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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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[Organizing] [New York] [ULK Issue 7]
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An Interview with Mfalme Sikivu, Executive Minister of UFD

Ujamaa Field Dyansty Emblem
UFD stands for the Ujamaa Field Dynasty. This article describes more of what it's all about. MIM(Prisons) solicited contributions for this Peace Issue of ULK from many comrades both in prison and out. We are aware of many efforts to make peace and take on the real correctional tasks that none of the capitalist run "DOC"s seem capable of or interested in. UFD stands out among these projects as it is explicitly part of the anti-imperialist United Front. This is so important, because ultimately we know there can be no peace without an end to oppression and injustice. We also know that capitalism only benefits the worlds minority, most of whom live in the imperialist countries. All the job training programs in the world can't change the fact that capitalism requires a concentration of capital that sucks every resource it can from the majority of the world.

Q. How would you describe UFD, what is its purpose?

A. I describe UFD as it states in our code, “…a counter-gang of ex-gangbangers, ex-hustlers, ex-prisoners and prisoners, and youth committed to collectively raising up each other to become conscious and prosperous New Afrikans.” Our purpose is stated in our mission, “[t]o serve as a positive and constructive alternative to gangs street and prison life, especially for our youth, who we focus on bringing into our movement through UFD, and to build a brotherhood and sisterhood through which our ndugu can improve themselves and their circumstances while making a better life for themselves and their families.”

Q. How does UFD relate to lumpen organizations (LOs), commonly known as gangs, and how do these LOs relate to UFD considering that UFD’s purpose seems to seek to undermine them?

A. Look, UFD isn’t in competition with any LO. Unlike some of them who fall victim to the divide and conquer tactics of the Establishment, we don’t view other oppressed people as enemies just because they rock different colors. Plus, we have a law that states, “Avoid conflicts with others and dead beef: before they get physical…” For the most part, the LOs our ndugu are around have been cool toward us. We don’t actively try to recruit their members, but nor do we hide our purpose. Those who choose us, we accept them. Those who don’t, we work to teach and help them.

Q. But part of your code says “UFD is devoted to leading others away from gang …life…” Don’t you think certain elements within an LO may take that as meaning you’re after their members?

A. Maybe, if they don’t understand our meaning. To lead one away from gang life doesn’t have to mean we seek to coax them out of their affiliation. By UFD doing right, we set an example for the LOs to follow as a whole. If our only means to lead one away from gang life is to get them to leave their affiliation, then we’re ignoring our greater purpose – to serve the people. As much as we disagree with some of the bullshit LOs get caught up in, they’re still oppressed like us.

Q. What efforts can UFD make to bring peace between LOs?

A. Once we’ve established ourselves as a positive and constructive force here to stay, and ourselves avoid the trap of warring with LOs, we’ll garner a certain respect in the prisons and on the streets. At that time we can counsel LOs to consider the damage they do to themselves by warring among themselves. Through UFD’s success, we get to show them their potential strength in doing better.

Q. Do you honestly think it’s possible they’ll hear you?

A. UFD takes political direction from the New Afrikan Maoist Party being that the Party politically leads the New Afrikan Liberation Movement. Our parent organization, the New Afrikan Ujamaa Dynasty, is a part of this movement. We tend to agree with the Party’s assessment that, until there is a revolutionary change within urban subculture that is dominated by the colonial/criminal mentality of which George Jackson spoke, LOs will themselves not fundamentally change. But UFD can play a significant role in decreasing the conflict between LOs by first being a good example and second, by educating those who’ll listen to us.

Q. When will that revolutionary change take place?

A. Hard to say, UFD is poised to lend its hand when the time is upon us. For now we’ve focused on doing all we can to help our ndugu change and better themselves and do what they can to uplift their families which in turn empowers our communities.

Q. How can interested youth join up with UFD?

A. Either by hollering at one of our ndugu authorized to bring them home or by contacting our executive assistant Taraji Vuma at New Afrikan Ujamaa Dynasty, PO Box 40799, San Francisco, CA 94140.

