A Memorandum issued by the PREA Auditors of America was recently posted in all dorms and other areas here at Dillwyn Correctional Center where incarcerated people frequent advising us of the following:
“The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) will be conducting an audit for Compliance with the United States Department of Justice’s National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) for Its Adult Detention Facility.”
The scheduled dates of the PREA Audit are from September 26th-28th, 2023.
The Memorandum further advises:
“Any person with relevant information pertaining to this compliance Audit may * confidentially * correspond with the Auditor via the following address:
Ron Kidwell P.O. Box 193 Palmyra, Virginia 22963
“CONFIDENTIALITY. All correspondence and disclosures during interviews with the designated auditor are CONFIDENTIAL and will not be disclosed unless required by law. There are exceptions when confidentiality must be legally broken. Exceptions include, but are not limited to the following:
If the person is an immediate danger to him/herself or others (e.g., suicide or homicide)
Allegations of suspected child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment
In legal proceedings where information has been subpoenaed by a court of appropriate jurisdiction.”
The Prison Rape Elimination Act or PREA was passed by the U.$. Congress and codified into federal law as Title 42 U.S.C.A. section 15601. It was passed in response to the high incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence incarcerated people were subjected to in prisons across the country.
Despite the language of PREA, it does not stop, prevent or reduce the rape and sexual violence of incarcerated people. As an example, the rape and sexual assaults against women at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California in the years before 2022 was so bad the prison was called the “rape club” by incarcerated women and prison staff alike. Even the Warden of the prison at the time, Ray J. Garcia, took part in raping and sexually exploiting women at the prison.
The real purpose of PREA was to create a set of national standards (also called PREA standards) by the U.$. Attorney General that state and federal prison systems can give the appearance of being in compliance with in order to gain accreditation and federal grant money from the U.$. Department of Justice.
PREA Audits as they are currently conducted do not work and will never work for the following reasons:
As the above quoted Memorandum reveals, prison officials are given advanced notice their prisons will be audited for PREA compliance. This advanced notice sets in motion a scheme whereby prison officials began the process of cleaning up and beautifying the prison before PREA auditors arrive, both literally and figuratively. I have witnessed time and time again how in the days leading up to the audit, incarcerated people are instructed to paint walls, plant flowers, and wax and buff the floors. Guards and prison staff begin acting nice and treating incarcerated people with a little bit more dignity and respect. A special meal is sometimes serviced to incarcerated people either on the day of the audit or on the day before. In some cases, a prison may go on an unexpected lockdown where incarcerated people are locked in their cells on the day of the audit. All of this is done to placate/pacify incarcerated people so they’ll be least likely to give the PREA auditors a “bad report” or, in the case of the unexpected lockdown, to prevent them from giving a report altogether.
In order for the PREA audit to be truly effective, they must be conducted without prison officials having prior notice of the date and time of the audit.
In addition to that, incarcerated people must be allowed to communicate freely with auditors in a confidential setting. This is often not possible because PREA auditors are accompanied by brass and are deliberately led on a prearranged course throughout the prison that keeps them out of contact with incarcerated people and out of the housing areas where incarcerated people live and sleep.
Incarcerated people must not be retaliated against for making complaints about having been raped and sexually assaulted by prison staff. I know of many fellow incarcerated people who have been harassed, threatened, moved to another housing unit, transferred to another prison, and written bogus infractions in retaliation for submitting PREA complaints. This sort of retaliation chills other incarcerated people’s desire to submit PREA complaints which allows their abusers to escape accountability.
Lastly, the only real solution to ending the rape and sexual violence of incarcerated people is to abolish the Prison Industrial Complex. If there are no prisons, then there can be no prison rape.
All Power to the People Who Don’t Fear Freedom!
MIM(Prisons) responds: We actually think we can do a lot to eliminate rape for all people before abolishing prisons. Prisons are a tool of class struggle. In the control of a communist government, prisons would be revolutionized to serve the people. There would be an end to the torturous practices so common in capitalist prisons of isolation, heat, lack of health care and physical and sexual assaults.
Unlike prisons, rape and sexual violence are forms of oppression that cannot serve the people. While the path to eliminating any of these things remains long and challenging. Previous revolutionary societies have made quick progress in the realm of reducing and almost eliminating many forms of gender oppression. So we call on those who want to put an end to rape and sexual violence to join us in the struggle to end imperialism and replace it with a system in the hands of the international proletariat.
We thank Comrade Slaughter for bringing forth these questions, and as Maoist revolutionaries MIM(Prisons) as a cell has the duty to coordinate this line struggle within the United Struggle Within through unity-criticism-unity. One divides into two: a thing that was in a state of unity will have its contradictions and arrive at a point where the two are split. And through criticism and self-criticism and ridding metaphysics and idealism, the two aspects of the contradiction will find unity where one side will overtake the other.
Before we begin with the following quotes of the responders to Comrade Slaughter, we raise the question Mao Zedong asked when ey and eir comrades were beginning a revolutionary people’s war in semi-colonial and semi-feudal China: who are our friends? who are our enemies?
Comrade Jade responds: In regards to Slaughter’s response I would like to point out a few things you may overlook in regards to sex offenders in general.
First, not everyone convicted of a sex crime is a child molester. Are all white males Aryans? Are all Hispanics Cartel? Are all Black males gang bangers? There will always be diversity in all groups we attempt to label or create. It is a proven fact. We all are individuals who are slightly different even under the exact same conditions.
Next, I believe that you need to truly look at what they did or did not do before ostracizing or mistreating them. Do not just judge them by the label corrupt politics fostered on them.
I agree that those who truly rape/molest and prey on underage children are not likely to be rehabilitated or to further the cause. But, how many of the people convicted of sex crimes are the true predators?
I know from personal experience, as a former psychiatric nurse, that females tend to mature sooner and seek out sex earlier. As puberty shifts from the old 12-15 to 8-11 now due to steroids and worse it makes them even more likely to become sexually active by 14. They will seek out partners where they will, including older more experienced men, who in their opinion can please them or teach them. While I do not advocate for them to be sexually active, especially not with grown men, due to early menstruation and physical development some females 14-17 look like grown adults. Then add to that the over-sexualization of our society, they tend to become aggressive in a sexual nature. As a result, some men may not realize their partner is underage. While this is not an excuse, it does happen.
Then you have men whose adult female partner falsely accuses them in revenge to a variety of things. It is not uncommon in a situation like this for the man to be convicted or pressured into a deal.
This does not mean all sex offenders are able to be rehabilitated, though the ones convicted rarely re-offend according to statistical evidence.
To this end we need a viable alternative to prisons and/or death for all offenders who truly cannot be rehabilitated. None of the current approaches are going to work. It will have to be a new idea.
We also must address the over-sexualization of our society. By making sex less of a pass time, less appealing, less mainstream, we can reduce many sex offenses as well.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Comrade Jade reveals an important aspect of the registered sex offenders status – the moral panic and the scapegoat aspect it represents. How many non-registered sex offenders and non-confirmed sex offenders in prisons (who might perhaps gotten in prison for non-sex related crimes such as murder or drugs) will partake in the ultra-leftist crusade against the confirmed ones? For the readers on the outside, that sentence alone might carry a reactionary and apologist undertones, but that is because petty-bourgeois justice oriented revenge killings is a material reality in prison and much less often outside. The life of a lumpen organization member for example is an oppressive and gritty one, and sexual crimes or sexual relations where consent isn’t prioritized aren’t uncommon; yet most lumpen organization members won’t come to prison on sex related crimes but on drug and homicide related crimes.
Subjectivism, ultra-leftism, and individualist oriented justice is another form of opiate of the masses in prison: take that anger out on the confirmed sex offenders says the pig, but us at MIM(Prisons) know that the pigs are laughing all along as this happens because it’s just that much easier to control a violent lumpen class than a cool and collected one – a class in itself vs a class for itself. Drugs aren’t the only form of individualism that is used to placate the imprisoned lumpen, the imprisoned lumpen’s penchent for ultra-leftist violence will also come in handy as a governing tool.
In a socialist society we will ban things like pornography for profit and misogynistic media and media that is predatory towards children. These things are so common under imperialism and reinforce and encourage sexual abuse.
A Colorado Prisoner Responds: I agree with Wiawimawo. I disagree with Slaughter.
