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Under Lock & Key

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[Political Repression] [California]
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Under investigation for political literature

On December 11 I was placed under investigation due to the political literature I had in my cell. There was a major shake down on the prison yard and the officers made their way to the building I'm currently in, and my cell was one of the last that was shaken down. As my cell was in the process of getting searched some of the low level and low ranking officers came across the literature I had such as Blood in my Eye, Zero to Anarchy, Revolution, Soledad Brother, Who's the Terrorist by Ward Churchill and Terrorist vs Terrorist: the story of the U.S. involvement in terrorism. And so having this literature in my cell was deemed illegal, so they confiscated the books along with my photo album and address book.

I haven't received the literature I requested from you guys, it's been 2 weeks even if I made a copy of the CDCR security squad receipt it would not leave the prison. No I believe my outgoing and incoming mail will either be screened and possibly censored or both. I tried to get a copy of the DOC's prison mail policy about 4 times but have never received it. The prison law library doesn't have an updated one. I 602ed it and was told that the problem will be fixed but it hasn't as of yet. I don't even know if this letter will get to you but I'm sending it anyway.

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[Medical Care] [Florida]
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Paying for no care in prisons

I think everybody should get health care. I'm talking about immigrants and U.$. citizens with low incomes, because most of the people that work picking oranges, strawberries or any other job are immigrants not from America but from other countries. Without immigrants Amerikans cannot do their own work.

And as for us prisoners, I'm in a county jail in Florida and we are being overcharged when we need medical assistance or medical care. Just for putting in a sick call we have to pay $12 and if we get to see a doctor it's another $12. But before we see a doctor we have to file 3 times for sick call, which is bullshit because we have to pay $36 before we even see a doctor and then another $12 when we get to see them. The same goes if we need Motrin or Tylenol, just for 3 days of those pills we pay $12 for the sick call and $5 for the pills. That's $17 for 3 days of Motrin or Tylenol.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's view of "everybody" is narrowed by u.$.-imposed borders. This is an incorrect perspective to take on health care within an imperialist economy where one nation's prosperity is built on others' demise. Not only is premature death in the Third World a direct result of exploitation by the imperialist nations, but it also plays a role in social control of the oppressed.

To demand health care for prisoners and others in north amerika not considered to be full citizens is a righteous challenge to the dominant debates. But don't stop there. Particularly in countries where the united $tates can afford to send billions of dollars in military equipment, such demands should be obligatory. Clean water, food and medical care for all are cheap and easy in comparison to military occupations.

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[Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prisons don't give a damn if we die

I think that things are going to get a lot worse for prisoners. I say this because people are dying left and right down here. These so-called doctors refuse to provide adequate health care like they are supposed to. I am 23 years old with a 40 year sentence. I constantly have to go through struggles just to receive medical help. I was diagnosed with leukemia a little over a year ago and I have days that I am in serious pain that I wouldn't wish on one of my foes. Do I get the assistance I really need? No. I hope things get better. Not just for me, but for all the other brothas and sistas in prison, because from what I'm seeing and experiencing, these people don't give a damn if we die.

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[Medical Care] [Soledad State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Delays in medical care in California continue

As populations continue to rise in California state prisons, health care has deteriorated. Overcrowded is an understatement. It's literally standing room only. Inmates have no chance to receive adequate medical attention here at Soledad CTF-South or any other CDCR institution. Doctors are overwhelmed with prisoners on a daily basis. And even though the feds are overseeing the medical department in CDCR, the CDCR continues to pile on the prisoners, making it impossible to receive primary care. And by the time you write a grievance and get any response, you are forced to live with the medical issue, whether it be pain or discomfort.

