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[South Central Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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September 9 Protest Report from Missouri

Today is September 9th, 2012. My comrade (my celly) and I are participating in the mass stoppage of work and fast for our comrades who fell in Attica. Although we are in Ad-Seg we have chosen to sacrifice. No food, no petty stuff, no arguing out the door, only working out four times for 1 hour each time, reading, studying and talking politics. For me fasting is something I do once a month, but today is the first time I've worked out during my fast. My comrade is pushing me and I'm not stopping. From midnight to midnight is how we're moving.

I'm writing this to not only inform you of this movement, but how things are going in these human warehouses here in Missouri. It's still hard to find unity here. No one wants to miss a meal or two to make a stand, but they'll continue to talk about how bad things are. It's not strange.

I want to raise an issue concerning your paper. My comrade who is Black just had your July/August issue of ULK censored. The reason for this censorship was the article about the mass work stoppage on September 9th. I am Caucasian and fully dedicated to the struggle. I have received your July/August issue of ULK. This discrimination towards my comrade is not strange.

My comrade has filed his grievance on this censorship. This state doesn't even want us to learn and that is just one thing wrong with this state. They would rather close down schools and build new prisons.

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[Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Legal] [National Oppression] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 28]
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A Victory for Prisoners' First Amendment Rights

U.S. vs. California constitutional rights
[The following article begins with excerpts from an article by a California prisoner, which gives a detailed historical account of relevant case law, and was originally published by San Francisco BayView. Also available on our website is the full court opinion for In Re Crawford.]

Greetings. The struggle is long and arduous, and sometimes we do etch out significant victories, as in the case of our brotha in In re Crawford, 206 Cal.App.4th 1259 (2012).

It's important to emphasize that this victory is a significant step in reaffirming that prisoners are entitled to a measure of First Amendment protection that cannot be ignored simply because the state dislikes the spiel. New Afrikan prisoners have a right to identify with their birthright if they so choose, as does anyone else for that matter — Black, White or Brown. ...

[California prison officials] have gone so far as to boldly proclaim that the term New Afrikan was created by the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) and that those who identify as or use the term are declaring their allegiance to the BGF, which has been declared a prison gang. They have sought to suppress its usage by validating (i.e. designating as a gang member or associate) anyone who uses the term or who dares mention the name George Jackson. ...

Our brotha's case In Re Crawford was filed June 4, 2012, and certified for publication June 13. In a brilliant piece of judicial reasoning, a panel of justices in a 3-0 decision finally reaffirmed a prisoner's First Amendment right to free speech and expression, stating:

Freedom of speech is first among the rights which form the foundation of our free society. "The First Amendment embodies our choice as a nation that, when it comes to such speech, the guiding principle is freedom — the unfettered interchange of ideas — not whatever the State may view as fair." (Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett (2011) 131 S.Ct. 2806). "The protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people ... All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance — unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion — have the full protection of the guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of more important interests." (Roth v. United States (1957) 354 U.S. 476, 484."

The programs embodied in the New Afrikan Collective Think Tank, New Afrikan Institute of Criminology 101, the George Jackson University and the New Afrikan ideology itself are inclusive programs emphasizing a solution-based approach to carnage in the poverty stricken slums from where many of us come. The CDCR Prison Intelligence Units (PIU) have sought to suppress these initiatives simply because they do not like the message. They have marched into court after court with one standard line: New Afrikan means BGF and these initiatives are promoting the BGF. In re Crawford continues,

As recently noted by Chief Justice Roberts, "[t]he First Amendment reflects 'a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.' [Citation.] That is because 'speech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.' [Citation.] ... Speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection." (Snyder v. Phelps (2011) 562 U.S. _,_ [131 S.Ct. 1207, 1215].

In re Crawford is a very important ruling because the justices said these protections apply to prisoners as well. ...

George Jackson cannot be removed from the fabric of the people's struggles in this society any more than Malcolm X can or Medger Evers or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Harriett Tubman or Sojourner Truth or Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks or Frederick Douglass, or the countless others who've fought and struggled for a brighter future for generations to come.

What CDCR and its PIU are trying to do is make a run around the First Amendment by shielding its suppression activity under the guise of preventing gang activity, just as it's done historically, which gave rise to Procunier v. Martinez (1974) 416 U.S. 396, 413.

In In re Crawford, CDCR argued for an exception to the Martinez test for validated gang members. The court declined to make such an exception, holding: "Gang related correspondence is not within the exception to the First Amendment test for censorship of outgoing inmate mail."

