The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 19]
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Announcing the United Front for Peace in Prisons

[This statement was drafted by members of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons, United Struggle from Within, the East Coast Consolidated Crip Organization, and the Black Order Revolutionary Organization, with input and review from other organizations and individuals working on peace and unity in U.$. prisons. If your organization wishes to join the United Front, you may submit your own statement of unity/support to Under Lock & Key.]

If the last 40 years have proven anything to us, it is that Amerika wants us at war with each other and locked in their prisons. The idea that banging is what we're just born into, as if we have no power over our own lives, is no longer acceptable if we want to survive. For the next generation to repeat what we have been through would be genocidal. We embrace internationalism because we recognize that most of the people in the world face potentially genocidal conditions under imperialism and that there is strength in numbers. This is a call for peace, unity and understanding amongst the many prison organizations currently in opposition to each other and individual non-gang affiliated comrades alike to take on an approach that utilizes the strength of our numbers in revolutionary struggle.

We have awareness that there's nothing cool about the hardships we as gang members and petty criminals put ourselves, our families, our communities and each other through. If we have to struggle and if we have to sacrifice then it's more logical that we put our strength and resources collectively against one target - the oppressor.

Too many of us are already in jail. To engage in reckless behavior that could get us locked up or locked down only helps Amerika control us. Tupac Shakur, who also helped draft a code of principles to unite lumpen organizations, referred to the Thug Life stage of his life and his music as the "high school" phase for ghetto youth. By the time he was locked in prison he was growing and expanding beyond Thug Life, while recognizing it would always be a part of him. He referred to this as his "college" phase, saying that some people never get out of high school. Our comrades often draw parallels between the intellectual growth of college students and prisoners. But prison should not be where certain groups of people must go to learn and grow.

A parallel example is found in the ideology of the Almighty Latin King Queen Nation, which describes its followers passing from the Primitive Stage to the Conservative (or Mummy) Stage to the New King Stage. The Primitive Stage is usually characterized by gang-banging and reckless behavior. The Conservative Stage steps away from previous recklessness, distancing oneself from the whole organization. "The New King recognizes that the time for revolution is at hand... A revolution that will bring freedom to the enslaved, to all Third World People... The New King is the end product of complete awareness, perceiving three hundred and sixty degrees of enlightenment. He strives for world unity. For him, there are no horizons between races, sexes and senseless labels. For him, everything has meaning, human life is placed above materialistic values. He throws himself completely into the battlefield, ready to sacrifice his life for the ones he loves, for the sake of humanization." (Kingism: Three Stages from The King Manifesto)

Despite our different paths of evolution over the years, all of our organizations share a common history that arose from the need to defend oneself and one's community in a society that has always kept us as outsiders. It is sad that we must find ourselves in the most horrid of oppressive situations (i.e. control units or death row) before our organizations can begin working together in our common interests. The purpose of this united front is to incorporate that commonality as part of our continued growth. Unity evolves from the inside out. Once we've begun to grow as individuals, our first task is to build unity within our group around the principles of the united front.

As we work to build unity with others, we must remember that rumors are tactics of pigs and snitches. Too many people have a habit of talking shit and creating disunity, as if it's a game. Comrades should know when to speak, where to speak, what to speak, to whom to speak, how to speak and when to keep absolutely silent.

There have been a number of attempts to unite various sets and cliques under one banner for a positive cause. But when such efforts are led by the criminally-minded these causes are only served superficially and the organizations continue to work in the interests of the greed and power of the few.

In the United $tates we are surrounded by wealth and excess, which breeds a sick love for their system of exploitation. Yet success for much of the oppressed nations is still handed out like winning lotto tickets, whether as a boss on the street or a ball player or other entertainer. And therein, we become oppressors of our own community, nation and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, our oppressed peoples as a whole are not allowed to determine their own destinies as nations.

The easier way out of the ghetto is to become overt oppressors by joining the white man's army. The imperialist wars of aggression are wars against the oppressed nations of the world. We are killed and injured in these wars to help kill and control the oppressed people the world over. To join the military of the oppressor (United $tates) is to betray and sell out our collective peoples.

We fully recognize that whether we are conscious of it or not, we are already "united" — in our suffering and our daily repression. We face the same common enemy. We are trapped in the same oppressive conditions. We wear the same prison clothes, we go to the same hellhole box (isolation), we get brutalized by the same racist pigs. We are one people, no matter your hood, set or nationality. We know "we need unity" — but unity of a different type from the unity we have at present. We want to move from a unity in oppression to unity in serving the people and striving toward national independence.

We cannot wish peace into reality when conditions do not allow for it. When people's needs aren't met, there can be no peace. Despite its vast wealth, the system of imperialism chooses profit over meeting humyn needs for the world's majority. Even here in the richest country in the world there are groups that suffer from the drive for profit. We must build independent institutions to combat the problems plaguing the oppressed populations. This is our unity in action.

We acknowledge that the greater the unity politically and ideologically, the greater our movement becomes in combating national oppression, class oppression, racism and gender oppression. Those who recognize this reality have come together to sign these principles for a united front to demonstrate our agreement on these issues. We are the voiceless and we have a right and a duty to be heard.

United Front Statement of Principles

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 19]
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United Front for Peace in Prisons - Statement of Principles

United Front for Peace
The basis of any real unity comes from an agreement on certain key ideas. This statement does not grant authority to any party over any other party. We are mutually accountable to each other to uphold these points in order to remain active participants in this united front.

