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[Gender] [ULK Issue 6]
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Prop 8 - gay marriage, gender oppression and political confusion

For communists, the gay marriage issue is a no brainer, but not really useful. Opposing oppression means we oppose restricting marriage and the rights that go along with it to certain groups of people. But it's not an issue communists will focus on to organize around as a reform for the petit-bourgeoisie. However, we do want to talk to people about this struggle because the pro-gay rights movement is not effectively attacking gender oppression, while the most oppressed have largely opposed the movement, often for the wrong reasons. A discussion is useful to win over those radicals who are in the gay-rights movement for the right reasons, while discouraging incorrect reactions by the oppressed.

Proposition 8, the ballot initiative in California that amended the state constitution to ban same sex marriage this year, is a fundamentally reactionary initiative that takes away rights from a group of people based on gender. While we can clearly say that Prop 8 is wrong, we did not spend time campaigning against it because our priorities right now are around fighting for rights for the oppressed, and as a group overall we do not count queer Amerikans as part of the world's oppressed. And the campaign against Prop 8 was so focused on what is necessary to rally a majority of Amerikan citizens against this proposition, they avoided useful education about gender oppression (because that is what was necessary to win over as many Amerikans as possible). We are pleased to see so many people without much previous political experience taking to the streets and the churches to protest passage of Proposition 8, as it is good to have people getting involved in political actions, speaking out against mis-education, and learning from this activism. As an exposure of religious anti-science and religious influence on politics, Prop 8 has been serving a good educational purpose for the public.

MIM has long talked about sexuality as a part of gender, and oppression against people based on sexual orientation as a part of gender oppression. But we are also clear that in imperialist countries, citizens enjoy gender privilege relative to the rest of the world. This is partly because gender is so tied up with class and nation privilege, and partly because of the gender strand of oppression that grants First World men and wimmin things like access to contraceptive devices tested on Third World men and wimmin, among other privileges. Further, marriage is not a matter of life or death for most people. The exception is for immigrants seeking legal residence in the U.$., ironically the one of only two rights associated with marriage that state-sanctioned civil unions can not offer (the other is the ability to file federal taxes jointly). Since marriage is not a question of economics or survival for most people, this is more about shuffling around rights within the labor aristocracy and petit-bourgeoisie.

The attention that Proposition 8 has received across the country relative to other propositions is telling. While marriage rights are not a matter of life and death, or even a significant quality of life question for most people, there were two ballot initiatives in California related to prisons that are far more immediate to the freedom and rights of the oppressed in the state. Proposition 5 would have provided expanded and improved drug treatment for people convicted of drug offenses, reducing the prison population and helping people with drug problems. It failed overwhelmingly. This proposition was demonstrably cheaper and healthier for people than prisons. But there has been no public outcry against its failure. Conversely, Proposition 9 passed, taking away prisoners rights to parole hearings and decreasing opportunities for early release. Again, an expensive proposition for the state, and demonstrably bad for the people as longer prison terms do not result in better citizens on the streets.

The prison initiatives have an impact on national oppression while the marriage ban impacts gender. It is important that we not ignore gender oppression when focusing on national oppression. But we do need to recognize that national oppression is the principal contradiction in the U.$. And the effects of this oppression are much more pressing than marriage. They relate to family livelihood, education, and fundamental freedom as more and more Blacks and Latinos are locked up in prison.

Our criticism of the No-on-8 campaign comes back to their goal. Right now the vast majority of Amerikans oppose gay marriage. So by focusing on this one reform within the imperialist system, the No-on-8 people had to pander to this majority by avoiding discussion of real issues of gender oppression or making any connections to national oppression. A campaign that provided people with more correct and useful educational material might have had an even lesser chance of winning, but at least it would have been a progressive use of the millions of dollars spent on this campaign.

