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!
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.
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, capítulo 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.
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!
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!
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.
I'd like to comment on special needs yards and the lack of revolutionaries therein. I am on such a unit, except here in Oregon they call them mental health units. Of course there is also protective custody but, I'm not addressing PC units in this letter.
I am a former racist skinhead who left the movement decades ago. Since then I began a movement to get others out of the white supremacist movement by educating them on issues of white privilege, aspects of class war and anti-imperialism. I was extremely successful and my efforts have been recognized at a national level. Someone needed to come forward to educate these misguided individuals. I did. Now I pay the price.
As the result of some robberies I was sent to prison. Almost immediately I was recognized and repeatedly attacked while staff lied and covered up a conspiracy to keep me on mainline knowing I had received several valid death threats. Finally I was moved to an institution where I could walk mainline and placed on a "mental health" unit. I am on such a unit because I am a revolutionary. Now I am in a system where often the line between the white power groups and the guards is blurred. In a white privileged and dominated imperialist nation what more could one expect?
Everyone in the Oregon DOC is too busy fighting one another to join together to accomplish anything and it is my experience that there are just as many rats and snitches on mainline units as there are in the "mental health" units here in Oregon. The mentally dead are everywhere. You find them not only amongst the ranks of snitches or rats but, also in those who are brainwashed into believing in the false theory of race or racial superiority.
It is not until whites of the lumpen can realize the privilege the color of their skin affords them in the united states and throw away the doctrine of race or racial superiority that we can join ranks with our brothers and sisters and truly become revolutionaries in the non-violent struggle to end oppression in the U.S. and the doctrine of oppressive imperialism our nation forces upon the innocents of the Third World.
Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Featuring Exchanges with an Outlaw by Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party- Prison Chapter December 2010 Kersplebedeb CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne Montreal, Quebec Canada H3W 3H8
also available from: AK Press 674-A 23rd Street Oakland, CA 94612
This book centers around the political dialogue between two revolutionary New Afrikan prisoners. The content is very familiar to MIM(Prisons) and will be to our readers. It is well-written, concise and mostly correct. Therefore it is well worth studying.
Rashid's book is also worth studying alongside this review to better distinguish the revisionist line of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) with the MIM line. While claiming to represent a dialectal materialist assessment of the world we live in, the camp that includes the NABPP-PC, and Tom Big Warrior's (TBW) Red Heart Warrior Society have dogmatically stuck to positions on the oppression and exploitation of Amerikans that have no basis in reality. We will take some space to address this question at the end, as it has not been thoroughly addressed in public to our knowledge.
Both Rashid and Outlaw preface their letters with their own autobiographies. Rashid's in particular is an impressive, almost idealized story of lumpen turned proletarian revolutionary. The simple principle that guides him through prison life is standing up to the pigs every time they violate a prisoner. At times he has inspired those around him to the point that the pigs can't get away with anything. The problem, he later points out, is the others are inspired by him as an individual. So when he was moved, or sent to a control unit, their unity crumbled.
At first, control units seemed an effective tool to control his resistance. But it is then that he found revolutionary theory. Rather than stay focused on combating minor behavior issues of the COs, he began to learn about societies that didn't have cops and prisons, and societies where the people rose up to transform the whole economic system. It is through ideology that you can build lasting unity that can't be destroyed by transfers and censorship.
Both Rashid and Outlaw conclude their autobiographies saying they have nothing to lose. They are two examples of the extreme repression felt by the lumpen of the oppressed nations. As a result, state terrorism no longer works to intimidate them, leaving them free to serve the people.
Democratically Centralized Organizing
In the foreword, Russell "Maroon" Shoats says his reason for not joining the NABPP-PC was that it claimed to operate under democratic centralism, which he believes is impossible for prisoners. We agree with his assessment, which is why we do not invite prisoners to join MIM(Prisons) even when their work and ideological development would otherwise warrant it. The benefits of having a tight cadre organization are lost when its inner workings are wide open to the pigs. Maroon points out that certain leaders will end up with absolute power (with the pigs determining who leads, we might add), and much resources are wasted just trying to maintain the group.
