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Under Lock & Key

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[Environmentalism]
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Los Capitalistas no Pueden Salvar al Planeta

En meses recientes se ha vuelto más común leer cuentos noticieros sobre el hundimiento irreversible de glaciares en Antártica y en otras partes alrededor del mundo, como resultado de temperaturas crecientes en la Tierra. Este degradación de nuestro medioambiente global es accionado por emisiones humanas de gases invernaderos. Mientras la realidad de destrucción humana de sistemas naturales de la Tierra se hace más claro a diario, y científicos proporcionan más claras y alarmantes evidencias que estamos a punto donde los efectos no se podrán anular, vemos un argumento convincente para el comunismo como el único sistema económico que tiene la posibilidad de proveer la supervivencia a largo plazo de humanos.

Maoístas enfocan en combatir la represión y brutalidad de humanos contra humanos, cual es un elemento inherente de capitalismo. Cuando llega la pelea por la supervivencia de los humanos más oprimidos en el mundo, pelear por la vida del planeta en cual todos vivimos llega a ser inextricablemente entrelazado con nuestro humanismo. Sin un medioambiente que puede sustentar vida humana, la pelea contra opresión de grupos de pueblos se vuelve irrelevante. Vemos una fuerte razón para que comunistas apoyen ambientalismo revolucionario, y para unidad entre activistas ambientales y aquellos que pelean la opresión de pueblos. Pero no ganaremos la batalla por el medioambiente sin primero liberar los pueblos oprimidos del mundo y derribar el imperialismo.

Alla en 1997 MIM publicó la revista MIM Teoria titulado "Medioambiente, Sociedad, Revolución." En el escribió, "Nuestra meta fundamental es erradicar la opresión de pueblo sobre pueblo, y esta meta también es la manera más efectivo para liberar el medioambiente de agresión humana. No creemos que socialismo necesariamente lleve a cabo salvación ambiental, pero si argumentamos que solamente por el socialismo tendremos la posibilidad a si."

Históricamente la peor devastación ha sido causado sobre el medioambiente como resultado de opresión entre pueblos: guerras, fabricación usando trabajo explotado, y incautación de tierras por corporativos. En guerra, herbicidas y agentes químicos son usados para deforestar tierra y destruir producción de cosecha, que tiene severas, duraderos impactos no solo sobre la plantas, pero sobre la gente y fauna también. Agente Naranjo, uranio agotado, napalm, y fósforo blanco son ejemplos de este tipo de guerra. Una bomba que pone en blanco un "enemigo" también destruye el medioambiente en la área circundante. Producción capitalista permite prácticamente no regular el tiro de basuras en nuestros ríos y océanos, incluyendo derrames de petróleo. Cuando mercancía no puede ser vendido es literalmente tirada al océano o incinerado, impactando la vida oceánica y contaminación del aire.

Ademas, los imperialistas ponen en blanco al Tercer Mundo con residuos de países imperialistas, colocando industrias sucias ahí y vertiendo desechos tóxicos en patios de otra gente.(1) Y esta claro que los países que contribuyen lo menos a cambios de clima serán impactado lo máximo por el. Tifones golpeando el sureste de Asia y India, sequías en Africa, e islas que pronto desaparecerán a crecientes niveles del mar son todos consecuencias que ya han tomado las vidas de muchas personas y amenazan a destruir todavía más. Donde los países imperialistas podrán reconstruir infraestructura y defender contra los impactos de cambios de clima más fácilmente debido a su riqueza robado, residentes en el Tercer Mundo no tendrán este privilegio. Al mismo tiempo, contaminación y otros efectos de actividad humana han llegado a una escala donde es mas difícil para las naciones opresoras aislarse de estos problemas. Por esta razón, ambientalismo puede probar hacer la mas fuerte fuerza material para construir internacionalismo verdadero.

