The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Theory] [New York] [ULK Issue 5]
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Struggle: responses to ULK4

First and foremost, I want to address the issue of struggle. Brothers and sisters, struggle has been a part of life since the beginning of time. Struggle is the life of the oppressed more than the non-oppressed [hence we expect change to come from the oppressed - editor for MIM(Prisons)]. Struggle is an element of life that brings about the strength needed to succeed beyond life's boundaries. Struggle is not as bad as one may perceive; especially when struggle isn't fully understood by it's perceiver. Struggle gave us the strength to stand and speak against the conditions of oppression...

Second, my comrade who wrote, "Who's talking in code, pig?" You are much older than me. Please let me share with you what you may already know. The ignorance of those who formulate task forces for individuals they don't understand only shows the fear they choose not to express verbally, due to pride. This is what J. Edgar Hoover created COINTELPRO for, because they did not understand that the struggle of our people numbed the pain away, but, that same struggle they caused upon us, became the strength we needed to expose their ignorance. Many obstacles are placed before us as a test to succumb or prevail. Frustration at times ensue. Understand, that smiles given to those that seek our ultimate downfall enrages them to the point of self-destruction. Because, ignorance is their conscious and knowing that ignorance is their conscious, they can and will never be fully aware of their downfall upon its arrival. Which is already before their eye, as we know of course though. Their own ignorance has kept them blind to their own downfall, which makes it useless to lower your standards through frustration, for something that we both know is not on your level. Liberation is a must. Therefore smile at the captives, for they lack the understanding of true identity and struggle - you're within my thoughts.

My Nevada comrade, you're energy is truly felt. Educating the masses that have been misguided for so long is the key to exiting the mental wilderness of the oppressed. Continue with the spirit you have in uplifting the people through proper education. I commend you and wish you the best within all your endeavors. Mental liberation is indeed a must my brother.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We see the power of ULK in bringing together those who are struggling for justice, who the government has made every effort to isolate. And we find this comrades thoughts useful in inspiring struggle in others that is based in recognizing and working within the conditions we find ourselves. Life is struggle, and struggle brings change, and that should be inspiring, especially when we realize that we determine what type of change will come about.

Patience and strategic confidence in dealing with the oppressor is another thing this comrade stresses. On the one hand we should be outraged by injustice and therefore we will use strong language like in the article cited. But using strong language to rally the masses around a cause is not the same as becoming frustrated or acting out violently in anger, which this comrade rightly discourages. The comrade who wrote the article has a lawsuit that is part of a long legal struggle against the CDCR, so he is a good example of struggling through patient legal efforts. Our strength grows in slow, determined educational work, while the oppressor acts out violently and ultimately, helplessly.

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[Organizing] [Theory] [Texas]
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Turn negative pressure to postive, fight imperialism from behind the bars

MIM, my utmost respects and appreciation for your dedication and publication from Under Lock and Key, 2008 June issue. To all who submit and share time and thought with the masses, my love and respects.

We are all in this struggle together in one form or another, even when one does not know or acknowledge it. This is why I have taken the time today to share with you thoughts, from a prisoners point of view, seen through my eyes. We all have different experiences and pains but one thing we have in common is the struggle.

I would imagine that different situations for a prisoner would make him or her act out against pressure in many different ways. Some positive, some negative. We have positive pressure, meaning the type of pressure that family and friends and comrades give us: encouragement! Then there’s negative pressure, meaning the type we feel from an outside force who makes us or tries to make us submit, against our will: capitalism and imperialism!

See, these pressures one can direct, if only we can identify them. Some people don’t know how and so they turn their anger and confusion on the masses and the people they love. Becoming destructive and careless to the environment and world around them. Fighting fire with fire! But fire is put out with water!

Practicing how to control your emotions and attitude can strengthen your vision and your direction, which in turn will give you patience and a clear view of what is ahead. A lot of us react on the spot towards situations without giving them proper consideration/self-criticism. This will turn destructive!

I hear it all the time how people are proud of being Latino or Black, but then turn right around and cause harm and pain to the same people they say they are proud of being or trying to protect. I mean it the way I am saying it!

I mean, we down other people so much that we can’t even overcome the smallest things which are within us: confusion and anger! In order to establish the kingdom of freedom in the world, it must first be established in the hearts of men. This is the biggest problem we have today in the world, not establishing it within us first. Freedom from self-hate, crime, senseless violence, drugs, prison, poverty etc etc. Identifying the roots of the problem will always give us a more clear view to what and how to liberate the light that is trapped within that negative pressure, or knowing how to proceed with the positive pressure.

There is a theory that I have and I would like feedback on if possible. Negative pressure will always turn into a positive outcome if one knows how to be self-controlling and patient. Example: the people who are under repression know that repression will breed resistance. The type of resistance I am speaking about must be positive thinking. You can’t and must not lower your moral values to that of the oppressors’ because once you do lower your moral values to that of the oppressor, you have then become defeated without even knowing it.

