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
[COVID-19] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Control Units] [ULK Issue 77]
expand

Despots, Terrorists, and Oppressors in SECC

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

‘Department of Corrections’. A place in which nothing is correct. Nor does it correct, but corrupts absolutely. Missouri DOC and its Corruption Officers (C.O.’s) hold in clear disdain the lives of the human beings in its corrupting facilities. An example of this: the ‘South-Eastern Correctional Center’ (herein after referred to as the “South-Eastern Plantation” or “SECC”) located in Charleston, MO.

The South-Eastern Plantation has taken two new modes of torture within its Ad-Seg units. On top of being overly eager to unleash chemical weapons known as MK-9 or “pepper spray” on offenders even in non-violent, non-hostile, non-threatening or unsafe instances; the South-Eastern Plantation has taken to starvation tactics and food-poisoning. By providing inmates with week-old food or in cases of those on “Certified Religious Diets”, stale and black-molded crackers, peanut butters, etc. It is bad enough that COII Pig Sites puts it, “This is our house boy, we own you.” COII Pig Sites and COI Pig Dobbs alike make it their business to “break offenders in” by beating them in handcuffs upon arrival to their single-cell confinement building 1 house. They say such beatings bring “safety and security” to the facility, and that “If you don’t like it, then don’t make mistakes and obey our commands”.

In January of this year 2022, prisoners held in the two-man cell Ad-Seg unit (herein after referred to as Z House) all began to check out of their cells and refuse to enter into cells for being deprived of hair-cuts, proper food rations, clothing and unsatisfactory living conditions. Instead of accommodating offenders to what is theirs by ‘right’, the institution instead attempted to pull the bus up to transfer these individuals. As FUM (Facility Unit Manager) Cosby put it, “We don’t want people like you all here, we need good boys that do what they’re told and accept what we give them. The likes of you will only mess up what we’ve got going on.” As to what they have going on we may never know…$$$.

SECC’s nurses formerly employed by ‘CORIZON’ are helping the corrupt facility by submitting fake test results for COVID-19. They just recently filled up a wing in General Population twice under the pretense of “testing positive” for COVID-19. 64 individuals, only 24 of which had actually been tested and 12 of them actually positive. The only option being, go to quarantine or go to the hole. These offenders with full privileges now only allowed one 45 minute cell rotation. This was used as a way to scheme money as well as punish/target individuals whom they had a certain disliking for. The games never stop.

The comrades here at SECC fight for a world free of oppression, and to bring awareness to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Even in the midst of ongoing battles we will continue to shed light to the MIM and its readers. We wish you all the best of luck as well, because our fight is one. For a quick overview of what else has been going on here see ULK NO.76 Winter 2022.

chain
[COVID-19] [Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 77]
expand

Suit Against CDCR for Endangering Prisoners with Covid-19 Advances

To The People

I have a COVID-19 litigation update. My 42 U.S. Code § 1983 civil case no. 21-cv-0055-LAB-Ggs, Williams v. Warden Pollard, Et Al, in the u.s. District Court - Southern district of Calif, survived the Attorney General’s (A.G.) motion to dismiss on 19 January 2022.

I alleged pre-existing health conditions placed me at higher risk of death if exposed to COVID, and that defendants were deliberately indifferent to my risk of exposure to COVID by

  1. Providing face masks of poor quality, which don’t protect from exposure (before CDCR started issuing the KN-95’s);

  2. housing infected and non-infected prisoners in the same unit and cells;

  3. forced double cell housing in conditions which violate and don’t comply with 6 ft social distancing public health orders;

  4. poor sanitation of the immediate housing unit, and

  5. C.O.’s constantly taking their masks off in the housing unit, was a failure to protect based on a totality of deprivations.

The A.G. moved to dismiss saying:

  1. My claims were speculative because 82% of the population was vaccinated so my chance of exposure was minimum;

  2. I presented no allegations defendants acted maliciously;

  3. I lack standing and the court lack jurisdiction since I have no injury and ‘did not’ contract COVID-19;

  4. Injunctive relief claims are moot because the Brown v. Plata, and Coleman v. Brown receivers were already with jurisdiction over medical and addressing the COVID-19 crisis, and

  5. My claims are foreclosed by 42 U.S. Code § 1997e, which requires an injury before a money award, but of course the district judge rejected the A.G.’s best efforts. The district judge did, however, dismiss all defendants except Warden Pollard, with leave to amend, and while awaiting this ruling I did test positive for COVID-19 in January 2022.

Many prison administrations, housing lieutenants, sergeants, and officers only care about filling empty bed spaces. They don’t expect prisoners to present a pre-written GA-22 which “request reason why I am being forced to defy current public health orders to practice and maintain 6ft social distance by forced double cell housing,” and/or “request instructions on how to practice and maintain 6ft social distance in double cell housing conditions,” when they come with the “you getting a cellie” speech. “I’m not refusing officer, but before I adhere to your orders or directives to disregard or violate any existing public health orders I need specific instructions on how to keep myself safe” and let’s hope they got a body camera on during this incriminating exchange.

The point is, just because the prison system and its officials don’t care about us don’t mean we don’t care about ourselves. Since the pandemic commenced, I’ve seen too many captives tricked out of their lives by following orders from those who operate a system of violating the law, or rules, to enforce them. The killer then notify next of kin of a captives death and say “I’m sorry for your loss.”

We have to implement our own measures to stay safe and survive, which includes filing suit, and helping others with the information to do the same.

Power To the People!

chain
[COVID-19] [Censorship] [Political Repression] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
expand

Covid Outbreaks & Repression on Allred

i am taking the time to write this because i would like the readership to know the truth about what’s been going on recently at the TDCJ Allred unit in regards to COVID-19 and targeted repression of socio-political leaders.

Many of you reading this are already aware of the spike in COVID infections related to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here at Allred, particularly in the restrictive housing unit, which houses some six hundred plus people in conditions internationally recognized as inhumane, there has been a dangerous and life threatening pattern of administrative negligence in regards to the effort (lack thereof) to quell the spread of this aggressive virus.

