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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Legal] [Central Prison] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 33]
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NC Prisoners take 23 to Court over Assaults

Sitting here I thought I would touch base and let you know that the pigs in Raleigh got caught red-handed. I'm in an eight-plaintiff lawsuit against 23 defendants, including the former and present wardens at Central prison.

Last year they put a guy in a wheelchair. Pigs were aware that the cameras didn't record or even have the capacity to record in certain areas and would put prisoners in restraints and then beat them down. They broke several of my ribs.

We are working on getting new cameras and a video retention policy, which currently they don't have. I have been working like hell to get a light shown on these corrupt pigs so as the hunger striker said in ULK 24, "Let's Rock!!"

The case is: Stanley Earl Corbett et al., v Warden GJ Branker et al., U.S.D.C. Eastern District of NC Western Division, No. 5:10-CT-3135

Defendants

  1. Warden GJ Branker
  2. Warden Kenneth Lassiter
  3. Sgt. James Reed
  4. Sgt. Mildred Prado
  5. Off. Doyle Holloman
  6. Off. Melanie Lancaster
  7. Off. Timmie Hicks
  8. Off. Samuel James
  9. Lt. Michael Norris
  10. Lt. Brent Soucier
  11. Off. Moore
  12. Off. Press
  13. Off. Summerlin
  14. Off. Arthur Marsh Jr.
  15. Off. Oates
  16. Off. Bidwell
  17. Off. Lassiter
  18. Off. Marcel Colleymore
  19. Off. Tyson
  20. Off. Alexander
  21. Off. Jared Welch
  22. Off. Ben
  23. Off. Hunt


MIM(Prisons) adds: We commend the prisoners who came together to organize this suit against difficult odds in a state where law libraries do not exist. Yet, demanding cameras to address this one instance will do nothing to stop the inhumane, physical abuse that is meted out at a conspiratorial level. Abuse like this has led to multiple hunger strikes and other demonstrations in recent years in North Carolina prisons.

Of course, the Department of Public Safety turns around and accuses ULK of promoting violence and lawlessness, having censored every issue we've put out since November 2011. As the rampant abuse and corruption of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety comes to light, we have comrades struggling against these abuses on many different fronts including censorship, grievance procedures and physical brutality, as well as education and recruitment on the inside. And despite all the censorship, as one reader points out, it seems interest in Under Lock & Key only continues to grow.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Prison Fakes Violence Threats to Prosecute Activist Prisoner

On April 22 I was on the dorm in my cubicle doing my exercise, and the STG and safe prisons officer came in and ordered me to step out into the hallway. I stepped out, somewhat baffled, thinking that they were about to tear my house up because of a grievance I had written over the weekend. That's exactly what they did.

Forty-five minutes later I was called down to the warden and sent to the major's office. Once I went, the captain showed me my grievance and asked me if I had written it. I told him I did, then he pulled out about seven request forms that are called I-60s, and told me "you wrote these too, didn't you?" Then he started reading them, there were threats of harming officers, threats of blowing up the unit, and sexually explicit statement directed at a female sergeant. Now none of this was in my writing, but I was accused of it. We went back and forth over this stupid ass incident and then they let me go back to my dorm.

When I walked into my cubicle I saw that my bunk was flipped over and my personal property and legal papers were scattered everywhere. I went back to the major and told him to see what his subordinates had done. He came, saw, and went off on the safe prisons guy, who lied and said that the female sergeant had flipped my heavy ass bunk by herself. Twenty minutes later, another officer told me to pack up my stuff, and before I could finish, they told me to go to the infirmary. At that point I already knew they were about to lock me up.

Now remember, we are talking about bomb threats and killing officers. But instead of handcuffing me and escorting me to infirmary and then Ad-Seg, they let me roam free to do it myself. At that point, I already knew it was some type of conspiracy. A retaliation for writing grievances on two officers. The first officer had two grievances (sexual harassment and sexual misconduct). The second officer had one grievance (sexual discourteous conduct). Now for them to retaliate would be a violation of their own PD-13 and 22 rules of their agency's policy. Also, it is a violation of my First Amendment rights. This has led me to begin the process of a civil suit.

I was found guilty of disciplinary based upon a so-called handwriting specialist, employed by my accusers, and by false witness testimony. In other words: they painted the picture to suit their cause, I am being viewed as some type of monster, especially since we just had a major explosion here in the city of West, Texas.

And just five days ago on 5-3-13, another inmate back here in segregation with me was falsely accused of having made a statement about blowing the unit up. Found guilty, he is being shipped to maximum high security along with me. Now I may not be the smartest criminal on the face of the earth. But I'm damn sure not the dumbest. What kind of moron writes a grievance and puts his name on it, and then writes several threats, and sends them off, knowing that everything is going to go to the warden?

