The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [Montana] [ULK Issue 7]
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Call for unity among Montana prisoners

I'm writing in support of the Montana prisoner article detailing corrupt medical services and canteen schemes for profit. I've been a prisoner here in the Montana prison system since 2001. Over the years I've seen many changes, most for the worst. The biggest and the one that truly makes me sick, is the total collapse of prisoner unity in our prison system.

There's a scary trend of new prisoners entering here. It's all about submissive cooperation with prison officials. Making deals with the man (snitching, confidential informants) to secure favors from prison administrators (extra privileges, early release). Also a bad case of "Good ol Day" or "Back in the Day" syndrome. Unfortunately most people just talk, bitch or complain. Old timers are not standing up to teach the youngster how to carry himself within the walls.

I agree the medical services/canteen corruption in this system is out of control, but we have no one to blame but ourselves because we allowed the prison to take ultimate control. So now brother, I call unto those with heart to stand up and take back what's ours.

This is not a call of ignorance or senseless violence, but of sound, wise, educated resistance that benefits everyone here. In other words, prisoner unity, not division.

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[Control Units] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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Abuse in Texas adseg

I'm a texas prisoner housed in Administrative Segregation on the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, TX. I have undergone severe mistreatment and harassment from numerous officers and supervisors by way of tampering with my food, denial of food, bogus disciplinary cases, and physical assaults. Just recently, in November, I was attacked while handcuffed behind my back and tear gassed by an officer, because I expressed my frustration of having been left inside the shower over an hour. I filed a grievance and all supervisors are aware of this misconduct. But they've only turned a blind eye to this officer's behavior, and condone further abuse by this staff who continue to harass and threaten me. This same staff is part of the same group of staff that has preyed upon me since 2006. And they all wait for any opportunity to catch me off guard.

I recently left this unit for 8 months, and returned with every intention to make things right with the staff, but they only seek my demise and condemnation. And to make me out to be the kind of person that I'm not. Sympathy is not what I seek. But respect is what I demand. Here the other day the same staff that had assaulted me on the 9th was permitted to search my cell for 30 minutes and he wrote down all the names and addresses of my family and relatives living inside the Dallas and Tarrant County areas of Fort Worth, Texas; and threatened to bring harm against them or have it done by someone else. Then he wrote me a disciplinary case in an attempt to hinder my progress.

This same officer already has a documented disciplinary history of abusing other inmates by way of physical assaults, and unlawful use of his chemical agents. But the supervisors continue to fail to take corrective action to curb his misconduct.

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[Education] [Texas]
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Stop being passive and join the fight

As I sit here and watch what the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has done to my fellow man, I can't help but pick up the banner of justice and fight for a just cause.

What I see day in and day out, is a group of men beaten by a system of oppression, with no identity or cause to go on living under the title of "men." Everyone in this system has given up. They are in a state of confusion, with no understanding on what it means to be free. Free from the bonds that the system wants you to be in.

I've noticed that it's not that the system that won't let you educate yourself, they just won't. They are more interested in the idiot box (TV) and being modern day slaves of the system. The average inmate is content with where he is now. The three meals, television and living quarters, a six by nine cinder block cell, is more than some have in the free world. The mentality is that its free food, no bills, and free medications for the taking. It's a pitiful sight.

With thinking like this, the injustice system will never change. Texas is so far behind times that we still don't get good time and work time, but even with this, you are doing 80% of your time. What does it take for everyone to realize we can change this system and break it from the inside out? Without our labor, this system would fold in on itself. Our free labor makes the revenue to run this system. No work, no money.

Anywhere you look and read, the Texas prison system is running at 50 to 60% shortage of officers. As many as they hire, the same amount quit. If no one worked who would replace us and at what cost? They simply couldn't. But Texas doesn't have to worry because the breed of prisoner now is content with oppression. It's a sad sight, but it's the truth.

No one is willing to sacrifice for a better future and your basic human rights. Can't they see we are a force that can't be denied. You don't stop being a man just because you were sentenced to do time. A man will always be a man regardless of the situations he is put in.

It's hard to make them understand. the literature is open for the reading. Education, struggle, sacrifice, and unity is key for success. I'm doing my part to make the movement known. Fear has just been embedded so deep by authority that it eats their whole insides and steals their hope. Without hope, their futures are lost.

