by a California prisoner May 2017 permalink Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Basillo Ramos created the "Plan de San Diego" in 1915 in the State of Texas. This was a call to arms and involved a coalition of Mexicans, Blacks, First Nations and Asians to take up arms against white supremacy. These are some of our freedom fighters who came before us. They fought, sadly, the same struggle we are faced with today.
The Aztlán that so many fought and died for, and many of us have been imprisoned for, continues to glimmer on the horizon. It is the People's will to regain a foothold in our Sacred Land and break the chains that colonize our minds. It is time to rebuild the Revolutionary institutions. Raza Stand Up! Ya Basta! For we are on the quest of Aztlán!!!
Yes, let us not forget freedom fighters like Joaquin Murrieta, who sought supreme justice in California during the Gold Rush and fought the abuse of La Raza. Or David Sanchez and Carlos Montez who founded the Brown Berets in 1967. Or Corky Gonzalez and The Crusade for Justice.
It is right to study and learn from the lessons of the past, and use these lessons to continue to work united towards a common goal. In fact, we always made sure that a portion of time was set aside during all AV Brown Beret meetings for just this: to educate our membership. This was such an important factor that we had as #4 in our 10 Point Program, EDUCATION.
We must rebuild the Movimiento! And it's just as important to build unity across revolutionary organizations.
Viva La Causa
MIM(Prisons) adds: In August and September of 1915, the military operations carried out in southern Texas by units of 25 to 100 men reached their high point. Comrades in United Struggle from Within have been holding discussion over recent months to build its first commemoration of the spirit of the Plan for August 2017.
Comrades on the outside are encouraged to organize book events around [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán for August, and/or study groups to read the book leading up to August. Prisoners can write in to get copies of the Plan de San Diego flier to distribute locally, which includes a list of proposed actions from United Struggle from Within organizers.
On 18 April 2017 the prisoners here rioted against the staff. Mainly it was just the South Hall. Those youngsters are tired of being treated like animals. So they rebel the only way they knew how. By busting out all the windows on the South Hall of East Arkansas Regional Unit, which was one through eight barracks. This transpired that day from 5:30pm until 5:30am. By then Emergency Response Team (ERT) and officers from all the other units responded. They shot 30mm rubber bullets and flash bangs into those barracks. They hog tied prisoners, and dragged them down the hall to the visitation yard which was turned into a makeshift infirmary. There prisoners were beat, kicked or stomped while still cuffed and awaiting medical treatment. The pigs stayed for 3 days in extremely large numbers. 100 officers for day and night shifts the first day, then 50 extra officers on the 2nd and 3rd day. They even returned on the nights of Arkansas' executions.
The prisoners could have rebelled better, but it is what it is. I'm glad, it just goes to show only so much repression will be tolerated by the masses until change is demanded. It's just that their energy could have been utilized in a more revolutionary way than in just a release of emotional outcry. Educating prisoners, all day. Each and every day we must teach the Marxist-Leninst-Maoist way.
"Our task now is to continue to extend and make still better use of this method throughout the ranks of the people..." - Mao Tse-Tung, "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People"
What was comrade Mao speaking about when he made these comments? His topic was the democratic method. In 1942, it was explained this way: 1) beginning from a desire for/to achieve unity, 2) resolving contradictions (real differences in opinions, perspectives, positions on questions or issues) through criticism/struggle (not necessarily physical); 3) arriving at a new unity on new basis. In simpler terms: unity, criticism, unity! This was the philosophy and practice which led China to overthrow the exploitative forces draining their entire country. Before this method, the imperialists, capitalists and their allies exploited contradictions between and among the masses and political cadres; in order to maintain their strangle hold on controlling not only the means of production and the productive forces, but also the very existence of the people in all aspects of their lives. This was the oppressive reality in China and is currently the reality (although in varying degrees) in Amerikkka's prisons.
In U.$. prisons, habitually, the method of solving problems is through hyper-masculinity, or hyper-violence. In a prison, the smallest trifle, disagreement, or unintentional act is met in overly-aggressive manners. Soon a test of wills develops, "my way or no way." But this hyper-violence does nothing to encourage unity, class awareness, or political consciousness, and it cripples the movement. Here is the true reason why prison officials or those connected to prisons and the injustice system do nothing to avoid it, and in many cases, they actually promote hyper-violent methods. This method is detrimental to you but beneficial for accomplishing penological interests. To break this oppression, the democratic method must be foremost in our minds and practice.
Gangs, "clikas," alliances and groups are analogous with political parties, factions and groups of like-minded individuals, in prison and society. In prison there are numerous racial tensions. There are contradictions and various other factors, not least among them, the constant oppressive atmosphere. The only ingredient not present: political consciousness. Here, Mao's lessons can be put to good use.
