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Under Lock & Key

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[Security]
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Social Networking, Smartphones and Reliance on the Masses

Social Networking
This article is aimed particularly at the young reader born into the current culture of mass communication. The concepts aren't new. We just want to highlight the implications of state surveillance, which is a reality for anyone seeking social change in a state whose primary concern is maintaining the oppressive social order under imperialism.

One of the important tasks of intelligence is to develop a map of the networks of those being surveilled. This simple fact is too often ignored in our culture today, where technology has electronically and permanently connected us. What used to at least require a warrant sent to your phone company is now public information for most people in the United $tates today who regularly use social networking through the internet and their cell phones.

To an extent, the omnipresence of these technologies in Amerikan lives have made people more conscious of this vulnerability. Yet, very few involved in voicing opinions in favor of a world without oppression actually incorporate this knowledge into their practice. Largely this is a class issue where the petty bourgeoisie feels safe living in a bourgeois democracy. In much more remote parts of the world, there is a greater understanding of the need for encryption and shielding one's identity because the consequences are life and death.

MIM(Prisons) doesn't engage in baseless alarmism to mobilize people, but this is a case where you should be considering worst case scenarios, like how a fascist government might carry out a witch-hunt for "communists" and "terrorists" using public information on the internet.

When struggling with allies about security, we regularly get the response, "I'm already on all their lists." It's often a point of pride to say this. But the oppressed know that getting on a list has real consequences. In addition, anyone who has studied COINTELPRO knows that the government is interested in more than just your name, but our sense of comfort here in the belly of the beast leads to lazy practices and nihilistic attitudes towards security.

Like we said, this isn't about persecuting people for thought crimes, though that has happened countless times to U.$. citizens as a result of information posted on the internet. COINTELPRO was about disrupting movements. It is far too easy for a fat pig sitting at his desk to know who young activists are in touch with, and what they are doing when and where. Using this information the imperialist state can be very strategic in how it uses its various tools of repression. With the current state of security culture, technology has given the oppressor the advantage, but this does not have to be the case.

After All the Tweeting, Now What?

As we work on finishing the first draft of this article, the U.$. media is talking about popular demonstrations against governments in Tunisia and Egypt and their use of Twitter and Facebook. Tweeting is a good way to mobilize a flash mob; it is not a good way to build people's power. It is about as effective as banging a pot in the street. While we don't mean to dismiss these recent movements in particular, there is plenty of history to show that spontaneous demonstrations do not save lives or improve conditions — capitalism continues on.

We've already addressed some of the class issues surrounding the dependence on technology like Twitter elsewhere. Twitter is also an example of corporations defining cultural trends. It almost seems there was a law passed last year that every corporate media entity had to mention Twitter once every 20 minutes on their programming. This free advertising should raise questions around a company that has already openly worked with the U.$. government to overthrow foreign regimes and repress resistance within this country. Despite arrests for such activities, people continue to use Twitter to report from protests in the U.$. without any attempt to cloak the identities of themselves or others involved. Meanwhile, Twitter remains mainly a tool to promote capitalist consumption through advertising.(1)

Speculation aside, it is not the intents of the corporations that we should fear (or rely on); it is the nature of the technology that makes us vulnerable. An independent, nonprofit, open-source social network does not address the main problem here, which is internet-based, public social networking itself.

More recently, the trend is to be able to Tweet, Facebook and Google on your phone. Mobile phones are generally attached to our identity and track your location at all times, while allowing remote monitoring of voice, video (which is generally ubiquitous on phones these days) and of course any worldwide web traffic. While this information would nominally require a warrant, in recent years AT&T has complained that the National Security Agencies requests for these wiretaps have become overly burdensome on the monopolizing telecommunications company, indicating that such wiretapping is far from rare.

Other than building networks, spies like to build profiles of individuals. Today's mobile phones and computers are walking profiles on many Amerikans. Even if you don't use a "smart" phone, if you don't separate your work from your persynal life you are exposing yourself. Every time you do a Google search while logged into Gmail, or access information through Facebook, your activity is connected to your identity. And of course, any internet activity from home is connected to your IP address.

