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Under Lock & Key

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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I am a universal Builder
Building universally
for in the universe
Be
Allah's university
Adversity's not stopping me
Domestically or commercially
for you see
It works for me to come to thee
Righteously
Poetically
In this form
Universally strong
Living right not wrong
Against the norm
For I've weathered the storm all along
Builders build
Adding on
To life
Three dimensional existence
Hear me now
Bare witness
I've witness'd the relentless
Struggle against this life sentence of persistence
My insistence
To teach the masses resistance
To oppression
Suppression
Mental anguish
Depression
I stopped stressing
Paid attention
Learned to see my struggles as a learned lesson
If not a blessing
For builders which build without question...

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[United Front] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 19]
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The Subjection of the Incarcerated

I read in the September/October 2010 issue, an article written by a prisoner in the Pennsylvania structure. He said, "[guys in this jail] are only concerned with BET, sports, 40 cent ice cream tickets and who's sucking whose dick... they don't stand up for shit except count time."

I believe these statements are very correct. Not only for the Pennsylvania structures, but all penal structures throughout the United $tates. I've read every single article in that issue by many different prisoners throughout these structures. I can relate to every last one of them, and I'm pretty sure that all prisoners within the system can relate to every single article just the same.

These structures differ only so slightly, only by name, location and modeled design, but their inner mechanisms pretty much work the same way. Everyone complains of the disunity and betrayal between their fellow prisoners. Noone wants to stand up against the powerful structure that has the ability to deploy swarms of guards equipped with body armor shields and pepper spray to counter any resistance from its 'subjects.' Even though we outnumber them, in the end, they still seem to come out on top. They seem unstoppable, victorious, and mighty. Prisoners give these "warriors" seemingly honorable names such as "The Goon Squad", "The Turtles," "The Team," "The Run Down Boys", and "The Squad."

Riots and uprisings are quickly squashed with no positive results, other than more lockdowns, revocation of good time and parole, restrictions on telephones and visitations and all other privileges of the prisoners that were provided by their "structure." I relate and share in the suffering and pains of every one of my comrades.

Psychology

But do you know why there is so much disunity between prisoners? Do you understand how the human mind works? Do you understand what I mean by the term structure? Do you know how dangerous and manipulative your institutional psychologist or "psych" could really be? Do you know why all modern prisoners must be built and structured into many individual pods? Do you know what your mind frame is being subjected to, by the master psychologists and anthropologists who designed and masterminded the inner workings and mechanics that make these structures work so differently from those of the 70s and 80s?

In the world of psychology, there's a basic and very fundamental term known as "Classical Conditioning." Classical Conditioning means any type of learning through which an organism learns to associate one event or object within the environment to which the organism or person responds with another. For example: when we see or smell delicious food we are tempted to eat, or feel hungry. Or when we see a very attractive person, we become sexually aroused, thanks to certain hormones that are being secreted within our bodies.

These natural responses to events or objects in our environment are our Classical Conditioning. It is in our nature to respond in this way to these types of stimuli. (Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936, Conditioned Reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex.) [ULK Editor: Classical Conditioning is actually the replacement of the natural occurring stimulus (like the smell of food) with an unrelated stimulus (like the ringing of a bell). Pavlov famously made dogs salivate with this method by ringing a bell. The idea that anything that triggers a physiological response is "natural" is often used to imply that humyns are hard wired to respond this way. On the contrary, most, if not all, of our sexual arousal is triggered by socially conditioned responses (see Operant Conditioning below). A scientific approach would be to overthrow the patriarchy and then see what triggers sexual arousal in humyns. Things that trigger sexual arousal under communism and under the patriarchy would be good candidates for "hard wired" responses. Similarly, the smell of certain fast food might make some Amerikanized humyns salivate while making other people nauseous.]

The next most basic and fundamental term in the world of psychology is known as "Operant Conditioning." Operant Conditioning means a type of learning in which the consequences of behavior are manipulated so as to increase or decrease the frequency of an existing response or to shape an entirely new response. For example, in order to be paroled and released back into society, you must respond with good behavior throughout your incarceration. Or, if you break the law, the response of the controlling authorities will be to convict you and then send you to prison.

The most notable researcher of Operant Conditioning is a psychologist by the name of B.F. Skinner. In his book, "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" (1971) Skinner quotes "free will is a myth and a person's behavior is always shaped and controlled by others - parents, teachers, peers, advertising and television." In this book, Skinner argues that society must systematically shape the behavior of their members for the larger good.

Now that we are familiar with the terms Classical and Operant Conditioning, we will lean more towards the Operant Conditioning within the walls of these structures because Operant Conditioning deals strictly with the manipulation of human behavior.

Operant Conditioning in Prisons

As of right now, I'm confined to solitary confinement, in a single cell for 23 hours a day for a total of 570 days. My original time was 90 days for a "shank" or "shaped weapon" that was allegedly found in my cell during a shake down at a time when we were having a lot of stabbings within our structure. When they brought me down to the hole, they tried to give me a cellmate, but I refused. Due to this refusal, I was issued a ticket, which was then reviewed by a hearing examiner, who gave me an extra 30 days in the hole for "refusing to obey a direct order." Every day, the guards would order me to take a cellmate, but I refused. Within one month I totaled 570 days, and counting.

