by a North Carolina prisoner August 2012 permalink
I am currently on a 6 month program called Intensive Control Unit (I-Con). Since I've been on "state" I have come across many injustices towards prisoners from the administration. I know the situation in California with the debriefing process in Pelican Bay SHU. Here it is very different. Here a prisoner can get snatched up off the yard solely on the words of a confidential informant (CI). The administration does not need facts to convict, just the label "reliable source," and a prisoner will be stripped of school/work and be placed in Ad-Seg, possibly Security Threat Group (STG). And, like in my case, thrown in a lockdown program.
Not only this, but prisoners who have completed their term in I-Con or M-Con (Maximum Control) have gone to board to be released without any incidents are being lied to. Board is telling prisoners that they have completed their term only to still be held for another 6 months. Corruption.
There's many injustices that I can write about and share with you. But truth is that these people really don't want us to learn and better ourselves. So this is why I believe that one has to approach this life behind these walls with caution. Do our best to move and operate under the radar of these people, and of those who are blind, misled or sometimes brainwashed.
In response to the Call for Solidarity Demonstration on September 9 in the recent issue of Under Lock & Key letters are coming in from prisons across the country. The solidarity demonstration is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Attica uprising, and during the 24 hour work and food strike prisoners will focus on building unity and peace among the prison population. This is short notice to organize in the severely restricted conditions found in most prisons, but comrades behind bars are doing what they can, with at least one person pledging to start now to build for next year.
In Nevada we heard: "I have been doing my part on getting as many people as I can to sign up for September 9, 2012. Here at High Desert State Prison they are constantly taking away what little we have and I look forward to sticking it to them. So far I have recruited 20 people just myself in the past couple of weeks from all races. Just imagine how many more by the time our time comes!"
From Missouri we learned of comrades participating and using this opportunity to study this history of the Attica uprising: "I would like to request study material of all sorts for this coming August in solidarity regards. Our mission is to improve self from conditions and we gain understanding through great experiences of this nature, a struggle that's mighty, yet achievable. We'll detail progress in the coming months. September 9th we will partake in our common sights." Another comrade in a Federal prison in Texas has been sharing ULK 27 with others and pledged to fast on September 9.
Organizers like this one from Pennsylvania are eager to hear news from the demonstration in the next issue of Under Lock & Key: "Please make sure I get my next issue [of Under Lock & Key], copy due the week of the solidarity demonstration on Sunday September 9, 2012. From midnight September 8 to midnight September 9 in a show of solidarity I will be strongly participating!" This is a good reminder to all participating that we need reports immediately after the demonstration to make it in to the next issue of ULK.
From the state that had it's own broadly supported food strike last year (starting July 1, 2011), we heard from organizers building for September 9. One California prisoner wrote: "I am in the call for solidarity demonstration September 9, 2012 and I will be fasting on that day, etc. Thank you for all your help and moral support that you have given to me in the last ten years."
Comrades are spreading the word about the September 9 demonstration in any way they can. This person from New York sent us a handwritten kite he passed to another brother at his facility: "Bro. - Please pay close attention to the article 'Call for Solidarity Demonstration September 9' on page 3. Let me know what you think. I've decided to fast on Sept 9th." The response was written on the same paper: "Yes I will fast on that day, it looks better when we all go to chow but we just don't eat. Thanks for that information." This comrade noted that the short lead time on this demonstration will limit his organizing abilities this year, but he's already started to build for 2013.
Update August 26: More comrades in North Carolina have joined the campaign: "The solidarity movement on September 9th is a go for the few conscious comrades behind me. It is definitely a time to remember this historic event that changed the prison system afterwards."
And more prisoners in California are stepping up. One wrote letting us know that he has liver cirrhosis and is not going to make it out alive, but is very much engaged in the struggle for as long as he's able: "I will participate in your September solidarity. I share your publications with other prisoners. Each individual has his own set of beliefs, goals, values, etc., I can only express what I feel is right. I thank you for your moral support represented in Under Lock & Key. Those confined in the SHU lockdowns need all the support your group provides."
Update August 30: A group in Florida is working to pull people together for an act of solidarity on September 9th.
