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[Theory] [Medical Care] [Gender] [ULK Issue 15]
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Mental Health: a Maoist Perspective

What is Mental Health?

Starting with the basics: what is often referred to as the "mind" is a complex collection of biochemical reactions that occur in the humyn brain, a physical object. To take a materialist approach to mental health, we must not talk about the "mind" as a separate entity from the physical body. The belief that there is a mind or spirit separate from the physical being is a concept called dualism and is at the basis of most idealist philosophies in the world today.

Applying a basic concept of probability to genetics and biology we can accept that there are going to be humyns that are born with brains that have physical characteristics that lead them to function different than normal, and in some cases that will mean these individuals are less capable of basic humyn functions. That said, the complex biochemistry of the brain is susceptible to all sorts of outside influences from even before an animal is born. These include chemicals in the form of food, medicine and environmental pollutants, as well as physical conditions that induce biochemical responses within the body, such as stress, isolation, and irregular daylight cycles. Therefore, most discussions of inborn psychological disorders lack a scientific basis, as scientists cannot control the myriad of outside factors that influence the brain throughout an animal's lifespan.

A sociological approach shows that mental health has strong connections to gender oppression. In, Getting Clarity on what Gender Oppression is, MC5 defined gender as being found in leisure-time, related to pleasure. Therefore depression, an extreme lack of pleasure, and the alienation that leads to it is largely shaped in the realm of gender. In MIM Theory 9, there is a focus on the disproportionate mental health struggles of wimmin and youth. As we laid out in more detail in Gender Oppression in U.$. Prisons (ULK 1), lumpen youth are gender oppressed by Amerikan biowimmin, and are some of the most gender oppressed within U.$. borders. We suspect prisoners suffer more from mental health problems than wimmin and youth in the United $tates.

The Scientific Method

The bourgeois approach to conflict and problem solving is individualistic. When problems are dealt with on the individual level, only a few problems are solved and then held up as examples that "anyone" can achieve, but most problems are either not solved in the first place, or recur soon after they are solved. Communists, on the other hand, work in the interests of the vast majority in the world today who are oppressed by the powerful. Our strategy is to solve problems at the group level, and mental health is no exception.

While dialectical materialists often refer to themselves as scientists, this does not mean that all scientific work is for the benefit of the people. A more pointed attack would be asking questions like, "what type of science spends millions of dollars studying the effects of long-term isolation on brain waves?" Maoists abolished isolation as a form of psychological treatment in the 1950s. Prior to that time, psychological work in socialist China was criticized by the people because it consisted largely of scientists in labs doing studies isolated from the real world. For a discipline that is supposedly about the mental state of people, which is very dependent on society, this is a very backwards approach. As a result of criticisms, the Chinese practice evolved to focus on improving people's understanding and engagement with the real world. But today, under imperialism, we are still stuck in these archaic forms of mental health research.(1)

As the 1st Crown of BORO describes in h article on psychology, scientific theories are often wrong and often guided by the interests of the group to which the scientist belongs. The theories that subspecies of humyns existed were developed by nations that were in the process of expanding their domination over other peoples. Prior to the development of genetic testing it was harder to argue that theories about different races or subspecies of humyns were incorrect as we can today. Criminology today is similarly tainted by the interests of the oppressors.

Who is Mentally Ill?

In MIM Theory 9, MCB52's review of psychological practice in revolutionary China gives an excellent overview of the subject.(1) S/he prefaces h article by pointing out that those who are diagnosed with mental health problems are mostly "pissed off people rationally resisting the hegemonic culture one way or another. This especially affects youth and women, and rather than trying to 'cure' it — we celebrate it!" However, many people struggle to function as a result. And therefore, there is a great overlap of people struggling with mental health and interested in communist politics, both inside and outside prisons.

