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[Police Brutality] [Organizing] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 42]
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Killing Cops and Revolutionary Activism of the Lumpen

body cameras are not enough
source: Reuters 2014
"The lumpen has no choice but to manifest its rebellion in the university of the streets. It's very important to recognize that the streets belong to the lumpen, and that it is in the streets that lumpen will make their rebellion."
- On the Ideology of the Black Panther Party, Eldridge Cleaver 1970

The recent killing of two New York City (NYC) cops must be viewed as a conscious act of war taking place within the context of national oppression, just as the killing of Eric Garner and countless others from the oppressed internal nations of New Afrika, Aztlán and the various First Nations at the hands of filthy pigs were and will continue to be acts of war that the police wage against the oppressed for the dominant white nation known as Amerika. Yet if we listen to the politicians we hear them desperately trying to switch the narrative of these killings as having nothing to do with the wave of recent protests currently being directed against police brutality and police repression since the murder of Michael Brown in Missouri on 9 August 2014. Instead they tell us that these killings are the result of a depraved criminal element who the police have all along been trying to protect us from.

In a recent public address NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the deaths of these pigs to be "an attack on all of us" and asked that protesters put their demonstrations on hold as it was now time to "move forward and heal divisions." Others, including the pigs themselves, have called on protestors to "tone down their language." One reactionary on a CNN roundtable even went so far as to categorize the killing of those cops as "an attack on the very heart of democracy and the people that uphold that democracy"! And that is a very funny statement to make as i could've sworn that the heart of democracy lies with the people and not with the special bodies of armed men. Instead of democracy we have power arising from society which places itself above the people and becomes more and more alienated from them. These arms of the state have been tasked with managing the irreconcilability of both national and class antagonisms.

But why are the politicians so anxious to stop the masses from making the connection between the state-sanctioned murders of Eric Garner (and others) and NYC pigs? Because they know that context is everything regardless of what the pigs, the politicians or any other member of the liberal and conservative white media have to say. The killing of those pigs was carried out by a subjective revolutionary force outside of an objective revolutionary scenario. Therefore, the lesson for us to take away from this is that the killing of those two cops was undoubtedly political, just as sure as all prisoners are political.

Does this however mean that we support such a strategy of attacking the existing power structure absent a revolutionary situation? No, because that is not an effective way of advancing the needs of the oppressed, nor does it advance our own revolutionary agenda. What is for sure, however, is that the death of two of NYC's "finest" is sure to be used as another pretext to round up and spy on political activists as well as to further clamp down on "crime" in the big rotten apple, which directly translates into more repression for the lumpen.

In The Correct Handling of a Revolution by Dr. Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense for the Black Panther Party, Newton hit on the correct methods of both leadership and struggle within the New Afrikan community of his time. This analysis still holds good today and revolutionaries from the oppressed nations should take note:


The vanguard party must provide leadership for the people. It must teach the correct strategic methods of prolonged resistance through literature and activities. If the activities of the party are respected by the people, the people will follow the example. This is the primary job of the party. ...

There are basically three ways one can learn: through study, through observation, and through actual experience. The Black community is basically composed of activists. The community learned through activity, either through observation of or participation in the activity. To study and learn is good but the actual experience is the best means of learning. The party must engage in activities that will teach the people. The Black community is basically not a reading community. Therefore it is very significant that the vanguard group first be activists. Without this knowledge of the Black community one could not gain the fundamental knowledge of the Black revolution in racist America.

While leaving out some focoist rhetoric characteristic of the BPP which we fundamentally disagree with, this excerpt is part of the most correct aspect of the mass line and how we relate to the masses on a day-to-day and strategic level. V.I. Lenin, leader of the first socialist state, the Soviet Union, from 1917-1924, dealt with one aspect of the lumpen-proletariat in his time quite relevant at the present moment — their tendency to engage in spontaneous and disorganized armed struggle against the state and in "expropriation" of private property. Lenin vehemently condemned those Bolsheviks who disassociated themselves from this by proudly and smugly declaring that they themselves were not anarchists, thieves or robbers. He attacked "the usual appraisal" (2) which saw this struggle as merely "anarchism, Blanquism, the old terrorism, the act of individuals isolated from the masses, which demoralize the workers, repel wide strata of the population, disorganize the movement and injure the revolution."(3) Lenin drew the following keen lessons from the disorganized period of this struggle:


"It is not these actions which disorganize the movement, but the weakness of a party which is incapable of taking such actions under its control. The Bolsheviks (communists) must organize these spontaneous acts and must train and prepare their organizations to be really able to act as a belligerent side which does not miss a single opportunity of inflicting damage on the enemy's forces."(4)

In short, it's not necessarily that we disagree with the actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, rather his timing was off. It is exactly these types of actions by the oppressed nation lumpen which make them both the hope of the liberation movements of the internal semi-colonies, as well as the potential spearhead of the oppressed nations against a rising fascist threat here in the United $tates. In the end it doesn't matter whether these pigs wear cameras or not. What matters is how we respond, as that is the difference between liberation and more repression.