Anything to slow me down, they tried. The whole court system down here in Texas is on some "good 'ol boy" type mentality. They're all scratching each others' backs. From municipal, all the way up to Federal. It's crooked down here.

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[Political Repression] [Abuse] [Perry Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 33]
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South Carolina Stops Grievance Challenge Process

I have been here five months now and I have yet to leave my cage with the exception of being moved from different dorms. These pigs move me around to different segregated dorms once they get whiff that I am helping brothers litigate.

As of April 30, 2013, Ms. Ann Hallman of the Inmate Grievance Branch has changed Grievance Policy GA-01.12. She says that we cannot write an Inmate Grievance Coordinator (IGC) up because they unprocessed our grievances. We can no longer challenge the violation or status of our complaints. Basically she gave all the IGCs the authority to continue to violate our rights dealing with the grievance procedure.

Comrade Huey told us to always keep your eyes on the pigs, that is why I see ahead of time the nonsense that's about to explode like a nuclear bomb. I have repeatedly shown brothers that "pushing paperwork works." All it takes is a pen, paper, dedication, spirit, and effort, still yet all you hear is talk, talk, more talk and "snitching." We must come together in united action against the system.


MIM(Prisons) responds: South Carolina is a state where the USW grievance campaign has not yet reached. Initiated in California, this campaign has spread to many other states, with petitions now customized for Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas. This is a battle for grievance reforms within a fundamentally corrupt system. But the grievance system is the primary way that prisoners can legally fight for their limited rights, and often these rights are tied up with survival and freedom to organize and educate others. We agree with this comrade that "pushing paperwork works" to achieve these goals, at least some of the time. We must defend these rights as a key tactical battle in building the anti-imperialist movement within the criminal injustice system. Write to us to get a sample copy of this grievance petition to customize for your state.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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SNY Prisoner Finds Unity in CA Goals

Just so you know, I'm in support of any list of demands, regardless of who presents them. And I support the ones you have outlined in your February 8th letter, especially the one that calls for an end to our torturous conditions. In fact, this is one of the issues I am about to under take with regards to our outdated and disfunctional ventilation system.

Just to give you some insight, when I arrived here in June of 2012 with temperatures that were averaging 90 degrees, which made for cell temperatures that exceeded 95 degrees due to the disfunctional ventilation. After conducting my own investigation, I learned that Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) does not have swamp coolers like most other prisons here in California have. No, they built this place with low grade air circulators, which are now 25 years old and are out of date especially in light of what is now called, "Global Warming." Last year we all experienced the highest temperatures ever recorded!

Now I must explain the second portion of this equation, how when RJD converted this yard to a level 4 Special Needs Yard, they covered the bottom of our cell doors, which normally had a 2" to 3" gap to allow for a natural flow of air; that gap is approximately l" now. Thirdly, RJD was one of the 1st of the "270" [the name of the design style] prisons built in California, and when they built it they did not put exhaust vents in our shower stalls, this has allowed steam and humidity to collect in our dayroom area, which in turn gets picked up and circulated into our cells. Additionally, all of the newer "270" designed prisons are equipped with three huge exhaust fans that are mounted on the dayroom ceiling. In any event, this old and out-dated system is creating a very dangerous living condition. I guarantee you, if everyone were to knock out their cell windows, front and back, at a cost of $90.00 each, they would get right and fix these air handlers! I'm going to assemble, and file a writ of mandate in hopes of getting the courts to make them replace these air circulators. In my exhausted 602, they admitted that they need to replace them but, that there was no money in the budget, and that statement alone might be the rope I need to hang'em in court! If not, the only other solution is kicking out windows.

Alright, I won't take up all of your time with the problems that we're experiencing here, but, I will tell you to take note of an article that was done by Paige St. John from the L.A. Times, Dated March 19, 2013 9:41 AM, which clearly illustrates what's going on here at RJD with regards to our medical and mental health care, check it out, its a good read. the article is entitled, "Experts say three prisons fail to provide adequate health care."

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[Abuse] [Nevada]
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Nevada Assaults and Abuse Exposed; Prisoners Fighting Back

On April 2, 2013 I was finally released from the hole. Since that time there's been one assault on a Black prisoner by pigs while a supervisor (i.e. Sergeant) looked on and attempted to justify the conduct. During a minor altercation on the day following, one prisoner was shot in the head and 2 in the face, costing one prisoner his eye. During the feeding at dinner, a prisoner in need of bathroom facilities was directed to defecate on the floor in the dining room (during feeding!) by a Sergeant (with the full consent of approximately 7 pigs standing around laughing). Foreign items in our food, reduced food portions and the obvious lacing of food continues.

