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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 60]
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Successes Against Retaliation in Texas

Just a short letter to let you know that I received your Texas Pack, which I found to have lots of needed information in it. The issue of the July/August Under Lock & Key was DENIED because of something on page 11 of the publication. I appealed the denial and lost, but I mailed it home for future reading.

I am a victim of harassment and retaliation, which stems from my constant filing of complaints and grievances, condemning the unprofessional actions of unit officials and officers. I've had to endure some pretty rough times because of my never-ending flow of complaints. Unit officials have conspired to file false disciplinary infractions against me in hopes of silencing me or discrediting me. During my last stint of incarceration (1997-2003) unit officials told me that if I didn't stop filing complaints, that they were going to make my time hard. They filed an infraction of "assault on an officer," which had me thrown in solitary and stripped of my trustee status and good time. When I continued to file grievances against the unjust actions they had taken against me, I was once again charged with "assault on an officer" (my foot accidentally bumped an officer's foot). They were trying to prove that I couldn't beat them. Well, I eventually got one officer fired for harassment and retaliation, and a Lieutenant was allowed to resign and return in six months. When he returned, he was sent to another unit, (where I had also been sent to) and had to work as a regular CO for six months before he could apply for his rank back.

Upon seeing me, he called me a "bitch," which I immediately wrote up. This time, there happened to be a Major that did not put up with officer harassment and retaliation, and he immediately got both of us in his office and made the officer apologize to me and promise to leave me alone. I was falsely charged with several disciplinary infractions after I filed a grievance against an officer for calling me a "black son of a bitch," back in January of this year. When I refused to drop my complaint, I received a major disciplinary for being "out of place" (not attending a law library session, which is voluntary).

A couple of months later, I received another major case for "failure to obey an order" (another trumped up charge) and after being found guilty of it, I was stripped of my general population status and re-assigned to G-4 (medium custody). The whole purpose of charging me with the major infractions were to 1) get me transferred from the unit and 2) discredit me so that my complaint against the officer for use of slurs/hostile epithets could be viewed as a lie against that officer. I was shipped off of the unit and all attempts to have something done to the officer who called me a black son of a bitch were ditched.

After arriving here on this unit to be locked away for 6 months on medium custody, one of the ladies who was part of my Unit Classification Committee (UCC), disagreed that I should be classified as medium custody, because the charges were weak. Now I am hoping that the two major infractions that I received earlier this year have no bearing on whether I make parole. There are NOT a lot of guys who are willing to stand up for their rights like me. I recently wrote a letter to Senator John Whitmire, informing him of the issues we are plagued with over here at this century-old unit. Just last week, we had not one, not two, but several pipes burst, leaving us without clean water to drink. Half of the building had NO WATER to flush their toilets, and there were restrictions on showering.

I'm continuing in my fight to bring attention to all of the ruthless officers that continue to oppress us behind these walls. Please let me know what I can do to help your cause. I am indigent, but I'm able to write and get things out.

I'm sure you all know that as of September 2017, solitary confinement in TDCJ was abolished. The inmates at the Pack Unit in Navasoto, Texas found help with the heat during the summer by way of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals when they affirmed class certification. Judge Keith Ellison ordered TDCJ to put air conditioning in the Pack Unit, which was found to be a "hot box" to the inmates housed there. Instead of putting air conditioning in housing areas, TDCJ shipped the inmates to cooler quarters in other facilities. The reaffirmed class certification paves the way for inmates' lawyers to try and win a permanent injunction.

Also, inmates throughout TDCJ have won the right to wear 4-inch beards, and Muslim offenders are supposed to be able to wear their kufis all over the unit, yet state officials are trying to stonewall us (yes, I am Muslim) from doing it. Now, I've heard that on some of the more hardened units, officials would rather allow the wearing of kufis rather than risk any type of rebellion. The unit I'm on is NOT one of them, yet I'm working to get some type of wording on WHY we aren't being allowed to wear them here. The case citing is Ali vs Stephens, 822 F.3d 776 (5th Cir. 2016) U.S. App LEXIS 7964. Until next time, stay strong.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are a number of seasoned comrades in Texas fighting and winning, in spite of harassment and retaliation from TDCJ staff and admin. We encourage others to look to this comrade's work for an example of eir bravery, dedication, and successes!

The Texas Pack that MIM(Prisons) distributes is a good jumping off point for people who need basic information on filing grievances and fighting against some of the most common things prison staff do to take advantage of us. Most of the information in the Texas Pack ought to be in the law library by any reasonable standard, and even TDCJ's own policies and procedures. Since the TDCJ isn't following its own rules, and not informing prisoners of what those rules are and the process to have them enforced, we have compiled this information. Send a $2.50 donation to our SF address, or a contribution to ULK, to get the Texas Pack.

