My way might not be your way
But it’s okay
It’s alright, your way might not be my way
But it’s okay
Yea, I used to go to church
But the church didn’t quench my thirst
Mama taught me to put god first
But she never tried to block my search
I was curious, young but serious
Why's religion so mysterious
Why is black life so hard?
They say you’re not supposed to question God
Well is it okay to question the pastor?
Was it passed down from the slave-master?
It was only the truth I was after
But I never could get a straight answer
So I couldn’t relate to the sermon
Put down the bible, then I start learning
About life, didn’t know where the path would lead
But I had to get off my knees
I build with the Five Percenters
On the God within us, it’s no limits
Study the Metu Neter from Kemet
All saw, I remembered
Smoke herb with the Rastafarians
Grew my locks became a vegetarian
Following the Tao, building with the Baba Laos
Jewels being handed to a innocent child
My mind is a Buddhist temple, the truth is simple
I try to be principled
Walking with a warrior spirit
Ain’t nothing like learning from first hand life experience
I’m a realist, that’s all I deal with
Respect the truth, that’s all I build with
A child of the universe
My religion is life and it’s just as valid
I strive for balance
I gotta admit, I don’t know
In the end which way it’s gonna go
Why we sit by the project window,
Instead of living off the land with my kin folk?
Is there even a master plan?
An unseen hand? Is God a man?
Some say that’s sacrilegious
Same folks selling us lies about Christmas
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny
Just so the capitalists can make money
They say God will take care of it
But you a terrorist if you say the same thing in Arabic
It’s so hypocritical
It’s a miracle, listen to the message in the spirituals
Wade in the water, I’m following Ms. Tubman and Nat Turner
I'm praying for my freedom
and heading for the border
On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:
“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”
In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.
a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take effect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.
a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:
“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit" photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted."
MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.
a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)
a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.
a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.
a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.
a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.
Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.
Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.
[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]
This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.
We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.
This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.
Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.
Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?
Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.
Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?
If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.
We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.
Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.
The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.
…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.
In regards to the article by a Texas prisoner “Stimulus Checks are being stolen by TDCJ-CID”, well Texas isn’t the only state with such tricks up its sleeve. Last week the great snake of Arkkkansas done the exact same thing, however, they turned right around & put the money back in prisoners’ accounts after being met with resistance by means of grievances. Quite often they’ll try to pull a caper simply just to see if they can get away with it. Point: Utilize the grievance process.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Right on to the comrades in Arkansas who stood together to grieve this issue. As we say, there are no rights, only power struggles. Just because the law says they can’t take your stimulus money doesn’t mean they won’t. A comrade in California has drafted sample grievances and raised the money to distribute them to comrades who haven’t received their stimulus money in that state. We’ve also been hearing from more comrades in Texas and in the Federal Bureau of Prisons who continue to fight this battle. Because we are getting so many requests, here are some FAQs from https://www.taxoutreach.org
Will the amount of my second stimulus check be reduced if I have overdue debts in prison?
Unlike your first stimulus check, your second stimulus check has greater protection from garnishment. Like the first stimulus check, your second stimulus check is protected from back taxes or federal and state debts. In addition, the second stimulus check is also protected from debt collection. That means that federal and state prison cannot reduce the amount of your second stimulus check to pay overdue debts.
Will the amount of my third stimulus check be reduced if I have overdue debts in prison?
It is unclear whether your third stimulus check will be reduced to pay certain prison fees or debts. We will update this page once we have more information.
What happens if my stimulus check was sent as a debit card instead of as a check?
The IRS sent a letter to prison officials that if debit cards couldn’t be processed at your prison facility, prison officials have to return the debit cards to the IRS fiscal agent at:
Fiserv Attn: RAPID 1007 North 97th Circle Omaha, NE 68122
The debit cards will be voided and you will have to claim the stimulus checks as the Recovery Rebate Credit by filing a 2020 tax return or using GetCTC.org if you don’t have a filing requirement.
As we prepare this issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK) we tallied results of our first annual fundraiser. We have chose the Fourth of You Lie as a time to ask you to donate to this independent media institution of the oppressed. Without prisoners’ support and contributions this newsletter ceases to exist.