One must be thinking, why is he putting himself through all of this unnecessary punishment? Why don't he just take a cellmate and get out of the hole?

The truth is, I'm actually avoiding extra punishment, not physically but mentally. The hole is a behavior modification mechanism within the structure that employs a form of deprivation to manipulate human behavior. It is not meant for two human organisms to occupy for any period of time. But due to overcrowding in all of the Pennsylvania's structures, people are being forced to cell up and co-exist with each other under these harsh conditions. A man needs privacy and time to himself in order to cope in the best way he can during this time of extreme deprivation. But instead prisoners within my structure are forced into these conditions. Under these conditions cellmates are known to fight with each other for something as minor as using the bathroom at a certain time of night. Whereas in general population if the same two individuals were cellmates an unorthodox or out of timed bathroom break would never have been a problem.

After their fight these same two prisoners are then forced to kiss and make up and endure each other's differences as well as their deprivations. Under these conditions, stress and mental anguish are always present. This type of stress results in bad health and hair loss. It is much healthier to remain in solitary where one doesn't have to deal with the next man's deprivations as well as his own. I see and hear cellmates argue and fight each other every day from where I'm at. A lot of the cellmates do not get along and "pull stunts" to force the commanding shift officer to move them in with someone more suitable.

Another form of Operant Conditioning used to manipulate behavior employed by the penal system is food. Though food is a necessity for the human organism and is classified as Classical Conditioning, when used in behavior modification - it becomes operant. For example, in the hole, we get fed less portions of the meals than those in general population.

The food, that all of us prisoners consume is laced with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Our tongue has four distinct taste sensations: bitter, sweet, sour and salty. The fifth sensation is called the umanmi, which is triggered by the substance glutamate. When this fifth sensation is triggered by this glutamate substance, it stimulates the other four sensations on the tongue's taste buds, creating a strong urge for more glutamate substance. Try eating a handful of salt and vinegar potato chips and then bite into an apple. Which product will you crave more?

To supplement the effects of monosodium glutamate in the lunch and dinner meals, the penal system provides the prisoners with a commissary that has food available upon purchase in its inventory. The prisoners are now led to purchase items on commissary to supplement their chemically induced hunger at night after the prison feeds him/her their dinner. Ninety percent of the prisoners I know can't live without ramen noodles every night. So now the prisoner becomes dependent on the commissary.

Then, penal systems will provide the prisoner with privileges, but only if his behavior is in compliance with the rules. The prisoner is allowed to have a radio and a television set with cable in his cell. Then there are the phone calls, the visits, parole, the weight room and the yard. But let's go back to the television set. A TV is major time killer. You could do your entire bid in the cell just watching TV. The TV is a major stimulus if you want to control the weak prisoner. Most people in the hole say "I can't wait to get back out and watch TV., I've missed 3 episodes of Jersey Shore (or whatever program) already." Even I miss the television and a good honey bun every now and then.

The manipulation of Operant Conditioning can be so powerful, many prisoners take abuse from their structure's establishment in order that they may make parole and go home to their families. Within my structure, the prisoners are forced to take programs and work jobs that start at 19 cents an hour, otherwise they won't make parole. Would you stay in prison for 10 years, or adjust your behavior and go home within 5 or 4 1/4 on pre-release.

These individuals who are trying to go home, as well as the weak prisoners, are then placed within the same housing unit along with the strong, long term more militant prisoners - who, by the way happen to be our comrades in the struggle. With these different individuals with different goals in mind, any type of unity or grouping together for one common cause is gonna be difficult.

Whenever the penal system changes a policy that we are in opposition to, only a few will be able to stand up while the majority of these strategically placed so-called convicts will turn their backs and endure the abuse in order to be released from prison or maintain possession of their privileges.

We can't shut down the kitchens, because a majority of the prisoners who are working there are parole mandated. They would rather deal with the abuse and go home. Hunger strikes are iffy. A riot these days will consist of no more than 300 people, which is easily contained as soon as they seal off the individual pods or units and lock the prison structure down. Then they turn us against each other by offering the unfortunate and the "have nots" a radio or television set, in return for spying and telling on their comrades' movements.

The ones who designed the program structure, the parole structure, the commissary and privilege rights (the "brains") are the college educated psychologists who we will never see. They are the ones who created this form of behavior modification.

Because of this, a division is wedged in between our factions, causing a chain reaction of adversary and conflict amongst ourselves. The ones who have a little bit of money, shun and look down upon the one who is broke. Even if the one who doesn't have any money on his books had lived more prosperous in the streets. The young prisoners take our older comrades for granted because they are old. Thus creating a huge intellectual and traditional gap between the two.

