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[Revolutionary History] [Black Panther Party] [Release] [ULK Issue 83]
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Ruchell Magee

Ruchell Magee free

Comrade Ruchell Magee was one of two survivors from the Marin County Courthouse massacre that took General Johnathan Jackson’s life on August 7, 1970 (peace be upon him). Comrade Ruchell Magee is now 84 years old. Ruchell Magee was born in 1939 in Louisiana. He would go on to spend 67 years of his life in unjust captivity, starting the year after the murder of Emmett Till. In 1956, Ruchell Magee (like Emmett Till) was framed in a similar fashion of unfounded accusations of rape, where the victim originally did not identify Ruchell Magee. Nevertheless, he was convicted in a one day trial by an all white jury. After serving 7 years on a 12 year sentence he was released on parole in 1962. Comrade Magee then moved to Los Angeles.

After a 10 dollar quarrel over marijuana ending in a kidnapping charge, Magee was convicted (with little evidence) after a two day trial and sentenced to serve seven years to life on kidnapping charges that legally only carried a penalty of up to the maximum of five years. In 1965 he appealed the charges and was denied. While housed at San Quentin Magee became a jailhouse lawyer. There he met Comrade George who was also serving a Cali-type sentence of one year to life. They were routinely denied by the parole boards. Ruchell was also a major participant in the movement for prisoners’ rights and never stopped fighting for his release.

The Marin County Courthouse Massacre

Around the young age of 15-years old, Johnathan Jackson became politically active witnessing the injustice done to his brother George by the legal system. Johnathan was a very smart student, scoring at the top of his classes.

George Jackson later had Johnathan move in with Angela Davis to keep her safe. There he learned weapons training and dated Angela’s girlfriend who was white. He would later impregnate her before his demise, with a son his mother would deny. A son that would grow into a polar opposite of George Jackson.

The day before the Marin County Courthouse Massacre, Johnathan Jackson sat in the courtroom in a trench with a bag for the trial of James McClain. The next day he visited George Jackson. They spoke, embraced, then left.

A few hours later a Sheriff spotted Johnathan in the courthouse with the same trench coat and bag on from the day before. The suspicious Sheriff approached Comrade Johnathan and asked him: “What’s in the bag?” Johnathan replied:

“Alright gentlemen, freeze. Nobody move. We’ll take over from here.”

After equipping his comrades with artillery the armed defendant James McClain and the witnesses called there for a prison murder, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee, left with the prosecutor, judge, and three jurors as hostages, demanding the release of Comrade George and the guarantee of safety for themselves.

James McClain walked the judge (with a shotgun barrel roped around his neck) to the van with the hostages. As they where leaving the parking lot hundreds of officers took aim on the custom made bullet proof van. A lot of the officials were from San Quentin. As Johnathan was leaving the parking lot holding a handgun out the window he was shot in the hand while holding it out the window.

The rest of the officers opened fire on the van, the shotgun goes off, and the prosecutor snatches the gun off Johnathan’s hand as he brings his hand back in the window with the gun. The prosecutor would then murder Comrade Johnathan, James McClain, and William Christmas. As the Sheriff and state officials continue to shoot the van they eventually shot the prosecutor in the back, paralyzing him. Ruchell Magee was later found unconscious.

Ruchell Magee was charged with murder and kidnapping, along with Angela Davis who allegedly provided Mr. Jackson the guns. In a separate trial Angela was acquitted, but in 1973 Mr. Ruchell Magee was convicted of simple kidnapping and voted 11 to 1 to acquit him of the murder charge.

Even though an autopsy of the judge who had been killed proved Ruchell did not kill him, and no evidence proved Ruchell knew anything about Johnathan Jackson’s plan to liberate the prisoners from the Marin County Courtroom, on 23 January 1973, Magee was sentenced to life in prison.

After the conviction he was denied parole 16 times and housed at high security prisons like Folsom and Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit, while he became one of the most consistent and successful jailhouse lawyers and advocates for prisoners.

Earlier in his bid, Ruchell took the name Cinque from the African leader Sengbe Pieh of the 1839 La Amistad slave ship rebellion, insisting that Africans have the right to resist “unlawful” slavery. Ruchell maintains that Black people in the U.$. have the right to resist this new form of slavery which is part of the colonial control of Black people in the country.

“My fight is to expose the entire system, judicial and prison system, a system of slavery. This will cause benefit not just to myself but to all those who at this time are being criminally oppressed or enslaved by this system.”

Ruchell has now been released on a new bill passed in California that allows incarcerated medical leave for those who are at fatal health risks.

Welcome home the G, AKA General Magee

Sources: The Road to Hell, by Paul Liberatore
Ruchell Magee released after 67 years in prison!, by Claude Marks of Freedom Archives

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[Legal] [Release] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 82]
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Proven Strategies for Waging an Effective Campaign for Clemency in Virginia

[originally written for the Incarcerated Women’s Clemency & Support Project (IWCSP)]

I filed about five clemency petitions during the course of my 28 years of incarceration before finally being granted a pardon in 2022, by former Governor Ralph Northam. The first three petitions were filed “pro se,” meaning on my own. The last two petitions were filed with the assistance of counsel and with the support of state legislators. The last successful push for clemency was also aided by the Justice for Uhuru Coordinating Committee – a group of friends, abolitionists and student organizers from the College of William & Mary.

