of the prison context, rendering these issues inapplicable to society.

In terms of the bigger fight for prison revolutionaries, these labels are also somewhat moot outside of a strategic context as well; everyone will get the benefits brought about by revolutionary action or they will simply be "washed away when the dam breaks."

What was missed is part of a larger problem (largely analytical). Whether one is or is not a political prisoner speaks directly to the conditions which led to one becoming a member of their class (under the broad definition), but not the class perception and what it means, nor what to do as a member of that class. The political conditions of our confinement being a given, our focus, especially insofar as making revolution is concerned, should not be on whether or not one is a political prisoner, but rather if one, as a prisoner, is political (i.e. moved to political action). If we must distinguish between members of the same class (i.e. prisoners), and to a certain extent we must in order to accurately assess conditions on the ground, then let it be a functional distinction which advances the revolution as a whole.

Subcategories of class must be used in such a way that it produces knowledge, not conjecture. Even an "inmate" can be turned to use. Further, people change and there's no way to know the moment of awakening of political consciousness in others without objective observation. By assigning static labels and categories, we limit our objectivity.

I wholeheartedly agree with this comrade: there are many tactics which can be tailored to circumstance but the labor of these tactics is necessarily dispersed to many people of differing skill sets and levels of political awareness; some are dupes, others are not, some are soldiers, others are tacticians and printers.

Finally, I believe a common mistake we all make as revolutionaries is to become solipsistic. We forget that not everyone wants change or revolution; some are satisfied with their condition. In prison or out, this distinguishes one as counter-revolutionary. This distinction is functional and applies to society without getting bogged down in specific labels. It is part of the equation we must, as revolutionaries, deal with, but in the end, revolution depends on maximizing our resources, exploiting the weaknesses of our enemy and most important, unification of the people.

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[Organizing] [Religious Repression] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 30]
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Indigenous Group Takes Up Revolutionary Organizing on Death Row

I write this missive from the bowels of California's Death Row (DR), at San Quentin. Just wanted to give an update at what is going on and the progress we are making in regards to a wide area of issues which the condemned population has been experiencing.

Being an Indigenous person, we have been in a long struggle with the San Quentin administration and California Department of Corrections and "rehabilitation" (CDCr) in regards to DR captives being afforded access to Sweat Lodge ceremonies. Our rights are grossly violated by denying the access of Indigenous persons to the right to practice their religion/culture. In the administration's eyes, to have sweat ceremonies available to the DR population creates a serious "security risk." Each time the CDCr screams "security risk," the United Snakes courts fall into stride with the department's assumptions, allowing refusal of Sweat ceremonies, Pipe ceremonies, and access to smudging with sacred Native American medicines. "Safety & security" is an honored mantra here at San Quentin. Stripping us of our culture, religion, and traditions has been the norm for centuries for ALL oppressed nation peoples. It is obvious that no matter what we fight for, the CDCr views it as "Gang Activity/Disruptive." There are comrades that have been stuck in the infamous Adjustment Center (the Control Units) for over a life time simply because they decided to speak up and push back for what they feel they deserve and what they have a right to actually have.

In this situation, the administration dangles privileges in front of the captive, in order to make them do as they say, not as they do. Comrades are being forced to remain in cages away from other DR captives, being denied any sunlight or room to stretch their legs, because the administration feels that they are "too violent" to be placed on a programmed group yard where they can have fellowship with others, get some sunlight, and take a hot shower. This treatment is barbaric and uncalled for.

The institutional appeals office is no help. They are refusing to process any of these prisoners' 602s (grievances) by simply throwing their appeals away, or "losing" them until the time constraints to file on a certain issue have run out, preventing them from going any further with their grievances. Captives with a full program label are being subjected to disciplinary conditions, because the administration can do whatever they want. These comrades are pushing for the same fair treatment as any other DR captive who has privileges.

Due to the budget cuts, programs here have been cut in half. Education is almost non-existent, and yard days have been cut. Visits are being supervised by sergeants who violate Title 15 guidelines, and the captives as well as our families suffer. Medical is suppose to be monitored, but even that has failed to meet its mark. The treatment of DR captives is going from bad to worse.

