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Under Lock & Key

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[Campaigns] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 25]
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Grieve, Grieve, Grieve; a Growing Movement for Democracy

Strategy

In this issue of Under Lock & Key we are featuring reports from comrades in a number of states who are leading efforts for a campaign to have prisoners' grievances heard and responded to by state officials and employees. This campaign has continued to grow in popularity, with minimal effort by MIM(Prisons), yet many have not yet heard of it and there is much room to expand. For all who remain inspired by the recent efforts of California and Georgia prisoners, but feel your conditions are not so advanced, we suggest you work on the USW-led grievance campaigns to start getting people organized in your area.

The basic actions necessary to advance the grievance campaign are:

  1. File grievances on the problems you face where you're at. Get people around you to file grievances. Appeal your grievances to the highest level.
  2. If your grievances go unanswered, organize people around you to sign and mail out grievance petitions created by USW, distributed by MIM(Prisons). Send follow-up letters periodically to check on the status of your petition. Send responses to the grievance petition to MIM(Prisons).
  3. If your state is not yet covered by the grievance petition, but your grievances are going unanswered, translate the petition to work for your state. This requires looking up citations and policies, and figuring out who would be best to send the petition to.

    While getting grievances responded to is essentially an exercise in reformism, we see promise in these efforts because they struggle to give voice to some of the most oppressed. This is a democratic struggle in a part of the United $tates where the least amount of democracy exists. Amerikans will tell you that's the point, "you do the crime, you do the time." But we disagree. We don't think the U.$. prison system has anything do with justice or applying objective societal rules to its citizens. The simple fact that about half of all U.$. prisoners are New Afrikan, while only 12% of the U.$. population is, disproves that theory in one fell swoop. In general, the oppressed nations have seen an increase in democracy in the United $tates, yet for a growing segment of these nations, their rights are lawfully being denied. For those who have committed real crimes against the people and should spend time in prison by proletarian standards, we think a program of reforming criminals requires accountability on both sides.

    Some have pushed for campaigns to give prisoners voting rights as a method to increase prisoners' democratic rights. But we see imperialist elections having little-to-no bearing on the conditions of the oppressed nations. In contrast, we see the grievance campaign as a democratic campaign that we can support because it can actually succeed in giving prisoners more say in their day-to-day conditions.

    The grievance campaign to which we are referring was originally sparked by some comrades in California in January 2010. Since then it has spread to Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. The petitions are updated regularly based on feedback we get from those using it. The three states which have been particularly active lately are Texas, North Carolina, and Colorado.

    The Colorado campaign kicked off just before recent reforms were enacted in the Colorado system as a result of passive resistance by the prison laborers being used in large-scale industry there. Similarly, Missouri's petition is specific to their conditions of censorship around a relatively new policy banning music with parental advisory ratings.

    In this issue, there are two reports out of Texas, showing the varying levels of organization within a state. One comrade in Connally Unit reports of a mass demonstration.(page X) While another comrade has diligently filed the maximum grievances he can for almost two years, he has proved this road to be fruitless by himself.(page Y) But what is the lesson here? Are our efforts worthwhile? We say there are no rights, only power struggles. We already know that the injustice system is going to abuse people; it is made to control certain populations. In order to win in a power struggle, the other side must feel some sort of pressure. Sometimes one grievance to a higher level is enough to apply pressure. But when the higher level is involved in the repression, it's going to take a lot more than one persyn's grievance. Look at the example of the Scotland lockdown.(page Z) One comrade reported that grievances were being ignored, as has been common in Scotland before the lockdown. But we hear from ULK correspondent Wolf that a combination of complaints from prisoners and outside supporters resulted in an improvement in conditions, however small. This is parallel to the petition to End the High Desert State Prison Z-Unit Zoo, which met some success last year.

