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[Censorship] [Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Abuse in High Desert hits mainstream, ban lifted

In May 2010, the Sacramento Bee published a series of articles detailing abuses of prisoners in long-term isolation in several CDCR prisons, including at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). (1, 2) On 10 May 2010 they reported on the American Friends Service Committee's attempt to have the brutality claims brought against High Desert investigated by the state Senate, in hopes that an official investigation would lead to restrictions on the use of long-term isolation. (3) We commend the Sacramento Bee for bringing such an important issue to their mainstream audience. (Although judging from the comments left on the article at sacbee.com you would think members of the CCPOA are the only people who read it.)

These articles by the Sacramento Bee reconfirm much of the information published in Under Lock & Key and on www.prisoncensorship.info since January 2008 that staff at HDSP commit a long list of atrocities against prisoners to manipulate them into submission, or for just plain fun. These abuses include, but are not limited to: tampering with mail, privileges, food, and medical care; calling prisoners racist names; tampering with/discarding/ignoring grievances; and the sweeping use of excessive physical force and sexual coercion. (4-6) Recently we received reports of a racist, oppressive lockdown of so-called "northern Hispanics", which further proves that these injustices are still going on today.

As an outside organization sending literature to prisoners inside, the form of repression MIM(Prisons) is most familiar with at HDSP is their strong commitment to keep prisoners isolated by using arbitrary, outdated, and illegal censorship practices. They have consistently returned mail to us unopened. When asked for an explanation, they cited an outdated ban that was overturned in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR in April 2007.

In a letter from HDSP Warden Mike D. McDonald dated April 23, 2010, he uses poor writing skills to ambiguously admit that there is no ban on MIM literature, while still maintaining that all mail from "MIM Publishers" is a threat to security.

"High Desert State Prison has been receiving MIM Publications [sic] from your company which contains information that could pose a threat to the safety of staff and inmates. This publication is in violation of California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual (DOM).

". . . All MIM publications that are sent to this institution will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis. If it is found that a publication has violated our policies it will be disallowed and the inmate will receive a CDCR-1819 Notification of Disapproval."

Even though Warden McDonald avoided answering the direct question laid out in the letter he is responding to ("Why was MIM Theory 8: Revolutionary Nationalism returned to us with 'Disallowed Item' stamped on the envelope and no further explanation?"), it is still a step in the right direction for him to allege that lit from MIM(Prisons) will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis in the future.

Thanks to the articles in the Sacramento Bee, public pressure on the administration at HDSP is at a high point. We look forward to hearing from prisoners in HDSP regarding their receipt of ULK 14, or those promised 1819s!

notes:
(1) Piller, Charles. "Guards accused of cruelty, racism" Sacramento Bee. May 9, 2010.
(2) Piller, Charles. "California prison behavior units aim to control troublesome inmates" Sacramento Bee. May 10, 2010.
(3) Piller, Charles. "Advocates call for probe of prison abuse allegations" Sacramento Bee. May 20, 2010.
(4) "Response to psycho-sexual warfare article" by a CA prisoner. Published in ULK issue 6.
(5) "High Desert, CA Control Units" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info
]www.prisoncensorship.info
(6) "High Desert bans MIM, falsifies reports on prisoners" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info

]www.prisoncensorship.info

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[Organizing] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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SNY prisoner: How to stop snitching

I'm sad to say that the CDCR is winning the struggle so far. They have managed to keep us too paranoid to trust the next man. But every time a guard walks down the tier talking about one of us, spreading propaganda, the majority of the prisoners will believe what that guard said. It can be completely fabricated.

The guards also have other strategies to spread false propaganda. They'll walk to the loudmouth on the tier and for extra food he'll put out on the tier whatever the guard wants him to say. The loudmouth doesn't understand that whatever the guard wants him to broadcast is because the guards want to direct a message at certain individuals.

I'm a SNY prisoner. Over the years the SNY yards and population have grown a lot, especially with the level IV. The bottom line is we're all prisoners suffering the same oppression from guards. There's no such thing as I'm better than so and so, because I'm this and you're that. That's all propaganda from guards telling the mainline.

