I was reading an article I would like to bring to your attention, titled "Facing Race in Oregon," it was printed in Justice Matters, published by Partnership for Safety and Justice, out of Portland, Oregon.
As of 2010, whites in Oregon made up 78.5% of the state population, while "people of color" made up 21.5%. (The article uses the term "people of color.") Whites are 72.5% of the prison population. Oregon's population is 2% Black, but Blacks are 9.6% of the prison population. Oregon's population is 11% Latino while they are 14% of the prison population. Oregon's general population is 1.6% Native American, Native Americans are 2.4% of the prison population. Oregon's general population is 3.7% Asian/Pacific Islander, with this group comprises 1.4% of the prison population.
The imperialist pigs gave out a 2011 report card, a legislative report card on racial equality. The Senate received a "C" while the House received a "D" (great grades from our supposed leaders eh?) These grades alone show that racial "equality" isn't a matter these swine politicians care about. (The entire whack report can be found at the website for the Partnership for Safety and Justice. But it's useless to read because it amounts to imperial pigs wasting $ on stupid reports instead of solving problems.)
The supposed "justice" system clearly shows it's practice of disproportionate and biased policies on "people of color," by the fact that, despite having one of the smallest Black populations in the country, Oregon ranks 13th highest in the country for Blacks in prison per capita. And Blacks are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated in Oregon than whites. But here's the kicker, national research proves that crime rates as a whole show there is no difference among racial groups in regard to likelihood to commit crime. So obviously race plays a factor in who Oregon decides to send to prison.
And check this out, Oregon has a whack law called Measure 11 (it's some mandatory minimum bullshit) and it requires youth of the age of 15 and older to be automatically prosecuted as adults as soon as they are charged. And when they are convicted it's mandatory they serve the same sentence that applies to adults. And guess what, of the 36 percent of youth who are victims of this Measure 11 crap, 25% of them are "youth of color." While Black youth make up only 4 percent of Oregon's general population, 34% of all juveniles who are female measure 11 indictments are Black girls!
Point is this, numbers sure don't lie. And the corrupt swindlers and leaders of Oregon seem to enjoy putting "people of color" (as they term nonwhites) to work in their prison factories to keep the money rolling into their greedy pockets. And the sad thing is, inmates do the labor for these pigs and shuffle to the "cotton fields" like mindless cattle.
That's why MIM is vital! Because it educates the people. That's why I cherish each of your newsletters and share them with everyone who can read, and wants to, and why I read it to the ones who can't or don't want to.
MIM(Prisons) responds: It is a common misperception that prisoners who work play a role in enriching their captors in this country, and even that such labor is there are so many prisons. Like the prison system itself, prison labor is more about oppression (largely national oppression as this author points out) than making money. As we explained in an article on The U.$. Prison Economy, prisoners who work are helping to offset some of the cost of imprisonment, at best. Prisons are a very expensive system of social control for the imperialists. The people who get jobs in the criminal injustice system certainly are benefiting from it, but the money mostly comes from the government, not from prisoner labor.
A clenched fist goes up for the New Afrikan youth Trayvon Martin who was murdered in Sanford, Florida on February 26 2012.
Here we are in this endless cycle of genocide inflicted on the internal semi-colonies. Hunting season is never over in Amerika; it is merely covered up with different words to describe it. But those of us in prisons across Amerikkka understand what is taking place.
It has taken almost two full months for the arrest of George Zimmerman to be finally carried out. That's sad, when a Black 17-year-old is executed in cold blood and the killer is allowed to roam free, but we are arrested for reckless driving and given a life sentence. U.$. soldiers slaughter villages, cut off ears, take photos of themselves urinating on the bodies, without being charged; and when they are charged they walk free. Migrants are shot and killed by white supremacist militia groups, and not only does the corporate media not report it, but bills are currently being pushed through that call for militia groups to formally work in concert with border patrol.
