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[Organizing] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 14]
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The situational ethics of snitching

An issue that was addressed in ULK that deserves a bit more comment is the involvement or non-involvement of so-called "snitches" or Special Needs Yard (SNY) prisoners in any political movement and/or prison reform activities.

The philosophy of the snitch is contradictory. I've been in prison for over 16 years. I have done time in three states and I have seen the hundreds of ways people have been labeled "snitches." For example, here in Oklahoma a prisoner is labeled a "snitch" if he files a grievance, even on obstruction of mail. It's seen as "snitching on staff." Prison administrators will utilize that to try and get other prisoners to ostracize a person and/or otherwise abuse, distrust or spread rumors about a person.

This is especially true when it comes to prison officials who harm or abuse prisoners. If you report the abuse, you're labeled a "snitch." Of course, when the shoe is on the other foot and a guard is harmed they run to the "snitches" for information. It's contradictory and it is also what is called "situational ethics."

Situational ethics is when a person uses a particular situation and action to justify their immediate needs, be they financial, safety, etc. If they do not like a person, for example, they'll label him a "snitch." But if they have a friend who has done the same deed they will justify his actions. It is purely situational.

The psychology of it all is baffling. But in the political sphere it has no place. As a prisoner in ULK no. 13 noted, violence on SNY is much, much less, and there is more unity on SNY. I can't attest to that myself because I've never been on a SNY, however, I do believe it to be true. I've heard that same story over and over about so-called "soft yards."

Information gathering is a valuable tactic in the political sphere as well. This is true whether it is the oppressed or oppressor. Information can be used to protect or harm. How you utilize your sources can be beneficial. If you know someone is a "snitch" or you have reasonable suspicions, then feeding that person false or beneficial information can help you and others. For example, if you know someone will run to the cops and report you then the information you tell them should only benefit, not harm you. They become an unwitting agent of good.

Lastly, prison reform will never come if you constantly look to others to motivate you. Just do what you have to do, and when you come across like-minded people - or even people who may not support your beliefs but support your efforts - you can add them to your album of associates.

MIM(Prisons) responds: What this comrade calls "situation ethics" we would also call "subjectivity." Like s/he said, subjectivity has no place in politics. We need to have a set of ethics that serve the most oppressed people in the world. We cannot let our criticism be swayed by whether we're cool with whoever did the action. This is true in all actions, not just sharing info with the pigs.

On the group or political level we define our ethics by our class perspective. It makes sense for the COs to both persecute snitches and utilize snitches depending on who they are snitching on, as this writer describes. Similarly, we want COs to expose other COs for abusing prisoners. In general, opposing snitching is progressive, because it is a source of conflict and repression as people are opportunistically spreading information to benefit themselves in the short-term. But to take an absolute moral stance on snitching ignores the fact that we need to expose the oppressor to the people.

The only point we disagree with this comrade on is that they say we should only control the information we share with known snitches or people we suspect to be snitches. We would push this one degree further and say that we should only share information on a need-to-know basis, and assume everyone is a possible informant. We went much more in depth on this topic in ULK 13.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 14]
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Reflections on organization, strategy, and unity

In order for us to succeed in any of our objectives and goals, we must have organization. This is an incontrovertible fact. We cannot even begin to visualize the thought of abolishing this injustice system (as it now exists), until we raise the level of consciousness of the masses of the people and obtain power. In order to obtain the power to destroy national oppression, exploitation and capitalist-imperialism, we must acquire the use of the weapon/instrument of organization.

"Such organization demands that we be conscious, skilled, disciplined and united in thought and action. It demands fundamental change in our thought and in our practice, it demands acquisition of a sense of confidence, a belief in our ability to struggle to win, to break the chains (physical and mental) and so on to build and control a new way of life for ourselves.

"Just as organization is the weapon/instrument that we must have in the struggle to obtain the power we need to effect revolutionary change, correct ideology/philosophy, theory and practice are required weapons/instruments we need in order to ensure effective organization. . .

