The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Can you do layout? Help out by laying out pamphlets and study packs to mail to prisoners. help out
[Principal Contradiction] [Organizing]
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Telling the Truth May be More Radical than Smashing Windows

fuck colonialism

Recently comrades at Anti-Imperialism.com have brought up the question of how First Worldism sets back the revolutionary movement within the oppressor nation itself.(1) When anti-imperialists begin banging their heads against walls of cops, it seems a good time to consider this question.

Over the Amerikan KKKolumbus Day weekend, a series of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist demonstrations were organized on the west coast. Judging by the turnout and support, there is not a big anti-colonial movement in the United $tates. This is no surprise, for it is the most powerful imperialist country in the world.

One anti-colonial march in San Francisco was dwarfed by the crowds of consumers, shopping on a Sunday afternoon. The organizers showed little interest in reaching out to the shoppers, and more in smashing symbols of wealth and exploitation. An hour pre-march rally seemed hardly noticed by the shopping masses. And the march itself lasted only a few blocks before violent clashes with police left 22 people arrested. A significant loss from a crowd of maybe 150 who had just begun to unveil its message.

The lack of interest in reaching out to the shoppers may reflect a correct analysis among the protestors that those people had no interest in or alliance with the message of their march. But if so this line was not put out publicly in literature or banners. We will argue here that doing so would have done more to promote divisions among the pro-imperialist camp, whereas the tactics of the day instead have helped consolidate those forces in recent years.

Last fall, thousands and thousands of Amerikans, primarily youth, rallied to the call to Occupy Wall Street, which evolved into Occupy Everywhere — a rather frightening slogan for the youth of the number one imperial power to take up. More progressive, and often more experienced, poles in the movement steered things in an anti-occupation/anti-colonial direction. But somehow this wasn't as appealing to the Amerikan youth as rallying for more jobs, free schooling and better interest rates on loans. If we eliminate the flow of wealth from the neo-colonies, the people in this country will lose their high paying jobs and easy lines of credit.

Despite this self-evident truth, there is still not a strong voice drawing a clear line between those who benefit from imperialism and those who suffer from it.

In practice we see lines being drawn, as the more radical messages seem to accompany some tactics that trigger anger from the Amerikan "middle class." There continues to be backlash in some instances of calling those who vandalize property "terrorists" while telling them to target bank windows rather than their nice neighborhood. We have little interest in the petty bourgeois debate over what is okay to smash, but this whole debate serves as a convenient excuse for the Amerikan left to ally with the imperialist state. What needs to be challenged is the idea that the Amerikan "middle class" somehow deserves more than everyone else in the world and therefore is not the enemy like those evil bankers.

Interestingly, the bourgeoisie gets away with attacking those who act against the interests of the "middle class" as "outside agitators" and "spoiled white kids." This name calling serves as a distraction from the issues being demonstrated around. Of course there will be anti-colonial struggle in white faces in a white country. To argue otherwise is to breed confusion.

While we believe there is more anti-imperialist potential here in the United $tates than those who showed up this weekend, particularly among the internal semi-colonies who were sparsely represented at these events, the dominant ideology of this country is pro-middle class, which is pro-imperialism. Even the most radical Black organizations out here will say that "white people are exploited too." Yet the truth is the complete opposite: Black people aren't exploited either in this country. The sooner we all start being accountable for what we have, the sooner we can take a realistic approach to what we can do about it.

We need a strong line that says, yes, the petty bourgeoisie and the labor aristocracy in this country are the enemy of the world's people. Just as MIM has always attacked identity politics, this does not mean that petty bourgeois people cannot be anti-imperialists. We welcome and honor those Amerikans who choose to stand with the exploited peoples of the Third World. But let's make it clear that doing so requires opposing your own class interests.

After we draw that line, maybe we can think of ways to actually attack the interests of the exploiter classes, rather than just attack their symbols. Boots Riley, Oakland rapper and activist, has criticized the tactics of vandalism for alienating the majority in the city.(2) There is some truth in what he wrote in that we should not be helping the petty bourgeoisie unite with the imperialist state in opposition to anti-colonial voices, at least not without making significant gains somewhere else. Instead, we should be driving wedges between the various class alliances of our enemies, creating cracks in the system that make a little more room for the oppressed to move and organize. And perhaps ironically, pointing out the unity of the material interests of almost everyone in this country with imperialism can contribute to creating these cracks among those who have subjective moral objections to living off the suffering of others.

We do not believe that moralizing will "wake up" the Amerikan people and end this system of exploitation. We recognize there is no winning the majority in this country. So it is a question of recruiting the minority that care or suffer greatly under this system and promoting disunity among the rest. Finding effective tactics for either is our challenge.

