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[Security] [ULK Issue 18]
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U.$. Counterintelligence Activities Continue

I recently received the book I requested from you, Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill. Man, that was one of the most enlightening books on the problems inherent in political work that I have read up to this point. Yea, it doesn't matter if they "officially" disbanded COINTELPRO operations or not. It still continues, especially in the ever increasing decadence of the U.$.

I've since passed the book on. I will try to get it into the hands (and heads) of as many dissidents as possible, whatever their nationality or political persuasion. A lot of people are disgruntled with the actions and policies of the U.$. government, people that you may even have opposing interest with, yet the biggest hindrance to the realization of any of these various groups' political objectives is the ever-powerful merchant class of the U.$.

I find a lot of dissidents are completely ignorant to the fact that once they begin organizing, recruiting, agitating, or educating people to a non-status-quo way of thinking, they become a target. Whether they like it or not, know it or not. To fail to prepare against dirty ol' uncle sam's counter measures is disastrous.

I was released in 2006 and jumped straight into political activities. Some government interference was expected and even noticed, like surveillance, harassment and the like. A lot of the tactics in the book I had strongly suspected but had little or no proof, or was not sure enough about to take irreversible action.

In any case, to sum it all up, one of our members was manipulated into a position that resulted in the deaths of two members. Then a high level plant set him up to be arrested but resulted in the deaths of two more detectives who tried to apprehend him. The member died in a hail of police bullets, 62 I believe.

I realize all this is extremely counterproductive and only served as justification to expand their expense/infiltration budget on us. I've seen the best of these FBI plants/informants. I know one who instigates, solicits, and sometimes, even orders crimes as his dual role as a ranking organizational dissident, then sends in dirty ol' uncle sam to arrest the criminals, that are only criminals by virtue of the fact that they followed his direction! Yea, I've had this same plant try to kill my pregnant fiance, and only succeed in causing the death of the child. I can show you statements where this same FBI plant is being snitched on by another snitch that doesn't know he was set up by the FBI plant or even that he is an FBI plant. Yet he explains in detail how the FBI guy is beating pregnant women with bats, etc.

I know no charges will ever be filed against their own, and personally, if I could regain my freedom I would rather charges were never pressed; I certainly wouldn't testify. I see it as a great contradiction to turn to the same system you hate to seek aid in the dissolution of, to turn around and seek their help in the pursuit of justice. I'll get my own justice, if I can ever regain my temporary freedom.


MIM(Prisons) replies: There have been a number of stories in the last couple weeks of young men being arrested on terrorism charges after being set up by Federal agents to commit violent acts. Knowing the art of war and understanding the stage of struggle we are in are easy ways to avoid many attacks used by COINTELPRO. Real comrades prove themselves through consistent hard work and dedication, not through acts of bravado.

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[Security] [Censorship] [California Correctional Institution] [California] [ULK Issue 18]
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Watching Me

The pigs at CCI Tehachapi SHU are monitoring revolutionary correspondence and materials coming through the mail; not censoring but delaying them by as much as three to four weeks. This specific instance was a personal experience, but it can be concluded that if one individual's revolutionary activity is being monitored, then all revolutionaries may be monitored.

Due to a medical condition, I must be taken out of my cell and to medical for a weekly injection which I use as an opportunity to butter up loose-mouth pigs and gather intelligence, catching a general idea of the internal condition of the pigs' camp. Never at any time have I mentioned or alluded to my revolutionary standpoint or activities in any way.

While going to medical this past week a pig made a very revealing statement inadvertently, immediately tipping me off that my mail was being monitored, specifically what I'd mailed to MIM(Prisons) the previous week. The pig's statement could not have been reaching because it contained the word "revolution" and related content of a letter to MIM(Prisons).

Let this be a warning to revolutionary activists and comrades across the U.$. injustice system, and California concentration camps in particular, that even if there is no censorship at your facility, if you participate in any serious revolutionary activities, then it's sure to be monitored.

Practical steps may be taken to combat this issue, such as working with and notifying MIM(Prisons) of censorship issues while going through the grievance and court system, if able to do so. Keeping eyes and ears open to detect if you are being monitored is not difficult to do.

If it feels like you are being watched, then you are. Remember, paranoia can be the better part of prudence in the control unit.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Organizing] [Theory] [Security] [Congress Resolutions]
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Reassessing Cell Structure 5 years out

[This is a belated resolution from the MIM(Prisons) 2010 Congress.]

Overall, MIM(Prisons) stands by the Resolutions on Cell Structure passed at the last MIM congress in 2005. After 5 years of putting that resolution into practice there is experience to sum up and questions that still need to be answered.

