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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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[Organizing] [Texas]
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Living Unity

The most common reasons brothers in Texas and many other states will not unite on their plantations is because of race. And the fact that they feel we can't win regardless of what we do or how hard we fight. I feel also it's because they are scared of what would happen if we did win. It could also be that they are scared of what they might learn about the next race and feel about the next race after we unite.

It's common to hear somebody say "I can't say nothing because he not my race." But in most cases they wouldn't speak up if the next man was. Many people claim to have the upmost "love & respect" for their "people". But would not hesitate to hurt one of their "people" over a bag of coffee or a two dollar bet. What a way to show that you love your "people."

But it never mattered and never will matter who your "people" are, or what race we are. Because in truth we are one and the same. We are oppressed and walking a thin line on each and every plantation. So it's sad to see the New Afrikans and Latinos fight and bicker over nothing. Because we all know that New Afrikans and Latinos come from very similar backgrounds and struggles. But most of us are scared of unity between the two, simply because we are scared of the unknown.

So in result we'll hear brothers, black and brown, preach unity with so much passion. They'll go so far as threaten the slave masters with unity and scream about taking a "stand." but will never actually live out this "unity" they stress is so important. Because they feel we can't beat the "man" anyway. But how do we know unless we try?

So what we fail to realize is that we become the man. When we help to oppress our brothers. So what we really are is the oppressor talking about unity! Now most will say "I'll never oppress one of my own." But will turn an eye when somebody is being extorted just because he's not "tough enough." Or keep walking when we see an "inmate" being beat by the slave masters. Then get back on the block and say "that would never happen if we show unity."

So we end up right where we started "talking" about unity. But in truth it's not about "talking" about or showing unity. It's about living unity. But not just when the slave masters are watching. But in every thing we do, how we live, and how we care ourselves. Regardless of race, families, gangs, and where's somebody's from. Once we begin to live unity amongst ourselves it will begin to manifest itself. And then reveal itself in the most important times.

So when we talk about organizing "strategies and tactics." We should focus on how to get everybody to start living unity instead of just talking about it.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We would add to the thought "how do we know unless we try?" that there is reason to have strategic confidence when we embrace internationalism. As a small oppressed group, how can we end oppression? But most people in the world are oppressed by imperialism, and MIM(Prisons) has confidence that billions of people are stronger than the wealth and technology of the imperialist powers. By strategizing together we can begin to build the unity necessary to make that victory a reality.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 14]
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CO undermines hunger strike, causes death

On March 6, James McKinney died at Potosi Correctional Center. In the Washington County paper it said natural causes (heart attack). Now for the real story. James McKinney was in solitary confinement with me. So I'm giving you a first person account of the events that I believe led to this man's death. In early or mid-February McKinney was assigned to cell 2C-20 for a minor infraction. His first couple of days there he ran afoul of COI Shannon Clubbs (as many prisoners do). COI Clubbs harassed and verbally abused McKinney daily. In protest of this ill treatment James McKinney declared a hunger strike. He also sent a letter of protest to Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

When you have missed a certain amount of meals, you are automatically referred to medical personnel for a physical. Two times when he was approaching this certain amount of missed meals COI Clubbs opened McKinney's food port and threw a noon-time meal in his cell. He then logged as if McKinney accepted a meal, effectively rescinding the food strike. The second time Clubbs did this McKinney screamed on the walk that Clubbs was setting him up, Clubbs was laughing and taunting him the whole time. To add insult to injury, he also gave McKinney a conduct violation for accepting a food tray and then not returning it when the meal was over. This is a common and favorite tactic of confinement COIs. We (all the prisoners) did kick and holler for assistance from other COIs to no avail, so when McKinney finally saw medical, he was in worse shape than they thought, because he had missed triple the meals as the files indicated because of Clubbs manipulating the files, but no one would listen to him or us. He wrote a letter to Senator Robin Wright-Jones explaining the harassment by PCC staff in general and COI Clubbs in particular. I'm not sure how long it was, but it was well past 2 weeks, maybe 3 before he was convinced to eat, the first couple of days in March early in the morning he was complaining about chest and he went to medical as a self-declared patient - 3 or 4 days later he was dead.

I'm not a doctor and I don't know anything about his health or lack of health, but he wasn't overweight, looked to be in good shape, a quiet respectful brother. I asked him a couple of times if he was cool and he said he had things under control. I tried to rally everyone to form a peaceful protest, but these passive-assed conformed-as-slaves won't put up any type of resistance. My focus is COI Clubbs. Me and a couple of comrades wrote letters to Senator Robin Wright-Jones, State Rep Linda Fischer, Lisa Jones of constituent services. I have several copies of complaints on COI Clubbs in the last 6 or 7 months, about his abuse, harassment.