Update September 1: A comrade in Kansas made hand written copies of the call for solidarity demonstration and sent them to 17 prisoners at his facility. At least a few of them agreed to participate in solidarity.
Incluimos este articulo sobre la demostración en Septiembre porque no tenemos el reporte de actividades traducido. Es algo que pensamos en organizar cada año y animamos a todos a contemplar que quieres hacer el año que viene.
SAMAEL esta llamando a todos prisioneros para participar en un demostración de solidaridad el domingo, 9 de septiembre 2012. Nosotros estamos pidiendo a todos prisioneros (quienes son capaz) a embarcar en un ayuno y paro de trabajo desde media noche 8 de septiembre hasta medianoche 9 de septiembre en una muestra de solidaridad con:
1. Ayunando por el periodo citado arriba a menos que una necesidad medica requiere comer. 2. Abstener de trabajar por nuestros captores (o trabajo lento a productividad mínimo) por el periodo citado arriba. 3. Participar en solo contra-oppressor, acciones redactes y solidarias por el periodo. 4. Cesar todo prisionero - contra - prisionero hostilidades a pesar de pandilla, raza, custodia, sexo, religión o otro división. 5. Mostrar respeto por nuestra esclavitud mutuo y sufrimiento también los sacrificios de todos hermanos ye hermanas revolucionarias.
Esto día coincidir con el aniversario de la revuelta de Attica y es previsto a atraer atención a nuestro tratamiento prendado y abuso intensificante de prisioneros del estado.
A cogemos todos prisioneros - encarcelado o no - ha mostrar apoyo con participar o hablar claramente.
Solo un día, solo una voz!
No esperamos que nuestros hermanos y hermanas incurren heridas ni muertes - pero si queremos mandar un mensaje, no solo a ellos, pero a nosotros mismos. Esto es una casa de nosotros - una frente verdaderamente unida.
Solo un día.
MIM(Prisiones) añade: Apoyamos esta llamada desde un grupo participando en la Frente Unida por Paz en Prisiones por un día de unidad y protesta pacifico, y va trabajar con células locales organizantes para coordinar este demostración. Este es una oportunidad por el FUPP a desarrollar sobre el principio de paz: "Nosotros organizamos para acabar con conflictos innecesarios y violencia adentro del medioambiente de prisiones estado unieses. Los opresores usan estrategias de dividir y conquistar para que peleamos entre nosotros en vez de contra ellos. Nosotros nos pararemos juntos y nos defenderemos de la oppressión."
Este acción de 24 horas requierirán un poco de sacrificio por prisioneros, pero no debería incurrir herida, y debe resultar en una reducción de violencia así que todo prisionero-contra-prisionero hostilidades cesará por el día. Podrémos aumentar conocimiento mas grande sobre la opresión contra cual luchamos, y construir la unidad que es necesaria por esa batalla, con organizar grupos y individuos a participar.
Desde Georgia a California, desde Virginia a Illinois, a cruzar los Estados Serpientes, déjenos mostrar que la lucha de prisioneros es una lucha común.
I received issue 27 of ULK along with MIM Theory 13, thank you. I've already read the ULK and I appreciate all the articles. A few months back you sent out a letter to the warden here over an issue of ULK I did not receive. Although I never received the issue, I did talk to a lieutenant who claimed that MIM was banned. I didn't pursue it because I had passed the time limitation to raise the issue, but I've since received the most recent issues after that. I believe it was issue 25 I didn't get. Your letter got their attention.
Other than that it's business as usual with the oppressor. Just last week the pigs slammed a young Black male (22 years old) to the ground and charged him with assaulting a "peace" officer. The prisoner was attempting to enter the housing unit when one of the pigs asked to see the watch he was wearing.
The young man being a rebel without a cause chose to ignore the pig and proceeded to walk into that building. The pig and his cronies blocked the door and told him he wasn't going anywhere until he showed them the watch. The young man backed off and requested to speak to a sergeant. This simple request pissed the pigs off. They proceed to escalate the situation immediately.
