Within the NAIM, when We think of the Hinds County Mississippi We
often think of El-Malik, or many of Our movement elders building
independence for Our people in the heart of dixie. On December 18th when
NBC News published the identities of 215 buried bodies that had been
secretly hidden behind the Hinds County Penal Colony in a ‘Paupers’
graveyard. These 215 people were all buried there between 2016 and
December 2023. In total 672 people were buried at this location.
Although each of the 215 graves were marked by a metal pole with a
number attached indicating unclaimed or unidentified remains, in truth
each one of these 215 people were identified by the Hinds County
officials and were only unclaimed because officials did not attempt to
notify kin of the deceased.
The Wade Family
Of the hundreds of the affected families one of the most striking
stories is that of the Wade family, whose matriarch Bettersten Wade was
instrumental in bringing the existence of the secret graveyard, next to
the jail, to public attention.
In 2019, Jackson pigs pulled over Bettersten’s brother, pulled em out
of eir car and slammed em to the ground in such a way that it caused eir
death. Eir sister, Bettersten Wade, became a recognizable figure in the
local Jackson community as ey waged a relentless public battle to
advocate for prosecution of the pigs who were responsible. One of the
pigs was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a mere five years.
Subsequently, Bettersten Wade filed a wrongful death suit against the
Jackson Police Department, this lawsuit is ongoing and has been highly
publicized in the local news.
On 5 March 2023, Bettersten Wade’s 37 year-old son, Dexter Wade, left
home with a friend but never returned. Bettersten Wade filed a missing
person’s report and continuously contacted Jackson and Hinds County
officials for months but never got a reply. Then, five months after the
fact, an investigator came to eir home to inform em of Dexter’s
The story coming from the pigs is that an hour after leaving home,
Dexter was hit by a police vehicle driven by a off-duty pig. The
illegitimate authorities claim they’ve been unable to reach
Ms. Bettersten Wade for months, despite finding Dexter’s wallet with eir
I.D. and Ms. Wade’s address, and with Ms. Wade being a known local
figure due to eir struggle against police murder of eir brother.
Nevertheless, Dexter’s body was buried behind the jail with the number
672 stuck to the pole. To make matters worse, once Ms. Wade found the
burial plot ey was told ey would have to pay $250 to the county to have
eir son’s remains retrieved, as eir body was considered property of the
state of Mississippi!
Ms. Wade and eir lawyer requested to be present when the body was
examined, and ey was denied even that dignity and eir humyn courtesy.
Dexter’s remains were not embalmed, nor put in a casket, but were stuck
in a bag causing rapid decomposing in a shallow grave. When Ms. Wade and
eir lawyer arrived the remains of Dexter had already been dug up,
“breaking the chains of custody” necessary to determine Dexter’s actual
cause of death.
From the results of a later independent autopsy, Dexter Wade’s body
was in advance state of decomposition, showed multiple blunt force
injuries to the skull, ribs, and pelvis; in addition eir left leg was
completely amputated from eir body. Eir body had been completely ran
over by a police vehicle. By secretly burying the body without notifying
the family, it makes it unlikely that the official findings of
“accidental death” could later be questioned. Number 672 was never meant
to be uncovered. But ey was. And the hidden horrors connected to
Dexter’s death and burial would subsequently lead to many more families
coming forward, finding missing loved ones secretly buried in Pauper’s
graveyard behind the prison.
The striking similarities between the Emmett Till murder and
attempted cover-up among county and state officials, and this
contemporary tragedy highlights the ever present need for programs for
decolonization in Jackson and the National Territory more generally.
Each tragedy and struggle the people experience in which the inadequacy
and/or corruption of the U.$. colonial government can be implicated, is
an issue We can organize around to intensify the class struggle for
Tip of the Spear Black Radicalism, Prison
Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt
Orisanmi Burton (Author)
University of California Press
“without understanding carceral spaces as zones of undeclared
domestic war, zones that are inextricably linked to imperial and
officially acknowledged wars abroad, we cannot fully understand how and
why the U.S. became the global leader of incarceration that it is
Tip of the Spear is the story of the organization and flourishing of
resistance to American imperialism as it developed in the New York state
prison system in the 1960s and 1970s, including the time well before the
four days of Attica in 1971. Professor of anthropology Orisanmi Burton
does many things in this book, a lot of which we’ll only be able to
mention briefly or not at all, but MIM(Prisons) has already sent out
many copies of this book and is prepared to send out many more to enable
further study and discussion of Burton’s very worthy research and
We are asking our readers to send their own feedback on this book, to
write up their own local histories or stories applying the framework
below, and to popularize this understanding of U.$. prisons as part of
the imperialist war on the oppressed peoples of the world that we must
Prisons are War
Burton begins his investigation with George Jackson’s observation
that Black people “were defeated in a war and are now captives, slaves
or actually that we inherited a neoslave existence.” (2) Prison
conditions don’t originate in the law or in ideas but in the historical
fact of defeat in a war that still continues.
But what kind of war is it? One side surrounds the other and forces
it to submit daily, the way that an army laying siege to a city tries to
wear down the resistance of the population. These sieges include not
just starving prisoners of food but of social life, education, and
culture. In maintaining its rule the state uses the tools of
counterinsurgency to split the revolutionary ranks, co-opt the cause and
re-establish its rule on a more secure level. On the other side, the
prisoners have themselves, their ability to unite and organize in
secret, and their willingness to sacrifice for the cause – the
attributes of a guerrilla army. (3)
Burton spends an entire chapter, “Hidden War,” laying out the
strategies the state pursued when its naked brutality failed to prevent
prisoner organization and rebellion. After the smoke cleared at Attica
and wardens, politicians and prison academics had a chance to catch
their breath, they settled on four strategies to prevent another Attica
from happening: (4)
One, prisons were expanded across the state, so that
density was reduced and prisoner organizing could be more effectively
disrupted. If a prisoner emerged as a leader, they could be sent to any
number of hellholes upstate surrounded by new people and have to start
the process all over again. The longer and more intense the game of
Solitaire the state played with them, the better. We see this strategy
being applied to USW comrades across the country to this day.
