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[Gender] [ULK Issue 54]
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Prison Rape Elimination Act: Does more harm than good

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was created to help prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment inside U.$. prisons and to hold fully accountable those found guilty of sexual misconduct. But is this really the case? I beg to differ with those who fully support PREA.

As a transgender woman, I am victimized daily in one way or another at the hands of my fellow prisoners and staff. I should feel free to report sexual assault/sexual harassment, but the fact is, I'm afraid to or at least reluctant to do so. The pigs in authority here in this particular gulag have decided to create a stipulation that prevents me from coming out of my cell without being video/audio recorded via hand-held camcorder. I am being told that it is for my safety and that of others. I say bullshit. This is retaliation at its finest, subtle and cloaked.

I am at the fascists' mercy for shower, yard, law library and anything else out of my cell. If my captors decide they don't feel like going through the motions with the camera (which is often) they simply have to claim that the camcorder is unavailable and/or out of service for the time being. Thus my right to shower, yard, law library, etc., is more often than not violated. I've pointed out numerous times that there are video cameras in every area of the prison, and there isn't a spot in this place that I can go that is beyond the view of a camera, but the pigs say that audio is needed for my claims of sexual harassment. When I point out that a majority of my sexual harassment allegations occurred when I was inside my cell, they have nothing more to say, as I've tripped them up in their own game.

It's simple. Things like this are done to discourage anyone from reporting any type of PREA violation whether it happened or not. Fear of retaliation alone is a violation of PREA standards. I wonder just how many others are experiencing this type of issue and what as a whole, we can do about it. Any suggestions, comrades?


MIM(Prisons) responds: Gender oppression is one of many forms of abuse faced by prisoners in the Amerikan criminal injustice system. While the PREA laws appear on the surface to take this problem seriously, we have seen that in practice PREA is more about image than action. And this is not the first report we have received about manipulation of the PREA laws to actually harm those who are experiencing the sexual harassment. We have written previously about PREA and the problems of sexual assault in prisons. Our overall conclusion is that we can not rely on the oppressors to enact policies that will stop oppression. Instead we look to the example of groups like Men Against Sexism, an organization in Washington prisons in the 1970s, to defend against sexual assault and change the culture of what was acceptable among prisoners. Organized action by the oppressed at a group level is necessary to overthrow patriarchy.

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[National Oppression] [Gender] [ULK Issue 53]
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Harriet Tubman's Image Whitewashed on $20 Bill

harriet tubman on 20 dollar

In April the U.$. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. But not to leave Jackson out entirely, they said ey will be moved to the back side of the bill, along with the image of the White House. The treasury also announced that the back of the $10 bill will be redesigned to feature leaders of the movement to gain wimmin the right to vote, while Alexander Hamilton will remain on the front of that bill. And the back of the $5 bill will change to incorporate historic moments that took place at the Lincoln Memorial. These design changes will be announced by 2020, so we can't expect to see any new currency for a few years.

There was much debate about making changes to the U.$. currency, with many people calling for incorporation of at least one womyn after a history of only men featured on the bills. Yet the bills are actually a good representation of Amerikan capitalism and we see the incorporation of wimmin on this currency similar to the incorporation of wimmin in the military. It is not a feminist victory to gain greater representation in the most destructive imperialist power in the world. This will not eliminate the patriarchy or gender oppression. Nonetheless, the selection of a former slave for the $20 bill and suffragettes for the $10 bill is interesting because many in the suffragette movement opportunistically played to white nationalism, arguing to white men that they needed to give white wimmin the right to vote to balance out the potential political power of Black voters.(1)

Harriet Tubman was born a slave in 1820 and escaped to Philadelphia in 1849, subsequently devoting eir life to fighting slavery and guiding other slaves to freedom. Tubman died in poverty in 1913. Ey was a fierce New Afrikan guerilla who played an important historical role in defense of the evolving New Afrikan nation.(2) Tubman was such an important figure that eir existence has to be acknowledged by the dominant Amerikan nation. Yet, as in the decision to put Tubman's image on U.$. currency, Amerikkka tries to whitewash the details of Tubman's life and claim em as a hero of this imperialist country.

Ironically, the flip side of the $20 bill will continue to celebrate former President Andrew Jackson, a slave holder who died just a few years before Tubman escaped to freedom. President Jackson, along with the U.$. Congress at that time, was a strong supporter of slavery, basically refusing to take up any proposals that would abolish slavery. Further, Jackson supported mobs and postal workers intercepting abolitionist anti-slavery organizing, referring to these actions as "wicked attempts" to incite slave rebellion.(2) In eir home life, Andrew Jackson built up the Hermitage Plantation, primarily growing cotton, with the labor of slaves. It is estimated that Jackson grew this plantation from a 9-slave operation to over 150 slaves by 1820.

Jackson's legacy of support for national oppression went beyond supporting slavery. Ey was a military leader in the fight against First Nations in the early 1800s. Later, as President, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, forcibly removing several indigenous nations from their lands. The forced relocations, known as the Trail of Tears, led to 46,000 indigenous people relocated during Jackson's term, many of whom died from disease and starvation on the way to the destination.

