If you're in a lockdown prison, that is if you are confined to your cell 21 hours a day unless you are attending a school program or a work assignment, there are still ways available that facilitate organizing efforts.
First, put together a collection of prisoner/prison literature and related legal issues, and anti-imperialist publications. Ask anyone and everyone you have contact with if they're interested in reading about these subjects. If they say yes, let them read your publications. After a while, encourage them to obtain their own publications and to "circulate to educate, educate to liberate."
Second, try to obtain a program/work assignment in any one of the following areas: teacher's aid, housing area porter, food service, or law library clerk. Teacher's aids have daily contact with lots of prisoners, the same goes for food service workers. Housing area porters have daily access to all prisoners in the housing area, and law library clerks have daily contact with prisoners from all over the prison plus they usually have access to a photocopy machine operated by prisoners.
"Without struggle there is no progress" - Frederick Douglass
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is good advice, it's important that everyone do what they can within their conditions. And in prison you have to be creative about what's possible. We also offer prisoners on lockdown (and others) the opportunity to study when they are locked in the cell, by joining our study groups. Cell time should be study time, whether it's part of our study group through the mail or studying material on your own. And there are many other productive activities you can do from your cell: writing articles, creating art, translating into Spanish, and writing poetry are just a few examples. Write to us with your own ideas and we'll help you get involved.
I was glad to see petitions available concerning the grievance process here in California. Please send me one of those in the self-addressed stamped envelope I've enclosed. I'd also like to say a few words on the grievance process here in California.
The main problem with the grievance process is at the informal level, when a prisoner has to get two responses from staff on a CDCR 22 form. Unless you're challenging something out of the Title 15, the CDCR 22 must be filled out. That's very hard to do, considering most staff just throw them away. The CDCR 22 is designed so that officers can sign it at the door, verifying that it was sent, and give the prisoner a receipt. However, even with the receipt, if the prisoner does not have two staff responses, the appeals coordinator will reject the grievance. The Title 15 Section 3084.3 (b), (c), and Section 3086 (e)(2) allow them to do that.
What we should do is file a grievance on those three Title 15 sections I just listed, requesting that they be changed to state: "One or two signed CDCR 22 receipts requesting remedy or supporting documents that also show that the staff member to whom the CDCR 22 was mailed did not respond within the time limits detailed in Section 3086 (f)(4) and (h) shall be receipted in lieu of requested supporting documents pursuant to Section 3084.3." The legal argument for this is the 14th Amendment (access to courts) and Title 15 Section 3084.1 (right to appeal).
Just jump through the hoops until the grievance is exhausted. Then, write the Prison Law Office and the ACLU and tell them you'd like their help in filing a §1983 suit. Since it's a major issue, a prisoner advocate group will probably pick it up, and the petition distributed by MIM(Prisons) could be used as evidence.
Another good grievance would challenge the Title 15 Section 3123 (b), which gives CDCR the power to limit the law library hours to whatever it wants. Here at Kern Valley State Prison, the law library is open 2 days a week. The Title 15 should be amended to say: "Each law library shall remain open five days a week, for not less than six hours per day." The 14th Amendment should also be cited for that grievance.
MIM(Prisons) responds: CDCR Form 22 is a reform to the CDCR grievance system that was rolled out December 2010 in response to the campaign to End the High Desert State Prison Z-Unit Zoo.(1) Participants of this campaign sent petitions to CDCR administrators and legal protection groups such as the Prison Law Office and the U.S. Department of Justice. An investigation was conducted, prisoners were interviewed, and even some of their demands were met.(2)
But this contributor shows how our struggles for reforms, and even our victories, will be met with more and more red tape under the current power structure. Form 22 was supposedly designed "so that our requests may be answered in a timely fashion by COs, with a receipt. Now we have a clearer paper trail to use should K9s decide to implement their underground rules."(1) But still, there's nothing stopping the COs from simply throwing Form 22s away.
