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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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[National Oppression] [Theory]
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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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[Control Units] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUII] [Arizona]
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21 years in Super Max with no way out

Receiving your newspapers let me read what you're about and I am very impressed. As I see that MIM stands firmly against the criminal injustices and engages in reformist battles to improve the lives of prisoners.

I am particularly drawn to the section Under Lock & Key: News from Prisons & Prisoners, as I myself am a prisoner housed in SMU-2, the Super Maximum Security Lockdown unit here in Arizona State Prison.

I have been slammed down in super maximum security lockdown units since 9/14/87, to this very day. On 9/14/87, I was slammed down in CB#6, the first super max lockdown unit. On 8/1/89, I was transferred to the newly opened super max lockdown unit SMU-1 and remained until 2/1/96, and then transferred to the newly opened super max lockdown unit SMU-2, special management unit.

This particular unit was built to house all alleged prison gang members and street gang members. Once validated by a special committee, prisoners are sent to this unit to remain until one renounces his alleged gang membership and agrees to cooperate with DOC officials and give information about himself and fellow prisoners; or, until he paroles; or, until his sentence is served. If he is serving a life sentence will just die in this unit.

Last year the Department of Corrections implemented a release program (Step Down) for all STG members housed in SMU-2. Many prisoners, including myself, had filed civil complaints against DOC for illegally locking up prisoners in SMU-2 and for subjection to cruel and unusual punishment and for indefinitely keeping prisoners in lockdown.

The Step Down program was implemented in 2006 and activated May 21,2006. The first ten prisoners (hand selected) where chosen to participate, and a few months later another ten were chosen to participate. As of yet, no other prisoners have been chose to participate in the program, and as of yet, none of the first 20 prisoners have been released or transferred to other units.

Since the DOC implemented a release program from SMU-2 for STG members, all the active and pending civil complaints filed by SMU-2 prisoners have been dismissed.

So what has actually happened is DOC can now show the courts they do in fact have a release program for SMU-2 prisoners. So now prisoners cannot file complaints of being indefinitely locked up in SMU-2and DOC now can say this prisoner or that prisoner poses an indefinite threat to the prison population and security and orderly operations of the prison.

In truth, prisoners do not benefit from the implementation of the Step Down program.

In truth, it is DOC that benefits from the implementation of the Step Down program. They now have absolute power to play God with the SMU-2 prisoners.

I was validated as an alleged prison gang member back in the 1980s and slammed down. Since being in lockdown, I had completed the criteria for release back into general population many times over and over. But every time I went before the reclassification committees I was denied release and told by the committees that I pose an indefinite threat to the prison's rival gang members.

I was transferred to this unit SMU-2 the very first day it opened on 2/1/1996, from SMU-1, and still remain (against my will).

I'm in my 21st year straight of being locked away in super maximum security lockdown units and in my eleventh year straight here in SMU-2. I will remain here in SMU-2, indefinitely, or until I renounce alleged gang membership, or, until I am hand selected to participate in the said Step Down program.

SMU-2 is a mirror reflection of many of the other Special Management Units across the united states. We sit in windowless cells measuring approximately 10' x 8'. We are locked in our individual cells 24 hours per day except for three days out of the week for 2 hours we are allowed to go to an empty room with a 20 foot wall and a mesh grate ceiling situated in the back of the pod one man at a time. Our only human contact is when a guard is handcuffing a prisoner up to leave his cell.

We cannot purchase any food from the prison commissary nor receive food packages from the outside. Once a year during the month of December we are allowed to purchase what is called "Christmas store" food beverages and candy.

The meals served daily combined cannot fill a man's stomach. So the mass majority of the prisoners in this unit have lost and continue to lose weight.

We are deprived of immediate medical attention and must submit a health unit request form to be processed and put on the nurse's line. Then she determines whether or not a prisoner needs to see the doctor.

There have been many attempted and successful suicides in this unit that are never released to the media or public.

Prison officials and medical staff are fully aware that the results of long-term isolated confinement causes psychological problems and in some cases irreversible damage to prisoners. And yet, they ignore it.

Our president of the united states gets on the world news and claims prisoners in the united states are not subjected to barbaric living conditions!!

