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[New Afrika] [Africa] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 47]
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Two Sides of Garvey

Amy and Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey and Amy Jacques
In response to the call to honor freedom fighters, it is an honor and pleasure to journal the commemoration of New Afrikan freedom fighter Amy Jacques Garvey.

So many today dismiss the Pan-Afrikan movement and its various bodies, both within and outside of U.$. prisons, as that of an unnecessary call and reference to an outdated idea. In the context of the proletarian political causes, it is often the ultra-leftist who has taken up this position.

However, in our attempts to fast forward the most correct methods of resolving contradictions, we acknowledge that they come in the form of class consciousness among nationalist leaders driven by internationalist struggles led by the proletariat. The Pan-Afrikan movement is one likely place where we find these elements.

Many prisoners are aware of the name Marcus Mosiah Garvey, but very few are familiar with Amy Jacques Garvey, the wife of Marcus Garvey and the bone and marrow of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Amy Garvey was a special person in the history of liberation struggles. Born 31 December 1895 in Kingston, Jamaica to a middle-upper class family, Amy Garvey was ahead of her time. Though "all identity is individual, there is no individual identity that is not historical or, in other words, constructed within a field of social values, norms of behavior and collective symbols."(1)

The mother of what author Ula Yvette Taylor coined "community feminism," Amy Garvey pressed the issue of lower class wimmin not only in serving their male counterparts, but also educating themselves to become political leaders in the nation. Today, lumpen wimmin of the internal semi-colonies still find themselves criticized for either being home-oriented or for sex. UNIA enjoyed support across gender and promoted equality of the sexes. Yet, in practice, this "community feminist" approach was a means of dealing with the expectations put on wimmin to be supporters of men while still being political leaders. While wimmin like Amy Garvey had to take on an unequal burden compared to their male counterparts, their actions served to break down the expectations of gendered roles, paving the way for others.

Amy Garvey empowered wimmin to confront racism, colonialism and imperialism, while contesting masculine dominance as well.(2) As she wrote, wimmin should use their "intelligence in a righteous cause" as they are needed to "fill the breach, and fight as never before, for the masses need intelligent dedicated leadership."(3)

Since the 1920s, Amy Jacques Garvey's organizing activities had sought to further the decolonization of West Afrikan nations as people of African descent endeavored to restructure their societies. The antecedents of these largely nationalist movements were well-established in Pan-Afrikan struggle that came into its own during the early 1940s, including the fifth Pan-Afrikan Congress. Meanwhile, other power shifts were occurring such as: the rise of the Soviet Union, liberation struggles in southeast Asia, the independence of China and the Asian-African Bandung Conference.(4) Indeed, within this political milieu, "West Afrikan nationalism and various brands of Pan-Africanism, could mix with everything from Fabian socialism to Marxism-Leninism."(5)

While engaging in the international arena, Amy Garvey also struggled against fellow comrades of the UNIA. She was well known for her refusal to hold her tongue on the contradictions that arose within, even at times writing critical positions of Marcus Garvey himself. It resembles so many of those within the belly of the beast babylon who struggle to liberate themselves in order to offer liberation to their people, only to be hushed by LO leadership.

Amy Garvey was from Jamaica and considered herself an Afrikan. She drove home the point that people of Afrikan descent in the United $tates (New Afrikans) and elsewhere were living as second-class citizens, largely as a result of economic oppression. Today we see the second-class citizenship that New Afrikans and [email protected] face as the biggest targets of social isolation by the U.$. prison system. The second class that the oppressed nations are being bred into today is what we call the First World lumpen class. In the imperialist countries, that is the class that has nothing to lose from a revolution except the very chains that bind them to a bourgeois system that doesn't serve them. "As the lumpen experience oppression first hand here in Amerika, we are in a position to spearhead the revolutionary vehicle within the U.$. borders."(6)

The 2015 release of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán by a MIM(Prisons) study group introduces prisoners to the reality of their class identity with the lumpen of oppressed internal semi-colonies in North America.

