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[Organizing] [Federal] [ULK Issue 33]
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Solidarity: Dead in the Feds

There are certain "rights" that are made into "privileges" in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP): our right to adequate clothing, adequate sunlight and fresh air (outdoor rec), calorically adequate meals, and peaceful assembly.

On 17 June 2013 at United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana, in the SHU we were fed a lunch that consisted of a one-ounce spoonful of pasta and a half-ounce scoop of green beans. On every meal we are to have at least two ounces of protein (meat, peanut butter, cheese, soy, etc) according to the BOP program statement. When asked about our protein we were told to not eat if we did not like the meal. The following ensued (taken from a prison report):

"On the above date while feeding Range 1 of the Special Housing Unit (SHU), inmate [X] received the noon meal in his assigned cell. He instantly ordered staff to give him a dessert and some 'protein.' The range officer instructed the inmates that there was no dessert or protein. Inmate [X] started chanting 'we want dessert, we want protein.' Inmate [X] told all the other inmates on the range to 'start bucking' and 'we need to be a group on this and not give up our trays and we will get what we want.' He began to call to cells and other inmates by 'nicknames' and saying 'come on y'all, don't bitch up.' Before SHU staff could exit the range, inmate [X]'s disruptive behavior had spread throughout the range and the range above. The result of which caused a security issue due to 53 inmates covering cell windows and refusing all orders given by staff. After several attempts had been made to collect the food trays, 46 inmates complied and were placed in 'alternative clothing' and three cells (including inmate [X]'s cell) required an 'immediate use of force team.' All actions taken by SHU inmates acting as a group were a direct result of inmate [X]'s disruptive actions."

Our clothing was taken away and we were all placed in paper boxers and a paper gown. This "alternative clothing" is reserved for prisoners on suicide watch and not to be used for disciplinary purposes. Me and my cellmate (along with five other prisoners) refused to give up our clothing while the other 47 prisoners gave their clothes up. I was gassed five times, and when the gas proved ineffective I was "sting bombed" twice. A sting bomb is a bomb full of rubber bullets and "ghost pepper" gas. Our peaceful assembly was met with force.

We are all also on "disciplinary meals" which consists of two sandwiches and a half of an apple, hardly meeting our 2,200 daily calorie needs.

If everyone would have refused to give up their trays and clothing the police and administration would have had to negotiate with us. Instead, the majority folded up like lawn chairs, making our collective stand futile in the end. It pains me to say it but solidarity is dead in the feds. The sheep are ready to be sheared.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We get a lot of letters of frustration from prisoners about the lack of unity and organization among prisoners. This letter actually demonstrates a relatively high level of unity as so many prisoners joined in a spontaneous protest action. The fact that most did not stick it out is no doubt disheartening to the organizer, but this points to the potential for greater unity. Organizing is a long slow process, and it requires the background work of education and building of unity that does not happen overnight. We don't know the back story to this incident but we urge our comrades to take lessons from these events and move forward to educate and build greater unity for the future.

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[Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada]
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Nevada Prisons Repression, Call for Resistance

Since early April there have been at least three prisoners shot, all in the head/face, and other shots fired resulting in lockdowns, two institutional lockdowns, and a number of pig assaults on prisoners including one in the seg unit I was released from and two on prisoners in the unit where I am currently housed. Most recently (last week) a Black comrade was assaulted in retaliation for exercising his first amendment right to expose pig misconduct. All of these assaults have been on Black prisoners by white pigs.

Amidst the above the food issue has been revived but has met textbook excuses - all of which boil down to:

  1. A prevailing sense of hopelessness among prisoners here
  2. A prevailing attitude of complacency among prisoners here and
  3. Fear of retaliation against prisoners here

The common factor? The state of mind of prisoners.

The Texas brothers demonstrated that victories are possible even with the grievance system, and history teaches us that: "In all ages and under all circumstances there will always exist abundant reasons not to fight but that will be the only way not to obtain victory." (Fidel Castro)

History teaches us that our victories are always the result of the work of a few against the many. It teaches us that we will never be a majority so we must fight that much harder and with greater determination and not allow few numbers and temporary failures to terminate the struggle. At this moment there are a few of us here fighting for proper food, proper medical treatment, and an end to staff abuse, assaults and retaliation and theft/censorship of mail. We are simultaneously trying to bring unity within the prisoner class. This will not happen today, but there is always tomorrow, as our Texas brothers so accurately noted in ULK 32, we are all fighting for tomorrow.

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[Organizing] [California]
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Division or Cohesion

With the upcoming stoppage of food and work what stance will the Special Needs Yard (SNY) take? One of solidarity or one of indifference?

