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Under Lock & Key

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[Education] [Release] [South Woods State Prison] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 2]
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DOC claims integrating Prisoners back to society/work force a priority

I felt the need to express my opinion on this matter, since I will be one who will be affected by this phenomenon that has yet to be solved.

The other day I was watching the New Jersey Network channel, in which they were airing a program called Due Process. The topic being spoken of on Due Process was on the issue that prisoners will be facing prior to their release from prison. The main & only topic was "jobs." there were several spokespersons, one was from Princeton University & the other was from the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections states that they have implemented programs to help prisoners in obtaining jobs when released back into society. So here I am to expose the so-called programs & to hopefully make clear what is the Department of Corrections (DOC)'s main priority.

As you may know, I am a prisoner at Southwoods State Prison (SWSP) in the state of New Jersey, which is the largest prison in New Jersey. In this prison you have a variety of programs that you may choose from. They consist of Educational, Vocational, therapeutic programs such as Moral Recognition Therapy, Life Skills & AA. DOC has also started a program by the name of S.T.A.R.S. which is suppose to help prisoners to re-enter society. The S.T.A.R.S. program provide prisoners with the help of resources, how to apply for jobs and how to manage your money. There is also another so-called program that is provided to prisoners who are within 2 weeks of their release from prison to prepare them to re-enter society. This program also provides resources.

This leaves us with DOC's top priority program, The Therapeutic Community Drug Program, which to my understanding is a funded program. The Therapeutic Community Program (TC) is a program that is provided in several of the New Jersey State Prisons for prisoners with substance abuse disorders. It does not provide prisoners with educational, vocational, nor a transitional re-entry back to society.

Upon entering DOC, you are interviewed by so-called trained clinical screeners, to evaluate the severity of ones substance abuse. Once you see classification, which have the final say, they determine if you qualify for the TC program by evaluating your clinical screening results. If your results are a 5 and above, then you are automatically classified to the TC Program. Now the catch to this program is that if you deny or refuse the TC Program, you are given an I-Overide, which means that you will not receive any type of status, forcing you to do the remaining of your time behind the wall without the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of going to a Halfway house, unless you submit to such TC Program. I am one who will be facing the I-Overide for my refusal to participate in such programs. I was classified with a score of 5 which according to the Administration makes me an appropriate candidate for such programs, in which I have no substance abuse disorder since 1999 & my Pre-Sentence Report states clearly "no drug use during the time f crime, no drug evaluation or recommendations for drug use programs." But according to the Administration they state that due to my previous and present drug charges, I am an appropriate candidate for such programs. Funny that no where in the 10A Law does it state that you will be classified to the TC Program because of your past & present drug conviction. But as I mentioned above, the TC Program is a funded program, which provides money to DOC for keeping the programs beds filled. Which leads me to really question the contradiction that DOC has imposed on itself. What is really their priority? Are they really providing prisoners with the proper transition program to re-enter society, who has always abandoned our interest & needs, after being released?

DOC claims are nothing but bull shit, like every politician here in the united snakes, who sell dreams. DOC fails to really understand the prisoner's needs. Lack of job opportunities is not the only obstacle that many prisoners will be facing when released. Many prisoners will be facing the obstacles of not having a place to stay upon their release & health issues as well. But has any of this really been a concern to DOC? Of course not! If DOC was really concerned about this issue, then they will provide more educational & vocational programs. Here the only certificate that is really recognized in society is the GED certificate, which is authentic. All the other certificates are not recognized in society. I took a Core Curriculum & Building Trades course at this prison and according to the teacher who taught one of my classes, the certificate that I received from the National Center for Construction, Education & Research really meant nothing. He stated that if we were to provide these certificates in our resume or job interview, that employers will probably laugh because the reality is that no one has ever heard of such a place.

Here at this prison there are College courses, that are being provided to those prisoners who are under 25 years of age. Leaving those who do not meet the age criteria with no hope of pursuing a higher learning. Of course there are College correspondence courses, but the issue with such courses, is the money the prisoner will have to pay, in a place where the common pay is $1.40 a day.

There is truly a lack of understanding by DOC, when it comes to the prisoner population, in dealing with the needs & obstacles that we face collectively when we are released from prison. The priority should be Educational & Vocational learning skills. DOC should find a solution for upgrading the educational & vocational programs.

Here in New Jersey, every prison has an Inmate Trust Fund, which is generated by the surcharge of the Institution Commissary Sales. What the Inmate Trust Fund is being used for is recreational equipment, Incentive Meals and for more commissary purchases. This trust fund is well over 2 million dollars.

To give you an insight into how much the Inmate Trust Fund generates a month, I will give an example. At this prison it is said that it holds up to 2800 prisoners. Let's say that all these prisoners receive a state pay of $16.00 a month. Let's also say that all 2800 prisoners will use their $16 for commissary orders. So 2800 prisoners x 16.00 dollars = $44,800 dollars made in commissary sales, now $44,800 x 10% of commissary surcharge = $4,480 made for the Inmate Trust Fund. Just think, over the years the amount that the Inmate Trust Fund has generated. Yet DOC claims that they run on limited funds for educational programs.

This money from the Inmate Trust Fund should be used to build a complex to provide prisoners with a true & certified vocational trades before and after release. It should be mentioned that the Inmate Trust Fund is run by a Board of Trustees, in which we the prison population have no say or rights.