The theoretical basis for the cell structure is that the strength of a centralized party comes into play when vying for state power, whether by elections or otherwise. That is not in the cards for Maoists in the imperialist countries at this time. Maoism is a minority movement in the First World and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. This makes it even more important that we utilize our strengths and shore up our weaknesses.

One of the main lessons to take from the cell structure resolutions is that "[w]e oppose having geographic cells come into contact with each other face-to-face. Infiltration and spying are rampant when it comes to MIM. The whole strength of having a locality-based cell is that it is possible to do all the things traditional to a movement. The security advantages of culling people we know into a cell are lost the moment we slack off on security and start accepting strangers or meeting with strangers face-to-face." We find it frustrating that critics of what happened at etext.org as MIM faced repression are willing to ignore the lessons of those setbacks.

At the last MIM congress in 2005, they spoke of a "MIM Center" that put out the newspaper, among other tasks. Soon after, there was no MIM Notes newspaper, followed by the degeneration of the original MC cell and finally the shutting down of their last institution, the website at etext.org.

One of the challenges of small cells is developing and maintaining line. Much work has been done, and if every new group or every revolutionary had to start from scratch, we would never advance. That is why when etext.org was repressed, MIM(Prisons) posted an archive of the MIM site on our website. While we still do not have a regular newspaper for the movement as a whole, the website is a crucial reference for us all.

Fraternal organizations do not agree on everything; they agree on cardinal principles that are determined by the conditions of the time. The etext.org site is not something Maoists must agree with 100%, but there is no doubt that it is still the most comprehensive starting point for any Maoist organization in the First World.

Democratic centralism is important for security and for political line development. Yet until we are organizing on a countrywide basis, there is no need for democratic centralism at that level, not to mention internationally.

In guerilla warfare, the cell structure has been applied in a way that was hierarchical so that action cells were separate from each other, but each cell could be traced to the top of the organization. This relies on a centralized organization or center. While MIM mentions such a center being based around MIM Notes and etext.org in their 2005 resolutions, we do not see the need for this center given the current circumstances. As we have recognized before, certain ideological centers are bound to exist based on the law of uneven development. Yet such centers are not structural, but fluid, based on the type and amount of work done.

All that said, there is an inherent contradiction in the cell strategy. Since organizing strategy and security tactics are not dividing line questions, once the cell strategy is adopted and full decentralization has occurred, it is possible for cells to change their line on this question. Even the majority could do so and a new centralized party could push remaining cells to the periphery. Since we work to build a movement and not our individual organizations, and our work is already on the periphery, we should not be concerned about the impacts of such a move on our organization. It is, however, worrisome to the extent that we see our comrades opened up to attacks through faulty security.

Part of accepting cell strategy is distinguishing between cadre work and mass work. The self-described anarchist movement is able to mobilize large numbers in mass work while abhorring centralized organization. We should learn from their example, while not succumbing to liberalism in our security practices or abandoning scientific leadership.

Getting the correct balance of cadre work and mass work will be more challenging with a cell structure. There is no way to impose a balance on the movement as a whole without a center, but we can pay attention to what is going on around us and get in where we fit in. Leading cells should not be shy to point out where the movement needs more investment of resources.

One amendment we would make to the "Resolutions on Cell Structure" is to cut the suggestion that a one-persyn cell "in many ways... has the least worries security-wise!" Certainly, one-persyn cells should maintain high standards for admitting others. However, the value of criticism/self-criticism on the level of day-to-day work is something that is stressed within Maoism, and we've benefited from in our own practice in MIM(Prisons). We still need democratic centralism with the cell structure to provide crucial discipline and accountability. The criticisms we can give and get from other cells will be limited in nature if our security is correct. And we have seen how one-persyn cells can degrade or disappear quickly.

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[Security] [Organizing] [California]
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Criticism of SNY Prisoners

Dear MIM(Prisons),

I would like to say something about the article by the drop out skinhead who became an SNY. It is good that this person is involving himself in MIM because MIM can remedy some line questions concerning progress. This is i believe the underlying issue with the snitch question, and many other strategies.

Here's a valuable quote,

"Our public relations policy is based on anonymity, which is to say, attraction rather than promotion; we need to always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, internet, radio etc. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. Understanding these traditions comes slowly over time. We pick up information as we talk to members and visit various groups. By following these guidelines in our dealings with others, and society at large, we avoid problems. We still have to face difficulties as they arise; communication problems, differences of opinion, internal controversies, and troubles with individuals and groups outside the fellowship. However we apply these principles, we avoid some pitfalls. Many of our problems are like those that our predecessors had to face. Their hard won experiences gave birth to these traditions, and our own experience has shown that these principles are just as valid today as they were when these traditions were formulated. Our traditions protect us from the internal and external forces that could destroy us."
From where? Mao Zedong's red book? No, a narcotics anonymous pamphlet!! But does it really matter where it comes from, or the merit of the content?