A “sex offense” is whatever a legislature defines as one. It can be anything like actual physical rape to someone who is caught peeing on a dumpster in an alley. In my 14 years in a Corruptarado (as we call this state) prison I have met only a couple of people who were actual “rapists.” The vast majority of sex offenders were people who had younger lovers who chose to be with them. But someone, often a jealous want-to-be lover, found out, ratted the two out, and the older partner was arrested and charged.
Now prosecutors adore sex charges. They require no physical evidence, no witnesses. Only an allegation and a “victim” coached by D.A. investigators to say how they were fooled, manipulated, led astray, by that evil older man (almost always a man). And in states like this one without a time limit for filing, a “victim” can say, “20 years ago he took advantage of me” and the D.A. can file a charge and get a conviction.
Slaughter talks about “children.” A child is whatever the legislator says he is. Anyone under 18 is defined a child. Right now it is 18, which is the “age of consent.” Back in 2009, in Colorado, it was 15. And a female of 12, with parental permission, could marry (official papers) anyone.
In Texas, as in most of the South, the legal age for marriage was 12 when I was there. I don’t know what it is now.
The fact is, the religious right bible-wavers do not like sex, and they do not want these pesky kids having any of it. Thus the law, and the pigs (Amerikkka’s version of the Nazi SA) are used to stop it.
The conclusion of this religious fear will be what was done in the Salem-Keizer school district in Oregon. Reported on broadly, on vice.com, “Teachers Forced to Report All Teens Having Sex in Oregon School District.”
At those schools, since Oregon law only allows sex for those 18 or older, anyone under 18 doing the dirty is a criminal. So any school personnel discovering an under 18 having sex is required to report him or her to the police for prosecution.
Hey, if enough “children under law” would be arrested and thrown into prison then unapproved sex could be stopped. Of course, putting older partners in prison is already being done and that does not stop them from re-offending. So it should work with the children also.
Slaughter (what is in a name) wants those sex offenders (ey calls them pedophiles – a term created by prosecutors to inflame) to be punished, and people protected from them. In Colorado there are about 4000 sex offenders in prison (CDOC). The vast majority have indeterminate sentences, which means most will die in prison. That number is a full 25% of the CDOC population. And as you probably know, the giving of indeterminate sentences is an easy way for prosecutors to get a life sentence for defendants that did not kill anyone. Great for the D.A.’s stats when a performance review comes around.
The issue is of life sentences in Amerikkka. Get the article, “The Only Way We Get Out of There is in a Pine Box” in the April 2022 issue of News Inside published by The Marshall Project. It tells of elderly prisoners, convicted of murder or other violent crimes who will die in prison. At great expense to tax payers for all their medical care.
…Make no mistake about it, if the Christians like Pence, DeSantis, etc. take over, a new inquisition, just like the Spanish one in the 18th Century will be instituted. And right at the top of the list, below LGBTQ people, will be the communists. Off to the concentration camps for all.
MIM(Prisons) Responds: A recent report by the Prison Policy Initiative exposes the arbitrary repression of so-called “civil commitments.” In cases where someone is not given a life sentence, they can be civily committed after fulfilling the sentence given by the courts. Most who go to civil commitment will never see the outside world again. At least 6,000 people, mostly men, across the country are in civil commitment after serving their time for sex offenses. Unlike court, the process to be sentenced to civil commitment is largely arbitrary. The following will make you much more likely to be civilly committed: being gay, being transgender, being Black, being disabled.(3)
Under imperialism, well-meaning laws that sound good on paper such as ones surrounding the age of consent (or the anti-mask laws first intended against the Klan protesting while cowardly hiding eir identities, but now used against progressives and oppressed nation youth protesting against police violence) will be abused for the interests of the imperialist-patriarchy. The truth is, law in itself for any given class society has been simply state enforced rules to govern the overall humyn society in accordance with the respective class dictatorships. This is why legalism (in this case referring to the idea that good laws will create good society and bad laws will create bad society) is in no way shape or form a scientific solution against the tragic cases such as rape, molestation, and grooming of children.
Under the imperialist patriarchy that we live in, children have no rights or agency to consent and the rape culture of our world will always harm the most vulnerable. “Good” laws under an imperialist patriarchy will be designed and used for the purposes of maintaining it (the nuclear family, heteronormitivity, youth oppression, etc.) that has children raped in the first place while a socialist society/proletarian dictatorship will give power to the youth to properly protect themselves and prioritize abolishing oppression above all else and especially against prioritizing profits and maintaining a patriarchal culture.
A California Prisoner Responds: I can see this comrade has done a significant amount of revolutionary education. However to truly be a communist means one has to recognize the humanity of others. It is here this comrade’s own hate is still an obstacle in the way. The ONLY path forward for this comrade is to forgive his abuser. This comrade must also recognize that the Known Sex Offenders (KSO’s) on the yard are NOT his abuser, meaning this comrade does NOT know their circumstance.
This comrade separates sex crimes from all other crimes by stating that “all other crimes are political crimes,” as a result of capitalism I presume. Sex crimes are an “illness.” This comrade (let me say comrades) states he is in for murder and that murder is somehow NOT an anti-human crime but only a “political crime.” Furthermore, Comrade Slaughter states that he is rehabilitated by saying he has “learned to be objective towards KSO’s.” He also states it is only possible for all other criminals to rehabilitate by saying “unification with the KSOs is futile because after the revolution the KSO will still need to be dealt with” meaning presumably rehabilitation for sex addiction is somehow not possible for the KSO.
I would like to start with the motion this murderer is not as rehabilitated as ey claim. The statement “after the revolution the KSO will still need to be dealt with” proves Comrade S. is not as rehabilitated as ey thinks. It also proves that Comrade S endorses the puniluation method used by the Nazis to “deal with” 6 million Jews. Comrade S. is obviously proposing the genocide of a whole group of people (KSOs). I think a lot of Jews, Armenians, and Africans would tell Comrade S. that his crime of murder is not political as he claims, but in fact is an anti-people crime. Moreover, most KSOs are more rehabilitated than this murderer.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We would say that the comparison of Slaughter’s comments to the holocaust of Jewish, Gay, Romani, and politically subversive revolutionaries under Nazi Germany to be a bit of an exaggeration. Yet it is true that the fascists will mobilize people around persecuting scapegoats, and currently it is this fanatical connection between pedophilia, transgender people and gender non-conforming people in general that is mobilizing the reactionary forces in the streets.
As we assemble this issue of ULK, a news story dropped about Larry Nassar being stabbed in prison. Nassar was convicted of molesting hundreds of young girls over decades while serving as the doctor for the U.$. Olympic team. Whether it’s to make themselves feel better about themselves, as the California prisoner above proposed, or to take out some anger, or to earn some stripes, the collaborative effort to punish people like Nassar undermines the principal contradiction in prisons. These attacks are generally a collaborative effort between prisoners and staff. Staff who may overlap with the fascist movements on the streets threatening drag story times. And while we would not argue there is never a time to ally with staff, it is a rare occasion, when they actually side with prisoners against the system. In contrast, this type of “outlaw justice” is really state-sanctioned. And it does reinforce the idea that there is some common interest between the oppressed and the oppressor in punishing these crimes considered most heinous.
If we aren’t organizing collectively to transform systems and transform ourselves, then we aren’t working towards justice. Triumphant mentions an example on the streets of FPC addressing open air sex markets in the community. Without knowing the details, this seems like an approach that could actually mobilize the people in a way that reduces sexual abuse of children and teenagers. Within prisons we can point to the example of Men Against Sexism, which successfully eradicated rape in Washington State Prison.(1) So if people are serious about taking action against sexual assault, there are actual effective ways to do this.
The ability to truly rehabilitate people will increase as communists increase their power and influence over society. We agree with this comrade that the current system can’t properly address those who aren’t being rehabilitated. And we look to socialist China’s model for how they rehabilitated people who committed crimes against the people.
Comrade Slaughter is right to bring up the question of how and what the morality of a revolutionary should be implemented and look like. To that we answer that proletarian morality must be based on whatever is best for the whole of society to be rid of oppression in contrast to bourgeois morality which is based on individualism, Liberalism, and profit. We tell Comrade Slaughter, and to all comrades in the revolutionary struggle (especially the imprisoned lumpen) to protect themselves as revolutionaries from individuals with bad intentions, but also to push themselves beyond the subjective trauma that ey has faced as oppressed people. Use mindfulness and other resources made available by this imperialist system and use it to better oneself as a revolutionary to heal the persynal scars to better transform the world around us. Don’t let the imperialists weaponize mindfulness or therapy to numb and placate one’s self.
