The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Campaigns] [COVID-19] [Control Units]
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Team 1 Demands TX Address COVID-19, Segregation, Release, Food and more

Here we’ve formulated the Team 1 movement. An anonymous and autonomous collective of lumpen dedicated to facilitating a movement that attacks living conditions, corruption, discrimination, and nepotism which permeates tekkk$a$ prisons. Team 1 is a multi-national, multi-organisational collective. Team One’s ‘15 Point Program’ is listed below. (It has been edited for security reasons.)

  1. We want an immediate end to long-term and indefinite isolated confinement in Restrictive Housing. This is in accordance with the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment which outlines cruel and unusual punishment, as well as the international standards of imprisonment set by the United Nations’ ‘Mandela Rules’, which outlawed confinement for 22 or more hours a day for over 14 consecutive days.

  2. We want a housing environment and living conditions fit for human beings while housed in RHU. Namely we want less restricted movement (group rec), OTS/state phones accessible to prisoners in RHU without officer escort, televisions visable to level one RHU which will act as positive re-enforcement for the psychological well-being of prisoners and the social productivity of the communities which we will return to.

  3. We want the Texas Parole Board and state classification to adhere to the sanctioned letter of the law regarding prisoners serving stacked sentences, namely (Michael Lane VS. Director of TDCJ-CID 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26319) which ruled that an inmate serving stacked sentences begins her/his subsequent sentence when s/he would have been eligible for parole, not when they’ve been granted parole. We are seeking an executive order from Governor Abbot on this issue so that many inmates will now be eligible for parole and released. This is to quell the furtherance of the COVID-19 within the over-populated Texas prison system.

  4. We want retroactive legislation and an executive order that mandates the parole board recognize good conduct time, work time, and flat time credit for 3-G (Agg) sentences/offenders: This will make many prisoners eligible for parole and allow for a mass de-carceration, which will help contain this spread of COVID-19 virus within Texas Prison System where people are helpless to protect themselves from the effects of COVID-19.

  5. We want retroactive legislation and an executive order that mandates parole eligibility for (all) Texas Prisoners, including those currently serving life w/o parole, we want the requirements for the eligibility of parole reduced for all prisoners currently serving under the 1/2 (50%) law from that 50% minimum flat time before parole eligibility to that of serving 1/4 (25%) before parole eligibility.

  6. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic we want an executive order mandate in the immediate release of all prisoners who’re within one year of their discharge date.

  7. We want retroactive legislation and an executive order which mandates mandatory short-way for all first time prisoners with satisfactory disciplinary records, which reflect an effort at rehabilitation. We want identical retroactive legislation should be passed for all youthful offenders (those between the ages of 13-25 at the time of the commission of their offense).

  8. We want an immediate improvement to the food trays prisoners are provided. This is accordance with (Keenan V. Hall, 83 F.3d at 10911 - “Prison food must be adequate to maintain health”), Morales Feliciano V. Calderon Sierra 300 F.Sup.2d 327-341 (DPr 2004) says failure to provide prescribed diets implicates 8th Amend. right violation…

  9. We want food which is edible, (Hot);

  10. We want a recantation of the unconstitutional Board Policy enacted March 1st 2020 which prohibits or otherwise restricts who may send inmates funds.

  11. We want the administration to institute an act of mediation in the event prisoners receive outside mail, novelty cards, postcards, flyers, cutouts etc, all those items deemed impermissible by the new mail room policy enacted March 1st, 2020. We ask that the mailroom be made to photocopy the contents of cards, postcards, flyers, cut-outs etc, which will negate the said ‘security risk’ while still allowing inmates contact with the outside world. Furthermore, prison sensitive tablets may be a logical recourse if made available to prisoners.

  12. We want the re-instatement of current/former prisoners’ right to vote in Texas.

  13. We want all prisoners to be paid for their labor; via monetary funds and/or work time credits which go towards parole eligibility.