Religion is anti-science

Prop 8 does give us the opportunity to point out clearly why it is not always good to be on the side of the majority. As with the case of the economic interests of Amerikan citizens, currently the gender interests of Amerikan citizens related to gay marriage are reactionary for the majority. In fact, California is unusually progressive on this issue - virtually every other state except Massachusetts would have passed this ballot initiative without a fight. And other states did pass even more restrictive bans on gay people without the public backlash now being seen in California. This means that we don't currently have the majority on the right side of this question. For an issue like this that is about rights within the petit-bourgeoisie we expect that in the long term it will be resolved correctly. But this issue does clearly demonstrate some problems with political education under imperialism, most notably the role played by religion in promoting mysticism and anti-science.

Religion plays a big role in why Amerikans care so much about gay marriage. The Mormon church convinced its members to donate millions of dollars to the campaign for Prop 8. Other churches joined the alliance for Prop 8 and also worked hard to get it passed. It is the irrationality of religion that pushes ridiculous political positions like teaching creationism in schools, condemning gay people to hell and denying them the ability to get married, and continuing assertions about the supremacy of white people, men, and just about any religion but Islam.

No one can really articulate a good reason why marriage should be reserved for only certain people. Some religious people try to tie it to procreation, but if that were really the case then we should have tests for fertility before allowing anyone to get married, and perhaps should require couples to get divorced if they don't produce children. We'd also have to deny adoptive parents access to marriage, even if they are straight. Some religious zealots claim that gay marriage will threaten their marriage, though no one seems to be able to point to any disasters for straight families in Massachusetts where gay couples have been marrying for a few years now. Fundamentally this debate about marriage is about religious people's feelings. They don't feel comfortable with gay marriage and they feel it would denigrate their marriage. Hopefully all those No-on-8 activists are seeing clearly why feelings should not be a part of politics.

It is one's subjective feelings that lead a gay amerikan to see Prop 8 as the most important issue. By putting this as their top priority, they are saying they are willing to do what it takes to win, like even go to war with a Third World country. And unfortunately, what is essentially a fight for equality, easily slides into a fight against the oppressed because of the context in which the battle is going on. While wimmins' rights has been a much more common cry of the anti-Islam movement, there are many examples of rabid pro-gay, pro-imperialist invasion propaganda.

The Mormon church is holding back progress with their mysticism, the Taliban is hacking away at imperialism with theirs and the difference is nationality. Really it is a scientific approach to organizing and military strategy that is behind the Taliban's success, but the mysticism is still there, and the gender aristocracy has been attacking it for a decade. This is why we call on the gay rights movement to take up dialectical materialism, before they do more to mobilize the already rabid anti-Islam movement in this country.

As we stated, the no-on-prop 8 movement not only got the national question wrong, but they messed up on gender too by pandering to gender aristocracy paternalism. The Prop 8 supporters ran a lot of TV ads claiming that kids were going to be taught about gay marriage in elementary school if gay marriage was not banned. This scare tactic apparently worked as polls showed public opinion shifted to support Prop 8 after the TV ads started running. Rather than counter this with ads that deny children will learn about gay marriage as the No-on-8 campaign did, we would say that it would not be a bad thing for kids to learn about gay marriage in school at least to the extent that they learn anything about marriage. Not only will the no-on-prop 8 movement sacrifice the oppressed nations in California or the Middle East, but they bolster the patriarchal systems of oppression against their own children in order to win this privilege for a small elite group.

Demographics of the majority

Another important aspect of Prop 8 and the institution of marriage is the position of President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. The Palin/Biden Vice Presidential debate saw the two candidates sharing a few moments of unity, the most notable around their shared conviction that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. In reality younger politicians like Barack Obama probably don't care about the definition of marriage, but mainstream political parties have to take positions on issues like this that a majority of Amerikans will support. And a vast majority of Amerikans oppose gay marriage.

This put a lot of Obama supporters in an awkward position when the Prop 8 campaign started robo-calling voters playing a recording of Obama stating that he believes marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Obama did come out against Prop 8 in the end, but for technical reasons, not because he supports gay marriage. All those California democrats who went for Obama clearly did not vote against Prop 8.