While sprinkled with anarchist tendencies typical to the author, we recommend Butch Lee's biography of Tubman to people interested in the true history of this revolutionary activist.(3) If the growing New Afrikan defense movement accepts Tubman on the $20 as a positive step, then the ideological war for Tubman is being lost and more integration is the order of the day. More integration with Amerikkka is in direct opposition to the well-being of the majority of the world's people who suffer under imperialism, including New Afrikans.

Changing the faces on Amerikan currency won't change the reality of Amerikan imperialism. But the willingness of the Amerikan government to do this does reflect the extent to which integrationism is being used to keep the oppressed internal nations loyal to the empire. Yet cultural integration does nothing to address the fundamental national oppression that keeps imperialism extracting wealth from oppressed nations in the Third World. These people who generate wealth for Amerikan imperialism can never expect to see their faces on the money that is coming from their labor. This just reinforces the divide between First World and Third World, which will likely result in a very difficult transition from capitalism to socialism for First World peoples. Giving up the wealth of hundreds of years of plunder, and re-integrating into global society as productive human beings will be a long and difficult task for First World bourgeois and petty bourgeois people. We fully anticipate a long period of dictatorship over the First World by the Third World, enforcing a hard fought cultural revolution of re-education for the First World peoples.

Notes:
1. The Root: How Racism Tainted Women's Suffrage, NPR, March 25, 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/134849480/the-root-how-racism-tainted-womens-suffrage
2. http://uspresidents.net/andrew-jackson.html
3. Butch Lee, Jailbreak Out of History: the Re-Biography of Harriet Tubman, Second Edition, Kersplebedeb Publishing, 2015.
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[Gender] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 52]
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Political Activism in Prisons for Wimmin

Freedom is Never Free

In this issue of Under Lock & Key MIM(Prisons) set out to report on revolutionary organizing in wimmin's prisons in the United $tates.(1) Self-determination for the internal semi-colonies won't be won by males alone, and yet our subscriber list is overwhelmingly male. As a prison organizing group, we wanted to look at what is our role in resolving contradictions along gender lines, in our struggle toward national liberation and an end to Amerikkkan imperialism. The lumpen class has a strong training in male chauvinism, and prisons are an even more extremely masculine environment. If we are going to contribute to the resolution of gender contradictions, we need to consciously put effort into it.

We solicited articles from many current and former prisoners on this topic, but in the end we received very little response. This coincides with our overall reach into wimmin's prisons: while about 7% of the population in prison is locked up in wimmin's prisons, we do not have close to 7% of our subscribers located in these institutions. In this article we will explore the current state of imprisonment of females and some potential reasons for our limited reach and lower political involvement in institutions for wimmin.

MIM(Prisons) has long talked about gender oppression faced by prisoners in the United $tates. Gender is distinct from class and nation, and located within leisure time activities. Usually gender oppression is something suffered by biological females. But in prison, where the vast majority of the population is male, we still see significant gender oppression. When male prisoners are sexually assaulted by guards this is obviously gender oppression because it's based in "leisure" time. But there are other aspects of this gender oppression, including the Amerikan legacy of lynching New Afrikan men for supposedly raping white wimmin, which is an example of white females having gender power over New Afrikan males. So it's not so straightforward as just looking at biology to determine who is gender oppressed. And as on the streets, gender interacts with nation to complicate the situation in prisons.

Growing Imprisonment of Wimmin
http://sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Trends-in-US-Corrections.pdf

Females make up 18.4% of all people under supervision of the adult correctional system (prison, jail and probation).(2) They are 6.7% of federal prisoners(3) and 7.2% of state prisoners.(2) The higher percentage of females in jails and on probation reflects the lesser severity and shorter sentences compared to males. Because our reach is mainly in prisons, that is what we will focus on here.

Many have commented on the dramatically increasing female prison population in the United $tates, especially as the recent growth rate was so much higher than the rate for males. Between 1995 and 2005 the number of male prisoners grew 34% while the number of female prisoners grew 57%.(4) Overall, females went from 11% of all arrests in 1970 to 26% in 2014.(5) However, the U.$. prison population peaked in 2009 and has been dropping slowly since then. The total change between 2004 and 2014 was a 1% drop in prison population. Over that same period the male prison population dropped 1.2% while the female prison population increased 1.4%. Since 2004 the number of females in prison has bounced up and down every few years with a peak in 2008, a drop from 2008-2012 and then an increase in 2013 and 2014. The dramatic increases in incarcerated females prior to 2004 seem to have leveled off, and there are no clear trends since 2004.(2)

What we can conclude from the numbers above is that the imprisonment rate for females is growing faster than the rate for males, but the growth is relatively slow in recent years and the overall number of females in prison is so much smaller than the number of males that it would take many many years of significant growth to get close to equal incarceration rates between males and females. It is still true that when we talk about prisons in the United $tates we are overwhelmingly talking about prisons for men.

