When I first got to the Michael Unit about 8 months ago I was placed on safe keeping for my protection, but I’m still considered General Population (G.P.) because we still get all the regular privileges of G.P. prisoners - we are just housed separately.
Anyways I get here and there are no showers, no rec, no day room, no TV, and no phones on this section. We had to sit down multiple times in large groups in order to get administration to force the C.O.s to just give us showers. Oh and mind you that they are housing medium and high security prisoners on the same section as P4 and P5 prisoners. We are not supposed to be housed amongst each other at all.
Well, the staff aren’t doing anything about getting what we are supposed to have. After about 60 days I started initiating I.C.S.s, or “use of force”, causing ranking C.O.s to come down and force regular C.O.s to do their job. We kept getting Johnies for food with basically nothing in them. Then they started to feed half of us and the rest we had to force them to feed us.
So because I orchestrated all this sitting down and standing up for all our right (yes, I initiated this behavior to buck the C.O.s), I was assaulted. We set fires, flooded, and basically forced the wardens to fix our problem, but it only lasted so long before we would have to do it again.
We finally got them to start leaving all the doors open 24/7 so we could run our own showers and day room rec and forced them to put in phones. Then they brought the tablets T.D.C.S. system wide. So I believe that the administration on this unit has orchestrated the assault on me that occurred on January 31, 2023.
So let me explain exactly what happened leading up to this assault seven days prior.
A prisoner set a fire in his cell and attempted to kill himself through smoke inhalation. I got the picketts attention after the prisoner passed out. I ran in and dragged him out of the cell and put out the fire. About six days later they moved me into the cell the prisoner tried to kill himself in. So the next day they moved some prisoner into the cell with me. I only weigh 110lbs. This offender weighs 190lbs, 30lbs over the 50lbs weight difference limit per housing policy. That’s two violations already. Next I was talking to my family via tablet two days later. Then, bam, I get blind-sided and the prisoner assaults me. I wind up with 5 stitches above my right eyebrow, 3 staples in a gash on my head, and 2 in another gash on my head. They rushed me to the hospital.
When I got back, a Lieutenant asked me to write a witness statement for an Offender Protection Investigation (O.P.I.). My statement was: “My life is not in danger. I do not want to file an O.P.I.” They filed it on my behalf anyway and placed me in another building with no light and brought my property the next day. The next day, they moved me back to the same cell with a new cellie, another major violation because I was still under O.P.I. status, supposed to be in a Restrictive Housing Area by myself until I saw the Unit Classification Committee. On 8 February 2023, I was moved again. I had basically nothing of what was in my cell and they did not even inventory any of it. I lost stuff that meant a lot to me that is irreplaceable because of sentimental value. They also “lost” my state ID somehow.
So I am filing a §1983 Civil Claims Suit again TDCJ Michael Unit Administration as a whole because I believe this was all set up… for me to get hurt because the U.C.C. major said, “We have to ship you to cover our ass because we fucked up.”
I filed my step 1 on and got it back. Today I’m filing my step 2.
This is my first civil suit. I am asking for any material to help me in winning this suit. As of right now prisoners are helping me with what they can and said that I need to get a copy of the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook but I don’t have the resources nor funds to purchase one. I am not the first offender this has happened to on this unit but I do want to be the last. I am going to do everything in my power to ensure it does not happen again.
I have been fighting for prisoner rights for seven years now and they finally broke the last straw with me. I’m going to war with this pen. To the courts.
Here on 12 Building we are still setting fire and flooding everyday. Please help us.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Much respect comrade for what you are doing on behalf of Texas prisoners in the face of state violence and repression. Much respect to the comrade for taking care of fellow prisoner and saving eir life as well. We have placed an order for you for the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook. We do not offer legal assistance ourselves, but encourage you to continue to report on your organizing efforts here in Under Lock & Key.
In my research of Chican@ novelists and storytellers I stumbled upon this book by California Chican@ author Art Rodriguez.
What grabbed my attention initially was that the Author was also an ex-prisoner, as a youth he spent time in Juvenile Hall and the California Youth Authority (CYA) and specifically in Preston School of Industry where I also did a stint in as a rebellious youth.
The cover art was interesting, it was done in the genre of “Aztlán-realism” which is a style developed and coined by California prisoners which focuses on the social reality of the Chican@ nation rather than bourgeois vomit art. Aztlán realism displays our reality while raising consciousness. Rordiquez really delivers in his cover art by showing a one time landmark of San Jose, Califas which is the Jose Theater. The Jose Theater was a theater in downtown San Jose frequented by Chican@ lumpen youth. In the 1960’s the author states movie tickets were 50 cents and that up until the 1990’s tickets stood at a buck or two. Poor barrio youth had an alternative to the streets at an affordable price.
The author also shows an incarcerated Chican@ on the book cover, again, a true depiction of Aztlán: colonized and imprisoned. Although the story “East Side Dreams” is a childhood story of the authors’ life in San Jose, Califaztlan and Rodriquez could have chosen to depict bikini-ied wimmin on a local sports team to warm up to the local Chican@ petty-bourgeoisie who would rather pretend that captivity is not part of Aztlan’s social reality. Rodriquez brings Chican@ mass incarceration front and center which is refreshing.
Reading East Side Dreams brought back so much memories of my own childhood. Cruising around and hanging out with the homies, picking up and just being a Chican@ youth is all there. It’s very clear that Rodriquez didn’t concoct his stories from being raised in some ivy league prep school. He could have been one of my childhood homies, especially when he writes:
“Driving during 1966, sometimes the guys borrowed a car from someone or would take a car without permission. That’s what I would do occasionally.”