I just don't know what to do next. I am not afraid of them so educate me and tool me up and I'll stay on their asses here. Several convicts have won suits against them over the years. They pay but never change their repressive policies.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this article to continue our discussion about which strategies and tactics are available and useful to us in our struggles to end oppression worldwide. We need to analyze our options with a realistic and material perspective, and with that we need to measure their limitations. One lesson we can learn from this prisoner's tragic death is that hunger strikes by individuals are vulnerable to manipulation by COs and administration. As we explained to another comrade in ULK 13, a protest needs to be well-planned and considered from all angles. The more we can learn about the limitations of our tactics, the better equipped we will be to use them effectively.

Another error we would point out is the assertion that COI Clubbs is a problem separate from the repression of the imperialist system. We think it is important to bring attention to this abuse, and to name names for accountability's sake. But focusing all energy on getting COI Clubbs fired doesn't impact imperialism in general. In fact, it does the opposite by reinforcing the idea that the system is good; that the problem is just a few "bad apples" who can be dealt with on an individual level. In our agitational work, it is important to be clear about what the true problem is and the correct strategy to address that problem.

The fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of prison staff with similar accusations against them demonstrate that firing one guard does not usually improve the conditions of prisoners at a particular facility. In other words, getting Clubbs fired doesn't ensure that the next guy that goes on hunger strike won't face the same fate. However, developing strategy among prisoners who are facing these conditions and building outside support will help avoid such tragedies and make comrades' lives last longer and be more effective in their resistance.

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[Police Brutality] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 17]
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Political Statement from the ECCO

The ECCO has taken it upon itself to confirm and clarify what the ECCO is as well as our purpose, which is defined by examination and analysis on the dynamics of our main organization, so that an understanding of us is built within other Crip affiliates, and political and non-political lumpen organizations and individuals. ECCO is the East Coast Consolidated Crip Organization, an anti-imperialist cadre that works in conjunction with the internationalist united front against imperialism. We propose that the main organization adopt the acronym Community Revolutionary Internationalist Party.

ECCO is a prison-orchestrated, clandestine movement that acknowledges and utilizes a doctrine of reformism as a tactical maneuver necessary within our organization to help advance the individual and collective direction of our organization. We accept reform within our organization to better fight the oppressive system and ignorance overwhelming our ranks; we do not apply reform as unprincipled class collaboration with our enemies. We advocate the value of reformist concepts as a tactic in overall revolutionary struggle, understanding that we only do so because on one level no revolutionary situation in respects to armed struggle exists at present within the United $tates, and on another level because our organizational structure is flawed in numerous ways and a revolutionary war cannot be entered, managed, maintained and won without addressing the contradictions within us and other external complications affecting us.

We function under the ideology of Neo-Cripism, engendered from within the ECCO to help attain the goal of injecting political, socio-economic and revolutionary consciousness into Crips' core, along with one centralized belief to govern the whole of the organization. Recently, an ideology was non-existent within this state, at least one that was correct and effective. What existed was and still is an eclectic collection of ideas incorrectly adopted and bastardized from our 1993 alliance with the Gangster Disciples. Is this to say that the Disciples' concepts are wrong? No. This is to say that our "leaders" took on a system that wasn't based on the specifics of our organization's characteristics and socio-economic conditions; city-to-city, state-to-state. In doing so, they stunted the development of Crip and each of our organizations individually.

An ideology is the systematic, scientific, cultural, economic, political, social and moral values of a people. It enables the organization and/or movement to coordinate its set aims/goals through its organized activities/social practices via the ideological indoctrination of its members as it relates to concrete conditions that define the organization. Without an ideology an organization or movement will fail in the primary factors it claims to represent.

For the Crips to exist in this state as in other areas it has to be understood that a doctrine needs to be established in every area that complies with all internal and external activities of the organization so it functions. It's not possible for the Crips to truly aggregate (become whole) with no common organizational structure created for them. Those of us who are conscious of the contradictions within our organization, who seek to develop a genuine concept for the organization without fear of internal repression, opt for the ECCO and Neo-Cripism - an ideology established with the revolutionary-internationalist influences of scientific Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Frantz Fanon, the Black Panther Party, The New Afrikan Black Panther Party- Prison Chapter, George L. Jackson and the Black Liberation Army.

Our goal is not simply to establish a new design into the Crip history books, but to make it a common belief within our organization that we hold an extreme amount of revolutionary potential as a multinational lumpen organization comprised of the oppressed New Afrikan, Latino, Samoan, Asian, poor white and Indian races to name a few. This gives us an advantage in our resistance to oppression, white supremacy and imperialism.

No change within the reality of the Crips or the society around us is possible without those of us who step forward, risking suppression and taking the initiative upon themselves to bring that change about. We err in this state by not creating a system to go with the conditions here and fail again in denouncing our East Coast Crip identity. To identify ourselves as West Coast Crips because a number of the Crip gangs we belong to in this state migrated from California is an overplayed concept that is unrealistic and based in subjectivity.

All thought within the ECCO is put forth from universal objective observation and rationalization to understand situations in every aspect and angle. Our reality as an urban counter-cultural paramilitary unit and pro-community organization is our own to uphold. If we fail to advance then it's from our own failure to seize the time and shape the reality to our desire and uplift ourselves from the multiple layers of oppression we're faced with.