    The lesson isn't that getting a little extra time out of cells, or skull caps, is a great victory. The lesson is in how prisoners and their outside supporters pulled together and exerted their influence on the DOC as a group. At the same time, a North Carolina comrade reports how standing up by oneself can be risky.(page A)

    We think the grievance campaign is a good stepping stone for comrades who say unity and consciousness is lacking in their area. As we know from reports in ULK, the conditions in most prisons across this country are very similar. So the basis for mass organizing should exist even if it requires some hard work to get started. Circulating a grievance petition doesn't require a lot of people to start, and just about everyone can relate to it.

    One USW leader involved in the original campaign in California came out to question the effectiveness of the tactic of signing petitions and sending them to state officials and legal observers. S/he proposed moving into lawsuits to get them to pay attention, particularly after one CDCR staff member implied they wouldn't address any complaints without a lawsuit. As John Q. Convict points out, there are also connections still to be made between the grievance campaign and media access in states like California to create more accountability for the captors. The best tactics will depend on your situation, but the petition is a good place to get started and to test out the waters.

    This work is not just a way to bring allies together locally, but is connecting struggles across the country. One Massachusetts comrade was inspired by the efforts of a Florida comrade who was having trouble mobilizing others and wrote in to tell h: "To my Florida comrade, I want to tell you to stay strong." S/he went on to quote Mao, "In times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and must pluck up our courage."

    Of course, oppression will always exist under imperialism, because it is a system defined by the oppression of some nations by others. And we cannot hope to use reforms to fix a system that tortures people and then ignores administrative remedies to cover their own asses.(page B) But we must begin somewhere. And the grievance campaign encompasses many of the little battles that we have all fought just to be able to read what we want, talk to who we want, and have a voice in this society.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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False Charges and Grievances Ignored in Texas

I'm writing to you in hopes of receiving relief or at least a thorough investigation into the matter of a grievance I filed. It's an appeal to a disciplinary case I received on November 2, 2011, for allegedly "Threatening an Officer," which was completely false and untruthful.

At approximately 3:00AM on November 2, Officer Nwanko let inmates out for breakfast. Because he didn't give prior notice, as standard procedures, a lot of inmates were caught unaware. Officer Nwanko was closing prisoners in their cells for not being ready. A college class I was taking started at 5:00AM I explained this to the officer but was ignored. It was during this time that other prisoners who were stuck in their cells were hollering to get out for chow and AM lay-ins, and were cursing the officer. Officer Nwanko proceeded to let out 3rd row, then left. On his way out the door, another prisoner made a comment for which I was written up.

After he finished letting all the inmates on the pod out, he went to the front desk and called for rank. Officer Nwanko explained that someone made the threat, but had no knowledge who the offender was that made the threat. He stated "When I was leaving, 35-cell (my assigned cell), was trying to get back in to get a school pass, ask him." Because of this statement, I was called to the front desk where I was then confronted by Lt. Davis and Cat. Graham, who both ask me about the threat made to the officer. Lt. Davis wanted to know who made the threat against the officer. When I had no knowledge, Lt. Davis made it quite clear that unless I told them what they wanted to know, that I would be locked up, and charged with threatening an officer. The officer was instructed to write the case, knowing this to be false and untruthful.

During my disciplinary hearing, the charging officer didn't have his story straight. The security tape will refute his testimony which the hearing officer relied on in finding me guilty of the charged offense. He stated that as he came down from third row, I intercepted him and proceeded to follow him. I requested that the security tape be made available for review, for that day and time that this alleged threat was made against this officer by me. The footage will refute the charge and discredit the charging officer's false testimony. The hearing officer refused my request for this security tape to be presented in my defense.

I never threatened this officer, nor approached this officer at any time, as the tape will substantiate. Despite the credible defense evidence of the existing tape, I was found guilty by the officer. The appeal process was equally unsuccessful. This greatly affected my chances for parole consideration, as the board relies heavily on what the "papers" say not on truth/or ones claim of innocence. Any input by you will be appreciated.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade sent a copy of his grievance petition looking for our assistance. Unfortunately MIM(Prisons) doesn't have the resources to help with each individual battle against injustice like this one as there are so many going on in the Amerikan prison system. But we encourage everyone to participate in the campaign demanding our grievances be addressed as a systematic way to deal with this problem. Of course addressing grievances still won't put an end to the injustice in the criminal injustice system. But it will help prisoners like this one shorten their time behind bars and create more organizing space for anti-imperialists building the movement behind bars.

