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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Hunger Strike] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 46]
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Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners

CA UFPP

It's been over a week since we got the news on the settlement of Ashker v. Brown.(1) For a case that is so central to what we do as an organization we've taken our time to respond. We've read and re-read the legal documents and listened to the celebratory news coverage of the settlement. Yet our reaction remains the same, deep disappointment.

The settlement is a victory for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and it knocks out one of the three main legs of the campaign to shut down the SHU — the courts (the other two being public opinion and prisoners organized around their own interests). This case had a lot of the known anti-isolation lawyers and some influential long-time SHU prisoners behind it. It was an alliance that will be tough to beat any time soon.

The Maoist Internationalist Movement, along with many other organizations, has spent decades campaigning for the end to long-term isolation in U.$. prisons. We have long countered the public who question us with, "what is your proposed alternative?" with the simple answer, "not torturing people." Ending long-term isolation in U.$. prisons would be a simple reform that unites the lowest common denominator of prison reformers. Almost everyone agrees we should end torture, and that is reflected in the ongoing movement to do so. It is only the fascist-leaning cop-lovers and state bureaucrats that oppose the call. Actually, in many states the state bureaucrats support ending long-term isolation.

Yet through all the years of struggle here in California, somehow the CDCR has succeeded in painting the ending of torture as the extreme option, with the recent settlement as the sensible compromise. But they are wrong: the extreme option is overthrowing the state and replacing it with one run by the oppressed, where the real killers and exploiters are imprisoned and taught how to live collectively with other humyn beings, not thrown in isolation. Ending torture in prisons is the most basic, sweeping reform that would actually improve the conditions in U.$. prisons.

According to the New York Times, prison directors have become more supportive of reducing the use of solitary confinement after a man who spent 8 years in isolation was released in 2013 and went to the house of Colorado's prison chief, Tom Clements, and shot him dead.(2) Yet reducing the number of people in long-term isolation only serves to extend the life of its practice as it affects less people and there is less outrage. This reduction also suggests that some people still deserve to be tortured. That is why MIM(Prisons) has never supported measures to get only certain groups out of long-term isolation.

The Ashker settlement has been heralded as "effectively ending indefinite long-term solitary confinement" and "setting strict limits on the prolonged isolation of inmates." Yet in the actual settlement we read,

"CDCR shall not house any inmate within the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison for more than 5 continuous years. Inmates housed in the Pelican Bay SHU requiring continued SHU placement beyond this limitation will be transferred from the Pelican Bay SHU to another SHU facility within CDCR, or to a 180-design facility at Pelican Bay. Inmates who have previously been housed in the Pelican Bay SHU for 5 continuous years can only be returned to the Pelican Bay SHU if that return has been specifically approved by the Departmental Review Board and at least 5 years have passed since the inmate was last transferred out of the Pelican Bay SHU."

That's it! That's the extent of the "strict" limitations on long-term isolation in California. So if you're in another SHU, or Ad-Seg or some other unnamed long-term isolation situation, which about 14,000 of the over 15,000 in isolation in California are, there are no limits.(3) If you're in Pelican Bay you must move to another SHU after 5 years. Five years later you can come back. Alternatively, you could spend 4.5 years in Pelican Bay, 2 months out, then go in for another 4.8 years, and on like that for the rest of your life. Does this really address the Eighth Amendment claim by the plaintiffs of cruel and unusual punishment? The length often cited for having serious mental affects on humyns is in the range of 15 to 30 days!

Now with the new Step Down Program prisoners are supposed to have a way to return to "a general population setting within three or four years." So the class of prisoners being represented in this case, those who have been in the SHU for ten or more continuous years, are being addressed adequately according to those who agreed to this settlement. But even moving forward there are exceptions for Administrative SHU Status, allowing people to be held as long as CDCR deems necessary.

