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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Eastern Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Fighting Destruction of Grievances in Maryland

Just as it is in all of the places that are discussed in Under Lock & Key, the system here in Maryland is a joke. Prisoners in this system who wish to air their grievances have no outlet because the same pigs who were writing them up are the same pigs that handle the administrative remedy process.

In 2008, a memo was put out to prisoners, written by the Prisoners' Rights Information System of Maryland (PRISM). It indicated that a Federal lawsuit had been filed by a prisoner represented by PRISM and that that lawsuit resulted in the division of corrections, revising directives governing the administrative remedy process. One of the changes included the adoption of a two-piece carbon copy complaint form so prisoners can retain a copy of the ARP, thus reducing risk of loss and destruction and providing proof of exhaustion of remedies.

For a while this two-piece carbon copy complaint form was beneficial to prisoners, however, like everything else that has been put into effect to ensure that "justice" for prison inmates is upheld, officers have found a way to undermine the system. At first many officers began to refuse to sign the ARPs, but after prisoners began to complain about this injustice the cowards gave in because they did not want to be written up. Then they created a new system stating that no officers could sign an inmate's ARP, only a Lieutenant (Lt) or a "designated officer" could do so. These Lts and designated officers pick and choose which ARPs they want to sign and which ARPs they want to scrap. We have to give our ARPs to a tier officer to take to the Lt because a Lt will never come get it himself. If the Lt is okay with what you've written it will be signed and the carbon copy will be returned to you. If not, you'll never see it again.

The whole point of the carbon copy is to prevent loss or destruction. It is supposed to be signed and dated in front of you so that the carbon copy can be handed back to you right then and there so that you will have proof that you wrote the ARP if something happens to it.

In the segregation unit of Eastern Correctional Institution, Lt Galligher is one of the leaders of the good ol' boy network. It is he and he alone who is in charge of signing ARPs and he must have worked as a magician before working for the division of corruption because he sure does know how to make a grievance disappear. Not many people write this up because this Lt and the other pigs who put this system into place will not hesitate to retaliate on anyone that attempts to expose them. I, however, am not afraid and plan to attack this joke that they call a grievance procedure from every angle possible.

I agree with the brother from Washington who stated that in ULK 19, "[t]he only way that we as prisoners will be treated fairly and with justice is if a neutral outside company or corporation dealing solely with grievances and our claims is constructed." Otherwise we're just complaining to the same people who are administering the many forms of injustice that we are fighting against. It's a new era, it's time for change, it's time for solidarity. I'm especially speaking to those of you who are in an organization, this is what our energy should be focused on, instead of trying to destroy the many forms of injustice that we are shadowed with on an everyday basis. It's time for change. The time is now. Power to the people!


MIM(Prisons) adds: In response to this sort of injustice around prisoner's grievances, some United Struggle from Within (USW) comrades initiated a grievance campaign. Write us to get a copy of the grievance petition for your state if you reside in California, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, or a generic petition that you can customize for your state if you are anywhere else.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 20]
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Something Has Got to Change


As I envision the oppressor
The one we've come to blame
The one who has united us by numbers
And no longer respects our given names.
Who's willing to stand for our cause?
We're trapped in this thing together
And sho' nuf, united we will fall.
That's why we lift each other up
No matter the nationality or rotten speech
Together we should stand in this struggle
No matter the differences, we're all unique.
Defend what you want to accomplish
yet alone, it should be peace.
Something has got to change my people,
the oppressor has made us weak.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 21]
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Inhuman Living

I am currently serving a state sentence at Florida State Prison on Close Management (24 hour lock-down). The prisoners are treated like hogs in a barn, not human beings. The clothes here are filthy and stained with blood, urine, feces, oil, and semen. They are passed out on a weekly basis. We can catch a disease this way.

And the meals are always underdone. Prisoners have gotten sick from this, a stomach virus. If you file a grievance on it, the correctional officers won't feed you the next day.

The pigs will write prisoners bogus disciplinary reports sometimes, and if you try to file an appeal after they found you guilty of the infraction your appeal comes up missing. How can a prisoner win like that? The system is designed for us to lose even if we're right in our argument.

The correctional officers like to jump on prisoners in handcuffs/shackles in the assigned cells, on the rec yard, anywhere where there's not a camera to catch the injustice. How can anyone defend themselves when they're helpless?

The COs try to discourage prisoners on a daily basis out of their institutional call-out, meaning they will bribe them with contraband like cigarettes, chewing dip, coffee, knives, etc. A lot of them will fall for it all the time because they are trying to support their bad habits. It's sad on both parties' behalf.