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[Security]
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SNY Debate: Everyone Must Prove Themselves Through Actions

Seeing as I am SNY [Special Needs Yard], I'm compelled to put forth a few words on this matter. I've met many folks who neither "debriefed" nor snitched on anyone. After so much time on these lines, just how much b.s. can one person take? Unnecessary politics and needless racial tensions get old. That opinion is being held on the line. When young people get to prison and hear this type of talk, of course they will go SNY when confronted with an issue that will jeopardize their freedom or personal health and well being. Why fight a battle that the leaders are clearly undecided about?

To blame this or that generation is neither manly nor responsible, it's downright cowardly. Everyone is to blame and once an individual recognizes that there are responsibilities and duties to be upheld, that whether SNY or not, let him be a man and uphold those responsibilities and duties. Stay in your own land and quit trying to tell the next man what you think he should be doing. There are recriminations coming from this side (SNY) that there is more telling on the line than anyone will ever let on. The point is: get the beam out your own eye before you can get the speck out mine.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There has been a lot written about the SNY in the pages of Under Lock & Key as prisoners line up firmly on one side or the other of the debate over whether SNY prisoners can be revolutionary comrades. Our position falls in line with what this prisoner writes: we want people to demonstrate their commitments to the struggle through action. There are many reasons why people go to SNY, and not all of them snitch or debrief. Similarly, there are many mainline prisoners who snitch or work with the guards in other ways. So we must judge each person, SNY or not, by their actions.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 25]
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Internal Unity Should Precede United Front

As an active outstanding member of the Growth & Development struggle down in Texas, I feel it's my duty to speak up on the article "Criticism and Good Communication Helps Us Grow and Develop" by Ras Uhuru in ULK 24.

In the vision of our great leader, growth starts on an individual level; to reach the great discovery you got to have self-growth. Once you reach that then as a nation, as a movement, we can develop. That's where the three Ds come in - Dedication, Determination & Discipline. The three Ds in self are three keys to reaching development. Our great leader tells us to let these concepts reside in our hearts & be guiding light for us. Everyone wants to change the world but our honorable chairman tells us revolution starts with self: educate yourself, be dedicated, determined & disciplined, grow as individuals then we can develop as a nation. That's the "Blueprint" and the 21st Century concepts for GD are all based on this.

I wouldn't say we are a revolutionary organization but fo'sho' we are political and struggle and strive for success in everything we do. To the Revolutionary Gangstas, I preach that to you brothers, regardless of all else, always strive & struggle for success. Educate yourself on the new concepts of GD. As for Ras Uhuru, the Growth & Development movement is obviously something you don't have a full understanding of either because the four stages of GD start at Gangster Disciple and end in a Great Discovery. Maybe these brothers in South Carolina have not reached past the first stage of GD. But to be aware is to be alive and so I strongly advocate that all of these brothers from Mr. Uhuru on down to the Revolutionary Gangstas educate themselves about a movement before speaking up on it.

The Growth & Development is FOC - For Our Children, For Our Community, For Our Cause. The new struggle is for education, politics, economics, unity, organization & social development. Get on point brothers and keep ya shields up and your swords sharp, and always seek and share in the vision of our great leader - Free King Larry Hoover!


MIM(Prisons) responds: First, we hope everyone can agree that Under Lock & Key is not the place to have internal debates within other organizations. If there are disagreements within a group about what the group should stand for, those debates should happen within those organizations' own independent means of communication. At the same time, we print statements from other organizations to establish where MIM(Prisons) has unity with them, and to struggle where we disagree. This is a key principle to ideological development for all of us.

