Up until 12 December 2020, the day we as Mexicans celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe, we had been very fortunate here at California Medical Facility - Vacaville (CMF). That morning I came out at 0500 hrs, for my insulin and it didn’t take long to notice the change, the C.O.’s and nursing staff wearing not just masks, which had become the norm by this time, but wearing face shields and PPE also. Then later that evening when I came out my cell at 1705 hrs. for my insulin C.O. White informed us that someone in T-wing had tested positive for the virus. By 2015 hrs. two more men went down with COVID.
Then came the push to once again take our CPAP breathing machines, and the night of the 13th they came in the middle of the night with their Gestapo tactics to take our breathing machines and most of us resisted and did not have to surrender our DME’s. Then came the threats of 115’s but they had a problem and that was how to justify level II prisoners in Unit IV insulation single cells which is where they put us after we fought to get our CPAP’s back – a fight that MIM was instrumental in our being able to get our DME’s back the first time.
Then they sent a Sgt. to explain: either we surrender our power cords to our CPAP’s or they would cell extract us and thereby confiscate our power cords. So we complied under duress to the confiscation of our DME power cords. This as almost daily they tested us for COVID and constant temperature checks at our cell doors as time after time we were slammed down in our cells. On 15 December, they pulled out 18 more prisoners with COVID, by the 18th we had at least 35 men down with the virus in T-wing and we are hearing this is the same throughout the institution. And the same across the street at Solano State prison, surging. By Christmas T-wing had become like a ghost tier, not many men left. And for those of us left breakfast and dinner meals were coming in brown paper bags, though I must say Christmas dinner was the BEST I have had in years to keep it real. On 27 December, C.O. Smith was telling us that we had 200 prisoners hospitalized and a hundred plus C.O.’s with the virus. My son who is in the hole at Corcoran State Prison tells me that it was surging where he is at as well. He himself got the virus, thank God he is young and healthy and was able to pull through though still feeling some effects of the virus.
On 6 January, while Trump supporters were engaging in acts of insurrection, I am happy to report that I did receive the Coronavirus vaccine. The institution is telling our families that they are returning our DME power cords, however I can tell you I have not seen it, but I can only speak of what is happening here in T-wing as we are still on “modified program” here at CMF at the time of this writing.
All Power to those who deserve it, all those who fight for it and all those who know. The hunger strike at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF) over conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic is still alive. Though the leaders have suspended the starvation act of the strike, our workers strike remains alive. We determine that our Covid Intervention Statement remains relevant as an organizing tool to those involved in the struggle to force the transparency of California Prisons. It’s sad that it takes individuals to put their life at stake before the public can have knowledge made known of the conditions we suffer. But it is how it goes within the belly of the beast. Leaders plan to resume the hunger strike at a later date of 2021, and will notice at the point of strike.
We suspend our strike solely because the conditions began to take a very unhealthy turn, with little adequate record keeping power of the families and supporters to know just what is happening with the healthcare of the leaders. By no means do we want our suspension to be construed as a resolution of our DEMANDS being met. For there can be no talks of SATF Administration meeting strikers’ DEMANDS when SATF and CDCR Director Connie Gipson fall silent to ANSWER to the statement of prisoners at SATF hunger striking. They do not deserve this sort of CREDIT.
The conditions of building 2, where prisoners receive showers every 72 Hrs. Laundry exchange, including sheets and pillow cases are unknown to any other living units. And Phone calls have been consistent to once per week. Meals remain served cold. Showers remain dirty, standard of PPE remain poor, and the package officer L.A. Alvin is said to have been rerouted to G Facility Gym 2 weeks ago. For 3 days packages were issued, and then they were stopped.
The more pressing issue is testing and quarantining prisoners, that first DEMAND. It would seem that SATF has engaged in testing, hence the report of the outbreak. The high numbers serve as a focal point and evidence of the need for families and supporters of prisoners to mend broken relations between one another and unite against this human rights disaster. The hunger strikers recognize the support the public gave, and we say that though SATF and CDCR fall silent to answer the DEMANDS of the strikers, members of the public did not fall silent. Members of the public stood in solidarity with the strikers, accepting the terms of which we testified to be true, spreading this as high as the State Capitol. We rest in recovery from the loss of body weight, consequent to starvation. But we know that there are members of the public who are now directly connected to the struggle here at SATF in the Valley of Death’s shadow.
In the question of what it is that leaders achieved in starving themselves in this ACTION, we won the fight to silence prisoners by the noise of CDCR Covid scheme operations. We raised awareness in the Valley in solidarity with other prisoner leaderships in prisons across California, that CDCR’s failure to protect the imprisoned population where Covid is concerned is unacceptable.
A public stage has been made available to prisoner leaderships in the shadow of Death Valley, where once it had gone silent. The CDCR culture known as the ‘Code of Silence’ cannot rule where there are members of the public willing to speak out and ACT out in criticism of the state, its departments’ bureaucracy and the ACTIONS of its agents.
