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[Campaigns] [California]
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DOJ Claims They Will Investigate if Shown Pattern of Abuse

02/18/2010

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) responds here to a comrade's petition for the proper handling of grievances in California. This governmental body may be helpful in pushing our campaign forward if they receive several petitions from different participants, enough to "determine whether a pattern or practice investigation is warranted." Participants in the grievance campaign should mail copies of their signed petitions to each party listed on the campaigns page so that we are maximizing the effects of each signature.

When we succeed with a campaign under imperialism, we are making more room for revolutionary organizing. When prison administrators, courts, and the DOJ obstruct or are non-cooperative in achieving our campaign goals, we have still drawn attention to an unresolvable problem with the status quo, as well as brought more people into the struggle against oppression. Whether the DOJ becomes involved in this battle or not, it is still important to spread the campaign as much as we can under this unjust system.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [North Carolina]
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Understand Self, Understand the Big Picture

Dear Reader,

Open your eyes, close your ears sometimes, and focus on your surroundings. What I am trying to say is that we have been spending more time listening to what others around us are speaking about than opening our own eyes to the big picture. Crip is not a gang, it is a foundation that represents the understood individuals; "Controlled, Respectful & Intelligent People." I am a leader of the Rolling 60's Crip Foundation. I am standing on my own two feet cause no one else will stand for me but me. I am also a member of the Moorish Science Temple.

We are our own worst enemy but some of us don't realize it until it's too late. We spend a lot of time worrying about the next person when our main concern should be self. A lot of us don't know our own true self, but we think we do. We will never gain the understanding of self, unless we stop oppressing one another. As a leader I ask that we focus more on self than each other.

I know it's hard because of the way we've become adapted to the prison institution. Love, live and let go of the situations between one another and let's give the system a run for its money.

A very big question that raises eye brows is why do those that play that tuff role worry about going home early so much? The answer to that question is, in my opinion, that they are afraid to fight the system but will fight each other. That's because they know that fighting each other makes them look tuff. No. Not at all in my eyes. All that says to me is that we are more ignorant than the system makes us out to be. The system wants us to be at each others' throats. Why do ya'll think that when we stand up for each other they become heated? But when they suit up and call a team to intimidate us a lot of us fold out of fear of being hurt & locked up in segregation. Heck, we are already locked up, what else can they do to us?

Martin Luther King didn't have a weak dream, he had an uplifting dream for us to stand together and fight those who oppress us. Let us rise and fight for what we stand for as human beings.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The principle contradiction in the world today is that between the imperialist nations and the oppressed nations. This is an antagonistic contradiction, that must be resolved by the latter overtaking the power of the former. But before we get there, there are other contradictions that the oppressed face.

In prisons, the principal contradiction is among the people, as this comrade explains. The resolution of this contradiction requires those working for unity overcoming the mindsets of division. Sometimes those mindsets will be found in the oppressor, but currently they are very common among the oppressed. So there is a dialectical process occurring right now as people are starting to step back to see the big picture, to consider why they do what they do. Unity begins with the individual. Transforming oneself into a new revolutionary persyn is always happening simultaneously as we work with others to build unity and promote change on a larger scale.

Humyns are social beings that face large problems in how our society is structured. So focusing on yourself can't address these problems. But for those who are still part of the problem, there is a great need to take a step back and reflect on oneself and how you fit into the greater society. Soon you will realize that there are many roles you can play, and you do not have to remain stuck in the one that has been taught to you.

While we know that MLK's ideology cannot solve antagonistic contradictions within imperialism, his strategies may be very applicable to the needs of the prison movement at this stage in a country that claims to uphold freedom and civil rights.

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[Theory] [National Oppression] [Utah] [ULK Issue 14]
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Trading hot dogs for freedom

amerikan hot dog

While reading MIM Theory 11: Amerikkkan Prisons on Trial about how all United $nakes prisoners are political prisoners, and most all of these are oppressed nations, it made me question if maybe these statistics differ much in the state of Utah?