Back in August of 2021, captive persyns held on the Allred RHU and other units held a hunger-strike protest. One of the issues raised and forwarded to unit, regional, and state level administrators was, ‘#10- follow all CDC COVID-19 protocols’. Even after people have literally starved themselves, the unit administration still has refused, and neglected to implement, and re-implement basic CDC COVID guidelines.

On January 6th, Comrade Ozomatli, co-founder, and key figure of the TX TeamOne organization, was strategically targeted for harassment, by way of an unlawful search and seizure, and purposely exposed to COVID-19. On the above date Ozomatli was taken from his cell and placed in a holding cage in the building’s main hallway for five hours!

i am not too good with math and measurements, but i know the cage in question is absolutely too small to place a full grown human in for that amount of time. There is no where to relieve ones self, not anywhere to comfort ones self. Regardless, Ozomatli remained in this holding cage while a multitude of agents of repression searched his usual abode. i raise the question, what possibly could they be looking for, and not find if it were there, in such a small space, for such an extended period of time?

To even begin to analyze this question We must first point out that the incident on January 6th was the second such incident targeting this same comrade in the last few months. Previously the only thing confiscated were the comrade’s contact information written down on various papers and inside books. On January 6th, the comrade’s entire cache of persynal property was confiscated, and he would remain property-less for a week.

During this ordeal, Ozomatli was placed in danger, recklessly, of catching COVID-19. Agents of repression who escorted him from and returned him to his cell weren’t following proper COVID guidelines. Afterwards, in the matter of days, a new COVID outbreak ensued on the RHU building, and unsurprisingly the outbreak has been largely centered on the pod which Ozomatli inhabits. When other prisoners on other pods show symptoms they’re re-housed on the same pod as Ozomatli. Furthermore, prisoners are being constantly moved around, leaving and being brought to the unit and thus constantly exposing more and spreading more and more COVID. Daily so-called ‘integrity checks’ are still in operation, along with unnecessary cell extractions, and are also inducing the spread of COVID.

Administrators are refusing to test or even symptom check prisoners, as was done in the mid 2020 days of the pandemic. There’s this untrue belief that the pandemic is over, despite the fact that less than 70% of people (prisoners & guards combined) are vaccinated. An untold number of prisoners have mass filed grievances, but of course appealing to the same source of Our predicament has rendered little to no results.

i would be remiss if i didn’t acknowledge the underlying political undertones of Ozomatli’s being harassed, and also pinpoint other similar patterns adhered to by the unit administration sometimes at the behest of the state level agents of repression.

Ozomatli, as i have said, is a leader with the Texas TeamOne Organization. TeamOne is an organization of politicized prisoners dedicated to politicizing prisoners and consolidating those in TX into a class that can actively struggle for its interests, as well as, and more importantly, reinsert people into the larger society as assets to communities which are all too often neglected in the realms of social, political and economic development.

Ozomatli is an abolitionist, a [email protected], and a leader that leads by example. Thus it goes without saying that Ozomatli’s very existence as a [email protected] revolutionary imprisoned in tekkk$a$‘s gulags, is seen as a threat to the enemy-state and the prison administration, and this is the underlying politics of his harassment. Ozomatli has recently been working with other comrades and formations, independent of his work with TeamOne, in mobilizing a Texas prisoners’ political action committee, it is during the time span of this work in that sphere that the administration has targeted him.

The clearly politically motivated repression tactics, in a supposedly ‘free’ country, do not stop there. i myself have been a constant target for similar tactics of intimidation, and retaliation. i have been ‘sentenced’ essentially to LIFE in TDCJ’s RHU. This repression came on the immediate back of Our collective hunger-strike effort in August (thru September 9th). i was seen in absentia by the State Classification Committee four days later. i was denied release to general population, after having been without any disciplinary incident in over four years time. The reasons given for this miscarriage of justice was that i am staff assaultive, and prone to possess weapons, and the main one, written in large bold letters, was the fact that i am currently serving an unjust sentence of Life Without Parole. The third reason was provided as the main reason for my denial of release. The catch is that i can not, on my own accord, alter my sentence therefore this decision summarily acts to confine me in isolation for the remainder of my sentence (life).

Of course the timing and the fact that these issues have never been previously brought up at these hearings, testifies to the fact that the decision is a retaliatory measure being used to quell the momentum being built up among the captives here and around the state. IT WILL NOT WORK!

Other measures of retaliation such as illegal mail tampering/disappearance are common place. Outgoing letters of even a neutral nature take up to two months to even leave the unit, and incoming mail, including books and other packages have the same waiting time. The former mailroom supervisor was made to resign for ‘undisclosed reasons’, yet mailroom negligence, and deliberate tampering continues even under the watchful eyes of one, Major Murdock, whose been made to keep eyes on mailroom staff.

By no means is this all the repressive tactics utilized by administrators, nor is it only TeamOne affiliates, or political prisoners. For the sake of time however We will hold these slights as a small example. it is important i say that none of this is meant to discourage activism and justified rebellion. In fact the contrary is the intent. i assert here that if more of the captive populace took liberatory ideals and practices more seriously We could actually begin to pose a threat, not only to the prison institution, but the established order as We know it. As George said:

“If we can reach each other through all of this, fences, fear, concrete, steel, barbed wire, guns, the hystory will commend us for a great victory won…” - Soledad Brother

As a sign of solidarity, We call on the public to report the administrative negligence surrounding Allred’s handling of COVID-19 to the following; (prisoners should write complaints regarding their own units):

Dept. of Health & Human Services, region6, regional director
Marjorie McColl Petty
1301 Young St. ste#1124
Dallas, Tx 75202
or call 214-767-3301

Also, outside supporters should be sure to make a report to the following:

David Blackwell, regional director-region 5 @ 806-296-4500(ext 400)

chain
[COVID-19] [Grievance Process] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 77]
expand

Super Bowl Sunday: A New Holiday on San Quentin’s Death Row

On February 13th, 2022 it was announced via PA in East Block that there would be no yard due to holiday feeding. There was no state or federal holiday. It was just another Super Bowl Sunday. We’re being fed bullshit!

