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Under Lock & Key

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[Economics] [Theory] [New Afrikan Maoist Party]
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NAMP response to MIM(Prisons) criticism

Resolution on Criticisms of NAMP's Line Related to UFD

This resolution is being passed by Our Party to publicly announce what Our line is on a few questions raised by MIM(Prisons) and members of their study group, and to address their criticisms on what they think Our line is. We challenge MIM(Prisons) to print this resolution in their Under Lock & Key newsletter to let the people decide for themselves what Our line really is, instead of blasting Us in a one-sided debate.

UFD is an outgrowth of various affiliated mass organizations Our Party has attempted to jump start. Initially, UFD was a subdivision of the New Afrikan Ujamaa Dynasty, as one will learn from reading the original edition of Blueprint for Ujamaa Dynasty. Since MIM(Prisons) abruptly withdrew their financial and administrative support of Our efforts to jump start UFD as a mass organization, the revised edition of Blueprint for Ujamaa Dynasty was unable to be completed on schedule. So, the public isn't aware that the New Afrikan Ujamaa Dynasty has been absorbed by UFD, which now stands for the Ujamaa Fraternal Dynasty. UFD is now a New Afrikan nationalist fraternity and the vanguard of the Movement for Ujamaa Dynasty, and it's divided into a General Nduguship (primarily for progressive elements of the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie) and a Field Division (primarily for ex-lumpens who haven't necessarily reached a revolutionary phase in their political development, but have given up their criminal lifestyle).

"Without revolutionary practice, revolutionary theory means shit!" Our Party hasn't liquidated itself at all into UFD, nor have We watered down Our politics. We are Maoists. But We are New Afrikan Maoists. And We uphold the three cardinal questions of MIM(Prisons) [editor's note: NAMP was not aware of MIM(Prisons)'s new cardinal points adopted around the same time as this resolution], going so far as to recognizing that the New Afrikan worker is a labor aristocracy and that most New Afrikans, including the lumpen, are bourgeois. No, Our class analysis hasn't changed either. So, what's all this criticism about over Our line? Well, part of it is Our fault for not being very clear Ourselves to articulate what amounts to a new strategic positioning. We admit, We knew where We wanted to go but didn't really know how to get there. The vision was clear but painting it was murky. We wanted to remain true to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but the context We are operating in isn't compatible to what We know to be true. We can't force square pegs into round holes. Revolutionaries must make revolution, but We must do so within concrete, objective reality.

Marx provided Us with the theoretical foundation, but he didn't bring about revolution. Does this mean his theoretical work wasn't correct? Absolutely not. He advanced human knowledge in relations to Our theoretical understanding of the development of things, including human history in Our struggle for economic, social, and political freedom. Lenin came along and applied Marxism to formulate even more advanced revolutionary theory according to the concrete conditions he was faced with. So too did Mao. But each were in a unique position. They had Marxism and the lessons of failed revolutionary struggles to work from. And they grew to political maturity during a revolutionary period within their respective countries. So, the concrete conditions gave their theory basis to advance the concrete revolutionary struggle of the time to socialist victory.

What are the concrete conditions We are faced with? There's no question We have available to Us the most advanced theory of revolution paid for in the blood and failure of many hundreds of thousands of Marxist revolutionaries. Our problem is that imperialism is winning worldwide not only in terms of economic and political dominance, but also in the conversation of what is and what is not a valid economic and political paradigm. Currently, Islamic Fundamentalism, in all its warped ideas and distortions is, nevertheless, doing more against imperialism than the Maoist camp worldwide. To that extent, We applaud Islamic Fundamentalists for fighting the imperialist snake that cloaks itself in the rhetoric of democracy and freedom. But We prefer Marxism.

Yet the concrete conditions We face as New Afrikan Maoists in imperialist America — indeed, as Maoists period — gives Our theory very little basis to advance the concrete revolutionary struggle of the proletarian camp. We are surrounded by enemies. Even the lumpen, as MIM(Prisons) admits, are parasites. But they argue that the lumpen "benefit less from imperialism, and more importantly face extreme oppression under imperialism." Well, they would be repressed under socialism too if they refused to give up their criminal ways. Lumpens are outlaws antagonistic to any system. Granted, imperialism is less amicable to reforming the lumpen than socialism would be. Under socialism, the lumpen would be given greater opportunities to reform themselves. But We're not living under socialism but imperialism, so lumpenism, like bourgeois subjectivism among the petty bourgeoisie, will be a great impediment to advancing Maoism in this country. With the lumpen, however, lumpenism plus bourgeois subjectivism are a double wammy.

MIM(Prisons) and its study group members aren't seeing the forest through the trees. Taken as a whole, We must conclude that the lumpen is not only more reactionary than the petty bourgeoisie but are manifestly less able to contribute to concrete revolutionary struggle against real oppression. For one, they're either locked down or under some form of law enforcement supervisions. Most are under-educated and lack discipline, and the prison system under imperialism isn't conducive to their rehabilitation, much less their politicization. This is why 7 out of 10 lumpens released from prison come back, and that not one who is released, in Our experience, stays active in revolutionary work or can be effective doing so. The imperialists are too powerful, and We're trying to fight them through propaganda and theoretical work. Are We serious?!

No, this is NOT to say We can't win against them nor that all lumpens are worthless. Firstly, Our Party was founded by ex-lumpens who MIM helped reach political maturity. Secondly, no enemy is undefeatable when you have the power of truth on your side. But having truth on your side won't guarantee people will recognize it just because you say so.

MIM(Prisons) and its study group members are caught up in ultra-leftism of another brand. Wake up and smell the coffee. This isn't 1917 nor 1949 in underdeveloped countries with weak capitalist governments. This is 2010 and capitalism has reached its highest stage of imperialism, which has strong imperialist governments worldwide. We better do as Lenin and Mao, both of whom were sharply criticized for moving away from what was considered the 'right doctrine' by developing new, practical approaches to apply revolutionary theory to their unique circumstances.

