The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
[Abuse] [Civil Liberties] [High Desert State Prison] [California]
expand

HDSP Obstructs Legal Work

Sergeant S. S. Crandell, Yega, S. Motto, S. Byers, and Fish victimized me on 15 October. They stole my television and lied, saying it had wires sticking out.

Guard Yega handcuffed me and took me to the program office over a 602 [grievance] for indigent envelopes I never received. When I returned to the cell, all my legal materials were in a large pile on the floor, covered with shampoo, coffee, hair styling gel and baby powder. My television was gone. Officer S. Motto threatened to kick my ass if I 602ed it.

Can you please help? My aunt has cancer, and my family is sick living on a fixed income.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Security]
expand

Birthday Cards to Prisoners Tie Up FBI

For years, MIM(Prisons) and others have agitated around the point that people are getting indeterminate sentences in torture cells in California based on things like birthday cards. Today, Sacramento Prisoner Support made public some Freedom of Information Act documents from the FBI showing that people on the outside can also be targeted for who they send birthday cards to.

The gang investigation unit in California, IGI, has already made efforts to identify people working with MIM(Prisons), so this is nothing new or surprising. But we point to it to remind people of two lessons. First, security is important at every stage and in everything you do when dealing with the imperialist state because they are watching. Second, when the FBI has to file a report every time comrades get a letter or birthday card, that is resources being taken away from other intelligence work. Some people view efforts developing better security as taking away from "real" political work. But examples like this show that security work in itself is a blow to imperialism by utilizing resources that could be used against the Third World. Of course, anyone who doesn't take security seriously will never accomplish what we really need to do to end oppression anyway.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 14]
expand

Nation trumps class around Arizona law

The new Arizona immigration bill SB1070, signed into law in April by Governor Jan Brewer, is the latest and most overt action in the ongoing battle against oppressed nations within U.$. borders. This law, which will take effect by August, assigns state police to question anyone they believe is in the United $tates illegally, and requires everyone to carry papers proving their legal status. It is even a crime to be caught without this proof.

As Arizona is a state bordering Mexico, it has a large migrant population, disproportionately from Mexico. In 2006, so-called "Hispanics" accounted for 29% of Arizona's population — most of them are Mexican. This is double the percentage of Latinos living in the United $tates in 2006. More than half of the Arizona residents in the "Hispanic" category were foreign born. While there is a concentration of Mexicans in Arizona, the portion of the population that is foreign born (14%) is not much more than the typical percentage of foreign born residents in the rest of the U.$. which was 12.5% in 2006.(1) But in Arizona it is skewed towards Mexicans (and migrants born in other Latin American countries) while other areas of the U.$. have larger concentrations of Asians, europeans, Africans and people born in other parts of the world. In the U.$. in general, 45% of the foreign born population is from Latin America, which means they make up less than half of the 12.5% of foreign-born migrants living in the U.$.(2) According to the U.$. census these numbers had not changed much by 2008 (the latest statistics available) in terms of the proportion of Mexicans and foreign-born residents in Arizona and the rest of the country.

This law is a logical step forward, or backward for the oppressed, in the Amerikan spiral down the anti-immigration toilet. Those who act like this law is un-Amerikan are missing a fundamental fact of Amerikan imperialism: it is founded on national oppression. The Arizona law is most definitely Amerikan, and for this reason we must oppose not only this law, but all so-called immigration reform. Immigration is a false issue of Amerikan imperialism which requires militarized borders to protect the wealth that it stole from the land and labor of people in other countries.

Rather than get caught up in talking about which people should be allowed the privilege of coming to the United $tates (generally people from other imperialist countries, or those who have done Amerika political favors like the Cubans who oppose Castro), we need to be fighting to open the borders. Recent migrants in the United $tates should be treated no different from those who came here over the past 500 years — we are all living on land stolen from the indigenous peoples. In contrast, the Mexican people migrating north have a legitimate claim to the land now comprising the southwest of the United $tates.

Between 1846 and 1848 the United $tates fought one of its earlier wars of external aggression, against Mexico, ending in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty established U.$. control of what is now the southwest of this country, but ironically guaranteed Mexican residents in that territory the right to retain their land and enjoy the rights of U.$. citizens. This portion of the treaty was promptly ignored by Amerikkkans and land owned by Mexicans was illegally annexed after the end of the war in acts of both private and government sponsored national oppression.