The REPUBLIC and SOVEREIGN will of individuals, independent of the state, acting in collaboration with WE who struggle for human decency against all odds.
WE together born about a culture that ushers a future where redemption is real. Reconciliation is possible, and reparations are as simple as a public admission of guilt, an apology and plan of action to make right said wrongs.
This is what we struggle for. NO MORE SILENCE, give us answers. The supporters of the strike have done great in raising awareness that here at SATF there are those who have starved to improve the conditions within CDCR as it relates to Covid. We have established court in the streets, now we will begin releasing our AFFIDAVITS and MOTIONS for orders against these FACILITIES, like SATF. COMMON LAW RULES everywhere in AMERICA where the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM fails. All that is needed are a few FARMERS who can teach how to GROW and provide WORK to the UNEMPLOYED, for there remain WE who will WORK for food, and stock inner-city community food banks. A few BAILS BONDSMAN willing to perform CITIZENS ARREST of ASSETS LIQUIDATABLE in PERSONAL DAMAGE CLAIMS of PRISONERS, against correctional staff and healthcare personnel for COVID ATTACKS.
What the PIGS are doing to us is equal to a carrier of COVID intentionally coughing in the face of someone who hasn’t been exposed.
It’s assault and battery.
We will begin putting out BENCH WARRANTS for offenders, and from here on out the PUBLIC OPINION will decide their FATE. COURT is in the STREETS.
THE FAILURE OF CDCR HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AS AN ACT OF WAR AGAINST WE PRISONERS.
Right now we need our supporters to help us get our health back up so that we can make our next strike. We can use whatever folks can by making a deposit into our inmate trust account.
Using JPAY Deposits, supporters can send leaders money for canteen where food purchases, cough drops, lotions, spices, herbs, oil and vitamins may be purchased to do for themselves what the institution will not do for them. [Contact MIM(Prisons) to get a name to send donations to.]
On 2 January 2022, mass protests raged across the cities of Kazakhstan in response to the sharp spike in oil prices. 3,000 Russian paratroopers were called into the country to quell the uprising,(1) and 5,800 people were detained during the unrest with 164 people reported to have been killed.(2)
A Single Spark in Zhanaozen
One day before the uprising, the Kazakh government started off the new year with a lifting of the government enforced fuel price cap. This action doubled the fuel price of 60 tenge to an average of 120 tenge per litre (approx. U$D $1.06 per gallon). With the average monthly income of a minimum wage proletarian being less than the equivalent of $100 a month, the rebellious consequences of an overnight doubling of fuel prices – in a country with oil production as its major industry – isn’t surprising.(3)
The beginnings of the uprising started in the city of Zhanaozen located in the western part of the country bordering the Caspian Sea. Protestors blocked the roads, demanding stabilization of gas prices and prevention of fuel shortages. Two Akims (the title of local leaders in provincial, district, or municipal government of Kazakhstan) were called by the demonstrators: Akim Nogaev and Akim Ibagarov – neither were brought forth. Instead, acting leader of the city of Zhanaozen Akim Baijanov advised the crowd of protestors to write a complaint letter to the city administration.
Encampments of tents and protestors numbering in the 100s popped up in other cities of the country. Most of these encampments were staged on the respective city’s center squares. The crowds of encampment expanded to 1000s, and the demands chanted shifted from stabilization of gas prices towards fair elections of local leaders. By 4 January 2022, the biggest city and former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, had 1,000 protestors in the centre of the city. Police tactics of stun grenades and tear gas were used against the demonstrators, and the president declared a state of emergency. The country faced a mass internet outage; the mayor’s office of Almaty was stormed and set ablaze; and locations of firearms were seized by protestors.
On the 6th of January, dozens of protestors alongside 12 Almaty police officers were reported to be killed with one officer who was found beheaded.(4) Mass “looting” and burning of government buildings occurred with 2,298 people having been arrested for partaking in the protest. On the same morning, 3,000 Russian troops were sent from Moscow after president Tokayev of Kazakhstan made a “formal” request of assistance.(5) At this point in the uprising the police and the army of Kazakhstan were given “shoot to kill” orders. (6) After days of gunfire and burning, the Interior Ministry of Kazakhstan has claimed 175 million Euros in property damage; 160 people dead; and 5,000 arrested.(7)
Soviet Revisionism’s Legacy in Kazakhstan
Approximately 100 years before the masses were on the streets rebelling against a corrupt and despotic bourgeois dictatorship, Kazakhstan was facing immense amounts of transformation as the nation – like many of the colonial or semi-colonial nations at the time – were entering the world of modern capitalism-imperialism. In the early 1900s, Kazakhstan faced settler-colonialism and imperialist rule by the czarist government. During the 19th century to the first third of the 20th century, Kazakhstan was settling around 400,000 Russians. Resentment against colonial rule, and competition of land with foreign settlers in a semi-feudal country resulted in various revolts.