All I can say is that, I plead that these brothers (by brothers, I mean all races) open their eyes and stand up against the injustices of the system. If you have a voice, let it be heard and felt. The same fear that the system throws our way, it can be used in return. I hope word goes out to all brothers of the struggle. Educate yourselves to educate others. It is key to further the cause, and stop the injustices of not only our system, but all inustice systems of these united states.

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[Organizing] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 6]
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Organizing a strike in Ohio

I'm an incarcerated comrade in the Maximum Security Prison of Ohio. Currently I'm in a specialized isolation unit on 23 hour lockdown called "4B". At the present moment our cell block is on a hunger strike/activities strike where we have pulled our collective minds and initiative to express our dissatisfaction at the treatment that has been administered by the prison officer of 2nd shift (2pm to 10pm).

Now, this was not organized by me, nor was I involved in the nucleus of organizing and planning this act. But, being bound by my imprisonment, I, as well as every other prisoner on this cell block, are obligated to come together and stand up against the oppressive actions administered by this reactionary, police-system in all its many forms.

What we are striking about is that the second shift officer has repeatedly neglected his duties by not picking up our outgoing mail; he has repeatedly passed mail to the wrong cell/prisoner; he has repeatedly denied to pass out kites, write-ups/informals and other institutional forms of communication (being we're on isolated blocks, these are our only means of communications). This same CO has not taken the meal list for days at a time: since I'm Muslim, I do not eat prison meat, along with other dietary preferences, we have missed meals without a choice in the matter, and this has spurred even more outrage.

This same C/O (officer) has attempted to spark a "race" conflict between the Blacks and whites by saying racial statements and joking trying to cause division. (This prison is far from an urban area where many prison staff are not accustomed to diverse cultures and skin tones. Here, the white supremacist prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, is backed by the prison staff.) For the last few days, prisoners on this cell block have put in work; but, these activities are not new to this prison nor to prison in general.

In trying to speak to higher prison officials to unveil our discontent of the actions administered by this officer (which, in reality, is only a representation of the nature of the prison-system, and in turn, the Amerikan system), this battle of ours will not cease, Blacks and whites shall continue to uphold the struggle in the face of the slobbing Pig. Thus far no one has backed down, even in the midst of opposition - which is coming in many forms. For example, a C/O sprayed mace in the ceiling vents which are connected to all the cells on this block. His excuse was that it "came from another cell block."

All in all, my intentions for writing this was to point out the fact that this system of oppression does not comprehend anything less than revolutionary united struggle. They only understand aggression and asserted action (viz the organized power of the proletariat) so long as we do not realize our power through concerted effort the oppressors will continue to win! We must play the game they play! Think about that!

- Ohio USW leader

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[Elections] [National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
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Misplaced rejoicing in prisons over Obama victory

A few weeks ago during the presidential election, towards the end of the evening, once it became apparent that Barack Obama would become the heir to the throne of U.S. imperialism an eruption of applause and of hooting and hollering took hold of the dungeon I am housed in. With all of the damn racket going on, I would have thought that the "three strikers" law had finally been defeated, but no, instead the source of all the ruckus was the materialization of an almost unfathomable dream for so many of my Black brothers and sisters, a Black man becoming president of the United States of Oppression. The night's celebrations almost seemed dignified. However, to quote another former member of the ruling class "what does it matter what color the cat is?" "what does it matter if the cat is black or white?" "what matters is if the cat will catch mice." (Deng Xiaoping)

In a way, I welcomed the mighty cheering and truly undue attention, it provided me with yet another opportunity to engage my fellow prisoners. The following morning during morning chow I just happened to sit with three of my Black brothers. During the course of our meal my fellow prisoners were ecstatic with almost an euphoric glow of pride and accomplishment. They went on and on with how "it's on now" and talk of how things were going to be different now that Obama's the new Pres. elect. I asked them what, that besides the obvious (a Black man becoming president), is there really to be happy about? I asked them what would Obama really be doing for them? What would Obama be doing for me? Would Obama be doing something for our families and the people of the U.S. internal colonies? What would Obama be doing for the people of the Third World, the truly oppressed, the people? Absolutely nothing at all. Obama will not open the prisons. Obama will not help me get out. Will Obama help my proletarian mother with free health care, or even affordable health care for that matter? Will Obama pay my mother's rent to the slum lord? Is Obama going to provide me with a free and real education? Will he help me to help myself to better serve the people? Will Obama begin to steer the U.S. away from its decadent, exploitative, capitalist, imperialist, war mongering ways?