The Utah population is mostly white, so much so that over half of us convicts in these chambers are white. This statistic must really be an anomaly in the overall U.$. percentage rate of those incarcerated. Of course it's poor whites who can't afford lawyers who are caged here. But what saddens me to my very soul is seeing these whites running around with swastikas saying they love Amerikkka. Saying it's not the unjust in-justice system that targeted them for slavery but it was because they chose this path, they chose not to work and slang drugs. Did they choose too to have their fathers and uncles institutionalized, I ask? Where was your father growing up, where was your dad when you were starting to buck the system that you supposedly love so well? Not in prison? So your son is now destined for the very same fate as you and your father...and you love this system?!

We were served hot dogs for the fourth of July and these people, my peers, were happy. Yelling out on the tier, "Happy fourth of July." I screamed back, "Fuck Amerika!" If we wasn't all in solitary, the looks on their faces would of made the Mona Lisa frown. The audacity of this Communist to say "fuck Amerika." We got hot dogs and fireworks, they say, we have it much better than prisoners elsewhere.

Is this what we've come to now? Even though our families are ripped apart, severed from each other like so many heads from chickens. Now it's our fate to run around headless, knowledge-less, happy that our captors (with swastikas too under sleeves and on hearts) feed us a damn hot dog!

As a child I remember visiting my father here at the Draper prison and even then I felt anger at him and a sort of disgust. Isn't that how they feel on T.V. about criminals? Isn't that how I should feel, too? Well I did. I hated him. His very own son. And why? Because that's what I was "taught" to do. I was mind-fucked into hating my very own father the same way these lumpen racists are mind-fucked into loving a country that takes everything from you but a damn hot dog.

Now I'm the one that's hated when mail call or visiting comes around, ("Whats wrong with you?" looks hidden behind what could have been smiles). I see my nephew's face and the hostility there masked, just barely, and I want to grab the little guy and tell him, whisper, don't listen to them man! Little buddy wake up! Wake up! But visiting is over and mother and grandmother won't allow any of that "revolution" talk in front of the child, let alone any truth in letters. Return to sender. Return to ignorance. Is this how you felt, pops, at our visits? Was that why you looked at me that way? Was it pleading? As you sit in "population" or "Lone Peak work release" and I struggle here in solitary supermax, my brother in county jail, uncles and aunts in CUCF, I understand now. But it took me twenty seven years to do so, twenty seven years of self-hate, suicidal thoughts, homicidal anger, clouds of drug smoke and alcohol fog.

All I ask you sick, demented, money hungry, cold, imperialist nation is one hour. You and me alone in a dark alley. Put down that fascist oppressive stick and take off that bullshit white power mask. We'll see who is the better man. Even with my malnourished body and soul, you'd be the one on the cold concrete, Uncle Sam. You'd be the one eating garbage, unable to get up. Every fiber of my being is now tied up with the Maoist Internationalist Movement. I, or my son, or my son's son will take up the gun beside the people when revolution calls. It's not going to stop until we stop it.

Most of the time we don't even realize anything's going on. Hell, how could we when we have hot dogs?! We must find a way to wake everybody up to what's happening. It's up to us, the youth of today's generation, to figure out how best to halt the ignorance, to wake them up! The old to teach the new and the new to redo or reinvent strategy, reinvent new agitations, new minds who maintain the same line and disciplines but with a spin on dissemination, essays, and politics.

Of course the world knows what time it is but in order for our part of the revolution to have enough strength, enough firepower and muscle to take down the bourgeoisie, we need all hands on deck. We can't be having our own family and peers wearing the wrong colors and waving the wrong flag. In my eyes those who won't listen to the truth, who won't take their eyes off the Seinfeld reruns, family included, those are the ones who will first trip up the movement. They'll give the pigs the momentum to take us down. Personally I'm in prison because a family member called the kops. The more I'm learning, the more I understand the underground status, and believe it applies universally. And that's what makes it difficult to lead by example or spread the word. This contradiction is an important one and I think the answer or solution is right here in us, in the youth. We just have to realize this.

I send strength to all comrades worldwide. As one!


