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Under Lock & Key

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[Black Lives Matter] [FAQ] [Censorship] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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What is the West?

the western world?
This map from worldatlas.com shows a common perception of the West that links Anglophone (English-speaking) settler states to Western Europe

In recent years many have explored the myth of “the West” and “Western Civilization”, connecting them to racist views of humyn society. Often this was in response to right-wing white nationalists rebranding their common cause from the “white race” to “Western civilization.”

Yet, the term “the West” is used every day in a variety of news sources, some claiming to be proletarian news services. It is used by MIM in a number of older documents, and you even see it crept in to the last issue of Under Lock & Key in our discussion of Ukraine.(1)

The West and Militarism

The Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to have brought the term even more to the forefront, which could explain why it ended up in our article on the subject, despite our understanding the problems with the term. “Western unity” today is synonymous with fighting Russia. Ukranian President Volodymor Zelensky has helped make this true in the Amerikan press.

There are reasons to refer to “the West” instead of the more accurate term “NATO.” NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military pact between countries to defend each other with very clear membership. NATO exists clearly in space and time. It was formed in 1949, as the U.$. and Britain focused their aggression towards the Soviet Union following the defeat of fascism. NATO will not exist forever, with many calling for it to be dissolved now.

The meme of “The West” on the other hand is ahistorical, and even vague in terms of who is included. President Zelensky is making a hard push to put Ukraine in “the West”, when it was very clearly part of the USSR that NATO formed to oppose.

Zelensky has repeatedly called on “the West” to impose sanctions against Russia, to send military aid to Ukraine, and to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. All of these feed the militarist war machine that imperialism depends on to stay afloat, especially in times of economic crisis. Yet the imperialists are not even willing to do all the things Zelensky calls for because they know the risk of inter-imperialist war it will bring.

We’ve already seen the differing interests in this conflict playing out. The strongest example might be Germany, the dominant imperialist power in continental Europe, and their economic connection to Russia, which has made them much more hesitant to join actions that the United $tates is quick to take against Russia. Meanwhile Germany has moved to significantly increase its military for the first time since WWII, loosening its dependence on the United $tates for military action. In most of our lifetimes, the so-called “Western” countries have been united politically and economically. But this has not and will not always be the case.

The West and the Ancient World

We won’t repeat others summaries of the history of the concept of “the West” here. But it does appear with the wars between Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages, later being used to distinguish between areas dominated by the Western reformist church and the Eastern orthodox church.

Just as New Afrikans today may take up the study of ancient Egypt to learn about their “roots”, euro-Amerikans may study ancient Greece with the same goal. In reality, ancient Egypt and Greece (in certain periods) were actually connected and learned from each other. They were more similar to each other (and more geographically close to each other) than the actual ancestors of most New Afrikans or euro-Amerikans. Both are caught up in a mythology that links them to an ancient society based on racialized concepts of continents.

The idea of Europe as its own continent is also a myth that stems from this history and the fact that our knowledge in the United $tates is dominated historically by Europeans. And today, U.$.-cultural dominance helps shape the memes that take on global significance.

Europe is a region in actual space, however, unlike “the West”, which often lumps Western Europe with occupied regions of North America and Oceania today. In a sense, “the West” is almost describing something real. Throw in Japan, and you’ve got the advanced imperialist countries of the world.

The West and Freedom

A more modern concept of “the West” starts from the fight against fascism and morphs into the fight against communism. “The West” claims to offer freedom and democracy instead.

On 5 July 2022, a Ukrainian court banned the Communist Party of Ukraine and ordered all its assets seized by the state. This is a party that got 13 percent of the votes in the 2012 general election. This follows the ban of a number of other “socialist” or “left” parties in the country for being “pro-Russian.”(2)

On the Fourth of July, the city of Akron, Ohio issued a 9PM to 6AM curfew preventing people from leaving their homes except for work or emergencies. This was on a night when masses of people stayed out all night partying and lighting fireworks in most cities across the country. The curfew was issued because cops shot unarmed 25-year-old Jayland Walker the night before with 60 bullets. The young Black man died Fourth of July morning.

Through May and June MIM(Prisons) sent hundreds of letters, petitions and legal documents to prisoners across Texas leading up to a planned boycott of the Juneteenth holiday on June 19. The weeks leading up to the Fourth of July our mailbox was full of letters from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and from prisoners in Texas, notifying us that our mail had been censored because it promoted a disturbance or a riot.

Prisoners in Texas are being tortured in long-term isolation, forced to work without pay, and facing all sorts of abusive conditions including lack of food, dangerous temperatures and lack of yard time. Jayland Walker was shot 60 times over a tail light. Yet boycotts and demonstrations have been deemed illegal in Texas and Akron, Ohio in response. In Akron 50 people were arrested after protestors were sprayed with tear gas because police said they “cannot condone property destruction.”(3) This is the behavior of the oppressor, of the imperialists.

The West and Language

The more modern framework of the North versus the South developed as an improvement on the West/East concept. The “North/South” framework is more geographically coherent (with the exception of Australia and New Zealand) and is defined economically. It also avoids the racist exclusion of Japan and the “three tigers.” Though it could play into some theories of geographic determinism, which can mirror racist conceptions of history.