Another aspect of this author's experience that we want to draw attention to is how eir work impacts the quality of life of other prisoners on eir unit. Getting a guard kicked off the unit, suspended, or being told to tone down eir harassment, serves not only this author but also the prisoners around em. Same goes for the impact of lawsuits (for better or worse). So if you're reading this and a guard isn't harassing you, know that it's probably because of all the people who have fought on your behalf ahead of you. Maybe now it's time to start contributing to help others!

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[Organizing] [USSR] [ULK Issue 59]
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Drugs a Barrier in All Prisons (look to USSR on Alcohol)

In response to "Drugs a Barrier to Organizing in Many Prisons," first, it's not many prisons, it's all! When drugs are present, unity is not. Drugs break the whole down into a degenerate form of individualism. Under the captivity of drugs and/or alcohol, these people are no different than the imperialist sheep that keep us oppressed.

ussr anti-alcohol
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Get lost, moonshine liquor!

It branches out to affect families of these people. Prison is definitely an overwhelmingly negative environment, but should be a place for personal reflection and growth. I take every opportunity to absorb knowledge, bring those who are in my company up with me. It makes absolutely no sense to become and remain stagnant in here. It pretty much guarantees failure once they return to freedom.

Drugs in prison leads to other criminal acts, such as extortion, violence, etc. It goes nowhere! Lenin vowed that a socialist state would never produce or sell alcohol. Basically prohibition. Alcohol nor drugs were tolerated. Lenin knew the drastic effects they had on people, and the inevitable damage it causes to the unity of the people. Until people realize the extreme hindrance drugs are, unity will be out of reach. All myself and other comrades can do is do our best to educate others, to shed light on truths.

In all situations, we should remember Lenin's warnings:

"Illusions and self-deceptions are terrible, the fear of truth is pernicious. The party and the people need the whole truth, in big things and small. Only the truth instills in people an acute sense of civic duty. Lies and half-truths produce a warped mentality, deform the personality, and prevent one from making realistic conclusions and evaluations, without which an active party policy is inconceivable."

People constantly fall prey to ideological lies. They lack a sense of discipline and self-awareness. This exists not only in prisons, but in society. Society is overwhelmingly a slave-morality, following the masses — doing what they believe will satisfy norms, set forth by imperialists. Comrades probably feel like the "minority," but must always keep in mind that this "minority" is strong, rooted in truth and unity.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Lenin did oppose alcohol in the Soviet Union, both as a question of capitalist enterprise that was bad for the peasants and also as a health issue. On the question of monopolies he wrote:

"This is quite apart from the enormous amount of money the peasant communes have lost as a result of the liquor monopoly. Hitherto they obtained a revenue from liquor shops. The Treasury has deprived them of this source of revenue without a kopek compensation!"(1)

In studying the history of alcohol in the Soviet Union, we came across some writings by Anna Louise Strong from 1925. As she explained:

"The war with drink, like everything else in Russia at present, is not a thing by itself, but is tied up with the ideas of the Revolution. The bootlegger is denounced, not merely as a lawbreaker, but as a man who profits in the misery of others. The advocates of strong drink, when they venture to express themselves, are hotly denounced, not merely as mistaken, but as 'counter-revolutionists, poisoners of Russia!'"(2)

In 1925 the Soviet Union finally had a good harvest of grain after years of war and famine. This presented an opportunity for serious alcohol production. And one official argued that the government should encourage it and make money off the taxes. Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Part of the Soviet Union, denounced this position:

"Now after our long strain of war and famine, when national health is at a low ebb, legalised alcohol would be infinitely more dangerous than it was before," ... "He proposes to get rid of the bankruptcy in our budget. But he would drive that bankruptcy into the bodies and minds and souls of our people. The party cannot overlook such suggestions even in the conversational stage. We understand what you have in view. We have made many concessions because of our poverty, but such a concession as the surrender of our national soberness you will not get. This shall not pass."(2)

As Strong concludes about the Soviet Union in 1925:

"Drink is attacked as a problem of public health and national morale, rather than a question of individual morals. Repressive measures are occasionally quite severe and public demand is growing to make them even more stringent. But there is also universal agreement, in every article one reads and every official one talks to, that the final solution can come only by substituting an interesting cultural life for the lower pleasures of drink.

"As for state manufacture of vodka, about which rumours from time to time arise, the words of Lenin himself laid down the government's attitude. When the new economic policy was under discussion and the question was raised in the conference of the Communist party how far they were prepared to go in making concessions to the peasants, Lenin outlined the policy as follows:

'Whatever the peasant wants in the way of material things we will give him, as long as they do not imperil the health or morals of the nation. If he asks for paint and powder and patent leather shoes, our state industries will labour to produce these things to satisfy his demand, because this is an advance in his standard of living and 'civilisation,' though falsely conceived by him.

