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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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[Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression]
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Burning Chicano Books

The recent assault raining down on Brown people in the state of Arizona smacks of the rise of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany when Hitler's Brown shirts began burning books that may have contradicted fascist ideology. This was not a phenomenon exclusive to Germany, rather the occupier always attacks an oppressed nation's culture, history and language in order to sap a people's ability to struggle.

What better way to prevent a people from wanting to struggle than to take away their history of struggle and oppression and brainwash them with the oppressor's views and version of history. An act that was outright "land theft" quickly becomes "an honest purchase" or "genocidal acts" become an almost spiritual or supernatural concept called "manifest destiny." In this way ideas are shaped and a people are pacified.

The state of Arizona has dismantled Chicano studies which was obtained in the first place by courageous struggle. Most remember the 1990s when UCLA finally obtained their Chicano studies courses via a hunger strike in 1993. Many schools had to protest and struggle to be able to learn about our history. For too long we have been told a version of history from the oppressor nation's view, twisting real history in an attempt to brainwash our youth. This is a serious attack on the Chicano nation and this comes at a time when an increase in repression is unleashed on migrants by ICE and other government agencies. This is no coincidence when it is viewed with the criminalization of Raza and the southwest states' use of control units to capture Chicanos at a higher rate than any other nationality. Even those "law abiding" youth who are doing nothing wrong but attending Amerikan schools thinking that if they commit no crime and get an "education" they will have a good life are facing attacks from the imperialists — preying on the most vulnerable — our youth!

The banning of books was thought to have been a thing of the past, a fascist way of controlling a people's thoughts and yet we are experiencing it in 2012. The book Occupied America: A history of Chicanos by Dr. Rodolfo F. Acuna was recently one of the books banned in Arizona. This book along with others was boxed up in classrooms in front of Chicano students, as if their history is bad, as if Chicanos are bad, a forbidden people. It has been reported that when this occurred some Chicano youth were crying in class not understanding or comprehending the vile white supremacist monster they are up against living as an internal semi-colony in the United $tates.

Occupied America is a book that has been required reading in Chicano studies courses all over the United $tates for decades! It is a book of the history of the Chicanos and uncovers U.$. imperialism's treatment and oppression of our nation. It does not promote violence or speak of revenge or retribution, this book merely tells the story of imperialism's activity on this continent over the centuries. But as the Chicano scholar Dr. Carlos Muñoz recently put it in regards to the banning of these books and studies "They are afraid of the truth. You know, the truth hurts." I think that's a real simple way to put it the truth does hurt these parasites, their vileness hurts to know or to be reminded of how they treated human beings.

This recent attack is going to backfire on the oppressor nation. Due to this and all the other attacks on the Chicano nation it is going to spark an arousal in Aztlan, a second wind in the Chicano movement is going to kick in where the youth who have since the 60s begun to get lax and not appreciate the sacrifices that went into allowing us to gain things like Chicano studies, all this taking things for granted is now coming to an end and Raza are awakening and our youth are once more being politicized and our barrios are once more being revolutionized. Chicano revolutionaries are organizing and developing new ideology, even prisons are seeing [email protected] becoming conscious and revolutionary and we will use the experience of the Chicano movement of decades past to make a leap in our struggles and push our nation farther than previous efforts. More youth are wanting answers of why they are suffering state oppression and jumping into the mix, many want to know why Occupied America is banned and going out and purchasing the book to see what all the fuss is about if they have not already read it, I myself am going to order it to share with others and all Raza should do the same and purchase this book to learn why the state is targeting this book and to support our Chicano historians who stand in the line of fire by imperialism and its apparatus. Purchase it before it is banned even for purchase!

When we see these developments occur to our gente we should understand that the 2010 U.$. census shows the dramatic growth in the Raza population, when all other folks are decreasing in population Raza are increasing. Raza will soon be the majority and I have written about this before, this "majority" in population that we will be in the future is not being taken lightly by the state, they have think tanks who sit around thinking of ways to stifle and assimilate Raza and how to break the Chicano nation's back via our youth. We must see the seriousness in the banning of Chicano books, this is a low intensity war on the Chicano nation, they are using deportations, prisons, three strikes laws and now schools to force their program onto our nation and so we need to educate Raza in the barrios and the pintas before it is too late.