If DOC wants to make re-entry a priority, they should stop giving I-Overides for a TC Program that does not provide any educational or vocational learning skills and and replace them with proper training to re-enter society. If you were to do a survey of prisoners who participated in TC Program and prisoners who participated in real educational & vocational training, I can guarantee we would see a lower recidivism rate among those who got the educational & vocational training.

It is evident that the DOC priority is money as they keep giving I-Overides to those who refuse TC Program, while educational & vocational programs are optional. As mentioned above, the TC Program enrollment brings money to the DOC while other training does not. If they were truly concerned about prisoners post-release they would give I-Overides for refusing educational & vocational training instead.

DOC's form of helping to deal with this matter is by providing prisoners with pamphlets listing resources. This method is like giving a person a map to find a specific place. Of course I will refer to the pamphlets as I would the map, but the rest is really up to us.

Another way that DOC could really help prisoners with the transition back to society is to bring back the Work Release Program that were eliminated for reasons unknown to me. And if they were to bring back the Work Release Program they should find jobs that provide true vocational skills for prisoners to become equipped with the proper training for today's work force.

I myself will not submit to the TC Program, I will not take part of a program whose only benificiary is the DOC, not me. I tell all those inside the belly of the beast, to stop submitting, stop participating in any TC program. Note that DOC has no priority or concerns in this matter. Don't rely on DOC rehabilitative process because if you do it will only keep you contained. The struggle continues.

MIM replies: We don't know much about the programs described above, but we actively support the demand for more educational and training opportunities for prisoners. As the author stated, these are proven means for helping prisoners after release and therefore helping society as a whole. There are tactics that we can use to build a campaign among prisoners and concerned citizens on the outside to push some of the reforms suggested.

At the same time, we encourage those who are concerned with these problems to work to build the Serve the People Prisoner Re-Lease on Life program as well as our Free Books and educational programs for prisoners. The state has the ability to provide various training on a large scale to prisoners. But as we see here, this is a constant battle. And ultimately we must create institutions that can provide the people with what they really need.

The DOC has two main motivating factors: 1) to perform the task of social control, including the suppression of liberation movements, and 2) the meeting of the narrow economic interests of the bureaucracy and prison guard unions. Only institutions by and for the people, free of these narrow interests can really address the concerns expressed in this article.

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[Education] [Control Units] [California]
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California uses gang label to stop activist prisoners

I must say that I am indeed a prisoner who is against the hegemonic domination of Amerika over nations and I believe imperialism is the primary struggle to fight again. I believe that the Amerikkkan injustices system is the most fascistic aspect in amerikkkan society and is a tool perpetuating national oppression and social control. I indeed want to see stronger organization and unity against Amerikkkan domination. The USW seems to be a major need and must to the brothas and sistas locked behind these bars nationwide. Because I indeed understand that knowledge is power, and without it you are weak. And right now the prisoners of California are real weak (but only to the oppression of this enslavement). We need real live educational resources that'll teach the forwardance of this struggle against the "free and almighty land of Amerikkka," and you can beta believe they aren't going to give it to us. That's why we have to take it and pass it on, and enforce this revolutionary lit at all times, while at the same, realizing the following.

It's known to the mass populations of California Department of Corrections that IGI (Institution Gang Investigator) and ISU (Institution Security Unit) are not trying to let prisoners become educated on a real level, because it'll have us all united, and we know here in California that's against everything they stand for (which is the oppression of us and all our families.) California has a Gang Validation law that gives these two prison agencies the authority to hand out indeterminate SHU terms to prisoners who they believe to be involved in a prison gang (such as the Black Guerrilla Family, Nazi Low Riders, Mexican Mafia, etc.)

Take notice that I said "believe", versus "are", in a prison gang. Now these are indeed actual prison gangs that are still in existence to this day, but they are also labels placed on inmates who are politically active in trying to educate the general population. With one of the set labels, they are justified (on paper) when they throw you under the prison (indeterminately) and forget about you. If resources provide it, look up the case of Steve M. Castillo vs. Edward S. Alameida Jr in the US District Court of the Northern District of California, case number C-94-2847-MJJ-JCS. It will show you in black and white how they do it.

At the moment I'm in the SHU and I'm in a cell by myself. I try to use this time of solitude to really, really focus on educating my mind about this struggle we all face. Although a lot of brothers on the main lines (general population) are afraid of that validation lawn, and therefore lay down to the oppression when they fail in their duty to preach the real to those who are blind and are dying for their help. I'd rather go out on my feed than on my knees any day. Although I'm young in age, teach me and I'll indeed teach them.

If we properly prepare for the battle, then we know who we're up against and can be ready. Don't be quick to shout out who you're with and what you're about, because as I said "divide and conquer" is one of their tactics and it has worked well. That's the reason for the Inmate Task Force (ITF), rats and infiltrators who play the ears to and for the CIA/FPI/ATF wannabes and prevent the educating of the blind behind bars.

They understand that education is knowledge and knowledge is power. That's why [our literature] is censored and rejected when being sent through mail. They say it is a threat towards the safety and security of the institution. Wow! And that's on paper? What happened to the land of the free? As human beings, weather we're incarcerated or not, in this country we are appointed civil rights. We gotta start standing up together and demand those rights. I believe through United Struggle from Within (USW) we can get that done.