This contributor's suggestion to change some of the language of Title 15 may be an improvement on the current grievance system in California. But until COs and prison administrators acquire a proletarian morality that values the well-being of all people, they will figure out ways to continue to oppress those who they deem as unworthy of basic humyn necessities, and their higher-ups will cover for them. This proletarian morality doesn't develop from procedural changes in prison operations, no matter what documents we amend. Material conditions shape our worldview, and until the material conditions that support national oppression are abolished, the oppressors will continue to justify their sick behaviors.
While we fight for reforms to improve our current conditions, we must accept the necessity of total social change, namely the change from capitalism to socialism. Until then there will always be a trade-off; where one group gains, another loses. We must allow our own acquired proletarian morality to infect our political work and inform the orientation of all the battles we take on.
Occupied America: A History of Chicanos 7th Edition by Rodolfo F Acuña
A well read book in its 7th edition, "Occupied America" is a history book for the [email protected] nation. This book has been a leading text for [email protected] studies for decades. It is an in depth analysis of [email protected] history. It is also important to note that Occupied America was one of the books banned in 2012 in Arizona and has since been a hot item for the libro trafficantes (book traffickers) who have been defying Arizona and smuggling this book back into Arizona and into the hands of [email protected] youth.
It's clear uncut content about Amerika's treatment of [email protected] along with accurate history of [email protected] rising up in resistance has Amerika scrambling to censor this work.
Occupied America was first published in 1972, emerging from a peak in national liberation struggles in the United $tates. In 1981 the second edition was released and Acuña wrote in the preface:
The first edition of Occupied America followed the current of the times, adopting the internal colonial model that was popular during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The works of Frantz Fanon greatly influenced the tone and direction of the book. Since then, just like the Chicano movement itself, I have undergone dramatic changes. I have reevaluated the internal colonial model and set it aside as a useful paradigm relevant to the nineteenth century but not to the twentieth. ...I decided to return to the basics and collect historical data.
This quote would lead us to believe that we would have more unity with the political line put forth in the first edition. Though more recent editions will have more updated information, and would likely be more valuable references for that reason. It seems that the changes between editions 2 through 7 are mostly in factual content, with an attempt to avoid polemics.
So what gets the white supremacists so disturbed about Occupied America? I chose to find out and decided to read it again.
Acuña starts the 7th edition of his book in the pre-Columbian times when civilization first started on this continent going back 50,000 years. One learns of the Aztecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs, Mayans, Incas and other natives. This naturally leads to the European invaders and the beginnings of the forging of the Mexican and then the [email protected] nation.
With the Spanish occupation and genocide that soon followed their arrival in North America, Acuña takes you through the social relations of the natives at the hands of the church.
The quest for more gold and silver and thus the mines soon led to a decimation of the native population and with this process came the resistance. But there was development as well in the economic arena. In the states that comprised "northern New Spain" at the time, like California, the Spaniards had Mestizos and natives working and so these oppressed peoples were, as Acuña explains on pg 33, the "vaqueros, soap makers, tanners, shoemakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, cooks, servants, pages, fishermen, farmers as well as a host of other occupations."
And so on the one hand the people were worked sometimes to death but on the other hand they developed economically across the region, which is a precursor to nationhood.
Acuña takes us into the Mexican revolution of 1810 when Mexico won its independence from Spain which was a great event but didn't bring socialism to [email protected] and so the exploitation would soon return. Acuña explains the theft of Texas which was spearheaded by the white supremacist Stephen Austin starting in the 1820s. This is where the 2nd edition of the book opens up, leaving out the history above.
The myth of the Alamo is cleared up by Acuña on pg 41 where he states: "Probably the most widely circulated story was that of the last stand of the aging Davy Crocket, who fell 'fighting like a tiger' killing Mexicans with his bare hands. The truth: seven of the defenders surrendered, and Crockett was among them. The Mexican force executed them, and, one man, Louis Rose, escaped."
This book explains the myth of the oppressor nation propaganda that consumes the "history books" we read in public schools.