  14. We want an immediate end to, and a federal investigation into the retaliatory, racial profiling of prisoners in TDCJ, namely the ______ Unit; The administration, Office of Inspector General, Gang Investigators, routinely falsify State documents, by falsely labeling prisoners as “Gang” or “STG” members without due process of law or meeting the burden of proof. Furthermore, they actively seek legal prosecution on purposely trumped up charges on innocent prisoners in order to coerce inmates to give false testimony on other prisoners, thereby putting their lives and safety in danger. This is a reoccurring problem involving the ______ unit Safe Prisons, OIG, and GI and condone by head Warden ______ and local ______ County district attorney.

  15. We want the legislators to pass the bill filed by House of Representative District 139, Jarvis Johnson in the legislative session of 2019; this bill will establish an independent Ombudsman that will be independent from TDCJ. This agency will ensure that prisoners constitutional and human rights are met by TDCJ officers and officials.


While we struggle actively to bring this program into fruition the activities which will bring that about will simultaneously (A) elevate the class consciousness of the masses of lumpen through activity and (B) carry us to the next stage of development or at very least entrench us more within the current stage - (Stage (2))

As of now we are attempting to spread this ‘15 Point Program’ far & wide to comrades inside and those outside, in order to garner support for mass direct action approaching on the anniversary of George Jackson’s death - through the anniversary of the Attica rebellion.

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[COVID-19] [Campaigns] [Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc] [Federal]
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Lompoc Action Has Raza Demanding Prisoners Freed from Prison and COVID-19

republic of aztlan

On 24 May 2020, the Republic of Aztlán (ROA) participated in the action at Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution that was organized by the families of prisoners. There was over a hundred people in attendance and everyone was fired up about this concentration kkkamp that holds their loved ones. The ROA came to support the families and to add our resistance to the pot.

Lompoc has the highest cases of COVID in the U.S. federal prison system. The main organizer’s own husband just got tested positive for COVID. So this is ground zero for the prison epidemic in the United $nakes. For this reason the ROA felt it important to go.

Upon arrival we noticed that the prison pigs were out in force. Lined up at the gates with cars parked as if someone may try to drives through the gates. They were definitely ready. The families were chanting slogans such as “Let them go” and “No justice no peace” …people were in overall good spirits. So it was very good to see that our energy injected a fire into the bunch. We soon had the mostly [email protected] families chanting “Free Aztlán!” with bullhorns and “Lompoc is a concentration kkkamp!”

Meanwhile we agitated the pigs with a bullhorn in front of the families by yelling things like “You’re a modern day Nazi!” and “Pigs are occupiers and terrorists!” They were very taken by surprise by how we addressed them and how the crowd cheered as we all got fired up really quick.

The ROA also used this opportunity to pass out leaflets of our Ten Point Program. We are a Revolutionary Cadre Organization that sees itself as an embryonic Provisional Government. We are a Government in waiting for the [email protected] Nation. Once a civil war pops off the ROA will be organized to step in and seize power for Aztlán. Raza, we need to organize on a bigger scale and transform our Lumpen organizations to see a bigger goal. Fuck controlling blocks,cities or states we should be organizing to gain independence and run a Peoples Government.

The ROA is here to politicize and prepare our raza for self determination in the truest sense. All power to the raza who sacrifice to take it!

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[Campaigns] [COVID-19]
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UPDATE: CMF Has Only Returned 2 CPAP Machines in Response to Protest

2 June 2020 - Hello Brothers and Sisters en La Lucha! Much has happened since my last letter.

On April 30th my CPAP was returned, but only after I agreed to be moved to a single cell. This being said, the fight isn’t over. Of all the CPAP/BiPaps confiscated mine is only the 2nd one returned to date. As a result, my family received a phone call from Mary Donovan, there have been many lawsuits filed on CDCR because of the Gestapo-like tactics with which they confiscated our DME’s (Durable Medical Equipment), which is lawful.

On 22 May 2020, I was finally called for an interview on my Health Care 602 I filed on April 10th when they confiscated our CPAP’s/BiPaps and still to date have not had it returned to me at the first level? They seem to be purposefully delaying it to fit their agenda. So, we continue to fight, til everyone gets their CPAPs/BiPaps and nebulizers returned.