Our fundraiser had some successes in that we raised the second most donations in a month from prisoners in years; the highest amount being in March 2021. So we are on the upswing this year. We got an even bigger donation from an anonymous outside supporter, which are much less common. Our goal is to establish regular contributions from more people, both inside and out. Whether you send donations monthly or annually, we want to know we can count on you.
Compared to the previous 2 month period we reported on last time, our donations from prisoners were less than half in amount and also less in the number of people donating. The number of donators these past 2 months was about average for recent years, and far less than years past when we had more subscribers. And once again, the vast majority of the total amount we received from prisoners came from established USW leaders. So we did not see much of a response to the fundraiser from our general subscriber list.
Of course, it’s never too late to donate, and you can still send in your 7 stamps to cover your 2021 subscription to ULK. Or 14 to cover someone who is indigent as well. As always, ULK is available free to U.$. prisoners, and we know that many do not have access to funds. If that’s you, recommend ULK to friends inside and out to build support.
This issue is coming out a little later than planned because of a few setbacks. With more supporters on the outside working on ULK we can make this independent institution a more resilient one. So please get involved if you can.
The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,
“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)
Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).
Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )
“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. "Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)
As a study on sensory deprivation by a team of 4 Harvard psychologists conducted for the CIA revealed:
The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.
“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”
It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).
What is BP – 3.91?
Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.
While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.
TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.
What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?
At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.
That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:
Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.
REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.
But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?
Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.
On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.
Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.
As you know, Black August is here. Do something wherever you are for all the brothers who gave their lives so our struggle could be easy. This year I’m asking our comrades to focus not only on our problems, but focus on our solutions.
I read somewhere, when we think of ourselves as individuals rather than as collectives, we fail to consider the importance of solidarity and collective resistance. We are more likely to treat others as competitors as opposed to comrades.
CDCR administration is anti-Black and Brown, its calculated policy works against the needs and aspirations of our freedom. It is our duty to use every necessary and accessible means to protest and to disrupt the machinery of oppression and so to bring such general distress and discomfort upon the oppressor.
For you young Afrikan who are asleep, an example was shown last month. Chicano, Raza comrades here at Calipatria showed collective resistance to the store for the month. I salute them comrades. At the end their goal was met. Their focus was the solution, not the problem. That how brothers fight collectively at the administration. Abolitionists From Within will show up for this Black August here, collectively with all willing participants.
What is Black August?
Black August is a promotion of a conscious, non-sectarian mass based New Afrikan resistance culture, both inside and outside the prison walls all across the U.$. Empire. Black August originally started among the brothers in the California Penal System to honor three fallen comrades and to promote a Black culture of resistance and revolutionary development.
The first brother, Jonathan Jackson, a 17 year old man child was gunned down 17 August 1970 outside a Marin County California courthouse in an armed attempt to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters (James McClain, William Christmans and Ruchell Magee). Ruchell Magee is the sole survivor. George Jackson, Jonathan’s older brother and comrade, a great Black revolutionary theoretician and leader was assassinated 21 August 1971 by guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin, in an unsuccessful effort to cover up the state’s pre-planned assassination of comrade George. The third brother, Khatari Gaulden, was victimized by the blatant assassination of capitalist corporate medical politics in prison on 1 August 1978. In 1979, over 40 people came together to form the Black August Organizing Committee from a united front of New Afrikan prisoners formed in 1978 following Khatari’s murder.
Some tenets for Black August from K.A.G.E. Universal:
We aim to fast as a show of self-discipline and resistance. From the sunrise until evening meal we will abstain from eating.
We aim to abstain from consuming any type of opioids, or other smokable or liquid intoxicants during the month of August.
We aim to combat liberalism even by limiting our selection of non-frivolous TV shows and educational programs i.e., radio, historic documentaries, journal writings and other creative art exhibits.
During Black August, we emphasize political and cultural evolution studies for those participants who care to assemble with other brothers and sisters rather by way of social media internationally and/or via facilitation within the institution forum.
