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[Elections] [ULK Issue 3]
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Election roundup - Democratic party expands the game beyond white men, but remains imperialist in the end

At the mid-point in the presidential primary race, with just over half of the delegates awarded, the Republicans have a clear nominee in John McCain, while the democrats are evenly split over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The battle for leadership of the most powerful imperialist country in the world is a three person race, and the election campaign in 2008 is a series of firsts in Amerikan politics. This is the first election where a woman has a serious chance of winning the nomination of a major party for president. It is also the first election where a Black man has this same chance. In addition, it is a rare race in that no incumbent president or vice president is on the ticket. Meanwhile, support for President Bush is at record lows, so low in fact that Republican candidates are barely mentioning his name in their campaign, much less being seen with him.

While this election provides for many interesting twists and turns in imperialist politics, it is still an imperialist election. There is no chance that an anti-imperialist will win the presidency, and so MIM(Prisons) still stands firm in the MIM political line "Don't Vote, Organize":

MIM's elections slogan can best be summed up as "Don't Vote, Organize." Oppressed people everywhere and the revolutionaries who work in their interest are not distracted by the billion-dollar smoke-and-mirrors campaigns of imperialism.

The majority of white Amerikans support or participate in the electoral system. The system overall represents their interests, though it favors the rich among them. Still, their choices are limited and they are constantly grumbling and protesting by not voting.

If some candidate throws Amerikans a bone—a tough crime bill with lots of new prisons, some protectionism against foreigners, a war or two—then they may get temporarily excited and go pull some levers. But their elections are not what changes the direction of the country. They rubberstamp the decisions made by international patriarchal capital, and they get paid to do it.

Revolutionaries act on the belief that people are bigger than individual votes, and that improvements within the Amerikan system are made at the cost of increased exploitation of the oppressed. Every day wasted on these elections means millions more death sentences for the oppressed. (reprinted from www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections)

Clearly this 2008 election represents an expansion of a historically white male political field to include both wimmin and Blacks. MIM(Prisons) has heard an alarming number of people who consider themselves anti-imperialists pulling for Barak Obama as Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Particularly, oppressed nation youth are getting excited about the first Black president. At the same time, many people consider it a "feminist" position to support Hillary Clinton for president because she would be the first biological womyn candidate. For this reason, we are going to address the specifics of the positions of these two candidates in this article.

Before jumping in to the details MIM(Prisons) reminds our readers of Condoleezza Rice. As U.$. Secretary of State under George Bush (and formerly National Security Advisor), Rice is arguably the most powerful womyn and Black person in Amerika. Clearly neither her identity as a female or as a Black persyn has led her to initiate any progressive (much less anti-imperialist) policies. Identity politics lead to the reactionaries winning as they put the right face on the wrong political line. This lesson is also clear for us to learn from half a century of history in the neo-colonial Third World, where both native and female faces have continued to carry out the economic policies of the imperialists.

White wimmin actually enjoy gender privilege relative to Third World men and wimmin (see MIM Theory 2/3), and so the introduction of a white biological female into the Amerikan presidential race was just a matter of time. The addition of a Black man (and a man of direct Kenyan descent at that) as a serious candidate is more of a surprise in a country where national oppression is quite alive and well, and where imperialist power rests on the oppression of Third World peoples. Even worse than the many imperialist puppets of oppressed nationalities in Third World countries, Obama is as Amerikkkan as Abu Ghraib. He is vying to become leader of the oppressors, not just a middle man strong-arming the oppressed. It is not nation that is decisive in the case of these individuals, because they have committed national suicide to partake in the exploitation of their nation of origin.

If Obama wins it could signify a shift in Amerikan politics where internal oppressed nations gain more oppressor nation benefits. These nations already enjoy enough of the economic benefits of imperialism to put all Amerikan citizens among the ranks of the labor aristocracy, benefiting materially from and having a direct financial interest in perpetuating imperialism. But the disparities between oppressed nations and the white nation demonstrate that national oppression is still alive and well within Amerika's borders. It is important to recognize that this situation could change and some or all of Amerika's internal colonies could join the ranks of the oppressor nation without fundamentally altering the nature of Amerikan imperialism globally. However, at this point there is no indication that national oppression in Amerika is going away, and Obama's weak rhetoric aside, it is unlikely the presidency of a Black man will alter this situation.

Regardless of the relative representation of wimmin and Blacks in the administration, if either a womyn or a Black man wins the Amerikan presidency, it will not lead to any significant shift in Amerikan imperialist politics. The leader of imperialist Amerika is still just that, the leader of imperialist Amerika. Neither candidate has come out against imperialism, and no candidate who takes that stand can win in an imperialist election.

Hillary Clinton

For Hillary Clinton we have to start with the question of gender because many men and wimmin in Amerika are citing Clinton's gender as a reason to vote for her, claiming that this is a feminist stand. It is interesting that the first serious (aka imperialist) female presidential candidate is the wife of a former president. The strength of political power within families in Amerika looks an awful lot like oligarchies in other countries, but yet Amerika calls it democracy. The Bush legacy of father and sons is certainly not the story of some genetically superior line of men who make great political leaders - they have money and power and connections that got them all into political office. The same is true for Bill and Hillary Clinton and all of the previous family legacies of political power in Amerika. Having someone in the family in office helps the next person get into a position of power. And Bill Clinton's name and legacy has helped further Hillary's career.

Already, many people who are of voting age have only seen 2 families in the White House in their lifetime. With Hillary Clinton as president, this will be true for a significant block of young people. That Amerikans are willing to overlook this is a testimony to the complacency of the labor aristocracy who really don't care about democracy as long as they have candidates representing their economic interests.

It is not hard to demonstrate Clinton's imperialist credentials. Anyone voting for Clinton because she is a womyn, is really just playing imperialist identity politics without regard for actual political positions. Or more likely, is fine with Clinton's political positions as they represent imperialist Amerika - a country that most Amerikan citizens are decidedly in favor of perpetuating. Rather than restate the facts, here we print from the MIM website, an excerpt from an article from September 2007 (Why George Bush prefers Hillary Clinton, http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections/elections091207.html):

First it was the conservative intellectual publication "National Review" that said it wanted Hillary Clinton as the most conservative of the Democrats. Then Cheney made an overture to Clinton by saying he wanted to leave the office in the condition he found it. Next Karl Rove helped Hillary Clinton consolidate a lead in the polls by attacking her alone.

These events are all linked together. It has nothing to do with who the Republicans feel they can beat or which Democrat they want if the situation for Republicans is hopeless in 2008.

Backing Hillary Clinton shores up the Bush regime, plain and simple. The reason for this is that Hillary Clinton shares Bush's positions, especially on those questions most often raised for potential impeachment proceedings.

• On the Iraq War, Clinton voted for it. Obama, Kucinich, Gravel and others would not share that with Bush.
• On the weapons of mass destruction justification for the Iraq War, it was Rumsfeld who sold biological weapons to Saddam Hussein under President Reagan, but it was Bill Clinton who turned the question into a lying basis for armed strikes on Iraq and subversion of the weapons inspection process. Only Clinton and Bill Richardson would have to defend the stands of the Clinton administration.
• On the attorney firings question, Hillary Clinton has already stated publicly that she agrees with Bush on the right of the president to fire the attorneys, and she did not specify how many times.

Further on the question of freedoms in Amerika we have this from MIM (September 2, 2007:
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections/../pirao/security/security090207.html):

Hillary Clinton is for the evisceration of the Bill of Rights. She separates questions of credit and medical information from other information concerning "terrorists," which she is so sure are "terrorists" that they have no fourth amendment rights:

"So much of what we know about terrorists, and the successes we have had in preventing and thwarting attacks and tracking would-be perpetrators, has been through information technology. We track terrorists across continents through their cell phones. We monitor terrorists and their supporters through Internet chat rooms. We had phone intercepts that should have given us advance notice of 9-11 if we had been paying attention.

"Now although our Founders couldn't imagine data mining or terror cells, they did anticipate differences of opinion between the executive and legislative branches, and even within them."

It's completely idiotic, because of course the British considered the American Revolutionaries terrorists. So she soft-pedals the question of security versus liberty the way the founders did not. She follows up this bit of her speech with how executive power needs a bipartisan basis. It's not what Washington or Lincoln said: those were oppressor Americans. Hillary Clinton is an Amerikan, because for her even what the founders said was too much.