The procedures of yesterday may not be the exact remedy needed for today's problems. In prison, as in capitalist society, contradictions are normally expressed in acute antagonisms and conflicts. Many times this equates to prisoner against prisoner (rival gang members or conflicting races), or to a lesser extent, prisoner against guards. What do such conflicts achieve? Only further detriment for us. "Failure to understand..." in prison as in society, perpetuates the very causes of hyper-violence, which that same violence seeks to eliminate. Should we search for a different method, other than what the capitalist system has provided us for contradiction resolution? Can contradictions be resolved at all? Comrade Mao, in speaking of progress and difficulties says, "... not only should contradictions be resolved, but definitely can be."
"The only method to be used in this struggle is that of painstaking reasoning and not crude coercion..." Crude coercion being the hyper-violence/violent methodology. By opening dialogue for mutual education of every class of people, with a focus on promoting a united front. By critically analyzing, debating and correcting mistaken or inappropriate political views, as well as sowing the seeds that will produce political consciousness. After a time, this process yields fruits and progress. Two prisoners from rival gangs may begin to discuss their mutually oppressive predicament. This leads to criticism, fueled by a desire to struggle against their oppression, a criticism of the available options, submission or hyper-violence, and a rejection of both. Soon these rivals (actually allies against the oppressors) come to realize the only true way: the democratic method. Following such an epiphany, they form an alliance based on refusing to continue being pawns in the game and find a new unity. Unity, criticism, unity!
While the method is practicable in U.$. prisons, Amerikkka's prisoners, on a large scale, lack political consciousness and that is a problem. Here we must focus on educating, which goes back to our "task," as outlined above "...we should work painstakingly and not be impetuous." Creating more "self-determinants" as I've termed it in, "The Adaption of Capitalistic Controls," (see ULK 54). For the future health of the movement, the correct political points of view must be nourished, because not to have a correct political point of view is like having no soul. A movement without a soul is dead.
I am an incarcerated person in a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections prison named SCI Somerset, located in Somerset, Pennsylvania. An incident happened on 9 January 2017 at 1600 hour count (4pm). The regular 2-10pm Sergeant (Sergeant Baserman) and Officer Reesman were walking past my cell to conduct inmate count. After they passed I needed to use the bathroom, so I turned my back towards my cellmate (so I wouldn't get a write up) and faced the door. The Officer and Sergeant came back around to go up the stairs, which is by my cell. Sergeant Baserman, who was second to go up the steps, stopped on the 3rd step and looked directly over at me. As soon as I noticed I yelled "do you mind I'm using the restroom" the Sergeant continue to watch me until I was finished using the restroom.
Later the same evening I sat down and wrote out what happened and asked to file a PREA report (Prison Rape Elimination Act) against Sergeant Baserman. I placed this in a plain white envelope and addressed it to the PREA Lieutenant, DL Abbott. Three days later I went to be interviewed by Lieutenant Abbott. He stated he was going to pull the camera footage. In the meantime I would be interviewed by the Psych Department to see if mentally I was okay, then interviewed by the Pennsylvania State Police. Within a week I saw both the Psych department and the Pennsylvania State Police. The Pennsylvania State Police said during my interview they couldn't find any video footage but would go back and look again. I heard nothing after that interview.
About a week later I went on writ for court to SCI Benner Township. I was gone for almost a month. The day after I came back I was called up and served with a misconduct. I was written up because they say they couldn't find camera footage and said I made up a story. A week later, I went in front of the hearing examiner S. Wiggins. Despite never having another misconduct on me or even a block card (a negative housing report) and being a model prisoner, this hearing examiner still found me "guilty" and sanctioned me to 30 days cell restriction, which is total confinement away from general population.
My family then emailed the facility PREA Coordinator Mr. Allen Joseph (also a deputy here) asking for his help in regards to this misconduct. A few days later he called me over to an office, along with my unit counselor, and states he had gotten an email from my family and didn't care if we chose to expose the conditions of the prison as my family had stated. He stated also that I deserve the punishment I received. After this meeting I returned to my cell. Let the record reflect, that I was still on the same housing unit with this Sergeant and there had been nothing but retaliation since that with the Sergeant. My family also contacted Central Office for PREA, who also stated this prison is in the wrong.
For the record, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Inmate Handbook, which is given to every prisoner when arriving to their home prison, page 7, section 8, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) DC-ADM008 number 2, the last sentence reads "you will not be retaliated against for reporting an incident of sexual harassment or for providing witness testimony." This prison has clearly violated this and continues to violate this and many other PA DOC policies. They interpret policies the way they want and enforce them how they want. Even Superintendent Wingard does nothing to help the situations in here and instead helps make it worse by sticking up for his staff whether they are right or wrong. Please take a stand with me and expose these prisons on their intolerable wrongdoings and let them know they can't get away with this. Join with me and take a stand!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade exposes what we've heard from other prisoners: the "Prison Rape Elimination Act" or PREA is at best ineffective and at worse turning into a tool for abuse and retaliation against those who attempt to make PREA reports. We need to continue to expose these situations. And we ask our readers to chime in on whether there is a better tactic we should consider to fight these abuses. While we often try to use the law to our advantage, filing reports and lawsuits even when we don't expect to win, we are hearing more stories of retaliation than victories using PREA.
