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Under Lock & Key

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[Civil Liberties] [Political Repression] [Download and Print] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Repression of Juneteenth Boycott Organizers has Begun

With just a month remaining before the first series of actions around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, we have received reports of repression of activists by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ).

One of the hearts of this campaign comes out of the brutal Allred Restrictive Housing Unit(RHU) where people have spent decades in isolation. We’ve recently learned that one organizer at Allred hasn’t received half a dozen letters we’ve sent em over the last few months. Eir outgoing mail is also delayed or gone missing. This mail tampering is illegal. We wrote the warden of Allred to stop this censorship.. If he doesn’t stop it, we know this political repression is intentional from the top of the TDCJ to suppress our boycotting of Juneteenth.

We are asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and these activists in Allred to freely communicate. The pdf below can be downloaded, printed on card stock and cut into four postcards. Then you can ask people to sign them, put a postcard stamp ($0.40) on them, and drop them in a mail box. Over the next couple months we want to show TDCJ that people outside are paying attention and supporting the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. This is one way to do that. You can also call Warden Jimmy Smith @ (940) 855-7477 (**069).

protest Allred censorship of activists mail
Click image to download pdf and print postcards.

Stevenson Unit in Texas has also stepped up censorship related to materials about the Juneteenth boycott. The TX Team One Primer was censored for the reason:

“Page(s) 4 contains information advocating prison disruption.”

Prisoners are very limited in what they can do when their grievances are ignored. Most actions will lead to repression. A boycott is the most passive action. There are no calls to violence nor do the plans threaten security in any way. Just a peaceful demonstration of solidarity, demanding some basic humyn rights be applied in Texas prisons. Yet this is being outlawed by the state.

Even worse, in eir most recent update, one comrade in Stevenson reported that:

“last night I was placed in handcuffs and marched off to solitary confinement, the place from where I currently write. I woke this morning to find I’m being charged with 2 new rules violations: 1) Attempt/threat to assault a correctional officer and 2) Assault of a correctional officer.”

There was no assault. In fact this comrade is not even supposed to be housed on the second floor because of eir health conditions. Ey believes this is retaliation for the appeals ey filed against the censorship of literature sent by MIM Distributors. Meanwhile, MIM Distributors was not given the opportunity to appeal, and only received the final decision from TDCJ.

As our comrade in Stevenson Unit so eloquently concluded,

“They will never succeed in snuffing out my flame and their attempts to silence the truth only causes it to roar even louder! They cloak themselves in legitimacy and the trappings of power because deep down they know they are weak and the system is crumbling – to be swept aside along with all the silly liberal reformers and we build a better world over their ruins, a new society based on equality and respect and compassion and truth and justice and”love" – a human society fit for fully involved and determined human beings at peace with themselves, each other, and the world around us."

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[Civil Liberties] [Campaigns] [Legal] [Telford Unit] [Allred Unit] [Michael Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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JFI: More Join Lawsuit to End RHU Torture in Texas

Organizing is spreading around the Dillard v. Davis, et al. Civil Action No. 7:19-cv-0081-M-BP lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s use of long-term solitary confinement. Prisoners held in Allred Unit, ground zero for the Restrictive Housing Unit, and Michael Unit have filed motions to join the class action suit.

A comrade in Stevenson Unit wrote to say that there are only 12 restrictive housing cells there and they are only used very short-term. But ey is sharing the motion and other campaign materials with contacts inside and outside to support those in RHU fighting for their humyn rights.

Shutting down long-term solitary confinement is one of the key campaign demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, calling for a boycott of Juneteenth until real freedom is attained in this country. The lawsuit points to the irreparable harm on mental health caused by long-term solitary.

Anyone who is in a Restricted Housing Unit in Texas can use the linked example motion to join this lawsuit. The motion should be sent to all three addresses listed at the end of the attached PDF. Please download and distribute to those you know in Texas torture chambers!