Stop Worshipping Bourgeois Culture

There is a tendency that jumps on every trend, saying "if only we could get an ad that looks like that, if only we could get a Facebook group, if only we could produce hot music" then the masses would listen. A real revolutionary culture needs to be setting the trends and not just copying bourgeois forms and relying on bourgeois institutions. Without independent institutions of the oppressed we have no power over the message we put out and the work that gets done in the name of social progress.

Again, for those who were born into this culture of social networking through the internet, you need to rethink your relationship to the bourgeois institutions that shape your life.

We are not arguing against using the internet or other technology. We are only pushing people to understand the potential and likely consequences before they use it. MIM made great inroads by being a trendsetter in online publishing. Today's technology makes it easier and safer to use the internet, if you study how to do it correctly.

If you don't have the patience to learn internet security or don't believe in it because "Big Brother knows all," then don't go online. There should be Maoist work that is not known to the internet. We must combat the thinking that "it can be Googled, therefore it exists." The internet should be a place to study, to find answers, to debate and to agitate in the realm of ideas. It should not provide a quick and easy snapshot of who we are, what we're doing, when, where or how many we are.

Wannabe Documentarians

While cell phone cameras were celebrated in the exposure of the assassination of Oscar Grant by BART police in Oakland, California, they are also helping the police do their job every day. It is hard to go to any sort of political event without being surveilled by dozens of unidentified people. This means that 1) the pigs can sit on their asses looking at Indymedia websites and watching amateur videos on YouTube to see who is frequenting what events, and 2) undercover (or not) pigs can be very open in their efforts to record people at these events.

Closed meetings should not even allow cell phones in the proximity of the meeting. That may be difficult for events open to the public, but people should not be able to come in and record without any accountability. And if you want to record your own events for later use, don't record people that have not given their permission. People recording the audience should be treated with suspicion and should be stopped.

All of this is connected to who are our friends and who are our enemies. Anti-imperialist comrades should weigh the costs and benefits of doing outreach at events that are swamped with strong Amerikanism. The cell strategy should be studied and applied in a way that one only organizes with those one knows. And one should learn to swim in the sea of people they find themselves amongst. The sea we have to swim in in North America is a sea of white nationalism, so blending in isn't always appealing, but it is that much more important. Relying on the masses means looking to the world's majority who have an interest in overthrowing imperialism. Being part of the struggles of the real masses cannot happen through Tweets and Facebook groups. Building a strong movement requires keeping a distance from these institutions of the oppressor and building our own infrastructure.

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[Organizing] [Security] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 18]
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Special Needs Yards Revolutionary Fighting Fascism

I'd like to comment on special needs yards and the lack of revolutionaries therein. I am on such a unit, except here in Oregon they call them mental health units. Of course there is also protective custody but, I'm not addressing PC units in this letter.

I am a former racist skinhead who left the movement decades ago. Since then I began a movement to get others out of the white supremacist movement by educating them on issues of white privilege, aspects of class war and anti-imperialism. I was extremely successful and my efforts have been recognized at a national level. Someone needed to come forward to educate these misguided individuals. I did. Now I pay the price.

As the result of some robberies I was sent to prison. Almost immediately I was recognized and repeatedly attacked while staff lied and covered up a conspiracy to keep me on mainline knowing I had received several valid death threats. Finally I was moved to an institution where I could walk mainline and placed on a "mental health" unit. I am on such a unit because I am a revolutionary. Now I am in a system where often the line between the white power groups and the guards is blurred. In a white privileged and dominated imperialist nation what more could one expect?

Everyone in the Oregon DOC is too busy fighting one another to join together to accomplish anything and it is my experience that there are just as many rats and snitches on mainline units as there are in the "mental health" units here in Oregon. The mentally dead are everywhere. You find them not only amongst the ranks of snitches or rats but, also in those who are brainwashed into believing in the false theory of race or racial superiority.