"The chains that bind us are mental as well as physical. We cannot organize sleeping people around specific goals until awareness and understanding of the need to fight has been achieved, until the will to fight has been inspired, until the belief that we can win has been acquired.

"These mental/psychological chains obscure, mask and misdescribe the way the real world works. Incorrect philosophical approaches prevent awareness and understanding of real social, political and economic relations. Backward philosophy stifles the growth and development of genuine revolutionary consciousness, causes repeated confusion and frustration, apathy and disillusionment, conceals the need that we have to fight, dulls the will to fight, erodes our confidence and impedes effective organization for revolutionary national liberation struggle."(1)

We are oppressed together, let's stand up together

If we don't take the initiative to fight and struggle, how do we realistically expect people on the outside to go all out for us? There is a real war being waged against us and thus far our response to it collectively has been pitiful. In his seminal work The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon made mention of the natives' fear of the oppressor and that he strikes out against a fellow native instead of his real enemy, out of fear. Similarly, we are afraid of the pigs for fear of losing whatever, but will hurt each other at the drop of a hat.

So not only do we have to deal with the superiority complex of the racist correctional officer, we have to work with and struggle against the inferiority complex of the prisoners.

There are over 2.3 million men and wimmin in U.$. prisons and jails. Of those, 35,000 are in the state of misery (Missouri). What's really fucked up is that I know thousands of these men and wimmin and can't name 50 who are committed to the anti-imperialist struggle thru their actions and not just words.

However, one thing that you will see quickly are the great divisions amongst us on all levels and schools of thought - NOI, orthodox muslim, moors, kansas city, st. louis, northside, eastside, southside, westside, blood, crip, disciple, vicelord, bullshit, meaningless divisions. We are however, united in our pain, misery, suffering and oppression. We all get maced, denied parole, eat the same shitty food, go to the hole for the same bullshit violations and have to deal with the same overpaid, barely passed the GED-ass pigs!

For many years now, I've been labeled an "agitator" and "gang-leader" by the prisonkrats and have suffered much. But what they don't know is how many stabbings my comrades and I have stopped from occurring, how many staff assaults we've curtailed, and we're not looking for pats on the back.

It is said that if you are doing nothing but sitting on your ass, then you really have no right to complain about your oppression. Missouri and all prisoners stand up. You ain't gotta stand tall, but at least stand up! Unite and organize!!

Is violence correct?

During the course of my kkkaptivity I have experienced first-hand and witnessed many incidents of physical and psychological torture of many prisoners. I have seen with my own two eyes a couple of prisoners savagely murdered by sadistic corrections staff. I've heard of cases that make the abuses at Abu Ghraib child's play. Imagine being in a shower and having corrections staff throwing oranges at you until your brown body is battered and bruised. Saw it with my own eyes!

Conversely, from subscribing to and reading many of the prisoner newsletters that are in circulation, it has become patently clear that the physical and psychological terror and abuse in U.$. prisons is a part of the standard operating procedure for the imperialists and their repressive apparatus. They are not merely "isolated" incidents of abuse of power. The question is, how do we combat effectively this problem without exacerbating an already explosive, deadly situation and environment?

We do not, nor do the various prisoners' rights organizations, such as MIM(Prisons), promote the use of violence against corrections staff as the proper response to their inhumane treatment of us. Of course, we also understand the principle of self-defense. And it is a historical fact that violence has been necessary to end violence.

In the environment of the correctional facility, when a prisoner or group of prisoners, move with violence in response to ill treatment and abusive conditions, the prison administrators and politicians blame the victim (prisoners) and use whatever actions taken by us to further legitimize their repression, add more abusive laws to the books and to give these righteous souljaz additional time. We can't win this way no matter how righteous the act is when a no-good pig falls on something sharp. Imperialism is the enemy.(2)

Respect your supporters

While trying to build a support group and a united front against imperialism from behind electrified fences and stone walls, I have personally encountered a situation that must be seriously addressed amongst U.$. prisoners. Some years ago, I met a beautiful comrade and righteous sista in St. Louis who had just started a prisoners' rights magazine. Her husband was a political prisoner in Michigan so she understood our struggle well. This sista would respond to all letters sent to her, but all of a sudden brothaz lost discipline and started writing her pornographic (freak) letters - that shit wasn't cool. As a result of this, among other things, the sista directed that brothaz write to her husband (which is against some states' mail policies). In the end, the brothaz ran a righteous project off with some bullshit!

