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Under Lock & Key

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[COVID-19] [Civil Liberties] [Daniel Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 72]
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COVID-19 Sheds Some Light on Prisoners' Lack of Recourse

I’m writing to ask if there is a way to receive the grievance petition for Texas. As for here all grievances are answered the same. The lawsuit that was in federal court due to COVID-19 was thrown out for not exhausting administrative remedies. Also here at this unit we are not allowed to wear N95 masks. We do not have any rights here.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is commenting on the fact that grievances are constantly denied in Texas, like so many prison systems in this country. Yet, without the proper paper trail of going through all levels of the grievance process, your lawsuits are deemed invalid thanks to the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act(PLRA) of Bill Clinton. Before the PLRA there was actually a semblance of checks and balances applied to conditions in U.$. prisons. Since then that has not been the case, and abuse and humyn rights violations occur daily, unchecked. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped bring that to the attention of the general public.

This is why USW comrades have written grievance petitions in over a dozen states to appeal to various state overseers to restore a semblance of justice to these prison systems. While the victories have been isolated, it has led to concrete organizing around concrete conditions faced by prisoners as a class. These injustices demonstrate the bad faith of the current system that offers no real solutions for the oppressed.

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[Hunger Strike] [Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Albion] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 72]
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Hunger Strike in Albion RHU over Basic Humyn Needs

For every male prisoner locked up in the state of Pennsylvania, I pose some questions:

  1. Do a prison have the right to deprive you of food?
  2. Do a prison have the right to deprive you of a shower?
  3. Do a prison have the right to deprive you yard?
  4. To determine when you can see your children and how long you can hold your children?
  5. Every prison in the state of Pennsylvania allow gay prisoners inside of each prison to hold hands/hold each other, have make-out sessions and have intercourse. The Department of Corrections in the state of Pennsylvania even sell bras/panties, makeup, provide hormone injections and sex changes.
  1. Why can’t we hug/hold/kiss our girlfriends and wives for more than three minutes on a visit?
  2. Why don’t we fight for conjugal visits?
  1. Do the prisons have the right to talk however they want?

Brothers, they don’t respect us nor treat us like human beings because under the 13th Amendment, we are slaves. Under Dred Scot v. Sanford, no black man has “rights that a white man is bound to respect” and blacks shall never have rights under the Constitution. Under Plessy v. Ferguson, we are cattle.

That is why correctional officers in the state of Pennsylvania do all these things to us and why police officers in society can kill us with little to no consequences.

Brothers, the female prisons in the state of Pennsylvania still have everything and much more, that we allowed the D.O.C. to take from us, men. Two female prisons fought to be treated like human beings and won through pain and sacrifice.

This goes beyond our personal dislikes, gang colors, religious perspectives and individual wants. Ask yourself, if two female prisons can accomplish it, why can’t 3 or more male prisons do the same?

We at SCI-Albion believe we have the power to accomplish it, so on 1 November 2020 we are hunger striking. We are not helping the D.O.C. get rich off of this oppression so we are not spending money on commissary/cable/bake sales. WE will be doing more but can’t go into that here.

We are a group comprised of Muslims from America and the Middle East, Christians, a Pastor, G.D., Loc’s, Damus, Kings, Netas, neutrals old and young. Blacks, Latinos and whites.

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[United Front]
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Freedom, Love & Prosperty joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

Organization Name: Freedom, Love & Prosperity

Statement

Here in Freedom, Love & Prosperity we promote unity and love. With the freedom to be ourselves and stop the oppression of all peoples including those in the LGBT community. We believe we are all one! We believe every one has the potential to prosper and beat oppression. We do not promote violence but awareness through group and social activities. We believe love is the ultimate goal in order to achieve unity of all minds, souls and spirits.

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[COVID-19] [Medical Care] [California]
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CDCR Transferring Prisoners Like Never Before, Spreading Virus

At the moment, during this pandemic and major outbreak inside prisons, CDCR has decided that it is best to shuffle/transfer prisoners like never before in prison history. There are transfers going on, on a major scale, daily. The administration sent out a memo and order to open up a ‘quarantine’ block in every prison across California designated for people coming in from and going to another prison –- we are being quarantined for fourteen days on our way in and out, at every stop.