If someone snitches on you, that's your fault for exposing your hand to individuals you didn't trust or know. Any sensitive issue should never be told to anyone, anyways.

After being in Calipatria for 10 years and going through several problems with staff, I decided to get on the CCCMS program and make a quick exit out of that joint. The CCCMS is a mental program and once you get in the program and you take some type of depression medication the prison has 30 days to transfer you because it's so hot and any type of psych meds can't be taken in that climate. Well I got away from a bad dream only to go into a nightmare!

Since 70 or 80% of the population here in RJD prison are on some type of psych meds, we're considered "J-Kats." The 602 inmate appeals process is non-existent. Any serious grievance you filed gets thrown away: a violation of our constitutional due process!

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[Abuse] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Suicide attempt leads to pepper spraying

On January 21, 2010 I was feeling suicidal due to facing an arson charge which could've given me a third strike and life in prison, when I only had less than 6 months until my parole date. In fact, it was my celly who had set the fire in order to get me emergency medical attention. I have severe and chronic back issues with several-inch-thick files documenting my issues. I stood up, my back gave out on me, and I fell and hit my head on the wall knocking myself partially unconscious. For over an hour my cellmate yelled "man down," "emergency," etc. The responding officer approached our cell, saw me laying unconscious on the floor, and said "I won't do shit because he's faking it." So my celly set fire to the cell in order to get attention for me.

I was later found not guilty of the arson due to my celly's admission to setting the fire, and medical documents supporting my claims. However, the following day, when still facing a third strike case, I was feeling suicidal and cut my left wrist in three places. When the first watch officer, Sgt. Limon, saw me he contacted Sgt. Badgett and he brought several officers with him including CO Lonczewsky. Limon and Lonczewsky asked to see my hands to verify they held no dangerous objects. My hands were empty and I was asked to stick my hands out of the food port.

However, these 2 officers are very corrupt. They claimed I was still trying to harm myself and ended up pepper spraying me with a can of Oleo Resin Capsicum (OC) spray. I spent 11 days in crisis bed afterwards. The COs assaulted and used excessive force on a prisoner in need of psychological help.

Since this incident I've filed a grievance against the officers but I can't even get a copy of the incident report. CDCR administrative officials know their personnel are in the wrong so they are trying to make it that much more difficult for me, and are finding stupid reasons to prevent me from obtaining any material to help in my future lawsuit. CDCR administration knows that I have helped at least 3 other prisoners win millions of dollars and that I am very capable of filing successful litigation. I have been granted $63,000 for medical negligence lawsuit.

Recently my cellmate had to get the attention of these same COs due to a possible suicide attempt in our neighbor's cell. Limon approached our cell and noticed my information tag. When he saw it he called for Lonczewsky to "come see who it is." After approaching our cell both officers asked my cellmate, "are you feeling suicidal?" "do you need to get sprayed too?" while shaking an OC spray can.

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[Control Units] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Unlock the Box: Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility has 2 Ad-Seg buildings, 7 and 8.

I've been in it since 5/16/2010 for non-disciplinary reasons. Approximately 400 prisoners are housed in buildings 7 and 8, and only 7 and 8 are currently Ad-Seg units.

Approximately 30% Black, 25-30% Latino, about 30% white, and 10% other.

The primary reasons for housing in Ad-Seg are disciplinary (approximately 70%), safety concerns (20%), debts, drugs, etc. (10%)

I am not sure when it first opened. It's expanded a couple times due to excessive Ad-Seg population to include Facility 2 building 8 as overflow, and Facility 4 building 16 overflow. Neither is used currently.