Q. How does UFD deal with the repression of its incarcerated members?

A. NYSDOCS [New York State Department of Correctional Services] has charged a couple of our ndugu with possessing unauthorized organizational materials. This is bullshit because UFD isn’t an unauthorized inmate group and the ndugu charged weren’t accused of using our literature to recruit other inmates to an unauthorized inmate chapter of UFD. We have a federal lawsuit in against NYSDOCS over this issue. They’ve been repressing members and supporters of the different NALM-affiliated organizations like ours since at least 2004.

Q. If UFD isn’t an unauthorized group, then why does NYSDOCS discipline its members for possessing its literature?

A. Because NYSDOCS is reactionary like any other state bureaucracy. It seeks to protect its existence. UFD represents more of a threat to NYSDOCS not because we advocate violence or disobedience (which we don’t), but because we have the potential to do what NYSDOCS can’t do effectively: correct the behavior of our incarcerated ndugu. Could you imagine the public relations nightmare for them? Some obscure, fraternal group comes along, recruits prisoners in large numbers who actually reform themselves. Hell no! There are other implications involving the exposure of corruption and abuse only an organized group can expose. The less common identity and unity prisoners have, the easier it is to abuse them and cover it up. Just having a growing number of prisoners who join an outside organization not subjected to NYSDOCS control, even if its prison members aren’t organizing among themselves without permission, is a threat to prisoncrats' cover-up abilities. So, prisoncrats will do all in their power to discourage prisoners from joining up.

Q. Would you say this affects the ability to bring peace among LOs?

A. Definitely. NYSDOCS officially doesn’t recognize gangs. Stupid, because they exist. Humans are social beings, we clique up for the bad or good. As steel sharpens steel and people sharpen people, so too groups sharpen groups. In other words, if you suppress positive and constructive groups, you destroy the very thing that can encourage groups on the wrong path to choose a better one. The positive and constructive groups NYSDOCS does approve are kept so isolated and ineffectual that they might as well not exist at all.

Q. What message do you stress to your UFD ndugu?

A. Do better, be better, and know better and push and challenge each other to do the same. The establishment, law enforcement and prison officials in particular, along with even some regular folks, will call us a gang just because some of us are ex-lumpens (that is, used-to-be gang bangers, hustlers, etc.) and some of us are in prison. Many have come before us claiming how positive they were only to fall right into the trap of the colonial/criminal mentality. This always seems to happen. In our case, it CANNOT! Though we must accept the bad with the good and recognize that none of us can be perfect, we need to be more good than bad, suppressing the bad at every turn. We need to break old habits that aren’t productive and learn new habits. If not, we will fail and become just another group hanging onto a banner, doing nothing productive, and deceiving ourselves that we rule or are almighty while under the foot of law enforcement and prisoncrats. This is absurd! And I’m not prone to embracing too much absurdity, though I fall short, too. But this is why we’re together. Each one help one! We have a better chance at succeeding together than alone.

Q. Any final words?

A. Yeah. To my UFDeez, many will doubt you, some will hate you, but we must earn the respect of all by living up to our ideology and laws. To do this we must have faith in ourselves, in each other, and in our leadership. Be strong and resolute. Love the people and they’ll love you. UFDeez, Dynasty Forever!!

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[Organizing] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 8]
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Info About Work in WI: We Need to Keep Fighting

At this place there are 1050 prisoners. There are 2 dorms. Dorm B holds 55 prisoners and Dorm A holds 110. There are 2 cell halls, North and South, about 300 prisoners each. The hole holds 150 and stays packed to capacity. Intake holds about 100 and a medical unit about 40.

