The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 45]
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No Stopping Me

Locking us down simply because they can
Trying to break us down to make us feel less of a man
Instill hate in us, turning us against each other
When will we utilize our 3rd eye which is the mind
Through its strength alone it will break these chains that got us blind
We must stand as one together, we must unite
Realize violence is not the only way to fight
So much can be done by the force of a powerful voice
Confined behind these walls but my mind will never be under lock and key
Exercise my mind daily so there's no stopping me

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[Spanish] [Control Units] [Gang Validation] [ULK Issue 46]
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Recreación Negada en Segregación Administrativa

Nosotros los que estamos en Segregación Administrativa fuimos puestos aquí por ser parte de un STG (Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad), supuestamente un pandillero confirmado. En el 2002 fui encerrado en Segregación Administrativa por corresponder con los presos de otra unidad que fueron confirmados como STG. Salí de prisión en el 2004, y recientemente regresé a prisión este año, nuevamente me encuentro en Segregación Administrativa aún no siendo parte de una pandilla. He tratado de escribirle a los oficiales que investigan a las pandillas, también escribí un reporte sobre mi asociación en el pasado; me dijeron que iba a ir a un programa (GRAD) diseñado para ex-pandilleros. Todavía estoy esperando.

Durante el tiempo en Segregación Administrativa, debemos de recibir una hora de ejercicio (recreo) por día, como parte de nuestros derechos. Yo he estado en esta unidad por seis meses y solo he salido a recreación dos veces. He escrito una queja como primer paso, solo me dijeron que me darán una respuesta cuando el personal lo permita. La población general recibe recreación diariamente, y tienen el personal suficiente para esculcar las celdas cuando salimos a bañarnos cada-otro-día. Hay otras unidades a las cuales les falta personal, pero todavía reciben su hora de recreación. Es triste porque unos necesitan el ejercicio por razones medicas y todos lo necesitamos por razones mentales. Estar constantemente en la celda del diario es una batalla mental y un problema de salud serio.


MIM(Prisiones) responde: En Under Lock & Key (ULK41) nosotros publicamos unos relatos de validación pandillera que han sido usados como instrumentos de control social.

El STG (Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad) está diseñado para sujetarse sobre las cabezas de los presos que son más conscientes en la política, y después es usado con excusa para aislarlos de los demás. Para la administración es irrelevante si los individuos validados se afilian con una organización lumpen. Hay lugares que te clasifican como una STG solo por trabajar/estudiar con MIM(Prisiones). Nosotros publicamos relatos como este para demostrar las condiciones de tortura en estos programas de aislamiento, y el arbitrario uso que el "STG" marca. En realidad no confiamos en el sistema de injusticia, que decida quien es una amenaza a la seguridad: Las amenazas más grandes a la seguridad se presentan en el gobierno Amerikano y en el ejercito y sistema de prisiones.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Direct Hit

I am an imprisoned lumpen
Ready to do some revolutionary stumpin
Sick and tired of the capitalist pigs' continuous humpin
He has humped and humped and screwed all the lumpen
In this uncivilized world
Molotov cocktails, let the oppressed nations hurl!
With nothing to lose, I ain't afraid one bit
Listen to the pigs squeal
As they waddle in their own shit!
Power to the people, who make a direct hit
Anti-imperialist, I hate all pigs
I dislike swine of any kind, ya dig?!

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[U.S. Imperialism] [Ujamaa Field Dynasty] [ULK Issue 44]
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Government Hypocrisy Over Freedom of Speech in France

In a show of bourgeois solidarity, on a Sunday in January, 4 million people flooded the streets of France in the name of "support for freedom of speech and expression." Representatives from some 30 different countries marched arm in arm to show their displeasure and cooperation in France's pursuit for justice against the French satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo.

