The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Education] [Censorship] [California]
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Education is essential, must fight censorship

Revolutionary greetings to your staff. I just received your letter with the information on prison censorship. I'm fully schooled with the state's so-called laws. In the past I have not had any problems receiving MIM Notes or the study books. I fully understand that problems do come up behind the hands of the oppressor. This is why freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Let's test the water for now and please start sending me educational material. The struggle can not be stopped, I refuse to let them take control of my mind. I'm 50 years old, been in prison on and off for 30 years, and now three strikes have me. I refuse to lay down on myself or other oppressed people. The most dangerous weapon in this world is a fully focused mind.

MIM adds: MIM was banned in California prisons by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in December of 2006. We are working with our comrades behind bars to fight this ban. We need support from prisoners to join this struggle, and support from people on the outside to demand an end to this ban. Write protest letters to: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Education] [Legal] [West Valley Detention Center] [California] [ULK Issue 1]
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No access to legal materials or education

I am writing to let MIM comrades be informed on ever more injustice in our so-called system. As of today I have been awaiting trial almost four and a half years, since I was sixteen years old. At sixteen I was placed in a juvenile facility, then the day after my eighteenth birthday was placed in West Valley Detention Center for women in California.

There is not one program at this facility for those awaiting trial - we barely have a library that contains mostly old romance novels. I am not even convicted and have no access to any legal or educational materials. The facility will only provide "Christian" religious materials so any other religions basically do without unless materials can be provided by the outside. We even have some of our religious materials sent back saying they are "gang-related materials" because they are not common beliefs.

How am I to defend myself if I can not get any law books, or educate myself with no real library or any programs? I am 20 years old and have been facing 25 to life since age 16. I now sit idle with my life in the hands of California's injustice system.

Those who have no financial support must also do without personal hygiene and writing materials as these things are not provided free to indigent inmates. Our canteen prices are so high you'd think they could pay to provide us with something! At least get rid of all the gnats, roaches and rats in our facility! Some prisoners here are even kept in ad-seg for their whole waiting process with no real infractions.

I am only one young female inmate and I need the help from my comrades to fight this ridiculous system. I hope to be able to help in this fight, but I can't do it alone.

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[Censorship] [Education] [Fremont Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 2]
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Winning censor battles in Colorado

Thank you for sending in your MIM Notes. We've played hell getting them in to Colorado D.O.C. They don't like your message of truth. Our mailroom here in Fremont Correctional Center likes to act as our moral censor. Every time you send your notes it has to go through our "reading committee." Every time they have to give it to us.

In Colorado D.O.C. we've paid very little for our slave labor. I'm glad to get your writing and I try to pass it on to others in here. The ideas spark some heated talks between us here. Your words to us in here can and do instigate some good thinking. Keep up your good work for us on the "inside". We are appreciative of you and look forward to your mailings.

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[Education] [Abuse] [Censorship] [California]
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Prisons cutting off education access, increasing brutality

I know you are having trouble getting lit in to the prison. In the BMU (Behavior Modification Unit) it seems they are trying to deplete the literature that is already in the system, while not allowing any new lit in. There are also new restrictions popping up around the state on the number of books you can have. The point: they are trying to systematically prevent alternative education. They want to limit you to the education they provide. GED, basically next to nothing. It is no coincidence that the individuals being flooded with 115s, and placed in BMU are, the jailhouse lawyers, the political educators, and non-conformists, i.e. revolutionary minded individuals. All of these adverse policies must be attacked at the same time. If we get them to allow lit back in it is meaningless if they can just put you in BMU and send it home, it is also costly.

Myself and a bro we will call "Z" were fighting the censorship. "Z" has been doing time since 1974. They transferred him to Corcoran SHU in May. In June they vacated my indeterminate SHU, and placed me in ad-seg pending transfer. I now have none of my property. My property was trans-packed pending transfer to SVSP or CSP general population. Transfers have been routinely taking 6 months or so. It is clear these pigs are serious about repression.

This battle may come to the knife. They are getting physical. They pepper spray people around here on a regular basis. As well as beat people. Something as small as complaining about a missing item on your dinner tray is enough to get you splayed and whipped. The attitude of the pigs seems as if it has changed overnight. I mean it is real bad. They pepper sprayed a guy the other day because he refused breakfast. This kind of abuse is condoned by the brass up to the warden. I don't see how it cannot come to the knife if we have no redress. Appeals are met with more abuse. They routinely use punitive measures and intimidation to get inmates to drop appeals, or to keep other inmates from coming forward as witnesses. The tactics and practices of the Green Wall are spreading at an alarming rate. These practices are not just spreading amongst the rank and file pigs, but the administration.