I hope that this is not a problem we have with a lot of you souljaz. Of course, we all want to have someone to share our most intimate thoughts with, but this was not the time nor place. In this struggle we have to be conscious as well as disciplined and show respect to those who support us, because they are few and far between. Our resources are few as individuals, but our numbers are great and we can contribute much to support those who support us. Unite and organize!

notes:
(1) "On Agitation, Education and Organization," Atiba Shanna, new African POW Journal, Book One, Spear and Shield publications
(2) To read more about peace in prison, get ULK issue 7

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[Control Units] [Florida] [ULK Issue 15]
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Rolling with the punches

I'm in disciplinary confinement for 300 days. I'm informing you to let you know they are all about punishment. However, there are several benefits to confinement as opposed to general population.

First, as an analytical thinker, I have the solitude to concentrate on what's more important, instead of the normal population activities of doing what Masta says and spending my people's money on the high-priced zoom zooms and wam wams. Second, I can think of ways to further the struggle and communicate with you all from within this "think tank." Last, regardless of where on the plantation I am, the clock still ticks, so 300 days is that much closer to my max date.

I'm getting much rest and I'm preserving my mind and body for the revolution and the future. So if I can help formulate any ideas and/or literature to help enlighten and educate the masses, just let me know.

It's a shame that these people try to make the public think they're all about trying to make prisoners better people so they'll be productive members of society, yet in confinement we are not allowed any books except a bible. We can't have a dictionary or any other book to educate your mind. It's obvious that they couldn't care less about our betterment when they use education material as a punishment.

They also use hygiene products as a punishment. In confinement I can't have my soap, lotion, toothpaste, dental floss, etc. They give us half of a hotel bar of soap to last a week, and a hotel toothpaste to last a month. So I'm only able to brush my teeth once a day or it won't last for 30 days. If food gets stuck in my teeth, I have to get a piece of string out of the sheets or boxers.

Socks are also not provided so the ones I came in with have to last 300 days. With no soap to wash them, I have to take an all-water shower once a week to save the soap to wash my boxers and socks. But hey, I'm learning survival skills and I'm stronger for it!

A weak mind will take this punishment or these conditions and feel degraded, but I often think about the conditions my ancestors endured on those slave ships, and the savage, degrading and humiliating conditions of life on these plantations under forced servitude and criminal bondage. Their only crime was being born with melanin in their skin. I think of how the Masta cut up a hog and took all the lean meat for ham, pork chops, bacon, and sausage, then threw the garbage to the slaves like the intestines, the feet, ears, tails, etc. Yet they made "soul food" with it. They made swamp grass into collard greens. And everything else that was used as punishment they used to become stronger, resilient, and more hardened to whatever the enemy came up with.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Adapting to whatever challenges the oppressor throws our way is an important part of survival under imperialism, including maintaining mental health. Long-term isolation is probably one of the greatest mental health challenges the oppressed will face. So we commend this comrade's positive outlook and willingness to do work, even though it is much more limited while locked in isolation.

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[Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Repression at RJD

I'm a prisoner here in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) in San Diego. I can relate to the story of the brother on your article in ULK 13 (Inspired by Mao, fighting legal battles). Like that brother, I've been sitting in the hole since November 2009.