Haven’t we all heard that the one that knows you best is you? If you allow yourself to succumb to defeat, you must learn from that once you have acknowledged it as a learning experience and practice a new method. Fighting fire with fire has shown us that we won’t win in a strong imperialist government. This is why I am inspired by MIM’s theory about fighting them with pen and paper. Through grievances and bringing awareness to the masses inside and outside prison. So let us put it out with water. Being determined comes from wanting to do something that is or may seem doable, and everything is doable once you have found yourself. Finding yourself comes from self-criticism! You must analyze everything and don’t stop trying to find out the facts. Facts about yourself because your worst enemy is you! You betray yourself and allow yourself to be captured (mentally) and conquered, only when you stop fighting the good fight. Through legal and other means.

Self-determination is what stimulates dedication because its through practice that one builds leadership and we are all leaders, its our destiny to lead rather than to be led. How else did Mao, Che, Lenin, etc achieve such success if it were not for their dedication.

They acknowledged what was wrong and chose to dedicate their life to mobilize the masses to go against that force. Apply their spirit and do as learned, the material that we need to have and it’s the facts that surround us every day. The enemy is exposing himself or better said themselves everyday.

One thing that I am trying to convey is that when we are in a stronghold (prison) and don’t have the proper reading material to help illuminate strategies and tactics, per se, we must not be afraid to go to its rawest form which is the reality that we see, perceive and observe everyday. Who else would know prison life better if it were not the prisoner? We live here and we should be encouraging one another to expose that negative pressure and build toward what can help us positively.

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[Theory] [California]
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Imperialism is disgraceful, not communism

I’m writing to let you know that I received Under Lock and Key #3 and MIM Theory #4. I’ve been reading everything you send and other readings on communism and revolutions. I’ve also been sharing with others the reading material you’ve sent. I’ve been trying to have discussions about MIM and communism with as many people as I can.

I’m not well educated but I know in my heart that communism is the purest form of democracy. I know there are people who believe in the proletarian struggle, but don’t believe in communism when both go together like a pair of shoes - they have to be the same colors and size in order to fit, right? People tend to get offended by the word communism. They don’t like it, they think communism is the most disgraceful, evil word they’ve heard. But they’re over here calling their girls bitches and each other niggas, some even call themselves democrats or republicans (they’re not even allowed to vote).

They must not know about the death squads and bomb and arms the imperialists supply or force on the world to destroy itself for their profits, benefits and well being. People don’t think that’s disgraceful, but they think communism is. They think it’s mythical, they don’t take it to the heart.

Just the other day I was having a discussion about MIM Notes and someone said something like “I don’t read that cause you might get black listed.” That showed me that people are still not free enough to think for themselves. I know this was the propaganda talking but there’s always that fear in your head which the imperialists put there so you won’t get out of hand.

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[Theory] [Virginia]
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Madness of the Mind

People assume it's their circumstances that causes them to act out towards themselves and those around them, but in all actuality it's their thoughts that controls the actions to their bodies and their tongues. When people start to experience this wicked sickening, they begin to play all types of mind games with themselves and everything starts to become illusions to them, which is dangerous to their souls, because they're not thinking about the consequences and punishments that follows the madness that circulates in the mind.

They could attempt to fight the evil off, but they still find themselves fighting the same exact battles, because they lack self-control of their mind functioning. People say, that they have to act a certain way to survive this cold world and that's the only way they can demand respect from those around them; but really stop! Ask yourself, who's lives are being destroyed by the madness of the mind.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade brings up some good points. As revolutionary scientists we study society and attempt to explain why different groups behave in certain ways so that we can better understand and transform the world around us. But the basis of the transformation that we want to make is in humyn society, and at the lowest level it is in the humyn mind. So we should not confuse our scientific explanations of behavior with excuses for how we act as individuals.

The comrade is correct to point out that we all have an opportunity to fight off the evil that is being imposed on our minds by a corrupt system. That is why it is so important to have literature and educational programs coming into prisons, especially programs that are teaching people how to play an effective role in making the world a better place. Those who study are the ones who remain strong under the torturous conditions of u$ prison control units. Many fall into the madness that is pushed onto them by the system.

As materialists, we do not believe in a soul, and we believe that ideas stem from a concrete material reality. But at the same time, the writer is correct to say that it is ideas in our heads that determine our actions as individual humyn beings. It is here, where the old adage, "mind over matter" is applicable. Don't be a slave to a system, be an active party in determining your own life.

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[Theory] [Middle East]
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Muslim science gets it right again

Class and nation prevail over self-described ideology

As the people have taught us quite well over the last few years, ones ideology is more than a name. While those claiming the scientific method of dialectical materialism in the name of Marx, Lenin and Mao have made calls welcoming imperialist forces into their countries (whether the United Nations or the united $tates itself), Muslims have drawn the line in the sand and said NO! to u$ imperialism in Africa, Southeast Asia and especially in the Middle East where imperialist occupation is most pronounced.

While so-called Maoists have welcomed the u$ imperialists as partners in building "New Democracy", Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rebuked u$ Defense Secretary Gates' attempts to welcome him into the imperialist-run political process this week. He is quoted as stating:

"I will always remain your enemy because you are occupying Iraq."
...
"I heard the statement of the terrorist amerikan defense minister and I feel compelled to give a decent response to such a terrorist. I have no enemy but you, you are the occupier. You have always been my enemy and you will always be my enemy until the last drop of my blood." (1)

This was in a speech where he defended Iraqis in the imperialist-backed military for not attacking other Iraqis in u$-ordered raids, asking that the state give them their jobs back. In relation to this he stated:

"Don't raise your weapons against Iraqis as long as they don't help the occupier. I also call on the Iraqi government to back its people to rid the land of the occupier." (1)

This is what revolutionary scientists call recognizing the principal contradiction and uniting all who can be united to push that contradiction to its resolution. That is how history is made. These statements by al-Sadr are in the context of an Iraq with many factions poised to fight each other, even willing to side with the imperialists to do so.

