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Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia]
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Virginia Denies Study Group Mail as Detrimental to Rehabilitation

Enclosed is a notice that the Level 1 study group material you mailed to me has been forwarded to Publication Review Committee for disapproval. One of the reasons for disapproval is "material whose content could be detrimental to the offender rehabilitative efforts..." I must ask, What rehabilitative efforts? I'm serving a sentence of double-life plus 46 years. I've been incarcerated since June 1988. I'm not eligible for any school programs. I'm not enrolled in any treatment programs. Nor do I have a job inside the prison.

Further, the Virginia Department of Corruptions, um, Corrections (VADOC) is truly ignorant and incompetent in the realm of rehabilitative programs. In the 1990s the recidivism rate in the Commonwealth of Virginia ranked among the highest in the nation. VADOC's bungling efforts at rehabilitative programming proved so abysmal that the state legislature abolished both parole and early release good-time credits in July 1995. With the governor's blessing the prisoner population and VADOC's fiscal budget exploded. According to ABC news, prisoners in Virginia serve more time in prison now than any other jurisdiction except Florida.

This "Commonwealth of Virginia" is in truth a "colony" - a bastard child of the united snakes of amerikkka. Like father, like son this colony operates as a slave plantation of the kkkapitalist kkkrackers, with a major exception: no one is directly profiting from the labor of prisoners. But the labor aristocracy is profiting from our incarceration while giving us materials enough to simply keep us alive.

My friends, notice that these prison autocrats also say that the materials from MIM(Prisons) "...emphasize depictions or promotions of violence, disorder, insurrection, terrorist, or criminal activity in violation of state or federal laws..." Yet these same prison autocrats suck their livelihood from the tits of the United $tates whose founding fabricators once wrote that when people face a destructive government "...it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government..." What was Common Sense? Why were Crispus Attucks and four other men martyred? What was the volatile resolution of the First Kkkontinental Kkkongress?

On 1 May 2014, the united snakes of amerikkka warned that "global terrorism is on the rise." Since the kkkapitalist pigs refer to any threat to their hegemony as terrorism, then the revolutionary has reason to strengthen h resolve. The evidence reveals the pigs are in perpetual distress, and this is most fitting. If the U.$. truly is the "greatest nation on earth with the best form of government," then why does more than half of the world's population seek to destroy amerikkka and amerikkkans? Indeed, an ever growing number of so-called amerikkkan citizens wish only for the abolition of the current go-vermine-ment.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This censorship is a blatant example of the criminal injustice system's real goals in the United $tates. There is no rehabilitation in this system. It is merely a tool of social control. The MIM(Prisons) prisoner study group is one of the only educational opportunities for prisoners in Virginia, and education has been demonstrated to have significant positive effects on reducing recidivism of prisoners. So in denying prisoners this material VADOC proves its focus on maximizing incarceration and sentencing. The "detrimental" effects on rehabilitation can only refer to our positive impact on prisoners and their ability to get by on the streets without returning to prison.

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[Organizing] [Boycott] [ULK Issue 38]
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September Solidarity Demonstration: Using Our Financial Power

In solidarity, I offer this suggestion: reduce your contribution to your imprisonment; instead contribute to your child's development. Advantages: the prison system has less funding; the companies that lobby for prisons lose money; you remain healthy to fight!

J. Paul Getty said, "If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem. If you own the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem!"

The prison gets roughly $30,000/year for each general population prisoner, but receives an average of $70,000 for us in solitary confinement. Where does the money come from? Too much of it comes from us! Federal prisoners spend $300 million a year in commissary. It is estimated that prisoners contribute $3 billion annually toward their own incarceration. We are allowing our money to be used as a weapon of war against us. "Playing by your enemy's rules is suicide." Growth and Development symbolizes growth of knowledge and development of new skills and tactics to be successful!

If you want to bring the CDCR director to the negotiation, make Keefe force him to the table. It is always about the money with capitalists. You have to give them something to lose!

We never shop during September out of respect for the sacrifice of my Attica brothers. Ask your family and friends to participate by not purchasing products from Keefe, Bob Barker, Golden Valley and any other company that profits from prisons. Eliminate the funding, and the problem is solved. Stop contributing to your own suffering!

Request the public records, budget and audit for the California prison system. It will show you how you are giving your money to your suffering.


