I often wonder, that in the land where freedom rings, Why does pain and suffering it also bring? Because the only ringing I hear is a baton against my bars As I stare out the window, beyond the day to its stars. Eyes closed wishing & praying as often as I might, I still must fall asleep, within a cell every night. Hoping when I wake, that it was nothing but a dream, Yet nothing in my life is now as it may seem. Loved ones passing, as I stay locked inside of a cage, Working a job that pays less the 1% of minimum wage, Walking on the yard, as shots ring out from over head, Saying a silent prayer, hoping that no one else is dead. "The joint" is locked down over an argument on the yard. Not a fist was thrown, yet the whole "joint" is scarred. Commissary denial, and visitation is restricted. "On the new," they holler, another man has been convicted. Everyone around me is doing maximum time. Once free & now trapped, like a box & it's mine Silently and desperately, trying to find some way out. While dry tears escape my eyes as I scream silent shouts. So anyone whom claims that Amerika is the land of the free, They don't know a single thing, about the life that surrounds me!
I have chosen comrade Malcolm X as my freedom fighter, may he rest in peace.
Comrade Malcolm X was a man who grew up troubled by family issues. His father was murdered and his mother was slowly starting to deteriorate mentally. The comrade started to steal, and was running numbers, etc. This landed the comrade in prison where he continued to get into trouble, until he met a brother from the Nation of Islam who helped comrade Malcolm X to get himself together.
In time, comrade Malcolm X educated himself on the inside and eradicated all his bad habits. After his release he continued his work as a revolutionary, helping to build the Nation of Islam and fighting for the people. Later on in his life he was working on his own organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
Comrade Malcolm X had a major impact on my life. When I came to prison in 2005 I was sent to the supermax in Ohio, and I had the wrong understanding of revolutionary change, and I had a 7th grade education. I met a prisoner who let me read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and when I had finished, my whole life was changed. I started working harder to educate myself and to become more politically conscious and vowed to spend the rest of my life fighting against the oppressor.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's choice of a freedom fighter underscores the critical importance that education and political literature play in raising the consciousness of our comrades behind bars. While people may have an intuitive grasp of the nature of Amerikan imperialism, the lumpen mainly see the option of violence and theft against the people as a way to respond to the conditions of their lives. This is not revolutionary, and in fact sets the struggle back. But even with limited access to educational material we see people like Malcolm X and this comrade taking up the revolutionary struggle.
For this reason we place a big emphasis on getting our newsletter Under Lock & Key and political books in to prisoners. Most of the money we spend is on these tasks. And we rely on our comrades behind bars to share the lit they receive, and turn others on to the revolutionary mindset to help build new freedom fighters amongst the lumpen.
Everybody screaming west side, east side It doesn't matter, both sides Black men die Tell me why do we die right before our time It was said that every Black man committed crime That's a lie We can change if we put our minds on revolution. Let's unite and together we can rise. In due time thunder storms can produce a flower Through revolution and patience, then the world's ours But too much patience without action then we all cowards. Black power is what I scream right before I die Nightmares of being murdered by the Amerikkkan kind It's a known fact that Amerika has been designed to kill us all. Read your books it's been proven many times. It's hard to cope with the madness that's going on but I'm a soldier and as a soldier I gotta remain strong. Pick up revolutionary books and study them right And when the time comes, we must not be afraid to fight. We gotta fight if we plan to reach the top And Blacks killing Blacks all that gotta stop. It won't be long before Amerika takes a fall. Fuck the government, may death be upon you all. It ain't nothing but capitalists in the white house And Obama sold us out I'm fed up with lies and bullshit Black leaders talking good, but being hypocrites, Claiming they on our side Capitalizing off the Third World by teaching lies. I despise all capitalist because they're evil I'd rather die than let the government kill my people. They say we equal, how is that when we still trapped inside the projects, can't find jobs so we slang crack. Picture that, little kids without their moms and dads They on their own, becoming strong now they toting gas They go to prison, hit the streets screaming "pro Black!" Then you put them under the jail because they teaching facts.
