The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got $20? Slip it in an envelope and send to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140. Help cover printing costs. help out
[Youth] [Gender] [Theory] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

Youth Liberation, Not Paternalistic Child Credits

Nancy Pelosi promotes child tax credits to [email protected] in Califaztlan, but is another pay out the answer to the oppression of youth? Photo by: Mario Tama

One thing we heard from those saddened by the police murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was that she didn’t get to have a childhood.(1) While nation is most certainly the primary factor that led to the cop, Nicholas Reardon, shooting Bryant, we think gender oppression, and in particular youth oppression, had a lot to do with Bryant ending up where she did on that fateful day.

When people speak of being able to have a childhood, we may think of a time of fun, carefree play, no work, no oppression, etc. Of course most people in the world don’t have much of a childhood in this sense. But in the United $tates many do. So already we see there is some hierarchy involved in this idea of having a childhood, at least under imperialism. We see this hierarchy as the realm of gender because it is a question of leisure time and not labor time, which is the subject of class (see Clarity on What Gender is). But there is also the question of why we must separate our lives into periods of fun and play and periods of work and oppression? And why do we have oppression at all? And how did work become a bad thing?

To answer these question briefly, the relations of production under capitalism are what alienates people from their labor today, so that they feel their labor time is not their time. But as “adults,” most must spend the majority of their waking hours in labor time. While some people want those like Bryant to have the purist, most care-free childhood as possible, we are working towards a whole life that is enjoyable and fulfilling. And we doubt that is possible without a healthy dose of productive labor. The exclusion of children from work for over 100 years in the United $tates has left them with no productive role to play in society, leading to alienation and lack of worth.(2) This alienation and lack of self-worth is reinforced by abuse, and leads to destructive behavior.

As Greyhound points out in eir article on Ma’Khia Bryant, the Soviet Union provided family for orphaned youth through the productive life of the commune. The communes did not work kids to the bone to squeeze out the maximum profits as the capitalists once did in the United $tates, and still do in most of the world. Below we look at some attempts by capitalist Amerika to provide for youth and why they cannot get at the source of youth oppression as well as socialist experiments that have.

Child Credits Pay the Patriarch

With sheltering-in-place during the pandemic and no in-persyn schooling for most children, the question of childcare has received much attention in the United $tates. The answer from the bourgeoisie came in the form of child credits. Amerikan families began receiving these payments in mid-July 2021, for a total of $3000-3600 per family over the next 6 months.

These credits are a market-based attempt to address the problem of adults in the nuclear family spending large sums of money to have their children cared for when they are working or otherwise occupied. These credits put more power in the hands of the adults who get the money over the lives of the children who qualify them for these payments. Money for those who struggle to make ends meet can certainly mean less stressful conditions for their children. The logic makes sense, it is just a backwards, half-ass approach. By the 1960s in socialist China, all children had guaranteed care that was collectively run and offered ways for youth to voice their concerns and avoid abusive situations. This was in a country where a decade or two earlier children were basically sold into slavery. This is the kind of radical change the youth need, that a profit-based system can’t provide.

Punishing Sex Offenders to Save the Family

It is very evident that affection, support and trust in our lives as young people have significant effects on our health throughout our lives.(3) Lack of positive social relationships and experiences has been linked to drug addiction and correlates strongly with imprisonment. Therefore this is a topic very dear to the hearts of many of our readers.

One way we see this manifest in a more reactionary politic of the imprisoned masses is in the strong, often violent attitudes towards sex offenders in prison culture. This sentiment exists outside prison of course, but became part of the prison culture because of the concentration of convicted sex offenders there. As we’ve addressed in the past, this reactionary politic is problematic on the one hand in that it is allowing the state to decide who our enemies are, that in many cases the actions that led to these cases are mild compared to many non-sex-offender charges and in some cases the people are completely innocent.(4) In the United $tates, white males and females, as a group, have treated the Black male as a sexual animal that must be controlled, sometimes by fake rape charges and imprisonment. In other words, some who are convicted as sex offenders are actually the victims of gender oppression, as well as national oppression.

A second reason we say the anti-sex offender politic is reactionary is that it doesn’t offer any real solutions to the problem of the sexual abuse of children. It is an example of why MIM always opposed the slogan “Think global, act local.” If you think globally about this problem of child abuse, and act locally by ostracizing or even attacking those you come in contact with who have (or who you believe have) abused children, you haven’t changed anything if the patriarchy remains. You can confirm this with crime statistics, or just the fact that we live in a society where we know this problem is still prevalent.

Addressing child abuse requires systemic change as the Chinese instituted during their experiment in socialism. Young people need a different system that supports them with things we know people need to grow up healthy; mentally and physically. These things can not be offered on conditions or the whims of one or two adults who control the child’s life. As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And people who are serious about reducing child abuse need to work to build those villages and build them in ways that give young people full access to information, a wide variety of adult support people, including those in power, and access to other youth without the interference of adults. The village should also give repercussions to youth for “bad behavior.” These repercussions should be consistent in order to provide the youth with social guidance and never be used by individual adults to get what they want from children or to take out their frustrations from a bad day. The oversight of a more village-based model must prevent adults from doing such things.

Different Models

What the bourgeoisie offers in place of the village is more cash to the patriarch. These cash incentives make single-parent homes more viable. But single-parent homes are some of the easiest places for adults to molest and abuse children.

The reactionary approach to child abuse (imprisonment and violence) also reinforces the patriarchy, where strong adult men must protect youth from other adult men by physical assault. One critique of this line points out how it views the rights of children the same as the rights of animals in that they must be granted and enforced from the outside.

“pseudo feminists… [accept a] zoological implication that child abuse is going to go on forever, as if… child abuse were inherent in the humyn species, and at the same time external to humyn social relations, like animals.”(5)

The Maoist counter-point then is that child abuse is a humyn relationship that is found within the patriarchal family structure. It is part of the central problem of oppression of groups of people by other groups that we aim to resolve through ongoing revolutionary struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Rather than punishing sex offenders to save the family and “protect our children”, we must replace the nuclear family with communal child-rearing, and empower young people to criticize others in order to stop those who might try to abuse children.

Putting child care in the public sphere will do a lot to undermine the conditions of child abuse. But it does not eliminate the biases of the adult population, especially those that grew up in the old capitalist ways, from miseducating or mistreating youth as a group. And we know that institutional living like group homes and prisons, where many adults are involved in “care” for the youth, are rife with abuse. For these reasons youth must have ways of coming together as a group and voicing their interests as a group, even enforcing their interests as a group in contradiction to the adults that they depend on. l Ruth Sidel produced an in-depth report on Women and Childcare in China as well as in the Soviet Union and the kibbutz in I$rael. In one Chinese school, when asked what you’d do if you found a sick child on the street, a 6-year-old child responded: “i’d bring them medicine and water.” Sidel was surprised the child would not find an authority figure first.(6) What a striking difference in world views between socialist children and how most of us grew up in this country. These children still spent most of their days singing and playing and doing things that we all did in school. Yet, they were taught differently, taught to act and be self-empowered as soon as they were able to physically complete the tasks that might be demanded of them, like bringing another child water, or possibly organizing resistance to an abusive adult.