The truth is the state operates in a way that allows many loopholes and leeway for white supremacists to survive and continue their terror. This is seen in the treatment these groups are given from Amerika. If you look closely at this phenomenon it shows us what kind of a rotten system we really live under. The problem is we have been born and raised in this imbalanced existence so we now believe many things are "normal" or "okay" when in fact they are very wrong.
Case in point: the existence of white supremacist militia groups. If we were to have a handful of Chicanos with guns in any house we would be labeled "gang members" and the SWAT team would come in and crush our existence. If a handful of New Afrikans were at a house with guns and a flagpole flying their banner, they would be labeled terrorists and crushed. Yet there are entire compounds of white supremacists with guns and websites proclaiming their objectives, and for the most part Amerika leaves them untouched. Why is this? Well because these neo-Nazi or other white supremacists actually complement the imperialists' agenda here in Amerika in many ways.
In one way they help to keep the mass attention off the state itself, but they also make room for the state to step in and appear as some savior. As in the Trayvon Martin murder, they allow this vigilante psychotic maggot to run amok, allowing the people's anger to boil, and then step in to arrest him. This way many will think "they did the right thing" or "the law works."
These tired old bait-and-switch tactics don't fool nobody. We know Amerika is Zimmerman! Zimmerman is only a physical manifestation of imperialism. Imperialism, like Zimmerman, travels the world stalking Third World nations and then attacking the oppressed nation, latching on and sucking the blood, the resources, leaving a lifeless corpse in its place. They can call Amerika a "colorblind" society; they can allow the public to be "intermingled"; they can nominate Obama as president; but any way you slice it there is no justice to be found here for Brown or Black folks. Our justice will only come from our own hands through struggle.
Racism is generally understood by revolutionaries first and foremost as an outgrowth of the ruling class, which nurtures these white supremacists into fascist foot soldiers. They are imperialism's reserve army and are intertwined with the state apparatus. They have a mutual interest in keeping things "the way they are."
The most we've gotten out of Obama concerning this modern day lynching was him saying "if I had a son he would look like Trayvon." Really? He couldn't even make a speech denouncing the attack on Black people, the problem of white supremacy, or the new caste-like system that encourages these modern day lynchings lest he offend the oppressor nation. But saying nothing at all would offend the Black nation. His "middle ground" was "if I had a son he would look like Trayvon."
These bourgeois politicians serve the ruling class, they serve capital, they serve Wall Street. Our justice may not come tomorrow but it will surely come, and until then let us prepare the people for the cold reality in Amerika.
[This series of events followed two statewide food strikes in California in 2011 focused on putting an end to Security Housing Units and improving justice and conditions in CA prisons.]
When we, the prisoners housed in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU1) of CSP-Corcoran, initiated a hunger strike to protest against the inhumane conditions and constitutional violations we faced in the ASU1, the prison officials responded with retaliation and indifference. Their intent was clear: to set an example of what would occur if these protests that had been rocking the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) this past year continued. Their statement was not only meant for the protestors in this ASU1, but for the entire class of oppressed prisoners in the CDCR.
The hunger strike in this ASU1 initially began on 28 December 2011. It was a collective effort with various races and subgroups standing in solidarity for a common interest. A petition was prepared with the issues we wanted to address, and it was submitted to the Corcoran prison officials and also sent out to prisoner rights groups in an attempt to gather support and attention.
A few hours after the protest began, Warden Gipson sent her staff to move the prisoners who were allegedly, and falsely, identified as "strike leaders" to a different ASU. I was included in that category because my signature was on the petition that was submitted to prison officials. When we initially refused to move, the correctional staff came to our cells wearing full riot gear to cell extract and move us by force. Since we were engaging in a peaceful protest, we agreed to move and were placed in the other ASU. This turned out to be 3A03 EOP, an Ad-Seg unit that houses severely mentally ill prisoners.
While isolated in that psychiatric ward, we continued to refuse food until we received word that the hunger strike ended in the ASU1. I later found out that the Warden and Captain had met with the spokesmen of the ASU1 protestors and promised to grant a majority of our demands but requested three weeks to implement the changes and to have the agreements in writing. The protestors agreed to give the prison officials the benefit of the doubt, and for that reason the hunger strike was put on hold.