One thing MIM(Prisons) ignores about New Afrikans is that 1) We are an oppressed domestic colony of the United States, and 2) Our benefit from the super-profits flowing into this country is incidental to Our domestic neo-colonial status (the operative word being "domestic"). Just being in this country gives Us incidental access to its stolen wealth. MIM(Prisons) acts like the Catholic Church which tries to make people feel guilty about being human with sexual urges. This may not be the best analogy, but the point is that MIM(Prisons) makes it seem like everything is gravy between white Americans and New Afrikans. This smacks of the mainstream conservative argument that race doesn't matter anymore or isn't such a big deal like before. See, this is an ultra-leftist position trying to fit the square peg of the New Afrikan labor aristocracy into the round hole of the white labor aristocracy. Because MIM(Prisons), in its dogmatic adherence to the now defunct MIM's line on the labor aristocracy as straight up enemies of the international proletariat, can't strategically cope with an oppressed New Afrikan labor aristocracy vis-a-vis a dominant white labor aristocracy. It's easier for MIM(Prisons), the only active Maoist cell We know of coming out of MIM, and which only concerns itself with the prison movement, to write off any possible struggle to mobilize the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie against U.S. imperialism.

It's really sad MIM(Prisons) would so shamelessly distort the fact that New Afrikan people in this country, from lumpen to national bourgeoisie, as a whole still must contend with white supremacy and racist discrimination, both institutionally and blatantly. Everything from housing, employment, health care, government assistance, mental health, incarceration, education, sports, entertainment, etc. New Afrikan people face white supremacist/ racial discriminatory factors. And We know this. Call this identity politics, if you like, but racism is still very real in this country and will lead, during an economic and political breakdown, to full blown fascism. Just look how Muslims and migrant workers are treated.

We never said the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie is a revolutionary class within the context of socialist revolution — We're not too sure We can say the lumpen is. What We did say, and repeat here publicly and clearly, We hold the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie to be the most revolutionary class within the context of the bourgeois nationalist phase of the New Afrikan revolution. And We think this bourgeois nationalist phase strategically will heighten the contradiction between white America and New Afrikans while negating Our bourgeoisification.

Let's be real here. New Afrikans as a whole, due to white supremacy and racist discrimination manifested in neo-colonial practices, are locked out of major control over their own economic wealth by white America — albeit a part of super-profits. The point is, there's no way for white America to increase the New Afrikan share of the "pie" without weakening their own economic and political hegemony. There can be no increased super-exploitation of the Third World to "include" New Afrikans fully into the labor aristocracy elite. For one, other imperialist countries won't allow it. And two, the Third World would hate America more. The inevitable consequence of any New Afrikan bourgeois nationalist revolution would be 1) the heightening of the contradiction between white America and New Afrikans (clearly this is in accord with the principal contradiction in the world today being between oppressor and oppressed nations, unless MIM(Prisons) can conclusively prove how New Afrikans are no longer an oppressed nationality); 2) negate the bourgeoisification of New Afrikans as they become more radicalized as a whole; and 3) give Our Party the concrete basis to advance Our revolutionary line among a more receptive, radicalized nation of New Afrikan people.

We want to make revolution, not sit around doing propaganda and theoretical work until somehow a revolutionary period suddenly occurs. We must realize the imperialists apply their own science in theory and in practice to prevent revolutionary crises and maintain their dominance. We can't counter this through propaganda and theoretical work alone. We must figure out concrete, practical ways to heighten the principal contradiction. In this day and age, the role of the vanguard isn't just to thrash out line questions, do political agitation, and develop cadres, because We're not faced with the same concrete conditions Lenin and Mao, even Marx, were faced with that justified and enhanced their need to do this type of work. Right now We're preaching to the choir. This isn't about pragmatism, right opportunism, nor revisionism. This is about making revolution and not allowing Our bigger enemy to keep dictating the terms of Our fight.

In conclusion, Our Party hasn't forgotten our duty. MIM(Prisons) and its study group members should refrain from ad hominem arguments and demagoguery, and trying to pigeonhole Us by misrepresenting Our position on the questions We've addressed. Our support of UFD has nothing to do with any bourgeois subjectivism. The size of Our cadre or the resources available to Us is only part of the equation. The biggest is whether We can do something like what We're doing with UFD to advance both the concrete and theoretical revolutionary struggle of New Afrikan Maoism without losing Our way. We see no manifest danger that Our Party will degenerate into revisionism, right opportunism, or pragmatism. UFD isn't under Our Party leadership, so We're very much able to promote Our line and to criticize UFD if it deviates from the path of challenging U.S. imperialism via New Afrikan bourgeois nationalist revolution without "scaring" people from it.

And so that it is clear, We encourage Our cadre to join the ranks of UFD on its terms, not to secretly radicalize it. Again, We support its aim and purpose to the extent it challenges U.S. imperialism and can more effectively build independent institutions that serve the oppressed. Being that membership in Our Party is anonymous for security reasons, We see very little conflict in Our cadre joining the ranks of UFD. This is a strategic question, not a line question. There are practical benefits to Our cadre joining UFD as there are in them getting a job working for a bourgeois business. Besides being devoted to advocating New Afrikan nationalism and struggling against gang violence, drugs, sexism, criminality, poor education, unfair criminal justice practices, lack of prison reform, etc., UFD is devoted to building a financial and business network by which 1) business minded members of UFD can receive financial, technical, and marketing support from every other member of UFD who benefit from their investments; and 2) these businesses and investors can partner up, using their collective leveraging power to set up larger, corporate ventures on a distributive and productive scale to compete for hundreds of billions of dollars. Our cadre who are members of UFD will benefit from UFD's economic success, thereby allowing them to contribute more to the work of Our full-time Party workers. Everyone in Our Party has a purpose, and WE all can fulfill Our vanguard role, too.