New Afrikans and Chicanas are disproportionately locked up compared to white females (twice the rate for New Afrikans and 1.2 times for Chicanas). But these statistics mean that a much larger proportion of people in female prisons are white than in the male prisons which locks up New Afrikans at almost 6 times the rate of white males and Chicanos at more than twice the rate of whites.(6) And in female prisons the disparity has been decreasing in recent years with incarceration of white females increasing at a faster pace than other nationalities.

Below we examine two possible explanations for MIM(Prisons)'s limited reach into facilities for wimmin. 1. We are not doing a good job addressing issues that are important to this population and so they're just not interested in working with us. 2. Females in prison are less political than males in prison. If the former is true, we hope that this ULK will inspire readers to write to us and tell us what we're missing. We do, however, see some solid evidence that the explanation is the lack of political interest among female prisoners.

We need to consider what might cause female prisoners to be less interested in our work than their male counterparts. Those who do write to us often comment on the complete lack of interest among their fellow prisoners. And while we hear this plenty from men's institutions, we also hear many more stories from the men's prisons about activism and interest. In addition, some of the wimmin who write to us are transgender and held in male institutions, with this experience contributing greatly to their political awareness.

Based on our experience and what evidence we can find from studies of prisoners, we believe that wimmin are less likely to be locked up long term, less likely to be put in solitary confinement, more likely to have family waiting for them on the outside, and less likely to have been active members of a lumpen organization prior to or during their term. These are mostly conditions of wimmin in general in the United $tates, and so reasonable assumptions to make. We are by no means suggesting that imprisonment of females in this country is free of abuse or anything other than a product of a system built for social control. But females who are swept up in the net of widespread incarceration are often not the primary targets of the system. The stats on nationality make this clear.

One might argue that gender oppression in wimmin's facilities is scaring people locked up there into unwillingness to reach out to MIM(Prisons). However, we see that increased repression in men's prisons generally results in increased political interest. We get many letters describing threats resulting from political activism or even just education leading people to greater interest in men's facilities. And historically, on a global scale, greater oppression has led to greater resistance, by nation, class and gender.

Overall we think the lower percentage of people in wimmin's facilities reaching out and getting involved with MIM(Prisons) validates our theory about what leads prisoners to becoming politicized. Significant factors include: solitary confinement, lumpen organization involvement, significant repression, censorship and conditions of abuse. Essentially, repression breeds resistance (as long as the repression isn't so extreme that prisoners face total censorship, or health conditions so bad that they are unable to function). We regularly hear that widespread access to TV and other privileges really does buy prisoners out of political interest and activism. This is not a surprise in a country of wealth and privilege where the vast majority of the population enjoys petty bourgeois lifestyles.

Further supporting this theory is our anecdotal experience that trans wimmin are interested and active behind bars. We know they face significant repression distinct from the general prison population. So it is not surprising that trans prisoners are driven to political awareness and activism.

Unique Challenges in Wimmin's Prisons

While material conditions, as analyzed above, play a role in the appeal of proletarian-led communist revolution to any population, we also need to look at our own attempts, or lack of, to organize with this population. MIM(Prisons) has not made a concerted effort to connect the struggle for national self-determination with struggles in wimmin's prisons. With this ULK we hope to spark that conversation.

With that said, we need to look at what unique challenges are faced by people locked up in facilities for wimmin. This will help determine if we are not addressing the issues that are important to these prisoners.

The battle to maintain or regain custody of children is one issue more prevalent in facilities for female prisoners. In 2006 (and other studies suggest this number is pretty constant in recent years), more than 65% of females in state prisons and 55% of males in state prisons had children under 18 years of age. 64% of these mothers lived with their children before prison, compared to 44% of fathers.(7) While this is a pretty big difference, the overall magnitude of the impact of imprisonment isn't close: there are so many more fathers in prison than mothers in prison. One possibility is that mothers who fear losing custody will do anything they can to keep clean and get out quickly, and this focuses them more on doing their time quietly than fighting abuse.

Sexual assault is another potential issue that may affect female prisoners more than males. In a PREA survey of former prisoners from 2008, 10.5% of females reported prisoner-on-prisoner sexual assaults compared to 2.7% of males. Staff-on-prisoner sexual assault was also more commonly reported by females (2.5%) compared to males (1.1%).(8) We are skeptical of these numbers, especially since the taboo against reporting sexual assault is even greater for males and so it's hard to say if these statistics represent a meaningful difference between the experiences in wimmin's and men's prisons. Even if it does, we wouldn't expect this abuse to lead females away from political activism. But it is perhaps an issue we need to expose more often to address the large portion of wimmin who are facing this abuse.

The Path Forward

It is important to connect our political line with our strategy and tactics, and engage in the scientific process of developing that line as we learn from our practice. While in this article we have focused on facilities for wimmin and organizing of females behind bars, this is a bigger question of how we mobilize females on the streets to join our revolutionary struggle. We are fighting against class, nation and gender oppression on a global scale, and this battle requires uniting all who can be united. Around the world we have examples of wimmin joining struggles for national liberation, taking up leadership in communist organizations, and historically in leadership positions in Communist China. While we see the national liberation struggle as principal at this point in history, we can not neglect the gender contradiction, both in the general fight against imperialism and in our own political practice.