I continued to file complaints and 602s during this period asserting that my placement in a unit along with severely mentally ill prisoners violated my Eighth Amendment right because I was not mentally ill; and that my placement in this psychiatric ward was the result of illegal retaliation by prison officials against me for exercising my First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and protest. These grievances went ignored. In addition to my isolation in the psychiatric ward, I received a 115 for "inciting/leading a mass disturbance" (12 month SHU term), and was later found guilty although they had no evidence to support that charge besides my signature on a petition. The other protestors who were also falsely identified as "strike leaders" were issued the same 115 for "inciting/leading a mass disturbance."
On 18 January 2012, Warden Gipson ordered her staff to move me, as well as the other isolated protesters, back to the ASU1 believing that the hunger strike was over. Before we were moved back, she sent an email to Lt. Cruz of 3A03 and asked him to read it to us. It contained a warning that she would not tolerate any more disturbances in the ASU1, and a threat that any such behavior would carry more severe reprisals.
After three weeks passed since the hunger strike was put on hold, it was clear that the prison officials had no intent to honor their word and keep their promises. The hunger strike resumed on 27 January 2012.
The ASU1 Lieutenant, after hearing that we resumed the protest, came to a few protestors and stated the following: "We are tired of you guys, all you guys, doing hunger strikes and asking for all this shit. I am not only speaking for myself, but for my superiors as well. There are correctional officers and staff getting laid off because the state doesn't have money, and you guys in here are asking for more shit? You know what, we don't care if you guys starve yourselves to death. You guys aren't getting shit. The only thing you'll get are incident packets."
Two days later, on 29 January 2012, Warden Gipson sent her staff again to round up the alleged "strike leaders" and place them in isolation. This time, the spokesmen who had previously come out to speak and negotiate with the prison officials regarding our demands were also included in that category. We were all moved once again to 3A03 psychiatric ward although we were not mentally ill. Furthermore, our visits were suspended by classification committee for the duration of our "involvement in the hunger strike," and we were issued another 115 for "inciting/leading a mass disturbance."
The retaliation did not stop there. All the participants of the hunger strike were issued 115s for "participation in a mass disturbance," and the most important of all, the correctional staff and prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of the starved protestors in the ASU1. When some of the protestors started losing consciousness, experiencing serious pain, and requesting emergency medical attention, the correctional staff were deliberately slow in responding, and in many instances just simply ignored them. This conduct and this mindset, of prison officials to set an example by showing deliberate indifference to the medical needs of the protestors, directly contributed to the death of one of our own. His brave sacrifice and unfailing personal commitment will never be forgotten, nor will it have been for naught.
This is where they stand. The oppressors who take away our freedom and liberty continue to fight tooth and nail to deprive us of even our basic human rights. They employ brutal means of retaliation and suppression in an attempt to keep us from exposing the harsh truths of everyday life inside these prison walls. Although the ASU1 hunger strike may have ended, I will continue to have the spirit of resistance. The outcome will not be decided by a single battle but of many, and I will do my part in hopes that my small contribution may make a difference.
Below is a response to "Validation Leads to Longer Sentences for Oppressed Nations" from ULK 24. I would like to say first and foremost that I feel for these brothers in the state of California. From what I can tell the gang validation program in California is what the Department of Corruptions (DOC) in Connecticut call Security Risk Group (SRG). Our system is also corrupt but the process seems harder in this state. We also have a Safety Threat Member (STM) designation, which is a more severe version of an SRG. STM is for someone with a leadership role, or a repeat offender.
I believe if the California comrades looked at the DOC's model over here it would help in presenting a more productive model for them to use in reform. They used to be able to designate us at will with no evidence. Now it goes by a point system. A tattoo is not enough to designate you alone. And when you finish the program here, there's no debrief. You just have a piece of paper of renunciation; no information is needed. They have found ways to corrupt this process, of course, but it is a step up from what California is doing to our comrades.
