"MIM had come to the conclusion from the degeneration of numerous genuine forces like the Progressive Labor Party in the United States that such especially difficult ideological struggle is a permanent fixture in the imperialist countries where the material basis for degeneration is much greater than in the oppressed countries..."
"Since it is unlikely that imperialism will be able to come up with too many more entirely new tricks, there will come a time in MIM's development where our principal task will be to unite those who can be united around our very confrontational line. Right now we are emerging principally from struggle against revisionism, imperialist economism and pseudo-feminism. When we have finished going into detail on our differences with others on the above questions we will focus on unity as the principal way to advance the overall struggle. We will prepare for a strategic length of time to do battle with imperialist economism, revisionism, pseudo-feminism, Trotskyism, anarchism and so on in a distinctive way. However, even in seeking unity, MIM will find itself in struggle much more often than many parties in communist history for a variety of reasons what MIM has said is rare to non-existent in the imperialist countries. So even as the labor aristocracy thesis becomes clear as day to us and 'old hat' it will seem fresh to many for some time to come." - The Journey Back to Maoism. MIM Theory 5, Diet for a Small Red Planet
So what do these passages mean? We're so bought off it's ridiculous! Worse still, as a result of our being bought off we're that much more susceptible to bourgeois manipulation a la ideological trickery. Therefore we cannot obtain a proletarian mindset without some hard study.
We in the imperialist countries have the distinct strategical advantage of not having to be in armed struggle at this time. And in connection to this fact we have a responsibility not only to the international proletariat but to our own oppressed that when conditions do begin to change and armed struggle actually becomes a possibility we'll be ready to not only lead, but lead right! We have the advantage of learning from and building on all the rational and empirical knowledge left to us by our predecessors, both the good and the bad; especially the bad! We have to learn from past mistakes so that we don't commit future ones, or worse still, repeat the old ones. It's too late in the anti-imperialist game for us to be messing up the way some of our leaders did before us. Have we learned nothing?! What part of "ideological struggle in the imperialist countries is a permanent fixture" are we not understanding? It's almost as if the revolution really is dead.
The fact that more and more of the oppressed nation imprisoned lumpen are beginning to finally wake up to the reality of imperialism is a good thing - a very good thing! However, the fact that most of these new lumpen organizations aren't taking the time to study and learn from the concrete lessons of history and movements passed speaks volumes for the dire need of these new groups to formally hook up with MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within (USW). It indicates the need for individuals to remain within USW much longer to develop theoretically before forming new single-nation revolutionary cells or parties. USW should serve as a place for the most advanced to sharpen their swords together until conditions do change within the prison population in general and within the prison movement in particular, before calling for the building of new organizations.
Comrades behind bars have all the time in the world to study and hence develop themselves and others theoretically. Therefore, those of us who are serious about revolution have no excuse for such low levels of theoretical development within our ranks, especially those of us working directly with MIM(Prisons).
A big part of the problem is the failure of some of us within USW to correctly grasp the philosophy of dialectical materialism, which results in a failure to apply it to the prison movement, and as a result we have paralysis within the prison movement. The need for us to seriously study dialectical materialism is directly linked to our ability to put it to use; without a concrete understanding of dialectical materialism all will be lost. Is this an over-exaggeration? Of course not; it's a hard truth. Within our conditions MIM(Prisons) makes up part of our external causes and therefore is a part of the conditions of change with us being the basis of change. Based on what I'm seeing, or rather not seeing, there hasn't been any real change thus far. Are my words too harsh? If they are, then that's too bad. What is MIM(Prisons) here for if not to help us develop politically?
