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[Black Lives Matter] [Civil Liberties] [Legal] [New Afrika] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 85]
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Do Black Lives Really Matter?

Never Forget Tulsa - 21 June 1921

This question is not a matter of ancillary importance. Why? Because it seems as if after George Floyd was sadistically and undoubtedly murdered on camera for all to see by a person who was employed as a police officer supposedly standing under the motto of serve and protect (let them tell it), all of a sudden white America was finally awakened after 400 years of conveniently sleeping under the blanket of “better them than me.” (For the record of course “we know all white people are not racist”. Yeah, we know that to be a statement of gospel.)

I myself predicted seriously, when Rodney King (R.I.P) was beaten by obvious racist cops like a pair of weathered drums in Tommy Lee’s garage, that change would somehow slip through the cracks of injustice in the early nineties. However, that was daycare in comparison with what occurred on the unfortunate day of 21 June 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a Black shoe shiner was arrested for assaulting a white girl in an elevator. The Publisher of the local paper, eager to win a circulation war published a front page headline screaming, “To Lynch Negro Tonight.”

It was indeed a familiar occurrence for a Black man accused of sexually assaulting a white woman in the Deep South era. Rewind and fast forward to 21 June 1921 after the paper hit the streets an angry white mob began to gather outside of the courthouse where the Black shoe shiner (Dick Rowland) was being held (Rowland would be later released after the women refused to press charges). That alone reeks of rel-a-tion-ship. Some Blacks from the Tulsa neighborhoods of Greenwood – some were recently discharged war vets – began to descend upon the courthouse with the objective of saving Rowland from being lynched. Long story short, shots were fired and total chaos broke out. As a result over 12,000 whites were fully backed by the white police force. In all, 300 black lives were taken in vain, 1,200 homes burned to the ground and not a single (white) person arrested or ever held accountable for these untimely deaths of Black men, women and kids. To sugar coat the incident it was labeled a riot but in realty is was no less than ethnic cleansing genocide carried out on American soil. So do Black Lives Really Matter in the eyes of white America?

A couple of more Black lives in question, two of the greatest leaders to ever walk the earth, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mr. Malcolm X. At the time of their tragic assassination FBI agents were indeed on the scene under the orders of racist FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover as if they where known terrorists. J. Edgar Hoover was said to express paranoid thinking that Martin Luther King would one day turn radical and his followers would no longer turn the other cheek to the nasty side of injustice and racism. Even though up until his fatal demise he showed not the slightest hint of radicalism. Malcolm X had continuously complained to law enforcement that his life was in danger and he often requested a gun permit, which was apparently never granted.

Now the very thing that initiated this question/article in my head as I sit behind enemy lines in a cell for allegedly selling crack cocaine that conveniently was found behind a pay phone on the South Side of Dallas, Texas: Here I’ve remained for the last 20 years as if I murdered the President. Make no mistake I am not miserable nor bitter as I continue to seek justice in my case. Yeah, I was found not guilty of the exact same indictment and found guilty of the exact same offense. This is overtly obvious Double Jeopardy under the 5th Amendment. It does take 20 years for the courts to grasp this simple and clear vital error which was made purposely to get a conviction due to the fact that I refused to cop-out to a charge I was totally innocent of.

So I have educated myself since I have been incarcerated and there is no way of avoidance on behalf of the courts. Every so called law enforcement affiliate that I have relayed this information to has turned a blind eye to my situation so as of now I am in a lawless environment and failure is not an option as the system attempts to sweep me under the rug so to speak to cover their criminal activity. Now tell me, do Black Lives Really Matter?


MIM(Prisons) adds: Studying Black history like Tulsa, and current events in Palestine, the connections are clear. While the imperialists haven’t dropped any bombs on New Afrika in a few decades now, the low intensity warfare and genocide continues here in the United $tates. It is fueled by white Amerikans’ paranoid delusions, which make them fear that the oppressed might treat them as bad as they have treated the oppressed. The fact is that the Amerikan project is further along than the I$raeli project, and pacification is in full effect. But the contradictions remain, and cannot be resolved without ending imperialism. The oppressed will not see justice until then.

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[New Afrika] [Black Lives Matter] [Civil Liberties] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 85]
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News From the National Territory: 215 Secret Graves in Jackson Mississippi

numbered grave markers
Numbered posts marking unnamed graves in Mississippi

Within the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM), when We think of Hinds County Mississippi, We often think of El-Malik, or many of Our movement elders building independence for Our people in the heart of dixie. On December 18th, NBC News published the identities of 215 buried bodies that had been secretly hidden behind the Hinds County Penal Colony in a ‘paupers’ graveyard. These 215 people were all buried there between 2016 and December 2023. In total 672 people were buried at this location. Although each of the 215 graves were marked by a metal pole with a number attached indicating unclaimed or unidentified remains, in truth each one of these 215 people were identified by the Hinds County officials and were only unclaimed because officials did not attempt to notify kin of the deceased.

The Wade Family

Of the hundreds of the affected families one of the most striking stories is that of the Wade family, whose matriarch Bettersten Wade was instrumental in bringing the existence of the secret graveyard, next to the jail, to public attention.