When the Spaniards came to the valley of Mexico they burned the Mexica's books (codices) and destroyed their written history or most of it along with other traces of their legacy and filled the void with what they wanted future generations to know and when we read what they have written we do not read of genocide and rape because they conveniently left that out. All oppressors have used this tactic of re-writing history. Do not stand by and allow Chicano book burning to occur in 2012. Let us make our voice heard in Arizona and support Raza in that repressive atmosphere who are up against the same world oppressor we are! This madness in Arizona will not be solved by changing Arizona because it is U.$. imperialism which unleashes these fascist laws on our nation so it is with imperialism where the problem lies and so long as imperialism exists book banning will exist, today it is the Chicano nation being attacked via its history books and tomorrow the Black nation's history books will be banned in schools and then others as well so let us stand in solidarity against this coming fascist storm and prepare the people wherever you may be!

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[Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada]
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Solitary Confinement at Ely State Prison (Max)

I was just given 1 year in the hole by these fascist pigs who want to see me break down and give in. Not only do they put me in solitary confinement, they put me smack dead in the middle of two mental patients who have lost their grip on reality. I truly believe this was an attack on my sanity because when I receive my meals I hear the pigs say it must suck to be you and things of that nature. I just look at them and give no reply.

The madness starts about 11pm every night, I call it party time. Doors get kicked, the screaming begins and toilets get banged on. I ball up wet tissue and stuff it in my ears. This helps a little bit but I can still hear every word that is being spoken. The first few nights were rough but I managed. I was getting upset at my neighbors for making all the noise, but I had to sit back and realize what was going on. I know that being in solitary confinement can break down the most active comrade, I've seen it go down and I'm pretty sure those who spend years in the hole for being an unruly tenant have seen it as well.

To all comrades who are cussing these dudes out, ask yourself about those prisoners being disruptive. Are these cries for help cuz just being in a cell 24/7 is to much for them to handle and it's beginning to weigh on them mentally? I notice that these cries for help are met with the goon squad running in on them or these doctors forcing meds on them which they don't need. All this does is drive them deeper and deeper into depression and despair.

Animal rights agencies have gotten laws passed to ban this cruel treatment of animals but the government is still allowed to inflict this cruel treatment on humans, imagine that! The United $tates federal courts have acknowledged and ruled that solitary confinement causes sensory deprivation which in turn causes substantial psychological damage, this is no theory but a fact. Some common symptoms from sensory deprivation are paranoia, anxiety, depression, aggression and psychosis.

Our oppressors can change the name or paint it a pretty color but it's still solitary confinement. I guess they believe this tactic is working to subdue the rowdy cons and to turn prisoners against each other. But what prison officials don't realize is that they are going to eventually release a beast that they created back to society and when this home grown prison beast is released and kills someone officials have the nerve to act offended and prosecutors call him an animal and charge him just to put him back in solitary.

Right now I'm next to a young white brother who is on meds. He's 19 years old and has been in the hole for 1 year but from time to time he goes a little off the wall. He just had a psychotic episode where he threw shit on one of these pigs and just a few days ago he found out that he was being AG'd (the Attorney General wants to file new charges on him). Now he's looking at more time in prison and in solitary confinement where his mental state will surely get worse. What good is this doing? So instead of us talking shit and lashing at these people, let's take a deeper look at what's really going on.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good letter illustrating the torture that is the long-term solitary confinement units in Amerika's criminal injustice system. The fight to shut down these Security Housing Units is a key part of the battle for better conditions. This is a tool for educating and organizing, and we need to unite rather than criticize those who are suffering in these units.

