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Under Lock & Key

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[Economics] [ULK Issue 23]
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Newsflash: Amerikans are the Top 13 Percent

infographic on the 99% occupy wall street - the real percentages

Recent demonstrations in U.$. cities have claimed to represent "the 99%" opposed to the greed of the richest 1%. MIM(Prisons) supports a more equitable distribution of the world's resources. What most Amerikans don't realize is that a true redistribution of wealth would mean less for them as they are all part of the richest 13%.

In 1970 an action similar in form to Occupy Wall Street! (OWS!) occurred in response to the assassination of students at Kent State University. In response, a local union rampaged through the street beating the students and attacking state offices. Reflecting on this event, a radio host implied OWS! was evidence of progress, measured by the union support it has received.

The material conditions of the U.$. invasion of Vietnam forced Amerikan youth at that time to take a more progressive position than today, leading them to come at odds with white nationalist unions. The OWS! actions are even more within the realm of white nationalism than the so-called "Battle in Seattle" in 1999 where anarchists and environmentalists linked arms with unions to oppose the World Trade Organization. Only the likes of MIM and J. Sakai recognized the reactionary white nationalism that anti-WTO sentiments were being focused into within the Amerikan context. Yet, at least the anarchists had a healthy dose of internationalism motivating them back then.

With OWS! the principal cry is "defend the Amerikan middle class." While anarchists are attracted to the form (spokes councils and consensus open to "the people") the content is hopelessly white nationalist. It is the exact type of rhetoric that the social democrats of post-depression Europe spit that led to the rise of fascism in many countries.(1) When the privileged nations of the world feel their privilege is threatened they become uncharacteristically politicized in their demands for more. They attack the ultra-rich in order to create the illusion that they are poor in comparison. But facts are stubborn things, and the interests of Amerikans lead them to cry for the ultra-rich to defend Amerikan jobs and back the massive lines of credit they have taken out. Both demands are incompatible with the struggle for migrant rights, which has been in vogue among the white nationalist left in recent years.

MIM always said if real economic hard times hit the imperialist countries, we would see a rise of fascism more than an interest in Maoism. We say this not to instill fear and arouse emotions but to promote a realistic assessment of conditions. Amerikan youth are the ones who put their bodies on the line in Seattle and now in New York and elsewhere. Because of the decades of life they have ahead of them, young people have more interest than their parents in transforming this world to a more equitable one. But to do so they must see things for what they are and get behind the real forces for progressive change.

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[Campaigns] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria Strikers Continue, Some Succumb to Medical Conditions

11 October 2011 - I want to keep you up to date on our struggles here in Calipatria State Prison in regards to the food strike. Personally I went 8 days before my body shut down. I lost 11 pounds and am still having a hard time re-adjusting back to normal. There are many men still striking and my heart goes out to them. My medical disorder (seizures) was really affecting my mind and body. I have been working on getting my mind and body back on track.

I am going to start writing letters to the warden and encourage fellow prisoners to do the same thing. I'm going to try my best to get done what I can for us men in here. I know this battle is going to be one hell of a struggle, but I'm going to do my best. I got 9 men on board and we're very serious about the goal we set before us. If they take one of us, there will be someone to pick up where things are left off.

I appreciate your guidance and so do the rest of the men. I shared your pamphlet with every single man here and also wrote a "kite" addressing it to every active soldier. I understand it's not going to be easy, but I strongly believe we'll succeed in struggle together.


UPDATE: The coalition providing outside mediators for the strikers has reported that Calipatria prisoners ended their strike on October 15, two days after leaders in Pelican Bay had done so. While the mediators report that Pelican Bay prisoners believe their individual cases will be reviewed, the state says nothing changed in their plan to trigger an end to the strike. Either way, it is clear that the 5 demands are not being met.

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[Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Hunger Strike Report from PBSP

I am one of the hunger strike representatives for the "northern" Mexicans. I just read your Under Lock & Key 22 and thought it was well written and very informative. Included here is an update on our situation here.

On September 29, 15 of the representatives were moved from the SHU and placed in administrative segregation (Ad-Seg). We still have not received any paperwork explaining why. But the acting chief Deputy Warden Cook came through and told us that we're here because we've been "identified as leaders of the hunger strike." He also said that we'd be receiving some kind of "incident packet." I'm assuming this is a 115 rule violation report. This whole action, being placed in Ad-Seg, and the issuance of an incident packet, is in direct contradiction to CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thorton's statement: "there are no punitive measures for inmates refusing to eat." And we believe this is an act of retaliation for our peaceful protest.