Some reading this will find the youth helping other youth not so strange because they raised their siblings at a young age. This is another way that peoples’ “childhoods are lost” in our culture; having to take care of other children as a child. It is not that care for those younger than you is inappropriate to carry out as a child, but that you need the support of a community to do so in a way that is not oppressive to your own life and most supportive to those you help care for.

According to the story from Ma’Khia Bryant’s grandmother, the conflict that had occurred among two groups of foster children was over perceived disrespect to the foster mother due to the lack of chores getting done. Most likely the situation was more complicated. But we see how there can be a disagreement over the labor responsibilities of members of a family that leads to violent conflict. This would be very unlikely when people have clear responsibilities, clear and consistent consequences that are enforced by the group for not meeting those responsibilities, and ways to communicate up front with both adults and youth about the roles and treatment of others.

The Roles of Youth in Society

In discussing Ma’khia Bryant’s childhood, we must address the fact that she was 16 years old when she was murdered by a cop because of this conflict. Other 16-year-olds in the area could have banded together to take revenge on Reardon for shooting her. Most members of the Black Panther Party joined in their teens. Bobby Hutton was murdered by the pigs emself at age 17 while on an armed patrol of the police. Sixteen is much more physically developed than six, and would mostly only be limited by legal restrictions like being able to drive or purchase fire arms.

Fifteen was the age when members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo(FARC-EP) could engage in armed actions.(7) As the struggle of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF) advanced, they established the Fitewerari to train male youth 14 to 16 years old and females of all ages. They found that training the adult females separate from adult males helped in both groups overcoming the traditional gender roles they had been inculcated with. The youth did not have these challenges, at least not to the same degree.

“In addition to literacy education, political and military training, and running their daily affairs, they participate in production, adhering to the EPLF’s correct revolutionary principle of ‘integrating education with production.’ They practice criticism and self-criticism to rectify mistakes, develop work and strengthen comradely solidarity. Upon finishing training, they are assigned to the different EPLF units and departments to carry on the struggle on all fronts.”(8)

Much has been put into the idea that a humyn’s prefrontal cortex is growing rapidly up until about age 25. The implication being that you can’t quite trust the judgement of those under 25. But this is only one data point, of a biological phenomenon we still barely understand. And along with this data point comes some implications in how younger people are willing to go against the status quo and can change their ways faster. We look to history, to see the transformative power of youth movements, rather than follow current trends in biological determinism based in preliminary studies of the brain.

Towards a World Without Oppression

When Maoists talk about gender, we are talking about a system of power in the realm of leisure time; the patriarchy. In that system, youth are generally part of the gender-oppressed. Though in the imperialist countries, they are likely part of a gender aristocracy, a child aristocracy, particularly those who have access to the idealized carefree childhood.

Similar to the wimmin in bourgeois society, the bourgeois children are relegated outside of labor and exclusively to leisure time. This leisure time is meanwhile structured to serve the pleasure of the man and the interests of capitalism overall. These groups being relegated to leisure time reinforces the divide between leisure time and labor time in society mentioned above. This is one reason why it is hard to imagine undoing gender hierarchy without first undoing capitalism, which would eliminate the sharp divide between labor time and leisure time. Through this process, gender will cease to be so separate from class struggle as it is in the bourgeoisified First World countries. Then our lives as individuals will be more complete, as will our communities.

Youth liberation is part of and dependent on the struggle to end capitalism and imperialism. Youth don’t need more paternalism, they need a supportive village to learn from and the freedom to self-actualize themselves without the fetters of oppression that shape our lives today.

Notes: 1. Greyhound, July 2021, Ma’Khia Bryant: A Murder of An Oppressed Nation Youth Demands Real Solutions, Under Lock & Key 74.
2. Nadine Burke Harris, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
3. MCB52, The Oppression of Children Under Patriarchy, MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism, 1995, p.17.
4. A Nevada Prisoner, December 2016, Sex Offenders Reconsidered, Under Lock & Key 55.
5. Is Calvin Human? and other annoying questions: “Calvin and Hobbes,” zoology, and the oppression of children by patriarchy, Maoist Information Website, April 2009.
6. Ruth Sidel, Women and Childcare in China, Penguin Books, 1982, p.135.
7. Maria Paula Rubiano, 13 July 2021, How to Feed 10,000 Rebel Fighters for 50 years, Atlas Obscura.
8. Selected Articles from “Vanguard: Official Monthly Organ of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front”, Association of Eritrean Students in North America, October 1977, p.12.

chain
[Theory] [Gender] [United Front] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

A Hint of Homophobia in Last Issue

Upon reading and re-reading the most recent ULK (72) as i usually do, i ran across a segment of an article that i believe to be homo/transphobic and therefore deserves criticism in the spirit of unity-struggle-unity.

The segment in question is on pg. 7, #5 of the demands reads as follows:

  1. Every prison in the state of Pennsylvania allow gay prisoners inside each prison block to hold hands/hold each other, have make-out sessions and have intercourse. The department of corrections of Pennsylvania even sell bras/panties, makeup, provide hormone injections and sex changes.

Now, I said “i believe” this was homo/trans phobic, because I acknowledge that some may not feel that way. Additionally, i’ll say that for the sake of organizing, it should be removed, as regardless of possible ill intent it serves to alienate people who’re not your enemy and can be allies.

Now i hold my belief that the comment was a homo/transphobic slight because the previous four demands the authors’ wrote down in question form, while #5 was listed as a statement and was entirely unnecessary if we look to the sub-points (a) and (b), which clearly articulate the point the authors wished to make, without the slight.

Comrades, i’m a heterosexual, cis-gendered male, who’s struggled here at my place of captivity against the gendered oppression of LGBT people, by inmate and pig oppressors alike. In the midst of this struggle what i’ve attempted to get cats to understand is, for one there are three strands of oppression: nation, class and gender. In the context of gender, i’ve had to humble myself to learn, or re-learn sometimes from a trans womyn comrade, things i thought i knew. One key piece of information i learned from her was also articulated by MIM(Prisons) in ULK47, pg. 4, attacking the myth of binary biology:

“Humyn biology has never been entirely binary, with relation to sex characteristics. There are a range of interactions between chromosomes, hormone expressions and sexual organ development. The resulting variation in anatomical and reproductive characteristics includes a lot of people who do not fit the standard binary expectation… as many as 1 in 100 births deviate from the standard physical expectations of sex biology.”

i’ve included this quote to suggest that cats look in depth into the material reality and internal development of things in order to get a clearer understanding instead of demonizing people and behavior.

