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[Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 48]
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Religion is an Opiate for Prisoners

Religion is a very volatile subject for some, even in prison. Looking back on my own prison journey, some of the most heated debates with my fellow prisoners have been in regards to religion. Although the belief in the supernatural is a metaphysical practice, it is one with deep roots in the minds of the internal semi-colonies. It is for this reason that an analysis of religion and its effects is needed.

From where does religion derive?

No matter what religion, they all have one thing in common: they originate from ideas that are outside of reality. Most religions come from ancient peoples attempting to understand the material world in which they lived.

Many of the ancient religions believed that when it rained it was the Gods crying because they were angry or sad. Tornados were thought to be the wind Gods who were angry. The Mexica (Aztecs) believed the Sun would only rise if people were sacrificed, if their hearts were ripped out, and burned. Even in recent years when the earthquake in Haiti occurred religious people said it was God punishing Haitians for practicing Voodoo — another religion.

Today we know when it rains and hails, it is nature at work. Earthquakes are the movement of the Earth's crust. We know that tornados are caused by different air temperatures and humidity. We know all of this because of science, and we can now explain these events without relying on mythology or folklore.

Our scientific development as a society isn't limited to weather; we have developed our collective understanding of the world we inhabit in all realms of science. We don't know everything, but where there is an explanation based in materialism we should move past the outdated concepts offered by religions. And where we don't yet have an explanation we should look to the material world for answers rather than resorting to religious idealism. The old worn out saying that "God works in mysterious ways" is really just another way of saying someone doesn't have an answer. Ultimately the belief in religion is ignorance. But it's not a benevolent ignorance; it is at its core reactionary and goes against true liberation.

Religious Cults in U.$. Prisons

Many people held in U.$. prison kkkamps come to these dungeons extremely demoralized, abused and uncertain. It is very disorienting to be criminalized by an occupier and harmed by an entity you don't even understand. Like our ancient ancestors, many fall back to religion when they don't understand the reality of their imprisonment. Whether it is politics, national oppression or the weather, religion remains a crutch for those without answers to their mysteries.

The formation of religious groups in U.$. prisons represents a contradiction. Religious cults in prison are attempts by the oppressed to deal with their oppression, or attempts by our oppressors to explain our oppression to us in terms that also placate us. We are using religious groups to try to help ourselves, but ultimately we end up stuck in an escapist fantasy.

Among [email protected] and other Raza prisoners, Catholicism is probably the most popular religion. Many [email protected] that I have debated within prisons will defend Catholicism as a part of "our cultura." Catholics in prison do not create groups that are active outside of the chapel. At the same time one will see both those Raza who belong to lumpen organizations (LOs) and those former "gangsters" who have taken up this brainwash ideology all comfortably praying together in the chapel. The colonizer's religion has become so respected that most [email protected] LOs will be okay with its people leaving the LO to dedicate themselves to religion. But as some comrades have brought up, those same [email protected] lumpen groups would not react the same if their people left to take up revolutionary politics.

Amongst New Afrikans, Muslims are most common within prisons. Of all the religious groups in Califas prisons, the Muslims are most organized and operate much like LOs. It is in the Muslim services where one will hear a lecture on concepts like discipline, unity and dedication.

Many Muslims also connect to outside Muslim organizations and work to connect prisoners who are released to the outside Muslim community. This is something that the Catholics or Christian Chaplains/communities do not really do. So in this sense Muslims do more prison outreach.

How Religion Pacifies Prisoners

Most prison administrations are happy to promote religion and make sure Bibles are in abundance. Religious channels on the TV are rapidly approved for the prison viewers and Chaplains/Imams are welcomed to enter even the maximum security prisons and walk the tier. These religious leaders are welcome to distribute their propaganda while revolutionary publications are censored, books on national liberation are used to label one a part of a Security Threat Group, and even visits from activists are denied. This is because one ideology teaches one to get free from the oppressor and the other teaches one to simply pray that the oppressor will stop oppressing you.