The guards here at RJD Ad-Seg are some of the most corrupt at the prison. They deny food, meal, clothing. They assault prisoners regularly despite video cameras. Guards verbally abuse nearly all prisoners. Administration continuously moves prisoners to keep them uncomfortable and from being able to relax. Not all guard, but at least 60-75% of them are corrupt. The rest refuse to snitch against co-workers and turn blind eyes, which shows them to be cowards and corrupt in their own ways. I have been the victim of numerous abuses by at least 4 or 5 guards personally.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Regarding security in prisons

I want to comment on something I read in the March/April 2010 ULK 13. I note that the SNYs [Special Needs Yards prisoners] are complaining about how the picklesuits are doing an excellent job of keeping prisoners in California at each others' throats. I doubt that there is a prisoner in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that hates/resists petty over-authoritated power as much as I do. But so many prisoners at the drop of a hat go SNY/PC(Protective Custody) that it created a mad rush for police defense for not just those who may need it for the few real reasons that may exist.

I'm in general population (GP) and I would stay in the hole before I would allow the pig to twist me up into that SNY/PC nonsense. I heard people in Administrative Segregation (Ad-seg) and the Security Housing Units (SHU) when I was there be proud to say in front of the pig that they are active this or that which is in effect volunteering intelligence to the pig. Then you got those seeking to gather intelligence to provide the pig and that is both in and out of SNY. While SNY may outnumber general population 3 to 1 it is clear to me that one's condition in prison will not in reality become much (if any) better. Seeking the easy way out creates a moral quandary in that the reality of prison in California has not changed and the exodus to SNY has provided the pigs with more leverage to abuse and play nationalities against each other to the detriment of the whole.

I do not sympathize with SNY conditions nor do I sympathize with the conditions of GP. The fact that so many have to run to SNY has made the Green Wall stronger, since you in SNY have run away from your responsibilities. There are some very sorry so-called men in these prisons nowadays and I personally can do my time on the line or in the SHU as I will never allow the pig to turn me into a passive submissive subjugated sheep.

Sun Tzu's Art of War emphasized knowing one's enemy and I believe that a SNY's own worst enemy is one's self. There's still a lot of so-called hard core gang members on the line that say "I don't want to go here or there cause I got enemies." What ever happened to dealing with an issue on sight or leaving the matter alone? Particularly when there is no real substance to the basis in which one claims enemies. I do not have any prisoner enemies; this is silly and to claim such to a pig is sheer stupidity as it is to tell the pig you are a gang member. However, this seems to have become the custom. Wherever you are, grow up and be a man and take responsibility for your actions and quit depending on others to fight your battles. Simply educate yourself on how to use real strategies and tactics in order to learn how to be brave, fortuitous enough to gravitate to those who have a selfless desire to make a difference for all of our brothers. Bias and prejudice exuded by those around you only works against you in the long run. Until one learns to unite for the true cause and quit telling on self or others, the nonsense will continue. It's easy to spot agent provocateurs and quislings, and observation will expose the creeps for who they are. Prisoners are an open book and if you use your brain you can find out accurate facts and there is an old navy saying that "loose lips sink ships." It's a fact, people who think, do not follow, they cooperate for mutual benefit.

MIM(Prisons) responds: The snitching discussion has brought a lot of interest from readers and is integral to a discussion of organizing strategy. Another important question for those under state supervision is creating space for organizing. The purpose of control units is to elminate the space within the prison system where study and agitation can occur.

We warn against an ultra-left stance that leads one to accept years in a torture cell with no access to other people and limited access to mail and literature just so you can toughly say, "I never submitted." Comrades in control units have a hard time doing work, which is the whole reason the SHU was invented. Comrades also suffer mentally and physically in ways that can affect their ability to be productive even after release. So telling people to take SHU should not be done lightly and SHU should not be taken as one's "duty" to the cause when you are really just setting the struggle back.

Certainly, this writer makes correct points about working with the state and how that plays into the overall oppression of oppressed nations. And certainly, there are cases where submitting to torture in a control unit is the best thing for the struggle. But as we pointed out in ULK 13, many are finding themselves in a situation where those who promised to serve their people are doing the state's dirty work themselves. As this comrade recognizes, conditions in GP in California aren't more commendable than what's going on in SNY. It was the lumpen organizations following CDCR leadership that made SNY possible by what they did in GP. They pushed people so far that they were willing to snitch on something they were once willing to die for. This is the reality of the situation now that we must deal with. And in that reality, we find comrades on both sides of the SNY/GP wall. If we do it right this time and eliminate all this fighting between the oppressed then we will start to deal with the problem of snitching in a material way. This comrade gets it right when he says it is silly for prisoners to claim they are enemies for no reason.

