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[Medical Care] [Soledad State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Delays in medical care in California continue

As populations continue to rise in California state prisons, health care has deteriorated. Overcrowded is an understatement. It's literally standing room only. Inmates have no chance to receive adequate medical attention here at Soledad CTF-South or any other CDCR institution. Doctors are overwhelmed with prisoners on a daily basis. And even though the feds are overseeing the medical department in CDCR, the CDCR continues to pile on the prisoners, making it impossible to receive primary care. And by the time you write a grievance and get any response, you are forced to live with the medical issue, whether it be pain or discomfort.

Constitutional rights are being violated on a daily basis. Weeks and months can pass by before any remedies, once a grievance is submitted. It's like they are punishing prisoners who merely exercise their rights to submit a complaint. Is there any agency that can help? Most agencies require that all remedies be exhausted before they step in, but these remedies take from 3 to 6 months. CDCR knows this; it's why they are able to continue to violate the rights of prisoners who fall into the category of patients with "non-life threatening conditions." But non-life threatening conditions can turn into life threatening conditions if left untreated for months at a time and sometimes cause long term effects. The feds need to step in ASAP. All prisoners whose constitutional rights have been violated should be compensated. This prisoner abuse must stop.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Ironically, prisoners are actually the only people in the united $tates guaranteed health care by law. Nonetheless, prisoners still suffer vastly disproportionate cases of HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and many other chronic diseases as well as drug addiction.

Keep in mind that it has taken the government years to process the current cases that it is attempting to enforce in California mandating population reductions. California continues to resist the orders as people continue to suffer and die from lack of care.

MIM(Prisons) does see long legal battles demanding rights that the oppressed need to get free as an appropriate strategy at this time. In fact, it was the strong prison movement of the late 1960's and early 70's that brought the class action suits that required the state to provide any level of care at all to their prisoners. But as most of those comrades also acknowledged, the state does not have an interest in the their health and the little progress achieved over years of struggle could be achieved many times over in a much shorter time by changing the system itself.

In the past, the FBI has tried to promote itself as a savior for Black people from racists in the south, when in reality they worked hand-in-hand with the local KKK groups. Similarly here, the feds have been involved in the California prison system for some time, but as this comrade reports, the conditions have not changed. We can take advantage of differences between our enemies without looking to the oppressor as our savior.

notes:http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee/c208/briefing_documents/Healthcare%20briefing%20paper31.htm

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[Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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California Ban on MIM Over... Sort of

A December 13, 2006 memo from then-Director Scott Kernan declared a systemwide ban on all publications from the Maoist Internationalist Movement. The memo misquoted and took out of context statements by MIM to justify the ban. Many comrades soon jumped into action to defend the First Amendment rights of California prisoners and their outside supporters. One comrade took this battle further than anyone else, leading to over 2 years of legal battles that ended in April, 2009.

One administrator claimed there were three banned publishers in California Department of Corrections (CDCR): MIM, Penthouse and Playboy. While MIM had received this high honor of a complete ban, others were facing severe censorship by CDCR as well. In April 2007, Prison Legal News (PLN) settled their suit against CDCR's illegal censorship. The settlement was very strategic on the behalf of the PLN legal team in that it included reforms to CDCR mail policy that affected all of us that had been having problems.

As many of our readers probably know, Prison Legal News was founded and is led by jailhouse lawyers. Their consistent work has won them the ability to recruit street lawyers to their battles. Without the leadership of prisoners and former prisoners, defenders of prisoners' rights in the courtroom are few and far between. Yet, litigating from behind the walls is no easy task, as our California comrade can attest:

"The sole reason for my non-opposal of defendants summary judgment is quite simply that I was unable to litigate the case from my current residence here in the hole. As I stated to you before I was not able to obtain the required legal materials needed to litigate, materials such as a basic copy of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), the sufficient or suitable case law required, or even sufficient copies, and typing paper.

"As I am in Ad-Seg, most of the required materials stated above are not in this building's possession, or even on the same yard. We must write to B-yard law library for requested legal texts. This is something no one bothered to inform me of 'til just a few weeks ago. Furthermore, the whole process of requesting materials is usually hit or miss in the sense that sometimes we receive our materials, sometimes we don't. Since I'm in the hole, I had to request photocopies of the FRCP. However, due to 'copyright concerns' I did not get it."

In addition to being denied needed legal materials, this comrade was denied an appeal for a lawyer to be appointed to their case. This was particularly relevant in this case where s/he was being denied access to the materials in question because they were deemed a risk to security.