It is not until whites of the lumpen can realize the privilege the color of their skin affords them in the united states and throw away the doctrine of race or racial superiority that we can join ranks with our brothers and sisters and truly become revolutionaries in the non-violent struggle to end oppression in the U.S. and the doctrine of oppressive imperialism our nation forces upon the innocents of the Third World.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is one of many responses we received to our article on Special Needs Yards prisoners. While we know that many snitches seek PC status in exchange for selling out their fellow prisoners, we also know that many prisoners get into these yards for legitimate reasons and that there are serious revolutionaries throughout the prison system. At the same time, there are plenty of snitches on mainline so we can't just generalize and avoid the PC units and assume our movement is safe. We must always be on the lookout for snitches who will betray the revolutionary struggle. At the same time we should always be on the look out for genuine comrades who will join and contribute to the struggle. We best achieve this by keeping politics in command. That means setting policies to address security risks that judge political line and practice, not state-enforced labels, rumors or persynal interests.

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[Organizing] [Security] [ULK Issue 19]
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Purism Divides the Struggle

I am writing this in response to the California prisoner who wrote the article lLumpen Loyalty Dividing the Struggle. What divides a struggle is divisiveness. In the context of his communique he missed several points, among which are: (1)being an informant does not render the struggle against a mutual enemy moot, (2) in the context of numbers, (i.e. strength) it is largely irrelevant whether someone is a rat or not, and (3) the known rat criteria - "known" based on what? What exactly are the circumstances and/or conditions under which one told?

Just because one is SNY, PC, PS or whatever does not mean they are rats, disloyal or even unreliable. This approach is the equivalent of saying that everyone in prison is not only a criminal, but guilty of exactly what the state has convicted them of. No self-respecting prisoner, convict or revolutionary would undermine their own ideological base by entertaining such an idea.

The state manipulates purists by slinging labels and rumors. They send hard working, devoted soldiers and revolutionaries to Protective Custody (P.C.) as a tactic to discredit them and undermine the struggle. The state knows that the purists will readily turn on their own kind and, by extension, the cause, by using emotionally charged propaganda to incite divisiveness. It is one of the most frequently used weapons by our mutual enemy.

I have no love for the enemy - rats included - but if you are a soldier devoted to a cause, then you must be able to exploit the enemy's weaknesses and turn their strengths against them. An informant is only as good and useful as the information is he's given... or gets hold of.

I have more than 30 years in prison and I have many years of political, legal and social struggles behind and before me. Purism has one fatal flaw - it is not in a black and white world where it can be put into action. And ideology is only as good as its applicability to the conditions in purposes to address.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is referencing a debate that has been going on in the pages of Under Lock & Key for several issues now, over whether or not people on SNY or PC can be part of the revolutionary movement. MIM(Prisons) stands firmly with this comrade and against the purists who will trust the label of the prisoncrats.

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[Security] [Organizing]
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Reiterating our Position on Snitches

In the Nov/Dec 2010 ULK article entitled Lumpen Loyalty Dividing the Struggle, the question was posed by a prisoner in California: "How could you consciously and intently give known rats a forum or conduit to speak and voice an opinion as if he was an honorable and principled man? When has it been right in history to accept traitors? Never!"

to which you responded with the following quote from MIM Theory 6, The Stalin issue: "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."

You said this was "a quote that came 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." And that "In Stalin's day the principal contradiction was the fascists versus the first socialist state in modern history. Spies could have brought the destruction of the Soviet Union." And going further to say: "In the U$ prison movement, the principal contradiction we face is the conflicts between the lumpen themselves."... "Today we are in a much different condition in our discussion of spies and snitches." And "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."

But I ask you, how are we in different conditions in our discussion of spies and snitches?! Do you have any idea what these rats have done to MIM, and to us, their fellow comrades? I do not think you know the gravity of the effects these snitches are having on our movement. Not just the prison movement, but the anti-capitalism/imperialism movement.

These are the same people (snitches) who are steadily selling out their fellow comrades for little to nothing. They prevent us from moving forward with a prison movement of any kind. These same rats are part of the reason that prisons are censoring mail when it comes to certain things like MIM, ULK and USW literature. They tell prison officials that we are using the beliefs of MIM and communism to start a gang of radicals. These same rats also tell them that we are affiliated with white supremacists, and/or other gangs. That's why they will not let MIM literature in certain prisons, and are trying to stop it in others. It is also why they use MIM and communist literature to validate some people as gang members. And this is part of the reason that the prisoner from California was so upset in his letter.

And like Stalin who was trying to protect and establish socialism by weeding and killing all possible spies and infiltrators, we prisoner are trying to do the same exact thing. By eliminating and alienating all rats for the better of the prison movement, for the better of communism, for the better of the struggle against the imperialists.