The second point i’ve stressed here at this prison and now extend to the Pennsylvania prisoners, is that being that there are 3 strands of oppression, and we are in the business of eradicating oppression, then we are in error whenever we condemn national and class oppression while upholding gender oppression.

While the authors of the demands did not advocate gender oppression, eir language suggests that ey would rather the behavior listed in Point #5 be eradicated, which in turn would be oppressive to those who engage in said behaviors.

Additionally, i think you cats in PA could benefit from gaining some form of insight from those LGBT prisoners as to how to solve y’alls problems. i’ll have you realize that your Points 1-4 apply to LGBT prisoners as well along with points a and b. and 6 … or do they? My point is that the behavior which you seem to dislike was not always a reality. Around the empire, state-by-state, for decades, LGBT prisoners have struggled in court and through other avenues to gain the ability to express themselves freely.

If you would seek an ally in those near you, y’all may gain some insight on your own concerns, but viewing the LGBT populace as ‘other’ than yourselves only serves the interests of the badge, and stunts your own development as a revolutionary freedom fighter.

The key is to look at your situation in a dialectical materialist perspective. First, identify the fundamental contradiction, which in any and every prison is badge versus captives. The lumpen class must become united. Now within the lumpen class there are internal contradictions, only one of which is the contradiction between non-LGBT versus LGBT prisoners. This is a secondary contradiction, and it must be resolved because like all contradictions, it will develop into an antagonistic stage and an internal antagonistic/contradictory struggle is not beneficial in this context if y’all are to accomplish your goals, and moreso, advance the captive’s aspect of the fundamental contradiction against the badge/state.

In conclusion, i wanna articulate the fact that we can not eliminate oppression if we are ourselves oppressors. We have no right to condemn our own oppression yet turn a blind eye to the oppression of others. Practice PEACE and UNITY sisters and brothers, as articulated in the UFPP principles … unite, don’t split!

chain
[Gender] [Education]
expand

Outgrowing Transphobia Toward Lumpen Liberation

I’m in segregation so our study groups aren’t technically in groups. They consist of multiple people reading the same materials. All these people are people I socialize with but all of them don’t socialize with each other. Some people, after reading the material, write our thoughts and questions on paper then pass this paper around, then allow everyone to read everyone’s answers. Some people just converse verbally after studying the material and raise their consciousness like that.

Now many of these individuals are members of lumpen organizations and street tribes. I myself had been utilizing my Kiwe national identity to influence individuals from that tribe. With this in mind, we know there is a social stigma that comes from mere socializing with LGBT prisoners, especially for members of lumpen organizations and tribes. I myself through “redirecting the gangsta mentality” towards the communist road, have outgrown this colonizer-influenced mindframe and stigma, therefore I of course began dealing with a tranz sista as my comrade. The other individuals in the “study group” opted out, and I understand now that this was because their loyalties weren’t to political organizing nor communist ideology. Many aren’t willing to SACRIFICE within the movement.

Mao spoke on this in his “Combat Liberalism” speech. This sacrifice isn’t always of the physical form. Recently, tribesmen have actively tried to silence my voice and thus negate the mission by slandering my name. In retaliation to these developments the tranz comrade assaulted multiple tribesmen in my defense and thus was rehoused. Comrades, I learned thru this experience that my prior mission to revolutionize the entire tribe or org is damn near impossible. In my analysis the changes of one or a few comrades revolutionizing/politicizing their lumpen org or street tribe depends on the level of structure that group already has. The more structure and organization the better the opportunity.

Maoism is complete revolution in all aspects of life. Many tribesmen and bros aren’t willing to do this or truly act on it. I’ve completely outgrown the lumpen consciousness and this contradiction isn’t productive or conducive to the revolutionary movement. The good news is that the tranz comrade is now a self-ascribed New Afrikan Maoist. And has shown commitment and sacrifice to the movement. The few comrades that we still involve in the study continue to grow politically and all in all – A Luta Continua (The Struggle Continues).


MIM(Prisons) responds: What you wrote about converting a lumpen organization (L.O.) to Maoism or progressive politics is what we’ve seen from our other comrades throughout the years. We’ve seen numerous times that when people are trying to make a big shift in an L.O., it doesn’t usually go far. On one hand the L.O.s have this incredible infrastucture that can make big shifts happen quickly. On the other hand, the vast majority of members would need to be on board with such an ideological shift for it to be successful. And the infrastucture that makes big shifts possible is also an impediment, in a way, to even making the shift. Keeping things in the L.O. as they are (especially if it means giving up profits or power) is historically a very difficult challenge for revolutionaries.

Which is exactly why one of the United Front for Peace in Prisons principles, Growth, was included in the UFPP and defined in the specific way it’s defined. “Growth: WE recognize the importance of education and freedom to grow in order to build real unity. We support members within our organization who leave and embrace other political organizations and concepts that are within the anti-imperialist struggle. Everyone should get in where they fit in. Similarly, we recognize the right of comrades to leave our organization if we fail to live up to the principles and purpose of the United Front for Peace in Prisons.”

We stand firmly behind this comrade’s choice to unite with the LGBT persyn and include em in the political study group. Building toward communism isn’t just about overcoming oppression based on capitalism and class. We need to actively work against all forms of oppression, including gender oppression, as part of our mission toward the full liberation of the world’s people.

chain
[Gender] [Youth] [ULK Issue 70]
expand

On Cyntoia Brown

Cyntoia Brown

Fifteen years ago she was in a desperate situation and in an unfortunate set of circumstances. From afar we have watched Comrade Brown show and prove to the world over that consistency, education, solidarity and a set of principles not unlike our own can literally tear down the walls of the oppressive state apparatus.

Most peoples and folks would overlook the struggle of a misled youth in favor of the more traditional political prisoner, but, when we saw that our comrade was free we had to inform the masses of eir struggle. #she2 is Legion.

To be Legion you must have been about that life at one point. To be Legion you must have become the change you wanted to see. You could be a Freed Cyntoia Brown or a captive ME.

She beat the patriarchal system that told her that she would do 51 years for killing a trick who tried to rape her while under capitalism. She was forced into prostitution by a pimp that coerced her into the underground commercial sex economy without any input from her.

While she sat in prison she didn’t waste time. She got her education, she got a degree, she advocated for her freedom turning her cell into her dormitory. She went from the state pen to Penn State.