"Kwame Nkrumah in his analysis of neo-colonialism in Africa defined it as: 'The essence of neo-colonialism is that the state which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.' Nkrumah stressed the importance of dividing the oppressed into smaller groups as part of this process of preventing effective resistance to imperialism as had already occurred in China, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba and elsewhere."(7)

Amy Garvey too considered the likes of Kwame Nkrumah as her comrade, alongside of Nnamdi Azikiwe, W.E.B. DuBois and George Padmore, just to name a few. She was a disciplined, arduous scholar whose objective was to fold Garveyism into existing progressive organizations, thus uniting a divergent Pan-Afrikan world.

Many of the ideas that are circulated amongst the lumpen organizations within the belly of the beast babylon are grafted from the ideas of the peoples parties like the UNIA, whether they admit it or not. The proof is in the pudding. Amy Garvey showed that one could stand on two legs and not buckle under the pressure of integrationist culture.

Amy Garvey held Marcus Garvey up while he served his prison bid in Atlanta, and took the driver's seat of one of the world's most influential Negro organizations in its time when wimmin weren't expected to be political. It is so similar to the anti-imperialist prisoner movement; prisoners aren't expected to be political souljahs.

Death to babylon-imperialism!


MIM(Prisons) adds: MIM said that Pan-Afrikanism should be a strategic question, and is not worth splitting over.(8) They also said that Pan-Afrikanism has historically been the most progressive of the "pan" ideologies. Clearly that the Pan-Afrikan mission has yet to succeed in the dire need for effective revolutionary leadership is evident in the recent revelations that

"In 2014, the U.S. carried out 674 military activities across Africa, nearly two missions per day, an almost 300% jump in the number of annual operations, exercises, and military-to-military training activities since U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008."(9)

The imperialists continue to foment the tribal divisions across the African continent to wage proxy wars that amount to inter-proletarian killing on the ground. The overwhelming proletarian character of the populations in Africa gives Pan-Afrikanism its strong progressive character.

Notes:
1. Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, Verso Books, 2011.
2. Yvette Ula Taylor, The Veiled Garvey, the life & times of Amy Jacques Garvey, University of North Carolina Press, 2002, p. 2.
3. Amy Jacques Garvey, "The Role of Women in Liberation Struggles", Massachusetts Review, Winter-Spring 1972, p. 109-112.
4. Ehecatl, "Lessons from the Bandung Conference for the United Front for Peace in Prisons", Under Lock & Key No. 43, March 2015.
5. Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Washington DC: Howard University Press, 1982, p. 277-78.
Hakim Adi, West Afrikans in Britain 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1998, pp. 160-170, 186.
6. A MIM(Prisons) Study Group, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán, MIM Distributors, 2015, p. 14.
7. Ibid, p. 68.
8. 2002 MIM Congress, "Resolution on Pan-Africanism."
9. Nick Turse, "The U.S. Military's Battlefield of Tomorrow", TomDispatch, 14 April 2015.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 49]
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Sept 9 Solidarity As Survival Strategy

Unite Study Push

In honor of our comrades and others sacrificed and murdered at Attica on 9 September 1971, the purpose of this article is to promote unity, peace, and solidarity amongst all prisoners regardless of affiliation or association. For, "every individual who stands against oppression on any level is a freedom fighter."(1) And, "We want everyone to take the ideological development of our movement into their own hands."(2) We must face the truth that we can be our own worst enemy allowing our oppressors to manipulate us against our best interests through the tactic of divide and conquer. "And they use the gangs as their puppet to do hits for smokes and food. That's the real story in this place that the prisoners are brushing under the rug. It ain't just the pigs who are oppressing our people, it's their puppets."(3) These words ring true and those of us who have been held in these gulags for any appreciable amount of time can attest to its truthfulness.

