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.
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.
Analizando el sistema de control social en los Estados Unidos, es imprescindible que sigamos la línea correcta. Actualmente, la posición de muchas personas es la de argumentar que el sistema de injusticia está basado en un "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones", que [email protected] en MIM(Prisons) rechazamos. Un nuevo informe, "Following the Money of Mass Incarceration" (Siguiendo el Dinero del Encarcelamiento Masivo) de Peter Wagner y Bernadette Rabuy, proporciona nuevas pruebas para apoyar nuestra posición.
Las prisiones generalmente son una red compleja de campos de concentración para semicolonias oprimidas, más que una industria económicamente rentable. De hecho, existen algunos beneficios que deben hacerse (y [email protected] capitalistas/imperialistas son [email protected] encontrando sus nichos) pero, sobre todo, el propósito del sistema de injusticia hoy en día es el control de la población.
Tal y como Wagner y Rabuy señalan en su artículo: "En este primer informe, el primero de su tipo, descubrimos que el sistema de encarcelamiento masivo cuesta al gobierno y a las familias de las personas involucradas con la justicia al menos 182 mil millones de dólares al año". Estos 182 mil millones de dólares incluyen los $374 millones de dólares en beneficios recibidos por la industria de la prisión privada. Los beneficios de [email protected] accionistas, que en número son [email protected], apenas y representan una empresa que genera beneficios de manera sistemática. De hecho, en el gráfico utilizado como resumen de su investigación, los autores tuvieron que hacer una excepción en el corte, en lo que respecta los sectores importantes del presupuesto para prisiones en los U.$., ¡para poder incluir a las prisiones privadas en éste!
"Esta industria está dominada por dos grandes sociedades de cotización oficial, CoreCivic (que hasta hace poco se llamaba Corrections Corporation of America (CCA – Sociedad Correccional de Estados Unidos) y The GEO Group, así como por una pequeña empresa privada, Management &
Training Corp (MTC). Nos hemos basado en los informes públicos anuales de las dos grandes sociedades y en cifras estimadas de MTC utilizando registros de una solicitud de información pública de hace una década" (1).
Las corporaciones de la prisión privada tienen muy poco que ganar en el negocio penitenciario, razón por la cual la amplia mayoría (hasta un 95%) son todavía cárceles públicas (2). El Gobierno estadounidense (ej. Los contribuyentes) afronta la factura de los 182 mil millones de dólares. [email protected][email protected][email protected] econó[email protected] de la industria penitenciaria son vendedoræs del comisariato, compañías de bonos de fianzas y empresas telefónicas especializadas. Como Wagner y Rabuy demuestran, estas son las industrias multimillonarias. Y estas, por supuesto, se benefician, ¡sean las prisiones privadas o no!
¿Por qué estaría dispuesto el sistema imperialista a gastar casi 200 mil millones de dólares al año en la pérdida de una amplia mano de obra económica y consumidores? Por lo siguiente: "Muchas personas confinadas en rejas no trabajan y los sistemas penitenciarios de cuatro Estados no
pagan nada" (1).
Tal y como Wagner señala en un artículo del 7 de octubre del 2015:
"A [email protected][email protected] de la generosidad de las prisiones públicas les encanta cuando las prisiones privadas toman toda la atención. Cuánto más centrado está el público en [email protected][email protected] de las prisiones privadas, menos se cuestiona qué pasaría si el gobierno nacionalizara las prisiones privadas y dirigiera todas las instalaciones por sí mismo: De cualquier manera, aún tendríamos el sistema penitenciario más grande del mundo" (3).
[email protected] capitalistas no sacan beneficios económicos del supuesto "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones", pero [email protected] polí[email protected] se benefician con la obsesión de [email protected] estadounidenses [email protected] con la "delincuencia". Teniendo esto en cuenta, descubrimos la verdad tras la enigmática frase de Wagner y Rabuy: "Para estar seguros, existen razones ideológicas y económicas para el encarcelamiento masivo y la sobrecriminalización" (1).
Ya hemos examinado las razones económicas (grupos de poder como las compañías de bonos de fianzas y los vendedores del comisariato están, obviamente, buscando sacar beneficio). Así que, ¿cuáles son las razones ideológicas?
Si observamos la población de las prisiones (ya sean públicas o privadas), podemos ver dónde gana impulso el encarcelamiento masivo. La gran mayoría de [email protected][email protected] son [email protected][email protected], [email protected] y gente de las Primeras Naciones (aunque la mayoría de la población general es
euroamericana). La cárcel no es un fraude de ingresos, sino un instrumento de control social. El factor motivador es la dominación, no la explotación.
Aunque si estamos siguiendo el dinero, entonces tenemos que observar cómo se desglosan los gastos. Wagner y Rabuy presentan la división de los costes de esta forma: costes judiciales y legales, costes policiales, decomiso de activos civiles, cargos de fianzas, costes del comisariato, cargos de llamadas telefónicas, "agencias de corrección pública" (como [email protected] pú[email protected] o asistencia médica), costes de construcción, pagos de intereses y costes de comida e instalaciones.