Yesterday was Palestinian Prisoners' Day. Yesterday was also two days after the fifteenth anniversary of intifada hero Marwan Barghouti's illegal abduction from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
It is on this day that American-backed Israelis, in action opposing the two-state solution, chose to put Palestinian reconciliation and national unity symbol Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement.(1)
Solitary confinement is a practice widely implemented as a form of discipline and political repression in the #1 prison state in the world, the United States. Used to repress protests of inhumane conditions, solitary confinement is itself widely considered inhumane particularly when done for long periods of time. Some Palestinians have been in solitary for years. Other kinds of worse treatment often accompany solitary confinement. It seems likely that Marwan Barghouti will be in solitary for several days at least.
A long-time prisoner himself with an immediate interest in the outcome of the protest like any of the other "security prisoners" in Israeli prisons, Barghouti was reportedly leading a large prisoner hunger strike against inhumane and illegal treatment of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. One of the things the prisoners are demanding is an end to solitary confinement, which it seems Barghouti could be in until the hunger strike ends. A mass hunger strike in 2014 lasted two months.(2)
Reactionaries are trying to get the public to associate the open hunger strike with the murder allegations against Barghouti. They are suggesting Barghouti is the only reason for the strike. The hunger-striking prisoners' demands include an end to health negligence and an end to detention without trial. I$rael is holding hundreds of Palestinians without Israeli citizenship in administrative detention. Because of multiple anniversaries in 2017 related to the colonization and occupation of Palestine, massive protests would have happened whether Barghouti was alive or not.
Many in various countries do consider Marwan Barghouti — one of several imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, belonging to different parties — to be Palestine's "Mandela," a potential future Palestinian president. Barghouti was taken by the imperialist settler formation and Amerikan outpost named "Israel" fifteen years ago and subjected to a show trial in a kangaroo court. An intifada figure and strong supporter of Palestinian nationalism and independence before and after being abducted, Barghouti is reportedly able to unite various groups of Palestinians in a way that few are. Many people in various countries already support Barghouti's release.
Barghouti supported the Oslo Accords in the past. Azanian Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu nominated Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize in June last year. At his show trial, Barghouti noted in Hebrew that he was a figure for peace for two peoples.
Barghouti has supported trying different approaches, permitted under international law, to ending an occupation that is illegal. Months and years after major waves of protest and resistance, there are still thousands of Palestinians in I$raeli prisons for resisting the illegal occupation and settlement. One of them happens to be Barghouti.
Since the I$raeli goon squad kidnapped Barghouti in 2002, the highly influential and extremely wealthy United $tates has had many years of chances under various presidents to secure Barghouti's release. It hasn't happened. Two-term Democratic president Barack Obama didn't do it. Instead, Obama deceived Palestinians and gave Israel a record-breaking aid package. Obama sought to protect the image of Democrat warmongers and do-nothings, and the United States' image, after now-President Trump won the U.S. election and it became obvious that the United States was going to lose its undeserved standing as a peacemaker.
The West Bank and East al-Quds ("Jerusalem") already had tens of thousands of illegal settlers at the time of Ariel Sharon's al-Aqsa provocation against the two-state solution in 2000. For years the United States has verbally supported the two-state solution and verbally opposed settlement construction, in land universally understood to be occupied territory, while hampering the two-state solution and supporting settlement construction in actuality. Whether Barghouti would ever be president or not, Barghouti's continued detention is hampering processes Palestinians need to go through to arrive at important decisions with a higher level of unity.
The two-state solution isn't total liberation of Palestine. Many Palestinian leaders and figures mediating Palestine's international struggle support it. Some Palestinians consider the two-state solution a temporary step. According to survey reports, many support some approaches to it more than they support others. Though not always agreeing with or emphasizing some approaches to the two-state solution, Marwan Barghouti has supported it.
Despite internal disagreement about specific issues and non-Palestinians' demoralizing statements about the ability to end and reverse settlement activity, the Palestinian nation as a whole is still struggling for the two-state solution in the midst of U.S. hindrance and the intransigence of some Zionist and non-Zionist elements in Israel. Palestinians and various Arabs and Muslims do not support the two-state solution any less than the Amerikans, who take advantage of conflict and violence in the Middle East, do. As discussed on this website [see notes], even Hamas and Iran support the two-state solution more than the United States does in reality.
Israelis have a chance to oppose West Bank annexation, oppose West Bank settlement activity, and support Palestinian independence. They have a chance to live in relative peace by ending their idolatrous attitude toward the United States and ending their dependence on that hegemonic, rogue aggressor for support in the midst of worsening conditions. However, the I$raeli entity stupidly chose to put Barghouti in solitary yesterday. In a month and a half is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Syrian Golan. It is possible the Hunger Strike for Freedom and Dignity will still be going on then.
Regardless of intent or how anyone feels about the two-state solution, the broad Palestinian unity around the prisoners' hunger strike may be helping to promote Palestinian reconciliation and unity in other areas, and advance the two-state solution. That is true even though some of what the hunger strikers and prisoners are asking for could be won without freeing prisoners or winning a sovereign independent Palestinian state.
