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[Campaigns] [MIM(Prisons)] [ULK Issue 84]
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Successes and Failures of 2023

Comrades in MIM(Prisons) and Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support (AIPS) have been looking at our last year of practice and planning for 2024. We want to bring United Struggle from Within (USW) comrades into this process as we have in the past. So we encourage thoughts and feedback on the below from our imprisoned readers, especially the questions at the end.

Starting with the basics, we collectively kept our key operations running for another year, which is a success in itself. We put out 4 issues of Under Lock & Key on schedule and with positive responses, processed our prisoner mail in a timely manner, kept our intro study courses for prisoners running, and sent out monthly literature orders to prisoners across the country.

Some other accomplishments for 2023 were:

  • released Second Edition of The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons

  • started new level 1 study program based on FPL 2nd edition

  • transcribed and edited MIM articles on the Revolutionary Communist Party(USA) from MIM Theory journals and developed our own summary analysis of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) related to the RCP=U$A for a book we plan to release in 2024

  • relaunched our level 2 study group for prisoners after a few years of hiatus

  • expanded our pamphlet on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and began distributing it to prisoners

  • upgraded and rebuilt our servers

  • we maintained a weekly study program for more advanced comrades working with MIM(Prisons) on the outside

While we did not meet our goal of financial contributions from AIPS comrades, we did see a continued increase in those contributions, so thanks to those comrades for the vital funding support. However, as we hinted at in previous issues, we saw a steep drop off in the number and amount of contributions coming from prisoners in 2023 as seen below.

prisoner donations 2023

We are asking for our readers help in investigating this drop. Our first guess would be that less people are receiving ULK. There was a corresponding decline in incoming letters over 2023, which meant less outgoing letters. Though we still mailed out more ULKs than in 2022, we mailed out less other literature. All of these numbers seem to indicate a decrease in engagement with prisoners overall. We did not see a significant decrease in study group participation.

One of our failures for 2023 was to follow through with support for Texas prisoners, such as: compiling reports for ULK, building and supporting campaigns, and updating our Texas Campaign Pack. None of that happened due to one comrade leaving who was leading AIPS efforts in Texas. Their efforts in 2022 led to an increase in outgoing letters, and we saw an increase in incoming letters that year seemingly as a result of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. Then in July 2023, Texas implemented their digital mail system, which has led to massive delays in prisoners receiving letters, and much of our literature being rejected because mailroom staff don’t understand the new system or are using it as an excuse to censor us. While the decrease in incoming letters from Texas has continued since that happened, it began well before July. So the digital mail system certainly doesn’t explain it all.

Another failure for 2023 was our Revolutionary 12 Step Training course. We want to apologize to the comrades who were keeping up with their responses to the course. Unfortunately, again, this is a case where the persyn leading this initiative was not able to follow through. For now we are considering the training course in that form as done. But we aspire to relaunch it in the future as we continue to focus on combating addiction. The Revolutionary 12 Step Program pamphlet was one of our most distributed items in 2023. And we are encouraging recipients to report on their efforts at implementing it so we can find ways to build it.

In 2023 we’ve seen a surge in requests for us to message people inside electronically through companies the states’ are hiring to run their digital mail via tablets. Years ago we used to be able to do this. The early prison email systems were free and accessible. Now they require credit card information and often for you to install software to use them. This is not something we are set up to do at this time. So do not expect us to respond to requests from these state-sponsored messaging systems in the near future. One comrade in Texas asked why we don’t have ULK on the tablets. Well, the point of the tablets is so they can further control and monitor what you read and write. So we assume that’s never gonna happen, but if you have a way for us to get on there let us know.

Every recent issue of ULK has listed Spreading ULK as a campaign to support. In 2024, we need to get serious about that campaign if we want to keep ULK sustainable and useful. This could be done by increasing distribution outside of prisons as well. But as the prison ministry’s primary task is organizing prisoners, we’re asking for your help in both analyzing what is going on with subscriber numbers and transforming those numbers. Please take the time to send us your thoughts on the following questions:

  • Have you noticed changes in the prison system that have made it harder for people to subscribe to ULK or less interested in subscribing?

  • Have you noticed changes in the prisoner population that have made people less interested in subscribing?

  • Have you noticed/heard of people losing interest in ULK because of the content, or because of the practices of MIM(Prisons)?

  • What methods have you seen be successful in getting people interested in or to subscribe to ULK?

  • Do you have ideas for how we can increase interest in ULK in prisons?

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[Palestine] [Gender] [ULK Issue 84]
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I$raeli Propaganda Capitalizes on Gender Hierarchy

Shani Louk selfie
Shani Louk was one of the I$raelis killed on October 7th
that had glamorous photos spread across the media

18 January 2024 – Today, The Guardian published an article claiming to have evidence of rape of I$raelis during the October 7th attack led by Hamas.(1) However, much of the evidence they provide is the same evidence provided by The New York Times in a similar article from December that has been largely debunked by The Electronic Intifada, citing lack of real evidence, claims that have been countered by the relatives of one alleged victim, and exposing a prime “witness” for being Zionist a operative who has given inconsistent accounts of what ey says ey saw.(2)

I$rael, U.$. and British propaganda have been weaponizing gender to maintain support for the ongoing slaughter of Palestinians of all ages and genders. This has been their playbook against the Muslim world for decades, and against oppressed nations for centuries. It is a common tool of war to demonize and dehumanize the enemy to build support for violence.

Because Hamas attacked civilians, including a rave full of young, beautiful people, the images of young, mostly European, wimmin have been at the forefront of the media since October 7th. Not only are I$raeli wimmin portrayed very differently than Palestinian wimmin in the propaganda war, they benefit from a pornographic culture that values their appearance over that of other peoples of the world. This gives them real gender power, and gives their images real currency in the propaganda war.

One of those kidnapped from the rave was the daughter of a billionaire who built his wealth on the occupation of Palestine. The BBC strangely titled their article on him, “Eyal Waldman: Israeli tech billionaire hopes for peace despite daughter’s killing.” In the article, Waldman seeths about eliminating those who did the attack and even all of Hamas.(3)

More recently, The Daily Mail featured an “exclusive” on “The faces of the girls STILL being held by Hamas”. The tabloid style of The Daily Mail is based on using images of the grotesque and the sexy to capture attention. Stories such as this have allowed them to feature both side-by-side.