Barak Obama

In many ways Barak Obama presents a much more interesting candidate for president than Hillary Clinton. Clinton may be biologically a female, but the gender privilege she enjoys makes this irrelevant, and her existence as part of a family of presidential power, and as a part of the white nation, as well as the entirety of her political history, make her a clearly mainstream candidate for president. Obama, on the other hand, is the son of a Kenyan man and a white Amerikan womyn. He grew up on the fringes of the Black power movement (according to his own account in his book Dreams of my Father), and spent years organizing among the projects in Chicago. Obama is not a typical Amerikan presidential candidate.

Obama is the candidate that many people considering themselves progressive and even anti-imperialist are supporting. He can say that he has stood against the Iraq war from the start, unlike other candidates. On issues like prisons Obama has some progressive sounding positions. For instance, on his web site we find: "Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated." Despite the ridiculous claim by some that Bill Clinton was the "first Black president," he brought us the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, huge increases in police and a continuation of the prison boom throughout the nineties. If the united $tates still imprisons more Black men than apartheid South Africa at the end of an Obama presidency, the smashed hopes of oppressed youth politicized by the idea of a Black president should strengthen the anti-imperialist camp.

Barak Obama is fundamentally an Amerikan imperialist candidate. He may be willing to shift around the spoils of imperialism a bit if he becomes president, but he will not tolerate a threat to Amerika as the premier power of the world. Obama's web site features a quote on his views about the Amerikan economy: “I believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other's success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.” So Obama recognizes the common economic interests of Amerikan citizens, and clearly takes up the imperialist position of defending these interests.

Just because he wants to pull troops out of Iraq doesn't mean Obama is anti-militarist. Obama is clear that he will use the Amerikan military to defend the Amerikan economy. Again from his web site: "The excellence of our military is unmatched. But as a result of a misguided war in Iraq, our forces are under pressure as never before. Obama will make the investments we need so that the finest military in the world is best-prepared to meet 21st-century threats." And he wants to expand the imperialist military: "We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines."

While warning against expansion of the occupation of Iraq to an invasion of Iran, Obama has called for u$ troop redeployment to Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Meanwhile, one of Obama's high-profile foreign policy advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who's book detailing plans for continued amerikan hegemony foreshadows the current occupation of Afghanistan to secure access to the Caspian Sea. Brzezinski was a strong backer of the Shah in Iran, and later supported military occupation of the country to maintain stability after the Shah's fall. The amerikan imperialists will disagree on where to invade and who to befriend, but they never disagree on whether to be imperialists or to promote amerikan domination over the rest of the world.

Obama also stands firm on supporting Amerika's imperialist allies such as Israel (from Obama's web site): "Barack Obama has consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. He defends and supports the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and has advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. He has called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defense systems."

And finally Obama will defend Amerika's borders to keep the spoils of imperialism for the Amerikan citizens first and foremost (from Obama's web site): "Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry." As long as Amerika exploits the people of the Third World and brings those profits home to benefit Amerikan citizens, Amerika will need to protect its borders to keep the exploited masses from seeking out a better life and better financial opportunities. Obama will keep those people away from the benefits of profits taken from their labor and the resources in their countries. This is part of Obama's defense of Amerikan workers. The labor aristocracy might get a pay raise from Obama, but that's nothing more than a different way of splitting up the imperialist pie.

Lenin on Elections (from State and Revolution):

"To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people in parliament — such is the real essence of bourgeois parlimentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics." (chapter 3, sec 3)

Who are "the People" according to Lenin

"People think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy." (chapter 4, sec 5)


Don't vote, Organize!


Reprinted from [url=http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections

We]www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections

We say to everyone who agrees with us that there is something very wrong with this system: don't vote, organize!

All our lives Amerika teaches us that we live in a democracy. Part of this so-called democracy includes everyone having the right to vote so that we can decide who will have the power to make decisions about local, state, Federal, and international issues. We have been taught that this is the greatest and most democratic country on earth.

Some of us learn that this democracy does not work for kids growing up in the projects where basic education is not a right that everyone has. And in neighborhoods where people are shot at by the cops for being Black or Latino, democracy starts looking like it is only for some people. We also need only look at the criminal injustice system and see the disproportionate conviction of Blacks and Latinos to know that this so-called democracy is not for everyone.

When we look around the world at all the countries that Amerika invades, or countries in which Amerika installs puppet dictators, murdering or overthrowing popularly elected leaders, this democracy doesn't work. And when we look at countries where Amerikan corporations use the cheap labor of the starving people and steal the natural resources because puppet dictators have enacted laws saying this is OK, we know that's not democracy for the oppressed.

People in these countries did not vote for Amerikan imperialism to invade their country. They did not vote for Amerikan imperialism to install a puppet dictator. They did not vote to allow the CIA in to kill off the revolutionaries and keep the dictators in line. And they certainly did not vote to starve to death, to die from preventable diseases, to die in labor because the medical facilities are only open to people who can pay, or to die fighting a war against the imperialists over whether wealthy Amerikans get to exploit their country or whether they themselves can take control. When we see all of this we know that democracy is only for the few.

We live under an imperialist government. This government receives donations from multinational corporations as well as political lobbying groups that have lots of money. The corporations, the CIA, and the military industrial complex are all very powerful parts of the government that don't answer to anyone and they force the "elected" officials to answer to them. As long as these institutions of imperialism exist, an individual elected to president, senator, representative or governor is not going to make a difference.

In fact, as long as we live under this imperialist system the only people who can even run for office are the people who already have the support of these wealthy, powerful organizations. It takes a lot of money to run an electoral campaign. So even if you had wonderful ideas and a brilliant plan that you thought all of the people of this country would support, it would not matter because you couldn't get elected unless you were independently wealthy (like Ross Perot), and if you were independently wealthy it came at the expense of the international proletariat and you probably have no interest in the oppressed (like Ross Perot).

PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE VOTING?

Many progressives organize around elections because they believe that this is the way to make change. These people genuinely want change, both inside and outside of this country. But they are convinced that there is no alternative for action and they believe that democracy works.

Living in this country it is tempting to believe in voting. It is easy to ignore the plight of the rest of the world and just focus on problems at "home." And if you really think narrowly and you are a part of the very large white middle class, you might vote for the president/senator/representative who does not want to cut Medicare so that when you retire you will be better off than if the other guy wins.

The fact is that there are differences between candidates, but these differences are very minor and generally come down to tactical tweaks in domestic policy issues that benefit one section of the middle class or the other. For all the people who believed that Clinton would be better for gays, this should be obvious. For all the people who thought that Clinton would be better for the poor, the imprisoned, the victims of police brutality, a quick look at the increase in numbers of cops and prisons under Clinton should also make it clear that the Democrats are not really different from the Republicans.

WHAT ABOUT LOCAL ELECTIONS?

A lot of people who agree with us that voting for a president, representative or senator does not mean anything, still organize around state level elections. They believe that by working on a more local scale, they will be able to exert slow steady pressure for change. A recent conversation with a woman who is very active in local electoral work makes this clear. She kept pointing out the great work done by a woman in the state senate. When it was pointed out that this state Senator has never taken a stand on imperialism and the gross things that Amerika does around the world the woman responded that "of course she hasn't because that would cause her to lose her legitimacy". But we don't even have to look so far away at international policy, we can see that these same officials don't take progressive stands on prisons and instead vote to build more prisons and put more cops on the streets to put more Blacks and Latinos in prison.

It is possible that in elections to city hall, some small battles can be won locally that won't mislead people into believing that electoralism works within the non-democracy of Amerika. For instance, if there were several candidates running for city hall who supported putting up public bulletin boards all over town and making public space available for revolutionaries to hold educational events, it might be worth supporting them. But we should never confuse these potentially winnable battles with support for candidates who operate at the state or continental level and who support imperialism both in words and in practice.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

Many people believe that the advances made in the past century for women, national minorities, and others in our society were the result of the electoral power of these groups. But in fact, most of the progressive reforms won in this country in the past century were the result of organizing and agitation outside of the electoral arena. Just think back to the Black civil rights movement and remember the role the Black Panther Party played, outside of the ballot box, in forcing the government to make concessions out of fear of this armed revolutionary organization.

Unfortunately there is no tidy little alternative to the bourgeoisie's vote. The vote is so appealing because it only takes a few minutes in a ballot box once a year (or once every 4 years). But real change does not come easy. MIM and RAIL are working to educate people about the effects of imperialism and to organize people for the only way in which progressive change is possible: revolutionary struggle. This means that we fight winnable battles against things like prison repression, police brutality and other reactionary policies. But at the same time we organize for a larger movement against imperialism.

