The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Expand ULK. Send us $50 concealed cash with an address and we'll send you a stack of each issue for the next year. help out
[Environmentalism] [Philippines] [Civil Liberties] [ULK Issue 39]
expand

Hundreds of Environmental Activists Murdered

Global Witness killings of environmental activists
A new report from Global Witness documents over 900 assassinations of people protecting the environment and rights to land in the last decade.(1) And this is just the ones they could find information on, meaning the real number is higher. Of course, none of those killed were from the First World. The big countries in the report were Brazil (448), Honduras (109), Philippines (67), Peru (58) and Colombia (52). The killers have been prosecuted in only 6 of the 908 cases. The report also suggests that this is a growing phenomenon, which seems plausible given the heightening contradictions between the demands of capitalist production and the capacity of the natural world to maintain the balance of systems that are necessary to sustain life as we know it.

In the past, some have painted environmentalism as a concern of the First World. However, this has never really been true, as it is the most oppressed people who have suffered and struggled against the most extreme man-made disasters. And the threat that their struggles pose to the capitalists' interests is highlighted by this list of assassinations; people who were mostly killed in cold blood, a fate those in the oppressor nations know nothing about.

There is a concentration of murders in the tropical countries, where vast rain forests with some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet are making what could be their final stand. Long a source of natural resources, in recent decades these forests have been leveled at an increasing rate that cannot be sustained. In such cases there is a clear connection between protecting the ecological functioning of a region and the national liberation struggle tied to land. These "untamed" lands are often the homes of peoples who have not fully been assimilated into the global capitalist economy. Often private property and land deeds do not exist in these areas, attracting the brutality of the exploiters. The people struggling to exist on these lands have a completely different perspective on what land ownership and stewardship mean.

Many of the reports of these assassinations can be discouraging, when we see vocal leaders of small indigenous groups gunned down by paid assassins of the capitalists and no one is held accountable. But this war does have two sides. In many of the hotspots in this report there are strong organizations that have mobilized indigenous people to defend their lands. One of those examples has made some headlines recently in the Philippines. The revolutionary forces in the Philippines have called for a ban on logging because it has impoverished the indigenous people and peasantry, making them susceptible to environmental disasters as we saw last November with typhoon Yolanda. The New People's Army (NPA) is exerting dual power in putting this ban into effect by engaging in gun battles and arresting members of the military of the U.$. puppet regime that defend the logging companies.(2) In a separate campaign the NPA recently stormed Apex Mining Company, torching their equipment.(3) This is one of many mining companies they have targeted due to the destruction they wreak on indigenous lands and humyn health. This connection between the struggles of the indigenous people and peasantry, the environment and land is nothing new for the Communist Party of the Philippines as was documented in the decades old film Green Guerrillas.

While most pronounced in the Third World, ecological destruction threatens all humyn life and continues to be a growing rallying point for progressive forces in the First World as well. Maoists must tie this work to a realistic class analysis and link the struggle to protect our environment to the struggle for national liberation of the oppressed. A true revolutionary ecology must engage the workings of a system that has assassinated well over 900 innocent people for trying to protect the world that we all live in.

chain
[Economics] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

Use Economics as a Weapon for Revolution

Here in the Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU, the psych version of SHU), the inmate-patients are somewhat pacified. In exchange for participating in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) re-education program through "group therapy," inmate-patients, if indigent, are given a loaner TV or radio once they reach the highest level (IV) of program participation. After 12 months at this level, we are eligible to have the remainder of our SHU term suspended.

But, of course, it is blackmail in its baldest form. If you refuse very many groups, they take the TV or radio, refuse to issue your annual package, and you certainly will not be having your SHU term suspended early.

To address something MIM(Prisons) said in the March/April newsletter, it is remarkable to me, at times, exactly how important and influential the american dollar has become in all aspects of global life. I grew up in a conservative Christian and Republican household. Obviously a very capitalist one as well. I've had to re-educate myself politically and economically.

It's true that whether you're talking about CDCR or the state department, the government uses the american dollar and the resultant economy that it creates for the purposes of what I call its "Blackmail propaganda." That is, the using of the dollar and the global american economy to coerce First and Third World nations into behaving as closely in line with the american political, military and economic agendas as they can get away with, particularly when it comes to the military industrial complex.