All Power to the People!
Lumpens Unite!


Notes:
1. The State And Revolution, V.I. Lenin
2. "Guerilla Warfare," V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, XI, p. 220
3. Ibid, p. 216-17
4. Ibid, p. 219

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[Police Brutality] [National Oppression]
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Amerikan Police Brutality and Torturous Prisons are the Same Issue

The decision not to try the pig in Ferguson, Missouri for the killing of Mike Brown has set the people off, and rightly so. It is a broken record of this injustice system and its real intention.

When i woke up and turned on the news that first morning and saw the reaction to the courts not charging the killer cop i was glad that the people were expressing their dissatisfaction with this system. i say this system because it is really this system that upholds the ability of the state to keep on slaughtering the people.

Then i saw that same killer cop in an interview and he straight up says that he regrets nothing. He is content with shooting a young man in the face and head who was simply resisting being murdered, resisting the killer. He was the face of Amerikkka and he offered a real portrait of what Amerikkka is all about.

The neighborhood that Mike Brown was murdered in was like the neighborhoods that prisoners come from, it is where most poor people in the United $tates come from. This is what we experience when we interact with the state.

There is no excuse for what is occurring in the poor people's streets. It is a never ending fusillade of despair unleashed on oppressed people. And yet we still have so many prisoners who are oblivious to what is occurring, even though it is occurring in their streets. It's almost like folks have blinders on and do not see what is occurring all around them, not once or twice but daily throughout the United $tates.

Prisoners need to connect the dots and realize that what occurs out in those streets does pertain to you because these are your people out there being slaughtered, this is a one sided war that needs to be turned around. The uprising in Furguson is a response to this and it's a good response but people need to respond in so many different ways in order to declare that these killer cops must stop slaughtering the people.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We join this comrade's call for more uprisings like in Ferguson. The people have a right to be outraged at the system of national oppression in the United $tates. And we must call out this system clearly for what it is: there is not just a mass of generic poor people in this country, the poor are disproportionately concentrated in the oppressed nations. These groups, New Afrikans, Chican@s, First Nations, along with national minorities like Mexican@s, live in a country where their neighborhoods are occupied by the imperialist police force and where they can face death for the crime of walking down the street.

Connecting the dots for prisoners includes recognizing that it is the same criminal injustice system that locks up oppressed nations that is killing people in the streets. The cops, the courts, and the prisons are all part of this same systematic social control. And so prisoner's protesting abuses behind the bars are a part of the larger struggle against imperialism on the streets. We must make these connections and keep in mind the broader goals while we fight against day-to-day oppression behind bars.

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[National Oppression] [Jamaica] [Africa]
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Book Review: Marcus Garvey Falls Short of Revolutionary Nationalism


Marcus Garvey: Black Nationalist Leader
by Mary Lawler
Holloway House Books 1990

I had the chance to borrow this book from a New Afrikan prisoner in order to check out this cat who many believe to have been a main influence to the Black liberation struggle of the 20th century. One thing that stood out is almost every other page had a photograph, including everything from Jamaican slaves, "race riots," the klan and Malcolm X.

This book traces the life of Marcus Garvey from his birth on August 17, 1887 in Saint Ann's Bay, Jamaica. Out of 11 brothers and sisters, only he and a sister lived past childhood. His stonemason father was known to be a voracious reader and well respected in the village; his mother was a farmer who sold what she grew along with baked goods to contribute to the family. Early on the family owned several properties, but after legal disputes the family was left with the single property they lived in.

Garvey's father was what Lawler described as "A descendant of the maroons, escaped Jamaican slaves who banded together during the 17th and 18th centuries to fight the island's British colonial rulers."(p. 23)

Garvey descended from a line of anti-colonial struggle. The British slaves killed off all the indigenous Arawak natives and then kidnapped Africans and used them as slave labor in their plantations all over Jamaica. Garvey's relatives were among those who resisted the oppressor.

Because of his father's profession and his family being landowners, Garvey was educated in public school as well as by tutors, and took advantage of his father's private library which was well stocked with books, newspapers, and magazines. This was at a time when most Black people in Jamaica received little to no education. At the age of 15 Garvey went on to work as a printer's apprentice, and by age 20 he was a master printer, a skill which he would put to use later in his propaganda efforts.

Garvey became politicized after moving to Kingston and seeing the inequality and oppression of Blacks. It was in Kingston where he joined his first workers' strike at the print shop where he worked to protest low wages. At age 22 Garvey joined a group called the "National Club" that strove for better treatment of Blacks and agitated against British colonialism. He immediately began working on the national club's organ Our Own, which led him to launch his own publication called Garvey's Watchman. Garvey's Watchman didn't last very long, but made clear his real purpose and increased his interest in political organizing.

