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Under Lock & Key

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[Education] [Control Units] [Tucker Max Unit] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 70]
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Sparking Conversations, Building Independent Institutions

First off I want to express gratitude and respect to the comrades that contributed to ULK 68. It has sparked some interesting conversations on the tier. And this dialogue is strengthening the unity; the only unity I’ve seen at this unit in the year and a half I’ve been here.

Here at Tucker Max Unit they have been keeping us restricted housing prisoners locked in our cells 24/7. We get one hour of yard every two weeks here at Gilligan’s Island due to “lack of security.” They recently re-opened their re-entry program and when they did so, they took officers off yard crew to go work the re-entry. They have made no effort in the past 3 months to replace these officers so re-entry is essentially running at the expense of our constitutional rights. Yard call is a constitutional right, re-entry is not. From my understanding they receive so much money per each prisoner enrolled in their programs, i.e. re-entry, substance abuse treatment, therapeutic comm., and in my opinion the biggest sham of all: the step-down program that restricted housing prisoners are being forced to enroll in. The parole board is notorious for stipulating the first three programs as a condition for prisoners to be considered for release. They reap double benefits thru this system. They get extra money for your enrollment in this program and they can release you with some semblance of rehabilitation.

We, the prisoners, know these programs are a joke. And when they don’t provide the rehabilitation sufficient upon release to hold it down and keep on top of our responsibilities then we become we the repeat offender. And the Dept. of Corruptions is right here with their paternalistic arms wide open, all the while telling us it’s our fault.

But to get another shot at freedom we’ll be forced back into the same programs. Spoiler alert: it’s not gonna work no matter how many times you take their programs, and that’s by design. They don’t want the programs to work. Why would they want us to stay out of prison? A requirement of these programs here in Arkansas is that you drop kites on other prisoners for shit as small as not tucking their shirts in, and if you don’t you’re considered as not “participating”. What the fuck does that have to do with a person getting their shit together and preparing for the responsibilities that weigh us down when we get out?

To boycott these programs would be ideal, knowing the money they rake in off of them. But far be it from me to tell the next man to not do what he’s gotta do to go home. But we can’t depend on these programs to be the substance of our rehabilitation.

So now that I’ve made the argument against their programs there are two questions to be addressed. How do we implement our own programs, and which programs should take priority? Well, as far as the programs that should take priority, we’ve got to implement those that build unity into community where everyone has a role, minus our egos. We must work together to come up with a format that has a higher potential of success when it comes to tackling the issues that perpetuate our carceral existence, and by “our carceral existence” I’m speaking of the shackles on our mind that even upon release from these dungeons into the free world, remain fast in place.

The Five Stages of Consciousness model in the Five Percent tradition will break these chains when utilized to the fullest, but so many of us only attain the base stage of consciousness or the second stage of subconscious and go no further. So many of us attain all this knowledge on our quest for truth, only to use it to know more than the next man. But how many of us are using our knowledge to help win lawsuits, win appeals, and other battles that build upon our independence from this paternalistic system? I constantly see pride and ego hinder all 5 of the United Front for Peace in Prisons points of unity, and keep a lot of prisoners from reaching out to others to build these independent institutions. It’s imperative that we tear these individualistic walls down and build upwards on community consciousness. We need examples of what these independent programs look like and how to build them.

The book Prisoners of Liberation by Allyn and Adele Rickett that MIM(Prisons) refers to in its response to “Fighting the System from Within” in ULK 68 sounds like a good place to find this example. The writer makes a good point in eir letter that if our people would come to work in these prisons that they could expose the deficiencies and ill treatment.

Which reminded me of a question a comrade asked me a while back pertaining to the “lack of security” I referred to above. The question was: why did I think that this place has such a high turnover rate? C.O.s get $17 an hour and Sergeants get $20 but they can’t keep them working here. It’s not like they work them especially hard. Myself, wanting to hold out hope in humanity answered that maybe once they started seeing this shit for what it really is, decide that they don’t want to be an active participant in the oppression of their community. Maybe I put too much faith in their moral standards? Even if my answer was right they are still actively participating by not exposing the things done in here. I also like how the writer put it that the “moral obligation is ours,” not just to end oppression, but to build a new system in its place. We the prisoners must champion our own rehabilitation and re-education, independent of our oppressors’ programs, no longer allowing them to determine our value and self/community worth.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer picks up on the theme from ULK 69 where we discuss building independent institutions. As this comrade points out, we can’t count on the criminal injustice system to provide us with effective programs for rehabilitation or release. And so we need to build these programs ourselves. One such independent program is this newsletter, in which we are free to expose the news and conditions that the bourgeois press refused to cover. An independent newsletter is critical to our education and organizing work.

Another example of independent institutions is MIM(Prisons)’s Re-Lease on Life program to help releasees stay politically active and avoid the trap of recidivism. This program isn’t yet big enough and is greatly lacking in resources, so right now we’re not very effective. But we have to start somewhere. And we work to connect with comrades like this writer to build this program on the inside and on the streets.