Rather than teaching prisoners how to fight oppression religion teaches people to pray for forgiveness from the oppressor. It teaches that some supernatural being has a plan and if we humbly accept our oppression in life we will be rewarded in some afterlife.

Pacifism, or the belief that non-violence will solve oppression, is idealism at best. NEVER in hystory has a people obtained real liberation via religion or pacifism. Liberation has always required revolutionary theory and a strong dose of armed struggle when conditions were ripe.

Malcolm X said: "I'm for anybody who's for justice ... equality, I'm not for anybody who tells me to sit around and wait for mine ... who tells me to turn the other cheek."(2)

I'm all for peace, but not peace while living under an occupation with Amerikkka controlling Aztlán. I'm not for peace while the oppressor nation has me and my people in its prisons and sentenced under its kkkourts when they have no jurisdiction over what my nation does. I won't wait for mine. Instead I'll learn who the oppressor is, teach others to struggle against oppression and work to liberate my nation. Kneeling in the prison chapel or muttering Novena will not advance the people's liberation. Reading political theory, creating study groups, and working with other prisoners to find ways to combat oppression will.

Is opium good for the people?

Marx once said that religion is the opium of the masses. This is because religion has the same effect on the mind as heroin does. It turns people into passive putty. Like a drug, the religious become hooked on a self-destructive activity which dulls their senses to the world we live in, all the while strengthening the oppressor.

Of course there are cases where there are positive aspects to religion. There are the anti-imperialist efforts being carried out in other parts of the world by Muslims. There are Christian churches marching in the streets protesting the police murdering innocent people and against solitary confinement. And in some South and Central American countries there is a history of Liberation Theology advocates joining the revolutionary struggles. These groups rightly see that oppression suffered by mostly Brown and Black people is wrong.

In a future socialist revolution there will be many religious people who will come over to join the revolution. But this does not change the fact that religion as an ideology is an oppressive institution. Any ideology that says wimmin are not equal to men, or that does not rely on the people to liberate themselves, is incorrect. The opium is bad for the people.

Get off your knees and free your mind!


Notes:
1. Malcolm X Speaks, p 112.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Liberation

Yes we say "Liberation"
So you can know the level of the Brotha you facing
Breaking de chains of colonial domination
Enlightening the minds of my New Afrikan nation
My revolutionary violence blow ya brains out
Warring with parasites and mice
COINTELPRO flow
i think twice before i give advice
Because informants got stories with my name on it
Bourgy fools only fighting for fame and fortune
i woke up this morning mad at the colonial world
That raped my mama as a little girl
It make me hurl
Put my colonial oppressors in stretchers
While in my cell receiving love letters from sisters
But my heart beat fire
Don't you see that Obama a liar?
Cutting food stamps to give money to richer farmers
Can't you see you and dude Uncle Toming?
Time to get the bombing!

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[Release] [ULK Issue 49]
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Surviving and Staying Active on the Streets

I am anxious to address your and my concerns regarding former prisoners' activism once released. I've never encountered anyone who espoused a similar observation to what I am about to present. So, per my experience, the following is a very individualized perspective, and therefore, possibly incorrect. It may outright counter MIM(Prisons)'s line on self-reliance. But what I recall as the greatest hardship for me upon my previous release was isolation. The only Maoist camaraderie I located was not in my city, but on the internet via MIM and the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL). I had to settle. The local Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) was the only group that even remotely resembled my political philosophy and activism ideology.

But it was settling. Lifestyle revolutionary, anarcho-fascist, nihilists. I could be hypercritical. It's been said I'm left of Mao, but really, I might be right of Stalin. As a Leninist, I am a staunch advocate of military-like party discipline. These people, I'm sure, regarded me as an authoritarian dick. But, adhering to my instructions, we were able to garner over 1200 pro-Churchill petition signatures in less than 40 hours.

Politics before personalities.