En los E$tados Unidos los capitalistas están intentando reformas pequeñas para tratar el creciente problema ambiental, pero estos intentos nos enseñan claramente porque capitalismo va fallar en salvar la raza humana. La Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente recientemente propuso regulación de emisiones de plantas de poder, enfocandose en plantas de carbon existentes. En movimiento lento de capitalismo, la Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente ultimará su propuesta algún día en 2015, dará un año a estados para descifrar como implementar los nuevos reglamentos, pelear los juicios que estados amenazan, y tal vez ver unos pocos cambios muchos años en el futuro. La Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente optimistamente predice el propuesto podría reducir emisiones de bióxido de carbon de estas plantas hasta un 30% para 2030.(2) Los medios corporativos ya están quejandose de normas de emisiones siendo "mal para negocios," que bajo capitalismo es mas importante que vidas humanas. Y fiel a la moda capitalista, hay platica de sobornar a las compañías de carbon y compensar a personas quienes tienen buenos trabajos de sindicato con sueldo-alto que serán afectados.(3) Entonces por los capitalistas ricos y los pudientes trabajadores del Primer Mundo, habrá años de dispúta para la posibilidad de hacer algunos pequeños cambios, mientras gente en el Tercer Mundo están muriendo hoy de efectos de cambio de clima que ya están sucediendo.

Mucha gente bienintencionada piensa que pueden tratar problemas ambientales con soluciones individuos. Sugieren que todas necesitamos reciclar y manejar autos eléctricos, o quizás no comer carne. Es cierto que dietas Americanas, cultura de auto y producción despilfarrador tienen que ser cambiados dramáticamente en una sistema ecológico sostenible. Pero tal estilo de vida política están moviendo mas lenta que reformas capitalistas en términos de actualmente reducir los indices de contaminación, agotacion de recursos y destrozos de sistemas naturales. Movimiento social tiene que ser apoyado con organización, cambios estructurales y poder verdadero. Los capitalistas tienen todas estas cosas, pero les falta la motivación para el cambio. Estableciendo instituciones independientes que actualmente cambian nuestros sistemas de producción y consumo para estar en linea con lo demás del mundo natural tiene que ocurrir. Si esto puede ser antes de la toma de poder estatal, es algo que ecologistas revolucionarios tienen que explorar. Si sabemos que la dictadura conjunto del proletariado de las naciones oprimidas será necesario para finalmente hacer cumplir los cambios necesitados a la escala global. Esto es necesario porque una porción considerable de las naciones opresoras no reducirán su consumo por voluntad propia, y mientras haya la potencia para aprovechar por via de practicas ecológicas miopes, habrán personas que tratarán hacerlo. Hoy en los E$tados Unidos los fuerzas que mantienen el status quo son mas organizados que las fuerzas para imponer practicas ecológicas sanas.

Un tercer enfoque común para problemas ambientales es el enfoque de pura tecnología. Mientras la ciencia de ecología ha avanzado en décadas recientes, ha sido limitado por la estructura social forzada por el capitalismo. Primer mundialistas pueden crear carreras alrededor de trabajar con comunidades pequeñas para resolver problemas locales, pero estos curitas no pueden curar la herida cuando la navaja de especuladores capitalistas continua torciendo de un lado a otro. Tales ecologistas académicas pueden contribuir a nuestro conocimiento, pero sus esfuerzos no hacen nada para desafiar el modelo capitalista en si mismo. Es mucho mas eficiente y efectivo hacer cambios necesarios para la supervivencia de la humanidad con un gobierno centralizado actuando con los intereses de la mayoría, a un ONG o sector no lucrativo, o hasta por vía del método de acción directa favorecido por bandas anarquistas. Comunismo suelta la creatividad de todas la masas de una manera que empuja estos proyectos para delante con entusiasmo y anchura sin medida. (Vea nuestro discusión de China: Ciencia Camina Sobre Dos Piernas en nuestra revista de revolutionaryecology.com - only available in English right now). Animamos ecologistas con perspectivas globales ha desarrollar una estrategia que verdaderamente hace uso de su trabajo globalmente, y les recomendamos el comunismo como la mejor manera de cumplir sus metas que valen la pena. Hoy en los E$tados Unidos, tenemos mas estilistas de vida y reformistas en la banda ambientalista. Necesitamos mas revolucionarios.