While at least one order of magnitude more Palestinian young wimmin have been murdered (not to mention injured, starved, sickened) by I$rael since October 7th, it is the faces of Euro-I$raelis that we see in British and U.$. media. Of course this can be explained by imperialist geo-political interests in the region. But this is also because sex sells, and young European wimmin are sexy.

MIM gave us the theory of the gender aristocracy to better understand this dynamic, and how it affects who are our friends and who are our enemies. The gender aristocracy are the wimmin (and the sexual minorities, etc) who benefit from and support the patriarchy despite having the biological characteristics that traditionally put people in the gender oppressed group under patriarchy. Like the labor aristocracy, the gender aristocracy expanded and transformed in the era of imperialism.

MIM Thought points to the material basis of gender in health status, and the gender aristocracy operating often as a subset of national oppression. So the young, healthy, strong, beautiful people are the ones with gender privilege. Tie that with oppressor nation status, and you have a group of people who have the dual characteristics of being highly valued as well as considered worthy of protection.

Under patriarchal thinking, the defiling of the nation’s wimmin is often a higher offense than killing them. So when we compare the capture of dozens of young Euro-I$raeli wimmin (some who have been murdered) to the murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians, there is just no comparison in the eyes of the oppressor. They will happily kill thousands of more Palestinian men, wimmin and children as revenge for this ultimate sin.

Even in death we see the privilege and power of the gender aristocracy whose pictures are spread around and mourned in the oppressor nations, while the Palestinian wimmin die nameless and faceless.

We’ve also seen Jewish student groups in the United $tates using signs in support of LGBTQ people in their counter protests to those opposing the war on Palestine. This is another example of trying to unite the oppressor nations around gender issues against the oppressed nations that has been used against the Arab world for decades.

Despite these efforts, a November Gallup poll showed that Amerikan wimmin were less supportive of I$rael’s war than men (44% vs 59%). Bigger gaps were seen by age and nation, however. For age support was 30% for 18 to 34 year olds, 50% for 35 to 54, and 63% for 55 and older. Many have commented on the different views of I$rael by age and historical context. But youth interests always differ from the rest, and we see this contradiction as the principal contradiction within the Amerikan nation. Within the United $tates we see the principal contradiction as that between the Amerikan nation and the oppressed nations. This is reflected in 61% white support for I$raeli war, and 30% support from the oppressed nations in the poll.(5)

The current upsurge of youth and oppressed nations in response to the genocide in Gaza is heartening. We must work to organize these forces into sustainable anti-imperialist organizations. The primary way to do this is in the battle of ideas and combatting the trickery the imperialists use to try to win them back over to the side of the oppressor.

Notes:
1. Betham McKernan, 18 Jan 2024, Evidence points to systematic use of rape and sexual violence by Hamas in 7 October attacks, The Guardian.
2. Ali Abunima, 9 January 2024, NY Times “investigation” of mass rape by Hamas falls apart, The Electronic Intifada.
3. Orla Guerin, 12 December 2023, Eyal Waldman: Israeli tech billionaire hopes for peace despite daughter’s killing, BBC News.
4. Natalie Lisbona, 7 January 2024, The Daily Mail, The faces of the girls STILL being held by Hamas as their families make a desperate plea for their release three months after they were captured.
5. Lydia Saad, 30 November 2023, Americans Back Israel’s Military Action in Gaza by 50% to 45%, Gallup.

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[Drugs] [Afghanistan] [China] [Independent Institutions] [Iraq] [ULK Issue 84]
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If the Taliban Can Do It, So Can We

The Taliban retook power in Afghanistan after the U.$. retreat in August 2021.(1) In April 2022, the Taliban once again instituted a ban on poppy cultivation, and by December 2023 they had reduced production by 95%. Most global poppy cultivation now takes place in unstable regions of Myanmar.(2) The Taliban banned opium production with similar results in 2000, but when the United $tates invaded Afghanistan in 2001, they saw to it that opium production was restored and there were continued increases up until last year. As a very poor country, poppy production is a significant cash crop for Afghan farmers. Still the Taliban has been able to enforce the ban, while working with farmers to grow alternative crops. The United $tates says they spent $8 billion trying to eradicate poppy during their rule over the country from 2001 to 2018.(2)

opium production by year in afghanistan

Afghanistan has been negotiating agricultural deals with China since the Taliban regained power in 2021, and are scheduled to begin shipping large exports of produce to China this month [December 2023]. Afghanistan has attended China’s recent Belt and Road Forum, with China becoming Afghanistan’s second biggest trade partner after neighboring Pakistan.(3) This growing export of raw materials has come with far greater imports of products from social-imperialist China, that will feed a relationship of unequal exchange leading to wealth transfer out of Afghanistan. But in the short-term it is helping provide economic options other than exporting opium to Europe, where Afghanistan had provided 95% of the black market supply.(4)

While the United $tates invaded Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks, by 2003 they had begun a full-scale invasion of Iraq using 9/11 as a cover once again. Iraq had also had a culture and tradition that made drug use relatively uncommon. This began to change since the overthrow of the Ba’ath Party in 2003, with sharp increases in crystal meth and the stimulant Captagon documented since 2017.(5) It’s also interesting to note that besides U.$. oil interests, Amerikans were concerned with the ruling Ba’ath Party’s support of certain militant groups in Palestine.

Of course a better example of eliminating opium is China, where the masses were the victims of British Opium War. The Taliban isn’t fighting addiction so much as they are trying to shift agricultural production in a way that is challenging the incomes of poor farmers. The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) gives us a better model than the Taliban of how to fight addiction by empowering the masses through socialism from 1949-1976. We wrote about this in Issue 59 on drugs:

“Richard Fortmann did a direct comparison of the United $tates in 1952 (which had 60,000 opioid addicts) and revolutionary China (which started with millions in 1949).(9) Despite being the richest country in the world, unscathed by the war, with an unparalleled health-care system, addicts in the United $tates increased over the following two decades. Whereas China, a horribly poor country coming out of decades of civil war, with 100s of years of opium abuse plaguing its people, had eliminated the problem by 1953.(9) Fortmann pointed to the politics behind the Chinese success:

“If the average drug addiction expert in the United States were shown a description of the treatment modalities used by the Chinese after 1949 in their anti-opium campaign, his/her probable response would be to say that we are already doing these things in the United States, plus much more. And s/he would be right.”(9)

“About one third of addicts went cold turkey after the revolution, with the more standard detox treatment taking 12 days to complete. How could they be so successful so fast? What the above comparison is missing is what happened in China in the greater social context. The Chinese were a people in the process of liberating themselves, and becoming a new, socialist people. The struggle to give up opium was just one aspect of a nationwide movement to destroy remnants of the oppressive past. Meanwhile the people were being called on and challenged in all sorts of new ways to engage in building the new society.”(6)

Here we see the United $tates failing where socialist China succeeded, using the exact same tools! These historical examples demonstrate that the principal contradiction behind the drug epidemic is found within the structure of society and not with specific treatment techniques. China was also a divided, drug-ravaged population coming into the war of liberation, proving how a new culture can be built and a people can rise above addiction.

