The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Prison Labor] [National Oppression] [New York] [ULK Issue 8]
expand

Slavery Without Capitalist Exploitation

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

I received the January 2009 issue #6 of Under Lock & Key, for which I was most grateful. I salute the Mexican comrade for his excellent and exemplary contribution to that issue ("Misplaced rejoicing in prisons over Obama victory"). I am a Black man, the son of an Eritrean emigrant and a descendant of First Nation peoples and Africans enslaved and transported to the Amerikas. The comrade was right on target, especially when he wrote: "... How can there be real change if the system is never changed, only its leaders? For those of us who are convinced that we are 'soldiers' ask yourself, who's soldier are you? Are you some common criminal's soldier? Do you fight and work for greed, power and lust of recognition? Or will you be the People's soldier?..." Yes. I salute the comrade for his courage and determination. Palante, siempre, hermano!

I am responding as well to your request for feedback on your assessment of the prison labor/economics situation. I have been aware of the reality of MIM's findings for some time, and am in agreement with you wholeheartedly. I perceive that prisoners' disagreement with MIM's assessment is not rooted in an analysis of the facts on the ground but rather is due to their misunderstanding and confusion regarding the nature of our enslavement.

It seems that prisoners who disagree with your findings do so actually because they fear that such assessments will confound the acknowledgment of U$ imprisonment as slavery and a capitalist enterprise. U$ imprisonment is certainly slavery and it is certainly a capitalist enterprise whether prison labor is a source of great profits or not. Forced or coerced labor is not the most defining characteristic of slavery and such labor within U$ imprisonment is hardly the source of the real lucrative profiteering that stems from U$ imprisonment in general. The depraved creatures who crafted the language of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution understood this all too well.

slave n. one owned by another: one completely subject to another or to some habit or influence;
slavery n. the holding of persons as property;
(The New International Webster's Pocket Dictionary of the English Language, New Revised edition. Trident Press International 2002)

And it is enough for the state and government to "own" us to profit from us, whether we are sweating away in their industries or not. Much of the elaboration that follows is adapted from "Prison Town", by "The Real Cost of Prisons" project:

During the 1980's and 90's many jobs and sources of income evaporated in the rural and farm areas of this country. Federal, state and local officials were then tasked with discovering a new type of "growth" industry that would revive and sustain the dying economies of the municipalities, districts and sectors they were elected or appointed to serve. Prisons were touted as a viable growth industry with significant potential. Perhaps it was for this reason that former New York State legislator Daniel Feldman stated, "When legislators cry 'lock 'em up!', they often mean 'lock 'em up in my district!'" Certainly it was for this reason that Texas judge Jimmy Galindo said:

"We live in a part of the country where it's very difficult to create and sustain jobs in a global market. [Prisons] become a very clean industry for us to provide employment to citizens. I look at it as a community development project."

Some private developers build prisons in states like Wisconsin without legislative edict from officials and then "sell" the prisons, prompting people like former Wisconsin state corrections chief Walter Dickey to declare,

"... It flatly introduces money and the desire for profit into the imprisonment policy debate, because you've got an entity in Wisconsin, a private entity, with a strong financial interest in keeping people in prison and having them sentenced to prison."

Investment banks, construction companies, private developers, real estate agencies and many others stand to profit immeasurably from prisons in innumerable ways. Federal, state and local officials are then lauded for bringing financial security and economic prosperity to their respective regions and lobbyists.

This phenomenon was complemented by another phenomenon, namely the "mandatory sentencing", "three-strikes-you're-out" and "rockerfeller-type drug" laws introduced by legislators during the same aforementioned period of rural economic decline. It is no secret nor is it debated that such legislation contributed to a 370% prison population growth since 1970. Small wonder, then, that there are more prisons in America than there are Wal-Mart stores.

Thus it matters little whether the imperialist slaveowners can glean profits from our work on their institutional plantations. Their ownership of us prisoners ensures a diverse profit source, whether by accommodating the labor aristocracy or enriching corporate entities.

Thanks to MIM(Prisons) for providing a venue where revolutionary-minded prisoners can connect and exchange ideas. Among other things, Under Lock & Key certainly accomplishes that. I hope that the information in this letter will be useful towards compiling the upcoming issue on prison labor/economics.

MIM(Prisons) adds: As we explain in the introduction to this issue of ULK, we prefer Marx's definition of slavery to the one found in Websters and so conclude that imprisonment is a system of oppression distinct from slavery. We agree with this prisoner's discussion of the ways that corporations, labor aristocrats, and Amerikan imperialism benefit from imprisonment. In addition to the points discussed by this comrade, the lockup of oppressed nations by the U.$. prison system also prevents the self-determination of those nations through their own labor. So, while capitalist profits are not generally extracted from the 2.3 million locked up, that is a huge chunk of labor that is being denied to the oppressed that otherwise could utilize their people locked up to further the development of meeting the needs of their respective nations, and the oppressed people of the world in general.

chain
[National Oppression] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 7]
expand

Fighting Imperialism in Wisconsin

I have had enough of being denoted a nigger or nigga or whatever the hell they wish to call my people. No more of the racial backward politics, the hands that rock the cradle of oppression!

Even as a fellow Afrikan brotha sits in the White House, which is, let us not forget, stained by the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors who were forced to build it, Amerikkka remains the nasty, hateful, oppressive, greedy, unconscious government that it always has been. There has been no real change for my people, the disenfranchised of the nations of people who constantly fall at the hands of imperialism. All that has changed is the man who holds the whip. My brothers and sisters, did not some of our own brothers enslave us on this land? Whip and shackle us?

I encourage the brothers of the motherland to learn who they are, their true origins and essence. Come on into the movement of Maoism, only then can we find a proper vehicle through which to attain assistance for true freedom in this land. I believe in the cause of justice and freedom, of the principles of love, truth and peace, and in socialism we can pave the road to a form of communism that would allow us all to accomplish our primary objective which is, and let this be clear to all, liberation from this damn government.

I've noticed that there has not been one Wisconsin captive's writing published, and I would like to change that. Not only change that but also get more Wisconsin prisoners involved in the movement.

chain
[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
expand

GRAD program in Texas

In your November issues of ULK5 I read the article written by a Texas prisoner "Segregation in Texas" and am appalled by his ignorance as far as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) aka "Texas Department of Criminals" is concerned.

I myself am an ex-gang member, and I got into the GRAD program (without snitching), and do you know why? After 23 years of being a gang member in the prison system, I saw how the oppressors were using me to oppress others. By using me and other gang members, the oppressors in uniform do not get dirty while we get our time jacked-up or may even receive death for doing what the man in uniform wanted me to do. Not only that, but it gives the imperialists an excuse to build more control units for the idiots that are doing their dirty work.

Now I'll tell you about the Texas Department of Criminals. We prisoners in GRAD chose to call our gang affiliation history. Since then we have been labeled snitches (by TDCJ employees), by the same people who advertise how the prison system wants to help us rehabilitate. TDCJ employees know what goes on between prisoners because gang members have a habit of bragging, so when we denounce our gang affiliation the Gang Investigator (GI) tells you everything he knows about ranks and members all around the prison. At times the GI knows more than gang members. After being placed in the GRAD program, the same TDCJ staff go and instigate trouble between gang members and ex-gang members. That keeps the fuel on the fire and keeps prisoners at each others throats. Then TDCJ goes to the tax payer and asks for millions in tax dollars to build more control units.

December 4, 2008 and December 6, 2008, the thieves in the Governor's administration and TDCJ asked for a total of $506 million for the renovation of the prison hospital, for the medical contractors, and for walk-in metal detectors, wand detectors, surveillance cameras and x-ray machines. For the latter, the Texas department of criminals executive director is seeking an immediate $33 million. It is their own employees who bring in the contraband, but in the newspaper prisoners are the criminals.