We printed the article by Ras Uhuru in particular because we thought it brought up an important concern, which is that we should promote unity whenever it exists. Ras Uhuru's criticism of the Revolutionary Gangstas statement was that it could be read as an implied criticism of Growth & Development, but without any substance. We agreed with Ras Uhuru on this and printed h article in response. Ras Uhuru also felt that the Revolutionary Gangstas should be working for better understanding and unity within their organization as opposed to forming a new organization. This may or may not have been good advice, as this would depend on the conditions these comrades faced on the ground.

As for the position of the responder above, we agree that one must educate oneself first, and that struggling within allows for greater unity with others. This is also true for organizations, which must develop greater internal understanding and unity before they can ever unite with others (see Ras Uhuru's article on United Front). While pushing many positive principles that align with the United Front, the author above states clearly that s/he does not see hself as part of a revolutionary organization. This is a good example of what a United Front looks like. There are clear differences between MIM(Prisons) and GD (even if this author's vision is disputed by others). And yet we can agree on the certain key principles that we both think will further the goals of our respective organizations.

It just so happens that "Growth," the third principle of the United Front addresses this point. The United Front principle of "Growth" states in part, "We support members within our organization who leave and embrace other political organizations and concepts that are within the anti-imperialist struggle." So we are not idealistic in promoting unity; we know that sometimes groups will not want to unite with us even if some of their membership does. We know individuals will leave organizations, and sometimes whole organizations will split. But this should be done in a principled way, with clear political explanations and an attempt to maintain good relations as long as we are all still moving in the same general direction as a United Front.

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[Civil Liberties] [ULK Issue 26]
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2012 NDAA: Fascism Obama-style

Attention oppressed nation citizens and anti-imperialists: the first "Black" president of the United $nakes, Barack Obama, has signed into law one of the most fascistic pieces of legislation ever in the history of this country: the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The NDAA has many statutes within it, but here's the gist of the act: It allows the Pentagon/military of the U.$. to determine who is or could be a "terrorist" or an "enemy combatant." It allows those so deemed to be detained in prison indefinitely without a trial and to be kept under its complete jurisdiction. It makes no difference whether the said persyn/group(s) are U.$. citizens or "firing" enemies, and the entire U.$. is now considered a field of combat.

With the enactment of the NDAA, military law and courts supersede the civilian judicial system over those persyns being held for violations under NDAA. So by defining the entire country as a field of combat, all the Pentagon has to do to exercise its organized force is to get the standing President to give his okay.

The reality is that the so-called "Supreme Law" of the land, the U.$. constitution, is null and void in these cases and all of its so-called "protections," i.e. to no cruel and unusual punishment (torture, etc), due process, and so on, are denied. The implications of the NDAA are far-reaching for anti-imperialists involved in struggles for national liberation and independence of oppressed nations inside of U.$. borders and beyond.

There are a few key facts revolutionary nationalists and communists must keep in mind: 1) a united front against imperialism, led by the international proletariat, will be necessary to defeat the imperialists; 2) bourgeois electoral politics are a political sham; 3) there is no such thing in Amerika as "freedom of speech," so watch what you say; 4) independent institutions of the oppressed are a must if we are to meet our needs; and 5) nothing short of a socialist revolution will solve the problems facing poor and oppressed nations.

Reminder: there are no rights, only power struggles!


MIM(Prisons) adds: There is a reason why we don't call the U.$. a fascist country, even though fascism is enforced by U.$. imperialism in parts of the Third World and even against some sectors of the internal semi-colonies where the NDAA is nothing new or surprising. A key fact we might add to the list above of things to keep in mind is that the majority of Amerikans support the system that has awarded them so much privilege compared to most people in the world. This popular support and stability at home is why fascism has not yet been instituted inside U.$. borders. What laws like the NDAA indicate is that the imperialists are prepared to lead the way in a fascist direction.

Many throw the word "fascist" around thanks to Amerikan ahistorical thinking that uses "fascist" as an insult for anything it disagrees with. We uphold Dimitrov's line that fascism is "the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital." It is not simply brutal repression, which is carried out by political powers of many sorts. For more on the scientific definition of fascism get MIM(Prisons)'s Fascism Study Pack available for $2.

