The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Colorado]
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Censorship in Colorado

Colorado – 3rd in per capital prison spending
47th in per capital education spending
6th fastest growing prison population in the U.S.
No surprise here, is there?

Hello and greetings! I am so glad to have found you. I have been an anti-imperialist since I was fourteen, and more recently I have been studying Marxism. Would you please subscribe me to your publications.

I am intrigued by your URL name “Prison Censorship” [www.prisoncensorship.info is the MIM(Prisons) web site]. Prison censorship has gotten out of control, especially here in Colorado. I should never have come to Colorado, this is truly the quintessential police state if I ever saw one. This is my first (and last!) trip to prison and I would have received probation for my first time offense in any of the prior states I have lived. They don’t screw with our political or religious mail here. That’s one of the only things the ACLU has ever done for us here. As payback, they terrorize all of our other mail and reject numerous legal and constitutionally protected correspondence.

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[Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
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Responses to ULK4 on censorship

I'd like to comment on some of the articles written by prisoners in September's ULK. While I haven't finished reading it just yet, only the prisoner articles, I quite enjoyed the ULK. This edition should've been titled "The Censorship Issue."

It's true that institutions throughout the country focus only on Black and Brown oriented magazines, citing "pornographic material" or "gang paraphernalia." Now this doesn't just have to do with "Vibe" or "XXL" or "Maxim en Espanol." Even "ESPN en Espanol" has begun to be targeted within SVSP. Now last I checked "ESPN en Espanol" focuses on soccer and sports in Latin America in general and last I checked there weren't many scantily clad women in this magazine. So what's the deal? It seems that since many adult institutions so successfully banned pornographic materials, such as pictures and magazines, now they're trying to stop us from appreciating our own women who aren't even naked in these magazines. Now that they see that they can get away with this they seem to move on to sports magazines stating that they can't understand the language therefore there's a possibility that coded messages might be hidden somewhere in the text or some other frivolous, ridiculous reason.

To me this seems like a type of aggressive assimilation. You can't look at brown/black women, but you can look at some fancy white model in Vogue magazine. Also I recall seeing an issue of GQ magazine sometime back with an article about a supposed member of the CRIPS gang in Watts. In this article there were a few pictures which, if found in Vibe or any other culturally oriented magazine, would've deemed the magazine a "safety and security risk" to the institution, but because it was in good 'ol GQ, no one batted an eye. I'm sure they don't even bother to crack those open for inspection in the mail rooms inside institutions across Amerikkka.

Another article that caught my attention in the ULK was the plight of the South Carolina inmate. There seems to be a lot wrong with what's going on over there. To begin with, by law every institutional law library must be properly stocked and equipped with adequate and up to date legal materials. Off hand I can't remember the title of the case but I believe this has already been decided in the U.S. Supreme Court. Next time I go to law library I'll try to find it.

Also concerning the New Mexico inmate whose grievances are not being responded to, it would be a good idea if he acquired declarations from other inmates there who've gone through similar experiences he could use these declarations to show the court how the prison refuses to let prisoners exhaust their remedies. This is what I'm doing for a couple of guys here whose civil suits were dismissed in the district court due to supposedly not exhausting the remedies. They are now appealing in the 9th Circuit and my declarations of how I found 602s and legal mail in the trash will hopefully be helpful.

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[Censorship] [Gender] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 6]
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NY promotes Sexual Harrassment and Violence


8/12/2008

Yo, I just want you to know that I received your letter and that I didn't get the MIM Theory #7. I am waiting for the grievance that I filed on 8/5/08 and I just wrote to the superintendent of programs about this. I got the manila envelope that they send the MIM Theory in, but the MIM Theory was not in the envelope, instead there was a pictorial sex book.

...I don't know if it was on tv out there but the jail got locked down for like 4 to 5 days and 4 C/Os got cut or stabbed, so shit's been crazy.


8/18/2008

I just wanted to let you know that I didn't get the MIM Theory #7. I wrote to M. Putnode, Deputy Supt./Programs Services and they said that they do not have it. I wrote a grievance and they didn't write back.


- a prisoner in Clinton Correctional Facility

MIM(Prisons) comments: We can document a history of abuse and targeting of politically conscious prisoners at Clinton Correctional Facility going back years and naming names. Numerous prisoners have filed complaints regarding these staff members, and groups like the Correctional Association of New York (in 2004) have reported on these trends. Yet the state has still not put an end to it.