No, Obama's not gonna do a motherfucking thing but sit his ass in that Oval Office and continue the U.S. dangerous and destructive quest in its search for capital. So what the hell is everybody so happy about? Now, for a second there I thought my ass was toast being that I'm a Mexican. They might have just looked at me as being racist or that I was simply talking out of my neck. However, to my complete amazement, they did nothing but sit there and think about the words that we're coming out of my mouth. This gave me some semblance of joy, because at the very least, I think I gave them something to think about. However, a few seconds later they continued with their praises for Obama.

Even if I didn't completely get through to them, I think that at least I gave them something to think about, even if they initially rejected what I had to say I will continue to engage my fellow prisoners into deeper thought.

It is truly unfortunate that so many and so much of our potential revolutionary base is so blinded and so distracted by the razzle dazzle and lies of our oppressive system.

For those of us who are somewhat educated and informed concerning the truth about socialism and communism and of the climes of capitalism it is our duty and our obligation to voice the real and engage our fellow prisoners into deeper thought, theory and practice. If the groundwork is never done and the ground is never broken, then how can there be a base for a foundation of a socialist and communist movement? How can there be real change if the system is never changed, only its leaders? For those of us who are convinced that we are 'soldiers' ask yourself, who's soldier are you? Are you some common criminal's soldier? Do you fight and work for greed, power and lust of recognition? Or will you be the People's soldier? Will you fight for the peasantry and the proletariat, the People?

Like MIM likes to say "MIM can't do it all," and reading MIM Notes or Under Lock and Key isn't enough. We must help ourselves and find ways to make things better.

So will you become a true soldier and wave that red banner of revolution? Become the People's soldier, become the vanguard. Away with this oppressive system and all that it entails. Away with capitalism, imperialism and stupid petty divisional differences such as gang rivalries and race riots. It is time for the proletarians of our world to unite. Lay waste to the oppressor and all its minions.

MIM adds: In addition to the questions about what Obama will do for prisoners and oppressed nations within U.$. borders, we have to always ask the bigger question: will he change the militarist imperialist nature of Amerika? If not, even small reforms within U.$. borders will not represent any kind of victory over capitalism and global oppression.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [Legal] [Censorship] [Utah] [ULK Issue 7]
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Combat their Violence with the Law

I'm in solitary and they have strict magazine/newspaper rules, meaning no magazines/newspapers and just this last week they said no books. I'm grieving them on the books and all the returns using this case law: Prison Legal News v. Lehman 397 5.30 692 (9th Cir. 2005) - prisons may not prohibit prisoners from receiving non-subscription mail and catalogs, Sonnels v. McKee, 290 F.30 965 (9th Cir 2002) - prisons may not ban gift publications for which prisoner has not paid, and Morrison v. Hall, 261 F.3d 896 (9th Cir. 2001) - prisons may not ban receipt of subscription publications sent by bulk, third or fourth class mail. I've tried writing to the mailroom and explaining the way they've been in the wrong, nicely. But it seems there's no other way but to grieve and most likely prosecute.

It's not just mail and books I've been grieving and this might be why they have been holding/denying my mail. I've grieved mental health all the way to level three and also medical for deliberate indifference. They have mentally ill prisoners over here in solitary who regularly get peppersprayed, stun gunned, thrown around, thrown on strip cell, and even end up killing themselves. The C/O's kick their doors every count, waking them up. Calling them names, egging them on. Sgt. Feikert commented just last week as they zipped up Mark in his body bag, "No big loss, this scumbag did us a favor, we need the bedspace."

I read a piece by Emile Capouya called, "Laying Down the Gun," that says this about C/Os, "The policeman's... training... [is] directed to a single object... making the system safe for the powerful. The deformation of character he suffers may be greater or less than that of the 'other' born losers he is paid to keep in line, but I imagine it must be substantial." And I can see it in their faces. They're in the belly of this beast called prison even though they go home to sleep. I've been locked up for six years, but against my will. They drive their sorry selves here each day.