Related to this point is a prisyner's letter I just read in the revisionist Revolution newspaper of the Crypto-Trotskyists RCP=U$A. This article was filled with the usual, flowery verbiage of "much love to y'all beautiful people at the RCP..." and "Bob Afakean is my daddy" type nonsense, typical of their articles. Half the articles in Revolution don't really say anything, while the other half are filled with imperialist country oppressor nation chauvinist politics. Anyways, there was a California prisyner's letter featured that was speaking on the Pelican Bay Short Corridor new directive. This prisyner was writing in to basically agree that it was about time that the prisyners put a stop to the fighting and come together for change. However, towards the end of the letter this prisyner made a call for the Pelican Bay Short Corridor to separate themselves from the lumpen if they were to really have a shot at victory in their struggle.
Yup, leave it to the RCP=U$A to spread division in the guise of unity to the prison masses at such a critical time. But how, pray tell, is the Short Corridor to achieve its goals in their struggle (which is all our struggle) if they separate themselves from the prison masses? Not only does this prisyner's line attempt to separate the Corridor leaders from the wider prisyn movement, but it essentially makes the petty bourgeois argument that only individual groups of prisyners should be designated as political prisyners, and not the entire U.$. prisyn population. As if the Short Corridor prisyners were on a different plane than the rest of the population, or as if the short corridor weren't lumpen-based themselves. That RCP=U$A article makes it seem as if the mass of California prisyners were holding the movement back. Quite the contrary: without the prisyner masses the Short Corridor prisyners are like generals with no soldiers, or a gun with no bullets. Instead it is the prisyner masses that will push the prisyn movement forward.
My point here is that the RCP=U$A prints this garbage, and lots of prisyners just eat it up. And we at USW know where "new synthesis" (old revisionist hat) leads the movement to: oblivion.
Now assuming that a prisyner actually wrote that letter (and not just another revisionist weed, we all remember agent Quispe and the attempt to derail the Sendero Luminoso: strategical equilibrium) what does that say about the theoretical development of politically-conscious and class-conscious prisyners? And these are the leaders?!
We need real proletarian-based political development if we are to succeed in the years to come, and the only place prisyners are gonna find that is by working directly with MIM(Prisons). Our liberation as oppressed nations and as a class is inextricably bound with Maoism, not "new synthesis" politics. Don't believe me? Go ask the klan in the RCP=U$A where they stand with respect to the liberation of Aztlán, New Afrika, and the various First Nations. Watch how they dance and shuffle, deflect the question, and fake left in order to go right.
Still too busy to study theory seriously? Busier than the New People's Army in 1970? Good question: who or what is the New People's Army? Who was the Tupac Amaru for that matter? And what's the difference between lumpen and lumpen-proletariat? How is this question relevant to our own conditions? And what about Kautsky — who's his contemporary, and why should we care?
The tenet that the revolutionary vanguard be made up of professional revolutionaries is a Leninist tenet. Anything less than putting revolutionary politics in command means watering down correct political line. And correct political lines could only be put forward if there was an organization consisting chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity that would devote their entire lives to the movement subsuming the persynal for the good of the cause. We don't need no weekend revolutionaries and we don't need those just in it for the remainder of their imprisonment; we need better than that. "Better, fewer, but better." It's not enough to simply read an article in Under Lock & Key. The bulk of our imprisonment should be spent developing the mind.
Take the sample of the prison artists. How did they get so good? By drawing here and there, or only when there was something in it for them? No, they developed their skills via a passion for the arts, and as a result they're now pretty damn good. We now come to them whenever we need to send something home.
What about the legal-beagles? How did they get so good? They too developed their skills with a passion, a passion to make it back home. And as a result of that, some of them actually make it back home despite having the deck stacked against them. Unfortunately some of them don't make it out. But through the skills they've developed some of them make it their mission in life to file grievances, lawsuits, etc., in the name of the prisyner population. And who do we go to when we need legal advice or something filed?
Just as those people are great examples within their field and are derived directly from the prisyner population, so should USW and our allies aspire to become great examples within the revolutionary prisyn movement so that when the time comes we can be damn well sure we don't lead the prisyn masses into oblivion.
