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Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [California]
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Censorship and brutality update in CA prisoners

I want to let you know the latest info on censorship and the latest prison crimes against us comrades behind bars.

Censorship: I've written the Attorney General's office and there was a memo that was written on 8/16/2007 that stated that political prisoners who want to receive books on political issues need to write to our counselors. The counselor will say yes or now and then we write to the company and order the book. Tell all comrades who study the ways of Mao or any communism group to go to the library/law library and ask for the memo on political books issues. It helps us out a lot. One problem, they don't give prisoners a copy of the memo because the prisoner who works the law library said that the head people in Sacramento said not to copy the memo. So I will put a 602 appeal in and try to get a copy of the memo for our comrades. Also be advised, it may take a while because the 602 process is very slow and I might have to take it to the director's of appeals in Sacramento.

Prison issues: On February 26 the C/Os and a sergeant brought out a prisoner and gave him an injection in the arm. This happened in the mental health crisis bed. The C/Os and Sergeant slammed the prisoner and punched him two times in the nose, breaking it. The C/Os and the Sergeant then said the prisoner assaulted them first, which is a big lie. I saw all of it. The Sergeant and a C/O pulled me out and put the baton around my neck and started strangling me and told me to remain silent. But now I've not only 602ed it, I've filed a civil complaint.

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[Abuse] [California]
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Cruel shackling at Pelican Bay

First and foremost I sent my utmost respect. I have read the letters you sent me and I really like this fine organization you have.

I have been oppressed here in the penal code system. On December 21, 2007 I was escorted to the hospital here in Pelican Bay State Prison and a C/O put the leg shackles on me too tight. I told him the shackles were too tight but he did not loosen them. Upon my arrival in CTC (the hospital), I was put in a holding cell. Fifteen minutes later I had to use the restroom but the C/Os would not let me go. At this particular time I was rubbing my ankles where the shackles were and I pulled up my jumpsuit because my ankles hurt. I had blood on both sides of my ankles, so I pulled down my socks to get a visual on my ankles. They were cut pretty deep on both sides. I have scars on both sides now. I filed a 602 (appeal), so I just have to exhaust my remedies and take it to court.

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[China] [California]
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Book Review of Mao Zedong A Life

Mao Zedong: A Life
by Jonathan Spence

The author of this book, Jonathan Spence, teaches at Yale University. his awards include a Gugenheim and MacArthur Fellowship so it was of no surprise from the very first pages to read criticism of Mao with many false claims adding no sources to validate the slander found in this book. Spence's ludicrous claims of Mao being disinterested in education 'browsing through newspapers for months' seemed humorous, I thought, who believes this shit? Mao was known for his intense study and his ground breaking theory reflects this.

As I navigated through the bullshit I found glimpses of history peppered throughout ' a life', I found interesting Mao's early years pre-1920's Chinese civil war. His Book Society Club and being editor of the progressive journal "New Hunan" seemed to build public opinion during these early years. I did enjoy reading in Chapter 4 of the formation of the Chinese Communist Party which was assisted by the Soviets, at this time Chinese were sent to Russia and France to study who would return to help build China. Spence did give a brief description of the Chinese Communist Parties first congress, which was ultimately held on a boat on a Zhejiang lake, and the secrecy that was needed at that time, the first congress decided they would focus on organizing factory workers for the immediate future.

In chapter 5 Spence points out that in 1925 British forces shot Chinese civilians demonstrating and sparked popular movements against imperialism. According to Spence, in 1925 communist party membership was under 1,000 but by 1927 it expanded to over 57,000. What Spence fails to point out is it took public opinion and the communist party to seize these opportunities to show the people, teach and guide them to action against the imperialists acts of atrocity to create over 57,000 members in the CCP.

In Chapter 5 Spence begins surprisingly well when describing how in 1926 Mao was one of those chosen to organize the peasants in the countryside including in his homeland of Hunan, which proved a success, and how the poorest of peasants seized power from the dominating landlords and how in the liberated areas women were no longer enslaved by husbands. The petty criminals, secret societies and even children began to partake in the new liberation areas. However, the credit was short lived as Spence got back to criticizing Mao's attention to detail in his writings with tables and neat rows of figures on the size and location of each peasant association. Later in the book Spence even criticizes Mao in his later years for not being detailed in his writings as before.

Every now and then Spence will give Mao his due respect, one such instance is in chapter 6 when describing Mao's guerilla episodes when Mao and his forces used the JiangXi county town of YongXin as their "center" and as a base for organizing "insurrection" in the neighboring counties. At this time Spence goes on to say "Mao was 34, lean from privation, rich with experience from his organizational work among the peasantry, and a storehouse of knowledge about communist and Guomindang party leaders." Spence goes on to criticize the long march with much death and disaster, however he fails to note that had Mao not initiated the long march, the communist troops would have been wiped out by the Guomindang at "Jiangxi soviet" which was the new communist base area on the FuJian border.

There were three pages on Stalin and Mao's meetings that were informational yet when discussing the cultural revolution Spence seems to limit this great achievement to closing brothels and construction of buildings. When discussing the Korean War Spence goes on to mention how Mao's oldest son died in this war and goes on to say "when Mao was finally told of his son's death by Peng DeHuai in person, he agreed to let the body remain in Korean soil, as an example of duty to the Chinese people." This I think shows Mao's character and what kind of leader he was.