In fact exit poll results and studies on who voted for Proposition 8 show that some traditionally "progressive" (read: voting democrat) parts of the city of San Francisco voted for Prop 8 while some areas that are more traditionally "conservative" (read: voting republican) overwhelmingly opposed Prop 8. This should be no surprise when we realize that class and nation are far more important considerations in general in people's political views under imperialism today. Wealthy white people don't mind giving marriage rights to gay Amerikan citizens, but they are not going to let those Black drug users out of prison. The flip side of this is that oppressed nations in Amerika had a hard time seeing the importance of opposing Prop 8 and generally voted in favor of the marriage ban.

Many oppressed people even take a reactionary approach to the issue. "If rich white people are cool with this, it must just be another attempt by them to corrupt our youth." This negates the progressive character of this battle in our given context. So, while we must defend the right to marry for gays to counter this confusion among the oppressed, it is not a campaign that will make any serious blows against oppression at this time.

Gender oppression is part of imperialism

The anti-imperialist struggle involves fighting against class, nation and gender oppression. We have to pick our battles to have the greatest impact on ending oppression and avoid inadvertently promoting white nationalism or supporting causes just because they sound progressive. In the case of Proposition 8, greater gender equality under imperialism is generally a progressive goal. But it is not something that will get us closer to an end to all class, nation and gender oppression at this time.

When we fight for reforms within imperialism, like the battle to end censorship of mail we send to prisoners, we do so for two reasons: 1. Education by exposing the reactionary policies of the imperialists, and 2. gaining some room for the oppressed to survive and/or organize. Only the overthrow of imperialism and establishment of socialism under a dictatorship of the proletariat will move us significantly towards the end of class, nation and gender oppression.

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 6]
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Pornography and censorship

In general pornography is censored in prison as a means of exercising control over prisoners for no purpose other than the exercise of power. Porn certainly doesn’t lead to any security problems in prisons nor does it threaten the power structure in any way. And we know that prison guards of both male and female sex use gender and sexuality to oppress prisoners. In response to our article in ULK 4 on this topic we’ve received overwhelming response from prisoners describing many cases of guards using sexuality to control prisoners. But this doesn’t mean that porn serves any progressive purpose for prisoners.

We oppose pornography because it is all about reinforcing gender oppression. Pornography is part of the capitalist romance culture which conditions people to have sick gender relations. From MIM Theory 2/3 Gender and Revolutionary Feminism, “One of the ways that the sexuality of male supremacy is institutionalized is through pornography. Robin Morgan has said, ‘Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice.’ Pornography is the media of sexual objectification and violence against women. Its message is ‘a lie about women, that we exist to pleasure and service men and that our deepest pleasure lies in enslavement and subordination…’”

Also from MT 2/3, “The supporters of the right to pornography are the advocates of the right to degrade women and sell them as such. In other words, pornography has no value if it shows women doing empowering, important, meaningful things. Its value is tied to portraying a bitch ready to be raped. MC0 suggests that those who uphold this 'right' are the same people that argue prison is humane and rehabilitation works.”

Even if pornography is censored in prison, pornography will still be present outside of prison, perpetuating and reinforcing the gender oppression in our society. MIM(Prisons) opposes porn in society at large, but right now we oppose censorship even more than we oppose porn. Neither pornography nor political literature should be allowed to be censored by the prison staff, who are employed as arms of the state. For this reason we are willing to ally with porn manufacturers against censorship in prison while holding that pornography should not be protected by the First Amendment under a Dictatorship of the Proletariat where speech is protected to serve the interests of the majority of the world’s people. We are fighting against censorship in prison, not in favor of ensuring access to pornography.

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[Gender] [Michigan] [ULK Issue 6]
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Rising incarceration rates of women and the destruction of family and community in Amerika

In the midst of Amerika's soaring prison and jail population, quite possibly the country's only real growth industry, what is often overlooked is the destruction it is wreaking on family and community. For all their polemics about "family values," no Republican or Democratic presidential candidate bothered to address, or even "spin" the subject on any level. This alone should be enough to alert any person of good conscience to the fact that something is afoot and to the distinct probability that these acts of omissions add up to a purposed agenda of the state and the powers it represents.

