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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 16]
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Congress Report 2010

MIM(Prisons) held our first official congress in July of 2010 to clarify our priorities, renew our common commitment, and push our work forward. We reviewed work in key areas, discussed successes and failures and debated resolutions on new directions for the coming year. For the most part this congress focused on strategic and tactical priorities and the best way to advance our work. But these priorities are based in political line, and discussions of that line and the priorities it requires were a key component of the congress. Proposals related to new political line were also raised and those that were controversial were put on the table for study and debate in future discussions.

Distribution

The production and distribution of revolutionary materials to a potentially revolutionary class that is systematically denied educational materials is central to our work as a cell. Keeping Under Lock & Key as a regular publication reaching U.$. prisoners and maintaining other correspondence with prisoners topped our list of priorities. We also gave relatively high priority to our website, the second major leg of our distribution work.

Despite a number of small improvements and a consistent publication schedule, our distribution of Under Lock & Key slightly declined over the last year and a half. While the production and quality of ULK falls in our lap, we see its expansion as a responsibility falling largely on United Struggle from Within (USW). We encourage other comrades to make pledges to increase our subscribers behind bars as our comrade in the Black Order Revolutionary Organization has.

In order to reduce costs we have changed our policies so that new subscribers only get our introductory letter and one issue of ULK. To get more than that you must write us again confirming receipt or censorship of those items. Similarly, we are requiring our regular subscribers to tell us exactly what mail they have received, and when, each time they write us. If we can't confirm you are receiving our mail we will stop sending it. By saving costs where we cannot confirm our effectiveness we will be able to expand our distribution to a larger subscriber base.

Over the last couple years we have seen a steady increase in the number of letters we have sent to prisoners. This is indicative of the expansion of our various smaller projects (other than ULK) with prisoners who are active participants in the movement. While readership online may be comparable (based on our limited statistics), the amount of work we see being done per reader from our paper literature is far greater.

Worldwide Web

Adding the etext.org MIM archive to our website greatly increased our content and eventually led to serious increases in readers. Yet we are still only getting around a sixth as many page views as they were getting in 2002. MIM had the most widely read Amerikan, self-described communist website at that time. This goes to show the damage done by political repression and privatization of the worldwide web.

Original content that MIM(Prisons) has added to the web that attracts the most attention is our censorship work and other services we provide to prisoners and their supporters. Many of our readers are utilizing our information to maintain better communication with their loved ones and to try to get information on what's going on behind closed doors and barbed wire fences.

Items that are in demand that we need to improve are Spanish language material, artwork and cutting edge cultural reviews. We are dedicated to making all three more prominent on our website, but we need help from our comrades to keep producing great anti-imperialist art, to provide insightful reviews of movies and music that our readers might be interested in and to translate and edit materials into Spanish. Online readers will see improvements to the site in coming months.

While many are following the corporate bandwagons of Facebook and Twitter, we are interested in recent battles over net neutrality (the premise that the interests of the powerful can't allow certain online content to get priority access to the public). Some have a theory of putting technology in command and worshipping the oppressors' institutions and petty bourgeois trends, rather than building independent institutions of the oppressed with politics in command. As examples, Facebook, Twitter and Google all have direct relationships with the state department. How could these ever become serious tools for revolution? The real question is, how can we build serious tools for revolution in cyberspace?

Censorship

Distribution of literature to prisoners comes with the ongoing problem of censorship faced by MIM(Prisons) and our comrades behind bars. Our annual censorship report details the changes and accomplishments of the past year.

Most of the prisoners on the ULK mailing list are not letting us know what mail they receive from us, making censorship very difficult to track. It's possible the mail is not getting through but it's just as likely that these subscribers are just not telling us about what they got. We also have a lot of prisoners write once and then never write again. To better focus where we spend money, and to improve our tracking of censorship, we are changing our policies as described above.

Correspondence

In the first six months of 2010 about a third of our mail came from repeat writers - prisoners who are in relatively regular contact. This is an increase from 2009, and we should push to continue to increase this percentage. While it is great that we get so much interest from new comrades, it is important that we engage our regular contacts in study and work. We recognize that as long as our materials are being read and, even better, shared then we are accomplishing our goal of building public opinion. Yet, while most subscribers may be passive learners at this stage, we see our task as a cell as facilitating the organization of prisoners, including the development of cadre level skills. Several specific congress proposals related to this work were passed and we hope to see increased engagement from our newer comrades behind bars in the coming year.

A key element of raising the level of political understanding and providing study opportunities to our comrades behind bars is the MIM(Prisons)-led introductory study group. This study group gains a lot of interest but for both logistical difficulties (censorship, moving, lack of stamps) as well as loss of political interest, we see a steep decline in participants over the course of each study session. To provide more frequent opportunities for study to new folks, and as a pre-requisite to the more serious introductory study group, MIM(Prisons) will start all new comrades in a shorter introduction study group (Intro Level 1) which will last two sessions and run approximately every 3 months. Successful completion of this study group will be required for admission into the more comprehensive, year-long Intro Level 2 class.

United Struggle from Within (USW)

United Struggle from Within (USW) is a MIM(Prisons)-led mass organization for U.$. prisoners. USW is explicitly anti-imperialist in leading campaigns on behalf of U.$. prisoners in alliance with national liberation struggles in North America and around the world.

This year, MIM(Prisons) opened a separate forum for USW leaders to develop the organization and strategize on campaigns. This was a step forward in the re-establishment of USW as an independent organization (following the dissolution of the Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika). The campaigns leaders develop will be advertised in each issue of ULK for rank-and-file USW comrades to keep abreast of progress and how to get involved. If necessary, MIM(Prisons) will send out notices to affected comrades regarding campaigns that are moving at a pace that is too fast for ULK. Comrades who want to receive such notices need to write to MIM(Prisons) to join USW.

The campaign to get grievances heard in California is one campaign that is resonating loudly, both there and in other states that have adopted similar campaigns. This is a great example of a campaign that was initiated by USW and promoted through regular articles in ULK. We believe that those in charge of prisoners should be held to the highest standards of conduct, as was done in socialist China, because of the extreme amount of power they have over other people. In contrast to socialist prisons and work camps in China, abuse is a daily occurrence in U.$. prisons. Therefore the grievance struggle is strategically correct in that it gives the state a chance to clearly take a position for or against this rampant abuse, which informs the prison masses as to what forms of struggle are necessary to achieve humane conditions.

Also related to USW, there is a ULK writing group, which is open to comrades who have completed the introductory study courses and are involved in writing projects with MIM(Prisons). At the congress we affirmed our commitment that USW should be producing short summary articles for Under Lock & Key reflecting struggles within the ULK writing group. Comrades have already seen the ideas from the study group reflected in the pages of ULK over the last year.

Prisoner Legal Clinic

MIM(Prisons) rarely has access to legal advice from experienced lawyers on the outside. In 2009 the Prisoner Legal Clinic (PLC) was formalized as another facet of USW for prisoners interested or experienced in legal issues. The basic goals of the PLC are to push our anti-censorship and anti-repression work forward, while also offering members a space to discuss specifics of their legal work. Members of the PLC write legal articles for ULK and contributed greatly to the legal strategy issue of ULK, issue 13.

If you are an active member of the PLC, you should expect an updated letter from us two or three times per year detailing our current projects and comrades' questions/suggestions. Members of the PLC should also be contributing legal articles for ULK.