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[Organizing] [Colorado]
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Colorado DOC's New Tool

As a high ranking member of a Lumpen Organization (LO) I encourage all LOs in the Colorado State slave system to organize and unite with the MIM(Prisons) United Struggle from Within (USW). These pigs in the CDOC have taken a page from B.F. Skinner and created an Incentive Program in all Level 3 & 4 yards. This program allows participants more rec time, pod time, DVD player and movie rental for their cells and the privilege of eating before all units. It is clear staff goes out of their way to make sure General Populations know these are "specially privileged." In turn they have to sign a contract agreeing to not participate in any Security Threat Group (STG) related activities, including organized protest, staying write up free, and working any "facility needs job," i.e. kitchen, janitorial, etc., in the event of a lockdown.

This is a classic divide and conquer technique and an insurance policy against peaceful protest, i.e. hunger strikes, work strikes, etc. I encourage all prisoners in the Colorado slave system who are participating in this program to re-evaluate their position. Giving up your morals for simple comforts by entering this program makes it impossible for those of us who want to fight imperialism and injustice for all of us. Any kind of peaceful organized protest against injustice and imperialism will be ineffective because these program participants will mitigate the effects of such protest for these pigs.

At first the program was not being taken advantage of by prisoners so the pigs employed the carrot and the stick technique by decreasing GP's privileges in order to make this program more appealing. Those who openly protested the programs existence were systematically removed from GP and put in Ad-Seg.

The effect of this program is already apparent. The pigs have become more brazen in their actions against us as a whole. There is no fear of any type of retaliation for their actions, and because each prison organization is split by some of its members participating in this program, no organization has any structure. This program is not to help you comrades. Wake up! Look at the long term and don't follow the carrot.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons attempt to divide and conquer prisoners using many tactics. Privileges are one very effective tactic in buying the complacency of some prisoners. We need to be aware of the impact this has on our ability to organize protests and take action. Educating all prisoners about the big picture of the Criminal Injustice System and its connections to imperialism is an important component in the fight against these potential divisions. Those prisoners who understand the broader context of their day-to-day oppression will be less likely to take small privileges as a buy off in exchange for their silence and inactivity.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Forest] [Pennsylvania]
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Brutality and Resistance in Pennsylvania Demonstrates Need for United Front

I am currently being held captive in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI Forest and would like to apprise you of some recent events that have taken place:

On February 21, 2012, a mentally ill prisoner told Lt. Raymond Burkhart and other staff that he was feeling suicidal shortly after breakfast trays were distributed to prisoners in the unit. In turn, Lt. Burkhart summoned an extraction team, which consisted of approximately seven guards clad in full riot gear - helmets, body armor and gas masks. Moreover, the extraction team carried Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), chemical agents, nightsticks, and other weapons. Bear in mind, the mentally ill prisoner, like most other prisoners in RHU, was housed in a single-man cell and with no clothing except for a jumpsuit and underclothes.

Instructed by Lt. Murin, the extraction team accosted the mentally ill prisoner and demanded that he relinquish his plastic breakfast tray. Disregarding the extraction team's orders, the prisoner requested psychiatric care apropos of his suicidal feelings. The extraction team then blasted the prisoner with a chemical agent. With his eyes and skin burning from the chemical agent, the prisoner relinquished the breakfast tray. The extraction team then left the unit. Lt. Burkhart and other staff left the mentally ill prisoner in the cell with the chemical agent burning his eyes and skin, and causing him to experience breathing complications overnight. All requests for medical and mental health care were denied.

The following morning, Lt. Burkhart summoned another extraction team to deal with the same mentally ill prisoner. Fortunately, that extraction team did not attack him with chemical agents. Unfortunately, they opted to charge into his cell, stun him with CEDs and pummel him bloody. Even after he was fully restrained by handcuffs and leg irons, one extraction team member (C.O. Woods) repeatedly struck his face with fists and elbows. The prisoner suffered a broken nose in addition to other facial injuries.

The extraction team then locked the mentally ill prisoner in a hard-cell (a cell with a concrete slab for a bed and no other furniture). He was left naked and bleeding with no running water. Several prisoners made requests to Lt. Burkhart and other staff for the mentally ill prisoner to be given medical treatment. These requests were denied.

