The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Security] [Civil Liberties] [Economics] [Virginia]
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A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones

When I first came to prison in 1995, there were hardly any for-profit corporations doing business inside Virginia prisons. Almost all services including medical care, dental care and the commissary were provided by the state. This began to change in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the introduction of corporations like Prison Health Services to provide substandard prison health care and keep the commissary filled with high priced commissary items. Prisoners communication would also be outsourced to JPay, another for-profit company.

Before introducing JPay into its prisons, the Virginia Department of Corrections administration implemented a series of policies to manipulate us and our loved ones into accepting JPay as our only method of communication. On 6 August 2013, A. David Robertson, the Chief of Corrections and Operations, issued memorandum #073-2013, advising the prisoner class that effective 1 October 2013, our loved ones can no longer send us money orders through the postal mail and that they can only send us money through JPay, which requires our family to pay exorbitant transaction fees. If money orders were received in the mail after that day they were returned to sender.

On 7 May 2014, Robertson issued another memorandum, #033-214, advising the prisoner class that effective 1 July 2014, we can no longer receive more than 5 photographs through the mail. If a letter arrived at the prison containing more than 5 photographs, the entire letter including the 5 photos were returned to sender. This may seem small, but again this was subtle manipulation for acceptance of what was to come.

Perhaps the Virginia Department of Corrections most draconian policy implementation was detailed in a 13 March 2017 memorandum issued by the then warden of Sussex State Prison. In this memo we were advised that effective 17 April 2017,

“all incoming general correspondence, that is U.S. postal mail, will be photocopied at a maximum of three black and white photocopied pages front and back will be provided to the offender. The original envelope, letter and all enclosed documents will be shredded in the institutional mailroom. The entire correspondence and all enclosed items, including photographs, greeting cards, newspaper articles, etc. that exceed the established photocopy or size limit will be returned to sender.”

What this memo did not mention is that during the process of copying and scanning incoming postal letters from our loved ones, a digital copy of the letter along with the name and address of the person who sent it is uploaded and cataloged in a massive database. This policy was implemented under the guise of preventing the flow of drugs into these prisons, however the real motivation for this policy is reflected in the following one-sentence reminder listed in this memo:

“Individuals will still be permitted to send an offender secure messages, photographs and other attachments through the JPay system as it is currently authorized.”

Many prisoners and our loved ones view the amenity of exchanging emails with our loved ones as incredibly convenient. As a conscious prisoner I recognize that it also makes it easier for prison officials to censor and disrupt our communications and conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering on prisoners and those we communicate with. According to the Virginia Department of Corrections operating procedures 803.1, which governs offender correspondence and JPay emails inside all Virginia prisons, our incoming and outgoing correspondence is not supposed to be withheld for longer than 48 hours. However, our incoming and outgoing JPay emails are routinely withheld for several days or weeks at a time. Sometimes they are held for months at a time.

Operating procedure 803.1 prohibits prison officials from opening and reading our outgoing correspondence absent an approved mail cover from the warden, and reasonable suspicion that the correspondence violates state or federal law, or threatens the safety of the facility. However all incoming and outgoing JPay emails pass through a screening mechanism, whereby the prison’s mailroom staff and intelligence officers sit behind a computer monitor and read the personal and intimate words of prisoners and our loved ones, which, like our photocopied letters, are then cataloged and stored in a massive database.

Operating procedure 803.1 also prohibits the censorship of offender correspondence unless the censorship is based on legitimate facility interests of safety and security. However, JPay makes it easier for mailroom staff and intelligence officers to sit behind a computer monitor and with the click of a mouse block or censor the outgoing emails of prisoners complaining of prison conditions as well as incoming emails of loved ones containing information about the Black Panther Party and other progressive and revolutionary movements from the 1960s and 1970s.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Procunier v. Martinez (1974) ruled that:

“Communications by letter is not accomplished by the act of writing words on paper. Rather it is effected only when the letter is read by the addressee. Both parties to the correspondence have an interest in securing that result. As such, censorship of the communication between them necessarily impinges on the interests of each.”