Even before winning the revolution there is a lot that this movement can achieve. MIM(Prisons) is struggling against censorship across the country on a daily basis. Every battle we win is getting educational materials to those who need them most to build a strong revolutionary movement. Even as the battles continue to pile up, our work on this front creates the breathing room for us to build as a movement on other fronts. This is just one example of the ongoing struggles we can take up and win right now that are vital for actually creating the possibilities for real change in the future.

Don't vote for the imperialists! Organize against the imperialists!

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 3]
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Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security

Comrades have recently brought up the axiom that fear leads to ignorance and that vanguard leadership is a matter of applying science with guts. It is the science in command that is primary here. Whether it is fear, love or rage, emotion cannot be the basis of our strategy and practice. Similarly, emotive rallying cries and hype cannot be the primary recruiting method of a vanguard organization.

The problem of fear often comes up in relation to those who have privilege that they are afraid of losing (the classic carrot and the stick). It is also used widely among the most oppressed and exploited when it is instilled as a fear of death and torture of friends and families. Among the lumpen who have little privilege to speak of, whose family structure has been destroyed by oppression and who has already faced torture as an individual, the basis for fear is very limited.

An arguable strength of the imperialist country communist movement is our ability to produce scientific analysis with complete independence. This is because our wealth and privilege can actually diminish both fear and class consciousness in a minority of cases. Some of the most dedicated activists in the oppressor nations often have a sense of fearlessness. This is probably necessary to make it over the long haul without turning back to the comfort of one's class privilege.

In both cases of fearlessness we have seen the outcome where people don't take security seriously. Most even scoff at the security practices put forth by the Maoist movement. Others act as if they have too much "important" work to be dealing with to take time worrying about security measures. Translate this to "I'm too lazy to deal with things that are going to make my work harder or take a little longer. I'd rather focus my time on the things that give me glory or that I somehow find some persynal pleasure in." This is subjectivism.

When we work with people who don't even spend one minute a week thinking about security we are potentially sacrificing our own security, and more importantly, the security and integrity of the whole movement. Such people have no role to play in a Leninist cadre organization. Security is not something we study in addition to theory, it stems directly from it.

Contrary to the bourgeois theory of history, bravado and individualism do not decide the course of events. Envisioning oneself standing strong and alone against the great oppressor may be a powerful subjective motivator. But to build ones political practice around such a fantasy is not going to win many battles.

Being serious about ending oppression means being serious about studying the world around us and learning from history. It means developing a strategic understanding of how the oppressed are rising and will succeed and therefore having confidence in the fact that we are acting with the tide of humyn history. If we have this understanding, then it is very obvious to us that we are more effective in contributing to this tide when we are not locked in an isolation cell or buried six feet deep.

Anyone who doesn't believe death or imprisonment are real threats needs to read some history. We may be better revolutionaries without fear, but not without prudence. For those who know the risks but don't care, you need to study history even harder as well as dialectical materialism until you can understand your own power.

There is a related point to make here in regard to the "security" concerns of correctional officers and prison administrators. The most common reason for censorship of our literature in u$ prisons is that MIM(Prisons) is somehow a threat to security. As long as we can agree that "security" for the CO's means less violence and fighting with guards and between prisoners, then our point here can be applied by them as well. While it may be true that our literature tends to attract some of the most defiant prisoners who are likely to physically defend themselves against a guard, our literature literally teaches people not to attack guards, or even violate any rules that would just bring down more repression, even when we are not explicitly stating that.

Overall, we don't expect this line of argument to convince a system that is set up to oppress specific segments of society. But, certainly some individual prison administrators are honestly interested in maintaining the peace without any ulterior political or racial motivations. The rest just keep oinking for more control units and more hazard pay.

Rashid has taken prison officials to task on this with his "The Don't Shank the Guards" handbook (1), which has been censored in a number of states despite a stated purpose that COs should agree with. This handbook provides a similar strategic orientation as MIM(Prisons) does for prisoners who desire to improve their situation. Where this pamphlet fails is in its pandering to the economic interests of amerikans and its call to unite with the "masses" of the united $tates. This line leads to a strategy of putting amerikans first, which oppressed nation prisoners have a slim chance of ever being accepted into. If they succeed then they have only betrayed the oppressed people of the world. MIM(Prisons) puts forth a line that neither promotes shanking the oppressor, nor standing side-by-side with him in political struggle.

But Rashid agrees with us in having strategic confidence and a group approach to struggle: "Having been raised as we are with the idea of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," getting even is deeply ingrained in us, but in a society based upon inequality, getting even carries a high price and is, in fact, impossible: At least it is impossible by individualistic retaliation."

It is exactly such individualism that we need to combat on this side of the fear question in relation to security. Remember, it is also the FBI infiltrators who will have no fear in going up against the state with a few guns, because they know when the bullets start flying you're gonna die and they're gonna be rescued. So fearlessness does not mean going toe-to-toe with an army you cannot defeat. Sun Tzu taught us the idiocy of that centuries ago. And that is exactly what comrades are doing by throwing security out the window. They think they're invincible, they think they're hard, or they're just too lazy to deal with security questions.

"O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands." - Sun Tzu

With the New York State legislator passing a law that forbids "seriously mentally ill" prisoners from being put in SHU (yet to be signed by Governor Spitzer), we can see a clear example of what Rashid is talking about when he writes, "[Riots, flooding cells, setting fires and shanking guards] have only provided prisoncrats with ammunition to demonize us and turn public opinion against us and concern away from prison reform issues and the way we are treated." Some editorials and discussions online among COs and other amerikans indicate the limited scope of this legislation. It is being used to highlight the abuse of CO's instead of prisoners. It is being used to bolster support for the need for SHUs and the need for more high-security mental institutions. And it is creating justification by saying that "we are taking out the prisoners who can't handle the SHU mentally, but everyone else deserves to be there, just look how they are acting out." We had previously criticized the limited scope of this legislation, and passed on campaigning in support of it. Now we are seeing it's use by the state to not just rally support to its side but also to divide the movement against control units.

While amerikans are crying in outrage about all the prisoners who are going to "fake" mental illness to get out of the SHU now, MIM(Prisons) is still saying that the SHU is torture that creates the mental states that exist within it. The humyn mind is but a reflection of material reality. And decades of experience tell us that people who have been in long term isolation often end up throwing excrement at guards as one of the only forms of action they can take on behalf of themselves. Call it mental illness if you want. But we know the cause and we know the cure. If prison officials aren't willing to eliminate the cause, perhaps they will at least let SHU prisoners communicate with MIM(Prisons) so that we can help them understand the futility and even counterproductivity of such actions.

Notes:
(1) Contact Rashid c/o Art Attack, PO Box 208, Herndon, VA 20172

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[National Oppression] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 2]
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Amerikans: Oppressing for a Living

Direct expenditure by criminal justice function

Critics of amerika's unprecedentedly high incarceration rates have stressed that increased imprisonment does not correspond to less crime. And despite decreasing crime rates, imprisonment continues to rise. How is this possible?

A recent report from the JFA Institute describes how the increase in prison populations is a result of a change in laws and policies in enforcement. (1) We have been in the era of "tough on crime" politics for decades, but most amerikans will still hide the fact that this translates into increased control and repression of the internal semi-colonies. At the same time, millions of amerikkkans are supporting these laws as a means of securing the jobs and livelihood of themselves and their families. While white people like to look at slavery and genocide as things in the past, the amerikkkan nation has probably never been so deeply entrenched and invested as a nation of oppressors as they are today with millions serving as cops, spies and military personnel.

And while the white media would have you believe that "tough on crime" policies are protecting amerikans from murderers and sexual predators, about two-thirds of the 650,000 prison admissions each year are people who have violated their probation or parole. And half of these violations are technical, in other words, they're going to prison for things most people could not be put in prison for. (1) The demand for more incarceration is putting hundreds of thousands of people in prison each year for doing things not generally considered crimes under u$ law.

Who's Profiting?

The progressive groups opposing the prison industrial complex like to condemn so-called "prisons-for-profit." But it isn't primarily corporate profits behind the three decades long prison boom and the so-called "tough on crime" legislation. It is amerikan cops and bureaucrats maneuvering for government funds (money that comes from taxing amerikans whose wealth comes from the exploitation of labor and resources from the Third World). And it is career politicians catering to a white nationalist vote. "Tough on crime" stances aren't tolerated in amerikan politics, rather, they are demanded by the voting public. Politicians who have attempted to go against the tide can attest to this.