Los autores resumen su metodología para llegar a sus estadísticas y admiten que "existen muchas cosas para las que no hay disponibles estadísticas nacionales ni manera sencilla de desarrollar una cifra nacional a partir de los datos limitados estatales y locales" (1). A pesar de dichas debilidades obvias para obtener datos concretos fiables, sobresale el análisis abrumador.
Wagner y Rabuy hablan sobre la industria de la prisión privada al final de su artículo. Ahí, escriben:
"Para ilustrar tanto la escala de la industria de la prisión privada como el hecho clave de que esta industria funciona bajo contrato para agencias del gobierno (en vez de arrestar, procesar, condenar y encarcelar personas por sí mismas), expusimos a estas compañías como un subconjunto del sistema público penitenciario" (1).
Tal y como se discutió en "MIM(Prisons) sobre la Economía de las Prisiones de EE UU, "si el trabajo penitenciario fuera una mina de oro para especuladoræs [email protected], entonces veríamos corporaciones de todo tipo dirigiendo el camino para más prisiones" (2).
Teniendo esto en cuenta, el gobierno utiliza el sistema de injusticia en Estados Unidos y las prisiones (tanto públicas como privadas) para oprimir a las minorías nacionales. Y [email protected] estadounidenses [email protected], que se alínean en formación con emoción cuando polí[email protected] racistas como Donald Trump continúan siendo "[email protected] con la delincuencia", premian al gobierno con entusiasmo y renovado vigor.
El MIM Thought (Pensamiento de MIM) hace hincapié en el imperialismo, tanto dentro como fuera de Estados "Ofidios" (Unidos). La red de prisiones no es una excepción: en este caso el imperialismo funciona como método de control para [email protected] estadounidenses de las naciones oprimidas. Como las estadísticas de Wagner y Rabuy demuestran claramente, no existe un "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones", existe un intento sistemático de destruir individuos, comunidades y naciones (4).
Con respecto a la pregunta de las alianzas del frente unido con grupos nacionalistas blancos, hay sus pros y sus contras al trabajar con otros grupos. Ya voy escribiendo a MIM(Prisiones) por unos años y disfruto leer el ULK. Soy prácticamente mi propia armada con un solo hombre. No les pido a otras personas que hagan cosas que yo no haría por mismo.
Me encuentro en una Penitenciaría Federal en Tuscon, Arizona. Este es un pabellón para agresores sexuales, desertores de pandillas, Custodia Preventiva. No me encuentro aquí por elección propia. Soy un agresor sexual registrado por exposición indebida en un bar. Incluso aún cuando se retiraron los cargos, me obligaron a registrarme y ahora me encuentro todavía peleando el caso en el estado. Me encuentro en una prisión federal por cargos que no se relacionan con el cargo estatal. Este pabellón no tiene las mismas políticas que otros pabellones tienen. Sí tenemos políticas, pero no al extremo. El salón chow se encuentra divido por razas, pero te puedes sentar donde se te dé la gana. Lo que estoy tratando de decir es que, yo podría dejar este pabellón e ir probablemente a un pabellón activo, y que me asesinen por ser un agresor sexual registrado, aún cuando se retiraron los cargos. Esa es la política. Ahora, hay un montón de agresores sexuales y homosexuales, ratas y desertores. Todos tienen una razón para estar aquí. He estado en pabellones activos y muchas veces, en realidad la mayoría de veces, una persona pone su vida en riesgo por alguien que no es más que una mierda o un drogadicto. Ya no uso drogas y no me drogo en prisión.
Crecí en el oeste, desde Montana a Arizona, en el corazón de la nación Aria, un ejecutor de la Hermandad Aria con el viejo refrán, si no es blanco no está bien. Fui un niño ciego pero un buen soldado. A los 41 años soy ahora mi propio hombre. Nunca he abandonado a mis hermanos pero ya no peleo más esa batalla de odio. Hay sus pros y sus contras al trabajar con otros grupos.
Tengo una pregunta: ¿No hay Maoístas que sean agresores sexuales o soplones? ¿Los Maoístas escogen trabajar con otros grupos o intentan convertir a otros grupos al maoísmo? Es algo diferente el trabajar con un grupo distinto para lograr la misma meta. Soy un individuo en un grupo y mis metas como individuo no son siempre las mismas que las del grupo. Mi meta es la libertad de un gobierno opresivo y corrupto, y no importa si es EUA o Rusia, opresión es opresión, corrupción es corrupción y esto debería detenerse. Todos pertenecemos a grupos diferentes, incluso a los grupos que sienten la necesidad de oprimir a otros.
El enemigo de mi enemigo es mi aliado. ¡El Frente Unido por la Paz!
