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Under Lock & Key

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [George-Greene Regional Correctional Facility] [Mississippi] [ULK Issue 9]
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Fighting Corruption in Mi$$i$$ippi Leads to Retaliation

It seems that to go to war with these corruptors (the MDOC) and win is impossible in the good ol' boy state of Mississippi. A while back I filed a Federal Civil Complaint against the South Mi$$i$$ippi Correctional Institute, AKA Green County, under the 1st, 8th and 14th Amendment. The mailroom staff at Green County was censoring my mail, as well as forcing me, as a pulmonary patient, to be housed in a building filled with 85%-plus smokers. Prior to the pre-trial hearing, staff surrendered on the censorship complaints making that issue/claim a moot one. This to me is total b.s., but the judicial law system allows such, and I must bear these costs. It seems that on the 8th amendment violation they thought they could just steamroll over me.

So in February 2009 I went to trial as a pro se litigant, and took on the corrupt state of Mi$$i$$ippi's representatives in the form of two states attorney generals, and the general counsel for the MDOC. They are all highly educated, qualified, and experienced oppressors of the state of Mi$$i$$ippi. I defeated them, even with all their arrogance, with their own rules and on their own grounds. Well they do say payback can be a bitch, and this beastly system has decided to retaliate against me as only they can. In doing so to me, they hope to deter others from daring to challenge the good ol' boys system.

First I was transferred from Green County to Rankin County, Central MS Correctional Facility. Prior to leaving Green County I was shakendown and had a lot of my personal property taken. At Central MS I stayed overnight in transit, was shakendown again, and lost more stuff. Next stop was the Parchman plantation prison where I was housed overnight at Unit 29, affectionately called Castle Greyskull, where upon I lost even more of what little stuff I had left. After a night there I was transferred to our supermax unit, stripped of my minimum custody, and lost even more of what little property I had left, and I am now in a cell with next to nothing.

Previously I spent 6 calendar years in this dungeon from 1996 to 2002. This prior commitment to US2 was because of my length of sentence and nature of crime. Now I am once again housed in Unit 32 behind razor wire, electric wire, NASA technology type cameras, and rollers with vests and super styled chemical agents on their persons, which they seem to use with impunity.

So here I am 53 soon to be 54. I'm cut off from the world, locked in a cell again with little to nothing and no way to get back on my feet. I depend on my oppressors to meet my needs, most of these needs I am fighting for as they do their utmost to keep me from having even the limited amount I am allowed.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Lumpen Organizations Unite

It has come time for all of us who have become politically active to stand together as one united front, proselytizing unity amongst the Black street tribes. It is time for the warriors of our people to lock flags and step into history. It has become increasingly clear that our continued genocidal tendencies are at our own destruction, peril and demise.

We are constantly under attack by the paramilitary style police units in every city that brutally occupies our communities, the very unrighteous injustice and revenge procedures masquerading as a fair and balanced judicial system, and of course the modern day slave plantation known as prison with its oppressive family-destroying, man-breaking psychological warfare. We have endured much pain inflicted by these forces, but it pales in comparison to the pain, sorrow and death we have inflicted upon each other.

Just imagine the beautiful power that is in our uniting against the elements that thrive successfully because of our difficulties and divided strata. It is time for all the warriors of the street tribes to realize that together we are unstoppable. It is time for those of us with influence, stripes, rank and respect to start believing in and advocating the uniting of the lumpen organizations.

Brotha Frantz Fanon said "Every generation has a mission, it is up to that generation to fulfill or betray that mission." I believe our generation's mission is uniting. It is in the best interest of not only our individual tribes, but most important it is in the best interest of our people as a whole. It is up to our generation, this generation, to evolve from so-called criminals, gangstas and thugs, into men, human beings who believe in our ability to be warriors and souljahs in one united front fighting on the front line to ensure the life of our people.

Revolutionize yourself, become new men, liberate yourself mentally. The honorable brotha Malcolm X once said "I do not pretend to be a divine man...I am not educated nor am I an expert in any particular field but I am sincere and my sincerity is my credentials."