As an alternative and challenge to do better for self, our organization, and movement, and, especially as an act of unity in remembrance of the atrocities inflicted on September 9th at Attica, a California prisoner offers this sage advice: "If you see someone in the struggle in need of some support, be that support. The number one reason for mistreatment in prison is lack of solidarity amongst prisoners. We need to start supporting each other in order to have a livable life. Not only will we get along but we'll support each other when needed."(4) So let us adopt this comrade's viewpoint, at all costs, for together on 9/9 we stand and divided we fall. Let us be determined that failure shall not be attributable to our lack of due diligence and strong revolutionary action.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade penned the above message as part of eir commemoration of the September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity in 2015 and suggested that it be used as a flier for other USW comrades. It is a good reminder of the need to address the contradictions within the prison population for true peace and solidarity to be achieved. And as the California comrade quoted points out, this is also closely linked to a general spirit of looking out for each other that must be developed year-round.

Alienation and individualism are important parts of our capitalist culture that make oppression and abuse possible. With solidarity and by looking out for each other the oppressor cannot get away with their abuses. That is why solidarity is central to the question of survival and well-being inside prisons. The campaign for mental and physical health in prisons cannot be separated from the campaign to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

September is just a few months away again, start organizing for the Day of Peace and Solidarity. Write to us for a copy of the September 9 study pack to start educating and building now.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 47]
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On the Rise


As we reminisce in disguise about our
troubles
working with bloody knuckles
knowing everybody had to struggle
to get it
we used our muscles
and a pistol on our buckles
being the oppressor by dope
selling in capitalism just to hustle
comrades,
please listen
this is a lesson in our mission
a part of the intervention
no comrade has
ever mentioned
many lives are in this picture,
check out the new addition
children
born into oppression
by the second as we're speaking
about the oppressor
who is destined
to take lives into its sector
only to control them
by their lack of initiative
to join together
and be a weapon
as one, we stand tall
with the strength of a bullet
the words of communism
for the communists
who can pull it
united we stand
and no one lesser than the other
be a voice within this struggle
'cause we're equal to one another
like a Muslim to his brother
we're family by our choosing
against the oppression that we're refusing
united we stand
my fellow comrades
on the rise
to revolution!

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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Organizing Against Rights Violations in Ad-Seg

The paramount purpose for this correspondence is to bring awareness to the barbaric, dehumanizing, unacceptable living conditions for us (the offenders) who currently reside in the Restrictive Housing Unit/Administrative Segregation (RHU/Ad-Seg) units of #1 and #2 house here at Southeastern Correctional Center (SECC). These inhumane conditions are inconsistent with the evolving standards of a decent society. We are being abused and oppressed at the hands of the administration. Therefore, I'm hoping that hearing our cry for help may spark a fuse in your spirit and compel you all to help us fight against injustice. These particular injustices are inflicted upon us intentionally and being used as a form of psychological torture for the purpose of tormenting and dehumanizing the prisoners here at SECC.

The staff here at SECC, namely: Warden Ian Wallace, Asst. Warden Paula Phillips-Reed, Asst. Warden Bill Stange, Major Terry White, and HU#2/FUM Bruce Hanebrink, have conjured up a host of sanitation and human rights violations under the umbrella of a recently created "limited property" policy implemented in the Administrative Segregation housing units #1 and #2. These violations are as follows:

1. Equal protection violation (14th Amendment of the U.S. Const.): SECC Administration limited Phase 1 & 2 prisoners in RHU/Ad-Seg to 5 stamps, 5 envelopes, 1 pad of writing paper, and 1 small security ink pen per month. To have the aforementioned supplies is a right and cannot be treated as a privilege in the punishment and reward system to be given or taken away at the staff's discretion based off of behavior and/or placement. Prisoners in Ad-Seg units should be allowed to purchase the same amount of stamps as general population prisoners are allowed to purchase. Having writing material does not pose a potential security threat. It does however, hinder prisoners' access to courts, the House of Congress, our lawyers, prisoner advocate groups and our families if we are deprived, thereof. We have a right to use the mail for corresponding purposes without limitation.

