The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
[Theory] [Organizing] [Education] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
expand

An Ongoing Discussion On Organizing Strategy Pt.4

Analysis based in dialectical materialism

Within the prison movement there is much talk about ‘political education’ and ‘raising consciousness’. Truthfully, even when We reflect on recent and distant episodes in Our collective struggles against the bourgeoisie, many of us often lament upon the fact that a key ingredient that has always been lacking from Our movements, parties, organizations, and the unorganized masses, is the lack of a systemic and organized framework to political education. Assata Shakur expressed her criticism of the Black Panther Party for the same reason. Veterans of the [email protected] movement i’ve spoke with have expressed the same criticisms, stating that had more deliberate, organized approaches been given back in the days it may have progressively altered the cultural nationalist tendencies of the movement towards a revolutionary nationalist praxis. Yet and still, today We’re still stressing, and rightly so, the paramount importance of political education. However, the question has become, must become, what is political education, how do we apply it, and why is it so important?

Political education takes many forms, and phases, and the correct application of it, or what is paramount for a persyn to know is dependent upon the conditions one finds themselves in. Thus i begin with Fanon,

“It is commonly thought with criminal flippancy that to politicize the masses means from time to time haranguing them with a major political speech…But political education means opening up the mind, awakening the mind, and introducing it to the world…To politicize the masses is not and cannot be to make a political speech. It means driving home to the masses that everything depends on them, that if we stagnate the fault is theirs, and that if we progress, they too are responsible, that there is no demiurge, no illustrious man taking responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people and the magic lies in their hands and their hands alone.” (1)

Now as i was saying conditions will determine quite alot. So it is the line of USW, and many others, that amerika is a settler-neo colonial imperialist empire, and as such holds actual nations of people subjugated, meaning their/our self-development is thwarted, within its borders as well as in the Third World.

Hystory indicated that this line is right and exact. When We recall the process of how amerika was established we understand that it (nation of euro amerikan settlers) settled upon this land, removed, and committed genocide against the native nations of people, some of which are still among us today. So those (the indigenous) are just one group of nations within the borders of amerika, which We call the First Nations. Of course We all know about the forced migration of millions of Africans, and We know they underwent slavery at the hands of those same settlers, as did some Natives. What We often fail to analyze is that slavery, is only an economic system, it is a mode of producing social value, however, to describe the plight of the African people in amerika by mere economic lingo alone is highly insufficient. What is the term that would encapsulate the experience of the economic exploitation, social and political repression that the African people in amerika eventually triumphed over? Slavery? No, servitude? No. That one word which encapsulates that struggle is COLONIALISM.

Well, what the heck is colonialism? Quoting from the Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary;

Colonialism - foreign domination of a country or a people, where the economic, political and military structure is controlled and run by the occupying force. (2)

So African people residing in the United $tates are not merely the offspring of enslaved people, but a colonized people, and because of that diametrically opposed nature of a colonized people to its colonizer, the African people residing in amerika developed organically into a nation, that is a people distinct from the settler by its culture, its language, its land, and thus We call this nation today New Afrika, but others call it Black Amerika, or Black nation, or a host of other titles. No matter the title New Afrikan people are deep down aware that they’re distinct and separate, but the reality of a nation within an empire doesn’t register to some, to most, after a substantial time frame of this reality being obscured from the public consciousness.

Having roots in, but eventually developing distinct from the First Nations, there is the [email protected], and Puerto Rican nations/colonies. Overtime all these domestic colonies subjugated by the settler amerikan empire have developed thru struggle, and have reached a new and different phase of colonialism, called neo-colonialism, which can be characterized by the power structure now formally allowing representatives of these oppressed peoples to integrate into the economic, political and military structures, and in many ways act as a buffer between the ruling class and the masses of neo-colonized people.

This brings me back to Our discussion on organizing, and political education. See, depending on what We organizing for, one will require different political understanding. Fanon says,

“A political informed [person in a colonial situation] is someone who knows that a local dispute is not a crucial confrontation between [them] and [the system]”

“It is the repeated demonstrations for their rights and the repeated labor disputes that politicize the masses.” (3)

So basically what Frantz Fanon is saying here is that first one must understand they are indeed colonized, and this understanding disallows them from settling for any ol’ concession that can come from a ‘local dispute’. And here when he says local, We can put it in Our immediate context and understand it to mean, ‘prison struggles’.

What does this mean? It essentially means that We utilize, and in fact manufacture these ‘repeated demonstrations for their/our rights’ as a means to politicize the masses. However, if We are organizing the masses utilizing such demonstration alone We run into a few pitfalls. The one which i’ll deal with here can be understood by the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for you just might get it.” So in Our context, in the prison movement, what happens to the momentum of the masses, of the people as a whole if We as organizers manufacture a or a few demonstrations and the administration actually concedes? If the masses don’t understand the complexity of Our situation, that We’re colonized, dehumanized, an alienated sub-class, the dregs of the society, and that not only must these realities change, We must change within Ourselves, and We must take part in changing these realities, then the masses the people will quit the struggle after what they’ve perceived to be success, and they’ll resume their normal ways of existence. This pattern is counter-productive to the cause of revolution. We must at all times possible keep the masses active, and that activity pertaining to the struggle. Fanon said, “The colonized subject is at constant risk of being disarmed by any sort of concession.”(4)

So an understanding of what Our issues are, colonialism, neo-colonialism or racism, or individual wrong decision making, will determine the strategies and tactics We take moving forward. If We begin Our study of literature proceeding from the perspective that We’re colonized nations of people, We study how anti-colonial struggles have developed, failed and triumphed around the world. Furthermore We realize that unless an action fundamentally eradicates Our colonial existence than it is only a reform and does not solve Our fundamental problem(s) which stem from Our thwarted development under neo-colonialism. Thus We don’t even seek certain reforms, or concessions, and the ones We do are to advance Our strategic goal.

The question now becomes again HOW to maintain the masses attention before, during, and after demonstrations? The answer leads us to ORGANIZATION. Those who have a study level of political vision must take the initiative in forming real organized organizations. Within these organizations leaders should allow for activities to be carried out by the rank & file and must be sure that activities assigned to a comrade are in alignment with the talents, interests, and abilities of said comrade. In this way one keeps the masses involved and engaged. If able weekly or bi-weekly meetings should be established. Minutes should be kept of the meetings, meaning, write down what you’re doing, what you’re talking about, what are the plans going forward, etc. At said meetings each comrade should have a progress report, which entails what they’ve been doing since the previous meeting.

If a comrade can draw, they should be assigned something to draw. If a comrade can write, they should be assigned something to write. If a comrade has a typewrite they should be tasked with typing up the documents of the group. In fact it is good to take up one project that the entire collective can attribute to. Say a pamphlet, of course you need writers, We need art work, and We’ll need a typist, We’ll need some donations of stamps to circulate it to publishers, and in this way every one not only feels involved, but more importantly feels that immeasurable feeling of accomplishment. In understanding the complexities of Our class (lumpen) We must understand a lot of us have not accomplished much of anything in the way of real world accomplishments. A lot of us have been caged, stagnated in a state of arrested development, since Our pre-teen and teen years, and thus are persynally under-developed in many ways. This feeling of accomplishment motivates and inspires one to continue to chase that good feeling, and particularly when the feeling is derived from doing something productive, it overtime alters a persyn internally, and this is what We, as revolutionaries especially within the lumpen class want most.

Organizations in their many varieties are the vehicles of the people and their struggle. Vanguard elements must seek to organize all aspects of the people’s struggle, all aspects of the people’s lives under their leadership and influence. This doesn’t mean everyone has to or will be a member of a particular leading organizational body. What it means is that organization must make itself seen & heard & felt in each aspect of the people’s lives. The musician they listen to should be expressing some theme derived from the organization. The farmer should have the organization’s line on collectivizing agriculture and land. The prisoner and their family should know that the prisoner, if deemed capable can/will have a place of refuge, work, and re-humanization with the organization. The womyn must know she has a group trustworthy and capable to care for her kids collectively, and ensure her access to safe abortion if necessary. Those in the LGBTQ community must feel at one with the organization, enabled and empowered.

In a nutshell the proper organization will galvanize the popular masses of the people, educating and organizing the most capable from every and all sectors, and from there synthesize the aspirations, and ambitions of the people’s struggle with practical and concrete measures to realize these objectives.