The fact that they even argued for such an exception shows their mindset. Their intentions are to suppress that which they believe to be repugnant, offensive and that which they believe a prisoner ought not be thinking! In their minds we have no right to think or possess ideas, concepts or vision beyond that which they believe we should possess.

Until In Re Crawford, these highly educated judges were sanctioning this nonsense with twisted, perverted rulings permitting a newspaper article or magazine layout or book to be used against a prisoner for validation purposes [to put them in torture cells - editor]. They issued twisted rulings like those in Ellis v. Cambra or Hawkins v. Russell and In Re Furnace, where the petitioner was told he has no right to his thoughts and the First Amendment only protects a prisoner's right to file a 602 [grievance form].

These kinds of fallacious rulings ought to be publicized so as to show the skillful manipulation of the law by those sworn to uphold it. In Re Crawford reestablishes that First Amendment protections apply to prisoners and that we too enjoy a measure of free speech and expression. We ought not be punished with fabricated notions of gang activity for merely a thought!

However, if we are to continue to meet with success, we need our professors, historians and intellectuals to step up and provide declarations that we can use in our litigation, defending our right to read, write and study all aspects of a people's history, like Professor James T. Campbell did in In Re Crawford. This is the only way a prisoner can challenge the opinion of a prison official. ...

Much work remains to be done, like stopping the bogus validations based on legitimate First Amendment material. We know that many individuals are falsely validated simply for reading George's books or a newspaper article, for observing Black August or for simply trying to get in touch with one's cultural identity.

These legitimate expressions should carry no penalty at all. You're not doing anything wrong, and a lot of brothas who've been validated simply shouldn't be. Nor should folks be frightened away from reading or studying any aspect of history simply because the state doesn't like its content. Judges who issue fallacious opinions permitting prisoners to be punished for reading a George Jackson book or researching your history should be exposed.

Literary content and cultural and historical materials are not the activities of a gang; they are political and social activities that we have a right to express, according to the unanimous decision in In re Crawford.

The First Amendment campaign continues to forge ahead, although we still don't have a lawyer. The campaign still exists, and we anticipate even greater successes in the future. ... We've cracked one layer of a thick wall. Now all prisoners should take advantage of this brilliant ruling and reassert your rights to study your heritage, Black, White or Brown.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The issue in this case was one that we have experienced first-hand as well. For example, in 2008 a letter from a comrade in California was censored before it could reach us because it discussed the New Afrikan Collective, which allegedly was a code word for the Black Guerrilla Family.(1) But in reality, the New Afrikan Collective was a new political organization in New York focused on bettering the conditions of New Afrikans as a nation, with no connections to any sort of criminal activity.

The first thing that strikes us about this case is a quote from the proceedings cited by the author above, "Gang related correspondence is not within the exception to the First Amendment test for censorship of outgoing inmate mail." Unfortunately this is not part of the final opinion explaining the decision of the court, and it is specific to outgoing mail from the prison. Nonetheless, it would logically follow from this statement that anything that can be connected to a gang is not automatically dangerous or illegal.

"Gang members" have long been the boogeyman of post-integration white Amerika. The pigs use "gang member" as a codeword to excuse the abuse and denial of constitutional rights to oppressed nation youth, particularly New Afrikan men. And this has been institutionalized in more recent years with "gang enhancements," "gang injunctions" and "security threat group" labels that punish people for belonging to lumpen organizations. Often our mail is censored because it mentions the name of a lumpen organization in the context of a peace initiative or organizing for prisoners' humyn rights. While criminal activity is deemed deserving more punishment with the gang label, non-criminal activity is deemed criminal as well.

As the author discusses, it becomes a question of controlling ideas to the extreme, where certain words are not permitted to be spoken or written and certain symbols and colors cannot be displayed. So the quote from the court above is just a baby step in the direction of applying the First Amendment rights of association and expression to oppressed nation youth. Those who are legally inclined should consider how this issue can be pushed further in future battles. Not only is such work important in restoring rights to people, but we can create space for these organizations to build in more positive directions.

Part of this criminalization of a specific sector of society is the use of self-created and perpetuated so-called experts on gang intelligence. Most of our readers are all too familiar with this farce of a profession that is acutely exposed by the court's opinion in this case. The final court opinion calls out CO J. Silveira for claiming that the plaintiff's letter contained an intricate code when he could provide no evidence that this was true. They also call him out for using his "training and experience" as the basis for all his arguments.