Phillip Zimbardo is a psychologist most notable for his work on social roles. A social role, as defined by Zimbardo is a "socially defined behavior considered appropriate for individuals occupying certain positions within a given group."(P.G. Zimbardo, "Pathology of Imprisonment" (1972) 'Society,' 9, 4-8.) The Stanford Prison Experiment is an experiment in which Phillip Zimbardo simulated a prison experience. College students were randomly assigned to be either guards or prisoners. The guards, wearing uniform and carrying small clubs, strictly enforced harsh rules. The prisoners were stripped naked, searched and deloused. Then they were given prison uniforms, assigned numbers, and locked away in small bare cells. The guards quickly adapted to their new role, some even to the point of becoming heartless and sadistic. One guard remembered forcing prisoners to clean toilets with their bare hands. And the prisoners began to act debased and subservient. The role playing became too real - so much so that the experiment had to be ended in only 6 days.

That was just an experiment, play acting. But you see once an individual becomes wrapped up in a certain social role how far it can lead. Zimbardo conducted this experiment back in 1972, but we are in the real thing today. Once these guys adapt to certain roles and behaviors, the result is what we see being acted out today.

One day, a guard burnt one of our comrades for a meal right here in the hole. Only 7 of us held our food trays and refused to return them in protest of the injustice that was carried out. Those that gave their tray back all stated that they didn't want to get a ticket, that they were trying to get out of the hole as soon as possible.

So, what are we left with? The answer is simple - it's knowledge. My comrades, prison is a mental struggle, it always was. We must evolve mentally. Study psychology, get good at it. Study political science, get good at it. Study anthropology, get good at it. We must evolve and turn our cells into think tanks. Learn and understand how the penal system structure controls and manipulates human behavior.

Stop taking psychological medication in any form, be it a sleep inducer or antidepressant. For when you are released you will be subjected to withdrawals whenever deprived which may lead you into narcotic abuse. If you can't sleep, read and learn meditation and breathing exercises, heal yourself.

If you're depressed, meditation and inner calmness works wonders on the mind. The structure is a very powerful establishment designed and put together by some very smart college educated veterans, who get paid a lot of money to make sure that the prisoners advances are easily thwarted.

When we are able to show and prove that our solution is better, the younger ones will follow and we will grow in numbers in time. For now, my comrades, we are all in the same boat. Let's not be upset with the younger ones or the ignorant who refuse to unite. The manipulators who control these structures have made sure that the consequences will outweigh the rewards by far.

The weight of the structure sits heavy on those who need to get home to their families. The younger ones are easily manipulated, just give them a television and some food, and the jail could burn to the ground for all they care. As long as the power don't shut off.

For the rest of us, my comrades, if we continue to apply ourselves and stick to our disciplines, in time we will grow in numbers. Understand the importance of the right knowledge for the right battle. This is a psychological war. Learn the fundamentals of psychology, please.

Prison today is more like a mental hospital. With the number of the mentally ill growing in numbers every year, psych meds dim the intelligence of the individual, making him/her slow as the years go by. Understand what you're really being subjected to within your structure. Learn to adapt and adjust, be independent.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This analysis of prisons using classical psychological tools is useful for revolutionaries because it helps to uncover the methods and goals of those who design and run the Amerikan criminal injustice system. This comrade is right that the system is built to discourage and prevent organizing and unity. It's not that prisoners who are passive are inherently evil, they are just doing what the system is pushing them to do, and resistance is no easy task. Similarly, brutal COs are not just evil individuals. They are playing a role like the students in the experiment. This role cannot be abolished until capitalism itself is abolished.

For our comrades who do stand up against all this, we must know that the struggle is long and difficult. But as this comrade points out, we will grow and unite others as we stick to our message and discipline. For more on MIM(Prisons)'s position on psychology, check out the magazine MIM Theory 9 or our article Mental Health: a Maoist Perspective.

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[Abuse] [California Correctional Center] [California]
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How can we fight violations of our rights?

I would like to tell you a little about how these pigs treat us here at California Correctional Center - Susanville. To begin with, the pigs here are constantly disrespecting us and some pigs even get racial with some prisoners.

The following is about something these pigs did to my celly a while back. He had to go to the program office for a disciplinary hearing. Upon being found guilty he asked for an appeal form from a sergeant. When he got it my celly mumbled under his breath "what a joke" and the sergeant thought my celly called the hearing officer a jerk. The sergeant then grabbed him and slammed him into some filing cabinets. The sergeant pinned him with his lower body and started screaming in his ear cussing and threatening his family and friends.

A few days later a couple pigs came to the cell and took my cellmate's address book and told him that he was under investigation for a possible felony. They kept coming two to three times a week to search the house trying to intimidate him. A few days later my celly put in a citizen's complaint to the warden. After about 2 months of them hitting the house, my celly felt he had to retract his complaint due to the pigs intimidation. So he went to the program office to speak to the captain. On video camera they had him retract his complaint and after that they stopped the continuous searches.