The lumpen continue in this tradition of “taking” without permission on a small scale. The lumpen may “take” from other lumpen, especially here in the $nakes where lumpen are not the lumpen of the third world and thus have more material items at hand. But this sentence reveals some truth – the lumpen will not ask permission. It is a “ballsy” lot who are most likely not to ask for permission, we will witness this during a future civil war I’m sure.
The author reveals he is the product of a Mexican migrant father and a white mother who met at a dance hall in the Barrio in East San Jose. As a result he hints at the national oppression that came with this union. For example, his mother’s white father (who was ironically raised himself by his white mother’s Mexican migrant boyfriend) who would tell Rodriguez’ white mother Mildred not to go to the dances because he didn’t want her to interact with the “bad people” (these were Chican@-Mex dances). Sadly though, Rodriguez does not analyze this and unpack why this national chauvinism (“racism”) exists or how it affected him and his homies growing up amidst it. This reveals that Rodriguez’s choice of either not wanting to “take his book there” (political courage), or not having the political consciousness to crack that open for us all to see.
It was nice to read about his mom opposing her father and siding with Rodriguez’s migrant father, eventually marrying him, having children, and even learning Spanish to communicate and to nurture Spanish in her children. As appealing as this biography was to me in depicting barrio life, I must say the parts describing being in the concentration kamp was more interesting to me.
Rodriguez describes a scene where he’s being taken out of Juvenile Hall by a “Chican@ guard” who reveals information to him whereas the white guards were menacing to him. It was interesting that Rodriguez objectively identifies the pig as a Chican@. Most would not, our mistreatment and oppression likely would have many identify the pig as many things but not Chican@. It is true that people identify as they please; a person can assimilate but without knowing what they identify as we can also identify what we perceive them to be (i.e. a blond hair, blue eyes white man or a New Afrikan womyn, etc.). We may not be right, but it’s our initial perception. A pig can be a Chican@ or a Chican@ traitor; but a Chican@ nonetheless.
It would have been nice to read a more political take on this book, but it was enjoyable to read a Chican@ novelist who does not bend to subjectivity in his novel and I look forward to review his other books available.
This zine offered a breath of fresh air in terms of political line coming out of the concentration kamps. Imprisoned New Afrika (like Aztlán and other oppressed nations) has plenty of rebels, those rising up or conscious that we stand on the side of the people against the pig. The anger and defiance is strong, but ideology that is strong and stuffed with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is what is often lacking from the prison writings of today. Power to New Afrika is another gem that contributes to filling this void.
Looking at this zine through a Chican@ lenses, I agreed with the assessment that it was after the assassination of Martin Luther King that the Black vanguard attempted to steer the Black movement onto the next stage of resistance. We of the Republic of Aztlán have also made a similar assessment recently from the data/chatter that tells us the state is planning to assassinate a key figure of the Chicano movement, and our assessment was the same where we feel that the Chican@ vanguard should use this to take Aztlán to the next level of resistance.
On page 10 in the zine, the writer discusses the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG-RNA) and how since 1968 at their birth they have been attempting to obtain land “legally,” but a report is cited from a memorandum sent to the FBI director at the time in 1970 J. Edgar Hoover from Special Agent in Charge in Jackson, Mississippi which is titled “Counter Intelligence Operations Being Effected, tangible results (Republic of New Afrika)”:
“Since March 1968… the RNA has been trying to buy and lease land in Mississippi… Counter intelligence measures have been able to abort all RNA efforts to obtain land in Mississippi.”
COINTELPRO is real. When I read this I thought of every doofus who has ever asked me the absurd question: “do you REALLY think COINTELPRO is fucking with us?” I’ve found that the more liberal on the spectrum the less they believe in a COINTELPRO, the more radical you are the more you know how real it is. The fact that the Feds in their own words admit to sabotaging RNA efforts like legally purchasing land tells us that even “legal” efforts are not safe if the state feels that you are a threat.
On page 11 the author correctly identifies the principal contradiction within the New Afrikan nation being between the political-economic force of independence versus political-economic forces of integration. This is also true for the Chican@ nation. Internally, we struggle with getting free and the Ti@ Tomas’ struggles to keep serving massa on the plantation. We see these TI@ Tacos trying to run for a colonizer position in Washington DC or as state governor, while claiming to be revolutionary. The Tom compradors have suckers believing in their foolishness, but the truth is simple – one cannot be considered a revolutionary while aspiring to be, or supporting a U.$. President or governor. U.$. imperialism is the enemy of the world’s majority and in this case, the Trojan Horse tactic will not work.
This zine addresses the battle of ideas that I feel apply to the Chican@ Nation as well. In this writing, the author writes of the “war for the New Afrikan mind” which goes on to describe “independence vs integration” really being a historically dialectical materialist process versus the post-modernist philosophical analysis. This truth needs to also be embraced and thought by all Chican@ cadre today as well. This political line really amounts to life or death to Aztlán. One nourishes and builds the nation, the other poisons and destroys it. One political line wants to burn the plantation down and the other wants to defend it.
It is a misnomer to entertain the notion of Brown, Black, Red, or Yellow “Amerikans,” for the word Amerika is but the name of the white-nation. This zine really unpacks this for the reader particularly, for the Black Nation; but it is mostly applicable to the Chican@ Nation as well.
The slave system is addressed in this zine as well and rightfully so. One cannot give an analysis of colonialism in the U.$. without understanding how the slave system and subsequent “paper” abolishment of slavery play into the role of semi-colonialism today.