Elsewhere in the region, reports of a strengthened and entrenched Hizbolluh in southern Lebanon have stated that they have embraced and successfully recruited communities across religious lines that have often divided the country in the past. (2) Necessity is a great teacher, and u$ and i$raeli occupations have brought the necessity of united defense to the forefront in places like Lebanon and Iraq. Similarly, it is meeting the needs of the revolutionary struggle that offers the fastest road to liberation for wimmin, without whom the resistance will surely fail. As a class system that perpetuates its inherent inequalities, imperialist intervention can not unite the oppressed, liberate wimmin, nor even consistently provide the masses with their material needs as Hizbolluh and the "Sadrists" must do in their regions.

Dating back to Lenin and the beginning of the first socialist experiment in Russia, communists have shown that while religion is the opiate of the masses, the masses are not enemies because they still embrace religion. We can have great confidence that the scientific method will win out as the people struggle for survival and for liberation. Muslims in Iraq and Lebanon have demonstrated this truth in practice.

notes:
(1) Flashpoints. April 14, 2008. http://www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=25805
(2) Christian Science Monitor. April 15, 2008.

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[Theory] [California]
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Learning from MIM Theory on Psychology

I have been studying MT9 a lot lately, I don't think MIM could be more on point about psychology in american society. I have been in the system since I was 3 years old and have been receiving both medication and therapy since I was 6 years old. As a kid I was always getting in trouble, so when I was 6 my mother placed me in therapy and then some doctor said I need medications and gave my mother a shopping list of things wrong with me. From my experience, treatment for "mental illness" is based on the theory that mental illness originates within yourself and is caused by yourself, so in theory fix yourself and you'll be fine. For example, you have a 16 year old girl who has suffered both physical and mental abuse her whole life, now every psychologist out there will tell her it is not her fault, they'll try to explain to her why these individuals have treated her so wrong, in short they want her to accept what has happened to her as a fact of life, accept that we can't change others, and don't let your past experiences control you...move on.

MIM said in MT9, pg. 34, the answer on a social scale to peoples inability to survive mentally in an oppressive society is not teaching people to cope better (through drugs, TV, therapy, etc.) but changing the society to meet the peoples needs, which requires revolution. MIM seeks the abolition of the psychological, or individual, approach to various problems - replacing it with social prevention through social revolution.

As you said in the letter, instead of an "individualist" way of thinking when it comes to psychology and mental illness, we need to look at the whole picture. Yes, through the current form of psychology you "may" be able to "help" a teenager with his/her anger or "help" an adult with depression or you may even "help" yourself, but you have not changed the environment or conditions that caused the initial anger and depression. Therefore you have a never ending cycle.

I read "Testimonial of a woman revolutionary" (MT9, p41). When I read her story I saw how important revolutionary practice is and how far MIM will go to assist comrades in the struggle. Can you explain how to write a self-criticism? I try to read her story every once in a while to remind myself how important revolutionary practice is.

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[Theory] [Idealism/Religion] [Nevada]
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The Bible or the Bullet?

How often do we analyze the connection of religion with terror and oppression? Likewise, how much do we seek to minimize the role of Christianity in the imperialist and sinful occupation of America?

They came troding on their horses like thieves in the night; holding a musket in one hand, and a Bible in the other. They were offered as presents to the peaceful, native inhabitants; yet, they had to choose - the Bible or the bullet? To live peacefully and share America with the native people wasn't enough for these new strangers, they wanted complete control over every facet of this land.

Native blood filled the trenches of European savagery, and tears of the children brimmed the gulch of mourn. The squalling of native women vibrated throughout Mother Earth as their thighs sanguine with virgin blood from rape. In plain daylight, they could see the Grim Reaper crouched over to catch his breath from the restless slaughter of natives. The only alternative to this hideous crime is acceptance of the Bible.

At the arrival of merchant ships were crowds of black faces with the obnoxious smell of slavery; millions of lives were expired on the Middle Passage, decorating it with the Holy Grail of Africans. Then, by force of the goad of death they were ushered into the fields of back-breaking labor. Their blood seeped into the cotton they picked, and tears fertilized the soil that grew the master's economy. The only alternative was acceptance of the Bible; given to pacify the hopeless slaves with a false sense of faith and spiritual dignity.

"Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me. For of all slaveholders with whom I've ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst..." (Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of)

Today, the courts of law have strong links to the imperialist religion of Christianity and its Bible. In fact, it's the FOUNDATION of their laws, so they protect it. It is the peace-offering and balm for oppression, without it you'll receive the bullet. Since Christianity play an important role in carrying out the imperialistic agenda of capitalism, tantalizing the minds of the oppressed; then, America's laws are also rooted in such a design. One of their law books says: "It has been broadly stated that the common law draws its subsistence from Christianity, that Christianity is part and parcel of the common law, and that the Bible is the foundation of the common law. However, these statements have been held to have application in a qualified sense, in that Christianity's divine origin and truth are admitted, and the law will not permit Christianity to be reviled and ridiculed openly, and will punish such acts as tending to a breach of peace and jeopardy of the public welfare, as discussed in Blasphemy...1" (5A Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S))

The only reason this religion is so "legally protected" is because it is in fact the foundation of American life. The Bible's history is linked to and condones territorial expansion; so, its the best source of religious justification for imperialism. If one submit to the religious tenets of Christianity, oppression will go smoothly. The master gets to do what he pleases and the oppressed accepts it. However, opposition to this placebo religion will be met with the bullet! The Bible or the bullet, the American way of life.

You can not believe in Christianity and not capitalism; and you can not believe in capitalism and not believe in racism, they all go hand in hand! Hence, Christians may publicly deny Christianity's gruesome role in perpetuating tyranny, however; it just proves this enemy is a chameleon, and its conspiratorial design must remain masonic in nature. So, while protesting his system, we subliminally give him genuflection during sanctimonious services. Then, we pray to him in our legal papers with statements like:

WHEREFORE, Petitioner PRAYS that the Court grant Petitioner relief to which he may be entitled in this proceeding.

WHEREFORE, Petitioner PRAYS of this Court to appoint counsel to represent Petitioner.

One of the greatest curses from which American victims suffer is immunity of our perpetrators-government officials. They protect their employees of organized crime by granting them immunity from liability for their actions. In exchange for protecting capitalist interests of the government, he's protected. He's told to ignore his moral conscience in his despotic exercise of power. Official immunity is political bribery, as it encourage immoral acts by waiving accountability. He "can not be held liable for the neglect of the duty of that body...If there is a refusal, neglect, or failure, with respect to the exercise of power or discharge of duties of such body, IT IS THE DEFAULT OF THE BODY, AND NOT OF THE INDIVIDUAL COMPOSING IT..." 67 C.J.S. 206. The following is a statement made by Spec. Charles A. Graner, one of the U.S. soldiers allegedly involved in the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

"The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the Corrections Officer in me says I love to see a grown man piss himself..." (as quoted in The Washington Post, May 22, 2004).

It is men like him the doctrine of immunity protects. Now, if he can't be held responsible for his actions; that it is to the default of the body itself; then, how can you hold the body responsible for negligence of its duties to the public? You can not grab capitalism by the horn and drag it to an international court because it's an intangible structure! You can not charge capitalism itself for its exploitation and oppression of humanity, because it can only exist through its physical, human agents and abettors! And they can't be held liable for such an intangible "body," as it is the default of the body, and not of the individuals composing it - according to their own law books.

The fact that they are granted immunity proves they know the system is an unjust and immoral one. Why else would there be a strong need to protect them from punishment? As in slavery, slave-masters felt immune from moral accountability for the institution of slavery, because it was "ordained" by God when He "cursed Ham"; and they were only carrying out the duties imposed on them by God, who is also an intangible entity, for the institution of slavery! And to this day they have not shown public remorse for such a heinous crime. So here they are telling us to blame God Himself for the crimes committed against humanity, not them. Just as they are telling us to blame the governmental "body" and not the individuals composing it. Hence, perpetrators dexteriously evade punishment by placing the blame on intangible entities; and those whites who don't support this system are called traitors. Religiously and politically they escape punishment by using this tactic; religiously and politically they force whites to follow them for fear of being a traitor.

In America places like homeless shelters, ghettos, and prisons are cesspools of capitalism, the cellar of America's social structure. It is this element against which Congress pass laws, and against whom the courts enforce those laws and pass down punishment - not to corporate or government officials. Remember, the laws of America has capitalist roots; so it will protect and support any that help strengthen its imperialist design, it's the bullet!

Since capitalism can't escape its own nature, it find a way to capitalize on those below poverty level. It does this by making crime itself an economic market and scheme to create jobs for those willing to protect its interests. So you see the police patrolling the ghettos and harassing the poor. They're not there to prevent crime but to preserve it, to do so is to protect their asset-crime! Why else would police officers, prosecutors, judges, parole officers, etc. pursue these occupations as CAREERS when they publicly condemn crime? Some would say "to fight crime"; yet, these hypocrites must rely on crime for their livelihood for without it they wouldn't have a job! So in essence they actually support the very thing they claim to despise.

The support it to the point they provoke and partake in crimes against citizens, remember Rodney King, Amadou Diallo? They do it with faith their superiors will be loyal to them for their service in supporting the system. Unfortunately they're right most of the time by the fact countless brutalities and "justifiable homicides" go unpunished. The victims must watch the guilty go free; and justice, the ligament to peace, is broken asunder. Then there's civil unrest; a national outcry. Some go out in rage seeking to avenge the murder of the spirit of justice, and like the Rodney King riot, crimes are committed. So in the end they still profit.

Many American citizens are ignorant of how this structure operates because they have conformed to the Bible; and, censorship raised its ugly head in every institution in America to minimize detection of the bullet. It's the venom of falsehood they spit in our children's eyes, and make them blind of the truth about this nation's corruptions. They engender in our children a sense of patriotism America doesn't deserve. It's a process started early in schools with patriotic songs like:

"This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to New York Island..."