I had worked as an avowed M-L-M with the ABC per their anti-prisons campaign, and other single-issue activities. Often times when in a verbal, confrontational struggle, the ABC folks would approach me asking why I hated them. I didn't. I truly liked and enjoyed the social company of the ABC people. But I was not going to compromise line. The relationship between ABC and myself quickly degenerated and ended with a campaign of slander against me. I could indeed write a paper entitled "Why the ABC is the Police."

But it was the isolation of being the only Maoist in my city's radical elements. The ABC told me as much stating maybe I'd be better off in a different city, closer to my own kind. But even at the most secluded times, I could be found handing out MIM Notes (most downloaded from the internet) proselytizing for revolution - by myself. That can get a little lonely.

I believe it of immediate import: computer security. I've missed a few things the last few years of my accelerated downward spiral, but the last I heard, those wishing to use public library computer labs must present a photo ID, your ID # being your access PIN #. That was my experience when I attempted to use a public library computer in the 2000s. I also remember librarians protesting a provision of the Patriot Act requiring public libraries to maintain records of materials parolees had checked out. I found this to be significant, as the library system had available books, CDs, DVDs, etc. that might attract pig scrutiny.

It has been my practice to utilize computer labs available at a University, mainly at the law library as I had integrated myself with the staff there due to my uncommon knowledge of law. This is where I printed out MIM Notes. A little difficult at the office. Too many trips to the printer and you would be watched. When I could I'd have several cadre accompany me. I would download MIM Notes from my computer and I would signal cadre to retrieve them from the printer. This way the same persyn was not observed accessing a printer; and if I got busted for performing non-office business, we could just switch to another computer.

On a good day we could produce 50 MIM Notes. A good week, we could do this 3-5 days. That compounded by the notes periodically sent by MIM, and a good quantity of papers were put on the street in the west campus area for a period of approximately 3 years.

Isolation is a big problem. I believe it is paramount releasees be connected to other revolutionaries. Or maybe I'm just antisocial. I have a fear that I may be degenerating into misanthropy which, to my way of thinking, is anathema to socialism/communism/statelessness. Anyway it is political isolation I am apprehensive about upon my release.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In our 2010 article "Rassessing Cell Structure 5 years out" we asserted that 1-persyn cells have a high likelihood of degeneration, and also are at a disadvantage when it comes to criticism/self-criticism. It is important that this comrade reached out to other Maoists thru the internet.

We have been soliciting feedback from our comrades on what helps people stay politically active after they are released from prison. As an ongoing forum for discussion , and an institution to develop our Re-Lease on Life program further, we are going to be printing a bi-annual newsletter devoted to this topic. This will be a place for those planning for release, and those who are politically active post-release, to collaborate and build. Thru this newsletter we can discuss various tactics on how to address political isolation in locations where there are no local Maoist cells, and other problems facing politically active releasees.

Along with this newsletter, we have revamped our Re-Lease program over the last year. We are not yet in a position to provide for basic needs such as food and shelter, but we can't let political isolation in the belly of the beast pull solid comrades out of the struggle. Be sure to tell us your release date, if it's coming up within the next 2-3 years, so we can start prepping now!

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[Culture] [California] [ULK Issue 46]
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Strugglen Artists Association Call for Propaganda Workers

Cards Demo
Sample greeting cards from the SAA
California prisoners can buy greeting cards from their facility canteen. They cost $1 and come with commercial messages of: birthday (female), birthday (juvenile), birthday (general), I love you, thinking of you, blank, missing you, and the current holiday. Prisoners must have an active trust account of course, and the message rarely varies from capitalist definitions.

As a counter to this messaging, the Strugglen Artists Association (SAA) has emerged as a culture project of United Struggle from Within. Through the SAA prisoners can send out unique messages that reflect the transformation they've made from parasites to productive people and leaders.

I displayed the [email protected] greeting cards at the last dayroom with a few [email protected] prisoners who i read the bible with (illustrating Christ as a socialist :) ). They were impressed and the entire ten cards I laid out are spoken for; just have to collect the stamps!