The Syrian civil war, the biggest conflict in the Middle East if not the world, has many wondering what the outcome will be. The United $tates has backed a group in the Kurdish area that has called for the expulsion of Arabs (1) and has armed fundamentalist religious forces that threaten the Syrian government, headed by Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, the government-controlled capital of Syria, Damascus, has been a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews are allowed to co-exist, united by the same desire to save their nation from the forces that be. The Syrian Constitution is based in the mission of Pan-Arabism and specifically prevents the formation of political parties "on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color."(2)
The Assad government opposes becoming a puppet to U.$. imperialism and was never for the creation of I$rael and its occupation of Palestine. As history has shown, with a policy like that comes economic, if not military, aggression. The East and the West are in a tug-of-war over influence in the Middle East and it's only going to get worse. The so-called U.$.-type of "democracy" has proven again and again that it does not work; imperialist pseudo-democracy will not work in Syria just like it hasn't worked in Afghanistan or Iraq.
The pro-West bourgeois media claims Assad rules with an iron fist, but the West has backed the destruction of secularism and political pluralism in the region. Syria is more democratic than Saudi Arabia, a U.$. ally and the biggest dictatorship in the region. If the United $tates is really so concerned about iron fists, maybe the capitalists should look past the petroleum barrels and look at Saudi Arabia, the anti-democratic Sunni dictatorship that is nominally leading a repressive war in Yemen and was involved in the brutal repression of recent revolts in Bahrain.
For centuries Sunni influence has dominated the sectarian Muslim world, but now the table has turned and the Shia militias have taken up more territory than they've had in centuries, which has the Saudis in an ideological war with Iran. Assad is blamed for all the casualties in the war but even the foreign aggressors can't deny that it's their coalition planes dropping the barrel bombs on innocent civilians, threatening the Syrian government with war if they intervene.
The United $tates has spent $5 million on a Pentagon-sponsored training program to arm the Syrian opposition forces, but four years later there is still no success in their campaign. The Pentagon has admitted that the program was a failure. From the beginning of the war the U.$. State Department's policy towards Syria was "Assad must go now." But since it's looking like this is not going to happen any time soon Obama said Assad doesn't have to leave right away, there can be a transition of power. What bureaucratic bullshit.
All this has to do with Russia and Iran's strong presence in Syria and their strong stance on supporting Assad. The Iran-backed Shia militias are doing most of the fighting on Iraq's border with Syria, and they have made it clear that as soon as they've dealt with the Islamic State they're prepared to fight the real enemy: U.$. imperialism. Russia has recently opened up an airbase in western Syria, the biggest Russian base ever built outside the old Soviet territory. Just recently they've started conducting their own airstrikes against the Syrian opposition forces in eastern Syria, far from Islamic State-held territory.(5) Now the United $tates sees how determined Russia and Iran are in making sure the Syrian government doesn't collapse. Both sides are willing to sit down for talks on how to avoid each other on the battlefield but can't decide how the war should end. One thing is for sure: if Assad leaves, the war still won't end.
The real victims of this ideological, semi-colonial war are the innocent people of Syria. Since the beginning of the war, 250,000 people have died and more than 9 million people have left their homes. According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 3,000 to 6,000 people leave Syria every day. So now because of the war the biggest refugee crisis since WWII is happening with no end in sight.
Other major casualties are happening among the Kurdish people, who have been fighting for freedom since before the war and have suffered much death and destruction because of the war. I'm not talking about the comprador landlord class that sold out to imperialism. I'm talking about the exploited who were suffering way before the war, and do not have interests aligned with imperialism, despite their misleaders.
As anti-imperialists we oppose U.$. aggression in Syria as well as anywhere in the world. Chairman Mao said "political power comes out of the barrel of a gun." So as long as there is exploitation there will always be war. As materialists we must use scientific theory to educate one another on the importance of solidarity with the Third World and opposition to the bourgeois warmongers.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is correct that our principal contribution here should be in making it hard for the United $tates to stay involved in Syria and elsewhere. And while we cannot determine the forces on the ground elsewhere, we can see who is in the anti-imperialist united front and who is with the imperialists. In that light, we have a couple comments related to some popular narratives on this conflict.