In imperialist prisons, the ambiguity of diagnosing people as mentally ill becomes very pronounced. Part of the problem is that imprisonment causes mental health problems, so people who may not have had symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis often develop them. Yet it is not in the oppressor's interests to recognize this problem, so staff feel that they must draw a line between the truly ill and the "fakers." Rather than seeing the prisons as causing mental illness, they see people acting out for attention in contrast to those who were born with "real" mental illness. Such silly exercises allow them to keep some prisoners sedated while pushing others to suicide.(2)

Short-term Solutions

As with most problems we face, we can find answers to mental health problems through dialectical materialism and in having the correct political line. In the 1950s the Chinese eliminated the more backwards psychological practices in their society and replaced them with ones focused on getting individuals to connect with and help shape the material world through applying dialectical materialism. Mental health care, like much of Chinese society under Mao, emphasized the importance of both self-reliance and collective help, with the understanding that patients can fight their diseases and lead productive lives in the new society. This required the participation of the patient's family, doctors, and revolutionary committee at their place of employment.(3) Unfortunately, today we don't have that kind of support in our society, and prisoners as a group are even worse off. So keeping your political line right to stay sane requires even more effort.

One article in this issue of ULK gives an example of sleep deprivation being used as a means of social control. While some have claimed to have trained themselves over time to require very little sleep, such as George Jackson, medical research has demonstrated the importance of regular sleep. Ultra-leftism leads one to take the weight of the world on one's shoulders, and push the purist and extreme line without recognition of one's conditions of struggle. While we encourage comrades to strive to improve their efficiency, we should also take an approach that promotes our health and longevity, as we have a long struggle ahead of us.

We often get letters from comrades in isolation, who are clearly well-read and want to change the system, but their articles are mostly confused and hard to decipher. These comrades have been lost to the system, and at this point there's not much we can do to bring them back. So we must work together with those who aren't lost, to keep them sane and on point. Ultra-leftism can feed into one's isolation, which can be a very bad combo for someone who is already in a prison cell. Develop routines, set goals, and track your progress. All of these things can help you stay sharp mentally when you are physically isolated. But do not let the lack of control you have over your conditions lead you to take up extreme behaviors that threaten your physical or mental health.

The topic that triggered the call for an issue focused on mental health was suicide, which can be associated with a political line of defeatism. We've been getting a number of responses and stories on the topic after a mention in Ra'd's obituary a few months back. One prison censored Under Lock & Key for talking about suicide. While the motivation was not clear, the numerous stories we receive show that these institutions encourage people who are locked up to commit suicide. Censoring open discussions on preventing suicide is just one more way to do this. Yet, at another prison the psychological services staff are giving out our address as a resource for people with suicidal tendencies. This is good news, but probably not common across the country where prisoners are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.(4) Overall, suicide rates are higher in the United $tates than many other countries, and comparisons to socialist China in the 1970s showed suicide and schizophrenia to be hundreds of times more common in the United $tates.(5)

If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, write to MIM(Prisons) to get a copy of our struggle with a comrade printed in ULK 13, as well as the self-criticism by a suicidal comrade printed in MIM Theory 9. These are good starting points for re-evaluating your own life in relation to the struggle.(6) In general, we prescribe study and political work. Come up with ways to contribute more to the struggle, while doing any little things you can to improve your immediate situation such as exercise, eating better, meditating, writing people on the outside, forming local discussion groups and staying away from negative influences.

And remember, the purpose of these prisons is to control certain populations. Getting you to end your own life is the ultimate form of control. Therefore, suicide and mental health are closely linked to other forms of control including beating people into submission, drugging them, denying them due process and sexually assaulting them. Exposing and struggling against these abuses is part of the struggle against suicide in U.$. prisons.

Notes:
(1) MCB52. "Psychological Practice in the Chinese Revolution," MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism, MIM Distributors: 1995. p.34.
(2) U.S. Prisons Prove Maddening: review of Terry Kuper's book Prison Madness by MIM
(3) Sidel, Victor & Ruth. Serve the People: Observations on Medicine in the People's Republic of China, Beacon Press: 1973. p. 156.
(4) Kupers, Terry. Prison Madness: the Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About it, Jossey-Bass Publishers: 1999. p.175.
(5) HC116. The Imperialist-Patriarchy's phony Anti-Stigma, 22 April 2005.
(6) For more testimonies and strategies from control unit survivors see: Survivors Manual compiled by Bonnie Kerness Coordinator AFSC Prison Watch Program 89 Market Street, 6th Floor Newark, NJ 07102

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[National Oppression] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 15]
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Psychiatry and Psychology as National Oppression

When revolutionaries begin discussing and conducting a concrete analysis of the particularities of national oppression and how imprisonment is used as a tool of imperialist social control, we invariably must engage in discussing and analyzing how the so-called sciences of psychiatry and psychology are used to further legitimize and give moral reasoning to the national oppression and racist extermination of oppressed nations by imperialist nations.