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 3]
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Struggling and Studying in Missouri

I am writing to inform you that I received the back issues of MIM Notes that you sent me. The papers were informative concerning the issues affecting some of the Souljahs within these slave plantations. Some of the stories motivated me to attempt to put together a study group. We shall see how long this lasts. I say that because I'm the only individual with literature and these guys in the Missouri Slave System are only concerned with what type of material things they have. Don't get me wrong, there are a few revolutionary souljahs who still hold the spirit within, but the numbers are dwindling.

I've managed to organize a few uprisings here in the ASU of the Southeast Correctional Center that caused these hyenas to change a few things. As a result, I've been beat by the goon squad, labeled as an agitator, and my mail has been "disappearing" somehow. Yet I remain strong and rage on!

These hyenas have taken away our phone calls here in the ASU and they've taken away the razors, preventing us from contact with family and grooming ourselves. We don't know what's to come next, they might take away the 3 hours a week recreation in the "dog cages" outside. Soon, I pray that the souljahs and sistah souljahs here in Missouri catch on and rise up.

I'm about to file a lawsuit with the District Court in protest of the "blanket ban" preventing Missouri inmates from receiving free books. Any info on this issue will be appreciated. They feed us romance novels and rob us of substance with this blanket ban in an attempt to keep us deaf, dumb and blind.

Listen brothas, sistahs, souljahs and sistah souljahs, keep the fight going, our time is now. If we don't fight for us, who will. Like I've said, I will continue to form this study group and create as many uprisings as I can.

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[International Connections] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 1]
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Uniting with National Liberation Struggles

The Lumpen Show Relative Progress Compared to Amerikkkans

[The following letter is from a prisoner in New York who generally likes what MIM Notes has to say. It is an example of what communists are up against in terms of uniting the oppressed within u$ borders against imperialism. Most of the criticisms in the letter are answered in the original article, and some answers are repeated in brackets within the letter. Below we discuss this letter in the context of the greater public opinion battle among the lumpen class.]

I am writing in response to an article that was featured in the April 2007 issue of MIM Notes (#343) entitled, "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein." I was shocked and disappointed by the author's description of the executed reactionary dictator Hussein as "... a martyr for Third World independence." The author went on to assert that "He [i.e.. Saddam Hussein] followed his two sons... and grandson... to the grave in the fight for Iraqi independence." Although I found other statements in the article to be both accurate and poignant (such as the author's reasoning that Hussein could not be put on trial for the bulk of the slaughter he performed "...because the evidence for U.$. and British complicity would have come out..."), the aforementioned eulogy of Saddam cannot be deemed as anything except ridiculous, the product of ignorance, and a slap to the face of all oppressed "Third World" peoples who are suffering under and standing against U$-supported lackey regimes like that of former Iraqi resident Saddam Hussein.

[MIM: In the second sentence of the article, "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein", MIM mentions that Hussein killed thousands of communist-minded Iraqis before stating that he put his life on the line for an oppressed nation. So the reader's claim that the author is not aware of Iraqi history is clearly due to h own poor attention to the original article. Yes, Hussein killed thousands of communists and he died in the struggle for national liberation. We said it again. MIM is also part of the tiny minority in the united $tates who actually cared that the united $tates was funding the Baath regime before the imperialists turned on it. Meanwhile, the vast majority of amerikkkans did nothing to stop their government from funding the slaughter of Iraqi communists in the 1960s nor from their own people going to Iraq today to slaughter Muslims, which no one can claim ignorance of. So for amerikkkans to turn around and use the fact that he was u$-funded against Hussein after he died defying u$ occupation of Iraq is ludicrous.]

The author makes mention of the "stupid liberals on NPR," but at least NPR has been intelligent enough to recognize and report (quite vigorously) on the U$ all-out support for Saddam and his Baathist regime before their "foxy-proxy" relationship went sour- or the atrocities that grew from and were enabled by that support - on programs such as Amy Goodman's "Democracy NOW!"

[MIM: What we were criticizing the stupid liberals for was failing to recognize that Arabs ranked Hussein as the fourth most respected world leader, tied with bin Laden. A fact our reader also chooses to ignore from the original article being critiqued.]

