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
[Organizing] [ULK Issue 22]
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Debating the Violent Nature of the Lumpen

After having the pleasure of reading ULK 20, I would like to opine concerning some of its contents. While I found numerous articles to be informative and inspiring. I really want to focus on the letter entitled SMU Used to Prevent Activism and the subsequent response from MIM(Prisons).

The letter was written by a federal prisoner, and, among other things, he expressed discontent with the fact that many gang members in the BOP who have been subjected to the SMU program have been broken by it and failed to carry out strategies to thwart the oppressive system. Furthermore, most of these gang members are quick to engage one another in physical combat; however, reluctant to attack the real enemy with similar ferociousness. The prisoner then gave a call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action" aimed at the "pigs."

MIM(Prisons) responded by expressing a disapprobation of the call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action," saying that, at this time in imperialist countries the conditions are not ripe for armed struggle. This opinion was based on an analysis of history and current conditions.

Though I concede that overall the masses in america may not be ready for armed struggle, I don't believe the class of people that the prisoner pointed out (i.e. gang members in prison) should be discouraged from physically assailing those holding them in captivity. In prison, the oppression that one experiences is a lot more cruel than what people in society endure. And many of the gang members have the potential to formulate the vanguard needed to lead to coup. They already know how to unite, possess warrior spirits, and have displayed defiance toward the government, even if just through criminal behavior.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about the Boy Scouts here. We're talking about some of the most murderous and gladiatorial individuals america has ever created. One way or another, these gang members are going to fight violently. Not only because of their natures, but because the harsh conditions of prison life will cause them to. And I think it best that, rather than continue exterminating each other, they federate and become america's Frankenstein.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We disagree with this writer's assumption that members of lumpen organizations are violent by "nature." It is the imperialist system that forces the oppressed into organizations for self-defense and preservation. People's "nature" is not innate, it is created by their environment. And even imperialists can sometimes be retrained and become useful servants of the revolution. So we should not assume that members of lumpen organizations will always have to be violent and must channel this violence somewhere. We should give these comrades more credit and instead help them learn how to channel violent inclinations into productive avenues to fight their real enemies in the criminal injustice system and the imperialist government.

Even in a country where there is no proletariat, we should uphold the principles of People's War. Spurts of anger leading to violence against the pigs does nothing more to liberate humynity than killing another thug. We need to build understanding and support for proletarian struggle in the broadest ways that we can. If we do not win the hearts and minds of these "gladiators" then they will just as quickly be used by the state against us.

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[Organizing] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Restrictions and Struggle in Texas

To acknowledge your struggle which coincides with mine and many other prisoners around the globe, I would like to state some facts concerning the prison (Connally Unit) I am housed at here in Texas. The prison population is 2,812 prisoners, very understaffed due to better service at the oil fields popping up all round this prison complex.

This unit is split A and B side and then we have the dorms which are set apart for those non-gang affiliated and those who pose no threat to the establishment of the institution. Just recently we've been given Johnny's (paper sack lunches) on the weekends for the past month or so and this is due to cuts in the budget. This also constrains a lot of movement to and from the chow hall. B-side is even split two times. On B-side you have 7 building and 8 building. 7 building gets to go to chow with general population but 8 building is restricted. The new major Daniels in town has built a mini chow hall for such sections of the prison population which to them is best. They usually house those prisoner who they feel are the worst such as wine makers, tattoo artists, etc.

These institutions are set up for failure. This is why I congratulate those organizations whether they be lumpen or otherwise who have taken up the banner of rehabilitation and have started or engaged in the process of revolutionizing the minds of the masses. Revolutionizing the knowledge needed in order to free our thinkers from this blind deceptive demagogue. If we ain't the solution then we surely are the problem because until the wheels stop turning it is my duty to struggle and awaken those inactive participants into being a part of this mass movement of prisoners inside and out.

This unit (Connally) is getting worse by the minute and as one good comrade (Blaze) from New York stated, "They're taking every liberty away." Until we acknowledge collectively that there is a problem we will continue to be deceived. Just recently we have been restricted from attending religious services. Before the process of this denial, we could attend church freely without restrictions. Now we must submit an I-60 requesting to attend and if approved we can attend. Ain't that a violation of our 1st Amendment Constitutional right?

I will continue to do my investigative and organizational work for this is what I live for. When my heart and mind stop I will live in the spirits of those true to our cause, but until then I will pump out the revolutionary spirit needed in order to encourage and empower those most in need of such: Lumpen!


MIM(Prisons) adds: The need for struggle against these institutions set up for failure is a primary reason behind the launching of the United Front for Peace in Prisons which stresses the need to stand together in unity with those who share our common interests.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Lovelock Correctional Center] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 21]
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Fighting Repression in PS Housing

On April 28, 2011 a complaint was made against two lieutenants and the associate warden of operations (AWO) at Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC) for threatening the entire Protective Segregation (PS) housing unit population with group punishment if the gambling, homosexual activity, tattooing, etc. continued, despite the fact that those who'd been caught were known and identified and/or already facing disciplinary procedures.