Abolish FSP (Florida State Prison) use of force (pepper spray and cell-extraction beatings) on prisoners who are only voicing their grievances, while in secured cells, not being violent or destructive, just voicing grievances.
End FSP so-called “no talking” rule. Prisoners are being deprived meals and/or pepper sprayed, and/or even beaten during cell extractions, solely for speaking to each other, our stay on CM (Close Management) being prolonged – yes, just for talking to each other.
Abolish mental health staff being in cahoots with and approving of overseer abuse and brutality of innocent prisoners already suffering from CTSD (Current Traumatic Stress Disorder), being misdiagnosed as ‘disruptive.’
End overseers withholding of prisoners meals as a disciplinary sanction.
Abolish preparing meals with subliminal intent of feeding pigs at neighboring swill farms rather than feeding human prisoners.
End FSP serving prisoners meals on mold, greasy and wet trays. Health risk.
Abolish FSP serving meals cold, which are supposed to be served hot. Another health risk.
End FSP serving of half cooked meals to prisoners. Yet another health risk.
Abolish FSP serving of highly carcinogenic, GMO, processed, fake meat.
End FSP’s blatant and rampant arbitrary deviation from FDOC master menu, and serving meals in exiguous portions, denying prisoners legally required nutritional value and calorie count.
Abolish FSP vertical use of black box on handcuffs and waist chains. Black box and handcuffs are designed to be used horizontally, not vertically. Even while having to carry personal property, placing prisoners at great risk of breaking wrists and/or other life-threatening injuries during falls.
End FSP use of exhaust fans and heaters as control and/or torture devices as collective punishment of prisoners.
Abolish FSP’s blatant and rampant withholding and delaying of prisoners incoming and outgoing mail as a censorship tactic.
End FSP’s blatant and rampant arbitrary and retaliatory impounding and rejection of prisoners’ incoming publications, based solely on prisoners political beliefs, expression, affiliation and advocacy/activism.
Abolish FSP repression, re-education campaign and war on prisoner’s aspiration of genuine essential self-rehabilitation via political studies, application and practices of genuine essential self-criticism and rectification.
End conducting of prisoners medical sick-call at cell doors, depriving prisoners of confidentiality and privacy.
Abolish FSP pepper-spraying and/or beating of mentally ill prisoners.
End CM (Close Management) solitary confinement of mentally ill prisoners.
Abolish the blatant and rampant ignoring the audio/video of prisoners PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) calls on overseers sexual harassment, or declaring mental health (psych) emergencies.
End FSP overseers taking of prisoners personal property and giving it to or leaving it accessible to friendly or favored prisoners.
Abolish FSP discriminatory denying CM I & II prisoners their JPAY purchased tablets and service, while allowing CM III prisoners their JPAY tablets and services, denial of JPAY tablet is based solely on punishment for being on CM I & II status.
End overseer training, indoctrination, instilling mindset that CM is disciplinary confinement rather than administrative or segregated housing. FSP staff and overseers literally believe that CM is for torture of prisoners rather than correction and rehabilitation of prisoners.
Abolish FSP’s blatant and rampant throwing away/trashing of prisoners submitted informal and formal grievances.
End FSP fabrication of disciplinary reports, falsifying documents, solely to prolong prisoners’ stay on CM.
Abolish FSP’s racist/KKK/good-ole-boy code of silence. Prisoners are being beaten in the medical building, off camera, in blind spots – being in blues is the new black.
If you are reading this, please understand that the above listed are only a few of the many injustices occurring here at FSP (Florida State Prison). Please understand that our backs are against the wall, we are voiceless, disenfranchised, isolated, alienated and scared of retaliation. Please understand that we are very well aware of the fact that we are in prison, and many believe that we deserve to be tortured. But what we and many others do not realize is the fact that though we are in prison, technically, we are not the real criminals. The actions that land us in prison are only reactions and responses to the mis-education and poverty created and perpetuated by the real criminals, the plutocrat politicians. Most of us are in prison only and mostly because we are not corporation owners who are too big for jail, instead we are the too poor and mis-educated to defend ourselves against the state and the prosecutors who know full well who the real criminals are, their bosses and friends, state and capital.
