Growing up in the internal semi-colonies (ie. Aztlán, New Afrika or the reservations), one is confronted with a certain form of oppression. This national oppression naturally compels our youth to come together and unite for survival purposes. This phenomenon is mirrored anywhere in the world where the contradictions exist between oppressor vs. oppressed nations. This results in oppressed youth forming youth survival groups, which the capitalist state calls "gangs."
Lumpen organizations, or lesser-organized youth survival groups, are a reaction to living under an oppressor nation and although it is a good alternative to assimilation or attempted assimilation to Amerikkka, there is a need to develop more fully to political consciousness. Political consciousness will be what leads to liberation of our nations.
In my own development, I realized how my varrio will always be my varrio, my homies always my homies, my brothers always my brothers. But in order to liberate Aztlán it will take more than being a rebel. I now know if i truly love my people and community i should uplift their consciousness, not turn my back on them. The goal is to bring my people to the side of revolution. The goal is to have my people develop as did the excellent example of the Young Lords Party. From a so-called "gang" to a revolutionary organization. This can be accomplished via political education. Each one teach one. Start with your cellmate, then neighbors, then homies on the tier and branch out. Leaders should institute political education and raise the consciousness of the org. This is when real accomplishments will be gained. Rise!
The situation where a group was supporting imprisoned white power by promoting the 23 via events outside prisons was left-opportunism. It was a situation where the activists felt it was necessary to cater to imprisoned white supremacists in order to "move the movement forward."
During World War II Stalin made temporary alliances with Hitler, but this was only because Russia had to build up its military, and millions of lives were at stake. Here, had the activists chose not to promote imprisoned white power the movement and its united front would have survived.
Looking back at the response/decision to split with MIM(Prisons) over them not issuing a statement on the matter, I must now say it was wrong. I believe now that I should have criticized MIM(Prisons) on this, but I should not have supported a split. It was an over-reaction, which I feel was brought on by a combination of things. One being the extreme repression and pressure I was under in the concentration kamp. It did affect me in ways I am still dealing with. I was in a situation where death by the state was perpetual, solitary was a mountain of pressure and white supremacy was the assassin ever-present. I felt at the time, betrayal for those who would not issue a response. This of course was an incorrect response.
Being released from the kkkamps has allowed me to look at my thoughts on this with new eyes. It is true that MIM(Prisons) had served prisoners including myself for many years. I should not have responded as if I just met them. This was a result of many years of solitary, and the psychological turmoil that the state put me through. This kind of turmoil often has prisoners turn on each other, here I turned on comrades politically, comrades who had been my instructors for years. I was wrong for this.
I accept the criticism from MIM(Prisons) and for the historical record I stand in unity with MIM(Prisons).
I hope with this self-criticism that our imprisoned comrades can learn from it. It's important to know that to split with comrades over tactics, whether it is over something you feel you may be correct on, is a very big move. Prisons, and particularly solitary confinement, at times obscures our ability to respond in a materialist way. One way to avoid these challenges from escalating is to take a break when you start to think these thoughts. Write the organization/persyn and let them know that you are taking a break so as not to exacerbate the conflict.
I should note that the tactic of activists to promote the 23 has now been overturned. So in that aspect I was proven correct, it was my response that was incorrect. But this was a very important lesson.
The movement cannot move forward with subjective decisions. I allowed subjectivism to determine my decisions on this issue and that was an error. MIM(Prisons)'s line never changed so my affiliation with them should not have changed either.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We whole-heartedly accept this self-criticism from Pili based on this statement and eir principled work with the Republic of Aztlán.
It is not unusual for us to encounter anger and frustration from our comrades inside. Our relationship is tenuous through the mail. Often comrades will question us because of this. We generally know more about them then they know about us. That is an imbalance that can encourage doubts. This is a good example of the psychological warfare that solitary confinement wages on the oppressed. It is not just about isolating individuals from others, it has broad and lasting impacts on the oppressed's ability to organize effectively.
For all the reasons mentioned by Pili, we try to be patient and understanding when there is the occasional riff with a comrade we have worked closely with for some time. But we always to looking at practice — look at our work, look at what we say. Is it consistent? Is it correct? And we will take the same approach with you. Sometimes comrades/organizations do change their line and practice to a degree that warrants splitting with them.
Advanced comrades should think about what a dividing line question is for them. This can help orientate you, and avoid subjectivism, when you find yourself questioning whether another group is an ally or not. See the article cited by Pili above for a discussion of cardinal principles and what we believe Maoists should and shouldn't divide over.
Prisons, for the last 100 years at least, have been consumed with some type of dope. We know that vice of all flavors has found prisons to be hot houses. Slangin' dope has been institutionalized in U.S. prisons; everyone from the 18 year-old fish to the ranking guard has been caught slangin'.
Some may see it as a means to survive. It is surviving, in a parasitic kind of way. For the prison movement, to engage in the dope trade is to poison the very well you and the people drink from. It's suicide.