Borrowing from knowledge and practical experience gained from navigating the clemency process over two decades, what follows is a brief outline of what I believe is the most effective strategy in helping an incarcerated person and their loved ones to wage a successful campaign for clemency in Virginia.

The Law

Neither the Virginia Parole Board nor any court in Virginia has the authority to grant a petition for clemency.

Pursuant to Virginia (VA) Code section 53.1-229 and Article V, Section 12 of the Virginia Constitution, only the Governor has the absolute power and authority to grant clemency.

However, pursuant to VA Code section 53.1-231,

“the Virginia Parole Board shall, at the request of the Governor, investigate and report to the Governor on cases in which executive clemency is sought. In any other case in which it believes action on the part of the Governor is proper or in the best interest of the Commonwealth, the Board may investigate and report to the Governor with its recommendations.”

There’s a common belief that the Governor of Virginia has the power to grant mass clemency to a group of incarcerated people at one time. However, the Virginia Supreme Court in the case of Howell v. McAuliffe, 292 Va. 320, 788 SE 2d 706 (2016) ruled the Governor has no authority to issue group pardons because Article V, Section 12 of the VA Constitution requires the Governor to give a particular (specific) reason for granting each pardon which is something the Governor cannot do when issuing mass (blanket) clemency.

The Process

There are two types of clemency in VA: restoration of rights and pardons.

A petition for restoration of rights restores the rights one forfeits as a result of having been convicted of a felony and can only be sought by people who are not currently in prison. People with nonviolent felonies must wait three years after completion of their sentence before applying for restoration of their rights and people with violent felonies must wait five years. The restoration of rights does not restore the right to purchase or possess a firearm which can only be done by petitioning the appropriate Circuit Court pursuant to VA Code section 18.2-308.2. You can learn more about the restoration of rights process at https://www.restore.virginia.gov/

There are four types of pardons in VA:

  1. simple pardon
  2. absolute pardon
  3. partial pardon
  4. conditional pardon

A simple pardon, sought after a person’s rights have been restored, is an act by the Governor granting forgiveness for a crime for which one has been convicted. A simple pardon does not expunge the conviction from a person’s criminal record or restore the right to purchase or possess firearms.

An absolute pardon is granted when the Governor is convinced that a person is innocent of the charge(s) for which they have been convicted and freely and unconditionally absolves the person from all direct and collateral consequences of the crime. A person can petition for an absolute pardon only if they plead not guilty during trial proceedings and exhausted all appellate and other post-conviction remedies, including a Writ of Actual Innocence pursuant to VA Code sections 19.2-327 through 19.2-327.13.

A partial pardon can be conditional or unconditional and remits only a portion of the sentence and leaves the rest of the sentence intact. This is the pardon I received.

A conditional pardon is an act by the Governor which modifies or ends the entire sentence imposed by the court when there is “substantial evidence of extraordinary circumstances to warrant it” and does not become operative until the grantee satisfies a prerequisite and can be revoked if that prerequisite is not met.

There is also something called Executive Medical Clemency where the Governor grants conditional release to an incarcerated person who is terminally ill with three months or less left to live.

Preparing and Filing the Petition

It took me, my lawyer and supporters working together as a team about a year researching and collecting all the pieces for my pardon petition. And by pieces, I mean certificates and diplomas earned since I’ve been in prison, supplemental online petitions, and support letters from family, friends and state legislators who recognized the injustice in my sentence and sympathized with my plight enough to be willing to support me. It is important to collect all these pieces and attach them to the petition as supplements and exhibits at the time of filing because they may not be accepted or considered if they are sent in separately at a later time.

Whether the incarcerated person is applying for a pardon on their own or if someone on the outside is applying for it on behalf of the incarcerated person, it is important (and mandatory) for the incarcerated person to first complete the “Virginia Pardon Petition Questionnaire” and mail it to the VA Secretary of the Commonwealth (SOC). This form can be obtained from the prison’s law library or requested from the SOC Office. Unaware of this requirement, my attorney filed my pardon petition, and the SOC rejected it because I had not completed this questionnaire. So, the pardon process does not and will not begin until this questionnaire is completed.

The Organizing

Organizing here refers to any action (before and after a petition is filed) that will raise awareness about a person’s case and gain community support for their pardon request.

Two of the most important things that should be done before a pardon request is filed are 1) creating a social media presence and 2) creating an online petition on http://www.change.org.

With organizing, gone are the days when news of a planned event had to be promoted via word of mouth and crudely handcrafted flyers. In this day and time, social media is king and one post about an injustice that has occurred can quickly go viral resulting in hundreds and thousands of people showing up at a planned protest in opposition to that injustice. We have seen how vital social media has been for the birth and sustainability of the #MeToo, #SayHerName and #BlackLivesMatter movements. It can be just as effective for a campaign to free someone from prison just as it did for mine.

I would add that social media is more critical to freeing someone from prison than the pardon application itself. Why? Because to be incarcerated for 20 to 30 years is to be erased and rendered invisible to the masses, especially to people born after a person was incarcerated. Case in point, many of the people on the Justice for Uhuru Coordinating Committee (JUCC) were students from the College of William & Mary and were born a decade after I came to prison. So, social media can help bring incarcerated people and their freedom campaigns out from the obscurity of the prison industrial complex and connect them and their campaigns to young abolitionists who are doing most of the on-the-ground agitation and organizing.