"The mistakes of the past must be exposed without sparing anyone's sensibilities, it is necessary to analyze and criticize what was bad in the past with a scientific attitude so that work in the future will be done more carefully and done better... In treating an ideological or political malady, one must never be rough and rash but must adopt the approach of curing the sickness to save the patient, which is the only correct and effective method."
- Quotations from Chairman Mao, p.263

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is applying the strategy of "unity from the inside out" as developed by MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within (USW). Unity among progressive forces must begin from within. Different organizations cannot unite on principles if the organizations themselves have no principles. Therefore we encourage others to work with USW and MIM(Prisons) to develop unity within themselves and with each other as part of the Anti-Imperialist United Front.

In this statement, the ECCO applies the word "race" to address the multinational character of their organization. Races do not exist, and race is a concept created by the racist oppressor nations. Nations do exist, and there are many oppressed nations within the borders of the United $tates. MIM(Prisons) sees the principal contradiction within U.$. society to be between the oppressor and oppressed nations. At the same time, the oppressed nations themselves have been more integrated and bourgeoisified than at any other point in history. While history has shown the usefulness of nation-specific parties and organizations, the lumpen class often finds itself organizing across national lines in spite of the strong divisions that the state has encouraged. What form future revolutionary movements take will depend on the development of the different contradictions along both class and national lines.

The concept of "reform" presented here by ECCO is related to the question of the nature of a contradiction. There are antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions. Contradictions among the oppressed are non-antagonistic, because ultimately their interests are the same. The contradiction between the oppressed and imperialism is antagonistic, meaning you cannot reform imperialism to serve the oppressed. But you can reform an organization of the oppressed to serve the oppressed as is proposed here. This does not mean that it is always possible or that it is the most effective path. Often times, organizations are entrenched in their ways and new ones must be formed. It is up to the comrades in each situation to determine whether internal reform and unity from the inside out is the fastest route to mobilizing the oppressed around them for anti-imperialism.

As Lenin best explained, without a scientific vanguard party a revolutionary movement cannot reach the point of overcoming the status quo. So as MIM(Prisons) works to develop unity with other organizations we will also struggle with our most advanced comrades to join or form vanguard elements that are distinct from the mass movements that most of us start out in. This is an application of the law of unequal development.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [North Carolina]
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Understand Self, Understand the Big Picture

Dear Reader,

Open your eyes, close your ears sometimes, and focus on your surroundings. What I am trying to say is that we have been spending more time listening to what others around us are speaking about than opening our own eyes to the big picture. Crip is not a gang, it is a foundation that represents the understood individuals; "Controlled, Respectful & Intelligent People." I am a leader of the Rolling 60's Crip Foundation. I am standing on my own two feet cause no one else will stand for me but me. I am also a member of the Moorish Science Temple.

We are our own worst enemy but some of us don't realize it until it's too late. We spend a lot of time worrying about the next person when our main concern should be self. A lot of us don't know our own true self, but we think we do. We will never gain the understanding of self, unless we stop oppressing one another. As a leader I ask that we focus more on self than each other.

I know it's hard because of the way we've become adapted to the prison institution. Love, live and let go of the situations between one another and let's give the system a run for its money.

A very big question that raises eye brows is why do those that play that tuff role worry about going home early so much? The answer to that question is, in my opinion, that they are afraid to fight the system but will fight each other. That's because they know that fighting each other makes them look tuff. No. Not at all in my eyes. All that says to me is that we are more ignorant than the system makes us out to be. The system wants us to be at each others' throats. Why do ya'll think that when we stand up for each other they become heated? But when they suit up and call a team to intimidate us a lot of us fold out of fear of being hurt & locked up in segregation. Heck, we are already locked up, what else can they do to us?

Martin Luther King didn't have a weak dream, he had an uplifting dream for us to stand together and fight those who oppress us. Let us rise and fight for what we stand for as human beings.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The principle contradiction in the world today is that between the imperialist nations and the oppressed nations. This is an antagonistic contradiction, that must be resolved by the latter overtaking the power of the former. But before we get there, there are other contradictions that the oppressed face.

In prisons, the principal contradiction is among the people, as this comrade explains. The resolution of this contradiction requires those working for unity overcoming the mindsets of division. Sometimes those mindsets will be found in the oppressor, but currently they are very common among the oppressed. So there is a dialectical process occurring right now as people are starting to step back to see the big picture, to consider why they do what they do. Unity begins with the individual. Transforming oneself into a new revolutionary persyn is always happening simultaneously as we work with others to build unity and promote change on a larger scale.

Humyns are social beings that face large problems in how our society is structured. So focusing on yourself can't address these problems. But for those who are still part of the problem, there is a great need to take a step back and reflect on oneself and how you fit into the greater society. Soon you will realize that there are many roles you can play, and you do not have to remain stuck in the one that has been taught to you.