The same night, a number of individuals were caught gambling, and the following morning both PS housing units 3A and 3B were locked down. The lockdown was purportedly in response to the gambling incident.

On May 10, 2011 a minor altercation occurred between two prisoners in the LCC dining hall. These two individuals were placed in more secure housing where they received:

  1. telephone access
  2. law library access
  3. library access (i.e. book cart)
  4. cleaning supplies for cells
  5. full food portions in two hot meals per day
  6. yard access
  7. due process prior to loss of privileges and punishment

The remaining PS prisoners in 3A and 3B, having nothing to do with any of these incidents, received:
  1. lockdown for 6 days with showers on first and fourth days
  2. loss of cell visiting privileges (permanently)
  3. loss of open access to cells and toilet accommodations (permanently)
  4. no law library access
  5. no religious access
  6. no library access
  7. no telephone access
  8. no cell cleaning supplies
  9. no tier time/yard time
  10. refused grievances and "advised" not to "fly paperwork if we want off of lockdown"

During the lockdown a shakedown (described as getting the unit into compliance) was done resulting in the confiscation of appliances, which was later returned because "it should not have been taken in the first place."

Upon being let off of lockdown some of the population united around these and other issues long overdue for redress and formulated a complaint alleging several violations of civil and human rights which are embraced by the following acts and holdings among others:
22 USCA 6021 (9)
22 USCA 6401 (in toto)
42 USCA 1997a (CRIPA)
42 USCA 2000cl (RLUIPA)
Bounds v Smith 37SCT1491 430US817
Heck v. Humphrey 114SCT2364 512US477
Wolff v McDonnell 94 SCT 2963 418 US 539
Breenholtz v Nebraska 99 SCT 2100 442 US 1
Estelle v Gamble 97 SCT 285 429 US 97
Turner v Safley 102 CT 2754 482 US 78
All of which are US Supreme Court holdings which are binding upon Nevada (Nevada constitution article 1 Sec 2 Bargas v Warden NSP 482 P2d 317 87 Nev 30 91 SCT 1267 403 US 935 29 LED 715)

The complaint raises the following (and other) issues which are constant and pervasive conditions at LCC among PS prisoners:

  1. unsanitary/unsafe dining hall conditions
  2. inadequate food and medical treatment
  3. compulsory strip searches daily (to boxers) frequently done by females
  4. verbal abuse by staff in the form of derogatory racial, cultural and gender charged epithets
  5. abusive and retaliatory behavior toward adherents of non-traditional religions
  6. inadequate legal access and retaliation for accessing legal process
  7. coercion/harassment in the form of cell searches and theft/destruction of personal property as retaliation and for furtherance of personal agendas
  8. withholding/theft of mail, opening legal mail outside of prisoner's presence
  9. use of prisoners in supervisory capacity and as facilitators/teachers of rehabilitative and psych programs which impact earned sentence credits, parole board decisions and sentence duration
  10. fomenting hostility and animus between prisoners using confidential or otherwise sensitive information
  11. group punishment/threats of collective retaliation and punishments

The above is a summary of the mentioned complaint and does not contain much in the way of detail and specificity. However, it serves to articulate the overall conditions here (and elsewhere) and exemplifies the need for solidarity and presenting a united front against oppression. It should never be allowed to get this bad before action is taken, but it apparently must get bad enough to inspire action.

It is easier to keep what one has than it is to regain what one has already lost, but this is not a message which is widely understood by the new prisoner class.

In any event, if information concerning our struggle becomes available, it will be put "before the world."


MIM(Prisons) adds: We applaud prisoners coming together to fight repression in their housing units. In this case it is prisoners in protective custody, a place our prison comrades are fond of reminding us is rife with people who informed on other prisoners (often falsely) to save their own hides. We cannot often know who, in PC or general population, is a snitch, but we can judge prisoners by their actions and uphold the correctness of struggles against prison brutality wherever they arise.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 21]
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Inhuman Living

I am currently serving a state sentence at Florida State Prison on Close Management (24 hour lock-down). The prisoners are treated like hogs in a barn, not human beings. The clothes here are filthy and stained with blood, urine, feces, oil, and semen. They are passed out on a weekly basis. We can catch a disease this way.

And the meals are always underdone. Prisoners have gotten sick from this, a stomach virus. If you file a grievance on it, the correctional officers won't feed you the next day.

The pigs will write prisoners bogus disciplinary reports sometimes, and if you try to file an appeal after they found you guilty of the infraction your appeal comes up missing. How can a prisoner win like that? The system is designed for us to lose even if we're right in our argument.

The correctional officers like to jump on prisoners in handcuffs/shackles in the assigned cells, on the rec yard, anywhere where there's not a camera to catch the injustice. How can anyone defend themselves when they're helpless?

The COs try to discourage prisoners on a daily basis out of their institutional call-out, meaning they will bribe them with contraband like cigarettes, chewing dip, coffee, knives, etc. A lot of them will fall for it all the time because they are trying to support their bad habits. It's sad on both parties' behalf.