This example is similar to others at Clinton, where there is no paper trail, allowing the administration to say that nothing happened and deny responsibility. In other words, the NYS DOCS has granted staff the freedom to act however they see fit to repress efforts at organization and education in Clinton.

We have written in previous issues about the gender oppression of prisoners. This act of sexual harassment is just one more example of that. A Black man tries to educate himself about the liberation of his people and some cracker steals the literature we send and replaces it with porn. He sees the Black man as having no interests outside of smoking weed and chasing pussy, and this is how he reacts when faced with reality.

Upstate and Five Points have recently censored mail from MIM(Prisons) as well alleging that it promotes violence. Once more, for the record, MIM(Prisons) does not promote violence, we promote a world free of oppression. Only the oppressor can decide how that will come about. Unfortunately, we do not have the power to do so ourselves. We can only transform the world we find ourselves in by understanding its internal nature.

Some recent censorship was justified because it was critical of prison labor, the physical abuse of a prisoner in New York, and advertised lawsuits that are pending against the state. The most recent prison censorship case, Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C, upheld that prisons cannot censor literature because it is critical of their department. And attempts at stifling support for class action suits is just one more effort to prevent prisoners access to legal protection. The recent attacks at Clinton reported here show what happens when you don't allow prisoners access to legitimate grievance procedures when staff becomes abusive, as they inevitably do in such an oppressive situation.

The policy of the NYS DOCS of supporting staff committing these abuses for years demonstrate a clear attempt by the department to promote violence. Even if they can't learn from their own experience, we've been telling them this for years, and we know they read our literature, so they can't claim ignorance. They want violence, because they use violence as an excuse for further repression. Repression is against the interests of the oppressed, so the oppressed (MIM(Prisons) included) oppose this violence that is being promoted at Clinton.

see censorship records

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[Censorship] [Organizing] [Texas]
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Repression in Texas

I would like our community of revolutionaries to know what is going on in the confines of Preston Smith Unit. The gang intelligence officer took all of my property, saying that I was trying to recruit a feline pen pal into the ALKQN. When my property was returned to me I was missing people's birthday dates, the names of people getting married, and all my addresses and phone numbers.

The reason that was given was "dangerous contraband." I don't know when such things became "dangerous," none of the people have tried to break me out of prison or smuggle in contraband. I have been incarcerated for a little over eleven years, I have had the gang intelligence take my property several times. At no time have they tried to take my addresses, they have taken pictures, names and numbers of inmates and even raps. At no time have they gone this far.

I have no way to contact anyone that I know and it is infuriating. The gang intelligence has cut me off form society and I still have a little over seven years before I see parole.

The grievance system is a joke, here are people who are chummy with those who we "write up." Do we actually think that we will get results? Of course not. That is a fallacy that only novice prisoners might believe in. The truth of the matter is, the injustice system gets away with so much due to those who are outside of it, not doing anything to assist those who are inside.

This [Under Lock and Key] is a forum, sort of a think thank. We know far more collectively than we do individually. All that needs to be done is to set the stage for a movement. That's why they really took all my addresses, they fear my mind and power to build.

It is time to unify into one, we must set objectives that we reach on a deadline. How beautiful it would be to have 7,000 people call and write letters about one issue at a time.

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[Censorship] [California]
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Censorship at Pelican Bay State Prison

For the past eighteen years a clear pattern of racial discrimination and political persecution has reared its ugly head, its presence is vivid clear and profound, a procedural manifestation within the protocols of official -sanctioned practice here at Pelican Bay. Which simply means the inherent propensity to discriminate against New Afrikan (Black) prisoners, an antiquated evil which is still prevalent in today's society and is magnified ten-fold within the concrete confines of the U.S. penal system and its deplorable code of conduct.

Though we can concede to the observations that socio-demographics contributed and facilitates the proliferation and perpetuation of racial discrimination, being that the majority of U.S. prisons are located in white rural areas where New Afrikan people are only an image on the 5 o'clock news. It is only inevitable that racism flourishes in these areas. Many of the local rural citizens are hired to work in these new prisons, and they don't leave their racist beliefs/attitudes at home. In fact these folks bring/import their racist attitudes with them, and these attitudes manifest themselves within the core penological psyche of the Prison Industrial Slave-Complex thus influencing every aspect of the Prison Industrial Slave-Complex and this is applicable to the entire U.S. penal system.