We only need to look at the list of who was on the front lines of this march to see the contradictions in this expression. David Camron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has participated in the imprisonment of Middle Eastern journalists. The king of Jordan for years has imprisoned journalists and those who participate in marches. Benjamin Netanyahu, the biggest war criminal of our time, months ago, blew up Al Aqu Alquxa news services in Palestine, and also killed two journalists. The fact that there was an "absence" of U.$. officials at the march really shouldn't be surprising. U.$.-sponsored bombing of Al Jazeera in Iraq at the Sheraton hotel, and the imprisonment of African journalists in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base are only a few small examples of Amerikan hypocrisy on the question of freedom of speech.

I think it's truly contradictory that when 17 people die for insulting a prophet many take dear, the world takes the opportunity to cry crocodile tears. Amerika and its western pigs can only speak honestly of human rights when they pull out of the Middle East and Asian countries, i.e. the Third World. At last count, 20 countries in Afrika and Asia were under U.$. and Western occupation. This count doesn't include countries facing drone strikes and military intervention from military contractors such as Haliburton, and other corporate conglomerates such as Shell, Texaco, etc. We say that when people are attacked in whatever circumstance, they have a right to fight back.

The philosophy that Amerikan troops are defenders of anything humane is a lie; troops from the United $tates are enforcers of economic imperialism. So in closing here's an idea: U.$. government if you want to defend free speech, defend it when it comes to all people, and don't pretend to be innocent when the wars you've launched for liberation are for your own interests. Save your tears about the murder of children and wimmin for yourself. And if you really want to stand up for free speech, close Guantanamo Bay, free your prisoners and stop the murder of foreign Al Jazeera writers.

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[Organizing] [New Afrika] [ULK Issue 45]
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Black August Call to Celebrate Freedom Fighters Year Round

The celebration of Black August really should be all year round. Only we can make this change. For those who lack knowledge of Black August, it's considered the "celebration of freedom fighters." Every individual who stands against oppression on any level is a freedom fighter. The color of one's skin is irrelevant. I love you sister Marilyn Buck (rest in power), Lolita Lebron (rest in power), and Silvia Baraldini, among others who weren't the color of black. Yet, they were black. Because, to the oppressed of any nationality, Black isn't a color.

Black is an establishment created to protect one's civil rights. Black is courage. Black is self-motivation to win. Black is vision. Black is respect. Black is love. Black is loyalty. Black is unity. Black is pride. Black is you! Furthermore and more importantly, Black is me!

Collectively, these Black endearments are us (i.e. united souljahs and united souljahettes). This is why I believe Black August, the celebration of freedom fighters, should be year round.

In preparation of such a celebration I am calling on all comrades to pick a freedom fighter of their choice and submit a 250 word essay on your chosen freedom fighter describing why you've made such a selection and the impact this freedom fighter had on you. I am asking in solidarity with Under Lock & Key for all readers of ULK to participate. Although every article may not be printed due to space and financial hurdles, your participation will not be ignored. Let's strengthen the voice of ULK. Because if we're considered the voice of ULK and we don't strengthen it, then who will?

Unity is a powerful device when applied suitably. Let's unify ourselves rather than destroy ourselves.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We decided to take up this comrade's call for submissions about freedom fighters year round by printing it during Black August and then following up by printing submissions from ULK readers in a future issue. Of particular importance in this call is understanding that all prisoners are political prisoners. And so we do not just identify freedom fighters as people who were famous for their political activism before being locked up. Instead we encourage you to think about the prisoners who have affected you in a positive way, including those who haven't written books or received media attention. Let's celebrate all freedom fighters and strive to be freedom fighters ourselves.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Southern Ohio Correctional Facility] [Ohio]
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Chemical Warfare

These concentration camps are using chemicals that are carried on the pigs' hips along with their billy clubs and handcuffs. They call these chemicals mace, but I've been pondering on something for years now: what are the ingredients inside these cans that are being used on us? Do these chemicals have a long-term effect on a person's health? Riot cans are being used on us while we are locked down, and how does this make sense? We are lab rats being experimented on by these oppressors. The new trend is chemical warfare, and these oppressors are using different "toys" to instill fear to control us. They have mace ball guns where, instead of paint balls, the balls are filled with dry mace powder so that when a person is hit the powder gets all over their body causing a painful burning sensation. They have large fire extinguishers filled with foam mace and it's attached to battling rams. At least three to four days a week we are woken up choking from the aroma of these chemicals because the pigs have sprayed a prisoner.