This U.S. Supreme Court ruling and prison policies of surveillance and censorship listed above reveals that the fascist and repressive nature of prisons extend beyond these prison walls and adversely impacts those of you in the community. This should give human and civil rights activists, including our loved ones, additional motivation to work in solidarity with incarcerated freedom fighters to challenge these Constitutional violations via civil litigation.

Ultimately, what we need to do is develop a collective inside/outside analysis and strategy to dismantle the U.S. imperialist prison system.

All Power to the People!

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[Security] [Struggle] [Idealism/Religion]
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Keeping Opportunism and Self-Interest at Arms Length, Lessons from a Recent Betrayal

The San Francisco BayView newspaper has outed their former editor Keith Washington as an informant and a manipulator. Previous editor Mary Ratcliff has reasonably posed that this could have been an FBI operation to undermine the BayView. Yet, Washington’s brief stint as editor after being released from prison, followed by relapse into addiction and violence also seems consistent with someone who has jumped from group to group driven by eir own self-interest.

Keith Washington, aka Comrade Malik, was a politically eclectic, self-promoting prison activist. It is for those reasons that his passions often did not overlap with the program of MIM(Prisons), despite being in close contact for many years. During eir time in prison, Washington was a regular reader of ULK, MIM Theory and other literature we distribute on the Black Panthers and Maoism in general. For years ey could not receive ULK because of TDCJ censors, so we had to mail em select articles separately.

We are not saying we did not work with Washington, for we published dozens of articles and reports by em while ey was in prison. Most were reports on conditions in Texas prisons. For a quick minute, ey was even part of the the USW Council, but was quickly removed for openly disagreeing with MIM(Prisons)’s 6 main points. The reason they were even considered for the position was that it was hard to pin down eir political line.

Washington seemed to work tirelessly to expose the corruption and abuses within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) – though ey often did so from an angle that seemed to believe in the system. This approach conflicted with eir initial focoist tendencies when we first encountered Washington and ey seemed to believe that we were too hesitant to use arms. Later eir politics hinted at patriotism. For much of the time ey worked with USW ey also was working with the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter, ideologically led by Tom Big Warrior and Kevin “Rashid” Johnson at the time. At one point Washington was the Deputy Chairman of NABPP, but ey never was consistent at upholding NABPP line. Ey went back and forth on the labor aristocracy question in an opportunist way that seemed to be attempting to please MIM(Prisons) with one message and Rashid with another. But communication with Rashid was much more difficult than with us, so ey seemed to lean towards us at times; another example of opportunism over political line. This also showed there was no effective democratic centralism within the NABPP. This is why we say you cannot be part of a democratic centralist formation while encapsulated by the state, except perhaps in an organization within a prison where you can freely interact with other members of the formation.

While Washington pledged eir allegiance to MIM and the NABPP, overtime ey branched out into other forums and organizations, always promoting the persona of “Comrade Malik”. Despite all the articles we did print by em, there were many more we did not, or we had to cut down significantly due to the self-promotion.

We must learn to recognize political opportunism. We should not be surprised that someone with such a history would also opportunistically lie to the pigs to earn favors.

At best, political eclecticism is a sign of immaturity. An immaturity that cannot be trusted with leadership. This is not to say we do not work with younger people or people who are still learning, far from it. We just must recognize their role. But when someone has spent a decade or more studying revolutionary literature, and they are still putting forth eclecticism, or just straight reformism, then it is clear they are not a communist revolutionary, and perhaps they can play a role better somewhere else. If we cannot convince such people to follow our leadership, then we must work harder to prove our effectiveness.

Eclecticism is always connected to forms of subjectivity and idealism. They are thinking about what feels good to them or feels right to them. Combine this with the self-promotion of “Comrade Malik” and you have a risky individual who will probably bounce from one group to another, one line to another to serve eir own self-interests, leaving havoc in eir wake. This is no longer immaturity, but a conscious self-interest.