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Prisons Using Agents to Expose Active Prisoners

Being confined in this new millennium has caused me to wonder about the intelligence of prisoners who receive benefits from the theft, conversion and criminal actions of those charged with enforcing laws, rules and regulations. Here you have prisoners who accept from correctional officers magazines, books, and other items of value that belong to other prisoners and smile and grin saying they came up. Basically at the expense of another prisoner. It's the same old practice used by law enforcement time after time on unsuspecting prisoners they see as potential sources of intelligence and are used until they have no further use and are tossed back to the lions with the customary amusement.

I can not, for the life of me, understand why a prisoner will go out of his way to provide correctional staff and officials intelligence that establishes that a prisoner has membership or association with a prison gang, street gang, or other disruptive group which automatically requires special attention and placement considerations which could include being indefinitely confined in a security housing unit until that individual rats out his comrades, dies or paroles, yet there seems to be new acceptance.

It's amusing to me when I see some of these characters bragging and boasting being validated by the prisoncrats as a gang member while making it a point to ask others, typically around the picklesuits, "are you active". It's as if the new concept of the penal system is to not only tell on yourself but trick others to tell on themselves! It's as if prison agent provacateurism has gained tacit acceptance, and some new status symbolism.

When asked if I am active, I have to ask "active in what?" Since as with so many other English language concepts the word has been coopted into supposedly meaning one thing for the dumb down prisoner but in reality meaning something significantly more onerous to the prisoncrats. And it's no secret but many in the prison population have yet to understand or realize the significance and these concepts and ideas are becoming interwoven into the fabric of prison social structure, forcing many real men to adopt anti-social positions in order to stay out of the cross.

Being a general population prisoner of consciousness, I do not miss much. However I have noted that there are so many idiots who are sycophants to an old concept that has morphed and changed into something that is truly malevolent. One has to go back to the number one concept of "trust no one" with anything of any import. Those who are real you will be able to tell, and those who are not will eventually expose themselves. Educate yourselves and pay attention is all I can advise you in this CDCR trap in which many do not seriously consider the reality of the struggle, but instead practice acceptance.

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[Organizing] [Utah State Prison] [Utah] [ULK Issue 9]
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Unite to work with MIM(Prisons)

Since I last wrote to you I’ve been studying with MIM(Prisons) cell study course and had the privilege of seeing one of these punk pigs here at the Utah Supermax solitary unit fired. Not only was Feikert fired for sexual misconduct, but it seems he’s pursuing a lawsuit himself against the DOC. Let them bite each others swine throats I say. He’s back at work though on some form of legal matter but hopefully not for long.

The interview with Mfalme Sikivu in ULK 7 was right on and I respect what he and the UFD are doing. Though the comrade from Texas’s words were the most heartfelt I believe. I think we should all try harder to see things for what they really are instead of putting our own personal slant on issues. Being a realist for sure isn’t the easiest way to be but it’s the truest.

Take for example my comrades here in UINTA One solitary. Day in and day out these pigs taunt and seek reactions so they can keep us here longer or take all our stuff and place us on strip cell. Most comrades are wise to that approach but it’s when these pigs turn us against ourselves that most convicts become tricked into acting out.

I don’t see how some people can become friends and sit there talking to these pigs. You see my friend just hanged himself and the next day I hear ”I don’t care about you pieces of shit, I never lost a single moment of sleep over you scumbags” or “Spider went home, 4a, Hoopers on early release” as they laugh like it’s funny.

To my comrades in neighboring cells no matter if they’re white or black, I will be beside all you comrades when revolution is necessary. I see the economic recession as just another sign the U.$. is weakening and I can feel the anger turned to knowledge in each of your ULK submissions. I’m glad to be a part of MIM.

Imperialism is the enemy first, all this other shit second but it’s not time to just wait for a movement. We are the movement, every time one of us wins a lawsuit or cracks a law or history book we win. Slowly we’re winning, growing, learning.