Those of us who step back away from our gang membership are punished by the prisons. We face denial of meals (since I've been in GRAD I have been denied food 7 times). If we don't bark or beg for our meals we don't get fed. By law we should be allowed to recreate 1 hour daily, five days a week, but we are lucky if we get 1 hour a week. We get our water turned off by TDCJ employees just to try to get us to go off, and if we go off we have to go through the process all over again. We get verbal threats by staff. We get one or maybe two clean towels a week. We get old sheets that are cut in half. We don't get soap, tooth powder, grievance forms, or medical attention. We get strip searched by female guards, and if you are like me fighting the system, your mail is given to other prisoners or is denied.

The wing where I am housed is the only wing in the whole unit that is constantly freezing so that staff refuse to work this wing. We have to wear a t-shirt, jumpsuit and jacket in our cells during the winter. The air vents are so loud that you think you are standing next to a train (this is psychological torture). In the summer time the heat is turned on which makes you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the desert.

For 23 years I worked to please the oppressors by abusing the weak, oppressing others, and that is why I decided not to allow these people to tell me to do their dirty work while they sit back and earn money while I rot in these human warehouses.

Right now I am in a struggle with the medical department because they refuse to treat my illness. I am hypoglycemic and my blood sugar drops. Without the proper medication or diet I will lose my vision, which is happening slowly but surely. The way the grievance committee (kangaroo committee) puts it, I have to go into a coma so they can treat me. If more prisoners stood together as we used to in the 70s and early 80s, others would not have to go through these kinds of treatments. While we continue to fight each other they are building more control units. While we continue to fight each other we are forgetting the real purpose.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of Under Lock and Key carries strong messages about the need for prisoners to stop fighting one another. We know that programs like the Texas GRAD system are used in many states to turn prisoners against each other by forcing them to snitch or be punished. But we also know that prisoners are turned against each other even before they enter these types of programs, fomenting conflicts between rival groups, and using prisoners to carry out violence against other prisoners in exchange for small favors. It is up to each prisoner to figure out how to best use the system to break away from the senseless violence and coming together with other prisoners to put their energy into the anti-imperialist struggle for peace.

chain
[Elections] [National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
expand

Misplaced rejoicing in prisons over Obama victory

A few weeks ago during the presidential election, towards the end of the evening, once it became apparent that Barack Obama would become the heir to the throne of U.S. imperialism an eruption of applause and of hooting and hollering took hold of the dungeon I am housed in. With all of the damn racket going on, I would have thought that the "three strikers" law had finally been defeated, but no, instead the source of all the ruckus was the materialization of an almost unfathomable dream for so many of my Black brothers and sisters, a Black man becoming president of the United States of Oppression. The night's celebrations almost seemed dignified. However, to quote another former member of the ruling class "what does it matter what color the cat is?" "what does it matter if the cat is black or white?" "what matters is if the cat will catch mice." (Deng Xiaoping)

In a way, I welcomed the mighty cheering and truly undue attention, it provided me with yet another opportunity to engage my fellow prisoners. The following morning during morning chow I just happened to sit with three of my Black brothers. During the course of our meal my fellow prisoners were ecstatic with almost an euphoric glow of pride and accomplishment. They went on and on with how "it's on now" and talk of how things were going to be different now that Obama's the new Pres. elect. I asked them what, that besides the obvious (a Black man becoming president), is there really to be happy about? I asked them what would Obama really be doing for them? What would Obama be doing for me? Would Obama be doing something for our families and the people of the U.S. internal colonies? What would Obama be doing for the people of the Third World, the truly oppressed, the people? Absolutely nothing at all. Obama will not open the prisons. Obama will not help me get out. Will Obama help my proletarian mother with free health care, or even affordable health care for that matter? Will Obama pay my mother's rent to the slum lord? Is Obama going to provide me with a free and real education? Will he help me to help myself to better serve the people? Will Obama begin to steer the U.S. away from its decadent, exploitative, capitalist, imperialist, war mongering ways?

No, Obama's not gonna do a motherfucking thing but sit his ass in that Oval Office and continue the U.S. dangerous and destructive quest in its search for capital. So what the hell is everybody so happy about? Now, for a second there I thought my ass was toast being that I'm a Mexican. They might have just looked at me as being racist or that I was simply talking out of my neck. However, to my complete amazement, they did nothing but sit there and think about the words that we're coming out of my mouth. This gave me some semblance of joy, because at the very least, I think I gave them something to think about. However, a few seconds later they continued with their praises for Obama.

Even if I didn't completely get through to them, I think that at least I gave them something to think about, even if they initially rejected what I had to say I will continue to engage my fellow prisoners into deeper thought.

It is truly unfortunate that so many and so much of our potential revolutionary base is so blinded and so distracted by the razzle dazzle and lies of our oppressive system.

For those of us who are somewhat educated and informed concerning the truth about socialism and communism and of the climes of capitalism it is our duty and our obligation to voice the real and engage our fellow prisoners into deeper thought, theory and practice. If the groundwork is never done and the ground is never broken, then how can there be a base for a foundation of a socialist and communist movement? How can there be real change if the system is never changed, only its leaders? For those of us who are convinced that we are 'soldiers' ask yourself, who's soldier are you? Are you some common criminal's soldier? Do you fight and work for greed, power and lust of recognition? Or will you be the People's soldier? Will you fight for the peasantry and the proletariat, the People?

Like MIM likes to say "MIM can't do it all," and reading MIM Notes or Under Lock and Key isn't enough. We must help ourselves and find ways to make things better.

So will you become a true soldier and wave that red banner of revolution? Become the People's soldier, become the vanguard. Away with this oppressive system and all that it entails. Away with capitalism, imperialism and stupid petty divisional differences such as gang rivalries and race riots. It is time for the proletarians of our world to unite. Lay waste to the oppressor and all its minions.

MIM adds: In addition to the questions about what Obama will do for prisoners and oppressed nations within U.$. borders, we have to always ask the bigger question: will he change the militarist imperialist nature of Amerika? If not, even small reforms within U.$. borders will not represent any kind of victory over capitalism and global oppression.

This article referenced in:
chain
[National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
expand

Former drug dealer takes up anti-imperialist struggle

This week I've been fortunate to be passed on information about the MIM organization and learn of your commitment to the oppressed of all colors. I'm a New Afrikan and the light bulb just came on for me, as I'm steadily evolving mentally and being enlightened with our past struggles, our current struggles and it's a fight one must put up to the very end.

As I sit in prison for the first time I vividly see the conspiracy on Black and Latino men. Miseducation and poverty, we're set up to fail and become a profit for white supremacists. This ordeal is beyond huge. As a reformed drug dealer from South Central, I see how I added to the problem, and I'm forever done with poisoning my folks.

What I like about this organization is, it's not about the individual but about the collective.

chain
[Elections] [National Oppression] [Racism] [California] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Obama changes nothing, Amerika is still racist

I would like to expand on some very pivotal issues, starting with Senator Barrack Obama. I am 100% not fooled by Obama’s tactics. I’ve come to see that Mr. Barrack Obama has been trying to capitalize on his skin color and his short time in the projects to trick the oppressed people of this nation into believing he is one of us. The thing that me and Senator Obama have in common is our skin color. Barrack Obama is part of the bourgeois political line. He’s not for the people, he’s only for using the oppressed people for his own political gain.

It gets me angry when I hear people say Amerika is no longer a racist country. They are quick to use Barrack Obama to justify that statement, saying they are not racist because an African Amerikan is running for the White House. This is what I want to know: if it’s true that Amerika is no longer racist, why is it that if Barrack Obama starts talking about the empowerment of oppressed people in this country, he wouldn’t stand a chance of becoming President? This country has not changed, it only found better ways to operate its white power structure.