Approximately 300 have jobs at maintenance, yard crew, bath house, rec, school hallway janitor, rotunda janitor, dorm janitor, canteen, library, tutors, cell hall swampers, paint crew, wardens clerk, treatment center janitor, health service clerk, visiting room janitor, picture project photographers, the kitchen, and Badger $tate Industries, in which they are paid between 12 cents to 42 cents an hour plus 2 cents extra on weekends and holidays, and they work up to higher positions in wages.

Prisoners who go to school get 15 cents an hour - yea they pay them, if you can call it that, to go to school. And those who don't go to school or have a job get 5 cents an hour to sit in a cell, which adds up to about $4 every 2 weeks, not nearly enough to get a stick of deodorant and soap, especially once they take out 50% for child support or other court obligations one might have. Yes, I still have to pay child support while in prison, 50% of any earnings.

The pay ranges are: 12 cents ($9.60 every 2 weeks), 19 cents ($15.20), 24 cents ($19.20), 35 cents ($28) and 42 cents ($33.60). And Badger $tate Industries is separate from institutional jobs. 18 prisoners have those jobs and get from 79 cents to a dollar an hour. They make clothing for outside vendors and to sell to prisoners around the state. They also make the pillows and mattresses. People on the streets want this closed because BSI could provide them with jobs. Prisoners at BSI used to get minimum wage and up.

I see brothers I rotate with work around here to get basic necessities because they have no income or family support on the outs. And if I give a brother a bar of soap or something to eat it is viewed as an infraction and I will be written up for "unauthorized transfer of property" and the soap confiscated. We aren't allowed to do what is right here and help our fellow man. Divide and conquer. Just like they do with the jobs. Brothers will cut each others' throat for a higher paying job around here.

On the other hand, I hate the idea of working in a prison (or on a plantation) because it helps to fuel it. If we all protested by not working, the staff would have to cook, clean, etc. It happened during lockdowns before and staff hated it. But there are not enough brothers willing to sacrifice their only income for change. The wages have continuously gone down in the 10+ years I've been down and canteen prices have continuously gone up.

I know of brothers who made this little money to send it to their kids, etc, or pay for phone bills. So some work for their families. But if the 100 kitchen workers all stopped working that would cause a lockdown and the warden would want to know why they won't work. In 2002 I was sent from here to Supermax for inciting a riot against staff and the old warden here asked prisoners what it is that they wanted and these suckas said more rec, shoes with air bubbles, porn and cigarettes. But when they took the cigarettes in 2000 they didn't riot. They only got more rec and the staff took 1 pair of shoes (we used to be allowed 2 pair) but that 1 pair could have air bubbles if they could afford them. I got back here in 2006, 4.5 years later and realized that brothers sold us out.

So I don't put my head on the chopblock any more because I know that most won't ride for a real cause for improvement such as more law library time (we only get 30-40 minutes a week, if lucky), better wages, better medical care. If the workers did stop working they have another prisoner that will fill that spot before the day has ended. Capitalism taught them individualism so most are for self and quick to say "I came in by myself, I'm go do me."

MIM(Prisons) responds: We get a lot of letters like this one from comrades behind bars who are down for the struggle but frustrated with the lack of support from their fellow prisoners. It is true that capitalism has taught prisoners individualism well. And the reality of Amerika is that citizens in this country have a material interest in preserving the system that is benefiting them. While prisoners are in a unique position because the very system that used to benefit them is now locking them up, it will not be an overnight transformation for people to see the connections with the capitalist system and move beyond individualist thinking. We know that most prisoners are not down for the anti-imperialist struggle. But we also know that their conditions leave many prisoners with open minds hungry for education. And so it is our job, both on the streets and behind bars, to provide educational material and food for thought to as many prisoners as we can reach. This is the purpose of Under Lock and Key. And we rely on conscious brothers and sisters behind bars to circulate it and spread the word.

In addition to many letters like this one, we also get many letters from prisoners who talk about how they pursued an individualist and selfish mentality for many years before having their eyes opened by something they read or by someone on the yard talking to them.