Grow your knowledge
Develop new skills and tactics
Revolutionary strategy
Intelligent sacrifice
Stand United
Economic pressure to obtain your goal


MIM(Prisons) adds:Every September 9 the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) promotes a solidarity demonstration in honor of the Attica uprising. This peaceful protest could easily expand to a month-long boycott of the parasitic industries from which prisoners are forced to make purchases. We welcome input from UFPP members and supporters leading up to this September's demonstration.

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[United Front] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 38]
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United Front Organizing: Working Towards LO Peace in Ohio

Lately, due to the continuing of the repressive injustice system, the New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood (NAMB) has restructured our organizing and networking tactics. We continue our current study group raising New Afrikan and internationalist consciousness. We are working on a peace treaty/alliance between the Vice Lords, Latin Kings, MS-13, Bloods and Black P. Stones. The Euro-Amerikan street organizations of the Cincinnatti Caucasian Cartel and the Cincinnati White Boys have allied against the Aryan Brothers and so, we are working to bring the Triple Cs and the CWBs into the Ohio-wide treaty with the Vice Lords and Latin Kings/MS-13 and Bloods. Our next focus will be to reach out to the "heartless felons" of Northern Ohio (Cleveland based) to radicalize them into revolutionary consciousness. These are uphill battles due to lack of quality leadership, coupled with the terrain of lockdown blocks, controlled movements, and confidential informants. But, the movement must be pushed, no matter how fast/slow, hard/easy it may seem. History is on our side! The NAMB is slowly but surely making headway in spreading unity and revolutionary theory. We look forward to creating an Ohio-wide, Ohio-produced treaty between all LOs inside of prison and outside.


MIM(Prisons) adds: These comrades in Ohio are doing the essential work of education and building peace and unity. Bringing lumpen organizations together into a United Front (UF) is critical, but we must always be clear what we are uniting around. The UF is a vehicle for the oppressed to unite groups against a common and principal enemy. We learn from history that this includes alliances between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie when the fight is against the imperialist invading army. In Amerikan prisons today, this unity is among lumpen organizations against the criminal injustice system which is used by imperialist Amerika as a tool of social control.

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[Control Units] [Allred Unit] [Texas]
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Allred ECB Staff Provoke Prisoner Aggression

Expansion Cell Blocks (ECB) were designed to hold two prisoners in order to increase unit capacity. But Texas officials have labeled ECB as high security in an attempt to negate the facts and distort the actual security level of the ECB.

In order to justify this use of ECB, in spite of staff shortages and unlawful conditions, the authorities create a hostile environment which conforms to their false reality. Prisoners are agitated to commit acts of violence, create disturbances, or become aggressive, so that the ECB takes on an air of a high security prisoner housing area where sanctions and restrictions are necessary. Sanctions and restrictions enable the ECB to be operated even without the staff they are short. Constant lockdown cameras have been installed to document everything. This expense must be justified. The staff creates incidents for the technology to record. Restrictions begin. Policy becomes practice.

Lights are turned on every time count is taken, food is delivered, or staff feel it is necessary. Prisoners are required to regularly produce ID and are disturbed to the point they are deprived of REM sleep. Cell searches are performed irregularly during the day and throughout the night. A heightened state of anxiety and stress is created. People kept under high levels of stress are known to snap or break.

In addition to this high stress level, prisoners at ECB are provoked by staff. Most lack the capacity to respond to chaos in a rational manner thereby perpetrating the myth of high security and enabling the authorities to further control and empower themselves.

There is a systematic campaign of psychological warfare being waged against prisoners in control units. The evidence proves sensory deprivations experienced in isolation produces extreme states of mind, impulsiveness and irrational behaviors. Statistics show a decline in mental health in prisoners confined to solitary confinement for years. Without stimulation our minds and bodies begin to break down and decay.

Prisoners are conditioned through a system of punishments and indifference to view all forms of resistance as futile. Requests aren't answered. Responses are purposely vague or misleading. Policy is interpreted to undermine prisoner autonomy. The authorities use every tactic available to promote complete dependency of the prisoner and to ensure despondency is total.

All the while the public is being told prisoners are being provided with forms of rehabilitation and that support is given to those who desire to make modifications to their mentality.

Facilities designed to house 1200 prisoners are used to house 600. Prisoners in control units, Ad-Seg or high security do not receive good time, parole or work time. Their sentences are only discharged at their maximum release date. The result is requiring more money to provide for more prisoners and more staff to control them. The goal of the prison staff is achieved.