Before we split the anti-imperialist camp over what we should do after the revolution (where we differ with the anarchist majority at this weekend's events), let's split with those who will organize and fight for the deepening exploitation of the Third World to feed the over-consumptive, privileged lifestyles in the imperialist countries. And let us be honest with our fellow exploiters, breaking the illusions of an alliance between First World social democracy and the interests of the exploited and oppressed. The one cannot exist without the other. The clearer we are about that, the more Amerikans are forced to make the choice between committing daily violence through their privilege and becoming a virus within the matrix.

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[Organizing]
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Notes on Prison Organizing in Lockdown

If you're in a lockdown prison, that is if you are confined to your cell 21 hours a day unless you are attending a school program or a work assignment, there are still ways available that facilitate organizing efforts.

First, put together a collection of prisoner/prison literature and related legal issues, and anti-imperialist publications. Ask anyone and everyone you have contact with if they're interested in reading about these subjects. If they say yes, let them read your publications. After a while, encourage them to obtain their own publications and to "circulate to educate, educate to liberate."

Second, try to obtain a program/work assignment in any one of the following areas: teacher's aid, housing area porter, food service, or law library clerk. Teacher's aids have daily contact with lots of prisoners, the same goes for food service workers. Housing area porters have daily access to all prisoners in the housing area, and law library clerks have daily contact with prisoners from all over the prison plus they usually have access to a photocopy machine operated by prisoners.

"Without struggle there is no progress" - Frederick Douglass


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is good advice, it's important that everyone do what they can within their conditions. And in prison you have to be creative about what's possible. We also offer prisoners on lockdown (and others) the opportunity to study when they are locked in the cell, by joining our study groups. Cell time should be study time, whether it's part of our study group through the mail or studying material on your own. And there are many other productive activities you can do from your cell: writing articles, creating art, translating into Spanish, and writing poetry are just a few examples. Write to us with your own ideas and we'll help you get involved.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 28]
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Dept. of Public Safety Opposes Efforts to Stop Fighting

North Carolina's so-called Department of Public Safety has joined a number of state agencies in openly sabotaging efforts to prevent prisoners from fighting in their facilities.

MIM(Prisons) and our readers in North Carolina have received multiple notices of censorship of Under Lock & Key 27, most of them citing page 3, which contained the Call for Solidarity Demonstration on September 9. In their doublespeak, they justify this with reasons such as that it promotes "violence, disorder, insurrection or terrorist/gang activities" and that it "encourages insurrection and disorder." This was in reference to a call for 24 hours with no eating, working or fighting, where prisoners only engaged in solidarity actions and networking to build peace.

Many other states censored Under Lock & Key 27 for threatening the security of the institution (including New York, California, Wisconsin, and Illinois). Wisconsin Department of Corrections later claimed that ULK 27 "teaches or advocates violence and presents a clear and present danger to institutional security." So there you have it. Prisoners coming together, for whatever cause, is a security threat to them. Making it clear what they are trying to secure, which is the prevention of the self-determination of the oppressed nation lumpen. This has nothing to do with the persynal safety of humyn beings, which the Call for September 9 was clear in promoting.

Folsom State Prison in California went so far as to say that ULK 27 was censored for "advocating civil disobedience in prisons." Even this claim is a stretch, unless fasting and not working for a day, a Sunday no less, is disobeying the law in some way. Texas seems to think so, as they censored many copies of ULK 27 with the consistent reason that it "advocates hunger strike and work stoppage." Well we know Texas is big on unpaid labor in their prisons. And we suppose it's not breaking news that peaceful civil disobedience is a crime in the eyes of the state of California.

Despite the more honest justifications given by some state employees in California and Texas, safety and security concerns remain the number one reason given by states to censor MIM(Prisons)'s mail to prisoners. To call these agencies on their bluff, MIM(Prisons) proposes that organizations within the United Front for Peace who are working to build off of September 9 focus on promoting safety in their agitational and organizational work. From the countless painful letters we get from U.$. prisoners who fear for their life everyday in these places, we are pretty sure that working together we can do a better job of creating a safe environment than they can.

Comrades should brainstorm ideas of how to launch a campaign to change the conditions that the state creates that lead to unsafe conditions for prisoners. Often unsafe conditions for prisoners are potentially unsafe for staff as well. Either way, an effective campaign to make prisoners safer should bring around new recruits.

