The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [Wisconsin Secure Program Facility] [Wisconsin]
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Fighting repression in Wisconsin

For years now me and other like-minded brothers have been actively engaged in the struggle against this injustice system and the Wisconsin DOC (which is just a microcosm of the Amerikan prison/plantation complex at large). At present, I'm being warehoused at Wisconsin's Supermax Plantation, under the pretext of "conspiracy to harm prison staff" and group resistance" (i.e. gang activity). But the real reason for my midnight transfer to Supermax was that a group of a chosen few conscious brothers decided to challenge the conditions of living in an overtly racist prison system through completely legal means: by inmate complaint and if that was not effective then the next step was to call an absolutely non-violent prisoner work stoppage. But in an effort to invalidate the group complaint and destroy prisoner unity, the fascist prison authorities, with the help of prisoner collaborators, used this perfectly legal method of prisoner protest as an opportunity to enact even more repressive policies all the while shacking down more funds for "better prison security" (hiring more racist guards).

Also, they wasted no time in clearing the plantation of any prisoner who the authorities deemed an agitation to the system: the jail house lawyers, prison litigators, religious leaders and prisoners of any kind of respect and influence among the prison population. These were the brothers who had a history of challenging the system and promoting unity. And as arbitrary retribution, the brothers who they assumed were the leaders of the group complaint were kidnapped in the middle of the night, without due process and shipped to Supermax (me included).

That was 3 years ago. Now I'm scheduled to leave here next month. Even though this experience has been a trying ordeal I am not deterred in the struggle against this beast! I feel morally obligated to continue the fight to try and enlighten the prison class of our agenda and our common struggle.

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[Organizing] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Organizing against resistance

Salutations. As I write this letter you will be feeling what I call my everyday polemical life. My angst is superfluous because I can't believe what I encountered on the 9th through the 13th of September. I personally witnessed Willie Lynch's letter on how to keep us against us while I was helping bring consciousness to the brothers here at Clinton and was met with resistance. It seems that what happened in the past is no longer significant nor appreciated. I'm talking about the Attica rebellion of 1971.

As I expressed solidarity amongst us I attempt to recreate ourselves and adhere to a different form of rules, all while not violating any directives that may lead to an infraction of any sort. I tried to catalyze and show that what happened almost 40 years ago is indeed still taking place today, except there's a lot more tribalism now. I provided a non-violent event which was something totally small. I asked if brothers would, along with the 15% who didn't eat during the 5 days, maintain a verbal fast to show and pay homage to the fallen freedom fighting comrades who were murdered by the government appointed force for standing up to the injustice that is still plaguing our people in prisons today. By fasting from both food and talking I attempt to show how we can get along with each other no matter what gang we are in, no matter what religion we practice. By not eating we show self sacrifice just like the brothers did, and by not talking we show also discipline, again just like those who were in the Attica rebellion did.

Sadly, in my attempts to show and express an affinity between each other I was met with enmity. After a couple of the average "get the fuck out of here with that bullshit" and a few "negro please" I was sure to attract some politically and socially conscious brothers who reminded me that "violence is a dark undercurrent of Amerikan history." Like Pan-Afrikanist Frantz Fanon put it, "What we are witnessing is a psychological and physical reaction to the trauma." Some brothers actually said, "That was then and this is now, why should we respect something that happen before we were even born?" Some went on to say, "Ain't nothing going to change anyway." It's statements like these that show our ignorance!

In fact, take the Civil Rights movement for instance. They started out in small groups and grew in relations with those who were also victims of the desegregated south, and formed a force of mass campaign of civil disobedience! By sticking together and voicing our opinion we spoke volumes of our rights as a people who had little to no rights. We started to register to vote, operate forums, print our own newsletters, to be acknowledged as Afrikan men and womyn. Even today we have Afrikan mayors, attorney generals, CEOs of the largest bank, and President of the United States. After explaining this, more and more participated in the eating and verbal fast, but it wasn't enough.

I think back on how brothers like Herbert X Blyden, Big Black, L.D. Barkeley, John (Mecajaweh) Hill, Sam Melville, Akil Al Jundi, Robin Palmer, just to name a few, gave their lives for brothers to have better programs, and to study the Islamic religion - where there was none. They fought for better schooling, and got children to be considered as visitors so they could visit their loved ones under lock and key. I have much respect and profound gratitude for the Nation of Islam who held order and negotiations. Yet still this vicious ass piece of swine still considered the NOI a hate group. If it wasn't for the good brothers those corruption officers would have been dealt with.