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[Organizing] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 7]
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USW Leads Organizing for Real Peace

United Struggle from Within is potentially the most potent prisoner’s organization. USW is intended to take the vanguard position in the overall prison liberation movement, by tackling the multiple battles which we face as prisoners in this injustice system. Such battles are, but not limited to: instituting the national minimum wage to prisoners, fighting censorship, fighting the isolation cell-blocks which are a form of psychological warfare, doing away with the capitalist “death penalty,” promoting peace between street-organizations and guiding these sisters and brothers to a more purposeful meaning of existence (operation), obtaining proper educational programs and courses to enable the prisoner to make a successful re-entry back into society.

Many more can be stated, as our USW movement has a lot of work to tend to. Which ultimately comes to the doing away with the capitalist-imperialist injustice system – without the causes of crime and recidivism what’s the use of having this major system of confinement?

Yes, the program of USW is intended to impact the individual’s life and community to the point we decrease the drug/alcohol use and abuse, recidivism, violent crime and youth crime. The penal system hasn’t tackled these problems of the people, so the people must tend to these issues. I must admit, I am grateful to be a part of such a movement and organization.

As I take up the struggle in Ohio and in forming a committee of the USW (where we will study socialism, organizational tactics, law, and past socialist movements in history), I have been met with many obstacles ranging from prison officials to even comrades of our struggle. One of the main obstacles that weighs heavy on my mind and heart is the barriers we have amongst us (prisoners, proletariat at large….). I’m trying to penetrate the walls of ignorance that pervade the prison system and the community.

This police state (Amerikkka) has given birth to a criminal culture/prison culture. USW must battle for the minds of potential revolutionaries. Our battle also goes against gangsterism, gang-banging, race-hate, and illiteracy. Bringing together opposite street organizations and race/culture oriented groups to the round table in a common striving for self-determination, liberation, and protection is a feat we USW comrades are instructed to accomplish. Bringing peace and a mutual understanding through organizational cooperation and aid is a prioritized objective of USW.

We all face the same problems coming from disenfranchised and socioeconomic oppressed communities, enduring the turmoil of being snatched away from our families and thrown into cages, stripped of our dignity and denied the adequate opportunity to reconstruct our lives in a proper way with education and assistance. Hence, we must educate ourselves. We must organize ourselves in cells/collectives that go beyond the prison fence and wires by establishing ourselves in the communities we come from and work together for the common good of each member. Our common goal is to get back to society. The system won’t provide us with the essentials to ensure our success so we must provide it ourselves. But, our course of action should be in a peaceful mode. And, as we engage and advance we must recognize and respect those who strive in the same way.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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GRAD program in Texas

In your November issues of ULK5 I read the article written by a Texas prisoner "Segregation in Texas" and am appalled by his ignorance as far as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) aka "Texas Department of Criminals" is concerned.

I myself am an ex-gang member, and I got into the GRAD program (without snitching), and do you know why? After 23 years of being a gang member in the prison system, I saw how the oppressors were using me to oppress others. By using me and other gang members, the oppressors in uniform do not get dirty while we get our time jacked-up or may even receive death for doing what the man in uniform wanted me to do. Not only that, but it gives the imperialists an excuse to build more control units for the idiots that are doing their dirty work.

Now I'll tell you about the Texas Department of Criminals. We prisoners in GRAD chose to call our gang affiliation history. Since then we have been labeled snitches (by TDCJ employees), by the same people who advertise how the prison system wants to help us rehabilitate. TDCJ employees know what goes on between prisoners because gang members have a habit of bragging, so when we denounce our gang affiliation the Gang Investigator (GI) tells you everything he knows about ranks and members all around the prison. At times the GI knows more than gang members. After being placed in the GRAD program, the same TDCJ staff go and instigate trouble between gang members and ex-gang members. That keeps the fuel on the fire and keeps prisoners at each others throats. Then TDCJ goes to the tax payer and asks for millions in tax dollars to build more control units.