The warden's argument is flawed for two reasons. First, the argument is based solely on the unsupported assertions and speculative conclusions in Silveira's declaration. The declaration is incompetent as evidence because it contains no factual allegations supporting those assertions and conclusions. Second, even if the declaration could properly be considered, it does not establish that the letter posed a threat to prison security.

As great as this is, as the author of the article above points out, they usually get away with such baseless claims. More well thought out lawsuits like this are needed, because more favorable case law is needed. But neither alone represents any real victory in a system that exists to maintain the existing social hierarchy. These are just pieces of a long, patient struggle that has been ongoing for generations. The people must exercise the rights won here to make them real. We must popularize and contextualize the nature of this struggle.

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[Abuse] [Prison Labor] [LA State Penitentiary] [Louisiana]
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Angola Louisiana Warden Making Money on Prisons

I've decided to place my pen to paper and let you know about some reprehensible bullshit the imperial pigs who run this whole prison complex racket are up to and are hoodwinking the public about.

I was reading the June 2012 issue of Prison Legal News, Vol 23, No 6 and I was utterly floored when I read the cover article titled "God's Own Warden." [This article was reprinted from Mother Jones magazine.(1)]

There is a Warden of Angola prison in Louisiana by the name of Burl Cain. This man has a full blown racket going on down there, where he not only exploits inmates with blatant slave labor, but then hides it behind religion, and openly broadcasts his money making exploits.

This imperial pig "pays" inmates 2-20 cents to move the wheels of his little prison industry down there. He's got a "museum," farming fields, a gift shop, and a rodeo arena which seats 10,000 people and draws 70,000 people each spring and fall for "prison rodeos."

At these "rodeos" they have "convict poker," where they put 4 prisoners around a table and tell them to remain seated while a 2000 pound pissed off bull charges at them. In another event they call "guts and glory," they tie a poker chip to the horn of an angry bull. While it hangs from the horn "inmates vie to snatch the poker chip off the horn" while the prisoners run after and are chased by said enraged animal. These events are done for the laughs of the people who've bought themselves tickets to this idiocy.

In 1998 Daniel Bergner wrote a book titled "God of the Rodeo" where he himself researched this rodeo and wrote a book about it, saying that he "observed the reaction of the crowd which was electrified, exhilarated, by the thrill of watching men in terror, all made forgivable because the men were murderers." He then goes on to say "I'm sure some of it was racist (see that nigger move) and some disappointed (that there was no goring) and some uneasy (with that very disappointment)." Then he goes on to say "many people were not laughing, were too bewildered or stunned by what they'd just seen."

And of course this industrial pig has prisoners outside the arena selling arts and crafts, crawfish étouffée and Frito pies. In his "gift shop," he sells miniature handcuffs, prisoner-made jelly, and mugs that read "Angola: a gated community." Then people move on to a display of "Gruesome Gertie" which is dubbed as "the only electric chair in which a prisoner was executed twice." (The first time didn't take because the executioners were "visibly drunk.")(2)

So not only does this imperial pig make money off live inmates, he cashed in on their cruel and unusual deaths as well. But that's still not enough for the deep pockets of this racketeering Warden. He contracts his prison out to Hollywood and "allows" prisoners to be extras, all for a nice fee of course!

Cain gets away with it because he hides it all behind religion and converting prisoners to Christianity. So with his money he tosses up a few plywood walls and roof, calls it a church, and says he's "saving souls."

This is the prison where a trio of prisoners had been locked down in solitary confinement longer than anyone in U.S. history, because they were Black Panther Party members (Albert Woodfox, Herman Wallace and the now released Robert King). They were put in solitary confinement, and have spent nearly 4 decades there, simply for their political beliefs.

In 2008 Warden Cain had a disposition taken in which Cain says of Woodfox, "He wants to demonstrate. He wants to organize. He wants to be defiant... He is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize young prisoners, I would have me all kinds of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the blacks chasing after them."(3)

Never mind the fact that these two heroic comrades are in their 60s and have a near perfect record for more than 20 years. Warden Cain says "it's not a matter of write-ups. It's a matter of attitude and what ya are... Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace is [sic] locked in time with that Black Panther revolutionary actions they were doing way back when... and from that there's been no rehabilitation."(3) Warden Cain then "suggested that Wallace and Woodfox could be released into general population if they renounced their political beliefs/views and embraced Jesus."(3)

Cain's policy is if inmates don't attend church services they don't get the good jobs (that pay 2-20 cents), or other goodies, such as a day or two off from plowing and farming his fields, a good meal, special banquets, ice cream, etc.