This is why we have to be principled, honorable, loyal to the end, and oust anyone who isn't for the greater good of the movement in every sense.

The minority you spoke of when you said: "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." If it was not for that minority, like the prisoner from California who wrote in, there would be no prison movement. These rats can do nothing for you or our movement.

I understand that we (prisoners) need to unify and come together under mutual issues and work together, or there will be no prison movement to speak of, and that we must combat the ultra-leftism that prevents broader unity. But as you stated "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 form working with the pigs, but we must apply this principle in a way that best pushes the struggle forward." And that's exactly what we are doing by eliminating and weeding out these rats. And what we are doing is applying the principle in a way that best pushes the struggle forward. Because by leaving the rats who are against us unattended is detrimental to the prison movement, because of how they are helping prison officials to shut us down, and make it as hard as possible to make any headway. And the repercussions that most are facing at the hands of prison administrations due to the lies and false intel that the rats give them, leaves a great many prisoners weary about taking up the prison struggle movement, because the punishments that the prison administrators have been handing out.

The rats do this because they know they can get favors for turning in gangs, gang members, or united groups which prison officials look at as semi-gangs. And because they know that prison officials look at anyone who is trying to cure the injustices of a prison as a trouble maker or threat to security. They deem you a threat to security just so they can lock you up, and keep you from unifying. They also view anything such as MIM as a threat to security because it's something that helps us come together on a common ground and unite. Believe it or not prisons pay rats for info if they are a good rat, just like they'd pay a prisoner for working in the kitchen, laundry, etc.

So how can we trust them, how can we unite with them without detriment to our cause? We can't! If someone is tearing the prison movement apart like this, just imagine how dangerous they would be in a revolutionary situation. These rats are the same to us and the prison movement as the spies and infiltrators Stalin was trying to eliminate.

And though I do agree with you about the fact that some of them can change with education, the fact still remains that they can not be trusted! If they are stabbing us in the back now, and sabotaging the MIM prison movement, even if they do change with the proper education, what's to say or stop them from defecting on us later on down the road? I don't know about everyone, but that's a chance I'd rather not take. People like these rats we talk about are what have always helped the fascists and slimeball capitalist thrive into the scum they are today.

Now you can see the point of not trusting these rats. It's not just weed, tattoos, alcohol, etc, they're snitching on, it's everything we're trying to build. I'm not saying don't let these people have a forum to voice views from, because every bit of input we get form each other helps to energize us, and keeps us motivated, but there is no way we can ever unite or accept them as true allies in our struggle.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Our position on SNY yards continues to raise a point that none of the responses to it address head on. We maintain that SNY yards are not just used to house snitches who are afraid for their lives but also to house people trying to escape the violence of every day prison life. Violence that prisoners as a group have the power to stop. We know that there are snitches in SNY who are working for the pigs, but we also know that there are plenty of snitches in general population also working for the pigs. We don't want to work with these people. But we do want to work with prisoners who are genuinely interested in the anti-imperialist struggle wherever they are housed.

Our moralist comrades behind bars suggest that we should not work with snitches as if it's as easy as just looking at a return address to know who is on the right side of the anti-imperialist struggle. We have found this is not at all true. In fact many people who believe themselves to be anti-imperialists and whose peers would not call snitches, are actually working against the revolutionary struggle in one way or another. We have to judge everyone by their practice.

At the same time, we must remember that Lenin kept a known enemy on the central committee for the money that he was contributing to the struggle. Similarly, if a known snitch is sending in good anti-imperialist articles or art then we should use these articles or art. We can't control who claims to represent MIM(Prisons) behind bars, we have to leave it to the masses to see through posers by reading ULK and noticing the contradictions. But we do trust ULK to represent itself and so we will send it to any prisoner who wants to read it, and in some cases we might even turn some snitches to the side of the revolution.

Lastly, we need to address the question of trusting someone who was on the wrong side in the past. It is incorrect to judge people only for their past. We need to look at everyone's current practice. We can bear in mind past mistakes and guard against backsliding into old ways. But the Maoist prisons in China demonstrated the correct way to reeducate enemies of the people and then trust them to come out of prison and actually work in the interests of the people.

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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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