With the formation of Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., the Texas USW re-branded, We have formed the vehicle for the Texas prisoner’s struggle. We have thus far established multiple wings which can/will be used to activate the stored away genius of the masses. We have the legal wing for those writ-writing jailhouse lawyers, a space for like minded cats to put their heads together to attack certain aspects of the system that can help us better build the movement. We have established, in its early stages, a wimmins & LGBTQ wing, which is again an avenue for certain people to step up and utilize what they already know how to do, in concert with the rest of the organized body to get what We want. We’ve established the Worker’s wing a lane where people around the state can collectively struggle for worker’s rights, and incorporate those struggles with the others and in combination gain bigger gains…We’ve established and/or influenced the establishment of numerous committees with the members therein playing roles in the ‘wings’ mentioned above. In all this We’ve done well in applying lessons learned from MIM(Prisons), and some of Our own experiences, thus synthesizing theory & practice.

It must be said however that We have made many mistakes. We began organizing as Fanon said, around demonstrations. We learned in practice, some of us without ever having read Fanon, that the masses, and Ourselves could easily get complacent after concessions are made. The mistake came by not initially focusing on ideo-theoretical questions. We had to learn that the truth of the matter that prior to any organization the people in question must sit down and individually intake information, after a certain amount of information has been accumulated they must come together and discuss their findings and thoughts, establish their points of unity, modes of organization, and other such matters. Of course this isn’t to say that all organizations come together like this. Many take on a more spontaneous approach to development and this approach is observed in their style of work.

The re-occurring theme will always be political education, the need for it will never cease, and the need to bring all the people to an active level of consciousness, that is a level where they can be/are active in the struggle.

In Our campaign to end RHU, it was selectively chosen for a multitude of reasons. One of which is to show & prove We can shut it down if & when We organize Ourselves and the people correctly. Because of conditions that prevail in long-term isolation, many of the most radical and politically astute people are in or have been in long-term isolation, if We could multiply those types of elements, and then get them out on the pop city We can make conditions more conductive to politicizing more and more prisoners sending more and more of these to the outside. To illustrate the contradiction that despite the various levels of illegality present within the solitary confinement apparatus, it still continues, and yet We’re the so-called criminals. There is of course the fact that if We can eliminate the punitive answer for dissent then We leave the enemy with little recourse once Our collective resistance picks up. In this way We take a tool out of their tool kit. However, the underlying goal is simply to shut seg down, what if they just capitulated and gave us what We wanted? What becomes of the struggle then? IF that was Our actual GOAL and not a MEANS TO AN END, then Our entire struggle would have been defeated, at least temporarily, not by bullets, or bombs, but by sugar-coated bullets, by concessions, by reforms, which weaken the intensity of contradictions rather than increase them. Mastering this delicate balance will determine the successes and failures of Our organizing methods.

“At first disconcerted, they then realize the need to explain and ensure the colonized’s consciousness does not get bogged down. In the meantime the war goes on, the enemy organizes itself, gathers strength and preempts the strategy of the colonized. The struggle for national liberation is not a question of bridging the gap in one giant stride. The epic is played out on a difficult, day-to-day basis and the suffering endured far exceeds that of the colonial period. Down in the towns the colonists have apparently changed. Our people are happier. They are respected. A daily routine sets in, and the colonized engaged in struggle, the people who must continue to give it their support, cannot afford to give in. They must not think the objective has already been achieved. When the actual objectives of the struggle are described, they must not think they are impossible. Once again, clarification is needed and the people have to realize where they are going and how to get there. The war is not one battle but a succession of local struggles, none of which, in fact, is decisive.” (5)

An Ongoing Discussion

We’ve picked this discussion back up, as some of us felt that somethings were still left unsaid or unclear.

We’ve articulated previously that one’s method to organization is logically dependent upon one’s goals, and also one’s circumstances or conditions. It is Our view that the conditions and circumstances being what they currently are in North amerika, the lumpen-prisoner class is a highly dynamic entity. This class, Our class is also a vacillating class, meaning its members can be like see-saws, moving from one side (revolutionary) to another (reactionary) as their emotions and whims take them. However, We assert that the other classes of North amerika have become so bourgeoisified that the social vehicles for social revolution are so slim to none that the last objectively repressed class in amerika, the class that still has little to no stake in the bourgeois democracy, is the lumpen.

We’ve reached this conclusion by analyzing the social forces and classes within North amerikan society. Observing their material benefits of being cozied up to their bourgeoisie. We’ve observed how and why social movements only advance so far, being largely unwilling, or sometimes unable to carry the struggle to higher levels, due to a certain level of comfort in the status quo. And We logically look to Our own class and see that these factors, though still present are vastly diminished. Therefore, arriving at this class analysis We say that it is most conductive to Our goal of social revolution to invest time and resources into the lumpen in order to politicize them, and that investment should be in proportion to the classes potential to lean towards a revolutionary line and practice.

Now We reach the basic question, how do we maximize the dynamic potential of this vacillating lumpen class? How do We ensure that the majority of lumpen are progressive, neutral, or all the way revolutionary and not objective enemies of the people? The answer again points to ORGANIZATION. The only way to maximize the people’s initiative in general and the lumpen in particular is to formulate them into tightly organized units/groups. The lumpen struggle is a class struggle, and thus We must organize the First World Lumpen on a class basis.

What does this mean, what does this look like? What is a class? There is often mention of the prisoner class, or a particular class of prisoners. However, very rarely do comrades utilize class in a Communist framework.

A ‘Class’ 1) shares a common position in their relation to the means of production; common economic conditions, relative to their labor and appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations,;i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries, and constitutes a national bond; 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’, and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’ (6)

We must also clarify that Marx differentiated between a ‘class in itself’ and a ‘class for itself’. The difference between the two can be summarized by saying that a class in itself simply shares a common economic position but lacks the other listed criteria. Whereas a class for itself is an entity fully organized and meeting all listed criteria.

Therefore, what We are saying here is that We must organize in a manner that will bring the lumpen from the level of class in itself, to the elevated level of a class for itself. Our organization should be modeled in a way to obtain the collective mobility, ingenuity, and potential of the lumpen as a whole. We must ‘nationalize’ these structures, meaning expand them state-to-state, with each one developing its own relative strength locally.

The next question is how do We get there? How do we reach this point of mass participation and organization? We’ll quote Fanon here:

“The duty of a leadership is to have the masses on their side. Any commitment, however, presupposes awareness and understanding of the mission to be accomplished, in short a rational analysis, no matter how embryonic.” (7)

Here he stresses the basic conscious political education of the people. We continue:

“The people should not be mesmerized, swayed by emotion or confusion. Only [under-developed people] led by a revolutionary elite emanating from the people can today empower the masses to step out onto the stage of history.” (8)

I’ve put the above in bold to illuminate certain mistakes We often make. We often capitulate to the weaknesses of the masses in Our good intended desire to win them over. One of the weaknesses of this sort is the masses never-ending desire to be entertained. This desire almost always precedes from a desire to escape reality, and when done too much establishes a state of complacency with oppression and exploitation and undermines revolutionary or productive/progressive activity. When We reach out to the masses We often make the mistake of trying to move them into immediate action with a fiery speech, with the showing of the video of the latest police killing, or whatever We believe may move them. Although We have good intentions this method has hystorically proven inadequate for carrying out revolution. Instead, because it relies on emotions, which fluctuate, the activity it renders, if it renders activity at all, is necessarily fluctuating, and vacillating.

We can see this in real time if We observe the ebbs and flows of social movements in North amerika. George Floyd’s taped murder shook people emotionally. It awakened pent up anger and frustration from many sectors. People took that, and nothing else, no political education, no political organization, no political vision, only anger and frustration into their protests, and rebellions, and uprisings. Soon, the only people left in the streets were politicized people. Anarchists, Socialists, Abolitionists, and this sort. The masses however, had long since retreated back into the comforts of their amerikan life of escape, and leisure, isolating what was then allowed to be percieved as extremist/terrorist elements.