'But if he asks for ikons or booze—these things we will not make for him. For that is definitely retreat; that is definitely degeneration that leads him backward. Concessions of this sort we will not make; we shall rather sacrifice any temporary advantage that might be gained from such concessions.'"
Notes: 1. V.I. Lenin, Casual Notes, 1901, in Collected Works Vol 4. 2. The First Time in History, Anna Louise Strong. VIII. The War with Alcohol.
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[Organizing] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [ULK Issue 59]
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Poisoning the Well: The imprisoned dope trade and its impact on the movement

Imprisoned Drugs

Prisons, for the last 100 years at least, have been consumed with some type of dope. We know that vice of all flavors has found prisons to be hot houses. Slangin' dope has been institutionalized in U.S. prisons; everyone from the 18 year-old fish to the ranking guard has been caught slangin'.

Some may see it as a means to survive. It is surviving, in a parasitic kind of way. For the prison movement, to engage in the dope trade is to poison the very well you and the people drink from. It's suicide.

The Drug Trade and LOs

It's no secret that in prison the drug trade translates to power, in a bourgeois kinda way for the lumpen organization (LO). The LO that controls the drug trade in a particular prison wields power in that prison. Of course the drug trade brings currency to the LO which in turn brings weapons, material goods, investments and respect. But more importantly than 12-packs of soda, LOs use dope as a manipulation tool. The LO which has the dope has all the other prisoners kissing its ass.

LOs are able to "feed the troops" but at what cost? This is where the contradictions arise between the prison movement and prisoners who are more counter-revolutionary.

The dope trade simply feeds the bourgeois-minded sector of the prison population. It allows this sector to expand its parasitic grip on the prison population. The wannabe capitalist sector drools at the idea of getting in more dope to sell to fellow prisoners; to poison the sisters and brothers for profit, for blood money.

Is Slangin' Revolutionary?

I have spoken to some who have raised the idea that slangin' can raise funds quick for revolutionary programs. Someone even pointed to the FARC [a self-described Marxist group in Colombia] as "proof" of this. The fact that FARC has recently disarmed shows that their judgment on a lot of things is flawed.

My question is, how could poisoning the very population you are trying to win over to revolution be a good thing? There are too many other ways to raise money than to poison our people with imperialist dope.

Being revolutionary is about transforming yourself and others, not inflicting harm on oneself or others. Being in prison is hard enough, we shouldn't create burdens like addictions or debts which will prevent our fellow prisoners from becoming new people and contributing. Slangin' dope is anti-revolutionary.

Slangin' in the prison movement?

If I were to hear that those within the prison movement were employing a tactic to slang dope I would say the movement had committed suicide. The prison movement is unable to mobilize the people partly because of the interference of dope. Dope impedes our progress. It creates the conditions where the state stays in power without a challenge to its seat.

The fact that often it's the state agents themselves who flood the prisons with dope is proof enough that the dope trade is actually a weapon of the state. Just as the state floods the ghettos and barrios with dope. The dope dealers are simply pawns used by the imperialists. The flooding of ghettos with crack cocaine is the biggest, starkest example of this.

Overcoming the oppressive nature of U.S. prisons is hard enough. The slim pool of prison writers and intellectuals reflects this fact. It is difficult to survive prison and be able to raise your consciousness at the same time. Those few who do wake up have a hard time waking others, insert dope and your chances are zero.

The only thing the dope trade does to LOs is pull them more to the right. It feeds their bourgeois ideology as a log feeds a roaring fire. Our goal is to have the LOs rebuild the house of the prison movement, not burn it down.

What can be done?

This is a difficult chore for the revolutionaries. LOs have become accustomed to having their luxuries squeezed out of the drug trade so to stop that would of course disturb them. But the drug trade is poison.

The Black Panthers at one point sought to actively eradicate all dope dealers from their communities. In prisons we do not promote violence, rather education will have to do. Start by educating the user, start with your cell mate then move on to your neighbor and folks on the tier. Change the culture so that drug usage is frowned upon. If folks can stop using dope on the street they can stop in prisons. Re-education should be used by the more conscious people.

The prison movement will be destroyed by the dope trade, just as the movement outside prison walls was hurt by some influential people taking up dope. The state was able to relax and sit back while dope wore people down and prevented any real mobilization. The same applies to prison. It would not matter if the prison gates flew open if the dragon was high or if it had sacks of dope in its claws.

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[Organizing] [Special Needs Yard] [United Front] [California]
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Biggest Divide in California reply

Revolutionary greetings, and salutations my brothers in struggle. I received ULK 58 about 2 weeks ago here in Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU). I also received the CA USW Primer 1st Edition, January 2017. Read it cover to cover, and it had some very good, as well as informative topics and info. I'd like to respond on the article about, "The Biggest Divide - Not Race or Gang". I am an Special Needs Yard (SNY) prisoner.