In 2019, Jackson pigs pulled over Bettersten’s brother, pulled em out of eir car and slammed em to the ground in such a way that it caused eir death. Eir sister, Bettersten Wade, became a recognizable figure in the local Jackson community as ey waged a relentless public battle to advocate for prosecution of the pigs who were responsible. One of the pigs was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a mere five years. Subsequently, Bettersten Wade filed a wrongful death suit against the Jackson Police Department, this lawsuit is ongoing and has been highly publicized in the local news.

On 5 March 2023, Bettersten Wade’s 37 year-old son, Dexter Wade, left home with a friend but never returned. Bettersten Wade filed a missing person’s report and continuously contacted Jackson and Hinds County officials for months but never got a reply. Then, five months after the fact, an investigator came to eir home to inform em of Dexter’s death.

The story coming from the pigs is that an hour after leaving home, Dexter was hit by a police vehicle driven by an off-duty pig. The illegitimate authorities claim they’ve been unable to reach Ms. Bettersten Wade for months, despite finding Dexter’s wallet with eir I.D. and Ms. Wade’s address, and with Ms. Wade being a known local figure due to eir struggle against police murder of eir brother. Nevertheless, Dexter’s body was buried behind the jail with the number 672 stuck to the pole. To make matters worse, once Ms. Wade found the burial plot ey was told ey would have to pay $250 to the county to have eir son’s remains retrieved, as eir body was considered property of the state of Mississippi!

Ms. Wade and eir lawyer requested to be present when the body was examined, and ey was denied even that dignity and eir humyn courtesy. Dexter’s remains were not embalmed, nor put in a casket, but were stuck in a bag causing rapid decomposing in a shallow grave. When Ms. Wade and eir lawyer arrived the remains of Dexter had already been dug up, “breaking the chains of custody” necessary to determine Dexter’s actual cause of death.

From the results of a later independent autopsy, Dexter Wade’s body was in an advance state of decomposition, showed multiple blunt force injuries to the skull, ribs, and pelvis; in addition eir left leg was completely amputated from eir body. Eir body had been completely ran over by a police vehicle. By secretly burying the body without notifying the family, it makes it unlikely that the official findings of “accidental death” could later be questioned. Number 672 was never meant to be uncovered. But ey was. And the hidden horrors connected to Dexter’s death and burial would subsequently lead to many more families coming forward, finding missing loved ones secretly buried in Pauper’s graveyard behind the prison.

The striking similarities between the Emmett Till murder and attempted cover-up among county and state officials, and this contemporary tragedy highlight the ever present need for programs for decolonization in Jackson and the National Territory more generally. Each tragedy and struggle the people experience in which the inadequacy and/or corruption of the U.$. colonial government can be implicated is an issue We can organize around to intensify the class struggle for national unity.

Intensify the class struggle for national unity

Our lives depend on it!

Re-Build to win!

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[Black Lives Matter] [Principal Contradiction] [National Liberation] [Revolutionary History] [National Oppression] [Political Repression]
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Stripping Black History From Prisons

“What makes you think you DESERVE to celebrate Black History Month”- SIS Officer at USP Tucson

These were the words that were spoken to me a few years ago, here at United States Penitentiary - Tucson, shortly before I was illegally put in the SHU (Special Housing Unit) for 40 days.

Before this incident, i was the Secretary of the Black History Month Committee here for three consecutive years, and had more experience in the committee than anyone else over the last five years. But on this particular year, as I reflect back on this, the Education Department did absolutely nothing for us in preparing for Black History Month. We were promised the resources, but as we worked from November of the previous year to February of that next year, we found that when it was time to promote Black History Month, there was nothing set aside for us to carry out any of the activities promised.

We had nothing.

I am writing this now, in February 2024, and I am again at the realization that USP Tucson, from the Warden on down, refuses to allow us to celebrate our history. Not one memo, not one event, nothing is scheduled to celebrate our history, and I can’t help but reflect back to that day where a Caucasian SIS officer (Special Investigative Services) had the audacity to tell me, to my face, “What makes you think you DESERVE to celebrate Black History Month”?

What we are seeing is a stripping not only of Black History, but of identity as well. Prisons are mandated to help rehabilitate people, and one way to do that is to reinforce their identity. There is a certain level of pride that each individual gets when he or she knows that they are part of a greater group of people. I speak as an African American, but this also applies to every other nationality, from Native Americans to Mexican Americans to even Caucasians. When prisons strip us of an identity, it makes them similar to how slaves were treated in our American history.

The slaves brought to America came with nothing, and were systematically stripped of everything they once were, and degraded to a level of inhumanity that surely is an abomination to God. Has much changed in 2024, when prisons continue to practice slave tactics?

In that year we didn’t have Black History Month, I was upset at this, and began to do what I always do… write. I wrote essays about how staff deliberately sabotaged Black History Month, and intended to mail them to the outside world.

But a Caucasian staff member in Education read my works, and refused to allow me to have them back, after I had printed them. She called them “inappropriate.” I questioned her as to why I cannot have my works, which actually I have a right to have.

Her first answer was, “Well, I was with (the staff member), and you don’t know what you’re talking about”-

Wait! I am the SECRETARY of the Black History Month Committee!! I keep ALL the notes! How is this Caucasian woman going to tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about?? At this point, I was already getting angry at how I am being challenged of my First Amendment right about MY history.