As the sergeant was making his way across the yard one pig rushed the guy and slammed him to the ground. This caused some of the prisoners to act out verbally and tell the pigs that the force was unnecessary. The whole thing was a set up from the start. While one pig was confronting the guy another was on the walkie talkie reporting something (most likely a lie), and then two pigs came out of the building and the only Black pig out of the crowd of six or seven pigs chose to slam the young Black male. When I read the article "Trayvon Martin National Oppression Debate" it hit home when Soso stated: "Every persyn in this country sees the stereotypes of Black youths as hoodlums..." as a result any "unarmed Black youth can be killed by cops and vigilantes while the imperialist state does nothing."
Here lately the pigs have seemingly been trying to incite the masses. It's summertime and out here in Imperial County, California (which is less than five miles from Yuma, Arizona) it's extremely hot. Triple digits regularly, the pigs have been forcing us to wear state issue clothing to the chow hall and the shirts must be tucked in. When it was winter and cold we were not allowed to wear thermals to the chow hall. Now that it's hot they're forcing us to wear stuff that will make you hotter. Furthermore, they have launched a campaign of constant harassment. Searching cells everyday which is causing folks to complain. As of yet no one has written a 602 [grievance form] and me personally I don't have any grounds to write one as I have not been harassed. I try to lead by example and share the literature with the brothers of the struggle.
It seems as if we've lost a generation or two. There's a shortage of revolutionaries, at least here at this place. Only time will tell if the masses wake up. I often imagine myself coming up in the era of George Jackson and the likes. I attempt to put myself in those guys' shoes, and I try to emulate what I picture them being. I'll close on that note, power to the people.
I am enclosing the response I received from the assistant warden at Southeast Correctional Center (SECC) for the censorship petition I sent to Tom Clements. The policy quoted is Missouri's censorship policy (IS 13-1.2).
Prisoners are constantly being denied due process right here, when the oppressor enforces a punishment called "limited property." We are put on limited property immediately based on an officer's words, with no hearing or anything.
It is so hard for the captives here to even attain an informal resolution request that we must file before going to the grievance process. They are just doing whatever they want, not following policy.
I wrote the Assistant Warden a kite to inform him of the difficulties in the grievance procedure in Ad-Seg, and the Functional Unit Manager intercepted it and responded herself. The message I received from that is that the only correspondence that will reach its destination from her house are those that she approves of. A violation of my First Amendment rights in the U.S. Constitution.
Offenses of assault and sexual harassment occur daily in Ad-Seg here. The Warden (Ian Wallace) removed the strip cages from the housing unit. Now prisoners are stripped of their clothes off camera by COs while captives are still bound by mechanical wrist restraints. They can do anything they want to us off camera; assault us, free case us, and if we write a complaint the officers will refute it and the response we will receive is that we have provided no evidence of the allegations.
If there is a grievance petition already for the prisoners in Missouri, please send a copy so I could circulate it here, because they're not being responded to fairly and justly. Looking forward to the upcoming issue of Under Lock & Key.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The current campaign in Missouri is based around the Petition Against Violations of the Constitution focusing on censorship, and including the failure to respond to grievances. We are always working with local USW comrades to improve ongoing campaigns and petitions. So feel free to draft up new petitions or proposals and send them in for consideration.
In many cases the lack of meaningful grievance procedure may trump censorship battles if censorship appeals are being ignored. At the same time, if we hope to see any incremental improvements in conditions we should focus our energies on specific demands that are both winnable and popular among the masses of prisoners.
Pig brutality is once again on display for the world to see after outraged protests erupted following the murder of 25-year-old Manuel Diaz in the city of Anaheim, CA by police this weekend.
Pigs claim that the murder of Diaz was justified and only prompted by Diaz after he supposedly ran away from them and reached for his waistband. The neighbors and family members of Diaz who witnessed the execution tell a different story however. They say that while Diaz did indeed run away from police, at no time whatsoever did he reach for his waistband as police claim. No gun was even recovered from the scene, according to the pigs themselves.
This is the sixth officer-involved shooting for the Anaheim Police Department this year. That's including that second life to be claimed by Anaheim police not more than 24 hrs after the death of Diaz in which pigs stated that they indeed retrieved a gun near the body of the second victim of police violence, as if to say, "See? We only shoot when we have to."
