I'm writing to contribute to the continuing exposure of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)'s corrupt capitalist-imperialist system locking up human beings in long-term solitary confinement for decades.
As we know, the anniversary of the 1st hunger strike just passed 1 July 2012. We must remember the three soldados who lost their lives in this battle for our basic human rights and to end all indefinite isolation units (SHUs and Ad-Segs).
And to all who participated and those who gave and continue to give us moral support over our torturous and inhumane conditions of being segregated and placed in solitary confinement, known as CDCR's SHUs and Ad-Segs "Crypts", indefinitely with no rights or due process.
It's also very important we don't forget about the women and girls locked up in women prisons, Central California Women's Facility Chowchilla, Valley State Prison for Women, California Institution for Women, White Oaks, CRC, etc. I can't imagine the hardships and torturous conditions these women/girls have to endure. I would bet my life on it that thousands of these women/girls are also locked away in isolation confinement crypts. So let's walk side by side with our equal counterparts women and girls who are being isolated to indefinite SHUs, where concerns around living conditions of mental/physical torturous behavior fall on deaf ears.
I know this first hand because I've been in solitary confinement indefinitely since 1993 and counting. All we're asking for is to be treated as humans. Our 5 core demands are very reasonable.
But as the world now knows, California CDCR continues to deny that we are human by placing us in their "crypts" based on lies and making it a priority that we don't get basic necessities: medical, mental health treatment, human contact with our family, and sunlight.
I ask everyone who is a part of this struggle to join the fight to eliminate unjust solitary confinement.
The prisoncrats will never admit they are terrorist dictators who are allowed to run California's prisons with no honest oversight or accountability for their terrorist ideology, behavior and actions. They falsely use so-called "prison security concerns" to label thousands of human beings as prison gang members or associates to justify decades of isolation practices.
Attorney Peter Schey, from the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, has filed a petition to the United Nations concerning our solitary confinement. There is also a separate federal civil rights action in motion. This will take time, as we know how the court system operates.
Don't give up hope, this is gonna be a long battle and journey. A lot of us are stuck in these "crypts" until real change comes. It's up to us to protect the new generation - so they don't have to go through torturous inhumane isolation.
Supporters on the outside can use these two-sided, quarter sheet fliers to let the people know about the Day of Solidarity being organized across U.S. prisons for September 9, 2012. Just click the image above to download the PDF, print them out, cut them up and hand them out. Don't leave it to the bourgeois media to report on and define this movement.
On July 7, 2012 a kite was passed to me, and it read as follows:
"I might be in some trouble. You don't know me and this is going to blow your mind. If I die in the next day Sr. Menendez in Unit 11 is responsible and probably the warden too. They are going to use inmates to do it. I threatened the warden with letters to the health department about blatant violations in the culinary and the way they do laundry and other things they are getting away with in here. If you hear of an inmate dying in the next couple of days don't let my death go in vain."
Without addressing the veracity of this communication, it is disturbing for a number of reasons (aside from the obvious). First and foremost is the specter of the state's use of inmates (and I use "inmates" here in the most specifically derogatory and anti-revolutionary sense of the term) to do their bidding. That a prisoner who sought to expose an evil visited upon us all would then have to fear reprisal from fellow targets of the evil, at the direction of the oppressor, is treachery of a singularly despicable character. (This is nothing new, but its nature has become more dominant, as is discussed below.) This is aside from the actual violation of our most fundamental constitutional and human rights, the subsequent retaliation for exposing this malfeasance of prison officials and the complete and utter disregard and contempt for human dignity.
This "tool" culture is becoming increasingly prevalent. Today, not only do we revolutionary and activist prisoners have to combat the oppressors themselves, but we must overcome their minions within the ranks of the oppressed as well — we must be ever vigilant against their agents among us. Not in the ordinary sense of infiltrators and narcs, but a whole culture of puppets, sympathizers and panderers intoxicated by imperialist fictions. What is truly frightening about this new breed of traitor is this fact: they want no recompense for their treachery. They believe in the rightness of the betrayal. They believe in the rightness of their loyalty to the oppressor, the enemy. These "people" are not seeking gain. They are an enemy cadre, steeped in enemy thought and ideology. They are (in the truest sense) patriotic Amerikkkans.
Doubtless, the state creates deprivations and uses these deprivations as bargaining chips to enlist the aid of petty snitches and unsavories of all types. That is never going to change in or out of prison. That is not the same animal. What is named here is a devoted enemy, an unrecognized and unofficial extension of the state in both thought and deed.