Three years after the czarist government fell and Russia became the first proletarian dictatorship on a country-wide scale; Kazakhstan came under socialist rule in 1920. Through the war against fascism, Kazakhstan saw industrialization but mostly still stayed an agricultural economy. After the war, with Stalin’s death in 1953 and the restoration of capitalism in the USSR by Khrushchev, Kazakhstan also enters a new period in history.
The “virgin lands campaign” by Khrushchev would transform Kazakhstan into a major grain producer for the Soviet Union. Transformation of smaller and weaker nations under the control of the Soviet social-imperialism into monolithic agricultural hubs for Russia was often the fate of recently liberated countries. Cuba, for example, became the major sugar producer for the USSR. With further bureaucratization of the republic’s government into the hands of the social-imperialists of Moscow, Kazakhs became a minority in Kazakhstan by 1959 making up only 30% of the country.
With further weakening of the revisionist Soviet state, the bureaucratic state-capitalist government of Kazakhstan would declare independence on 16 December 1991. It was the last Soviet republic to declare independence. Ten days later, the USSR itself would no longer exist and turned into the Russian Federation. The revisionist bureaucrats governing Kazakhstan would become the leaders of the new and liberalized economy. The Kazakh masses would enter a new period of industrial exploitation.
In 2011, proletarian workers of the oil fields in Zhanaozen (the same city which sparked the uprising this January of 2022) would form a strike for better wages and working conditions. The state oil company fired 1,000 of these workers and the strike was declared illegal by the local courts. The protest went on with furthering of demands such as independent political parties formed by workers free from the government – similar to our own work of building independent institutions within U.$. prisons. On the 16th of January, the police opened fire at protestors, killing 11.
Revisionist Geopolitics vs Internationalism
With the quelling of January 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin described the new year’s event as a “foreign backed terrorist uprising.”(8) The president of China, Xi Jinping, expressed that “China opposes external forces triggering unrest in Kazakhstan.”(9) With the social-imperialist Chinese “Communist” Party and the imperialist Russian Federation being the great hope of revisionists and social-chauvinists around the world; many revisionists express this sentiment that all mass uprisings in the Third World against Russian or Chinese friendly governments are a ploy from external forces.
When it was socialist, China called for a relentless criticism of revisionism and for rebellion against reactionaries. Since 1976, the Chinese Communist Party has promoted unprincipled peace and “stability” indicating how much the colors have turned in the former socialist republic. As Maoists, we recognize that internal contradictions are always the impetus of change as external contradictions are the basis of how that change and movement is played out. Even if the first stone cast in Kazakhstan was from the hands of a covert CIA spy – or an “Islamic radical” as Kazakhstan’s government would state – the fact that there was a prairie fire for a single spark to start in the first place reveals much in regards to the objective conditions of Kazakhstan’s political economy and the subjective forces of the masses of Kazakhstan. Unless the revisionists claim that every single protestor was a non-Kazakh foreign spy, this claim is idealist and metaphysical. A real internationalist political line would be the recognition of the people of Kazakhstan as friends against world imperialism and part of the world’s people. Our line in the imperialist countries must also be able to combat the militarism and meddling of our respective imperialist governments.
Notes1. Walker, Bisenov, “Russian paratroopers arrive in Kazakhstan as unrest continues,” The Guardian, January 6, 2022. 2. Heintz, “Kazakhstan says 164 killed in last week’s protests,” AP News, January 9, 2022. 3. Kantchev, “Kazakhstan’s Elite Got Richer on Natural Resources. Then Came the Unrest.” Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2022. 4. Walker, “Dozens of protesters and police dead amid Kazakhstan unrest.” The Guardian, January 6, 2022. 5. “Moscow-led bloc to send ‘peacekeeping forces’ to protest-hit Kazakhstan.” France 24, January 5, 2022. 6. “Kazakhstani president issues ‘shoot to kill’ order to quell protests” The Hill, January 7th, 2022. 7. “Kazakhstan: More than 160 killed, 5,000 arrested during riots,” Al Jazeera, January 9th, 2022. 8. Vaal, “Putin claims victory in defending Kazakhstan from revolt,” Reuters, January 10th, 2022. 9.“China opposes external forces triggering unrest in Kazakhstan, says Xi Jinping.” Asian News International, January 7th, 2022.
The seizure of the Capitol on 6 January 2021 was the culmination of oppressor nation organizing over years that has proven the continued need for New Democratic revolution here in North America, what many First Nations people today call occupied Turtle Island. Participants in the siege donned racist Odinist tattoos, pro-holocaust slogans, anti-China signs, and waved pro-slavery and nazi flags. Most had Amerikan flags or pro-Trump flags, hats and shirts. They included QAnon followers, Tea Party members, elected officials, Proud Boys, and leaders of a number of fascist organizations and groupings.