This is my objection to going SNY. Only because these three letters mean, "you have told the police information". You have strengthened the hand of the police by information. You have dialed 911 and gave 411. For me, that's the foul. Now of course the gangs that these people walked away from have a different objection than this one. But it is very common for gangs to split, or have coups from within, or be taken over by other gangs... examples abound! John Gotti killed his own boss to become the boss, Lucky Luciano made peace treaties with the NY mafias and founded 'Murder Inc' - his own army.

Such putchism and naked self interest is not at all a new feature of gang activity and reality. Neither is martyrdom an estranged element of nazism or fascism. Both Mussolini and Hitler were killed in 1945. The drop out skinhead seems to have had a "disillusionment" about his experience with other skinheads. Can it be possible, that a group that espouses an ideology of national socialism, that claims to be not a gang but a "social movement", can surprise its own members with hidden tenants and protocols? This person talks as if he was conscripted or enslaved by his own group and liberated by SNY.

A motif that puts principle above inter-personalism and sentiment that does not connect to the concepts above about anonymity. Rather avoiding line issue progress, but material canteen, coffee pack type motivations. Disconnected from the imperatives of duty, social progress and revolution! Fascism claimed to be and was revolutionary! Marx explained that the bourgeois has historically played quite a revolutionary role in relation to the establishments that come before it. But also explained how these bourgeois revolutions did not benefit or literate the 3rd estate, the proletariat or the international proletariat. The 4th of July being such a type of bourgeois revolution... while they held others as slave.

SNY (Sensitive Needs Yard) or PC (Protective Custody) is now very popular in prison. I think that many prisons have a majority of PC prisoners over mainline. Both of these concepts come from the cops! and many prisoners have let these concepts creep into their consciousness and thinking. As MIM theory 4 said, "many of these people use FBI reasoning in their politics. You hear the cops foster little comments. For example, The C/O's start calling our property shit. "Inventory this shit" , "get your shit", "here's your shit", and like monkeys, inmates picked it up."I'm waiting to get my shit" Stop thinking and talking like the pigs! The C/O's started calling a cell a house. " go back to your house", "is this your house?" inmate monkeys," in my house"...it's not a house! it's a coffin! "Gassing" is another coin they want to circulate. A little system of mnemonics that they propagate, which we swallow up!!! In effect letting pigs create culture for us.

A prevalent concept i hear those going to SNY is "I want to back away from the politics"... Like Cuban refugees who ask for political asylum, but come to Miami and work with the CIA agents to overturn a political movement. Like the bay of pigs. That is not "Apolitical" like they say. Who cares what people say? Science is not about opinion and subjective narratives, but observation, strict non-fiction. The drop out skinhead relates that SNY's are more violent than mainline now, and i agree! Statistically SNY is one of the most violent of yards now. It wasn't always like that, and we can identify factor's as to how this came about. The DOC lowered its standard for letting people go to SNY. Before you had to snitch, nowadays all you have to do is ask!! This is because the DOC created a legal category of protected prisoners for its own administrative convenience, but when challenged in court became more of a burden than anything else. Opening up lawsuits and legal dilemmas... They just opened the doors.

I want to caution righteous activists who hate snitch logic, to not think of all PCs as weak cowards, some are, but know some PCs are very dangerous! They do exercise routines also, and many pack heat religiously as we do... Sammy "the rat" Grivano, was not a wimpy sissy at all! but a determined fierce weasel, who killed more than anyone he snitched on. Just like cops are not all fat pigs, some are committed murderers. Like Johannes Mehserle, straight executioner! You have to be like Karl Marx, who acknowledged the impressive violence of the bourgeoisie, but qualified this violence with a philosophical analysis of who it served, and what it meant for the workers of all nations, never denying the inextricable link between thought and action - Theory and Practice. Defining violence by its direction and and constitution.

MIM will help all of its students develop a deliberate super-structure, not insulate concepts like the pigs! The pigs use slight of hand mind control, MIM has criticism and demonstration instead of this. SNY's need to look hard at their own political line and ask whether or not they push revolution, and what kind of revolution, and not act like rag dolls caught in the currents of a river they chose to jump into. That's real politics not identity politics.