With big plans and little money Garvey became a migrant worker and set off for Costa Rica in 1910. Garvey's thoughts were on Blacks in Jamaica, but in Costa Rica he saw horrible treatment of Black workers in his first job for United Fruit. United Fruit is a U.$.-controlled company that has long wreaked havoc on Latin America. It has left a bloody trail in its support of brutal dictators while ensuring workers' rights are silenced with often deadly results.

The book explains how Garvey's first job at a banana plantation quickly led him to fight for workers, even launching a newspaper called La Nacionale (The National) that expressed workers' rights. It wasn't too effective as most of the workers were illiterate, so these efforts did not get very far.

After traveling to several Latin American nations and returning to Jamaica, at age 23, Garvey set sail to England. In England, he again faced poor work conditions and discrimination. Garvey finally realized that everywhere he went, regardless of the country, Blacks experienced oppression. In England he attended college where he met other Blacks who promoted Pan-Africanism. The Pan-African Movement was created in the 1800s. This was a time when British colonialism held many Black nations as colonies and the Pan-African movement sought to create Black nations that were governed by Blacks. The idea was to take Africa back for Africans.

In 1913 Garvey began work for Duse Mohammed Ali, publisher of African Times which promoted the rights of Black people. This, Lawler explains, allowed Garvey to mingle with the movers and shakers of the Pan-African movement, as most of them wrote for African Times.

The author writes that after reading Booker T. Washington's book Up From Slavery Garvey "found his purpose." Washington was a known integrationist who believed Black people should not protest racism, and instead that eventually the white nation would accept Black people. Many of the more progressive Black leaders of this period denounced Booker T. as an Uncle Tom.

In this book we read about Garvey creating the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914. UNIA was to work to unite and improve Jamaican Black people's socio-economic conditions while promoting the anti-colonial struggles of Africa.

The author states about Garvey, "Like Booker T. Washington, he believed that until the Black workers became committed to self improvement, they would be looked down upon by whites."(p. 57)

The author implies that Black people can work within the oppressor nation's systems, and claims this will resolve racism from the oppressor. This system of thinking misses identifying the root of one's oppression. To blame the oppressed is to be an apologist for the oppressor nation and this thinking will never lead to the liberation that Garvey was lookiing for.

I also found it surprising that Garvey seemed to rely on religion as a savior. For instance, the author quotes Garvey as speaking on what helped to better himself, "Nobody helped me toward that objective except my own mind and God's good will."(p. 59) Garvey was also known to organize religious meetings as the author reminds us. The book suffers in that the author offers many quotes from Garvey and others but gives no footnotes as to where these quotes are coming from; this makes many of the quotes seem suspect.

In 1916 Garvey arrived in Amerika and found in Harlem a more receptive audience to UNIA than in Jamaica where UNIA only gained under 100 members and financially was unable to launch any independent institutions.

Garvey soon helped form a New York chapter of UNIA along with a newspaper Negro World, which served as UNIA's platform. The UNIA's motto was "One God, One Aim, One Destiny," thus it was steeped in a metaphysical approach about what would free Black people.

In 1919 Garvey founded a shipping company called "Black Star Line." This was created with the intent to obtain Black "economic independence." Garvey said, with regard to the Black Star line, "Our economic condition seems, to a great extent, to affect our general status... be not deceived wealth is strength, wealth is power, wealth is justice, is liberty, is real human rights."(p. 112) Spoken like a true capitalist.

It becomes apparent in this book that Garvey believed Black capitalism would liberate Black people from the hardships he had witnessed worldwide. He believed creating and then monopolizing on "Black industries," UNIA could supply Black people with furniture and other goods in South and Central America, as well as the West Indies and beyond. Garvey encouraged all Black people to invest in UNIA as a step toward liberating themselves from racism.

In 1922 Garvey was arrested for mail fraud in soliciting investors for the Black Star Line which had begun to lose business as ships were lost and investors became suspicious. Garvey was convicted and sent to prison for a couple of years. Upon release he was deported back to Jamaica where he attempted to rebuild UNIA. After poor results he moved back to England to start up a UNIA chapter and it was during this time that a rift was created between the New York chapter and Garvey himself, which helped to tarnish UNIA more. Garvey died in England on June 10, 1940 at age 53. Although he died in poverty his death would bring him a renewed notoriety in Jamaica and worldwide.

Throughout the book neither socialism nor communism was mentioned once! I found this odd as this was a time when Russia had just been liberated under Lenin's leadership, but then Garvey was not a socialist. Without socialism a people will continue to be oppressed even if governed by one's own people. The masses of people will simply be people oppressed by their own bourgeoisie. This is bourgeois nationalism, or as Huey Newton coined it, pork chop nationalism. Revolutionary nationalism which install socialism once a nation is liberated, thus ensuring the bourgeois and other capitalist roaders do not get the chance to derail the revolution.