Regardless, North/South terminology was developed to be “valueless” and as such becomes a euphemism for what is really going on: some countries are exploiting other countries. And we have perfectly good terminology for “the West” or “the North” in this context: imperialist countries. As anti-imperialists, we must expose imperialism and its crimes at every turn and not hide it behind euphemisms that reference geography or pseudo-scientific concepts of race over materialist understandings of political-economy.

On the other hand of the dialectic of imperialism we have the oppressed nations, or the exploited countries, or the semi-colonies or neo-colonies, depending on the context. Arguably these terms are also better than the First/Third World language we have often used historically.(4)

As a general principle, our writing guide reminds us not to use euphemisms and not to use passive language. Like “the West” these styles creep into our writing because they are common in the bourgeois press. We should consciously combat this by being clear about the relationships of oppression and exploitation and who is doing what to whom.

Whether it relates to religion, philosophy or democracy, all historical concepts of “the West” are related to justifying invasions or imperialism in different forms.

Notes:
1. MIM(Prisons), April 2022, Ukraine: Imperialism in Crisis, Under Lock & Key 77.
2. 5 July 2022, Communist Party of Ukraine banned and all its assets seized by the state, Morning Star.
3. Stephanie Warsmith and Craig Webb, 6 July 2022, Dozens arraigned on charges from Jayland Walker police shooting protests. Yahoo! News.
4. MIM(Prisons), October 2015, What is the Third World?

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[Religious Repression] [Civil Liberties] [Grievance Process] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Grievance Tips & New Grooming Policy in TX

In ULK 76 you printed an article by the Connally Committee of Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. titled “Connally Unit Denying Grievances & Retaliating”. I cannot vouch for the retaliation from here in High Security, but as for not responding to grievances and being chronically understaffed, I can vouch for.

I filed 2 grievances back in early April and have had zero response to them. I found a good cite in Prison Legal News June 2022 edition. It says, “A prisoner’s administrative remedies are exhausted when prison officials fail to timely respond to a properly filed grievance.” (Haight v. Thompson 763 F. 3d 554 (6th Cir 2014)) According to this, if they do not respond to our grievances we can go on to a §1983 Civil Action.

My suggestion to TEAM ONE here at Connally is to go ahead and file §1983 Lawsuits with hand-written copies of your Step 1’s and try to file a Step 2. But your remedies are exhausted when TDCJ fails to respond to your grievances. They have 40 days to respond to a Step 1 or file an extension. If it has been more than 40 days and you have no answer, your administrative remedies are exhausted. I’m sending a handwritten copy of my Step 1 into the District Court this week. They will file, stamp it and assign it a document number and I’ll use it as evidence in my case.

As far as being understaffed, I can certainly agree with the writers of that article. Every end of the month into the first of the month this place is a ghost town. We are locked in our cells and fed sack lunches.

We did recently win a small victory as far as the grooming policy goes. AD-03.83 & SM-06.16 (Rev5) were updated on 10 May 2022 to allow male prisoners to grow long hair and wear pony tails. There were a lot of §1983 lawsuits pending on this subject. I’m still not totally satisfied with the updated policy because TDCJ reserves the right to force cut our hair for disciplinary reasons and they do not do this to the women. Growing our hair is a religious right, not a privilege to be revoked so I still have it listed in my lawsuit.

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[U.S. Imperialism] [Russia] [USSR] [China] [Principal Contradiction] [Economics] [ULK Issue 78]
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Book Review: Arms & Empire

[Arms & Empire(1980) by Richard Krooth is a MIM must read. MIM(Prisons) just developed a study guide to go along with this book. The below is the intro to the study guide with some key quotes from the book.]

Introduction to the study pack

The Maoist Internationalist Movement (originally named the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement) was founded at a time when inter-imperialist conflict between the camp led by the United $tates and that led by the social-imperialist USSR posed a threat to the world. In one of the founding documents, written in 1983, comrades saw the combination of liberation struggles in the Third World and this inter-imperialist conflict as a hotbed for communist revolutions.(1)

MIM founders saw the success of communist revolution as an absolute necessity to prevent a new inter-imperialist war, that would likely lead to nuclear war. As such, they recognized that a revolutionary situation could arise within the United $tates in a matter of years, despite having a budding skepticism of the interests of most in our country in communist revolution.

For most of MIM’s existence now we have not been in the situation described above. By 1991 the “Cold War” was over with the dissolution of the Soviet imperialist bloc. For a solid 3 decades we lived under a “unipolar world”, where U.$. dominated organizations and alliances ruled the world (NATO, World Bank, IMF, etc).

For many years now (in 2022) China has been the rising imperialist power, mostly independent of the U.$.-dominated institutions, though deeply integrated with the U.$. economically. As the contradictions heighten in the U.$.-China economic system, they also heighten in the capitalist system overall. The post-USSR era brought a sacking of the wealth of the former Soviet states by cleptocratic capitalists. This aligned with the capitalist development of China, and the return of exploitative relations dominating over 1 billion people who became the primary producers for consumers in the United $tates and around the world. These processes of wealth extraction were the life-blood for global capitalism for those 3 decades of inter-imperialist peace. But, capitalism must keep expanding, and there is not much more room to expand. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a series of collapses in the international system of distribution that prioritized profitability over resiliency.