The Drug Trade and LOs
It's no secret that in prison the drug trade translates to power, in a bourgeois kinda way for the lumpen organization (LO). The LO that controls the drug trade in a particular prison wields power in that prison. Of course the drug trade brings currency to the LO which in turn brings weapons, material goods, investments and respect. But more importantly than 12-packs of soda, LOs use dope as a manipulation tool. The LO which has the dope has all the other prisoners kissing its ass.
LOs are able to "feed the troops" but at what cost? This is where the contradictions arise between the prison movement and prisoners who are more counter-revolutionary.
The dope trade simply feeds the bourgeois-minded sector of the prison population. It allows this sector to expand its parasitic grip on the prison population. The wannabe capitalist sector drools at the idea of getting in more dope to sell to fellow prisoners; to poison the sisters and brothers for profit, for blood money.
Is Slangin' Revolutionary?
I have spoken to some who have raised the idea that slangin' can raise funds quick for revolutionary programs. Someone even pointed to the FARC [a self-described Marxist group in Colombia] as "proof" of this. The fact that FARC has recently disarmed shows that their judgment on a lot of things is flawed.
My question is, how could poisoning the very population you are trying to win over to revolution be a good thing? There are too many other ways to raise money than to poison our people with imperialist dope.
Being revolutionary is about transforming yourself and others, not inflicting harm on oneself or others. Being in prison is hard enough, we shouldn't create burdens like addictions or debts which will prevent our fellow prisoners from becoming new people and contributing. Slangin' dope is anti-revolutionary.
Slangin' in the prison movement?
If I were to hear that those within the prison movement were employing a tactic to slang dope I would say the movement had committed suicide. The prison movement is unable to mobilize the people partly because of the interference of dope. Dope impedes our progress. It creates the
conditions where the state stays in power without a challenge to its seat.
The fact that often it's the state agents themselves who flood the prisons with dope is proof enough that the dope trade is actually a weapon of the state. Just as the state floods the ghettos and barrios with dope. The dope dealers are simply pawns used by the imperialists. The flooding of ghettos with crack cocaine is the biggest, starkest example of this.
Overcoming the oppressive nature of U.S. prisons is hard enough. The slim pool of prison writers and intellectuals reflects this fact. It is difficult to survive prison and be able to raise your consciousness at the same time. Those few who do wake up have a hard time waking others, insert dope and your chances are zero.
The only thing the dope trade does to LOs is pull them more to the right. It feeds their bourgeois ideology as a log feeds a roaring fire. Our goal is to have the LOs rebuild the house of the prison movement, not burn it down.
What can be done?
This is a difficult chore for the revolutionaries. LOs have become accustomed to having their luxuries squeezed out of the drug trade so to stop that would of course disturb them. But the drug trade is poison.
The Black Panthers at one point sought to actively eradicate all dope dealers from their communities. In prisons we do not promote violence, rather education will have to do. Start by educating the user, start with your cell mate then move on to your neighbor and folks on the tier. Change the culture so that drug usage is frowned upon. If folks can stop using dope on the street they can stop in prisons. Re-education should be used by the more conscious people.
The prison movement will be destroyed by the dope trade, just as the movement outside prison walls was hurt by some influential people taking up dope. The state was able to relax and sit back while dope wore people down and prevented any real mobilization. The same applies to prison. It would not matter if the prison gates flew open if the dragon was high or if it had sacks of dope in its claws.
On 15 September 2017 I heard of an execution performed on the streets of San Jose, California. A young Chicano named Jacob Dominguez was gunned down by the "pitzo." (Nahuatl for pig)
What we need to realize is that la gente Xicana have been fighting this war for 500 years in various stages via our ancestors. From the Spanish colonialists to today's imperialist, first line of defense (the pitzo). The war on Aztlán has been ongoing. The murder of Jacob Dominguez reminds us of this.
This media is the propaganda arm of the state. It's their public relations outfit, the "ministry of propaganda," they just don't call it that. This is why we never hear the corporate media scream revolution or for gente to rise up after pigs execute someone on camera in cold sangre. They can't call for their own demise, even when it's warranted.
What occurred to Jacob Dominguez screams COINTELPRO. When COINTELPRO was launched against groups in the 60s and 70s like the Brown Berets, Crusade for Justice (of which 5 martyrs were assassinated via bombs), the Panthers, and other groups, the feds initiated a death squad tactic where if they couldn't arrest the person in the crosshairs they would kill 'em.
The fact that Jacob Dominguez fit the rebel profile according to the media, long rap sheet, violent past, alleged "gang member", tattoos on face, pigs, feds or other state agents actively hunting him. They could have easily been describing Pancho Villa 100 years ago or any other revolutionaries from the 21st century. The oppressor nation makes war on those it fears. On the people's leaders.
It's too early to know why Jacob Dominguez was assassinated. Perhaps a later investigation will find he had an FBI file. Those deriving from lumpen organizations (LO) usually do if it's an LO that is bout it because it would threaten the state. We are more powerful than we realize because we organize outside the state's influence and set up forms of dual power in the pintas and the barrios. If we injected political ideology we would be ready to fight for state power setting up our own government; fuck a street corner! We are almost there Raza.