For a year and a half following PLN's victory, supporters of MIM Distributors argued that the ban on MIM mail was not in compliance with the settlement. Finally, in October 2008 the CDCR released their new "Centralized List of Disapproved Publications," a product of the settlement. MIM Distributors is not on this list, and is therefore no longer legally banned in California. It is against CDCR policy for individual prisons to institute bans that are not on this centralized list.

While the final date for additions to the Centralized List was May 1 (and it is updated annually), we have not seen the new list for 2009. Experience seems to indicate that we are still not on it, since those who continue to ban our mail cite outdated documents. Prisons that continue to return mail from MIM(Prisons) unopened are High Desert and the supermax prison, Pelican Bay. Blanket bans seem to require more stringent review by the courts. Therefore, it may be more strategic for the state to avoid blanket bans in the future, thus making lawsuits like the California prisoner's more difficult to carry out.

The good news is most prisons in California no longer have a blanket ban on MIM (those that do are in violation of court orders). This may have more to do with incompetence of the CDCR staff than a strategic approach. But it also means that the censors must now justify their censorship based on the California Code of Regulations, and appeals cannot be rejected out of hand.

For a while, the prisoner who filed suit was the only persyn in h prison who was able to receive Under Lock & Key. We assumed this was to undermine h censorship claims. Yet, after the ban on MIM was officially canceled in October, all of a sudden ULK was also censored to this comrade. When one of our legal supporters wrote to inquire as to why, the Warden cited the overturned ban on MIM. This was as late as March 2009, and the same thing happened in other California prisons. It was not until 6 months after the new list was released that prison administrators acknowledged that MIM Distributors was no longer banned. We have been assured that proper training of mailroom staff has been conducted in a number of California prisons regarding the new banned list. Still, this alleged "incompetence" has led to over 2 years of no contact with many prisoners across California, and added up to uncounted costs in lost and returned mail and printed materials.

Meanwhile, MIM Theory 8: Anarchist Ideal & Communist Revolution was deemed such a threat that the court would not allow the plaintiff to view the magazine alone in h cell to prepare h case. The CDCR legal team even attempted to seal MIM literature from the public because it allegedly posed such a threat to security. In their motion to have the documents sealed, the CDCR also refers to MIM's "anonymity" as a threat to security. It is not clear to us how identities of those working with MIM are relevant to the security of prisons run by CDCR, but we do see anonymity as justified given the history of harassment and intimidation by CDCR's Investigation Unit and the CCPOA of citizens outside of prison. MIM(Prisons) takes these threats very seriously.

On June 29, 2009, the US District Court issued a summary judgment dismissing the claims against CDCR. In the summary judgment the court recognizes our comrade's exposure of the CDCR for misquoting MIM Theory 8, using ellipses as Scott Kernan did in the 2006 memo. Still, the court deferred to the biased judgments of the prison officials, citing Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 132 (2003).

The comrade responded by writing,

"I am extremely disheartened by the aforementioned facts. Disheartened, not defeated, yet I see no positive outcome to the civil matter."

S/he goes on to state,

"Once again I am extremely and hopefully apologetic. It was not my intention to have done all this work for the past 3 years just to have it all come to a crashing halt in the period of three months. I have let not just myself and the movement down, but the people as well.

"Not all is bad though. This was certainly a learning experience and I definitely learned a lot for a 7th grade drop-out. I have been inspired to take a paralegal course, after which I will be of better use to MIM and the people."

For this comrade in California, it is certainly natural to feel disheartened, and it is good to hear that you are not defeated. In the imperialist countries, the task of the revolutionary movement is to carry out long legal battles. Mao said this in 1975, and it is still true today. This means that many of us will have to spend long hours learning and applying bourgeois law, while recognizing that the law has class character and is not designed to serve the oppressed. In addition, "legal work" does not just mean in the court room. An important aspect for keeping our work focused and sane is to carry it out as part of a larger movement. This comrade didn't have a victory in court, but h efforts were simultaneous to petitioning of the CDCR, to public education around censorship, to other prisoners filing appeals, and to PLN's own lawsuit. We will face many failures along the way, but these failures become easy to accept when we study and understand the weaknesses of imperialism as a system, and see our strategic role in contributing to ending all systems of oppression.

We commend this comrade's drive to continue legal studies. The more effective each of us become in our work the easier it is for all of us to succeed. Becoming more effective requires studying others' experiences, learning from them and developing strategies as a movement.