Upon being rehoused, we were unable to bring any personal property with us. No addresses of family, friends or outside supporters, no personal hygiene, no legal material. (On October 6 we were issued some legal materials but not all of what everyone needed.) We were told that all our property was taken out of our SHU cells and stored in the SHU Property room where it is being searched.

Warden Lewis came through and told us that "as soon as you eat, I'll move you back to SHU." He also said, because we're on hunger strike we have "no program coming." That means no visits, no yard time, no law library and most likely no canteen. On the canteen, all of us ordered hygiene and stationary products, as we could not bring any with us. Some of us ordered beverages too (i.e. coffee, tea or coco) as we are on a solid food hunger strike only. While we do have access to a paging system with the law library where we can put in a request for a case or statue and they'll send it to us, we have no access to certain materials that are only available at the law library itself. Several of us have active cases and this puts us at a serious disadvantage.

The cells are really cold (not sure if this is from lack of food). I'm usually fully dressed with a t-shirt wrapped around my head and a beanie on top of that and a sheet or blanket wrapped around my shoulders. Maintenance came through to check the air blowing out of the vents and slowed them down some (they were blowing kind of hard), but it's still cold. Especially the outside wall. It's sapping much of my strength.

The design of this Ad-Seg makes it difficult to get the attention of the control officer. In fact, it states in the orientation packet "due to the physical design and distance within this building, the control officer may not hear you. It is recommended that you communicate with the floor officers, and utilize request for interview forms whenever possible." (Inmate Orientation Document, Administrative Segregation unit stand alone (ASU-1) Revised: Oct, 21, 2009) The cells have solid doors so it makes it difficult for us to hear a prisoner in the next cell. Our concern here is if someone falls out we may not be able to hear him. And, if we do, we may not be able to contact anyone for help. So, the question begs, if PBSP/CDCR are aware of this then why would they put us back here in our weakened condition?!

It took PBSP eight days to come and check our weight. According to CDCR policy dealing with hunger strikes, they were supposed to come and check our weight and vitals after 9 missed meals (3 days). (Health Care Services - Chapter 22). The reason why this is important, to have our weight checked as soon as possible, is because in most cases this becomes our starting point. Any weight we lost prior to being weighed (in my case, 18 pounds) may not be documented. CDCR can then manipulate these facts to make it appear like we haven't lost that much weight. Recently, a registered nurse told us that as of September 29th a new policy was implemented regarding "mass" hunger strikes. Three days after we started, none of us has seen it yet.

Recently we were informed that two of our primary attorneys assisting in the meditations with CDCR were banned from visiting us (Carol Strickman and Marilyn McMahon). CDCR is claiming they are under investigation for assisting in a "mass disturbance." No doubt they will be cleared of these accusations. It's just another way of CDCR flexing it's muscle to intimidate our outside supporters.

Post Script: On October 11 we did receive our canteen, hygiene and stationary products only, no beverages. [This was similar to the practice in Corcoran SHU where comrades were denied liquids and electrolytes.]

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[Campaigns] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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100 Prisoners Holding Out Over Unjust Validations

6 October 2011 - At the moment here in Calipatria State Prison in ASU about 100 prisoners are on day 11 of the hunger strike and we will be on it until the CDCR meets the demands of PBSP on how prisoners are validated through this torturous inhuman system.

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [North Kern State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 23]
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Hunger Strike First Step in Building United Front

So much is going on right now with the hunger strike reactivated. Here at North Kern State Prison we received a memo stating that whoever participated in the new hunger strike will be severely punished. Wow! They can only make us stronger, so every race is refusing one meal a day to show our solidarity.

My main comment is in response to the so-called comrade calling everybody in Special Needs Yards (SNY) a snitch. S/he was very wrong. As you stated in Under Lock & Key 21, 13 prisons supported the hunger strike initiated in Pelican Bay State Prison in July. CCI Tehachapi is predominately SNY, and all of R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility and Pleasant Valley State Prison is SNY. SNY is 3-to-1 over the very overrated general population (GP), and we don't get validated by SNYs; we get validated by GPs. Unity in the masses is needed. How can you question someone else's loyalty when the very same individual could go to SNY one day? We GPs created SNY, and not all SNYs are bad. A lot of my comrades who are still solid Crips went SNY to get release dates. I can't be mad at that, or anyone willing to debrief to leave the SHU.

