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[Organizing] [California Correctional Institution] [California]
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Half a Bar of Soap

Approximately 30-45 days ago all 46 SHU prisoners at CCI (California Correctional Institution) Tehachapi received an institution wide memo from the Associate Warden, in response to a complaint from a prisoner in regards to soap allotment. The main contention being that we had not received soap for an entire week. Now this would seem a legitimate endeavor on the surface - with one problem. This comrade apparently fired off some half-cocked letter with no proactive action to support it. The end result, of course, being very ineffective and worsening the situation.

The typical administration response we got was that we are only allotted 1/2 a bar of soap per week. Until that point we were receiving an entire bar of soap. The justification for the cut was the current excuse of 'budget cuts'. Of course this was a punitive response.

There's one very important thing that I would like to stress to all comrades: the major difference between bitching and complaining legitimately. To simply bitch is to make an issue out of current circumstances/conditions with no intention of following through to the court system or gathering outside pressure with support. A complaint is supported by affirmative action with planning, forethought, and distinct political goals. In our case, causing a blow to the imperialist system of incarceration.

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[Control Units] [Legal] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
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Keep Fighting Gang Validation

I would like to comment on the "Legal Tips to Fight Gang Validation article that was printed in ULK 16. This comrade's tips are greatly appreciated and will help a lot of prisoners who are not familiar with our rights in the validation process. Here's the thing though, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is aware of such due process rights and we get a 114-D lockup order, a chance to reboot our validations, and to be put up for the Security Housing Unit (SHU) by classification. However, it's all just a big charade without any meaningful review given at any time and no matter what we say or what evidence we present to show the source items are insufficient, unreliable and can't be used as source items per the Title 15 and relevant authority, we are ignored at every level.

I 602ed [grieved] my validation and clearly showed why my validation is false on all levels but was just given a general response at the 2nd and 3rd levels, as all prisoners are, saying I'm wrong and my validation meets the department's requirements. CDCR refuses to follow their rules and is just rubber stamping prisoners' validations and going through the motions that are nothing more than a front in an attempt to dupe the courts into believing we got our due process.

Now in my optimistic attitude I thought the courts would see the arbitrariness of my validation and actually, you know, follow the law. But when I sent in my habeas corpus to the Lassen County Superior Court it took them all of 6 days to deny my petition without holding any hearings, which is the only way the court could have determined that my source items showed "some evidence" and were reliable as they stated. So I sent my habeas corpus to the court of appeals hoping I can get a real review, which I have yet to receive. My case is no different from all other prisoners being validated here at High Desert State Prison and it won't change until we shed light on this dark process. So my question is, what do we do when the officials and courts that swore to uphold the law are disregarding it without a second thought? We all will continue to 602 and petition the courts about our fake validations for they can't ignore us forever.

Another case that is vital for validated prisoners to get their hands on to study and apply to their situation is the Lira v. Cate, No. C-00-0905 S1 (N.D.Cal. Sept. 30, 2009) which is regarding a former validated prisoner who challenged his gang validation and lack of due process and won.


MIM(Prisons) responds: They can't ignore us forever if we team up. As pointed out, people are facing the same situations all over. Legal battles are an important tool in the struggle, but we know the whole system, including the courts, is set up to oppress certain groups. Part of these struggles is making connections and working together. With enough unity around the right issues our reliance on the courts becomes less and less necessary.

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[Organizing] [Security] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
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Lumpen Loyalty Dividing the Struggle

My question to MIM(Prisons) is this: how could you consciously and intently continue to give known rats a forum or conduit to speak and voice an opinion as if he was an honorable or principled man? When has it been right in history to accept traitors? Never!

Let's keep shit non-fiction. Everybody who betrays their own can never be trusted. MIM(P), you're setting a dangerous precedent that should not be emulated in any regard. Those that will compromise all their beliefs and yet find a voice to be heard shows the weakness of the cadre. Real folks see them for who they really are: parrots, poison and cancerous cells. When one practices deceit long enough they begin to believe it. The truth and lies reverse roles. A coward dies a thousand deaths, a real one only once.

What separates the best from the rest is the loyalty, honor and dignity one has for self as well as those of like stature.


MIM(Prisons) responds:

"It is scandalous to Christians to think of a world without timeless moral values such as loyalty, honor and integrity — characteristics that God supposedly places in each of us once and for all time, especially in the more hard-line Protestant religions upholding predetermination. These moral characteristics are then referred to by the Christians as our 'moral character.' The Stalinists' opposition to such an ideology leaves the Christians aghast and hence we 'Stalinists' appear as 'amoral' to those who claim timeless values."
—MC5. Anna Larina. MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue, p.53.

