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Under Lock & Key

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[Prison Labor] [Georgia]
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No pay for work in Georgia

Prisons in Georgia cut down trees, scoop waste from pipes, make clothes, cook food, repair equipment, do plumbing, fight fires, till the land, teach school, make boots, and many other things. Yet we don't get any benefits, workers comp, or pay, whatsoever. Any labor, whatever the work, is done for free. Wages don't exist in the Georgia Department of Corrections. The only way you can earn money is by working the last 6 months of your sentence in a halfway house or pre-release center.

Most of the public has no objections to Georgia prisoners not being paid. They support laws that make it harder for us to succeed or enjoy life. They want us to stay in prison forever. When we get out they don't want us to be able to get a good job or live anywhere near them.

Politicians talk about rehabilitation but that ain't what they really want. They want only to exploit others for gain and retain power. This system we are under doesn't care about the people, they only pretend to care.

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 10]
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The Hate U Gave Lil' Infants Fucks Everyone

THUG LIFE
T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.
Sankyika Shakur
Grove Press, 2008.

This novel by former Eight Tray Gangsta Crip, current New Afrikan Revolutionary and captive of California's Security Housing Units promotes peace, unity and discipline among the lumpen of the oppressed nations. As such, we rate this book positively as a cultural work. The story weaves the THUG LIFE code promoted by Tupac and Mutulu Shakur throughout. In this reviewer's limited exposure to the collection of fiction branded as "street lit" and marketed mostly to younger New Afrikans, we see this as a superior example. A thorough analysis of this genre might parallel our discussion of hip hop music in a lot of ways.

The bulk of the story is gangster, but lessons and gems are peppered throughout. In the context of the ongoing conflict between the gangs of Los Angeles, the author introduces principles of dialectical development, though he doesn't develop them very extensively. Cultural references to revolutionary music and movies are also dropped in the story in a way that may promote further investigation by readers who are attracted to the overall gangster story. A comrade and obvious admirer of Tupac Shakur, Sanyika seems to take a similar approach in his writing that Pac took in his music.

In one of the tensest moments of the book, Shakur paints a picture of a disciplined unit of gangsters awaiting a raid, "These bangers had grown fed up with police tactics of intimidation, false arrests, no-knock raids, and summary executions that always seemed to accompany their public 'protect and serve' image. They had made a pact to stand and fight when confronted without an escape route."

Following another police raid, this time of the main character Lapeace's apartment, we briefly meet Mrs. Delaney, founder of the Black Scouts Youth Brigade, who gives us a lesson in security: "what I do ain't no secret, it's just nobody's business but my own."

Later, Sekou, Lapeace's road dog, promotes scientific thinking and attacks identity politics, "I could care less who speaks the truth, I want to hear it." This is in reference to the Tupac character named Askari Shakur. Interestingly, characters in the book regularly listen to Tupac songs, while this character, Askari Shakur, is used as a stand in for Tupac in the Las Vegas beef that ends in his fatal shooting.

Throughout the book there is a theme of Lapeace searching for a family legacy of revolutionary resistance that he knows little about. Meeting Askari Shakur really encourages this desire for him, but the relationship is cut short by Askari's assassination. This story line is typical of New Afrikans as a whole who are very ignorant of the struggles lived by their parents just a generation before. In ULK 9, a comrade told a story very similar to Lapeace's. His mother was in the Black Panthers, resulting in their home being raided regularly as a child. But until her death, he thought she was just a criminal gangster.

The THUG LIFE code is a step. Gangsters living by the code aren't gonna get us free. Really, gangsters aren't gonna get us free, period. Not until they start transforming into something other than gangsters. Many lumpen organizations have a parallel analysis of the development of their members that start in the criminal mentality and transition to a more conscious one, in some cases the ultimate stage being promoted is of a revolutionary nationalist nature. To different degrees they promote trading in lumpen individualism for identifying with one's people, or the people. The problem with these programs is that they are usually presented in a way that is limited by individualism itself. As if each member must go thru these stages. If everyone's development is the same then we never advance. How we advance as a group is that each generation takes the lessons of the previous generations and builds on them, not making the same mistakes.

