"The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the Constitution of the United States only requires a state to provide its inmates with access to a law library or access to persons trained in the law. Bounds v. Smith, 40 U.S. 817, 97, S. Ct. 1491, 52 L. Ed. 2d 72 (1977). The choice of which alternative to provide lies with the state, not with the inmate. Connecticut has chosen to rely on access to persons trained in the law in order to comply with the requirements of Bounds." - CT DOC form letter
One of the services that the Connecticut Department of Corrections offers to prisoners is the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services at Yale University. In a letter dated 17 November 2012 that organization responded to a comrade stating:
We received your letter requesting assistance. Unfortunately, this office no longer has the resources to provide information or representation to such requests.
This is similar to the situation in North Carolina where the state contracts with the completely useless North Carolina Prisoner Legal Service, Inc. But, as we know, in other states where law libraries are provided, the resources in those libraries are also grossly inadequate. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton's Prisoners Litigation Reform Act seriously hampered the ability of prisoners to get their grievances heard in U.$. courts. For those interested in this law we recommend Mumia Abu Jamal's book Jailhouse Lawyers.
Our response to all of this is two-pronged. The main lesson is that legal battles cannot win prisoner rights under imperialism. As Mumia exposes in his book, the belief that they can leads hard-working jailhouse lawyers to literally go crazy. To win, we must organize oppressed people to establish a joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations over the former oppressors. Under proletarian leadership, exploitation and oppression will become the biggest crimes, and prisons will become places for education and re-socialization rather than torture and isolation.
Our second prong is our Serve the People Prisoners' Legal Clinic. This is our short-term strategy. We know that legal information is difficult to obtain in the current system, and that providing access to this information in a useful way helps oppressed people in prison to survive this system. Just be careful that our legal work does not help prop up the very system that oppresses us, as Mumia warns. If you want to help prepare and share legal guides for anti-imperialist jailhouse lawyers write in and ask to work with the Prisoners' Legal Clinic.
There are two wars waging in oppressed communities throughout the United $nakes: a war by the imperialist-oppressor nation to keep poor and oppressed communities in semi-colonial bondage, and a war between lumpen street organizations. The battlefields are the reservations, barrios, ghetto cities and prison plantations. Many of you have defined the war between us and the dominant nation incorrectly as "racism," but what is really going on is national oppression. And, in order to defeat and destroy national oppression a "nation" must engage in a national liberation struggle with the end result being national independence. But this is getting ahead of myself.
Many of you who belong to a street organization, misnomered a gang, know the history of your group and can trace yourselves back to when your organization fought against injustices being perpetrated against some segment of your community. And you know that many have deviated from your origins and laws. At the same time, a lot of you are struggling to re-define and re-direct your organization back to their original purposes — serving the needs of the people.
Conversely, we all recognize or should recognize that the conditions of our communities and nations are a direct result of our colonization by those who settled this country. The poverty, misery and suffering, the drug addiction and violence are all because you are not in control of your own development and destiny. Those who don't rule, get ruled.
My question to you is 1) who ultimately bears the responsibility to see that peace exists in our communities? 2) who bears responsibility to see that we have adequate housing, medical care, education, etc? 3) who benefits most from our communities being saturated with drugs? 4) who benefits most from all of the violence in our communities? 5) who benefits the most from all of us being incarcerated?
Know that the state and federal government have been discussing changing federal laws that would declare gangs and gang nmembers to be domestic terrorists. Why would they do that? Because those in power know that you have the actual and potential power to change this society, that you have the actual and potential power to liberate your nation. You can put an end to police brutality, homelessness, hunger, war, etc. Yea, you have that power!
"The police, and those that they truly serve and protect, do not want us to respect the actual and potential power of our young people, they do not want us to glimpse, through our youth, the power that lies within each of us. If the crips and bloods can bring peace to our communities, and the police can't or won't, then why do we need the police? If the Disciples, Vice Lords, Latin Kings and other street organizations can serve and protect our children and elders, and the state demonstrates that it can't or won't, then why should we continue to depend upon it and profess loyalty to it? If the power to end violence exists within our own communities, then we should be looking for ways to increase our power, and we should be looking for ways to exercise it."(1)
Ain't nothing wrong with being in a street organization, because after all, a "gang" is a group of people with close social relations that work together. The problem is that most street organizations are moving in the wrong direction. They're engaging in the wrong social practices which are retarding the growth and development of our people.
Through the media and other outlets, the negative images of gangs are filtered (like that bullshit Gangland), so that our people will see street organizations as the main problem existing in our hoods, and they'll ask for more police presence and harsher prison sentences for those identified as gang members. But gangs didn't create the current problems. The state fears that you'll become conscious and active and solve the problems.