Release Program

At our congress, MIM(Prisons) reaffirmed our commitment to the Prisoner Re-Lease on Life Program. We recognize that our resources to advance this program are limited, and we have learned some valuable lessons over the past year through our work with released prisoners. We need to work more aggressively with prisoners scheduled to get out within a year, making it clear what resources are available and helping them do the research necessary to hit the streets as safely as possible. Prisoners with upcoming releases should contact our newly appointed release coordinator for more info.

United Front for Peace in Prisons

MIM(Prisons) is working on a United Front for Peace in Prisons with leaders of a number of progressive-minded organizations behind bars. The principal contradiction facing the imprisoned lumpen today is the prisoner-on-prisoner violence and conflicts that prevent any progressive work from happening. The United Front project is developing a statement of unity that groups and individuals can sign to join. This statement has been in progress for a long time, partly because we are trying to develop unity with a number of groups before we finalize it. If you are involved in any kind of peace or unity project where you are, please get in touch so that you can have input on this very important project.

Related work with a number of more advanced organizations will also result in the production of a book on the lumpen within the United $tates. Over the next year MIM(Prisons) will be printing draft chapters of this book to be distributed as pamphlets for comment from lumpen organizations and fraternal groups. The feedback will be incorporated into the final printing of the book which is targeted for 2011.

This book will advance our analysis of the class and national contradictions in the belly of the beast and how we can best utilize them in the interests of the oppressed masses of the world. It will serve as a survival guide for the lumpen, recognizing the necessity of internationalism to overcome the number one enemy of humynity: imperialism.

Conclusion

MIM(Prisons) plans to hold congress annually and we welcome submissions of proposals for new areas of priority as well as new political line from our comrades in United Struggle from Within and other United Front organizations. We also look forward to feedback on our work over the coming year so that we can continually improve and advance the struggle.

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[Theory] [Economics] [United Front] [ULK Issue 17]
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Building United Front, Surrounded by Enemies: Case Study of the U.$. Housing Market Decline

foreclosed McMansion
Typical Amerikan homes provide luxury most people can only dream of, while home values far above the actual cost of materials and labor lace the owners' pockets with super-profits.

United Front is the theory of uniting different groups across class lines for a common goal or interest, while maintaining independence where those groups disagree. The application of united front theory is about recognizing different contradictions in society and utilizing them in the interests of the international proletariat. The primary united front is the Anti-Imperialist United Front, which is made up of the majority of the world's people whose material interests lie in defeating imperialism. This is a strategic united front based on the principal contradiction.

In this article we will address a couple of contemporary issues in the United $tates and analyze their potential for united front work. We'll see that many of the big conflicts in a First World country are between the enemy classes, but that does not always mean we sit on the sidelines. Some forms of united front are tactical and require fast action based on thorough knowledge. To successfully navigate the potential for united front in the First World that serves the interests of the Third World proletariat we must first have a correct analysis of our conditions. The first section of this article provides a quick background to get us started.

Land, Housing and the Settler Nation

One of the arguments made against the labor aristocracy thesis is that corporations have no interest in sacrificing profit to pay First World workers more, and there is no corporate conspiracy to enforce such a policy. This is based in the theory of free market capitalism, or only reading the beginning chapters of Marx's Capital and treating that as an accurate model of reality in all places for all time. As a class, capitalists do depend on the labor aristocracy, not just politically, but economically as consumers and cogs in their growing pyramid scheme of finance capital. And there is at least one place where the U.$. imperialists can exert their will as a class (more and more these days) - it's called the U.$. government. The promotion of home ownership by the feds is one of the biggest examples of the imperialists consciously building a labor aristocracy within the heart of the empire.

Home ownership has been a staple of Amerikan wealth since the settlers stole this land from the First Nations and built their homesteads on it. The net worth of Amerikan families compared to First Nations and those descended from slaves in the U.$. is one legacy of this form of primitive accumulation. While land ownership among the earliest European invaders was 100% (that's why they came to the Americas), by the 1775 War of Independence, land ownership was still at 70% for the Euro-Amerikan nation.(1) Arghiri Emmanuel pointed out that Amerikan wages were able to stay so high in this early period of capitalist development, even as land ownership ceased to be universal, because the abundant "free" land stolen from the First Nations provided a fallback plan for European settlers.(2) This primitive accumulation through genocide was the basis for wealth that the Amerikan labor aristocracy enjoyed as industrialization transformed more of the settlers into wage laborers.

Following the inter-imperialist struggles of WWI, the United $tates became the dominant imperialist power. The influx of wealth that came with this allowed for the integration of southern and eastern European immigrants into the white nation leading up to the Great Depression.(1) From 1900 to 1950, home ownership rates in the United $tates averaged about 45%, with the lowest rates in the Black Belt South and the highest in European dominated northwest states.(3) After the economic recovery that came with the spoils of WWII, the United $tates embarked on the suburbanization of Amerika with numerous incentives from the federal government to bring home ownership above 60% again.

Since 1960, home ownership has stayed above 60% for U.$. citizens as a whole.(4) This rate was above 70% for white Amerikans in recent years, but the census does not have comparable statistics by race going back very far. Blacks and Latinos are just under 50% for rates of home ownership, even though national oppression has ensured that they currently face foreclosure disproportionately.

Emmanuel's theories in Unequal Exchange demonstrate how the significantly higher incomes of people in the First World actually transfer wealth to the imperialist countries from the Third World, reinforcing their economic advantage. Similarly, the oppressor nation has equity and is able to increase wealth in ways that the internal semi-colonies have not been able to do despite access to exploiter level jobs. All of this fits with the general trend of capitalism, which is the accumulation of capital. The more you have, the more you tend to get.

Collapse of the U.$. Housing Market

The left wing of white nationalism (whether self-described anarchists, socialists, Maoists or Democrats) has been saying that the increase in home foreclosures is an indication of the heightening contradictions between the Amerikan proletariat and the capitalists. These people defend the stolen land that was the foundation of wealth for settler Amerika, and the modern home ownership pyramid scheme that is the foundation of the Amerikan dream today.

Not only have millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years, but fear-mongers point out that the “2008 sub-prime mortgage market resulted in the disappearance of $13 trillion in American household wealth between mid-2007 and March 2009... on average, U.S. households lost one quarter of their wealth in that period."(5) Such alarmists ignore that Amerikans gained $10 trillion from 2006 to 2007 to reach an all-time high, and that net worth of the country's citizens has generally gone up at increasing rates since WWII.(6) The bigger ups and downs in all financial markets are certainly signs of crisis, but to act like Amerikans are being sunk to Third World conditions in 2010 is ludicrous. If only these activists would cry so loud for those who really have had to live in Third World conditions for their whole lives and for generations!

Most, if not all, of the loss in Amerikans' net worth is accounted for by stock portfolios and values of homes (which are bought and sold like stocks these days); in other words losses in finance capital. Traditionally, the petty bourgeoisie in Marxism was not exploited, nor did it significantly exploit others. To claim that those who reap profits from investments of finance capital are anything less than petty bourgeoisie is a rejection of Marxist definitions. With home ownership around 68% in recent years, that is a solid two thirds of people in the United $tates who fall squarely into the category of petty bourgeoisie or higher, including 50% of Blacks and Latinos (minimum). This group is 210 million people, or only 3% of the world's population in 2010, yet they hold more net wealth than the total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies in the world.(7)

Our critics point to the great wealth inequalities within the United $tates as reason to organize Amerikans for revolution. So let's just look at the bottom 80% of Amerikans, who owned 15% (a mere scrap from the table if you will) of the net wealth in the United $tates in 2007 (and this was a 15-year low for them).(8) While their share has decreased a few percentage points since 1983, total net worth in the United $tates has increased by almost 5 times. Therefore the lowest 80% of Amerikans went from about $2.2 trillion in net worth in 1983 to almost $10 trillion in 2007. (Two trillion dollars could eliminate world hunger for the next 66 years, until 2076.(9)) "Middle class" Amerika has assets that are greater than the GDP of China,(10) the world's industrial powerhouse representing about 20% of the world's population. That's comparing just the Amerikan "middle class" and "poor" to the whole nation of China, including its well-developed capitalist class.

