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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Snitch strategy backfires

When will prisoners stop repeating the same errors? I'm referring to the different examples where prisoners declare and promise to be the ones to contribute to change prisoners violations, inhumane conditions or prison problems? Then you realize that everything was only a trap. You burn your brain out trying to figure out how you became an oppressor, an enemy of prison change, or prison progress. That bunch of idiots who you thought were down/hard core prison reformers or revolutionaries, as always turn out to be only real cowards, or snitches. Functioning under lie after lie, to control you somehow.

Under the prison system, prisoners are turned into oppressors. A recent example is a group of prisoners devoted to snitching. They keep their Laundry List, as it is called, of targets for repression. They operate under sentencing guidelines 5K1.1 that has been ruled by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. Under this guideline, they receive preferential treatment in exchange for snitch info. Prison informants usually turn in false information to the prison administration so they can get away with disciplinary infractions or other kinds of illegal actions.

Other city homeboys and I decided to infiltrate the snitch group that claimed they were against prison gangs, even though the group itself was acting as an undercover snitch prison gang that wanted prison protection in exchange for snitch info. They took it to another level: they turned in false info to the administration to lock up gang members or any prison group they feared, violent or not. If you didn't want to be a snitch you would end up in Ad-Seg, on lockdown, usually under false info. So now many sit in Ad-Seg, misclassified to prison gangs they never belonged to. The only way to get out of Ad-Seg in Texas is to denounce a gang. How do you denounce a gang you never belonged to?

Let's recall some of the Texas prison struggles. In 1974 the Texas prison system had no prison gangs, but officials had "Building Tenders" (BTs) carrying out all kinds of violence against other Texas prisoners. The BTs acted as prison guards dressed in white prisoners uniforms. They were allowed to get away with anything, even killings.

In 1976 the first Texas prison gang popped up, promising to go against the BTs, in an act of retribution that would present a better challenge for prisoner rights. The honorable United States Judge William Wayne Justice decided to abolish the BTs system, under a federal court ruling. With the BT system dead, other prisoners in Texas formed themselves into hostile prison gangs.

At the same time racist riots popped off across the Texas prison system because each cultural group was against each others' strategies to defend prisoners' rights. A "we got the better strategies for prison reform" mentality blossom up because "my" race or city is always better than "yours."

Today in the 2000s this group is the New Building Tenders. Yet their snitch, or rather false info, tactics against other prisoners has now backfired in their face because the ex-gang members continue to grow and have become a group that can't be placed in Ad-Seg unless they return back to their old gangs.

Once a Laundry List is turned in with all kinds of prisoners' names, 99.5% of the time they are placed in Ad-Seg. So the snitches proclaim to be doing a great job against Texas gangs. The prison system refuses to classify them as a gang so they cann't be placed in Ad-Seg as long as they stay in line.

Under the sentencing guidelines 5K1.1 methods, it allows the government (in this case the prison security threat office) to recommend a downward departure from the guidelines. In this case disciplinary reports given to prison informants, in exchange for substantial assistance provided to the government by a prison informant in the prosecution of others.

The availability of a benefit by cooperation with the government (prison administration) can create a strong incentive for a criminal defendant (prison informant) to exaggerate or even fabricate false info against another prisoner, which is usually acted upon without real facts or evidence.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Most lumpen organizations(LOs) have their origins in youth from a certain group banding together in self-defense. Originally, it was always self-defense from the oppressor nation who terrorized them to keep them outside of the labor market. Once the prison boom launched off the backs of the oppressed nations, then the need for self-defense from constant state harassment and brutality was needed. But the broader the organizations of the oppressed were, the more they were targeted for repression and destruction, leaving only the small, narrow-focused groups who were more easily turned against each other, especially after crack cocaine was thrown in the mix to create real economic competition between the groups.

Amerikkka has always repressed LOs because they represent a power of the oppressed that is independent of the state. When mere membership in an organization triggers the state to throw you in a torture cell, you must realize that something serious is going on.

Many people on all sides recognize that the struggle and strife between LOs got out of control a long time ago. Many among the lumpen have been critical of their current and former affiliations. As we said to the LOs in the last issue of ULK, the best way to stop snitching is to run an organization that the oppressed can respect, especially if you are recruiting people by claiming to represent the struggles of the oppressed in some way. Criminal organizations will never have a shortage of snitches, especially when the state is much more powerful than them.

Another issue brought up in this letter is the emergence of "anti-gang" organizations, which is not an uncommon thing. The writer asks how we can stop repeating the same errors and getting fooled into following false leaders. Well, the answer is by studying and establishing principles based on your studies that you always follow. One key principle of the anti-imperialist, or anyone hoping to serve the oppressed, is not to collaborate with the oppressor's state. That principle would prevent anyone with genuine intentions from joining a snitch group like the one discussed here.