Socialismo pondrá un fin a métodos "eficientes" capitalistas de hacer ganancias. Y con la tierra en los manos del pueblo, podemos empezar hacer decisiones mas inteligentes sobre uso balanceado para la supervivencia humana sin destrucción ambiental. La mayoría de los pueblos del mundo están interesados en vivir en una planeta saludable, pero los capitalistas con dinero y poder están enfocados en ganancias. Como tienen el poder y armas, ellos no tienen que darle cuentas a la mayoría. Desperdician recursos o hasta los destruyen, si les sirve a sus intereses competitivos. Y no les importa qué o quién muera en el proceso. Bajo el capitalismo vemos como agencias gubernamentales y el gobierno mismo están obligados con los intereses especiales mas ricos, y incapaz de implementar hasta reformas modestas. Solamente derribando a los capitalistas y hacer cumplir pólizas que aseguran la supervivencia de humanos en la tierra tenemos una chanza de hechar atrás la destrucción de el medioambiente.


Notas:
1. MIM Theory 12, 1997. Environment, Society, Revolution. Escribe a MIM(Prisiones) para una copia de MT12 sobre el medio ambiente.
2. Washington Post, 2 Junio 2014, La Organización de Proteccion del Medio Ambiente propondra una regla para reducir emisiones de fabricas existentes de carbon hasta un 30 porciento.
3. New York Times, 3 Junio 2014.

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[Middle East] [Spanish]
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Viva Palestine Libre: A Pelear Contra el Terrorísmo I$raelí

El bombardeo contra el pueblo Palestino no se puede describir en palabras. Mi forma de ver a Israel a cambiado de un estado asentado a un estado terroristico. Mas de 1,000+ Palestinos han sido asesinados por Israel. La mayoría de las víctimas son civiles. Niños y ancianos descuartizados por bombas Israelíes. Esta atrocidad sigue sin ninguna palabra de los medios de comunicación Americanos crítica de parte de los portavoces contra estos actos casi no existe, pero esto no es ninguna sorpresa.

Yo sigo en lo que puedo, la guerra Israelí contra los Palestinos desde este campo de muerte llamado Pelican Bay SHU. Lo que veo mas que nada es que Israel ataca a niños y hospitales. La gente quedan enterradas en sus hogares y cuando se hace atentos de rescate, los tiradores escondidos disparan contra los rescatadores. Los militares Israelíes convierten los hogares Palestinos en nidos para los tiradores escondidos después de botar a los Palestinos. Están disparandole a mujeres y niños para infligir terror a las vidas de los Palestinos que nunca van a parar su lucha por su liberación.

Yo saco mucha fuerza de los Palestinos y aprendo mucho de sus ejemplos concretos de lo que es luchar contra un ocupador terroristico. Pienso que el mundo entero esta aprendiendo lo que es la resistencia. Los Palestinos de hoy son un ejemplo en que podemos aprender. Están sin asistencia económica pero siempre encuentran la manera de pelear contra los tanques y misiles sufriendo de hambre, descalzos solo con AKs y puños cerrados.

El estado terroristicos Israelí es un ejemplo audaz de colonialismo que tiene que ser eliminado de la humanidad. Los Palestinos son rehenes cuales son bombardeados al gusto de los Israelís. Pero la mayoría de los asesinados son civiles y no se oye ni una palabra de los gusanos Amerikkkanos. No dicen nada porque en muchas maneras el estado terroristico Israeli es como un espejo de el estado terroristico Amerikkkano. Todavía no nos atacan en esta escala en este pais, pero las semi-colonias internas estan teniendo sus tierras ocupadas y estamos siendo asesinados selectivamente. Amerikkka usa el terror "blandito" con la tortura de el SHU, la pena de muerte y los guardias "cochinos/puercos/marranos/cerdos/lechones." En Palestina el terror no es "blandito," los misiles, tanques, y aviones de guerra masacrana la gente.

Estos actos terroristicos desatados por los perros Israelíes son los que me inspiran a propagar el anuncio que Palestina tiene que ser libre. Este avance militar me ha educado más que todos mis años de estudio. Después de ver el trato barbárico de los Palestinos lo único que puedo decir es que nunca más los Palestinos estarán solos peleando el colonialismo.

¡Viva Palestine Libre!

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[Abuse] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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The New Court-Approved Device of Torture in California SHUs: Guard One

Guard One was implemented in the middle of June per mandate of a court-appointed mental health expert in Sacramento. The device resembles a pipe about the size of a closet pole cut to an 8" length. It either flashes or beeps to indicate a welfare check has been recorded. Similar devices are in use throughout selected prisons, especially in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) where statistics reveal most prison suicides occur.