2. Sanitation violation (8th Amendment of the U.S. Const.): The SECC Administration subjected us to cruel and unusual punishment when they sent CERT officers into the housing units of #1 and #2 in August 2015 to confiscate from all prisoners therein all state issued personal pants, t-shirts, boxers, socks, towels and face cloths. Prisoners are no longer allowed to have towels and face towels in their assigned cells. We are given 1 pair of boxers, 1 t-shirt, and 1 pair of socks to be changed out every three days. For prisoners to be forced to wear the same dirty boxers for 3 days straight is such an unsanitary condition that I developed a "jock itch and rashes" around my groin area. When we do finally change boxers they are in exchange for more over-used boxers shared by hundreds of other prisoners. Some of these prisoners have various diseases (i.e. Aids, HIV, Hepatitis, TB, Staph, Shingles, etc.)

Furthermore, we are not allowed to have face cloths in our cells, preventing us from being able to at least wash up in our sinks to get the dirt and stink off of us until shower day. We are only given a wash cloth on shower day, once we enter the shower stall. These items must be given back before returning to our cells. To add fuel to the fire, the same exact towels and face cloths that we are being forced to use on our body, staff are using them for multi-purpose towels (i.e. staff use them to clean the shower walls and doors with; staff use them to wipe the wing food carts with, staff use them to wipe the wing desk down that they sit at while in the wing, staff use them on clean up night — forcing us to wash our walls, sink, and cell floors with, and staff use them to clean up smelly, rust water that comes from the pipes whenever a cell sprinkler busts.) What reasonable minded person uses their dish towels to shower with? This is definitely a serious problem that poses a potential health risk. To sum it all up, we have been reduced to the dark ages. Forced to live like Vikings and cavemen when uncleanliness was an acceptable way of life.

3. Human rights violations: unsanitary conditions: The administration officials decided that Ad-Seg prisoners are not allowed to purchase soap from inmate canteen. Instead, we are issued 1 small bar of state made soap (approx 3 inches in length, 1/2 inch thick) per week. With that 1 bar of soap we have to take a shower twice a week and wash our hands throughout the days. Most of the time, by the 2nd shower day, there is not enough soap left to shower with. Some prisoners, myself included, complain that they limit how many times they wash their hands after using the toilet so that they may have enough soap to shower with by the next shower day.

Furthermore, prisoners in Ad-Seg are not being permitted to purchase toilet paper to adequately wipe with after defecation. We are given only 1 roll of tissue and being forced to make it last a week. Sometimes we have to blow our noses with the tissue due to poor ventilation or various illnesses thereby lessening the tissue supply. Most of the time we run out of tissue and staff refuse to give us any. We use our socks to wipe with and wash them out afterwards. This is grossly unsanitary and also poses a potential health risk.

4. Human rights violation: Ad-Seg prisoners are not allowed to have any pants in our cells. Prisoners are forced to walk around in their cells with only boxers and t-shirts on with cellmates who often times are convicted sex offenders, homosexuals and prison booty bandits (prisoners who rape other prisoners) which opens the door for a Prison Rape Elimination Act claim. It's as if the administration are promoting homosexuality or setting the stage for one of us to possibly get raped. Prisoners are also being forced to attend our Ad-Seg hearings as well as sick call appointments without pants. Prisoners are also being forced to walk across the yard in only our boxers and t-shirts amongst other offenders, sometimes in the cold or rainy weather, while being escorted between #1 and #2 house which is approx 150 feet apart. Not only is this inhumane, these boxers have a loose opening in the front of them and if a prisoner's penis just happens to flop out through the opening then we are subject to sexual misconduct violations.

Furthermore, sometimes the Ad-Seg laundry doesn't get cleaned on time in which case prisoners are forced to choose between going to rec in the outside cages in only boxers and t-shirts in 30 degree weather or simply to refuse our rec.