But wait, the Taliban and the CPC both had state power when they eliminated drugs. True. And the people in state power in the United $tates are not interested in empowering the people. Instead, they continue to allow the free flow of drugs into even the most controlled environments. On the road to state power, the CPC built dual power, by developing liberated zones in China where they could begin to experiment with the policies and practices of building socialism, including the elimination of drug use.

U.$. prisons are very different conditions than the Chinese countryside. And communists are far from state power in this country. But comrades must use the materialist method to develop strategies for building forms of dual power and transforming the culture of the oppressed to fight drug addiction. The Revolutionary 12 Steps that we published last year is one tool for that, but the real challenge is putting programs into practice. We must build independent institutions of the oppressed that combat addiction by empowering people in a greater liberation struggle. It is the plague of hopelessness that is truly killing us.

NOTES:
1. Plastick, October 2021, Whither Afghanistan?, Under Lock & Key Issue 75.
2. CBS News, 12 December 2023, Myanmar overtakes Afghanistan as the world’s biggest opium producer, U.N. says.
3. Ralph Jennings and Mandy Zuo, 7 November 2023, CIIE: China, Afghanistan cultivate deeper ties with agriculture deals, South China Morning Post.
4. BBC News, 25 August 2021, Afghanistan: How much opium is produced and what’s the Taliban’s record?
5. Jamal Muzil, May 2023, Substance abuse in Iraq, Quantifying the Picture, Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology 30(12):302-313.
6. Wiawimawo, November 2017, Opioids on the Rise Again Under Imperialism, Under Lock & Key Issue 59.

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[Palestine] [Elections] [Fascism] [ULK Issue 84]
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Genocide Joe Compares Trump to Hitler

Trump Parrots Hitler

The Biden/Harris campaign released the above image criticizing some language coming from recent Donald Trump campaign speeches for the 2024 U.$. Presidential election. Meanwhile Trump continues to lead by a landslide for the Republican ticket, which is not surprising, as Hitler viewed the Amerikan project with envy.

The United $tates has been milking it’s alliance with the Soviet Union to fight fascism for over 75 years now. If it were not for the sacrifices of the Soviet people, over 20 million of whom died in the war fighting fascism, and if it were not for the strategic leadership of the Comintern in building alliances with some imperialist powers to fight others, we might not have had 75 years of self-righteousness to have leaned on by U.$. leaders.

Usually U.$. officials would raise the “Hitler” comparisons when it was time to expand imperialist wars against another Third World country, such as Iraq or Panama. But today the leading Democratic presidential candidate is using it against the leading Republican candidate at the same time that the Democrat is facing legal charges for enabling genocide emself. It seems the mask is coming off.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint in federal court in November on behalf of Palestinians that is seeking recognition of the ongoing genocide in Palestine and the requirement for President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to do all they can to prevent Israel’s genocidal acts.(1)

While the occupation of Palestine by I$rael and their imposition of an apartheid state has long been genocidal, the war has reached unprecedented levels since the Hamas-led attack against I$rael on 7 October 2023. By mid-December, a whopping 85% of the population of Gaza has been displaced from their homes and 1% of the population has been killed by the I$raeli onslaught. At least 8 of the murdered and around 100 of those injured were at the hands of “civilian” settlers.(2) Large numbers of the displaced have no access to food or clean water.

Genocide Joe is Funding Israeli War Crimes

Whether the Amerikan courts will recognize what is happening to the Palestinians in Gaza as genocide is questionable according to legal experts. But legal filings continue to be submitted to bolster the case.

The “We Declare Genocide” tribunal held within U.$. borders last year already found the United $tates guilty of genocide against the internal semi-colonies who are facing an ongoing low-intensity warfare.(3) Of course, this finding does not have official legal standing by the United $tates government itself. The CCR suit is attempting to get that for Palestine, and further brings attention to the genocidal acts of U.$. imperialism around the globe.

The United $tates has single-handedly prevented the United Nations Security Council from implementing a ceasefire in Palestine. The United $tates picks and chooses who is allowed to commit war crimes and who is not, and the UN is toothless to stop it.

During the second inter-imperialist war, the United $tates was in a position to play the good guy because of rival interests with the fascist countries and the opportunity it allowed them to exert power over Europe as a whole. I$rael on the other hand is the #1 U.$. client state, receiving far more funding from the Amerikans than any other country since World War II. As Biden said, if I$rael didn’t already exist they would have to create it. This puts the U.$. in a position where it is impossible for them to oppose the genocide in Gaza.

The settler state is by definition a genocidal state. Stalin helped give the United $tates a fig leaf to cover that legacy in the form of supporting the Soviet defeat of Hitler. That fig leaf is drying up and falling off. And the legitimacy of U.$.-run international institutions like the UN and the United $tates itself are coming more and more into question by global public opinion.

Notes:
1. Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release, 23 December 2023, New Filings in Gaza Genocide Lawsuit: Palestinians Refute Biden Admin Arguments That Court Cannot Review Its Role in Furthering Israel’s Genocide
2. Anna Lekas Miller, 23 December 2023, ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 78: UNSC resolution criticized as ‘meaningless,’ hundreds of thousands evacuate central Gaza, Mondoweiss.
3.Triumphant, January 2022, We Still Charge Genocide: Will The Real New Afrikans Please Stand Up!, Under Lock & Key 76

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[Yemen] [Palestine] [Middle East] [Anti-Imperialism] [Economics] [ULK Issue 84]
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Yemen Leads Humanitarian Intervention to Stop the Genocide in Gaza

map of middle east

On 23 December 2023 Reuters reported Iranian Revolutionary Guards stating the Red Sea will be closed if the United $tates and its allies continue to commit “crimes” in Gaza. The next day, a drone struck a commercial tanker owned by an I$raeli billionaire in the Gulf of Oman. The U.$. and I$rael claim it was Iran who launched the drone, but Iran denies it.