In addition, i have initiated a MIM Grievance Campaign on CDCR due to the CPAP’s confiscation (H.C. 602 tracking #CMF HC 20000538). Thank you for all the support!

On another note, I want to extend our support to everyone out there, we stand with everyone in solidarity with those protesting police brutality. La Lucha Sigue! Inside-Outside-One Side!


MIM(Prisons) adds: In addition to the organizing this comrade describes above, on 11 May 2020, comrades in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support participated in a phone zap campaign to demand that California Medical Facility return these medical devices.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [COVID-19] [Telford Unit] [Texas]
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URGENT: Take Action for Texas Coronavirus Sanitation

The Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) is Lorie Davis, and she ordered TDCJ for all units to follow a list of sanitation [protocols]. You can email [email protected] to get this list that’s been ordered, and the phone number to call to report failure to follow these policies is below.

I wrote Lorie Davis and reported TDCJ Telford Unit not following policies implemented by Director Davis, and they still haven’t been implemented. Assistant Warden Mr. Marshall called me out and threatened me, told me to stop writing, and to set down.

My Texas Pack which I hustled hard to get has now come up missing. I think my legal mail is thrown away. If you can please send me a Texas Pack, I can send a donation when I get out, for all the hard work you do and help any way I can.

I need you to call Lori Davis, and please leave my name out of it. I fear what could happen. Right now I’m on the worst effected unit with COVID-19. There’s been 4 inmate deaths, 80 sick and 31 officers have gotten it. And the administration refuses to give any disinfectant to segregation inmates.

By Lorie Davis, we are supposed to be getting Double D [disinfectant]. We’ve not gotten it once. Bleach is not being used or anything else in administrative segregation.

**1-844-476-1289 is the number to report this

Also contact the TDCJ’s Director of Administrative Risk and Review Management Marvin Dunbar at (936) 437-4839 **

The Johnnies (sack) meals we get have little to no food on them. Special medical-prescribed meals, meat frees, are not sent out but every once in a while. Also we are not getting beverages of any kind.

We need you to report these things on Telford. Thank you for your time.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is one of many reports we’ve been getting regarding prison staff not following basic sanitation guidelines in prisons across the country. We just heard from a comrade who got eir parole delayed on a bogus rules violation write up in California for signing eir name on a group grievance that staff were not wearing masks. Not only are staff putting prisoners lives at risk by not following these procedures, but they are punishing people for bringing it to their attention!

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[Campaigns] [COVID-19] [California Medical Facility] [California] [ULK Issue 70]
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Return Life-Saving Machines to Prisoners at CMF

Revolutionary Greetings!

10 April 2020 – Filing my April Report from the California Medical Facility (CMF) at Vacaville, California.

This is a hospital, we are all here because we are high risk medical and most of us are 55+ years of age if not older. And those of us with Obstructive Sleep Apnea suffer from a life-threatening condition for which we require the use of a CPAP/BiPAP breathing machine to allow us to keep breathing as we sleep. Today the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), using Gastapo tactics, has come in and confiscated our DMEs (Durable Medical Equipment). Thereby placing all our lives at risk under the color of law.

I requested C.O. Gorbe, our dorm officer who since his assignment to our dorm has made a hostile environment, to make a copy of my health care 602 [grievance form] with supporting documents attached, as is my right before I submitted it. I was denied this request and for this reason I submitted this health care 602 attached to a CDCR 22 form with the CDCR 602 H.C. Grievance. And I have been successful in encouraging others to follow suite and file appeals.

My people have been calling the facility and they are denying these as allegations, refusing to acknowledge to our loved ones this even happened. And telling us this is to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Which makes NO sense. I am not infected and their reporting no cases here at CMF. Yet they are placing our lives at risk of our OSA.

I’m sure this is going on at other facilities within CDCR and I encourage all our brothers and sisters to also file paperwork together we can make a difference!