December 4, 2008 and December 6, 2008, the thieves in the Governor's administration and TDCJ asked for a total of $506 million for the renovation of the prison hospital, for the medical contractors, and for walk-in metal detectors, wand detectors, surveillance cameras and x-ray machines. For the latter, the Texas department of criminals executive director is seeking an immediate $33 million. It is their own employees who bring in the contraband, but in the newspaper prisoners are the criminals.

Those of us who step back away from our gang membership are punished by the prisons. We face denial of meals (since I've been in GRAD I have been denied food 7 times). If we don't bark or beg for our meals we don't get fed. By law we should be allowed to recreate 1 hour daily, five days a week, but we are lucky if we get 1 hour a week. We get our water turned off by TDCJ employees just to try to get us to go off, and if we go off we have to go through the process all over again. We get verbal threats by staff. We get one or maybe two clean towels a week. We get old sheets that are cut in half. We don't get soap, tooth powder, grievance forms, or medical attention. We get strip searched by female guards, and if you are like me fighting the system, your mail is given to other prisoners or is denied.

The wing where I am housed is the only wing in the whole unit that is constantly freezing so that staff refuse to work this wing. We have to wear a t-shirt, jumpsuit and jacket in our cells during the winter. The air vents are so loud that you think you are standing next to a train (this is psychological torture). In the summer time the heat is turned on which makes you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the desert.

For 23 years I worked to please the oppressors by abusing the weak, oppressing others, and that is why I decided not to allow these people to tell me to do their dirty work while they sit back and earn money while I rot in these human warehouses.

Right now I am in a struggle with the medical department because they refuse to treat my illness. I am hypoglycemic and my blood sugar drops. Without the proper medication or diet I will lose my vision, which is happening slowly but surely. The way the grievance committee (kangaroo committee) puts it, I have to go into a coma so they can treat me. If more prisoners stood together as we used to in the 70s and early 80s, others would not have to go through these kinds of treatments. While we continue to fight each other they are building more control units. While we continue to fight each other we are forgetting the real purpose.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of Under Lock and Key carries strong messages about the need for prisoners to stop fighting one another. We know that programs like the Texas GRAD system are used in many states to turn prisoners against each other by forcing them to snitch or be punished. But we also know that prisoners are turned against each other even before they enter these types of programs, fomenting conflicts between rival groups, and using prisoners to carry out violence against other prisoners in exchange for small favors. It is up to each prisoner to figure out how to best use the system to break away from the senseless violence and coming together with other prisoners to put their energy into the anti-imperialist struggle for peace.

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[Organizing] [Utah] [ULK Issue 7]
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Trading short term violence for long term struggle

I've spent my whole life being angry and confused with law enforcement, the U.$., and just people in general. In my confusion I've taken my anger out on the pigs these past fourteen years, with many assaults on officers, attempting to disarm an officer, anything to rebel against this system of lies everybody has fully embraced and accepted.

I'll admit for a while there I was beginning to believe I was the problem: not having pride in the Amerikan troops in Iraq like the rest. Hating these pigs for giving my father the raw deal over and over. My whole life witnessing my family deteriorate by losing touch with each other because most all of us are felons. Never being able to fight back because there's not enough money to fight these charges, paying fines eternally.

I want to thank all the comrades who put the word out about your beliefs and platform because my blinders are off because of all your hard work. You see I'm currently in Utah's UNITA One facility. It is Supermax solitary, or intensive management unit (the hole), for just plain anger related incidents. I came to prison this time for attempting to disarm a pig. I figured I'd take one of them fuckers out at least, and my life would seem worthwhile or my family would feel the utter hate I have for these people who have destroyed everything I hold dear through their constant harassments.

I'm 26 years old, just eight months ago I wrote to the Maoist Prison cell, seeking reading materials to pass the time. These past eight months I've become almost drunk on all these misconceptions. I've been exposed to the truth. I feel anger still, but it's not at those small town pigs, it's at the imperialist pigs who run the U.$.

