The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
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La Huelga Continuá el 26 de Septiembre

El 26 de septiembre, los presos en Pelican Bay State Prison volverá a su huelga de hambre indefinida después de 2 meses de receso, durante el cual negoció con el Estado. La huelga se inició el 1 de julio, barriendo a través de California, y se dejó en suspenso por los organizadores el 21 de julio. Negociadores de presos múltiples de Pelican Bay han confirmado que Scott Kernan del Departamento de Correcciones y Rehabilitación de California (CDCR) prometió que las 5 demandas serían satisfechas, pero que necestiban 2-3 semanas par cumplir. Esta ventana de tiempo ha pasado hace tiempo, y los compañeros se están preparando para lo que promete ser un tramo más largo sin comida.

En el 23 de agosto, el legislador Tom Ammiano encabezó una audiencia sobre las condiciones de los SHU de California y el proceso de la validación que se coloca la gente allá. Se hizo un eco de audiencias previas que no paró la tortura en el SHU, pero prometió que empujara el tema más que había ido en el pasado.

La huelga no terminó sobre algunos gorritos y calendarios. Las cartas que vinieron de los líderes después de la mensaje que la huelga terminó eran muy claras que sólo daban el estado tiempo para cumplir con sus demandas antes de que recomenzarían la huelga de hambre.

Necesitamos aprender construir las batallas prolongadas y sostenibles. No hay ningunos soluciones rápidos, y los presos no pueden fiar en la prensa y las organizaciones ajenos para salvarles. Recientemente, Pelican Bay censuró el paquete de estudiar de MIM(Prisons) sobre la estructura organizacional. Reconocen la importancia de tal información para los preso realmente organizarse y ejercer sus derechos. Por tanto que quieren clasificarnos como un grupo de amenaza a la seguridad por hacerlo, MIM(Prisons) continua luchar por nuestro derecho a apoyar a la organización basada en la prisión. Porque son los presos que tienen la motivación y la determinación hacer los cambios que deben hacerse para terminar este sistema opresivo.

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[Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
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Still Waiting for Promised Changes from Strike

And so we begin a trickle of improvements here in SHU. A couple of weeks ago we received a memorandum stating we can now purchase sweatshirts, sweatpants and shorts starting immediately. Also prisoners go to committee every six months and so on our next committee if we have gone one year without a writeup we can be approved to purchase colored pens, pastels, art paper and be able to take one photo a year. They have also placed a few different items on the canteen list.

These changes may seem trivial, and in a way they are, but I also see the impact they will have on prisoners mentally. I for one am an artist and I sit here thinking of the art I can create, the revolutionary art I can do with colored pens. I also understand what a photo will mean to my loved ones, yet all of this stuff is really superficial.

The demand with the most meat is that of dismantling the debriefing process, which, according to CDCR officials, is still being "looked at." Even if the other four demands are granted, it is not enough, as we would not be asking for art paper and beanies, had it not been for the Gestapo-like policy of debriefing. If the debriefing process were not in existence the majority of prisoners would not be validated as gang members and associates and the SHU would not exist as we currently know it!

The world has seen the unmasked villain and so the state of California got a nudge to make this 'problem' disappear. They look for what they can do to appease the public and the world, pacifying the prison population, while at the same time maintaining the stranglehold on the imprisoned oppressed nations and keeping the revolutionary prisoners sealed off and isolated from the prison masses out in general populations of other prisons. This is seen in their granting of other demands and not touching their sacred cow - the debriefing process.

I don't see prisoners (especially those in SHU) accepting to spend life in SHU with the debriefing process as it is even if the state gives us photos. Many prisoners do not even have any money on our books to buy sweats or pastels! Most don't have anybody to even send a photo to so what good is it to the indigent prisoner? This decision to grant some demands is devious in its agenda. To properly analyze this "development" we need to look at who this will benefit?

There are in prisons the haves and the have nots, we all know both segments. In prison parasitism is magnified a hundred times. There are conscious or more progressive prisoners who look out for the less fortunate prisoner no matter who it is, and there are others who will only talk to those who have things. The state officials understand this and have employed a means of divide and conquer. On the one hand you have prisoners who will benefit from these crumbs and will be satisfied with the crumbs, and then you have the have nots who see no improvement along with the conscious prisoner who understands that conditions of the SHU, i.e. no photos, no color pens, art supplies, etc, are "symptoms" of the problem but the main problem lies in the SHU itself! Because once you take the SHU out of the picture, or even the debriefing process, all the 'symptoms' such as lack of beanies and sunlight go away. The state understands this and after we gained world attention they gave in and gave us these crumbs but did not give in to the most important demand around the debriefing process.