Constitutional rights are being violated on a daily basis. Weeks and months can pass by before any remedies, once a grievance is submitted. It's like they are punishing prisoners who merely exercise their rights to submit a complaint. Is there any agency that can help? Most agencies require that all remedies be exhausted before they step in, but these remedies take from 3 to 6 months. CDCR knows this; it's why they are able to continue to violate the rights of prisoners who fall into the category of patients with "non-life threatening conditions." But non-life threatening conditions can turn into life threatening conditions if left untreated for months at a time and sometimes cause long term effects. The feds need to step in ASAP. All prisoners whose constitutional rights have been violated should be compensated. This prisoner abuse must stop.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Ironically, prisoners are actually the only people in the united $tates guaranteed health care by law. Nonetheless, prisoners still suffer vastly disproportionate cases of HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and many other chronic diseases as well as drug addiction.

Keep in mind that it has taken the government years to process the current cases that it is attempting to enforce in California mandating population reductions. California continues to resist the orders as people continue to suffer and die from lack of care.

MIM(Prisons) does see long legal battles demanding rights that the oppressed need to get free as an appropriate strategy at this time. In fact, it was the strong prison movement of the late 1960's and early 70's that brought the class action suits that required the state to provide any level of care at all to their prisoners. But as most of those comrades also acknowledged, the state does not have an interest in the their health and the little progress achieved over years of struggle could be achieved many times over in a much shorter time by changing the system itself.

In the past, the FBI has tried to promote itself as a savior for Black people from racists in the south, when in reality they worked hand-in-hand with the local KKK groups. Similarly here, the feds have been involved in the California prison system for some time, but as this comrade reports, the conditions have not changed. We can take advantage of differences between our enemies without looking to the oppressor as our savior.

notes:http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee/c208/briefing_documents/Healthcare%20briefing%20paper31.htm

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 11]
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Thangs-taken

You got a green card?

Back in September, American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier, who's been in prison since 1977, wrote an article responding to his denial for parole entitled, "I am Barak Obama's Political Prisoner now." In it he wrote, "If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity."(1)

In October, in Denver, the birthplace of Kkkolombus Day, activists lead an annual protest of the patriotic parade, which "commemorate(s) the beginnings of America itself." Of this year, they report: "We chanted "Down With Kolumbus Day, Settlers (and Occupiers) Go Away!" To liven up the anti-colonial festivities we brought a piñata of Uncle Sam. Protesters had whacks at it with a shoe, in honor of Al-Zaidi in Iraq."(2)

As we work to get this issue of Under Lock & Key off to you all in November, amerikans are warming up their kitchens for a cozy Thanksgiving ("Thangs taken" is more accurate) dinner on land stolen from the First Nations, made up of food picked and packaged by exploited Latino migrants, served on dinner plates made by exploited Asians, paid for by stolen wealth from natural resources in the Middle East, while millions of children in Africa starve.


notes:
(1) http://www.counterpunch.org/peltier09112009.html
(2) RAIM Global Digest Issue 6. November 15th, 2009.

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[Spanish] [National Oppression] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 11]
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Detenciones de Migrantes como Opresión Nacional

[img="https://www.prisoncensorship.info/art/quick/assistformigrantsespanol.jpg" alt=]

Como la populación de prisioneros en crecimiento más rápido, migrantes en detenciones han servido para sequir aumentando los niveles de encarcelamiento en los Estados Unidos desde 2001, iqualmente en las últimas decadas, salvando así a la industria de prisiones privadas en el proceso.(1) Apesar de la continuada retorica sobre las drogas cruzando a los Estados Unidos por México, el gobierno drásticamente quitó recursos del enforzamiento de drogas y aumentó recursos al enforzamiento de inmigración después del 9/11, y la populación de prisioneros muestra ese cambio.(2)

En el Julio 2009, había 31,000 personas no ciudadanas encerradas al nivel federal en en los Estados Unidos. Este número está más grande que en el 2006, cuando habían más o menos 20,000, y el año 1992 cuando habían 6,259.(3) Hay más de 320,000 migrantes detenidos por Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) cada año, y hasta un cuarto de ellos son jóvenes. Estos números solamente incluyen las personas encarceladas bajo la custodia federal, aunque puedan estar ubicadas por todo el país y en prisiones estatales y cárceles locales. Estos números no incluyen personas quienes están encarceladas por cargos criminales, pero no están entregados a la custodia federal por infracciónes de inmigración (tales como en las "ciudades santuarias").

La Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles (American Civil Liberties Union) dice que las condiciones en cuales esos detenidos civiles están mantenidos son frecuentemente tan malas o aun peores que las condiciones que experimentan la gente en la prisión por convicciones criminales. Estos centros de detención han sido descritos como "lamentablamente irregulados." Los "requisitos" que ellos tienen sobre como tratar la gente no llevan obligaciones legales, reduciendolos esencialmente a sugerencias.(3) Esto significa que a los prisioneros sin ciuidadania estadounidense se los niega acceso a teléfonos, ayuda legal o liberías legales, recreación, visitación, correo, cuidado médico, papel del baño y la lista sigue. Las personas son secuestradas de sus casas a media noche y mudado sin ninguna notificación a sus familias. Además de eso frecuentemente ellos no tienen ninguna manera de comunicación, dejando la gente completamente separada de su sistema de apoyo y consejería legal. Para los prisioneros estadounidenses, esas condiciones no son sorprendentes ni nuevas. La diferencia para los migrantes es que la línea entre la detención y el castigo está borrosa. Hace años, los migrantes eran detenidos por 4 o 5 días, y después deportados. Ahora la gente está detenida por hasta 2 años (y posiblamente más), sin haber sido acusado de un crímen, aun menos declarada culpable, ni por un jurado ilegítimo, ni en un tribunal ilegítimo de los Estados Unidos.

Los Motivaciones Economicas

Una razón que los niveles del encarcelamiento de los migrantes está aumentando es porque después de la construcción rápida de prisiones en los 1990s, algunas prisiones ahora están parcialmente vacías. Los dueños y los financieros de esas prisiones están implorando que llegué más gente que encerrar, y su solución es los migrantes. Esto es parte de la economía imperialista parasítica; llenarias prisiones se lo considera como un estímulo económico aunque sea un gasto de recursos sin resultado productivo.

Prisiones privadas contienen 17% de la gente bajo la custodia de la agencia ICE. La Corporación Correccional de América, una compañía que maneja prisiones privadas y que tiene control de la mitad de las instituciones de detención manejadas por compañías privadas, gastó $3 milliones de dólares cabildeando los políticos en el 2004. Ellos quieren leyes de inmigración más estritas para que tengan acceso a más prisioneros, lo cual las brindará a ellos más dinero. Al mismo tiempo, ICE puede pagar 26% menos por día para mantener los prisioneros en una institución privada contra una que está administrada por el estado.(4) Esto es posible porque en las instituciones privadas hace falta la observación del público igual que la del gobierno, y ellos reducen los gastos porque eliminan todo que ayudaría a los prisioneros, incluyendo cuidado médico para que es necesario vivir.. Una razón por la cual los gobiernos estatales han evitado usar las prisiones privadas para sus ciudadanos fue el escándalo a que estuvieron rapidamente vinculadas. En el año 1998-99 las prisiones privadas de Wackenhut en Nuevo Mexico tuvieron una proporción de mortalidad 55 veces más alta que la mortalidad nacional en las prisiones.(5) Cuando esas corporaciones son contratados por la agencia ICE, la falta de voz en la populación migrante permite que sigan sin castigo las condiciones abusivas para ahorrar dinero. Esto es otro buen ejemplo de como el capitalismo valora ganacias más que la vida humana.

