17 January 2022 – I am contacting you to update you on the BP-3.91 sexually explicit photos etc.
Here on the C.T. Terrell Unit (AKA Ramsey 3) several prisoners just recently received photos in the mail – bikini shots. However, several people have had theirs confiscated by correctional officers. Not many people got rid of theirs. This new law really sucked to say the least. Two lawsuits have been filed by offenders here on this level I. I have read it too.
Here’s the thing, TDCJ currently pays for hormone treatment injections for gender dysphoric offenders. We still shower 50 or more deep in the shower. Transgender prisoners are allowed their breasts, tight pants, etc. However, we are told we can’t receive photos of our own girlfriends wearing thongs. What kind of sense does this make?
Placing restrictions on prisoners’ mail, photos, newspapers, magazines, is a significant interference with prisoners’ rights. This is a blunt response to a problem that is much more nuanced than K2, cellphones, etc. Common sense should dictate that the TDCJ should focus on the bigger problem that they are creating introduction of contraband through the front door.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that BP-3.91 is a blunt tool, and like mail policies across the country, it is being used arbitrarily and to censor political materials and much-needed social interaction with friends and family on the outside. Our line is that we are against porn being used as an opiate of the prison masses; tactics-wise we’re against TDCJ (and bourgeois prisons in general) exploiting the reformist demands of friends/families of prisoners to further censorship and control what gets into the hands of prisoners.
A point this prisoner brings up is the fact that transgender wimmin are allowed to wear tight clothes and even shower with the men in the men’s prisons, despite the reason for this new censorship rule being to take away sources of arousal. The same argument has been made regarding female staff and how they dress and by the comrade who posed some strategic guidance for next steps in this campaign. The point is, that the TDCJ’s stated goal is asinine and unachievable. As another comrade points out, there seem to be some assumptions about only female bodies being able to sexually arouse.
Maoists understand that eliminating rape in our society doesn’t start with the individual: the material conditions that give rise to rape in the first place must first be gotten rid of and then the chance for a mass campaign against anti-people sex crimes will be possible. While individuals will certainly reform under patriarchy, the problem will continue until patriarchy is overthrown.
The TDCJ and the state of Texas claims that this law is promoted to give an environment for sex offenders to rehabilitate, yet they fully know that the rape culture of Amerikan prisons won’t disappear. We see that in this case the role of the TDCJ and the state of Texas is to govern the said material conditions for rape with security for the bourgeois dictatorship as priority; and that there will be no rehabilitation of anti-people sex offenders but more risk and danger for the already vulnerable group of transgender prisoners and LGBTQ+ prisoner in general. For this contradiction among the masses, we tell our prisoner comrades to build unity and solidarity with LGBTQ+ prisoners and promote independent power against the bourgeois state’s arbitrary use of reformist demands from the outside as a tool of censorship.
I can’t believe I am going to defend Curtis Reeves but if there is something I hate more than police it is capitalistic patriarchy, or mad masculinity, or what I call toxic testosterone. This is how capitalism rewards aggression.
We see it all the time in society. If a man is over 6 feet tall, he is almost guaranteed a management position in any workplace while more qualified workers are passed by. Or how it can be dangerous to attend a football game because of aggressive fans who can easily become violent. It is that the rewards of a capitalist culture go to those who are willing to fight the hardest.
The fact that an elderly man can not even attend a movie without being bullied by some mad man is evidence that capitalism does not work for human relations. Curtis Reeves asked Chad Oulson to be respectful and Chad Oulson became aggressive and violent because that is all he knows.
Chad Oulson probably thought he could get away with being a bully because he was bigger and much younger than Curtis Reeves. Chad Oulson thought it was OK to be violent and hit an old man because who is going to challenge a big man full of mad machismo? But this time karma finally caught up with Mr. Oulson and his pretty wife. Kurtis Reeves had the great equalizer, a gun. Curtis Reeves did what the rest of us could not get away with. Because Reeves was a police captain he could kill Chad Oulson with impunity, and in my mind, the jury was correct to acquit Reeves because the rest of us hate bullies too.
