Previously I argued that taxpayers are not responsible for government capital policy because they are ignorant. My error was pointed out to me and now I see the truth – the January 6th rioters showed me that they are willing to fight for my oppression therefore their ignorance is irrelevant – they are indeed more responsible than I assumed, therefore I must ignore my compassion for their humanity as unnatural as that is for me. The object is more important than the subject.
When evaluating responsibility, it is tempting to be blinded by the subject. For instance, government officials are directly responsible for enforcing capital policy. However, collaborators often look like our neighbors, friends or even family. These collaborators will support & encourage oppression & tyranny out of ignorance or out of a callous heart. Ignorance cannot be excused if freedom is ever going to be won. When the object of freedom becomes important enough all barriers must fall, even if that means forcing ourselves to do what is not natural.
Rights are never granted, rights are won. Unfortunately, this includes basic human rights such as freedom. To win freedom from the tyranny & oppression that comes with a capitalist economy, the opposition must fall. This necessity does not come naturally, that is because the values instilled in our youth are instilled by capital policy (submission), these values are what allows capitalists to steal your freedom. We must relearn a greater value.
There exist those that will take more than one has to give, that is what capital is (inequality). There is only so much resource & for one to have more than one needs he/she has to deprive another of what they need. For one to be rich, one must be poor.
As I watch the January 6th investigation, one thing is clear. That is the effort was weak. I think that is because the rioters knew in their hearts that they were fighting for the exploitation of an oppressed class. Ironic that they choose to capture the Capitol Building in order to keep their capital wealth at the expense of the oppressed class.
For those of us that are fighting for freedom, We will not make a half-hearted effort because it is our very survival that we are fighting for. We are not fighting for material wealth because we have none. Because our oppression is total & complete then so is our fight for freedom.
We will not fight for one building, not even for one city, or one country. We are fighting for equality. We will not stop until all opposition is fallen. Our fight comes from the heart & that is why it is stronger than the January 6th fight for material wealth.
The difference is that I am sick & tired of being oppressed so that another can live lavishly. The difference is that unlike the January 6th rioters I am not here to have a big party with a bunch of friends at the Capitol Building – I am here to win my freedom and to fight for the freedom of all oppressed people and I will not stop and lay down, I will never stop!!
That is what Marx means by permanent revolution, we must never stop fighting because the very moment we relax is the moment the exploiters continue to exploit as they have always done. Sun Tzu said we can “never leave an enemy on the battlefield.” If we do they will come back again.
As communists we must know our enemy is the object and not the subject. Compassion can blur our vision of the object and it is in these moments I must remember that the capitalists never had any compassion for the oppressed.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This point is relevant as Amerikans remember the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Afghans sigh in relief as the invader of their country pulls out. Professor Ward Churchill took a lot of heat for quoting Malcolm X on chickens coming home to roost after 9/11 and referring to Amerikans as “little Eichmanns.”(1) Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi in Germany who ran logistics for the system of concentration camps there. He was captured years after the war and in his trial claimed he was just following orders, just a cog in the machine, and should not be blamed for the deaths caused by that machine.
Since the end of the second imperialist war, the Amerikans have run the largest system of concentration camps in the world. While they lack the mass murder of the Nazi system, they are genocidal nonetheless against the oppressed nations that make up the majority of the prisoners. The day will come when Amerikans will be charged for their decades of crimes against humynity. Our success at building anti-imperialism and accountability in the United $tates today will ease the transition to a more just future on these lands.
“From an organizers perspective, [struggling for quality-of-life reforms such as increased phone access] are not battles which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less MLM…”
The author cites a failure to apply the materialist dialectic, or the ‘science’ behind scientific socialism, to the situation at hand. When viewed in isolation and out of its proper context, the conclusion that they have reached would certainly be a commonsense position to take. And as they write a little further on:
“How can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism?”
Yet if the quote being critiqued were analyzed in its totality, we can begin to see more nuance and why such a statement was made in the first place. So to continue where the partial quote left off:
“…without veering into reformist practices of little tactical or strategic value. I am aware that arguments of principle can be mounted to the contrary, but absent a practicable, totalizing strategy for revolution domestically being put forward by an MLM organization that is actionable in the here-and-now, we cannot effectively utilize many of these prison struggles as a proper springboard to corresponding actions in other areas, actions which do not translate into long-term pacification which benefits their prison administration in an objective, cost-to-us, benefit-to-them analysis. If we cannot muster the resources and external manpower to mount a facility or state-specific campaign for a tactical reform to push our agenda and continually imprint firmly in the minds of all incarcerated that we have their best interests in mind, it may be advisable to abstain from participation lest credit for the reforms go elsewhere and become politically-neutered, or, worse yet, the system co-opts the struggle as its own and touts its successes (ie. The First-Step Act). Otherwise, we are gaining no more than sporadic traction amongst those we are attempting to revolutionize, and then only of a transient nature.” (emphasis added)
As mentioned earlier, there is a nuance to the position I have taken that is obscured in comrade Triumphant’s approach to mounting an argument on principle, and that in itself constitutes an incorrect and unscientific approach to proper discourse. Quoting someone out of context may buttress a particular argument or agenda, however arguments begin to lose their strength when quotations are re-situated in their proper place. You ask, ‘how can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism?’, but who has or where has such a view been advocated in the first place for this allegation to be made? As you can see, the position put forth in the original commentary advocated not an abandonment of revolutionary struggle within prisons but rather its placement within a more explicitly revolutionary framework. Refining our approach does not imply an abandonment of all struggle just to focus on study.