Aún, como lo describimos en "Amerikkkanos: Opremiendo por Subsistencia," un incremento en los niveles del encarcelamiento no sirve sólo los intereses de la industria de las prisiones privadas; las uniones de los trabajadores en la prisión y los cerdos tambien reciben beneficios grandes. Desde el 9/11/2001 los Estados Unidos ha incrementado sus oficiales de aduanda de 8,000 a 20,000 agentes, 20% quienes son veteranos militares. Los salarios que empiezan a $36,000 hasta $46,000 por año más beneficios completos. Todo el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (Department of Homeland Security - DHS) el cual incluye al ICE, se jacta aue su presupuesto es más que $40 billiones y que proveen trabajos de salarios altos a 166,234 norte amerikanos.(6) El DHS no solamente mantiene la riqueza dentro del bordo de los Estados Unidos, ayudan a distribuirla también.

Y asi mismo al complejo industrial militar y complejo industrial de prisiones que nosotros discutimos en "La Privatisación de la Guerra: Imperialismo Boquea sus Ultimos Respiras," los contratos con el departamendo de suguridad nacional son basado en a quien tu conoces, no en lo que estas vendiendo, como los empleados del gobierno antiguos venden sus mercancías a sus patrónes antiguas.(7) Al mismo tiempo, bastantes dirijidas por sobre entuciasticos y abiertamenta racistas como el "Minuteman."(8)

Por supuesta, existen verdaderos beneficios económicos para los norte amerikanos sobre todo al manejar la populación tratando de venir a los Estados Unidos. Si los norte amerikanos verdaderamente hacen más dinero porque ellos son más inteligentes y más trabajadores, entonces no estarían asustados a abrir las fronteras y permitir la competencia por los trabajos. En cambio, la petición por represión está forsando más y más agricultores a emplear la labor de prisioneros para las cosechas cuando usualmente ellos usaban los migrantes. Libres ciudadanos amerikanos no más no trabajan por salarios proletario, sin mencionar que esto siendo ilegal, entonces el argumento que ellos quieren recoger sus trabajos es muy debil. Aunque quisas esta es la solución perfecta para mantener la comida barata, mientras que mantienen a los extrajeros fuera y los oprimidas en prision. Migrantes detenidos trabajan en prisiones privadas haciendo el mantenimiento diario, y porque ellos no son ciudadanos estadounidenses el DHS impone un maximo salario de $1 al día.(9) Mientras que comida y provisión de viviendo suficientes son proveidas teoricamente, estos condiciones de vida y trabajo son peores de las de sus propias regiones. Opuesto al reaccionario vuelta de control de fronteras, nosotros retamos ellos quienes quieren trabajos para todos a trabajar hacia un nueva sistema económico en cambio.

Cierre las Puertas: La Unidad de los Blancos

ICE ni el unico actor de enforsamiento de ley en este robo de ganacias sobre la vida humana. Bajo el Acto del Inmigración y el Nacionalidad 287(g), autoridades locales pueden ser autorizada a oficialmente imponer leyes federales de inmigración, mientras que otros están confortables inoficialmente usando el viejo táctica de oprimir grupos especificos de gente. Esta cultura de opresión en la nación blanca corre tan profundo que más y más ciudadanos estadounidenses están uniendose en el tradicional pasatiempo amerikkkano de vijilar el bordo, de voluntarios con tales grupos como el "Hombres Minuto de Defensa Civil de Cuerpo." En respuesta a mucho indignidad público, el presidente Obama ha hablado de las acciones del famoso humillador de los migrantes el Alguacil Arapio de Condado Maricopa al limitario a solamente determinar el estatus emigratorio de alguien cuando un sido encarcelado. Esta debil respuesta de la administración de Obama enseña sus soportes a tales opresiones de migrantes.