This is one of many stories about our rights being violated here at Susanville. Most prisoners are worried that if they file and appeal on a pig then retaliation is gonna follow. These pigs here are known to trump up bogus charges on prisoners. Is there any way we can beat this? If this was to happen to me, there is a good chance I would end up getting a life sentence because I myself have two strikes. If you can give me a little bit of info on how I can protect my rights it would be appreciated. As for doing my part in trying to convert others in to joining us, it is in the process. Thank you comrades for your time and your efforts in helping all of us prisoners in our fight.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We know that retaliation is all too often the response to prisoners taking on the legal battles for their rights. In most prisons the first step is filing a grievance and these grievances are often ignored. We have initiated a campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. And through this campaign we have seen some positive results in California's High Desert State Prison. We encourage California prisoners, and prisoners in other states, to request copies of the grievance petition and help spread this campaign. Retaliation is still a danger, but the more people who speak out the harder it will be to repress our voices. There are no easy ways out of this oppressive system.

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[Spanish]
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La escritura no-ficción = amenaza de seguridad

por un prisionero de Wisconsin noviembre 2011

El mes pasado, octubre, un hermano recibió un reporte de mala conducta escrito contra él por tener los Libros de Soledad Brother y From Niggas to God. La administración dió la razón que George Jackson fue conocido como un "Black Panther", como si eso fuera una razón válida para un reporte de mala conducta. Ellos dijeron que From Niggas to God estaba prohibido en la institución correccional de Green Bay. Yo pienso que es porque ellos no nos quieren que vayamos llamándonos a nosotros mismos "Niggas," actuando como niggas, a llamándonos hijos de Dios o actuando como tal. Ellos quieren que todavía seamos los niggas de ellos y más vale que no nos cojan tratando de educarnos o leyendo libros de sustancia. Pero sí podemos leer libros 'urbanos' y novelas que promocionan la muerte y la violencia entre nosotros mismos. Al hermano le dieron 210 días en el hoyo.

El 2 de noviembre 2010, la cama de mi camarada fue rebuscada por el puerco racista van Laden el cual confiscó varios libros, es decir, Soledad Brother, Noam Chomsky, Niami Akbar, el libro de lector de Cornell West y un par más. Ellos también confiscaron varias ediciones del periódico 4struggle porque mencionaban el partido Black Panther. Por varios días ellos no le dieron el reporte de conducta. Usualmente eso no se tarda más que dos días. El fue llamado para hablar con el puerco van Laden y van Laden le dijo que le vería en la corte, en realidad es una audiencia del reporte de conducta.

En el 11/8/2010 el recibió el reporte de conducta. Es una persecución de brujas. En lo cual el puerco van Laden dice que Soledad Brother menciona a los Black Panthers, y que el periódico de 4struggle menciona las 10 puntos de la plataforma de los Black Panthers, con frases como "Puños Cerrados" "Poder Para La Gente" "Rojo, Negro y Verde." Este puerco dijo que los libros eran materiales de la "Supremacía de Negros " yo todavía estoy tratando de entender que quiere decir la Supremacía de Negros". La palabra supremacía significa que grupo dice que es más superior al otro. Nada de lo que ellos confiscaron significa nada de eso porque si significara algo de eso el hubiera especificado tal y tal página de este libro dice que "Ellos son superiores y los blancos son inferiores." Pero no pueden porque nada de lo que confiscaron significa lo que él esta alegando. El clama ser un experto de amenazas de seguridad y dice en el reporte que los Black Panthers están en la lista como un grupo de amenaza de seguridad. Ahora cualquier material que la menciona que está restringida y cualquier persona que se encuentre con ese material esta en violación por tener ese material de escritura. Lo mismo que esclavitud.

Pero miren esto, el camarada tiene recibos de todos los libros que ellos dicen que son amenazas a la seguridad. Ellos los dejaron entrar y después dicen que uno no se puede tenerlos. Ellos tienen una lista de libros restringidos y ningunos de los libros confiscados están en esa lista. Ni Soledad Brother porque nada es su contenido es una amenaza a la seguridad. George no está promocionando nada de violencia ni supremacía negra. Como yo dije antes esto es un intento de los puercos para rompernos.

Los dos hermanos que mencioné están en el mismo dormitorio que yo, estamos en un ambiente social, sin pelear entre nosotros mismos, más enseñando a estos hermanos más jóvenes. Eso es la amenaza de seguridad para ellos. Ellos no quieren que aprendamos de nuestra historia y tener un sentido de nuestro mismo. Ellos quieren que seamos ignorantes y corriendo por aquí siendo unos "N"es buenos. El leer es restringido a menos que sea algo de ficción. El fue cargado con resistencia de grupo y petición y espera ir a su audiencia.

En 11/5/2010 fui llamado a el escritorio del comandante y me preguntó cómo otro prisionero tuvo mi libro porque ella dijo si no se lo di ella lo escribiera por robo. Yo le dije que el guardia regular Comandante Zellner que trabaja aquí dijo que él, el hermano, podía leer mi libro siempre y cuando que él se me devuelva el libro antes de la fin de la noche. Ella me dijo pues, te voy a escribir por una transferencia de propiedad inautorizada. Ella llamó a otro hermano a la mesa y le devolvió su libro sin darle una multa. El título de mi libro era Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party. Eso es porque ella me escribió y le devolvió al otro hermano su libro.

