The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Security]
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SNY Debate: Everyone Must Prove Themselves Through Actions

Seeing as I am SNY [Special Needs Yard], I'm compelled to put forth a few words on this matter. I've met many folks who neither "debriefed" nor snitched on anyone. After so much time on these lines, just how much b.s. can one person take? Unnecessary politics and needless racial tensions get old. That opinion is being held on the line. When young people get to prison and hear this type of talk, of course they will go SNY when confronted with an issue that will jeopardize their freedom or personal health and well being. Why fight a battle that the leaders are clearly undecided about?

To blame this or that generation is neither manly nor responsible, it's downright cowardly. Everyone is to blame and once an individual recognizes that there are responsibilities and duties to be upheld, that whether SNY or not, let him be a man and uphold those responsibilities and duties. Stay in your own land and quit trying to tell the next man what you think he should be doing. There are recriminations coming from this side (SNY) that there is more telling on the line than anyone will ever let on. The point is: get the beam out your own eye before you can get the speck out mine.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There has been a lot written about the SNY in the pages of Under Lock & Key as prisoners line up firmly on one side or the other of the debate over whether SNY prisoners can be revolutionary comrades. Our position falls in line with what this prisoner writes: we want people to demonstrate their commitments to the struggle through action. There are many reasons why people go to SNY, and not all of them snitch or debrief. Similarly, there are many mainline prisoners who snitch or work with the guards in other ways. So we must judge each person, SNY or not, by their actions.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 25]
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Internal Unity Should Precede United Front

As an active outstanding member of the Growth & Development struggle down in Texas, I feel it's my duty to speak up on the article "Criticism and Good Communication Helps Us Grow and Develop" by Ras Uhuru in ULK 24.

In the vision of our great leader, growth starts on an individual level; to reach the great discovery you got to have self-growth. Once you reach that then as a nation, as a movement, we can develop. That's where the three Ds come in - Dedication, Determination & Discipline. The three Ds in self are three keys to reaching development. Our great leader tells us to let these concepts reside in our hearts & be guiding light for us. Everyone wants to change the world but our honorable chairman tells us revolution starts with self: educate yourself, be dedicated, determined & disciplined, grow as individuals then we can develop as a nation. That's the "Blueprint" and the 21st Century concepts for GD are all based on this.

I wouldn't say we are a revolutionary organization but fo'sho' we are political and struggle and strive for success in everything we do. To the Revolutionary Gangstas, I preach that to you brothers, regardless of all else, always strive & struggle for success. Educate yourself on the new concepts of GD. As for Ras Uhuru, the Growth & Development movement is obviously something you don't have a full understanding of either because the four stages of GD start at Gangster Disciple and end in a Great Discovery. Maybe these brothers in South Carolina have not reached past the first stage of GD. But to be aware is to be alive and so I strongly advocate that all of these brothers from Mr. Uhuru on down to the Revolutionary Gangstas educate themselves about a movement before speaking up on it.

The Growth & Development is FOC - For Our Children, For Our Community, For Our Cause. The new struggle is for education, politics, economics, unity, organization & social development. Get on point brothers and keep ya shields up and your swords sharp, and always seek and share in the vision of our great leader - Free King Larry Hoover!


MIM(Prisons) responds: First, we hope everyone can agree that Under Lock & Key is not the place to have internal debates within other organizations. If there are disagreements within a group about what the group should stand for, those debates should happen within those organizations' own independent means of communication. At the same time, we print statements from other organizations to establish where MIM(Prisons) has unity with them, and to struggle where we disagree. This is a key principle to ideological development for all of us.

We printed the article by Ras Uhuru in particular because we thought it brought up an important concern, which is that we should promote unity whenever it exists. Ras Uhuru's criticism of the Revolutionary Gangstas statement was that it could be read as an implied criticism of Growth & Development, but without any substance. We agreed with Ras Uhuru on this and printed h article in response. Ras Uhuru also felt that the Revolutionary Gangstas should be working for better understanding and unity within their organization as opposed to forming a new organization. This may or may not have been good advice, as this would depend on the conditions these comrades faced on the ground.