The Maoist Internationalist Movement wrote about and critiqued in great detail psychiatry and psychology as pseudo-sciences. For those who wish to do an exhaustive study on the subject, I highly recommend that material.(1)

Forced Psychotropic Medications

The Missouri Department of Corrections has a policy entitled, "Forced and Involuntary Psychotropic Medications," that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. This policy gives administrators the authority to force psychotropic medications on a prisoner who is a danger to her/himself and/or others, or is gravely disabled, among other things. This same policy further states that a prisoner can refuse this medication and psychotropic medication should never be used strictly for behavioral control in the absence of a mental disorder. Yet, all of this is done without the prisoner having legal counsel or representation at a medical-psychiatric hearing with staff.

Ultimately, the question is, who is it that determines what a mental disorder is? How do they determine who, how or when someone is a danger to themselves or another? I answer, all of them are determined by the imperialists!

Racist Pseudo-Science

From our study of history, we can see that the oppressors have always used pseudo-science to justify the oppression and genocide of oppressed nations. Whether the "savage" First Nations, "heathen" Africans or "feeble-minded" Jews, psychiatry/psychology were the social sciences that the oppressor nations used to legitimize the oppression and exploitation of others who were considered a different "race."

While much of the language has changed, the essence remains the same — white supremacy uses psychiatry/psychology to further their aims of imposing their will upon others. Those who oppose them are often labeled "extremists," "terrorists," "radicals," "criminals," "crazy," etc.

Take, for example, the theory of eugenics. Eugenics was a term coined by Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton in 1883, which referred to the attempt to "improve the human species by affording the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable."(2)

This false scientific theory postulated that there were genes within oppressed nations that were leading to the deterioration of the humyn race and that oppressed nations were predisposed to committing crimes. The resolution to this contradiction was to isolate these people in institutions (i.e. mental hospitals, prisons, reservations, ghettos, barrios, slums, etc.) or sterilize them. The state of California was one of twenty-nine Amerikan states to pass laws allowing sterilization, and conducted more forced sterilizations than anywhere in the United $tates. These sterilizations were justified as efforts to prevent the passing on of mental illness and criminality. Today, criminality is still treated as an inborn psychological trait even though links to race are usually only implied, not explicitly stated.

Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation helped to finance German researchers at an extremely high level all the way up to 1939 before the onset of World War II, and was aware that German scientists were gassing people in mental institutions. The Rockefellers and Prescott Sheldon Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, were partners with I.G. Farben, the German chemical giant that built the death camp at Auschwitz. (see resources at end of article)

Eugenics was approved by the National Academy of Sciences, Amerikan Medical Association and National Research Council, and of course many Amerikan political and business leaders of the time. But after Hitler killed millions of Jews, nobody wanted to be associated with that horror, so they changed the words. In the 1990s, eugenics became the Bell Curve Theory.(2)

Pseudo-Scientific Credence

Pseudo-scientific credence means providing credibility to an issue based on flawed science. White supremacy is based on a false contention derived from a pseudo-scientific application of biology. Race-based theories were also given credence by flawed science in the form of psychology. For example, Samuel A. Cartwright, a prominent Louisiana Physician claimed that he discovered two mental "diseases" (his word) in 1851 that were peculiar to the "negro" race: 1) drapetomania and 2) dysaethesia aethiopica. In brief, drapetomania was a disease that caused Blacks to have an uncontrolled urge to run away from their masters - the treatment for this "illness" was "whipping the devil out of them." We all know that a captured fugitive slave was often beaten with a whip by his/her slave master, a clear example of how this pseudo-science gave credence to the slave master's brutality. Dysaethesia aethiopica supposedly affected both mind and body, the diagnosable signs included disobedience, answering disrespectfully and refusing to work. The "cure" was to put the persyn to some kind of hard labor. In 1797, the "father" of Amerikkkan psychiatry, Dr. Benjamin Rush, whose face still adorns the seal of the Amerikkkan Psychiatric Association, declared that the color of Blacks was caused by a rare congenital disease caused "negritude," which derived from leprosy. The "cure" was when the skin turned white.(4,5)

Independence from Oppressive "Science"

The essence of this lesson is that until oppressed nations achieve self-determination, control of their own institutions that speak to their needs, and the requisite power to guide the destiny of their nation, the imperialists will continue to use pseudo-sciences such as psychiatry and psychology to further their aims to dominate, imprison and exploit poor and oppressed nations — and if push comes to shove, destroy them!