Garvey did leave a lasting impression on the Black nation in Amerika. Malcolm X's father was a Garveyite so Malcolm obviously grew up in Garvey thought. On the end it can be said Garvey helped to develop more progressive thought than his own. This book is worth reading as a basic intro to Marcus Garvey's political work, but it is important to note it does not include Garvey's own writings. Those researching the historical development of New Afrikans will find some value in this book.

This article referenced in:
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[National Oppression] [Maryland]
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Stats Show National Oppression in Maryland Prisons

I'm incarcerated in a Maryland State Prison where 76.2% of prisoners are Black (15,386 of the state's 21,194 prison population). Blacks are 18.9% of the state population according to the 2010 census statistics. The state is dominated and governed by white so-called liberals. The laws are enforced unequally, the courts are inherently racist, and the prison population illustrates the disproportionate number of Blacks locked up. Maryland is another Ferguson, Missouri, especially the city of Baltimore where 72% of the Black prison population comes from.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons within the United $tates are used as a tool of national oppression. It was the revolutionary nationalist movements of the 60s and 70s, most notably the Black Panther Party, which terrified the Amerikan government and led to a dramatic rise in imprisonment rates, focused on oppressed nations. As the book The New Jim Crow documented, from the police to the courts to the prisons and back onto the streets systematic national oppression demonizes oppressed nations as an excuse for this imprisonment. We would not just call the courts "racist" though, because racism is an attitude, and we think this goes much further than just attitudes. National oppression is systemic in the courts, and a fundamental part of imperialist economics in general.

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[Police Brutality] [National Oppression]
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Fox Features New Afrikan Apologists for Imperialism

Jonathan Gentry petty bourgeois minister
Fox News made Minister Jonathan Gentry famous for blaming New Afrikans
for their own oppression.

In the wake of the recent tragic death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Fox News and other white nationalist mouth pieces have been holding nightly segments on "Race in Amerikkka." On Friday (29 August 2014), Fox brought on petty bourgeois "New Afrikan" leaders. What appalled me about these appearances were the justification given by these appointed leaders for the unjust actions taken, not just in this horrific murder, but any point and time when cops kill people. Not once was anything said about how this disproportionate system has pushed the New Afrikan communities into further destruction. The removal of young New Afrikan men to overpopulated prisons, underfunded schools, scarce jobs, and lack of community investment are real problems, that get zero air time. While these New Afrikan leaders could have gone into discourse about this, it seemed as if they wanted to speak kindly and give answers that reactionary views could agree with.

The solutions that this panel of “leaders” gave were borderline absurd. 1) Give the murderous cop the benefit of the doubt. 2) Stop looking at the death of Mike Brown as a race issue, but a people issue. 3) The nation's problems can only be solved by church and 4) This would all stop if all poor people jumped into the middle class. I can only agree with one of 4 of these solutions. The killing of people by cops is a society issue. Any time a cop kills anyone, 9 times out of 10 the cop will never see jail, and if he does he won't go for very long. As for the rest of these solutions, I felt like it only gave excuses for all of us to lay down and accept the militarization or police, state executions of people in communities, and the immunity by police as a fact of life.

The stark reality is, this kkkountry has a real problem. A majority of people in prison are from the internal semi-colonies, who come from underdeveloped communities. Again if racism and white privilege isn't a fact in our society, why are we so encouraged to act, think, dress and accept what white society tells us? In fact, white supremacy is so ingrained in our society that we are raised with it, often times we don't even notice. Poverty, profiling from police, bad housing, and schools that pipeline kids to prison, not to mention the criminalization of social behavior from childhood to high school. It is no real wonder that most of us end up in gangs, drug wars fueled by profit, single parent homes or just unwanted and state raised. All those who spoke on Fox News made me sick; prayer and peace is not a defense against bullets and badges and prison cells.

What's being done in this young man's tragedy should be a wakeup call and more importantly a call to arms. How many more of our children are we going to let them kill? How many more family are we going to let them lock up? Why haven't we learned, this system doesn't want us or accept us. When we as captives choose to ignore the reality of this system, or we choose to buy into it, then we are accepting all that comes with it: white supremacy, cultural aggression, and more horrifying oppression and imperialism. The system's use of psychological warfare will always drive us to hate our cultures, nationalities and ourselves.

The U.$. will always seize the opportunity to pin the classes against one another and media outlets like Fox feed the misconception and downplay the situation of us in bondage to the U.$. colonial system. If we in prison build upon the reality of what life holds on the outside and how it will lead us to always be on the fringe we will then chose to feed revolution or fail.

This same attitude in national news feeds helps keep us kaptive, by allowing them to think that we are the real dangers to society rather than recognizing that we are kept in bondage because their government has led us to a violent, overly repressed and suppressed society, that drove us into poverty, fed drugs into our communities, gave us guns, and let the pigs clean up the mess.