So I say unselfishly, it's not enough! We need to do more to bring some awareness, we need to get our media (BET) to stop playing comedy, music, and hood movies, and instead play some Black August, Motorcycle Diaries, and Malcolm X. We need to become more aware by reading books that deal with the history of struggle against oppression. We need, emphasis on we, need to educate our people with the help of those who also want to see us kick this stigma in the ass.

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[Organizing] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 11]
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Drop the Pacifiers and Take Action

Greetings from a new soldier in the struggle. I'm the brother who was inspired to join the movement when I read the comrade's article in ULK number 8: Remove the Profit Motive. Since that time I've become indigent. I'm letting the state fork the bill for my incarceration.

I'm writing today about our need for unity. I've seen a couple of things that impede our uniting. One is separation by gangs; there only needs to be two gangs, us and them: "Admin."

Second, I know all my comrades know that the administration's across the country use televisions, radios, fans, etc. And now here Play Station 2's as a "pacifier" and "control tool."

I see grown men jumping with joy to be allowed to buy Play Station. Administration sitting back laughing. That's it, take this pacifier, forget your problems and we'll continue to do to you what we want.

I'm in the process of sending my appliances home. I want to focus on what's important, my rights and the injustices going on in prison town USA.

The fear to lose these pacifiers I mentioned hold a lot of brothers back from bucking the administrations and their strong arm tactics.

I hear it all the time, I'm not losing my privileges fighting for something that will not change. They're right, it will not change with that attitude. The show of unity is the only way to make a change.

Administration here now sends all your property home when you receive 180 days or more on lock up. These people are smart, they know a large percentage of the population don't want to lose those pacifiers. So we remain guinea pigs, they test to see what they can get away with.

I'm now focused on what I can do to fight peacefully against these gate keepers. I'm testing to see if I can get population to come together for a peaceful demonstration. I'm asking everybody in population to skip one meal in protest to the injustices that are going on. We in prison need to stop talking, stop complaining and come together and take action. Send them pacifiers home, stand up and be a man.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Current wars in the Congo that have displaced and killed millions of people over a ten-year period are being dubbed the “Playstation War” because of the direct relationship between mining for coltan, and this metal’s use in manufacturing Sony Playstations, as well as other electronics.

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[Organizing] [California]
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Now let's build

The so-called war on drugs, and other "tough on crime" laws, are better defined as the war against Blacks and other Third World people. We are the direct target of the Amerikkkan injustice system. A system that plots to kill us (COINTELPRO, CIA "dirty tricks" div.), imprison us for a profit and cheap labor, and a system that wants to imprison our youth (group homes, juvenile hall, etc), keep them undereducated and growing up in a single parent home. We must stop fighting amongst each other and pay more attention to the real enemy. The enemy that has inflicted massive amounts of pain on our ancestors, the enemy that, right now today, murda our people and get away with it (police), and the enemy that sends you to court, where they give you a dump truck lawyer (public defender), and the judge hangs you from a noose (life sentence). You better pay attention or become a victim. Use your head, I'm not your enemy, I'm your brotha! (all oppressed people) Black of your Black, blood of your blood, in a soldier stance, ready to launch the attack on the animals who have been attacking us for so very long. Look around it's more of us than it is of them. It's time to unite and resist the horrific conditions they try to force us to accept and live with. It's time to stop complaining and step up! Step up or shut up! This is a revolution, and every revolution (to my knowledge), has been won by actions although words are often needed. It's a dirty game so pay attention and let's turn the table on this blood thirsty system.

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Unity works to combat unreasonable regs

On 4 September 2009, the prisoners of California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) came together in an act of protest, resistance and solidarity against sadistic pigs and oppressive administrations practice of the denial of basic humyn rights. For those who are unfamiliar with CSP-LAC, it needs to be pointed out that the prison is actually located on the outskirts of Los Angeles in what is referred to as the High Desert. Being as we are in the desert, temperatures are often either in the extreme heat or extreme cold, and even though it is only October, the temperature dropped somewhat dramatically. I'm not sure as to exactly what the temperature was, it was either in the upper 40s or lower 50s. It was definitely cool either way.