Can we get enough stories of comrades working to help each other out and improve each other's well-being to make ULK 29 an issue focused on creating safer prisons in the U.$? And you artists out there, any ideas on how to promote issues of safety and security that speak to the prison masses?

Let's see what we can do with this. And look out for each other in there.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 28]
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Report from California Sept 9 Protest

The young comrades and I did build and protest by fasting and study on September 9, 2012, in solidarity with the comrades of the Attica prison uprising in 1971, and we organized in unity and peace without any problems.

Many of the young comrades did a MIM(Prisons) study group assignment as well as readings from Under Lock & Key. We had a very positive 2 days of study and building. I was very pleased with the young comrades and to see them in love and unity with respect.

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[Organizing] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 28]
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Attica Report From September 9 Protest

For the morning meal the mess hall was virtually empty. For the noon meal there were approximately 120 prisoners in attendance. Usually, when they serve baked chicken and rice there are some 360 prisoners in attendance. A lot more prisoners turned out for the evening meal. Overall there was a low attendance for meals.

Next year things will be different and better organized. I'm in the process of obtaining two articles dealing with the Attica rebellion. I'll have copies of the articles run off and give one of each to the entire prison population. This can be accomplished within a year's time.

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[Organizing] [Cross City Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Florida Organizations Come Together in Peace for September 9th

Being that today is September 9th and a day of solidarity and peace, all sorts of nations (organizations) got together here in the rec yard and had a jailhouse BBQ and lived in peace just for the day here at Cross City, Florida.

I always enjoy the Under Lock and Key. Hopefully one day some of my articles will be published in them. Allow me to extend in your direction a revolutionary embrace and a warrior's salute. I hope for Florida one day to move forward in our prison system. Little by little with the help of the folks at MIM(Prisons).


MIM(Prisons) adds:There seems to be much support for unity between organizations in Florida. See the previous report of lumpen organizations coming together in Everglades Correctional Institution.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Everglades Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Seven LOs, Religious Groups Rep in 9/9 Day of Solidarity

On 9 September 2012 at Everglades Correctional Institution, FLDOC, individual members of The Blood Nation honored the soldiers of Attica by doing one or more of the following: fasting, boycotting the canteen/commissary, accepting chow hall trays and dumping them, and explaining why. Also participating individually were one or more members of the following (in alphabetical order): Black Gangsta Disciples; Crip Nation; Insane Gangsta Disciples; Almighty Latin King Queen Nation; Nation of Islam; Spanish Cobras; Shi'a Muslim Community; Sufi Community. My apologies to anyone I missed. It was a small step at a spot with no history of unity, but even a single drop of water in a dry glass makes it wet. Respect to those who made the sacrifice, those who joined us midday, those who expressed interest the day after. I'm as human as anyone, but let's TRY to remember who the enemy is!

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[Control Units] [Organizing]
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Reforms Won't End Indefinite Isolation

We can't afford for prisoners to sacrifice their lives because self-appointed vanguards refuse to do a little philosophic/scientific homework and make a few minor adjustments to our current path. We're pursuing what is essentially a tactical issue of reforming the validation process as if it were a strategic resolution to abolishing social-extermination of indefinite isolation. This is not a complex issue to understand, and it requires a minimal amount of study at most to understand that the validation process is secondary and is a policy external to the existence of the isolation facilities. It's not difficult to comprehend that external influences create the conditions for change but real qualitative change comes from within, and to render the validation process, program failure, the new step down program, etc, obsolete, and end indefinite isolation, requires an internal transformation of the isolation facilities (SHU and Ad-Seg) themselves. Otherwise, in practice, social extermination retains continuity under a new external label. Appearance is reformed, hence the suffix "re", while the essential composition (contradictions) is unchanged. Do you fix a bad motor on a car by altering its appearance with a new paint job? It might look nice, but it's still the same motor.

I don't know if these "representatives" are just refusing to consider anything else, if they are making a conscious decision to hear the sound of their own voices only, or if they believe that to acknowledge a need for course adjustments will discredit them. They hold power in here, but it's a power held through threat of force, and most youngsters aspire to this, or those who don't, understandably keep their mouths zipped. Either way, because of this power, they're not used to hearing the truth, but praise form the brown-nosers who tell them what they think they want to hear and tell them what will benefit them. This only hinders the accuracy of their analysis. This refusal to be more receptive and adjust course where necessary based on an application of dialectical materialism is going to cost us lives pursuing an incorrect course. Our victories are superficial and exist more in appearance than anything. They are privileges, rights that we already had coming to us, so what appears as a victory is really implementing our established rights (abstractly anyhow), without actually making essential progress. It's a vehicle to distract us without actually conceding essential transformations. And these are, and will be, reversible.