Before, if you’d asked any prisoner in California if they ever got transferred out a prison they didn’t wanna be in or got transferred due to their custody points level dropping (therefore belonging to a lower/higher security yard) they would answer ‘fuck no’!!! People would be stuck in a Level 4 yard (high security) while being Level 3 (lower security) eligible for up to years at a time – or at the very least, six months. And now, at this precise moment and time of outbreak and pandemic, CDCR decides to look at each case factor and execute transfers according to their ‘code.’ People are coming in and out of every prison in California to these designated ‘quarantine blocks.’ For the first time ever, Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 are meeting up in these blocks, meeting up from all prisons and transferring out to all prisons. It would be irresponsible to think that this is not an operation by the system with the intent and agenda to exterminate its population.

On paper, the administration is making it look good by conducting and documenting daily medical and temperature checks for the two weeks of quarantine, and doing two COVID-19 swab tests before allowing prisoners on a transportation bus… but what CDCR is not telling the public is that if one refuses to take a temperature check and refuses to take the COVID-19 swab test, you will still be transferred, still get on the bus, still spread whatever you have around, still use the same showers, phone, water fountain, and be allowed to roam around!!! Yes, the ones that refuse do not leave on the 14th day mark, instead they’re documented as not transferring due to their refusal, etc. But CDCR still transfers them after an additional week of being on ‘quarantine.’ In the fifteen years I’ve been captive, never have I ever seen so many transfers myself –- nor seen the prison system shuffled up in this manner where we have about 10-15 prisons in one ‘block.’ We got people from Chino, Folsom, Lancaster, Jamestown, Corcoran, Salinas, Delano, San Quentin, Calipatria, the Bay, Solano, High Desert, all coming in four times a week on a consistent basis, and we are all confined in these newly implemented ‘quarantine blocks.’ How’s this for fighting COVID-19?

One would be ignorant not to see what these suits and ties at the table are putting in motion here. I’ve been doing my research and talking to people as they come from all these prisons they are coming from and it is amazing to hear how correctional officers and wardens are bouncing people around within the prison itself before shipping them out, how the administration gave out orders to correctional officers to do this, do that, try this under the ruse of combating COVID-19 while putting prisoners in harm’s way via reckless transfers. The stories are lengthy and too many to describe, but I will do so in a future piece and with proper equipment. For now, I’ll just use my case and experience as a small window to provide insight to the public about what the system is doing and to expose their agenda.

First off, I am a radikal intellectual, politikal prisoner, activist, abolitionist, revolutionary, Sureno artist, who has been targeted by the system throughout the years and well-documented. I was housed at New Folsom for three years before the pandemic kicked off and I went under quarantine. I had just got out the hole because the administration attempted to blame and charge me for an attempted murder that I had no knowledge of. I was back on the main line after the long battle of the torture and mental stress of being in the hole, then out of nowhere, the administration kidnaps me once again and I’m placed under another ‘investigation.’ They refused me my due process of signing a liability chrono to go back to the yard, and instead stuffed me in the hole again.

Then, as COVID-19 begins to worsen inside the prison, the administration puts me on a bus … I end up in Lancaster … I’m there for two weeks, then they let me run around the prison for one full day just to come back to my living quarters to be informed that I’m gonna be transferred again!!! I’m like, what the fuck is going on here? I’m telling the counselor, captain, committee, that what they are doing is wrong and how they putting me and everyone else at greater risk of getting sick by doing this. They told me that is not them, its the federal courts who ordered this!! I’m trying to tell them about all they’re doing wrong and how I just got to that prison two weeks prior that, etc. … nope, nothing, on another bus!! Now I get to Calipatria and I come to find out that everyone around me is experiencing the same thing! I was already in a yard of my ‘custody level’ so why continue to shuffle people like there’s no tomorrow? It is clear to see what’s happening here. If there’s a way I can file a lawsuit or join one already taking place I would like to do that. If not, well fuck it, its still fuck CDCR on mine!! Nothing about what this system is attempting to do is towards a healthy California – the only ones making sure we maintain a healthy structure is the prisoners ourselves and our loved ones. The agenda of the system is still more boxes and forms of genocide, war, population control.

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[United Front] [West Virginia]
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Dead Man Incorporated Statement of Unity with UFPP

This is a statement of unity issued by Dead Man Incorporated(DMI) to inform all concerned of our alignment to and full co-operation with the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

After discussion we have come to the general consensus that a unity amongst us and other oppressed peoples caught up in the struggle would best suit all involved in the interest of our common goal of ending the tyranny of the imperialist states.