5. Sleep Deprivation: The administrative staff has approved staff in housing units #1 and #2 to conduct a number of activities during 1st shift (midnight) which include:

  1. Passing out our mail after the 12 a.m. count when lights are out.
  2. Passing out HSRs (Health Service Request forms)
  3. Passing out cell cleaning supplies at 3 a.m. to clean our cells with.
  4. Picking up sheets and blankets to be washed, which is also picked up and given back around 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

There's no movement count between 10:30 p.m. count and the 6:30 a.m. count because prisoners must be allowed to have at least 7 or 8 hours of undisturbed sleep. The reason for this critical consideration is because physiological and psychological degradation caused by the lack of sleep or insufficient amount of sleep. Disturbing our sleep throughout the night creates an even more stressful environment.

Suggested Remedies to Violations

1. Allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to purchase the same amount of stamps and envelopes as general population are allowed to purchase. These items are not a privilege but a right.

2. Allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to have our own state issued personal towels, face cloths, and boxers back in our cells so that we can at least wash up in our cells until shower day. Good hygiene habits are to be practiced everyday, not every 3 days.

3. Allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to purchase at least 4 or 6 bars of soap per month. General population prisoners are allowed to purchase 2 per week, totaling 8 per month. Also, allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to purchase at least 4 or 6 rolls of toilet tissue per month. General population prisoners are allowed to purchase 2 per week, totaling 8 per month. (Soap or tissue should not be treated as a "privilege" either).

4. Prisoners in Ad-Seg should be allowed to have at least 1 pair of their state issued personal pants or 1 pair of orange Ad-Seg pants to keep and wear in our cells, to be changed out once-per-week. We have a right to adequate clothing supported by the 14th and 8th amendment clause of the U.S. Constitutional.

5. For prisoners in Ad-Seg mail should be passed out on the 3rd shift (like it used to be) so we can read it and respond back if desired to do so. It's unreasonable for staff to pass out our mail after lights are cut out. Cell cleaning should be done on the 2nd or 3rd shift using the proper supplies instead of the towels we are currently forced to shower with, and laundry should be picked up after breakfast and given back before the 10:30 p.m. count. HSRs should be passed out by the nurses on the 2nd or 3rd shift since they only pick them up on the day shift.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is initiating a campaign around a very reasonable set of demands. The lack of writing materials and unsanitary conditions are all too common in Amerikan prisons and these conditions expose the reality of prisons as a tool of social control and in particular the use of long-term isolation (Ad-Seg) for this purpose. Denial of the materials necessary to maintain contact with people on the outside, and creation of conditions that will cause mental (denial of sleep) and physical (unsanitary conditions) health problems are clearly counter to any possible rehabilitative goals of prisons. Instead, these conditions serve to reduce the likelihood of successful reintegration into society by prisoners released from Ad-Seg. It is because of this that we can say prison control units are clearly tools of social control. This sort of long-term torture must be struggled against. In the short term this comrade's demands are a good basis to organize around. But we cannot lose sight of the need to shut down control units altogether. We must demand an end to long-term solitary confinement for any and all prisoners. Of course, in the longer run our fight is for an end to the criminal injustice system entirely, and we should frame these battles against the torture of solitary confinement around this broader struggle so that we are clear about the fact that the injustice system cannot be reformed into justice.

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[Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 48]
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Scientific Thought and Internationalism

As prisoners in this socially oppressive injustice system we tend to be attracted to philosophy to try to get a better understanding of why and how did we end up in a cage like some type of animal. Some choose religion hoping that some omni-present being can answer their questions and fill in the blanks. Others choose a more materialist ideology for a better scientific understanding to the present situation here in the United $tates. The rest just choose to ride it out and hope that the situation changes.