This what Fanon calls the ‘weakness of spontaneity’ showed its face. We must learn from this. In the quote above the ‘under-developed people’ are those masses of North amerikans. They reside in the land of excess, material excess, but the land of political sleep-walkers. These are the people Fanon says must be led by a REVOLUTIONARY elite. Now what does he mean by this? Because of the under-developed state of the people’s sociopolitical consciousness, those cadre elements who’ve struggled to grasp the complex concepts of political-economy, and revolutionary theory, although not desiring to be perceived as an elite, meaning above the rest, they actually do represent a higher stage of development, and in that context ONLY are they ‘elite’. The key phrase of the quote is the necessity that these ‘elite’ emanate from the people, meaning they must be one of their own, or perceived as such. The cadre-organizer must take care to balance its level of understanding with the level of the masses. There will be a contradiction between these masses and the politicized persyn, there should be, but this should not be an antagonistic contradiction. The people should be able to look to you for example, not look at you in disdain. As one might do to someone who thinks their shit don’t stink. Now we move to exactly HOW does these cadres, EMPOWER THE MASSES,

“…On the condition that We vigorously and decisively reject the formation of a national bourgeoisie, a caste of privileged individuals. To politicize the masses is to make the nation (or class) in its totality a reality for every citizen. To make the experience of the nation (or class) the experience of every citizen.” (9)

“Only the massive commitment by men and wimmin to judicious and productive tasks gives form and substance to this consciousness.” (10)

“No leader, whatever their worth, can replace the will of the people, and the national government, before concerning itself with international prestige, must first restore dignity to all citizens, furnish their minds, fill their eyes with human things and develop a human landscape for the sake of its enlightened and sovereign inhabitants.” (11)

It is Our intention as USW leaders in Texas, as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. cadre, to have Our organization act as a vehicle to organize and mobilize and educate the masses of lumpen in North amerika. We hope you will be inspired to join us.

Sources:

1) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.138, chapt.3

2) Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary, pg.4

3) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.63 chapt.2

4) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2

5) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2

6) see; Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; also Karl Marx, The Holy Family;also, Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles, pg. 286

7) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.140, chapt.3

8) ibid

9) ibid

10) ibid, pg.144, chapt.3

11) ibid

chain
[New Afrika] [Theory] [First World Lumpen] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Get the Sleep Out Ya Eye

A comrade responded to the article “Oh So You Woke” in ULK 73:

“In this article the author criticizes the likes of Angela Davis and John Lewis. neither Ms. Davis nor Mr. Lewis were agents of propaganda for the bourgeois as the author implies, but rather they were committed to the struggle and spent many years on the front lines. As far as penetrating the police and other arms of state imperialism/control, someone is going to fill those roles. Is it better us or them? WE must attack the status quo from multiple fronts – from the inside as well as the outside. WE need more Angela Davises and John Lewises.”

I do agree with the comrade that WE do need to attack the status quo from multiple fronts but when one of our own lumpen falls into the lines of reformism and revisionism while on the road of revolution or liberation, instead of being a die hard non-compromising, non-settling, give-me-death-if-I-can’t-have-real-life-liberation revolutionary like Fred Hampton, Bunchy Carter and the many fore Fathers and fore Mothers of our lumpen communities, who died and were imprisoned so that the eternal fire of Freedom, Justice and Equality will never lose its light and intensity in the surviving generations and their children. So they can fight on until that day comes in entirety. Then one has to ask the question … who do you work for?

If WE as a First World lumpen and Third World proletarian revolutionaries have more individuals like Angela Davis & John Lewis, We’ll never fulfill the S.O.P.’s of the UFPP. We’ll be in a state of Reformism and Revisionism, being closely intertwined with imperialism/capitalism instead of overthrowing it.

First and foremost Angela Davis is a major reformist, she was a part of the Communist Party, U$A, where the CPU$A was about that Real Life revolution before the 1940’s but by the 1960’s all their members that took inspiration from Mao Zedong had left the party. After the attempt of Jonathan Jackson of freeing his older brother George Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette (Soledad Brothers) at Marin County Courthouse in San Rafael, CA, was then Angela Davis charged with aiding the attempted escape and placed on the FBI’s most wanted list due to her close correspondence with George Jackson. She was found not guilty after her case was severed from the other defendants like Ruchell “Cinque” Magee who is still locked up in these Koncentration Kamps, while the rally call of the masses at the time was “Free Angela Davis and ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!” Then in 1973 she founded the CP front the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression that REFUSED to come defend Black Liberation Army members facing prison time.

Later on in her “revolutionary” life she got back into academia while still being a huge influence for the CPU$A, where she ran twice for Vice President of the U$A. She supported Democratic presidential candidates, like Joe Biden, to pressure them when in office to the CPU$A’s Khrushchevite peaceful transition into socialism agenda or the Pac-Man politics (biting away at imperialism until it collapses on itself). She also co-founded the Committees of Correspondence with a moniker that points to the CPU$A’s notion that “Communism is 20th Century Americanism.” In her writings and university lectures in the academic realm, she promoted the CPU$A’s reformism and postmodern politics, the basis of this day and age concept of “Abolition,” and not the dire need of armed revolution.

John Lewis is basically the same in the sense with the Pac-Man politics, Abolition reformist movement and post-modernism. Also one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and a leader in the peaceful nonviolent strategy of protest and civil unrest. The “Woke” U.$. leftists, who are the petty-bourgeoisie, praises Angela Davis and John Lewis as saints and the imperialist aided in placing them on those pedestals to be praised by the masses, because they knew with the ideologies and concepts that these two individuals promote will do no real harm to their oppressive establishment. Point proven in the last summer series of protest after the murder of George Floyd and many others.

What real change came from that civil unrest in a real revolutionary way? It’s because of Angela Davis and John Lewis that We have to re-educate and un-brainwash the masses from the concepts and ideologies of Reformism, Revisionism, Postmodernism and the Pac-Man politics with the concepts and ideologies of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism to gain liberation from imperialism through armed resistance and revolution. Reason why it was stated that they are agents of the imperialist propaganda in the article “Oh, So You Woke.” Whether it was intentional or not they step out of the realm of being First World lumpen to the realm of the petty-bourgeoisie and benefited from the transition also. It pays to be famous and in the limelight of the pop culture revolutionary contest, right? Even after being on the front lines where they witness first hand so many of our souljas and leaders lose their lives, placed in exile and/or imprisoned, they settled for positions of comfort for self and appeared to be in the struggle still, instead of being ten toes down in the mud with WE overthrowing imperialism/capitalism to establish socialism, and later communism, nation- and world-wide.

DON’T FALL FOR THE POP CULTURE REVOLUTIONARY HYPE COMRADES.

chain
[Youth] [Gender] [Theory] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

Youth Liberation, Not Paternalistic Child Credits

Nancy Pelosi promotes child tax credits to [email protected] in Califaztlan, but is another pay out the answer to the oppression of youth? Photo by: Mario Tama

One thing we heard from those saddened by the police murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was that she didn’t get to have a childhood.(1) While nation is most certainly the primary factor that led to the cop, Nicholas Reardon, shooting Bryant, we think gender oppression, and in particular youth oppression, had a lot to do with Bryant ending up where she did on that fateful day.

When people speak of being able to have a childhood, we may think of a time of fun, carefree play, no work, no oppression, etc. Of course most people in the world don’t have much of a childhood in this sense. But in the United $tates many do. So already we see there is some hierarchy involved in this idea of having a childhood, at least under imperialism. We see this hierarchy as the realm of gender because it is a question of leisure time and not labor time, which is the subject of class (see Clarity on What Gender is). But there is also the question of why we must separate our lives into periods of fun and play and periods of work and oppression? And why do we have oppression at all? And how did work become a bad thing?

To answer these question briefly, the relations of production under capitalism are what alienates people from their labor today, so that they feel their labor time is not their time. But as “adults,” most must spend the majority of their waking hours in labor time. While some people want those like Bryant to have the purist, most care-free childhood as possible, we are working towards a whole life that is enjoyable and fulfilling. And we doubt that is possible without a healthy dose of productive labor. The exclusion of children from work for over 100 years in the United $tates has left them with no productive role to play in society, leading to alienation and lack of worth.(2) This alienation and lack of self-worth is reinforced by abuse, and leads to destructive behavior.

As Greyhound points out in eir article on Ma’Khia Bryant, the Soviet Union provided family for orphaned youth through the productive life of the commune. The communes did not work kids to the bone to squeeze out the maximum profits as the capitalists once did in the United $tates, and still do in most of the world. Below we look at some attempts by capitalist Amerika to provide for youth and why they cannot get at the source of youth oppression as well as socialist experiments that have.

Child Credits Pay the Patriarch

With sheltering-in-place during the pandemic and no in-persyn schooling for most children, the question of childcare has received much attention in the United $tates. The answer from the bourgeoisie came in the form of child credits. Amerikan families began receiving these payments in mid-July 2021, for a total of $3000-3600 per family over the next 6 months.

These credits are a market-based attempt to address the problem of adults in the nuclear family spending large sums of money to have their children cared for when they are working or otherwise occupied. These credits put more power in the hands of the adults who get the money over the lives of the children who qualify them for these payments. Money for those who struggle to make ends meet can certainly mean less stressful conditions for their children. The logic makes sense, it is just a backwards, half-ass approach. By the 1960s in socialist China, all children had guaranteed care that was collectively run and offered ways for youth to voice their concerns and avoid abusive situations. This was in a country where a decade or two earlier children were basically sold into slavery. This is the kind of radical change the youth need, that a profit-based system can’t provide.

