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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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[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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[Culture] [Idaho] [ULK Issue 10]
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Tap the Potential of Hip Hop as Revolutionary Culture

I stopped reading ULK #9 to write this topic across a piece of paper, then I continued my ULK, which I might add is very enlightening. Thank you to MIM and all my comrades who make it possible. It's great to see brothers professing unity in the game instead of killing. I'm no active member but I've got my stripes, and I would be in a unique position to be a huge positive force in these young knuckle heads life by showing them exactly what Amerikkka wants the affiliated to be and what we as humyns should be. The street cliques can easily be revamped into a united front against U$ immorality if we proceed to do such instead of siding with paper and bling which brings me to the subject at hand, hip hop music.

In Idaho the pigs only allow radio, so all day I listen to my cellie thump hip hop. I was raised on MIG and 8 Ball. I'm from Oside SD, CA but I had to look a while back to see if I was being progressive or regressive. In no way is hip hop progressive, with the exception of a very small minority like Dead Prez. It's impossible to extract a positive role in the revolution when your mind is bent on pimpory and slinging packs! What's worse is with your $ from exploiting comrades, hip hop teaches to purchase the goods of the imperialists. The hip hop industry is grossing billions to ensure we are notoriously hypnotized and killing each other for the most idiotic of ideas.

I'm disgusted that something that could be such a huge asset to the liberation of nations all over the world is the main source of ignorant propaganda for the pigs. I don't need to name songs or artists cuz anyone who can formulate the words coming out of the speakers knows. I understand that the skill it takes to be a popular musician and a lot of these people come from backgrounds that this is one of the few skills they developed besides running and thugging, so if hip hop is to be an asset we all have got to teach these artists that the pictures they are painting are influencing more people to stroll down a path that destroys themselves, others, their communities and ultimately their culture.

I'm sure that will be a major struggle of its own because these high level execs will not forsake their deals to teach us that its wrong to be capitalistic. I doubt the U$ would even have allowed hip hop to become nationwide if they hadn't noticed and curbed the industry toward mindlessness. Look what happened to Ice T when kop killer came out, he was damn near lynched. People nowadays are obsessed with the latest hip hop trying to emulate it in every form and fashion. But hip hop is not only fantasy, it is counter revolutionary.

Don't think it's just hip hop either, it's 99% of all that the U.$. feeds you from sports to TV to movies, anything to keep you perpetuating the system instead of disillusionment. Reality is hard to deal with when you're lulled by the song that soothes the savage beast. If these mediums could be utilized the message would spread fast tho. Dare to struggle, dare to win. All power to the people!

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[Culture] [Pennsylvania]
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The pain of awakening

Dear God,

I write you this letter from the depths of hell where I have been sentenced to a life of misery and pain. I curse you for opening up my third eye to a rude awakening and destroying the elaborate illusion I had created for myself. You, like a thief, have robbed me of that blissful state of not knowing and I want it back you omnipotent sadist.

You have tricked me. You have tricked me into becoming conscious, so you can laugh and enjoy yourself while I wallow in pain and loneliness as the truth slowly manifests itself to me.

I envy those I left behind, how happy they look as they sit in front of that one eyed monster, as it illuminates images of Hip Hop rappers who exploit bikini clad wimmin.

I want to be like you and laugh at the pain of ignorant people, watching them beat each other up on TV shows like Jerry Springer. I want to be a part of that crowd that cheers on Amerikkka as she invades helpless countries, raping and murdering innocent people under the guise of freedom.

I'm tired of people looking at me like I'm the one who's crazy because I refuse to conversate with snitches, who sold their soul to the prosecutors for mere crumbs. I want to be like other people and talk about basketball and football games instead of being a recluse in my cage reading revolutionary papers and thinking how to form a mass struggle behind these walls.

I want the same elated look of happiness of my face like those prisoners who play dominoes and cards all day without a worry in the world, oh how good that must feel.

I no longer want to feel the repulsive emotion known as love, which only weakens me when I expect it from people, only to be disappointed.

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[International Connections] [California]
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Migrants Treated Unequally

I start off by writing that I will not be using the term "illegal aliens" as a way to refer to my people. As it is only used by oppressors to debase emigrants. It is senseless to have such a label since this country was formed on migrants. Furthermore CA was one of the many states tripped from Mexico. Indeed. That clear, I move on to the issue at hand, non-citizens contributing to the growing prison population. I use my personal story as a foundation to paint a bigger picture.

