The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
[Legal] [National Oppression] [Civil Liberties] [California] [ULK Issue 58]
expand

Case Law to Help Those Facing Unjust Gang Enhancements

In response to “CALIFORNIA: Challenges and Reports” (in ULK 56), the comrade/s at MDF, Contra Costa County Jail being hit with gang enhancements and other unjust treatment. Faulty gang allegations was a major error in my trial as a southern Chican@, hence my return on appeal, which also made case law (Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California. The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Jerry RAMIREZ and Catherine Rodriguez Villarreal, Defendants and Appellants. G052144 Decided: February 05, 2016). I hope this can be of assistance. Should be in the lexus by now but is also attainable via internet. They have been trying to turn our culture into a crime for the last 500+ years. It’s going to take a lot more than a STEP act to get rid of us. In commemoration of “Black August” and the “Plan de San Diego”, I send mine to all comrades North, South, East and West.

chain
[Hunger Strike] [National Oppression] [Civil Liberties] [Martinez Detention Facility - Contra Costa County Jail] [California] [ULK Issue 58]
expand

Strike Against Arbitrary Group Punishment at MDF

TogetherBreakChains

Contra Costa County Martinez Detention Facility (A) module is a General Population (GP) setting that houses northern Hispanics and African American prisoners. The prejudiced treatment of hispanics who are classified on (A) is a continuous issue and the rules seem to bend for us. As a result of an incident in 2011, we were separated from all other GP races. This continues today although we can program in all other GP modules. In 2012, we were subject to lockdown style program of 3 hours free time a week, no bible study, etc. This lasted up until 2015. Note that none of us were even involved in violating Title 15 §1083, yet were treated as we if we were in fights even straight from intake.

We on (A) live amongst GP African American prisoners, as well as others, and other hispanics. Yet we are still “Administrative Separation”(Ad-Sep). We seek an integration process to all other GP units, including the other jail (Contra Costa County - West Detention (WCDF)), which is for less serious offenders and offers more opportunities, programs and privileges. We acknowledge current overcrowding issues. However, there is no reason why us GP prisoners are deprived of those same opportunities: vocational, parenting, etc. Especially those who qualify for such housing. Being deprived of such opportunities is a punishment, which is the underlying issue here. We’ve been battling administration through verbal and written remedies to no avail. Our valid requests and grievances go nowhere, don’t reach the chain of command, are ignored, we are given inadequate responses, and denied appeal rights. Even when attempting to follow policy regarding grievances it falls on deaf ears.

Another thing we seek to battle is the biased intake process, where we are left on (2) intake/disciplinary mod for unreasonable amounts of time without write-up, hearing, or a procedural due process.

As of 4 August 2017, approximately 72 inmates are on hunger strike due to these injustices. The following are the demands turned in to the administration:

We’ve been seeking just treatment through verbal and written remedies to no avail. This does not get us nowhere. We will be boycotting such prejudicial treatment. Following are more than fair demands that are not out of reach to administration and just according to inmate rights:

  1. Cease Ad-Sep label: Equal treatment to those who’ve not committed any infractions within the jail. Non-existent Ad-Sep label creates a negative aura which pursues us all the way to our cases. We’re forced to leave (A) in shackles giving negative impressions in court, lobby visits, etc. Ad-Sep does not exist in Title 15 and inmate handbook. No one asked for Ad-Sep, Ad-Seg, or special housing during intake process. We are GP, should be treated and labeled as such. Just like (B) and (C) inmates who’ve not broken any rules. Cease punishment violating T.15 §1083(c) over 2011 incident, cease Ad-Sep label because of a bad environment created by classification affecting us in our case.

  2. Start process of integration to all GP units including WCDF. If this is not immediately possible there is no reason why we can’t receive access to all other programs available in those parts of the jail, such as vocational, parenting, etc. Those who qualify for WCDF should receive opportunities. To deny such opportunities is to bestow a punishment we don’t have coming, which is the underlying issue here.

  3. Create adequate grievance process, following policy, and chains of command when there is in fact a valid grievance. Provide appeal rights that are denied and give adequate responses.

  4. Cease biased intake process where inmates destined for (A) are left on (Q) for unreasonable amounts of time deprived of GP setting and privileges without write-up, hearing, creating negligent meal service by having PCs serve food. You make room for those punished from other mods, you can make room for those without any type of infractions.