  1. Peace WE organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression.

  2. Unity WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity.

  3. Growth WE recognize the importance of education and freedom to grow in order to build real unity. We support members within our organization who leave and embrace other political organizations and concepts that are within the anti-imperialist struggle. Everyone should get in where they fit in. Similarly, we recognize the right of comrades to leave our organization if we fail to live up to the principles and purpose of the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

  4. Internationalism WE struggle for the liberation of all oppressed people. While we are often referred to as "minorities" in this country, and we often find those who are in the same boat as us opposing us, our confidence in achieving our mission comes from our unity with all oppressed nations who represent the vast majority globally. We cannot liberate ourselves when participating in the oppression of other nations.

  5. Independence WE build our own institutions and programs independent of the United $tates government and all its branches, right down to the local police, because this system does not serve us. By developing independent power through these institutions we do not need to compromise our goals.

How to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons?

  1. Study and uphold the five principles of the united front.

  2. Send your organization's name and a statement of unity to MIM(Prisons). Your statement can explain what the united front principles mean to your organization, how they relate to your work, why they are important, etc.

  3. Develop peace and unity between factions where you are at on the basis of opposing oppression of all prisoners and oppressed people in general.

  4. Send reports on your progress to Under Lock & Key. Did you develop a peace treaty or protocol that is working? Send it in for others to study and possibly use. Is your unity based on actions? Send us reports on the organizing you are doing.

  5. Keep educating your members. The more educated your members are, the more unity you can develop, and the stronger your organization can become. Unity comes from the inside out. By uniting internally, we can better unite with others as well. Contact MIM(Prisons)'s Free Political Books for Prisoners Program if you need additional materials to educate your members in history, politics and economics.


Campaign info:
Build a United Front for Peace in Prisons
This article referenced in:
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[United Front] [ULK Issue 19]
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Ex-Capo Joins Peace Agreement

I am an ex-Barrio Azteca prison gang capo (leader), now acting on an individual level for any peace movement like yours. Congratulations for taking your valuable time in creating this important movement. I see nothing wrong with it, but may I ask, where are the Aztlán lumpen organizations at? Is this movement only a Black power peace movement? I see no Aztlán reformers acting as contributors. Am I the only Aztlán reformer in your peace movement?

...I honestly think this great movement needs backup accords and contracts that can assure the support of other organizations wherever they call homebase, especially for voting, protest or problem solving, etc.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The United Front for Peace in Prisons is something that has been the undercurrent of letters from comrades and dialogues that MIM(Prisons) has been part of for many years. The formalization under the proposed statement of principles has been in the works for over a year, with a number of participants from different nationalities and lumpen organizations.

It should be remembered that development is never even. Certain regions, organizations and nationalities may be quicker to develop in political consciousness. If you don't see your voice being represented, shout out like this comrade did.

MIM(Prisons) has always been an internationalist organization (it's in our name). So you won't find any favoritism here of one nation's development over another. We've had contacts from every major lumpen organization write in in support of something like what we have developed. But for the most part those organizations are very decentralized, and our contacts are isolated individuals. This United Front is one common expression of those isolated individuals, including the writer above, from various regions, groups and oppressed nationalities.

But the United Front is not governing body. We believe it is up to comrades on the ground to draw up any necessary accords and contracts to develop real peace on a mass scale. Conditions will vary, and agreements will too as a result. The United Front will be a forum to share those experiences and successes, to help and encourage others. It will also serve as a medium to struggle with our political allies who have not yet joined in these efforts.

But this is just the beginning. We are finally ready to take this to the masses, where the ultimate form and the level of participation will be determined in practice. Our task now is to popularize the principles across the U.$. prison population, and eventually, the whole lumpen class.

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[Censorship] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 23]
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The System Fails Us, but We Stay Committed

On 4 February 2011, I received a Memorandum and Order regarding the Motions of Summary Judgment on the suit that I filed on two issues of Under Lock & Key (February 2008 and September 2008) that were censored, and four pamphlets from Kansas Mutual Aid (KMA). In short, summary judgment was granted on the two ULK issues.

On the February 2008 issue, the court ruled that "the first article in the publication discusses the rate of imprisonment across the United States for different races. Other articles highlight how the prison system is otherwise unfair to African-Americans and promotes 'modern day slavery.'" On the September 2008 issue, the court concluded that "the publication does appear to encourage prisoners to 'fight back' and 'unite against the unjustice [sic] system.'" Of course, the court took these statements out of the context in which they were written and implied.

When the order was received, I was doing a 30-day hit in Administrative Segregation without any of my legal materials and didn't have the opportunity to file a notice of appeal. At the same time, the Federal 8th Court of Appeals has consistently ruled against us on these issues and most likely would have upheld the lower court's ruling and hit me for another $455 for filing the appeal.

Their Motion for Summary Judgment on the four KMA booklets was denied without prejudice and they were given the option to file another pending further information. They have subsequently filed said motion and, because of the way the courts have already ruled, I expect that the court will grant their motion. I really don't expect this case will proceed further, although I am going to file a motion in opposition to their motion for summary judgment.

A tactical victory would have certainly been a good thing. On the same token, a lesson still comes out of this — that comrades must not be thinking and acting as though we are really protected by the U.$. Constitution, state and local statutes, and the myths and lies fed the settlers and colonies of the empire about Amerikkkan "democracy" and other such nonsense.

I will however continue to fight any new instances of censorship that may arise and continue to agitate, educate and organize on this and other issues.