Hussein's decision not to flee Iraq during the invasion was hardly one based upon any revolutionary principles (incidentally, he did flee Iraq once early in his political career following a botched assassination attempt of a political opponent). He was a power monger/ mega-parasite who was unable to even imagine living without the ability or means to impose his will upon others. Moreover, he had created so many enemies throughout the planet and from every class of society that surely he knew that he could not have survived for long outside of Iraq.

Addressing the Second National Congress of Workers and Peasants Representatives in 1934, Chairman Mao stated: "I earnestly suggest to the congress that we pay close attention to the well-being of the masses, from the problems of land and labour to those of fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt." Neither Saddam Hussein, his profligate and vicious sons, nor anyone else who comprised the brutal cadre that commanded the pseudo-socialist democratic Baathist regime's government (the history of which the author is invited to research in depth) ever upheld or intended to uphold such a critical and revolutionary ideal - not during the time of U$ patronage, not during or after the Gulf War, not during the embargo, and not at any time during the U$ invasion and current occupation.

[MIM: Clearly our reader has not done much research into the current conditions in Iraq, nor compared them to Iraq in the past. Things like "fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt" are no longer readily available in Iraq as they were during the Baath Party rule. Remember how the u$ bombed water treatment facilities and knocked out the power grid upon its invasion? Not only have the u$ occupiers taken away the basic necessities of the people, but they have more than doubled the number of unnecessary deaths in the country, while bringing in u$-style prison operations. (1) Since we last reported on these facts, the bourgeois press has reported a 50% increase in the number of Iraqis held in u$ prisons over a six month period. (2) However, these numbers ignore the majority of prisoners who are in Iraqi-run jails, making it hard to know how close they are to achieving amerikkkan-level imprisonment rates. But reports from a Big Noise Films reporter indicate that in parts of Anbar province "everyone" is in prison, leaving only children and the elderly in the streets begging u$ military persynal to return their families. So while we don't have the complete numbers, the trend is clear: lock up the oppressed. According to U$ General Petraeus, supervising this growing prison population was one reason for the increase in troops needed this year. (3) Perhaps amerikkkan prison guard unions will push to increase the troop and imprisonment surge in Iraq.]

Chairman Mao stated: "The bourgeoisie, as a rule, conceals the problem of class status and carries out its one-class dictatorship under the "national" label." Hussein and his henchmen were pure petty bourgeoisie- and truly traitors to the Iraqi people in allowing the Iraqi nation to be used by the U$ as a proxy serving it's own imperialist/ neocolonialist interests in the middle east.

Chairman Mao said:

"All men must die, but death can vary in its significance... To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather."

Saddam Hussein, who was an Arab Fascist at best, who exploited the ethnic and racial divisions and the resources of the Iraqi people to consolidate and augment his own power and status, who oppressed the Iraqi people with the aid and at the insistence of his neocolonial/imperialist masters, died a humiliating death at the hands of these very same masters that was lighter than the feather of a humming bird.


MIM discusses this further: The lumpen in the united $tates are struggling to get a scientific hold on the principal contradiction. On the one hand you have people rapping about the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden as being hard, rebels against the white power structure. You have Muslim wimmin speaking out in favor of modesty to beat back the war cries of the white nationalists using Islam's gender line as a justification for invasions for more superprofits. And you have those who see the fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan as being on the righteous side of a holy jihad.

On the other hand you got people rapping about Bush and bin Laden being "two separate parts of the same seven headed dragon." You got people putting religion as principal, and as an absolute tool of the oppressor. And you've got people pushing a purity line, as the reader above, who will not make strategic alliances with someone who has done things they disagree with.

We can see we have more of the former here among the lumpen than we do among the u$ population in general, and that is something. Integration may have bought off and brainwashed many, but not all. What makes the struggle more interesting is that it is those who identify as revolutionaries that are more likely to stumble on the petty bourgeois obstacles to unity of the oppressed nations. It is people who are rapping about sex and drugs half the time that are saying, "al Qaeda be Black men's best friend" and " I'm half Saddam, half bin Laden, that equals full time ridin." It seems to be those who pick up the Koran instead of the New York Times that are more likely to recognize that the Iraqi fighters are contributing the most to overthrow the very system that is responsible for this war and so much suffering thru economic deprivation.