After the Hunger Strikes here in California, the CDCr implemented a new rule, that anybody that participates in any type of strike will be placed in the SHU (Security Housing Units) for good. Those who participate will be "validated" as a member of a disruptive group, even if one is not gang related. The DR administration went crazy with that new rule. They ignore the fact that the last actual murder that took place here was almost 12 years ago. They have made comments to media that they have succeeded in finally having full control of the condemned population, and call this place "The Safest Prison in the State."

They use tactics of mental torture. They take and give back, then take and give again. It is a mental game and it has driven many good brothers to snap and completely lose their minds. I do not find that to be a weakness in them, nor is it their fault. It is the fault of the pigs here for the games they play. I fault the captives for allowing their minds to be stretched so far without assisting one another instead of sleeping with the enemy and snitching on each other. There are more snitches than crickets at midnight here, and sadly they are blind to the fact that when it is time for the needle to hit the vein, it will be done by the very pigs they blindly befriended while they were here.

So, with that said, a few other solid comrades and myself have decided to up the ante and are holding study groups. We struggle on a daily basis like the rest of our comrades around the U.$., and decided that the only way to begin to break this chain of ignorance is to teach and guide the ones who have the desire to overcome this oppression "by any means necessary." Along with the education we are receiving from MIM(Prisons)/ULK, we have formed a small movement that we hope will reach beyond the walls of this shit hole. We are the IPLF.

The IPLF (Indigenous Peoples Liberation Front) is composed of comrades from all walks of life, willing to stand firm on the front lines and fight as warriors against the (in)justice system. We are a selected few, pushing to break the chains of systematic oppression of any and all kinds. We are human beings, not animals, and not terrorists. We are a movement choosing to follow MIM theory, and assist our comrades in any way possible.

The IPLF will take part in the Day of Solidarity & Peace on September 9, 2013, and will take that day to focus on what needs to be done here on the row that will have a positive outcome. And if we end up in the hole, then fuck it! We ride or die for the cause! To all my comrades out there, to all our sisters out there - A-HO!

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[Culture]
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Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

girl with dragon tattoo
by Steig Larsson
Vintage Books 2005

I have been hearing the hoopla about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for a while now; it recently was made into a movie and so I thought I would try to find out a little about it. I learned that the author, Steig Larsson, was a leading expert on right-wing white extremist and Nazi organizations, and so I thought it would be interesting to see how much of his "expertise" spilled over into this "thriller." Larsson died in 2004 but not before completing a trilogy of which The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book.

The story starts off with the character Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who was convicted of libel after he wrote a story accusing a wealthy Swedish finance capitalist of corruption. Within the story one character is explaining the role of a certain investment group to Blomkvist called AIA which, after the Berlin Wall came down, was active in European capitalism and the character says: "Believe me, it was a capitalist's wet dream. Russia and Eastern Europe may be the world's biggest untapped markets after China. Industry had no problem joining hands with the government especially when the companies were required to put up only a token investment."(p26)

Nations that were formerly socialist switched back to a profit-based system and opened up their markets to foreign investment. In the later stages of imperialism, where markets are saturated and there is too much capital to move around, this is in fact a "capitalist's wet dream" and corporate power often merges with the state in a carpool lane down the road of exploitation. This wet dream is one the author seems to understand quite clearly.

The other main character in the book is a bisexual women named Lisbeth Salander who is a 20-something white punk rock type who is a hacker and gifted investigator.

Blomkvist is hired by one of the heads of a Swedish wealthy industrialist family, Vanger, who wants to know who murdered his niece, Harriet, who disappeared decades before. The catch is Blomkvist must live one year on the island from which Harriet disappeared and investigate. In return Blomkvist would not only receive millions of dollars for attempting to solve this mystery but the industrialist would also give Blomkvist information on the finance capitalist which had Blomkvist convicted of libel, thus getting his personal revenge and having the biggest story of the year.

Blomkvist soon learns Vanger's brothers were both active in Swedish politics, one being a Swedish Nazi Party member and the other being a nationalist party member, while Vanger claims to have "no interest in politics." Vanger went on to study economics ironically.

Sprinkled throughout the book is the underlying subjectivism I was looking for in Larsson's writing, any "expert in Nazi extremist" groups would be expected to expose h ideas in a novel one way or another and Larsson does not leave us hanging.