In the short term, anyone looking to build small independent institutions behind bars can start a study group. This is a good way to start educating others while also learning yourself. And you can build from there with anyone willing to sit down and study. We can support this work with study questions and literature, just let us know you’re interested!

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[Organizing] [South Carolina]
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Preaching Unity

I’m glad I haven’t sealed this scroll yet because I have something to bring to the table that I keep hearing and it is driving me nuts! We as “revolutionaries” are supposed to know and understand that one of the basic stratagems of the oppressor is the divide-and-conquer tactic. They highlight our differences and want us to think that we are all different. While differences do exist among people, those of us locked behind walls and convicted of felonies have only superficial differences. We are all under the foot of the downpressors, the destroy powers, the divine evils!

The “divide” can be so subtle and simple in its application that we sometimes fail to recognize it. If we listen to our speech and take note of how often we use the words “they” and “them” when referring to other prisoners we might be shocked.

Here in South Carolina, the administration will withhold a necessity and then make/ force/ coerce us to fight over it. For example, on Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) there are supposed to be 2 roll-around phones, yet “y’all” can’t get the phone upstairs because “y’all” broke it last time. Or on the yard, each wing is supposed to have a basketball, but of course we get only one and now the confusion begins.

A lot of times this so-called “other” may be one of your religious or organizational or ideological brothers. Even more, if we are looking to recruit, aren’t “they, them, and y’all” potential comrades? We are beating ourselves. They divide us in a million different ways and we defeat ourselves because we know all conflict back here is a potential disaster.

Remember, before you became aware, enlightened, educated, reformed, etc. or whatever designation you choose to put yourself in, you too were once unaware, ignorant, deaf, dumb, blind, and a savage in pursuit of happiness. You were the “other.” If there are any brothers in South Carolina reading this I ask that you live up to the principles you proclaim.

Respect!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade calls for exactly the unity we need to build the prison movement. And so we ask the logical next question: how can we build this unity in practice? Calling on others to see the importance of unity is one way. Are there campaigns we can wage that will bring people together? Study classes to hold? Cultural events to host? We look for ideas from others behind bars. What has worked for you to build unity?

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[United Front] [Minnesota] [ULK Issue 69]
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On Independence and Promoting the UFPP

peace in prisons

In ULK 68 we were asked to submit articles for the next five issues devoted to each of the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). One question asked "How can we build institutions of the oppressed behind bars?"

One sure way to achieve this is by direct exposure. As prisoners, we are all suffering under the same roof. Although there seems to be some issue concerning whites as not being considered as lumpen, this is surely just yet another example of the imperialists' subliminal divide-and-conquer tactic, set aside color, we are a race of inmates. But I digress, direct exposure: One of the easiest ways to build unity, and this does tie in to the statement above, is to universally teach.

And one way to do this is to sign up your fellow oppressed to receive information and education. Regardless if they read the material or not, by signing your brothers and sisters up to receive this publication, you are planting a seed. And the choice to water that seed lies in the receiver of the gift.

And by doing this, not only are you building the subscription list, you are also opening the door for people who may not have known of the possibilities of unity that UFPP can bring about. Although there are sure to be some that will not adhere to the education, there will be many that will. Being as we are all suffering, even the most hard-headed or ignorant still wants and needs solidarity, and can find this in Under Lock & Key.

The next question was "Why shouldn’t we just use the programs run by the U.$. government/police/prisons?" I may be interpreting this question wrong, but to me, in an effort of re-education, it is most beneficial to actually utilize programs run by the oppressors against them. We are at a distinct disadvantage here as prisoners, we lack funding, organization, means of communication, and sadly, education availability at large. This imperialist system of oppression has been deeply ingrained into society and has even bled into the foundations of our own prisons.

But by educating ourselves on the Rules & Regulations, and the Civil Rights and Constitutional Laws, we can effectively use their own words for our benefit. I personally have been raising lawsuits against the DOC in my prison for not following its own policies. My most recent success was in changing how the DOC's policy for "Step-Down Management Program" (SDMP) was operated.

SDMP for a long while was basically an extended disciplinary segregation sentence, served after completion of your actual discipline sentence. In Minnesota, the law had been that no prisoner could be subjected to more than 90 days of loss of good time for a single disciplinary offense, and the court ruled this to also mean that a single disciplinary offense could not result in a sentence of more than 90 days of disciplinary segregation.

The Minnesota DOC retaliated by the implementation of a program that they claimed "is not punishment," keeping prisoners in disciplinary segregation-like environments years after their actual discipline sentence was completed.

As a right of the U.$. Constitution, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law. And this program sought to deprive prisoners of property and liberty, with no due process. This was illegal. Thankfully, prison officials made placement on the program ungrievable, so there was no need to exhaust grievance remedies at all, and we could file suit directly according to Prison Litigation Reform Act standards.

Now, if you are on this SDMP, you actually get Ad-Seg privileges. The next step is fighting for no SDMP at all.