MIM(Prisons) Legal Coordinator responds: Here the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals — which governs the states of Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and the Dakotas — has protected a censorship incident which might otherwise be deemed illegal in another Circuit or at the Supreme Court. Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 concluded that "Wardens may not reject a publication 'solely because its content is religious, philosophical, political, social[,] sexual, or . . . unpopular or repugnant,'. . ." In the 9th Circuit, "Prison authorities cannot rely on general or conclusory assertions to support their policies," Walker v. Sumner (9th Cir. 1990) 917 F.2d 382, 385, and "Unsupported security claims couldn't justify infringement on First Amendment rights," Crofton v. Roe (9th Cir. 1999) 170 F.3d 957. Facts in Under Lock & Key on the reality of the Amerikan prison system are no different than what one would find in any halfway decent mainstream newspaper. Any connection one might claim between these facts and a "threat to the security of the institution" is absolutely unsupported, conclusory, and based on gross generalizations.

Anyone who has read one full issue of Under Lock & Key knows that the reason given by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for denying the February 2008 issue is taken completely out of context, like this comrade says. MIM(Prisons) is constantly putting forth the line that armed struggle under unfavorable conditions should be avoided if at all possible; any fighting back we may advocate is only within legally acceptable means, like lawsuits. More clearly explained in Under Lock & Key issue 7 (March 2009),

"MIM(Prisons) only engages in and promotes legal means of combating injustice. When the prison staff represses every educational and legal outlet for prisoners to redress their complaints then it is clear what kind of strategies they are promoting. In those prisons, we predict there will be violence, and they cannot blame it on us because they have kept us out. This is similar to what we say about all struggles for justice around the world. We believe violence is necessary to end injustice because history has demonstrated that the oppressor never stops oppressing any other way. We do not want or promote violence, we are merely stating our conclusion from reading history. In every case of revolutionary war, it was up to the oppressor to decide whether violence was used or not. History shows that the same has been true in the prison rights movement; the struggle for prisoner rights has only become violent when the state initiated such violence."

Regarding the censorship of the September 2008 issue for calling on prisoners to unite against injustices: anyone who has read a few issues of Under Lock & Key knows that unity against the injustice system is the quickest way to reduce violence in prisons and on the streets. The article Peace in the Streets, also from ULK issue 7, shares a bit of the history of the many efforts made by lumpen organizations to join together for peace, and the efforts of the pigs to shut it down. In 2006, the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talks were underway in Crescent City, California; "I was able to bring all relevant parties to the table, a peace plan was adopted and a cease fire was implemented." There, also, the pigs undermined the unity.(1)

More recently, comrades all across the country have come together to develop and sign on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons. This United Front (UF) is an effort to stop the unnecessary killings and divisions in the prison environment which lead to our destruction. Interestingly, one of the points of unity of the UF is Growth, with emphasis on education. The pigs don't recognize this, but we know from experience and our study of history that political education leads to peace amongst the oppressed. Far from being censored, Under Lock & Key should be distributed widely to prisoners in the United $tates, because it will have a direct impact on the safety and security of the actual people in the prisons every day, including the guards.

This comrade has adopted a positive and correct attitude in the face of disappointment and censorship. Even though s/he is unable to receive these two issues of Under Lock & Key, s/he has not lost h commitment to apply science to strategy; h Plan B isn't to lash our or give up. More of us should follow h example and put science and the study of correct strategy, not emotions, at the forefront of our political work.

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[Spanish] [ULK Issue 20]
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Anunciando la Frente Unida por la Paz en Prisiones

Esta declaración fue redactada por miembros del Ministro de Prisiones del Movimiento Internacionalista de Maoistas, La Lucha Unida por Dentro, La Organización Consolidada Crip de la Costa Este y la Organización Revolucionaria del Orden Negro, con contribuciones y repasos de parte de otras organizaciones e individuos trabajando por la paz y la unidad en las prisiones estadounidenses. Si su organización desea juntarse a la Frente Unida Ud. puede someter su propia declaración por unidad/apoyo a Under Lock & Key (Bajo Candado y Llave).

Si los últimos 40 años han demostrado algo a nosotros, es que América quiere que estemos en guerra contra nosotros mismos y bajo clave en sus prisiones. La idea que nacimos entre las pandillas como si no tuviéramos el poder sobre nuestras propias vidas, ya no es aceptable si queremos sobrevivir. Sería genocidio para la próxima generación si repitara lo que hemos experimentado ya. Abrazamos el internacionalismo porque reconocemos que casi toda la gente del mundo potencialmente enfrenta condiciones genocidios bajo el imperialismo y hay fuerza en números. Esta es una llamada a la paz, a la unidad y a la comprensión entre todas las organizaciones de la prisión que en este momento se encuentren en oposición uno al otro y a los camaradas individuos sin afiliación a las pandillas que tomen un enfoque que utilice la fuerza de nuestros números en la lucha revolucionaria.

Estamos enterados de que no hay nada bueno sobre los apuros que nosotros, como pandilleros y criminales pequeños hacemos a nuestras familias y comunidades, y a nosotros mismos. Si es que tenemos que luchar y si tenemos que sacrificar entonces es más lógico que pongamos nuestras fuerzas y recursos colectivamente contra un blanco - el opresor.