In the United States, there are also hunger strikes including strikes over solitary confinement.(3) So-called intersectionality in the Palestine-United States context is sometimes discussed in terms of pursuing equality with oppressors within a single state. Unity of Palestinians with various perspectives inside and outside prison, though, has the potential to contribute to Palestinian nationalism. Within U.S. prisons, unity of various whites and people in different non-white nations (including the [email protected] nation, the New Afrikan nation, and First Nations) often targets repression affecting many different prisoner demographics. This benefits the oppressed and activists inside prison, and can benefit fights for the self-determination of oppressed nations. Often this has nothing do with uniting Amerikans in general, or with advancing integrationism, which is a dead-end. Incarceration in the United States, and incarceration of so-called security prisoners and other Palestinians in I$raeli prisons, show oppressed nations' need for self-determination.
In response to the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike, some are downplaying Palestinian unity or trying to take advantage of differences and discourage supporters by saying the strike is just about Barghouti. Yet, many different movements in Palestine have members in Israeli prison and are supporting the strike.
In a statement on the hunger strike, Barghouti refers to "mass" arbitrary detention and mistreatment and opposes occupation.(4) Barghouti refers to "the nation" to which prisoners belong, and "every national liberation movement in history." Barghouti identifies Israel as an occupying power. The prisoners' suffering is related to the suffering of the Palestinian nation.
"The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost."
Among other things, Barghouti addresses collective punishments. "Palestinian prisoners and their families also remain a primary target of Israel's policy of imposing collective punishments."
"Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation."
Some are using the failures of Amerika's phony leadership as an excuse to oppose the two-state solution, Palestinian nationalism in general, and peace efforts in general. This is unfortunate. The United States must be opposed. In the international sphere, there needs to be new leadership in coordination with Palestine. Other countries need to influence Israel. Palestinian officials must give up any remaining illusions they might have about the Amerikans. The United States has proved uninterested in taking serious steps to resolve the conflict. In fact, it promotes and benefits from it. The United States, itself an illegitimate settler entity, is hegemonic, just gets in the way of real peace efforts, and is losing whatever credibility it had in the context of Mideast peace. The AmeriKKKan population has repeatedly proved willing to support or go along with U.S. aggression in the Middle East and, as a whole, is interested in the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict only enough to make things worse. The Amerikan population doesn't really care about Jews and Muslims overseas. When it seems to care about their conditions, it exploits them for chauvinistic, jingoistic and warmongering purposes and to justify Amerikan corruption in the Middle East.
This writer understands why Israeli activists would want to focus on opposing their own country or its policies. However, globally there needs to be more opposition to the United States in order to advance Palestinian liberation. Various elements inside and outside Israel are accepting U.S. hegemony and failing to support Marwan Barghouti's and other political prisoners' release while opposing Palestinian nationalism and supporting amalgamation with settlers. That is unwise.
Israelis and the world must act to immediately end the folly of refusing to negotiate with Palestinian prisoners, and end the abuse of hunger strike leaders and participants. Marwan Barghouti and other leaders or political prisoners must be freed from solitary confinement and must be freed from prison. The practice of taking Palestinians to be imprisoned in Israel must stop. The world's countries must support Palestinian independence and sovereignty regardless of the United States' priorities and exert pressure and influence so that demands of the hunger-striking prisoners are met as long as Palestinians are in I$raeli prisons.
I am a Mexican National Citizen raised in the old ways of making business. Our word was always good to our dying last breath. In prison politics and Mexican politics, the word is meaningless. (Tell that to good Tio Colosio, who paid with his life for believing someone else's word.)
Well, after 20 years in a main line or so-called active yards, I made the transition to the SNY yard. Here, I found lots of brothers (i.e. comrades), that made the transition years and even decades ago. Fortunately, I escaped the usual brainwashing that my Chicano counterparts are exposed to in the schools and ghettos. So, I called quits, and came over to the bizarre world. I found that most of my new comrades lacked any type of political consciousness. Time after time they declined my attempt to read some of my literature. It did not escape my mind that I once was like that too. It took me years to awaken to the cruel reality of my imprisonment.
Anyway, my first celly was a white male. And I discovered what I have always known in theory: We are all ignorant, poor, and damned (regardless of skin color, creed, or gang affiliation). For reasons that are not pertinent to this essay my new celly only last me less than 24 hours. Nevertheless, he left a deep impression in my consciousness. He told me that on the line his shot caller actually put a hit on him, over a $50.00 pruno debt. So he had to assume the position and allowed his beloved celly, who was a few months short to go home. And he was stabbed about three times. That is how out of control the prison gangs are.
