January 2011 will be a legislature year in Texas. A petition has been put on the internet to ask our state leaders to reform the Texas parole board system, a tyranny agency ruining thousands of lives, in prison and in our own society. For some years now, since the mysterious death of David Ruiz (a Brown brother who achieved federal action to demand prison reform in Texas) we continue to raise awareness of the new and old injustices of the "justice" system as it pertains to parole.
Texas prisoners are not granted parole, even though they have done everything possible to be eligible for parole as required by their Inmate Treatment Plan (ITP). When the judge, the lawyers for both sides, and the offender all agree to a sentence, why does the parole board have the right to deny the parole because they decide the prisoner hasn't served enough time? Doesn't make sense or seem fair, does it? Prisoners have a time calculated date which is the parole eligibility date and those having met their ITP requirements should automatically make parole on that date. As the system works now, prisoners can not know whether they can exercise their special review rights, effectively ask for a review, or even know why or if they have been turned down, because they do not have access to their files. It is impossible for anyone to know if they have been falsely or wrongly accused of a transgression while incarcerated. If information has been erroneously placed in the file that may actually belong to another prisoner, or if their parole is being thwarted by a campaign by others they won't know. They can not know if rules have been violated or if evidences that would prove their worthiness for the privilege of parole is actually in their file.
Good time is currently not calculated or used to achieve parole or financial compensation for prisoner labor. At present it is awarded but discounted as part of the parole process (ignored and not honored), meaning modern day slavery is going on. The system currently continues to vindictively punish even the "ideal" prisoners who have been rehabilitated (which supposedly is the goal of the incarceration) making them wonder why they keep trying and causing them to lose all capacity for hope as the promised parole is disregarded and becomes one setback after another. In addition it callously wrecks the lives of families and children of prisoners who suffer needlessly while trying to find some reason for the parole board's coldness and tyrannical practices acting above the laws of the land.
Taxpayers are being robbed of funds by the corrupt parole practices. Prisoners in Texas seem to be the exception to the 13th amendment of the U$ constitution abolishing slavery as a large amount of capital is raised by the prison work generated by the incarcerated people now in prison. However, in the united states of america we should not allow slavery for state and corporate profit. It is criminal in itself to keep prisoners incarcerated for financial benefit by enslaving inmates past their parole eligibility date when they prove that they have gotten rehabilitated and qualify for parole release.
If you want to help change these parole injustices, please have your families and friends go to the following website and sign the petition: www.petitiononline.com/tcb123/petition.html Also please have them write each one of their representatives.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this prisoner that the parole system in Texas, and throughout the criminal injustice system in the U$, does not work, not even by the laws of this illegal government. We find the demands in the petition agreeable in that they would lead to a general reduction in imprisonment in Texas.
However, disagree with the common misperception that the U$ prison monstrosity is driven by a desire to exploit prison labor. Certainly the workers benefiting from their well paid jobs running the prisons have an interest in denying parole, and the politicians who want the votes of the workers and their families, share this interest. But as we explained in an article on the U.$. prison economy, prison labor can offset some of the costs of imprisonment, but prisons are not profitable. They are a tool of the government that both provide jobs for the mostly oppressor-nation labor aristocracy workers while providing social control of the mostly oppressed nation population that is incarcerated. The U$ prison system is a massive suck on superprofits extracted from the Third World to pay staff and provide basic needs for those imprisoned. This is one of the costs of operation the imperialists are willing to pay, not something they are making money off of. That an industry has developed around this massive project is only a product of this reality that helps tie labor aristocracy interests to the imperialist state.
United Front is the theory of uniting different groups across class lines for a common goal or interest, while maintaining independence where those groups disagree. The application of united front theory is about recognizing different contradictions in society and utilizing them in the interests of the international proletariat. The primary united front is the Anti-Imperialist United Front, which is made up of the majority of the world's people whose material interests lie in defeating imperialism. This is a strategic united front based on the principal contradiction.
In this article we will address a couple of contemporary issues in the United $tates and analyze their potential for united front work. We'll see that many of the big conflicts in a First World country are between the enemy classes, but that does not always mean we sit on the sidelines. Some forms of united front are tactical and require fast action based on thorough knowledge. To successfully navigate the potential for united front in the First World that serves the interests of the Third World proletariat we must first have a correct analysis of our conditions. The first section of this article provides a quick background to get us started.