By erasing revolutionary history of the oppressed, the government has done much to set back progress. As the lumpen stand in a state of ignorance and criminality, they can only progress as a group through revolutionary nationalism and proletarian internationalism. The progression from nihilistic gang-banging to a code of conduct like THUG LIFE is just one small step, one that has not yet been taken up by the group.

One of the main roles of culture is to create idealized images that represent something that the people can relate to and emulate. Lapeace seems to be a character that merges the author's past with his present in a way that idealizes the best of the gangster culture. Recognizing the stage we are in is part of a materialist approach to change and to culture. Lapeace is a positive image at this stage of the struggle. And a code of conduct like THUG LIFE is an important stepping stone to where we ultimately need to get.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 10]
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Hunger Strike at Camp Hill

I just received my first issue of Under Lock and Key #9 and I must say that I share the same views as my fellow soldiers. I am currently serving time at Huntingdon in the RHU unit. And I wanted to share some of the struggles that me and my fellow soldiers are being subjected to here at this RHU unit.

Me and some of the soldiers that are here with me just came off a hunger strike. We were being subjected to all kinds of oppression: cold food, small portions, people were finding insects and mouse droppings in the food. So we decided to go on a hunger strike. Out of almost 40 people who are here on a quad only about 15 went through with the movement. It's crazy how we are quick to punch each other in the face or stab each other, but when it comes to standing up to these oppressors we fold and let them do whatever they want. They burn us for our rec, food, showers, etc. We place grievances to no avail.

When we speak up about these oppressions they write us up and give us more DC time. Then, to top everything off the hearing examiner here is one of the officers who was assaulted in the Camp Hill riot. Now how can you place someone like that in power? It's simple because when you go in front of him you are automatically guilty weather you are innocent or not. Even if it's blatantly clear that you are innocent it won't matter.

To all my soldiers, know that if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything, and we need to stand together.

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[Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas]
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Officers Assaulting Prisoners in Texas

I am writing this letter in an attempt to contribute to the truth and show others that they are not alone in this struggle. I was incarcerated on the Beto Unit before they shut down seg and shipped me here to the Allred unit. I came from Beto with a jacket on my back because while in seg an officer (using a sliding shield panel) slammed and cut the tip of my right ring finger off. A mockery of an investigation was said to be in progress for over a year, and it wasn't until I was here on the Allred Unit that i was informed that the officer involved was not at fault nor would be held accountable.

I had watched others on Beto getting physically assaulted and yet when I chose to fight back (both physically and mentally) I was deemed unfit to be released to general population and sent to the Allred Unit with the aggression "threat" to officers jacket on my back. True enough, I will not allow an employee to ever touch me again without just cause, and yet of late (thanks to my jacket) I have been targeted for frivolous disciplinary forms.

I have faced numerous b.s. write ups. When I go before the disciplinary officer during the hearing it is pointless. The counsel substitutes they provide on this unit to assist and defend us do nothing more than ask for lenience on your behalf. You have to gather your own information, witnesses, and evidence on your own. Even when you prove that the officer who wrote you up is wrong, lied, or is without common sense, you are still found guilty. We are told to appeal such hearing decisions and yet that is to no avail.

I recently had an incident where I was accused of "threatening to hurt anyone who came to get me", "slid out of one or both handcuffs" and "disobeyed to come off of the rec yard." When a camera was present that shows I was in handcuffs the whole time, came and was escorted off the rec yard without incident. Even the accusing officer's verbal testimony at the hearing shows he refuted his own written report. When this was brought up during the hearing I was told to file an appeal to the disciplinary hearing. What a crock! Everything written (in policy, procedures and rules) was totally disregarded for this good ol' boy of theirs.

It has gotten worse now that I'm on 12 building. I have seen an utter and complete disregard for humanity. I have witnessed them running into a prisoner's cell after spraying him with chemical agents, slamming him, beating his head into the concrete, poking him in the eye, and kicking him from head to toe the whole time yelling "quit fighting us, stop resisting." Even the nursing staff (present at the time this was happening), when they perform a physical on you (on tape) will simply state "offender complains of this or that and he has sustained such and such injuries due to his resisting or non-compliance during the use of force".