Prisons were also superficially humanized, the
introduction of small, contingent privileges to encourage division and
hierarchy among prisoners, dull the painful edge of incarceration
somewhat, and dangle hope. Many prisoners saw through it, and Burton
makes the point that the brief periods of rebellion had provided the
only real human moments most prisoners had experienced during their time
inside. For example, Attica survivor, John “Dacajeweiah” Hill described
meeting a weeping prisoner in D yard during the rebellion who was
looking up at the stars for the first time in 23 years. (5) Burton sums
this up: “the autonomous zones created by militant action… had thus far
proven the only means by which Attica’s oppressive atmosphere was
Diversification went hand in hand with expansion,
where a wide range of prison experiences were created across the system.
Prisons like Green Haven allowed prisoners to smoke weed and bring food
back to their cells, and permitted activities like radical lectures from
outsiders. At the same time, other prisons were going on permanent
lockdowns and control units were in development.
And finally, programmification presented a way for
prisoners to be kept busy, for outsiders (maybe even former critics of
the prison system) to be co-opted and brought into agreement with prison
officials, and provide free labor to keep the system stable by giving
prisoners another small privilege to look forward to. To this day, New
York, as well as California and other states, require prisoners who are
not in a control unit to program.
All of this was occurring in the shadow of the fact that the state
had demonstrated it would deploy indiscriminate violence, even
sacrificing its own employees as it had at Attica, to restore order. The
classic carrot-and-stick dynamic of counterinsurgency was operating at
Before Attica: Tombs,
Branch Queens, Auburn
Burton discusses Attica, but doesn’t make it the exclusive focus of
his book, as it has already been written about and discussed elsewhere.
He brings into the discussion prison rebellions prior to Attica that
laid the groundwork, involved many of the same people, and demonstrated
the character of the rebellions overall.
The first was at Tombs, or the Manhattan House of Detention, where
prisoners took hostages and issued demands in the New York Times,
denouncing pretrial detention that kept men in limbo for months or
years, overcrowding, and racist brutality from guards. Once the demands
were published, the hostages were released. Eighty corrections officers
stormed the facility with blunt weapons and body armor and restored
order, and after the rebellion two thirds of the prisoners were
transferred elsewhere to break up organizations, like the Inmate
Liberation Front, that had grown out of Tombs and supported its
resistance. (6) Afterwards, the warden made improvements and took credit
for them. This combination of furious outburst, violent response and
conciliatory reform would repeat itself.
Next Branch Queens erupted, where the Panther 21 had recently been
incarcerated. Prisoners freed them, hung a Pan-Afrikan flag out of a
window, took hostages and demanded fair bail hearings be held in the
prison yard or the hostages would be executed. The bail hearing actually
happened and some of the prisoners who had been in prison for a year for
possibly stealing something were able to walk out. The state won the
battle here by promising clemency if the hostages were released, which
split the prisoners and led to the end of the rebellion. Kuwasi
Balagoon, who would later join the Black Liberation Army, was active in
the organization of the rebellion and learned a lot from his experiences
seeing the rebellion and the repression that followed after the state
promised clemency. (7)
At Auburn Correctional Facility on November 4th, Black prisoners
rebelled and seized hostages for eight hours. Earlier, fifteen Black
prisoners had been punished and moved to solitary for calling for a day
off work to celebrate Black Solidarity Day. After the restoration of
order, more prisoners were shipped away and the remainder were subject
to reprisals from the guards.
In each case, prisoners formed their own organizations, took control,
made demands and also started building new structures to run the prison
for their own benefit – even in rebellions that lasted only a few hours.
After order was restored, the state took every opportunity to crush the
spirits and bodies of those who had participated. All of this would
repeat on a much larger scale at Attica.
Attica and Paris: Two
Burton acknowledges throughout the book a tension that is familiar to
many of ULK’s readers: reform versus revolution. He sees both
in the prison movement of the 1960s and 1970s in New York, with some
prisoners demanding bail reform and better food and others demanding an
end to the system that creates prisons in the first place. But in
telling the story of Attica and the revolts that preceded it he
emphasizes two things: the ways reforms were demanded (not by petitions
but by organized force) and the existence of demands that would have led
to the end of prisons as we know them. On Attica itself, he writes that
the rebellion demanded not just better food and less crowded cells but
the “emergence of new modes of social life not predicated on enclosure,
extraction, domination or dehumanization.” (8) In these new modes of
social life, Burton identifies sexual freedom and care among prisoners
emerging as a nascent challenge to traditional prison masculinity.
Attica began as a spontaneous attack on a particularly racist and
brutal guard, and led to a riot all over the facility that led to the
state completely losing control for four days starting on September 9th,
1971. Hostages were again taken, and demands ranging from better food to
the right to learn a trade and join a union issued to the press.
Prisoners began self-organizing rapidly, based on the past experiences
of many Attica prisoners in previous rebellions. Roger Champen, who
reluctantly became one of the rebellion’s organizers, got up on a picnic
table with a seized megaphone and said “the wall surrounds us all.”
Following this, the prisoners turned D Yard into an impromptu city and
organized their own care and self-defense. A N.Y. State trooper watching
the yard through binoculars said in disbelief “they seem to be building
as much as they’re destroying.” I think we’d agree with the state
trooper, at least on this. (9)
Burton’s point in this chapter is that the rebellion wasn’t an
attempt (or wasn’t only an attempt) to get the state to reform
itself, to grant rights to its pleading subjects, but an attempt,
however short-lived, to turn the prisons into something that would be
useful for human liberation: a self-governing commune built on
principles of democracy and solidarity. Some of the rebels demanded
transport to Africa to fight the Portuguese in the then-raging colonial
wars in Mozambique and Angola, decisions were made by votes and
consensus, and the social life of the commune was self-regulated without
beatings, gassings and starvation.