Just keep your heads up out there, especially those sitting in these solitary dungeons. It’s not east-side west-side, it’s the oppressed-side. We are all family in this and we are going to take the power back because we speak truth, we bleed justice.

I am alive today because of MIM and the ideals I’ve learned there. The anger's not focused inward anymore, but outward towards learning how to better myself instead of destroy myself. Because they want us to go off, they want us to die. It’s what they don’t want that scares them, that gets through to them. They fear real equality, justice and peace. I mean their minds can’t grasp the possibility of liberty for all. It’s our jobs to blaze a trail, to show the way.

Budget cuts here at the USP have knocked indigent envelopes down from 5 a week to just one a week which is hateful. The fact that paper got cut too from 25 pieces a week to just 5 is a matter I’m grieving (freedom of expression) because we here in the hole aren’t allowed to buy any writing materials other than 15 envelopes a week. So we (some of us) have 15 envelopes but only 5 pieces of paper.

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[Organizing] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 9]
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LOs Must Organize for the People

I'm writing this letter as a growing New Afrikan prisoner and gang leader and founder of the NC State East Coast Consolidated Crip Organization (ECCO) prison group. What prompted me to write this particular letter was the March 2008 #7 Under Lock & Key interview with Comrade Mfalme Sikivu. Even without having an affiliation with the Ujamaa Field Dynasty, I can agree to their message and that of their doctrine from what was given in the interview.

I believe there comes a time in our lives for those of us who live our life illegal, or gang members, prisoners, etc., that we realize what oppression is and how we take active roles in repressing ourselves and our communities. Not for all, but for most of us, I'd say it's natural to want to contribute to productive change and liberation from what ignorance has bound us to. I encourage all my comrades in Lumpen groups to contact the UFD to have a better understanding of the UFD and their goals as to realize their struggle is our struggle, their liberation is our liberation. It takes all of us as responsible adults to fight for what we know is right and to learn from each other.

We can be gang members and still identify with the set and hoods we're from while deprogramming ourselves and killing our own for rank and a name in some cases. There's no sense to it. Anybody with common sense should realize violence for any number of reasons normally is responded to with equal or greater violence. As a Hoover Crip I've killed or harmed more Crips from rival chapters than the United Blood Nation. I'm not justifying or advocating my actions, I'm making a point from what I know. We each have the potential to do right, if we make a dedicated attempt. While I do agree with the statement Mfalme made that lumpen will not fundamentally change, I do so because I don't feel we have enough educated leaders and programs in and out of prison to help us come to a new understanding.

The Crips and the Bloods have decades of bad relations and bloodshed between us that has spread all across the United States, Africa and South America. A 6 month to a year program, half run by capitalist and police who don't know or care about us, who in most cases entice us to kill each other, can't be expected to change the damage.

Remember, it's on us to defeat our criminal mentalities and create a future for our families. No one can break our bad habits for us and for us as gang members, pimps, drug dealers, etc., to continue down the same path is self-destruction for us and those who care for us, or depend on us. Each one, teach one and we will obtain the light we seek. And support the UFD goals, if not the UFD, learn from them and apply what's taught to your own groups to help our communities grow and prosper.

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 9]
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Lumpen Organizations and Revolutionary Organizing

As a young revolutionary, I find myself coming up on 10 years of being an Almighty Latin King member. It has had its ups and downs, but it's made me into the brother that is sitting here writing these words. Sometimes, I find myself getting mad when I read MIM's newsletter and somebody writes talking about they were x gang members. Why would a person have to leave all they believe in for years to change their life? If I would have to leave my nations to make a change for the better, these last 10 years of my life would have been nothing but a lie. I don't look at the ALKQN as a gang, because I've never in my 10 years gangbang'd or put on colors, but that doesn't mean I haven't made mistakes as a man. I've been coming to Amerika's concentration camp for a better part of my life. I've learned how to read and write here, and how to be a man. If not for the ALKQN I would still be a lost soul, deaf, dumb and blind just like the imperialists like us.