Notes: 1. The sex binary of males and females is a false social construct. But for the ease of writing about facilities designed to house people the state defines as female, as compared to facilities designed to house people the state defines as male, we have resorted to using binary gendered language in this article. For more information read the essay "Attacking the Myth of Binary Biology: MIM(Prisons) Eliminates Gendered Language",, from ULK 47, December 2015. 2. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Table of Estimated number and rate of persons supervised by U.S. adult correctional systems, by sex and jurisdiction, 2013 and 2014 http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p14.pdf 3. U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons report, July 2016. https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_gender.jsp 4. Harrison, Paige M. & Allen J. Beck, PhD, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2005 (Washington DC: US Department of Justice, Nov. 2006), p. 4. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p05.pdf 5. U.S. Jails fail to meet needs of growing population of women, The Intercept, August 17, 2016. https://theintercept.com/2016/08/17/u-s-jails-fail-to-meet-basic-needs-of-growing-population-of-women/ 6. Table 10 from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p14.pdf 7. Facts below all from: WOMEN IN PRISON PROJECT, Correctional Association of New York, 2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.,Suite 200 New York, NY 10027 8. PREA resource center report, Sexual Victimization Reported by Former State Prisoners in 2008. http://www.prearesourcecenter.org/sites/default/files/library/sexualvictimizationreportedbyformerstateprisoners2008.pdf
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[Organizing] [Gender] [ULK Issue 52]
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An Invaluable Resource?

Few things are more dangerous and detrimental to a revolutionary movement than over- and underestimation, in particular underestimation. Battles have been lost, tides and balances of struggles have ebbed and flowed, and slide from one side to the other. And all because of this simple mistake. Whenever we underestimate someone, group, or thing, we commit this mistake of relegating that persyn, group, or thing to unimportance. Or we ignore it or them as being trivial. This is something no revolutionary can ever afford to do. Especially those in the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist movements.

Unfortunately, our movements, as so many others, can be plagued by machismo, a particular form of male chauvinism. In revolutionary circles this happens and wimmin are undervalued and most often underestimated. Wimmin are a force without equal in any movement. In the fight against capitalist and imperialist governments wimmin are an indispensable resource. A clear example of their worth can be found in recent Cuban history, the 26th of July movement.

Everyone knows of Fidel, Raúl, Frank País and Abel Santamaría. But their fame and successes would have been unattainable save for the revolucionarias, wimmin revolutionaries. While there were many wimmin later in the movement, there were only two in key roles at the beginning: Haydée Santamaría Cuadrado and Melba Hernández Rodríguez de Rey. These two stood out as invaluable and the personifications of wimmin to a revolutionary movement. Together they were key to printing and distributing "History Will Absolve Me," the famous Castro speech. They also took up arms during the attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Although, triumph eluded them during the assault, their efforts spread the movement from the eastern provinces throughout all Cuba. Haydée and Melba were both imprisoned after the assault. But their efforts never stopped and they even became more active in overthrowing the U.$.-backed Batista regime. Their imprisonment, isolation, and cruelty suffered at the hands of a proxy of U.$. imperialism only served to strengthen their resolve and commitment. As the movement spread, so did support which finished in the triumph of the revolution in 1959. Without them the revolution may never have been achieved.

Wimmin are often undervalued, underestimated and ignored. Let us not commit such mistakes. While the capitalists and imperialists do, let us recognize this fault and exploit it, using their fallacy for our advantage to progress the movement. We need our wimmin to be involved because they are the life blood of any movement and an invaluable resource. As revolutionaries and persyns, wimmin are integral to the success of our movement.

Let us take note of this history lesson and put it to good use. We need wimmin, prisoners and captives, to exceed the examples of Haydée and Melba, leading other compañeras from behind the walls as they did. Directing others in constructive methods, organizing study groups and educating other wimmin about the present struggle, as well as how to champion it. Their efforts will give breath to our movement and once it has spread, triumph will shortly follow.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer gives a good historical example of wimmin who have overcome barriers of machismo to make significant contributions to the liberation of their nation. There are innumerable examples like this one that we can point to for anyone who is hung up on their sexism so much that they think only "men" can liberate the oppressed nations.

This author is advocating for a necessary first step: first, we must accept that anyone is perfectly capable of being a strong theorist, warrior, contributor, to the national struggles. We don't see many people writing in telling us wimmin are too weak or otherwise should be excluded from revolutionary organizing, so while this sexist indoctrination will ultimately affect how we approach organizing, at least on a conscious level we might be already doing good on step 1. So what's next?

If we continue to see wimmin as a resource, even for revolutionary aims, we are not going to get very far in resolving the gender contradictions that plague our struggle for unity and liberation. Rather than asking ourselves how can we mine this resource, we need to ask "what are the contradictions inhibiting this growth of our movement?" and "what can we do to help resolve these contradictions?" A study of dialectical materialism, including Mao's essay "On Contradiction" is imperative for this discussion.