Notes:
(1) Psychology & Imperialism. MIM Theory 9, 1995. MIM Distributors.
(2) MC12. "Bell Curve Lessons: IQ Against the Oppressed," MIM Theory 9.
(3) Lothrop Stoddard. "The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy"
(4) Abdul D. Shakur, Abasi Ganda, Kamau M. Askari. "The Bell Curve Conspiracy: A Recipe for New Afrikan Genocide" Black Panther Press, 2003.
(5) "Creating Racism: Psychiatry's Betrayal in the Guise of Help." The Citizenship Commission on Human Rights, 1995.

Other Resources:


Edwin Black. War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race. Four Walls: New York, 2003.
Wendy Kline. Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality and Eugenics from the turn of the Century to the Baby Boom. University of California Press: Berkeley, 2001.
Stevan Kuhl. The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism and German National Socialism. Oxford University Press: New York, 1994.
James Scott. Seeing Like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. Houghton Mifflin: New York, 2006.
Cory Panshin. The Secret History of the 20th Century. 2006.
Tom Big Warrior. They Only Call it Fascism When it's Being Done to White People. Rising Sun Press: 2006.

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[Environmentalism] [ULK Issue 15]
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Gulf oil spill: It's capitalism, stupid!

Hands across Amerika, what a wonderful, heart-warming concept. From Santa Monica, California to the beaches of Alabama, Amerikans united in an attempt to show their disappointment and anger at the British Petroleum oil company (BP) as well as their love for the environment, specifically the Gulf Coast.

It's been over two months since BP caused the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf Coast region of the United Snakes, and still the imperialists and big capitalists are at a loss for how to stop one of the most destructive environmental disasters in humyn history. Amerikans are mad! One of the things Amerikans hate to see most is when the evils of imperialism touch "their" shores. What a huge financial hit for all those people living on and near the Gulf Coast, not to mention all that poor defenseless marine life - how dare that BP come here and impose their careless, maniacal ways on Amerikkka - have they no shame? Amerikans didn't want that oil anyway, right?

Actually, Amerikans do want BP drilling for oil. Being the parasites on humynity and the globe that they are, they definitely wanted BP drilling for oil in the Gulf Coast no matter what they say. They're thirsty for oil like ticks for blood. It's partly why they installed the Shah of Iran back in the day. It's why they invaded Kuwait and attacked Iraq during the Gulf War, which led to record-breaking marine oil spills at that time polluting wetlands in Iraq (BP has far surpassed those records now).(1) It's why Amerika invaded Iraq a second time and hung Saddam. And it's partly why they now have their sights set on Iran for regime change. So please, to all you oil thirsty piggish Amerikans, spare us your sentiments. You wanted that oil just as much, if not more than your big capitalists and energy corporations did.

It's not as if BP is some foreign entity completely alien to Amerika which somehow just muscled or manipulated the western hemisphere's only superpower and began drilling at will. You wanted that oil when you decided to get rid of that tired old Chevy and upgrade to a decadently sprawled out 2010 all terrain SUV. You wanted that oil when you decided to keep your home at a comfy 73 degrees year round even though you live in California. You want that oil every time you purchase all of the other pointless, unnecessary crap that you don't need which requires oil for manufacturing, packaging, shipping, etc. And finally, you prove that you want that oil every time one of your boys and girls comes back from overseas in a body bag, or subject the Third World to your yoke of oppression, death and destruction.

Everything's fine and dandy when the oil spill happens somewhere else, in some country you're too lazy to even try to pronounce right. Nigerians have been living among oil spills for over 50 years, amounting to over 550 million gallons spilled, thanks to foreign oil companies supplying Amerikans and other rich nations.(2) Fifty years, and still nothing has been done about the destroyed ecosystems or humyn livelihoods. And for those who are campaigning to end off shore oil drilling in the United $tates without seriously restricting First World consumption: that will only translate into more pollution and destruction in Nigeria, the Sudan and all over the Middle East where humyn lives and ecosystems are deemed less worthy by the chauvinists screaming "not in my backyard!"