La nación blanca Euro-Amerikana ha estado sistematicamente oprimiendo otras gentes por centenios. Una manera es por medio de la explotación y el neo-colonialismo en países del Tercer Mundo, donde la gente está atrapada como labor barata por bordas y leyes de inmigración. Corporaciones pagan poquito o no salarios allá y venden los productos por super-ganancias en los Estados Unidos. La situación dificil económica causa a la gente que abandonen sus hogares y frecuentemente arriesguen sus vidas por tratar de proveer para ellos y sus familias. Desde el 1995 hasta el 2005 como 2,600 personas han muerto tratando de entrar dentro de los Estados Unidos por México.(10) Asi mismo, gente regularmente muere cruzando el oceano en botes hechos a mano de Haiti donde los gobierno impuesto por los Estados Unidos rehusa proveer las necesidades de la gente. Es opresivo en una país entonces la gente decide marcharse y venir aquí pensando que encontrarán mejores oportunidades. Claro que si, lo que verdaderamente pasa es la opresión y explotación de gente del Tercer Mundo continua dentro de los Estados Unidos cuando la gente no tiene una tarjeta verde. Los condiciones están peores para los oprimidos durante la reciente crisis economic. Muchas de America Latina están descubriendo que las oportunidades están ahora mejor en sus países, sin embargo, los norte amerikanos continuan viviendo su estilo de vida sobre consumidor en los Estados Unidos.

Señas de Progreso

En medio de todo esto, existen gente trabajando hacia soluciónes. En Pecos, Texas en Diciembre del 2008 y Enero del 2009, habo una serie de lavantameintos de migrantes prisioneros. Fueron finalmente prendidos por la muerte de un hombre con epilepcia, quien murio completamente sin necesidad por el hecho de un descarado descuido por su vida al denegación cuidado médico.(11) Gente de diferente nacionalidades se juntaron en la rebelion, demandando mejores condiciones. Esta no es la primera ni la última muerto de esta forma, pues las muertes inexplicadas son común en prisiones estadounidense, incluyendo centros de detenciones de migrantes.

Algunas ciudades estadounidendes están moviendase en la dirección progresiva de ser "santuarios." Ciudades santuarias permiten a la gente quienes quisas no son ciudadanos estadounidense a hacer dinero y lo manden a sus hogares a circular en sus naciones. Esto es una forma redonda de movernos hacia un mundo sin fronteras. Sin embargo, con acusaciones que algunos alcaldes están siendo "suave con el crimen," el estatus de santario quisas se encuentre amenasado. Adicionalmente, no hay nada parando los agentes federales de ir dentro de esas ciudades e imponer leyes federales de inmigración, como frecuentemente lo hacen.

Mientras que nosotros favorecemos esos pasos progresivos hacia protecciones para los migrantes en los Estados Unidos, reconocemos que no son suficiente para llevar al final de la opresión nacional. Esas son reformas fragíles en lo mejor, que pueden ser facilmente revocados (o simplemente no los hacer caso). Otra solución que algunos tienen es la integración de migrantes dentro la nación explotadora de los Estados Unidos por medio de salarios de ramaño explotadar. Esto es un esfuerzo para reducir sus potenciales como revolutionarios a esos de consumidores y parasitos de labor aristocracia. Lo que verdaderamente necesitamos para terminar la opresión nacional de migrantes en los Estados Unidos es exponer "el sueño amerikkkano," y revolucionar los trabajores para soportar los movimientos revolucionarios en el Tercer Mundo.

notas:
(1) Greene, Judith. Banking on the Prison Boom. August 2006.
(2) Fernandes, Deepa. Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration. Seven Stories Press, New York. 2007, p.119.
(3) “Detention Management,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Nov 20, 2008, http://www.ice.gov/pi/news/factsheets/detention_mgmt.htm
(4) Berestein, Leslie. Tougher immigration laws turn the ailing private prison sector into a revenue maker. San Diego Tribune, 5/4/2008.
(5) Fernandes. p. 195.
(6) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/rewrite/budget/fy2009/homeland.html
(7) Fernandes, p.178.
(8) Ibid., p.185. Border Technologies, Inc. founder believes that “Mexican culture is based on deceit” and “Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival.”
(9) Ibid., p.197.
(10) Ibid., p.50.
(11) Wilder, Forrest. How a private prison pushed immigrant inmates to the brink. The Texas Observer, October 2, 2009. [url=http://www.texasobserver.org/features/the-pecos-insurrection

