The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Release] [Drugs] [Independent Institutions] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Providing What They Can't - Rehab for Releasees

lumpen education study group

Shortly after receiving this issue of Under Lock & Key, a number of USW leaders and other supporters of our work will be receiving the first edition of our Revolutionary 12 Step Program. This has been in the works for over a year now and we are excited to get it into the hands of comrades who are ready to implement the program and provide feedback.

The Revolutionary 12 Step Program is a significant advance for our Serve the People “Re-Lease on Life” Program, which has been in existence in some form from the early years of MIM(Prisons)’s existence.

Who is it for?

When most of us think of the 12 steps, we think of Alcoholics Anonymous or a more general Narcotics Anonymous program. However, our program takes an approach similar to a program called Criminals & Gangmembers Anonymous to address the anti-people behavior of the lumpen class in a more general way.

Drugs and alcohol are a big part of the problems the people face. It is estimated that at least 65% of people incarcerated have a “Substance Use Disorder”, while the number goes up to 85% if you include all who were under the influence during the crime they were convicted of.(1) That’s a lot! As recent understandings of the brain tell us, the lack of impulse control that can lead to destructive behaviors is caused by unhealthy social conditions during childhood.(2) Drug abuse will often overlap with violence towards others and other behavior that is deemed criminal by the bourgeoisie and by the people as well. In the long-term, communism can eliminate the causes of these tendencies, but in the meantime we need to address all forms of anti-people behavior to transform ourselves from a lumpen state of being to a revolutionary proletarian one.

Some people in prison are innocent. Some broke a law in a conscious decision – sometimes even for righteous political reasons. But the vast majority of you reading this broke laws through actions you would have preferred to not have taken. The vast majority of people in prison could use this program to avoid regrettable actions in the future.

All of us have rehabilitation that we must go through because we were raised in a sick society. Ultimately, everyone born in this oppressive system could benefit from our Revolutionary 12 Step Program, but many of you need it if you ever want to stay out of prison.

Why do we need it?

The state, by definition, is run by the oppressors. In our imperialist conditions today the oppressors are the bourgeoisie, the imperialists, the oppressor nations – Euro-Amerika. The institutions of the state will always serve those interests. In the current system you have law enforcement, religious organizations, private prison companies like Geo Group, and more small-time profiteers running reentry programs for the state. None of these serve the interests of the oppressed.

Today, we don’t have the influence to abolish these imperialist institutions, but we do have the influence to build independent proletarian institutions. Not only that, this is part of our central task today as a movement, “create public opinion and the independent institutions of the oppressed to seize power.”(3) We discussed previous independent institutions of the oppressed in ULK 59 on drugs.(4) Since then we’ve been working on developing our own.

One of the lessons we can take from the practice of our Re-Lease on Life Program to date is the need to address the drive to do drugs, engage in dangerous sexual activities, and the temptation of the thrill of the life of crime. We must put in its place the thrill of revolution; of fighting the real enemy; of building something new.

Before MIM(Prisons) had a Re-Lease on Life Program, we had one comrade who was one of our top theoreticians and USW leaders while in the SHU. Ey was released from prison and quickly slipped into alcoholism again. Ey stayed in touch for the first year, and then we stopped hearing from em, and ey never did any political work on the outside. At that time MIM(Prisons) had little to offer this comrade to help em adapt to life on the outside, and we certainly had nothing like a 12 step program to help em with eir alcoholism.

A story that has become too common is USW members who are released and never write us for years. When we finally do hear back from them it’s because they ended up back in prison. One such comrade recently explained:

“something I felt lack of was community. When I left the gates I went straight to a sober living…. During the time there I worked and attended A.A. meetings. I pretty much gave all my attention to my sobriety and recovery. Simultaneously my career was getting started. At this time I am getting myself situated and also enjoying my freedom, it was a really good feeling getting to move around, good food, and women…”

“I got emotionally attached to a girl that did not fulfill my needs or expectations and I became emotionally unbalanced. All it took was one instance of drugs to get high and begin my relapse. All this was in the lapse of a year. The last three months was just a chase for thrills.”

“I felt loneliness because for sobriety I left everything behind, friends, places, everything I’ve ever done, made and been. Also I felt a need for thrills, action; that was my itch for crime. I lost track of it all and I couldn’t find like-minded people.”

From the above testimony we see how sex and romance plays into this as well. We all know how common “crimes of passion” are in our society. Many of us have done time for them. This comrade wanted community and felt lonely, and seemingly tried to find that in a womyn who maybe was not in a good state herself, or maybe just couldn’t fill the large gap in this comrade’s life. The original AA puts god in that gap, a higher power. Our program puts the proletariat, the people. We will all have important individuals in our lives who help us out and other individuals who set us back. But we cannot rely on any one individual to save us, nor to meet all our needs. One of our needs is a spiritual need to be a part of something that gives us meaning. The bourgeois institutions offer you job training and maybe the prospect of a marriage. But as we see with this comrade’s story, you can attain those things and still be lonely, still not be on the path to rehabilitation. That is why we need an independent institution of the oppressed.

Another lesson we can take from this comrade, and from others, is that success will usually mean leaving behind a lot, especially at first. The easiest way to go back to prison is to go back to the same people and places you were around before you got locked up. Ultimately, our aim is not to cut you off from where you came from like a bourgeois program might do. We must stay connected to the people, and your past may offer some such connections. But those connections can only be good ones if you approach them from a new way of thinking and being. There must be a new community that you can rely on that supports your transformation into a new socialist humyn.

Even in the best case scenarios, the bourgeoisie cannot provide the support comrades need to rehabilitate. However, more often you do not end up in the best case scenario in this system as one comrade describes:

"I spent 6 years in the Drug Court program in York, PA, where a predatory judiciary, local bar, probation department (teamsters union) and suck ass ex-junkies prey on the weak and pile them 3 and 4 men to a room in some old crack house and charge them $500 per month rent plus a $500 deposit, which they would lose when they relapsed (95%) and went back to jail.

“Bless his wife-murdering heart. Bob Allen’s (Life’s Beacon House) means well and has the nicest of these houses but we can do better. The”group homes" or “recovery houses” have 3-4 month waiting lists and so do the rehabs, which county dollars are 95% of their $1000/day business. These houses are 501(c)(3) non-profits and if you start a business to employ the guys that live in these houses, it can operate non-profit too."