Labor aristocracy benefits from closed borders and illegal workers

It should be no surprise that a recent poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found 46% of Amerikans strongly supporting the Arizona bill, while only 24% were strongly opposed. In fact, 24% might seem high to those of us who understand that the labor aristocracy has a strong interest in protecting the wealth of Amerikan imperialism and their role in benefiting from the exploitation of the world's people. This interest leads the labor aristocracy to support imperialist wars of aggression and reactionary anti-immigrant policies. However, this law in particular is one that will be opposed by a lot of Latinos, even if they may support wars of imperialist aggression. Because this law takes such a broad sweeping attack it is hard to get behind if you might look like you could be in the country illegally (read: are not white). So that 24% strongly opposing SB1070 includes people who are otherwise strong supporters of Amerikan imperialism. This is an example of why there are more allies to anti-imperialism in the Brown and Black labor aristocracy, even if they are not consistent.

Citizens of the United $tates are profiting just by being citizens, enjoying artificially high standards of living propped up by imperialist profits brought home and distributed in the form of high salaries with benefits, as well as services. As the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) explained in MIM Theory 1 and 10, the wealth in Amerika is not created in Amerika; Amerikan citizens are parasites. And to maintain this parasitism the country must keep the borders closed. Open borders would lead to a deluge of people migrating into the U.$. looking for an opportunity to partake in the wealth stolen from their countries.

Rather than share the wealth in the United $tates, borders are militarized and "illegal" workers are allowed in only when there is a need for truly cheap labor, because Amerikan citizens are not going to provide that labor. So Amerikan citizens benefit again from closed borders, in the form of workers to pick their crops, and do the jobs that no citizen wants, for cheap enough to keep the price of food, restaurant service, and house cleaning down.

Trust the prison industry?

One ironic element of Arizona SB1070 is the provision that they trust the police to pick out who might be suspected as an illegal immigrant without engaging in racial profiling. The reality of the criminal injustice system is blatant racial profiling as just one aspect of national oppression. The injustice system overtly targets oppressed nations within U.$. borders, from the police on the streets profiling or just setting people up, to the laws and courts which are skewed against oppressed nations, convicting disproportionate numbers of Blacks and Latinos and giving them longer sentences for the same convictions, to the prisons themselves which target oppressed nations to deny parole and lock in control units.

Everyone knows the police already engage in racial profiling, so why would they stop just when enforcing this law that is, in itself, requiring racial profiling. No one is going to stop a white person and say "Hey, I think you are here illegally from France, can I see some proof of your immigration status?"

Further fueling the prison industry, SB1070 gives the Arizona criminal injustice system an easy way to lock up more migrants, a growing trend in Amerikan prisons. As we reported in the Under Lock and Key #11 article National Oppression as Migrant Detention: "As of July 2009, there are 31,000 non-citizens imprisoned at the federal level on any given day in the u.$. This number is up from about 20,000 in 2006 and 6,259 in 1992. There are more than 320,000 migrants detained each year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and as many as a quarter of them are juveniles. These numbers include only those imprisoned under federal custody, although they may be located all around the country and in state prisons and local jails." We went on to point out that locking up more migrants helps fill empty prison beds, something that private prisons in particular are lobbying for.

Fight national oppression with unity

A dozen Black and Brown hip hop artists from Arizona came together to do an eight minute remake of Public Enemy's song By the Time I Get to Arizona called Back to Arizona to oppose SB1070 with a similar militant message. The original song documented the struggle to get racist Arizona to reinstate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday two decades ago. That history drove home the connection between struggles of all oppressed nations, which is a repeated theme throughout the video.

Among activists opposed to the new Arizona law, the slogan 'Do I look illegal?' has been gaining popularity. This question calls out the clearly racist intent behind the law which will require cops to pick out people who don't look like good white Amerikkkan citizens. As revolutionaries we call on all oppressed nations to join the fight against this latest legalization of national oppression. As anti-imperialists we must stand against all limits on migration. The two articles [ 1, 2 ] on this page written by comrades behind bars demonstrate, this unity and correct understanding of history.

Notes:
1. Pew Research Center Publication "Arizona's Population Growth Parallels America's", January 24, 2008.
2. Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States, 2006, Pew Hispanic Center.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 14]
expand

No to SB1070!