This effort laid a foundation and opened up contacts for many prisoners and showed the power that comes from such resistance. The footprint has been set and so I'm sure that path will not be forgotten, time will tell if all the demands are met or not.

Real change will not come so long as the imperialists continue their rule. Only when socialism reaches these shores will we see SHU conditions abolished. We can protest today for these abuses and tomorrow new repressive shoots will sprout up and we will be protesting those and on and on. Yet these battles are essential as learning experience and uplifting the political consciousness of prisoners, as well as to develop a current of mutual respect and support between prisoners and activists out in public society, while bringing an even stronger United Front for future efforts. To many so-called activists, prisoners are the last people on their mind, and sadly some don't care what happens to prisoners or care that prisoners are tortured by Amerika. Yet when prisoners begin to struggle and show their humynity it brings many to the prisoners' plight who have previously stood on the sidelines when it came to prisoners' struggles. So as of now the most important of the strike demands, the dismantling of the debriefing process, is still up in the air. So prisoners learn from past efforts while grappling about the future, as we have no choice but to keep struggling against this torture.

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[Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Running Out of Space for Falsely Validated SHU Prisoners

I am currently serving an indeterminate SHU term here at the infamous Pelican Bay. All the SHU space is full here yet they continue to send prisoners to their torture compound. To make room for the growing number of (unjustly) validated prisoners B-4 mainline has been manipulated to accommodate them. And B-5 A section now houses Administrative Segregation(ASU) overflow.

This leaves me and others like me (with long SHU terms) to merely exist in ASU, a concrete soul snatcha. The powers that be will tell some of us that we're property housed due to lack of bed space. According to their rules SHU prisoners are allowed one appliance. Everyone knows TVs can be poisonous but they can come in handy during situations like this. Never the less death island (ASU) does not issue out appliances (per chapter 5, article 43 ASU IMs are allowed an appliance). Pelican Bay ASU is one of the last ASUs not to be modified to support electric appliances. Without hesitation I continue to put pen to paper in an attempt to slay Goliath by making him play by house rules.

The saga continues here at Skeleton Bay where double standards are eroding the conditions of professionalism amongst staff, which is worn on the population's face. Prisoners are eroding mentally, physically and spiritually from the elements of sucka punch justice applied by the powers that be. It is unexplainable to me why we all are not fifty pounds lighter. When the strike was announced, all of us here in ASU had all the motivation in the world to go in hard on that. Due to lack of communication, the foundation of structure and organization were unapproachable, resulting in the scrambling for excuses and loopholes not to stand up and be accounted for.

MIM(Prisons), asante for allowing me the time and space to exhale. By the way I would also like to congratulate you on your coverage and support of the hunger strike. Also, what you're doing with the Peace Summit is active! I'm working on something as we speak. It would be a shame if I didn't get in on that. Major props to MIM(Prisons), ULK, United Front and all the dedicated women and men at the MIM(Prisons) fam. I build on every issue of ULK then spread the wealth.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have a few things to add to this useful account of the situation with SHU in Pelican Bay. First, we hope this comrade and others, who are stuck in their cells 24/7 make good use of their time and read and study! There is a lot that can be done. TVs should not be necessary if you have books and pen and paper. Let us know if you need something to study, and write articles about what's going on like this comrade did. Second, we need our comrades in this situation to start the educating of others now, so that next time there is a mass action in the prisons we can count on everyone to understand the importance of participating. Share Under Lock & Key, start study groups, and get organizing!

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[Campaigns] [Political Repression] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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CDCR Lies About Punishing Hunger Strikers

"What you and I need to do is learn to forget our differences... We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator... Once we all realize that we have a common enemy, then we unite on the basis of what we have in common." - Malcolm X

It is a historical truth that repression breeds resistance, which is why we prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison's (PBSP) Security Housing Units (SHUs) and Communications Management Units (CMUs) took the initiative to come together, and go on a hunger strike in order to say to our oppressors that "20-plus years of state-sponsored torture and persecution in which our human rights have been routinely violated, for no other reason than to keep us prisoners confined in their mad scientist-like torture chambers as alleged prison gang members is enough!!!"

But as we all know, repression evolves and develops in cycles. So on 2 August 2011 PBSP and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials threatened all hunger strike participants with punitive retaliatory measures, for the sole act of our hunger strike participation. This happened in spite of the fact that we have a human right to peacefully protest any unjust laws, as warranted to us in the First Amendment of the U.$. Constitution. An unjust law is no law at all! The unjust laws in this case are the ones legalizing the indefinite housing of us prisoners in solitary confinement (SHU/CMU).