Florida prisoners have no unity whatsoever and they never will as long as they continue to be brainwashed by the COs and continue accepting contraband that is being brought in by DOC workers to prisoners. As long as this keeps going on there will always be fights between one another.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The oppressive conditions in Florida are similar to those throughout the criminal injustice system, and this comrade's call for prisoners to unite underscores the motivation behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons. One of the 5 principles of the United Front is Independence. The oppressed need to develop institutions that meet their needs. There are plenty of examples of prisoners pooling their resources to take care of each other, rather than relying on the COs who only hope to poison the prison population with drugs, weapons, rumors and jealousy.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Tecumseh State Correctional Institution] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 21]
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Fighting the System is Dangerous

As mentioned in prior writings by comrades, the struggle, especially for those incarcerated, must encompass not merely a study of history but an application of those strategies that in some way benefit the cause as a whole. One aspect of such application are the legal remedies which can set precedence for many who may need such standards in proving the wrongs done by prison officials. However the opacity and cover-up culture of prison industry in some instances allows for these same freedom fighters to unknowingly sacrifice their very lives for the sake of the many. Here at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in a rural part of Nebraska this fact remains ever alive.

We are still mourning the death of a prisoner who has on several occasions successfully challenged institutional policy, winning both injunctive and compensatory judgments. In the process he made enemies, invoking the wrath of those running this warehouse. And although this comrade was in phenomenal physical condition he somehow experienced an aneurysm and mysteriously died. Some have postulated his diet of tuna was the cause, other more conspiratorial minds say he was murdered because of his success in exposing questionable actions by those officials. I myself have chosen to accept the latter.

I mention this with regards to a legal battle I will enter very soon pertaining to a number of constitutional rights that have been violated. This struggle is real in every sense of the word and unfortunately requires its martyrs, without which one would not perceive the seriousness of our collective struggle.

The constant study, comprehension and application of the tenets of independent thinking, which will always remain applicable to our situation, must continue for substantial change to occur.

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[Organizing] [Education]
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Acts of Resistance are Everywhere

Every time we wake up and open our eyes to a new day, that's an act of resistance, because they don't care if we wake up or not, and some don't want us to! Every time we take in or exhale a precious breath of life we are engaging in a real act of resistance, because they don't want us to breath, they want us to live in misery and nothing more. Every time we write things like this and contribute our writings to newsletters, zines, pamphlets or to the internet, we are engaging in an act of resistance, because these are messages they don't want us to convey!

Resistance isn't always about violent bouts with our captors, even though we've been through that, or will probably go through it one of these days (on one level or another), but sometimes it's about striving to overcome these everyday struggles in these death camps, while keeping your mind in one piece, your body strong and your spirit unbreakable. So in that sense we are engaging in acts of resistance every day! Me, writing this, is an act of resistance.

So, my dear comrades, please allow me to extend my most sincere greetings of love, solidarity and respect to all who read this and to all who feel it. As a revolutionary freedom fighter, it is my duty to strive every day to raise consciousness and engage and organize others, conducting study sessions and having political, philosophical and intellectual stimulating convos with those who are confined in the cells around me, writing essays and zines and trying to connect with people on the outs in a real and meaningful way. Even though I'm constantly retaliated on by my captors, it doesn't matter. I resist the attempts to mentally suffocate me and others through sensory deprivation tactics. They try to break our spirits but we keep resistance in our hearts, and that's what carries us through.

And I want to dedicate this act of resistance to all of the prisoners who read this, from state to state, all those who are resisting their "intellectual death sentences," tearing it up! Staying hard and staying true through it all. I salute you and I write these words to encourage you to start getting things going where you're at, start studying the law, raise consciousness (your own and in the minds of others too), start up study groups, get a book drive going for your prison. Start up your own prison chapter, build bridges with comrades on the outs. Each one teach one, engage others, sharpen your swords, listen as much as you talk, learn as much as you teach, be real with people, and try to bring a level of solidarity amongst the prisoners on your tier, unit, wing, etc. These are some of the things that I'm doing out here in Pennsylvania and it's what I encourage everyone everywhere to do also!

I dedicate this act of resistance to all of you who read this. My heart goes out to all of you, my love, my appraisal, my solidarity, and my deepest respect goes out!

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[United Front] [Organizing]
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United Front and First Nation struggles

I want to make a comment about the united front. I've been trapped inside this system for 15 years. And I've always been for my people and against our oppressors - the united snakes of lies. As you might know, us indigenous people have been subject to deception, murder, and assimilation. It's been a problem for my people - Dakota-Santec Sioux - since our first encounter with these snakes. And to this day it's still a problem for all indigenous people across this land we call turtle island. So until all the atrocities against my people have been righted, we will always be that thorn in the side of them snakes. Because we don't forgive or forget, we'll always remember the ones who have given up their lives for our struggle. For us, our wars have never ended, because as long as there's a breath in a few we'll always stand and fight for what is right.

I write that to let you know where we stand in the struggle. We will always be at war with the government of the united snakes.

Although we believe in the struggle, we also believe that the only ones who can fight our fight, is US (indigenous people), for history has shown that we can't rely on anybody but our own. For we are the ones who can truly relate to how much it means to us. And how we are effected by all the wrongs that have been done to us. Because I believe our struggle is different - we struggle for survival! We fight not only for sovereignty, but for preservation of our ways of life (language, spirituality, and our culture).