Comrades breaking away from USW in order to prematurely form their own organizations when their revolutionary skills are not yet developed are perfect examples of being ultra-left in matters of "one divides into two" dialectics and a form of adventurism as well.
Once again, are my words too harsh? Hell no! We're not yet in the stage where we should be seeking to unite all who can be united. We're still in the ideological struggle. The fact that I have to write this to say as much should prove it.
Revolutionaries in the prison movement should have a concrete understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and not a fragmentary one. We should be well versed in political economics and revolutionary theory. Indeed, this is our own strategical equilibrium. "Better, fewer, but better." There is no other way.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have laid out the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) to unite all who can be united at the mass level in U.$. prisons. We do this alongside the tasks Ehecatl describes for building ideological unity within USW. And this is a different practice than MIM had when writing the article quoted in the beginning of this letter. We find ourselves in a position similar to the Communist Party of the Philippines at the time (discussed in that article) who were also trying to lead a broad united front and a vanguard party at the same time. We learn from their mistakes and rectification campaign in order to maintain the independence and leadership of the vanguard within the UFPP, and separate party work from united front work.
Comrades in MIM(Prisons) and USW work hard to facilitate study groups for prisoners who are interested in developing ideologically and not just reading ULK. A new introductory course starts every few months, so write us to get on the list. For more on the question of forming new organizations, see MIM(Prisons)'s 2011 Congress resolution on "Building New Groups vs. Working with USW and MIM(Prisons)", published in ULK 21. And if you want to know more about the history of Ehecatl's criticisms of the RCP=U$A, check out our study pack on the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA). If we don't study, we will lose.
I refuse to lay down, in my struggle against the oppressor. Anti-imperialist efforts, settling for nothing lesser.
Striving together with my brotherz and sisterz — Utilizing knowledge, wisdom and understanding. "We're fighting for world peace!" Is what my comrades past and present is demanding.
Anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, fuck it! I'll be devoted to fighting against that old slave mentality that my older peers seem to keep holding.
We rise together and never fall. Nor stumble in sudden speech. So to the brotherz and sisterz down in this struggle — Without initiative and motivation you'll forever remain stuck with your slave mentality!
On Friday, December 28, 2012 at approximately 8pm I witnessed an unnecessary and excessive use of major force. The main perpetrators were correctional officer Mendez, Correctional Officer Burns, Lieutenant Patrick R. Eady, and Sergeant Gundacker. The victim was a prisoner, (B) a Black man, who was housed on F-wing at the High Security Unit on Estelle; which is located in Huntsville, Texas. Please note it is well documented that prisoner B has a history of mental health issues that stem from his long-term confinement in 23 hour a day lockdown settings. It is further worth noting that B's hands were cuffed behind his back during the assault which left significant bruising, swelling, and lacerations to his face.
I observed Officer Burns, Officer Mendez, and an Officer Bake approach B's cell (F-125) and inform him to prepare for a "shake-down" or cell search. B was cuffed and removed form his cell. During the time outside his cell, B engaged in profanity laced name calling with Burns and Mendez, all three were talking major "trash." Officer Mendez seemed to have been offended; he (Mendez) pushed B in the back shoving him in his cell.
Burns and Mendez entered the cell and you could hear blows being given to B, who was cuffed! A female officer named Yancey was working the F wing. Apparently, she sounded the alarm and many officers and supervisors arrived at the scene of the crime. Upon arriving, Lieutenant Eady and Sergeant Gundacker did not stop the assault on B, they joined in. Punching and kicking B in the head and face while officer Yancey stood by in obvious shock. Lieutenant Eady saw the look of shock and revulsion on officer Yancey's face and he ordered her off the wing and that is when the "cover-up" was put in full effect.