Traditionally, Marxism considers the lumpen to be a fickle ally. They are often at the forefront of conflict, but have served many different class interests. Their lifestyle and conditions promote an individualism that is easily translated to snitch behavior. Note that the unnamed group discussed here is reportedly large and diverse and this story does not necessarily represent all groups going by that name, which is indicative of this individualist, fickle nature. As this comrade also points out though, among the oppressed, the snitches are the minority. So with good organization and correct principles, the interests of the oppressed will win out.

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[Organizing] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 14]
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The situational ethics of snitching

An issue that was addressed in ULK that deserves a bit more comment is the involvement or non-involvement of so-called "snitches" or Special Needs Yard (SNY) prisoners in any political movement and/or prison reform activities.

The philosophy of the snitch is contradictory. I've been in prison for over 16 years. I have done time in three states and I have seen the hundreds of ways people have been labeled "snitches." For example, here in Oklahoma a prisoner is labeled a "snitch" if he files a grievance, even on obstruction of mail. It's seen as "snitching on staff." Prison administrators will utilize that to try and get other prisoners to ostracize a person and/or otherwise abuse, distrust or spread rumors about a person.

This is especially true when it comes to prison officials who harm or abuse prisoners. If you report the abuse, you're labeled a "snitch." Of course, when the shoe is on the other foot and a guard is harmed they run to the "snitches" for information. It's contradictory and it is also what is called "situational ethics."

Situational ethics is when a person uses a particular situation and action to justify their immediate needs, be they financial, safety, etc. If they do not like a person, for example, they'll label him a "snitch." But if they have a friend who has done the same deed they will justify his actions. It is purely situational.

The psychology of it all is baffling. But in the political sphere it has no place. As a prisoner in ULK no. 13 noted, violence on SNY is much, much less, and there is more unity on SNY. I can't attest to that myself because I've never been on a SNY, however, I do believe it to be true. I've heard that same story over and over about so-called "soft yards."

Information gathering is a valuable tactic in the political sphere as well. This is true whether it is the oppressed or oppressor. Information can be used to protect or harm. How you utilize your sources can be beneficial. If you know someone is a "snitch" or you have reasonable suspicions, then feeding that person false or beneficial information can help you and others. For example, if you know someone will run to the cops and report you then the information you tell them should only benefit, not harm you. They become an unwitting agent of good.

Lastly, prison reform will never come if you constantly look to others to motivate you. Just do what you have to do, and when you come across like-minded people - or even people who may not support your beliefs but support your efforts - you can add them to your album of associates.

MIM(Prisons) responds: What this comrade calls "situation ethics" we would also call "subjectivity." Like s/he said, subjectivity has no place in politics. We need to have a set of ethics that serve the most oppressed people in the world. We cannot let our criticism be swayed by whether we're cool with whoever did the action. This is true in all actions, not just sharing info with the pigs.

On the group or political level we define our ethics by our class perspective. It makes sense for the COs to both persecute snitches and utilize snitches depending on who they are snitching on, as this writer describes. Similarly, we want COs to expose other COs for abusing prisoners. In general, opposing snitching is progressive, because it is a source of conflict and repression as people are opportunistically spreading information to benefit themselves in the short-term. But to take an absolute moral stance on snitching ignores the fact that we need to expose the oppressor to the people.

The only point we disagree with this comrade on is that they say we should only control the information we share with known snitches or people we suspect to be snitches. We would push this one degree further and say that we should only share information on a need-to-know basis, and assume everyone is a possible informant. We went much more in depth on this topic in ULK 13.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 14]
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Reflections on organization, strategy, and unity

In order for us to succeed in any of our objectives and goals, we must have organization. This is an incontrovertible fact. We cannot even begin to visualize the thought of abolishing this injustice system (as it now exists), until we raise the level of consciousness of the masses of the people and obtain power. In order to obtain the power to destroy national oppression, exploitation and capitalist-imperialism, we must acquire the use of the weapon/instrument of organization.

"Such organization demands that we be conscious, skilled, disciplined and united in thought and action. It demands fundamental change in our thought and in our practice, it demands acquisition of a sense of confidence, a belief in our ability to struggle to win, to break the chains (physical and mental) and so on to build and control a new way of life for ourselves.

"Just as organization is the weapon/instrument that we must have in the struggle to obtain the power we need to effect revolutionary change, correct ideology/philosophy, theory and practice are required weapons/instruments we need in order to ensure effective organization. . .

"The chains that bind us are mental as well as physical. We cannot organize sleeping people around specific goals until awareness and understanding of the need to fight has been achieved, until the will to fight has been inspired, until the belief that we can win has been acquired.