While involvement of Iran in the emerging regional war remains cryptic, the Ansar Allah party has been very open about drone attacks launched by the Yemeni Armed Forces on ships in the Red Sea. They have said that until the siege of Gaza ends, shipping by I$raeli companies through the Red Sea is not gonna happen. When U.$. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for them to stop their attacks, they responded brazenly with “No.”

Secretary of State Blinken has been behind imperialist bombings in Yemen for many years, as we discussed in a 2015 article.(1) It is no wonder that the Ansar Allah slogan is “Allah is great, death to the United States, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.”(2)

Yemen has been at war with the Amerikans and their Saudi partners for decades now, and despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, have maintained their sovereignty against those imperialist attacks.

The Yemeni Armed Forces response to the bombing of Gaza started with warnings against any ships entering the Red Sea associated with I$rael, boarding ships and telling them to turn around. Then on 19 November they took over the ship Galaxy Leader with helicopters dropping off armed troops and boats flanking the tanker. They flew the Palestinian flag on the ship and posted videos online.

In addition, the Yemeni Armed Forces has shot missiles and flown drones into southern I$rael. They even knocked a $40 million U.$. drone out of the air.(3)

In Yemen, hundreds of thousands marched in opposition to the recent bombings of Gaza by I$rael. The people of Yemen have long stood in strong solidarity with Palestine liberation.

The Red Sea, going through the Suez Canal, is one of the three most critical shipping routes in the world, with bulk goods and containers going to the Mediterranean. The Red Sea is full of war ships from all over the world, Djibouti being the home of many imperialist naval bases. As much as 30% of global shipping containers can be in this area at any time.(3)

Many major shipping companies have stopped shipping through the Suez Canal in recent weeks. This forces them to go around Africa, delaying ships weeks to a month, greatly increasing cost.

In response to all this, the Amerikans recently announced a U.$. naval task force to combat Ansar Allah named “Operation Prosperity Guardian”. Can’t let interventions against genocide get in the way of profit flows the the United $tates. No states on the Red Sea have signed on and the only Arab state to sign on, Bahrain, has no navy of its own but hosts U.$. military bases. Meanwhile, close military allies such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia are not willing to sign on. It is not just in Yemen that the people are outraged about what is happening in Gaza. No Arab state, no matter how brutal and reactionary, is willing to stand with the U.$./I$raeli camp in this genocide.

Even Egypt, whose whole economy is threatened by a halt of shipping through the Suez Canal, cannot assist the U.$. effort against Yemen. They figure they can survive economic collapse better than the response of their people to such betrayal of Yemen and Palestine.(4)

Saudi Arabia is currently involved in the peace process in Yemen, bringing internal peace and unity to Yemen, following Ansar Allah’s victory against U.$./Saudi warfare. Standing up for Palestine militarily strengthens Yemen’s position in the peace negotiations.(4)

I$rael is taking a huge economic hit from the war overall. The I$raeli airport is mostly closed, cutting off important tourist money. The Palestinian proletariat from the West Bank and Gaza are no longer coming in to do work, and tens of thousands of Thai proletarians have left kibbutz farms where they did much of the agricultural work for the country. Meanwhile, half a million I$raelis evacuated the south and the government is paying to house them in hotels. Unemployment in I$rael has tripled in the last month, and businesses have lost half of their revenues.(3) Ansar Allah is contributing to this increasing economic pressure on I$rael demonstrating what real internationalism looks like in the face of a genocide against an oppressed nation.

^*Notes:
1. Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons), July 2015, Honduras to Yemen: Puppet Regimes Falter, Under Lock & Key Issu 45
2. We of course would not promote a slogan of “curse the Jews.” There is a history of anti-Jewish sentiments creeping into the communist movement. Discussing the pogroms that happened after the October Revolution in Russia, Bolshevik leader Preobrazhensky stated:

“This anti-Semitic agitation, frequently masking under radical slogans, represents an enormous danger both to the Jewish people and to the revolutionary movement in the country, for it threatens to drown in fraternal blood the whole cause of freeing the people and to cover the revolutionary popular movement with indelible shame.”

To this day we still have problems in the international communist movement (ICM) of groups focusing on Israel, rather than the imperialist powers. This reference to Jews by Ansar Allah’s slogan, similarly risks misidentifying the enemy, though correctly putting U.$. imperialism first.

As for victory to Islam, see: Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons), January 2016, Islam as Liberation Theology, Under Lock & Key Issue 48.
3. most of the facts in this article are from the radio show/podcast The Electronic Intifada from 24 December 2023.
4. Mitchell Plitnick, 21 December 2023, Biden administration’s flawed response to Yemen attacks increases possibility of regional war, Mondoweiss.*^

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[Revolutionary History] [National Oppression] [International Connections] [Security] [Theory] [ULK Issue 83]
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ULK 83: Prison Is War

Prison is War

The theme of this issue of Under Lock & Key was inspired by recent essays and interviews by Orisanmi Burton, previewing material from eir upcoming book: Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt. Comrades in MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within (USW) have been studying Burton’s work. Though we have not had the opportunity to read the book yet, which comes out end of October 2023, we like a lot of the ideas ey has presented so far and the overall thesis that prisons are war.

As we go to press the genocidal war on Palestine is heating up. We have reports inside on Congo, El Salvador, Ukraine and Niger; and we don’t even touch on Guatemala or Haiti. History has shown that as war heightens internationally, war often heightens against the oppressed nations within the empire as well.

In this issue we have reports of political repression as war in U.$. prisons. We also feature articles from comrades who organized around, and reflected on the Attica rebellion and Black August. This is the history that Burton analyzes in eir work, exposing the state’s efforts to suppress the prison movement and how both sides were operating on a war footing. For over a decade readers of ULK have commemorated the beginning of Attica on September 9th with a Day of Peace and Solidarity, as part of the campaign to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons. But how do we get to peace when we find ourselves the targets of the oppressor’s war?

Burton pushes back against some Liberal/reformist lines that have been advanced onto the prison movement to oppose the line of liberation. Burton’s ideas harken back to V.I. Lenin, recognizing prisons as a repressive arm of the state, and the state being a tool of oppression and warfare by one class over another. War is one form of political struggle, and a very important one at that.

It is this framework that we have used to push back against “abolitionism.” Our organization emerged from the struggle to abolish control units, a form of prisons that is torture and inhumane. We see the abolition of control units as a winnable, if difficult, battle under bourgeois rule. In a socialist state, where the proletariat rules over the former bourgeoisie, we certainly won’t have such torture cells anymore; but the abolition of prisons altogether is a vision for the distant future. We find it questionable that Burton frames revolutionary communist martyrs like George Jackson as an “abolitionist”.