The Cover Up
The attackers quickly exited the cell as B writhed in pain on the floor of his cell - his face a bloody mess. B's cell door was shut, he was left cuffed. Lieutenant Eady was attempting to make it look as if B had refused to relinquish the handcuffs. Sergeant Harrison arrived after the fact and he was bamboozled by Lieutenant Eady. Lieutenant Eady placed Sergeant Harrison in charge of the use of force. I immediately yelled out at Lieutenant Eady "you're not going to get away with that Eady I got you!" His response "I got away with that, now shut the fuck up or you're next!" and with that I shut my ass up. Fearlessness is a wonderful trait but we must learn when to be quiet and let our pen talk!
After the incident, officer Yancey, who was actually the wing officer, came to my cell visibly upset. She said "that physical abuse of was uncalled for, they know he is a psyche patient, we all know!" She continued "I think some of these officers were bullied as kids because it seems they get off on hurting inmates."
I wrote the incident up via a Step 1 (I-127) Special Use of Force grievance. B was shipped to another unit 2 days after I filed. This is one of the many tricks the pigs use in Texas in order to obstruct justice. I suppose that would work if they were dealing with "willy lump lump" or "flunky bob" but I am a highly motivated, well trained USW comrade and in the words of comedic genius Damon Wayans "Homey don't play that!" I have contacted many prisoner rights activists and discussed ideas that may serve as solutions to protecting mentally ill prisoners held in captivity by the State of Texas.
A Call to Action
In closing I must remind all of you "We are all (B)!" just like we all are Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and the countless number of oppressed lumpen under class people who have died at the hands of a fascist imperialist pig. Our fallen comrade Fred Hampton said "theory without practice ain't shit!" Practice is theory in action. Will you stand by and do nothing while your fellow comrade/humyn being is unmercifully beat and abused? Are you really about "this life?" Ask yourself when is enough enough? Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The original article included information about the diverse races of the prison staff involved in this assault of a Black prisoner. These references were removed but we note that it demonstrates that there are willing servants of imperialism found in all nationalities. Sometimes that contradiction bites the oppressor in the ass. But either way, that doesn't change the nature of national oppression, or the criminal injustice system's role in perpetrating this oppression.
At the heart of the triple C Creed it is about practicing exemplary science. Don't just talk about it, be about it. We've had too much talking. Too many jack-leg preachers. Too many fakers and haters acting like they know it all. Meanwhile, we keep losing young Black lives at alarming rates. We keep losing family to drugs. Our men keep vanishing from our communities to feed this insatiable carceral beast.
Here is the fundamental science: when we act we achieve! Over the past year we have acted in unity to exemplify our collective strength. We joined a nationwide grievance petition. We campaigned for a non-violent resolution. We organized with the Islamic community and an on point social network. We conducted round table discussions. Many brothers enjoyed our track and field events, and we conducted a mass rec grievance campaign so that we could hold these events. We ended with a unit wide collective fellowship meal.
In 2013 we are refocusing our efforts on our primary function of sharing information. If you look back over the trajectory of the African history in this land you will see that every time we gained knowledge and acted on it we advanced. This must always be the comrade's conscious focus. Acquiring and distributing intelligence. We understand that roughly 95% of prisoners won't put in the effort to do this, and it may well be true that 4% of the ones who do will only seek to acquire certain knowledge for personal profit and gain. OneLife intends to focus its developmental efforts on that critical 1% who will both actively seek to inform themselves as a part of their daily routine and exercise due vigilance in passing that intelligence along to others in a sustained, structured way.
Our vanguard development understands the importance of knowing what is going on in Syria, Mali, or Nigeria. Understanding our u.s. economy, how it impacts other world peoples, and what is our place and power of potential in determining the greater scheme of things. We want to learn about specific political actors, the actual function of their office, and how specific policies impact our lives and the lives of our families and communities. Then we want to learn how to affect these processes. The 1% must lead such struggle. This is what is meant by movement. Any single campaign or event is pointless without solid comrades who are committed to sustained struggle.