Esto no se trata más de política o a qué grupo pertenece una persona. Yo soy un Hermano Ario independiente y apoyo al Ministerio Internacionalista Maoista de Prisiones y a la lucha de personas encarceladas. (No me gusta usar la palabra preso o convicto o cualquier otra palabra para prisionero que se usa para tomar el poder personal de una persona. Estas palabras hacen que las personas se sientan sin poder, sin esperanza, y eso no es verdad). Somos personas, humanos. Tenemos familias, amigos, al igual que el resto de personas.
MIM(Prisiones) responde: Esta es una carta interesante sobre los frentes unidos porque viene de alguien que representa a dos de los grupos con quienes, a menudo nos dicen, nunca deberíamos aliarnos, lo cual levanta preguntas de la otra parte. Primero, con respecto a la pregunta de agresores sexuales, este escritor demuestra porqué el confiar en la etiqueta estatal de “agresor sexual” es tan malo como confiar en la etiqueta estatal de “criminal”. Debemos decidir por nosotros mismos cuales individuos son aliados y cuales son enemigos.
Sobre la pregunta de nacionalistas blancos y aliados, este escritor todavía se encuentra en su grupo pero al parecer, tiene desacuerdos considerables con ellos si apoyan a ULK y MIM (Prisiones). Este es un ejemplo excelente de unir a todos los que se puedan unir contra el sistema de injusticia criminal. Sabemos que la hermandad Aria se encuentra básicamente en oposición a la liberación de naciones oprimidas. Al igual que el Partido Comunista de China sabía que el Kuomindang se encontraba esencialmente en oposición al comunismo. Pero en China antes de que la revolución fuera un éxito, hubo la oportunidad de construir una alianza contra el imperialismo Japonés, la contradicción principal en su momento. Y nosotros tenemos una oportunidad parecida de construir una alianza contra el sistema de injusticia criminal dentro de las prisiones. Ciertamente, que a una escala menor que la del frente unido en China, nuestro enemigo común en las prisiones ofrece la oportunidad de alianzas con grupos que serán nuestros enemigos, en otras batallas. Además es posible que ganemos algunos de estos tipos de estos grupos que, como este escritor, piensan que “la opresión es opresión…y debería detenerse”.
Este camarada menciona Rusia, tal vez como un ejemplo aleatorio. Pero hablando de Rusia y la opresión, es algo que se está convirtiendo en un asunto delicado en los Estados Unidos actualmente. Este fervor anti Rusia, como siempre, se encuentra ligado al nacionalismo americano. Se usa para atacar el régimen actual de Trump de forma que amenace al mundo con un inter imperialismo e incluso una guerra nuclear. Rusia fue alguna vez parte de la Unión Soviética, que bajo Lenin y Stalin fue socialista. Pero después de que murió Stalin en 1952, el país adoptó rápidamente el capitalismo estatal. Y el capitalismo es un sistema que crece con la opresión y corrupción. Pero el renacimiento anti Rusia en los EE UU no se debería confundir con anti imperialismo, sino más bien es nacionalismo que se mueve alrededor del poder imperialista más grande y peligroso en el mundo – los E$tados Unido$.
Most Amerikan self-described "communists" will not even listen to this album as soon as they see the title. Those same white nationalist socialists refuse to read MIM's writings because of all the KKKs and dollar $igns. They claim it's too distracting. We say transforming the oppressors language is a necessary part of building a revolutionary culture to replace the old one.
A week ago, the top results brought by a search for "Amerikkka" on youtube.com(1) brought up songs from Ice Cube's Amerikkka's Most Wanted album, some other hip hop singles, and videos from a former associate of MIM with explicit anti-Amerikkkan messages. This week, Joey Bada$$'s new album is rising to the top for that query. All Amerikkkan Bada$$ isn't as edgy as Ice Cube (it does lack Cube's misogyny) and certainly not as edgy as Shubel Morgan (who did music videos for MIM and LLCO), but it's got a pretty strong message of New Afrikan unity and struggle.
In one interview Joey Bada$$ said:
"It’s like hella vegetables. It’s hella good for you, and it’s almost my hesitance with it: the fact that it’s so good for you, because these kids these days want candy."(2)
It's an interesting quote, because Shubel Morgan often talked about the need for "sugar-coated bullets" in their artwork to help the message go down.
The album title, All Amerikkkan Bada$$ is no doubt a reference to Badass's late partner in rhymes, Capital STEEZ's mixtape Amerikkkan Korruption. Lyrics on this new album hit references to that mixtape as well, such as the track "Dead Prez" that was produced by Joey Bada$$. Both Capital STEEZ and Joey Bada$$ are respected as lyricists, with fast New York styles of rapping.
The album cover (and associated art) features an Amerikkkan flag made out of red, white and blue bandannas. The song "Legendary" makes a reference to Crip culture with the line "the legends they never die, the niggers they only multiply." More explicit are the lines in "Rockabye Baby":
"Peace to my Slimes, and peace to my Crips
Neighborhood police and they always on the shift
Protect my Bloods, look out for my cuz
When it's all said and done, we be the realest there was
Who else if just not us?