So that the readers know: The average Mexican National prisoner doesn't belong to cartels, or street and prison gangs. Most Mexicanos are unaware of the avalanche of prison politics coming their way. Without no shame I can say that had my counselor told me about my expected role to serve at the active yard I should have checked out right there and then. It wasn't meant to be, so I was set up, by a failed rehabilitation system. I was immediately classified as a "PAISA" or "BORDER BROTHER." This STG (Security Threat Group) is under the direct order of the Sureños Prison Gang (like to be ordered to do hits and follow gang's rules).
Unbeknownst to the Mexican, all of these violent incidents will be used by the Board of Parole Hearings ("BPH"). God forbid one has a stabbing ten years ago. They literally act the part to be surprised that these kind of thing happen in prison. Even a disciplinary citation over a stolen apple will be used to say that one is a danger to the free community. These pundits actually believe that these gulags are CENTERS of top notch rehabilitation. And that one insists in misbehaving!
My new celly is an elderly Mexican. He is respectful and knows how to do time. He too called it quits when he discovered the winds of change in the air. And before things took a turn for the worst, he made the best decision in his life. He became another "SNY." The environment here is more loose. The gang trip is over. I have not seen any acts of predatory behavior towards those that are too weak to defend themselves. Then, there are those that act out as straight protective custody; they believe that the c/o is their daddy or big carnal. They are loud and wear their pants half way down their butt. Still the talking with staff can also be seen at facility "C", an active yard. They came in to the program office and spend time with them (getting cozy with the enemy i.e. the oppressor).
I found out that if I kept to myself and mind my own business I can fly undetected. This wasn't possible in an active yard, because one is expected to put in work for the prison gang. The new prison gangs at this side, they pretty much keep to themselves. And do their fighting without asking for help. Those who do not want to engage in the new gangs warfare are left alone out of the drama. I have spoken to former Sureños and Norteños (youth and elderly), and many described themselves as "Mexicanos" born on this side. Many have realized that the Mexican National is not their puppet to be used and discarded. They all agreed that becoming "SNY" is the best decision that they ever took. Their new leaders are their families, patria, and raza.
Here, former shotcallers and gang leaders are nothing. They are one more slave among the thousands. Long are gone the days of blood money, glory, cell phones, and God ego trips over life and death. As for my own transition from an enslaved active prisoner to an "SNY" it was easy. I packed my belongings without raising too much suspicion. And at school I told the officer "that I wanted out of the yard." They pressured me to tell what I knew about the big fat sapos and those that are kissing their ass. I had nothing to tell them.
Even if I knew anything I would never tell them nothing. I am too old to become a state snitch. So, not all SNY prisoners become snitches. I have been told that sometimes the officers threaten prisoners by telling them they will be sent back to the main line. But, this wasn't my case. (For your information, the officers will never do that.)
For those that I left behind, stop and think about it, for a long time. Is it really worth it to give up one's life by running a fool's errand? What they are sending you to do to someone else's son they will do to you. The masters of manipulation's lost cause is not worth it to die or kill for. Screw their orders, they are not our parents, tios, or big brothers. They are playing God with your lives and freedom.
They are bloodthirsty sociopaths with our brothers' and sisters' blood on their hands. They are the oppressor's little brother; they help the oppressor to keep us in check. Go ahead and tell them to do the killings themselves. They can't really hold you up accountable for your word; that you gave up as a little kid. You did not know anything about life when they enticed you to join the gang. They never told you that by 15 you would be dead or doing life in the gulags.
They never took you to a funeral and told you: that is you in a few years. They never took you to the gulags to visit those who are buried alive. Have they told you that an early death or lifetime in prison was your future? Odds are that you would have run away ASAP. Thus, at the age of 20, 30, or even 60 years old, one must truly awaken to the reality of our predicament and analyze the contradictions of one's slavery. So that we can shake off the old chains that bind us to a lost cause. One must evolve and think outside the box. It is the 21st Century, our families need us out there.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Lumpen organizations (LOs) in the united $tates are usually organizations of the most economically marginalized of the oppressed in this country. Elsewhere comrades have spoke about the difference between the Neo-Colonial Lumpen Organization (NLO) and the LO. The experience of the above comrade reflects the practice of the NLO. But the LOs in general have both capitalistic and collective/nationalist aspects to them. And those that embrace the collective aspect (usually in a revolutionary nationalist way), can evolve to become Political Mass Organizations (PMOs).(1) So while we struggle with comrades in LOs to move in the direction of becoming a PMO, the above story is a common one in California as SNY has come to represent one third of prisoners in recent years.(2)
This comrade also touches on the national question and national identity in Aztlán. The fact that those of Mexican descent born within U.$. borders are so likely to identify as Mexicanos speaks to the national contradiction between the Amerikan settler and the colonized territory of Aztlán. As this comrade also recognizes we refer to those born north of the U.$.-Mexico border as [email protected] The recognition of a [email protected] nation deeply connected to, but separate from Mexico, was the outcome of the struggles of revolutionary nationalists and communists in the 1960s organizing Raza in the southwest. For those interested in this topic you should check out [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán by a MIM(Prisons) study group. This book is available to prisoners for $10, or work trade.