Where we have more unity is when Burton takes issue with building the prison movement around the legalist struggle to amend the 13th Amendment of the U.$. Constitution that abolishes slavery except for the convicted felon. Burton points out the history of Liberal thought in justifying enslavement of those captured in just wars. As most in this country see the United $tates as a valid project, it could follow logically that it is just to enslave the conquered indigenous and New Afrikan nations, as well as nations outside the United $tates borders. We see how settlers in Amerika and I$rael are now justifying all sorts of genocidal atrocities against Palestine.

The challenge we have repeatedly made to the campaign to amend the 13th Ammendment is how this contributes to liberating oppressed people? How does it build power for oppressed people?

In one essay Burton draws connections to how the state was handling the war against the Vietnamese people at the same time as the war against New Afrika at home.(1) We have a draft paper out on the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement that discusses the counter-insurgency in Peru, and how the fascist U.$.-Fujimori regime locked communist leader Comrade Gonzalo in an underground isolation cell and then used confusion around political line to crush the People’s War in that country. In Under Lock & Key 47, we reprinted an in-depth analysis of the use of long-term solitary confinement against the revolutionary movement in Turkey and the use of hunger strikes to struggle against it from 2000-2007. All of these historical examples, including to some extent New Afrika in the 1970s, involved an armed conflict on both sides. Today, in the United $tates, we do not have those conditions. However, we can look to the national liberation struggle in Palestine, and the connection to the prison movement there as a modern-day example.

Burton spends time exposing the politics of the federal counter-insurgency program PRISACTS. And one of the things we learn is that PRISACTS is officially short-lived as the counter-insurgency intelligence role is taught to and passed on to the state institutions. We see this today, especially in the handling of censorship of letters and reading materials we send to and receive from prisoners. We see the intentional targeting of these materials for their political content, and not for any promotion of violence or illegal activity. Our comrades inside face more serious consequences of brutality, isolation and torture in retaliation for attempts to organize others for basic issues of living conditions and law violations.

The arrest of Duane “Keffe D” Davis for involvement in the murder of Tupac Shakur has also been in the news this month. Keffe D is a known informant who confessed to driving his nephew to murder Tupac years ago in exchange for the dropping of a life sentence for an unrelated charge. Author John Potash notes that there were many attempted assassinations of Tupac prior to his death, at least one that involved the NYPD Street Crimes Unit. This unit was launched following the supposed “end” of COINTELPRO.(2) This directly parallels what we see with the “end” of PRISACTS and the passing of intelligence operations on to state pigs.

As we’ve discussed in drawing lessons from the repression of Stop Cop City, we need to take serious strategic precautions in how we organize. We must recognize the war being waged on us. If we treat this as something that can be fixed once people see what’s going on, or once we get the right courts or authorities to get involved, we will never accomplish anything. And as always we must put politics in command. There is an active intelligence counter-insurgency being waged against USW and the prison movement in general, and the best weapon we have is grasping, implementing and judging political line.

Prison is War is not just a topic for ULK, it is a political line and analysis. We welcome your future reports, articles and artwork exposing the ways this war is happening in prisons today.

Notes: 1. Burton, Orisanmi (2023).“Targeting Revolutionaries: The Birth of the Carceral Warfare Project, 1970-1978.” Radical History Review. Vol. 146.
2. John Potash on I Mix What I Like, 16 October 2023. (author of “The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders”)

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[First World Lumpen] [Political Repression] [Grievance Process] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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Materialist Analysis of the Stop Snitching Slogan: Stop Collaborating!

stop snitching

Introduction: Current Existing Ideas Around Snitching

As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists it is important to apply the dialectical materialist method when it comes to handling the contradictions among the masses. In the prison context where most of our organizing revolves around, the contradictions between various prisoner individuals, national groups, and lumpen organizations can become antagonistic and it is our job to transform this antagonistic contradiction into a non-antagonistic one and resolve it from there out.

One example of idealism is around the “stop snitching” slogan and campaign. Is “stop snitching” a correct slogan? Only an idealist could answer this question without more information. The materialist method of finding out what would constitute “snitching” would be to analyze the material conditions of how this “stop snitching” idea came about, the purposes it was for, which classes were promoting it, and going from there. What we must not do is treat it like a general platitude where it can be abused for anti-people purposes and exploited by the pigs to get the masses to fight amongst themselves.

To assume the most righteous origins of the “stop snitching” slogan, we can think of various lumpen organizations, who might be in competition and rivalry with each other at times. Yet these organizations all come to agree that they have a common interest in not sending the oppressor’s cops against each other. Perhaps there is a consciousness as oppressed people uniting these L.O.s to come to this conclusion. But certainly there is a material interest in staying alive and out of prison by reducing the amount of police involvement in their lives.

The “stop snitching” campaign was a success. So much so that today, in many prisons, it has been taken up as an idealistic and dogmatic truth rather than a materialist principle to apply in differing conditions. To many this slogan is true for all times and all places. In fact, it is so absolutely true that they apply it to the police themselves! We’ve received reports from many parts of the country that comrades can’t get others to file grievances against abuse and inhumane conditions against the system because fellow prisoners don’t want to “snitch”.

Now in reality, those fellow prisoners are probably just scared of what prison staff will do to them, so they use the “stop snitching” slogan as an excuse to do nothing and live quietly under the boot of oppression which the stop snitching principle was brought up to fight against in the first place.

However, those who stand up for themselves recognize the role of grievances. We live in a bourgeois democracy. The image of the rule of law is important to the enemy even if things become lawless in the corners of society, like in prisons. There is a grievance system and the bourgeois/imperialist state says they will follow that system. That means this is a tool that can and should be used to improve conditions for comrades organizing within the belly of the beast and fight for the political rights to build independent institutions. To call that snitching is to say that something is true because it’s true; not because of any actual evidence or material basis. To call this snitching is to lack any analysis of class, nation, gender or who are our friends and who are our enemies.

And as we discussed in the last issue of ULK, we must learn to think in percentages to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Thinking in absolutes, allows the enemy to keep us divided.

Case Scenario: Inmate Collaborators and Pigs Using Anti-Snitching Sentiment to Repress Prisoners in CDCR

In one of many reports like this, a comrade in California recently wrote us:

Dear MIM Distributors,

I am a disabled person under the Armstrong v. Newsom injunction where I continue to be targeted by officers who specialize in pitting prisoners against each other to discourage and deter use of the grievance process at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD), and in retaliation for the same.