Our mission is to put an end to these methods altogether, but I believe there are steps in that process. Not only should we be giving a list of demands, but also presenting a model for reform that honors our human rights as well as our due process rights.
MIM(Prisons) responds: California Prison Focus, a reformist organization focused on issues related to SHU prisoners, recently put out an issue of their newsletter almost entirely devoted to analysis and criticism of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR's) proposal for a new gang validation system.(1) The CDCR's proposal rests on a point system similar to the one used in Connecticut. A point system might make it more challenging for prison staff to frivolously send someone to a control unit indefinitely, but only if the evidence used to calculate the points is disclosed. Another key difference in the Connecticut DOC's system is that it lacks a debriefing process, and is therefore not as self-perpetuating as the CDCR's.
It may be a tactical advantage to model our reforms off of those which have led to some improvements in other localities. This would depend on the conditions in each location and time. A point system is slightly more objective than the CDCR's earlier protocol of identifying just three pieces of evidence, which were often kept secret as "confidential." But as Ed Mead reports in Prison Focus,
The stated purpose [of CDCR's proposal] is still to "prohibit inmates from creating, promoting, or participating in any club, association, or organization, except as permitted by written instructions."(1)
MIM(Prisons) stands in strong opposition to this stated goal of the CDCR in our efforts to support prisoners in organizing themselves for democratic rights as a class and for self-determination of the oppressed nations.
The U.$. government uses the domestic injustice system to justify the denial of democratic and Constitutional rights to a growing segment of its internal semi-colonies. The recent CDCR proposal refuses to eliminate the use of secret evidence to put people in SHU, which is a denial of due process. Meanwhile, not only is SHU used to punish people for associating with others, but the recent proposal includes plans to expand the range of Security Threat Groups targeted for repression. If these policies were implemented for the overall population we would call it fascism. Organizing strategies of our comrades behind bars should reflect this reality.
What is so sinister about the debriefing process, why it has been a primary target of the anti-SHU struggle, is because the statements given are used as secret evidence to put others in SHU for indefinite sentences, translating to years if not decades, in long-term isolation torture cells. As long as this continues, and as long as prisoners are denied basic First Amendment rights of association then we see no progress in the "new" proposal.
MIM(Prisons) calls for the abolition of long-term isolation, as it is a form of torture that destroys humyn beings. In addition, the way it is used attacks whole nations by targeting leaders of the oppressed and isolating them from the masses. There are reforms that could weaken the second effect, but people would still be tortured unless control units are abolished completely. The proposed point system barely puts a dent in either problem and can hardly even be considered a reform. Therefore we stand with the broad consensus among prisoners opposing the proposal, and call on supporters on the outside to do the same to remove all legitimacy from the government's attempts to keep the oppressed from organizing for any purpose.
19 April 2012 - Greetings comrades in struggle. Here in Texas at Clements Unit I am engaging in a hunger strike in protest of the gang of racist officers systematically targeting New Afrikan prisoners with hate as a mechanism to control or punish us. I've sent in numerous grievances and complaints to the administration to no avail.
I'm in the high security building as an administrative segregation prisoner for a weapon planted in my cell by one of these racist officers. They have done cell searches to steal my legal documents, destroy my property, defile my religious books and prayer rug, and leave obscene drawings of monkeys or apes being hung or impaled with a KKK cross. They have been doing this to the New Afrikans here for a while and are getting more and more violent and vindictive.
As a political prisoner, I've been targeted not only because of my ebony hue, but for my constant struggle to enlighten these slave-mentality prisoners to unite and take a stand. I've been told by Sergeant Mondragon and Correctional Officer Ruiz that they will make sure I die in this cell. Captain Boland, Major Hardegree, Lieutenant Hancock and Warden John Adams have created this kind of fractal injustice as there is not one New Afrikan officer/employee on 2-Card/1st Shift High Security.