Punishing Sex Offenders to Save the Family

It is very evident that affection, support and trust in our lives as young people have significant effects on our health throughout our lives.(3) Lack of positive social relationships and experiences has been linked to drug addiction and correlates strongly with imprisonment. Therefore this is a topic very dear to the hearts of many of our readers.

One way we see this manifest in a more reactionary politic of the imprisoned masses is in the strong, often violent attitudes towards sex offenders in prison culture. This sentiment exists outside prison of course, but became part of the prison culture because of the concentration of convicted sex offenders there. As we’ve addressed in the past, this reactionary politic is problematic on the one hand in that it is allowing the state to decide who our enemies are, that in many cases the actions that led to these cases are mild compared to many non-sex-offender charges and in some cases the people are completely innocent.(4) In the United $tates, white males and females, as a group, have treated the Black male as a sexual animal that must be controlled, sometimes by fake rape charges and imprisonment. In other words, some who are convicted as sex offenders are actually the victims of gender oppression, as well as national oppression.

A second reason we say the anti-sex offender politic is reactionary is that it doesn’t offer any real solutions to the problem of the sexual abuse of children. It is an example of why MIM always opposed the slogan “Think global, act local.” If you think globally about this problem of child abuse, and act locally by ostracizing or even attacking those you come in contact with who have (or who you believe have) abused children, you haven’t changed anything if the patriarchy remains. You can confirm this with crime statistics, or just the fact that we live in a society where we know this problem is still prevalent.

Addressing child abuse requires systemic change as the Chinese instituted during their experiment in socialism. Young people need a different system that supports them with things we know people need to grow up healthy; mentally and physically. These things can not be offered on conditions or the whims of one or two adults who control the child’s life. As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And people who are serious about reducing child abuse need to work to build those villages and build them in ways that give young people full access to information, a wide variety of adult support people, including those in power, and access to other youth without the interference of adults. The village should also give repercussions to youth for “bad behavior.” These repercussions should be consistent in order to provide the youth with social guidance and never be used by individual adults to get what they want from children or to take out their frustrations from a bad day. The oversight of a more village-based model must prevent adults from doing such things.

Different Models

What the bourgeoisie offers in place of the village is more cash to the patriarch. These cash incentives make single-parent homes more viable. But single-parent homes are some of the easiest places for adults to molest and abuse children.

The reactionary approach to child abuse (imprisonment and violence) also reinforces the patriarchy, where strong adult men must protect youth from other adult men by physical assault. One critique of this line points out how it views the rights of children the same as the rights of animals in that they must be granted and enforced from the outside.

“pseudo feminists… [accept a] zoological implication that child abuse is going to go on forever, as if… child abuse were inherent in the humyn species, and at the same time external to humyn social relations, like animals.”(5)

The Maoist counter-point then is that child abuse is a humyn relationship that is found within the patriarchal family structure. It is part of the central problem of oppression of groups of people by other groups that we aim to resolve through ongoing revolutionary struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Rather than punishing sex offenders to save the family and “protect our children”, we must replace the nuclear family with communal child-rearing, and empower young people to criticize others in order to stop those who might try to abuse children.

Putting child care in the public sphere will do a lot to undermine the conditions of child abuse. But it does not eliminate the biases of the adult population, especially those that grew up in the old capitalist ways, from miseducating or mistreating youth as a group. And we know that institutional living like group homes and prisons, where many adults are involved in “care” for the youth, are rife with abuse. For these reasons youth must have ways of coming together as a group and voicing their interests as a group, even enforcing their interests as a group in contradiction to the adults that they depend on. l Ruth Sidel produced an in-depth report on Women and Childcare in China as well as in the Soviet Union and the kibbutz in I$rael. In one Chinese school, when asked what you’d do if you found a sick child on the street, a 6-year-old child responded: “i’d bring them medicine and water.” Sidel was surprised the child would not find an authority figure first.(6) What a striking difference in world views between socialist children and how most of us grew up in this country. These children still spent most of their days singing and playing and doing things that we all did in school. Yet, they were taught differently, taught to act and be self-empowered as soon as they were able to physically complete the tasks that might be demanded of them, like bringing another child water, or possibly organizing resistance to an abusive adult.

Some reading this will find the youth helping other youth not so strange because they raised their siblings at a young age. This is another way that peoples’ “childhoods are lost” in our culture; having to take care of other children as a child. It is not that care for those younger than you is inappropriate to carry out as a child, but that you need the support of a community to do so in a way that is not oppressive to your own life and most supportive to those you help care for.

According to the story from Ma’Khia Bryant’s grandmother, the conflict that had occurred among two groups of foster children was over perceived disrespect to the foster mother due to the lack of chores getting done. Most likely the situation was more complicated. But we see how there can be a disagreement over the labor responsibilities of members of a family that leads to violent conflict. This would be very unlikely when people have clear responsibilities, clear and consistent consequences that are enforced by the group for not meeting those responsibilities, and ways to communicate up front with both adults and youth about the roles and treatment of others.

The Roles of Youth in Society

In discussing Ma’khia Bryant’s childhood, we must address the fact that she was 16 years old when she was murdered by a cop because of this conflict. Other 16-year-olds in the area could have banded together to take revenge on Reardon for shooting her. Most members of the Black Panther Party joined in their teens. Bobby Hutton was murdered by the pigs emself at age 17 while on an armed patrol of the police. Sixteen is much more physically developed than six, and would mostly only be limited by legal restrictions like being able to drive or purchase fire arms.

Fifteen was the age when members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo(FARC-EP) could engage in armed actions.(7) As the struggle of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF) advanced, they established the Fitewerari to train male youth 14 to 16 years old and females of all ages. They found that training the adult females separate from adult males helped in both groups overcoming the traditional gender roles they had been inculcated with. The youth did not have these challenges, at least not to the same degree.

“In addition to literacy education, political and military training, and running their daily affairs, they participate in production, adhering to the EPLF’s correct revolutionary principle of ‘integrating education with production.’ They practice criticism and self-criticism to rectify mistakes, develop work and strengthen comradely solidarity. Upon finishing training, they are assigned to the different EPLF units and departments to carry on the struggle on all fronts.”(8)

Much has been put into the idea that a humyn’s prefrontal cortex is growing rapidly up until about age 25. The implication being that you can’t quite trust the judgement of those under 25. But this is only one data point, of a biological phenomenon we still barely understand. And along with this data point comes some implications in how younger people are willing to go against the status quo and can change their ways faster. We look to history, to see the transformative power of youth movements, rather than follow current trends in biological determinism based in preliminary studies of the brain.

Towards a World Without Oppression

When Maoists talk about gender, we are talking about a system of power in the realm of leisure time; the patriarchy. In that system, youth are generally part of the gender-oppressed. Though in the imperialist countries, they are likely part of a gender aristocracy, a child aristocracy, particularly those who have access to the idealized carefree childhood.

Similar to the wimmin in bourgeois society, the bourgeois children are relegated outside of labor and exclusively to leisure time. This leisure time is meanwhile structured to serve the pleasure of the man and the interests of capitalism overall. These groups being relegated to leisure time reinforces the divide between leisure time and labor time in society mentioned above. This is one reason why it is hard to imagine undoing gender hierarchy without first undoing capitalism, which would eliminate the sharp divide between labor time and leisure time. Through this process, gender will cease to be so separate from class struggle as it is in the bourgeoisified First World countries. Then our lives as individuals will be more complete, as will our communities.

Youth liberation is part of and dependent on the struggle to end capitalism and imperialism. Youth don’t need more paternalism, they need a supportive village to learn from and the freedom to self-actualize themselves without the fetters of oppression that shape our lives today.

Notes: 1. Greyhound, July 2021, Ma’Khia Bryant: A Murder of An Oppressed Nation Youth Demands Real Solutions, Under Lock & Key 74.
2. Nadine Burke Harris, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
3. MCB52, The Oppression of Children Under Patriarchy, MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism, 1995, p.17.
4. A Nevada Prisoner, December 2016, Sex Offenders Reconsidered, Under Lock & Key 55.
5. Is Calvin Human? and other annoying questions: “Calvin and Hobbes,” zoology, and the oppression of children by patriarchy, Maoist Information Website, April 2009.
6. Ruth Sidel, Women and Childcare in China, Penguin Books, 1982, p.135.
7. Maria Paula Rubiano, 13 July 2021, How to Feed 10,000 Rebel Fighters for 50 years, Atlas Obscura.
8. Selected Articles from “Vanguard: Official Monthly Organ of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front”, Association of Eritrean Students in North America, October 1977, p.12.

chain
[Theory] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy, Act Accordingly

“There is nothing mystical, elusive or hidden about real working class consciousness. It is the political awareness that the exploiting class and its state must be fought… that the laboring masses of the world have unity in their need for socialism…” (J.Sakai, Settlers)

It is hard for some to accept that only through an actual revolution against this government and its imperialist allies can this world even hope for peace. In addition, any building, calls for unity or worse still, claims of socialism or revolution that is not in the service of this objective is actually in the service of capitalism-imperialism, i.e. counter-revolution.