In a more recent letter our jailhouse lawyer wrote,

"Some key points I've learned from all of this is that you definitely have to be committed when engaging the oppressors and their legal system. You always have to keep in mind that you are facing seasoned veterans with all the tools and obstacles of the state at their beck and call. It's never going to be easy, just less difficult at times. Long periods of research and study are also essential with these legal battles long before you decide to actually bring your case into the courtroom. You can also never let yourself be discouraged because discouragement is key to the oppressor's victories which in turn establishes precedent making it that much more difficult for us to succeed."

Prison Legal News and the lawyers supporting their work are the exception to the rule. Most of the time it is prisoners, sometimes with little or no formal education, as this comrade can attest to, who must fight these battles in a maze of complicated language and jargon, where you are starting out at a huge disadvantage. That is why it is important to keep in mind what we are dealing with. The u.$. state is an imperialist state. The court is not a just and benevolent god. Mumia introduces his new book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. discussing prisoners who have gone mad after years of learning and applying the law only to lose their just cases, or to have them thrown out before even getting a trial. Such outcomes are to be expected for the oppressed under imperialism and this is an important lesson to learn.

To our readers in California, it is more important than ever that you write in to tell us what mail you are receiving from us so that we can build on this struggle. To date, only a handful of people have acknowledged receiving ULK 10 on Hip Hop.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
This article referenced in:
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[National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 11]
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Immigrants, Migrants, and U.$. Citizens

Kill the BorderThe U.$. is the melting pot of the world. A little bit of everybody and everything dwells in this land. It's the land of opportunity, what do you expect? From the North to the South, and the East to the far West people are tearing down doors to get over to this sorry motha fucka. It's the land of opportunity alright. The opportunity to get beat down, stepped on, and spit all over.

While the people of Third World or impoverished countries are under the perception that this is the place to be, and try to get here. The military agency ICE is sitting right at the top of that barb wired chain linked fence waiting for that opportune time to jump on their back and either allow the exploitation of their labor or send them back to the fucked up environment in which they're running from.

Being an individual born over here in these ununited $tate$, living amongst the imperialists themselves, one might take my opinion of the issue dealing with the border situation, or the incarceration of brothas from other countries who wish to better their situation by taking just a little bit of what these imperialistic snakes have taken from them, as a person who's looking in from the outs.

But trust and believe I'm a brotha looking in from the in. I ain't no U.$. citizen, and I damn sho ain't no Amerikkkan. My pops is of Somoan decent and my moms is a descendant of Africa. Period. I'm an immigrant along with every other individual in this ununited country who isn't indigenous.

Ol Chris and his squad came over here from Europe running from their fucked up conditions looking to receive an opportunity to better their situation and their queen's capitalistic hunger. Where was ICE then? On the same Mayflower boat that brought the first load of African slaves. He probably was the motha fucka who was drivin the boat. When you think about the foundation of the U.$. as an ununited country you should think about immigrants, and border hoppers. Everything from the English, Germans, the French, Dutch, and the Irish were the ones who entered this land trespassing on the Natives.

The only difference from them and many of the Third World countries is they can't stand in the sun too long without being physically burned by father sun, they don't have tight eyes or natted hair, and they don't know the first thing about communism. They are white. They only seek the growth and development of their white imperialistic race, and the destruction of the Third World people and the communistic spirit.

Now I'm not pulling the race card here so don't take it as such. But in order to effectively deal with this issue we must address the underlying fact of the imperialist's white supremacist ideology and concept of white supremacy. Since the beginning of colonial expansion, the white man has been advocating a campaign that he is the superior man of planet earth and all will bow down to him and give praise to him and his seed. In this campaign he has declared war on all nations not acknowledging this supposed superiority and attempted to not only suppress these nations, but knock them out of existence (ie. the First Nations of North America).

When the African slaves began running away from their masters and causing Lady Liberty a great pain in her ass, the Europeans quickly responded with the KKK who in turn attempted to discourage Africans from running off through terrorist attacks. It's no different today except they leave the white robes and swastikas at home. When you think about the ICE agency and what they're all about, all you're missing is the robe and shit.

They allow the poor nations to come over here via border jumping, get a job in the cotton fields, or warehouses, then as soon as they don't need the cheap labor force any longer they either send them to one of the new "social control camps" or knock them out of U.$. existence by sending them back to their imperialist war stricken country.

Hate it or love it, accept it, or reject it. The only way to kill the border problem is by killing imperialism and the ideology that keeps it living.