Like mine, a change.org petition can function as an abbreviated version of and supplement to the actual pardon petition that will be filed with the SOC Office. With the help of social media, my online petition garnered over 2600 signatures from people all over the county. Others have gone viral (with the help of influencers and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian) racking up tens of millions of signatures like in the case of criminalized survivors Chrystul Kizer and Cyntoia Brown. These signatures, in addition to character letters from family, friends and state legislators, can show proof that the community at-large supports a person’s pardon request and are not opposed to a person’s early release from prison either because they believe the person was sentenced unjustly or (to use carceral language) has been rehabilitated and will not pose threat to public safety.

Another thing that should be organized are public rallies. My team organized a rally both before and after my petition was filed.

The first one, organized by my attorney before she filed my pardon application, was held at the state capital. Though it received a low turnout, word of it spread to staff in the Governor and SOC offices and members of the General Assembly resulting in a veteran state senator showing up, listening and speaking to those in attendance. This is why it is strategically important to hold a rally at the state capital even if only a small amount of people show up. The second rally, organized by the JUCC after my petition was filed, was held near the Virginia Commonwealth University and managed to draw about 80 people. Posts on social media helped the second rally to achieve a greater turnout and connected the JUCC to other community groups and organizers who decided to sign my petition and support my campaign. It is important to note that all rallies at the state capitol, however small, must be pre-approved by the Department of General Services. The number to call for this department is 804-786-3311.

Another thing that should be organized are carefully timed emails and phone calls directed at the SOC, the pardon staff, and the Chief of Staff for the Governor after a pardon petition has been filed. There is a common belief that contacting the SOC and pardon staff will have an adverse impact on a person’s pardon request and will even result in a pardon application being prematurely denied. This may be the case if the calls/emails come across as demanding or pressuring officials to grant a pardon request. Those are not the kind of calls/emails I am recommending here. Based on my own experience and insight gained from someone working in former Governor Northam’s administration, it is helpful to have a person to make a follow-up email to the pardon staff about six months after a petition is filed to inquire about the status of the petition. [The email to the pardon staff is pardons@governor.virginia.gov]. Most importantly, all supporters of the incarcerated person (including any political supporters) should make calls to the SOC and the Governor’s Chief of Staff a week before a Governor’s term is set to expire to (politely) reiterate their support for a person’s pardon request and state the reasons the incarcerated person would be a good candidate for clemency. [The phone number to the SOC is 804-786-2441, and the phone number to the Governor’s Chief of Staff is 804-786-2211].

Keep in mind that on any given day, the SOC, pardon staff, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, and the Virginia Parole Board’s Special Investigations Unit tasked with investigating pardon requests and making recommendations to the Governor, are handling thousands of pardon applications, often with limited staff. Making these calls will help make a person’s pardon application stand out, prevent it from being given a rubber stamp denial for reasons other than the merits of the case, or left in a stack of papers on top the Governor’s desk when their term expires which, unbeknownst to many, happens more often than not.

One last note I want to make is that parole and pardon requests are often denied on the basis that early release of the incarcerated person will pose a serious threat to public safety.

Ultimately what needs to happen in order for a clemency campaign to be successful is that the incarcerated person and his/her/their team must garner as many supporters as possible so that the voices of the people who want the person out of prison are louder (and more powerful) than the voices of the people who want to keep the person in prison.

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[Release] [Legal] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 81]
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The Blind Politics of "Justice"

The Governor of California has decided to rename San Quentin “Prison” to “Rehabilitation Center.” This is just one more appeasement given to the millions of Californians who have suffered the injustice of incarceration. Politics has no more place in the justice system than religion has in government. However, the injustice system remains more political than the legislative branch.

Governor Newsom’s play at “restorative justice,” AKA rehabilitation for “some of the less dangerous criminals,” is as false as his smile. For instance, the old lady that was hypnotized as a child by Manson to commit a murder of someone famous has been granted parole (found suitable for release from prison) no less than 15 times by a board of experts in evaluating that kind of thing (Parole Board). However, Governor Newsom, who is not an expert, has taken it upon himself to deny (veto the Parole Board’s decision) each and every time!

That is only one instance where this two-faced politician has denied parole to people. This makes clear that Newsom’s notion of rehabilitation is purely symbolic. Nothing more than the smile; handshake of Satan himself.

Funny, this morning on the mainstream news, Mike Pence is accusing the Manhattan District Attorney of politicizing the law for charging a former President Trump. Funny, politics in the law? How can a prosecutor have so much power to arrest a former President of the United $tates? Funny because these same rich assholes gave that enormous power to prosecutors and police and judges when it was used to arrest the poor man. But now that it is used to arrest the rich man, it is politics?! Did these rich people really think that if they built a monster that the monster could be controlled? Did they really think that the injustice system would only be applied to hurt and kill poor people?

Pence and Trump should not be surprised now. Politics have always been part of the law for the poor man. Despite the image of a blindfold on Lady Justice, the proletariat knows all too well that the law is political. Now the injustice system monster will show its ugly belly to anyone and everyone because that is how much power the pigs have been given.

Perhaps now we can see what California Governor Newsom’s motivations are in pretending to abolish prison. Is he afraid of the monster he created? We all heard him say on T.V. that he is tired of paying the trillions of dollars his prison industrial complex eats up.