The neighborhood was justifiably outraged as they demanded answers and vented their anger on killer cops, but the pigs were having none of it. Feeling "threatened" as they always do, the pigs responded the only way they know how — with violence!
When the protesters refused to disperse, non-lethal weapons were fired on wimmin and children, and an attack dog was set loose on an occupied baby stroller . The pigs then had the audacity to claim that their dog "got loose" from the patrol car. The entire scene was caught on a camera phone if anyone cares to see.
Immediately thereafter, coconut lackey and self-proclaimed community activist Dr. Jose Moreno publicly regretted to the local media that the community resorted to violence while simultaneously calling for transparency from the police.
The entire attack was caught on tape. How much more transparency do you need? We know that no amount of transparency in the world will ever keep sadistic pigs or their attack dogs on the leash, because that's exactly what they're there for, to be set loose on the oppressed like the rabid dogs that they are!
How quick were the pigs to shoot rubber bullets at wimmin and children of brown skin color in Anaheim this weekend? Yet how many rubber bullets were shot at all the Occupy movements combined this year? What was the proportion of violence and how much restraint was practiced with respect to the former and the latter? I'm sure that if the numbers are calculated we will see a gross discrepancy of violence.
The author wrote: "So often there's 'new' groups popping up, and I only laugh." I ask myself, why put it like that? Okay we do live in an era where there's many beliefs and points of view on different politics or outlooks. I think there was too much written for just too little. Start uniting, stop dividing. Come together as one people in one struggle doing one work to overcome those who oppress us.
Paraphrased, MIM(Prisons)'s response was that it's true on one hand; you agree with this comrade on the importance of not forming new groups just for the sake of recognition or self-aggrandizement. The writer fails to address the need to lead by example, as well as showing others by organization for our struggle within, and leading by positive actions.
If you arrive in an environment that lacks structure or recognition and there's so many bright strong minds, but they fail to see how they should be fighting for a united front, you are not just going to stand around and let it be. You should strive to maintain positive communications not by bringing negative attention but by doing it correctly. At this current stage of struggle within imperialist Amerika, there is a practical need for organizing and structure in a cell where regional independence provides security. Demonstrate your work with even the best in your organizations claiming to uphold Maoism. We hold everyone to a high standard of work and don't just look at the names and labels they choose.
Another thing, a person can't force people to comprehend. We are here to show by example, learn, and study the value of communism. I'm with whoever is building peace in prisons. As I do time in this state, it's really not as unorganized as it's said to be. As time passes, progress builds. I'm not even from this state but since I'm doing my time here that makes it my home. I myself am learning and truly interested in our movement and will always strive to stay positive, uniting for what's right. Comrades, keep on pushing, stay strong mentally, and lead by example.
by a North Carolina prisoner August 2012 permalink
I have been a reader of your publication going on a couple years now, and I find it the most uplifting and informative I've seen yet! Also, the comrades in this movement have been most helpful in demonstrating to us how to file a petition against the grievance process here in North Carolina prisons. I am currently housed at Marion Correctional Institution's segregation unit in Marion, North Carolina where they keep any prisoner who dares to challenge and question their conduct or actions. However, I have witnessed over the years how our grievance process has become so watered down to the point when you ask for the DC-410 form you're laughed at by correctional officers and told to spell their names right (ha ha ha). It has become no more than a venting process for us! There is no consideration that this is a constitutionally protected right.
However, I recently have sent copies of my petition to the Justice Department in Atlanta, Georgia and the Inspector General's office in Virginia, as well as two copies to North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) Secretary Jennie Lancaster via certified mail. I haven't even gotten acknowledgements that they received any of them. So you see, we're being stifled, even at the highest levels. Therefore, we won't get anything done on this issue, short of court action. The people who are supposed to protect our rights won't even do so. So we regroup, and continue this fight for justice, so as to stop this "rubber stamping" game with our rights.
MIM(Prisons) responds: It seems other prisoners in North Carolina have already come to similar conclusions, as comrades recently passed the two week mark on a hunger strike demanding improvements in conditions, including an end to long-term isolation.