    Note: We have set forth reasonable and realistic requests and grievances. In a nutshell we simply wish to cease biased treatment and be treated like all other GP inmates. We acknowledge overcrowding problems regarding housing circumstances. However, we should not be denied access to those programs and opportunities. We are separated/segregated from other races unnecessarily. As well as treated with prejudice from setting foot in intake to court.

    References:
    • Title 15 §1083(c)4019.5 “Punishment to inmate/group over others actions” (2011 incident)
    • 14th Amendment “equal protection of the law” - cannot treat inmates differently than others without reason (race is not a valid reason)
    • Title 15 §1053 Ad-Seg (not fitting criteria)
    • 8th Amendment “Due process procedural rights” (violated)

MIM(Prisons) adds: In July 2013 prisoners at MDF staged a hunger strike from Ad-Seg. Some of the demands related to clear classification and adequate rec time echo those of the comrades on strike now. Despite the report of victories, we see similar problems continuing at the same jail in 2017. This is why winning some reforms should only be seen as the first step of a struggle and not the end. The imperialist system is based on national oppression after all.

We support these comrades’ just demands, which ally with ongoing campaigns to end long-term isolation as well as to provide proper avenues for having grievances heard. As the comrades point out that this treatment based on supposed affiliation with people who did things before they were even in this jail is an obvious violation of basic civil rights and just treatment. We work to build the anti-imperialist movement so that we can replace the current system with a just one.

chain
[National Oppression] [ULK Issue 60]
expand

The Wizard Behind the Curtain of Mass Incarceration

After reading The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness, by Professor Michelle Alexander, one can see the dynamics of how the political economy shaped the prison system by taking away the jobs which would in fact increase the crime rate. It’s been reported over time that the CIA was the biggest drug trafficker in the country and flooded the inner cities across Amerikkka, which only made room for one thing – distribution by the inhabitants of the inner city. Due to this new social phenomenon, lawmakers had a field day with funding SWAT teams to serve narcotic warrants, and perform paramilitary drug raids throughout the United $tates.

The Economic Recovery Act of 2009 included more than $2 billion in new Byrne funding and an additional $600 million to increase state and local law enforcement across the country. [The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. - Editor] Multi-agency drug task forces receive their finances from the federal government to help them increase the prison population, while the lawmakers come together to get Congress to pass laws that will keep inner city youths in prison for mandatory minimums. The 3-strikes-you’re-out law orchestrated by Bill Clinton allowed all the newly-built prisons (California built new prisons from the 1980s to 2000) to stay full, and also allowed other states to use this same sentencing method.

Before coming to prison, I along with others from the inner city had no idea about the political landscape that jump started our oppression. What shaped our views was learning how to apply a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions, and how to apply this philosophy within our culture. This concrete analysis is called dialectical materialism, and once used correctly we were able to better understand our situation and how to change our conditions. Through the study of our New Afrikan history we realize our struggle was always due to our resisting oppression. Oppression from the same class of people who first enslaved us once arriving on these shore, via a capitalist/imperialist system, established through military conquest, that controls you economically.

We New Afrikans have become political prisoners by challenging these imperialists’ control over us through their oppression and have established a social, cultural, economic, ideological, religious, military, and personal interaction between us as a group of people in a society. Our politics encompasses the totality of all human activity and relationships.

chain
[Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [California] [ULK Issue 57]
expand

My Experience as an SNY prisoner

I am a Mexican National Citizen raised in the old ways of making business. Our word was always good to our dying last breath. In prison politics and Mexican politics, the word is meaningless. (Tell that to good Tio Colosio, who paid with his life for believing someone else’s word.)

Well, after 20 years in a main line or so-called active yards, I made the transition to the SNY yard. Here, I found lots of brothers (i.e. comrades), that made the transition years and even decades ago. Fortunately, I escaped the usual brainwashing that my Chicano counterparts are exposed to in the schools and ghettos. So, I called quits, and came over to the bizarre world. I found that most of my new comrades lacked any type of political consciousness. Time after time they declined my attempt to read some of my literature. It did not escape my mind that I once was like that too. It took me years to awaken to the cruel reality of my imprisonment.

Anyway, my first celly was a white male. And I discovered what I have always known in theory: We are all ignorant, poor, and damned (regardless of skin color, creed, or gang affiliation). For reasons that are not pertinent to this essay my new celly only last me less than 24 hours. Nevertheless, he left a deep impression in my consciousness. He told me that on the line his shot caller actually put a hit on him, over a $50.00 pruno debt. So he had to assume the position and allowed his beloved celly, who was a few months short to go home. And he was stabbed about three times. That is how out of control the prison gangs are.

