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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 21]
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Pelican Bay Prisoner Joins Hunger Strike to Protest Sensory Deprivation

On June 21 I received the [Hunger Strike] campaign update and I do truly admire your organization attempting to liberate not only confined prisoners but all oppressed people within the nation. Thank you!

Tomorrow, on July 1, I will most definitely be participating in the mass hunger strike here in Pelican Bay State Prison. I'm under lock and key isolated in administrative segregation awaiting transfer to Corcoran SHU for over 17 months now, and this inhumane, dehumanizing and repressive treatment of these control unit prisoners must come to an end. I am tired of being targeted and psychologically tortured in solitary confinement, which causes severe mental harm to the point of having conversations with myself. This is a form of sensory deprivation and must stop immediately.

Another reason why I will be protesting along with the SHU prisoners is because here in CDCR there are no simple programs such as tattoo removal programs. Some prisoners like myself were incarcerated as juveniles and tried as adults, and we made mistakes by putting tattoos on our bodies. So by attempting to truly rehabilitate myself I want all my tattoos removed. As a prisoner I should have access to programs like this. It makes me question, does California Department of Corrections deserve the title of "rehabilitation?"


MIM(Prisons) responds: There's no question about it, they do not deserve the title "Rehabilitation" which was added years ago without any change in their practice or policies to justify the term. Former prisoners who spent years in these isolation cells can attest to that. The lucky ones have family or find organizations with the resources to support them. But too many are stuck in destructive cycles. Meanwhile, there is a criminal mentality that penetrates the whole populace in the United $tates based in capitalist individualism. It is up to revolutionaries to develop independent institutions that can truly address the rehabilitation needs of the oppressed lumpen who have more interest in revolutionary change than most Amerikans who sit idly by while hundreds of thousands of people are tortured in their country.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 21]
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Revolutionary Gangstas Join United Front for Peace

I'd like to ask that my organization, Revolutionary Gangstas, be listed as an affiliate of the United Front for Peace in Prisons and the USW. I define Gangsta as one who doesn't conform to the rule of society (sheep mentality), one who refuses to be "hoodwinked" or "pickled" by the powers that be. In addition to concepts of Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, and Independence, we incorporate and utilize: Power, Honor, Honesty, Truth, Respect, Control, and Liberty. We strive against obscurantism (opposition to the spread of knowledge), imperialism and capitalism. We strive to educate members of LOs that the purpose of founding of respective LOs was not to fight and kill each other over colors, points on a star or geographical areas that don't belong to us. We emphasize that as long as LOs suffer from internecine disputes that the real enemy (oppressors) can continue unchecked. The founders (myself and another prisoner) as members of the Gangster Disciples have started by instructing members of that LO to stop engaging in self-destructive behavior and following misguided and unfounded "theories" of what being in a LO means now and get back to original purpose. We put emphasis on education and self-determination. We're accepting of all LO members who can unite under the ideology of all power of all people (oppressed) and sacrifice selfish desires for the benefit of the whole.

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[Censorship] [California Correctional Institution] [California] [ULK Issue 21]
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Grievance Petition Copies Refused in Library

I am an American Indian here in California Correctional Institution who has had all the problems with the 602 grievance procedure here. The so-called Appeal Coordinator, K. Sampson, has repeatedly (16 times!!!) sent my appeal back to me because of complete bullshit reasons. So I wrote to your legal clinic, and you provided me with an awesome petition to send to the director about my, and all of our, appeal issues. Thank you!

But again I, and all of us on my side, have run up against a potential problem. I took the petition to the law library and the CO refused to copy it. Even when I signed a trust withdraw slip to pay for it myself! She told me that the petition was all crap and that I should be written up for simply having it. She tried to take it from me. I had to "cause a scream" and get at a sergeant finally who gave it back to me. He told me he knew that our 602 process was crap and good luck! You believe that?!?

Is there any way that your office can please send me enough for at least the 10 very good people on my tier? Every single one of them was very impressed and wanted one of the petitions for unjust grievance procedures appeals process. Everyone wanted to loan it from me to get it copied, but our law librarian refuses to allow us to copy the petition. She told me if I didn't like her decisions to "appeal it" and then laughed in my face!

Thank you so much for everything you have done to help me further the struggle and get out of this U.$. gulag.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Write us to get a copy of the grievance petition for your state if you reside in California, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, or a generic petition that you can customize for your state if you are anywhere else.

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[Abuse] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Letter to Warden Supporting Hunger Strike Demands

Dear Warden Lewis,

I am writing this letter to you to express my concern for the prisoners held in Pelican Bay State Prison's short-corridor Group D. It is my understanding that these people have no disciplinary charges, but are being held in extreme isolation, unable to send photographs to their families or speak to them on the phone, which clearly is in violation of the First Amendment. You must meet the "important" and "necessary" test before you can restrict or censor inmates' outgoing mail. ( Bressman v. Farrier, 825 F. Supp. 231(N.D. Iowa 1993); Altizer v. Deeds, 191 F. 3d 540 (4th Cir. 1999); Stow v. Grimaldi, 993 F. 2d 1002 (1st Cir. 1993). For telephones see: McMaster v. Pung, 984 F.2d 948, 953 (8th Cir. 1993) ).