On the morning of 25 August 2023, while exiting my cell quarters to be issued my breakfast and lunch Kosher meal, one of the inmate porter workers (infamous for not only disruptions, violence, and fighting other prisoners on the unit; but also carrying out retaliatory terrorism for officers against prisoners who use the RJD grievance process to report misconduct) began to ridicule me without provocation.

Subsequent to returning to my cell and at commencement of A.M. medication, officer G. Sellano supervised pill line near my cell as the same prisoner porter worker came to my cell door and began hostile provocation calling me a “snitch” for pending grievances (Attached as Exhibit A). Both of which involve this very same inmate porter worker and officer G. Sellano.

This inmate porter worker then stood outside my cell door on a rant to provoke me by yelling “snitch, you a bitch, you wrote a buz on me and Sellano.” The whole time officer G. Sellano stood listening, watching as the inmate porter worker then openly blasted how he is able to “do what I want all around here, I can fight anybody I want and nothing will happen. I won’t even get a 115.” Challenging me to fight as officer G. Sellano stood listening and watching while supervising the A.M. medication line next to my assigned cell.

Said inmate porter worker then began yelling to the tower officer to open my cell door in order to attack me while officer G. Sellano continued to fail to intervene, act, or quell the growing disorder.

The inmate porter worker in question is allowed to volunteer work for officer G. Sellano where the inmate receives detailed information on pending grievances filed against officer G. Sellano – then uses that personal knowledge of grievance information to confront, intimidate, and provoke some violent incident with the grievant: all while officers on the unit watch.

Facility Captain Lewis has turned a blind eye to not only this particular inmate porter worker’s ongoing propensity for violence and daily disruptions on the housing unit, but also the fact that this particular inmate porter worker is and has been for months now, used as a torpedo for housing officers like G. Sellano to be programmed to target prisoners like me who use the grievance process here at RJD while Warden James Hill has been unable to prevent officers like G. Sellano from using working knowledge of department operations to gather information for the purposes of endangering the safety and the welfare of those confined therein.

Inmates vs Prisoners

Inmates are the categorical definition used by the U.$. law to white wash their crimes. It is no different politically than to call the torture of Iraqi POWs “enhanced interrogation.” Inmate also implies a more collaborative relationship between captive and captor, which is an appropriate term to use for the inmate porter described above. A politically appropriate term for the vast majority of the imprisoned lumpen in this country would be prisoners or captives. We do not live in a time where wars are officially declared or sanctioned by governments through formalized documents. Wars are declared through invasions (such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine), bombings (such as Al-Qaeda’s destruction of the twin towers), etc. The U$A has waged war against the oppressed nations inside their borders through mass imprisonment and police occupation – thinly disguised as “war on crime” or “war on drugs.” During this mass imprisonment and lumpenization of the oppressed nation masses through the criminal inju$tice system, inmates are those who collaborate with the pigs behind bars – a consciousness of a lumpen class in itself. A lumpen class for itself, as Marx used the term, would recognize the political importance of the two distinctions.

As stated earlier, the stop snitching slogan can be utilized as principled solidarity as fellow oppressed nationals within the constant anti-people activities of the lumpen class. Through popular support, such as hip-hop culture, this stop snitching principle would even extend beyond street life into the youth where telling on adults or school teachers would even be considered snitching. The principle of a specific lumpen life now become a general platitude and empty virtue. We ask our imprisoned lumpen readers, can snitching really be stopped without independent power from the oppressor? What would it mean to be loyal to “your people” or “your folks”? Can the principle of anti-snitching be applied to the enemy who it is designed to protect fellow oppressed nations or lumpen from in the first place?

We hope to move the discussion a step forward for our readers who seek to transform the anti-people gangster mentality to the pro-people revolutionary path. Using the few rights that the oppressed are given against the oppressor to build power among the masses is not snitching. Perhaps this over-emphasis on snitching on fellow criminals (as the government are criminals oftentimes in lawless corners of society such as prisons) shows the class in itself level consciousness that many of our readers might be susceptible to.

Stop Snitching!

Stop Collaborating!

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[Russia] [International Connections] [Anti-Imperialism] [Ukraine] [ULK Issue 83]
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Updates On Russian Imperialism and the Ukraine Conflict

A Quick Recap On Russian Imperialism

We have written in April of 2022 reviewing some quick FAQs with regards to the situation in Ukraine at the time. We believe some important points we must reassess and new points to bring up are as follows:

  • Both Russia and Ukraine have problems of fascism in their society expressed through the most reactionary elements of the Wagner Group of Russia and the infamous Azov Battalion of Ukraine. Both sides are vehement anti-communists despite the sensationalist portrayals of Putin as a USSR-esque tyrant in mainstream media political cartoons. Ukrainian reactionaries will topple down Soviet era statues while for the Russian imperialists, Ukraine itself is a giant Soviet era statue that must be toppled down and engulfed into Russia. Ukraine would have never gotten its independence in the first place without the world’s first proletarian dictatorship of the USSR.

  • Unlike the United $tates, Japan, Western Europe, and etc., Russian imperialism does not have a majority labor aristocrat population (despite a very significant one) and the class interests of the Russian proletariat lines up with the class interests of the Ukrainian proletariat against Russian and NATO imperialism.(0)

  • At best, Soviet nostalgia expressed in Russia longs for social-imperialist era command economy coupled with resentment of the political-economic crises caused by the complete opening up of Soviet markets. It is an unscientific frustration of the general masses in Russia. At worst, it is a rallying tool for current Russian imperialism’s moral justification akin to how concepts like democracy, freedom, and women’s rights were rallying tools of U.$. imperialism’s military invasions in the Middle East. We wish to practice revolutionary optimism in regards for the anti-revisionist communists in Russia and Ukraine who could take this popular sentiment away from the hands of the imperialists and into the hands of the broad masses.

  • Oftentimes in our current conditions where the anti-imperialist movement is weak and undeveloped, the best thing for U.$. imperialism’s involvement in the war in Ukraine is giving the masses the correct analysis from the vantage point of the international proletariat. We should avoid “cheer leading” between various imperialist powers where “various people’s wars and nations at war… [become akin to] fandoms for TV shows to obsess and argue over rather than a movement to popularize and create awareness for.”. We recognize the importance of organs like Under Lock & Key and independent institutions like United Struggle Within – both in their strengths and limitations – for the imprisoned section of the lumpen class.