Please help us by spreading the word and emailing the above demands to all your friends and family, ask them to email it to friends and family, and post it on social media. The idea is to raise mass awareness, and to also let the real criminals, the plutocrats, know that we, the people, know that they are the real criminals, doing all in their power to perpetuate crime, because crime creates and perpetuates state jobs, nationwide.
and the Inspector General using the Complaint Form at fdc.myflorida.com.
“Real change begins with real awareness.”
18 July 2021, approximate 6:22AM, a prisoner in #1217 cell just got pulled out of his cell and jumped by overseers. Prisoner was already in restraints, two cells away from his cell. He was slammed to the ground, one overseer had his knee planted in the back of the prisoners neck while the prisoner was face down and handcuffed with his hands behind his back, while the other overseer punched him. I’m in the wing next door (J-Wing). Prisoners on windows reported it as it happened.
Anti-imperialists watching the Horn of Africa have sounded the alarm that Amerikans are scheming to further their exploitation of Ethiopia. In May, United States Agency of International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance head Sarah Charles spoke to the U.$. Congress about how the Ethiopian government and other armed forces were restricting the access of Amerikan staff and equipment in the country.(1) Ten days before the 21 June 2021 elections in Ethiopia, the U.$. State Department issued a statement expressing “grave” concern about the conditions of the elections and said they were ready to “help Ethiopia address these challenges” in order to cast doubt on election results.(2)
Many concerned about the talk coming from the U.$. government refer to Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria as warnings of what could happen in Ethiopia. Amerikan troops left the infamous sprawling Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on 2 July 2021, allowing looters to enter the grounds the following day.(3) In 2001, the U.$. overthrew the Taliban-ruled government of Afghanistan. Twenty years later, the Taliban are poised to regain control of the country following the longest war in U.$. history. All peace-loving people have an interest in preventing another one of these long, drawn out wars that have become the norm for U.$. imperialism as it struggles to dominate the rest of the world.
U.$. imperialists have already begun waging warfare in the form of economic sanctions against both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Meanwhile, they continue to push for access by USAID and its affiliated NGOs to meddle in African affairs. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front(TPLF) launched attacks on the Ethiopian armed forces back in November 2020, which began the war that seems to have reached a stopping point this July and has been used by the Amerikans as a reason to get involved. The TPLF led the Ethiopian government until 2018 when the TPLF president resigned due to popular pressure. In addition to domestic abuses, they led Ethiopia in a war for territory against Eritrea during that time. Eritrea has made peace with the new Ethiopian government led by Abiy Ahmed and sided with Ethiopia in the recent war against the TPLF.
Ethiopia is the 12th most populated country in the world, and the second most populated in Africa. In the 1970s, the Derg government led a quick, forced nationalization of the Ethiopian economy. Current President Abiy Ahmed has overseen the privatization and liberalizations of the economy, which began after 1991, when Ethiopia shifted from the Soviet Union to a U.$. client state. These moves by Abiy will increase foreign investment and involvement in Ethiopian industry. A 2018 plan by the Abiy-led government targeted 25% growth rates in manufacturing until 2025.(4) While falling short so far, this indicates their intentions to become Africa’s leading manufacturing hub. In other words, the Ethiopian masses still living in semi-feudal conditions are a potential source of a newly proletarianized population for imperialist corporations to extract surplus value from.
During the recent conflict, Abiy froze the assets of many TPLF associated companies with U.$. and other foreign investments, which may have concerned the Amerikans as well.
As part of their new plan to provide power for this growth in industry, Ethiopia has been operationalizing the new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). On 6 July 2021, Ethiopia began the second stage of filling the dam. The Egyptian and Sudanese governments have been calling for U.N. intervention for fear of the impact on their water supplies. This will be the biggest hydroelectric project in Africa.(5) Egypt (run by U.$.-backed dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi) has indicated it would support intervention in Ethiopia to stop this project by saying all options are on the table. Egypt is one of the most important U.$. client states, historically falling in the top 3 receivers of military aid from the imperialists. The Trump administration had supported Egypt’s interests regarding the dam, and we expect U.$. support to continue.