Finally, we disagree with the claim that agent provocateurs and quislings are easy to spot. It may seem that way when you are surrounded by lazy, self-interested people, but that is not always true, and the most dangerous agents are hardest to spot.

For more on the morality of snitching, see our accompanying article discussing "The situational ethics of snitching."

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[Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Repression at RJD

I'm a prisoner here in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) in San Diego. I can relate to the story of the brother on your article in ULK 13 (Inspired by Mao, fighting legal battles). Like that brother, I've been sitting in the hole since November 2009.

I came to RJD on the CCCMS program [for prisoners who have been diagnosed as mentally ill]. I got on that program to get away from Calipatria prison. I was at the prison for 10 years and had enough of their corruptions. Little did I know that RJD is a lot more corrupt than Calipatria prison. Since arriving here last November I've filed numerous grievances to try to get sent to the Sensitive Needs Yard, but the 602s [grievance appeals] don't go no where. They mysteriously get disappeared. They said they would look into it and call me back to classification the following week. That was in January 2010. I've yet to go! I feel like I'm lost in this cell!

My mail comes late. I've yet to receive any of several magazine subscriptions I have. The guards don't pass books like they are supposed to. The few books I have I'm being forced to reread repeatedly to stay sane! Some of the prisoners don't have anything to read. It's no wonder why so many prisoners lose their sanity or attempt to commit suicide.

I look all around me and I say to myself, "This is not the big house. This is the crazy house!" For obvious reasons I've chosen to refuse cellies! In March, Captain Koen illegally tried to force prisoners in my cell. On both occasions I've fought them and get soaked in pepper spray; which was not legal. In the hole you have to consent to a celly before one is put there with you. On these two occasions I didn't consent. I don't know what to do. I've written the proper procedures to commence a lawsuit which begins by submitting a 602. I know the first ones got torn and thrown away. I've filed a third one, to the Director of Appeals, signed as confidential mail by a guard. I prey that made it out of the prison. Also I sent a letter to the Prison Law Office in the hopes they could assist me.

That day, there were several other incidents as well. You're right, oppression is getting worse and worse as time goes on. There's no unity whatsoever. It's so terrible here in Ad-Seg that the guards trade our showers for extra trays or lunch. We usually don't shower because we're all damned near starved. The food is just enough to keep you alive.

And for the last two or three weeks they've claimed they lost a gun so the entire prison has been on lockdown. It's all a farce as to what the real reason why we are on lockdown. It's plain to see - overtime. The CDCR is out of control and so are their guards. They believe that because we're in prison we're lesser humans than them.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Comrades in California have taken up a campaign to fight the useless system for processing 602s that leads to harassment and retaliation instead of resolution of the problems. According to the Department Operations Manual (DOM), Subsection 54100.2, the purpose of the Inmate/Parolee Appeals Procedure is to:

Provide a vehicle for review of department policies, procedures, practices, conditions, incidents and actions which may adversely affect an inmate's welfare, status and program," and to "provide for resolution for grievances at the lowest possible level with timely responses to the appellant.

Write MIM(Prisons) to get a copy of the petition and other campaign info to join this campaign being led by United Struggle from Within (USW) in California.

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[National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Solidarity in the fight against Arizona immigration law

First and foremost, I would like to salute all the comrades around the world that stood up and protested against Arizona's Jim Crow laws of segregation. Amerikkka's up to its dirty tricks once again. All was fine when they rode the backs of Latinos for cheap labor, but now that individuals are using their minds and starting their own small businesses, they (the U.S. or Arizona) want them out because they can't use (exploit) them any more. Never turn your back on a snake! Amerika was built upon corporate capitalism. If Latinos are all illegal then Christopher Columbus was illegal when he "came" to Amerikkka.