Overall this was a horrible book about Mao, written with a blatant imperialist bias. I thought I could sort through the bullshit and pick out good information but I had many headaches attempting to do so, Spence often cites "facts" about Mao without any notes or references as to where he found these "facts."

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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 3]
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Brutality and medical neglect lead to death in Texas prison

I would like to give a brief synopsis of a matter that took place about a year ago in Huntsville TX prison, but somehow is just now surfacing in the public (prison) eye. A prisoner by the name of Larry Cox died due to medical shortage of staff in 2007, but the thing is not as it seems to appear. 48-year-old Larry Cox should not have been left to deteriorate on his prison cell floor, with a broken back and in his own waste, for two days last year, before being sent to the hospital to die.

This clearly shows the negligence of the prison officers as much as the prison nurses, who have no concern what so ever for a prisoner who disrupts the institution. In testimony before the Senate criminal justice committee Dr. Ben Raimer and a colleague, Glenda Adams - both with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston - suggested a mix of factors led to Cox's death, including the prisoner's poor health due to negligence of the medical office on the unit, his tendency to malinger, and his "violent behavior."

See, that violent behavior is what caused his death. Reason being, once you interfere with the rules and regulations of the institution, you create a reputation where these guards hold anger and frustration toward you to the point, as in this case, where they will allow others or even themselves kill you. How else would he have gotten a broken back? Assistance did not come to him until after the fact of negligence by nurses, doctors and the guards.

Two days is a long time on the floor. I mean, these guards passed out chow, mail, and did head count for over two days. They, as much as the nurses, are at fault. I know they saw him there on the floor asking for help. It was an easy task for one of those guards to have gone and advised his supervisors.

Later, Raimer and Adams both indicated that the death of the prisoner from Houston may have been aggravated by a shortage in medical staff, including a 50% shortage of doctors, 18% shortage in registered nurses. How about the guards and their evil ways? It all revolves around the same thing, a man's death. Cox died two weeks after he had a scuffle with the prison guards at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville Texas.

The prison's independent inspector general, John Moriatry, who is in charge of monitoring the prison system, told lawmakers that on four occasions prison medical staff did not administer Cox's prescribed medication, even when he told them he was paralyzed and could not get it himself. A physician care assistant recorded that as a "Refusal to take medication."

Moriarty defended his guards stating that they hand-fed Cox painkillers, and one supposedly alerted medical supervisors that the prisoner needed to be transferred to a hospital. By then, however, it was too late. For two days Cox was left on a mattress on his cell floor, dying in his own waste.

No one was ever held criminally responsible. The two prosecutors involved, one with the Walker County District Attorney's office and the other assigned to the state's prison prosecutor's unit, recommended that "no criminal charges be filed," Despite the medical examiner's report and Moriarty's conclusion that criminal charges should be brought against at least five medical employees. But what about the guards at the Estelle unit?

This is some of what happens behind these walls of silence. We as comrades need to break this silence by using common sense and observation. We must mobilize the masses to go against this in prison and expose the corruption of this capitalist and imperialist government.

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[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 3]
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Segregation and Classification in Texas

I would like to congratulate you and your staff, MIM. My respects go to each and every one who finds themselves in the struggle.

I just finished reading some of the statements and ways of living by other prisoners in similar situations to myself in Texas. This injustice prison and freeworld system goes out of its way to get at target minorities and their peers, labeling us security threat groups. Some of these captives have never been in general population and get segregated from population as soon as they hit the prison system.

I am going on 2.5 years in TDCJ and out of that, one year has been spent in administrative segregation with 18 more years to go, with no record of disciplinary cases or proper counsel to represent me in defense or to prove otherwise.

When I first got segregated in April 2007, I was on Polunsky Unit. There, Building Major John Werner segregated me for supposedly stock piling weapons. He did not give me and several people who were also put in ad-seg for the same reason, any kind of proper hearing or any kind of counsel to represent me and help with my defense. Two weeks after, we got moved to different units so now we can not prepare a proper defense together and build a successful civil suit on the state of Texas for allowing unjust placement in ad-seg.

Out of all this I was placed in ad-seg with a label that will segregate prisoners for long periods of time - security threat group (STG). I went into the STG manual and did not find the fraternity I am associated with there. But still my review papers state clearly that I am an STG. I fought that through step ones and grievances and all I have been given is the run around. But on my I-169 review paper stating reason for ad-seg, it states "threat to the physical safety of others and/or the order and security of the institution." Once again I wrote a step one requesting evidence and witnesses and counsel for proper defense and was denied. I have repeatedly submitted grievances requesting information and review. I am currently awaiting an answer and if I do not get a proper and legit answer I shall do my duty as a revolutionary and file a civil suit.

I bring this up because it is not just I who is being played but several tens of hundreds of should be revolutionary comrades. The Texas system has a program that is called GRAD (Gang Renunciation and Dissociation) that one must go through in order to be placed back into population. The Texas Senate sponsored the program instead of funding educational programs. The majority of people segregated are Latinos (90%). Some of these men have no education or way of knowing if their rights are being violated.