Abolition and the
Burton is a prison abolitionist, and he sees the aspirations of the
Attica rebels at their best as abolitionist well before the term became
popular. But he doesn’t ignore the contradictions that Attica and other
prison rebellions had to work through, and acknowledges the diverse
opinions of prisoners at the time, some of whom wanted to abolish
prisons and some of whom wanted to see the Nixons and Rockefellers
thrown into them instead. (10)
The Attica Commune of D Yard had to defend itself, and when the
rebelling prisoners suspected that some prisoners were secretly working
for the state, they were confined in a prison within a commune within a
prison, and later killed as the state came in shooting on the 13th.
There was fighting and instances of rape among the prisoners that freed
themselves, and there were prisoners who didn’t want to be a part of the
rebellion who were forced to. And the initial taking of the guards
constitutes a use of violence and imprisonment in itself, even if the
guards were treated better than they’d ever treated the prisoners.
Burton acknowledges this but doesn’t offer a tidy answer. He sees the
use of violence in gaining freedom, like Fanon, to be a necessary evil
which is essential to begin the process but unable to come close to
finishing it. Attica, even though it barely began, provides an example
of this. While violence is a necessary tool in war, it is the people
organized behind the correct political line in the form of a vanguard
party that ultimately is necessary to complete the transformation of
class society to one without oppression.
Reform, and Control
The final part of the book, “The War on Black Revolutionary Minds,”
chronicles the attempts by the state to destroy prison revolutionaries
by a variety of methods, some more successful than others, all deeply
disturbing and immoral.
Some of the early methods involved direct psychological
experimentation, the use of drugs, and calibrated isolation. These fell
flat, because the attempts were based on “the flawed theory that people
could be disassembled, tinkered with, and reprogrammed like computers.”
(11) Eventually the state gave up trying to engineer radical ideas out
of individual minds and settled for the solution many of our readers are
familiar with: long-term isolation in control units, and a dramatically
expanding prison population.
There is a lot else in this book, including many moving stories from
Attica and other prison rebellion veterans that Burton interviewed, and
who he openly acknowledges as the pioneering theorists and equal
collaborators in his writing. Burton engages in lengthy investigations
of prisoner correspondence, outside solidarity groups, twisted
psychological experiments, and many other things I haven’t had the space
to mention. We have received a couple responses to the book from some of
you already, which the author appreciates greatly, and we’d like to
^Notes: 1. Burton, Orisanmi Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism,
Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt p. 19 All citations will
be of this book unless otherwise specified. 2. Jackson, Soledad
Brother, 111–12 cited in Burton p. 10 3. p. 3 4. pp. 152-180
5. Hill and Ekanawetak, Splitting the Sky, p. 20. cited in Burton,
p. 107 6. p. 29 7. p. 48 8. p. 5 9. pp. 88-91 10.
p. 95 11. p. 205^
Seems clear that the United State’s lurch to the right is a done
deal. On a quantitative scale, how much so is still an open question,
but it is an astonishing thing to see and one we better get better at
The Biden administration has recently vetoed a UAE brought emergency
meeting to vote on a Gaza ceasefire in Israel’s “unceasing” assault on
Gaza. Time magazine of 10 December 2023 and virtually all U.S.
media describe it as a campaign to eliminate Hamas. Always the
materialists, they never forget to remind that it is due to Hamas
terrorist attack of October 7, its alleged sexual assault and taking of
hostages etc. In fact, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Robert A. Woods
states as his reasons for vetoing this emergency resolution that it was
“an imbalanced resolution that was divorced from reality and would not
move the needle on the ground in any concrete way.”
Woods goes on to state the U.S. couldn’t understand why the authors
declined to include language condemning “Hamas’s horrific terrorist
attack” and “the resolution failed to mention Israel’s right to defend
itself.” Indeed the U.S. did propose adding language about its “role in
diplomacy, increased opportunities for humanitarian aid, encouraging
release of hostages, the resumption of pauses in fighting, and laying
the foundation for peace” the Time article wrote. But Wood says
the “recommendations for peace were ignored.”
The Time article was further confirmed by a clip of Wood’s
speech aired on Democracy Now! (11 December 2023), which then
went on to play a clip of Jamie Raskin’s outrage of U.S. society’s
obvious lurch to the right in regards to the ousting of an MIT president
for trying to defend bourgeois free speech. However, Democracy
Now! makes no mention of Raskin’s earlier calls for the need of
Israel to eliminate Hamas or his refusal to call for an immediate peace
agreement or even his stance on the UN resolution for an immediate cease
fire. All this clearly, even on the part of such petty bourgeois outfits
as Democracy Now! to accept and adjust to this obvious social
shift, but still find some space to claim to be left or progressive etc.
It should be noted Amy Goodman often has Raskin on to help her with her
Trump and MAGA bashing and to tell people to vote for their
Back to Woods, he states the U.S. wants a 2 state solution, but
doesn’t support an immediate ceasefire as “this would only plant the
seeds for the next war because Hamas has no desire to see a durable
peace, to see a 2 state solution.” This stupid equivocation could only
be logical to a bully on the verge of victory. Recall he told the same
council it was due to the resolution not giving the U.S. its props for
all the fine things, like 4 hour “humanitarian pauses” and the U.S. aid
for Palestinians, not being in the resolution.
A “good thing” one could point to is how isolated the U.S. is on this
and the exposure of its hypocrisy on a world scale. Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated after the U.S. veto that the
U.S. is “complicit in war crimes” and the vote was “aggressive and
immoral.” China’s U.N. rep Zhang Jun accused the U.S. of “double
standards”, “claiming to care about the lives and safety of people in
Gaza.” Russian U.N. rep Dmitry Polyansky stated “our colleagues from the
U.S. have literally before our eyes issued death sentences to thousands
if not tens of thousands more civilians in Palestine and Israel.”