When the Nation of Gods and Earths (NOGE) came out with a statement proclaiming their right to affiliate and practice their beliefs in prisons they attempted to draw a clear line between themselves and "religious" Islam that is associated with "terrorism" in the minds of the oppressors. While righteously calling amerika out for alleging to support religious freedom in Afghanistan while persecuting Five Percenters, they deem the liberation fighters in that country terrorists. Their statement reads, "The fact that the Father fought for this country in the Korean War showed that he was a true patriot. To go to war for your homeland on foreign soil is the greatest sacrifice a man can make." The Father of this group took up arms against socialism and self-determination of the Korean people.

This caught the attention of one God who responded to a struggle among members over this article by saying:

"How are you going to encourage Black men and womyn to fight in Amerika's army to 'protect freedom and democracy' and against oppressed nations fighting for liberation? See point 6 in the Black Panther 10 point program and contrast with what Born King Allah espouses. How are you going to distance yourself and Black people from the liberation struggles in the Middle East, labeling the Arab Muslims 'terrorists who worship a spook God'- to which I say, so what! The Arab, spook God worshipping Muslims have done more in 6 years to undermine and overthrow imperialism than the NOGE has done in its 40 plus years of existence! How are you going to tell our people that the greatest sacrifice one can make is to give one's life for this country? this is madness!"

The sad thing is we don't even need to go to the Panthers to find a better line on this question, we can go to the guy who self-proclaimed revolutionary MC Immortal Technique claims to be part of the "same seven headed dragon" as George W. Bush: Osama bin Laden. On the sixth anniversary of 9/11, bin Laden issued a statement in which he once again placed responsibility for the genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan on the amerikkkan people. He even went so far to put capitalism at the root of the problems in the world today. He has done more to unite the oppressed against u$ imperialism than a million amerikkkans and their lackeys chanting "No to Bush, No to Islam."

Now some comrades are having a problem because they are struggling against the idealism of NOI or NOGE style Islam at home within the greater context of the imperialist war targeting Muslim's globally. There is a need for Maoists to distinguish ourselves from the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earths and other cultural nationalist groups. We all make claims to liberating the Black nation. One of us has a better plan than the others. But now is not the time for broad attacks on religion. In a feudal kingdom, such broad attacks would be progressive. But it is questionable whether they will be useful to the oppressed again in a modern capitalist state. As long as we are combatting religious ideas among the oppressed then we are dealing with contradictions among the people. These must be dealt with from the standpoint of unity-struggle-unity, not from the standpoint of defeating an enemy.

One revolutionary hip hop group has a song about jokes that says, "I'd like to see a boxing match between them all, Colin vs. bin Laden and Bush vs. Saddam, rig a pound of dynamite to the ring and kill 'em all." Despite incorrectly equating Saddam and bin Laden to Bush and Powell, they get it right in a later joke that goes, "An atheist and a Catholic priest on top of a building. Well there used to be a Muslim, but they ganged up on him and pushed him." See it ain't even about religion, it's about white people teaming up on the oppressed.

We don't pretend that we don't wish there was a communist party playing the role that bin Laden is playing right now. That would mean we were probably closer to putting an end to imperialism and oppression. But that is a subjective wish, and our actions can only be based on objective facts. Anyone who reads us for more than a minute will know that we differ from the Islamic fundamentalists, even though we are on the same side. Those who are attacking Islamic fundamentalism in the name of communism right now are dividing the oppressed and uniting the oppressors.

Throughout history Marxists have dialogued with and critiqued many political trends. Often times those criticized were those deemed most close to the Marxist perspective. In the era of the dictatorship of the proletariat, ushered in with Lenin in 1917, revisionism soon became the primary target. Once the people had been largely won over by socialism, it was only the wolf in sheep's clothing who could stand a chance in challenging communist ideology. Similarly today, it is often those who appear closest to us, usually the revisionists, who we must criticize most to raise the consciousness of the masses. For all the times people have asked MIM how we are different from the rcp=u$a, I don't think anyone has ever asked how we are different from the Baath regime in Iraq. And despite his condemnation of capitalism and support for the liberation of the oppressed nations, people don't confuse MIM with Osama bin Laden.