Texas prisoners confined in ad-seg are deprived of virtually all human contact and mental stimuli. We are housed alone and remain in our cells 23 hours a day. But lately we have been housed 24/7 due to shortage of officers. We have no access to educational, vocational, or other rehabilitative programs and we are provided with only limited access to legal materials, visitation and other privileges.

What's more, Texas prisoners placed in ad-seg for gang affiliation are reviewed just once a year and because we are deemed members of a security threat group, the State classification committee has only one option, to continue confinement in ad-seg.

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[Gender] [Maryland]
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Gender struggle reversal in prison

I just finished reading the January 2009, Number 6, issue dealing with the gender issue and had to write. As a prisoner in a SMU I am constantly faced with gender oppression. Everytime you come out of your cell you are frisked. For security purposes I can understand this. But these officers (both male/female) take it beyond what is necessary. Male and female COs alike fondle your genitals as well as posterior claiming to be making sure you don't have any weapons. However, everyone knows that its main purpose is to degrade and dehumanize you.

The one thing that was not touched on though in this issue was gender reveral on the part of the COs. Some women COs who are attracted to certain prisoners (as is natural in male and female interaction) will encourage you to masterbate for them. A lot of dudes for whatever reason indulge them. But then you have those who will give you an infraction if you expose yourself to them. However the male COs will give you an infraction if you don't allow them to look at your genitalia and anal cavity until they have satisfied themselves with that part of your anatomy.

This is what I mean by gender role reveral. The men has taken on the likes, wants, and desires of the womena nd the women have taken on the attitude of the men. Yet they continue to portray us to the Amerikan public as socially deviant.

Keep up the good work.

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[Spanish] [California]
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Biblioteca de ley acceso restringido

por un prisionero en California. Noviembre, 2007

Muy pronto me voy a encontrar con otra obstrución. [En la investigación de demandas de censura, para ayudar a pelear la censura de MIM]. Nuestra biblioteca de ley va a ser cerrada muy pronto. Los empleados de la biblioteca nos dijieron que despúes del 29 de Noviembre, la biblioteca de ley va a ser abierta. Solo uno o dos días de la semana. La razón por esto o la excusa, más bien dicho. Es dado que, nuestro gimnasio va a ser desocupado dentro de las dos proximas semanas. La población en la yarda va a sustanciosamente más pequeña y no hay necesidad que la biblioteca de ley sea abierta todos los días. Por supuesto que esta es nada más una excusa para que no corran la biblioteca para nosotros. Así que lo más probable es que la unica gente que le van a permitir entrar, van a ser esos con el estatus "PLU." No va a ver oportunidad para el resto de nosotros, de hacer ningun tipo de investigación. Sin embargo, ya hay gente que estan preparando 602s y esos que tienen más experiencia con la ley, han prometido perseguir este asunto. Mientras que la biblioteca permanesca abierta, espero que voy a estar listo para presentar una queja con la corte del districto.

También quiero mensionar que hace unas cuantas semanas adquirí un manual: "Jailhouse lawyers handbook." Solo enseña a los prisioneros como presentar 1983s. Yo he mirado unos cuantos manuales similares a este, y este es ciertamente el manual más simple y directo al punto que yo he visto. Es muy fácil para entender. Puedes pedirle a alguien que lo descarje gratis por el internet, o les puedes escribir via una carta y pedirles una copia gratis. Escribe a: The Prison Law Project, National Lawyers Guild National Office, 132 Nassau St, Rm 922, New York, NY 10038. Descargalo al: http://jailhouselaw.org


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Elections] [ULK Issue 3]
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Election roundup - Democratic party expands the game beyond white men, but remains imperialist in the end

At the mid-point in the presidential primary race, with just over half of the delegates awarded, the Republicans have a clear nominee in John McCain, while the democrats are evenly split over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The battle for leadership of the most powerful imperialist country in the world is a three person race, and the election campaign in 2008 is a series of firsts in Amerikan politics. This is the first election where a woman has a serious chance of winning the nomination of a major party for president. It is also the first election where a Black man has this same chance. In addition, it is a rare race in that no incumbent president or vice president is on the ticket. Meanwhile, support for President Bush is at record lows, so low in fact that Republican candidates are barely mentioning his name in their campaign, much less being seen with him.

While this election provides for many interesting twists and turns in imperialist politics, it is still an imperialist election. There is no chance that an anti-imperialist will win the presidency, and so MIM(Prisons) still stands firm in the MIM political line "Don't Vote, Organize":

MIM's elections slogan can best be summed up as "Don't Vote, Organize." Oppressed people everywhere and the revolutionaries who work in their interest are not distracted by the billion-dollar smoke-and-mirrors campaigns of imperialism.

The majority of white Amerikans support or participate in the electoral system. The system overall represents their interests, though it favors the rich among them. Still, their choices are limited and they are constantly grumbling and protesting by not voting.

If some candidate throws Amerikans a bone—a tough crime bill with lots of new prisons, some protectionism against foreigners, a war or two—then they may get temporarily excited and go pull some levers. But their elections are not what changes the direction of the country. They rubberstamp the decisions made by international patriarchal capital, and they get paid to do it.