Ironically, this quote comes from an article that defends Stalin for overseeing the killing of innocent people in an effort to eliminate spies and infiltrators during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Today we are in much different conditions in our discussion of spies and snitches, but "honor" and "loyalty" are still used to attack us. We would say that even the concept of being "principled" is dangerous. Principled is too often viewed as picking a position and sticking to it no matter what, right or wrong. But Stalin only stuck to one principle, and that was to serve the people by building socialism. Everything else is determined by a scientific analysis of conditions.

In Stalin's conditions, the principal contradiction was the fascists versus the first socialist state in modern history. Spies could have brought the destruction of the Soviet Union. In the U.$. prison movement, the principal contradiction we face is the conflicts between the lumpen themselves. Without resolving these conflicts and building unity around the mutual interests of the imprisoned population, there is no prison movement to speak of. So we must combat ultra-leftism that prevents broader unity.

We know Special Needs Yards (SNYs) are not full of scientific revolutionaries, because that's not true anywhere in the U.$. prison system today. We know that many prisoners use snitching as a way out to get more for themselves. Yet as more and more people go to SNY to opt out of the bullshit warring that the pigs have promoted, the pariah status given to SNY prisoners is playing right into the hands of the state's divide and conquer strategies. As long as general population insists on playing by the pigs' rules, SNY will continue to be an outlet for those who don't want to be pawns in the game.

Despite the rhetoric of honor and loyalty, it is a minority who really live by these ideals. Perhaps that minority are more reliable comrades in the revolutionary struggle. On the other hand, we are trying to mobilize the prison population as a whole on behalf of the interests of the oppressed, and we believe that through education people can change their character.

Of course, there is a reason why not working with the pigs is a common principle among certain populations, while most Amerikans turn to them whenever they need help. No good can come for the oppressed from working with the pigs, but we must apply this principle in a way that best pushes struggle forward.

The lumpen have an ideology of self-sacrifice and dedication that comes from their experience as oppressed people. While we often print articles that reinforce this lumpen morality when it reinforces the unity of the oppressed against the oppressor, we must also address its weaknesses. When the idealism of the masses holds back progress, we must push hard for the acceptance of scientific truth.

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[Education] [California] [ULK Issue 20]
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Educational Warfare

The Prison Industrial Complex is a form of what I call "educational warfare." It is not a war that the PIC itself has enacted, but one which it carries out, quite effectively on its already captive masses, in collusion with the larger psychological warfare agenda of the governing neo-colonial system. The prisoners languish inside, trapped in a deplorable state of ignorance. Mental boundaries often go no further than the few city blocks of their own neighborhood's horizons. The illiteracy of the many would be laughable if it were not obvious that, for the most part, it is not self-induced. With no expectations that the captors will relent, for it is not in their interest to do so, the captives must endeavor to enlighten themselves in an organized manner.

With an annual nine-figure budget, California Department of Corruption and Debilitations spends a paltry 1% on education and that being mostly focused on hands-on trades. Most offenders who flow in and out of the revolving doors are short-termers. Those who do request the few educational programs available are placed on a waiting list and end up arriving in a program too late to complete it. They are released having a basic educational benefit of nil. A few can learn plumbing, electrical, or carpentry in order that they can be used in skilled peonage supporting the infrastructure of the cage that houses them.

It is no secret to officials that studies have proven the more a prisoner is educated the less likely they will become a recidivist. It is also confirmed knowledge that higher levels of learning translate into decreased levels of physical aggression in said individuals. That alone is a threat to prison officials who thrive on prisoner violence because they are given a financial boon in the form of hazard pay when such incidents occur. Not to mention politicians who thrive on incidents of violence to terrorize their constituents into voting one way or another. The only conclusion that one can arrive at is that it is desirable to those in charge to have a segment of the population destitute of their rights, politics, economics, social development, higher learning, organizing skills, and the value of true freedom.

It stands to reason that the forces who desire the true good of society must consider the importance of educating prisoners. Educated prisoners, when released, have not only more confidence, but they also possess greater opportunities of obtaining gainful employment. This will give them the potential to aid in restoring economic value to families and communities. Educated prisoners increase the pool of those who can become politically active to affect lasting societal change. Educated prisoners increase their chance of avoiding legal trouble and if faced with such, unjustly, may have better tools to avoid imprisonment. Educating prisoners will decrease crime and violence as minds expand and deepen. A society is judged by how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable, and is only as strong as its weakest link.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Though all that this prisoner explains is true, the imperialists don't see benefits from educating the oppressed. That is why we run a Free Political Books for Prisoners Program, and conduct political study classes with our comrades behind bars. For many prisoners this is the only education available, and we have seen great advances in understanding and organizing as the result of our programs. By expanding the understanding of the oppressed we heighten the contradictions that must be resolved to end this oppression. Only a society that has eliminated the profit motive of capitalist economics can grant all people the same rights and opportunities.