Since the proletariat, by definition, has negligible net worth in the form of assets, let's look at their income.(11) Income generally increases proportionately with net worth across the globe.(12) Almost half of the world's population lives on less than $1000 per year. That is 3.14 billion people living on less than $3 trillion in a year.(13) Now before we condemn Amerikans' huge assets, let's make sure that they just aren't better at saving and investing their money than the proletariat. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifty percent accounted for only 7.2% of consumption.(13) A conservative estimate leaves us with Amerikans, on average, consuming at least 27 times the average persyn in the poorest half of the world.(14) So money management skills cannot explain Amerika's huge net worth.

A just, sustainable humyn society requires the Amerikan labor aristocracy to be brought down to consumer levels much closer to the Third World. But this little exercise demonstrates that this is far from happening, despite the alarmists' cries.

Ultimately, the contradiction we're describing is between the labor aristocracy and the imperialists. The imperialists, in particular finance capital, are a dynamic, opportunist class. In contrast, the labor aristocracy benefits from stability of the status quo. The finance capitalists were able to make quick profits by selling the labor aristocracy short, so Amerikans are pissed. While perhaps pushing the labor aristocracy towards fascism, the finance capitalists are also undercutting the consumerism of Amerikans that their system depends on so much. What we are witnessing is an internal contradiction in the imperialist system playing out. Both groups control trillions of dollars in super-profits from the Third World, and the Anti-Imperialist United Front has no interest in one of them getting more than the other. We need to keep sitting this one out.

Migration to the United $tates

As discussed above, high wages and ballooning housing values reinforce themselves in our current economic system, making the rich richer. However, neither could be maintained without erecting a border outside of which these two things cannot flow. Therefore, keeping wages and housing values high is directly linked to the battle over increasing repression of migrant laborers within U.$. borders. The contradiction in this struggle is between oppressed nations who are trying to gain access to jobs in the United $tates and the oppressor nation that is trying to keep them out. This challenge to imperialist country privilege indicates that the battle for migrant rights is part of the anti-imperialist struggle.

While Third World people and some Amerikan youth faced Amerikan labor aristocrats on the streets, it was the U.$. District Court that put in place an injunction on most of the provisions of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 (SB1070), in light of a lawsuit filed by the U.$. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the state of Arizona. The DOJ held that immigration was under federal jurisdiction, and that they had a plan for the whole country to balance its various interests related to immigration that Arizona would not be allowed to mess up.

The interest of the bourgeois internationalists is in having free access to markets and labor, not to mention international relations. This camp includes the federal government and their finance capitalist backers as well as smaller businesses that only operate in the United $tates, but depend on migrant labor. Their conflict is with other bourgeois interests and the bourgeoisified majority of Amerikans whose position of privilege stems from the elitism of who is allowed to enter their fortress of jewels.

There is effectively a united front between the internationalism of the mass resistance to SB1070 on both sides of the Mexican border and the U.$. government acting on behalf of bourgeois internationalism. And for now, it is the imperialists who are really throwing a wrench in the works for Amerikans, even though the contradiction at its base is between oppressed nations and the oppressor nation.

A majority of Amerikans in a number of polls supported SB1070 or a similar law. The highest percentage listed in one article, 79%, did not agree that "illegal aliens are entitled to the same rights and basic freedoms as U.S. citizens."(15) This is the definition of Amerikan chauvinism. At best, one fifth of U.$. citizens don't think they deserve more than other humyn beings by virtue of being born in the United $tates. This is why we even keep an eye on the imperialists for glimmers of internationalism in the First World.

With Latinos, we can see how quickly this consciousness develops by tracking the percentage of coconuts in the population over time. A Latino Decisions poll found that 12% of second-generation Latino voters in Arizona supported SB1070. By the fourth generation it had increased to 30% supporting the coconut position.(16) Amerikanism is an insidious disease that has claimed significant portions of the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates.

Unite All Who Can Be United

While many dogmatists still criticize Mao for allying the Chinese Communists with the national bourgeoisie, we can take united front theory even further and come up with examples of progressive forces allying with the government of the imperialist superpower of the world against an oppressor nation. This goes to show that we cannot let ultra-left ideas of purity prevent us from allying with those who might help our cause.

The rightist errors in applying united front theory happen when we have incorrect lines elsewhere. Not recognizing a united front as working with an enemy class, or becoming convinced that other contradictions have been resolved, and not just pushed to a secondary position, are the main forms of rightism to guard against. Mao had to fight much rightism from other communists who thought the communists and national bourgeois forces should merge into one, where inevitably the reactionary bourgeoisie would lead because of their relative power. Rightism in the United $tates looks like people getting caught up with legislative battles over migrant rights. Without national liberation, there is no freedom for oppressed nations under imperialism. The imperialists will always oppose that, just as the Nationalists fought the Communists in civil war once the Japanese were forced out.

We do not seek unity for the sake of unity. We seek unity that utilizes all the forces possible to tackle the principal contradiction, or battles that push the principal contradiction forward. When we find strategic unity with others, the united front also provides a basis for unity-criticism-unity, which advances the struggle and deepens the unity of revolutionaries and all oppressed people for a better future.

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[Censorship] [ULK Issue 16]
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July 2010 Censorship Report

This Report is an analysis of the censorship experienced by MIM(Prisons) from July 2009 through June 2010. In January 2008, MIM(Prisons) released our first censorship report, documenting what we can and can't get into which prisons. Last year we decided it would be best to analyze our censorship status annually instead of biannually because it often takes months to determine the status of a piece of mail.

To compile this data we rely solely on censored mail that is returned to us by mailroom staff and reports from prisoners themselves. From July 2009 to June 2010, we sent in five digits worth of mail, of which 83% were unconfirmed as received or censored. In the last reporting period, only 80% of the mail was unconfirmed. This trend shows us that even less people are reporting what mail they've gotten from us than last year, which makes drawing conclusions from our records nearly impossible. For example, when reading the state-by-state chart, it is important to remember that "no censorship reported" does not mean that all the mail got in, just that we don't know what happened. Some states with no censorship reported were: Colorado were 96% of the mail was unconfirmed; in Indiana 92%; in Mississippi 93%, and in Nebraska and New Hampshire, 100% of the mail was unreported.

This lack of data continues despite the fact that every issue of Under Lock & Key and many of our letters request that subscribers tell us what they receive from us and when each time they write. At our congress this summer we voted to adjust our policies to require subscribers to notify us of their mail status in order to stay on our mailing list. We have started sending comrades we are in correspondence with Unconfirmed Mail Forms that will list what mail we have sent them that we do not know the status of to encourage reporting. But even if you don't receive one of these forms, you should still let us know what you get from MIM Distributors or MIM(Prisons). In fact, if you tell us what you get from us before we send out the form you'll save us printing and postage costs!