{Saved by the bell

we are made this way,
then punished for being this way!
be afraid motherfuckers
its back to school today.}

MIM(Prisons) adds: Yes, Utah is an anomaly. The Black nation makes up half of the U.$. prison population, while representing about 12% of the overall population. And that is one legacy of the material basis for building socialism among Blacks and not whites. We should try to ally with all who can be allied with, but as we see Amerikans "waking up" they are too often turning to fascism.

Actually, this is a good test case for the "re-proletarianization" of the United $tates. Some argue that we must organize Amerikans now in a mass movement for socialism because as imperialist crisis advances they will become proletarian again. First of all, Amerikans have never been a proletarian nation. They began as an oppressor nation over the indigenous people of the Americas, followed soon after by African slaves and countless other peoples throughout history.

Utah prisons are an interesting example because we actually have a majority white population losing their economic privilege as well as facing extreme repression. And technically, a portion of them are even being economically exploited. An economic collapse in the u$ will not suddenly cause a boom in industry, so a lumpenization is a more accurate description of what will occur than a proletarianization. In this sense, the Utah case study parallels the hypothetical future Amerika pretty well.

So, what is the result? A minority of whites, like our comrade here, will become radicalized towards finding solutions to the inherent contradictions in the system. The majority of whites will cling to their heritage and wave Amerikan flags and scream white power.

All U.$. citizens are criminals—accomplices and accessories to the crimes of U.$. oppression globally until the day u$ imperialism is overcome. All U.$. citizens should start from the point of view that they are reforming criminals. Comrades like the writer are already well on their way to becoming contributors to a brighter future for humynity.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Utah] [ULK Issue 13]
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Dear Pig


Everything you are
is everything I hate
Everything you love
is everything I ain't
I want to live
you are already dead
I struggle to achieve revolution
Divesting knowledge like you do bread
The day your obese heart stops
and all you know ceases to exist
I'll still be sweating truth
Your daughter my wife, you not missed
Keep me here for years
but know the longer I stay
my mind's building the future
how it'll be one day
Understand I'm a man now
not that weak confused child
What pain you caused me growing up
will return, boomerang, anything but mild
For now I sit
starved, rattling my chains
but I'm stronger for this
You weaken by the day!

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Call for unity against CO violence

When I first came in to the CDC, a guard's job was simple: unlock us in the morning so we can function and lock us up at night. The rest was living simple and every once in a while someone would get stabbed or jumped, but the violence ratio was 10 times lower 25 years ago. But now times have changed. For example, a few weeks ago, a prisoner was being yelled at by 2 corrections officers. As the non-English-speaking prisoner was sitting on the bench, trying to understand what they were saying (they wanted to know his name), without any cause or reason, the 2 COs started spraying him with large canister sprayers of pepper spray, soaking his entire body, and then started beating him with little telescopic-like batons with a lead ball on the tip (very painful). Afterward, he was kicked while he was lying on the ground, and placed in handcuffs and escorted to a vertical coffin-like holding cage. I stood at my cell window and observed this, among many other incidents.

When I was in Salinas Valley, housing unit number 5 (also known as "the dirty nickel"), the COs would yell racial slurs, profanity, and anything disrespectful towards the prisoners over the intercom. When I was there I counted 115 acts of violence against prisoners by COs and on one occasion I observed a CO tell one prisoner to assault another prisoner or he would tear up his cell. The prisoner complied out of fear of reprisal.

I am writing this to educate you and hopefully many others of the mistreatment and abuse of the COs, currently named the "Green Wall" due to the fact that all of the correctional officers wear green uniforms. The main gist of the Green Wall is to keep total control over the prisoners by encouraging them to maintain violence and animosities with each other. The Green Wall will use any and all tactics to maintain that control. Sometimes a prisoner may try to stand up for what is right, but no one will join him or support his cause because the majority of prisoners are in constant fear of getting property (photos of family) torn, damaged or destroyed.