As numbers are straight we can use all the able bodied men to join ranks in our battle for dignity. The strike is more than the demands being met. This is also a call for we, as prisoners to be treated with respect and humanity. However, the consensus is that a good portion of SNYs feel like this battle doesn't pertain to them. News flash, it does! I came to realize the dumbness of judging someone by a "classification" as GP, SNY, active or non-active. These are labels that have been placed on us to further divide prisoners as a whole. Someone's character is a better yardstick to measure them. The guards have no difference or division of opinion when it comes to fucking us up, so why should we when it's time to battle with them?

Simply put, I ask that prisoners on "that" side choose the side that is with them in this fight. Join the stoppage in work and food. Rise above the labels and make a better place for all prisoners, and more so, the world.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade's position that the classifications handed out by the prison system should not be the basis of our judgement of prisoners. SNY status, validation status, and other labels are far less important than the actions people take. We should judge individuals by their actions. Those who take up the cause of the majority of the world's people, anti-imperialism, are on the side of the people.

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[Organizing] [Theory]
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Passivity or Activity: Applying Communist Theory to Prison Organizing

Reading the June issue of "The Rock," a recurring theme kept on popping up. That theme was the raising up of prisoners' consciousness. This is a very good thing as the majority of prisoners lack the consciousness and ideology of a revolutionary.

The demands being put out are good, but as a 23-year old prisoner I can't help but shout that the same demands we are asking for we already had, and more so, they shouldn't be privileges but rights! Fighting for positive reforms is good in itself, but one shouldn't miss the forest for the trees. It's said best by Lenin:

"People always were and always would be the foolish victims of deceit and self deceit in politics until they learn to discover the interest of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises. The supporters of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order until they realize that every old institution, however barbarous and rotten it may appear to be, is maintained by the forces of some ruling classes. And there is only one way of smashing the resistance of these classes, and that is to find, in the very society that surrounds us, and to enlighten and organize for the struggle, the forces which can, and owing to their social position, must constitute the power capable of sweeping away the old and creating the new."(1)

I quote this in length because it screams at me. "Owing to their social position", and what is our social position? Second, third class citizens? What's to keep prison 'gangs' form forming into political parties? Swapping our old ideas for new ones? To dismantle our old selves and transform into a force of change not only in prison but society at large?

We have the 'fuck you attitude,' we have brass, now the question is do we have the will to organize, agitate, analyze and act? To learn something you don't know is a difficult task, I could attest to that. Putting a burden on us (prisoners) more so is the culture we cultivate and the ideology that we act out. That is the coming up on people; robbing, selling drugs and trying to conquer every female we come across. The majority of the time when we do this we do it to people who are in our same "social position." They're in the pit just like us.

Good thing for us there's the ability in humans to change, whether it be consciously, mentally, spiritually or ideologically. The main thing though is to bring it into practice. Karl Marx observed that "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary it is their social being that determines their consciousness."(2) Again what is our "social being?" Bluntly, it's shit! We need only to look at the environment we grew up around. Liquor stores are in overstock, drugs are roaming freely, homes have no foundation or stability. most have grown accustomed to this way of life. With this deadly (literally) way of thinking, it ain't no surprise our consciousness is lacking in many areas of life.

There's a striking notion that says prisoners now-a-days lack the backbone their predecessors have. Sad to say this statement is slightly true. I have numerous books, but urban novels and novels period got a strong hold on my brethren. Many feel that there is no oppression, genocide or killing of our people and other acts of aggression from the government, but just as one sees a movie or TV show and can't see the camera, that doesn't mean it's not there.

Taking a passive or neutral stance is taking a stance on the side of the oppressor, it seems that you're OK with the status quo. Activity and agitation is taking the side of history as Marx viewed, "...freedom is the recognition of necessity. Necessity is blind only in so far as it's not understood."(3) As history shows times always change. We could look at it as it passes by, we could hop on board or we could go even further and build the vehicle of change, start it up and drive it. Closing my humble thoughts, I'll let Karl Marx do it, as he said it well: "There is no royal road to science [or learning] and only those who don't dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits."(4)


Notes:
1. V.I. Lenin, On Marx and Engels (foreign language press Peking. 1975) First addition pg 68
2. Ibid, pg14
3. Ibid pg10
4. Capital. Vol 1 (International publishers, NY 1967) Preface to the French edition. pg 21.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Eastham Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 33]
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Unity in Texas Against Guard Brutality

I have been locked up in a Texas State Prison for the last 4 years and I have to admit they do things very different in this state and in their institutions. The administration treats the prisoners like cattle, but I have strategized against their schemes from the very beginning. I have lost some battles but I am winning the war.