Revolutionaries act on the belief that people are bigger than individual votes, and that improvements within the Amerikan system are made at the cost of increased exploitation of the oppressed. Every day wasted on these elections means millions more death sentences for the oppressed. (reprinted from www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections)

Clearly this 2008 election represents an expansion of a historically white male political field to include both wimmin and Blacks. MIM(Prisons) has heard an alarming number of people who consider themselves anti-imperialists pulling for Barak Obama as Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Particularly, oppressed nation youth are getting excited about the first Black president. At the same time, many people consider it a "feminist" position to support Hillary Clinton for president because she would be the first biological womyn candidate. For this reason, we are going to address the specifics of the positions of these two candidates in this article.

Before jumping in to the details MIM(Prisons) reminds our readers of Condoleezza Rice. As U.$. Secretary of State under George Bush (and formerly National Security Advisor), Rice is arguably the most powerful womyn and Black person in Amerika. Clearly neither her identity as a female or as a Black persyn has led her to initiate any progressive (much less anti-imperialist) policies. Identity politics lead to the reactionaries winning as they put the right face on the wrong political line. This lesson is also clear for us to learn from half a century of history in the neo-colonial Third World, where both native and female faces have continued to carry out the economic policies of the imperialists.

White wimmin actually enjoy gender privilege relative to Third World men and wimmin (see MIM Theory 2/3), and so the introduction of a white biological female into the Amerikan presidential race was just a matter of time. The addition of a Black man (and a man of direct Kenyan descent at that) as a serious candidate is more of a surprise in a country where national oppression is quite alive and well, and where imperialist power rests on the oppression of Third World peoples. Even worse than the many imperialist puppets of oppressed nationalities in Third World countries, Obama is as Amerikkkan as Abu Ghraib. He is vying to become leader of the oppressors, not just a middle man strong-arming the oppressed. It is not nation that is decisive in the case of these individuals, because they have committed national suicide to partake in the exploitation of their nation of origin.

If Obama wins it could signify a shift in Amerikan politics where internal oppressed nations gain more oppressor nation benefits. These nations already enjoy enough of the economic benefits of imperialism to put all Amerikan citizens among the ranks of the labor aristocracy, benefiting materially from and having a direct financial interest in perpetuating imperialism. But the disparities between oppressed nations and the white nation demonstrate that national oppression is still alive and well within Amerika's borders. It is important to recognize that this situation could change and some or all of Amerika's internal colonies could join the ranks of the oppressor nation without fundamentally altering the nature of Amerikan imperialism globally. However, at this point there is no indication that national oppression in Amerika is going away, and Obama's weak rhetoric aside, it is unlikely the presidency of a Black man will alter this situation.

Regardless of the relative representation of wimmin and Blacks in the administration, if either a womyn or a Black man wins the Amerikan presidency, it will not lead to any significant shift in Amerikan imperialist politics. The leader of imperialist Amerika is still just that, the leader of imperialist Amerika. Neither candidate has come out against imperialism, and no candidate who takes that stand can win in an imperialist election.

Hillary Clinton

For Hillary Clinton we have to start with the question of gender because many men and wimmin in Amerika are citing Clinton's gender as a reason to vote for her, claiming that this is a feminist stand. It is interesting that the first serious (aka imperialist) female presidential candidate is the wife of a former president. The strength of political power within families in Amerika looks an awful lot like oligarchies in other countries, but yet Amerika calls it democracy. The Bush legacy of father and sons is certainly not the story of some genetically superior line of men who make great political leaders - they have money and power and connections that got them all into political office. The same is true for Bill and Hillary Clinton and all of the previous family legacies of political power in Amerika. Having someone in the family in office helps the next person get into a position of power. And Bill Clinton's name and legacy has helped further Hillary's career.

Already, many people who are of voting age have only seen 2 families in the White House in their lifetime. With Hillary Clinton as president, this will be true for a significant block of young people. That Amerikans are willing to overlook this is a testimony to the complacency of the labor aristocracy who really don't care about democracy as long as they have candidates representing their economic interests.

It is not hard to demonstrate Clinton's imperialist credentials. Anyone voting for Clinton because she is a womyn, is really just playing imperialist identity politics without regard for actual political positions. Or more likely, is fine with Clinton's political positions as they represent imperialist Amerika - a country that most Amerikan citizens are decidedly in favor of perpetuating. Rather than restate the facts, here we print from the MIM website, an excerpt from an article from September 2007 (Why George Bush prefers Hillary Clinton, http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections/elections091207.html):

First it was the conservative intellectual publication "National Review" that said it wanted Hillary Clinton as the most conservative of the Democrats. Then Cheney made an overture to Clinton by saying he wanted to leave the office in the condition he found it. Next Karl Rove helped Hillary Clinton consolidate a lead in the polls by attacking her alone.

These events are all linked together. It has nothing to do with who the Republicans feel they can beat or which Democrat they want if the situation for Republicans is hopeless in 2008.

Backing Hillary Clinton shores up the Bush regime, plain and simple. The reason for this is that Hillary Clinton shares Bush's positions, especially on those questions most often raised for potential impeachment proceedings.