We prisoners were issued the following CDC 128-B Chrono that states:

The California Code of Regulations, Title 15, identifies that leading and/or participating in a strike, disturbance, or work stoppage is a violation of the Director's rules. On or about July 1, 2011 you were identified as having participated in a statewide hunger strike event along with in excess of 6000 other CDCR inmates in support of perceived overly harsh SHU housing issues originating from within the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison. This activity created a non-violent significant disruption to institutional healthcare services and Department of Corrections programming and operations throughout the state, which included Pelican Bay State Prison, where you were assigned during your participation in this event. Your behavior and actions were out of compliance with the Director's rules, and this documentation is intended to record your actions; and advise that progressive discipline will be taken in the future for any reoccurrence of this type of behavior. Date: 08/02/11. From: K. Welch, Correctional Officer.

However, this CDC 128-B Chrono is contradicted by an article that appeared in The Daily Triplicate newspaper during the month of June 2011, that was entitled "Pelican Bay Hunger Strike in the Offing. Some Inmates May Stop Eating Friday" by Anthony Skeens. Within the article, CDCR Spokeswoman Terry Thorton stated, "There are no punitive measures for inmates refusing to eat."(1) The struggle continues!

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[Education] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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PBSP Hunger Strike Update - Education Needed

Time is Knowledge

To update you on the hunger strike issue, the progress of negotiations are not complete as far as what we hope in regards to the prisoncrats demonstrating a sense of humanity. The struggle is never about seeking more than necessary. It's bad enough as it is that, for the most part, prisoners in the short corridor are already doing life sentences handed down by the courts. The opportunity to change this depressive life style will afford us the means and the will to reach out to the prison populace and help channel backwards thinking into more progressive and firm social-consciousness and to establish MIM study groups with the sole intent of elevating the level of consciousness.

The California prison system in many ways is behind the times in relation to other prison systems in this country. Being concerned about the materialistic aspects of life, subordinated to sub-survival rather than political consciousness. The coming together of the most oppressed, repressed and suppressed klass of prisoners has established a progressive precedent in hopes of changing the dynamics of the prison klass and all its ills. This is the real fear of the prisoncrats: social and political conscious! We cannot afford complacency, militants wither away like the wind. The struggle is a long haul and having the equipment is about fortitude.

The SHU is specifically assigned to minimize our effectiveness in reaching the bulk of the prison klass, no one should fear genuine and proper education, like Malcolm said: "it's the passport to the future."


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that the Pelican Bay Food Strike was a good step forward in establishing unity in struggle for the common goal of raising conditions of prisoners. We need to take advantage of this opening and stand firm in demands for change. The other vital piece to advancing unity among the oppressed imprisoned population is through ongoing education and political struggle. For it is through struggle and study that greater unity is reached. We need to be honest about where we agree and where we disagree, while focusing on how we can work together when we agree on important things. Then future actions will be even stronger and inspire the masses even more through unity in action. These are the two aspects of developing point 2 of the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles.

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[Police Brutality] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
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Another Black Man Murdered by California Police

As a followup to R7's July 2011 article Assassination Nation, I note the international practices of Amerika in extra judicial killing. But the reality of the matter is that we do not have to even look internationally in that I recall the assassination of Oscar Grant by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) pig Johannes Mehserle who only received a two year sentence that did not even include actually seeing the inside of a California Department of Corrections prison. Too many times right here in the so-called land of the free, people from oppressed nations are assassinated by the agents of law enforcement as was the case of the July 10 2011 assassination of former professional football player David "Deacon" Turner who resided in Kern County, California.

On July 10 2011 Turner, a 56-year-old Black man, went to a mini-mart gas station to purchase himself a couple cans of beer, which is not a crime. However, upon exiting the mini-mart he found himself accosted by Kern County's finest sheriff's deputies who claimed as their justification for the harassment that they allegedly received a report that an adult was purchasing alcohol for minors.

Turner was subjected to search, to which he voluntarily submitted, and after which he asked if he was under arrest. The deputy stated he was not, so Turner exercised his supposed right to leave and picked up his bag and turned to leave. However the pig was upset that Turner chose to exercise his right to leave and not partake in any non-custodial interrogation so the sheriff deputy struck Turner from behind with his baton and the second sheriff's deputy drew his pistol and shot Turner in his abdomen. Turner died at the scene.