MIM(Prisons) replies: While overall correct, this comrade fails to distinguish between citizenship of a country and nationality. We agree that, in this country, to be on the side of the oppressed one must renounce any membership in the amerikan nation. We also agree that there are many nations within North America and many of them face oppression by the amerikan and kanadian nations. This is seen in the denial of land rights, mass imprisonment, chemical warfare through narcotics, high death rates from preventable illness and police state terrorism.

However, being a member of an oppressed nation in North America does not mean you're not a citizen. The difference being that, as a citizen, you can legally work and earn exploiter level wages for that work, even if it's harder for you to get than your fellow white citizens. Though migrants often can make much more than their sisters in the Third World, they face exploitation here in the united $tates, and other forms of oppression most legal citizens don't need to fear.

We do agree with the idea that this comrade is not a u.$. citizen because of h position as a prisoner of the state. We look to both prisoners and migrants as potentially revolutionary forces within the u.$. because they do not enjoy full citizenship rights. Aside from the fact that more and more prisoners are migrants, this is the connection that makes the migrant issue very relevant to u.$. prisoners. National liberation struggles will be led by those among the oppressed who have a strong interest opposed to imperialism.

The analogy between ICE and the KKK is right on, though we'd say that the Minutemen are the more direct comparison. ICE differs in that they are very well paid for what they do, not just volunteers for their nation. They both play the role of managing nations of exploited people for the profit of their nation.

One final note on definitions, a question that has come up in discussing this issue is how we use the terms "migrant", "immigrant" and "non-citizen." As stated above, non-citizens are people without legal citizenship rights, and in the u.$., prisoners, while usually legally citizens, might be included in this group or at least considered partial citizens. Immigrants and migrants are both not citizens of the united $tates. But an immigrant is someone who moves to another place to live. Migrants are people who travel from place to place in order to find work. They might not have a home, but they often do have a family that they send money to and would prefer to be with.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [California] [ULK Issue 11]
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Ride for the people

I... will ride for the people no matter what comes my way at all
I... will die for the cause
Settle for nothing less than all that we rightfully deserve

Vr 1:
Society wanna keep a lock on me
constantly puttin blocks on me
cause I don't see the same thang that they see at home
I stand alone in my poverty stricken environment
Rebellin all the non-sense
Cause I ain't got no peace at home
To the oppressed
I must confess
all the distress
be havin me stressed
and I'm impressed
when I continue to keep on holdin strong
They wanna knock me cause i'm viben off the people's vibe
livin off the people's pride
to throw the snake up off his throne
Death to the oppressor and his capitalist establishment
they censor me cause I advocate communist advancement
I'm keeping Pac alive
Along with the Panther tribe
Revolutionary warfare China's culture style

*hook* two times

Vr 2:
Hot damn
they done labeled me a terrorist
can somebody call up Barrack and tell that fool what terror is
He got the troops slangin black in Afghan
but lockin us up for having crack crumps in our pants
I want his pass revoked
Lock him up in Guantanamo
Can't they see that this type of government ain't gone never grow
They be the ones blowin up countries
pullin them kick does
puttin them bullet holes
in anybody opposin they policies
and I'm the bad guy?
Posted with my poli seeds
fist to the sky
shades on my eyes
waiting til freedom rings
pushing for growth til the day that I die
For the people I bare arms
And for the people I'll ride
cause

*hook* twice

Vr 3 - melody style-

Freedom and justice for humanity
to all my ghetto children of Third World countries
I recognize the divisions in personalities
we must all fight together
and push for equality
cause there be no other way to go about it
If we want to better ourselves
we must confront him
Me be the lion at the front
from the belly of the beast
with the barrel of me pump
lyin right between him teeth
sangin

I...will ride for the people no matter what comes my way at all
I...will die for the cause settle for nothing less than all we rightfully deserve

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[Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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No "Class Actions"

The days of finding relief via the "class action" lawsuit are over. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and countless other rulings have essentially castrated the "class action." The worst part is, under certain protocols, if a class action loses, every person in the "suspect class" is prohibited from filing in the future on similar grounds!