The U.$. war on Mexico of 1848 is explained very well and one sees the birth of the [email protected] nation in these pages. Along with this birth the layers of state propaganda are peeled back and Acuña highlights the resistance in the [email protected] nation, people like Juan "Cheno" Cantina, Francisco "Chico" Barela and Gregorio Cortez are discussed and one sees how they rose up in militias as revolutionary groups to fight yankee imperialism.
Groups like Las Gorras Blancas (the white caps) came together to defend the people with arms from white supremacy and oppression. In Occupied America we read of the early [email protected] proletariat and the militant [email protected]@ labor struggles. The 'Plan of San Diego' is discussed which was the basis of a revolutionary group that fought the U.$. government in Texas around 1915 with the goal of establishing an independent [email protected] nation, Black nation and First Nations upon victory.
We also learn of how the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo was signed and Amerika stole what is now called the "Southwest." We learn that "the depression" for Amerika was normal program for [email protected]@s. Our conditions did not change and when the "New Deal" came post-depression and Amerikans were put to work on public work projects, because [email protected]@s were not allowed to participate in the "New Deal." At the time of the New Deal, the Communist International was criticizing social democracy in Europe as social fascism for appealing to the labor aristocracy interests in line with the rising fascist powers. In North America the fascist forces were not well developed, but social democracy still served to benefit the labor aristocracy to the exclusion of the oppressed nations.
The book explains the 1960s and the eruption of a new generation of [email protected] that brought the [email protected] movement on the scene. All the [email protected] groups are discussed: Masa, Mecha, Brown Berets, Black Berets, Mayo, Umas, Alianza, Crusade for Justice and many more. These fiery groups along with the many [email protected] publications that are mentioned show the times of this period and the heightened political consciousness in Aztlan.
The "teatro campesino," plays and improvised theater by and for farmworkers out in the fields, showed that [email protected]@s taking on agribusiness added to the times and [email protected] culture.
Although he provides tons of data and information on the entire history of [email protected], the colonization process, the early development of [email protected] as a nation, and [email protected] resistance, where Acuña falls short is in this book is in failing to point out a correct path forward on how [email protected] should liberate ourselves. Oddly he only provides a short paragraph on communism and only to discuss how the state blamed communists for [email protected] activism. And so Acuña leads [email protected] to the edge of the cliff but does not tell the people how to proceed and what will liberate us.
Aztlan will only be liberated in a socialist society, when socialist revolution arrives we will finally taste freedoms. Any struggles short of this will only lead to a bourgeois revolution and a continuation of oppression, only under a new management, as happened to Mexico after the Mexican revolution.
Learning one's history is a necessary step towards liberation but once we are conscious we must then grasp how to move forward and Occupied America leaves this most important element out of the book.
Occupied America has been required reading in Chicano studies college courses in many schools across the United $tates for many decades and will continue in most schools for some time, it has a wealth of information that will continue to awaken and educate [email protected] youth and as a [email protected] historian Acuña has helped the nation in learning our history. Anyone else who wants to learn about the development of [email protected] will also enjoy this book. It is clear why the oppressor nation is so scared of this book - because it's truth!
Both fliers are double sided featuring the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. The first one is two fliers per 8.5"x11" piece of paper and is recruiting students to volunteer with us. The other is just the 5 pts and is four fliers per 8.5"x11" paper as quarter sheets.
On August 30, 2012, a day after I mailed a document to the Florida ACLU, Department of Justice, FL Justice Institute, and James Casey of the FBI in Jacksonville FL, concerning pigs beating and slamming captives to the concrete head first while in handcuffs, I was placed under investigation for conspiracy. This was a response to a thesis I penned and distributed amongst the captive population entitled "Guan Suwannee Mo Bay." Somehow the pigs got a copy of Guan Suwannee Mo Bay and I became public enemy focus. I guess their 21 day investigation revealed that I had not in fact violated any laws, but I was not to be allowed back in to general population. So they started hitting me up with fabricated disciplinary reports to keep me in confinement.