The mini-mart has surveillance equipment with multiple camera feeds which were seized by the Kern County sheriff's department. Then Kern County sheriff Donnie Youngblood released to the local news media a segment of video feed that shows Turner exiting the mini mart and initially being accosted and searched by the Kern County sheriff deputy. It includes the search and subsequent brief verbal exchange, which lines up with the witness statement that Turner asked if he was under arrest and the deputy told him he was not. The video also shows that Turner exercised his right to be on his way and the sheriff deputy running up and striking Turner multiple times with his baton. However, all of a sudden five seconds of the video is missing during which David Turner is assassinated. The sheriffs department claimed that the camera feed malfunctioned!

Sheriff Donnie Youngblood claimed that David Turner attempted to hit the sheriff's deputy in the head with the bag that contained two cans of beer, yet the video feed does not show Turner do anything that could be construed as aggressive and the non-law-enforcement witnesses stated to reporters that they did not see Turner do anything aggressive towards the deputy. Yet the sheriff's department ruled the assassination to be within departmental guidelines.

What further raises concern about the assassination is the fact that when the sheriff's department was compelled to release video feed from another camera, it also was missing a five second feed that matched the initial video feed released, yet each camera had independent motion sensors. I just wanted to point out that assassinations by the U.$. government and their lackeys are not just happening in other countries, they are also happening in California and beyond with impunity.

Just as the U.$. government issues its spin, Donnie Youngblood is also issuing the tried, tested and patently untrue spin. It includes the official alteration of video evidence so as to minimize and cover up another assassination matching that of Oscar Grant, many others across the state of California, and beyond.

Since official assassination is tolerated by the local, county, state and national citizenry such will continue to take place. As with every practice perfected on citizens here, it is exported to the rest of the world. As R7 points out, the inner city campaign of control through terror occurred in the so-called city of brotherly love.

It is said that Amerika is the land of the free but I see it as the land of the lost souls that tolerate state-sponsored terrorism and deception.


MIM(Prisons) adds: A closer study of the history of Amerikans in relation to oppressed nations in North America and around the world reveals that they actively support and participate in the Assassination Nation that they are (see J. Sakai's Settlers for an excellent history proving this very point).

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[Spanish] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
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CDCR da Palabrería, La Huelga se Extiende

Tres semanas dentro de la huelga, CDCR ha dado su repuesta oficial lo que se puede resumir, "La vamos a investigar." El 15 de Julio CDCR les hace una propuesta a los huelguistas de Pelican Bay que termine la huelga sin prometer cambios. Los presos rechazaron la oferta y continuaron con el hambre, que calificaron de "humo y espejos" y de "insultar". (1) Estas personas están dispuestos a morir por los derechos fundamentales que ha sido negado durante años, décadas, para muchos, y CDCR llega a la mesa con nada

Nuestras preguntas han recibido las mismas repuesta del Director sobre, "Operando en acuerdo completo de la ley . . . mientras proveyendo por el tratamiento humano y ético de todos los prisioneros." Aun más indignante, el Director afirma que CDCR proveen, "la capacidad de hacer programas con todo seguridad y participar en su rehabilitación." ¡La huelga está ocurriendo porque no hay programas ni rehabilitación!

Los que están en contacto con los huelguistas nos informan que algunos en Pelican Bay quien habían dejado el ayuno han regresado a la huelga en repuesta a la negligencia de CDCR. También hemos recibido palabra de 4 camaradas que están en el Instituto para Hombres de California en Chino que ellos acaban de comenzar una huelga de hambre en solidaridad después de recibir noticias desde MIM(Prisons).

Otros reportes recibidos recientemente incluyen uno en lo que United Struggle from Within organizó camaradas en Kern Valley State Prison por una huelga de hambre de 24 horas en solidaridad. En High Desert State Prison, donde los marranos servían doble porciones de comida para impedir una huelga, unos cuantos camaradas rehusaron la comida desde el primer de julio hasta el tercero. Secciones enteros de California State Prison - Corcoran todavía están de huelga y los médicos están viniendo regularmente para pesar los prisioneros.


notas:
1. California Prison Focus

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[Campaigns] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California]
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Hunger Strike Report from Kern Valley

I am currently at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) and I was involved in the recent hunger strike. We stayed on strike until July 5th, not just the 24 hour strike that your article stated we did at KVSP. It would have gone on longer until ISU and IGI started pulling out certain individuals and demanded we get off the hunger strike! As you know, validations are very easy to come by nowadays. So the hunger strike ended.