It is agreed that the materialist dialectic can be applied in all manner of social phenomena, and the Amerikan injustice system and the struggle between prison staff and the captive population are no exception. But the real question is, should it be applied in this particular instance in the manner which the Team One Formation, K.A.G.E. Universal and others have done thus far – that is, pushing for minor reforms largely divorced from a wider revolutionary anti-imperialist agenda resulting in pacification once concessions are made? I would argue that advocating for these various minor reforms to address the prison masses immediate needs can be classified as (presupposing these formations desire revolution or claim communism as their goal) right opportunist deviations.
Right opportunism is an error in practice that occurs when an organization attempts to embed itself in the masses and in doing so gives up a clear revolutionary program in the interest of fighting for immediate demands. This leads to economism/workerism (or in this case ‘prisonerism’), which is the purview of reformism: solely focusing on economic demands (economism), or the demands of prisoners.
You write that “quality-of-life reforms are connected to the strategy of cadre development.” Now can experience be gained in how to train cadre and organize people while doing this? Sure, but similar things can be argued about improving one’s marksmanship and related skills acquired while employed as a cop too. While a rather extreme analogy, what I am getting at is that productive skills can technically be derived from incorrect practice. Yet the question for both scenarios remains the same: Is there a better methodological approach to training cadre?
It is a laudable desire to want to avoid being all ‘study’ and no struggle, but if ‘struggle’ leads a group to avoiding, obscuring or watering down their politics in order to attain their demands, then that is not getting us any closer to our desired results. As MIM(Prisons) notes:
“We can also say that only focusing on the reformist campaigns, without the larger goals, is not going to change anything in regards to ending oppression and injustice.”
It is encouraging to see that in consequence of previous organizing experience comrade Triumphant has pledged to focus on “reorganizing of the TX Team One under a clearer program and a better understanding of what our strategic and tactical goals are.” This statement also aligns with what this comrade wrote in the November 2020 USW organizing update in reference to the reformist practice of the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM):
“unless anti-imperialist, revolutionary nationalist and/or communists take hold of this movement and see it as a tactical operation instead of a be-all end-all and thereby re-center the movement, it may only further ‘Amerikanize’ the (only) vastly-proletarian revolutionary sector of society we have (lumpen in prison). That could occur if cats become pacified with all these tokens and reforms that have been struggled for.”
But just because we re-center a movement along these lines and dress future demands to the state in sufficiently ‘revolutionary’ language to avoid the perception of reformism does not mean that we are actually avoiding these same pitfalls.
Here I will argue that even with an explicitly revolutionary program guiding us in the struggle for tactical reforms, we can still be susceptible to a sort of unwitting crypto-reformism if our struggles are not chosen very carefully and with the correct tactical, strategic and narrative approach. In the original commentary I wrote that
“we should not be trying to ‘improve’ Amerikan prisons, much like we should not be attempting to cut a bigger portion of imperialist profits from Third World super-exploitation for the lower class, yet still relatively privileged, citizens of empire.”
This statement meshes with your desire not to have strictly-reformist campaigns “further ‘Amerikanize’ the (only) vastly-proletarian revolutionary sector of society we have.” Of course our current approach differs strategically from the reformists but, noble intentions aside, it is still having the same overall effect in practice: we are inadvertently pacifying individuals, making them complacent sleepwalkers again. You may probably think: ‘Bullshit. We are teaching the masses not to fall for any old reform, that these are ’tactical maneuvers’,etc. And you may very well be able to indoctrinate a core of cadre to hold strong to a political line which promotes this view. However, if we view matters through a historical lens, when concessions from the state were achieved via a revolutionary stage of struggle these victories largely blunted the sympathetic masses desire to seek further redress by way of revolutionary means. Whether that be (to cite a non-Maoist, yet anti-capitalist example) during the peak of IWW organizing a century ago, the transient successes of the anti-revisionist New Communist Movement era or our current campaigns to ‘Abolish the SHU’ and ‘Release the Kids in Kages.’ Our ‘successes’ end up serving as a pressure-release for many and creating a ‘kinder, gentler machine-gun hand’ for our opponents to use against us, akin to replacing the arrogance and political incorrectness of Trump for the soothing reassurances of Biden.
From the commentary of the same USW organizing update from November 2020, you write that
“from an anti-imperialist perspective, the PHRM is only a tactic, a means to an end. That end being, sharpening the contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nations, and advancing the oppressed aspect of that contradiction.”
But how do we really expect to sharpen the contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nations and advance the oppressed aspect of that contradiction if we are actively participating in the lowering or resolution of the contradictions which heightened tensions in the first place? There is a periodic ebb and flow of the revolutionary tide in this country; why do we by way of our current tactical, strategic and narrative approach inadvertently help turn an upswing into a downturn? Of course the inherent contradiction in (note:their) Amerikan society will never truly go away absent revolution, but we are in the meantime attempting to apply balm to their societal problems and in effect delay its arrival.
Circling back to the arguments put forth in ‘An Ongoing Discussion on Organizing Strategy’, you bring up a good question when you write that
“the real crux of the issue, as it pertains to linking a totalizing revolutionary strategy, lies in practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power. For, how will we seize state power if the people lack the strategic confidence to assert their power?”