The new Ku Klux Klan are the Boys in Blue (police) and they are fully protected by the Korrupt Government. If you ask me, I think that half of the Amerikan police departments should be sitting in prison, on death row for the murders that they commit every day in the ghettos and barrios. Brothers and sisters, have you ever asked yourself, why do the police get away with just a slap on the wrist after committing a brutal murder? They claim to care for the children, but yet they take the parents away from them, by using lethal force, and false imprisonment tactics.

Back in 2007 the California corrections system changed its name from California Department of Corrections to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This is a big gimmick. They did that in the attempt to fool the public into believing that the prisons are trying to help prisoners get ready for parole. But that’s nothing but a big front. Nothing has changed, they are still operating on old tactics. They want us to stay blind so they can continue to control the minds of the prison population.

This country is built on lies, corruptness, imperialism, racism, capitalism, etc. I am a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, and I will not subside my resistance to this Abu-Grahibization (torture).

chain
[National Oppression] [Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Latinos targeted for lockdown in Texas

I reach out to you from the oppressive and repressive system of Texas slave plantations. I live in a state and system that employs the stereotypical phrase “the color of your skin can get you into places, or rejected from those places.” I speak of that which I’ve seen with my own eyes in this prison. I’ve been serving a life sentence amidst this madness since 2004 and my sensibilities won’t allow me to let it continue without exposing, and hopefully bringing about a solution to the moral abomination I witness on a daily basis.

George Jackson once said “I can be courageous before my enemies because I know I am right and they are wrong; I can even accept death if I must die for my cause, for I prefer the freedom of death over the slavery of life.” Or as the great Mexican freedom fighter Emiliano Zapat declared, “prefiero morir de pie, que vivir de rodillas.” (I prefer to die on my feed, rather than to live on my knees).

Many times before, I’ve witnessed young Latinos, such as myself, being classified as “gang members” in the eyes of the Gestapo-like security threat group coordinators, simply because of the city they originate from or meaningless tattoos. This alone makes it hard for anyone to serve their sentence, either short or extensive, without facing undue harassment from this administration. At one period of time the STG’s spokeswoman and a captain went on a rampage with their crusade to abolish drug and contraband trade throughout these walls. They deemed, through their heavy-handed ignorance and blatant racial profiling, that only the firing of any Latino who had a job in seg, kitchen, laundry, education (that give no pay) as well as not hiring Latinos to those jobs, would be the solution to their problem. As any reasonably intelligent person could have expected, their unprogressive attempt did not stop the influx of drugs or any other items considered contraband (normally free world products not purchasable through commissary).

Another occasion involved a young Latino being brutally assaulted by other prisoners. Again the STG initiated a racially-discriminatory lockdown specifically aimed at only prisoners of the Latino ethnicity. What started out as a 30 day lockdown became a 56 day lesson in inhumanity towards ones fellow man. While prisoners on lockdown were being fed Johnnies (a brown paper bag, with a peanut butter sandwich, bologna sandwich and sometimes a handful of raisings, 3 times a day), were unable to purchase food from commissary and most times denied the privilege of a hot meal once every 2 weeks, others (white and Black prisoners) roamed free. This is not the only unjustifiable act that was perpetrated by this ‘lady’, she went so far as to confiscate the property of those already caged and dehumanized prisoners. The average prisoner's meager amount of possessions, as allowed by the state, include a small fan, hot pot for cooking, writing supplies, legal material, and what cheap processed food an outside vendor is allowed to sell to us at ridiculous prices. After being stripped of anything comforting or conciliatory, they were left with cheap, plastic mattresses, bed sheets, and toilet paper.

These obvious acts of unrestrained racism and administrational retaliation were no more than a transparent attempt to prevent prisoners from seeking relief through proper grievance procedures. It also kept prisoners from reaching out to family for outside assistance. The denial of visitation privileges was part of the administration’s attempts to hide these atrocities from outside eyes and ears. When families called or asked why they were being turned down for a visit with their son, uncle, husband or father, the administration would resort to excuses or lies such as saying the prisoner had been transferred.

If this is not sufficient evidence that this unit is disproportionately discriminatory against Latinos, I feel inclined to point out that what is being called a riot occurred amongst the Black populace on the same block as the Latino incident. The riot took place two weeks after the Latino’s 56 days had ended, but instead of locking down only Black prisoners, they shut down the whole block for another extensive period of time. The same restrictions were posed here as before.

The divide and conquer tactic, either in a small or great scale, is the source of this treachery and only by uniting as a whole will we start to make a 360 degree progressive change towards annihilating the discrimination being widely practiced. As Ernesto Che Guevara said “live life not celebrating victories, but overcoming defeats.” This is a struggle that calls for strong and focused vanguards to pave the way for those generations to come. Also said by Che “let the blood of the past be the security of the future.” This can only be a success with a united and determined majority.

From the midst of the most constricted organ of the beast’s belly, I will speak the injustices committed, if denied that right, then I will write to all who will read my words, if deprived of even that, I will keep my revolutionary thoughts flowing through my mind while my actions showing that I will not be easily defeated or denied my right to be free!

MIM(Prisons) responds: This divide and conquer tactic is very common in prisons, where the administration will favor one nationality over another. It is typically whites who receive this favor, but it is also useful for them to set up the oppressed nationals to fight each other. In this case it is essential that politically progressive prisoners expose the tactic and refuse to play along with the division.

chain
[National Oppression] [California]
expand

Black August Resistance - history is a weapon

August is one of the hottest months in many ways. Many of the great New Afrikan slave rebellions, including Gabriel Prosser's and Nat Turner's were planned for August. It is the month of the birth of the great Pan-Africanist and Black Nationalist leader, Marcus Garvey, and also of our New African freedom fighter Dr. Mutulu Shakur. New Afrikans took to the street in rebellions in Watts CA in August 1965. On August 18, 1971 in Jackson Mississippi, the official residence of the Republic of New Afrika was raided by Mississippi police and FBI agents.

August 1989 marked the 10th anniversary of Black August commemorations. The promotion of a conscious, non-sectarian mass based New Afrikan resistance culture, both inside and outside the prison walls all across the U.S. Empire. Black August originally started among the brothers in the California Penal System to honor three fallen comrades and to promote a Black culture of resistance and revolutionary development.

The first brother, Jonathan Jackson, a 17 year old man child was gunned down August 17, 1970 outside a Marin County California courthouse in an armed attempt to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters (James McClain, William Christmans and Ruchell Magee). Ruchell Magee is the sole survivor. George Jackson, Jonathan's older brother and comrade, a great Black revolutionary theoretician and leader was assassinated August 21, 1971 by guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin. In an unsuccessful effort to cover up the state's pre-planned assassination of comrade George. The third brother, Khatari Gaulden, was victimized by the blatant assassination of capitalist corporate medical politics in prison August 1, 1978.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The original Black August Organizing Committee still commemorates this holiday each year. The group works to maintain the original focus of the commemoration on the ongoing war on oppressed nations in the united $tates. Over 40 people came together to form the BAOC in 1979 after a united front of New Afrikan prisoners formed in 1978 following Khatari's murder. This year's commemoration featured New Afrikan, Native and Asian cultural acts intermixed with the political presentations with a focus on promoting community.

MIM(Prisons) brought to the attention of the audience that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) considers the celebration a "gang activity." That was how the Institutional Gang Investigation unit justified withholding mail from a comrade to a prisoner that mentioned Black August. They don't try hard to hide he fact that their repression and their so-called war on "gangs" is really about keeping the oppressed in their place. Members of Black August face persecution by the CDCR on the streets as well as in prison.