Demasiado de nosotros ya estamos encarcelados. Que participemos en comportamiento temerario que nos puede encarcelar o ponernos bajo candado solamente ayuda a América controlarnos. Tupac Shakur, quien también ayudó a redactar un código de principios para unir a las organizaciones lumpen refirió a la etapa de la Vida de Ladrón de su vida y música como la fase preparatoria para la juventud del barrio. Por el tiempo que estaba encerrado en prisión el ya estaba creciendo y ensanchando más allá de la Vida de Ladrón al mismo tiempo reconociendo que siempre sería parte de él. El refirió a esto como la fase universitaria, diciendo que algunos nunca salen de la preparatoria. Nuestros camaradas muchas veces hacen correr paralelismos entre el crecimiento intelectual de estudiantes universitarios y prisioneros. Pero la prisión no debe ser donde ciertos grupos de gente tienen que ir para aprender y crecer.

Un ejemplo paralelo se encuentra en la ideología de la Nación Todopoderosa del Rey y Reina Latino, que describe a sus seguidores pasando desde la fase primitiva a la fase conservativa (o Momia) a la fase de Nuevo Rey. La fase primitiva usualmente está categorizado por la pandillera y el comportamiento temerario. La fase conservativa da pasos fuera de la imprudencia previa, alejándose de toda la organización. El Nuevo Rey reconoce que el tiempo para la revolución está a mano. . . Una revolución que traerá libertad a los esclavizados, a toda la gente del Tercer Mundo . . El Nuevo Rey es el producto final de estar completamente consiente, percibiendo 360 grados de iluminación. Se esfuerza por la unidad mundial. Para él no hay horizontes entre razas, ni sexos ni marbetes sin sentidos. Para él todo tiene significado, la vida humana está puesta sobre valores materiales. El se tira completamente dentro del campo de batalla, listo para sacrificarse su vida por los que quiere, por la humanización (Reyismo: Tres Fases del Manifiesto del Rey)

A despecho de nuestros senderos diferentes de evolución sobre los años, todas nuestras organizaciones comparten una historia común que surgió de la necesidad de defenderse a uno y la comunidad de uno en una sociedad que siempre nos ha mantenido como personas de afuera. Es triste que tengamos que encontrarnos en las instituciones más horrendas y opresivas (unidades de control o fila de muerte) antes de que nuestras organizaciones puedan empezar a trabajar juntos en nuestros intereses comunes. El propósito de esta frente unida es para incorporar este conjunto como parte de nuestro crecimiento continuo. La unidad evoluciona de dentro para fuera. En cuanto comencemos a crecer como individuos, nuestra primera tarea es construir unidad dentro de nuestro grupo alrededor de los principios de la frente unida.

Como trabajamos para construir la unidad con otros, tenemos que recordar que rumores son los tácticos de puercos y ratas. Demasiada gente tiene la costumbre de hablando mierda y creando la desunión como si fuera un juego. Camaradas tienen que saber cuándo se puede hablar, dónde se puede hablar, qué se puede hablar, con quién se puede hablar, cómo se puede hablar y cuando quedarse absolutamente callado.

Ha habido varios intentos para unir varias camarillas y pandillas bajo una bandera por una causa positiva. Pero cuando ciertos esfuerzos están guiados por los quien tienen la mentalidad de criminales estas causas solamente están servidos superficialmente y las organizaciones continúan a trabajar en los intereses de codicia y el poder de los pocos.

En los Estados Unidos estamos rodeados por riquezas y excesos que engendran un amor enfermo por su sistema de explotación. Aun el éxito para mucha de las naciones oprimidas todavía se reparte como boletos ganadores de la lotería, sea como un jefe de la calle o un pelotero u otro artista. Y en eso nos convertimos en opresores de nuestra propia comunidad, nación, raza y el resto del mundo. Mientras tanto, nuestros pueblos oprimidos en su conjunto no se permiten a determinar sus propios destinos como naciones.

La manera la más fácil de salir del barrio es en convertirnos en opresores abiertos al unirse al ejército del hombre blanco. Las guerras de la agresión de los imperialistas son guerras contra las naciones oprimidas del mundo. Somos matados y lastimados en estas guerras que ayudan a matar y controlar la gente oprimida alrededor del mundo. A juntarnos al ejército del opresor (Estados Unidos) es traicionar y dar por vender a nuestra gente colectiva.

Reconocemos completamente que si somos conscientes o no, ya estamos "unidos" en nuestro sufrimiento y represión diario. Enfrentamos al mismo enemigo común. Estamos atrapados en las mismas condiciones opresivas. Vestimos de la misma ropa de prisión, vamos al mismo hoyo infernal (aislamiento) somos brutalizados por los mismos puercos racistas. Somos una sola gente, no importa tu barrio o pandilla o nacionalidad. Ya sabemos que "necesitamos unidad" - pero unidad de un tipo diferente de la unidad que tenemos en el presente. Nosotros queremos mover de la unidad en opresión a la unidad al servicio de la gente y nos esforzamos hacia la independencia nacional.

No podemos desear la paz en una realidad cuando las condiciones no lo permiten. Cuando las necesidades de la gente no son satisfechos, no se puede tener la paz. A pesar de su inmensa riqueza, el sistema del imperialismo escoge ganancia sobre satisfaciendo las necesidades humanas para la mayoría del mundo. Aun aquí en el país lo más rico del mundo hay grupos que sufren por culpa del perseguimiento de ganancias. Tenemos que construir instituciones independientes para combatir los problemas plagando a la población oprimida. Esto es nuestra unidad en acción.

Reconocemos que lo más unidos políticamente e ideológicamente, lo mejor nuestro movimiento se hace en combatir la opresión nacional, la opresión de clase, el racismo y la opresión de género. Ellos quien reconocen esta realidad se han juntado para firmar 4 estos principios para una frente unida para demostrar nuestro acuerdo de estas cuestiones. Somos los sin voz y tenemos el derecho y el deber de ser oído.