As my position does not advocate pushing for more quality-of-life reforms even if there happens to be some positive by-product in cadre development, my reply to this question is that we should re-orient our tactics, strategy and narrative approach to the masses by over-emphasizing self-reliance and independence-mastery on the road to communist revolution. Therefore we should largely abstain from trying to prevent erosions of their bourgeois legal rights such as affirmative action, LGBTQ rights, abortion access, etc. and, if we are to engage in any tactical reforms to begin with, instead focus on opposition to proposals to place limits on magazine capacity, bans on assault rifles and other perceived or actual threats to their 2nd Amendment and other measures which will aid in our ability to maneuver and take them down when the time comes. This of course does not mean that we don’t support LGBTQ rights or abortion access, but fighting for their (re:Amerika’s) civil liberties and other bourgeois rights keeps many, including some well-meaning comrades, from seeing the bigger picture: Let their country go to hell. The Amerikan government will not become any less imperialist by advocating for more rights for more people within U.S. borders and it is debatable that we are contributing to anything more than a temporary weakening of imperialism domestically. If anything we are contributing to its further consolidation under the guise of new exploiters with more varied genders, orientations and skin tones.
Our cadre and the masses will gain practical experience and strategic confidence in their power by continuing to focus on construction of independent institutions, not making demands of an illegitimate government to provide redress. In the prison context, I repeat: “if we are to engage in any prison organizing, then censorship battles concerning our political ideology, the UFPP and the Re-Lease on Life programs should take center stage… As for our comrades who do not have the luxury of a release date, or have sentences which essentially translate into the same, their best hope for release lies not in reforms but with an all-sided MLM revolutionary organization planning their release through eventual People’s War.”
Bypass the reforms which do not help us either strengthen our party/cell formations, build independent institutions for the people or hasten People’s War.
Say ‘NO’ to negotiations; focus on revolutionary-separation and self-determination.
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: I want to thank Triumphant and S. Xanastas for their thoughtful articulations on this topic. And i hope that printing these in ULK are helpful to others in thinking about how to organize effectively under the United Struggle from Within banner or on the streets.
In my many years of working on this project i would say this two-line struggle is really at the heart of what we do. Of course, how we walk the line between ultra-left and rightism is always at the heart of those deciding strategy for a communist movement. But these comrades address this question in our context today in the United $tates and in the context of organizing the First World lumpen and engaging in prison-based organizing.
In all contexts, going too far left means isolating ourselves from the masses and going too far right means tailing the masses and following them into dead ends. Therefore finding the correct path also requires determining who are the masses in our conditions. If we did not agree on who the masses are then we could not have this discussion in a meaningful way. Since we do agree, this is a two line struggle within our movement. With that frame I want to quickly address a couple points brought up here.
First, I think the strength in Triumphant’s argument is not in the skill-building of the individual cadre leaders as organizers, which arguably could be found elsewhere, but rather “in practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power.” Triumphant also talks about the importance of the tactical battles in “increas[ing] the collective practical experience of contesting the state as a united body.”
S. Xanastas’ suggested program echoes closely to what Narobi Äntari’s calls for comrades to do upon release. And they echo much of MIM(Prisons) focus, especially in more recent years. Yet, i pose the question: can building the Re-Lease on Life and University of Maoist Thought programs mobilize and reach the masses in the same way as the campaigns making demands from the state?
And one final point, is that MIM always said the principal task was not just to build independent institutions of the oppressed, but also to build public opinion against imperialism. Isn’t a campaign exposing the widespread use of torture in U.$. prisons an undermining of U.$. imperialism regardless of the maneuvers the various states make to cut back on or hide their use of long-term isolation? Or should we focus solely on the Third World neo-colonies and expose U.$. meddling in Ethiopia, Cuba and Haiti?
The AQLA is a radical group of anarchists who promote the school of thought that advocates anarchism and social revolution as the means to queer liberation and abolition of hierarchies such as homophobia, lesbophobia, transmisogyny, biphobia, patriarchy, and heteronormativity. In the Tennessee prison system there were no type of groups that were geared at the LGBTQ+ community. In this system, we are the minority and the oppressed of the oppressed. Often times people in the LGBTQ+ community are harassed not only by the pigs but other prisoners as well.
As a self-identified Queer person i see all this going on and it disgusted and outraged me so i felt the need to start a group that not only unified the community but would also serve as a means of educating our members and providing them with a level of political consciousness and get them to see who our enemy is. Our aim is to destigmatize the LGBTQ+ community in regards to other prisoners and lumpen organizations and to hopefully build unity with these other organizations around a common enemy.
The oppression and marginalization of queer and trans people in prison is all too prevalent and for the most part we’re left to suffer at the hands of pigs and inmates alike. But it’s my aim in forming this organization to see that we are seen as humyns who are worthy of respect in this environment. We have a rich hystory of courageous revolutionary comrades who struggled for our freedom all throughout the Gay Liberation Movement. We want to build alliances with other prisoners and L.O.s and hope to educate them and get them to put aside their insecurities or prejudice towards us and build unity to overthrow the common enemy. We hope for fellow captives to gain security in themselves and therefore have respect for our struggle seeing that we are an oppressed people. We implore them not to use racist or prejudiced attitudes toward us. We are NOT a threat to them. We have a right to be free from violence and oppression just like any other group. But we are determined to fight for our respect and freedom. Here’s what the 5 principles of the UFPP mean to us:
Peace: We strive to cease the endless drama and animosity that is prevalent within the u$ penal colony. We are divided enough already by the oppressive pigs and prisoners so we do not need to fight against ourselves over petty prison politics and macho/alpha-male foolishness. We need to stand together and defend ourselves from oppression.