Land-locked Ethiopia’s access to the Red Sea is through Eritrea or Djibouti. Djibouti is a small country between Eritrea and Somaliland. It is the home of AFRICOM, the United $tates military’s Africa Command, and a number of other imperialist militaries. These military bases provide 5% of Djibouti’s GDP. China has their only foreign military base in Djibouti, making it a potential location of conflict between the Amerikan and Chinese imperialists. This location is also important for access between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea including large movements of fossil fuels.
President Abiy has formed alliances with Eritrea and Somalia, countries the U.$. has used Ethiopia to destabilize in the past. This show of unity in the Horn of Africa could allow for greater serving of African interests, rather than Amerikan interests.
Strong Marxist History
National liberation struggles influenced by Marx, Lenin and Mao are central to the recent history of Ethiopia and Eritrea. In its early days, MIM often mentioned Eritrea as one of the locations of a liberatory people’s war in the 1980s. Current President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, was one of the first members of the Eritrean Liberation Forces(ELF) to train in socialist China in 1967. He was later part of the leadership to form the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which split from the ELF and combined the ELF’s strong nationalism with an explicit Marxist-Leninist line and the strategy of People’s War.(6)
In Ethiopia a series of Marxist-Leninist organizations emerged to challenge the feudal system of Haile Selassie. This led to the removal of Haile Selassie by his own military leaders in 1974, who formed the Derg government. The Derg undertook a massive nationalization campaign, labeling itself “Marxist-Leninist” and a socialist state in 1975. The Derg assigned head of state to U.$.-trained Mengistu Haile Mariam, but became an ally of the social-imperialist USSR. Their national-brougeois ideas fit nicely with the revisionist distortions of Soviet “Marxism-Leninism.”(7)
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front also began in the revolutionary period of the 1960s. By the late 1970s it was waging guerilla war against the Derg, under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray. At this time there was a split in the revolutionary movement of Ethiopia around the question of secession, with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front leading the call for the right to self-determination of Eritrea independent of Ethiopia. Others saw secessionist movements in Ethiopia as linked to the reactionary regionalism of feudalism, and a division of the peasant masses.(8)
In 1991, MIM Notes celebrated the overthrow of the “social-fascist Mengistu regime” by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front(EPRDF) as well as the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF), which abstained from the provisional government of Ethiopia opting for independence instead. They noted, “MIM doesn’t have much information about the”revolutionary programs" of the EPRDF, so we must watch and let the practice of both the EPRDF and EPLF speak for itself.“(9) Yet, MIM Notes had already quoted the New York Times under the heading”Victories Betrayed":
"The best insurance against another hard-line Marxist regime in Ethiopia appears to be the presence in Ethiopia immediately after the EPRDF’s victory, of an Amerikan, Paul B. Henze.
“Henze, the station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency at the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa from 1969 to 1972, was invited to the capital as a personal guest of President Meles. He spent five weeks in Ethiopia advising Meles and was upbeat when he left. ‘Meles is pragmatic,’ Henze says. ‘He and his colleagues are not bothering with ideological matters. Ethiopia has a good chance of becoming a productive country.’”(10)
Meles Zenawi was a member of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray before becoming the first president of Ethiopia under the EPRDF government. As the CIA agent predicted, rather than struggling against differences between classes and nationalities in Ethiopia, the TPLF used its power to dominate the government at the expense of other nationalities and regions, and it soon became a pawn of U.$. imperialism in its maneuvering for power. As a result, by 1998, Meles(TPLF)-led Ethiopia had invaded Isaias(EPLF)-led Eritrea. It appears that both organizations abandoned their Marxist-Leninist lines prior to the overthrow of the Derg and their seizing of state power as part of the process of forming the united front against the Derg. This indicates that there were right-opportunist, liquidationist errors within the leadership of both movements that allowed them to put the liberation struggle and overthrow of the Derg above and in place of the struggle for socialism and a dictatorship of the proletariat. They did not heed the lessons of Mao’s China on how to keep proletarian leadership within a united front of class interests against imperialism. This led to reactionary bourgeois nationalism to play the leading role in these countries, despite the promising Marxist origins of this shift in power. The result gives credence to the warnings from those Marxists who argued against regionalism and secession and opposed the politics of the earlier ELF and original TPLF.