MIM(Prisons) adds: These long-term isolation cells are a common tool of oppression in the Amerikan criminal injustice system. And we have plenty of evidence of the detrimental effect of this isolation on humyns. Get involved in the campaign to shut down control units to resist this repression in Texas and across the country.

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[Abuse] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 38]
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CA Gang Investigators Retaliate for Exposing Prison Abuse

Since my arrival at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) in July 2013 I've had to file numerous 602 appeals just to be able to utilize my two hour a week constitutional right to use the prison law library. At KVSP they like to run a very oppressive program, or I should say lack of program, and keep everybody on lockdown 24 hours a day, even on the general population and non-discipline yards. This was done all under the guise of "safety & security." Their stratagem is that we can't file any complaints on them if we don't have access to legal forms.

For the more creative prisoners, we've been able to bypass their little games and still file 602s and habeas corpus writs in our attempts to inform the outside world of the illegal practices here at the prison.

One of our writs must have struck a nerve because on 10 April at 4am, the prison's "Institutional Gang Investigators" AKA the goon squad, raided our building in full riot gear, and confiscated everyone's paperwork (books, family/legal letters, and writing materials) all in the name of "safety & security." It has been over two weeks now and the warden has given no word on exactly when we will be given access to our legal/personal documents.

Even though the majority of us have already bypassed their little blockade and have filed writs or found ways of informing our lawyers and family on the outside, these things take time. So here we sit on lockdown, with very limited access to the courts and family, awaiting relief or a full blown revolution to kick off. And although it is my personal belief that the latter will happen at some point, I also feel that it's going to take a whole lot more hard work in order to open up the eyes and ears of our fellow brothers and sisters around the world, before we all as a whole, can shout "stop!" and really have the means to add weight to our words.

Until then keep up the faith and hard work. Stay strong! This current system is at the breaking point. There is light at the end of the tunnel!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that we have a lot of work to do to educate our brothers and sisters before we are ready to kick off the revolution. In the meantime we need to do what s/he is doing: the day to day work of exposing the abuse and brutality of the imperialist system and organizing others. We all have a responsibility to educate others however we can, whether that's by writing articles for ULK, talking to others on our block or yard, organizing a study group, teaching someone to read, or whatever else you can do to use your skills and talents to advance the struggle. Don't just sit back and read about it, get involved!

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[Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 38]
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Texas Indigent Mail Battle Victories and Set Backs

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The Texa$ Board of Criminal (in)Justice implemented new prisoner Correspondence Rules on 1 October 2013 restricting indigent prisoners to 5 one-ounce domestic letters per month. The previous policy allowed 5 letters per week. This is a clear attack on prisoners' access to the outside world, and in particular impacts politically active prisoners who use the mail to expose the brutality and abuse going on behind bars in Texas. In response to this new policy United Struggle from Within initiated a grievance campaign, organizing prisoners to appeal this restriction. Below are several new updates to the campaign:

Successful Grievance Against Limits on Legal Mail

From Hughes Unit: "I won my grievance due to interference from the department law library which deals with offenders who are indigent. They were saying five letters a month for everything and they were trying to stop my legal mail from going out to the courts. There is no limit on legal mail! They were also trying only to give us supplies like 25 sheets of paper, one pen, five envelopes a month. But an indigent offender who is doing legal work can have this once a week, and mail out as much legal work he or she wants."

One prisoner from Allred wrote Step 1 and Step 2 grievances requesting additional stamps. Because of his need to use his 5 indigent mail stamps to pursue legal research this prisoner was unable to write to family and friends and so requested additional stamps from the Warden. The first request prior to the grievances stated "I need to mail 5 more letters this month using indigent [mail]. ... This unit law library is giving me the run around having me write and ask everybody under the sun. They don't know about the 83rd Legislature House Bill 634 by Farias of Texas. It's the holidays, I need extra 5 letters this month." The response from the Warden: "That doesn't meet any legal requirement and I don't have the authority to allow you extra postage for that." Responses to his grievances following up on the Warden's denial included denying the Step 1 for "excessive attachments." The attachments were copies of his initial attempts to resolve the issue without filing a grievance.

Based on the victory from the prisoner in Hughes Unit, we encourage prisoners to appeal their access to stamps for legal mail separately from the restriction on personal mail.

Restrictions on Receipt of Stationary

A comrade in Eastham Unit reported: "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... 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 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."

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.