On September 18th, they delivered a DR (disciplinary report) for a violation (I-4) disrespect to Official, fabricated by a classification officer Mr. F.P. Freihofer, who claimed that he was conducting a check of the housing unit when I stopped him and said "y'all got me in here on some bogus shit, when are you crackers going to finish this pussy shit?" Then he said, he ordered me to cease my disrespectful behavior to which I replied, "it's just bullshit to be locked up for no reason." Of course you know I didn't say any of this, doing such would have gotten me lynched (gassed) on the spot. This is just the result of a retaliation campaign to keep me in confinement to stop the spread of Guan Suwannee Mo Bay, my publication amongst the captives.
On September 19th, I received another DR, this one charged me with extortion. The classification officer, Miss Rogers, claimed that I attempted to extort $200 and some winter clothes from my cellie, by writing his mother a letter telling her to send her son $200 and order him some winter clothes. I was just helping my cellie write his mother; he is brand new in the system, missing three fingers on his right hand, and can barely write and spell, so he asked me to write the letter explaining to his mother that he had not been in prison 24 hours and he got beaten by the pigs at RMC, the Reception and Medical Center that is right down the street from his house. The pig who beat him is related to the victim in his case. He also asked me to explain to her how to call DOC, how to use the electronic depositing to send him $200, and how to go online to FL packages and order him winter clothes. I explained to her how she must use his DC # in order for him to receive anything, his DC# was on the letter not mine.
Classification claimed that she received a call from my celly's mother concerned that he was being extorted. Did classification refer the case to the inspector for investigation? No. Did she even simply just ask my cellie (whom by then had left my cell for DC confinement) if I was extorting him? No. And even though my cellie issued a statement in writing that I did not extort him and only gave him help that he requested, they still found me guilty and sentenced me to 90 days.
They are planning to bury me on closed management (CM) instead of cleaning up their Mis-justice, they're trying to cover it up. This is all retaliation for political educating and organizing!
MIM(Prisons) adds: Educating prisoners is one of our principal tasks in the fight against the criminal injustice system. But all too often we face repression and retaliation for this entirely legal work. This retaliation comes in the form of direct physical violence and torture for individual prisoners, and broader censorship for MIM(Prisons) mail and publications. All of this is a form of censoring voices speaking out against the injustice system. We must continue to expose these abuses, and fight for our limited right to speech under capitalism until we can establish a system where speech by the oppressed is valued.
On September 4, 2012 the Democratic convention was held, almost every TV channel was broadcasting this. Like the Republican convention, the Democrats had speakers come out to make a short speech on why you should vote for their candidate. These conventions are a classic 'good cop, bad cop' game meant to hoodwink the oppressed.
This year's democratic keynote speaker at the convention was Julian Castro the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Castro is running for congress and is seen as an up and coming Democrat. Although he merely adds to the rest of the numerous defenders of imperialism, what is different and thus dangerous about someone like Castro is that he is a Chicano bourgeois politician who is now being propped up to fool the Brown masses, just as Obama was used against the Black masses.
Castro's background is similar to many Chicanos today. His grandmother migrated to the United $tates in the first wave of migration after the Mexican Revolution in 1920. His mother was born in Texas and was actively a part of the Chicano movement of the 60s and 70s. As a first generation college student she joined the Raza Unida Party (RUP) and became one of its leaders.
La Raza Unida Party came about from the leadership of Crusade for Justice another Chicano organization of that time. It was in 1970 that Corky Gonzalez announced the formation of RUP. The Crusade for Justice was actively leading many Chicano struggles of this time period. At one point as Acuña described, "The Crusade for Justice leadership also wanted to form the 'Congress de Aztlan', which would build a Chicano nation."(1) The RUP meant to uplift the Raza's consciousness, take community control of social services in the Barrios, taking control of schools and development (building homes, parks, etc.) which all seems cool and "progressive." But without completely breaking with the oppressors politics these efforts were simply spinning wheels, like trying to ride a bike with no chain; you can turn the pedals all you want but the bike stays in the same spot.