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[National Oppression] [High Desert State Prison] [California]
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Lockdown of "northern hispanics" at HDSP [Z-Unit Background Story]

I'm writing you today regarding High Desert State Prison's (HDSP) violation of my constitutionally protected rights (as well as the rights of many other inmates). Those violations include 14th amendment (due process), 1st amendment (freedom of religion) and 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) just to name a few! Now I would like to give you a little of the background and then a brief rundown on conditions here at HDSP in the Z Unit Administrative segregation Unit as well as how these violations are taking place.

On August 4, 2009 HDSP targeted "northern hispanic" prisoners on C-yard general population, due to supposed racial tension between white prisoners and "northern hispanic" prisoners (there was no tension until HDSP staff started spreading false rumors). Note: because of these rumors both white and "northern hispanic" prisoners were placed on lockdown the first week of June 2009. On August 4, 2009 staff turned all water off on C-yard prior to 8am. Then IGI/ISU started a building by building sweep of all (only) "northern hispanic" prisoners. All were systematically strip searched, cuffed and removed from their cells, wearing only boxers and shower thongs. Our boxers were then taped to our stomachs and around our legs (the taping was done on bare skin). All these prisoners were taken outside and wanded with hand held metal detectors and we were then sent to one of three destinations: 1) if your names was on the list for validation you went to the gym where you were medically cleared and then forced, by investigators, to be photographed, then sent to ad-seg. 2) if the list did not say validated by your name, and the metal detector did not beep you went to the dining hall. 3) if the wand beeped you went to potty watch. Note: some inmates went to potty watch even without the wand beeping. All "northern hispanic" prisoners' property was confiscated and thrown in the gym where it was searched and personal items were lost, destroyed and damaged by careless correctional officers.

This was simply a racially motivated attack by HDSP! Close to if not more than half of all "northern hispanics" on C-yard were removed from general population and sent to ad-seg and then validated.

Now the aforementioned is just the background and beginning to the violations of our constitutionally protected rights. Since my arrival in Z unit, staff has refused to follow the policies set forth in California Code of Regulations Title 15 section 3343 - conditions of segregation - with their willful and blatant disregard for following state created rules and regulations, they (HDSP) are in violation of the 14th amendment of the US constitution, specifically the Due Process Clause. Now let me briefly explain the conditions they are violating.

1) Clothing/laundry exchange - this has recently improved, however prisoners for the most part must still wash their clothing by hand, because the exchange offered is either old and worn out or there is only one or two different items available. Prisoners also do not receive proper winter attire. It is extremely cold and it snows much of the late fall, winter and early spring. The jackets given to us do not button up nor do they zip up, and prisoners are not allowed gloves or beanies. The only clothing we are allowed to wear outside at yard are a pair of socks, boxers, t-shirt, thin cloth jumpsuit, jacket and a lightweight pair of state issued slip-on shoes, and if a prisoner has already purchased their own, prior to ad-seg placement, a set of thermals. This is all in sub-zero temps.

2. Meals are served in unsanitary conditions. Food is served cold, mixed together some items are stale and fruit is rotten, and meat and other food is undercooked.

3. Mail is late, lost and destroyed, outgoing mail is lost, delayed or not mailed at all.

4. Personal cleanliness - prisoners are supposed to be allowed to shave 3 times a week, however in the year plus that I have been in Z unit I have never shaved more than once in any given week and then it's not with a razor, it's with haircutting clippers. Also indigent supplies such as the tooth floss and bodywash/soap is not always passed out. Supplies for cleaning our cells are not adequate to last the week nor are they always provided.

5. Exercise yard - yard is often canceled. For example in February of 2010 our section only had yard four times the entire month. Prisoners are supposed to get a minimum of 10 hours per week of yard. While at yard in the winter, prisoners are strip searched outside in snow, ice and 10 degree temps. While we are standing there naked correctional officers laugh and say "it's not that cold out here!" Not only do these actions listed above violate 14th amendment rights, they are also violating the 8th amendment and are (most if not all of them) a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

All of the previously mentioned issues I have tried to address via the institutional appeal system (CDCR 602) but I have been stopped at every turn. Staff either toss it in the trash, disregard it, or screen it out every time I attempt to bring these issues to the table. Therefore they are not allowing issues to be resolved administratively nor are they allowing us to be able to seek judicial review.

Other major issues include these validations from August 4, 2009 - most if not all of them are bogus as well as prejudicial. For example, not one point used to validate me meets CDCR criteria, state or federal laws. Now my initial paperwork said I was only under investigation. Less than 2 months later I received a second 114-D which said the first one was a lie, the investigation was concluded in July 2009 (which was prior to my ad-seg placement). These lies did not allow me to prepare a proper defense to combat these allegations. This is the standard operating procedure of staff and administrators here at HDSP which is to tell one story after another, lie after lie, and this is designed to keep prisoners confused and off balance.

