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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
I'm always striving for perfection and giving the next man good advice when they're going through shit because it's getting worse by the day. My heart is so pure now because I don't think for just myself; I'm doing it for the dudes around me. I'm gonna stay at it as long as I got life in my body because I truly understand that unity is power and once we all conquer that then we mastered a good thing. It's a must we stay true to each other and move against the system as one. By us doing that it would be brought to the world's attention the things we go through on this side of the gates.
The reason I have rooted myself in this idea is dudes that have a long sentence to serve. We must stick together to make things easy for those types of guys and I want to make a difference so the young generation that have been coming to the prison system can pass the unity remedy down. The organization that I'm building is called "Stand Firm With Unity" and the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons are planted in my heart.
1. Peace: the first step to make things perfect, and that's something we all must have within to show the next brother that we need that in our heart to accomplish our goal. 2. Unity: the foundation to become one. It's very important to move as one because it's the only way that we will see results on making changes in the prison system that we are trapped in. 3. Growth: in order to speak wise words and show wise action to another person we must first make changes in our own life because the best teaching of all is to show it in your actions. 4. Internationalism: it will be an amazing thing once we do the things that are right for us in each state and to stand firm to each other on changing the prison system. 5. Independence: we must understand that the system is not for us. It's not here to make our life easy. It's made to make us submit to them.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We welcome Stand Firm With Unity to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). We also welcome them (and all UFPP signatories) to send us reports on how organizing around these five points is going on the ground. What has worked to get people on board with the united front? Showing peace and unity in one's actions is good for setting an example of the UFPP; send in your reports on how you've actually done this in your facility and the results you've seen.
We also want to ensure the concept of internationalism is well understood, as it's one of the main characteristics that sets the UFPP (and MIM(Prisons)) apart from other similar attempts (and organizations). We not only want to do what is best for prisoners caught up in the Amerikan criminal injustice system, but we also want peace and justice for oppressed people throughout the entire world. In the United $tates, everyone (even prisoners) benefits from the imperialists' theft of resources and labor from all across the globe. If we lose perspective of this, we'll work to fix our oppression while making conditions worse for the majority of the world's people. This is how reformism and a lack of internationalism has played out in the past. Learning from history, we know we need to keep the conditions of the majority of the world's people in the front of our minds in order to not sell them out for our own benefits.