Them good ol' boys are at it again. As much as Amerikan pre$ident Barack Obama would like us to believe that we have reached a new stage in Amerikkkan society, in the form of a "post-racial Amerikkka," which is an oxymoron by the way, state sanctioned racism raises its ugly head yet again. This time it is in the form of Arizona's racist and illegal Senate Bill 1070. Racist, because it obviously gives Arizona's occupational forces (law enforcement) the right to stop or pull people over solely for the color of their skin.

Reactionaries in high places as well as other proponents of SB1070 argue that the power to stop and card people will only be called for with "probable cause," and that this power to card people for their citizenship papers is wholly sanctioned by the 4th Amendment of the constitution. However, we from the oppressed communities know full well that "probable cause" is a very loose and flexible term as applied by occupation forces. "Probable cause" can range from "gang attire" and looking "suspicious" to being seen by pigs in the wrong neighborhood. We from the oppressed communities recognize at a glance the obvious implications of "probable cause" such as "driving while Black." Only a fool or a racist would think this oppressive tool, SB1070, is right in any way.

Although the Amerikan judicial system has given occupation forces and the kangaroo court system wide berth and due deference when it comes to the way that they apply "probable cause," we must note that technically the way in which probable cause is actually applied is illegal. So it is no surprise that many people have expressed outrage at the idea of this racist and illegal law.

While "probable cause" has hystorically been directed at the lumpen class within the U.$., SB1070 now gives the state of Arizona the power to not just target the destructive side of oppressed nations, but the power to further oppress, harass, detain and deport whole nations of people within their jurisdiction, not to mention the authority that Arizona will now have to incarcerate people.

Just days before the signing of SB1070 into law, piece-of-shit republican senator Hunter of California appeared before news cameras touting the excellence and morality of the racist law. He then took it one step further however, when the good senator began advocating that the 14th Amendment be repealed to deny children born in the United $tates citizenship status if their parents are undocumented.(1) This further drives home that being Amerikkkan is about the fictional concept of race and not about where one is born, raised and pays taxes.

A week later, following the huge May Day protests that took place across the U.$., we saw the reactionaries and their allies attempt to push back with their meager show of support for the newly signed law by organizing counter-protests in bands of tens and twenties. These counter-protests were largely made up of the most backward Euro-Amerikkkans, however they did have some interesting mouthpieces at the front.

First, we heard from an openly gay man about how all "illegal aliens" should just go back to Mexico because all they brought to the table was crime, drugs, etc.(2) Then we heard from an African-Amerikkkan who was participating in the counter protests in a show of solidarity with his fellow Amerikkkans as well as claiming to represent a sell out organization called "Black Shield." He spoke of how Black people could no longer find good jobs or decent middle class jobs because Mexicans, and other "illegal aliens" were stealing them all.(3) It wasn't Mexicans who threatened to kill Blacks every time they tried to work in an Amerikan factory or study at an Amerikan school over the last 400 years.

Last, but certainly not least, we heard from a seemingly orthodox Jewish man, indeed he spewed the most vile hatred towards immigrants. Among other things this man said that there was nothing wrong with having to present proper identification to law enforcement officials if you appeared to be "illegal." He stated that this was a constitutionally protected right and just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. (4) Ugh, what? Weren't the enactment of similar laws in Nazi Germany preludes to the forced display of Stars of David by Jewish people and eventually the dispersal of the Jewish peoples across Europe into concentration camps and genocide?

Days later at a candlelight vigil in support of immigrant rights, the reverend Al Sharpton addressed the Black nation, perhaps as an answer to Black people who might of been asking themselves and each other, as well as the Rev. Sharpton, why they should support immigrant rights and oppose SB1070. The Reverend answered, "… because at night, we all look Latino."

Notes:
(1) ABC 7 News, Los Angeles. 25 April 2010.
(2), (3), (4) Noticiero Telemundo 52. 3 May 2010.