Dig this: "One of the main reasons for the rampant crime that occurs in the colonies is national oppression. The colonized live in areas where there is unemployment or underemployment, crummy housing with high rent and poor education. The colonized kill and fight over the money that secures necessities... this reality afflicts the nationally oppressed in the most harmful ways. The nationally oppressed do not hold state power nor the economic power to compete with the oppressors... so the rampant crime in the colonies is not due to self-hatred but national oppression and capitalist culture and policy."(2)
So you see, "Our problem is not that there are gangs in our communities — our problem is that our communities are colonized territories that suffer from arrested development caused by the U.S. settler-imperialist state. Thus, we have no need to attack gangs — that is, ideally, we have no need to attack any organized group of our people that work to free the process of our collective development. [my emphasis] What we must do is make sure that all organized groups in our communities have this as their goal — and so long as we deal with members of our communities (i.e. members of our families), the means that we use should be education and persuasion, rather than physical force. However, even if stronger means are called for, they should be means created and employed by forces within our own communities and not those of U.S., local, state and federal governments. The transformation of gangs into progressive groups within our communities is part of the process of acquiring group power that will enable us to control every aspect of our lives. Our problem is that too many people in our communities — old and young — lack the identity, purpose and direction required of us if we are to acquire the kind of power that we need to truly free ourselves and begin to pursue the development of our ideal social order."(1)
The betterment of our conditions must begin with self, with you making a conscious and disciplined commitment to transforming yourselves and your organizations. Prestige bars any serious attack on power. Do people attack a thing they consider with awe, with a sense of legitimacy? This is an aspect of the "criminal" and the "colonial" (slave) mentality: continued recognition and acceptance of the legitimacy of the colonial rule, to continue to feel that the colonial state has a right to rule over the colonized.
If we take control of our communities and the power to control every aspect of our lives, then we can ensure that the lynchings end. You can put an end to there ever being another Oscar Grant, Sean Bell or Trayvon Martin lynching.
Soldiers, Riders, Gangstaz — protect your community, clean it up, build it up, feed it, educate it, and let no one do it any harm. That's gangsta, but revolutionary!
Ride or Die! Unite or Perish! July 2013
MIM(Prisons) adds: This statement from BORO is a good explanation of why the United Front for Peace work is important, and is demanded by the people. While we are building the United Front for Peace in Prisons we must also work towards a United Front on the streets, where the lumpen organizations come together to fight our common enemy: imperialism. We have seen examples of strong unity and educational advancement in many street organizations. The UFPP works to set an example in prisons that can be taken to the streets.
I haven't written to you in a while due to the fact that all my property was taken in September and destroyed. This was punishment for me helping a fellow comrade who had his food and shower denied. In fact, both of our property was destroyed by these racist pigs. All my mail, photos, legal transcripts, addresses, hygiene, radio, books, etc. So I've been in an upheaval writing paperwork up, filing this litigation.
Since that incident I've been put back into long term SHU, probably until I go home. So in the mean time I'm trying to put together a political study group - United Political Prisoners Syndicate - to try to organize against this imperialist system. Also they denied me from receiving your ULK 34, talking about how it's detrimental to security, these pigs always talking about some B.S. I'm going to appeal the decision.
Just as the oppressed communities are racially profiled as the garbage pits of society that breeds and houses criminals, we prisoners are racially profiled in practically a similar, if not a more blatant extreme. The powers that govern and operate the U.S. Prison Colonies, have catapulted measures that are atypically designed to target prisoners, and criminalize their behavior in relation to belonging to a disruptive prison gang, in particular, those prisoners who are descendants of Afrikan/Mexican origin. They target those prisoners who have demonstrated the capacity of independent thought process (non-conformity), or those who are believed to be some kind of shot caller, with influence over a particular group of prisoners. The independent thought process itself that will enable prisoners to become conscious of the injustices that are perpetrated on a regular basis behind these walls, and so they are considered a threat.