He describes an angry email that Blomkvist received, stating: "I hope you suck cock in the slammer you fucking commie pig" (p190) and which Blomkvist saves in the "intelligent criticism" folder. A character named Lobach is described in Nazi Germany: "And Lobach knew how to land a contract, he was entertaining and good natured. The perfect Nazi." (p197) It is obvious where the author's line lies, for an "expert" on Nazism to describe a Nazi character as good natured in this book attempts to repackage these fascist scumbags as palatable to the reader, it's classic propaganda in the form of a novel.

At one point the young punk rock woman is raped and forced to perform oral sex on her "guardian" who is court appointed to handle her finances. This trustee named Bjurman who rapes her is described as a member of Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and an advocate for political prisoners in the Third World. It's interesting that throughout the book those who advocated progressive social causes are rapists and villains while Nazi's are described as "entertaining and good natured." It was this interweaving of the author's line within a novel in classic propaganda spirit which I knew I would encounter in this book.

The main character Blomkvist serving two months in jail for the libel case but does not describe prison conditions nor relations in prison. His stint in prison was reduced to two pages and was described as mostly playing poker and lifting weights.

[spoiler alert] It turns out that the brother of the old man who initiated this investigation in the first place is a serial killer who has been killing wimmin for decades. And his father was a serial killer before him and taught him how to kill and dispose of bodies. Blomkvist discovers this and confronts the culprit, Martin, who places Blomkvist in a torture chamber in his basement. This reminded me of a Security Housing Unit cell: it had no window, it was cold and spartan and made of stone. It is Salander, The girl with the Dragon Tattoo, who saves Blomkvist from certain death in the torture chamber.

The book is drenched in sexual perversion with a womyn being brutally raped and sodomized by a man, a man brutally raped and sodomized by a womyn, a father raping his son and daughter, and this same father forcing his son to rape his sister. Such a book is common in capitalist society where everyone is sexualized and the consumer culture is fueled by porn and capitalist immorality.

In the end Blomkvist and Salander expose a finance capitalist who had his hand in everything from fraudulent loans to child porn. This billionaire, after being exposed, fled Sweden and was tracked down and murdered in Spain. After this story broke Blomkvist regained his journalist career. And to wrap things up nicely with a fictional bow, the old man Vanger found his niece Harriet living in Australia after running away decades before, fleeing rape.

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[Organizing] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 30]
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Unity Can Win Battles for Prisoners Rights, and More

Recently we faced two situations that showed short and immediate results, which to a certain extent were good. The first was the united resistance to guards in regards to trying to "handle" the prisoners and deny us our restriction showers. Restriction showers are separate showers for those on restriction from dayroom time, recreation, commissary, etc. We won those participants their showers once the captain was called to settle the dispute.

The second situation was today, 14 December 2012, when 8 cells holding 16 prisoners became flooded with sewer water that was being pushed back out of the drains and into our cells. This triggered a united front from most of those in these cells who represent a mixture of different organizations. This was fruitful because we got maintenance to come and unclog the problem in the drainage system after several on one roll started to flood our cells and push this water out of our cells, causing the dayroom to overflow.

That was one segment to this situation, the next part came when we were allowed to exit to chow minutes after the drains were unclogged. Upon our return from chow we refused to go back into our cells due to the unsanitary milieu that remained. The second shift officer refused to distribute chemicals to clean our cells. This triggered another united resistance until the lieutenant was dispatched to quiet the situation by compensating us with the required chemicals. Every prisoner who participated had a chance to shower afterwards, which was a minor success.

These two situations I speak about not to romanticize but to bring attention to a winnable battle that must be clearly and carefully examined by those who think about doing the same. Not all outcomes garner the same results, so be careful. Remember, they can kill the revolutionary but not the revolution.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good demonstration of the principle of Unity that the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) promotes as its second principle: "WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."

"Unity" in itself can be a weak and meaningless term, or even a bad thing depending on who it is that is uniting and why. However, MIM(Prisons) sees unity among prisoners as progressive, because of the oppression prisoners face as a subclass and as (overwhelmingly) representatives of oppressed nations. Without unity of the oppressed we cannot end oppression and create a better world. So we echo this comrade in celebrating these small acts as examples of growing UFPP and setting the stage for greater change.