• On the Iraq War, Clinton voted for it. Obama, Kucinich, Gravel and others would not share that with Bush.
• On the weapons of mass destruction justification for the Iraq War, it was Rumsfeld who sold biological weapons to Saddam Hussein under President Reagan, but it was Bill Clinton who turned the question into a lying basis for armed strikes on Iraq and subversion of the weapons inspection process. Only Clinton and Bill Richardson would have to defend the stands of the Clinton administration.
• On the attorney firings question, Hillary Clinton has already stated publicly that she agrees with Bush on the right of the president to fire the attorneys, and she did not specify how many times.

Further on the question of freedoms in Amerika we have this from MIM (September 2, 2007:
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections/../pirao/security/security090207.html):

Hillary Clinton is for the evisceration of the Bill of Rights. She separates questions of credit and medical information from other information concerning "terrorists," which she is so sure are "terrorists" that they have no fourth amendment rights:

"So much of what we know about terrorists, and the successes we have had in preventing and thwarting attacks and tracking would-be perpetrators, has been through information technology. We track terrorists across continents through their cell phones. We monitor terrorists and their supporters through Internet chat rooms. We had phone intercepts that should have given us advance notice of 9-11 if we had been paying attention.

"Now although our Founders couldn't imagine data mining or terror cells, they did anticipate differences of opinion between the executive and legislative branches, and even within them."

It's completely idiotic, because of course the British considered the American Revolutionaries terrorists. So she soft-pedals the question of security versus liberty the way the founders did not. She follows up this bit of her speech with how executive power needs a bipartisan basis. It's not what Washington or Lincoln said: those were oppressor Americans. Hillary Clinton is an Amerikan, because for her even what the founders said was too much.

Barak Obama

In many ways Barak Obama presents a much more interesting candidate for president than Hillary Clinton. Clinton may be biologically a female, but the gender privilege she enjoys makes this irrelevant, and her existence as part of a family of presidential power, and as a part of the white nation, as well as the entirety of her political history, make her a clearly mainstream candidate for president. Obama, on the other hand, is the son of a Kenyan man and a white Amerikan womyn. He grew up on the fringes of the Black power movement (according to his own account in his book Dreams of my Father), and spent years organizing among the projects in Chicago. Obama is not a typical Amerikan presidential candidate.

Obama is the candidate that many people considering themselves progressive and even anti-imperialist are supporting. He can say that he has stood against the Iraq war from the start, unlike other candidates. On issues like prisons Obama has some progressive sounding positions. For instance, on his web site we find: "Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated." Despite the ridiculous claim by some that Bill Clinton was the "first Black president," he brought us the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, huge increases in police and a continuation of the prison boom throughout the nineties. If the united $tates still imprisons more Black men than apartheid South Africa at the end of an Obama presidency, the smashed hopes of oppressed youth politicized by the idea of a Black president should strengthen the anti-imperialist camp.

Barak Obama is fundamentally an Amerikan imperialist candidate. He may be willing to shift around the spoils of imperialism a bit if he becomes president, but he will not tolerate a threat to Amerika as the premier power of the world. Obama's web site features a quote on his views about the Amerikan economy: “I believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other's success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.” So Obama recognizes the common economic interests of Amerikan citizens, and clearly takes up the imperialist position of defending these interests.

Just because he wants to pull troops out of Iraq doesn't mean Obama is anti-militarist. Obama is clear that he will use the Amerikan military to defend the Amerikan economy. Again from his web site: "The excellence of our military is unmatched. But as a result of a misguided war in Iraq, our forces are under pressure as never before. Obama will make the investments we need so that the finest military in the world is best-prepared to meet 21st-century threats." And he wants to expand the imperialist military: "We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines."

While warning against expansion of the occupation of Iraq to an invasion of Iran, Obama has called for u$ troop redeployment to Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Meanwhile, one of Obama's high-profile foreign policy advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who's book detailing plans for continued amerikan hegemony foreshadows the current occupation of Afghanistan to secure access to the Caspian Sea. Brzezinski was a strong backer of the Shah in Iran, and later supported military occupation of the country to maintain stability after the Shah's fall. The amerikan imperialists will disagree on where to invade and who to befriend, but they never disagree on whether to be imperialists or to promote amerikan domination over the rest of the world.

Obama also stands firm on supporting Amerika's imperialist allies such as Israel (from Obama's web site): "Barack Obama has consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. He defends and supports the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and has advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. He has called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defense systems."

And finally Obama will defend Amerika's borders to keep the spoils of imperialism for the Amerikan citizens first and foremost (from Obama's web site): "Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry." As long as Amerika exploits the people of the Third World and brings those profits home to benefit Amerikan citizens, Amerika will need to protect its borders to keep the exploited masses from seeking out a better life and better financial opportunities. Obama will keep those people away from the benefits of profits taken from their labor and the resources in their countries. This is part of Obama's defense of Amerikan workers. The labor aristocracy might get a pay raise from Obama, but that's nothing more than a different way of splitting up the imperialist pie.

Lenin on Elections (from State and Revolution):

"To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people in parliament — such is the real essence of bourgeois parlimentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics." (chapter 3, sec 3)

Who are "the People" according to Lenin

"People think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy." (chapter 4, sec 5)


Don't vote, Organize!


Reprinted from [url=http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections

We]www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections

We say to everyone who agrees with us that there is something very wrong with this system: don't vote, organize!