Comrades this is only the beginning of my hunger strike - 2nd day - and wish for your support and solidarity to keep me strong and vigilant. I can only hope to force a change and get outside recognition to the abuse and hate crimes committed by these racist gangs in the guise of correctional officers.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We stand behind this comrade's fight against racist injustice. But we don't fight to add more Black officers in the prison. We know oppressed nation pigs are still pigs. This kind of integration is not progressive. We encourage our comrades to explore all non-violent methods of struggle, including hunger strikes when necessary. But these actions should not be taken without building necessary support for success. Even in California where thousands of prisoners joined the hunger strike, the victory has resulted in few immediate changes, while at least one comrade died in that struggle. These movements require careful planning by an organized leadership and time spent building mass support.
When Republican Bill Haslam was elected Governor of the $tate of Tennessee, he appointed Derrick D. Schofield as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC). I assume the "D" in Schofield's middle name stands for either dumbass or dickhead, because since then the conditions in prison have deteriorated. Schofield is one of the $nakes that was instrumental in causing the largest prison sit-down in United Snakes hystory.
It is no doubt that the Governor brought this individual to cause chaos and mayhem to the captives at all the prisons in Tennessee. They do this in the hopes of enticing the captives to riot so that they can receive federal funds and justify turning the state plantations over to Correctional Corporation of America (CCA). This way they can pad their pockets and implement new legislature that will rob the captives of what little dignity they may have left.
Many of your politicians have stock in CCA as well as political allegiance to their dubious goals. Recently it was revealed that CCA had sent letters to most state governments offering to buy up prisons on the condition that the state contracts with them for at least 20 years, and that the state keeps the prison at a 90% occupancy rate or more. Such a move would further cement the prison industrial complex that profits off humyn suffering while lessening government oversight in how prisoners are treated.(1)
Schofield has attempted to remove all identity and dignity from all captives. His agenda is to persecute instead of rehabilitate the captives. His tactics have been to disregard policies and procedures that have been in place for years and implement unwritten rules. He has caused an atmosphere of hate, discontent and danger for both his employees and the captives.
Captives are required to walk single-file under escort on the compound, a specified distance apart. Captives are not allowed to talk or have their hands in their pockets while under escort, even during cold weather, and the TDOC has not issued gloves to all captives. Captives must be neatly dressed and keep their cells in an orderly condition with beds made, and must stand at attention during morning inspections without speaking, engaging in any other activity or making eye contact with the inspectors. This includes captives who work night shifts who do not get off work until early in the morning, yet must be out of bed for inspection. When captives are called to meals, they are required to line up and wait outside until it is their turn to go to the dining hall, even when it is pouring rain. Captives must keep their property in specific locations in their cells, and property storage rules have been changed multiple times in an arbitrary manner, leading to confusion and frustration among both captives and staff. Captives may no longer possess coat hangers, which makes it difficult to dry wet towels. Permissible items on the property list have been changed and, rather than be grandfathered in, items that are no longer allowed have been confiscated or required to be mailed out.
Wardens have been transferred to different facilities, and it has been stated that Schofield intends to continue transferring Wardens every few years, which may have an adverse impact on institutional stability. There are daily cell inspections, including by Wardens and deputy Wardens, which means that all of a facility's highest-ranking administrators are on the compound at the same time, which may constitute a security risk.
The policy changes that Schofield has implemented have significant consequences. This is not a concern that is only an opinion of the captives. At least four Wardens have resigned or retired since Schofield was appointed commissioner, some due to the implementation of Schofield's new unwritten policies. Also, a number of TDOC staff, from the Warden level down, have contacted the Human Rights Defense Center to express their concerns about the effect Schofield's policy changes have had on both captives and staff in terms of frustration and discontent among prisoners and decreased morale among employees. None of the staff members who spoke with Human Rights Defense Center were willing to publicly identify themselves, citing fear of retaliation. The atmosphere here is very vile and becoming extremely dangerous. As is the case in the state of Georgia, the fights, assaults on captives and assaults on staff have gone up significantly, all because of Schofield's silly unwritten rules.