Even domestically, social democrat Bernie Sanders, who has
consistently (see below) refused to call for a ceasefire up to now, now
states the “U.S. should not be vetoing a U.N. (ceasefire) resolution.”
He goes on to his usual duplicitous doublespeak stating “children need
food” and “it’s imperative - it remains imperative that Israel puts a
premium on civilian protection.” Social democrat Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez (A.O.C.) went even farther: “Shameful. The Biden
Administration can no longer reconcile their professed concern for
Palestinians and their human rights while also single-handedly vetoing
the U.N.’s call for ceasefire and sidestepping the entire U.S. Congress
to unconditionally back the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza”
(Newsweek, 9 December 23)
As for the above comment of “sidestepping” Congress, she is referring
to the 13,000 plus, worth $106 million, of tank ammo sold to Israel that
Secretary of State Blinken et. al managed to get to Israel in an
emergency sale. The Biden administration additionally has a $100 billion
package in aid for Israel, Ukraine, and “other national security
priorities.” So A.O.C. is likely to get her wish. As to why this sale
required “sidestepping” Congress, Blinken stated, “The needs of Israel’s
military operation in Gaza justifies the rare decision to bypass
Congress.” He goes on, “Israel is in combat right now with Hamas and we
want to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself against
Hamas,” hence the $106 million sale of 13,000 plus ammo (shells) to
And in case anyone missed it the larger bill which needs
Congressional approval is tied to the U.S. immigration issue and its
border, “National Security”.
On 10 December 2023, Mitt Romney stated on Meet The Press
that Biden didn’t have to tie the border policy issue to the Ukraine
issue. But he did so now the Republicans will be holding him to it.
Biden, obviously acknowledging he must move to the right, has recently
hinted he is willing to make significant compromises on the border. He
seems to be saying he needs to be able to say he had no choice. J.D.
Vance has stated, “What will $60 billion (going to Ukraine alone) more
do that $100 billion hasn’t done?”
In both of the last 2 presidential candidate debates, Vivek has
stated he will be smoking the terrorists on the southern border and
“Bibi” has to do the same.
Something we can’t go into here but worth mentioning is the
conservative Center for Renewing America’s Project 2025 handbook, which
is a 1,000 page “Let’s finish what we started” playbook, which is part
of the Heritage Foundation’s think tank. This involves many “right
flank” organizations, many new to mainstream bourgeois politics. This is
to do away with the “deep-state” and in doing so avoid Trump’s 1st term
pitfalls of being thwarted by those not willing to go as far as he
wished. The point made here is that all Democrats and ol’ fogey
Republicans realize this shift is very real and it seems a little
conscious compromise is a tactic the bourgeois left is making for its
own reasons. Late capitalism is not running on fumes though pixie dust
no longer seems to suffice. Now the machine requires the flesh and blood
of little boys and girls.
Recently heard our old friend Bill Fletcher on KPFA’s Sunday
Show (10 December 2023) saying, like always, 3rd parties are a
waste of time, must vote for the Democrat even though he agrees it is
genocide in Gaza and Biden administration was wrong for their U.N. veto.
Again, according to Fletcher, we must do as he suggested the first time
and push Biden to the left.
If only Mao was here and could fight our battles for us. Obviously no
real revolutionary is saying this but in practice we are saying these
are not revolutionary times and I contend this is why we’re in this
situation. Yes these are revolutionary times. We simply must learn and
apply the stages of revolution. We may be limited by majority having no
current interests in revolution. But we are in no position to be talking
about a majority any way. We clearly accept objective factors. Even
MIM’s 3 dividing line principles.
But contradictions (all) carry within them their very opposite. It’s
a unity of opposites, mere “identity”, not absolute of contradictions.
We indeed should be pushing some to the left but not bourgeois
politicians who would have no interest in social change in any situation
but our own nations, prison class, musicians. And we definitely should
be serious about drawing clear distinctions between ourselves and the
bourgeoisie with its values and world outlook. This is simply accepting
the phase of revolution we’re in. Too many fear armed struggle and fear
its adventurist aspects. I contend this means to fear the people or at
the very least fear they are unable to grasp revolutionary theory or its
We’re in the middle of it. This rightward shift is but a shift no
more to my mind than a deeper neo-Liberal shift. Only by relying on the
bourgeoisie and the fakes should we care if its a rightward shift or
leftward shift. Especially if out of our control.
From the outset of this flareup and resulting genocide of Palestine
the pretensions of the left media and settler nations obvious new center
of gravity has led it to pretend the U.S. is at least grappling with the
moral consequences of innocent civilians. Yet Blinken, Biden, and
Sanders as well as virtually all bourgeois outlets and mouthpieces have
stated “Israel has an obligation to defend itself” Blinken 13 October
2023, Biden “Israel has the right to respond, indeed has a duty to
respond” 10 October 2023, and 300 former staffers of Sanders asked
Sanders (very nicely) to support a ceasefire saying “We believe in you.”
In mid October, Jamaal Bowman was roundly condemned for going to Israel,
to see the apartheid for himself, by A.O.C.’s and Sander’s Democratic
Socialist of America (DSA). Even MSNBC’s Al Sharpton states “Gaza is not
occupied.” We could literally go on and on about how this lurch is not
only acknowledged but immediately dressed up and condoned by all
progressives, leftists, moderate Republicans, and a great majority of
this settler nation.
In the backdrop is always Trump, the MAGA movement, and settler
nation chauvinism. Beside Project 2025 mentioned above, recently Trump
announced the need for “ideological screening” to “bar Christian hating
communists and Marxists” stating “those who come to our country must
love our country.” Such is already the practice in Israel. Trump goes on
to list things that would be grounds for disqualification: “If you want
to abolish the state of Israel you’re disqualified”… Again we encourage
all to check this out because this shift is now much bigger than any
individuals or even movements. Trump was one of the first to
congratulate the Congresswoman who held the 3 college presidents to
these new standards.