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[Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 2]
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Long term segregation in Nevada

I'm currently doing 365 days in the "hole" (disciplinary segregation) at Ely State Prison in Nevada. There is only one unit in this entire prison that gets to walk the yard. The rest of us are on 23/24 hour lockdown and have to be cuffed and shackled and escorted any time we leave our cells. And not all of us are on disciplinary segregation. I was told that it's a federal law that prisoners are only supposed to get a maximum of 100 and something days in the "hole" but Nevada gets away with it because of our privileges. Some people are allowed to have appliances in the hole, and that's cool, but a lot of us either lost that privilege or can't afford that stuff, so we are forced to do 1, 2, 3, maybe more years, in the hole with nothing. Me personally, I'd rather only do a couple months in the hole with nothing and get back to a mainline, then sit back here years with a TV.

In this state they have slimmed down on the physical abuse so now they're going even more for the mind. And a lot of dudes can't take it. I request books from our library, but that's a joke, so I was given an old copy of MIM Notes to read from a comrade, and I was relieved to have something righteous to read, and I was also glad to know we have fellow comrades on the outside who are truly helping us in the struggle. Being that I'm fresh out of Y.A. (youth authority) and still a youngsta, it's been difficult finding info on the adult system. I never know where to look up, but MIM Notes has put me up on game.

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[Control Units] [Southport Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 2]
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Shut Down the SHU in NY

Let me explain the situation here in Southport. They got regular cells and regular blocks, but not this one. This one is D-block, the most high profile are here, the worse of the worse, that what the crackers say. These are some crazy cells where out of your window nothing can be seen. This is like the basement of the $HU. The lights are kept on 16 hours a day. A real big light which causes pain in the eye. Out of the metal door there is a lil' window which you only can see to the front and to the front there is nothing but a well.

The showers are Tuesdays & Fridays only and you get to shave and shower for 5 minutes. They put a brother like me right now in shower deprivation. That means no shower for over 30 days. The same with rec [recreation]. Over 30 days locked in this crazy cell eating a crazy bread loaf for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They run into brothers' cells here on a daily and they start taking non-important papers or cases we get from the law library that they say is gang stuff. They write you up and the cracker that conducts the hearing gives the person 2 or 3 years with loss of good time. The Sergeant don't care here. Whatever the pig CO do he's OK with it- here they all cracker protect each other's dirty action.

There are video cameras here but when they want something out they just call Dep. Superintendent of Security (D$$) and you can bet it is out. There is no ventilation. They keep the back door open in winter. This is the nastiest place I've seen. This block got to be shut down. People here are sufferin and their mental state is not 100% for the simple fact that they are being tortured; most of the time mentally, but there is a lot of physical torture, not just here in this block, but through all the slave houses, especially A-block. That's where everything happens, and the sad thing is they get away with it. Gov. Eliot Spitzer needs to take this place into consideration to be closed down.

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[Education]
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MIM literature opening eyes

Greetings! Let me start by saying "thank you - thank you" for sending me the newsletters (MIM Notes). It was very much appreciated. MIM Notes gives us important news and as of this moment they're being shared with others, opening the eyes/minds to our struggles. Especially the prison news Under Lock & Key. I ask in the interest of myself/others if you could please send me more MIM Notes. Thank you for your time and hard work!

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[Education] [Campaigns] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 1]
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California Bans MIM Distributors

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has instituted a ban on educational material within prisons, categorically censoring all literature sent by MIM's prisoner education program. This ban was mandated by Scott Kernan, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions for California, in a memorandum issued December 13, 2006 "directing an immediate ban on the receipt, possession, or distribution of literature/publications from MIM to or by inmates in the custody of the CDCR." This ban has been interpreted by prisons to include dictionaries and history books as well as MIM's own magazine and newspapers. In some prisons the ban has been interpreted to also include all letters written by MIM.

This censorship is in direct violation of legal precedent which requires review of mail for content that violates prison policy. Systematic rejection of all mail from an organization based on disagreement with the sender's politics is not legal, even within the prison system's own rules and regulations.

Neither Kernan nor the prison administrators applying the ban have ever supplied any evidence that MIM literature (much less, letters, dictionaries and other books MIM sends to prisoners) present any threat to the institutions. Kernan's letter contains a review of the MIM political line as supposed evidence that MIM represents some danger to California prisons. The California Code Of Regulations (CCR) Title 15, sec: 3135(b) states: "Disagreement with the senders or receivers apparent moral values, attitudes veracity, or choice of words will not be used by correctional staff as a reason for disallowing or delaying mail. Correctional staff shall not challenge or confront the sender or receiver with such value judgments, nor shall such value judgments be considered in any action affecting the correspondents." Further, in Procunier v. Martinez, the Supreme Court upholds the right of prisoners to receive mail, regardless of the prison official’s opinion of the mail content, as long as there are no legitimate restrictions from the prison related to correctional purposes.

There is a strong correlation between education and imprisonment. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (the U.$. Department of Justice's own organization) latest study on 1997 population data, 41% of State and Federal prisoners had not completed high school. This compares with 18% of the general population age 18 and older.(1) Things look even worse among prisoners age 20 to 39 showing that the trend is towards more prisoners without a high school education as younger prisoners are even less educated than older prisoners. Other more recent studies have shown this trend continues. The likelihood of ending up in prison is tremendously higher for young Black men who drop out of school before getting a high school diploma. And a college degree is further protection against imprisonment.