There is no denying that dialectically and hystorically the empire is socially unstable, so much so that the oppressive Amerikan Gestapo are killing us, free of judicial repercussion, in order to protect the bourgeois interests at the expense of the oppressed nations. The state sponsored bourgeois media are quick to suggest that the Amerikan gestapo killings are justified with no scientific facts to support their so-called reporting. The people must look past the bullshit smoke being blown in our faces and understand that shit isn't all lemonade and apple pies.

Religion doesn't tell us scientific facts, but actually dogmatic scriptures about this false paradise where those "chosen" can live free after death. So how can this spiritual being give those materially existing on this earth freedom? It cannot. Religion blinds us to what's really happening here. It is a poison infecting the masses with its dogmatic ideology.

Scientific theory with Maoist philosophy is the only way to freedom. Scientifically it teaches the masses to dissect hystory and to digest what is beneficial to the struggle. It gives us, the lumpen of the oppressed nations, a place in a socialist society where we can take part in the world's struggle for freedom. The former CPUSA called this line petty-bourgeois radicalism, but Maoism teaches that all prisoners are political prisoners. The United $tates has the highest prisoner population in world hystory with most prisoners coming from the barrios and ghettos. Growing up in poverty, the oppressed nations are forced to adapt to their reality. What separates the barrios and ghettos from the Third World? Nothing, we are the Third World. Today we [email protected] and New Afrikans make up most of the prison population. Centuries of oppression on our people has brainwashed us to accept this as our reality.

Fellow prisoners ask me, why do you read about China, or Palestine, etc? Or when I clearly state that I don't believe in God they look at me like I'm crazy. First I state that God is a facade, meant to pacify the masses and mind fuck them into accepting their oppressive reality. World hystory is our hystory, and by examining other nations' struggles we can philosophically advance as a people. The struggle in Palestine is our struggle and our struggle is the Palestinian struggle. Together we are one; the Third World.

Together we stand firm. The victims of the empire deserve justice and only we can bring that about. Oppose the imperialists wars on the Third World, whether they're in Kabul, Juarez, or South Central.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this comrade's internationalism as well as eir dedication to the philosophy of dialectical materialism. However, if we are to make a material analsysis of the conditions in the First World ghettos, barrios, reservations and even prisons, we must disagree with em asserting that "We are the Third World."

Like the Third World, the internal oppressed nations of the United $tates are oppressed by imperialism and have histories connected to other oppressed nations that are in the Third World. However, the distinction between First World and Third World is important because of the material benefits that those living within imperialist borders receive just because of the luck of where they were born. That is why we speak of the First World lumpen as a different class than the lumpen proletariat; First World lumpen are surrounded by the labor aristocracy, and not the proletariat. All U.$. residents benefit from the flow of wealth away from the exploited in the Third World. True solidarity with the exploited must recognize this reality if we hope to liberate ourselves from imperialism, or else we risk falling into positions that put the interests of oppressed in the United $tates over the interests of the oppressed elsewhere.

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[National Oppression] [Campaigns] [Education] [ULK Issue 47]
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Freedom Fighter: Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass on learning
For my essay I chose Frederick Douglass. I admire his inner strength, free spirit, and intelligence. I believe that he could see opportunity in every situation. For example, when his oppressors became so irate of his learning to read and write, he knew that things that are restricted are usually worthy of pursuit.

He overcame so many obstacles with so few resources, and he gives me motivation and inspiration to overcome and succeed, although my difficulties are minor compared to his. He was a great man and an unsung hero of freedom fighting. He must have thought to himself that it was better to risk death and fight for his freedom, than to conform to the wishes of tyrannical beings.

He fought and won. So much was against him and yet his spirit refused to be broken. He knew how powerful words can be. He learned them and mastered them. And once he'd won, he didn't let the realm of success lull him into complacency — a realm where many men venture and are swallowed, ending their reign of greatness. No, Frederick Douglass was a mossless stone; he never stagnated. Douglass continued pressing forward, not only bettering himself, but also bettering those he came in contact with and helping other oppressed individuals.