As stated we are very much in “heightened contradictory times.” Not
having the right line on the make up of the U.S. and world economy,
nature of settler society, neo-Liberalism, following idiotic communists,
and being afraid to rely on ourselves and our own nation has led to very
bad practice for years and deprived our people of a prepared and
organized fighting force. Lurch to the right or revolution.
RE: Blatant & rampant First Amendment Right violation via
indefinite(unconstitutional) suspension of my visitation, due to a
December, 2020 Peaceful Protest in FSP(Florida State Prison) Parking lot
while on CM(close management) status.
In December 2020, my visitation was unconstitutionally
indefinitely suspended without even a DR(disciplinary report) due to a
12/6/20 Peaceful Protest, in honor of Florida Prisoner Solidarity
Organizer, Karen Smith(Rest In Power) and in solidarity with all Florida
prisoners(myself included) against prison conditions: overseer abuse,
brutality and lynching of handcuffed defenseless prisoners in secured
On 11/9/23 and 12/3/23, I submitted request to classification
regarding reinstatement of my visitation, classification response states
“you have had 3 DRs since the incident & one of them being for
(1-3) spoken threat, you also have an overall unsat institutional
adjustment, your request is denied at this time.”
Classification response is not only inadequate, it is in direct
cahoots with FDOC continuation of mendacity and retaliation, whereas, I
was never served any notice whatsoever in relation to or as collateral
effort to my already indefinitely suspended visitation, for any of those
mendacious, retaliatory DRs, which I would have easily successfully
appealed had FDOC not been so blue line KKKorrupt and cohesive. Plus,
neither of those mendacious, retaliatory DRs are listed anywhere in the
visitation privilege suspension matrix in Rule 33-601.729-31 FAC.
If FDOC wish me to stop writing grievances, and reporting to
society about prison conditions: everything from food service prisoner
workers being threatened with confinement and being placed in
confinement for refusing to shake the spoon, or short food portions on
prisoner trays, to prison overseers abusing, brutalizing, even
lynching(murdering) prisoners in handcuffs and secured cells, as was the
case with Germaine French on 11/22/23, FDOC will have to do more than
mendaciously, retaliatory, indefinitely suspend my visits, FDOC will
have to lynch me, or send its prisoner hit-men to stab me, to silence
me. The world will know that FDOC stand for Florida Department of
Cruelty, not corrections. No correction or correcting going on here,
just warehousing and sadist, racist, fascist, punishment, a waste of tax
payer and family/loved-ones, hostage-for-ransom prisoner,
And you will throw this grievance away as is culture and practice
here at Suwanee, a copy has been sent to my loved-ones, and the Federal
District Court, as an addendum in case #3:23-CV-01278.
REMEDY: Reinstate mendaciously, indefinitely suspended
visitations done in retaliation for peacefully protesting prison
conditions; Overseer abuse, brutality, and lynching of handcuffed
prisoners, is a blatant and rampant authoritarian violation of rights
against retaliation, guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendment of
the United States Constitution.
In the last month we have seen the state of Georgia bring RICO Act charges against Rudy Giuliani and others who worked with Donald Trump to steal the 2020 U.$. presidential election, as well as activists who were doing things as simple as handing out fliers opposing the construction of Cop City in Atlanta.
The Federal Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was enacted in 1970 as a tool to charge people with crimes when they were having other people do their dirty work for them. Each crime charged under RICO can add years to ones prison sentence. The Georgia RICO Act of 1980 covers more crimes than the federal version. The Georgia Act makes Racketeering a felony in the state.(1) Historically, we have had multiple readers who were victims of RICO Act charges brought during the Giuliani years in New York City, and more recently in the Atlanta area, for their leadership roles in lumpen organizations, the more typical target of RICO.
Rudy Giuliani earned fame as a federal prosecutor for getting Mafia bosses in New York City convicted on RICO Act charges. He then used his reputation to become a “tough-on-crime” mayor of New York City known for “cleaning up” the city. It was during Giuliani’s time as Mayor of NYC that the infamous case was brought against King Blood (aka Luis Felipe) under the RICO Act. King Blood was charged for murders committed while ey was already in prison and received the inhumane and unprecedented sentence of life in solitary confinement. All of King Blood’s First Amendment rights to communication were denied, allowing only communication with eir lawyer and immediate family. This was not typically something a judge could sentence, but was justified via the racketeering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(d).(2) Decades later, King Blood still sits in a torture cage in ADX Florence, isolated from the world. While the RICO charges against Giuliani may provide some cathartic humor, the 79-year-old will not be facing anything like King Blood is doing.
Weeks following the Georgia RICO Act charges against Trump, Giuliani, et al., another set of RICO Act charges (and domestic terrorism charges) were made against 61 activists involved in opposing the construction of Cop City in Atlanta. This is a continuation of the state’s warfare against Stop Cop City, including the ludicrous money laundering charges brought against bail support fundraisers we reported on in the last issue of ULK.(3) In the recent RICO indictment, the date of the murder of George Floyd (25 May 2020) is cited as the beginning of the investigations around the so-called “racketeering.” In other words, the state was trumping up these charges against activists before there was a Stop Cop City movement. This is not about stopping any criminal conspiracy, it is about repressing any opposition to the use of lethal police force against New Afrika and oppressed people in general. It is a defense of the state’s right to wage violent war against New Afrika.
In a recent article, a comrade laid out the political nature of the law, debunking the myth that laws were developed as a way to impose morality or address inherent problems in society.(4) Rather law stemmed from the need to manage the division of humyns into classes. With Trump/Giuliani, we see the RICO Act law being used by the bourgeoisie to discipline other bourgeoisie who are threatening the image of bourgeois democracy. And in the case of the 61 activists they are using the same law to discipline youth and oppressed nations who are opposing more violent forms of state discipline.