There is one progressive concession given in the settlement: "CDCR shall not place inmates into a SHU, Administrative Segregation, or Step Down Program solely on the basis of their validation status." Additionally, "CDCR shall modify its Step Down Program so that it is based on the individual accountability of each inmate for proven STG [security threat group] behavior, and not solely on the inmate's validation status or level of STG affiliation." Finally, as a result of an ending to the indeterminate SHU sentences for prisoners "validated" as members of prison gangs, in the next year "CDCR shall review the cases of all validated inmates who are currently in the SHU as a result of... an indeterminate term that was previously assessed under prior regulations..."

This addresses the Fourteenth Amendment claim that the CDCR was violating due process with the validation system and the use of group punishment, at least somewhat. As we saw a couple years ago, the new STG policy actually opened up STG charges to a wider range of organizations than was covered by the previous validation system. The supposed upside is that the rules require actual STG behavior by the individual to justify placing someone in SHU, not just association. Yet, in the new SHU Term Assessment Chart we see that "Recruiting inmates to become an STG affiliate" is a SHU punishable offense.

As mentioned above, this settlement seems to eliminate the judicial strategy of ending solitary confinement in California for the near future. But it also strikes a huge blow against the strongest leg we have to stand on, the collective organizing of prisoners. Turns out, under the settlement you can expect to spend 12 months in SHU for "Leading a disturbance, riot or strike", and 6 months for "participation in a disturbance, riot or strike" or "Inciting conditions likely to threaten institution security" (for those not aware, the latter was a common charge made against those who peacefully refused food in recent years to protest long-term isolation in California prisons).

They are outlawing peaceful protest, and non-violent, passive resistance for the prison movement. Amerikans criticize other countries that torture people for peacefully protesting the government that is abusing and, well, torturing them. How is it that leaders in the prison movement have signed on to this?

As we have previously reported, the new STG policies still give prisoners points for things like tattoos, greeting cards and talking to certain individuals. So it is not really true that you can no longer be punished for affiliation. Abolishing this practice was part of the 2nd demand of the hunger strikes.

As a result of reviews (which were mostly underway before this settlement anyway) we have a number of comrades who are getting out of the SHU right now, without having to debrief (snitch). This will no doubt be a positive thing, as we expect many of them will stay politically active in their new locations where they will have more opportunities to reach out to others. Yet at the same time we've already seen the next generation of prison leaders going to the SHU. It seems that the youngsters are getting thrown under the bus here.

So this is a wake up call to those not yet in the SHU. In July 2013, 30,000 prisoners stood up against long-term isolation, recognizing their common interests in this demand, even though most of them were not housed in isolation themselves. This was an amazing demonstration that epitomizes the progress made over the last 5 years or so to consolidate the prison movement in California. This continues to be celebrated in the form of the Agreement to End Hostilities and the countless commemorations taking place today, September 9th, in the spirit of peace and solidarity in commemoration of the Attica uprising.

As this settlement was released, public statements from CDCR celebrated it as a continuation of their plan to reform the system after the SHU successfully broke the prison gangs that had taken over. Yeah right. These prison gangs were encouraged by the state who teamed up with white nationalist prisoners to oppress New Afrikans, and later enforced the north/south divide on the [email protected] nation. The continuation of and expansion of united action around the Agreement to End Hostilities is crucial to preventing the CDCR from returning to that status quo.

Leading up to the recent settlement we had one comrade building for a new wave of hunger strikes. As this settlement does not address the most important of the 5 Core Demands, ending conditions of isolation for all prisoners, this call remains valid. And while we've always warned comrades to build outside support for such actions, one lesson we can take from California is that such actions must be organized on the inside. Even California Prison Focus, who has been visiting prisoners in the SHU for decades, and who has lawyers with privileged access to their clients, was in the dark during the hunger strikes until the CDCR decided to pull in outside mediators. As always, MIM(Prisons) is committed to supporting the organization of prisoners and fighting to defend the First Amendment rights of prisoners (and ourselves) of speech and association. The ending of a policy that allows the state to torture people for belonging to certain organizations was a blow against the excessively repressive policies of the CDCR in relation to the First Amendment. With this settlement we find California in a similar situation to most of the rest of the country, where torture continues to be the method of choice for population control of the oppressed who do not walk in step with the oppressor.