The oil spill wasn't BP's fault alone and it wasn't Obama's fault alone, either. It's capitalism stupid, and the sooner you begin to understand that and start to do something to ensure that oil spills like in the Gulf Coast don't happen again, like say helping to bring imperialism down, the better off we'll all be.

This type of disaster would have had a very small to nil chance of happening in the former Soviet Union (1917-1953) or the socialist People's Republic of China (1949-1976), because those communist countries wouldn't have had to do the extensive drilling that the First World seems so caught up with. Why? It is exactly because the communist countries implement something called "planned economics," to meet humyn needs. With today's knowledge of capitalism's effects on Earth's ecology, a socialist form of production would only approve the production of necessary amounts of what's needed for their people, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical supplies and other necessities for trade and sale. These planned economies would be updated quarterly, yearly or as needed. But today, Amerikans demand more and they want it cheap. And the imperialists must produce more than is needed in order to continue to profit.

In a Maoist economic system, since production is for need and not profit, safety suddenly becomes "affordable." Under capitalism, cutting corners increases profits, while threatening humyn lives. While many Amerikans are legitimately angry, they feel helpless to do anything. The BP officials seem untouchable, yet in a Maoist planned socialist economy, those in charge of potentially life-threatening operations are held to the greatest accountability, including the death penalty. While BP officials are millionaires, communist officials in socialist China made much less than intellectuals, while bearing much more responsibility. Allowing the few to profit off of the destruction of the planet that all life depends on will be the most lasting legacy of capitalism that future generations will scratch their heads at.

We can expect many more environmental disasters to hit Amerika (as they've already been hitting the Third World for decades) in the years to come as the imperialists get more desperate to exploit the earth for its material resources and leave all qualms aside when it comes to tapping more and more into the U.$. minerals and fossil fuel reserves. The insatiable appetites of consumption of the First World must be stopped in order to maintain a planet worth building socialism on.

Notes:
(1)Threats to the environment posed by war in Iraq. Science in Africa, March 2003.
(2)Jon Gambrell. Gulf spill a familiar story in oil-soaked Nigeria. Associated Press, July 5, 2010.

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[Organizing] [Texas]
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Fighting Rotten Food and No Parole

Before I could get this letter out, land of the weak, home of the slave day came up, "4th of July" the celebration of the day the Europeans that came to amerikkka who took this land from the Indigenous people had to in turn fight the British to keep it. I wonder where was good ole karma then? Anywow. I'm sitting here troubled because like the comrade who wrote about the hot dogs, they served us half-cooked BBQ chicken. My point in this they were also supposed to put cherry pie on the tray but since I'm in loss of privilege, for not wanting to work for free, and numerous other reasons, myself and others on the "lazy offender program" as the pigs call it, did not receive cherry pie. These grown ass men were crying about no pie, and I was saying you'll be lucky to eat the chicken with no stomach problems. These morons stress for all the wrong reasons. There is no unity here in the Texas Don't Care Jailocracy. These inmates have been led to believe that if you work and stay disciplinary free parole'll let you go. The truth is I stayed case free for 7 years on a non-aggressive 10 year sentence and they tried to give me parole after I pulled 9 years and 3 months, with all kinds of stipulations. So I told the parole board to give it to someone else. The moral of the story is, instead of riding for a cherry pie, why not ride for parole or furloughs to be reinstated in TDCJ asylums?

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Depriving Sleep to Torture in Texas

I know you folks are interested in illegal activity that prisons allow against prisoners. Here in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in the Administrative Segregation (Ad Seg) sections that I have been to and others that inmates have spoken to me about we have several things being done against prisoners.

The first is sleep deprivation. Every night, either officers or inmates who work for them will talk to you in all kinds of disrespectful ways, mostly in whispers through the venting system or they may use the PA system. It's a form of brain washing I have been keeping a log on. It's way out of control because many officers and inmates are involved.

In cases of baby rapers they force them to have different kinds of sex with other inmates. They will open cell doors to allow this to take place.

Some (most) of the inmates are weak when it comes to being threatened in Ad Seg. I am here for two murders and I am not weak. I backup against their threats. They have been trying their bullshit with me going on 4 years, at two different units. The inmates who illegally work for them help in this with mirrors and cell phone cameras. It is actually a terrorist operation they have set up to make criminals worse instead of better. This makes sure the inmates return, increases the prison population and increasing funding for their jobs.