To bring this closer to home, the prison industrial complex attempts to use commissary, vendor packages, and prison wages as a means to control the behavior of the prison population much the same as the centralized government does with the oppressed majority of the world.

The continued expansion of the exploitative capitalist system requires an ideological prop for the ideology that supports such a system in the superstructure. Our weapon? Our own ideology. How to spread it from here? Work the bourgeois job. Just don't get too attached to it. Take a percentage of the funds that remain after your needs have been met and combat the capitalist and imperialist monster through education. First educate yourself, then through your donations to MIM(Prisons), educate your comrades.

It's easy to rant and rave and call "the man" the pig that he is. But let's not forget who the real pig is: that bloated capitalist machine that goes by the name of "The United States Government." The only way to slaughter that particular pig is through education. Educate the proletariat closest to you. In this situation, your fellow comrades are first. Then your family, friends, and their neighbors.

Comrades, we must be patient. Even the Bolshevik revolution took time.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is right on about the importance of taking money from our bourgeois work and turning it to good use for the revolution. Even prisoners have access to some funds, or can acquire stamps or other resources. And with the opportunity to directly fund expanded education through four additional pages of ULK, the impact of even a small amount of money can be quite significant.

One small point on this letter: we have written previously about why we do not use the term "Prison Industrial Complex" as it implies a financial profit to the prison system that does not exist. Prisons exist as a tool for social control, and are not a key pillar of the decadent U.$. economy, as military production has been for many decades.

chain
[Abuse] [Gib Lewis Unit] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
expand

Selective Journalism and Abuse - Cover-ups Rampant throughout Texas

"The media may not always be able to tell us what to think, but they are strikingly successful in telling us what to think about." - Media Critic, Michael Parenti

Comrades, I do not think many of us appreciate how valuable a resource Under Lock & Key really is. Not only do we get exposed to cutting edge political education we are provided a rare opportunity to shed light on the abuse and mistreatment many of us suffer at the hands of the imperialist pigs who run these slave pens of oppression.

Within the past 2 weeks 7 TDCJ Correctional Officers were arrested at the Gib Lewis Unit.(1) These Correctional Officers brutally beat and sodomized a male prisoner at the High Security Unit. We did not hear a peep about this incident from the mainstream corporate media here in Texas. Why? Did all of a sudden this prisoner become non-humyn when he donned the prison whites Texas prisoners wear?

On 22 October 2013 prisoner, Christopher Woolverton, was murdered by pepper-spray used on him by TDCJ correctional officers on the Bill Clements Unit in Amarillo, Texas. If it wasn't for the revolutionary journalism of Karl Kersplebdeb and Rashid of the NABPP-PC we would have never gotten a detailed account of this heinous act of violence.(2) It is perplexing and frustrating when I see the media go out of their way to cover a story in which a sick giraffe is fed to lions at a zoo but they remain totally apathetic and aloof to the abuse and murder of humyn beings housed in Texas state prisons. (I care about animals but I don't like pigs!)

This selective journalism is not something exclusive to Texas or prison and criminal justice issues. Time and time again we have seen the media only publish an opinion or print facts that prop up the position of the bourgeois capitalist ruling class, the only way our voices are heard is when alternative forms of media like ULK are created.

Comrades, we see clearly that there is a collusive and co-ordinated effort between the media in Texas and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to downplay, minimize, and cover up brutal acts of aggression aimed at the lumpen prisoners housed in Texas' gulags.

My interaction and study with MIM(Prisons) has raised my awareness in such a manner that I recognize clearly that the corporate-owned media has a vested interest in the oppression of the lumpen - a financial interest. The fascist-imperialist elite coerce and cajole the mainstream media to report the news in a manner which they see fit. And they ignore any news-worthy items which may portray the state in a negative light.

I end this piece by reminding all of you we must $upport the organizations which support us. MIM(Prisons) and Under Lock & Key don't just speak about it they be about it. $upport them!

As always I encourage all comrades and lumpen to join United Struggle from Within. Get involved and contribute to the struggle against these imperialist fascist pigs in Texas and beyond.