There should be a public outcry of complete outrage over this shit. This is the very sickening degeneracy which we as communists strive to stomp out. These atrocities going on down in Angola under the skirts of religion piss me off, and only strengthen my resolve to standup and fight these imperial piggies every step of the way. With every breath I take it fills my eyes with only the color of red. In solidarity we stand.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As we've explained in articles on the U.S. prison economy, the exploitation of prison labor by private entities is very limited in scope, with most prison labor contributing to prison maintenance and expenses. In the case of Angola, the farm laborers, making a maximum wage of 20 cents per hour, are actually engaged in productive labor and are likely providing a net surplus value to the prison after factoring in the room and board they are provided. But even in this large, well-organized operation, the income is only an offset to the total costs of keeping these men imprisoned, in particular paying the salaries of guards and administrators.

Those prisoners making jam, and other trinkets for sale outside the rodeo are raising money for Christian organizations.(1) In this case private interests are benefitting financially from coerced labor, but even then there are no capitalist profit interests behind these projects as implied by the myth of the "prison industrial complex." Petty economic interests aside, the bigger story here is the national oppression faced by the 75% Black prisoner population at Angola coerced into supporting Christian organizations and pushed into the rodeo. This is a reprehensible example of treating men like animals and turning social control into a sport for the entertainment of reactionary spectators.

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[Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 29]
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Prison Officials Tighten the Screws at Estelle Unit

On 31 July 2012, there was a small scale race riot on the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas. One person was killed as a result of the prisoner-on-prisoner violence. We were placed on lockdown for 10 days and were fed the most anorexic brown bag meals I have ever seen. The meals were pathetic and it became clear the administration was implementing a draconian behavior modification tactic on the lumpen underclass who are housed in this slave pen of oppression.

Today, 31 August 2012, I was informed that prison officials have initiated a new regulation having to do with day room time for General Population minimum custody offenders on Estelle Unit. From now on, the day room will be closed from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.! Prisoners who are not working will be "racked up" in their cells during these times. I cannot even begin to describe how oppressive, degrading, and inhumane this new control tactic is.

These prisoncrats in Texas force the prisoners to work for free 8-12 hours a day with no pay or benefits. There is no air conditioning in these small cells in population (my cell in super-seg is quite large though in comparison). Furthermore, anyone who has done time knows one of the keys to getting along with your cellmate is to "miss him" as much as possible. However, this concept is lost on the prisoncrat whose only purpose seems to be to oppress and antagonize the prisoners until they are broken or explode in frustration and anger on each other.

It is my strong belief the lumpen must grieve this policy of oppression and subjugation. Moreover, it is time for some revolutionary activism! No day room = no work. Solidarity amongst the lumpen underclass is a must. Conditions will only improve in Texas when the lumpen see clearly that the "real" enemy wears civilian clothes and confederate army gray uniforms!


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a follow up to the events reported in Texas Guards Encourage Oppressed Nation Fights, where a comrade explains the role of the pigs in promoting fighting between oppressed nations in prison in incidents like this one. That article also discussed the quick response to the food grievances once prisoners came together with one voice. This restriction on day room access seems to be in response to this activism.

We have since received a correction to that previous article: the prisoner killed was Mexican and not New Afrikan as we reported in Under Lock & Key 28.

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Civil Liberties] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 32]
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Fighting Censorship in Illinois

On 3 October 2011 I was notified by prison authorities that I had received the September/October 2011 No. 22 issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK) in the mail. I was further notified that I could not have ULK because it is banned throughout the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). I grieved this unconstitutional banning of ULK since IDOC cannot validate its claim that ULK is a threat to security. On 27 July 2012 I filed a Section 1983 Civil Suit against the director of IDOC, S.A. Godinez.

This lawsuit is based on the grounds that IDOC cannot substantiate the banning of ULK and that the banning of ULK violates my Constitutional Rights to:
1) Receive and own reading material;
2) Have freedom of speech; and
3) Have freedom of political expression.

In my Statement of Claim I gave a brief definition of what MIM(Prisons) and ULK are. However, I was wondering if you would like to prepare a statement about what exactly MIM(Prisons) and ULK are and the purpose of their existence.