On the other side of education, in-prison education programs have repeatedly been shown to reduce recidivism by helping prisoners to find jobs and opportunities once they are released. Individual and meta studies repeatedly conclude the same thing:

"Since 1990, the literature has shown that prisoners who attend educational programs while they are incarcerated are less likely to return to prison following their release. Studies in several states have indicated that recidivism rates have declined where inmates have received an appropriate education. Furthermore, the right kind of educational program leads to less violence by inmates involved in the programs and a more positive prison environment."(2)

California already has one of the highest recidivism rates in the country, with an astronomical 70% of released prisoners ending up back inside within three years. And in recent years we have seen education programs, visitation, and even mail cut back so that prisoners are left with very little to do behind bars and a virtually impossible task of going straight from prison to the streets with no education or transitional services.

Implementing a state-wide ban of educational material from MIM is one more way to keep prisoners locked up. Prisoners who read our literature frequently tell us they learn to channel their time into productive activities rather than participating in violence behind bars. And the education helps them have a better chance at staying on the street once they are released. We get letters pleading for reading materials like this one all the time: "I'm an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison and am on a yard that's been on lockdown off and on for approximately 4 years. Therefore I'm unable to get to the library here. I've read every 'floater' here. I would be very grateful for any soft back books you could send. Anything you send will be read and reread by many inmates." Surely the CDC"R" knows there is a demand for reading materials in the prisons, but they don't even bother to fill this void with fluff novels. They prefer to spend their large budget on higher salaries for brutal guards and legal defense for their illegal activities like setting up prisoner fights for sport.

Of course, the CDC"R" does have reasons to ban MIM from the prisons. Educating prisoners is counter to their goal. With education comes consciousness, and while prisoners working with MIM report avoiding violent confrontations (both with their peers and with guards), they are also more likely to take up legal and administrative appeals, and to educate and organize their fellow prisoners to stand up for their legal rights. As one California prisoner wrote to us in October of last year:

"In extending my respects to all, I would also like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to everyone working at, working with and/or affiliated with Maoist Internationalist Movement for all that you do and the services you provide. Especially, in regards to prisoners. Speaking from personal experience I can say that in receiving and reading your newsletters, it's both a major source of motivation and encouragement. To say that your MIM Notes have served me well does not cover any specifics, but I can say that your notes have been a potent ingredient towards my transformation: and your free books to prisoners program has nurtured and fed me like a baby at his mother's bosom. The books you have been so generous to send have taught me to respect and value the importance of an education…an education that has taught me that with knowledge comes enormous responsibility. The responsibility that arises from not just knowing the difference between what is said to be right, or wrong, testing an deciphering, truth and lies, but knowing and acting in accordance with what is consistent and progressive in the exercise of self determination and self defense."

We will continue to pursue the fight against this ban in California, working closely with our comrades behind bars to challenge this action in court if necessary. We encourage the CDCR leadership and California state politicians to step forward and overturn this illegal ban before they are forced to waste money needlessly in a legal battle that will only further expose their disregard for Rehabilitation, the welfare of prisoners, and the very laws they claim to uphold.

We need support from prisoners to join this struggle, and support from people on the outside to demand an end to this ban. Write protest letters to: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184

1. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Education and Correctional Populations, January 2003 2. Journal of Correctional Education, v55 n4, p297-305, December 2004. See also The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Studies have clearly shown that participants in prison education, vocation and work programs have recidivism rates 20-60 percent lower than those of nonparticipants. Another recent major study of prisoners found that participants in education programs were 29 percent less likely to end up back in prison, and that participants earned higher wages upon release."

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[International Connections] [California]
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Koncentration Kamps

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation, we cannot fail but to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real test in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction - unreal objectives such as rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization." - George Kennan (U.S. State Department, 1948, Policy Planning Staff)

The above realpolitik or geo-political strategic assessment here quoted ought to put to death all Liberal or social-democratic dreams of the naïve that Amerika is somehow the "good guy" nation on a mission of manifest destiny to bring freedom and justice to oppressed and exploited "uncivilized children" of the world. To actually believe such obvious deception in propaganda and professed public policy of the state and corporations places one in a position of outright complicity with imperialism and white supremacy and operates to mock the very principles of justice and human freedom.

Invariably, when we hear or read or see something regarding concentration camps the immediate image which we conjure without fail are those dealing or associated with the Jewish Holocaust. Perhaps on rare occasions we recall images of the Japanese-Amerikans internment in concentration camps during World War II in the bastion of "democracy" where no German-Amerikans were subject to similar oppressive treatment even though the U.S. was also at war (i.e. imperialist blood-death nation-state engagements by use of their patriotic immersed subordinate and compliant classes as always) with its white supremacist's brethren Nazi Germany. Vaguely or almost never does anyone recall the imprisonment of Afrikans in Mussolini's and Hitler's concentration camps and most certainly absolutely no memory of the First Nations forced marches into united states concentration camps from whence Hitler learned the lesson as a faithful student.

Although these historical atrocities and acts of inhumane repression are no doubt extremely significant and deserving of our sympathetic remembrance and understanding of the political interests and strategic motives that drove them or were involved, these examples of concentration camps are not the ones that I actually have in mind. No, the koncentration kamps are not the ones that I actually have in mind. No, the koncentration kamps that I have in mind are in fact not of some distant or recent past, and neither am I referring to modern day prison plantations for the poor and nationally and/or racially oppressed. The Koncentration Kamps which I have in mind are instead alive and up and running most efficiently in virtually every corner of the world and their rate of blatant and subtle extermination and enslavement far exceeds those above in their incessant and insatiable operations for capital accumulation, i.e. Globalization.