If you 'bout this revolution, please stand up"
ScHoolboy Q of the Hoover Crips in Los Angeles comes into eir verse with, "I'm part of the reason they still Crippin' out in Brooklyn" and goes on to echo the struggles of New Afrikans against police brutality and unemployment.
While the first single, "Devastated" has been out for months, the second, "Land of the Free", came out just before the album dropped this week. The first song is about success, and the video has a party vibe to it. "Land of the Free" is about the struggle, and the video features some strong imagery, including all-white pigs executing Black and Brown people in all black. Joey Bada$$ intervenes to free some of them, but is later shot and hung by cops in Ku Klux Klan robes. And while the video shows Joey Bada$$'s U.$. flag made of bandanas throughout, what is not so prominent is the upside down U.$. flag on the back of eir jacket. "Land of the Free" features lyrics like, "sorry Amerikkka, but i will not be your soldier, Obama just was not enough, i want more closure." The apt-titled opening track, "Good Morning Amerikkka" references Black Panther Geronimo Pratt's framing for murder by the state.
While the album features the usual "fuck the police" and "fuck the government" refrains, the last track, "Amerikkkan idol", also says, "Fuck white supremacy," a slogan that seems to be coming into vogue following the election of Donald Trump.(3) This track closes with some pretty sober and explicit lyrics:
"What the government is doing amongst our people is downright evil, disturbing. But not surprising, that's for certain... I believe they are simply trying to slander, start a civil war within the U$A amongst Black and white. They want us to rebel so that it makes it easy for them to kill us and put us in jails... Alton Sterlings are happening every day in this country, around the world...And it's time for us to rebel, better yet raise hell. I just want everyone to be cautious about how they go about it... not only battling them on a physical plain, but to outsmart them... As Black men, i think our gangs need to do a better job at protecting us, the people, our communities and not assisting in destroying them brutally. It's time they even the score... We need solutions. You better start plotting now."
I believe that having alliances with lines that are military minded is somewhat dangerous to the united front. First and foremost, I do believe in armed struggle, but building public opinion on imperialism and moving toward communism as the ultimate goal to end all oppression is key. Some lumpen orgs or nationalists might criticize MIM(Prisons) on their line. But truth be told we must study the history of the Cultural Revolution in China, which gives us the best way to move toward socialism, ending in communism. It also allows us to learn from the mistakes of the past.
Amerikkka targets lumpen orgs, and nationalist groups. So alliance with a militia group might jeopardize the united front. And once the imperialist policies place everyone in one basket who they feel are a threat, they will place them in prisons or worse eliminate them as what happened to many BPP members in the late 1960s. So, I must say comrades, that MIM(Prisons)'s approach with study groups and challenging all comrades to study history and dialectical materialism prepares us to use public opinion to change the minds of the lumpens and all those who are oppressed.
What good is guns if you don't know who the enemy truly is? By enemy I mean, just going up against amerikkka's army is not enough. The enemy is the system which must be changed. Guns with no vision or discipline is suicide to the united front. The best weapon in the struggle is unity, and armed struggle is also important. But each one teach one is the method to awakening the masses on how capitalism destroys lives.
Once the American people become self-reliant and help their fellow man and stop supporting this economic monster (capitalism-imperialism) then hopefully through public opinion and democratic centralism we can achieve the goal we all want which is communism.
As for snitches, there are different levels of snitching. But I will not allow a person in my circle who I know has the tendencies to crack under pressure. I mean those individuals who work for the prison administration, receiving goods in order to cause chaos. They would go so far as telling prison officials that you are sharing revolutionary material and having your books confiscated.
Even on the outside you have to be careful aligning with rats who will jeopardize the united front in order to demoralize and cause dissociation. But as long as those who represent the militant side of fighting oppression can agree that we must use strategy and wait for the right time to strike the imperialist monsters, I'm all for it. But if militants feel as though focoism is their aim, I'm all out. Educate the poor and oppressed first, to show them the real enemy. And there needs to be a change in habits and consciousness so that we will not allow materialistic ideology to control us.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises a good point about the risks of allying with those who are engaging in military actions now. We agree with em that focoism is not the right strategy. But the value of a united front is that we can disagree on this point of strategy in terms of the right time for armed struggle, but still unite in our fight against imperialism. We can work with these organizations while struggling with them over these points if such struggle seems fruitful. We do not need to have complete agreement on points of strategy in order to work together in a united front. We would also want to keep these groups at arms' length for the simple fact that advocating armed struggle now is a known tactic cops use to wreck a movement from within.