The pigs walk around with riot cans prepared to spray prisoners at any time, and in most cases for no good reason at all, just because they can. I've witnessed numerous times these riot cans being put into a prisoner's mouth, prisoners being sprayed in their faces at point-blank range, or in their private regions while handcuffed. Personally I have been sprayed so many times that I have received chemical burns. I recall one night while resisting an injustice that was being done by these oppressors, they didn't want to assemble an extraction team so instead the pigs got about 10 riot cans and sat them on a table in front of the pod. These pigs' intentions were to spray from 1 a.m. all the way to 6 a.m. when another shift arrived.

Right now I am at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, aka Looneyville, and these pigs spray these chemicals on a daily basis. I've witnessed them spray prisoners numerous times under false pretense. I call this the "jump back." This is when the pigs walk around intimidating prisoners with their chemicals and if we don't comply with the pigs' demands then the pigs walk down the range to stand in front of a prisoner's bars and yells some gibberish and then "jumps back" pulling out their mace and spraying.

The Captain or Lieutenant comes and takes this prisoner to the hole, putting him in a slammer cell. The administrator accuses him of spitting or throwing something on a pig, which is is clearly a setup. When placed on the slammer side, the prisoner is put around the same pig that set them up and us further harassed. The pigs play with our food, cut off our water, and give us the bare minimum of our property.

If you write an informal complaint, eventually you'll get sprayed in retaliation, receiving a ticket and getting placed on phone and commissary restriction to try to limit your communication with society. If you present the issues to the Warden and administration, they'll pass it along to the pigs and they'll spray and jump you when they get the right opportunity.

These prisons remind me so much of Nazi concentration camps where hoards of humans were experimented on with different kinds of chemicals until they found the perfect ingredients to eliminate them. We don't know what long-lasting effects these chemicals have. These chemicals enter our bodies and we are being released back to society, making babies and don't even know what we are passing along. Got to watch these oppressors' every move because genocide is their long-term objective.

I just received a recent update that these oppressors are about to bring stun guns in! I sit here with fire in my eyes immune to their tactics because I know their true motives. I resist by any means necessary, organizing, networking, and educating until we become one mind, one body for one cause. All power to the people.

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[Censorship] [National Oppression] [Perry Correctional Institution] [Lee Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 45]
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Reading is Fundamental

Throughout the history of our uncivilized world, those who invade, conquer, colonize, and oppress the people without fail make their first order of business to uproot and destroy the educational facilities and libraries. The oppressor nations and their oppressive apparatus know the importance of books and a proper education.

As we know from history, the Africans who were brought to Amerika and turned into slaves were forbidden to read and write. In fact, to be caught with a book or even attempting to learn how to read and write was a crime for them. These are facts that trouble me immensely, because the more things seem to change, the more they actually remain the same.

In September of 2012 while being housed in the Special Management Unit (SMU) at Lee Correctional Institution, in Bishopville, South Carolina, I filed a grievance, because on 25 April 2012, the then-acting Warden (Michael McCall) had the Rapid Response Team (Red-Team) confiscate all books, newspapers, magazines, etc. from SMU prisoners. I was left without one single piece of paper in the cell; they even took the toilet paper.

And though this was against their own policy (SCDC Policy OP-22.12), it has still been upheld on appeal. It is criminal to hold a human being inside of a cell for twenty-four hours a day with absolutely nothing to read and occupy the mind. While on SMU for almost four years, I developed high blood pressure and mental health issues. Since being off SMU I no longer have signs of high blood pressure and I have resolved my mental health issues on my own. I was taking medication for high blood pressure and the mental health issues and currently I am medication-free.

Some prisoners get their families to order books for them, but some bookstores such as Barnes & Noble have refused to let my family order books that must be sent directly to me, because they've had so many problems with the institutions sending books back. Companies have simply gotten fed up with having to send refund checks, because so many books, magazines, newspapers, etc. (primarily literature pertaining to Black history and culture) are unauthorized and thus, we can't receive them.