Californian Correctional Officers' beginning career wages are the highest in the U.S. at a whooping $48,000, with the prospect of earning nearly $80,000 annually when reaching the top pay grade.(1) They receive 640 hours of training, and an 8-month probationary period for each and every new recruit. I don't believe the average citizen who pays taxes would approve of how they don't run the daily prison program on a regular basis. In essence getting paid well for clocking into work just to sit in office areas and do nothing until it's time to clock out.
I'm writing this specifically in relation to practices at California Correctional Institution (CCI). Today is 18 April 2017 and a part of our program has been taken for no given reason 71 times just this year since January, not including a 9-day facility lockdown for the misplacement of one set of tweezers. The tweezers were lost in PIA [job site], which disrupted college courses and furthered this lockdown culture. I've spent 7 years on Level 4s where violence was a regular occurrence and those yards received less lockdown and program cancellations than this peaceful low-to-no violence yard. With a month plus of complete lockdown if one calculates partial lockdown, plus 9 building lockdowns where the rest of the yard is programming yet Building #1 Correctional Officers have decided not to run program without a given explanation. I feel tax payers would like to know how their money is being spent, many of them making far less than these Correctional Officers to do much more.
One has only to think about the mental and physical effects that are rooted in being locked in a 6 by 8 by 9 feet cell with another human for over 16 hours a day for months, even years, at a time under the pretense that the Department of Corrections is using the rehabilitation model, which was initiated in the 1930s and states that it is a model of corrections that emphasizes the need to restore a convicted offender to a constructive place in society through some form of vocational or educational training or therapy. (Cole, Smith & De Jong, "Criminal Justice in America 8th Edition." 2015, pp 328, 362) This is one of my college courses this semester and all previous citing is from the textbook.
Isolationistic practices are shown to have double negative effects on captives in regard to their social skills and behavior. This is due to the unnaturalness of long periods in isolation, captives become more agitated when expecting program i.e. readying themselves to go out of cell for yard, dayroom, school, and self help then without notice they cancel program without saying nothing. This is unique to CCI because at all other prisons the building COs let population know there will be no program. I write this even after talking to Sara L. Smith, Ombudsman, in person and 2nd Watch Sgt. Bart about this ongoing issue. Both responded it would be dealt with, yet two days in a row partial program has been cut with three in-house COs i.e. 2 on the floor plus one in control booth.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Under capitalism, the criminal injustice system is primarily concerned with enforcing the conditions that allow for profit. For colonized nations, this means repression and imprisonment to maintain the colonial relationship. Therefore, reforming people is rarely the focus. And how could it be, when there are no efforts made to address the causes of anti-social behavior in the first place, which include the dog-eat-dog culture of capitalism?
Unfortunately, the settler nations (like Amerika) are so bought into this system of oppression that they have little concern for the $80k a year their tax money might be paying some CO to sit around. That is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the bombs being dropped on Syrians right now. One Tomahawk missile, made by Raytheon Co., costs $1.59 million.(2) In the U.$. attack on a Syrian air field a couple weeks ago (6 April 2017), they used 59 Tomahawk missiles. Yet, according to multiple polls, a majority of Amerikans supported that attack.(3) And they have a long history of supporting huge military spending to kill people around the world. We find it unlikely that they will be moved by the money being spent to keep a large, idle lumpen population in prisons. It is up to those affected by the criminal injustice system to do something to stop this madness creating more madness.
Having literally been raised in the fedz (age 23-40), I developed a very unique perspective/world view on the "struggle" and the varying dynamics associated with it. One of the things I saw in the fedz from the beginning was the abundance of "official" OGs on the yards. Revolutionaries and street entity! They put efforts into educating males that, at minimum, one only had to carry oneself with a certain level of convict decorum if you will, to stay on level 5 lines. The various nations policed themselves. Which in turn negated much of the reactionary interracial violence which'd typically occur.
My journey began in a United States Penitentiary (USP) where I lasted 6 months before an encounter in center hallway with an aggressive pig! Before my 1st full year was done, I'd added 24 more months to the 15 years I'd been given! That set the tone for my bid and life. In that the hatred I felt for authority manifested quite regularly over the next 2 years. Accumulating a slew of violence shots (writeups), FBI referrals for prosecution and ultimately my first SHU placement.
What I recall most of my first ADX stay (mid-late 90s) was the standard of the majority of men I met, be they euro-nationalist, Muslim, revolutionary nationalist, Chicano, tribal structures, New Afrikan, tribal cats, etc. All stood firmly against the pigs. Anti-rodent philosophies included. Granted, we had the typical frictions associated with being in unnatural environments, forced to occupy very tight spaces. Many cats got hurt, racial reactionary issues and intra-racial fratricide due to geographical biases typically. However, I recall many instances where those of us who had any "credibility" and/or "entity status" would regularly parley (i.e. politic) to maintain respect between us and thereby negate potential violence.