MIM(Prisons) adds: The above report comes from a Propaganda Worker of the Strugglen Artists Association (SAA). The job of a Propaganda Worker is to spread revolutionary culture amongst those at their locale, and help fundraise for the cultural arm of the SAA. At the time of our July 2015 Congress, the SAA had raised $44 on top of the expenses to run the project! These funds are slotted to be used to expand the SAA.

Building revolutionary culture is an important task for our movement. We know that even after a successful socialist revolution the people won't instantly learn to be selfless and automatically focused on serving the best interests of society. It will take many years to counter the reactionary culture of imperialism even after the economic system has been revolutionized. We saw this in the long struggle of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in China, which mobilized people to attack leaders who were using positions of power for personal gain. A new bourgeoisie was forming within the party, and the GPCR was an ideological attempt to defeat it. The cultural work we do today is part of the broader cultural revolution that will extend into the construction of socialism.

You don't have to be an artist to help spread revolutionary culture; you can sign up to be a Propaganda Worker. We have blank greeting cards with revolutionary images; bookmarks with themes of spreading peace and overcoming drug addiction and alcoholism; coloring book pages to help reach children and illiterate folks, and to provide a creative outlet for those who do better with color than lines; and small posters to remind us to stay focused on a correct vision.

MIM(Prisons) is not selling these items outright; we are only sending them out in small bulk packages to be used as organizing tools. We know our subscribers have lots of skills for hawking and hustling. So why not put those skills to good use for the communist movement against all oppression? Write in for more info on how to become a Propaganda Worker.

This article referenced in:
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[Download and Print] [Abuse] [Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Alaska]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Alaska

Alaska Petition
Click to Download PDF of Alaska Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with their grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses listed on the petition, and below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Director April Wilkerson
Alaska Department of Corrections
PO Box 112000
Juneau, AK 99811-2000

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140


*PDF updated October 2017*
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[United Front] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 46]
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Stand Firm With Unity join UFPP

I'm always striving for perfection and giving the next man good advice when they're going through shit because it's getting worse by the day. My heart is so pure now because I don't think for just myself; I'm doing it for the dudes around me. I'm gonna stay at it as long as I got life in my body because I truly understand that unity is power and once we all conquer that then we mastered a good thing. It's a must we stay true to each other and move against the system as one. By us doing that it would be brought to the world's attention the things we go through on this side of the gates.

The reason I have rooted myself in this idea is dudes that have a long sentence to serve. We must stick together to make things easy for those types of guys and I want to make a difference so the young generation that have been coming to the prison system can pass the unity remedy down. The organization that I'm building is called "Stand Firm With Unity" and the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons are planted in my heart.

1. Peace: the first step to make things perfect, and that's something we all must have within to show the next brother that we need that in our heart to accomplish our goal.
2. Unity: the foundation to become one. It's very important to move as one because it's the only way that we will see results on making changes in the prison system that we are trapped in.
3. Growth: in order to speak wise words and show wise action to another person we must first make changes in our own life because the best teaching of all is to show it in your actions.
4. Internationalism: it will be an amazing thing once we do the things that are right for us in each state and to stand firm to each other on changing the prison system.
5. Independence: we must understand that the system is not for us. It's not here to make our life easy. It's made to make us submit to them.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We welcome Stand Firm With Unity to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). We also welcome them (and all UFPP signatories) to send us reports on how organizing around these five points is going on the ground. What has worked to get people on board with the united front? Showing peace and unity in one's actions is good for setting an example of the UFPP; send in your reports on how you've actually done this in your facility and the results you've seen.