While it is being promoted as a high-tech device able to create an electronic record that prison guards are actually performing their assigned duty of half-hourly welfare checks at each cell, it is also supposed to be showing how much CDCr cares about reducing the number of suicides on its four death row SHUs at San Quentin.

In San Quentin's SHU II D.R. the sensor which the beeping pipe must make contact with is attached to each cell's food port. That's a small metal door on hinges which is padlocked closed unless the cell has no occupant, the prisoner is attending some other program, the cleaning bucket is being used, or there is a phone in use. When the food port is open, for whatever reason, it must be lifted to the closed position so contact can be made with the beeping pipe. Normally, upwards of 100 food ports are left open every day between the hours of 9am and 1pm as various programs are in session. During that time there is continuous banging, clanging and beeping. That's hardly conducive to anyone's mental health!

At around 9pm the beeping pipes are traded in for a non-beeping Guard One device. So between the hours of 9pm and 5am the padlocked metal food port doors continue clanging each time a contact is made. The banging of food ports on empty cells as they're lifted and dropped also echoes throughout the night while the prison guard flashlights would probably remind you of a prison break scene from an old movie as the spotlights search up and down for prisoners crawling the walls. Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of mental and physical health issues.

By 5:30am the beeping starts up like a small brood of electronic rooster chicks fighting for dominance in a cast iron coop and a few cocks get to crowing about the "easy money overtime" coming from the taxpayers.

Many prisoners have died in their cells due to heart attacks, cooking, or other things which might not have been fatal if they had received timely medical attention. So these must be some of the factors considered by the "expert" who armed prison guards with these devices seemingly designed to preserve prisoners and create jobs. I hope I separated the truth from fiction for you.

We call for the elimination of the Guard One device because it is causing more torture and anguish for prisoners.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good example of the criminal injustice system implementing new costly practices in response to serious problems, but the new practices do nothing to help prisoners. In this case, it is a real problem that prisoners die due to medical neglect. But spending lots of money creating more jobs for guards and increasing sensory torture for prisoners is not a solution to this problem. We can never expect the injustice system to reform itself or address its problems fundamentally. We must continue to demand an end to torture like long-term isolation and these new devices, while we build a broader movement that can attack the fundamental injustice of a system that uses prisons as a tool of social control.

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[Gang Validation] [Political Repression] [Suwanee Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 41]
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Fighting STG Label for Notes on Political History

I am housed at Suwannee Correctional Close Management Unit, which is the Florida Department of Corruption's equivalent of the SHU or AdSeg. On 4 August 2014, myself and several other political prisoners on my cell block were targeted for repression during a shakedown which was conducted by the pigs. This shakedown was in retaliation for several grievances/complaints being filed about the corrections officers denying us outdoor yard access and indoor day room activities, including access to the phones.

During the shakedown the pigs read some notes I had written down from studying politics, history, and communism. These notes contained some commentary that wasn't very patriotic or friendly toward the Amerikan imperialist regime. When the pigs ordered me to explain the notes I told them that "I like to take notes on politics and current events," and "I like to keep tabs on what's going on in the outside world." The sergeant then held up one of the notes referring to "sovereignty" and said "so you're a sovereign citizen?" To which I replied, "No, I'm just a normal human being." Then he told me to explain why I had notes on weapons. I told him how I was in the U.$. army and developed a fascination for firearms, and he responded by saying, "so now you're a domestic terrorist?" I then told him that the average Amerikan citizen is more likely to be terrorized by their own local law enforcement than by so-called "terrorists."

Myself and three other prisoners were placed in confinement after the shakedown and we were charged with the disciplinary infraction of "Possession of Gang Related Paraphernalia." They tried to validate me as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG) on the basis that in the notes I made a reference to "Popular Sovereignty" and that therefore I was in possession of documents related to the sovereign association, which the imperialist bureaucrats view as a STG because sovereign citizens are not compelled to abide by U.$. laws.

When I went to my disciplinary hearing I told these pigs that the so-called evidence they have against me (the "gang paraphernalia") is merely a bunch of notes I copied from social studies. I explained that "Popular Sovereignty" is (supposed) to be one of the five basic principles of Amerikan government and that anyone who claims to be a patriotic Amerikan citizen should at least know this.