In fact, it can be rightly argued that those examples of people being forced into koncentration kamps and denied their basic human rights were the direct consequence of and indeed prosecuted ultimately by the exact same criminally monstrous phenomenon which is hardly dead or has not been dismantled but is still savagely afoot and gaining momentous raving powers. The oppressive and brutally murderous Koncentration Kamps which I am here referring to is what has been defined politically as Imperialism. Imperialism is precisely that - a koncentration of kamps. Terms like that of "neo-liberalism," "globalization," "world market," etc. are nothing more than deceptive euphemisms deployed to disguise from us the real enemy in which we are confronted and enclosed. To a great extent "he is an old enemy" merely returned in sly new form and with new tricks and treats in tactics as his strategic objective of economic, socio-cultural and politico-military domination remains ever malevolent in its motives.

In Marxist and Leninist terms or political philosophy, imperialism in its "modern" manifestation revolves around the concentration and monopolization of capital by corporations and the penetration of this capital into the global economy resulting, as calculated, in the domination of various or innumerable nation-states whose local economies become nothing more than horse tracks or gambling casinos for imperialist powers from Amerika, France, Canada, Britian, Japan, Germany, etc to bet (invest) in as they maneuver to secure a predominant or influential foothold in the country of target, thus placing themselves in an advantageous position to engage in the exploitation of superprofits via markets, banks, cheap wage labor in industries, theft of raw materials, natural resources, debt-loans, etc.

In other words, it is the accumulation of greater and greater capital (wealth and power) in the hands of multinational corporations from countries which are of the imperialist koncentration kamps. The bulk of the earth's wealth (every creature's survival source) is either directly or indirectly under these empires or their corporations domination as they exploit and oppress the Third World.

They pursue and employ a concentrated economic, political and military strategy aimed at securing and sustaining their rapacious death-grip on resources and cheap labor to generate enormous profits for each of their respective kamps, i.e. the spoils of imperialist methods of monopoly-damnation and extermination. Truth be told, the world is a koncentration kamp by the operative measures of imperialism on all fronts (e.g., wars of aggression for oil, economic embargos that literally kill thousands of children as happened in Iraq, IMF/World Bank extortion programs which force reductions in social services like that of heath care, education, and workers to work at lower wages even as the value of local currency decreases by command, famines due to man-made soil contamination by mining methods, etc.).

"I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers…I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'Right' for American fruit companies in 1903. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints." - Marine Corps General, Smedly D. Butler

Why do y'all really think world misleaders such as the G-8, or is it the G-9 now, concentrate annually in kamps in secluded and heavily guarded imperialist home fronts? Why does every U.$. President meet with corporate executives or owners at Kamp David where they scheme in concentration? What is ultimately the European Union project about but that of imperialist ambitions, i.e., greater penetration and expansion of capital into Afrika, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin Amerika, etc. The G-8 meets in conspiracy to not only resolve their geo-political contradictions but also to discuss a collective strategic program aimed toward consolidation of imperialist interests projected and superimposed on the Third World.

The wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq are very instructive examples of just how koncentration kamps are in definite pursuit of globalization of its economic, political, and military imperatives. At the pinnacle of the primitive accumulation pyramid are multinational corporations (e.g., DeBeers, Lockheed-Martin, Exxon-Mobile, Royal Dutch-Shell, BP-Amoco, Wal-Mart, Starbucket, Carlyle, Bectel, Halliburton and too many more to list from especially the G-8 nations.) They are in pursuit of cobalt, gas, oil, diamonds, rubber, gold, etc.

Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, et al. are another "Texas Alamo" calculating stunt on behalf of the U.S. as it required a pretext to wage wars aimed at checking competitors and destroying nationalization of resources by methods of "hostile takeovers" against weaker nation-states by imperialist enclosures or what I dub koncentration kamps

MIM(Prisons) replies: We believe the term imperialism is sufficient for representing the system of global multinational domination of capitalism described in this article and so we do not see reason for the added descriptor of "koncentration kamps." But this article is a good overview of the death and destruction brought on the Third World by the world's imperialist countries.

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[Control Units] [California Correctional Institution] [California]
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Control units - living like dogs

I am a youngster serving time in one of California's control units - Tehachapi - and although I haven't been here long and don't have much longer to be here, I already have much to say about it and prison in general. But then again, wh owouldn't in a place where you could compare your lifestyle and living to that of a caged animal?

Twice a day you have contact with someone other than your cellie (that is if you have a cellie). They approach your door opening that small tray slot of your steel door, throwing a meal at you for breakfast in the early hours of the morning. Then you receive a meal for dinner at the late hours of mid-evening.

I understand that it may seem that this is a lot better than it could be, seeing how there are people around the world who are starving. But I ask you, how much worse can things get in this land of the so-called free? When you are served half cooked, spoiled meat in a pot of grease. Then given a mixer of maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, aspartame, and acesulfame K as your beverage to wash it all down. How much worse can it get, when you're given concrete and slabs of steel for beds to lay on, and told to sit like a trained dog, for sometimes 24 hours a day with no movement.

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[Theory] [Middle East] [National Oppression]
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More Debate on Saddam Hussein

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

[The writer who criticized MIM's article, "War criminals kill Saddam Hussein" responds to our criticisms of his letter below. Some parts of the original letter are left off in the interest of brevity.]

To MIM:

I am in receipt of your letter, entailing your response to my initial letter commenting upon the article featured in the April 2007 issue of MIM Notes entitled "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein." ...