When I read ULK and hear of brothers in New Jersey who are teaching other Kings and the UBN how to read and write and not just passing XXL and Vibes around, that's what Kingism is all about. Not gangbanging. Me being from Brick city I know first hand how the NJDOC is, so my love goes out to all your comrades in the GU no matter what your affiliations are. You don't have to stop being you to stay out of prison, don't let them fool you young brother.

As one of the most revolutionary brothers of our beautiful island once said (Albizu Campos), "Despierta Boricua!; Defiende lo tuyo!"

MIM(prisons) responds: We learn things throughout our lives that lead us to make changes in what we think and do. Learning about revolutionary politics and moving out of a Lumpen Organization (LO) to be involved in revolutionary organizing does not make one's history a lie. Some comrades working with MIM(Prisons) stay with their LOs and some choose to leave when they come into revolutionary politics. These decisions are often based on what their LOs are into, and what the individual comrades think they can accomplish as a member. If a person is a part of an LO that is not supportive of anti-imperialist work, it may be time to move on from that LO. On the other hand, we respect those comrades who want to stay with their LOs and promote anti-imperialism within the group. There are important roles for both approaches.

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[Prison Labor] [Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 8]
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Remove the Profit Motive

I am currently incarcerated in California serving a 220 year life sentence that I'll never finish.

I know every state is a little different as to how it taxes its prisoners and uses the sweat of our slave labor to promote the prison industrial complex. Following is an outline of a few of the ways they do it here in California.

Some of our taxation comes in the form of "restitution," for which we are taxed 55 percent of all money that lands in our prisoner trust accounts. Ten percent of that goes to the prison for administrative costs and the remainder goes to the state's general fund.

The next money-grabber comes in the form of a $5 co-payment for all medical and dental visits, which is outrageous considering that we are provided substandard and unconstitutional medical, dental, and mental health services under the control of a court-ordered receivership.

Another tax comes in the form of our prisoner welfare fund, which gets collected in various ways, the most common of which is a 10 percent tax on the purchase of an appliance, quarterly package, special purchase or hobby supplies.

A lot of guys - and girls - are unaware of the money that gets clipped from our friends and family. For example, every time we make one of those collect calls, our friends and family get clobbered with outrageous phone bill charges, which the phone companies kickback to the prison for allowing them to provide us with phone service. To give you an idea how badly our families are being taxed by these calls, last year the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) received over $25 million in kickbacks from phone companies.

A similar tax can be found in our visiting rooms by way of the "super high" prices of vending machine items. The vendors, like the phone companies, pay kickbacks to the prisons for the privilege of putting their machines in our visiting areas! I don't know what this amount is annually, but I assure you, it's a lot.

Also in the visiting area are the sales of pictures for which all the profits go to the inmate welfare fund, which gets quietly shuffled into the general fund. The same applies to the profits from our canteen purchases.

Next we visit the prison labor issue. Here in California we've been operating with a pay scale system that was developed in the 1970s and there hasn't been a cost of living adjustment since it was implemented. In fact, the only change that has come has been the elimination of paid positions, because there is always some desperate prisoner who is willing to work for nothing just to get out of his or her cell. This practice must stop if we are ever to see a pay increase.

We pretty much make everything for the state prison system and government offices: Clothing, food, bedding, cleaning products, tables, chairs, and even modular offices. We make license plates and the tags that go on them; our labor saves the state $billions annually. Yet we continue to jump at the opportunity to work for 10 cents an hour or for nothing at all!

I could go on for hours about all the ways the state is extorting our money and the sweat of our labor. It's endless, and all we are doing is making it possible for them to hold us longer and, quite possibly imprison our friends, neighbors and loved ones to expand their prison industrial complex. This has got to stop.

Now, here's my solution. This should work, considering the current economic crisis affecting every state, but it won't come easily or without sacrifice.

I call upon everyone to use up or send out all the money in your prison trust account. This will deprive the state of millions of dollars that they acquire from interest on our money, as well as funds they won't get from restitution, fines, inmate welfare and other bogus charges, because we'll have no money to spend. Second, everyone must stop using the phone and start writing instead. Third, stop working for nothing. I guarantee you this will quickly get the attention of your administrators - but don't collapse under pressure. Last, demand prisoners' rights, including the right to vote. Once that is established you will have the power to do just about anything.