Land, Housing and the Settler Nation
One of the arguments made against the labor aristocracy thesis is that corporations have no interest in sacrificing profit to pay First World workers more, and there is no corporate conspiracy to enforce such a policy. This is based in the theory of free market capitalism, or only reading the beginning chapters of Marx's Capital and treating that as an accurate model of reality in all places for all time. As a class, capitalists do depend on the labor aristocracy, not just politically, but economically as consumers and cogs in their growing pyramid scheme of finance capital. And there is at least one place where the U.$. imperialists can exert their will as a class (more and more these days) - it's called the U.$. government. The promotion of home ownership by the feds is one of the biggest examples of the imperialists consciously building a labor aristocracy within the heart of the empire.
Home ownership has been a staple of Amerikan wealth since the settlers stole this land from the First Nations and built their homesteads on it. The net worth of Amerikan families compared to First Nations and those descended from slaves in the U.$. is one legacy of this form of primitive accumulation. While land ownership among the earliest European invaders was 100% (that's why they came to the Americas), by the 1775 War of Independence, land ownership was still at 70% for the Euro-Amerikan nation.(1) Arghiri Emmanuel pointed out that Amerikan wages were able to stay so high in this early period of capitalist development, even as land ownership ceased to be universal, because the abundant "free" land stolen from the First Nations provided a fallback plan for European settlers.(2) This primitive accumulation through genocide was the basis for wealth that the Amerikan labor aristocracy enjoyed as industrialization transformed more of the settlers into wage laborers.
Following the inter-imperialist struggles of WWI, the United $tates became the dominant imperialist power. The influx of wealth that came with this allowed for the integration of southern and eastern European immigrants into the white nation leading up to the Great Depression.(1) From 1900 to 1950, home ownership rates in the United $tates averaged about 45%, with the lowest rates in the Black Belt South and the highest in European dominated northwest states.(3) After the economic recovery that came with the spoils of WWII, the United $tates embarked on the suburbanization of Amerika with numerous incentives from the federal government to bring home ownership above 60% again.
Since 1960, home ownership has stayed above 60% for U.$. citizens as a whole.(4) This rate was above 70% for white Amerikans in recent years, but the census does not have comparable statistics by race going back very far. Blacks and Latinos are just under 50% for rates of home ownership, even though national oppression has ensured that they currently face foreclosure disproportionately.
Emmanuel's theories in Unequal Exchange demonstrate how the significantly higher incomes of people in the First World actually transfer wealth to the imperialist countries from the Third World, reinforcing their economic advantage. Similarly, the oppressor nation has equity and is able to increase wealth in ways that the internal semi-colonies have not been able to do despite access to exploiter level jobs. All of this fits with the general trend of capitalism, which is the accumulation of capital. The more you have, the more you tend to get.
Collapse of the U.$. Housing Market
The left wing of white nationalism (whether self-described anarchists, socialists, Maoists or Democrats) has been saying that the increase in home foreclosures is an indication of the heightening contradictions between the Amerikan proletariat and the capitalists. These people defend the stolen land that was the foundation of wealth for settler Amerika, and the modern home ownership pyramid scheme that is the foundation of the Amerikan dream today.
Not only have millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years, but fear-mongers point out that the “2008 sub-prime mortgage market resulted in the disappearance of $13 trillion in American household wealth between mid-2007 and March 2009... on average, U.S. households lost one quarter of their wealth in that period."(5) Such alarmists ignore that Amerikans gained $10 trillion from 2006 to 2007 to reach an all-time high, and that net worth of the country's citizens has generally gone up at increasing rates since WWII.(6) The bigger ups and downs in all financial markets are certainly signs of crisis, but to act like Amerikans are being sunk to Third World conditions in 2010 is ludicrous. If only these activists would cry so loud for those who really have had to live in Third World conditions for their whole lives and for generations!