Next Steps

As we said, the Revolutionary 12 Step Program should address something that our Re-Lease on Life Program has been lacking for so long. But to do so, the program must be actualized. Here are some 3-year goals we have related to actualizing this program:

  • build a broader network of local contacts across the country so comrades can get more hands-on training and support from other communists

  • establish a revolutionary 12-step program, run by released comrades, where others can stay and immerse themselves in the program

  • establish satellite programs in prisons across the country that report to the program on the street, learning from each others’ experience and feeding releasees into the street program

Clearly this will require the participation of many of you to succeed. We need comrades on the outside to volunteer to be support people or sponsors for our comrades who are released. Even if you can’t administer the 12 steps, giving them someone to talk to and organize with on a daily basis will be important.

We need comrades on the inside to begin implementing this program locally. Ideal candidates will have successfully gone through the 12 step program themselves and MIM(Prisons) political study courses. And finally, we need similar people on the outside to run our program for post-release. If you think you can play any of these roles, get in touch so we can start building.

Notes:
1. Center on Addiction, Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population, February 2010.
2. Burke-Harris, Nadine, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
3. What is the plan? What concrete actions can I take? What is to be done? What are you doing?
4. Wiawimawo, November 2017, Drugs, Money and Individualism in U.$. Prison Movement, Under Lock & Key No. 59

chain
[Gender] [Censorship] [Drugs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Gov. Abbot Pledges to Eliminate Rapists while Porn is Forced on TX Prisoners

While Governor Abbot has enacted a full on assault on women’s rights here in Texas, I heard him defend his decision to not even allow young rape victims to have an abortion. His reasoning was that he has plans to end rape in the great state of Texas (and I have plans to win the powerball lottery). This is almost as good news as was President Nixon announcing that he was, “Not a Crook”, or George H.W. Bush promising, “No new taxes.” But what would you expect from a guy who cannot manage to keep the electric on in a state that makes its fortunes in the energy business?

So it should surprise no one to know that Gov. Abbot’s Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) has enacted extremely stringent mail room policies (BP-3.91), which has prisoners and their family members up in arms! (see: Texas Censorship Rule (BP-3.91) Being Revised, Under Lock & Key No. 75) These restrictive policies were put in place because family members of sex offenders complained that their loved ones were not able to get the rehabilitation that they need while in prison because of all the drugs and photos of women in their underwear that all of the other prisoners possess. What does TDCJ do? They pass a rule that not only prevents sexually explicit photos from entering this prison it also does not allow any crayon, marker, colored paper, or greeting cards and many books and magazines are denied.

I myself had my Men’s Health and National Geographic magazines denied for “sexually explicit content,” and just today I was denied the opportunity to even read a letter from my aging, almost 80-year-old mother because it was written on colored paper. I was also recently denied a drawing, from a church member’s son for the same exact reason and he is only 7.

TDCJ thinks they can stop drugs and sexually explicit content from entering into prisons by trampling all over the First Amendment, but the sad fact of the matter is that outlawing and strict policing laws cannot and will not ever stop people from doing what they want to do. It hasn’t worked with the drug nor anti-sodomy laws and it darn sure won’t work inside of TDCJ while they have low-paid, over-worked, understaffed employees looking to make a buck.

Well, Governor, if you’re not too busy stalking abortion clinics or sifting through citizen’s personal mail, you might want to check out what all of those locked up sex offenders and gang bangers are doing here. Since you don’t feel it profitable to sufficiently staff your prisons so that prisoners have healthy activities like outside rec and mental health support groups to engage their minds, you leave them to lounge around in their rubber sandals all day, soaking up the wonderful air conditioning, selling their psych meds, smoking K2, tobacco and meth and snorting and overdosing on oxycontin, suboxone, percocet and alcohol while they eat cheese puffs and have guards scroll through the seemingly endless selection of partial and full nudity labeled shows on the On-demand cable TVs.

The really tough thing for Gov. Abbot and the unit Wardens is that it is against the rules for prisoners to operate or even touch the remote controls. So either their officers are not following the rules or they themselves are choosing to force this kind of programming on a captive audience. This is exactly why they don’t allow prayers to be read over school intercoms any more, because you cannot avoid hearing it even if you want to and believe me, there are some things you just cannot un-see or un-hear.

Here there is no escaping second-hand smoke, nor the scorn of porn, no matter how many mothers’ letters the mail room denies.


Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) adds: We’ve been pointing out the false logic in recent waves of censorship and digitizing of mail across this country, with evidence that drugs in prisons have not been reduced, which was the stated aim of these policies.(1) Now with BP-3.91 aiming to eliminate material that might prevent sex offenders from recovering we find out that the policy is used to censor educational material, holiday cards and letters from children while prisoners are watching porn on TV all day whether they want to be or not.

We like the connection this comrade makes to Abbot’s great plan to ban abortion and eliminate rapists. Below we print another story about gender and rape in prisons from a comrade who has been studying MIM’s writings on gender. This adds to the critique of Abbot by pointing out how all sex is rape under patriarchy, as well as pointing to the intimate relation between porn and profits that prevent rape from being eliminated under capitalism. The tying of pleasure and power to motivate the consumer class to keep capital circulating in the economy is so important to the bourgeoisie that rape has become an unavoidable feature of capitalism.


A California prisoner writes: After reading the MC5 paper Clarity on what gender is, I was a bit confused about MacKinnon’s line that all sex is rape. It took me a few days to comprehend what she was trying to say. First if something does not make sense, check your premise.

Her statement didn’t add up because my premise was that she was making a statement, when in reality her line is a metaphor of patriarchy (oppressive culture where men dominate). I recall feminists using a similar line in South America, “You are the rapist.” And I believe this is what MacKinnon was trying to say. This is a metaphor of the dominance of men in gender oppression.

It really became clear for me at “pill call.” I was waiting in line for my pills and on the other side of the fence some other prisoners were waiting in line for pills. One group was nuts to butts and a second the same. Both groups were standing 6 feet away from a sex offender as if he had some sort of contagious leprosy.

It is at this point a nurse walks by and the first group starts murmuring obscene comments amongst each other about her body. The second group started panting like a bunch of wild dogs and talking among themselves about the girl’s body. Meanwhile the isolated sex offender said nothing.

Everyone in line had something disgusting to say about the nurse except for the one man that everyone else is pretending to be better than. There is no doubt in my mind that every single one of those disgusting animals would be a rapist if it was just them and her in a room alone, thus giving merit to the feminist line “you are the rapist” and clarifying MacKinnon’s line “all sex is rape.”