So not only are the fake Maoists on the wrong side of the principal contradiction, while bin Laden and Hussein are/were on the right side. The fake Maoists also serve to create more confusion among the oppressed by preaching idealism in communist rhetoric, rather than an openly religious philosophy as bin Laden does.

To respond to the reader above in kind, let us quote Mao as well,

"The middle bourgeoisie constitutes the national bourgeoisie as distinct from the comprador class, i.e., from the big bourgeoisie. Although it has its class contradictions with the workers and does not approve of the independence of the working class, it still wants to resist Japan and, moreover, would like to grasp political power for itself, because it is oppressed by the Japanese imperialists in the occupied areas and kept down by the big landlords and big bourgeoisie in the Kuomintang areas. When it comes to resisting Japan, it is in favor of united resistance; when it comes to winning political power, it is in favor of the movement for constitutional government and tries to exploit the contradictions between the progressives and the die-hards for its own ends." (from Current Problems of Tactics in the Anti-Japanese United Front)

You see, we never claimed that Hussein's decision not to flee Iraq was based on revolutionary principles. We don't know or care about his persynal motivations. (In fact, we have no way to claim to know the psychology of Hussein as the reader claims to know). As the reader stated, there were many material reasons that may have caused Hussein to stay in Iraq. But these motivations do not change the fact that he stood up to u$ imperialism and died as a martyr for Iraqi liberation. In the quote above, Mao distinguishes between the national bourgeoisie and the comprador class. Hussein was a comprador of u$ imperialism for many years. Not a home-grown Arab Fascist as the reader suggests, but an arm of u$ fascism. That is the thing about fascism in the Third World, when finance capital pulls out the whole thing changes. We go so far to say without finance capital, there is no fascism. And a former puppet of fascism suddenly finds himself in the national bourgeoisie again, fighting against his former puppet-master side-by-side with the masses of his nation.

Lenin always insisted that change does not occur in straight lines, despite our wishes. And like all Marxists, he stressed historical materialism, which means that ideas come from material reality and not vice versa. We can imagine the world we want and wish it into existence, but that will not make it so. What Marxists do is look at the contradictions in humyn society and study the forces that make them up in order to understand how to resolve them. It is in the resolution of contradictions that we can reach goals like peace and putting an end to hunger and oppression.

notes:
(1) MC5. Which one is worse for Iraq? A comparison of G.W. Bush & Saddam Hussein. http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/agitation/iraq/bushvshussein.html
(2) Shanker, Thom. With Troop Rise, Iraqi Detainees Soar in Number. New York Times, August 25, 2007.
Also of note in this article. Of the 24,500 detainees, 280 are from outside Iraq and none are Iranian despite claims of active agents and intervention by Iran from the u$ state department.
(3) Pincus, Walter. U.S. Expects Iraq Prison Growth. Washington Post. March 14, 2007.

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[Environmentalism] [National Oppression] [East Jersey State Prison] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 1]
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From Pollution to Prisons: It's Profit over People

Revolutionary Greetings!!

Before I begin my explosive announcement. I want to thank MIM for their Theory Journals and papers, also the other valuable materials I've requested to build and organize POWs that are confined behind the wall. Right now we are on lockdown at East Jersey State Prison due to retaliation on a female officer yesterday who was beaten and two prisoners fighting on saturday visit, all in one day. This caused outside help like State Police, Gang Task Force and CID officers suited up with sticks and dogs to come in. A bunch of gang members were removed from the prison Saturday due to the serious incidents that occurred.

All this does is strengthen me in knowing that a struggle must start within, it's time for change. Hopefully, the lockdown should be over this week before the family day event.

However, my topic is from the latest journal sent on environment and revolution which deals with pollution problems all over. Where I reside at now in New Jersey there is a mass consumption of pollution and multi-million dollar corporations (kapitalists) who make toxic products and distribute large quantities to different parts of the world. But we have a former Governor of New Jersey Christie Todd Whitman who now is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Pres. George Bush's administration.