Across the country, it appears that our censorship is gradually decreasing. However, if we aren't facing state repression, then we're probably doing something wrong politically. For this reason, we don't expect to ever be completely free of censorship while the United $tates is still an imperialist state. We attribute these decreases to the hard work our comrades inside have been doing to file appeals when their mail gets censored. Another reason it may appear that our censorship status is decreasing is our incomplete data — there may be censorship in places that we just don't know about.

Prisoners' Legal Clinic

In the last year we started coordinating our legal efforts in a more structured way with comrades inside through the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic. Members of the PLC have edited and added to the Censorship Guide that we send to prisoners who have had our lit censored; shared info and analysis about important legal issues relating to our anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist work of fighting censorship and political repression; and contributed several articles to the legal strategy issue of ULK issue 13. In this reporting year, we doubled the amount of Censorship Guides we sent out in the previous reporting year, so the help we've gotten on this guide is invaluable. We hope the PLC will eventually expand to offer counseling and preparation assistance to comrades filing anti-censorship lawsuits in the next year.

The PLC is facilitated by MIM(Prisons) but it is only as useful as the comrades who are contributing to it from the inside. Anyone who wants to engage in this important work should hook up with the PLC via MIM(Prisons); no experience necessary.

Grieving Censorship is Crucial

At Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, Under Lock & Key issue 9 was censored from dozens of comrades because of alleged "STG references and depictions of violence." A prisoner filed a grievance, and Central Review in Springfield approved ULK 9 for entry into Menard CC. We only received confirmation from this one prisoner that he received the newsletter, so it is possible that Central Review only permitted it to him. That is one example of why it is so important to file grievances about censorship.

California Ban

In November 2009 we reported that the ban of literature from the Maoist Internationalist Movement was lifted in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR. Even after this settlement, High Desert State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison still returned or trashed all mail from MIM Distributors. Finally, in April 2010, High Desert Warden Mike D. McDonald assured us that ULK would be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis instead of being automatically rejected based solely on the return address. We recently sent out issue 14 and it got in to at least some prisoners without a hitch. No such luck in Pelican Bay where even a letter saying "Hi, how's it going?" is still illegally returned to sender uninspected. The San Francisco Bay View newspaper and Revolution (by the rcp=u$a) have complained of similar problems with their publications.

Feds Use Censorship to Make Room for Infiltrators

At the United Snakes Penitentiary - MAX in Florence, Colorado, ULK issue 13 was censored because it contains the article "Security in the Prison Movement" that is MIM(Prisons)'s analysis of how we should deal with potential infiltrators, agent provocateurs, and snitches in the movement. Our advice was basically to treat everyone as a potential pig, and only give out information on a need-to-know basis. We also defended our work with prisoners on Sensitive Needs Yards and Protective Custody for similar reasons. While such prisoners are often viewed as working with the state, we pointed out that many comrades have had to leave their LOs for SNY in order to stop working for the state.

The state sees this perspective as a threat to the security of the institution (of white supremacy, no doubt). The reason given by the USP mailroom staff for its censorship is that "p. 6 and 11 discuss what to do with potential infiltrators who join the movement, not suitable for a prison environment." We wonder who they are targeting in our circle in USP Florence, that it would blow their cover to share this advice with them. The answer is probably everyone.

This report was written by our legal coordinator who took over the job shortly before our last yearly report. While building on previous work, s/he is responsible for many of the advances we made this year. Fighting censorship is central to our work with the imprisoned lumpen population in the United $tates and we always have projects for volunteer lawyers and legal assistants. The easiest thing our subscribers can do to help us out is tell us exactly what mail you have received from us and when, each time you write.

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 16]
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Toy Story 3 Review

barbie and ken flirting

Toy Story 3
Pixar
Summer 2010

Sequel to Toy Story 1 and 2, this movie starts off with Andy, the boy who owns the toys featured in the movie, heading off to college and packing up his stuff. His toys are long forgotten in a trunk and are feeling forlorn about being abandoned. The toys end up being donated to a daycare, but not without much whining about the importance of loyalty to their original owner. Woody, the apparent hero of the movie, is an especially strong advocate of devotion to their one and only owner, even in the face of the logical argument that Andy has grown up and has no need for them any longer and so they should hope to move on to new kids.

We're not looking to liberate the toys of the world, but this movie has some insidious messages for both kids and adults. First there's this theme of loyalty to one owner, a message that is repeated later at the daycare center by the toys that have become evil dictators because they felt abandoned by their owners. This is a good subtle way of encouraging kids not to question the status quo or try to make change independently. Sure it didn't work out for the bad toys, but loyalty paid off for the good toys who end up in a good home in the end, with the blessing of their original owner.

Toy Story 3 does hammer home the point that it's not good to have evil dictators in charge. The Ken doll makes a little speech about how everyone should be treated equally to underscore that message. But this message is so blunt it's hard to see how anyone would really learn anything from it. And although the good toys work together against the evil dictator, they don't do any work among the masses of other oppressed toys to try to rally them to help. It was just a few focoist heroes, out to save themselves, who accidentally overthrew the evil dictator in their attempts to escape a bad situation. So the writers pass up an opportunity to promote organizing the people against the power structure in favor of focoist hero worship.

The one correct message in Toy Story 3 comes when the evil dictator toy and the good toys end up in the trash burning machine and they are all about to die. The good toys try to work with the evil dictator bear to save themselves and him, and he abuses their trust to save just himself. This is a lesson we can apply to the imperialists who will never give up their power peacefully and work with the people for the common good.

The last thing worth commenting on in this movie is the reinforcement of patriarchal gender roles. The two main female characters are Barbie (playing, well, a barbie doll who spends most of her time working on her relationship with Ken) and Jessie, who's a bit of a tom boy who at least gets to go along on adventures with Woody, but who is very much taken in by the romancing of a Spanish-speaking Buzz Lightyear. So basically the focus of the plot involving the two main female characters is romance. There is some mild mocking of gender roles around the Ken doll who has way more outfits than, it is implied, a normal man might have. But the implication seems to be that he's a toy more fit to be played with by a girl than a boy. Nothing very progressive.

Overall MIM(Prisons) would recommend this movie to supporters of the patriarchy and the imperialist system. It would be useful for training their children in some of the norms of the oppressive world that they love.

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[Culture] [International Connections] [Gender] [ULK Issue 16]
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Wyclef: Hip Hop President for Imperialism?


Wyclef declares, "Haiti is open for business" to finance capitalists

How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it:
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you have to sing
This songs of freedom? -
'Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs -

- Bob Marley, from Redemption Song

Wyclef Jean, the Haitian musician and former member of the hip hop group the Fugees, has announced his candidacy for president of Haiti. He says he was pushed to do so now because of the destruction that followed the earthquake in Haiti in January and claims that he was drafted by the Haitian youth, who he says are over 50% of the nation's population. He seems to be borrowing from the Obama campaign with his main qualification being that he's "new," i.e. "change."(1)

In ULK 10, MIM(Prisons) pointed out how hip hop has become a global culture because of imperialism. It was the "Made in Amerikkka" label that made it so popular around the globe, where Third World people have been brainwashed to see their own cultures as backwards and uncool. Just as the imperialists have used hip hop to recruit oppressed nation youth in the United $tates to kill oppressed nation youth in the Third World, now they are using it to push a new U.$. puppet on the people of Haiti.

What Wyclef is doing with hip hop is what the gender aristocracy has done with its brand of wimmin's liberation in the Middle East. Despite being a forty-year-old man, who pulls in $18 million a year, he is claiming to somehow represent the interests of the Haitian youth because of his role in hip hop.(2) Let's be clear, a slum-dwelling child in Cité Soleil has very different interests than Wyclef Jean, just as a Muslim womyn in the mountains of Afghanistan has very different interests from Paris Hilton.