All crimes are political. Post-modernism (the narrative of non-narrative) recognizes phenomena such as this and says that the persynal is the political. Maoism goes beyond this to say that the narrative of the oppressed must replace the narrative of the oppressor with revolutionary violence (rhetoric alone will solve nothing). Persynal scars are political scars, and recognizing the contradiction between the individual and the oppressive system is recognizing that one must recognize eir own lived experiences isn’t all there is to the world and is an unscientific way for the oppressed nations/internal semi-colonies of the United $tates to understand the material reality around them.
After printing our long discussion of sex offenders in ULK 81 we thought we might have spent a bit too much space on the topic. But as all the responses came in, we were reminded why we did a whole issue focused on this topic 5 years ago. It is a topic of great interest to the prison masses. It is important for building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. And we learned some stats on the large percentages of prisoners who are convicted of some kind of “sex offense” across the country (25% in Colorado, 21% in California).
Many of our readers feel they have been wronged or mistreated by other prisoners because they are labelled a sex offender. Others who are not convicted of any sex-related crime spoke up on behalf of those who are. And we know there are many with such charges who are reading ULK, reaching out to MIM(Prisons), who want to be part of the anti-imperialist prison movement. And so the question is, should we be excluding 1/5 to 1/4 of the population in any given prison system from the movement based on this label?
As scientists, we must think in terms of percentages. If 25% of people in a given prison system are sex offenders, that means in a wing of 100 people, 25 of them are convicted of some kind of sex crime. Are 100% of these 25 prisoners enemies of the people who cannot be redeemed? Even those who wrote to say that some cannot be reformed, did not include all “sex offenders” in that category. Yet, often, the way it plays out is 100% of those with known sex crime convictions are treated as outcasts. This is dividing the prison population. This is just one of many things dividing prisoners in the United $tates today. But it is one that affects a lot of people.
The possibility that we’ve been working to create since before the founding of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) in 2012, is a united prison movement that acts in the interests of all oppressed people. People in U.$. prisons are being tortured, starved, denied medical care, denied educations, imposed with mental suffering and being repressed for political activity. A strong, united prison movement is the only way we can overcome these conditions.
The divisions preventing this level of unity is the old way, the way of imperialism. We are fighting for a new way, a revolutionary socialist way. This new way requires changes in how we live and interact. On the level of the individual this means applying the Maoist method of criticism/self-criticism. This is something we all must participate in to be part of the movement to overcome imperialism. It’s not just sex offenders, or drug addicts, or murderers who need to self-criticize and reform ourselves, it’s all of us. All of us have ways of thinking and behaving that are based in the values of imperialism.
We are calling on comrades to lead criticism/self-criticism sessions with the goal of building unity to build for the UFPP’s annual Day of Peace & Solidarity, this September 9th. For years we’ve been promoting the Day of Peace and sharing report backs on events organized by prisoners across the country. What we want to focus on this September 9th is the importance of criticism/self-criticism in the building of unity. We challenge USW leaders to take on the following plan of action:
Every day, ask yourself what is an interaction you could have handled differently to better promote unity among prisoners? This could be a daily meditation question you take on for Black August.
Every week, meet with like-minded people and discuss ways you are working to change yourselves to be better leaders at building unity. Give each other feedback on your shortcomings and progress.
On September 9th, organize others to take the day off from work and school, to fast, and to focus on this question of building unity for common interests on a facility-wide level.
Use the article Criticism & Self-Criticism as a guide and in your discussions in the coming weeks. In addition, last year we released our Revolutionary 12 Step Program. This pamphlet is a guide to self-assessment and self-criticism. It is a framework for transforming yourself along the guidelines of proletarian morality. Get a copy via our Free Political Books to Prisoners Program to help you with the above tasks.
Then send us a report on your successes and failures this September 9th so we can all learn, grow and share in the next issue of Under Lock & Key. Issue 83 will be focused on the theme of “Prisons are War.” We will be printing stories that highlight the political war being waged against oppressed people and politically active people by the U.$. criminal injustice system.
1. PTT, November 2012, Review: The Anti-Exploits of Men Against Sexism, Under Lock & Key 29.
First allow me to say that I am in no way homophobic and hold no bias nor any prejudice toward gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, or queer people. However, I find it inhumane that, while men can flaunt themselves around in thongs, booty shorts, leggings, mascara, eyeliner, makeup, and sports bras, I am being denied pictures of my fiance because she is wearing those exact same things. The woman who has dedicated her life to me, stands by my side through the trials and tribulations, who has weathered the storm, someone who I am going to wed.
I have been denied pictures of my fiance on vacation in a bathing suit because they were “sexually explicit” but in turn a gay man can receive pictures of another man in boxers? I am restricted from receiving pictures of my fiance in boy shorts or leggings while men walk freely past the guards and Warden wearing those and everything is fine.
The Kentucky Department of Corrections Penitentiary System encourages homosexuality while banning intimacy with your loved one. Your visitor is not permitted to wear a dress, shorts, leggings, or tight jeans on a visit, meanwhile transgender people are encouraged to receive hormone shots to grow breasts, walking hand-in-hand around the loop with another man. In the Kentucky Department of Corrections Penitentiary System homosexuality is forced upon the heterosexual inmates where men can lay in a cell with another man in their arms, but magazines such as “Idore”, “Spicy”, “Straight Stuntin”, “King”, “Phat Puffs”, or “Sultry” are not available or restricted to purchase. Magazines with women in clothes like two piece swim suits are restricted. But why? Because they are women, or because they are what, real women?
How do you combat a whole state, let alone a prison, where the Warden is promoting homosexuality? (Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex, Warden J. David Green).
I am not concerned as to what other inmates choose to indulge in, I just want to be able to receive pictures of my future wife in her boyshorts, leggings, in her intimate state, to help with my sexual release and soothe my mind, to escape, but instead I am subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and the promotion of homosexuality within the Kentucky Department of Corrections Penitentiary System.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that the Kentucky DOC is being intentionally cruel in its biased enforcement of rules around sexually explicit materials. This is happening in a number of states, including Texas where at the same time some prisoners are being forced to watch porn. And as we know corrections officials communicate with each other, it is likely no coincidence.
It’s a tactic the police have used forever; treat certain people differently from others in an arbitrary way and watch them turn on each other. They’ve used this against political prisoners, granting one prisoner more freedoms than eir comrades to promote suspicions that the privileged comrade snitched when in reality ey had not.
Administrators know how important pictures of loved ones, including “sexy” pictures of partners, are to prisoners. Just as the comrade we addressed in a longer piece on the nature of sex and sexuality, this Kentucky prisoner says ey has no issues with LBGTQ people. Yet, we sense the resentment here in what ey wrote. We call on our readers not to let that resentment cause you to turn on others who are not your enemy.
There is a right-wing talking point these days that the woke government is trying to turn people, especially children, transgender or gay. These identity politics are being used to manipulate people, and to get votes. If comrades are serious about fighting the “enforcement” of homosexuality in prisons, we suggest allying with gay prisoners who will likely be strong allies in a campaign to allow all prisoners to have equal rights to express their sexuality. Meanwhile, the fight against censorship of photos should connect to the fight against political censorship of mail. It should be illegal for the state to stop any mail that is not a direct threat to safety. If you are organizing around these issues we want to hear from you.
The quote below is from a new reader of Under Lock & Key in a discussion with MIM(Prisons). We will note that this comrade advocated for closing down “pig stations (pig pens)” to build community centers and sees Black people as one with North Korea as both face the imperialists as their enemy. With that we seem to have strong unity on the principal contradiction in this country and internationally.
And we are printing this comrade’s words not to pick on em, but on the contrary because we see em as a comrade and ally in the struggle that we want to build unity with. And we are printing them in ULK because these ideas are not unique to this one persyn, we hear similar things all the time, and too often the correct line is just assumed, but the incorrect lines are never addressed.
"Now as to your question of how I see LGBTQ people. No, I don’t see them as a problem for the oppressed. I see them with love and respect. However, I must be definitive of myself, I choose a female as my mate. That is the natural order of existence, respectfully, the opposite does not hold the continuation of life. The demands of nature are written in the libido, the libido is the driving force of procreation.