For everyone's information, I want you to know I have already undertaken this plan of action. I have remained indigent since my incarceration in 2005 and, as a direct result, the state pays me 20 metered indigent envelopes a month, all my necessary hygiene equipment, soap, razors, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb and so forth. They also pay for all my legal copying services, paper, envelopes and postage of which I have used many. I have deprived the state of the interest from my money and the $850,000 it claims I owe in restitution. I have refused to work from day one and will continue to do so until I see radical changes in prisoners' rights. I don't pay for my medical visits or my medications, which are numerous and extremely expensive.

Again, I could ramble on for days, but I want you all to start thinking about how you are contributing to the prison industrial complex and start taking actions to change this environment in which we live. If done nationwide, we can and will stop the heart of the Prison Industrial Complex by removing the profit motive.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade points out a lot of ways that prisoners can take legal and non-violent actions against the so-called prison industrial complex. This sort of organizing is important. However, this will not remove the motivation for imprisonment in the United $tates. While people are making extra money off of prisoners through all the methods listed above, the fundamental source of money for prisons is still the government. Prisons are not profitable in the sense that they do not generate enough value to pay for themselves. They are a subsidized industry that pays a lot of people a lot of money to build, fill and operate. And so the portion of this that prisoners can impact by the direct actions described in this article is limited to a minority of the money. That doesn't mean these actions will be useless, but we can't fool ourselves into thinking these actions alone will stop the heart of the Prison Industrial Complex.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [Mule Creek State Prison] [California]
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Don't Feed the Prison Beast

CDCR CCPOA Mafia BeastAs I write this letter I am once again incarcerated in the administrative segregation dungeon (ad-seg) of Mule Creek State Prison for refusing to conform to the CDCR-CCPOA Mafia underground corruption rules of forced double celling.

This time they have incarcerated me in what is called the disciplinary detention bubble for no reason.

1. I have no RVR115 rule violation guilty ruling.
2. I have no RVR115 disciplinary detention sentence.
3. I have no psych evaluation 114 order.

They put me in the bubble to shut me up, to silence me, to stop me from teaching truth to the blind ignorant inmates.

In this letter I have drawn an image of the CDCR-CCPOA Mafia machine multi-billion dollar monster that holds you captive. Every time you feed the beast your money you empower the beast and the beast grows another arm.

- All prisoner telephone calls feed the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.
- All prisoner canteen purchases feed the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.
- All prisoner special purchase (Walkenhurst-access packages) purchases feed and empower the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.
- All special food sale purchases feed and empower the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.
- All prisoners who work and program in their pseudo (no pay) work/vocational/education schemes, feed and empower the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.
- When prisoners conform and comply with the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia's underground corruption rule of forced double celling they empower the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.

Stop empowering your enemy the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia. A plan + a goal + an action = freedom.

My comrades, I challenge you to ask yourselves this question: why, at a CDCR RVR 115 disciplinary hearing, does the disciplinary officer not restrict a prisoner from making purchases in the CDCR-CCPOA-Prison canteen as part of the RVR115 punishment? Because it's part of the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia's life blood!

Ask yourself, why does the CDCR not stop prisoners from making prison canteen purchases in the CDCR-Adseg or the CDCR-SHU? Because it's part of the CDCR's life blood.

They have us like blind sheep and cows ignorantly empowering them. Stop empowering the enemy. Stop helping them. 65% of all purchase money in the canteen goes to the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia beast.

The next time you give your money to the prison canteen CDCR-CCPOA-Prison mafia beast think of this image drawn for your education, think about how you're empowering the CDCR-CCPOA-Mafia to grow another arm to incarcerate you, your son, your father, your brother, your sister, your mother, your wife, your grandchildren, your friends and comrades.