His notions of restorative justice are a little misplaced though. Rather than educate prisoners he should be defunding his prison system monster and putting the trillions back into the community – after all he can’t have his cake and eat it too. But that seems too much to ask of the Devil. He already said his rehabilitation is only for some and “not the more dangerous criminals.”

Anyone with half a brain knows that the real cause of crime is poverty. Poverty caused by the trillions of dollars going to the police and prisons and not to the community.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree that all prisoners are political. The state paints itself as being an arbiter of blind justice as this comrade states, when in reality it is the tool of one class to use against others. That is why real change requires changing the state from the hands of the bourgeoisie to that of the proletariat, not just shifting tax money around from prisons to more social services.

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[Release] [Security] [Civil Liberties] [Santa Clara County Main Jail North] [California] [ULK Issue 80]
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Keep Families Connected, Unless They're in County

text behind pig eats mail
Profiteers like Text-Behind hinder prisoners’ connection
with the outside world with their communication technology services

This report is to inform other comrades of the new law that was passed called the Keep Families Connected Act in California and to expose the sneaky tactics the state is using to bastardize it. The Keep Families Connected Act states that as of 1 January 2023 all calls between Us (the prisoner class) and our families and friends will be provided at no cost to Us or our people outside.

Here in the South Bay there was no fanfare for the Act’s passing, no bulletin from jail administration stating this, or message on our tablets, which have the phone app most use to call home. After further research, i was informed by a Lieutenant pig that Keep Families Connected Act only gives free calls in CDCr facilities, and county jails like Main Jail North are not included. Seems California doesn’t actually give two shits about keeping families connected.

The tablets we have in California are already used to record your voiceprint (individually distinctive pattern of certain voice characteristics, spectographically produced) and facial biometrics (measurement and analysis of unique facial features, especially for verifying personal identity) which to even use the tablets you must agree to as part of the Terms of Use.

As is so common the case, anytime the oppressive elite pigs give us something, it’s usually poisoned, warped, and deformed to suit their means. To utilize these free calls your people must download an app first (for iPhone it’s GTLConnect, for Android it’s GTL Phone App). As a former hacktivist in the early days of the Anonymous Collective, i believe these apps could be infected with many different types of viruses, keyloggers and spyware included. This is true for the iPhone, despite many peoples’ false notions that Apple products cannot be hacked into.

It also should come as no secret that the Amerikan government does in fact spy on its people, as was exemplified by the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, and the revelations of the FBI’s COINTELPRO of the 1960s and 1970s.

But downloading an app is not all your family and friends must do. Once downloaded they must make an account, which if they use their real information, now puts a name, date of birth (and with this DMV records can be looked up, background checks administered) and thus every recorded conversation now has a face they can put it to. This is my speculation and by no means proven fact, yet we should always be wary and skeptical of anything handed to Us from the bloody paws of the capitalist-imperialist fucks whom oppress us.

We should learn from our past experiences through study to better identify such reforms for what they really are: Band-Aids for bullet wounds.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This week President Biden signed an Act to require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure reasonable rates for any kind of voice or video calls made from jails and prisons in the country. To date, families and friends of prisoners have paid ridiculous prices for phone calls to their imprisoned loved ones. This profiteering discourages the maintenance and development of positive relationships in the community that are important for re-integration upon release. As such, we welcome these reforms, though they are a small drop in the bucket of the extreme forms of social isolation and torture imposed on hundreds of thousands of people in U.$. prisons.

We also share the concerns of our comrade above. Though communications into and out of prisons have always been assumed to be monitored, the technology to do so is at another level now. And instead of extorting families for phone fees, they are now strong-arming their persynal and biometric information out of them, extending the arms of the surveillance state into not just those convicted of a crime, but all who wish to relate to them. It is hard enough to get people to avoid such surveillance technology on the streets where people have choices.

In the early days of Corrlinks, we could use email to communicate with some of our subscribers. While we recognized the potential downside of surveillance, all mail is potentially surveilled as well. However, now that the model has developed they seem to uniformly charge money for electronic mail to prisoners and require the installation of spyware and giving persynally identifying information to the company and the prison. So if you’ve tried to email us through these services and we don’t respond, that is why.

We have been covering the topics of the distribution of computer tablets among prisoners in this country along with the digitization of mail that they enable. These developments strengthen the totalitarian control of the state, and often further limit communications with the outside despite the political messaging. Following in the footsteps of the phone companies, the new brand of prison profiteers are these mail processing companies like TextBehind and the old-timer JPay. As depicted in the artwork above, TextBehind has created a barrier for letters from organizations like ours from reaching people imprisoned in North Carolina.

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[Civil Liberties] [Release] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Texas Prisoners Launch Attack on the Parole System

Greetings Comrades.

Imagine a lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of the Texas Parole System being filed in every U.S. District Court in Texas, by 100 or more prisoners. Well this is exactly what the Khufu Foundation is attempting to do. However, it can only be done with MASSIVE Prisoner participation. The Texas Legislature does not meet again until 2023, and any hope of them changing this system is slim to none. Thus, it is up to the Prisoners to effect a change.

For the prison system to function constitutionally, there must be a system in place that works. The continuous rejection of parole based solely on the commitment crime does not justify the denial, and is constitutionally unacceptable. Thus, the Khufu Foundation is calling on those hundreds of prisoners who have been repeatedly set-off for 1D and 2D, SERIOUS NATURE OF OFFENSE and CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR PATTERN to file Civil Rights Lawsuits for Declaratory and Injunctive relief.