In this hunger strike the unity is with us all starving ourselves for the better treatment of our beloved comrades who are stuck in the back willing to die for a righteous cause. I support that! We are all trying to bring a United Front with all structures in the California prison system; not just with a hunger strike, but it's a start. True, the pigs are the enemy and we've let them divide us. We can stand together against them as long as leaders lead right with the positive influence to cease all grudges and stress why the unity is needed. And that's all prisons across the country. All LK, GD, UL, BGF, EME, TS, AB, CCO, UBN, 415, and anything else that's of the lumpen.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Every oppressed persyn should know that there is nothing to gain by talking to the police. But without proper training, and when facing years in a torture cell, many will not know how to respond in a way that serves their interests in the short and long-term. Yet, the hunger strike is so important because of the role the SHU plays in repressing the organization of the oppressed. We want to keep people out of there. And while debriefing is generally translated as snitching, a Corcoran prisoner describes:

"A debriefer who was briefly in this individual's cell told IGI, the individual spoke of the merits of socialism, the history of political resistance to racism in America, and the validity of the socio-economic and political views of Frantz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh, and George Lester Jackson. The IGI told the debriefer this was 'BGF education,' to which the debriefer quickly agreed, framed it in those terms, and parroted what his IGI handler told him to."

The author of this quote, who was validated, is quick to condemn SNY prisoners, describing them as the most violent and discussing the gangs they have formed to work directly with the pigs. While it is true that many LOs work with the pigs, that is not limited to SNY. And while many in prison have given real information to the pigs, the above example begs the question, what do we have to gain by condemning snitches when all they are doing is parroting the pigs? Aren't the pigs in control, going so far as to tell them what to say?

Rather than marveling at the lack of character of the current generation, we need to look at the reasons why so many prisoners are easily manipulated to play the pigs' game. There are material bases for the actions of the masses. If there's too much snitching, then why don't the LOs address the causes for that? What support can you provide your members to encourage different behavior? Because the current way ain't working.

In California, SNY, like SHU, has been used as a tool to break up oppressed nation organizing. But it has become so common that prisoners are questioning the SNY vs. GP split that the state created. We echo this comrade's recognition that California prisoners came together over the last three months across all lines, a good step towards expanding the United Front for Peace in Prisons, and we join this comrade in calling for LOs to continue to come together in this struggle.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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PBSP Strike Update - CDCR Still Breaking Laws

1 October 2011 - As of September 26, 2011 we have re-started our hunger strike. It was evident that Scott Kernan isn't going to uphold his end of the original agreement on the 5 core demands from our first hunger strike, so action was necessary.

As of September 29, 2011, CDCR removed all representatives in the short corridor as well as the organizers of the hunger strike. They were all placed in Ad-Seg (that's the story CDCR is giving). No one has access to them. We don't know what their condition is, because they are also on the hunger strike.

Scott Kernan issued a memo stating that "Inmates who participate in the hunger strike will be disciplined." On September 29, 2011, Pelican Bay staff started pulling prisoners out of their cells, so they could take all food out of their cells. Even those prisoners who couldn't participate in the hunger strike because of poor health and serious medical needs. Their canteen and food was taken away as a result of the hunger strike.

Today is October 1st, 2011, and we were just told by CDCR staff that prison visits are cancelled due to the hunger strike. This is a direct retaliation by CDCR. It's obvious that Scott Kernan doesn't want information to leak out to the public about how this situation is beyond his control. By CDCR denying our family and friends direct access to us they place uncalled for stress on them as well as a financial burden.

So far CDCR is still using old standards to keep us validated as gang members/associates. I received 1030s stating "other prisoners were caught with my name in their cell," so CDCR is using that to validate me, along with drawings that have a huelga bird on it.

I have to file a 602 on these issues, because in the 2005 Lira v Herrera case, the courts decided that laundry lists and drawings are not to be used as active gang material. So I have a lot of legal research to do on this.

Also, I have just filed a 602 on CDCR for "withholding" a letter from MIM(Prisons). They cited that MIM is asking prisoners to disrupt daily operations of CDCR. So I'm in litigation to get CDCR to give me that letter.

I have to say, our daily struggles from behind the walls will continue as long as this corrupt system continues to abuse the mass of the prison population who are wrongly accused of gang ties, etc.

Long term and indefinite isolation is by all standards inhumane and excessive punishment for any person no matter what his crime is. This places serious stress on any person's psychological and mental state of mind. I personally have experienced a lot of this oppression and abuse by CDCR for the past 12 years here at Pelican Bay SHU.