I came to RJD on the CCCMS program [for prisoners who have been diagnosed as mentally ill]. I got on that program to get away from Calipatria prison. I was at the prison for 10 years and had enough of their corruptions. Little did I know that RJD is a lot more corrupt than Calipatria prison. Since arriving here last November I've filed numerous grievances to try to get sent to the Sensitive Needs Yard, but the 602s [grievance appeals] don't go no where. They mysteriously get disappeared. They said they would look into it and call me back to classification the following week. That was in January 2010. I've yet to go! I feel like I'm lost in this cell!

My mail comes late. I've yet to receive any of several magazine subscriptions I have. The guards don't pass books like they are supposed to. The few books I have I'm being forced to reread repeatedly to stay sane! Some of the prisoners don't have anything to read. It's no wonder why so many prisoners lose their sanity or attempt to commit suicide.

I look all around me and I say to myself, "This is not the big house. This is the crazy house!" For obvious reasons I've chosen to refuse cellies! In March, Captain Koen illegally tried to force prisoners in my cell. On both occasions I've fought them and get soaked in pepper spray; which was not legal. In the hole you have to consent to a celly before one is put there with you. On these two occasions I didn't consent. I don't know what to do. I've written the proper procedures to commence a lawsuit which begins by submitting a 602. I know the first ones got torn and thrown away. I've filed a third one, to the Director of Appeals, signed as confidential mail by a guard. I prey that made it out of the prison. Also I sent a letter to the Prison Law Office in the hopes they could assist me.

That day, there were several other incidents as well. You're right, oppression is getting worse and worse as time goes on. There's no unity whatsoever. It's so terrible here in Ad-Seg that the guards trade our showers for extra trays or lunch. We usually don't shower because we're all damned near starved. The food is just enough to keep you alive.

And for the last two or three weeks they've claimed they lost a gun so the entire prison has been on lockdown. It's all a farce as to what the real reason why we are on lockdown. It's plain to see - overtime. The CDCR is out of control and so are their guards. They believe that because we're in prison we're lesser humans than them.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Comrades in California have taken up a campaign to fight the useless system for processing 602s that leads to harassment and retaliation instead of resolution of the problems. According to the Department Operations Manual (DOM), Subsection 54100.2, the purpose of the Inmate/Parolee Appeals Procedure is to:

Provide a vehicle for review of department policies, procedures, practices, conditions, incidents and actions which may adversely affect an inmate's welfare, status and program," and to "provide for resolution for grievances at the lowest possible level with timely responses to the appellant.

Write MIM(Prisons) to get a copy of the petition and other campaign info to join this campaign being led by United Struggle from Within (USW) in California.

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[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Our Unity vs. their Crisis

In today's prison society, prisoners are losing constitutional rights at an alarming rate under either the security rationale or the rehabilitation rationale. Yes, our United States Supreme Court has effectively shut the constitutional door on prisoners and individuals charged with crimes. A fair trial is now impossible as any misconduct by the prosecutor is considered "harmless error." Additionally, many individuals plead to charges they have not committed due to judicial extortion; "Take this five years or we're going to give you 99." It's all sad, but reflects the state of our society and country as a whole, and the corrosion of our criminal justice system.

In the newsletter, I read that many prisoner have begun food strikes; one wanting to commit suicide, the others want to sign a petition. The sad and unfortunate truth is, none of these work. Yet there is a way to be heard that is peaceful and has a dramatic effect.

Prisons are run by prisoners from laundry, food service, landscaping to maintenance of the institution. Additionally, many prisoners work in industries that manufacture anything from stop signs, chemicals to office furniture for the state and the prisons themselves. What if we were to just stop? Yes, stop supporting the imperial system that oppresses us at every level? Incarceration costs would rise exponentially overnight. Correctional officers would have to be hired to pick up where the inmate population left off. The cost of incarceration would be so great that states could not afford to incarcerate people en masse as they do today. Until the prison population itself makes a stand against the draconian justice and prison system, they will continue to lose the most basic and fundamental rights inherent to man.