Every human, town, state, and country has a History. History is a fact that can never be changed, but redeemed. What is rehabilitation? It is a redemption of a past history of conduct. The Texas Legislators claim that incarceration “is the punishment” for the crime committed, and the parole system is the rehabilitation. Yet, without a workable parole system, without the intervention of “Board Members”, a prisoner is continuously punished by the system which is unworkable. The fact is, the Texas Parole Board needs to be dismantled and replaced with a workable Parole System. The Khufu Foundation has compiled a Template Lawsuit based on the following, along with a Memorandum of Law:

“While the U.S. Supreme Court has not defined the minimum process required by the Due Process Clause for a denial of parole under the California system, it made clear that the requirements were satisfied where the inmates were allowed to speak at their hearings and to contest the evidence against them, were afforded access to their records in advance, and were notified as to the reasons why parole was denied.” – see Pearson v. Muntz, 639 F.3d 1185.

I am the Plaintiff in the lawsuit against members of the TBPP, as well as the litigator in another cause against them: Hicks V. TBPP, 6:22cv134 Armour V. TBPP, 6:22cv33 in the Eastern District-Tyler Division. This is an update to enjoin each of you who read this and have received multiple set-offs to file your own lawsuit and/or file motions to join these. Also, know that there has been an order to Replead issued in Armour v. TBPP with the Court alleging that TBPP is protected by the Eleventh Amendment. Thus, I urge you to name Chairman David Gutierrez and Rissie Owens as defendants.

I will be arguing that the TBPP is not protected by the 11th Amendment in light of the Ex Parte Young doctrine, which states:

“In determining whether the doctrine of Ex Parte Young avoids an 11th Amendment bar to suit, a federal court need only conduct a straightforward inquiry into whether the complaint alleges an ongoing violation of federal law and seeks relief properly characterized as prospective.” Const. Amend.11 - See Verizon MD. Inc v. Public Service Commission of Maryland, 535 U.S. 635, 122 S.Ct. 1753 and McCarthy ex rel Travis V. Hawkins, 385 F.3d 407, 412 (5th Cir. 2000)

Next, please find enclosed my letter to the Court in F. Martinez, et al., v TBCJ, et al., 3:21cv337. Please send a copy of my letter along with my name to the Plaintiff in this cause for it is very important that he not settle unless he gets something in writing from the Court. TDCJ will rock one into believing they are going to do the right thing; and they will do the right thing for just long enough for you to think all is well until one of their people violates someone then you find out there is nothing in writing that binds them. Examples: Ruiz and Brown.

The Khufu Foundation is currently seeking to hear from those who have been repeatedly set-off, and is asking them to file this lawsuit. If you would like a copy of this lawsuit, send a SASE and 3 stamps to:

THE KHUFU FOUNDATION
910 LONEY ST.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS 76104

MIM(Prisons) adds: We do not know anything about the Khufu Foundation and cannot vouch for them if you choose to send them stamps. However, this campaign for parole reform is in line with some of the demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative and we thought some of the legal strategies herein might be useful to others. We are not lawyers. We are revolutionaries.

As revolutionaries MIM(Prisons) does not spend time working for parole reform. We do work to build independent institutions such as our Re-Lease on Life program to help comrades be successful and stay involved in the struggle when they are released. If you have an upcoming release date or parole date, it’s never to early to start working with us.

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[Release] [Drugs] [Independent Institutions] [ULK Issue 76]
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Providing What They Can't - Rehab for Releasees

lumpen education study group

Shortly after receiving this issue of Under Lock & Key, a number of USW leaders and other supporters of our work will be receiving the first edition of our Revolutionary 12 Step Program. This has been in the works for over a year now and we are excited to get it into the hands of comrades who are ready to implement the program and provide feedback.

The Revolutionary 12 Step Program is a significant advance for our Serve the People “Re-Lease on Life” Program, which has been in existence in some form from the early years of MIM(Prisons)’s existence.

Who is it for?

When most of us think of the 12 steps, we think of Alcoholics Anonymous or a more general Narcotics Anonymous program. However, our program takes an approach similar to a program called Criminals & Gangmembers Anonymous to address the anti-people behavior of the lumpen class in a more general way.

Drugs and alcohol are a big part of the problems the people face. It is estimated that at least 65% of people incarcerated have a “Substance Use Disorder”, while the number goes up to 85% if you include all who were under the influence during the crime they were convicted of.(1) That’s a lot! As recent understandings of the brain tell us, the lack of impulse control that can lead to destructive behaviors is caused by unhealthy social conditions during childhood.(2) Drug abuse will often overlap with violence towards others and other behavior that is deemed criminal by the bourgeoisie and by the people as well. In the long-term, communism can eliminate the causes of these tendencies, but in the meantime we need to address all forms of anti-people behavior to transform ourselves from a lumpen state of being to a revolutionary proletarian one.

Some people in prison are innocent. Some broke a law in a conscious decision – sometimes even for righteous political reasons. But the vast majority of you reading this broke laws through actions you would have preferred to not have taken. The vast majority of people in prison could use this program to avoid regrettable actions in the future.

All of us have rehabilitation that we must go through because we were raised in a sick society. Ultimately, everyone born in this oppressive system could benefit from our Revolutionary 12 Step Program, but many of you need it if you ever want to stay out of prison.