Unity: We seek to unite with those facing the same struggle as us for common interest. To accomplish this, we must have open lines of communication and learn to talk civilly. We know the pigs will use “Divide & Conquer” strategies any chance they can and will gain control if we’re not unified.
Growth: Education and the freedom to grow is crucial when building unity. As revolutionaries, we must always strive to get our politics as flawless as possible and bring the level of political consciousness to the highest possible point.
Internationalism: We must seek the collective liberation of ALL oppressed people. We all are victims of the oppressors but we must go from victims to victors. We must all unite against the common enemy because we can’t liberate ourselves if we’re participating in the oppression of others.
Independence: We must have organizations that are fully independent from the u$ government and all its branches, even down to the police. The racist, capitalist, imperialist system does not serve us or have our best interests in mind. If able, they will co-opt our groups and water down anything we’re trying to do. By instituting independent power we won’t have to compromise our political goals.
As a group we fully pledge ourselves to the United Front and will work to abolish the imperialist u$ empire. We will gladly unite with any group who promotes an end to capitalism, imperialism, fascism, patriarchy, etc., etc., and I want to thank you at MIM for helping to bring the people to a place of constructive revolutionary purpose.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome the newly formed AQLA as an ally in the anti-imperialist prison movement. Gender is one line of division used by the oppressors against the imprisoned lumpen, and we support their efforts to counter that through outreach and alliances with other lumpen organizations.
Anarchists differ from communists, in short, by disagreeing with point 2 of MIM(Prisons)’s six main points. While we share in our end goals, we differ on the strategy on getting there. This is a difference that would prevent comrades from joining MIM(Prisons) or the organizations it leads, such as United Struggle from Within. The function of the united front is for organizations like ours to join forces for a common cause, without giving up our differences on other key points such as this.
Comrades, I want to highlight the issues surrounding the Erick Riddick case because I feel it did not get enough media coverage. Sure there was enough attention given to free him after 30 years, however that is only because he knew a famous rapper. What about the thousands of other people in prison who don’t know any famous celebrities?
[Editor: Erick Riddick was released in May 2021 after 30 years in prison in a deal for time served for a guilty plea. His case was championed by Meek Mill, who he met in prison, and brought his case to the attention of some law students at Georgetown University.]
Riddick’s case disturbed me personally because I too tried to raise a claim of actual innocence in court only to be told that claims of actual innocence are not cognizable. For all who do not understand legal language, that means ‘so what if you have evidence of innocence, the law does not permit one to be freed on those grounds.’
The inequality of Herrera v. Collins 506 U.S. 390 (1993) should enrage anyone who has an atom of decency in them. All of these prejudiced kind of laws are opined in private, however the very moment it is brought to the public’s attention at large, like with Erick Riddick, the pretense of justice is miraculously assumed.
Riddick had solid evidence of his innocence and yet that was not enough for his release from prison after 30 years! Because of Herrera v. Collins, Erick Riddick had to plea to a 3rd degree murder charge in exchange for release. The very notion of the plea deal is illegal – words like extortion, ransom, kidnapping, come to mind – but when are government officials ever subject to the law?
When I was in county jail the sheriffs officers there would boast that a court can not order them to do anything. They would say “a court order is only a suggestion.”
Does anyone in the free world care that 4% of the U.S. population has a ‘do whatever you want’ license or is it ok so long as it don’t happen to you? What? You didn’t know that 4% of the U.S. population works to incarcerate Americans? Look around, someone standing close to you locks people in a cage for a paycheck. They take off their uniform before entering the public domain because they know they are enemies of the people. They are hiding their evil, that’s why they change clothes before leaving work at the police station.
I am doing a life sentence, so that you will be frightened into submission. Any who are complicit encourage further tyranny. I don’t have anything to lose but my chains, but I guarantee you this, if you do not stand against the police now your kids will suffer a much worse fate than mine.
None but prisoners know how unjust the laws are. Judges are paid in excess of $300,000 annually to give life sentences but the jury has no right to know what sentence a guilty verdict carries. The Riddick case should be mainstream media. The public deserves to know that the law don’t care if a man is innocent, their only concern is intimidation, life sentences for some so that all will cower down & pay heavy taxes.
4% of the population roams around with a gun and a badge and a fat belly, living off the working man’s hard work! They carry that gun because they are too lazy for a real job. When will government officials be held accountable for their crimes against humanity? The time to stand united against the police is NOW!! It is me today, tomorrow it will be you. Resist NOW!
The imperialist capitalist World super-power; Amerikkka must fall This bourgeois country don’t deserve 2 stand tall Not when it was established on slavery And built on the dressed up lie of equality Somethan’ it can not live up 2 today In the face of mass modern-day inequality And mass incarceration Which is nothan’ more than modern-day slavery Come on my people wake-up Wake up my people And I’m not just talkin’ about Black people No I’m talkin’ about the common man and woman All of humanity Don’t you see that We are destroyin’ the planet On top of that We are bein’ exploited by the global elite Got-damn-it The proletariat of this imperialist Capitalist world superpower-Amerikkka Are you and me The poverty-stricken common man and woman On our backs stand this unjust country Just as all things that goes up It 2 must Shall fall Just watch and see The empire is fallin’ The empire is fallin’ No The empire has fallen
I’m a fan of literal and biblical hell But I’m not a fan of people getting tortured to tell Is it because I’m a Moslem that they feed me the wrong foods Or can I say in Jesus’ name to make Jehovah say I do She speaks better English than me yet she’s not an Amerikkkan Maybe because the only citizens are the Ku Klux Klan How can a European call home this land on the Northern shores When the first inhabitants were the Natives and the Moors Columbus didn’t really find this land empty And George Washington didn’t really chop down a cherry tree Columbo found this land full of “savages” he say And that cherry tree was the flag of the Moors of today I wonder will this be said amongst the People And when will the New Afrikan be considered equal I sit here contemplating hour by hour And when I “Rage” against the system I yell Black Power
The Nevada Department of Corrections, under Director Charles Daniels and his pet warden, Calvin Johnson, at High Desert State Prison, have, since their arrival, waged an all out war against Nevada’s prisoners. This includes illegal theft and misappropriation of prisoners’ money under the guise of Marsy’s law (money which is still unaccounted for), to the ban on prisoners’ access to visits, chapel, yard, law library, or tier, under the premise of safety concerns over COVID-19. Meanwhile prisoners are still required to work in unsafe and crowded warehouses, kitchens, etc. as if COVID-19 does not target workers.