The criticisms in your letter were both appreciated and mostly straightforward in style and language. However, they failed on a number of points which I will enumerate as follows:
1) Your statement, "... So the reader's claim that the author is not aware of Iraqi history is clearly due to his own poor attention to the original article..." was false. I never stated or meant to imply even that the author was not aware of Iraqi history in general. Rather, I suggested that the author's knowledge of the history of Hussein's Baathist regime's government specifically is insufficient. Otherwise, how could the author describe Hussein as a martyr for Third World independence- especially after admitting that Hussein killed thousands of communist-minded Iraqis (an admission for which I commend the author for here)? Research of the record of Hussein from the time that Hussein carried out those killings up until the time he himself was killed will reveal that he never renounced this act or any of his counter-revolutionary acts, held himself accountable to the people of Iraq for such acts, or sought to reform himself thereafter. Never. If you can find even so much as a quote of Chairman Mao whereby he at least insinuates the merit of eulogizing leaders who behaved and died as Hussein did, please do share it with me; otherwise, it is just bad "radical chic" propaganda.

Moreover he did not die in the struggle for the national liberation of Iraq. Remnants of his executive and military apparatus fought and perished (including his sons) while he took cover. The image of Saddam Hussein leading a heroic fight against the U$ and Brit invaders simply does not fit the real person or actual curse of events. If you fight an invading force that seeks to occupy and oppress your nation only so that you can re-establish a rule that is equally if not more oppressive, it is NOT a struggle for liberation- it is power struggle between two oppressive forces! Only those who fought and continue to fight against the occupation with the desire to establish a state that is just and beneficial for the people can be referred to as struggling for national liberation. He did not "stand up" to anyone- he was captured while cowering in a hole. He neither fought for nor died for the liberation of the Iraqi people. Stop calling him a martyr.

[MIM responds: Hussein died because he refused to allow u$ imperialism to determine Iraq's future. If he was willing and able to provide the imperialists with what they wanted they would not have waged a war to kill him. He stood up for Iraqi independence and was killed for it. HIs motivations are irrelevant to a scientific evaluation of history.

His status as a martyr is also an objective observation, not necessarily praise for the man. His martyr status was acknowledged by the BBC and New York Times as well, and they certainly don't support Iraqi liberation. See the discussion below of the Zogby poll indicating Arab perception of Hussein for more evidence that he was a martyr for the Iraqi people regardless of whether our writer or MIM likes it or not.]

2) Your statement, "What we're criticizing the stupid liberals for was failing to recognize that Arabs ranked Hussein as the fourth most respected world leader, tied with bin Laden..." is almost as confusing and troubling as the original statement in the article. I did not choose to ignore the "fact," but was simply stressing the point of Hussein's prior service as a U.S. lackey (who never reformed but simply reacted to circumstances he helped to create) excludes him from being considered a revolutionary or martyr for Third World independence. But the statement is as misguided as a Scud missile nevertheless. The article reads:

The stupid liberals on National Public Radio (NPR) said that Arab reaction to the hangings indicated the "confusion" of the Arab people, instead of the chauvinism of white liberals. According to Zogby, Egypt went from 74% negative opinion of the United States to 98% negative in the two years between 2002 and 2004, because of the u$ invasion of Iraq. (3) The overall survey of Arabs showed Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden tied for fourth as the most respected world leaders.

Now are you saying the NPR conducted the survey poll, or are you referring to the same Zogby poll that is cited by the Washington Post? Maybe I am just as stupid as those liberals and cannot comprehend plain English. I now that such survey results would have served the Bush administration quite well in whipping up anti-Arab fervor to keep the war machine going. And of course considering the rogue's' gallery of what constituted leadership in the middle east (or the world for that matter) back in '02-'04 - Mubarak, Jordan's Abdullah, Bashir al-Asad, and Ariel Sharon to name a few- one can hardly accept such a rating without some exasperation (wonder who ranked first).

I do not consider myself to be an American. I am a citizen of this country by birth, not by choice of patriotic allegiance (or even sentiment). Since I was not born in the 1960's, I was not afforded the chance to protest Hussein's murdering of the communists. But I can and will continue to use the fact that he was u$-funded against both him and the u$. In fact, I was using it against him and the u$ in debates before he died, even while he was still in power.

[MIM: All of the data cited is from the Zogby poll, which demonstrated the divide along the principal contradiction quite well. While most Amerikkkans see Hussein and bin Laden as enemies, they are largely admired by Arabs. So here we have science playing out again in facts. Not only was it a fact that Hussein fought for independence from u$ imperialism at the end of his life. That fact is reflected in the fact that he is admired by Arabs as a group; a group which happens to be oppressed by u$ imperialism. (Jacques Chirac of France, Gamal Abdel Nasser former nationalist leader of Egypt, and Hasan Nasrallah of Hezbollah in Lebanon were the top 3 leaders).

Our reader suggests that the results of this study play into amerikkkan anti-Arab sentiments. Well, yes, by definition they only reinforce the attitudes of amerikkkans, which are based on their opposition to the independence of the oppressed to begin with.

We too criticized Hussein as a puppet of u$ imperialism while he was such. But we attacked him for being an arm of imperialism, the number one enemy of the world's people. Once he was no longer serving his imperialist masters this changed.]