His written word will echo through the generations, inspiring thousands and perhaps millions. The American education system gives him only a cursory glance, then moves on to lies about founding fathers. Imagine if they lingered longer or more often on Frederick Douglass, and the valuable influence on those impressionable minds he would render. Frequently, I wonder about a stronger, less passive and more spirited generation. Like Frederick Douglass.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818 in Maryland. Ey escaped slavery and went on to become a prolific writer, speaker, and newspaper publisher. Eir primary battles were against slavery and for wimmin's right to vote. Douglass had a similar path to radicalization as many readers of ULK, even though ey lived almost two centuries ago.

Douglass was taught the alphabet at around 12 years old from eir slavemaster's wife. Even though ey was discouraged from reading, sometimes with violence, Douglass continued to study and taught many others how to read as well. With the ability to read, Douglass became politicized through reading newspapers, which helped em develop into an internationally-acclaimed writer and speaker against slavery and oppression.

Even in the face of censorship and lack of programming, many U.$. prisoners build themselves and others up in the same way Douglass did. Present-day prisoners are not allowed to come together in a group to study, for "security threat concerns," which parallels Douglass's experience of having eir weekly literacy classes disbanded by the clubs and stones of slave owners. Nowdays, those who try to teach in spite of restrictions are locked in isolation toture cells.

Without good literacy skills, one can't file a lawsuit, or write grievances, or understand the prison handbook, or read Under Lock & Key; get the picture? Various sources state that 60-70% of U.$. prisoners are functionally illiterate.(1) Illiteracy affects the majority of prisoners, and thus hinders the organization of the majority of our subscribers' peers. Passing on an issue of ULK does little good if the recipient can't understand it.

Statistics from the prisoncrats themselves state that prisoners have a 70% chance of recidivism if they get no help with their literacy, whereas prisoners who do receive literacy help have a 16% chance of recidivism.(2) We wonder, why aren't there more programs for teaching reading comprehension and writing skills in prisons? It's clearly a continuation of the same exact national oppression faced by Frederick Douglass's generation.

That we are still having a conversation about building literacy among New Afrikans should give us a clue of the ineffectiveness of reformism and the necessity of complete communist revolution. After gaining state power, one of the first steps of this revolution will be to establish a joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations (JDPON), so that the most oppressed people in the world can dictate to those who have been oppressing others for centuries how society will be run. As was done in communist China under Mao, one of the primary functions of this dictatorship of the proletariat will be to build literacy at every single level of society, and especially among those who are furthest removed from the benefits of the economic system. One can't fully participate in society's development without literacy, and we need as many people as possible to participate.

We want to do as much as we can now to speed up the transition from capitalism to communism, and reading and writing are essential to this task. Building literacy also fits well into our immature Re-Lease on Life program, so those who are released can have a better chance of success and hopefully also a better chance of staying engaged in political work when on the outside. Even though MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within are on a much smaller scale than a JDPON, or even a single nation-state, we can still contribute to this goal while we build for a society where advanced literacy is taught to everyone systematically.

Douglass is just one individual example of a larger social phenomenon: when higher education meets a lack of opportunity, it produces radicalization and objection to the status quo. We know there is much more we can do to increase the reading and writing skills of oppressed nation lumpen in U.$. prisons, and to foster this politicization. But since MIM(Prisons) can only reach people with written material, we need our comrades behind bars to do the work on the ground. Anyone who is already teaching others basic literacy skills should get in touch with MIM(Prisons) to help us develop this Serve the People program. If you already have a study group, try to think how you can expand it to teach literacy as well. Tell us what materials we can send you to help you teach reading and writing to others. It is one of the ways we can improve the material conditions of our fellow oppressed peoples, and one way we can uphold the legacy of Frederick Douglass.