This criminalization is called "The Validation Process." Prisoners in the SHU (Security Housing Units) at Pelican Bay State Prison, in Kalifornia, have been validated as criminals belonging to a prison gang, for some of the most idiotic reasons. From saying good morning to a fellow prisoner, to signing a fellow prisoner's get well card for a sick relative, or a loved one. But the most ridiculous reason of them all is the administration paying three collaborating informants to say that you belong to a prison gang! Usually you've never even met this paid rat, or only may have by chance possibly shared the same breakfast table with him one morning, or looked at him in a manner that he did not appreciate one afternoon. But yet, the burden of reliability is given to the paid rat automatically, prior to the actual examination of facts. The courts/society are practically lulled to sleep in the midst of this madness, as the U.S. Prison Colony officials have planted the seed in them, that their means of action is just, and required, in the interest of protecting the safety/security of the institution. That's nonsense! As per Pelican Bay State Prison's own policies, a gang member is one who is consciously, and knowingly promoting criminal activities for a particular gang. Over 75% of the prisoners housed in the SHU at PBSP are being housed on an indefinite basis as allegedly belonging to a prison gang, but have not committed one rule infraction.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer exposes the use of control units for social control in Amerikan prisons. This system of isolation for control has a long history in the Amerikan criminal injustice system. Demonstrated to cause both severe mental and physical damage to humyns, this long-term solitary confinement is nothing less than torture. The recent prisoner hunger strike in California was initiated by prisoners demanding change to the rules behind SHU lockup and improvements to the conditions in the SHU. Conditions are so bad that prisoners are literally wiling to die to fight for change. The importance of control units, as this writer describes, is control of leaders and politically conscious prisoners. This is not about criminal activity, it is about stopping prisoners from spreading consciousness. Many of those targeted for the SHU are actually promoting peace among prisoners, organizing different sets to get together to fight the injustice system. The prisoncrats know this is the real threat to the system.
Today is Independence Day, freedom from tyranny I sit in my cell, contemplating this irony Land of the free, land that was stolen Freedom for a few, the opportunity was golden The Declaration of Independence, a declaration of genocide Mexicans, Blacks, and Indians need not apply Manifest Destiny, in God we trust Rape, pillage and murder, they'll leave in their dust Resistance seems futile, they'll make some examples Mexico, Dominican Republic and Haiti, just a sample Hello capitalism, hello social class The white man's system, they can never be last One day we will be equal under socialism Our Independence Day will come, it's called communism.
In a joint U.$. and UK spying operation, agencies hacked into links to Yahoo and Google data centers, allowing them to freely collect information from user accounts on those systems. This data collection project, called MUSCULAR, is a joint operation between the U.$. National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Documents released by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, Edward Snowden and "interviews with knowledgeable officials" are the sources for this news that was broken by The Washington Post on October 30, 2013. Google was "outraged" at this revelation, and many Amerikans were shocked to learn of the violation of their privacy by their own government.
Of course, for those of us serious about security in our political organizing work, this is not breaking news. It is just further confirmation of what we've been saying for a long time: email is not secure, especially email on the major service providers like Google and Yahoo. Back in August MIM(Prisons) had our email account shut down when the U.$. government demanded that our email server, lavabit.com, turn over information on the accounts it provided. Lavabit decided it would rather stop providing services at all than comply with the government's demand. We can only assume that any email service still in operation is supplying information to the U.$. government.
What is interesting about this story is not that the NSA is caught red handed snooping on people's email, but that they would even need to do this in the first place, when major companies are freely providing backdoor access to the U.$. government. A court-approved process provides the NSA with access to Yahoo and Google user accounts, through a program known as PRISM. Through PRISM, the NSA can demand online communications records that match specific search terms. Apparently this restriction to court approved search terms was too limiting for the NSA, who has been siphoning off vast portions of the data held in Google and Yahoo data centers, for analysis and more targeted snooping.
MUSCULAR gets around the already lax U.$. government policies on spying on Americans by exploiting links between data centers holding information outside of the U.$. where intelligence gathering falls under presidential authority and has little oversight or restriction.
As we pointed out in the article Self-Defense and Secure Communications: "Currently, we do not have the ability to defend the movement militarily, but we do have the ability to defend it with a well-informed electronic self-defense strategy. And just as computer technology, and the internet in particular, was a victory for free speech, it has played a role in leveling the battlefield to the point that the imperialists recognize computer warfare as a material vulnerability to their hegemony." In that article we provided some basic suggestions for communications self-defense, most of which are only possible for people outside of prisons.
As more information comes out on the vast resources invested in electronic surveillance it is clearer that improving our technology is a form of offensive work as well, even if we aren't launching attacks. The imperialists are spending a lot of resources trying to defeat the tools we mention in our last article. In using these tools in our day-to-day work we tie up those resources that could be used to fight other battles against the oppressed elsewhere. This should be stressed to those who think security is taking time away from "real work."
Some will not organize until they've read all of Marx's writings to ensure they understand Marxism. This is a mistake, just like waiting to get the perfect electronic security before doing any organizing work. But you should assume that all of our communications are being intercepted. Take whatever precautions you can to ensure your information cannot be accessed, or if it can, that it cannot be used against you or others. Security is like theory and any organizing skill; it should be constantly improved upon, but it should not paralyze your work.