For the most part, there is nothing a comrade could do within prison as a member of MIM(Prisons) that they can't do as a member of USW. There is much work to be done to develop this mass organization, and we need experienced and ideologically trained comrades to lead it. When the situation develops to the point of having local cadre level organizations within a prison, then we would promote the cell structure, where democratic centralism can occur at a local level, just as we do on the outside.
In the last essay of the book, Rashid finally answers Maroon by saying that the NABPP-PC is a pre-party that will become real (along with its democratic centralism) outside of prisons.
The Original Black Panther Party
The main criticism of the original Black Panther Party (BPP) in Rashid's essay on organizational structure is their failure to distinguish between the vanguard party and the mass organization. Connected to this was a failure to practice democratic centralism. How could they when they were signing up members fresh off the street? These new recruits shouldn't have the same say as Huey Newton, but neither should Huey Newton alone dictate what the party does. We agree with Rashid that the weakness of the BPP came from these internal contradictions, which allowed the FBI to destroy it so quickly.(p. 353)
It's not clear how this assessment relates to an earlier section where he implies that an armed mass base and better counterintelligence would have protected the BPP. Rashid criticizes MIM's line, as he sees it, that a Black revolutionary party cannot operate above ground in the United $tates today.(p. 133) Inexplicably, 15 pages later he seems to agree with MIM by stating that Farrakhan would have to go underground or be killed the next day if he opposed capitalism and promoted real New Afrikan independence.
He also criticizes MIM on armed struggle and their assessment of George Jackson's foco theory. Mao applied Sun Tzu's Art of War to the imperialist countries to say that revolutionaries should not engage in armed struggle until their governments are truly helpless. Rashid says that he agrees with MIM's criticism of the Cuban model that lacked a mass base for revolution. But he supports George Jackson's "variant of urban-based focos, emphasiz[ing] that a principal purpose of revolutionary armed struggle is to not only destroy the enemy's forces, but to protect the political work and workers…"(p.134) He goes on to criticize MIM for a "let's wait" line that ends up promoting a bloodless revolution in his view.
He complains that the U.$. military was already overextended (in 2004) and MIM was "still just talking." But Mao defined the point to switch strategies as when "the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, [and] the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight…" MIM(Prisons) agrees with Mao's military strategy, and one would have to be in a dream world to imply that either of these conditions have been reached, despite the level of U.$. military involvement abroad. Rashid is saying that we need armed struggle regardless of conditions to defend our political wing. Despite his successes with using force to defend the masses in prison, we do not think this translates to conditions in general society. Guerrilla theory that tells us to only fight battles we know we can win also says not to take up defensive positions around targets that we can't defend.
Another criticism made by Rashid is that the BPP didn't enforce a policy of members committing class suicide, and he seems to criticize their self-identification as a "lumpen" party in 1970 and 1971. Interestingly, he foresees a "working-class-conscious petty bourgeois" leading the New Afrikan liberation struggle.(p.232) He comes down left of the current New Afrikan Maoist Party (NAMP) line by condemning the call for independent Black capitalism as unrealistic, and requiring the petty bourgeoisie to commit class suicide as well.(p.177) Whether the vanguard is more petty bourgeois or lumpen in origin is a minor point, but we mention all this to ask why all the class suicide if all Amerikans are so exploited and oppressed as he claims elsewhere (see below)?
Tom Big Warrior
In contrast to Rashid, except for some superficial mentions of Maoist terminology, we don't have much agreement with Tom Big Warrior (TBW) in his introduction or his afterword to this book. In both, he states that the principal contradiction in the world is internal to the U.$. empire, and it is between its need to consolidate hegemony and the chaos it creates. This implies a theory where imperialism is collapsing internally, and will be taken down by chaos rather than the conscious rising of the oppressed nations as MIM(Prisons) believes. He speaks favorably of intercommunalism, as has Rashid who once wrote that "the old definitions of nationalism no longer apply." We see intercommunalism as an ultra-left line that undermines the approach of national liberation struggles.