We hope for the best for Comrade Brown as she begins her life on release. She too knows the struggle the pain of the road less traveled, and we humbly salute her with universal greetings of PEACE!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Cyntoia Brown is an inspiration as to what the oppressed nation lumpen youth can overcome and accomplish. Her case is one where gender, class and national oppression all came into play leading Cyntoia to the traumatic experiences of her early life. These experiences were a consequence of gender oppression on her as not only a biological female, but also a young persyn. The lack of development of youth make them more subject to gender oppression in patriarchal society. Such experiences will often mark and change a persyn’s life. And we celebrate those like Cyntoia who come out of those experiences as a strong, educated organizer for the interests of the oppressed.

Unfortunately, we know countless Cyntoia Browns as Legion implies. And they do not have celebrities working on their freedom campaign. Some of them will spend the rest of their lives in prison. This is the difference between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, that we live under now, which keeps the leaders of the oppressed locked up; as compared to the dictatorship of the proletariat, that we need, which will recognize those who take up the cause of the oppressed to be reformed contributors to society.

The risk is cases like Brown’s making it look like the U.$. injustice system also recognizes such contributors, as if Brown was released because the government recognized eir value to society, and not simply because of public pressure. Again, there are many Browns who are still languishing in prison because they didn’t get the public support, weren’t “newsy” enough, etc. And there will be many more if we don’t put an end to the patriarchal society that so often leads youth into dangerous situations.

We are grateful Comrade Brown is released and still fighting the good fight, and we have a lot more work to do.

chain
[Gender] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 66]
expand

Due Process in the Era of #MeToo

lion eyes
[The following was written about the same time as we were writing Intersecting Strands of Oppression for ULK 65. This author echoes our own discussion of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing while heavily citing MIM Theory 2/3, as we did in our piece. This question of how gender and nation interact, and how revolutionaries should approach these topics in order to push things in the right direction continue to be of utmost importance. - MIM(Prisons)]

On 27 September 2018, in the United States Senate's Judiciary Committee, the nation heard riveting testimony of an attempted sexual assault, and the denial of that assault. A Crime that had occurred 37-years ago with no corroborating witnesses.

In a he-say, she-say trial, who gets the benefit of the doubt? The accused, or the accuser? In this era of #MeToo, is it guilty until you can prove yourself innocent, or innocent until proven guilty? Could due process be sacrificed at the altar of gender politics and why does it matter?

In reviewing my in-cell library on feminist theory, these matters and debates are not new, and the answers to these questions have long been addressed. The first question that has to be asked, "Who speaks for the feminist?" "Who has her girlfriend's back?" The demarcation in the feminist lines can best be exemplified by the research compiled by one feminist researcher, Ealasaid Munro:

"The emergence of 'privilege-checking,' however, reflects the reality that mainstream feminism remains dominated by straight white middle-classes. Parvan Amara interviewed self-identified working class feminists for a piece published on the internet magazine The F Word and noted that many of the women she spoke to found themselves excluded from mainstream feminism both on the internet and 'in real life.' Amara notes that many women tend to encounter feminism at university. Women who do not go on to further education face a barrier when attempting to engage with those academic debates that drive feminism."(1)

So if academia is where the debates that are driving feminist theory are occurring, what does that academic debate look like if she is not white?

"Ignoring the difference of race between women and the implications of those differences presents the most serious threat to the mobilization of women's joint power. Refusing to recognize difference makes it impossible to see the different problems and pitfalls facing us as women. Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down on the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying."(2)

Another theorist surmised, "Black women's own views on rape can't help being shaped by the actions of their white sisters. That is to say, that Black people cannot use a white supremacist justice system without perpetuating white supremacy."(3)

These other theorists have long been critical of weaponizing process. This was recently on display in California. There, a recall movement was taking place to remove a judge for imposing a light sentence on a Stanford University student for sexual assault. The most vocal opponents to the recall were Black women. The most visible, former California Supreme Court justice, Janice M. Brown.(4) She argued, that punishing a judge for exercising discretion will only harm defendants of color. Statistics bear this out. Per 100,000 of the Black and Brown population in 2010, 6,000 were imprisoned; while per 100,000 of the white population in 2010, 640 were imprisoned.(5) Black and Brown persons of color are in front of Criminal Court judges far more than whites.

Another theorist called this type of feminism Carceral Feminism, and rails against the federal passage of the 1999 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). "Many of the feminists who had lobbied for the passage of VAWA remained silent about countless other women whose 911 calls resulted in more violence. Often white, well-heeled feminists, their legislative accomplishment did little to stem violence against less affluent, more marginalized women."(6) And a further theorist noted, "If women do not share 'common oppression,' what then can serve as a basis for our coming together?"(7)

These other feminist theorist, the marginalized, had observed that the debate was about rational-feminism versus emotional-feminism. This feminist theorist argues that rational-feminism must prevail over emotional feminism.

"The sisterhood line as currently practiced (but not in the 1960s and early 1970s) is white, bourgeois, sexist propaganda. Women just turn around from seeking approval from men that they never got; to demanding unconditional approval from women. They put each other on a pedestal and imagine each other to be flawless goddesses."(8)

This same theorist argues, the root of emotional feminism is nothing more than a chauvinist plot to keep women marginalized and caught up in their emotions, rather than applying her faculties of reasoning.

"The root of this is the patriarchal socialization of women to restrict themselves to the sphere of feelings, while letting men develop the rational faculties necessary to wield power. Women are taught to read romantic novels, major in English, or maybe psychology, if the women seem like they are getting too many scientific ideas."(9)

Is the rallying cry, "I BELIEVE HER", the death nails to due process? Is process going to be sacrificed at the alter of gender politics? Is the new standard for America's fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons "GUILTY, UNTIL YOU CAN PROVE YOURSELF INNOCENT"?

One theorist's 1992 writings used the 1986 rape convictions of white women by the race of their rapist. 68% of their rapists were white; 22% of their rapists were Black; 5% were Other; and 2% of their rapists were Mixed. The theorist begs feminists to take a serious look at the 22% of white women raped in 1986 who were raped by Black men.

The theorist goes on to state a general proposition that all feminists can generally agree upon, "Three-quarters of all rapes are by acquaintances, and the figures on rape should reflect that women are raped by the type of people they date."

In 1986, 12% of the men available to white women were Black. However, no where near 12% of the sex white women were having were with Black men. Thus the 22% of white women's rapist being Black is disproportionately high. Furthermore, the population of white women was more than six-times the population of Black men. For every [1% of] white women who had a sexual acquaintance with a Black man, it takes [6% of] Black men to be those acquaintances. Out of those acquaintances charged with rape, the 22% figure means a very high proportion of Black men generally are convicted of rape of white women compared to white men.

The theorist takes note, up to this point, the figures have been examined from the perspective of the rape victim. But taken from the Black man's perspective, white women are a large group of the American population, while Black men are a relatively small one. For Black men, 63.3% of their rape accusers were white women. If Black men had 63.3% of their sexual interactions with white women, then the accusations might be fair, but this was far from the case.