"The concept of conspiracy has long been anathema to most Americans, who have been conditioned by the mass media to believe that conspiracies against the public only exist in banana republics or communist nations." - Jim Marrs (3)


chain
[Abuse] [Tabor Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
expand

A Lonely Struggle

In Tabor City Corrections, another "razor wire plantation" of North Carolina, the prisoners are treated unjustly and unfair. They are subjected to illegal treatment, such as racism, inadequate medical treatment, injustices, cruel and unusual punishments, etc. We write grievances, but sometimes they mysteriously disappear, or the grievances are answered by lies and fabrication from the facility personnel (staff). Those who are in Raleigh (capital of NC) who are in "high positions," overlook our letters and grievances or condone those egregious activities.

Only a few of us who are in the Red/Grey, "SHU" blocks stand against these acts, but the majority are scared. These pigs imposed so much fear that a prisoner is even scared to voice his opinions. What's so "ass-backwards" is that these prisoners rather oppress the same men who's struggling with them and degrade and belittle them instead of degrading or belittling these pigs. Unity is a word that is non-existent and everyone is mostly for self. This shows that the system of imperialism is effective in Tabor City and the disease that these pigs transmit (i.e. racism, injustice, etc) to these prisoners are effective as well, because the prisoner's body easily contracted these diseases and it's destroying them quick.

No matter what, the New Afrikan Brotherhood Organization (NABO) is continuing to struggle forward and fight for the brothers on lock, no matter what the consequences are. We're tired of being treated like slaves and we will see that change occurs. Their system will slowly but surely be eradicated because brothers of the NABO have filed a 1983 class action civil lawsuit against these pigs and the Department of Corrections for violating our rights. The struggle continues and justice will be served.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The New Afrikan Brotherhood Organization in North Carolina is not alone. There are many small groups and individuals who are struggling against the blatant political repression there. In a state where every issue of Under Lock & Key has been put on the statewide ban list for over 3 years, it is not surprising for comrades to feel lonely. And given all the repression some are feeling desparate. One comrade in North Carolina reported on the new step program that the superintendent says is to "protect inmates and staff and maintain a peaceful living environment." The comrade replies: "However, assaults have doubled and the men are becoming more and more bitter. Many of us, myself included, want to resolve the matter peacefully."

As we've been saying for years, the state's attempts at peace and security are complete failures, and MIM(Prisons) has an alternative approach that is promoted in every issue of Under Lock & Key but censored by North Carolina for "promoting violence" and "illegal activities" (which activities they do not specify).

NABO has the correct attitude and approach. This is a protracted struggle and we must be strategic as conditions evolve. The ban on ULK in North Carolina came after a surge in subscribers and activity in that state. And while we have a hard time getting material to these comrades, their numbers and activity have remained high throughout the years. Comrades are working on building a lawsuit to fight the illegal censorship in North Carolina and others have already achieved reform victories in their struggle against guard brutality in the courts. We are confident that comrades in North Carolina prisons will continue to contribute to victories in the years to come.

chain
[Legal] [Campaigns] [California]
expand

Limit on Number of Grievance Appeals Attacks Prisoner's Legal Rights

Although the law says we can aid others (illiterate or unskilled) on appeals and legal work, we can no longer legally pass papers "cell to cell," so now we can only help others verbally. (Thanks to Assistant Warden Robertson).

In addition, the 2011 CDCR rules limit all grievance appeals to one single issue appeal per 14 days. If we "Abuse" this abuse of our 1st amendment right to file grievances on the government, it is cut to one per 30 days. When I got here (in 1983) it was 2 appeals per week (104/year). Then cut to 1 per week (52/year), then 1/2 per week and 1/30 days if you exercise your 1st amendment rights. I'm on my second year of the limit to 1 per 30 days because of my work exercising my legal rights.

I'm fighting this under 42 USC 1983. "Judge" Rogers keeps stalling but I got her sleazy and false dismissal reversed.