28 May 2022 UPDATE from Tx TEAM ONE member - Telford Unit: I have submitted my interest in becoming a co-plaintiff to all inhumane conditions in all Ad-Seg/RHU buildings, especially on this unit, and the inhumane/treatment and living conditions endured by all alleged STG prisoners. Because for almost forty (40) years, those of Us that are considered STG’s have been in these living conditions.

I have already written to the Eastern and Northern Districts, United States District Courts. And I have also written to the United States Department of Justice.

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[Hunger Strike] [Campaigns] [Granville Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 77]
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North Carolina United Front for Peace Juneteenth Action Support

SIB Short Staff

There’s been a shortage of staff on super-max. One reason being too many prisoners are in S.I.B. (self injury behavior) watch and must be monitored. Once observation and receiving cells are filled to capacity then guards must (individually) sit outside the housing cells of any other prisoner on S.I.B.

Phone Zap

From experience in what may have been S. White’s 1st successful protest in 2019 Oct, outside support via phone zap was effective. All morning this tied up the prison’s phone line until the prison took the phone off the hook. The outside supporters then phone zapped Raleigh. So Raleigh called the prison asking why the phones were off the hook.

There was 9 to 16 comrades in the prison on hunger strike and multiple people on S.I.B. By lunch 5 comrades were called by Captain Henderson to receiving and asked what they wanted. All of us already had grievances being processed about other things. S. White also sent copies of an anonymous missive to the administration with the policies that were being breached.

Juneteenth

For the memorial celebration of the Juneteenth we are participating in the traditional fast (meal refusal) for breakfast and lunch; and 10-20 S.I.B.s.

At North Carolina’s HCAU we want phone calls (iPad), TV news (iPad), spider-free outside recreation cages built large enough for more than one person, more food, real hygiene, heater fixed for winter, sally-port swept and mopped at least once a month, lights off in the day time, and case workers and fee recommendations for release from HCON on or after the second 6 month term (infraction free). Feel free to add to the list (every grievance will differ reflecting the demands of each comrade).

We’ll like to have outside support phone zap at this institution. Write MIM to stay updated. We do not expect any assistance from any boot-licking reactionaries satisfied with the man and any conditions of solitary confinement. Shall your days be numbered.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Gender] [Terrell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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BP-3.91 Says No Girlfriend Pix, But Sexualization of Trans Prisoners OK

17 January 2022 – I am contacting you to update you on the BP-3.91 sexually explicit photos etc.

Here on the C.T. Terrell Unit (AKA Ramsey 3) several prisoners just recently received photos in the mail – bikini shots. However, several people have had theirs confiscated by correctional officers. Not many people got rid of theirs. This new law really sucked to say the least. Two lawsuits have been filed by offenders here on this level I. I have read it too.

Here’s the thing, TDCJ currently pays for hormone treatment injections for gender dysphoric offenders. We still shower 50 or more deep in the shower. Transgender prisoners are allowed their breasts, tight pants, etc. However, we are told we can’t receive photos of our own girlfriends wearing thongs. What kind of sense does this make?

Placing restrictions on prisoners’ mail, photos, newspapers, magazines, is a significant interference with prisoners’ rights. This is a blunt response to a problem that is much more nuanced than K2, cellphones, etc. Common sense should dictate that the TDCJ should focus on the bigger problem that they are creating introduction of contraband through the front door.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that BP-3.91 is a blunt tool, and like mail policies across the country, it is being used arbitrarily and to censor political materials and much-needed social interaction with friends and family on the outside. Our line is that we are against porn being used as an opiate of the prison masses; tactics-wise we’re against TDCJ (and bourgeois prisons in general) exploiting the reformist demands of friends/families of prisoners to further censorship and control what gets into the hands of prisoners.