Currently I am being held captive at Perry Correctional Institution (PCI), which is in Pelzer, South Carolina. Here at PCI they not only deny prisoners on SMU books, but they've shut down the regular library services as well. The general prisoner population's library services have been shut down for about five months now. We have been told that the books that are currently part of the regular library will be divided up and placed on shelves and/or carts that will be built in the respective dorm units. I have written requests to the staff here concerning the library services (or lack thereof) and they give me the same run-around. I have even pointed out to them that they are not abiding by their own policy (PS-08.04 Library Services) when it comes to how they've shut the library down.

The truly sad part about this whole injustice is that the warden here (Larry Cartledge) is Black (his skin anyway), the Major here (Curtis Early) is Black (his skin anyway), and even the person in charge of the educational building (Linda Bratton) is Black. All of these people should realize the significance and importance of books to a people who have been beaten, lynched, and murdered for attempting to educate themselves in a nation that has done everything possible to stop them from educating themselves. We cannot give Black officials a pass simply because their skin is black. We must hold these "Black people" accountable not only for their actions, but for their inactions as well. This entire system is corrupt and bent on further maintaining and supporting corruption, oppression, and an imperialistic agenda.

The South Carolina Department of Corruption's policy GA-01.12 (Inmate Grievance System May 12, 2014), p. 5 states: "Responses: in most instances, grievances will be processed from initial to final disposition within 171 days." It is no accident that the South Carolina Department of Correction (SCDC) has taken well over two years to process my grievance in question and many many more.

Once the grievance process has been exhausted, the prisoner can file civil suits for various violations committed by the SCDC, but most civil suits have to be filed within a two-year time frame of said violations. The SCDC has developed, maintained, and even nurtured a system of crime and corruption against the very people who they have the audacity to call criminals. They prolong and hinder the grievance process in their attempts to stop prisoners from having their day in court.

When "our people" represent the interest of the oppressive imperialist state, they are not "our people" and we must replace them with those who actually hold our best interest at heart. It is clear that these people are complicit with this corrupt, unjust system of racism, oppression, and imperialism. And though they do not want us to read books, they throw the book at us each and every opportunity they get.


MIM(Prisons) responds: One of the main similarities between present-day U.$. prisons, and the days of U.$. slavery, is the use of people from oppressed groups to act as agents of oppression on behalf of the oppressor Amerikkkan nation. The Uncle Tom phenomena is most clearly exemplified by Barack Obama, the Black President of the United $tates, the world's leading imperialist power. Since the destruction of the 1960s national liberation movements, the New Afrikan nation, and other internal semi-colonies, have been increasingly bought off by the spoils of imperialism. New Afrikan guards in prisons are an ironic example of this integration.

Replacing one guard with another won't change the fact that they are prison guards, and hence determined to fall into the role of oppressor. After all, that's why they get a paycheck! Instead we aim to get rid of the oppressive prison system altogether, by creating a society where this relationship is no longer necessary or legal.

On a country-wide scale, the contradiction between Amerika and the internal semi-colonies is principal. In looking at historical examples, we see that struggles for national liberation have done the most to propel societies out of the oppression of capitalism and imperialism.

Within PCI it sounds like the guards side more with Amerika than they do with their own nation, probably because of all the great "opportunity" that Amerika has provided them. We call this "opportunity" spoils of imperialism: wealth that was stolen from the Third World by the imperialists and divvied up amongst First World citizens on varying levels just enough to prevent revolutionary overthrow of the United $tates government.

And this anecdote from South Carolina paints a picture of why we focus on lumpen New Afrikans, who are easy to locate in Amerika's prisons and have the most subjective interest in overthrowing capitalism, as opposed to trying to organize the New Afrikan petty-bourgeoisie (such as prison guards). The division is a difference of degrees of integration, while on the whole the New Afrikan nation is oppressed by Amerika. In response to the Liberals' demands for less and less discrimination, all we get is increased integration; the underlying national oppression and imperialism is unchanged.