Those men that so quickly became something less at the mere sight of a female are taught by an endless barrage of television commercials exploiting a woman’s beauty, that women are objects. Every time anyone wants to sell something in this capitalist culture the object is next to a beautiful woman, thus the object for sale is automatically associated with a woman as an object, similar to hypnotism.

Some of the men were probably only acting like wild animals just to fit in because they think that objectifying the woman is what is expected of them. However, that is somehow worse than the one who really is only seeing an object, because a mindless animal who can’t think for himself is always worse than a self-thinking man of reason.

From a woman’s perspective she truly must feel oppressed living in a world where all men act like disgusting animals. Truly she must feel like “all sex is rape” because all men act like rapists. As a reaction, women are past the point of tolerance and a lot of men are now doing serious time in prison for nothing more than what the capitalist system teaches them to do. For the liberation of women it becomes necessary for men to become oppressed, especially so here in Amerika where the answer to every conflict is a life sentence in prison.

Revolution from my perspective is never accomplished by half measures of compromise (small talk, legislation, reform, etc). Rights are never granted, they are won.

We all, female and male, must unite to win our right to be treated as a human being. We all must fight for our liberation. The monster that is the U.S. government cannot be reasoned with, cannot be reformed, every time we win 1 step, we lose 2. It is now all or nothing. For all of us that are oppressed the time is now. We must rise not for ourselves, but for a better future.


final comments by Wiawimawo: This comrade’s assumption that any of these men would have raped the womyn if given a chance contradicts eir assumption that some are just following along in the act. But this reinforces the point that rape is a systematic thing, that even if each of those men would not have raped that womyn if they found her alone, they participated in the culture of rape.

We’d also point out that many females do not “feel like all sex is rape”, and we argue that this is the case in the oppressor nations because of the gender privilege females have here they are gender oppressors, or men.

If Gov. Abbot’s big plan for ending rape is to lock up rapists, this will fail on two accounts. One is that Amerikan prisons do not reform or rehabilitate, which is why we are building our own independent institutions of the oppressed. But more importantly, rape is not about individual choices and behaviors, just like all crimes that are epidemic in imperialist society. Our culture creates rapists every day. It is only by transforming the relations between humyn beings that we can eliminate rape. And as mentioned above, capitalism is so dependent on selling sex, it is only through overthrowing capitalism that we can begin to make real strides in this transformation.

1. A Texas Prisoner, March 2021, TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop, Under Lock & Key No. 73.

chain
[Drugs] [Political Repression] [Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Suboxone: Chemical Warfare on the Oppressed

In 2017, MIM(Prisons) published Under Lock & Key #59 (ULK) which focused on the impact drugs have on the prison movement. ULK #59 was particularly significant to our cause, given the fact that drugs play a central role in preventing the lumpen from developing into a revolutionary force inside U.$. prisons. As various comrades attested to in that issue, drugs are poisons that eat away any potential unity of the oppressed, by fostering violence amongst the imprisoned lumpen, and the bourgeoisification of those involved in the trade. Also, discussed in ULK #59 was the scourge of the synthetic cannibinoid K2 and the rise of opioid use in prisons at the time. Since then, another opioid has gained popularity behind prison walls, mostly because of its availability; Suboxone.

In 2020, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation(CDCR) introduced Suboxone to its 33 prisons as part of its Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment(ISUDT). Suboxone is a medication used to treat opioid addiction, specifically in the detox and withdrawal stages of care. According to the San Quentin News, “ISUDT is touted as the largest in-prison medically assisted treatment program in the nation.”(1) CDCR credits Suboxone with a sharp decline in overdose deaths in its prisons since its introduction. But is there more than meets the eye to this apparent miracle drug?

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone.(2) Suboxone is derived from opium, and was supposedly intended to be a less addictive alternative to methodone, morphine, and oxycodone.(3) Though viewed as a safe alternative to other drugs, Suboxone can still be deadly when taken intravenously or in combination with other drugs and alcohol. Other side effects are:

* cardiac arrhythmia* irregular blood pressure* respiratory issues* liver and kidney problems* constipation* urinary retention* sweating* short term memory issues* difficulty thinking clearly and focusing* impaired coordination* headache* nausea and vomiting* sedation (4)

Where Did Suboxone Come From?

Suboxone was developed in the 1970s by Reckitt Benckiser, a Briti$h company at the behest of the Amerikan government. At the time, the United $tates was searching for a “less addictive” alternative for patients with opioid use disorder. After Suboxone was created, Reckitt Benckiser shipped the drug to the United $tates narcotic farm in Lexington, Kentucky to be tested on detoxified addicts. The farm was also a prison and treatment facility as well as the site of the U.$. government’s Addiction Research Center.

It was at the Addiction Research Center that the government discovered just how addictive Suboxone could be, yet it was still marketed as a useful tool to combat addiction. Originally the doctors prescribing the drug had to hold special licenses and undergo special training. However, the government loosened its restrictions in response to the number of opioid associated deaths. Since then, Suboxone has raked in billions of dollars for pharmaceutical companies and millions more for the addiction treatment sector that sprang up in its wake.(5) Yet, there have been 100,000 overdose deaths attributed to opioids in the last 12 months.(6) Those same doctors trained by the government have also been found to be some of the most unscrupulous predators around.(7) As such, it was perplexing to many that the CDCR would provide such a highly addictive drug with such potential for abuse at a time when most prison addicts had already detoxed and gone through withdrawals, thanks to the statewide prison lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drugs are Chemical Weapons

The use of drugs as part of a larger strategy of unconventional warfare dates back to the 16th century when Europeans created the drug trade to finance the expansion of their empires and the rise of industrial capitalism.(8) One of the most infamous examples of this was the Briti$h East India Company’s use of opium to subdue China and bring it into its sphere of influence by creating a nation of addicts. While the Portuguese and Dutch were the first to popularize opium smoking in China, it was the Briti$h who took full advantage of this. When the Chinese realized what was happening, they attempted to ban all foreign ships from entry and close their ports. The Briti$h claimed the Chinese were blocking their access to Chinese markets, and used this as a pretext to launch the first of two opium wars. By 1900, 27% of all adult males in China were addicted to smoking opium and China was forced to cede Hong Kong to the Briti$h.(9) This chapter in Chinese history marked the beginning of what Mao Zedong called China’s dark night of slavery to the west.