A point this prisoner brings up is the fact that transgender wimmin are allowed to wear tight clothes and even shower with the men in the men’s prisons, despite the reason for this new censorship rule being to take away sources of arousal. The same argument has been made regarding female staff and how they dress and by the comrade who posed some strategic guidance for next steps in this campaign. The point is, that the TDCJ’s stated goal is asinine and unachievable. As another comrade points out, there seem to be some assumptions about only female bodies being able to sexually arouse.

Maoists understand that eliminating rape in our society doesn’t start with the individual: the material conditions that give rise to rape in the first place must first be gotten rid of and then the chance for a mass campaign against anti-people sex crimes will be possible. While individuals will certainly reform under patriarchy, the problem will continue until patriarchy is overthrown.

The TDCJ and the state of Texas claims that this law is promoted to give an environment for sex offenders to rehabilitate, yet they fully know that the rape culture of Amerikan prisons won’t disappear. We see that in this case the role of the TDCJ and the state of Texas is to govern the said material conditions for rape with security for the bourgeois dictatorship as priority; and that there will be no rehabilitation of anti-people sex offenders but more risk and danger for the already vulnerable group of transgender prisoners and LGBTQ+ prisoner in general. For this contradiction among the masses, we tell our prisoner comrades to build unity and solidarity with LGBTQ+ prisoners and promote independent power against the bourgeois state’s arbitrary use of reformist demands from the outside as a tool of censorship.

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[Grievance Process] [Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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TDCJ Upholds Censorship of their own Grievance Manual

For many years, MIM Distributors has been providing legal resources to prisoners in Texas, including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ)’s own Grievance Operations Manual. In 2010, USW launched the grievance campaign in Texas, developing petitions to notify regulatory bodies when the TDCJ was violating its own grievance process. Four years later a comrade reported that on 30 September 2014 the TDCJ removed the Grievance Operations Manual, which lays out the TDCJ’s relevant code and policies, from all prison libraries(1) where it used to be available for prisoners to reference. Soon after, MIM Distributors began offering this document to comrades who were trying to fight grievances they had against the TDCJ.

In May 2019, we received a report from a comrade that the copy of the Grievance Operations Manual we sent em had been confiscated by a Correctional Officer(C.O.) in the law library!(2)

Turns out, they have continued to step things up a notch to keep this public information out of the hands of prisoners. On 12 January 2022, MIM Distributors was notified by the staff that the TDCJ Grievance Operation Manual was censored at McConnell Unit on 10 December 2021 for the following reason:

“in contradiction with BP-03.91, Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules”

That was all the detail given. And we have not determined any portion of BP-03.91 that could possibly be applied to TDCJ’s own public policies. These types of cases should be easy wins for us. Unfortunately, we do not have the support we used to have to deal with prison administrators and hold them accountable. Outside supporters, get in touch to help us rebuild our capacity to fight these blatant injustices. Comrades inside that are falling victim to this repression, keep filing paperwork and provide us with all the info you can on what is going on.

notes: 1. A Texas Prisoner, November 2014, Texas Hides Grievance Manual from Prisoners, Under Lock & Key 42.
2. A Texas Prisoner, May 2019, Texas Confiscating Offender’s Grievance Operations Manual.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Texas Liberation Collective Gearing Up for Juneteenth

Dear MIM,

Thank you for your recent communication regarding the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. In the third paragraph you’ll note that it alludes to Our organization, the Texas Liberation Collective(TLC) as joining the campaign. As the founder of the TLC Movement and a Black man, since my captivity and certainly the inception of the TLC Movement, it has been a priority to bring to the forefront of the socio-politically conscious circles the understanding that Juneteenth is NOT celebratory.

We will continue to embark upon that trajectory by informing and educating the masses of all the classes In the Spirit of Frederick Douglass about The Juneteenth Situation.