For the record, We support MIM(Prisons)'s work and believe We were wrong to expect them to neglect their work to support Our strategy. That was right opportunism. And We no longer seek their aid in anything other than debating with Us publicly and privately to help Us further thrash out Our own line. We must develop Our own self-sufficiency, which We are slowly doing. MIM(Prisons)'s withdrawal of their support wasn't necessarily a set back, but rather a needed lesson. You can't hold a child's hand forever and expect them to blossom on their own. We owe MIM(Prisons) much and publicly pledge to repay them. And We encourage Our incarcerated cadre and supporters to participate in MIM(Prisons)'s study groups.

Let this not be Our final word on the matters discussed herein. We invite further criticisms, questions, comments and suggestions. But let Us all be objective here.

NAMP Central Committee
September 2010


MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome the response from NAMP on our criticisms, as we don't like one-sided debates either. As we pointed out, we had no official documents from NAMP to refer to in regard to their political line as it has developed in recent years. The fact that this is the first public document we've seen from NAMP in years we'll leave as evidence of our position that NAMP liquidated the vanguard to develop a petty bourgeois mass organization.

For the most part, this response substantiates the points made in our original self-criticism. While accepting the labor aristocracy thesis, NAMP attacks the lumpen from a petty bourgeois position, then turns around and supports outright organizing on behalf of the economic interests of an exploiter nation. Organizing New Afrika around economic nationalism certainly offers historical advantages to organizing a European nation against U.$. imperialism, as MIM opposed in their opening piece in MIM Theory 14: United Front. Still, we would rather organize New Afrika as an oppressed nation around issues of oppression that are very real, life and death questions for the New Afrikan lumpen, or those facing even worse conditions in Africa.

In their discussion of racism, NAMP argues vehemently that the New Afrikan nation has interests opposed to imperialism because it is oppressed. Yet, when it comes to the lumpen, NAMP gives us the tautology that could be summarized as, "the lumpen can't be effective revolutionaries because they face oppression" such as high recidivism rates, poor educational opportunities, state supervision and prison. Of course, that very oppression is behind our position that the lumpen are potential allies of the proletariat.

To better demonstrate our differences, let's first understand what the lumpen class is. They are an excess population, something that Marx said was unique to the capitalist mode of production. They have no role to play in reproducing society; they are forbidden from playing a productive role in society. To talk about the lumpen as being criminal-minded first, rather than recognizing the origins of their class and therefore their class consciousness is backwards. The lumpen were not born as anti-social individuals, they were attacked first, usually because of national oppression from the white power structure. They turn around and fight the system in self-defense. So it's not just that the lumpen will be given more opportunities under socialism, the lumpen will cease to exist once the mode of production changes to meet humyn need. Those individuals who refuse to reform of course will be repressed.

We agree that the lumpen are bourgeoisified in the United $tates, just like everyone else is. And in China it was the lumpen who were often the hardest to reform, because their whole attitude is based on blatant parasitism — getting something for nothing. It is important to note that the lumpen in imperialist countries are not the same as the lumpen Marx, Lenin and Mao talked about. We can't just mechanically apply definitions about the lumpen, just like we can't mechanically assume that the workers in imperialist countries are the same proletariat they were back in Marx's day. For Marx, the lumpen were living among the proletariat, but were not of the proletariat class. That led to a different consciousness that made them tough allies, and they were a small minority. In the U$ we're talking about whole communities, ghettos, that are lumpen/petty bourgeois. There is a group consciousness there that is tied to national oppression. In imperialist countries there are many other attitudes among the lumpen in addition to parasitism, most importantly among the oppressed nations, that differentiate them from the petty bourgeoisie in progressive ways. We disagree with NAMP's assertion that lumpenism compounds bourgeois subjectivism, and say that in imperialist countries it actually plays a role in combating it.

One result of their exclusion and oppression is that the lumpen exists on the periphery of bourgeois society. It is on the periphery where there is room to move. We see advantages in freedom and security among the lumpen that don't exist among the petty bourgeoisie. Yes, prisoners are under extreme state control, limiting their ability to organize. But so are the proletariat of the Third World. In fact, this argument from NAMP is nothing new. "The oppressed are too uneducated and face too much repression to rise up in arms," has been the petty bourgeois line since Marx's day.

The strength of the state, in a country where spies far outnumber communists, is a daunting barrier that we acknowledge as much as anyone. But the Amerikkkan prison system has laid the ground work for building schools for developing revolutionary theory. The intelligentsia among the lumpen, which is concentrated behind steel and concrete, is one unique aspect of the lumpen in the United $tates that is in our favor. It is this group that is the basis of MIM(Prisons)'s existence and work.

It is curious that NAMP claims we ignore that New Afrikans are an oppressed domestic colony, as we have always pushed that line regarding all internal semi-colonies to the point of being accused of racism by many white prisoners. We counter NAMP's economic organizing strategy, with a strategy of organizing against oppression. On their second point in that paragraph we do think there is a difference in positions. In our minds it is highly debatable to claim that New Afrikans benefit from super-profits only incidentally to their oppression. Our general line is that integration was about 50% successful since the time of the Black Power movement. We hope to refine this analysis in future publications and welcome any contributions to this research from NAMP. We recognize the neo-colonial significance of Barack Obama to New Afrikans, and criticized those who thought this was somehow changing things for oppressed people inside or outside the United $tates.