Her second excuse was that I can’t have it back because I made multiple copies. This too, was bogus, because even though the general body of the letter was the same, it was very clear at the top of each copy who I was sending it to. Her argument was based on that you could not make exact, identical copies at the same time – I had every right to make three copies if they are going to three different entities.

Her third argument was, “If you want to write a grievance, you can get a BP”. This also was a lie, and what she now was doing was curbing my right to the First Amendment, shifting me to use a VERY flawed grievance procedure. What she was doing was quite illegal.

So, upset, I went back and wrote a new essay, “Is (staff member) Breaking The Law?”. I used Federal Bureau of Prisons policies, legal cases and other resources to prove, without a doubt, that this Caucasian officer was intentionally blocking me from sending these letters out.

When she read my essay, she called for backup, and the SIS officer came, took me out to the hallway and threatened to put me in the SHU (Special Housing Unit). He said, “I know how to play this game”, and then, as I tried to make my case, he said the quote I started this essay with.

My answer to this Caucasian man… “I don’t think a white man can tell a Black man, who has been the Secretary of the Black History Month Committee the last three years anything about his history”.

To this man, and to many Caucasian officers here at USP Tucson, we don’t “deserve” to celebrate our history; we don’t “deserve” to have an identity. Yet, they are quick to take vacation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday.

The last several years here at USP Tucson, the Warden has blocked attempts for us to celebrate our history. Even now, as we came off a malicious and retaliatory 36-day lockdown, after refusing to give us stamps to mail our loved ones, after filthy showers, after feeding us spoiled peanut butter, after limiting our phone calls to a single five minute call a day, after at least three deaths due to medical neglect, and as many homicides – staff here at USP Tucson will not relent in their treatment of human beings in this prison.

It’s not just Black History they are stripping from us . . . it’s humanity they are stripping from everyone. When prisons refuse to acknowledge the captives as human beings, when they ignore the simple basics of human kindness, when they condone illegal acts done by staff, and do nothing about it, they have transported the entire environment backwards two hundred years.

It’s funny, that incident with the Caucasian officer in Education and the SIS officer happened, as I write this, about 5 years ago… those officers still work here. They were never punished in any shape or form for their prejudiced views. I however, was put in the SHU for 40 days, then found guilty of a bogus charge. It took me at least six months to appeal to eventually have that charge expunged, based off simple information that, if the Caucasian Disciplinary Officer had read, she would have thrown the charge out. But after my appeal to her during my hearing, she said to me:

“I just don’t believe she would lie to me”.

So, because I’m Black, and a prisoner, I lose the argument simply because my opponent is a Caucasian female that is a staff member. My level of equality as a human being is stripped, because my status as an prisoner is inferior.

We won’t celebrate Black History Month here at USP Tucson, because staff apparently don’t believe we “deserve” it. So, I’ll celebrate it for everyone here, and refuse to let this prison strip me of my humanity. That makes them less of a human than me.


MIM(Prisons) responds:Understanding history is about understanding where we came from and where we are going. This is the real power of history that the oppressor has tried to keep from the oppressed for hundreds of years. The system is happy to promote an identity for prisoners – one of people who are not deserving, of people with less rights, of people who are less intelligent. There are many identities we can take on, positive and negative. We do not promote a “white identity” because that is the identity of an oppressor. As communists we identify with the Third World proletariat – that is the revolutionary class of people under imperialism that offers solutions and a path from oppression.

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[Black Lives Matter] [Civil Liberties] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 83]
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RICO Act Tool of Political Warfare

stop cop city - drop charges

In the last month we have seen the state of Georgia bring RICO Act charges against Rudy Giuliani and others who worked with Donald Trump to steal the 2020 U.$. presidential election, as well as activists who were doing things as simple as handing out fliers opposing the construction of Cop City in Atlanta.

The Federal Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was enacted in 1970 as a tool to charge people with crimes when they were having other people do their dirty work for them. Each crime charged under RICO can add years to ones prison sentence. The Georgia RICO Act of 1980 covers more crimes than the federal version. The Georgia Act makes Racketeering a felony in the state.(1) Historically, we have had multiple readers who were victims of RICO Act charges brought during the Giuliani years in New York City, and more recently in the Atlanta area, for their leadership roles in lumpen organizations, the more typical target of RICO.

Rudy Giuliani earned fame as a federal prosecutor for getting Mafia bosses in New York City convicted on RICO Act charges. He then used his reputation to become a “tough-on-crime” mayor of New York City known for “cleaning up” the city. It was during Giuliani’s time as Mayor of NYC that the infamous case was brought against King Blood (aka Luis Felipe) under the RICO Act. King Blood was charged for murders committed while ey was already in prison and received the inhumane and unprecedented sentence of life in solitary confinement. All of King Blood’s First Amendment rights to communication were denied, allowing only communication with eir lawyer and immediate family. This was not typically something a judge could sentence, but was justified via the racketeering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(d).(2) Decades later, King Blood still sits in a torture cage in ADX Florence, isolated from the world. While the RICO charges against Giuliani may provide some cathartic humor, the 79-year-old will not be facing anything like King Blood is doing.

