A Colorado Springs city council will vote to approve a city ordinance that will fine $2500 to all homeless who are found laying or sitting in front of a business. Many who support this claim that it provides better safety for the community and will increase the property values of stores and restaurants in the area.
A few days prior to this the town of Monument, Colorado successfully blocked the building of a methadone clinic in the area, arguing that it would cause a "decrease" in property values and bring a new "wave of crime."
For me, I see this in two ways. Number one, as the richest country on earth, we all still see that basic human needs, such as food, housing and clothing are privileges and one has to choose to engage in the so-called free market to attain these things. The very contradiction in this not withstanding, when one isn't able to have a job, is homeless, begs for food and maybe on drugs, the number one solution is to enforce their way out of it. Place the homeless in jail, that's smart. Let's not develop independent programs that view these homeless as humans that need healing to be a strong part of society.
The methadone clinic run off is a disgrace. Methadone is to help people get off heroine, the fact that a higher crime notion can be spoken of here is a joke. People act like when methadone clinics, or homeless shelters arrive in their communities that a wave of crime will suddenly appear. Why is it easier to jail us, rather than to have compassion and tolerance? Well in a capitalistic based class society, homelessness and addicts are contradictions in the system. Of course they can say that we're lazy, or choose to be this way, but according to economics, we are not choosing anything.
Lastly, social sicknesses can't be blamed upon individuals, and using jails or fines to remove a section of the population will only force that population to move elsewhere. One day these cities in Colorado will have to deal with the homeless as humans, with human and civil rights, until then the class struggle will continue.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is correct that homelessness and drug addiction are problems of capitalism. Opium (which heroin is made from) addiction was a widespread problem in China before the revolution. The Chinese Communist Party attacked this problem by eliminating the supply and offering people engaged in distribution alternative employment. This approach attacked the problem at its root. And by giving people employment and health care they had both the resources and the incentive to stop using drugs. This communist approach values all humans and sees the potential contribution everyone can make to society, rather than writing off some as the dregs who have no hope for anything better in life.
In a show of bourgeois solidarity, on a Sunday in January, 4 million people flooded the streets of France in the name of "support for freedom of speech and expression." Representatives from some 30 different countries marched arm in arm to show their displeasure and cooperation in France's pursuit for justice against the French satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo.
We only need to look at the list of who was on the front lines of this march to see the contradictions in this expression. David Camron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has participated in the imprisonment of Middle Eastern journalists. The king of Jordan for years has imprisoned journalists and those who participate in marches. Benjamin Netanyahu, the biggest war criminal of our time, months ago, blew up Al Aqu Alquxa news services in Palestine, and also killed two journalists. The fact that there was an "absence" of U.$. officials at the march really shouldn't be surprising. U.$.-sponsored bombing of Al Jazeera in Iraq at the Sheraton hotel, and the imprisonment of African journalists in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base are only a few small examples of Amerikan hypocrisy on the question of freedom of speech.
I think it's truly contradictory that when 17 people die for insulting a prophet many take dear, the world takes the opportunity to cry crocodile tears. Amerika and its western pigs can only speak honestly of human rights when they pull out of the Middle East and Asian countries, i.e. the Third World. At last count, 20 countries in Afrika and Asia were under U.$. and Western occupation. This count doesn't include countries facing drone strikes and military intervention from military contractors such as Haliburton, and other corporate conglomerates such as Shell, Texaco, etc. We say that when people are attacked in whatever circumstance, they have a right to fight back.
The philosophy that Amerikan troops are defenders of anything humane is a lie; troops from the United $tates are enforcers of economic imperialism. So in closing here's an idea: U.$. government if you want to defend free speech, defend it when it comes to all people, and don't pretend to be innocent when the wars you've launched for liberation are for your own interests. Save your tears about the murder of children and wimmin for yourself. And if you really want to stand up for free speech, close Guantanamo Bay, free your prisoners and stop the murder of foreign Al Jazeera writers.
From the barrio to the pen all need to listen, the recent no verdict of a killer should be on the minds of us all. Open season has long announced its call and we see clearly what the lives of one of us really mean to this system. The protests, the anger, the sadness, direct it, engage in construction, use this unity to work to really analyze our situation.
Mike Brown's blood, Trayvon Martin, Andy Lopez and hundreds more call from the grave. The killing fields have expanded, if we don't die at gun point by police who protect white workers and sellouts alike, then they lock us away. It's a war on the oppressed nations yet we kill ourselves everyday.
