The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Release] [ULK Issue 23]
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MIM(Prisons)'s Re-Lease on Life Program

Helping Prison Activists Stay Active on the Streets

MIM(Prisons) has spent years trying to build the Re-Lease on Life program for prisoners coming back to the streets. Our goal is to help prisoner activists stay politically active when they are no longer incarcerated. An important component of this is helping our comrades to set up stable life situations that won't lead them back to prison. As most of our readers know, this is very challenging, demonstrated by the recidivism rate of 43% within the first 3 years post-release in Amerika.(1)

While in prison, people have a unique opportunity of having much time on their hands to study and engage in political organizing. While prison oppression certainly interferes with daily life, the structure of prison and this same oppression enables and in fact encourages political activism. When prisoners are released they face the difficulties of meeting their basic necessities, and dealing with people in random and complex settings, often after years of isolation. And with discrimination against people with a prison record, things like housing and a job can be very difficult to find. Consumed with day to day life issues, it becomes much more difficult for former prisoners to stay active on the streets.

As hard as those challenges are, the primary barrier to reaching our goal is preparing people mentally to deal with these challenges and prioritize serving the people. Even those with a stable home and support on the streets struggle to stay politically active. They are often pulled back into street life with their LO. Other times, their free time is taken up by friends and family who have an expectation of consuming free time with destructive behavior like alcohol, drugs, or just wasted time watching TV.

Part of MIM(Prisons)'s Re-Lease Program involves reaching out to prisoners well before they are expected to hit the streets, and working with them to build a study program and a release plan. If you hope to stay out of prison and support the struggle after you get released, having a strong political education is a vital piece for staying on track.

It is never too early to start preparing for continued activism outside the walls. We've seen too many solid politically active comrades disappear once they get out and are faced with the realities of getting by on the streets.

MIM(Prisons) has very limited resources and we cannot offer the kind of release support that is needed in the United $tates. Instead, we focus on working with our comrades who are active behind bars and who show a commitment to stay politically active when they hit the streets. This means we want to work with you now, both to satisfy some general study requirements, and put together a release plan that will help ease the transition to the streets. If you want our support, we need yours.

Requirements for participating in MIM(Prisons)'s Re-Lease on Life Program include:

  1. Creating a realistic post-release plan for both practical living needs and political involvement
  2. Participating in required study programs behind bars
  3. Undertaking political work while in prison
  4. Planning for both contact and political work once on the streets

Prisoners who do these things are offered our resources and support to help stay politically active and focused on the streets. Keep in mind that we can't offer housing or a job, but we can provide support, help finding resources, and most importantly a strong tie to maintain political sanity and activism.

We work with our comrades to develop a plan for what sorts of political work can be done after release. On the outside there is a lot more freedom to do political organizing, but it's also harder in some ways. There is no longer all the free time there was in prison, and there is not the same level of political interest among the people on the streets. And we know it's hard to walk away from the temptations or difficulties of street life.

This program needs help to expand. We need people who are expecting release in the next few years to get in touch with us to work on a release plan. And we are collecting stories from our comrades who have been out and back in about the challenges they faced trying to stay politically active on the streets. This will be the focus of an upcoming issue of Under Lock & Key, so send us your submissions soon!


Notes:
1. State of Recidivism, The Revolving Door of America's Prisons, Pew Center on the States, April 2011 Report on recidivism for prisoners release in 2004.

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[Censorship] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 25]
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Fighting Censorship Through Litigation Works

Back in 2008, I was denied a lot of reading material and did not file grievances about any of the instances. During that time, I was stubbornly relying on just physical action to challenge these oppressors. That certainly was not conducive to making my situation better.

Fortunately, I've grown wiser over the years. I now litigate against these tyrants and use the grievance system regularly. Since I began utilizing the pen against them, I am yet to have any material from MIM(Prisons) rejected. Should that change in the future, I will file grievances and subsequent appeals. I will also keep MIM(Prisons) abreast of the results and be willing to take action in the court if there is strong probability of success.

This prison recently rejected some issues of a Turning the Tide newsletter. I will send you a copy of the grievance I filed, the appeals, and responses.