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 7]
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Peace in the Streets

street orgs in revolutionary unityFor our Peace Issue, MIM(Prisons) had solicited a number of allies who are doing work for peace among the lumpen on the streets. Though the Peace Issue is done, our pages remain open to those who are doing such work, as we want to build as many connections as we can between what is going on in the streets and behind prison walls. This article will make some of those connections in a mostly historical way. Similar stories can be told about the largest street organizations based in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and beyond. And as we'll see, the use of prisons to isolate the peace makers is having a very real impact on efforts in oppressed communities.

Chicago

The Chicago story could start in the late 1960's with Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party, who was shot in his sleep by the FBI for attempting to unite street and youth organizations under a revolutionary banner of the original "rainbow coalition." While some legacies of that work remain, COINTELPRO was quite effective in preventing thousands of lumpen youth from joining the anti-imperialist United Front. During the same period, other street organizations were joining a coalition with city and business leaders in Chicago. The Conservative Vice Lords (CVL) were one of these groups who became a significant force for building Black businesses and serving the lumpen youth of the community. Despite their turn from petty crime and street fighting to a positive community organization, their attempts to work with the pigs and the business establishment failed again and again. Eventually their leaders were targeted for frame ups and put in prison like the revolutionary Panthers, despite a program that never attempted anything but integration into mainstream capitalist society. Their differences with the Panthers seemed to be based on misunderstandings of the Panther strategy (1), which others have suggested were a result of COINTELPRO misinformation campaigns.

In the end the CVL leadership saw that the next generation was coming up looking to undo everything they had built. And sure enough the streets of Chicago succumbed to more violence and chemical warfare following the destruction of the Panthers and efforts like those of CVL. The next generation produced Larry Hoover who also came around from the criminal mentality to create institutions like "Save the Children," support legal Black business development and register thousands of people to vote. After being imprisoned, Hoover's Gangster Disciples (GDs) hosted perhaps the largest peace summit in u$ lumpen history in Chicago in 1993. After his 13th parole denial Hoover released a statement in which he said things such as:

Drugs are our enemy, destroying many of us with the lure of profit, more of us with addiction, and still more with the crime that results; we must join our voices with those across the land, of whites and blacks, churchgoers and convicts, gays and straights - all who share the purpose of taking the profit out of drugs and ending the slaughter made easy by guns. (2)

And this was not just talk, as the GD's had demonstrated their ability to achieve such goals. The biggest immediate threat to the imperialist establishment that the lumpen can make is to end the meaningless destruction of oppressed youth life while destroying the profits from chemical warfare thru imperialist-run drug cartels. The state responded by sending Hoover to the federal supermax prison ADX in Colorado for conspiracy charges to deal drugs.

New York

In New York City the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation is a well-documented (if not always accurately) example of the modern repression of progressive mass organizations of lumpen youth. With constant targeting by police, most of the local leadership ended up in prison. The main architect behind the Nation's growth in New York, King Blood, has spent 12 years in complete isolation. King Tone, who was the popular spokespersyn for the Nation in NYC during their politicization in the mid-1990's has also been in prison since those tumultuous years. Their pro-Puerto Rican community organizing made them greater targets than they had been as a street gang engaged in criminal activities. Statements like,

"We are not AMERICAN, we are one of 22 million Puerto Ricans who are victims of Americanism... We are Revolutionary Nationalists but we are remembered as proletarian internationalists, heroic fighters in the struggle against oppression and imperialism." (3)

led one pig to state,

There's no way we're gonna let a bunch of gang-bangers think they're the Panthers or the Young Lords.

As more Kings & Queens went to prison, they took their goals with them and began to build educational programs and promote peace within the new gang units that were popping up at the time. MIM's Free Books to Prisoners Program helped comrades in New Jersey build a library of thousands of books where Kings were not just teaching other Kings, but also members of the United Blood Nation and others to read. UBN, like the New York ALKQN, was formed within the New York prison system. And like King Blood, one of UBN's co-founders, is in a control unit for his organizing, just recently getting his sentence there extended to 2021 by the NYSDOCS; greatly limiting his contact with the outside world. He reports that extensive COINTELPRO tactics were used against them in conjunction with the ALKQN.