As for the position of the responder above, we agree that one must educate oneself first, and that struggling within allows for greater unity with others. This is also true for organizations, which must develop greater internal understanding and unity before they can ever unite with others (see Ras Uhuru's article on United Front). While pushing many positive principles that align with the United Front, the author above states clearly that s/he does not see hself as part of a revolutionary organization. This is a good example of what a United Front looks like. There are clear differences between MIM(Prisons) and GD (even if this author's vision is disputed by others). And yet we can agree on the certain key principles that we both think will further the goals of our respective organizations.

It just so happens that "Growth," the third principle of the United Front addresses this point. The United Front principle of "Growth" states in part, "We support members within our organization who leave and embrace other political organizations and concepts that are within the anti-imperialist struggle." So we are not idealistic in promoting unity; we know that sometimes groups will not want to unite with us even if some of their membership does. We know individuals will leave organizations, and sometimes whole organizations will split. But this should be done in a principled way, with clear political explanations and an attempt to maintain good relations as long as we are all still moving in the same general direction as a United Front.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [Colorado]
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Restricted Privileges in Colorado is Another Name for Control Unit

I am writing from a prison in Colorado. Here they have special units called RP or Restricted Privileges. These units are 22 and 2 lockdown. They will put you in here for anything they feel is right. Like being fired and having reasonable excuses for missing work. Also for not admitting guilt to your crime when your case is still in appeal. They want you to admit to your crime so you can take their classes and be in compliance. I'm in a camp that houses persons with a sex offense. 85% of this camp has some sort of a sex crime. They will violate you and put you in RP if you do not participate in a group, but they are understaffed and so it takes years if not a decade to get into these groups.

In this RP we are limited to almost everything. We are called last for chow, which usually interferes with our two hours out a day. Also they let us only look through a preselected book cart with books that are not rotated out. They keep us from the library here. This keeps us from learning and making copies. Our yard time is limited as well. We get one hour out, once a week. Even people in the hole get one hour out every four days. Our visits are restricted to a two hour visit on a Thursday afternoon. My family lives out of state so a visit is impossible. Also they turn off our phone time so we are unable to call home or friends. And lastly they restrict our mail.

Their grievance process is impossible here. You properly file step one, two, three and still they tell you "you failed to follow the proper grievance steps." If somehow you do make it through their grievance process, and you fill out all the forms properly, still there is nothing done.

I'm trying to create here a strong offense and a powerful defense. Educating others and myself about ways we can stop this injustice. This is supposed to be "the land of the free." Well we all know it's not. I, however, shall stand strong and fight till the better end. I shall stand till we overcome! I shall fight for peace and inform all.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This story of lockdown and lack of effective grievance procedures is echoed across the country throughout the criminal injustice system. It has become acceptable in this country to lock people up in long-term solitary confinement for years, and then to deny them any legal recourse to even enforce the prison's own rules and policies. United Struggle from Within has initiated the grievance campaign to demand our grievances are addressed. But this is just one small part of the larger fight to do away with this system of injustice. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state or to help modify a petition to the laws of your state if we don't yet have one.

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[Organizing] [Heman Stark YCF] [California] [ULK Issue 25]
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Learning from History of Struggles at YTS Chino

I've been reading through the past few newsletters that you sent. First I want to thank you for sharing with me. I find it interesting and enjoy hearing about the rebellions against the system. It's fucked up to hear what fellow prisoners have to deal with, but from experience I know a time comes when we must say enough is enough. So I would like to share an experience with you that I had while doing time in California Youth Authority.

In August of 1996 a counselor was killed in YTS (Youth Training School) in Chino, California. She just disappeared one day. Three days later her body was found in the Chino dumping grounds. This has repercussions throughout the whole youth authority, statewide. But it really hit hard right here in YTS. They locked the whole institution down and things didn't completely go back to normal operations for about a year. We were slammed down 24 hours a day. The only thing we came out of our cells for was a racially segregated shower for 3 minutes a day. That's it! The only thing sold on canteen was Ajax to clean our cells. They took away weights, cigarettes, magazine subscriptions, visits, phone calls, school and trade classes, packages, canteen, everything. If you had a TV, radio or shoes you were allowed to keep them, but they were no longer being sold on canteen. Cells got ransacked and a lot of electronics went straight into the trash.