First, there is a myth promoted in the Western media that violence in the Middle East is due to centuries-old religious conflict. This myth paints the current war(s) in an ahistorical way; they have always existed, and may continue to exist unless the imperialists can somehow tame and modernize these backwards peoples.
The reality is that these are some of the most religiously diverse countries because they are close to the birthplaces of so many of the world's most popular religions. Countries like Iraq and Syria not only were quite diverse and harmonious, but were relatively well-developed; not the bombed-out desert caves we see in the media.
The narrative that focuses on religion does so to hide the real politics and economics behind the conflict. In particular, hiding imperialist meddling. It also attempts to convince the West, from atheist to Christian, of the barbarity of these "foreign" cultures. It is important to remember that the principal contradiction on the international scale is imperialism vs. the oppressed nations, and not between religions or genders.
Many have used the role of wimmin in the Islamic State in contrast to the Kurdish regions to justify support for the Kurds. As Frantz Fanon noted in his study of the Algerian revolution, the conditions of armed struggle forced the involvement of wimmin in military operations, regardless of cultural beliefs to the contrary. In other words, the national struggle, if genuinely aimed at liberation from imperialism, will force the gender contradiction forward with it. The converse is not true, which is how we know which contradiction should be prioritized. It is true that more wimmin holding guns can be a good sign of the progressiveness of the organization, but even in the Third World this is not always the case.
This leads us to another myth that we want to clarify for our readers, which is that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is a Marxist, or even a Maoist organization. While having Marxist-Leninist roots, the PKK fully capitulated to the Turkish state after the capture of their leader Abdullah Ocalan in a joint U.$.-Turkish operation in 1999. He officially changed the leading ideology of the PKK to a libertarian “Democratic Confederalism” in 2005. But as early as 1998 Ocalan was denouncing communism, and promoting the route of U.$. development for the oppressed nations.(6)
The PKK has its roots in Turkey, which has a long history of Maoist activity that continues to this day. Yet none of the Kurdish-controlled areas are currently run by anti-imperialist organizations. The U.$.-backed Erdogan regime in Turkey does have a complex relationship to the PKK and other Kurdish forces. While they have provided support to Kurds fighting the Islamic State, in recent months, they resumed violent attacks on the PKK within Turkey. For this reason and many others, the current alliance of Kurdish forces with the U.$. empire is not an optimistic choice for the Kurdish people.
An approximate definition of a freedom fighter is someone who lays down their life in the struggle for freedom and self-determination. The hystory of the Third World is full of misery, disease, war, starvation and exploitation all because of imperialist exploitation of the global south. By growing up in these conditions, many become class conscious at a young age and are ready to stand up against oppression, and some become recognized for their dedication to the international struggle for freedom.
I could dedicate this article to the brave, selfless revolutionaries like Che, who in his adventures from Argentina to Mexico saw firsthand how U.$. imperialism was to blame for Latin America's backwardness. Or to Nelson Mandela who socially revolutionized South Africa and even gave his freedom for a better life for his people. Many have fought to end exploitation.
Really though I want to dedicate this paper to the youth, the future of the revolution. To those who at a young age saw misery and experienced hunger and at a young age dialectically understood that it was because the oil, or minerals in the dirt, were more important than the lives of the people living on that land.
During the Cultural Revolution it was the youth who attacked the power-hungry revisionists in the party. Chairman Mao said that the youth are the future cadres of the revolution and we must protect them and educate them to keep the struggle alive.
These bourgeois politicians talk a good game but do they really want change? According to a recent interview Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recognized that society has betrayed the youth. He told CBS This Morning that statistically the United $tates has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the so-called developed world.(1) Today's culture in Amerika is all about flashy cars and jewelry and social media with the popular #YOLO. The parasitic culture could care less what goes on outside their borders as long as they get theirs.