Other than "prisons are big business" the other popular argument explaining the surge in incarceration is that it is "modern day slavery." As an economic force behind imprisonment, this too is largely a myth. If the motivation for being the number one imprisonment country in all of history was exploiting labor then you would see the majority of prisoners engaged in productive labor. While some sources claim half of all prisoners work, one study from 1994 found less than 10% are involved in work other than maintenance and housekeeping. (2) More recent statistics by state indicate industrial employment at similar low rates. (3) The estimate of half of prisoners working seems reasonable if we acknowledge that most of those prisoners have part-time jobs doing upkeep of the prison. While also dated, MIM cited statistics from 1995 showing that only 6.4% of sales stemming from prison labor in the united $tates was private in MIM Theory 11: Amerikkkan Prisons on Trial.

Generally, if prisoners work for an outside corporation and produce goods for interstate commerce, then they are legally required to receive amerikkkan exploiter level wages. The benefit to the companies is that they can skimp on benefits and don't need to give raises. Small business owners have fought to limit the benefits of those who use prison labor, since they lack the capital to take advantage of such competitive advantages. The petty bourgeois interests here keep those of the imperialists in check. (4)

Therefore, most prison labor is done for the state, who can pay whatever they want, and increasingly garnish most of the wages to pay for the prisoners' own imprisonment. These prisoners are either working to run the prison and therefore allowing the amerikkkans in charge of the prison to work as well-payed bureaucrats and not have to worry about cooking and cleaning, or they are working for government industries that supply state agencies and therefore subsidize the tax money of the state as a whole by reducing state expenses. The National Correctional Industries Association says state industries contributed $25 million by garnishing inmates wages, not a very large contribution to the cost of the u$ prison system. However, one estimate done by MIM 10 years ago indicates the savings in wages overall (not including benefits) could be on the order of 10% or more of current overall state expenditures on corrections (5), which have risen sharply (see graph).

Some state industries export products to other countries, but interstate commerce has largely been restricted by the efforts of small business interests and amerikan labor unions. Since the 1980s, the federal government has tried to embrace the model of "factories with fences." But the free market for slave labor continues to be hampered by state laws. This year, Alaska passed a law that allows the Department of Labor and Workforce Development can enter into contracts with private companies or individuals to sell them prison labor,

provided that the commissioner consults with local union organizations beforehand in order to ensure that the contract will not result in the displacement of employed workers, will not be applied in skills, crafts, or trades in which there is a surplus of available gainful labor in the locality, and will not impair existing contracts for services. A contract with an individual or a private organization must require that the commissioner be paid the minimum wage for each hour worked by a prisoner." (10)

Clearly this has nothing to do with prisoners' rights, but it is crafted for the protection of labor aristocracy jobs and small businesses. And as many states do, Alaska allows for the wages to be garnished before disbursing them to the prisoner. So there is no law that the prisoner must be paid a certain wage.

What about the one industry that does have unfettered access to prison labor? Theoretically, private prisons could collect fat contracts from the state and let prisoners do much of the work to run the facility. But after 3 decades of prison boom, still less than 5% of prisons are privately owned, at least partially due to an inability to remain profitable. (4) It is often pointed out that it costs more to keep a persyn in prison for a year than send them to college. (The difference for sending youth to a correctional facility compared to grade school can be differences in order of magnitude). This is a price that largely tax-averse amerikkkans are willing to pay.

State Bureaucrats and National Oppression

Strictly speaking, prisons are a net loss financially for the amerikkkan nation. And the boom cannot be blamed on any major corporate interests. What a beefed up injustice system does offer economically is a means of employing millions of people at cushy exploiter wages. It is a means of shuffling the super-profits around the pigsty and maintaining a consumer population. These millions of people provide a self-perpetuating demand for more prisoners, and more funding for various law enforcement projects.

One example of this self-perpetuating bureaucracy dates back to 1983 when James Gonzalez became Deputy Director of the California Department of Corrections. He immediately expanded the department's planning staff from 3 to 118 and began focusing on modeling that would forecast increasing needs for expansion into the future (it's not just COs getting the jobs). (6) Since then California has built 23 major new prisons, expanded other prisons and increased its prison population 500%. (7) With more prisons, come more prison guards, creating the 31,000 strong California Correctional Peace Officers Association with yearly dues totaling $21.9 million. (8) This is the same union that earned itself a raise following the exposure of gladiator fights staged by guards at Corcoran State Prison, where many prisoners were murdered. The very same that was behind the 3 strikes laws to put people away for 25 to life for petty crimes, and that has campaigned repeatedly to eliminate educational programs for prisoners.

The CO's are partners with the private industry that has boomed off of an economy based on war and repression. A visit to the American Corrections Association conference will tell you it's not just a few imperialist suits in a smoke-filled room. It is a getaway for a large mix of salesmen, cops and CO's; just regular amerikkkans. (9)

In the united $tates there are laws that prevent the military from lobbying the government as a safeguard against war being carried out in the interests of the warmakers. There are no such limits on the police and correctional officers (COs), allowing the war on gangs to go on perpetuating itself both politically and economically. The NYPD and LAPD have arsenals and capabilities that rival many nations' armed forces, and they are allowed to influence politics on the local, state and even federal level both directly and indirectly.

On the local level police departments have undermined trends toward so-called "community policing." Where youth in the community have been effective at reducing violence through dialogue and organizing, the police have rejected these programs in favor of community representatives who will rubber stamp their continued strategies of suppression and harassment of oppressed nation youth. When street organizations came together to form peace treaties in Los Angeles and Chicago in the 1990s, the police responded immediately through the white media saying it was a hoax and it would never last. Let there be no confusion, the police created these wars and the police will not let them stop.

In the late 1990s, the New York Times reported that most white residents of New York City were comfortable with police behavior, while 9 out of 10 Blacks believed brutality against Blacks to be frequent. The regular "stop and frisking" by police that was then practiced under Mayor Giuliani, was found to be directed at Blacks and Latinos 90% of the time. (11)

Politically, the rest of the oppressor nation is willing to go along with the job security plans of the police and correctional officers as a means of protecting their collective privilege. One of the few things amerikkkans can agree to spend state money on. With that, the injustice system becomes an important part of the national culture in rallying the people in material support of the imperialist system that they benefit from.

Who's being locked up?

While the question of who is profiting from the prison industrial complex is a bit cloudy and controversial, everyone knows who is being locked up. In a half century, amerikan prisons have gone from white dominated to Black dominated in a period where the Black population has increased less than 2 percentage points to its current level of about 12%. And yet amerikkkans are not outraged.

As we recently reported, Blacks are imprisoned at rates 10 times those of whites for drug charges and the increase in drug-related prison sentences was 77% for Blacks compared to 28% for whites. (12) So, the increase in sentences that is behind the current prison boom is targeting certain populations.

The JFA Institute report references research indicating that incarceration often encourages crime. In their summary of literature, they point to evidence that people will leave criminal lifestyles when given opportunities. No shit? Stopping crime isn't exactly rocket science. While communists know how to put an end to crime, the pigs and their fans have demonstrated that they aren't really interested in that. That would involve destroying their own privilege. In it's advanced stage of parasitism, the amerikkkan nation has a well-entrenched sector of pigs who get job security and pay raises from perpetuating crime and imprisonment.

Interestingly, the report also points to a number of studies indicating that government run programs have very marginal effects on reducing recidivism. This conclusion is supported by reports we get from comrades criticizing government programs. (13) Apparently, the literature also supports the need for programs like MIM(Prisons) Prisoner Re-Lease on Life program, because the only programs that seem to be effective in treatment and rehabilitation are independent from the government. (1) The people aren't stupid, they know what the state is there to do.

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[National Oppression] [ULK Issue 2]
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Blacks targeted for drug imprisonment in Amerika

Large population counties across the United $tates continue to imprison Blacks for drug offenses at a much higher rate than whites, in spite of similar rates of drug use, according to a report released December 4 by The Justice Policy Institute. The report underscores the fact that "Whites and African Americans report using and selling drugs at similar rates, but African Americans go to prison for drug offenses at higher rates than whites."

The study used data from the National Corrections Reporting Program and other census and government sources, focusing on 2002 because that is the most recently year of NCRP data available. In 2002 there were approximately 19.5 million drug users and 1.5 million drug arrests (1 in 13 drug users). These arrests resulted in 175,000 admissions to prisons; 51% of these new prisoners were Black.

The 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that rates of drug use were similar between whites and blacks: 8.5% of whites compared to 9.7% of Blacks. Given the economic disparities and national oppression within Amerika, it is not a surprise that there is a slightly higher rate of drug use among Blacks.