What the imperialists are hoping for is that hip hop culture will serve to sugar coat this new puppet regime in the eyes of Haitian youth. In a country where children eat mud pies to keep their bellies full and less than 3% of the population voted in puppet elections last year because the popular party Lavalas was banned from participating, a few sweet songs from Wyclef probably won't be enough.(3)

While not forced to eat mud pies to fight hunger pains, many oppressed nation youth in the United $tates were sucked in by the campaign of Barack Obomber. And there is a direct relationship between the first Black U.$. president and Wyclef who performed for a mostly Black audience at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) inauguration party for Obama where he reportedly serenaded Colin Powell with "Redemption Song" by revolutionary Jamaican musician Bob Marley. Colin Powell preceded Obama in putting a Blacker face on the White House, serving as Secretary of State, where he will be remembered most for lying about so-called "weapons of mass destruction" to justify the U.$. invasion of Iraq, which continues to this day. It is sick that Wyclef would use Marley's words to serenade such a killer.

Bob Marley was the target of assassination attempts by right-wing militias linked to the U.$. puppet regime vying for power in Jamaica in 1976. Ultimately, it seems he may have been killed by the CIA itself.(4) Like Haiti, Jamaica is a Caribbean island inhabited by former African slaves dominated by U.$. imperialism. Compare Marley to Haitian musician Wyclef Jean (who likes to cover Bob Marley songs) who got on MTV and supported right-wing militias that fought to oust popular Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, killing many civilians in the way. More clues as to why he would say such things include reports that Jean's uncle has been the ambassador for the U.$. puppet regime in Haiti in the United $tates, and publishes a newspaper that backs the bloody attacks on the Haitian people by the militias.(5)

Following the kidnapping of President Aristide by the United $tates in 2004, Wyclef Jean's charity was reportedly the first group allowed into the central slum Cité Soleil, backed by millions of dollars from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The same USAID that former U.$. President Bill Clinton has used to undermine Haitian sovereignty for years. Jean pressed Haitians to lie down in the face of occupation as U.$.-backed troops from the UN and Haitian militias gunned down the resistance in the Haitian slums.(6)

The imperialists kidnap, imprison and kill the people's leaders and then use their images to mislead. How desperate have they become that their puppets now come wrapped in the images of those they have attacked and even assassinated? They may be desperate, but they're smart.

Originally the voice of oppressed nation youth, hip hop has a strong dual role to play across the world today. But more and more, if it's coming from the United $tates — buyer beware. In recent decades, the increased wealth Amerika grants to Black men has come disproportionately through the entertainment industry. Black men regularly appear on magazine covers with photoshopped bodies, selling you beauty products, a role often considered the domain of white wimmin. This has led to the recent phenomenon of Black men, formerly the main victim of white female gender privilege, becoming a significant portion of what we call the gender aristocracy. Rather than appealing to the gender oppressed as wimmin, hip hop appeals to the gender oppressed youth. The state department has drawn from this once righteous rebellion, often epitomized in hip hop, to build the concept of a global youth culture.

Hip hop is a major front on the modern imposition of imperialist culture on the oppressed. While this doesn't preclude hip hop from playing a progressive role, those who reject Western culture will resist the corrupting influences of empire more easily. With a strong history of resistance to imperialist intervention, we are confident that the Haitian people will give the cold shoulder to this current attempt to install a puppet in hip hop clothing.

Notes:
(1) August 5, 2010 Interview on CNN.
(2) Katz, Jonathan. AP Interview: Wyclef Jean's vision for Haiti. 6 August 2010.
(3)Hinton, Charlie. Wyclef Jean for president of Haiti? Look beyond the hype. SF BayView. August 2, 2010.
(4) Potash, John. The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders. Progressive Left Press, 2008. p.183.
(5)It's not All about That!: Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti by the Haiti Information Project
(6)Kevin Pina interviews the most-wanted man in Haiti: Amaral Duclona by the Haiti Information Project

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[Police Brutality] [Organizing] [Oscar Grant] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Pig Gets Off for Murder

On July 9 at around 2:30 p.m. the announcement was made that the official verdict on the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the transit pig who shot Oscar Grant in the back and killed him, would be released that day, and immediately people started gathering at the major intersection of 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland, California. At about 4:15 p.m., the verdict of involuntary manslaughter was released. This is the lowest charge that the jury could have chosen to give Mehserle, and as expected, the people of Oakland were pissed. Our comrades attended the protest, equipped with fliers emphasizing that the movement needs to be elevated from rioting into conscious revolutionary struggle generally, and national liberation struggles specifically, if people want to stop the murders of more Oscar Grants. The flier suggested Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth and Black Panther Party original documents as good starting points for a successful transition into a movement to truly end police brutality.

Government employees in the downtown area were under a mandatory evacuation, and business people were high-tailing it out of there as fast as the freeways could take them. The state and the media had hyped it up to be L.A. in 1992. That was far from the case. Still many large buildings were boarded up 20 feet high for days; others were frantically drilling in plywood as protesters converged. The hype was so extreme that even one discount grocery store located a mile from the epicenter of the protest boarded its windows as soon as the jury went into deliberation - as if a crazed mob would travel so far to loot their expired yogurt.

The City of Oakland set up a sound system in front of Town Hall that was supposed to serve as a speak-out, but was just playing funk for a few casual dancers, sometimes so loud that it seemed like they were attempting to drown out the actual protest. The rest of the 1000 people were gathered around a much smaller sound system in the adjacent intersection, having their own speak-out. The soap box ran from about 5-8 p.m., and the "don't tear up Oakland" position that was emphasized so strongly at past protests seemed to have taken a back seat on the collective agenda of the group. Most messages were that this verdict is bullshit, the system isn't going to give justice for Oscar Grant, and we need to organize. There was also a strong recognition that Black people were the targets of this violence and of the need for Black nationalism.

The typical divisive tactics that we had reported on at previous at Oscar Grant movement events was also present. One man insisted on addressing "just the Oaklanders" and advised the Black youth to not get "pimped" by "outside agitators." The response from the crowd was cold. The next speaker said he was also asked to speak on "outside agitators" and went on to point out that Martin Luther King, Jr. was called an "outside agitator" everywhere he went in the South. He said that no one is "outside" the struggle for justice, and went on to point out that the only people who are coming from outside the movement to cause problems were the pigs. This brother received enthusiastic cheers.

This theme was one that had been playing out for weeks within the organizations preparing for the verdict. Reportedly, non-profit leaders and those working with the City government were spearheading the line that the Black youth of Oakland couldn't rebel without white people from the suburbs telling them what to do. This racist bullshit had already been struggled against for weeks leading up to the verdict. While some in the crowd were dismissive of white speakers, telling them to get down, ultimately it was the content of what was being said that the protesters recognized. While there was a strong contingent of self-proclaimed locals saying "be cool" and using the local slang to attempt to create divisions, their effect seemed minimal.

During the speak out, pigs were lined up several blocks from the protest, controlling foot traffic and warning "unsuspecting" bicyclists of the "danger" ahead. At 8 p.m. the soap box was shut down by the City and everyone was hanging out in the streets, occupying several blocks of Broadway. After about thirty minutes, a trash can was lit on fire but protesters put it out within a minute. Occasional bottles were thrown at the pigs, and when any excuse was given to the pigs to attack, many of the protesters would run like hell. The pigs were surprisingly non-reactive, however, and would just occasionally change positions, pushing the protest north on Broadway. This didn't prevent "Fuck the Police" from being the most popular chant of the night.