Speaking for the NABPP-PC on page 380, TBW states that they want a Comintern to direct revolutionaries around the world. We oppose a new Comintern, following in the footsteps of MIM, Mao and Stalin. In the past, TBW has taken up other erroneous lines of the rcp=u$a such as accusing Third World nations of "Muslim fascism." He also talks out of both sides of his mouth like Bob Avakian about Amerikan workers benefiting from imperialism, but also being victims of it. He has openly attacked the MIM line as being "crazy," while admitting to have never studied it. This is the definition of idealism, when one condemns theories based on what one desires to be the truth.
Wait, Are Whites Revolutionary?
After reading this book, you might ask yourself that question. Comrades have already asked this question of NABPP-PC and TBW in the past and received a clear answer of "yes." This debate is old. The former Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) had it with the so-called "Revolutionary Communist Party (USA)" (rcp=u$a), among others, for decades before denouncing them as a CIA front. Interestingly, Rashid and TBW both like to quote Bob Avakian but fail to provide an assessment or criticism of the rcp=u$a line in this 386 page volume.
Most of these writings predate the formation of the NABPP-PC, but are presented in a book with the NABPP-PC's name on it, so we will take it as representative of their line. The history of struggle with the MIM camp dates back to the original writing of much of the material presented in this book. Comrades in the MIM camp, including United Struggle from Within, the emerging NAMP, and a comrade who went on to help found MIM(Prisons) engaged in debates with all of the leading members of the party, as well as TBW, shortly after their formation.
The point is that not only had at least two of the NABPP-PC's leaders studied MIM line prior to forming their own, but they openly opposed this line following their formation. While not addressed directly, it seems that the only line dividing the NABPP-PC from joining the rcp=u$a is its belief in the need for a separate vanguard for the New Afrikan nation.
Contradictory Class Analyses: Economics
On pages 205-6 Outlaw asks Rashid:
"But from your analysis of these classes who do you consider to be the most revolutionary, considering the majority of workers in empire are complacent to some degree or another, due to the international class relationships of empire to the Third World nations, and the conveniences proletarians, and even lumpen-proletarians, are afforded as a result of that international situation and relationship?"
Rashid responds on pages 208-9 by stating that our class analysis is "mandatory for waging any successful resistance" but that he is only able to give a general analysis due to his lack of access to information. He does say:
"[T]he US is neither a majority peasant nor proletarian society. It is principally petty bourgeoisie. It has an over 80% service-based economy… So the US proletarian class is small and growing increasingly so, while the world proletariat is growing and becoming increasingly multi-ethnic."
On page 122 he also upholds this line that all non-productive workers are petty bourgeois, and not exploited proletarians. On page 232 he expands this analysis to explain the relationship between the imperialist nations, who are predominantly petty bourgeois, and the Third World that is mostly exploited. But in a footnote he takes it all back saying, "modern technological advances have broadened the scope of the working class" and clearly states, "[t]he predominantly service sector US working class is in actuality part of the proletarian class." He justifies this by saying that the income of these service workers is no different than the industrial proletariat. Yet he takes an obviously chauvinist approach of only comparing incomes of Amerikans. The real industrial proletariat is in the Third World and makes a small fraction of what Amerikan so-called "workers" do.
We agree that it is dogmatic to say this persyn is proletariat because she makes the tools and this persyn is not because she cleans the factory. But this is a minor point. The real issue is that whole countries, such as the United $tates, are not self-sustainable, but are living on the labor and resources of other nations. A country that is made up of mostly service workers cannot continue to pay all its people without exploiting wealth from somewhere else, since only the productive labor creates value.