"These mental/psychological chains obscure, mask and misdescribe the way the real world works. Incorrect philosophical approaches prevent awareness and understanding of real social, political and economic relations. Backward philosophy stifles the growth and development of genuine revolutionary consciousness, causes repeated confusion and frustration, apathy and disillusionment, conceals the need that we have to fight, dulls the will to fight, erodes our confidence and impedes effective organization for revolutionary national liberation struggle."(1)

We are oppressed together, let's stand up together

If we don't take the initiative to fight and struggle, how do we realistically expect people on the outside to go all out for us? There is a real war being waged against us and thus far our response to it collectively has been pitiful. In his seminal work The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon made mention of the natives' fear of the oppressor and that he strikes out against a fellow native instead of his real enemy, out of fear. Similarly, we are afraid of the pigs for fear of losing whatever, but will hurt each other at the drop of a hat.

So not only do we have to deal with the superiority complex of the racist correctional officer, we have to work with and struggle against the inferiority complex of the prisoners.

There are over 2.3 million men and wimmin in U.$. prisons and jails. Of those, 35,000 are in the state of misery (Missouri). What's really fucked up is that I know thousands of these men and wimmin and can't name 50 who are committed to the anti-imperialist struggle thru their actions and not just words.

However, one thing that you will see quickly are the great divisions amongst us on all levels and schools of thought - NOI, orthodox muslim, moors, kansas city, st. louis, northside, eastside, southside, westside, blood, crip, disciple, vicelord, bullshit, meaningless divisions. We are however, united in our pain, misery, suffering and oppression. We all get maced, denied parole, eat the same shitty food, go to the hole for the same bullshit violations and have to deal with the same overpaid, barely passed the GED-ass pigs!

For many years now, I've been labeled an "agitator" and "gang-leader" by the prisonkrats and have suffered much. But what they don't know is how many stabbings my comrades and I have stopped from occurring, how many staff assaults we've curtailed, and we're not looking for pats on the back.

It is said that if you are doing nothing but sitting on your ass, then you really have no right to complain about your oppression. Missouri and all prisoners stand up. You ain't gotta stand tall, but at least stand up! Unite and organize!!

Is violence correct?

During the course of my kkkaptivity I have experienced first-hand and witnessed many incidents of physical and psychological torture of many prisoners. I have seen with my own two eyes a couple of prisoners savagely murdered by sadistic corrections staff. I've heard of cases that make the abuses at Abu Ghraib child's play. Imagine being in a shower and having corrections staff throwing oranges at you until your brown body is battered and bruised. Saw it with my own eyes!

Conversely, from subscribing to and reading many of the prisoner newsletters that are in circulation, it has become patently clear that the physical and psychological terror and abuse in U.$. prisons is a part of the standard operating procedure for the imperialists and their repressive apparatus. They are not merely "isolated" incidents of abuse of power. The question is, how do we combat effectively this problem without exacerbating an already explosive, deadly situation and environment?

We do not, nor do the various prisoners' rights organizations, such as MIM(Prisons), promote the use of violence against corrections staff as the proper response to their inhumane treatment of us. Of course, we also understand the principle of self-defense. And it is a historical fact that violence has been necessary to end violence.

In the environment of the correctional facility, when a prisoner or group of prisoners, move with violence in response to ill treatment and abusive conditions, the prison administrators and politicians blame the victim (prisoners) and use whatever actions taken by us to further legitimize their repression, add more abusive laws to the books and to give these righteous souljaz additional time. We can't win this way no matter how righteous the act is when a no-good pig falls on something sharp. Imperialism is the enemy.(2)

Respect your supporters

While trying to build a support group and a united front against imperialism from behind electrified fences and stone walls, I have personally encountered a situation that must be seriously addressed amongst U.$. prisoners. Some years ago, I met a beautiful comrade and righteous sista in St. Louis who had just started a prisoners' rights magazine. Her husband was a political prisoner in Michigan so she understood our struggle well. This sista would respond to all letters sent to her, but all of a sudden brothaz lost discipline and started writing her pornographic (freak) letters - that shit wasn't cool. As a result of this, among other things, the sista directed that brothaz write to her husband (which is against some states' mail policies). In the end, the brothaz ran a righteous project off with some bullshit!

I hope that this is not a problem we have with a lot of you souljaz. Of course, we all want to have someone to share our most intimate thoughts with, but this was not the time nor place. In this struggle we have to be conscious as well as disciplined and show respect to those who support us, because they are few and far between. Our resources are few as individuals, but our numbers are great and we can contribute much to support those who support us. Unite and organize!

notes:
(1) "On Agitation, Education and Organization," Atiba Shanna, new African POW Journal, Book One, Spear and Shield publications
(2) To read more about peace in prison, get ULK issue 7

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[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Our Unity vs. their Crisis

In today's prison society, prisoners are losing constitutional rights at an alarming rate under either the security rationale or the rehabilitation rationale. Yes, our United States Supreme Court has effectively shut the constitutional door on prisoners and individuals charged with crimes. A fair trial is now impossible as any misconduct by the prosecutor is considered "harmless error." Additionally, many individuals plead to charges they have not committed due to judicial extortion; "Take this five years or we're going to give you 99." It's all sad, but reflects the state of our society and country as a whole, and the corrosion of our criminal justice system.