Earlier this year, Russia invaded Ukraine, in what many fear is the first hot war of what will be an escalating inter-imperialist war. Though to date, it has not yet exceeded in scale the U.$./USSR conflicts of the Cold War. It has brought with it massive trade barriers. The Amerikans have rallied the world to isolate Russia with great success, yet differences in interests have also arisen. This will force many realignments in the coming months and years. The battle for markets, using tariffs and embargoes and currency manipulations, will only escalate. This makes Arms & Empire such a relevant read today.

In 1997, MIM passed a resolution stating:

“For MIM’s purposes, World War III began immediately after World War II ended in 1945. World War III continues today. It is a war between the imperialists and the oppressed nations. By defining World War III as post-World War II, MIM does not mean to say that imperialists did not wage war on the oppressed nations prior to 1945, only that the post-1945 period has specific characteristics (such as: 1. the leading roles of the U.S. and, for a time, the USSR and 2. the predominance of neocolonialism) which separate this period from the pre-1945 periods.”(2)

We can say that world war is inherent to imperialism. As Lenin defined it, imperialism is when the world has been completely divided up by competing monopolist powers, making the export of finance capital the dominant aspect of the economy, and finance capitalists become the shapers of the world. This competition translates to economic and military warfare, both of which result in large numbers of unnecessary humyn deaths. Imperialism kills millions. When warfare between the imperialists can be minimized for a period, the warfare is aimed primarily at the oppressed nations who are resisting the imperialists trying to control and exploit them.

On the eve of World War I, the revisionist Kautsky proposed a theory of ultra-imperialism to supercede imperialism, where the imperialists can ban together to manage the world internationally. Today, there are many bad Marxists who unknowingly promote this metaphysical view of world imperialism where the imperialist forces of NATO and the U.$. are an invincible unbreakable force, and that the best thing the communists can hope for is a counter-balance to U.$. hegemony while tailing other independent imperialists such as Russia or China. While also unknowingly parroting neo-Kautskyism, these revisionist Marxists also unite with the bourgeois Liberals on the world view of a post-Soviet world. The bourgeois liberals had their own theories of “the end of history” after the collapse of the Soviet Union that envisioned the current order to have proven itself as the stable state in which we would remain. In this book, Richard Krooth concisely points out why these fantasies can never come true. The internal contradictions of capitalism and imperialism, brilliantly exposed by Marx and Lenin, translate to antagonistic contradictions among the imperialists that cannot be resolved by synthesis but only by one aspect of that contradiction overtaking the other via warfare. This remains true despite brief periods of relative peace between the imperialists that must also coincide with periods of prosperity and great opportunity for the imperialists. And has MIM has pointed out, even in times of prosperity, the different interests of the labor aristocracy can damper the plans of imperialist unity.(3)

Today, the labor aristocracy is talking about their inability to consume products not made by them in their movement to increased wages, decreased worktimes, etc. However, they seem to be able to consume products not made by them pretty well. Cars, phones, food, etc. are mostly produced by the Third World proletariat, and the main gripe comes with things they don’t own rather than things they don’t produce: rent for example.

As we enter a period of heightened inter-imperialist conflict, we echo the sentiments of MIM’s founders. We are not for war, but we recognize that war by the proletariat to overthrow imperialism is necessary to stop war. As military and economic warfare expands among imperialists and between imperialists and the oppressed nations, opportunities for successful revolutions to put the proletariat in state power increases. This is the solution to war. We aim to destroy imperialism, because imperialism is destroying the planet.

Notes:
1. Manifesto on the International Situation and Revolution (first few pages)
2. Resolution on World War III (1997 MIM Congress)
3. Social-democratic gravy train opposes European Union (2005 MIM Congress)
4. also see: “Ukraine: Imperialism in Crisis” in Under Lock & Key 77 for broad discussion of economic and military warfare against Russia in 2022.

Key summary quotes from book

End of the Introduction:

“For we will see that empire was systemic and competitive; that competition and nationalism then powered the changeover from one system of empire to another; that, consequently, the mercantile colonial system was replaced by a system of free trade with the coming of industrialism; that free trade was thereafter replaced by a return to colonial empires with the rise of monopolization in the leading nations; that war between the Powers resolved little in the fight for world domination; and that a new growth of monopolies led to strengthened colonial spheres of influence and renewed warfare.”

Explanation of the Great Depression (top of p.119):

“The U.S. had long since closed down free trade into America, stopping Germany and other European countries from exporting to American shores to pay their debts. This secured the U.S. dollar for a while, making it the hardest currency in the world, pushing up its value vis-a-vis other currencies, but also making it inaccessible to nations that otherwise would have purchased from America. When other nations could not obtain dollars by exports to the U.S., obviously they could import nothing at all. And so U.S. exports tended to fall and had to be replaced with bilateral trade agreements. Up went U.S. unemployment when markets fell away and bilateral trade could not replace them. Then down came the dollar, the U.S. devaluing in 1933 in an attempt to stimulate the exports again. But, alas, it was too late. The depression was on, production was down, America was spreading crisis to Europe!”