But beyond the question of uniting without complete theoretical agreement, this writer is arguing that it is too risky to unite with focoists because their premature military action could bring down the whole united front. This is certainly a risk we need to consider. Groups within the UF have the autonomy to act independently of the group, and so some may engage in actions that others disagree with. While we wouldn't automatically exclude focoists from a UF based on their political line, this comrade is correct to warn that we need to stay vigilant about actions that present a risk to our work and to our organization.
At the same time, resistors of all stripes, even those who aren't focoist, bring down repression from the state. Even anti-imperialist academics and people working in electoral politics are harassed, and murdered, by the state when their words are too effective. One could also argue that the frivolous security practices of other groups will jeopardize the UF. We have to find a balance between putting ourselves out there, and getting the work done.
We can't make up easy rules to answer to this contradiction. Instead everyone has to evaluate alliances based on the circumstances and current situation.
Estelle Unit operates a "cite only" method of providing prisoners access to courts, requiring prisoners to submit "cite specific requests" to Access to Courts (ATC) officials in order to receive legal research materials. Courts have repeatedly ruled cite-only access fails to satisfy constitutional de minimis, explaining it is unreasonable to expect a doctor of jurispridence to request cites by note, let alone a pro se laypersyn prisoner.
Recently I was told by law library staff a case I cite-specifically requested didn't exist. I called bullshit stating the Texas Criminal Practice Guide, John Boston's and Dan Manville's Prisoners' Self-Help Litigation Manual, and Manville's Prisoners' Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual don't lie. I was then threatened with disciplinary action. I invited such, desiring the denial of access to courts be documented. The next day when admitted to the so-called law library I was confronted by the ATC Supervisor in possession of the case at issue, and all kinds of papers for me to sign, validating I had in fact received the cite in question.
The very same day the above phantom caselaw was produced, I requested another case by cite, and again told the case didn't exist. I then set a trap. I have repeatedly trapped and caught ATC pigs claiming specifically-requested case citations did not exist which do indeed exist. Case in point: I requested a denial of access to courts case per the Estelle "cite only" method. I was told the case did not exist. I waited a short period, then requested the supposed nonexistent case be Shephardized, a method of cross-reference. At the next day's so-called law library session the Shephardized lexis.com download was presented to me showing the case in question had been published in 1997. Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Dumb blank faces blinking back at me.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The oppressors will never give the oppressed the tools to overcome their oppression. This anecdote is an example of exactly why we believe we need to build a revolutionary movement to force the state to give up its power, so we can put an end to Amerikkka's prison system!
Issue 55 of Under Lock & Key is taking a deeper look at building the United Front for Peace in Prisons at the margins. We've already spent a lot of space debating the role people on Special Needs Yards (SNY), especially in California. While that is an issue we will need to continue to address, here we focus first on white nationalist lumpen organizations, that are more likely to be on the mainline, and how anti-imperialists might relate to them. We also have a few pieces looking at the question of sex offenders who are generally seen as pariahs. That topic is a subset of the SNY discussion. In this article we will focus on the white nationalist question, and the question of oppressed nations allying with whites in general. In many cases handling this question properly will have a big impact on our success, because there are a lot of white people in prisons and many of them team up with white nationalist orgs.
So there are a few principles of dialectical materialism that we should apply in our analysis of groups which are often considered pariahs of the revolutionary movement: 1) dialectics differs from metaphysics in that metaphysics believes a thing has an essence; 2) dialectics in contrast sees everything as always being in a constant state of change; 3) and we can best understand that change by looking at the contradictions within that thing, while also considering the external contradictions that may influence it (them). To put it another way, no one is born a white supremacist or rapist, and just because someone's actions were that way in the past doesn't mean they have to be in the future.
What is White Nationalism?
Elsewhere in this issue we talk about white nationalism as an ideology that is a product of imperialism. Another point we must stress when talking about white nationalism is it is the majority ideology among the oppressor nation under imperialism. Most of this issue will be dealing with extreme examples found in imprisoned lumpen organizations. But there is a whole range of white nationalist ideologies, and the lumpen organizations are not necessarily the most extreme. Because the imprisoned lumpen are in the trenches, they must be more scientific than the more privileged wings of the white nationalist movement, and their motivations are often quite different.
In our current political climate in the United $tates, "white nationalism" is a hot topic. It is being used to criticize President Trump and those around em. But most of this criticism is coming from the perspective that former President Obama was not a white nationalist. The split between the left wing and right wing of white nationalism is about how to best manage the oppressed, even when that is not how they think about it. If we recognize that the current imperialist order is one that puts whites in a position of supremacy, then we must conclude that any position that works to preserve that system is white nationalist. Or we may say Amerikan nationalist to avoid confusion when its proponents do not appear white. But even though some internal semi-colony people are sitting at the table, globally, white supremacy in the form of Amerikan hegemony is alive and well.
Initially, the question of how and when to strategically ally with white nationalists is a broad one, as it refers to how we might ally with the majority of people in North America. But within that majority there are different classes and political tendencies. And white nationalist prisoners may be at the top of the list of likely allies from that group.