This police murder shouldn't go away in the minds of us all, we have done what's asked, we've voted, gone to courts, protested, petitioned, and we've still got the same cycle, the same verdicts and the same answers. It's our turn to give them a response, but short-lived reactions do nothing. Ferguson is burning, and rightfully so, but you're only burning those you know. The ideology should be burned. Remember this is so much more than a case of Black and white, it's a case of cops killing people, cops who are supposed to enforce the laws, protect and serve, yet have from the start used their power to promote a system of oppression and white supremacy.
It's the 21st century and kops are now the judge and jury, that no longer use cuffs but bullets, and then scream how they were "just doing their service." If we want this hell to change silent vigils and non-violence will just put a bandaid on a knife wound. We are not ready to fight an enemy as large as the police. But we can unite and bring back people's power to promote peace.
My heart goes to those who fight and protest. Let's remember these feelings we have when injustice strikes and maybe we can lose the blue and red hate and instead band together and smash the state. In revolution, and science, education and love, peace, from solitary in solidarity.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is right on about channeling our feelings of anger and frustration into something productive. For too many years people have used the failed systems of the imperialists: voting, petitions, and the law. And yet these systems never achieve more than tiny changes to an overwhelmingly unjust system. We can still use legal battles strategically when we have a chance of winning something useful, but this must always be in the context of building a broader movement of unity among the oppressed to take on the system of imperialism. It's not just a few rogue cops who are the problem, it's not just a few bad laws, and it's not just a few corrupt politicians. It is the entire system that is based on profit for a few at the expense of the vast majority of the world's people. This is nothing new, and it will continue until we stop it.
When we jump to actions without planning, it damages future struggles. While all political protest is good and absolutely necessary, it's always important to keep in mind when we issue a statement it means we must follow through.
My failed hunger strike lasted for two days, and it can be seen as a need to re-develop a line that can be implemented successfully. We can't put a strike or any other political statement ahead of knowing what we're capable of.
By my failure I allowed the pigs to win. But you win some, you lose some, and ultimately you learn. One important factor is to define ourselves and what we stand for, and not sound off before the bullets are loaded.
My embarrassment hasn't led me to quit, only to re-strategize. Not in all circumstances are hunger strikes needed to achieve a successful point. All actions have consequences; even and most especially those that fail. A lesson I learned was, the louder you shout, the more our enemies will watch. I guess some can say that revolutionary culture develops when we learn from our failures. By using those things that don't work as lessons to learn from, these instances become pillars of resistance.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises an important point about learning from our failures as well as our successes. Many times our mistakes are the best source of learning we can get. But only if we sum up honestly, and not pretend things worked well when they did not. When we plan actions we need to lay the groundwork to gain supporters, if we need supporters. And if we don't think we need supporters we should ask ourselves what we hope to accomplish by acting alone, and what consequences we can expect. Each time we organize for an action we should have these discussions in advance, and then we should sum up and honestly criticize to determine what can be done better in the future.
It won't always be true that we need to hide our voices from our oppressors. Under different historical circumstances, when we have gained enough supporters and hold a significant amount of power ourselves, we need to be outspoken about our criticisms of our enemies. We encourage our comrades who are struggling with questions of when and how to take action to study the magazine MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet. We distribute it for $5 or equal work trade, and can also send you an accompanying study guide.
The Brown Berets - Prison Chapter of Colorado would like to join on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). We adhere to all that is listed and we see the need for the UFPP as a major building block not only to create a better culture, but to build better people.
Peace – We stand by this principle, because within our disunity and conflict the system will always prevail.
Unity – The guards are a solid unit, and back up their own 100% of the time. It's time that all of us convicted comrades see past our internal structures when it comes to defending against mistreatment and abuse by the guards. We will back all convicted comrades 100%.
Growth – Education and deliberation, this is a way to develop revolutionary mindsets to set us on a path toward communist ideology. It only works with structure and discipline.
Internationalism – We stand with all oppressed people, their political struggles and their fights for freedom. We will learn of the historical basis for these movements and side with all nations combating U.$. intervention, occupation, exploitation and imperialism. Free Gaza!
Independence – Not only is it important to build institutions apart from the United $tates, we also need to tell the truth by showing examples as to why this is necessary. We support all secession movements and support all liberation struggles within U.$. borders. The military occupied government of this monstrosity we call the United $tates has gone for too long and we support all who wish to break free.