Lead up to WWII (p.129-30):

“Within European nations especially, the road to war was laid out in stages – the first for counterrevolution, the second for capitalist resurgence, and the third for crises and the rise of antagonistic governments seeking to take what all others held in trade, investments, colonies and profits. In the first period (1917-23) we can discern how civilian bands of reactionaries had used force and violence against the agrarian or socialist”revolutions“… The reactionaries demanded”law and order," eventually leading to “counter-revolutions.” Yet the incipient fascist movements did not themselves assume government power, for the marketplace was being re-established and did not require a fascistic state.

"The second period (1924-29) had no use for a fascist government either. The powers of capitalist production were expanding, the market fetters were destroyed, and al the important nations save Great Britain were on the economic upgrade. While the United States enjoyed legendary prosperity and the Continent was doing almost as well, Hitler’s putsch was a footnote in political economy. France evacuated the Ruhr, the Reichsmark was restored by U.S. loans, the Dawes Plan took politics out of reparations, Locarno was in the offing for peace, and Germany was initiating seven fat years. The gold standard ruled from Moscow to Lisbon by the close of 1926; buyers could now pay for their imports, restoring the capitalist marketplace to its full capacity.

"Then came the Great Crash of 1929, the market economy turning down, general economic crisis forcing nations to be sellers but not buyers in the world. The continuing deadlock of market dealings demanded changes in the political way in which economic solutions were planned. The Italian trusts chose fascism as a way out of their economic malaise. The German cartels demanded continental markets and colonies, not by marketplace dealings - for they were shut out of the markets and colonies of the other Powers - but by military conquest. Hitler, their puppet, demanded no more than they asked, Germany taking the lead in totalitarianizng Europe. And with Japan in the Asian wing, the Axis Pact aligned fascist power over five continents.

“Thereby the material conditions of society – monopoly ownership, overproduction, market struggle, political bankruptcy, and military occupation – had ended the marketplace system. The monopolists and cartelists needed fascism to build themselves strong for a military confrontation which, they believed, would award them with more raw materials, more markets, more profits and more power. The liberal business interests, then opting for increasing national competitiveness, also blocked any move towards allowing the social means of production to provide for popular need, instead of their private profit. The fascists, combining jingoism and planned speed-ups for the working population, now displayed a tawdry alternative to the free marketplace. And the monopolists then brought them into power in hopes that their accumulation of private gain would continue undiminished. World War II inexorably followed, not only because leaders willed it, but also because the solutions to economic and political crises required it.”

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Religious Repression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Grooming Victory in Texas, But Censorship and Release Problems Continue

I’m writing because I’ve had two or three letters from you denied here at Wynne Unit, they say “the information contains messages of hatred and statements that could start riots”. Of course, I disagreed and wasn’t given the opportunity to appeal it by the Texas Director’s Review Committee.

Secondly, place this in your next issue: I won a §1983 Suit in Texas dealing with the beard and hair policy. Specifically you can wear goatees, dreads, and braids than “they’ve now said one big braid”. The case log is Newman v. Marfo 4:19-CU-00352 and, now I have a retaliation claim which is Newman v. Bowers 4:22-CU-01649 because these officials are still giving cases creating a related injury and causal connection due to this being directly related to my, as well as our, protected conduct guarded by the 1st Amendment Constitutional Right.

Please post this because we only suffered in Texas prisons because the residents are weak and have no real hope and don’t acquire the will to believe we have the power to fight legally without physical contact but, by our minds. I also started another claim for another resident for abolishing the 1996 clause that says if we meet the standard for release, they don’t have to let us go; signed by former President Clinton and Joe Biden. So, when Biden duped blacks to break all those records getting him in office why didn’t he unsign it?

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[Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Targetted Censorship & Abuse with Impunity

Hey fellas,

I got a correspondence letter from y’all a couple of weeks ago that was denied for “contents which would incite a disturbance”. First, I asked if the letter was “Media Correspondence” and the chick said “yeah”. So I’m like “Who denied it and why was it opened without my presence?” Of course, she didn’t want to give no name – neither hers or of whoever denied it. So I refused to sign. I did try to appeal, but after refusing to sign I’m sure they just threw it away. So I don’t know if you’re acknowledged as a media correspondent or not, or if they got you some kind of watch list. I know what policy says and if they do it again I’ll grieve that ass hard. I’m sure you been banned ever since you got those Texas Pack’s out. They won’t let that in, or any regular mail you send. But it’s too late.

I did all I could and spread the word in the Allred law library – shit was a hit. They (TDCJ) call it inciting a disturbance, but we all know that it’s all the information we should be entitled to have to fight the negligence, abuse, and misinterpretation of state and federal laws. This unit has a loooong history of violating its own policy and civil rights with impunity. The grievance department, to medical and everything in between, is set up this way. People like me who are in the know and work to expose the corruption are either shipped elsewhere, or if they don’t have outside help, are “rolled” off the unit with an ass whoopin and/or false charges. They do this to protect the “overall safety and security of the institution” that they have going.