I have been up for parole six times but due to action taken against me, it created a reaction with me and stopped parole each time. I have had several fist fights and was declared a gang member which I am not. Never have been, except boy scouts! They are threatening to move me to another pod right now for writing this letter, they are reading it as I write with their small high tech cameras that are not supposed to be used by other inmates. They are saying as I write this that no one will believe me because of my mental illness.

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[Organizing] [Holman Correctional Facility] [Alabama] [ULK Issue 15]
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Back to the basics

Not too long ago, prisoners at the Holman Max Security prison in Alabama staged a work/hunger strike in protest of the horrendous and deplorable unsanitary living conditions (open sewage around the toilets and sinks, gaping holes in the shower walls, exposed plumbing, leaking roof in the living and sleeping area and in the kitchen, and the constant arbitrary lockdowns).

There had been grumblings about these conditions from most prisoners. Complaints had been filed but no action was ever taken to correct any of the above problems.

A few prisoners got together, chopped it up and came up with a strategy and tactics to correct the conditions. We knew that this was a winnable battle because the conditions were right to galvanize the entire prison population and we had family and friends on the outside.

The conditions in the dorms and kitchen were so deplorable that there was no way for prisoncrats to dance around the issues of willful neglect and the callous disregard for sanitation and prisoners health.

We also knew that they couldn't afford to allow the prison industry (tag plant/metal fab) to be closed down too long. We were hitting them in their pockets. Plus, the pigs are so lazy that we knew there would be friction among them about having to prepare hot, cooked meals for those prisoners who were exempt from the hunger strike, and to wash the trays, pots and pans.

We made a list of all the people and agencies we want to notify about what was going down and why we were staging a peaceful work/hunger strike. We had our people outside to bombard the commissioner's office with faxes and phone calls, call the local media to notify them of the strike and express their concern and outrage about the conditions.

We then sent kites (notes) to prisoners in the other four dorms about what we were getting ready to do and why, and asked that they take the leadership in their dorms. Word came back from the other dorms giving the ok. Then simultaneously, all four dorms placed all TVs and microwaves at the front gate. TVs have always been used as a weapon to pacify prisoners for years. So, we were letting them know that no longer could they control us with them.

Instantly, the pigs who were in the dorms fled. We addressed the entire dorm laying out what we were doing, why and how we planned on proceeding. We asked that everyone join in the strike. Only the elderly and those with medical reasons were allowed to go and eat, and they acted as reconnaissance scouts while out of the dorm. With everyone's input we drew up a list of demands and declared them non-negotiable. The first demand was that we wanted to talk to the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and not the warden of the prison. We knew that eventually the riot team would be called in so we discussed how we were going to handle that. The consensus was that we keep the strike peaceful and there would be nothing they could do. On more than one occasion, the pigs tried to provoke violent confrontations. We refused to play into their hands.

Over 18 hours into the strike, the commissioner made his way from Montgomery, Alabama to Holman prison at Atmore, Alabama. He requested to speak with our spokesmen. We had selected a spokesman from and for each dorm. The spokesmen informed the commissioner that there would be no dealings with the warden since he had years to address our concerns and that there would be no private talks. The commissioner was forced to enter the dorms. We made our complaints and demands. The commissioner tried to dodge and use the same old crap they always use about budgets and allocations of funds for the ADOC. We let him know that we've heard that before and that we were not willing to end the strike until we got some guarantees and changes. The commissioner eventually agreed to all our demands.

The following day inspectors, contractors, etc. visited the prison and prisoners were temporarily moved from each dorm for renovations to begin. Within a year all dorms were renovated and a new roof was put in place.

We read the conditions right. The population was angry and thoroughly dissatisfied with the conditions. The population was just waiting on someone to take the initiative and move out front, to take the leadership role.

Some did just that.

This article referenced in:
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[Culture] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 15]
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Cultural imperialism: Why oppressed nations should not celebrate our oppressor's holidays and cultures

As revolutionaries we recognize the important role of understanding history and culture and how a correct analysis of them aids the people in breaking the chains of national oppression.