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[Organizing] [Varner Supermax] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Arkansas Uses Contraband to Control Prisoners

I am writing to let you know that all the articles in the July 2009 issue of ULK I agree with. I am a prisoner housed at Varner Supermax in Arkansas and we have it hard here too. The system here uses some brutality as a means to keep us apart. But mostly they use material things (rings, watches, drugs, cell phones, women, etc) as a means to have us at each others throats.

I mean really if the DOC didn't want any of this to get in their prisons then it wouldn't. But they allow it because they are getting kickbacks and it keeps prisoners at each other and not focusing on the real issues. As long as we are at each other then we can never unite and as long as we don't unite then we can't stand for the greater cause. This allows them to treat us like beasts and do as they please.

Here in VSM we are living in filth. Our cells are so nasty. We aren't being given any brooms or mops. Our cells flood every time we shower in them. We have to take a couple paper towels sprayed and clean our whole cell. But we are too busy down here hatin' and trying to get each other knocked off, all for a dollar, that we ain't trying to bring this to the outside attention.

We just can't give up and lay down. Use your grievance systems, write letters, and do what you have to do to let it be known how we are being done. Pushing paper works.

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[Culture] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 10]
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Rapper$ Delight

Our komrades in MIM(Prisons) ask "what role does Hip Hop have to play today?" As a revolutionary culture, that is.

Since rappers are hard core capitalists it's a waste of time for me to even contemplate this question. As revolutionaries we must not waste time or energy on things we know aren't going to change. Let's keep it one hundred on a revolutionary level. Hip Hop has digressed not progressed.

It has come a long way. It's gone from "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy and Cop Killer by Ice T (who ironically enough now plays a pig in one of today's many cop shows) to "You're a Jerk" by the new boyz (the present #1 video on 106th and Park - B.E.T.) and "Throw it in the Bag" by Fabulous featuring The Dream (a shoplifting song).

So you see komrades, what Hip Hop has to do concerning the revolution and what they're doing and continue to do and will always do is on the opposite side of the revolutionary train of thought. I don't knock Hip Hop's hustle. It is what it is. I enjoy Hip Hop as entertainment while disregarding most of their lyrics lest I be tempted to shoplift (humor).

On the real, though, prior to the presidential elections B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television), the Hip Hop channel, pushed hard for the election of Obama. Almost 24/7. Rappers threw rallies, wore shirts and pins promoting the vote for Obama. What do you think would've happened if this much attention would've been given to Sean Bell when he was murdered by three pigs of the NYPD? What would've happened if every single rapper who was still in the rap game at this time made entire CDs rapping about police brutality? Would it have raised a revolutionary consciousness within our urban youth? What if every CD put out at this time was dedicated to the memory of Sean Bell? What if every CD has the face of Sean Bell on its cover instead of a video girl in a thong bent over a Benz? Yea, that's all we're going to get: what if.

Instead this is the reality check. Michael Vick formerly of the Atlanta Falcons gets sent to prison for fighting some dogs, they're about to send Plexico Burress, formerly of the New York Giants to prison for shooting himself accidentally, and the three pigs who riddled Sean Bell with bullets get sent home to their families. Meanwhile Sean Bell's children have no father. Sean Bell was unarmed.

It's a "bloody" shame too, because the fact is, music in general has always bridged together cultural differences.

Is Hip Hop a vehicle for change? It can be, but it won't be. It will continue to pursue the all mighty dollar. What does the revolutionary culture or revolutionary culture (without the "the") look like? In the Hip Hop culture I don't see it. But if I was a Hip Hop rapper this would be some of my CD titles:

Sean Bell, Blood in my Eye, Police Brutality, Assassins with Badges, Modern Day Gestapo, When will they Murder Me?, Attica 71, It's now or never.

But since I can't rap a lick that ain't gonna happen either. So all we can do is what we can do. If you know how to rap then put it down and bring revolution to the rap game because what's already there is simply a Rapper$ Delight.

MIM(Prisons) replies: While we certainly agree with the points made on the injustice of the Sean Bell murder, we point out that many people still rap about Sean Bell years later. And a whole CD was put out for Oscar Grant, with many others putting out singles in respect to him. Most of them were very critical of the police and their connection to the state including Obama. These don't get as much play as the other crap out there, even crap by the same artists who put out these revolutionary songs.