Why do we need it?

The state, by definition, is run by the oppressors. In our imperialist conditions today the oppressors are the bourgeoisie, the imperialists, the oppressor nations – Euro-Amerika. The institutions of the state will always serve those interests. In the current system you have law enforcement, religious organizations, private prison companies like Geo Group, and more small-time profiteers running reentry programs for the state. None of these serve the interests of the oppressed.

Today, we don’t have the influence to abolish these imperialist institutions, but we do have the influence to build independent proletarian institutions. Not only that, this is part of our central task today as a movement, “create public opinion and the independent institutions of the oppressed to seize power.”(3) We discussed previous independent institutions of the oppressed in ULK 59 on drugs.(4) Since then we’ve been working on developing our own.

One of the lessons we can take from the practice of our Re-Lease on Life Program to date is the need to address the drive to do drugs, engage in dangerous sexual activities, and the temptation of the thrill of the life of crime. We must put in its place the thrill of revolution; of fighting the real enemy; of building something new.

Before MIM(Prisons) had a Re-Lease on Life Program, we had one comrade who was one of our top theoreticians and USW leaders while in the SHU. Ey was released from prison and quickly slipped into alcoholism again. Ey stayed in touch for the first year, and then we stopped hearing from em, and ey never did any political work on the outside. At that time MIM(Prisons) had little to offer this comrade to help em adapt to life on the outside, and we certainly had nothing like a 12 step program to help em with eir alcoholism.

A story that has become too common is USW members who are released and never write us for years. When we finally do hear back from them it’s because they ended up back in prison. One such comrade recently explained:

“something I felt lack of was community. When I left the gates I went straight to a sober living…. During the time there I worked and attended A.A. meetings. I pretty much gave all my attention to my sobriety and recovery. Simultaneously my career was getting started. At this time I am getting myself situated and also enjoying my freedom, it was a really good feeling getting to move around, good food, and women…”

“I got emotionally attached to a girl that did not fulfill my needs or expectations and I became emotionally unbalanced. All it took was one instance of drugs to get high and begin my relapse. All this was in the lapse of a year. The last three months was just a chase for thrills.”

“I felt loneliness because for sobriety I left everything behind, friends, places, everything I’ve ever done, made and been. Also I felt a need for thrills, action; that was my itch for crime. I lost track of it all and I couldn’t find like-minded people.”

From the above testimony we see how sex and romance plays into this as well. We all know how common “crimes of passion” are in our society. Many of us have done time for them. This comrade wanted community and felt lonely, and seemingly tried to find that in a womyn who maybe was not in a good state herself, or maybe just couldn’t fill the large gap in this comrade’s life. The original AA puts god in that gap, a higher power. Our program puts the proletariat, the people. We will all have important individuals in our lives who help us out and other individuals who set us back. But we cannot rely on any one individual to save us, nor to meet all our needs. One of our needs is a spiritual need to be a part of something that gives us meaning. The bourgeois institutions offer you job training and maybe the prospect of a marriage. But as we see with this comrade’s story, you can attain those things and still be lonely, still not be on the path to rehabilitation. That is why we need an independent institution of the oppressed.

Another lesson we can take from this comrade, and from others, is that success will usually mean leaving behind a lot, especially at first. The easiest way to go back to prison is to go back to the same people and places you were around before you got locked up. Ultimately, our aim is not to cut you off from where you came from like a bourgeois program might do. We must stay connected to the people, and your past may offer some such connections. But those connections can only be good ones if you approach them from a new way of thinking and being. There must be a new community that you can rely on that supports your transformation into a new socialist humyn.

Even in the best case scenarios, the bourgeoisie cannot provide the support comrades need to rehabilitate. However, more often you do not end up in the best case scenario in this system as one comrade describes:

"I spent 6 years in the Drug Court program in York, PA, where a predatory judiciary, local bar, probation department (teamsters union) and suck ass ex-junkies prey on the weak and pile them 3 and 4 men to a room in some old crack house and charge them $500 per month rent plus a $500 deposit, which they would lose when they relapsed (95%) and went back to jail.

“Bless his wife-murdering heart. Bob Allen’s (Life’s Beacon House) means well and has the nicest of these houses but we can do better. The”group homes" or “recovery houses” have 3-4 month waiting lists and so do the rehabs, which county dollars are 95% of their $1000/day business. These houses are 501(c)(3) non-profits and if you start a business to employ the guys that live in these houses, it can operate non-profit too."

Next Steps

As we said, the Revolutionary 12 Step Program should address something that our Re-Lease on Life Program has been lacking for so long. But to do so, the program must be actualized. Here are some 3-year goals we have related to actualizing this program:

  • build a broader network of local contacts across the country so comrades can get more hands-on training and support from other communists

  • establish a revolutionary 12-step program, run by released comrades, where others can stay and immerse themselves in the program

  • establish satellite programs in prisons across the country that report to the program on the street, learning from each others’ experience and feeding releasees into the street program

Clearly this will require the participation of many of you to succeed. We need comrades on the outside to volunteer to be support people or sponsors for our comrades who are released. Even if you can’t administer the 12 steps, giving them someone to talk to and organize with on a daily basis will be important.

We need comrades on the inside to begin implementing this program locally. Ideal candidates will have successfully gone through the 12 step program themselves and MIM(Prisons) political study courses. And finally, we need similar people on the outside to run our program for post-release. If you think you can play any of these roles, get in touch so we can start building.