In the newsletter, I read that many prisoner have begun food strikes; one wanting to commit suicide, the others want to sign a petition. The sad and unfortunate truth is, none of these work. Yet there is a way to be heard that is peaceful and has a dramatic effect.

Prisons are run by prisoners from laundry, food service, landscaping to maintenance of the institution. Additionally, many prisoners work in industries that manufacture anything from stop signs, chemicals to office furniture for the state and the prisons themselves. What if we were to just stop? Yes, stop supporting the imperial system that oppresses us at every level? Incarceration costs would rise exponentially overnight. Correctional officers would have to be hired to pick up where the inmate population left off. The cost of incarceration would be so great that states could not afford to incarcerate people en masse as they do today. Until the prison population itself makes a stand against the draconian justice and prison system, they will continue to lose the most basic and fundamental rights inherent to man.

My brothers and sisters, it is us, the prison population that runs and perpetuates the injustice of the justice and prison system and it is we who can peacefully break its back. The courts have failed us; the politicians have failed us; our country has failed us. Must we continue to fail ourselves? Must we continue to be dehumanized, degraded, mistreated and tortured so others may prosper and/or be entertained? It's time to see this realistically and stand together peacefully, to battle an unjust system as one. Martin Luther King once said, "The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he [or she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he [or she] stands in times of challenge and controversy." Are you a person of character who can stand as one or individually in the face of adversity? If we can't stand together as one then no matter what we do, we lose. Give some thought to this. All that's necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We couldn't agree with this comrade more that there is no real justice to be had by the class system of imperialism. We don't expect petitions to solve the heart of the problem, though we may achieve partial victories. And we've already cautioned comrades that hunger strikes without outside pressure and support tend to be ultra-left tactics that can lead to sacrificing of lives.

But as we explain elsewhere, petition campaigns are two-pronged. One prong is to improve our ability to organize by fighting winnable battles, and the other prong is agitational to expose the state's repressiveness.

The facts behind this comrade's proposal are solid, as we discussed in ULK #8 on prison labor. And the argument is particularly strong as most state's are facing extreme financial shortages. They cannot afford to run their prisons if the labor aristocracy must do all the work.

However, in most cases, the level of unity does not exist to carry out this tactic effectively. Another comrade who proposed this same strategy simultaneously complains about this reality. Again, this is where more agitational work comes into play, like petitions, lawsuits and even small fund drives that some comrades have led. These things establish unity among people on the issues. With that unity, we can begin to talk about mass actions, such as boycotts.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 14]
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Fight the system: boycott work

Once again I find myself pushed in a corner with the swine in Huntingdon, PA. I've tried to get prisoners together and put in paperwork against these jokers, but many have no intent to do so. They'd rather bitch and complain and allow these chumps to keep doing what they do. But don't let another convict do or say something, or you might get stabbed or rocked with a lock in a sock. It's beyond my understanding and to be honest with you it makes me fucking sick! The prisoners would rather worry about the latest BET video or the stats of last night's NBA game. All the while, the administration is planning to take something else from us or plan on adding another provision to an already fucked up policy. What gives?

As I have said before, our cells are think tanks. We put our focus on shit that doesn't really mean shit. I'm not going to say take a guard hostage or stab a nurse. I'm saying to use our minds, stand as one, and do something rather than just talk about it. To really get their attention, hurt their pockets. Don't go to work. Do you realize that if everyone stopped working in the kitchen, they would have to figure out why, but more importantly they still must feed us? This would throw a red flag in the air. Stop going to work in the CI shops. Now, no clothes or soap is being made for the state.

I've given these ideas to many to think about. Then the new excuse is "I need my job cuz I don't have anyone sending me money." Ok, I understand. However, just say we as a whole stopped working, don't you think I wouldn't help a few soldiers out with enough to live off? I don't have shit but myself. Yet I have enough to get by and then some. I understand everyone's situation is very different, but in the same token, we are in the same situation, are we not?

All in all I'm plain ol' sick and tired of this chicken shit. Stand for what's yours. Would you allow someone to take something off you in the free world? So why allow it here? Everyone needs to get their shit together and realize this ain't a game. Sometimes I wish I was living in the era of the 60s and 70s. Back then convicts fought long and hard for theirs.

For those who are fighting strong, I'm with you! Even when I finally leave, I'll still help those inside.

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[Organizing] [Legal] [Campaigns] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Address Our Grievances! Campaign Spreads

In Under Lock & Key issue 13, we published an article announcing a campaign about the improper handling of grievances by prison staff. Below is an update from the California comrade who originally turned us on to the campaign.