Media reported five deaths, including one U.S. Capitol Police officer and four pro-Trump rioters. Those killed during the siege included a womyn shot by security for trying to crawl through a smashed window to get to the Senators, a man who reportedly tasered himself to death while trying to steal a painting off the wall and a cop who was beaten to death with sticks, including one carrying an Amerikan flag, while the audience sang The Star-Spangled Banner. The latter, Brian Sicknick, served the imperialist army in Afghanistan and was an outspoken supporter of President Trump.(1)
The group who laid siege to the Capitol did so in response to calls from President Trump to oppose the election results that has Joe Biden scheduled to replace him on 20 January. As the mob took swings at police and smashed through barricades, they chanted, “USA, USA!”, “Stop the Steal” and called out the Democrats and CNN as primary targets of their anger. By denying the outcome of the election, this organized force is allied with efforts to deny New Afrikans, and other oppressed groups, the vote. These front-line Trump supporters militantly deny the right of [email protected] to even exist on their own land, not to mention control it. And they generally support the incursion of multinational corporations into the small fragments of territory left to the other indigenous peoples of this continent. They want to keep Muslims and Asians out of the United $tates, whether its because of terrorism, a virus, or some other semi-factual excuse for xenophobia. They fear the browning of the U.$. population.
Regarding the vote, the shift of Georgia from Republican to Democrat marked for these settlers another step towards the end of white domination on occupied Turtle Island. Newly-elected Senator Raphael Warnock is the first Black senator in the state of Georgia, which was 31.94% New Afrikan and 51.82% white (“non-hispanic”) in 2019 (in a country that is about 12% New Afrikan overall). In recent years, “non-hispanic” whites have only accounted for about 44% of births in the state.(2). Warnock comes from the same church as Martin Luther King Jr., where Warnock was Pastor for former representative John Lewis. MLK of course was a symbol of multicultural integration that brought much ire and hatred during eir short life, leading to eir assassination. The current period is the culmination of the reaction to the attempts by the bourgeois state to incorporate those ideas of King’s into the empire. After the abolition of slavery, the Federal government made the first attempt at granting New Afrika democratic rights and full citizenship by imposing Reconstruction policies on the southern states. These were mostly undone by white settlers by the by the 1876 presidential election, which led to the Jim Crow policies(3) (maintained by violent voter suppression of New Afrikans) until the time of MLK and the Black Panther Party. The movement today is to undo the progress of integration that followed the civil rights and national liberation movements of the 1960s. Rioters literally marched confederate flags through the Capitol, after fighting their way in, in 2021.
In 2020, Georgia also saw shows of force from New Afrikan militia, and lumpen organizations coming together to seize the site of a police murder, and defend from threats by groups like the 3 Percenters and Ku Klux Klan from coming into Atlanta.(4) While New Afrikans band together in self-defense, the oppressor nation has made it clear they are now on the offense with their seizure of the U.$. Capitol. They brought firearms, pipe bombs and nooses as they called for the blood of Vice President Mike Pence and others. Men who entered the Capitol carried fire arms and one had seized zip tie handcuffs, ready to take hostages and possibly assassinate Federal representatives, including the Vice President. When officials escaped, the intruders settled for posing for photos in their office chairs and taking memorabilia off the Senators’ desks and walls.
Economics of the Crisis
Social media posts by leaders promoting the action on 6 January are also calling for the assassination of Mitch McConnell and Republicans in general for blocking the $2000 stimulus check currently backed by Trump and the Democratic Congressional leadership. The battle over stimulus funding (to respond to COVID-19 restrictions) in recent weeks has been a great demonstration of the relationship between classes under imperialism. The wealth flowing into this country is split between the imperialists and the rest of the population. The stimulus bills were a clear demonstration of this, with big corporations getting 100s of millions to billions in benefits, while the rest of the country averaged thousands of dollars per persyn. Most people in the world received little to no money.
The printing of money by the U.$. central bank since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in history. With so many more dollars in circulation, economists wonder whether this money can be exchanged for goods at the value one would expect. Many Third World countries have seen depreciation of their currencies compared to the U.$. dollar as finance capital left those countries in response to the pandemic. For the dollar to maintain its value, the empire must stay strong. We’ve already seen a decrease in Japanese and Chinese finance capital from U.$. treasuries in the last year.(5) Japan and China are the two largest foreign holders of U.$. treasuries.
The people of Weimar Germany (prior to the popular Nazi takeover) faced conditions where what they were paid one day could not buy a loaf of bread the next. This was due to having lost WWI and facing sanctions from other imperialist countries. The U.$. has not yet faced this problem, but they are having to do more to stabilize their own currency and economy. If the white nationalists had their way, and productive labor from Latin America and Asia was forced out of U.$. borders, we would see the dollar decrease in value very quickly. While dollar values have not declined yet, the situation is quite precarious, especially as productive output of the economy remains slow.
What Will Happen Next?