Now there's a whole bigger picture and I want to contribute to the struggle. I see now it's like they wanted me to go off so they could just brush me aside and either kill me or place me in a cell. I feel the rightness when I read Mao's words and see the total wrongness in this system, in these CO's eyes as they torture us, force medicate us. I was very close to just succumbing to these offers of medications. Like I said I thought it was me who was wrong, seeing Amerika as evil. My struggle brought me here though, and I'm happy for that because my mind's just been seeking the rhyme and reason and my back's been strengthened enough to put my weight behind just such a cause.

I smile now at these COs when they toss my cell or write me up. I laugh at these psychiatrists when they tell me I need medication. I feel pity the same way a person feels pity on a weaker boxer in a title bout. For these pigs, they'll lose.

So for now I'll continue my study and contribute all I'm able to the fight with hopes of gaining enough wisdom to spread the message to a lost soul like I was someday. I'm literally the only prisoner in my section (the hole) who is not all zoned out on medications. I was very close to being unable to even struggle with anything but my own medicated thoughts - out of despair I came close to just getting on medication. Yet my drugs is in my exercise knowing there's many years ahead to fight a just cause. My drug's in the look on these guards faces when a grievance causes loss of jobs, positions and face. I live now in a torture chamber, the lowest possible position (except death row three sections down) a man can be in. But I see myself rising to the most high position possible: comrade in a struggle to bring true justice to the world's population.

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[Organizing] [California]
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Snitches, agents of the oppressor

Whether you call it snitchin, rollin over, or throwin rat, there has been a trend take over of brothas and sistas alike cooperating with the oppressor. Now I don't know why, but it seems to be a subject that many whisper about but few are willing to discuss. It's nothing new, but due to the over-popularity of its recent trend, many people are falling victim to the reconstruction of its appearance. And something needs to be done.

Since the beginning of history there have been traitors, informers, and infiltrators, so I'm not looking for a magic potion that'll eliminate the existence of snitching. I'm just looking for my revolutionary comrades to start (or put more effort in) educating each other on the existence of the snitch population, because it seems with so many falling victim to the traps of the oppressing agency, somebody somewhere failed to do so.

Snitchin ain't cool, solid, or proper, no matter how one chooses to dress it up and define it. It shouldn't be tolerated under any conditions or circumstances, whether you're incarcerated, caught up in court on a beef that involved a rad or two with you havin nothing to do with the case, or on the streets under investigation for an involvement, or lies with a certain revolutionary struggle/movement. It is totally unacceptable for one to open up his or her mouth to volunteer his or her cooperation with the oppressor.

As a revolutionary comrade to the USW, I find it my duty to speak on the issue and address it with all my heart.

Here in California there's been a trend of general population inmates turnin in there flags to the administrators for a life in the world of a P.C (peace of $hit) - Protective Custody. Now excuse the french, because I know there are a few celebs lie 'ol O.J. Simpson who reside in the system and have to be PC'ed up so they can keep the vultures off them. But I'm talking about the pieces of shit's, the child molesters, rapists and informers for the government. Dudes who used to be part of the criminal lifestyle, but violated the script, and used the PC route for a scape goat.

These individuals are the ones who are the main reasons prisons all over Amerikkka are fucked up the way they are. If it weren't for this population of individuals, the prison officials wouldn't know half the things they know about the prisoner organizing tactics and strategies, helping them to better limit us of our much needed resources, cornering our struggle and section of the end to imprisonment movement.

California has what they call the sensitive need yard (SNY) program, and it is under the protective custody program. It seems that convicts (ex-convicts) of all ages are flocking to the wardens to be enrolled. The program is separated from the GP prisoners, but already it is more of them than it is of us. A common joke amongst the GP prisoners is that in a few years we'll be the prison minority.

I can't speak on the lifestyle of a PC because I've never been on that side of the fence, but I can speak on how the PC lifestyle messes up the lifestyle of the GP.