Meanwhile, a local weekly in Oakland ran a smear piece on Black August following the CDCR line. The article bad mouths Black Panthers George Jackson (falsely accusing him of being a convicted murderer) and Basheer Hameed (who just died this past week).

chain
[National Oppression] [Political Repression] [Virginia]
expand

Letter of Exposure to COINTELPRO

The following letter is part of the exposure process of current COINTELPRO operations on behalf of the federal government against New Afrikan organizations and prisoners in particular. MIM(Prisons) can attest to these operations against a number of organizations and individuals. MIM(Prisons) has been similarly labeled a "Security Threat Group" in Virginia and our literature has not been allowed into Red Onion State Prison as a result. The author is one of countless prisoners who have been targeted for long-term isolation due to their political beliefs and affiliations in the united $tates.

MIM(Prisons) disagrees with the New Afrikan Black Panther Party's (NABPP) analysis of amerika and the principal contradiction, which is reflected in this letter. The author quotes Eldridge Cleaver to say that there is no difference between the white and Black movement in amerika. There is a serious difference in that the Black nation faces substantial oppression under imperialism, while whites fill the role of the oppressor. As true internationalists, the Black Panthers never took up racism. Their line on the amerikan class structure evolved over time, while they always upheld the need for self-determination of oppressed nations. At their best, Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver had come to understand the amerikan people as bought off allies of imperialism. This view later devolved into what the Panthers became, a reformist organization stuck in electoral politics.

As an organization that claims to apply the scientific analysis of dialectical materialism, MIM(Prisons) sees the NABPP line on the amerikan class structure as idealist and therefore revisionist. The only evidence they can offer to substantiate their position is dogma and chauvinism.

We print this letter in support of the righteous struggle to expose and beat back the use of prisons and the criminal injustice system as tools of political repression.

Racial and Political persecution of Grassroots Black Political leaders and Activists

As many of you are likely aware, Amerika’s ‘intelligence’ and executive policing agencies, (federal, state and local), have a sordid legacy of persecuting and targeting grassroots Black political leaders and activists for destruction. The spectrum of methods applied here ranged from slander (false character and image depictions and attacks) spread through and by government agents and friendly media ‘assets’ to false and malicious criminal arrests and prosecutions, to violence and outright murder.

Such designs come as no surprise in a country that was built upon history’s first race-based and most brutal system of enslavement, and Native genocide and land theft. The very place where the false concept of race and attendant racism (white racial supremacy) were created.(1)

Since chattel slavery, and Amerikan society was artificially divided along politically created racial lines, it has been a central policy to prevent Blacks from organizing independent political institutions and parties. Until just a few decades ago, this policy included our systematic exclusion from participating as genuine citizens in electoral politics. Indeed, Amerika’s ‘dual party’ system evolved from the struggle to keep Blacks enslaved and out of the political sphere – contrary to deceptive official claims that this system arose as an expression of respect for diverse political views and representatives.(2)

It is also telling that many of the historical figures projected today as Amerikan heroes and ‘founding fathers’ embraced bigoted views and practiced genocidal and criminal policies that would have made even the most vicious German Nazi blush(27). Let’s not forget that the Central Intelligence Agency, in its formative years, absorbed and employed many of the Nazi’s worst war criminals as agents, assets and advisers.(3) Indeed, president George W. Bush’s grandfather was Hitler’s chief Amerikan financier during World War II, and ended in having his Union Banking Corporation confiscated under the Trading with the Enemies Act in October 1942 by the Roosevelt administration.(4)

Since U.S. executive policies of targeting ‘non-imbedded’ Black politicos for destruction were exposed in the 1970s, culminating in several congressional investigations and reports(5), efforts have been made to gloss over this history and to rehabilitate the images of these agencies, particularly through glamorized images and cultural fantasies projected of Amerikan police and intelligence agencies, via the vast entertainment/information media. However, behind this iron curtain of deception, official designs have not changed. A fact that I bear witness to, because I have been and am a target of them. Which is the basis of this letter.

I have been incarcerated since 1990, and have experienced first hand the brutal reality of Amerikan prisons. A system that, as the American Civil Liberties Union has acknowledged, is more and more “dedicated to the African American Community,”(6) and the underlying anti-Black orientation of this system, which cannot be honestly denied.(7)

For many years I have been reporting and pursuing public exposure and redress of the brutality, torture and abuses occurring inside these institutions, and have supported and co-founded several groups and organizations that also pursue these ends.

In 2005, I co-founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party/White Panther Organization, a non-violent, legal and above-ground party whose focus is on promoting the interests and human rights, in strictly legal forms, of sectors of the U.S. population whose needs and interests are ignored, and who are not represented, by the ‘established’ political – economic system – especially poor, working class and imprisoned Blacks.

The NABPP/WPO specifically opposes criminal activities, ‘street gang’ mentalities and behaviors, violence (except in the extremes of self-defense), all forms of discrimination (racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, national, etc.) and all forms of oppression. We also promote the right to free, open and honest speech. Our orientation, ideologies, and views have been and are elaborated in our various periodicals and publications; many of them I authored.(8)

Because U.S. social policies are not oriented towards serving or promoting the needs, interests, rights and benefits of poor, working class and ethnic people, while our Party’s orientation specifically is, we are likely viewed as promoting views unpopular with and to the status quo. As a result of this in general, and my role in these efforts in particular, I have been and am targeted with those repressive methods reserved in Amerika for independent Black leaders and activists.

One typical form that this targeting has taken is my being falsely profiled by this prison as the leader of a criminal street gang or Security Threat Group (STG), namely the NABPP/WPO. This tactic of stigmatizing and consequently repressing Black political groups is certainly not new or unique, and harks back to policies applied by U.S. officials during periods when official racism was less veiled.(9) As Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black pointed out:

“History should teach us… that… minority parties and groups which advocate extremely unpopular social or governmental innovations will always be typed as criminal gangs and attempts will always be made to drive them out.”
Barenblatt v. U.S., 360 U.S. 109, ISO(1959) (dissenting opinion)


So much for the facial validity of STG profiling.

I have persisted in seeking an explanation from this prisons’ and prison system’s administration as to what the NABPP/WPO has done or promotes that qualifies us for STG classification, besides the obvious reasons of their own racial and political intolerance. To date my inquiries have been evaded and I am told that I cannot formally grieve the matter through the established grievance procedures.

It is of course a crime to be a member of, to recruit for, or to act in furtherance of the goals of a criminal street gang. The criteria of what constitutes a criminal street gang is defined by law.(10) Incidentally, I might add, “street gang” implies groupings of people of color, since it is generally recognized that, since the 1970s, ‘urban’ is basically synonymous in Amerika with the Black population, over 90% of which lives in urban communities. Yet another ‘legal’ embodiment of the race factor, targeted at people of color selectively.

Moreover, to falsely impute criminal activities to one not duly convicted is per se defamation and slander (11) – and one is presumed innocent of crimes that they have not been thus convicted of.

This entire gang profiling of me and the NABPP/WPO here has been at the instigation of this prison’s near-exclusively white staff and investigator, (and admittedly conveyed to federal intelligence agencies), who come from local, rural, race-segregated communities of mountainous south-western Virginia and eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, who harbor socially conditioned and culturally ingrained insensitivities towards, and genuine ignorance of the views, values, history and culture, of urban people of color.

Typical of the tendency of racists to stereotype groups of people, these officials make no distinctions between Black political organizations and indeed declare that “all Black groups that promote dissent” fit their criteria of a gang or STG, as does any group or organization that criticizes government and prison practices and policies.