The deal is for second watch disrespectful sows to get an A.M. 7/11 lucky break before coming back to pass out lunch and dinner. Doing that might take an hour and the taxpayers eat the rest (comes with free-loading). Some of the second watch disrespectful sows will then join third watch and the game kicks off into overtime. The TV is set up in violation of 15CCR3394 distractions and the potluck tailgate assists close proximity in defeating the chance of a stable cohort – a violation of 15 CCR 3271, but no penalty?

As satirical as it may sound, this writing is an excerpt of events which did occur on San Quentin’s death row in East Block. Similar events as described above occurred in 2021 on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 2022. Deliberate indifference to your right to yard, your health, or anyone’s safety in general means NOTHING to these disrespectful sows and the court has acted more like a referee paid off by the opposing team.

Want your rights back?

A suggestion to those warehoused on San Quentin’s death row:

  • Refuse housing cage staging and/or indoor congregate waiting rooms.
  • Preemptively and immediately submit a 602-1 staff misconduct grievance against AW specialized housing for denying you safe access to appointments, visits, etc. simply because you refuse to ignore HC guidelines to practice social distancing – NOT possible in a holding cage/congregate waiting room AND an ultimatum in violations of 15 CCR 3271 if a valid concern exists.
  • If response implies no indoor close proximity concern is valid, then demand normal outdoor daily yards program be reinstated in a 602-2 follow up grievance.
  • Advise your PCP/MH clinician in writing on CDCR 7362 of your decision to follow HC guidelines to social distance and that custody refuses to comply resulting in you being denied safe access to HC/MH services and programs. Keep the yellow copy of that 7362 form for an official record.

*Doing this in conjunction with grievances citing other ways your card is being arbitrarily taken is a from of non-violent protest. SQ/CDCR’s response (or lack of one) creates an official record for future use.

chain
[COVID-19] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

The New Corrections Cage Matches (Another Method of Execution on SQ's Death Row)

This update incorporates the “health and safety concerns created by Housing Cage Staging” grievance submitted on 21 July 2021. A bullet point appears before text from the grievance. An asterisk appears before comments/explanations of the text for readers not familiar with terms, misnomers, and other devices prison officials implement to obscure the big picture.

Current policy forces prisoners from both sides of East Back (EB) to be in close proximity to each other (forced under threat of CDCR115)

*A “CDCR115” is an infraction. Repeat infractions of this particular variety leads to punitive solitary confinement resulting from what is called “program failure.” Prior to and while being classified program failure, loss of privileges, i.e. phone, canteen, packages, etc. are imposed. But who is it that’s not playing by the rules?

Administrative level prison officials and their supervisory staff are directing policy which discourages prisoners movement by presenting prisoners with an ultimatum to either be placed in danger of exposure or decline transport to destinations i.e. medical appointments, law library, visits, mental health programs, and get a 115.

*For clarification, San Quentin Death Row prison officials refer to these holding cages as “holding cells.” The misnomer obscures the fact each is constructed of steel grate. The cage is approximately 3 feet wide (front to back and side to side) with no solid partitions between them.

30 inch CDCR holding cell cage

If prison officials continue promoting/demanding social distancing (even outdoors as with the “one side of EB per day” modified yard policy) then also continue staging prisoners in cage rendering social distancing impossible inside the unit (known to have inadequate ventilation) that would demonstrate an extreme lack of care – a criminal act under PC2652 (aggravates under threat).

*Prison officials know or should know placing prisoners in close proximity makes them susceptible to exposure to any number of COVID-19 variants. Yet not only do they demonstrate an extreme lack of care they’re basically saying “get into the cage and be exposed or else!”

Housing cages are not even disinfected between uses.

*Death row prisoners going to and coming from various locations are staged in these cages before and/or upon return (see second bullet point of grievance/602-1)

Staging prisoners in holding cages is for the sole purpose of convenience not health & safety.

*Apparently due to custody staff’s inability to maintain accurate lists of where prisoners are at any given time of day and lack of intelligence for search and escort (SE) officers, the cages are where prisoners are held once they are located by the desk officer who calls out names of prisoners over a loud speaker saying “get up and dressed” to the prisoner then saying “Tier officer bring them down to a Bay Side Holding cell” for whatever the case may be.

Current staging policy design causes yard release disruption/delays.

*Death row has 7 different yards (essentially split into 14 since only one side of EB goes out at a time). Yard release is scheduled to being 7:30 AM for these group yards but that does not happen. Further delay/disruption occurs as the desk officer halts yard release so the tier officers can escort prisoners with dictated medical appointments to the holding cages instead of releasing prisoners on their tier to yard. This disruption/delay design is relatively new.

The current holding cage staging policy has no validity in law or science regarding its deceptive benefits and potentially adverse effects.

*At the onset of the COVID pandemic CDCR demonstrated an extreme lack of care with regards to its death row population. It executed a dozen prisoners by lethal injection during a moratorium and still seems to be aiming for more with this housing cage staging policy. The grievance submitted 21 July 2021 concludes as follows:

Specific Action Requested: 1) Discontinue the double standard regarding social distancing. 2) Discontinue the policy design causing yards program disruption/delays. 3) Enforce 15CCR3271 without implementing retaliatory/punitive policy designs under guise of safety measures. 4) Stop threatening prisoners with CDCR115 violations who refuse to be placed in holding cages with these conditions. 5) Stop staging prisoners in holding cages knowingly endangering their health and safety by rendering social distancing impossible.

*using holding cages and/or congregate staging of prisoners in close proximity to each other going to or returning from medical appointments for a variety of symptomatic illness, facilitates the spread of a variety of viruses including but not limited to COVID-19 variants and influenza strains. The bottom line is: it is illegal for prison officials to knowingly endanger the lives of prisoners (See also 15CCR3271).

chain
[Cuba] [U.S. Imperialism] [COVID-19] [Economics] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

COVID-19 Reveals Contradictions in Cuba: Stop the U.$. Embargo

At this moment Cuba is entering into a new phase in their struggle which unveils a reality unfavorable to socialist construction. Yet we should keep in mind that Cuba’s fate remains unsealed. History shows that the Cuban people are up to the task of fighting for socialism as they continue to inspire others around the world. They have enormous amounts of creative and practical experience. Here we examine some of the positions in the popular debate around Cuba, as well as the true source of its successes and failures.