Most, if not all, of the loss in Amerikans' net worth is accounted for by stock portfolios and values of homes (which are bought and sold like stocks these days); in other words losses in finance capital. Traditionally, the petty bourgeoisie in Marxism was not exploited, nor did it significantly exploit others. To claim that those who reap profits from investments of finance capital are anything less than petty bourgeoisie is a rejection of Marxist definitions. With home ownership around 68% in recent years, that is a solid two thirds of people in the United $tates who fall squarely into the category of petty bourgeoisie or higher, including 50% of Blacks and Latinos (minimum). This group is 210 million people, or only 3% of the world's population in 2010, yet they hold more net wealth than the total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies in the world.(7)
Our critics point to the great wealth inequalities within the United $tates as reason to organize Amerikans for revolution. So let's just look at the bottom 80% of Amerikans, who owned 15% (a mere scrap from the table if you will) of the net wealth in the United $tates in 2007 (and this was a 15-year low for them).(8) While their share has decreased a few percentage points since 1983, total net worth in the United $tates has increased by almost 5 times. Therefore the lowest 80% of Amerikans went from about $2.2 trillion in net worth in 1983 to almost $10 trillion in 2007. (Two trillion dollars could eliminate world hunger for the next 66 years, until 2076.(9)) "Middle class" Amerika has assets that are greater than the GDP of China,(10) the world's industrial powerhouse representing about 20% of the world's population. That's comparing just the Amerikan "middle class" and "poor" to the whole nation of China, including its well-developed capitalist class.
Since the proletariat, by definition, has negligible net worth in the form of assets, let's look at their income.(11) Income generally increases proportionately with net worth across the globe.(12) Almost half of the world's population lives on less than $1000 per year. That is 3.14 billion people living on less than $3 trillion in a year.(13) Now before we condemn Amerikans' huge assets, let's make sure that they just aren't better at saving and investing their money than the proletariat. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifty percent accounted for only 7.2% of consumption.(13) A conservative estimate leaves us with Amerikans, on average, consuming at least 27 times the average persyn in the poorest half of the world.(14) So money management skills cannot explain Amerika's huge net worth.
A just, sustainable humyn society requires the Amerikan labor aristocracy to be brought down to consumer levels much closer to the Third World. But this little exercise demonstrates that this is far from happening, despite the alarmists' cries.
Ultimately, the contradiction we're describing is between the labor aristocracy and the imperialists. The imperialists, in particular finance capital, are a dynamic, opportunist class. In contrast, the labor aristocracy benefits from stability of the status quo. The finance capitalists were able to make quick profits by selling the labor aristocracy short, so Amerikans are pissed. While perhaps pushing the labor aristocracy towards fascism, the finance capitalists are also undercutting the consumerism of Amerikans that their system depends on so much. What we are witnessing is an internal contradiction in the imperialist system playing out. Both groups control trillions of dollars in super-profits from the Third World, and the Anti-Imperialist United Front has no interest in one of them getting more than the other. We need to keep sitting this one out.
Migration to the United $tates
As discussed above, high wages and ballooning housing values reinforce themselves in our current economic system, making the rich richer. However, neither could be maintained without erecting a border outside of which these two things cannot flow. Therefore, keeping wages and housing values high is directly linked to the battle over increasing repression of migrant laborers within U.$. borders. The contradiction in this struggle is between oppressed nations who are trying to gain access to jobs in the United $tates and the oppressor nation that is trying to keep them out. This challenge to imperialist country privilege indicates that the battle for migrant rights is part of the anti-imperialist struggle.
While Third World people and some Amerikan youth faced Amerikan labor aristocrats on the streets, it was the U.$. District Court that put in place an injunction on most of the provisions of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 (SB1070), in light of a lawsuit filed by the U.$. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the state of Arizona. The DOJ held that immigration was under federal jurisdiction, and that they had a plan for the whole country to balance its various interests related to immigration that Arizona would not be allowed to mess up.
The interest of the bourgeois internationalists is in having free access to markets and labor, not to mention international relations. This camp includes the federal government and their finance capitalist backers as well as smaller businesses that only operate in the United $tates, but depend on migrant labor. Their conflict is with other bourgeois interests and the bourgeoisified majority of Amerikans whose position of privilege stems from the elitism of who is allowed to enter their fortress of jewels.
There is effectively a united front between the internationalism of the mass resistance to SB1070 on both sides of the Mexican border and the U.$. government acting on behalf of bourgeois internationalism. And for now, it is the imperialists who are really throwing a wrench in the works for Amerikans, even though the contradiction at its base is between oppressed nations and the oppressor nation.