Conceived and birthed inside the belly of the beast Shaped and molded by the Daughters of the Nile Eastern stars and various travelers from the East Rising from the ashes like a phoenix resurrected Attacked by clandestine forces, my body lies naked in my cell unprotected Feeding my mental with the art of revolutionary science Marx, Mao and Lenin - deep inside the womb Kicking the brains out of falsehood in the same manner Comrade Rashid is in Texas Steadily - Defying the Tomb Lost but not turned out, everyday I'm facing hate It is I Comrade Malik The enemy of the state! They have labeled me an enemy simply because I have a revolutionary voice Senator Wendy Davis is an enemy too because she believes passionately in her right to choice Who brands us enemies, who labels us foes? Words of knowledge and inspiration expounded - with the hope that you may grow Will you stand up and fight along side me or will you choose to use drugs in order to escape? It is I Comrade Malik A soldier for the people The enemy of the state! I have witnessed beatings, degradation, dehumanization and abuse When we cry out for justice in Texas there is always an excuse Who will expose these hypocrites for who they are and finally set the record straight? It is I Comrade Malik A soldier for change The enemy of the state! They stole my freedom at a corrupt parole hearing but they will never steal my drive like Mamie Till I will fight injustice as long as I'm alive Who will organize the people? Teach them, and show them the way It's the fox and the wolf the ballot or the bullet that is the order of the day Imperialists have destroyed our families damaged our planet and poisoned our youth The world is full of falsehood you can barely find the truth Dictatorship of the proletariat! is what I've been screaming for as of late Who will lead the revolution?! It is I Comrade Malik and the new enemies of the state!
We have instituted self-government for peace among every form of affiliation. Our dorm was labeled the worst in the state. I'm proud to say that our way of governing ourselves has been highly successful, as we are nearly four months without a stabbing on A side, and 6 on B side. We are for peace.
To become effective we are unifying the revolutionary minded from among the ranks of all brotherhoods in order to create a board/counsel. We understand that only through unity can we be effective in the fight against the oppressive imperialist pigs. From us, we intend to infect all of South Carolina Department of Corrections and bring forth many more voices and arms. Our voices will be heard. Our struggle will become their bane.
The majority of the population is hungry to learn. We have classes of various topics: law, history, religious, physical, combat, etc. We believe in education, as knowledge is power. We encourage all and welcome any who seek earnestly. We accept no racial discrimination, nor do we tolerate any concepts of racial superiority.
As for internationalism, it is something we know little of. We fight against oppression, period. The founders of this organization all have communistic views and intend to provide truth to all who have ears to hear.
Our statement is simple. We are similarly situated in our beliefs to the united front. We fight the same fight. We see no limitations. Unity, Equality, Peace, Prosperity, Devotion, Growth & Development.
The hunger strike that was to start here at Connally Unit on 21 October 2013 has been postponed. The powers that be have had close custody on continuous lock-down after an annual lock-down was lifted. Even though close custody went on lock-down before the rest of the unit, we have remained on lock-down unable to buy stamps and basic hygiene.
However, a planned hunger strike to protest these conditions is temporarily on hold after meeting with the warden who claims that after we get shaken down we will be let off these inhumane conditions. If the warden does not start taking steps to change our status and conditions we have more who will go on hunger strike with us when we start back. Since we have nothing, we have nothing to lose. The seeds are being planted.
The 22 prisoner hunger strike at Pontiac Correctional Center that started at the beginning of October 2013 has ended, unsuccessfully, with prisoners being manipulated by the pigs to end the strike. One of the pigs' tactics was to not document prisoners who were on strike more than five days, thus causing some to stop striking. Others simply came off strike because the pigs "promised" to meet some of the demands that were being made. These demands included adequate sanitary supplies, programs for prisoners in long-term segregation, replacement of the current grievance officer, better recreation environment, etc. These requirements have yet to materialize and most prisoners who participated in the strike are scattered throughout the prison now. This separation was inevitable. For the pigs know in unity there's strength, so they reacted by separating us. But this will not stop the struggle. For each one will teach one and strengthen prisoner solidarity in the process.
The goal now is to continue to build unity and peace amongst prisoners so that next time we strike we will be more organized and prepared to struggle fully!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This report highlights some of the risks of getting ahead of the masses. This is at least the second hunger strike organized at Pontiac in the last year that we've heard of. So we do not mean to second guess the comrades' organizing choices there. But as these tactics show successes in some places, they are being imitated elsewhere. And it is important to assess your conditions where you are at, as you must gain more in terms of building peace and unity than you lose in the pigs moving people around and demoralizing the masses from engaging in future actions. The prison movement is on the rise, and by being smart it can continue to rise.