The theorist surmised we could get an idea of how skewed the accusations were looking at "interracial dating." The theorist could not give a figure for what percentage of the dates people went on were interracial. Instead, the theorist surmised we could guess that it was similar to the figures for the percentage of people in interracial marriages. Black men married to white women accounted for 0.3% of total marriages in the United States as of 1989. In 1989, less than 4% of Black married men were married to white women, so we estimate that less than 4% of Black men's dating were with white women. Hence, less than 4% of accusations faced by Black men should come from white women. Instead, the figure was 63.3%.(10)

The history of that story is the other side of sexual politics here in America. An America where the LAPD and Oakland-PD have had 100s of convictions overturned, due to incredibly, credible, false testimony of police officers. A land where 15% of the Black population in Tulia, Texas, were incarcerated by the incredibly, credible, testimony of a single racist officer.(11) According to the San Quentin News, 139 prisoners nationwide were exonerated in 2017.(12)

Credible demeanor in testimony has never been foolproof. The National Academy of Sciences, along with the FBI, have noted eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable testimony.(13) While this would obviously be in reference to witnesses testifying against strangers, but the juries which wrongly convinced these defendants were doing so from witnesses who were credible and convincing in their testimony. In 2013, 153 of the 268 exonerations by the Innocence Project were for rape.(14) 72% of all DNA exonerations are people of color. Of the 72%, 61% are African Americans.(15)

Theorists can clearly see, "I BELIEVE HER," with its lock-in-step demands of sisterhood, is classic emotional-feminist theory. What is the emotional-feminist rationale to do away with "INNOCENT, UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY"? Nor could emotional-theorists surmise they are not doing away with this unitedly, American, idea. [...] "I BELIEVE HER" is a presumption-of-guilt, rather than the presumption-of-innocence that the rational feminist are standing for, and for years have been arguing against the emotional-feminist assault on process. While emotional-feminism, with its well-heeled, racial, social, and economic status is having the loudest voice, their marginalized sisters, whose rational-feminist approach, is the only voice of hope for fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons; a hope the other side doesn't win the debate.

Notes:
1. Ealasaid Munro. "Feminism: A fourth wave?". Political studies association
2. Audre Lorde. "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women redefining Difference". Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, St Martin's Press, 1995, Third Edition, pg. 445-451 [Paper delivered at the Copeland Colloguium, Amherst College, April 1980.]
3. MC5. "Using Women of Color for an Individualist Pseudo-Feminist Agenda". Gender and Revolutionary Feminism, MIM Theory, Simmer & Fall 1992, Numbers 2 & 3, Vol I, pg. 94-96.
4. Donald "C-Note" Hooker. "The Myth of Intersectionality to Women of Color." Mprisond Thotz, 27 May 2018.
5. "Changes in Incarceration Rates". Coalition For Prisoners' Rights Newsletter, Oct. 205, Vol. 40-v, No. 10, pg. 2
6. Victoria Law. "Against Carceral Feminism." Jacobin Magazine, Oct. 2014.
7. Bell Hooks. “Feminism: A Transformational Politics.” Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, St.Martin’s Press, 1995, Third Edition, pg. 494
8. ibid. 3, pg. 95
9. MC5. “Rationalists and Mystics”. Gender and Revolutionary Feminism, MIM Theory, Summer and Fall 1992, Numbers 2 & 3, Vol. I, pg.53
10. MC5. “The Myth of the Black Rapist”. Gender and Revolutionary Feminism, MIM Theory, Summer and Fall 1992, Numbers 2 & 3, Vol. I, pg.91-93
11. Michelle Alexander. The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press, 2012, pg. 10
12. Marcus Henderson. "139 prisoners Nationwide were exonerated in 2017." San Quentin News Aug. 2018, pg. 14, http://www.sanquentinnews
13. Radley Blako. "New National Academy of Sciences study critical of eyewitness testimony." The Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2014
14. Eric Lorenzsonn. "5 Things You Should Know About DNA Exonerations." The Progressive, 30 Mar. 2013, http://www.progressive.org
15. "DNA Exonerations in the United States: Fast Facts." Innocent Project, http://www.innocenceproject.org
chain
[First World Lumpen] [Gender] [ULK Issue 68]
expand

Thoughts on Sex Offenders and the Lumpen

Revolutionary Greetings!

Just writing in to say great job to everyone who participated with the latest ULK [ULK 64]. That said, I also want to give my input on various articles that sparked my interest:


RE: "Notes On Advancing The Struggle Inside: Sex Offenders Revisited" by el Independista

(1) In the second paragraph of this article, the author states that Sex Offenders(S.O.s) constitute a more dangerous element than murderers "because S.O.s often have more victims, and many of those victims become sexual predators, creating one long line of victimization."

As to your first point that S.O.s constitute a more dangerous element in comparison to murderers, I think your reasoning here is purely subjective as well as characteristic of the lumpen mindset both inside and outside of prisons, which the criminal lumpen vies to minimize their own parasitic and anti-people behavior. This way the lumpen can say "I may be a thief, but at least I'm not a pedophile." "I may be a gang member, but at least I'm not a rapist, etc." It is a notion that's caught up in all kinds of hypocritical bourgeois standards of honor, integrity and other nonsense. It's bourgeois moralization.

(2) In the second paragraph the author states: "Contrarily, sexual predators affect the entire societal composition. They perpetuate crimes against the males and females, provoking deep burrowing psychological problems and turn many victims into victimizers...The difference is not in the severity of the anti-proletariat crime, but in the after effects."

And murderers and other criminals don't have the same or worse effects on society? All victims of crime and violence will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to varying degrees. The psychological and emotional trauma that a victim of a robbery and the survivor of a sexual assault suffer can be very similar. The same goes for the friends and family of murder victims. And while it is true that some (I don't know about many) survivors of sexual abuse do turn into perpetrators of those same crimes, the same can be said of victims and survivors of other crimes, i.e. domestic violence, verbal abuse, and yes, murder! Just look at the factors that go into perpetuating gang violence.

That said, there is one huge difference when it comes to murder, sexual abuse, and their after effects. Whenever there is sexual abuse and violence victims are able to move forward and heal from their physical, emotional and psychological wounds if they receive the proper care and attention. When someone is killed, however, there is no rectifying the act. There is no coming back.

(3) In the fifth paragraph you state: "...murder is more of a one-two punch knock out, where sexual deprivation is twelve rounds of abuse...Most murderers are not serial killers..."

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, serial is defined as "appearing in a series of continuous parts at regular intervals." By this definition, then, and in conjunction with your reasoning, many gang members can be defined as serial killers.

(4) In the eighth paragraph, you state that: "...rehabilitating sexual predators can be made on an individual basis by revolutionaries who are able to see past the label prejudice though their efforts, if conducted scientifically, a systematic method can emerge for once the revolutionary is successful...sex crimes will be a problem for capitalism, socialism, or communism. Revolutionaries will have to address the problem sooner or later."