On February 23, a comrade had words with Lt. Burkhard about the fact that the mentally ill prisoner was being denied medical treatment and held under inhuman conditions. Lt. Burkhart insulted the comrade with racial epithets.

That afternoon, the comrade was asleep while a pig was counting prisoners. The comrade didn't respond to the pig's calling of his name and consequently Lt. Burkhart ordered several guards to enter the comrade's cell. Awoken by the opening of the cell door, the comrade sprung to his feet and defended himself from the attack by the pigs. In fact, he defended himself so well that one pig ended up with a broken nose, and another with broken ribs. The comrade received minimal damage to the body.

Then, yesterday, four prisoners refused to return to their cells from the RHU yard in what began as a peaceful protest to seek the removal of Lt. Burkhart from the RHU. True to form, the pigs quickly got into riot gear and stormed the yard. They attacked one of the four prisoners with a stun shield. Be mindful of the fact that each prisoner was in a single-man exercise cage. Seeing no possible victory in combating the extraction team under the circumstances, the other three prisoners chose to return to their cells and excogitate new strategies.

It is well understood that MIM(Prisons) believes that the time is not yet ripe for armed struggle in this imperialist country, as their regime is still very powerful, and a minuscule percentage of the people are ready and able to partake in real revolution. Furthermore, when prisoners use violence against guards, then those who want to keep the prison industrial complex functioning label such prisoners incorrigible in order to increase the fear, and decrease the support, of prisoners in general by the populace. This makes easier the accomplishment of the government's goal of social control. Notwithstanding, prisoners often feel the need to take up arms against oppressors as guards are given free rein to physically assault them, deprive them of meals and subject them to various other forms of torture.

Even when prisoners endeavor to resolve issues the "right" way, i.e., filing prison grievances and lawsuits, they are often faced with coverups and injustices. For example, the same Lt. Burkhart mentioned earlier in this report often goes into cells while prisoners are in the yard and discards prisoners' legal materials. There are video cameras recording every pod in this unit 24 hours a day, but when prisoners request the use of the videos that would show Lt. Burkhart leaving cells with legal materials as proof of claims to resolve grievances, Lt. Burkhart's coworkers either refuse to review and preserve the videos, or say they can't see him on them. Such experiences are frustrating for prisoners.

The unity, discipline and hardihood displayed by the prisoners who partook in the hunger strikes in Georgia and California is commendable. And albeit not all participants belong to LOs, respect must be given to the many who do and yet were able to put their differences to the side and federate to take a stand against the common enemy. We are not close to having that type of unity in Pennsylvania, as individualism is prevalent out here. Nonetheless, there are some inspired guerrillas paying attention and working to radicalize others. Moreover, some of us are building the foundation of a movement that will aim to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

So, as other comrades and I strive to devise and employ tactics to thwart Lt. Burkhart and other oppressors, we look to strengthen solidarity with those who desire a communist world.


MIM(Prisons] adds: These struggles in Pennsylvania are similar to those going on across the criminal injustice system in Amerika. And this comrade does a good job describing the contradiction between the immediate desire of prisoners to fight back physically against the physical brutality they face daily and the potentially detrimental consequences of this armed struggle at this stage of development. We continue to encourage all prisoners to work with the United Front for Peace in Prisons and avoid physical confrontations whenever possible. We will build a movement that demonstrates that it is the oppressed who want peace and the prisons that promote violence.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Censorship and Criminal Neglect in San Diego

In Richard J. Donovan State Prison in San Diego Ad-Seg this place is off the hook with their green wall mentality and tactics. For starters, today I got my mail and it's your magazine dated August 9, 2011. So these people are playing with our mail. It took seven months to get my mail from you. If that ain't censoring our mail then I don't know what is. There are other items of mail I've been waiting on that I still have not received. I've written ISU (Institution Services Unit) and the mailroom to find out whats going on with my mail, they have not bothered to respond.

When I was on the line here at RJDSP I worked as a porter in the EOP (Enhanced Outpatient Program) building. I used to find 10 to 20 letters a day in the trashcan. I got to the point of just passing out mail to these guys myself, as I found it in the trash. The pigs keep whatever they want here, mags, photos out of letters, stamps, money orders, visiting apps, etc.