— a California Prisoner


D12 for MIM(prisons) responds:This comrade's understanding concerning the need to stay away from identity politics is good. It will guard the movement, and prevent revisionism. This comrades reason for seeing the SNY as only those who give 411 go to the SNY is not accurate. The CDC has long held the policy to segregate prisoners from the general population who have criminal records which would warrant their assault on the general population, or due to the identity of the prisoner, i.e pigs, k9s, and so forth. Due to the gang problem the CDC has had to change its policy to allow former gang members who would be assaulted, or killed if they remained on the general population, as well as prisoners who enter the prison and face a choice of being forced into a prison gang or to follow the underground rules set up by the prisoners.

The comrade states certain examples of cooperation between those engaged in the unlawful market and the state, lets not forget that Lucky Luciano aided the U.$. against fascist Italy. The main point that needs to be remembered is that while these lumpen organizations have the greatest potential for revolution in a parasitic imperialist country. They are still lumpen, and have not shed their lumpen skin to stand with the Third World proletariat as communists. The very nature of the lumpen is predatory, not to the degree of the big imperialists, but they have a lot of work to do. Many lumpen groups have revolutionary concepts as their teachings, yet you still see them killing each other or distributing drugs in to our neighborhood, robbing and stealing. It is not surprising that many people join these lumpen organizations and are let down, causing them to look for a way out.

History has shown that the revolutionary rhetoric espoused by the LOs where brought in by those in the 60's and 70's who were involved in the struggle for liberation. What we see is revolutionary nationalism within the oppressed nations that are engaged in capital enterprise. We have to recognize that it is the will of the state to play prisoner against prisoner; to disrupt the educating and organizing of prisoners for revolution. It's the state that is ready to welcome prisoners and offer them a "safe" place to do their time when the prisoner breaks a rule that would warrant his assault or death from a lumpen organization. Or to welcome those who no longer see any logic in participating in these LOs due to political difference even when they tried to stay and convince the others within their org. It is not MIM(Prisons) policy that a prisoner should risk his safety when the prisoner doesn't have to. You're more valuable alive, on the streets, and if in prison then you should be able to move around and do political work. Engaging in chauvinism and ultra-left behavior sets the movement back. While there is a point when one should not cooperate with the state, we will not encourage a persyn to stay in the SHU serving an indeterminate term, when that persyn is a communist revolutionary and the tide is on his or her shoulders. What matters is what one does as a communist revolutionary. The line that one has will prove them to be for or against the people. A friend or our enemy.

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[Organizing] [Security] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
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Lumpen Loyalty Dividing the Struggle

My question to MIM(Prisons) is this: how could you consciously and intently continue to give known rats a forum or conduit to speak and voice an opinion as if he was an honorable or principled man? When has it been right in history to accept traitors? Never!

Let's keep shit non-fiction. Everybody who betrays their own can never be trusted. MIM(P), you're setting a dangerous precedent that should not be emulated in any regard. Those that will compromise all their beliefs and yet find a voice to be heard shows the weakness of the cadre. Real folks see them for who they really are: parrots, poison and cancerous cells. When one practices deceit long enough they begin to believe it. The truth and lies reverse roles. A coward dies a thousand deaths, a real one only once.

What separates the best from the rest is the loyalty, honor and dignity one has for self as well as those of like stature.


MIM(Prisons) responds:

"It is scandalous to Christians to think of a world without timeless moral values such as loyalty, honor and integrity — characteristics that God supposedly places in each of us once and for all time, especially in the more hard-line Protestant religions upholding predetermination. These moral characteristics are then referred to by the Christians as our 'moral character.' The Stalinists' opposition to such an ideology leaves the Christians aghast and hence we 'Stalinists' appear as 'amoral' to those who claim timeless values."
—MC5. Anna Larina. MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue, p.53.

Ironically, this quote comes from an article that defends Stalin for overseeing the killing of innocent people in an effort to eliminate spies and infiltrators during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Today we are in much different conditions in our discussion of spies and snitches, but "honor" and "loyalty" are still used to attack us. We would say that even the concept of being "principled" is dangerous. Principled is too often viewed as picking a position and sticking to it no matter what, right or wrong. But Stalin only stuck to one principle, and that was to serve the people by building socialism. Everything else is determined by a scientific analysis of conditions.

In Stalin's conditions, the principal contradiction was the fascists versus the first socialist state in modern history. Spies could have brought the destruction of the Soviet Union. In the U.$. prison movement, the principal contradiction we face is the conflicts between the lumpen themselves. Without resolving these conflicts and building unity around the mutual interests of the imprisoned population, there is no prison movement to speak of. So we must combat ultra-leftism that prevents broader unity.