A Foot Locker was looted, and many people made out with fresh kicks and jerseys. A group of three to four protesters started guarding the Foot Locker and tried to appeal to the protesters to not loot, which they said would prove that they are just ignorant Black people and would prove "them" right ("them" presumably being the white legislators and City officials who they hope to ask for justice). On the other hand, the guards correctly emphasized that there are Black organizations to get involved in to deal with these issues, and that looting the shoe store won't stop killings. If there was a strong Black vanguard in the area, MIM(Prisons) would have worked with them at this event rather than promoting study and building of new cadre groups. That's not to say there aren't a number of small, semi-underground formations that are worth working with, but none of them wield the power or influence to have led the rebellion.

The Black Panther Party asserted the need for a vanguard to organize and lead the masses down the most effective path to power in The Correct Handling of a Revolution, following the uprisings in 1968 across the country. It states, "There are basically three ways one can learn: through study, through observation, and through actual experience." They go on to say that the Black community generally learns through observation and participation. Unfortunately, the lessons put forth in this article were not observable at the demonstrations this year or last, indicating that study is needed. While the fires, graffiti and smashed windows grab our immediate attention, it is the serious organizing efforts that will allow the Oscar Grant movement to have a lasting effect. While it is hard to quantify these efforts now, the mood of the speakers indicate that despite the lack of a vanguard organization leading the rebellions, many are thinking and moving in this direction.

Over the next few hours the crowd gradually dwindled, smoke bombs and fire crackers were set off, windows broken, over a dozen dumpsters and trash cans lit up, graffiti was sprayed, garbage cans tossed into the transit stations, as the crowd was constantly pushed north, sectioned off, and divided by the pigs. At one point the street lights went out and three gun shots were fired from an unknown source, but apparently nobody was hit. Unlike the usual large demonstrations in the Bay Area, many protesters tonight were armed, but attacks on police were limited to rocks, bottles and, according to police, a few molotov cocktails. By 11 p.m., the protest had reduced to small groups launching hit-and-run tactics on stores. Their movement seemed guided by the police, who vastly outnumbered them. At the end of the day, there were 78 arrests.

Although our comrades were not on the front lines for the whole showdown, a tazer was only heard once, and while there were regular explosions heard, no reports are claiming that they were caused by the kkkops. Overall it seemed like the pigs were on their best behavior (for being stinking fucking pigs, anyway). This was clearly unexpected behavior by most protesters, who were constantly running at the slightest sign of action, only to return a few minutes later when they realized the tear gas and rubber bullets had yet to arrive. Activists were expecting the worst, including the use of the a $675,000 long-range acoustic device (a machine that produces sound waves that can cause permanent damage) that the Oakland Police Department recently purchased. Again, it never showed up.

The pigs outnumbered and outlasted the protesters. When the rebels had been reduced to a couple hundred, the pigs still had reinforcements coming in and surely more on standby. The fact that there was no need to resort to severe repression demonstrated their control over the situation. Evidently, they were willing to sacrifice a few downtown businesses as a pressure release. The next morning, the Oakland police chief was celebratory about their ability to control and contain the rebellions.

Mehserle's sentence is due out in November, and could range from 14 years in prison to probation. We expect the day of sentencing to re-ignite these protests all over the state.

Notes: Prisoners write us for a copy of "Oscar Grant: organization, line and strategy" printed on the anniversary of the initial rebellions following Grant's murder.

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[Theory] [Medical Care] [Gender] [ULK Issue 15]
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Mental Health: a Maoist Perspective

What is Mental Health?

Starting with the basics: what is often referred to as the "mind" is a complex collection of biochemical reactions that occur in the humyn brain, a physical object. To take a materialist approach to mental health, we must not talk about the "mind" as a separate entity from the physical body. The belief that there is a mind or spirit separate from the physical being is a concept called dualism and is at the basis of most idealist philosophies in the world today.

Applying a basic concept of probability to genetics and biology we can accept that there are going to be humyns that are born with brains that have physical characteristics that lead them to function different than normal, and in some cases that will mean these individuals are less capable of basic humyn functions. That said, the complex biochemistry of the brain is susceptible to all sorts of outside influences from even before an animal is born. These include chemicals in the form of food, medicine and environmental pollutants, as well as physical conditions that induce biochemical responses within the body, such as stress, isolation, and irregular daylight cycles. Therefore, most discussions of inborn psychological disorders lack a scientific basis, as scientists cannot control the myriad of outside factors that influence the brain throughout an animal's lifespan.

A sociological approach shows that mental health has strong connections to gender oppression. In, Getting Clarity on what Gender Oppression is, MC5 defined gender as being found in leisure-time, related to pleasure. Therefore depression, an extreme lack of pleasure, and the alienation that leads to it is largely shaped in the realm of gender. In MIM Theory 9, there is a focus on the disproportionate mental health struggles of wimmin and youth. As we laid out in more detail in Gender Oppression in U.$. Prisons (ULK 1), lumpen youth are gender oppressed by Amerikan biowimmin, and are some of the most gender oppressed within U.$. borders. We suspect prisoners suffer more from mental health problems than wimmin and youth in the United $tates.

The Scientific Method

The bourgeois approach to conflict and problem solving is individualistic. When problems are dealt with on the individual level, only a few problems are solved and then held up as examples that "anyone" can achieve, but most problems are either not solved in the first place, or recur soon after they are solved. Communists, on the other hand, work in the interests of the vast majority in the world today who are oppressed by the powerful. Our strategy is to solve problems at the group level, and mental health is no exception.

While dialectical materialists often refer to themselves as scientists, this does not mean that all scientific work is for the benefit of the people. A more pointed attack would be asking questions like, "what type of science spends millions of dollars studying the effects of long-term isolation on brain waves?" Maoists abolished isolation as a form of psychological treatment in the 1950s. Prior to that time, psychological work in socialist China was criticized by the people because it consisted largely of scientists in labs doing studies isolated from the real world. For a discipline that is supposedly about the mental state of people, which is very dependent on society, this is a very backwards approach. As a result of criticisms, the Chinese practice evolved to focus on improving people's understanding and engagement with the real world. But today, under imperialism, we are still stuck in these archaic forms of mental health research.(1)

As the 1st Crown of BORO describes in h article on psychology, scientific theories are often wrong and often guided by the interests of the group to which the scientist belongs. The theories that subspecies of humyns existed were developed by nations that were in the process of expanding their domination over other peoples. Prior to the development of genetic testing it was harder to argue that theories about different races or subspecies of humyns were incorrect as we can today. Criminology today is similarly tainted by the interests of the oppressors.

Who is Mentally Ill?

In MIM Theory 9, MCB52's review of psychological practice in revolutionary China gives an excellent overview of the subject.(1) S/he prefaces h article by pointing out that those who are diagnosed with mental health problems are mostly "pissed off people rationally resisting the hegemonic culture one way or another. This especially affects youth and women, and rather than trying to 'cure' it — we celebrate it!" However, many people struggle to function as a result. And therefore, there is a great overlap of people struggling with mental health and interested in communist politics, both inside and outside prisons.