It was around this same time that alcohol was used by Amerikkkans to facilitate the genocide of First Nations people and the theft of their land. This period also marks the first recorded use of biological weapons, when the U.$. Army used smallpox infected blankets to decimate natives and clear the land for white settlers. Together, these acts of savagery resulted in the extermination of 98% of people indigenous to what is today the United $tates and the worst genocide in humyn hystory.(10) Events similar to these played out in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.(11)

During the 20th century, the Briti$h and Amerikkkan imperialists developed more sophisticated means with which to subdue the oppressed nations. Project MK-Ultra is one such example. Project MK-Ultra was initiated by the CIA in the 1950s along with the Briti$h MI6, their sometimes collaborators. This top secret project involved using drugs and the media to attack and discredit Amerika’s political enemies.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), or just simply “acid” for short, became the drug of choice for the CIA at this time. LSD was created by Albert Hoffman, a Nazi collaborator working for the Swiss IG Farben. Starting in the 1950s, the CIA began producing their own acid in “tonnage quantities” after asking pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to synthesize Hoffman’s formula. This was part of the CIA’s larger plan to dose the water supply of the Soviet Union. The CIA knew for themselves the effects of LSD as they tested the drugs on prisoners at the same facility in Lexington, Kentucky that Suboxone was tested at twenty years later! Here, prisoners were kept tripping for 77 days straight as part of Project Artichoke which was one of many programs under the umbrella of Project MK-Ultra.(12)

The connection between the development of Suboxone, the CIA and Acid’s early days are alarming given the fact that Suboxone was introduced to California prisons at a time of heightened political consciousness amongst prisoners, an economic recession, a rise in white nationalism, Black Lives Matter protests, a statewide no visiting lockdown, and the ten-year anniversary of prison hunger strikes that rocked CDCR and produced ripple effects across Amerikkka’s gulags. Thus, it was certainly in the interests of the imperialists to suppress the germs of any potential organizing amongst the oppressed lumpen.

And although the CIA’s plans with respect to the Soviet Union never came to fruition, they did use LSD to attack the political enemies of the Amerikan bourgeoisie. Outspoken college professors critical of the U.$., political activists, communists, government whistle-blowers and their families all fell victim to LSD and were publicly discredited.(13)

As the anti-imperialist movement gained traction both outside and inside of U.$. borders, the use of LSD and other chemical weapons was expanded. Throughout the 1970s heroin became part and parcel to the fight against New Afrikan, [email protected], and First Nations national liberation movements. Asian-produced opium also became critical to U.$. imperialism’s war against Vietnam. Drug money was used to help facilitate the creation of Taiwan as a U.$. ally against Maoist China prior to these events.(14) Methadone too was linked to the opioid problem in New York City in the 1970s. Methadone as “maintenance treatment” for heroin addicts was funded by the Rockefeller Program.(15) The Rockefellers have also been implicated in Nazi atrocities, the red scare media campaigns, and CIA operations.

The 1980s brought us the Iran-Contra scandal responsible for the introduction of crack-cocaine into the ghettos and barrios of the United $tates. Again, the CIA was found to be at the heart of these dirty wars which involved the use of Iranian money to buy Amerikan guns. Money from the Iranians was then use to buy cocaine from Colombia for sale in the United $tates. Amerikan drug money was then re-circulated to fund counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua fighting the leftist Sandinistas.(17)

More recently, Operation Fast and Furious made international headlines when the CIA was exposed for selling firearms to Mexican cartels as a means of keeping the Mexican government destabilized and the Mexican people from fighting their oppressors. The last thing the U.$. wants is for a neo-colonial country on their doorstep to turn independent and determine their own destinies.

The Problem as We Understand It

If the imperialists really wanted to they could shut down the drug trade, but that runs counter to their interests. Addiction defines capitalist society. Addiction lies at the center of supply and demand economics and is what drives the anarchy of production. From cell phones, to soap operas, to opioids and methamphetamines, everyone living in a capitalist society is addicted to something. Addiction in capitalist society is encouraged as a means to realizing profit; but also as a way to keep people in general, and the masses in particular, distracted and unable to rise up against oppression. Nowhere is this seen better than in the recent hystory of the oppressed nations.

In a critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx explained how religion had hystorically been urged to drug people much in the same ways the bourgeois uses actual drugs today:

“Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”(18)

Marx was writing at a time of the industrial revolution when the “miracle” of capitalism was creating advancements in humyn hystory never before seen. However, it was also creating grinding oppression and poverty previously unknown. Capitalism also promoted ideas of individualism, self-centeredness, greed, and exceptionalism, some of the worst qualities in humyn behavior, and expanding them to include entire populations, most pointedly in the labor aristocracy. All this combined led to lives full of misery and desperation for the masses. Lives in which the only solace was that of an afterlife. And while religion continues to act as a smokescreen in the oppression of the masses, the use of drugs has proved indispensable.

Today the root causes of oppression can be better traced to nation, class, and gender contradictions which have completely warped the way people interact on both a macro and micro level. The root causes of addiction are much the same.

In regards to religious suffering, Marx knew better than to simply call for the abolition of religion. Instead, he realized that it was the conditions that led to religious suffering themselves that needed to be abolished. Otherwise, some other new feel good belief would come to fill the void left by religion, and the oppressive system itself would remain in its place:

“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their conditions is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusion. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”(19)

In other words, religion sanctified capitalism and helped make it tolerable for the oppressed. Drugs play a similar role in today’s culture. If one is high all the time than ey does not think about the many years ey have to spend in prison. One does not have to deal with the fact that ey made a decision that impacted countless lives because of eir parasitic behavior. The use of drugs allows one to cope with the impact nation, class, and gender contradictions have had on em through intergenerational trauma, all the while keeping them unable to understand how the three strands of oppression manifest through that trauma.

We encourage people to get drug free and stay that way, but this requires more than the status quo in addiction treatment, which only teaches how to better cope with the trauma of imperialism. We encourage comrades to go further and destroy the conditions that require illusions. We encourage comrades to take up revolution.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We will be doing a follow-up on this article with the results of our second survey on drugs in prisons found in ULK 75. We are still collecting and aggregating your responses. It’s not too late if you have not responded yet.

We know the state is opposed to our efforts to expose and combat the plague of drug addiction among imprisoned lumpen. Branchville Correctional Facility in Indiana censored ULK 75 citing:

“denied based on the article about Suboxone, and the common drug slang terms and sale information used in one of the articles. The items in the article violate IDOC/BCF policies.”

The drug sale information of course was that the C.O.s were selling it. See Targeted as Mentally Ill for Honesty & Not Participating in Staff Drug Running and Retaliation for Writing On Drug Smuggling for more on repression of those who don’t play the drug game.