As of June 30, 2006, there were 2,245,189 persons incarcerated in the united $tates. That is 1 out of every 133 Amerikans and the highest per capita incarceration rates in history. This is a 2.8% increase over the previous year, and this rising incarceration rate has been rapidly accelerating since the 1960s. This trend is accompanied by an increasing racial disparity, with 4.8% of all Black men, 1.8% of all Hispanic men, and .7% of all white men in the united $tates incarcerated. Most alarming, however, is the 4.8% increase in the incarceration rate of women, as compared to 2.7% for men, for a total of 111,403 in prison as of June 30, 2006, with Black women incarcerated at nearly 4 times the rate of white women and more than twice the rate of Hispanic women. (See Bureau of Justice Statistics, [ul]Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006[/ul], NCJ217675 (June 2007)).

Moreover, the Washington DC-based Public Safety Performance Project (PSPP) statistically analyzed prison population trends in all 50 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and projected the total prison population, not including jail, will increase by 192,023 to 1.7 million between 2007 and 2011. That's three times the growth of the u$ population and an overall increase of 13%, comprised of 12% for men and 16% for women. (See PSPP, [ul]Public Safety, Public Spending, Forecasting Amerika's Prison Population 2007-2011[/ul]).

As shown by these statistics and projections, '07 through '11 are going to be lucky years for the prison industry but not for the persons included in and affected by them, particularly, women and their families. To argue that these numbers point to some accidental anomaly would strain the bonds of credulity past the breaking point, as they represent nothing less than the achieved goal of state repression of so-called minority communities in Amerika, with said goal encompassing the destruction of family as well. "Minorities" first, then everyone else.

These statistics serve to reveal and confirm the long-term pattern of intentional destruction of community and family in the ghettos and barrios of Amerika that already struggle for existence under a virtual police siege and occupation. The state has come to recognize that, with most of the men incarcerated, the women, our mothers and daughters, are still carrying on - the glue holding family and community together - so it has set about to eliminate them via incarceration. The final stage in the planned destruction of women's continued ability to resist the state's destruction of their families and communities.

This plan includes redlining by insurance companies and a direct attack on home ownership by refusing to offer reasonable mortgages in "minority" communities and, instead, offering subprime and adjustable rate mortgages, with women much more likely to be saddled with a bad mortgage than men, a good credit rating not withstanding. Further, with only starvation-wage employment available to them, many of these women are forced to subsist on welfare. The December 1, 2007, New York Times reported that almost half the states refuse to pass on the money collected for child support to the families on welfare, with most of the remaining states only passing along $50 per month, in spite of studies done of a Wisconsin experiment that showed "when support payments were fully passed along to mothers, more fathers came forward and paid...and were more likely to establish lasting patterns of payment and connection with their children." Of course, incarcerated parents are usually unable to pay any child support.

Families have little chance to survive intact with the men locked-up and the women financially hamstrung. However, chance has been removed from the equation by the state-administered death blow of locking up women wholesale for minor drug and property crimes. Imagine, if you can, that you are an oppressed nation woman trying to survive and hold a family together in the face of this flagrant state repression. Pretty scary, yes? And even scarier if you are one of the 12 million immigrants trying to do so. Patriarchy and white privilege uber alles! The state keeps its foot on our necks by using the age-old tactic of divide and conquer. Divide the community, then divide the family and all that is left are isolated individuals whose existence is completely state-mediated.

With family and community in the advanced stages of disintegration, all that remains are the children - alienated and utterly deprived of meaningful family and community upbringing. Children with fathers, and now mothers, in jail or prison. Children driven into foster "homes," juvenile detention facilities and even adult jails and prisons. Children rendered functionally illiterate by an educational system that is steadily being pried from the hands of our communities and handed over to state control. Children born and bred in a world where the driving premise is everyone for themselves and devil take the hindmost. Children artfully molded to "be all they can be," which sadly amounts to the brainwashed cannon-fodder of the Amerikan imperialist dream-death machine.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right that imprisonment of men is a direct blow to families, particularly oppressed nation families, and that the incarceration of increasing numbers of wimmin means increasing devastation to families. It is true that the imprisonment rate of wimmin is rising faster than that for men, but in absolute numbers there are still far more men locked up every year and prisons are still primarily used to target oppressed nation men within U.$. borders. Also of note, for the first time since the penitentiary replaced the poor houses over a century ago, we are seeing whole families locked up in detention centers along the border with Mexico. Migrant men, wimmin and even children are probably the fastest growing group in u$ prisons.