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[Spanish] [ULK Issue 23]
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Frente Unida por la Paz en Prisiones - Declaración de Principios

La base de cualquier unidad verdadero viene de un acuerdo en ciertas ideas principales. Esta declaración no da la autoridad a cualquier partido sobre cualquier otro partido. Somos mutuamente responsables uno al otro a cumplir estos puntos para permanecer como participantes activos en esta Frente Unida.

  1. La Paz: NOSOTROS organizamos para terminar los conflictos innecesarios y la violencia dentro del ambiente de las prisiones estadounidenses. Los opresores usan estrategias de división y conquista para que peleemos entre nosotros en lugar de ellos. Nos pondremos de pie y nos defenderemos de la opresión.
  2. La Unidad: NOSOTROS nos esforzaremos para unirnos con ellos quienes se enfrentan a las mismas luchas como nosotros por nuestros intereses comunes. Para mantener la unidad tenemos que guardar una línea abierta de redes y comunicación y asegurar que dirigimos cualquier situación con datos verdaderos. Esto se necesita porque los puercos utilizan tales tácticos como rumores, ratas y comunicaciones falsas para dividirnos y mantener la división entre los oprimidos. Los puercos ven el fin de su control dentro de nuestra unidad.
  3. El Crecimiento: NOSOTROS reconocemos la importancia de la educación y la libertad de crecer en orden de construir la unidad verdadera. Apoyamos a los miembros dentro de nuestras organizaciones que nos dejen para abrazar otros conceptos y organizaciones políticas que están dentro de la lucha anti-imperialista. Todos deberían unirse donde se sientan cómodos. Semejantemente reconocemos el derecho de nuestros camaradas dejar nuestras organizaciones si fracasamos a cumplir con nuestros principales y propósitos de la Frente Unida por la Paz en Prisiones.
  4. El Internacionalismo: NOSOTROS luchamos por la liberación de toda la gente oprimida. Mientras que muchas veces somos referidos como "minorías" en este país, y muchas veces encontramos a ellos quienes están en el mismo barco que nosotros en oposición a nosotros; nuestra confianza en cumplir nuestra misión viene de nuestra unidad con todas las naciones oprimidas quien representan la vasta mayoría globalmente. No podemos liberarnos cuando al mismo tiempo participamos en la opresión de otras naciones.
  5. La Independencia: NOSOTROS construimos nuestra propias instituciones y programas independiente de los Estados Unidos y todos sus ramos, aun hasta la policía local, porque este sistema no nos sirve. En desarrollar el poder independiente por estas instituciones no necesitamos comprometer nuestras metas.

¿Como se junta a la Frente Unida por Paz en las Prisiones?


  1. Estudie y mantener los cinco principios de la Frente Unida
  2. Envíe el nombre de tu organización y una declaración de la unidad a MIM(Prisiones). Tu declaración puede explicar qué los principios de la Frente Unida significa para tu organización, cómo se pertenece a tu trabajo, porque son importantes, etc.
  3. Desarrolla paz y unidad entre las facciones donde estés tu en la base de oponer a la opresión de todos los prisioneros y a la gente oprimida en general.
  4. Mande reportajes de tu progreso a Bajo Clave y Candado (Under Lock & Key). ¿Desarrollaste un tratado de paz o un protocolo que funciona? Envíalo a nosotros para que otros lo estudien y posiblemente lo usen. ¿Tu unidad está basada en las acciones? Mandemos reportajes en lo que estás organizando.
  5. Sigue educando a tus miembros. Lo más educados que estén tus miembros, la más unidad que puedes desarrollar, y lo más fuerte que tu organización puede ser. La unidad viene de dentro para afuera. En unirnos por el interior, podemos unirnos con otros también. Si necesitas más materiales para educar a tus miembros en la historia, en la política y la economía, ponte en contacto con el programa de Libros de Política Gratis para prisioneros de MIM(Prisiones).

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[Mental Health] [Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada]
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Ely State Prison: Depravity, Despair and Death

Ely State Prison(ESP) is a place of death, stagnation, misery, pain, loneliness and indeterminate lockdown. If you were to take a walk on one of these depressing tiers back here in "the hole," you would hear many disembodied voices ring out, yelling in anger and frustration, trying to tell you how bad it is for us in here, in between the isolated confines of steel and stone.

This is a maximum security prison, but not everybody here is a security risk, but if you were to ask these pigs that, they'd probably tell you otherwise, just to try to justify the fact that they're keeping us warehoused in here, whether we deserve it or not. With time things change, and usually for the worse. Deterioration is a normal occurrence in here. In fact, if you were to ask the prisoners around here if they think the conditions here will get better or worse, most of them will tell you things are only going to get worse. Pessimism and hopelessness permeate the minds and attitudes of the average prisoner in here. There's nothing much to look forward to, besides the next meal, and maybe a letter in the mail, if you're lucky.

Back in the day, ironically when ESP was opened (when we were allowed group yard, tier time, porters, etc.), the majority of the prisoners here were actually befitting of the status: maximum security. Back then, a man was sent to Ely State Prison for failure to adjust in another, less secure prison, violence, escapes and things of that nature. But even then, that could also mean he was disruptive, someone who organized other prisoners, led religious services, or filed too many legal writs or grievances.