Another thing I think is relevant is an incident that occurred in early February. Two boys were fighting in the mall, 1 black and 1 white. The mall police intervened. They tackled the black boy to the ground violently and handcuffed him while the white boy only sat on a bench. Everyone on the news displayed this as a example of police racism but that is not what I seen. What I seen is 2 police officers, 1 man and 1 woman intervene in the fight. The man police officer tackled the black boy violently while the white woman police officer tackled the white boy to the bench and then backed off at the first sign of compliance. It should be noted that both boys were compliant after the police intervened in the fight. I do not know if the male officer who tackled the black boy is a racist or not, but what I do know is that the male officer had way too much toxic testosterone flowing in his veins. Where it is obvious the woman officer only used as much force as was necessary to stop the fight, the male officer clearly wanted to hurt someone. What I seen is patriarchy culture. Male police officer full of mad machismo on a mission to hurt as many people as he can, full of violence and aggression with a license to do whatever he wants with impunity. Honestly, if racism is the tool that is used to take that pig down then I will support that approach by whatever means necessary.
I see the capitalist patriarchy here in prison everyday. CDCR policy is if I am outside and 6 feet away from anyone a face mask is not required. However, that policy does not stop mad officers from telling me to put my mask on. These crazy pigs full of mad machismo mask check me all the time, not because it is policy or safety, in fact, it is contrary to CDCR policy. The crazy pigs mask check me only because they want to display dominance and control over another human being. The little bit of dominant feeling the pigs get from making me bow to their will makes them feel like a bigger man than they are.
The male officers that mask check me, only so they can feel a little bit of dominance, learned that sick behavior from American culture that rewards it; a disgusting capitalist culture that teaches patriarchy and rewards toxic testosterone allows these sick officers to challenge me while they have the upper hand. I am a defenseless prisoner, while they are a gang with weapons. The mask check is contrary to CDCR policy that clearly states if I am outside a mask is not required. The mask check is nothing more than a testosterone challenge. Mad masculinity or what the South Americans call machismo.
Who is the bigger man? The defenseless prisoner or the gang of officers carrying weapons? This sick culture that rewards the aggression devastates so many.
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: I recently heard a well-known fascist arguing for more violence to defend honor, that our society has become too soft without it. This same fascist is infamous for abusing his ex-wife. We agree with the author above that machismo, especially over one’s right to text during a movie, is a toxic result of the patriarchy. It is not clear from the information available that Reeves’ quickness to pull the trigger didn’t stem from the same machismo. Either way, we can agree that the patriarchy led to Oulson’s death.
However, patriarchy kills more people through violence between romantic partners and former partners. A recent gruesome story hit the news of an ex-boyfriend who broke in and tortured and killed his ex-girlfriend’s now husband.
While the percentage of homicides in the United $tates from gang-related violence is around 10%(1), the percent from intimate partners is about 20%.(2) The percent of wimmin victims of murder by intimate partners is about 40%. Yet there is a war on gangs, but no war on patriarchy being led by those in power. The war on gangs, like the war on drugs, is motivated by a project to control the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates.
As many of our imprisoned readers will recognize, it is much easier to get people to lash out in violence against those with no real power over petty things than to stand up against power over real grievances. It is not just white Amerikan movie-goers, it is the oppressed as well who fall prey to the machismo, the petty individualism, and the violence of Amerikan culture. We are not pacifists, we advocate the use of all tools that can be effective at ending needless violence and murder. After imperialism, patriarchy is the next power structure that must fall to reach our goal. In the exploiter countries, we see the violence of the patriarchy more strongly, where the violence of imperialism is less. Join us in standing up for fights that really matter.
Here at Lane Murray Unit we are trying to get a dorm for the 50 and over women that reside here. There is a lot of women that are in the “silver streaks” years and have many disabling ailments and being around the younger “residents” has become somewhat dangerous at times. So keep us in your thoughts and if there are any ideas as to how to get this 50’s plus dorm on the way, please let us know.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Please write to MIM(Prisons) if you have any suggestions for this comrade. We understand gender to have a material basis in health status. Things like old age and disability contribute to one’s gender status, and under patriarchy can lead one facing more gender oppression as this comrade mentions. Just as we work to resolve the divisions between nations and lumpen orgs among the imprisoned population, we also struggle against gender divisions. While male and female prisoners are kept in separate prisons, we still have gender divisions along the lines of age, disability, sexual orientation and gender presentation that do not serve the interests of the prison masses.
As we promote these comrades’ campaign for a seperate dorm, we call on USW leaders to find real solutions in resolving the gender contradictions and oppression that leads to some feeling like they need to be separate to be safe. Some of the comrades leading the campaign to Liberate Our Elders in California serve as great examples in bringing that unity.
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.