Yo recibí el reporte de conducta el 11/8/2010 y resistencia de grupo y petición estaba en mis cargos también. Este cargo es uno de los que ellos usan para poner a uno en el hoyo o también enviarnos a la súper-máxima de Wisconsin en Boscobel donde yo he estado por más de 4 años. El reporte dice que di mi libro a otro para leer lo cual es violación 9.3. transfiriendo propiedad inautorizada. Aun si el guardia te dio permiso sigue siendo una violación bajo sus semánticos de neolengua de 1984. También dice que los Black Panthers es un grupo "no sancionado", y el libro está confiscado. Pero trabajé en la biblioteca aquí anterior y vi este mismo libro en varias ocasiones. También vi a Soledad Brother y From Niggas to God.

El arreglo esta. Yo y el camarada todavía estamos esperando ir a nuestras audiencias. Hablamos con un camisa blanca y el director de seguridad de esta arreglo. Así ellos tienen sabiduría de esto y pueden ser incluidos en la demanda, porque nada de esto es una amenaza. ¡Yo tenía este libro por más de 6 años! Estamos tratando de desplegar la palabra de todo esto. Ellos tienen una lista de libros restringidos pero ningún de los libros que nos quitaron están en esa lista.

También yo escribí un libro del cambio y dejé a un joven hermano leerlo. Su cama fue rebuscada y otro puerco se lo llevo al sargento lo cual me llamó a su escritorio y me preguntó si ese era mi libro. Le dije que sí. Me hizo la pregunta ¿quién te dio permiso para escribir esto? Yo dije mi mente! ¿Qué quiere decir quién me dio permiso? Dijo que llamaba a la seguridad para ver si podría hacer esto. Pasó una hora más o menos y me llamó al escritorio y me devolvió el libro. La cosa es "¿Quién me dio permiso? Como si yo necesitara el permiso de alguien otro para escribir mis pensamientos Esta mismo puerco tiene un tatuaje de la bandera de confederación en su brazo izquierdo.

Diciéndonos que no podemos leer o ganar un sentido de nuestro mismo por aprender de nuestra historia o que necesitamos "su" permiso para escribir nuestros pensamientos es la misma como la esclavitud que sufrieron nuestros antepasados. Pero la mayoría no pueden verlo así. Sólo lo ven como estos puercos racistas tienen un trabajo. Esto no es un trabajo, esto es una forma de la opresión,. El capitalismo es opresión. Somos su modo de tener un trabajo por nuestra opresión. Trato de hacer que estos hermanos menores y mayores vean esto. La esclavitud era el capitalismo. La prisión es el capitalismo. Los blancos eran los que corrían los campamentos. Los blancos son los que corren la prisión, es lo mismo sino una nueva manera.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Revolutionary Rising


I'm lock'n loaded, tried, tested;
now proven
revolution is now what,
has ensued.
In the vein of Marx, Lenin, and Mao passed:
first is where the heart is,
the proletariat class!
Try as you might, superior numbers manifest,
In league, with the correct political line.
followers we have. Guns too:
next is political power.
With a massive, intake
of breath;
know it's the bourgeoisie's final hour.
Capitalist pigs and imperialist scum,
wiping blood off our boots
as thoughts and feelings
have become numb.
If this is not coming through,
here it is spoken, loud and clear:
"This is a struggle and a fight!"
Either bourgeoisie or proletariat class.
Yours is our life.

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[Economics]
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Response to People Against Racist Terror

This is a response to the article "PART's Perspective: The Missing Ingredient" by Michael Novick in the Jan-March 2011 issue of Turning the Tide - Journal of the Anti-Racist Action Research & Education.

The article begins by asking the question, "What is the recipe for a revolutionary transformation of this society?" and then goes on to cite a litany of "evidence" for its need including melting glaciers, massive high school drop out rates, declining housing market and other social-economic problems.

The author then asks, speaking about these obvious problems and oppressive realities faced by the people on a daily basis, "...if the evidence is so clear, why is the population so docile?...what happened, in the US, to the in-the-streets anti-war movement, or the anti-globalization movement before it?"

The answer to these questions is clear when we do a revolutionary analysis of class society: the so-called "working-class" in the United $tates has been bought off by the capitalist class and become a labor aristocracy, especially the white working class. This class has absolutely no material interest in revolution. In fact, before they would join the anti-imperialist movement, we'll see them in fascist revolution. That's what the Tea Party and neo-confederates represent.

Without a doubt or contradiction, since the election of the neo-colonial President Obama, there has been an increase in hate crimes and membership in neo-nazi organizations. However, these must be challenged with counter-forces equal to or stronger than theirs. And, this can't be done by appeals to moralism, focoism or adventurism, but by organizing the people on a realistic basis to confront this problem with strength, intelligence and diligence, lest we fool ourselves: again!

The only people who truly have a material interest in revolutionizing this society are prisoners, undocumented workers and the youth (who'll be called upon in later years to fight, kill and die for imperialism or who will suffer from a fucked up environment.) These forces must unite with the international proletariat in the Third World who face the worst of imperialism on a daily basis. In our current situation the principal political task is organizing of the oppressed around a solid political line in order to build and construct our own independent institutions.