What we should understand is that by using the so-called abolition of slavery as a bargaining chip, Amerika was able to at once overthrow the Confederacy while continuing white supremacy by other means. Today we see the same internal struggle within the white nation being carried out by other means via Republican vs Democrat squabbles using the oppressed nations’ wants and aspirations and rights as bargaining chips while at the same time keeping white supremacy intact.
It was refreshing to read how the author describes how a revolutionary nationalist must be a socialist. For the Chican@ Nation this is also true. A revolutionary nationalist is a socialist or a communist in many cases. We overstand that capitalism and imperialism specifically is the source of our despair.
Another great point raised in this zine was on page 37-38 where the author discusses the contradictions among the people, and specifically discusses the most influential orgs for New Afrika of the time (1907-1925) being the NAACP, Garvey’s UNIA, and the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB). According to the author, the ABB was founded by “proletarians,” and thus had the leading line being led by Black Marxists. Ey goes onto say:
“ABB and the UNIA were both highly successful in organizing the broadest masses of our nation as well as linking our struggle concretely with the international anti-imperialist struggle. For this reason we say that they advanced our people further than the NAACP, but they didn’t enjoy the same fame or support on the popular front. This of course is due to their class make up and the fact that the integrationist aspect as always, is aligned with the empire’s agenda. Thus, the colonizer controlled popular front has and will always lend credence to those people and groups, and ideas that in the final analysis, run counter to the interest of our nation.”
This is deep. Big lessons to be gleamed here. For one, the NAACP was and continues to be a group of Black compradors who have worked on reforms, although good deeds do help people on a small scale, the work of liberal orgs like the NAACP also corral people into having faith in Amerikkka and promoting the idea of working within a capitalist system will free people from oppression. This accounts to creating more supporters of empire. For this reason orgs like NAACP for Black folks, or National Council for la Raza (NCLR) and their kind for Brown folks, are simply the labor bureaucracy for bourgeois politics and thus are promoted widely by the U.$. government and its propaganda media arm. Meanwhile, real revolutionary orgs like the Republic of New Afrika, the Republic of Aztlán, the Communist Party of Aztlán (Maoist) or MIM(Prisons) will not be given Hollywood style commercials nor be invited to the White people House in Washington, D.C. anytime soon to sing x-mas carols around the tree (not that anyone wants to). The point is that Tomism is rewarded and the Uncle Tom orgs of all stripes are given resources to become popular and the real ones are smothered like a baby in the crib to use Lenin’s quote.
The mostly unconscious masses (and oftentimes self-proclaimed “communists”) often erroneously connect popular with correctness, or numbers in an org as correct political line. This is very wrong. The colonizers work hard to make this so. When we hear on the news about Amerikkka pouring billions into its war machine, understand that a part of this is promoting these Chican@ or New Afrikan Uncle Tom orgs that tell its members to vote for an enemy political candidate.
This zine is now required reading for members of our organization. Free New Afrika! Free Aztlán! Free the land!
I remember a comrade that wrote an article a few years back, about the way some prisoners were doing the pigs’ job and that he won’t be surprised if in the near future the prisoner will be doing count. If the comrade who wrote that argument was still receiving ULK, I want to tell em that eir comrads back then were not wrong, because in my institution of the Columbia Correctional Institution the “inmates” (I will not call them prisoners) that work the outside hallways of the butterfly dorm are doing the pigs’ job, even the “master count”. These four inmates represent and run under a nation (gang). Because they stay in the pigs’ face at all times kissing their asses, they receive special privileges. They pass supplies, they call out the prisoners that come from other dorms to violate for any given reason, they prey and benefit from the contraband that the pigs take from the cell searches. The pigs at that dorm have no reason to come out from the control bubble because these inmates do the jobs all for them in exchange for just staying outside.
When I wrote that article that was printed in ULK #79 Winter 2022 page 13 “The Common Colonial History that Led Us Here” – I finished off in the last paragraph saying: “in prison there is only 2 uniforms – the prisoners and the guards – remember always which one you wear”.
That part right there I wrote it because of actions these inmates performed. The night of the Super Bowl, after these inmates made the count in the dorm, the Sgt. in charge authorized me to go to another wing to watch the same; Sgt. opened the door and on the hallway I was stopped by these inmates because they told me that I couldn’t go to another wing because the count wasn’t clear. I told them that wasn’t their problem, besides if they could see Sgt. opened the door for me (I don’t have keys). I keep telling them that that wasn’t their problem, then I told them that I had two life sentences and if the front gate happened to be open that they would expect me to not walk out because if I escape I could mess up the count.
Long story short when I turned around and kept walking one of them swung a punch to my face from the back and all of them started to reach to their waists making it seem like they were armed. Sgt. saw everything and came out running and took me back to my wing – Sgt. didn’t say or do anything to them. That is how much pull these inmates pig fuckers have with security.
I didn’t say nothing to nobody in my wing, didn’t tell nothing, I just packed all my property and stayed up the whole night. Breakfast was called at 5:20 AM and I went out to the chow hall for a hunt. Out of the four that were the previous night 3 of them were at the chow hall sitting together at a table. Long story short on the way back to the dorm all three of em were stabbed and the one that throw the punch at me was air lifted in a helicopter to the hospital. I came out that morning ready for war and when I pulled out all ey had on em was the apples for the tray. Nobody will never threaten my life, my circle or my inner peace, on top of that put their hands on me and think the next day that everything is over.