A majority of Amerikans in a number of polls supported SB1070 or a similar law. The highest percentage listed in one article, 79%, did not agree that "illegal aliens are entitled to the same rights and basic freedoms as U.S. citizens."(15) This is the definition of Amerikan chauvinism. At best, one fifth of U.$. citizens don't think they deserve more than other humyn beings by virtue of being born in the United $tates. This is why we even keep an eye on the imperialists for glimmers of internationalism in the First World.
With Latinos, we can see how quickly this consciousness develops by tracking the percentage of coconuts in the population over time. A Latino Decisions poll found that 12% of second-generation Latino voters in Arizona supported SB1070. By the fourth generation it had increased to 30% supporting the coconut position.(16) Amerikanism is an insidious disease that has claimed significant portions of the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates.
Unite All Who Can Be United
While many dogmatists still criticize Mao for allying the Chinese Communists with the national bourgeoisie, we can take united front theory even further and come up with examples of progressive forces allying with the government of the imperialist superpower of the world against an oppressor nation. This goes to show that we cannot let ultra-left ideas of purity prevent us from allying with those who might help our cause.
The rightist errors in applying united front theory happen when we have incorrect lines elsewhere. Not recognizing a united front as working with an enemy class, or becoming convinced that other contradictions have been resolved, and not just pushed to a secondary position, are the main forms of rightism to guard against. Mao had to fight much rightism from other communists who thought the communists and national bourgeois forces should merge into one, where inevitably the reactionary bourgeoisie would lead because of their relative power. Rightism in the United $tates looks like people getting caught up with legislative battles over migrant rights. Without national liberation, there is no freedom for oppressed nations under imperialism. The imperialists will always oppose that, just as the Nationalists fought the Communists in civil war once the Japanese were forced out.
We do not seek unity for the sake of unity. We seek unity that utilizes all the forces possible to tackle the principal contradiction, or battles that push the principal contradiction forward. When we find strategic unity with others, the united front also provides a basis for unity-criticism-unity, which advances the struggle and deepens the unity of revolutionaries and all oppressed people for a better future.
by a North Carolina prisoner August 2010 permalink
I am currently on I-Con [lockdown] for assault on staff, but the write up was false. In December 2009 an officer was told to write me up for assault because I refused to sit down in the day room. She called me out by name and then told me to go to my bunk. As I was going to pass her she stood in my way so that she was blocking my path, and she said I pushed her. Prisoners later told me that while I was in segregation she stated I never touched her, and that she wrote me up because she had the authority to do so.
In June 2010 my room got searched while I was still on I-Con for the assault charge, and I got written up for another assault on staff charge as well as destruction of state property and disrespect. They charged me with assault because the officer told me to drop my socks outside of my trap door. So I dropped them out my door because I was following a direct order. Now it's four officers standing outside my door and this particular officer is standing right in front of my door when the sock falls on his foot. So he says that I threw a sock at him. Officers claim I "assaulted" him but one of them told me that you can't assault anybody with a sock and she never saw me assault anyone but she wrote a statement claiming I did.
Even if I did what they claim, the charge A-3 assault on staff is for "throwing objects that are likely to produce injury or by any other means hitting, kicking and pushing." A sock doesn't produce injury and they claimed it hit him in the leg. I've never known a sock to injure anyone. The only reason I was found guilty is because it was the word of two officers and a sergeant and I had no witness. But the evidence that I asked to be submitted was never submitted in my case. I'm currently appealing the charge.
Greetings to everyone standing up for prisoners and human rights. My red fist goes to all MIM social or prison reformers who continue to carry truth, facts and hard struggles in their hearts against a democracy that does not serve all equally but serves the few rich imperialist greedy elites. MIM(Prisons) is speaking hardcore about a reality destroying many all over Amerika, especially those in prison of Black or Brown crimes, also known as the "War on Drugs." I am not trying to justify that smuggling or selling drugs should be permitted. Yet thousands now sit in prison with long harsh prison sentences that usually don't even balance out to such drug crimes. For example, in Texas the court judge gives you a certain prison sentence for drug crimes so that when you're up for parole the parole will be denied for reasons like "excessive amount." These reasons will be used each time you go for parole, not only violating Texas parole board policies but state law and U$ Constitution Amendments like the double jeopardy clause.
The Fifth Amendment of the U$ Constitution states, "…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…" This clause assures three basic protections: it protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal, it protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction, and finally it protects against multiple punishments for the same offense.