Weeks following the Georgia RICO Act charges against Trump, Giuliani, et al., another set of RICO Act charges (and domestic terrorism charges) were made against 61 activists involved in opposing the construction of Cop City in Atlanta. This is a continuation of the state’s warfare against Stop Cop City, including the ludicrous money laundering charges brought against bail support fundraisers we reported on in the last issue of ULK.(3) In the recent RICO indictment, the date of the murder of George Floyd (25 May 2020) is cited as the beginning of the investigations around the so-called “racketeering.” In other words, the state was trumping up these charges against activists before there was a Stop Cop City movement. This is not about stopping any criminal conspiracy, it is about repressing any opposition to the use of lethal police force against New Afrika and oppressed people in general. It is a defense of the state’s right to wage violent war against New Afrika.

In a recent article, a comrade laid out the political nature of the law, debunking the myth that laws were developed as a way to impose morality or address inherent problems in society.(4) Rather law stemmed from the need to manage the division of humyns into classes. With Trump/Giuliani, we see the RICO Act law being used by the bourgeoisie to discipline other bourgeoisie who are threatening the image of bourgeois democracy. And in the case of the 61 activists they are using the same law to discipline youth and oppressed nations who are opposing more violent forms of state discipline.

When we go up against the courts, the police, or even the politicians, we must be prepared for war. The cops murdering us in cold blood is war. The courts and prisons putting us in torture cells for years is war. City governments in Atlanta and San Pablo, California funding cop cities where pigs can play war games is war. These more obvious forms of war, are part of political struggle. There are no rights, only power struggles. To engage in power struggles, requires giving the war two sides.

^*Notes:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_RICO_(Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations)_Act
2. Prison Legal News, 15 March 1999, Judicial Sentence of Life in Solitary Upheld.
3. A comrade, July 2023, “Law and the Courts of Late”, Under Lock & Key No. 82.
4. A comrade of Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, July 2023 “Atlanta Criminalizes Protest Against Cop City”, Under Lock & Key No. 82.*^

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[Deaths in Custody] [Civil Liberties] [Black Lives Matter] [Censorship] [Federal Correctional Institution Tucson] [US Penitentiary Terra Haute] [Federal] [ULK Issue 82]
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Why Prisoners MUST Speak

statue of liberty communism

There’s an ongoing debate as to why prisoners must have rights to the First Amendment, the right to free speech. Prisons often suffocate prisoners from speaking about what happens in prisons, as if it is a “security” risk. While there are elements that can pose a prison interest, most times this is not true, but prisons use flimsy excuses to prevent prisoners from telling the world what goes on. Prisons, like USP Tucson, use the Las Vegas mantra, “what happens in prison, stays in prison” (even if it’s illegal).

Let me share with you an example of prisons illegally suffocating a prisoner’s right to tell the public what is going on:

A magazine called Labyrinth published a story about two Black prisoners at a federal facility, Terre Haute, who died of asthma. Apparently, in January of 1975, a prisoner died, then in August at the same prison, another Black prisoner died of asthma.

During that time, the prison (Terre Haute) had only one respirator, which was known to have been inoperative in January when the first prisoner died. It wasn’t working when the second prisoner died either.

That is negligence. The prison’s incompetence cost two Black prisoners their lives.

However, when Labyrinth tried to send their magazines to Marion Federal Penitentiary, the prison blocked it, claiming that the article could be “detrimental to the good order and discipline” of the institution. The courts disagreed, stating that the incidents in Terre Haute, a federal facility, are newsworthy and of “great importance” (Pell v. Procuiner, 417 US. 817, 830, n.7. 94 S. Ct 2800, 2808 n.7, 41 L.Ed 2d 495 (1975)).

In that incident, the necessity to report prison negligence outweighs the prison’s vague idea that anything that happens in prison are not for the public’s ears. The public has a tremendous right to know that prisoners are dying in American prisons, and more so, if those working in prisons are indirectly, or directly, responsible for it.

Prisoners must be allowed to tell society if human beings in American prisons are treated with humane dignity, or like slaves at a plantation, or Jewish prisoners at a Concentration (and Extermination) camp. Left unchecked, this is exactly where prisons will gravitate to.

A few years ago, I personally wrote an essay about a prisoner here at USP Tucson, who was murdered while in the SHU (Special Housing Unit). I wrote that the staff knew that if they put the prisoner in a cell with a certain prisoner, that he would be killed. And so it was.

After getting the essay out, I got a letter from a law firm representing the victim’s wife. They wanted to talk to me, to get information about the staff working at the time of the murder, because USP Tucson refused to release such information. Even though staff was directly responsible for a man’s death, they refused to give the attorney the information, protecting the officers that facilitated the murder.

Sadly, I did not have such intel, because while the prison population all knew what happened, and how, most didn’t know who worked that day. A prisoner who was in the SHU that period of time, however, would have known. This is not about “safety and security” …it’s about murder.

Prisoners must be able to inform the public of what goes on in prisons, because if not, then there is no counter to prison staff brutality. Prisons like USP Tucson can toss every law over their back, and treat prisoners like dogs. They can beat a prisoner, steal their property, rape them, and no one on the outside would ever know. And, if it did get out, the prison would suppress all information and “defend the shield.” The First Amendment allows prisoners the equalizer, to hold prisons responsible for how they treat those under their custody.

Let’s be clear; the prison staff do not have the right to torment or torture prisoners, they prevent society from knowing about it; but unless prisoners get the word out, prisons will almost always violate humane treatment.

Left unchecked, prisons will always gravitate to persecution, torment, or torture. There must be a level of accountability by prisons, otherwise there would be no fear in allowing prisoners to speak.