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[Religious Repression] [Lovelock Correctional Center] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 26]
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Religious Repression and Retaliation Against Grievances at Lovelock

Pursuits of justice for religious rights are maliciously being hampered and restricted within the Lovelock Correction Center (LCC) in Lovelock, Nevada. Prisoners fighting religious repression are becoming victims of retaliatory transfers to the maximum security High Desert State Prison; a facility reputed for physical abuse, assaults, and beatings by its staff. High Desert State Prison has been and continues to be a deterrent to and punishment for filing grievances and lawsuits against the misconduct and constitutional violations being perpetrated and committed by LCC staff.

In 2009 six prisoners housed at the LCC were transferred to High Desert State Prison after filing grievances against Lovelock staff for destroying the worship place of their earth-based religious practices.

In 2011 a single individual was also transferred to HDSP for his pursuits against the Nevada Department of Corrections in relation to his Jewish practices and the LCC law library conditions.

Most recently, on March 6 2012 SAMAEL lost a member after he was transferred to HDSP. This prisoner had recently filed suit against several Lovelock CC staff in response to religious discrimination and abuse. Threats of retaliation and actual events of retaliation are an ongoing and increasingly recurring tool of intimidation and abuse used by the Lovelock staff as well as at other Nevada institutions. Toleration of such actions must be eliminated and opposition must arise from the ranks of all voices willing to scream justice! Justice! Justice!

SAMAEL speaks out and calls for aid against retaliation. One's voice may be heard, but many will cause revolution! Let your voice join in.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is another good example of the failure of the grievance systems in Amerikan prisons, which pretend to offer prisoners a way to fight for their legal rights and hold prison administrators to their own rules. In reality the grievance process often only serves to identify the "troublemakers" who expect prisons to follow their own policies and are willing to speak out when this is not done. Then grievances can be ignored and prisoners filing them punished for their efforts.

Even though this is how filing grievances plays out in many circumstances, we also know from our own experience that “playing by the rules" occasionally leads to significant improvements, although often temporary, in our ability to organize for our ultimate goals.

While our movement is too weak to take on the oppressors in armed struggle to overthrow the underlying causes of the corrupt grievance systems, we must continue to use legal means of redress to make and keep space for our movement to grow. This is why we have supported a grievance campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. We have petitions for the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Write to us for a copy, or if you are in a state without a petition volunteer to modify a generic petition to meet the legal requirements of your state. To get involved, see USW campaign info here.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [Colorado]
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Restricted Privileges in Colorado is Another Name for Control Unit

I am writing from a prison in Colorado. Here they have special units called RP or Restricted Privileges. These units are 22 and 2 lockdown. They will put you in here for anything they feel is right. Like being fired and having reasonable excuses for missing work. Also for not admitting guilt to your crime when your case is still in appeal. They want you to admit to your crime so you can take their classes and be in compliance. I'm in a camp that houses persons with a sex offense. 85% of this camp has some sort of a sex crime. They will violate you and put you in RP if you do not participate in a group, but they are understaffed and so it takes years if not a decade to get into these groups.

In this RP we are limited to almost everything. We are called last for chow, which usually interferes with our two hours out a day. Also they let us only look through a preselected book cart with books that are not rotated out. They keep us from the library here. This keeps us from learning and making copies. Our yard time is limited as well. We get one hour out, once a week. Even people in the hole get one hour out every four days. Our visits are restricted to a two hour visit on a Thursday afternoon. My family lives out of state so a visit is impossible. Also they turn off our phone time so we are unable to call home or friends. And lastly they restrict our mail.

Their grievance process is impossible here. You properly file step one, two, three and still they tell you "you failed to follow the proper grievance steps." If somehow you do make it through their grievance process, and you fill out all the forms properly, still there is nothing done.