My hopes are for everyone to be on notice. Be vigilant, be aware, and let's stop being entertainment for the Green Wall. Let's start figuring out a way where all the prisoners can come together. The mainline GPs [General Population] are outnumbered by the SNYs 3 to 1 because the GPs are inventing new reasons to attack their fellow brethren and make them run to the SNY (Sensitive Needs Yards). All I'm asking is that all come together and repair and change what the Green Wall has caused. All it takes is that one voice to get it started!

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 13]
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Think About the World

Do you ever seem to think about the world and its ways,
or an incisive definition of the new world slave?
Where we now receive the privilege of making incentive wage,
for those 400 years, how will you ever be paid?
Yet I know it's a major achievement, to have a half black President,
Why don't you look into your heart, then tell me what it truly represents
A house nigger for change, don't that sound so familiar,
That approved a gun law, cause they been letting whites kill us!
Knowing we kill each other more, going to prison seems like our hobby,
white people can kill ten at a time, and just blame it on the economy!
Actually it's often more, when you know who administer kids
And the simple mathematics subtract, only 1/4 of our race!
Yet we're the ones who get criticized, labeled 3/4 of a man
3/4 of my all unbearable, for any oppressor to stand.
Why can't you seem to open your eyes, within your college or your gang,
Why you be putting platinum and diamonds, on the master invisible chains!
Wake up you ignorant nigger, take this fire to the brain,
Politics would never allow "Black Obama," to promise or change
3/4 of anything...

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[Organizing] [Oscar Grant]
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Oscar Grant: organization, line and strategy

Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant
Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant in the back on BART platform

As we marked the anniversary of the uprisings in Oakland that were sparked by the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant while face down on the ground by BART(local transit) police, no justice has been served. An anniversary vigil was held on New Year's 2010, but the crowds and energy had dissipated from a year ago. This may have been a result of weed and video games, but we think it may have been the left wing of white nationalism who did the most to defuse the resistance.

Anniversary Vigil

The vigil was held at the Fruitvale BART station where Oscar Grant was shot on New Year's 2009. Upon my arrival I saw police surveiling the vigil. I also saw news organizations with their cameras video taping. I had a rag covering my face partially to keep from being taped by pigs. The head of security, which was being run by the Nation of Islam (NOI), approached me and gave me a little trouble. Apparently they thought the rag on my face symbolized the acts of rebellion that took place last year in response to the murder and they didn't want a repeat. If they were concerned with the security of protesters and not property they would not facilitate the pigs surveillance efforts.

Later, people met up at the Humanist Hall to continue the vigil for Oscar Grant. The pigs came sure enough, but what was interesting is that the same NOI persyn that approached me was hugging the pig "Negotiators" (which was written in big letters on their jackets) who showed up. This seemed to indicate a higher level of collusion between event "security" and the pigs than we saw last year with CAPE running around trying to keep people from confronting police or any other symbol of wealth and power. How are people supposed to organize safely in a space openly infiltrated by police? The same people who shot Oscar Grant in the back!? If groups like NOI and CAPE don't keep the pigs out then all they are doing is serving to pacify the people, not secure them.

The first speaker spoke what I feel to be a criticism of the people there. A divide and conquer tactic straight out of the government play book saying that people there had different agendas, as if we weren't there to support Oscar Grant and work for change. She criticized others "agendas" while preaching a pacifist line, and insisting that we be led by the Oscar Grant family in the fight for justice. By labeling others lines as "agendas" she tried to delegitimize lines opposed to pacifism, while pretending her agenda didn't exist. History has shown that the oppressor will not loosen their grip without the oppressed rising up in arms. This was the only significant event we know of to mark the anniversary and it was dominated by those who saw no need for fundamental change.

After that, the NOI ministers got up and preached a revolutionary gospel. One NOI minister made the point that its the gangster or thug that needs to be organized for revolution and that they will be the ones to fight and win freedom. On the surface this was the speech that resonated most with the MIM(Prisons) line, but the NOI and their offshoots like the New Black Panther Party have been consistently petty bourgeois in their practice and line since the murder of Malcolm X, despite rhetoric to attract the lumpen to their ranks.