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[Environmentalism] [Washington State Penitentiary] [Washington] [ULK Issue 30]
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Washington State Prison Contaminated with Dangerous Chemicals

The Washington State Department of Ecology recently required the Washington State Dept of Corrections to conduct an investigation at Washington State Penitentiary to determine the type and location of contaminants present, and evaluate cleanup options.

They found hazardous waste (lead, gasoline) in the soil and well water system here at the prison. This water is used for drinking, showering, cooking, etc.

On 9 December 2012, local news ran the story regarding toxic waste in the water here at the prison. Two days later, coincidentally, prison staff were handing out printouts regarding the "toxics cleanup program." Are they trying to lead us to believe that they had no prior knowledge of this potentially dangerous problem prior to a couple days ago?

Chemicals (TCE and PCE) were identified in ground water outside the exterior prison fences. Some of these chemicals were used in furniture refinishing and repair, license plate manufacturing, dry cleaning, motor pool maintenance, metal working and welding, photo processing, sign manufacturing, and medical and dental labs.

The report given to prisoners claims that the levels of PCE and TCE in certain groundwater monitoring wells no longer pose a health concern to humans or the environment. However, they do admit that "gasoline and lead in soil exceed state standards at certain locations."

This is something that needs to be looked at by an independent scientist/law firm, so we prisoners know that we have chances of living a healthy life, in and out of prison.

Note: Toxics cleanup program, Department of Ecology, State of Washington. December 2012. Publication number: 12-09-038.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As a prisoner discussed in the article "Environment and Prisons" in Under Lock & Key 7: "The main thing that I learned from this MT 12 was of the overwhelming toxic dump sites in and around oppressed nations areas. . .Yet we hardly hear a murmur from the media when toxic dumps spring up in areas where the oppressed nations swell. Third World countries have become the imperialist dump site. I watched a news program around a month ago about how petty bourgeois here in the U.S. were setting up these scam 'recycle' centers for computers and 'e-trash.' These 'recycle' centers would turn around and ship off this toxic junk to Third World nations and turn a profit, even though there's supposed laws prohibiting this toxic dumping (for Petty Bourgeois and small time entrepreneurs) it is still continued with a nod and a wink. The bourgeois, big business, transnational corporations etc. are a whole different story. They continue to dump toxins on the Third World nations with only encouragement from imperialist economists."

We should not be surprised when toxic waste is found in or around prisons as well. In fact, we have published reports of similar incidents in Connally Unit in Texas and Kern Valley State Prison in California. Those suffering under similar conditions must continue to expose these incidents, and campaign for basic safety for the imprisoned. We then need to take this one step further, as the contributor quoted above does, and put it in the context of imperialist environmental destruction and national oppression so that contaminants aren't just pushed into someone else's backyard.

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[Campaigns] [Political Repression] [Pasquotank Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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Reprisals for Grieving Lack of Heat in North Carolina

I am being held hostage at Pasquotank Correctional Institution near Virginia Beach in Elizabeth City. In November it got so cold here we could sit our water bottles in the windows and the water turned into slushy ice water. Twelve of my comrades and I wrote grievances on the lack of heating. We also submitted copies of those grievances to the division of prisons in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The director sent those copies back to the administration and suggested an infraction be placed against each of us. The administrators called us to the office and relayed this information to us and offered the threat as suggested or the option to destroy the complaint. Sad to say only three of my former comrades are standing.

We have submitted another grievance citing policy and procedures issued by the Division of Prisons which states "no reprisals shall be taken against any inmate or staff member for a good faith use of or participation in the grievance procedure." Then we recited the clause which states "If more than one inmate files a grievance concerning the application of general policies or practices, or acts arising out of the same incident, these grievances will be processed as a group. Each grievance shall be logged individually; however, the same response will be provided to each grievant."


MIM(Prisons) responds: There is an ongoing problem with grievances in North Carolina in response to which some comrades in North Carolina created a petition specific for that state. This is part of the broader USW campaign to demand the proper handling of grievances in prisons across the country. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state, or to customize one for your state if it does not yet exist.

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