I was brutally beaten by seven correctional officers (COs) in December and was transported to the hospital as a result. They almost killed me. My hands were restrained the whole time while they maced and punched me in the face continually. I was kicked in the stomach and elsewhere.
This is the second time that I have been sent to the hospital for officer brutality. The first time was when CO Goins cut my hand wide open and I had to get stitches. I have been forced to endure constant harassment, degradation, malicious behavior, discrimination, etc. All of this has happened to me as a result of "retaliation" for the many grievances that I've submitted for CO Goins stealing my jewelry out of my property bag. When I started grieving this and other matters, other officers joined him in retaliation against me.
There's a lot more to this matter but this letter is just to reveal some of what I've gone through and am experiencing. This beating took place six months ago, but the campaign of harassment has been going on longer.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Unfortunately brutality is not an uncommon response by prison guards against prisoners who try to fight injustice and illegal guard abuse through the grievance system. This is why United Struggle from Within initiated a campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. There are currently petitions for California, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, and we need help to create petitions for other states. Write to us to get involved.
On this fourth day of July, Amerikans all across the country are celebrating their freedoms with beer and bangs. Yet in the same country there are more people locked in tiny cages for 22 to 24 hours per day, with little or no access to the outside world, than in any other country in the world. In Pelican Bay State Prison in California many are in such "control units" because of who they associate with, and they were put there based on secret evidence. For any student of the U.$. Constitution or the Bill of Rights it is obvious that the promised freedoms of Amerikkka are not granted to its internal semi-colonies.
Today we are sending dozens of signed letters from residents of California who share our concerns for prisoners forced to live in these torturous conditions and who support those in Pelican Bay engaging in a peaceful hunger strike.
Warden Greg Lewis Pelican Bay State Prison P.O. Box 7000 Crescent City, CA 95531-7000
5 July 2011
Dear Warden Lewis,
Included with this letter are dozens of letters from residents of California who are concerned for the welfare of the prisoners in Pelican bay State Prison. We are sending these letters to you in support of the prisoners on hunger strike. The letters are asking you to do all that is within your power to do to change the conditions in PBSP to meet the strikers' demands.
We have also forwarded copies of these letters to CDCR Internal Affairs and CDCR Office of the Ombudsman.
MIM Distributors P.O. Box 40799 San Francisco, CA 94140
To view a copy of the general letter that people signed, click here.
Please stop any abuses that are going on inside the prison complex. - Oakland, CA
Stop locking up prisoners who need other kinds of help (drug, etc.) P.S. Wasting my tax dollars 4 real! - Berkeley, CA
P.S. U.S. signed the Convention Against Torture. It has been ratified. It is the law of the land. Please do not violate our laws! Thanks. - Richmond, CA
Please attend to this!!! NOW! - Oakland, CA
I just don't understand how people in this day & time are still so devilish, when they got power & it's a very fucked up feeling because we are human beings & you all treat us like shit! -Oakland, CA
Dehumanizing prisoners is sickness; you are helping commit crimes against humanity by abuses and deprivation of basic rights and needs of prisoners. -Eureka, CA
In the letters to Warden Lewis, the California cities of Hercules, San Francisco, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Stockton, Napa, Chula Vista and Vacaville were also represented and supporters have forwarded letters they wrote from as far as BC, Canada.
Here's an update on what's going on at High Desert State Prison: A second Correctional Officer was busted for bringing in drugs and phones. Boby Joe Corby was arrested for accepting $10,000 for that. And we just had an Afrikan national overdose on heroin 3 days ago.
The pigs here were feeding us double the amount of food to prevent us from going on the hunger strike - it only lasted a couple of days (July 1 - 3).
I have been doing a lot of organizing to unite the nations captive in these U.$. warehouses. A lot of my homies tell me I am crazy because I want to revolutionize my mentality, as well as my fellow brothaz, from criminal to revolutionary, to stand up and fight for true freedom.
We in facility "A" Ad-Seg Unit A1 will be following suit with a hunger strike July 8 2011, one week after the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) strike begins here at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Your support would be highly appreciated.
I am requesting to be provided the PBSP SHU strike campaign update with flier. Any information that you could assist in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated.
Letters or phone calls made in support of the abolishment of these foul, inhumane and unsanitary living conditions would be highly appreciated.
Thank you. Could you please forward most recent Under Lock & Key.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have received news from other A units in Pelican Bay that they are going to be participating in the hunger strike as well. Isolation is so severe in Pelican Bay that many had not heard of the strike until receiving our notice, but word is spreading through many avenues and supporters on the outside and support is strong and growing.
Myself and others have founded the National Liberation Revolution of Oppressed Persons (NLROP), to educate and liberate the oppressed and disenfranchised. Furthermore, to end the suffrage and disparagement of formerly incarcerated persons who are never truly free or relieved of their debt to society, constantly being subjected to various civil and humanitarian rights violations - "The New Jim Crow." We fully support the United Front for Peace in Prisons, and the principles thereof as proclaimed by MIM(Prisons). The NLROP also fully supports the Prisoners' Bill of Rights as proclaimed by Incarcerated Citizens Coalition, the internal chapter of the Human Rights Coalition.