I’ve only been here since February 2022 and have been either a witness or victim of every violation but murder. My biggest gripes were that the P4s (safe keeping G4) are religiously discriminated on and refused worship services unless they are of the mainstream faith. The trans-women have no privacy screens to cover their breast in the shower areas. Exposing them to voyeurism when there is no “exigent circumstance”. P4s are stuck in the cell during the peak heat of the day, even the hottest of days, everyday. Respite, and respite showers do not exist during such times. Cold water is only offered if they are lucky enough to have a janitor there to pass it out. The cops sure as hell ain’t doing it. It’s fucked up. I just got off that custody but I still feel for ’em and want to help cause I’ve never seen such animosity and neglect towards a population. There are only a little over 30 P4s on the unit, almost 1/2 are trans women. They should be protected, but instead are targeted. That’s bout all I got for now.

Please hit me back when you can.

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[United Front] [Grievance Process] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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How can i help get grievances heard in Texas?

Revolutionary greetings to u all! We hope everyone is prepping for the upcoming action(s) of Juneteenth, and otherwise doing well. Comrade FireWater posed a question, “How can i help Tx TeamOne with a class action suit to have Our grievances heard or to get independent oversight of the grievance system?” i’ve decided to share Our answer with all of you as it may be helpful to the Tx lumpen populace at large.

In the past few months, Tx TeamOne’s founding committee has been forming working relations with a few liberal and petty bourgeois groups for progressive improvements within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). These groups include some elected officials, christian sympathizers, lawyers, radio personalities, and policy groups.

One such group is Tx Prison Reform (TPR), with whom one of Our founding committee members was able to conduct an extensive interview, establishing the basis of Our and the prison masses possible working relationship with this group. The interview will be published in their monthly newsletter and We hope to share it with u all as well. TPR is focused on the destruction of Restricted Housing Units (RHU), but is also collecting grievances and other forms of documentation to showcase the foul nature of TDCJ.

Many of u may be familiar with Tx CURE. If so you’ll know the Tx branch has been M.I.A. for awhile, but now has been reorganized by a recently released TDCJ ex-prisoner. This persyn was a leading figure behind the RACK II air conditioning lawsuit. Ey hasn’t established an actual mailing address but we have the help of a family law attorney who’ll send mailings to the head of Tx CURE. Right now, We’re looking for documented complaints regarding major issues in TDCJ. These grievances will be read in front of and by the Tx legislator at the next session. The persyn from Tx CURE will be persynally speaking on behalf of Tx inmates.

The issue of the grievance process is not a new one to us nor the state officials. The grievance system in Tx and in fact many prison systems around the country were the direct result of the Ruiz Litigation (Ruiz v. Johnson, 37 F. Supp. 2d 855 (S.D. Tex. 1999)), and since it was instated the same issues have been present. Accompanied with your grievances you should write an official statement which may also be read for/by the legislators and others. This statement should articulate the need for independent oversight of TDCJ grievance system, and make specific reference to Representative Jarvis Johnson’s 2019 House Bill which called for said oversight but has never been heard by the House. We want the 2019 House Bill 363 heard and approved by the Texas House of Representatives.

Other key points of emphasis are the excessive censorship and mail tampering and its socio-political nature. With the recent escape & man hunt We’ve found that censorship due to supposed security threats has picked up. MIM materials have been the target of much excessive censorship.

For those who don’t know the demographics are slowly but surely shifting. Due to national gentrification, the thriving industries in the state, and no state income tax, among other things, Texas is becoming younger, darker, richer, and slightly more progressive, particularly among youthful citizens. An essential contradiction in Tx is that of the rural vs. urban population and the culture wars, and fight for resources this intensifies. Urban populations tend to be darker, more liberal/progressive (not revolutionary though) and lean left of center on prison issues among others. Bernie Sanders’ organization “Our Revolution” has been pushing campaigns by petty bourgeois, Democratic Socialist elements around the country for the last several years and now this present election cycle they have several candidates who’re challenging the districts of the old guard Democratic Party establishment. These districts are in both rural and urban areas but mostly rural, which if successful will shift state electoral bourgeois politics for the next decade or so.

A key point of emphasis for these so-called New Left Democrats is Prison Reform. This will open organizing doors for revolutionaries within the walls and those who support us.

i share all this because elements from the New Left Democrats and some from a more moderate approach have championed and made possible a new committee to ‘Study Tx Criminal Justice Issues.’ They’re excepting documentary information from now until October on a wide range of issues covering initial interaction with police, to jail policies & conditions, Grand Jury issues, sentencing, and finally prison conditions. Below i will include their addresses along with those of the lawyer, and the groups i mentioned have been establishing working relationships with.

p.s. We’re also happy to announce the present development of a Tx TEAMONE committee in Smith Unit.

Jerney Coe Law Office/423 S. Spring Ave/ Tyler, TX 75702
Tx Prison Reform/ Box #671/ Kaukana, WI 54130
Fairchanges/2407 S. Congress Ave, Ste E-434/ Austin, TX 78704 (send reports on current conditions, at least 3 recommendations for change, deadline 7/4/2022)
RealLife Ministries/ Box #328/ Forney, TX 75126 (also does RealLife Radio, write to find out where you can tune in)
Dist. 141 - Senfronia Thompson/ 10527 Homestead Rd/ Houston, TX 77016 (Interim Study Committee on Criminal Justice reform ahead of legislation)

i hope this information is useful.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with Triumphant that a shift in demographics and elected officials could create more space for prison organizing. In theory an independent review board could create space for organizing as well. However, there is no historical example of such in the United $tates. Police review boards have never been effective nor independent. How could they be? The point of the criminal injustice system is to leverage the force of the state against those that pose a threat to the bourgeoisie’s and the state’s interests. This is a bourgeois dictatorship afterall, just like the rest of the world today.