I'm trying to create here a strong offense and a powerful defense. Educating others and myself about ways we can stop this injustice. This is supposed to be "the land of the free." Well we all know it's not. I, however, shall stand strong and fight till the better end. I shall stand till we overcome! I shall fight for peace and inform all.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This story of lockdown and lack of effective grievance procedures is echoed across the country throughout the criminal injustice system. It has become acceptable in this country to lock people up in long-term solitary confinement for years, and then to deny them any legal recourse to even enforce the prison's own rules and policies. United Struggle from Within has initiated the grievance campaign to demand our grievances are addressed. But this is just one small part of the larger fight to do away with this system of injustice. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state or to help modify a petition to the laws of your state if we don't yet have one.

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[Organizing] [Heman Stark YCF] [California] [ULK Issue 25]
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Learning from History of Struggles at YTS Chino

I've been reading through the past few newsletters that you sent. First I want to thank you for sharing with me. I find it interesting and enjoy hearing about the rebellions against the system. It's fucked up to hear what fellow prisoners have to deal with, but from experience I know a time comes when we must say enough is enough. So I would like to share an experience with you that I had while doing time in California Youth Authority.

In August of 1996 a counselor was killed in YTS (Youth Training School) in Chino, California. She just disappeared one day. Three days later her body was found in the Chino dumping grounds. This has repercussions throughout the whole youth authority, statewide. But it really hit hard right here in YTS. They locked the whole institution down and things didn't completely go back to normal operations for about a year. We were slammed down 24 hours a day. The only thing we came out of our cells for was a racially segregated shower for 3 minutes a day. That's it! The only thing sold on canteen was Ajax to clean our cells. They took away weights, cigarettes, magazine subscriptions, visits, phone calls, school and trade classes, packages, canteen, everything. If you had a TV, radio or shoes you were allowed to keep them, but they were no longer being sold on canteen. Cells got ransacked and a lot of electronics went straight into the trash.

Now, understand that YTS is ages 18-25. No minors are there. This place is known as gladiator school. It's the end of the road before going into CDC (California Department of Corrections). The majority of the vatos go there from the younger YAs for punishment. And the majority of these youngsters are maxed out till they're 25. So that's a 7 year stretch on top of what they've already done. There's nothing that could stop them from going home besides new charges, and a trip upstate. So most already don't give a fuck, and then the system itself took away everything that kept us calm. And they had no intentions of giving anything back. So fuck it, we kicked it off. And kept kicking it off. It was mostly racial riots, fighting amongst each other, but there were times the pigs would get smashed out, jaws broken, etc.

That's just the way it was, although I now see all our energy should've been focused against the system itself. But what we did worked to our advantage. Through years of struggles and fighting the puercos could not control us. Outside administration thought the superintendent didn't have what it takes, so they replaced him. The second superintendent wasn't trying to hear any of our demands or compromise either. So we kept doing what we did and eventually he got replaced too. The third superintendent since the killing was a little more understanding and wanted to keep his job. So in an attempt to calm us down he reformed the institution to our benefit.

They started selling TVs, radios and shoes again. We got magazine subscriptions, day long visits, necklaces, and even packages (which were only twice a year to start with, but it was a start). There were a few things we didn't get back (weights, cigarettes, playboy, tape players, etc.), and all the juvenile lifers got shot to the big joints.

Furthermore, the amount of time we were slammed down improved. YTS had a policy of locking down the whole institution for two or three months at a time for basically anything more major than a 1 on 1 fight (which is almost every incident). So while cats are sitting in their cells pissed off, they figure if they're gonna be slammed down for something they didn't do they might as well get involved and make it worth it. So, just about every incident that happened turned into a riot. The superintendent then changed the policy and only slammed down the unit involved. It still wasn't good enough, because usually not everyone on the unit is involved. Then he changed it so only the races involved are slammed down. Still not good enough. Well, after years of going through this we finally got it to where they only slammed down the people involved and only for three days of racially segregated showers. We then all came out together for day room program for 30 days. After that we were allowed to go back to school, trade, and yard. Not too bad. But it wasn't an easy path. When I got released in 2001 it was still off the hook. There was shit happening just about everyday - one unit after the next - and we were still getting shit back from the system.