In further news, on 16 August 2012 another prisoner and I received a notice saying that we had received the July/August 2012 No. 27 issue of ULK in the mail and that we couldn't have it because ULK is banned. We are both currently in the second of three stages of the grievance procedure and will be filing a Class Action lawsuit within the next six months challenging the banning of ULK. This suit will merge with my already existing one.

Any information that you can send me on this topic would be greatly appreciated.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The comrade above has not received an issue of Under Lock & Key since November 2011. Appealing the censorship and going through the grievance procedure will often successfully get you the mail that the authorities are attempting to deny. If that doesn't work, we need to be prepared to take the censors to court when possible.

Unfortunately, due to our very limited resources, it is very difficult for us to offer legal assistance directly on your case. Instead we run the Prisoners' Legal Clinic in an attempt to empower and encourage our subscribers to do their best putting together and filing their case on their own. Recently another comrade offered h legal services to help fight censorship in Illinois, which is not just an ongoing problem for the author of this Civil Suit. We are attempting to facilitate this anti-censorship battle and push it to a head. Remember to send in your censorship documentation and status updates on your anti-censorship grievances and cases so we can publicize them on our website. If you are a lawyer on the outside and want to work on this issue, please get in touch.

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[Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 28]
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The Failure of Spiritualism to Fight Oppression

This missive is directed to those who have taken up the responsibility in leading the masses up the road to absolute spiritual consciousness.

How can any individual choose work in guiding the misguided or unconscious to the discovery of the eternal truth, but at the same time instruct people to turn away from the world and only focus on themselves? If we are one in spirit, then wouldn't helping the world be a righteous practice of helping oneself? I have learned that the only way I can really help myself is by rejecting the interests of the individual desires and submitting my will to the interests of the world.

The value systems which dominate the world in this current era of imperialism are philosophies propping up the values of the powers of the world. The perpetuation of ideas like economic "survival of the fittest," and economic competition in a "free market" are but subtle justifications for the exploitation and oppression of others. These philosophies come from individualism (selfishness) which, if analyzed deeply enough, will turn out to be an illusion for the fact that every person's given situation is the result of what the world has put into motion.

Matter is the physical manifestation of the spirit, so how do we ignore the lessons of history which provide us the ability to precisely analyze the spirit through the material which it produces? A spiritualist can only conclude that the current force which dominates the world is the negative, so the ideas which are applied to overcome the negative force must be put into practice in material reality to give the future a clear understanding of what has proven to be effective and what has not. Our practice is our dialogue with the future.

We can effortlessly project the message to the misguided and unconscious that selfishness, lust, and hate are the epitome of evil, but what good does this do when we ignore the current physical manifestations of these evil forces in material reality? For the oppressed nations who suffer under the full pressure of the physical world, it must be understood that the struggle to end oppression is not an illusion but the natural continuance of the spirit. Spiritualists who reject this eternal fact may have good intentions but inevitably create the duality which divides and isolates the spirit from matter to create the illusion of "mental oneness" with the spirit while ignoring the spirit in matter.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate the direction this comrade is going here in trying to convince spiritualists that they need to join the fight against oppression. This is a good example of uniting all who can be united in the anti-imperialist struggle. There is much in the theory and writings of popular religions that is amenable to the struggle for justice and equality, so there is room for unity between materialists and idealists there.

But as materialists, we do not agree with the idealists that "matter is the physical manifestation of the spirit." Materialists recognize thoughts and ideas (such as religions) as products of the physical world we live in and interact with, as this comrade hints at above. And as monists, we do not believe in a spirit or essence that stands apart from a thing itself, including humyn beings. These basic pieces of our philosophy will determine what conclusions we make and what actions we take.

Materialism has already proven to be more correct than any brand of religion in the results it produces in the real world. And once the masses of the oppressed have grasped materialism in practice by taking their own destinies in their hands and throwing off the yoke of oppression, they will have no use for religious thinking and we will set about educating everyone in materialism. As scientific thinking advances and becomes the norm, the class interests of the oppressors that keep religion alive to serve their interests will be eliminated and we expect belief in religions will slowly fade away in the transition to communism.

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[Censorship]
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ULK Censored in Retaliation for Grievance Campaign

I have come to write this letter because the oppressor has struck again. Under Lock & Key [issue 27] is now on North Carolina Division of Prisons master list of disapproved publications. I received a notice stating "This publication appears on the statewide master list of disapproved publications because it was disapproved during the previous twelve months by the Division of Prisons Review Committee. There are no additional appeal rights to this decision." "This publication/material violates division of prisons policy at section D.0109 and is disapproved for the reason listed..." Facility reasons for disallowance: "Has information detailing illegal activities."