A less disputed line put forth by Rashid and TBW is that U.$. prisoners are exploited. We have put forth our thesis debunking the exploitation myth, and exposing the prison system as an example of the parasitic "service" economy built on the sweat and blood of the Third World.(see ULK 8) More outrageously, in an article on the 13th Amendment, Rashid says that over 1/2 of Amerikans are currently "enslaved" by capitalism. This article contains some unrealistic claims, such as that no one could possibly enjoy working in the imperialist countries, and that these workers do not have freedom of mobility. Over half of Amerikans own homes. Not only are these alleged "slaves" landowners, but in the modern imperialist economy real estate has become more closely related to finance capital in a way that super-profits are gained by owning real estate in the First World. (see ULK 17)
Both Rashid and Outlaw demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between imperialist countries and the Third World, with Rashid going so far to say that reparations to New Afrika outside of a war against imperialism would mean more exploitation of the proletariat. While contradictory, Rashid's economic analysis in the original letters is more correct than not. In his treatment of history we will see more confusion, and perhaps some reasons why he ended up finding the "multi-national working class" to be the necessary vehicle for revolution in the United $tates despite his focus on single-nation organizing.
Contradictory Class Analyses: History
While repeatedly recalling the history of poor whites becoming slave catchers, marking the first consolidation of the white nation, Rashid lists "join[ing] their struggle up with the Israeli working class" as one of the strategies that would have led to greater success for Hamas.(p.50) This schizophrenic approach to the settler nations is present throughout the book. He echoes J. Sakai on Bacon's Rebellion, but then discards the overall lessons of Sakai's book Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. While Sakai argued that these poor, former indentured servants had joined the oppressor nation in 1676, Rashid argues that modern-day Israelis and Amerikans, most of whom are in the top 10% income bracket globally, are exploited proletarians and allies in the struggle for a communist future.
Later in the book he goes so far as to say that white "right-wing militias, survivalists and military hobbyists" are "potential allies" who "have a serious beef with imperialist monopoly capitalism." This issue came to the forefront with the "anti-globalization" movement in the later 1990s. Both MIM and J. Sakai(1) led the struggle to criticize the anti-imperialist anarchists for following the lead of the white nationalist organizations calling for Amerikan protectionism. These groups are the making of a fascist movement in the United $tates which is why the distinction between exploited and exploiter nations is so important.
In the discussion of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) we gain some insight into Rashid's contradictory lines on who our friends and enemies are. Here he correctly explains that European countries bought off their domestic populations with wealth from the Third World, to turn those working classes against the Third World workers and peasants. But his turn from the MIM line takes place in attempting to address the strategy of the RNA. He sees a strong danger of neo-colonialism in the RNA struggle for national liberation, as happened in the numerous liberation struggles in Africa itself. So he talks about how ultimately we want a world without nations, so let's put class first to solve this problem (and he assumes most white Amerikans are proletariat). This is an ultraleft error of getting ahead of conditions. He goes on to say that the imperialists would easily turn the white population against a minority New Afrikan liberation movement trying to seize the Black Belt South. Here you have a rightist justification for pragmatism.
This is not to dismiss either of those concerns, which are very real. But his solution in both cases is based in a faulty class analysis. This book paraphrases Mao to point out that your class analysis is your starting point, and that your political line determines your success. Liquidating a New Afrikan revolutionary movement into a white class struggle over superprofits will not succeed in achieving his stated goals of a world without oppression. While the original Black Panthers themselves put forth different class analyses of Amerika at various points, they proved in practice that developing strong Black nationalism will bring out those sectors of the white population who are sympathetic. We must not cater to the majority of white people, but to the world's majority of people.
Dangers of Revisionism
The danger of revisionism is that it works to lead good potential recruits away from the revolutionary cause, both setting back the movement and discouraging others. The fact that Rashid sounds like MIM half the time in this book makes it more likely he will attract those with more scientific outlooks. We think those familiar with MIM Theory, or who have at least read this review could find this book both useful and interesting. However, the NABPP-PC and TBW are actively promoting a number of incorrect lines under the Panther banner, to the very people who need the Panthers' correct example of Maoism the most. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and it is far beyond time that we bring these criticisms into the open to advance the ideological understanding of the whole movement.
Due to misunderstanding and misinformation distributed by certain elements concerning our organization, the Royal Council of the Black Order Revolutionary Organization is issuing the following statement to give clarity as to our political line and philosophy.