My brothers and sisters, it is us, the prison population that runs and perpetuates the injustice of the justice and prison system and it is we who can peacefully break its back. The courts have failed us; the politicians have failed us; our country has failed us. Must we continue to fail ourselves? Must we continue to be dehumanized, degraded, mistreated and tortured so others may prosper and/or be entertained? It's time to see this realistically and stand together peacefully, to battle an unjust system as one. Martin Luther King once said, "The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he [or she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he [or she] stands in times of challenge and controversy." Are you a person of character who can stand as one or individually in the face of adversity? If we can't stand together as one then no matter what we do, we lose. Give some thought to this. All that's necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We couldn't agree with this comrade more that there is no real justice to be had by the class system of imperialism. We don't expect petitions to solve the heart of the problem, though we may achieve partial victories. And we've already cautioned comrades that hunger strikes without outside pressure and support tend to be ultra-left tactics that can lead to sacrificing of lives.

But as we explain elsewhere, petition campaigns are two-pronged. One prong is to improve our ability to organize by fighting winnable battles, and the other prong is agitational to expose the state's repressiveness.

The facts behind this comrade's proposal are solid, as we discussed in ULK #8 on prison labor. And the argument is particularly strong as most state's are facing extreme financial shortages. They cannot afford to run their prisons if the labor aristocracy must do all the work.

However, in most cases, the level of unity does not exist to carry out this tactic effectively. Another comrade who proposed this same strategy simultaneously complains about this reality. Again, this is where more agitational work comes into play, like petitions, lawsuits and even small fund drives that some comrades have led. These things establish unity among people on the issues. With that unity, we can begin to talk about mass actions, such as boycotts.

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[Spanish] [Massachusetts]
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Ra'd sigue vivo en nuestra lucha

por MIM(Prisiones), Marzo 2010, publicado en ULK #13

Gracias a todo quien continua pasarnos información sobre lo que pasó a Amare "Ra'd" Selton, y por sus pésames. Aunque es difícil poder hablar conclusivamente sobre lo que sucedió el septiembre pasado cuando murió en Attica, se ha hecho más evidente que el DOCS era últimamente detrás lo que sucedió. Como nuestra camarada explica abajo, hay una lucha constante para muchos entre sobreviviendo para luchar y manteniéndose sano bajo la represión extrema. Para más sobre este tópico lea el articulo Prisionero empujado al suicidio.

Para aprender del sacrificio de Ra'd es estudiar la estrategia, y como ser efectivo en organizar para la justicia. Como materialistas, reconocemos también que las batallas ganables no serán posibles todo el tiempo .A veces no es una cuestión de si podemos ganar, sino solo cuestión de si luchamos o no antes de perder. En tal caso, nuestras estrategias debe en hacer que estas pérdidas servir como ejemplos para inspirar y exponer la injusticia. Ra'd continua inspirar a los que le conocían.

Un preso en Nueva York escribe:


Escribo para informarles y a mis camaradas de la muerte de mi mentor Amare "Ra'd" Selton. Que Alá bendiga su alma....Ra'd era mi pana, alguien que otro que le falta todo siempre admiró. Ra'd abrazaba a cualquiera que luchaba. Ra'd levantaba el ánimo a cualquiera que estaba triste. Si Ra'd observaba otro preso siendo asaltado por un guardia prestaría su ayuda como podía. Ra'd era un buen hermano, que Alá esté con él. Descanse en paz, ¡mantenga tu cabeza erguida Ra'd!

Otro preso en Nueva York escribe:


Estuve en el SHU con Amare en 2003. Es un verdadero rebelde con una causa. Que descanse en poder! El nunca fue el tipo suicida, era un guerrero, un luchador de libertad que tenía 25 años hasta la vida, así que buscaba la libertad por cualquiera manera, aun la muerte.

Tenía horas para hablar con y siempre expresaba su teoría Musulmana y su puesta contra el imperialismo y supremacía blanca, que coincidió con su muerte, lo cual estoy seguro fue a las manos de los puercos. Era una amenaza, por eso lo tenían aislado en SHU por periodos de tiempo largos.