I seriously doubt the two sides will ever be able to come together, as far as programming together on the same yards. Personally I have no problem with General Population (G.P.), and there are a lot of things I miss about being there. Things have changed a lot on the G.P. side since they have let validated L.O.s out though. As you say: "Not to fan the flames I'll leave that alone." I will say this on a personal level. I do have great respect for every soldier over there who are pushing the MIM theory and line. So I send mine to you comrades. Stay up, stay strong, and keep that "can't stop, won't stop attitude."

MIM, I do understand what our cause is pushing for as far as coming together goes. The only chance I see of that happening is if the G.P. side reverted to the old way of about 2 or 3 decades ago. That is to say letting those of us back on the yard who retired, laid down, stopped reporting, but never debriefed, and our paperwork is clean of sex offenses. Not only that but through the different L.O.s' contact with guards that are in some of their pockets, letting them know of those of us who have conducted ourselves in a convict's code of conduct on this side as well. Meaning we haven't become the C.O.s' rat bitches. Comrades — if they did allow us back — would only be a small amount of us. Maybe a handful on every yard.

Ultimately I would go as far as to say that I am a real small minority that would be willing to take that chance to unite under the above aforementioned standards. There is definitely a very long way to go on that issue. As you say, it's also a trust issue. Yes the Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) is what I want. But if the comrade that wrote that article has ever been in prison, you understand the issues that keep the divide, and there are many of them. Personally I have no issues with my brothers of the past. None. They haven't given me reason to be hostile, or have any grudge against them, but there are others on SNY that don't feel the same way for whatever reasons they have.

I have something to say now about the reason I'm in ASU. When I was 6 months to release, I got fed up with the K-9 searching 2-4 times a week, so I refused to come out. I got soaked with O.C. spray. Of course whenever C.O.s either assault us, or spray us, or shoot us with block gun, or bullets, unjustifiably, their go-to "off the books" thing is, "the inmate assaulted or battered me." I - comrades - did not assault that coward. I'm the one who was assaulted by O.C. spray.

The day this took place, I.S.U. didn't even go talk to him, or take pictures, because there was nothing to photograph. He lied, and broke protocol by crossing the threshold of my cell, with no supervisor present. What makes me mad is him putting his damned boot on my back. He hit me with his metal baton like a lil girl. Excuse my expression, wimmin comrades, I mean no disrespect. Anyway I filed an excessive force 602 appeal — staff complaint — on him. Some inmate told me, "Oh man you're asking for it now." Ha! It's because of those kind of inmates that are afraid to file on them is why they get away with what they do. I have that right. Brothers died so that we can file paperwork. I remember that, when I feel lazy, 'cause I hate doing paperwork, 'cause it's frustrating and tedious. Anyway comrades that is my spill. Keep the positive work you do going forward. I'll sign off with a revolutionary salute to all of you comrades at MIM and USW. One day brothers. One day in the distant future you will see, if not you, yours, and our kids will see our world as we struggle for it, to be under one dictatorship, united. Trust and believe. It's destined to come to fruition. Believe that!

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[Gender] [36 Movement] [Organizing]
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36 Movement: Shoutout to Transgender Prisoners

[MIM(Prisons) prints the following as background info on a group that has been engaging with us and with the United Front for Peace in Prisons and Agreement to End Hostilities in California prisons. The purpose is for our readers to have more information on what this group is about. We like their focus on the state as the enemy, while serving to defend transgender prisoners from all reactionary elements. Though we disagree that the state exploits prison labor. We hope to continue to build with 36 Movement to promote integration and inclusion of transgender prisoners into the evolving progressive and revolutionary prison movements.]
Peace and Greetings,

The 36 Movement is an in-prison transgender political resistance with a column of militia (Red Roses). We fall with the broader category of the revolutionary movement and including the prison movement. Our origin is in the prisons: by their oppression of us, we acquired a revolutionary political consciousness, tempered mind and resolute endurance, cadre tested in the fire.

Our first principal agenda is the accurate analysis of the concrete conditions in which we live in society and in prison, which guides us in our second principal agenda, that of confrontation with the oppressor. Towards the first, political study is key. Adamant discipline fortifies us and facilitates success in our endeavors. These culminate in initiative. Our current political initiative is that of resistance against our oppression and to educate transgender people in the moral right and obligation to oppose our oppression and to do so proactively and within a revolutionary framework.

Our condition of being oppressed and persecuted in prison by the pigs and the reactionary element must be effectively challenged for our survival and peace of mind, a united and organized effort with learned and experienced leadership. Where pigs are concerned, we employ the tactical political weapons of knowledge of the rules and the laws to counter their maltreatment of us and hold them accountable, filing administrative complaints and lawsuits about our needs in prison in retaliation to our transgender status and discrimination against us, and outreach for public support and to educate of our conditions and our resistance. Where the reactionary element is concerned, we function as needs be. Although we are not on a military offensive, a military wing under the control of the political wing is indispensable within a revolutionary party formation. For one, it serves as deterrent. Establishment of a citizens' militia is not against the law; in fact, it is a constitutional right. Many exist.