Privatization and Pandemic

The current protests in Cuba are the result of growing privatization of sectors in multiple industries. This has been a gradual trend, but in February of 2021 it took on new heights. Tourism in particular, as a private industry, is Cuba’s largest revenue generator making over $3.3 billion for its people in 2018. With the ease of relations under President Obama there was unfortunately even more of a rise in privatization and large growth in tourism. Labour Minister Marta Elena Feito said the list of authorized activities in the private sector had most recently expanded from 127 to more than 2,000. Some of these include barbershops, restaurants, taxi services, domicile and hotel rentals, small shops and cafes. Most of these private sector jobs, which are primarily in major cities such as Havana, are oriented towards the tourist industry.

The last report showed that 600,000 people, around 13% of the workforce, joined the private sector when the opportunity arose. COVID-19 brought problems as the borders were closed to non-residents in order to prevent the pandemic’s spread. About 16,000 private workers asked for their licenses to be suspended, according to the Labor Ministry, which temporarily exempted them from taxes. Shortly after, the amount increased to 119,000, which was roughly 19 percent of the private workforce. This measure allowed for a small section of the private work force to be protected during the pandemic, however other sections, mostly in tourism, were catastrophically hit.

U.S. Economic Warfare

The labor ministry stated that the decline began before COVID-19 as a result of Trump’s new additions to the embargo on Cuba. In December of 2020, Cuban tourism had fallen by 16.5% due to U.S. sanctions that imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, money transfers, and trade between Cuba and other nations. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2020 stated the following in regards to the more recent additions, “OFAC is removing the authorization for banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to process certain funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States, commonly known as”U-turn" transactions. Banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be authorized to reject such transactions, but may no longer process them." The rules also block money sent to Cuban government affiliates, and decreased the limit but still allow for remittances to most families in Cuba.

On 19 October 1960, the U.S. embargo was implemented as policy to undermine the revolutionary government as a response to its nationalization of industries and dealings with countries led by communist parties. Over the coming years tension only increased and the embargo would continually be adjusted to prevent growth of the Cuban economy. As of now the sanctions vary with over 231 entities and subentities like ministries, holding companies, hotels, etc.; meaning the U.S. is trying to control Cuba’s economy. These provisions also extend to international companies like the various shipping companies in 2019 which were sanctioned by the U.S. government for participating in oil trade between Venezuela and Cuba. This was during the same period that the U.S. was accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of falsifying the election results that left Juan Guaido to bite the dust. Allegations which later were proven to be false yet nevertheless caused dire consequences for millions.

Economic terrorism continues to be perpetrated by the U.S. against Cuba to prohibit other nations and companies from participating in trade deals. Some ways the U.S. does this is by denying licenses or deals with U.S.-based companies or other nations that have the audacity to ignore the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Year after year the U.N. votes in favor of an end to the embargo with only two nations (the U.S. and Israel) voting in favor of continuing the embargo.

In 2021 former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Cuba once again as a state sponsor of international terrorism in another futile attempt to further isolate Cuba from potential trading partners. This designation carries with it the implication that any business or state which does business with Cuba participates in sponsoring terrorism. As a result the U.S. will then implement sanctions on those businesses or states or at the very least deny them vital business opportunities that they need to sustain a functional economy in a U.S.-dominated global market. It follows from this that the private sectors in Cuba who were not prepared for the pandemic, were already affected by the ongoing trade embargo for about 60 years, with Trump’s administration amping up attempts to suffocate Cuba’s resilient economy.

Cuban Protests Dwarfed by Uprisings in U.S.

When the protests erupted in Cuba this month, the U.S. wasted no time in opportunistically pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, expatriated Cuban terrorists living in the U.S. sent videos over social media promoting the destruction of public property owned by the Cuban people, looting, assault on peoples security forces etc. These videos, not surprisingly, never found their way into mainstream reports but were exposed by Cuban media. Díaz-Canel even made a point to say that there are revolutionaries who have been misguided by false reports forged by subversive reactionaries, and people with legitimate demands for an end to the embargo and reform of failed policies. This made clear that these demonstrators were not the target of criticism but genuinely concerned, although in some cases misguided, citizens.

In reality only a small capitalist minority from certain private sectors affected by the embargo and COVID-19 have taken to the streets to promote their interests; interests that are antagonistic to that of the Cuban people. President Díaz-Canel proceeded to visit the demonstrations himself and speak with people. On live TV Díaz-Canel called revolutionaries to take to the street and oppose the reactionaries and to stay in the streets as long as necessary in order to defend the revolution. It was correctly stated by Díaz-Canel that the reactionaries with violent intent are of a specific small group who align with U.S. interests. More specifically from his mouth he stated that, “They want to change a system, or a regime they call it, to impose what type of government and what type of regime in Cuba? The privatization of public services. The kind that gives more possibility to the rich minority and not the majority.”

Counter protests proceeded to take place where a greater part of Cuba’s 11 million people came out to demonstrate their support for the revolution and continuance of socialist construction. With such a small minority of protestors being for regime change and only a few dozen arrests we have to ask ourselves why there is such a controversy? It is only explainable by the private interests and imperialist U.S. who wishes to finally deal a deadly blow to Cuba. After decades of failed CIA assassinations, a failed U.S. invasion, and a failed Embargo, the U.S. government is reiterating its fledgling commitment to undermine the people of Cuba.