We are preparing to initiate an action consisting of written complaints, grievances and pressure from outside sources. This type of behavior needs to be exposed and addressed for the reprehensible and cowardly expression that it is. We are also attempting to enlist the support of people outside and give advanced notice in anticipation of retaliation (again).

This year has brought a number of assaults by pigs on Black prisoners, especially those engaged in struggle. In response we are also going to begin exposing the names of all involved officers for all abusive, assaultive or other conduct that is a display of anti-prisoner/counter-human sentiment.

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[Abuse] [California State Prison, Solano] [California]
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California Government Evade Legal Orders; Prisoner Unity is our Answer

Here at California State Prison-Solano, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has started a campaign to rush prisoners out to other states to be housed. As of last month, Inmate Classification has been rubber stamping the illegal move to out of state. The prisoner has no say in the matter whatsoever.

A few years ago Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, called for a state of emergency. Prisoners were shipped off to be housed in other states because California prisons were bursting at the seams due to over crowding, and no more prisons are being built here in California. However, last year the state of emergency was lifted and the prisoners who had been out of state were ordered to be sent back.

Governor Jerry Brown is under tremendous pressure by the three judge panel to relieve and reduce the prison population. He hasn't done anything yet. Governor Jerry Brown and his cronies will lie, cheat and even kidnap prisoners and ship them to other prisons out of state illegally. He doesn't want to release the terminally ill and sick lifer inmates, who cost the state millions of dollars. In this capitalistic country prisons are very big business, so this oppressive government doesn't want to let anyone out of prison. The situation is ripe for the oppressed nations to protest the harsh injustices that exist in these prisons.

Governor Jerry Brown and his cronies refuse to follow their own laws. This only tells me who the real criminals are. This is why it's important for the oppressed prisoners to unite under one common cause. We must apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in order to defeat the criminal injustice system. We can do better if all races unite, because united we stand, divided we fall.

Comrade George L. Jackson remarked: "settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here."

Hence, MIM(Prisons) can truly assist us in this noble effort. Giving us the pertinent tools of knowledge (books) to combat the Amerikan imperialist.

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [Illinois]
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Fabricated Protests and Repression

29 April 2012 — Greetings with love and peace. I hope you're all well and peaceful when you receive this scroll. My six month date to check in has arrived so here it is.

I have received the November/December 2011 ULK issues. I received the January/February 2012 issue as well. There was an article in there about some alleged protest at Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois. Also, an article about the cruel and unusual conditions of confinement at Menard Correctional Center.

I was sent here to Pontiac Correctional Center because Stateville I.A.[?] members — in retaliation for me filing grievances and a 1983 on them — framed me as a ringleader in that alleged protest. I have since come to find out (as I suspected all along) that no protest occurred. Yet, I was punished with a year segregation for the false ticket I.A. issued against me.

I wrote an 11-page letter for ULK to publish in which I addressed this, the issues at Menard Correctional Center, and how I filed a suit on the I.A. for issuing me two false tickets in retaliation for me exercising my First Amendment rights.

The I.A. here intercepted that letter and wrote me up for Dangerous Communications, and attempting Dangerous Disturbance. I was found guilty and given six months segregation amongst other things. I filed a grievance and for the second time in my 12 years within Illinois Department of Corrections the ticket was expunged. The Grievance Officer called the Director and the Director told him to expunge the ticket and Final Summary Report.

Hopefully, this letter reaches you. Did the February 2012 letter of mine reach you? Just wondering if it went out since the ticket was expunged.

I had to refile my suit and did so last week. I think the judge may have appointed me counsel (as she should) because I filed another 1983 in the same envelope against Correctional Officer Christopher M. Medin from Stateville and already received a form to serve on him via the U.S. Marshal.

It is imperative that this letter be published as other prisoners were set up as well. My suit is in the Northern District under the title Mejia v. Harrington, et al., No. 12 C 2824.

All of the ULKs I received were confiscated by the I.A. here (Paul Blackwell) and I have grievances pending on those matters. Now all of a sudden I cannot have the March/April 2012 ULK. I have a grievance pending on that. Well, it's that hour for me to withdraw but open your minds and not your porno mags and state property boxes.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We are publishing this letter almost one year after it was sent to us because of the recent campaign being initiated in Illinois to expose and fight the censorship of Under Lock & Key and other mail from MIM(Prisons).