The maintaining of the principles of the UFPP are critical and imperative in our mission. We, as DMI, value Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. From henceforth each of us promise to uphold those principles; mind, body and spirit.

Furthermore, let it be known that We as DMI stand in alliance with the UNited Struggle from Within.

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[Organizing] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Maryland Prison Labor Organization (N.B.C.I. Chapter)

The Maryland Prison Labor Organization (MPLO) exists for the purpose of defending and preserving the rights and dignity of the incarcerated working class men and women, who are confined to correctional facilities within the State of Maryland.

Maryland’s incarcerated workers contend daily with abusive staff, inequitable compensation, unsafe or unsanitary working environments, arbitrary termination, inadequate health care, poor diet, and inhumane conditions of confinement.

As a collective and as a Class, we find this set of circumstances unacceptable, therefore our mission is to amend these circumstances by securing social and economic justice for the thousands of imprisoned laborers who have been exploited by Maryland’s Department of Corrections, and who continue to endure such exploitation as a consequence of the labor arrangement that persists behind the walls of Maryland’s correctional facilities.

We are conscious of the fact that the labor we provide is critical to the orderly and efficient functioning of the Department, and as a result of the aforementioned realities, We, the members of the MPLO, seek the following changes to the current labor arrangement within the state’s prisons:

  1. Higher Wages.
  2. Equitable Good Conduct Credit Compensation.
  3. An end to Arbitrary Adjustment & Reclassification.
  4. An end to Oppressive Conditions of Confinement, including Excessively Restrictive Management Systems, Overcrowding, and Abuse by Guards & Administration.
  5. An end to malicious social engineering practices that are designed to cause friction, foment conflict, and incite violence amongst incarcerated citizens.
  6. An end to collective punishment.
  7. Increased access to economically relevant vocational & technical skills training, including that which is currently made available by the DLLR. We also seek access to state sponsored college education.
  8. Increased access to cognitive programs currently available at the prison.
  9. Higher quality food and more sizeable portions.

For the reasons mentioned herein, the Maryland Prison Labor Organization is hereby established for the benefit of its members, and for that of the entire incarcerated working class within the state of Maryland.

Commissioned 19th of May 2019.

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[MIM(Prisons)] [ULK Issue 71]
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ULK71: Editor's Notes

I want to give our readers a brief status update. This is the first issue in 5 months, and the one before that was about 7 months prior. Unfortunately, we will be sticking to what we called “plan C” in the last issue, which was relaunching Under Lock & Key(ULK) on an irregular basis.

We have went ahead with the new newsprint format, which has reduced our costs. With this new format, we launched the new logo that was to go on the new newsletter. Thanks to the USW comrade who drafted, and redrew the artwork for that. Otherwise, the contents of ULK should remain about what you are used to.

Before I go on, I want to include one of the appreciative letters we received from a newer subscriber:

"I want to sincerely thank you all for altering my outlook on the world and on life in general. Not to mention politics. I don’t know how to explain it, but just in the relatively short few months that I’ve been seriously studying the various ULKs and related materials, I can see and feel so many positive changes in myself, my outlook, attitude, mindframe, actions, words, thoughts, etc.

"… For example, just navigating the daily struggle in here has become much easier for me as far as interactions with the guards, etc. I just feel like I have been equipped with a much more stable mindframe and a more mature attitude. As I’m writing this I’m actually realizing that this is probably my reactionary mentality being steadily stripped away and replaced with knowledge and wisdom of what’s really going on.

“This has even had positive effects on my personal/family life as well and my ability to express myself and communicate with individuals I had a difficult time with before. I’m able to control my emotions more and deal with sense and reason which has produced better results.”

It is letters like this that reinforce the importance of Under Lock & Key and our determination to keep it going. But we can’t do so without rallying more support.

Some of the things that go into this one project include: processing incoming letters to update our mailing list, typing articles, scanning and editing art, responding to articles, editing, formatting and proofreading, layout of the newsletter, compiling and processing our latest mailing list for the USPS, proof reading the laid out newsletter, folding and packaging the newsletters, bringing them to the post office for delivery to you, and paying for all that printing and postage. We know our readers in prison can’t do most of these things. But by promoting ULK and recruiting others around our work, you can build the network of support we need.