This article referenced in:
chain
[Civil Liberties] [International Connections] [Control Units] [ULK Issue 11]
expand

Third World Muslim Prisoners of Amerika

Shortly after MIM(Prisons) posted an article talking about the use of excess prisons to lock up migrants, CNN reported that the u.$. government is looking to take over another empty state prison, this time for Muslims from the Third World.(1) The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) already secretly opened two control units for Muslim Arabs in recent years at USP Terra Haute and USP Marion (which became the original control unit in 1983, but was later downgraded to medium security). These units hold 94% and 75% Muslims, respectively, are even more isolating than many prisons holding English-speakers and u.$. citizens.(2)

Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois is an unused, high tech, maximum security prison with a capacity of 1600 that still sits virtually empty. The government promises that if Third World Muslims are to be sent there, that it will be made even more secure than the official federal control unit, ADX in Florence, Colorado. According to the CNN article, Thomson is the top contender to take most of those now held in Guantanamo Bay after its planned closure, scheduled for January 2010.

There are only 215 prisoners at Guantanamo, and the BOP already holds 340 people that they say are "linked to international terrorism."(1) While the imprisonment of Latino migrants dwarfs these numbers, one must also consider that there are many u.$. prisons in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan and other secret military locations that hold primarily Muslims from the Middle East.

Governor Quinn is excited at the prospect of bringing these prisoners to Illinois because of the money it will bring to the region. This is consistent with his policies of using prisons to combat recession (3), and he may be on to something. With more and more amerikans being employed to physically oppress other people, importing people who are a threat to the imperialist order to hold in amerikan-run prisons would not be an unlikely form for amerika to take as it turns more fascist in the face of imperialist crisis. As one resident pointed out to Reuters, the local population in rural Illinois would back the mission of the prison (4), unlike people in the Middle East where the u$ currently holds most of its Middle Eastern prisoners. A turn toward fascism would be necessary to prevent non-citizens from gaining access to the bourgeois democratic rights promised to those on u.$. soil. (Those currently held in Guantanamo have never been convicted of a crime.) When convenient for them, the imperialists believe humyn rights begin and end at man-made borders.

Of course bourgeois rights are denied to citizens of the united snakes as well, as the FBI demonstrated by assassinating New Afrikan Imam, Luqman Ameen Abdullah in Detroit. Abdullah was a member of Jamil al-Amin's (formerly Black Panther H. Rap Brown) Muslim network called "Ummah." New Afrikan Muslims are the second largest group in the Marion Communications Management Unit.(2)

notes:
(1) Yellin, Jessica. Illinois prison top contender to house Gitmo detainees, official says. cnn.com. November 14, 2009.
(2) http://www.abolishcontrolunits.org/research/US
Exposing "Little Guantanamo": Inside the CMU by Daniel McGowen reports that 75% in Marion CMU are Muslim, though only 10 of 26 are from the Middle East. In Terra Haute, reportedly 2 of 213 prisoners are not Arab Muslims.
(3) MIM(Prisons) on U.S. Prison Economy. Under Lock & Key Issue 8, May 2009.
(4)http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN16528063

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 10]
expand

Hip Hop in the Scopes of the State

Show them as scurrilous and depraved... Have members arrested on marijuana charges. Investigate personal conflicts or animosities between them. Send articles to the newspapers showing their depravity. Use narcotics and free sex to entrap... Obtain specimens of their handwriting. Provoke target groups into rivalries that may result in death. - FBI COINTELPRO tactics documented to be used against political musicians(1)

I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. - Mao Zedong. To Be Attacked by the Enemy Is Not a Bad Thing but a Good Thing (May 26, 1939)

Public Enemy in the scope

One indication of the revolutionary potential of hip hop is the bourgeois state's reaction to it. Just this summer, police arrested Paradise Gray of X-clan, and the Zulu Nation, which played a big role in shaping hip hop in its earlier years. Gray was arrested while he was filming a demonstration against gentrification. (2) Paralleling some of Tupac's efforts discussed below, Gray is currently working with 1Hood to promote peace among the oppressed nation youth in Pittsburgh, PA. There's nothing the government fears more than for the oppressed to stop killing themselves and each other.

While the popular culture likes to see Reality Rap, now known as Gangsta Rap, as the beginning of the ultimate corruption of hip hop, the truth is that pioneers Ice-T, NWA and Tupac were unabashedly opposed to the state and received a lot of heat for it. Their shows were canceled, their records delayed, their songs were censored and they faced constant surveillance and regular harassment.