Now, understand that YTS is ages 18-25. No minors are there. This place is known as gladiator school. It's the end of the road before going into CDC (California Department of Corrections). The majority of the vatos go there from the younger YAs for punishment. And the majority of these youngsters are maxed out till they're 25. So that's a 7 year stretch on top of what they've already done. There's nothing that could stop them from going home besides new charges, and a trip upstate. So most already don't give a fuck, and then the system itself took away everything that kept us calm. And they had no intentions of giving anything back. So fuck it, we kicked it off. And kept kicking it off. It was mostly racial riots, fighting amongst each other, but there were times the pigs would get smashed out, jaws broken, etc.

That's just the way it was, although I now see all our energy should've been focused against the system itself. But what we did worked to our advantage. Through years of struggles and fighting the puercos could not control us. Outside administration thought the superintendent didn't have what it takes, so they replaced him. The second superintendent wasn't trying to hear any of our demands or compromise either. So we kept doing what we did and eventually he got replaced too. The third superintendent since the killing was a little more understanding and wanted to keep his job. So in an attempt to calm us down he reformed the institution to our benefit.

They started selling TVs, radios and shoes again. We got magazine subscriptions, day long visits, necklaces, and even packages (which were only twice a year to start with, but it was a start). There were a few things we didn't get back (weights, cigarettes, playboy, tape players, etc.), and all the juvenile lifers got shot to the big joints.

Furthermore, the amount of time we were slammed down improved. YTS had a policy of locking down the whole institution for two or three months at a time for basically anything more major than a 1 on 1 fight (which is almost every incident). So while cats are sitting in their cells pissed off, they figure if they're gonna be slammed down for something they didn't do they might as well get involved and make it worth it. So, just about every incident that happened turned into a riot. The superintendent then changed the policy and only slammed down the unit involved. It still wasn't good enough, because usually not everyone on the unit is involved. Then he changed it so only the races involved are slammed down. Still not good enough. Well, after years of going through this we finally got it to where they only slammed down the people involved and only for three days of racially segregated showers. We then all came out together for day room program for 30 days. After that we were allowed to go back to school, trade, and yard. Not too bad. But it wasn't an easy path. When I got released in 2001 it was still off the hook. There was shit happening just about everyday - one unit after the next - and we were still getting shit back from the system.

So there we were, an institution that went from having it all, to having nothing overnight. It wasn't the whole prisoner population that killed that counselor, only one person was accused of it. But they retaliated on us as a whole group. So we reacted in a way that seemed justified to us. And it worked. Never once did we try any peaceful protest (food strikes, canteen strikes, phone strikes, etc.) There was no such thing in our eyes. I'm not against a peaceful resolution when dealing with the system, but as Mao said, it's up to us to analyze our own conditions of oppression and react accordingly. The institution pushed us in a corner with no reasonable way out.

I know there's many oppressed prisoners nationwide who feel hopeless, who feel there's no way things can get better. They feel lost and in the dark. Therefore, there comes a time when we must say enough is enough and make the necessary sacrifices to better our own conditions on the necessary level, peaceful or otherwise. It's better to try and fail than to have never tried at all. May honor, hope and victory be with those in the struggle.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is true that there are times when fighting repression with peaceful protests will lead to nothing more than ongoing repression. This is why revolutionaries know that the only way to achieve ultimate victory over the imperialists is through armed struggle; they will not give up their power without a fight. Even within the criminal injustice system this is true. However, engaging in armed struggle prematurely will only lead to greater oppression and deaths for the oppressed. This is what revolutionaries call focoism: revolutionary violence without the proper support and mass base and often without the correct ideological leadership.

This story about Chino appears to counter our position that we need to build the vanguard leadership and mass base of support before engaging in armed struggle. The prisoners there successfully won back many privileges that had been taken away by rioting and fighting each other. But we have to look at what they really won. As this writer notes, the privileges taken away were things that used to keep the population calm: TV, radio, canteen, etc. These are pacifying elements, not threats to the criminal injustice system.