Today the ALKQN is clear that none of its senior leadership is involved in any illegal activities and the leadership continues to define it as an organization for the betterment of the community and the self-determination of oppressed nations. As with all of the mass organizations discussed here, whose popularity has exploded, often beyond the influence of its founders, there are many who claim the flags that play into government efforts to dirty their names.

Los Angeles

Perhaps the most well-known peace effort came in Los Angeles around the time of the Rodney King verdicts and the uprising that followed. The state responded swiftly when Bloods & Crips came together in the streets. Not to mention that the unity in action also included a majority of Mexicans and a significant proportion of white participants.

As discussed in the article We Want Peace! They want Security. the unity of the oppressed is a response to the unity of the oppressor against them. Therefore, when the Panthers were destroyed, the Crips came up from a history of Black street organizations that formed to protect themselves from white violence. Eventually, other Black groups united under the Blood flag to protect themselves from the Crips.

When these groups came together for peace in the early '90's, once again we saw the targeting of leaders of the oppressed by the state. Just to mention some of the most high profile attacks, Crip leader Sanyika Shakur (aka Monster) who had taken up Black Nationalism was sent to a Security Housing Unit (SHU). Imprisoned Black Liberation fighter Mutulu Shakur had worked from a distance to develop the Thug Life code promoted at the peace meetings by his step-son Tupac. Federal Bureau of Prisons papers document that Mutulu Shakur was moved to the original control unit in Marion because he was effectively organizing young Black prisoners. The warden of Lewisburg, in recommending his transfer, wrote the following: "I firmly believe Shakur needs the controls of Marion, as he appears to manipulate the entire system. This shrewd behavior coupled with his outside contacts and influence over the younger Black element will have adverse affects on the mission." (4) Mutulu continues to be isolated in the newer federal supermax prison, ADX, while Tupac was assassinated following his work around the peace treaty.

Over a decade later, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent Tookie Williams to be executed because he had dedicated his books to leaders in the Black Liberation struggle. A Crip co-founder, Tookie spent many years in prison writing children's books to counter the anti-people activities of street organizations, while drafting up peace protocol for those who were involved in the gang wars. He was a shining example of rehabilitation (no thanks to the state), which the CDCR added to its name and allegedly to its mission around the same time.

The state's success led to the bloodiest years the California ghettos, barrios and prisons have seen. Those who could do something to stop all the violence were part of the first large scale experimentation in long-term isolated captivity of humyn beings (or were dead). In this context, the leadership became more concentrated within the prison system, where the state had already begun dividing the system up along the lines of Blacks, whites, northern and southern Mexicans. These became the battle lines for the years of "race wars" that continue to this day.

One of the most violent battles took place in Pelican Bay State Prison in 2001. Prisoners responded by calling on leaders representing each group, who were being held in SHU, to negotiate a truce. (5) This truce seemed to be on the road to success when the CDCR's Institutional Gang Investigation unit intervened, along with others in the department, to carry out a negative propaganda campaign, similar to what has happened every time prisoners have tried to come together in peace. (see We Want Peace! They want Security.)

As one prisoner explained what happened,

I have yet to hear of any of this, however, I did hear about the 2001 attempted peace treaty. Which of course was purposely sabotaged by CDC. The very last thing these bastards (CDC) wants is peace amongst the races here in prison. It is not in the material interest of the white middle class who work for CDC to have this violence come to an end. Any time an institution goes on lock down, prison officials automatically get what's called "Hazard Pay" which doubles their pay. So for every violent incident they (CDC) can provoke, they stand to profit from it.

And it's not only the CDC that stands to profit. Other outside organizations are also profiting from what the CDC has created. Organizations such as the Sheriffs department and other police agencies, which of course are staffed with middle class white amerikans. Every time an incident from in here spills out into our occupied communities, it is these organizations that come in and lock up everyone in sight, not to mention harass, beat and even murder us.

According to those involved in the 2001 peace talks, the failure stemmed from a lack of community support. This allowed the pigs to spread the rumors and squash the organizing efforts. This is why it is crucial to develop links between the peace efforts on the street and behind bars.