Mao said: it is only when there is class struggle that there can be philosophy. And to discuss epistemology apart from practice is a waste of time. Additionally it is only through social practice that we can talk about correct or incorrect ideas at all. Recently bourgeois media have made a big deal of gun violence which is an obvious response to BLM and Defund movements. Additionally, we are all aware of the unprovoked attacks on Asians and now the media and politicians are demanding Cuba not crack down on protest and a promise to keep an eye on Haiti. However there is or has been much protest regarding all these issues yet no real consciousness being transformed. Why?

As J. Sakai states, it is due to the failure to identify our class enemies. Also as Mao stated, our philosophy can only be forged via class struggle. However, the reason I mentioned the above latest media spins is to remind us the enemy sadly never forgets to engage in the class struggle. Obviously that means we (the people) are being routed. Presumably most of the hit squad that murdered Moise in Haiti were trained by the U.$. Rumors are that at least one was previously on its informant pay roll. Cuba is heavily embargoed. Trump alone put 243 additional restrictions on it and Obama and Biden very much kept their imperialist boots on its neck. So Cuba, regardless of how spontaneous the protest is, is very much in the cross hairs of European settlers and their flunkies cross hairs.

When we studied Black nationalism a common refrain was an alleged pronouncement on the entrance of an ancient school of thought in Egypt, “Man, Know thyself.” Regardless of if this is true it simply meant for us to know we had content and value. However, it wasn’t particularly revolutionary, nor even dialectical. And for someone who never experienced slavery it would have been a cliche. However, a more dialectical saying would’ve been first to drop the “man”, and just: “Know yourself and know your enemies.” This is dialectical materialism, this is to understand the class struggle and enter the fight on the right side. I say that because far too many “claim revolution” but don’t participate in any revolutionary activities.

Social-imperialism is another way capitalism-imperialism discombobulates our class by getting us to believe most people here in the belly of the beast are “lost” and can be won over to revolution; that they are supporting the parasitism of empire only because they don’t know any better. This wastes time and it wastes resources. I was listening to Cat Brooks, a “freedom fighter” who is bent on defunding the police. On a 5 way call a brother who did 15 years was saying his org don’t work with the pig at all, but Brooks said they do, “but only limited” i.e. they have a purpose. These calls go along with $15/hr a minimum wage or like Raymond Lotta says $10/hr is a grueling wage. These are conscious calls of the labor aristocracy and my point here is that it’s not just Euro-settlers who are labor aristocracy in ideology, as well as practice. This is why commercial hip hop currently is not a vehicle for change.

However, regardless if these people get more people to pander to their line or not and regardless of if the imperialists share more of their wealth or not this only serves to help imperialism fuck over the people even more. Mao said “utopian socialists” are always trying to persuade the bourgeoisie to be more charitable. Mao said emphatically, “this won’t work” and that it is necessary to rely on class struggle of the proletariat. Clearly this means in this day and age anti-imperialism, self-determination struggles, and a clear line denoting our class enemies and their optimistic flunkies who claim we’re all in this together and people will care about us once they get to know us – must be drawn.

Some say it’s too hard, but as I stated it simply is not. Our “genius does not depend on one person or a few people. It depends on a party, the party which is the vanguard of the proletariat. Genius is dependent on mass line, on collective wisdom,” as succinctly stated by Mao. It is impossible to always be in the trenches together as we deserve, but it is a form of class struggle and perfecting this definitely is a blow back against empire.

chain
[Theory] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

Do We Need a Party Yet?

fist and sickle USW

Karl Marx was writing at a time when bourgeois democracy had triumphed, and political parties ruled the day. These political parties represented the various oppressive classes, primarily the bourgeoisie itself. A radical idea at the time was to form a party that was for and by the proletariat.

V.I. Lenin led the first successful project to build a proletarian party, a Communist Party, and take power from the hands of the oppressors and put it in the hands of the oppressed. Lenin left us with many lessons on how to do this, how such a party should be organized and how it should operate. The Party as the vehicle for the transfer of power from the oppressor to the oppressed has been a foundation of revolutionary science ever since.

The Maoist Internationalist Movement began in 1983. In 1990 the first MIM party, MIP-Amerika, was formalized. In 2006, the Party dissolved and put out a plan for a new cell structure for the MIM. In 2007, MIM(Prisons) formed as a cell. There remains no functioning parties within the MIM today.(see Continuity and Rupture: A Counter-Narrative to JMP’s History of Maoism for more on MIM timeline)

A CA USW comrade: “[The journal] Kites hit it square on the head though as MIM has said we really don’t have a vanguard. But I thought Kites’ pointing out a squandered opportunity in 2020 on point. This is our job, to seize opportunity out of the objective situations and especially the crisis amongst the enemy itself. The only thing missing regarding the external factors (we can’t control) is 3rd world revolutionary revolts. But we have no mass support but 2020 should’ve been a god-send for that. And it wasn’t.”

Actually, MIM has never said we don’t have a vanguard. MIM has always said the vanguard is the most advanced political line, which could be held by a tiny organization or even one individual when conditions are very undeveloped. What this comrade gets right is our situation remains very undeveloped.

We won’t get into a deep analysis of revolutionary forces here. We do think 2020 was an opportunity to expand our influence that we could have done more with if we were stronger. But the essential character of the U.$. population did not, and has not changed from 2019 or from 2001. The vast majority in this country benefit from the current imperialist order.

MIM(Prisons) has argued that the cell structure makes sense at this strategic stage, even within a Leninist model, because we are not vowing for state power at this time, or tomorrow. Another USW comrade in Federal prison contends that the lack of a party:

“complicates the task of implementing a totalizing strategy for revolution and building the mass base to carry it forward.”

This comrade argues that we need a united leadership to guide us down the correct road now. We touched on the inherent contradiction of the cell structure in our Reassessing Cell Structure 5 Years Out where we pointed out that it allows for one cell to decide its time to form a party, while others disagree. If only that were the main problem we were facing today.

The question is, do we need a party for a united strategy? And what are the downsides of moving too quickly into a Party formation to try to achieve that? We actually have a question about the weaknesses of the a party structure in our introductory study course. Here are some recent answers:

"B.D.S.: Bad leadership could cause death of the movement

Ocelotl: Easier to target and infiltrate

Iashstiem: Security is more easily compromised

Adonis Salvo: More difficult to control and keep organized and focused

The Sober Souljah: Slacking in security by accepting strangers

F.L.A.V.A. 1: It will bring more of a spotlight on the party depending on its action in the revolution

Anarchy in VA: Prioritizing actions to take

Jups: Snitches/spying break down organization"

The primary answer, and the primary reason given by MIM for adopting the cell structure, was security. The second reason offered by comrades here is a fear of putting all your eggs in one basket type of argument. If we can allow for a diversity of approaches, we have more possibilities for success. This could be especially important in the early phases of our development as a movement. If five people come together and form a “Party” all we have is five self-appointed leaders. MIM(Prisons) often mentions the development of leadership that occurs through the forced self-reliance within small cells. It is when we have cells around the country who can elect leaders to represent them in a Party that such a project becomes viable.

A CA prisoner comments: "I was very impressed with ULK’s answer to the Potash book on Tupac. Until now I did not know that anyone other than myself was aware of the extent the intelligence community is involved in eliminating dissidents of their empire and the psychological warfare against civilians in the U.S. thru COINTELPRO and other intel ops against civilians. I was astonished to have my innermost suspicions confirmed by ULK. With the elimination of our leaders, we can not succeed thru unity, We must adopt independent cells as a model as you are obviously aware, every time a potential leader arises that can restore basic human rights and dignity and even freedom itself, the U.S. government is quick to eliminate our leader.

“And so you are correct in educating the People… Thru mass education, hopefully the People will awaken and do the work independent of any one leader, as a duty to the idea of freedom, not as a part of a bid for acceptance… True freedom can only come from socialism… We face a giant and to truly succeed we must be very wise. We cannot win by force yet so let us educate ourselves and know that against our common enemy we all must fight our own battle.”