And many of you can send donations. Thank you to all of you who have sent in stamps in recent months despite the lack of ULKs. We are still sending out lots of letters and literature and making good use of your donations!

In addition to ULK, we are prioritizing responding to letters, providing resource guides and political literature. We remain focused on our serve the people Re-Lease on Life program, which has gained some good experience and seen some setbacks in the last year. And we are working to develop Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, so that we can expand our work to what it used to be and beyond. Finally, we continue to put time into engaging with the development of the Maoist movement here in occupied Turtle Island so that all these programs can feed into real revolutionary change in the future.

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[Fascism] [Militarism] [Philippines] [USSR] [ULK Issue 71]
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Strategizing Against Fascism

fight imperialism smash fascism

Our readership has always talked about fascism more than the mainstream because they face some of the most fascistic aspects of imperialism within U.$. borders. As the dialogue around fascism in relation to the White House enterslj6 the mainstream, it becomes more important for us to distinguish our line, and the potential strategies that follow from that line.(1)

The first draft of an article on the self-determination of the Lakota people referred repeatedly to the fascism that they faced. The parallel is certainly justified. As we know Hitler was very inspired by the Amerikan genocide and colonization of First Nations. Yet, fascism arose hundreds of years after settlers first came to Turtle Island. There are many similarities, but also differences, between Nazi Germany and the early United $tates, and the United $tates today.(2) Understanding what fascism is is important for fighting it.

Fascism as Inter-Imperialist Conflict

“Marxist-Leninists eventually argued that fascism is qualitatively more evil than ordinary imperialism. First, fascism occupied imperialist countries and exterminated national self-determination in direct ways that the other imperialists did not. Second, and less important, fascism is the open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie instead of just the more masked dictatorship of bourgeois democracy.” MC5, May 1993, “Historical applications of Line, Strategy and Tactics: The United Front”, MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue, p.76. ($5)

MC5 goes on to say that the principal contradiction during the period of the rise of fascism was actually that between the socialist and the imperialist camps. That the Nazis focused so much on the destruction of the Soviet Union, undermining their own success, demonstrates the role of fascism as a response to socialism.

Stalin’s strategy in this period was to divide the imperialist camp. It’s hard to see how the socialist camp today could employ such a strategy since we are not operating from the base of power that Stalin was (the USSR actually had the military might to stop the Nazis). But in his time, Stalin’s strategy proved correct.

A Global Threat or Bourgeois Politics

Antifa and the unorganized rebellions against the police in cities across the country have forced anti-fascism into the mainstream. Yet the mainstream rhetoric has quickly transformed the “battle against fascism” in the United $tates into a thinly veiled campaign for the Democratic Party presidential election in November. The likes of Bob Avakian, Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky have all called on people to vote for Joe Biden, citing this battle.

Stopping fascism is a lower level goal than ending imperialism or building socialism. There are times, like World War II, when stopping fascism is the appropriate focus for communists. At that time fascism was waging a military assault across Europe and threatening the first dictatorship of the proletariat.

Presidential candidate Biden has already promised a significant increase in military spending, and President Trump has increased military spending during his term, despite his criticisms of the self-interest of the military industrial complex. Both candidates are clearly behind continued U.$. militarism to wage war against the oppressed peoples of the world. Neither candidate has indicated a rapacious military campaign to conquer and occupy other nations. Between the two options offered by the U.$. imperialists, we do not yet see the principal characteristic that led the communists of the COMINTERN to see fascism as a greater evil than imperialism.

Those who are crying “fascism” in the U.$. today are arguing that state repression internal to the United $tates is ramping up. So let’s look at what MC5 called the “less important” distinguishing characteristic of fascism.

The Democratic Struggle Against Fascism in the Third World

“The imperialists export fascism to many Third World countries via puppet governments. And imperialist countries can turn to fascism themselves. But it is important to note that there is no third choice for independent fascism in the world: they are either imperialist or imperialist-puppets. Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan had all reached the banking stage of capitalism and had a real basis for thinking they could take over colonies from the British and French. … The vast majority of the world’s fascist-ruled countries have been U.$. puppets.” – MIM Congress, “Osama Bin Laden and the Concept of ‘Theocratic Fascism’”, 2004

Strategy varies from place to place. An example of this from the past is when the Filipinos waged a campaign against the GATT trade agreement. In the Philippines this was a righteous campaign against imperialist control over their economy. However, in the United $tates the campaign against GATT was one focused on protecting Amerikan jobs, which implies fortifying imperialist borders against labor from other countries. So you can see how the same campaign can have very different impacts in different contexts. It is our responsibility to understand our own context and organize accordingly.