I have enclosed a document released much earlier by TLC, which actually laid the groundwork for the exertion of Our public showing of disapproval of being wronged by the State and Federal Constitutions’ penile tolerance for slavery. This document, Exposing the Lone Star (Chamber of Enslavement!) is also available on my website: www.justiceforjeromedevonniwilson.org/rubber-stamped-indictments


MIM(Prisons) responds: Greetings to the Texas Liberation Collective. We’re glad to have another leading organization of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative(JFI) featured in Under Lock & Key as we approach the launch of the campaign. MIM(Prisons) is joining these organizations to build connections inside and out to make the upcoming campaign a significant blow to the imperialist torture camps.

The Juneteenth Freedom Initiative calls for an end to solitary confinement and mass incarceration as well as unpaid labor. Long-term isolation is torture. Disproportionately locking up masses of males disproportionately from oppressed nations, at scales never seen at any other time in history, for the productive years of their lives is genocide. These are crimes and injustices that must be stopped!

We send our solidarity to all the orgs and rads on the ground organizing for the JFI over the next couple months. We will be communicating with USW/TX Team One/TLC and other leaders leading up to the events. And we want to hear from everyone participating in this campaign before our next issue comes out in early August to sum up the lessons, the successes, and a plan for next steps to this ongoing campaign.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Update from Plaintiff Against TDCJ's BP-03.91

Dear Friends,

I am the plaintiff in the lawsuit against members of the TBCJ and TDCJ, (#3:21-CV-00337), filed in December 3, 2021.

I also represent the interests of ‘doll’ and ‘pineapple pictures.’ Since the strong opposition to enforce the BP-03.91 rules it seems that the TDCJ is no longer enforcing rules 1(C) and IV(A) (10) (11) of the BP-03.91. At least not in this unit.

However, I will not withdraw the lawsuit until I get the relief I requested in my lawsuit: “declare that rules of the BP-03.91 violates inmates and outside commercial vendors’ Constitutional rights of the First Amendment and enjoin defendants from enforcing the rules.”

Fellow prisoners who would like to support the lawsuit need to write to the court:

Cause # 3:21-CV-00337
Styled: F Martinez, Et Al., VS. The members of the TBCJ, ET.AL.
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
Galveston Division
Clerk of the Court
601 Rosenberg street, Room 411
Galveston, Texas 77550.

Although prisoners can not write me directly to provide me with a copy of the letter, I would like to know who has done it. Please send a copy to MIM(Prisons) and let them know if you grant them permission to forward me your name and TDCJ # or not.

Thank you for your help and assistance.

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[National Liberation] [United Front] [Prison Labor] [Prisoner Lives Matter] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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TX Team One Multinational Unity statement

Some of those familiar with Our organization, who’ve read Our Tx TeamOne Primer, and Our other numerous articles, or followed us on Twitter, may ask what is the purpose for this writing. For you would have already known that Texas TeamOne is not a nationality-specific organization.

The articulated reason some have become confused and muddle-headed is because a comrade here decided to initiate campaigns on dates some associate with New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism, and have taken exception to this.

The campaigns in question were initiated on Black August 21st and ended September 9th. The other campaign is one We’re working on now, and have promoted in Under Lock & Key (ULK) which is Our Juneteenth Freedom Initiative.

First let’s look at Black August 2st - September 9th and why We chose that. These two dates are associated with George Jackson’s assassination and the Attica uprising. What were Jackson’s politics? Jackson, at the time of his death was a Communist. Jackson expressed his desire to eradicate ‘racism’ and the necessity to differentiate himself and others as Black, or whatever color. Jackson said “Black, white and Brown are all victims together.” i say this to say that Jackson was more than just a Black man; to see him as such is to showcase one’s own limited perspective. Jackson was and is a paragon for imprisoned people entering the realm of revolutionary ideas and practice, he was a living legend to an entire state prison system, even to those who did not like him. Telling of all this is that on his death date the other prisoners who rose up in defense to smite their enemies, and were charged and came to be known as the: San Quentin Six, some of these comrades were Chican@s. Hugo Pinnell, one of this group and also a supposed Black Guerrilla Family member, was Puerto Rican.