I have wrote similar letters to: - The Prison Law Office - Office of Internal Affairs CDCR - Office of the Inspector General - U.S. Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division - CDCR, office of the Ombudsman - Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld UP attorney at Law - Cal-vets

I would like to respectfully request copies of the grievance petition forms, and also suggest all our effected brothers and sisters to also file and make this a real campaign. And contact your loved ones beyond the walls to call in and make the system aware that people outside are aware of their actions. Together let’s hold them accountable for their actions!


Take Action:

Monday 11 May 2020

CALL: (707) 448-6841

Suggested message: “I am calling on behalf of prisoners who have had their Durable Medical Equipment taken away during the COVID-19 pandemic. These machines help people with life-threatening conditions. I am requesting that prisoners at California Medical Facility be given access to these machines immediately. Can you tell me why these machines were taken away and when we can expect them to be returned?”

MIM(Prisons) adds: As this comrade states ey does not have symptoms of COVID-19. While there are reports online that CPAP machines could spread COVID-19, these patients should be tested for the virus if that is the concern. The fact that COVID-19 is becoming so widespread in prisons is a complete failure of the staff to protect prisoners. With proper practices, prisoners likely would not even be exposed to the virus – in many ways, imprisonment is the epitome of “shelter in place..” Prisoners with existing health conditions need not be put under additional threats to their health.

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[Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Ellis Unit] [Texas]
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Typewriter Supplies Seized for Helping Others with Grievances

It is October 2019, and I am forced to send this hand-drafted communication due to an act of retaliation by the property officer, Ms. Scott, on this Ellis Unit. Ms. Scott took from me eight of my purchased commissary typewriter ribbons, two of which were staged in my typewriter, with two print wheels of different font sizings. Thus turning my $225 typewriter, which took me 9 months to save up for, into an expensive paper weight.

I wish I had someone out in the world who would/could call, advocating on my behalf for returning my personal property. It was taken in retaliation for my drafting grievances for prisoners subjected to the same by the property C.O., C.O. Scott. If I must litigate for my property’s return I will go all out.

Yes, I have it in my blood to help those in need of it. And I do just that when I can. I do the best I can with what I have; always studying and collecting viable information from every source available. That is one reason these guys come to me for advice and legal draftings. The administration is aware of this, and this is why they collusively have crippled my typewriter as they have.

They are forcing me to initiate a writing campaign to Congressmen seeking readings of my grievances against them in their violations [brought to the state by way of the 14th Amendment] of my 1st, 4th, 5th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Another one I am compelled to notify is the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Justice. There are no less than a dozen inmates on this Ellis Unit whose step two grievances are in severe default; being 60 days beyond the extension by the OGP (offender grievance program). Therewith voiding any certification bestowed on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Agency’s Grievance System. Allowing us to circumvent the PLRA’s prerequisted administrative remedies so as to go straight to the federal court, because Texas has no court designated program that inmates might seek relief through.

MIM(Prisons) adds: There is a dire need for people on the outside to do public advocacy work for our comrades inside, which is a need that MIM(Prisons) members can’t take on. To this end, MIM(Prisons) supports Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support (AIPS) chapters around the country. Contact us to get involved!

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[Economics] [Campaigns] [COVID-19] [ULK Issue 70]
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Call on G20 to Cancel $1 Trillion in TW Debt Next Week

Recent United Nations estimates of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic show that half a billion people, or 8% of the population, could be pushed into poverty (using World Bank poverty lines of $1.90 - $3.20 per day). The worst hit areas are projected to be South Asia and East Asia. This will be the first time global poverty has increased since 1990 and this could wipe out all the progress made in reducing poverty in that time.

If the UN’s worst-case projection proves true, it will be a huge blow to the image of capitalism as a force of progress. In recent years, capitalists have been using global income statistics to try to disprove Karl Marx’s theories that the masses are continuously impoverished to more extremes under the pressures for profits under capitalism. Of course we have always countered that the bulk of this reduction can be accounted for by China, whose success is built on the radical land reform and unleashing of the productive forces during its socialist period, which ended by 1976. Still, this propaganda point has been hard to counter in a popularly accepted way.