I initially mailed out my own petition to the CDCR Director Level back in Nov./Dec. of '09 as part of the first wave of petitions. This was done under the auspice of its originator. However some time after the first wave went out, the persyn who devised this plan was subsequently taken to the hole. It was rumored that it was exactly because of this persyn's legal maneuvering that he was sent to the hole. Anyway, back in January '10 I received a response. As it turns out, these petitions were never investigated or even looked into as we requested. The Appeals Coordinator at the Director Level simply re-routed my petition back to the Warden's office here at this institution, at which time the warden here implied that the appeals which I had pending were screened back to me because I basically failed to comply with inmate appeal regulations. This is of course total bullshit! The "W." pretty much just issued me a de facto "695 Screen Out Form" without ever really looking into the matter, thereby sweeping the matter back under the rug.

I then decided that someone needed to step up to the plate and pick up where this petition's originator left off. I began by tracking down as many people as I could find who'd participate in the legal action. I tracked down about eighteen people, of which only three others besides myself received responses. As it turned out, we all got the same document with seemingly no other action taken.

I then proceeded to make as many copies of the original petition as I could obtain. I was only able to make 20. Of these 20 I only had twelve more people agree to mail the petitions out. As of today nobody's received any responses.

I contacted the Ca. Prison Law Office, useless. The Ombudsman, useless, no response, and a few other organizations claiming to offer inmates assistance (Critical Resistance? critically useless). I didn't bother with Internal Affairs or the Inspector General as they are both connected to CDCR and seemingly cover their asses. The DOJ is a different story. However, they will only take action if it can be proven that civil rights abuses are taking place en masse. Since only four of us received responses, the DOJ will not take action.

So it hasn't turned out as we hoped [with an investigation into the failed CDCR grievance system]. I suppose it wasn't a total failure, though, as we have proved yet again that the inmate appeals procedure in the Ca. Dept. of Corruption is nothing but an obstacle placed in front of prisoners' path to the U.$. judicial system.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's initiative to pick up a worthwhile project, after state repression stopped the original leader, is commendable. Others who have this kind of initiative should be working with the United Struggle from Within, the MIM(Prisons)-led anti-imperialist prisoner organization. Comrades have been working diligently to expand the scope of the campaign and we now have petitions prepared for CA, MO, OK and TX. If you are filing grievances about any issue and they aren't being handled properly by staff, consider becoming a part of this campaign and spread it to your people inside.

This comrade's analysis of the success of the campaign is completely accurate. We can hope for an investigation into the corrupt grievance system, but if it doesn't happen, then we have instead successfully exposed yet another flaw in the Amerikkkan "justice" system. It is important to not give up even if we feel like nothing will happen because these exposures are agitational points that we can rally people around. Also, like this comrade pointed out, if we send in enough petitions to the DOJ s/he believes that they may respond. So continue to send in your grievance petitions and get with MIM(Prisons) to get involved!

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[Organizing] [Utah]
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Fuck you too Amerika

In just days our comrade Ronnie Garner will be shot to death by trigger happy pigs at the Utah state plantation. Line upon line of trigger happy swine congregate. Just itching to be one of the five to open fire on an unarmed, seated, shackled and waist chain and cuffed human being. Tickets are sold out with standing room only for one of imperialist Amerikkka's favorite shows. A lynching. High def, surround stereo sounds reports of five rifles, four loaded, just what the ignorant chauvinistic piles of racist shit needed to return the old bounce to the abusive, greedy step.

Settler nation. Thieving cowardly nation. As those rifles hollow-pointed slugs tear through an unpremeditated killers beating heart. As five premeditated murderers slay a man who was threatened with such a demise for centuries. As the state treated all his ills for this long, from ulcers to dandruff, and now sees fit to just blow his chest out his back for sport. All you across this doomed Americur$e know this. I scream anti-imperialism with two fingers in the air. Fuck you too Amerika!

As the Mexican border walls get higher and higher to keep starving people off Amerikan streets, Amerikur$e ships/flies ton upon ton of military might and fattened U$ soldiers to Iraqi/Afgani streets. "Hypocritic swine," I scream. You rich fucks in the oval office who smoke "illegal" smuggled Cuban cigars and have sex with children, prostitutes, each other. I scream socialist proletarian justice and have your spots chalked out in my mind for your firing squad$.

As all eyes turn to this Utah lynching of a tied, seated man. Dandruff and cavity free. Let us not forget the masses toothless with lice who sharpen blades in leaky lean-to. Let us never forget the millions who starve to death yearly because the U$ snakes see fit to not feed them as there is no profit in it.

As I approach release from USP after two plus years down in this UINTA One control unit. And bid 'fare-in-martyrdom-well' to a fellow political prisoner of war I scream again. What do I yell you ask? Is it revenge at the cost of my life or a light show on the ten-o-clock news? A blaze of glory?