Florida prisoners have no unity whatsoever and they never will as long as they continue to be brainwashed by the COs and continue accepting contraband that is being brought in by DOC workers to prisoners. As long as this keeps going on there will always be fights between one another.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The oppressive conditions in Florida are similar to those throughout the criminal injustice system, and this comrade's call for prisoners to unite underscores the motivation behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons. One of the 5 principles of the United Front is Independence. The oppressed need to develop institutions that meet their needs. There are plenty of examples of prisoners pooling their resources to take care of each other, rather than relying on the COs who only hope to poison the prison population with drugs, weapons, rumors and jealousy.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Swindle Hearse


Pull the fucking pistol out of your mouth
and pick up a book
turn off that damn bourgeois television
and take a look
shit's getting hectic, brother, sure
But a bullet in the brain, amigo, isn't the cure
It's too late for you, man, but what about your son
What about his generation who's been taught to run
to stomp and tantrum and tattle-tale
suck the plastic flea market and dodge bourgeois "hell"
imperialist sons medicated for depression
A hybrid oppressor slash enemy nation
I'll sell you this for a gallon of that
Then starve the world and die of heart attack fat
It isn't the way it was meant
All these senseless suicides ain't some static event
the reasons exists - the "whys" right here
Your casket costs thousands - payment plan three years
sucking the fucking juice out of life - capitalism
then profiting off of your death - straight sadism
Rent the church to grieve you in
Buy the hole they bury you in
Pay the petty priest to say some words
Then scribble on some gray marble how much it hurts
Picking the pocket of the family that weeps
Dying's expensive while living is cheap
Business in death and death in business
What's the price, father, the price to miss us

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 22]
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Alone Strong


I sit doing ten years for a gram of dope
Witnessing Johannes Mehserle get probation for murder
I sit watching men starve to death
Witnessing guards who can't even alight a flight of stairs
Because they're too fucking fat
I sit in a country that told me to stay in school
and educate yourself
In a cell where they won't give me a book
I was told in my youth to just say no
to drugs
And now that I refuse their psychotropics
they refuse me parole
They told me to love thy neighbor
like you love yourself
and now I watch my country men shoot Mexicans
swimming the border
I sit in the land of the free
rattling my chains
waiting
I see the hypocrisy and the bitter twisted lies
Do you?
I sit alone
7.4 million strong
knowing nothing more than to carry on
nothing more than my country's wrong
knowing nothing - nothing's at all wrong
Do you?

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 26]
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Politics


This game is thick, politics and pale faces
and these dark skin negros, itchin to change places
wantin' to reign supreme, niggas catchin cases
where brothers turn fiend, cause they can't face this
the game ain't told - it's sold for brother souls
my people live in poverty - Mr. Charlie sat on swoll
they wonder why the thugs cry and their hearts turn cold
they got us twisted and deny our votes at the white man's poll
they brought us on boats to add labor to this nation
infest our hoods with dope - now servin's the occupation
blind us to life by material infatuation
enslaved to this living, screaming emancipation proclamation
I scream "set me free from this land" through my third eye and see
monkey Tom singing "my country tis of thee"
we steady searching for the land of liberty
the sweet land of jewels that was promised to me
It was a hoax the 40 acres and the mule
with the flow my people gettin played as fools
time to wisen up, get a grip and use our tools
I know you tired of poverty, being mistreated and abused
we got the knowledge - slave labor built the land
they keep us out of college, so ignorance is their plan
clearly I see mental freedom wasn't meant for the black man
trapped in society with statues and laws only they can overstand
dark skin is a sin in this white man's world
my brothers drown their emotions by getting drunk til they hurt
who cares about the early morning fiend twitchin for a fix
the united snakes of american politics

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 20]
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Criticism and Self-Criticism in Revolutionary Practice

Criticism in the positive usage is the examination, analysis, and evaluation of the comparative worth of one's acts, practices, policies and/or ideas by others. Self-criticism is, of course, the same principles applied to oneself, but also refers to the organizational practice of critically examining and re-examining its own policies and/or the policies and practices of its members. Criticism and self-criticism are wholly necessary to human progress.

Criticism in its positive usage corrects mistakes in practices and of thought, and resolves differences among individuals and makes for smooth-running, well-functioning organizations. We should put forth the slogan "Unity-Criticism-Unity" to show how individuals come together and unite under principles, but in the actual working out of these principles differences arise for various reasons, which work against the accomplishments of the declared ends, and against cohesion of the organization. When these differences arise there must be criticism in which those with differences interpenetrate, modify one another, and form a new more perfect unity on the basis of having worked out contradictions that were inherent in the old unity.

Cause of Error

The differences which arise that disrupt unity can generally be found to have their basis in these categories of human error:

1) Opportunism; opportunism is defined as that tendency for an individual or individuals to make a decision or commit an act that is favorable to his/her own self-aggrandizement and at the expense of the collective or the movement as a whole. Opportunism stems from selfishness. When opportunism arises, either in an individual or in an organization it is to be severely criticized, and if necessary, the individual or individuals should be expelled from the organization or ostracized from the movement.