On this we agree, revolutionaries will have to address this problem sooner or later so why not get past the idealist rhetoric, which you inadvertently espouse, and begin dealing with it now by moving beyond lumpen rationalizations on the matter. Comrades should learn to understand that under the current power structure, all sex is rape and that sex criminals cannot be rehabilitated only revolutionized. This means that you cannot rehabilitate someone into a system that has gender oppression and rape built right into it. Therefore, comrades should learn all about gender oppression and the patriarchy and how the patriarchy not only informs what gender oppression is, but defines it.


RE: "Sakai On Lumpen In Revolution"

I only wanted to comment that the ghettos and barrios are not only being dispensed but shifted. The Antelope Valley, High Dessert and other under-developed regions in Southern California are good examples of this trend. Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a slow but steady trickling out of [email protected] and New Afrikans from the wider Los Angeles area and into places like Lancaster, Palmdale, Mojave, California City due to gentrification.

Also, in relation to your article on Sakai's book, what's the status of the MIM(Prisons) Lumpen Handbook?

In Struggle!

MIM(Prisons) responds: We published what was intended to be one chapter of a book on the First World lumpen as Who is the Lumpen in the United $tates. Prior to that we put efforts into the book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. Current research efforts are aimed at summing up the final results of our updated survey on prison labor in the United $tates. We will be publishing this final report along with a larger collection of writings on the economics of prisons in the United $tates. So that's something to look out for in 2019.

The Lumpen Handbook was envisioned to address more topics related to organizing the lumpen class in a revolutionary way in the United $tates today. We have not had the capacity to carry out that project to the scope originally envisioned, but this issue of ULK (68) is an example of our efforts to continue to tackle that topic.

We also have notes to develop into a Selected Works of the Maoist Internationalist Movement (1983-2008) book; another project we would like to see to fruition if we can garner more support for our existing work in the coming years.

chain
[Gender] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 69]
expand

Revolutionaries Must Fight Crimes Against Wimmin

I recently thumbed through a hand-me-down Under Lock & Key. It was the September/October 2018 issue, No. 64, and had an overwhelming inspiration to write pledging my allegiance to your cause, and to make comment on some of the articles I read concerning offenses against women/girls.

Mostly targeted to those of which appeared to be attempting to justify their actions with the phrase "consensual" sex with under-aged girls. I just hope my thoughts and writings will be as readily accepted as those of others written!

Crimes against women are the most cowardly atrocious acts one can do. Especially when it involves violent forcible rapes, on down to taking advantage of under-aged girls, and I am ashamed and humiliated to be a man during instances as these!

I don't write from a dark hateful place neither in a negative energy, but must say, if you are going to stand for a cause, especially a cause such as the revolutionary one, stand tall and with integrity.

I consider myself a revolutionist, suffering through struggles just to help change the oppressive abuse of authority being displayed by prison officials.

Because the current government structure, as you all would say the injustice system, is designed to make prisoners worse, most likely to return, for their benefit. It appears their attempt is not to rehabilitate but destroy, creating spitefulness and anger especially when they get away with their injustices.

But falling victim to this cycle only lessens us as human beings, if we get caught up in the wheel of things we are not living up to what we claim to be standing up for, which is change.

We are ambassadors for change and must conduct ourselves accordingly. We must stand out from the crowd, not be afraid of individuality. We must carry our heads high and keep our shoulders squared ready to support the weight of others, and to lend a shoulder to cry on if need be, with no ghosts lingering there in the closet.

We must be an energy more spectacular than the universe, an energy that gravitates others to us, a life energy that creates, cultivates and protects those we have around us. Building blocks for them to stand upon, for them who wish to embrace and enjoy change, something new. All of what we're allegedly standing for.

If not we are just a fake and a fraud and a continued part of an ongoing dilemma. Then we are no different than an immoral cult with a fancy name.

Young ladies (and young girls) should not be preyed upon by older guys, (especially not us). Guys, even if she were to show interest, and because you're a type of role model with a higher standard of morality.

As a revolutionist we are obligated to change the exploitation of girls and women alike. Instead, we should help her identify her potential, help channel her energy into something more spectacular, building her up to becoming a powerful leader of her own kind who could lead the way for others who either of us probably could not reach and relate to.

I am sadly disgusted, if not outright disturbed, when a guy, especially an alleged revolutionist claims consensual sex with a young girl. Are you truly incapable of handling a woman who knows how to handle a man?

I will not forget to mention that more despicable crimes against women like forcible rape with drugs, drink or intimidation. We should be advocating for these women, just as well. We cannot continue to accept these types of cowardliness and we as men are just as cowardly if we refuse to intervene. If you see a woman in need of help, help her. Don't turn a blind eye to her black eyes, in the hallway or at the store, step in.

If not where's the revolution?? It isn't simply a donation one goes through with while you're incarcerated? Or is it?

So then where does it start? With us here and now while in prison with the wonderful help from those there on the outside who understand and sympathize with our struggle of oppression, and who also want to unify and make changes.

Us as prisoners must strive to finally become educated women and men. We must come to realize the government down to the prison authorities have things just the way they want them, conquered and divided, defeated and hopeless (don't think) (don't know) and surely never united, they snicker and laugh.

We have slumbered for too long. We must allow the awakening of our minds which is an extremely powerful entity on its own, coupled with your energy and drive we can really make a difference. We are the biggest army (and can be the most fearless army) any government could go up against. They wouldn't know what to do if we shook the illusions from our eyes.

We as prisoners must lay down the knives and pick up the pens and books, learn the law and your rights.

It starts here and now with us and carries on afterward onto the streets. It's war time, our slogan all lives matter equally, not just the corrupt in high places, our pasts are gone, future is ahead.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Glad you found ULK so agreeable and took the time to write us. We agree that being a shining example is an important aspect of leadership. In thinking about recruiting and retaining recruits, consistent behavior by our leaders that is upstanding in the eyes of the masses is something that contributes to this greatly. While we prefer people learn to follow correct ideas rather than individuals and great leaders, we can benefit by always trying to be and develop more great leaders. The fruits of this practice can come to bear years down the line when you least expect it.

Being ashamed of being part of an oppressor group (men) is a righteous response, and one that leads many of us to commit class, nation or gender suicide; meaning to take up actions and politics that go against the interests of the oppressor groups that we belong to. In the imperialist countries we all must struggle in this way to be in solidarity with the world's majority.

We have addressed the question of dating/romantic relationships, how they should be approached by revolutionaries, and specifically the question of older men dating younger wimmin. In doing so we strongly discourage dating recruits, especially in situations where things are more likely to be construed as manipulative, such as dating younger wimmin. (1) As for dating in general, again we echo your advice of being shining examples that the masses will respect and trust.