Similarly, we can't fetishize organizing of any subgroup in our movement, lest we lose direction for the sake of getting some wimmin on board. That's the mistake made by people who believe who is saying it is more important than what is being said. It's the same trap that got Obama elected as a Black persyn, and Hilary campaigning on the platform of being a female. Even if the tokenization is of an oppressed group (queer/trans people of color appear to be the token of the day), identity politics is always dangerous and an antithesis to materialism.

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[Gender] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 52]
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Bringing in Females via Pen Pals

I would like to address the question that was presented in ULK issue #49: Where are the revolutionary women at? How can we reach and organize with our female comrades?

There are many female soldiers out there who would love to join the revolution. And there are many ways in which we can bring these sisters into the revolution. One way is via the pen pal process. Many male prisoners have prison pen pals who they can write, educate and/or bring into the fight. The same can also be done with female pen pals who are not incarcerated. They can also sign up the sisters they know or write for a subscription of ULK.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade offers a fine suggest that can apply regardless of gender. Any pen pal who might be interested in the struggle against imperialism and oppression should be cultivated on that level. We always need more help from supporters on the outside, so if your pen pals need an org to hook up with they can seek out MIM(Prisons) via our contact info on page 1.

We know many of our subscribers already follow this comrades's suggestion by sharing what they learn from ULK with their people on the streets. If you have reason to believe your pen pal might be interested in anti-imperialist politics, send an article cut out of the newsletter to see how they react. If they are interested you can suggest they check out our website and you can start raising political questions in your letters. This could help build a solid base of political support on the streets for when you're released. But it's important to always be cautious, and not expose your political views and organizing work to folks who might (even if just accidentally) expose you to the cops.

To be clear, we don't have any evidence that overall males are at a higher level of political consciousness than females. At least historical political movements within U.$. borders don't suggest this is the case, but it is possible the dramatic recent imprisonment rate is driving a politicization of males in a way never before seen in this country. Regardless, we need to get the word out to everyone who might be interested in anti-imperialism, and if our political line is correct the oppressed will see this and get involved.

We'd like to hear from others about successes or failures you have had bringing up politics with folks in letters to the streets. Is this a tactic that we can build on in a more intentional way?

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[Gender] [Militarism] [Spanish] [ULK Issue 54]
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El Ejército de los E$tados Unido$ acierta golpe fulminante contra las políticas de identidad de género

Esta semana, los oficiales del Ejército de los E$tado$ Unido$ anunciaron que las personas transgénero son bienvenidas para servir abiertamente como guerreros del imperialismo y la dominación mundial Amérikkkana. Hicieron un plan que será puesto en marcha el año que viene, que incluye apoyo financiero para tratamientos médicos como cirugías, terapia y hormonas.

Algunos activistas trans, que reconocen por qué este anuncio es “problemático” para las personas en las naciones oprimidas, afirmarán que “[el Ejército de los E$tados Unido$] nombraría como nuevo miembro cualquier cosa.” Lo cual es cierto, hasta un punto. El gobierno de los E$tado$ Unido$, en todas sus formas, tratará de controlar todos los aspectos de nuestra sociedad que puedan ser controlados. Lo que recalca el punto de que las políticas de identidad de género no amenazan al militarismo e$tadouniden$e y a la dominación del mundo porque pueden ser controladas por la mera aceptación. ¿La lucha por la aceptación de los transgéneros (o cualquier lucha de género), distinta de la organización revolucionaria, debilita al capitalismo mismo? No. Y este anuncio lo prueba.

El gobierno e$tadouniden$e no puede nombrar como nuevo miembro a organización antiimperialista genuina, a pesar de sus intentos con las organizaciones encubiertas y la revisión de la historia. No puede integrar la autodeterminación de las naciones con el colonialismo porque son aspectos opuestos de una contradicción mundial. No pueden terminar con la opresión y desesperación de la gente en el Tercer Mundo porque dependen de esa opresión para su función básica de la explotación para mantener a las personas en los E$tados Unido$ ricas y felices.

Si tu lucha puede ser integrada al Ejército de los E$tado$ Unido$, entonces eso demuestra de qué lado está en realidad. ¿Eres un revolucionario internacionalista? ¿O sólo esperas por una mejor vida aquí en Amérikkka? Todos los que se opongan a la opresión de identidad de género, militarismo y genocidio deberían hacer todo en su poder para organizarse en contra del Ejército de los E$tado$ Unido$, y en contra del capitalismo, dado que esa es la única manera en que llegaremos a un mundo sin opresión de género para todos.

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[Release] [Gender]
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What I did as a communist and on probation: 2006-2015

I emphasize greatly that I do not intend to romanticize my experiences while keeping true to my communism and being on probation. It was not a romantic existence being in sort of an involuntary political vacuum and underground. During this time, my political work was severely limited. I did not partake in rallies, forums, strikes, etc. Unfortunately I had to eventually internalize that the best way to fight against the system was to survive probation. Every day for nine years was excruciating hell for me, my comrades, and my family.

My letters from jail, prison, and the "outs" are full of such depression, melancholy, outright anger, and all sorts of ambivalent emotions. Obviously a lot of more people have it worse than me, but for those nine years I could only do my time. Even during probation, jail, and prison; at the best of my circumstances (almost at the cost of my life, friends, and family) I was very devoted and very biased in favor of supporting struggles of working-people, People of Color, the poor and the lumpenproletariat.