Notes: [1] San Quentin News, September 2021, Pg. 8.
[2] 5 Myths About Using Suboxone, Peter Greenspan MD, October 7, 2021
[3] Extended Suboxone Treatment Substantially Improves Outcomes for Opioid Addicted Youth, November 4, 2008
[4] Suboxone vs Methodone: Positives and Negatives, Avatar, May 21, 2021
[5] Addiction Treatment with a Dark Side, New York Times, 2013
[6] Amanpour & Co, PBS, December 7, 2021
[7] Addiction Treatment with a Dark Side, New York Times, 2013
[8] Drugs As Weapons Against Us: The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac, and Other Activists, John L. Potash, Trine Day LLC, 2015, Pg 7-9
[9] Ibid, pg 10
[10] J. Sakai, 1989, Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat, 3rd Edition, Morningstar Press, p. 7. Sakai cites 200-300,000 native people remaining by 1900, of an estimated 10 million people before colonization.
[11] Drugs as Weapons Against Us, Pg 10
[12] Ibid, Pg 29-30
[13] Ibid, Pg 31-36
[14] Ibid, Pg 45-51
[15] Under Lock & Key, Issue 59, Pg 5, 2017
[16] Drugs as Weapons Against Us, Pg 13-14
[17] Ibid, Pg 279-285
[18] Karl Marx, 1843, Introduction to “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.”
[19] A Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx

chain
[Drugs] [Mental Health] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Targeted as Mentally Ill for Honesty & Not Participating in Staff Drug Running

I have done it again. I have earned myself a mental health referral from a C.O. for the 2nd time in 1 year. Both times for simply speaking the truth. Apparently, C.O.s are so blinded by lies that they interpret the truth as some sort of mental illness.

So last week I was being escorted to medical by a C.O. and do not remember the topic of conversation but I remember the statement I made that earned me a mental health referral. I said to the C.O., “Out of all the 1000s of inmates at this prison, not one of them has ever kidnapped a person and held them in a cage for a whole lifetime. That is real evil and only the government is guilty of that kind of evil.”

Of course, he had no reply. One week passes and I get a ducket yesterday for mental health(M.H.). My first thought is, “what is this, I have not submitted any request?” But then I look at the date of referral on the ducket (last Wednesday) and I remember the only thing that happened last Wednesday is my statement of blame to said C.O. and now it is clear why I have this mental health referral.

This is the 2nd time I have earned a M.H. referral under this circumstance. Earlier this year there was a campaign to remove me from 5 Block. Some of the C.O.s there were bringing drugs in for 1 of the inmates. This inmate did not trust me because he knew I do not agree with that lifestyle, and so he was asking the C.O.s to kick me out of the Block. I did not snitch; really I couldn’t care less about what corrupt C.O.s and gangbangers do, but they were afraid of my honest lifestyle choice, and so they tried their hardest to remove me, and they failed in that.

Well, one day as I was entering the Block the tower cop stopped me and asked me why some of the C.O.s had such a problem with me. I simply told him the truth. I said, “No, I am not doing anything wrong but if some C.O.s are collaborating with gangsters then that is something that should be looked at, so stop looking at me as though I am the problem.” The following week I received a ducket for mental health. The truth was interpreted as a mental illness, so I have discovered that when C.O.s are confronted with truth, they tend to attack it. I think this phenomenon is because they feel the guilt of their own actions. They are taught from a young age to have blind faith in someone else’s interpretation of what is right and wrong; so completely blinded by lies that when I remove the blindfold, and reveal the simple truth, it is interpreted as mental illness.

There was a 3rd time I hit a C.O. with the truth, but I did not get a M.H. referral that time. Again, as I was entering 5 Block, a tower cop stopped me and asked me why I was having such conflict with the C.O. that is bringing the drugs in. I replied that “I don’t like (greensuits) because I am doing a life sentence for a crime I did not do.” She was taken aback momentarily by this, but she recovered quickly and shot back that, “It is not my fault, it is the court that did that to you.” A classic little Eichmann.

I did not continue to argue with that C.O. because I have a lil respect for her straight forward approach as evidenced by the fact she did not give me a M.H. referral. Rather, I gave her all the time she needs for the truth to sink in that she is the one that pushes the button to either open or close the door on my cage.

Her own greensuit makes her directly responsible for my imprisonment. It is irrelevant that she has good looks or that she has qualities that I admire such as an honest straight forward approach, or that she is blinded by lies of what is right or wrong. All that matters is that tower cop is directly responsible for depriving an innocent man of his freedom. She is directly responsible for holding guilty men in a cage far longer than anyone should be detained.

MLK said that “when confronted with truth, we have an obligation to stand up for what is right.” The only thing greensuits stand up for is a dirty paycheck. We all must remove the blindfold of faith and see ourselves, truth!!

chain
[Drugs] [Political Repression] [Coffield Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Retaliation for Writing On Drug Smuggling

police sell drugs to prisoners

Greetings & Respects Comrades,

I been wanting to write this letter for about a year now. Society needs to be aware of what’s really going on behind the walls of prison. On March of 2020 I wrote an article that was printed on the pages of your newsletter. It was called ‘TDCJ: Your staff are bringing in the drugs, and it must stop’(see ULK 73). Since the print of the article, I’ve become a target of harassment and retaliation. Administration and C/O’s here at Coffield Unit are a part of a Good Ol’ boy system that use these types of methods, to make the prisoner pay when the truth is being exposed.

A shakedown team was put together by Warden Garcia. When the team comes across a prisoner, who refuses to be extorted for information (something that can place the prisoner’s life in danger), they will harass/retaliate, even falsify government records, in order to place the prisoner in the worst part of the prison as a form of punishment for not cooperating. It happened to me, and I will go into detail later in the letter.

There wouldn’t be drugs or cellphones in prison, if corrupt C/O’s didn’t bring them. Can prisoners just walk out of prison, score drugs, take a detour by Wal-Mart, pick up a couple of cellphones, then return to prison? How is it that this type of contraband finds itself inside prisons? Governor Greg Abbott needs to answer these questions. Since the last article, nothing has changed. A constant flow of K2 (a drug laced with roach spray), Meth, Cocaine, Heroin, pills and cellphones, flow through the prison. In 29 years of my confinement, I’ve seen my share of things but nothing like whats going on today, in the prison system.

Eighty percent (80%) of young people in prison are terribly addicted to drugs, that C/O’s bring in. The only difference between correctional officers and prisoners is the uniform. They themselves are criminals. This type of thing needs to be brought up next time some politician out there screams “We need more prisons”. ‘Go to Texas prison with a bad drug habit, leave worse when you get out’. That should be the politicians slogan.