These same criminals also committed the crime of biological warfare when they knowingly ordered prisoners to work while 15 of them had recently tested positive for COVID-19 but were left unaware of their status. This was used as a way to spread COVID-19 throughout the prison more quickly. This was, by definition, a criminal act!
And now, while prisoners are fighting to get access to visits, chapel, yard, law library, and tier (since the only time they are out of their cell is when working, or their 30 minutes to shower or use of the kiosk, or phone when permitted) these criminals have taken another action to attack prisoners’ rights.
Starting 1 February 2021, High Desert State Prison will implement O.P. 750 mail procedure as outlined in Warden’s Bulletin #21-07. This revised operational procedure is an unconstitutional attack against our right to communicate and be informed.
In effect this new operational procedure mandates the following.
All incoming mail must be in a 4" x 9.5" white envelope written in black or blue ink only. If the mail received is not written in black or blue ink on the envelope, the mail will be returned to sender.
All letters and correspondence within the envelope must be written in black or blue ink. Any other colors will be returned to sender.
Any mail or correspondence received that is scented with perfume and oils will be returned to sender.
Any letter received with drawings and markings that is not from the letter manufacturer will be returned to sender.
Any letter received that are stained or discolored will be returned to sender.
Greeting cards will not be accepted. All greeting cards received will be returned to sender.
Inmates will not receive the original copy of letters and envelopes being received with the exception of legal mail. All letters and envelopes received will be scanned and handed out to the appropriate inmate. Note: the legal mail procedure will remain the same.
If the inmate name is not properly spelled, the inmate identification number is not noted, the senders name/address is missing, the mail will be returned to sender.
If there is writing on the back of a photo sent through mail, the writing must be written in black or blue ink.
After all mail is scanned and distributed to the inmate population, the mail will be properly disposed of.
All magazines and newspapers received must come from an established approved publisher.
Pamphlets and anything copied off the internet will be rejected with the exception of pamphlets received through religious services.
This new operational procedure (O.P.) is the latest in a long line of attacks against prisoner rights and protections since Director Daniels and Warden Johnson have taken on their duties. This O.P. is unconstitutional and deserves challenge.
First, in order to restrict prisoners’ Constitutional rights, the state must show how the restriction is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest. We do not believe that they can. The fact that prisoners are not receiving the physical letters/envelopes themselves, any act or restriction that bars or bans letters for scent, markings, drawings, stains, etc. cannot be in furtherance of a legitimate concern. Thus, we believe a legitimate argument can be made that these restrictions are arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Second, both the sender and receiver of mail/publications must be notified that censorship occurred as well as the reason censorship occurred. They must also give each party a chance to challenge the censorship. This is a very clear due process issue.
Third, we believe that a reasonable argument against the disposal of mail without due process is that the mail itself is the prisoner’s property, thus protected by due process.
Fourth, denying all pamphlets and internet copies have already been ruled unconstitutional.
Fifth, restricting all magazines and newspapers to established approved publishers poses a serious threat as it will ultimately be used to ban inmates access to materials and publications that the prison does not wish to enter the facility, such as Turning the Tide, Revolution, The Abolitionist, Black and Pink, Prison Legal News, Under Lock and Key, and other such publications. While “publisher only” restrictions have been upheld, rules which outright ban or deny publications have been ruled unconstitutional.
We are fighting this new attack, as we are fighting others. We are calling on all prisoners within the NDOC to fight for their families and friends, abolitionists, prisoner rights groups, and others, to stand up for NDOC prisoners and call for the resignation or firing of Director Charles Daniels and Warden Calvin Johnson.
Prisoners must utilize the grievance process, friends and families, or anyone else who wishes to help must call or write Governor Steve Sisolak or write Director Daniels - 5500 Snyder Rd. Carson City, NV 89702, and or Warden Johnson P.O. Box 1050 Indian Springs, NV 89070.
All Power to the People.
Let your voices be heard.