Another argument for the importance of working with the white lumpen is the Marxist analysis of the lumpen as a particularly dangerous, wavering class. If this country is heading in a more fascist direction, white nationalist lumpen youth and former military will be the first bases of recruitment for the fascists. This concern applies to the lumpen in general, but the national split makes it a harder sell for the internal semi-colonies to take up fascism. As always, our strategy is to win over all who can be won over, not to set false limitations based on identity politics or preconceived assumptions.
More so than former military, the white lumpen have connections to the struggles of the oppressed. And it is the massive prison system in this country that we can largely thank for that. The modern prison system is an inherent part of the modern ghetto, which has been lumpenized. While segregation is stronger today in many cases in the ghettos, it is weaker outside of the ghetto. This translates into a stronger class divide within the oppressed nations. The extent of this divide in the white nation is something that requires more research. But from the information we have, white prisoners are much, much more likely to integrate into petty-bourgeois society rather than be caught in a ghetto-like situation upon release. But as long as they remain in prison, whites do experience that ghetto life and the most brutal repression that we have in this country.
Young Patriots, White Lumpen Revolutionaries
One of the best examples we have of white lumpen youth forming an anti-imperialist organization was the Young Patriots Organization, which started in Chicago in the late 1960s. Soon the offshoot Young Patriots Party spread the movement to other parts of the United $tates. Their example demonstrated both the potential and limitations of such an organization. As long as there are pockets of whites that face similar conditions to the oppressed nations, as they do in prison, a revolutionary organization that can speak to and organize white lumpen will strengthen the cause of anti-imperialism. However, the Black Panthers, in particular Bob Lee and the leadership of Fred Hampton, played a very hands-on role in the development of the Young Patriots. In general history does not lead us to expect revolutionary white organizations with correct political lines to take hold in North America without good examples from the internal semi-colonies.
Even after becoming established, the Young Patriots were very limited by the reactionary nature of their own nation. The Patriot base was displaced southern whites who ended up in urban ghettos; a much smaller group, but parallel to the New Afrikans who made the Great Migration. When the Patriots returned to the south they were not received well. Two of the members were killed shortly after returning to the south, because of their organizing.(1) In other words, we are looking at exceptions to the rule where there are pockets of whites who are both separate from the oppressed nations but still living very similar lives and in proximity to them. When Peggy Terry of the Young Patriot-associated organization Jobs or Income Now (JOIN) ran for vice president, with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver as the presidential candidate in 1968, they received a mere 28,000 votes in California. In contrast, the openly racist George Wallace campaign got 500,000 (almost exclusively white) votes.(2) And finally, for most of their existence the Patriots had more spies watching their organization than they had members.(3) This security issue is something others have pointed out with white nationalist lumpen organizations in prison that can be swimming with federal agents.
Often the Panther rhetoric spoke of the Young Patriots as representing "white power" in a way that was parallel to the Panthers' "Black Power" and Young Lords' "Brown Power". While we generally disagree with that line, the Panthers later called out all other white groups as "fascists" with the exception of the Patriots. The Patriot culture flew in the face of the rest of the white anti-war and student movements, including their confederate flag logo. We might draw a parallel to the Lucasville prison uprising in Ohio in 1993, where it is reported that swastikas, lightning bolts and words like "Supreme White Power" appeared alongside graffiti throughout the prison saying "Black and White Together" and "Convict unity."(4) These white identities, historically associated with power over New Afrikans were transformed in these unique circumstances.
Racism as a Tool of the Oppressor
MIM(Prisons) is cautious about presenting racism as merely a tool of the imperialists to divide "the people" as that is the line of the revisionists who claim that the majority of people in the imperialist countries are proletarians that must be united in their common class interest. As the practice of the Young Patriots demonstrated, this is not the case. However, in prisons is where we see the greatest potential for a class unity with whites that is progressive in the United $tates. And in prison, it is certainly true that racism is a tool that is actively used by the administration, even if often times white nationalists are too willing to play the role of keeping other prisoners in line for the state.
Of course, not all white prisoners are part of overtly racist lumpen organizations. Former-Black-Panther-turned-anarchist Lorenzo Komboa Ervin documented the history of the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana, which was transformed from a completely Ku Klux Klan-dominated facility to one where New Afrikans built power in alliance with white prisoners. Ey argues that the anti-racist whites, often imprisoned for anti-war activities, were able to re-educate other white prisoners where non-white prisoners would not be able to.(5) This is an example of the importance of white-specific organizing, though not on the basis of an outward white nationalism.
We must reach people where they are at in a segregated society. We saw this with the Panthers in Chicago who were viewed with great skepticism by the white residents of Uptown, but were welcomed by the Young Patriot leadership. We saw this in Lucasville, where the New Afrikan leaders picked Aryan Brotherhood member George Skatze to stand with them as a representative of white prisoners because of eir history of settling disputes between whites and New Afrikans.