Violating the double jeopardy clause qualifies as a constitutional violation in satisfaction of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, Pub. L. No 104-134. 110 Stat. 1321. When evidence indicates the parole board has violated the U$ Constitution the matter may be reviewed by a Federal Court pursuant to §1983.
2011 will be a legislature year. Black, Brown and other brothers in prison in Texas should ask their family and friends to protest such failed parole policies, state laws or constitutional amendments, now broken by this war on drugs by homeland terrorists calling themselves our nation's leaders.
The War on Drugs is not only a failed war on drug dealers, but against our families and communities, especially the Brown barrios and Black ghettos which many have always called home. The war on drugs sole purpose was to be able to create a new home, called prison, now filled with prisoners for drug crimes under harsh laws of sentencing ruining thousands of lives. And even our nation seems to be under attack by a democracy that serves more the rich than the poor or needy ones. I encourage others to draft protest petitions or letters and have their loved ones send them to John Whitmore who is a Texas Senator in charge of The Sunset Commission looking into this kind of prison violation.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We condemn this practice of refusing prisoners parole based on their original sentence, but we can learn from history that elections are not the answer to the problems of the oppressed. The imperialists and their supporters will be elected, and candidates truly serving the people will never gain any real power in the United $tates through elections. However, we can exert pressure on the criminal injustice system through protest letters and actions. Sometimes we can win small gains for the people through these struggles. And there is nothing wrong with using election time to push a progressive cause, just keep in mind that many legislators get elected on a "get tough on crime" platform. All this rhetoric is bullshit that has nothing to do with the reality of crime and punishment in Amerikkka, but the publicity is important to politicians so they are probably less likely to take progressive action in an election year if it might make them look "soft on crime."
Brothers we got to correct our backward thinking. You call yourself OGs? Black gangsters got no lore for a Black-men, never have, but you play the script well? OG why blind our youths with lies, false hope, why give them guns to do your dirty work? OG you leave prison wrap up with the right knowledge, but jump right back in the life, and call yourself an OG, but in prison you was fumbata now you are Mac-G. This madness got to stop whatever street tribes you claim: South, East, West, North, and in between, we got to rise above stop lying to our youths, like this is the best of lives being in these concentration kamps, doing time have never been cool, now these kids think it's part of life in order to get OG status. This false status got to die.
This is a call to all older OGs to say stop this false status among our youths. Here in Tennessee we are reversing the old time order of things, we refuse to be followers of reactionary ideals. Our family falls in line with comrade brother George Jackson ideals, Mr. OG please kill that statue. The law of the land is very real. Mr OG you will be judged by your deeds. The klan loves your status, cause they know you will continue to let our youths kill one another. The STG also love your status. Tag by your name Mr OG-Gangster.
This war is real, as the blood that flows on the streets. Mr. OG our youths look up to us inside of these concentration kamps. The judicial system don't care about our youths, we got to save them from this madness. They listen to us and they want to be like us. I've spent half my life in prisons and saw these OGs play the role real good. This system has always been a sanctuary to preserve and proliferate the criminal mentality.
Mr OG, let's rise up, you are the shot caller. Want to kill someone? - hit that criminal mentality - kill it, and bring to life the revolutionary mentality. As comrade brother George Jackson said, we got to transform the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality. Let's save our kids. In doing so we also save ourselves. To deceive others is reprehensible, to deceive ourselves is a damn tragedy.
This Report is an analysis of the censorship experienced by MIM(Prisons) from July 2009 through June 2010. In January 2008, MIM(Prisons) released our first censorship report, documenting what we can and can't get into which prisons. Last year we decided it would be best to analyze our censorship status annually instead of biannually because it often takes months to determine the status of a piece of mail.
To compile this data we rely solely on censored mail that is returned to us by mailroom staff and reports from prisoners themselves. From July 2009 to June 2010, we sent in five digits worth of mail, of which 83% were unconfirmed as received or censored. In the last reporting period, only 80% of the mail was unconfirmed. This trend shows us that even less people are reporting what mail they've gotten from us than last year, which makes drawing conclusions from our records nearly impossible. For example, when reading the state-by-state chart, it is important to remember that "no censorship reported" does not mean that all the mail got in, just that we don't know what happened. Some states with no censorship reported were: Colorado were 96% of the mail was unconfirmed; in Indiana 92%; in Mississippi 93%, and in Nebraska and New Hampshire, 100% of the mail was unreported.