“One’s body does not belong to the individual, it is on loan from the ancestors. I will not deny the call of the ancestors. Yet, who am I to judge. I’m just expressing myself as every person should have the right to express themselves fully without contempt. I do believe that the LGBTQ movement is a faction that has a driving force behind it that is bigger than the movement itself. I believe that the imperialists are the driving force behind that movement, just as much as they are the driving force behind militarism, desensitizing, hypersexualism, hate, division. They have controlled the narrative of these characters, they have broadcast, advertised, marketed these characters and now they are doing the same with the LGBTQ community.”
Already on this topic of LGBTQ we see this comrade respects all people and is not approaching this with hatred or desire to oppress others. Again, more basis for unity.
In our response we want to address: 1. the natural order; and, 2. imperialism using LGBTQ movement to forward its own ends.
The Natural Order
We’ve all heard countless times that anything other than straight procreative sex is unnatural because it does not reproduce the species. We’ll put aside for now the fact that most of the sex these people have is not procreative either (presumably these people never even masturbate). There is a certain logic to this thinking from the framework of the individualist culture of the nuclear family.
One thing that is characteristic of humyns is the long period it takes for a newborn humyn to become self-sufficient. The patriarchal family structure in this country was established around the system of slavery, where New Afrikan slaves provided much of the childcare and food for the table for the white settler family. In other nations the grandparents and extended family help fill similar needs.
There are indigenous cultures where it has been documented that people we would call LGBTQ today existed. This counters the argument that such people are a modern invention. And these people had particular roles in the community that were important to sustaining that community even if they did not participate in sexual reproduction. It is our atomized society today that makes it seem natural, or necessary, for everyone to be a sexual reproducing member of society.
The comrade here states that eir body is a gift from the ancestors, but we would add that the African ancestors of New Afrikans (like many pre-colonial cultures) did not adhere to our modern capitalist patriarchy. European colonizers in Africa were troubled when people they perceived as male did not perform the role of a man, and in turn punished such people to impose their gender roles in the name of Christianity. Female to female marriage has been documented in over 40 pre-colonial African societies.(1)
In closely related species, social structures are built around one male who does most of the sexual reproduction for the whole group. Other species mate for life. And many species have sexual activity between animals of the same sex, etc. Certainly, the sex between males and females are crucial for the continuation of species like ours before the development of medical methods of fertilization. But it is not true that non-procreative sexual behavior doesn’t occur in other species, in previous humyn societies, or that it is somehow detrimental to our species.
Another example that adds to this point is that oftentimes the political-economic decadence of oppressor nations (predominantly petty-bourgeois societies such as Japan, $outh Korea, and even modern day Settler-Amerika) sees declining birthrates. The petty-bourgeoisie often point to non-heterosexual romance or miscegenation as the cause of low birth-rate for oppressor nations, but the materialist truth points to decadence and capitalist alienation which is the true detriment to the reproduction of humynity.
Despite our current individualistic society, we remain social creatures. Our behaviors are largely influenced by our society. Sexual behavior has evolved and changed as society has changed. While various parallels of LGBTQ people existed prior to patriarchy, there is also no doubt that the patriarchy impacts peoples’ sexuality. For example, under patriarchy wimmin can become afraid to date men and men can become afraid to express affection towards men. It is also true that national oppression and imprisonment impact peoples’ sexuality.
What we do know is: 1) that gender, and even the sex binary as we recognized in our 2018 congress resolution, are not biological facts, but rather social constructs. 2) to the extent that biology does determine things we call gender and sexuality, that there is always variation in nature.
To be a scientific thinker one must be able to think in terms of probabilities and percentages. Male and female, black and white, good and evil are ways we categorize things. The idealist believes these are pre-existing truths, while the scientist recognizes them as humyn-made categories. For the scientific thinker, what is unnatural is for everything and everyone to fit into two neat little categories.
A more objective view of the world will also recognize that it is myopic to see humyn society as separate from the “natural.” To put it another way, there will never be a humyn society where humyn beings behave by some pre-ordained natural way determined by our biology, where no social factors determine our behavior. On the contrary, it is our aim to revolutionize our society to revolutionize how we interact with each other into ways that have never been done before. There is no “natural” way we are trying to return to as the conservatives imagine. We want to create new and better futures, based on humyn relations without oppression and exploitation. That is the radical, and the only, answer to the “ills” of our society today.
LGBTQ and Imperialism
The comrade quoted above said ey loves and respects LGBTQ people but has issues with their movement being used towards imperialist ends. If the latter is true, then this could be the correct position for revolutionaries to take. So is the LGBTQ movement a weapon of the imperialists?
We have certainly noticed the LGBTQ cause being weaponized against the oppressed nations both inside and outside United $tates borders. One big example of this was during the Bush administration’s imperialist crusade against the Middle East and Central Asia where semi-feudal patriarchal practices of the masses in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq were put in the spotlight as justification for genocidal war. This was a big rallying cry for the “feminist” argument that U.$. invasion of Afghanistan meant freedom and liberation of Afghan womyn and LGBTQ. When the Taliban kicked out the U.$. imperialists in 2021, the fact that public education for Afghan womyn were taken away by the Taliban was put in the spotlight again alongside news of anti-LGBTQ lynchings, etc. So in cases such as these, we can see how even progressive causes such as the freedom for wimmin to have education and for LGBTQ people to express their love can be weaponized by the imperialists whose bombs will murder Afghan womyn and LGBTQ people and take away their freedom to be alive.
On a side note, looking at things in a historical materialist perspective, the brief experience of bourgeois democracy for middle class womyn to gain education and for LGBTQ people to exist without the immediate threat of death has been tasted by the broad Afghan masses (or at least the Afghan petty-bourgeoisie who could have afforded to experience it under the reactionary comprador U.$.-backed warlord regime). This gives the historical duty of the petty-bourgeoisie in Afghanistan to partake in a new democratic revolution alongside the proletariat, the peasantry, and the national bourgeoisie to overthrow the semi-feudal and semi-colonial state and implement those said freedoms under a proletarian dictatorship
But for us inside U.$. borders, what is the significance of this? Anti-imperialists should confront rallies to “defend Afghan wimmin” through U.$. bombs with anti-war, anti-militarist messages. But this has nothing to do with the realities of homosexual romance or people adopting gendered appearances that the patriarchy did not assign to them. More homosexual romance does not inherently bring more bombs dropped on the Third World. As pointed out, these bombs are killing LGTBQ people indiscriminately as well.
I was reading ULK 81 when I came across a conversation on whether or not to ally with sex offenders and I feel that I have a fresh perspective to contribute to this conversation. FCI Seagoville, for those unaware, is a low-security federal prison with a majority sex-offender population. I have made friends with and enemies of pedophiles, and as such I have experience working with them. It would be almost impossible for me to organize in here without interacting with sex offenders. For example, I am the only member of my 7 man Narcotics Anonymous group who is not a sex offender.
The two main federal S.O. charges are pictures and enticement. An emblematic picture case is that of a friend of mine, who became addicted to opioids during the crisis and enjoyed the rush of getting away with all kinds of criminal behavior while high. He expropriated his neighbors’ lawn furniture and dumped it all in a business parking lot. He also surfed the internet while high and looked up child porn. He became dependent upon the feeling of getting away with things he knew were wrong, and the pursuit of that anti-social feeling led him to federal prison.
The vast majority of enticement cases are sting operations. A non-S.O. comrade of mine, J, contends that sting enticement cases should be judged not by the fact that they were stings, but rather by the ill intentions of the one being entrapped. The sting usually goes like this: an agent poses as a young person on a dating site. They are matched with someone, engage them in conversation for a few days, and then reveal that they are under-aged. If the person messages back saying that they want to continue the relationship, an investigation is opened into them. This gets at the wider issue of us prisoners using the oppression of the state as a justification for and personal forgiveness of our immoral actions. When I talk about immoral actions, I mean actions that would require self-reflection and self-criticism under a proletarian system of justice. Many of the enticement cases claim that their actions hurt no one, that the government set them up, and that the government is the largest distributor of child pornography. None of these claims are untrue, yet all of them serve to minimize the S.O.’s role in their own offense.
These minimizations on the part of the S.O.’s belie a genuine understanding of the severity of their actions. S.O.’s were exposed to just as much fear mongering propaganda about pedophiles as the rest of us. To associate that propaganda with yourself often leads to a searing self-hatred. To my understanding, the prison system seeks to imprison each of us with shame and guilt over our crimes, in our own heads. The fear mongering media propaganda apparatus plays an active role in priming us for a mental imprisonment alongside our physical imprisonment. Nowhere is this method of mental domination more apparent than in the case of sex offenders.