Validated inmates are not being transferred to the SHU unit due to supposed over crowding at the SHUs, so here at HDSP it takes 2-3 years to be transferred. SHU inmates are supposed to be allowed an appliance, i.e. a TV or a radio, but not here in Z unit, here we don't even receive all of our allowable property. Also the lighting is poor, causing eye strain. There are no fire extinguishers in the cells. Toilets are on flush meters meaning if you flush more than 2 times in 5 minutes the toilets will shut down for an hour. Also power outages disable the toilets and those are frequent. Also there are ants, spiders, mice and birds on the tier. Which leads to animal (mouse) and bird feces on the walls, the doors, the floors as well as all over the yard cages. Each and every one of these issues are a violation of the 8th amendment and they create cruel and unusual conditions of punishment.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This testimonial highlights the difficulties with the grievance system that many prisoners face when fighting the atrocious conditions in the criminal injustice system. We point this prisoner and others to the grievance campaign that was initiated by a California prisoner working with United Struggle from Within and has now spread to states across the country. [Since receiving this report, a full blown campaign to end the abuses at the "Z-Unit Zoo" has developed.]

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[Organizing] [California]
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Call for SNYs to Take Up Anti-Imperialist Action

In response to the feelings expressed in ULK14 [on the issue of Special Needs Yard(SNY) prisoners]...I stand on the side of a General Population(GP) active convict for what it's worth as an anti-capitalist imperialist. And i can't stand the SNY population. But I deal with the existence, because it is a reality of California imprisonment.

I've gone back and forth from the main line to the hole for the lifestyle I lead behind these walls, and I come across SNYs like it's the new GP. The respect and conduct of the average SNY who blames his even more unfortunate situation of enslavement is terrible, because there is little to no order on that side. It's been told to me by various individuals that it's an each-to-his-own system, while being observed that there is no accountability.

I'm not an SNY hater, nor a paper tiger, but a true comrade against a police state in the existence of the social camps within this CDCR, LLC Control System. While you are allowing yourself to be divided into a sensitive mass, you are allowing our masters/captors to continue their control, rule, and conquer of the old convict structure.

Yea you already did that, we can't achieve any type of revolutionary goal by knocking each other off in person or on paper. Fuck wut others are talking about if it's a GP vs SNY discussion because no matter what, you ain't gone come on my side and I ain't gone be on your side.

Do something to impress the mass that SNYs can be revolutionaries too. Instead of snatching up lines and doing unnecessary yelling, shouting, and banging on the doors while the GPs are attempting to sleep at night in the hole. Observe the fact that SNYs are in the position to stop the production of PIA industries in Cali and cause the state to lose money in large sums. If you really as effective with the civil law as you claim, why don't you organize an action for the mass on the issue of the appeal system in general, or the poison (arsenic lead) that is given to most prisoners in the water.

I personally say it's too much talking and not enough action. Take responsibility that you busted under pressure on an individualist need, or desire. And learn from the experience. What I as a part in this struggle for liberation from this belly of the beast think about you as an individual means, or does nothing to advance our struggle against capitalist-imperialism in USA territory. Stay focused revolutionaries.

A nation divided can never stand together, but a nation united can. We will never come to recognize each other as equals fighting for the same cause of liberation, under the same conditions as long as we attempt to prove ourselves to ourselves instead of the people.

To the SNY population I say prove yourself to the people that you are more than what some say. Prove to the people that there isn't a major difference from SNY yards and GP yards. If you are so active, I challenge you to truly begin implementing the actions needed to get the force of imperialism off not only your backs but also the backs of the GPs.

I agree that the GP population as a whole collective of parts are very divided and un-unified. So seeing that the SNYs have their struggle a little more advanced than ours, why don't you all kick it off with organized boycotts, and sit in peaceful protests on the matter of the corrupted appeal system?


MIM(Prisons) responds: Despite having an anti-SNY bias, this is a principled approach to the divisions that the CDCR likes to promote. As this comrade points out, there is no question of SNY and GP working side-by-side, so each needs to organize where they are at. And we want to see people hitting the pavement to show who's doing more for the prison population as a whole, because at this point in time no one has much to brag about.

This article referenced in:
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[Theory] [California]
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To kill the individual

To kill the individual is the first objective of the potential revolutionary. To become a revolutionary one must first become human. When we become revolutionized we step into the conscious of our/all humanity. Once we become conscious of our/all humanity we see that it is a struggle to liberate all oppressed people (free & caged) of the atrocities of the capitalist imperialist system. The revolutionary makes the mental adjustments that must take place to evolve from LO member to revolutionary socialist/communist and takes up the fight to liberate all of humanity.