After a prisoner decides he wants to go rat, he must inform the faculty Sgt officer of his intentions and why. Once this is done the goon squad (institutional security unit or institutional gang investigator) will get at him to receive any information that can be given. Weapons, drugs, names of the politically active, etc. From what I hear, if the information is valid enough they sign him up as a confidential informant and use him to take down individual convicts or whole convict organizing groups.

This snitch then is provided with special needs: a TV or a cell phone, or whatever the guard has to spear with its budget, which makes him want to stay on his job and encourage others to join his Inmate Task Force.

With these individuals existing along with their selfless structure of thinking, the solid revolutionary must truely practice knowing what they deal with, and the ways they deal with them. Back in the mid-sixties the convict element knew of no PC or Sensitive Needs Yards. Dudes got their paperwork checked at the front door, and if he/she had smut on their jacket, it would either be cleaned up or dealt with accordingly.

Now days you ask a dude for his/her ID, and he's bound to call the pigs. I'm supposed to be surrounded by these group of individuals claiming to be incarcerated for murdering a pig, but really be down for molesting a little girl or something. Something I'm totally against, and believe deserves capital punishment right along with the blooming snitch trend.

Informants are being placed on the main lines nationwide comrades, watch yo self and who you surround yourself with. The oppressor has become more aggressive in his/her campaign to destroy communism in Amerikkka (the U.$. to be exact) by putting eyes on the party's people even more so.

Those who are educated behind these walls are a threat to the prison officials and their puppeteers, because we can educate those who aren't. We are the political cadres for the movement to end oppression and imprisonment, and we must conduct ourselves as such. Safe guard yourself for there will always be eyes on you, whether it's the mailroom or Bush and his telecom eavesdroppers.

The snitcin game isn't to be played by a true revolutionary, for it's everything that we as communists are against. It's the game that destroyed the Gang of Four in China, the Bolsheviks in Russia, and Huey P. Newton and the Panthers here in the U.$. Prison rads must safeguard themselves, watch what you say, where you say it, when you say it, how you say it, and who you say it to.

Power to the People.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
This comrade makes some important points about security for our comrades behind bars. We do take issue with one point in his article: MIM(Prisons) does not make a distinction between prisoners based on the crimes for which they were convicted. We know that it is easy enough to convict a Black man for rape of a white womyn, and that coerced sex goes on in marriages, relationships and families, every day. Because sex under the patriarchy is inherently unequal we don't condemn those convicted of rape as somehow inferior to other prisoners. Instead we struggle with all prisoners to see the error of committing crimes against the people, and encourage them to take up the revolutionary struggle.

We also don't support capital punishment for anyone under imperialism because the capitalists use the death penalty to further their political agenda. We know that it may be necessary under a dictatorship of the proletariat, but we strive to avoid taking lives that could be turned into productive revolutionary citizens.

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[Organizing] [Montana] [ULK Issue 7]
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Call for unity among Montana prisoners

I'm writing in support of the Montana prisoner article detailing corrupt medical services and canteen schemes for profit. I've been a prisoner here in the Montana prison system since 2001. Over the years I've seen many changes, most for the worst. The biggest and the one that truly makes me sick, is the total collapse of prisoner unity in our prison system.

There's a scary trend of new prisoners entering here. It's all about submissive cooperation with prison officials. Making deals with the man (snitching, confidential informants) to secure favors from prison administrators (extra privileges, early release). Also a bad case of "Good ol Day" or "Back in the Day" syndrome. Unfortunately most people just talk, bitch or complain. Old timers are not standing up to teach the youngster how to carry himself within the walls.

I agree the medical services/canteen corruption in this system is out of control, but we have no one to blame but ourselves because we allowed the prison to take ultimate control. So now brother, I call unto those with heart to stand up and take back what's ours.

This is not a call of ignorance or senseless violence, but of sound, wise, educated resistance that benefits everyone here. In other words, prisoner unity, not division.

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