Comrade J states: “S.O.’s are no different than ‘normal’ people when it comes to reliability or revolutionary potential. It is rather that their status as sex offenders, if known, may be weaponized against the movement.” As to the question of whether to ally with sex offenders, I have this to add: my closest, most reliable comrade is a sex offender. He gave me the copy of ULK 81 that inspired this response. I can offer no better proof of the reliability of S.O.’s as allies and comrades than this, the existence of my contribution.
The first topic I’ll like to respond to in Issue 81, is the article that reads “Colorado Prison Censors New Afrikan Literature”. The brother pointed Colorado’s contradictions with allowing certain white reactionary novels as opposed to the Black revolutionary ones. The Wisconsin DOC for a long while was banning books like Know Thy Self by Na’im Akban, Revolutionary Suicide, Soledad Brother, Blood In My Eye, Assata, Seize the Time, A Taste of Power, This Side of Glory, We Want Freedom, Isis Papers, Destruction of Black Civilization, and all of Amos Wilson’s books until the courts got involved and the WDOC reasoning was that the books were inciteful and accusatory towards Amerika and people of European descent. Yet they allowed in all of Donald Goines, ICE Berg Slim and often “hoodbooks” that promote Pimping, drug dealing, Black on Black homicide and anything that glorifies the “Black Criminal Mindset” because it keeps us in Lumpen-criminal-colonial state of mind. This state of mind justifies the mass incarceration of anyone of Alkebulan (indigenous word for the continent commonly named Africa today) diasporan descent, while the Revolutionary mindset poses significant threat to Uncle Sam’s “Economic Station.” The brother who wrote MIM needs to know ICEBerg Slim, Donald Goines and anyone of Alkebulan (Black & Brown) Diasporas descent promoting and glorifying the exploitation of our people and all oppressed nationals are unhealthy and they are just as much enemies to our own people as Adolf Hitler, J.B Stone, David Duke, Richard Spencer, Donald Trump and the like, you dig? I would advise the brother to read books by Black authors who believes and write about the advancement of Black people oppose to the destruction of us. It’s impossible to discuss pimping, drug dealing, gang-banging without mentioning white supremacy, OK.
The next topic from Issue 81 is “ULK 80 Responses on Sex Offenders, Pedophiles, Gunnas and Gangstas”. In it you write that sex offenders don’t practice reactionary thug life politics (drugs, shootings, etc) and that’s completely false. Most sex offenders claim to be part of lumpen organizations (CRIPS, Bloods, Vice Lords, GD’s, BD’s LK’s, etc). I believe sex offenders are irredeemable and permanent enemies of and to the “people”. By sex offender, I don’t mean a 17 year old dude having sex (consensual sex) with a 16 year old girl because I do not consider that rape. Some of these Gunnas who rape other Kaptives are sex offenders, homosexuals and the list could go on, OK. I would argue that both groups are enemies to the people. Those who refuse to abandon the thug mentality for a revolutionary one are enemies of and to the people. I do concur with your assessment regarding how the fascist system use both lifestyles as political points to further the dehumanization of these groups. I’m not against homosexuals, transgenders and what have you, I’m against those who hunt and oppress women and children. Those I do not condone their lifestyles.
I’m not bothered by referring to a transgender man who see’s himself as a woman and a transgender woman who see’s herself as a man as She and He. The problem is that most transgender men-women in prison are sex offenders, they are in for preying on children. I’m a former Black Gangster Disciple (from 1983 to 1998) and I’ll be the first to say that Growth & Development literature reflects Elijah Mohammad’s “Message To The Black Man” and that it was not founded to destroy our communities, yet that’s what it’s doing and I am against it and any gang (its not an organization) that terrorizes its own people or people period. Members of these groups are “Redeemable” and we must not turn our backs on them unless they refuse to open their eyes and do the work of the civilized.
As you know, I am the Founder and Chief Advisor of Freedom Fighters, Inc and we do not condone the distribution nor usage of alcohol and drugs nor any lifestyle that poses a threat to the moral fabric of humanity/the human race. In closing, though I understand the nexus you made with brother Comrade Slaughter regarding drug dealers and sex offenders, I still feel that it’s out of context. The drug dealer and gangbanger is “redeemable”. The sex offender isn’t. I was molested, violently, from the age of 7 to 11 by a female relative who is still alive and to this day, in her 60’s (I’m 47 and have been enslaved since the age of 17 - 1993). She’s still sick.
Even though a sex offender is capable of coming to terms with his or her own sickness, they remain sick in the head and sick in the heart, maybe. Tookie was a byproduct of his environment and when he woke up he didn’t fall back asleep. The sex offender falls back asleep because he or she is innately. The vast majority of sex offenders was never molested or raped, it was in them. I know a lot of bothers/men who were molested and never became molesters themselves. I have never raped nor molested anyone, never even had the thought to do so. I have never sold drugs either, but its different. I’m mentally ill, I was raised in mental institutions (and it could be said that prisons are also Mental Institutions) and I was exploited by the older members of BGD to rob and kill white people and once I came to terms with this, I renounced black racism and I will never rob or kill someone based on race. I was sentenced to life for killing a woman who robbed my guy and charged at me with a machete, and though my actions could be justified, I still partook in the genocide of our people and I’ll never engage in such idiocy ever again. And though I see the nexus you made, I just don’t agree with it. I do, however, respect your position. Disagreement is healthy and we should never tear each other down due to it unless the disagreement becomes detrimental to the organism, you dig?
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome critiques of certain “hood” writings as the comrade offers above. Yet we still recognize their biased censorship as part of national oppression, and the struggle against censorship in prisons can make strange bed fellows as we’ve discussed with the struggles around nude and non-nude pictures.
As for the sex offenders issue, this comrade has been debating us on this since back in ULK 64. I welcome the correction regarding sex offenders practicing thuggish anti-people activity as well. There is certainly an overlap between the two behaviors that i was ignoring in my sloppy language in ULK 81.
Next point, no one is arguing that “those who hunt and oppress women and children” are communists or allies. So that’s a moot point. Nor are those who are hunting, killing, poisoning, and oppressing men for that matter! And we seem to have agreement on that, as far as various forms of anti-people activity go. Yet, this comrade echoes the point made by Slaughter that it is only the sex offender that is unredeemable. The argument being that the sex offender is innately oppressive towards other humyns. Yet no evidence is offered to support this. In fact, we can point to statistics that sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rates.(1)
It is also odd that you seem to favorably cite Elijah Muhammad who is a known child predator who never atoned for the abuses he committed against at least 9 young girls and wimmin, and exploited eir cult of persynality to cover up those crimes while using metaphysical interpretations of the Quran/Bible to justify the acts. This was exposed by el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X) shortly before he was brutally murdered for promoting a revolutionary nationalist interpretation of Islam separate from the NOI.
If we look at socialist China we see the virtual elimination of all sorts of crime, drug abuse, prostitution, etc, in a very short period of time. We addressed this in more detail in ULK 59 on drugs.
We are the last ones to say that everyone is a comrade. Usually we are being criticized for being too pessimistic about the revolutionary potential in this country. But we are engaged in the project of uniting all who can be united in the prison movement.
We aren’t saying we can reform all anti-people criminals today. But we are saying that we can under the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is what we are fighting for. And to get there, we need to break down these phony barriers between the oppressed based on idealism.
In most issues on of Under Lock & Key we try to address response letters to the previous issue. These articles serve as a forum for ongoing conversations within our movement. One of the topics that came up in different forms this time is the question of who are our friends and who are our enemies, who can we form a united front with? This is a question of utmost importance. In Under Lock & Key 55 we focused on the question of allying with reactionaries (like white nationalists) and outcast groups (like sex offenders), so i encourage comrades to read that issue for more on these topics.
One of the questions we tackle in our intro study program is how to assess whether a group of people are friends or enemies. I’m gonna lead here with the controversial claim that i can see a much stronger argument for why gang members are enemies of the revolution than sex offenders. We have regular letters coming in about how prison gangs are agents of the pigs, flooding the masses with deadly drugs to keep them in a stupor, and then violently attacking our comrades who stand up for themselves and don’t succumb to the plague of drugs. Of course that’s not all lumpen organizations and conditions differ in different places. But i’ve never heard of sex offenders doing that.