So there we were, an institution that went from having it all, to having nothing overnight. It wasn't the whole prisoner population that killed that counselor, only one person was accused of it. But they retaliated on us as a whole group. So we reacted in a way that seemed justified to us. And it worked. Never once did we try any peaceful protest (food strikes, canteen strikes, phone strikes, etc.) There was no such thing in our eyes. I'm not against a peaceful resolution when dealing with the system, but as Mao said, it's up to us to analyze our own conditions of oppression and react accordingly. The institution pushed us in a corner with no reasonable way out.

I know there's many oppressed prisoners nationwide who feel hopeless, who feel there's no way things can get better. They feel lost and in the dark. Therefore, there comes a time when we must say enough is enough and make the necessary sacrifices to better our own conditions on the necessary level, peaceful or otherwise. It's better to try and fail than to have never tried at all. May honor, hope and victory be with those in the struggle.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is true that there are times when fighting repression with peaceful protests will lead to nothing more than ongoing repression. This is why revolutionaries know that the only way to achieve ultimate victory over the imperialists is through armed struggle; they will not give up their power without a fight. Even within the criminal injustice system this is true. However, engaging in armed struggle prematurely will only lead to greater oppression and deaths for the oppressed. This is what revolutionaries call focoism: revolutionary violence without the proper support and mass base and often without the correct ideological leadership.

This story about Chino appears to counter our position that we need to build the vanguard leadership and mass base of support before engaging in armed struggle. The prisoners there successfully won back many privileges that had been taken away by rioting and fighting each other. But we have to look at what they really won. As this writer notes, the privileges taken away were things that used to keep the population calm: TV, radio, canteen, etc. These are pacifying elements, not threats to the criminal injustice system.

Certainly lockdown 24 hours a day is inhumane, and we want our comrades to have access to reading material and visits and phone calls. All these things are essential to raising political consciousness and re-integrating back into society. But did the riots that forced the prisons to throw prisoners a few bones actually gain anything for the fight against the criminal injustice system? Prisoners learned that fighting each other is rewarded. They didn't learn how to fight the pigs. They didn't gain any education about the actual cause of their oppression or how to get free. And as we look at the contradictions between prisoners we also must ask what role privileges play in pacifying sectors of the imprisoned lumpen and turning them against those that rebel. This is a question United Struggle from Within is contemplating as we discuss which is the principal contradiction facing the prison movement.

The victory of a few calming privileges at YTS is an example of how little can be accomplished with focoist violence, and how an ultra-left focus on "action" is often just the other side of rightist reformism. Next time the prison takes away privileges there will be no better organization, no greater understanding and no progress towards real change. As a counter example, in Pelican Bay and elsewhere, the recent hunger strike led prisoners to study politics and organizing, and to think more systemically about how to fight the criminal injustice system and what we really want to win. This may not have resulted in many (if any) privileges won for prisoners, but the growing education and unity is a much bigger victory.

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[United Front] [Cimarron Correctional Facility] [Oklahoma]
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MPMM signs on to United Front for Peace

This is AR-15 of USW. My new LO's name is Magnanimous Peace Manifesto Movement. As a lumpen organization, we are devoted in uniting together for world socialism and peace in prisons and the world beyond these walls and gates. We agree to uphold the statement of principles set forth by MIM(Prisons) and our fellow comrades in this United Front for Peace in Prisons.

As the founder of this organization, I began by addressing the needs that needed to be addressed in the control unit known as the "Intensive Supervision Unit" (ISU) here at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma. I spoke to the contract monitor from the Oklahoma DOC and our unit team about what needs to be done in order for prisoners to succeed in our struggle for betterment.

One of the main issues was education amongst rehabilitative programs. A treaty was developed and the oppressor is going to provide the following:
1. Education for those prisoners who have educational needs
2. ESL for our Latino Nations; and
3. Rehabilitative programs, e.g. thinking for a change

This treaty has been placed into action as of 20 May 2011. To this end, revolution is on the rise!