In Pelican Bay State Prison the inherent racism has manifested in a very blatant but unique way. The Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI), Investigative Service Unit (ISU) and the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) out of Sacramento have reduced New Afrikan (Black) history and culture to prison gang politics. By doing so they have limited New Afrikan politically conscious prisoners ability to learn and teach our history and created a method to circumvent our first amendment rights, for example: New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners presently being housed in the security housing unit (SHU - Solitary Confinement). We are forbidden to possess any book, literature/material or pictures/drawings by or about George Jackson, we can't even write about George Jackson. This is considered contraband and gang activity. They have reduced George Jackson to a prison gang symbol. This is a method they have employed to conceal their racial and political persecution. But it don't stop there, we are also forbidden to possess any literature or publication about/or that mentions Black August. Though New Afrikan people in every major state including the New Afrikan Independence Movement/New Afrikan Liberation Movement commemorate Black August. It is considered gang activity for us to write about it or commemorate it.

They have also criminalized the New Afrikan Independence Movement by reducing its primary ideology (i.e. New Afrikan Revolutionary nationalism) to prison gang politics. They have confiscated any/and all relevant literature. They have reduced our political activities to gang activities. For example, about 8 years ago I wrote a pamphlet titled "The Bell Curve Conspiracy - A Recipe for Black Genocide." Two of the New Afrikan prisoners who contributed to this booklet were also alleged members of the Black Guerrilla Family (like myself). For this reason alone this pamphlet was confiscated, claiming we were involved in gang activity. Anytime we come together to participate in a clear political act it is reduced to gang activity and every literature that is associated with that project is confiscated.

Another example: I had Professor Dorothy B. Fardan (Sojourner Truth Forum School, Center for Human Growth) send me a printed copy of a proposal I had written back in 1996 and revised in 2002. this proposal is designed to eradicate hunger/starvation among all children, Black children in particular, because they content I had intended to distribute copies to other alleged Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) members it was confiscated and I was accused of participating in gang activity.

People, what I have described to you above is only a brief glimpse of what we as New Afrikan prisoners are going through. We are also being penalized for our political activities, when they reduce our political activities to gang activities. They are then able to write negative reports which can and have affected our release to the general population, many of us have been in solitary/isolation over 20 years, for me it has been 25 years in the hole. At least 12 of us have lawsuits pending in the Federal Court, and many more are in the process. Before I end this, I would like to provide you with one more example. On January 30, 200, special gang units from Sacramento along with IGI that ISU raided our cells, the following is a listing of what all they had confiscated stating it was gang related, list one consists of my personal writings and list two consists of Black historical, cultural and political literature and artwork and religious material:

List one: 1. New Afrikan Criminology 101 textbook. 2. Other literature pertaining to New Afrikan Criminology 101. 3. Bell Curve conspiracy (pamphlet). 4. The U.S. fradulent annual crime report (pamphlet) 5. All material pertaining to the George Jackson University and Marcus Garvey Study Group. 6. Pan-Afrikan Community Dept. of Agriculture proposal. 7. Support the Pelican Bay State Prison peace summit (proposal). Note: unbeknownst to many, California prison system averages 300-500 race-based riots/melees a year and this does not include the individual race-motivated stabbings. This has been going on for the past 20 years and now it has spilled over into the streets of Los Angeles. 8. Save the Black Farm (proposal) 9. How to stop the spread of the Control Unit Prison (proposed strategy) 10. All my writings concerning George Jackson and Black August. 11. All my notes and rough drafts to at least 15 proposals. 12. Over 40 poems.