In our introductory study course we go over the question of how to implement an effective security program for your organization. This example of Washington is a good demonstration of how political line was applied by MIM(Prisons) to keep a potential wrecker from playing a more damaging role. We would say the work Washington contributed to the pages of ULK served the people, as it was done under our leadership. We did not allow Washington’s self-promotion or right opportunism to take away from the mission of ULK or United Struggle from Within. For organizations that look for the charismatic individuals to promote, this is a danger.

We must also recognize that addiction to chemical substances, violence and criminal behavior plagues the lumpen. The transformation of the lumpen into proletarian revolutionaries is an arduous and life-long task. Even those who have seemed to overcome for years while imprisoned, will often relapse with the dramatic changes and pressures of being released to the free world. That is why we have developed a Revolutionary 12 Step Program that takes the proven techniques of the steps, as applied by the lumpen masses in California, and reframes them to include the transformation to the proletarian mentality. It is the constant struggle to submit our self-interest to the interests of the Third World proletariat that can solidify our own transformation from addiction to action that changes society. Imperialism has addicted us all, especially in this consumerist society in the United $tates.

Our leaders must be forged in a disciplined revolutionary organization built on democratic centralism. They must exhibit self-sacrifice and embody the interests of the Third World proletariat. We cannot follow the bourgeois individualist approach to leadership that decides elections and celebrity in this country. We must put politics in command when developing relationships with new comrades and bringing them into our circles. Some people may never exceed a supporter role, and that is okay, we welcome their support. Being around longer, having connections or resources, or being energetic is not enough to qualify comrades to lead. A consistent practice that upholds the correct line is how we must judge who is to be trusted with responsibilities and leadership roles.

note: Nube Brown, 3 November 2021, Was the Bay View Infiltrated by a ‘rock star’ informant?

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[Security] [ULK Issue 70]
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How Do We Protect Prisoners' Names and Info?

A South Carolina prisoner writes:

“Why did one of the coordinating members unexpectedly leave MIM(Prisons)? We should be informed on his/her departure because he/she do know our names in the group.”

This is a good question. We explained why ey left the best we can in an article on the comrade’s defection.

As to your concern about the info that this comrade had, it is a valid concern, and one we are always thinking about. The persyn who left MIM(Prisons) was a long-time cadre-level member who had access to information on a need-to-know basis, which included subscribers’ names, addresses and communication records. But as discussed in the article, ey left for some kind of nihilism and sense of defeat, and ey still feels like ey agrees with what we are doing. So we are confident in saying there is no ill-will there.

Over the existence of our organization we have constantly improved the security of our organization and specifically the security of our subscribers’ information. There have been at least 4 major technological leaps in our tracking of your info in our over 10 years of existence. We are confident in saying that our information is more secure than any other organization that you may write to, and about as secure as it could possibly be while still using computers connected to the internet.

Other than the technical side of security is the humyn side. We organize our movement in a hierarchical way. People must work their way up the ladder, and information is released on a need-to-know basis. Comrades must put in work to get access to any information. So even if they do do harm, we try to make sure they are doing more good for the movement.

We recently put out documents outlining a new mass organization called Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support (AIPS). In those documents we outline the hierarchy of supporters, member, leaders and cadre. Cadre is the highest level, and would be full members of MIM(Prisons) or other Maoist cells. We have the same hierarchy within United Struggle from Within for our comrades inside, except that cadre-level prisoners cannot join MIM(Prisons) for security reasons. (Since the state can read our mail or listen to our phone calls, there is no way to have democratic centralism with cadre while they are still in prison.)

Our latest iteration of technological improvements was a major achievement that was just launched over the last couple months. It involved allowing supporters and members, working as AIPS, to help us with work like typing reports we receive from prisoners on conditions and organizing, articles and study group responses. This is done in a way where our subscribers’ identity and persynal information is completely inaccessible to these AIPS comrades. In fact, that persynal info physically cannot be “hacked” into from the information that these comrades have.

Even within the different levels of commitment outlined above, we have instituted different levels of access to information. It is all handled on a need-to-know basis and based on one’s quality of work and proven commitment to the movement. For example, members of AIPS have begun to participate in the introductory study group that you are also doing right now. And from the people that complete it, we will invite AIPS supporters to respond to imprisoned comrades’ answers to help both parties develop their political consciousness. This will be a level of political responsibility and access that must be earned.