So when We take these hystorical facts into account We have a better understanding that August 21st isn’t merely about George Jackson but also solidarity to the death, shown by those comrades that day. Furthermore, August is also the month of the Chicano Moratorium, and is commemorated each year, as Chican@s learn of their hystory of revolutionary struggle around this time.

September 9th, the day of the Attica uprising, is clearly a day of multi-national prisoner solidarity, when New Afrikan, Amerikan and Puerto Rican comrades occupied the prison compound as one body. This is held up as the ultimate example of multi-national unity among prisoners.

In regards to Juneteenth, i believed that in 2022 the connections would be clear to everyone, but apparently not. Apparently some think that only New Afrikans were and are slaves. This is not the case. According to the U.$. constitution all those in prison are slaves. The contradiction is that Juneteenth commemorates a day when slavery was supposed to have ended, and Biden’s regime has made this a federal holiday now, while millions of ‘slaves’ still exist in this kkkountry, and their colors vary like the rainbow. The Juneteenth actions are so set in order to raise the visibility of this flagrant contradiction, a method used to tell the public, to showcase that while most are busy incorporating themselves into amerika INC, We, the lumpen-prisoner class are among the last unincorporated people, or class resident to North America. This is the most basic ideal behind Our Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, but not the only. The J.F.I. consists of three stages, the first mentioned above, is to publicize, the second acts to bring the issue of targeted mass incarceration and its role in the genocide of oppressed nationalities domestic of N. America, to the federal level.

The third stage acts to bring these two issues to the international level. We’ve released a more in depth communique surrounding the J.F.I. Please write in to MIM(prisons) to obtain it and be sure to provide postage via stamps.

In political struggle there are many forms of oppression and exploitation. However, these many can summarily be broken down into three primary forms of oppression, and these are national, class and gender.

In Our quest as people to undermine and ultimately devour this oppression We formulate specific types of organizations and organizational methods that We infer will best allow us to meet Our goals, and do so swiftly. Some organizations are organized around gender, for example, the National Woman’s Organization, while others are organized around nation(al) issues, like the Black Panther Party, NAACP, UNIA, RNA, Black Lives Matter and many many others. And still there are some which organize around issues of class, United Struggle from Within, Socialist Workers Party, Prison Lives Matter, and such organizations are examples here.

After much discussion within the Texas TeamOne organizational body it has come to Our attention that We must make Our position clear on the question of the basic purpose of Our organization. Some within and without the organization seem to assume that Texas TeamOne is a New Afrikan-based organization, and thus is organizing on the question of nation and nationality and this has subsequently alienated some, or at least been an excuse for their inactivity. Therefore, i would like to use this platform to publicly declare that although some in Texas TEAMONE are New Afrikans, We’re not a New Afrikan-based organization. Some of Our comrades are Chican@s/Mexican@s, but We’re not a Chican@-based organization either. Texas TEAMONE is focused upon uniting the prisoner(lumpen) class, as a class statewide, guiding this class in asserting its class interest in a manner aligned with proletarian internationalism, and working within the masses of this class to develop political cadres (professional revolutionaries) to send out to the ‘free world’ to assist in freeing Our peoples. This is Our long-term mission.

So to be clear, what is a ‘class’? Marx didn’t see classes as simply economic groupings. Instead, Marx gives-us indispensable criteria, which could be listed as: 1) that class members must share a common position in their relations to the means of production, i.e., common economic conditions, relative to their labor and the appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations, i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries and constitutes a ‘national’ bond: 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’ and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’.(1)

So while Texas prisoners are ‘naturally’ a ‘class-in-itself’, by meeting the first above criteria alone, We at Texas TeamOne are about leading the charge to make the Texas prisoner class develop into a ‘class-for-itself’, “which will depend on the acquisition and development of the remaining elements. Meaning the group must develop consciousness of itself as a class; create political organizations engage in unified action to oppose and defeat class enemies; begin to build a new society free from all exploitation and oppression and: eliminate all class division”.(2)

Texas prisoners already share a definite and distinct way of life separate from the rest of society’s classes represented in Texas. As many of you already know, despite Our inability to unify strongly in massive numbers, We do have common interests, however We get in Our own way. Numbers four, five, and six are the role Texas TeamOne shall occupy for prisoners in this state, and We will contribute to the countrywide lumpen/ prisoner class organizing being done by USW, and groups like Prison Lives Matter. The key is to build solid cadre state-to-state, then organize these cadres across the country to actualize the mighty reservoir of revolutionary potential that lays dormant behind these walls.