At this time, I personally put down my own "tribal identity" and embraced a progressive ideological precept, albeit infantile. Three specific men entered my life and changed it forever: a European communist, a founding member of the dominant Chicano structure, and last but not least, a bay area militant turned Muslim! While in "stepdown units" of ADX, each took time to work with me, share progressive literature with us, build via dialogue. Many of my/our (i.e. tribal cats) previously held biases and notions on particular ethnic groups, etc. These were proven false once we were put within the close confines of ADX and actually talked.
I learned of various German philosophers (Nieche, Clausowitch) from euro-nationalists; about Aztecs, Toltecs, etc. from Chicanos under structure; about Mao, Lenin, Marx from communists; about Chaka, Diop, Huey P., George, Fred, so many more fallen heroes (and sheroes) from Afrikan nationalists! All of which giving insight into how these men thought, crucial to forging any qualitative bonds across both tribal and/or national lines in prison! I left ADX for Lompoc, where I remained 4 years, got to finally visit my family, and where I was embraced to the revolutionary nationalist ideology via affirmation and deeds!
There I again encountered some truly conscious men who embraced one and aided in my growth from tribal reactionary towards revolutionary activist. [Many comrades freely gave of themselves on a daily to uplift all of us! What I learned from them was "struggle"! To educated ourselves and others to learn the needs of the people, stand beside all who share same struggle (i.e. quest for revolutionary political and economic change in U$). Skin color being a non-factor in assessment of one's revolutionary authenticity. This is a reality I took with me over the following 5 years, including a (3 year) ADX return. Each line I hit, my objectives stayed fairly fixed, but open to change depending on conditions and personnel. This led to many fruitful alliances with a cross section of the populace on one hand, and quite a few situations where we organized and in turn undermined the progression of our common oppressor.
The biggest hurdle that I see to Euro-nationalists truly embracing a genuinely revolutionary ideology is their own fears and inherent biases. The fear of being ostracized by other Europeans keeps majority from standing beside folks of color. Their shared sociocultural backgrounds with the pigs (in majority of states) oftentimes see the euro-captive identify with the euro-captor out of some misguided sense of cultural identity vs. those held beside them, who are of New Afrikan or Latino ancestry. Ray Luc and Richard W. (rip) showed exactly how one of European ancestry can be revolutionaries. Neither of them were cowards about reactionary BS! They walked as men, and as such, all respected them. And both had full military support of party, tribal sets, etc. should any of the racists attempt to move on them. Those who are really striving to be about the struggle stand on "people's power" not skin affiliations or entities which espouse supremacist rhetoric.
The article by Bro Rashid (ULK 55, p. 14) I related to as I am presently housed in the cesspool (twilight zone) of Oregon DOC. What he described from 2014 could've easily been today. Thus far I have lasted 1 month at East Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) and 3 months on this mainline. In both instances I was kited off yard, likely by other folks of color. My party jacket, coupled with the past tribal ties (i.e. gang) has apparently moved my captors to indeterminately SHU me. Oh, and my conversion to Islam a couple years ago likely didn't help my cause, considering all of the extremist activities going on globally, that is. It appears I shall be sent out of state at some point. Objective being to get the militants up out of ODOC so as to keep these cats asleep and complacent! Lifers content to own multiple pairs of shoes; mp3 players, etc. I am constantly amazed, daily, at how warped these Oregonians ideals are, as they relate to acceptable conduct for ethical men in prison! Kickin it with pigs is not only accepted by the so called "good dudes" (Oregon speak for a Euro-captive that is not a sex offender). Cell soldiering back and forth is a daily occurrence. I hear an abundance of anti-sex-offender rhetoric, but next to nothing about the "system" which creates misogynist cats who in turn abuse women?!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer brings up some good examples from eir history that demonstrate the potential for people to learn and grow, for unity across groups in prison, and for people of all nations to take up revolutionary struggle. While there are material reasons why oppressed nations have a stronger interest in revolutionary struggle, people from the oppressor nation in prison are in a unique situation that can inspire them to take up the struggle.
We also want to comment on the last paragraph in which this writer talks about ethical behavior in prison, as this is an important point. The ideals that make it correct to talk trash about sex-offenders but not fight misogyny is something we need to address head on. It is the patriarchy that makes males feel good to attack those convicted of sex offenses without thinking about their own patriarchal behavior. Further the idea that attacking sex offenders is correct but murderers are ok makes no sense. We need to create a culture where all crimes against the people are condemned. And then we need to struggle with those who commit these crimes to see the mistakes they have made and reform their lives.
by an Oregon prisoner April 2017 permalinkIn ULK55 I saw many parallels to my own journey: past and present. The continual process of trying to politicize euro-nationalists is a very frustrating dilemma indeed. They've been bred by their own (dominant culture) to see themselves as superior! Which ofttimes manifests in their usage of covert racist terminology. Even as they attempt to convey a struggle oriented opinion (see ULK55 p16). A GA captive refers to a man of color as "boy"!