For this indigent mail campaign in particular, we have a sample step 1 grievance for prisoners to use as well as a sample step 2 grievance for those whose step 1 is rejected. Write to us for a copy of the indigent mail campaign guide.

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[Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 38]
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Resolving Contradictions, Developing Cadre for a Protracted Struggle

I had some thoughts on an article that i read in ULK 37 entitled "Elevate the Prison Struggle Beyond Day to Day Goals". In this article a comrade voiced the frustration of the disarray or disfuction of the movement. I fully understand this.

There are times when i get frustrated at those who just don't get it. What seems like it is crystal clear to me is not grasped by so many. But remember this is what separates levels of consciousness. We have to remember most of us were knuckleheads at one time; at least i was. And i'm sure those wiser than me were stressed out about me as well. We don't have to like it, but we do have to understand it if we ever seek to change it. I must know that what i understand and grasp may not be the same for others, but people develop consciously at different rates, even two cellmates will not be totally on the same level.

A protracted struggle is not simply performing and being victorious, rather it is a long drawn out struggle. It does not matter what one is struggling for. If i am trying to get better health care or healthier food to eat and i am up against a medical corporation or a prison policy that prevents me from getting what i want, it will be a struggle. We are not talking about just filing a grievance or refusing to go back in my cell, we are talking about possibly YEARS of struggle.

One of the things a protracted struggle means is that it will be long and rough. Not only that but it is a stop and go struggle where, in between efforts for human rights when there is "down time," the people use this time to sharpen up educationally and learn more about the human rights they are shooting for by studying similar historical struggles. A protracted struggle then is struggle first in the physical realm THEN in the ideological realm so that the people are struggling - preparing - struggling.

Disarray and disfunction are signs of a lack of political education and nothing more. This is why there is a great important necessity for political education and building cadre. The lack of cadre in any group, prison or organization will be the difference between obtaining human rights or settling for a bigger variety of cookies on commissary; of the revolution moving closer to reality or being extinguished.

Mao spoke of cadre and summed it up as follows:

"In order to guarantee that our party and country do not change their color, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.

"In the final analysis, the question of training successors for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary cause started by the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not the leadership of our party and state will remain in the hands of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not our descendents will continue to march along the correct road laid down by Marxism-Leninism, or, in other words, whether or not we can successfully prevent the emergence of Kruschev's revisionism in China. In short, it is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for our party and our country. It is a question of fundamental importance to the proletarian revolutionary cause for a hundred, a thousand, nay ten thousand years. Basing themselves on the changes in the Soviet Union, the imperialist prophets are pinning their hopes of "peaceful evolution" on the third or fourth generation of the Chinese party. We must shatter these imperialist prophecies. From our highest organizations down to the grass-roots, we must everywhere give constant attention to the training and upbringing of sucessors to the revolutionary cause."(1)

Here Mao is referring to how a bourgeoisie arose within the Bolshevik Party, taking the Soviet Union down the revisionist road after Stalin's death. The younger generations, not having a deep enough understanding of revolutionary science allowed such preposterous ideas as a peaceful evolution from capitalism to communism to be promoted and accepted as guiding principles. Mao's solution to this was the Cultural Revolution, which advanced socialism to its furthest stage of development to date. It is not good enough for the wise, the vets, the double O.G.s to be up on game as far as what it means to come together in peace and struggling for human rights. It's important that the young buck must also be educated on the importance of peace and the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Young people must be taught why human rights are important and what ways to acquire human rights.

What many forget is education comes in many forms, conversing with someone about social justice can be just as effective as passing a political newsletter down the tier. Sharing an article one tailored for a specific bunch can be just as effective as giving a fiery speech on the tier and, well, doing all of the above is good too. Without one studying him/herself one is unable to learn ways to improve one's environment and instead is left in a chaotic atmosphere which never moves forward.

Educating those who never listened to anyone in their life is no walk in the park. I get this. The thing is i know it must be done.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This essay is a good introduction to the focus of this issue of Under Lock & Key, which is an update on the theory and practice of building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Cipactli gives us some good theory to chew on here, but we would not go so far as to say that problems in the movement are "signs of a lack of political education and nothing more." While every prisoner is oppressed by the same state, there are contradictions within the imprisoned lumpen that contribute to disorder and conflict. Some of these contradictions may not be resolved by education. These contradictions must be recognized, it must be determined whether or not they are contradictions among the people and they must be pushed to resolution. Hashing this out is a big part of the process of building an effective united front. These are tasks that we are working with USW leaders to take on in addition to outreach and education work. At the same time these tasks will serve to train and develop leaders within USW.