All the while the Amerikans fail to see the irony that in 2020 the protests in the U.S. were estimated to have between 15 and 26 million participants with over 14,000 arrests documented as related to the protests and a number of deaths associated. These numbers are not even all encompassing in the true magnitude of arrest and torture by the U.S. government on its own citizens. These protests put forward demands guaranteed by the Cuban constitution. Article’s 16, 18, 19, 41, 42, 43, 44 of the Cuban constitution reveal rights and guarantees afforded to Cubans that in the U.S. don’t even exist or are up for debate. A civil war was needed to end slavery only to have it replaced by Jim Crow segregation in this country. Without a doubt a quick look at the Cuban constitution in comparison with the U.S. constitution, one would begin to question the true ethics of the U.S. and why Cuba is portrayed the way it is.

Cuba has made greater advancements than the U.S. in many fields. It achieved a higher literacy rate, lower infant mortality rate, a lung cancer vaccine as well as a COVID-19 vaccine independently developed with a 92% success rate. All this despite the embargo and war crimes of the U.S. The U.S. in their sad attempt to condemn Cuba’s Communist Party declares the people of Cuba to be subjugated, unable to protest, or have free speech. As can clearly be seen, the president of Cuba not only respects the constitutional right to protest and have free speech, but invited millions to take to the streets to do so.

The Will of the People in Cuba

In 2018 a new draft of the Cuban constitution removed reference to communism. This first draft was met with wide-scale protests and a popular demand that reinstated communism as the goal. In 2019 the new Cuban constitution reaffirmed the popular will. Time after time the U.S. is embarrassed by Cuba’s revolutionary people. Which is presumably why the U.S., who routinely overthrows democracies, assassinates world leaders, or suffocates nations with sanctions, takes special interest in torturing Cuba. It is not without effect either, as many Cubans feel this pressure and suffer untold losses in this cruel escapade waged by the United States.

Mind you, Cuba is not without mistake. The continued privatization of industries and reliance on tourism is a massive failure on the part of the Cuban government. Failures to foster the full creative potential of the Cuban masses by putting politics in command has led the Cuban government to become a bureaucratic mess. With a large population of revolutionary masses eager to promote the ideals of socialism and forge ahead on their path of self-determination, it is sad to see the Cuban state fail to remove the fetters on the Cuban people that restrict their ability to take control of power for themselves. This is a result of internal contradictions within the Cuban state.

Over the past few decades the gradual decline of peoples’ power has been witnessed. Today’s events are a result of the pandemic and U.S. embargo. However, the principal issue is not from without Cuba and it certainly is not from the Cuban people. It is in the Cuban state and their failure to remain vigilant against growing opposition forces within the state itself. Forces that undermine the peoples’ will. Forces that cause unnecessary retreats and failures in planning. With all due respect, these are serious errors that must be rectified by campaigns led by the revolutionary Cuban people. Only the Cuban people can determine their destiny.

So our appeal to Cuba should be directed towards the revolutionary masses who represent the socialist majority. We are in solidarity with you and support you. We will continue to fight to bring to an end the U.S. embargo and all interventions. The revolutionaries in Cuba who emulate the ideals as well as principles of socialism with the aim of building communism are a continued inspiration to the freedom fighters all around the world.

Díaz-Canel welcomed revolutionaries to the street to participate in open debate and oppose the reactionaries. This is a step in the correct direction. So long as those revolutionaries are allowed to progress down whatever path they find suitable for themselves to sustain their revolution. So long as they combat the reactionaries as well as the revisionists. All of this on the terms set forth by the revolutionary Cuban masses themselves who are truly world renowned heroes of revolution.

MIM(Prisons) adds:

It is not MIM line that Cuba was ever really on the socialist road. The Cuban revolution was very clearly one of national liberation from imperialism. However, Cuba paralleled the Derg in Ethiopia in taking on “Marxism-Leninism” for geo-political reasons related to using the Soviet Union as a counter-balance to other imperialist interests. That’s not to say there weren’t Marxists in their ranks, most popular movements in the Third World are going to have Marxist influences. But the Marxists had not consolidated a party around the proletarian line before seizing power. They did not follow Mao’s example of building United Fronts with other classes by maintaining proletarian leadership and independence. In a capitalist-imperialist world, coalition governments invariably lead to capitalism.

Cuba stood out for many decades as a symbol of resistance to U.$. imperialism, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is also well-known for directing resources in the interests of the Cuban people and the people of the world. In our article on Ethiopia we mention that the Cubans had their differences with the imperialist Soviet Union, and that speaks to the path Cuba took independent of the USSR during and after its existence.

We agree with current President Díaz-Canel that privatization is only bad for the people. However, nationalization only threatens imperialist meddling, it does not address the internal class contradictions of a country. And in the case of Cuba, with the dependence on tourist money and remittances, the Amerikans have significant and increasing control over their economy despite nationalization.

In the United $tates state-run firms (like the post office) are often defined as “socialism.” But Maoists define socialism differently, as an economy that is guided by the proletarian line, always engaging in class struggle, pitting the interests of collectivism, humyn needs and humyn relations above production, efficiency and profit.

As Mowgli writes, the internal contradictions of a capitalist economy in Cuba cannot ultimately be resolved without a popular movement to rectify the current leadership and shift to the socialist road. We would go further in stressing that socialism is class struggle. There is no policy shift that can bring a country to the socialist road, only the militant mobilization of the masses concentrated in a communist party that puts the class struggle at the forefront. Our opposition from within the empire to the embargo serves to help the Cuban people see their dreams come true via continued class struggle.

chain
[COVID-19] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

Warden Retaliates Against Grievances, While TDCJ Creates Hostilities Among Prisoners

I want to thank you for sending me the newsletter. I’ve been getting fellow prisoners together to help change the ongoing troubles we’re having here on the John B. Connally Unit. I’ve had my mom email the Ombudsman due to the fact that the Warden stated everyone filing a grievance on his officers actions or the units conditions will find themselves in building lockup, facing disciplinary.

So we can’t write a Step 1 or 2 cause they are getting stopped by the officials. Right now we’re on lockdown due to a racial riot that happened due to the guards making our environment ‘hostile.’ A lot of the guards don’t be wearing they mask; and they haven’t been vaccinated, yet they lock us down when one or two people take down our mask.