Although it is dangerous, and all it takes is for the current so-called reps to openly denounce any true vanguard, all others will accept this proclamation, and the true vanguard will be discredited and hit first opportunity. So a true vanguard must tread very carefully to build large scale support with their ideas and education. But what's of greatest importance, it must be done in the interest of all! As we, you and I, know, a vanguard is not someone, a program, philosophic logic, etc, that appoints itself, it is the most advanced line and it must be complemented with a corresponding practice. As Lenin and Joe Steel said, "there can be no theory there can be no movement" Just as a "movement is necessary to develop theory upon." Obviously, I'm paraphrasing but the point is evident.

I'm convinced we need to circulate a few pamphlets that serve an educational purpose, but more importantly, function as an outline. And if necessary, appeal to convict mass to launch our own hunger strike, one or two at a time. Write up our own list of demands - tables in each pod, phones, bars, cellies, dayroom time for social intercourse, demands that can all be achieved by a victorious struggle for "association" based on U.S. constitutional rights and UN Geneva conventions (for publicity). To implement "association" (social intercourse) would necessitate the peripheral demands above and thus qualitatively change the isolation units from within as we currently know them.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Control Units are isolation cells within prisons where people are confined to small cells for long periods of time. Control units are a common tool of repression throughout the Amerikan prison system, frequently used to target prisoners who are actively fighting for their rights. They target Black, Latino and indigenous people who are a disproportionate part of control unit populations.

As a part of our ongoing campaign to shut down the control units, we fight for reforms to give our comrades in indefinite isolation some improved conditions, especially when these reforms are focused on better enabling their political study and organizing. We recognize that some reforms may mean the difference between physical or mental health or serious illness. But we agree with this author that we need to fight the attempts by proponents of the criminal injustice system to paint a happy face on long-term isolation and call that "reform." It is only by ending long term isolation completely will we actually win this battle.

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 28]
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Solidarity and Peace Demonstration Builds, Guards Retaliate

Approximately 30% of the population of this unit is committed to participation in the Solidarity Demonstration on September 9, which inevitably results in "leakage." On August 25 I was interrogated by two investigators from the inspector general's office about the food petition and then about organizing an uprising or disturbance in the dining room. While this was going on, two COs were destroying my cell. Upon return, my legal work and papers were all over the cell, as was my cellmate's. Nothing was taken except for one document which I cannot be certain is in their possession, but I must assume it is. Then they got a second prisoner out and repeated the process. One prisoner was taken about two hours prior to this episode for "different reasons."

Yesterday (28 August 2012) 17 COs, led by a Lieutenant, came into the unit and searched the entire unit. Two reasons were proffered: 1) Retaliation for grievances, 2) Suspect "gang" is being organized.

Nothing was found relating to September 9, "gangs" or anything else.

It is evident that they are aware that something is going on, and they are uneasy about the level of apparent coordination and secrecy. They are fishing right now, but this has been predicted and prepared for.

Aside from the obvious, there is some opposition to the September 9 action from segments of the prisoner population, which is the only apparent threat to its success. This has appeared in the form of disinformation and criticism of both the action and the integrity of persons involved in it. Predictably this segment is predominantly white power who always object to prisoner unification.

We created a cheat sheet for people at this institution, which we modified after hearing from you about how a prisoner organizing in another state suggested it would be more powerful to go to chow hall and sit without eating.

September 9 Cheat Sheet


1. Go to chow hall, accept food, go to clipper room window, render tray/sack inedible, go directly to seat
2. Go to chow, refuse tray go directly to seat
3. Unless directly confronted by CO ignore all comments, provocation and questions
4. Repeat at dinner
5. If directly confronted by CO about what is going on, politely tell them: "I am fasting." If you are asked why, tell them: "In support of my fellow prisoners..." and/or "because I am tired of..." and state your complaint.
6. Nothing more needs to be said

Important: Do not become belligerent, combative or antagonistic. Do not provoke a confrontation. More than 70% of major prison disturbances start in chow hall. By not provoking the COs we preserve the integrity of the action, and we protect each other. Most important, we do not give them our day.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 28]
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Black August and Bloody September, Rise Up and Remember on September 9

Salute comrade, today we stand on this crest of time as we reach through the recess of our minds and commemorate, honor and salute our collective struggle as a people and our daring revolutionary heroes.

The month of August and September — Black August and Bloody September as it is referred to by many New Afrikan comrades, cadres and revolutionary organizations — are both months rich with our blood, our struggle, and our resistance as a people. During August and September we focus our energies around the discussions of New Afrikan revolutionary political education, progressive actions and revolutionary history.