TDCJ proudly states “We are an agency of rehabilitation and positive change”, the best lie being sold to the public. The only thing TDCJ higher-ups care about, is that government funding. At the moment Coffield has a sky high suicide rate due to all the drugs. This place is completely out of compliance and under-staffed. Prisoners are left in dayrooms (that have no toilets) for hours and have to use the restroom on shifts because there’s no one to let them in the cell to use the restroom.

Hours pass with no security checks, a clear breach of security. A few days ago there was an audit on the unit, C/Os from other units were called in, so they could pass the inspection. As soon as the inspectors left, the C/Os from other units left behind them. There’s no outside recreation, the water is getting prisoners sick, but plenty of K2 to keep the prisoners “Dumbed down”, so there won’t be complaints.

Society needs to realize that prisoners will return to neighborhoods out there. How can prisoners, whom are sent to prison to rehabilitate themselves, accomplish that goal, when the good law-abiding correctional officers, bring poison, to make them worse? These same prisoners will be released, will reoffend, commit worse crimes, due to a drug problem that got worse in prison. How many crooked C/Os have been indicted, for the victims of suicide and drug overdoses, that have died in Coffield, due to the drugs these C/Os bring in? This system and its C/Os are the problem, something people in high places, refuse to admit to the public.

For years our families got blamed for the drug flow coming into prison. When COVID-19 arrived, visitations got shut down and the truth was exposed, as to who really brought the dope in. Over a year, no visitations yet the dope was delivered on time. The truth is K2 is sprayed on just about anything, or brought in liquid forms. Meth, heroin, cocaine and pills can easily be hidden on C/Os that bring it for a nice hefty price. A $20 cellphone now goes for $2000 OR $2500 each.

So let’s put this together: the proposed solution is a pig team that goes after prisoners who PURCHASE contraband from C/Os. This helps the Warden shift the blame and cover who the real crooks are, and everything’s blamed on the prisoners. This way the truth is not exposed and questions never need to be answered.

For my writing about this type of corruption, I am now under fire by the warden and administration. Enclosed are copies of complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s office due to harassment/retaliation against me. The Ombudsman’s office claims to be an independent entity, that investigates family complaints against TDCJ officials - (NOT TRUE). In reality, they work hand-in-hand with TDCJ officials.

“Due to a lack of evidence, your allegations could not be substantiated.” (Lack of evidence? There are cameras all over the unit, that record video) If Ms. Melodee Blalock would have performed a proper investigation of the date and time the incidents occurred, she could have retrieved video that would have placed C/O Brewer at my cubicle/cell destroying my property. She just wouldn’t go against the Good Ol’ boy system.

Violations of misconduct by staff, when confirmed (Notice the words “When confirmed”) are addressed in accordance with established administrative procedures. Such decisions are considered confidential (Notice the word ‘Confidential’) and not released to the general public. TDCJ and Ombudsman both work as the outside cops. When a C/O has violated policy or harassed a prisoner, a wall of silence instantly goes up and things are quietly swept under the rug.

The reply my sister received means: Even if C/O Brewer is guilty, it will be covered up by the good ol’ boy system that’s designed to never admit wrong. I was housed at the dorm area from 2017 till 2021 with no altercations of this sort. After I wrote the first article, full retaliation was enforced. When it got really bad, my sister filed the complaint. 46 days after filing, the same C/O Brewer, who the complaint was filed against, showed up at my cubicle with his supervisor SGT Hom, to place me in handcuffs.

I was escorted to a segregation cage, which had no restroom or running water. I was stripped searched and left in those conditions, under extreme heat without relief (water, fan, restroom break), on a hot July day. I was there from 9 am till 4:30 pm. I was denied water and was forced to urinate in bottles that an SSI had to sneak to me.

Just one example of the injustice prisoners have to endure at the hands of the oppressors. Which politician, with a nice desk, watches over the oppressors, who enjoy violating prisoners rights and get off on abusing their power? I will continue to expose a corrupt system that’s in real need of prison reform. And to accomplish that goal, the prison reform needs to start with its own C/Os.

I see parole March of 2022, after 2 three year set-offs. If something happens to me, comrades the answer as to why, is in your hands. Thanks to each of you. May God walk with each of you.

Respectfully Always,

“End the Prison System”

“Give Power to the people”

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
[Drugs] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

The Tragedy of Officer Woods

police are weapons of mass destruction

I’ll never speak ill of the dead. However, if by telling their stories, we can prevent needless suffering, then those stories must be told. There is both beauty and power within our words. If we are to progress from erudite to enlightened, then we are obligated to speak effectively and responsibly. Sometimes, the greatest damage is done by not speaking up or not speaking out.

When I first saw Ms. Woods, I couldn’t help but ask my neighbor “Wow! Who is that?” Oh sure, I’ve seen some very attractive guards down here. But this girl seemed almost too pretty to be working at a prison. My cellie spoke up and said “Do yourself a favor bro, leave that one alone. She’s poison candy. Nice shiny wrapper on the outside… but completely toxic inside.”

I take everything with a grain of salt down here. Surely, this was an exaggeration. I thought these two were just being cynical. Time in here has a way of making people jaded. You’re either going to get better or bitter. Unfortunately, their warnings proved to be both timely and accurate. From the first moment she opened her mouth, the most venomous hatred imaginable spewed out.

For the most part, I wouldn’t have to be around her very much. I’d managed to land a good job at our unit print shop. Four days a week, I’d be gone for 12 hours a day. Guards here work 4 on 4 off. So that even further reduced my chances of seeing her. I figured I could handle just about anything for 3 days. Guess I was wrong.

My very first run-in with her happened on a Saturday. I knew to be at my cell when they called count time. They came through and did their thing. Then the lights turned out. I went into the restroom to finish getting ready for visit. I heard a door pop open moments later, only to be followed by her screaming “10 bunk!” then a string of profanities. Talk about getting caught with your pants down. She walks by while I’m still on the toilet, screaming, “You’re getting a case!”

My neighbor walks over and says “She took your I.D. bro! And your house is thrashed!” Sure enough, I get back to my cubicle and it’s a mess. Everything is on the floor. She wasn’t even doing a search. She simply did it out of spite. By the time I get things almost back in order, it’s about to be lunch. She’s still got my I.D. card, but now she’s nowhere to be found. Great. Hopefully, I can track her down before I get called in for visit.