My only contribution and commitment to the movement came to only keeping notes on the Prison-Industrial Complex, keeping up with contemporary news, and reading up on Marxist Theory, and History.

For better or worse, my socialist credo kept me clear of reoffending. I have been a communist since 2004 when I joined a revolutionary youth group and later its parent group. I, with another comrade, was elected to represent our respective departments in the student senate. I was also in other activist groups on and off campus. At the age of 24 I plea bargained to guilty without a jury trial to using the computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

Right away after being charged, my face was all over the news. I voluntarily left the party and discontinued as a student senator. Amongst radicals and communists, it is not easy to be convincing that it was a sting operation and there was no victim. Some feminists would argue I was being reactionary, misogynistic, and anti-communist due to my actions.

I served a total of nine years probation. I was originally given three years and 90-days on an ankle monitor. Because I made some minor infractions of probation rules, I was incarcerated from 2008-2010. I did not offend, but served time in jail off and on for minor probation occurrences.

In Wisconsin, when a sex offender is on probation, every move one makes, mental and physical is under a microscope by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WIDOC). I had to see my probation officer once a week. I had to respond to questions such as "If I have been around minors", "If I have taken drugs or alcohol", "If I was around parks, schools, or where minors typically frequent", "If I had sex with a member of my peer group." etc. She did not ask these questions every week, but it was disciplined into me that I would have to automatically bring anything up that the WIDOC needed to hear. They would even make me keep a masturbation log and record what I fantasized to. I was also polygraphed 8 times to see if I was telling the truth. For most of my probation, I could not use a computer, cellphone, or internet. This made it hard to finish my history degree without a use of computer.

I had a fine network of friends and family to help me through it. Dating, networking, keeping up with news, was very hard without a 21st century device. For one instance, I had to finish my senior thesis on Sri Lankan communism on a typewriter and have a colleague type it up on a computer! I was not the model probationer. Due to my arrogance, naiveté, belief that I was wronged, I was revoked once and jailed many times. I was put on a probation hold for a number of occasions. Being revoked does not mean I reoffended with another crime. Revoked means I did not follow probation rules and I had to be incarcerated. This means losing one's "street time" and doing probation all over again. I was revoked for two years and had to do five years of probation.

One cannot have sex, a sexual relationship, however defined, without DOC approval. The chances of finding someone, being okay with my crime, and willing to meet with the probation officer is very slim. I defined this as a "state-issued girlfriend." I did not have this luxury during probation. Many sex-deviants do not want to date due to the extremely strenuous circumstances with the WIDOC.

But within the duration of my nine years, I did a lot of reading up on deviance, sexuality, the bourgeois notion of family, and Marxism. I hope my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors give one a clue on how ridiculous Americans overact towards sex offenders. I realize how such a sensitive topic sex offenders is dealt with in academia and so reactionary it is dealt with in the mainstream press. I only know that a better way is needed to treat sex-deviants and non-sex deviants alike need be done with facts and figures rather than sex-steria. I kept to my socialist ideas, no matter how one thinks I compromised them, destroyed them, or foolishly kept them. My exuberant sense of humor, zealous optimism (challenged at many degrees), stubbornness, knowing the system, kept me going. It takes a lot through treatment, conversations with PO, in jail, probation, prison, to keep true to my politics.

I, like every human on the planet, am a product and by-product of my societal surroundings. This is where we get social cues, clues, habits, thought processes, and where we get our class from. I read up on different countries (primarily Stalinist countries) and how they have dealt with the concept of deviance. I primarily read up on the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), popular justice in the People's Republic of China (pre-1980), the Soviet Union, and Cuba. I kept up on theory with Merton, Quinney, and other ex-convict criminologist mentors. I continued to read up on contemporary and historic happenings and sent for radical bookstores for socialist newspapers. I took notes and worked on writings on a contemporary communist position of the revolutionary role of the lumpen. I put together some notes for a manifesto of "Dragon Battalions" made out of class-conscious criminals and social-deviants.

I also had to participate in Sex Offender Treatment (SOT) run by a so-called "law and order conservative." To me, it is part self-criticism session and part Catholic confessions. I did not disclose myself in SOT or in probation as a communist. I would not be on the outs if I did. At one point, since treatment did not know why I was failing polygraphs, they called me the "most dangerous man in [XX] County." I had to attend several different SOT groups due to my unequivocal nature of probation.

I also tried to start up a socialist prisoner group called "Samizdat: Socialist Prisoners Project." The SSPP was designed to send radical literature to prisoners and be a more direct movement. Because of my arrogance I snuck through a couple months without the WIDOC knowing of the SSPP. I ended it as soon as I was banned from computer use. Upon the closing of SSPP, the WIDOC still did not know of it. Due to a bit of arrogance and indifference, I listened to Radio Havana Cuba (RHC) on a shortwave radio. I even wrote to the radio station, heard my letter read on the air and received parcels from RHC. I also wrote the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (north Korea) and received some books. Who knows if the WIDOC found out, what state of affairs I would be in?