Further, they lump together every group that has ever used the “Black Panther” name (characterizing them all as generically, the “Black Panther group,” or “Black Panther gang.”) Although, there have been a great number of different organizations that have used the “Black Panther” name or logo; none of which is the NABPP/WPO affiliated with. In fact, initially they claimed the NABPP/WPO and the New Black Panther Party, which is led today by D.C.–based attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, were one and the same organization, whereas these two organizations have no connection. Interestingly, however, they have stated in writing that M. Shabazz – a federal lawyer – is the leader of a criminal gang also, namely the NBPP.

Many of the organizations that have used the Black Panther name in fact no longer exist, and had very different ideologies, agendas and views.(12) In deed, the NBPP is a quasi-religious group connected to the Nation of Islam, whose racial, political and economic views the NABPP/WPO do not share. Fundamentally, this prison designated the NABPP/WPO a gang and STG before even knowing what our views and interests are, and subsequently have ignored them in order to preserve this false criminal profile.

And using the generic, all-inclusive “Black panther” designation, they systematically bar any and all information on any BP organization, past, present, from possession by any prisoner, although most Black history reference books and general encyclopedias have entries on the original Black Panther Party and its leaders. So in essence, the policy here is to censor Black history while promoting the history and memories of white Amerikan figures and political leaders who exterminated Indians, and enslaved, brutalized and raped Blacks as an accepted political norm.(27) Racial discrimination.

But of course this repression is not without precedent.

The original BPP, which was founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, and destroyed by the U.S. government, met with similar persecution. Indeed, its treatment by the U.S. government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in particular, set the standard on official hatred and smear-mongering against groups bearing the BP name.

The original BPP was founded as a legal above-ground Black political party that promoted the rights of urban Blacks to defend their communities against crime and violence(13), and promoted community service programs to meet the economic needs of desperately poor urban Blacks that the government ignored; such as free breakfast programs for children (this was before food stamps and free school meals were widely available – in fact the government expanded food stamps and school meals as a counter to the Panther’s programs), petition drives against police brutality, free schools, free health clinics, free clothing and shoe programs, free busing to prisons, free senior citizen service programs, free sickle cell anemia research and testing, free pest control, plumbing and maintenance, ambulance, day care, and news service programs.(14)

Various surveys found the vast majority of the urban Black population supported the BPP. The BPP was so popular that similar BP formations sprang up in England, Israel, Bermuda, Australia and India. It also aided in forming similar groups among whites (the White Panther Party), the Mexicans (Brown Berets), Puerto Ricans (Young Lords Party), and white college student groups, which it worked closely with as allies. As Todd Gitlin of the Students for a Democratic Society noted, “at a time when most other black [groups] donned dashikis and glowered at whites, they [Panthers] welcomed white allies.” Eldridge Cleaver, the BP’s Minister of Information pointed out:

“in reality there is no such thing as a black movement and a white movement in the United States. These are merely categories of thoughts that only have reality in terms of the lines that the ruling class itself has drawn and is implementing amongst the people. The United States is controlled by one ruling class…”

Solely because of its orientation toward uplifting and serving the Black communities, and its influence on other poor and oppressed communities, the BPP was viciously slandered and attacked by the government, violence prone street gangs were incited by the FBI and police to attack and kill BPP leaders and members(15); racial and anti-white stereotypes were played up via the media; bogus letters were written by FBI agents and sent to BPP members, the public, landlords, employers, spouses, supporters, religious leaders, etc, to play the Black community, Panthers and other religious leaders, etc. to play the Black community, Panthers and other Black groups against each other: assassination raids were conducted by FBI and police to murder Panthers; false arrests and prosecutions of Panthers were conducted to stigmatize them as criminally inclined and to harass them and deplete Party funds and resources on defending members against false criminal charges and much more. All orchestrated by the FBI’s covert action program, COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program). (16)

The derogatory and violence-prone image of the BPP was solely the creation of a then openly racist and sexist FBI(16), led by J. Edgar Hoover(17), and other agencies, at a period when Blacks and women were refused employment with the FBI, and it was openly operating as an agency opposed to Blacks and Black communities(18). The concededly illegal and criminal methods used by the FBI against the BPP were exposed and denounced by the U.S. Congress in 1976(5), and several in-depth studies have been written on the FBI's anti-BPP and anti-Black crusade.(19)

While the FBI claimed, in the face of its exposure in the 1970s, that it would end or limit future COINTELPROs (although it has not), the false images it portrayed of the BPP continues and lives on in the white Amerikan public mind.(20) Hence, the very mention of the name BP today evokes images of a gun-toting Black version of the Ku Klx Klan.

But let there be no mistake about it, the BPP was not an exception to the rule in the application of these methods against Black political activists and leaders. As the Church Committee Congressional investigations of U.S. intelligence agencies exposed, all Black leaders and groups were targeted, even such groups and leaders as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., all under FBI labeled of their being “violence prone” “Black Nationalist Hate Groups.”(9) Just like the criminal gang label is thrown around today.

As a recent in-depth expose by attorney William F. Pepper, and a wrongful death lawsuit he successfully prosecuted on behalf of the King family in 1999 revealed, the FBI, in collaboration with other U.S. civil and military intelligence agencies, were King’s actual killers.(21)

King’s widow, the late Coretta Scott King, had this to say about Pepper’s book:

“For a quarter of a century, Bill Pepper conducted an independent investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He opened his files to our family, encouraged us to speak with the witnesses, and represented our family in the civil trial against he conspirators. The jury affirmed his findings, providing our family with a long-sought sense of closure and peace, which had been denied by official disinformation and cover-ups. Now the findings of his exhaustive investigation and additional revelations from the trial are presented in the pages of this important book. We recommend it highly to everyone who seeks the truth about Dr. King’s assassination.”

Yet today, the U.S. government pretends to respect the memory and work of this man that it murdered, with a national holiday.(22)

The object, then as today, is to destroy independent and influential Black political leaders and replace them with ones “approved” by U.S. officials to mislead us.(23) To continue the oppressive and steadily deteriorating conditions within, and to divide, the U.S. Black communities.

As the Church Committee report revealed, assistant FBI director William C. Sullivan, promoted a COINTELPRO in which the FBI would hand-pick a “new national leader,” once King was eliminated.(24) Sullivan’s overall strategy, which he wrote in 1964, was to simultaneously destroy Dr. King, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. He wrote:

“…when this is done, and it can and will be done, obviously much confusion will reign, particularly among the Negro people… The Negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in the proper direction…”(25)

Sullivan recommended Black corporate lawyer Samuel R. Pierce, Jr as King’s replacement.

Yesterday it was a corporate lawyer, today it is an ex-law professor – Barack Obama.

We of course know that COINTELPRO is alive and well. The repressions I face are classic COINTELPRO methods. Also, three years ago FBI director Robert Mueller announced before a Senate subcommittee the implementation of a new “Threat Assessment Program” (TAPS). A modern COINTELPRO targeted specifically at U.S. prisoners who are politically active, under the cover, as always, of professing to prevent potential violence. The same self-serving rationale used to justify the ongoing persecution and ultimate murder of Dr. King, and targeting all other Black political groups, leaders and activists.(26) TAPS involves the FBI, along with Homeland Security and other agencies, working in collaboration with various prisons and prison systems nationwide to identify, profile, disrupt, repress and neutralize prisoner activists (groups and individuals), being mindful that several influential Black political leaders like Malcolm X and George Jackson developed inside of prison. I have been informed that I have been and am a target of TAPs.