MS1 and MS26 - Revolutionary Front - NV
Caselaw: Turner v. Safley 482 U.S. 78.89. 107 S.Ct. 2254(1987) Lindell v. Frank 377 F.3d 655 659-60 (7th Cir 2004) Allen v. Coughlin 64 F.3d 77. 80 (2d Cir 1995) Williams v. Brimeyer 116 F.3d 351 (8th cir 1997) Procunier v. Martinez 416 U.S.396. 94 S.Ct 1800 Krug v. Lutz 329 F.3d 692.696-97. (9th cir 2003) Thornburgh v. Abbott 490 U.S. 401, 414-19 (1989) Juchlovich vs Simmons 392 F.3d 420 (10th Cir 2004) Montcalm Publ’g Corp. v. Beck, 80 F.3d 105, 109-110 (4th Cir 1996) Murphy v. Missourri Dep’t of Corr. 372 F.3d 979, 986 (8th Cir 2004) Clement v. California Dep’t of Corrections 364 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir 2004) Prison Legal News v. Lehman 397 F.3d 692. 699-700 (9th Cir 2005) Green v. Ferrell 801 F.2d 765, 772 (5th Cir 1986) Mann v. Smith 796 F.2d 79 82-83 (5th Cir 1986) Van Cleave v. U.S. 854 F.2d 82, 84 (5th cir 1988)
Weeks into the Derek Chauvin trial, protests in Brooklyn City, Minnesota were set off by the shooting of 20-year-old New Afrikan Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. The pig who shot him claims she thought she had pulled her taser. People braved the snow and freezing temperatures night after night, resisting the curfew that was put in place by the fascist pigs. They chanted “fuck the police!” and “fuck your curfew!” as cops shot tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds of hundreds to thousands of people.
As we go to press, the pig who killed George Floyd has been charged with 2nd degree murder. Derek Chauvin assassinated Floyd on 25 May 2020 by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
This verdict doesn’t change the fact that over 1,100 people were killed by pigs outside of prison in 2020, and that that is consistent with previous years. Of those, 121 were pulled over for mere traffic violations like Daunte Wright. New Afrikans were 28% of those killed in 2020, despite being only 13% of the population. In cities like Chicago and Minneapolis, New Afrikans were killed by cops at over 20 times the rate of whites for 2013-2020. In that same period, no cops were charged in 98.3% of killings.(1) While this data may be incomplete, behind prison walls this information is even more hidden. United Struggle from Within reminds our readers that Prisoners’ Lives Matter too, despite being excluded from these statistics on murders by so-called “peace” officers.
In May 2020, George Floyd’s murder righteously struck a nerve in many people both in the United $tates and internationally. This lead to a great awakening in international consciousness and exposed some heavy contradictions concerning capitalism-imperialism and its facade of democracy and human rights. We were shown that it is a dictatorship, and just like all other political systems, its state representatives are only there to uphold and enforce its class interests.
One of the most inspiring consequences of the killing of George Floyd is how this is so relatable to so much of the world’s oppressed communities and how so many of them not only showed their support for New Afrikans in North America but used this as a catalyst to confront their own bourgeois dictatorships. Just last month, Victoria Salazar of El Salvador was killed by Mexican police by a knee pressing her neck into the ground similar to George Floyd. In response, wimmin across the country took to the streets, marching, performing street theatre and sometimes clashing with police. Feminists protested both the rate of femicide in the region as well as the militarized border patrols and policing that create the conditions for killings like Salazar’s; tracing it back to U.$. imperialism.
Even the bourgeoisie in China criticized how the United $tates polices its Black population, saying, “Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”(2)
Despite these connections, the death of Mr. Floyd had little chance of galvanizing itself to confront the U.$. bourgeois dictatorship or threaten its rule. A few officers were scapegoated. One will be doing prison time. And all Democrats and Republicans unanimously joined to denounce the officer’s actions. Western imperialism was quick to send out its talking heads and the Democratic Party to corral the people back into bourgeois confines and to let the system administer the appropriate “justice” through its judicial process. Then $27 million was given to the family in a very public and biased way which could be a sign and another way to placate the people. Sadly, Biden and the Democrats have largely won over much of the “allies” of the oppressed and New Afrikans in particular. A recent poll said that immediately after the uprising 60% said at least one pig “murdered” George, now it’s only 36%, which is just a sign of how fickle and amorphous even “talk” of discontent for how capitalism-imperialism treats the “other,” and how quick much of Amerikkka wants to get back to business, ie. back to normal.(3)
The trial of Derek Chauvin was captivating. Many people, from many backgrounds actually cared and tried to help George Floyd. Sadly, even in the rare occasion when they are given prison time, none of the pigs will be reformed. We know this because our own comrades who do want to serve the people are not given any resources to reform in the current prison system. This should only add to the list of reasons why capitalism-imperialism must go not why we need to give it yet one more chance, or worst still “push Biden further to the left.”
All comrades should be using their voice to build the anti-imperialist united front and demanding class suicide from all oppressed communities and justice-loving people in this country. It is real in the field, fascism is no longer a misnomer. There are very large swaths of the country who would love nothing more. The kid who murdered the two protestors in Kenosha received $2 million in donations, which just shows you what Amerikkkans think of the cries of its oppressed citizens, and also what it thinks of its right-wing vigilantes. Meanwhile Florida just passed a fascist bill that allows felony charges for protestors for “rioting,” including up to 15 years for those who damage or desecrate an historical monument. Meanwhile it protects Amerikans who assault or kill protestors with a deadly weapon (an automobile), a form of fascist vigilantism that has grown in recent years. Then you have the recent voting rights bills, such as in Georgia, to stop people from voting. This is a real crisis within the bourgeois empire itself on how to rule; whether oppressed nations are allowed to vote, or even to exist.
Mao said the basic law of dialectical-materialism is the unity of opposites. The primary contradiction in imperialism is the oppressed nations against the oppressor nations. Mao also said two cannot combine into one. Only revolution and a seizure of the state apparatus by the oppressed will ultimately transform this contradiction, yet we can and should be working to transform all aspects of the contradiction short of revolution we can in preparation for that time.