The rcp=u$a got up and talked about communism and atheism bringing a pseudo-anti-religious perspective to the debate. They said something very interesting. They said that we shouldn't criticize the movements but just get in there and lead the movement. This makes no sense. Criticism and self-criticism is at the root of dialectical materialism. Which is why the rcp=u$a continues to fail to be seen as a viable vehicle for revolution.

The latest on the case are that the shooter, Johannes Mehserle, has been charged with murder, but the case has been moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. Mehserle is out on bail with the support of police unions that are backing his defense. So far there has been much to see as the case develops that has exposed the vast injustices of the system, but the battle to convict Mehserle itself is not so strategically important for us. The state has much more invested in the outcome of the case. A conviction would be the first murder conviction against a cop in the united $tates. A failure to convict could prove problematic for them, and the reverberations will likely now be in both Oakland and Los Angeles.

We encourage strategic legal battles as a form of struggle in order to expose the system and create room for the oppressed to live and organize. Simultaneously, we are clear that the injustice system is not fast nor even effective.

Organizational Lessons

What is more important is learning organizing lessons from what happened around the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant. Two detailed papers have been well-distributed on the topic. One is by a group of anonymous anarchist writers, another is by a self-proclaimed "Marxist" group called Advance the Struggle(A/S), that is focused on uniting the "working" class. Comically, the rcp=u$a who got up to condemn analysis and criticism of the movement are outdone here by a group of self-proclaimed anarchists. Let us begin with the anarchist discussion, as we largely addressed their line in our original article on the riots.

The anarchist piece is mostly a story, and probably the most complete documentation of what went on those days in January 2009. Both papers did a thorough critique of the non-profit/reformist coalition turned police that we touched on last year. The Coalition Against Police Execution (CAPE) imposed it's "security" on a large spontaneous movement. While this was an inappropriate role for them to assume, it should be noted that CAPE's organization gave it an advantage over the disorganized angry crowd. And while the anarchists recognized CAPE members as their friends in social life and A/S sees them as workers duped by non-profits funded by imperialism, they were really representing a clear class position of the petty bourgeoisie. They served to protect businesses and prevent conflicts with the police as a matter of principle not a strategy of struggle.

As the anarchists pointed out, riots (can) work. We can't get free by rioting, and in many cases riots end in more repression and no gains. They are not a strategy to be promoted as the anarchists do. But in this case they put more pressure on the state than hugging pigs, holding vigils and asking for "police oversight." What those nights represented was a budding system of justice outside of the established imperialist order. Meanwhile, the non-profit/reformist movement did much to pressure the existing institutions to prosecute Meserhle and reform the policing system to defuse independent justice. But if we want to stop the killing, what the oppressed need are their own institutions. An institution is something that is consistent that we can rely on. Not something we pray for every day and emerges in an eruption of undisciplined energy once every 5 years.

The anarchist authors are avowed focoists, claiming that "our actions create a contagious fever." But as we said at the time, "nights of Black youth roving the streets among groups of riot cops, being videotaped and snatched to prison cannot continue much longer." And to the anarchists disappointment, it did not. Power must be built and fought for, it is not something we can just reach out and grab. We promote a strategy that depends on deep political understanding among as broad a population as is sympathetic to revolutionary change. Advance the Struggle agrees with this, but their assessment of who is sympathetic is stuck in outdated dogma.

A/S opens their paper, "Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?" claiming that the "working class people of Oakland... found an inadequate set of organizational tools at their disposal." Who are they talking about? It's not "workers" who are being murdered by pigs, it's oppressed nation youth. The anarchists at times also fall into this dogmatic analysis by talking of "those of us who toil in Oakland." Just because Oscar Grant had a job doesn't mean this is a battle between the workers and the bosses.

The most interesting critique in the A/S piece that we have not seen elsewhere is regarding the so-called "Revolutionary Communist Party - USA" (rcp=u$a). Again the main point of A/S is that there was no vanguard in place to lead the movement for justice for Oscar Grant. Here they address the rcp=u$a's lame attempts to play this role. They correctly criticize the rcp=u$a for setting up the students they organized to fail, which had the effect of diffusing further militant organizing among oppressed nation youth because their leaders were in jail. Their vague, nonexistent, and false political line and failure to correctly organize for revolution plays an integral part in the imperialist plan to keep the people disorganized and divided.