It costs millions of dollars to make a song "popular." Therefore, if you look at the list of songs that get the most rotation, they're all owned by two corporations: Universal and Sony (occasionally Capitol gets one in). If you aren't sponsored by one of these companies you cannot afford the payola. That is part of the game. So even the big artists who do some songs for the people have to write most of their songs for the money, or else they choose to not be a "big artist." Therefore most of what the people listen to is still crap.

If you check out some of the artists that aren't on BET, in XXL or on for-profit radio stations then there is no doubt that a revolutionary undercurrent to hip hop is still present. What will never happen is hip hop becoming revolutionary for profit. But hip hop is already playing a revolutionary role at the fringes.

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[Middle East] [Economics] [Spanish] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 16]
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La Privatización de la Guerra: El Imperialismo da su Último Suspiro

por MIM(Prisiones)
Mayo 2009
públicado en ULK panfleto #8

Halliburton, KBR, y Blackwater (quien recientemente fue marcado "Xe") han llegado a ser nombres populares en los años recientes y por lo general con las connotaciones negativas. Hay mucho que decir sobre la corrupción que está detallada en los libros citados más abajo, y también demostrarémos unos paralelos al Complejo Industrial de Prisiones en este y en otros artículos. La pregunta más considerable para los contra-imperialistas, es ¿qué significa esta corrupción para el desarrollo y el mantenimiento del imperialismo?

Los libros repasados para complementar este artículo describen las ambas partes del militar imperialista estadounidense moderno. Por una parte el ejército estatal que está comprando a la juventud americana con la cultura del centro comercial a lo cual están acostumbrados y que está mantenido por el trabajo barato del obrero del Tercer Mundo. Por otra parte tiene contratistas armados, usados para las operaciones más élites, quienes ganan sueldos más altos que los de los soldados estadounidenses. Cuando los mercenarios vienen Tercer Mundo, ganan aun más en proporción de lo que ganaban antes de hacerse mercenarios. Todo combinado, los contratistas llegaron a superar en número al personal militar terrestre estadounidense en Iraq. (Chatterjeem p. xvi) Las historias de Halliburton, KBR y Blackwater deletrean una clara tendencia: le está costando más que nunca al imperialismo para poder sostener los niveles de personal necesario para mantener la hegemonía mundial.

Un Microcosmos de la Economía Mundial

En el libro Halliburton's Army, Pratap Chatterjee reporta que los sueldos para contratistas en Iraq son relacionados explícitamente según sus nacionalidades. Esta imagen es muy significativa a los quien afirman que los americanos merecen sueldos más altos porque son más productivos. Aquí tenemos gente que viene de todas partes del mundo para trabajar en los mismos sitios y los tipos de pago son comparables a los que ganan en sus naciones respectivas (usualmente ganan más en Iraq). Esta norma todavía resonaban cierto en casos comunes donde la persona común del Tercer Mundo tenía más experiencia, más conocimiento, o era más hábil que la persona del Primer Mundo. Contratistas estadounidenses quienes estaban desempleados y desesperados por conseguir trabajo empezaron con sueldos desde $80,000 anuales más gastos de subsistencia para supervisar a filipinos que ganaron $200-$1,000 por mes. Un americano afirmó haber realizado $130,000 al año para trabajar sólo un día por semana. En Bagram, los basureros afganos se pagaron $10 por cada jornada de 12 horas. Mientras que los indios ganaban $600 al mes más alojamiento y comida por trabajar en los restaurantes de comida rápida en las base. Los filipinos quienes construyeron las prisiones en Guantánamo fueron mantenidos sí mismos en prisiones horribles, y recibieron $2.50 cada hora por trabajar 12 horas peligrosas diariamente sin equipo de seguridad. Los abusos de parte de los contratistas llegaron a ser tan notoria que La India, El Nepal, y las Filipinas lo prohibieron que sus ciudadanos trabajar en Iraq. (Chatterjee)