On Monday July 16th, prisoners began hunger strikes at Bertie CI in Windsor, Scotland CI in Laurinburg, and Central Prison in Raleigh. Targeting a wide range of conditions related but not exclusive to solitary confinement, the prisoners have vowed not to eat until their demands are met.(1)
Check this link below for the full list of demands, because apparently the list released by the NC DPS had sections redacted for "security issues."(2) Which might explain why the mainstream media is not reporting the more serious demands, such as "An immediate end to the physical and mental abuse inflicted by officers", "The end of cell restriction. Sometimes prisoners are locked in their cell for weeks or more than a month, unable to come out for showers and recreation" and "An immediate stop to officers' tampering or throwing away prisoners' mail."(1)
We've seen the increased activity in North Carolina over the last couple years, and so has the DPS, who have stepped up a campaign to keep Under Lock & Key and other mail from MIM(Prisons), out of the hands of their prisoners. Below is one image that triggered censorship in the last issue of ULK.
Just as this comrade has been pushing every administrative avenue to get prisoners' rights respected, MIM(Prisons) has been doing the same to fight this rampant censorship and ignoring of grievances. As this comrade says, we continue to regroup and do everything we can to stop these injustices. We encourage the comrades in North Carolina to keep speaking up, as your rights are not guaranteed; you must stand up and demand them.
I would like to bring something to your attention that's going on here at Union Correctional Institution with staff attacks and starvation tactics. In April I was assaulted by prison staff. Upon grieving the issue at the institutional level, I was immediately retaliated against, choked with security waist chains, placed on strip status butt naked, property taken and destroyed, and placed back into cold cell 40/50 degrees with AC blowing for nine days straight without clothes. I had no sheets, no comfort items, no property, no toothpaste, no toilet tissue, no socks, no mattress, no nothing, just sleeping on a concrete bunk.
I was set up with all kinds of weapons, income tax forms, gang letters, bogus urine test, etc. These staff are out of control. I'm constantly being verbally threatened after I have already been assaulted. Security staff have orderlies empty food trays and pour chemicals and spit in the food after they starve us for 7 or 8 days straight, knowing prisoners will eat anything after not being fed for that long. Medical staff here are covering up for these attacks.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This story of prison staff abuse and retaliation against those who file grievances is unfortunately very common in prisons across the country. The campaign to demand grievances be addressed is spreading to new states quickly as comrades look for ways to fight back against this repression. We don't yet have a petition for the state of Florida so we need someone from that state to look up citations and policies specific to Florida for reference in the petition. If you do this research and send us what needs to be rewritten for your particular state, we will gladly send an edited, accurate copy to other USW and Legal Clinic folks in your state.
The 2012 London Olympics are almost upon us and the world waits, holds their breath even, in anticipation of this most glorious of events which will surely decide what country can lay claim to the best athletes bar none.
But take a closer look and you'll see that the Olympics are in all actuality nothing more than bourgeois propaganda; a multifaceted cultural and ideological weapon of the international bourgeoisie in which they pretend that the world isn't divided into oppressor and oppressed nations. Through the institution of the Olympics the international bourgeoisie seeks to make us believe that the entire humyn species is all living in harmony as equal members of one big happy family, and that the nations of the world co-exist peacefully as if all are members of one big "global village" with the exception of some "rogue states." Nothing however could be further form the truth! Part of that truth being that the Olympics are really just another synonym for this "global village" construct, a construct used to white-wash reality.
The term and concept of what the petty-bourgeoisie ideologues have deemed "global village" and what the big bourgeoisie have in turn labeled more correctly as "globalization" can be more appropriately elaborated and defined as "...a supra class, supranational and universalist process of irresistible all around homogenization of the world under the auspices of monopoly capitalism, through the multilateral agencies (United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB/IBRD) and World Trade Organization (WTO)) and the multinational or transnational firms and banks."(1)
But this ain't no nit-wit critique of the process of globalization per the mythical "99%," who aren't 99% of anything but more like part of the top 13% of the richest people in the world!(2) No, this is a critique of the "global village" construct which has its origin rooted in petty-bourgeois ideology just like the "99%," and which is but a rephrasing of that same process of "globalization" from the international bourgeoisie, as if both the exploiters and exploited are all in the global struggle for humynity together! But we communists know this construct and its material reality by its original name: imperialism!