We like your message of helping empower young wimmin with your influence. This is in contrast to a patriarchal/protective approach, that emotions around these issues can lead to. To say that crimes against wimmin are the most atrocious tends to fall into this subjective/patriarchal thinking. We do not believe that crimes against wimmin are inherently worse, but that our society treats them very differently because we live in a patriarchal society. A California prisoner addresses the impact of approaches to gender oppression that is purely emotional on the imprisonment of New Afrikan men in "Due Process in the Era of #MeToo."(2)

chain
[Theory] [Gender] [Principal Contradiction] [ULK Issue 65]
expand

Intersecting Strands of Oppression

Latifah

While we frequently discuss gender oppression in the pages of Under Lock & Key, most readers will notice a primary focus on national oppression. This is intentional, as we see the resolution of the national contradiction as the most successful path to ending all oppression at this stage. But for any of our readers who like our focus on nationalism, and have not taken the time to read MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism, i recommend you take a look. It is in MT2/3 that MIM really dissected the difference between class, nation and gender and justified its focus on nation. Don't just focus on nation because it's more important to you subjectively, understand why it is the top priority by reading MT 2/3.

All USW comrades should be working their way to the level 2 introductory study program offered by MIM(Prisons). We start level 1 studying the basics of scientific thinking. In level 2, we move on to study Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons, which gives a good overview of the 3 strands of oppression: class, nation and gender, and how they interact. This issue of Under Lock & Key is intended to supplement that theoretical material with some application to prison organizing and contemporary current events. (Let us know if you want to sign up for the study group.)

Academic Individualism vs. Revolutionary Science

Bourgeois individualism looks at race, class and gender as identities, which are seen as natural categories that exist within each individual. While proponents of identity politics generally recognize these concepts have evolved over time, they generally do not explain how or why. Dialectical materialists understand nation, class and gender as dualities that evolved as humyn society developed. Under capitalism, the class structure is defined by bourgeoisie exploiting proletarians. Class looked different under feudalism or primitive communist societies. One of the things Marx spent a lot of time doing is explaining how and why class evolved the way it did. Engels also gave us an analysis of the evolution of gender in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State.

One self-described "Marxist-Feminist critique of Intersectionality Theory" points out that "theories of an 'interlocking matrix of oppressions,' simply create a list of naturalized identities, abstracted from their material and historical context."(1) They do not provide a framework for understanding how to overthrow the systems that are imposing oppression on people, because they do not explain their causes. This "Marxist" critic, however, falls into the class reductionist camp that believes all oppression is rooted in class.

The MIM line is not class reductionist, rather we reduce oppression to three main strands: nation, gender and class. This is still too limited for the identity politics crowd. But when we dive into other types of oppression that might be separate from nation, class and gender, we find that they always come back to one of those categories. And this clarity on the main strands of oppression allows us to develop a path to success, by building on the historical experience of others who have paved the way for our model.

While MIM is often associated with the class analysis of the First World labor aristocracy, this was nothing really new. What MIM did that still sets it apart from others, that we know of, is develop the first revolutionary theory on sexual privilege. The class-reductionism of the writer cited above is demonstrated in eir statement, "to be a 'woman' means to produce and reproduce a set of social relations through our labor, or self-activity."(2) MIM said that is class, but there is still something separate called gender. While class is how humyns relate in the production process, gender is how humyns relate in non-productive/leisure time. And while biological reproductive ability has historically shaped the divide between oppressor and oppressed in the realm of gender, we put the material basis today in health status.(3) This understanding is what allows us to see that things like age, disability, sexual preference and trans/cis gender status all fall in the gender strand of oppression.

Using "Feminism" to Bomb Nations

Militarism and imperialist invasion are antithetical to feminism. Yet the imperialists successfully use propaganda that they wrap in pseudo-feminism to promote the invasion of Third World countries again and again. Sorting out the strands of oppression is key to consistent anti-imperialism.

In MT 2/3, MIM condemned the pseudo-feminists by saying that "supporting women who go to the courts with rape charges is white supremacy."(4) A recent Human Rights Watch report discussing alleged widespread rape in the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK) is getting lots of traction in the Amerikkkan/Briti$h press.(5) This campaign to demonize the DPRK is just like the campaign to imprison New Afrikans, with potentially nuclear consequences. We have two leading imperialist nations who committed genocide against an oppressed nation touting information that is effectively pro-war propaganda for another invasion and mass slaughter of that oppressed nation.

If it is true that rape is as widespread in the DPRK as in the United $tates and Great Britain, then we also must ask what the situation of wimmin would have been in the DPRK today if it were not for the imperialist war and blockade on that country. In the 1950s, Korea was on a very similar path as China. Socialism in China did more for wimmin's liberation than bourgeois feminists ever have. They increased wimmin's participation in government, surpassing the United $tates, rapidly improved infant mortality rates, with Shanghai surpassing the rate of New York, and eliminated the use of wimmin's bodies in advertising and pornography.(6)

An activist who is focused solely on ending rape will not see this. Of course, a healthy dose of white nationalism helps one ignore the mass slaughter of men, wimmin and children in the name of wimmin's liberation. So the strands do interact.

Distracted Senate Hearings

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh went through a hearing before his appointment to assess accusations of sexual assault from his past. This was a spectacle, with the sexual content making it tantalizing to the public, rather than political content. Yes, the debate is about a lifetime appointment to a very high-powered position, that will affect the path of U.$. law. But there was no question of U.$. law favoring an end to war, oppression or the exploitation of the world's majority. Those who rallied against Kavanaugh were mostly caught up in Democratic Party politics, not actual feminism.

A quarter century ago, MIM was also disgusted by the hearings for Clarence Thomas to be appointed a Supreme Court Justice, that were dominated by questions about his sexual harassment of Anita Hill. Yet, this was an event that became quite divisive within MIM and eventually led to a consolidation of our movement's materialist gender line.(7) It was the intersection of nation with this display of gender oppression that made that case different from the Kavanaugh one, because Thomas and Hill are both New Afrikan. The minority line in this struggle was deemed the "pro-paternialism position."

The minority position was that MIM should stand with Anita Hill because she was the victim/oppressed. The line that won out was that Anita Hill was a petty-bourgeois cis-female in the First World, and was not helpless or at risk of starvation if she did not work for Clarence Thomas. While all MIM members would quickly jump on revisionists and pork-chop nationalists, paternalism led those holding the minority position to accept pseudo-feminism as something communists should stand by, because they pitied the female who faced situations like this. Similarly today, with the Kavanaugh appointment, we should not let our subjective feelings about his treatment of wimmin confuse us into thinking those rallying against him represent feminism overall.