About a month ago two guys got into a fight in the chowhall and after they put handcuffs on both of them they began kicking one of them and hitting him with night sticks when he was on the floor. The whole chowhall came together and approached the ranking Lieutenant and officers and questioned why they were unnecessarily beating him up, and even told them that was enough. The Lieutenant started cursing and screaming, telling people to "get the fxxk back." He was a new Lieutenant and hopefully he learned never to put himself or his staff in danger like that again cause what happened after that amazed me. The convicts set it off!!! That Lieutenant got beat pretty bad and split open seriously. This was the first time I have seen us come together in Texas for what's right.

Yesterday the administration tried to jack us for our dayroom time, and the TV and the fan in the dayroom didn't work the whole time we were out there. The dayroom is already small and over capacity so you can imagine how hot it was. We only get 4 hours a day out of our cells so we couldn't let them get away with this injustice or they would have thought they could handle us on the regular. So everybody refused to rack up in our cells. The Sergeant tried threatening us, saying if he had to call higher rank then he would lock us down for 23 hours, but we didn't budge, we stood our ground. The Lieutenant on shift came down and asked us what the problem was. One person at a time spoke and we represented our argument and cause respectfully, united and firm. He clearly respected the movement and he said "since y'all stood together like this you guys can get another two hours." Everyone began clapping for another victory against the oppressor for a cause.

Now today, the very next day, we were in the dayroom about to watch a very good game everyone was looking forward to when we witnessed a Sergeant who is known for beating up prisoners, beating up a prisoner handcuffed on the floor after tackling him. We went bananas and again together we stood up for one of ours. We couldn't physically help but we let our voices be heard and we were furious. They came in our line and tried to rack us up but we refused and challenged them because they were wrong. We were just doing what we were supposed to do: taking a stand. The Captain ended up giving us his word if we racked up he would let us right back out. He was true to his word like we knew he would be. After things calmed down we were let out. But now they know we aren't gonna sit back while they do us wrong. That's the only way your condition will change: if you take a stand, together.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade describes well the Peace and Unity principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons in action. The UFPP provides a principled basis for organizations and individuals to come together to fight for real and lasting peace. Only by implementing these principles can we have any power over how we are treated in prison.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 33]
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May Day Strike in Ohio Gained Small Reforms

Greetings to all revolutionary comrades who are captives in the gulags of these United $nakes of Amurderer. In light of the many struggles that have come to the forefront in these past few years I was dismayed at the lack of attention May Day received this year.

Inside the gulag called Ohio State Penitentiary, 30 days prior to May Day 2012 [this was originally published as 2013 - editor] several captives began planning what was hoped to become a massive hunger strike. This was to take place in C-Block where captives considered to be the most violent in the state are held.

The plan was to begin the strike on May 1 to coincide with the general May Day strikes taking place all over the world.

There were about 30 who had decided to go for the long run, but because some paperwork detailing some of our demands and our prospected start date was confiscated haphazardly by an escort pig, we decided on a whim to start a day early. This took the pig-overseers by surprise as some had taken that Monday off work anticipating confronting us at the onset of our demonstration.

So our core began a day early and we were joined by the rest on May Day, giving us a total of about 60 out of 140. By day 6 we were beginning to lose numbers but our point had been made: solidarity and organization can happen inside 23-hour lockdown, even on short notice.

Several pieces were run in the local newspapers. We had the attention of the bourgeoisie who responded negatively to a captive's article on how austerity has caused smaller food portions.

Our main demand was for the ending of the hopelessness of an indefinite classification to level 5-A & 5-B, better known as supermax, of "3 years or more." For so-called lesser offenses, one can receive this same classification for a period of "less than 3 years."

As we began to lose participants Warden D. Bobby decided to address the demands by adding good behavior incentives: extra phone calls, photos every three months, extra visit per month, etc. Basically they were saying that it is our negative behavior that keeps us here. They also began showing 3 new-release movies per week as well as offering lots more mental health and drug abuse programs.

As California has learned, not much changes without massive efforts and solidarity. This attests to our need for further acts of solidarity and organization for struggle, and the development of leadership backed by science to bring about a movement for change.

Thursday, May 23 at 11pm, 20 or so captives began flooding the ranges as backlash to the enforcement of an old rule stating "no loan, borrow, or trading" amongst captives. We remain on lockdown 23/7 while there is one person allowed out of our cell at a time for recreation. In an attempt to stop the passing and sharing of coffee, literature and photos, this captive's rec is terminated if caught passing. Because rec is a so-called guarantee, and it's our only out-of-cell time besides a shower, many rallied to address this. Some even swore to battle the captors if need be to prove their unwillingness to stop passing or give up rec.