Mrs. Whitman messed up a lot of things for prisoners upon leaving office as governor of New Jersey. Everything the old revolutionaries fought and died for in Trenton State Prison to make it better for the next generation was taken away slowly without a fight excluding the street clothes but most importantly, including certain programs, food packages, boxing tournaments, etc.

Mrs. Whitman does not know too much about the environment where she was elected governor, just look at the poor neighborhoods where Blacks and Latinos live at infested with waste plants and steel & toxic plants that are a source of money for big CEO's who keep polluting minority communities. So she really has not cleaned up her act. Here in New Jersey this is having dramatic effects on the earth's atmosphere and climatology.

On channel 7 news she was interviewed by news casters about what did she do about the 9/11 situation when the downtown of Manhatten was saturated with debris, heavy smoke and fire and her not knowing that bodies were still decaying underground near the train and subway stations. Mrs. Whitman turned absolutely cold.

Her husband, Mr. Whitman, has a company that is tied to the Department of Corrections that distributes commissary store items for all the prisons in the state of Jersey. He has a big contract with the prisons. But they're all corrupt taking profits for economic gain for the Whitman klan.

...Thank you, and donations will be coming soon for your outstanding support. Thank You!!

MIM responds: This comrade brings up some good examples of how capitalism, national oppression and environmental degradation are all connected. These examples fit nicely into the thesis of MIM Theory 12 (Environment, Society & Revolution) that the root cause of environmental problems is capitalism. The so-called "EPA" of the leading imperialist country can be headed by someone who made her political career on capitalist profiteering at the expense of oppressed people within her state. Those expenses were felt in the forms of a toxic environment and an increasingly repressive prison system where an increasing portion of the oppressed are ending up.

The dumping of the toxic waste of amerikkkan consumerism on the oppressed is far bigger than the industrial wasteland of the Jersey Turnpike. Right now China is responsible for providing vast amounts of products to amerikkkan consumers at prices only a vast exploited population can provide. Not only do amerikkkans swim in the wealth of Chinese workers in the form of commodities, but they get to leave the toxins required to produce these commodities behind on the opposite side of the world. That's even better than dumping them in the air and water surrounding Newark ghettoes or in open pit mines and landfills on First Nation lands.

Of course, environmental degradation can only be contained to an extent. With global systems being knocked out of whack by the uncontrollable nature of capitalist development, no one is really safe from the effects. Yet amerikkkans as a whole still favor protectionism and even more extreme retribution towards China for the perceived lack of safety in Chinese commodities that their own system has allowed to develop. Those serious environmentalists in the First World need to take a look at what anti-imperialism and socialism have to offer. To get started, pick up a copy of "Environment Society Revolution" at amazon.com.

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Legal battle part of fight against imperialism

You probably know already that the pigs have put MIM on their blacklist to be censored again. Despite the court verdicts saying that any censorship be based on the item in question, not the political beliefs of the publishers. Yeah, these pigs are actually happy and proud of their ability to block out the facts MIM provides us. The crono they gave out just said MIM, not MIM Notes or MIM Theory, just the group they hate. Nothing new though because they've always hated being exposed as fascists, like their pillow case masks are a matter of government safety and it is another way to defend bourgeois hegemony.

I was thinking that after MIM wins the legal battle against Corcoran's personal attack on their ideas, the other publications they hate will also win freedom from being blocked, based on publisher.

I just want you comrades to know that we are still fighting the tyranny and we know you are also. The struggle continues. I feel that U.S. imperialism is on its last legs and that all the hate and enemies they have made are catching up to them. 50 million African Americans, 40 million Latinos in America, 20 million Asians, the yankee Ku Klux is gonna have it very hard, conquering all this! And 400 million Arabs, 1 billion Chinese, 1 billion Indians. These pigs that thought they won a new state, when George Bush used the U.S. military to fight his family feud with Saddam, are in for a rude awakening and will perish in their disgrace and sickness of chauvinism.