Certainly lockdown 24 hours a day is inhumane, and we want our comrades to have access to reading material and visits and phone calls. All these things are essential to raising political consciousness and re-integrating back into society. But did the riots that forced the prisons to throw prisoners a few bones actually gain anything for the fight against the criminal injustice system? Prisoners learned that fighting each other is rewarded. They didn't learn how to fight the pigs. They didn't gain any education about the actual cause of their oppression or how to get free. And as we look at the contradictions between prisoners we also must ask what role privileges play in pacifying sectors of the imprisoned lumpen and turning them against those that rebel. This is a question United Struggle from Within is contemplating as we discuss which is the principal contradiction facing the prison movement.

The victory of a few calming privileges at YTS is an example of how little can be accomplished with focoist violence, and how an ultra-left focus on "action" is often just the other side of rightist reformism. Next time the prison takes away privileges there will be no better organization, no greater understanding and no progress towards real change. As a counter example, in Pelican Bay and elsewhere, the recent hunger strike led prisoners to study politics and organizing, and to think more systemically about how to fight the criminal injustice system and what we really want to win. This may not have resulted in many (if any) privileges won for prisoners, but the growing education and unity is a much bigger victory.

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[Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada]
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Solitary Confinement at Ely State Prison (Max)

I was just given 1 year in the hole by these fascist pigs who want to see me break down and give in. Not only do they put me in solitary confinement, they put me smack dead in the middle of two mental patients who have lost their grip on reality. I truly believe this was an attack on my sanity because when I receive my meals I hear the pigs say it must suck to be you and things of that nature. I just look at them and give no reply.

The madness starts about 11pm every night, I call it party time. Doors get kicked, the screaming begins and toilets get banged on. I ball up wet tissue and stuff it in my ears. This helps a little bit but I can still hear every word that is being spoken. The first few nights were rough but I managed. I was getting upset at my neighbors for making all the noise, but I had to sit back and realize what was going on. I know that being in solitary confinement can break down the most active comrade, I've seen it go down and I'm pretty sure those who spend years in the hole for being an unruly tenant have seen it as well.

To all comrades who are cussing these dudes out, ask yourself about those prisoners being disruptive. Are these cries for help cuz just being in a cell 24/7 is to much for them to handle and it's beginning to weigh on them mentally? I notice that these cries for help are met with the goon squad running in on them or these doctors forcing meds on them which they don't need. All this does is drive them deeper and deeper into depression and despair.

Animal rights agencies have gotten laws passed to ban this cruel treatment of animals but the government is still allowed to inflict this cruel treatment on humans, imagine that! The United $tates federal courts have acknowledged and ruled that solitary confinement causes sensory deprivation which in turn causes substantial psychological damage, this is no theory but a fact. Some common symptoms from sensory deprivation are paranoia, anxiety, depression, aggression and psychosis.

Our oppressors can change the name or paint it a pretty color but it's still solitary confinement. I guess they believe this tactic is working to subdue the rowdy cons and to turn prisoners against each other. But what prison officials don't realize is that they are going to eventually release a beast that they created back to society and when this home grown prison beast is released and kills someone officials have the nerve to act offended and prosecutors call him an animal and charge him just to put him back in solitary.

Right now I'm next to a young white brother who is on meds. He's 19 years old and has been in the hole for 1 year but from time to time he goes a little off the wall. He just had a psychotic episode where he threw shit on one of these pigs and just a few days ago he found out that he was being AG'd (the Attorney General wants to file new charges on him). Now he's looking at more time in prison and in solitary confinement where his mental state will surely get worse. What good is this doing? So instead of us talking shit and lashing at these people, let's take a deeper look at what's really going on.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good letter illustrating the torture that is the long-term solitary confinement units in Amerika's criminal injustice system. The fight to shut down these Security Housing Units is a key part of the battle for better conditions. This is a tool for educating and organizing, and we need to unite rather than criticize those who are suffering in these units.

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[Organizing] [Colorado]
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Colorado DOC's New Tool

As a high ranking member of a Lumpen Organization (LO) I encourage all LOs in the Colorado State slave system to organize and unite with the MIM(Prisons) United Struggle from Within (USW). These pigs in the CDOC have taken a page from B.F. Skinner and created an Incentive Program in all Level 3 & 4 yards. This program allows participants more rec time, pod time, DVD player and movie rental for their cells and the privilege of eating before all units. It is clear staff goes out of their way to make sure General Populations know these are "specially privileged." In turn they have to sign a contract agreeing to not participate in any Security Threat Group (STG) related activities, including organized protest, staying write up free, and working any "facility needs job," i.e. kitchen, janitorial, etc., in the event of a lockdown.