Not every man at ESP is told why he's here these days, and not every man here has committed a violent crime. Not every man here has done anything serious to even warrant maximum security status. For example, I have a neighbor here in the hole with me right now who was transferred up here simply for contraband. A prisoner has no chance to appeal a transfer before being sent to ESP, and sometimes arrives in the middle of the night without warning. Brought into a world of darkness, locked into a cell, left to get stale and stagnant as he deteriorates, like a moldy piece of bread.

Nobody belongs in a world where they're buried alive, where they're in a tomb for the dead, basically. The police have total control, and many of them frequently abuse that control, either on a psychological level, or on a physical level. And over the days, weeks, months and years, a prisoner who is confined to this every day misery, begins to degenerate. I've seen it happen, over and over again. Nobody belongs in a world like this, where death permeates the atmosphere. Where pressure is applied so constantly that all it does is make these men hard and mean as time goes by.

Some of these guys in here feel they only have 2 or 3 choices now: escape, snitch or suicide. Nobody has escaped from here yet, but many turned into snitches, and many have committed suicide. And others have succumbed to psychotropic medications, which is a form of both escape and suicide. For so many of us in here, there's nothing to strive for, no aim, no goals, no hope, no light at the end of their tunnel, and they just give up; give in. There's no love here, just the artificial love that you'll find in the gang culture of prison life. This is a terrible place to be, especially for someone who has to return back to society.

All you have to do is read a little psychology to figure out what's going on, to understand what's being done to us in here. They try to break us down, sever our family and social ties, dominate us, talk shit to us, treat us like children, going out of their way to try to keep us stagnant and ignorant, and always out to break our spirits. Needless to say, I pass around books, articles and notes on psychology, so that prisoners can get a deeper understanding about things. Not just about being in prison, but also about how our minds work, personality, emotions, why we act the way we act, and why we are the way we are. It's very important to actually be able to come to an understanding of these things; to raise our level of conscious and to be able to elevate our thinking under these circumstances is very important in more ways than one, and it's also necessary for our survival in here, where psychological warfare is being waged on us every day.

The depravity and despair in this graveyard continuously pushes men to death or insanity. I wrote an article on November 18th, 2009, about the mysterious death of death row prisoner Timothy Redman. Nov 18, 2009, was the day he died, and I was there when it happened. This is a prime example of the daily depravity that takes place in this hellhole. Approximately an hour after Redman allegedly tried to grab a correctional officer by the wrist and pull his arm through the food slot (apparently the pig had to struggle to free himself), an extraction team of officers was made up to physically and forcefully remove Redman from his cell, or at least to try. Redman refused to surrender and to be placed in handcuffs, and he did so by displaying a weapon. What's cold about this whole thing is that the policy (administrative regulation) even states that any time a prisoner has a weapon in his cell, his water and toilet is to be shut off, an officer is to be stationed outside of his cell, and nothing is to come in or go out of his cell - not even meals, and this officer is supposed to stay stationed outside of his cell until the prisoner either gives the weapon up, or for 72 hours, and then they have to decide what to do from there, whether excessive force is to be used or not. Did this happen? No. These pigs refused to follow their own rules and a man died as a result.

A Story of One Man's Death

I can tell you exactly what took place. After Redman refused to surrender, the pigs then proceeded to spray one can of pepper spray into his cell. After that the senior officer in the control bubble commenced to open Redman's cell so the pigs could run in on him and retaliate, and then remove him from his cell. But the cell door was jammed from the inside, and they couldn't get it open. Obviously Redman was no dummy, he knew how to keep the pigs out, and he knew why it was so important to do so. That's a situation that you usually don't win. They come in and beat your ass, and after they've got you fully restrained, they beat you some more as they yell out "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" So, over the course of two hours, the pigs emptied a total of 6 canisters of gas into Redman's cell, and then sprayed a seventh canister one time. They would spray him, and then go hide out in the upper storage room, so that the gas wouldn't affect them (Redman was housed in 3-B-48, right next to the upper storage room). When they were finally able to open Redman's cell to get him out, he was dead. His face was purple, his body was blue and blood was coming out of his nose. His boxers were stained with feces and urine and he had what appeared to be a smile on his face. The nurses and doctors tried to revive him, but to no avail.

What's mysterious about this whole situation was that when they pulled Redman out of his cell, there was no rope tied around his neck or anything. But they say he hung himself. They said it was a suicide. But did he really hang himself, or was he murdered by six cans of pepper spray? Was it a cover-up? People need to be concerned about this, and they should demand to see the video footage of the extraction, just to make sure. Because the whole things seemed mysterious to the majority of the prisoners who saw the incident take place.

All seem to agree that Redman died from the pepper spray. They think he was murdered. Who knows what happened. Death row prisoners have been murdered before under McDaniel's administration. I know this much: a couple of hours after they carried Redman's body out of the unit, two of the wardens, the coroner, and the investigator were all standing outside of Redman's cell laughing, smiling and joking around, thinking it was funny. I piped up and said, "What are you laughing at? If that was one of your own who died, you wouldn't find it very funny, now would you?"

The really cold, cold part about it was, when the coroner asked the warden, on two separate occasions, "How should I decide this?", "How do you think I should decide this, suicide or murder?" The warden looked around, seen that prisoners were standing alert at their doors and said "I can't decide that, that's your job." But what would even propel the coroner to ask such an odd question like that in the first place?