The RUP had a left wing and a right wing, like all phenomenon there were internal contradictions that pulled this group in different directions, and without a clear path for liberation RUP was doomed from the beginning. The biggest error in RUP's program was in attempting to work within the framework of Amerikan bourgeois politics. RUP naively thought Amerika would stand by and allow a historically oppressed people, an internal semi-colony, to build a political party in the barrios, even though it attempted to do so within Amerika's political system. The state would not allow this, as organizing the oppressed for any progressive political activity poses a real potential threat. Once organized and educated this force can easily make a leap from working within the current system to working against the system. This is why people like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated even though they were not calling for socialism and pretty much worked within the confines of the Amerikan laws. They still had influence and the potential was too much, the threat assessment told the state what must be done.
RUP was heavily surveilled by the CIA (1) and so all the Cointelpro tactics were used to destroy this party. And ultimately RUP suffered from believing Chicanos could be liberated via Amerika's bourgeois politics or through reforms. The fault also lies in those more revolutionary elements within RUP for not steering RUP on a more revolutionary approach that sought the liberation of the Chicano nation by building for a socialist revolution on these shores.
So this is where Julian Castro comes from and thus this bourgeois nationalism is what shaped his ideas and lead him down the road to Brown capitalism or outright defender of imperialism. His assimilationist stance shined forth in his speech with statements like "[we need to] do our part as one community, as one United States of Amerika." This is typical language of a comprador who's job is to bring the other oppressed into the fold of the oppressor. His/her job is always to quell or smother the burning embers of resistance in a people and keep things as they are. The slave of old who lived in the massa's house would go out to the slave shacks and talk about how good the massa is, how good the slaves got it, maybe even given them a piece of bacon or the good meat with a promise for more so long as they hang on and be content or say some prayers. This is the approach Castro took in his speech, his focus - like the rest of the Democrats was on the "middle class," and at one point his petit bourgeois colors intensified as he yelled: "The middle class the engine of our economic growth!" The Brown bourgeoisie must have soiled themselves with excitement at hearing this parasite babble on.
Castro's interests are stripped of the more progressive aspects of 1970s political line of his mother, Rosie Castro, which he branded as outdated in an interview on Pacifica Radio. As misguided as the RUP may have been in their approach, they never spoke of leaving Raza behind, nor were they reduced to telling Raza to 'Pull themselves up by the bootstraps.' Rather they sought to include even the poorest Raza living in shacks and fought to better their conditions while Julian Castro has aligned with imperialism as he stated: "we know in our free market economy some people will prosper more than others." The idea that in a society there will be the haves and the have nots is not something we can accept. But Castro sends the message to the ruling class that he is okay with this and thus is not intending to threaten or challenge this status quo. This buys his seat in the imperialist shuttle of Amerikan politics.
The use of Julian Castro is just the latest attempt to get Chicanos and other Raza to become part of Amerika. But many Raza still remember the oppression we have faced, it is still too much for many to side with the enemy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census about 2.3 million businesses are owned by Latinos. Yet when it comes to voting in bourgeois elections only 60 percent of adult Latino citizens vote compared to 70 percent of Black adults who vote and 74 percent of whites who vote. At the same time approximately 500,000 Latino youth will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years. So I believe Julian Castro is the tip of the iceberg where Amerika will begin courting Latinos much more than they ever have in history, and not just any Latinos but preferably those with family history of activism as Julian Castro and his mother in an attempt to paint these parasites as "legitimate" in the eyes of the Chicano nation. But these Brown faces in high places will never be legitimate so long as they support the super parasites. Those who we see as legitimate are those working to liberate our nation, those working to neutralize the super parasite.
We see Amerika's open repression reaching fascist proportions in Aztlán, especially in prisons and on the "border." Most recently we saw along the Texas/Mexico "border" the U.$. instillation of a "mini navy" (4) where speed boats with high powered weapons are guarding the Rio Bravo and have recently baptized these new boats in Mexicano blood when they shot and killed a Mexican citizen on the Mexican side who was barbecuing in a picnic area with his family right on the river. Footage on the Amerikan corporate media this week shows families and children as the border patrol speeds off while cries erupt in this park. This open war on Raza comes without a peep from bourgeois politicians like Julian Castro, who, rather than condemn this repression in his speech, instead declares "Amerika will prevail" in his speech to massa.