In a previous article on this same topic, we mentioned the anti-imperialist rhetoric of the newly elected President Duterte in the Philippines. After Duterte’s anti-United $tates rhetoric fizzled, the National Democratic Front in the Philippines have begun campaigning against the “fascist US-Duterte regime.” This framing is important. The fascism is coming from the United $tates and being implemented by the puppet Duterte. This allows for their propaganda to be consumed within the United $tates without fueling U.$. militarism for an invasion of the Philippines to rescue them from fascism.

This is in sharp contrast to the rhetoric around “islamo-fascism” in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This framing was of course propagated by the Pentagon, but also by many calling themselves “communists.” It fueled anti-Muslim sentiments in support of U.$. militarism in Central Asia.

The framing of fascism in the form of puppet regimes is useful for the national democratic movements in the Third World to unite all who can be united. But these puppet regimes do not signify a shift in the global balance of power that warrant a strategic re-orientation like the rise of fascism within an imperialist country would.

Don’t Vote, Build Bases of Power

Another important point to note is that there is an active People’s War in the Philippines. The National Democratic Front is led by the communist party. The united front to get Trump out of office is led by the Democratic Party, in other words, the imperialists. The imperialists are not facing the threat of a communist revolution in the United $tates like they are in the Philippines that would warrant a shift to outright bourgeois dictatorship.

The imperialists responded to the 9/11 attacks with a series of changes in law, such as the Patriot Act, which legalized some of the things Trump has been doing domestically. Initially, MIM was part of the movement to oppose the Patriot Act. However, they decided to leave that movement when it was clear it was dominated by libertarians. Other “communists” tailed this movement with calls to “Drive out the Bush regime” often referring to Bush as a fascist. These same “communists” who were effectively campaigning for Obama’s election by offering no other alternative to Bush, because they have no power, are now openly endorsing Biden.

When the Soviet Union allied with the United $tates, and the Filipino communists ally with the bourgeois forces, they do not put down their guns, or give up their goals of building socialism. To be real players in the anti-fascist struggle, we must first build power like the Soviet Union did and the Filipinos are doing. Stalin did bite his tongue about U.$. imperialism to defeat German fascism. To bite our tongue today about Joe Biden’s militarism and targeting of oppressed nations with mass incarceration is to abandon the oppressed nations of the world.

It is good to see those in the imperialist state defending bourgeois democracy. That is their role. Our role is to build public opinion against imperialism and build independent institutions of the oppressed. As Trump attempts to frame Biden/Harris as the radical left, it is important to demonstrate real revolutionary politics in this country. And the target of the revolution is imperialism. Imperialism must be overthrown before we can really begin the task of building a society without oppression. To put this goal to the side to focus on getting Trump out of office, especially at a time when more and more people are looking for systemic change, is to stop representing the international proletariat. In this era in the United $tates, anti-imperialism is the radical position, while anti-fascism and anti-racism are the reformist positions.

Notes:
1. order MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet ($5) for an in-depth look at the relationship between line, strategy and tactics
2. order our Fascism and Contemporary Economics ($3) for a deeper look at the history and economic of fascism

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[Black Lives Matter] [ULK Issue 71]
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All Lives Matter in Prison

I am sincere and stand by when we say Black lives matter, but I think we should say and believe that all life matters. I am in a political/race-driven prison just like in California and Texas. We say Brown Pride, White Pride, Black Pride, then White Power and Black Power. We should take all race out of it and be power to the people!

I am 50% Mexican and 50% white and in Juvenile D.O.C. it was mostly Black and Mexican. My last name is [white-sounding] so I got jumped every day for years with a couple of the other white kids. If we are to fight hurt, pain and suffering of being oppressed and rejected. But it’s hard when we are surrounded by so much hate. I only know my dad on that side of the family, the Mexican side, hates me and disowns me cuz my mom and dad was never supposed to happen.