In imperialist prisons, the ambiguity of diagnosing people as mentally ill becomes very pronounced. Part of the problem is that imprisonment causes mental health problems, so people who may not have had symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis often develop them. Yet it is not in the oppressor's interests to recognize this problem, so staff feel that they must draw a line between the truly ill and the "fakers." Rather than seeing the prisons as causing mental illness, they see people acting out for attention in contrast to those who were born with "real" mental illness. Such silly exercises allow them to keep some prisoners sedated while pushing others to suicide.(2)

Short-term Solutions

As with most problems we face, we can find answers to mental health problems through dialectical materialism and in having the correct political line. In the 1950s the Chinese eliminated the more backwards psychological practices in their society and replaced them with ones focused on getting individuals to connect with and help shape the material world through applying dialectical materialism. Mental health care, like much of Chinese society under Mao, emphasized the importance of both self-reliance and collective help, with the understanding that patients can fight their diseases and lead productive lives in the new society. This required the participation of the patient's family, doctors, and revolutionary committee at their place of employment.(3) Unfortunately, today we don't have that kind of support in our society, and prisoners as a group are even worse off. So keeping your political line right to stay sane requires even more effort.

One article in this issue of ULK gives an example of sleep deprivation being used as a means of social control. While some have claimed to have trained themselves over time to require very little sleep, such as George Jackson, medical research has demonstrated the importance of regular sleep. Ultra-leftism leads one to take the weight of the world on one's shoulders, and push the purist and extreme line without recognition of one's conditions of struggle. While we encourage comrades to strive to improve their efficiency, we should also take an approach that promotes our health and longevity, as we have a long struggle ahead of us.

We often get letters from comrades in isolation, who are clearly well-read and want to change the system, but their articles are mostly confused and hard to decipher. These comrades have been lost to the system, and at this point there's not much we can do to bring them back. So we must work together with those who aren't lost, to keep them sane and on point. Ultra-leftism can feed into one's isolation, which can be a very bad combo for someone who is already in a prison cell. Develop routines, set goals, and track your progress. All of these things can help you stay sharp mentally when you are physically isolated. But do not let the lack of control you have over your conditions lead you to take up extreme behaviors that threaten your physical or mental health.

The topic that triggered the call for an issue focused on mental health was suicide, which can be associated with a political line of defeatism. We've been getting a number of responses and stories on the topic after a mention in Ra'd's obituary a few months back. One prison censored Under Lock & Key for talking about suicide. While the motivation was not clear, the numerous stories we receive show that these institutions encourage people who are locked up to commit suicide. Censoring open discussions on preventing suicide is just one more way to do this. Yet, at another prison the psychological services staff are giving out our address as a resource for people with suicidal tendencies. This is good news, but probably not common across the country where prisoners are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.(4) Overall, suicide rates are higher in the United $tates than many other countries, and comparisons to socialist China in the 1970s showed suicide and schizophrenia to be hundreds of times more common in the United $tates.(5)

If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, write to MIM(Prisons) to get a copy of our struggle with a comrade printed in ULK 13, as well as the self-criticism by a suicidal comrade printed in MIM Theory 9. These are good starting points for re-evaluating your own life in relation to the struggle.(6) In general, we prescribe study and political work. Come up with ways to contribute more to the struggle, while doing any little things you can to improve your immediate situation such as exercise, eating better, meditating, writing people on the outside, forming local discussion groups and staying away from negative influences.

And remember, the purpose of these prisons is to control certain populations. Getting you to end your own life is the ultimate form of control. Therefore, suicide and mental health are closely linked to other forms of control including beating people into submission, drugging them, denying them due process and sexually assaulting them. Exposing and struggling against these abuses is part of the struggle against suicide in U.$. prisons.

Notes:
(1) MCB52. "Psychological Practice in the Chinese Revolution," MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism, MIM Distributors: 1995. p.34.
(2) U.S. Prisons Prove Maddening: review of Terry Kuper's book Prison Madness by MIM
(3) Sidel, Victor & Ruth. Serve the People: Observations on Medicine in the People's Republic of China, Beacon Press: 1973. p. 156.
(4) Kupers, Terry. Prison Madness: the Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About it, Jossey-Bass Publishers: 1999. p.175.
(5) HC116. The Imperialist-Patriarchy's phony Anti-Stigma, 22 April 2005.
(6) For more testimonies and strategies from control unit survivors see: Survivors Manual compiled by Bonnie Kerness Coordinator AFSC Prison Watch Program 89 Market Street, 6th Floor Newark, NJ 07102

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[Campaigns] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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You Say We're Not, But We Are

06/21/2010

In this response to the Missouri petition, the Deputy Warden of Potosi Correctional Center (PCC) "argues" that staff at PCC do not violate the First Amendment rights of prisoners held there. When it's a pig's word against a prisoner's, the trend in Amerikan society is to trust their own.

While this administrator likely considers this case to be closed, we instead view his correspondence as another example that there are no rights, only power struggles. To build public opinion in favor of national liberation struggles, we draw out, collect, and expose these flaws in the "justice" system. We also try to push people to change their minds against reformism as an ultimate goal, and to respond to these examples with actions to build a new society. Put in work!

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Abuse in High Desert hits mainstream, ban lifted

In May 2010, the Sacramento Bee published a series of articles detailing abuses of prisoners in long-term isolation in several CDCR prisons, including at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). (1, 2) On 10 May 2010 they reported on the American Friends Service Committee's attempt to have the brutality claims brought against High Desert investigated by the state Senate, in hopes that an official investigation would lead to restrictions on the use of long-term isolation. (3) We commend the Sacramento Bee for bringing such an important issue to their mainstream audience. (Although judging from the comments left on the article at sacbee.com you would think members of the CCPOA are the only people who read it.)

These articles by the Sacramento Bee reconfirm much of the information published in Under Lock & Key and on www.prisoncensorship.info since January 2008 that staff at HDSP commit a long list of atrocities against prisoners to manipulate them into submission, or for just plain fun. These abuses include, but are not limited to: tampering with mail, privileges, food, and medical care; calling prisoners racist names; tampering with/discarding/ignoring grievances; and the sweeping use of excessive physical force and sexual coercion. (4-6) Recently we received reports of a racist, oppressive lockdown of so-called "northern Hispanics", which further proves that these injustices are still going on today.

As an outside organization sending literature to prisoners inside, the form of repression MIM(Prisons) is most familiar with at HDSP is their strong commitment to keep prisoners isolated by using arbitrary, outdated, and illegal censorship practices. They have consistently returned mail to us unopened. When asked for an explanation, they cited an outdated ban that was overturned in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR in April 2007.

In a letter from HDSP Warden Mike D. McDonald dated April 23, 2010, he uses poor writing skills to ambiguously admit that there is no ban on MIM literature, while still maintaining that all mail from "MIM Publishers" is a threat to security.

"High Desert State Prison has been receiving MIM Publications [sic] from your company which contains information that could pose a threat to the safety of staff and inmates. This publication is in violation of California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual (DOM).

". . . All MIM publications that are sent to this institution will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis. If it is found that a publication has violated our policies it will be disallowed and the inmate will receive a CDCR-1819 Notification of Disapproval."

Even though Warden McDonald avoided answering the direct question laid out in the letter he is responding to ("Why was MIM Theory 8: Revolutionary Nationalism returned to us with 'Disallowed Item' stamped on the envelope and no further explanation?"), it is still a step in the right direction for him to allege that lit from MIM(Prisons) will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis in the future.