As we mentioned last year, the Panthers were a common topic of discussion as the budding movement faced a leadership void. A/S made some correct analysis about the way the Panther legacy has been transformed into a justification for non-profit/charity type organizing. This is reinforced by founding and leading members who still get a lot of respect in the Bay Area. The anarchists also provide an elementary discussion of the Panthers in their paper.

While both groups of authors turn around and condemn nationalism, this experience demonstrates the need for it. Everyone lamented the lack of the BPP, the Maoist, Black nationalist vanguard of the late 1960's. Today we have the Nation of Islam dominating the role of Black nationalism. Nationalism is relevant because it is the oppressed nations that are targeted by police terrorism and concentration camps. Nation-based organizing is the best path to get us away from the non-profiteering and the dogmatic "worker"ism that has so clearly muddied the waters in this period of struggle. The experiences in Oakland reinforce the Maoist class analysis and the importance for having one. The petty bourgeoisie has dominated the movement for justice for Oscar Grant, while white nationalist revolutionaries vie for influence from the sidelines.

notes:
Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity? by Advance the Struggle. 2009.
Unfinished Acts: January Rebellions. Oakland, California 2009.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 13]
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I am an American

I am an
American,
but not as they say.
America's
Christopher Columbus day
America,
independence day
Evil as they do
do as they say
America's
the devil himself
has his own holiday
America,
this is independence
"assimilate"
I am an
American,
but not as they say.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUI] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 15]
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Intentional deterioration of mental health in Arizona DOC

I am currently being housed in a maximum facility in the Arizona DOC where I've been confined to a one-man prison cell for over seven years in 23 hour a day solitary confinement. I was sentenced to precisely 156 years for taking up arms against a corrupt judicial system. One of my ultimate goals is to help shed some light on the inhumane environment that those of us in prison are subject to live in "generation after generation." Those of us who speak out against capitalist, imperialistic injustice are kept silent and retaliated against in prisons all across the world. We're kept isolated in boxes about the size of dog kennels for years. Rehabilitation only comes in the form of one's personal dedication of adopting a military mindset and achieving what is essential to keeping oneself afloat and not consumed by the burden of being taken for granted as human beings.

It's very common to become invisible in any society designed to desensitize and demoralize the average person, designed to corrupt and eat away at some of the greatest minds. Inevitably, the mental disease surrounding this establishment consumes the vulnerable-minded completely and has its effects on those stronger and competent minds. No amount of love or money can ever replace one's lost time or sanity. Oddly, some of these same people return back into society with no real plan on how to cope or withstand even the smallest pressures. Sadly, I witness people deteriorate on a daily basis while imprisoned, what could have been a short-term prison sentence often ends up a lifetime scar.

I've always resented the idea of one resorting to drugs as a means to emancipate oneself from the difficulties, but as you can see when dealing with the shamefulness of the imperialist system, I really do understand why my equals would rather be intoxicated than face a reality in which we're born into a cycle of destruction. However, one fact that will never change is that drug abuse only hinders and destroys one's personal experience to grow in strength and wisdom. Our ancestors weren't quitters nor cowards. We're skilled, imaginative, intelligent engineers and ultimately we adjust to our problems to overthrow our challenges. Yet we remain students to our own neglect; show us a meaningful purpose to our civilization and we will keenly follow.

In July 2003, I returned to the Arizona Department of Corrections to spend approximately 156 years behind bars for taking up arms against a corrupt Tuscon Police Department in self-defense. I was immediately placed in Arizona's super-maximum facility (SMU-I,(VCU)). SMU-I is a facility that publicly houses "the worst of the worst" special management prisoners. Prisoners are able to obtain some personal items but conditions in SMU-I are very restrictive and inhumane. I was housed in VCU, which is considered isolation within solitary confinement. Ordinarily, prisoners who are held in VCU are labeled disruptive while housed in SMU-I or have accumulated serious disciplinary violations while in prison. Most prisoners in VCU are labeled disruptive for choosing not to conform to the collective ways of the prisoncrats and in return are retaliated against.