While we know that MLK's ideology cannot solve antagonistic contradictions within imperialism, his strategies may be very applicable to the needs of the prison movement at this stage in a country that claims to uphold freedom and civil rights.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Call for unity against CO violence

When I first came in to the CDC, a guard's job was simple: unlock us in the morning so we can function and lock us up at night. The rest was living simple and every once in a while someone would get stabbed or jumped, but the violence ratio was 10 times lower 25 years ago. But now times have changed. For example, a few weeks ago, a prisoner was being yelled at by 2 corrections officers. As the non-English-speaking prisoner was sitting on the bench, trying to understand what they were saying (they wanted to know his name), without any cause or reason, the 2 COs started spraying him with large canister sprayers of pepper spray, soaking his entire body, and then started beating him with little telescopic-like batons with a lead ball on the tip (very painful). Afterward, he was kicked while he was lying on the ground, and placed in handcuffs and escorted to a vertical coffin-like holding cage. I stood at my cell window and observed this, among many other incidents.

When I was in Salinas Valley, housing unit number 5 (also known as "the dirty nickel"), the COs would yell racial slurs, profanity, and anything disrespectful towards the prisoners over the intercom. When I was there I counted 115 acts of violence against prisoners by COs and on one occasion I observed a CO tell one prisoner to assault another prisoner or he would tear up his cell. The prisoner complied out of fear of reprisal.

I am writing this to educate you and hopefully many others of the mistreatment and abuse of the COs, currently named the "Green Wall" due to the fact that all of the correctional officers wear green uniforms. The main gist of the Green Wall is to keep total control over the prisoners by encouraging them to maintain violence and animosities with each other. The Green Wall will use any and all tactics to maintain that control. Sometimes a prisoner may try to stand up for what is right, but no one will join him or support his cause because the majority of prisoners are in constant fear of getting property (photos of family) torn, damaged or destroyed.

My hopes are for everyone to be on notice. Be vigilant, be aware, and let's stop being entertainment for the Green Wall. Let's start figuring out a way where all the prisoners can come together. The mainline GPs [General Population] are outnumbered by the SNYs 3 to 1 because the GPs are inventing new reasons to attack their fellow brethren and make them run to the SNY (Sensitive Needs Yards). All I'm asking is that all come together and repair and change what the Green Wall has caused. All it takes is that one voice to get it started!

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[Organizing] [Oscar Grant]
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Oscar Grant: organization, line and strategy

Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant
Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant in the back on BART platform

As we marked the anniversary of the uprisings in Oakland that were sparked by the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant while face down on the ground by BART(local transit) police, no justice has been served. An anniversary vigil was held on New Year's 2010, but the crowds and energy had dissipated from a year ago. This may have been a result of weed and video games, but we think it may have been the left wing of white nationalism who did the most to defuse the resistance.

Anniversary Vigil

The vigil was held at the Fruitvale BART station where Oscar Grant was shot on New Year's 2009. Upon my arrival I saw police surveiling the vigil. I also saw news organizations with their cameras video taping. I had a rag covering my face partially to keep from being taped by pigs. The head of security, which was being run by the Nation of Islam (NOI), approached me and gave me a little trouble. Apparently they thought the rag on my face symbolized the acts of rebellion that took place last year in response to the murder and they didn't want a repeat. If they were concerned with the security of protesters and not property they would not facilitate the pigs surveillance efforts.

Later, people met up at the Humanist Hall to continue the vigil for Oscar Grant. The pigs came sure enough, but what was interesting is that the same NOI persyn that approached me was hugging the pig "Negotiators" (which was written in big letters on their jackets) who showed up. This seemed to indicate a higher level of collusion between event "security" and the pigs than we saw last year with CAPE running around trying to keep people from confronting police or any other symbol of wealth and power. How are people supposed to organize safely in a space openly infiltrated by police? The same people who shot Oscar Grant in the back!? If groups like NOI and CAPE don't keep the pigs out then all they are doing is serving to pacify the people, not secure them.

The first speaker spoke what I feel to be a criticism of the people there. A divide and conquer tactic straight out of the government play book saying that people there had different agendas, as if we weren't there to support Oscar Grant and work for change. She criticized others "agendas" while preaching a pacifist line, and insisting that we be led by the Oscar Grant family in the fight for justice. By labeling others lines as "agendas" she tried to delegitimize lines opposed to pacifism, while pretending her agenda didn't exist. History has shown that the oppressor will not loosen their grip without the oppressed rising up in arms. This was the only significant event we know of to mark the anniversary and it was dominated by those who saw no need for fundamental change.

After that, the NOI ministers got up and preached a revolutionary gospel. One NOI minister made the point that its the gangster or thug that needs to be organized for revolution and that they will be the ones to fight and win freedom. On the surface this was the speech that resonated most with the MIM(Prisons) line, but the NOI and their offshoots like the New Black Panther Party have been consistently petty bourgeois in their practice and line since the murder of Malcolm X, despite rhetoric to attract the lumpen to their ranks.