When I got to the confinement unit all prisoners from every nation, of every skin color were standing at their door clapping, “Oye we salute what you did”. Because of this incident I was given 90 days in SHU plus I’m under review for Control Management Level 1. Most definitely it will get approved which means I will stay in SHU–CMI for at least 2 years and if I keep myself out of trouble then I can start to work my way down so I can finally be back on general population. I’ve been in prison for 26 years, everything has a limit and these inmates were far beyond that line, and because they have a group of lapdogs behind them they think that they can do anything. If I have problems listening to the pigs orders, definitely an inmate ain’t going to dictate how I am going to do my life sentences. I ain’t no snitch – I don’t work with the pigs or for the pigs.
I don’t know if in other state prisons the comrades tolerate that kind of behavior but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! You must definitely print my name on it!! Is about time we take the bad apples from the bucket because they are fucking up the whole basket. You have now all these young comrades that come in the system for the first time and see this shit from gang members and think that is cool. IT IS NOT!
History is not a prophet who looks back: because of what was, and against what was, it announces what will be. I don’t just make war, this comrade makes history.
MIM(Prisons) responds: One of the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons is Independence. This issue of Under Lock & Key has a number stories highlighting how the agents of the state sew death and destruction among the prison population. Without independence from that system, we cannot build a peace between prisoners that serves prisoners. The story above is an extreme example of how working with the state creates violence between prisoners.
Lumpen organizations (L.O.s) are a wavering class in the war of the oppressor nation against the oppressed nations. Prisoners playing the boss role for the pigs is nothing new, but back in the day it was only white prisoners who played boss over oppressed nation prisoners. Today the neo-colonial state knows that it’s better to use the respected organizations of the oppressed to oppress the oppressed nations. From what we hear across the country, we are in a period when the above is often tolerated and the L.O.s in prisons are not maintaining their independence. This relates to the plague of drug deaths in prisons as well.
The SHU/RHU/Control Units are tools of social control, and they are used to target the politically conscious. They use these torture units because they work to achieve the goals of the oppressor. We encourage comrades to do their best to avoid getting sent there. We know this comrade sacrificed a small study cell ey had by being sent to the SHU. We must apply standards and we must make sacrifices. But we must also always focus on what is most effective to serve the people.
The author above asked that we print eir name because of the influence ey has. But we don’t print names for security and political reasons. We hope our readers can see the truths in the above without being told that this or that big homie/shot caller says so. That type of thinking is what has so-called gangsters playing as junior pigs. We all need to learn to think objectively and strategically to have any hope of success in this struggle.
For years we have offered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ’s) Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) for sale to Texas prisoners. As we’ve reported previously, the manual has been removed from all Texas law libraries. The OGOM is a crucial reference for prisoners to understand and utilize the grievance process to address staff abuse and misconduct. Yet the TDCJ has deemed it illegal for us to mail it to fellow prisoners at their own cost.
Of the many copies we’ve sent to Texas prisoners in the last two years only one was confirmed received. A third were confirmed to have been censored by the TDCJ. The rest are of unknown fate because almost everyone we sent the OGOM to never wrote to us again.
Since we have been told by the TDCJ countless times that they will not allow us to mail their own manual to prisoners (and since this has not proven an effective organizing tool – almost everyone we send it to never contacts us again) we are not going to mail this publication again until someone can successfully challenge the decision by the TDCJ.
We did have one comrade who requested the OGOM on the premise that they will file a lawsuit once it is censored. The OGOM we sent was censored in November, appealed, and denied by the Director’s Review Committee on 6 February 2023 with the justification of “in contradiction with BP-03.91”. The comrade should be prepared to go to court now that the appeals process has been exhausted per the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). We will report any updates on this battle in ULK.
UPDATE: As we go to press in April 2023, the last OGOM we mailed out was received by the prisoner who ordered it. We are glad to hear it. But for now we are sticking with our decision above.
If you follow the news, you are well aware of a Virginian named Officer Edwards, who recently used police training to attempt to groom a teenage girl for eir pedophilic needs. When it didn’t pay off ey drove to California, murdered eir family, burned down eir house, and kidnapped the girl. Ey eventually died in a fire fight with California police. Around the same time, back at a Virginia Prison, a Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) guard named Owens at Keen Mountain Correctional Center shot a prison nurse to death. Ey was pregnant with the guard’s child and was threatening to tell Owens’ wife about eir affair. These are Virginians, and ey are the type of people who flock to jobs in corrections and law-enforcement in Virginia. Virginia officials will tell you they don’t know how people who are so dangerous slipped through the background checks. Virginia officials are lying to you because these are the people they look to recruit.
There are more subtle forms of this sociopathic behavior, and the guards and other staff at the notorious Pocahontas State Corruption Center exercise these forms of open torture daily. One of the most common is the deliberate tampering with mail. Two of the most often seen names are Hagerty and McCall. Aside from delaying outgoing mail, sometimes for weeks if ey send it out at all, incoming mail is often denied outright for any number of nonsensical and often false reasons. An example of this is the denial of a book review/catalog. The reason cited was “no nude or semi-nude images”. Upon investigation it was determined that “nude/semi-nude” was a tank top shirt. Absolutely nothing “nude or semi-nude” by any known standards of decency. Of course the target of this mail denial was a known political writer and the review catalog was from a publisher – Fifth Estate – that focuses on political themes (many of them anti-prison). What these two VA DOC employees did – mail tampering – is a federal crime.