I remember all the boasts and brags, about how they were gonna crusade and burn crosses on Iraq's lawn and conquer and settle, but now, 3 trillion dollars later all they have is depleted uranium poison, 4000 dead, I don't know 30,000 wounded? And a ticket back to their nest.

Just like you taught us. The revolution will become reality as their military becomes over-extended in its campaign to colonize and dictate. MIM, you have to write an article about the facts of global oil reserves and touch on the time limit that this imperial collapse will happen, so that people will be prepared to take their own destiny, their own responsibility in their own hands. Just like the communist manifesto says, where the free development of each is the conditions for the free development of all.

MIM responds: This is a good commentary tying censorship to the global situation of imperialist overextension. In response to the request for an article on global oil reserves, we need our comrades, both behind bars and on the streets, to take up the task of writing the articles that are needed. Just supplying us with ideas is not enough as we never have enough people to cover all the important global events. Even in prison, our comrades are resourceful about finding needed research materials.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Civil Liberties] [International Connections]
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An informal renouncement of citizenship

As more reports of abuse surface, and more leaks occur, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Bush regime is and has been engaging in a wide range of war crimes and human rights abuses throughout the world. From the mass killing of Afghani and Iraqi civilians and the intentional destruction of entire cities like Faluja to the use of secret CIA-run prisons and widespread use of illegal tactics such as mass arrests, indefinite detention without access to the courts, kidnapping, torture and assassination, the heartless thugs in Washington have demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to achieve their unrealistic goals and will not be restrained by the U.S. Constitution or International Law - much less human compassion or morality. Bush has said it himself: "My job is to protect the American people and I will do everything in my power to do just that." My question is: Who will protect the world from us?

I say "us" when referring to the people of this nation because I was born here. I'm a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent and, like many Mexicans residing north of the fictious border, I straddle two cultures. On one hand, I feel fortunate for the fact that I enjoy more freedoms and a better standard of living than my compatriots to the south; on the other hand, I understand quite well how my liberties and the great wealth of America are directly tied to the oppression and poverty of the Third World.

I say "us" because even though it wasn't so long ago that America waged a war of aggression against Mexico and stole more than half of its national territory, and even though I refuse to fully assimilate into white society and struggle daily against racism and the preposterous idea that I'm a foreigner in my own land, I am part of this nation. I mean, I pay taxes and take back what I can in the form of public services, health care, social development, etc. Many of my family members and loved ones also live here and greatly benefit from being American citizens. Some have even joined the military and, as I write, are fighting for this country overseas.

I say "us" because even though I don't take part in the electoral system, and even though I don't know anyone who voted for Bush, like it or not he is the President and his government is running the show. As far as the world is concerned, Bush was "elected" (and "re-elected") by a majority of Americans; he's the leader we "chose." I'm personally ashamed to call this theocratic fascist my "leader" — just as I imagine a person of conscience living in Germany during Hitler's reign would have been ashamed to claim the Fuhrer as his or her leader - but, hey, the truth is the truth, right?

I say "us" because even though I'm firmly against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even though I'm sickened by everything this country is doing in the Mid-East and throughout the world, it's apparent that those affected most by American atrocities rarely distinguish between someone like me and, say, someone like my relatives (who joined the military prior to 9/11 in the hopes of getting money for college but are now taking part in a shameful war). What Arabs and other Muslims see on their television screens or in the streets of Baghdad or Ramadi is American soldiers of all races and ethnicities. They, like many others inside and outside the U.S., suck up the whole melting pot theory and view us as one people.

I say "us" because even though I strongly object to capitalism and neo-liberalism and globalization, and even though it strikes a chord deep in my heart when I see what American corporations and trade policies and structural loans do to poor people in Latin America and Africa and Asia, I don't exactly refuse the benefits that come my way.

I say "us" because I know that statistically-speaking it's not a question of IF but WHEN the enemies of this nation will strike again. Intelligence officials - who have proven not to be so intelligent - have to be able to "connect the dots" 100% of the time in order to prevent another attack, and that's impossible. Numerical odds dictate that one day soon we're going to wake up like we did on September 11, 2001, and we're going to discover that somebody who hates us with a passion has managed to get their hands on a nuclear or biological weapon. Tens-of-thousands of ordinary people - folks like me and you and the old lady next door - will take the brunt of the attack while our so-called leaders - folks like Cheney and Rove and Rumsfeld, the true architects of everything that's going on right now - will be safe and secure in some underground bunker.