At Turney Center Industrial Prison (TCIX), captives are targeted to fill up the hole commonly known as segregation. It once held Close Security captives, and once they were transferred to other plantations, the oppressors began to target captives by issuing both arbitrary and capricious disciplinary reports for so-called infractions that the captives have never been informed of, not to mention the unwritten rules are as silly as the individual who implemented them. The ridiculous rules have no penological interest. Moreover, most of the disciplinary infractions issued are fraudulent and without legal authority.
Within the masses of captives at TCIX, you would be hard pressed to find many that are willing to fight against their oppressors for the liberation of the basic human rights. I call them the "i can't crew." I like to say that i am part of the "i can crew." There is a famous saying, which goes like this, "if you won't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
Since the atmosphere here and at all the prisons has become vile, a few of us decided to get together and address our concerns in a petition. We recognize that the oppressor wants for us to riot and that we must first put our struggle out there before we start busting heads.
We got together and put all our concerns down on paper. We then found someone with a typewriter and asked him to type up our concerns. After this petition was typed up it was given to a person in each pod to go door-to-door asking individuals to sign. The only ones not asked to sign were known rats. The signatures were then sent out to be copied and we sent copies to many organizations, State Senators, State Representatives, Turney Center Warden, Commissioner Schofield and Governor Bill Haslam. The petition has also been placed on the internet and Facebook.
To protect the large number of captives who participated in brainstorming this movement, we submitted our demands in the petition. The demands included and were not limited to a meeting between the Warden, Commissioner, Governor and various other officials, with the Captive Counsel Members and different religious organizations. The purpose of having the other organizations present at such a meeting is because the individuals who go to counsel are generally intimidated by the current Warden. Even if they were allowed to speak freely, they are ill-equipped to speak on matters they have no interest in or have no knowledge about. As in the past, a majority of them cannot be trusted. Some are sincere, but most are there to be close to the oppressor to feel some sort of worth.
If the oppressor does not acknowledge or dialogue with us, we will be forced to conduct a sit-down. The sit-down will consist of all of us refusing to go to work, and refusing to purchase commissary items or use the phone. The oppressor can serve the food and make the beds in the metal plant for the new prison that they have built in Bledsoe County. We want all of the captives held against their will in all the prisons in the State of Tennessee to stand up for themselves, before they are unable to fight for their dignity, identity, freedom and justice.
What the captives don't realize is that the fiscal year for the TDOC is July of each year. They can expect more legislation coming that will give the bourgeoisie more authority to take more inmate property and continue to deprive us of basic human rights. The food will become worse than it is presently; there will be less opportunity to access the fresh air; it will be mandated for all to cut our hair in a military fashion, including facial hair; and visits will be by monitor, thus denying human contact with your family, friends and loved ones. There is a laundry list of atrocities that are on the way, and instead of complaining about them, the captives must rise up and do something about it, in every single death camp in this state. If anyone wants to help in the cause and has ideas, please contact MIM(Prisons).
Warden Jerry Lester recently told one of his minions that he does not have to respect the captives. Is this a directive from Schofield, or is this the Warden's mentality and/or the result of Schofield's intervention that is causing this oppressive thinking?
The captives cannot change their condition until they want to change themselves. Every captive needs to realize who their real enemy is and come together so that they can maintain what dignity, respect, manhood and rights they have left.
I recently received MIM Theory #9 about the psychology of imperialism. This magazine has so much eye opening knowledge in it! I am very grateful for my copy and for helping me understand myself. I have been labeled as insane for so long and looked down on because of it.
I have been tortured in mental hospitals for refusing to take medication that caused me such very painful side affects. I was billed 29 thousand dollars for a few days of treatment. I was told I had to take medication that was given to make me unhealthy. This medication was priced at thousands of dollars a month.
I was told that my vision of a new world was psychotic delusion. I was told that wanting to have revenge for what was done to the natives of this land was threatening to myself and others. That since I was having vision that I was just a nigger slave on a plantation in chains that I was crazy. That my fear that these damned imperialists might just start a war that will kill us all was not rational.
Many people can't see the world as a whole so it doesn't affect them. Others just need to take a pill for their nerves. I know this enemy of the people and I will expose it. From now on I have pledged to fight for freedom. My next move is to educate myself so I can use my mind as a tool to end injustice. I plan to study law so I can help others. I will try to serve the rest of my time without violence.