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer that the struggles of different oppressed nations are not all the same. The First Nations are in a struggle for survival as a small minority within a land dominated by an oppressor nation, while the struggle of oppressed nations in the Third World are battles of the majority against the minority. There are many differences, and these must be respected.

The goal of a United Front (for instance, the United Front for Peace in Prisons) is to bring together different groups against a common enemy without forcing those groups to subsume their struggles and beliefs into a larger organization. A United Front recognizes the importance of independence to its member organizations. Those groups need only unite around a common cause and principles but can take what actions they deem appropriate, and can continue to pursue their own organizing and other struggles.

We see the importance of separate nation vanguard organizations within the U.$., and so we agree with this comrade on the importance of indigenous people fighting their own fight. But we see the United Front as a crucial element of support for these organizations, bringing them together to fight their common enemy of imperialism.

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[ALKQN/PLF] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 22]
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Response to "Time for Peaceful Revolution"

As a member and a strong representative of the ALKQN, I would like to thank ECC.1:1 for understanding/recognizing that the Time for Peaceful Revolution article printed in ULK 17 left more questions than answers.

This particular attempt for a peaceful revolution reminds me of a specific religion claiming to be the most righteous group, but then turn around and bash another religion, spending all their time and energy preaching hatred.

As the Nation Man that I am, I'm obligated to correct and respond to the Komrade's article, in an attempt to enlighten and educate those that do not have a proper understanding of the ALKQN. Because a real righteous person will not only strive for perfection, but will also take time to help, hope or pray that the next person will get on the right path.

I am very well aware of, and advocate, revolutionary criticism. I encourage all types of criticism from all walks of life. However, in order to give a positive or negative criticism, it is important that one has the correct knowledge of the subject they are criticizing, and from reading the komrade from New York's article, it's obvious that not only does he not know the true purpose of Kingism, but he also failed to build on a peaceful revolution.

The ALKQN was founded in 1940, not by Lord Gino Gustavo, but by (RIP) King Gentle. The five principles/points of the Holy Crown are Love, Honor, Obedience, Sacrifice and Righteousness. The purpose of the ALKQN is to promote prosperity and freedom through love and understanding to all oppressed people of the world; to train our people to become aware of our social and political problems and of the conditions that we are subjected to live under as a third world people; to provide the aid and way in our search for peace and unity; and to promote and encourage educational and vocational learning in order to train our people in the art of survival.

In the early stages of Kingism, the title was just Almighty Latin Kings Nation. It wasn't until the sixth decade of the twentieth century that the title ALKN changed to Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation. The ALKQN is a global organization with chapters all around the world, and to say that New York was the first state to recognize and acknowledge our beautiful sisters as Queens is just false. Diana Rodriguez, who was born and raised in Chicago, played a major role in the 60s for the sisters in the struggle and the Nation.

Although this Komrade expressed personal feelings, which created more confusion then solutions, I do believe some good came out of this publication, because it definitely caught the attention of many Komrades in New Jersey's Department of Corrections. It is definitely time for peaceful revolution, because through violence alone we as lumpen organizations will only achieve but so much and get but so far in our quest for liberation, peace and justice.

Today's struggle and oppression is not so much as it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s. In that time we faced a more physical oppression, with police brutality and so forth. Not to say that police brutality does not exist today, because it certainly does. However, in today's materialistic society, we face a more psychological aspect of oppression. And after being pushed and beaten so many times, one just pushes back with the use of violent defense. But when faced with psychological oppression, how can we expect one to fight back when one isn't mentally strong enough to resist such an oppressive tactic? And for this very reason, we must create a peaceful revolution, and education is the key that will liberate us from our mental shackles.

I'm sure the Komrade from New York is trying to point out the fact of the ever growing problem of police collaboration, which is a major problem in our quest for progress in any lumpen organization. However, I would like to add that one must not live life with resentment, as it is a proven fact that it can eventually take a toll on one's life.

In conclusion, I accept all feedback for a peaceful revolution. I believe all lumpen organizations should come together in unity and stand firm in our quest for peace, justice, freedom, progress and prosperity.


ECC.1:1 of ALKQN/PLF responds: To the representative of the ALKQN-NJDOC sub-region and furthermore to all members of the lumpen organization (LO) in question, the following "feedback" is for all of us, as natural allies, together, to chew on and digest:

First and foremost I want to stipulate that it is the essence of the following statement around which future dialogue should be provoked throughout this nucleus of ours. In the above response the representative states that "it is important that one has the correct knowledge of the subject they are criticizing, and from reading the comrade from New York's article [see ULK 17 for said article, titled Time for a Peaceful Revolution, which was written by a third party and criticized by both the above representative and myself], it is obvious that... he [does] not know the true purpose of Kingism..." The representative goes on to address certain characteristics of our organization such as the stated purposes of our organization as listed in our organization's Chapter Constitution; the principles listed therein, as well; and a bit of history concerning the constantly debatable year of our founding and just exactly who or whom founded the same. This statement should be used as the stepping stone for our developing discussion due to the perpetually subconscious question mark so many of us "representatives" have in relation to such things as our "true" history (accounts vary depending upon where and by whom you were coronated). Similarly, and more importantly, we lack a clear and concise political line drawn from the KM/C(King Manifesto and Constitution) and upheld by some form of a centralized body made accessible to the entire organization itself, as opposed to the conceptual authority on a national level that today, for all intents and purposes, seems to be more illusory than real.