Only a fascist or a moron will file "class actions" because they have been eliminated. The proper methodology is to bury the bastards with litigation from individual litigants. Whatever the issue, rather than "joining forces" officially, we need to coordinate from the periphery. If 20 individuals file relatively similar actions in the same Court, the Court will occasionally attempt to coerce them into becoming a de facto "class." That can be refused by a litigant who wishes to proceed "as a class of one." Failure in this case does not affect other individual litigants. The decision might be harmful, but it cannot completely deflate the opportunity to seek "redress of grievances," as are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The only way to fight in a corrupted system is to use those remaining rules that ostensibly still exist and turn them against the persecuting agencies. The only way to win requires seriously thinking outside the box; but doing it with a rationale they're required to accept. If they try and blow smoke up your ass, take it to the next level. To borrow from Churchill's address done at Princeton: "Never give in. Never give in. Never give in..." It doesn't need to be eloquent: it just needs to be.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The PLRA is one way that prisoners are legally stripped of their rights as u.$. citizens. During the first wave of the Prison Movement, class actions were a crucial tool for prisoner activists to fight battles on behalf of all prisoners. The state didn't like that. We wouldn't go as far as this comrade to say that class actions are completely obsolete, but they are now extremely complex and should be brought by a lawyer. Since most of our comrades cannot afford lawyers, class action suits are functionally useless to us.

This comrade is correct that despite the difficulties we face today, we must keep finding ways to fight legal battles until they take all such rights away. And there are still ways for us to work together and work strategically. Issue 13 of ULK will focus on how to do this, so comrades should write in with their ideas.

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[Medical Care] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prison Health Care System is Inhumane

Health Care is a Straight JacketI was unable to finish reading ULK10 because I was motivated to begin this letter as a contribution to issue 12: Health Care. The front page article "Brutality Leads to Death" by a Texas prisoner describes an almost identical incident that happened here at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF, in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).

On September 13, 2009, a prisoner's death occurred here in ASU Housing Unit 6, Cell 128. This prisoner died of a drug overdose, which is being blamed on one of the PM med nurses who was apparently fired and escorted off the grounds. At the same time, they are investigating another prisoner suspected of selling drugs to the prisoner. It should be noted that this unit has video surveillance security cameras.

The fact is, on August 4, 2009, a federal judicial panel found that the entire California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was in violation of the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners, that the prison health care system was inadequate and constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and that denial of adequate medical care caused at least one unnecessary death per week. In addition to the federal take over of the prison health care system, CDCR was ordered to reduce prison overcrowding by 40,000 prisoners within the next couple of years.

The most recent prisoner death can only be viewed as a criminally negligent homicide, caused not by the nurse or prisoners, but by the inhumane conditions and treatment we are subjected to every day in these disciplinary segregation units. Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and thrown in an empty cell without basic human necessities, are denied prescribed medications on a regular basis, and are ignored by custody and medical staff when they bang on the door and scream "man down" in the case of a medical emergency.

I have been confined in this ASU for nearly a year, because I "refused to double cell" with a non-compatible, sexually violent predator, a known rapist! As a Jailhouse Lawyer, I am currently pursuing two federal civil rights lawsuits for inhumane treatment, denial of due process and sex discrimination under patriarchy.

The relevance of the ongoing legal battles, deaths of prisoners, and prisoner resistance in relation to the larger anti-imperialist struggle is not lost on me. With all the hoopla about Obama's health care reform proposals in the liberal corporate-controlled media, one can't help but read between the lines and separate the real from the BS.

Let's keep it real, this health care reform will not include prisoners. Additionally, right-wing Republican legislators in congress are already raising a ruckus about inclusion of immigrants. Why not talk about the California prison health care crisis in these national debates? Or the billions of dollars being wasted in the imperialist Iraq war? Money used to commit mass murder to protect the rights of U.$. oil companies should instead be used to solve the economic and health care crises caused by capitalist greed and medical neglect in this country, and in the prison industrial complex! Revolution, not reform, is the only way to stop the oppression, mass murder, and health care neglect under U.$. imperialism.

The program of MIM(Prisons) promotes the "elimination of all oppression - the power of groups over other groups" and "independent institutions...to provide...medical care." Additionally, the MIM Platform states "Abolish the Amerikan prison system...prisoners who do not represent a violent threat to society will be relased." These are steps in the right direction. And so is the struggle against patriarchy and gender oppression!