The issue of restricting reading materials to prisoners is a topic with a long history in U.$. prisons and in South Carolina. As much as people like to pretend that policies and legislation have an impact on the ground, they must not get as many letters from prisoners as we do that show just the opposite. As this comrade shows, the laws and policies may be in place, but there is always some way to get around it, usually by citing "security" concerns.

Attempting to hold prison administrators accountable when they do violate their own rules leaves one's grievances to sit unanswered for two years as this comrade's are. And the response from administration is often just a brush off with no practical resolution obtained. Taking them to court over the issue is immensely difficult, even for the most litigious prisoner.

While we can definitely make some significant advances through the court system, we need to always be conscious of the overall picture. The same problems have been going on for decades and even centuries. If bourgeois democracy worked, wouldn't the issues of literacy and free education be resolved by now? Instead we have increased integration (i.e. more parasites leeching from the international proletariat) and individual people battling it out with petty paperwork struggles. Still.

For the lack of response to grievances, a comrade in South Carolina created a petition for the proper handling of grievances. Unfortunately it seems South Carolina does not have a time limit on responding to grievances, which might be a worthwhile issue for a prisoner to take to court if it means there would then at least be a policy in place to limit the time administrators can sit on answering a grievance and thus taking one step closer to satisfying Prison Litigation Reform Act requirements. The campaign to have our grievances addressed is an attempt to show the collective problem of neglect of the grievance procedure, rather than keeping it on the individual scale that is so convenient for prison administrators to disregard. Different states are having different levels of success in their grievance petition campaigns, but overall at least we are further proving how useless the offered forms of relief are in actually resolving problems.

In choosing which campaigns to fight, we assess how they will impact our overall struggle against imperialism. Our role at this point in the struggle in the United $tates is to build public opinion in favor of national liberation struggles of the oppressed, and against the capitalist economic system. Having access to reading materials is hugely important in developing an understanding of revolutionary politics, and by keeping prisoners in the dark with literally no material to read, the state of South Carolina is further delaying our struggle for liberation from all forms of oppression.

Comrades in South Carolina should organize around this lack of access to books and educational materials. If they can manage to get a library back, and to lift restrictions on what books can be mailed in to SCDC facilities, it would have a big impact on prisoner-led study groups and individual study. It would also have a big impact on the breadth and depth of political consciousness in South Carolina prisons, and would be very beneficial for our overall struggle against imperialism. Comrades in South Carolina should write to MIM(Prisons) with their ideas on what United Struggle from Within can do to help fight the censorship in South Carolina prisons!

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[National Oppression] [Abuse] [Ross Correctional Institution] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 44]
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Ohio Guards Instigate Beating, Lock Down Prisoners as Punishment

Last month on a housing unit called 7A at Ross Correctional Institution (RCI), a prisoner was said to have a cell phone in his possession. The pigs entered his cell while he was in there, which is not allowed unless a "white shirt" is present (Lieutenant, Captain, etc.). While the pigs were in his cell they maced him, handcuffed him and beat him. As they were bringing this prisoner out of his cell, other prisoners watched as the pigs used unnecessary and brutal force by banging his head into the stair rail, hand rail and wall.

Fortunately this prisoner had three family members on the unit who stood up in his defense, which created an altercation that the pigs agitated. After macing and brutally beating these four prisoners plus thirty or forty more innocent bystanders, they shut the unit down on 24-hour lockdown with no showers, no recreation, and bag lunches with no hot food (which is also prohibited) for five days. They also put around fifty prisoners in solitary confinement.

The pigs here abuse their authority time and time again with no reprimands from their superior officers. They're in clear violation of excessive force, racial discrimination and bias, they deny us basic civil and human rights daily and have no regard for prisoners' lives, especially New Afrikans.

After the February fight, the RCI plantation held a press conference with the local news and lied to the public making it look like the prisoners were the cause of the February fight and that the RCI prison needs more security measures implemented here to safeguard, not us but them.