There is nothing like a crisis to lead people to question capitalism’s ability to meet peoples’ needs. Yet in the short-term, we see the interests of the Third World proletariat in some of the proposals coming from bourgeois internationalists looking to limit the depths of the coming crisis. A newly proposed plan from Oxfam calls for $2.5 trillion, “made up of $1 trillion in debt relief, $1 trillion in additional liquidity mobilized through SDRs [Special Drawing Rights - which is like grant money from the IMF] and $500bn in aid to support developing country health systems.” They offer potential impacts of this plan:

“The immediate cancellation of US$1 trillion worth of developing country debt payments in 2020. Cancelling Ghana’s external debt payments in 2020 would enable the government to give a cash grant of $20 dollars a month to each of the country’s 16 million children, disabled and elderly people for a period of six months.”

Such life-saving amounts are a fraction of the benefits Amerikans are already receiving from pandemic-related funding bills. Oxfam has done the math to back up calls already coming from the Vatican for international finance capital to forgive debt to the Third World. In addition to debt relief, it proposes a $1 trillion fund (called SDRs above) of international reserves that can be drawn on by the indebted countries during the pandemic.

The United $tates has passed laws to extend unemployment to self-employed and informal workers, recognizing the lack of safety net for those people. Oxfam points out that is only 18% of the population in rich nations, while for poor nations 90% of the people are informal workers with no safety net. Oxfam’s report cites the United Nations, saying that half of jobs in Africa could be lost in the coming months. But the latest stimulus plan from the United $tates only offered $1.1 billion to address the crisis in poor countries, a mere 0.05 % of the $2.2 trillion plan.

The Oxfam report hints at an international tax on the most profitable companies or wealthiest individuals as another form of wealth redistribution to provide the needed funding. MIM has long stood for a global maximum income for all of the world’s citizens as a similar form of limiting wealth accumulation and hoarding.

Madonna somberly referred to COVID-19 as the “great equalizer” from a luxurious bath in eir mansion. But the Third World proletariat will not be reporting in on video from a rose petal bath during “stay at home” orders. Coming into this crisis, 46 countries were spending on average four times more money on debts than their public health services, and 113 countries had IMF-required austerity plans in place as conditions for those debts. The people of those countries are starting off far behind us in the imperialist countries. Health care is already seriously inadequate, and people were already living on the bare essentials. They have much less of a cushion than us, despite all our bills and persynal debts. Madonna is correct that this crisis does affect everyone, both threatening their health and economic stability, but it is far from equalizing.

Uniting the globe to fight this pandemic must address the unequal needs and access of the oppressed nations of the world. Onerous debt repayments and the economic restructuring requirements that accompany them, is one of the major causes of the destitution faced by the global proletariat, reaching its highest point at 191% of those countries GDPs in 2018. Now is the time to forgive these debts, release control of economic policies, and grant national self-determination to countries that have effectively been neo-colonies of the United $tates, and international finance capital in general, for decades.

Oxfam is calling on the G20 Finance Ministers at their 15 April 2020 meeting and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank which are meeting 17-19 April 2020, to take on their proposed plan.

Notes: Oxfam International, 9 April 2020, Dignity Not Destitution: An ‘Economic Rescue Plan for All’ to tackle the Coronavirus crisis and rebuild a more equal world.

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[Economics] [Campaigns] [COVID-19] [ULK Issue 70]
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Debt Forgiveness to Third World to Combat Covid-19

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that the WHO joins the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in supporting debt relief to poorer countries to help them combat the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.(1) Now is the time for the international community to call for full debt forgiveness for countries in Africa, South Asia and Central and South America.

Religious leaders have renewed the call for a debt jubilee, which in the Bible is a grace period from slavery and debt. It is a period of renewal, for a fresh start. Most notably, in a broadcast to the Philippines, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle asked “Could the coronavirus crisis lead to a jubilee of forgiveness of debt, so that those who are in the tombs of indebtedness could find life – untie them, release them.”(2) The Cardinal went on to say that the wealthy countries have spent too much on weapons when people are dying for lack of ventilators in hospitals across the globe.