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[Organizing] [California]
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Now let's build

The so-called war on drugs, and other "tough on crime" laws, are better defined as the war against Blacks and other Third World people. We are the direct target of the Amerikkkan injustice system. A system that plots to kill us (COINTELPRO, CIA "dirty tricks" div.), imprison us for a profit and cheap labor, and a system that wants to imprison our youth (group homes, juvenile hall, etc), keep them undereducated and growing up in a single parent home. We must stop fighting amongst each other and pay more attention to the real enemy. The enemy that has inflicted massive amounts of pain on our ancestors, the enemy that, right now today, murda our people and get away with it (police), and the enemy that sends you to court, where they give you a dump truck lawyer (public defender), and the judge hangs you from a noose (life sentence). You better pay attention or become a victim. Use your head, I'm not your enemy, I'm your brotha! (all oppressed people) Black of your Black, blood of your blood, in a soldier stance, ready to launch the attack on the animals who have been attacking us for so very long. Look around it's more of us than it is of them. It's time to unite and resist the horrific conditions they try to force us to accept and live with. It's time to stop complaining and step up! Step up or shut up! This is a revolution, and every revolution (to my knowledge), has been won by actions although words are often needed. It's a dirty game so pay attention and let's turn the table on this blood thirsty system.

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Unity works to combat unreasonable regs

On 4 September 2009, the prisoners of California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) came together in an act of protest, resistance and solidarity against sadistic pigs and oppressive administrations practice of the denial of basic humyn rights. For those who are unfamiliar with CSP-LAC, it needs to be pointed out that the prison is actually located on the outskirts of Los Angeles in what is referred to as the High Desert. Being as we are in the desert, temperatures are often either in the extreme heat or extreme cold, and even though it is only October, the temperature dropped somewhat dramatically. I'm not sure as to exactly what the temperature was, it was either in the upper 40s or lower 50s. It was definitely cool either way.

We were made to walk to a chow hall opposite the yard, and we were not given any jackets, so many prisoners decided to wear their personal thermals under their prison blues. Upon arriving to the dinning hall about four or five fellow prisoners were returned to our buildings by the yard pigs for the simple act of wearing a thermal in an attempt to try to stay warm. Upon arriving back to the building those same prisoners asked to speak with the sergeant in order to discuss this ridiculous regulation. The pigs on the scene refused to call the sergeant, so the prisoners decided to simply take a seat on the tables and wait for the pigs to call him.

As I arrived back to my building I saw those four or five brothers in captivity seated. I'd already heard what was going on so I approached them and took a seat with them as I was interested in speaking with the lead pig myself. As the rest of our brothers returned, many looked on in confusion. Some saw what was going and in a collective show of solidarity simply walked over and sat with us. By the time everybody returned, our numbers grew from six to about ten or eleven. Needless to say, this was a pathetic amount of people for a building that holds about 200. It is important however to point out that this was a completely spontaneous event and the majority of people were not aware of what was going on, so there is no blame.

However, after about 20 minutes, a couple of prisoners scared themselves into submission and decided that this wasn't worth going to the hole over. We explained that there was nothing to go to the hole over, we were simply asking to speak to the sergeant, and even if they did send us to the hole, then we were prepared to go. If that was the price of speaking up for ourselves and our basic humyn right of keeping warm, then so be it. Not 5 minutes later the pigs hit the alarm on us. We immediately took a seated position on the floor as the pig Sgt. Jameson trotted in, foaming at the bit, waving his little stick at us, while verbally insulting us and threatening to spray us with his OC if we didn't get down, but we were already down.

We were all cuffed and taken outside and lined up along the yard fence, made to face away from our oppressors. While we were cuffed some of the pigs suddenly found their courage and began to make their little smart ass remarks. Some of us began to speak up and merely explain our position and that all we wanted to do was have a conversation with the sergeant. At this time the piece of shit sergeant resumed with his posture of threats and verbal abuse. At this point we finally just said "fuck you and everything you stand for" to which his reply was to call for an exaggerated request for re-enforcements. All yards were ordered to shut down and have their pigs flood our yard. All this for a handful of prisoners who were already in restraints. About 10 minutes later the secondary response arrived, however there was not much for them to do except to supervise the locking up of the remaining prisoners on the yard who were in no way involved with us.

After about 20-30 minutes the yard was finally clear of prisoners except for those of us in restraints. All the while we were cuffed and on our knees facing a wall. As the secondary response team slowly evacuated the yard another alarm went off. It turns out that the prisoners in the gym witnessed what was going on with us and simultaneously decided to get off their bunks directly disobeying orders and refusing to lay back down. They decided to protest the fact that they were being made to lay down, and stay on their bunk all day long. They were also not being allowed to go to their work assignments. So the gym said "fuck it" and the secondary response team had to run in there and extract about 30 people. Thirty people is a small number compared to the capacity being held in the gym, but still better numbers than the so-called "high security" prisoners. All in all I counted about 42 people out there. Three people were chosen to be interviewed by ISU (Investigative Service Unit). They basically wanted to know what it was that brought all this about. They were told that all we wanted to do is to have a simple discussion with the facility sergeant as to why we weren't being allowed to wear our thermals. We did nothing wrong, nor did we disobey any order to lock it up. As a matter of fact, we were never told to take it into our cells; the prison pigs just hit the alarm.