So, let me share another recent example of why it is critical for prisoners or captives to speak. It is all too easy to prove that if prisons prohibit prisoners from writing, it gives the prison staff a green light to neglect their responsibilities.

On Friday, 18 November 2022, USP Tucson put the entire prison population on an institutional lockdown for an unknown incident. The week prior, on November 13th there was a “code red” because a prisoner at a different facility acquired a gun and would have shot an officer except the gun didn’t fire because the bullets didn’t match the gun.

Now let that marinate for a bit: how the heck did a prisoner at a federal facility acquire a gun, and what pushed such a person to that extreme? Shouldn’t that be an issue that the prison needs to look at, as far as how staff treat prisoners? It is not always just a prisoner’s fault: it takes two to tango. What did the officer do to provoke a man to such an extremity of hate that he had to get a gun? But prisons won’t look at that. There are other essays that could be written on that, but that’s for another time.

After that incident, on Sunday November 18th, another incident involving staff resulted in an immediate and excessive 30-day lockdown. All prisoners were restricted to their cells (the word “all” really needs to be defined as certain situations clearly show that the prison did not go by their own rules) with no outside movement except to the showers every 2-3 days. But, in this, there were numerous violations by the staff at USP Tucson, most with what may be legally called “deliberate intent.”

Earlier, I was attempting to make a compelling argument about the reasons why it is critical for society to hear from prisoners. Most times people think that once a person goes into a prison they lose all of their rights, this is often told to society by people working in prisons.

This is a lie.

Prisoners walk into Amerikan prisons with most of their rights, including the First Amendment, which is the freedom of speech. This is critical in the prison environment because left unchecked it will always result in prison abuse by staff. I might sound extremist when I say all, but history has clearly shown that if prisons are left to do what they want without any check on humane treatment, it always gravitates to neglect and abuse of the prisoners.

So the First Amendment allows prisoners to voice their grievances whether the prison likes it or not, to the people on the outside who have an interest in what goes on in prisons. We did not lose the right to say what is going on in prisons, in fact, who has a greater experience than us. Often times, courts use a “hands off” approach on these issues, usually deferring to the “expertise” of prison officials. I get that, but expertise does not mean these prison officials use humanitarian elements in their decision making.

So, I gave you a real example of a situation that happened here at USP Tucson; we were put on lockdown on Friday November 18th for what was identified as a “staff assault” in a separate dorm. The prison identified the perpetrator, moved him out of general population then it turned to the rest of the prison and punished them severely as if we all had a hand in it. This is called mass punishment and it is frowned on by many countries, yet the United $tates continues to use it.

I mentioned in the first part the numerous violations that USP Tucson may have committed in what is termed “deliberate intent.” This means there was no mistaking the actions the prison took, it was intended to cause harm. Here are some of the violations:

  1. The warden never issued a memo for the official reason the prisoners were on a 30-day lockdown. If a person or people are to be punished, he or they must know why they are being punished so they can challenge it. This may very well be a violation of their due process – another constitutional right.

  2. USP Tucson prevented prisoners from filing a grievance or a “BP.” When prisoners asked for them, the counselor flatly refused. This alone, is illegal.

  3. Unit Team (Unit manager, case manger, counselor) avoided all prisoner questions, except legal calls or when passing out disciplinary charges. Unit team was working the entire time we were on the lockdown, but deliberately refused to do their job, avoiding all prisoners asking for help or assistance.

  4. Unit Team refused to pass out paper, envelopes or writing instruments, prohibiting prisoners from writing. Here is the deathblow to the First Amendment. If a prisoner is refused these elements, there is no way he can communicate to the outside world.

  5. USP Tucson violated their own policy, forcing kitchen workers to work 10-12 hours a day – every day – to prepare and clean the cafeteria. Prisoner medical orderlies, laundry workers, and selected prisoners were forced to work, but the prison refused to allow the dorm orderlies to clean the showers. This implies that the staff deemed certain prisoners “less of a security risk” than others, even though 99% of the prison population had nothing to do with the incident.

    And let’s touch on the “incident” of the “staff assault.” Here is what happened, in a nut shell. USP Tucson brought a prisoner that is on a high care level, with clear and documented psychological issues, from a high-level prison. Hh has only been on the prison grounds less than a week, and the prison decided to take away his medication. Why? That makes no sense! He obviously needed it for a reason.

    So, when the prisoner was refused his medication, he got angry, and assaulted an officer. This had nothing to do with the rest of the prison population.

  6. USP Tucson never allowed prisoners a clean shower. At the point of this essay, each unit had eight shower runs the last 4 weeks. Each of the ten shower cells were used, on average 80 times and not once did staff allow the dorm orderlies to clean it, and the showers were toxic each time prisoners had to step in there.

  7. USP Tucson prohibited the sale of stamps, nor would distribute stamps, nor would take letters without stamps. This, for 25 days, prevented prisoners from any contact with the outside world. Another deathblow to the First Amendment, and obviously, quite illegal.

This act, the one just mentioned, may be the most malicious because unless you had stamps before November 18th, you had no way to communicate with loved ones, an attorney, a church, the media, or anyone. USP Tucson violated prisoner’s First Amendment for almost a month, and ignored every request and offer to rectify the situation.