The biggest refugee crisis since WWII is taking place in the Middle East all because there's a power struggle between the west and the east. It's sad that 25,000 children traveled alone from Syria to Europe, not knowing if there will be a tomorrow.(2) The bourgeois media is quick to water down First World intervention and call the Assad regime the enemy of world peace, but who is bombing whole cities killing dozens of innocent people at a time?
Never in the hystory of the Third World have they experienced long periods of peace. Dialectically dissecting the hystory of the Middle East we see that post-WWII the paper tiger (U.$. dollar) has had its hand in the Middle East supplying guns and aid to fight wars for imperialist interests. How hypocritical is it to call yourselves the true examples of democracy when you're ready to go to war for a couple barrels of petroleum at the expense of innocent lives.
Only through the example of the Cultural Revolution, with the structure and discipline of Mao Zedong thought, can our youth have a chance. It was the policy of Mao's China that the interests of the youth be protected and that they be organized in order to fully participate properly in the social progress of the nation. Education is the key for progress, and the youth are the future of that progress. Oppose imperialism. To protect the future we must first make sure there's a future.
A USW comrade asks: Recently I was having a conversation here with someone about the "Third World." This person didn't think all of Africa, Asia & Latin America was still the "Third World." I wasn't totally sure. He also asked exactly what qualifies a country for Third World status. I had no answer, he asked someone outside prison who looked online and stated all Latin America is still Third World but China was now considered "Second World," is this true? Can you send me an article on "Third World" - past, present, and future? Thank you.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The use of the terms First, Second and Third World arose during the Cold War, when the Western imperialist-led block was referred to as the First World, the communist block was the Second World, and the Third World were the so-called non-aligned countries who were also the most exploited and underdeveloped countries by design.
Mao Zedong put forth an alternative assessment of the world using these terms. By this time the Soviet Union had clearly gone back on the capitalist road. So while the West saw the Soviet Union as communist, China saw it correctly as imperialist. Mao therefore labeled the two superpowers, U$A and the Soviet Union, as the First World. He grouped other imperialist countries as the Second World, which he saw as potential allies against the First World. Then the exploited countries he saw as the Third World, including socialist countries like China itself.
Today, the general usage of the term Third World is more consistent and it is closer to the way Mao defined it. It might be used interchangeably with terms like "exploited nations," "oppressed nations," "underdeveloped countries," "periphery" or "global south." In 1974 Mao said, "The third world has a huge population. With the exception of Japan, Asia belongs to the third world. The whole of Africa belongs to the third world and Latin America too."(1) To this day, this is probably the most common view of who is the Third World. But of course it is more nuanced than that.
It is worth mentioning the more recent use of the term Fourth World to refer to indigenous populations that are not really integrated into the capitalist world economy. This points to the reality that the vast populations that we might lump into the category of Third World can vary greatly themselves. The distinction is a more useful point when analyzing conditions within a Third World country than when doing a global analysis.
In the earlier years of the Soviet Union, Stalin summed up Lenin's theory of imperialism and split "the population of the globe into two camps: a handful of 'advanced' capitalist countries which exploit and oppress vast colonies and dependencies, and the huge majority consisting of colonial and dependent countries which are compelled to wage a struggle for liberation from the imperialist yoke."(2) This is how we view the world today, when there is no socialist block with state power. But we also know that historically the socialist USSR and socialist China both saw themselves in the camp of the exploited countries, or the Third World.
In our glossary, we define Third World as, "The portion of the geographic-social world subjected to imperialist exploitation by the First World." If this is our working definition, we might choose to use the term "exploited nations" to be more clear. But this comrade brings up a good question asking about China. And it leads us to the question, is China still an exploited nation?
We will only superficially address this question here, but we think the obvious answer is "yes." It was only recently that the peasantry ceased to be the majority in China. And after the destruction of socialist organizing in the mid-1970s, the conditions of the peasantry quickly deteriorated pushing people to leave their homelands for the cities. While urban wages have seen steady growth in recent years, even that masks a vast and diverse population. The average annual income of $9,000 puts an urban Chinese worker in the neighborhood of earning the value of their labor.(3) But the average is greatly skewed by the wealthy, and most workers actually make far less than $9,000 a year. Combine them with the almost 50% of the population in the rural areas and we've got a majority exploited population.