A meeting with D. Bobby led to a promise to back off the rule and also give a few more behavioral incentives, and add a few more TV stations; pacification, no real change, and proof for the need of protests on May Day and beyond.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The persecution of prisoners who share literature and coffee is akin to the recent persecution of prisoners for participating in group exercise in California. These policies oppose peace and unity among the prison population. The criminalizing of the passing of literature also helps keep prisoners ignorant and supresses their ability to gain outside support. So we stand in solidarity with these comrades' struggle to oppose such repression. For our take on May Day in North America see our article "Big Fat Elephant in the May Day Dialogue," where we expose the double standard applied by those in the left-wing of white nationalism to workers in the First World compared to those in the Third World.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Texas] [ULK Issue 33]
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Rats Undermine United Front Unity

I have now been put in a terrible dilemma. As I've tediously pursued a path of peace between all other structures, humbly accepted harsh criticism, and deeply entrenched myself and all those I'm entrusted to lead here in Texas in a now awkward ordeal. I've painstakingly strove to clean up my own structure's fumbles and reestablish a mutual trusted bond to the numerous others who speak of their fundamental views which essentially determine how the inner structures function.

Surrounding us who strive for our established agendas are numerous confidential informants and rats who refuse to come out their cell cage and constantly inform to the authority on any of our attempts. Sadly these rats have been studying how we try to heal differences, and move past minor mishaps. Then when given the opportunity, these rats inject ploys which are specifically designed to cause immediate distrust and steps backwards, as it induces paranoia and causes all to erect the walls of defense.

All forward progress I have made has crumbled, as I passed items to another, the booklet on freedom of information, right to communicate, and a kite of explanation. The booklets made it to the other structures, but then the kite disappeared. I had drawn the assumption they had the kite (my bad).

I then moved to pass information to the structure's main spokesperson. Upon arrival of said material, he deduced I was playing and seeking to disrespect him, his creed, ethics, and morals. To avoid a verbal dispute I avoided all until it mellowed out. Then, when he approached me I verified yes, I apologized for the crossed wires, but the rats seen were at negative work and attacked both he and I by falsely filing to alter our medical diets, cell searches, and my legal requests to invoke doubt that I was attacking them, and make me think they were retaliating. This was a massive ploy instigated by the confidential informant rat. At the same time, one of them verbally threatened the rat, and mysteriously he got moved. But, due to the melodramatics the rat was orchestrating, and myself being under the gun, they believed that I initiated and instigated these ploys.

So, I and all I represent are at arms. I have tried to keep honest peace between us, but due to hard heads and extreme views of subordinates they kept the seeds of hate and distrust germinating.

I am designated the lead representative for mine here. All I've tediously striven to build with MIM(Prisons)'s guidance of United Front has been undermined. Now a vicious wedge has been shoved in between us and our ability to move forward. I have tried to speak, apologize for circumstances beyond my control, and offer all we can to resolve the problem. But this is the second time rats have attacked our struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Developing the ideas behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) was the first, easy task. The hard part is actually getting people to look past previous disagreements and conflicts to unite for a common interest. This comrade sheds light on one of the big problems our anti-imperialist organizers face behind bars: the same kinds of covert attacks that the revolutionary movement has faced for years from the government. While prison conditions have done much to bring LOs together to see their common circumstances, there is not much freedom to operate under such repression. It takes careful communication and education to build around these attacks. One thing that we can do to help prevent these problems is educate people about the COINTELPRO-like attacks that will happen to progressives, so that people are on the look-out and aware of what might be done by the pigs.

We want to hear from the various groups and cells that have signed on to the UFPP statement. How have you implemented the principles? What progress and setbacks have you seen? How can we build on each others' experiences? Often we learn more from negative experiences. So send your reports in to Under Lock & Key. We also still welcome statements of unity from groups new to the UFPP. Both help us promote the United Front and the struggle for peace.

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[Mental Health] [Medical Care] [Organizing]
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Building Healthier Revolutionary Lives in Prison

Amongst the four goals put forward in ULK issue 31 was the humyn needs such as healthy food and water along with fresh air and exercise. To some these things are assumed to be met, many especially out in society would be shocked to learn that in fact these things are not met for many in U.$. prisons. Indeed ULK is one of the few prisoners rights publications which not just highlights these oppressive conditions in U.$. prisons, but which also keeps perhaps the largest archive on prisoner's rights violations, particularly on censorship of U.$. prisons. This dedication to prisoners, those cast off of U.$. imperialism, is what first brought me to work with ULK and USW. This is what stood out to me when I would open up a MIM Theory or MIM Notes and see Amerika called out in such bold fashion. This drew me to learn more, especially when a lot of the substance of their articles were prison-based, a section of society that even many so called "progressive" peoples have abandoned.