Amerikkka, or any First World nation, has no right to deny anyone a share of its ill-gotten spoils. We should not get caught up in the “lock-him-up” hysteria of this trial and instead demand and support a true united front against this system and expose it as an utter failure. We should be supporting the First Nations call of welcome to their cousins from South and Central America and those from the global south. The imperialists should not have undermined their governments and resources. We should be uniting with the Asian and Pacific Islander peoples’ struggles against national oppression, especially now, and welcoming them to the table (we’ve sure missed them and need them).
Studying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, applying dialectical materialism and historical materialism, building a new culture using the method of analysis and synthesis to critique and transform this gangster culture and “bourgeois” criminal mentality into a revolutionary one, building independent institutions to protect ourselves and avoid state repression and even exposure as much as possible and effecting both the quality and quantity of these contradictions amongst the people and the enemy.
There is nothing in the world but matter in motion and our current social contradictions must be exploited by real materialists. We are living through an historic moment, things are certainly in motion, and we must affect the direction they move in. If we dare recognize our collective enemy and transform our petty bourgeois “wanna-be” gangsta mentality into one that is at least sympathetic to the revolutionary process we can really change and exploit these contradictions so they are more favorable to us.
I’ll never speak ill of the dead. However, if by telling their stories, we can prevent needless suffering, then those stories must be told. There is both beauty and power within our words. If we are to progress from erudite to enlightened, then we are obligated to speak effectively and responsibly. Sometimes, the greatest damage is done by not speaking up or not speaking out.
When I first saw Ms. Woods, I couldn’t help but ask my neighbor “Wow! Who is that?” Oh sure, I’ve seen some very attractive guards down here. But this girl seemed almost too pretty to be working at a prison. My cellie spoke up and said “Do yourself a favor bro, leave that one alone. She’s poison candy. Nice shiny wrapper on the outside… but completely toxic inside.”
I take everything with a grain of salt down here. Surely, this was an exaggeration. I thought these two were just being cynical. Time in here has a way of making people jaded. You’re either going to get better or bitter. Unfortunately, their warnings proved to be both timely and accurate. From the first moment she opened her mouth, the most venomous hatred imaginable spewed out.
For the most part, I wouldn’t have to be around her very much. I’d managed to land a good job at our unit print shop. Four days a week, I’d be gone for 12 hours a day. Guards here work 4 on 4 off. So that even further reduced my chances of seeing her. I figured I could handle just about anything for 3 days. Guess I was wrong.
My very first run-in with her happened on a Saturday. I knew to be at my cell when they called count time. They came through and did their thing. Then the lights turned out. I went into the restroom to finish getting ready for visit. I heard a door pop open moments later, only to be followed by her screaming “10 bunk!” then a string of profanities. Talk about getting caught with your pants down. She walks by while I’m still on the toilet, screaming, “You’re getting a case!”
My neighbor walks over and says “She took your I.D. bro! And your house is thrashed!” Sure enough, I get back to my cubicle and it’s a mess. Everything is on the floor. She wasn’t even doing a search. She simply did it out of spite. By the time I get things almost back in order, it’s about to be lunch. She’s still got my I.D. card, but now she’s nowhere to be found. Great. Hopefully, I can track her down before I get called in for visit.
Sure enough, lunch rolls around and I gotta tell them to punch in my number. “Ms. Woods took my I.D.” The guard at chow hall looks up and smiles, “Sucks to be you!” By the time I get back to the wing, they call me for visit. I leave to find the sergeant to explain that I can’t get into visitation without it. He tells me, “She probably went on break to write you up. Don’t worry about the case. I got you. From now on, you’d better steer clear of that one! Got it?”
The weeks fly by, and I’m fortunate enough to only see her in passing. Oh sure, she’s definitely pretty to look at, but now I avoid her like the plague. All I’m trying to do is stay out of their way.
One day my boss at print shop says “Okay, shut it down. They’re racking up the farm.” We get out to the back gate and they make me sit down. All these guards go running past us headed for one building.
Two guards are talking between themselves, but we can hear over the radio chatter that there has been another assault on staff. Now these guards start to argue, “Look, I don’t care where you put them! But they gotta be out here so that ambulance can come in!”
By the time we get back to our own building, all hell has broken loose. We can hear the warden’s voice on another radio screaming, “LOCK IT DOWN!!” They got one of the halls blocked off. As we walk by to go back in our wing, we can see all these burgundy pools of coagulated blood. This is bad.
Soon as we walk in, they ask me, “Did you hear about Officer Woods? DUDE … he beat the brakes off of her!” I look down at him and ask, “Who?” his eyes get real big when he says “Smitty! I thought y’all knew. Man … he just flipped out! Followed her right out the door into deep space, knocked her out, and then went to WORK on her! After that they say he just walked up to the desk and turned around so they could put the cuffs on him.”
After three weeks of lockdown, we were finally able to go back to work. Then I learned the rest of the story. Seems that while Smitty was off work on his bereavement, Woods went in and tossed his cell. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she took his pictures off his wall. You see … this poor man had just lost his mother, sister and baby daughter, all in quick succession within about six weeks of each other.
Now, of course, I wasn’t there to see it, but everybody says he got down on his hands and knees to BEG that woman not to take those precious photos. I’m told that even after he explained their sudden deaths, she callously laughed in his face and said “Forget your dead family.” Only she chose to use a different “F” word.