Revolutionaries should campaign on the issues. If petty bourgeois reformers are willing to do the work to set up review boards and oversight and change rules, good for them. We should support them in doing so by campaigning on the issues that matter to us. As Triumphant mentioned, censorship and torture units (RHU) are among these issues. If we can campaign on these issues in ways that align with and support the bourgeois reformers that is a good thing. If revolutionaries take up the mantle of electoral politics and bourgeois reform, that is a very bad thing that leads to a never-ending cycle of oppression.

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Censorship of TBCJ, TDCJ Policies, Procedures and Rules

Dear MIM:

I’m writing to advise of a need for you to publish in your next issue a NOTICE FOR ALL TEXAS PRISONER ACTIVISTS concerning censorship of TBCJ-and-TDCJ policies (n.b.:The State-level Prison bureaucrats of Personnel) against the prison population and outside communities. This censorship practice is designed to keep the public relations of peoples who are incarcerated in ignorance and from having incarcerated people’ loved ones and friends in a DISADVANTAGED PHASE-AND-STATE-IN-NATURE when attempting to learn the proper information and steps to address the situations and problems arising outta the medical-and-mental health or prison conditions. The prison population needs to know of this. It seems that only certain information we’ve made/or ordered to be omitted from being accessible or available at the central-level and unit-level law library room Department’s list of in-stock holding items on their shelf.

The following is the list of items that the central-level and unit-level personnel does not want us to learn about with respect to TDCJ procedures and rules:

  1. Grievance Operations Manual
  2. Operations for Mailroom Manual *
  3. WSD Recreation Program Procedures Manual
  4. Departmental Policy and Operations Manual
  5. Food Service Procedures Manual
  6. Safe Prison/PREA Operations Manual
  7. Access to Court Procedures Manual *
  8. Substance Abuse Treatment Operation Manual
  9. Sex Offender Treatment Operations Manual
  10. Unit Classification Procedures Manual
  11. TDCJ Intake Procedures Manual
  12. TDCJ Records Detention Schedule
  13. TDCJ Property Procedures Manual
  14. Operational Review Manual
  15. Unit Classification Plan *
  16. Restrictive Housing Plan (n.b.: This Plan is not the same as The Manual) *
  17. Security Threat Group Plan
  18. TDCJ Volunteer Services Plan
  19. TDCJ Suicide Prevention Plan
  20. Operational Strategic Plan
  21. TDCJ Administrative Plan for Capital Improvements by Donor Groups
  22. Chaplaincy Department Manual *
  23. Safe Prison/PREA Plan *

Comrades! The Procedures/Operations Manuals and The Plans are not the same. The manuals will provide the prison population all the ins-and-outs and references of all federal and state statutes or laws pertaining to the subject-matter in question. Starred items above are items made-and-available for the prison population to inspect and review.

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[Drugs] [Prison Labor] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 78]
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Kill The Bossman in Your Head

Queridos Compañeros and Camaradas,

(Dear Comrades and Fellow Travelers)

A report from South Texas: In the wake of another mass shooting in nearby Uvalde, the pigs and their masters are engaging in the usual finger-pointing and recrimination but one thing is clear: the cops are cowards who are quick to shoot unarmed people, but become conveniently “policy-orientated” when they are faced with a disturbed young man wielding an AR-15 assault rifle slaughtering defenseless children.

I’m not really in the habit of blaming the consumers of this toxic system called “democracy”, but these poor children were already the “walking dead” after only a few years in the classroom. The lame-ass governor and the fascist Ted Cruz and their clique call it a “massive system failure”, but those who have been paying attention will immediately see the system works exactly as it was designed to operate: the state of Texas is the NRA torchbearer but ranks dead last in mental health treatment. In fact, the single biggest mental health care facility in the state is Harris County Jail.

Those who are waiting for a legislative solution better stop dreaming and open your eyes to the reality nobody is going to save us or free us unless we liberate ourselves and that can only happen if we organize and think and act strategically with our comrades and fellow travelers. It all begins with educating ourselves and arming ourselves with the necessary facts and tools to accomplish our goals and make the world a better place.

Here in Texas among the prison class it’s a real challenge to create solidarity as the cell blocks are constantly flooded with mind-numbing substances along with the disputes and rivalries and materialism that comes along with it. I’ve made very little progress in my effort to “kill the ‘bossman’ in your head” – not actual physical violence, but to actually banish the word “boss man” from our vocabulary when addressing these pigs.

I’m attempting to show the direct line from slave plantations through “convict leasing program” all the way to the modern system of mass incarceration, and how the term “boss man” helps keep us linguistically and psychologically in bondage. So we need to banish the term, thought, idea of “boss man” from our hearts and minds if we ever want to be free.