One of the many tactics used by our oppressor is to place us in the tortuous shadows of the severely mentally ill to help break a person's spirit. I was placed in this unit upon my initial intake into the penitentiary, never once expecting for my oppressors to provide me due process before being admitted into this unusual world. During this particular part of my life a lot of soul-searching was done and ultimately strength was gained. These teachings have allowed me to fully comprehend my ancestry's mantra of "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." For long periods of time I debated with the idea of suicide. It was at my lowest point in total darkness and hopelessness that my eyes were truly illuminated to the ways of this injustice system. At this point I chose to continue my life, to have life. The nightmares that keep me from advancing forward, I've confronted and compromised with. But as you can imagine, I found myself in a tight spot, being the VCU unit.

I was placed on a gurney while four correctional officers escorted me to my new cell. I was strip searched, placed in extra-tight handcuffs with an additional dog chain that offered my captors an object to manipulate.The officers who were escorting me decided it was essential to assert themselves aggressively. I was pushed face down on the gurney and was advised if I looked sideways or moved even just slightly I'd be pepper-sprayed, tazed and neutralized by the police K9. I knew in the back of my mind this was a familiar tactic embraced internationally by my oppressors so I closed my eyes and kept my mouth shut. It is these types of incidents that inspire me to vigorously overcome fierce adversity. In prison, life goes on but one never gets comfortable with the demeaning environment, the torture, the food poisoning, the searches, the depression, the yells, and the screams. It is what brainwashes us into what we are.

I was wrongfully convicted by a judicial system that clearly favors the police, the state's prosecutor, and biased, corrupt judges. My best friend, my little brother and myself are all sentenced to die in an institution that shows no compassion. This is the same institution that as a child you become so dreadful of as you watch your father travel through the same system. Just when I thought my childhood couldn't become any more tragic, reality set in. The temperatures in solitary confinement have a strong tendency of remaining freezing cold; my captors figure if we stay under our blankets all day, wishing upon falling stars, the odds of becoming productive prisoners will diminish. I say productive in the sense that we as prisoners should take up the obligation of combating what is inhumane within the injustice system. This becomes a lifetime struggle while imprisoned. What actually appears to be meaningless, in the long haul is actually morally fulfilling. Yet challenging! What we consider to be productive, our captors refer to as "disruptive." In the end all we want is equal opportunity.

Many tactics and well practiced strategies are put up like road blocks. This has given our captors an everlasting advantage. One important method of abuse is the placement system. Our captors have the authority to move prisoners at will. The sycophants usually end up in "Disneyland" while the "disruptive" end up in "Alaska". With this tactic our captors maintain control. The majority of prisoners housed in VCU are seriously mentally ill. Banging on cell doors creates insomnia, the lights stay on all the time, and some prisoners become extremely delusional and schizophrenic. Mental illness has a strong desire to befriend the next prisoner's addiction, as if the air was contaminated with dementia. All different types of crazed thoughts are fabricated in these prisoners' minds, where everyone around you acts suspiciously like an assassin. These types of delusions commonly progress and eventually their pressures become too overbearing to hold inside, forcing these prisoners to act out. Prisoners lose their minds and begin mutilating themselves to ease their mental pain. Suicide is still viewed as cowardly, but some are too overwhelmed to escape its treacherous snares.

The main instigators are often the ones who are employed to implement corrections. They introduce this type of behavior to intensify the mental strain, giving the vulnerable a reason to simply attend to their anger, frustration and pain. Sometimes they even use seduction as a defense mechanism or to infiltrate the lumpen organizations to create conflict. This misconduct usually creates disagreements, cell extractions and the like. I myself have continuously remained in long-term isolation. No effective adjustment programs have ever been offered to us in this Arizona maximum facility, so obviously this type of behavior continues to worsen. The truth is solitary confinement is creating its own demise. Since I have been in isolation, the VCU ward I spoke of has been deemed unconstitutional by the higher courts and has publicly been shut down.