We are a multiethnic formation. We discourage drug and alcohol use among our cadre as a matter of political discipline and to foster good health and a clear mind towards our objectives, and discourage criminal thought and behavior. We respect on a mutual basis. We practice genuine unity among ourselves by sticking close together, trusting and sharing. Each of us is accountable for our individual and collective responsibilities.

Having first educated ourselves as to the best way to live our lives under a prison and political system tyrannical and genocidal towards us because of our transgender disposition and prisoner status and lack of political power, we likewise educate other transgender people and organize them to struggle together in a united offensive for our freedom from oppression and for our livelihood and to have political power.

We hold that as a people oppressed from multiple quarters, the principal enemy is the State. The State is always the first enemy. We acknowledge other enemies in the form of the reactionary element within and without. Whatever our engagement with these, we are not diverted from political confrontation with the State.

By the State is meant the economic and political system of capitalism that has resulted in millions of economically oppressed people, and both the domestic law enforcement apparatus that protects its interests and the military complex that ensures its foreign resources and dominance of nations otherwise known as imperialism, capitalism's most advanced stage: the bourgeois strata that dominates the means of production and access to them and thus the flow of the domestic economy and that includes economic and financial blocs, the bureaucratic political apparatus that allows for and is corrupted by the bourgeoisie; the militarism that forces itself upon and exploits nations for their natural resources and cheap labor and as strategic geopolitical location for capitalist control of the world economy and warmongering, briefly. Prison is government, a State enterprise, and represents and upholds all of this, is a part of it, itself exploits the cheap or free labor of prisoners for capital gain. Who fights against prisons, fights against capitalism and imperialism.

Our prison experience has been one of heightened consciousness: we perceive prisons as camps of systematic indoctrination and training for a revolutionary outcome, prison-spawned revolutionary consciousness and organization along a political matrix, restructuring criminal mentality into revolutionary political consciousness, the revolutionary weaponization of prison, turning the State's prisons against the State. Our experience is one of becoming and creating revolutionary cadre out of one of the most degrading features of the State, its prisons, filled to over capacity with wretched souls; how to see and economize on the concrete reality of our misery to forge a new type of human being, an upgrade of the species, a more worthwhile person, one to construct and partake in a more worthwhile and humane socio-economic-political reality.

This is our theory and practice within the revolutionary theater at this time. We have politicized our minds, indoctrinated and trained, which enables us to discern and analyze our circumstances concretely and so live our lives. This is the space our formation occupies and is putting into practice, the accurate development of revolutionary cadre in prison, and tactical political engagement with the oppressor.

Trans prisoners in all prisons are encouraged to become politically aware and politically active against our mistreatment in prison and to join the 36 Movement. Our power lies in our organized unity. 36 cadre must be vetted through the leadership at this location. Refer: Natalie Alvarez / 3102 E Highland Ave #25 / Patton, CA 92369. All power to the people.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 59]
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Young Chicano Murdered by Police Reminds Us of Raza Struggle

Jacob Dominguez and family

On 15 September 2017 I heard of an execution performed on the streets of San Jose, California. A young Chicano named Jacob Dominguez was gunned down by the "pitzo." (Nahuatl for pig)

What we need to realize is that la gente Xicana have been fighting this war for 500 years in various stages via our ancestors. From the Spanish colonialists to today's imperialist, first line of defense (the pitzo). The war on Aztlán has been ongoing. The murder of Jacob Dominguez reminds us of this.

This media is the propaganda arm of the state. It's their public relations outfit, the "ministry of propaganda," they just don't call it that. This is why we never hear the corporate media scream revolution or for gente to rise up after pigs execute someone on camera in cold sangre. They can't call for their own demise, even when it's warranted. What occurred to Jacob Dominguez screams COINTELPRO. When COINTELPRO was launched against groups in the 60s and 70s like the Brown Berets, Crusade for Justice (of which 5 martyrs were assassinated via bombs), the Panthers, and other groups, the feds initiated a death squad tactic where if they couldn't arrest the person in the crosshairs they would kill 'em.

The fact that Jacob Dominguez fit the rebel profile according to the media, long rap sheet, violent past, alleged "gang member", tattoos on face, pigs, feds or other state agents actively hunting him. They could have easily been describing Pancho Villa 100 years ago or any other revolutionaries from the 21st century. The oppressor nation makes war on those it fears. On the people's leaders.

It's too early to know why Jacob Dominguez was assassinated. Perhaps a later investigation will find he had an FBI file. Those deriving from lumpen organizations (LO) usually do if it's an LO that is bout it because it would threaten the state. We are more powerful than we realize because we organize outside the state's influence and set up forms of dual power in the pintas and the barrios. If we injected political ideology we would be ready to fight for state power setting up our own government; fuck a street corner! We are almost there Raza.