Sure enough, lunch rolls around and I gotta tell them to punch in my number. “Ms. Woods took my I.D.” The guard at chow hall looks up and smiles, “Sucks to be you!” By the time I get back to the wing, they call me for visit. I leave to find the sergeant to explain that I can’t get into visitation without it. He tells me, “She probably went on break to write you up. Don’t worry about the case. I got you. From now on, you’d better steer clear of that one! Got it?”

The weeks fly by, and I’m fortunate enough to only see her in passing. Oh sure, she’s definitely pretty to look at, but now I avoid her like the plague. All I’m trying to do is stay out of their way.

One day my boss at print shop says “Okay, shut it down. They’re racking up the farm.” We get out to the back gate and they make me sit down. All these guards go running past us headed for one building.

Two guards are talking between themselves, but we can hear over the radio chatter that there has been another assault on staff. Now these guards start to argue, “Look, I don’t care where you put them! But they gotta be out here so that ambulance can come in!”

By the time we get back to our own building, all hell has broken loose. We can hear the warden’s voice on another radio screaming, “LOCK IT DOWN!!” They got one of the halls blocked off. As we walk by to go back in our wing, we can see all these burgundy pools of coagulated blood. This is bad.

Soon as we walk in, they ask me, “Did you hear about Officer Woods? DUDE … he beat the brakes off of her!” I look down at him and ask, “Who?” his eyes get real big when he says “Smitty! I thought y’all knew. Man … he just flipped out! Followed her right out the door into deep space, knocked her out, and then went to WORK on her! After that they say he just walked up to the desk and turned around so they could put the cuffs on him.”

After three weeks of lockdown, we were finally able to go back to work. Then I learned the rest of the story. Seems that while Smitty was off work on his bereavement, Woods went in and tossed his cell. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she took his pictures off his wall. You see … this poor man had just lost his mother, sister and baby daughter, all in quick succession within about six weeks of each other.

Now, of course, I wasn’t there to see it, but everybody says he got down on his hands and knees to BEG that woman not to take those precious photos. I’m told that even after he explained their sudden deaths, she callously laughed in his face and said “Forget your dead family.” Only she chose to use a different “F” word.

That beating wasn’t what killed her. It was the lifestyle. Reports say that they saved her life multiple times, both on the way to the hospital and in the operating room once she got there. There was extensive reconstructive surgery. Nobody will even know the full extent of the traumatic brain injury. It’s often those scars on the inside, that just won’t heal.

After a few months off, she returned to work. Doctors had done an amazing job, considering the extent of her injuries. Her entire face was pulverized. Oh, she was still somewhat pretty. But those drop dead gorgeous, model-quality features, were long gone. Her nose, eyes and cheekbones weren’t the same. People couldn’t tell if they were dentures or implants, but that smile would never be the same either.

You see … all along, she’d been manipulated and exploited by the gangs. For almost her entire tenure, she’d been smuggling in dope and cell phones. The perverts had simply preyed on her own insecurity. How could somebody so stunning on the outside be completely devoid of the true beauty that only comes from within? The only way prison officials ever found out about her activities was when they busted somebody with one of those phones.

The photos and videos were as numerous as they were explicit. So was all that contact information. It was a treasure trove of evidence. She’d also been prostituting herself. The predators had simply used her, then discarded her like some piece of garbage. Administration walked her off the unit in disgrace.

In the end, the prosecution’s job would be easy. She was facing a long list of criminal charges. I suppose the stress of an impending court trial, along with everything else, simply proved to be too much for her. I was SOOOO HOPING that all those rumors weren’t true. Unfortunately, she really did it. Ms. Woods died of a single gunshot wound to the head. She put the pistol in her mouth – just to stop the pain.

We found out about officer Woods’ suicide in 2019. A few months ago, we found out that Ms. Davis had met a similar fate. We are still unclear as to whether her death was a suicide or accidental overdose. The specifics of each of these tragedies is not nearly as important as the root causes of the problem, which remains the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDCJ does not care about stopping the rampant corruption and injustice here in Texas. Everyone from the newest correctional officers to the top administrative officials are complicit and therefore profits from this malfeasance!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have seen some interesting things in the last year or so. Some prison systems have instituted egregious restrictions on mail claiming it was used to smuggle drugs, and all prisons locked down completely with no visitors for months due to the global pandemic. Yet, reports from prison after prison, from state to state to the feds, have unanimously reported no change in the availability of contraband during these periods.

The imperialists portray ending crime as a great mystery that can’t be solved, a timeless problem that we can only respond to with force and punishment. This is metaphysics, it fails to look at the past, at humyn societies before classes and poverty, at countries who built socialism and virtually eliminated drug abuse, prostitution, theft, hunger, homelessness, etc. These things go hand-in-hand. Our crime-ridden society is not eternal, it stems from our economic system and is reinforced by the cultural ideas that come with such a system. Changing the economic system is hard, it will take determination and sacrifice by many. But once we do, ending so much needless suffering and conflict between humyns is not so hard.

chain
[Drugs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop

In the 27 years of being confined within these walls, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has always blamed families, claiming that the families are the ones who smuggle dangerous contraband (cellphones, meth, K2, heroin) into the prisons. As of today, we’ve been without visits over a year, due to COVID-19, yet this place is still full of contraband.

Last month several prisoners died from suicide, overdoses, and others hurt fellow prisoners while high on drugs. In order to cover up what’s really going on, the unit was placed on lock down, and a team was brought to shake down and tear up our property. While all this was going on, the only form of communication with our families, the phones, was turned off. We were punished because guards brought the drugs and the prisoners used them.

TDCJ officials and higher-ups refuse to admit there’s a serious problem within the system, and it’s not the prisoners. Prisoners can’t go out the gate, purchase contraband, then return to prison. It’s just not possible. How can prisoners rehabilitate themselves when there’s more drugs in here than out there? Society should take a closer look at the real problem and remember that a lot of prisoners will return to communities out there worse than before, due to the drugs the guards bring into this place.

Someone with a voice of authority and who’s willing to dedicate themselves to bringing new change, needs to step up to this problem. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars are being given to prisons, supposedly to rehabilitate prisoners – it’s the biggest lie prison officials tell the public. Only a handful of prisoners are being rehabilitated. The rest are walking around like zombies high on meth or K2.

I humbly request that my comrades at MIM please help bring this situation to the proper officials, maybe then change will come, that will truly help to rehabilitate my brothers in this place, who are dying from the poison the true criminals (guards) bring to these prisons.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In addition to no visits for a year, TDCJ has also been not allowing all kinds of mail including greeting cards and childrens’ drawings, which they allege were also a means by which family members were sending in drugs.