"At some point on this first day George saw a black inmate (Cecil Allen) talking through a bull horn to a small crowd of other prisoners. George went up to listen. To his surprise the man on the bull horn pointed to George and said, 'There's nobody going to be talking to you guys but me or this man right here,' meaning George Skatze."
Accepting their request for help, Skatze later "approached the whites, who were sitting in the bleachers. Putting his arm around a black inmate George said, 'If the guards come in here they're going to shoot us all, no matter what color we are.' We asked George who that black man was. He said, I don't know; I had never met him before."(6)
Veteran of the first wave of the California prison movement, Kumasi describes one scene in the late 1960s where hundreds of prisoners circled around the yard chanting, "Power to the people! Death to the pigs!" Approaching the group of white gangsters on the sidelines ey framed the situation as "are you going to be with us or with the pigs?" And since the reality reflected eir statement, they sure didn't want to be seen as siding with the pigs. As the whites started to join the ranks of the protestors, Kumasi grabbed one of their hands and raised it in the air as they faced the warden. In a segregated society this sort of representation of different nationalities can have powerful effects.
Kumasi has a number of stories about organizing across nationality. Similar to today, the California system was very segregated back then. Various white power and nazi gangs existed, as they do today. The united fronts Kumasi forged with these groups were not long-term and could be quite impulsive. It was really the strength of eir own organization that pushed others to come along. A justification of the line that building up one's own national unity helps build up the united front. Because the movement for change had reached such popularity and support among New Afrikans, it was easier to get the [email protected] to join up (who had not yet been divided between north and south).
A USW comrade has this to say about organizing in California today:
"There has been times when we've done alliances with white nationalist groups in prison. Any time we had a common goal, say shutting down SHUs, or removing informants off yard, assistance with legal work and what not.
"The only way for this to function is by creating a different set of politiks/policies than those used amongst the other LOs. As long as it does not interfere with the LOs' goals to end oppression. It is my opinion that even when dealing with oppressor nation LOs we must keep a move ready to be made once achieving certain goals due to the history the oppressor nation LOs have and because of their values as humans. We wouldn't like to see the LOs of the oppressed be set back a step or two after gaining ground. I think that even unity of some form can be achieved with pariahs — taking into account what they've done and what they are willing to do to not only redeem themselves but to benefit the struggle even at the cost of sacrifice. There is a place, space, form and energy for everyone in a struggle. It is our responsibility to organize, learn, and organize again."
What these histories demonstrate is that in cases where the white nationalists aren't completely in bed with the pigs, they tend to see themselves as prisoners and the pigs as their foes, like everyone else. And it is the unity around demands for all prisoners, ones that are nationality-neutral, that we will see opportunities for united front. So while national unity may need to come first, class unity will always be important in the prison movement.
White nationalism in general, whether of the left-wing or right-wing variety, is based in an alliance with imperialism. But there are examples in history of portions of the white population in the United $tates who may have overt racist overtones without the attachment to imperialism. Or at least with a mixed relationship to imperialism. And in many cases this racism is more motivated by fear of the other, or just self-protection than it is any deep investment in racist ideology itself. The AB comrade who wrote "The Enemy of my Enemy" seems to be an example of this white nationalism based in youthful ignorance. And the experience of the prison system has given em the opportunity to learn about the lives of the oppressed, and to live that life emself. George Skatze from Lucasville was also an example of this, someone who stood with New Afrikan prisoners and literally put eir life on the line in the struggle for prisoner rights and then later at the hands of the state when ey was one of the comrades who did not make a deal with the state to avoid death row as some of the charged prisoners did.
While others suggest we fight racism as a way to end oppression, we say to fight oppression to overcome racism. And in some cases oppression itself will overcome racism, by uniting those once divided by ideas of race. Our ideas are a product of our material conditions, and in participating in the transformation of our conditions our ideas change.
This is an open letter to all you advocates and activists who are at war with the prison system. The American Corrections Association (ACA) has done their two-stage, once in a decade, onsite prison review beginning in January 2017 ending in March 2017. They've posted memos to the effect of talking to prisoners and performing audits to better use monies towards treatment and rehabilitational programs. Well at California Correctional Institution (CCI) this is a joke, especially of the level 3 yard where there is no accountability on safety issues.
There are no cameras on yard nor in buildings that would hold Correctional Staff to a higher level of accountability on the lines of brutality waged against prisoners. This brutality is covered up too often by collusion between Correctional Officers in reporting of incidents which comes down to their words against prisoners' with no physical evidence to support because there are no surveillance cameras. This is a black site operation, period. There exists no accountability when it comes to enforcement practices. Correctional employees are given full discretion and are supported fully by a Gestapo Culture with no checks and balances from outside authorities. This is including the ACA, who only talked to 2% of the prison population, and those were selected by this administration, i.e. Correctional Staff.