Before i close this out, i would like to express the importance of an in-depth study and comprehension of WORLD hystory. The oppressed nations in the United $tates have an extended hystory of organized unity. Remember Santa Anna? Why did the General call for the war against Anglo-Texan colonizers? Was it not to force them to abolish slavery? Why do people celebrate Cinco De Mayo? When the French, led by Maximillian I, invaded Veracruz, Mexico to re-institute slavery, didn’t the Mexican people fight admirably to repel the French? Didn’t free New Afrikans stand in solidarity with their/ Our Mexican counterparts? Cinco De Mayo was initiated by the Mexican Amerikan Union Army veterans in the SouthWest(Aztlán) to commemorate the Mexican victory over the european invaders who were hell-bent on re-enslaving the people. It was a holiday symbolizing national independence, resistance to imperialism, and the abolition of slavery. What is telling is that the Mexican Amerikan Union was actively fighting in the Amerikan civil war on the anti-slavery side while they called for the Cinco De Mayo celebration.

What’s my point here? In case you’ve missed it, the point is that Chican@, Mexican@, Indigenous, and New Afrikan people have been intrinsically connected throughout Our hystory. We would do well to remember this, to not see Our struggles as separate but see them as Our ancestors did. For they always knew that if one allowed an Indian to be colonized, a Mexican would be colonized next. If the African was mired in slavery, the Mexican would be returned to it. Thus their unity was one of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and international abolition.

As a final note, in recent years, because of the legacy mentioned above surrounding the days of Aug 21st & Sept 9th, comrades within the countrywide prisoners movement have utilized this period of time to mobilize outside support and action, as well as inside. This call has already gone out to mobilize for this year’s ‘Shut ’Em Down’ demonstrations, as they’ve come to be called. This adds to the reason why comrades have chosen those dates, and We hope that this brief piece dissolves any assumptions, myths regarding Our work, and that many others will actively join us in our level of commitment.

COMBAT GENOCIDE!!!! COMBAT NEO-COLONIAL VIOLENCE!!!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We want to acknowledge that a comrade in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, the MIM(Prisons)-led organization for outside supporters, also contributed to this confusion by posting an image on social media promoting last year’s hunger strike against RHU in Texas calling for support for “New Afrikans.” Once we noticed this we asked the comrade to change it, which took some days to happen. This is a lesson to the outside supporters of anti-imperialist prison organizers who may not be aware of the sensitivities among the oppressed nations to these questions.

What Team One is experiencing is something MIM(Prisons) has experienced for many years. To an extent it is unavoidable in a country where the oppressed nations are constantly pitted against each other, we will continue to alienate some readers when we support national liberation struggles. But we can be careful in how we do this, be clear on our politics, do our best to promote a diversity of voices and campaigns when they exist, etc. As the definition of United Struggle from Within on p. 2 reads:

“USW won’t champion struggles which are not in the interests of the international proletariat. USW will also not choose one nation’s struggles over other oppressed nations’ struggles.”

As the local representation of USW in Texas, Texas Team One shares this line as they describe above. Likewise, they echo the spirit and line of USW in this statement.