This lack of data continues despite the fact that every issue of Under Lock & Key and many of our letters request that subscribers tell us what they receive from us and when each time they write. At our congress this summer we voted to adjust our policies to require subscribers to notify us of their mail status in order to stay on our mailing list. We have started sending comrades we are in correspondence with Unconfirmed Mail Forms that will list what mail we have sent them that we do not know the status of to encourage reporting. But even if you don't receive one of these forms, you should still let us know what you get from MIM Distributors or MIM(Prisons). In fact, if you tell us what you get from us before we send out the form you'll save us printing and postage costs!
Across the country, it appears that our censorship is gradually decreasing. However, if we aren't facing state repression, then we're probably doing something wrong politically. For this reason, we don't expect to ever be completely free of censorship while the United $tates is still an imperialist state. We attribute these decreases to the hard work our comrades inside have been doing to file appeals when their mail gets censored. Another reason it may appear that our censorship status is decreasing is our incomplete data — there may be censorship in places that we just don't know about.
Prisoners' Legal Clinic
In the last year we started coordinating our legal efforts in a more structured way with comrades inside through the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic. Members of the PLC have edited and added to the Censorship Guide that we send to prisoners who have had our lit censored; shared info and analysis about important legal issues relating to our anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist work of fighting censorship and political repression; and contributed several articles to the legal strategy issue of ULK issue 13. In this reporting year, we doubled the amount of Censorship Guides we sent out in the previous reporting year, so the help we've gotten on this guide is invaluable. We hope the PLC will eventually expand to offer counseling and preparation assistance to comrades filing anti-censorship lawsuits in the next year.
The PLC is facilitated by MIM(Prisons) but it is only as useful as the comrades who are contributing to it from the inside. Anyone who wants to engage in this important work should hook up with the PLC via MIM(Prisons); no experience necessary.
Grieving Censorship is Crucial
At Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, Under Lock & Key issue 9 was censored from dozens of comrades because of alleged "STG references and depictions of violence." A prisoner filed a grievance, and Central Review in Springfield approved ULK 9 for entry into Menard CC. We only received confirmation from this one prisoner that he received the newsletter, so it is possible that Central Review only permitted it to him. That is one example of why it is so important to file grievances about censorship.
In November 2009 we reported that the ban of literature from the Maoist Internationalist Movement was lifted in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR. Even after this settlement, High Desert State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison still returned or trashed all mail from MIM Distributors. Finally, in April 2010, High Desert Warden Mike D. McDonald assured us that ULK would be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis instead of being automatically rejected based solely on the return address. We recently sent out issue 14 and it got in to at least some prisoners without a hitch. No such luck in Pelican Bay where even a letter saying "Hi, how's it going?" is still illegally returned to sender uninspected. The San Francisco Bay View newspaper and Revolution (by the rcp=u$a) have complained of similar problems with their publications.
Feds Use Censorship to Make Room for Infiltrators
At the United Snakes Penitentiary - MAX in Florence, Colorado, ULK issue 13 was censored because it contains the article "Security in the Prison Movement" that is MIM(Prisons)'s analysis of how we should deal with potential infiltrators, agent provocateurs, and snitches in the movement. Our advice was basically to treat everyone as a potential pig, and only give out information on a need-to-know basis. We also defended our work with prisoners on Sensitive Needs Yards and Protective Custody for similar reasons. While such prisoners are often viewed as working with the state, we pointed out that many comrades have had to leave their LOs for SNY in order to stop working for the state.
The state sees this perspective as a threat to the security of the institution (of white supremacy, no doubt). The reason given by the USP mailroom staff for its censorship is that "p. 6 and 11 discuss what to do with potential infiltrators who join the movement, not suitable for a prison environment." We wonder who they are targeting in our circle in USP Florence, that it would blow their cover to share this advice with them. The answer is probably everyone.
This report was written by our legal coordinator who took over the job shortly before our last yearly report. While building on previous work, s/he is responsible for many of the advances we made this year. Fighting censorship is central to our work with the imprisoned lumpen population in the United $tates and we always have projects for volunteer lawyers and legal assistants. The easiest thing our subscribers can do to help us out is tell us exactly what mail you have received from us and when, each time you write.