There is no accountability on the running of programs, which means anything from dayroom, yard, school, vacations, or even jobs. At the same time there is no program and no movement, prisoners walk to medical lines, walk to chow, go to self help groups, etc. No matter what the weather is they are required to walk to and from just to lock themselves back into their living quarters, i.e. cells. The ACA didn't assist prisoners to get assignment cards for going to college classes onsite nor through mail even though they know these participants miss at least 9 hours a week from yard and dayroom, at the same time providing assignment cards to prisoners in GED courses. Though the institution is making money from these new college onsite classes of which I myself am in, earning 6 credits for 2 classes this semester and enrolled in both summer and winter courses. Yet, I am not able to go outside on the weekend to get fresh air so I now get outside rec and fresh air less than my brothers and sisters in the SHU. The American Correctional Association is there for a waste of tax payers' money.
Blame is put on the prisoners for most that continues to occur here to be absolutely honest, because most of them fail to study the rules, are rule breakers and have terrible conduct creating negative attention. Once more I must state in complete truth, that all levels of staff have treated me with respect, I haven't gotten any write up, never assaulted on any level by any level of Correctional Staff. Quite the opposite has happened to me. I've initiated my own services, I've signed up and am currently going to college, I had constructive conversations with all levels of Correctional Staff. At the same time I've read the Title 15 and re-read it several times complying with every law and rule. I've communicated with complete respect at all times with prisoners and prison staff of all levels and walks of life.
This is written for the purpose of exciting advocates to get involved with pro-social programs in person, to let them know that the ACA and many other organizations are rip-offs and monies would effect more positive change if and when it goes directly to the prison and prisoners who are willing to take advantage of all pro-social programming. That those who are doing the work to create better futures by learning in college or vocational skill learning should receive beneficial treatment and be allowed to go to yard on weekends and holidays even days that they are off. We need advocates to sound the bell for us ensuring that we are treated with favorable treatment, so that we are not being punished for attempting to get ahead.
A Socialist and Conscious Comrade
MIM(Prisons) responds: We've been watching the great progress of organizers at CCI with interest and excitement over the last year. But playing by the rules does not generally pan out so well for prisoners across the United $tates engaged in postive organizing along the lines of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). In one recent example, the United Kage Brothers have been denied the ability to form an official organization by the CDCR at Pelican Bay State Prison. And this is why the UFPP stresses INDEPENDENCE as one of the 5 principles. If local staff are supportive of your efforts that is great. And there is plenty reason for them to be supportive of a safer work environment. But we also must not build or organizing in a way that is dependent on the whims of the state, which has a general principle of opposing the organizing of the oppressed.
There was an entry in ULK 53 I am compelled to address under the heading "Deadly Heat Victory in Louisiana." It was erroneously reported the 5th Circuit ruling in Bell v. LeBlanc, 792 F. 3d 584, mandated the temperature be maintained "at or below 88 degrees in Angola's death row buildings."
Not so. The 5th Circuit held the U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana ruling encompassing all of Louisiana's death row overly broad, and therefore an abuse of the District Court's discreation, violation of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The 5th Circuit pared down the District Court's ruling to affect only the three named plaintiffs: Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code, and James Magee. The only reason the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court's ruling as pertaining to these three plaintiffs is because all three are afflicted with pre-existing medical conditions that are susceptible to heat-induced complications.
"Based on its findings of fact, we affirm the district court's conclusion that housing these prisoners in very hot cells without sufficient access to heat-relief measures, while knowing that each suffers from conditions that render him extremely vulnerable to serious heat-related injury, violates the Eighth Amendment. ... The district court also erred because it awarded relief facility-wide, instead of limiting such relief to Ball, Code, and Magee. ... Because the district court's injunction provides an unnecessary type of relief and applies beyond these three Plaintiffs, it violates the PLRA. Accordingly, the district court abused its discretion. ... We emphasize, however, that the finding of substantial risk regarding a heat-related injury is tied to the individual health conditions of these inmates." Ball v. LeBlanc, 792 F.3d 584, 596-600, FNG.
The 5th Circuit opined Ball, Code, and Magee could be housed in cells closer to the death row guards' station, which is air conditioned, thereby cooler than the remainder of death row cells. Or, at most, a single death row tier could be air conditioned as a heat-relief measure for prisoners similarly situated to Ball, Code, and Magee. But as for requiring the Louisiana Department of Corrections to maintain temperatures below 88 degrees at Angola's death row altogether, the 5th Circuit judged that was not necessary to comport with the Federal Constitution.
Moral being, if it sounds too good to be true.. perhaps MIM(Prisons) should submit to me these litigous tidbits for vetting and verification.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Thank you to this comrade for setting the record straight, and helping to keep our subscribers from venturing down a wrong path in seeking their own relief from extreme heat, especially as summer is fast approaching. We rely on our subscribers to share their knowledge with us, whether it be their legal expertise, organizing experience, or theoretical understanding. Everyone should be making an effort to increase our collective abilities, which our oppressors try so hard to eliminate.