Bourgeois theories and identity politics

The paternalistic line brings us back to identity politics. A politic that says right and wrong can be determined by one's gender, "race" or other identity. The paternalist line will say things like only wimmin can be raped or New Afrikans can't "racially" oppress other people. In its extreme forms it justifies any action of members of the oppressed group.

Another form of identity politics is overdeterminism. The overdeterministic position is defined in our glossary as, "The idea that social processes are all connected and that all of the aspects of society cause each other, with none as the most important."(8) The overdeterminist will say "all oppressions are important so just work on your own. A parallel in anti-racism is that white people should get in touch with themselves first and work on their own racism."(9) Again this is all working from the framework of bourgeois individualism, which disempowers people from transforming the system.

There is a paralyzing effect of the bourgeois theories that try to persynalize struggles, and frame them in the question of "what's in it for me?" Communists have little concern for self when it comes to political questions. To be a communist is to give oneself to the people, and to struggle for that which will bring about a better future for all people the fastest. While humyn knowledge can never be purely objective, it is by applying the scientific method that we can be most objective and reach our goals the quickest.(10)

chain
[Gender] [Theory] [ULK Issue 65]
expand

Notes on Advancing the Struggle Inside: Intersecting Strands of Oppression

Today's principal contradiction, here in the United $tates, is the national contradiction — meaning that between oppressed nations and oppressor nations. MIM(Prisons) provides some very provocative questions as to secondary contractions, their influence on or by and in conjunction to the current principal contradiction. Class, gender and nation are all interrelated.(1) Many times, while organizing our efforts and contemplating potential solutions to the principal contradiction, we overlook the secondary and tertiary ones. Such narrow-mindedness oftentimes leads to difficulties, hampering efforts toward resolution. Other times it makes resolving the principal, effectively, impossible. Analogous to penal institutions making it possible to punish a citizenry but impossible to better it due to the irreconcilable contraction between retributive punishment and rehabilitation. This is why reforms consistently fail and prisons persist as a social cancer.

In regards to intersecting strands of oppression, prisons are illustrative of more than pitfalls of narrow-mindedness (i.e. reform of one aspect while leaving the rest intact). Prisons also provide numerous examples of oppression combinations. Interactions of nation and gender oppression are some of the most evident. Penal institutions are inherently nationally oppressive, because they are social control mechanisms allowing capitalism to address its excluded masses. Since the United $tates is patriarchal in practice, prisons over-exaggerate this masculine outlook, creating an ultra-aggressive, chauvinistic subculture.

Intersection occurs oft times when a female staff member is present. Other than the few brave people, most wimmin in prison are regarded as "damsels in distress." Generally speaking (at least in Colorado prisons) a male will accompany a female; though, most males make no effort to do this for other men. Capitalism's undercurrent to such "chivalrous actions" is rooted in wimmin being the weaker, more helpless and vulnerable gender. In prison, machismo culture such is the chauvinist's belief. While many wimmin aid in their inequality by accepting, encouraging, or simply not protesting such "chivalry," brave, independent wimmin experience a form of ostracism — they are derided, an effort to enjoin their conformity. At the same time men are being chivalrous, they sexually objectify females, further demeaning them, reinforcing their second-class status under machismo specifically and, capitalistic patriarchy generally.

Furthermore, there is also the ever-present nation bias (e.g. hyper-sexualizing Latina females, white females should only fraternize with whites). As prisons are "snapshots" of general society, the contradictions — their intersecting and interacting — hold useful material for revolutionary-minded persyns.

Intersection of different oppression strands (as shown above) demonstrates that the resolution of one does not automatically mean resolution of others. For instance, should machismo in prison dissolve, the national oppression will still remain and vice versa. Prisons are an encapsulation of society, meaning, their abolishment will not necessarily translate to class, nation, gender contradiction resolutions throughout society. Although, it is a very good, versatile place to start. Penal institutions are more of an observation laboratory where the effects and affects of contradiction co-mingling manifest. A place to watch, document, analyze, formulate and possibly initiate theory and practice. There is no better way to comprehend oppression than to witness it in action. Nor is there any better way of combating the many oppressions than from the front lines.

Notes: 1. See, MIM Theory 7: Proletarian Feminist Nationalism; MIM Theory 13: Culture in Revolution; MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism; MIM Theory 11: Amerikkkan Prisons on Trial. Each available for $5 from MIM(Prisons), P.O. Box 40799, San Francisco, CA 94140
chain
[Gender] [ULK Issue 69]
expand

Drug Dealer Labeled Sex Offender, Turning Life Around

ULK 61 was very informative to me. I'm 47 years old, and I have what you call street cred. I've been a drug dealer all my life because I didn't see it as a crime, I saw it as an illegal business. I'm currently serving a ten-to-twenty sentence, and all my charges are for drugs except for one.

In 2001, I worked in roofing. When I got to the job site there were no shingles so the boss sent us home early with half a day pay. When I came home, as I started up the stairs, I heard a commotion in my front room where me and my wife sleep. As I opened the door I saw my wife (or ex-wife) naked and a man jumping out the window. I lost my mind, started calling her all type of names and beat on her pretty badly. The neighbors called the cops. When I was given my charges it was rape, burglary, kidnapping, and breaking and entering. What should have been a crime of passion turned into something else. They did a rape kit and it was negative. I had keys to the house, and bills in my name.

I had a public defender because she had all my money. So me being a poor Latino, afraid of the racist justice system, I took a deal of 2 years for sexual battery plus ten years registering as a sex offender. I was evaluated by a professional and was determined that I didn't have a sex problem. Therefore I did not have to take the sex program that a sex offender must take. I've been to prison 4 times after that for possession with intent to deliver and all four times I was evaluated to see if I needed the sex program and every time it's been determined that I do NOT have a sex problem. My problems are with drugs. So my question is, if I do not have a sex problem, why is the state of Pennsylvania still registering me as a sex offender and wants to do it for life?

I want to change my life around but it's a heavy load to have as an older man. If anyone knows how I can get relief, please help me if you can.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer underscores our point that labels from the criminal injustice system shouldn't be trusted. Ey also raises an interesting question related to the topic of crimes against the people. Ey writes "I've been a drug dealer all my life because I didn't see it as a crime, I saw it as an illegal business." Drug dealing is harmful to those who do and buy drugs, and their families and community, and so we put it in the category of crimes that are against the people. This is different from, say, robbing a bank, or tax fraud.

It sounds like this comrade now sees the problem with dealing drugs, and wants to turn things around. This is a good example of someone who has great potential to reform and become a productive member of the revolutionary movement. Having a S.O. label is not a barrier to that, though we would struggle with this comrade over whether they feels justified in beating up eir ex-wife. Drug dealing is a business and a means to get by for many who are deprived of better options. Some think it is cool, others find it degrading. If someone has stopped and understands why it's wrong. We care most what ey does with eir life going forward.

chain