This comrade touches on security, our strategic stage and the strategy of People’s War as opposed to great man theory. Education is always important, but at this stage it is principal over the use of force. This comrade’s approach to mass education as the best hedge against losing the leaders we depend on is in line with the Maoist strategy of People’s War. This strategy involves building a People’s Army that is embedded in the people, engaging in productive work and educational campaigns side-by-side with the people as we work towards developing base areas. Ultimately, as this comrade points out, Mao’s emphasis on how the people must learn to wage war through waging war rings true.

In our culture, social media reinforces practices that put individuals in the spotlight. We must develop ways to utilize the reach of the internet, without promoting ideas of great man theory or revealing persynal information of our leaders.

Security practices is one area where we must do more education. The only people MIM(Prisons) has interacted with that have good security practice seem to be individuals working alone. The state of basic security practice among revolutionaries is horrible. There is no way to succeed in a serious struggle with such practices. Yet, we must move beyond isolated individuals posting anonymous content to actually do real organizing.

A NY USW comrade asks: “Is the cell ideology productive? As a single unit I have not been able to grow. I do not believe it is me. Is there more I can do somehow else?”

The original MIM resolution on cell structure pointed out that a one-persyn cell is the most secure. But is it effective? MIM(Prisons) critiqued the idea of a one-persyn cell in general in its lack of ability to develop knowledge dialecticaly with just one mind. Some may be able to do it, but we don’t think it is a path that will move us forward fastest.

So what of the single-persyn cell trying to grow that can’t seem to recruit? In prison this problem is distinct in that you have no control over who and how many people you have access to. That is a separate problem. And we’d say you can reach others and recruit outside your prison by writing and producing artwork for Under Lock & Key, for example.

Whether in prison or not, the question becomes what can the party or larger organization give you as an individual to increase your success? We might think of things like a newspaper, mass campaigns, sharing experiences around what works and what doesn’t, connecting people and projects to make our work more efficient, imposing rules and discipline on cadre. It is not clear to us that we need a party for any of these things. We propose that technology today allows us to do all of these things in an anonymous and efficient manner.

MIP-Amerika was known to have better security practices than most self-declared communist parties in the United $tates, and yet they saw security as a weakness that led to their demise. We should take this lesson to heart. It will be premature to launch a party before cadre have come to understand security practices and power struggle. Our conditions include a level of surveillance and Liberalism that other revolutionary movements did not face. We must have real strategies for addressing these problems before we embark on the Party-building project.

The problem with the cell structure as it exists in our movement is that there is no centralized strategy for layering our security practices. The problem faced by small organizations concerned about security is how to separate out roles and tasks when your cadre is limited. The cell structure can force this situation onto us. The advantage of the Party is being able to do this bigger-scale and longer-term strategic construction. But we argue that we are not at this stage yet.

The cell structure is pointless without good security practices. That would play to our weaknesses by needlessly dividing our limited forces. It is only by developing security practices that would allow for a successful bid for state power that the cell structure really becomes operational. In the early stages of Party formation we should aim to maintain some of the policies of cell structure as a fail-safe. As our position becomes stronger, the security problems of a centralized party become less of a concern.

As always, politics must stay in command. This type of strategic thinking must come after an ideological consolidation. We seem to be in the stage of “letting 100 flowers bloom” as different interpretations and applications of Maoism in occupied Turtle Island are doing their things, watching and criticizing each other. While we have criticized a number of these trends as revisionists of Maoism, the diversity of people we see studying Maoism is a step forward. We will need many more cells organizing around the MIM cardinal principles, with demonstrated practices, before the question of party building becomes concrete for us.

As we move to the next step of ideological consolidation, we must address this strategic question: when is it time to build a Party? This is a question of utmost importance as we have no successful revolutionary strategy in conditions like ours to learn from. We must not rush to form a Party in a way that suddenly reveals all of our fiercest leaders to the state. As the state will move to kill, imprison, bad-jacket and pit these leaders against each other. Perhaps we can achieve ideological unity and strategic unity prior to forming a party. At this time we believe we should strive to preserve the benefits of cell structure without promoting isolation.

chain
[Theory] [Gender] [United Front] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

A Hint of Homophobia in Last Issue

Upon reading and re-reading the most recent ULK (72) as i usually do, i ran across a segment of an article that i believe to be homo/transphobic and therefore deserves criticism in the spirit of unity-struggle-unity.

The segment in question is on pg. 7, #5 of the demands reads as follows:

  1. Every prison in the state of Pennsylvania allow gay prisoners inside each prison block to hold hands/hold each other, have make-out sessions and have intercourse. The department of corrections of Pennsylvania even sell bras/panties, makeup, provide hormone injections and sex changes.

Now, I said “i believe” this was homo/trans phobic, because I acknowledge that some may not feel that way. Additionally, i’ll say that for the sake of organizing, it should be removed, as regardless of possible ill intent it serves to alienate people who’re not your enemy and can be allies.

Now i hold my belief that the comment was a homo/transphobic slight because the previous four demands the authors’ wrote down in question form, while #5 was listed as a statement and was entirely unnecessary if we look to the sub-points (a) and (b), which clearly articulate the point the authors wished to make, without the slight.

Comrades, i’m a heterosexual, cis-gendered male, who’s struggled here at my place of captivity against the gendered oppression of LGBT people, by inmate and pig oppressors alike. In the midst of this struggle what i’ve attempted to get cats to understand is, for one there are three strands of oppression: nation, class and gender. In the context of gender, i’ve had to humble myself to learn, or re-learn sometimes from a trans womyn comrade, things i thought i knew. One key piece of information i learned from her was also articulated by MIM(Prisons) in ULK47, pg. 4, attacking the myth of binary biology:

“Humyn biology has never been entirely binary, with relation to sex characteristics. There are a range of interactions between chromosomes, hormone expressions and sexual organ development. The resulting variation in anatomical and reproductive characteristics includes a lot of people who do not fit the standard binary expectation… as many as 1 in 100 births deviate from the standard physical expectations of sex biology.”

i’ve included this quote to suggest that cats look in depth into the material reality and internal development of things in order to get a clearer understanding instead of demonizing people and behavior.

The second point i’ve stressed here at this prison and now extend to the Pennsylvania prisoners, is that being that there are 3 strands of oppression, and we are in the business of eradicating oppression, then we are in error whenever we condemn national and class oppression while upholding gender oppression.

While the authors of the demands did not advocate gender oppression, eir language suggests that ey would rather the behavior listed in Point #5 be eradicated, which in turn would be oppressive to those who engage in said behaviors.

Additionally, i think you cats in PA could benefit from gaining some form of insight from those LGBT prisoners as to how to solve y’alls problems. i’ll have you realize that your Points 1-4 apply to LGBT prisoners as well along with points a and b. and 6 … or do they? My point is that the behavior which you seem to dislike was not always a reality. Around the empire, state-by-state, for decades, LGBT prisoners have struggled in court and through other avenues to gain the ability to express themselves freely.

If you would seek an ally in those near you, y’all may gain some insight on your own concerns, but viewing the LGBT populace as ‘other’ than yourselves only serves the interests of the badge, and stunts your own development as a revolutionary freedom fighter.

The key is to look at your situation in a dialectical materialist perspective. First, identify the fundamental contradiction, which in any and every prison is badge versus captives. The lumpen class must become united. Now within the lumpen class there are internal contradictions, only one of which is the contradiction between non-LGBT versus LGBT prisoners. This is a secondary contradiction, and it must be resolved because like all contradictions, it will develop into an antagonistic stage and an internal antagonistic/contradictory struggle is not beneficial in this context if y’all are to accomplish your goals, and moreso, advance the captive’s aspect of the fundamental contradiction against the badge/state.

In conclusion, i wanna articulate the fact that we can not eliminate oppression if we are ourselves oppressors. We have no right to condemn our own oppression yet turn a blind eye to the oppression of others. Practice PEACE and UNITY sisters and brothers, as articulated in the UFPP principles … unite, don’t split!

chain
[Black Lives Matter] [Youth] [Theory] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

Oh, So You Woke?

Coming into the new year of 2021 with the protest, or what CBS news and other news casting platforms calls “The Assault on the Capitol,” one must look back on the past years to this pivotal point of time. Especially when it comes to the millennials and generation Z. It’s because of this age group, and to be honest it’s not even an age group of individuals but a mindset of individuals ranging from the very old to the very young, that’s making these movements on both sides of the political spectrum of the imperialist-capitalist government. Even though a lot of the individuals who started these movements like the Black Lives Matters movement and QAnon or Proud Boys are of the age of college students ranging from 18 years old to mid or late 30s. One has to pose the question of, “Where are the doctrines of these movements coming from?” One will say the government; then the next question is posed, “By what method is the government distributing these doctrines?” The answer is through these universities and colleges.