]http://www.texasobserver.org/features/the-pecos-insurrection

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[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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ULK supporters need help fighting gang label

I'm the comrade in the fight who wrote about the Alford Hughes Unit putting us on file to be a gang called "ULK." When I wrote this I was pulled out of my cell in segregation. The gang officer, another officer and mailroom staff messed with me by not letting me eat and not getting me out of my segregation cell to go to dayroom or shower. They put down VR and just walked by my cell all the time because I wrote a letter to Under Lock & Key. I know if I do something to one of the officers I will get more time.

I sent Step Ones and Step Twos out and have written to the world, my family and lawyers. Officers lie to the people and say I have been lying about all this and they send my mail back without letting me know. I've been jumped on by officers when they found out that I'm a subscriber to Under Lock & Key and because of what I believe in.

I was going to visit last weekend but because they jumped on me I was not let out of my cell. They told my family I was on visit. My mom didn't believe it and she was told if she did not leave they will call the cops on her. I don't see why they are able to do this to prisoners.

When I told them something they didn't like they put me in a cage about 2 by 3 and a foot tall with glass around, not able to go to the bathroom. All I could do was sit on the floor with spiders running around over my feet biting me. I was in it for 5 days with no shower just because I wouldn't tell them what they wanted to hear.

The Texas prison officers label ULK recipients gang members in Texas. What should I do to fight this? I could use help from any comrades who can help.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Throughout history it has been illegal for oppressed groups to organize or educate themselves. This is true in the united $tates today despite the First Amendment. Going up against the state as an individual is a losing battle, that is why collective action is the only way to put an end to these sorts of abuses.

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[Culture] [Texas]
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Chicano Rap & Language against Assimilation

I thought to write with respect to your no. 10 issue I received and appreciated very much. In regards to the main topic, hip hop, of which I am no fan, it gave a good insight as how dominant Anglo culture preys on an underclass and or minority group. Although the Anglo culture is the most prevalent in its influences, the capitalists (the Anglo class), have no respect even to its own race when it comes to the dollar sign$.

Having been born in the 50s, and part of the Chicano civil rights movement of the mid 60s and early 70s, my Raza had had enough of the Anglo suppression of our being and culture. What the Anglo race wanted of us through the South West was cultural assimilation, period! It didn't work for the majority of us, with only a few assimilating into an Anglo society. However, it is those few who assimilate that cause me concern, who follow those that went before them in their deliberate knowledge of the Anglo assimilation process.

Prior to my incarceration in 1990 "rap" music was already making itself known in the major metropolitan cities in Texas. As my years of incarceration progressed during the 1990s, I was seeing and hearing a lot of my Raza mimicking the talk (language) of a hip hop culture that was permeating throughout the free world and penal institutions. And that they were not able to speak, much less understand their own language, Spanish (or the more subtle Spanglish, Cali, or Pachuco), caused me great concern in seeing that the culprit of this subtle form of Anglo assimilation was the Anglo capitalist which controls the media, in its effort to destroy any culture other than that of its own.

Although I now see "Chicano" rap originating out of California as a form of pushing back against the Anglo assimilation process, the Anglo capitalists controlling the media has not embraced this form of Chicano "expression" (nor latino "rap" in general). The writer/reviewer of the essay "Hip Hop: Living Culture or Commodity?" did a good job in showing how a capitalist and dominant Anglo society destroys other cultures at all costs. But in having read the essay I didn't see that it addressed that Anglo commercialization of mainstream "hip hop" has an agenda to also destroy ones cultural language as well.