News of the spread of coronavirus in the Third World is starting to emerge. Being at the periphery of the economy may have granted many Third World countries a little more time to respond. But as the richest countries in the world prove unable to prevent deaths due to lack of supplies and preparations, the situation in Third World countries will in all likelihood prove more dire. In all countries, the death rate is revealing the ineffectiveness of an economic system guided by the profit motive in meeting humyn needs.

MIM(Prisons) stands in unity with the Cardinal’s call. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been the institutions that issue and manage the majority of loans, along with accompanying structural adjustment programs, that have sucked wealth from the Third World to the First World since the Bretton Woods Agreeement in 1944. Therefore we must demand absolute forgiveness of these debts, a true jubilee, without the further meddling of these imperialist institutions in the economies of sovereign nations.

If there were ever time for a fresh start, it is now. The economic fallout from the current crisis is only just beginning. Forgiving debt to the poorest countries in the world will free up scarce resources and save countless lives.

Notes:
1. Stephanie Nebehay, 2 April 2020, COVID-19 cases and deaths rising, debt relief needed for poorest nations - WHO, Yahoo! News.
2. COVID-19: Cardinal Tagle urges “forgiveness of debt” of poor countries. 31 March 2020, LaCroix International, Vatican City.

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[Cuba] [Campaigns] [U.S. Imperialism] [COVID-19] [ULK Issue 70]
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End All Sanctions Until the Pandemic is Over!

militarism

On 2 April 2020 Cuban President Miguel Canel-Diaz said,

“Cuba denounces the fact that medical supplies from [China’s] Alibaba Foundation to help combat Covid-19 have not arrived in the country due to the criminal US blockade against the island nation.”(1)

These life-saving supplies were blocked by the United States, which has put economic sanctions on Cuba since its revolution liberated the island from the U.$.-backed Batista dictatorship in 1959.

At the same time that the United $tates is blocking Chinese support from entering Cuba, there are reports that Amerikans are in China buying supplies that are destined for countries in Europe.(2)

The COVID-19 virus affects everyone. It is in everyone’s interests to slow the spread of the virus, and to develop effective treatments for it. These actions by the United $tates go against the interests of all the world’s people.

The leaders of the world need to come together in one common cause until this pandemic is over. Since late March, the United Nations has been making a similar call, urging an end to all military actions worldwide.(3)

We call on the United States and its partners to:

  1. Halt all blockades, embargoes and sanctions so that resources can flow freely to countries that need them to fight COVID-19.

  2. Halt all military actions as a gesture of peace and unity of all of humynity in combating this pandemic, and put that portion of the military budget into mobilizing treatment for people in the United $tates who need support and protection from COVID-19.

  3. Forgive debts to the poorest countries of the world so that they have the resources to do their part to fight the spread of this virus.

Notes:
1. Steve Sweeney, 2 April 2020, US blocks medical aid to Cuba in show of ‘wild west brutality’, Morning Star Online.
2. Democracy Now! 3 April 2020.
3. Edith M. Lederer, 23 March 2020, UN chief urges immediate global cease-fire to fight COVID-19.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 69]
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NC Prisoners File 15,000 Grievances; Organizers Face Retaliation

In 2018, North Carolina prisoners answered South Carolina prisoners' call out coordinating amongst each other in multiple states alongside outside supporters, agitators and Anarchist Black Cross by organizing their POW movement (prisoners of the world).