We were made to walk to a chow hall opposite the yard, and we were not given any jackets, so many prisoners decided to wear their personal thermals under their prison blues. Upon arriving to the dinning hall about four or five fellow prisoners were returned to our buildings by the yard pigs for the simple act of wearing a thermal in an attempt to try to stay warm. Upon arriving back to the building those same prisoners asked to speak with the sergeant in order to discuss this ridiculous regulation. The pigs on the scene refused to call the sergeant, so the prisoners decided to simply take a seat on the tables and wait for the pigs to call him.

As I arrived back to my building I saw those four or five brothers in captivity seated. I'd already heard what was going on so I approached them and took a seat with them as I was interested in speaking with the lead pig myself. As the rest of our brothers returned, many looked on in confusion. Some saw what was going and in a collective show of solidarity simply walked over and sat with us. By the time everybody returned, our numbers grew from six to about ten or eleven. Needless to say, this was a pathetic amount of people for a building that holds about 200. It is important however to point out that this was a completely spontaneous event and the majority of people were not aware of what was going on, so there is no blame.

However, after about 20 minutes, a couple of prisoners scared themselves into submission and decided that this wasn't worth going to the hole over. We explained that there was nothing to go to the hole over, we were simply asking to speak to the sergeant, and even if they did send us to the hole, then we were prepared to go. If that was the price of speaking up for ourselves and our basic humyn right of keeping warm, then so be it. Not 5 minutes later the pigs hit the alarm on us. We immediately took a seated position on the floor as the pig Sgt. Jameson trotted in, foaming at the bit, waving his little stick at us, while verbally insulting us and threatening to spray us with his OC if we didn't get down, but we were already down.

We were all cuffed and taken outside and lined up along the yard fence, made to face away from our oppressors. While we were cuffed some of the pigs suddenly found their courage and began to make their little smart ass remarks. Some of us began to speak up and merely explain our position and that all we wanted to do was have a conversation with the sergeant. At this time the piece of shit sergeant resumed with his posture of threats and verbal abuse. At this point we finally just said "fuck you and everything you stand for" to which his reply was to call for an exaggerated request for re-enforcements. All yards were ordered to shut down and have their pigs flood our yard. All this for a handful of prisoners who were already in restraints. About 10 minutes later the secondary response arrived, however there was not much for them to do except to supervise the locking up of the remaining prisoners on the yard who were in no way involved with us.

After about 20-30 minutes the yard was finally clear of prisoners except for those of us in restraints. All the while we were cuffed and on our knees facing a wall. As the secondary response team slowly evacuated the yard another alarm went off. It turns out that the prisoners in the gym witnessed what was going on with us and simultaneously decided to get off their bunks directly disobeying orders and refusing to lay back down. They decided to protest the fact that they were being made to lay down, and stay on their bunk all day long. They were also not being allowed to go to their work assignments. So the gym said "fuck it" and the secondary response team had to run in there and extract about 30 people. Thirty people is a small number compared to the capacity being held in the gym, but still better numbers than the so-called "high security" prisoners. All in all I counted about 42 people out there. Three people were chosen to be interviewed by ISU (Investigative Service Unit). They basically wanted to know what it was that brought all this about. They were told that all we wanted to do is to have a simple discussion with the facility sergeant as to why we weren't being allowed to wear our thermals. We did nothing wrong, nor did we disobey any order to lock it up. As a matter of fact, we were never told to take it into our cells; the prison pigs just hit the alarm.

We were then interviewed by the yard lieutenant and assistant warden. We repeated our line and also stated that as far as we knew their little rule about us not being allowed to wear our thermals was bogus since the Title 15 no longer stipulates whether we can or cannot. We were also not being allowed to look at the prison DOM (Departmental Operational Manual) and every pig we asked concerning the "no thermals in the chow hall" rule refused to confirm or deny whether the regulation is actually on the books or not, or whether this is all just part of the yard administration's power trip, which makes me think that since they've not confirmed or answered our questions, and only gave vague answers, then they're obviously hiding something.

Recognizing that we're being granted an audience with prison administrators some of us took the opportunity to bring up a variety of issues affecting the population. We told them we weren't being allowed to use the phone, go to yard, etc. Their response was that as far as the thermals were concerned we are in fact not allowed to wear them to the chow hall. However, they still did not confirm whether it is a mandated regulation or not. They then apologized for not issuing out jackets. They said that we're supposed to have been issued jackets weeks ago but there was some delay. The warden was currently making some calls trying to get us some jackets. By the end of the interview we were told that they'd found us some jackets and that they would be issued Monday. However, we were also told not to take this as them somehow giving in to our demands. Yeah right. We were told that concerning the program on the yard, we had ourselves to blame because of supposed safety risks that we are always causing. At the end of the interview they told us that we were all going to be punished for participating in a disturbance. We were then sent out back to our cells.