As prisoners, healthy food is out of our reach for the most part. The truth is if we were to eat everything on these trays we would still not consume the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to call our meals healthy. Most of this slop would make a raccoon's stomach turn and could not be sold to the public, so it finds its way to the dungeons. A review of your past issues of ULK would show that prisons across the United $tates have slop. This is no surprise but what needs to be developed is how can we acquire the healthiest food under our circumstances. We got to do what we can with what we have as there is a connection between the body and mind. How can we be good revolutionaries if we are sick, have no energy or have diseases because of foul eating habits? This would hinder our ability to exist as people, much less as revolutionary people, which demands more energy, more focus, and more strength.

Those who are financially able to purchase food items from the canteen or from packages (once a year here in SHU) have a choice of mostly junk food i.e., food that is saturated in sodium, transfats and unnatural chemicals which work as artery cloggers. These junk foods are unhealthy, so how can we be revolutionaries but spend all our money on candy and chips? This is akin to considering yourself a revolutionary but being a dope fiend at the same time, or being a revolutionary but an alcoholic. This applies to comrades out in society as well. Indeed, studies have recently found that in the lab, mice have become addicted to fast food and that this addiction was stronger than being addicted to crack. In prison being addicted to junk food is destroying your body and this destruction is serving the imperialists not the people, because with a revolutionary out of commission, inflicted with high blood pressure, heart disease, etc., it is one less revolutionary on the front line.

Now if we look at this from an economic perspective, by us purchasing all the junk food we are basically lining the enemy's pockets with the few dollars our families or comrades have been able to send us. We are basically providing financial support to the terrorists=U.$. capitalists. We are funding them and supporting their business. If we are to truly empathize with the oppressed of the world and analyze the world from a Third World perspective, how can we do so by being consumed with corporate products? By us living in a capitalist society we are already forced to utilize corporations for everything we do. Even in prison we are forced to use electricity owned by corporations, consume and use hygiene products from corporations, even the paper I use and envelopes I purchase are not exempt. But these are items we must purchase for our work, we do not however have to purchase chips and candy, just as the comrade out in society does not have to purchase that big mac or french fries all the time. Of course we are not robots and as humyn beings it is ok to celebrate and indulge in something you like once in a while, but this is different than always chasing these items and living an unhealthy lifestyle.

If we are attempting to set an example to others this should also include our eating habits. So how can we revolutionize our food while in prison? Some will incorrectly think we can do nothing because the 'all powerful' state we live under controls this, but we need to toss out this self-defeatist thinking and learn from Mao when he said the imperialists are paper tigers. As with all battles with the state we just need to find the contradiction and focus our efforts therein.

As far as our trays we really only have two paths, one is the appeal process, like finding a violation or lack of calories, and two is how we have included this in our demands in the strike here in Cali. But in the realm of canteen or package items there is much more potential as nothing hurts the capitalists more than the economic pinch. What happens when nobody buys that certain toothpaste or soap for months? It is usually replaced with a different brand. And why have some items such as Folgers coffee been on the canteen list for decades? Because this is bought by many, so there is a market for this. Why then can't we replace or have them replace all the candy and chips with healthy foods? We can and I will tell you how with an example from a recent struggle.

Most recently we had an issue here in SHU where we wanted access to purchase a combination TV/Radio since we are only allowed 1 appliance, we wanted to receive a TV with a radio combo. The prison said no. This was included in our demands during the strikes of 2011 as well, the prison finally broke it down saying we could get the TV/radio combo, but that the manufacturer has to make a clear model. Time passed and nothing. The manufacturer finally made one clear but with a speaker so the prison said they must make it without a speaker. We waited and nothing. The prison blamed the company and the company said nobody from the prison contacted them so we got creative and persistent. The short corridor collective issued a statement to prisoners in California calling for everyone to write the company demanding a TV/Radio combo should be made available to us or we will boycott their company. Friends and family on the outside were told to call and e-mail the company doing the same. With the thousands of prisoners in Cali who keep this business afloat the pressure was too much, and within 60 days the company provided the TV/radio which we can now order for the first time in the 20+ years this prison has been open. So this is a way to get vendors to sell us the products we want and has proved to be effective, but it must be done by all prisoners in a state as we did it here.

Some may wonder how can all prisoners in a state know about a project like this. This is the importance of prisoners to subscribe to prisoners' rights publications which address issues. If prisoners in all prisons in a state subscribe to certain publications then when issues arise the people won't be in the dark. ULK is one such publication, write to ULK for a subscription, communicate and let your voice be heard!