So my Juneteenth Freedom Initiative direct action is only days away and I will be peacefully protesting the lie that "slavery was abolished when in fact it’s alive and well in forced prison labor programs all over the United Snakes of America. As you can see from the enclosed denial forms, almost all your subsequent mailings have been denied. I am appealing the censorship and will keep you posted. At this point I am largely in the dark with regards to progress in other facilities, but I ask your assistance in helping me to challenge this censorship. In the meantime, I await further info/instructions.

PS: It is increasingly clear to me that so-called “Aryan” white supremacist groups are expanding and enjoying cover from prison officials. We need to focus on this and build Brown and Black alliance/solidarity along with white fellow travelers (very few of them), but I’m sure they are around. But my point is, these Aryan reactionaries are tools of the state and should be viewed as such. Recent headlines about “Right-Wing Domestic Terror Threat” are propaganda designed to increase even more police/surveillance state apparatus that will be used to control us, not them. That’s how they justify this shit with headlines to “combat neo-nazi terrorists” when in fact the plan all along is to keep their foot on our necks.

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[Revolutionary History] [Idealism/Religion] [Economics] [ULK Issue 78]
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Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación, Salvador Puig Antich, and The Labor Aristocracy

The Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación (MIL) was an anti-capitalist group consisting of both anarchists and communists that was active between 1971-1973 in the fascist state of Spain under Franco. The group was unique in that, unlike most revolutionary organizations, it was not centralized. MIL did not believe that a centralized group could be revolutionary. They insisted that a centralized group was synonymous with a party and that a party could not achieve social revolution because a party, by necessity, seeks to gain state power and then strengthen its position. The strengthening of state power – any state power – weakens the revolution.

MIL Line and History

MIL was internationalist in scope and honored the memory and history of various class struggles around the globe. Including, but not limited to: the Iberian class struggle, the Revolution of 333 Days in Hungary, the November Revolution in Germany, and the Bavarian Council Republic. They also had ties to anti-capitalist organizations outside of Spain, especially in France. In addition to it’s internationalist practices, they also collaborated extensively with other revolutionary organizations in Spain (most notably the GAC and OLLA).

The main element of MIL’s revolutionary action was the expropriation of funds from the capitalists through armed agitation. They would spread the expropriated money around the anti-capitalist movement to help further other clandestine operations as well as support worker’s struggles, families of prisoners, and victims of the police. A good chunk of these expropriated funds were invested in the library that MIL helped create called the Ediciones Mayo del 37. The purpose of this library was to publish and distribute revolutionary texts that could help raise the political consciousness of the working class.

Another important aspect of MIL was its support of women’s struggles against patriarchy. They claimed that any group that did not support such struggles were not revolutionary, for it was impossible to fight against capitalism and remain blind to the oppression and exploitation of women in capitalist society. Therefore, any organization that did not support women’s struggles were purposely ignoring their plight, and thus, could not be called revolutionary. Furthermore, MIL advocated revolution across all aspects of society: social, cultural, sexual, familial, and political. Revolution is not partial to any part of society; revolution effects society in its entirety. MIL did not consider itself a vanguard of the revolution – in fact, they opposed the very idea of a vanguard. Which is why they engaged in armed agitation rather than armed struggle.

“‘Armed agitation’ is wholly different from the strategy of ‘armed struggle’, in which a specialized group acts as the vanguard of the movement by constituting the nucleus of a future army…serving as the military wing of a clandestine political party…or by carrying out the most spectacular actions and using its position to attempt to influence and direct a mass movement…on the contrary, the groups that carry out armed agitation understand themselves to be simply a part of a bigger movement, increasing that movement’s capacity for communication, self-defense, and self-financing by organizing and funding clandestine printing, attacking the forces of repression, and expropriating money from capitalists…They also seek to generalize their practice rather than centralize it, distributing weapons among the lower classes and encouraging the horizontal proliferation of armed groups.” (1)

The core reason why MIL was opposed to armed struggle and the philosophy of the need for a vanguard was because they believed that nobody but the proletariat could liberate the proletariat. The idea that the proletariat needed an external group to lead or liberate them went against everything that MIL fought for and believed in. The members of MIL did not think of themselves as heroes of the people. They believed that their role in the anti-capitalist struggle was to act in ways that would help the working-class become politicized and then liberate themselves. As mentioned previously, the way that MIL thought best to achieve their purpose was through the expropriation of funds. By the time that MIL dissolved in September 1973, they had expropriated 24 million Pesetas from capitalists.

Ultimately, MIL dissolved itself after it had reached a point where the members could no longer consider their actions as revolutionary. Although MIL opposed specialization they found that they had become an organization that practiced specialization. They had done so inadvertently by continuously engaging in armed agitation without developing a political line that could explain and support their action to the masses. Just as theory – political line – needs to be supported by practice, so too does practice need to be supported by theory. The lack of one diminishes the other.

Initially, a Congress was held by the members of MIL to seek a solution that could save the group. In the end, they decided to dissolve; in part because their actions had failed to inspire the proletariat to engage in open class warfare. They decided that, at that time, the working class was not sufficiently politically conscious and that their main objective should be to politicize the masses through propaganda until the time came when armed agitation was necessary.