Me conecté con él inmediatamente al conocerle porque tenía una pasión por resistir la opresión y la brutalidad a las manos de las guardias. Por eso, saber que fue matado por estos puercos me rompe el corazón. Estos puercos evitan el castigo como lo evitan en las calles después de matar un hermano/a negro/a o moreno/a que no estaba armado/a: se convierte en homicidio justificado. Esto no puede continuar suceder sin algún tipo de resistencia organizada. No se puede hablar de las resoluciones amigables ni pacíficos con esos puercos sádicos porque no lo respetan. Para ser honesto, no quiero morir en la cárcel. Soy más valioso en las calles, organizando, pero hay un límite a lo que puedo aguantar en este infierno. No soy reaccionario, pero ¡tenemos que demandar nuestro respeto de cualquier manera!

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 14]
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Fight the system: boycott work

Once again I find myself pushed in a corner with the swine in Huntingdon, PA. I've tried to get prisoners together and put in paperwork against these jokers, but many have no intent to do so. They'd rather bitch and complain and allow these chumps to keep doing what they do. But don't let another convict do or say something, or you might get stabbed or rocked with a lock in a sock. It's beyond my understanding and to be honest with you it makes me fucking sick! The prisoners would rather worry about the latest BET video or the stats of last night's NBA game. All the while, the administration is planning to take something else from us or plan on adding another provision to an already fucked up policy. What gives?

As I have said before, our cells are think tanks. We put our focus on shit that doesn't really mean shit. I'm not going to say take a guard hostage or stab a nurse. I'm saying to use our minds, stand as one, and do something rather than just talk about it. To really get their attention, hurt their pockets. Don't go to work. Do you realize that if everyone stopped working in the kitchen, they would have to figure out why, but more importantly they still must feed us? This would throw a red flag in the air. Stop going to work in the CI shops. Now, no clothes or soap is being made for the state.

I've given these ideas to many to think about. Then the new excuse is "I need my job cuz I don't have anyone sending me money." Ok, I understand. However, just say we as a whole stopped working, don't you think I wouldn't help a few soldiers out with enough to live off? I don't have shit but myself. Yet I have enough to get by and then some. I understand everyone's situation is very different, but in the same token, we are in the same situation, are we not?

All in all I'm plain ol' sick and tired of this chicken shit. Stand for what's yours. Would you allow someone to take something off you in the free world? So why allow it here? Everyone needs to get their shit together and realize this ain't a game. Sometimes I wish I was living in the era of the 60s and 70s. Back then convicts fought long and hard for theirs.

For those who are fighting strong, I'm with you! Even when I finally leave, I'll still help those inside.

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[National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Solidarity in the fight against Arizona immigration law

First and foremost, I would like to salute all the comrades around the world that stood up and protested against Arizona's Jim Crow laws of segregation. Amerikkka's up to its dirty tricks once again. All was fine when they rode the backs of Latinos for cheap labor, but now that individuals are using their minds and starting their own small businesses, they (the U.S. or Arizona) want them out because they can't use (exploit) them any more. Never turn your back on a snake! Amerika was built upon corporate capitalism. If Latinos are all illegal then Christopher Columbus was illegal when he "came" to Amerikkka.

The Columbus anniversary is a celebration of mass murder, slavery, and conquest. He used religion and guns (after he was welcomed as a guest) against the Blacks and the indigenous in the Americas, mistakenly called Indians. All this was done in the name of white supremacy based upon the concept of "chosen people" and manifest destiny, and was designed to further cultural genocide and maintain mental slavery. Arizona is trying to put this back in full swing. They are capitalist parasites; blood-thirsty opportunists. People who would sell their own grandmother's burial plot. Amerikkka is a region of political injustice and great suffering. Columbus didn't discover shit, he came to America and exploited America with his illegal ass!!!

I'm a powerful Black conscious man, so I yell out Black Power and I fully support my Latino comrades in struggle and solidarity. And we demand justice or there will be no peace!