In my response to Slaughter below i draw parallels between peoples’ attitudes towards sex offenders and drug dealers. The fact is that both have been used as political pawns to dehumanize groups of people and get votes through fear-mongering. The use of fear-mongering around pedophilia has surged in recent years, with reactionaries linking it to fear-mongering against trans-gender people. While it’s somewhat acceptable to hate trans people, it’s more acceptable to hate pedophiles, so people like U.$. House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-GA, are waging a campaign of pegging the Democrats as pedophiles for supporting gender-affirming care for trans youth. This campaign began in recent years with “Save the Children” marches funded by reactionary think tanks. While the marches were largely populated by QAnon reactionaries, some of our comrades have been taken in by the campaign. So there is some truth to what Slaughter says below about hating pedophiles being a unifying thing beyond politics. But this does not mean it is “not political.” It just means that fear can be used to motivate all kinds of people, and it demonstrates how subjectivism can not be our guide if we hope to achieve our goals of a world without oppression, which Slaughter shares with us.
Slaughter writes: This is a response to the article in ULK 80, “Gender, nation & class divisions – Discussion of ULK 79” by a California prisoner with response by Wiawimawo. I cannot refrain from commenting on this situation within the prison, that is, the common nature of prisoners in general and their attitudes towards sex offenders, and the possibility of organizing any productive work with them in the form of a united effort.
I’ve had to let the implications of what this comrade was saying resonate for a little bit because it sounds to me as if he is attempting to justify the sex offense of a prisoner unfortunately stuck with that tag on them and pass it off as if its the same thing for everyone else comes to prison for and/or has involved themselves with. The author seems to say that crimes of sexual nature aren’t serious offenses in the broader masses of the population. He says that its not a crime to have sex, which I completely agree with. But here’s the thing, when it comes to prisoners who are convicted of say, murder like myself, and prisoners who are convicted of sex crimes. To a certain degree sex crimes are dismissed as simply frivolous…
Many prisoners, like myself, have children (a daughter) who is young, no older than 10-15 years old. And if our child were victimized by a person who is a full grown man, then the outrage that the parents will have towards the perpetrator will be malicious and even murderous in nature. … It’s one of the few unforgivable crimes that most people in and out of prison simply cannot overlook. Killing, as a result of the dynamics of oppression, along with robberies blackmarket sales of weapons and drugs, assaults using weapons, and other violent crimes are seen as something of a necessity. People do not have sex with underage boys and girls because they are oppressed. They cannot say they are pedophiles as a result of the dynamics of oppression. Pedophilia is a mental illness that any rational society, primarily a utopian, would not tolerate and want to be eliminated. There can be no comparison, in my opinion, between New Afrikans unifying with neo-Nazis and prisoners convicted of typical felonies unifying with prisoners who prey on children for sex. To compare is the thesis ad absurdum.
Now I ought to be clear and let everyone know that, having been locked up for over a decade now, and having come in the system at 18 years old, and as a re-educated Rightist, I at one time held an extreme bias towards sex offenders. During my re-education, however, I eventually rid myself of all bias from the nature of certain peoples’ crimes (sex offenders) to other races that are clearly not my own. To be sure, the world I envision is one in which national boundaries no longer exist, a world without passports or visas or immigration quotas. True globalization in the human sense, in which we recognize that the world is one and that human beings everywhere have the same rights. A world in which the riches of the planet would be distributed in an equitable fashion. The goal for me, aligned with all my comrades who have nothing to lose but our chains, is communism.
At the end of the day, however, there is not a way for me to regard a pedophile in the same sense as I regard myself. It is a moral standpoint that is separate from all politics and I think I can speak for all of us when it comes to that point in itself. It is extraordinarily difficult to stand comfortably next to a pedophile, even if our political aims are synchronized.
These very well are potential allies, my comrades; though we also must look at the end results and distinguish if we will accept pedophilia in our commune, society, world. In my opinion, it sets a dangerous precedent to repress the nature of a person if it means attaining a significant end because once the end is reached the repressed nature of a specific person will once again appear on the scene and be in need of dealing with. One thing I’ve taken note of in great revolutionary movements is the tendency to repress a certain aspect of a group to meet future ends, and then once they are met, the fight continues among the party because the characteristic a certain group appear in conflict with the overall standing of the ends which were attained. WE overthrow the oppressors and then regress into civil war. Please correct me if I have understood incorrectly. In this way there are consequences for the deliberate unity of elements that would make for complications before the judgement seat of reason.
…As much as I hate to believe it, I don’t think there will be an opportunity for unification with pedophiles and forcible rapists. Why? Because, again, these are actions that are universally condemned. Actions that inspire murderous revenge and untold malice. When it comes down to it, I simply speak, as someone who was molested by the dad of someone I befriended as a youngster.
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: Slaughter, you are not alone. As mentioned in the original article, doing this work we are well aware of the high frequency of child abuse and child sexual abuse victims those in U.$. prisons. There is research demonstrating how such traumatic experiences as youth can have all kinds of affects on a persyn’s health later in life, including engaging in various behaviors that can lead to being targeted by the injustice system.(1)
Your position on this topic is clearly informed by your experiences, and your position is understandable. Yet the issue we take with your essay on this topic is you offer no solutions. Do you subscribe to the purification solution mentioned in the original article? Lock them all up for life? or worse?
Consider the parallel story: Someone i knew succumbed to drug addiction, and i watched them deteriorate. I was young and it was the most horrible thing i had seen or could imagine. I took up a strong hatred for drug dealers, even began hanging out with others who did so as well. I knew of people who used extreme violence to attempt to purify their neighborhoods of drug dealers. I still find our approach understandable, but recognize its futility. I also came to recognize how the ideas of those i was hanging around fed into the oppression of the state. Thankfully, i came to realize these things soon thereafter. Now i work with former drug dealers and provide them support on a weekly basis.
One comrade wrote us last week to decry a different article in ULK 80, the one on Tookie. Ey saw Tookie as someone who just changed eir tune when they had no other choice left. This is a real phenomenon. We get all kinds of people writing us, many of them desperate for any kind of assistance. At the same time, we think it is an error to say that just because someone never served the people before going into prison that they cannot be for the people after. Such a position we call metaphysics, as it sees things as unchanging, it sees people as having an essence that is eternal.
Now, your argument is that Tookie did what ey had to do given eir conditions of oppression, and a pedophile did not have to do what they did. Okay, i see the distinction you are trying to make, but wouldn’t our comrade above say the same thing about Tookie. I grew up in South Central, and i didn’t become a gang-banger, I became a revolutionary. So there.
“The sex offender registration doesn’t show them. The government is a rapist, a criminal at large,”
The poem is an analogy, but it’s also literal. Not only are most child abusers never caught and convicted, those who are among the people in charge are almost never convicted. As is true with most crimes, the most egregious perpetrators get off scott-free because they are the ones making and enforcing the rules. This is where we are sympathetic to the argument made by the California prisoner that targeting S.O.s in prison is just an emotional outlet for other prisoners to have a scapegoat to feel better than. What is a plan to end the sexual abuse of children that doesn’t let most abusers get off scott-free and keep doing what they’re doing?
The Chinese revolution reformed brutal landlords to join society as productive members. People who robbed, starved, tortured, killed and certainly raped people. Now not all can be reformed. But this was the default approach to all people after the Communists seized state power, to give everyone an opportunity to reform and get on board. Some of the former oppressors just went along to save themselves and became problems later on as you allude to. Yet, the Chinese prisons were very good at getting people to undergo thorough self-criticisms. They did not just let people apologize and get off the hook. See Prisoners of Liberation by Allyn and Adele Rickett. This is what we mean by offering solutions.
It’s worth considering how peoples’ views would be different in such a society that was adequately addressing peoples’ needs and questions of justice. I’d argue that we will see far fewer people resorting to vigilantiism in order to feel justice is served in such a system, and that the popular views that all sex offenders should die, or all drug dealers should die, would whither away as the presence of drugs and sexual abuse also whither away
You spend some time on the California prisoner’s claims in ULK 80 about all sex being outlawed. This is another point of unity we have with you and we did not defend these claims. Even in our belief that all sex is rape, we apply proletarian morality to justice. And in many cases after the seizure of power by the communists in China, proletarian morality meant the death penalty for former landlords and oppressors of the people. But the death penalty alone does nothing to end economic exploitation or child sexual abuse.