The rcp=u$a got up and talked about communism and atheism bringing a pseudo-anti-religious perspective to the debate. They said something very interesting. They said that we shouldn't criticize the movements but just get in there and lead the movement. This makes no sense. Criticism and self-criticism is at the root of dialectical materialism. Which is why the rcp=u$a continues to fail to be seen as a viable vehicle for revolution.

The latest on the case are that the shooter, Johannes Mehserle, has been charged with murder, but the case has been moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. Mehserle is out on bail with the support of police unions that are backing his defense. So far there has been much to see as the case develops that has exposed the vast injustices of the system, but the battle to convict Mehserle itself is not so strategically important for us. The state has much more invested in the outcome of the case. A conviction would be the first murder conviction against a cop in the united $tates. A failure to convict could prove problematic for them, and the reverberations will likely now be in both Oakland and Los Angeles.

We encourage strategic legal battles as a form of struggle in order to expose the system and create room for the oppressed to live and organize. Simultaneously, we are clear that the injustice system is not fast nor even effective.

Organizational Lessons

What is more important is learning organizing lessons from what happened around the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant. Two detailed papers have been well-distributed on the topic. One is by a group of anonymous anarchist writers, another is by a self-proclaimed "Marxist" group called Advance the Struggle(A/S), that is focused on uniting the "working" class. Comically, the rcp=u$a who got up to condemn analysis and criticism of the movement are outdone here by a group of self-proclaimed anarchists. Let us begin with the anarchist discussion, as we largely addressed their line in our original article on the riots.

The anarchist piece is mostly a story, and probably the most complete documentation of what went on those days in January 2009. Both papers did a thorough critique of the non-profit/reformist coalition turned police that we touched on last year. The Coalition Against Police Execution (CAPE) imposed it's "security" on a large spontaneous movement. While this was an inappropriate role for them to assume, it should be noted that CAPE's organization gave it an advantage over the disorganized angry crowd. And while the anarchists recognized CAPE members as their friends in social life and A/S sees them as workers duped by non-profits funded by imperialism, they were really representing a clear class position of the petty bourgeoisie. They served to protect businesses and prevent conflicts with the police as a matter of principle not a strategy of struggle.

As the anarchists pointed out, riots (can) work. We can't get free by rioting, and in many cases riots end in more repression and no gains. They are not a strategy to be promoted as the anarchists do. But in this case they put more pressure on the state than hugging pigs, holding vigils and asking for "police oversight." What those nights represented was a budding system of justice outside of the established imperialist order. Meanwhile, the non-profit/reformist movement did much to pressure the existing institutions to prosecute Meserhle and reform the policing system to defuse independent justice. But if we want to stop the killing, what the oppressed need are their own institutions. An institution is something that is consistent that we can rely on. Not something we pray for every day and emerges in an eruption of undisciplined energy once every 5 years.

The anarchist authors are avowed focoists, claiming that "our actions create a contagious fever." But as we said at the time, "nights of Black youth roving the streets among groups of riot cops, being videotaped and snatched to prison cannot continue much longer." And to the anarchists disappointment, it did not. Power must be built and fought for, it is not something we can just reach out and grab. We promote a strategy that depends on deep political understanding among as broad a population as is sympathetic to revolutionary change. Advance the Struggle agrees with this, but their assessment of who is sympathetic is stuck in outdated dogma.

A/S opens their paper, "Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?" claiming that the "working class people of Oakland... found an inadequate set of organizational tools at their disposal." Who are they talking about? It's not "workers" who are being murdered by pigs, it's oppressed nation youth. The anarchists at times also fall into this dogmatic analysis by talking of "those of us who toil in Oakland." Just because Oscar Grant had a job doesn't mean this is a battle between the workers and the bosses.

The most interesting critique in the A/S piece that we have not seen elsewhere is regarding the so-called "Revolutionary Communist Party - USA" (rcp=u$a). Again the main point of A/S is that there was no vanguard in place to lead the movement for justice for Oscar Grant. Here they address the rcp=u$a's lame attempts to play this role. They correctly criticize the rcp=u$a for setting up the students they organized to fail, which had the effect of diffusing further militant organizing among oppressed nation youth because their leaders were in jail. Their vague, nonexistent, and false political line and failure to correctly organize for revolution plays an integral part in the imperialist plan to keep the people disorganized and divided.

As we mentioned last year, the Panthers were a common topic of discussion as the budding movement faced a leadership void. A/S made some correct analysis about the way the Panther legacy has been transformed into a justification for non-profit/charity type organizing. This is reinforced by founding and leading members who still get a lot of respect in the Bay Area. The anarchists also provide an elementary discussion of the Panthers in their paper.