This is just one example of a massive assault on the guarantees of the First Amendment. It is a common event that is meant to not only prevent communications from exposing the other criminal acts by PSCC staff, but it’s also a means of isolating the captives. It’s a vicious form of psychological torture and harm. Ey want the captives to believe that ey are alone – that ey are forgotten by eir friends and family. This is solely to make the captives not only more susceptible to further and more cruel abuses, but also to a force a level of acceptance of the abuse.
To further this endeavor it is important to prevent grievances and complaints from being seen by those at regional or Central (Richmond) administration. Though in all reality, since the Virginia DOC only recruits and promote from within its own insular institutions, the administrators at every meaningful level were hand-picked for eir silence and loyalty to the VA DOC. Without eir allowance of endless cruelty and torture, it could be stopped. Still, “grievance coordinators” such as C. Smalling at PSCC, whose unwritten job description is “grievance disappear-er” answers the grievances erself instead of routing them to the proper areas for re-dress. Ey makes sure they are not properly logged so that they disappear as needed. This is especially important in preventing lawsuits from being filed, something PSCC is prone to do due to its nationalist majority staff and their daily human rights abuses. Without an exhausted grievance process any lawsuit brought by a prisoner is immediately dismissed by the courts. In Virginia, even the federal court judges are Virginians.
Other more harmful – yet just as subtle – forms of torture and harm are the 24 hour lights, a gift from 15 years of Assistant Wardens who should be in prison themselves. Currently the PSCC Assistant Warden, Mr. Collins, is facing at least six sexual harassment suits at three different prisons including PSCC. They just move the guy from one prison to the next and fire the people who lodged the complaints.
Yet another way the staff abuse the captives is through an especially vicious misuse of the PA system. There are several ways to do this, but the two most common are as follows:
Three very dangerous guards, Barry, Sargent, and Shelton are particularly fond of turning the PA system up to full volume and screaming into the microphone. Since they work on the night shift you might imagine the problems this might cause for the captives. 9PM, 10PM, 12AM, 3AM, 5AM anytime they feel like scaring the living hell out of the 250 people and also disturbing their sleep. This sort of abuse is completely illegal yet all complaints are ignored or disappeared. These acts are a sign of sociopathic behavior and given that 40% of Virginia’s captives are warehoused mental health cases, it is so very devastating. The flip side to this is turning the PA system volume down so low that no one can hear announcements. This causes not only missed classes, programs, or medical appointments, but it also allows guards to justify all manner of false charges against captives – most often “disobey a direct order” or “unauthorized area”. Both are low level charges, but they cause sanctions and fines. They also make your record appear as if you are a problem all of the time, and if you get too many you will be transferred to a higher security prison.
Another regular problem comes from guards such as Craig, Bogle, Kimble and others like them – most of the guards. They are openly racist and anti-semitic, go out of their way to verbally (and sometimes physically) abuse anyone they are able to. On the boulevard, in the education and library buildings, in the chow hall, any place they are able to, and they get away with it repeatedly. This has gone on for years and years without any change or even the least reprimand. To give you a better idea of just how far it can go on PSCC’s compound, here is a scenario that happened recently:
A guard named Horton and his wife, also a guard, both work on the compound. This is a violation of policy for a lot of good sense reasons, but PSCC itself is a major violations of DOC policy and too many to count. Mrs. Horton, while married to one guard, is sleeping with several others on the compound during working hours. It is common knowledge to everyone. As you might expect, Mr. Horton gets fed up with his wife’s extramarital affairs and decides to solve the problem. This guy brings a loaded weapon THROUGH the gates – apparently staff were not checking guards as they came in – with the intend of making some examples. Those examples were going to be PRISONERS! Not the other guards who were involved with the wife, but PRISONERS! Fortunately a few guards stepped in and put a stop to this before anyone got hurt, but still, Mr. Horton is only fired and walked off the compound. Not a single criminal charge was brought even though he broke half a dozen laws. His wife was recently promoted to “counselor,” and he was just rehired to work at the same prison on the same shift as his wife.
Virginians and the VA DOC PSCC staff fed captives food that says “not for human consumption” on the box. Its medical staff is entirely unqualified in every way. Its psychologists do not have the experience to handle severe mental health issues and are even falsifying records to avoid even dealing with mental health because the facility (and the VA DOC) are simply not capable or designated to handle such issues. Add to this all the well-known and common place issues with corrupt prison staff – and put the prison in a well hidden county at the end of some “wrong turn” road in a state that seems to be growing its right wing neo-nazi extremist population. You have a real time disaster unfolding daily: the other 40 prisons in Virginia – a long time slave economy – are no better. On top of all that, add a 20% rate of innocence/wrongful conviction (approximately 5,000 people as of this writing). Harsh action must be taken to stop this madness.
MIM(Prisons) responds: MIM(Prisons) has been questioned online for our support of the campaign to fight the a recent rewrite of BP-03.91 in Texas, mostly to increase restrictions on sexually suggestive, non-nude photos. The example given by the comrade above is one of many that explain why we support that campaign despite stating clearly that we oppose pornography. Any increase in the restrictions on mail are going to be applied to stuff the pigs disagree with politically, because there is no free speech in this bourgeois dictatorship, only power struggles.
Of course, most pornography represents patriarchal and bourgeois morals. Morals that numerous gender-related acts of violence described by this author. We welcome reports like this, and print many on our website. But as the author states action must be taken, we really want your articles on campaigns and struggles against these types of abuses and organized repression.
In another quest to deny me my mail and books I guess you guys sent some material they say had too much tape. They wouldn’t tell me other than that they send it back, so could you please take the tape off and send it back to me?