The Organization for African Unity, started by leaders like Kwame Nkrumah and Haile Selassie, also took up a line that it was against the interests of the people of Africa to begin dismantling the states that were amalgamations of peoples imposed by the colonial powers. History has proven this strategy to be effective in preventing divisions among the oppressed. Nkrumah had hoped for the OAU to become a federal government uniting all of Africa, but that strategy did not win out.
At the same time, Maoists recognize the right to self-determination of all nations. And the liberation movement in Eritrea held much promise leading up to liberation. Eritrea also differed from other regions in Ethiopia in that it was previously a separately administered state under Italian colonial occupation. Today, Eritrea remains the only country in Africa without AFRICOM presence, leading to much derision from the United $tates and Europe over the years. They took pride in their non-aligned stance in a world divided by the United $tates and the social imperialist Soviet Union. In 1984, Isaias Afewerki also declared they had no links or support from China. They did not take a position on whether China was still socialist at the time. Isaias did look at Cuba as an example of what happens when you become a client state of the Soviet Union. Isaias claimed the Cubans disagreed with USSR policy in Ethiopia and Eritrea, yet Cuban troops operated in Derg-ruled Ethiopia on behalf of Soviet interests in the 1980s.(11)
While Eritrea has a history of independence and remaining politically neutral, they have recently provided support for the U.$./Saudi war on Yemen that has led to a massive loss of humyn life since 2015. This was likely motivated by financial gain.(12) In the 1980s, South Yemen was in solidarity with the Eritrean liberation struggle despite opposition by the imperialist Soviet Union. Like Cuba, South Yemen took on the form of “Marxist-Leninist” state years after its liberation under the influence of the Soviet Union. Like the Cubans, they seemed to recognize the righteousness of the Eritrean liberation struggle. Today, we cannot view the Eritrean leadership as serving real self-determination when they are being pitted against Yemen by the imperialists. Ultimately, it was the abandonment of proletarian politics that led Eritrean leadership to side with imperialism in the Middle East.
While revisionism seems to have thwarted the popular revolutionary forces in the Horn of Africa in the late 20th century, the proletarian, revolutionary line is no stranger to the people of the region. This is further evidenced by President Abiy having to specifically address and critique Marx, Lenin and Mao in his recent book.(13) It is only through the unified struggle of all African people that the current violence, death and starvation can be properly ended. U.$. and other imperialist involvement will continue to pit Africans against Africans and other oppressed people.
Our Role in the Horn of Africa
In April 2018, Abiy Ahmed of the Oromo Democratic Party was elected Prime Minister of the EPRDF government of Ethiopia. This marked the end of TPLF leadership in the EPRDF, which was replaced by the Prosperity Party coalition in November 2019, excluding TPLF. After his confirmation, Abiy quickly established peace with Eritrea, still headed by Isaias Afewerki. This was a historic peace agreement, returning land to Eritrea that the TPLF had been occupying, signalling unity in the region against the U.$.-backed TPLF. Eritrea and Ethiopia have remained united in the war that began in November 2020 with a TPLF attack on Ethiopian forces. Until the people of the region can mount proletarian-led struggles for power again, the Eritrean-Ethiopian alliance remains important for strengthening the region against further meddling by foreign imperialism.
Our role in all of this is determined by the imperial nature of the United $tates government. Like all people in the world, it is our duty to build towards a dictatorship of the proletariat in our own backyard. But we have the added duty of countering the imperial machinations of our current government.
We should expose the imperialist nature of State Department agencies like USAID that want to present themselves as humanitarian organizations. While President Trump celebrated the Ethiopia and Eritrea peace deal, the Biden administration has brought those favoring intervention in the Horn of Africa back into the White House.