As I've said before, you don't have to be with OneLife to be serious about this movement, but you do have to be consistent. If your word ain't shit, neither are you. Comrades preach what they practice, knowing it's not about them. It's about the people. Real lives are at stake based on what we do or don't do.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this leaflet as an example of what organizations that join the United Front for Peace in Prison are doing on the ground in their prisons. This group has declared its agreement with the UFPP five points of unity, and is striving to implement them by organizing and educating others, and fighting winnable battles for change. As they point out, you don't have to be with their organization to be in the movement, but you need to be doing something.
October 2012: A captive, B (an old white man), a known writ writer, was placed in G1112 cell with a younger Black captive, R. Lt. Harrold and Sgt Green told R that B is a racist, causing R to beat up B. R was rewarded with the head orderly job in G-Dorm, while B is to never get off close management due to receiving constant fabricated disciplinary reports against him because he is a writ writer. The beating occurred between October 13th and October 31st in G1112 cell.
Early November 2012: another writ writer was beaten and cut with a razor blade by another prisoner placed in G1106 cell working for Sgt Patton. This is not his first time he was set up by the police. Currently he is on CM-1 slapped with numerous fabricated Disciplinary Reports (DRs) and won't get off CM until he is broken.
Early November 2012, prisoner W, a mentally ill prisoner in G1103 cell, after continuous daily harassment, was gassed by Sgt Green and his crew, for no other reason than implementing mass terror and intimidation. He was made an example of via procedural lynching for all to see and fear.
December 3, 2012: CO Maguire and another CO beat up a prisoner in G1209 cell, while the prisoner was handcuffed behind his back. After being beaten the prisoner was slapped with a fabricated assault on a CO DR. How do you assault a CO with your hands cuffed behind your back?
December 5, 2012: two prisoners in G1203 cell were gassed by Sgt Harvey, all in retaliation intended against one of the prisoners due to some incident months prior.
December 9, 2012, A prisoner was taken from G1103 cell in handcuffs, hands behind his back, and jumped on in the hallway by Sgt Green and his crew. Sgt Green had planned and called in the incident moments prior to its actual occurrence.
December 17, 2012: A prisoner in G1210 cell was gassed for simply declaring a psychological emergency. All captives declaring a psychological emergency are gassed and slapped with fabricated DRs to justify and cover up the gassing.
December 30-31st, 2012: Two prisoners in F1213 and two other captives in F1214 cell were placed on strip (72 hour property restriction - no mattress, no bedding, no clothes - left in only boxer shorts) the temperature outside was in the 20s and the heaters were off. They were placed on strip for fabricated reasons by Sgt Fisher.
December 31st, 2012: two prisoners in F1110 cell were gassed and slapped with fabricated DRs because they refused to speak to Sgt Kelly when he approached their cell in his two faced (smile in your face, stab you in the back) manner.
Jan 5, 2012: Sgt Kelly placed two captives beefing with each other on strip together in F2103 cell so they could fight, they're fighting as I write.
These prison guard brutalities are only a few of the many that occur here on Close Management at Suwanee Correctional Institution here in Florida. Many of the identities of the victims are unknown to me, but can be obtained by simply viewing camera/document evidence which can be obtained by anyone via request of public information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. Do not just take my word at face value, please request the evidence and speak with the victims mentioned for a more detailed truth of what transpired. (Some may fear staff retaliation and refrain from speaking). We beg that you help by simply calling in or emailing concerning these brutalities.
Just recently in October 2012, Taylor and Union CI underwent a major purge by higher authorities during which approximately 60 officers of all ranks were escorted off institution grounds due to their brutal and tyrannical practice. Suwanee CI needs to experience the same purge of its tyrants like Lt Martin (aka white widow), Lt Harrod, Sgt Harvery, Sgt Patton, Sgt Silver, Sgt Green, Sgt Kelly, Sgt Fisher, CO Barton, CO Maguire, CO Lynblade, CO Diaz, CO Landrum, CO Lane, CO Murman, CO Pope - who brags to captives how he pays captives extra lunch trays to beat up other captives - and all their superiors - captains, majors, colonels, classification officers and warden and secretary of FDOC - who all encourage, condone and even orchestrate these many use of excessive force brutalities and procedural lynchings and fabrication coverup reports.