Methods that I have been targeted with include the following:
Frequent interception and destruction of my mail;
Systematic obstruction of all articles I write or artwork I create from coming into the prison;
Obstructions of my ability to collaborate with outside editors and contacts to have my articles and a book I wrote published;
Blocking nearly all of my periodicals from reaching me;
Repeated targeting with trumped-up disciplinary reports;
Repeated indictments on trumped up violent crimes that have been each dismissed in turn – the last one with prejudice where I conducted my defense pro se (abuse of process);
Habitually disappearing my incoming mail or rejecting it as in violation of prison policy without explanation;
Barring my contacts with various attorneys who’ve attempted to assist me;
Rejecting, opening and delaying my legal mail – even from the ACLU – outside my presence;
Hampering my contacts with the courts in anticipated and pending litigations;
Frequent destructions and thefts of my legal property which I’ve had to obtain court orders to have returned;
Barring my visitors and telephone use and blocking the telephone numbers of loved ones and others;
Targeting me with threats, attempts and actual acts of violence by guards and their white supremacist inmate lackeys, etc.

I should add that further conditions exist at this prison, and within this prison system, which are openly race-motivated or otherwise unlawful, e.g. the censorship of Black - and Brown – oriented cultural, political and historical publications as STG materials; while no such measures are applied to mainstream and white publications and media; censorship of all media and publications that in any way critique U.S. government, prison and economic policies and practices; censorship of publications and media by or about grassroots Black historical figures and leaders such as Huey P. Newton and Harry Haywood, while publications about racist, murderous and criminally oppressive white historical figures like Adolph Hitler, Geroge Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, etc., etc. are stocked in the prison library and accessible to all prisoners; promoting, protecting and hiring of staff at the prison who are members and affiliates of white supremacist groups and gangs; repression of prisoners who are “documented members” of actual Black and Brown street gangs while officials protect and give free reign to members of white supremacist gangs and use them as hit men against disliked prisoners of color (29), removing all television stations from the prison's closed circuit television system that aired Black programs and refusing channels that air Spanish-language Brown programs; harassing local radio stations and programs that play Black music and allow call-ins to prisoners from friends, family and supporters; subjecting Black and Brown prisoners to the harshest and highest security levels and conditions while maintaining white prisoners in minimum security with extensive privileges and benefits, making security level classifications along blatantly racial lines, frequent targeting of Black and Brown prisoners with abuse, violence, denied meals, etc.; deliberately engineering and facilitating violent conflicts between and against prisoners of color, particularly between prisoners documented as members of rival Black and Brown street gangs (28), populating these remote prisons that are staffed nearly-exclusively by rural whites with predominantly non-white prisoners, etc., etc.

That the FBI and other intelligence and executive agencies are more racially diverse today than during the 1960s and 70s in no way invalidates their anti-Black policies. Indeed it was a Black Chicago policeman – Gloves Davis – that shot two sleeping BPP leaders, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, in the heads at point blank range in December 1969, in an FBI orchestrated assassination raid. It was today’s FBI that assassinated Puerto Rican grassroots leader Filberto Ojeda Rios in September 2005, sparking protests across Puerto Rico, which spanned everyday civilians to government leaders.(30) Also the most brutal violence against South Afrikan Blacks during openly racist apartheid was often carried out by Black soldiers and police(31). We see Black and Brown police involved as viciously as white ones in unprovoked and unjustified violence and murders of urban youth of color today, in Amerika.

Furthermore, the National Security council (NSC), which is chaired by the U.S. President, and whose enforcement arm is the CIA, implemented NSC memorandum #46 in 1978. The stated goals of which were/are to ensure the permanent demise and destruction of the U.S. Black liberation and civil rights movements(32). In its own words, NSC-46 devised to ensure that there would never evolve another independent Black leader or organization that could unite the U.S. Black populations; to play white working class people against Blacks; to divide the Black community and political groups; to bring more Blacks into established political institutions so they could be controlled and used to mislead the Black population; and to destroy all aspirations then prevailing among Blacks to develop an independent Black political party.

So we see an overall historical continuum till today of targeting Black leaders and activists for destruction who are not “approved” by the Establishment, and deliberately maintaining the urban Black communities in crisis. And the same old tactics are being used.

Officials at this prison have conceded working with the FBI and DHS in “intelligence sharing” – government speak for inter-agency repressive covert actions against targeted individuals and groups.

Of course, none of what I’ve touched on herein related to the history and designs of this country’s intelligence and policing agencies is unknown to the various recipients of this letter, it’s your M.O. and S.O.P. It’s the general public that’s kept oblivious of it. Moreover, I’ve only skimmed that surface, just enough to place my issues in their proper context, and to satisfy my burden of placing each of you on notice of my issues before pursuing redress in other forums, and to afford you the opportunity to address/redress these matters.

I am therefore presenting this letter of complaint to all named agencies and officials, requesting that such racially and politically motivated persecution and abuses cease, that the false gang/STG profiling of me and the NABPP/WPO at this prison and anywhere else be rescinded with an apology for this defamation, and that all the illegal, discriminatory and retaliatory treatments and conditions mentioned herein be abolished. If I hear nothing from you all within 20 days, I will proceed to seek both public and judicial exposure and redress of these and other practices against those official hereby notified, via copy of this.

Notes and supplementary commentary:

1. See, e.g. Theodore Allen, The Invention of the White Race (New York: Verse, 1997); Steve Martinof, The Rule of Racialization (Philadelphia: Temple University press, 2003).

In 1676 Afrikan and English slaves and indentured servants, (who enjoyed equal statuses and conditions of brutality and abuse), came together under a rebellious young planter, Nathaniel Bacon, in an united revolt that overthrew the colonial government in Virginia, and burned down the capitol of Jamestown (Bacon’s Rebellion). Six months into the revolt Bacon died of influenza, and without its leader the revolt was defeated by colonial forces. Subsequently, the colonial government instituted a policy designed to prevent any similar revolt from occurring again, by dividing the society of poor workers against each other along racial lines. In 1682 laws were passed creating the “Negro” and “white” races and making slavery an hereditary and permanent status for Afrikans. (see, William W. Hening, Statues at Lorge: The Laws of Virginia (Richmond, 1809), pp. 492 ff). In 1705 the “race line was further clarified by laws that defined as “Negro” anyone having “one drop” of Afrikan blood. Slavery and servitude of whites was phased out, and they were brought together under the concept of being a “superior” race, religiously ordained to enslave Blacks under the Biblical “curse of canaan.” The entire white society was mobilized as a united force (slave patrols) to police and brutally repress Blacks, whom they were indoctrinated to hate and fear. This politically manufactured system gave birth to white racism, that persists till today, and was exported from the Virginia colonies to all areas where Europeans came into contact with and sought to conquer the lands and seize the wealth and labor power of people of color. And is preserved in multitudes of ways by today’s capitalist political-economic systems, which deliberately pits whites, Blacks and other races against each other.

2. “The purity of democratic institutions was, in the historical debates around Manifest Destiny, an extension of the purity concept of whiteness. And in the evolution of the two-party system, a further extension of the structure of racialization expressing itself. The force driving U.S. political process toward a two-party system historically was none other than the question of slavery and the disenfranchisement of the black voter….
“The disenfranchisement of the black voter has been a major issue throughout U.S. history. It was hotly debated right after the Revolution, imposed in most states before the civil war, imposed by means of paramilitary operations during and after reconstructions, and flaunted in the face of constitutional guarantees of the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The drive to disenfranchise black people continues today through massive felony incarceration for misdemeanors and victimless crimes, for which they lose suffrage. According to Paul Haygood, more than 13% of potential black voters are currently disenfranchised (Ryan Paul Haygood, Black Commentator June 10, 2004. According to Haygood, of the 4.7 million people disenfranchised by felony conviction in the U.S., 1.4 million are black males, or 13% of the adult black population this does not count black females).”
-Steve Martinot, Socialism and Democracy, “Mexico, Iraq, and the Two-party system: Studies in White Supremacy,” Vol. 19, No 1, March 2005, pp 129-30.