Toward the end of his presidency, Barack Obama appointed Gayle Smith to Administer USAID. Gayle Smith was first employed by USAID in 1994. She had lived in EPLF-run areas dating back to the 1970’s, where she was a “journalist” working undercover for the CIA. She later spent time embedded with the TPLF where she mentored Meles Zenawi, who would go on to wage decades of war against the EPLF.(14) Another close confidant of Meles was Susan Rice, who was national security advisor to Barack Obama.(13) And as we mentioned above, Meles had open relations with local CIA agents from the very beginning of his presidency.
In 2021, Biden has appointed Samantha Power to head USAID. Samantha Power had succeeded Susan Rice as Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations after being mentored by both Rice and Obama. Rice was involved in the violent separation of South Sudan from Sudan and lied about mass rapes to justify the invasion of Libya. Rice and Power worked with Hillary Clinton to greenlight the invasion of that killed Muammar Gaddafi, which Clinton later laughed about on television.
In 2013, Power led the charge within the Obama administration to bomb Syria, which Rice came around to support. Power’s book A Problem From Hell justifies intervention against genocide. She used this mission statement of hers to justify bombing Syria and Libya, and now stands behind it to intervene and defend the TPLF.(15) We oppose the continued expansion of U.$. troops in Africa since President Bush started AFRICOM in 2008. U.$. support for the TPLF clearly aims to divide Africans so that they can be better controlled for the benefit of imperialist-country corporations.
A USW comrade wrote: …the USW Coordinator said, “We are struggling to maintain our programs FIRST because our former comrades left, but second because the people we support for years are not coming out here and putting in work into these programs.” i think first this is a good example of what i was saying to the comrade in NY, u acknowledged first your internal factors, while also acknowledging external ones and these are FIRST and SECOND in that order of importance.
As to what u said i feel WE comrades on the inside have to start treating MIM(Prisons) and USW as if they’re OURS, which in reality they are. The comrade in ULK 72 made a good point about comrades making donations now that i’m sure a lot of Us have received the imperialist pacification funds garnered from imperialist super-exploitation, and oppression. So here in this forum for the supposed advanced and more dedicated comrades i wanna challenge us all to donate what We can even if its just stamps, and thereby help OUR comrades, teachers, and supporters at MIM(Prisons) get some of the other programs up and running again. That’s called resolving a contradiction internally!
For years, MIM(Prisons) had tried to raise funds to publish ULK more frequently, well, now WE comrades got $$$ and instead of giving that shit back to the enemy state lets invest in OUR independent institutions, and there-by invest in OUR growth and development. i’m putting my $$ where my mouth is, i’ve already sent the comrades 30 stamps and will be sending 30 more with this letter, for a total of 60. WHO GONNA MATCH ME, COMRADES????
MIM(Prisons) adds: We’ve decided to print this commentary addressed to other USW leaders for all of our readers. Turns out the USW leaders have stepped up big time! In March and April of 2021 we received the most donations in 2 months that we’ve received in over 3 years. And back then we had a lot more subscribers.
For years we campaigned to get our readers in prison to fund 10% of the costs of ULK, but never reached the goal. Well in the last few months we’ve received donations from the inside totaling about 33% of the cost of this issue! This is due to 3 things: 1) our mailing list shrunk, decreasing our costs; 2) we made changes to how we do ULK so that it is cheaper; 3) comrades stepped up with big donations.
However, this was only about 10 comrades who contributed this money, and over 90% of the money came from comrades who are USW leaders. We’d hope and expect that USW leaders contribute more than others. But we doubt these comrades will be able to keep up this pace alone. So the next phase of our funding campaign is to bring in donations from the rest of you.
We also must recognize that our donations would have been larger if we could accept checks. A number of people attempted to send us checks last month. However, as we indicate in every issue of ULK and elsewhere, we cannot do anything with checks made out to MIM. Especially if you are having your family send us $5, please don’t waste time and money on money orders, just have them send us the $5.
With the success of Ehecatl’s call, we have decided to do what many organizations do and have an annual fund drive. This will help you keep track of when it’s time to renew your contributions. And we’ve chosen the Fourth of You-Lie imperialist holiday as our day to raise money for truth-telling, independent media.
At our current rate of distribution, if you send us 7 stamps by 4 July 2021 you will have covered the cost of your subscription for one year. That’s it. Seven stamps every 4th of July for the voice of the anti-imperialist movement Under Lock & Key to your door. Please help out!