2) Subjectivism: the second type of error that disrupts unity and impairs revolutionary progress may be found in the general category called "subjectivism." Progress is always our purpose, but subjectivism can be distinguished from opportunism often only by the merest of hairlines. It generally has to do with personality flaws; One makes a decision or commits an act that is based on one's personal feelings, desires, resentments, jealousies, prejudices, etc. Such subjectivism may possibly stem from any number of sources: child trauma, subliminal conditioning, religious superstitions, etc. When such subjectivism pops up to impede the functioning of the individual or the progress of the organization, it is imperative that it be dealt with. The consciousness of many must necessarily be stripped of the old pernicious ideas and values imposed by the bourgeois culture. However, those traits and personal idiosyncrasies which are not particularly harmful to the individual or the cause, but are largely a matter of style, should not needlessly be criticized.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We refer comrades to Mao's essays On Contradiction and Combat Liberalism for more on the importance of fighting opportunism and building unity through the resolution of contradictions.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 20]
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Light of Liberation

When we come to the point of the threshold of enlightenment, we pause for the embarking, take a deep breath of redefining air, close our eyes, place one foot across the threshold, and keep progressing forward.

As we cross over to reform, our minds race with stimulating thoughts of resurrection. Our third eye blinks once, twice, thrice — opens. Through this new halo of light we can see the struggles of humanity.

Our hearts diastole — conjuring of courage. We sought then solidarity — collective force of "the people."

All the teachings of the past great revolutionaries preceding us serve as instructions. Their words became our voice, so we spoke the language of "the people."

We clench our fist, and give salutation. DETERMINATION! CONSOLIDATION! REVOLUTION! LIBERATION!

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Tecumseh State Correctional Institution] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 21]
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Fighting the System is Dangerous

As mentioned in prior writings by comrades, the struggle, especially for those incarcerated, must encompass not merely a study of history but an application of those strategies that in some way benefit the cause as a whole. One aspect of such application are the legal remedies which can set precedence for many who may need such standards in proving the wrongs done by prison officials. However the opacity and cover-up culture of prison industry in some instances allows for these same freedom fighters to unknowingly sacrifice their very lives for the sake of the many. Here at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in a rural part of Nebraska this fact remains ever alive.

We are still mourning the death of a prisoner who has on several occasions successfully challenged institutional policy, winning both injunctive and compensatory judgments. In the process he made enemies, invoking the wrath of those running this warehouse. And although this comrade was in phenomenal physical condition he somehow experienced an aneurysm and mysteriously died. Some have postulated his diet of tuna was the cause, other more conspiratorial minds say he was murdered because of his success in exposing questionable actions by those officials. I myself have chosen to accept the latter.

I mention this with regards to a legal battle I will enter very soon pertaining to a number of constitutional rights that have been violated. This struggle is real in every sense of the word and unfortunately requires its martyrs, without which one would not perceive the seriousness of our collective struggle.

The constant study, comprehension and application of the tenets of independent thinking, which will always remain applicable to our situation, must continue for substantial change to occur.

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[United Front] [Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 20]
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Peace Movement Destroyed in Infancy

Criminalizing a People
This letter is to inform you that the United Zulu Independence Movement (UZI) was destroyed and disbanded due to the draconian COINTELPRO-type efforts of the prison administration here in Missouri. For the past 6 months, which we are calling "6 Months of Terror!" the Missouri DOC have been sending the gang task force into general populations statewide to seize, harass, arrest, set up, transfer and jump on UZI members. Members are being pointed out by prison snitches and placed on gang file. They have also confiscated all of our literature, but cannot charge us with organized disobedience because, as you know, we have not promoted any.

The administration's view of UZI is so dark due to two major words within our radical title (United & Independence). They fear the unity of the lumpen, and they see the independent thinker as a serious threat.

I will keep in contact with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to let you know of our progress to rebuild.

It Don't Stop!
Zulu


MIM(Prisons) responds: UZI had been an active participant in pushing for a United Front for Peace in Prisons, working with MIM(Prisons) for just over a year before their demise at the hands of the state. We
hear they were doing prom- ising truce work between lumpen organizations in their region. As they allude to, they were very careful about the language used in their literature so that it could not be misconstrued to be something of a "crim- inal" nature or promoting forbidden behavior within the Missouri DOC. Despite all this, the DOC still saw it appropriate to brutally crush this peace movement, demonizing any attempt by oppressed nations to organize. We expect that more New Afrikan blood will be shed in Missouri as a direct result of this ob- struction of peace, and this blood will be on the hands of the COINTELPRO-type forces.

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