We also want to ensure the concept of internationalism is well understood, as it's one of the main characteristics that sets the UFPP (and MIM(Prisons)) apart from other similar attempts (and organizations). We not only want to do what is best for prisoners caught up in the Amerikan criminal injustice system, but we also want peace and justice for oppressed people throughout the entire world. In the United $tates, everyone (even prisoners) benefits from the imperialists' theft of resources and labor from all across the globe. If we lose perspective of this, we'll work to fix our oppression while making conditions worse for the majority of the world's people. This is how reformism and a lack of internationalism has played out in the past. Learning from history, we know we need to keep the conditions of the majority of the world's people in the front of our minds in order to not sell them out for our own benefits.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [Download and Print] [Georgia]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Georgia

Georgia Grievance Petition
Click to Download PDF of Georgia Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with their grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses listed on the petition, and below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Commissioner, Georgia Department of Corrections
300 Patrol Road
Forsyth, GA 31029

Southern Center for Human Rights Law Offices
83 Poplar St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30303-2122

GDC Office of Internal Affairs, Investigation and Compliance
PO Box 1529
Forsyth, GA 31029

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*this petition was first put up in November 2014, updated October 2017*

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[Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
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Attacking From All Angles

I have been in the Texas state prison system for 35 years. I am President of the Aryan Rebels organization. We are not based on racial ideology and we will work with any person, group or organization to establish peace and unity amongst all people. You state on the bottom of page 2 to contact you for additional materials to educate our members. I would greatly appreciate it if you could please send me such.

I do believe in the five principles you set for the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). I have been in prison since the age of 20, and I am now 55. In the years I have been down I can truly say that the biggest problem amongst prisoners is their conflict with each other. I have tried to teach this principle to youngsters coming into the system many times. Sometimes it takes hold and sometimes it doesn't. Here in the Texas prisons mostly everything that has been taken away from us such as the canned goods in the commissary, belts, etc. we did it to ourselves. Our enemy is the government.

At the beginning of April 2015 I filed a Section 1983 Civil Rights lawsuit against the Director of TDCJ in Federal court. Two weeks later I received a letter from an attorney with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama regarding the possibility of his organization getting involved. This letter was given to me at 8:30 a.m. and had been opened.

One hour later a male guard came to my cell and told me to "strip out for cell search." I was handcuffed and taken to the one-man shower. A female guard named Kelly J. Sooter came into the section with a red chain bag and she and the male guard went inside my cell where they stayed for over an hour. When I was escorted back to my cell I noticed my New Balance tennis shoes were gone. My Civil Rights law books, Jailhouse Lawyers Manual and Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook, my hardbacked dictionary, 11 novels, 8 typing ribbons (4 were brand new), my headphones and nail clippers were all gone. I asked the male guard (Seth G. Kelin) why they were taking my property and he replied "I have never had any problems with you. But it's plain that someone higher up is pissed at you about something or other. I'm only doing what I'm told."

I got my typewriter out to file a Step One Grievance and then noticed a few pieces had been broken on it in the search, so I had to file the grievance by hand. I also wrote a letter to Warden Barry L. Martin here at the Clements Unit and told him what went down. I requested the return of my property and Civil Rights law books but so far nothing has been done. I already have the 42 U.S.C. 1983 Civil Rights forms filled out and ready to file. I'm just waiting on my Step One and Step Two grievances to go through the process, as I know they will be denied as always is the case.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We appreciate that this comrade does what they can to defend their rights as well as build unity in Texas prisons. This report is an example of many challenges we face in doing just that. When trying to educate our fellow prisoners, they sometimes are on board and sometimes aren't. When we attempt to use the legal system to protect ourselves, the administration flexes.

We try to use the legal system to our advantage whenever possible, but ultimately we know that's not going to bring an end to our oppression. From the rubber stamping of grievance denials to the nepotism within the criminal injustice system, the cards are clearly stacked against us.

We've given up on the idea of reforms for any meaningful change (and anyone who has studied even a little Amerikan history should be able to provide examples of this failed strategy). Instead we know we need to overthrow and dismantle the entire Amerikan government and the economic system that supports it. That's a long-term goal, and in the shorter term we work to build unity amongst prisoners toward that goal.

We need to be able to name (and overcome) reasons for why sometimes our attempts to educate younger prisoners works, and sometimes it doesn't. As social scientists, and the vanguard revolutionary organization working within U.$. prisons, it's our responsibility to address these barriers to our success. Bourgeois influence in this country is strong, so we don't expect to win everyone who's locked up over to our side. But in addressing these barriers in a systematic way, rather than leaving it to chance, we are more likely to have success, and more quickly.