But isn't the key in the general strike? If that was awakened again I believe it could work. It's not about violence, is it? I don't know but like I told these other organizations, if you could have talked to me one year ago I wouldn't have been able to tell you there's 2.3 million people caged in the U.$. of A's prison industrial complex. In my mind I knew something wasn't right and I literally saw no better way than to take a couple cops with me, hence my disarming an officer charge. But now I have something larger and more pressing to put my weight behind. I just hope others like myself see the truth before it's too late for them.

MIM(Prisons) says: We also spend a lot of time explaining to prison mailrooms and administrators when they are breaking their own rules and laws. But often they will not address the misdeeds and it is then necessary to prosecute in the courts, as this comrade explains. Unfortunately, this is usually the case, as years of reporting in Under Lock & Key have documented. Like the quote in this letter implies, this is only to be expected from those who are trained to serve the interests of the state. While oppression of certain groups serves the state, so does a semblance of bourgeois democratic rights. That is why we can usually count on the courts to give us a more fair shake than the pigs will. Such battles are necessary survival tactics for the oppressed and for the movement.

The author, like many who write us, is someone who used to think killing cops was the only way to defend himself from the attacks he faced. Prison staff abuse and disregard the lives of prisoners regularly as he describes. Lives are at stake in the amerikan prison environment, both prisoners and cops. Yet official policy institutionalizes violence by encouraging a culture of punishment while often denying any administrative recourse for those who are being abused. In many of these same facilities, even outside parties such as MIM(Prisons) have no recourse with these state employees, nominally servants of the people, when they violate our guaranteed rights by preventing us from communicating and associating with others.

MIM(Prisons) works with comrades like this to find a real solution to these problems because fist fights and stabbings are not the answer to abuse in prisons. We hope that the prison administration will recognize this and begin treating prisoners like humyn beings. Studies have shown that the u$ prison system inherently breeds abuse, while history demonstrates that only a socialist prison system that puts the interests of the world's people first can provide a viable alternative where those who have committed real crimes are restored and not victimized. So it is important that we use long legal battles to build outside pressure and oversight on what is going on inside u$ concentration camps today, in order to bring this contradiction of capitalist society to the forefront while building a broader anti-imperialist united front.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 6]
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Truth


Illusion of justice tried
to convict me
I can't tell a lie for
you to believe me
Perjure my dignity
Alienate my self respect
truth isn't a coward, truth
sets me free, respect that
Give me liberty or give me death
Truth is I'm still being me

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 6]
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Prop 8 - gay marriage, gender oppression and political confusion

For communists, the gay marriage issue is a no brainer, but not really useful. Opposing oppression means we oppose restricting marriage and the rights that go along with it to certain groups of people. But it's not an issue communists will focus on to organize around as a reform for the petit-bourgeoisie. However, we do want to talk to people about this struggle because the pro-gay rights movement is not effectively attacking gender oppression, while the most oppressed have largely opposed the movement, often for the wrong reasons. A discussion is useful to win over those radicals who are in the gay-rights movement for the right reasons, while discouraging incorrect reactions by the oppressed.

Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in California that amended the state constitution to ban same sex marriage this year, is a fundamentally reactionary initiative that takes away rights from a group of people based on gender. While we can clearly say that Prop 8 is wrong, we did not spend time campaigning against it because our priorities right now are around fighting for rights for the oppressed, and as a group overall we do not count queer Amerikans as part of the world's oppressed. And the campaign against Prop 8 was so focused on what is necessary to rally a majority of Amerikan citizens against this proposition, they avoided useful education about gender oppression (because that is what was necessary to win over as many Amerikans as possible). We are pleased to see so many people without much previous political experience taking to the streets and the churches to protest passage of Proposition 8, as it is good to have people getting involved in political actions, speaking out against mis-education, and learning from this activism. As an exposure of religious anti-science and religious influence on politics, Prop 8 has been serving a good educational purpose for the public.