UPDATE February 2016: This case has entered court as Clark v. Jeffrey Beard CV-11-03520. The comrade fighting this has reported that Judge Rogers has thrown out all testimony from M.L. Davis (Appeal boss of San Quentin) on 4 perjuries and 1 faked document, Davis has since retired to keep his pension rather than be fired.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This limit on grievance appeals is a blatant example of the Amerikan criminal injustice system restricting prisoner's legal rights. Grievances are one of the only opportunities for prisoners to fight abuse and illegal policies and restrictions. Often these grievances are ignored or "lost". Because of these practices, and restrictions like the ones described here, United Struggle from Within initiated the grievance campaign, first in California and now in ten states across the country, with petitions for these states that prisoner's can use to demand our grievances be addressed. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state, or to help create one if you do not live in a state where this has already been done.

chain
[Spanish]
expand

Las noticieros que publican lo de la Señorita Venezuela ignoran al mayor asesino

Los medios de comunicación le han dado mucha atención al asesinato de la Señorita Venezuela, ganadora del segundo lugar en el concurso de Miss Universo. Los expertos de noticias son rápidos para indicar que hubo más de 25,000 homicidios en Venezuela el año pasado y que es la capital mundial del homicidio. La muerte de cualquier persona mediante el asesinato y la avaricia es triste y trágica, pero los medios fallan en mencionar el índice de asesinatos en Amerika.

Las estadísticas del reporte del FBI en Crime in the U.S. (Crímen en E.U.) para el 2010-2011 tiene un índice de 14,612 asesinatos y homicidios negligentes. Esto es inferior a los 24,000 homicidios en Venezuela (2010-2011), pero no toma en cuenta los asesinatos cometidos por las Fuerzas Armadas de los E.U. alrededor del mundo. El numero de violaciones forzadas en E.U. fue de 85,593 para el 2010-2011. Esto no toma en cuenta las violaciones no reportadas ni las violaciones en la militar los noticieros con portavoz-gubernamental en los E.U. describe viciosamente los problemas y defectos de otro país para poder mantener los ojos curiosos del mundo alejados de E.U. La gente alrededor del mundo debe luchar para extinguir el crímen en sus comunidades. Pero más importante aún es que la gente entienda que el abuelo de todos los criminales es el sistema imperialista aquí en Amerika.

chain
[Organizing] [United Front] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

The Struggle is Young, Many More Can Be United with Education

First and foremost let me say this is not a shot to put down any of my fellow comrades, rather this is a plea to you to step up. I am a young comrade who fortunately had the privilege of being around some good brothers who basically educated and raised me into the revolutionary I am today.

But like many, even though they taught me, they too are part of the problem we face as a whole. I say that because they took a chance with me because I stayed with a book in my hand. But I watched them for years doing the same thing I found myself doing until a year ago: Denying fellow brothers in the struggle knowledge due to stereotypical reasons.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some out there who will hurt our movement more than help, but so many times I see brothers come through with so much fight, so much fire, but they lack the knowledge to do anything with it, so it's useless. And we write them off as a fool, a hothead, and think they're unteachable. And to that I say this: It's time for us to start taking a chance and stop making excuses to not help.

We complain that there's no unity or organization in our movement but we are our own problem. It's not the brothers' fault that don't know any better, it's our fault for not teaching them. It's time for us to start taking responsibility and stop making excuses for why we didn't, and start making a plan for how we can.

This is a call to all my fellow comrades to step up and stop standing down. Stop setting limitations. Oldheads help the young, Blood help the Crip, Black man help the white. Our fight is not each other, it's those who oppose this movement. So stop focusing on the frivolous things that weaken our strength and let's truly stand on what we claim to stand for. Then and only then will we ever have a chance.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this call as an antidote to all those who write to us complaining about the lack of unity in their prison without stepping up to do anything about it. We know the battle is uphill; the capitalists have all the power and they create a culture that discourages unity and supports violence and strife. But it is our duty as revolutionaries to create opportunities to build unity. The reporting in Under Lock & Key demonstrates that the imprisoned lumpen are united by their common material conditions, even though individuals are at different stages in terms of how they respond to those conditions. It is logical to begin by uniting those who will listen, but we mustn't stop there if we hope to reach the true potential of unity among the oppressed. Work with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to develop strategies to reach the majority of prisoners and build this on a scale broad enough that we can eventually take down the criminal injustice system as a whole.

chain
[Economics] [Boycott] [Organizing] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

Solitary for Encouraging Prisoners to Refuse to Buy Commissary

I was recently convicted of a major category offense: participating/encouraging others in a work stoppage/group demonstration. My confinement in segregation for 30 days and a loss of 30 days good time was based on a finding that I encouraged a "stoppage of buying commissary."

It is not against the rules to refuse to buy commissary, but I was convicted of encouraging people to not buy commissary. In other words I was convicted of encouraging prisoners to do something that is permitted by the rules.