As is demonstrated here, we have limited access to information coming from behind the walls, and rely on the reports of our correspondents on the ground to tell us about how the prison movement is developing. The article from ULK 24 reported a unified uprising against conditions of confinement in the same spirit as the California action in July 2011. The more correspondents who write in on the political movement in their prison, the more sound information we will have to report on in ULK, particularly where we can cross-reference different reports to get an overall picture of what is going on. Get in touch if you'd like more direction on how to become a ULK Field Correspondent.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Texas Pigs Break Policies to Torture Prisoners

I am writing to update you on my current situation and the goings on around the gulags. On 1/23/2013 Delta wing was hit unexpectedly with a shakedown during which I was found in possession of a large shard of glass. This is a level three offense so I was left in the dayroom for several hours awaiting placement on L wing. Around 5:15pm John Ellis, who the porkchops bow to as a sergeant, brought four of his cronies to escort me to L wing. I have had words with Ellis in the past and he has threatened to smash me.

When we get to L wing I was greeted to murmurs of disapproval and a couple of porkchops who knew me shaking their heads and saying "there goes the peace and conformity." This brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye as it's good to know I haven't been forgotten. The porkchop assigned to the position of turnkey was asked by Ellis what cells were open, to which he responded quickly "121 is open". Immediately I realized it was a set up and mentally prepared for a physical assault. It was not a physical assault but a mental assault. 121 is the hotbox, a small cage with plexiglass surrounding the outside designed for mental torture and abuse. My placement in the hot box was proof that the porkchops disregard their own rules and regulations as possession of a weapon is not behavior that merits placement in the hotbox. Ellis did this in an attempt to break my concentration and push me into conformity. Ellis said "121 sounds good" and the rest of the porkchops conformed to his intentional breaking of TDCJ policy.

When the cell door was closed Ellis told me to "have fun in the shit water." Two nights earlier an HIV positive prisoner flooded the cell with water mixed with his blood, urine, and feces. To be honest I noticed water, but floods are typical on L wing. That night my request for cleaning materials was ignored. The porkchop working the wing was Casey Ellis and he refused to bring me my property and I was forced to sleep in boxers on a metal bunk with no type of clothing or covering, and the temperature dropped to around 30 degrees.

I woke up and started making noise by kicking on the door. When I was finally successful in getting the attention of a porkchop he threatened to spray gas on me. When he realized I was calling his bluff he asked me what I wanted and I told him I needed my property. He then told me he was under orders by John Ellis to not give me anything, but because it was their Friday he would personally inventory my stuff and get it to me before he left which he did. The next night I asked everyone who walked by for cleaning supplies but no one would give them to me. That morning I finally got someone to listen to my demand to be moved out of 121, and I was put in a regular cell.

After describing the specific abuse brought down on me, I'd like to bring attention to the contradictions within the Ad-Seg policy (AD) - 03.50 as authorized by Rick Thaler CID Director.

Section IV 2. states "Indoor recreational areas shall be equipped with a minimum of one exercise mat, one chinning bar, a game table, a toilet, and a drinking fountain." I have been on the Coffield Unit over three years and have not seen an exercise mat ever. There is a urinal but no toilet, therefore defecation is a process of torture because a prisoner who may need to defecate cannot and is forced to hold it for an hour or until the prisoner gets the attention of the wing chop and then the chop may refuse to let him out. Further, several of the Ad-Seg wings including Delta and L wing have either non working urinals and/or a non-working sink. It is also per policy that the outside recreation yards are furnished with basketballs, which they are not, as the porkchops are known to stand in the hallway and continuously dribble the balls.

This now brings me to Section IV F "wholesome meals." The policy states "administrative segregation offenders shall have access to nutritional meals in accordance with the food service policy. Safety precautions shall be followed in serving meals pursuant to PO-07.006 administrative segregation officer." There's no such thing as a nutritional meal on Coffield, the supposed diet for a healthy meal is usually an undercooked hamburger or pork patty and a small serving of undercooked vegetables. The regular trays are no better because the kitchen workers steal our food, bag it up and sell it back to us and the SS help them get over on us. Now I don't knock the hustle, but steal from porkchops not the prisoners. I'm doing a lot of research through TDCJ policies for more potential grievances to which I'll keep you informed on the outcome.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade does a good job of exposing the abuse at the hands of Coffield Unit pigs. And we need to document their violations of their own policies, and use those policies to try to gain some livable conditions for our comrades. The grievance system is one battle we can sometimes use to win these victories. Though as is documented by our Texas fight to get [url-https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/TX/16] our grievances recognized, all too often the prison ignores legitimate grievances. Under Lock & Key is a good tool for exposure of this type of information, but our work doesn't stop there, we must educate everyone around us about the need to fight back, and the ties between the oppression in prison and the criminal injustice system as a whole, and the underlying system of imperialism. This is our day-to-day job as anti-imperialists.