When we go up against the courts, the police, or even the politicians, we must be prepared for war. The cops murdering us in cold blood is war. The courts and prisons putting us in torture cells for years is war. City governments in Atlanta and San Pablo, California funding cop cities where pigs can play war games is war. These more obvious forms of war, are part of political struggle. There are no rights, only power struggles. To engage in power struggles, requires giving the war two sides.
^*Notes: 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_RICO_(Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations)_Act 2. Prison Legal News, 15 March 1999, Judicial Sentence of Life in Solitary Upheld. 3. A comrade, July 2023, “Law and the Courts of Late”, Under Lock & Key No. 82. 4. A comrade of Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, July 2023 “Atlanta Criminalizes Protest Against Cop City”, Under Lock & Key No. 82.*^
As previously predicted by myself and various others within the prison movement, the trend around the nation’s prisons towards intrusive digital mail policies has now officially made its way to Texas state prisons, the biggest prison system in the country.
According to a public service announcement released by TDCJ on 7 July 2023, beginning on 17 Jul 2023, units will no longer accept general correspondence. Instead general mail must be sent to the digital processing plant at:
TDCJ [inmates full first and last name] + number P.O. Box 660400 Dallas, TX 75266-0400
The public and official justification for this move towards more intense surveillance of the mail is the current drug epidemic within TDCJ. Each incarcerated persyn reading this and many out in the public have direct experience with the effects of this sad daily occurrence of overdoses, drug induced suicides, the drama daily instigating violence and intimidation amongst people in prison, the walking zombies, the toon attacks. the loss of morals and character to drug addiction. We can not act as if this isn’t occurring, and it is not my intent to justify these occurrences within this writing. However, my intention is to state that the states’ official justification (the drug epidemic) isn’t sincere.
The new policy doesn’t come as a shock to many of us. Frankly, for most of this decade prison departments across the United $tates have been doing the same thing utilizing the same justification (inmates getting drugs through the mail). The courts for their part have upheld these intrusive policies, under the pretext that departments provide alternatives for receiving mail, books, and other functions of prison life.
The sincerity of the state’s justification must be questioned due to their own actions. The daily inattentiveness regarding drug culture exhibited by the staff allows the epidemic to function. Daily, every staff member from wardens to the lowest officer on the totem pole can see, smell, or otherwise experience the elements of the drug epidemic within each TDCJ unit.(1) Most times, officers and staff look the other way for various reasons. For their own safety and security while doing a potentially dangerous job certainly is one of them, and another is certainly that officers and staff, to a very large degree prefer an intoxicated prison population. I’m not speaking about the executive branch of the agency. The people in business suits are not in tune with the attitudes and mindsets of the employees on the ground. If they were, they would know what each inmate does through observation. Prison officials choose the lesser of two evils, feeling that the drugs act as sedatives and will calm tensions within the prison which is somewhat true.(2) They opt for this instead of the contrary largely sober-minded prisoner which is more often than not harder to control.
The policy will allow legal, media, and subscription mails to still come to the unit. All other mails will be received at the warehouse or will be returned to sender. This policy extends the distance between families and their imprisoned loved ones, straining relationships on top of the genocidal sentences a lot of us are serving in TDCJ and around the country. These police-state policies are helping to destroy our families.
And for those of us within the prison movement, how does this policy affect us and those on the outside who support us? I propose that organizations develop communication funds which will go to alternative communication lines. These funds would be invested towards proven cadres who can make their individual work spread amongst the people. These new communication lines would be autonomous and clandestinely utilized to forward serious organizing work.
As the state continues to clamp down on illusionary elements of democracy, we must organize ways around their various intrusive sanctions while developing the capacity to reconstruct the power relations of this society.
The time has come to liberate Our political prisoners. There have been decades of conversation, of litigation, and other passive acts of resistance with little to no results.
GENOCIDE! This policy perfectly depicts how the health and future of Our families and as a result Our peoples is at stake, under attack and reeling.
Courts have thus far upheld similar policies elsewhere. Saying that realistic penological interests are being met, as prisons use the pretext of the current drug epidemic as the reason for this policy, and the courts further assert that prisons are offering a viable alternative (the tablets).
The first units that will experience this policy are: Allred, Coffield, Polunsky, Powledge, Plane, Garza West, Clements, Halbert, Robertson, and East Texas ISF, with more to follow in the following weeks, according to the public service announcement.
MIM(Prisons) adds: As soon as this policy was implemented, the attacks on prisoner communication have started. A prisoner in Stiles Unit in Texas reported on 25 July 2023:
“We were recently given tablets and our e-messaging, phone through the tablet. I’m on Ad-Seg, in Restrictive Housing (RHU). On 10 July 2023, my wifi and e-messaging, as well as my phone were taken from me for no reason. According to TDCJ, all mail will be digital now, since 17 July 2023. But certain people were taken by surprise to wake up with none of our mail or phone. Without any explanation. We have been asking and sending I-60’s grievances about this, but still no one will give us an explanation. What can I do?”
The comrade asks if the censorship rules mentioned on the first page of ULK would apply to this situation. And it’s a good question. These prisoners mail is effectively being censored, so it would seem so. But we are not lawyers. And it is likely that this would need to be tested via the courts.
Some prisons in Texas, like Polunsky and Allred Units, are just returning to sender all mail from MIM Distributors sent to the prison, including media which according to the rules is supposed to be sent there.
Another problem comrades are facing is when we send them forms in the mail, they cannot print them or fill them out, because they are only given to them in a tablet.