As we said in the original article, we see all people in the imperialist countries as reforming criminals. The worst criminals are not in prison, they are running the prison, the military, the country. But as a group, those in prison have also committed some significant crimes, despite some being completely innocent. If we require everyone to be righteous communists from birth, as the critic of the Tookie article seems to imply, then we will never succeed.
It’s striking that you don’t see a parallel between nazis and pedophiles. We argue in the original article that there are less antagonistic contradictions with pedophiles. How do you argue to the contrary? Nazis generally believe that the current system of national oppression, imperialism, should be more extreme and more oppressive towards the majority of the world! Including the genocide of whole peoples! What crime could be worse than this? That said, as we also discussed, some nazis in prison reform to take up anti-imperialism. But we do not say that nazis as a group are allies because some individuals reformed and denounced their anti-people fascist ways.
When you talk about the unbridgeable divide you refer to the outrage of the parent of a molested child, and an inability to stand comfortably next to a pedophile, these are subjective reactions. Understandable, absolutely, but subjective. In the first lesson of our intro study course we have comrades analyze a topic that is very emotional for them and sort out the subjective stories and the hard facts. This is a useful exercise to help us understand the world and transform it.
“Those who wrote in support of Gunnas are in the wrong. They miss the whole point, it’s not about sympathy for the enemy, it’s about oppression. Communism is the goal, get that: communism – not the trading of one oppression for another. Page 2, point #1: read that shit, live that shit, teach that shit – equality against the oppressor is one thing, a legit thing, becoming the oppressor? What?! Communism doesn’t have room for those who wish to become oppressors themselves, you feel like that, then you’re the enemy too. Page 2, point #1, understand that shit: frustration at being oppressed is natural, it’s needed, this is war; but don’t you dare assume that once the power is taken from the oppressor you can fill the role – never that – then you’re the enemy.”
We aim to end all oppression, and do not aspire to oppress others. However, it’s not that oppression is never used by communists, as that is exactly what the dictatorship of the proletariat is – it is a state, a tool used by one class to oppress another. We do think the comrade above is correct in terms of combating “murderous revenge and untold malice” by the communist camp. The Chinese communists did not kill every last landlord as they came to power. They acted objectively, applying proletarian morality, which is informed by the subjective feelings of the masses but in a way that works towards a practical shared goal of transforming material conditions.
There is no apolitical morality as you argue. We must deal with child sexual abuse politically as we do with all crimes against the people. We must figure out how to transform our society to eliminate these crimes, or else they will keep happening. The fascist strategy of purification gets us nowhere.
You say pedophilia is not a result of the dynamics of oppression. I’d challenge that. There are many cases of people abusing children seemingly as a direct result of the abuse they suffered as children. In addition, the sexualization of power and of young people in our culture certainly has an affect on humyn behavior in our society. Attacking this culture and supporting victims are two ways to combat the problem of child abuse. Bourgeois science suggest there are disorders in the brain that cause pedophilia, but like any psychological diagnosis under patriarchal capitalism we are holding out for evidence that these “disorders” still exist in a world where people don’t have power over others.
Your assessment of divisions after a revolution is very astute. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the furthest advance of socialism we’ve seen to date, was based on the idea that a new bourgeoisie arises with in the party. So this is not just about old enemies rising again from the ranks, but the internal contradictions of the system creating new enemies as well. This reiterates that it is idealists to believe we can build an ideologically pure party before waging revolution. Dialectics is the concept that their are always contradictions within a thing, and things are always changing.
Revolutions are won by uniting disparate forces on a common goal. One tool we use to address this issue is the united front. The united front allows separate parties with separate interests to act towards a common goal. It also includes mass organizations, with less developed political lines. The communist party is the proletarian pole, providing proletarian leadership in the united front.
People in the communist party must carry themselves as communists. Even here, we must not be too idealistic, no one is perfect and we are all products of our conditions. But anti-people crimes certainly would not be tolerated within the party. The united front allows for the party to lead and unite with other forces and organization that may not always work in the interests of the people. The united front allows for the party to be critical of our allies when necessary to show the masses there is a better way.
We must put politics in command. With politics in command we can sort out true comrades, allies and enemies. With politics in command we can win over potential allies and sometimes even win over individual enemies. People who have committed crimes against the people and do not recognize them as crimes are people who have not gone through the necessary self-criticism to be called true comrades. We are all products of this world (and victims of it) and we are all self-determining beings. That is the duality of humyn reality. It is up to us whether we struggle with the parts of ourselves that reflect the oppressive system we are in and transform them into something to better serve the people.
NOTES: 1. Nadine Burke Harris, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.
If you follow the news, you are well aware of a Virginian named Officer Edwards, who recently used police training to attempt to groom a teenage girl for eir pedophilic needs. When it didn’t pay off ey drove to California, murdered eir family, burned down eir house, and kidnapped the girl. Ey eventually died in a fire fight with California police. Around the same time, back at a Virginia Prison, a Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) guard named Owens at Keen Mountain Correctional Center shot a prison nurse to death. Ey was pregnant with the guard’s child and was threatening to tell Owens’ wife about eir affair. These are Virginians, and ey are the type of people who flock to jobs in corrections and law-enforcement in Virginia. Virginia officials will tell you they don’t know how people who are so dangerous slipped through the background checks. Virginia officials are lying to you because these are the people they look to recruit.
There are more subtle forms of this sociopathic behavior, and the guards and other staff at the notorious Pocahontas State Corruption Center exercise these forms of open torture daily. One of the most common is the deliberate tampering with mail. Two of the most often seen names are Hagerty and McCall. Aside from delaying outgoing mail, sometimes for weeks if ey send it out at all, incoming mail is often denied outright for any number of nonsensical and often false reasons. An example of this is the denial of a book review/catalog. The reason cited was “no nude or semi-nude images”. Upon investigation it was determined that “nude/semi-nude” was a tank top shirt. Absolutely nothing “nude or semi-nude” by any known standards of decency. Of course the target of this mail denial was a known political writer and the review catalog was from a publisher – Fifth Estate – that focuses on political themes (many of them anti-prison). What these two VA DOC employees did – mail tampering – is a federal crime.
This is just one example of a massive assault on the guarantees of the First Amendment. It is a common event that is meant to not only prevent communications from exposing the other criminal acts by PSCC staff, but it’s also a means of isolating the captives. It’s a vicious form of psychological torture and harm. Ey want the captives to believe that ey are alone – that ey are forgotten by eir friends and family. This is solely to make the captives not only more susceptible to further and more cruel abuses, but also to a force a level of acceptance of the abuse.
To further this endeavor it is important to prevent grievances and complaints from being seen by those at regional or Central (Richmond) administration. Though in all reality, since the Virginia DOC only recruits and promote from within its own insular institutions, the administrators at every meaningful level were hand-picked for eir silence and loyalty to the VA DOC. Without eir allowance of endless cruelty and torture, it could be stopped. Still, “grievance coordinators” such as C. Smalling at PSCC, whose unwritten job description is “grievance disappear-er” answers the grievances erself instead of routing them to the proper areas for re-dress. Ey makes sure they are not properly logged so that they disappear as needed. This is especially important in preventing lawsuits from being filed, something PSCC is prone to do due to its nationalist majority staff and their daily human rights abuses. Without an exhausted grievance process any lawsuit brought by a prisoner is immediately dismissed by the courts. In Virginia, even the federal court judges are Virginians.
Other more harmful – yet just as subtle – forms of torture and harm are the 24 hour lights, a gift from 15 years of Assistant Wardens who should be in prison themselves. Currently the PSCC Assistant Warden, Mr. Collins, is facing at least six sexual harassment suits at three different prisons including PSCC. They just move the guy from one prison to the next and fire the people who lodged the complaints.
Yet another way the staff abuse the captives is through an especially vicious misuse of the PA system. There are several ways to do this, but the two most common are as follows:
Three very dangerous guards, Barry, Sargent, and Shelton are particularly fond of turning the PA system up to full volume and screaming into the microphone. Since they work on the night shift you might imagine the problems this might cause for the captives. 9PM, 10PM, 12AM, 3AM, 5AM anytime they feel like scaring the living hell out of the 250 people and also disturbing their sleep. This sort of abuse is completely illegal yet all complaints are ignored or disappeared. These acts are a sign of sociopathic behavior and given that 40% of Virginia’s captives are warehoused mental health cases, it is so very devastating. The flip side to this is turning the PA system volume down so low that no one can hear announcements. This causes not only missed classes, programs, or medical appointments, but it also allows guards to justify all manner of false charges against captives – most often “disobey a direct order” or “unauthorized area”. Both are low level charges, but they cause sanctions and fines. They also make your record appear as if you are a problem all of the time, and if you get too many you will be transferred to a higher security prison.