Fuck no comrades. It's to the library I go and to your piggy drug abuse classes. It's to the parole office I go smiling. Because there isn't a dope pipe or 'pigs-brains-on-concrete' that can get me as high as this anti-imperialist struggle does. I'll play your games and beat you at them you cowardly pigs and then some. No more will I be your puppet to dance and justify these wars on crime/drugs. To justify these killer fascist koncentration Kamps.

You'll lose Amerika. You will. And on that day we'll truly see who gets the firing squad. Might even give your overweight, liposucked fat racist asses a running start too.

Power to the people!

MIM(Prisons) adds: Ronnie Garner is scheduled to be executed by firing squad on June 18, 2010, but his lawyers are working to appeal. We do not know Mr. Garner or the details of his case.

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[Organizing] [New York] [ULK Issue 14]
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Comrades, educate & support each other!

At 19, I've become equally conscious of the circumstances we must face as well as the necessary struggle we must wage in order to remedy these maladies which has infected us as a people mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially. Not to say that I have mastered Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but I have grasped firmly the concept of socialist-communist revolution to an acceptable degree.

To summarize, the question at hand is basically, "What strategy and tactics can ULK employ to become a better tool at correctly propagandizing the masses, particularly the prison population, organizing us into a revolutionary impetus which can successfully seize its liberation, justice and equality?" Before I voice my opinions let me state, matter of factly, that all recipients of ULK are equally responsible for the progress as well as its shortcomings. For no force is greater than that of the people. Therefore we, the people, are more than obligated to ensure that ULK plays a productive role in our revolution. If we fail to contribute, we are as counter-revolutionary as the reactionary monsters who daily oppress us all.

I think in order to educate and be educated by each other, we must combine theory with practice as well as embrace "criticism and self-criticism." We must refrain from using speech which can be taken offensively for this may cause dissension, and out of emotion some may shun the message we intend to give. This is counter-productive. Instead of just denouncing our "criminal" actions, let us acknowledge the fact that in some form or degree, even if subconsciously, we have resisted this nefarious system and its institutions. Let us acknowledge that, unfortunately, through experience, we've now gained first-hand knowledge of the repressive conditions we live under. We are the lumpen, we are the most exploited. [MIM(Prisons) Editor: The lumpen, by definition, are not an exploited class, though some prisoners and black market laborers face economic exploitation. The lumpen are the excess people, thrown off by capitalism. In the united $tates the lumpen are one of the most oppressed groups.] Now, through political education, we must learn to combine our individual struggles into one struggle of the people and for the people.

We must discuss piece-meal the written works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung, Frantz Fanon and others. We must learn the history of other peoples and study all rebellions, revolts and revolutions in detail, from feudalist society to our present society. This will impress upon us our historical role of resistance, raising our consciousness as we embody the spirit of true revolutionaries. This will also show how we've undergone the transformation from the family-oriented, ethical man to the selfish, barbaric, sub-human savages we've become; competing against, or at extremes, injuring, raping, and murdering our kith and kin for riches and social status which can never satisfy our vegetating, ever ungovernable greed.

We must teach how racism, sexism and religion have each played their part in forming the basis of these exploiting class systems, keeping the masses divided. Also how the media and schools have kept us ignorant, replacing our need for knowledge and truth with fabricated tales of European heroes and Amerikkkan humanitarianism.

Fidel Castro said that the duty of the revolutionary is to make the revolution. We cannot ignore the fact that the only way to overthrow the capitalist-imperialist elite and their government is through armed struggle. Therefore we should still encourage our education in warfares, even though MIM opposes the use of armed struggle at this time. In Mao's Little Red Book (quotations), he states:

"War, this monster of mutual slaughter among men, will be finally eliminated by the progress of human society, and in the not too distant future too. But there is only one way to eliminate it and that is to oppose war with war, to oppose counter-revolutionary war with revolutionary war, to oppose national counter-revolutionary war with national revolutionary war, and to oppose counter-revolutionary class war with revolutionary class war. . . When society advances to the point where classes and states are eliminated, there will be no more wars, counter-revolutionary or revolutionary, unjust or just; that will be the era of perpetual peace for mankind. Our study of the laws of revolutionary war springs from the desire to eliminate all wars; herein lies the distinction between us communists and all the exploiting classes."

We do not want war, we want peace. But to eliminate war we must wage war. "Political power grows out from the barrel of the gun." This is a truth we must accept.

We must encourage a vigorous struggle for prison reform. We must expose the injustices, the curtailed food rations, and all the other foul living conditions of these DOC concentration camps. We must recognize the word "individual" as a metonym for "divided", understanding that never is one person ever alone in any particular struggle. Therefore all grievable issues should be grieved en masse showing that the power of the people is an unyielding power, perceptual no matter how much it is caged and bound. We must advise all prisoners of their constitutional rights, what they mean, and how to fight for them if violated. We must encourage prisoners to form unions or law study groups within their facilities so that we become literate of legal terms and parlance, etc. We must encourage the fight against legal misrepresentation, illegal sentencing, and prejudicial convictions. We are the bearers of our own freedom.