This is a classic divide and conquer technique and an insurance policy against peaceful protest, i.e. hunger strikes, work strikes, etc. I encourage all prisoners in the Colorado slave system who are participating in this program to re-evaluate their position. Giving up your morals for simple comforts by entering this program makes it impossible for those of us who want to fight imperialism and injustice for all of us. Any kind of peaceful organized protest against injustice and imperialism will be ineffective because these program participants will mitigate the effects of such protest for these pigs.

At first the program was not being taken advantage of by prisoners so the pigs employed the carrot and the stick technique by decreasing GP's privileges in order to make this program more appealing. Those who openly protested the programs existence were systematically removed from GP and put in Ad-Seg.

The effect of this program is already apparent. The pigs have become more brazen in their actions against us as a whole. There is no fear of any type of retaliation for their actions, and because each prison organization is split by some of its members participating in this program, no organization has any structure. This program is not to help you comrades. Wake up! Look at the long term and don't follow the carrot.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons attempt to divide and conquer prisoners using many tactics. Privileges are one very effective tactic in buying the complacency of some prisoners. We need to be aware of the impact this has on our ability to organize protests and take action. Educating all prisoners about the big picture of the Criminal Injustice System and its connections to imperialism is an important component in the fight against these potential divisions. Those prisoners who understand the broader context of their day-to-day oppression will be less likely to take small privileges as a buy off in exchange for their silence and inactivity.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Censorship and Criminal Neglect in San Diego

In Richard J. Donovan State Prison in San Diego Ad-Seg this place is off the hook with their green wall mentality and tactics. For starters, today I got my mail and it's your magazine dated August 9, 2011. So these people are playing with our mail. It took seven months to get my mail from you. If that ain't censoring our mail then I don't know what is. There are other items of mail I've been waiting on that I still have not received. I've written ISU (Institution Services Unit) and the mailroom to find out whats going on with my mail, they have not bothered to respond.

When I was on the line here at RJDSP I worked as a porter in the EOP (Enhanced Outpatient Program) building. I used to find 10 to 20 letters a day in the trashcan. I got to the point of just passing out mail to these guys myself, as I found it in the trash. The pigs keep whatever they want here, mags, photos out of letters, stamps, money orders, visiting apps, etc.

Mail is just the tip of the BS going on. I've eye witnessed back-to-back beatings by CDCs finest. These poor guys here have tried time and again to get outside help, all these people do is screen our mail and hold back what they don't want getting out.

The food is bland and there is no salt in our food. The amount is so small in portion that a child could barely live off it. The air conditioning is on full blast to keep us frozen in the middle of winter. The conditions are so bad - it's so dirty in here and they never give us cleaning supplies.

My neighbor got an infection on his toe, and they wouldn't treat him for it. It got so bad they had to cut it off. They got us sleeping on mattresses that are stained with piss. Or in some cases no mattress. But if we make a big deal by asking for help, we'll get the shit beat out of us, and stripped down to nothing. I've been in Ad-Seg for a minute now and still haven't got my property. But I refuse to stop the fight no matter where they put me. This is why I write, to encourage others to never let these people still your spirit.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Forest] [Pennsylvania]
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Brutality and Resistance in Pennsylvania Demonstrates Need for United Front

I am currently being held captive in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI Forest and would like to apprise you of some recent events that have taken place:

On February 21, 2012, a mentally ill prisoner told Lt. Raymond Burkhart and other staff that he was feeling suicidal shortly after breakfast trays were distributed to prisoners in the unit. In turn, Lt. Burkhart summoned an extraction team, which consisted of approximately seven guards clad in full riot gear - helmets, body armor and gas masks. Moreover, the extraction team carried Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), chemical agents, nightsticks, and other weapons. Bear in mind, the mentally ill prisoner, like most other prisoners in RHU, was housed in a single-man cell and with no clothing except for a jumpsuit and underclothes.