Back to the comrade that left MIM(Prisons). As soon as ey left, we cut off eir access to all of our digital information and accounts. Most importantly, we released a new gpg key. We use gpg to encrypt our email and confirm our messages are officially from us. So anyone emailing us should use our new gpg key to ensure that anyone with our old gpg key cannot read our messages. Using the new gpg key provides extra certainty that you are only communicating with current members of MIM(Prisons).

In this era, people are more aware than ever about the susceptibility of their persynal information being sucked up and used by all kinds of powers that be. For revolutionaries this can become a life or death concern, and is certainly a concern of success or failure. Only recently have we seen other organizations and movements begin to talk about the kind of practices that MIM was once mocked for. While most of what we’re saying here you just need to take our word for, we do think our historical practice around security culture speaks to the seriousness with which we take the work that we are doing. And we commend you (the comrade who asked this question) for also taking these things seriously.

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[Security] [ULK Issue 66]
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How To Verify Communications from MIM(Prisons) or USW

ufpp usw writing

Last year statements appeared in another newsletter from a USW leader who spoke in the voice of a subcommittee of the United Struggle from Within Countrywide Council (USW CC). These statements were not first run by, nor approved by the Countrywide Council.

The previous year, the USW CC, established policies for official correspondence with other organizations. We published an article in ULK 58 describing these efforts and giving guidance to all USW members. USW is a mass organization, meaning that people with differing beliefs can be members and might write or state things as USW members that contradict. In the cited article we instructed USW members to pass on communications with other organizations to the USW CC once you are unable to handle the discussion on your own. Meanwhile the USW CC established official policy that any statements from the CC would come through official MIM(Prisons) communication channels:

  • our P.O. Box in San Francisco
  • our website www.prisoncensorship.info
  • our official email with GPG signature ([email protected])

The statements in question, printed in Turning the Tide, did not go through this process. We cannot expect other publications to know and enforce this. Rather it is the USW leader who broke protocol, and wrote a self-criticism to that effect. But this does go to show that comrades should not take as gospel anything in print that claims to be from USW or even the USW CC. If it appears in Under Lock & Key, then you can be assured that it went through the proper channels of approval.

This incident triggered us to address the question of how to verify communications from MIM(Prisons) and the USW CC in general. Unfortunately the only sure fire way to verify an isolated communication is cryptographically. This makes it hard to verify things in print, coming through the mail, etc.

Every regular reader of our website who has a computer should copy and save our public gpg key from our contact page. Even if you don't know what to do with this key, you could figure it out in the future when needed. The sooner you save the key, perhaps the more sure you can be that the key is legitimately from the original MIM(Prisons). If someone seized control of our website, and slowly started changing the political line on that site, and you waited to copy the key then it might have already have been changed.

While GPG is our primary public way of verifying statements, another tool our comrades have been promoting is a chat tool called Tox, which is available for all common operating systems, including smart phones like android. If you are someone who works with us already and have a device that you can install Tox on, we can exchange Tox IDs to establish encrypted and verifiable communications moving forward. Tox is a chat tool (like texting), and can be easier to set up than email with GPG.

Email without GPG signing, or letters through the mail are easy to fake as one-off communications. So repeated communications back-and-forth should be used to confirm any questionable messages. Our website and Under Lock & Key should be considered more reliable, and harder to fake by our enemies.

Most of our communications with most of our readers are at the level of line and strategy. Therefore, our allies and supporters can and must use a political lens to verify communications. You should study our work and our line so that you can tell when something unusual pops up. And then you should communicate with us about it in the most verifiable and secure line of communication that you have at your disposal. Overall, as a movement, politics in command is the best way for us to defend against falsified, or unofficial communications leading us astray.