MIM has long talked about sexuality as a part of gender, and oppression against people based on sexual orientation as a part of gender oppression. But we are also clear that in imperialist countries, citizens enjoy gender privilege relative to the rest of the world. This is partly because gender is so tied up with class and nation privilege, and partly because of the gender strand of oppression that grants First World men and wimmin things like access to contraceptive devices tested on Third World men and wimmin, among other privileges. Further, marriage is not a matter of life or death for most people. The exception is for immigrants seeking legal residence in the U.$., ironically the one of only two rights associated with marriage that state-sanctioned civil unions can not offer (the other is the ability to file federal taxes jointly). Since marriage is not a question of economics or survival for most people, this is more about shuffling around rights within the labor aristocracy and petit-bourgeoisie.

The attention that Proposition 8 has received across the country relative to other propositions is telling. While marriage rights are not a matter of life and death, or even a significant quality of life question for most people, there were two ballot initiatives in California related to prisons that are far more immediate to the freedom and rights of the oppressed in the state. Proposition 5 would have provided expanded and improved drug treatment for people convicted of drug offenses, reducing the prison population and helping people with drug problems. It failed overwhelmingly. This proposition was demonstrably cheaper and healthier for people than prisons. But there has been no public outcry against its failure. Conversely, Proposition 9 passed, taking away prisoners rights to parole hearings and decreasing opportunities for early release. Again, an expensive proposition for the state, and demonstrably bad for the people as longer prison terms do not result in better citizens on the streets.

The prison initiatives have an impact on national oppression while the marriage ban impacts gender. It is important that we not ignore gender oppression when focusing on national oppression. But we do need to recognize that national oppression is the principal contradiction in the U.$. And the effects of this oppression are much more pressing than marriage. They relate to family livelihood, education, and fundamental freedom as more and more Blacks and Latinos are locked up in prison.

Our criticism of the No-on-8 campaign comes back to their goal. Right now the vast majority of Amerikans oppose gay marriage. So by focusing on this one reform within the imperialist system, the No-on-8 people had to pander to this majority by avoiding discussion of real issues of gender oppression or making any connections to national oppression. A campaign that provided people with more correct and useful educational material might have had an even lesser chance of winning, but at least it would have been a progressive use of the millions of dollars spent on this campaign.

Religion is anti-science

Prop 8 does give us the opportunity to point out clearly why it is not always good to be on the side of the majority. As with the case of the economic interests of Amerikan citizens, currently the gender interests of Amerikan citizens related to gay marriage are reactionary for the majority. In fact, California is unusually progressive on this issue - virtually every other state except Massachusetts would have passed this ballot initiative without a fight. And other states did pass even more restrictive bans on gay people without the public backlash now being seen in California. This means that we don't currently have the majority on the right side of this question. For an issue like this that is about rights within the petit-bourgeoisie we expect that in the long term it will be resolved correctly. But this issue does clearly demonstrate some problems with political education under imperialism, most notably the role played by religion in promoting mysticism and anti-science.

Religion plays a big role in why Amerikans care so much about gay marriage. The Mormon church convinced its members to donate millions of dollars to the campaign for Prop 8. Other churches joined the alliance for Prop 8 and also worked hard to get it passed. It is the irrationality of religion that pushes ridiculous political positions like teaching creationism in schools, condemning gay people to hell and denying them the ability to get married, and continuing assertions about the supremacy of white people, men, and just about any religion but Islam.

No one can really articulate a good reason why marriage should be reserved for only certain people. Some religious people try to tie it to procreation, but if that were really the case then we should have tests for fertility before allowing anyone to get married, and perhaps should require couples to get divorced if they don't produce children. We'd also have to deny adoptive parents access to marriage, even if they are straight. Some religious zealots claim that gay marriage will threaten their marriage, though no one seems to be able to point to any disasters for straight families in Massachusetts where gay couples have been marrying for a few years now. Fundamentally this debate about marriage is about religious people's feelings. They don't feel comfortable with gay marriage and they feel it would denigrate their marriage. Hopefully all those No-on-8 activists are seeing clearly why feelings should not be a part of politics.

It is one's subjective feelings that lead a gay amerikan to see Prop 8 as the most important issue. By putting this as their top priority, they are saying they are willing to do what it takes to win, like even go to war with a Third World country. And unfortunately, what is essentially a fight for equality, easily slides into a fight against the oppressed because of the context in which the battle is going on. While wimmins' rights has been a much more common cry of the anti-Islam movement, there are many examples of rabid pro-gay, pro-imperialist invasion propaganda.