While the overall meaning behind "The Missing Ingredient" is progressive and agitational, it seems to me that the author was trying to moralize to the very social parasites who benefit so greatly from imperialism. Rest assured that they recognize their privileged status in relation to the rest of the world and are not gonna give it up without a bloody fight.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this assessment of Michael Novick's article. Like the revolutionary bourgeois nationalists, Anti-Racist Action has a similar historical assessment of U.$. imperialism to Maoism, leading to a strong criticism of settlers, and privileged white people. And while their recognition of the need for self-determination of internal semi-colonies makes them worthy allies, they too end up dreaming of a Socialist Republic of North America based in bridging the divide of class unity with white workers.

This comrade's warning should not be taken lightly. As imperialist crisis is likely to worsen in the near future, these wavering allies will want more and more to see a revolutionary upsurge in the richest, most reactionary nation on the planet. Instead, we must follow the example of the Third International in World War II, who ditched the "social-fascists" who wavered in the face of war and crisis. Drawing hard lines on who are our friends and who are our enemies is a question of life and death for countless people in the future.

For a deeper assessment of Amerikans' status in the current economic situation see our article on the housing crisis as well as the MIM Theory journals on the labor aristocracy: MT1 and MT10 and the more recent theory journal: Imperialism and its Class Structure in 1997.

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[Security]
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Social Networking, Smartphones and Reliance on the Masses

Social Networking
This article is aimed particularly at the young reader born into the current culture of mass communication. The concepts aren't new. We just want to highlight the implications of state surveillance, which is a reality for anyone seeking social change in a state whose primary concern is maintaining the oppressive social order under imperialism.

One of the important tasks of intelligence is to develop a map of the networks of those being surveilled. This simple fact is too often ignored in our culture today, where technology has electronically and permanently connected us. What used to at least require a warrant sent to your phone company is now public information for most people in the United $tates today who regularly use social networking through the internet and their cell phones.

To an extent, the omnipresence of these technologies in Amerikan lives have made people more conscious of this vulnerability. Yet, very few involved in voicing opinions in favor of a world without oppression actually incorporate this knowledge into their practice. Largely this is a class issue where the petty bourgeoisie feels safe living in a bourgeois democracy. In much more remote parts of the world, there is a greater understanding of the need for encryption and shielding one's identity because the consequences are life and death.

MIM(Prisons) doesn't engage in baseless alarmism to mobilize people, but this is a case where you should be considering worst case scenarios, like how a fascist government might carry out a witch-hunt for "communists" and "terrorists" using public information on the internet.

When struggling with allies about security, we regularly get the response, "I'm already on all their lists." It's often a point of pride to say this. But the oppressed know that getting on a list has real consequences. In addition, anyone who has studied COINTELPRO knows that the government is interested in more than just your name, but our sense of comfort here in the belly of the beast leads to lazy practices and nihilistic attitudes towards security.

Like we said, this isn't about persecuting people for thought crimes, though that has happened countless times to U.$. citizens as a result of information posted on the internet. COINTELPRO was about disrupting movements. It is far too easy for a fat pig sitting at his desk to know who young activists are in touch with, and what they are doing when and where. Using this information the imperialist state can be very strategic in how it uses its various tools of repression. With the current state of security culture, technology has given the oppressor the advantage, but this does not have to be the case.

After All the Tweeting, Now What?

As we work on finishing the first draft of this article, the U.$. media is talking about popular demonstrations against governments in Tunisia and Egypt and their use of Twitter and Facebook. Tweeting is a good way to mobilize a flash mob; it is not a good way to build people's power. It is about as effective as banging a pot in the street. While we don't mean to dismiss these recent movements in particular, there is plenty of history to show that spontaneous demonstrations do not save lives or improve conditions — capitalism continues on.

We've already addressed some of the class issues surrounding the dependence on technology like Twitter elsewhere. Twitter is also an example of corporations defining cultural trends. It almost seems there was a law passed last year that every corporate media entity had to mention Twitter once every 20 minutes on their programming. This free advertising should raise questions around a company that has already openly worked with the U.$. government to overthrow foreign regimes and repress resistance within this country. Despite arrests for such activities, people continue to use Twitter to report from protests in the U.$. without any attempt to cloak the identities of themselves or others involved. Meanwhile, Twitter remains mainly a tool to promote capitalist consumption through advertising.(1)

Speculation aside, it is not the intents of the corporations that we should fear (or rely on); it is the nature of the technology that makes us vulnerable. An independent, nonprofit, open-source social network does not address the main problem here, which is internet-based, public social networking itself.

More recently, the trend is to be able to Tweet, Facebook and Google on your phone. Mobile phones are generally attached to our identity and track your location at all times, while allowing remote monitoring of voice, video (which is generally ubiquitous on phones these days) and of course any worldwide web traffic. While this information would nominally require a warrant, in recent years AT&T has complained that the National Security Agencies requests for these wiretaps have become overly burdensome on the monopolizing telecommunications company, indicating that such wiretapping is far from rare.