The BORO is a lumpen-based revolutionary nationalist and communist organization. We believe that there is nothing about revolutionary nationalism that is inherently contradictory with communism. As Mao stated, "national revolutionary patriotism is applied internationalism."
We uphold the line that presently at this time in humyn history, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism(MLM), applied to our unique national condition, is the most advanced science of revolutionary struggle and the correct path forward toward the construction of a communist world — a world where no group or people have power over another.
We see the principal contradiction on a world-scale as between imperialism, principally U$ imperialism, and oppressed nations.
We see the principal contradiction in U$ prisyns as between the lumpen themselves.
We uphold the line that all people have a right to self-determination, to determine their own destinies.
We uphold the concept of the anti-imperialist revolutionary united front in our struggle to defeat imperialism.
We believe that as materialists, the spiritual world is a product of the material world and not the other way around.
We reject cultural nationalism as a reactionary counter-revolutionary philosophy. The Black Panthers disdained this as "pork chop" nationalism, and so do we.
We uphold the line that the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle must at all time be lead by the international proletariat and its revolutionary leadership, thus it won't fall into neo-colonial and national bourgeois camp, who will undermine our efforts at socialist and communist construction, and attempt to restore capitalism. In the case of the USSR, the bourgeoisie seized power after the death of Stalin in 1953, in China, after the death of Mao and the overthrow of the "Gang of Four in 1976.
We uphold the belief that the Black Panther Party (1966-69) represented the Maoist Vanguard Party in the U$ we also uphold the BPP analysis on the national question as yet to be surpassed by the current "Black" nationalist organizations. We do not uphold these organizations that carry on in the name of the BPP, i.e. the New Black Panther Party and its affiliates, we see these as revisionist, race-based organizations.
On the Black Order - New Afrikan Soulja'z of Execution Movement
"Political organizations must get more involved in the day-to-day needs and problems of the masses. If an organization's politics can't help the people solve some of their day-to-day problems/needs then their politics are simply dull, serial, intellectual theories detached from the real world of today, with no practical use except intellectual masturbation... If people are hungry, feed them while showing them how to feed themselves. If people are homeless, house them, if defenseless, protect them. In each instance, show the people how to take care of themselves. This way you organize and politically educate at the same time." -Sundiata Acoli
The purpose of this form letter is to provide you with an introduction to the Black Order - New Afrikan Soulja'z of Execution Movement, Black Order for short, and the affiliate formations that comprise our movement. We also want to brief you on our general political line, some of the projects we are igniting and how you can assist, support, join and help us in promoting, building and sustaining this movement, and ultimately, radically transforming the society and world in which we live.
The Black Order is a New Afrikan revolutionary movement that is committed and dedicated to the national liberation of the New Afrikan (Black) nation and the establishment of world communism - a world where there is no power of people over power.
On a world scale we see the principle contradiction is between imperialism and oppressed nations, including the oppressed internal semi-colonial nations within the U$ - (New Afrikan, Aztlán, First Nations, etc).
The Black Order is comprised of four interrelated organizations — Black Order Revolutionary Organization (BORD), Black Order Solidarity Association (BOSA), Black Order Economic Commission (BOEC) and Black Order Support Group (BOSG).
The BORO is the vanguard of the Black Order. It is the BORO which gives political instruction and guidance to the entire Black Order movement. Our political philosophy is that of New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism and is guided by historical and dialectical materialism. Anti-imperialism is the most important political principle of the Black Order. National liberation and internationalism are the most important ideological principles or visions of BORO.
The BOSA is our mass-based socio-cultural community organization whose goal it is to teach our people the basic tenants of solidarity, social responsibility, cooperative economics, communal living and revolutionary community activism. It is also considered a leadership program and oftentimes the more advanced revolutionary elements may become BORO members.
The BOEC is commissioned by the Royal Council and Ministry of Finance to raise money for the movement and its initiatives and programs. It is responsible for leading the developing independent institutions for the people with socialist practices at the forefront, while we fight for national independence. Each initiative of BOEC will operate under the principle of regaining control of our social, political and economic development and putting the people before profits.