Con 35,000 de los 47,000 empleados de Halliburton en Iraq siendo procedentes del Tercer Mundo (Chatterjee, p. 142), y los sueldos comparables siendo pagados por la nacionalidad, se ve una réplica de la economía mundial que la mayoría de los habitantes del Primer Mundo defienden, incluso muchos de los llamados "marxistas." Alrededor del 25% de los empleados ganaban salarios del nivel explotador mientras que los demás eran obreros del Tercer Mundo (en su mayoría inmigrantes) haciendo todo el trabajo duro y peligroso para salarios por debajo del valor promedio del trabajo. Según los izquierdistas de la nación opresora, Halliburton no emplearía a los americanos con sueldos de $80,000 más las gastas si no los estuviese explotándoselos. Estos pseudo-marxistas piensan que un americano quien firma un cheque produce diez veces más de valor que un filipino que hace la construcción o la preparación de comida. En la escala mundial existen las fronteras y los océanos que de alguna manera le hacen esta mera misma situación aun más agradable a la nación opresora.

La Conexión del Prisión

Mientras los vínculos de Halliburton y Blackwater con el gobierno federal han estado en cuestión durante mucho tiempo, el contratista 39o más grande del gobierno es su propio Industrias de Prisiones Federales – FPI o UNICOR. (Wright, p.111) Como el labor del Tercer Mundo detrás de Halliburton y KBR, el autor Ian Urbina afirma que el militar estadounidense no podría hacer lo que hace sin la inmensa cantidad y diversidad de productos el FPI provee con el trabajo de presos a los cual les pagan entre $0.23 – $1.15 por hora (suma a $400 millones en ventas al Departamento de Defensa en el 2002). Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) estableció la compañía usando legislación que forzó al Departamento de Defensa comprar los productos del FPI, aunque sus precios no eran los más bajos. (Wright, p. 113) Esta táctica de parte de FDR mantuvo el dinero en circulación dentro del estado para seguir financiando sus objetivos represivos, en vez de permitir que el dinero de impuestos regrese a manos del sector privado en la forma de ganancias.

Esto valida, sobre todo, el patrón general que MIM(Prisiones) ha visto: aún la industria la más grande en el país impulsada por el trabajo de presos es un subsidio para la represión del Estado y no una fuente de enriquecimiento individual. Sin embargo reconocemos que el militar estadounidense no está ahorrando dinero por comprar los productos de FPI – las industrias del sector privado tienen la capacidad de ofrecer sus productos tan barato o aún más barato que FPI. Entonces no estamos de acuerdo con las implicaciones que hace Urbina que el trabajo de presos es esencial para las operaciones del militar.

Una relación interesante entre el Complejo Industrial del Militar y el Complejo Industrial de Prisiones se encuentra en las contribuciones de más de $500,000 de parte del dueño de Blackwater Erik Prince al Ministerios del Compañerismo en Prisiones – PFM. PFM es una organización cristiana evangélica que envía más de 50.000 voluntarios en las prisiones de EE.UU. (Wright, p.130) Mientras MIM(Prisiones) queda impedido de mandar correspondencia a presos por todos partes de los Estados Unidos porque mantiene que la revolución es necesaria para acabar el aprieto de los opresos, el fundador de Compañerismo en Prisiones, Chuck Colson, citó a Thomas Jefferson para implicar que la revolución cristiana es necesaria en los Estados Unidos. (Scahill, p. 95) Más de 1,800 facilidades le han otorgado acceso al PFM para que funcione sus programas dentro de las prisiones, los cual han registrado más de 20000 personas.

Americanos Queremosynopodemos

Blackwater está reclutando a ex agentes de la CIA ocupados en todo el mundo como mercenarios, sobornándoles con cheques de pago al nivel de los E.E.U.U. El resultado de esto debería ayudar a demostrar a nuestros críticos la importancia de la compra de toda una nación. El nacionalismo americano provee una defensa mucho más poderosa para el imperialismo de lo que ningún ejército mercenario podría proveer. Aunque la mayor parte de estos mercenarios están impregnadas de la ideología fascista lo cual conduce al militarismo imperialista, las posibilidades de conflictos de intereses son significativamente más grandes.

La globalización del ejército imperialista es un signo de debilidad, no de fuerza cada vez mayor. Pronto no habrá absolutamente ningún manera de que su ejército pueda crecer (excepto con los robots).