List two: 1. Blood in my Eye, by George Jackson. 2. Malcolm X Last Speech. 3. Revolutionary Handbook, by Kwame Nkrumah. 4. A pamphlet on the Black Liberation Army. 5. A pamphlet commemorating those members of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army that was murdered during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. 6. All literature pertaining to George Jackson. 7. A picture and art work of George Jackson. 8. A painting of dead Black Panther members. 9. Revolutionary artwork. 10. All literature pertaining to Black August. 11. A CD cover: one song titled Long Liver the Guerrilla, one song dedicated to George Jackson. 12. Approximately seven newsletters from the New Afrikan Black Panther Party. 13. Pictures. 14. A number of handwritten material. 15. Chairman Mao interpretation of Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism. 16. Swahili dictionary. 17. Seven Christian pamphlets by the army of god. 18. Black history book catalog. 19. A class action petition (note: they claim this legal petition is a cover designed to disguise a roster of alleged BGF members).

All the property listed in both list one and two were all confiscated under the fabricated contention it was all prison-gang related. In addition to the censorship, political persecution, we are being intentionally further isolated, New Afrikan prisoners are often assigned to one cell in a pod, while our racist oppositions can occupy up to five/six cells in a eight cell pod, leaving us with no one to communicate with or share our political views. This is a deliberate act by IGI, OCS and the administration.

People, we are presently developing a campaign, if you are interested in helping us put an end to official censorship and political persecution contact MIM(Prisons).

Petition Against Censorship and Political Persecution

1) We demand the immediate end to the IGI/ISU censorship program targeting New Afrikan politically conscious prisoners being held in the security housing unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.
2) We demand the immediate end to the ban on all material concerning George Jackson
3) We demand the immediate end to the ban on all material concerning Black August
4) We demand the immediate end to the political persecution of those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners who are presently being held in Pelican Bay security housing unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.
5) We demand the immediate end to the racial isolation of those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners being held in the Security Housing Unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Censorship] [California]
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Disregarding mail regulations in California

I'm still hoping that Imperialism and Class Structure in 1997 shows up. These people here have gotten so audacious that they don't even bother to follow their own regulations. One, there's absolutely nothing whatsoever that "threatens the safety or security of the institution" regarding this piece of economics. Two, they're illegally blanketing censorship of all materials from you without even looking at them. And three, they have a procedure that they're supposed to follow, i.e. send the prisoner a rejection of mail form, stating why it's being rejected, and give the prisoner an opportunity to send it back, destroy it, or challenge it via a 602 form.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[International Connections] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 4]
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Some Ammo for China v. Bush

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labor rights, not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential." - U.$. President George W. Bush (1)

Last week MIM(Prisons) released our biannual censorship report, which cites documented incidents of censorship of our literature in more than half of the states in the united $tates of amerikkka. That's just the documented incidents of one organization with a tiny distribution.

Comrades in our movement have been yelled at, kicked out, ticketed, physically attacked, arrested and many are currently sitting in isolation cells for the crime of trying to speak about or distribute literature expressing our ideas. For prisoners in isolation, it's usually just a matter of possessing said literature.

If China changes its policy of not publicly criticizing the internal affairs of other countries, documentation of the extensive censorship we face is provided right here on our website for their use.

Let there be no mistake, freedom of speech in a class system is a bourgeois myth.

notes: (1) Washington Post. August 7, 2008.

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[Censorship] [Texas]
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Censorship at Texas Estelle Unit

This brief letter is not a complaint but only to raise my voice against the injustice I'm experiencing here at the Estelle High Security Unit.

I understand the implications pursuant to Correspondence Rules BP-03.91, of which each out-going and in-coming letter to and from offenders are indeed subject to inspection and if such letter is denied then the offender and the sender will be provided a Correspondence Denial Form within seventy-two hours of rejection. This is designed to go into detail informing the offender of the appropriate cause and the evidence relied upon for this denial, and whether he intends to appeal. If he does not wish to appeal, then he has the choice either to have the letter destroyed or sent back to the sender at the offender's expense. This rule, policy or procedure is not being followed.

As stated, there is no question a uniform procedure for denying out-going and in-coming mail is needed. I don't have a problem with the policy. I have a problem with the process. The BP-03.91 policy is a complete method of procedures, which establish a way of doing things and each procedure shall be related in accordance to policy.

What the mailroom staff (Office of Intelligence) are doing is shifting/switching procedure from one day to the next to cover whatever actions they've taken. In a very plain term, its unfair and totally inappropriate to shift or switch procedures in midstream without giving prior warning to offenders. How can any offender follow rules which constantly change without any notice? Rules, policies and procedures that change without notice confuse me as well as other offenders.