We must be aware of this counter-revolutionary element and be prepared to deal with them as they arise. There is increased urgency for A) the unification of all revolutionaries and activists regardless of race, religion, gender, custody, set or hood; B) critical analyses of the battle field without set mentalities; and C) application of the principles and theory which arise out of critical analyses. We must rethink our strategies and possibly our associations and act based upon what we have been taught by our conditions, not by what we feel or desire. The local conditions as applied to the global struggle should advise us — not predilection.
The only reason why we have remained oppressed is the enemy's effective and continuous infiltration and dis-empowerment. It is the enemy's ability to disunite and exploit this disunity, which provides them with a critical advantage. These are textbook guerrilla tactics which continue to work and reinforce the need for a steel-willed revolutionary vanguard. As such, we must immediately re-evaluate our objectives and tactical assessments, and evolve to meet the pale of the enemy. This requires that we take a long hard look at our environment and account for this emerging class of "enemy combatants."
A friend of the enemy is still an enemy.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We recently announced a day of solidarity for the United Front for Peace in Prisons, which in part is about promoting the five principles to discourage the kind of petty back-biting where prisoners will sell out for small favors from the pigs. But this comrade brings up a good point, that not all prisoners can be won over. The divisions created by the oppressors are not just individuals bought off to carry out individual reactionary acts in exchange for favors, but also individuals who buy in to the Amerikan political ideology and truly support imperialism as a system. Both groups are dangerous to the movement. We must protect ourselves from these people, both by trying to turn them to the side of the oppressed while exposing them and avoiding their traps and aggression.
Based on a suggestion from a USW comrade in California, we have reformatted all the petitions for the grievance petition campaign. The new format makes it easy for prisoners to persynalize each petition, and to provide clear examples of the experiences they've had with the broken grievance system in their state. These are details some prison administrators have asked for in their responses to the petitions they've received.
We also incorporated all addresses for who should receive copies of the petition right onto the petition itself. This way people don't have to worry about keeping track of two pieces of paper (one with the address, and one with their signature).
The petitions can be downloaded and printed by people on the outside by clicking on each state's name above. You should send the petition to your prisoner contacts (with extra copies if you can!) who are having their voices and complaints quashed by prison authorities. The ability to have grievances addressed has a direct impact on the day-to-day living conditions of prisoners, can help to hold prison authorities accountable for their actions, and even affects one's ability to take an issue to court if necessary.
We here at Wayne in Goldsboro, NC just received the invite to join the solidarity demonstration, and certain individuals will partake. Not all persons are willingly sacrificial, through lack of guidance and direction. For this reason I am asking for educational material to study and distribute through these dismal crypts.
We as politically conscious soldiers in this great struggle have a large task of making aware the fuckery that the great imperialists are doing through disenfranchisement and psychological warfare known as censorship.
Myself and the Revolutionary Order I am co-organizing would like to formally join the United Front/USW. We recognize the 5 principles as essential and they are also woven into and throughout our structure.
We are WOMMB (Warrior's Order Mobilized for Maximum Building) and we're focused on personal/social liberation and personal/social re-building, beginning with ourselves and fellow prisoners. Our methods and curriculum will center on rites of passage and initiatory values and structures. We aim to awaken the population, instill discipline, build character and destroy the bourgeois/slave identity. There are codes of conduct to voluntarily follow and a host of topics to be studied and mastered.
I will enclose our communique and 5 point plan/mission statement so that you will have a complete understanding of our position and goals.
We are seeking a relationship/partnership of solidarity, mutual assistance and collective planning and organizing. We would like to know more about MIM(Prisons) and how we can be of service.
As we convene our third congress, we approach our five year anniversary as an organization. While members of MIM(Prisons) — and even more so USW — have been in the prison movement for longer, we find this an opportune milestone to reflect back on where the prison movement is at and how it has developed.
In 2011 a series of hunger strikes in California made a great impact countrywide. Many activists, from crypto-trots to anarchists to reformists, rallied around this movement and continue to focus on prison work as a result. While our predecessors in MIM saw the importance of the prison movement decades ago, their foresight is proving more true today as we begin to reach a critical mass of activity. It is now a hot issue within the left wing of white nationalism, which is significant because whites are not affected by the system extensively enough to call it a true material interest.