I used this argument to beat this charge and I also presented my own evidence as a defense — part of a social studies assignment on Amerikan government from FDOC's very own educational department which explains (what is supposed to be) the Five Basic Principles of Amerikan Government; 1) Federal System, 2) Popular Sovereignty, 3) Separation of Powers, 4) Checks and Balances, and 5) Limited Government. In real life these "principles" hold no valuable meaning, just as the U.$. constitution is merely a piece of paper.

It seems evident that anyone making an attempt to educate themselves is viewed as a threat by the imperialist bureaucrats and anyone who is against oppression and imperialism is a "domestic terrorist." As revolutionaries, it is imperative that we educate ourselves and our fellow comrades and expose the true terrorists for who they really are: the terrorists in pig clothing, masquerading as those who "protect and serve" and provide "care, custody and control."

We shall prevail in our struggle against imperialist oppression.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have heard from some comrades that even writing to MIM(Prisons) or participating in our correspondence study groups can be used as evidence for STG validation. We know there is a risk to corresponding and working with MIM(Prisons) but the education and organizing opportunities are great. We hope others will take this comrade's example to fight false validation attempts made against them and stay active in political work and study. For those not yet involved in political study, write to us to join our next introductory study group.

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 40]
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Fighting Gender Oppression in Prison

In prisons, men are housed separately from wimmin, but gender oppression is still a very big issue behind bars. From sexual assaults on prisoners by guards and other prisoners, to the abuse of gay and trans people, gender oppression perpetuates disunity and furthers the social control of the criminal injustice system. In this issue of Under Lock & Key we have articles about rape and sexual assault in prison, the use of sexual orientation to divide prisoners, denial of health care, and several attempts to challenge and fight gender oppression behind bars.

Defining Gender

Our readers should be familiar with the concepts of class and national oppression. Class is clearly related to work and ownership of the means of production. Those who are owners have the power to exploit those who are not. National oppression is also clearly visible with nations which have resources and militaries using those to steal from and control nations which don't.

We distinguish gender from class and nation because it is defined by leisure-time activity. Men (the group with power in the gender oppression dynamic) oppress wimmin through rape, sexual harassment, and a social structure that portrays wimmin as valued for their looks, not for their skills or knowledge. Gender is not so clear cut as "men against wimmin" though. We have an Amerikan history of lynching Black men accused of raping white wimmin, giving white wimmin significant gender power over Black men. The use of humyn bodies in the Third World for drug testing by pharmaceutical companies gives First World men and wimmin benefits from gender oppression. And overall health status and physical ability is tied up with gender privilege; professional athletes and models are both enjoying gender privilege while those with physical and mental disabilities are often times forced into homelessness or imprisonment.

Gender in Prison

In prison we see clearly that gender privilege is not just about biological definitions of male and female. Prisoners face rape and sexual harassment by both prison staff and other prisoners. According to the Department of Justice itself, 50% of sexual assault against prisoners is by staff (See the article "PREA National Standards: Symbol or Sword?"). Prisoners are vulnerable because of their powerlessness against abuse from employees, their lack of recourse to stop abuse from other prisoners, and also because of their lack of access to adequate health care. These vulnerabilities have an even bigger impact on prisoners who are gay or trans, those with physical disabilities or health problems, youth (especially those in adult facilities), and any prisoners who are perceived as weak.

Trans Oppression in Prison

A New York prisoner wrote to MIM(Prisons) recently:

"I'm a transgender woman. I'm writing this because I'm different from the regular male prisoners. I am 200% aware of the oppression that's being done to the heterosexual prisoner population. I've been raped, beaten, and starved. The main reason I've been oppressed is due to my sexual orientation. An LGBTQ individual has it bad [in prison]."

Trans people face gender oppression for their perceived sex role non-conformity, based on physical health status and needs, and for trans wimmin there is the added oppression for being female. As with other gender oppression, this interacts with class and nation, leaving Third World trans people to face the most severe oppression, while some First World trans people end up integrating well with their imperialist culture and enjoying its benefits. Trans prisoners are unique in the First World because the condition of imprisonment puts them in a situation that denies them class or nation privilege, resulting in increased danger specific to their gender oppression.

The root of violence against trans people lies in the strict enforcement of the gender system. People who are visibly trans, especially trans wimmin, are often singled out for social or physical violence. Trans people are automatically regarded as non-heterosexual, and violence against them often includes elements of homophobia. These factors can conspire with national oppression and class to produce disastrous and murderous results.