So that the readers know: The average Mexican National prisoner doesn’t belong to cartels, or street and prison gangs. Most Mexicanos are unaware of the avalanche of prison politics coming their way. Without no shame I can say that had my counselor told me about my expected role to serve at the active yard I should have checked out right there and then. It wasn’t meant to be, so I was set up, by a failed rehabilitation system. I was immediately classified as a “PAISA” or “BORDER BROTHER.” This STG (Security Threat Group) is under the direct order of the Sureños Prison Gang (like to be ordered to do hits and follow gang’s rules).

Unbeknownst to the Mexican, all of these violent incidents will be used by the Board of Parole Hearings (“BPH”). God forbid one has a stabbing ten years ago. They literally act the part to be surprised that these kind of thing happen in prison. Even a disciplinary citation over a stolen apple will be used to say that one is a danger to the free community. These pundits actually believe that these gulags are CENTERS of top notch rehabilitation. And that one insists in misbehaving!

My new celly is an elderly Mexican. He is respectful and knows how to do time. He too called it quits when he discovered the winds of change in the air. And before things took a turn for the worst, he made the best decision in his life. He became another “SNY.” The environment here is more loose. The gang trip is over. I have not seen any acts of predatory behavior towards those that are too weak to defend themselves. Then, there are those that act out as straight protective custody; they believe that the c/o is their daddy or big carnal. They are loud and wear their pants half way down their butt. Still the talking with staff can also be seen at facility “C”, an active yard. They came in to the program office and spend time with them (getting cozy with the enemy i.e. the oppressor).

I found out that if I kept to myself and mind my own business I can fly undetected. This wasn’t possible in an active yard, because one is expected to put in work for the prison gang. The new prison gangs at this side, they pretty much keep to themselves. And do their fighting without asking for help. Those who do not want to engage in the new gangs warfare are left alone out of the drama. I have spoken to former Sureños and Norteños (youth and elderly), and many described themselves as “Mexicanos” born on this side. Many have realized that the Mexican National is not their puppet to be used and discarded. They all agreed that becoming “SNY” is the best decision that they ever took. Their new leaders are their families, patria, and raza.

Here, former shotcallers and gang leaders are nothing. They are one more slave among the thousands. Long are gone the days of blood money, glory, cell phones, and God ego trips over life and death. As for my own transition from an enslaved active prisoner to an “SNY” it was easy. I packed my belongings without raising too much suspicion. And at school I told the officer “that I wanted out of the yard.” They pressured me to tell what I knew about the big fat sapos and those that are kissing their ass. I had nothing to tell them.

Even if I knew anything I would never tell them nothing. I am too old to become a state snitch. So, not all SNY prisoners become snitches. I have been told that sometimes the officers threaten prisoners by telling them they will be sent back to the main line. But, this wasn’t my case. (For your information, the officers will never do that.)

For those that I left behind, stop and think about it, for a long time. Is it really worth it to give up one’s life by running a fool’s errand? What they are sending you to do to someone else’s son they will do to you. The masters of manipulation’s lost cause is not worth it to die or kill for. Screw their orders, they are not our parents, tios, or big brothers. They are playing God with your lives and freedom.

They are bloodthirsty sociopaths with our brothers’ and sisters’ blood on their hands. They are the oppressor’s little brother; they help the oppressor to keep us in check. Go ahead and tell them to do the killings themselves. They can’t really hold you up accountable for your word; that you gave up as a little kid. You did not know anything about life when they enticed you to join the gang. They never told you that by 15 you would be dead or doing life in the gulags.