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[Campaigns] [California Correctional Institution] [California]
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Two Weeks on Food Strike: Seeking Update

I got your letter about the food strike. I did my best to hang in there, I gave it 2 weeks and I had to eat. Sorry, I could not last any longer. So what is the outcome of the food strike? Did they accomplish their goal? Can you please let me know what's going on right now? I am validated and I got 6 years clean and they won't let me out of the SHU either.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are doing our best to keep our comrades behind bars updated on the food strike, which ended at Pelican Bay on July 21, at least temporarily. The latest issue of Under Lock & Key just went out with this update. The original goals of the strike were not won, but the administrators promised a major review of policies and the latest report from others in touch with strike leaders say that the CDCR has a few weeks to complete their review before the strike begins again.

One thing is for sure, if we don't keep up the pressure and hold them to not only review but actual policy change, the conditions of abuse and torture in prisons across California will remain the same. In addition, hunger strikers are likely to face reprisals as punishment for their protest if we don't continue to increase support inside and outside California prisons.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Hunger Strike a Shot Across Bow of CDCR Battleship

The recent mass hunger strike got the prisoncrats' attention even though the prisoncrats seek to downplay or minimize the success of the strike by spoon feeding the media. In particular, their Sacramento Bee spin doctor stooge accepts the official representations which contain very few facts mixed with the typical misleading, provocative and confusing innuendo so as to perpetuate their coined myths.

The public is gullible and must be constantly educated to see through muddy water. Such has been the case for years because of the assumption that government officials and law enforcement allegedly have their safety, security and best interests at the forefront when it's really all about the money or budget. The CDCR purveys to the public that the most dangerous and supposedly most hardened prison gang leaders called for the hunger strike even though they also claim that the modus operandi of gangs are violence and intimidation which is totally contrary to the utilization of a passive non-violent form of protest which requires self restraint and determination.

The secretary, Matthew Cate, stated in a CDCR prepared statement that "hunger strikes are dangerous and ineffective as a means for prisoners to attempt to negotiate." Yet, the administrative appeal process is also dangerous and ineffective as each level rubber stamps the arbitrary decision of the prior level. Even when the decision was obviously in error and a threat to prisoner health and safety, they refuse to accept responsibility and accountability.

What the secretary has not said is that the hunger strike by masses of prisoners have in fact overwhelmed the prison medical department with additional medical expense to an already overburdened prison healthcare system. The strikers pose a more significant problem for the prisoncrats' budget than the shooting and gassing of violent prisoners in prison uprisings or even non-violent prisoners who are also shot, gassed/sprayed and beat with zeal as prisoncrats claim they were a threat to institutional security [see grievance campaign].

Prisoncrats, as any conscious prisoner should know, could not care less about the health of prisoners. They do care about the expense of providing constitutional mandated medical care. Therefore we should question the prisoncrats' claim to have had plans since January to review and change some policies, which were only revealed to us after weeks of food strikes.

Prisoncrats tend to take full advantage of the divide and conquer concept and are at their best when they are able to pit the lumpen divisions against each other for amusement or distraction which is why one should be suspicious of any claim by the prisoncrats to want to eliminate what they have for years encouraged and perpetuated in the penal system to justify the excessive prison budget.

The mass hunger strike may have only lasted 20 days, but it was like a shot across the bow of the CDCR's battleship by an enemy they can not justifiably target with all their massive violent resources and infrastructure. Yes the mass hunger strike got the prisoncrats' attention and their immediate response was to again expand the censorship of information prisoners receive so as to keep us unaware of what's going on. However, it also got their budgetary attention via their healthcare pocketbook.

The hunger strike also got the attention of the CCPOA which realizes that such strikes benefit the SEIU who are gaining more clout in the prison system and custody staff have effectively been rendered impotent as they do not have a real or effective contingency for dealing with non-violent forms of protest that they can not counteract or employ violence to suppress and to that extent the mass hunger strike was a success.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
Many are writing in disappointed with the outcome of the California hunger strike so far. But as this comrade points out, the strategy of the hunger strikers was effective in a number of ways. And as the CDCR is given a "brief grace period," as one of the strike initiators called it, we are regrouping. There are many who just found out about the strike as it was happening. If the CDCR continues to drag its feet on making any real changes, as we all expect they will, we should see an even stronger and more widespread response from prisoners across California and beyond. Of course, CDCR is regrouping as well, and we must guard against efforts to trick prisoners into thinking they do not share the same conditions and the same enemies.

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