I come to you asking that you rally up the people and support our prison struggle by calling to inquire about the February fight and ensure the beaten prisoner and every other prisoner involved was given proper medical aid and assistance. Demand that no harassment or retaliation is being executed against any prisoner who uses the informal complaint process and/or has family and friends calling on their behalf. We need the people to demand an investigation be initiated and that more New Afrikans be hired here as staff and guards because I've been here for six months and have only seen five.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is doing an important service to the anti-imperialist prison movement by exposing the brutality in RCI, and going further to suggest some actions people on the outside can take to help the struggle there. However, we disagree with this comrade that a solution is to hire more New Afrikan staff and guards. Just as with cops, or judges, or the President of the United $tates, putting more dark faces in positions of power will not change the fundamental nature of the system. These people only serve to make the system look more equal and fair, and perpetuate the national oppression that is an inherent part of Amerikan imperialism. We need to see this oppression for what it is: not just a lack of representation in some positions of power, but a systematic oppression of certain nations (New Afrikan, [email protected], First Nations) by the nation in power (the white nation). The only way to put an end to national oppression is to fight the imperialist system that perpetuates it.

Spontaneous uprisings in response to abuses can help to bring prisoners together over their common enemy, the prison guards. But spontaneous uprisings without proper organization are limited in their scope and easily crushed. And organized action without thorough political education is usually limited to reformism. Reformism leaves the institutions of national oppression intact on a global scale, pushing for benefits for the oppressed internal semi-colonies in the United $tates, gained on the backs of the international proletariat. We encourage our comrades at RCI to use incidents of abuse such as this one as opportunities to educate their fellow prisoners on how this incident fits in with the systemic oppression they face, and organize them to come together to combat these abuses. And we push them to organize in the context of an anti-imperialist struggle, so that their actions have an international impact. If you need organizing or educational materials, get in touch!

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[Censorship] [Eastern NY Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 45]
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Censorship in NY Targets Oppressed Nation Lit

Last month I received my first issue of Under Lock & Key (No. 42), and I'm honestly surprised that the correspondence unit even let this newsletter into the facility. In the 13 years that I've been imprisoned, I've witnessed and experienced having all kinds of books, magazines, and other publications be either censored in part or disapproved altogether.

The conventional reasons behind this censorship are either that the works contain content that is considered a threat to the safety and security of the institution, or that the literature contains "gang" signs or other unauthorized organizational content. Of course these reasons are totally arbitrary and capricious. For example, the prison media review committee regularly blots out the peace gesture in The Five Percenter Newspaper and claims that the hand gesture is a "gang" sign. However, I've seen pictures of President Obama making this very same gesture, but these pictures are never censored.

Similarly, I'm enrolled in a college program and last semester the administration here disapproved two pieces of Black literature: Richard Wright's Big Black Good Man and James Baldwin's Going to Meet the Man. They claimed that the stories were offensive in content. The real insult to me was that during the very same semester they approved literature in other Eurocentric classes that regularly referenced Black people as niggers. I guess offensive content is okay as long as it doesn't offend those in control.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This new ULK subscriber is reporting a problem we see in prisons across the country: systematic censorship of literature that presents even mild cultural news targetting a New Afrikan audience. White supremacist books and magazines get past the censors with no problem, but books by famous authors like Richard Wright and James Baldwin are denied. And ULK is even more likely to be censored because it speaks to the situation prisoners face today and builds unity and peace to create real change as part of a broader anti-imperialist struggle.

Everyone who successfully gets a copy of ULK should do their part and share it with others. You never know when it's going to slip past the censors, so each issue should be passed around so that we can maximize its use. And if you get a copy from someone else, be sure to write to us for your own subscription.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Where it Begins

Let the truth be told about MIM Theory
It is revolutionary thought that makes the imperialists weary
Gil Scott-Heron said the revolution would not be televised
But the so-called Arab Spring has proved otherwise
The world witnessed what may have been merely an Arab fling
Because without communist principles
Revolution don't mean a thing
We must embrace true revolutionary principles
And support the United Struggle from Within
Because unity is the empowerment that will enable us to win
And unlocking the minds of the oppressed is where it begins
And though many of us are under lock and key
The revolutionary teachings of Mao Zedong are setting us free

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