And also, I have another bone to pick with these motherfuckers deny me all my Black Author Books (Donald Goines, Sister Soulja, Iceberg Slim) because they say it contains too many cuss words. Whereas we can have all the James Patterson, John Grishams, and the white authors where they talk about killing and raping women, but that’s fine. We can get that sent in no problem, but a Black author saying “shit”, “motherfucker,” or talking about drugs we get those books rejected simply by them looking at the cover of the book. The white authors talk about raping and killing 100 women; the officers have no problem with that. I even asked the mail guy to give me a list of authors we can and can’t get. He says no there’s too many authors. That’s bullshit. They’re violating my First Amendment rights. If I was some kind of way I could sue the shit out of their ass, I would.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We often put sticker tabs on Under Lock & Key to keep it folded for mailing. This is what the Colorado DOC is objecting to. We have mail rejected by different prisons for staples, for labels, for manila envelopes, we even had a letter rejected for stickers once because it had a postage stamp on it! It’s all political as this comrade points out with the books that are rejected and not.
I am writing you today in response to an article you published in your Winter 2023 edition of Under Lock & Key No. 80. It’s true grievances don’t work, but it’s not just in Nevada where this is the case – it’s also here in the California Department of Corrections (CDCR). They have become callous and adept in covering up their wrongs; or find some minor significance in order to deny or just throw out our grievance and hold their green line even when they know that it’s a heinous act, which one of their own is committing.
Such is the case here at California Medical Facility (CMF) where C.O. Clark has been subjecting god awful pain and suffering on an aging population by running a gulag with temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s throughout the night. Pouring rain and broken windows are in every dorm. C.O. Clark insists on turning off the heater and running the swamp cooler full-blast all night long which has had a detrimental and highly damaging effect on my sciatica. I have spoken to him on numerous occasions but all my talking, explaining, and pleading falls upon deaf ears. What he is in fact doing is operating a gulag here at the California Medical Facility and freezing out the senior/aging population.
This man is a sadomasochist who finds pleasure in inflicting physical and mental pain on the prisoner/patient population simply because he can. I assert that it’s all in retaliation for grievances made last year against Sgt. Perez and Sgt. Huston which I used in support of my thesis of abuse by CDCR under the Color of Law here at CMF in a paper to Solano C.C. in my ENGLISH004 class with Professor Therriault which earned me an A in this course.
All this has resulted in causing me horrific amounts of pain. It’s a tragedy that a man like this should be allowed to wear a badge and be given so much power and authority to torture human beings and unleash such sadistic punishments on a graying population of prisoners/patients such as those of us here at the California Medical Facility. The true guilt and culpability lies with his superiors who are fully aware of his actions and legitimize his narcissism/tyranny. I say this because he has been 602ed for his cruelty of freezing-out the population but staff either cover it up or condone his actions through never acting on said 602 (i.e. Grievance Log #349915/filed 1/9/2023). Both him and his superiors need to be held accountable for their disgraceful actions.
I write this in solidarity with my brothers in Nevada: you are not alone in this struggle. And we also have been dealing with oppression and marginalization by Euro-Amerikan subjugation being subjected to through the so-called self-help groups such as RISE run by LSA (Life Support Alliance). It’s all the same oppressive conditions which are a result of the constitutional based involuntary servitude issue (all which is used with bias) that the legislature and repressive justice system refuses to address. This is negatively effecting the lives of ALL incarcerated people.
MIM(Prisons adds): We received a series of grievances and responses from multiple comrades at CMF regarding this issue of the swamp cooler being used to freeze out prisoners. The response from Reviewing Authority D. Hurley was that this never happened. The comrades then submitted grievance petitions to the department documenting staff “reporting deliberate false information (DOM §31140.6.1).”
The USW campaign to “Demand Our Grievances are Addressed” began in California and continues in California and in many states across the country. The question is can the imperialist United $tates ever provide a functioning grievance system to the people it holds in captivity? The majority of the people being of the oppressed nations occupied by imperialism means the ability to abuse with impunity is part of the ongoing repression of those who have fought for freedom from U.$. imperialism for hundreds of years. The fight for grievances to be heard, as is the fight for national liberation, is a fight to end these oppressive conditions.
Revolutionary greetings Raza! The future of our nation relies on us all knowing the political standing of our people and for Chican@ groups and orgs. It’s essential that we keep our finger on the pulse of the people to closely follow our strengths/weaknesses in order to push our movement forward. A national liberation struggle exists in stages. Without knowing what stage we are in, we cannot respond or struggle to meet the demands of a given stage. For those reasons the Communist Party of Aztlán (CPA) has conducted this study and is releasing this Report of the State of Aztlán 2023.
Many years have transpired since a true materialist analysis has been given on the nation. There has been “statements” given by various Chican@ groups but none with political lenses. Political line is key for all that we do as revolutionaries, from our organizing food drives to giving a political analysis. Our political line is our foundation, without a correct line all of our work remains “in progress.” Every project or scientific study done amongst the Chican@ masses becomes efforts in perpetual transition or revision. Although we can expect all matter to remain in motion and in need of adaptation to given responses, we can also limit the need of playing Whack-A-Mole because of an incorrect line. For this reason Maoism plays a key role not just within the national liberation movement of Aztlán, but within the International Communist Movement (ICM) as well.