Thanks for this criticism. We print it now since it slipped past our
editors last issue. Terms like "baby boy" and boy are often used as
terms of affection, especially by older comrades. But the word has a
different meaning when written by a white persyn describing an oppressed
national, especially by a member of the Aryan Nation. Specifically, boy
was commonly used by white Amerikans when bossing around, threatening
and just generally oppressing New Afrikans during slavery and after. It
was a mistake for us to let such a use of the term slip into ULK
I just received ULK 55. I would like to offer a clarification in the area of so-called "sex offenders." Now I will speak of the situation in Corruptardo (as most call this imprisonment state) only, as I am not sure what other states are doing in this area. Also, I will speak of the "causation" of "sex phobia" which infects most Amerikans.
In Colorado, a sex charge does not automatically indicate a "rape" situation where a victim was forced to do something. Three actions which will bring a sex charge are: 1. Someone caught pissing on an alley dumpster at night; 2. Someone caught pissing on a bush in a park; 3. A juvenile (14) who pats a girl on the butt while she stands in front of him in line in school. Also, in Colorado someone caught "mooning" someone from out a car window, or "streaking" (as was big in the 1970s), can be charged with a sex offense, and, required to register as an SO. The first three situations are from actual cases (people) that I know.
So just because someone is labeled by a sex phobic system as an SO, it does not mean that he/she hit someone over the head and dragged them into the bushes.
Nothing freaks out an Amerikan more than almost anything to do with sex(!). Want to torpedo a politician, just clam he had an affair with a staffer. Want to panic a neighborhood, just let an SO move there. A robber, a mugger, a drug dealer, no problem. But sex(!!), oh shit!
All our laws and regulations about sexual conduct come from the Jews (the Pentatench, those rules say unruly children should be stoned to death), and the Christians (their bible saying "slaves obey your masters" and that wives should be submissive to their husbands). The people that brought us the flat earth, heilo-centrism (the sun revolves around the earth), and the claim that diseases are caused by demon possession, have written the laws that say when, how, at what age, and with who for any sexual action. No sex unless we say so!
As part of their education efforts, I encourage all prisoners trying to learn the how, why, when and where to research more than political science (socialist, etc.) theory. I say, look into the history of the laws that have been used to oppress you. Who wrote them? What was their agenda? Were they following a semitic religious philosophy? And what were the social/societal conditions when the law(s) were written?
Despite the claims (often unstated) by the rightists (fascists) that cry for "law and order," the laws of the U.$. did not come down with Moses (the mythical one) on stone tablets. People created them in their efforts for power (control over others, social control, control of the money).
Some books on the history of "sex" laws, or of attitudes concerning sex-related behavior (marriage, etc.) that I recommend are: From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity by Kyle Harper Purity Crusade: Sexual Morality and Social Control by D. Pivar. Marriage, History by Stephanie Coontz Rescuing Sex from the Christians by Clayton Sullivan Delirium: How the Sexual Counterrevolution is Polarizing America by Nancy Cohen
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer raises some important points about how we define crime in the United $tates. There are many people locked up for sex crimes (and other crimes) who, under a revolutionary government, would be immediately freed. Of course, we would still fight against things like boys patting girls butts. That behavior is made acceptable by the patriarchy, and in a revolutionary society it will not be ok, and we will provide re-education for those who don't understand why. But in patriarchal society those who commit these "crimes" are no more guilty of patriarchal behavior than 90% of the males on the streets. All (males and females) will need significant re-education to overcome a lifetime of patriarchal training. That doesn't mean we need to lock everyone up in prison. And it certainly doesn't mean we trust the Amerikan criminal injustice system to decide who gets locked up.
Certainly religions have strongly influenced a backwards view of sex under patriarchal imperialist society. But the sexual Liberals draw a false dichotomy between themselves and such "social conservatives." They are merely too sides of the pornographic culture — one prefers its rape hidden in the halls of the church, the other prefers it on display for all to see. Both fetishize the power relations of the patriarchy. We are far from the time when we'll be able to eliminate laws and rules about sex. Instead we are going to need an interim period where a revolutionary government enforces revolutionary laws. These laws will dismantle the patriarchy by mobilizing those oppressed by it and re-educating the oppressors. At the same time we will be creating a culture that rejects the patriarchy and gender hierarchies and divisions and promotes equality for all people.
The Marxist approach may line up with the Liberal approach at times because it is open about talking about sex as a way to combat gender oppression. But we don't talk about it nearly as much, because most talk is just the reproduction of pornographic culture for titilation rather than scientific analysis for solving problems. In practice, Maoism in the Third World has shown the benefits of things like the separation of genders in both work and living spaces as a means to attack the patriarchy. Something Liberals are quick to condemn in the non-revolutionary states of the Muslim world today.
Some people think that MIM(Prisons) is too conservative around sex because we uphold the idea that monogamy is the best practice within revolutionary organizations. But this is necessary due to the unfortunate reality of our patriarchal culture. We just don't have the power or resources to create an alternative culture and system of government yet. And so instead we need policies and practices that do the most to fight against patriarchal culture and behavior today, while we fight for a society where these are abolished in the future.