Soldados Americanos del Siglo 21

Desde la Guerra Civil hasta la Guerra Fría, el ejército nacional de los EE.UU. no fue reclutado por el motivo de ganancia. Sin embargo, mientras que el nacionalismo estadounidense proporcionó una base sólida para el militarismo imperialista, que siguen aumentando las demandas de la nación parásita eventualmente socavó la voluntad de los soldados a luchar y morir por su nación. Podrían emplear a los mexicanos para hacer sus quehaceres domésticos y trabajo manual, mientras los asiáticos del este están siendo contratado para hacer su producción industrial, no podían simplemente contratar a alguien para manejar el trabajo sucio de luchar en sus guerras de saqueo imperialista? O parafraseando a Chatterjee, los soldados estadounidenses pasaron de pelar sus propias papas en tiendas de campaña que han establecido sí mismos a tener obreros del Tercer Mundo sirviéndoles buffet de todo lo que puedan comer para la cena. Sabes, para que lo haga sentir más como estén en sus casas.

Funcionarios del departamento de relaciones públicas del militar estadounidense explican de la necesidad de proveer tal conforts de criatura como necesario para mantener un ejército completamente voluntario en el siglo 21. (Chatterjee, p.10) Pero la pregunta de por qué una conscripción no es viable es la misma pregunta de americanos quienes no teniendo ganas de entregar a sus vidas cómodas, lo cual atrae la amenaza de un movimiento de resistencia contra la conscripción que da alimento al anti-imperialismo.

Un solado reportó,

"No es una exageración que tengo un estilo de vida mejor aquí en la base en Iraq de lo que tendría allá en los Estados Unidos. Tenemos lavandería gratis, viviendas de tipo apartamento con aire acondicionado y electricidad sin límite también agua caliente, hay varios distribuidores americanos de comida rápida, salones, internet gratis, cafés y un enorme PX... helados de Baskins Robbins... y una vez a la semana nos sirven bistec y langosta... noche de karaoke, y varios tipos de equipos deportivos..."

y concluye con lo siguiente,

"y aun solo a unos cientos metros fuera de la cerca, los niños pequeños andan pidiendo de lo que sea: comida, agua embotellada... la realidad es muy, muy, muy chocante. Somos verdaderamente una cultura de consentidos y mimados." (Chatterjee, p.11)

Esta no es una realización rara para los americanos consentidos que concluyan cuando están enviados a la guerra en el Tercer Mundo. Pero como este soldado señala, varios están allí por la misma razón de que reciben mejores condiciones materialistas en Iraq. Y pues no están exactamente convirtiéndose al internacionalismo en multitud a pesar del dosis de realidad.

Lejos de pelar papas en efecto, Chatterjee describe lo que se encuentra en el comedor típico: helados, barras de panqueque, colitas de langosta y varias comidas elaboradas de día de fiesta, todo esto es gratis para los soldados. Otras facilidades en las bases estadounidenses más grandes contienen un centro comercial pequeño ("minimall") con tiendas como Burger King, KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, y Green Beans Coffee. El continua dándole una descripción del "Scorpion's Den". Uno está presentado de un inmediato con casi completa oscuridad, el trasfondo de música de un teatro despejado de cien asientos, el suave luz de las computadoras portátiles, y el parpadeo de luces de los videojuegos... También hay palomitas de maíz gratis, caja tras caja de agua embotellada... y una máquina de helados "Dipping Dots." Entonces hay el "Sandbox" donde "docenas de soldados se sientan reclinados en sillones de cuero falso, entreteniéndose con video juegos de guerra o programas como Guitar Hero y mirando la película de Star Trek." (Chatterjee, p. 6–7)

Vemos esto como una nueva etapa en la historia de reclutamiento militar de parte de las naciones opresoras. Las fuerzas ocupantes brutales de los poderes colonizadores en el Tercer Mundo hace más de cien años actuaban directamente en sus intereses propios. Eran similar a los conquistadores y colonizadores de Norte América de hace varios siglos anteriores, cuando los americanos robaron la tierra que ahora ocupan. La unidad nacionalista que subsecuentemente crearon con sus riquezas y tierra robada, proveía por más de cien años de relativamente exitosos conscripciones forzados al militar. Hoy día, sin embargo, a los americanos les gusta imaginarse que su prosperidad no fue construida detrás del genocidio y la esclavitud. En combinación con sus vidas cómodas, la idea de ir a guerra frecuentemente les parece no sólo desagradable sino innecesario. En otras palabras, su amnesia histórica quizás ayudara a socavar a la nación opresora, ya que algunos no comprenden de lo necesario para mantener sus posiciones de privilegio.