I recently paroled from C.D.C.R. into the B.O.P. Observation and inquiry reveals a downward trend in the cut, caliber, and clarity of the general population.
General Mao Zedong tells us we have to become the change we want to see. Legion in the past has built at length under Unity-Criticism-Unity on the people’s struggle for self-determination who are entangled in the underground commercial sex industry. Observation within the C.D.C.R. revealed that there was no incentive for a person, male or female and regardless of sexual bent, to “program” at first, it’s shocking to reveal.
However, when you are sent to prison you get a 841. It used to be a long green sheet of paper – now it’s all electronic. They have “P” codes for violent offenders, arsonists, and anyone convicted of any “sex” crime. “P” coded individuals include (but is not limited to) domestic abusers, indecent exposure, child-touchers, rapists, pimps, prostitutes, Johns, etc. In California alone, a large part of the population has a “P” code.
“P”-coded people at first were ineligible for milestones and relief under Prop 47, Prop 35, Prop 57, SB260 and SB261. The “People” of California always exclude rather than include under the guise of public safety. They always combine “murderers & rapists” in their cry for tough on crime policy. And will give a murderer the opportunity to procreate but not the rapist. In turn, a lot of persons flock to alternative living because they have no hope.
My duty is to build people’s brains. And under the guidance of MIM(Prisons) to build public opinion and independent institutions of the oppressed. To quote “ULK” we support the self-determination of ALL nations and peoples. That said Legion is calling on all ESP (Erotic Service Providers) in the confines of U.$. prisons under the thick net of oppression to ADOPT, RATIFY, GROW, and INSTITUTE the 3P initiative:
The safety factor, there is always safety in numbers.
Education of revolutionary thought & practice, ignorance of the knowledge around you is NO EXCUSE.
You aren’t alone, you are not the anomaly.
These are the reasons to adopt, grow, and institute.
Legion is well aware of the hardship people face when subjected to the “P” code. This label is akin to the Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany during Hitler’s reign of terror. This is what is meant when you get your 128-G printout and people see your “P” code in these “people’s” mind its a green-light for extortion, violence, and sexual assault. UFPP is against these parasitic practices in prisons and abroad. ESPs are not just the vessels but the senders and the users. And everyone has a seat at the table. The 3P initiative is a work of Legion ergo it is rooted in UFPP and USW. DLS (Dirty Little Secrets) and the WWC (White Wolf Collective) are some of the initiates of 3P and are apart of the cell Legion.
THE 3P INITIATIVE
PROTECT OUR INTERESTS AT ALL COSTS
ELEVATE OUR STANDARDS
UNITE OUR PEOPLE
– Accept yourself and be your own
– I CAN DO NOTHING BY MYSELF. IT’S ABOUT: US, WE, AND OURS!
MIM(Prisons) adds: In Under Lock & Key 61 we addressed in depth the question of sex offenders and their role in the prison movement. One article in that issue concluded with:
“Maoists believe that problems amongst the people should be handled peacefully among the people and thru the methods of discussion and debate. Most prisoners are locked up exactly because they engaged in some type of anti-people activity at one point or another of their lives. Should these actions define prisoners? According to MIM Thought, all U.$. citizens will be viewed as reforming criminals by the Third World socialist movement under the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations (JDPON). The First World lumpen will be no exception regardless of crime of choice.”(1)
We do not put any special conditions on “sex offenses,” but recognize some crimes as more serious than others. We do think we all need to undergo transformation, guided by criticism/self-criticism, as we create a world free of oppression. We believe all people can be redeemed and will have the ability to in the future. Unfortunately, today that is not the case. But we welcome with open arms all who are ready for redemption through revolution to begin with our new Revolutionary 12 Step Program.
Regarding Prop. 57, there was a California state Supreme Court decision on 2 January 2022 that CDCR shall not allow early parole to people who have any sentence terms that are violent felonies (In re Mohammad, No. S259999). Similarly the original law was implemented by CDCR to exclude anyone with a required sex offender registration under Penal Code subsection 290. However, this was overturned on 28 December 2020 (In re Gadlin, No. S254599). Such people should be “referred to the Board by July 1, 2021 and must be scheduled for a hearing by no later than December 2022.” (see CCR title 15, § 2449.32)
The Prison Law Office should be able to provide you with additional details if you are uncertain how this affects your parole eligibility: PRISON LAW OFFICE General Delivery, San Quentin, CA 94964-0001
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
[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.