The BOSG are our sideline supporters, who are not regular members of any of our organizations, but who agree in principle with the goals, vision or objective of our movement, or our right to pursue them.
Membership into our movement is predicated upon one being 1) anti-capitalist/imperialist, 2) anti-sexist (including homophobia) 3) anti-militarist 4)anti-racist and 5) pro-national independence.
Our movement upholds the original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (1966-69) as the most politically advanced revolutionary party ever in the U$ to this day. We do not uphold those claiming the name of the BPP today.
Thus, in recognition and honor of the original BPP, the Black in our movements name is symbolic to the Panther. And, the Order = Our Revolutionaries Demonstrate Everlasting Revolution.
Our immediate goals, in conjunction with the BORO minimum program are:
To identify, strengthen and solidify the leadership of BORO and BOSA.
To recruit, organize and train New Afrikan lumpen, youth, high school and college students and introduce them to BORO/BOSA and have them assume leadership roles.
To create within the Ministry of Finance (thru the BOEC) a program to assist BORO/BOSA members financially/materially and to build/sustain future projects/programs.
To build the Black Order Support Group network.
To fight prison censorship and other repressive institutional rules and regulations.
To identify and unite in a United Front Against imperialism with other lumpen and anti-imperialist organizations - nationally and internationally.
To re-establish our newsletter and develop a theoretical journal.
It must be kept in mind that we are re-building an organization and presently do not have the humyn and material support to carry out all of the ideals embodied in our platform at this time. We are still in our embryonic stage of development. And although we began inside the belly of the prison industrial complex, the conditions that led to our incarceration did not. Therefore, we do not confine ourselves and our political activity and organizing solely around prison issues, because we see the bigger picture of imperialism and see prison as only one of the repressive tools of the imperialist state. Ultimately, we are striving to establish ourselves in every barrio, ghetto, reservation and penal colony in amerikkka and wherever there is a poor and oppressed community around the globe.
In order to accomplish our goals we need members and allies who are committed, conscious and disciplined. Who are willing to sacrifice bourgeois comforts and luxuries.
In order to be effective and have a positive material impact on our communities and the movement, we need your support - your mind, creative energy, humyn and material support. For those who belong to other parties/groups, here are some ways in which you can help us push forward the development of our movement and the anti-imperialist struggle:
Help finance BORO/BOSA projects
Spread the word about our growing movement and circulate our literature
Help us gain useful literature and information from the internet
Donate money, stamps, help us print and distribute literature to indigent prisoners.
Donate money and books to our ally MIM(Prisons) and their Books to Prisoner Programs
Ask your friends, co-workers, family, etc, to join and/or donate to the Black Order and MIM(Prisons) and to support the United Struggle from Within (USW), a MIM(Prisons)-led mass U$ prisoners anti-imperialist organization.
Visit, write or accept a short phone call from dedicated BORO comrades, send a comrade a couple of dollars, host a prison awareness workshop or teach-in on abusive prison conditions, censorship or control units.
Our movement is building a community of independent radical thinkers and leaders. People who wanna change the oppressive social conditions. Work with us, struggle with us.
We conclude in the words of the great revolutionary Amilcar Cabral. "We must always remember that people do not fight for ideas or the things on people's minds. People fight for practical things: for people, for living better in peace and for their children's future. Liberty, fraternity, and equality continue be empty words for people if they do not mean a real improvement in the conditions of their lives."
Unite and Organize Power to the People! BORO Royal Council
I am writing this in response to the California prisoner who wrote the article lLumpen Loyalty Dividing the Struggle. What divides a struggle is divisiveness. In the context of his communique he missed several points, among which are: (1)being an informant does not render the struggle against a mutual enemy moot, (2) in the context of numbers, (i.e. strength) it is largely irrelevant whether someone is a rat or not, and (3) the known rat criteria - "known" based on what? What exactly are the circumstances and/or conditions under which one told?
Just because one is SNY, PC, PS or whatever does not mean they are rats, disloyal or even unreliable. This approach is the equivalent of saying that everyone in prison is not only a criminal, but guilty of exactly what the state has convicted them of. No self-respecting prisoner, convict or revolutionary would undermine their own ideological base by entertaining such an idea.