“This U.S. Supreme Court ruling and prison policies of surveillance and censorship listed above reveals that the fascist and repressive nature of prisons extend beyond these prison walls and adversely impacts those of you in the community. This should give human and civil rights activists, including our loved ones, additional motivation to work in solidarity with incarcerated freedom fighters to challenge these Constitutional violations via civil litigation.”(4)
Notes: 1. A Texas Prisoner, November 2017, “Epidemic of K2 Overdoses at Estelle, Throughout Texas”, Under Lock & Key 59. 2. A Texas Prisoner, March 2021, “TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop”, Under Lock & Key 73. 3. MIM(Prisons), June 2022, “FL, TX Censor Revolutionary 12 Steps Program”, Under Lock & Key 78. 4. A Virginia Prisoner, January 2022, “A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones”, Under Lock & Key 76.
First allow me to say that I am in no way homophobic and hold no bias nor any prejudice toward gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, or queer people. However, I find it inhumane that, while men can flaunt themselves around in thongs, booty shorts, leggings, mascara, eyeliner, makeup, and sports bras, I am being denied pictures of my fiance because she is wearing those exact same things. The woman who has dedicated her life to me, stands by my side through the trials and tribulations, who has weathered the storm, someone who I am going to wed.
I have been denied pictures of my fiance on vacation in a bathing suit because they were “sexually explicit” but in turn a gay man can receive pictures of another man in boxers? I am restricted from receiving pictures of my fiance in boy shorts or leggings while men walk freely past the guards and Warden wearing those and everything is fine.
The Kentucky Department of Corrections Penitentiary System encourages homosexuality while banning intimacy with your loved one. Your visitor is not permitted to wear a dress, shorts, leggings, or tight jeans on a visit, meanwhile transgender people are encouraged to receive hormone shots to grow breasts, walking hand-in-hand around the loop with another man. In the Kentucky Department of Corrections Penitentiary System homosexuality is forced upon the heterosexual inmates where men can lay in a cell with another man in their arms, but magazines such as “Idore”, “Spicy”, “Straight Stuntin”, “King”, “Phat Puffs”, or “Sultry” are not available or restricted to purchase. Magazines with women in clothes like two piece swim suits are restricted. But why? Because they are women, or because they are what, real women?
How do you combat a whole state, let alone a prison, where the Warden is promoting homosexuality? (Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex, Warden J. David Green).
I am not concerned as to what other inmates choose to indulge in, I just want to be able to receive pictures of my future wife in her boyshorts, leggings, in her intimate state, to help with my sexual release and soothe my mind, to escape, but instead I am subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and the promotion of homosexuality within the Kentucky Department of Corrections Penitentiary System.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that the Kentucky DOC is being intentionally cruel in its biased enforcement of rules around sexually explicit materials. This is happening in a number of states, including Texas where at the same time some prisoners are being forced to watch porn. And as we know corrections officials communicate with each other, it is likely no coincidence.
It’s a tactic the police have used forever; treat certain people differently from others in an arbitrary way and watch them turn on each other. They’ve used this against political prisoners, granting one prisoner more freedoms than eir comrades to promote suspicions that the privileged comrade snitched when in reality ey had not.
Administrators know how important pictures of loved ones, including “sexy” pictures of partners, are to prisoners. Just as the comrade we addressed in a longer piece on the nature of sex and sexuality, this Kentucky prisoner says ey has no issues with LBGTQ people. Yet, we sense the resentment here in what ey wrote. We call on our readers not to let that resentment cause you to turn on others who are not your enemy.
There is a right-wing talking point these days that the woke government is trying to turn people, especially children, transgender or gay. These identity politics are being used to manipulate people, and to get votes. If comrades are serious about fighting the “enforcement” of homosexuality in prisons, we suggest allying with gay prisoners who will likely be strong allies in a campaign to allow all prisoners to have equal rights to express their sexuality. Meanwhile, the fight against censorship of photos should connect to the fight against political censorship of mail. It should be illegal for the state to stop any mail that is not a direct threat to safety. If you are organizing around these issues we want to hear from you.
We explored some of the developments of the Cop City struggle in our article The Struggle Against Cop City in Atlanta in ULK 81. Cop City, or the “Atlanta Public Safety Training Center” as the state calls it, has recently begun construction in Weelaunee Forest in Southwest Atlanta. This effort is funded primarily by the City of Atlanta and is to be owned and operated by the Atlanta Police Foundation. This is a pig training center with a supposed construction cost of $90 million, which will include a fake cityscape for police to learn tactics for suppressing urban resistance. This pig training center is part of a larger assault by the Amerikan state on New Afrikan communities and neighborhoods, along with the rise in gentrification, mass surveillance, police brutality and imprisonment rates. Some readers may remember the establishment of the community-run Rayshard Brooks Peace Center in 2020 and the subsequent state repression. No one can doubt that New Afrikan oppression is intensifying as the police and prison apparatus of the state continues to wreck havoc for the interests of the Euro-Amerikan nation.
In response to these developments, many diverse groups have organized against Cop City. For a while construction in Cop City was stalled because of forest defender activists occupying the intended site of deforestation, resisting raids by police to move them off the site. In this struggle an indigenous anarchist who went by the name Tortuguita was viciously murdered by police agents in a final raid of the forest.
Ongoing Developments in the Struggle
As the Stop Cop City movement continues, dozens of forest defenders and other protesters have been arrested on various felonies, from “domestic terrorism” to “intimidation of an officer.” For example, on 5 March 2023, Atlanta police arrested 23 protesters on “domestic terrorism” charges due to alleged property damage and trespassing, and that number has since risen to more than 40 over the last few months.(1, 2) These felonies are at least 20-year sentences in Georgia.
The state’s repeated arrests were an obvious cause for concern. A non-profit, the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, organized funding to bail out these protesters who were the target of state repression. On 31 May 2023, the 3 organizers of that fund have also been arrested, charged with “money laundering” and “charity fraud.”(3) This is yet another example of the state suppressing even the most legal forms of resistance.