Senators who were calling the election a fraud backed off immediately following the siege, proving it was just a popularity game to them. Yet some who forced their way into the Capitol, came ready to die that day. This is curious, as economic conditions in this country do not yet warrant such extremism, especially for the demographic showing up at these demonstrations. Many on the front lines of the siege are steeped in conspiracy theories. These theories tap into a deep existential fear they have of the ending of their white country. Something many of them feel has already happened.
While the attacks of 9/11 were a blow to the sense that Amerikans could have their fingers in every other part of the world, while staying safe at home, the response was a show of strength through Amerikan nationalism. Since then, the U.$. image continued to decline with more lost wars and humyn rights abuses abroad and at home. This week’s attack on the Capitol marks an internal weakening from within.
There is no god coming down to purify the crackers’ souls in the rapture. Nor can Turner Diary-style fantasies resolve the contradictions that define this imperialist country. A re-civilization of the oppressor nations must come from the hands of the oppressed. Having one side of the oppressor nation try to cajole the other into giving the oppressed what they think they need, or rather what they think will appease, has proven ineffective over the last 150 years. The oppressed nations occupied on this land must seize their own destinies. They must rise up for a New Democracy, where they as sovereign peoples can decide how to solve their own problems without the constant oversight and interference of the euro-Amerikan.
We support the continued development of New Afrikan defense organizing in places like Atlanta, that is based in real revolutionary nationalism – which as Mao said is applied internationalism. We re-iterate the call for Barrio Committees in Aztlan, as outlined in the book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. We all need to connect with those in our communities that are ready to respond.
With regards to those that are already familiar and well versed with Marixt-Leninist-Maoist political philosophy, we must call for discipline and centralized organization. Most major cities’ “radical scenes” are dominated by anarcho-liberals who preach on voting for the Democratic party one day and preach for militant direct action the next day. Even amongst the more militant and anti-reformist anarchists, there are a lot of poorly organized forms of violence that fleets in energy. Us communists should work towards building independent institutions that the people can go to to solve their daily material problems – not have loosely affiliated cliques that serve themselves more than the masses.
Another test of principled actions that many communists failed was the reliance and aid to the existing bourgeois institutions such as the FBI and the police. Many radical liberals online have resorted to identifying the Capitol Hill fascists for the police agencies while also hoping these police institutions can repress the fascist movement. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) have had the correct response to this regarding the issue of rape in the country of India. Whereas petty-bourgeois movements call for the death penalty and stronger punishments for rapists in the semi-feudal country, the Maoists recognize that rape is not alien to the system and stronger state forces against these anti-people crimes will result in stronger state repression against the masses.(6) And just like how relying on the bourgeois state to give justice in India will result in the repression against the masses, these acts by radical liberals of relying on the FBI and the police departments will only result in more surveillance and crackdowns on the oppressed people.
Even with my release date approaching, the spread of COVID-19 in prisons means that there remains the very real possibility that not only myself, but many others may not make it out of here alive.
The outside public may raise an eyebrow at this statement, and to an extent I understand why. Their reaction might be, ‘Do the crime, do the time – along with everything that comes with it.’ Granted, prison isn’t intended to be a steel and concrete paradise. From the moment you wake up to the time you close your eyes you can expect to be perpetually stressed, depressed, anxious, isolated – a whole range of negative emotions. But does that mean that we should be subject to a form of roulette that could be tantamount to a death sentence?
Most casual readers of articles concerning incarceration in the U.S. are aware that there is an overcrowding issue in their jails and prisons. The facility where I am housed is no exception. FCI Petersburg Medium has a population of 1,500 spread among three buildings containing twelve housing units of 120 men each. We are housed two, sometimes four to a cell about the size of a handicapped parking space, with a toilet and a sink thrown in. Remaining socially distant is out of the question. Despite the feeling of sitting on a powder keg, prison strangely felt like a sort of protective bubble from the effects of the pandemic raging unchecked on the outside. I never would have perceived it in that manner before.
In mid-September 2020, the first cases were reported in the building furthest from ours. There was a heightened tension in knowing it had finally arrived, yet it was still this nebulous thing that felt like a problem of the outside world. The outer defenses had been breached, but some of us are still safe. We wonder at the fate of the others – who has it? How many? Did they recover or not? Official answers are few, and it seems deliberately so. They do not want to create a panic, so rumors abound.
We immediately enter into a lockdown period, meaning complete cell confinement save for a ten-minute shower three times a week. This experience is psychologically taxing, however it is a reasonable precaution. I am struck by the fact that during this period, none of us are tested for symptoms despite a memo proclaiming daily testing. This is a disaster in the making, but with protocol typically disregarded by staff in day-to-day operations, it does not come as much of a surprise. After fifteen days, we are allowed a degree of freedom once more, to collect our meals, to venture outside … with a sense of foreboding. I found myself wondering, ‘is it too soon?’