I know they would like to prohibit us from receiving and reading literature that teaches us correct ideology and ways to thwart their oppressive establishment. I will no longer allow them to get away with trying to control my mind by putting unreasonable limits on what I can read.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We don't want to mislead our readers to think that filing grievances will guarantee your rights are respected, as other articles in ULK will quickly disprove. But as materialists we should be struggling to learn and utilize the most effective means towards progress. And this correspondent's change from physically challenging COs to utilizing the administrative process is a very common transition for readers of Under Lock & Key in this learning process. Progress is not just about using the legal system, it's about organizing for our own needs and building independent institutions of the oppressed.

While MIM(Prisons) continues to discourage violence against COs, and we see this play out in prisoners' behavior, the prison administrators regularly censor ULK as a "threat to security." It is clear that they are not concerned about the physical safety of prisoners or staff, but rather the security of their jobs, hazard pay and white power.

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[Censorship] [McCormick Correctional Institution] [South Carolina]
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Fighting Prison Officials' Belief that Prisoner's Have no Rights

Comrades, I received the copies of letters that were sent to Director Gary Boyd and McCormick Correctional Institution Warden L. Cartledge concerning censoring of mail from MIM Distributors. I sent Warden Cartledge a detailed request form concerning that issue also.

I think I'll wait until I receive mail from CRC and then file a grievance claiming discrimination and harassment against this mailroom. From my understanding two prisoners here have filed lawsuits against the mailroom already.

South Carolina Department of Corections (SCDC) officials are quick to tell you that they don't care about lawsuits. All SCDC officials have qualified immunity. If a lawsuit is successful the state has to pay a monetary settlement.

What makes these matters worse is higher institutional officials tell staff that as prisoners, we don't have any rights. And that the harder they make it on us the less likely we'll be to return to prison.

To them our being sent to prison was not punishment. The punishment is to come from them once we get to prison. Imbeciles masquerading as psychologists. To become a warden in SCDC all you've got to do is take a prison management class, which is provided by SCDC.

Due to a staffing shortage they're hiring new recruits who're in their 50s and 60s. They're the worst pigs to have as guards, they think they have everything about life figured out and they're really doing society a favor by working here.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We need our comrades behind bars to follow this prisoner's example and fight censorship of mail. We have to follow the legal procedures even when we know the officials are not worried about lawsuits if we want to win these battles. If you learn about censorship of mail from MIM(Prisons), let us know and work with us to fight back.

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[Censorship] [Education] [Civil Liberties] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Expanded Censorship from Hunger Strike

The recent strike has unleashed a new round of censorship here in Pelican Bay. It's crazy that the very issue that CDCR claims to be "working on changing," that is 'Group Punishment,' is the very thing they are still doing by punishing everyone for the strike. Administrators from Sacramento came in their suits to beg prisoners they label falsely as 'worst of the worst' to stop striking and told them that if they stop there will be no retaliation, and yet here we are getting our political literature censored because of participation in the strike!

The state is so sick that it is not enough to keep prisoners locked in solitary confinement for years. It shows the cruelty, the depravity of what we are up against, and so when I think of so called 'constitutional rights' I know in my heart that these so called rights don't apply to me or any other prisoner in Amerika. When I'm denied even the ability to think, this is when I know the intention is to destroy me mentally and psychologically.

This is what the Security Housing Units (SHU) is used for - destruction cut and dried, there is no other reason for the modern day control unit, it's used to break you down by all means necessary. Whatever it is you enjoy is taken. If you like the fresh air we will have lock down, loss of yard privileges, etc. If you like to watch TV the power will go out throughout the week or COs can simply take your TV for 90 days. If you like to read, your books and newspapers will be denied and censored. If you like to write certain people they will stop your mail, return to sender and claim this address is a mail drop, etc. The list goes on and on. This is all done to get people to collaborate with the state in order to get out of SHU.