Long live independence! Remember Wounded Knee! Unite!
MIM(Prisons) replies: As this comrade writes, unity is something the guards have and we need to work on. But this doesn't mean we should back up all prisoners 100% of the time. Sometimes people who sensibly should be on our side will act in ways that are counter to the interests of the oppressed. We don't have an obligation to back them in these actions. Rather than backing people based on identity (i.e. all prisoners) we should back people based on the correctness of their political line and actions.
Recently a new program was launched to further erode the self-esteem and morale of captives within the bowels of neocolonial Colorado, "the violence reduction program." This program claims to target lumpen-on-lumpen violence by "group punishment." In essence, if violence breaks out between individuals or groups, the prison can punish 5 known associates of those who participated in the violence, even when those 5 had nothing to do with the incident. The administration says this will help ease tension so all "offenders can live in a safe environment and take advantage of what DOC has to offer." Right, that's bullshit.
Because of our tribal, religious, or political affiliations they will hold us as a unit responsible for one another's actions. Wouldn't isolation as a group only promote that much more strength of the group anyway? If we as individuals came in alone and will ultimately go home alone, why are the staff and administration telling us that we are responsible for the actions of people we hang out with?
I know a lot of comrades in Colorado read this, so let's get this rolling. If they will do this to us it won't be long until we all live just like we already do in segregation (Ad-Seg). What more can they take from us at all level IV places, maximum, etc.? We are only allowed two hours out a day for showers and recreation. Two hours! With 22 hours of isolation, we might as well be in Ad-Seg anyway.
I keep thinking of something I once read in MIM literature, that "people will not live under oppression forever." I can't blame my comrades who wish to resort to focoism, but we must remember violence and premature acts of resistance will no doubt set us back. If you really care and want to stop what's happening, it's time to bleed those pens. Unite — fight back.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This practice of punishment of "associates" is not unique to Colorado. In Washington a comrade sent in a copy of a memo about the Group Violence Reduction Strategy policy from Mike Obenland, Superintendent of Clallam Bay Corrections Center dated 22 October 2014. It states, in part,
"If a prohibited violent act occurs, restrictions are imposed on the offender who committed the prohibited violent act (perpetrator) and the offenders who interact with the perpetrator on a regular basis (close associates). Information provided by staff teams is used to identify perpetrators and close associates. This group of offenders is subjected to a cell search and up to six of the following restrictions for 30-days: [list of restrictions]."
This comrade from Colorado raises a good point about the contradictions inherent in the prison system and the repression against prisoners. On the one hand this new policy gives the prison the opportunity to punish and isolate anyone they want just by claiming they are affiliated with someone who engaged in violence, even if they never broke any rules themselves. But on the other hand, this repression will breed greater resistance, both by solidifying the unity of organizations that are punished as a group, and by incurring the righteous indignation of those affected by this arbitrary punishment. We can use this repression to build the revolutionary movement. As this writer says, we need to educate and write about what's going on, and we cannot be pushed into premature actions that bring down more repression.
Fort Collins Colorado - a 25-year old Chicano lumpen was killed by a cop today after what appears to be a robbery gone awry. The details are still unclear and prison censorship interferes with information gathering, but the news has sent shock waves reverberating throughout the Chicano lumpen prison population. One question comes to my mind, if being in prison isn't enough, since we are under a new brutally authoritative system in Colorado prisons, and now kkkops are killing us, where do we find relief?
And to the fact that Chicanos use violence against one another with the factions of various different lumpen groups, how do we use this new murder to bring revolution to the forefront in Colorado? With the minds and consciences in sadness, how do we really use this situation to unite?
Violence between all Chicano lumpen only justifies violence against us by the cops. My last article revolving around Mike Brown now pushes the genocide both external and internal to the forefront and should be used to remind us that our conditions are our responsibility.
Aztlán and the social responsibility for its liberation begins with peace between all lumpen Chicano groups. However shocking this incident is at the moment, I would like to take this time to express my deep condolences, sadness and solidarity to the homies, family and loved ones of this young comrade in the struggle.
Captive Chicanos: don't react with focoism, premature acts of violence against any guard will only continue to justify the use of force and violence against us by the state apparatus.
Revolution is our only option. To turn our pain into a force of revolutionary education, that will save our children and our comrades in arms.