On January 1 after an altercation with another patient I was escorted out the day area to the sideroom. After being placed inside the sideroom, someone came to the sideroom and asked me do I want to take psychotropic drugs oral or by needle? I told him I would take the drugs by mouth. A lot of other TAs began grouping up outside of the sideroom. They ran in the room and started punching and kicking me while they were pulling me out into the hallway. One of them kicked me in the groin and one of them punched me in the mouth. Out in the hallway they forcefully injected me with the medication. They then put me in the restraint bed and put me back in the sideroom. After that three TAs wheeled me over to the sideroom on ward 402. While being wheeled over there and still fully restrained in the bed a TA named Frank Wench assaulted me by punching me in the backside of my head about 4 times and started grabbing me by my shirt and choking me with it and said "you fucked with the wrong person".
Sequel to Toy Story 1 and 2, this movie starts off with Andy, the boy who owns the toys featured in the movie, heading off to college and packing up his stuff. His toys are long forgotten in a trunk and are feeling forlorn about being abandoned. The toys end up being donated to a daycare, but not without much whining about the importance of loyalty to their original owner. Woody, the apparent hero of the movie, is an especially strong advocate of devotion to their one and only owner, even in the face of the logical argument that Andy has grown up and has no need for them any longer and so they should hope to move on to new kids.
We're not looking to liberate the toys of the world, but this movie has some insidious messages for both kids and adults. First there's this theme of loyalty to one owner, a message that is repeated later at the daycare center by the toys that have become evil dictators because they felt abandoned by their owners. This is a good subtle way of encouraging kids not to question the status quo or try to make change independently. Sure it didn't work out for the bad toys, but loyalty paid off for the good toys who end up in a good home in the end, with the blessing of their original owner.
Toy Story 3 does hammer home the point that it's not good to have evil dictators in charge. The Ken doll makes a little speech about how everyone should be treated equally to underscore that message. But this message is so blunt it's hard to see how anyone would really learn anything from it. And although the good toys work together against the evil dictator, they don't do any work among the masses of other oppressed toys to try to rally them to help. It was just a few focoist heroes, out to save themselves, who accidentally overthrew the evil dictator in their attempts to escape a bad situation. So the writers pass up an opportunity to promote organizing the people against the power structure in favor of focoist hero worship.
The one correct message in Toy Story 3 comes when the evil dictator toy and the good toys end up in the trash burning machine and they are all about to die. The good toys try to work with the evil dictator bear to save themselves and him, and he abuses their trust to save just himself. This is a lesson we can apply to the imperialists who will never give up their power peacefully and work with the people for the common good.
The last thing worth commenting on in this movie is the reinforcement of patriarchal gender roles. The two main female characters are Barbie (playing, well, a barbie doll who spends most of her time working on her relationship with Ken) and Jessie, who's a bit of a tom boy who at least gets to go along on adventures with Woody, but who is very much taken in by the romancing of a Spanish-speaking Buzz Lightyear. So basically the focus of the plot involving the two main female characters is romance. There is some mild mocking of gender roles around the Ken doll who has way more outfits than, it is implied, a normal man might have. But the implication seems to be that he's a toy more fit to be played with by a girl than a boy. Nothing very progressive.
Overall MIM(Prisons) would recommend this movie to supporters of the patriarchy and the imperialist system. It would be useful for training their children in some of the norms of the oppressive world that they love.
I am a prisoner at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and one of 60 prisoners who were wrongfully validated in August 2009. Z-unit is notorious for its disregard for prisoner's rights. Likewise HDSP and CDCR are disproportionately validating prisoners as gang members and associates, regardless of their actual affiliation.
In the past 3 years HDSP has validated over 110 "Hispanics" off of C-yard. Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is very prejudice and racist here in HDSP. All validations here are racially motivated. All IGI workers here are white and the new Lieutenant is Mexican but wants to be white. The validation system is a sham. The most bothersome thing is in R&R the COs ask you who you roll with. If you say no one they'll ask you where you live and when you tell them they declare that you are a northerner or southerner just because of your region of habitation.