Clenched fist salute to all revolutionary New Afrikans! This coming October 2021, the United Nations(U.N.) will host the 2021 International Tribunal. At this tribunal many of Our countrymen/wimmin along with supporters will AGAIN charge the United Snakes government with committing genocide against Our New Afrikan nation before the world ‘court’ and denouncing them for their treatment of political prisoners and prisoners of war(PP/POWs).
This action comes on the 70th anniversary of the petition presented to the U.N. General Assembly in 1951 charging the U.S. with genocide against Our people. William L. Patterson, one of the original petitioners, also wrote a book based on the experience entitled, We Charge Genocide. Subsequently, in 1977, the New Afrikan Prisoner Organization wrote an essay entitled, “We still Charge Genocide,” to illustrate, among other things, that the genocide still continues.
We did not choose to scribe this brief piece as a news brief, to merely inform comrades of what other comrades are up to. Rather, We scribe this piece to discuss the significance of this tribunal and to also pinpoint the direction Our nation is going.
Significance: In any and all forms of struggle the effectiveness and significance of one’s tactics and strategies are dependent upon the conditions or circumstances therein. The current direction of the mass front of the ‘Movement for Black Lives’, and ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the like, has the nationalist tendency of Our people in a very subordinate position. As such it is paramount that a wide variety of movement media cover and disseminate the Tribunal and the events and discourse around it. It is extremely significant that representatives of Our Nation are expounding upon Our national reality on an international arena, and furthermore, it is important that younger activists witness a new form or avenue in struggle in this democratic stage of our liberation movement.
Some, in fact, have not witnessed us as a people claim and expound upon Our national identity as New Afrikans and the treatment We receive when captured as political prisoners and prisoners of war, and while acting in the capacity as politicized prisoners once in captivity. Some youths haven’t witnessed revolutionary nationalism take a center stage or act in what many deem as significant capacity, and thus we’ve been seen by many of the current generation activist as insignificant. This Tribunal CAN begin to shift those perceptions, as more of our people begin to view Our struggle in the light of the colonized nation struggling for its independence, and when those among us act in accord with the mandate to FREE THE LAND!!! We’re subsequently treated as any ‘enemy combatant’ of imperialism is around the globe. The difference being, that this is all hidden from the mass majority of the public within the empire and abroad.
Direction: As we struggle ahead it is a must that We, the revolutionary New Afrikans, understand and propagate the just cause of our liberation struggle in a way that links the genocidal acts of the empire, which we’ve resisted, fought, and will continue to wage war against until our goal is met, along with the reality that the carrying out of genocide is a prerequisite for occupation and imperialism. By this We mean that imperialism IS genocide!
Many incorrectly picture genocide as a single event; that a genocide must require a machivallian individual orchestrating the industrial murders of human beings for a delusional/cynical end goal. Rather, genocide is a process that evolves and moves and intensifies. Genocide is like all other social and natural phenomena in this regard. As such, genocide is one word that encapsulates the many symptoms of OUR national subjugation under U.S. imperialism. Furthermore, as articulated by the Spear & Shield Collective, We must COMBAT GENOCIDE! And this slogan encapsulates the direction we all must take collectively as conscious New Afrikan nationals.
We can/must combat this genocide in a multi-faceted manner. Creating community watch squads that can hamper police terrorism is one way of combating genocide. Building revolutionary base areas within and without the national territory is combating genocide. Establishing Black squads within those base areas supplanting the old parasitic lumpen orgs with them is combating genocide. In terms of Us behind the walls, mitigating acts of street organization warfare amongst different lumpen organizations within Our one nation is combating genocide. Practicing and promoting a New revolutionary way of doing and saying everything, as to go about breaking the cycle. Educating on health and nutrition practices is a way to combat genocide. Convert your ‘gang’ into a revolutionary vehicle.
As u can imagine there are many ways to combat the genocide of our nations. We are to keep this in mind as we go about our duties, that in all we do we do it to combat genocide, which is combating imperialism. CLENCH FIST