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[Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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California Ban on MIM Over... Sort of

A December 13, 2006 memo from then-Director Scott Kernan declared a systemwide ban on all publications from the Maoist Internationalist Movement. The memo misquoted and took out of context statements by MIM to justify the ban. Many comrades soon jumped into action to defend the First Amendment rights of California prisoners and their outside supporters. One comrade took this battle further than anyone else, leading to over 2 years of legal battles that ended in April, 2009.

One administrator claimed there were three banned publishers in California Department of Corrections (CDCR): MIM, Penthouse and Playboy. While MIM had received this high honor of a complete ban, others were facing severe censorship by CDCR as well. In April 2007, Prison Legal News (PLN) settled their suit against CDCR's illegal censorship. The settlement was very strategic on the behalf of the PLN legal team in that it included reforms to CDCR mail policy that affected all of us that had been having problems.

As many of our readers probably know, Prison Legal News was founded and is led by jailhouse lawyers. Their consistent work has won them the ability to recruit street lawyers to their battles. Without the leadership of prisoners and former prisoners, defenders of prisoners' rights in the courtroom are few and far between. Yet, litigating from behind the walls is no easy task, as our California comrade can attest:

"The sole reason for my non-opposal of defendants summary judgment is quite simply that I was unable to litigate the case from my current residence here in the hole. As I stated to you before I was not able to obtain the required legal materials needed to litigate, materials such as a basic copy of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), the sufficient or suitable case law required, or even sufficient copies, and typing paper.

"As I am in Ad-Seg, most of the required materials stated above are not in this building's possession, or even on the same yard. We must write to B-yard law library for requested legal texts. This is something no one bothered to inform me of 'til just a few weeks ago. Furthermore, the whole process of requesting materials is usually hit or miss in the sense that sometimes we receive our materials, sometimes we don't. Since I'm in the hole, I had to request photocopies of the FRCP. However, due to 'copyright concerns' I did not get it."

In addition to being denied needed legal materials, this comrade was denied an appeal for a lawyer to be appointed to their case. This was particularly relevant in this case where s/he was being denied access to the materials in question because they were deemed a risk to security.

For a year and a half following PLN's victory, supporters of MIM Distributors argued that the ban on MIM mail was not in compliance with the settlement. Finally, in October 2008 the CDCR released their new "Centralized List of Disapproved Publications," a product of the settlement. MIM Distributors is not on this list, and is therefore no longer legally banned in California. It is against CDCR policy for individual prisons to institute bans that are not on this centralized list.

While the final date for additions to the Centralized List was May 1 (and it is updated annually), we have not seen the new list for 2009. Experience seems to indicate that we are still not on it, since those who continue to ban our mail cite outdated documents. Prisons that continue to return mail from MIM(Prisons) unopened are High Desert and the supermax prison, Pelican Bay. Blanket bans seem to require more stringent review by the courts. Therefore, it may be more strategic for the state to avoid blanket bans in the future, thus making lawsuits like the California prisoner's more difficult to carry out.

The good news is most prisons in California no longer have a blanket ban on MIM (those that do are in violation of court orders). This may have more to do with incompetence of the CDCR staff than a strategic approach. But it also means that the censors must now justify their censorship based on the California Code of Regulations, and appeals cannot be rejected out of hand.

For a while, the prisoner who filed suit was the only persyn in h prison who was able to receive Under Lock & Key. We assumed this was to undermine h censorship claims. Yet, after the ban on MIM was officially canceled in October, all of a sudden ULK was also censored to this comrade. When one of our legal supporters wrote to inquire as to why, the Warden cited the overturned ban on MIM. This was as late as March 2009, and the same thing happened in other California prisons. It was not until 6 months after the new list was released that prison administrators acknowledged that MIM Distributors was no longer banned. We have been assured that proper training of mailroom staff has been conducted in a number of California prisons regarding the new banned list. Still, this alleged "incompetence" has led to over 2 years of no contact with many prisoners across California, and added up to uncounted costs in lost and returned mail and printed materials.