They never took you to a funeral and told you: that is you in a few years. They never took you to the gulags to visit those who are buried alive. Have they told you that an early death or lifetime in prison was your future? Odds are that you would have run away ASAP. Thus, at the age of 20, 30, or even 60 years old, one must truly awaken to the reality of our predicament and analyze the contradictions of one’s slavery. So that we can shake off the old chains that bind us to a lost cause. One must evolve and think outside the box. It is the 21st Century, our families need us out there.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Lumpen organizations (LOs) in the united $tates are usually organizations of the most economically marginalized of the oppressed in this country. Elsewhere comrades have spoke about the difference between the Neo-Colonial Lumpen Organization (NLO) and the LO. The experience of the above comrade reflects the practice of the NLO. But the LOs in general have both capitalistic and collective/nationalist aspects to them. And those that embrace the collective aspect (usually in a revolutionary nationalist way), can evolve to become Political Mass Organizations (PMOs).(1) So while we struggle with comrades in LOs to move in the direction of becoming a PMO, the above story is a common one in California as SNY has come to represent one third of prisoners in recent years.(2)

This comrade also touches on the national question and national identity in Aztlán. The fact that those of Mexican descent born within U.$. borders are so likely to identify as Mexicanos speaks to the national contradiction between the Amerikan settler and the colonized territory of Aztlán. As this comrade also recognizes we refer to those born north of the U.$.-Mexico border as Chican@s. The recognition of a Chican@ nation deeply connected to, but separate from Mexico, was the outcome of the struggles of revolutionary nationalists and communists in the 1960s organizing Raza in the southwest. For those interested in this topic you should check out Chican@ Power and the Struggle for Aztlán by a MIM(Prisons) study group. This book is available to prisoners for $10, or work trade.

chain
[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Principal Contradiction] [ULK Issue 54]
expand

Buying off Revolutionary Nationalists

capitalist clown

In an article titled “Revolutionary Nationalism and the Afro-American Student,” published in January 1965, Max Stanford argued that Black students of the “warbaby” generation embodied several contradictions at once – contradictions that could lead them to embrace capitalism and white values, check out altogether, or join the revolutionary movement. What I like about this idea from Max Stanford is many of us Black lumpens scream and protest about oppression and unjustice. But as soon as we’re pacified with promises of more jobs and wage growth we tend to get amnesia on how capitalism is creating the oppression and injustices.

Sometimes I question organizations that scream that we need to be free and equal but still want to hold on to petit-bourgeois ideas. I can agree with Max Stanford about the warbaby generation that wants oppression to end but will embrace capitalism as if that system will truly liberate them from oppression. I see this happening today; what we should be protesting about is bringing in a new economic system which can give us control of the means of production. Rather than riot and protest and beg these imperialists for more oppression and injustice in order to satisfy our material desires.

Another point I want to express is the embracing of white values. When we hear the term white values what is Max Stanford getting at? Well he must mean how Blacks will adopt lifestyles and ideology that most capitalist whites have. Now I assume Max Stanford was envisioning a future in which New Afrikans would sell out the revolution for material wealth in supporting a system which creates class divisions in Amerikkka and abroad. A lot of revolutionaries of the past used self-censorship in order to support capitalism and gave up on the struggle for the fear of being isolated targets of the imperialist masters. We have even gone so far as denying self-determination. So I agree with Max Stanford’s statement that Black revolutionaries would embrace white values.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer raises a very relevant point about the potential for oppressed nation people to be pacified with material wealth. We have seen a movement towards integration and buying off oppressed nations within U.$. borders, as a part of a dual-pronged strategy from the government since the revolutionary movements of the 60s and 70s: dramatic incarceration rates combined with significant movement towards integration. We still see sufficient national oppression that we continue to have distinct nations within U.$. borders, but as with other nations in the past, Amerika could decide to fully integrate its oppressed nations to focus its energy on the exploitation of the Third World. Already superprofits are being shared with the Chican@ and New Afrikan nations so that even while facing national oppression they are enjoying an economic benefit from their Amerikan citizenship. And this promise of material benefit does lead revolutionaries to give up the struggle, as this author points out.

So we have to ask, what should revolutionaries do with these material conditions? This issue of ULK is about movement tactics, and it is an analysis of our conditions that should lead us to determine what are appropriate tactics and strategy for our organizing work. At this point in time we still believe that the principal contradiction within U.$. borders is between the oppressor nation and oppressed nations. It’s even possible we will see this contradiction heighten as the white supremacists gain a stronger foothold in open roles in the government. So for now it is our job to educate and organize the revolutionaries, with a focus on the oppressed nations. But we are not fighting for the economic advancement of oppressed nation workers, who are already benefiting from imperialism. Our message must be clear: we are internationalists, fighting to end all national oppression, not just gain a bigger piece of the pie for internal oppressed nations while the pie is baked with the labor of exploited Third World workers.

chain
[National Oppression] [Gender] [ULK Issue 53]
expand

Harriet Tubman's Image Whitewashed on $20 Bill

harriet tubman on 20 dollar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:
1. The Root: How Racism Tainted Women’s Suffrage, NPR, March 25, 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/134849480/the-root-how-racism-tainted-womens-suffrage
2. http://uspresidents.net/andrew-jackson.html
3. Butch Lee, Jailbreak Out of History: the Re-Biography of Harriet Tubman, Second Edition, Kersplebedeb Publishing, 2015.
chain
[First Nations] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 53]
expand

Exploring the Outcome of the Keystone XL Pipeline

keystone XL pipeline over tribal lands
“America cannot exist without separating ourselves from our identities.”