If we don't buy junk food and we write companies to demand they start selling us more healthy goods that are more in line with our culture, once the companies know that they may be boycotted they will break it down as they did with our TV/radio combo.

Certain diets also provide healthier non-processed food like the halal kosher or veggie diets. Those rare times when I get a few bucks and go to canteen I buy the most healthy products. We will never have the ideal healthiest products in prisons under capitalism but the best we can do is with dry goods such as dehydrated rice and beans. I also will get the saltine crackers since this prison forbids us from having salt, which our bodies rely on, and the crackers at least give a small bit of salt. I try to get the dry oatmeal as well for fiber and iron. The beans give me protein which the mystery meat does not give. Some prison canteens allow people to purchase beef jerky which is good as well, all this allows us to supplement the shitty prison food with reasonably healthy food. Packages for those who are able provide items such as power bars, granola, nuts and beef jerky, wheat crackers, and for those on the mainline more opportunities exist like peanut butter, dried fish, mushrooms, spices, honey and salami, cheese etc. We must see that our eating habits are tools, they are weapons in our battle to be the best revolutionaries possible. While under lock and key, our health should be seen as our first line of defense! This is because with piss poor health how can we advance the revolution? How can we advance our nation if we are bed-ridden or all drugged up on meds for diseases? It slows us down in our work.

I used to listen to the rap group 'Dead Prez' talk about eating healthy and the need to be healthy. They had it right because there is a connection between our health and our mind, one affects the other and if one is off the other will follow suit.

But not everyone has the ability to buy canteen items or get packages, some folks are broke and have no outside support so what is to be done? One way to get around this is to cultivate a support system. Comrades here have developed a 'peoples support system' (PSS). This PSS ensures that anyone in the pod who goes to canteen or receives a package distributes these goods to everyone who has not received a package or canteen. In this way no one goes without. This process of building a PSS is easier when prisoners involved are conscious or at least have been doing time for a long time, and is more challenging when those involved are new to prison or suffer form extreme forms of parasitism. But even then it can be developed with time and the use of modeling behavior.

Modeling behavior occurs when someone sees a behavior and then mirrors this same action. For example, a child who sees their parent pick up the toys and throw them in the toy box, the child eventually picks up the toys herself and tosses them in the toy box without ever having been told to do so. In this same way when someone enters a pod or block and sees prisoners looking out for each other regardless of ones nationality or LO the new person will soon begin mirroring this behavior, so it is up to us conscious prisoners to set the tone on a tier, pod, block or yard. This is revolutionizing our environment, it is putting theory into practice.

Don't get it twisted I'm not saying this is always easy. It may take months or years to get someone to take a class approach, and some will never grasp that prisoners as a whole are a class, but this does not mean we will stop what we do. The Brown Berets - Prison Chapter (BB-PC) have come to understand the PSS is needed in every prison in order to cultivate our united front efforts in our battles, and we know this also leads to raising the consciousness of prisoners when coupled with other forms of education and agitation. At times building a PSS will start with one or two people, but as time goes on more and more people will do so and then all the new people will adopt this "tradition" and these are the revolutionary traditions, the kind of revolutionary culture we want to create so that when we get moved or transferred we know we left a foot print that will continue onward.

Healthy water is also essential, I have had many cellies who really did not drink water, but as humyns we need water to exist. We are supposed to drink about 8 cups of water a day to stay healthy, not 8 cups of coffee or koolaid but water. Water helps us flush out our system and maintain healthy kidneys. Water is free to us, and people in the Third World wish they had access to clean water. Many die because of lack of clean water so let us drink this clean water in order to stay healthy so we can help the struggles of Third World peoples. If it was up to the imperialists they would rather deny us clean water, at times some prisoners are denied clean water. Those who have been to Tracy prison in Cali know about the brown water. Likewise in ULK issue 9 we read the article Contaminated Water OK by CDCR. There was arsenic in the water at Kern Valley State Prison and the prisoner reported that "lead levels that are over the EPA's legal limit" were found in the water. So I'm sure comrades across Amerika can speak about foul ass water in dungeons all over.

Exercise is another aspect that needs to be taken seriously by all revolutionaries, exercise is so important that the state has targeted it and labels it STG activity. They will validate you and send you to solitary confinement for decades for doing push ups with a comrade. This is how much they see exercise as a threat, because it strengthens us as humyn beings and it is a weapon we use to combat the effects of prison life. The state seeks to strip us of any forms of resistance, anything we draw strength from hinders there project of instilling a sense of helplessness in all prisoners so that we go along with their oppression and never dare to resist the oppressor.