Only with growing mass support, inside and outside prisons, will the CDCR agree to allow for a peace process. That is why MIM(Prisons) is promoting the petition initiated in 2006 to restart the process. (6) As one veteran leader of the California prison movement said in an interview regarding the Pelican Bay Peace Summit,

A peace accord, or a peace summit itself. If that's real. Then I wanna bet it's real in a sense that both your politically motivated SHU prisoners and your regular gang member- motivated prisoners have both come to the realization that they are both doomed to hell! No matter how many differences exist between them, that they are united in the fact that they are doomed prisoners. And that's the only way that they're going to get that condemnation off of them, is if they join forces to change the policies that allows them to live in the naked abyss. And that means that they would have to work together. And in order to work together they would first have to arrange a successful peace summit. So that they could combine forces. Now I kinda think that that's a natural course of events. That they would come to that conclusion, whether they wanted to or not, the conditions are gonna force them to come to those conclusions.

...I know that a peace summit has to be a prelude to something more significant. And that something more significant has to be what we always fought for, you know what I'm saying, the humyn rights of all prisoners in general, regardless of what clique or what race they're from.

The story we see over and over again is that state attacks on lumpen organizations are superficial as long as the organization is engaged in activities murdering and poisoning their own people. It is only when these groups begin to help their communities that they are crushed by the state.

COINTELPRO continues its misinformation campaigns against lumpen organizations today and historically through the mainstream media like National Geographic and BET who have jumped on the sensationalized gang life bandwagon. They pretend to investigate both sides of the story while painting all of these organizations as evil. Part of this is a continued campaign against the Black Panthers almost four decades after they were effectively neutralized. Organizers today need to be prepared for the attacks by representatives of the State who claim they want peace, but in reality only want peaceful submission to imperialist profit.

notes:
(1) Dawley, David. A Nation of Lords: The Autobiography of the Vice Lords. Waveland Press, 1993. 2nd edition (orig. 1973).
On p.112, the Vice Lords claim that the Panthers tried to convince all of the street organizations to go on a rampage burning the city down. This would have been contrary to the consistent line and strategy of Fred Hampton and Huey Newton. The Vice Lords do admit to breaking up underground organizing in response to the assassination of MLK as part of their partnership with Chicago business interests. Yet, still the establishment never came thru with their end of the deal of providing loans and other business development support.
(2) Hayden, Tom. Street Wars. The New Press, 2004. p. 284.
(3) Brotherton, David C. & Luis Barrios. The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation. Columbia University Press, 2004. p. 298.
(4) http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~kastor/walking-steel-95/ws-florence.html
(5) Support Pelican Bay Peace Process
(6) for more info on this campaign and petition click here

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 7]
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Prison Leader Steps Up

I'm currently an acting lieutenant of the Hoover Crips in NC state prisons. I've been working towards building better relationships with rival Crip sets in prisons in hopes of bringing solidarity within my nation. I'm working towards a new concept within the Crips and I have gained a following. I'd like to overcome the stereotypes and propaganda so we as an organization with publicity utilize our image to show that liberation is gained from education. The search for truth is often unsettling and if acquiring knowledge was easy we would all have it. I'd like to see my organization help with overthrowing racism, classism, sexism, and oppression. Instead of us damaging our standing as a minority-based group we need to vow to never again serve a system content to exploit us as commodities. I'd like to see us in the struggle for civil rights and humanitarianism. It's no easy task to bring stability from chaos but I've gained a following with a lot of inspiration from the Maoist Internationalist Movement to overstand the struggle is bigger than my personal issues - bigger than one particular race, creed or gender.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We applaud this comrade's work to bring rival groups together and encourage him and others to work towards unity across any and all organizations willing to work for real peace for the people. This means not only rival Crip groups, but also other oppressed nation organizations. Any oppressed people fighting other oppressed people is a waste of energy and essentially work for the imperialists. As this comrade points out, the struggle is bigger than persynal issues.

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