Our Moral Compass
The Chican@ nation today is engaged in a War for Independence. Make no mistake that within the folds of all the vicarious trappings that a capitalist society can muster there exists a war, a low intensity war but a war nonetheless between Amerikkka (aka the White nation) vs. Aztlán. This war is for the national liberation of our nation. We want land, we want freedom, we want to form our own government that is socialist in nature. But don’t get it twisted, as we used to say in the Barrio, We are communist revolutionaries who overstand that the innate contradictions within capitalism and thus imperialism demands that we strive for a communist future if we are truly for equality of all humyn beings.
One of the challenges that Aztlán faces today is in not enough groups or orgs raising the Communist banner. Today the Communist Party of Aztlán, Republic of Aztlán and ROA Brown Berets are the only unapologetically Chican@ Communist orgs repping communism proudly and openly.
Of course we believe that a communist world will not arrive today or in our current lifetime. Today we struggle for a socialist government, where state power is in the hands of the have-nots and led by a proletarian political line. This proletarian political line, the goal of which is a communist future, remains our moral compass.
Historical Materialism of Aztlán: Energy with incorrect line
In order to understand the development of the Chican@ Movement we must first describe a brief political overview of the movimiento. Marx taught us that historical materialism can help us gauge a phenomenon to then respond to it in a way which pushes a given struggle forward. We can learn from history in order to transform the future. For a true materialist analysis of the Chican@ Movement, let us look to the last wave of Chican@ resistance of the 1970’s.
Although there were groups that developed, such as the August 29th Movement, which were essentially communist, the Chican@ movement of the 1970s was for the most part a cultural nationalist formation. A collection of Chican@ groups and orgs that mostly sought better schools, jobs, and housing while fighting discrimination, police brutality and an end to Chican@s in Vietnam. Despite the great energy behind these movements, a push for a socialist government was not yet a topic on the Chican@ “kitchen table” for most groups. Reforms were at the helm.
Besides the student group MEChA, the largest formation was the Brown Berets. The Brown Berets has chapters across these false U.$. borders, it was militant as far as mobilizing against the state, particularly against the pigs and instilling a Chican@ nationalism throughout the Barrios. And yet the Brown Berets of the 1970’s had a political line that could not lead to Aztlán’s liberation and were actually not a socialist organization. They fought to reform the system not replace it with socialism. In fact the Brown Berets of the 1970’s had not one chapter that was openly communist, not a single one openly striving for a socialist government and not a single chapter studying Maoism. This should not surprise us because the inherent flaw in cultural nationalism is that it is reformist in nature and its “Lucha” leaves the settler colonialist economic superstructure intact and merely swaps culture. Brown Capitalism is fine to the cultural nationalist so long as a Brown Massa replaces White Massa on the plantation.
The essence of our oppression lies not simply in a greedy settler who don’t like our skin tone but loves our land, but in an economic system that enriches a minority at the expense of the global majority. A system that strips every drop of humynity from the conscience of a people in order to enrich a few. Capitalism teaches that profit is more important than humyn life.
The 1970’s taught the movement great examples of how to organize in the barrios, how to create a Chican@ student movement and resist the U.$. colonizer military. Many lessons are gleaned but it also taught us that resistance without targeting Capitalism is like having a new sports car without gas, it looks great, and has lots of potential but it cannot drive us to the liberation highway, or out of the driveway for that matter.
The 1970’s Chican@ Movement had the energy but it lacked communist ideology at the helm. Had the Brown Berets, MEChA and other Chican@ groups of the 1970’s been Communist-led, Aztlán may have launched a strong Socialist revolution given the other struggles of the times with the Panthers and others within these false U.S. borders and internationally.
Some correct line; not enough energy
Today’s Chican@ Movement exists and has slightly recovered from the U.$. government’s efforts to neutralize all resistance to colonization. The vanguard of the contemporary Chican@ Movement has identified Maoism as the leading line in the world today. No other ideology has advanced Communist thought as far as Maoism.
We see Maoism leading the struggles today in India, the Philippines, and sprouting in barrios within the U.$. Empire itself. Maoism has blossomed in Chican@ hearts like no other time in our nation’s hystory.
Maoism taught us that a new bourgeoisie develops within the Party itself. This is a great lesson for today’s Chican@ Movement as it would have been for the 1970’s. It reminds us that despite a leadership of any type the possibility exists of a leadership to become corrupt even after a socialist revolution. Many can see this truth play out today in the leadership of their own groups. In the case of both the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin and in China after Mao’s death this proved true.
The publishing of the book Chican@ Power and the Struggle for Aztlán in 2015 was akin to a nuclear missile being launched on the United Snakes. If we look at the political landscape of Aztlán pre-2015 and post-2015 we see a dramatic shift take place within the Chican@ nation. Pre-2015 Chican@ groups, especially the Brown Beret formation were still simply service groups working on reforms, toy drives, free lunches and coat drives. The language was of “Viva la Raza,” “Stop Police Brutality” and “Stop School to Prison Pipeline” which are all good campaigns. Post-2015 1,000 of the Chican@ Power books had been sold and distributed to people inside and outside prison. Revolutionary nationalism became a term that Chican@s re-popularized. Many Brown Beret groups began studying the Chican@ Power book with some making it required reading for new recruits. Many Brown Berets began to identify openly as socialist and communist. Slogans such as “Free Aztlán” became popularized in Aztlán. The idea of secession and independence was revived in Aztlán. The Chican@ Power book was republished by Republic of Aztlán in 2021. Chican@ press, radio and other media was developed promoting Maoism and independence. Online Maoist groups were created for the Chican@ nation. Online Maoist study groups were developed for specific Brown Beret formations in various states. In 2022, the first Communist Party of Aztlán was founded and announced live on the FM dial on an East Oakland Chican@ Maoist Radio program/ YouTube channel called Free Aztlán.