So as people go about living their life, or even for people incarcerated who have no idea of the active repression many face, I say it's real and be ready for the same repression. I have gone years having my literature from MIM and ULK censored and I have learned not to rely solely on ULK or MIM Distributors but to study on my own or with others. And when I do receive some political science literature, some revolutionary history, I read it over and over and discuss it with others so that I remember it and expand my understanding of it.

What we are experiencing now in the SHU with the new censorship will become common as prisoners in Amerika become more progressive and revolutionary. It is for this reason that people should prepare for this repression just as urgently as one would prepare for a hurricane or earthquake or any other disaster. To disregard this will leave one with nothing, no lifeline to truth, no theoretical nourishment, and most of all no guidance.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises an important point about the value of political literature and the need to prepare for censorship. We face censorship across the country in so many prisons it is hard to keep track. But it is never sustained forever, sometimes we can get past the censors after a few months of appeals, sometimes it takes years and a court case, sometimes there is nothing obvious that changes but suddenly literature is allowed back into a prison. Regardless of the reasons for the censorship or the victories against it, it's clear that we need to get as many people as possible on the ULK mailing list to maximize the distribution, and those receiving it and other literature need to share it, create study groups, discuss what they are reading, and spread the word.

With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows indefinite detention without charges or trial, the U.$. population is becoming more aware of the emptiness of "constitutional rights." There are no rights, only power struggles, as this comrade explains.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 23]
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Fertilizer


I wake up early in the morning
I look around and ask why
Then I take a few minutes
2 decide if I wanna live or die...

Could da other side be worse
Could it be more drastic
I'm already buried alive
In this concrete casket...

My mind declaring war
My spirit yearning for peace
I got pushed out of the belly
Into the ass of the beast...

Now I'm invisible, like passed gas
Known only by my scent
Digested and turned 2 waste
My captors call me a piece of shit...

They wanna flush me down the toilet
And hope none would be the wiser
'Cause they know if I ever hit the turf
I'm a turn 2 fertilizer...

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 24]
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For the Struggle

Revolution is a must
Without it, we will surely die
It's time for the oppressed to rise
Locked down there's no trust
Next man will get ya head bust
Maoist movement will get us liberty
We can't achieve liberty
If we don't have unity
I'll fight til the death of me
Til the last breath that's left in me
Forever screaming "Revolution!"
This is the new world solution
Fuck Uncle Sam and his pollution
Stand with your brothers in struggle
Stand on top of the rubble
Remember Maoist movements
For the struggle

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 25]
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Something to Say

I just wanna address the distress of the oppressed
All flesh who depend on the rest cuz no food is left
Camouflage-dressed in green and black
Warring in Iraq praying that you live to come back
Distraught from Jihad attacks
Can't sleep and not moving
Sounds of gunfire in ya head even when they not shooting
The truth is as thin as foil
Severed the head of Osama to sign a deal and get oil
Propaganda is spoil, I can see the ballistics
How you think gunz got into the hands of the children
I get it
Thinking with the teaching they feed us, defeated
Cuz we don't see hood politics come from politics
Say we all free but free as they want us to be
State prison a new fashion of slavery
Make Obama just a racial distraction
Say he fighting for all
Stop it that awkward like a dog wearing draws
Pause, turn off the TV and open a book
Look and know the truth, be down for the cause
Flow strong like a bear paw, sharp like a bear claw
Quick to sever the head of the united law
And brawl for revolution
Speak the truth that they not producing
Until I achieve the conclusion
The Maoist movement

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 23]
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Getto Children

Verse 1] Freedom/ And justice for humanity/ To all my/ Sunburned children of Third World kountries/ All stand together til forever/ Or whenever we receive/ Our given right to human decency/ Cause...