They raise our children with the false impression that America rose from a beautiful an humble beginning; implying the native inhabitants willfully shared this land with European immigrants, and everyone lived happily ever after. It's a cynical falsehood and denial of the bloody history of America. It is to deny the countless lives of Native Americans by greedy and desperate nomads in territorial expansion. Murder and imperialism spread like an epidemic across American soil, and attached itself as parasites to its native hosts.

The strong campaign of historical censorship by schools and media is responsible for victimizing our children. They victimize our children by instilling in them a sense of patriotism they may not have were education and media more honest. Yet, they grow up with this sense of patriotism, stolen from them through deceit, and join the military forces. In such forces they become the human agents of America's greatest source of international fascism and imperialism. As soldiers pumped with the embalming fluid of national pride, they go out and oppress the people of color around the world. When they arrive by water, air, and land; there's only one question to be asked - the Bible or the bullet?

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 3]
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Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security

Comrades have recently brought up the axiom that fear leads to ignorance and that vanguard leadership is a matter of applying science with guts. It is the science in command that is primary here. Whether it is fear, love or rage, emotion cannot be the basis of our strategy and practice. Similarly, emotive rallying cries and hype cannot be the primary recruiting method of a vanguard organization.

The problem of fear often comes up in relation to those who have privilege that they are afraid of losing (the classic carrot and the stick). It is also used widely among the most oppressed and exploited when it is instilled as a fear of death and torture of friends and families. Among the lumpen who have little privilege to speak of, whose family structure has been destroyed by oppression and who has already faced torture as an individual, the basis for fear is very limited.

An arguable strength of the imperialist country communist movement is our ability to produce scientific analysis with complete independence. This is because our wealth and privilege can actually diminish both fear and class consciousness in a minority of cases. Some of the most dedicated activists in the oppressor nations often have a sense of fearlessness. This is probably necessary to make it over the long haul without turning back to the comfort of one's class privilege.

In both cases of fearlessness we have seen the outcome where people don't take security seriously. Most even scoff at the security practices put forth by the Maoist movement. Others act as if they have too much "important" work to be dealing with to take time worrying about security measures. Translate this to "I'm too lazy to deal with things that are going to make my work harder or take a little longer. I'd rather focus my time on the things that give me glory or that I somehow find some persynal pleasure in." This is subjectivism.

When we work with people who don't even spend one minute a week thinking about security we are potentially sacrificing our own security, and more importantly, the security and integrity of the whole movement. Such people have no role to play in a Leninist cadre organization. Security is not something we study in addition to theory, it stems directly from it.

Contrary to the bourgeois theory of history, bravado and individualism do not decide the course of events. Envisioning oneself standing strong and alone against the great oppressor may be a powerful subjective motivator. But to build ones political practice around such a fantasy is not going to win many battles.

Being serious about ending oppression means being serious about studying the world around us and learning from history. It means developing a strategic understanding of how the oppressed are rising and will succeed and therefore having confidence in the fact that we are acting with the tide of humyn history. If we have this understanding, then it is very obvious to us that we are more effective in contributing to this tide when we are not locked in an isolation cell or buried six feet deep.

Anyone who doesn't believe death or imprisonment are real threats needs to read some history. We may be better revolutionaries without fear, but not without prudence. For those who know the risks but don't care, you need to study history even harder as well as dialectical materialism until you can understand your own power.

There is a related point to make here in regard to the "security" concerns of correctional officers and prison administrators. The most common reason for censorship of our literature in u$ prisons is that MIM(Prisons) is somehow a threat to security. As long as we can agree that "security" for the CO's means less violence and fighting with guards and between prisoners, then our point here can be applied by them as well. While it may be true that our literature tends to attract some of the most defiant prisoners who are likely to physically defend themselves against a guard, our literature literally teaches people not to attack guards, or even violate any rules that would just bring down more repression, even when we are not explicitly stating that.

Overall, we don't expect this line of argument to convince a system that is set up to oppress specific segments of society. But, certainly some individual prison administrators are honestly interested in maintaining the peace without any ulterior political or racial motivations. The rest just keep oinking for more control units and more hazard pay.

Rashid has taken prison officials to task on this with his "The Don't Shank the Guards" handbook (1), which has been censored in a number of states despite a stated purpose that COs should agree with. This handbook provides a similar strategic orientation as MIM(Prisons) does for prisoners who desire to improve their situation. Where this pamphlet fails is in its pandering to the economic interests of amerikans and its call to unite with the "masses" of the united $tates. This line leads to a strategy of putting amerikans first, which oppressed nation prisoners have a slim chance of ever being accepted into. If they succeed then they have only betrayed the oppressed people of the world. MIM(Prisons) puts forth a line that neither promotes shanking the oppressor, nor standing side-by-side with him in political struggle.

But Rashid agrees with us in having strategic confidence and a group approach to struggle: "Having been raised as we are with the idea of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," getting even is deeply ingrained in us, but in a society based upon inequality, getting even carries a high price and is, in fact, impossible: At least it is impossible by individualistic retaliation."