While the forms of art that originated in hip hop culture have been greatly co-opted through the corporate media to serve the state itself, the potential threat of a culture that keeps strong roots in the oppressed nations remains. John Potash put out a detailed documentation of the history of the state's use of COINTELPRO against musicians, connecting it to operations against revolutionaries who preceded and often inspired them. He describes how the NYPD formed the first rap unit with COINTELPRO training, and then went on to train other metropolitan cops around the country. His book centers around the life and murder of Tupac Shakur.

Tupac Shakur's step-father was former Black Liberation Army and revolutionary physician, turned prisoner of war, Mutulu Shakur. He was one of a number of influential elders in Tupac's life as he grew up that were part of the Black Power movement. In his meetings with Tupac he says that he pushed Tupac to question and define this Thug Life thing, which they eventually did together in a 26 point code that was accepted by Bloods and Crips (and later others) at the 1992 peace summit in Los Angeles. (3) This led to a major counterintelligence operation targeting those involved, including Mutulu who has been caged in a federal control unit ever since.

Sanyika Shakur, a former Crip leader, was one who was inspired to support these efforts. He was also targeted for isolation in the California prison system where he currently sits (such peacemakers are the so-called "worst of the worst" that fill these torture cells). As he pointed out, the government had reason to be concerned about these efforts to unite Black and Latino youth as the street organizations in South Central were recruiting more young people each year than the four armed forces of the united $tates combined. (4)

John Potash's detailed research into 2pac and other musicians and Black leaders, show clear connections between government black operations and the repression of those who mobilized oppressed people. The primary role that Tupac played in the "East vs. West" feud in the hip hop scene was ironic after his work to unite warring sets in Los Angeles. But Potash paints a picture of state-led manipulation that led Tupac to play into their plans.

Potash traces the use of sex and drugs to manipulate both activists and musicians as described in the FBI document quoted above. The sexual assault charges brought against Tupac were one example of this. (5) Death Row Records, who he paints as an FBI front, kept 2pac swimming in alcohol and weed, like the FBI did to his mother when he was a kid using a drug dealer who got close to her. Death Row even turned Dr. Dre, who once rapped "yo I don't smoke weed or sess cause it's known to give a brother brain damage", into a giant weed ad with his debut solo album, "The Chronic." In the decade that followed, regular marijuana use increased significantly among Black and Latino youth, with greater disabling addiction problems, perhaps do to increased potency of the drug. (6) Today, weed and alcohol are constantly praised by rappers.

In his last days, Pac was sober, reading Mao and talking about uniting Blacks across the country. He was soon killed and no one was charged with the murder even though he was being closely watched by multiple state agencies at the time, just as Biggie was at the time of his death.

A big lesson to take from "The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders" is that the government has a strategy for neutralizing potential leaders that they use over and over. To counter this, activists need to be aware of the strategies and develop strategies to counter them. As an individual Tupac was easily manipulated, but even a disciplined party like the Black Panthers was manipulated into a similar East vs. West coast division that could have been avoided. In both cases, the FBI took advantage of internal contradictions among the people involved. So, while studying FBI tactics is a useful way to defend ourselves, more importantly we must put politics in command to make a movement that is difficult to knock off course.

notes: (1) Potash, John. The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders. Progressive Left Press, Baltimore. 1997. p.56. (available from AK Press)
(2) http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/first-wise-intelligent-now-hip-hop-pioneer-paradise-of-x-clan-get-arrested-on-trumped-up-charges/
(3) Potash. p. 63.
(4) Shakur, Sanyika. Monster. Grove Press, New York. 1993.
(5) see Communist Opinion on the Kobe Bryant Case for more on the ridiculousness of such lynching campaigns
(6) Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States. The Journal of the American Medical Association. Vol. 291 No. 17, May 5, 2004.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Michigan]
expand

Keep your mouth shut and avoid the ever-expanding exceptions to Miranda

Inside prison I'm constantly reading cases where the defendants lose because they couldn't keep their big fuckin' mouths shut, either before or after the much-vaunted Miranda warning. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966).

Based on the 5th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, Miranda extends our well-known, seemingly little-used, right to remain silent, as in "I'll take the fifth," outside the courtroom. In other words, ya'l can't be compeled to incriminate yourselves during police investigations in which "your freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way..." Id. at 467. This used to be interpreted by the courts to mean that upon arrest you must be given the Miranda warning, or else anything you said, or resulted from what you said, must be suppressed, that is none of your unwarned statements, or evidence resulting from them, can be used against you at trial.