Things have to change. The current cycle of abuse and the systematic way in which it's applied is more than any human spirit can take. It's a miraculous accomplishment that so many of us still housed here at Pelican Bay SHU still have our sanity.

Well it's no surprise that CDCR just told all those on the hunger strike that they will not be allowed to see/talk to their visitors because their visits were canceled. But those prisoners who didn't take part in the hunger strike will be allowed to visit their loved ones. It's a sad disturbing turn of events, but it's our reality.

My viewpoint on this hunger strike is that these material items such as sweats, photos, colored pens, etc., are not what we really want, but rather are items that should have been part of the established curriculum for the SHU all along.

I am a lifer, as you know, and I can't imagine having to spend the rest of my life living here at Pelican Bay SHU. And I don't want to see youngsters brought to the SHU behind CDCR lies and have to suffer the same fate we are all suffering now.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 23]
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Ghost Guerilla Mafia Signs on to United Front

To my comrades of the United Front for Peace in Prison, I give the services of the Ghost Guerilla Mafia to bring together those comrades who are lost in the primitive battles of who's blue, red, yellow or green. As "Gs" we give our full effort to establishing unity, peace, and independence amongst the comrades we encounter. Having first accepted the task of fulfilling the aims of the Ghost Guerilla Mafia, and now the task of serving the people, we recognize our true enemies for what they are. Our battles are not with the people, for we do not do the dirty work for the scum of the U.$. bureaucracy. The goals of the Ghosts are as follows:

  1. Unifying resistance forces, especially among our youth, for the preparation of the overthrow of unjust dictatorship and what we call imperial-democracy in the U.$.
  2. Educating the masses to the political struggles inside and outside the institutions and gulags of amerikkka, and to the past and future struggle of the common people here and abroad.
  3. Standing on the side of impoverished and otherwise oppressed people in their struggles for freedom, justice, respect, and fair distribution of wealth.
  4. Endeavoring for harmony of all indigenous and immigrant minorities in this country
  5. Establishing institutions for learning and expression for the people of our communities
  6. Ensuring the protection and security of our communities from oppressive/insurgent action.
  7. Bringing the poor to power, peace, strength, growth and liberty.

    We appreciate the efforts of all of your brothers and sisters and we are behind you 1000%.

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Retaliation in Ad-Seg for Participation in Hunger Strike

4 October 2011 - Hello and greetings from the concrete tombs of Pelican Bay! This is my first time writing. I came across your most recent publication, it was very helpful, being that I'm currently on a hunger strike since 9/26/11. I was able and fortunate to be able to partake in this worthy cause.

At the moment I am being housed in an overflow unit (Ad-Seg). Every one of us is either validated or serving an indeterminate SHU, we all are awaiting bed space in the SHU. I started my hunger strike on 9/26/2011 in solidarity with all prisoners who are in the same struggle. On 9/29 the cops came around to all those on the hunger strike and announced that all who continue on hunger strike will be given disciplinary "write ups," so a lot of guys accepted their trays and ended their HS. That evening the cops came by again and said all those who are on HS will not only be "written up" but also have all their property taken immediately, so unfortunately only 3 of us out of 64 are currently still on HS.

They (cops) came and took every single thing we had in our cells. It will be easier to tell you what we were left with, they left us with state issue clothes, nothing else, no toothbrush, no books, absolutely nothing. I was fortunate enough to come across this one piece of paper and envelope. Also remember that we haven't even received the "write up" yet, but our property was illegally taken three days after we began our HS.

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[Campaigns] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria All Out for Hunger Strike

4 October 2011 - Regarding the current hunger strike that is going on in California's prison system, Calipatria state prison is participating in A, B, C yards and ASU went on hunger strike on 9/26/2011. Unfortunately the mainline yards have started eating again but ASU still has 100 strong not eating. I came to ASU in April 2010 at a healthy 7'1" 420 pounds and I weighed in at 281 this morning.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Corcoran ASU Participating in Hunger Strike

I am a California State prisoner incarcerated in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) of Corcoran State Prison. The ASU where I am housed is currently undergoing a hunger strike in support of the one kicked off in the SHU. I am in support of it as well, for I believe solidarity is needed amongst the oppressed to resist and fight against the oppressor. Many people do not see that when it comes down to it, there are only two sides, but these past few months have done a lot to enlighten and educate many behind these concrete walls.

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