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[Abuse]
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Redefining Violence

If you can't criticize a country without being hunted down for ten years and shot to death, along with innocent wimmin and children, in your own living room eating shish kabob. If you can't criticize a pig for putting too much pressure on your neck with his knee, as you lie face down, unarmed on cement, without being shot to death in the back. If you can't speak up about your countries military terrorism without being exterminated in the process. It's violence!

If you can't write essays on the internet without being refused parole for doing so. Even though the families of dead captives, who were killed by solitary violence, are helped by your essays and remembrances. Even if that speaking up lessens further future suicides because the most violent, abusive pigs were removed. To be punished for this. It's violence for stopping violence.

Yet it's me being punished for being violent in this damn solitary cage. Even though I've never been violent.

I've never starved children to death by economic sanctions. I've never fired on an unarmed tied individual as he lay on his stomach on cement, or sat lashed fighting to a wooden chair. I've never pepper sprayed anyone. Nor have I dragged anyone anywhere and shot them to death. This hand has never injected people with poison, without their consent.

A lot of people call me worthless and crazy but you don't see me tracking them down and shooting them, and their wives and children, over leftover steaming bowls of kebab.

Did you see the celebrations for Osama Bin Laden's family's murder? Have you watched fat, drunken people exit a firing squad execution giving high fives and cheers for witnessing a murder? Have you ever watched 500,000 children starve to death because of your country's economy sanctions?

What about 15 million children starving to death worldwide annually because Amerikkkan capitalism/imperialism chooses to destroy excess grains and throw out the piles upon piles of MacDonald's fast food that's partially overcooked? Destroy food because no one will buy it. Can't buy it because they don't even know what money is.

You can't steal Third World resources and teach those in the Third World economics at the same time. But missionaries do a fine job teaching "the meek shall inherit the earth," as that very earth is stolen from under the bishops' students feet.

You can't destroy millions of captives and teach revolutionary politics and high self-esteem at the same time. Psychiatrists work perfect by teaching "you are inferior beings who lack what these pills provide." As these pigs turn us inferior.

Let us fear perfect solutions to imaginary problems as this is an age old formula for genocide. And let the oppressed unite as one and intimidate back! After all, it is us in the majority with history on our side.

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[Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Retaliation for Exposing Vicious Beating

On December 28, 2012 at approximately 8pm, I and many other prisoners housed here at Estelle Unit High Security witnessed a heinous act of violence. Four TDCJ employees viciously beat a mentally ill Black prisoner whose hands were cuffed behind his back. Some prisoners wrote grievances, and some wrote their family members to complain about the inhumane and barbaric behavior of the officers. In the months and weeks that followed I have witnessed one of the most devious and calculated programs of retaliation that I have ever seen anywhere.

Lieutenant Deward Demoss who works on this High Security Unit has undertaken the task of targeting prisoners who spoke out against the beating. He has instructed the officers under his supervision to write fabricated and bogus disciplinary reports on specifically "pre-chosen" prisoners. Then Lieutenant Demoss goes further by violating prisoners' due process rights by faking investigation and hearing entries on paper work. The coup de grace is when Lt. Deward Demoss actually runs court on the prisoner who has been "set up" by this modern day Agent of Repression! Yes, comrades, this is an example of the type of pig Ward Churchill and Jim Vanderwall warned us about.

However, all is not lost. Many prisoners have responded to this unethical and criminal behavior by writing numerous Step 1 and Step 2 grievances. Letters have been sent to the ACLU, state legislators, and the media. Prison officials have even knocked out the local Pacifica Radio affiliate, KPFT, to sabotage prisoners access to the fearless free voices on KPFT who champion prisoner issues. Stay tuned for more reports from the front lines.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is not the first time Deward Demoss has been called out in Under Lock & Key for his work at Estelle prison. We know the problem isn't really about one individual, replacing Demoss will not change the fundamentally oppressive criminal injustice system. This prisoner is correct to call out the responses of filing grievances and publicizing the violence and subsequent retaliation. The pages of Under Lock & Key are open to all who work to expose injustice in their institutions. We encourage everyone to take an example from this prisoner and build both publicity and resistance to the repression. And then we must take it one step further and educate all involved about the role individual oppressors and actions play as a part of the imperialist system as a whole. Through this education and organizing we can build the anti-imperialist movement.

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