The Mormon church is holding back progress with their mysticism, the Taliban is hacking away at imperialism with theirs and the difference is nationality. Really it is a scientific approach to organizing and military strategy that is behind the Taliban's success, but the mysticism is still there, and the gender aristocracy has been attacking it for a decade. This is why we call on the gay rights movement to take up dialectical materialism, before they do more to mobilize the already rabid anti-Islam movement in this country.

As we stated, the no-on-prop 8 movement not only got the national question wrong, but they messed up on gender too by pandering to gender aristocracy paternalism. The Prop 8 supporters ran a lot of TV ads claiming that kids were going to be taught about gay marriage in elementary school if gay marriage was not banned. This scare tactic apparently worked as polls showed public opinion shifted to support Prop 8 after the TV ads started running. Rather than counter this with ads that deny children will learn about gay marriage as the No-on-8 campaign did, we would say that it would not be a bad thing for kids to learn about gay marriage in school at least to the extent that they learn anything about marriage. Not only will the no-on-prop 8 movement sacrifice the oppressed nations in California or the Middle East, but they bolster the patriarchal systems of oppression against their own children in order to win this privilege for a small elite group.

Demographics of the majority

Another important aspect of Prop 8 and the institution of marriage is the position of President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. The Palin/Biden Vice Presidential debate saw the two candidates sharing a few moments of unity, the most notable around their shared conviction that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. In reality younger politicians like Barack Obama probably don't care about the definition of marriage, but mainstream political parties have to take positions on issues like this that a majority of Amerikans will support. And a vast majority of Amerikans oppose gay marriage.

This put a lot of Obama supporters in an awkward position when the Prop 8 campaign started robo-calling voters playing a recording of Obama stating that he believes marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Obama did come out against Prop 8 in the end, but for technical reasons, not because he supports gay marriage. All those California democrats who went for Obama clearly did not vote against Prop 8.

In fact exit poll results and studies on who voted for Proposition 8 show that some traditionally "progressive" (read: voting democrat) parts of the city of San Francisco voted for Prop 8 while some areas that are more traditionally "conservative" (read: voting republican) overwhelmingly opposed Prop 8. This should be no surprise when we realize that class and nation are far more important considerations in general in people's political views under imperialism today. Wealthy white people don't mind giving marriage rights to gay Amerikan citizens, but they are not going to let those Black drug users out of prison. The flip side of this is that oppressed nations in Amerika had a hard time seeing the importance of opposing Prop 8 and generally voted in favor of the marriage ban.

Many oppressed people even take a reactionary approach to the issue. "If rich white people are cool with this, it must just be another attempt by them to corrupt our youth." This negates the progressive character of this battle in our given context. So, while we must defend the right to marry for gays to counter this confusion among the oppressed, it is not a campaign that will make any serious blows against oppression at this time.

Gender oppression is part of imperialism

The anti-imperialist struggle involves fighting against class, nation and gender oppression. We have to pick our battles to have the greatest impact on ending oppression and avoid inadvertently promoting white nationalism or supporting causes just because they sound progressive. In the case of Proposition 8, greater gender equality under imperialism is generally a progressive goal. But it is not something that will get us closer to an end to all class, nation and gender oppression at this time.

When we fight for reforms within imperialism, like the battle to end censorship of mail we send to prisoners, we do so for two reasons: 1. Education by exposing the reactionary policies of the imperialists, and 2. gaining some room for the oppressed to survive and/or organize. Only the overthrow of imperialism and establishment of socialism under a dictatorship of the proletariat will move us significantly towards the end of class, nation and gender oppression.

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 6]
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Pornography and censorship

In general pornography is censored in prison as a means of exercising control over prisoners for no purpose other than the exercise of power. Porn certainly doesn’t lead to any security problems in prisons nor does it threaten the power structure in any way. And we know that prison guards of both male and female sex use gender and sexuality to oppress prisoners. In response to our article in ULK 4 on this topic we’ve received overwhelming response from prisoners describing many cases of guards using sexuality to control prisoners. But this doesn’t mean that porn serves any progressive purpose for prisoners.