Three prisoners [names removed] staged a peaceful protest with the support of over 300 prisoners and outside public supporters. They even hung signs on the prison fence made out of sheets. Meanwhile nearly 100 public protesters piled out of dozens of cars, vans, and SUVs, armed with bullhorns, signs, and drums in solidarity with the prisoners while perimeter guards trained loaded firearms at the prisoners and the supporters. Then prisoners submitted a list of demands:

  1. Establish parole for lifers who demonstrate rehabilitation
  2. End life sentences
  3. End all 85% mandatory minimum sentences
  4. End long-term solitary confinement
  5. Abolish article 1, section 17 of the constitution of NC which permits slavery to those convicted of crime through the 13th amendment of the U.$. constitution
  6. End $10 administrative fees for the guilty disposition of a write up or rule violation
  7. Better food with real beef
  8. Better health and dental care
  9. Allow prisoners to purchase JP4 players/notebooks
  10. End security threat group policies that restrict contact visits with their wives, children and fiances
  11. Fair wages for our slave labor
  12. End exaggerated censorship policies
  13. More meaningful rehabilitation and educational opportunities

The following day, on 21 August 2018, prisoners at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh went on strike, refusing to eat our work, followed by prisoners at Craggy Correctional Center. Then reports began flooding mainstream media that thousands of prisoners across the U.$. were joining the international prison strike in solidarity with the POW movement.

The organizers were then each transferred to separate super maximum security prisons and charged for inciting a riot with the exception of [name removed] who was sent to Butner, NC to a prison that is so violent and popular for 5-on-1 fascist beatings that prisoners call it "baby Guantanamo Bay." After 8 months of cruel and harsh treatment with reports of fascists putting glass in food and feces in another, prisoners [two names removed], with the help of public support, organized their national grievance day calling on all NC prisoners and any similarly situated prisoner in other states who are affected by this oppressive rule to join them and file grievances against their director in their state to end the oppressive rule that prohibits anyone in the public from sending a prisoner money unless that person is an approved visitor on the prisoner's visit list.

As a result of this new restrictive discriminating policy, many prisoners whose families are poor and of color, who don't have identification or transportation to visit a particular prisoner to show em support, now cannot send the prisoner any money. This has resulted in a scarcity of funds to go around resulting in an uptick of gang violence and rule violations. For example, prisoners who can't hustle for money due to no artistic skills or other lacking reasons and whose family can't send them any money for hygiene, food, stamps or phone time now are forced to have their families send money gram, western union, square cash app or greendots to pay inside drug dealers for K-2, CBD, marijuana, suboxone, heroine, or other drugs that they can easily sell in order just to survive.

So in response to this intrusive rule, on 21 May 2019 both men and women prisoners stood together in solidarity and sent in more than 15,000 administrative grievances against the NC prison director. Then on 1 June 2019 North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) reported receiving more than 100,000 phone calls and emails from angry families and supporters internationally backing up email servers and phone lines nearly causing their site to crash, urging the director to repeal his 5 February 2019 Jpay rule. One outside organizer spoke with the public affairs office and reported that "there was an ongoing investigation and the director will be looking into it."

Outside activists and supporters are reporting good feedback from the NCDPS, and folks behind bars. Also an art gallery in New York contacted organizers from itsgoingdown.org and is asking for NC-specific art around this extension of our POW movement and wants to get behind NC prisoners to support them.

With the 21 May 2019 national grievance day, in addition, prisoners are beginning to coordinate amongst each other in multiple states, and working with outside supporters; word of the coordinated action has now spread all over the country.

Supreme Court shut down Prisoner Organizing

For nearly 40 years, prisoners in North Carolina have avoided the political arena surrounding prisoner rights ever since the United $tates Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Jones v. NC prisoners labor union, inc. 433 u.s. 119, 129 97 S.ct 2532, 53 L.Ed 26, 629 (1977), preventing NC prisoners from unionizing, meetings and solicitation of membership.

The union formed in late 1974 with a stated goal of "the promotion of charitable labor union purposes" and the formation of a "prisoners labor union at every prison and jail in NC to seek through collective bargaining... to improve... working... conditions..." It also proposed to work towards the alteration or elimination of practices and policies of the Department of Corrections (DOC) which it did not approve of and to serve as a vehicle for the presentation and resolution of prisoner grievances. By early 1975 the union had attracted some 2000 prisoner members in 40 different prison units throughout NC.

The state of NC, unhappy with these developments, set out to prevent prisoners from forming or operating a union. While the state tolerated individual "membership," or belief, in the union, it sought to prohibit prisoner solicitation of other prisoners, meetings between members or the union, and bulk mailings concerning the union from outside sources. So on 26 March 1975 the DOC (now North Carolina Department of Public Safety - NCDPS) prohibited that activity.