The Wagner Group

One significant development this summer was an attempted coup by the Wagner Group against the government of Russia. For our readers who might not know, the Wagner group is a private military mercenary group of the Russian Federation formed through the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.(1) While its origins are unclear, the group has been claimed to have been founded by both Dmitry Utkin and Yevgeny Prigozhin with the the former having been the field military commander and the latter being the financier and military programmer.(2) Utikin, being a veteran of the Chechen Wars, was said to have had great admiration of Nazi Germany and his nickname in the battlefield was given by eir fellow imperialist soldiers as “Wagner” named after the German composer whose music was popularly used by Hitler and eir fascist goons as rallying songs during marches.(3) Due to the Nazi ideologies which were part of the Wagner Group’s political DNA from the start, fascist slogans and graffiti by the group’s presence in Ukraine has been known to have surfaced.(4)

On 20 May 2023 Prigozhin, at the time the top commander of the Wagner Group, took the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine.(5) Ey criticized top Russian officials of the military, the defense minister, and the chief of general staff withholding artillery ammunition from the Wagner Group and accused them of “high treason.”(6) Defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced that all members of “volunteer units” must be required to sign contracts with the ministry by July 1st in order to get Wagner and similar mercenary groups under a tighter leash. Despite Prigozhin’s close loyalty to Putin, the latter has chosen to back the defense minister’s decision.(7)

On the midnight of 24 June 2023, Prigozhin while denying to sign the contract and have eir fascist mercenary goons under Russian imperialist control announced a “march for justice” leaving Ukraine and having the first column enter Russia’s Southern Military District. Prigozhin demanded that Shoigu and Gerasimov be brought to him and held a blockade of the city. On the city of Voronezh, the group shot down Russian military helicopters and a command aircraft killing at least a dozen soldiers marking the start of the rebellion.(8) With Putin’s condemnation and the labeling of Prigozhin’s act as treason, the rebellion came to a quick end. On the Sunday of 24 August 2023, Russian authorities have confirmed that Prigozhin has died in a plane crash.(9)

The rhetoric that Russia is an anti-fascist or anti-colonial force in the global imperialist system is a bold-faced lie of Russian imperialism. Acknowledging this fact is in no way supporting Ukraine’s own fascism ridden government. It is the instinct of petty-bourgeois moralism to see armed conflicts as a side of the good guys and the bad guys. This war itself is an inter-imperialist battle where Russian imperialism seeks to gain global hegemony against U.$./NATO aligned forces and where the nation of Ukraine is caught in the middle of this geo-political tug-of-war. The fact that the fascists of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion and the fascists of Russia’s Wagner Group are fighting each other is just another telltale sign how fascism is an incoherent nihilistic political trend that must be stomped out.

Russia Sympathies Among the Masses

Many prisoner comrades have written to us since the previous article was published where they expressed some sympathies for Russian imperialism. Many arguments had to do with the fact that Russian imperialism was defending itself against the NATO/U.$. led powers.

A California prisoner commented:

”I hear too many well proclaimed communists taking sides with Ukraine. “Putin is a fascist,” “Putin is imperialist,” etc…

As a prisoner I have learned to be very cautious about taking sides, I see all kinds of evil up here everyday: a lot of schemes, manipulations, scam artists. I see all of them here in prison.

So why? Why is the United $nakes so interested in Ukraine winning? Why is it worth trillions of dollars to the U.$. for Ukraine to win? We, the common people like myself, does not understand things like the stock market, and the grain exchange. I understand that grain is sold for money. What I don’t understand is how a whole completely separate market created out of thin air, selling absolutely nothing but grain calling itself the grain exchange that is something only the capitalists who run the world understand.

If I had to guess with my simple mind, I would say that Ukraine sells its grain to the west at a premium as a means to launder dirty drug money. But that’s just my simple mind. It probably has more to do with the grain exchange, capitalism itself.“

One sentiment we can agree with this prisoner comrade is that the job of communists and revolutionaries in the U.$. would be to see U.$. imperialism as their principal enemy. Many communists can so far agree with this line, the problem comes in deeper with regards to the analysis of other major imperialist countries – especially ones that spout anti-imperialist rhetoric in words such as while in practice commit imperialism that rivals the traditional NATO imperialist powers..

We would like to iterate to this comrade that their mind isn’t so simple as ey might let off. We appreciate the humbleness that revolutionaries should have that this comrade has shown, but in the end the contrite and popular phrase that the imperialist governments are the real criminals is true. Sure, we wouldn’t boil down world imperialism to money laundering; but theft and murder are important objectionable aspects of imperialism. We see many imprisoned comrades who project the anti-people crimes they struggle to overcome onto the criminal ways of the imperialists, and for a starting point these oversimplifications might not be the worst thing as a step towards revolutionary thinking.

With that said we would disagree that Russia is doing self-defense with regards to their invasion of Ukraine. As the above points laid out, we should avoid choosing sides in inter-imperialist conflict even though the U.$. and NATO imperialist forces didn’t have direct boots in Ukraine (which the comrade has also expressed as well).

The real question comes in as how Lenin’s theses on “The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War” would mean in practice in our current material conditions where the revolutionary forces are much weaker and arguably much more revisionist and opportunist than even the revisionist European and imperialist country communist movements which Lenin was writing polemics against.(10) One point that we can start from is this: the war that we should be focusing on is the war waged by Amerika against its internal semi-colonies of the Black, Chican@, and Indigenous Nations through mass imprisonment and police occupation. With this issue’s Under Lock & Key covering the topic of how “Prisons Are War,” we would like to further expand on how prisons play this role of low-intensity genocide against the masses.

Notes. 0.300 million exploited whites: where are they? (Not in the United $tates), MIM FAQ.
1. Andrew S. Bowen, 1 August 2023, Russia’s Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), Congressional Research Service.

2. Stewart Bell, 29 June, 2023, In Prigozhin’s shadow, the Wagner Group leader who stays out of the spotlight, Global News.

3. Ibid.

4. Brian Castner, 1 June 2022, The White Power Mercenaries Fighting For the Lost Cause Around the World, TIME.

5. Joshua Yaffa, 31 July 2023, Inside the Wagner Group’s Armed Uprising, The New Yorker

6. Kevin Shalvey, 10 July 2023, Russian rebellion timeline: How the Wagner uprising against Putin unfolded and where Prigozhin is now, ABC News

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Associated Press, 27 August 2023, Russia confirms that Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in last week’s plane crash, NPR.