Al comienzo del siglo 21, Halliburton tuvo que doblar los sueldos de la gente para convencerlos a que les vayan a Iraq, no como soldados sino como contratistas civil. Pero aún así, ¿vale la pena arriesgar la vida cuando la vida en el hogar es tan cómodo? La alianza americana al imperialismo estadounidense se demuestra en la política, pero cuando tiene que ver con ir a guerra, sus acciones caerán un poco corto de la meta hasta que realmente empiezan a ver que su riqueza materialista comienza a disminuir, lo cual ocurrirá cuando al Tercer Mundo empieza a cerrar los caminos hacia la explotación como lo han hecho en el pasado.

El Complejo Industrial Militar no va a ser parado de por contribuyentes americanos. Los que están impidiéndolo son los combatientes de resistencia quienes han asegurado que los que van a Iraq sólo son los que realmente necesitan estar allá. Desafortunadamente, ese incluye muchas nacionales del Tercer Mundo, algunos de quien están detenidos como presos mientras se fuerzan trabajar por poca paga o sin paga bajo las condiciones la más horrible. Más y más aprenderá la locura de tratar de trabajar por los imperialistas. No hay ningún futuro para las naciones del Tercer Mundo dentro del sistema imperialista, sólo en la resistencia a él.

Los debates sobre el envío de más tropas o la racionalización de los militar estadounidense son debates sobre la optimización imperialismo estadounidense. Lo interesante para nosotros es que la lucha parece ser tan grave, ya que ni plan está resultando viable.

En nuestra crítica sobre la economía de prisiones y la aristocracia del trabajo por lo general, señalamos a los burócratas con sueldos exorbitantes como una parte significante del problema. Pero MIM(Prisiones) no es libertario en su ideología. En todo caso, la experiencia parece mostrar un mayor grado de apropiación indebida de los fondos cuando los servicios se subcontratan. La causa de la corrupción es por motivo de lucro, si la posesión es pública o privada. Este es por qué la nacionalización de las industrias o de bancos no se detiene la explotación, ni tampoco señala un avanzo hacia el socialismo.

Notas:
(1) Chatterjee, Pratap. Halliburton's Army. Nation Books, 2009.
(2) Scahill, Jeremy. Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Nation Books, 2008.
(3) Wright, Paul and Tara Herivel. Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration. New Press, 2007.

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[Economics] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 10]
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Talk of Early Releases with Economic Crisis

prisoner release
In ULK 8 we focused on the economics of u$ prisons, touching on the likelihood of current economic trends cutting into the bloated government budgets for prisons. While the topic continues to attract a lot of attention, a report on the recently approved budgets for fiscal year 2010 proves to be a bit of a mixed bag.

Since staffing accounts for 75-80% of "corrections" budgets, staff reductions, pay reductions and closing facilities are the most effective and widespread means of cutting costs. But cutting food, health and programming are also widespread in the new budgets.

Overall, spending is going to go down next year, bucking a quarter-century trend. The report had data from 33 states, and 22 of them are reducing their prison budgets. Since then, the biggest prison state, California, has passed a budget cutting $1.2 billion from the department of corrections (one of the largest percentage cuts across the country). (2) California is also in the interesting position of facing legal pressure to reduce its prison population. Building Serve the People programs to support comrades after release from prison is a more pressing task than ever.

However, MIM(Prisons) is not convinced that this trend will continue, significantly cutting the amerikan imprisonment craze, as some think. This is based on our analysis of the u$ prison system being about social control and not about making money. If unemployment goes up, we predict that amerika will continue to push the strategy of paying one sector of society to imprison and rule over another.