In laymens terms a revolutionary is a "force" for change. So to become a revolutionary simply means "we must change". Change the way we think and change the way we treat each other. As a revolutionary political force we must recognize and understand that individualism means death. The "I just do me" mentality must be defeated for a revolutionary to come into full consciousness. I read somewhere once that "a revolutionary like a snake sheds his old skin and regrows the new skin of the people." We have to start living in accordance with the laws of humanity with a socialist politic. As we learn through study, through observation, through actual experience and as we live dialectic materialism we strengthen our commitment to the socialist/communist cause/struggle.

Revolutionaries realize the reality of the U.S. is one of historic and continued exploitation, injustice and racism. It is our obligation to end forever this fascism, because that is what we're currently liven under here! Individualism must disappear, want for the apolitical brotha what you want for your/our comrade. The ability to determine the world we inhabit is just a world where grown ass racist pigs in Seattle can punch out a young black teenage girl and get away with it, a world where racist trigger happy pigs in Detroit can murder a little black girl and get away with it, a world where a capitalist system allows oil to just continue to spew into the ocean destroying the ecological system. All this shit can be stopped if we kill the individual and step into consciousness.

The people can't wait they need the enforcers of change to lead them to freedom and justice, to a world where we all work and live according to our principles of socialist humanity. Revolutionaries adhere to a cause/struggle greater than themselves, humanity needs those who are ready and willing to fight for the liberation of the oppressed, those who are ready and willing to, if necessary, sacrifice the individual for the many. Franz Fanon said "where individuals are concerned, a positive negation of common sense is evident. While the settler or the policeman has the right the livelong day to strike the native, to insult him and to make him crawl to him, you will see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native; for the last resort of the native is to defend his personality vis-a-vis his brother." Obviously the "native" is us "the convict" and the "settler" is "the oppressor pigs". When we become revolutionized we no longer accept the oppressors not respecting our humanity.

There is no such thing as an unconscious revolutionary. A revolutionary sees the plight of the masses and seeks through armed struggle and resistance to relieve the masses of their injustice. The question is how does the revolutionary socialist/communist navigate the individualistic attitudes of the typical convict? How does a conscious revolutionary convict reach the potential revolutionary in this cesspool of apolitical, self-hating individualistic brothers? As a revolutionary socialist who is quite limited in his movement due to 6 years in the hellish existence of the California SHU at Corcoran how do we get them to realize, recognize and understand as individuals we are lost and conquered but as a force of united revolutionaries under one politic, one ideology, one banner and one color?! Long live the revolutionary. Power to the people who don't fear freedom. As long as we continue to think in terms of "me & I" we will never unite and amass the power to defeat capitalist imperialism and fascism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade makes a strong point about the need to fight individualism as a part of the revolutionary struggle. This is a particularly big challenge in the belly of the beast, where it is all about doin' me and mines, even among those who face extreme repression under imperialism. On that note, we agree with the MIM line on fascism: "even though the imperialists have not implemented fascist measures against the exploiter majority in First World countries, the imperialists are the principal prop of fascism in the oppressed nations." Within U$ prisons there is an argument to be made that fascist conditions exist, just as they do in many parts of the Third World, funded by the United $tates. But internally, Amerikan imperialism remains a bourgeois democracy.

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[Organizing] [Security] [California]
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Special Needs Yard debate continues

Response to SNY critic article published in the July/August 2010 ULK, #15, p.5

As is typical, I have ruffled some feathers on the SNY yard when I pointed out my personal sentiments regarding the SNY/general population issue. I criticized both SNY/GP as a matter of fact and the SNY cat asked what have I personally done. He would have to look up this history of John Q. Convict, an aka I have written under in various publications and prison news letters. I have blisters on my fingers from doing others' legal work and appeals as well as writing about what I experience and see. I am again on my way back to the SHU till I am paroled since I am not nor have I ever been one to be a passive submissive sheep nor am I in competition with anyone, I just keep it real.

It's ironic but I have had five CDCR numbers and I have experienced a lot. Maybe I am crazy to rather go to the SHU than exist on an SNY yard but I started doing time in the 70s and prisoners were a lot different then. The misconception I see in the term "active" as that is a prisoncrat designation of gang members (prison/street). Read the regulations of the CDCR and you know. I have never been one to tell on myself yet I see prisoners do it all the time enhancing CDCR/California Department of Justice investigatorial files that exist, yet we will never access, as one can other confidential files via court order.