Thanks to the articles in the Sacramento Bee, public pressure on the administration at HDSP is at a high point. We look forward to hearing from prisoners in HDSP regarding their receipt of ULK 14, or those promised 1819s!

notes:
(1) Piller, Charles. "Guards accused of cruelty, racism" Sacramento Bee. May 9, 2010.
(2) Piller, Charles. "California prison behavior units aim to control troublesome inmates" Sacramento Bee. May 10, 2010.
(3) Piller, Charles. "Advocates call for probe of prison abuse allegations" Sacramento Bee. May 20, 2010.
(4) "Response to psycho-sexual warfare article" by a CA prisoner. Published in ULK issue 6.
(5) "High Desert, CA Control Units" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info
]www.prisoncensorship.info
(6) "High Desert bans MIM, falsifies reports on prisoners" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info

]www.prisoncensorship.info

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[Civil Liberties] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 14]
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Nation trumps class around Arizona law

The new Arizona immigration bill SB1070, signed into law in April by Governor Jan Brewer, is the latest and most overt action in the ongoing battle against oppressed nations within U.$. borders. This law, which will take effect by August, assigns state police to question anyone they believe is in the United $tates illegally, and requires everyone to carry papers proving their legal status. It is even a crime to be caught without this proof.

As Arizona is a state bordering Mexico, it has a large migrant population, disproportionately from Mexico. In 2006, so-called "Hispanics" accounted for 29% of Arizona's population — most of them are Mexican. This is double the percentage of Latinos living in the United $tates in 2006. More than half of the Arizona residents in the "Hispanic" category were foreign born. While there is a concentration of Mexicans in Arizona, the portion of the population that is foreign born (14%) is not much more than the typical percentage of foreign born residents in the rest of the U.$. which was 12.5% in 2006.(1) But in Arizona it is skewed towards Mexicans (and migrants born in other Latin American countries) while other areas of the U.$. have larger concentrations of Asians, europeans, Africans and people born in other parts of the world. In the U.$. in general, 45% of the foreign born population is from Latin America, which means they make up less than half of the 12.5% of foreign-born migrants living in the U.$.(2) According to the U.$. census these numbers had not changed much by 2008 (the latest statistics available) in terms of the proportion of Mexicans and foreign-born residents in Arizona and the rest of the country.

This law is a logical step forward, or backward for the oppressed, in the Amerikan spiral down the anti-immigration toilet. Those who act like this law is un-Amerikan are missing a fundamental fact of Amerikan imperialism: it is founded on national oppression. The Arizona law is most definitely Amerikan, and for this reason we must oppose not only this law, but all so-called immigration reform. Immigration is a false issue of Amerikan imperialism which requires militarized borders to protect the wealth that it stole from the land and labor of people in other countries.

Rather than get caught up in talking about which people should be allowed the privilege of coming to the United $tates (generally people from other imperialist countries, or those who have done Amerika political favors like the Cubans who oppose Castro), we need to be fighting to open the borders. Recent migrants in the United $tates should be treated no different from those who came here over the past 500 years — we are all living on land stolen from the indigenous peoples. In contrast, the Mexican people migrating north have a legitimate claim to the land now comprising the southwest of the United $tates.

Between 1846 and 1848 the United $tates fought one of its earlier wars of external aggression, against Mexico, ending in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty established U.$. control of what is now the southwest of this country, but ironically guaranteed Mexican residents in that territory the right to retain their land and enjoy the rights of U.$. citizens. This portion of the treaty was promptly ignored by Amerikkkans and land owned by Mexicans was illegally annexed after the end of the war in acts of both private and government sponsored national oppression.

Labor aristocracy benefits from closed borders and illegal workers

It should be no surprise that a recent poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found 46% of Amerikans strongly supporting the Arizona bill, while only 24% were strongly opposed. In fact, 24% might seem high to those of us who understand that the labor aristocracy has a strong interest in protecting the wealth of Amerikan imperialism and their role in benefiting from the exploitation of the world's people. This interest leads the labor aristocracy to support imperialist wars of aggression and reactionary anti-immigrant policies. However, this law in particular is one that will be opposed by a lot of Latinos, even if they may support wars of imperialist aggression. Because this law takes such a broad sweeping attack it is hard to get behind if you might look like you could be in the country illegally (read: are not white). So that 24% strongly opposing SB1070 includes people who are otherwise strong supporters of Amerikan imperialism. This is an example of why there are more allies to anti-imperialism in the Brown and Black labor aristocracy, even if they are not consistent.

Citizens of the United $tates are profiting just by being citizens, enjoying artificially high standards of living propped up by imperialist profits brought home and distributed in the form of high salaries with benefits, as well as services. As the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) explained in MIM Theory 1 and 10, the wealth in Amerika is not created in Amerika; Amerikan citizens are parasites. And to maintain this parasitism the country must keep the borders closed. Open borders would lead to a deluge of people migrating into the U.$. looking for an opportunity to partake in the wealth stolen from their countries.

Rather than share the wealth in the United $tates, borders are militarized and "illegal" workers are allowed in only when there is a need for truly cheap labor, because Amerikan citizens are not going to provide that labor. So Amerikan citizens benefit again from closed borders, in the form of workers to pick their crops, and do the jobs that no citizen wants, for cheap enough to keep the price of food, restaurant service, and house cleaning down.

Trust the prison industry?

One ironic element of Arizona SB1070 is the provision that they trust the police to pick out who might be suspected as an illegal immigrant without engaging in racial profiling. The reality of the criminal injustice system is blatant racial profiling as just one aspect of national oppression. The injustice system overtly targets oppressed nations within U.$. borders, from the police on the streets profiling or just setting people up, to the laws and courts which are skewed against oppressed nations, convicting disproportionate numbers of Blacks and Latinos and giving them longer sentences for the same convictions, to the prisons themselves which target oppressed nations to deny parole and lock in control units.

Everyone knows the police already engage in racial profiling, so why would they stop just when enforcing this law that is, in itself, requiring racial profiling. No one is going to stop a white person and say "Hey, I think you are here illegally from France, can I see some proof of your immigration status?"

Further fueling the prison industry, SB1070 gives the Arizona criminal injustice system an easy way to lock up more migrants, a growing trend in Amerikan prisons. As we reported in the Under Lock and Key #11 article National Oppression as Migrant Detention: "As of July 2009, there are 31,000 non-citizens imprisoned at the federal level on any given day in the u.$. This number is up from about 20,000 in 2006 and 6,259 in 1992. There are more than 320,000 migrants detained each year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and as many as a quarter of them are juveniles. These numbers include only those imprisoned under federal custody, although they may be located all around the country and in state prisons and local jails." We went on to point out that locking up more migrants helps fill empty prison beds, something that private prisons in particular are lobbying for.

Fight national oppression with unity

A dozen Black and Brown hip hop artists from Arizona came together to do an eight minute remake of Public Enemy's song By the Time I Get to Arizona called Back to Arizona to oppose SB1070 with a similar militant message. The original song documented the struggle to get racist Arizona to reinstate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday two decades ago. That history drove home the connection between struggles of all oppressed nations, which is a repeated theme throughout the video.

Among activists opposed to the new Arizona law, the slogan 'Do I look illegal?' has been gaining popularity. This question calls out the clearly racist intent behind the law which will require cops to pick out people who don't look like good white Amerikkkan citizens. As revolutionaries we call on all oppressed nations to join the fight against this latest legalization of national oppression. As anti-imperialists we must stand against all limits on migration. The two articles [ 1, 2 ] on this page written by comrades behind bars demonstrate, this unity and correct understanding of history.

Notes:
1. Pew Research Center Publication "Arizona's Population Growth Parallels America's", January 24, 2008.
2. Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States, 2006, Pew Hispanic Center.

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