MIM(prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade, psychology is used as a tool to control people who do not conform to the norms of imperialist culture. We do not agree with the oppressor's definition of mental health. It is healthy to question the oppression and exploitation of the world's people. It is correct to want to challenge inequality and injustice. And those who are truly in need of help are the ones who think it is ok to profit off the suffering of others. Under communism we can re-educate these people and help them understand the need for a world system that works for the interests of all people.
Ho Chi Minh on Revolution, Selected Writings, 1920-1966 edited and with an introduction, profile written by Bernard B. Fall Signet 1967
One of the first things that reached out and grabbed the interest of this writer is the revelation of Uncle Ho's humble beginnings. In contrast to such stalwarts as Marx and Lenin who lived the life of the middle class of their times, Uncle Ho, born on May 19th, 1890, lived the life of the lumpen proletariat.(p.v-vi)
Another thing of interest was his use of aliases. Ho Chi Minh, an alias itself, was actually born Nguyen That Thanh. Among a number of aliases used during the 1920s, Nguyen O Phap, used during his time in France, speaks volumes as to his attitudes and brazenness - so characteristic of the lumpen today - for in translation his name meant "Nguyen Who Hates the French."(pviii)
The opening chapters/writings of section one (In Search of a Mission) do an excellent job bringing to light Uncle Ho's awakening and rising of political consciousness, his move from nationalism to internationalism (Marxism/Leninism, socialism and communism), his love and deep admiration for Lenin himself, his intense interest and study of the New Afrikan Nation in the United $nakes, slavery, reconstruction, ku klux klanism and the such, and the atrocities that were committed by the French, that led to the liberation movement the U.$. tried so repugnantly to derail, but failed to do so - the raping, slavery, systematic introduction of opium and alcohol, forced inscription, decapitations, hangings, impailings, burnings, torture, ad infintum.
A quote brings to mind the crux of capitalist Christianity brought down upon the backs of all Third World peoples subject to First World colonialism, neo or otherwise:
"[T]he Annamese peasant is crucified on the bayonet of capitalist civilization and on the cross of prostituted Christianity."(pg38)
Another quote, in the complementation to U.S.S.R. practice at the time, catches the eye:
"Colonialism is a leech with two suckers, one of which sucks the metropolitan proletariat and the other that of the colonies. If we want to kill this monster, we must cut off both suckers at the same time. If only one is cut off, the other will continue to suck the blood of the proletariat, the animal will continue to live, and the cut off sucker will grow again."(pg43)
And then a third, in section two (The Comintern Way) which provides writings upon Uncle Ho's full embracement of the communist international, rings both artistic and still so true, to the colonized brood:
"Justice is represented by a good lady holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other. As the distance between IndoChina and France is so great, so great that, on arrival there, the scales lose their balance and the pans melt and turn into opium pipes and official bottles of spirits, the poor lady has only the sword left with which to strike. She even strikes innocent people, and innocent people especially."(pg105)
Section 3 (Revolution and Liberation War) goes into tactics and strategy, line, criticism and self-criticism, the counter offensive, the United Front and the formation of the provisional government, various committees and the such, from 1930-1954. This section also covers poems from Uncle Ho's prison diary. "Autumn Night," which encapsulates the prisoner's longing for home; and "word play," which discovers for the reader the origin of George Jackson's affectionate and personal title of "The Dragon," were of the author's most interest. This section ends by highlighting some of the statistical achievements of the revolution and then goes into section 4 (Reconstruction and Errors) where a healthy dose of criticism and self-criticism is spoke of to both the people and the party of the time.
And the book concludes with Section 5 (At War Again, 1960-1966) which goes into the "Vietnam War" most familiar to us already - the war of U.$. "intervention."