That beating wasn’t what killed her. It was the lifestyle. Reports say that they saved her life multiple times, both on the way to the hospital and in the operating room once she got there. There was extensive reconstructive surgery. Nobody will even know the full extent of the traumatic brain injury. It’s often those scars on the inside, that just won’t heal.
After a few months off, she returned to work. Doctors had done an amazing job, considering the extent of her injuries. Her entire face was pulverized. Oh, she was still somewhat pretty. But those drop dead gorgeous, model-quality features, were long gone. Her nose, eyes and cheekbones weren’t the same. People couldn’t tell if they were dentures or implants, but that smile would never be the same either.
You see … all along, she’d been manipulated and exploited by the gangs. For almost her entire tenure, she’d been smuggling in dope and cell phones. The perverts had simply preyed on her own insecurity. How could somebody so stunning on the outside be completely devoid of the true beauty that only comes from within? The only way prison officials ever found out about her activities was when they busted somebody with one of those phones.
The photos and videos were as numerous as they were explicit. So was all that contact information. It was a treasure trove of evidence. She’d also been prostituting herself. The predators had simply used her, then discarded her like some piece of garbage. Administration walked her off the unit in disgrace.
In the end, the prosecution’s job would be easy. She was facing a long list of criminal charges. I suppose the stress of an impending court trial, along with everything else, simply proved to be too much for her. I was SOOOO HOPING that all those rumors weren’t true. Unfortunately, she really did it. Ms. Woods died of a single gunshot wound to the head. She put the pistol in her mouth – just to stop the pain.
We found out about officer Woods’ suicide in 2019. A few months ago, we found out that Ms. Davis had met a similar fate. We are still unclear as to whether her death was a suicide or accidental overdose. The specifics of each of these tragedies is not nearly as important as the root causes of the problem, which remains the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDCJ does not care about stopping the rampant corruption and injustice here in Texas. Everyone from the newest correctional officers to the top administrative officials are complicit and therefore profits from this malfeasance!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have seen some interesting things in the last year or so. Some prison systems have instituted egregious restrictions on mail claiming it was used to smuggle drugs, and all prisons locked down completely with no visitors for months due to the global pandemic. Yet, reports from prison after prison, from state to state to the feds, have unanimously reported no change in the availability of contraband during these periods.
The imperialists portray ending crime as a great mystery that can’t be solved, a timeless problem that we can only respond to with force and punishment. This is metaphysics, it fails to look at the past, at humyn societies before classes and poverty, at countries who built socialism and virtually eliminated drug abuse, prostitution, theft, hunger, homelessness, etc. These things go hand-in-hand. Our crime-ridden society is not eternal, it stems from our economic system and is reinforced by the cultural ideas that come with such a system. Changing the economic system is hard, it will take determination and sacrifice by many. But once we do, ending so much needless suffering and conflict between humyns is not so hard.
[MIM(Prisons) are not lawyers. The legal information provided by jailhouse lawyers in ULK is verified to the best of our ability. This particular issue seems like a winnable battle based on the information provided, but winning will take more effort by comrades in Texas.]
Prisoners in Texas are having the money from their stimulus checks taken by the state to pay fees and restitutions. Section 272(d)(2) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act provides that the second round of stimulus checks ‘shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and no applicable payment shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.’ This means that this round of stimulus checks may not be garnished to cover overdue debts by federal or state prisons.(1)
The stimulus checks have the same protections as the United States Veteran Affairs Administration whom sends millions of checks across the country to incarcerated former military service men and women whom only get 10% of such checks.
People held by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correction Institutions Division(TDCJ-CID) are having their stimulus checks stolen from their inmate trust funds accounts due to debts owed in the following categories, with the percent of each deposit they will deduct for each category:
current/prior TDCJ sentences (old or new, no amount specified)
I have written a complaint – a TDCJ Step One Offender Grievance Form No. 2021020837 that said the direction would come form the IRS as to whether those stimulus checks would be exempt from collection. The response was that this “action was out of the control of the unit, no action warranted.”
Thereafter, I appealed that response in another complaint Step Two Offender Grievance Form. I wrote the agents in charge at the IRS Department of the Treasury in Austin, TX but never received any response.
Scholl v. Mnuchin, et al. No.4:20-cv-05309-PJH ND Cal.; Appeal Docket No. 20-16915 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of prisoners getting stimulus checks while incarcerated. The checks in question should not be confused with the most recent $1400 checks under current Presdient Joseph Biden. It was the $1200 and $600 checks under President Donald Trump that were ruled on. These checks should be issued whether one is incarcerated or not because everybody is affected by this global crisis.
According to The Intercept the TDCJ was ironically the only state they spoke to that claimed it was not garnishing stimulus checks to its prisoners. Many, if not all, states have seemingly been breaking the law in doing so.(2)
There is a solution to safe-guard some form of protection to those stimulus checks or other funds.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The author provided names of some companies that used to provide banking services for prisoners. These companies all seem to have closed down. We leave this note here as a suggestion for possible solutions to storing your stimulus money if you can find a similar service that is trusted.
Also note, that according to caresactprisoncase.org, if you have not filed the tax forms for the stimulus checks by 15 April 2021 you may not be able to receive them. At the same time, the official word has gone back and forth on how all this works.
Some comrades have written in to say they are boycotting the stimulus checks. While we agree that these stimulus checks are a means of buying off the population in U.$. borders with wealth stolen from the Third World, as individuals we can still do good things with this money. Like how we view investing in the stock market, we do not take a moralistic view of this money and encourage comrades to get the funds they are legally due and put them to good use in projects serving the people and building independent institutions of the oppressed.