However, not so much anymore. Back in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court radically limited Miranda when it held that the failure by police to give Miranda warnings does not require suppression of the physical fruits of an arrested suspect's unwarned but voluntary statements. It seems, the dummy, errr suspect, voluntarily told the police the gun they found was his before the warning and his conviction stands. United States v Patane, 542 US 630 (2004); also, Hibel v Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 542 US 960 (2004) (defendant's conviction for refusal to identify self did not violate his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination).

That ain't all folks, as the Supremes have been chipping away at Miranda for years, mostly by narrowing the definition of what constitutes an arrest or being in custody. Maybe it's just me, but when I'm surrounded by armed thugs I just know I'm under arrest and in custody! Unfortunately, that ain't necessarily how the U.S. Supreme Court sees it, as it has repeatedly found that not every violation of Miranda requires suppression of the evidence. See Harris v New York, 401 US 222 (1971); New York Quarles, 467 US 649 (1984); and Oregon v Elstad, 470 US 298 (1985). This trend was emphasized when the court held that a California state appellate court did not unreasonably apply clearly established federal law (i.e. Miranda) by finding non-custodial status, given the debatability of status. Yarborough v Alvardo, 541 US 652 (2004); Cf., Fellers v United States, 540 US 519 (2003) (police violated 6th Amendment by deliberately eliciting information from defendant, during post-indictment visit to his home to arrest him, absent counsel or waiver of counsel, regardless of whether officers' conduct constituted an "interrogation"); Missouri v Seibert, 542 US 600 (2004) (Miranda warnings given mid-interrogation, after defendant gave unwarned confession, were ineffective, and thus confession repeated after warnings were given was inadmissible at trial.)

No doubt, it is a "settled principle" that "the police have the right to request citizens to answer voluntarily questions concerning unsolved crimes," but "they have no right to compel them to answer." Davis v Mississippi, 394 US 721, 727, n. 6 (1969). Therefore, ya'll have to quit volunteering to incriminate yourselves and others. Also, you tattletales (i.e., snitches, informants, etc.) should know that when you do incriminate others to get out of your shit, then you more often than not incriminate yourself. It al boils down to this: When encountering the police, or any other armed terrorist enforcers of the state, just shut the fuck up.

chain
[Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [Virginia]
expand

Censorship in Virginia=Political Repression

At this point the game here has been to label any group or media critical of government policies/practices as a 'security threat' or Security Threat Group(ie. gang) affiliated. Also this is the trend of 'interpreting' all media and groups of oppressed nationalities. Essentially it boils down to political, cultural and racial censorship, dressed up as 'security' concerns. This is a remote prison staffed by 98% rural socially (race) segregated Appalachian white people, who project and harbor deep-set racist stereotypes and repressive instincts. They've even taken prisoners' Black history reference books labeling them STG material. Hell, I just had Harry Haywood's book "Black Bolshevik" rejected and referred to the Publication Review Committee as STG related. They label any material on the Black Panther Party (BPP) as STG material and the BPP as an STG, although the BPP has not existed since 1982.

You should be aware that during February 2006, FBI director Robert Mueller went before a Senate subcommittee called a "threat assessment program." The professed object of which was to identify, disrupt and develop profiles on prisoners and prisoner groups who aspire to "radicalize" other prisoners and thus result in violence upon the return of such radicalized prisoners to society. The same 'violent' pretext and stereotype always used by the government to repress political activism and consciousness raising. This program was said to be coordinated between the FBI and various prisons and DOCs, both federal and state.


MIM adds: Not only is the Black Panther Party labeled a Security Threat Group, but recent study questions on idealism vs. materialism, discussing Mao's On Contradiction were also considered to promote STGs, terrorism and a list of other charges.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [International Connections]
expand

An informal renouncement of citizenship

As more reports of abuse surface, and more leaks occur, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Bush regime is and has been engaging in a wide range of war crimes and human rights abuses throughout the world. From the mass killing of Afghani and Iraqi civilians and the intentional destruction of entire cities like Faluja to the use of secret CIA-run prisons and widespread use of illegal tactics such as mass arrests, indefinite detention without access to the courts, kidnapping, torture and assassination, the heartless thugs in Washington have demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to achieve their unrealistic goals and will not be restrained by the U.S. Constitution or International Law - much less human compassion or morality. Bush has said it himself: "My job is to protect the American people and I will do everything in my power to do just that." My question is: Who will protect the world from us?