We have never argued that the New Afrikan petty bourgeoisie cannot be an ally in the anti-imperialist struggle, and here we challenge NAMP for misrepresenting our line. We do make two criticisms of them on this issue, one is regarding what points we should organize New Afrikans around, and the second is the relationship of the proletarian vanguard to other classes in the New Afrikan nationalist movement. NAMP's mistakes lie in organizing the petty bourgeoisie in an imperialist country around their economic interests, and doing so in the name of a supposed proletarian party, or its mass organization.

NAMP praises the anti-imperialism of the national bourgeoisie in the Muslim world, but would do well to compare the situation here to there. New Afrika has no land, nor natural resources, nor influence over currency markets. And despite having over 1 million citizens who are legally slaves, there is little exploitation of New Afrika to fight over. In other words, economically speaking, New Afrika has little to lose and much to gain from imperialism. Imperialism provides the petty bourgeoisie in the United $tates with their current income levels and living standards far above most of the world. We fail to see any bubbling of a revolutionary situation there. And certainly, if there was, it would not be based on economism, but on questions like voting rights, state repression and mass imprisonment.

In the original self-criticism we clarified our position on New Democracy for the internal semi-colonies. When NAMP actually addresses the question of New Afrika as an exploiter nation, the crux of their argument in favor of organizing the petty bourgeoisie is that the United $tates cannot buy off New Afrikans. As was demonstrated in our Case Study on the U.$. Housing Market Decline, more than half of New Afrikans are already bought off (at least materially speaking) with super-profits. What NAMP needs to address to be consistent is how New Afrika went from proletarian to petty bourgeois in recent generations, and their line that now it is impossible for the economic gap between New Afrikan and white Amerika to be closed.

If we assume for a minute that NAMP's economics are correct though, then we ask what application of United Front theory calls for the abandonment of proletarian politics to organize other classes? NAMP wants to claim that they still exist as a vanguard upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and that there is no danger of revisionism in their strategy. They propose that it is okay to secretly join mass organizations and hide one's politics. Yet for all their stress on the importance of practice, where is NAMP's practice as a vanguard? Where is NAMP's practice independent of their organizing of the petty bourgeoisie to build economic independence? How is this not liquidationism?

NAMP's "we're preaching to the choir" line is typical of liquidationists and those who put numbers in command. They think we need to reach as many people as we can and get them on the streets first, then we can work out the details of what it is that we're doing. Reaching new people is great, but as MIM often said, "Revolutionary practice without the right theory is worse than shit." It should be clear to anyone reading this debate that not even the choir is clearly on the side of the preacher in either of our cases and there is much ideological struggle and development to be done before there will be any question of making revolution in the United $tates.

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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 17]
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KKKlinton Strikes Again

Twice now in two years, the pigs at Kkklinton have allegedly restrained a convict and murdered him. In the early morning hours of 3 October 2010, Leonard Strickland, a 44-year-old Black male in general population was killed. Of course these cowards will be fighting each other, cutting, stabbing and yet there's no resistance to these corrupt corrections staff.

Just last night, while returning from the SHU shower Sergeant Marcil and CO Stuart told me that the prisoner died of an overdose or bad heroin brought into the prison that weekend. Officer Decoteau told me that it was the plastic bag treatment, meaning that once again they've placed a bag over a prisoner's head. I have spoken to another prisoner who had this done to him.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The NYS DOCS has accused Mr. Strickland of assaulting staff and admit that he died shortly after being subdued by staff. The autopsy results are expected in a couple weeks. We hope our comrades in New York will help us investigate what really went down and start developing means to ensure better protection of the imprisoned population as a whole. This protection starts with the mobilization of a conscious prison population who are watching for abuse and will unite in protest of these acts of brutality.

This article referenced in:
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[Legal] [Censorship] [Arizona]
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Advice on Censorship Fight in Arizona

I am a Jailhouse Lawyer of the High Rolla Jailhouse Law firm. I was appointed by the chief Jailhouse Lawyer of the Jailhouse Law Firm to aid and assist the MIM(Prisons) Legal Clinic. I have reviewed the Prisoner's Legal Clinic letter dated October 4, 2010. Upon review I have taken the opportunity to offer my legal experience to assist MIM(Prisons) in responding to the statement made by the Director of Arizona's Department of Corrections.

According to the Director of Arizona's Dept. of Corrections, he states Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 369 (1974) was overruled and your reliance on that case is misplaced. The Director of Arizona's Dept of Correction further states that there is nothing that gives rise to a publisher's right to appeal a decision to exclude its material on an administrative appeal level and you are not entitled to a forum within the prison system.

The Arizona Dept. of Corrections Director is partially correct and partially wrong. Basically what the Director is telling MIM(Prisons) is that it does not have an entitlement to use the prison grievance system to appeal administrative decisions. The Inmate Grievance System is a forum within the Department of Corrections for prisoners to avail themselves of if they are dissatisfied and wish to appeal an administrative decision. This system is for use by prisoners, not publication companies. The Director is correct, in that there is no case laws that gives rise to a publisher's right to appeal on an administrative level. If MIM(Prisons) wishes to challenge the administrative decision of the Director to exclude its publications, the proper forum would be for MIM(Prisons) to file a §1983 Civil Rights action in Federal Court, or to provide the prisoner with the appropriate arguments, case laws and legal authorities and have the prisoner himself file the appeal by going through the Grievance System and then the Administrative Law Court.

However, MIM(Prisons) should notify the Director that it is fully aware of the fact that it does not have the right to appeal on an administrative appeal level. MIM(Prisons) should notify the Director that it is fully aware that it is not entitled to a forum within the prison system. MIM(Prisons) should notify the Director that it was only making an effort at an informal appeal or request for the Director to reconsider its decision. Because contrary to what the Director stated Procunier v. Martinez 416 U.S. 396 (1974) is still applicable in part. Just as prisoners have a first Amendment Right to receive and send mail, so does publication companies and publishers. When the complaining party is the prisoner, then Turner v. Safely 482 U.S. 78 (1987) is the applicable standard, however when a publisher complains that its first amendment right has been violated then Procunier v. Martinez and Thornburgh v. Abbott 490 U.S. 401 (1989) is the appropriate standard.