It is exactly such individualism that we need to combat on this side of the fear question in relation to security. Remember, it is also the FBI infiltrators who will have no fear in going up against the state with a few guns, because they know when the bullets start flying you're gonna die and they're gonna be rescued. So fearlessness does not mean going toe-to-toe with an army you cannot defeat. Sun Tzu taught us the idiocy of that centuries ago. And that is exactly what comrades are doing by throwing security out the window. They think they're invincible, they think they're hard, or they're just too lazy to deal with security questions.

"O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands." - Sun Tzu

With the New York State legislator passing a law that forbids "seriously mentally ill" prisoners from being put in SHU (yet to be signed by Governor Spitzer), we can see a clear example of what Rashid is talking about when he writes, "[Riots, flooding cells, setting fires and shanking guards] have only provided prisoncrats with ammunition to demonize us and turn public opinion against us and concern away from prison reform issues and the way we are treated." Some editorials and discussions online among COs and other amerikans indicate the limited scope of this legislation. It is being used to highlight the abuse of CO's instead of prisoners. It is being used to bolster support for the need for SHUs and the need for more high-security mental institutions. And it is creating justification by saying that "we are taking out the prisoners who can't handle the SHU mentally, but everyone else deserves to be there, just look how they are acting out." We had previously criticized the limited scope of this legislation, and passed on campaigning in support of it. Now we are seeing it's use by the state to not just rally support to its side but also to divide the movement against control units.

While amerikans are crying in outrage about all the prisoners who are going to "fake" mental illness to get out of the SHU now, MIM(Prisons) is still saying that the SHU is torture that creates the mental states that exist within it. The humyn mind is but a reflection of material reality. And decades of experience tell us that people who have been in long term isolation often end up throwing excrement at guards as one of the only forms of action they can take on behalf of themselves. Call it mental illness if you want. But we know the cause and we know the cure. If prison officials aren't willing to eliminate the cause, perhaps they will at least let SHU prisoners communicate with MIM(Prisons) so that we can help them understand the futility and even counterproductivity of such actions.

Notes:
(1) Contact Rashid c/o Art Attack, PO Box 208, Herndon, VA 20172

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[Censorship] [Theory] [California]
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Response to ULK issue #1 on "captives" and censorship

Revolutionary greetings! First I want to say I just received your ULK number 1 and I read it front to back and I must commend you comrades on an outstanding job. I really enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy it until my next issue! It has been a while since I last received word from you comrades or received any of your literature so it was very well received.

Here at Tehachapi SHU we are not being given our MIM Theory or MIM Notes. I have 602ed (appealed) this issue on 4 different occasions because a common practice here at Tehachapi SHU is for 602s to get "lost" so what I have done is send my 602 straight to the appeals director in Sacramento, letting him know the issue of appeal and how this prison don't answer or even return appeals on serious issues. What the director will do is send my 602 back telling me to "exhaust all levels of appeal" before sending it to him, but it often times will come with a "log number' and this will force this prisons appeal coordinator to act on it. Once I get it back I will send you a copy.

You comrades did an excellent job in getting Under Lock and Key behind the walls but I do miss MIM Notes and Theories. I wanted to comment on the comrade's letter on wanting to be called "captive". The word captive conjures up the slave master holding his captives (slaves) so on the one hand, I think captive is a good portrayal of the people chained to this capitalist system. Yet on a higher conscious level I think when we recognize the inner workings of this system and what causes slavery in the first place is capitalism, so we need to get to the heart of the issues, capitalism caused slavery, racism, injustice, patriarchy, control units, prison abuse, police abuse, etc, etc. The list goes on but capitalism is at the heart of the issues, thus our imprisonment becomes political because of the system that imprisons us. So I feel the proper name for us locked up in these modern day plantations is "political prisoners." With that said, I will await the next ULK issue.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Theory] [Middle East] [National Oppression]
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More Debate on Saddam Hussein

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

[The writer who criticized MIM's article, "War criminals kill Saddam Hussein" responds to our criticisms of his letter below. Some parts of the original letter are left off in the interest of brevity.]

To MIM:

I am in receipt of your letter, entailing your response to my initial letter commenting upon the article featured in the April 2007 issue of MIM Notes entitled "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein." ...

The criticisms in your letter were both appreciated and mostly straightforward in style and language. However, they failed on a number of points which I will enumerate as follows:
1) Your statement, "... So the reader's claim that the author is not aware of Iraqi history is clearly due to his own poor attention to the original article..." was false. I never stated or meant to imply even that the author was not aware of Iraqi history in general. Rather, I suggested that the author's knowledge of the history of Hussein's Baathist regime's government specifically is insufficient. Otherwise, how could the author describe Hussein as a martyr for Third World independence- especially after admitting that Hussein killed thousands of communist-minded Iraqis (an admission for which I commend the author for here)? Research of the record of Hussein from the time that Hussein carried out those killings up until the time he himself was killed will reveal that he never renounced this act or any of his counter-revolutionary acts, held himself accountable to the people of Iraq for such acts, or sought to reform himself thereafter. Never. If you can find even so much as a quote of Chairman Mao whereby he at least insinuates the merit of eulogizing leaders who behaved and died as Hussein did, please do share it with me; otherwise, it is just bad "radical chic" propaganda.