In struggle

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[Theory] [California]
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On Paper Tigers

Not long after the end of World War II, Comrade Mao Zedong put forward his famous thesis, "All reactionaries are paper tigers."(1) This thesis armed the people of China ideologically, strengthened their confidence in victory and played an exceedingly great role in the People's War of Liberation. This thesis is still relevant today and we would be wise to heed its message.

Comrade Mao Zedong regarded imperialism and all reactionaries as paper tigers. This thesis is a fundamental strategic concept for the revolutionary people. Since the Second Revolutionary War, Mao Zedong repeatedly pointed out: "Strategically, with regard to the whole, revolutionaries must despise the enemy, dare to struggle against him and dare to seize victory, at the same time tactically with regard to each part, each specific struggle, they must take the enemy seriously, be prudent, carefully study and perfect the art of struggle and adopt forms of struggle suited to different times, places and conditions in order to isolate and wipe out the enemy, step-by-step."(1)

Year's later, comrade Mao stated that: "Just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature (this is the law of the unity of opposites), so imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature - they are real tigers and paper tigers at the same time. In past history, before they won state power and for some time afterwards, the slave owning class the feudal landlord class and the bourgeoisie were vigorous, revolutionary and progressive, they were real tigers. But with the lapse of time, because their opposites - the slave class, the peasant class and the proletariat - grew in strength step-by-step struggled against them more and more fiercely these ruling classes changed step-by-step into the reverse, changed into reactionaries, changed into backward people, changed into paper tigers. And eventually they were overthrown or will be overthrown by the people. Even in the face of the last decisive struggles waged by the people, the reactionary, backward, decaying classes retained this dual nature. On the one hand they were real tigers, they devoured people by the millions and tens of millions. The cause of the peoples struggle went thru a period of difficulties and hardships and along the path there were many twists and turns. To destroy the rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism in China took the Chinese people more than a hundred years and cost them tens of millions of lives before the victory of 1949. Look! Were these not living tigers, iron tigers, real tigers? But in the end they changed into paper tigers, dead tigers, bean curd tigers. These are historical facts."(2)

So there you have it. Comrade Mao all those many years ago held that the Chinese people would be victorious in their war of liberation. This wasn't hopeful idealism on Mao's behalf, it wasn't that the Chinese people and Mao really, really, really wanted liberation for themselves, that they just knew if only they kept on struggling they'd someday achieve liberation. No! It was through the correct practice of dialectical materialism that the Chinese people were able to finally cast the yoke of imperialism off into the sea. This is something that many bourgeois scholars just can't grasp. Dialectical materialism is something the bourgeoisie either doesn't correctly understand or they don't want to understand exactly how Mao and the CCP were able to lead the Chinese people to victory against insurmountable odds or how comrade Mao was able to become such a brilliant military strategist.

However, for us to really get the full understanding of the "paper tiger" thesis put forward by Mao, and in order to see how it is still relevant today, we must dive head first into the subject of dialectical materialism.

When comrade Mao stated "just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature,"(3) he was referring to the law of the unity of opposites. The law of the unity of opposites, that is the law of contradiction in things, is the basic law of materialist dialectics. Dialectics in the proper sense is the study of contradiction in the very essence of objects. Dialectical materialists hold that a thing is made up of its being and of its opposite, this means that no contradictory aspect can exist in isolation. The basic meaning of this would be, for example, that from its very inception and all through its existence where there is light there is also darkness, because without the darkness there can be no light, because they are both mutually dependent, and in order for one to exist its opposite must also be.

So the persyn who is "good" or who does what is morally right can also be "bad" and do what is considered morally wrong. This is another example of the unity of opposites, nothing in this world is immutable.

So now that we know what the basic meaning of the law of the unity of opposites is we know exactly what Mao was talking about when he said, "Just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature, so imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature." What he meant by this is that even though the imperialists, and the reactionaries were strong and terrible looking at one point in hystory, they were also weak and vacillated in another point in hystory, and furthermore it was our job (the people's) by our will and our struggle to form the correct strategic point of view to see the imperialists and reactionaries as paper tigers and know that we can defeat them in the end. However, because of this paper tiger's dual nature, we must also be aware that this tiger can also be a real tiger and can defeat us if we don't respect him tactically.