Those of us who ride or die, who have given our lives to the people understand the seriousness. We know that because of our influence amongst the lumpen and our political education and heightened consciousness that we do challenge the state. Because of that we may very well be targets of COINTELPRO. We should do all in our power to avoid this. But it is a reality. One I have come to understand. I know the state is hunting again but I will continue to resist until I cannot do so anymore. Like the brotha Fred Hampton said, "you can kill the revolutionary but you can't kill the revolution."
We need a people's army. The Black Liberation Army showed how to repel the state. I'm not suggesting armed struggle now, but at some point when a people continue to get assassinated they will respond to meet force with force. This is where history must be tapped. We need to learn from the past so that each generation is more prepared and organized than the previous generation. Prepare the people! The war has continued on Aztlán since the colonizer first arrived!
MIM(Prisons) responds: While certainly faced with most difficult conditions here in the belly of the beast, we do not think the BLA demonstrated an effective strategy of repelling the state. In their attempts to deal with the over-bearing pressure of COINTELPRO they were unable to form a real people's army. We must learn from their heroic efforts and their mistakes as we search for a viable path.
Aprendiendo la diferencia entre nuestros amigos y enemigos significa que nosotros sabemos que otros prisioneros comparten más en común con nosotros que lo contrario. Esto también significa que dentro de la nación de uno, las formaciones dentro tienen aun más en común que lo contrario.
Para el Aztlán encarcelado, las divisiones fueron últimamente
inspiradas en el imperio. El ala avanzada del Aztlán encarcelado
entiende que es tiempo de re-unificar a Aztlán.
En Califaztlan, norteño, sureño, EME, NF han sido paredes que separaban. A veces cada formación era necesaria por seguridad, y algunas formaciones pueden ser más progresivas que otras. Pero estas formaciones todavía separan al Aztlán encarcelado. La separación de una nación no es buena bajo ninguna circunstancia. Yo creo que la meta de todas estas organizaciones Lumpen (LO) es la unificación en algún punto, pero ¿cómo puede esto ser posible?
Un Vistazo futuro a un Aztlán Unificado
Es una realidad que se ha desarrollado mucha animosidad y/o orgullo por una LO o la otra. Al mismo tiempo nosotros vemos que el acuerdo para Terminar Hostilidades nos ha permitido a todos el conocernos y apoyarnos los unos a los otros. Ahora está bien el asistir y estar ahí el uno por el otro, lo cual es grandioso. Nosotros hemos regresado a antes de que empezara la enemistad entre el Norte y el Sur, sin embargo lo que se necesita ahora es el salto hacia adelante.
La verdad es que mientras los LO (ej. NF, EME) todavía tengan formaciones norteñas y sureñas, no habrá reunificación entre el Aztlán encarcelado. Esto va a tomar pasos. La implementación de programas autorizados en los niveles más altos. Un programa inicial seria el formalmente desmantelar las formaciones del Sur/Norte. Al hacer esto la raza será simplemente Raza de nuevo.
Tatuajes de Norte/Sur serian prohibidos en el futuro. Esto ayudaría a
aliviar conflictos y tensiones.
Un periodo de transición relajaría a la raza y luego la siguiente fase de la unificación de EME/NF sería necesaria aún si ellos mantienen comités separados con una nueva organización política. Pero, una nueva organización con un nuevo nombre es necesaria para proveer un vistazo al nuevo futuro de un Aztlán unificado. En algún punto, el Aztlán encarcelado debe de moverse y crear un nombre en el que todos estén de acuerdo, de otra manera ni un lado ganara nunca al otro lado.
Learning the difference between our friends and enemies means we know that other prisoners share more in common with us than not. It also means that within one's own nation the formations within have even more in common than not. For imprisoned Aztlán the divisions were ultimately imperialist-inspired. The advanced wing of imprisoned Aztlán understands that it's time to Re-unify Aztlán.
In Califaztlán, norteno, sureno, Eme, NF, have been walls that separated. At times each formation was necessary for safety, and some formations may be more progressive than others. But these formations still separate imprisoned Aztlán. Separation for a nation is not good under any circumstances.* I believe the goal of all these lumpen organizations (LOs) is to unite at some point, but how could it be possible?
A future glimpse of a United Aztlán
It's a fact that much animosity and/or pride for one LO or the other has developed. At the same time we see the Agreement to End Hostilities has allowed us all to get to know and support one another. It's now OK to assist and be there for each other, which is great. We have gone back to before north/south feuds started, however what is needed now is a leap forward.
The truth is so long as the LOs (i.e. NF, Eme) still have north/south formations there will not be any unification between imprisoned Aztlán. This will take steps. The implementation of programs authorized at the highest levels. One such initial program would be formally dismantling the formations of Sur/Norte. By doing this, Raza will simply be Raza again.
Tattoos of Norte/Sur would have to be banned for the future. This would help alleviate conflict/tension.
A transition period would relax the Raza and then the next stage of the unification of Eme/NF would be necessary even if they maintained separate committees with the new political org. But a new org with a new name is necessary to provide a glimpse of a new future of a unified Aztlán. At some point, imprisoned Aztlán must move on and create a name that all can come to, otherwise no side will ever win over the other side.