And so, the struggle continues. Until solitary confinement is abolished, shutting down control units will be a central campaign for MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within.

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[Homelessness] [Colorado]
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Colorado's War on the Poor

A Colorado Springs city council will vote to approve a city ordinance that will fine $2500 to all homeless who are found laying or sitting in front of a business. Many who support this claim that it provides better safety for the community and will increase the property values of stores and restaurants in the area.

A few days prior to this the town of Monument, Colorado successfully blocked the building of a methadone clinic in the area, arguing that it would cause a "decrease" in property values and bring a new "wave of crime."

For me, I see this in two ways. Number one, as the richest country on earth, we all still see that basic human needs, such as food, housing and clothing are privileges and one has to choose to engage in the so-called free market to attain these things. The very contradiction in this not withstanding, when one isn't able to have a job, is homeless, begs for food and maybe on drugs, the number one solution is to enforce their way out of it. Place the homeless in jail, that's smart. Let's not develop independent programs that view these homeless as humans that need healing to be a strong part of society.

The methadone clinic run off is a disgrace. Methadone is to help people get off heroine, the fact that a higher crime notion can be spoken of here is a joke. People act like when methadone clinics, or homeless shelters arrive in their communities that a wave of crime will suddenly appear. Why is it easier to jail us, rather than to have compassion and tolerance? Well in a capitalistic based class society, homelessness and addicts are contradictions in the system. Of course they can say that we're lazy, or choose to be this way, but according to economics, we are not choosing anything.

Lastly, social sicknesses can't be blamed upon individuals, and using jails or fines to remove a section of the population will only force that population to move elsewhere. One day these cities in Colorado will have to deal with the homeless as humans, with human and civil rights, until then the class struggle will continue.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is correct that homelessness and drug addiction are problems of capitalism. Opium (which heroin is made from) addiction was a widespread problem in China before the revolution. The Chinese Communist Party attacked this problem by eliminating the supply and offering people engaged in distribution alternative employment. This approach attacked the problem at its root. And by giving people employment and health care they had both the resources and the incentive to stop using drugs. This communist approach values all humans and sees the potential contribution everyone can make to society, rather than writing off some as the dregs who have no hope for anything better in life.

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[Censorship] [Gang Validation] [Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center] [MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution] [Connecticut] [ULK Issue 47]
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Validated for Participating in MIM(Prisons) Study Group

UnauthorizedStudy
It's been a while since I have reached out, the delay was due to me acquiring a class A disciplinary report which regressed me from Phase 4 (a month from finishing) to Phase 1 (15 months to completion). Why, you may ask? Due to the fact that I was participating in a MIM study group and happened to spell Afrika (with a k) and Amerikkka (with a k) differently, which was deemed disrespectful to the security risk group (SRG) designation "Crips." After losing trial on the disciplinary report I was given 60 days loss of mail and 60 days loss of commissary as well as 10 days punitive segregation. Also it led to anything MIM-related being confiscated as well as banned in Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center and MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. I have appealed their findings and also included a copy. The copies with this scribe will furthermore prove censorship here in the state of Connecticut. I have also exhausted all administrative remedies and I'm currently in process of filing a lawsuit against Corrigan CI for violation of my First Amendment rights. If you have any case laws that may help my pursuit of justice it will be greatly appreciated. I'm also trying to recover ULK issues #28, 30, 31, 33, 36, 37, 38 and some MIM Theory magazines titled #4, #5, and #14. I will continue to contribute through any means I'm able to.