Do not get me mixed up, I am not "active," I am "General Population" and I have seen how the California prisoner culture has succumbed to the tyranny of the prisoncrats with a whisper. Yes some get frightened and are keen to become SNY and bow to a perceived necessity in what I believe to be a misguided belief that such necessity forces conformity and that conformity allows for stability in which some can enjoy the "privileges" of visiting, canteen, telephones, packages. They are not rights that are guaranteed by the constitution. I elect to not conform in this prison environment.

I am a dissident who stands out and I am easily branded and locked back down but they always got to let me back out. I do not get visits or have money sent to me by choice, it's so I do not subject my family to the harassment that visiting presents, and the CDCR does not collect 55% of every dollar my family sends to me. I tried to point out that we prisoners are all victims of picklesuit tyranny, and yes I feel like those who volunteer to go to SNY have abandoned the struggle to a certain extent. I see the victims of the picklesuits assume the face of the tyrants, be they GP/SNY self-righteous and intransigent, while assisting the picklesuits instigate conflicts.

There is not a lockdown situation in the state of California that I have not experienced, and I do not confuse unity with conformity. I have always believed that prisoners should unite around principals. I have recently been labeled a "terrorist" I am an activist and it is frustrating as hell to try and pull the coats of those in these prisons who have submitted knowingly and unknowingly.

I see that there is the need for the mending of broken spirits on both sides of the California prison divide which is no easy task since it will require the prison population to reshape itself and refuse the gratuitous gifts and reject the privileges used to co-op prisoners as well as the elimination of it being all about self. Prisons use prisoners working in the kitchen or selling out for a fix/hit of dope, utilizing that instinctual will to survive. I do not believe in leaders as they become the focus of compulsive collaboration with the opposition once they are identified, and they are not infallible and such leads to eventual disaster. Yet I have known that principled individuals avoid the natural vices such as greed, betrayal, and the misguided notion that one has to compete without exception as if it's a healthy attribute. Such is and always has been, in my mind, a sad path to self-esteem, an illusion built upon putting ones foot on the neck of another which is what the pickesuits do, and it's not lasting since when they fail to physically and emotionally break my will they become fearful and envious because I have endured what they themselves know they could not. Yes I have on several occasions learned to make due with nothing, making myself mentally and emotionally strong and I survive.

Kudos to any successful SNY litigator. I read Prison Legal News (PLN) each month for the past six years, noting all the successes published there, rarely seeing an instance in which a California prisoner received millions. Even though the state has deep pockets, that 12.2 million eludes my perusal. You should send the decision to PLN so they can publish it as your work.

I also want to point out a simple truth even though our comrades at MIM(Prisons) disagree. In my years of doing time, always General Population, I have learned to read people and I am rarely in error. I can and do note agent provocateurs and quislings as well as those who think they are well hidden and can not be spotted. It's the nature of such individuals to expose themselves. I have never gone to the hole for harming another prisoner over the years I have served. It has always been an issue with the real enemy who has hoodwinked and bamboozled, coerced, pressured or otherwise manipulated the greedy and the weak; of which I am neither.

My view is that SNY prisoners who volunteered to go that route are their own worst enemy and the stigma attached is something that they will have to deal with, as those who dropped out, originally dropped in, when it was fashionable for you, and you were on the hooligan end claiming to be a gang member, telling the pig that you are a gang member, proud to be a gang member till the pack turns on you and then you don't want to be a member any more or you find yourself in a position in which you are facing time and you choose to purchase leniency by telling on your sworn homeboys. But wait, not all SNYs have been snitches, but many have "debriefed" so I must say that the percentages speak for themselves in terms of those who allowed themselves to be used and manipulated to self-detriment. There are still some in GP hiding in the wings.

I was brought up believing that it takes a lot of balls to stand up to adversity and not compromise one's principals. I am constantly educating myself in a variety of subjects. Yet I do not tell others who, what or how they should believe, we all make choices and some ultimately lead to some becoming SNY. I want to be quite clear that I am not any better or worse than any other human being on this earth. We all have faults yet the struggle has never died, it has been altered and manipulated towards personal gain. I am presenting my personal perspective from my years of experience. Though it is true I've never lived on an SNY/PC yard, they do put SNYs on the tier with GP in the ASU/SHU, to my dismay. I am an equal opportunity criticizer since while some focused on SNY, I spoke of both sides of the fence.

I noted years ago that the most illuminating and dangerous place in the prison was the law library as knowledge was power. Yet the time of spending 8 hours a day in the law library has been effectively reduced to one hour and thirty minutes a week if you are lucky and are PLU. I am not here to brag on myself but there are people on the streets thanks to me and new life was breathed into others whose cases were on the ropes.