Notes: 1. Mao Zedong, "On Kruschev's Phoney Communism and its Historical Lessons for the World" (14 July 1964).

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 38]
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Georgia Prisoners Unite for Peace and Education

I want to first send an encouraging word to the brother who exposed a glimpse of our struggle here at Georgia State Prison. I can honestly say that the author of the stand up article in the March/April 2014 Under Lock & Key has inspired me to go harder.

As of this moment I am the head representative of the United Nation Against The Machine (UNATM) movement. The UNATM promotes unity, peace, and education amongst the various social groups within the system. The goal is to cease fire against one another and unite in our struggle against the oppressive pigs. We all have a common goal which should be freedom and we all have a common enemy which is the oppressive injustice system. There is no excuse for us to continue laying down when the bully approaches. We still have rights and we still are human beings who deserve better.

I want those in the segregation unit to know that you are not alone and as a fellow comrade/soulja in this struggle I pledge loyalty. I pledge to educate and decrease the illiteracy rate that confines our fellow brothers in an enslaved mind. I pledge to challenge the unchallenged. I pledge to finally put the pig head on the platter for all its wrong doing. We are our own machine that will stop at nothing to obtain true justice. I encourage all the souljas in this struggle to remain strong for we will see better days.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are encouraged to see the growing activism in Georgia and in particular the conscious comrades building unity and peace in that state. We have reached out to this comrade to suggest that UNATM consider joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) as their goals line up with this effort. Specifically, the first three UFPP principles are peace, unity and growth. Through this United Front we can bring together different groups and individuals to fight our common enemy in the criminal injustice system.

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[Legal]
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Building on Legal Counsel Struggle in Arizona

I'm writing in regards to an article that appeared in issue 37 of ULK titled [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/fighting-for-useful-legal-counsel-in-arizona/"Fighting for Useful Legal Counsel in Arizona." The author of this article outlined their legal strategy to help prisoners receive legal counsel in the very early stages of their cases. The writer stated that he had filed a Writ of Certiorari asking the court to resolve the issue of the constitutional question left open in Martinez V. Ryan, 623 F.3d 731, 132S.CT1309(1023) of

"whether a defendant in a state criminal case has a Federal Constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel at initial review collateral proceedings specifically with respect to his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim."

The case that the writer cited in his article was from the district court, but this particular case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court (Martinez v. Ryan 132 S. Ct 1309), and was decided favorably.

There are two other cases that I know of that deal with this same issue after Martinez, both of which were decided favorably. One was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and the other by the 8th Circuit. Both cases expand upon the ruling in Martinez and may be useful to the Arizona comrade or anyone going through the motions of trying to get their case back in court on an ineffective assistance claim. The cases are Trevino v. Thaler 133 S.Ct.1911 and Sasser v. Hobbs Nos. 02-3103, 11-3346.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The state sets the rules and then doesn't allow those accused of breaking the rules to effectively defend themselves within the injustice system. This is all part of the system of national oppression in this country; it's no coincidence that effective legal counsel is denied to those accused of breaking Amerikkka's laws.

We appreciate this comrade sharing h legal knowledge with others via the pages of ULK, and a lot of times this is the only way prisoners expand their legal arsenal. The author of the original article in ULK 37 said it took h eleven years to exhaust the remedies within Arizona state courts. Undoubtedly much of this time was spent translating legalese, and trying to figure out which motions to file when and where, with much trial and error along the way. With the assistance of a competent lawyer these speedbumps would be easily leveled.

While we know eventually we need to take up arms to liberate ourselves from national oppression in this country, at this stage in our struggle we are only advocating legally permitted campaigns. Like this comrade is attempting to do, setting valuable legal precedent that makes space for revolutionary organizing and defense of the humynity of the most oppressed Amerikan prisoners would be one step in the direction to overthrow the imperialist state. We can facilitate this work by sharing information the most effective approaches with each other.

Comrades who want to contribute to our collective legal knowledge should work with the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC). One of the primary tasks of the PLC is to compile legal knowledge into help guides which MIM(Prisons) then distributes to prison-based activists and jailhouse lawyers. The PLC only focuses on battles that will push our revolutionary struggle forward. Whether it be our efforts to put a complete end to solitary confinement, or simply to have our grievances not thrown in the trash upon receipt, the PLC is for jailhouse lawyers with a strong left lean! Write to MIM(Prisons) for more information.