Instructed by Lt. Murin, the extraction team accosted the mentally ill prisoner and demanded that he relinquish his plastic breakfast tray. Disregarding the extraction team's orders, the prisoner requested psychiatric care apropos of his suicidal feelings. The extraction team then blasted the prisoner with a chemical agent. With his eyes and skin burning from the chemical agent, the prisoner relinquished the breakfast tray. The extraction team then left the unit. Lt. Burkhart and other staff left the mentally ill prisoner in the cell with the chemical agent burning his eyes and skin, and causing him to experience breathing complications overnight. All requests for medical and mental health care were denied.

The following morning, Lt. Burkhart summoned another extraction team to deal with the same mentally ill prisoner. Fortunately, that extraction team did not attack him with chemical agents. Unfortunately, they opted to charge into his cell, stun him with CEDs and pummel him bloody. Even after he was fully restrained by handcuffs and leg irons, one extraction team member (C.O. Woods) repeatedly struck his face with fists and elbows. The prisoner suffered a broken nose in addition to other facial injuries.

The extraction team then locked the mentally ill prisoner in a hard-cell (a cell with a concrete slab for a bed and no other furniture). He was left naked and bleeding with no running water. Several prisoners made requests to Lt. Burkhart and other staff for the mentally ill prisoner to be given medical treatment. These requests were denied.

On February 23, a comrade had words with Lt. Burkhard about the fact that the mentally ill prisoner was being denied medical treatment and held under inhuman conditions. Lt. Burkhart insulted the comrade with racial epithets.

That afternoon, the comrade was asleep while a pig was counting prisoners. The comrade didn't respond to the pig's calling of his name and consequently Lt. Burkhart ordered several guards to enter the comrade's cell. Awoken by the opening of the cell door, the comrade sprung to his feet and defended himself from the attack by the pigs. In fact, he defended himself so well that one pig ended up with a broken nose, and another with broken ribs. The comrade received minimal damage to the body.

Then, yesterday, four prisoners refused to return to their cells from the RHU yard in what began as a peaceful protest to seek the removal of Lt. Burkhart from the RHU. True to form, the pigs quickly got into riot gear and stormed the yard. They attacked one of the four prisoners with a stun shield. Be mindful of the fact that each prisoner was in a single-man exercise cage. Seeing no possible victory in combating the extraction team under the circumstances, the other three prisoners chose to return to their cells and excogitate new strategies.

It is well understood that MIM(Prisons) believes that the time is not yet ripe for armed struggle in this imperialist country, as their regime is still very powerful, and a minuscule percentage of the people are ready and able to partake in real revolution. Furthermore, when prisoners use violence against guards, then those who want to keep the prison industrial complex functioning label such prisoners incorrigible in order to increase the fear, and decrease the support, of prisoners in general by the populace. This makes easier the accomplishment of the government's goal of social control. Notwithstanding, prisoners often feel the need to take up arms against oppressors as guards are given free rein to physically assault them, deprive them of meals and subject them to various other forms of torture.

Even when prisoners endeavor to resolve issues the "right" way, i.e., filing prison grievances and lawsuits, they are often faced with coverups and injustices. For example, the same Lt. Burkhart mentioned earlier in this report often goes into cells while prisoners are in the yard and discards prisoners' legal materials. There are video cameras recording every pod in this unit 24 hours a day, but when prisoners request the use of the videos that would show Lt. Burkhart leaving cells with legal materials as proof of claims to resolve grievances, Lt. Burkhart's coworkers either refuse to review and preserve the videos, or say they can't see him on them. Such experiences are frustrating for prisoners.

The unity, discipline and hardihood displayed by the prisoners who partook in the hunger strikes in Georgia and California is commendable. And albeit not all participants belong to LOs, respect must be given to the many who do and yet were able to put their differences to the side and federate to take a stand against the common enemy. We are not close to having that type of unity in Pennsylvania, as individualism is prevalent out here. Nonetheless, there are some inspired guerrillas paying attention and working to radicalize others. Moreover, some of us are building the foundation of a movement that will aim to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

So, as other comrades and I strive to devise and employ tactics to thwart Lt. Burkhart and other oppressors, we look to strengthen solidarity with those who desire a communist world.