So since I was asked what I have done, well helping others and standing up to abusive prison staff and officials has resulted in my doing 100% of my term due to my concern for the similarly situated prisoner. Ethnicity never mattered, all came to me. Yet when I think about it I wonder if my sacrifices have been all for naught, as those who instilled the fortitude, stubborn tenacity, and courage to fight back in the 60s and 70s are flip-flopping in their graves about the conditions and backwards steps in California prisons. The ladies put up better fights and they as a result still get stuff that we don't. Some of the prison population put privileges before rights so you enjoy your privileges while they keep chipping away your rights.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is part of an ongoing discussion, started in ULK13, of the controversial issue of the potential for prisoners in Special Needs Yards (SNY) to participate in the anti-imperialist struggle. It is MIM(Prisons)' position that prisoners in all situations can be induced to sell out and serve the needs of the system. And while we recognize the harm done by prisoners debriefing, going to SNY can sometimes involve less cooperation with the pigs than staying in an LO. We can't condemn people for mistakes they made as youth trying to find a place. We need to unite with all who demonstrate, in practice, that they are on the side of the anti-imperialist struggle.

This comrade says he can read people, and is rarely in error. And to an extent we agree. We "read" people by applying work and line standards to our potential comrades. By judging how one completes their work and upholds their line we can judge them as a comrade. The error comes in when you think you know when someone is a cop or snitch or not. You trust people you shouldn't and attack your friends. Even if these errors are rare, they tend to be the most serious. This is why general policies are superior ways to "read" people than looking at individual cases.

This comrade comments that s/he does not "believe in leaders." We agree that security and hero worship are weaknesses of having leaders, and we should work to minimize both of them. However, we also must be materialists and recognize that leaders, including the writer, exist and that leadership is important. A leaderless movement ends up without clear direction and can waste the resources and energy of the masses. Leaderless movements (also known as anarchist) generally end up with de facto leaders - people who are not formally put in positions of leadership but who just take up the lead because of experience or line or a desire for power. These de facto leaders are far more dangerous than elected leaders because there is no mechanism to remove them from power. And this also limits the people's input into the direction of a movement. For these reasons we affirm the communist principle of clear and formal leadership of the revolutionary movement and its organizations, while we work towards a society where no groups of people have power over others.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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Wrongful Validation in California Leads to Support for Grievance Campaign

I am a prisoner at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and one of 60 prisoners who were wrongfully validated in August 2009. Z-unit is notorious for its disregard for prisoner's rights. Likewise HDSP and CDCR are disproportionately validating prisoners as gang members and associates, regardless of their actual affiliation.

In the past 3 years HDSP has validated over 110 "Hispanics" off of C-yard. Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is very prejudice and racist here in HDSP. All validations here are racially motivated. All IGI workers here are white and the new Lieutenant is Mexican but wants to be white. The validation system is a sham. The most bothersome thing is in R&R the COs ask you who you roll with. If you say no one they'll ask you where you live and when you tell them they declare that you are a northerner or southerner just because of your region of habitation.

CDCR validation procedures are vague and overly broad. HDSP is not following court orders nor administrative regulations. Information from informants and debriefers is being taken and used as 100% fact. Some of us are issued validation points for a drawing. However we are not given any notice of what is considered gang related. So how are we supposed to know what is against the rules? Instead this is being utilized to validate us and confine us to the Security Housing Unit (SHU) for life. CDCR is using "kites" [written notes] to validate us. If a prisoner is caught with your general information, CDCR uses that as a validation point, saying you committed "gang activity." How do you get a validation point for someone having your name!? Anybody has access to your information as COs post this info on our doors. This whole process is ambiguous.

CDCR has a motivation for all these unjust validations. On January 25th, 2010, California legislators passed a new law (Senate Bill xxx18) in regards to new credit earning for prisoners. General Population prisoners are now receiving half time credits. While SHU and ASU have to do 100% of the time they were sentenced. CDCR is wrongfully validating prisoners as a tactic to ensure their job security. Many general population prisoners will be getting kicked out because of the overcrowding issues but ASU and SHU prisoners will be stuck with the COs needing to guard them. It costs $50,000 to house a SHU prisoner so of course the "Green Wall" wants to line their pockets with "Green Money."

There are many inhumane conditions of confinement here in Z Unit. Prisoners are kept in their cells 22 hours a day with no windows, TVs or radios. Prisoners are not given adequate winter clothing. It rains, snows, and an average temperature stays below 30 degrees and the only things we get is a jacket. Prisoners are forced to strip buck naked in the snow and freezing temperatures. Lastly, staff complaints and grievances are often trashed or just not answered. In ULK 15 (July August 2010) your feedback to a prisoner regarding grievances not being handled property was to get involved in a petition campaign for grievances. I want to get involved along with other prisoners here! I look forward to your response.

MIM(Prisons) adds: CDCR has a long history of ignoring grievances and it is in this state that the grievance campaign started. It has now expanded to many other states. Contact us for more information and to get a copy of the petition for your state (or to get a generic petition that you can customize for your state).