In the past three years I've been convicted of only one other charge, also a major category offense. I was convicted for refusing to pay $21.50 to obtain a copy of my birth certificate.

The pigs wanted a copy of my birth certificate to put in a file. I was told I could neither see the birth certificate nor have a copy of it. I told the pigs I would give them permission to get a copy at their expense since it was for their files. The pigs refused and demanded I sign a paper granting them permission to take $21.50 from my account. I refused and I was convicted of refusing to comply with programming.

The connection to these two offenses and convictions is the only subject dear to the soul of a kkkapitalist: profit. $21.50 for a photocopy of a sheet of paper is a hefty profit when multiplied by 30,000 prisoners. And multi-million-dollar commissary sales at hugely inflated prices are orgasmic to these pigs. Destroying the swine is the only option.

Soldiers, the only course is to replace the thug and the U.$. go-vermin-ent with an authentic proletarian state. The united snakes kongress and injustice system is kkkorrupted beyond salvation because of imperialist ideals. Like cancer, imperialism has caused every limb and fiber to rot. The truth of kkkapitalist greed is found even in the tiny crevices.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We are seeing growing activism in Virginia prisons this year, which is no doubt leading them to invent these new "offenses" and charge perceived leaders with them. While we agree with this comrade that the prisons are eager to extort money from prisoners whenever possible, there isn't any profit coming directly from prisons themselves. The U.$. prison economy is a money-losing operation, subsidized by profits exploited from the international proletariat. Any money taken from prisoners just helps to offset this loss. This point is important because it underscores the true purpose of the Amerikan prison system: social control.

chain
[Abuse] [United Front] [Texas]
expand

Call for Unity in Texas

Texas prisons are notoriously rough and primitive. Some inmates work in TCI (Texas Correctional Industries) sweatshops making products like t-shirts, shorts and detergent. We work for free and then the state sells us these products at a high cost through the prison commissary. Nonviolent prisoners earn good time and work time which is often not honored. We're caged in hot boxes with no air conditioning, and prisoners die each summer as a result. In addition to the new limits on correspondence, last September marriage by proxy was eliminated. Inmates can no longer marry their loved ones on the outside, meaning they can't get contact visits with them, or their own children. The list goes on and on.

The term divide and conquer still holds true today. TDCJ is glad the majority of us are fighting amongst ourselves, and are more consumed with television, radio and gossiping, than unity and change. Texas prisoners, do you like working for free? Do you like being a model inmate who's changed, but gets their parole denied year after year? Do you enjoy living in a negative repressive environment? If you don't, then let's drop the racial and gang nonsense. Let's quit worshipping the TV, our radios and commissary. Let's bring Texas prisons out of the dark ages and into the twenty-first century. Make sacrifices for the great good of all prisoners and our families. Oppressors only have control over their captors as long as the oppressed allow them to.

chain
[Campaigns] [Texas]
expand

More Restrictions on Correspondence in Texas

Each year the big wigs running Texas prisons decide on what to take from the prisoners next. This year it involves indigent mail and stationary sent in from the outside. Prisoners who have no money on their trust fund account are able to receive supplies (paper, pen, envelopes) and send out letters through the indigent mail. Before this March prisoners could send out five letters a week, now it's just five letters a month. Going from twenty to just five letters a month shows how indifferent and uncaring towards our family members and friends the prison administration really is. What's worse is that we're charged for indigent mail services. Whenever we get money on our account, the cost for every letter mailed and each supply is deducted.

Prior to this March our friends and family could have stationary from an outside store sent to us. This was eliminated, and now our only option is purchasing stationary from commissary, and paying their prices. Like any oppressor, TDCJ enjoys coming up with new ideas and ways to make life more difficult for their captors. There's strength in numbers. The more of us who write grievances, send letters to state politicians, and get the word out to our family and friends, the better chance we have of telling our oppressors that we're not going to take this lying down.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right on about the strength in numbers. We have a number of prisoners across the state working on this campaign to end the restrictions on correspondence in Texas, and we've come up with a few key steps for prisoners and supporters to take.

Some jailhouse lawyers have created guides to fighting this injustice as well as a broader grievance guide for Texas, and we are seeing an influx of prisoners requesting these resources. We look forward to the results of this growing activism in this state with the largest prison population and one of the highest incarceration rates in the country.

chain