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[Security] [Civil Liberties]
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Reddit (Temporarily) Suspends MIMPrisons, Shows Limits of Centralized Communications Networks

Everything is political. While originally developed around a subculture with ideas of "free speech", reddit.com is an Amerikkkan corporation controlling major segments of online traffic and information. It's policy of public anonymity made it a platform that MIM(Prisons) had actively participated on for the last 5 years. We say public anonymity, as over time the site has done more and more to track the identities and patterns of its users privately. But it is unlike Facebook where you must publicly identify yourself in order to participate.

MIM(Prisons) official Reddit account, /u/mimprisons, has been suspended by Reddit for "suspicious activity" and is seemingly unrecoverable. [UPDATE: After some more work on this issue Reddit has since recovered the /u/mimprisons account. We still don't know what the cause was of this temporary suspension. But it has been resolved.] This came one month after the account began actively promoting tactics for secure online organizing in the /r/mao_internationalist subreddit. This comrade will now be posting as /u/mimonline. We will see how long that is allowed.

When we originally set up our official Reddit account it was partially an insurance policy in case we became inaccessible via email, as happened when the FBI shut down our email provider, lavabit.com. While Reddit and Facebook are centralized communication platforms controlled by one entity, email is a federated system with many central email servers inter-operating with each other. However, setting up and maintaining an email server is not easy, so the options are still limited and anonymous email has been challenging at times.

Decentralized systems of communication are the only model that is truly censorship resistant. This is why tools like Tox are important and something our movement is beginning to use and promote more. Tox provides censorship resistance, encryption and verifiable identities. It is also available for all major platforms.

Totalitarianism in the United $tates masquerades as freedom by allowing you to pick your toys in the color of your choice, or even by making statements that are nominally outside the mainstream as long as they reinforce systems of oppression (i.e. pornographic denigration of wimmin). Meanwhile it successfully paints the image of socialist countries as grey, drab and unsexy in contrast. The internet embodies this contradiction, by offering an endless stream of content, with almost all of it controlled by the corporate gatekeepers of Google, Facebook, Reddit, Cloudflare and others.

MIM has always promoted a free internet, whether under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. This can only be ensured with the proper technological infrastructure, which is currently being built by volunteers and fringe organizations. Under socialism these technologies will receive state sponsorship to ensure the integrity of mass communication in the digital age. Currently, the vast majority of the Third World are stuck in closed corporate ecosystems like Facebook and QZone. We have strategic confidence that the vast majority of the world has an interest in building communism, and unfettering their communications will contribute to that project.

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[Security] [California] [ULK Issue 65]
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Checking Paperwork v. Checking Ourselves

Just arrived at the Ad-Seg unit @ Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) on a charge for conspiracy to assault C.O.s on a particular facility, drag for "Administration wants you out of here." I get to the cell and the first voice I hear coming through the adjacent HVAC duct is the voice of a Southern California [email protected], who is my neighbor asking, "Ey homes, are you active?" inquiring as to whether I am housed with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as a General Population prisoner or a Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) prisoner. Because I do not engage in the police agenda of separating and segregating California prisons based on racial disparities, I replied, "I'm a konvict!"

To say the least this lost child of Aztlán continued to press down on myself the hellish investigative tactics so often applied under the prison politic culture. As a New Afrikan leader under the strict guidance of the L1 cell of USW, I know the difference between Politics and Politrix. And the California prison system is saturated in Politrix, most practiced by the prisoners themselves. I relieved the lost child of their fears and went to the bunk area and began opening my Prisoners Legal Clinic Accounting System. I was called by another set of prisoners who were housed on an SNY facility and were members of a lumpen group. These individuals sent me their lock-up orders and asked to review mine in order that we could engage in a confidential dialogue in relation to current feuds between [email protected] lumpen factions and a new born faction of Blacks. This brings me to the titling of this report, "Checking Paperwork v Checking Ourselves."