Eight days later, on the 6th of October, more cases were reported, this time in the building next to ours. Still a separate place, but nearer now. The feeling it evokes could be compared to hiding from someone with no possibility of escape, and being able to hear each footfall resonating ever louder as they close in… it is unnerving. The protective bubble has turned into its opposite, and we are trapped. We are immediately placed back on lockdown. I didn’t have a chance to let anyone know why I won’t be calling anymore, so I hope they will infer the reason why and not be overly alarmed. Thoughts such as ‘Am I still being thought of? Do they care?’ become amplified, as anyone who has experienced being alone with your thoughts in isolation knows it can be challenging at times. I begin mentally preparing for the days ahead. I look forward to any word from the outside.
Twenty days in, and suddenly, voices emanate from the ventilation system: In the unit above ours, we are informed that someone is showing symptoms. It is here. They have moved the affected person to a separate cell for monitoring, but it is still in the same unit. We all continue to breathe in and share the same recycled air. Is there nothing else that can be done? There is less talking now. My cellmate and I cover up the vent as a precaution, but it does not block out the sound of muffled coughing that has now begun in earnest somewhere above us. I don’t know what will come next, but I’ve prepared for all eventualities.
As Revolutionaries and Communists, we must organize and agitate our fellow captives to demand that our health, safety and human rights be respected by the prison and medical staff. A tall order, knowing that our oppressors are here merely to collect a paycheck and the additional hazard pay that has undoubtedly accompanied these lockdown measures, but a just fight during these trying times.
I have enclosed a bulletin that has been enforced on us here at Federal Correctional Institution - Manchester. I don’t think it’s legal but have no way to find out either way. So I’m reaching out for any help in this matter. This is not Federal Bureau of Prisons policy, only here and by this warden.
The bulletin reads in part:
“Effective February 8, 2021, the following procedures will be implemented for ordering any book. There will be a book”catalog“, placed in Education. The catalog will be the only vendor authorized… any books ordered through any other vendor or purchased by family members will not be accepted into the facility.”
MIM(Prisons) responds: The Human Rights Defense Center (Prison Legal News) already fought them on this and won 2 years ago. They will be contacting the counsel representing the prison to put a stop to this again.
The oppressor continues to break their own laws to prevent the oppressed from accessing information. The other issue we are having at this same facility is a restriction to only 5 one-sided pieces of paper per envelope. This prevents comrades there from receiving any of our resource guides or study assignments. If you have any information to provide on either of these issues please get in touch so we can hold them accountable.
Internationalism - A policy of cooperation among nations, esp. in politics and economy. (Webster’s New Basic Dictionary)
Internationalism is the basis of building a United Front with all concerning the same political & ideological line that is relevant to the People; social, political, military, and economic needs to produce equality, independence and land. Internationalism is mainly pushed to build a strategy within theory & practice against the oppressor and to stretch its resources of economics, military and allies out to the point of weakness to either attack or defend in order to control and secure its power.
If everyone is on the same accord politically & ideologically within a true socialist/communist aspect, while really practicing the theories and strategies given through history and philosophy within their conditions NOW to further design solutions in socialist/communist theory & practice to accommodate betterment of our existence through the stages to lead to the weakness of capitalism/imperialism nationally (locally & regionally) & internationally (other countries).
When we tend to practice nationalism in an aspect of Mao [editor: revolutionary nationalism] it shows a sense of commonality to others that are nationally oppressed and helps them understand the true scientific socialist way/dialectical materialist way. This observation is a common point of the same struggles against capitalism/imperialism oppressors where the oppressed is just of different nationalities but concerns the same fight of human rights being violated socially, politically, militarily & economically. That’s why internationalism is a bridge to a strenuous fight towards ending capitalism/imperialism and also helping with resources needed to continue our survival now, during, and after the time is here, seized and power is taken to rebuild land, necessities and socialist government structure until a communist way of life can be obtained.
Once the capitalist/imperialist oppressors and its allies have been stretched over the world, thinning out it’s security & structure, then would be a time to take action militarily due to no proper defense system. It is our job to ensure that the People everywhere are at a conscious state at that time through revolutionary stages to properly prepare & plan it’s strategic tactics within a People’s War.
Recently, rising Chicago rapper King Von has been shot and killed in an Atlanta nightclub at the age of 26.(1) Born as David Daquan Bennett, King Von was associated with the lumpen organization “Black Disciples” and was close childhood friends with other notable Chicago figures such as rapper Chief Keef and Lil Durk. While there were rumors that he was the grandson of David Barksdale, the founder of the Black Disciplies, there have been no notable proofs confirming this fact.(2) However, he was given the nickname “Grandson” amongst older B.D. members while he was in prison due to his demeanor reminding the older prisoners of David Barksdale.
The shooting happened when King Von and Quando Rondo’s affiliates started to confront each other in the nightclub. Sooner or later, a fistfight occurred which resulted in guns being drawn. There was also two off-duty police officers that were present in the shooting.(3) Alongside King Von, two other men were killed with many others injured.(4)
Due to the news and social media’s coverage of this shooting, both camps – the Georgia L.O.s affiliated with Quando Rondo and the Chicago L.O.s affiliated with King Von – have publicly threatened each other on social media. Quando Rondo – who survived the altercation – has had his concerts canceled while social media gossip has poured fuel into the fire.
