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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

This article referenced in:
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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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[Organizing] [Legal] [Campaigns] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Address Our Grievances! Campaign Spreads

In Under Lock & Key issue 13, we published an article announcing a campaign about the improper handling of grievances by prison staff. Below is an update from the California comrade who originally turned us on to the campaign.

I initially mailed out my own petition to the CDCR Director Level back in Nov./Dec. of '09 as part of the first wave of petitions. This was done under the auspice of its originator. However some time after the first wave went out, the persyn who devised this plan was subsequently taken to the hole. It was rumored that it was exactly because of this persyn's legal maneuvering that he was sent to the hole. Anyway, back in January '10 I received a response. As it turns out, these petitions were never investigated or even looked into as we requested. The Appeals Coordinator at the Director Level simply re-routed my petition back to the Warden's office here at this institution, at which time the warden here implied that the appeals which I had pending were screened back to me because I basically failed to comply with inmate appeal regulations. This is of course total bullshit! The "W." pretty much just issued me a de facto "695 Screen Out Form" without ever really looking into the matter, thereby sweeping the matter back under the rug.

I then decided that someone needed to step up to the plate and pick up where this petition's originator left off. I began by tracking down as many people as I could find who'd participate in the legal action. I tracked down about eighteen people, of which only three others besides myself received responses. As it turned out, we all got the same document with seemingly no other action taken.

I then proceeded to make as many copies of the original petition as I could obtain. I was only able to make 20. Of these 20 I only had twelve more people agree to mail the petitions out. As of today nobody's received any responses.

I contacted the Ca. Prison Law Office, useless. The Ombudsman, useless, no response, and a few other organizations claiming to offer inmates assistance (Critical Resistance? critically useless). I didn't bother with Internal Affairs or the Inspector General as they are both connected to CDCR and seemingly cover their asses. The DOJ is a different story. However, they will only take action if it can be proven that civil rights abuses are taking place en masse. Since only four of us received responses, the DOJ will not take action.

So it hasn't turned out as we hoped [with an investigation into the failed CDCR grievance system]. I suppose it wasn't a total failure, though, as we have proved yet again that the inmate appeals procedure in the Ca. Dept. of Corruption is nothing but an obstacle placed in front of prisoners' path to the U.$. judicial system.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's initiative to pick up a worthwhile project, after state repression stopped the original leader, is commendable. Others who have this kind of initiative should be working with the United Struggle from Within, the MIM(Prisons)-led anti-imperialist prisoner organization. Comrades have been working diligently to expand the scope of the campaign and we now have petitions prepared for CA, MO, OK and TX. If you are filing grievances about any issue and they aren't being handled properly by staff, consider becoming a part of this campaign and spread it to your people inside.

This comrade's analysis of the success of the campaign is completely accurate. We can hope for an investigation into the corrupt grievance system, but if it doesn't happen, then we have instead successfully exposed yet another flaw in the Amerikkkan "justice" system. It is important to not give up even if we feel like nothing will happen because these exposures are agitational points that we can rally people around. Also, like this comrade pointed out, if we send in enough petitions to the DOJ s/he believes that they may respond. So continue to send in your grievance petitions and get with MIM(Prisons) to get involved!

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Can't u see


Can't u see
Inacell is where we dwell, sippin' coffee,
Smokin' bugler, plottin' the future, goin' straight
4 the jugular
incarcerated, never intimidated, just fighting
2 be liberated from these chains and fences,
no repentance while doin' this life sentence
Killings and drug dealings goin' down in this shit
called the game, brothas lookin' 4 fame, dying
4 gangs when it's the system that must be
changed, revolution is the solution, not prostitution, we aimin'
at the kapitalist, imperialist institutions, and the
chumps pimpin' the sistas, they birth the
future
can't u see
Pain, sweat and tears over 400 years, oppression,
emasculation, mass incarceration, kapitalist exploitation,
it's time 4 self-determination
This shit has gotten deep, sometimes we weep,
fueled by past and present images of brothas and
sistas being railroaded, given lengthy sentences,
being misplaced in the census
Can't u see
altho we exist in the undaground, we persist
the possibilities of a new world, unfurled like
a mother giving birth 2 a new baby girl
we exist in tha undaground, in a hellhole, yet
have we 2 fold
we're not jiving, not hiding, always ready 2 face
the cold
that's why we be so bold in our maneuvers, we
see a beautiful future
They say the game ain't 2 be told, but sold
this ain't no game, people, you be gold if the
truth be told
As we started 2 grow in the undaground
some tried 2 kill what we feel, that's the
real deal
Others claimed we were out of season, how
can that be correct reasoning using the
logic of a heathen and ignoring the bleeding
refusing 2 read the signs of the times
that's why i designed this rhyme, hoping you
see what time it is 4 real
Predatory lending,
subprime mortgage schemes, prisons filled 2 over
capacity with the masses
crack, heroin is back
fat cat CEOs paid obscene salaries in stacks
off the backs of the working classes
the holice using the hoods as shooting galleries
Politicians lying, young folks dying
mothers crying
brothas neglecting responsibility, hiding instead
of protecting the community by riding
Can't u see
Political prisoners, pistol packing, poetic poetry
power, survival of the illest, the realest
Elections, defections
wars being fought with toys of destruction
the game of elimination is being employed
the environment is being destroyed
Can't u see
that's why i propagate what we see, hear
and feel, hoping you see what is real.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 14]
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Their goal is menticide


They thought that this would break me
They tried to tear me down
Confinement made my mind get stronger
You should hear me now
I wasn't hip to all their tricks
They had me stuck before
I had to grow but now I know just what it's hitting for
Their mission is divide and conquer
Their goal is menticide
We must protect our minds from them
Don't let them get inside
Cus if they do
then they'll use you to do the dirty work
Unconsciously they'll make you be the bringer of the hurt
Unity's ingredients are power, strength and love
And if we come together we will surely rise above
Divided, we are midgets with no hope to ever rise
But together we're a giant who can choke them till they die.

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[National Oppression] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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No access to law library in High Desert

I'm writing in regards to a letter I had read asking for us prisoners to provide art in order to convey the message of injustice in prison. As you know in prison there are many unjust actions that occur on a daily basis so there is a lot to draw on. However, one of the many recent hardships brought upon us Mexicans (specifically northerners) is a mass validation sweep in High Desert State Prison on 8/4/09. 58 northern hispanics were taken off the mainline without due process and stuck in Ad-Seg (Z unit). Now we are all diligently striving to appeal these false fabricated lies on our people but administration has found a new way to hinder our progress by preventing us ample time to go to the law library, making it difficult to get Title 15s, make copies, etc.

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