In the above response the representative (and I use this title respectfully) brings up the more violent, defensive tactics of the (North Amerikan?) struggle of the 50s, 60s and 70s, in the face of their (perceptually) physical oppression of "that" time. Without getting into the stark and violent physical oppression being inflicted upon the people of the Middle East (Third Worlders who constitute "our people" as dictated by the KM/C and therefore constitute the very real, physical oppression we are experiencing, as a whole, right now, today...) I will attempt, for the most part, to construct my address around the (assumably) ideological justifications of the above author's advocacy for a "peaceful revolution" as a representative of the LO in question, and do so from the starting point of a very interesting section of the KM/C itself which, I might add, by the way, was written to serve as nothing more consequential than a "guide."

For (s)he who knows and knows that (s)he knows... the section of the KM/C titled "Fearlessness" is almost a verbatim, word-for-word quote of Mohandas Gandhi (see Gandhi, Selected Writings) who was the progenitor of "Satyagraha," or non-violence — the "peaceful revolution," if you will. But does this mean that we, as members of the LO from which the KM/C was written, should all of a sudden and wholeheartedly adopt the methods of Satyagraha? No! And the reasons are multifaceted. True, an in-depth research of the KM/C will discover a plethora of influences, all related to "revolution" in one form or another. Remember, the KM/C is but a "guide," a field-manual, if you will, of sorts. And for those of us passing before the Turning Wheel of Change who think we know what Gandhi's message fully entailed, but don't (and who would assume a certain indication as a result of the above revelation), here's another quote of his, and one to dissipate any illusions, for these are his words as well:

He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. (ibid)

Ahora, let's take another revolutionary/historical influence. While Gandhi was indeed a pacifist by all means, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an advocate of armed struggle, bar none. And where exactly does any portion of his particular philosophy fit into the teachings of the KM/C? How about within and throughout the very core of the KM/C itself? In reading Guevara's Socialism and Man in Cuba one will not only find the New Man - New King reproduction but the actual blueprint (pre-, pending-, post-revolutionary war consciousness of the individual) for the class-based three stages of "Reyismo": primitive, to conservative, to either an accomplice to the anti-King system or a New King (or Queen), which in even more political terms is read as lumpen-proletariat, to proletariat, to either labor aristocrat/national bourgeoisie or Third World internationalist/revolutionary. But does this mean that we should all of a sudden and wholeheartedly (blindly) adopt the methods of, say, "focoism," Che's theory that the masses will be inspired to overthrow the oppressor's regime at the guerilla's declaration and launch war against the same? No!

What then, exactly, does all this mean? Gandhi or Che? Armed struggle or Satyagraha? Violence or non??? Neither. What it means — and this is the culmination of my address to, and call for, further dialogue amongst the Subjects of Decision to whom this appeals — is that 1) yes, "the time for revolution is at hand... a revolution of the mind, the revolution of knowledge, a revolution that will bring freedom to the enslaved;" but that 2) this "revolution of the mind," this "revolution of knowledge," is neither simply just a polar shift from one extreme to another (i.e. violence to non-violence) nor evident in the rising of ones GPA, per se, but an actual, dynamic, radical and revolutionary change in our world outlook to the "Almighty Eye" that now sees through the lens of dialectical and historical materialism; and 3) that this, that or any other form of "revolution" to be applied at any given time or place (all things considered and compared) should and must be determined not by any one particular representative, capĂ­tulo and/or region of the Federation alone, submerged within the context of their own reality, but by an organized body of professional revolutionaries, a vanguard party of the intelligentsia, the political cadre studied in the science of Marxism and found throughout the entire Nation/LO in question, as a whole.

Revolution is both ever-pliable and omnipresent, so such questions as "violence or non-violence" should not be asked in search of a cure-all method or application of resistance but, at the very least, should be considered based upon the objective and subjective conditions of any given situation, place and/or time of the entire movement, as a whole, in flux. Yet, before we can even begin to ask "when and where," we must first ask "by whom and how" should such decisions be both determined and detailed for either the execution and or debate of all those considered, and in accord? The principal question then boils down to this: a Leninist vanguard-style political party within the LO in question (and this could mean any LO in question) or a continuation of confusion, uncertainty, mis (and a lack of) communication and both the overwhelming atmosphere of counter-revolutionary conduct and the ever discouraging counter-revolutionary calls from those "above."

The debate has already begun within our particular LO alone (as well as within others) and is active in a number of states. To those of the ALK(Q)N who are familiar with Leninist party-building and his work titled What is to be Done? the call for your sanctioning power, the weapons and shields that are your words and ideas - the power to create - is being sounded. I look forward to pushing this conversation forward with more of you within the pages of Under Lock & Key (ULK).