Those of us who ride or die, who have given our lives to the people understand the seriousness. We know that because of our influence amongst the lumpen and our political education and heightened consciousness that we do challenge the state. Because of that we may very well be targets of COINTELPRO. We should do all in our power to avoid this. But it is a reality. One I have come to understand. I know the state is hunting again but I will continue to resist until I cannot do so anymore. Like the brotha Fred Hampton said, "you can kill the revolutionary but you can't kill the revolution."

We need a people's army. The Black Liberation Army showed how to repel the state. I'm not suggesting armed struggle now, but at some point when a people continue to get assassinated they will respond to meet force with force. This is where history must be tapped. We need to learn from the past so that each generation is more prepared and organized than the previous generation. Prepare the people! The war has continued on Aztlán since the colonizer first arrived!


MIM(Prisons) responds: While certainly faced with most difficult conditions here in the belly of the beast, we do not think the BLA demonstrated an effective strategy of repelling the state. In their attempts to deal with the over-bearing pressure of COINTELPRO they were unable to form a real people's army. We must learn from their heroic efforts and their mistakes as we search for a viable path.

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[Education] [Release] [Recidivism] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 60]
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Rehabilitation Must Push People to Their Fullest Potential

Seven out of every ten parolees will be arrested sometime after their release. Nearly half will return to prison someday. The plague of recidivism hangs over every releasee's future like the scythe of the grim reaper coming to cut short their potential beyond the concrete walls, iron bars, and razor-wire of the perpetually proliferating injustice system. The very dehumanizing experience of imprisonment itself plays a significant role in criminal conditioning. For many, it is the influencing factor of imprisonment that detrimentally affects them the greatest. Many learn from those mistakes of their past and some don't. For those with the ability to endure the physical and psychological terrors of "doing time," the lack of skills acquired leaves them with few options other than crime for economic survival after release and leaves the parole board wondering whether or not it made the right decision in granting parole in the first place.

More often than not, it is overlooked as to what may have led to someone's imprisonment and what may be done to help them overcome the struggles or obstacles in their path and in order for them to have a successful reintegration into society. The feeling of defeat is often a temporary condition, but there is never a better measure of what a person is than when they're absolutely free to choose. Removing the individual's choice leads to a lack of inspiration and motivation to overcome one's struggles, and they eventually give up hope. Giving up is what makes the temporary condition of defeat permanent. Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.

In prisons the use of manual labor is considered by several states to be rehabilitative for those given the duty of performing labor that could be done by an advancement in technology through farming equipment. In all actuality, this manual labor is of no use to the prisoner and further hinders true rehabilitation. More money is put into prisons, county jails, and other state penal institutions than there is put into the actual rehabilitation of the prisoners. The addition of more educational programs throughout the state penal institutions would serve a greater good and present people with more opportunities for a successful reintegration into society. "Hoe squad" and "regional maintenance" are a hindrance to the efforts to rehabilitate criminal behavior and thinking modification efforts of the individual prisoners.

Forcing a prisoner to perform such tasks of manual farming and regional clean-up to replace that of existing farm equipment and jobs that are the responsibility of our city labor forces, and without an incentive for possible job placement upon release, serves no greater purpose to the individual prisoner and proves to be more dehumanizing than rehabilitative. It has been declared by many that we can change our circumstances by a mere change of our attitudes, but when placed under duress with no choice in the matter there becomes no room for progress. In regards to rehabilitation, it should and must be the objective of our state government and legislature to seek out better avenues by which to lower our states' recidivism rates, and use education as an avenue by which to rehabilitate our states' prisoners. The person everyone wants returning to their community is an educated, empowered taxpayer who has the skills to help make our society safe and healthy.

As an ex-convict, I understand the limitations placed on our states' prison populations by the use of "hoe squad" and "regional maintenance" as a form of rehabilitation. The value of post-secondary correctional education programs prove to be very beneficial. As this article is written, I am in progress of putting together business plans for an outreach program entitled "A New Leaf Outreach Program" aka "My Brothers' Place" that will serve as an avenue by which convicts / ex-convicts and parolees / probationers, as well as the community, may come together and organize our knowledge — not denying one another the opportunity to teach what we know and learn what we may not know — and bring about a solution to our society's problems.

One may choose to be a part of the problem or choose to be a part of the solution. Regardless of one's past mistakes, one always chooses to be a part of the solution. Once you are challenged, you find something in yourself. Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records. Success is based upon how one rises above his defeats.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer explains well the importance of education for prisoners and the uselessness of many of the "jobs" programs that currently exist. This failure of the work programs is specific to the criminal injustice system that seeks to control populations rather than educate and rehabilitate.

In communist China under Mao we have examples of prisons where people were sent for genuine rehabilitation and education. These prisons integrated work programs for the prisoners, to help them contribute productive labor to society and learn skills they might use on the outside. When prisoners were released in China it was after undergoing intensive education, which included reading many books and discussing these books with others. This process of study and criticism/self-criticism helped them see why their actions that harmed other people were wrong, and giving them a sense of purpose to their lives that did not involve harming others.