We were then interviewed by the yard lieutenant and assistant warden. We repeated our line and also stated that as far as we knew their little rule about us not being allowed to wear our thermals was bogus since the Title 15 no longer stipulates whether we can or cannot. We were also not being allowed to look at the prison DOM (Departmental Operational Manual) and every pig we asked concerning the "no thermals in the chow hall" rule refused to confirm or deny whether the regulation is actually on the books or not, or whether this is all just part of the yard administration's power trip, which makes me think that since they've not confirmed or answered our questions, and only gave vague answers, then they're obviously hiding something.

Recognizing that we're being granted an audience with prison administrators some of us took the opportunity to bring up a variety of issues affecting the population. We told them we weren't being allowed to use the phone, go to yard, etc. Their response was that as far as the thermals were concerned we are in fact not allowed to wear them to the chow hall. However, they still did not confirm whether it is a mandated regulation or not. They then apologized for not issuing out jackets. They said that we're supposed to have been issued jackets weeks ago but there was some delay. The warden was currently making some calls trying to get us some jackets. By the end of the interview we were told that they'd found us some jackets and that they would be issued Monday. However, we were also told not to take this as them somehow giving in to our demands. Yeah right. We were told that concerning the program on the yard, we had ourselves to blame because of supposed safety risks that we are always causing. At the end of the interview they told us that we were all going to be punished for participating in a disturbance. We were then sent out back to our cells.

Hours later those jackets that were nowhere in sight or on the prison grounds were somehow "found" and distributed. Funny how that works.

Now today, for the first time in four months, a huge portion of the population was allowed access to the phones.

Who knows, maybe tomorrow we'll finally get some yard.

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[National Oppression] [Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 11]
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Foreign Nationals Face Brunt of Population Crisis

The State of California faced a "two-pronged" problem this year with regards to housing "alien" prisoners. The first came as a result of the economic calamity which eliminated most forms of tax receipts, which in turn finance various State programs. Secondly, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), has been ordered to reduce the massive number of prisoners held (often more than twice design capacity).

Unfortunately, any perceived relief will be looked upon not as "safeguarding human rights," but being "soft on crime." Regardless of political party affiliation, if a legislator can be shown as being remotely compassionate to criminals, his life in politics is in dire straits, almost certainly at an end. This creates a rather hypocritical dogmatism between being "financial stewards," and "tortuous demagogues." So, the "powers-that-be," have chosen a rather stealth-like hypocrisy that appears sound to the tax-payers, and helps continue the ethnocentrism of the post-9/11 era: Deportation of Aliens Who Completed Their Prison Terms.

Consider this for a moment:

If "Jose Garcia" [arbitrary name] is arrested and convicted of any criminal offense, he will face deportation only after serving his time in an American prison. In some cases, it makes no difference, because the "Alien" is serving an Indeterminate Sentence (Life; Life Without Parole; Death; etc...), and will not be released. It does not matter whether his "papers were in order," or if he waded the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, he still faces deportation. In some rare cases, the prisoner will not be deported because he faces death in the receiving country (Libya, Syria, Iran, China, etc...), but this is also open to "political interpretation." An Iraqi citizen may be sent "home," because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, and there is a "legitimate government in Iraq" (Bush #43's words, not mine) and the threat of torture has been lessened (compared to what?). So, "Jose", serves his term and is hustled to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gulag, pending decision to deport.

The insidious nature of this legislation/Court Order, is that it neither provides relief for the refugee who has fled his country's economic abyss, or provide "security" for prisoners who are existing in nightmarish dungeons that lack essential medical and mental health services. Meanwhile, the state legislators continue to support prisons in their districts for their own profit and for jobs for their constituencies.

State courts are simply an extension of their political friends hypocritical policies, and generally refuse to accept reality as a guiding principle. The Federal Courts, while not without their flaws, are more likely to answer the complaints of the down-trodden with something similar to justice. The problem with the Federal Court is that they drag on forever and create such insurmountable complexities that most people are incapable of succeeding in their quest for "justice." The recent cases noted before (Plata v. Schwarzenegger, and Coleman v. Schwarzenegger) have been active for eight years and eighteen years, respectively. The recent court order was for the reduction of the prison population by 40,000 over the next two years. On the surface it seems like a victory for the Prison Abolition Movement, but the State has twisted it around and essentially no relief will be seen. Instead of a legitimate reduction in sentences, or other mannerism which might have a perceived legitimacy, the CDCR has announced that they will start sending people to ICE more rapidly, and will shuffle papers and falsify reports until the State implodes.