After reading the Kites Editorial Committee article, “Kick ‘Em While They’re Down”: This speaks on how the U.S. “Left” views Angela Davis as a saint, like Saint Maurice of Germany. For these twitter-age revolutionaries, which for us who are true and living revolutionaries, know that these individuals are reformist, are being indoctrinated with writings and speeches like Angela Davis’s to continue the ‘We shall overcome one day, by changing the system from the inside’ mantra.

How this imperialistic/capitalistic government continues this mantra is by using a trap-door-spider tactic. Which is by taking the brightest of lumpen children out of these ghettos and barrios schools, have them come to college, where then the colleges close the door behind the lumpen child where they get entangled with the reformist state of mind. Basically stripping lumpen college students of whatever idea of making a change that doesn’t involve using the system that the imperialist government uses to control first world lumpen and proletariat in the equation.

The imperialist government is still on the COINTELPRO “Stop the rise of a Black Messiah” but the difference is it’s not just one Judas now, and when one sits down and look at those who fell into the “change the system from the inside” trap door, they will see how many Judases are out there, keeping tabs on the youth of the lumpen. The imperialistic government and those who are Judases to the struggle would rather the lumpen youths sell out for a small crumb of the capitalist/imperialist pie, than go get weapons, organize themselves and push for armed revolution. Especially in the age of social media, where one is way more than able to reach and be in contact with other like-minded individuals across this imperialist country. But also other lumpen in other imperialist countries, and would more than love to see the end of these governments that holds the world’s power currently.

The imperialist-capitalist knows this and to counter-act this worldwide united front advancement against them, they use individuals like John Lewis and Angela Davis to push the bourgeois propaganda of being a muthafucking cop to our youth. What we, who are truly dedicated to this struggle, have to give the youths who are serious about changing their circumstances, first is nationalism (either New Afrikan or La Raza Aztlán) then internationalism. Show em the truth about previous revolutionaries, their successes, their failures, and where the movement is now, and how to move forward correctly, which is to break the spell that was cast on our youth by the bourgeoisie, by the way of the University of Maoist Thought and the standard operating procedures of the United Front for Peace in Prison. So that they’ll never get jedi mind tricked by the those who claim to be revolutionaries but are really junior deputies, and reach and teach those who are like-minded the right way.

It’ll spread faster than last year’s California wildfires because the majority of the revolutionaries WE were inspired by to even join in the struggle, were all individuals 25 years old or younger. Teach the youth the truth and aid and assist them through righteous mentorship, and watch how the imperialist-capitalist nation falls.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is true that organizations like the Panthers were predominately under 25 years old, and we would expect the next revolutionary vanguard party to be of similar demographics. But the university and the mass media are distracting today’s youth with this fake woke reformism. The new generation of the oppressed need to find themselves independently of these institutions as the Panthers did. We need more education, but we don’t need to join their institutions and take on their ideologies.

QAnon and the Proud Boys are a little different though. QAnon is not a youth movement. It is a movement of predominately older, less educated Amerikans. Both of these groups find support in the mass media via mouth pieces like Donald Trump, yet they also get support for their affront to the ideas of academia. These groups tap into sectors of the oppressor nation in a way that communists need to tap into the oppressed. They represent real social forces in a way that the interests of the oppressed are not currently being represented.

chain
[Black Lives Matter] [Theory] [ULK Issue 72]
expand

Talking Points for Our Movement

This year has been filled with misinformation, in the media that has been strategically broadcasted to mislead, antagonize and keep people divided. It is beyond my comprehension to understand how people reason with themselves to vote for people to office as their representatives without analysis of what is really going on. All year long the media broadcasts visible contradictions in everything these representatives say and do, yet no one questions or holds these representatives accountable for their actions and inactions.

Movement after movement has arose in opposition to inactions or actions of government officials, but to what end? or means? These movements proclaim this and that end or means but without any analysis of what is really taking place. I see no method for resolving these contradictions to any prosperous end through any known movement. Our movement (MIM(Prisons) and associates) are included in my analysis because of recent dissonance. The Spring 2020 ULK No. 70 publication attempts to demystify MIM’s failures, but has either forgotten or not published Mao Zedong’s cataloged weaknesses exhibited by themselves or the lumpen-proletarians as revolutionary soldiers. The following should be published as strong talking points for future issues:

  1. The military viewpoint – A tendency to regard fighting as the only task of the army, avoidance of such political tasks as educating and organizing the mass of the people, arming ’em and helping ’em to establish their own political power. Without this fight/politikal work the whole fight is lost and its meaning and the revolutionary a reason for existence.

  2. Extreme democracy – Aversion to discipline, each commander and soldier going their own way in a carefree manner.

  3. Absolute equalitarianism – A demand that everyone be treated alike regardless of circumstances; meanwhile no one is created equal.

  4. Subjectivism – Holding opinions and criticisms without a realistic examination of the facts and without regard for politikal principle, basing opinions on random talk and wishful thinking; focusing criticism on minor issues, petty defects and personal quirks. All of these only lead to mutual suspicion and unprincipled quarreling between people.

  5. Individualism – Vindictiveness, cliquism, the mercenary viewpoint; holding oneself responsible to individual leaders rather than to the revolution as a whole; Hedonism – an urgent desire for personal comfort and pleasure, longing to leave the hard life of struggle and find some softer spot.

  6. The idea of roving insurgents

  7. Adventurism – Acting blindly regardless of conditions and the state of mind of one’s forces; Slack discipline on the one hand but corporal punishment and the execution of deserters on the other, attempting to enforce rather than to inspire loyalty to cause.

These are the tenents we need to analyze and play on to prevent any challenges to our rule before the revolution begins and count on ’em to disrupt the revolution once it begins!

In Struggle.

chain
[Theory] [United Front] [ULK Issue 70]
expand

Build Unity with Queer Prisoners

First of all I would like to say that I truly admire the work that you all are doing. Even though I am somewhat new to the cause, I know that I am definitely headed in the right direction. At this point, I don’t feel qualified to contribute any articles that would be worth publication. There is so much that I would like to learn from you so that I will be in a better position to write for ULK. I am a teacher and a writer at heart and I definitely plan on providing you with work contributions in the future. In the meantime, I will offer a few comments on an article found in ULK 56. The article is titled “Building Unity Through Talk”, by Soso of MIM(Prisons).

Being incarcerated for over 13 years, I have seen what hatred and division does to prisoners. What I love about MIM(Prisons) is the fact that you all not only encourage peace & unity among prisoners, but you also labor to help them to see the bigger picture of what’s going on “behind the scenes.” Oppressed nations are frustrated and they don’t realize why they are so upset. MIM(Prisons) helps us to see that the real problem is found in the overarching imperialist system rooted in capitalism, not each other.

The article speaks about contradictions with the enemy and contradictions among the people, and it goes on to describe the best way to deal with both. “When we run into problems with people who should be our allies,” the article states, “we need to start from [the] desire for unity.” If oppressed nations would stop and take a moment to see that the system is designed to bring disunity among the people, and that this is really a divide-and-conquer strategy used by the bourgeoisie to ensure their continued ability to exploit the proletariat, only then will we see how important maintaining unity is when it comes to revolutionary struggle.

As a bisexual man in prison, I see other oppressed nations attacking the LGBTQ community (verbally and physically) as if we are the enemy. But as this article rightly points out, the marginalization of queer and trans folk is actually characteristic of imperialist oppressors and the patriarchy. The more oppressed nations are able to see that there are certain mindsets that are counterproductive to revolutionary struggle, the more they will be able to channel their energies in a positive direction that will lead to true change. I believe the greatest strength of MIM(Prisons) lies in its push for unity, peace, growth, internationalism, and independence (otherwise known as the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons).

I can’t help but to notice that this country is slowly moving in a more socialist direction, and I believe that is because people are starting to become disillusioned with the imperialist agenda. Unity and education is the key to keeping the momentum going, and anything that undermines that unity needs to be identified and exposed for what it is (which I believe MIM(Prisons) does a good job at). Thank you for the work that you do and I look forward to studying and struggling with you all.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade demonstrates that it doesn’t take special training to contribute articles that are worthwhile. By analyzing the conditions where ey is at, ey offers some universal observations around the topic of unity.