3) Your statement, "Clearly our reader has not done much research into the current conditions in Iraq nor compared them to Iraq in the past..." was inappropriate, a distraction from the real purpose for my mentioning that quote of Mao. I am very well informed and aware of the horrible and extraordinarily oppressive conditions created and perpetuated by the invading u$-led coalition/mercenary occupation forces, thanks to NPR, PRI (Public Radio International) and publications such as your own. Let me state first and foremost that I oppose vehemently u$ imperialism (and all imperialism and capitalists) and the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that I support and commend the Iraqi (and Afghan) people who adopt armed struggle against the occupation forces.

My point in citing that quote of Mao was to outline the revolutionary principle of paying "close attention to the well-being of the masses." Mao was not referring to material aspects only. Nevertheless, it is a revolutionary principle and only a slain revolutionary can be regarded as a martyr for Third World independence. However, the fact remains that even before the first Gulf War Hussein used the distribution of resources in Iraq arbitrarily to oppress dissenting groups (including the communists, Shiites, and Kurds) and to consolidate his own power base while enriching his cronies. I agree the u$-led embargo and invasions have made conditions worse. But never forget that Sadr City was a festering slum prior to the invasions, and that before Abu Ghraib was used by the u$ as a torture factory in Iraq, it was used for the very same purpose by Saddam Hussein and his regime [MIM adds: who were at the time were also working for the u$].

[MIM: So our reader admits, h real purpose for quoting Mao was to draw a line of ideological purity rather than to assess the actual material conditions of the masses. We agree with Mao's revolutionary principles, but we are not assessing Hussein for induction into a communist party. Rather we are assessing imperialism as the number one enemy and killer of oppressed people. You think their fascist puppet states are bad, wait until they come in with their cracker foot soldiers and economic sanctions.

Our reader claims to support the liberation forces in Iraq but still wants to oppose Hussein and the Baathists. Would our reader have supported the Japanese imperialists against Chiang Kai-shek while supporting Mao's People's War. Because that wasn't Mao's line, nor would the communists likely have won the war of liberation taking the strategy our reader suggests.]

Now the MIM discussion that filled out and closed the letter really missed the mark. I cannot be classified in any of the components of the "wrong side of the contradiction" you describe. It appears that you made some very wrong assumptions about me due to your interpretation of aspects of my letter and your blinding desire to defend a statement in the article that was inappropriate. Also, my letter does not mention anything about Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, or the occupation of Afghanistan. Let me dispel some of those assumptions right here:

1) Your statement about "fake Maoists" seemed to be intended to include myself. Well, I am not and never have been a Maoist. Do I have to be a Maoist to respect some of the ideas or work of Mao, or of those who tried to implement his ideas (like the Black Panthers), or to quote Mao- even to debate with a "real" Maoist? ... I am a muslim who believes that muslims must strive to establish an Islamic government amongst themselves derived from the Islamic sources of guidance- to enforce the shari'ah (Islamic law) and preserve the safety and integrity of the muslim community. Moreover, I believe that muslims have a right if not a duty to wage armed struggle against anyone (especially the imperialists) who prevent them from accomplishing this.

[MIM: As explained in the article, it is addressing a much greater context of people trying to side against the oppressed (in Afghanistan, Iran, etc) and the imperialists at the same time; the class position of the petty bourgeoisie. Some of these people even call themselves Maoists.

The letter writer fit into this discussion as an example of what we referred to as "pushing a purity line." Our writer continues to push the same line in this letter. As we said, we'd rather ally with an admitted idealist than someone trying to pass idealism for Maoism. Our writer is a muslim, but h also seems to claiming a materialist analysis of history and class struggle in h letters. So we have criticized h positions from a materialist perspective. You do not have to be a Maoist to struggle for truth and liberation. ]

... If Mussolini did not have the finance capital to carry out his fascist agenda but still harbored and espoused the same fascist way of thinking does the lack of finance capital make him any less fascist? If so, enlighten me. The racist anti-Persian rhetoric Hussein used to influence Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq War of the '80's suffices for me as a reflection of his fascist tendencies, for now.

[MIM: Maoists use a scientific definition of fascism that includes finance capital and this debate is the perfect example of why this is crucial. There are many revolutionaries and internationalists who manage to fall into the trap of talking about fascism of the oppressed independent of imperialism (the writers renunciation of h amerikkkan citizenship indicates h might be in this camp).

During WWII the communists allied with the liberal capitalist countries to fight fascism, as that was perceived to be the principal contradiction. If we agree that fighting fascism is primary and we believe that fascism exists independent of imperialism, then we might ally with the u$ against a Saddam Hussein or the Taliban. MIM believes this is absolutely incorrect and that the principal contradiction is between the oppressed nations and imperialism at this time.

As stated in our previous response to the reader, we agree that the Baath regime could have been considered a fascist arm of u$ imperialism during the time in question when thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered for their beliefs in Iraqi independence. We would not call him an "Arab fascist" as the writer does, as this implies support for the Islamofascist line of the imperialists and their white nationalist allies. ]

...It is not opposition to descriptions of men like Hussein as martyrs that creates confusion and disunity amongst the various elements of the oppressed in this struggle. Rather it is the description itself tat causes such confusion and disunity and undermines the struggle overall.

The resolution of contradictions in achieving unity of the masses seems to lie in dialogue and practice. This is the ultimate purpose of my initial letter and this one. I am still very eager to learn more about Maoism and to discover the means of solidarity with other revolutionary-minded persons and movements. Despite my issue with the article aforementioned and discussed, I commend MIM for its courageous and poignant journalism and literature. I thank you for your persistent efforts to expose the oppression of prisoners here in the u$ and abroad. Please respond to this letter if you like, and provide me with a list of books you have available for purchase as well as the issue of MIM Notes that features the article that critiques my initial letter of commentary.