We know Special Needs Yards (SNYs) are not full of scientific revolutionaries, because that's not true anywhere in the U.$. prison system today. We know that many prisoners use snitching as a way out to get more for themselves. Yet as more and more people go to SNY to opt out of the bullshit warring that the pigs have promoted, the pariah status given to SNY prisoners is playing right into the hands of the state's divide and conquer strategies. As long as general population insists on playing by the pigs' rules, SNY will continue to be an outlet for those who don't want to be pawns in the game.

Despite the rhetoric of honor and loyalty, it is a minority who really live by these ideals. Perhaps that minority are more reliable comrades in the revolutionary struggle. On the other hand, we are trying to mobilize the prison population as a whole on behalf of the interests of the oppressed, and we believe that through education people can change their character.

Of course, there is a reason why not working with the pigs is a common principle among certain populations, while most Amerikans turn to them whenever they need help. No good can come for the oppressed from working with the pigs, but we must apply this principle in a way that best pushes struggle forward.

The lumpen have an ideology of self-sacrifice and dedication that comes from their experience as oppressed people. While we often print articles that reinforce this lumpen morality when it reinforces the unity of the oppressed against the oppressor, we must also address its weaknesses. When the idealism of the masses holds back progress, we must push hard for the acceptance of scientific truth.

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[Organizing] [Security] [Texas]
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Snitch Solution

Ears on alert everyone - wherever snitches roam carelessly, claiming that this is their "get down" generation ready to put any prisoner way down.

There's no doubt that snitching has gotten out of hand in prison, but here in Texas we have found a good solution to this shameful way. If you want to be a "snitch", go ahead get down, I and other prison reformers have decided to support you all the way. You can declare victory now!

Pick up your pen and paper, if you need more, feel free to ask for more from any of us. No one will try to stop you, as long as you start snitching 24-7 to our state Senators and Representatives about our prison conditions. I truly believe that you, snitches, can get something rolling, and help us bring some kind of change for the betterment of thousands, if not millions. That's truly getting down, maybe someday others will stop calling you a snitch and honor your efforts because you finally got it right. Other prisoners are not the enemy - for sure.

What are you waiting for, become part of the solution, stop contributing to the problem. If that's what makes you a snitch, then more power to you, use your mind and your prison time for the struggles of someday fulfilling better prison reform. Go ahead, if you plan to do something, let it be done in prison style, that'll be the day, I and thousands more, maybe millions of prisoners will shake your hand tight, call you a real brother, never a snitch.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade correctly points out that there is a political line behind snitching. And when it is the imperialists and their pigs committing the worst crimes, we support those who are brave enough to come forth and expose the truth.

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[Civil Liberties] [Security]
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Birthday Cards to Prisoners Tie Up FBI

For years, MIM(Prisons) and others have agitated around the point that people are getting indeterminate sentences in torture cells in California based on things like birthday cards. Today, Sacramento Prisoner Support made public some Freedom of Information Act documents from the FBI showing that people on the outside can also be targeted for who they send birthday cards to.

The gang investigation unit in California, IGI, has already made efforts to identify people working with MIM(Prisons), so this is nothing new or surprising. But we point to it to remind people of two lessons. First, security is important at every stage and in everything you do when dealing with the imperialist state because they are watching. Second, when the FBI has to file a report every time comrades get a letter or birthday card, that is resources being taken away from other intelligence work. Some people view efforts developing better security as taking away from "real" political work. But examples like this show that security work in itself is a blow to imperialism by utilizing resources that could be used against the Third World. Of course, anyone who doesn't take security seriously will never accomplish what we really need to do to end oppression anyway.

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[Organizing] [Security] [California]
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Special Needs Yard debate continues

Response to SNY critic article published in the July/August 2010 ULK, #15, p.5

As is typical, I have ruffled some feathers on the SNY yard when I pointed out my personal sentiments regarding the SNY/general population issue. I criticized both SNY/GP as a matter of fact and the SNY cat asked what have I personally done. He would have to look up this history of John Q. Convict, an aka I have written under in various publications and prison news letters. I have blisters on my fingers from doing others' legal work and appeals as well as writing about what I experience and see. I am again on my way back to the SHU till I am paroled since I am not nor have I ever been one to be a passive submissive sheep nor am I in competition with anyone, I just keep it real.