Here it is. I, a leader of the New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist identity is sitting in Ad-Seg unit after being kidnapped from a previous prison to fill "Black bed space" at Kern Valley State Prison; space created by racial altercations orchestrated by the C.O.s. I've been shot in the arm and gassed by the pigs with no reports or medical attention administered. I've had a Sergeant threaten to fuck (rape) me because of my involvement in a case witnessing pigs apply unnecessary force, while the anti-intelligence agents (ISU/IGI) do everything they can to keep my voice as an activist for the "Prison Rape Elimination Act" silent. I've been used to carry out acts of violence on other prisoners, in a mafia-like way by CDCR and KVSP officers. Officers who then doctor their reports to justify removing the targeted prisoner. All this done against my will and yet when I pull up, the lost children of Aztlán ask me am I active.

We need to re-evaluate what it means to be active. In these last hours it means less what the person's p.work says and more to what one's actions say. As a member of the USW-L1 cell I stand on the principle of unity as described by the United Front for Peace in Prisons. For New Afrika, UMOJA brings about UHURU as a five letter word equal to the five point star, and/or square that is Planet Earth. Whether we are visitors or make prison our deathbed, prisoners must begin addressing our problems amongst one another using investigation methods based in true information. Not hearsay or gossip shared with us by the pigs. We must not determine who is active or who isn't solely on a housing status, because when the tables are turned you might be the one de-activated.

In struggle and solidarity.


MIM(Prisons) adds: It is easy for the state to create paperwork, and phoney documents have been a known tactic in CDCR for a long time. This is similar to our discussion around sex offenders, who are regularly ostracized and even attacked based on cases that the imperialist state has put on them. We know there are many who snitch in prison, just as there are many who committed sexual crimes against the people to get there. But we will echo the comrade above, that we must base our judgments on peoples' actions.

See ULK 64 for our discussion around sex offenders.
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[Security] [ULK Issue 57]
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Drug Survey or Pig Questions?

Revolutionary Greetings,

I just recently received ULK 56. To get straight to the point, you asked to help you do a "survey," on the drug culture in the prison we're at. Wow! Are you serious? Really! I know you are aware that 1st, the cops or C/Os read the letters and studies we send to you. Are you asking us to work with the K-9 to inform the administration on that issue? Cause that's what i'm getting from this. I am definitely not going to do that survey. Would you please inform me on why you are asking us to do that?


MIM(Prisons) responds: Another imprisoned comrade wrote to us with a similar concern: "Look I'm all for trying to fix things in the prisons but I'm not with exposing certain things that goes on within the system as far as how certain convicts take care of themselves. No coubt it's prisoners getting drugs in these institutions and how they getting them I won't be the one to expose it, that's snitching at its highest level and people get seriously hurt for things like that. So that article kinda threw me off."

We are asking those questions to investigate a problem that comrades bring up over and over. As Maoists we attempt to apply the method of "from the masses to the masses." The drug survey came about because we have been hearing from comrades across the country that the people around them are consumed by drugs or are more concerned with selling drugs than fighting for their own dignity and rights. With that in mind we drafted the series of questions in an attempt to survey the facts on the ground around this problem. Perhaps they are not the most useful questions, and comrades can send us suggestions for improving them. But we were conscious about how we worded them because we knew it could be sensitive to answer certain questions on this topic. We think all the questions can be answered in a general way that does not incriminate anyone, or give out information that is sensitive. From the answers we have received so far we think that’s proven true. We imagine none of the info we’ve received is news to the prison staff.

However, the point both of these writers make is a good one. No one should be filling out that survey with information that the pigs don't have already. And at the very least we should have printed a warning about not giving any information that could get you or anyone else in trouble. We are printing this letter in this issue of Under Lock & Key to both serve as a warning and to remind comrades that we are still interested in this information. We will be summing it up in a future report in ULK. Anyone who feels there is a risk to responding to the survey should not do so.

In addition, we welcome general feedback on the topic, on the survey, or articles on the topic as well. All of this is with the goal of exploring ways to resolve or at least address this contradiction that poses a problem to those organizing for positive change on the inside.