I say all that to say this, if the Director cannot show that the restrictions placed on mail received by a prisoner is rationally related to a legitimate penological interest, then the Director's reliance on Thornburgh v. Abbott and Turner v. Safely is unsupported and misplaced, then the correct standard would be Procunier v. Martinez. The United States Supreme Court clearly held in Thornburgh v. Abbott, that prison officials could reject incoming mail if it was deemed detrimental to security, but if no such penological interest is involved, the Director can not rely on this case nor Turner v. Safely to justify its restrictions on incoming mail. The question is now "Is there a legitimate penological interest to justify its restriction of the MIM(Prisons)'s Under Lock and Key??" The only way to force the Director to answer this question and identify the penological interests involved is to file a §1983 Civil Right Action against the director making him accountable to the Federal Courts. The prisoner has the additional alternative of the Prison Grievance System which we know is unreliable. At this moment my advice and suggestion to MIM(Prisons) is to challenge these censorships from a different angle. From my research dealing with a recent line of cases i.e. Beard v. Banks 126 S.C.T. 2572 (2006), Overton v. Bazzetta 539 U.S. 126 (2003) Ramirez v. Pugh 486 F. Supp. 2d 421 (M.D. Pa. 2007), Brittain v. Beard, 932 A.2d 324 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2007). The Courts seem to be interested in whether the regulation challenged promotes rehabilitation. Recently the term "Rehabilitation" has been used by prison officials to uphold prohibitive regulations and thus far have been successful. It would be a strategic legal maneuver to argue that such restrict regulations actually discourage rehabilitation, and expert testimony from a psychologist or sociologist would help to support this argument. This would be a more strategic angle to strike from.

MIM(Prisons) also was inquiring about cases concerning prisoner's rights to read newspapers as well as write for them and concerning inmate to inmate correspondence. Well I do not know right off top a specific case that involves prisoners rights to read newspapers as well as write for them, but there is a case that states "prisoners may not be punished for posting material on the internet with the assistance of a third party," I don't think it's what MIM(Prisons) is looking for though.

I do know as far as inmate to inmate correspondence is concerned, that the United States Supreme Court held in Shaw v. Murphy 532 U.S. 223, 121 S.Ct. 1475 (2001) that a prisoner who was working as a prison law clerk claimed his First Amendment rights were violated when he was disciplined for statements he made in a letter to another inmate in which he gave legal advice. He was disciplined for violating a prison policy prohibiting insolence and interference with due-process hearings. The court found that inmates do not possess a special First Amendment right to give legal assistance to other inmates. If they did possess such a right, it would mean enhancing the usual protection given to inmate to inmate correspondence. Thus his letter, regardless of its content, was subject to the same regulations as all other letters sent between inmates. At least as far as South Carolina is concerned inmate to inmate correspondence is only allowed if the inmates are immediate family members or if the inmates are involved in a joint legal action and the correspondence is related to the legal action only. SCDC Policy 10.08 Section 18.

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[Organizing] [Hoke Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 17]
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Fighting Back Works

I would like to comment on the story written by a Pennsylvania prisoner titled "Stand Up For Real Causes," printed in ULK 16. First let me say the situation you describe is all too common. Unfortunately, I'm currently a ward of the North Carolina department of corruptions and housed at Hoke Correctional Institution (aka Toke Correctional). My point is this, these cats here are the most passive dudes I ever jailed with. I'm from Jersey and unfortunately I spent 9 years and 9 months in prison in NJDOC and the shit I see go on here in NCDOC would not go down there. Like you, I've tried to get these so-called convicts to stand up for change and correct some of the unjust B.S. here at Hope Correctional.

On Feb 2, 2010 this unit changed custody levels from medium to minimum custody and to a medical institution with little modification. Unfortunately, I was one of the few prisoners who were allowed to witness the transition from medium to minimum custody, and I believed all the lies the administration told us. The first thing they told us was that we would be given transfers to other facilities which would grant us custody level promotions with the privileges of work release and home passes if we stayed and trained the new incoming prisoners on how to run the kitchen and occupied certain jobs until they could be filled. Well, lo and behold, we were tricked and suffer daily. Prior to the custody level change this facility held 260 prisoners and now they have us packed in like animals. Single cells were made to house two men in quarters designed for one. 24-men units are now 48-men units with only four shower heads and we are only allowed to shower from 3 pm to 9 pm.

I tried to get a few dudes to come together to file grievances on this issue but only three of us actually filed. The admin simply used an old memo by a former governor about a water drought which ended two years ago. We lost on that issue.

Since we changed over, the food service can't seem to order or cook enough food to feed the whole population. Every day the kitchen runs out of food. Every single day! Everyone complains and cries to each other but no one is willing to stand up for change. I went to the operation office and asked for 200 grievance forms and they gave me 300 without a question. I put myself out there once again and went to each block to hand out grievance forms about the food. When it was all said and done, only 8 grievances were filed and once again they counted on us not to unify.

There are many other examples I could express, but like I said, these prisoners are so passive, all they care about is being able to watch lame ass weekly TV shows. If they took the TVs in every day room these clowns would write the Governor.

What really gets me is I witnessed what unity can do in NJ state prison. I've seen tyrant Sergeants get reassigned. I've seen change come when we stand up and unite without violence.

Just a few months ago I wrote ULK about the pigs here waking us up every 30 minutes to assure we were alive, and not only did I write to MIM(Prisons), I also filed a grievance on this issue. My story was published in ULK July/Aug story titled "Sleep Deprivation to Control Oppressed. My efforts were not fruitless. As a result of my grievance and persistence this policy was changed and they no longer deprive us of sleep in GP or the lock up unit (H-Block). When this injustice occurred I advised everyone on the lockup block to join me to change this policy, but once again I was the only one who raised hell and even then the result was change, so I know it works.