If imperialism is the control and exploitation of poor nations by rich nations then cultural imperialism is the domination and negation of a poor nation's culture and history. When an oppressed nation practices the culture and participates in the celebrating of the national holidays of their oppressors, they are, in fact, celebrating their own oppression, cultural domination and genocide.

In the United $nakes, oppressed nations tend to celebrate the oppressive white nation's holidays and culture with more enthusiasm than the white folks. Back during chattel slavery this could have been understandable, because it meant we didn't have to work in the white man's fields for free. But today, the reality is different.

The 4th of July (Amerikkka's day of independence) is upon us again and New Afrikan (Black) people and other internal oppressed nations have absolutely nothing to celebrate. It is a downright disrespect to our people's historic struggle to be out celebrating, partying and bullshitting, when we should be in the streets agitating, educating and organizing the masses for social revolutionary struggle for national independence. When we gain our independence, then let's celebrate.

The 4th of July is a Euro-Amerikan cultural and political holiday in recognition of their successful revolutionary struggle to break the chains of English colonial bondage. On July 4, 1776, Black, Latino and First Nation people were catching hell! We were enslaved, being exploited and murdered, so what the hell is our cause for celebration? Do we suffer from some sort of cultural and historical amnesia?

Check out what Frederick Douglas had to say to the white folk who asked him to speak at a fourth of July celebration:

"Fellow citizens, pardon me and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? Perhaps you mean to mock me. For what have I to do with your celebration? What to the American slave is your fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham, your boasted liberty an unholy license, your national greatness, a swelling vanity, your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless, your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence. Your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery, your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgiving, with all your religious parades and solemnity, hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages."

What you say and do is a reflection of who you are. The only true culture of the oppressed is a revolutionary culture that is built throughout the struggle for national liberation. The people's culture is not some far off distant time that has long ago burned out in some distant land. It is alive and developing out of the people's struggle against oppression and exploitation.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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United We Stand: COs split Bs and Cs

The Department of Corruptions, under the guise of safety and security is slowly but surely succeeding in their divide and conquer strategy. They have already been successful at convincing individuals to snitch by offering those who choose to take that road a safe haven. While at the same time they're inciting conflicts in General Population. Here recently the captain of D-yard told a crip inmate that a blood inmate informed on him. Instead of them seeing this for what it was, these two guys ran around the yard telling anybody who would listen that the person was a snitch. The result was that the blood stabbed the crip in the law library. This resulted in the whole Black population being placed on lockdown for 60 days. The excuse for the lockdown was that they had to investigate the situation.

They released a program status report the day after the incident and passed out copies to everyone. They wanted everyone to know it was a blood and crip that was involved. Under any other circumstances it takes the pigs 30 days to release a program status report. At the same time the pigs were walking around like school kids making comments intended to incite the blood and crip conflict. Normally when something like this occurs they only lockdown the groups involved. But this time they locked down all Blacks, which was strange because this was a one-on-one issue that was provoked by the pigs. But this is the norm here in Kern Valley.

This is a maximum security prison. Guys around here claim to be militant revolutionaries, hardcore gangsters and solid convicts. But all I see is a bunch of fools looking for some type of recognition and popularity, until we all wake up and realize that we have to unite in order to overcome the oppressors then we must accept what we get. United we stand, divided we fall, together we can stand tall. Until that happens the pigs will continue to divide and conquer.

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[Abuse] [Georgia]
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Georgia conditions deteriorating

I've seen a lot of changes in the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) over the past 5 years.

It started with the food (menu). In 2006, the GDC made a drastic change in the menu, downsizing the meals and eliminating all salt in the name of health. They even put a memo up saying "this is a healthy change meant to promote health." This lasted a week, before inmates "bucked" causing them to change it back. So these guys (GDC) went back to the think tank to come up with a better way to get over on us. Well, they succeeded. What they did was, instead of changing the menu all at once, they decided to do it little by little. Take boiled eggs out this month, egg salad 3 months later, tuna goes in June, no more soy milk for vegans in August, less chicken next year. They did this to avoid disruption from us. They took a page out of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." Got us acting like the animals walking around saying "didn't we use to have that", "I thought the menu said 'this' one time." To me, this "take a little here" strategy has become one of their favorites.

It doesn't stop there, Georgia inmates, got to be the sorriest group of guys in history. I'm a part of it, sad to say. It's unbelievable how submissive these guys are. They go for anything.