Prisoners with no stamps had no way to let loved ones know that they were okay, or alive, or if USP Tucson was beating prisoners, stealing property or doing all sorts of things to them. When families and loved ones called the prison, many were told that we were on a “COVID-19 lockdown”. That was a lie. With no accountability, staff were free to be inhumane, for almost a month. This includes a “shakedown” where the prison took easily tens of thousands of dollars worth of personal and legal property from prisoners and threw them away or took them to their families for Christmas.

When the prisoners lose their First Amendment, when prisons like USP Tucson rob people of this protected right, it immediately opens the door to mistreatment. It always happens. Without fail. It is said in a case law, Thomburg v. Abbot, that

“A prison ban on prisons sending letters that complain of internal conditions in the institution restricted the First Amendment in two ways: one, the prisoner’s right to free speech is curtailed and two, the public’s right to know what is happening within the prison system, a right that can only be fulfilled through an informed press, is restricted.”

For four weeks, I didn’t have the chance to tell people what USP Tucson was doing to us. For 25 days, I could not let my mother know that I was still alive. For 25 days I could not tell society that these federal prison staff officers had denied us humane showers, stole property, and practiced slave labor.

For 25 days we were tortured and nobody knew until now.

This is why prisoners MUST write. And just wait until you read what I share after the four weeks ended, and we were finally able to find out everything that happened around the prison.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Black Lives Matter] [ULK Issue 82]
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Aftermath Tears

Can equal justice really be counted upon,
or will it be another Black shot dead
on the front lawn?

Police suffocating Blacks with their knees
Is the new hanging,
All this yelling, marching and burning things down
But ain’t nothing changing.
The list of Black youth being killed
by police grew longer,
but the memory of George Floyd in Minneapolis grew stronger.

We need to start recognizing, humanizing,
and see the unrequited injustice,
never forget the Declaration of Independence
ain’t no fate and irony in this,
we need to fight for Dred Scott
And the dead forgot for emancipation,
we should know a universal equality
will never get passed in this nation.

A cry from the heart,
can’t echo through the cracks,
until the litany end
what it do to Blacks.

Let’s put an end to the painfully
gradual process,
If we can shrink the blue foot print,
we can make an actual progress.

We know reform isn’t enough
We need heart and power
in their voices,
because only aftermath tears of justice
will see rejoices.

4P’s Vanguard

Panther Progress

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[Police Brutality] [Black Lives Matter] [New Afrika] [Campaigns] [ULK Issue 81]
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The Struggle Against Cop City in Atlanta

stop cop city banner in trees

Since 2021, the city of Atlanta in conjunction with its police force and local developers and contractors, has been trying to bulldoze a significant part of the remaining forest in the city and construct an urban warfare training center for police officers. The forest, which formerly contained a slave labor camp and then a state farm ran on prisoner labor, has been the site of occupations, sabotage of construction equipment, protests and raids by the police. Recently, the cops murdered an activist staying in the encampment defending the forest, while revolts in downtown Atlanta and confrontations with police at the site of the forest have resulted in arrests and terrorism charges for dozens of activists. The movement has racked up several victories already, including delaying the construction of the training center by several months and driving several contractors off the project entirely. But the struggle continues. At press time, the forest faces clear-cutting for the initial stages of construction.

Background

Atlanta is a rapidly and brutally gentrifying city, with a nominally Black elected leadership but a housing and economic policy that has displaced thousands of lower income New Afrikan residents. Cops have been used to harass New Afrikan tenants out of public housing to facilitate redevelopment, rent has spiked well above the already bloated national average, and the arrival of movie production companies (facilitated by tax breaks and other favors) has been a major motor of gentrification across the city.(1) The elected leadership of the city is in a bind – they have to deliver economic growth and good jobs, and get re-elected by appearing to stand against police brutality and white supremacy, but are constrained by their own commitment to capitalism and inability to confront the real power structure of the city, which, as we will see soon, is mostly unelected.

Like most Amerikan cities, Atlanta saw a weeks-long uprising against the police following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. In Atlanta, also like other Amerikan cities, local cases of police brutality added extra impetus to the protesters and their demands. The murder of Rayshard Brooks in June of 2020 led to a revolt that burned down the Wendys he’d been killed at(2), the resignation of hundreds of police officers and even the trashing of the offices of the state police. Local lumpen organizations saw a temporary truce and occupied the Wendys site with arms against rumors of white militas seeking to march near the site of Rayshard Brooks’ death. In the wake of these and similar events police and correctional forces nationwide are facing difficulties filling their ranks and reeling from their abject failure to contain the disturbances of 2020, when over sixty thousand (3) National Guard troops had to be called out to back them up. The need for Cop City is itself a sign of weakness, paranoia and poor morale of the police force.