I am concerned that these prisoners, who are under your responsibility, are being denied their Constitutional right to due process, equal protection rights, and cruel and unusual punishment. Not only do these inmates not have any disciplinary charges, but IGI is intimidating and harassing them into fabricating information to avoid false gang validations. This is illegal and upsetting, and meets the "significant and atypical" standard. See: Ayers v. Ryan, 152 F.3d 77 (2d Cir. 1998); Taylor v. Rodriguez, 238 F.3d 188 (2d Cir. 2001); and Hatch v. District of Columbia, 184 F.3d 846 (D.C. Circ. 1999). This is a violation of legal ethics, and as a citizen of the state of California, I expect fair treatment of prisoners from a state employee rather than allowing these gross violations of the Constitution to happen right under your nose.

Studies prove time and time again that prisoners who have contact with their family are able to rehabilitate much better than those who are isolated. They are better able to adjust to society when they are released, and avoid being sent back to prison. It is completely irresponsible that you would permit IGI to cause this potential psychological damage to a person, when they are supposed to be allowed these privileges.

Since you are the Warden of Pelican Bay State Prison, I am asking that you intervene in these illegal and irresponsible practices going on in short-corridor Group D. Please allow the prisoners held there their full privileges according to CDCR policies, and end the harassment and intimidation of prisoners, especially ones who have no information, and no disciplinary actions.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I also thank you for your future efforts to resolve this problem.

Sincerely,
a California prisoner

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[Organizing] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Using ULK to Help Organize and Fight Oppressive Conditions

The ULK will be a great help to me and others to promote education, unity, and legitimate struggle among prisoners in my area. This is an ongoing and continuous task/duty that I, and a few others, have accepted. We need informational and motivational materials such as ULK to help enlighten and recruit others.

One recent example of success: the administration at this facility recently turned off all electricity to the wing I'm housed on - a disciplinary type wing - in violation of state policy, and took all personal fans. I managed to get 3 prisoners to file grievances and 6 to sign an affidavit, which I sent to outside agencies. It took 2 months, but last week the electricity was turned back on and fans were returned.

But, of course, my fan wasn't returned because I was moved to a lower level of housing where there isn't even an outlet. This is my next task, getting outlets in all cells. Additionally, these cells now have padlocks on the doors, in violation of state fire safety codes. I'm in the process of recruiting others to act on that issue as well.

Regarding the petitions against corrupt grievance processes noted on page 12 of the ULK, would you please send me several of them? I've been trying to work on that issue - I have documentation that clearly shows the inadequacy of the process - and the petition might be a great help. I will recruit others to send them.

Thanks so much for the ULK and the motivation.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Write us to get a copy of the grievance petition for your state if you reside in California, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, or a generic petition that you can customize for your state if you are anywhere else.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Sacramento] [California] [ULK Issue 21]
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Prisoner in CSP-Sacramento Calls on Warden to Address Hunger Striker Demands

Dear Warden Lewis,

I'm writing to express my concerns for the inhuman treatment being inflicted on these disciplinary-free prisoners housed at Pelican Bay State Prison's short-corridor Group D. The conditions there must change because of the nature of the situation. Please allow these people room to have phone calls, send pictures to their loved ones, etc. If we have no respect for the U.S. Constitution how shall I, as a free man one day, respect or honor the rights of others, after witnessing these wrong doings? I'm facing a real challenge when I return to society in September 2011. If we continue to strive to solve problems we must begin in our community and this is one of the largest communities I've ever been a part of and I believe that the strike on July 1, 2011 will begin the process for a collective change as one unity.

I have faith you will resolve the problem.

Sincerely,
[a prisoner in California State Prison - Sacramento]

I will strike with these men in unity.

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[Organizing]
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I am We! Kill Me for My People

Kill Me for My People
Engulfed in the day to day war of oppressed against oppressor, sometimes the pressures can be overwhelming, especially in these concentration camps of the united $nakes (prisons). If you're not blind you can clearly see on the faces of our brothers the lack of dignity and the lack of hope. You can hear when they speak, that their spirits have been crushed and ambition has been washed away along with the privilege and rights entitled to them as men at birth.

But why? We have accepted these oppressive conditions, almost embracing them as if they belong to us. We've grown accustomed to the establishment's evil ways and put it off as if nothing can be done about them. In a way we have sold our souls and hope is in constant suffering because of this. Where are the elders? Where is the hope? Did the hope die along with the revolutionaries of the past who were brave enough to protest and take a stand against the establishment, later being assassinated because they did? If so, then the future of the people is in question.

The future of the people is of no success without the hope and bravery of the people now! The future of the people is determined by the immediate actions of the people. There is honestly no more time to waste. Wasted time means wasted lives and enough of our peoples lives have already been taken not just by the hands of the oppressor but by reactionary suicide which of course is because of the oppressor.