We are working on this exact project within the context of our forthcoming book on the lumpen class. So far for this book we have completed a class analysis of the lumpen in the United $tates, which we are distributing as a draft chapter of the book. The next concept we aim to tackle is incorrect ideologies amongst the lumpen, which are some of our main challenges to organizing the lumpen around projects that are otherwise in their interests. All prisoners have a material interest in an end to prisoner-on-prisoner violence, even if they are benefitting from this violence now. Incorrect ideologies and bourgeois influence are what we need to overcome to build he UFPP to its fullest capacity.

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[Legal] [Gwinnett County Detention Center] [Georgia]
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Accountability Lacking in County Jails

Hello, I am contacting you on behalf of Gwinnett County prison population in Georgia. I have started a lawsuit about major Constitutional violations and denials that happen here daily. We are currently accepted in the 11th District, Northern District of Georgia. Our civil action # is 15-CV-00123-AT-JCF.

We are looking for attention from the media to help spread information on the blatant disregard Gwinnett County Detention Center has for the United States Constitution. The defendants in our case are Sheriff R.L. Butch Conway, Colonel Don Pinkard, Major D. Hughes, Corporal Campbell, and Gwinnett County Detention Center.

The jail's rules on restricting prisoners from watching world news on TV during recreation, "free time" as it is called, is a denial of our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association, and freedom of the press or the right to access to the media.

The jail's "postcard only" policy restricts the prisoners from receiving incoming letters in envelopes, which severely restricts correspondance with our families. This constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of speech and association under the First amendment of the United States Constitution, violating the First Amendment rights of all prisoners at the jail, and all of their correspondents' First Amendment rights as well.

The jail's policy of returning mail and publications, whether world news print media, books or magazines, or incoming letters, and not notifying the prisoners or the senders until after they have already been returned, without giving us and all other correspondents an opportunity for redress or to grieve the issue, constitutes a violation of all prisoners' and all their correspondents' First Amendment right to petition for redress of a grievance under the First Amendment of the Unites States Constitution. It also violates the prisoners' and all of their correspondents' right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is also a violation of deprivation of liberty, or property without due process of law under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United State Constitution.

The "postcard only" policy is a denial of the prisoners', and all of their correspondents', right to expectation of privacy. This constitutes a violation under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as the right to equal protection of the laws, a violation under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The denial of grievances by stating that the "grievance is unfounded," and then not having an appeal process for the grievance, denies us the right to redress of grievances and constitutes a violation of our procedural due process right under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

This is just the start of 150 pages of the current lawsuit pending against Gwinnett County Detention Center for violating our First Amendment rights, the due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment.


MIM(Prisons) adds: In our experience fighting censorship in U.$ prisons, it is clear that county jails have some of the most blatant violations of prisoners' rights and United $tates law when it comes to handling incoming mail. Gwinnett County Detention Center's policy of allowing postcards only, and only if they are sized 4x6" or 5x7", definitely does not satisfy the reasonableness test laid out in Thornburgh v. Abbott. Marin County Jail in California and Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia are examples of county-level facilities in other states where censorship is blatant, illegal, and has almost no recourse.

California is implementing (and probably beta testing) a program called Prison Realignment which is purportedly a response to the overcrowding in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) facilities. Under Realignment, money is allocated to the counties to provide services and "housing" for state prisoners. Many advocates for prisoners' rights would like to see this money put toward rehabilitative services, and in some counties they may get their wish.

How it's playing out in real life, though, is that more prisoners are being moved to county facilities which are operated more like state prisons, and California is leasing space in privately owned prisons. In both cases, there is less accountability than state prisons. Often times (and on the whole in private facilities) censorship and other conditions of confinement are even worse than at the CDCR level.