Trans people have a number of specific health needs, primarily hormones and surgery, but are commonly denied access to even routine healthcare.(1) An unemployment rate double the average(2) often leaves trans people without insurance; but for those who do have it, trans-specific coverage is often categorically denied, and aging medical standards allow doctors to restrict treatment to only those who conform to rigid standards of masculinity or femininity. The result of all this can be lethal. Approximately 41% of trans people have attempted suicide,(3) and trans wimmin are 49 times more likely to be HIV positive than the general population.(4)

Lack of healthcare is even more acute within prison, with hormones normally denied even to those receiving them before incarceration, and surgery completely out of the question. 21% of trans wimmin have been imprisoned (rising to over 50% for New Afrikan trans wimmin)(5) and for them, correct identity documents can mean life or death. Trans wimmin who are regarded as "legally male" by the state get sent to men's prisons. This leaves them much more likely than other prisoners to be victims of sexual assault, rape, and murder,(6) and has a number of other consequences like the assignment of cross-gender guards for strip searches, and incorrect clothing provisions.(7)

Unity is Key to Fighting Gender Oppression

Gender oppression is an integral part of imperialism, and we can't expect to eliminate it without overthrowing imperialism. Ultimately we fight for communism, a system where no group of people oppresses any other group of people (classes, nations or genders). But we can have an impact on some forms of this oppression now, including sexual violence and harassment, through a united struggle behind bars. We call on all prisoners to put an end to gender oppression between prisoners. We need to stand together and say no to prisoner-on-prisoner sexual assault, and no to harassment. Unite and stand up to defend those who can not defend themselves. If you do not face this oppression, it is your job to stand with your comrades who do, and ensure your fellow prisoners do not turn around and act as gender oppressors. Straight prisoners need to understand that gay and trans prisoners are comrades, not enemies. Don't let the prison divide us along gender lines.

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[Africa] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 41]
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Amerikan Aid to Africa Really Aids Imperialism

On 5 August, President Obama announced plans to send $12 billion in aid to support an electrification program for six sub-Saharan countries in Africa. This is in addition to U.S. firms investing $14 billion in banking, construction and information technology in Africa.

Are these efforts really about helping the African nations, or is it just to protect the stake certain parties have in the region? I can't help but remind myself of the economic consequences that will befall an already impoverished nation. When it comes to the class divisions, I think this new effort will only push the proletariat into deeper starvation and exploitation. As I've read in MIM Theory 12, investment from an imperialist country like the United $tates usually comes with dire consequences. Funny, not once did I hear the U.$. imperialist president speak of self-determination of all African people. This is either lip service paid to the petty bourgeoisie or when it's all said and done the "pound of flesh" which the United $tates will eventually get will come at a greater cost to those held in oppression.

The puppet governments of southern Africa gained a large victory today, but as we all know, no amount of policy or investment will really benefit the most oppressed people. This is true until all peoples' needs are met, not just profit gained for a few. It looks like more economic imperialism to hold the already poor people in bondage with the illusion of expanding the Amerikan dream. Raise! Fight! Stop U.S. imperialism!

The solution should be what can be done to empower and enable the lower class and proletariat into rising up and controlling their own destinies. Only when this is pursued will conditions improve. People from the proletariat need to understand that they have the power to educate and engage in armed struggle to gain their rights.

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[Middle East] [California]
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Palestine Petition Gains Much Support in California Prison

In August 2014, United Struggle from Within launched a petition campaign against the I$raeli settler state and to support the people of Palestine against the recent violent attacks. A petition was circulated to prisoners in many states and this is a report back from one persyn's efforts to collect signatures.

I was surprised to get as many signatures as I did, and most prisoners didn't have to hear much more than the basic thrust of the document to know that they wanted to sign. I offered everyone the petition to read for themselves so that they could be sure of what they were signing. For most people I broke the document down into three points. The first was simple opposition to the purposeful targeting of civilians by I$rael. Indeed most of the people who signed had very strong feelings about seeing wimmin and children being killed. The second point was our agreement that Israel's bombing of Gaza had to stop. The third was that even as so-called "thugs and criminalsm," even we know there are lines to be drawn in combat, and civilian deaths are a big no no. Therefore all signatories were united on one basic premise: no to the killing of wimmin and children.