All our lives Amerika teaches us that we live in a democracy. Part of this so-called democracy includes everyone having the right to vote so that we can decide who will have the power to make decisions about local, state, Federal, and international issues. We have been taught that this is the greatest and most democratic country on earth.

Some of us learn that this democracy does not work for kids growing up in the projects where basic education is not a right that everyone has. And in neighborhoods where people are shot at by the cops for being Black or Latino, democracy starts looking like it is only for some people. We also need only look at the criminal injustice system and see the disproportionate conviction of Blacks and Latinos to know that this so-called democracy is not for everyone.

When we look around the world at all the countries that Amerika invades, or countries in which Amerika installs puppet dictators, murdering or overthrowing popularly elected leaders, this democracy doesn't work. And when we look at countries where Amerikan corporations use the cheap labor of the starving people and steal the natural resources because puppet dictators have enacted laws saying this is OK, we know that's not democracy for the oppressed.

People in these countries did not vote for Amerikan imperialism to invade their country. They did not vote for Amerikan imperialism to install a puppet dictator. They did not vote to allow the CIA in to kill off the revolutionaries and keep the dictators in line. And they certainly did not vote to starve to death, to die from preventable diseases, to die in labor because the medical facilities are only open to people who can pay, or to die fighting a war against the imperialists over whether wealthy Amerikans get to exploit their country or whether they themselves can take control. When we see all of this we know that democracy is only for the few.

We live under an imperialist government. This government receives donations from multinational corporations as well as political lobbying groups that have lots of money. The corporations, the CIA, and the military industrial complex are all very powerful parts of the government that don't answer to anyone and they force the "elected" officials to answer to them. As long as these institutions of imperialism exist, an individual elected to president, senator, representative or governor is not going to make a difference.

In fact, as long as we live under this imperialist system the only people who can even run for office are the people who already have the support of these wealthy, powerful organizations. It takes a lot of money to run an electoral campaign. So even if you had wonderful ideas and a brilliant plan that you thought all of the people of this country would support, it would not matter because you couldn't get elected unless you were independently wealthy (like Ross Perot), and if you were independently wealthy it came at the expense of the international proletariat and you probably have no interest in the oppressed (like Ross Perot).

PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE VOTING?

Many progressives organize around elections because they believe that this is the way to make change. These people genuinely want change, both inside and outside of this country. But they are convinced that there is no alternative for action and they believe that democracy works.

Living in this country it is tempting to believe in voting. It is easy to ignore the plight of the rest of the world and just focus on problems at "home." And if you really think narrowly and you are a part of the very large white middle class, you might vote for the president/senator/representative who does not want to cut Medicare so that when you retire you will be better off than if the other guy wins.

The fact is that there are differences between candidates, but these differences are very minor and generally come down to tactical tweaks in domestic policy issues that benefit one section of the middle class or the other. For all the people who believed that Clinton would be better for gays, this should be obvious. For all the people who thought that Clinton would be better for the poor, the imprisoned, the victims of police brutality, a quick look at the increase in numbers of cops and prisons under Clinton should also make it clear that the Democrats are not really different from the Republicans.

WHAT ABOUT LOCAL ELECTIONS?

A lot of people who agree with us that voting for a president, representative or senator does not mean anything, still organize around state level elections. They believe that by working on a more local scale, they will be able to exert slow steady pressure for change. A recent conversation with a woman who is very active in local electoral work makes this clear. She kept pointing out the great work done by a woman in the state senate. When it was pointed out that this state Senator has never taken a stand on imperialism and the gross things that Amerika does around the world the woman responded that "of course she hasn't because that would cause her to lose her legitimacy". But we don't even have to look so far away at international policy, we can see that these same officials don't take progressive stands on prisons and instead vote to build more prisons and put more cops on the streets to put more Blacks and Latinos in prison.

It is possible that in elections to city hall, some small battles can be won locally that won't mislead people into believing that electoralism works within the non-democracy of Amerika. For instance, if there were several candidates running for city hall who supported putting up public bulletin boards all over town and making public space available for revolutionaries to hold educational events, it might be worth supporting them. But we should never confuse these potentially winnable battles with support for candidates who operate at the state or continental level and who support imperialism both in words and in practice.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

Many people believe that the advances made in the past century for women, national minorities, and others in our society were the result of the electoral power of these groups. But in fact, most of the progressive reforms won in this country in the past century were the result of organizing and agitation outside of the electoral arena. Just think back to the Black civil rights movement and remember the role the Black Panther Party played, outside of the ballot box, in forcing the government to make concessions out of fear of this armed revolutionary organization.

Unfortunately there is no tidy little alternative to the bourgeoisie's vote. The vote is so appealing because it only takes a few minutes in a ballot box once a year (or once every 4 years). But real change does not come easy. MIM and RAIL are working to educate people about the effects of imperialism and to organize people for the only way in which progressive change is possible: revolutionary struggle. This means that we fight winnable battles against things like prison repression, police brutality and other reactionary policies. But at the same time we organize for a larger movement against imperialism.

Even before winning the revolution there is a lot that this movement can achieve. MIM(Prisons) is struggling against censorship across the country on a daily basis. Every battle we win is getting educational materials to those who need them most to build a strong revolutionary movement. Even as the battles continue to pile up, our work on this front creates the breathing room for us to build as a movement on other fronts. This is just one example of the ongoing struggles we can take up and win right now that are vital for actually creating the possibilities for real change in the future.