Mail is just the tip of the BS going on. I've eye witnessed back-to-back beatings by CDCs finest. These poor guys here have tried time and again to get outside help, all these people do is screen our mail and hold back what they don't want getting out.

The food is bland and there is no salt in our food. The amount is so small in portion that a child could barely live off it. The air conditioning is on full blast to keep us frozen in the middle of winter. The conditions are so bad - it's so dirty in here and they never give us cleaning supplies.

My neighbor got an infection on his toe, and they wouldn't treat him for it. It got so bad they had to cut it off. They got us sleeping on mattresses that are stained with piss. Or in some cases no mattress. But if we make a big deal by asking for help, we'll get the shit beat out of us, and stripped down to nothing. I've been in Ad-Seg for a minute now and still haven't got my property. But I refuse to stop the fight no matter where they put me. This is why I write, to encourage others to never let these people still your spirit.

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[Middle East] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 25]
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Amerikan Occupiers Still Losing


The point of guerrilla war is not to succeed,
it's always been just to make the enemy bleed.
Depriving the soldiers of the peace of mind that they need.
Bullets are hard to telegraph when they bob and they weave.
The only way a guerrilla war can ever be over,
is when the occupation can't afford more soldiers.
Until they have to draft the last of you into the service,
and you refuse because you don't see the purpose.
- Immortal Technique, the Martyr

Afghan protesters stomp out police car in Herat

In just over a week, six Amerikan soldiers have been killed by Afghan patriots within the state military that is supposedly working with the U.$. occupation. Nominally triggered by reports of the U.$. military burning copies of the Koran, these killings bring the number of NATO troops killed by their Afghan "allies" to 36 in the last year. This is a significant increase from previous years and some have suggested no other "native ally" of U.$. imperialism has compared.(1) While tiny in comparison to the loss of life by the occupied population, these incidents support the assessment that the United $tates continues to lose their war on Afghanistan. The deaths of Amerikans, while providing fuel for anti-Afghan propaganda, frightens the Amerikan public away from participating in ground wars. It took a long 9 years to turn Amerikan public opinion towards pulling troops out of Afghanistan, and Afghans are still fighting to get them out.(2)

There are two incorrect bourgeois narratives underlying the reporting on recent events. One attempts to hide the fact that the nation has faced a brutal occupation for over a decade, as if Afghans are just irrationally responding to the minor incident of the burning of some books. The second narrative is that there is an outside radical religious element, which must be distinguished from the greater Afghan nation that wants to work with Amerikans. This narrative was used against the Taliban for years before the invasion by U.$. troops even began. The truth being (however flimsily) covered by both of these narratives is that the Afghan nation has supported a decade-long war of resistance to the imperialist occupation led by Amerika. A parallel might be drawn to the media's portrayal of the prison movement where the outside element is "criminal gangs" and resistance is pinned to issues like wanting TV or better food.

In a recent report on NPR, an official stated that USAID had to hide the fact that they were giving aid to the Afghan people, because no one in the country would be seen with a blanket or food with a U.$. flag on it. This fact is a clear demonstration that either the resistance is the Afghan people, or the "outside radical element" is so prolific as to make distinguishing it from the Afghan people irrelevant. Meanwhile, the funeral of an Afghan air force colonel that killed nine Amerikans was attended by 1500 mourners last year.(3) Since this article was first drafted another bomb struck near Bagram Air Force Base where the Korans were burned on March 5. On March 8 the Taliban infiltrated Afghan police in Oruzgan and killed nine of them, while six British occupiers were killed during an attack on their vehicle in Helmand province. Our strategic confidence comes from examples like this, where whole countries have united to reject and fight imperialism. Comparing these conditions to those in the United $tates demonstrates our line on where guerrilla war is possible and not.