Another way to think about China as a whole is that it accounts for about 25% of global production.(4) Capitalism cannot function and pay over a quarter of the world's productive labor more than the value they produce. Keeping all the value of your own labor (and more) is an elite benefit only granted to a tiny minority found almost wholly in the First World. There is really no feasible path forward that leads to the vast majority of Chinese people benefiting from imperialism when they make up almost 20% of the world's people. This is a contradiction that Chinese finance capitalists must deal with.
While the modern interpretation of the term Third World tends to be a descriptive term for the conditions of that country alone, the definitions from the Cold War era actually defined Third World countries by how they relate in the global balance of power. To define a country as Third World is more meaningful when it is done to define its interests in relation to others. Can we count on the Chinese to take up anti-imperialism or not? Or, as Mao put it, who are our friends and who are our enemies? That is the important question.
While we see the makings of more and more revolutionary nationalist organizing by other nations against China in the future, we cannot put the Chinese nation in the camp of oppressor nations. It is our position that some 80% of the world are of the oppressed nations that oppose imperialism. Including China as an oppressor nation would push that number down near 60%. But the conditions in China just don't support that categorization.
The bourgeois myth is that the world has been in a period of peace since the end of World War II. The MIM line has always been that World War III is under way, it's just taken the form of the First World vs. the Third World, so First Worlders don't worry about it so much. In recent years that has begun to change as witnessed in thinly veiled conflicts in places like Ukraine and Syria. In recent months we've seen U.$. and Russian military on the same battlefield, not on the same side. And both countries are gearing up to increase their militarys' involvements in that war in Syria. This is the first time that the inter-imperialist contradiction has been so acute since Gorbachev took power in the Soviet Union in 1985 and began the dissolution of the union in partnership with the Western imperialists.
Politically speaking, it would be reasonable to consider countries like Russia, as well as China, to be the Second World today, as they provide a counterbalance to the imperialist interests of the dominant imperialist powers of Europe, Japan and, most importantly, the United $tates. As such, Russia and China can play progressive roles as a side-effect of them pursuing their own non-progressive interests, because they challenge the dominant empire. However, we have not seen the term Second World used in this way, and you don't really hear the term these days. Perhaps the growing inter-imperialist conflict will warrant its comeback.
Its a hardknock life blood, as we struggle to find liberation in a land that don't belong to us. Through decades of national oppression, poverty at the hands of capitalist institutions. Yet we remain, and seem content, dying to protect rights that aren't even ours. How long must we be the fools while they rock us to sleep, pacifying us with equal rights promises that they won't keep? I'm fed up! I want my freedom! While Black scholars and Black politicians debate, while racist institutions and television raise your children, I'ma be Bangin' for Revolution, I get it poppin' and keep my eyes on the prize duke, no longer willin' to kill a brother just 'cause his flag is blue, or black. I'm just fighting to get my freedom back, to re-educate our children and get the love of a people back. Yeah, I was born in the "land of the free," but they ain't free me. The made me a victim of systems and poverty. It's just how the story reads, stolen from Afrika, brought to Amerikkka to see my people bleed. And though we seem to have overcome the obstacles of slavery, we still find ourselves fighting for justice and equality. The emancipation proclamation was a formality to extort proletariats in a capitalist society LEGALLY. But you don't believe, you're still reaching for the Amerikkkan dream, while they exterminate our species. But you blame me, because I castigate those who disagree that this life in the west is the life to oppose. You're either friend or foe in this war for freedom, Justice and equality, this war for revolution. I'm fueled by 400 years of rage for those who couldn't escape, and hence were made slaves. I'm fueled by the contradictions of a Black nation, who talks tha talk but contributes to our indoctrination of Black self-hate. I'm fueled by the blood, sweat, and tears spilled by a people in a foreign land just trying to live. I'm fueled by the catastrophes of a history we can't shake off, because we've been indoctrinated with the will to be lost. But I want freedom! And I won't stop until this government falls. Grab every branch of government by the balls, and scream FREEDOM! And we can't stop until our people are free. Unite the souls of oppressed people and sing, We want freedom!