The boogeyman of the sex offender is a product of the contradiction of the ultra-sexualized, ultra-puritan, police state standard-operating-procedure of the USA. I do believe sexual abuse is harmful; I am against rape, as well as the societal cannons of chauvinism, sexism, racism, bigotry, misogyny — all stemming from capitalism.

I am still serving a life sentence due to be stigmatization and even registered for another ten years. The WIDOC knows my email, where I live, my phone number, my Facebook accounts, and the car I drive. I have to disclose my crime to possible future employers. I have to disclose my past to future relationships. While on probation I made a small service to the revolutionary cause. I wrote hundreds of poems, and published four books.

Without the use of a computer, I finished my degree in History and Sociology. I co-authored a paper about the life of a sex offender partaking in college. I was inspired to be a convict criminologist researching and observing so-called criminal deviant acts from the view of the incarcerated and recently incarcerated persons.

I am currently writing a political memoir of my experiences of treatment, jail, prison, and probation. I am now in many leftist organizations including SSPP and my past socialist group. I am working towards a Masters in Criminology and for workings of a formation of the freedom armies of tomorrow. I am currently occupied in the solidarity front of the Wisconsin Dying to Live hunger strikes. Mentally, I am left paranoid, colder, distressed, with social-effective disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, anxiety, depression, scared, and insecure of forming close relationships and doing some political work.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade does a good job describing the difficulties that face former-prisoners on the streets. In the case of someone labeled a sexual deviant there are even more challenges. These difficulties face all parolees and require a strength of persynal conviction as well as social support to overcome. This is why we are building our release support program preparing our comrades years before they get out. And why we emphasize setting up structures on the outside that will lead to a sustainable life. This will make it much more likely that folks can stay politically active on the streets.

We want to clarify that we agree with this writer's implication that it is society that conditions people to be "sexual deviants," and in fact creates a hyper-sexualized culture and then condemns people who respond to it with arousal. We recognize the power differential between adults and youth, just like that between wealthy and poor, or male and female, as something that creates an inherent inequality in a relationship and a power dynamic that makes full consent to sex impossible. Because of this we agree with the line that says all sex is rape. There is no perfect sex as long as the system of patriarchy exists. Because of this we don't put sex offenders in some special group more condemned than those who steal from the people, deal drugs to the people, or kill people. Instead we are clear that any action that harms other people by using power over them is unacceptable. But we do not recognize the Amerikan criminal injustice system as an authority to judge people's crimes. The people running this system are the biggest murderers, thieves, rapists and drug dealers in the world. Only when we have eliminated imperialism and established a dictatorship of the proletariat will we be able to mete out justice for the people by the people, and help those who really did commit crimes against the people reform to become productive members of society.

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[Gender] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 52]
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Why Won't Wimmin Fight for their Rights?

Half the Sky

I see MIM is going to do a wimmin's issue. I really don't know what can get women interested and have some courage to do anything other than complain. Women seem to think if they smile, be happy, flip their hair and talk with a baby voice it will get them things. Even though we keep getting things taken from us, women will not speak up and stand up.

I read in Prison Action News (by ABC) about a work stoppage they are trying to encourage in September 2016. But all the responses I get from women is they will not participate, they are scared of being locked down, retaliation, blah, blah, blah.

Here is what I am currently going through with the grievance process concerning outdoor yard time: Lieutenant Gayle Ross posted a Posted Operational Rule (POR) changing small yard time. First of all, it was not signed until 1 June 2016, but supposedly went into effect a month before posting on 1 May 2016. PORs must give prisoners a two week notice before a change goes into effect.

Female prisoners are no longer allowed to go out to the small yard at the same time as dog program participants, with/without their dogs, for fear that we may get hurt. Even though dog program participants and their dogs are not separated in the units with non-dog program prisoners. Apparently it's only a safety/security issue for use of the small yard.

Next, Lt. Gayle Ross has spread her safety/security issue to other areas. Apparently wimmin prisoners are too fragile to go outside when it is wet out, puddles on the ground or snow on the ground. Supposedly we are childish and will jump in puddles, and too fragile so we might fall. This reasoning has allowed us to be denied small yard for entire seasons: fall heading into winter, winter, and most of spring, which by definition is rainy. Even though recreation can clear off puddles by sweeping off the water, the recreation staff lets the water sit until it dries naturally, of course closing the small yard for days. Apparently wimmin are dangerous enough to imprison but too fragile to go outside.

There are three steps to our grievance process. I have grieved all the way to a step three, therefore exhausting the grievance process. I am the only one grieving. Women complain, complain, complain but do nothing else. So I am preparing a 1983 [lawsuit].

I have used the grievance petition from MIM(Prisons). None of my three grievances were provided timely responses according to Colorado's AR 850-04 time limit for Step 1, 2 and 3 grievances. I sent this petition to Rick Raemisch, executive director of Colorado Department of Corrections, the United States Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General. The United States Department of Justice basically said they only considered class action cases. Due to the letter to Rick Raemisch, Captain Bowers met with me and Lt. Gayle Ross about the issue. The situation has not changed for the better.