Notes:
1. Center on Addiction, Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population, February 2010.
2. Burke-Harris, Nadine, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
3. What is the plan? What concrete actions can I take? What is to be done? What are you doing?
4. Wiawimawo, November 2017, Drugs, Money and Individualism in U.$. Prison Movement, Under Lock & Key No. 59

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[Release] [California] [ULK Issue 74]
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Freedom Calls in Cali: Hit the Streets Running

Out here in California there’s a buzz going through the state that 76,000 prisoners are eligible for an early release as of 8 May 2021. This is some great news that there’s going to be a mass expulsion of prisoners from these koncentration kamps. There’s a high chance that comrades of New Afrika and Aztlán who are most dedicated to the struggle of the liberation from the grip of imperialism will be freed into society to reach and teach those who inspire to make a positive step for growth and development for the lumpen in Amerikkka through the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP).

While it is great to hear that so many prisoners are now eligible for an early release in the state prisons in California, we can’t forget about our political leaders and soldiers who are still locked away in the FEDS, and those in exile. We can’t forget about Larry Hoover Sr, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Bomani Shakur, Assata Shakur, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown, and many others who sacrificed their all for the liberation of the lumpen of the United $tates of Amerikkka from capitalism and imperialism. To be honest, we owe it to our political leaders and soldiers to fight for their freedom twice as much as them who fought for us back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

With the release of 76,000 prisoners, a lot of comrades will be hitting the streets and it’s time to go into overdrive. We can’t afford to get out there and fall by the wayside and end up becoming reformist or joining the pop culture revolutionary popularity contest. We don’t do this for popularity or none of that other self-glorifying bullshit. We do this for the reason that liberation of our peoples and folks NEEDS TO BE DONE! PERIOD! Teach the youth of our communities about the truth of their past, what’s really going on around them in the present, and tell them about our leaders who are not being publicly and world-widely advocated for. Let it be known that prisoners are still HUMAN BEINGS; human beings that are majority from our lumpen communities, and that our lives, our political leaders and soldiers lives matter. Regardless of what the individual was convicted for or alleged of doing, inhuman treatment shouldn’t be the punishment.

In the words of Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Even though it is crucial that we do re-educate as many mis-educated imperialist/capitalist brainwashed adults as possible, we’ll have a more productive output if we put more focus on teaching the youth through building University of Maoist Thought schools, classrooms or at the least study groups.

“When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself with what he will do. He with low self-esteem is more likely to accept social conditions that society expects of him. He will seek sympathy and handouts as he feels he cannot raise from his beggar’s status.” - Carter G. Woodson, in The Racial Race p. 217

As long as the lumpen masses are stuck in this beggar mindset, then situations like the murder of George Floyd, where multiple bystanders who could have stopped the murder by pushing the pigs off of him instead of begging, pleading and calling the pigs on their fellow co-workers for the checking and correction of unjustified behavior and conduct of so-called officials.

Our leaders will be in these koncentration kamps dying a slow, miserable, tormenting death and many more in our communities will die on the streets and in these kamps if we don’t change as many minds of the new generation as we can.

Right now we’re in the middle of a war, a lot of individuals who are in the class of the petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie, who benefit from capitalism is going to deny, but we of the First World lumpen(FWL) all know better than to fall for the lie. As of now we’re working on building up our strength to overthrow the imperialist government and put in our own which will be the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations (JDPON). To accomplish this, those who are going to be in the wave of releases from CDCR must reach those who are the local leaders of the BLM and NAACP, get them in the studies of the concepts and ideologies that’ll lead to Maoism. If they refuse to change their reformist and revisionist ways, then we show the youth the contradictions of the BLM and NAACP and show them the difference of us who are not reformist or revisionist.

Let it be known that it’s more of a duty than a natural right to defend oneself from any and all attacks by whomever, most importantly and especially the pigs! How long are we going to stand by and let these so-called officials murder us without even attempting to defend ourselves? If we must die like the artwork on the 73 issue cover of ULK states, then it’s best one dies on their feet defending oneself, if they can’t get away. The reformist, revisionist and history has proven that non-violent approach doesn’t get the job done, to obtain freedom, justice and equality. A United Front of armed resistance is the only way.

Through dialectical materialism, historical materialism and deep studying of one’s true history and of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, we’ll get our moral correctness. And through learning hand-to-hand combat (i.e. martial arts, boxing etc.), obtaining licenses to carry for those who can, also make our own rifle clubs and be our own security force for the protection of our neighborhoods, when we rally, etc. This will be our way to achieve freedom from imperialism through armed resistance as we build our strength to overthrow imperialism, once and for all. Let’s get to work comrades!

PRISONER LIVES MATTER!! FREE THEM ALL!!

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[Migrants] [Release] [Civil Liberties] [ULK Issue 72]
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Parole Options Denied to non-Citizens in United $tates

I am a citizen of Colombia. In 1993, I was sentenced to a 45 year prison term, here in Texas. I was to serve 22 1/2 years before I would be eligible for parole. While serving my time, I was summoned to an immigration court, where an ICE judge informed me that upon release from the custody of TDCJ, I was to be transferred to an immigration facility where I would await deportation.