As we have explained in ULK9, there are no profits to be made in operating prisons. Like all military and oppressive forces of the state, these are completely non-productive, parasitic operations. Unlike a capitalist industry that tends to minimize labor costs relative to other capital costs, these parasitic operations are set up to distribute fat paychecks to those most loyal to the imperialist system. Hence spending 80% of the budget on staffing.

To put the numbers in some perspective, the $52 billion spent in 2008 on state prisons in the united $tates is equivalent to the the Gross Domestic Product of Afghanistan and Nepal combined, for the same year. (3) That's over 50 million people who must run two whole countries on the same amount of resources provided to the 430,000 amerikans employed in "corrections" to run a population of 2.3 million prisoners. (4)

notes:
(1) Scott-Hayward, Christine S. The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices. July 2009. http://www.vera.org
(2) Office of the Governor. 7/28/2009
Corrections and Rehabilitation Budget Detail
(3) CIA World Factbook.
(4) Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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[Education] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Cellies Educating Each Other

Studying in Allred UnitGreetings to all my brothers and sisters and political prisoners. I want to encourage all comrades to promote educational thinking. My cellmate, who is a Crip, took time out of his schedule to teach me how to count. Yes, count. I dropped out of high school in the 9th grade to only have to come to prison and learn math. I'm 37 and my celly is 28. He encouraged me and pushed me to use my mind. We have had our ups and downs inside this cell which is in a high security unit.

The administration does not care if we kill each other, but instead we build each other. He sees my potential and motivated me to use it. Comrades, do not let youth fool you. They look at us as leaders. But if you only want to prove how ignorant and violent you are or "was", they will continue to promote that too.

Failure is falling down and staying there. Get back up! Know thyself.

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[Culture] [Missouri]
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Hip Hop is Dead Until it Takes Up Revolutionary Politics

Hip Hop is Dead, Biggie SmallsHip hop culture began in the late 1970s, but it wasn't until the middle to late 1980s that the cultural life and expression of hip hop began to grow and influence youth throughout amerika and the world. Many people wrote this phenomena of hip hop culture as some fad that would soon wither away.

During the late 1980s, early 90s, the era I coin the Black Consciousness era of hip hop, Black and Latino youth found a way to use hip hop to express their anger, fears, ideas, art and frustrations within the dominant white-oppressor culture, police brutality and poverty.

Hip hop culture isn't just about the music, it's about a lifestyle - from the clothes we wear, style of hair, taggin' rail cars and walls with radical art and graffiti, unity and more. It's a culture of resistance.

However, white-owned corporations saw a profit to be made and stepped in to co-opt the movement. Yes, a lot of us found a way to eat, but the result was a lack of potency in the music and a watered-down culture where cars and ICE are the motivating factor. It is a culture that is teaching our youth that it's all about them (as individuals). That it's cool to be a dope field (sippin' syrup, etc.) and to be victims of HIV/AIDS (it's ok to have multiple sex partners). Is there any wonder why the highest rates of HIV/AIDS are among Blacks and Latinos between the ages of 13-24?

Culture in general, and hip hop culture in particular, plunges its roots into the base of the material reality of the environment in which we live in the hoods and barrios and it reflects the organic nature of society, which is more or less influenced by the dominant white society and culture of our oppressed communities.

Can hip hop be a vehicle for revolutionary culture? Yes, it can be, but it is not now. Culture is an essential element of the history of a people, and it's social development. Amilcar Cabral once has this to say about culture: "Study of the history of liberation struggles shows that they generally have been preceded by an upsurge of cultural manifestations, which progressively harden into an attempt, successful or not, to assert the cultural personality of the dominated people by an act of denial of the culture of the oppressor. Whatever the conditions of subjection of a people to foreign domination and the influence of economic, political and social factors in the exercise of this domination, it is generally within the cultural factor that we find the germ of challenge which leads to the structuring and development of the liberation movement."

If hip hop is to transform into a true vehicle for social change, we must demand that our artists keep it a hundred and give us more analysis in their music. Stop promoting the use of addictive narcotics, that they become more active in our communities, and give our youth the encouragement to study, unify, and resist oppression. If they fail to do this, hip hop remains sterile and dead. Long Live 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, Eazy-E, Left Eye, Pimp C, Big Pun and all other hip hop artists that paved the way for the next generation to refuse and resist.

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