"Time works for the guerrilla both in the field — where it costs the enemy a daily fortune to pursue him — and in the politico-economic arena."(4) The occupation of Afghanistan is estimated to have cost as much as $500 billion(5), with sources reporting costs per Amerikan soldier at $850,000 up to $1.2 million a year.(6) While almost all of this money goes to U.$. corporations and their employees supplying the soldiers, even bourgeois economists have recognized that militarism is not a sustainable way to prop up a capitalist economy. What they fail to acknowledge is that only a socialist economic system that produces for need, not profit, can eliminate the inherent contradictions in production where circulation of capital must always increase in the interest of profit.

"There is no great novelty in [guerrilla tactics], nor can the Marxist-Leninist camp claim any special credit for it. What is new — and Mao is the apostle and the long Chinese revolution the first proving ground — is the application of guerrilla activity, in a conscious and deliberate way, to specific political objectives, without immediate reference to the outcome of battles as such, provided only that the revolutionaries survive."(7)

We are coming out of a period where the universality of Maoism has been dirtied by an association of communism with revisionists and First Worldists. Islam continues to unite the national liberation movement in Afghanistan, while "communism" has an association with foreign invasion. While socialism is necessary to meet the needs of the people of Afghanistan, the movement's ideology so far has kept it isolated from the toxic politics of the First World. This will work in their favor as the people's struggle reaches higher stages.

Here in the United $tates we must continue to find creative ways to help the Afghans' heroic struggle to whittle away at Amerikan support for occupation. And we must learn from the events in Central Asia about who are our friends and enemies, what is possible where, and what it looks like to take on a long struggle with the confidence that you are on the right side of history.

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[Organizing]
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Entering SNY to Give Up Gang Banging

I am a strong brother who is currently living on a Special Needs Yard (SNY). I am writing this letter in response to several articles about the many individuals who are or who have chosen to live inside of an SNY yard. I know that I am an exception. I have never been in prison before. I have never testified on anybody or been victimized by another human being. I chose to lock it up or become an SNY yard prisoner despite the stigma because of my experiences as a gang banger. I wanted to give up continuously putting myself into danger and stop standing up for a code and structure that served no purpose other than to steal, kill, beat down and destroy myself, my family and my community.

I won't pre-judge those brothers and sisters in the mainline who believe that everyone on SNY is a snitch, a bitch or a tattle tell. But there are a lot of good and bad brothers everywhere who can and may contribute to this cause. We have to figure out a way that we as a people can use our common sense to focus on who our real oppressors are within and beyond these walls.

We need to address our fears and really look deeply into what are we all really fighting for. Is it to end all oppression or to continue allowing ourselves to oppress our people. Whether we are on SNY yards or on mainline yards, prison is prison and oppression is oppression.

I have started work groups and study groups with all types of individuals around me here, something that structures and constant distrust has prevented many of us on the mainline or in society from doing. I came to SNY for better opportunity, a better way for me to do my time positively and productively. Despite the stigma, I think that it is a better environment to begin to work in, and reprogram our minds from our years and years of brainwashing.


MIM(Prisons) adds: There is little question that the expansion of the SNY program in California that has been long debated in the pages of ULK is part of an effort on the part of the CDCR to weaken lumpen organizations. And this is why SNY receives much ire from prisoners of many political persuasions. While they see the expansion as a plague spreading across the prison system, we have not seen any practical antidote to this come from those who consider SNY prisoners to be absolute enemies. The structures are too rigid and are not adapting as the masses begin moving in another direction. Granted this "new direction" is still largely guided by the CDCR itself, but it has a basis in real contradictions within the imprisoned class. We see plenty of people in GP working with the CDCR in anti-people activities and we see people in SNY supporting independent institutions of the oppressed.

The oppressed need organization, with structure, discipline and security. We should work to maintain these aspects of current organization where they exist. But most importantly, we need organizations that serve the people. And this is why we welcome the work of comrades like this one who are bridging gaps and organizing where others are not willing.

MIM(Prisons) position on the SNY debate remains one of looking at each individuals actions around the revolutionary struggle to judge their value to the movement. The larger problems that led to the current levels of SNY populations still need to be addressed by comrades with a common vision in all populations.

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