10 July 2017 - CA Prisoner responds: Thank you for your most diplomatic and well-received response about my concerns about the drug survey. Granted there is a problem with drugs in prison. Some institutions more than others. Where i'm at, here in SATF, Corcoran, CA, the administration recently installed an x-ray machine in visiting to curtail the introduction of drugs coming in. It worked. Drugs here are practically non-existent. Works for them and people who have a substance abuse problem. Not so much for the people who are, or were rather, trying to feed themselves and their families. This facility is a substance abuse "treatment" facility. I'm sure the federal government gives them extra funding for that title alone. Thank you for clarifying why you are doing the survey on drugs in prison. ... My sincerest apologies if I was "over the top" with my critique, although I know you do understand my concerns.

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[Release] [Security]
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Resist Anarchist Tendencies: Stay Disciplined on the Streets

Yes, I'm a hypocrite. I castigate the anarchists for busting out Starbucks windows or torching the Governor's mansion without achieving any political gains or advantage; yet here I am doing 4 years for assaulting a pig, trying to bring a little Ferguson to Austin.

Subjective? How 'bout plain idiocy. I was not disciplined and had been losing my self-discipline for years. My present imprisonment caused my then 13-year-old granddaughter to ask how her grandpa could possibly be locked away in prison. I explained to her the contradictions between visceral and cerebral actions. In effect, I had to admit to my adoring granddaughter that grandpa was an ass at the time of my arrest.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We thank this comrade for eir self-criticism and willingness to share this mistake for others to learn from. We all face a constant struggle to navigate between right and left errors. This is a particularly tough challenge in the First World where we cannot ground ourselves in the proletarian majority to stay orientated. The above is an example of a left error; more specifically a left subjectivist error. Some ultra-leftism is based on a belief that armed struggle now is the best way to spark the revolution. While this comrade did not believe that, still ey gave in to subjective desires for action. We'd say eir action was actually worse than the real anarchists who have a line closer to the former.

Left errors are more dangerous in terms of getting put in prison or hurt. Then you can live the rest of your life in prison or on disability with your street cred for what you did that one time. Right errors are a less respectable way of giving in, in the eyes of most. But both are a form of giving up, particularly when driven by subjectivism.

Without a proletariat base we must seek out a source of grounding to avoid these tendencies. Reading and study is one great way to do this. Having comrades who you work with who can keep you in check is another way. This is one reason one-persyn cells are not ideal. If you do find yourself isolated in your location, try to stay in touch with an organization you trust through regular communications. It is also possible to find pockets of society where there is a revolutionary, or at least progressive current that can keep you motivated. Finally, music, culture, meditation and other leisure time activities can help you stay focused and orientated.

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[Security]
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Building Independent Institutions for Peoples' Safety

While we are organizing for revolutionary change under imperialism it is important that we build independent institutions of the oppressed. These are institutions that do not have ties to the power structure that we are fighting to dismantle. For instance, Under Lock & Key is an independent institution serving prisoners. It gives us the freedom to write the truth about the criminal injustice system and imperialism more broadly without worrying about the interests of our owners and advertisers, which is a problem for those writing for mainstream newspapers. Another good example was the Black Panther Party's free breakfast programs for schoolchildren program, which provided much needed food and political education, nourishing both body and mind. These independent programs often fall in the category of what we call Serve the People programs. The breakfast for schoolchildren is a good example of providing something that the people need, thus serving the people.

A group called Better Angels is working on an independent project that uniquely serves the peoples' need for security and safety from the police. This project, Buoy, is a tool to help people "call a friend, not the cops," when in need of help. This free software, which Better Angels is calling a "community-driven emergency dispatch system" will allow people to connect a network of people, within a smartphone app, who will be alerted when anyone in the network is in danger. The app includes a map so that the person in danger can be quickly located.

We see some very good applications for this tool: activists who are engaging in protest and who are threatened by the police may want to quickly locate all of their comrades and ensure no one is arrested or hurt. This tool includes the ability to set a timed alert, which will only notify a persyn's network if they do not cancel the alert. For instance, if you are entering a dangerous situation in the next 10 minutes you could set this alert and then if nothing bad happens and you cancel it within 10 minutes there is no notification sent out. But if you can not access your phone before the ten minutes are up the alert will be sent to your network.