3. Exposes on the protection and employment of Nazi war criminals by the U.S. and British governments are legion. See for example, Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988) (on Rauff, the inventor and administrator of the gas truck execution program which murdered approximately 250,000 people, see pp. 92-94, on Gehlen, Hitler’s most senior intelligence office on the brutal Eastern Front, see pp. 70-72, 248-263, 279-283, on Barbie, the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyons,” see pp. 185-195); see also, Mary Ellen Reese, General Reinhard Gehlen’s the CIA Connection (Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1990); Erhard Dubringhaus
Klaus Barbie: The Shocking Story of How the US Used this Nazi War Criminal as an Intelligence Agent – a First Hand Account (Washington: Acropolis, 1984); John Loftus, The Belarus Secret (New York: Knopf, 1982) ch. 5; Tom Bower, Klaus Barbie: The “Butcher of Lyons” (New York: Pantheon, 1984); Kai Hermann, “A Killer’s Career,” Stern (Germany), May 10 and following, 1984 (six part series based upon declassified U.S. government documents and interviews conducted in Bolivia); Linda Hunt, Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945-1990 (New York, St. Martin’s, 1991); Alexander Cockburn, et al. Whitehout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (London, Vergo, 1990) chs 6 and 7; Eugene J. Kolb, [former U.S. counterintelligence corps officer and chief of operations in the Augsburg region of Germany) “Army Counterintelligence's Dealings with Klaus Barbie,” Letter, New York Times, July 26, 1983, p. A20 (defending the employment of Barbie); Michael McClintock, Instruments of statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare Counter-Insurgency and Counter-terrorism, 1940-1990 (New York: Pantheon, 1992), especially ch 3 (important study of U.S. intelligence’s absorption of Nazi methods and practitioners into U.S. special warfare doctrine after World War II.

4. Charles Higham, Trading with the Enem: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot (NewYork: Delacorte, 1983). George Bush is certainly not an exception among prominent U.S. government officials with direct lines of descent from major Nazis. Karl Roves grandfather helped run the Nazi party and build the Birkenau Death camp, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian father was a Nazi SA volunteer and became a ranking officer. See, The Free Press , October 6, 2003.

5. See Church Committee, U.S. Congressional Report: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, 94th Congress, 2nd Section, Report No 94-755 (1976) (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office), Books II and III.

6. ACLU, Cracks in the System: Twenty Years of the Unjust Federal Crack Cocaine Law (October 2006)

7. Harvard Law Review, “Developments in the Law-Race and the criminal Process.” Vol 101, Nov 7, May 1988, pp. 1973-1641 (comprehensive dissection of racial discrimination in the ‘criminal justice’ system, determining that discrimination exists at every stage of the ‘criminal justice’ process); Steven R. Donziger, ed, The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (New York: Harper Collins, 1996), especially ch4, Michael Tonry, Malign Neglect – Race, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)

8. Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, The Don’t Shank the Guards Handbook: Legal Resource to Guards Brutality, Harassment and Rape (2003); On the Question of Race and Racism (2006), “Wimyn hold up half the sky” (2008), etc.

9. Op Cit. note 5, book III, p. 4 9The FBI's “covert action” programs were generally targeted at any Black political and other groups. “The Black Nationalist Program, according to its supervisor, included ‘a great number of organizations that you might not today characterize as black nationalist but which were in fact primarily black. Indeed, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference was labeled as a Black Nationalist ‘Hate Group’.”)

10. In Virginia where I am incarcerated for example, the criminal laws defining and governing “Criminal street gangs,” are set out under VA Code sections 18.2 – 466.1 through 18.2-46.3:3, which parallel similar federal criminal laws under Title 18 of the U.S. Code.

11. For defamation law in Virginia governing false imputations of crime, see for example, Zayre of VA, lac. V. Gowdy, 207 Va. 47, 147 S. E. 2d 710 (1966); [Shupe v. Rose’s stores, Inc. 213 Va. 374, 192 S.E. 2d 766 (1972). But see especially, Schnupp v. Smith, 249 Va. 353, 457 S. E. 2d 42 (1995) (words that impute the commission of a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in a state or federal institution are actionable defamation and slander per se). Accord, VA Code Section 8 01-45.

12. The various Black organizations that have used the Black Panther name, past and present, include, the original Black Panther party (U.S. 1966-1982), the Black Panther movement (England), the Black Panther Party of Israel, Black Panther Party (Australia), Dalit Panthers (India), New Black Panther Party (U.S., 1990-present), New Black Panther Vanguard Movement (U.S., 1994-present), Black Panther Collective (U.S. 1994-present), the National Alliance of Black Panthers (U.S.), Anarchist Black Panthers (U.S.), the NABPP/WPO (U.S.,. 2005 – present), etc.

13.As Huey Newton pointed out in a February 11, 1973 interview with William Buckley, on Public Television: Firing Line, “we were very careful to follow city ordinances, gun regulations, state law, and our constitutional rights.”

14. Charles E. Jones, et al, “Don’t believe the Hype: Debunking the Panther Mythology,” The Black Panther Party Reconsidered Baltimore, MD, Black Classic, 1998) pp29-31.

15. op. cit. note 5, book III p42, one of many examples was where the FBI sent “[a]n anonymous letter…to the leader of the Blackstone Rangers, a Chicago gang” to whom violent type activity, shooting, and the like, are second nature” advising him that “the brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there’s supposed to be a hit out for you.” The letter was intended to ‘intensify the degree of animosity between the two groups’ and cause ‘retaliatory action which could disrupt the BPP or lead to reprisals against its leadership’.”

16. op.cit, note 6, book III pp. 185-224, section titled “the FBIs Covert Action program to Destroy the Black Panther Party” “[R]ecently a reporter’s Freedom of Information Act investigation into COINTELPRO files found that the American government had done everything possible to infiltrate the Black Panthers and other lesser-known activist groups, then had its ‘agents lead the groups into violent gestures that would divide them, undermine their credibility and bring down the full weight of the state’ on the leaders’ heads.” William Hinton, Through A Glass Darkly (New York, Monthly Review, 206).

“[R]epression in the United States is worse than ever before and much, much harsher than the world – or most Americans, for that matter – is aware or told. In New Mexico, for example, the Alianza led by Reies Tijerina, has been hounded relentlessly since 1966, its offices have been dynamited (by police at that), its leaders shot, its members jailed on such flagrantly outrageous charges that few Americans would believe – even today – the strictly factual story. At the time of writing, Tijerian himself was locked up for years and his Alianza was flagging. As for the Blacks, their repression is not less brutal, just more widespread. The whole primary and secondary leadership of the Black Panther Party has been jailed on obvious frame-ups. They have been beaten, tortured, and murdered. Twice in Oakland, I saw with my own eyes, police in official cars come by a group of Panthers talking peacefully on a street and open fire at them. Three times I witnessed police arrest Panthers, handcuff them, and then pistol-whip them. In over a dozen cases, after seeing Panthers arrested, I have gone to see them in jail and found them bloodied from having “fallen down the stairs” or from having “assaulted a policeman.” And the whole world knows – for this time it was reported in the press – that on-duty Chicago policemen murdered Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in their sleep. By the end of 1969, not a single policemen had been brought to justice for these acts of violence. On the other hand, all of white America’s law enforcement agents, including federal marshals and America’s law enforcement agents, including federal marshals and the FBI, have gone out of their way – and, often, out of their jurisdiction – to arrest Panthers, without having warrants. Federal marshals have even refused to honor a court order not to remove Chairman Bobby Seale from California (which, legally, made the marshals kidnappers.) By 1970, twenty-eight Black Panthers has been murdered by the police, some beaten to death after arrest (Charles Cox in Chicago), some in unprovoked assaults (seventeen year-old Bobby Hutton in Oakland, Hampton and Clark in Chicago), most in front of scores of witnesses, who could never testify, as the police were never charged.”
John Gerassi, The Coming of the New International (World Publishing Co. 1971) pp. 552-553.