Under Lock & Key No. 59 dealt in depth with the problem of drugs in prisons, how widespread they were, and the very strong material interest of the prisoners and staff involved in the drug trade to keep that going. The above experiments of closing down visitation and mail demonstrate scientifically that it is primarily staff bringing in the drugs. This is not unique to Texas.

This evidence is damning. And we stand with all comrades locked up who oppose the scourge of drugs being brought into prisons by the state’s very own staff. The censorship and harassment of family members and prisoners themselves also must stop. For our whole lifetimes, drugs have been brought into our communities by the state and then used as an excuse to oppress, harass and control. The drugs themselves serving to control and subdue the people.

We are expanding the work of our Serve the People Re-Lease on Life program with a new revolutionary 12 Step Program to help those with all kinds of addictions to re-create themselves as new, revolutionary humyns. We must build a culture of true rehabilitation that the state is not providing, as this comrade points out. Only programs of the people, can really serve the peoples’ interests.

Meanwhile, we want to work with prisoners and their families to pressure the state to recognize these facts that are being exposed thanks to the pandemic. If we can get them to reduce the amount of drugs their staff sneak into prisons, we can reduce the harm they are having on our people behind bars.

chain
[Drugs] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 71]
expand

Black August: Peace and Education to Combat Behavior Modification

[Abolitionists From Within (AFW) submitted a series of essays leading up to Black August and hosted their annual poker tournament that is part of their effort to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP). Below are some of the thoughts they sent us, followed by their report on September 9.]

Wake up comrades. Evelyn Williams reminds us that all African American prisoners are political prisoners, whether or not they label themselves as such. Because of the circumstances that got them into prison as well as the harshness of sentencing applied to them. Political prisoners who became politicized inside prison walls and who oriented their lives around the struggle for social justice and national liberation include Malcolm X, George Jackson and the Attica warriors. Many other comrades of yesterday and today’s struggle would be and are encompassed in the term as political prisoners.

So to all comrades behind enemy lines, we are at war and have been and we must understand the enemy tactics. Prisons have become the battle ground in a war of attrition designed to reduce prisoners to a state of submission, psychological incompetence sufficient to neutralize us as self-directing antagonists by making us desperate enough to destroy ourselves for material gains.

So let us not be fooled any longer through our own self-destructive behaviors. You are the target Black man. Tactics of counterinsurgency and low-intensity warfare against us. Assassinated, tortured, frame-ups, imprisonment, control and alter the behavior of people resisting oppression. And as you know, prison officials will use drugs as a method of control. …

Damn comrades, ya’ll giving up. These conditions we living in is temporary. Don’t make it permanent. I see your violent outbursts, passing out, seizures, suicide attempts and serious mental breakdowns. Comrade, them symptoms of that synthetic shit. Homies lose touch with reality and lash out at the one’s who really trying to help them.

One of the comrades pass out standing up. This shit is real bro, that shit hurt me deep. Because you can tell a lot about a person from the company he keep. Comrade, you can’t say you with the business and your actions don’t match. These young warriors not going to respect those acts on the yard.

I hear the C.O.s making jokes like this shit is a game. Perpetuating the fight that the prison administration encourages. However, this Black August and Bloody September we going to continue to organize and apply the UFPP five principles. So AFW will be putting on a poker tournament here with all “ethnic” groups with one goal: Peace and awareness of the prison struggles on these yards and who is the real enemy.

Da struggle continue.


9 September 2020: Black August passed, still pushing. AFW is still building to continue the good fight on September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity with all our freedom fighters and conscious comrades and to commemorate the all the faceless comrades and to never forget about the Attica uprising and our beloved brother GJ.

I been working out with our comrades, reading, sharing books, etc. Just building doing this COVID-19 the best we can in solidarity with all comrades here struggling behind enemy lines. Today, September 9th, I fast and hit the night yard work out again and count my blessings.

I stress with our comrades to understand who the real enemy is and to learn the enemy tactics of oppression that keep us oppressed. We have to continue to push, pull and stride for unity, and the comaraderie among the brothers and all ethnic groups and continue to put an end to all hostilities among our brothers with peace on our tongue this September 9th day.

The struggle must go on.

chain
[Drugs] [Release] [ULK Issue 71]
expand

People, Places, and Things Philosophy for Overcoming Drug Addiction

united front for peace in prisons

I had reached a point in my life where I was high for weeks at a time. I would stay awake for over a week at a time on ice. While living this lifestyle for over a half a year I was also big on the spice (K2). I was smoking an 11oz bag by myself every 2 days. When you are in this state one clearly can’t think or function properly in society on any legitimate level. I decided that I was tired of living this lifestyle and thought back to an intensive behavior modification program that I was forced to attend a few years prior to my current addicted state of being. The greatest tools I had received in this 6 month program was the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding based on these 3 words: People, Places, and Things!

If we truly want to be free from drug addiction we must change some or at times all of the people we associate with. We may have to find new employment, housing, recreational places etc. We will have to get rid of certain habits or stumbling blocks that hinder or block progress to freedom from addiction. We can not make excuses, but must stand firm in our convictions that whatever storms or difficulties may arise drugs are not our solution. They will only make things worse 100% of the time in the long run.

I found success when I completely applied the People, Places, and Things philosophy. It’s never easy, but absolutely necessary. Positive People, positive Places, and positive Practices will keep you in a positive direction. It does not make us weak feeling we need others for support during such trialsome times. It shows strength and courage when we can admit to our weaknesses and reach out for the necessary help. I hope you find success in this strategy as I have knowing that it will awaken you, clear your mind and help you move in a more PROMISING DIRECTION!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Taking the initiative to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing is a great tool for success. Unfortunately, it is not always an option (especially in prison) or easy to do. We can apply this comrades’ advice to society as a whole and understand the success of socialist China in eliminating drug addiction. They did not have policies that were particularly unique around drugs. But they were in the process of redefining their nation and their future, which offered everyone a positive roll to play, not to mention jobs, housing and health care.

We see the Chinese model as the solution to addiction. In the meantime, we must figure out how to survive and thrive in this system. That is why our Re-Lease on Life Program is developing resources for those who struggle with addiction that help connect them with a lifelong political mission. We hope to have materials to review and test out soon, so let us know if you are interested in reviewing this program.

chain
Go to Page [1] 2 [3]
Index of Articles