I personally know a man who has lived in this country for most his life, but due to his extensive criminal record, may be deported to Iraq (he's Armenian). ICE is kind of in a "Catch-22": Politically, to send someone back to Iraq would show "faith in the new Iraqi government"; but to refrain, would keep a "Career criminal" on American streets. Do they recognize the absolute surreal failure of the American "gulag archipelago?" No. They proclaim a lost war won, and sacrifice someone who might well be killed upon arrival, as a sign of "success" in Middle-East policy.

Needless to say, the "California Dream" is now excluding non-naturalized foreigners, and any attempt at succeeding without the appropriate documentation is hazardous to your "Freedom."

Handling Deportation Threats

When asked by foreigner prisoners, on how to proceed, I examine several factors before making any recommendation:

1. Where are you from? (What is the political climate there?)
2. What offense brought you to prison? (Murder, rape, etc. are hard to defend. Petty possession, shop-lifting, etc. are easier to bring "mitigating circumstances" into the question.)
3. What kind of skills do you bring to society? (A dope fiend with no education will find little sympathy, where an engineer or a doctor will be of some interest.)
4. What political affiliations do you have? (The "Red Scare" still exists, as does massive disinformation about anarchism. If you are perceived as a possible threat, you will be neutralized.)
5. Finally, are there any advocacy groups who specialize with your country, region, political group, religion, et al.? (Being from Mexico will only help you if you can convince your captors that you face death if returned to Mexico (drug war). Guatemala and Honduras have significant political strife that can be used to prevent deportation back there. Other places have different circumstances that should be publicized by the U.S. State Dept. or various news agencies. Reach out early for help and publicity.)

Seek out copies of Prison Legal News and the addresses of whatever embassy or consulate is pertinent to your citizenship. Most nations require "detaining nations" to notify them of having possession of one of their citizens (see: "Consular Notification and Access," U.S. State Department). Within this guide, are the "basic instructions" of political rights, printed in 13 languages, along with the telephone numbers of most consulates and embassies. In a few circumstances where the United States does not have "Diplomatic Relations" with a country, you have access to either the United Nations Delegation or a Neutral Country (Sweden, Switzerland, etc.), who will contact your nation of origin (if you so wish).

The key point for anyone facing deportation to remember is that the political climate of the United States is precarious at best, and if you are facing deportation to a reasonably stable area (no warfare, drug gangs, massive infectious disease issues, kidnapping, rape, etc.), and you are not facing extra detention as a result of being deported "home," it may be better to utilize what contacts you've made in the United States and improve the conditions of your "home" country. If, while incarcerated, you learned how to repair computers, or used more modern construction techniques, perhaps you can be of value there. Further, if you developed friends in this country, possibly they can continue communicating with you and possibly bring relief to the economic scene in your locale.

Regardless of the circumstances, you are not alone. There are scores who have faced the same crisis before, and likely even more will face similar in the future. No matter what, keep your dignity. A coward dies a thousand deaths. A brave man only one. Fascist, sociopathic lunatics may be ruling most countries, but their effect upon you is where you can limit their power. If you refuse to bow down to their nonsense, they lose the battle over your will. You hold the power to determine your fate: use it wisely and with honor.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 11]
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Transgender Struggles in Segregation

I'm a 40 year old transgender prisoner activist. I've been held prisoner by the state of California for 20 years, including 10 years in Pelican Bay SHU and am currently confined to Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU), awaiting transfer to Tehachapi SHU for the past year.

I was initially placed in ASU for "refusing to double cell" and put in disciplinary segregation for objecting to random housing assignments with sexually violent predators because I am a transgender female on hormone therapy. I was placed in punitive, inhumane conditions, simply for exercising my constitutional right to personal safety.

Subsequently I was charged with "battery on a peace officer" for spitting on the lieutenant in ASU. Then I was physically assaulted by Correctional Officer Llamas, who falsified a report charging me with "battery on a peace officer" because I stuck my arm out of the food port on my cell door; he pepper-sprayed me and twisted my arm for demanding to see his supervisor.

I am an experienced jailhouse lawyer and am currently pursuing two federal civil rights lawsuits: 1) concerning medical neglect at Pleasant Valley State Prison, and 2) inhumane conditions and sex discrimination at RJDCF-ASU.

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