While both groups of authors turn around and condemn nationalism, this experience demonstrates the need for it. Everyone lamented the lack of the BPP, the Maoist, Black nationalist vanguard of the late 1960's. Today we have the Nation of Islam dominating the role of Black nationalism. Nationalism is relevant because it is the oppressed nations that are targeted by police terrorism and concentration camps. Nation-based organizing is the best path to get us away from the non-profiteering and the dogmatic "worker"ism that has so clearly muddied the waters in this period of struggle. The experiences in Oakland reinforce the Maoist class analysis and the importance for having one. The petty bourgeoisie has dominated the movement for justice for Oscar Grant, while white nationalist revolutionaries vie for influence from the sidelines.

notes:
Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity? by Advance the Struggle. 2009.
Unfinished Acts: January Rebellions. Oakland, California 2009.

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Petition for Proper Handling of Grievances

I have sent MIM(Prisons) a letter of grievance for use by CDCR prisoners. Its purpose is to petition the Director of Corrections to investigate the purposeful failure of the 602 procedure [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation grievance process] within California State Prison - Los Angeles County. This is something somebody put together for the general population here on C-yard. It is our intention to flood the Director's office with these petitions in hopes that it will shed some light onto the illegal acts in which these pigs are willing participants. We are being forced to file these petitions due to the unfortunate fact that the vast majority of our 602s are not being filed or properly heard.

The idea is to distribute this petition to all CDCR facilities and to have as many people sign and mail the petition to the Director's office as possible. Once all parties receive their responses concerning the petition, all responses along with contradictory paperwork should be sent to the Prison Law Office (which is specific to CA), the Office of Internal Affairs, etc. Our goal is to expose CDCR, its administration, and facilities as tools of repression and the lengths that they will go to to cover their crimes.

If correctly done, this action can be one in which quite possibly hundreds or thousands of prisoners will have the opportunity to make their voices heard and their wrongs known. It will be very hard for the Civil Rights Division of the Dept. of Justice and other agencies to ignore us. At worst, if we still fail, then we will at least have further proven that this "justice" system is not for us but against us.

My hope in sending this to MIM(Prisons)'s legal aid clinic is that you will redistribute this petition to those working with MIM and explain the concept to our comrades struggling from within so that we may all work together as one in a concerted effort to expose and hopefully create favorable conditions for the masses concerned in whatever they may be struggling for. I think that what I'm proposing here with the coordinated form of "legal attack" is of course a good use of MIM's legal aid clinic time and it would benefit all prisoners, not just in California.

In order for the rest of the prisoner population held in different prisons to correctly use this petition, they will of course need to change the name of the facility to that of their own. They will also have to look up their own "Departmental Operational Manual" citations in order to be in compliance. Someone will also have to take the lead for everyone in their facility, individual yard, etc.

MIM(Prisons) Adds: We see this campaign as a great use of our resources because our ability to fairly have our grievances handled is directly related to preventing arbitrary repression for people who stand up for their rights or attempt to do something positive. Spreading revolutionary literature, including Under Lock & Key, is a huge part of MIM(Prisons)'s organizing work. We support this petition in light of our anti-censorship work and anti-repression work in general.

We have sent this campaign to our United Struggle from Within and Prison Legal Clinic comrades in California, but this is an issue that should be spread to wherever it is relevant. Prisoners outside of California facing similar problems may be able to re-write the petition using their state's citation and policy numbers. [Ed.- A comrade in Texas has already translated the petition for use in the TDCJ system.] You will also need to research which administrators the petition should be sent to in your state. Write to us if you want to work on this campaign in California or elsewhere!

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[Spanish] [Organizing] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Inspirado por Mao, enfrentando batallas legales

Escrito por un preso en el estado de California

Yo estaba leyendo ULK 10 de nuevo cuando encontré el artículo "El combate liberalismo de Mao muy pertinente en prisiones de PA." Ese artículo fue escrito por un prisionero y se refirió a ULK número 5 del mes de noviembre en el año 2008. Con respeto este artículo puedo decir de toda corazón que compadezco completamente con el autor, porque yo mísmo y unos otros aquí en el Centro Correccional conocido como Richard J. Donovan (RJDCF) en San Diego, California aguantamos el mísmo tipo de chingaderos.

Yo estaba puesto injustamente en la Segregación Administrativa de RJDCF por casi 18 meses por culpa de otro prisionero quien me acusó del intento de extorcionarle la mercancía de la tienda aunque yo no lo hice. Aquí, he visto exactamente como la mayoría de los prisioneros se dan las espaldas para no pelear contra la corrupción desenfrenada y opresión por parte de los puercos porque en el momento no les afecta a ellos. Pero cuando las cosas cambian, y la corrupción les toca, ellos de repente empiezan gritar, y exigen la unidad de todos.

Para mi, las personas que evitan combatir contra la corrupción cuando les conviene son iguales que los puercos. Es muy patético como ellos solo son preocupados con si mismos. Yo al contrario, por los últimos 16 meses he estado peleando uña y diente contra todos los actos corruptos y opresivos de los puercos. Aunque soy lo que se llama SNY (Yarda de Requisitos Delicados) conocido también como Custodia Protectora, peleo por los derechos de todos los prisioneros sin importar sus afiliaciones, sean SNY o activos de la yarda principal. He hecho bastante apelaciones y he presentado unas cuantas demandas en las cortes. Hago esto aunque todo regresa para perturbarme en la manera de retaliación por los puercos en autoridad. Pero para citar una expresión común de la famosa película Gone With the Wind en inglés o Perdido en el viento, "Francamente querida, me importa un comino."