The Columbus anniversary is a celebration of mass murder, slavery, and conquest. He used religion and guns (after he was welcomed as a guest) against the Blacks and the indigenous in the Americas, mistakenly called Indians. All this was done in the name of white supremacy based upon the concept of "chosen people" and manifest destiny, and was designed to further cultural genocide and maintain mental slavery. Arizona is trying to put this back in full swing. They are capitalist parasites; blood-thirsty opportunists. People who would sell their own grandmother's burial plot. Amerikkka is a region of political injustice and great suffering. Columbus didn't discover shit, he came to America and exploited America with his illegal ass!!!

I'm a powerful Black conscious man, so I yell out Black Power and I fully support my Latino comrades in struggle and solidarity. And we demand justice or there will be no peace!

In struggle

This article referenced in:
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[Theory] [California]
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On Paper Tigers

Not long after the end of World War II, Comrade Mao Zedong put forward his famous thesis, "All reactionaries are paper tigers."(1) This thesis armed the people of China ideologically, strengthened their confidence in victory and played an exceedingly great role in the People's War of Liberation. This thesis is still relevant today and we would be wise to heed its message.

Comrade Mao Zedong regarded imperialism and all reactionaries as paper tigers. This thesis is a fundamental strategic concept for the revolutionary people. Since the Second Revolutionary War, Mao Zedong repeatedly pointed out: "Strategically, with regard to the whole, revolutionaries must despise the enemy, dare to struggle against him and dare to seize victory, at the same time tactically with regard to each part, each specific struggle, they must take the enemy seriously, be prudent, carefully study and perfect the art of struggle and adopt forms of struggle suited to different times, places and conditions in order to isolate and wipe out the enemy, step-by-step."(1)

Year's later, comrade Mao stated that: "Just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature (this is the law of the unity of opposites), so imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature - they are real tigers and paper tigers at the same time. In past history, before they won state power and for some time afterwards, the slave owning class the feudal landlord class and the bourgeoisie were vigorous, revolutionary and progressive, they were real tigers. But with the lapse of time, because their opposites - the slave class, the peasant class and the proletariat - grew in strength step-by-step struggled against them more and more fiercely these ruling classes changed step-by-step into the reverse, changed into reactionaries, changed into backward people, changed into paper tigers. And eventually they were overthrown or will be overthrown by the people. Even in the face of the last decisive struggles waged by the people, the reactionary, backward, decaying classes retained this dual nature. On the one hand they were real tigers, they devoured people by the millions and tens of millions. The cause of the peoples struggle went thru a period of difficulties and hardships and along the path there were many twists and turns. To destroy the rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism in China took the Chinese people more than a hundred years and cost them tens of millions of lives before the victory of 1949. Look! Were these not living tigers, iron tigers, real tigers? But in the end they changed into paper tigers, dead tigers, bean curd tigers. These are historical facts."(2)

So there you have it. Comrade Mao all those many years ago held that the Chinese people would be victorious in their war of liberation. This wasn't hopeful idealism on Mao's behalf, it wasn't that the Chinese people and Mao really, really, really wanted liberation for themselves, that they just knew if only they kept on struggling they'd someday achieve liberation. No! It was through the correct practice of dialectical materialism that the Chinese people were able to finally cast the yoke of imperialism off into the sea. This is something that many bourgeois scholars just can't grasp. Dialectical materialism is something the bourgeoisie either doesn't correctly understand or they don't want to understand exactly how Mao and the CCP were able to lead the Chinese people to victory against insurmountable odds or how comrade Mao was able to become such a brilliant military strategist.

However, for us to really get the full understanding of the "paper tiger" thesis put forward by Mao, and in order to see how it is still relevant today, we must dive head first into the subject of dialectical materialism.