17. See, Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and his Secrets (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991)

18. Kenneth O’Reilly, “Racial Matters”: The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972 (Now York: Free Press, 1989).

19. Id.; Ward Churchill et al. , Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars on the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Boston: South End, 1988); etc.

20. “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory in formation to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” contacts.” Joy James, Shadow Boxing (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999) p. 112, see also op. cit. note 5.

21. William F. Pepper, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (London: Verson, 2003).

22. “Even after King’s death, [FBI] agents in the field were proposing methods for harassing his widow, and Bureau officials were tring to prevent his birthday from becoming a national holiday.” Op. cit. note 5, book I, p. 223.

23. Ward Churchill, et al, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in America (Boston: South End, 1990), p. 97.

24. op. cit. note 5, book III, p.136

25. Ibid.

26. The Church Committee summed up the limits on law enforcement agencies methods of “preventing violence”:
“The prevention of violence is clearly not, in itself, an improper purpose; preventing violence is the ultimate goal of most law enforcement. Prosecution and sentencing are intended to defer future criminal behavior, not only of the subjct but also of others who might break the law. In that sense, law enforcement legitimately attempts the indirect prevention of possible violence and, if the methods used are proper raises no constitutional issues. When the government goes beyond traditional law enforcement methods, however, and attacks group membership and advocacy , it treads on ground forbidden to it by the constitution. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 v.s. 444 (1969), the Supreme Court held that the government is not permitted to ‘forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law violation except where such advocacy is directed toward inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.’ In the absence of such clear and present danger, the government cannot act against speech nor presumably against association.”
Op. cit., note 5, book III, p6.

27. David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). An excerpt, p. 120:
“[T]he surviving Indians later referred to [President George] Washington by the name “Town Destroyer,” for it was under his direct orders that at least 28 of the 30 Seneca towns from Lake Erie to the Mohawk River had been totally obliterated in a period of less than five years, as had all the towns and villages of the Mohawk, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. As one Iroquoi’s told Washington to his face in 1792: ‘t o this day, when that name is heard, our women folk look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers.”
“[President Thomas] Jefferson … in 1807 instructed his Secretary of war that any Indians who resisted American expansion into their lands must be met with “the hatchet.” “And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe,” he wrote, “we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi.’ Continuing: ‘in war, they will kill some of us, we shall destroy all of them’ Indeed, Jefferson’s writings on Indians are filled with the straightforward assertion that the natives are to be given a simple choice – to be ‘extirpate[d] from the earth’ or to remove themselves out of the Amerikans’ way. Had these same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and directed as European Jews, they would be engraved in modern memory.”

In fact Hitler based his genocidal methods on study of the U.S. treatment of Native Americans. See, John Toland Adolf Hitler (New York, Doubleday, 1976). P. 702 (“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicability of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the Camas for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west, and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination – by starvation and uneven combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.”); Joachim C. Fest, Hitler (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1973), p.214 (Hitler’s “continental war of conquest” was modeled “with explicit reference to the United States.”); Richard Rubenstein, “Afterword: Genocide and Civilization,” Isidor Walliman, eds, et al, Genocide and the Modern Age: Etiology and Case Studies of Mass Death (westport, CT, Greenwood, 1987), p 288 9”Hitler saw the settlement of the New World and the concomitant elimination of North American’s Indian population by white European settlers as a model to be followed by Germany on the European continent.”)

On Columbus, see Samuel Elliot Morison, Christopher Columbus, Mariner (Boston: Little, Brown 1955), p. 129.

“By 1508 a census showed 60,000 of the estimated 1492 population of 250,000 [on Hispaniola] still alive, although the Bahamas and Cuba had been raided to obtain more slaves. Fifty years later, not 500 remained. The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successor resulted in complete genocide."

Furthermore, Washington and Jefferson were two of the largest slave-owners of their day. Jefferson, in fact, raped and sired a child by a 14-year-old slave girl, Sally.

28/29. Prison officials' inciting and facilitating violent conflicts and "gladiator fights" between rival racial groups of prisoners is a common trend in U.S. prisons, as the 1997 documentary expose film Maximum Security University revealed.

30. The Nation, "The killing of Filiberto Ojeda Rios," October 7, 2005. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051024/jiminez

31. Kurt Campbell, "Marching for Pretoria," Boston Globe Magazine. Marh 1, 1987, pp 161.

32. The National Security Act of July 26, 1947, which created the NSC and CIA, limits the powers of these agencies to political and military matters outside of the U.S.

chain
[Elections] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 4]
expand

Barack Obama and oppressed nation labor aristocracy

Now that Barack Obama has secured the democratic nomination for President of the United States, it's important that we educate our oppressed nation youth that he is being controlled by the same forces that control George Bush, which is multinational corporations, political lobbying groups and international patriarchal capital.

It is apparent that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States, considering the country's excitement about him and the nation's unwillingness to separate John McCain from George Bush.

This is the biggest turning point in U.S. history, because Barack Obama has the potential of transforming the oppressed nation in this country into a labor aristocracy at the expense of the Third World. This will strengthen the U.S. imperialist system and weaken the revolution in a sense because as more and more Blacks and Latinos gain oppressor nation benefits, these oppressed nations will be less willing to fight for the international proletariat. This will ultimately transform immigrants into the number one revolutionary group in this country and the group most willing to fight for the international proletariat.

Even though Blacks and Latinos represent the majority of those imprisoned in jail and prison today, I truly believe that the criminal injustice system as well as the police will drastically increase their campaign to lock up more immigrants, and eventually immigrants will become the majority of those imprisoned in border states.

As a matter of fact, we're seeing this trend unfold as we speak. Immigrants are the fastest growing segment of the state and federal prison system. [Most statistics on imprisonment do not break out migrants from "Hispanics" in general, making this difficult to verify. There has been a significant surge in construction of federal detention facilities along the border following increasingly draconian immigration laws and policies in recent years. Meanwhile, the general prison population has continued to rise, but some state systems have begun to cut back. We welcome further input and research on this subject.] U.S. prisoners are currently the second largest revolutionary group in this country. We are a very important, and some including myself would argue this is the biggest turning point in U.S. history and world history, and we must put a proper perspective on this crucial time in history. It is apparent that we are headed towards 8 years of Barack Obama as U.S. President and I have a feeling that the next 8 years (2008-2016) will be the most important time in U.S. and world history, even more so than the 1960s.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We're not certain that Obama will be the next president but we think this prisoner offers some useful commentary about oppressed nations within U.$. borders joining the labor aristocracy. MIM has been saying for years that the oppressed nations are a part of the labor aristocracy, so we do not agree it would take Obama as president to cause this transformation. The reality of life in Amerika is that all citizens benefit from the economy of this imperialist country and this includes the internal oppressed nations. So the class interests of oppressed internal nations already lie with imperialism (see MIM Theory 1 and MIM Theory 10 for more detailed economic and political analysis of classes within U.$. borders).

We see internal oppressed nations as potentially revolutionary because of their national interests. But we agree with this prisoner's general point that the U.$. government could push forward the national conditions of internal oppressed nations to elevate their national interests to align them with imperialism. U.$. history has many examples of oppressed nations joining the oppressor nation, but those groups were whites from various other countries, like the Irish (see Settlers: the Mythology of the White Proletariat, by Sakai).

chain