CDCR validation procedures are vague and overly broad. HDSP is not following court orders nor administrative regulations. Information from informants and debriefers is being taken and used as 100% fact. Some of us are issued validation points for a drawing. However we are not given any notice of what is considered gang related. So how are we supposed to know what is against the rules? Instead this is being utilized to validate us and confine us to the Security Housing Unit (SHU) for life. CDCR is using "kites" [written notes] to validate us. If a prisoner is caught with your general information, CDCR uses that as a validation point, saying you committed "gang activity." How do you get a validation point for someone having your name!? Anybody has access to your information as COs post this info on our doors. This whole process is ambiguous.
CDCR has a motivation for all these unjust validations. On January 25th, 2010, California legislators passed a new law (Senate Bill xxx18) in regards to new credit earning for prisoners. General Population prisoners are now receiving half time credits. While SHU and ASU have to do 100% of the time they were sentenced. CDCR is wrongfully validating prisoners as a tactic to ensure their job security. Many general population prisoners will be getting kicked out because of the overcrowding issues but ASU and SHU prisoners will be stuck with the COs needing to guard them. It costs $50,000 to house a SHU prisoner so of course the "Green Wall" wants to line their pockets with "Green Money."
There are many inhumane conditions of confinement here in Z Unit. Prisoners are kept in their cells 22 hours a day with no windows, TVs or radios. Prisoners are not given adequate winter clothing. It rains, snows, and an average temperature stays below 30 degrees and the only things we get is a jacket. Prisoners are forced to strip buck naked in the snow and freezing temperatures. Lastly, staff complaints and grievances are often trashed or just not answered. In ULK 15 (July August 2010) your feedback to a prisoner regarding grievances not being handled property was to get involved in a petition campaign for grievances. I want to get involved along with other prisoners here! I look forward to your response.
MIM(Prisons) adds: CDCR has a long history of ignoring grievances and it is in this state that the grievance campaign started. It has now expanded to many other states. Contact us for more information and to get a copy of the petition for your state (or to get a generic petition that you can customize for your state).
About three months ago I started filing grievances to the Warden about the verbal abuse Sergeant Watkins was using towards me and several other prisoners. I asked two other prisoners to address this issue also and we started filing grievances on any misconduct that was happening on our housing unit.
In June as I was approaching the chow hall, I got stopped by Captain Mercer, Watkins and four other officers. Watkins said "if you and your buddies don't stop filing grievances, we gonna make y'all life hell around here." I took that threat, and did not let it affect my agenda. See, these devils will use fear as a tactic to get us to submit to their will or ultimatum. Two other prisoners and I kept on filing, and as you may assume, they came at us with bogus disciplinary infractions. They placed us on property restriction, where we have only a pair of boxer shorts to clothe ourselves, and we don't get a mattress or bed roll.
Around shift change the Captain Mercer started to give everyone in our confinement unit a lecture on prisoners abusing the grievance procedures. Comrades, these pigs will use force to break up anything they deem a threat to security. I was sprayed multiple times with chemical agents, denied meals several times, and denied my right to use the legal library. I had another prisoner write to the supreme court of Florida explaining my situation. The court treated the letter as a Writ of Habeas Corpus motion, and now I am awaiting the outcome of the court's decision.
My family was writing me, but these pigs were discarding my incoming mail, so after weeks of unanswered letters my family filed a complaint with the Secretary of the DOC, and finally I was taken off restrictions given proper hygiene products and legal papers. I still get harassed occasionally, but they don't play with my mail anymore or steal my grievances. My agenda is to get a transfer to another facility, but until then I will not let these devils stop me from utilizing my civil and constitutional rights.
Comrades we must prepare ourselves mentally to be able to persevere. The oppressor has advanced, this is a psychological war and genocide is the goal. While doing your part to unite the movement internationally you become a force in our battle to achieve freedom, justice, and equality.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This story of grievances being ignored or leading to retaliation is all too common in the Amerikan criminal injustice system. And not all of our comrades behind bars have family on the outside who are so diligent in defending the rights of their loved ones who are locked up. We need more comrades like this one, and his family, defending the legal rights of prisoners against the abusive prison staff. MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within have launched a grievance campaign to help prisoners get their grievances recognized. We have petitions specific to several states and need more comrades to step up to make them applicable to more. Prisoners whose grievances have gone unheard should help build a library of custom grievance petitions for your state by sending them to MIM(Prisons). To participate in this grievance campaign, write to us and we will send you the info.