We must encourage all prisoners to reach out and educate their peers, family, and friends, etc. It is imperative that our support system comes from the outside as well as the inside. Also that those who may be "freed" in the near future continue our struggle. This last issue is very important: prisoners without financial means should not have to be exempt from the Maoist study cell just because they're unable to pay the $5 membership fee. So I ask all brothers and sisters to come together and donate money so that all our comrades can participate. It is their revolution just as much as it is ours!

Power to the people who don't fear freedom!

Free all political prisoners!

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[Organizing] [Florida]
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Staying strong is our obligation

As I write this communique I am in an empty cell void of all creature comforts. I am on 72 hour linen and clothing restriction because an officer lied and wants to make me commit suicide. I sit in this "think tank" of steel and concrete and I contemplate life in its totality. I wonder will I live to see better times? Will I ever get out of the belly of this beast or will I die and my memories be forgotten like so many before me. Even though I have a release date nothing is promised to anyone. There is no guarantee that I won't be murdered by these officers just like Ra'd (RIP).

As I contemplate my current state of existence I wonder do I have the fortitude and resilience to endure the bad just like I enjoyed the good? Surely it doesn't take no hell of a lot of wisdom to realize with good days there will be bad days. Some bad days will include having officers tamper with your food, mail, lie on you. Get your property taken away. Get bogus write-ups and anything else they can think of to grind your soul down to a fine powder and blow you to the wind. I have had the good days where no officer is harassing me. All my mail is coming on time. I eat all the canteen I can buy. Even had the people in the courts grant some appeals.

I accepted those good days with the vibrant anticipation of one day being free, and so now I must feel the pure reality of my life and the low state in which I have allowed myself to fall. I must open my eyes wide to the moment that speaks of bondage, oppression, suffering, and despair. I must pay close attention to the lesson being taught, lest I prove to be an unworthy student in this school of hard knocks. I must not let cold steel and concrete crush my will to be a strong man. I will not let the sadistic intent of those who are mere minions for the imperialists have victory over my existence.

It is my solemn vow to the memories and hard fought efforts of my ancestors to be stronger than anything these people can inflict upon me. I get weary and depressed. I get discouraged and confused, but those are the pains that come before the gain.

I implore of you comrades everywhere to not give up. Thoughts of suicide are wasted thoughts that could be better spent. When things are at their worst, think of all the other hard times you've made it through. No matter what, don't let the beast crush your will to survive. Don't let the beast crush your soul. Staying strong is our obligation.

MIM(prisons) adds: When faced with sterile, tortuous conditions, people with something to hold onto to keep them going can usually make it through. Some find that in family, or religion, or fighting for justice. However, self-preservation in and of itself is not a righteous goal, by proletarian moral standards. As Mao said, a reactionary's life is as light as a feather.

We do promote revolutionary organizing as a better solution to depression and other difficult mental states. It is better, because it is by struggling against the conditions and systems that created your mental state that you can both overcome the problems you face as an individual and prevent others from having to go through the same difficulties.

Whether its thoughts of one's ancestors who stood strong or of those you know who submitted to depression and drug abuse. Wherever we find our inspiration, all people who are part of an injust system (as we all are) are obligated to change that system. That is the moral code of those who have nothing to lose but their chains.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [Security] [ULK Issue 13]
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Security in the prison movement

In a system where the threat of torture by long-term isolation and other forms of repression constantly hangs above the heads of those who hold political views different from their captors, security is a vital question. Of course, the threat is different when working outside anonymously with MIM(Prisons) than working inside, face-to-face. Repression inside prisons is much more imminent than it is for our comrades on the streets. In prison, conditions are different and freedoms are limited, leaving comrades with much different tactics to choose from.

Strategically, however, the question of security behind bars is more the same than it is different from on the streets. Semi-underground organizing is an example of a universal strategy for operating behind enemy lines. The practice of semi-underground organizing recognizes that just because you didn't break any laws doesn't mean you will not face repression for your actions or beliefs, and there is more cost than benefit of putting all your cards on the table. On the organizational scale, semi-underground can be applied by layering your organization with different levels of openness. This makes it harder for the pigs to pinpoint leaders and isolate an organization.

Another strategical question is, how do we deal with potential infiltrators who join our ranks in order to gather information and create disruption, or bad-jacket the organization? Many comrades have provided suggestions for how to address this issue. There is a bourgeois approach to security and there is a proletarian approach. The difference between the two is still generally applicable even in different organizing conditions, and is discussed below.

A key issue that is being raised in California is, why work with prisoners who are on Special Needs Yards (SNY)? This is a good question since a lot of potential comrades, as well as comrades already in the struggle, have contempt for individuals who collaborate with the state. It is important that we understand that not everyone on SNY is there because they debriefed or snitched. Some people are on SNY because they are victimized on mainline, or don't want to participate in the typical bullshit that comes with mainline for whatever reason. So not everyone on SNY is there because of piggish behavior, but the rest of this article is a discussion of those comrades who are.