While the DeKalb district attorney has declined to prosecute the arrests related to Cop City due to the unpopularity of Cop City, the Georgia attorney general has taken the cases and will still prosecute them.(4)
A “Stop Cop City” referendum petition has been filed (and approved on 21 June 2023) that will put Cop City on the Atlanta ballot if 75,000 signatures are produced in less than 60 days after the approval.(5) Many of the groups against Cop City have focused on this effort, which may have the unfortunate effect of completely legalizing the struggle (which is not a strategy for long-term political development).
Bigger than Cop City
As Maoists we always seek to develop a dialectical materialist perspective that correctly denotes the relations of nation, class, and gender at play. Cop City is no exception. One of the most critical weaknesses of the Stop Cop City movement is that an advanced politics (one that is revolutionary nationalist and aimed at the long-term struggle) is not yet a leading line. If this problem is not properly resolved, the movement will give way to movementism and the Stop Cop City struggle will fizzle out like the 2020 BLM struggle, becoming co-opted into liberal electioneering politics.
We must also look at the global nature of Cop City. The Atlanta Police Foundation is funded by Amerikan finance kapital, from the likes of Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Amazon, Delta Airlines, and Waffle House.(6) Prisons and policing are not a struggle unique to the United $tates. The development of these bourgeois state organs are being rapidly replicated around the world. Cop City can and will be a test run for building pig facilities among the Third World nations as capitalism-imperialism decays. The struggle against Cop City will thus also play a part in the larger anti-imperialist struggle, and this is why developing a revolutionary nationalist line on Cop City is a must in this struggle.
Towards a preliminary analysis, we can say that Cop City is an intensification of New Afrikan oppression in Atlanta. The Euro-Amerikan nation – both Euro-Amerikan kapital and Euro-Amerikan communities – is united towards the policy of increased policing, gentrification, and imprisonment of New Afrikan and other oppressed nation communities. The Stop Cop City movement requires a united front, one that includes all those groups opposed to these methods of oppression, whether these groups be New Afrikan, Indigenous, Chicano, Euro-Amerikan, etc, but maintains some form of dialectical-materialist, revolutionary nationalist leadership in order to expand scientifically.
We have readers often tell us they want to start non-profits, but the Cop City arrests show that there are limitations to this type of organization: the state can and does retaliate against non-profits who pose a threat to the Amerikan state’s interest. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is one example, where the Amerikan state has no problem arresting protesters or even legal organizers under charges of money laundering if they pose enough of a threat to its expansionary interests.
Cop City reminds us of the need for independent institutions of the oppressed which are flexible and secure, and involve the masses at every step of operation. Campaigns like “Stop Cop City,” or “Abolish Control Units,” attack the war apparatus that is aimed at the population within U.$. borders, especially the internal semi-colonies. As the above recent events demonstrate, we must build organizations that are prepared for the repressive response of the state.
Back in November 2022, MIM Distributors sent a copy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) PD-22 codes to a prisoner at Smith Unit. The PD-22 codes are the “General Rules of Conduct and Disciplinary Action Guidelines for Employees.” The prisoner was notified that this was “70 pages misuse of state property.” That’s funny because MIM Distributors paid for the printing and mailing of this material the TDCJ claims to be their property.
Since the 5th revision of the BP-03.91 was released on 25 June 2021, we have featured in ULK a series of articles on the newly revised policy including promoting phone zaps, protests, and lawsuits. The focus for many was the limitation on non-nude photos, and this was the subject of multiple lawsuits. MIM(Prisons) and TX TEAM ONE recognized the broader implications of these changes and supported this campaign. But now that most seem to be getting their sexy photos okay are people going to stand up for the right to access public documents?
While many prisoners write to us asking for legal help, we aren’t lawyers and we don’t offer legal help. We need your legal help. We need comrades in the TDCJ to get to the bottom of these issues, file lawsuits and lead campaigns. This is a very winnable battle that serves the interests of all prisoners in Texas. What we do do is support prisoners organizing against imperialism. If TX prisoners are ready to fight this we’re ready to push this campaign forward to stop the censorship of public documents and advance the campaign to get grievances addressed in Texas.
I appreciate all the comrades who assisted us with our struggle for change here at Eastern Correctional Institution (E.C.I.) We have begun to gain traction. Delegate Charles Otto has responded with a response from Maryland Department of Public Safety. Once I make copies I will send them to you all so that you can see the crap they’re saying. None the less the prison is beginning to change. Our visiting time has increased and so has our outside rec. They are even talking about allowing us to take pictures. We are not stupid though we understand that this is all to pacify us. But there has been something major that we have recognized. The system has now exposed their hand and now they are open for the guerrillas to attack – in one of the buildings here they are renovating due to the pressure from the people and as such they have to move people out of the building. So they must find space for these men. They are scrambling for spaces to put them. Now understanding this I have come up with an idea which is now under way. The plan goes as follows:
Mission #1 Fire Starter
Primary Objective: Exposure. We must expose the prison’s conditions to the outside world. We must present these conditions to our local politicians. We must network through our channels and use our families and friends to agitate those in position.
Weapon of Choice: Media
Mission #2 Fire Spreader
Primary Objective: Spread what you have done in your prison to the other prisons in your state. This must be done simultaneously.
Weapon of Choice: Letters, Phones, Social Media
After these missions are complete it will unleash a fire storm that will burn these prison systems from the inside out. Once comrades are released they are then to assist the cells from the outside.
It must be understood that every prison in Amerikkka has its issues and for them to be exposed in the manner we are seeking will force the people in position to react. They will then have to renovate these prisons and to do so they will have to decarcerate, releasing our brothers and sisters on to the streets because they will have no where to put them once they are forced to clean up the prisons. This is the beginning of a prison abolition movement I believe that will deliver a major blow to the system. The comrades here at E.C.I. have completed Mission #1 Fire Starter and we are now underway with Mission #2. It must be understood that it may not work every where but I do encourage all to try it.
It is time for the dragon to be released. Long live George Jackson.