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[Organizing] [California Correctional Institution] [California]
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Half a Bar of Soap

Approximately 30-45 days ago all 46 SHU prisoners at CCI (California Correctional Institution) Tehachapi received an institution wide memo from the Associate Warden, in response to a complaint from a prisoner in regards to soap allotment. The main contention being that we had not received soap for an entire week. Now this would seem a legitimate endeavor on the surface - with one problem. This comrade apparently fired off some half-cocked letter with no proactive action to support it. The end result, of course, being very ineffective and worsening the situation.

The typical administration response we got was that we are only allotted 1/2 a bar of soap per week. Until that point we were receiving an entire bar of soap. The justification for the cut was the current excuse of 'budget cuts'. Of course this was a punitive response.

There's one very important thing that I would like to stress to all comrades: the major difference between bitching and complaining legitimately. To simply bitch is to make an issue out of current circumstances/conditions with no intention of following through to the court system or gathering outside pressure with support. A complaint is supported by affirmative action with planning, forethought, and distinct political goals. In our case, causing a blow to the imperialist system of incarceration.

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[Spanish] [California]
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Wyclef: Presidente de Hip-Hop por el imperialismo?

Cuanto tiempo más siguieran matando a nuestros profetas,
mientras nos mantenemos a un lado observando
algunos comentan que solo es parte de ello:
tenemos que satisfacer el libro.
¿No ayudarás a cantar
estos cuentos de libertad?
Por que todo lo que tuve:
cantos de alivio, ...
-Bob Marley, del Canto de alivio.

Wyclef Jean, el músico haitiano y una vez, miembro del grupo Hip-Hop, Los Fugees, ha anunciado su candidatura a la presidencia de Haití. El comenta que fue forzado hacerlo ahora por la destrucción causado por el temblor en Haití en enero, y clama que fue reclutado por la juventud haitiano, lo cual dice sobrepasa el 50% de la población en este país. Parece haber tomar prestado de la campana de Obama con su calificación principal de que él es "nuevo" es decir, "cambio".(1)

En ULK10(Bajo Cerradura y Llave), MIM(Prisiones) señaló como Hip-Hop se ha convertido a una cultura global por el imperialismo. Era el título "Hecho en América" que lo hizo tan popular alrededor del mundo, en donde la población del Tercer Mundo ha sido manipulado para ver su propia cultura como hacia atrás y fuera de modo. Así como los imperialistas han usado Hip-Hop para reclutar juventud de la nación oprimida en los Estados Unidos para matar a la juventud de la nación oprimida en el Tercer Mundo, ahora están usándolos para empujar un nuevo títere estadounidense en el pueblo de Haití.

Lo que Wyclef hace con el Hip-Hop es lo que la aristocracia de identidad ha hecho con su marca de liberación de mujeres en el Medio Oriente. Pese ser un hombre de cuarenta años, quien gana $18 millones al año, el alega que de alguna manera representar a los intereses de la juventud haitiano a causa de su puesto en Hip-Hop.(2) Que seamos claros, un niño desde los barriados de Cité Soléil tiene intereses muy diferentes a los de Wyclef Jean, así como una mujer muslímica en las montañas de Afganistán tiene intereses muy diferentes a los de Paris Hilton.

La esperanza de los imperialistas es que la cultura de Hip-Hop sirva para endulzar este nuevo régimen de títeres en los ojos de la juventud Haitiano. En un país donde los niños se alimentan de pasteles de lodo para mantener sus estómagos llenos y menos del 3% de la población votó en elecciones títeres el año pasado por que el partido popular Lávalas fue prohibido de participar, unas cuantas canciones dulces de Wyclef probablemente no serán suficiente.(3)

Aunque no se les fuerza a comer pasteles de lodo para combatir dolores de hambre, mucha juventud de la nación oprimida en los Estados Unidos fueron atraídos por la campana de Barak Obama. Hay una relación directa entre el primer presidente negro de los EEUU y Wyclef, quien desempeñó para una audiencia en su mayoría negra a la fiesta de la inauguración del Presidente dado por el canal de televisión de entretenimiento Negro (BET) para Obama, donde se ha reportado que serenó a Colin Powell con la "Canción de alivio" por el músico rebelde jamaiquino Bob Marley. Colin Powell precedió Obama en dar un rostro más negro en la Casa Blanca. Sirviendo como Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, donde se le recordara más por haber mentido sobre las así llamadas "armas de destrucción masiva" para justificar la invasión de Iraq, la cual continua hasta hoy día. Es mal que Wyclef usara las palabras de Marley para dar serenata a tal asesino.

Bob Marley era el punto de marca en atentos de asesinato por milicias de mano derecha colectados con el régimen títere del U.S. tratando de atener poder en Jamaica en 1976. Al último, se parece que fue asesinado por la CIA sí misma(4). Como Haití, Jamaica es una isla en el Caribe habitado por los que eran esclavos africanos dominados por el imperialismo de los EEUU. Compare a Marley al músico Haitiano Wyclef Jean (el cual le gusta cubrir canciones de Bob Marley) el cual salió en MTV y apoyó milicias de la derecha que pelearon para forzar la salida del presidente Haitiano Jean-Bertrand Aristide, matando a muchos civiles que les estorban. Más pistas al porque diría cosas semejantes incluyen reportes que el tío de Jean ha sido embajador del régimen títere US en Haití, y que el tío pública un periódico que apoya los ataques sangrientos en la gente de Haití cometidos por las milicias.(5)

Siguiendo el secuestro del Presidente Aristide por los Estados Unidos en 2004, la caridad de Wyclef Jean fue reportada como el primer grupo permitido entrar en el barriado central de Cite Soliel, apoyado por millones de dólares de la agencia estadounidense de desarrollo internacional (USAID). La misma USAID que el presidente estadounidense Bill Clinton ha usado para socavar la soberanía de Haití por años. Jean forzó a los haitianos a tumbarse frente a la ocupación mientras las tropas de la O.N.U. apoyadas por las milicias de los EEUU y Haití asesinaban a la resistencia en los barriados de Haití (6).