I say "us" when referring to the people of this nation because I was born here. I'm a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent and, like many Mexicans residing north of the fictious border, I straddle two cultures. On one hand, I feel fortunate for the fact that I enjoy more freedoms and a better standard of living than my compatriots to the south; on the other hand, I understand quite well how my liberties and the great wealth of America are directly tied to the oppression and poverty of the Third World.

I say "us" because even though it wasn't so long ago that America waged a war of aggression against Mexico and stole more than half of its national territory, and even though I refuse to fully assimilate into white society and struggle daily against racism and the preposterous idea that I'm a foreigner in my own land, I am part of this nation. I mean, I pay taxes and take back what I can in the form of public services, health care, social development, etc. Many of my family members and loved ones also live here and greatly benefit from being American citizens. Some have even joined the military and, as I write, are fighting for this country overseas.

I say "us" because even though I don't take part in the electoral system, and even though I don't know anyone who voted for Bush, like it or not he is the President and his government is running the show. As far as the world is concerned, Bush was "elected" (and "re-elected") by a majority of Americans; he's the leader we "chose." I'm personally ashamed to call this theocratic fascist my "leader" — just as I imagine a person of conscience living in Germany during Hitler's reign would have been ashamed to claim the Fuhrer as his or her leader - but, hey, the truth is the truth, right?

I say "us" because even though I'm firmly against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even though I'm sickened by everything this country is doing in the Mid-East and throughout the world, it's apparent that those affected most by American atrocities rarely distinguish between someone like me and, say, someone like my relatives (who joined the military prior to 9/11 in the hopes of getting money for college but are now taking part in a shameful war). What Arabs and other Muslims see on their television screens or in the streets of Baghdad or Ramadi is American soldiers of all races and ethnicities. They, like many others inside and outside the U.S., suck up the whole melting pot theory and view us as one people.

I say "us" because even though I strongly object to capitalism and neo-liberalism and globalization, and even though it strikes a chord deep in my heart when I see what American corporations and trade policies and structural loans do to poor people in Latin America and Africa and Asia, I don't exactly refuse the benefits that come my way.

I say "us" because I know that statistically-speaking it's not a question of IF but WHEN the enemies of this nation will strike again. Intelligence officials - who have proven not to be so intelligent - have to be able to "connect the dots" 100% of the time in order to prevent another attack, and that's impossible. Numerical odds dictate that one day soon we're going to wake up like we did on September 11, 2001, and we're going to discover that somebody who hates us with a passion has managed to get their hands on a nuclear or biological weapon. Tens-of-thousands of ordinary people - folks like me and you and the old lady next door - will take the brunt of the attack while our so-called leaders - folks like Cheney and Rove and Rumsfeld, the true architects of everything that's going on right now - will be safe and secure in some underground bunker.

I say "us" because I'm beginning to realize something: I'm part of this nation, part of this law of supply and demand, part of this constant "need" for more land, more resources, more power and influence. And this isn't just some abstract or theoretical concept. Bush had it right when he arrogantly declared that "people are either with us or against us." In a struggle like this, an unending war with dire consequences for all of humanity, one must choose sides. You can't be a friend of the exploited and oppressed and, at the same time, a friend of the exploiter and oppressor. You can't support or be a part of the war machines and, at the same time, support or be a part of those crushed by that machine.

I say "us" but the more I think about it, and the more death and destruction I see carried out in my name, the more I realize that I don't want to be American if being American means contributing to or being complicit in any form of exploitation or murder.

I say "us" but I should be saying "them" because, from this day forward, I renounce this nation and forever waive any rights or benefits as a U.S. citizen. In fact, I am Mexican and I didn't cross the border; it crossed me. Time can't change that fact - just as it can't change the fact that my people have the memory of an elephant. One day, perhaps when America is most terrorized and vulnerable, we will rise up and take back what is rightfully ours. We will reject this people-eating, soul-crushing system and demand our freedom and dignity - and if they don't give it to us we'll take it! On that day we will say to the American people: "You're either with us or them." And to everyone else we'll say: Join our cause. Help us destroy this evil empire and, afterwards, build a free and just society - not just for Mexicans but everyone.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right on in renouncing his/her stake in the imperialist country. We call it committing class/nation/gender suicide. Rather than giving up class/nation/gender privilege that comes automatically to citizens of Amerika, we call on people to use those privileges to the advantage of the struggle against imperialism.

chain
[Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution] [Washington] [Oregon]
expand

MIM United Front lit banned on 2nd Amendment

MIM recently sent free issues of our magazine MIM Theory 14: United Front to many of our comrades behind bars. The response by prisoncrats was widespread censorship, that should be of concern to everyone from the National Rifle Assocation (NRA) to New Afrikan Liberationists.

The Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution sent us a stack of violation notices and a comrade in Oregon State Penitentiary forwarded us a copy of a violation notice that they never sent to us themselves, despite regulations requiring them to notify both the sender and the intended recipient. All of these censored MT14 complaining about page 92 and 96 of the Black Panther Party Reprints section of the magazine. On page 92, Field Marshall Don Cox says, "more and more gun control legislation, the guise under which the people are being unarmed, is being passed every day to take away the democratic right to bear arms, which in turn dehumanizes you by preventing you from exercising your human right to self-defense." While most NRA supporters will balk at the Panthers efforts to unite the oppressed for self-determination, if they want to protect the right to express one's opinions on the right to bear arms and self-defense they should support MIM in this case.

The main article on page 96 is "Message to Revolutionary Women" from Candi Robinson, which stresses the inherent unity of Black people in revolutionary struggle, while acknowledging the need for Black wimmin in the movement to educate Black men about gender inequality, among other things. The prisoncrats did not specify which part of either of these articles was deemed "inflammatory material," the reason given for its censorship.

Washington State has simultaneously issued an across the state ban of MT14, as well as MIM Notes 328, 330 and 331. Despite a US District Court ruling in 1999 that disallowed the WA Department of Corrections (DOC) from an across the board ban of MIM publications based on our declared purpose of "struggl[ing to] end oppression by build[ing] public opinion to seize power through armed struggle," they have blocked all four of these publications from entering WA prisons without providing any specific justifications. The only justification given by authorities at Stafford Creek Correctional Facility is WA DOC 450-100, which includes over 30 different reasons for which Incoming Mail can be rejected.

One comrade in Washington did write us to tell us his MIM literature had been censored, with the reason give that it "advocates armed violent struggle against authority." This misrepresents MIM to imply that we advocate that prisoners use violence against Correctional Officers (COs). On the contrary we expressly discourage prisoners from getting into physical confrontations with anyone. We have a long history of comrades behind bars who have stopped getting in trouble for violence after finding more effective means of self-defense through legal battles and public opinion building.

The idea that MIM can be censored because we recognize the need for armed struggle by the oppressed to liberate themselves from imperialism is illegal despite regular attempts by prisoncrats to do so. According to Procunier v. Martinez, the Supreme Court upholds the right of prisoners to receive mail, regardless of the prison official's opinion of the mail content, as long as there are no legitimate restrictions from the prison related to correctional purposes. Our belief in the need to seize power through armed struggle is a belief that we share with Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and the founding fathers of the United States government.

Just prior to going to print, a comrade in Washington State Penitentiary sent us a Mail Restriction Notice for MT14 and the three MIM Notes issues that did state the reason for censorship as being "Advocates armed/violent struggle against authority" and goes on to cite pages 80 and 94. Curiously, neither of these pages contains even a discussion of armed struggle. The first is our statement "MIM on Prisons & Prisoners", which our readers will be familiar with. It merely explains why we oppose the current prison system, how we would change it and the role of prisoners in the larger anti-imperialist struggle. Page 94 is an interview with David Hilliard explaining the ideology of the Black Panther Party. As far as we can tell, these pages were chosen arbitrarily, but we are currently investigating a more thorough explanation in order to combat these instances of censorship.

These instances of censorship are not isolated incidents, but part of a long history of struggle with various departments of the criminal injustice system. Regardless of their reasoning for singling out certain pages to justify censorship, just as u$ court rulings do not allow the censorship of Abraham Lincoln for his statements on the importance of overthrowing the state, they do not allow the censorship of our materials because someone disagrees with our beliefs. We welcome anyone who agrees with us on this point to join us in our struggle against censorship in Oregon and Washington prisons.

chain