This gradual development has been the result of two things: agitation around the facts of the U.$. injustice system on the outside, and prisoner organizing on the inside, both of which MIM and USW have been diligently working on for decades. In the last year and a half, prisoner organizing came to a head with the Georgia strike and the California hunger strikes, which were both coordinated on a statewide level. While getting some mainstream and international attention, these events rang particularly loud among the imprisoned, with a series of similar actions still developing across the country (recently in Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, the federal supermax ADX, Limon in Colorado and a follow-up hunger strike in Georgia).
Meanwhile, the agitational side of things came to a bit of a head with the release of the book The New Jim Crow last year. This book has continued to get lots of play from many different sectors of the political spectrum. And while in most cases those promoting the book are amenable to the lackluster conclusions, the organization of these facts into a book stand for themselves. It requires a very biased viewpoint to read this book and then turn around and deny the national oppression faced by the internal semi-colonies through the U.$. injustice system. Therefore we think the overall effect of this book will be both progressive and significant, despite its limitations.
It is for these reasons that we see this as a moment to seize. When we started five years ago we had the great fortune of building on the legacy and existing prisoner support programs of MIM. The ideological foundation that MIM gave us allowed us to focus our energies on more practical questions of launching a new prison publication, building support programs for comrades that are released, developing correspondence political study programs, and launching a new website that features the most comprehensive information on censorship, mail rules, and abuses in prisons across this country.
With our infrastructure built and steadily running, we need to look at ways to take advantage of the relative consciousness of prisoners right now and the relative attention the U.$. population has on the prison system. We have always said that without prisoners organized there is no prison movement, so we see that as the principal prong of attack. Thus, we are taking steps to improve the structure of United Struggle from Within (USW), the mass organization for prisoners that was founded by MIM and is now led by MIM(Prisons). Building on suggestions from some leaders in USW, we have enacted a plan to form councils in states where there are multiple active USW cells. Below we further explain an organizational structure for our movement, so comrades know where they fit in and how they should be relating to others.
As we saw during the California strikes, censorship increases, as do other repressive measures, when organization expands. So as we step up our efforts, we can expect the state to step up theirs. We will need more support than ever from volunteers on the outside to do legal and agitational work to keep the state faithful to their own laws and regulations.
As big as those challenges are, the internal challenges will be even greater hurdles for us to jump in the coming years. The recent large mobilizations have begun to reveal what these challenges will be. And there is much work to be done to identify, analyze and work to resolve the contradictions within the prisoner population that allows for the current conditions where the state dictates how these vast populations of oppressed people interact with each other and live out their lives.
The prison movement that arose before the great prison boom that began in the 1980s was a product of the national liberation struggles occurring at the time. Today, the prison population is ten times as big, while the political leadership on the outside is scarce. The prison masses must guard against the great number of misleaders out there opportunistically grabbing on to the issue of the day to promote political goals that do not serve the oppressed people of the world. Prisoners may need to step up to play the leading role this time around, which will require looking inward. We must not only learn from the past, but also build independent education programs to develop the skills of comrades today to conduct their own analysis of the conditions that they face. On top of that we must promote and develop an internationalist worldview, to find answers and alliances in the oppressed nations around the world, and remove the blinders that keep us only focused on Amerika. There is no liberation to be found in Amerikanism. That Amerikans have created a prison system that dwarfs all others in humyn history is just one example of why.
So it is with cautious optimism that we approved the resolution below at our recent congress. We think this plan addresses proposals submitted by some USW leaders, and hope you all will work with us to make this an effective structure.
Congress Resolution on USW Structure
MIM(Prisons) is initiating the creation of statewide councils within United Struggle from Within (USW), the anti-imperialist mass organization for prisoners. A council will be sanctioned when two or more cells exist within a state that are recognized as active and abiding by the standards of USW. MIM(Prisons) will facilitate these councils, where the focus is on practical organizing around the needs of the imprisoned lumpen in that state. As the U.$. prison system is primarily organized by state, the councils will serve to develop and address the specific needs and conditions within each state.
In the case where cells have identities other than "USW" we do not require them to use that name. For example, the Black Order Revolutionary Organization, which self-identifies as a "New Afrikan revolutionary movement," may be invited to participate in a USW statewide council. While USW itself does not favor the struggles of any oppressed nation over another, as a movement we recognize the usefulness and importance of nation-specific organizing. In the prison environment there may be lines that cannot be crossed in current conditions which limit the membership of a group. As long as these cells exhibit true internationalism and anti-imperialism they may possess dual membership in USW by joining a statewide council.