Los imperialistas secuestran, encarcelan, y matan a los líderes de la gente y después usan sus imágenes para descaminar. ¿Qué desesperados se han convertido que sus títeres ahora vienen envueltos en las imágenes los que han atacados y asesinados? Es posible que estén desesperados, pero son inteligentes.

Originalmente la voz de la juventud de la nación opresa, Hip-Hop tiene una fuerte papel doble jugar a través del mundo hoy. Pero más y más, si viene de los Estados Unidos — compra con precaución. En las décadas recientes, la riqueza aumentada que América proporciona a hombres negros ha venido desproporcionadamente por la industria del entretenimiento. Hombres negros regularmente aparecen en cubiertos de revista, con fotos de sus cuerpos retocados, vendiendo productos de belleza, un papel considerado como el dominio de la mujer blanca. Esto se ha desarrollado al fenómeno reciente del hombre negro, anteriormente la víctima principal del sexo privilegiado de la mujer blanca, haciéndose lo que llamamos el privilegio de género. En vez de atraer a los opreso de género como mujeres, Hip-Hop atrae a la juventud del género opreso. El Departamento de Estado ha elaborado a partir de esta, una vez justo, rebelión a menudo El departamento del estado ha sacado de esta una vez justa rebelión, a menudo personificado en Hip-Hop, a construir el concepto de una cultura de juventud global.

Hip-Hop es una frente mayor en la imposición moderna de la cultura imperialista en la cultura de los opresos. Mientras esto no impide que Hip-Hop juegue una papel progresiva, los que rechazan la cultura del occidente resistirán la influencia corrupta del imperio con mucha más facilidad. Con una fuerte historia de resistencia a la intervención imperialista, estamos confidentes que la gente de Haití, le va a tratarle con frialdad con este intento de instalar un títere vestido en la ropa de Hip-Hop.

Notas:
(1) August 5, 2010 Interview on CNN.
(2) Katz, Jonathan. AP Interview: Wyclef Jean's vision for Haiti. 6 August 2010.
(3)Hinton, Charlie. Wyclef Jean for president of Haiti? Look beyond the hype. SF BayView. August 2, 2010.
(4) Potash, John. The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders. Progressive Left Press, 2008. p.183.
(5)It's not All about That!: Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti by the Haiti Information Project
(6)Kevin Pina interviews the most-wanted man in Haiti: Amaral Duclona by the Haiti Information Project

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[International Connections] [Rhymes/Poetry] [Utah] [ULK Issue 18]
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One Love

Cats and dogs raining down my window
Dust bunnies roaming around my floor
Learned worms crawling around my stomach
Telling me I was taught to want more
These measly maggots at war with science
And what's before us as real and true
I pump my blood until the skin stretches
Sweat drips onto the concrete like Chinese tea
Searching each repetition the puddle's reflection
For truth
The same as I do each USW study lesson
For a MC's guidance into deeper realms
Blood starts to puddle and pool with my sweat
I question from where but continue my pace
Letting the itch of it linger on my face
Three cold meals and denials at mail call
Four cold walls and a solitary cot
One man alone with only one thought
Your punk denials will breed lawsuits
And my stomach turns cold to hot
We, comrades, are part of something larger
More human than "Jesus" dying on a cross
Steering the people through minefields of hate
Aware it's a privilege we even ate
A species on the sad cusp of extinction
One vanguard, one chance, one reason
As planet Earth spins out the seasons
Survival of the fittest as Amerikkka weakens
One love comrades —- Our species

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 17]
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Independent Leaders

After reading the article from our comrade in Pennsylvania under the title "Stand Up for Real Causes" in the Sept/Oct 2010 Under Lock & Key, I felt obligated to respond in hopes of giving some practical direction in seeking to revolutionize the prison's slave order of operation. When we examine the history of all those who organized and took action for a real cause we will learn that it was always initiated by the few, never the majority. Numbers help, but courage, loyalty, and discipline are much more important than numbers and must be without compromise the foundation in order for any unified resistance to exist, and most importantly be effective. Trust me soulja, I know first hand how frustrating and sick it can be when we see others around us willingly accept being oppressed, used up and abused. Most of them usually accept such humiliation with a big ol' Chicken George grin, in which you can almost hear "yeas sir boss!" squeezing through their teeth.

The prison's kitchen is in my opinion the easiest operation to boycott and the fastest way to bring about attention from the administration. You don't have to chase the mentally dead prisoners, they can go to work all they want but when half, or more, of the population is not going to the kitchen to eat, the administration is going to want to know why.

In 2007 I was involved in a kitchen boycott in one of Pennsylvania's state prisons and it was successful. Over half of the population didn't go to the kitchen to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner for a week straight. The administration started going around on each block talking with so-called block reps as to why and what. The boycott was initiated due to kitchen sanitation and food preparation concerns, and the prison administration made changes ASAP from our demands. However, the prisoners became comfortable and in the process things slowly but surely went back to the same poor conditions.