Many captives are falsely accused of gunning (masturbating) by female COs just so captives can be jumped on, gassed or placed on strip by these male COs. These tyrants and sadists will not stop on their own.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The list of people this writer suggests need to be purged from Suwanee demonstrates our point that it is not possible to reform the Amerikan criminal injustice system. This is not a case of just a few bad apples, but rather a system of oppression and violence, in which employees must participate to receive a paycheck. We must expose the brutality, and fight the individual cases to create some livable space for our comrades, but we will only end the violence by dismantling the criminal injustice system entirely.
by a Massachusetts prisoner January 2013 permalink
Welcome to MCI Shirley Prison where low-level drug dealers are turned into murderers. Where minor felons are instilled with such anger and resentment that they are talking mayhem as they depart through the razor wire gates. Where un-professionalism and abuse are the norm and the seeds of future killings are being sown one thousand at a whack. It is a place where it is hard to distinguish the real criminals. Do they wear gray scrubs? Do they wear paramilitary jump suits and badges, do they wear a shirt and tie, or do they wear Dolce & Gabbana skirts with Prada shoes? It is truly hard to tell.
Young men enter MCI Shirley (or "ShirleyWorld" as it is largely known) thinking they may be able to get an education through college courses or the trades. Those hopes are dashed upon the rocks of guard overtime, administrative nepotism, and complete lack of any semblance of order. The warden is deaf, the deputy is dumb, and the captain is blind. This barrel of monkeys chews upon taxpayer dollars while the young prisoner is further separated from the societal norms the rehabilitative process was meant to instill. You can see the death in their eyes. It is scary.
This vast criminal conspiracy that is the department of corruption is as much a killer as Charles Manson or Adolph Hitler were. They see with perfect vision the folly of their ways but press on with malicious intent: premeditated job security equaling death in the Mattapan Corridor. Drunken guards bring in drugs and cell phones, take out their ire on weaker prisoners and all the while talk about pay raises, time off and pension plans. They are the thieves and murderers!
The prison system spends $517,000,000 per year to diminish the safety of the streets. Criminal guards suck up $360,000,000 of that yearly budget while rehabilitative programs and education are allotted only 2% of that budget. An equation which is designed for failure. It assures repeat customers but that assurance comes at the cost of far too many lives. When will you, the taxpayer, become outraged? When will your ire replace the apathy that belays commonsense? This is a state, a country, and a land that is founded in second chances.
If you were ever afforded the tragic opportunity to tread the pathways of MCI Shirley you would witness first hand the systemic failures. There are guards everywhere — sergeants, lieutenants, captains, and multitudes of line staff — but each and every day some rehabilitative aspect of the prison is shut down due to "under-staffing." It is a lie. The DOC has 5500 employees for about 12,000 prisoners. The guard's union has injected so much propaganda that even Hitler would be proud of their achievements.
The time has come to reorganize the prison budget, to use these vast taxpayer dollars to actually protect the safety of the public. We must terminate the excess of secretaries, deputies, assistants, aides, clerks, etc., and invest that revenue in expansion of the college degree program. Prisoners who earn that degree in prison do not come back: they do not commit any more crimes. The recidivism rate for in-prison Boston University graduates is less than 1%. The statewide recidivism rate has hovered at about 47% for over a decade. Did you know UMass offered to come into the prisons and provide college courses for free? The DOC rejected them. Did you know that Fitchburg State had a free program at ShirleyWorld but the facility failed to support it? The reason for the folly is that there is no money in it for the DOC to have these programs.