Sources:
1. Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles; pg. 286; citing Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; Karl Marx, The Holy Family.
2. Ibid, pg.287

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[Campaigns] [Gender] [Lane Murray Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Fighting for Separate Dorm for Elders at Lane Murray

Here at Lane Murray Unit we are trying to get a dorm for the 50 and over women that reside here. There is a lot of women that are in the “silver streaks” years and have many disabling ailments and being around the younger “residents” has become somewhat dangerous at times. So keep us in your thoughts and if there are any ideas as to how to get this 50’s plus dorm on the way, please let us know.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Please write to MIM(Prisons) if you have any suggestions for this comrade. We understand gender to have a material basis in health status. Things like old age and disability contribute to one’s gender status, and under patriarchy can lead one facing more gender oppression as this comrade mentions. Just as we work to resolve the divisions between nations and lumpen orgs among the imprisoned population, we also struggle against gender divisions. While male and female prisoners are kept in separate prisons, we still have gender divisions along the lines of age, disability, sexual orientation and gender presentation that do not serve the interests of the prison masses.

As we promote these comrades’ campaign for a seperate dorm, we call on USW leaders to find real solutions in resolving the gender contradictions and oppression that leads to some feeling like they need to be separate to be safe. Some of the comrades leading the campaign to Liberate Our Elders in California serve as great examples in bringing that unity.

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Campaigns] [Peace in Prisons] [Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
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Path to Redemption Needed in Texas

I have to praise my fellow prisoners at the Allred Unit for challenging the injustices that have been happening to all alleged/suspected STG’s. I have been unjustly confirmed as a member of the “Mexican Mafia of Texas” since 1986. But, was suspected prior to that year. And all, because I was one of the few prisoners that got tired of correctional administrators in the 1980’s using some prisoners to conduct their dirty work for them. This is where, I believe, that I became suspected as an STG member. Which is why I have a lot of respect for my fellow prisoners that stood their grounds along with me at the Ferguson Unit in 1983, until I was shipped in 1985.

Back then I was a young person. So fighting was my type of show, my true colors. But now as an older adult I have a different mindset. Don’t get me wrong I can still get my boxing game on, only if I have to defend myself. But now I believe that a pen and paper is mightier than a sword.

This is why I believe that the only way that we’ll end all types of violence or hostile activities is for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division(TDCJ-CID) to be open to “STG” prisoners being released to the general population with unit level agreements between all “STG” members of different groups.

At this moment there are two types of renouncement programs. The first is known as Reg. GRAD for ex-members that enrolled not considering that the form they signed is unconstitutional because those individuals incriminate themselves and probably others. The second renouncement program is called “Population Release - GRAD.” And they have to allegedly incriminate themselves and others, and renounce all gang activities. But, I believe, that if the two types of GRAD groups are combined together that would open up the other STEP DOWN the prison violence by releasing “STG”s with a different kind of mindset. Because the majority of these two GRAD programs at present time are full of young set-minded street gang individuals.

I believe I am being set up by someone in the Unit’s “Security Threat Group Management Office”, with ex-members of different groups that have enjoyed “general population” for decades. They target those who don’t believe in the constitutionality of the now existing renouncement programs due to 2 reasons:

  1. the incrimination of each enrollee and the incrimination of others; and
  2. the “waiver of liability” for the TDCJ-CID

These are two serious violations of the 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 19 of the Texas Constitution.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a familiar story for those of us who were part of the struggles against SHU and validation in California over the last decade. We encourage the comrades in Texas to study the lessons from that struggle and develop proper leadership so that the masses are not led into the same dead ends as they were in California where SHU still exists and the list of STGs was greatly expanded.

Ultimately, making organizations of the oppressed illegal is reflective of the class nature of the state. It is only by replacing the current bourgeois state with a proletarian one that we will see the oppressed allowed a true path to redemption. It is only in a proletarian state that the oppressors and exploiters will be seen as the criminals rather than the poor and struggling. We must keep this goal in mind as we organize for the state to recognize basic bourgeois rights to free speech and association.

There are no rights, only power struggles. The second the oppressed let up as they did in California, the oppressor is there ready to tighten the screws back down. That is why we must build strong, independent organizations and not put all our energy into short-term battles.

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