Now some of you who are familiar and experienced with materialist dialectics will right away say, "wait a minute, the law of contradiction says that the motive force of a thing is internal and not external." Yes, this certainly is true. The condition of change is internal and not external, however the law of contradiction also shows us that there is antagonism inherent in things, which basically means that from its very inception antagonism exists as the struggle of opposites, as contradiction, but not until the contradiction develops into open antagonism in a thing does it push development forward and resolve itself. So first however we must find the principal contradiction, and only by finding the fundamental contradiction can we find the principal contradiction and get along with the business of resolving it.

We already know that the fundamental contradiction on a global scale is the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat, and that the principal contradiction on the international level is imperialism vs. the Third World. In Amerika the principal contradiction is the oppressor vs. oppressed nations. So how do we resolve the principal contradiction in the united $tates? Once again, this is possible by a things dual nature (society), and if society has a dual nature then it has to have two opposing, yet equally dependent, aspects. In this case it would be the oppressor nation (euro-Amerikkkans) vs. the oppressed nations (Brown, Black, etc). So how do we resolve the principal contradictions in the united $tates? Just as the imperialists and the oppressor nation has their tiger, we too can have a tiger and defeat theirs. However, this is once again only possible when the struggle of opposites reaches its point of open antagonism, and to know when this happens we must take careful watch of the situation and always keep the concrete analysis of concrete conditions acutely in mind.

At this point in hystory our so-called "tiger" is non-existent — it is neither a real tiger nor a paper tiger. It is a dead tiger. What is meant by this is that we as a collective (Brown, Black, etc.) have been continuously colonized and oppressed by capitalism/imperialism and we are almost helpless to stop it from destroying us and our cultures. Yet, hystory teaches us that imperialism and the ruling classes have never been able to completely wipe out all traces of a nation or its people, even though it has come pretty damn close and continues to advance.

Therefore our only choice, if we are to survive the anarchy and destruction of capitalist construction, is to get to constructing ourselves. We must build this "People's Tiger", and the first step to building this internal force which will push development forward will be in the unification of the people. This means building a united front for a united struggle against the oppressors.

Unity evolves from the inside out. This begins with the revolutionization of our consciousness, our minds. First we change the way we think, then we apply this to our material conditions and in the way we interact with others, this is how we change our surroundings. This applies to all peoples of all societies, especially that society within a society, that society separated by the rest of the people, separated by concrete and steel - This is unity from the inside out in all its glory.

Power to the People!
Long live the Maoist Internationalist Movement!
Long live the United Soldiers from Within!

Notes:
1. "Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong" August, 1946, Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tsetung, Foreign Language Press: Peking, 1971, p.345.
2. Ibid. p. 346.
3. Mao Zedong. On Contradiction.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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The Animal Factory


The gaping jaw of the
prison industrial complex beckons,
grinding away basic human decency

Men forced into a blast furnace
of warehoused existence,
the ore of humanity smelted away
until only the dross remains

Kindness...compassion...love...
...all that defines one as human...obliterated.

Anger...resentment...despair...
...the remains of a once caring human.

Treated worse than rabid animals,
for are they not graced with a peaceful
death?
Animals are not stripped, forced to
parade around naked, mocked and
humiliated, flashlights beamed into
every orifice.

Animals are not caged in a
claustrophobic atmosphere, living
amidst a breeding ground of hatred
and rage.
Animals are not forced to survive
lives of mind-numbing tedium,
interspersed with moments of
chaotic violence.

Corrections & rehabilitation?
Corruption & retribution...
... closer to truth
human-form enters one end,
animal-form expelled out the other.

Take heed society, for these animals,
these human animals, shall one day
walk amongst you.
They are your creation,
created by societal apathy and
political fear-mongering,
created at your factories...

...the animal factories

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