The fight began in 2011, with a lucrative proposal from a Canadian company to access tribal lands to transport crude oil to the Gulf of Texas. The construction they say will help create permanent jobs, the money given to the tribal councils will help meet the needs of the people. In reality, this pipeline will create an environmental disaster. America can’t even fund its own infrastructure, how can anyone expect maintenance of a pipeline on sovereign tribal lands?

The problem isn’t just the pipeline and all the filth that comes with it. The problem is the outright violations of our treaties, and the lack of treatment of the self-determination and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This pipeline steps on human rights and proves the second class citizenship bestowed to all tribal nations, and people.

Take into consideration how all of the government spokespeople go ballistic at any violations of any treaties bestowed upon foreign governments by the U.S. government, why are they quick to dismiss the rights that tribal nations have been granted?

We went to war for those treaties. Yes it’s 2016 and the rhetoric is that all “indians” should function like regular Americans. But by initiating a treaty it provides us recognition, and stipulates bilateral agreements that all parties must honor. Unless, in fact, our treaties are just “pieces of paper,” and if that is the case, Russia should overlook the United Nations resolutions with the United States and just bomb Israel. Is this not the same? Article 6 of the U.S. constitution and the rider clause of 1888 say different. Both recognize the permanent power of all Indian treaties and all Indian nations. Just because the times have changed doesn’t mean the words have.

The U.S. government has been pushing all tribal nations to genocide for the last 298 years. Poverty, bad water, polluted air, nuclear waste, uranium mines opened, alcoholism, no job infrastructure for starters. Suicide among young men has grown to an epidemic. We are just pandered to in words when government officials want to feel good, then they rip our children from us, take them state-side and throw them to “white people” to be civilized – violating yet another federal law, the Indian Child Welfare Act.

This land is more to us than just land for all tribal people, just as in 1848 when the United States annexed all of Aztlán from Mexico and erected the largest paramilitary border in the world, much is being done to separate tribal nations from our lands. In 1973 we fought and died for our land. If need be, mark my words, we will rise up and fight again. This land is our identity. It holds the blood of our ancestors, and the pipeline will kill our people.

chain
[National Oppression] [Organizing] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 52]
expand

How Should We Respond to Police Violence?

Panther Vision

The recent attention to murder and brutality of New Afrikan men by Amerikan police, and the shooting of police officers in Dallas, Texas by Micah X, apparently in retaliation for this brutality, inspired a lot of thoughtful letters from across the country. Many commented on the need to take up the gun to fight those with guns.

A contributor in Florida asked:

“So, my question is this: how effective and appropriate was the brother’s actions (or sacrifice) at this point in time, or what do we, you and the readers make of all this? Are there any lessons, a message, or information to be learned from all of this? Or, ultimately, is there perhaps any more room, space, or a vacuum for more of this kind of self-defense at this point in time? And if so, how does one go about or start preparing, alleviating, educating, demonstrating or organizing for such right now from this example (or lesson) at this point in time? Like Micah X, are we ready to effectively exercise or address any more of this yet - or continue to keep the conversation going?”

If Micah were trying to spark a revolution, this would be a good example of what we call focoism:

The belief that small cells of armed revolutionaries can create the conditions for revolution through their actions. Demonstrated revolutionary victories, the successes of the foci, are supposed to lead the masses to revolution. Focoism often places great emphasis on armed struggle and the immediacy this brings to class warfare. Focoism is different from people’s war in that it doesn’t promote the mass line as part of guerrilla operations.
It is difficult for us to know Micah’s goals and intents without having been there and spoken with em. Regardless of eir intents, the outcome of the actions ey took serve as ammunition for the oppressors to continue oppressing. For them, it is much easier to gain (even more) public opinion and sympathy when they are able to point at specific incidents of a member of a movement “mercilessly” gunning down pigs. Remember that the majority of people in power are already on their side.