Now more gym time and small yard time has been taken away. If we don't attend a specific aerobic program called Insanity/cize (which is a videotape), we cannot use the rest of the gym or small yard. We cannot use the other exercise equipment or do our own workout program. We must only workout to the DVD (unless we are ADA). Women are complaining but they are doing nothing else.

I am still working on my case with the help of reading material like Battling the Administration by David Meister and Prisoners' Self-Help Litigation Manual by Daniel Manville, that I bought from Prison Legal News.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises some important questions about how females are taught to act in order to get ahead in patriarchal society. The idea that flipping hair, smiling and talking with a baby voice will get stuff for wimmin has been reinforced with very real financial and social incentives based on looks and gendered behavior. While society teaches males that being aggressive and self-sufficient is sexy and also the right way to get ahead at work, that same system teaches females that aggressiveness is unattractive and it's best to be weak and dependent on a man.

We can even see this double standard in the way people talk about Hillary Clinton's Presidential candidacy. She's just another imperialist mouthpiece, but she has won the wrath of so many for things that are seen as normal or even praised in male candidates. When Clinton is loud she is called out for "shouting" or "shrieking", while male candidates are praised for their strength for a similar style. Critics are calling Clinton a bitch and a lesbian. When she shows emotion she is too feminine and when she doesn't show emotion she is too masculine. There are endless examples of this sort of attention paid to Clinton's gender rather than her qualifications.

There are many strong wimmin standing up for their rights and the rights of others, like this comrade. And we need to train other wimmin that being strong and self-sufficient is the only way to really get ahead and really win battles. Many men in prison also sit around complaining without doing anything, but it is leaders like this writer who, over time, can develop other activists by setting an example of strength and resolve in practice, combined with a correct political line.

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[Gender] [Militarism] [ULK Issue 51]
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U.$. Military Delivers Death Blow to Identity Politics

Revolution is the Solution

This week U.$. military officials announced that transgender people are welcome to serve openly as warriors for imperialism and Amerikkkan world domination. They made a plan that will roll out over the next year, including financial support for medical treatment such as surgeries, therapy, and hormones.

Some trans activists, who recognize why this announcement is "problematic" for people in the oppressed nations, will assert that "they'll co-opt anything." Which is true, to an extent. The U.$. government in all its forms will try to control any aspect of our society that can be controlled. Which underlines the point that identity politics is not threatening to U.$. militarism and world domination, because it can be controlled just by mere acceptance. Does the struggle for transgender acceptance (or any gender struggle), distinct from revolutionary organizing, undermine capitalism itself? No. And this announcement proves it.

The U.$. government can't co-opt genuine anti-imperialist organizing, try as it might with front organizations and rewriting of history. It can't actually integrate the self-determination of nations into colonialism, because they are opposite aspects of a worldwide contradiction. They can't resolve the oppression and desperation of people in the Third World, because they depend on that oppression for its base function of exploitation, to keep people in the United $tates wealthy and happy.

If your struggle can be integrated into the U.$. military, then it shows which side your struggle is truly on. Are you a revolutionary internationalist? Or just hoping for a better life here in Amerikkka? Everyone who opposes gender oppression, militarism, and genocide, should do everything in their power to organize against the U.$. military, and against capitalism, as that's the only way we're going to get to a world without gender oppression for everyone.

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[Organizing] [Gender] [ULK Issue 52]
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Call for Unity with LGBTQ Prisoners

Queen D.I.V.A here, I want to speak on why LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/transexual, Queer) comrades are treated like shit. This is my second bid and I've seen a lot of love towards my community but to be totally honest I've seen more dislike and hate towards my community.

Comrades will rather be respectful to a kkkorektions officer than a homosexual, why? Comrades will rather say good morning with a smile on their faces to a kkkorektions officer, why? Don't you guys know these pigs are the ones throwing your mail away and then telling you that you didn't get any, that they will beat your ass and say you assaulted them and give you a new bid, and that they will deny your visit after your family just drove 7 hours to see you?

What have LGBTQ comrades done to you? Nothing. We were born different, that's it! What if your own flesh and blood son came to you one day and confessed that he's gay? Would you disown him? Would you treat him like you treat imprisoned gays, or would you put your ego, pride and fear to the side and embrace him?

We are all in this struggle together, let us say "screw what people think." A "unit" is something that works together. We're behind these walls and fences together so why can't we stand together? Stop disrespecting us and you'll see we're not your enemies.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade eloquently pushes the United Front for Peace in Prisons principle of Unity around the question of sexual orientation and gender identity, elements of the strand of oppression of gender. We need to look beyond petty differences, and beyond socialized prejudices around gender. Our movement cannot afford to be divided along these lines. Instead we need to judge people by their actions and their political line. Those who side with the pigs, who feed them information, and who help them by provoking fights and doing their bidding: those people are our enemies. People who stand up against the criminal injustice system are our friends. And those who don't stand up but refuse to work with the pigs are our friends in need of a little educating and leadership so that they too will join the struggle.

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