Many of us, just like Huey P. Newton in the earlier stages of his life, have been searching. Searching for meaning. The meaning of life. Huey recognized, there is no meaning to life unless there is something to die for. To die for the people is what he later discovered as being his role in life. The people being his meaning for life.

He, along with many others influenced by him, put their lives on the line, for the lives of their people. He knew long after his death, that the conditions of the oppressed will continue unless there was social change. Change in which he set out to make. Not fearing death but accepting it as his fate by the hands of the oppressor, for a new life for his people.

So you may ask, what is your role? If you are a brother like myself, oppressed, exploited, victim of racism, victim of Amerikanism, which we all are, then I say our role is the same as brother Huey's was. Why wouldn't it be? Knowing that these conditions will not change unless we the people oppose the oppressive forces, then what more could our role be in life? What has more meaning to life than pursuing liberty and happiness? If not for thy people then at least for thyself, which would ultimately catapult amongst the people. I see no other role adequate.

But this is where the problem occurs. Many brothers are aware of the oppressive conditions. But yet grown so used to them that they are "normal" within our communities. I assure you that it is not normal. If it was then there wouldn't be classes of society, in which we are in fact the lowest class.

As humans, we are mistreated and unrecognized (along with our social needs). We are underprivileged, we are undereducated, we are underpaid, we are poorly housed and we are under attack by the hands of the government, through forces of oppression caused by capitalism and racism. Yet some feel it is unnecessary to take a stand. I beg to differ, I feel it is a necessity. With no stand, there's no future. We must liberate ourselves.

To die for the people, literally means to be suicidal. This is how Huey came up with the name of his book, Revolutionary Suicide. It is almost impossible to remain alive living as a revolutionary, because revolutionaries are objects of sacrifice for their people.

A revolutionary may not be fortunate to see the revolution since it is not an action but a process. But during their lives they advance the people towards a revolution, probably dying in the process.

Do not mistake revolutionary suicide with reactionary suicide, which is ultimately taking your own life due to the overwhelmingness of oppression or engaging in action caused by your reaction that will also ultimately lead you to death.

History shows us that revolutionaries are often assassinated at the hands of the oppressors they oppose for having influence over the masses, therefore preventing a revolution and or revolutionary advancement (raising people's conscience) etc. I think it is cowardly to see brothers who have been murdered as the sacrifice of my liberty to ignore their cause because of the dangers. We will die, but we will die for our people and that alone gives meaning to our life. Some are born just to die. These people have no meaning of life. Revolutionaries are awoken to die for the cause of bringing meaning to life.

We see that they assassinated MLK. We see that they assassinated Malcolm X. We see that they assassinated Mark Clark, Fred Hampton, Bobby Hutton, attempts on Huey and all because of the brave roles that were necessary for the liberation of the people. I accept my role as a young revolutionary which is why I coined this very phrase "kill me for my people."

I am we is an old saying that our ancestors used when asked "who are you?" "I am we" they would respond. "I, we, all of us are then and the multitude." This is revolutionary suicide.


MIM(Prisons) adds: For more on the Black Panther Party and Huey Newton, check out the Newspaper Archives.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Isolation Already Loosening at Pelican Bay

MIM Distributors,

It is always my pleasure to reach out and re-establish lines of communication. I hope that you all are in the best of God's care. One can never be too sure in this line of work. I'm well, as i get ready for this July 1 2011 hunger strike for the cruel & unusual treatment we prisoners held in solitary confinement have endured. All the same it is an enduring struggle that we must fight in order to change our reality.

I am writing because i need you all to forward me that issue dated in the month of June 2011 called Under Lock & Key, because I did not receive it. So if it's possible that I can get a back issue I would sincerely appreciate it.

Now, I look forward to re-opening the lines of communications because although it's not been my thought that they were cut off we are beginning to track it better, so it's all good sometimes.

Sincerely,
a California prisoner


MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer hadn't heard from us in over two years due to censorship in California. But as the hunger strike approached, the staff at Pelican Bay State Prison were on their best behavior. While the strike organizers were already having sit-downs with the Warden's office before the strike began, censorship has eased for the many organizations that struggle to get their mail to those being held there. A month ago, staff claimed to not even know their own policies in attempts to censor our mail. But the prisoners' struggle has already had an impact of loosening their attempts to isolate us from each other.

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[Campaigns] [California Correctional Institution] [California] [ULK Issue 21]
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Tehachapi SHU Prisoner Supports PBSP Hunger Strike

This letter is in response to the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) hunger strike. First I'd like to say thank you for not only your ongoing support for us prisoners but also your truthfulness of viewing the facts of the matter. I have passed on the info you mailed me. I have spread the word of actions being taken by prisoners at PBSP-SHU. I can not say for sure how many will join this protest. However I can speak for myself and I find one must be willing to lead and/or follow with common sense to ensure change. For only by us prisoners making a stand - not allowing this injustice to pass - can we stop it.

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