The Campaign in the City Council

In 2021, after the rebellion, the Atlanta City Council met in secret to arrange two land deals in the South Forest, the largest expanse of forest remaining in the Metro Atlanta area. One was to give a movie studio CEO, Ryan Milsap, a swathe of public land to bulldoze and build a large movie production studio on. A second was to give another large chunk of land to the Atlanta Police Foundation, a private nonprofit that gathers money from some of the largest businesses in the region and funds policing initiatives. The APF was to construct a mock city out of concrete, similar to U.S. Military urban warfare training sites, to prepare police to prevent another 2020 from happening. (4)

The Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) is interesting all on its own. It’s entirely private, with unclear finances and no accountability to the public. It’s staffed by former national security officers, real estate investors and retired police; and it has enacted several large-scale programs around the city by itself such as building a center for a massive surveillance network across the entire city which allows footage from thousands of cameras the foundation has installed to be reviewed at one location. The APF has also built up a house renovation program that buys cheap real estate in New Afrikan neighborhoods, remodels it and gives it to police recruits to live in. All of this is done with money donated by corporations ranging from Coca Cola (who did drop out of the Foundation after pressure from activists) to Norfolk Southern. To repeat: large capitalist firms are directly funding, with no public oversight, the extension of massive surveillance networks, police colonization of New Afrikan ghettos, and the construction of a training center intended to make cops more proficient at urban warfare.

The APF is best understood not as a slush fund or a shady organization behind the scenes, but as a de facto shadow government that actually runs the city on behalf of a mostly white bourgeoisie.(5)

Activists uncovered the land deals and organized protests and a campaign to persuade the city council to not approve the projects. After months of rallies, lobbying and canvassing, the Atlanta City Council voted in late 2021 to allow the project to proceed. This outcome, which many of the activists involved in the campaign predicted, marked the first defeat for Stop Cop City. The coalition that managed this campaign, DARC (Defund Atlanta Police Department, Refund Communities) dissolved among accusations that the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) had tried to take over the campaign and use it (and its failure which they banked on) as a recruiting tool. The DSA’s plan was to allow the campaign to fail instead of criticizing it openly, with the hope that its failure would radicalize people into their organization. Commenting on this, a local communist wrote “the notion that working class Atlantans, people who live their entire lives in the trenches of the city’s class war, require a civics lesson to be radicalized is self-evidently chauvinistic.” (6)

The Campaign in the Weelaunee Forest

Parallel to the campaign against the city council and continuing after it had been defeated, a growing and mostly anonymous group of people calling themselves “forest defenders” were ramping up their activity. Some engaged in tree-sits in the forest, others established gardens or engaged in mutual aid projects and free concerts, and others routinely sabotaged construction and surveying equipment preparing the forest for the project.(7)

At one point members of the Muscogee (Creek) tribe from Oklahoma, who lived in the South Forest before being expelled during the 1820’s, returned to the forest, conducted a stomp dance ceremony and shared the forest’s pre-colonial name: Weelaunee.

Several times, crews hired by Ryan Milsap to start demolishing the forest ahead of official permitting were driven out after direct confrontation by forest defenders. Outside the forest, protests against contractors, politicians and business-people involved in the project routinely escalated to vandalism and provoked repression from the police. In one case, a protest in East Atlanta Village was attacked by cops as it was ending, but the heavy-handed tactics of the police resulted in all 17 arrests being dismissed and thousands in restitution paid to those targeted. One of the general contractors of the project, Reeves + Young, dropped out after another direct protest at their officers and after several of their vehicles were sabotaged in the forest. It should be noted that not all interactions between construction workers and the forest defenders were hostile – when crews from the local power company showed up to do maintenance on a line in the forest, they worked around a garden that forest defenders had planted instead of destroying it.

Throughout late 2021 and 2022 this back and forth continued, with coordinated Weeks of Action bringing hundreds of people into the forest and a fluctuating smaller body of activists building and defending the forest in the interim.

Raids and the Murder of Tortuguita

Different police agencies routinely entered the forest and raided it repeatedly. Last May, following a Week of Action, cops came into the forest and smashed up a lot of protest infrastructure that was on the ground. Activists retreated to the trees, continued confronting work crews and burning equipment that was left unguarded at night. A statement issued after one of these incidents read “if you build it we will burn it.” In December of last year another raid resulted in the destruction of more shelters and 6 people were arrested and charged with ‘domestic terrorism.’

On 18 January 2023, a final raid into the forest by officers from the Georgia State Highway Patrol and numerous other police agencies attacked the forest with guns drawn. During the raid a forest defender sitting under a tarp refused orders to get up and leave, and the cops shot em several times at close range, claiming self defense. Eir name was Manuel Paez Teran (nicknamed Tortuguita or Tort), an indigenous anarchist from Venezuela, and ey’d been living in the forest for almost a year helping to coordinate its supply and defense. The cop story, that Tort had fired first from under the tarp and wounded an officer, began to unravel quickly. On body camera footage released weeks later an officer can be heard saying ‘you fucked your own officer up?’ after the shots, implying that the officer who was wounded was shot by his own people. Tort’s autopsy showed bullet wounds through the palms of eir hands, a story more consistent with an encounter killing than a firefight.(8)

Today

The movement is mostly evicted from the forest for now, and initial tree clearing has begun. The murder of Tortuguita, however, has dramatically raised the temperature of the struggle. The City council has already started walking back some of their plans for Cop City, and support for the movement and criticism of Mayor Dickens for being involved in it, has swelled. It’s also important to remember that without the resistance the whole forest would be gone and Cop City would be half-built already.

For Rayshard Brooks, for Tortuguita, and for victims of poverty and police violence in Atlanta whose names we know and those we don’t, we say Stop Cop City.