We must also learn from the lessons of the past. We are not free to create our own political parties that struggle for our nations, look at what happened to the RUP and Panthers and others. In Amerika although parties of the internal semi-colonies are not publicly banned, they are certainly banned behind closed doors in Langly, in Washington DC, and their other hideaways. We know this is true when we learn about Cointelpro and other operations to infiltrate and disrupt peoples parties or groups. And so we refuse to be fed snake oil from the imperialists or their allies and hasten the day when Aztlán and the other internal semi-colonies can be liberated from attacks by Amerika!
In the past month, I've witnessed more prisoner-on-prisoner assaults than grievances filed on the unjust conditions of confinement here at Bowie County Corruptions Center. One week alone had at least three fights with two resulting in serious injuries that sent prisoners to the hospital.
Often these assaults take place when corruptions officers are not present at their assigned stations. These very officers who neglect their duties are also forced or coerced into writing false infractions with forged and falsified statements that make it appear as if they were on their assigned stations during these altercations. It's a lose-lose situation for the prisoner because the prisoners who receive the injuries are usually coerced into pressing charges against the prisoners who assaulted them.
For example, on 21 September, a prisoner-on-prisoner assault took place which resulted in one prisoner being slightly injured. When the assaulted prisoner demanded that ey be removed from the housing unit, it was discovered that ey was in an altercation. But the officer who was assigned to the station was asked about information concerning the altercation and eir whereabouts, and nothing could be said.
According to the injured prisoner, ey was "jumped" by several prisoners. One of the accused prisoners even confronted corruptions officers asking where was the officer assigned to that station? That officer laughed - knowing that ey was not on eir station. The prisoners were threatened with felony assault charges and later received disciplinary infractions. The prisoners were even found guilty on the infractions after thirteen other prisoners wrote statements for the accused.
There have also been officer-on-prisoner assaults such as one prisoner having his collarbone broken and his hip broken. When the prisoner initiated his 42 USC $1983 Civil Rights Complaint, Ad-Mini-$nake$ (administrators) bribed or attempted to bribe the prisoner by ordering that ey be released from their custody while ey was in the hospital. The prisoner still pursued eir complaint.
The majority of problems here at the Bowie County Corruptions Center generate from falsified infractions that officers write when there exists no officers on their assigned sections, therefore, resulting in a rise of tension amongst prisoners.
Though this practice is common in the corruptions system, we must all stay strong in this struggle together and let these situations and conditions be known to those charged with the responsibility and duties to operate these facilities. If nothing can be done on the administrative level and all remedies have been exhausted, seek relief from the courts and write letters to the media and organizations who may be able to help. Eventually justice shall prevail.
MIM(Prisons) adds: While we agree that eventually justice will prevail, we know that reform tactics such as grievances and court cases will only win temporary or small victories for the oppressed. The criminal injustice system will be willing to adjust its tactics of oppression, but it won't be fundamentally altered through legal battles. We need to undertake these legal battles to win some breathing space from the repression in prison for our comrades, but we can not lose sight of the larger battle against the criminal injustice system overall.
To take on the injustice system more broadly, and end the prisoner-on-prisoner assaults that happen daily, we must take up organizing prisoners for unity and peace. Prisoners ultimately can control prisoner-on-prisoner violence, regardless of what the guards do to encourage it. We must build the United Front for Peace in Prisons to truly end the violence. The first principle of this United Front, Peace, addresses directly the problem this writerr talks about above: "WE organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."
Recently Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Texas enacted a City Ordinance which makes it against the law to feed more than 5 hungry homeless people at a time. Many may remember that mayor Parker made national headlines by becoming the first openly gay/lesbian womyn to be elected mayor to a major u.s. city. One would think that of all people Mayor Parker would be sensitive to the needs of the oppressed and the poor. Of course this mode of thinking is pathetically idealistic and goes against our scientific method for analyzing and solving problems.