This policy is vague and ambiguous, leaving major openings for misinterpretation and giving unreasonable discretionary power to unit Gang Intelligence Officers that TDCJ-ID has left largely unchecked and unquestioned and untrained in key areas of the policy which, in return, causes animosity towards myself and other offenders. They use these misinterpretations to vastly exaggerate accounts of supposed gang-related information, and to justify denial of out-going mail. When mail is denied it often takes weeks before an offender is notified or if the correspondence is not denied it is sent out weeks later. All this is under the guise of security.

If the G.I. (reader) decides my letter contains dangerous content the letter will automatically be denied. How these readers define such content, and who plays a role in making that determination are questions without clear answers. And while such denials require written notification, in practice that rarely happens.

A review of the process exposes a policy in which sections of the policy either contradict each other or are shifted from one day to the next so that no one is responsible. The mailroom, the G.I. and/or Wing officer or even other offenders have access to our mail. The policy isn't even uniformly applied. These type of standard procedures will continue to exist because the mailroom staff insists on denying out-going mail without providing a written notice and without returning back offender's stamped envelopes.

For over two years on this unit, when out-going mail was denied the offender was informed and his stamped envelopes were confiscated. Only after the mailroom staff became so sloppy that they no longer even passed out any denial forms were there enough questions raised that it was discovered that the offender was supposed to receive his stamped envelope back, how nice! However, if questioned about where the thousands of stolen or wrongly confiscated stamps when to the past two years, there is no answer. In fact, any offender ho dares to ask will be retaliated against. Even when caught, the mailroom staff will deny that their conduct was unlawful in any respect.

Enclosed in this letter are grievance step one and two proof of my effort to remedied the problem but as you can see their response is always the same "...The Estelle Unit mailroom is processing all incoming and outgoing correspondence in accordance to BP-03.91. No further action is warranted..." I have other grievances that consist of the same issues but were handled with the same answer.

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[Censorship] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 5]
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Hypocrisy continues at Red Onion

Peep this out! You all remember sending me a document of someone saying that ROSP [Red Onion State Prison] allowed his January 2008 issue of GQ to come through when it had an article concerning the Crip gang lifestyle? Well, I went and ordered GQ in hopes that they slip up, to help in our defense in this battle. Well, in the August 2008 GQ, under the topic crime, there is an article titled "Mexico's Red Day" on pages 96,97,98,100,102 and 103. In it they talk about gang/drug cartels, rapes, small gang war, killing left & right behind the gang & drug war, cops getting killed & using their rank to get over on people.

I mean, how could these three levels of review miss this, especially when it's dealing with Mexico and they are aware of the conditions of poverty there? It's disappointing to see such blatant racism go unchecked, just because GQ is deemed a white publication while XXL and others are "Black." But it's alright because these fools insist on placing themselves in a position that they can't justify. They want a strictly enforced policy that they don't even honor.

MIM(Prisons) adds: There is an ongoing battle against censorship in Virginia, where the prisons are rejecting all MIM(Prisons) literature as well as any other publications considered "Black" like XXL. We are appealing this through the legal system and also need letters of protest sent to: W.D. Jennings, Ph. D., Management Lead Analyst, Virginia Department of Corrections, PO Box 26963, Richmond, VA 23261-6963

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[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 4]
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SHU time for MIM lit

I'm writing regarding the 7/24/2008 rejection notice concerning my MIM publications. The claim for such action: "Inappropriate material for the correctional environment." There was no explanation in how my publication's were classified as inappropriate. I didn't receive the notice until four day's later, 7/28/08, so that I wouldn't have an opportunity to protest and appeal the rejection of my publications.

As of this moment, I've filed my informal complaint concerning the matter. Once I've received a response, the next step is laying the foundation for 42 U.S.C § 1983. The actions of this Hitler-style concentration camp is unacceptable!

Comrade, I've been locked down in the SHU since February 24, 2008, following the first rejection of my MIM publications on false allegations of organizing a riot! The length the Amerikans will go to silence the voice of an eminent revolution is unbelievable. The time is coming, they can't stop the unstoppable comrade!

[MIM(Prisons) also filed an administrative appeal to this censorship, and posted it, along with the censorship notification on our website. We encourage others to write in to support this comrade and protest the baseless censorship, using our letters as a model.]

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