As Materialists we cannot make an analysis subjectively. We can only come to a conclusion after reviewing the data from tests in the field. A review of the above developments helps lead us to our conclusion.
The Chican@ Power book is political ideology created for Aztlán. Chican@ Maoism, it’s what was the missing link, the igniter. The political line that the Chican@ Movement never had in a book written by and for Chican@s.
The Chican@ nation has made a leap in consciousness, a development has taken place and the state is responding. It is responding by sending in its agents to employ COINTELPRO tactics to leaders of today’s movement. But it is also inserting agents amongst us to bourgeoisify our revolutionary momentum. These agents will have a group that claims to be revolutionary encouraging its members to vote in the imperialist elections for a U.$. President. That is no longer a revolutionary group, it is a branch of the Democratic Party.
The Chican@ Movement is at a crossroads. There is a revival with some energy. The political ideology exists and cadre have been trained that can push the momentum forward. At the same time we see the state employing a counter intelligence offensive on Aztlán to push it back. Security is needed now more than ever as the state begins to neutralize certain figures. We suspect imprisonment but they will also want to go past that to curtail any bigger leaps in our movement. We suspect the state will assassinate a key figure in the Chican@ Movement. What the state doesn’t know is our leaders realize and walk toward this possibility willingly from the first act of resistance against colonization. If leading the raza onto a real push of liberation means risking one’s life, it is an easy choice. In the spirit of Mao, I would say to die for the raza is heavier than Mt. Popocatépetl.
Chican@ Maoists need to separate the wheat from the chaff, as Mao said. It is apparent what groups are infiltrated by state agents. It’s important that these revisionists not influence the movement.
More study groups need to be launched pushing the correct line. Develop prison outreach because as the lucha heats up, members of your groups will be imprisoned.
Highlight that revolutionaries do not vote for imperialists. The Democrats have long infiltrated “grass roots” orgs to bring them into the fold and they continue today.
We need to continue teaching the next generation in order to keep that drum of resistance beating in the hearts and minds of our youth. Each one, teach one.
Our beautiful movement continues to develop. Do not let the many lives that have been sacrificed be made in vain. When they assassinate one of our leaders use it to push the struggle forward. When they imprison one of our leaders highlight this injustice and use it as a teaching tool for all freedom fighters. When they target and harass, agitate and propagate.
The Road to revolution is painted Brown. Dare to struggle, dare to win!
In Texa$ we have received more reports from prisoners about the worsening conditions overall behind bars. Multiple reports of increased repression regarding food quality, medical care, lack of respite for Ad-Seg and increased censorship. Much of the staff is not following any regulations laid out for it regarding the grievance process. Many writers have reported guards throwing out grievances. One report from Clements Unit mentions 100% denial of grievances.
The reports from Clements show some of the worse conditions prisoners face in Texas, with people in isolation suffering worsening health conditions and mental health. From Choper’s report:
“In protest fires burn daily on each of the Ad-Seg lines. Prisoners burn any and all items that will burn. So many so often they don’t even react or bother to put them out, consequently we have no mattresses. Waiting list over 18 months to get a mattress. We sleep on steel and concrete. There are no radios for sale on commissary.”
There is some unity in action going on, but without intentional organizing efforts to facilitate further education in proletarian ideology and connecting the masses behind bars to the oppressed nations in and out of the United Snakes, it may fizzle out due to lack of organization. Tactics such as setting fires can also bring about more repression from guards while taking away energy and materials for organizing. We will continue to fight the censorship and prepare for increased repression, and continue to grow USW inside Texa$ prisons.
These are confirmed censorships while many are unconfirmed as received at the moment, so rates are likely much higher.
Much of this is in response to increased pushback from the prisoner population regarding the conditions already prevalent across Texa$ and organizing efforts such as the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative which initiated a wave of censorship which has been ongoing since June.
One comrade has been pushing a censorship lawsuit Owolabi v. TDCJ Allred Unit, et al., 7;22-cv-00094-0 which could have massive implication on facilitating further organizing efforts inside Texa$ prisons, however there have been issues with the Courts trying to dismiss the case on payments grounds despite payment being made for legal documents, that has been resolved for now but it goes to show how unwilling the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice is to follow in own procedure if prisoners use it to further progressive interests in making Texas$ prisons into liberation schools.
On December 16, 13 comrades have unified in the Michael Unit to stop eating in response to ignored grievances, which both step 1 and 2’s have been filed, and hazardous conditions inside the isolation cells, where we’ve gotten a report where an entire row got sick due to improper ventilation. As with some other units, chow is being left out for hours at a time before being served, and people aren’t being let out to shower. We stand with these comrades and encourage other prisoners to find unity through these worsening conditions.
North Texas AIPS has been established and will be working in coordination with other groups such as Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. to ramp up more outside support and awareness of the struggle behind bars, and spreading MIM line in and outside of prisons in Texa$. We will continue to expand our efforts in order to bring awareness and strategize on combating the increased repression Texa$ prisoners have been facing
One project we will be working with a number of jailhouse lawyers on is updating the Texas Campaign Pack to include anything we can find to update the grievance information as well as information regarding the new independent Ombudsman for Texa$. Please send us your edits and changes for the Texas Pack so we can make the next edition as complete as possible.
The struggle in Texa$ is growing, as is state repression, our goals to establish institutions of the oppressed nation and facilitate the study of Maoism and peoples war is our path forward. Stand up for your right, don’t give up the fight.