The Magnanimous Peace Manifesto Movement was formed to promote better growth and development amongst our comrades. Though educational work is a part of our mission, we represent peace, unity, and growth. We believe that there can be no achievement without sacrifice, and a man's worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices his confused-animal thoughts and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. He who would accomplish l title must sacrifice little, he who would achieve much must sacrifice much, and he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. MPMM is focused on reforms within all U.$. prisons because we've all (Lumpen Organizations) come together as a collective whole in a United Front for Peace.

We uphold the Statement of Principles established by MIM(Prisons) and other Lumpen Organizations in the United Front for Peace.

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[Theory]
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Review: Monkey Smashes Heaven 1 & 2

monkey smashes heaven issue 2
Monkey Smashes Heaven 1 & 2
Leading Light Communist Organization

MIM(Prisons) has six cardinal principles, all of which we believe the Leading Light Communist Organization (LLCO) upholds to the degree that we consider them fraternal. As such, we distribute some of their better work, which is likely why you are reading this review. LLCO is one of very few who work within the legacy of the MIM to a significant degree.

This is our first review of the Leading Light Communist Organization by that name, but the theoretical journal Monkey Smashes Heaven predates the LLCO. We reviewed them in 2009 in Maoism Around Us and addressed them later that year in What is sectarianism?

The latter article criticized MSH's nihilist approach to the struggles that comrades from the Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika went through in their last days. Unfortunately, their sectarianism has only increased since forming LLCO. In their 10 criteria set forth in the beginning of MSH 1 for who they consider to be a communist, the number one point is you must uphold their ideology called "Maoism-Third Worldism", now "Leading Light Communism." This amounts to saying, "we see you as fraternal if you think exactly like us." Cardinal principles should be a handful of the most important issues of the day that define the communist movement. The expectation that the only correct political organizations are those that share identical ideologies leads quickly to the Trotskyist requirement that revolution must be led by a single global organization imposing its will on all countries.

As we addressed already in "Maoism Around Us", we do not recognize an advancement of revolutionary science beyond Maoism as MSH claims Leading Light Communism is. After reviewing MSH 1 and MSH 2, MIM(Prisons) still fails to see the unique contributions that MSH/LLCO claim to have made to constitute a new stage of revolutionary science. They state this repeatedly in their journals, without explaining what exactly distinguishes Leading Light Communism from Maoism.

The one partial explanation they do provide on p. 51 of MSH 1 is that they were the first to scientifically explain that there "is no significant revolutionary class or socioeconomic group in the First World." MIM was the first to put together a lot of the theories on the labor aristocracy into a coherent class analysis of the First World. Yet even they acknowledged that the main points were not new to Lenin, and even Engels had talked about the buying off of whole nations. LLCO has written some interesting new articles on the subject, but has not advanced the theoretical concepts in any way. Where LLCO disagrees with MIM is on the question of internal semi-colonies being potentially revolutionary in the First World. The buying off of internal semi-colonies was most thoroughly addressed in MIM's "On the Internal Class Structure of the Internal Semi-Colonies" and recognized as early as 1992 in MIM Theory 1. We have yet to see LLCO address this issue in any detail. We have yet to see them explain the revolutionary nationalism of just a couple generations ago and why it could not happen again, or even surpass previous experiences. They simply dismiss the possibility with no analysis or explanation.

While opportunistically presenting as the heir apparent to MIM on Wikipedia, they almost never cite MIM or use MIM language except to criticize MIM. In reading the first two print editions of their journal LLCO takes similar approaches to the theoretical contributions of Marx, Lenin and Mao. This takes their sectarianism to another level of knocking down all of their predecessors as inadequate in the face of their supposedly advanced analysis.

Finally, their sectarian thinking leads to a cultish approach to organizing, rather than teaching people how to think and solve problems. While always being sure to hype LLCO as the most advanced, they rarely explain why. It is the job of the vanguard to raise the scientific understanding of others through struggle, not to simply encourage them to follow the leading light.

We won't list all the things we agree with in the first two issues of MSH here. The articles from MSH that we choose to distribute in our own study packs can speak for themselves in how correct they are. We generally agree with the content of those articles except for the points above, and we distribute them because they add new insight into the topics of study.

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