Regarding the rejection of Under Lock & Key 45, I have yet to see the publication. Yet allegations that it depicts "sexually oriented content" make no sense to me. We may be able to use this false review and classification as a means of obtaining relief against arbitrary censorship. I am currently in confinement and was unable to make a copy of the grievance and response for my safe keeping.
My current confinement is a serious retaliation against me resulting from an incident on September 8, when a prisoner who was in handcuffs was brutally assaulted by a Sergeant A. Arana. Shortly after the assault I wrote a kite to a prisoner in confinement, informing him that a few other prisoners had witnessed him being brutalized by Sergeant Arana. I listed the names [of 3 other prisoners] in the kite, informing him that he needed to write a grievance to the Inspector General ASAP, listing those names as witnesses, that he gotta go all the way through with it, that he could sue and that I was writing the secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections Julie Jones asking her to look into his brutality.
On September 12 all those names I mentioned in the kite and myself got rounded up and placed in confinement under investigation. The Captain showed me my kite even though it was not written using my government name. I was being placed under investigation for "conspiracy to defraud the state." No such charge was delivered. Everybody else was released on September 16, and I was released from confinement on September 18.
Once released I learned that Sergeant Gaucin, Sergeant Arana and Sergeant Sanders were telling prisoners on the compound that I am an FBI snitch. They are obviously trying to get me stabbed or killed. While being escorted to confinement on September 12, Sergeant Gaucin searched me and found an FBI/Department of Justice Civil Rights Division agent's business card. The agency has visited me twice due to my reporting on brutality of prisoners. So I carry the card and give prisoners their information if they need it. I wrote the Secretary a letter about being called a snitch by officers. On October 2 I was placed in confinement under protective management. On October 5 I was released.
The very next morning, October 6 at 8 a.m. count, Sergeant Juliano approached my cell. The cell door was already open. Sergeant Juliano ordered me out of the cell. I stood at the rail outside of the cell in perfect view of the surveillance cameras. Sergeant Juliano opened my locker and started dumping all my property on the floor, loudly stating: "You snitch, you baby rapist, I don't want no snitch in my dorm, you're getting out of my dorm right now, you wanna write up my officers? If you don't stop writing up my officers, I'm gonna fuck you up myself, you damn snitch, you baby rapist," making sure he was heard by the whole wing. He continued, "I'm not Sergeant Arana you snitching mother fucker, you're going to jail."
I was placed in handcuffs while he found my address books stating, "you won’t be writing the Secretary and FBI and whoever else you like to write about what's going on here, you won't be seeing these anymore, snitch bitch," putting my address books in his left cargo pants pockets.
I was escorted to the Captain's office by Corrections Officer (C/O) Hunter who stated, "you need to mind your own business, you write too many grievances, you talk to much."
At the Captain's office I informed the Captain of everything that was said and done by Sergeant Juliano and C/O Hunter. The Captain simply informed me that I was being placed in confinement pending a disciplinary review (DR) for disrespecting Sergeant Juliano; something I never did.
On October 7 the DR was delivered. Sergeant Juliano stated that while counting, he smelled smoke in the area of my cell and asked me if I was smoking. He claimed I replied, "Bitch, ain't nobody smoking, get the fuck out of here and go do your job."
On October 8 the DR hearing team informed me that I was being sentenced to only 15 days rather than 30. They really wanted to let me go, but they said that they feared for my safety and would decide what to do by the time my 15 days would be up. I'm waiting to see how it works out.
No matter how it goes I'm filing a civil claim for retaliation. I had just filed my tort claim in state court, been given a case number and awaiting a response on my application for indigency. The tort is about loss of my personal property last October.