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[Education] [National Oppression]
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Supreme Court Upholds National Oppression in Education

April 22 - The U.$. Supreme Court upheld a Michigan ban on affirmative action in admission decisions to public universities, a final decision that reinforces national oppression in education from grade school through college. The majority opinion of the court upheld the state law that was enacted by Michigan voters in 2006. In addition to Michigan, seven other states have enacted similar bans: California, Florida, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and New Hampshire.(1)

The Supreme Court couched their ruling in arguments about upholding democracy: “It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds,” justice Kennedy explained in the majority decision.(1) This faith in the capability of the voters in Amerika is only correct if we seek to reinforce white supremacy. 76% of Michigan's population is white, and Amerikan capitalism promotes individualism and self-interest, so we should expect this population to vote in their own persynal interests, which rest on national oppression. "Decent and rational grounds" cannot be found as the basis for banning a practice of affirmative action that attempts to address the unequal access to educational opportunities offered oppressed nation youth in the United $tates.

As we explained in 2012 when a lower court ruling was issued on this case, bans on affirmative action are fundamentally reactionary in that they preserve white privilege, but overall affirmative action itself has failed oppressed nation youth. Affirmative action does not address the fundamental inequalities faced by oppressed nations within U.$. borders, it's just an attempt to deal with the effects of these inequalities in young adults. As we wrote in that article: "The achievement gap between Black and white children went down between the Brown v Board of Education ruling and the late 1980s. But it started to grow again in the early 1990s. By 2005, in about half the high schools (those with the largest concentration of Blacks and Latinos) in the 100 largest districts in the country less than half the students entering the schools in ninth grade were graduating high school. Between 1993 and 2002 the number of high schools with this problem increased by 75%. These numbers, not surprisingly, coincide with a drop in Black and Latino enrollment in public universities."(1)

The affirmative action debate highlights the ongoing existence of national oppression within U.$. borders. And it underscores the intersection of class and nation, keeping a sizable portion of New Afrikans and Latinos without a high school diploma and unable to take advantage of affirmative action in college admission even where it still exists. This goes back to the way that public education is funded in the United $tates, through property taxes, ensuring that poor neighborhoods will have lower quality education and denying kids from those neighborhoods the opportunities availabile to kids from wealthier neighborhoods. This economic segregation is tied to national segregation, creating a cycle of poverty that reinforces national oppression within this wealthy imperialist country.

The debate over affirmative action at the college level gets at the core of what equality is. Those who demand "blind" admissions practices have to pretend that everyone applying for college admissions had equal opportunities up to the point of college application. And this gives us a chance to challenge people on what many like to call a "color-blind" society. Even looking at the privileged Blacks and Latinos who went to schools good enough to qualify them to apply for college admission, pretending equality is only possible if we ignore all the aspects of oppression that these groups face in the U.$., from overt racial hatred to subtle cultural messages of inferiority. Society sets oppressed nation youth up for failure from birth, with TV and movies portraying criminals as Black and Latino and successful corporate employees as white. These youth are stopped by cops on the streets for the offense of skin color alone, looked at suspiciously in stores, and presumed to be less intelligent in school.

But the real problem is not the privileged Black and Latino students qualified to apply for college admission. These individual students from oppressed nations who are able to achieve enough to apply to colleges that have admissions requirements are a part of the petty bourgeoisie. The reality is very different for the other half of the oppressed nation youth who are tracked right out of college from first grade (or before) and have no chance of even attending a college that has admissions requirements beyond a high school diploma.

Among the students who entered high school in ninth grade, 63% of Latinos, 59% of Blacks and 53% of First Nations graduated high school in 2009. This is compared to 81% of Asians and 79% of whites. Overall the Black-white and Latino-white graduation rate gap narrowed between 1999 and 2009 but is still very large.(2)

This recent court ruling reinforces our belief that we cannot expect Amerika to reform away national oppression, even within U.$. borders where some formerly oppressed nations have been integrated into the oppressor majority. At this point in history, imperialism vs. the oppressed nations is the principal contradiction both globally and within u.s. borders. The dramatic differences in educational access and achievement are just one example of the oppressed/oppressor nation differentials. MIM(Prisons) fights on the side of oppressed nations everywhere for the revolution that will overthrow imperialism end national oppression.

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