And so I close, with a bon-apetite, and both a special appreciation for the response made by the representative above and a complimentary mint to top things off, served up by Chairman Mao himself, so as to give those first-time ULK readers something further to consume:

We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war, but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 19]
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Organizing the Lumpen is Hard

lumpen united front

Organizing the imprisoned lumpen within the United $nakes is certainly nothing easy. However, speaking technically and from a materialist perspective, it should be relatively easy. As First World lumpen we face much more oppression than our oppressed nation counter parts who have ascended to the ranks of the petty-bourgeoisie/labor aristocracy. Therefore, when conducting a proper class analysis within the United $tates it is the law of contradiction that tells us that those most oppressed in the economic sense by capitalism's contradictions in society will be the scientifically designated revolutionary vehicle. Having no proletariat to speak of within U.$. borders, besides perhaps the migratory workers, the next best thing or class of people resembling a revolutionary vehicle becomes, in our case, the bourgeoisified lumpen.

Therefore, as any good communist should know the heart of social change, the very meat and marrow of it all within U.$. borders rests with the lumpen. And so in knowing all this there is still a question to be begged. Why is it so damn hard?!

The lumpen as a class is the direct product of the capitalist mode of production and has its ideology rooted and embedded in the bourgeois philosophy of "me, myself and I." It is this backward bourgeois thinking which we must first focus on defeating. Victory on the ideological front should be our first real goal. The more people we win over on the ideological front, the more successful we'll be in accomplishing all other tasks. This is the principal contradiction that needs to be resolved with respect to organizing the lumpen.

ULK as an ideological weapon is a good tool in helping us to win over the prisoner population in a conscious way to not only their own class based cause, but more importantly to that of the truly oppressed and exploited, the international proletariat and peasantry, i.e. the Third World masses.

ULK and now USW, with the direct ideological assistance provided by our Maoist teachers at MIM(Prisons), are currently spreading Maoist thought amongst and throughout the prisoner population. With all this said and being done therefore it should be relatively easier to organize the imprisoned population.

So why is it still so damn hard?

The answer once again to the aforementioned and repeatedly asked question is: ideology.

Case in point, take the California Department of Corruption for example, the biggest warehouse of people in all of the United $tates. The imprisoned lumpen within this golden gulag might very well be one of the toughest nuts to crack for USW and so it should serve as a case study for MIM(Prisons).

The CA Dept. of Corruptions is the very focus of many of the internal contradictions of Amerikkkan imperialism peculiarly personified in national oppression and class warfare. For that matter just about any Amerikkkan prison is a perpetrator of these superstructurally demanded operations. Killa'fornia however differs from most other states in the way in which the lumpen organizes itself. It's not merely a matter of organizational differences as compared to other LOs, in other states rather a difference in ideology of each nation-based LO. Perhaps this is why state repression is so intense, as well as carried out over and beyond the call of duty by prison administrators here.

Just as your average Amerikan foot soldier believes that fighting Islamic anti-imperialists is their number one job as "freedom loving Amerikans," so does your average pig on the street, as well as those working the prisons, believe that the biggest threat to internal security and class interests inside "the homeland" is the lumpen.

While on the California "mainline" it is easy for a USW comrade to bang their head on the ideological brick wall of backward-bourgeois-individualistic thinking when attempting to organize the lumpen for their own interests. Failed attempts to facilitate peace treaties between LOs or failed attempts to organize peaceful protests over real issues doesn't say much about a comrade's effectiveness while working within these conditions. Being that prison is only a microcosm of its given society, and knowing that the contradictions of the former are only equal or greater, for the most part in the most extreme sense, than that of the latter, deems that that principal contradiction that needs to be resolved in order for us to begin successfully organizing the lumpen is that of ideology. The difficult thing here is to persuade the prisoner population to become class conscious; the rest is relatively easy.

"The correctness or otherwise of the ideological line and political line decides everything. When the party has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns then it can have guns; if it has no political power then it can have political power." - Mao Zedong

What applies to parties can usually be applied to individuals.

Some comrades in USW and MIM(Prisons) might believe that the important thing here when building class consciousness throughout the imprisoned populations is in getting lumpen organizations to adopt a proletarian worldview. If we do this however, all we're really getting is a revisionism of sorts because individuals won't really bother to struggle politically with themselves, they'll just "toll the bell" so to speak. Of course we'll always try to attract as many followers as we can, but only if they're all able and willing to lead.

Some might think that if you remove the barrier of lumpen organizational structure, i.e. the LO itself, that this act in itself will automatically gain us troops to the tenth degree because the lumpen will then be that much more progressive.

True, some individuals who either willingly leave their LO or are forcibly removed from their car do indeed become progressive in one way or another. Some delve into mysticism wishing for forgiveness and a better tomorrow, others become class conscious and take up the struggle of ending oppression in all its forms. For the most part however they just keep on doing the same old shit. "Same shit, different day," as they like to say.

Just as we can only build socialism one country at a time, we can only revolutionize the prison population one persyn at a time; and just as the theory of simultaneous world revolution is an incorrect one, so is it incorrect to think that we can revolutionize whole LOs all at once or anything close to that.