What we aim to do with this article isn’t to take sides on which party was in the right or wrong. While our articles like to point out that lumpen organizations have revolutionary potential, we also emphasize the dual nature of the lumpen class and the reactionary side of these organizations. “Gang” conflicts have done immense jobs in sowing divisions among the oppressed. With Hip-Hop music and “Gangster rap” becoming a nationwide phenomena, the music and culture of the oppressed nation lumpen have added fuel to the fire. We encourage our readers to go beyond the diss tracks while also not falling for the trap of individual survival and apathy – ultimately, they will return the oppressed back into chaos.
While serving as fuel of lumpen violence, these expressions also show the righteous resentment to society harbored by the most lowest sections of the oppressed – especially the youth. The fact that the amerikan patriarchs are so adamant that mere music infecting white children into delinquency and drugs shows an interesting trend in youth of all nations in the U.$. expressing their alienation towards capitalism.
Drill Culture in Inner Cities
Hip-Hop as a genre started in the east coast cities in the late 70s and early 80s. It wasn’t just simply a genre of music like the amerikan music critics would like to believe, but a mass expression of oppressed nation lumpen youth who dominated the Hip-Hop Scene. From the clothes, the hairstyles, graffiti, and dance all the way to the rapping has become a form of expressing the fear, anger, and righteousness that the Black/Puerto Rican youth who lived in the police state-like conditions in the inner cities.
What was called “Reality Rap” reflected the early pre-scientific consciousness of these lumpen youth. The bleak portrayal of amerikan cities flipped the idea of the amerikan dream and the bourgeois ubermensch making profit and “getting theirs” on its head. After all, if the “founding fathers” and the “captains of industry” could become the revered mega-rich through criminal acts such as slavery and thuggish exploitation, why can’t the corner boy dealing dope one day become a CEO of a mega corporation one day? Would it be so much more wrong to sell drugs to get a head start compared to selling people?
This also sheds light on how the hip-hop industry is a big way for the lowest section of the masses to become a national bourgeoisie or even a comprador bourgeoisie in the oppressed nations. Former street rappers turned CEO of record labels often end up being the one exploiting the oppressed nation masses in the ghettos and barrios themselves. In some cases, these musicians will end up exploiting the international proletariat in the Third World.(5)
While hip-hop in general has been becoming a bureaucratized multi-million dollar industry for the amerikans, the “drill music” scene has arisen from urban areas – notably Chicago. Lumpen Organizations in the country’s murder capital have often used music videos and rap lyrics to diss their rivals and the dead. The lingo that was used only in certain blocks and neighborhoods of Southside Chicago can now be heard from all major cities in the United $tates from Atlanta to Los Angeles. There is something to be said that social media and the internet has made the culture of Oppressed Nation diaspora – in this case Lumpen “drill” culture – more interconnected. New Afrikan L.O.s in Chicago now have a strong hold in the deep south in cities such as Atlanta and L.O.s who previously have never made contact with each other might start to form beefs.
NGO Tactics VS Building Independent Political Power
Peace treaties, alliances, and betrayals between lumpen organizations have been going on forever. Organizations from the Nation of Islam to the countless Non-Governmental Organizations have attempted to build peace in the ghettos and the barrios. However, building treaties can only go so far unless the root of the problem is attacked and made aware by the masses. The conflict of the L.O.s are bigger than individuals and sets. They are a bloody symptom of amerikan capitalism. Even if every Blood and Crip individual goes through psychological rehabilitation and shake hands with each other, more “gangs” will rise with the next generation. Oftentimes, the “rehabilitated” individuals end up back to the lumpen life within a year due to the political-economical instabilities in these areas; and many “peace treaties” are more so ceasefires to have the dope business in a more stable control.
Despite decades of these peace treaties, we are still in the very early stages of being able to unite the lumpen masses. Leaders within prisons working to push the United Front for Peace in Prisons can speak to this from experience. The story of the state isolating the conscious leader and the masses returning to oppressed-on-oppressed violence is all to common. Others have tried to revolutionize their whole L.O., and failed. While the leadership is there, we have not yet created the conditions that make this a viable path for the masses as a whole. That is the challenge we face as we continue to build revolutionary leadership that has a plan to end capitalism, and find ways to offer incentives for the masses to abandon the current system and risk their lives for a new tomorrow.
Notes: 1. Alex Zidel, November 06, 2020, “King Von Reportedly In Critical Condition After Shoot Out With Quando Rondo’s Crew,” Hot New Hip Hop. 2.Olivia Olphin, December 01, 2020, “Was King Von David Barksdale’s grandson? Rumour explained,” The Focus. 3. Emmanuel Camarillo, November 6, 2020, “Chicago Rapper King Von Killed in Atlanta Shooting,” Chicago Sun Times. 4. Rebekah Riess, November 7, 2020, “Rapper King Von shot and killed outside Atlanta nightclub,” CNN. 5. Sirin Kale, May 17, 2016, “How Much It Sucks to Be a Sri Lankan Worker Making Beyoncé’s New Clothing Line,” Vice.