Understand how the police state and the overall imperialist class holds an imaginative sway over us, by its use of things like patriotism and calls to social responsibility to our government. This is not our duty, our duty is to smash the internal divisions and unite. If we don't we all will not be safe. It is time to live for something more. Fight Back!
In the wake of the recent tragic death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Fox News and other white nationalist mouth pieces have been holding nightly segments on "Race in Amerikkka." On Friday (29 August 2014), Fox brought on petty bourgeois "New Afrikan" leaders. What appalled me about these appearances were the justification given by these appointed leaders for the unjust actions taken, not just in this horrific murder, but any point and time when cops kill people. Not once was anything said about how this disproportionate system has pushed the New Afrikan communities into further destruction. The removal of young New Afrikan men to overpopulated prisons, underfunded schools, scarce jobs, and lack of community investment are real problems, that get zero air time. While these New Afrikan leaders could have gone into discourse about this, it seemed as if they wanted to speak kindly and give answers that reactionary views could agree with.
The solutions that this panel of “leaders” gave were borderline absurd. 1) Give the murderous cop the benefit of the doubt. 2) Stop looking at the death of Mike Brown as a race issue, but a people issue. 3) The nation's problems can only be solved by church and 4) This would all stop if all poor people jumped into the middle class. I can only agree with one of 4 of these solutions. The killing of people by cops is a society issue. Any time a cop kills anyone, 9 times out of 10 the cop will never see jail, and if he does he won't go for very long. As for the rest of these solutions, I felt like it only gave excuses for all of us to lay down and accept the militarization or police, state executions of people in communities, and the immunity by police as a fact of life.
The stark reality is, this kkkountry has a real problem. A majority of people in prison are from the internal semi-colonies, who come from underdeveloped communities. Again if racism and white privilege isn't a fact in our society, why are we so encouraged to act, think, dress and accept what white society tells us? In fact, white supremacy is so ingrained in our society that we are raised with it, often times we don't even notice. Poverty, profiling from police, bad housing, and schools that pipeline kids to prison, not to mention the criminalization of social behavior from childhood to high school. It is no real wonder that most of us end up in gangs, drug wars fueled by profit, single parent homes or just unwanted and state raised. All those who spoke on Fox News made me sick; prayer and peace is not a defense against bullets and badges and prison cells.
What's being done in this young man's tragedy should be a wakeup call and more importantly a call to arms. How many more of our children are we going to let them kill? How many more family are we going to let them lock up? Why haven't we learned, this system doesn't want us or accept us. When we as captives choose to ignore the reality of this system, or we choose to buy into it, then we are accepting all that comes with it: white supremacy, cultural aggression, and more horrifying oppression and imperialism. The system's use of psychological warfare will always drive us to hate our cultures, nationalities and ourselves.
The U.$. will always seize the opportunity to pin the classes against one another and media outlets like Fox feed the misconception and downplay the situation of us in bondage to the U.$. colonial system. If we in prison build upon the reality of what life holds on the outside and how it will lead us to always be on the fringe we will then chose to feed revolution or fail.
This same attitude in national news feeds helps keep us kaptive, by allowing them to think that we are the real dangers to society rather than recognizing that we are kept in bondage because their government has led us to a violent, overly repressed and suppressed society, that drove us into poverty, fed drugs into our communities, gave us guns, and let the pigs clean up the mess.
Fear is a powerful tool, the longer we keep disorganizing and keep in-fighting the more we keep allowing the system, our kaptors, and society in general to continue on the path of building prisons and killing our children. We know the path, now it is time to build. Standing in solidarity.
MIM(Prisons) responds: There have always been individuals from the oppressed nations who the oppressor could use as mouthpieces for their own ideas. But the petty bourgeoisie in the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates is bigger than ever today. And as mentioned above, the political solution offered by those taking up white nationalist politics is to have all New Afrikans, Chican@s, or whoever the target is, join the Amerikan petty bourgeoisie, or as they say, "the middle class."
There are two problems with this strategy. One is it is not happening on the broad scale that they would hope, and is merely a pipe dream fed to the oppressed to keep them pacified. The other is that joining Amerika is joining the most hated nation on the planet. And these two points are connected. On the one hand Amerika is hated because it oppresses and exploits all over the world, and this is why they have such a large, wealthy middle class. On the other hand, this oppression takes the primary form of national oppression, which is justified by ideas of race. Therefore there are both economic/structural limits to integration in the United $tates as well as cultural limitations, as the white nation must see itself as superior in order to support the actions of its imperialist government.