These rates of drug use translate into about 14 million white drug users in 2002 compared to 2.6 million Black drug users (in the month prior to the survey). This means there are roughly 5 times as many white drug users as Black drug users. But Blacks were locked up in prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites: 262 per 100,000 for Blacks and 25 per 100,000 for whites.

Underscoring the fact that these lock up rates are not a result of Blacks using more potent or dangerous drugs, the Drug Use survey found that 24% of crack cocaine users were Black while 72% were white or "Hispanic," but over 80% of people locked up for crack use in 2002 were Black.

The JPI report focused on 198 counties with populations over 250,000. They found that "Despite similar rates of drug use across counties, drug admission rates vary substantially." The correlation is not between drug use and imprisonment but rather JPI found that drug imprisonment was directly correlated to the per capita policing and judicial budgets in each county. The JPI explains that the bottom line is resource-driven discretion by local police:

To further substantiate these results, JPI conducted a multiple variable analysis that controlled for the crime rate, region of the country, the poverty and unemployment rates, and the percent of each county’s population that is African American. The results
strongly suggest that the resource-driven discretion that local police forces have is the engine driving the wide variation in local drug imprisonment rates. This relationship is evident in this study’s finding that policing budgets are positively associated with the drug imprisonment rate—even after controlling for the crime rate.

The JPI report looked at likely causes for this disparity in imprisonment rates. They cite mandatory minimum laws as contributing to a growing disparity because Blacks are already more likely to be locked up for drug use, and they are now also more likely to be incarcerated under a mandatory minimum sentence - increasing the length of time they spend in prison. Between 1994 and 2003, the average time Blacks spent in prison for drug offenses rose 77% compared to a 28% increase for whites. They also noted disparate policing, disparate treatment before the courts, differences in availability of drug treatment, and punitive social spending patterns.

These are all important factors but they are not the whole picture. All of these discrepancies in treatment between Blacks and whites are symptoms of an underlying system of national oppression in the United $tates. Studies have repeatedly shown that imprisonment rates are not correlated with crime rates. The fact is that prisons are used as a tool of social control and disparate arrests, sentencing, imprisonment, access to education, health care, financial loans, job opportunities, and more are part of this system of social control that maintains the supremacy of whites in a society that pretends to offer equality to all.

The JPI report concludes with the recommendation of a "more evidence-based approach to drug enforcement." They want to hold the criminal injustice system to standards enforced by statistical analysis of arrest and imprisonment rates. This is probably the best that we can hope for from an institute like the JPI. The fact that there is currently no science behind the actions of the criminal injustice system is a striking indictment of Amerikan society overall. But the problem is not just in the police and the judicial system. Both of these systems are part of a larger political infrastructure that props up a massive imperialist state. We can not expect one aspect of this state to change and grant equality to oppressed nations while all other aspects remain the same.

Locking up more whites would be progress - if the whites in question were those in the government who are responsible for more death and destruction than all the 2 million people in U.$. prisons combined. In the end, progress of this sort, or progress towards a more equitable justice system will only come through revolutionary struggle.

Notes: The full Justice Policy report can be found here: http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/07-12_REP_Vortex_AC-DP.pdf

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[Education] [Campaigns] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 1]
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California Bans MIM Distributors

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has instituted a ban on educational material within prisons, categorically censoring all literature sent by MIM's prisoner education program. This ban was mandated by Scott Kernan, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions for California, in a memorandum issued December 13, 2006 "directing an immediate ban on the receipt, possession, or distribution of literature/publications from MIM to or by inmates in the custody of the CDCR." This ban has been interpreted by prisons to include dictionaries and history books as well as MIM's own magazine and newspapers. In some prisons the ban has been interpreted to also include all letters written by MIM.

This censorship is in direct violation of legal precedent which requires review of mail for content that violates prison policy. Systematic rejection of all mail from an organization based on disagreement with the sender's politics is not legal, even within the prison system's own rules and regulations.

Neither Kernan nor the prison administrators applying the ban have ever supplied any evidence that MIM literature (much less, letters, dictionaries and other books MIM sends to prisoners) present any threat to the institutions. Kernan's letter contains a review of the MIM political line as supposed evidence that MIM represents some danger to California prisons. The California Code Of Regulations (CCR) Title 15, sec: 3135(b) states: "Disagreement with the senders or receivers apparent moral values, attitudes veracity, or choice of words will not be used by correctional staff as a reason for disallowing or delaying mail. Correctional staff shall not challenge or confront the sender or receiver with such value judgments, nor shall such value judgments be considered in any action affecting the correspondents." Further, in Procunier v. Martinez, the Supreme Court upholds the right of prisoners to receive mail, regardless of the prison official’s opinion of the mail content, as long as there are no legitimate restrictions from the prison related to correctional purposes.

There is a strong correlation between education and imprisonment. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (the U.$. Department of Justice's own organization) latest study on 1997 population data, 41% of State and Federal prisoners had not completed high school. This compares with 18% of the general population age 18 and older.(1) Things look even worse among prisoners age 20 to 39 showing that the trend is towards more prisoners without a high school education as younger prisoners are even less educated than older prisoners. Other more recent studies have shown this trend continues. The likelihood of ending up in prison is tremendously higher for young Black men who drop out of school before getting a high school diploma. And a college degree is further protection against imprisonment.

On the other side of education, in-prison education programs have repeatedly been shown to reduce recidivism by helping prisoners to find jobs and opportunities once they are released. Individual and meta studies repeatedly conclude the same thing:

"Since 1990, the literature has shown that prisoners who attend educational programs while they are incarcerated are less likely to return to prison following their release. Studies in several states have indicated that recidivism rates have declined where inmates have received an appropriate education. Furthermore, the right kind of educational program leads to less violence by inmates involved in the programs and a more positive prison environment."(2)

California already has one of the highest recidivism rates in the country, with an astronomical 70% of released prisoners ending up back inside within three years. And in recent years we have seen education programs, visitation, and even mail cut back so that prisoners are left with very little to do behind bars and a virtually impossible task of going straight from prison to the streets with no education or transitional services.

Implementing a state-wide ban of educational material from MIM is one more way to keep prisoners locked up. Prisoners who read our literature frequently tell us they learn to channel their time into productive activities rather than participating in violence behind bars. And the education helps them have a better chance at staying on the street once they are released. We get letters pleading for reading materials like this one all the time: "I'm an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison and am on a yard that's been on lockdown off and on for approximately 4 years. Therefore I'm unable to get to the library here. I've read every 'floater' here. I would be very grateful for any soft back books you could send. Anything you send will be read and reread by many inmates." Surely the CDC"R" knows there is a demand for reading materials in the prisons, but they don't even bother to fill this void with fluff novels. They prefer to spend their large budget on higher salaries for brutal guards and legal defense for their illegal activities like setting up prisoner fights for sport.

Of course, the CDC"R" does have reasons to ban MIM from the prisons. Educating prisoners is counter to their goal. With education comes consciousness, and while prisoners working with MIM report avoiding violent confrontations (both with their peers and with guards), they are also more likely to take up legal and administrative appeals, and to educate and organize their fellow prisoners to stand up for their legal rights. As one California prisoner wrote to us in October of last year:

"In extending my respects to all, I would also like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to everyone working at, working with and/or affiliated with Maoist Internationalist Movement for all that you do and the services you provide. Especially, in regards to prisoners. Speaking from personal experience I can say that in receiving and reading your newsletters, it's both a major source of motivation and encouragement. To say that your MIM Notes have served me well does not cover any specifics, but I can say that your notes have been a potent ingredient towards my transformation: and your free books to prisoners program has nurtured and fed me like a baby at his mother's bosom. The books you have been so generous to send have taught me to respect and value the importance of an education…an education that has taught me that with knowledge comes enormous responsibility. The responsibility that arises from not just knowing the difference between what is said to be right, or wrong, testing an deciphering, truth and lies, but knowing and acting in accordance with what is consistent and progressive in the exercise of self determination and self defense."

We will continue to pursue the fight against this ban in California, working closely with our comrades behind bars to challenge this action in court if necessary. We encourage the CDCR leadership and California state politicians to step forward and overturn this illegal ban before they are forced to waste money needlessly in a legal battle that will only further expose their disregard for Rehabilitation, the welfare of prisoners, and the very laws they claim to uphold.

We need support from prisoners to join this struggle, and support from people on the outside to demand an end to this ban. Write protest letters to: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184

1. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Education and Correctional Populations, January 2003 2. Journal of Correctional Education, v55 n4, p297-305, December 2004. See also The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Studies have clearly shown that participants in prison education, vocation and work programs have recidivism rates 20-60 percent lower than those of nonparticipants. Another recent major study of prisoners found that participants in education programs were 29 percent less likely to end up back in prison, and that participants earned higher wages upon release."