When comrade Mao stated "just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature,"(3) he was referring to the law of the unity of opposites. The law of the unity of opposites, that is the law of contradiction in things, is the basic law of materialist dialectics. Dialectics in the proper sense is the study of contradiction in the very essence of objects. Dialectical materialists hold that a thing is made up of its being and of its opposite, this means that no contradictory aspect can exist in isolation. The basic meaning of this would be, for example, that from its very inception and all through its existence where there is light there is also darkness, because without the darkness there can be no light, because they are both mutually dependent, and in order for one to exist its opposite must also be.

So the persyn who is "good" or who does what is morally right can also be "bad" and do what is considered morally wrong. This is another example of the unity of opposites, nothing in this world is immutable.

So now that we know what the basic meaning of the law of the unity of opposites is we know exactly what Mao was talking about when he said, "Just as there is not a single thing in the world without a dual nature, so imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature." What he meant by this is that even though the imperialists, and the reactionaries were strong and terrible looking at one point in hystory, they were also weak and vacillated in another point in hystory, and furthermore it was our job (the people's) by our will and our struggle to form the correct strategic point of view to see the imperialists and reactionaries as paper tigers and know that we can defeat them in the end. However, because of this paper tiger's dual nature, we must also be aware that this tiger can also be a real tiger and can defeat us if we don't respect him tactically.

Now some of you who are familiar and experienced with materialist dialectics will right away say, "wait a minute, the law of contradiction says that the motive force of a thing is internal and not external." Yes, this certainly is true. The condition of change is internal and not external, however the law of contradiction also shows us that there is antagonism inherent in things, which basically means that from its very inception antagonism exists as the struggle of opposites, as contradiction, but not until the contradiction develops into open antagonism in a thing does it push development forward and resolve itself. So first however we must find the principal contradiction, and only by finding the fundamental contradiction can we find the principal contradiction and get along with the business of resolving it.

We already know that the fundamental contradiction on a global scale is the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat, and that the principal contradiction on the international level is imperialism vs. the Third World. In Amerika the principal contradiction is the oppressor vs. oppressed nations. So how do we resolve the principal contradiction in the united $tates? Once again, this is possible by a things dual nature (society), and if society has a dual nature then it has to have two opposing, yet equally dependent, aspects. In this case it would be the oppressor nation (euro-Amerikkkans) vs. the oppressed nations (Brown, Black, etc). So how do we resolve the principal contradictions in the united $tates? Just as the imperialists and the oppressor nation has their tiger, we too can have a tiger and defeat theirs. However, this is once again only possible when the struggle of opposites reaches its point of open antagonism, and to know when this happens we must take careful watch of the situation and always keep the concrete analysis of concrete conditions acutely in mind.

At this point in hystory our so-called "tiger" is non-existent — it is neither a real tiger nor a paper tiger. It is a dead tiger. What is meant by this is that we as a collective (Brown, Black, etc.) have been continuously colonized and oppressed by capitalism/imperialism and we are almost helpless to stop it from destroying us and our cultures. Yet, hystory teaches us that imperialism and the ruling classes have never been able to completely wipe out all traces of a nation or its people, even though it has come pretty damn close and continues to advance.

Therefore our only choice, if we are to survive the anarchy and destruction of capitalist construction, is to get to constructing ourselves. We must build this "People's Tiger", and the first step to building this internal force which will push development forward will be in the unification of the people. This means building a united front for a united struggle against the oppressors.

Unity evolves from the inside out. This begins with the revolutionization of our consciousness, our minds. First we change the way we think, then we apply this to our material conditions and in the way we interact with others, this is how we change our surroundings. This applies to all peoples of all societies, especially that society within a society, that society separated by the rest of the people, separated by concrete and steel - This is unity from the inside out in all its glory.

Power to the People!
Long live the Maoist Internationalist Movement!
Long live the United Soldiers from Within!

Notes:
1. "Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong" August, 1946, Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tsetung, Foreign Language Press: Peking, 1971, p.345.
2. Ibid. p. 346.
3. Mao Zedong. On Contradiction.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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The Animal Factory


The gaping jaw of the
prison industrial complex beckons,
grinding away basic human decency

Men forced into a blast furnace
of warehoused existence,
the ore of humanity smelted away
until only the dross remains

Kindness...compassion...love...
...all that defines one as human...obliterated.