Meanwhile, MIM Theory 8: Anarchist Ideal & Communist Revolution was deemed such a threat that the court would not allow the plaintiff to view the magazine alone in h cell to prepare h case. The CDCR legal team even attempted to seal MIM literature from the public because it allegedly posed such a threat to security. In their motion to have the documents sealed, the CDCR also refers to MIM's "anonymity" as a threat to security. It is not clear to us how identities of those working with MIM are relevant to the security of prisons run by CDCR, but we do see anonymity as justified given the history of harassment and intimidation by CDCR's Investigation Unit and the CCPOA of citizens outside of prison. MIM(Prisons) takes these threats very seriously.

On June 29, 2009, the US District Court issued a summary judgment dismissing the claims against CDCR. In the summary judgment the court recognizes our comrade's exposure of the CDCR for misquoting MIM Theory 8, using ellipses as Scott Kernan did in the 2006 memo. Still, the court deferred to the biased judgments of the prison officials, citing Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 132 (2003).

The comrade responded by writing,

"I am extremely disheartened by the aforementioned facts. Disheartened, not defeated, yet I see no positive outcome to the civil matter."

S/he goes on to state,

"Once again I am extremely and hopefully apologetic. It was not my intention to have done all this work for the past 3 years just to have it all come to a crashing halt in the period of three months. I have let not just myself and the movement down, but the people as well.

"Not all is bad though. This was certainly a learning experience and I definitely learned a lot for a 7th grade drop-out. I have been inspired to take a paralegal course, after which I will be of better use to MIM and the people."

For this comrade in California, it is certainly natural to feel disheartened, and it is good to hear that you are not defeated. In the imperialist countries, the task of the revolutionary movement is to carry out long legal battles. Mao said this in 1975, and it is still true today. This means that many of us will have to spend long hours learning and applying bourgeois law, while recognizing that the law has class character and is not designed to serve the oppressed. In addition, "legal work" does not just mean in the court room. An important aspect for keeping our work focused and sane is to carry it out as part of a larger movement. This comrade didn't have a victory in court, but h efforts were simultaneous to petitioning of the CDCR, to public education around censorship, to other prisoners filing appeals, and to PLN's own lawsuit. We will face many failures along the way, but these failures become easy to accept when we study and understand the weaknesses of imperialism as a system, and see our strategic role in contributing to ending all systems of oppression.

We commend this comrade's drive to continue legal studies. The more effective each of us become in our work the easier it is for all of us to succeed. Becoming more effective requires studying others' experiences, learning from them and developing strategies as a movement.

In a more recent letter our jailhouse lawyer wrote,

"Some key points I've learned from all of this is that you definitely have to be committed when engaging the oppressors and their legal system. You always have to keep in mind that you are facing seasoned veterans with all the tools and obstacles of the state at their beck and call. It's never going to be easy, just less difficult at times. Long periods of research and study are also essential with these legal battles long before you decide to actually bring your case into the courtroom. You can also never let yourself be discouraged because discouragement is key to the oppressor's victories which in turn establishes precedent making it that much more difficult for us to succeed."

Prison Legal News and the lawyers supporting their work are the exception to the rule. Most of the time it is prisoners, sometimes with little or no formal education, as this comrade can attest to, who must fight these battles in a maze of complicated language and jargon, where you are starting out at a huge disadvantage. That is why it is important to keep in mind what we are dealing with. The u.$. state is an imperialist state. The court is not a just and benevolent god. Mumia introduces his new book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. discussing prisoners who have gone mad after years of learning and applying the law only to lose their just cases, or to have them thrown out before even getting a trial. Such outcomes are to be expected for the oppressed under imperialism and this is an important lesson to learn.

To our readers in California, it is more important than ever that you write in to tell us what mail you are receiving from us so that we can build on this struggle. To date, only a handful of people have acknowledged receiving ULK 10 on Hip Hop.


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MIM Banned in CA!
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