We are putting the pressure on the pro-imperialist goons (pigs) down here by simply letting the Secretary know what's going on. The move is picking up. However, they might skip me soon, that's how it always go.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This report of both unfounded censorship (for content that does not exist in Under Lock & Key!) and punishment for reporting on conditions of confinement are ongoing problems in Florida prisons. We've initiated a campaign against the censorship in that state, but we know that it will likely come with retaliation against those who choose to participate in the struggle. We will use the pages of ULK to expose the Florida injustice system, but we also need legal help to take on the broader anti-censorship battle. It is of critical importance (and also legally protected) that our comrades in Florida, facing this sort of abuse, be able to receive political education and communicate their stories to the outside world. Fighting the censorship is an important part of the battle. If you are in Florida and want to get involved in the censorship battle let us know.
I was recently made aware of the settlement agreement in the California solitary confinement case. I agree with Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) in the article in ULK 46"Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners". The agreement that was reached is not worth a grain of salt. It still permits the use of solitary confinement within California. The fact that the agreement seems to eliminate indefinite terms of solitary confinement is not a real accomplishment at all. It is merely camouflage. This "concession" hides the fact that no real victory has been made. A prisoner can still spend up to 5 years at a time in solitary confinement within California prisons. We must continue to fight back.
Earlier this year three prisoners within the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) filed a class action lawsuit challenging the use of solitary confinement within IDOC. In mid-2013 approximately 2,500 prisoners were being held in solitary confinement within IDOC. These numbers may seem small compared to the situation in California but Illinois has a significantly smaller prison population.
This lawsuit creates another chance for prisoners to combat the oppressive conditions of solitary confinement. I am asking that prisoners across the United $tates send any information that they can to Uptown Peoples Law Center, 4413 N. Sherridan, Chicago, IL 60640. Address your letters to Allan Mills. He is the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the Illinois lawsuit. If this lawsuit is successful it could be the beginning of the end of solitary confinement everywhere.
Let us practice unity and show that state lines do not alienate us from each other. There are several prisoners who were directly involved in the struggle against solitary confinement in California and elsewhere, who have access to resources and support groups that could be useful in the Illinois struggle. Unite and fight against imperialist oppression. Dare to struggle! Dare to win!
MIM(Prisons) adds: The fight against long-term isolation in Illinois is definitely part of the broader fight against control units everywhere. Even if it's hard to win in the imperialist courts, this doesn't mean we stop fighting, especially when we have the legal resources to take on the fight.
But we still need to be clear that even if we could shut down all of the solitary confinement cells in the United $tates, this would still be only a small part of the criminal injustice system. We need to approach this battle as a part of the larger struggle to take down the imperialists more broadly so that they don't just come up with a different way or a different population to torture and oppress.
I would like to say thank you for the support you guys put out for us in prison. As much as we don't want to give leverage to these parasites, we have to realize what we're up against. By analyzing current events and the possibility of change to happen, we have to accept failures in order to gain grounds. The path we choose now will determine where we're headed. It can be seen everywhere that the old system ain't working. As much reforms are placed on the table, the crumbs are repacked and tried again. No matter how different it's made, it's the same old ideas. The boiling point has been exceeded and riots are getting more intense. This will happen when the people decide their own fate. A hero is not needed, only the spark which will light the way for others.
I emphasize decolonizing ourselves and making the connections between our oppression and imperialism. Being a person of color, I know where I stand. Therefore I do agree on the five pillars of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. I'm an anarchist and belong to a First Nation. The liberty tree branches touch certain ideas we agree upon. By coming familiar with other struggles outside our own lines we can connect the dots that lead to a common enemy. By placing the teachings of resistance in several minds, we can prevent it from being destroyed by placing it in one basket, which will help us prevail into the unknown future.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this comrade into the United Front for Peace in Prisons, especially as an anarchist and a member of a First Nation. We aim to unite all who can be united against imperialism. Sectarianism (prioritizing your group over the entire people) leads to divisions between Maoists and anarchists, which are unnecessary in our fight against our common enemy.
We also agree with this comrade's emphasis on educating many people rather than building up single ideological leaders. Building up the political competency of all of society is one of the keys to success of our revolutionary struggle. If we rely on a single leader, or a single party, for guidance, then we will inevitably be led astray when that leader is no longer around, whether by natural death or assassination. Spreading political study to as many people as possible helps protect our struggle and helps people to be masters of their own future.