Fear is a powerful tool, the longer we keep disorganizing and keep in-fighting the more we keep allowing the system, our kaptors, and society in general to continue on the path of building prisons and killing our children. We know the path, now it is time to build. Standing in solidarity.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There have always been individuals from the oppressed nations who the oppressor could use as mouthpieces for their own ideas. But the petty bourgeoisie in the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates is bigger than ever today. And as mentioned above, the political solution offered by those taking up white nationalist politics is to have all New Afrikans, Chican@s, or whoever the target is, join the Amerikan petty bourgeoisie, or as they say, "the middle class."

There are two problems with this strategy. One is it is not happening on the broad scale that they would hope, and is merely a pipe dream fed to the oppressed to keep them pacified. The other is that joining Amerika is joining the most hated nation on the planet. And these two points are connected. On the one hand Amerika is hated because it oppresses and exploits all over the world, and this is why they have such a large, wealthy middle class. On the other hand, this oppression takes the primary form of national oppression, which is justified by ideas of race. Therefore there are both economic/structural limits to integration in the United $tates as well as cultural limitations, as the white nation must see itself as superior in order to support the actions of its imperialist government.

We need to keep in mind that the mainstream media reflects the views of the oppressor nation in Amerika, not just the views of the imperialists in power. This is why we need a revolution, not only in the economic base that allows oppressor nations to profit off the exploitation of the oppressed in the Third World, but also a revolution in the culture and institutions that promote reactionary ideas and justify the system of national oppression.

Even after capitalism was overthrown in China, and the communists had taken state power, they undertook the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to criticize old reactionary ideas and create new revolutionary culture, and to encourage the people to criticize their leaders when errors were made. This is necessary because we cannot get rid of so many years of capitalist/racist culture overnight. Even good comrades can be influenced to wrong ideas. If this was necessary under a socialist state, just think how much more difficult it is under capitalism, in the richest country in the world, to create proletarian culture. We do not currently have the resources to fight state-supporting media like Fox. Work with us to build independent institutions of the oppressed!

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[Middle East] [Gender] [National Oppression]
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In Protest of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

I have been a loyal supporter of the oppressed Palestinian people for over 20 years now, when I was at liberty and since I've been an unwilling guest of the Amerikan gulag system. I had a Palestinian instructor in college and she really opened my eyes to the high-handed imperialist tactics of the United States government.

Being a homosexual in Amerika during the 1980s and forced to confront the atypical everyday injustices co-opted from oppressive world religions and given the wink and nod by various White House administrations and Congress, I thus opposed the despotic and dictatorial government whose flag I am unfortunate to be forced to live under. Unfortunately these revelations robbed me of my adolescence at 12 and 13 years of age.

My people have suffered and died under this regime since its inception over 200 years ago. But even more tragic, we have suffered, as have the Palestinian people, the consequences of the Hebrew/Jewish religious and cultural influence that have poisoned the earth now for thousands of years with its Zionist agenda.

Make no mistake, I have no quarrel with the common Israeli citizen nor the adherents of Judaism. I am not anti-semitic in any way. But I do however dream of a day when the food and destructive influences of radical religions are all eliminated.

I wish these religious zealots no evil end or personal ill will. Only that they could learn to live in peace and harmony with those of us who simply want to live our lives as we choose as equals along with the rest of the world. Not as half-men, half-women, freaks or outcasts. We only ask equal rights and to benefit from equal justice.

Our people too suffered in places such as Bergen-Beese and the like. Our extermination has been sought by all cultures and ethnicities since the dawn of time. Mostly in the name of one God or another. And Yahweh - the god of the Jews - seems to be the most bloodthirsty of all.

Our children have the basic human right and reasonable expectation to grow up as homosexuals or heterosexuals without their fears and insecurities being created as a result of the hatred and intolerance of a sheep-like population that has been brainwashed by government stooges through the world. Religion truly is the opiate of the masses. Sadly though, these puppeteers sit, primarily in London, Washington and, yes, Jerusalem.

We homosexuals in the United States and throughout the world have the human right, as do the Palestinian people, to self-determination notwithstanding the dictatorial influence of world religions propped up by hypocritical governments seeking only to control the masses.

Sadly, we do not live in a true democracy. We live under an authoritarian government. A democracy is a nation governed by the will of the people that seeks social equality. No, friends, we live in a theocracy that masquerades as a democracy.

It is also sad that Palestine - primarily a Muslim, heterosexual nation - do not enjoy even the limited human rights the vilified homosexual minorities of the western world do.

It is my sincere hope that my homosexual brothers and sisters throughout the world, those not brainwashed by the Israeli propaganda machines, would stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people in opposition to the jackbooted Israeli thugs in Jerusalem.

The Amerikan government stands behind and actively supports the genocide of the Palestinian people by Israel through her leaders by financing this obvious extermination attempt of an ancient people and culture with Amerikan tax dollars and military aid, thus forcing all tax paying Amerikan citizens to be unintended co-conspirators in these crimes against humanity.

This purportedly is to defend a peace-loving nation claiming only to want to exist. Yet that same nation actively seeks the utter annihilation and complete extermination of a legitimate ethnic group of human beings, with ancient ties to the disputed land in question, from the face of the earth.