Most prisoners quickly signed after hearing what I had to say, while two people just refused to sign. I was actually surprised since they were both "born again Christians" and part of the social base I'd thought would've been easiest to organize. One of them said he was currently in the process of reading something on that topic and would get back at me once he was thoroughly informed. I told him that I had already outlined everything he needed to know, but still he was hesitant. I then went into explaining the basics of the document but still he was unsure. He also seemed nervous for some reason at which point I thanked him and walked away.

The second "Christian" is a Vietnam veteran so I anticipated his hesitance but thought his so-called spiritually would transcend the political. Instead he quickly put on a look of disgust and kindly declined. I tried pushing him some based on his religious beliefs but still looking annoyed he once again declined, instead telling me that he would pray for the wimmin and children of Gaza but would not sign the petition. Of course I had some choice words for his bombastic air of superiority as he is one of those Christians who walks around with bible in hand, head to the sky as if he's superior or has reached some type of Nirvana to which none of us are privy; yet he cannot sign the petition.

Then there was someone else, another older gentleman who expressed something of shock and irritability at what I was proposing. Who was I to organize a petition for Palestine? And why should he sign it if no Amerikan lives where involved? I recited my script and basic points of unity to which he was still "confused." At this point I began to sense something of a chauvinist attitude emanating from his line of questioning. Finally I told him that if he didn't want to sign then that was fine as he was beginning to take up too much of my time.

But now he was the one who didn't want to let me go. He said he was only trying to understand my motivations. He said that during Hurricane Katrina he saw no petitions to help the people of New Orleans, that America has its own problems and that we should focus on that first instead of organizing for Palestine. Finally, he caught me off guard when he cited the many wars in Africa currently taking place and why wasn't I organizing for that? I was left speechless for about a second or two but then quickly recovered by telling him that he was right and that was a good point he made about Africa. I told him that if he wanted we could both put something together and start a petition. He quickly refused and then retreated to his second line of defense. He didn't understand the point of the petition. He said it wasn't gonna solve anything, therefore what was the point? I told him that he was wrong and that the purpose of the petition was to help build public awareness of the atrocities and to help build public opinion so as to hopefully put additional pressure on Israel. Furthermore if people on the streets who have the freedom and liberty to organize for Palestine saw that prisoners were circulating and signing a petition for Palestine then perhaps they'd be moved to do more.

He disagreed and instead proposed that I initiate a fundraiser/food drive here in which we can get a outside vendor to sponsor us and all money collected from prisoners could go to Palestine. (Various self-help groups here such as AA, NA, Anger Management, etc. have raised funds in the past thru these fundraisers with proceeds going to Locks of Love, cancer research, etc). I told him that we needed the administration's permission for such a drive and that they would never sanction us sending money to Palestine since they were a tool of the state. He vehemently disagreed.

He then went back to his point about Africa, and why did I choose Palestine over Africa? He said the only reason I chose Palestine was because I too was Middle-Eastern. I told him I was not, and he was more confused. I then told him that Palestine is a flash point on an international level compared to the civil wars in Africa and thereby more people would be easier to organize around this platform. I once again offered to work with him on an Africa project. He again refused. By this time I again offered to take my petition somewhere else but after a little more struggle he begrudgingly signed. I told him that if he was still pessimistic about it that I didn't need his signature as I wanted everyone's signature to be sincere, but he said he was good and I accepted.

As the day went on I got more signatures and had a couple interesting political conversations as a result. You can be sure that everyone who signed did so out of a sense of injustice in Palestine. My small petition drive was a good learning experience and helped me exercise my political speaking abilities.

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[Middle East] [ULK Issue 40]
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The Inspiration Behind the Palestine Petition

Like many other people in here, as I was watching the situation in Gaza steadily worsen, so did my anger. One day I was nose-deep in a Che Guevara book with my TV on CNN in the background when breaking news of live footage of Israeli bombs targeting civilians came in. After a few minutes of cursing the United Nations, I$rael and the United $tates, I calmed down feeling somewhat demoralized at the fact that there was nothing I could do. Defeated, I sat back down and tried to temporarily put out of my head what I had just seen.