The enclosed disciplinary report states:


"Description of violation: On May 8, 2015 at 6:10 p.m. in accordance with Administrative Directive 10.7 I, Officer Lorenzen, reviewed an outgoing letter written by Inmate XX. In this letter Inmate XX shows his continued affiliation to the Security Risk Group Bloods by using a total of six five pointed stars which are identifiers used by the Bloods. Twice in this letter Inmate Patterson replaces the letter 'C' with the letter 'K.' This occurs on the bottom of the first page of the letter where he writes 'Afrikans.' The second place this occurs is on the third page of the letter where he writes 'Amerika.' This shows disrespect to the Security Risk Group Crips and is a behavior clearly associated with the Security Risk Group Bloods.

"Inmate XX makes the written statement, 'As of now as the leader of our study group...' This statement clearly shows that Inmate XX recognizes himself as holding a leadership position over other Security Risk Group Members. In the letter he also states, 'We meet twice a week during our recreation period for 15 minutes...' This statement further shows that he is recognized as a leader of Security Risk Group Members that have the same recreation period as him.

"The use of letter replacement, five pointed stars, as well as leading and organizing Security Risk Group Members are behaviors clearly associated with a Security Risk Group which is a violation of Administrative Directive 9.5. For this Inmate XX is being issued a Class A Disciplinary Report for Security Risk Group Affiliation."

The prisoner's appeal was denied.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We will support this comrade in eir righteous battle to have basic Constitutional rights recognized. Whether you're Maoist or Crip, the way you spell can get you punished in the U.$. injustice system. And organizing others to come together to study, well that is a very serious offense for the most oppressed in the good ole' U.$.A.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Egalitarianism Now

The grand jury is a mockery, no matter all white or all black
Psychologically conditioned into seeing all pigs as right and exact
Just like a trial jury, the state can never be wrong
The state's not trying to indict, they're only playing along, singing a song
To keep the people pacified and from raging against the machine
It's a police state, a black persyn's life ain't worth a thing
They can kill us but we can't kill them, what kind of justice is that
How can we free the people with all this warring against us Blacks?
"No Egalitarianism, No Peace!" this double standard of law must stop
Calling us extreme for us only responding to them extremely peeling our caps
Leaving it to their mock grand jury like leaving it to their mock god
Til we show them what we'll do for our blood, we're scarred
We must do more than just protest, we must boycott
We must organize and educate and revolutionize believe it or not
We are the only people that the constitution don't protect
Shooting us down now is equivalent to ropes around our necks
They're killing us while screaming they're in fear for their lives
They pick the fight then go to crying, telling lies
Bullies, that's all they are, goons for the rich
Take their guns and badges away, they'll run back to the sticks
6 conscripted pigs on one Black man, chokehold him to death
And his family is screaming for calm, that's all we get
"Burn it down!" Michael Brown's step dad said
Look how quick he was about to face indictment, as a threat
Amerikkka fascinates us but infuriates us more
You're an Amerikkkan if you're not against Ms. Justice and her so-called law
Having all Black pigs won't make a difference either
Because their oath is to the anti-egalitarianist imperialist agenda
We are not supposed to fight back or take a stand
Just accept our inferior status, know our place and stand in it looking grand
It's not angry, extreme or wrong to kill an innocent black man
Criminal background or not, 12 or 90, blam blam
Not only in Amerikkka but in many distant lands
Bombing innocent wombmen and children in Afghanistan
But one of theirs get killed they go Amerikkkan Nam
Oppression is oppression here, there and everywhere
Apartheid is apartheid, in Azania, Palestine or Amerikkka
We are occupied by imperialist forces, we can't afford to bow
The pigs want beef, we gotta bring the whole cow
Egalitarianism now, yes right now

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[United Front] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 55]
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Aryans in the Struggle for Peace in Prisons

I'm writing to y'all from the Special Management Unit (SMU) in Jackson, Georgia which is about ten minutes outside Atlanta. This is my second correspondence to MIM(Prisons) and the type of prison I'm at seems to be a focus of yours. It is classified as a "Tier 3" SMU, housing the "worst" 190 captives in the Department of Corrections, which boasts an insane 70,000 prisoners throughout the whole state.