While revolutionaries and many in the oppressed nations know that Micah’s actions were an act of self-defense, white politicians and leaders will never see it that way. As a Federal prisoner wrote to us: “President Obama called what happened in Dallas Texas ‘A Vicious, Calculated, Despicable ATTACK!’” In their eyes, violent actions taken against a pig (or pigs) can never be considered self-defense, especially when the “offender” in question is non-white.

At this point, standalone violent actions such as this one serve to incite the government to act with more urgency against those who they perceive threaten them, and allow them to place themselves ever more in the role of “victim,” and to place the oppressed in the role of “aggressor.”

Violence is a very necessary part of effecting any kind of true change that puts an end to imperialism, but there is a time for it, and that time is not now. Our focus now is on educating and organizing ourselves, so that we are better able to organize those who already see things as we do. It is important to consider what someone with a drive like this could achieve over a lifetime of work.

A contributor in Maryland wrote:

“One of the DJs said one of the solutions was for us to just comply with the pigs no matter what when confronted in the streets by them. Basically, don’t dare challenge master. But there can be no change without challenge. Why do we continue to lay down?… The white supremacists of this land have taken up refuge behind the badge. They can never be rooted out. Not by Obama, or anyone else. Remember they got a 200 year head start on us.”

While it is true that there can be no change without challenge, it is also important to remember that not all challenge enacts change. The pigs in no way deserve respect, compliance or gratitude. And it’s true that they won’t be rooted out without taking down all of the imperialists first. However, to challenge them now militarily serves to get the wrong people killed and give more instances for the oppressors to point at and say “Look! Look at how irrational and violent they are! We need to give the police more power, for our protection!” The oppressors will always try to paint the oppressed as the villian; we can never avoid this accusation altogether. But we need to look at the balance of forces and ask, in spite of this rhetoric, if we have enough public opinion in our favor that our armed struggle will have enough support to be successful. Suicide missions like Micah’s make armed struggle look futile, so we should avoid them until we know we wan win. Even those who have reverence for what Micah did probably wouldn’t do it themselves.

Look at the Black Panther Party, and what happened with them. The BPP openly carried guns as a demonstration of potential power, without engaging in focoist actions. But still the Amerikkkan imperialists struck back agressively with guns, drugs and imprisonment, leading to the eventual downfall of the group. We can only expect even more agressive attacks in response to use of the gun. The time for armed struggle is when the fight can be won. Right now, we’re not close to that point.

This battle is a good example of why we need a vanguard party to lead the revolutionary struggle, including the armed struggle to take down the imperialists. It also provides some insight into just how hard the bourgeoisie will fight to maintain their position of power. Even after they are defeated militarily by the majority of the world’s people we can anticipate that former bourgeois individuals and their lackeys in the police and military, as well as new people who aspire to wealth and power, will not immediately become cooperative and productive members of society serving the people. For this reason we need to think beyond the military battle and into the structure of society after capitalism is overthrown. This is why communists believe we must have a dictatorship of the proletariat under socialism while we undertake the long transition to a society where no groups of people have power over other groups of people. It is tempting to take up the gun now and fight back a death for a death, but we want to build a world where all people contribute productively to the betterment of humynity, and that will take a lot more than the death of a few cops.

chain
[New Afrika] [National Oppression]
expand

What is Your Nationality?

Comrades, the question at hand is also the very impediment to the so-called African-Amerikkkans’ right to determine our own destiny and experience true freedom. Ask anyone besides the so-called African-Amerikkkans what is their nationality and they will gladly tell you with great pride the national identity that they represent. This is possible because that is the nation of people that they identify with as sharing a common history, language, land, economic life and psychological make-up. It is the birthright of humans to understand their own national identity. Therefore, it is as well the birthright of so-called African-Amerikkkans to be free to determine our own nationality as well. Instead of the right wing of Amerikkkan white nationalism who are always oppressing us as a people, historically. “African-Amerikkkan” is a label Amerikkka placed on us to show the world that we are their lackeys.

Developing a national consciousness is the first step toward liberation. New Afrikan is a term that identifies and distinguishes us as a nation and people. Historically we have developed and share a collective language, culture, economic life and psychological make-up. This forged us into a new Afrikan people that is distinctly apart from Africans and all other people on the planet earth. Therefore we should reprimand usage of being called Black, Niggas, African-Amerikkkan, Negroes, etc. We are New Afrikans, we should embrace our own national identity because it’s our birthright as free men and women. “Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation. Understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act.” -Comrade George Jackson.