Hours later those jackets that were nowhere in sight or on the prison grounds were somehow "found" and distributed. Funny how that works.

Now today, for the first time in four months, a huge portion of the population was allowed access to the phones.

Who knows, maybe tomorrow we'll finally get some yard.

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [Pennsylvania]
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Inspired to fight, restricted by prison

I'm fortunate to say that your letters and assistance have encouraged me on a constructive level and I truly appreciate your correspondence. I'm 33 years old and my approach has always been to confront and address oppression physically. I still believe that occasional physical resistance is sometimes warranted, but as a growing man, thinking about these struggles, I understand that attacking in anger is to do so in confusion.

Like many of my brothers and Askaris before me, I was under the impression that muscle alone equals might. For a moment I even fell in love with confrontation and the opportunity to flex that muscle. Such heedlessness has led to my current placement in confinement, but is also the reason for my redirection, as well as my gratitude to you for reaching out.

As the komrade Huey P. Newton so eloquently phrased it: "the walls, the bars, the guns and the guards can never encircle or hold down the idea of the people. And the people must always carry forward the idea which is their dignity and their beauty."

Here's the latest pertaining to me which begs for more of your input: Because of some correspondence I sent out on July 30, 2009, I received three disciplinary misconducts (270 days) for third party correspondence, and unauthorized group activity with prisoners at other plantations. However, the letters in question, 2 in particular, were not addressed to any current or former prisoners. And the misconducts were based on assumption due to my alleged affiliation and no facts. More importantly, there are policies in place to safeguard constitutional rights when scrutinizing or monitoring mail.

Because of that incident, all of my incoming and outgoing correspondence is now monitored by security, and they're attempting to use that to infringe on my First Amendment. My outgoing mail, including privileged legal mail, is being withheld for over a week before being processed for delivery. This intentional prolonged withholding of my mail has directly conflicted with the timely deadlines of my administrative appeal process, and is intended to disrupt my correspondence to sensitive media outlets like yourself.

Pennsylvania's DOC policy statement DC-ADM 803 states that all mail should be processed within 24 hours. And that "an inmate shall be notified when outgoing mail is being withheld." My postage receipts verify withholding of longer than 24 hours and I have never received any notification authorizing my mail to be held.

I've brought this to the attention of the pink bellies, and I've exhausted my administrative remedies without any redress despite my eagerness to learn litigation. I'm lost on how to proceed to the courts: what motion, what court, etc, etc.

Pennsylvania has a common practice throughout the state that limits prisoners who are housed in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) to purchasing only 10 envelopes a week. Every prisoner is afforded 10 free envelopes a month, but once those are gone, s/he must purchase the rest. I typically run through 50-60 envelopes a month, and any limitation on paid envelopes seems to be a violation of the first amendment.

In enforcing this limit, prisoners in PA's RHUs can correspond no more than 40-50 times a month, sometimes 30 because it often takes two full weeks to receive your commissary order. I've initiated a grievance challenging the practice.

I'm in solitary confinement for an indefinite period of time for what has been termed "a failure to adjust" and "affiliation to an STG". However, when I addressed officials at a hearing last week and voiced my willingness to participate in counseling, I was told that there are no such programs available to me. So, I took it upon myself to seek counseling from an outside party, and was warned by the farmers that if I continued to pursue that counseling, or wrote and informed, that I would receive a misconduct.

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [New York]
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Building Peace is Political

Yesterday the study course materials from MIM(Prisons) were withheld by the facility Media Review Committee, who once again stated that study materials promote and incite violence. So I naturally appealed it, because I know for a fact those claims are false and absurd! Last time they did the same thing and I appealed it and won due to those frivolous claims. How many times do we have to show these sadistic pigs that we are not reactionaries, nor do we promote senseless violence or disobedience towards prison staff? I understand they don't want to see growth and development and for one to do progressive things in prison, but I'm a revolutionary with a righteous cause and I will prevail by all means.