Creo que no hay más que las autoridades puedan hacer para castigarme o hacer mi vida más miserable. ¿Cómo pueden hacerlo? He sido asignado a la segregación administrativa por 18 meses por asuntos no sancionados porque se acaba de descubrir que yo realmente no extorcioné nada de nadie, sin embargo me mantienen aquí por 18 meses por "preocupaciones de enemigos." He estado esperando un traslado no adverso por la mayoría de los 18 meses, por 16 meses más o menos. Los puercos que son más corruptos que nunca siguen andando por aquí como si fueran casi invencibles . Me dan porciones escasas de comida, friegan con la comida y el correo, e intentan callarme con mentiras. Constantemente estas autoridades intentan crear odio y hostilidad entre mi y los otros prisioneros. Pero hasta ahorita yo he tenido la ultima risa. Los prisioneros saben que yo les apoyo y peleo por sus derechos. Ellos entonces no les hacen caso a los puercos. Los prisioneros me brindan su apoyo aunque no todos pelean por si mismos. Además he ganado casi todas mis apelaciones, y las cortes están fijandos en estos asuntos. Por eso, yo no me les arrodillaré jamás a estos puercos sadicos masoquistas y sus metodos de opresión. Aunque sea dificil pelear contra estas fuerzas, a mí nada ni nadie me van a detener.

Estos puercos hacen tan buen trabajo en tenernos peleando entre nosotros mismos. Pero aun hay unos de nosotros que sin tener en cuenta su propia estatus custodial, SNY, yarda principal, raza, religión, crimenes, etcétera, quieren dar tanto para tras, sino más, de lo que nos dan.

Como ya he dicho, represento el SNY. Yo veo presos activos de la yarda principal peleandose entre ellos mismos. Estos conflictos ridículos contribuyen a su propia opresión y facilita el trabajo de los puercos. La yarda principal considera a los presos SNY como si todos ellos fueran lo más bajo como abusadores y asesinos de niños/as. Y aun hay más unidad en el lado SNY de la cerca. Nosotros ponemos la politica prisionera tonta a un lado. Para mi, es la cosa madura que hacer. Los presos le hacen favores a los puercos con pelearse entre ellos mismos. Y los que no pelean entre ellos mismos les besan el culo a los puercos para recibir favores como drogas, teléfonos celulares, y otras tonterías. Pero cuando algo sucede, estos mismos presos colaboradores exigen unidad que ellos mismos no demuestran. Antes, yo era igual a ellos pero he cambiado. Hasta ahora les ayudo a esas personas porque esta acción todavía es pelear la batalla buena. Conozco unos cuantos que harían lo mismo pero son muy pocos.

Prisión sería un lugar mejor si la gente parara de oprimirse a si mismos o a los otros, encima de la opresión de los puercos. Tenemos que dejar las tonterías para trás por una vez en nuestras vidas. Dejar al lado el racismo, el odio entre SNY y yarda principal, las actitudes egoístas, la mentalidad de "todo yo." Necesitamos madurarnos ya chingado. Unifiquense y peleen contra la opresión, contra los puercos, peleen por sus derechos verdaderos. Si no lo hacen, no son nada más que esclavos, títeres, putas. No estoy abogando violencia contra los puercos. Prefiero que lo hagan educandose ustedes mismos, apropriadamente, no con las pendejadas que estas autoridades quieren que aprendan. Historia auténtica, politica genuina, realidad cierta, si existe.

Nos enseñaron en las escuelas americanas que el comunismo es un terrible modo de vivir. Cuando las personas que eran comunistas difaman el comunismo es solo porque uno de ellos, normalmente exiliados u otros que fueron castigados, huyeron de la responsabilidad, entonces ellos lo calumnian. Y aun he conocido muchos otros que tienen puras cosas buenas que decir sobre el comunismo. La gente nunca será verdaderamente 100% felices. No todos. Pero la mayoría puede estar bien. Hasta el mismo Mao reconocía sus errores. Si la gente aprende de los errores, estaría estupendo. Demuestra madurez y responsabilidad. Si no, son unos tontos, así de fácil. Nuestros errores son muchos. Rápidamente hemos aceptados un cierto modo de vivir. Fijensen a donde eso nos ha llevado. Nuestra rehabilitación en la prisión es una broma. No estamos rehabilitados, estamos segregados. Y es porque lo hemos permitido cuando lo aceptamos como si fuera la manera genuina. Pero no es así. Despiertense. Fijense entre las líneas. Estamos miserables porque lo hemos permitido.

Unifiquense. Echen la mierda para trás en la basura. Eduquense. Parense en sus propios dos pies y peleen en la batalla verdadera.