While California moves more toward county-level imprisonment, we anticipate we will face more challenges with censorship, as is happening at Gwinnett County Detention Center. If this prototype "works" for California, we wouldn't be surprised to see other states move in this direction.

We encourage prisoners everywhere to get involved in fighting censorship when it happens at your facility. This is critical for those interested in anti-imperialist organizing, as it is revolutionary literature that is most frequently denied to prisoners, making our educational work particularly difficult.

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Michigan]
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Fight Security Threat Group Policies in Michigan

This article is about the Michigan Department of Corruptions (MDOC) and the status of Security Threat Group (STG) that needs to be challenged and abolished because it violates prisoners' human and civil rights. The Constitution has been violated by the MDOC, and this new policy is discriminatory, biased, ambiguous in its language, and contradicts other policies in place.

I am going to analyze the STG policy to show the human and constitutional rights violations. With the MDOC the number one thing is "security," and everything else comes later. Before any kind of policy changes take place, there is supposed to be a "Notice of Memorandum" posted in all the housing units 30 days before it goes into effect, and prisoners have the right to challenge the new policy. This procedure has been completely stopped. First look at the STG policy.

Prison policy statement:


"Effective monitoring of Security Threat Group (STG) activity assists in the prevention of violence and ensures the overall security of the facility. The strategic intelligence gained through monitoring is critical to understanding the group dynamics involved in the introduction of contraband, escape plots, and violence related to disputes, debt collections, and other STG influence activities. Prisoners who are identified as members of a STG shall be managed in a uniform manner in order to provide a safe and secure environment for prisoners, staff and facility operations."

Prison policy definition:


"Suspected STG member: an offender who has not been designated as a STG member but is being monitored as a STG associate, is connected to and/or interests, is with known STG members, is involved in STG related activity or is in possession of STG materials."

Now compare it to the Constitution and United Nations standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners from Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council by resolution 663 C (X-XIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 31 May 1977.


"Guiding principles
* The prison system must not aggravate unnecessarily the suffering inherent to a prisoner's loss of self-determination and liberty.
* Prisoners could utilize all remedial educational, medical, and spiritual forms of assistance to treat the prisoner's needs and facilitate his return to society as a law-abiding member.

"Education and Recreation
* The ongoing education of prisoners is to be facilitated, and schooling of illiterate and youthful prisoners is to be considered compulsory.
* Recreation and cultural activities are to be made available."

Prison policy: Removal of STG designation FF

"Each STG coordinator shall review the cases of all prisoners designated STG I or II in their facility at least annually to determine whether the STG designation should be removed or modified. This review shall be documented in the department's computerized database."

The removal from STG designation status sounds real good but in reality this isn't happening because this policy is written but not put into practice. The STG coordinator is refusing to even answer prisoners' requests. This is wrong and should be corrected as soon as possible. All prisoners designated STG should challenge this policy and have their family members get involved with this fight because this is a bold policy and it needs to be abolished.

Comrades we need to take out time and build universities out of these slave plantations and study and understand the law. We also need to understand that the DOC is an oppressor and they are always thinking of new ways to oppress prisoners. So we are going to have to step our game up to fight them at every step. These STG policies are to oppress prisoners. The MDOC has created separate STG housing for prisoners up north, called Earth East and West, just like in California's Security Housing Units.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are seeing a growth in so-called Security Threat Group policies in prisons across the United $tates. Pretending to be keeping the prisons safe from "gang" activity, these policies are used to target politically active prisoners. People with influence on the yard, who are successfully organizing others to fight for their rights end up getting "validated" as a security threat. And the vague policies and definitions of STG members allow prisons to use these policies to target whomever they like.

In reality lumpen organizations are important behind prison walls. They can provide needed protection and a base for education and organizing. But some engage in activities that harm other prisoners. While fighting STG validation policies in general we need to work to educate these groups about the importance of turning their focus to building peace among prisoners so that we can unite in the fight against the criminal injustice system. This is the important work of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. And through the UFPP we will build the power to successfully challenge these STG policies that are being used to torture our comrades behind bars.

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