North Carolina comrades I don't know about you all, but I am sick of this oppression! We have allowed these pigs to take too much, it is time we come together and follow the lead of our fellow comrades in other states and fight these pigs! The oppressor has gone too far, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! How much must they take from us before we stand up? You know and I know the only reason Under Lock & Keyhas been disapproved is because MIM(Prisons) is helping us and other prisoners fight the oppressor. Think about it, Under Lock & Key was not denied until MIM(Prisons) started the grievance campaign and comrades in North Carolina started using it. It's retaliation!

To all my comrades, keep your heads up and never give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We may lose a battle or two, but together we will win the war! MIM(Prisons) I want to thank you for all you are doing, not just for prisoners but the community as well, THANKS! Keep up the good work and together we will reach our goal. Unity is key!

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 28]
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Solidarity and Peace Demonstration Builds, Guards Retaliate

Approximately 30% of the population of this unit is committed to participation in the Solidarity Demonstration on September 9, which inevitably results in "leakage." On August 25 I was interrogated by two investigators from the inspector general's office about the food petition and then about organizing an uprising or disturbance in the dining room. While this was going on, two COs were destroying my cell. Upon return, my legal work and papers were all over the cell, as was my cellmate's. Nothing was taken except for one document which I cannot be certain is in their possession, but I must assume it is. Then they got a second prisoner out and repeated the process. One prisoner was taken about two hours prior to this episode for "different reasons."

Yesterday (28 August 2012) 17 COs, led by a Lieutenant, came into the unit and searched the entire unit. Two reasons were proffered: 1) Retaliation for grievances, 2) Suspect "gang" is being organized.

Nothing was found relating to September 9, "gangs" or anything else.

It is evident that they are aware that something is going on, and they are uneasy about the level of apparent coordination and secrecy. They are fishing right now, but this has been predicted and prepared for.

Aside from the obvious, there is some opposition to the September 9 action from segments of the prisoner population, which is the only apparent threat to its success. This has appeared in the form of disinformation and criticism of both the action and the integrity of persons involved in it. Predictably this segment is predominantly white power who always object to prisoner unification.

We created a cheat sheet for people at this institution, which we modified after hearing from you about how a prisoner organizing in another state suggested it would be more powerful to go to chow hall and sit without eating.

September 9 Cheat Sheet


1. Go to chow hall, accept food, go to clipper room window, render tray/sack inedible, go directly to seat
2. Go to chow, refuse tray go directly to seat
3. Unless directly confronted by CO ignore all comments, provocation and questions
4. Repeat at dinner
5. If directly confronted by CO about what is going on, politely tell them: "I am fasting." If you are asked why, tell them: "In support of my fellow prisoners..." and/or "because I am tired of..." and state your complaint.
6. Nothing more needs to be said

Important: Do not become belligerent, combative or antagonistic. Do not provoke a confrontation. More than 70% of major prison disturbances start in chow hall. By not provoking the COs we preserve the integrity of the action, and we protect each other. Most important, we do not give them our day.

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[Spanish] [ULK Issue 29]
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El Mito del "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones"

Muchas personas caen presas a la idea de que millones son esclavizados en este país, y que el principal factor motivador trás la gran explosión de prisiones en décadas recientes, es el hacer trabajar a los prisioneros con el fin de enriquecer a las corporaciones o al gobierno. MIM(Prisiones) claramente ha comprobado que las prisiones de los Estados Unidos no son primaria, o significativamente, para explotar a trabajadores, puesto que no son una fuente de ganancias, sino que más bien tienen un gran costo financiero para los imperialistas.(1)

"De verdad, en su punto máximo alrededor del 2002, menos de 5,000 presos estaban empleados por empresas privadas, el equivalente a un cuarto del uno por ciento de la población carcelaria. En lo que respeta al aproximadamente 8 por ciento de convictos, quienes bajo llave, trabajan para las industrias estatales y federales, son 'empleados' a pérdida de las autoridades correccionales; incluso a pesar de las enormes subvenciones, de las ventas garantizadas a un mercado cautivo de administraciones públicas, y al exagerado pago mínimo (un promedio de menos de un dólar por hora)."(2)

En oposición, nuestro argumento es que a lo ancho de este país, y a diario, hay un sistema de control de población que incluye todos los elementos de la definición internacional de genocidio, y que generalmente utiliza métodos de tortura contra los Nuevos Afrikanos y personas Latinos, así como una representación desproporcionada de las personas de la Primera Nación. Mientras el nuevo movimiento de prisiones crece y gana mas atención en el ojo público, es de mayor importancia que mantengamos nuestro enfoque en la verdad y no dejar que los nacionalistas blancos definan lo que es al fin de cuentas, una batalla de las naciones opresas.