It's ironic but I have had five CDCR numbers and I have experienced a lot. Maybe I am crazy to rather go to the SHU than exist on an SNY yard but I started doing time in the 70s and prisoners were a lot different then. The misconception I see in the term "active" as that is a prisoncrat designation of gang members (prison/street). Read the regulations of the CDCR and you know. I have never been one to tell on myself yet I see prisoners do it all the time enhancing CDCR/California Department of Justice investigatorial files that exist, yet we will never access, as one can other confidential files via court order.

Do not get me mixed up, I am not "active," I am "General Population" and I have seen how the California prisoner culture has succumbed to the tyranny of the prisoncrats with a whisper. Yes some get frightened and are keen to become SNY and bow to a perceived necessity in what I believe to be a misguided belief that such necessity forces conformity and that conformity allows for stability in which some can enjoy the "privileges" of visiting, canteen, telephones, packages. They are not rights that are guaranteed by the constitution. I elect to not conform in this prison environment.

I am a dissident who stands out and I am easily branded and locked back down but they always got to let me back out. I do not get visits or have money sent to me by choice, it's so I do not subject my family to the harassment that visiting presents, and the CDCR does not collect 55% of every dollar my family sends to me. I tried to point out that we prisoners are all victims of picklesuit tyranny, and yes I feel like those who volunteer to go to SNY have abandoned the struggle to a certain extent. I see the victims of the picklesuits assume the face of the tyrants, be they GP/SNY self-righteous and intransigent, while assisting the picklesuits instigate conflicts.

There is not a lockdown situation in the state of California that I have not experienced, and I do not confuse unity with conformity. I have always believed that prisoners should unite around principals. I have recently been labeled a "terrorist" I am an activist and it is frustrating as hell to try and pull the coats of those in these prisons who have submitted knowingly and unknowingly.

I see that there is the need for the mending of broken spirits on both sides of the California prison divide which is no easy task since it will require the prison population to reshape itself and refuse the gratuitous gifts and reject the privileges used to co-op prisoners as well as the elimination of it being all about self. Prisons use prisoners working in the kitchen or selling out for a fix/hit of dope, utilizing that instinctual will to survive. I do not believe in leaders as they become the focus of compulsive collaboration with the opposition once they are identified, and they are not infallible and such leads to eventual disaster. Yet I have known that principled individuals avoid the natural vices such as greed, betrayal, and the misguided notion that one has to compete without exception as if it's a healthy attribute. Such is and always has been, in my mind, a sad path to self-esteem, an illusion built upon putting ones foot on the neck of another which is what the pickesuits do, and it's not lasting since when they fail to physically and emotionally break my will they become fearful and envious because I have endured what they themselves know they could not. Yes I have on several occasions learned to make due with nothing, making myself mentally and emotionally strong and I survive.

Kudos to any successful SNY litigator. I read Prison Legal News (PLN) each month for the past six years, noting all the successes published there, rarely seeing an instance in which a California prisoner received millions. Even though the state has deep pockets, that 12.2 million eludes my perusal. You should send the decision to PLN so they can publish it as your work.

I also want to point out a simple truth even though our comrades at MIM(Prisons) disagree. In my years of doing time, always General Population, I have learned to read people and I am rarely in error. I can and do note agent provocateurs and quislings as well as those who think they are well hidden and can not be spotted. It's the nature of such individuals to expose themselves. I have never gone to the hole for harming another prisoner over the years I have served. It has always been an issue with the real enemy who has hoodwinked and bamboozled, coerced, pressured or otherwise manipulated the greedy and the weak; of which I am neither.

My view is that SNY prisoners who volunteered to go that route are their own worst enemy and the stigma attached is something that they will have to deal with, as those who dropped out, originally dropped in, when it was fashionable for you, and you were on the hooligan end claiming to be a gang member, telling the pig that you are a gang member, proud to be a gang member till the pack turns on you and then you don't want to be a member any more or you find yourself in a position in which you are facing time and you choose to purchase leniency by telling on your sworn homeboys. But wait, not all SNYs have been snitches, but many have "debriefed" so I must say that the percentages speak for themselves in terms of those who allowed themselves to be used and manipulated to self-detriment. There are still some in GP hiding in the wings.

I was brought up believing that it takes a lot of balls to stand up to adversity and not compromise one's principals. I am constantly educating myself in a variety of subjects. Yet I do not tell others who, what or how they should believe, we all make choices and some ultimately lead to some becoming SNY. I want to be quite clear that I am not any better or worse than any other human being on this earth. We all have faults yet the struggle has never died, it has been altered and manipulated towards personal gain. I am presenting my personal perspective from my years of experience. Though it is true I've never lived on an SNY/PC yard, they do put SNYs on the tier with GP in the ASU/SHU, to my dismay. I am an equal opportunity criticizer since while some focused on SNY, I spoke of both sides of the fence.