There are issues specifically relevant to wimmin prisoners, most obvious is placement of children in foster systems because wimmin are typically the primary caregivers for children. While men may be able to rely on their wives to care for their children when they are locked up, and single men are unlikely to have custody of children, the reverse is not true for wimmin. But the loss of connection to their families and particular children has devastating effects on men and their children as well.

Groups and individuals who claim to value family and community should be working with us to stop the growth of prisons in Amerika and set up programs for family contact where they do exist. These attacks on families are some of the reasons we can still talk about oppressed nations existing within u$ borders. As long as these conditions exist there will be groups of people whose existence demands the end to imperialism and white power in this country.

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[Gender] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
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Response to psycho-sexual warfare article

The Under Lock and Key (#4 – September 2008) article on psycho-sexual warfare vs. political prisoners hit me hard because that’s what’s been happening to me except on a different level of sexuality. Female officer would pay me porno mags, drugs (both pills and street), tobacco, lighters, stamps, even sexual favors such as hand jobs or blow jobs to masturbate in the open where they could see. I was even charged on multiple counts of indecent exposure. I was told by some higher up the ladder that it was best not to fight it and go along so I did. This institution is most notorious for what’s called IEX, Indecent Exposure.

I was attacked and assaulted by 4 officers on the facility B yard at High Desert State prison. Then 40 officers in riot gear came on the yard – 20 officers set up a line of protection for their partners while the other 20 attacked and assaulted me with the first 4 officers. I was beaten black and blue, I was bloody with abrasions and lumps and bumps and I suffered a psychological break down.

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[Gender] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
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Female guards watching male prisoners shower

I wanted to bring to your attention that the psycho-sexual warfare in California include the fact that I am in a Security Housing Unit and I am required to exit the cell to go to the shower with nothing on but a pair of boxers. I also have a problem with female staff working in the unit during showers because I am not an exhibitionist and I believe it is improper for female staff to view naked male prisoners just as it is not proper for male staff to view female prisoners' showers.

California Code of Regulations Title 15, Division 3, Chapter 1 Article 2 "Security" Section 3287 "cell, property and body inspections" sub (b)(4) explicitly prohibit male correctional employees from non-emergency body searches of female prisoners. I resent and take offense to female staff looking at my nakedness, whether they derive some psycho-sexual pleasure or not it's simply not right, and another example of the double standards of the CDCR. When staff come for showers I have to ask if female staff are working in the building and if so I simply decline the shower and most of the regular male guards know this.

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[Gender] [Control Units] [Mississippi] [ULK Issue 5]
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Segregation in Mississippi

While at the Parchman plantation I spent 5 1/2 years in a sensory deprivation unit called Unit 32. It holds a thousand bodies, but when I first got there it was doubled up due to banging between the Vice Lords and Black Gangster Disciples. The racial makeup was over 90% Black with a smattering of caucasians and one or two Vietnamese and Latinos.

I was first placed in it for my crime and length of sentence: Aggravated assault - my sentence is 110 years. I was kept in there due to my lack of conforming to their principles, willingness to attack them in court, filing numerous grievances, refusing to be brainwashed, and most importantly I did not lose my mind. Currently I am in federal court pursuing a censorship and 8th amendment cause (2nd hand tobacco smoke exposure) as I have pulmonary problems and a strong desire to be kept abreast of world events and revolutionary education.

People are ad segged for fighting, escape attempts, standing up to the officials, dirty urine, trying to obtain education or better health care, fighting the phone system monopoly and canteen monopoly, trying to obtain and utilize knowledge to make a better way for themselves and family, and for trying to obtain better prison living conditions (i.e. less overcrowding, sanitary, food, etc.)