Prisoners need real job training. Prisoners need transitional housing in lower security prisons. Such prisons cost only a fraction of what it costs to run the higher security prisons as they need less staff. This is why the guard's union fights this at every turn. Please join forces with those who have a plan for real and effective public safety reform. the time is now for you to get involved.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade does a good job exposing the Massachusetts prison system's lack of interest in rehabilitation and education. It is true that in Massachusetts, and across the country, prisons are providing good jobs to guards who have formed strong unions to lobby effectively for expansion of the system. It is a system whose employees have every interest in expansion and no interest in rehabilitation. The very fact that education has been proven to dramatically reduce recidivism but prisons across the country have cut or eliminated education programs is clear evidence. Further, programs such as MIM(Prisons)'s led study groups are censored as a threat to the safety and security of the prison. It's not the criminal injustice system that cares about safety and security, they care about job security and social control. And prisons conveniently provide both: locking up the oppressed nation lumpen who might organize against imperialism and giving jobs to the labor aristocracy in the prisons.
But we disagree with this prisoner that tax payers are going to become outraged and fight this system. Both the social control and the good jobs are benefiting those tax payers. The labor aristocracy wants to protect it's own jobs: and the prison provides a good number of these. If tax money didn't go to prison jobs it would go to some other labor aristocracy services. And these would not be jobs benefiting the oppressed nation lumpen: that's not something tax payers are going to get behind. On the contrary, prison guard unions successfully campaign for more pay and funding for defending white power, unlike most labor unions.
With that said, we do think there is value in exposing the lack of safety and security in the current prison system. We may gain some allies in certain battles, people who will see that the streets of Amerika are objectively less safe. But we don't want to mislead them by appealing to their persynal interests and pretending that substantive change to the criminal injustice system is going to actually benefit them in the long run. Anti-imperialism is not in the interests of the majority of the Amerikan people, because they benefit financially from this system. And the criminal injustice system is an integral part of Amerikan imperialism.
Like many of you who are reading this issue of Under Lock & Key, I was saddened to hear about the senseless killing of 20 young humyn beings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. They were babies, taken away from us far too soon. After shaking off the initial shock, my analytical Maoist mind kicked into overdrive. I went into my locker and I retrieved my July/August 2012 issue of Under Lock & Key 27. I would like to quote comrade Soso of MIM(Prisons) in her/his piece entitled "Trayvon Martin National Oppression Debate." "A recent report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement cited at least 110 Black people killed by Amerikan cops and security in the first half of 2012."
Is this report not alarming? Should there not have been public outcry? Did not President Obama state: "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon." Well then why the hell didn't he form a special task force then to address gun violence? Was not Oscar Grant enough? What about James Craig Anderson in Jackson, Mississippi? What about young Jordan Davis of Jacksonville, Florida, murdered in cold blood because his music was "too loud"? All these young men of color murdered by white men, however, for some reason their deaths did not solicit the same response. Five hundred murders on the streets of Chicago this year! One fourth were under age 18. President Obama barely mentioned the gun violence in Chicago during his campaign. Why?
Comrades, the sad truth of the matter is, a Black life is not equal to a white life in Amerikkka. And it is not just the lives of Black youth that are under-valued. Latino, Arab, Asian, all are viewed as less than, undesirable, or expendable by the Amerikkkan Injustice System. This problem is pervasive and saturates the racist news media. Now here comes new gun legislation and "new" task forces. Who do you think the alphabet boys are going to be carting off to U.$. penitentiaries? Not white bread gun fanatic NRA members, that's for sure. It's going to be us! The Black, Brown, Asian and Arab lumpen underclass.
I recently was listening to a Houston hip-hop radio show on KPFT (90.1 FM) called Damage Control. The host "young Zeke" said "if a Black man shoots a bunch of people in Amerika he is a criminal. If a foreigner does it, he is a terrorist, and if a white man does it he's classified as mentally ill - that's bullshit!" Remember comrades "to be aware is to be alive!"