While we certainly hope the efforts of building public opinion for socialism are paying off, we think it’s unlikely that this country is actually moving in a socialist direction economically, as this author states above. With the coronavirus having an undeniable impact on capitalism’s status quo, it is a good opportunity to continue pushing for socialist change.

History shows us that to put an end to capitalism we will need a revolution. It won’t be a slow move towards socialism, but rather a violent revolution to overthrow capitalism. The capitalists won’t give up without a fight!

One thing we want to clarify about this article is who is the proletariat and who is exploited, because this is a very common point of confusion especially among our new subscribers. Where this author is discussing oppressed nations in prison succumbing to divide-and-conquer tactics, and helping oppressed nations realize capitalism’s main interests is in exploiting the proletariat, we want to clarify who is the proletariat. For the most part the oppressed nations within U.$. borders are not exploited and not proletarian. Many people in oppressed nations belong to the lumpen (that’s who is locked up in prison and hustling on the streets), labor aristocracy, and even the bourgeoisie. Some migrants are in the proletarian class, and some people are in the semi-proletariat. For the most part people in oppressed nations in U.S. borders are not proletarian and are not economically exploited.

We have a lot of study materials about different classes and their roles in capitalism and imperialism. Simply send us a work-trade and a request and we’ll get something out to you about it!

We also look forward to continuing to develop with our newer comrades! We’re inspired by letters like this every day.

chain
[Education] [Theory]
expand

Education is Key for Releasees

Greetings to all my brothers and sisters on lock-down and on the outside fighting the struggle against oppression everywhere. This is from your hardcore revolutionary brotha in South Georgia. With great respect and love. I want to share this information with you in the hopes of you doing the same.

Education is better than incarceration!
Something we can all support!

I’ve learned in the hardest way possible that in the United $nakes of Amerikkka every felony conviction – no matter what the judge officially assigns in months or years – results, quite literally, in a life sentence. As a strong proponent of decarceration, I am encouraged by the efforts toward sentencing reform which will get some people out of prison sooner. But I am painfully aware that release from prison will present new challenges for those individuals whose futures have been made permanently fragile by their status as convicted criminals.

The lifetime consequences of a criminal conviction are evident in the diminished social status and in the devastation of poor communities and communities of blacks that have been hyper-policed, hyper-prosecuted and hyper-punished for decades.

Individuals from these communities are punished not only by virtue of the time they actually spend in prison, on probation, or in an alternative program, but because of the additional punishments that are inflicted for a lifetime. The consequences of a felony conviction include periods of voter disenfranchisement, travel restrictions, restricted access to public housing, restrictions of federal educational benefits, barriers to certifications and licensure of certain professions, and an irreversible stigma that permeates every aspect of life.

For those who spend time in prison, release is stressful even under the best of circumstances. People are released with a small stipend that barely covers the cost of living for a day or two. Without adequate assistance, many understandably fail to find meaningful employment, build healthy relationships and integrate successfully into a community. Having been released to a militaristic system of supervision that provides few services, imposes conditions that almost guarantee – and often expects – failure, many parolees end up right back in prison. I have been down that road, and I make no excuses. Those who do manage to successfully stay out remain stigmatized by the requirement that they continue to identify themselves on legal documents, job and school applications, and in numerous other places as a person who has a criminal conviction, no matter how long ago the original crime occurred.

These types of punitive responses to people who have made serious mistakes – but have already repaid their debts to society – do nothing to solve the problems. Like unemployment, which leads to crime, and hinders rather than promotes rehabilitation and successful integration into the community, it is difficult to understand why there would be any policy in place that would make it more difficult for people to come home from prison and do the right thing. I’m assuming the perspective of the mainstream in that doing the right thing means, at the very least, becoming self-supporting and living within the boundaries of the law. It has been argued that many of the barriers that are in place to restrict convicted people from certain jobs, from public housing, etc. are there to protect the public. However, the stronger arguments demonstrate that such barriers are purely punitive and that in being punitive to individuals we are actually causing further damage to society. Unsurprisingly, there is now strong evidence to show that by failing to provide convicted individuals with the tools needed to succeed once they leave the criminal justice system, growing incarceration has significantly increased poverty in the United $tates.

Among the most absurd punitive policies making it difficult to succeed after conviction are policies that restrict access to higher education. I say absurd because, at this point, even those on the most conservative side of the public dialogue about prison reform agree that “prisoners should be provided free education in order to reduce crime and recidivism.” This is a direct quote from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during a meeting of Right on Crime in Washington, DC a few years ago.

At the same time that living-wage employment has required higher skill levels, education – particularly higher education – has increasingly become the most under-appreciated, underused and under-supported tool offered inside correctional facilities. This has happened despite the numerous studies proving that education is the most reliable predictor of reduced criminal recidivism. Educational attainment, besides being a worthy goal in itself, also increases one’s prospects for securing meaningful employment, enabling individuals to support themselves and their families. While country-wide 43.3% of formerly incarcerated individuals are likely to return to prison within three years of release, the likelihood drops to 5.6% for recipients of a bachelor’s degree.

Despite this data, the growing trend is to create post-conviction barriers for individuals who are attempting to apply to college. The Center for Community Alternatives found that nearly 60% of colleges and universities country-wide screen students for criminal records during the application process. In some cases, applicants are asked whether they’ve ever been arrested – even if the arrest did not lead to a conviction. Institutions that request this information often do so without appreciation for how a criminal record may or may not impact a particular student’s ability to successfully engage in the educational process.

For incarcerated individuals who desire to access higher learning opportunities, yet another barrier exists: they are ineligible for federal Pell Grants. Established by the late Senator Claiborne Pell, the grants allowed people – including those inside correctional facilities – who could not afford college to access post-secondary education. Incarcerated students were made ineligible for Pell Grants in 1994 under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a contradiction of Senator Pell’s legacy of helping ensure that everyone could attend college. After eligibility was removed, the number of higher education programs in prisons dropped from 350 to 8 country-wide.

For more than 40 years, the goal of the Pell Grant program has been to provide need-based assistance to students to promote access to higher education. Funding flows directly to the educational institution, and eligibility for aid has been based on student need and expected family contributions. Pell Grants are available to anyone who qualifies; thus, removing the barrier to eligibility for incarcerated persons does not diminish the opportunity of any other eligible students who are motivated to pursue higher education.

As an incarcerated Black man, my incarceration does not define me, but people with criminal convictions live among us daily. It is up to you to decide how best to create systems and policies that promote public safety. Making it difficult for people to access opportunities and contribute to society is contrary to that goal, and contrary to the economic health of this country. Help support policy change to eliminate the 1994 ban on Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated persons and re-establish the opportunity for otherwise eligible people in prison to obtain college financial aid through Pell Grants for post-secondary education programs.

Straight from the “belly of the beast” on lock-down at Wilcox State Prison. The struggle continues and I fight on. One of the hardest who has ever done it. Power to the people.


PTT of MIM(Prisons) responds: It should be clear, from the evidence this comrade cites, that the criminal injustice system is not interested in rehabilitation or helping prisoners succeed on the streets. The restrictions on Pell Grants demonstrates just the opposite: prisons are a tool of social control of certain (e.g. oppressed-nation) populations, which are disproportionately targeted for imprisonment.

Getting Pell Grants reinstated for people with convictions would help reduce recidivism, as shown in this article. And that would certainly be a good thing for the internal semi-colonies, which are disproportionately affected by the oppression that comes from split families and the many other traumas of imprisonment.

At the same time, college education, for people of any nation, is controlled by the U.$. government, and thus does not teach a liberatory education curriculum. There’s no degree you can earn in the United $tates, or any country, that’s going to teach you how to liberate the majority of the world’s people from the effects of capitalist imperialism. It simply is just not allowed to exist, and it definitely won’t be paid for by taxpayer dollars.

All self-betterment, including college education, has its positive effects. If our goal is to end oppression worldwide and forever, we need to also build our own independent institutions that can educate people in what matters for the planet. And we don’t need federal funding to do this. We can start by creating more study groups behind bars, including the mail-based study groups supported by MIM(Prisons). We can expand these educational institutions to include comrades on the streets and provide ongoing education for releasees. When we control these programs we can ensure they persist and aren’t at the whims of government funding.

Our own educational programs are no substitute for a college degree when it comes to an individual’s earnings. GED programs and college classes are important opportunities for releasees, which can increase their abilities to contribute to liberatory projects. We don’t have the resources to substitute for these institutions yet, and we can help our comrades use these educational opportunities. Therefore our work around prisoner education supports the re-instatement of Pell Grants, while building independent education programs for prisoners and releasees that are grounded in the needs of oppressed people worldwide.

Individual gain is not our end goal in any education project. We don’t win unless we all win.

chain