As progressive revolutionary thinking men and women, we do not view history through the lens of the bourgeoisie, who separates history into sub-parts. Under the Eurocentric bourgeois thought process history is a dead relic, a souvenir or memento of past events to be waved at with fleeting thoughts and no real or concrete links to the present.

The bourgeois power structure uses the disconnection of the past from the present as a tool or weapon of divide and conquer. The divide and conquer strategy has never been more effective than it is today: cut them off from their past, make them feel alienated, alone and separated from a collective history, and you weaken them enormously. This moment of weakness gives our enemies great power to maneuver us into the corner of political, social, economic and cultural inaction.

But through the lens of a dialectical-materialist, we must see history as a never-ending stream of past events that gave and constantly give birth to present realities. This chain of historical events is constantly moving us forward into the ocean of endless possibilities. We must use this view of a "living history" as a source of defining who we are and the direction we're heading as a people.

A tree without roots is dead, and so is a people who is not rooted in their history. So let's use Black August and September as months of mental reflection as we unearth and trace the glorious and bloody footprints of our past as a people. Let this reflection galvanize us forward into a new level of political struggle and resistance.

Historical Overview

The 1960s and 70s liberation struggle and movement gave birth to New Afrikan revolutionary heroes such as Malcolm X, George Jackson, Jonathan Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Sundiata Acoli, and many, many others. Historically then, as it is now, the United States judicial arm was used as a weapon of repression and class subjugation.

Men such as Malcolm X and George Jackson went to prison as colonial criminals. But within those prison walls the alchemy of human transformation began to take place. Inside the deep dark confines of a United States concentration KKKamp they both began to turn the cells that held them into libraries and schools of liberation. George and Malcolm both unceasingly strove to create new social relations and social realities in the world around them by and thru revolutionary transformation. They both knew to create a new world that they themselves had to be representations of this new being, this new man, in word, thought, actions and deeds. So as their cells became classrooms, they internalized the most advanced ideas about human development.

George Jackson stated: "I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels and Mao...they redeemed me. For the first four years, I studied nothing but economics and military ideas. I met the Black Guerrillas, George 'Big Jake' Lewis, James Carr, W.L. Nolen, Bill Christmas, Tony Gibson, and many others. We attempted to transform the Black criminal mentality into a Black revolutionary mentality."

George Jackson and his comrades became living examples and inspiration for organized resistance for prisoners across the country. On August 21, 1971, George Jackson and two other New Afrikan prisoners were was killed (along with three prison guards) in a gunfight inside one of California's maximum-security prisons called San Quentin.

[CORRECTION from a California Prisoner: This information is not only erroneous but also serves to advance the state/CDC/law enforcement in general, who spun the mysterious manifestation of the 9mm handgun and a wig. There was no gunfight that dreadful day, nor were there three brothers killed either. The only brother lost on August 21st 1971 was mwenzi George.]

To many, George Jackson was the embodiment of the New Afrikan man. George was fearless, upright, daring, self-educated and intelligent with revolutionary style. He took the lead with his brains and muscles.

In response to the murder and assassination of George Jackson, prisoners in one of New York's prisons called Attica immediately responded. On 22 August 1971 some 800 prisoners went into the chow hall not saying a word as they sat with black arm bands as a tribute to George Jackson. As one set of events leads to the next, 19 days later Attica prison went up in a revolt. The September 9, 1971 prison uprising and revolt in Attica led to the colonial captives controlling parts of the prison. In an address to the Amerikkkan people, the rebels stated: "We are men! We are not beasts and do not intend to be beaten or driven as such."

On September 13, after five days of a heavily armed siege, the NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller gave the order to the state troopers to retake the prison. The state swine opened mass fire killing 32 colonial captives and 11 prison swine who were held hostage.

So today as we reach our hands through time and space, connecting our past to our present, let's use Black August and Bloody September as a moment of reflection, study, observation and movement in the direction of striking terror in the hearts of our captures by unifying in principle and action. We're calling on all colonial captives/prisoners of war and political prisoners to stand up as a collective in a work stoppage. Our aim is to bring attention and awareness to our collective situation.

George Jackson stated: "You will find no class or category more aware, more embittered, desperate or dedicated to the ultimate remedy — revolution. The most dedicated, the best of our kind — you'll find them in the Folsoms, San Quentins and Soledads."


MIM(Prisons) adds: See the MIM Notes supplement "Lessons from the Attica Prison Uprising" for more historical information on this important event.
One aim, one goal, one destiny.

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