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[International Connections] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 1]
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Uniting with National Liberation Struggles

The Lumpen Show Relative Progress Compared to Amerikkkans

[The following letter is from a prisoner in New York who generally likes what MIM Notes has to say. It is an example of what communists are up against in terms of uniting the oppressed within u$ borders against imperialism. Most of the criticisms in the letter are answered in the original article, and some answers are repeated in brackets within the letter. Below we discuss this letter in the context of the greater public opinion battle among the lumpen class.]

I am writing in response to an article that was featured in the April 2007 issue of MIM Notes (#343) entitled, "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein." I was shocked and disappointed by the author's description of the executed reactionary dictator Hussein as "... a martyr for Third World independence." The author went on to assert that "He [i.e.. Saddam Hussein] followed his two sons... and grandson... to the grave in the fight for Iraqi independence." Although I found other statements in the article to be both accurate and poignant (such as the author's reasoning that Hussein could not be put on trial for the bulk of the slaughter he performed "...because the evidence for U.$. and British complicity would have come out..."), the aforementioned eulogy of Saddam cannot be deemed as anything except ridiculous, the product of ignorance, and a slap to the face of all oppressed "Third World" peoples who are suffering under and standing against U$-supported lackey regimes like that of former Iraqi resident Saddam Hussein.

[MIM: In the second sentence of the article, "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein", MIM mentions that Hussein killed thousands of communist-minded Iraqis before stating that he put his life on the line for an oppressed nation. So the reader's claim that the author is not aware of Iraqi history is clearly due to h own poor attention to the original article. Yes, Hussein killed thousands of communists and he died in the struggle for national liberation. We said it again. MIM is also part of the tiny minority in the united $tates who actually cared that the united $tates was funding the Baath regime before the imperialists turned on it. Meanwhile, the vast majority of amerikkkans did nothing to stop their government from funding the slaughter of Iraqi communists in the 1960s nor from their own people going to Iraq today to slaughter Muslims, which no one can claim ignorance of. So for amerikkkans to turn around and use the fact that he was u$-funded against Hussein after he died defying u$ occupation of Iraq is ludicrous.]

The author makes mention of the "stupid liberals on NPR," but at least NPR has been intelligent enough to recognize and report (quite vigorously) on the U$ all-out support for Saddam and his Baathist regime before their "foxy-proxy" relationship went sour- or the atrocities that grew from and were enabled by that support - on programs such as Amy Goodman's "Democracy NOW!"

[MIM: What we were criticizing the stupid liberals for was failing to recognize that Arabs ranked Hussein as the fourth most respected world leader, tied with bin Laden. A fact our reader also chooses to ignore from the original article being critiqued.]

Hussein's decision not to flee Iraq during the invasion was hardly one based upon any revolutionary principles (incidentally, he did flee Iraq once early in his political career following a botched assassination attempt of a political opponent). He was a power monger/ mega-parasite who was unable to even imagine living without the ability or means to impose his will upon others. Moreover, he had created so many enemies throughout the planet and from every class of society that surely he knew that he could not have survived for long outside of Iraq.

Addressing the Second National Congress of Workers and Peasants Representatives in 1934, Chairman Mao stated: "I earnestly suggest to the congress that we pay close attention to the well-being of the masses, from the problems of land and labour to those of fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt." Neither Saddam Hussein, his profligate and vicious sons, nor anyone else who comprised the brutal cadre that commanded the pseudo-socialist democratic Baathist regime's government (the history of which the author is invited to research in depth) ever upheld or intended to uphold such a critical and revolutionary ideal - not during the time of U$ patronage, not during or after the Gulf War, not during the embargo, and not at any time during the U$ invasion and current occupation.

[MIM: Clearly our reader has not done much research into the current conditions in Iraq, nor compared them to Iraq in the past. Things like "fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt" are no longer readily available in Iraq as they were during the Baath Party rule. Remember how the u$ bombed water treatment facilities and knocked out the power grid upon its invasion? Not only have the u$ occupiers taken away the basic necessities of the people, but they have more than doubled the number of unnecessary deaths in the country, while bringing in u$-style prison operations. (1) Since we last reported on these facts, the bourgeois press has reported a 50% increase in the number of Iraqis held in u$ prisons over a six month period. (2) However, these numbers ignore the majority of prisoners who are in Iraqi-run jails, making it hard to know how close they are to achieving amerikkkan-level imprisonment rates. But reports from a Big Noise Films reporter indicate that in parts of Anbar province "everyone" is in prison, leaving only children and the elderly in the streets begging u$ military persynal to return their families. So while we don't have the complete numbers, the trend is clear: lock up the oppressed. According to U$ General Petraeus, supervising this growing prison population was one reason for the increase in troops needed this year. (3) Perhaps amerikkkan prison guard unions will push to increase the troop and imprisonment surge in Iraq.]

Chairman Mao stated: "The bourgeoisie, as a rule, conceals the problem of class status and carries out its one-class dictatorship under the "national" label." Hussein and his henchmen were pure petty bourgeoisie- and truly traitors to the Iraqi people in allowing the Iraqi nation to be used by the U$ as a proxy serving it's own imperialist/ neocolonialist interests in the middle east.

Chairman Mao said:

"All men must die, but death can vary in its significance... To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather."

Saddam Hussein, who was an Arab Fascist at best, who exploited the ethnic and racial divisions and the resources of the Iraqi people to consolidate and augment his own power and status, who oppressed the Iraqi people with the aid and at the insistence of his neocolonial/imperialist masters, died a humiliating death at the hands of these very same masters that was lighter than the feather of a humming bird.


MIM discusses this further: The lumpen in the united $tates are struggling to get a scientific hold on the principal contradiction. On the one hand you have people rapping about the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden as being hard, rebels against the white power structure. You have Muslim wimmin speaking out in favor of modesty to beat back the war cries of the white nationalists using Islam's gender line as a justification for invasions for more superprofits. And you have those who see the fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan as being on the righteous side of a holy jihad.

On the other hand you got people rapping about Bush and bin Laden being "two separate parts of the same seven headed dragon." You got people putting religion as principal, and as an absolute tool of the oppressor. And you've got people pushing a purity line, as the reader above, who will not make strategic alliances with someone who has done things they disagree with.

We can see we have more of the former here among the lumpen than we do among the u$ population in general, and that is something. Integration may have bought off and brainwashed many, but not all. What makes the struggle more interesting is that it is those who identify as revolutionaries that are more likely to stumble on the petty bourgeois obstacles to unity of the oppressed nations. It is people who are rapping about sex and drugs half the time that are saying, "al Qaeda be Black men's best friend" and " I'm half Saddam, half bin Laden, that equals full time ridin." It seems to be those who pick up the Koran instead of the New York Times that are more likely to recognize that the Iraqi fighters are contributing the most to overthrow the very system that is responsible for this war and so much suffering thru economic deprivation.

When the Nation of Gods and Earths (NOGE) came out with a statement proclaiming their right to affiliate and practice their beliefs in prisons they attempted to draw a clear line between themselves and "religious" Islam that is associated with "terrorism" in the minds of the oppressors. While righteously calling amerika out for alleging to support religious freedom in Afghanistan while persecuting Five Percenters, they deem the liberation fighters in that country terrorists. Their statement reads, "The fact that the Father fought for this country in the Korean War showed that he was a true patriot. To go to war for your homeland on foreign soil is the greatest sacrifice a man can make." The Father of this group took up arms against socialism and self-determination of the Korean people.

This caught the attention of one God who responded to a struggle among members over this article by saying:

"How are you going to encourage Black men and womyn to fight in Amerika's army to 'protect freedom and democracy' and against oppressed nations fighting for liberation? See point 6 in the Black Panther 10 point program and contrast with what Born King Allah espouses. How are you going to distance yourself and Black people from the liberation struggles in the Middle East, labeling the Arab Muslims 'terrorists who worship a spook God'- to which I say, so what! The Arab, spook God worshipping Muslims have done more in 6 years to undermine and overthrow imperialism than the NOGE has done in its 40 plus years of existence! How are you going to tell our people that the greatest sacrifice one can make is to give one's life for this country? this is madness!"