MIM(Prisons) adds: Since this comrade wrote this reflection, there was an incident in New York City where an Amerikan womyn pushed an Indian man in front of an oncoming train and killed him. She's been widely quoted as saying, "I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims — ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up." The victim, Sunando Sen, was Hindu.
Erika Menendez was charged with murder as a hate crime, but has been ordered to have a mental health exam. Whatever Menendez's mental health, it is not like she said she killed Sen because he had brown eyes, or was too tall. She killed him because of his perceived religion and ethnicity, which are both proxies for national oppression. Sen would not have been murdered if Amerika did not promote hatred of other nations who try to free themselves from the grip of U.$. imperialism.
Just because most Amerikans aren't sophisticated enough to distinguish different religions and cultures does not make their national oppression any less real. Islam has been branded by Amerikans as the culture of a dangerous foreign enemy people. Armed resistance against imperialism has been strong across South and Central Asia for over a decade and it continues to spread. This is the material basis for Menendez's actions.
Some theorists that dabble in Maoism have hypothesized that nation is no longer principal in the age of neo-colonialism (simply defined as white power in black/brown face). But MIM(Prisons) still holds that the principal contradiction remains nation under imperialism today, even if it is not as black and white as it used to be. In the discussion around Trayvon Martin, we already said that George Zimmerman's Latino family does not preclude him from being associated with white supremacism. Similarly, we do not need more info on Menendez's background to state that she was clearly acting within the ideology of white supremacism. Neo-colonialism isn't just for those with political power anymore. There is a whole movement to enlist young men from Latin America to fight for U.$. imperialism in the Middle East.
The concept of nation is based in social conditions, not in phony ideas of genetics as race is. So while Amerika was a nation built on a racist ideology, it is in constant flux, like all things are. Similarly, nations can be transformed through assimilation. And even as separate nations exist in the United $tates, different segments of those nations will have different interests at different times. Those who use identity politics and simplistic expectations to negate the national contradiction ignore these ever-changing and interacting forces. In the United $tates the national contradiction is at a bit of a crossroads, but internationally the contradiction is stronger than ever. This is why the internal semi-colonies would be smart to stay on the right side of history and stand against imperialism as their ancestors did.
As we've discussed elsewhere, there is ample evidence that most "mental health" problems are social problems, which can be addressed with a re-ordering of the society we live in. By ending national oppression, ending militarism and ending the competitive individualism of capitalism where people get left behind and become alienated from society, we can prevent the types of incidents that happened in New York and Connecticut.
In 2010, the Black Order Revolutionary Organization (BORO), with the assistance of MIM(Prisons), initiated a campaign to fight censorship. BORO last provided an update on this campaign in ULK 17. Since that time there has been censorship of some issues of ULK and IRRs (appeals) and grievances were filed. Issue 28 was censored in October 2012 and we fought it. On 19 December 2012, we won the grievance and were issued the ULK on the same day.
Prison activism can be very discouraging at times, but we must hold firm to our commitment to struggle. Whenever an issue of ULK, or any other material, is censored, our advice is to not sign the censorship notification and covenant not to sue forms. Although signing these forms will allow you to send the material to whomever you want, you effectively give up your right to grieve the issue or file a legal complaint in the courts.
Another new development is that the mailrooms now have to notify publishers when they censor any of their mail sent to prisoners. This is a strategic win for us and should be further encouragement for those of you who complain "we can't beat these people".
MIM(Prisons) adds: To the comrade who wrote in asking for more news on Missouri in ULK 27, this is a good example of how to make news by carrying out work over the long term and reporting on it. We got another response to that letter from a comrade in Missouri who reported being on a solo hunger strike going on fifteen days on 1 January 2013. S/he wrote, "I'm hoping some other prisoners in Missouri will read this article and start to ride on some shit. The way they run prisons in Missouri is screwed up and it's time to stick together and change some stuff." We warn our readers that hunger strikes without support and planning can be dangerous and reckless. But make no mistake, not all prisoners in Missouri will accept abuse.