MIM(Prisons) is a prison ministry that seeks to organize and educate prisoners not just to see the inhumane conditions that they find themselves in, but also to see the bigger picture of imperialism. When you read what MIM has put out regarding our security practices then one should be able to gain a perspective as to why MIM(Prisons) operates the way it does. What good would it do for MIM(Prisons) to only work with people based on the fact that they haven't snitched yet? Everyone is a possible cop or agent working for the imperialists. In fact, in this country, someone is more likely to be a cop or spy than to be a revolutionary of some sort. Even within the communist movement itself there exists a capitalist arm in the form of cops, agents, snitches, and collaborators with the imperialists.

We see this as a line struggle. Anyone can pretend to be USW inside, just like anyone can pretend to represent MIM(Prisons) or Maoism. If they uphold the line set forth by the vanguard organization and/or movement, then they're out there working to advance the struggle. If they are upholding a bourgeois line, and people cling to it, then the people didn't understand the vanguard line in the first place. We should work with a comrade because they have the correct line, not because they are on mainline.

Why should they be barred from being a communist if they have snitched in the past? Why should anyone not have the right to see the liberation of their people, nation, the oppressed? What matters most is what one does after they have discovered themselves as a communist revolutionary. It's not just the lumpen who are reforming criminals, they mostly did small-time stuff. All amerikans are reforming criminals who have robbed from and victimized the majority of the world. If we are recruiting in the united $tates, we are attempting to reform criminals into communists, and this is the revolutionizing of humyns that must take place in conjunction with the revolutionizing of the economy and all the institutions that serve it.

The other side of this is that even if one is a cop, gathering info, there's really not that much they will find if information is given out on an as-needed basis. When the movement is organized into isolated cells, they may be able to take down one or two people, but the struggle goes on. In the meantime, the cop had to put in a lot of genuine work in order to get the little information they got. Particularly where communists are the minority, the cop ends up doing more work for us than against us. This structure is part of what being a semi-underground organization means.

Of course, the fact that the state has taken the time to infiltrate and try to eliminate a group says a lot about the group's politics. As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, we put forth revolutionary science, or dialectical materialism. A concrete historical analysis shows that it is not WE but THEY, the imperialists, who are on the wrong side of history. They will lose eventually. Our struggle is a protracted (scientific) one, to put forth the correct line, so even if MIM(Prisons) goes down there will still be others with the tools to continue forward.

With regards to the prison movement, it's understandable that these criticisms arise due to the fact that SHU placement falls on those who organize for better or for worse. So why does MIM(Prisons) support prisoners who walk away from their lumpen organizations? The lumpen class, by definition, is a parasitic class. Both the lumpen and the imperialists are capitalists whose material wealth comes from others' work. One has the power to exploit by making the laws, while the other makes money outside the law in an underground economy with a law unto itself. Saying, “I understand the LOs need work, but why work with those who walk away?” is just like the bourgeoisie saying “I know we need work, but why give opportunities to prisoners or criminals to help out, they broke our law?” Just like people who walked away and are now on SNY, they too broke the law.

Divide and conquer is a tactic used by the administration to bring down revolutionary groups and to keep revolutionary groups from forming. Evidence suggests that LOs are purposefully put up against each other in order to bring each other down. This basically means that if you're in an LO that's victimizing other oppressed people, then you are unwittingly an agent of the state's oppressive apparatus. Even if you say “fuck the k9s” or “fuck the administration,” your actions are counter-revolutionary.

A serious revolutionary will not determine to not work with someone who's never had revolutionary politics or training just because when that person was in a LO they engaged in the debriefing process. A “revolutionary” that snitches is very different from someone who is put between a rock and a hard place of working with one of two organizations that are both engaged in anti-people activity. Plus, you never know who could be dropping kites on you. Just because someone exposes themselves to you doesn't mean they're the only threat on the mainline.

For the LOs to put an end to snitching among their membership, they will have to stop engaging in activities that might cause someone with love for their people to break ranks. When your practice does not coincide with the line you put out, discipline will fail, no matter how brutal it might be. The vanguard cannot water down its politics just to let everyone know we're cool. Watering down politics is engaging in opportunism and will ultimately destroy the vanguard.

Another suggestion that has come up is that we look at people's histories, where they've been locked up and why they were sent there, as part of our intelligence gathering. This amounts to trusting the lumpen as long as the imperialists (or their petty-bourgeois bureaucrats) can vouch for them. This is a backwards and dangerous approach to security. The bourgeois approach to security is based on intelligence gathering and psychologizing individuals, while the proletariat must look to political line and consistent practice.


Notes:
see MIM's 2005 Congress: Resolutions on Cell Organization for more discussion of the cell structure, why persynal histories are irrelevant and security theory in general.

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