I knew Redman personally. He wasn't really a friend of mine, but someone I talked to occasionally. I don't know what set him off to go after the pig, but i do know this: Redman was a death row prisoner who had had to endure 23-hour lockdown while on HRP (High Risk Potential status) for 16-17 years straight. I heard him talking once about how the administration is stripping one privilege away from us each year. Tobacco, milk, scrambled eggs, hot lunches, food packages, clothing packages, etc. They just take, take, take and keep you locked down in a cell with a death sentence hanging over your head. Oh yeah, and I know that they were messing with Redman's mail too. He seemed to think that his wife left him due to this; because certain letters never got to her. So i think it's safe to say, with all those things taken into consideration, you have a man who has nothing to lose, and no hope in sight, who has basically been driven to a point where life doesn't even matter anymore.

Systematic Problems Require Organizing

There's a lot of people like that in here. They weren't always like that though. They've deteriorated, and have been broken, and just stopped trying, stopped caring, with no one or nothing to help pull them through. It's a sad sad story, about depravity and despair. Some of us fight and struggle trying to make it through this, trying to better ourselves and better our positions in life, and some just give up all hope. It's easy to give up in a filthy, foul-ass place like this, where nobody cares about what you're going through, or about what happens to you, one way or another.

The guards who work here don't care about us, they're not trained to care about us, they are only trained to control us. Ely State Prison is an unproductive, unhealthy environment, even for these pigs. it has been documented that prison guards have the highest rates of heart disease, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce - and the shortest lifespans - of any state civil servants, due to the stress in their lives. Prison guard are in constant fear of injury by prisoners, and the fear of contracting diseases always lingers in their minds, since prisons are normally flooded with all kinds of diseases, from hepatitis C, tuberculosis, to AIDS.

From the first day in the academy these guards are trained to believe that they are the "good guys" and that prisoners are the "bad guys." They are pretty much programmed into fearing and despising us - before they even come into contact with any of us! They are led to believe that all prisoners are manipulative, deceitful and dangerous, and that all prisoners are the scum of the Earth. So no, they don't care about us, they are not even allowed to care about us. We are not even human to them. Needless to say, none of this leads to rehabilitation, but on the contrary, it only contributes to the everyday depravity here in this hellhole.

I'm writing about all of this for a reason. I'm here to expose the abuse, the disparity and hopelessness. I'm here to raise awareness about all of these things, and I'm here to help seek solutions. One of the things I'd like to help Nevada prisoners understand is that the situation for us out here is deplorable. There is a real problem with this whole system, and if we don't recognize these problems, we will never find solutions, not to mention the possibility that we ourselves could even be contributing to many of these problems. Please believe, the way they've got us doing our time is not the way we're supposed to be doing our time. This whole prison is "the hole"; there's no general population here at ESP, there's no incentive, no programs, no rehabilitation, nothing. We have way more coming to us than this! We are not supposed to just lay down and accept this, we have to start finding ways to come together, we have to start striving to make the necessary changes that will help better our positions in life, so that we don't have to keep coming back to these dead ends.

Furthermore, there's no real level of activism in Nevada. Prisoners do not have any available resources, bookstores for Nevada prisoners, no prisoners' rights advocacy groups, no solid help from the outside, whatsoever. In order to make changes on the inside, we need support from the outside. We must take it upon ourselves to build a proper support structure for Nevada prisoners, and we have to do this from the ground up!

So, if you're a prisoner doing time in Nevada and if you have family/friends out here in Nevada - or anywhere else on the outs - I would like to encourage you to explain to them how bad the situation is for you/us in here. Let them know that we cannot expect any type of real rehabilitation from this system; explain to them that the administration is not going to do anything to help us further our growth and development, or push us close to becoming reformed, socially functioning individuals. We have to take it upon ourselves to do these things and we can't do it without a proper support structure from people on the outside.

Talk to your families talk to your friends, talk to your loved ones out there (show them this newsletter if you have to), see what they would be willing to do to start up programs for Nevada prisoners. Something needs to be done, but nothing will improve unless prisoners start taking the initiative.

The guys who have to do life sentences, or who have to be here for the duration, I encourage you to start learning the law, use it as a tool to make changes for everybody; start stepping up to the plate, instead of waiting for others to do it for you. As long as we keep trying, sooner or later something has to give. It's better to try than to do nothing, especially when we're living like this! We can do anything we put our minds to, it all starts with a thought, and what we think about we become, so let's get cracking!

Until then, we are just going to sit here, warehoused in this misery, as the years go by, more people losing their minds, more deaths and suicides, more repression, more rules being placed on us, making it harder on us, more restrictions, more losses of privileges and whatever else they want to take from us. We will sit here with sad looks on our faces, as anger and hatred eat us up inside. The despair will lead to depravity , and the depravity will do us in. Death is the only outcome tomorrow, for those that don't start taking action today.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good discussion of the need for activism in the context of concrete examples of repression and brutality in the criminal injustice system. Further, this writer is correct that there is a bigger context to the repression that is an inherent part of the system. We do not believe that psychology is the appropriate place to look for answers, but it is useful to understand systemic motivations and factors. See our article on mental health in ULK15 for more analysis on this.

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[Control Units] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 20]
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Federal Employee Threatens Prisoner for Fighting Torture in Court

Today the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director, Harley Lappin, did a phony inspection of the Special Management Unit (SMU). He walked into the unit, posed for photographs for the upcoming propaganda campaign, then made a beeline for C-range (disciplinary glassed housing). Mr. Lappin stopped at my cell door, looked at the door tag bearing my name and stated, "you started it, but I'm going to finish it!" Several individuals, including Warden Rathman, accompanied Mr. Lappin and witnessed his threat.