We oppose pornography because it is all about reinforcing gender oppression. Pornography is part of the capitalist romance culture which conditions people to have sick gender relations. From MIM Theory 2/3 Gender and Revolutionary Feminism, “One of the ways that the sexuality of male supremacy is institutionalized is through pornography. Robin Morgan has said, ‘Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice.’ Pornography is the media of sexual objectification and violence against women. Its message is ‘a lie about women, that we exist to pleasure and service men and that our deepest pleasure lies in enslavement and subordination…’”

Also from MT 2/3, “The supporters of the right to pornography are the advocates of the right to degrade women and sell them as such. In other words, pornography has no value if it shows women doing empowering, important, meaningful things. Its value is tied to portraying a bitch ready to be raped. MC0 suggests that those who uphold this 'right' are the same people that argue prison is humane and rehabilitation works.”

Even if pornography is censored in prison, pornography will still be present outside of prison, perpetuating and reinforcing the gender oppression in our society. MIM(Prisons) opposes porn in society at large, but right now we oppose censorship even more than we oppose porn. Neither pornography nor political literature should be allowed to be censored by the prison staff, who are employed as arms of the state. For this reason we are willing to ally with porn manufacturers against censorship in prison while holding that pornography should not be protected by the First Amendment under a Dictatorship of the Proletariat where speech is protected to serve the interests of the majority of the world’s people. We are fighting against censorship in prison, not in favor of ensuring access to pornography.

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[Economics] [ULK Issue 5]
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Financial Crisis: Capitalism is an irrational economic system

Amerikan financial leaders were taken by surprise with the recent financial meltdown in Amerika and around the world. Even those who predicted the credit crisis did not expect the far reaching consequences. In fact on October 23, former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan told congress he was "shocked" at the situation and admitted that capitalism was not working as well as he thought it would. Greenspan went so far as to say he was "partially wrong" to think the free market could regulate itself. Greenspan was the chair of the Federal Reserve for over 18 years.

In reality the capitalists know perfectly well that the free market does not work. The regulation of financial markets (or any government regulation) contradicts the fundamental principals of free market capitalism, but they are happy to regulate when it works in their financial interests. Some people are complaining that the government is introducing "socialist" practices with this regulation. But the capitalist government of Amerika knows very well what it's doing - it is preserving capitalism, not promoting socialism. The inevitable crises of capitalism expose weaknesses in the system. To preserve that system, the capitalists need to shore up the economy. If that requires regulation, they will have no problem doing it.

Marx taught us a couple musts of a capitalist economy: capital must circulate and capital must accumulate. These two musts conflict with each other. Accumulation led to imperialism and the limits that imperialism put on circulation led to the crises of the 1930s in the capitalist world.



John Keynes represented the path to saving capitalism during the Great Depression. A path that John McCain and Joe the plumber would call socialism today, but a path that was developed by Keynes and implemented by the Roosevelt administration that was explicitly in opposition to socialism, which existed at the time in the Soviet Union.



Marx did predict this crisis - not directly because he could not know our specific conditions today. But to the extent that he correctly predicted that capitalism will always face crises, Marx was once again right about capitalism. In basic terms, Marx said that capitalism is not rational and so the capitalists are going to overproduce as a part of competition because they can not know the exact size of the market, nor can they rationally apportion that market to the producers.

Lenin expanded on Marx's theories explaining that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. One of the definitive characteristics of imperialism described by Lenin was the rise of finance capital. Like all capital, finance capital could not just sit still. So markets were created that didn't actually sell material goods but sold money itself or promises of money in various forms. Not only was this the haven for the imperialists with ever-concentrating capital, but increasingly, the oppressor nation became involved in these markets as ways of getting their share of global super-profits, while helping the imperialists manage these massive economic games. 



In the 1930s, there was anti-capitalist pressure from a socialist Soviet Union that was expanding its economy at record rates while the capitalist world crumbled. Meanwhile fascism exerted its own pressures on the future of capitalism in Europe unleashing unbridled violence to advance their own economic prosperity. In response, the idea that government was responsible for a nation's economic welfare and had the right to interfere in economics became prominent among the bourgeoisie for the first time.