Moreover he did not die in the struggle for the national liberation of Iraq. Remnants of his executive and military apparatus fought and perished (including his sons) while he took cover. The image of Saddam Hussein leading a heroic fight against the U$ and Brit invaders simply does not fit the real person or actual curse of events. If you fight an invading force that seeks to occupy and oppress your nation only so that you can re-establish a rule that is equally if not more oppressive, it is NOT a struggle for liberation- it is power struggle between two oppressive forces! Only those who fought and continue to fight against the occupation with the desire to establish a state that is just and beneficial for the people can be referred to as struggling for national liberation. He did not "stand up" to anyone- he was captured while cowering in a hole. He neither fought for nor died for the liberation of the Iraqi people. Stop calling him a martyr.

[MIM responds: Hussein died because he refused to allow u$ imperialism to determine Iraq's future. If he was willing and able to provide the imperialists with what they wanted they would not have waged a war to kill him. He stood up for Iraqi independence and was killed for it. HIs motivations are irrelevant to a scientific evaluation of history.

His status as a martyr is also an objective observation, not necessarily praise for the man. His martyr status was acknowledged by the BBC and New York Times as well, and they certainly don't support Iraqi liberation. See the discussion below of the Zogby poll indicating Arab perception of Hussein for more evidence that he was a martyr for the Iraqi people regardless of whether our writer or MIM likes it or not.]

2) Your statement, "What we're criticizing the stupid liberals for was failing to recognize that Arabs ranked Hussein as the fourth most respected world leader, tied with bin Laden..." is almost as confusing and troubling as the original statement in the article. I did not choose to ignore the "fact," but was simply stressing the point of Hussein's prior service as a U.S. lackey (who never reformed but simply reacted to circumstances he helped to create) excludes him from being considered a revolutionary or martyr for Third World independence. But the statement is as misguided as a Scud missile nevertheless. The article reads:

The stupid liberals on National Public Radio (NPR) said that Arab reaction to the hangings indicated the "confusion" of the Arab people, instead of the chauvinism of white liberals. According to Zogby, Egypt went from 74% negative opinion of the United States to 98% negative in the two years between 2002 and 2004, because of the u$ invasion of Iraq. (3) The overall survey of Arabs showed Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden tied for fourth as the most respected world leaders.

Now are you saying the NPR conducted the survey poll, or are you referring to the same Zogby poll that is cited by the Washington Post? Maybe I am just as stupid as those liberals and cannot comprehend plain English. I now that such survey results would have served the Bush administration quite well in whipping up anti-Arab fervor to keep the war machine going. And of course considering the rogue's' gallery of what constituted leadership in the middle east (or the world for that matter) back in '02-'04 - Mubarak, Jordan's Abdullah, Bashir al-Asad, and Ariel Sharon to name a few- one can hardly accept such a rating without some exasperation (wonder who ranked first).

I do not consider myself to be an American. I am a citizen of this country by birth, not by choice of patriotic allegiance (or even sentiment). Since I was not born in the 1960's, I was not afforded the chance to protest Hussein's murdering of the communists. But I can and will continue to use the fact that he was u$-funded against both him and the u$. In fact, I was using it against him and the u$ in debates before he died, even while he was still in power.

[MIM: All of the data cited is from the Zogby poll, which demonstrated the divide along the principal contradiction quite well. While most Amerikkkans see Hussein and bin Laden as enemies, they are largely admired by Arabs. So here we have science playing out again in facts. Not only was it a fact that Hussein fought for independence from u$ imperialism at the end of his life. That fact is reflected in the fact that he is admired by Arabs as a group; a group which happens to be oppressed by u$ imperialism. (Jacques Chirac of France, Gamal Abdel Nasser former nationalist leader of Egypt, and Hasan Nasrallah of Hezbollah in Lebanon were the top 3 leaders).

Our reader suggests that the results of this study play into amerikkkan anti-Arab sentiments. Well, yes, by definition they only reinforce the attitudes of amerikkkans, which are based on their opposition to the independence of the oppressed to begin with.

We too criticized Hussein as a puppet of u$ imperialism while he was such. But we attacked him for being an arm of imperialism, the number one enemy of the world's people. Once he was no longer serving his imperialist masters this changed.]

3) Your statement, "Clearly our reader has not done much research into the current conditions in Iraq nor compared them to Iraq in the past..." was inappropriate, a distraction from the real purpose for my mentioning that quote of Mao. I am very well informed and aware of the horrible and extraordinarily oppressive conditions created and perpetuated by the invading u$-led coalition/mercenary occupation forces, thanks to NPR, PRI (Public Radio International) and publications such as your own. Let me state first and foremost that I oppose vehemently u$ imperialism (and all imperialism and capitalists) and the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that I support and commend the Iraqi (and Afghan) people who adopt armed struggle against the occupation forces.

My point in citing that quote of Mao was to outline the revolutionary principle of paying "close attention to the well-being of the masses." Mao was not referring to material aspects only. Nevertheless, it is a revolutionary principle and only a slain revolutionary can be regarded as a martyr for Third World independence. However, the fact remains that even before the first Gulf War Hussein used the distribution of resources in Iraq arbitrarily to oppress dissenting groups (including the communists, Shiites, and Kurds) and to consolidate his own power base while enriching his cronies. I agree the u$-led embargo and invasions have made conditions worse. But never forget that Sadr City was a festering slum prior to the invasions, and that before Abu Ghraib was used by the u$ as a torture factory in Iraq, it was used for the very same purpose by Saddam Hussein and his regime [MIM adds: who were at the time were also working for the u$].