10. Lenin, 26 July 1915, The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War, Lenin Collected Works.

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[Iran] [Independent Institutions] [Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 83]
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NPR Ignores Torture in United $tates

Yesterday, National Public Radio (NPR) aired an interview with a former prisoner in Iran to discuss the recent release of 5 Amerikan citizens from an Iranian prison. The focus was on the horrible effects of solitary confinement and how to adapt to being back in society.

In our 2008 survey of long-term solitary confinement in the United $tates, we found that there were over 90,000 people suffering in those conditions. It is strange for the NPR story to not have mentioned this problem at home as well, or how the oppressed people in this country fair after years in torture cells. The NPR report spoke of “death chambers” in the Iranian prison, yet the United $tates has electric and now injection chairs with viewing areas and what they call “death row” in prisons across this country (though only about a dozen states are actively murdering prisoners in recent years).

The United $tates has long had the highest imprisonment rate across the world. They even boasted a higher imprisonment rate of Black people than the internationally condemned apartheid regime in South Africa.

The one-sided depiction of prisons and solitary confinement in Iran on NPR revealed a strong bias in their reporting. Yet what was most shocking to learn was that these people coming out of Iranian prisons were being offered what sounded like a fully immersive program through the U.$. military for dealing with the mental anguish of being in long-term solitary confinement.

Really? Yet every year we have comrades who are released from the same conditions in this country with nothing but a parole officer watching over them, often sabotaging their efforts to maintain a job and build a new life. Tens of thousands of people every year are released from long-term solitary in the United $tates, either into general population prisons or to the streets, with no concern for their mental well-being from the state. Who the U.$. imperialists offer mental health services to is a political decision, and it is our politics that guide us to offer help to those the imperialists will not.

As of last week, the California Mandela Act (AB 280) passed a supermajority in the state house and senate, heading next to the desk of Governor Newsom. Newsom vetoed the Mandela Act just one year ago. An aspiring presidential candidate, Newsom is likely to reject the calls from the state legislator to stop this torture again. This is over a decade after the historic California hunger strikes that called for an end to long-term solitary confinement, leading to the 2015 Ashker vs. CDCR settlement where those sacrifices led only to individuals being released from the SHU, leaving the institution in place. [UPDATE: The bill has been stalled to negotiate with the Governor and will not be passed in 2023.]

For comrades currently suffering in torture cells in U.$. prisons, you can write to us for back issues of Under Lock & Key on solitary and materials from the American Friends Service Committee on dealing with isolation. For comrades who are getting out, who have spent long periods in solitary, our Re-Lease on Life Program attempts to offer mentoring, guidance and political engagement to ease the transition back into society. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to get involved in the struggle to abolish long-term solitary confinement in this country completely.

Because over 100,000 people face torture in solitary in the United $tates every year with no imperialist Army programs for rehabilitation offered afterwards, we must develop independent institutions of the oppressed to address this material need among the oppressed masses in this country.

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[Black Lives Matter] [Civil Liberties] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 83]
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RICO Act Tool of Political Warfare

stop cop city - drop charges

In the last month we have seen the state of Georgia bring RICO Act charges against Rudy Giuliani and others who worked with Donald Trump to steal the 2020 U.$. presidential election, as well as activists who were doing things as simple as handing out fliers opposing the construction of Cop City in Atlanta.

The Federal Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was enacted in 1970 as a tool to charge people with crimes when they were having other people do their dirty work for them. Each crime charged under RICO can add years to ones prison sentence. The Georgia RICO Act of 1980 covers more crimes than the federal version. The Georgia Act makes Racketeering a felony in the state.(1) Historically, we have had multiple readers who were victims of RICO Act charges brought during the Giuliani years in New York City, and more recently in the Atlanta area, for their leadership roles in lumpen organizations, the more typical target of RICO.

Rudy Giuliani earned fame as a federal prosecutor for getting Mafia bosses in New York City convicted on RICO Act charges. He then used his reputation to become a “tough-on-crime” mayor of New York City known for “cleaning up” the city. It was during Giuliani’s time as Mayor of NYC that the infamous case was brought against King Blood (aka Luis Felipe) under the RICO Act. King Blood was charged for murders committed while ey was already in prison and received the inhumane and unprecedented sentence of life in solitary confinement. All of King Blood’s First Amendment rights to communication were denied, allowing only communication with eir lawyer and immediate family. This was not typically something a judge could sentence, but was justified via the racketeering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(d).(2) Decades later, King Blood still sits in a torture cage in ADX Florence, isolated from the world. While the RICO charges against Giuliani may provide some cathartic humor, the 79-year-old will not be facing anything like King Blood is doing.

Weeks following the Georgia RICO Act charges against Trump, Giuliani, et al., another set of RICO Act charges (and domestic terrorism charges) were made against 61 activists involved in opposing the construction of Cop City in Atlanta. This is a continuation of the state’s warfare against Stop Cop City, including the ludicrous money laundering charges brought against bail support fundraisers we reported on in the last issue of ULK.(3) In the recent RICO indictment, the date of the murder of George Floyd (25 May 2020) is cited as the beginning of the investigations around the so-called “racketeering.” In other words, the state was trumping up these charges against activists before there was a Stop Cop City movement. This is not about stopping any criminal conspiracy, it is about repressing any opposition to the use of lethal police force against New Afrika and oppressed people in general. It is a defense of the state’s right to wage violent war against New Afrika.

In a recent article, a comrade laid out the political nature of the law, debunking the myth that laws were developed as a way to impose morality or address inherent problems in society.(4) Rather law stemmed from the need to manage the division of humyns into classes. With Trump/Giuliani, we see the RICO Act law being used by the bourgeoisie to discipline other bourgeoisie who are threatening the image of bourgeois democracy. And in the case of the 61 activists they are using the same law to discipline youth and oppressed nations who are opposing more violent forms of state discipline.

When we go up against the courts, the police, or even the politicians, we must be prepared for war. The cops murdering us in cold blood is war. The courts and prisons putting us in torture cells for years is war. City governments in Atlanta and San Pablo, California funding cop cities where pigs can play war games is war. These more obvious forms of war, are part of political struggle. There are no rights, only power struggles. To engage in power struggles, requires giving the war two sides.

^*Notes:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_RICO_(Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations)_Act
2. Prison Legal News, 15 March 1999, Judicial Sentence of Life in Solitary Upheld.
3. A comrade, July 2023, “Law and the Courts of Late”, Under Lock & Key No. 82.
4. A comrade of Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, July 2023 “Atlanta Criminalizes Protest Against Cop City”, Under Lock & Key No. 82.*^

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