MIM(Prisiones) agrega: El movimiento prisionero al fin de los 60s y el comienzo de los 70s fue fuerte gracias a la unidad de acción alrededor de temas que afectaban a todos los presos. Necesitamos implementar ese tipo de estrategia y no solo concentrarnos en el individuo como este camarada reitera. Está en líderes de ir al frente y dirigir en su enfoque pero ha cambiado. Entre más líderes vayan al frente, más gente cambiará y verán unidad en acción como una realidad.

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[Organizing] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Inspired by Mao, fighting legal battles

I was rereading ULK10 when I came across the article "Mao's Combat Liberalism very relevant in PA prisons". The prisoner was referring to ULK issue #5, November 2008. From the article by the prisoner, I can honestly say I sympathize with him, for myself and a few others here at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) in San Diego, California have been dealing with a lot of the same type of shit.

Here at RJDCF Administrative Segregation, where I have been for almost 18 months because some other prisoner said I tried to extort him out of commissary items (which I did not do at all), I have seen exactly how a good portion constantly back down from fighting the rampant corruption and oppression by the pigs because at the time it's not affecting them. But once it does, they scream it's unfair and demand unity.

To me, these people are just like the pigs themselves. Out only for their damn self. It's pathetic.

I, for the past 16 months have been fighting tooth and nail against all forms of pig corruption and oppression. Even though I am what is called SNY (Sensitive Needs Yard) a.k.a. Protective Custody, I fight for the rights of all prisoners, be they SNY or mainline actives. I've done quite a few appeals as well as filed a few court claims. I do this even though it comes back to haunt me in the form of retaliation from the pigs in authority. But to quote a famous movie, "frankly my dear, I just don't give a damn."

There's not a whole lot more they can do to punish me or make my life miserable. How could they? I'm in Ad-Seg for 18 months for non-disciplinary issues as it was soon found out that I did not extort anything from anyone, yet they are keeping me here 18 months for "enemy concerns." I've been awaiting a non-adverse transfer for most of the time, about 16 months. The most corrupt pigs keep on going like they're nearly invincible: they issue me short portions of food, tamper with food and mail, and try to shut me up with bullshit. They constantly try to make other prisoners hate me. But I have been the one with the last laugh so far. The prisoners know I fight for them. They ignore the pigs, and show support for me even if they all don't fight on their own. I have won nearly all my appeals, and have the courts looking into these issues. I will not bow down to these sadomasochistic pigs and their oppression. While difficult to fight, they won't hinder me.

These pigs do such a great job of keeping us all at each others' throats. Yet there are some of us, regardless of custody status, SNY, mainline, race, religion, crimes, etc, who just care about giving back, just as much, if not more, than we get.

As I said, I'm SNY. I see active mainline prisoners fighting themselves. This is contributing to their own oppression and making the pig's job even easier. The mainline looks down on SNY prisoners like they are all baby rapers and killers. Yet there's more unity on the SNY side of the fence. We put bullshit prisoner politics behind us. To me, it's the mature thing to do.

The prisoners do pigs favors by fighting each other. And the ones who don't fight each other kiss the pigs' asses to get favors such as dope, cellphones, and other shit. But when something happens, these same collaborating prisoners demand unity that they themselves don't show. I used to be similar, but I've changed. Now I even help those people because this is still fighting the right fight. I know a few who would do the same, but they are very few.

Prison would be a much better place if more people stopped oppressing themselves and each other on top of what the pigs do. We must put the bullshit aside for once in our lives. Leave behind the racism, mainline/SNY hatred, the selfish attitudes, the "it's all me" mentality. We need to all grow the fuck up.

Unite and fight oppression, fight the pigs, fight for your true rights. If you don't, you're only slaves, puppets, whores. I'm not advocating violence against the pigs. I prefer you do it by educating yourselves properly, not with the bullshit these authorities want you to learn. True history, true politics, true reality, they exist.

We were taught in American schools that communism is a terrible way of life. When people bash it who were communist, it's because only a few of them, usually exiles or people who would've been punished, fled from responsibility and put it down. Yet I've met a lot of others who have nothing but good to say about it. People will never truly be 100% happy. Not everyone. Most can be just fine.

Even Mao himself admitted to mistakes. If people learn from them that's great. It shows maturity and responsibility. If not, they are fools, it's that simple.

Our mistakes are many. We've been quick to accept a certain way of life. Look where that's gotten us. Our rehabilitation in prison is a joke. We're not rehabilitated, we're segregated. And we've allowed it by accepting it's the real way. It's not people. Wake up. Look between the lines. We're miserable because we allow it.

Unite. Put bullshit back in the garbage. Educate yourselves. Stand on your own 2 feet and fight the real fight.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The prison movement of the late '60s and early '70s was strong because of the unity in action around issues that affected all prisoners. We need to implement such a strategy, and not just focus on self as this comrade reiterates. It is up to leaders to step forward and lead this effort. This comrade acknowledges that they used to be narrow-minded in their approach but changed. The more leaders who step up, the more people will change and see unity in action as a reality.

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