Other than building networks, spies like to build profiles of individuals. Today's mobile phones and computers are walking profiles on many Amerikans. Even if you don't use a "smart" phone, if you don't separate your work from your persynal life you are exposing yourself. Every time you do a Google search while logged into Gmail, or access information through Facebook, your activity is connected to your identity. And of course, any internet activity from home is connected to your IP address.

Stop Worshipping Bourgeois Culture

There is a tendency that jumps on every trend, saying "if only we could get an ad that looks like that, if only we could get a Facebook group, if only we could produce hot music" then the masses would listen. A real revolutionary culture needs to be setting the trends and not just copying bourgeois forms and relying on bourgeois institutions. Without independent institutions of the oppressed we have no power over the message we put out and the work that gets done in the name of social progress.

Again, for those who were born into this culture of social networking through the internet, you need to rethink your relationship to the bourgeois institutions that shape your life.

We are not arguing against using the internet or other technology. We are only pushing people to understand the potential and likely consequences before they use it. MIM made great inroads by being a trendsetter in online publishing. Today's technology makes it easier and safer to use the internet, if you study how to do it correctly.

If you don't have the patience to learn internet security or don't believe in it because "Big Brother knows all," then don't go online. There should be Maoist work that is not known to the internet. We must combat the thinking that "it can be Googled, therefore it exists." The internet should be a place to study, to find answers, to debate and to agitate in the realm of ideas. It should not provide a quick and easy snapshot of who we are, what we're doing, when, where or how many we are.

Wannabe Documentarians

While cell phone cameras were celebrated in the exposure of the assassination of Oscar Grant by BART police in Oakland, California, they are also helping the police do their job every day. It is hard to go to any sort of political event without being surveilled by dozens of unidentified people. This means that 1) the pigs can sit on their asses looking at Indymedia websites and watching amateur videos on YouTube to see who is frequenting what events, and 2) undercover (or not) pigs can be very open in their efforts to record people at these events.

Closed meetings should not even allow cell phones in the proximity of the meeting. That may be difficult for events open to the public, but people should not be able to come in and record without any accountability. And if you want to record your own events for later use, don't record people that have not given their permission. People recording the audience should be treated with suspicion and should be stopped.

All of this is connected to who are our friends and who are our enemies. Anti-imperialist comrades should weigh the costs and benefits of doing outreach at events that are swamped with strong Amerikanism. The cell strategy should be studied and applied in a way that one only organizes with those one knows. And one should learn to swim in the sea of people they find themselves amongst. The sea we have to swim in in North America is a sea of white nationalism, so blending in isn't always appealing, but it is that much more important. Relying on the masses means looking to the world's majority who have an interest in overthrowing imperialism. Being part of the struggles of the real masses cannot happen through Tweets and Facebook groups. Building a strong movement requires keeping a distance from these institutions of the oppressor and building our own infrastructure.

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[Civil Liberties] [Abuse] [California State Prison, Solano] [California]
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Brutality Under Color of State Law

As I laid there on my prison issued bunk, nursing my wounds and pains, I thought back to the very day I was sentenced to prison. Did my sentence also include occasional excessive force? Did the judge also pronounce contrived rule violations as part of my sentence? Were all my constitutional rights relinquished that day? I don't recall the judge asserting anything to that fact. But evidently, brutality perpetuated Under the Color of State Law is an inherited trait of prison.

The term "Under Color of State Law" means that civil rights were violated by an individual or individuals who at the time of the violation were employed by the local, State, or Federal government.

Since brutality under Color of State Law is so prevalent, it would be appropriate if the sentencing Judge would state the obvious during the sentencing phase of whatever crime a person was convicted of. The Judge could say something to the fact, "I'm sentencing you to 10 years in prison, plus some occasional excessive force, which will be administrated by various rogue Correctional Officers throughout the course of your confinement. In addition, you will also be subjected to several contrived rule violations. The frequency of these false rule reports will depend on the utter lack of integrity and the psychopathy of each rogue Officer." At least this information would give a person facing incarceration a heads up. Time to mentally prepare themselves for the Guantanamo Bay-style treatment that will be visited upon them.

During the course of Correctional Officer B. Johnson's assault on me, I felt as if I were somehow transported to a Third World country where human rights and regulation did not exist. Apparently, my assailant felt the same. How else could he feel so at ease with openly violating my civil rights, right there in front of two other officers, who evidently concurred with B. Johnson's views on civil rights? Maybe the three officers forgot they were in Amerika? That they were correctional officers employed to uphold the law in a system governed by the U.S. Constitution? Or just maybe they forgot that I am a human being? Officer B. Johnson did call me a "Jungle Bunny." But if that were the case, shouldn't animal rights have protected me that night? Here in America, if you harm an animal, you will go to jail. Who knows what the three officer's were or were not thinking. Whatever it was, the shear, sadism of it all was revealed that night.