The sad thing is we don't even need to go to the Panthers to find a better line on this question, we can go to the guy who self-proclaimed revolutionary MC Immortal Technique claims to be part of the "same seven headed dragon" as George W. Bush: Osama bin Laden. On the sixth anniversary of 9/11, bin Laden issued a statement in which he once again placed responsibility for the genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan on the amerikkkan people. He even went so far to put capitalism at the root of the problems in the world today. He has done more to unite the oppressed against u$ imperialism than a million amerikkkans and their lackeys chanting "No to Bush, No to Islam."

Now some comrades are having a problem because they are struggling against the idealism of NOI or NOGE style Islam at home within the greater context of the imperialist war targeting Muslim's globally. There is a need for Maoists to distinguish ourselves from the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earths and other cultural nationalist groups. We all make claims to liberating the Black nation. One of us has a better plan than the others. But now is not the time for broad attacks on religion. In a feudal kingdom, such broad attacks would be progressive. But it is questionable whether they will be useful to the oppressed again in a modern capitalist state. As long as we are combatting religious ideas among the oppressed then we are dealing with contradictions among the people. These must be dealt with from the standpoint of unity-struggle-unity, not from the standpoint of defeating an enemy.

One revolutionary hip hop group has a song about jokes that says, "I'd like to see a boxing match between them all, Colin vs. bin Laden and Bush vs. Saddam, rig a pound of dynamite to the ring and kill 'em all." Despite incorrectly equating Saddam and bin Laden to Bush and Powell, they get it right in a later joke that goes, "An atheist and a Catholic priest on top of a building. Well there used to be a Muslim, but they ganged up on him and pushed him." See it ain't even about religion, it's about white people teaming up on the oppressed.

We don't pretend that we don't wish there was a communist party playing the role that bin Laden is playing right now. That would mean we were probably closer to putting an end to imperialism and oppression. But that is a subjective wish, and our actions can only be based on objective facts. Anyone who reads us for more than a minute will know that we differ from the Islamic fundamentalists, even though we are on the same side. Those who are attacking Islamic fundamentalism in the name of communism right now are dividing the oppressed and uniting the oppressors.

Throughout history Marxists have dialogued with and critiqued many political trends. Often times those criticized were those deemed most close to the Marxist perspective. In the era of the dictatorship of the proletariat, ushered in with Lenin in 1917, revisionism soon became the primary target. Once the people had been largely won over by socialism, it was only the wolf in sheep's clothing who could stand a chance in challenging communist ideology. Similarly today, it is often those who appear closest to us, usually the revisionists, who we must criticize most to raise the consciousness of the masses. For all the times people have asked MIM how we are different from the rcp=u$a, I don't think anyone has ever asked how we are different from the Baath regime in Iraq. And despite his condemnation of capitalism and support for the liberation of the oppressed nations, people don't confuse MIM with Osama bin Laden.

So not only are the fake Maoists on the wrong side of the principal contradiction, while bin Laden and Hussein are/were on the right side. The fake Maoists also serve to create more confusion among the oppressed by preaching idealism in communist rhetoric, rather than an openly religious philosophy as bin Laden does.

To respond to the reader above in kind, let us quote Mao as well,

"The middle bourgeoisie constitutes the national bourgeoisie as distinct from the comprador class, i.e., from the big bourgeoisie. Although it has its class contradictions with the workers and does not approve of the independence of the working class, it still wants to resist Japan and, moreover, would like to grasp political power for itself, because it is oppressed by the Japanese imperialists in the occupied areas and kept down by the big landlords and big bourgeoisie in the Kuomintang areas. When it comes to resisting Japan, it is in favor of united resistance; when it comes to winning political power, it is in favor of the movement for constitutional government and tries to exploit the contradictions between the progressives and the die-hards for its own ends." (from Current Problems of Tactics in the Anti-Japanese United Front)

You see, we never claimed that Hussein's decision not to flee Iraq was based on revolutionary principles. We don't know or care about his persynal motivations. (In fact, we have no way to claim to know the psychology of Hussein as the reader claims to know). As the reader stated, there were many material reasons that may have caused Hussein to stay in Iraq. But these motivations do not change the fact that he stood up to u$ imperialism and died as a martyr for Iraqi liberation. In the quote above, Mao distinguishes between the national bourgeoisie and the comprador class. Hussein was a comprador of u$ imperialism for many years. Not a home-grown Arab Fascist as the reader suggests, but an arm of u$ fascism. That is the thing about fascism in the Third World, when finance capital pulls out the whole thing changes. We go so far to say without finance capital, there is no fascism. And a former puppet of fascism suddenly finds himself in the national bourgeoisie again, fighting against his former puppet-master side-by-side with the masses of his nation.

Lenin always insisted that change does not occur in straight lines, despite our wishes. And like all Marxists, he stressed historical materialism, which means that ideas come from material reality and not vice versa. We can imagine the world we want and wish it into existence, but that will not make it so. What Marxists do is look at the contradictions in humyn society and study the forces that make them up in order to understand how to resolve them. It is in the resolution of contradictions that we can reach goals like peace and putting an end to hunger and oppression.

notes:
(1) MC5. Which one is worse for Iraq? A comparison of G.W. Bush & Saddam Hussein. http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/agitation/iraq/bushvshussein.html
(2) Shanker, Thom. With Troop Rise, Iraqi Detainees Soar in Number. New York Times, August 25, 2007.
Also of note in this article. Of the 24,500 detainees, 280 are from outside Iraq and none are Iranian despite claims of active agents and intervention by Iran from the u$ state department.
(3) Pincus, Walter. U.S. Expects Iraq Prison Growth. Washington Post. March 14, 2007.

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[Gender] [Racism] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 1]
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Gender Oppression in U.$. Prisons

Sexual Violence in Prison shows Gender not about Genitalia

In 2004, pictures released from u$ prisons in Iraq showed amerikan bio-wimmin warding over primarily bio-male Iraqis in acts of rape and sexual assault. This incident helped substantiate MIM's long-standing line that gender is not based on genitalia and that amerikans with female genitalia are in fact gendered male. The male gender, by definition, being the dominant group in gender relations under the patriarchy.

MIM had already suggested that prisoners in the united $tates might be gender oppressed before the Abu Ghraib pictures came out. This was due to the control of the sexuality and leisure time of prisoners by the state. In particular, Black men as a group are prevented from having consistent sexual relationships. This of course affects the family structure of the oppressed and therefore is a form of national oppression as well.

To help sort out the gender status of biomale prisoners, a recent Department of Justice report gives us the surprising statistics that, "In State and Federal prisons, 65% of inmate victims of staff sexual misconduct and harassment were male, while 58% of staff perpetrators were female". (Here we are discussing the 52% of reported sexual violence in prisons where the captor assaulted captive. The rest were inmate-on-inmate assaults, addressed more below.) (1) In the general population 97% of sexual violence reports are wimmin victims and the perpetrator is generally male (around 98%). The instance of female perpetrators is actually a higher rate in instances of assaults on males, estimated at around 14%. (2) Much higher than female assaults on wimmin, but nowhere near the 58% of assaults on prisoners of any biology.

With 93% of the u.$. prison population being male, we would expect a much higher percentage of assaults to be against males than females, even if rates of assault for wimmin was higher. But assuming 97% of victimization is of bio-wimmin as it is on the street, you'd only get 29% of the absolute number of assaults being against men in prison. So we're seeing a ratio of male to female victims on the order of 2 times the general population. In other words, if wimmin are five times as likely to be assaulted in prison than they are on the street, then men are 10 times as likely.

Unfortunately, the study does not breakdown the statistics of female on male vs. female on female assaults. But even if we assume that all of the 35% of staff sexual assaults on wimmin in state and federal prisons are perpetrated by wimmin, that leaves another 23% of the perpetrators who are females attacking males (assuming one-to-one incidents, which was the vast majority). Even if you want to argue that no male guards ever sexually assault female prisoners, you see a significantly greater rate of bio-wimmin engaging in sexual violence against males in prison compared to the general population. Since female assaults on males in the general population are much higher than female assaults on females, we would be better off assuming the opposite. If we assume a proportional breakdown you'd be comparing 58% female perpetrators against bio-men in prison against the 14% on the street. If that weren't bad enough, we must factor in that females are still only a minority of prison staff, accounting for 22% in the federal system. (3) So that 58% of assailants is coming from maybe a quarter of the staff that happen to be bio-wimmin. These are the statistics that back up our line on Lynndie England that it could have been any amerikkkan womyn sexually assaulting Iraqi bio-men. And if we acknowledge that Iraqis under occupation are much more powerless and oppressed than amerikan citizens, then these statistics speak even louder to say that amerikan bio-wimmin are the enemies of the oppressed.