I have discussed the principles of UF for Peace with our members, and as Chairman I speak on behalf of the NLROP and do confirm our signing and full support of the United Front for Peace, and the principles thereof.
A committee of seven members from different affiliations is currently being constructed to oversee day-to-day operations in and outside of prison. Our first newsletter magazine is scheduled for production and release October 2011.
The NLROP is currently comprised primarily of incarcerated and affiliated persons within Tennessee prison colonies. However we do not limit ourselves or pose any restrictions on expansion, and welcome with open arms those who are committed to the cause and agree with our guidelines and/or principles internally, and that which we agree to as a whole, externally.
The reason UF principles are important to us as a movement is that they transcend those principles and guidelines that we already follow and believe in, and expound on such in a very clear and concise manner.
I am new to the cause, but not new to the system. I am currently in reception here in California waiting to go to mainline. I am writing to let you know I have received the newsletter and the letter from the comrades in Pelican Bay and their serious issues [concerning their hunger strike], but I am also writing to let you know about some issues we are having with health violations and degrading of prisoners by the pigs.
First, we are being housed in gyms and they are in real nasty condition, black mold in the restrooms, no air to keep us cool, with temperatures that reach over 100 degrees this next month. We have no fire sprinklers and there is an infestation of birds and bird lice that is giving prisoners rashes and bite marks. People are passing staph infection around, and they make us go without soap and other supplies for weeks at a time.
MIM(Prisons) adds: It is conditions like these in prisons across the country that led to prisoners all over California acting in solidarity with the hunger strike initiated in Pelican Bay this July. And these common interests compelled the organization of the United Front for Peace in Prisons as a vehicle to unite the lumpen so that we can organize effectively against the criminal injustice system.
On June 21 I received the [Hunger Strike] campaign update and I do truly admire your organization attempting to liberate not only confined prisoners but all oppressed people within the nation. Thank you!
Tomorrow, on July 1, I will most definitely be participating in the mass hunger strike here in Pelican Bay State Prison. I'm under lock and key isolated in administrative segregation awaiting transfer to Corcoran SHU for over 17 months now, and this inhumane, dehumanizing and repressive treatment of these control unit prisoners must come to an end. I am tired of being targeted and psychologically tortured in solitary confinement, which causes severe mental harm to the point of having conversations with myself. This is a form of sensory deprivation and must stop immediately.
Another reason why I will be protesting along with the SHU prisoners is because here in CDCR there are no simple programs such as tattoo removal programs. Some prisoners like myself were incarcerated as juveniles and tried as adults, and we made mistakes by putting tattoos on our bodies. So by attempting to truly rehabilitate myself I want all my tattoos removed. As a prisoner I should have access to programs like this. It makes me question, does California Department of Corrections deserve the title of "rehabilitation?"
MIM(Prisons) responds: There's no question about it, they do not deserve the title "Rehabilitation" which was added years ago without any change in their practice or policies to justify the term. Former prisoners who spent years in these isolation cells can attest to that. The lucky ones have family or find organizations with the resources to support them. But too many are stuck in destructive cycles. Meanwhile, there is a criminal mentality that penetrates the whole populace in the United $tates based in capitalist individualism. It is up to revolutionaries to develop independent institutions that can truly address the rehabilitation needs of the oppressed lumpen who have more interest in revolutionary change than most Amerikans who sit idly by while hundreds of thousands of people are tortured in their country.
I am an American Indian here in California Correctional Institution who has had all the problems with the 602 grievance procedure here. The so-called Appeal Coordinator, K. Sampson, has repeatedly (16 times!!!) sent my appeal back to me because of complete bullshit reasons. So I wrote to your legal clinic, and you provided me with an awesome petition to send to the director about my, and all of our, appeal issues. Thank you!
But again I, and all of us on my side, have run up against a potential problem. I took the petition to the law library and the CO refused to copy it. Even when I signed a trust withdraw slip to pay for it myself! She told me that the petition was all crap and that I should be written up for simply having it. She tried to take it from me. I had to "cause a scream" and get at a sergeant finally who gave it back to me. He told me he knew that our 602 process was crap and good luck! You believe that?!?
Is there any way that your office can please send me enough for at least the 10 very good people on my tier? Every single one of them was very impressed and wanted one of the petitions for unjust grievance procedures appeals process. Everyone wanted to loan it from me to get it copied, but our law librarian refuses to allow us to copy the petition. She told me if I didn't like her decisions to "appeal it" and then laughed in my face!
Thank you so much for everything you have done to help me further the struggle and get out of this U.$. gulag.
MIM(Prisons) adds: 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.