Don't vote for the imperialists! Organize against the imperialists!

This article referenced in:
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[Education] [California]
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Education system lacking but still fighting

I was studying Comrade George L. Jackson's "Blood in my Eyes" when I first came to know of your organization and movement. After inquiring I was given a little more information and agreed completely with everything that you expressed and stood for.

I'm currently serving a life sentence, though I strive each day to relieve myself of this oppressive prison system, having gone through this experience has been fundamental in the development of my revolutionary consciousness. When I was running the streets the same conditions that exist in prison where I'm at existed out there as well. It took the compounding of these conditions that prisons create to lead me to open my eyes. More than that, being housed and living with, and in many cases fighting along side with, BGF, Crips, Bloods, former Black Panthers, and others, gave me the strength and realization that there is still much work to be done.

George Jackson has become a role model of sorts for me. His strength, intelligence and desire for positive and meaningful change are aspects I see within myself. Through this process of self and environmental reflection I've come into my own ideas of how to affect change, and have begun working with a couple of other comrades towards this end. But one many can only do so much by himself, or even with a few determined comrades.

I read about the USW (United Struggle from Within) and I want to become a part of this. Because this prison is quick to suppress any efforts to organize prisoners around anything that isn't conformatory, I haven't heard of any others involved with the USW. But that's not to say there are not any. I will work from my end to affect the goals and objectives of the USW.

The conditions of my prison are as follows: the overcrowding here is out of control and has lead to the placing of prisoners on bunks in the middle of the day room floors and gym, two places that were never intended to house prisoners.

The conditions I find to be most objectionable however are those you can't see. Not having the access to exact numbers I can only describe the following situation from a first hand perspective. Though I'm a convicted murderer, at the moment I'm a level 3 prisoner, and many of my comrades here will be heading back to the streets within the next 5 years. The education system here is worthless. A man who is given the chance to work toward his GED isn't given any help in the way of actually understanding the information he's asked to memorize off the packet of work he's given. The man is asked to sit in a classroom for 6 hours where he receives no instruction, and the teacher, like most of the so-called students, is goofing off, doing everything except the work intended. These men are fed through a worthless system where their only requirement is that they show up.

From what I have read, education is the biggest factor in the reasons people come to prison in the first place, and return in the second. And yet, when money "needs" to be cut, it's education that is the first place they turn to. The system in my eyes hides this fact by compensating the lack of education with an abundance of yard time. My prison does offer a college correspondence course, one must first have his GED and with a majority of the prisoners being unable to read through an entire newspaper their ambitions remain as such, alone and to themselves. So with the illusion of GED and college classes, the fact that many of the prisoners will never participate or complete them is hidden from those too distracted walking laps around the prison yard. Thankfully I came in with a GED, and I am taking college classes. But the basis of this educational system is to be laughed at.

The conditions of today's prison system are not, in my eyes, as physical as they once were in the 50s, 60, 70s, and 80s. Though I'm only 25 years old, I tend to view the developing prison system as I do the development of the New African Nation here in America. Some think that because the physical restraints have come off and we have been given fists full of "rights" that we've come along in the way of freedom. I take nothing away from those who lived and died to achieve these rights, but the United States is a flexible entity that has existed as long as it has because it is able to mold itself with developing and commanding situations. I ask myself, did slavery end because they finally work up and realized their abuses, or did it become just too difficult to maintain any longer? I like to believe it's the former. The abuses of this country or of its prison system have only receded from the front lines where it's most easily attacked, to the rear, where those of less than open eyes cannot see its source.

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[Spanish] [Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 3]
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Apoya las platicas de paz de la prision Pelican Bay

traducido por un prisionero de Washington
fue escrito en May 2006

En 1989, el departamento de correcciones (DOC) abrio la prisión estatal de Pelican Bay (PBSP). Su primordial indicada por la construcción fue para reducir violencia en la prisión por medio de segregar preguntos líderes de bandas y miembros. Pero contrario a su declarardo proposito, la violencia en la prisión ha aumentado rapidamente y dramaticamente. El sistema prisionero de California es más violento ahora que como era antes de la apertura de PBSP. Por ceirto, esta es la más peligrosa y mortal sistema de prisión en el país, como las estatistcas claramente afirmarán.

En Febrero 2001, California presencío uno de sus más violentos disturbios raciales aquí en PBSP, donde aproximadamente 38 Nuevos Africanos (Negros) prisioneros fueron puñalados. Un mensaje fue entregado a mi el siguiente día de un grupo de hermanos quienes habían estado en vueltos en el disturbio, pidiendo mi asistencia en resolver este conflicto/guerra racial. He estado encerrado en la casa modulo de seguridad (SHU) aquí en PBSP (reclusión solitaria), asi que me encuentro en una posición de hablar con ciertos prisioneros influyentes Mexicanos y blancos.

Esa noche, escribí al director Ayers, explicandole a él que me gustaría iniciar platicas de paz designada a resolver este conflicto. La siguiente mañana, fuí escoltado a la oficina del director. El estaba interesado en mi propuesta. Mientras estaba ahí, el preguntó que podría él hacer para facilitar este proceso de paz. Le dije a él que yo necesitaba hablar con un número de prisioneros, y él le dije a su personal que proveeieran mis esfuerzos. Fuí capaz de traer todos los grupos relevantes a la mesa, un plan de paz fue adoptado y un alto a la violencia fue impementado.