With this proposal we are expanding the structure of our movement. We recognize two main pillars to the ideological leadership of our movement at this time. One being the MIM(Prisons) cell, and the other being the Under Lock & Key writers group, which is made up of USW members and led by and facilitated by MIM(Prisons). The statewide councils should look to these two groups for ideological guidance in their organizing work, mainly through the pages of Under Lock & Key. In contrast, the councils' main function will be in practical work directly serving the interests of the imprisoned lumpen. They will serve to coordinate the organizing work of scattered USW cells in a more unified way across the state.
MIM(Prisons) will be initiating the California Council immediately, with others to follow as conditions allow.
I don't want to sound rude or suspicious about MIM but I have to be straight up with you about how I feel pertaining to your activism. I am concerned you have been already infiltrated or you're a CIA front organization claiming revolutionary organizing. I hope I'm just assuming things, because I have been corresponding and studying with you for several years. A lot of strange suspicious things happened to me like the prison guards and other staff trying to cross me out or set me up, or maybe the COINTELPRO is trying to discourage me. How come every time somebody gets involved with MIM it seems like that person gets either killed or in big trouble? Seems to me someone infiltrated your movement.
MIM(Prisons) responds: It's important that everyone approach security and organizing as carefully as this comrade does. We know that revolutionary movements are infiltrated all the time, from Lenin's COMINTERN to the Black Panther Party to MIM and beyond. The best we can do is force our comrades to demonstrate their correct line in practice, and never take people's word for their revolutionary commitment. If someone claims to be a comrade but puts forth a dangerous line (i.e. pushing people into armed struggle that will get them killed and set back the movement), or talks a lot but never does any work, we should view them with suspicion.
Similarly, it's good to question why repression comes down on you after association with an individual or organization. In prison, unfortunately this could just mean you are working with a genuinely progressive outside group, as the authorities can read all your mail and will punish you for working with such groups. We have countless examples of progressive organizations being labeled "security threat groups."
One of the reasons we encourage organizing in a cell structure is to limit comrades' exposure to others. You can do good work with people at arm's length, forming cells with those you know and trust. But in most cases, we recommend comrades in prison stay in touch with MIM(Prisons) (and others), despite the risks, because of the need to access both theoretical and practical information to help you organize.
The danger of infiltration wherever we are is why we disagree with many who say we should only work with prisoners in general population and we should isolate SNY prisoners. In our article on "Security in the Prison Movement" we argued, "We see this as a line struggle. Anyone can pretend to be USW inside, just like anyone can pretend to represent MIM(Prisons) or Maoism. If they uphold the line set forth by the vanguard organization and/or movement, then they're out there working to advance the struggle."
Everyone should approach working with groups claiming revolutionary politics with caution. It is possible the CIA is producing Under Lock & Key or other publications like it, just to identify the "trouble maker" prisoners. But if you read the pages of ULK you should be able to determine if the line and actions of our members and supporters are correct. In the end, if the CIA really was behind this good publication and its good work, we might be getting more out of that infiltration than they are.
I write in solidarity with those involved with the censorship campaign. Power to those who down to struggle, and up to win. Today while on the kennel cage rec yard I was approached by a California State Prison Corcoran (CSPC) employee representing a flawed mail room, carrying an envelope addressed to the young cadre sent from MIM Distributors containing MIM Theory 7 in one hand and a CDCR 602 appeal in the other.
After months of going back and forth between the Appeal Coordinator and the mail room, utilizing a combination of the institutional informal correspondence system and the appeals procedures, CSPC finally figured out that I was building a paper trail capable of exposing their mail censorship practices against those they deem paper-terrorists.
The staff gave me the MT 7 journal, after previously saying that the journal was a violation against California Correctional Regulations for supposedly inciting riots and so on. They instructed me to either withdraw the complaint or settle it if I wanted the MT 7. Of course I settled it to preserve the right of the appeal for the breach of settlement agreement. Because of their COINTEL B.$. they've delayed my study group participation, and I've got a lot to do to catch up. But with hard work comes hard results.
Comrades should note that this incident of CSPC issuing me MIM Theory 7: Revolutionary Nationalism is proof that not only are they profiling MIM Distributors with bogus censorships claiming safety and security, but also their claims hold no weight in the people's court.