The state manipulates purists by slinging labels and rumors. They send hard working, devoted soldiers and revolutionaries to Protective Custody (P.C.) as a tactic to discredit them and undermine the struggle. The state knows that the purists will readily turn on their own kind and, by extension, the cause, by using emotionally charged propaganda to incite divisiveness. It is one of the most frequently used weapons by our mutual enemy.
I have no love for the enemy - rats included - but if you are a soldier devoted to a cause, then you must be able to exploit the enemy's weaknesses and turn their strengths against them. An informant is only as good and useful as the information is he's given... or gets hold of.
I have more than 30 years in prison and I have many years of political, legal and social struggles behind and before me. Purism has one fatal flaw - it is not in a black and white world where it can be put into action. And ideology is only as good as its applicability to the conditions in purposes to address.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is referencing a debate that has been going on in the pages of Under Lock & Key for several issues now, over whether or not people on SNY or PC can be part of the revolutionary movement. MIM(Prisons) stands firmly with this comrade and against the purists who will trust the label of the prisoncrats.
[Below are excerpts from a proposal from a comrade. - ULK Editor]
One of the greatest leaders to teach us how to move lumpen organizations (LOs) to the next level by applied science was the beloved Brotha Malcolm X. While many before him spoke about the issues of self-determination and human rights, his was the most vocal, and his articulation was more relevant to us with street and hood ethos because he was once a pimp, hustler and to some degree, a gangster.
One of the first things I strive to illuminate to a student is the application of these ideas to the present oppression that lumpen organizations suffer without understanding their legitimate human rights to exist through the Universal Human Rights of Self-Determination. Incorporating the fundamentals of legality and sociology, I posit:
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." -Robert H. Jackson. Supreme Court Ruling in West Virginia Dept. of Ed. v. Barnette (1943).
"History should teach us. . . that in times of high emotional excitement, minority parties and groups which advocate extremely unpopular social or governmental innovations will always be typed as criminal gangs and attempts will always be made to drive them out." -Associate Justice, Hugo Black dissent in Barenblatt v. U.S., 360 U.S. 109, At. 159 (1959).
Hugo Black ought to know, as a member of the outlaw and terrorist network KKK before stepping into the justice position.
Common sense illuminates that if a general continues to go out to battle using the same failed approaches and armory that has proven to be counter-productive because it is not only known, studied and mastered by the opposing forces, but they are the ones who designed it, s/he will fail. S/he must retreat and restrategize and not only restock, but seek new armory to do battle.
Even before I became an astute student of the Art of Vita or student of Sun Tzu, and was in my street hustling mode, I knew early on that once one of us got caught hustling a particular mode or game, it was time to change strategy. Or to put it more simply, if that dope house got raided, it was time to move to a new locale.
Yet in terms of strategy, a lot of LOs think we can continue in the same old hustle scheme. Even more harmful is the individual who thinks this way. They don't realize they are helping the forces of hate justify their "collective punishment" of the lumpen as a class.
It's a betrayal to the struggle for street formations to still be living and accepting this kind of treatment that affects us on the street and in prison. How many generations of our people are in prison from each individual formation? People need to stop accepting this mentality of inferiority, that we are criminals for trying to define our own futures.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The right to organize for self-determination is denied regularly to the oppressed nations in the United $tates. Following the downfall of the most successful party to represent the Black nation, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the imperialists went about a conscious effort to divide the oppressed along class interests by integrating the petty bourgeoisie and further criminalizing the lumpen. As a result any independent oppressed nation organization today is automatically labeled as criminal, terrorist or a security threat with little resistance from the oppressed nation petty bourgeoisie and, as always, loud support from the white nation.
The failed strategies for self-determination through capitalist business models, legal or illegal, need to be left behind for a righteous collective struggle to be free from oppression. Not only will the lumpen find their own power in reuniting around this struggle, but they will begin to find allies in other groups when they stand up for true self-determination. Self-determination is earned, not guaranteed.