Unit 32 opened in 1989 and has not been expanded. However, there are rumors that they are in the process of building two, possibly three more deprivation units in MS. One is to be down here and the other in Rankin County, MS, AKA Central MS Correctional Facility.

I know all about female psycho-sexual predators [as described in ULK 4]. In Parchman it is very prevalent. They use it to control prisoners in various ways. I've actually seen them (females) take out hits on people using their boy toy to do it. I like sex as well, if not more so then the next person, but I have never and will never lower myself to do some crap such as that. Nor set up a brother with drugs, hooch, or weapons. Down here it is not so much actual sex, though that happens too, it is the expectation that it could happen if the person just plays his cards right, or wrong as the case actually is.

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[Abuse] [Gender] [Montana] [ULK Issue 6]
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Psycho-Sexual Warfare Article Speaks to Others

I have been receiving your newsletter for a couple of years now and have thought to write on many occasions. But reading the article "Psycho-Sexual Warfare vs Political Prisoners" by a New York Prisoner has finally compelled me to do so. My own personal experiences within Montana's prison system share some common ground and I thought I would take the time to offer a comparison.

Unlike most of your contributors, I am not only a political prisoner within the prison system itself, I am a political prisoner for opposing the corrupt authorities on the outside, as well. I did not commit a crime to be arrested, I sued the City of Kalispell, Montana, and was charged with a false crime and arrested, followed by a kangaroo court trial and conviction, to stop my suit against those authorities.

Upon entering the prison system I committed myself to fighting the system from the inside. I have used my legal knowledge to file hundreds of legal documents for other prisoners (in spite of unlawful rules and regulations prohibiting prisoners from assisting each other with legal matters) and filed several claims in the courts on my own, including an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) suit and a class action suit for numerous civil liberty violations.

As a vocally outspoken opponent of the prison industrial complex as a whole, and the Montana State prison system specifically, I have made myself quite the target for retaliations from the prison administration. Though I have not had the sexual element foisted upon me as my New York counterpart reports, I have had the rest done to me. I am a low custody prisoners presently confined in a high security lock-down facility, for instance. This has been done in spite of the authorities' foreknowledge that I am claustrophobic, in spite of the fact that I am housed with predatorily violent prisoners, many of whom are staff bulldogs (prisoners who work for the cops, basically acting as strong-arms against anyone in disfavor with those same cops). I have been not only placed in "ambiguous and pressure-filled situation(s)" but I have been beaten by an inmate who did so I believe at staff instruction.

I have had privileges stripped from me, and even property stolen from me, by staff members whose only intent is to harass and provoke me. Yes, I have been on the receiving end of efforts designed to "dehumanize" me and to make me "subservient." And I have only been subjected to all of this extra hardship because I will not break and I continue to fight the system. The New York prisoner is absolutely right in this regard - prison officials isolate those with the greatest potential and subject them to abuses designed to strip us of our focus and will.

I wanted him and everyone else suffering similar hardship to know that you are not alone. Others fight the war with you. Each time prison officials fail to break you, it's a victory. Remember that and stand strong.

I wish my brothers and sisters in solidarity strength and goodwill.

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[Censorship] [Gender] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 6]
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NY promotes Sexual Harrassment and Violence


8/12/2008

Yo, I just want you to know that I received your letter and that I didn't get the MIM Theory #7. I am waiting for the grievance that I filed on 8/5/08 and I just wrote to the superintendent of programs about this. I got the manila envelope that they send the MIM Theory in, but the MIM Theory was not in the envelope, instead there was a pictorial sex book.

...I don't know if it was on tv out there but the jail got locked down for like 4 to 5 days and 4 C/Os got cut or stabbed, so shit's been crazy.


8/18/2008

I just wanted to let you know that I didn't get the MIM Theory #7. I wrote to M. Putnode, Deputy Supt./Programs Services and they said that they do not have it. I wrote a grievance and they didn't write back.


- a prisoner in Clinton Correctional Facility

MIM(Prisons) comments: We can document a history of abuse and targeting of politically conscious prisoners at Clinton Correctional Facility going back years and naming names. Numerous prisoners have filed complaints regarding these staff members, and groups like the Correctional Association of New York (in 2004) have reported on these trends. Yet the state has still not put an end to it.