Another regular problem comes from guards such as Craig, Bogle, Kimble and others like them – most of the guards. They are openly racist and anti-semitic, go out of their way to verbally (and sometimes physically) abuse anyone they are able to. On the boulevard, in the education and library buildings, in the chow hall, any place they are able to, and they get away with it repeatedly. This has gone on for years and years without any change or even the least reprimand. To give you a better idea of just how far it can go on PSCC’s compound, here is a scenario that happened recently:
A guard named Horton and his wife, also a guard, both work on the compound. This is a violation of policy for a lot of good sense reasons, but PSCC itself is a major violations of DOC policy and too many to count. Mrs. Horton, while married to one guard, is sleeping with several others on the compound during working hours. It is common knowledge to everyone. As you might expect, Mr. Horton gets fed up with his wife’s extramarital affairs and decides to solve the problem. This guy brings a loaded weapon THROUGH the gates – apparently staff were not checking guards as they came in – with the intend of making some examples. Those examples were going to be PRISONERS! Not the other guards who were involved with the wife, but PRISONERS! Fortunately a few guards stepped in and put a stop to this before anyone got hurt, but still, Mr. Horton is only fired and walked off the compound. Not a single criminal charge was brought even though he broke half a dozen laws. His wife was recently promoted to “counselor,” and he was just rehired to work at the same prison on the same shift as his wife.
Virginians and the VA DOC PSCC staff fed captives food that says “not for human consumption” on the box. Its medical staff is entirely unqualified in every way. Its psychologists do not have the experience to handle severe mental health issues and are even falsifying records to avoid even dealing with mental health because the facility (and the VA DOC) are simply not capable or designated to handle such issues. Add to this all the well-known and common place issues with corrupt prison staff – and put the prison in a well hidden county at the end of some “wrong turn” road in a state that seems to be growing its right wing neo-nazi extremist population. You have a real time disaster unfolding daily: the other 40 prisons in Virginia – a long time slave economy – are no better. On top of all that, add a 20% rate of innocence/wrongful conviction (approximately 5,000 people as of this writing). Harsh action must be taken to stop this madness.
MIM(Prisons) responds: MIM(Prisons) has been questioned online for our support of the campaign to fight the a recent rewrite of BP-03.91 in Texas, mostly to increase restrictions on sexually suggestive, non-nude photos. The example given by the comrade above is one of many that explain why we support that campaign despite stating clearly that we oppose pornography. Any increase in the restrictions on mail are going to be applied to stuff the pigs disagree with politically, because there is no free speech in this bourgeois dictatorship, only power struggles.
Of course, most pornography represents patriarchal and bourgeois morals. Morals that numerous gender-related acts of violence described by this author. We welcome reports like this, and print many on our website. But as the author states action must be taken, we really want your articles on campaigns and struggles against these types of abuses and organized repression.
The U.$. Constitution is a fraudulent and nefarious contract that is designed to maintain the status quo, and has led the oppressed masses in circles. Amerikkka has never – nor will ever – be a “democracy”. Christianity… in all its artful guises, is merely white supremacist propaganda disguised as sacred gospel. When you allow your sworn enemies to choose the rules and tactics by which you fight your battles, you will lose the war.
The commentary in Gunnas Stop, on page 12 of ULK 78, sounds like an emotional appeal that misses the cold hard reality of the “perverts” situation. While it would never – or has not yet – occurred to me to perform a salacious sexual act for a female who had not indicated her consent to the act, and I’ve know some freaky females in my time! My sentiments are as such that anyone who willingly colludes with the new Jim Crow prison/slave system of the U.$. D.O.C. is undeserving of much – if any – consideration. If all the “perverted” – probably insanely stressed out – brother did was to slap the nazi-pawn pig upside her head with his penis, she should count her blessings; he could have used a .45 caliber cannon. I don’t quibble between what is “legal”… and what is pragmatic. This war has been raging for 500 years! WTF?!!
Many years ago, an associate ambushed a law enforcement officer, who was with his family. The officer plied a scheme by which he would set up Black college students on bogus marijuana distribution charges, because he hated the prospect of a Black man obtaining college education and rising above blue collar slave wage status. The associate – presumably with others – massacred the officer and five of his family members, including the officers 8-year-old nephew (or cousin). My initial response was sadness and surprise. Then I thought of the thousands, millions, of innocent men, women and children who are still being enslaved and slaughtered by the state, and I realized that if that pig, or any of his kind, gave a happy shit for me or my children, he would not be in the service of the colonial Nazi Amerikkkan slavery genocidal system. That’s karma. (The irony of it all is that the assassins were white guys)
I have no problems with white supremacy, in Germany or Norway. My Native sisters and brothers don’t want it on Turtle Island. My Dinka and Khoisan peoples don’t want it in Africa, and I’m not having it in my home. I have not allowed christian literature, amerikkkan flags, or any other satanic filth in my home or personal space since 1979. I nearly drank myself to death when I realized that I had to purge my life of friends and family who insisted on supporting the global slave state, as flag waving patriots.
Skin, bones, teeth and hair mean little to me. The value of a thing turns on its ability to exist harmoniously and respectfully in the world. Even from childhood, I learned to admire Malcolm X, Geronimo, and Nat Turner. I also greatly respect Fidel Castro, Ernesto Guevera, Harriet Tubman, Hugo Chavez, Akhenaten and Niccolo Machiavelli. Mao Tse-Tung was nowhere perfect, but in my view he is one of the most honorable people to walk this earth in the last millennium. Commendations too for the Bolsheviks.
Say what one will about Ho Chi Minh, Kim Jong Un, Joseph Stalin, or Nicolas Maduro; These stalwart souls knew when to shit or get off the pot! Its two minutes past midnight, fuck the furniture, save the children!
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: For a 1 paragraph piece, we received some strong positive and negative responses to the article “Gunnas Stop”. Even one critic of the article supported those who discouraged gunnas by other means. It was this general sentiment from the masses opposed to this behavior that led me, as the editor of ULK 78, to include that short piece. I was correct that it was a topic of interest, but as the comrade above points out i was incorrect to print that piece to stand as our position on the topic. The original author is not a regular contributor to ULK.
In the spirit of self-criticism, I want to restate a few reasons why we agree with the critic above. First, we are not here to defend the oppressor, or to tell people to act professional towards them. Maybe that’s a useful tactic, maybe it’s not, but it is not a general position we should promote to our readers. What is moral to the proletariat is what ends oppression, what ends imperialism.
Second, this comrade’s critique is much more in line with MIM gender line than the article I approved in ULK 78. “Gunnas Stop” painted C.O.s as the oppressed in these situations. Yet as early as the first issue of Under Lock & Key we discussed the fact that young Black men were the most gender oppressed people in this country, largely thanks to the oppressive prison system.(1) Later in ULK 6, we focused on the topic of gender, and talked about things like how female staff would watch male prisoners shower. We get reports every week of C.O.s (of whatever biology) sexually harassing and assaulting biologically male prisoners. But as pointed out in the article in ULK 1, a 2007 DOJ report said 58% of staff charged with sexual misconduct were female, and therefore the rate of sexual misconduct of females against males is much higher in prisons than on the streets. In fact being a youth and/or a prisoner is a better predictor of being sexually assaulted than being female.(1)
As one recent example getting some publicity, Gregory Rodriquez recently “retired” from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation after an investigation was launched last month into his sexual assault of at least 22 female prisoners in Central California Women’s Facility. This is the rare example of a C.O. getting investigated for such behavior. And it is even rarer to see these cases get any attention in male prisons.
All that is to say, in our battle against gender oppression, appeals for gunnas to stop, is not where our energy needs to be focused.
As another comrade pointed out in response to my self-criticism, Mao Zedong promoted a strategy of treating prisoners of war well to win over enemy forces and promote a sober and scientific approach towards the enemy by the revolutionary forces. But, “Gunnas Stop” was not addressed at revolutionary forces or a socialist state, but rather at random masses under conditions of torture and abuse themselves.
Notes: 1. MIM(Prisons), September 2007, Gender Oppression in U.$. Prisons, Under Lock & Key No. 1.