I did a concrete analysis of Mayor Parker's actions since she has been in office, and time and time again she has strategically proposed ordinances which promote a "war" on the poor and homeless. Houston is an international imperialist strong hold. The war profiteers Halliburton and Kellog, Brown, and Root have offices in Houston. There are countless oil companies based in Houston. These companies literally rob and exploit the natural resources of many poor and under-developed Third World countries. Mayor Parker is nothing more than an "agent" for these money hungry imperialists. In Mayor Parker's eyes, the poor hungry masses in Houston are an "eyesore" and more importantly, bad for bu$ine$$!
There are many activists who have balked at this new ordinance. They include an incredibly diverse group of individuals. Socialists, Black Panthers, Anarchists, Christians, Right wingers, and Left wingers, the public at large simply does not like this new ordinance. The benevolent "snake" Mayor Parker told the activists that if they could come up with 20,000 signatures of citizens who do not approve of the ordinance she would consider rescinding it. The activists came up with 34,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Mayor Parker and City Council members conspired to sabotage the activist's ability to be heard and acknowledged at a recent city council meeting. A local judge, named Bill Harris determined that the activists submitted their petition too late!
Police terrorism is alive and well in Houston. The homeless who reside downtown are favorite targets of the abusive Houston Police Department officers. The fine for feeding more than 5 homeless people at a time is $2000 and/or jail! People who usually bring food to feed the homeless are afraid.
More than ever we are in dire need of a revolution that overthrows this wicked and corrupt imperialist system that exploits and takes advantage of the "have nots" of society. It is going to take people who are willing to fight and not negotiate with the enemy.
Notes: KPFT Radio 90.1 FM. S.O.S. Radio show with Brother Zinn, 12 September 2012. Facebook.com/KPFT Houston.
This issue is going to production on the heels of the first countrywide action engaged in by a yet-unknown number of members of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP), representing many political, religious and lumpen organizations and hailing from the prison systems of Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, New York, California, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania and the Federal system. Initially called for by UFPP signatory SAMAEL, MIM(Prisons) promoted the call for the Day of Solidarity on September 9 in our last issue of Under Lock & Key as something we felt embodied what the united front is about. In this issue we summarize what we know so far, but we expect to learn more in the coming weeks and will continue to report on this important action.
For our part, MIM(Prisons) made a strong effort back in July to directly contact all other prison rights organizations and activists on the outside to let them know about the Day of Solidarity. We also promoted it generally online and handed out fliers with the five principles of the UFPP on them at many events related to prisons and peace on the streets. Other media outlets that promoted the call included the San Francisco BayView Newspaper, anti-imperialism.com and NorthBay Uprising Radio (89.5 KZCT in Vallejo, CA), which did an extensive interview with a comrade about the day of solidarity, the united front and the prison struggle in general. Other articles in this issue discuss some of the repression faced by prisoners and MIM(Prisons) leading up to the action.
All that said, the primary focus of the day was the organizing of prisoners. To facilitate this we distributed updates to everyone involved about the plans of other groups participating, similar to what we did during the California strikes. One story we distributed from New York was from a handwritten kite a comrade passed to another brother at his facility: "Bro. - Please pay close attention to the article 'Call for Solidarity Demonstration September 9' on page 3. Let me know what you think. I've decided to fast on Sept 9th." The response was written on the same paper: "Yes I will fast on that day, it looks better when we all go to chow but we just don't eat. Thanks for that information." (This was what the 800 Attica comrades did on that day in 1971 in honor of George Jackson's murder.) The original organizers got this report and adjusted their own plans to go to chow and dispose of meals as outlined in their cheat sheet (see "Solidarity and Peace Demonstration Builds, Guards Retaliate"). This cheat sheet was passed on to the comrades in Florida whose report appears below, who also adopted the tactic:
On 9 September 2012, at Everglades Correctional Institution in Florida, individual members of The Blood Nation honored the soldiers of Attica by doing one or more of the following: fasting, boycotting the canteen/commissary, accepting chow hall trays and dumping them, and explaining why. Also participating individually were one or more members of the following groups (in alphabetical order): Black Gangsta Disciples, Crip Nation, Insane Gangsta Disciples, Almighty Latin King Queen Nation, Nation of Islam, Spanish Cobras, Shi'a Muslim Community, and Sufi Community. My apologies to anyone I missed. It was a small step at a spot with no history of unity, but even a single drop of water in a dry glass makes it wet. Respect to those who made the sacrifice, those who joined us midday, and those who expressed interest the day after. I'm as human as anyone, but let's TRY to remember who the enemy is!