This example is similar to others at Clinton, where there is no paper trail, allowing the administration to say that nothing happened and deny responsibility. In other words, the NYS DOCS has granted staff the freedom to act however they see fit to repress efforts at organization and education in Clinton.

We have written in previous issues about the gender oppression of prisoners. This act of sexual harassment is just one more example of that. A Black man tries to educate himself about the liberation of his people and some cracker steals the literature we send and replaces it with porn. He sees the Black man as having no interests outside of smoking weed and chasing pussy, and this is how he reacts when faced with reality.

Upstate and Five Points have recently censored mail from MIM(Prisons) as well alleging that it promotes violence. Once more, for the record, MIM(Prisons) does not promote violence, we promote a world free of oppression. Only the oppressor can decide how that will come about. Unfortunately, we do not have the power to do so ourselves. We can only transform the world we find ourselves in by understanding its internal nature.

Some recent censorship was justified because it was critical of prison labor, the physical abuse of a prisoner in New York, and advertised lawsuits that are pending against the state. The most recent prison censorship case, Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C, upheld that prisons cannot censor literature because it is critical of their department. And attempts at stifling support for class action suits is just one more effort to prevent prisoners access to legal protection. The recent attacks at Clinton reported here show what happens when you don't allow prisoners access to legitimate grievance procedures when staff becomes abusive, as they inevitably do in such an oppressive situation.

The policy of the NYS DOCS of supporting staff committing these abuses for years demonstrate a clear attempt by the department to promote violence. Even if they can't learn from their own experience, we've been telling them this for years, and we know they read our literature, so they can't claim ignorance. They want violence, because they use violence as an excuse for further repression. Repression is against the interests of the oppressed, so the oppressed (MIM(Prisons) included) oppose this violence that is being promoted at Clinton.

see censorship records

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[Elections] [Gender] [ULK Issue 6]
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Palin demonstrates gender privilege in Amerika

There is a lot of talk about John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska. A female on the Republican ticket does not mean any more than a female on the Democratic ticket. We should not be fighting for greater access for wimmin to positions of imperialist power in Amerika. Some wimmin have already achieved these positions, but having even more will not change the global situation of gender oppression or imperialist oppression in any way.

Hillary Clinton is part of the imperialist government as Senator from New York, and Sarah Palin as Governor of Alaska - wimmin in the Supreme Court and in leadership positions in the Amerikan government have done their part to further the militarist hegemony of Amerikan imperialism. In spite of all this, it is interesting that the Republican's will have a woman on the ticket while the democrats will not when Hillary Clinton's candidacy played up the gender issue. This seems to be a clear attempt to grab the vote of Clinton supporters who were in it just for the question of gender.

Some people are calling Palin a "pro-life feminist". The pro-life label is great irony for any Amerikan who supports (and even promotes) imperialist militarism. Countless people are killed by Amerikan intervention (covert and overt) and the products of Amerikan foreign policy. People who are truly pro-life fight Amerikan imperialism to stop the mass global murder by imperialism. At the same time, the label of "feminist" for Palin is as contradictory as the "pro-life" label. Feminism should mean fighting for an end to gender oppression. Just because she enjoys wealth and privilege doesn't mean Palin can't participate in this battle, but her political line is definitely not feminist. Palin is a part of the gender aristocracy in Amerika, and she is a part of the fight for greater gender privileges for oppressor nation men and wimmin, this is most definitely not feminism.

It's important to recognize that gender privilege in Amerika is enjoyed by oppressor nation biological wimmin as well as men. For years MIM has put forward the clear line that gender oppression is not just a question of biology. In imperialist Amerika, biological wimmin enjoy gender privilege relative to Third World wimmin and men. We call this group the gender aristocracy. This is not to say wimmin in Amerika are equal to men. In fact there is still a differential in earnings, and certainly a differential in representation in government in Amerika with only 16% of congresspeople being wimmin. But this relative difference between white nation biological wimmin and men is nothing compared to the differential between the oppressed and oppressor nations. Overall gender oppression is suffered by both men and wimmin of oppressed nations and gender privilege is enjoyed by both men and wimmin of oppressor nations.