We only admit there’s a problem when it surfaces. I got sprayed by the cops a couple months ago for no reason, filed my grievance, but don’t have no help nor know how to take further actions. It sucks that it takes people to die to get action. …

If each one of us did what was right it would be all good, but you can’t change the people that want to look at every one else instead of being a solution. I will be the solution whether anybody is watching cuz all life matters!


MIM(Prisons) responds: Since the uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, we have received many letters echoing the slogan “All Lives Matter.” Like this comrade, they are not doing so in opposition to “Black Lives Matter” but in solidarity based on similar experiences.

We want to commend this comrade for standing with all oppressed people, and with Black Lives Matter as a movement despite eir experience being jumped by New Afrikan youths while in juvie. It speaks to the unity of the oppressed, that ey could see past that experience and not paint a whole group as eir enemy, when those who have lived much more privileged lives are quick to paint whole groups based on something they saw on TV.

In today’s globalized culture it is sometimes hard to have conversations that are limited to one audience, and as a result other audiences are often offended.

In case any of our readers are unaware, the phrase “All Lives Matter” became popular among cops and white nationalists as a rejection of “Black Lives Matter.” The implication is that “Black Lives Matter” somehow means Black lives matter more than others, when on the contrary the slogan was developed by New Afrikans who just wanted their lives to be given the same respect and value as others, specifically as euro-Amerikans. The less forgiving implication is that people who say “All Lives Matter” just want to keep Black lives in a position of less value.

In contrast to this mainstream narrative, every letter that we’ve got so far from prisoners who are white or Raza, stating “All Lives Matter” seem to be coming from a genuine place of respect for all lives. But you all should know what the implications of the saying can be.

We agree with this comrade that race should not be brought into politics, as race is a baseless concept. So why do we talk about whites, and New Afrikans and indigenous and all these other groups of people so much in our writing? Well, we are talking about nation – a group of people with a common culture, language, territory and economy. While integration is greater than previous points in this country’s history, there are still independent New Afrikan, [email protected] and countless First Nations within this prisonhouse of nations that is called the United States. And until these nations are liberated from imperialism, from the United $tates, there cannot be justice here.

What about euro-Amerikans? In prison, euro-Amerikans will generally experience life as an oppressed persyn. Certainly there are hierarchies, and there are white supremacist groups that work with the pigs, etc. But most of our “white” readers are feeling more oppression than your average persyn walking down the street in the United $tates. That is why we see uniting the imprisoned lumpen on a class basis as an important project that is primary within the prison movement, while recognizing the national contradiction as primary in this country overall. To highlight this class unity, we prefer the slogan “Prisoner Lives Matter” to demonstrate what all of our comrades are facing in the Amerikkkan gulags, where you can be murdered for nothing like George Floyd was.

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[COVID-19] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Pestilence Pilot Program: Phase 2

Now, after some 2500 being infected with COVID-19 and more than 2 dozen deaths; Phase 2 of the Pestilence Pilot Program on San Quentin’s Death Row begins pretty much the same way it kicked off back in late March/early April ( see Pestilence Pilot Program: Another Way to Thin Out the Death Row Population at San Quentin").

The same rotating yard schedule resumes. The only speed bumps added were down days on Monday & Wednesday and a few more due to feigned concern about air quality. But health & safety doesn’t seem to be a factor in decisions affecting the yard program. Lt. Bloise even fired all Death Row workers. So there’s nobody to disinfect the yards or the tiers in any meaningful way. Those chores are left to the same disrespectful sows that refuse to comply with California Health & Safety Code 113969 Hair Restraints during in-cell food service.

None of that should surprise anyone. SQ’s Acting Warden, Ron Broomfield, routinely dismisses advice from Public Health Professionals like Dr. Matthew Willis (see San Francisco Chronicle: Web Edition for the report by Megan Cassidy called “San Quentin Officials ignored Coronavirus Guidance from top Marin County Health Officer”). Ever wonder why the U.$. leads the world in number of people infected with and dead from COVID-19? The evidence points to the rejection of the science and the withholding of facts. We see that a lot.