Protesting for reprieve against police brutality is not the answer for New Afrikans, Asians, Chicanos, and First Nations. Historically, New Afrikans have always struggled with the problem of pigs killing our children within the streets. Although within Amerikkka, Chicanos, and First Nations have experience just as much repression from the pigs. As New Afrikans we must understand that integrationism into Amerikkkan imperialism impedes our progress towards self-determination. At the same time cultural nationalism and national chauvinism serves to impede further our struggle towards self-determination. As Lenin said, “The weight of emphasis in the internationalist education of workers in the oppressing countries must necessarily consist in advocating and upholding freedom of secession for oppressed countries. Without this there can be no internationalism.”(1)

We must be able to discern authentic revolutionaries from those faking the funk. They fool our people into thinking that they are the revolutionary vanguard of the people, when clearly they are not for the people’s liberation. These perpetrators are always overlooking certain issues of oppression. Their lips stay zipped tight on issues of women being oppressed and on the struggle of oppressed nations.

We should present a mass organization, under revolutionary leadership towards the current struggle of pig brutality. Accept your own nationality and be yourself. By applying the United Front theory with revolutionary science will we overcome imperialism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have much agreement with this writer but a few notes to make in response to this essay. First, it is not unique to New Afrikans to identify with their oppressors. We have seen many Chican@s identify with whites. And within prison for instance some Chican@ lumpen organizations (LOs) will even ally with white supremacist groups.

We very much agree with this comrade’s call for revolutionary leadership. But we’re unsure what it means to call on people to “be yourself.” Perhaps within imperialist borders we would be better to call on people to not be themselves, or at least not be the people they have been trained to be from birth, and instead to rebel, and take up revolutionary science. Become a new and better person, fighting on the side of the world’s oppressed.

chain
[National Oppression] [ULK Issue 51]
expand

Building Class Consciousness among Lumpen New Afrikans

I have seen individuals and groups develop lumpen class consciousness. It was done using history, specifically New Afrikan history, supplied in books and zines. The zines spoke on political and militant New Afrikan organizations. It was also experienced from grown up lumpen New Afrikans in oppressed kommunities.

Lumpen organizations develop class consciousness among their membership by making it a mandatory study and part of our historical development. Study why we are in the conditions we are in, and it becomes part of studying knowledge of self and our enemy.

A majority of the lumpen only care about themselves, money and things. They become territorial to protect their drug spots and the streets they roam and people they know. Some are aware of their class in how it relates to other New Afrikans who are proletarian or boogee. The lumpen want a better life. They get caught up in a trap of mental depression or hopelessness. That’s why they take their last and buy nice looking clothes and cars. To feel like they have something, to show an illusion.

Those who are not as blessed spend their money on drugs, alcohol and women to escape reality temporarily. We realize the bigger picture when we encounter the pig (cops) occupying force and they treat us like the ring around a dirty bathtub. We feel the national consciousness of oppression when we are in the court room or modern-day auction block and we are sold off to the modern-day plantation called prison. We see walking and driving while New Afrikan is just cause to be stopped and frisked. Then you realize on the battlefield (street) or in prison (plantation) you are a victim of social engineering and you were not given a fair chance or opportunity. You grew up with a higher percentage of stumbling blocks than most people. You’re a victim of circumstance because you’re born New Afrikan in an environment set up like a rat maze with traps around every corner. This is the national consciousness. We’re at war against oppression and exploitation.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good reminder of why we need to focus on education as a critical part of organizing the lumpen. Drawing the connections between day-to-day oppression and the bigger picture of national consciousness can be achieved by presenting real examples from history and pushing people to think about these important connections. Study doesn’t need to start with deep theory, it can start with something relevant to the student’s life, like the example of Malcolm X becoming revolutionized in prison after learning to read, or the Black Panther’s fight against police brutality. But we have to give people the tools to take this information further and build a theoretical understanding of why these things happened and what we need to do today. That means studying the deeper questions of political theory and the history of revolutionary struggles, so we can learn what works and what doesn’t. With the first sparks of class consciousness among the lumpen will come an even greater desire to learn, and revolutionaries have a duty to feed this desire with material to study and an opportunity to struggle and discuss and build.

chain