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [High Desert State Prison] [California]
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Control Units No Better than Zoo for Animals

I am writing in hopes of bringing awareness to your followers regarding some of the injustices being forced upon prisoners housed within the administrative segregation units(ASU) in Z-unit. The circumstances below have unfortunately become the norm. Z-unit is officially referred to as the zoo due to the fact that it is a habitat fit for animals. We don't expect five star treatment because we are in prison. We know this and we are grateful for all that comes our way.

A major issue around here is mail. It is often late and quite frequently lost. Pictures, books, and magazines tend to often come up missing, but we are usually not provided with notices of disapproval. The thing is, when the mailroom confiscates something as contraband, they send you a notice of disapproval that allows you the opportunity to send home or donate whatever it is. So if the mailroom does not enclose this form in your envelope, then it is not them who steals the stuff, right? This issue is currently being reviewed at the director of CDCR's level of the 602 inmate appeals process in Sacramento, California.

High Desert State Prison(HDSP) is located in the mountains of Northern California. The winters are long and unforgiving. Temps often drop to 20F with gnarly winds, snow and ice. Since we are not provided with adequate winter clothing to defend against the literally numbing cold, we are forced to choose between freezing for three hours on the days they do choose to run yard or stay in our cells month after month. This too is being looked into by means of the grievance process.

HDSP is an unrelenting environment. Z-Unit is entirely worse. The way it was designed deprives one of all stimulation. The architects sure did a good job on designing an oppressive atmosphere. There is no window to the outside, simply a mere slit in the roof that leads to another skylight twenty feed higher. Looking out of the cell door all one can see is an all white wall five feet in front of you, the only contact you have is that of your cell mate, but that quickly becomes stale and strained.

TVs and radios have been authorized by the state since 2005, allowing purchases by inmates for entertainment purposes, but this has yet to be put into effect by the administration here in High Desert. Inmates who are fortunate enough to purchase books, magazines, newspapers etc., often have to wait upwards of a month after they are here to actually receive them. And when they're finally passed out, all reading material gets circulated throughout the entire tier. To say the least, we put everything to good use when we have it.

In spite of that, at one point, we were provided one book a week (better than nothing, I'm not going to front) by means of a tiny book cart. But that has ceased as of June 3 and to top it off, we are provided a slap in the face with two measly cross-words each week.

Without stimulation, internal anguish tends to set in. It has been clinically proven and well documented that in as little as two weeks in this type of environment, the average individual shows signs of stress, depression, anxiety, frustration, PTSD, anti-social symptoms and SHU syndrome. These conditions and the mental impact/ side effects they entail are the major cause of violence, both self-inflicted and in-cell combat. The mental imbalance is such that in September or October 2009 an individual committed suicide in his cell. In December 2009 another prisoner did the same, just to give a couple examples.

The impact this setting imposes has been acknowledged by the administration, for they have hired "psych-techs" who walk down the tier twice each day every day. How much does each psych-techs cost the state each year?

Prisoners have exhausted the appeals process and will continue on the right path to keep doing so, however, we are met with resistance at every level. More often than not, when you have proper grounds for a grievance, your appeal will somehow get lost. And when you write internal affairs asking them to submit it for you so that it won't be "lost," the warden will inevitably get at you letting you know that if you go that route then your grievance will not be processed. But it never gets processed anyway. Real fucking jerks, I know, not only this, but due to the insufficient nature and complete disregard on appeal coordinator's behalf, there is currently a lawsuit pending against the state. What can I say? We're trying.

Frustration got to the point that on June 14 and 18 about 35-40 cells boarded up to get cell extracted so they could voice their grievance. Unfortunately, we must expose ourselves to such gruesome protests, yet we are still not acknowledged. Moreover, on June 14-15 and again on Aug 2-9, prisoners housed in Z-unit went on hunger strikes. It seems like the light at thee end of the tunnel cannot be seen.

Many of the prisoners housed in Z Unit (about 80%) are awaiting transfers to other segregation units; however, some of these individuals have been enduring such dire circumstances upwards of two years.

To date, we have a select few of us on a writing campaign. Our object is ultimately to get our voice heard. So far, we've had a little success. Primarily, the Prisoner Activist Resource Center(PARC) is an organization currently working close with the prisoners housed in Z-Unit. Earlier this year, they led an investigation of this prison, but now they've planned one specifically for Z-Unit. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

This investigation has been published by SJRA Advocate. Also the AFSC has an open investigation on this prison's now obsolete Behavioral Management Unit (BMU), the same setting just a fancier title. The BMU investigation has been published in two newspapers: the Sacramento Bee and the Fresno Bee. We are hoping to get Z-unit added to that investigation.

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