I'd like to ask that my organization, Revolutionary Gangstas, be listed as an affiliate of the United Front for Peace in Prisons and the USW. I define Gangsta as one who doesn't conform to the rule of society (sheep mentality), one who refuses to be "hoodwinked" or "pickled" by the powers that be. In addition to concepts of Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, and Independence, we incorporate and utilize: Power, Honor, Honesty, Truth, Respect, Control, and Liberty. We strive against obscurantism (opposition to the spread of knowledge), imperialism and capitalism. We strive to educate members of LOs that the purpose of founding of respective LOs was not to fight and kill each other over colors, points on a star or geographical areas that don't belong to us. We emphasize that as long as LOs suffer from internecine disputes that the real enemy (oppressors) can continue unchecked. The founders (myself and another prisoner) as members of the Gangster Disciples have started by instructing members of that LO to stop engaging in self-destructive behavior and following misguided and unfounded "theories" of what being in a LO means now and get back to original purpose. We put emphasis on education and self-determination. We're accepting of all LO members who can unite under the ideology of all power of all people (oppressed) and sacrifice selfish desires for the benefit of the whole.
A popular story in the bourgeois press this week gave an interesting side-by-side comparison of the lumpen in the United $tates to the Third World proletariat. The story came on the heels of new repressive practices targeting Latinos in the state of Georgia with immigration laws beginning July 1 of this year. For fear of deportation and imprisonment, both of which restrict their ability to work, migrant labor crews made up of Mexicans and Guatemalans are steering clear of Georgia. As a result fruit is rotting in the fields.(1) The story exposes the extreme parasitism of this country that cannot even harvest its own food. Amerikans are so rich and spoiled that the labor market cannot fill jobs paying above minimum wage if the work is too hard. If the labor market were free and open the jobs would fill up instantly, but Amerikans oppose this vehemently as they cannot maintain exploiter-level incomes without closed borders. In these times of economic crisis many of these parasites would have you believe that they are "struggling to put food on the table." As they let food literally rot in the fields, we see that just is not true.
To solve the relative labor shortage, the governor of Georgia turned to the population that sits somewhere between the foreign-born and the Amerikan in terms of citizenship rights — prisoners and the formerly incarcerated. Generally defined as the permanently unemployed, excluded from what Marxism calls the "relations of production," the lumpen class includes most prisoners by definition. There is a degree of continuity between the lumpen on the street and the imprisoned lumpen, but many get out of prison to join the petty bourgeois class that dominates this country.
One article cites the Georgia Department of Corrections as claiming that unemployment for all probationers in the state is only 15%, but the Governor's office reports that it is 25%.(2) While much higher than the overall rate of 10% in Georgia, this is still lower than most estimates for young Black male unemployment, and therefore suspiciously low considering that most job applications in the United $tates require you to declare whether you have been imprisoned or convicted of a felony, and this information is used against the applicant. Just looking at the 25% number might suggest that 75% of Georgia probationers have a greater continuity with the (employed) petty bourgeoisie than with a lumpen underclass. Yet recidivism rates in this country over 50% indicate that many of the alleged 75% with jobs will not be staying in the workforce for long. The majority of parolees will not remain in the workforce, but will cycle in and out of jail, prison, rehab, hustling and short-term employment.
While many former prisoners of the United $tates will never live the Amerikan dream, their ideology reflects that culture more than that of the working people of the world. One farmer in Georgia did a side-by-side comparison with a crew of probationers and a crew of migrant laborers and the migrants picked almost 6 times as many cucumbers.(1) Apparently the probationers didn't even bring gloves, and we assume most had no experience with this type of work, so there was certainly room for improvement. But the whole crew didn't even last a full day before quitting. The reports are vague about how many probationers actually lasted more than one day of work, but it was evidently a minority in this small sample.
In response to recruitment efforts for these jobs among U.$. citizens, one Black womyn in Georgia was reported to say, “The only people that would even think about doing that are people who have nothing else left... An educated black person does not have time for that. They didn’t go to school to work on a farm, and they’re not going to do it.”(3) We call those "who have nothing else left" the proletariat, and those who "[don't] have time [for hard work]" a parasitic class living off the labor of the proletariat. By virtue of living in the United $tates alone, even the lumpen have access to many resources through the highly developed infrastructure in this country: welfare programs, religious and charity organizations, and just living off of the excess and waste of the general population. Overall they are not driven to take the hardest jobs, and U.$. capitalists must look to the Third World for labor, even for production that is tied to U.$. soil and therefore pays exploiter-level wages. (Legally the jobs start at the minimum wage of $7.25, while piecework incentives allow the fastest pickers to make $20 an hour at one cucumber farm.(1) Of course, when only migrants without papers are working and the press isn't around it is common for agricultural work to pay well below the legal minimum wage.)
During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), in a country where a professor or shop owner was far poorer than the unemployed Amerikan, the Chinese had to actively combat the type of thinking epitomized in the petty-bourgeois womyn quoted above. Millions of petty-bourgeois Chinese went to the countryside to work and be re-educated. Many youth went happily, excited about building a new China, while many cried the whole time and went on to write books about it to explain to Amerikans why the GPCR was so horrible.
There are righteous reasons why a population of unemployed Blacks would be resistant to working at hard, lower-paying jobs while Amerikans around them are making much more for sitting around in air conditioning pushing paper, and we don't expect that to change under capitalism. That is why all U.$ citizens will require re-education to become productive members of society, from the poorest lumpen who despises working for the white man to the richest CEO whose income could support a large village.