Para analizar por el cual el término "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones" (PIC por sus siglas en inglés) es incorrecto y es engañador, veamos unos esloganes típicos de los demócratas sociales, quienes dominan la izquierda nacionalista blanca. Primero hablamos del eslogan "Si a la asistencia social y no a la guerra." Este eslogan es una falsa dicotomía que demuestra una falta de entendimiento del imperialismo y el militarismo por parte de quien lo proclama. En el mundo del día hoy, no es una coincidencia que los más grandes "Estados de asistencia social" son países imperialistas. El imperialismo trae más ganancias a la casa al irse a la guerra para robar recursos, al controlar el labor, y al forzar políticas económicas y contratos de negocios sobre otras naciones. El militarismo es el producto cultural y político de ese hecho. El "Complejo Militar Industrial" fue creado cuando la industria privada se unió con el gobierno E$tadunidense para combinar sus mutuos intereses imperialistas. Estas industrias adquirieron contratos gubernamentales, con ganancias garantizadas incluidas; mientras que el gobierno posee las armas que ellos necesitaban, para que, el dinero de las naciones opresas continuara fluyendo hacia los E$tados Unidos. Esta concentración de riquezas produce los altos salarios e infraestructura de los cuales se benefician los Amerikanos, y esto sin mencionar el dinero de impuestos que se hace disponible a través de los programas de asistencia social. Entonces, es ignorancia de los activistas el denunciar que se empobrecen por las guerras de los imperialistas, tal como es dado a entender por la falsa dicotomía de asistencia social vs. hacer la guerra.

Otro eslogan de los demócratas sociales que habla y da a entender porqué son tan rápidos para condenar al "PIC" es el de "Escuelas no Cárceles." Este eslogan resulta de que solo hay una cierta cantidad monetaria de impuestos hecha disponible en un estado para financiar o a las escuelas, o a las cárceles, u otra cosa. Si, la cantidad de dinero es limitada porque extrayendo más impuestos solo incrementaría el conflicto de classes entre el estado y la aristocracia laboral. Esta batalla es real, y es una batalla entre diferentes sindicatos de servicio público de la aristocracia laboral. El eslogan "Escuelas no Cárceles" es el grito unificador de un lado de esa batalla entre la aristocracia laboral.

A diferencia del militarismo, el imperialismo no tiene un interés de ganancia en el preferir a las cárceles en vez de a las escuelas. Esta es precisamente la razón por la cual el concepto del "PIC" es una fantasía. Mientras que la economía E$tadunidense seguramente colapsaría sin los fondos que entran por concepto de las industria armamentísta, Loïc Wacquant señala que las industrias de bebidas gaseosas es casi dos veces más grande que la industria de prisiones, con la prisión siendo meramente un 0.5% del producto interno bruto (PIB).(2) Comparado al complejo militar industrial, que es el 10% del PIB de los E$tados Unidos, el sistema de prisiones no es obviamente un "complejo" que combina intereses estatales y privados. Este podría ser desmantelado sin graves consecuencias para el imperialismo.(3) Por supuesto, aquellos que condenan la linia "PIC" deben admitir que más de 95% de las prisiones en este país son propiedad de dueños públicos y manejadas por ellos.(4)

El hecho de que las agencias federales usan el sistema de prisiones para controlar elementos sociales que ven como una amenaza para el imperialismo, es la motivación principal del sistema de injusticia y no el deseo imperialista de obtener ganancias monetarias. Más aún, el sistema está mayormente decentralizado e incorporado en los intereses de la mayoría de de los Amerikanos al nivel local, y no solo los sindicatos locales y pequeños negocios quienes se benefician directamente del gasto de las prisiones. Lo más seguro es que no tendríamos el alto ritmo de encarcelamiento sin la presion de quienes son llamados "la clase media."

Algunos de la izquierda blanca nacionalista parecen disentir con los otros Amerikanos sobre la necesidad de tener más prisiones y más policías. La raíz de ambos lados es la creencia de que la mayoría de Amerikanos son explotados por el sistema, mientras que las voraces corporaciones se benefician de ello. Bajo esta línea de pensamiento es fácil aceptar que generar utilidades es la razón de ser de la prisiones, tal como lo es todo lo demás, y que la avaricia corporativa puede ser culpada por la explosión del sistema carcelario.