This is a galvanizing poetic call 2 action, The Soledad Comrade, George Jackson, Once declared: “capitalism is the enemy,” Meaning: you and me, The common man and woman of poverty, Are more family than enemy, Because we are poor, Fighting a common enemy of imperial elite capitalism, Not 2 allude 2 the day 2 day, Systemic Amerikkkan racism, There’s truly no time, For us 2 be killing and fighting each other, When in arms together, We are sista and brotha, Therefore we must come together, In a clenched fist alliance, A peaceful defiant display, Of unity and excellence, Unite or die, Is a true rallying cry, Wherefore, we must join forces, And overthrow the corrupt, racist, imperialist, Capitalist Amerikkkan government, Ergo, the clenched fist alliance, A resolute display of resistance, And defiance, There’s no time 2 pray, March and cry, It’s either unite or die, Truly, unity is the most dominant, In the face of all inequality, We are living in a truly, Provocative span of time, So what is it going 2 be, Unite or die, And commit 2 memory: “Capitalism is the enemy.” We must unite or die.
I am a citizen of Colombia. In 1993, I was sentenced to a 45 year prison term, here in Texas. I was to serve 22 1/2 years before I would be eligible for parole. While serving my time, I was summoned to an immigration court, where an ICE judge informed me that upon release from the custody of TDCJ, I was to be transferred to an immigration facility where I would await deportation.
On 25 March 2016 parole denied my release for these reasons:
The record indicated that the offender has repeatedly committed criminal episodes that indicate a predisposition to commit criminal acts upon release.
The record indicates the instant offense has elements of brutality, violence, assaultive behavior, or conscious selection of victims vulnerability indicating a conscious disregard for the lives, safety, or property of others such that offender poses a continuing threat to public safety. (3 year set off after serving 22 1/2 years)
On 14 May 2019 set-off again, for the same reasons. (3 year set-off). I committed a crime when I was 21 years old. I’ve been in prison for the past 27 years, where I’ve never had a single altercation. In 2007, while taking my GED a new law was passed, prohibiting prisoners with immigration detainers from participating in school activities; I was kicked out of school. (parole uses me not having a GED against me each time I come up for parole). I’ve taken Bridges to Life, Voyager, Peer to Peer, Job Skills, Over Comers, Tutoring, and at the moment I’m finishing Cognitive Intervention. My last infraction (case) was in 2014, six years ago.
The parole board here in Texas has its own agenda as far as who will be released and who won’t. When a prisoner comes up for parole, the prisoner can’t speak on his own behalf. No type of evaluation is conducted to see if the prisoner is ready for society. It’s all done through paper work. The board members review each folder for no more than 3 minutes and come to a decision. How can a proper review be done in 3 minutes? At the moment I’m on my second three year set-off. I am being set off for the same reasons over and over again. How can I be a continuing threat to public safety, if I’m not even going to be in the United States?
How can the parole board state that I’m a violent person? In 27 years of being in a violent environment such as prison, I’ve not even had a single fight. I have no type of violent infractions (cases) towards prisoners nor officers. That itself should show a pattern of change. There’s a lot of prisoners (who will be deported) being held in Texas prisons, under numerous set-offs, because we have no voice out there and the state can abuse its power and claim we’re not ready for society or we’re being rehabilitated, but what the public doesn’t know is that there is no rehabilitation here, there’s more drugs and corruption in this place than out there. The only reason we’re being kept is for the federal funds these prisons receive.
I humbly request that our comrades at MIM please help spread the word about the injustice that the parole board and its associates commit against prisoners who will be deported and have no voice to help them out there. I thank you very much for your attention to my letter. God bless each of you.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Concentration camps for migrants without U.$. citizenship are the one sector of the Amerikan prison system where private prisons have been widely used. This puts another level of financial incentive into the criminal injustice system as this comrade points out. In a system built on profit, and not people, there will always be injustice.
Meanwhile, the lack of rehabilitation is not unique to migrant camps. At this stage, we build or Serve the People Re-Lease on Life program to help our comrades transitioning out of prisons. But for many, like this comrade, they just aren’t getting out because of financial incentives, and the need to control oppressed people to prevent social change.
In every issue of ULK we indicate our alternative to this system (see p.2). We propose a system where the real criminals are imprisoned; the people who have stolen thousands of lives by locking up hard working people, or bombing their homelands. And a system where everyone has access to all the resources they need for rehabilitation. Even those outside of prison need to transform themselves for a new world based on a common humynity. We are all shaped by the current system. Check out Prisoners of Liberation by Allyn and Adele Rickett for a glimpse at what socialist prisons can be like. ($5 stamps/cash or work trade from MIM Distributors)