I say "us" because I'm beginning to realize something: I'm part of this nation, part of this law of supply and demand, part of this constant "need" for more land, more resources, more power and influence. And this isn't just some abstract or theoretical concept. Bush had it right when he arrogantly declared that "people are either with us or against us." In a struggle like this, an unending war with dire consequences for all of humanity, one must choose sides. You can't be a friend of the exploited and oppressed and, at the same time, a friend of the exploiter and oppressor. You can't support or be a part of the war machines and, at the same time, support or be a part of those crushed by that machine.

I say "us" but the more I think about it, and the more death and destruction I see carried out in my name, the more I realize that I don't want to be American if being American means contributing to or being complicit in any form of exploitation or murder.

I say "us" but I should be saying "them" because, from this day forward, I renounce this nation and forever waive any rights or benefits as a U.S. citizen. In fact, I am Mexican and I didn't cross the border; it crossed me. Time can't change that fact - just as it can't change the fact that my people have the memory of an elephant. One day, perhaps when America is most terrorized and vulnerable, we will rise up and take back what is rightfully ours. We will reject this people-eating, soul-crushing system and demand our freedom and dignity - and if they don't give it to us we'll take it! On that day we will say to the American people: "You're either with us or them." And to everyone else we'll say: Join our cause. Help us destroy this evil empire and, afterwards, build a free and just society - not just for Mexicans but everyone.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right on in renouncing his/her stake in the imperialist country. We call it committing class/nation/gender suicide. Rather than giving up class/nation/gender privilege that comes automatically to citizens of Amerika, we call on people to use those privileges to the advantage of the struggle against imperialism.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 1]
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Terminology: Prisoners, inmates or captives

Please, comrades at MIM, I have one small favor to ask. Please do not address us as "inmate" or "prisoner" or a number. We are "captives". Please address us as "captives."

An inmate is one who is brainwashed to believe he or she is still part of the U.S. An establishment that bows down and conforms and obeys the pigs and snakes and dogs, who hopes and dreams of being part of the USA system again. An inmate has a parole date within 5 to 10 years, with half time, and is totally controlled by his or her parole date.

A prisoner/number is one who believes and is brainwashed by some kind of prison gang and believes this gang is looking out for his or her best interest. One who does nothing to better themselves or educate themselves. One who sports an Amerikan flag on his or her coffee cup, roots for some u.s. corporate football/baseball/basketball team, who speaks and thinks the typical cretin prisoner mentality.

A captive informs him or herself, educates him or herself, understands the power of strong unconditional unity, always resist and fights to defeat their nazi-plutocratic pig captors, one being exploited by his or her captor to extort profit.

MIM responds: The Prison Ministry has long had a policy of using the term "prisoner" and not the term "inmate," so we have agreement there. Many have made the same distinction between the terms that this comrade makes.

We have always used the term prisoner because it makes clear the captive relationship between the imprisoned and those doing the imprisoning. In fact, we consider all prisoners political prisoners, precisely because of the political nature of the criminal injustice system that makes political distinctions between arrests, trials, juries, laws and sentences to disproportionately lock up oppressed nations.

We can generally agree with the break down of prisoners into three groups, those allied with imperialism, those opposed to it and those who are stuck in a lumpen mentality and potential allies to either of the first two groups. However, as an extremely oppressed group of people there is much potential for the revolutionary awakening of the imprisoned lumpen. And as one of the few groups in the united $tates that are potential allies to liberation struggles as a group, we can refer to them as "prisoners" and mean it to designate prisoners as being of the "masses." The degree that we need to divide the group we call "prisoners" will change as the struggle advances and it will be useful in certain contexts, but generally they are "prisoners" and therefore potential allies, if not explicit allies. We are not convinced that the term "captive" does a better job clarifying this than the term prisoner. We welcome feedback on this question from our readers as we are always working to refine our language to serve our political purposes.

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