One example of rejecting science is Broomfield dismissing the recommendations of Dr. Willis. That’s the SQ version of Trump and Fauci as if existing in a parallel universe, right? No, it’s just one of many clumps in the same shit box. Saying one thing while doing another proves to be one creative way SQ withholds facts. One example is given when a positive COVID test was reported in East Block on 18 September 2020. For maximum dramatic effect the yard program was shut down about 45 minutes early. At some point in time the positive prisoner was moved to the Adjustment Center (The Hole) instead of Donner as was supposed to happen according to the 4 August 2020 Edition of “The Informed Patient: A San Quentin Newsletter”. It’s written and published by the “Healthcare and Leadership Team at San Quentin”. That’s not taught in just any creative writing class.

Withholding facts also helps control the narrative in the media. While it has become “common knowledge” prisoners from Chino were transferred to SQ not having been tested 2 weeks prior; nobody seems to find it important to determining how or where those transferred prisoners became infected. It’s just assumed it was brought from Chino. The actual number of staff cases at SQ prior to the transfer was successfully minimized by the 27 March 2020, Broomfield/Verdier Memo which reports: “On Thursday, March 26,2020, we learned that a member of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19”. Of course, it’s obscured that up until June all other employees entering San Quentin were only having symptom checks not COVID tests. Since few then (and even now) wear masks at all times, asymptomatic spread was imminent if not rampant.

Exactly how many employees were/are going in and out being asymptomatic and contagious was/is ignored just like Broomfield was/is ignoring recommendations of the Public Health Department.

The masks initially provided to prisoners on Death Row were not capable of protecting the wearer. They were made by PIA from cloth normally used to produce jumpsuits/prison uniforms. Prisoners on Death Row didn’t receive N95 masks until over 1000 tested positive, many ended up in outside hospitals and others were found dead in their cells. We who survived the first wave are now approaching the 100th day since the positive test results from 15 June 2020.

According to the current science, antibodies last on average around 4 months (120 days). CDCR at SQ is now in position to repeat the same experiment. What does the science say about those who expect a different result? The second wave to hit SQ will be a tsunami. The only thing different will likely be who the CDCR blames (if history teaches us anything).

The September 14 newsletter gives itself a pat on the back for a job well done and blames ignorance of science regarding masks in the beginning of the pandemic. Their creative newsletter claims “researchers didn’t think wearing masks would protect people from spreading the virus”. Did a “researcher” write that or did the writer not know real scientists (and painters) to know the difference between an N95 mask and a cloth mask? It sounds like freestyle back pedaling.

According to the newsletter’s “current statistics” there are zero new cases. There are 2147 said to be “resolved” (but no positive cases determined by 15 June 2020, test results were ever retested to confirm this). It says there are 10 “Active” in-custody cases while 186 of 288 confirmed staff cases have also been designated “resolved” and have returned to work (but without retesting first). That same newsletter admits they don’t know if such people “may infect other(s)” (page 3 of issue 12).

Perhaps it’s more scientifically accurate to explain the numbers like this: There is nobody “new” left to infect so anyone not exhibiting symptoms now is dead or considered “resolved”. Those who kept testing negative were positive and actually “resolved” before the 15 June 2020, testing took place. No retesting for prisoners who tested positive in June was facilitated asymptomatic spread.

Unfortunately, the most useful part of the SQ newsletters have been the word search puzzles. Oh yeah, it may be funny to hear somebody tell one of these disrespectful sows they should put their mask on one leg at a time since their head is up their ass, but that’s no joke! And this is no laughing matter. If this paragraph didn’t get edited out, the impact on the writer’s mental health might seem apparent.

UPDATE: On 21 November 2020, it was reported that an SQ Death Row Officer on 3rd Watch tested positive for COVID-19. This may prove to be a repeat of what followed after it was reported via Memo issued by (a) Warden Broomfield and (a) CEO Verdier that, “On Thursday March 26, 2020, we learned that a member of our staff tested positive for COVID-19.”

If you’re familiar with the popularized story attributing the cause of the outbreak at San Quentin to a transfer of inmates from Chino, be aware of the omitted facts. Those reports make no mention of the March 27, 2020 Memo quoted above. Perhaps those journalists in the mainstream don’t even know that memo exists. But their reports claim there were no COVID cases before the transfer. This means those journalists got it wrong in part.

That does not mean the CDCR is not responsible for the outbreaks then or now. In fact, it only demonstrates here what is being seen across the whole United $tates – selfish individuals who think they’re better than everyone else refuse to comply with the most basic safety protocols (wearing a face covering).

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