Anger...resentment...despair...
...the remains of a once caring human.

Treated worse than rabid animals,
for are they not graced with a peaceful
death?
Animals are not stripped, forced to
parade around naked, mocked and
humiliated, flashlights beamed into
every orifice.

Animals are not caged in a
claustrophobic atmosphere, living
amidst a breeding ground of hatred
and rage.
Animals are not forced to survive
lives of mind-numbing tedium,
interspersed with moments of
chaotic violence.

Corrections & rehabilitation?
Corruption & retribution...
... closer to truth
human-form enters one end,
animal-form expelled out the other.

Take heed society, for these animals,
these human animals, shall one day
walk amongst you.
They are your creation,
created by societal apathy and
political fear-mongering,
created at your factories...

...the animal factories

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[Organizing] [Legal] [Campaigns] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Address Our Grievances! Campaign Spreads

In Under Lock & Key issue 13, we published an article announcing a campaign about the improper handling of grievances by prison staff. Below is an update from the California comrade who originally turned us on to the campaign.

I initially mailed out my own petition to the CDCR Director Level back in Nov./Dec. of '09 as part of the first wave of petitions. This was done under the auspice of its originator. However some time after the first wave went out, the persyn who devised this plan was subsequently taken to the hole. It was rumored that it was exactly because of this persyn's legal maneuvering that he was sent to the hole. Anyway, back in January '10 I received a response. As it turns out, these petitions were never investigated or even looked into as we requested. The Appeals Coordinator at the Director Level simply re-routed my petition back to the Warden's office here at this institution, at which time the warden here implied that the appeals which I had pending were screened back to me because I basically failed to comply with inmate appeal regulations. This is of course total bullshit! The "W." pretty much just issued me a de facto "695 Screen Out Form" without ever really looking into the matter, thereby sweeping the matter back under the rug.

I then decided that someone needed to step up to the plate and pick up where this petition's originator left off. I began by tracking down as many people as I could find who'd participate in the legal action. I tracked down about eighteen people, of which only three others besides myself received responses. As it turned out, we all got the same document with seemingly no other action taken.

I then proceeded to make as many copies of the original petition as I could obtain. I was only able to make 20. Of these 20 I only had twelve more people agree to mail the petitions out. As of today nobody's received any responses.

I contacted the Ca. Prison Law Office, useless. The Ombudsman, useless, no response, and a few other organizations claiming to offer inmates assistance (Critical Resistance? critically useless). I didn't bother with Internal Affairs or the Inspector General as they are both connected to CDCR and seemingly cover their asses. The DOJ is a different story. However, they will only take action if it can be proven that civil rights abuses are taking place en masse. Since only four of us received responses, the DOJ will not take action.

So it hasn't turned out as we hoped [with an investigation into the failed CDCR grievance system]. I suppose it wasn't a total failure, though, as we have proved yet again that the inmate appeals procedure in the Ca. Dept. of Corruption is nothing but an obstacle placed in front of prisoners' path to the U.$. judicial system.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's initiative to pick up a worthwhile project, after state repression stopped the original leader, is commendable. Others who have this kind of initiative should be working with the United Struggle from Within, the MIM(Prisons)-led anti-imperialist prisoner organization. Comrades have been working diligently to expand the scope of the campaign and we now have petitions prepared for CA, MO, OK and TX. If you are filing grievances about any issue and they aren't being handled properly by staff, consider becoming a part of this campaign and spread it to your people inside.

This comrade's analysis of the success of the campaign is completely accurate. We can hope for an investigation into the corrupt grievance system, but if it doesn't happen, then we have instead successfully exposed yet another flaw in the Amerikkkan "justice" system. It is important to not give up even if we feel like nothing will happen because these exposures are agitational points that we can rally people around. Also, like this comrade pointed out, if we send in enough petitions to the DOJ s/he believes that they may respond. So continue to send in your grievance petitions and get with MIM(Prisons) to get involved!

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