I say all this to make the point that the one organizational barrier for the most part isn't the end all be all when it comes to preventing the prison population's revolutionization process. Some comrades might know what I'm talking about if you're housed in an environment where there are no real prison politics to speak of, that is to say you don't have to worry about another prisoner trying to pressure you to conform to socially accepted and required norms.

A PC yard shows you this when you see people who have left one LO on the mainline only to join another one on a SNY, playing the same games and reconstructing the same old hierarchy and policies that got 'em to a PC yard to begin with.

It's almost as if the prison population must be shocked out of their zombie-like state of existence before they can exhibit some type of real progressiveness. Feeling this way can surely discourage some comrades from doing the necessary work which the USW has been tasked with. Unfortunately we are forced to work with what capitalism has bequeathed us.

The battle to push people towards scientific-socialism is a most ruthless war waged by the class-conscious and is fought against not only backward individuals but against an entire network of ideas (superstructure). This is exactly why the Chinese Communists had themselves a "Cultural Revolution," because they knew full well that organizing the prison population in this or that direction would never be enough. You have to teach the prison population not only what has to be done but why it needs to be done. For this we must all bear responsibilities!

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Gender] [ULK Issue 19]
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Call for More Gender Struggles in USW Work

In making a determination of what organizing strategy and tactical approach will be most effective in achieving the revolutionary goals of a political vanguard, we must first conduct a dialectical analysis of our strategic objectives. Thus, we begin our examination with an overall look at our political line. What are our general positions and our main objectives? Which of these should be given priority? What tactics will best advance the struggle for liberation, justice, and equality?

In the United $tates, the most oppressed groups are prisoners, First Nations, and sexual minorities/wimmin. Therefore, it is these specific groups to which I give priority and focus here. [We have excluded the author's analysis of First Nations to focus this article. - Editor] How can we better organize these groups? What tactics have worked in the past?

The Congress Report 2010 by MIM(Prisons) makes no mention of wimmin or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender, Queer) prisoners, or of issues and projects specifically affecting these groups.(1) As a transgender revolutionary feminist prisoner, and a USW comrade, I feel that the absence or exclusion of these oppressed groups from the discussion is of significant concern. Whenever MIM(Prisons) is confronted on the issue of gender, it merely refers to the old back issue of MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism. But what is being done now, today, in regards to gender oppression and the advancement of revolutionary feminism within the ranks of MIM(Prisons)?

The concept of principal contradiction comes from dialectical materialism, which says that everything can be divided into opposing forces.(2) The revolutionary feminist struggle against patriarchy is by no means secondary to the principal contradiction in the world today between imperialist countries and the oppressed nations they exploit. Sartre has observed that: "if the feminist struggle maintained its ties with the class struggle, it could shake a society in a way that would completely overturn it."(3)

The struggle for gender equality also includes transgender wimmin and other sexual minorities. The situation of transgender prisoners, particularly, is so vexing to prison administrators that the National Commission on Correctional Health Care has drafted a position statement titled "Transgender Health Care in Correctional Settings," which reads in part: "when determined to be medically necessary for a particular inmate, hormone therapy should be initiated and sex-reassignment surgery considered on a case-by-case basis."(4)

Transgender females, especially in prison, are often discriminated against and sexually abused in much the same way as biological wimmin, but far worse. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) has introduced a much needed piece of legislation, the Prison Abuse Remedies Act (PARA), which would end the widespread impunity enjoyed by prison officials when inmates are raped on their watch. It would change the worst parts of the PLRA, which makes it virtually impossible for prison rape survivors to seek redress in court.(5) Attorney General Eric Holder and Justice Department officials are dragging their feet on implementation of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission's recommended "Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Detention," the deadline for which passed in June 2010.(6) In the meantime, more than 100,000 adults and youth continue to be sexually abused each year while imprisoned.(7)

In failing to discuss these issues, MIM(Prisons) has missed a great opportunity to revolutionize these oppressed groups and link their struggle to the overall anti-imperialist movement. This is a strategic and tactical mistake on our part, in my humble opinion.

Wimmin and the LGBTQ community are oppressed groups and potential revolutionary classes nearly on par with oppressed nations, particularly within the criminal "justice" system, and MIM(Prisons) must raise their level of importance on the list of priorities at least to the level of national liberation struggles and prisoners' struggle. This is in line with the Maoist theory of United Front and the expansion of the anti-imperialist struggle among lumpen organizations, as well as internationalist solidarity. Wimmin and Queers of the world, Unite!

Notes:
1. Under Lock & Key, September/October 2010, No. 16 (San Francisco; MIM Distributors, 2010)
2. See "Strategy and Tactics in the Belly of the Beast," ULK 13
3. Jean-Paul Sartre, "Simone de Beauvoir Interviews Sartre," Life/Situations: Essays written and spoken. (New York" Pantheon Books, 1977) p93-108.
4. See "Should State pay for convicts sex change?" T.I.P. Journal, Vol 10, no1, Spring 2010 (Wheat Ridge, CO: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc., 2010), p3.
5. Lisa Stannow, "JDI Applauds Proposed Reforms," T.I.P. Journal, vol 10, no1, Spring 2010 (Wheat Ridge, CO: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc., 2010), p.5.
6. Action Update, April 2010, Just Detention International, www.just-detention.org
7. Ibid.