On 25 March 2016 parole denied my release for these reasons:

  1. The record indicated that the offender has repeatedly committed criminal episodes that indicate a predisposition to commit criminal acts upon release.

  2. The record indicates the instant offense has elements of brutality, violence, assaultive behavior, or conscious selection of victims vulnerability indicating a conscious disregard for the lives, safety, or property of others such that offender poses a continuing threat to public safety. (3 year set off after serving 22 1/2 years)

On 14 May 2019 set-off again, for the same reasons. (3 year set-off). I committed a crime when I was 21 years old. I’ve been in prison for the past 27 years, where I’ve never had a single altercation. In 2007, while taking my GED a new law was passed, prohibiting prisoners with immigration detainers from participating in school activities; I was kicked out of school. (parole uses me not having a GED against me each time I come up for parole). I’ve taken Bridges to Life, Voyager, Peer to Peer, Job Skills, Over Comers, Tutoring, and at the moment I’m finishing Cognitive Intervention. My last infraction (case) was in 2014, six years ago.

The parole board here in Texas has its own agenda as far as who will be released and who won’t. When a prisoner comes up for parole, the prisoner can’t speak on his own behalf. No type of evaluation is conducted to see if the prisoner is ready for society. It’s all done through paper work. The board members review each folder for no more than 3 minutes and come to a decision. How can a proper review be done in 3 minutes? At the moment I’m on my second three year set-off. I am being set off for the same reasons over and over again. How can I be a continuing threat to public safety, if I’m not even going to be in the United States?

How can the parole board state that I’m a violent person? In 27 years of being in a violent environment such as prison, I’ve not even had a single fight. I have no type of violent infractions (cases) towards prisoners nor officers. That itself should show a pattern of change. There’s a lot of prisoners (who will be deported) being held in Texas prisons, under numerous set-offs, because we have no voice out there and the state can abuse its power and claim we’re not ready for society or we’re being rehabilitated, but what the public doesn’t know is that there is no rehabilitation here, there’s more drugs and corruption in this place than out there. The only reason we’re being kept is for the federal funds these prisons receive.

I humbly request that our comrades at MIM please help spread the word about the injustice that the parole board and its associates commit against prisoners who will be deported and have no voice to help them out there. I thank you very much for your attention to my letter. God bless each of you.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Concentration camps for migrants without U.$. citizenship are the one sector of the Amerikan prison system where private prisons have been widely used. This puts another level of financial incentive into the criminal injustice system as this comrade points out. In a system built on profit, and not people, there will always be injustice.

Meanwhile, the lack of rehabilitation is not unique to migrant camps. At this stage, we build or Serve the People Re-Lease on Life program to help our comrades transitioning out of prisons. But for many, like this comrade, they just aren’t getting out because of financial incentives, and the need to control oppressed people to prevent social change.

In every issue of ULK we indicate our alternative to this system (see p.2). We propose a system where the real criminals are imprisoned; the people who have stolen thousands of lives by locking up hard working people, or bombing their homelands. And a system where everyone has access to all the resources they need for rehabilitation. Even those outside of prison need to transform themselves for a new world based on a common humynity. We are all shaped by the current system. Check out Prisoners of Liberation by Allyn and Adele Rickett for a glimpse at what socialist prisons can be like. ($5 stamps/cash or work trade from MIM Distributors)

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[Drugs] [Release] [ULK Issue 71]
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People, Places, and Things Philosophy for Overcoming Drug Addiction

united front for peace in prisons

I had reached a point in my life where I was high for weeks at a time. I would stay awake for over a week at a time on ice. While living this lifestyle for over a half a year I was also big on the spice (K2). I was smoking an 11oz bag by myself every 2 days. When you are in this state one clearly can’t think or function properly in society on any legitimate level. I decided that I was tired of living this lifestyle and thought back to an intensive behavior modification program that I was forced to attend a few years prior to my current addicted state of being. The greatest tools I had received in this 6 month program was the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding based on these 3 words: People, Places, and Things!

If we truly want to be free from drug addiction we must change some or at times all of the people we associate with. We may have to find new employment, housing, recreational places etc. We will have to get rid of certain habits or stumbling blocks that hinder or block progress to freedom from addiction. We can not make excuses, but must stand firm in our convictions that whatever storms or difficulties may arise drugs are not our solution. They will only make things worse 100% of the time in the long run.

I found success when I completely applied the People, Places, and Things philosophy. It’s never easy, but absolutely necessary. Positive People, positive Places, and positive Practices will keep you in a positive direction. It does not make us weak feeling we need others for support during such trialsome times. It shows strength and courage when we can admit to our weaknesses and reach out for the necessary help. I hope you find success in this strategy as I have knowing that it will awaken you, clear your mind and help you move in a more PROMISING DIRECTION!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Taking the initiative to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing is a great tool for success. Unfortunately, it is not always an option (especially in prison) or easy to do. We can apply this comrades’ advice to society as a whole and understand the success of socialist China in eliminating drug addiction. They did not have policies that were particularly unique around drugs. But they were in the process of redefining their nation and their future, which offered everyone a positive roll to play, not to mention jobs, housing and health care.

We see the Chinese model as the solution to addiction. In the meantime, we must figure out how to survive and thrive in this system. That is why our Re-Lease on Life Program is developing resources for those who struggle with addiction that help connect them with a lifelong political mission. We hope to have materials to review and test out soon, so let us know if you are interested in reviewing this program.

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