MIM(Prisons] adds: These struggles in Pennsylvania are similar to those going on across the criminal injustice system in Amerika. And this comrade does a good job describing the contradiction between the immediate desire of prisoners to fight back physically against the physical brutality they face daily and the potentially detrimental consequences of this armed struggle at this stage of development. We continue to encourage all prisoners to work with the United Front for Peace in Prisons and avoid physical confrontations whenever possible. We will build a movement that demonstrates that it is the oppressed who want peace and the prisons that promote violence.

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[Organizing]
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Entering SNY to Give Up Gang Banging

I am a strong brother who is currently living on a Special Needs Yard (SNY). I am writing this letter in response to several articles about the many individuals who are or who have chosen to live inside of an SNY yard. I know that I am an exception. I have never been in prison before. I have never testified on anybody or been victimized by another human being. I chose to lock it up or become an SNY yard prisoner despite the stigma because of my experiences as a gang banger. I wanted to give up continuously putting myself into danger and stop standing up for a code and structure that served no purpose other than to steal, kill, beat down and destroy myself, my family and my community.

I won't pre-judge those brothers and sisters in the mainline who believe that everyone on SNY is a snitch, a bitch or a tattle tell. But there are a lot of good and bad brothers everywhere who can and may contribute to this cause. We have to figure out a way that we as a people can use our common sense to focus on who our real oppressors are within and beyond these walls.

We need to address our fears and really look deeply into what are we all really fighting for. Is it to end all oppression or to continue allowing ourselves to oppress our people. Whether we are on SNY yards or on mainline yards, prison is prison and oppression is oppression.

I have started work groups and study groups with all types of individuals around me here, something that structures and constant distrust has prevented many of us on the mainline or in society from doing. I came to SNY for better opportunity, a better way for me to do my time positively and productively. Despite the stigma, I think that it is a better environment to begin to work in, and reprogram our minds from our years and years of brainwashing.


MIM(Prisons) adds: There is little question that the expansion of the SNY program in California that has been long debated in the pages of ULK is part of an effort on the part of the CDCR to weaken lumpen organizations. And this is why SNY receives much ire from prisoners of many political persuasions. While they see the expansion as a plague spreading across the prison system, we have not seen any practical antidote to this come from those who consider SNY prisoners to be absolute enemies. The structures are too rigid and are not adapting as the masses begin moving in another direction. Granted this "new direction" is still largely guided by the CDCR itself, but it has a basis in real contradictions within the imprisoned class. We see plenty of people in GP working with the CDCR in anti-people activities and we see people in SNY supporting independent institutions of the oppressed.

The oppressed need organization, with structure, discipline and security. We should work to maintain these aspects of current organization where they exist. But most importantly, we need organizations that serve the people. And this is why we welcome the work of comrades like this one who are bridging gaps and organizing where others are not willing.

MIM(Prisons) position on the SNY debate remains one of looking at each individuals actions around the revolutionary struggle to judge their value to the movement. The larger problems that led to the current levels of SNY populations still need to be addressed by comrades with a common vision in all populations.

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[Campaigns] [Texas]
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Fighting Unjust Grievance Denials in Texas

I just got my issue of ULK24 today. Not sure if it's the one they tried to deny or not. But I got it. I wanted to write to ask about this grievance campaign on page 12. I see Texas listed here, but have not heard of any inter-state attempt to rectify the grievance problems. So, could you please tell me of this and possibly who to contact?

I am struggling to keep our basic rights here. Yet, our prisons have been known to steal grievances (as they did to me last February on a solid case against them), scratch out lines written on step ones, hold step ones for extra time to ensure it's impossible to file a step two, and lastly they grade/investigate step two grievances here instead of sending them up the ladder to Huntsville, as policy says they must.

So I would like to hear more of this Texas campaign. Can you help me gain a better understanding of this and who I need to contact? I'm up for release this year and will take this fight to the outside world with me.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This grievance campaign has been growing since the initiation in California. We now have petitions for seven states, including Texas, which comrades are using to fight unjust grievance systems. Write to us for a copy of a generic petition that you can customize for your state if we don't already have a campaign in your state.

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