Please note the struggle against censorship is my top priority. I realize that the education of the prison population is important to our overall struggle for prisoner rights. I am trying to do a quick analysis of the situation. We already have a strategy we are just revisiting our tactics to meet the environmental change. Any assistance MIM could provide in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

MIM replies: We know that it often seems like there is no way to beat the prison administrators and brutal guards, who use violence against prisoners daily, without resorting to violence. But we also see that attacking from behind enemy lines almost always leads to greater repression. And so we urge our comrades behind bars to avoid violence. Obviously prisoner on prisoner violence only serves the prisons. But prisoners retaliating for guard brutality just gives them another excuse to beat you up. We must organize our fight strategically especially when it looks like we are losing ground.

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[Censorship] [Education]
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Studying and struggling in spite of censorship

Just because the study group never got started [because of censorship problems in California prisons] it doesn't mean that I'm not studying or learning anything. I repeatedly go over MTs and past study group questions and answers, constantly trying to see if there's something I missed or didn't quite comprehend the first, second or third time around. Right now I'm going over MT10 for the third time and I must say a lot more knowledge and information is jumping out at me this time around that before. I hope everyone else is doing the same.

Also, I constantly find myself arguing in the dayroom or on the yard, and it's always about the same stuff. I just can't stand hearing the bullshit that comes out of a lot of people's mouths. Like, for example, if I hear someone talking about "our soldiers" over there in Iraq or wherever getting shot at or blow up. Fuck a pig! A pig is a pig is a pig! I quickly point out that they are not our soldiers, but our oppressors, or a fool of the oppressors. Unfortunately it always seems to be an uphill battle.

Also, the MT on the white proletariat certainly came in handy the other day. There's this guy in here, one of many in here whom I like to argue with on a regular basis. I like blowing holes in his bourgeois theories. Not just that, but more importantly I want to help him understand the evils of capitalism and the science of self-criticism. I think the MT helped a lot.

Anyways, just letting you guys know that the struggle continues.

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[Education] [Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Houtzdale] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 1]
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No useful education in the hole

I have been locked up here in the PA DOC for over 10 years. Four and a half of that has been served in the RHU "Hole" in retaliation for confronting the PA-DOC administration on a wide range of issues, healthcare, dietary, commissary and about having adequate material for general and law libraries, to name a few. The years I have been locked up I have seen things go from bad to worse to sickening in regards to the way prisoners are treated here in PA.

Less and less money is being spent on effective rehabilitation and educational programs. And the programs that are up and running may look and sound very good on paper when presented to the state legislatures in Harrisburg for funding and the general public. However, in all actuality the programs that the DOC do make available to the prisoners are just a shell of what they should be. After securing Federal or State funding for a particular educational or rehabilitation program a major part of this money then gets diverted to things for the guards' new uniforms, the latest two way walkie talkies, new computers, more video security cameras, and the list goes on and on.

Here at SCI-Houtzdale, two of the educational programs that the administration likes to show off when people from the community or legislatures from Harrisburg come to tour the facility are the computer repair class and the computer aided drafting class. However, for a prisoner to get discharged from the DOC and try getting employment with what they were taught will be very difficult because the technique, computers and software they are learning on is 12 to 15 years out of date. The administration, staff, and COs are getting all the new equipment, not the prisoners. So factor this in when wondering why PA has such a high rate of recidivism.

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[Education] [Political Repression] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 50]
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Struggle to Reunite with Panther Legacy

I am one of Jersey's political prisoners and because of my gang involvement and political views the state views me as a threat. To control and monitor my behavior and movements I was placed in this closed custody Max-Max Unit.

Many of us long termer gang members have transcended the normal gangbang functions of red and blue. Some of our actual history leads back to the militant movements of the Black Panthers of the 1960s. Many of us know about the Panthers and the movement, but 90% of us have missed the opportunity to learn the actual literature and history that motivated this movement.

I'm in a position to educate these fellas to the real militant movements against this fascist state. I had the benefit of learning about Marxism-Leninism-Maoism from a real revolutionary. I would like to return the favor by teaching others the same.

I would greatly appreciate if you will help me by sending me newspapers. I will send a contribution but not with this letter. This letter contains information that this facility sees as dangerous that would be another reason for them to segregate me further.

All of us here are physical revolutionaries. I believe so simply because the state only responds to violence. This furthers their justification for excessive force, beatings and at times torture. It's time we exercise our minds in making a change. All is appreciated.

Please do not return this letter. All incoming mail is reviewed. We have the freedom to receive any literature. We are ONLY NOT ALLOWED TO TEACH OTHERS.

The system can never kill me.

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