Overall the book is of an extensive value, Ho Chi Minh's (Uncle Ho's) writings are so difficult to retrieve. Not only does it touch on a number of socialist fundamentals throughout, but it provides a literary timeline of the Vietnamese/Annamese struggles not so commonly familiar to us, restricted to such our-story here in the belly of the beast. More specifically though, speaking to those of the USW and any and all LOs (especially) with a revolutionary intent, I recommend the following readings with great earnest: Letter to Comrades in North Vietnam, Twelve Recommendations, Instructions Given at the Conference Reviewing the Second Le Hong Phong Military Campaign, and the Speech Opening the First Theoretical Course of Nguyen Ai Quoc School.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The Vietnamese struggle was a heroic one that is still at the forefront of the global anti-imperialist legacy. After they defeated the imperialists, the most advanced political thinking of the time did not take hold in Vietnam's leadership, preventing socialism from developing. But Ho Chi Minh was a leader of both a revolutionary United Front and a communist party that successfully fought French and Amerikan imperialists. The United Front led by the communists in Vietnam provides an example for national liberation struggles today. We point readers to a book review of Ho Chi Minh: A Life for a more complete picture of the history of the revolution in Vietnam, and the political line of the post-revolution government.
Greetings from the graveyard! We salute MIM(Prisons) as our foundation of awareness and revolutionary consciousness from the teachings of the greatest revolutionist in our century, comrade Mao Tse-Tung and his principles of applying the science of Marxism-Leninism. Every day prisoners tell me how this literature has helped to make them free even though they may be shackled and entombed physically in these concentration camps. It has awakened their minds. We are studying and upholding the five principles from the United Front for Peace. History is our guide for a new future. The oppressors have all the weapons of mass intimidation, these include fear, ignorance, and apathy which creates inactivity which fosters despair and self-hatred. But we've got heart and life and I believe that now is a time for the kind of quality self-leadership, vision, and sacrifice that inspires those around us to really begin thinking in a new way.
Sun Tzu, in the Art of War, mentioned "put them on dying ground and they will live." The Ninth Ground, a term derived from the ancient military text The Art of War, refers to the last of the nine grounds being the dying ground. If someone were trying to kill you, would you use every means at your disposal to defend yourself? And if someone took everything you owned would you start the process of rebuilding? Well, your response to being sentenced to a long prison term, life, or even death, should be the same as your response to defending yourself from attack or great loss. You should fight comrade!
We view the prison environment as dying ground and "fighting" as a metaphor for self-determination. One of the biggest mistakes many prisoners make when coming to prison is that they don't initially comprehend the extremity of their circumstances. Instead we jump into the flow of the environment and fail to productively utilize those first crucial three to five years in prison for acquiring knowledge and building the necessary foundation that will sustain us for years to come.
Self-determination should never be relegated to "just getting by." From the moment we step into the prison system we need to begin a program that organizes our energy toward productive goals. We have to kick start the growth process. In prison our back is even more up against the wall than ever, so it's important to immediately see the place for what it is - Dying Ground. Since prison culture is a gross extension of the street culture most of us come from, there's a tendency to merge with it even though the pitfalls are so obvious. We have to begin to think strategically as if we are always on the battlefield. When we take this type of approach to our situation we stop wasting time and move with a profound sense of mission. Our life in prison doesn't have to rotate around waking up and hanging out. It should involve the total employment of all of our faculties geared toward enriching our lives. It doesn't matter where we find ourselves be it in prison or free, we should engage life, not retreat from it, we should become even more committed to learning, taking the initiative, building resources, and never giving up.
A life without purpose and direction is the life of a walking corpse. Comrade Mao Zedong said "The correctness or otherwise of the ideological and political line decides everything. When the party's line is correct, then everything will come it's way, if it has no followers, then it can have followers, if it has no guns, then it can have guns, if it has no political power, then it can have political power."
Liberation & Freedom. Long live MIM. The Black Mass Army will help build Maoist revolutionary nationalists and people's army!
MIM(Prisons) responds: Those looking to expand their educational opportunities in prison should work with MIM(Prisons). We offer political literature in exchange for political work or stamps/money, and we run study groups through the mail. These are tools you can use to form your own local study group and help spread knowledge while also advancing your own education.