As revolutionary prisoners we need to develop methods of exercise to keep our bodies in top shape. This helps us not only physically, but science tells us that there is a connection between our physical health and our mental health. Exercise prevents not only disease but also depression, stress, anxiety and anger. Our world in these dungeons is filled with all this negativity which harms us just like the bullets and batons even though we often cannot see this damage in its physical form but we react to it in negative ways, so exercise helps us keep this stuff in check. These emotions will not go away but exercise helps us better deal with them without them overpowering our lives.

A good exercise regime is from forty five minutes to an hour, this is usually done from four to six days a week. I have found burpies and calisthenics to be the most fulfilling. Our bodies need to sweat in order to flush out the toxins and many times push ups just won't do it. California prisons no longer have weights so in the holes and SHUs people mostly do burpies. This tradition, which many Cali prisoners are not aware of, came from George Jackson and his comrades who developed exercise regimes utilizing burpies and calisthenics. At the time, in the 60s and 70s, prisoners were not exercising in this way as these were military style exercise regimes. Comrade George was a step ahead in identifying the inter-connection between a strong body and mind. The early 80s saw Chicano prisoners from Northern Cali develop this same exercise regime, and the late 90s saw Chicano prisoners from Southern Cali along with white prisoners soon follow this tradition that started with Black prisoners. This is good that prisoners exercise, it is a positive thing, but now the state is using it against us so we must find ways to combat this.

One way to fight the STG labeling of exercise is for all prisoners to work out together. If all prisoners work out at once it can no longer be seen as STG activity. I believe this is a positive step forward for a united front, however I don't think the state will thus be prevented from labeling group exercise STG activity, just as all prisoners of all nationalities participate in hunger strikes yet it is still seen as STG activity. But prisoners working out together would also be an unprecedented step forward. Since most group exercise are done in the hole and most holes consist of cages side by side, I can see a future exercise regime consisting of each cage calling out an exercise, regardless of what nation or sub-group one belongs to, and everyone exercising together. In the SHU we can't see no one, as everyone is in an individual cell. Some people work out and some don't so this is a little more difficult. If you find yourself in a hole and people are in individual cages, one is free to jump in and participate with those exercising but the ideal is to have everyone participate. This is something to work on and begin discussing, by working out together it does not mean we are one car, it does not mean you're joining another nation or LO, it's simply exercise. If we can starve together why not sweat together?

Today's prisons are no longer like the prisons of our grandfathers, conditions have changed and we must find ways to change with these times. If we are to ever regain things like trailer visits for lifers, weights, parole dates for lifers, and all the rest, we must be more in sync. If we want the 'end to hostilities' to really last than we need to do more, we need to implement methods which reinforce such policies as an 'End to Hostilities' and group exercise involving all nationalities and subgroups reinforce this.

The transformation of prisons should begin in every dungeon, and those who find themselves in prisons which are not conscious should learn from prisons who have already taken steps toward this transformation. Those prisons which have already taken such steps should constantly find new ways to push our momentum even further.

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[Organizing] [Washington]
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Ideas for Uniting in Washington for July 8

MIM Peace Unity Growth
Here in prison, particularly my side of the map in Washington state, there is a struggle for unity amongst the oppressed classes, due to racism and the overall lack of political and class consciousness as a whole. Merging together for the sake of strength and unification in order to combat these oppressive conditions seems bleak; unless the heads of the respective oppressed classes tune back in from their myopic ignorance.

It is not hard to recognize, while we're fighting amongst each other in this pseudo-war to obtain megalomaniac status and prestige - as the elite gang or organization - in the shadows lurk the fascist pigs titillating on our destruction. The time for us to wake up and smell the reality is now, but how do we go about it when egotistical individuals refuse to smell what's real?

Well, someone of level headedness, statesmanship and respect from each and every oppressed group, needs to act as the voice in order for a meeting of the minds to occur. At this meeting/sit-down understandings between groups have to be established, in a manner potently stated by Comrade George, in his book, Blood In My Eye, not quoting but referring to: We need to settle our quarrels and come together on behalf of not just ourselves, but the people.

Washington state, despite its fascist racist cops, is a beautiful place to do time (of course only if you have to be locked up). But don't get it twisted, it's real and heads get busted and sent to the ER just like any other place around the united snakes. I'm saying that to say, the beauty of doing time comfortably in the belly of the beast has to have more of a meliorate feeling in order for us all to coexist, and rid the pigs of their elementary tactic of "divide and conquer."

I am only offering this polemic style dictum as one of many possible solutions to help end the hostilities in the state of Washington; and hopefully to potentially create unity amongst the oppressed classes in an attempt to join the other brothers and sisters of the struggle, across the country held behind enemy lines, who want and seek change in this perpetual system of corruption.