What made that boycott so effective was that the administration couldn't pinpoint any specific organizers because there wasn't any to pinpoint. Prisoners can't be given misconducts or lose his/her prison job, parole, outside clearance or any other privilege that they may have gained for not going to the kitchen to eat; that's our choice. There was a buzz put in the air as to why a boycott was going to happen and when it was going to happen, but trying to pinpoint where the buzz originated is like trying to pinpoint the very first piece of rice that was poured from a big sack bag into a pot of boiling hot water. You don't need to run around and give orders and instructions as to boycotting a prison operation, that type of thing will get you and others locked down under prison policy. The buzz itself will create a certain energy. And when that day comes and the cell doors open, people will not be looking for confirmation from each other. At that very moment a boycott will be born or aborted.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this letter, because we get more letters than we can print from comrades saying "things here aren't like they are in that state or this prison." These letters come from all sorts of places in every state. Of course there will be uneven development, and some places will advance quicker than others, but leaders are by definition a small minority. Leaders will recognize the self-interest prisoners have as a group in organizing themselves, but we cannot expect a spontaneous mass consciousness to take hold. This takes time to develop through education and participation. It is the job of the leaders to recognize when local conditions are changing and to push them to develop.


Related Articles:
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[Legal] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 17]
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Campaign Update from Missouri

Censorship Campaign Update

In April 2010, we embarked upon a legal campaign to protest the Missouri DOC's decision to place a blanket ban on all CDs and tapes which carry a parental advisory label. We suggested that prisoners send in a complaint to DOC and government officials, and other prisoners' rights organizations.

On 29 June 2010 the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri responded to the letter I sent to them. In short order, they said they couldn't represent "me" in the complaint set forth in Our complaint letter, although I stressed that this was an issue that affected the entire class of prisoners in this state.

On 13 July 2010, Natania Gazek, Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.$. Justice Department responded to Our complaint and letter. Her response was that the U.$. Justice Department would not get involved in "individual" cases, but does have the authority to initiate civil action in the name of the Unite $tates. against state and local officials to remedy conditions of confinement which violate the constitution.

We shouldn't be surprised by these responses. These officials represent the interests of the state, which is imperialist in word and deed. However, what surprised me was that I wrote to over 40 organizations and groups which have memberships in these prisons including but not limited to the NAACP, NOI, Missouri CURE, Human Rights Watch, Critical Resistance, rcp=U$A, ASPS, the Fortune Society and not one of these groups had enough respect for Our struggle to even respond to Our call for help.

From this you should take that it is exceedingly important that we support groups such as MIM(Prisons) and USW who have shown in their actions that they support our struggles. We must withdraw all moral and financial support of groups and leaders who don't give a damn about our repression, yet want our membership dollars.

Legal Work

I have current federal litigation filed that alleges that the censorship policy is a violation of Our 1st and 14th Amendment rights. This case deals specifically with DOC officials' censorship of issues of Under Lock & Key and other MIM publications.

What will strengthen this case and the new case that I'm preparing is if those of you in Missouri who have had issues of ULK and other literature from MIM Distributors censored would write out declarations or affidavits stating when and what was censored and send them to the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic, who will send them to me. I will present this evidence to the Asst. Attorney General as proof that these illegal actions are happening in other prisons and it is not just me as an "individual" who is suffering.

In all, the lesson here is that we can't expect "justice" from our enemies and that we must organize ourselves and build independent institutions that speak to our needs. Rest assured that our enemies know full well the social implications of their policies. A persyn can only proceed as far as their knowledge will carry them and they plan to keep prisoners ignorant, addicted and coming in and out of prison as a constant source of income.

Ups to all of those who took the time, energy and efforts to send in complaints, file grievances and educate fellow prisoners on these issues and others. If you have other ideas, suggestions or strategies please send them in. Keep your heads up, stay strong, unite and organize.

This article referenced in:
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[Control Units] [Legal] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
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Keep Fighting Gang Validation

I would like to comment on the "Legal Tips to Fight Gang Validation article that was printed in ULK 16. This comrade's tips are greatly appreciated and will help a lot of prisoners who are not familiar with our rights in the validation process. Here's the thing though, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is aware of such due process rights and we get a 114-D lockup order, a chance to reboot our validations, and to be put up for the Security Housing Unit (SHU) by classification. However, it's all just a big charade without any meaningful review given at any time and no matter what we say or what evidence we present to show the source items are insufficient, unreliable and can't be used as source items per the Title 15 and relevant authority, we are ignored at every level.

I 602ed [grieved] my validation and clearly showed why my validation is false on all levels but was just given a general response at the 2nd and 3rd levels, as all prisoners are, saying I'm wrong and my validation meets the department's requirements. CDCR refuses to follow their rules and is just rubber stamping prisoners' validations and going through the motions that are nothing more than a front in an attempt to dupe the courts into believing we got our due process.

Now in my optimistic attitude I thought the courts would see the arbitrariness of my validation and actually, you know, follow the law. But when I sent in my habeas corpus to the Lassen County Superior Court it took them all of 6 days to deny my petition without holding any hearings, which is the only way the court could have determined that my source items showed "some evidence" and were reliable as they stated. So I sent my habeas corpus to the court of appeals hoping I can get a real review, which I have yet to receive. My case is no different from all other prisoners being validated here at High Desert State Prison and it won't change until we shed light on this dark process. So my question is, what do we do when the officials and courts that swore to uphold the law are disregarding it without a second thought? We all will continue to 602 and petition the courts about our fake validations for they can't ignore us forever.

Another case that is vital for validated prisoners to get their hands on to study and apply to their situation is the Lira v. Cate, No. C-00-0905 S1 (N.D.Cal. Sept. 30, 2009) which is regarding a former validated prisoner who challenged his gang validation and lack of due process and won.


MIM(Prisons) responds: They can't ignore us forever if we team up. As pointed out, people are facing the same situations all over. Legal battles are an important tool in the struggle, but we know the whole system, including the courts, is set up to oppress certain groups. Part of these struggles is making connections and working together. With enough unity around the right issues our reliance on the courts becomes less and less necessary.

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