[MIM: The resolution of contradictions among the oppressed can best take place in struggle against the oppressor. That is why it is of primary importance to distinguish who is the oppressor and who are the oppressed we are trying to unite.

As the Maoist camp has been openly discussing for a long time now, there is great confusion in the International Communist Movement around this idea that we can forego alliances with the oppressed when they don't have a developed communist ideology. This isn't about Saddam Hussein and defending his honor. We take up this debate to push a scientific analysis of how to build United Fronts among the oppressed. Others would rather push alliances with the oppressor and call it communism or peace activism.

The Iraqi people will create much better images of resistance to follow than Hussein's Baath regime. Some already exist.]

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One spoiled reactionary bunch

How can we realistically get people in Amerika who are engrossed by individual pursuits and whose priorities are dominated and determined by the values of capitalism (e.g., material and financial acquisition, private motivated endeavors, etc.) to truly care for human beings in other parts of the world on a sustained and meaningful basis when in fact we can't even get most to give a damn for their so-called fellow citizens or oppressed nationalities right here in the "land of milk and honey and peaches and cream?"

I mean, let's be real right up the block, around the corner or across the Manhattan bridge, there is no genuine concern as the "Love Thy Neighbor" command has absolutely no lasting potency over the hearts and minds of the multitude in this cruel nation. We know it's a "dog eat dog" mentality out there and the "survival of the fittest" complex is the prevailing cornerstone of Capitalism.

The United Snakes is a cannibalized beast! Fundamentally, the problem is world-view. By world-view I don't merely mean how one views life, but I also mean the culture that cultivates and rationalizes this world-view. Obviously, as a culture capitalism is all around us and touches every aspect of our lives (i.e., financially, medically, educationally, psychologically, morally, recreationally, sexually, etc.).

Thus, it is really a wonder that the citizens and oppressed nationalities of the Amerikan Empire are a spoiled and reactionary bunch? Opportunism and free-loading are the true favorite Amerikan past times and not the NBA or NFL - well, I better add deep denial to this list of obsessions. And yes, this "equally" applies to the New Afrikan colonized nation in which I struggle to help realize its due right to liberation and state power.

"We" are a truly chicken shit culture that prides itself on fuckin' over people and being criminally indifferent toward those who are bombed, raped, robbed, and murdered by ruling class genocidal pirates. Yes, the masses too want to share in the booty, that's precisely why the "booty call" is so popular in the mass psyche. Let us in on the kill or stolen loot and we'll shut the hell up with all of this "keep hope alive" crap.

From the ghetto-hell Thug, the papered ass paid and sold "working class", etc. Amerika is a self-indulged - PIMP! "That bitch betta have my money" is its clarion. Alienation is the quintessential hallmark of capitalism as it is a system rooted in private property and irrational estrangement from mother nature as she is perceived and treated as nothin' more than an entity to be dominated and exploited just as the human woman. Most everybody is driven to get their "piece of the pie" or some "blood diamond bling" and couldn't give a fuck about what suffers to make such possible.

Now that's being a realist and true revolutionary in commitment and dialectical analysis and anything less is game by those who are prisoners of the pimp complex, period! This shit ain't hard to tell as reality speaks her truth by those bold enough in their politics and conscience to listen.

The sanctioned methods (virtues) of being a Rockerfella cutthroat, a Ford backstabber, Dole shrewdly manipulative and Al Capone brutally competitive are the foundational principles of capitalism (Amerika) as folks like Suge Knight, Russell Simmons, Bill Gates, Don King, et al. have learned to apply most effectively by observing the Wall Street sharks in their frenzied "I gotta get mines, you gotta get yours" ideology of "me, myself, and I." Until this shit really appalls you or makes one sick at the damn stomach, nothing will move the masses to struggle for a more just world as it for now is - just about us.

Myself, I'm counting on an economic melt-down and wars of international liberation with the aim of building localized strategic communalist-oriented zones of undyin' revolution on a fraternal basis.

The game - game my ass this be some real death-blood human misery shit that is serious - of capitalism is raw and murderous and most in this nation know and accept this rule as an inevitable reality as to their minds the greed impulse is simply too formidable a human quality to ever check and this is exactly one of the main reasons most believe in apathy, the ruling classes propaganda (i.e. feed on it like candy) as to communism supposedly being a naive and utopian idea.

How do we make the communal idea - imperative - attractive or appealing on a mass level in the face of say a Jay-Z, 50cent, Queen Latifa, Lil-Kim, Magic Johnson, Oprah, Coby Bryant, et al. bubbling in out-of-control wealth or the rewards of capitalism? Who wants to genuinely forfeit their dream or aspiration of one day possibly being just like Mike? The images of abundance and happiness in wild extravagance, though most shall never be in a position to experience such decadent and truly spiritually void life, has inordinate power over their minds and hearts of most people in the "land of the free."

The illusion is so powerful that people don't even bother to consider or even see the blatant contradiction in the saying "land of the free" when in fact one must pay for everything in this society - "from tha craddle to tha grave!" One can't even escape capitalism's parasitic reach in the fuckin' coffin...pathetic and sadistic are the values of Capitalist man and woman indeed.

A callous vampire and leech is what Amerika and imperialist countries like her are where "though shalt not worship idols" is nothin' more than a commercial brand for or in the name of profit.

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