This sort of network alert system gives people a good alternative to calling the cops, who are often a source of danger themselves. But we do have some security concerns about the project. Better Angels is encouraging organizations to set up Buoy networks and this means providing intelligence agents with easy access to information about these networks. This is not a concern for those groups that are using Buoy for persynal safety such as domestic violence organizations, campus safety groups, etc. But for activists, migrants, former prisoners and others, networking with larger organizations through Buoy could significantly increase the risk to the entire group as police catch on and monitor the whereabouts of everyone in a network, using alerts to notify themselves of potential situations of interest.

We'd recommend Buoy for people to use instead of the cops within their persynal networks. For instance, Buoy is a good tool if you are regularly harassed by the cops and want to set up an alert for support and witnesses when this happens. Or if you are crossing a border and risk being targeted by agents. Or if you are in a situation of persynal danger unrelated to the cops or government. But in all of these cases we think people will need to set up networks that are not directly linked to a political organization that is the target of government interest. And everyone should keep in mind that if they are doing political work against the government, their smart phones are likely monitored. And so any alerts sent to friends are also going to the cops.

It is difficult to set up independent institutions serving the oppressed and we commend Better Angels for its work. The Buoy project raises the very real need for an alternative to police intervention when people are in danger. Unfortunately the security problems with announcing this risk to the government via smartphone technology will limit the usefulness of this tool for activists.

We hope this project inspires others to think creatively about how revolutionaries can set up independent institutions of the oppressed, serving needs and also providing political education about these needs. Building these institutions is a key part of building the revolutionary movement.

Note:
For more information: https://betterangels.github.io/buoy/
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[Security] [Education] [ULK Issue 49]
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Shun TV, Be Humble, and Check Security

Study Maintain

Knowledge is the higher power. Thru dedication, struggle, sacrifice, knowledge and revolution we will put Aztlán along with the rest of the oppressed back in power. Don't let TV and the bullshit ass propaganda dictate what you can and can't do, much less a bunch of sheep heads with a stitched up patch that suppose to mean "authority say so." Also to my elders out in the so-called free world and the ones coming out them SHU dungeons after years and decades of oppression, my message is this: Avoid calling the youth "little homies" as in diminishing their status comrade!! Instead if you are so "big," I'm assuming in mind, por favor embrace the youth and teach em to teach, teach em to understand, teach em to resist, teach em to organize. Put a mirror in front of em and give em a soul. Cuz 80% of the population are zombied out. We all put in work the same, but you that are looked upon as elder and leader, especially from out the dungeon, have a stage and a mic. Remember a true revolutionary is not categorized by age, looks, material items or what one did a thousand years ago, but by what one is doing now and is willing to do for the causa.

Anyone can sit on a bunk and zombie out at the stupid box (TV) for all your life. That my friend is not a revolutionary individual, an Oh Gee or whatever you want to call it. The youth is our future. Embrace and teach. Oh, one more thing, don't get caught up on the goodies. The pigs love to see that shit. I wonder why?

Also, there's this hardcore book that just came out: [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. Man, everybody needs to read it. Go on and put that paypal you was gonna spend on hold and order this book. And don't forget to also slide a donation to MIM to help out with the books and material that MIM provides to the less fortunate. Think of it as the prison kitty we have here in the yards and write in!!

Enclosed is a bit of stamps as a donation, and I've been recruiting. I hope they'll pitch in as well.

p.s. For those going to board, know that the swine is conducting a facebook background check, trying to catch mofos on the web. Incognito fellas, it can result in a denial of parole.

MIM(Prisons) adds: A few good tips from our comrade here who is putting eir money where eir mouth is. While we do not promote an idealized revolutionary lifestyle, we do think that people can often underestimate the effect that watching TV has on people and their health. And if that is what you are doing with all your time you really aren't living life.

MIM has long been cutting edge in terms of promoting good security practices and technologies. And a while ago we realized that even prisoners need to be conscious about security in relation to computers and cell phones as we wrote about in Under Lock & Key 31. Finally, if prisoners want to get [email protected] Power, it is available for the discounted rate of $10 from MIM Distributors or for work exchange from our Free Books for Prisoners program.

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