We try to get an ‘informal resolution’ but they refuse to talk with us. Sgt. J Sandoval stated “fuck you, we don’t care.” Exact words. When they put us on 23 hour lockdowns they make it into a 26 or 28 hour lockdown cause they don’t want to let us up. Some of the guards are 19-20-21 year olds who’ve been an officer for 2-3 months, and they get rank and misuse their power. I’ve also written the Ombudsman and my mom emailed him.

The riot was Brown vs. Black cause the Blacks don’t wanna wear they mask and were tired of going down behind one or two people. Last night everyone had enough, grievances don’t get addressed. They write bogus cases for going to respite for heat restriction. TDCJ policy says we’re allowed respite 24 hours 7 days a week even during count yet when we go to respite, Sgt. Reed and Sgt. Sandoval write out of places cases when policy says we’re allowed respite. Also, August 1st TDCJ is trying to take all our pics of females away and calling pics of women in lingerie or exotic poses ‘contraband.’

chain
[Control Units] [COVID-19] [Political Repression] [California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

CDCR Using COVID Quarantine as Isolation Cells for Organizers

I am being transferred to another prison for inciting the whole entire population with a statement that said i am an ‘Illuminati Killer.’

I’m out of their established isolation unit and now being housed in a quarantine housing unit. The housing unit is a 300 cell living unit, double cell. There are probably 30 individuals scattered throughout the entire facility/unit. All individuals housed here are from several different institutional facility yards. None are General Population(G.P.) that i know of.

SATF (Substance Abuse Treatment Facility) is bleeding the state for medical benefits, like claiming this building as a medical facility, under the guise of COVID quarantine. But the administration is using the building as an isolation unit. All of the guys housed here are said to be in transit, transitioning from some place to another, but on the cool they all are trouble makers of the California Department of Corrections and “rehabilitation” (CDCR). We get zero yard, zero dayroom, zero facility activities like law library, education, canteen, vocation, etc. They terminated all of our privileges except for writing a letter. And if one doesn’t have postage stamps, it sucks to be you.

The current CDCR 602 [grievance form] is being remodeled thanks to the San Quentin Prison Law Office’s latest negotiation to the Armstrong lawsuit against CDCR to wire the institutions for cameras and microphones to protect the disabled prisoners being abused by pigs and covered up by crooked administrators trying to protect their skeletons from being leaked to the public.

So chances of getting a 602 going anywhere right now is more slim than the yester years.

Rumor has it that a pig killed emself not long ago, due to state layoffs. So the bull shit is in the air. Free staff are refusing to come to work in support of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) work strike against prison closures. The attitude is that prisoners ain’t got shit coming right now at SATF. And if they try pushing the issue, then label them a gang leader and transfer them into an active gladiator environment.

The cadre here are educated to concentrate on being released. Don’t bite into the pigs provocation. They are doing everything they can to prevent us from seeing that free society because they understand the power that we have with zero attachments and very little loyalty to what they are loyal to. Leaders are locating Agent Smith in their comfort zones, gyms, churches, restaurants, etc and revisiting some very awkward conversations that originated on the prison yard.


Tupac Shakur responds to an interviewer That’s why i put the ‘k’ to it. Know what? Niggas was telling me about this illuminati shit while i’m in jail, right, like “the dollar, you know.” That’s another way to keep yourself in chains yo. That’s another way to keep you unconfident. And i put the ‘k’ there cuz i’m killing that illuminati shit, trust me!"

DISL Automatic:

People yellin’ “Wake up!”
But they’re still dreamin
They say “killuminati”
But they don’t know the meaning
They took Pac’s saying way out of context
’Cuz what he meant is that illuminati shit is nonsense
he wasn’t saying we should kill anybody,
he was saying we should kill that talk of illuminati
’Cuz all it is is a bunch of hocus pocus
to make us feel powerless and shift all of our focus
from the corporations and the corrupt government
to the secret societies and sacred covenants
That’s what they want so they don’t have to take you serious
They brush you off as a conspiracy theorist.
chain
[COVID-19] [Death Penalty] [Deaths in Custody] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

How CDCR Executed Prisoners on its Death Row During a Moratorium

April 2021 - The San Quentin (SQ) administration has been running two modified programs on Death Row under the guise of social distancing since the pandemic began. Both look so good on paper, but how they look on paper and how they really work are the only things six feet apart and the result was putting many six feet under.

Death Row’s seven group yards were divided into 14 yards back in the first quarter of 2020. That was accomplished by sending half of East Block (EB) out one day, then the other half the next day with Death Row prisoners warehoused in Donner Section (DS). Which side of EB DS went out with switched at least three times – before, during and after spikes of COVID-19 on Death Row and throughout the prison. In addition to the switches thrown on the tracks of this crazy train, at no time was there a maximum allowed number of prisoners set for each of the yards. Requests to set a maximum number per yard and prepare daily lists by going cell to cell through both sides of EB and the DS tiers (as is done for ‘walk-alone’ due to the limited number of cages) were ignored all the way to Sacramento. Does CDCR prefer the truth be released at half capacity perhaps? Appeal#SQ-A-20-01123 remains unanswered since it was sent for final review on 14 July 2020.

No emphasis on social distancing regarding the shower program in DS exists anywhere but on paper as well. The Daily Program Status Report (PSR) fabricated 14 July 2020 explains only four showers can be used at a time. It conveniently omits the fact there are only four showers total. These consist of steel mesh cages – each sharing a mesh wall with the other. Three are approximately 3 1/2’ x 3 1/2’. The fourth is designed to accommodate a wheelchair. Nobody using these showers can be 6’ away from the prisoner in the adjoining cage. Perhaps CDCR hopes to bring in waterboarding. That would certainly be the effect if you wear a mask in the shower.

Prisoners can refuse to go to yard unless there’s a unit search. Prisoners can even refuse to shower, opting for an in-cell ‘bird bath.’ However, the San Quentin administration is now moving all Death Row prisoners from DS to EB. So, the four shower cage problem disappears as if in a mist of droplets, because the EB showers only accommodate one prisoner at a time.