I was born in Mexico, at the age of four. Regardless of what your native country may be, we all seem to paint a wonderful picture of what the U.$. has to offer us. Yet it is completely the opposite of what we dream. When we arrive to the "land of opportunities" we are welcomed with degrading and low wage jobs. Due to us being migrants we are forced to accept these conditions. Victims of oppression, we work for the rich while they gain from the poor.

Some of my fellow migrants realize this, but go about it in the wrong manner, i.e. committing crimes. Being victims of oppression does not justify participating in or conducting illegal activities, but does in fact play a role with why we end up incarcerated. The government magnifies crimes committed by migrants to form stereotypes that all illegals come to the U.$. with the intention of committing crimes, which is not true.

Until everyone is treated equally and with dignity, the prison population will continue to grow. While the bourgeois injustice system is in effect, we can expect no such change. While we live in an imperialist state we can expect no change at all.

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[Political Repression] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Texas Prison Officers Label ULK Recipients Gang Members

Here on Hughes Unit the gang officers put us on file as members of a gang called ULK. A few weeks ago when I was called to the gang offices I was asked a lot of things about your newsletter. I don't see how they can do this when there is no gang called ULK at all. I would like you to let all comrades know about what's going on in Texas and what they do to prisoners who get Under Lock & Key on Alfred Hughes Unit. Once they put us on gang file they can read all mail that comes to us from anyone, and they can withhold mail and send it back to people. Please send me help to fight this.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania]
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Filth and Retaliation in PA

I'd like to expose the abuses and misconducts of correctional staff here at SCI Huntingdon. I begin with conditions of confinement. I am surrounded by vermin as well as roaches. Although the institution provides an exterminator service, the infestation is a continuing dilemma. Cells are generally too cold. I usually have to wear 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, and my jumpsuit just to barely keep warm. At times I must wear this while utilizing a blanket just to sleep.

Lights are kept on 24 hours a day. The toilet is on a timer, and if you flush too quickly you must wait for the timer to reset. Not exactly comfortable if you have a cell partner! Food is generally served cold. Trays usually have water or condensation around them because they sit for long periods of time before being served. Water seeps into food posing health risks. Although Department of Corruptions directives state that RHU prisoners shall have the same portions; portions are not equal to those of the general population.

Clothes is laundered once a week and if you have a cell partner you must use the same laundry bag. Clothes generally come back dirty! Correctional staff liked to "burn" or not provide trays or yard periods to those who they pick on, although DOC policy forbids such retaliation. Grievances are addressed, but the rationales do not specifically address issues cited and the specific issue is generally ignored. If you are served with a misconduct report, the hearing examiner is not impartial at times known to say that he believes his officers over the prisoner. Clearly a statement made by someone who is biased. The Program Review Committee is basically the same way.

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[Economics] [Organizing] [Texas]
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Prisons Used as Political Tools in Rural Communities

In the prison system, people upstate in rural areas send applications for prisoners to be sent up to the towns. If you live in a rural area upstate and your economic structure has been wiped out you need to have another industry. Now you have prisons. The benefit is that you get money for every person shipped to your state, but you also gain greater political power and shift the political power from the cities to the rural areas because every prisoner who goes into these rural areas is counted as a citizen in the county in which they are incarcerated. So big cities may lose two assemblymen because you and your crew are in jail upstate.

This is why all these rural areas want these prisons built in their communities. Prisoners are a population that they don't have to deal with and will never be heard, but they count as a part of representation in the government giving rural areas greater political power.

That's why these small hick towns have 3 or 4 penitentiaries where they have a population of Blacks and Latinos in their towns when in fact no Blacks or Latinos live within the town, but within the prison. Like the town of Tennessee Colony in Texas which has 4 units: Coffield, Beto, Gurney, and Michaels Unit. In most of these towns and cities most of the prison workers in the unit are related going back 4 to 5 generations: husbands and wives working together, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, and so on. With this in mind you can picture the tight knit community in these units where "if you touch my mother or sister, I can do anything to you, and there's nothing you can do about it, because everyone on the unit will cover for me."

What most prisoners don't know is that they hold more power and rights than they know. If every prisoner who is from a big city put in for hardships to be at units close to their home, these hick towns could lose all of their political power. And these hick town units with populations of 5,000 would not have any power in their wardens. But there is a catch, once your application is in for a hardship. They are out to get you, and place loads of bogus cases on you, so you have to remain on the Unit 12 months case free before you can be shipped.

What we as prisoners must do is know our enemy when we go out and battle against them. We must be clean and can't have any contraband in our cells, or on our persons when we file law suits against them. And make sure the cameras get playback when they do search you or your cell to show them planting stuff on you or in your cell.

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