[MIM: So our reader admits, h real purpose for quoting Mao was to draw a line of ideological purity rather than to assess the actual material conditions of the masses. We agree with Mao's revolutionary principles, but we are not assessing Hussein for induction into a communist party. Rather we are assessing imperialism as the number one enemy and killer of oppressed people. You think their fascist puppet states are bad, wait until they come in with their cracker foot soldiers and economic sanctions.

Our reader claims to support the liberation forces in Iraq but still wants to oppose Hussein and the Baathists. Would our reader have supported the Japanese imperialists against Chiang Kai-shek while supporting Mao's People's War. Because that wasn't Mao's line, nor would the communists likely have won the war of liberation taking the strategy our reader suggests.]

Now the MIM discussion that filled out and closed the letter really missed the mark. I cannot be classified in any of the components of the "wrong side of the contradiction" you describe. It appears that you made some very wrong assumptions about me due to your interpretation of aspects of my letter and your blinding desire to defend a statement in the article that was inappropriate. Also, my letter does not mention anything about Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, or the occupation of Afghanistan. Let me dispel some of those assumptions right here:

1) Your statement about "fake Maoists" seemed to be intended to include myself. Well, I am not and never have been a Maoist. Do I have to be a Maoist to respect some of the ideas or work of Mao, or of those who tried to implement his ideas (like the Black Panthers), or to quote Mao- even to debate with a "real" Maoist? ... I am a muslim who believes that muslims must strive to establish an Islamic government amongst themselves derived from the Islamic sources of guidance- to enforce the shari'ah (Islamic law) and preserve the safety and integrity of the muslim community. Moreover, I believe that muslims have a right if not a duty to wage armed struggle against anyone (especially the imperialists) who prevent them from accomplishing this.

[MIM: As explained in the article, it is addressing a much greater context of people trying to side against the oppressed (in Afghanistan, Iran, etc) and the imperialists at the same time; the class position of the petty bourgeoisie. Some of these people even call themselves Maoists.

The letter writer fit into this discussion as an example of what we referred to as "pushing a purity line." Our writer continues to push the same line in this letter. As we said, we'd rather ally with an admitted idealist than someone trying to pass idealism for Maoism. Our writer is a muslim, but h also seems to claiming a materialist analysis of history and class struggle in h letters. So we have criticized h positions from a materialist perspective. You do not have to be a Maoist to struggle for truth and liberation. ]

... If Mussolini did not have the finance capital to carry out his fascist agenda but still harbored and espoused the same fascist way of thinking does the lack of finance capital make him any less fascist? If so, enlighten me. The racist anti-Persian rhetoric Hussein used to influence Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq War of the '80's suffices for me as a reflection of his fascist tendencies, for now.

[MIM: Maoists use a scientific definition of fascism that includes finance capital and this debate is the perfect example of why this is crucial. There are many revolutionaries and internationalists who manage to fall into the trap of talking about fascism of the oppressed independent of imperialism (the writers renunciation of h amerikkkan citizenship indicates h might be in this camp).

During WWII the communists allied with the liberal capitalist countries to fight fascism, as that was perceived to be the principal contradiction. If we agree that fighting fascism is primary and we believe that fascism exists independent of imperialism, then we might ally with the u$ against a Saddam Hussein or the Taliban. MIM believes this is absolutely incorrect and that the principal contradiction is between the oppressed nations and imperialism at this time.

As stated in our previous response to the reader, we agree that the Baath regime could have been considered a fascist arm of u$ imperialism during the time in question when thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered for their beliefs in Iraqi independence. We would not call him an "Arab fascist" as the writer does, as this implies support for the Islamofascist line of the imperialists and their white nationalist allies. ]

...It is not opposition to descriptions of men like Hussein as martyrs that creates confusion and disunity amongst the various elements of the oppressed in this struggle. Rather it is the description itself tat causes such confusion and disunity and undermines the struggle overall.

The resolution of contradictions in achieving unity of the masses seems to lie in dialogue and practice. This is the ultimate purpose of my initial letter and this one. I am still very eager to learn more about Maoism and to discover the means of solidarity with other revolutionary-minded persons and movements. Despite my issue with the article aforementioned and discussed, I commend MIM for its courageous and poignant journalism and literature. I thank you for your persistent efforts to expose the oppression of prisoners here in the u$ and abroad. Please respond to this letter if you like, and provide me with a list of books you have available for purchase as well as the issue of MIM Notes that features the article that critiques my initial letter of commentary.

[MIM: The resolution of contradictions among the oppressed can best take place in struggle against the oppressor. That is why it is of primary importance to distinguish who is the oppressor and who are the oppressed we are trying to unite.

As the Maoist camp has been openly discussing for a long time now, there is great confusion in the International Communist Movement around this idea that we can forego alliances with the oppressed when they don't have a developed communist ideology. This isn't about Saddam Hussein and defending his honor. We take up this debate to push a scientific analysis of how to build United Fronts among the oppressed. Others would rather push alliances with the oppressor and call it communism or peace activism.

The Iraqi people will create much better images of resistance to follow than Hussein's Baath regime. Some already exist.]

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