NOTES:
(1) Cde. KM Cascia “The White Left is Building Cop City” March 2, 2023.
(2) Greyhound, “On the Tragic Death of Secoriea Turner” July 2020.
(3) Alexandra Sternlicht, “Over 4,400 Arrests, 62,000 National Guard Troops Deployed: George Floyd Protests By The Numbers”.
(4) Crimethinc, “The City in the Forest: Reinventing Resistance for an Age of Climate Crisis and Police Militarization” Crimethinc, April 11, 2022. Background for the struggle aginst Cop City comes from this zine unless otherwise noted.
(5) Cascia, “The White Left Is Building Cop City”
(6) Ibid.
(7) Crimethinc, “The Forest in the City: Two Years of Forest Defense in Atlanta, Georgia” February 22, 2023. All info in this section comes from this zine unless otherwise noted.
(8) Alex Binder, “Manuel ‘Tortuguita’ Terán’s Independent Autopsy Report Released at Press Conference” March 13, 2023.

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[Campaigns] [Black Lives Matter] [Parole] [Work Strike] [Organizing] [Alabama]
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Free Alabama Phase 2

rally at AL capitol to free prisoners
About 100 supporters rallied outside the Alabama Capitol on 14 October 2022

The Free Alabama Movement has declared their recent organizing a success, with over 15,000 prisoners participating and prodding response from the governor during the campaign season.(1) They have announced the next phase of their struggle for reasonable paths to parole and release. It involves the drafting and proposal of a state bill. The Alabama Legislature opens on 3 March 2023, and prisoners have planned to launch a campaign to promote and support the proposed bill at that time.(2)

Following the recent actions, a damning report came out substantiating the prisoners demands:

“July 2022 was the deadliest month on record in Alabama prisons. Thirty-two people died in Alabama prisons in July — the most since at least January 2000, the earliest month for which data is available online. More people died than were granted parole that month.”(3)

The Free Alabama Movement concludes in their recent statement:

"On September 26, over 15,000 people stood up for freedom in the Alabama prison system. That’s 10,000+ new soldiers, warriors and generals to the ranks who had NEVER participated in a shutdown before. Most of them didn’t know they would be challenged by the ADOC at the core of our most basic human need: food. This is a real struggle against a system that is well funded and has been in existence for over 100 years. We gotta act like we want freedom, and move with the understanding that that will be a test of your will and spirit to achieve something great.

"Understand the mission brother and sisters. A call has been made for us to stand again. We cannot miss our assignment and expect change.

“Dare to struggle, dare to win.”

Notes:
1. Free Alabama Movement, 23 October 2022, “Fifteen Thousand Stood Up on September 26, 2022”.
2. Free Alabama Movement, 24 October 2022, “A Path to Freedom”.
3. Evan Mealins, 18 October 2022, “July was the deadliest month on record in Alabama prisons. Here’s what we know”, Montgomery Advertiser.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Black Lives Matter] [ULK Issue 80]
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Revolutionary State of Mind

Last night i dreamed i was talking to Huey P,
told him how tired i was of amerikkka & what it’s doing to me.
Got me feeling like every white cop is my enemy,
Consumed by hatred & it’s killing me.
Wanna pick up my gun & put some pig on my plate,
Tell the judge “He tried to kill me!” & see if i can skate. (yeah right)
But there’s gotta be a better way & i was hoping you could
help me find my Revolutionary State of Mind,
So i can become a proud supporter of Revolutionary Suicide!
i’d gladly die for my People just to see them on top,
Black Lives DO Matter!!! Brothers & Sisters so we can’t stop.
Educating our minds, strengthening our bodies & spiritually filling our souls,
Storming across amerikkka screamin “Let My People Go!!”
The world isn’t ready for a Black Movement such as this,
But they’re poking us with bullets & the people are getting pissed.
They want us to accept these targets on our backs,
But i’m loading up my mind & my clip. (click/clack)
Didn’t want violence to begin with but we’re tired of talking it out,
Breonna Taylor, George Floyd it’s a damn shame we gotta burn
down buildings just to make’em feel what we’re about.
All we want is what was promised when Honest Abe said we were free,
You know, Protection, Justice, Equality,
Might as well be living in France;
Cause that shits foreign to me.
i want to teach my folk how to rise & stand tall,
with All Black Everything there’s no way we’re gonna fall
So Mr. Newton will you teach me the Revolutionary facts?
He just chuckled & said, “Young Brotha you’re already on track.”

Black Lives Matter!!!

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[Black Lives Matter] [Culture] [Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 79]
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The Dwindling of Power

Democracy is an illusion of the mind that misleads the blind.
Who are they fooling? What are we doing? What are we
actually pursing? They’re talking about equality and
we dying in the trenches. Starving on the sidelines.
Aches and pains while the rich is completely full, staring
out of the skyline. How do we rise above the equation?
A broken nation with no vision. Our only dreams is to have
bricks of cocaine in the kitchen. Oh, and residue on the
dishes. How can this be a democracy and the homeless got
bread and water on their wish list? And the rich got the
poor on their diss list. And you want me to turn christian so I
can be like my ancestors praying for a “white” Christmas?
When the symbol of the church represent a white supremacist.
A blonde hair and blue eye’d lie… Naw. I’ll take my chances
with the Revolution. These hungry kids got thirty round drums
and they’re shooting. And Black Lives Matter protest turn into
looting? This is not the rise of amerika– We are living
in the days of its ruins.
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