Amerika has a long history of gender oppression of Black men who were lynched for rumors that they raped white wimmin (707 of the 2,060 lynchings in the u$ from 1882 to 1903 were for rape related accusations).(1) The theory of gender aristocracy is also clearly demonstrated when we think about contraceptive testing on Third World wimmin and men, to benefit Amerikan wimmin. Access to new and better contraceptives for Amerikans has repeatedly come at the expense of Third World people.

And on this topic of contraception, much of the discussion of Palin initially focused on her family and questions of so-called ethics. Palin's 17-year-old unwed daughter is pregnant, somewhat ironic as Palin is a supporter of abstinence education rather than contraception. Fortunately for Palin (who is staunchly anti-abortion), her daughter has decided to keep the baby and marry the father. In reality, those in the Republican party who say people should not talk about Palin's children are right - we have plenty of other more important topics to discuss. We need to tackle imperialism as a system, and part of this is talking about the hypocrisy of a womyn who fights to deny young people real education about reproduction, a practice that has been demonstrated to lead to more unwanted pregnancies.(2)

Palin has a lot of dumb Amerikan views about education, many which she shares with others in the government. She wants to teach religious creationism and so-called "intelligent design" alongside evolution in Amerikan schools, presumably presenting fantasy as science. It is fantasy that assumes we can teach youth about abstinence and ignore the increasing pregnancy rates and spread of STDs, so maybe this position should not be a surprise. In another fantasy, Palin also believes that global warming is not a product of humyn activity (though at least she's ahead of some politicians in admitting that it exists).

In the end Palin is just another imperialist candidate for an imperialist government who will perpetuate imperialist policies that lead to oppression, exploitation and death of Third World peoples. The difference with Palin is that she further demonstrates the power of the gender aristocracy in Amerika.

Notes:
(1) Marable, Manning. How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America. Southend Press, 2000. p. 117.
(2) Contraception v Abstinence Education, December 12, 2006 review of studies published at stats.org

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[Control Units] [Gender] [Washington]
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WA Control Unit Inventory

MCC. There are multiple control units at the Monroe Correctional Complex. However, I have never been to any of them.

WSP. There is one at the Washington State Penitentiary that opened over 20 years ago. I have been in this unit and it houses approximately 100 prisoners. The racial make up is approximately 1/3 white, 1/3 Latino and 1/3 Black. The majority of the prisoners are placed in this unit for no reason except dislike by some administrator or guard. This unit has been expanded recenetly but I am not sure to what extent.

WCC. There has been one at the Washington Correction Center for over 20 years. I have been in this unit and it houses approximately 120 prisoners. The racial make up is approximately 1/2 white and 1/2 Black. The majority of the prisoners placed in these units are for no reason except dislike by some administrators or guards.

CBCC. There is one at the Clallam Bay Correction Center that has been open for about 20 years. I have been in this unit and it houses approximately 220 prisoners. The racial make up is approximately 1/3 white, 1/3 Latino and 1/3 Black. This unit is split into three units (D, E and F) and expands into the general population units as needed. For example, D, E and F units are full, then a portion of B-unit will be appropriated as part of the control unit. As the need diminishes, then B-unit goes back to general population.

It is my belief that the state plans to open more control units and that some are currently under construction.

Control units house mostly mentally ill prisoners that are tormented by the guards. Many gays are forced to live in the control units by the guards and are harassed by the guards. Lots of gang members are in the control units for associations but no rule violations. The control units are used for punishment for prisoners that guard do not like. It is very difficult to watch the guards torment others. It is very difficult to get out of the control unit once assigned there.

I have spent approximately 10-14 years in a control unit in the past 28 years of incarceration. I do not dare make an actual calculation for fear of the mental impact of the reality. I recently spent a year in isolation in a control unit for refusing to have sex with a female guard and complaining about being punished by her for it. It is all a matter of public record if you have interest in the matter.

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