Amerika has demonstrated they are a nation of liars and hypocrites. We have known since 1967 that Israel always has been. Never again, indeed!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade correctly ties the struggles of one oppressed group (gays) to the struggles of another oppressed group (Palestinians) by noting one common source of oppression in bourgeois culture in the form of religion. And further s/he correctly points out that Palestinians enjoy even fewer rights than most gays in imperialist countries, a point that is crucial for us to understand because it underscores the relative wealth and power of those living in oppressor nations compared to the oppressed nations like Palestine. In fact, tax-paying Amerikans mostly support the U.$. government and the I$raeli regime it supports, and so they don't mind being party to these crimes funded by U.$. military aid. In the arena of international politics it is important that we are able to distinguish our friends from our enemies. We do not want to create false unity with our enemies, nor do we want to divide unnecessarily from those on the anti-imperialist side of the struggle.

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[Police Brutality] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 40]
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Fighting Police Murders in Ferguson and Beyond

The recent murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson police, and subsequent violence in Ferguson, Missouri highlights how far of a divide there is between the police and the citizenry. Racial bias, disparity, the militarization of police and the growing anger of misconduct has opened or reopened wounds from the Trayvon Martin killing and other police executions in the last few years.

For many of us this is a cry that we should have been making against this police treatment long ago. While the media and all of its minions have been paying lip service to the murder of a young man, and the various "activists" have been attempting to bring attention to militarization of police and prison racial disparities, when this is all said and done, we will have nothing that has been accomplished.

Racism is a tool used by the system to distract people from its root problems. We should all be concerned about 1) the justification for murder by police which is embraced so gratefully by many, and 2) how those who don't live in communities where police brutality is common apologize for the wrong-doers and demonize those who are under injustice.

The killing of an 18-year-old happened. He was unarmed and killed in cold blood by a cop who was supposed to be protecting and serving.

How can anyone call for peace when so many young children have been murdered by police? He came from a lumpen community who now all share in the call for justice. No more police murders.

Cops are killing our kids, what are we going to do to get justice if another killer walks?


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer makes an important point about racism as a tool used by the imperialist system. Racism is an attitude, and the root problem is national oppression. Michael Brown was a victim of national oppression, a system in the United $tates which puts the white nation in a position of power and wealth while the New Afrikan, Chican@ and First Nations as groups receive vastly inferior education, public services, and income. And the public perception of oppressed nations is a result of centuries of "education" so that police and regular citizens believe that Black youth are inherently dangerous.

We must demand justice, but not just for Michael Brown. One killer cop being prosecuted will not change the system of national oppression. We can't use the criminal injustice system to defeat national oppression. Only by fighting imperialism, the very system that perpetuates national oppression both at home and around the world, do we have a real chance of ending police murders.

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[Censorship] [Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression] [Washington]
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Washington Prohibits Foreign Language Publications

Walls Closing In

I am fighting this Washington Department of Corrections policy "c) Publications in a foreign language will not be allowed with the exception of religious publications." They let letters come in in a foreign language, up to 10 pages. Before 2010 they used to let me get books and magazines in Spanish, but then they changed the policy.

I'm familiar with the censorship pack from MIM(Prisons), but there is nothing that applies to this issue. I exhausted the grievances. Their last response was that they had security interests and that it was a threat to the security of the institutions.

I've heard that there are states that let foreign language literature come in, also I heard that the federal system does too. These clowns told me that there is no state, federal or constitutional law that supports me to get books or magazines in a foreign language. I'm asking for the help of ULK readers around the country to advise me with a case or law that I could use in an argument or lawsuit. I don't know how to file one but I have to learn somehow. I wrote the ACLU and other organizations, but they never gave me a response.

If you do have some advice please sent it to MIM(Prisons). And finally to all those in Washington state, it would be good if we can come together in this and many other issues.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is an important battle because it is clear denial of access to educational materials for all Raza, and is particularly important for those Spanish-speaking prisoners who are not fluent in English. This blatant national oppression must be fought. We look forward to hearing from our readers with suggestions for how to best approach this campaign.

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[Gender] [National Oppression] [Culture] [Federal Correctional Institution Danbury] [Federal]
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Book Review: Orange is the New Black, My Year in a Women's Prison

New Afrikan prisoner female


by Piper Kerman
Spiegel & Grau (March 8, 2011)
327 pages

This memoir by Piper Kerman, describes the experience of a well-off white womyn who served a year in a minimum-security Federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Kernan was locked up for drug trafficking and money laundering, crimes she committed 10 years before her conviction and self-surrender. This is not a story of the typical imprisonment of disadvantaged men and wimmin, disproportionately poor and from oppressed nations, but rather a memoir of a woman with a solid future who took a brief detour to prison and made a lot of money by writing a book about it. Most prisoners face a life after release haunted by their conviction which makes finding housing and jobs virtually impossible. While others in prison on her charges are labeled drug dealers and face long sentences, Kernan's brief imprisonment is portrayed as the result of a period of reckless experimentation and mistakes of her youth.