These people are so very corrupt. Just a few hours ago, the pigs, mostly Black, took the Muslim boy out of the cell next to mine for a "meeting." Those meetings go on in a side room somewhere and usually they end in brutality. When they were bringing him back they were beating him as they dragged him toward his cell. It's on camera if the cameras in the cell house actually record.

When they got him into his cell I could hear him choking and trying to scream. Also, I could hear what sounded like fists or feet hitting skin. He was in handcuffs and shackles. I'm Aryan Nation and my loyalty is to my people, but I've got the sense to know that if they'll do that to my neighbor they'll do it to me. My modus operandi (M.O.) is brutal violence toward police and other convicts. So when I spoke up and said that if they didn't stop torturing that man where I could hear it I would stab or cut every pig that came to my door at every meal, they stopped beating him. This type of stuff is the norm at Jackson SMU.

I want to emphasize the importance of unity behind these walls. We divide ourselves by race and gangs and the pigs throw gasoline on the fire. Just today a Black officer called me a "fake white supremacist" for sending a Blood (Black guy) some books and magazines.

I've picked up on some undertones in MIM literature that targets whites as the enemy or people responsible for the oppression behind the injustice system. It's not just whites anymore; it's Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc. The prison injustice system is a mindset that can't be defined by race. We've got to point the finger at the mindset, not the groups of people that we want to blame.

Every prison I go to I preach unity and people respond, because if the Aryan Nation is willing to unite then nobody else has any excuse. Race is the biggest problem in the South; it's what divides us the most. I've done time in the Midwest and those prisons have overcome racial division. We may eat at separate tables there, and play sports on separate courts, but when it's time to come together for our rights there are no racial, religious, or gang lines.

I don't know much about Maoism but I know about the struggle that your ministry is fighting against; I've been living it for almost eight years. I've written to y'all to try to inspire unity amongst everybody, not just the non-whites. I passed on the only ULK I've received so I don't remember your mission statement, but I do understand a little and I support y'all and respect what I do understand. Please continue to send me ULK. I'll write after every issue just to put my views in on the struggle. Also, I'll be sending in 10-20 stamps as a donation very soon.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Just as oppressed nation people have integrated into Amerika economically, they have integrated into the police and prison staff, as well as other parts of the criminal injustice system. The United $tates even had a Black president; it's obvious that oppressed vs. oppressor is not split on "color" lines. Still, there is a history and present reality that shows Amerikkka is vastly a white oppressor nation.

For those who have integrated into the oppressor nation, we no longer refer to them as New Afrikan; instead they are "African-Amerikkkans." Our opposition to oppressors is not limited to just those of European descent. But we see that national oppression happens with an oppressor nation on top (the predominantly and historically white Amerikkkan nation) and others on the bottom (oppressed nations) and so we do make scientific generalizations about these nations.

We're with this comrade that our unity also can't be limited by identity politics. We don't exclude potential comrades just because they're Amerikan, and we don't trust potential comrades just because they're not. Those who do come from an oppressor nation will need to commit nation suicide and work against the interests of their nation. Those who come from oppressed nations need to show that they are not trying to simply integrate with the oppressors, like the Corrections Officers this comrade refers to. Those integrators are our enemies just like the Amerikkkan oppressors are our enemies.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Beauty in the eyes of my kaptors


Kidnapped, tortured
Held against my will
Humiliated, degraded
Until I can no longer feel
Blood, revenge
Is all I seem to see
33 strategies of war I plan to forge against my enemy
Isolation, frustration
The moment I got caught
Plan, reflect
Became natural in thought
Learn, study
For the upcoming sequel
Fight, sacrifice
For the liberation of the people!

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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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[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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[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.

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