I am grieving the techniques implemented by the Arizona Department of Corrections in regards to long-term isolation without adequate recourse for mental health treatment. It is detrimental to one's comprehensive health and in due time deteriorates one's ability to function as a human. ADOC utilizes a detrimental structure which it abuses in its discretion to maintain order, rather than to address rehabilitation/recidivism concerns. Long-term isolation without adequate and the effective recourse increases the risk for prisoners to develop extensive mental health disorders and physical health problems as well. This also recruits and increases additional mental health cases for those prisoners isolated amongst the severely mentally ill population for long periods of time. ADOC has neglected to provide adequate mental health services in their maximum custody facilities. What this atrocity does to the environment is create a breeding ground for psychosis. ADOC has strongly neglected to conform its system to reduce recidivism and in fact has demonstrated through their actions, a crime against humanity by converting prisoners into mental health patients, consciously capitalizing on prison enterprise by neglecting to provide adequate recourse for their maximum facilities. This makes prisoners worse off than when we initially arrived, creating a more fortified cycle of sociopaths. This is a logical fact and is very inhumane. Without the adequate learning tools this process is going to keep creating insanity.

Also see An Alternative to the SHU
and U.S. Prisons Prove Maddening

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Petition for Proper Handling of Grievances

I have sent MIM(Prisons) a letter of grievance for use by CDCR prisoners. Its purpose is to petition the Director of Corrections to investigate the purposeful failure of the 602 procedure [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation grievance process] within California State Prison - Los Angeles County. This is something somebody put together for the general population here on C-yard. It is our intention to flood the Director's office with these petitions in hopes that it will shed some light onto the illegal acts in which these pigs are willing participants. We are being forced to file these petitions due to the unfortunate fact that the vast majority of our 602s are not being filed or properly heard.

The idea is to distribute this petition to all CDCR facilities and to have as many people sign and mail the petition to the Director's office as possible. Once all parties receive their responses concerning the petition, all responses along with contradictory paperwork should be sent to the Prison Law Office (which is specific to CA), the Office of Internal Affairs, etc. Our goal is to expose CDCR, its administration, and facilities as tools of repression and the lengths that they will go to to cover their crimes.

If correctly done, this action can be one in which quite possibly hundreds or thousands of prisoners will have the opportunity to make their voices heard and their wrongs known. It will be very hard for the Civil Rights Division of the Dept. of Justice and other agencies to ignore us. At worst, if we still fail, then we will at least have further proven that this "justice" system is not for us but against us.

My hope in sending this to MIM(Prisons)'s legal aid clinic is that you will redistribute this petition to those working with MIM and explain the concept to our comrades struggling from within so that we may all work together as one in a concerted effort to expose and hopefully create favorable conditions for the masses concerned in whatever they may be struggling for. I think that what I'm proposing here with the coordinated form of "legal attack" is of course a good use of MIM's legal aid clinic time and it would benefit all prisoners, not just in California.

In order for the rest of the prisoner population held in different prisons to correctly use this petition, they will of course need to change the name of the facility to that of their own. They will also have to look up their own "Departmental Operational Manual" citations in order to be in compliance. Someone will also have to take the lead for everyone in their facility, individual yard, etc.

MIM(Prisons) Adds: We see this campaign as a great use of our resources because our ability to fairly have our grievances handled is directly related to preventing arbitrary repression for people who stand up for their rights or attempt to do something positive. Spreading revolutionary literature, including Under Lock & Key, is a huge part of MIM(Prisons)'s organizing work. We support this petition in light of our anti-censorship work and anti-repression work in general.

We have sent this campaign to our United Struggle from Within and Prison Legal Clinic comrades in California, but this is an issue that should be spread to wherever it is relevant. Prisoners outside of California facing similar problems may be able to re-write the petition using their state's citation and policy numbers. [Ed.- A comrade in Texas has already translated the petition for use in the TDCJ system.] You will also need to research which administrators the petition should be sent to in your state. Write to us if you want to work on this campaign in California or elsewhere!

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