Ordinarily a book like this wouldn't hold much interest for MIM(Prisons), but it's become quite a sensation after it was the basis for a popular Netflix TV series by the same name. This reviewer has only seen a few episodes of the TV show, but based on that i can say it's only loosely based on the book. For instance, where the book has virtually no sex at all, the TV show is mostly sex and lots of sensationalism. The reality of boredom and mundane prison life wouldn't make for a very interesting TV show.

On the positive side, Kernan humanizes the wimmin who she meets in prison, and gives their lives voice by pointing out the unjust drug sentences and devastating effects prison has on families. The TV show also provides a human face to its characters, when they aren't having sex or acting in some stereotypical role, but given the general portrayal of prisoners as evil and dangerous this is at least a small improvement. Of course, none of those wimmin get book deals, and for the most part they also don't have jobs lined up, or homes in New York bought by fiancées who visit religiously every week, along with hoards of other people who visit and write throughout their imprisonment. Kernan does admit her volume of mail greatly exceeds everyone else. And she spends a few pages reflecting on the fact that some wimminn she meets face lives on the outside just as difficult as their lives behind bars.

Part of humanizing the wimmin in Danbury's Federal Correctional Institution includes telling stories of their kindness towards fellow prisoners. In this regard the TV show overplays violence and conflict between the prisoners relative to the book. Kernan explains the deep friendships and support the wimmin offer each other in this minimum security prison, and overall she sees their humynity and does not try to portray Amerikan prisons as a place that is offering any rehabilitation or value for prisoners.

Both the book and the TV show condemn the prison guards for their brutality and degradation of the prisoners. The reality of Kernan's experience in the book does describe some guards who clearly enjoy their sadistic power, and overall she maintains a strong anti-pig position even when someone is cutting her a break.

Overall this book doesn't contribute much to those seeking to understand the conditions in prison and fight the criminal injustice system. It advances the finances and career of one well-off white womyn, and if anything we learn that prisons are built to lock up poor people, mostly from oppressed nations, and imprisonment of people like Kernan is a fluke that rarely happens and registers little damage to their lives.

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[First Nations] [National Oppression] [Environmentalism] [ULK Issue 39]
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Settlers Instigate Violence in First Nation Village

On May 1, in the northern Alaska village of Tanana, two state troopers were shot to death after being sent to the remote Alaska Native village to arrest a resident for misdemeanor violations including driving without a license and threatening a village public safety officer. The man's son shot the troopers as they entered into a physical altercation to arrest him.

The issue has been sensationalized in the bourgeois press as an extreme tragedy involving the deaths of the officers who were killed "in the line of duty." The young man who fired the shots is being vilified by the media as a murderer and arch-villain guilty of killing two cops who are painted as heroes and outstanding individuals. As droves of white settlers attended the long procession of police cars carrying and escorting the bodies of the troopers from the medical examiner to the airport in Anchorage, hands over hearts and tears in eyes, nary a word is to be heard in lament of the destruction of a young First Nation life and family. Upon further, deeper examination however, a picture emerges which places the emphasis on First Nation repression, police-state tactics, and a long history of neglect by the white ruling class of its oppressed, dependent and dominated rural native population.

It was not native or even just local law enforcement which came to intervene and attempt to take into custody the alleged offender, it was white outsiders who needed to be flown in from a far distant regional hub in the tradition of the imperialist colonial model. These intruders have no personal ties to such communities and they naturally are viewed with resentment and suspicion. This sort of "law enforcement" is seen as arbitrary, external, and illegitimate by many who are forced to recognize its jurisdiction at the barrel of a gun. It is also increasingly being challenged.(1)

At first glance, what would appear to have happened in this particular situation is that a local individual who was transgressing some relatively petty ordinances or laws (which, by the way, are mostly foisted upon the First Nation people by white settlerism from far-off white legislatures and courts) was confronted by what passes for law enforcement in most rural villages - a VPSO, or "village public safety officer." The alleged offender did not want to cooperate with the VPSO and threatened him. The VPSO then contacted state troopers. The troopers were eventually flown in, attempted to arrest said individual and a struggle ensued after the man resisted arrest. The man's son, upon witnessing this altercation, grabbed a firearm and shot the troopers in defense of his father. The media is portraying the son as a "cowardly and selfish" criminal who killed two of Alaska's finest. But let's now dig more below the surface to understand the real elements behind this unfortunate circumstance.

The father and son are connected with a group called the Athabascan Nation (Athabascan being their particular native tribe). This group denies the authority of the state over native lands. They have also questioned and challenged the authority of the VPSOs.(2)

The position of VPSO was created by the state legislature. Instead of allowing First Nation sovereignty, and also even allotting appropriate funding for tribes to create their own, this was the state's way of providing a law enforcement presence in villages.