It ‘seems’ all the moves are deemed safe and if that is indeed true, there is still no purpose for a 14 yard program except to keep something looking good on paper. It’s not working good at all if you read about it on this paper though. That’s because this explains how CDCR managed to execute prisoners even during a moratorium.

MIM(Prisons) adds: As of 12 June 2021, 28 of the 224 people who died from COVID-19 in CDCR custody were at San Quentin State Prison, the highest of any facility. Also see more detailed reports on the practices that led to those deaths by this author.

chain
[Drugs] [Economics] [COVID-19] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

LETTERS: Profits, Taxes, Investing, Fundraising and Weed

Capitalism in Smoke

A Kansas Prisoner: I would like to comment on an article by Wiawimawo (August 2019) concerning Tulsi Gabbard, prison labor, and drug decriminalization.

There is zero question that Kansas is using prisoners for cheap labor and profiting tremendously from multi-year sentencing of first-time drug offenders like myself.

I “earn” sixty cents per day to perform a skilled labor sewing position full time. If I refuse to work I will receive a disciplinary work report resulting in my custody security level to rise.

There is a 30-person crew that works at the Kansas State Fairgrounds year round. These prisoners also receive 60 cents per day. The fairground complex could not operate without prison labor.

These jobs are not maintaining KDOC prisons. They are part of the state prison economy, for the profit of the state.

Also, this prison takes 50% of the earnings of all private industry job income prisoners earn. At the private industry jobs, prisoners make minimum wage ($7.25/hour). Incarcerating probation-eligible offenders to minimum-custody facilities to work is proof that in Kansas, exploiting prison labor is a motivating force for mass incarceration.

In almost every other state I would not have been sentenced to prison for possession of medical cannabis.

I understand the point of the article was to look at medium and long-term goals. As a non-violent, non-victim, first time drug offender I believe cannabis decriminalization is a goal worth pursuing. Thousands of people in Kansas have been incarcerated by a corrupt, prison labor motivated criminal justice system.

Is the author agreeing that non-violent, non-victim, first-time cannabis offenders should be working for 60 cents a day to assist the state economy and provide cheap labor for giant factory farms in Kansas? When I see corrupt judges play in to this state economy, there are no myths in my first-hand facts. If I am misinterpreting Wiawimawo’s writing, please clarify what the author intended.

Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: First, thanks for the details on how prison labor works where you are in Kansas. We regularly publish such reports on our website and use them to keep tabs on the realities of prison labor over time. You are our on the ground reporters for everything going on in U.$. koncentration kamps.

One thing you don’t specify is who you are making clothing for at your job. That is an important factor. Usually people are working on clothing and sheets and now face masks for other prisoners to use. That would be work for the prison system, not for profit. Similarly, running the fairgrounds is for the state. These are parallel to the examples of fire fighters given in my original article.

None of these jobs are making profits for anyone, which you seem to have confused. Multiple times you refer to Kansas as profiting from prisoners. States do not make profits. They have revenue and expenses, and they can run over budget if they want with expenses being greater than revenue by issuing bonds. Now the bourgeois definition of profit is netting more money coming in then you put out in expenditures. But even bourgeois economists do not use this terminology in regards to states. As Marxists, we define exploitation as paying workers less than the value that they produce and then selling the product (or service) to realize the full value. This is the source of wealth accumulation in capitalism.

Now to the prisoner sewing clothes for 60 cents a day, it matters little whether those clothes are to be used for state-issued use or sold in a store. So i can understand where you’re coming from. But if we want to explain how the prison system works in this country this becomes an important distinction. It is not profits for big businesses to accumulate capital that drives the system. It is a combination of financial self-interest of the people who work in these institutions, people who some would have us see as the oppressed proletariat themselves, and the broader interests of the oppressor nation to control the oppressed nations in this country. Through this control of the oppressed nations by Amerikans through criminalization and imprisonment, they can further gentrify the places oppressed nations reside and create further economic control for themselves. This is the heart of our analysis. And it is why we have a very different orientation than the petty bourgeoisie who is opposed to private prisons for profit and favor drug decriminalization as discussed in my original article.

“Is the author agreeing that non-violent, non-victim, first-time cannabis offenders should be working for 60 cents a day to assist the state economy and provide cheap labor for giant factory farms in Kansas?”

No, i do not argue that. We argue for more change, not less. We are not reformists, and we don’t think drug decriminalization in the United $tates will eliminate national oppression nor drug addiction. If done well, it could reduce these problems, and the specific expression of drug problems such as marijuana consumption. Therefore the reform is progressive, but it does not solve the problem of national oppression and the criminal drug economy. We have much better solutions for national oppression and drug addiction, and they certainly don’t include imprisoning people for victimless behavior. They do include eliminating profit motives in all aspects of our lives. In the meantime, we support an international minimum wage that would apply to prisoners.


A California Prisoner: The Covid and imperialism article in ULK 72 sparked my interest because I am already vaccinated and I had to ask myself why I, a prisoner, was vaccinated before tax payers? The answer was pretty simple logic. Prison is huge profit for California and the cash cow has been closed for Covid crisis, the sooner California can reopen the prisons, they can continue to rake in the profits they make from our suffering.

Wiawimawo responds: There was a significant effort in California by lawyers and activists to get prisoners to the top of the vaccination list. And this is at least part of the explanation as to why you got vaccinated early. It made sense from a public health standpoint, but this did not happen across the country because many Amerikans don’t care about prisoners’ lives.

It is not clear why you argue that profits dried up in prisons during the shelter-in-place, so i would need more information on that to respond. But as i explain above, states don’t profit from prisons. Prisons are a huge financial expense and do not create any economic value. Prison labor is one way to slightly reduce some of the expenses in running these prisons.(1)

All that said, i want to address this comrade’s talk about the “tax payers.” The vaccination campaign across the United $tates is being paid by the Federal government. The government has now passed a series of bills in the trillions of dollars to address the fallout from the pandemic. This is not “tax payer money.” They are just printing money, or creating money out of thin air to fund these programs. Since the dollar is the global currency, they can do this with some confidence that other countries and investors will buy up the bonds to cover the expense. It’s all funny money that we benefit from here in the United $tates, even those in prison benefit at times, thanks to our position as the premier imperialist power.