PTT of MIM(Prisons) responds: In a discussion of what the principal contradiction is in the world today, and what role feminism plays in that contradiction, let's first clearly define what a "principal contradiction" is:

"There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions." - Mao, "On Contradiction"

Ending oppression is our goal. The struggle towards this goal in our current society is our "complex thing." It has many contradictions which are interacting with each other throughout the course of its development (we say gender, class and nation are the main three). Determining which contradiction is principal in the world today gives us a guide for how to organize and what issues to organize around. We determine which is the principal contradiction using a materialist (based in material reality) analysis of history. The principal contradiction is principal (and not secondary) because of the way its development will impact the development of other contradictions. We do not choose it, it is shown to us in history.

Establishing a principal contradiction is not a matter of deciding which struggles most affect us on a persynal or subjective basis. The principal contradiction is not the most subjectively important contradiction; it is the one we need to focus on because history has shown that it will bring the best results. As sympathizers with all oppressed peoples in the world, including wimmin and LGBTQ people, we hope to reach communism as fast as possible to minimize humyn suffering. But based on our study and analysis, we say that nation, and not gender, is the principal contradiction at this time in history, and we need to organize to push the national contradiction forward.

For example, and contrary to what Queen Boudicca claims, oppressed nations are far more oppressed by the criminal injustice system than biological wimmin. In 2009, men were 14 times more likely to go to state or federal prison than wimmin, while Black men were 6.5%[this incorrectly read percent] times more likely than white men.(1) The gender gap is bigger than the national gap, but in favor of oppressing biological men. To argue that bio-wimmin are more oppressed you're gonna have to base your argument somewhere else.

Our comrade does present here examples of the unique oppression faced by wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners in the United $tates. Yet, the form of solutions proposed are reformist at best and at worst the demands of the gender privileged. We must not focus on these examples of oppression in isolation, as a replacement for a scientific analysis of how development of the gender contradiction will affect other contradictions (namely nation) and our overall goals, as Queen Boudicca does.

Historically laws against rape have expanded, not combatted, gender privilege. Similarly the development of leisure time related medicine has largely benefited the gender privileged at the expense of the oppressed. The use of drugs related to depression and mood is a means of adapting to an oppressive system, or being forced to submit as is more clear in the prison environment. That said, we would encourage comrades to utilize antidepressants as a last resort if they are unable to put in work without them. The initiation of hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery could play similar roles as psychological aids to cope in an oppressive world. But when we are considering strategic battles on behalf of the oppressed, shutting down control units, for example, will have a much bigger influence on mental health while also developing the anti-imperialist struggle for prisoners as a group.

Under capitalism and imperialism, it is impossible for us to determine whether hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery are objectively medically necessary for all time or just useful as a crutch for people who are justifiably maladjusted to an imperialistic world. Sex has long been defined socially and not biologically for the humyn species. Under communism, when gender oppression is eradicated, and gender ceases to exist, will people still want to change their biology? These are questions we cannot answer until we get there. For now we encourage everyone who has a poor self-image and an unsatisfactory sex life to recognize these as products of capitalism and join the struggle toward world liberation.

There is a thorough analysis of how the gender struggle impacts our struggle for communism, and it is contained in the 208 page magazine titled MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism. While not new, it has a more updated assessment than Sartre, specifically in regards to the gender aristocracy. Queen Boudicca claims to have read and to uphold MT 2/3, but misses a main point that the struggles of First World wimmin generally lead to more national oppression here and throughout the world. Examples include the lynching of Black men as a trade for more gender privilege for white wimmin; the forced drug testing on Third World wimmin directly leading to an increase in the availability of birth control for First World wimmin; and the failed pseudo-feminist movement which has had no positive impact on the gender struggle for the majority of wimmin. It is true that we recommend MIM Theory 2/3 as the best starting point for why nation trumps gender as the principal contradiction.

Although nation is the principal contradiction in the world today, it still may be possible to organize wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners under the MIM umbrella against their own material interests as Amerikans. We believe that prisoners hold the most revolutionary potential within the United $tates, which is why we organize them. If Queen Boudicca is subjectively inspired to organize wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners specifically, then we would support h organizing these populations around MIM line. There are many roles to play in our struggle toward liberation and communism, and MIM(Prisons) can't fill them all. As a revolutionary feminist organization, MIM(Prisons) aims to end gender oppression as part of our struggle for communism, and we would welcome any group into the united front against imperialism that is willing to accept the political leadership of MIM Thought.

Queen Boudicca accuses MIM(Prisons) of not publishing articles about the issues she raises. Yet we have printed letters from this author in ULK, and dozens of other articles addressing gender issues from a uniquely Maoist perspective. In particular, our article from ULK 1 discusses how imprisonment rates of Black men make them more gender oppressed than white wimmin in the United $tates today. And ULK 6 is focused on gender and tackles everything from gay marriage to pornography to the effect of prisons on the family structure.

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