The success of the New Deal was built on shattered post-WWII Europe and Japan, which the united $tates could use as an outlet for its own expanding production. Without these consumer nations, an army of people ready to work at home and new access to labor and resources of dozens of former European colonies, the New Deal policies would not have succeeded as they did in bringing a thriving u$-led capitalism to life.



Compared to the New Deal days, the u$ economy may be too top heavy this time. With most amerikans working in finance, law enforcement, state bureaucracies, advertisement/sales and other service industries, we have a country of parasites. There is no surplus value and little surplus population to fall back on. And we'll probably see a fascist revolution in this country before we see large numbers of amerikans taking up public works jobs that they currently force on Mexicans and other oppressed peoples.



Today the united $tates is no longer a rising economy, it is at the top and it is top heavy. With the former socialist countries having been incorporated back into the capitalist economy in the later decades of the 20th century, there are no new markets to break into. And with a large population that does not produce close to enough to sustain itself, being cut off from Third World labor and resources would be disastrous for the u$ economy.



While Keynes held that government intervention was necessary to keep a capitalist economy expanding, he did not recognize the limits on capitalist expansion recognized by Marx and Lenin. These limits make it harder and harder for capitalism to recover with time as accumulation becomes more extreme. Without imperialist war and massive loss of life, this accumulation remained a barrier to recovering from the Great Depression.



The Keynesians, increasingly the majority of capitalists during this economic crisis, say that the only way to stop the irrational banks is regulation - capitalism can not regulate itself because of the drive for profit, and the lack of information about competitors. We must distinguish this system of capitalism from socialism, which is characterized by nationalization of industry and finance, but more importantly, is controlled by a dictatorship of the proletariat working in the interests of the vast majority of the people. Any nationalization done under capitalism is controlled by a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie working in the interests of the few. In China, after Mao died, the bourgeoisie took power and began running the government for the profit of a few. They left industries nationalized and this fooled some people into thinking China was still socialist. But as the recent actions of the Amerikan government demonstrate, nationalization is not synonymous with socialism.

Although we should not confuse capitalist regulation with socialism, it is interesting to note that there are reports of a big upsurge in sales of Karl Marx's book Capital, as well as visits to his grave as people around the world seek an explanation for the financial crisis. While capitalism is making big profits for the imperialists and their labor aristocrats, those people benefiting have little interest in questioning the system. But in a time of crises some people are apparently inspired to think a little harder about what capitalism means. We don't anticipate this leading to a global upsurge in support for communism. Even with the current economic crisis, the workers in imperialist countries are still benefiting from the exploitation of the Third World. And so their economic interests are still tied up with capitalism.

True to the interests of the Amerikan citizens, what is considered progressive radio in the u$ can't stop crying about mortgages, car payments and kids having to go to community college. They completely ignore that most people in the world have never owned a car, a house or had a chance to get a college education. Joe the plumber, McCain's example of anti-Obama working people in Amerika, did a press event where he announced he was scared of Obama trying to take the country to socialism. Joe the plumber is in the richest 3.89% globally, that's why he's scared of wealth redistribution. When things get really bad, Joe the plumber is going to be fighting for national socialism so that at least he doesn't have to share with other nations.


For those labor aristocrats who want a more rational economic system, we encourage them to study communism. But we won't lie to them and tell them that fighting for communism is fighting for their economic interests. This will just foster reactionary nationalism, or fascism. And it is times of economic crisis when we need to be most wary of fascist upsurges in countries where the workers are benefiting from the exploitation of oppressed nations.

In general, times of capitalist crisis are times of opportunity for the international proletariat. While it is clear that it will take a lot more than the latest crisis to move the imperialist country citizens into the ranks of the proletariat and form a mass base for revolution, the revolutionary movements in Third World countries can take advantage of imperialist weaknesses. The relative strength of imperialism at this point in time may pull it through, but certainly the current crisis may allow our comrades in the Third World to gain some ground in the fight for liberation. The imperialists are doing what they can to shore up smaller countries hit hardest by economic collapse by providing IMF loans (Iceland, Hungary, Ukraine). But these loans are provided strategically and will not prevent the suffering and exploitation of Third World people, which existed before this economic crisis and will continue after it until the people rise up and put an end to this system of imperialism.

Notes: See MIM Theory 1 and 10 for further elaboration on why the Amerikan citizens are part of the labor aristocracy and not the proletariat.

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