The assault was witnessed by two prisoners. Both were housed in a cell that gave them a direct view of the incident as it took place. One prisoner, who initially claimed that he witnessed the assault, later recanted his story. He became a confidential informant. He had alleged to the investigating Officers that I conspired to falsely write up B. Johnson for assault. He was originally placed in the hole for a cell fight, whereupon he threw hot boiling water on his cellmate. His cellmate received 3rd degree burns on his face and chest area. At that time he was facing a segregated program (SHU term) for assault on a prisoner with a weapon (hot water), causing serious injury. Also a possible DA referral. But all that disappeared after he provided false confidential information concerning B. Johnson's role in the assault. This prisoner was released from the hole and placed on Corcoran's SNY yard, which is a protective custody yard, equivalent to Disneyland.

Officer B. Jonson, has a history of assaulting prisoners in handcuffs. Now I have a permanent shoulder injury. I will need surgery at some point. I have received physical therapy treatment.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade's assessment that prison sentences in Amerika come with implicit brutality and both physical and mental abuse. These go well beyond the legal punishments supposedly a part of criminal "justice" in this country. As this abuse is standard in Amerikan prisons, we disagree that the perpetrators are "rogue officers." We need to expose this systematic brutality and organize towards a level of unity that will make it very difficult for individuals to turn against their fellow prisoners, and where the guards know that we have the numbers to fight back and prevent this violence.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 19]
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Battle at HDSP Gains Official Attention

On 19 January 2011 High Desert State Prison (HDSP) was visited by administrators from the headquarters of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in Sacramento, as well as the inspector general. These administrators finally listened to the many complaints from prisoners and outside advocacy groups and started an investigation into the corrupt policies and actions in place here at HDSP. In this struggle, MIM(Prisons) was instrumental in sending us petitions to submit regarding the appeals process.

This investigation had two parts. It was carried out by several administrators and started in the morning and continued into the early evening. Several prisoners were interviewed, some once, while others twice. I was one of those who was interviewed twice, first by a Correctional Counselor II from headquarters. We discussed the appeals process here at HDSP. During this interview we mostly talked about how our appeals are continuously screened out, denied, lost or simply ignored. The interviewer asked meaningful and intelligent questions and took detailed notes, and he appeared surprised by the lack of meaningful access to the appeals process. This interview only lasted between 10 and 15 minutes.

Later that same day, at around 5:45 p.m., I was again taken from my cell for an interview. This time it was with a captain from headquarters (Sacramento) and the inspector general. During this interview I was told that they, Sacramento CDCR Headquarters, were doing these interviews due to the pressure and complaints coming into Sacramento from prisoners, advocacy groups, and prisoners' families. They said they were simply conducting fact-finding interviews. This interview was more in-depth than the morning interview. We discussed a wide range of topics during the interview from the mass validations of the northern Hispanics on 4 August 2009, the poor conditions here in Z-unit (administrative segregation), to the many violations of our constitutional rights. Again the interviewers asked many valid questions and took notes, giving the appearance of taking things seriously. I did not buy into the act.

During this meeting they showed me copies of petitions I had mailed out which included the MIM(Prisons) grievance petition. I don't know if this is going to make any difference because I think (and hopefully I'm wrong) this was only a smoke and mirror show to attempt to pacify those of us who are fighting against these corrupt and unjust policies. But only time will tell how big a victory this truly was, because it was a victory!

I seriously doubt anything comes of this so-called investigation that is a significant improvement to the quality of life for us here in the zoo (Z-Unit). The reason I think this is the day after the Sacramento officials left HDSP, staff on Z-Unit started their retaliation. They cut our food portions almost in half, and the law library was denied to those of us who are Priority Library Users and have court deadlines. So I expect things will go back to normal in a week or two. Its the same every time anyone visits up here. One of the Sgts did say that they are totally redesigning the entire appeals process and we did get beanies (to protect us from the cold on the yard).

However this is not enough, we cannot afford to be satisfied with this token gesture of a beanie and some promises. No, we must continue to fight and put the pressure on HDSP until we are given all of our rights as well as everything we are entitled to by law and common human decency.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Contact us for more information about the campaign to end the Z-Unit Zoo, and the grievance campaign which is active in multiple states. If there are problems with the grievance system where you're at, spread it to yours!

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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 19]
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Murders at Klinton

I am just checking in with current cowardly acts perpetrated by cowardly Kkklinton (Clinton Correctional Facility in New York). (see ULK 17)

The murder of Mr. Leonard Strickland(see 1,2) last October 3rd 2010 in upper F Block has now been termed "death by natural causes" by channel 5 news media in Vermont.

More recently, corrupt klansmen under disguise of law abiding civil servants jumped on a 5'6" 147lbs man. And get this, one of the cowards, CO Barnaby, is also one of the murderers of Mr. Strickland. The others involved in this particular incident of brutal assault are COs L. Bezio whose family members are numerous here in Kkklinton and CO B. LeClair whose family members are also employees of facilities here in northern New York, including Kkklinton.

The behavior of these corrupt officials is very onerous, especially when their superior acting Deputy Superintendent, Captain of Security Facteau makes statements such as "this is a dictatorship, not a democracy," a statement that is relayed amongst all employees giving them the green light to violate even the prisoners' minimum standards.

Maybe one of these days the lumpen will unite as one and focus on our real enemies?

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