So first we saw that the vulnerability of men to sexual assault increases twice as much as wimmin after incarceration. On the flip side, we see bio-wimmin working for the state greatly increase their rates of assault compared to wimmin on the street. They go so far as to overcome men at the state and federal levels. In local jails the stats were closer to life on the streets, with 80% of the victims of staff sexual assault being female and 79% of perpetrators being male. (1) But even there a 20% rate of victimization of bio-men and 21% rate of assault by bio-wimmin is a noticeable difference.

Prisoners More Vulnerable than Wimmin?

While it is important to move away from one-on-one relationships in trying to understand gender systematically, incidents of sexual violence remains a widely accepted and useful indicator of gender oppression. The DOJ study showed sexual violence to be reported by prisoners at a rate of 2.9 per 1000 (it is not broken down by biology). This is about the same rate that 16-24 year old people, the age group with the highest rate, report sexual assault in the general population. The overall rate of reported sexual assault in the united $tates is 0.8 per 1,000 according to Department of Justice statistics. Only counting wimmin, the rate is 1.4 per 1000. Going back to prisoners, if we only look at state prisons the rate was 3.75 per 1000. All of these statistics are based on reported cases, and there could be reporting discrepancies between these groups. However, the statistics for prisoners are reported by the prisons, whereas the other stats are reported directly by the individual to the survey. Therefore, incidents not reported to police may be captured in the general population data, while they will not be reflected in the prisoner data.

So, it seems that prisoners (of both genders) and youth (of both genders) are reporting more sexual assaults than wimmin over all. If being young or incarcerated is really twice as risky as having female genitalia as the report rates suggest, then not only are there other considerations to determine someone's gender status, but there are factors that are much more important than what genitalia a persyn is born with. Below we will see how age and incarceration intersect to create one of the most gender oppressed groups in the united $tates.

MIM has established the basis for gender as purely gender in a persyn's physical development, age and health status. Therefore, when nation and class are not major complicating factors, such as within the amerikan labor aristocracy, these are the basis for gender differences.

However, the greatest differences in gender are found between the imperialist nations and the Third World people. Therefore when we talk about the spectrum of gender oppression we place most First Worlders on the male end of the spectrum, regardless of biology. We have demonstrated how First World bio-wimmin benefit by the patriarchy elsewhere. (4) The picture of bio-wimmin as sexual assailants in prisons above only adds to this argument. Now let's continue to look at how bio-men in the internal semi-colonies suffer under patriarchy via the criminal injustice system.

Are Black Men Gendered Female?

MIM circles have suggested that Black men could be gendered female due to their high rates of incarceration and historical vulnerability to whites who accuse them of rape. In other words, their gender power is limited by white hysteria around the Black rapist, and Black crime in general, in the context of a white-dominated society. The recently released statistics on sexual assault in prisons help to support this argument.

Among staff perpetrators in prisons and jails, 71% were white; 20%, black; and 7%, "Hispanic" and these averages were pretty similar to jails and prisons taken alone. (1) It's hard to argue that the 71% is a disproportionate number of assaults by white staff, as that is close to the representation of whites in the general population. However, in most service or otherwise undesirable fields of work, whites are becoming less common. It is a contradiction of our times that Blacks and Latinos are doing more of the footwork of the criminal injustice system than ever before. In the federal bureau of prisons whites make up only 57.2% of the staff. This number likely varies greatly among state prisons and local jails. Many states are still working on the good 'ol boy network, but some more prosperous states have taken the neo-colonial approach.

Among inmate victims, 80% were white; 14%, Black; and 5%, "Hispanic" in local jails, while 54% were white; 32%, Black; and 12% "Hispanic" in state and federal prisons. (1) In this data you see once again that whites are disproportionately the victims, even if they are slightly more likely to be the perpetrators. A couple explanations for this are suggested below. Even using the state and federal prison data, whites are 1.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than average, while Blacks and Latinos are below average for the prison population.

However, if you create an index based on the general population and not on prison populations you'll see that the u$ prison system results in Black bio-men facing much more sexual assault than other bio-men, especially whites who now have an index below average at 0.78 (see figure 1). By comparing these indexes between Blacks and whites one can see that when someone is born in the united $tates, h chances of being raped in h life would be 3.3 times greater if she is Black as opposed to white, ignoring other factors.

The identity politics crowd takes a mechanistic approach to oppression, giving the Black gay wimmin the pedestal of the most oppressed. They often put the straight Black man and straight white womyn on a similar level as each having one strike against them. But not only have Blacks historically been at the bottom of the national hierarchy in the united $tates, in the realm of gender they can compete with the white womyn pretty well for the title of oppressed. In general, all u$ citizens are gendered male anyway though. Just as the Black man is torn between his position as an amerikan citizen and an oppressed national, he is able to taste great gender privilege as well as oppression.

But Prisoners are Rapists Too

The Bureau of Justice reports that 48% of the incidents of sexual violence reported by prisoners were perpetrated by other prisoners. The idea that prisoners rape each other is nothing new to amerikans. It is probably more surprising to cop-loving amerikans that 52% of the incidents were actually perpetrated by prison staff, despite research that has shown the tendency of people to mistreat others when they have control over them in an oppressive prison environment.

One question that comes to the forefront in looking at prisoner-on-prisoner rape is whether these instances parallel lines of national oppression, with the oppressed being disproportionately victimized in gender relations. However, the prisoner perpetrators of sexual assault according to the reported incidents are approximately representative of the prison population by nationality. Meanwhile, the victims of rape are 72% white, when whites only make up 35% of the general prison population. As mentioned above, the accusal of rape against Blacks and other oppressed nations has been a tool of both national and gender oppression. It is possible that some of this statistic is an exaggeration based on white hysteria. But there are also reasons to believe that whites may face greater threats of sexual assault, such as the decline of white street organizations and the association of whites with the power structure. Franz Fanon and Eldridge Cleaver both talk about the socio-political motivations behind the pursuit or rape of white wimmin by Black men. In the all-male prison environment the white man can step in to play this symbolic role. If anything, gender is used as a counter-balance to national oppression among prisoners more than an extension of white power. It is on the systematic level that Blacks are facing significantly more gender oppression as explained above.

One area there seems to be a significant difference in rates of victimization is between different agegroups of prisoners. MIM sees age as part of the gender strand of oppression, so this seems intuitive. In the last two years of data, victims were on average younger than perpetrators. The latest data from 2006, show that 44% of victims were age 24 or younger, while 81% of perpetrators were age 25 or older. Unless 44% or more of the prison population are under age 24 (U.$. Dept of Justice does not seem to publish this data), the most vulnerable age group to sexual assault appears to be disproportionately more vulnerable once put in prison. Another source indicates that youth in adult prisons are 5 times as likely to be sexually assaulted than if they were in a youth prison. (6)

Some 82% of the victims in inmate on inmate sexual assaults were male. Where assaults are almost exclusively same-sex this is merely indicative of the significantly greater propensity for men to rape. But we cannot ignore the fact that 82% of the victims are bio-men as well. It is clearly a case of population dynamics. In this sense prisons are a perfect example to prove that gender relations are not dependent on having certain genitalia. By eliminating bio-wimmin, sexual assault does not disappear, in fact it increases for a variety of reasons in prison. And we see factors such as age, health status and physical development more clearly define a persyn's gender status. The young, physically small, mentally ill but physically healthy are the primary targets for gender oppression. (7)

In some ways the patriarchy within prisons is just a reflection of the greater society and in others it is a more extreme microcosm of power dynamics. This is indicative of the two levels on which fighting gender oppression in prisons must be conducted. The first level requires the transformation of the prison system to one that builds communal values rather than being a tool of oppression and punishment. The second requires combatting the eroticization of power in society in general and the dismantling of the patriarchy. Both require the revolutionary dictatorship of the oppressed to become realistic.

In the meantime, the extremes of amerikan prison life serve as an educational tool for the masses. It is much easier for a group to accept the "all sex is rape" line when they have been on both sides of patriarchal oppression, when they've been the victims of the extreme power dynamics of prison life, and when many have had their own gender privilege taken away for doing what every one else is doing and just calls sex or love. It is in these ways that we take some positive lessons from these statistics for the future building of a proletarian feminist vanguard among lumpen youth in the united $tates.

The clearer lesson we take from all this is the negative lesson of the alliance of amerikan bio-wimmin to the patriarchy. The group that is traditionally considered the greatest victim of patriarchy by the white nationalist left is behind 58% of sexual assaults in u$ prisons. That just doesn't add up.

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