I noted years ago that the most illuminating and dangerous place in the prison was the law library as knowledge was power. Yet the time of spending 8 hours a day in the law library has been effectively reduced to one hour and thirty minutes a week if you are lucky and are PLU. I am not here to brag on myself but there are people on the streets thanks to me and new life was breathed into others whose cases were on the ropes.

So since I was asked what I have done, well helping others and standing up to abusive prison staff and officials has resulted in my doing 100% of my term due to my concern for the similarly situated prisoner. Ethnicity never mattered, all came to me. Yet when I think about it I wonder if my sacrifices have been all for naught, as those who instilled the fortitude, stubborn tenacity, and courage to fight back in the 60s and 70s are flip-flopping in their graves about the conditions and backwards steps in California prisons. The ladies put up better fights and they as a result still get stuff that we don't. Some of the prison population put privileges before rights so you enjoy your privileges while they keep chipping away your rights.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is part of an ongoing discussion, started in ULK13, of the controversial issue of the potential for prisoners in Special Needs Yards (SNY) to participate in the anti-imperialist struggle. It is MIM(Prisons)' position that prisoners in all situations can be induced to sell out and serve the needs of the system. And while we recognize the harm done by prisoners debriefing, going to SNY can sometimes involve less cooperation with the pigs than staying in an LO. We can't condemn people for mistakes they made as youth trying to find a place. We need to unite with all who demonstrate, in practice, that they are on the side of the anti-imperialist struggle.

This comrade says he can read people, and is rarely in error. And to an extent we agree. We "read" people by applying work and line standards to our potential comrades. By judging how one completes their work and upholds their line we can judge them as a comrade. The error comes in when you think you know when someone is a cop or snitch or not. You trust people you shouldn't and attack your friends. Even if these errors are rare, they tend to be the most serious. This is why general policies are superior ways to "read" people than looking at individual cases.

This comrade comments that s/he does not "believe in leaders." We agree that security and hero worship are weaknesses of having leaders, and we should work to minimize both of them. However, we also must be materialists and recognize that leaders, including the writer, exist and that leadership is important. A leaderless movement ends up without clear direction and can waste the resources and energy of the masses. Leaderless movements (also known as anarchist) generally end up with de facto leaders - people who are not formally put in positions of leadership but who just take up the lead because of experience or line or a desire for power. These de facto leaders are far more dangerous than elected leaders because there is no mechanism to remove them from power. And this also limits the people's input into the direction of a movement. For these reasons we affirm the communist principle of clear and formal leadership of the revolutionary movement and its organizations, while we work towards a society where no groups of people have power over others.

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[Theory] [Organizing] [Security] [ULK Issue 13]
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Security in the prison movement

In a system where the threat of torture by long-term isolation and other forms of repression constantly hangs above the heads of those who hold political views different from their captors, security is a vital question. Of course, the threat is different when working outside anonymously with MIM(Prisons) than working inside, face-to-face. Repression inside prisons is much more imminent than it is for our comrades on the streets. In prison, conditions are different and freedoms are limited, leaving comrades with much different tactics to choose from.

Strategically, however, the question of security behind bars is more the same than it is different from on the streets. Semi-underground organizing is an example of a universal strategy for operating behind enemy lines. The practice of semi-underground organizing recognizes that just because you didn't break any laws doesn't mean you will not face repression for your actions or beliefs, and there is more cost than benefit of putting all your cards on the table. On the organizational scale, semi-underground can be applied by layering your organization with different levels of openness. This makes it harder for the pigs to pinpoint leaders and isolate an organization.

Another strategical question is, how do we deal with potential infiltrators who join our ranks in order to gather information and create disruption, or bad-jacket the organization? Many comrades have provided suggestions for how to address this issue. There is a bourgeois approach to security and there is a proletarian approach. The difference between the two is still generally applicable even in different organizing conditions, and is discussed below.

A key issue that is being raised in California is, why work with prisoners who are on Special Needs Yards (SNY)? This is a good question since a lot of potential comrades, as well as comrades already in the struggle, have contempt for individuals who collaborate with the state. It is important that we understand that not everyone on SNY is there because they debriefed or snitched. Some people are on SNY because they are victimized on mainline, or don't want to participate in the typical bullshit that comes with mainline for whatever reason. So not everyone on SNY is there because of piggish behavior, but the rest of this article is a discussion of those comrades who are.