Since prisoners were on notice of the proscription prior to its enactment, they filed suit in the U.$. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of NC. That was on 18 March 1975, approximately a week before the date upon which the regulation was to take effect. The union claimed that its rights of its members to engage in protected free speech association and assembly activities were being infringed by the no-solicitation and no-meeting rules.

The district court felt that since the defendants countenanced the bare foot of union membership, it had to allow the solicitation activity, whether by prisoners or by outsiders and held "we are unable to perceive why it is necessary or essential to security and order in the prisons to forbid solicitation of membership in a union permitted by the authorities. This is not a case of a riot. There is not one scintilla of evidence to suggest that the union has been utilized to disrupt the operation of the penal institution." The warden appealed to the fourth circuit who also agreed with prisoners. The warden appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States who reversed the 4th circuit's decision.

The court deferred to the warden's conclusions that the presence and objectives of a prisoners' labor union would be detrimental to order and security in the prisons. The court held those conclusions had not been conclusively shown to be wrong in this view, and that when weighed against the First Amendment rights asserted, these institutional reasons are sufficiently weighty to prevail. In sum, the court's decision established that the institutional interest of the prison outweighs a prisoner's constitutional rights. The rulings in Jones, in hindsight, defined prisoners' status as "prisoners" and eliminated prisoners' rights to free association and essentially paved the future for correctional czars to place iron curtains between the First Amendment and prisoners with impunity.

Punished for writing a letter to organizers

Update: On 12 June 2019 and still claiming actual innocence as to why ey's in prison. Prisoner [name removed] was in eir cell writing organizers when a sergeant and two prison guards entered eir cell for a search. During the search one of the prison guards picked up the letter and began reading it. The prisoner was handcuffed and charged for inciting a riot for simply stating in his letter to outside supporters and organizers "thank you for helping put NC prisoners on the map and for giving prisoners a voice on May 21, 2019 and June 1, 2019 as we continue to bring our collective struggles to the battlefront. I look forward to the 2020 strike calling on all us prisoners to stand in solidarity to demand an end to slavery in prisons and to restore our freedoms."

At this time, this prisoner was scheduled to receive eir first visit in 11 years from eir sister who has no criminal record and who had been unapproved for no reason and was finally approved. Unfortunately, eir sister drove over 8 hours to visit and took vacation time plus a portion of eir husband's disability money to cover the expenses. What's worse is that eir son was just accepted at university which puts an even worse financial strain on the family. Meanwhile this prisoner remains in administrative segregation and faces another 8 month long-term lock up. While in lock up ey accused prison guards of putting feces in eir tea and poisoning eir food. Ey reported having diarrhea, vomiting blood, inability to hold down food, weakness, shakes, hallucinations, hot-cold sweats, stomach pain and dry heaving. Ey has since recovered after two weeks on a self-induced diet of milk.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are some important lessons in this report from North Carolina. First, the restriction on organizing and even just basic free speech of prisoners is pervasive. It takes the format of transferring or charging with crimes prisoners who initiate protests or even complaints against conditions behind bars. But it is also codified by the courts in rulings like the prohibition of union organizing. These laws and actions amount to telling prisoners that they must accept any and all oppressive conditions, that the so-called "rights" of U.$. citizenship do not apply to them.

We can take inspiration from this oppression. While the threats and retaliation will scare some out of taking action, revolutionaries will understand that our actions must be effective if we have frightened the prison and legal system into enacting rules and policies to stop our organizing work. And so we must continue! These organizers in North Carolina are continuing in the face of serious repression, and providing an example of determination and perseverance for others.

Whether your work is focused on educating others, or directly taking on repressive actions by the administration, it can all contribute to building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. This United Front challenges the criminal injustice system through the unity of the oppressed behind bars. We need more stories like this one about the battles being waged. And for those looking to get involved, write to us for resources, educational materials, and support for your struggles.

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