July 8th is right around the corner, so in a brazen fashion, we the oppressed classes/groups of Washington State prisons, need to draw up our own core demands for the pigs to abide by. Or we shall, as the brothers in Cali have, orchestrate peaceful non-violent demonstrations in order to show the prisons and/or facility administration that we're as serious as the threat of a 9.0 earthquake.

At the end of the day, it is up to us my brothers and sisters, especially when the time is ripe and the levels of consciousness/political development around the country in prisons have risen. Ending with a quote from Comrade George: "to expect that someone else will take the full responsibility for our own liberation is suicide."


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's call for unity is consistent with the United Front for Peace in Prisons that many behind the bars have been working to build. The first point of the five UFPP Principles is Peace: "WE organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."

As this comrade points out, there are many strategies that will help achieve this peace and unity. The July 8th date that is mentioned above is something prisoner's in California are organizing around. MIM(Prisons) has been working with the USW California Council to develop a list of demands that embody what we feel are minimal requirements to meet basic humyn rights for prisoners in California. We encourage prisoners in other states to take up this task as well.

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[Organizing] [Theory]
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Building a Vanguard in Prison

When lumpen and cadre unite
"The vanguard is quite simply the most advanced proletarian, the most scientifically correct element of society that actually exists." - MIM Theory 6

I am bringing this topic to the front lines within ULK, so that every prisoner can be appraised of the significance of a revolutionary vanguard. A comrade asked in ULK 29: "Does anyone know the function of a vanguard: how one is built and how it can be effectively employed?"

Within U.$. borders there have been genuine communist parties, and doing a little studying on communist movements will tell you that since Lenin ushered in a new era with the October 1917 revolution in Russia, many communist parties throughout the world proclaimed themselves to be the vanguards in their respective nations. Within U.$. borders we had the CP-USA in the 30s and 40s, while in 1962 PLP ushered itself in as the new vanguard after CP-USA fell into revisionism. Then the Black Panther Party (BPP) came on the scene in 1966 and "became the greatest vanguard party in north American history before being smashed."

Each party aforementioned had the potential to bringing a revolution if circumstances were present. Typically a vanguard would be found in a communist party who has the most correct interpretation of the concrete reality of its nation, and the proletarian ideology to take the path required to attain the ultimate goal of each and every proletarian party, the seizure of power for the proletariat. Of course, this isn't a matter that is handled with spontaneity, putschist revolts, etc. A vanguard party focuses on organizing the masses, as no revolution is capable of success without the masses and their support. As Chairman Mao Zedong once clearly put it:

"if there is to be a revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary style it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs."

Furthermore he expresses the following:

"the correctness or otherwise of the ideological and political line decides everything. When the party's line is correct, we have everything. If we lack men then we will have them, if we lack guns we will find them, if we don't have power, we will conquer it, if the line is incorrect, we will lose what we have conquered."

Putting emphasis on a party's political line is what will develop the party and the masses to spark a revolution. One cannot put too much importance or sole reliance on a party being the vanguard as some fall into revisionism and once that occurs it is left to other parties or cell movements to lead the masses. For instance, behind these walls, especially in California, there is no political party organizing prisoners. The closest thing to it is United Struggle from Within (USW) under MIM(Prisons)'s leadership. Although scattered in various prisons and/or blocks, each USW comrade has the potential to organize and politicize other prisoners.

There's no doubt that USW is the pathway and the first step to uniting prisoners i.e. the lumpen into a class. As noted in ULK 29: "A class is defined by it's material conditions, specifically in relation to production and distribution, and each class has an ideology that arises from those conditions." And we must recognize that ideology should be the main factor that unites, otherwise we would just be eclectic and crippled amongst political issues. Every prisoner should strive to get acquainted with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we must be up on the theories of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong and then contribute our revolutionary knowledge to the application of our current circumstances. Every prisoner interested in revolutionary politics should do revolutionary work.

On the basis of building or employing a vanguard, I will leave that to MIM(Prisons) to enlighten us, and I suggest for further reading on this prisoners should check out V.I. Lenin's "What is to be Done".


MIM(Prisons) adds: We point people to the essay Maoism Around Us for more history on the development of MIM and MIM(Prisons). At this point we do not see MIM(Prisons) as a vanguard party, but we recognize the need to develop such a party within U.$. borders at some point in the future. We have laid out the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) to unite all who can be united at the mass level in U.$. prisons as we see this as our key strategic goal at this time. Where advanced elements exist, inside or outside of prison, we promote organizing local cells that have similar standards to a vanguard party, but maintain organizational independence from other cells to promote better security and self-reliance. As this comrade says, we should stress developing ideological unity at this stage.


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