En realidad, la explosión de prisiones está directamente relacionada a las exigencias de la gente Amerikana de tener políticos "duros contra el crimen." Los Amerikanos han forzado al sistema de injusticia criminal a convertirse en una herramienta para la histeria blanca. Los imperialistas han dado grandes pasos para integrar financieramente a las semi-colonias internas, sin embargo, la nación blanca exige que estas poblaciones sean controladas y excluidas del patrimonio hereditario nacional. Hay muchos ejemplos del gobierno tratando de cerrar prisiones y de tomar otras medidas de ahorros costosos que podrían haber reducido al sistema de prisiones, pero los sindicatos laborales pelearon con diente y uña contra ellos.(1) Este es el continuo legado de opresión nacional, expuesta con gran detalle en el libro "The New Jim Crow," (El Nuevo Jim Crow) el cual cubre el término "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones." El encubrimiento continuará sin que importe cuanto estos seudo-Marxistas lamenten las grandes injusticias sufridas por los Negros y los Morenas a manos del "PIC".

Este desafortunado término ha sido popularizado en la izquierda Amerikana por un número de teoristas seudo-Marxistas que están detras de algunos grupos externos de activistas de prisiones. Al rechazar explícitamente este término, estamos marcando una linia clara entre nosotros y las otras organizaciones que estos activistas representan, con muchos de los cuales hemos trabajado de una manera u otra. En mayor parte, estas organizaciones mismas no se atribuyen alguna influencia Marxista o por lo menos un análisis particular de clase, sin embargo, los líderes de estos grupos están muy conscientes acerca de los puntos de desacuerdo con el pensamiento de MIM. Es importante que las masas también esten conscientes de este desacuerdo.

Por estas razones, en el congreso del 2012, MIM(Prisones) aprobó la siguiente política:

El término "Complejo Industrial de Prisiones" (PIC) no será generalmente usado en Under Lock & Key porque está en conflicto con la linia de MIM(Prisones) acerca de la composición económica y nacional del sistema de prisiones en los E$tados Unidos. Solamente será impreso en contexto cuando el significado del término sea declarado por el autor, y sea criticado por ellos o por nosotros.

Notas:
1. MIM(Prisiones) en la Economia de Prision Estadunidense, Under Lock & Key 8, Mayo 2009.
2. Wacquant, Loic. 2010. Prisoner reentry as myth and ceremony. Berkeley, CA.
3. Endres, Mike. Reflections on the military/industrial complex. 4 Agosto 2010. Mientras gastos director militaries due $800 billions en el 2010, este article pone el total circa de $14.4 trill ones (tea nota 2).
4. Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California. Universidad de CAlifornia imprimidora: Berkeley, 2007. p.21.
5. Gracias al prisionero de Michigan que propuso esta nueva linia.

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[Abuse] [ULK Issue 28]
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Debating Tactics to Fight Corrupt Officials

I'm writing in response to one of your statements in the May/June 2012 issue of Under Lock & Key. In your ULK you erroneously stated "Many prisoners write about the horrible things happening to them with the mind-set that once the outside world finds out, their problems will be over and the perpetrators punished. This expectation is a myth..."

You're wrong. It's not a myth. I've heard about, and have seen, corrupt officials get walked off the unit. Once proper complaints (i.e. step 1 and step 2 grievances) have been filed and family, friends and/or representatives continue calling the director with complaints, an investigation is conducted. The rest is history. It may take a while before action is taken against corrupt officials, but with outside help, justice gets served!

Thank you for your time and concerns. Please continue the struggle.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that it is sometimes possible to get individual corrupt prisoncrats removed from jobs through public pressure and complaints. But this comrade demonstrates the truth of what we wrote: just writing about horrible things happening is not enough. You need outside support, which is not something many prisoners have. Even when outside supporters call in to demand investigations, this is not necessarily enough to cause change. The prisons do respond to public embarrassment, and we can win some small victories this way. But with all the individual cases and abuses out there, there is just not enough energy and resources among people who care to fight each of these instances. Similarly, punishing one bad prison employee does not change the fundamentally repressive system. One repressive prison worker will quickly be replaced by another. Until we change the criminal injustice system fundamentally we will not have a true system of justice. In the meantime we must focus on battles that can mobilize prisoners around their common interests.

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