As previously stated, the Olympics don't just serve to gloss over national and class contradictions on a global scale. They also serve as an extension and propagation of bourgeois ideology a la "human nature," i.e. that always inherent drive to compete.
Indeed, the Olympics serve to keep both the masses of the world and the more progressive wing of the enemy population distracted from the harsh reality of imperialist society (as do professional sports in general). The reality is that the imperialists are on a global rampage in which they're voraciously and ruthlessly raping and plundering the oppressed people of the world and their national territories, i.e. Latin America, Africa and Asia (the Third World). The lie that is the concept of the "global village" exaggerates "...the coherence of the world capitalist system to the point of glossing over the distinction of national modes of production"(1) and its main proponents are in the oppressor states: the industrialized and ethnologically developed countries, the First World, principally the United $tates.
Furthermore, "globalization"/imperialism pretends that the dismantling of national barriers to the operation of capital markets and finance capital brings progress to the Third World or "developing economies" whilst the idealistic and naive petty-bourgeoisie of both the imperialist countries and the Third World believe it. But the truth of the matter is that the "...counterproductive character of neocolonialism is the result of imperialist financing for the overproduction of raw materials and some manufactures for the consumption of the capitalist countries and the upper classes in the underdeveloped countries since the 70s."(1)
On top of this, the popularization of the global village concept isn't just done by the bourgeoisie. This fake global concept is even propagated by so-called "communists" principally in the First World thru the guise of revisionist trickery!
On the one hand we have the barefaced bourgeoisie who uses these concepts to deny Lenin's formulation of imperialism and proletarian revolution, saying that it belongs to the past and that the current neocolonial system is a "post-imperialist phenomenon," as if imperialism and all its tools of oppression and exploitation have all but withered away!
On the other hand we have the so-called and sometimes self-proclaimed "Maoists" in the First World who are really nothing but crypto-Trotskyists that spread the false notion, correctly criticized by MIM, that "...the world proletarian revolution can only be the result of a simplified struggle between a globally united monopoly bourgeoisie and the world proletariat and that the total collapse of the unified imperialism is impending despite the current state of the subjective forces of the revolution in the world."(1)
We must take the time to study and analyze the world around us and its history thru the historical materialist perspective and from the point of view of the oppressed and exploited Third World masses. We need to look at the two great socialist projects of the 20th century. The first was born from the First World War and strong proletarian leadership, and the second was born of the Second World War and strong peasant backing which gave further credence and elaboration to the importance of national liberation and the correct theory that socialism can only be accomplished one country at a time, of which the establishment of the USSR should have proved to the muddle-headed. This study makes clear that the global village/globalization concept that the bourgeoisie uses to deceive the masses and the world is the same theory the revisionists use to accomplish the aims of their bourgeois brethren.
So when you're watching the Olympics this summer remember two things: 1) The world isn't one big happy family. It is divided into oppressor and oppressed nations. This is the principal contradiction on a world scale, while the fundamental contradiction on a world scale is the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat. The Olympics are nothing but the vain attempts of the international bourgeoisie, and imperialist states to whom they are bound, to cover up national and class contradictions and to white-wash reality so that we will confuse the true prize of national liberation, self-determination and complete emancipation from the imperialists for gold medals. 2) Just as the global village construct of the petty-bourgeoisie that dominates that class is a myth and a lie, so is the global village thesis of the crypto-Trotskyists (simultaneous world revolution) which they've specifically tailored to their purposes. It is an ideological weapon of the revisionists used to fool the oppressed nations within U.$. borders into believing that we need not seek national liberation and self-determination for ourselves because according to them all nationalism is bourgeois in essence and "the whole world comes first!"
Lenin, Stalin and Mao all took clear positions on the national question which was liberty at its core; so why can't the First World "communists"? Ask yourself this, go into deep thought, study the question and you will be enlightened ten-fold.