Salvador Puig Antich

The most famous member of MIL was, by far, Salvador Puig Antich. Salvador was born on 30 May 1948 in Barcelona. He began rebelling against authority figures in his youth and was once expelled from school for punching a teacher in defense of another student. Although he was involved in the worker’s struggles in his youth, he did not engage in revolutionary actions until he joined MIL during the summer of 1972. He participated in his first bank robbery on October 21st of the same year (acting as the getaway driver), and the action resulted in the expropriation of 990,200 Pesetas from the Laietana Saving Bank. Shortly after that Salvador began to carry a gun and go into banks himself.

He was a committed anti-capitalist who identified as an anarchist. Although he didn’t join MIL until it had been active for a year, he quickly became a prominent figure within the organization. He authored several texts that were circulated among the members of MIL. The purpose of these texts was to formulate discussion about various topics relevant to the organization and the revolution.

On 25 September 1973 Salvador was in a shootout with the police. During the altercation he was shot twice and one officer was killed. After the incident occurred he was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries; when he was determined to be in stable condition he was transferred to Modelo prison to await trail. On 9 January 1974 he was given the death penalty.

Although capitalists have attempted to portray Salvador as a degenerate criminal, the truth cannot be denied: he was a true revolutionary. He never denied his actions and always maintained that everything he did, he did in the name of the anti-capitalist struggle. His every action, his every thought, was centered toward the abolition of the state and the state apparatus. He never capitulated. He stayed true to the revolutionary struggle until the bitter end.

On 2 March 1974 Franco’s fascist state executed Salvador Puig Antich via garrot vil [editor: a chair that is used to strangle people to death]. He was 25 years old. Even though MIL did not develop a sufficient political line and dissolved after only two years of revolutionary action, it should by no means be forgotten. Both MIL and Salvador Puig Antich have influenced countless people in Spain to engage in revolutionary struggle. And, importantly, MIL advanced the theory of the Labor Aristocracy in a time when few did. Even today few recognize that in places like the United States of America, the proletarian class has ceased to exist and a new class has risen in its place; a parasitic class that benefits from the exploitation of the working class in the Third World. This parasitic class is the Labor Aristocracy.

MIL on the Labor Aristocracy

The same day that Salvador was executed Oriol Solé wrote the following from Modelo prison:

“In the United States, in Europe, under the rule of the superpowers, the proletariat has disappeared. Society has engendered a new social class that creates surplus, accumulates capital, and at the same time grows bloated on the surplus generated by millions of wage workers in the poor countries. A new class that builds itself a paradise paid for with the blood of the exploited poor of Africa, Asia and Latin America.” (2)

MIL’s line regarding the Labor Aristocracy was spot on, but several of their positions were flawed. For example, MIL viewed a vanguard as synonymous with a party and argued that any party would seize state power and strengthen its position. They held that no party could be revolutionary because the point of revolution is to abolish the state and the state apparatus.

This is an anarchist view and cannot lead to revolution. The anarchist believes that you should abolish the state and its apparatus immediately. While their concern about a new power oppressive power arising is a valid one, the communist recognizes the impracticality of combating strong class enemies without a state power and acknowledges that an intermediary stage between capitalism and communism is necessary – this stage being socialism. The socialist stage gradually diminishes until the state no longer exists. Only then can communism been achieved.

Another flaw is MIL’s view regarding the vanguard. They did not believe one was necessary and actively spoke against the creation of one. However, history has shown us that not only do vanguards work, but they are necessary to carry out a revolution. Three such examples are the centralized vanguards led by Mao, Castro, and Lenin. All of which carried out successful revolutions. Without their vanguards, those revolutions would not have occurred.

Yet, even with obvious flaws in their political theory, the MIL should not be thrown on the ash heap of history. Both MIL and Salvador Puig Antich are famous in Spain for their revolutionary legacy. But they are little known elsewhere. We should remember Salvador for his revolutionary actions, beliefs, and ultimate sacrifice. He lived for the people and he died for the people. Likewise, we should not let the MIL fall through the cracks of history. In the two short years of its existence, its actions shook the foundations of Spain, and surprisingly, it did so without killing. The only death attributed to MIL was that officer killed during the shootout with Salvador. MIL directly contributed to the worker’s struggles and did not seek to control or direct the proletariat for personal gain.

Every anti-capitalist revolutionary should remember Salvador Puig Antich and MIL and celebrate their legacy every March 2nd – the anniversary of Salvador’s death.

  1. Salvador Puig Antich: Collected Writings on Repression and Resistance in Franco’s Spain; by Ricard de Vargas Golarons; translated by Peter Gelderloos; pg.16
  2. ibid; pg.159

MIM(Prisons) adds: The story of MIL becoming specialized when they opposed specialization echoes the lesson of Jo Freeman’s The Tyranny of Structurelessness. This essay is included in our study pack on organizational structure, for those who want to dive deeper into the Maoist line on this topic.

While MIL grasped the economic realities of the imperialist countries at an early stage of history, like many others they failed to answer the question of how to organize for the end of oppression in these conditions. This has been a question that many similar groups in the First World took to similar conclusions, leading to dissolution. MIM attempts to answer these questions by recognizing the fact that armed struggle is not viable against a strong imperialist state, and the need to be a mass-based movement. We cannot expect huge or flashy actions at this stage of the struggle, and we must build the infrastructure and educate the cadre for when conditions change. Time is on our side.

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