Nosotros sabíamos que allí había un número de guardias asociados en PBSP, como también banda institucional de investigación (IGI) modulo de administración en Sacramento, junto con la asociación de paz de oficiales de corrección (CCPOA, unión de guardias de prision) quienes no querian que esta tregua tomará lugar o tomará posesión. Verdad hasta la forma, ellos sabotearon nuestras platicas de paz con mentiras y propaganda negativa. Porque nosotros fallamos en movilizar afuera, bases de soporte, nosostros no pudimos poner en tela de juicio las mentiras y distorsiones que se estaban diciendo.

El departamento de correcciones le dijo a los politicos y medios de comucación que ellos no nos necesitaban para resolver este conflicto. Ellos saben que eso es mentira, nosotros somos los unicos que podemos resolver esto. Cuando digo "nosotros," quiero decir esos prisioneros Nuevo Africanos, Mexicanos y blancos presentemente encerrados aquí en el SHU en PBSP en la facilidad-D, modulos 1, 2, 3 y 4. Bastantes de nosotros estamos entre 40-65 años de edad y hemos estado en confinamiento solitario desde 20 hasta 40 años. Yo personalmente he estado en aislación por 27 años. Nosotros somos los unicos quienes poseen el respeto y la influencia para terminar este conflicto.

Podríamos haber resolvido este conflicto racial hace cinco años pero el CDC no quiso que nosotros alcansarámos esa meta. Como un resultado directo, el conflicto se ha salido de control. Desde 2002, han habido al menos 500 disturbios de rusa adentro de las paredes, y aproximadamente los mismos incidentes individuales de puñaladas reacionado con este conflicto. Arriba de 200 disturbios raciales tuvieron lugar solo en 2005. Peor aun, desde 2001 el conflicto se ha desparramado dentro de la comunidad afuera de las paredes, especialmente en el sur de California y ahora la comunidada está envuelta en el conflicto. Claro el CDC no tomará responsibilidad por la ascendencia de este conflicto, pero los hechos continúan, fue el CDC quien saboteo nuestros esfuerzos para terminar esto, y ahora esto ha envuelto todo el estado de California.

Nosotros no podemos permitirnos la espera de que el CDC o el gobierno termine este conflicto, o permitirles que nos prevengan de terminar esto. La escalasión de este conflicto es un ejemplo más alla del CDC y su neglijencía criminal. Como una clase de convictos veteranos, estamos alcansando a la afuera por su asistencia en resolver este conflicto con tu ayuda, podemos poner un final a esta guerra.

Hemos desarrollado un plan que consistiría de un esfuerzo en conjunto. Lo que necesitamos de usted es que obligue el CDC que nos permita iniciar discusiones en una resolución de paz. Al presente no nos permiten juntarnos y dialogar una tregua. Preentemente estamos buscando voluntarios afuera que sirvan como facilitadores y cordinadores. Los facilitadores asistirán esos directamente envueltos en el proceso, porque el estar en aislación limita lo que podemos hacer. Esto es porque es muy importante para nosotros tener asistencia afuera. Los cordinadores son organizadores de base que serán responsable de movilizar el soporte de comunidad en apoyo de nuestra cumbre de paz. Si usted está interesado en ser un facilitador, puedes contactarme a la siguiente dirección:

Abdul Olugbala Shakur s/n J. Harvey
D-4-112/ C-48884 (SHU)
PO Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532
Pelican Bay State Prison

Tambien tenemos una petición que estamos presentemente distribuyendo de nuestra cumbre de paz.

MIM responde: Esta declaración de mision respalda lo que MIM por largo tiempo reportado - el Departamento de Correcciones de California está detras de violencia de prisioneros y conflicto entre naciones en la prisión. Ellos formaron esas divisiones y ellos sabotearon los esfuerzaos de los prisioneros de alcansar una resolución pacifica. El CDC y su interes en promover guerras entre bandas dentro de las barras es claro - teniendo los prisioneros divididos y peleando uno contra otro los previene de juntarse para pelear el sistema de injusticia. Y esos pleitos le da al CDC justificación para toda clase de represión y encerramientos. Por cierto, ellos justifican la existencia del modulo casa de seguridad (SHU) el cual clama de encerrar los "validos" miembros de banda.

Esta es la misma cosa pasando en las calles - el gobierno Estadounidense ha jugudo un papel poniendo pistolas y drogas en las calles para ayudar a prender la creación de organizaciones peleando una contra otra en comunidades oprimidas. Esas organizaciones necesitan boltearse hacía una autentica defensa personal en el interes de su nación, contra su verdadero enemigo quien perpetua el sistema de opresión nacional en Amerika: el gobierno imperialista Estadounidense. Las organizadores de Pelican Bay estan poniendo un buen ejemplo para la gente dentro de las rejas y afuera en las calles, y nosotros trabajaremos con ellos para llevar el esfuerzo al siguiente nivel, más alla de la justicia y hasta la unidad de esfuerzo de justicia.

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