We need to keep in mind that the mainstream media reflects the views of the oppressor nation in Amerika, not just the views of the imperialists in power. This is why we need a revolution, not only in the economic base that allows oppressor nations to profit off the exploitation of the oppressed in the Third World, but also a revolution in the culture and institutions that promote reactionary ideas and justify the system of national oppression.
Even after capitalism was overthrown in China, and the communists had taken state power, they undertook the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to criticize old reactionary ideas and create new revolutionary culture, and to encourage the people to criticize their leaders when errors were made. This is necessary because we cannot get rid of so many years of capitalist/racist culture overnight. Even good comrades can be influenced to wrong ideas. If this was necessary under a socialist state, just think how much more difficult it is under capitalism, in the richest country in the world, to create proletarian culture. We do not currently have the resources to fight state-supporting media like Fox. Work with us to build independent institutions of the oppressed!
On 5 August, President Obama announced plans to send $12 billion in aid to support an electrification program for six sub-Saharan countries in Africa. This is in addition to U.S. firms investing $14 billion in banking, construction and information technology in Africa.
Are these efforts really about helping the African nations, or is it just to protect the stake certain parties have in the region? I can't help but remind myself of the economic consequences that will befall an already impoverished nation. When it comes to the class divisions, I think this new effort will only push the proletariat into deeper starvation and exploitation. As I've read in MIM Theory 12, investment from an imperialist country like the United $tates usually comes with dire consequences. Funny, not once did I hear the U.$. imperialist president speak of self-determination of all African people. This is either lip service paid to the petty bourgeoisie or when it's all said and done the "pound of flesh" which the United $tates will eventually get will come at a greater cost to those held in oppression.
The puppet governments of southern Africa gained a large victory today, but as we all know, no amount of policy or investment will really benefit the most oppressed people. This is true until all peoples' needs are met, not just profit gained for a few. It looks like more economic imperialism to hold the already poor people in bondage with the illusion of expanding the Amerikan dream. Raise! Fight! Stop U.S. imperialism!
The solution should be what can be done to empower and enable the lower class and proletariat into rising up and controlling their own destinies. Only when this is pursued will conditions improve. People from the proletariat need to understand that they have the power to educate and engage in armed struggle to gain their rights.
Picture a 6-man goon squad, in full riot gear with a gun, a barrel of tear gas, and an electric riot shield. And now realize that this tactic is used on us prisoners any time we get out of line for any reason. This particular incident happened over a flooded cell, broken state TV, and covered window. Not only was a comrade gassed, the pigs shot him two times with 30mm rubber bullets at close range.
What we're seeing first hand is the militarization of prison guards, but it's also an attack upon our psyche. The gas, the riot gear, and the shock shield are all visual reminders of the pigs' control and what is supposed to result in our subservience. This action can take place at any time the pigs feel a threat to the order of the prison. What threats could we possibly cause behind a steel door in the presence of 6 fully armored and armed guards? When these situations happen the pigs turn off the vents so when they get gassed we taste it too.
I often spend long hours thinking about why such an awful use of force is ued for something so benign. In MIM Theory 5 it is said that one can't go on increasingly repressed by fascism forever. And while premature armed struggle is a hindrance, doing nothing at all is even more detrimental.
We spend more time fighting over small and insignificant bullshit, and we let the pigs take advantage of our disorganization. We fill our time checking our paperwork or fighting petty beefs, and the more we do this, the more important it becomes, until eventually it becomes a belief system that causes our own subservience. We need to look past what the DAs tell us and pay attention to what is happening right now.
There are many prisoners who love the United $tates, those who do not understand the evil it causes abroad, nor domestic slavery it's done here. For those who are struggling, keep engaged. It's our duty to fight injustice and racism, and unite. Unity is a deep concept. It's a constant struggle to help someone who's not from your own and it means reaching out being the first one to overlook what keeps us at one another and lets the pigs run all over our rights. If you're not doing something you're feeding the problem. Educate, teach, unite, fight back.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade underscores some important points that are part of the United Front for Peace in Prison. First there is the principle of Peace; we fight for peace while the prison guards stir up and perpetuate violence. "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."
Second there is the principle of unity; we must build unity even when it means taking the first step to overlook differences. "We strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."
We call on all individuals and organizations to study the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles, join the UFPP, and build unity in your prison.