All of this occurred within the greater context of a society where everyone was given a role, and expected to participate in transforming society. We can't expect the imperialists to implement such a progressive system because it would be counter to their use of prisons for social control and impossible in a capitalist dog-eat-dog society. But we can, as this writer says, build together to be part of the solution. We can build our own educational programs, study groups, and organizations independent of the oppressor. This is our job right now, as we build to ultimately take down this corrupt and unjust system.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Drugs] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 59]
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Arkansas DOC Covers Up Deaths from K2, Frames Comrade

On 15 September 2017 my neighbor died smoking K2 and after the pigs saw I was the last person to speak with him they locked me up under investigation. The first interrogation was conducted by the Arkansas state pig and it seemed as if all was well. The next week another death, same cause. Then my neighbor's mom appeared on the news saying she was gonna get to the bottom of his death (apparently they told her he had a heart attack), and bring a lawsuit before the court.

So when the internal affairs came and conduct their interrogation the pressure had been put on ADC (Arkansas Department of Corrections) and the woman resorts to some dirty ass tactics as soon as I walk in. She starts by telling me she's been doing her thorough investigation and listening to my phone calls, and that she knows about my girlfriend that I tell that I love her and then call my wife and turn around and tell her the same. I ask her if it was some type of threat she was implying because what she was talking about had nothing to do with my neighbor's death. She then starts her backpedaling and starts questioning me about $ I had moved in the "free." That's where I decided to end our conversation.

Right before the time period for investigation ran out I received a disciplinary for possession of contraband even though I was never in possession of anything and it was at this point I realized ADC had their scapegoat in the form of myself. That week topped off with another death, same cause. That's 4 deaths from K2 in this prison within 90 days (there was one about a month before my neighbor).

I was found guilty in kangaroo court, given 30 days punitive and 60 days restriction on phone, visits, commissary. A few days later, the Arkansas state pig comes back. The only reason I could see was to fish for some more circumstantial evidence and bring some type of formal charges to cover ADC's ass. I've been in the hole for about 40 days now and as far as that situation, that's where things stand.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We just completed a survey of drugs in U.S. prisons, in which we found K2 to be the new dominant drug across much of the country. See our article on the K2 epidemic in Texas, where a similar rash of deaths have occurred.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Gender] [Special Needs Yard] [California Institution for Women] [California] [ULK Issue 61]
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PHRM Needs Bridges to SNY and Trans Prisoners

I am a transsexual female who has been in these trenches 37 years, have walked close to 30 yards and several SHUs, EOP, DMH. I want to add to Legion's presentation regarding SNYs (ULK 58, p. 19) and how they came to proliferate in Cali, and with regard to the people who walk SNY.

When I first came to CDC in the early 1980s, there were four formations that governed all the maximum security yards: Black Guerrilla Family, Nuestra Familia, Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood. Notwithstanding the wars among them, there was order and discipline within each, and the tone of the yards was one of respect and honor, an old or original tradition. There was a lot of fighting and killing at San Quentin, where I did four years in the Adjustment Center (AC) SHU. Extreme warfare proliferated as the formations fought each other, especially in AC, where Comrade George executed pigs and reactionary enemies and was martyred in 1971. It was the same AC I stepped into in summer 1982 — nothing had changed: extreme warfare through the bars (there were no solid doors, though there are now) and tiger cages instead of AC yards. In 1985, a white sergeant was speared in the heart through bars and died on the tier, which was attributed to BGF. That's when CDC went bonkers and conceived the Pelican Bay SHU monster to deal with everything (opened in 1989). It was also because of the killing of this sergeant that all SHU pigs had to wear protective vests, beginning in 1986. (Years later, alias Crips did a mass stabbing attack on yard pigs at Calipatria, and now ALL pigs have to wear vests.)

CDC's idea of an extreme control environment was a strategic mistake. First, because it could not and did not break the spirit of those who count, but reinforced their endurance. Second, it created a massive vacuum on the yards as all the OG formations were swept up and stuck in Pelican Bay SHU; soon, independent factions popped up on the untended yards, and compared to previous, the yards went haywire, like kids at a carnival. There was no discipline, no respect, no honor; SNY yards opened and grew as many stepped back from that mess. Now, wherever there is a General Population (G.P.), there is an SNY or two. Third, all of this cost CDC millions of more dollars than average, with nothing gained. Fourth, under the extreme oppression of Pelican Bay SHU, the consciousness of the formations heightened and they united against CDC. And fifth, the courts eventually let the formations out again.

A lot of the people who went from G.P. to SNY in the heydays of chaos were not bad apples but were just more serious about doing time, that the G.P. was so ruined it would've been futile to try to get it back on track.