I accept Mr. Lappin's threat as retaliation for filing a civil action (D.D.C. 10-1292) due to the continued torture of prisoners in these SMUs (psychological warfare via prolonged isolation) which was declared illegal back in 1970, Ex Parte Medley, 134 US 168. I will defend myself at all cost!

The SMU has a history of viciously attacking prisoners with use of force teams to torture them into compliance with their psychological torture regiment. Attempting to cope, some are forced to take psychotropics. It is evident Mr. Lappin views himself as above the statutory law, but he is not above the people's law!

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[Culture] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 19]
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Jasiri X, Choose a Side

Jasiri X Sides with Labor Aristocracy in Wisconsin
Jasiri X sides with the labor aristocracy in Wisconsin.

Jasiri X is a hip hop artist from Pittsburgh who raps the news over some dope beats produced by The Grand Architect Paradise Gray of X Clan. The two release these tracks as videos on youtube.com in a series titled "This Week with Jasiri X." Jasiri X is popular in activist circles, frequently performing and speaking at benefits and rallies. We've been bobbing our heads to his tracks since the release of OG3 - Oscar Grant Tribute in January 2009, but in light of his most recent release, American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires, we decided to take a closer look.

OG3 tells the story of the murder of Oscar Grant and the rebellions following his murder, from the points of view of Oscar Grant and the protesters. Although the facts aren't 100% correct in OG3, it is a good example of the many tracks Jasiri X has released about police brutality and aggression against Black people in Amerika. A track titled Free the Jena 6 was one of the first that got peoples' attention, and he continues to shout out victims of police execution and violence by name.

When working on an international piece, Jasiri X correctly draws connections between police brutality here and imperial aggression against Third World peoples around the world. He recently released a track about the uprisings in Egypt with M-1 of Dead Prez, titled We All Shall Be Free!

Despite his revolutionary lean, Jasiri X still holds on to his Amerikanism on several issues, which comes up big time in American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires. The video for this song was shot inside the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, against a backdrop of labor aristocrats raising a stink to keep their "fair share" of the imperialist pie. The title implies that a line is being drawn between Amerikan "workers" and the capitalist multi-billionaires with this union busting legislation. However, as outlined in several articles and books(1) Amerikan "workers" are actually fundamentally allied with the imperialist, capitalist class on an international level. It is only because of the pillage of resources and lives in the Third World that the government employees in Wisconsin even have health care in the first place. Defending this "right" to health care is essentially the same thing as supporting Amerikan wars, which Jasiri X says he is against. History has shown that the multi-billionaires won't give up theirs without a fight.

"When did the American worker become the enemy?
Why is wanting a living wage such a penalty?"
- Jasiri X from "American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires"

The Amerikan "worker," or labor aristocrat, is the enemy of the majority of the world's people because their lives are subsidized by the economic exploitation of the Third World. Third World peoples' sweat, blood, and lives are wasted to pay for the Amerikan "worker's" pensions and health care. This is because most of the "work" that Amerikans do does not generate value; we have a service-based economy. The only reason our society has such a disproportionately high "living wage" (as if those who make less die) is because we are comfortable swinging our weight around in imperialist wars of aggression to extract wealth from the Third World. Jasiri X seems to be opposed to this extraction of wealth, but does not make the connection that Amerikan "workers" are directly benefiting from it, and not just the multi-billionaires.

Jasiri X seems to adhere to an anti-racist model of social change. Besides being supported by an incorrect analysis of history, it also has him defending Obama as a Black man, rather than attacking him as the chosen leader of the largest and most aggressive imperialist country in the world. Jasiri X correctly pins Obama as an ally of the Amerikan people; their key to a comfortable lifestyle and fat retirement plan. But as an ally of the oppressed, Jasiri X should accept that Obama, and the labor aristocracy, are enemies of the majority of the world's people, and leave patriotism behind. Agitating for the betterment of people in Haiti, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, etc. as Jasiri X does through some of his raps, while at the same time defending Obama and the Amerikan "worker," is a recipe for stagnation. If we want to end oppression the world over, we need to have a clear idea of who are our friends and who are our enemies.

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[Legal] [Massachusetts] [ULK Issue 19]
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Demand Access to the Massachusetts Secret Policy

MA DOC denies request for secret rules

I want to illuminate my thoughts regarding a "secret" Massachusetts DOC policy that this state utilizes to hold us for long stretches in solitary settings. We are frequently charged with violating a secret regulation (103 DOC 514), yet we have no access, nor does the public, to view this secret policy. The DOC expects us to abide by a regulation that we are not allowed to read.

103 CMR 430 seeks to ensure fairness in the prison disciplinary system by clearly defining and providing transparent notice of the procedures by which disciplinary issues are handled. If the goal of 103 CMR 430 is to promote order in the Massachusetts prison system and affect positive change in prisoner behavior, the applicable regulations, and standards, must be clear and readily available to the prisoners who are held accountable for transgressing these behavioral benchmarks. If they are not, the result on the prison population will be confusion, not conformity. Prisoners cannot change their behavior to abide by a set of regulations they are not allowed to view. We are owed due process under the 14th Amendment, but due process is not being afforded to us.

In Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 US 539 (1974), the Supreme Court held that advanced written notice of regulations a prisoner is allegedly violating is one of the minimum requirements of procedural due process. Furthermore, a common person could only guess at what does or doesn't constitute engaging in STG activity. Charging us continuously with STG-related offenses while denying us access to definitions of STG or STG activity conflicts with the purpose of 103 CMR 430, and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. We must stand up and demand that the Massachusetts DOC reveal this secret policy!

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