I dove back into the Che book when I immediately got my orders from "the commandante" himself, or his ex-wife rather. There is a chapter in the book about Che's time in Guatemala during his formative years and his work with the Arbenz government when the U.$.-backed coup took place and the country was in chaos. Revolutionaries and other activists were in the process of fleeing the country and hiding in various Latin American embassies. Che and his soon-to-be wife were among the last to seek shelter from the political repression, instead opting to continue their work in semi-underground fashion. Che's partner Hilda Gadea was in a somewhat tight bind at the time where her actions and movements were both limited and scrutinized by the new government. She was not able to do everything she wanted to do but she was at least able to start a petition denouncing the coup. Upon reading this I had something of a eureka moment and knew what I had to do, or what I could do.

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[Control Units] [Montana State Prison] [Montana] [ULK Issue 40]
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Montana Shuts Down SHU, Reopens Under a New Name

The Montana prison suppression machine has pulled the wool over the eyes of several prisoner advocacy groups by pretending to disband their security housing unit (SHU) program. It's not actually gone, it's just been given a shiny new title. It's now known as LH1 - AdSeg and LHII - Max population or step down program.

The SHU program started in Montana State Prison (MSP) in approximately 2004-2005, designed to hold validated gang members or violent prisoners deemed security threats. Unfortunately in Montana the only requirement for validation is to associate with suspicious prisoners or interact with known gang members. No activity is required to validate you. Anyone who disagrees with a corrections officer, files grievances, or otherwise remotely questions the capitalist authority is deemed a security risk.

MSP's favorite use of control units is for a growing number of mentally ill prisoners. MSP has no resources to house these prisoners separately so they use long term isolation, trying to induce forced sumission over them.

The LHII step down program is creating jobs for high risk prisoners who would normally never have the opportunity to earn a few dollars, but at the cost of long term isolation for most prisoners who are only here because they questioned policy, filed grievances, refused a pig's order, or are scared by prison life. This does not make for a prisoner who will fare well once turned back to population or society.

So MSP has once again fixed nothing, but it might have fooled a few people with the name change. We must expose the new system for what it is: a renaming of the same long term isolation.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We need prisoners to help us keep our statistics on control units across the country up to date. We estimate over 100,000 long term isolation units exist in the United $tates, but this data is incomplete for many states. If you know about a control unit in your state, write to us for a control unit survey so that you can help us collect this data on torture in Amerikan prisons.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Bringing the Truth to Light: The Result of Sunlight Deprivation at San Quentin

A recent study concluded that even a moderate deficiency of vitamin D results in a 53% increased chance of developing dementia. The most abundant source of vitamin D on earth comes from a chemical reaction that occurs naturally when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight.

Sunny California's torture units feature dog run style walk-in closets called "walk alone" or "small management yards" (SMY). These usually consist of four solid walls and a plexiglass or metal grating for a roof, both of which obstruct sunlight. Depending on the time of day, a prisoner may not get any direct sunlight at all.

The SMY torture cages designed for Grade A and B death row prisoners warehoused in San Quentin's East Block (SHU II D.R.) are especially cruel and unusual. Unlike the torture cages in the SHU III D.R. (The Adjustment Center) which are completely exposed to the elements with no protection whatsoever, the SHU II D.R. torture cages have a corrugated steel cover over 1/4 of its top and every one of these 40 or so cages are under a gigantic modified metal pavilion which could be comparable to a rusted metal circus tent. The only direct sunlight penetrating this bizarre big top of the CDCr circus pierces through rust holes in the massive metal canopy.

True to form, California's mad scientists conducting the world's most infamous death penalty experiment in numerous SHUs across the sunshine state prefer their own blend of pharmaceutical cocktails to solve the problems they themselves are mass producing. CDCr's "chemical solution" aims to obscure and/or delay known side effects of this particular experiment which subjects humans to sunlight deprivation torture indefinitely. CDCr prescribes Vitamin D/Calcium supplements and "psych meds."

Who will dare to fathom the impact this state-sanctioned torture has on prisoners in the United $tates, and on the prison system's medical and mental health costs. This is a system already overloaded and still under federal receivership.

The bottom line is this is where getting involved in the grievance campaign would be a wise choice. Also keep in mind that no matter what your current classification is, it's always subject to change. Just being in a California control unit is all it takes to become a test subject in this already out of control experiment. Don't think you are somehow immune to this twisted chemical warfare.

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