Most VPSOs are the equivalent of a native "Uncle Tom," a puppet of the "man." Though it is only the equivalent of putting a band aid over a gaping wound, many tribes in the south have been granted a form of limited sovereignty under a set of laws incongruously titled "Indian Country." The Navajo Reservation in New Mexico is an example. However, in Alaska, a clever piece of settler legislation called the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act killed "Indian Country" sovereignty in Alaska and instead regional "corporations" were set up, which in turn were given lucrative contracts on oil and mineral exploitation (most of which is still dominated by Euro-Amerikan multinationals like BP and Exxon anyway). These corporations make considerable amounts of money for a relatively few shareholders while providing limited health care and other services but little else. In other words, it was and is the Euro-Amerikan exploiter class's way of bribing a significant enough portion of Alaska natives to be content with being an otherwise plundered and oppressed colonial, subjected people. This has effectively kept most pacified, while corporations appropriate natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals, timber, fish, etc, worth billions of dollars to the ruling class exploiters.

In order to maintain complete control over these lands, the white plunderer ruling class has even imposed their own arbitrary laws and regulations on the First Nation peoples' way of life — their traditional and time-honored means of subsistence. As an example, state fish and game officers forcefully prevent indigenous peoples from harvesting food resources that they have for thousands of years, in the name of preserving stocks and preventing depletion (so that great white hunters won't run short on sport-hunting). They are then forced onto the rolls of social welfare programs such as food stamps, thereby making them into a totally dependent population. The social evils this has produced are numerous and horrendous, including creating feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness amongst a formerly proud and self-sustaining, independent people and therefore contributing in large part to the extremely high rates of suicide and drug/alcohol dependency and in effect inflicting another indirect genocide on the First Nation peoples.

There is, of course, something patently obscene with a nation who have historically been the biggest polluters and foulers of the earth imaginable telling those engaged in indigenous practices that have proved sustainable over generations what they can and can't do on their land. From over-fishing by commmercial fisheries, mines like Pebble Copper and Usibelli Coal and, of course, fossil fuel extraction, Amerikan dominance of the Alaskan territories has brought ecological disaster. This March was the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, killing hundreds of thousands of shorebirds. While bird populations are recovering, others have not, including the local Orca populations that have continued to decline since the spill.(3) And that's only beginning to scratch at the surface of the farcical nature of white colonial rule.

Returning to the VPSO issue, it can be seen they are only a quisling representative of white colonial rule and are additionally so powerless that they all are even unarmed, making them completely dependent on state enforcement. Tribal councils themselves are little more than puppet shows. Tribal authorities rarely challenge state rule or push for sovereignty because they are, for the most part, bought-off. They don't want to lose state funding and corporate backing or jeopardize their own salaries and positions. Members of the Athabascan Nation and other similar groups recognize this and fight against their treachery and hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the latest action against the troopers by an over-idealistic and perhaps protective young man amounts to focoism that has destroyed his life, but this has shed a lot more light on the need for natives to assert far more control and autonomy over their own affairs separate from state interference.

Showing their complete disregard for their own and their status as lapdogs of state authority, the tribal council of Tanana moved to banish the man troopers came to arrest as well as another "aggressive" member of the Athabascan Nation, calling them "intolerant." Why not also banish outside, militant and aggressive officers of an oppressive regime bent on stealing and keeping your land? They'd rather banish two of their own? This speaks volumes.

In contrast, even the young man who is accused of shooting the cops seems to have had a better grip on who his real friends and enemies were, as, even though he also drew a bead on the native VPSO who was present, he lowered his gun and declined to harm him. This in itself speaks loudly for the need for tribes to govern and police themselves. It is far harder to harm someone you identify with or know, than it is someone you have had no interaction with and view as a foreign aggressor. It is also interesting that after the shootings, the local VPSO was able to take the young man into custody with the help of a few community members without further incident. So clearly, this was not, contrary to most media reports, a case of an out-of-control, criminally minded and dangerous coward, but a young First Nation man coming to the defense of his father who was being accosted and assaulted without due cause by an aggressive, militant and foreign force he did not recognize and rightfully viewed with hostility and distrust.

Not very surprisingly, even reformist measures such as the concept of "Indian Country" are vehemently opposed by the state government. If enacted, this would take away state authority and create a dual-legal system on the small amount of tribal (vs. corporate) lands that would become "Indian country."(4) In other words, the white settler state might lose its ability to fully plunder and loot the First Nation people and their land, and lose its ability to legally impose its will on the people by force.

We must fight for the national self-determination of First Nations. The imperialists must be forced to end their absolute hegemony and domination over the indigenous populations and the vast wealth of their country. The First Nation people must not be subjected to a cruel, indirect genocide and forced assimilation into white Euro-Amerikan "culture," with all its comparatively decadent values, fetishization of money, and inherent corruption.

The only solution is the revolutionary one - to support and accept nothing less than full First Nation sovereignty for all indigenous peoples.

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