Chorus] There/ No be no other way/ To go about/ It/ If/ We want to better ourselves/ We must confront/ Him. Me'll/ Be di won in di/ Front from di belly of di beast/ With dem burral of mi/ Pump lying right between him teeth/ Screaming, I/ Will ride for him people/ No matter what/ Then all that dem rightfully deserve/ I/ Will ride for him people/ No matter what/ Comes me way at all

Verse II] This is a special occasion/ For all the strugglin Haitians/ You'll forever be remembered/ Just like them northern Asians/ Caucasians from Ireland/ And people of Palestine/ Camel riding niggas baring arms for a little/ Land. The struggle to survive/ Is a struggle to survive/ So your vision is my/ Vision, we'll all struggle to survive/ I grew up in the/ Projects, Third World conscience/ Killin niggas for that mean green mind/ Set. Battle of the rich and poor, I'm posted up with/ The poor, advocating/ For some social justice and the end/ of WAR. On all/ Of my people. Ain't we all equal? Black/ White, Yellow, Red, Brown, WE all/ Equal! Til we make/ It, catch me at the/ U.S. borders knockin walls/ Down. For my/ Border brotha. Like them northern Brothas, I'm re/ Forming brothas to stop shootin/ Brothas [Chorus]

Verse III] Everyday/ Mi see di struggle/ Of mi poor folks trying to si-vive/ Keeping i'float/ In di sea of destruction/ No progression in site/ Babies killing/ Babies, hostile social attitudes/ Stocking up on/ Human cattle just to get one/ Buck/ Or two. What has/ Our most beautiful world come/ To? Di democratic imperialistic world/ View. Capitalist/ Pile nukes to di stars/ But dey can't get/ Di equipment to get into di heart/ Of yi hungery/ Citizen cast out by society/ Living in/ Poverty where's dem democracy [Chorus]

Verse IV] Shot's been/ Fired. Out goes yo night/ Lights children of di sun bring the flame to di street/ Life — The world/ Starvin but rich people eatin/ Call me Robin/ Hood cause we about to start eatin/ You seen Amerikkkan Gangsta? I'm Frank Locus — Handin/ Chickens to the FOLKS grassroots/ Movement, seven/ Twenty-six Growth and Development/ Three sixty/ Two times we remain relevant/ Power to the/ Who? — I'ma let the people finish/ It, cause you ain't really/ Shit if you ain't got support from none/ Of them. Grindin and/ Bustin, shinin and hussalin/ BPP!/ That's the end of discussion [Chorus]

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Understanding the Weak

My father came to prison and got a tattoo
Heart with an arrow through Mom's name
Hepatitis he's sick with swollen liver disease
Mama left him because he drinks to ease the pain
An ex-pig-farmer being farmed now by pigs
An ex-junkie who's made peace within
All the lingering psychotic delusions
An ex-hillbilly progressed into anti-Amerikkkan
Anti-imperialist in an imperialist's skin
I am hated by my family for hating them
Hated by my fellow white Nazi prisoners
For understanding the weaknesses inside of them
I live to sweat and sweat to live
With a swollen liver like my father
And ex-girls like my mother
Not letting me see my kids
Losing everything I was once taught to love
Loving everything I was once taught to hate
I've lost everyone I once thought I loved
In inciting a reactionary's hate
I'm dying though I've just barely begun to live
Hating a family that chooses not to have me
Being destroyed by a country that swears it's correcting me
Sanity's mostly solitary in the land of the crazy
"If what you say is right, you need fear no criticism"(1)
"Democracy for the rich — that is the democracy of capitalist society"(2)
If what you are is a revolutionary, say "Fuck Amerikkkanism!"
Democracy for everyone, i.e. death to imperialism

1. Mao
2. Lenin

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 23]
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Strategic Confidence

Forty years today Attica rose up
Since then 600 million children starved to death
Pelican Bay comrades we've had enough
A revolution sparked by refusing pig lunch
Cover this one up, oppressor
We've had enough
Supermax solitary choke-holding Attica's sons
Gray-faced and pale captives dying alone
Bricks and steel sucking the life out of everyone
Clench-fisted against imperialism we die as one
Bring in your army and mow us down
Manufacture a coverup you plutocrat clowns
Each one of our body bags more heavy
And sacred
Than a billion of your cracker small towns
Red flags draped over true soldiers' coffins
Reminiscent of those buried beneath Kremlin gates
Red darns rising like earth under stampeding buffalo
Another empire crushed poetically
Like the Greek goddess of fates
Forty years today Attica rose up
And for the first time ever today
One captive voice echoed the world over
As one
One lung
We've had enough

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