I just read an article written by the Chicano Mexicano Prison Project in the Bayview newspaper that dealt with a riot that exploded in Chino concentration camp by Mexicanos and Afrikans once again. The article stated that this violence went on for 11 hours with slashings, stabbing, cuttings and over 200 were hurt and several critically injured! I get highly frustrated when I read Black and Brown people's violence towards each other, this is counterproductive and reactionary to the fullest. This inter- or self-oppression we commit towards each other empowers the pigs and their capitalist-imperialist system. This old "divide and conquer" strategy is really in full effect and as long as the lumpen are at each others throat and can't make an analysis between who are our real enemies and who are our comrades in struggle, then we will never be liberated!

I suggest we do another ULK on Peace, Unity and Solidarity because this is needed in order for us to make revolutionary change! Brothers who are studying with MIM in Cali Concentration Camps need to really put theory into practice and stop this ignorance and senseless violence amongst Black and Brown peoples.

MIM(Prisons) responds: As we have stated before, we see the principal contradiction within U.$. prisons to be that between the different groups of oppressed people. So yes, we will continue to work on this issue of peace, and hope to put out a ULK dedicated to this work again in the next year. We want to be able to make progress in promoting peace agreements and protocols, but as this comrade stated, it is up to those involved to step forward and put the theory into practice. MIM(Prisons) cannot create peace from the outside.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Pigs bribe prisoners to snitch

Reading ULK 9, I see the same struggles are at the somewhat same level. Some worse than others. The same tactics these pigs use everywhere. I use the term pig freely because there are prisoner pigs also. Those who deem themselves righteous only to stab you in the back and work with the pigs here in Hughes Unit.

For a time these ranking officers were using what they called a snitch box. This box contained soups, chips, pouches of chili, radios, and hot pots. Word spread around that these items could be yours if the information was useful. The more valuable, the more you got. Then people who never make store started having radios, hot pots, commissary. These pigs sold their souls for more petty shit. This tactic has been used in wars. Those in need were kept away from what's theirs, but given to those who work with the government.

I'm in Administrative Segregation. These people claim that I'm a confirmed member of a Security Threat Group. I won't admit to it and I won't sign up for a program for something I'm not a part of. So here I am. Been here since 2005. This time here I've come to learn about myself and start to take different approaches in everything. These people hate to see smart people use their own system against them. I'm still trying to learn and grow more. What you all send me in this ULK gives me an extra push. So thank you comrades!

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 11]
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Exposing repression, working to effect change

Your May 2009 issue of Under Lock & Key is probably one of MIM's best work to date. This is a classic publication. The exposure of the repressive agent's oppressive systematic slave labor prison camps here in imperialist united states of Amerika is mind boggling, to say the least! Others and myself are very in tune to this information, as we are directly victimized by it.

There has been much discussion on this subject amongst a selective few prisoners who want to effect a change but don't quite know how to incorporate the masses within our confinement. I, and others, have elected to stop coming out of the cells to work, yard, showers, etc., for 120 days. We suggest that others participate and we want to discuss what demands should be put on it.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We support the movement towards collective action by prisoners to effect change in repressive conditions. However we must think carefully about refusing to leave cells. The access to other prisoners in the yard is a key way in which our comrades organize behind bars. An upcoming issue of ULK will be focused on organizing strategy and tactics, so we welcome comrades' responses to this letter.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 10]
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Organizing LOs for revolution

I'm not presently a member of MIM's USW movement but as a younger Black male growing up in the system with a 23 year prison sentence I've come to feel that prisoners and society as a whole have somehow managed to find tranquility in triviality and ignorance. So the USW is something I'm promoting throughout NC prisons using my gang affiliation as a Hoover Crip to represent the need for reform and unity among the rival street gangs. Hopefully I'm successful in building an understanding with the United Blood Nation and Gangster Disciples who are far more numerous in NC State prisons.

Those of you who are still affiliated with your LOs need to step up and speak to help build others' understanding. Speak by directing your comments to us independently of everything else. You have many of us who are in the closet about our growing desire to represent our LOs while also truly standing up for revolution, anti-capitalism, anti-racism and anti-sexism, but without the encouragement to do so. It's not out of fear but let's be honest with ourselves, many of us aspire for growth but have found it hard in the beginning, and even now harder to maintain the goals we're striving for.

I'd like to know from ULK readers who are active LO how they define revolution and what makes them revolutionaries, what are the actions they've taken to enlighten other LOs that could possibly be continued in other prisons throughout the u.s.

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