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[Censorship] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania]
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Pennsylvania Censorship Victory

Fuck CensorShip
This is a followup letter to notify you fine folks of the outcome of the article in ULK 46 about textbooks being censored by Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC). Any time a prisoner receives a publication it gets screened for any possible reason they might be able to withhold it. This is done by a committee, and these people may consult other prison employees for help in the decision on whether or not to allow a given publication into the prison. If this committee, the Incoming Publication Review Committee (IPRC) deems a publication does not fit the criteria to be possessed by a prisoner, they hold it, and send the prisoner a notification. The prisoner has a certain amount of time to reply before it gets destroyed. The prisoner can request the publication get mailed out, at their expense (only first class postage), or they have the option to appeal IPRC's decision to the superintendent.

I had three computer programming textbooks denied over the course of 5 months and appealed each one in turn. The superintendent here at SCI-Huntingdon responded to me by saying that I wouldn't be getting my books. He told me that IPRC's decision is final, and that he can't approve them. Around that time I wrote to you and got your censorship packet. I appealed the superintendent's decision to central office by writing a letter to the department policy director Dianna Woodside. In the letter I told her that, although the IT department was consulted, they were incorrect in determining that the books were a threat. I demonstrated my preexisting knowledge of the subject, and listed several cases where the prisoners were awarded monetary damages for being denied books, including one that was specifically about programming textbooks. I told the official that I was sincere about trying to pursue a possible career in programming computers, and reiterated my willingness to go to court. I am unsure of why exactly she decided in my favor, but in the end I got all three of my books sitting right here with me. I am sending copies of the decisions along with this letter.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The books this prison initially denied were Java in a Nutshell, Build Your Own Website the Right Way Using HTML & CSS, and Object Oriented Programming. This shows both the random and unfounded basis on which prison administrators decide what literature to censor, and the potential for successful appeal with persistence. It's obvious that prisons in Amerika can not possibly have a rehabilitative goal if the very books required for education into a productive career post-prison are denied for no reason.

We certainly don't win the right to our incoming mail often, but it is well worth the time to appeal every instance of censorship possible. If nothing else, it provides documentation of the denials and lack of reasons, and may pave the way for a future court case. For those facing censorship, write to us for a copy of our censorship packet that will guide you through the appeals process. And be sure to send us any documentation you have on censorship of our materials, your appeals, and administrators' responses to your appeals. We put these documents on our website at www.prisoncensorship.info.

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 52]
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Lawsuit Filed Against Corrupt Grievance System

I have an active case in the Federal Courts suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for violation of BP-03.91 Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules, and the corrupt grievance system denying prisoners access to courts. I have filed a lawsuit under 42 USC Section 1983 against TDCJ.

If you would like to help me stop this corruption aimed at Texas prisoners, send any grievances, unsworn declarations, and other process documents you may have that can be used as evidence in the two above mentioned U.$. Constitutional violations to MIM(Prisons). Be sure to write "Dunham v. Wainwright, et al. Case No. 1:15-cv-1018-RP" on the top of each document. Your evidence will help prove deliberate indifference because it shows officials knew of the problems and failed to act. MIM(Prisons) will then forward your documents to the Court Clerk at Clerk Court, United States District Court, c/o Case no. 6:15 cv 869, 300 Willow Street, Suite 104, Beaumont, TX 77701-2217.

The Texas Attorney General handling this case for the defendants is Gloria Chandler, PO Box 12548, Capital Station, Austin, TX 78711. Please feel free to send her ALL of your complaints so that she may realize the wide range and depth of behavior and activities. I doubt she is receiving enough complaints at the present time. MIM(Prisons) will also be forwarding your complaints to the Attorney General, and be sure to again write "Dunham v. Livingston et al. Case No. 1:15-cv-1018-RP" on the top of your complaint.

Since filing this case, state employees' actions under color of law has put me in fear for my life. I need your support so they know I am not in this alone.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Amerika... Are We Free

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!

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[Education] [ULK Issue 47]
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Freedom Fighter: Inspired by Malcolm X

MalcolmX
"Don't be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn't do what you do, or think as you do or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today." - Malcolm X
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.

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