Back in 2006, according to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) laundry was ordained to be washed 6 days per week. Then a drought hit Georgia for a month. So they downsized laundry cleaning to 3 days. That was 4 years ago - so tell me why laundry only goes out 3 days a week still? The drought been over. Hell, there was a flood or two since them. Nobody cares.

In 2008, all the wardens in every prison in GA went down to their dorms to inform inmates that everything on Friday will be shut down and will be considered a part of the weekend. I have no idea how they swung that one by without a riot. No mail on Friday, no lunch, no law library, no medical, no counseling, no programs, etc. Rumor is they will soon be giving inmates in GA 2 meals a day everyday. No uprisings.

Because so many prisoners used adapters to charge cell phones, the GDC banned us from buying them in almost every prison. No protests.

There once was a time when medical visits were free. But then they started charging $5 per visit. Earlier this year they took it a step further and started charging us for the visit and medicine. So if I went there for a cold it would cost me $5 to walk in the door, $5 for the medicine, and another $5 for the nasal spray. We just keep taking it in the ass.

In the last 3 years, 5 prisons (1800 inmates each) shut down. So the GDC, instead of releasing folks, chose to add multiple annex (open dorm) buildings to each prison. When overcrowding still persists they started putting triple bunks in all cell houses. The prison I'm at has 3 men per room in all cell houses bottom range. Top ranges have 2 men. But it won't be long before they triple up every dorm. What this is doing, besides humiliating us, is putting serious strain on the existing facilities, such as medical.

When this prison was built, it had an inmate capacity of 800. Well today you have over 2000. All that has changed has been the amount of inmates. Instead of medical staff having to care for 800 they now have to care for 2000. Same size staff, same size rooms. Nothing was enlarged to compensate for this population boom. The law library has enough computers for 800 men. Today we don't have time to do legal work on the computer because we have 4 computers for 2000 men. Visitation area was designed for 800 men. Today, because of the population, its regular for an officer to come up to you and your family and say "you have to go so others can come in." It wouldn't matter if your folks flew in from France they will force your visitor to leave because they don't have enough space. No riots.

In GA, it costs taxpayers $1.1 billion a year to support this system. Next year the feds will not give the GDC $85 million that they thought they would get. So it will get ugly in Georgia. There's no telling what they might do next. Georgia prisoners will continue to submit. Will continue to go to work (prisoners in GA earn $0 in wages) for free, just to have something to do. Next year, these pigs will be understaffed with this 85 million being withheld. They already are scrambling for ways to earn money. We need to sacrifice all our cares for one month and not work, that would break their back. It would be then that they really realize where the power lies. But that day might not come in GA, cause we are the prisoners with no nuts.

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[Organizing] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [Downstate Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Find Your Strength

I cried pure tears of regret, pain, and sympathy for the numerous soldiers who are being targeted and abused because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

I share the same oppression of barbaric treatment, by the devilish regime that deprives millions of their constitutional rights of freedom of liberty. I'm incarcerated in Clinton Correctional Facility in the New York State, where the inmates have gotten relaxed without having a voice to speak against the guards racism, beatings, and rural area practices of not having an inclination of how to communicate with people of color or know exactly how to relate with cultural beliefs and religion. I have witnessed guards beat inmates and spray inmates with chemical agents for fun or to impress fellow subordinates in showing their co-workers the extent of power they have, while prisoners are shackled.

I myself have been a victim of such torturous actions of torment in Downstate Correctional Facility in New York State because I wrote the inspector General's office because of the abuse of another prisoner's righteous actions. In this state and especially this facility, it's repeatedly exercised that guards get cousins, brothers, sisters, uncles, mothers and even their elderly of kin hired to participate in the slavery monopoly of mistreatment of the prisoners. We are being given violations written by the connection of a family member, then being taken in from of another associate or relative to be found guilty. Without ever having our voices heard because the case workers have found us guilty based on their blood-line theory of truth.

So when I read about Missouri, Utah, California, Florida, Georgia prison systems, and all others that carry the same racist prototype in their regimes, I pray for all my comrade brothers and comrade sisters who have been trampled over and continue to get run over by foul acts of criminal activity. I want them all to know to love yourself and search for dependency on truth, because no matter what the pigs take away from us all, they can never take away the greatest love of all, and that's knowing that we are a reflection of each other.

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