As much as the G.P. has progressed, however, it still has some backward baggage to sort out. Trans prisoners cannot be on the G.P. because of threats of death, BECAUSE they are trans; only that. There are some progressive prisoners on G.P., the Kata, who do not persecute us. In fact they politically educated me in Pelican Bay SHU in the early 1990s. (A kata is a martial arts stance that Comrade G. practiced in his cell and disliked the pigs to see him in. Here, it connotes a revolutionary position and cadre.) But the general practice on the G.P. towards trans prisoners is transmisogyny and gender oppression; reactionary. To promote a prisoner's human rights platform, that platform must include the vested interests of all oppressed prisoners and have representation of all interests, including trans, and must extend into SNY and women's prisons. The G.P. has yet to address its position towards trans prisoners publicly.

I am with the Red Roses Transsexual Political Party (alias 36 Movement), which I founded. We are a political resistance movement, with critically vetted members. We do political work to challenge CDC's genocidal treatment of us as trans women with administrative complaints, lawsuits, and educate trans prisoners for unity and resistance. We consider ourselves a part of the Prisoners Human Rights Movement (PHRM) founded by the united G.P. at Pelican Bay SHU. Our voice needs to be heard, our situation on the G.P. hashed out. PHRM needs to extend into the women's prisons, where contradictions have peaked, with a series of suicides at the California Institution for Women.

There is no question that we are in a new era of doing time, across the whole landscape. The biggest difference is the new collective consciousness of who is the real enemy in terms of our fundamental vested interests, produced by the overbearing of the state on the oppressed. The current unity of the OG formations — and especially the Kata, as BGF and other New Afrikan unity — illustrates this.

Unfortunately, SNY is beset with wars among factions, and there have been some killings. I would advocate the PHRM shoutout to SNY factions to call a cease fire and work out a Peace Accord, to acknowledge a higher need for unity against their conditions, such as, they can't get into any self-help rehabilitation groups unless they debrief. PHRM's voice will resonate with those who count on SNY.

Red Roses urges all trans prisoners to acquire political consciousness and join the 36 Movement to resist CDC oppression as a united force. We are political, not criminal, politically educate ourselves and do for self and support each other for our collective good. Stop squabbling. We are being killed on the yards, as Carmen Guerro, who was killed on this very yard, and others (rest in peace). The 36 Movement is one for all and all for one. Let that be your motto.

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[Spanish] [Republic of Aztlán] [ULK Issue 60]
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Reunificar Aztlan!

Aprendiendo la diferencia entre nuestros amigos y enemigos significa que nosotros sabemos que otros prisioneros comparten más en común con nosotros que lo contrario. Esto también significa que dentro de la nación de uno, las formaciones dentro tienen aun más en común que lo contrario.

Para el Aztlán encarcelado, las divisiones fueron últimamente inspiradas en el imperio. El ala avanzada del Aztlán encarcelado entiende que es tiempo de re-unificar a Aztlán.

En Califaztlan, norteño, sureño, EME, NF han sido paredes que separaban. A veces cada formación era necesaria por seguridad, y algunas formaciones pueden ser más progresivas que otras. Pero estas formaciones todavía separan al Aztlán encarcelado. La separación de una nación no es buena bajo ninguna circunstancia. Yo creo que la meta de todas estas organizaciones Lumpen (LO) es la unificación en algún punto, pero ¿cómo puede esto ser posible?

Un Vistazo futuro a un Aztlán Unificado

Es una realidad que se ha desarrollado mucha animosidad y/o orgullo por una LO o la otra. Al mismo tiempo nosotros vemos que el acuerdo para Terminar Hostilidades nos ha permitido a todos el conocernos y apoyarnos los unos a los otros. Ahora está bien el asistir y estar ahí el uno por el otro, lo cual es grandioso. Nosotros hemos regresado a antes de que empezara la enemistad entre el Norte y el Sur, sin embargo lo que se necesita ahora es el salto hacia adelante.

La verdad es que mientras los LO (ej. NF, EME) todavía tengan formaciones norteñas y sureñas, no habrá reunificación entre el Aztlán encarcelado. Esto va a tomar pasos. La implementación de programas autorizados en los niveles más altos. Un programa inicial seria el formalmente desmantelar las formaciones del Sur/Norte. Al hacer esto la raza será simplemente Raza de nuevo.

Tatuajes de Norte/Sur serian prohibidos en el futuro. Esto ayudaría a aliviar conflictos y tensiones.

Un periodo de transición relajaría a la raza y luego la siguiente fase de la unificación de EME/NF sería necesaria aún si ellos mantienen comités separados con una nueva organización política. Pero, una nueva organización con un nuevo nombre es necesaria para proveer un vistazo al nuevo futuro de un Aztlán unificado. En algún punto, el Aztlán encarcelado debe de moverse y crear un nombre en el que todos estén de acuerdo, de otra manera ni un lado ganara nunca al otro lado.

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