This is in stark contrast to countries like India and Brazil that are now being hit hard by the pandemic and the people are being offered little relief. One reason is that these countries can’t just print $1 trillion worth of their currency without causing massive inflation and damaging the conditions of the people more.

To the extent that it is “tax payers” who are helping to balance the budget deficit in the United $tates, we must also be clear where that money is coming from – the Third World proletariat. The above is just one demonstration of how value can flow from the periphery to the imperialist countries. This is reflected in the incomes of all U.$. citizens, who must give some of those super-profits to the state to keep the imperialist system running.

So let us not shed a tear for the poor “tax payer” in this country because California actually made some efforts to vaccinate people in a way that made sense in terms of promoting public health. There is no shortage of vaccines in the United $tates. In fact, we have far more than we need, while other countries have not even begun vaccinating their populations yet. If we were really working in the interests of public health, we would have a more equitable distribution of vaccines across the globe. We’d be prioritizing hotspots, which the United $tates is. And we’d be sharing the technology needed to make vaccines freely, releasing the intellectual property that is holding back progress in the fight against COVID-19. Failure to do so means that the virus will continue to evolve and likely continue to be a problem.


A New York prisoner: In response to ULK 72 (2021) article “Help Fund MIM(Prisons), Donate Now!”, I would like to offer a suggestion outside of charity from donations which seems to be a necessary form of income for the production, maintenance & shipment of ULK’s. What if MIM took some of its donations and invested them in the stock market? I know that seems pro-capitalist, but as the old adage goes you gotta fight “fire with fire.” Making a few short-term trades could possibly boost revenue for expenses (solely), and make donations a welcomed part of production but not so necessary. This would keep MIM’s line of no foreseeable future in capitalism by not becoming long-term investors in the stock market, but instead looking for quick returns in order to fund revolutionary work (i.e. short selling, which is basically betting against the U.S. market, which is still in some ways inherently communist behavior). I am enclosing an articled dated 11 January 2021, “Jay-Z Fund to Help Minority-owned Cannabis Businesses.” What do you think about this venture? I don’t really believe lumpen have the luxury of investing in non-essential production/consumption as cannabis right now, when they don’t even have land to cultivate on. But financial freedom is nonetheless a form of independence… so keep on keeping on Jay-Z!

Wiawimawo responds: First, we agree with using the oppressors’ tools against them, and have no moral qualms about the stock market. Proletarian morality means we do what will most benefit the liberation of the exploited and oppressed. Whether it is a wise investment is another question. Conventional wisdom is that it is a good long-term bet, but unpredictable in the short-term. As for shorting, well hedge fund Melvin Capital Management lost 53% in January in its infamous shorting of Gamestop.(2) They lost about $6 billion on that bet. That’s what the stock market is, gambling.

Now cannabis businesses, that might be a more sound investment. As the article points out, and as i discussed in my article on Tulsi Gabbard mentioned above, the legalization of weed has been a bonanza for white petty bourgeois interests trying to get small businesses up and running before the large corporations dominate the market. New Afrikans are under-represented in business ownership overall at just 10%, but in the states listed that number was 3-6% for cannabis businesses.(3) Jay-Z, and New York State are correctly recognizing this gap and trying to do something to not let it happen in New York.

What do we think about this? More equal opportunity for the petty bourgeoisie just reinforces imperialism. When it was illegal, oppressed people selling weed were targeted by the state and potential allies to the anti-imperialist movement. People running successful weed businesses aren’t likely to be our allies, regardless of their skin color.

The weed game is in a major transition. It is still in a semi-legal state, where the Feds could crack down on you (and they have). Getting access to loans and bank accounts can be difficult as a result. One group that is proving successful as early pioneers in the trade are former law enforcement. They are less likely to be targeted by the state than a former felon, and they have clout to deal with the pressures from extortion rackets and the lumpen organizations they are competing with. Therefore as revolutionaries, the weed business might be risky.

You suggest that we need to invest in stocks to free us from our reliance on donations. On the contrary, we are trying to become more reliant on donations so that our cadre don’t have to worry so much about funding everything ourselves, which we do by working or investing or whatever. Maybe some of us are investing in the stock market to fund this work, but that is not a reliable source of income. We want to be going strong when the market collapses again. And that is why we want to be reliant on the financial support of the masses. Only by relying on the people is our future secure.

As i said above, legalization of weed will not eliminate national oppression in the forms of cop killings and disproportionate imprisonment rates. It will make pacifying substances more readily available to the masses. And for better or for worse it will undercut the underground economy in favor of public tax revenue. And that is what this is about of course, it is providing tax revenue to maintain government funding at the local and state levels.

Until the import of weed is legalized by the feds, this shift of production to the United $tates will be undercutting a source of profits in the drug trade – the Third World farmer. Historically the farmers who grow and process weed are the ones being exploited in Third World countries. As production shifts to the First World, wages will have to increase to exploiter-level wages, with the possible exception of using migrant labor from the Third World. This means the profits must come from other sectors in the Third World instead, to pay the farmers, marketers, sales people and accountants in the First World running the new weed economy, as well as the state taxes. If the exploited weed farmers are eliminated, then the profits must now be squeezed from the banana farmers or copper miners, and all the other exploited workers of the Third World. This puts more pressure on the already dangerously low international rate of profit.

Finally, we agree with your point about land. Without land there is no power. National liberation means liberating the territory of the oppressed. Owning land as individuals is not it. Oppressed nations must control land as independent nations, and be able to defend that land. This is a central task of the New Democratic movement.

Notes:
1. MIM(Prisons) on U.$. Prison Economy - 2018 Update, Under Lock & Key No. 60.
2. Juliet Chung, 31 January 2021, Melvin Capital lost 53% in January, Hurt by GameStop and Other Bets, The Wall Street Journal.
3. Vial Monga, 21 January 2021, Jay-Z Fund to Help Minority-Owned Cannabis Businesses, The Wall Street Journal.

chain