Good work comrades! Seems like organizations in Florida are open to solidarity as another comrade from that state reports: "Being that today is September 9 and a day of solidarity and peace, all sorts of nations (organizations) got together here in the rec yard and had a jailhouse BBQ and lived in peace just for the day here at Cross City, Florida."
Many of our supporters are suffering in long-term isolation, so the opportunity for mass organizing is greatly limited. A report from Missouri read:
Today is September 9, 2012. My comrade (my celly) and I are participating in the mass stoppage of work and fast for our comrades who fell in Attica. Although we are in Ad-Seg we have chosen to sacrifice: no food, no [petty stuff], no arguing out the door, only working out four times for one hour each time, reading, studying and talking politics. For me fasting is something I do once a month, but today is the first time I've worked out during my fast. My comrade is pushing me and I'm not stopping. From midnight to midnight is how we're moving.
This white comrade also reported that he received ULK 27 announcing the Day of Solidarity, while his Black comrade's was censored. They report this is a common form of discrimination in Missouri.
Another great success occurred in Nevada where SAMAEL led the organizing of a good cross-section of prisoners representing about 30% of the population. Even if we get no other reports on the September 9 action, we'd say it was a success just from these examples. But we know from the list of states above that the day had much broader participation.
The progress represented by prisoners across the country acting in solidarity as a class took place in the context of the many other strikes and mass actions prisoners have led in the past year or more that have built off of each other as cipactli writes about in "Prisoner Uprisings Foretell Growing Movement". This progress is exciting on the subjective level. And we can look at periods of mass uprising to see what happens when times are "exciting." They tend to be crazy as well. People are confused, trying to figure things out and the enemy is working hard to confuse them more and divide them. So it is of the utmost importance that as the new prison movement emerges that we take time to study questions of security and correct leadership.
There is the question of security at the individual level, and how we judge someone by putting politics in command, as discussed by PTT in relation to Richard Aoki. In the belly of the beast, where there is so much wealth and privilege, security at the group level is very tied up with our class analysis. As our Nevada comrade points out in "Fighting Enemies in the Prison Movement", most people in this country will actively support imperialism without directly getting a paycheck for it, and this is true for a portion of the prison population as well.
One thing that sets communists apart from other revolutionary trends is our stress on the importance of correct ideological leadership. Putting politics in command can guide us in dealing with all challenges we face, not just security. We recognize that the truth will come from mass struggle, but that it will not always be recognized by the masses when they see it because everyone needs to learn to think in a scientific way first. In order to pick the best leadership, we must all be well-studied to think scientifically about both history and our current conditions. As we point out to the comrade who suspects we might be CIA, you should be able to judge the correctness of ULK and to struggle with us where you think we are wrong to decide whether the risk of subscribing is worth it.
Our comrade in BORO puts the September 9 Day of Solidarity in this context well when s/he writes: "Through the lens of a dialectical-materialist, we must see history as a never-ending stream of past events that gave and constantly give birth to present realities. This chain of historical events is constantly moving us forward into the ocean of endless possibilities. We must use this view of a 'living history' as a source of defining who we are and the direction we're heading as a people." (See "Black August and Bloody September: Stand Up and Remember on September 9.")
This September protest wasn't just to spend a day sitting quietly honoring the past; it was a time to learn from the past and apply lessons to address our current conditions. The day was a success, but it was only one step in developing a class-conscious prison movement that can change conditions. In the coming weeks, we look forward to hearing of more successes and accomplishments that organizers achieved on September 9.