MIM(Prisons) is a prison ministry that seeks to organize and educate prisoners not just to see the inhumane conditions that they find themselves in, but also to see the bigger picture of imperialism. When you read what MIM has put out regarding our security practices then one should be able to gain a perspective as to why MIM(Prisons) operates the way it does. What good would it do for MIM(Prisons) to only work with people based on the fact that they haven't snitched yet? Everyone is a possible cop or agent working for the imperialists. In fact, in this country, someone is more likely to be a cop or spy than to be a revolutionary of some sort. Even within the communist movement itself there exists a capitalist arm in the form of cops, agents, snitches, and collaborators with the imperialists.

We see this as a line struggle. Anyone can pretend to be USW inside, just like anyone can pretend to represent MIM(Prisons) or Maoism. If they uphold the line set forth by the vanguard organization and/or movement, then they're out there working to advance the struggle. If they are upholding a bourgeois line, and people cling to it, then the people didn't understand the vanguard line in the first place. We should work with a comrade because they have the correct line, not because they are on mainline.

Why should they be barred from being a communist if they have snitched in the past? Why should anyone not have the right to see the liberation of their people, nation, the oppressed? What matters most is what one does after they have discovered themselves as a communist revolutionary. It's not just the lumpen who are reforming criminals, they mostly did small-time stuff. All amerikans are reforming criminals who have robbed from and victimized the majority of the world. If we are recruiting in the united $tates, we are attempting to reform criminals into communists, and this is the revolutionizing of humyns that must take place in conjunction with the revolutionizing of the economy and all the institutions that serve it.

The other side of this is that even if one is a cop, gathering info, there's really not that much they will find if information is given out on an as-needed basis. When the movement is organized into isolated cells, they may be able to take down one or two people, but the struggle goes on. In the meantime, the cop had to put in a lot of genuine work in order to get the little information they got. Particularly where communists are the minority, the cop ends up doing more work for us than against us. This structure is part of what being a semi-underground organization means.

Of course, the fact that the state has taken the time to infiltrate and try to eliminate a group says a lot about the group's politics. As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, we put forth revolutionary science, or dialectical materialism. A concrete historical analysis shows that it is not WE but THEY, the imperialists, who are on the wrong side of history. They will lose eventually. Our struggle is a protracted (scientific) one, to put forth the correct line, so even if MIM(Prisons) goes down there will still be others with the tools to continue forward.

With regards to the prison movement, it's understandable that these criticisms arise due to the fact that SHU placement falls on those who organize for better or for worse. So why does MIM(Prisons) support prisoners who walk away from their lumpen organizations? The lumpen class, by definition, is a parasitic class. Both the lumpen and the imperialists are capitalists whose material wealth comes from others' work. One has the power to exploit by making the laws, while the other makes money outside the law in an underground economy with a law unto itself. Saying, “I understand the LOs need work, but why work with those who walk away?” is just like the bourgeoisie saying “I know we need work, but why give opportunities to prisoners or criminals to help out, they broke our law?” Just like people who walked away and are now on SNY, they too broke the law.

Divide and conquer is a tactic used by the administration to bring down revolutionary groups and to keep revolutionary groups from forming. Evidence suggests that LOs are purposefully put up against each other in order to bring each other down. This basically means that if you're in an LO that's victimizing other oppressed people, then you are unwittingly an agent of the state's oppressive apparatus. Even if you say “fuck the k9s” or “fuck the administration,” your actions are counter-revolutionary.

A serious revolutionary will not determine to not work with someone who's never had revolutionary politics or training just because when that person was in a LO they engaged in the debriefing process. A “revolutionary” that snitches is very different from someone who is put between a rock and a hard place of working with one of two organizations that are both engaged in anti-people activity. Plus, you never know who could be dropping kites on you. Just because someone exposes themselves to you doesn't mean they're the only threat on the mainline.

For the LOs to put an end to snitching among their membership, they will have to stop engaging in activities that might cause someone with love for their people to break ranks. When your practice does not coincide with the line you put out, discipline will fail, no matter how brutal it might be. The vanguard cannot water down its politics just to let everyone know we're cool. Watering down politics is engaging in opportunism and will ultimately destroy the vanguard.

Another suggestion that has come up is that we look at people's histories, where they've been locked up and why they were sent there, as part of our intelligence gathering. This amounts to trusting the lumpen as long as the imperialists (or their petty-bourgeois bureaucrats) can vouch for them. This is a backwards and dangerous approach to security. The bourgeois approach to security is based on intelligence gathering and psychologizing individuals, while the proletariat must look to political line and consistent practice.


Notes:
see MIM's 2005 Congress: Resolutions on Cell Organization for more discussion of the cell structure, why persynal histories are irrelevant and security theory in general.

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