The last question was "What should be our priority for new independent programs?"

First and foremost: Education. It has been long proven that by forced ignorance of the majority, the minority can safely rule. By educating ourselves, we can defend ourselves.

Second: Promotion. By spreading the message of Unity to all available ears, we will find those who will listen. The pigs seek to silence us, so the more of us who hear the truth of peace and solidarity, the more our message will spread.

Third: Solidarity. We need to acknowledge that there is no other race in reality other than the human race. To accept and use other imperialistic-created class names or distinctions serves only to take away from our true mission. By this I do not mean to disparage your ancestry, or your own personal heritage or ethnicity. I mean only to convey the truth our universal brotherhood of humanity, by washing away castes, sets, class, etc. We are all in this together, all for one, and one for all.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade calls for unity of all behind bars. And we echo that call in the United Front for Peace in Prisons and all of our organizing work. We want to encourage this comrade to go deeper in eir analysis around distinctions of class and nation. We vehemently agree that race is a made-up concept that only serves the interests of imperialists to keep us divided from each other. At the same time, in looking at material reality through the lens of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we see oppressed and oppressor nations, and we see exploiter and exploited classes. Talking about these distinctions isn't a problem for our work. It's when people take on these distinctions as part of their identity and in an chauvinistic manner that it's a problem.

So for example we wouldn't call for unity with the imperialist bourgeoisie because we know they have no basis for uniting with us. Similarly, while we call on all prisoners to unite against the criminal injustice system, we recognize that there is a very real historical basis for the vastly disproportionate number of First Nation, New Afrikan and [email protected] prisoners. And this national oppression provides a material basis for national unity to fight against the oppressor nation which has benefited from imperialism and national oppression. We can't just wish away these distinctions because they exist with years of reinforcement through economic, educational, and cultural oppression. So we must consciously address this reality. Only with this honest assessment of conditions can we build unity across nations and classes behind bars.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [North Carolina]
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The Criminal Injustice System Works for the Jailers

It’s August 2019 and people say that the Criminal Justice System doesn't work. I beg to differ. I've come to believe that it works just fine, just like slavery did as a matter of economic and political policy. How is it that a 16 year old in North Carolina who can't get a job can suddenly generate $54,750 (which equates to $150 a day for prison upkeep) when trapped and inducted into the Criminal Injustice System where architects, food and medical providers, masons, carpenters, electricians, painters, correctional officers, administrators and a myriad other skilled trade workers get paid with guaranteed job security?

Just like the era of chattel slavery, there is a class of people dependent on the poor and on the bodies of all of us who are behind bars. All throughout the Criminal Injustice System, the policies of the police, the courts, and our prisons are a manifestation of classism, racism and dishonesty which governs the lives of all of us. Then you have prosecutors. They are like nasty little rats with quivering noses that have invaded our court systems with full impunity across the country feeding thousands of human bodies into the bowels of the razor-wire plantations without the slightest remorse for the hell they are sending us to, where slavery is mandated.

No matter how you look at it, involuntary labor is slavery. You see, the United $tates didn't abolish slavery, they just transferred it into their prisons. So last year on 20 August 2018 with the help of outside human rights activists, prison abolitionists, anarchists, and other public supporters who did a peaceful demonstration in our prison parking lot, I, [Prisoner A], alongside [Prisoners B, C and D] all organized together with hundreds of other prisoners across North Carolina and questioned these policies by assembling peacefully and petitioning our government for a redress of our grievances.

As a result, we were all labeled as rioters and Security Threat Group individuals and sent off to super max prisons and thrown into solitary confinement where we were subjected to all sorts of mistreatment: glass was found in [Prisoner D's] food, I was poisoned and never receiving any treatment, [Prisoner B] was sent to the Rehabilitative Diversion Unit (RDU) program where he is currently being brainwashed. [Prisoner C] got out of prison. I finally got out of solitary hell after spending 8 long months of sensory deprivation and losing 53 pounds only to face more repression and mail censorship that resulted in me receiving another 6 months for simply writing and organizing the 21 May 2019 National Grievance Day complaining about the new discriminatory JPay policy that limits who can send a prisoner money.

And what have I learned in all of this? I've learned that any time you restrain a person from going where they want to go, its an act of violence. Anytime you bully and mistreat someone by placing them in a cell 23 hours a day, it's an act of violence! I've also learned that it's not the inhumanity of the cruelties prisoners face in prisons on a daily basis or inhumane conditions: the cold, filth, callous medical care, tasers, unnecessary chains, pepper spray, beatings, excessive censorship, dehumanizing strip searches, extended and excessive isolation in solitary confinement for simple things like writing, or the robbing of our trust funds of $10 each time a prison guard accuses us of a rule violation that are criminalized; it's the complaining about our conditions of confinement that's made criminal. Right now there are tens of thousands of humans living in enforced solitary confinement cells in U.$. prisons.

Over a decade ago when news broke about what was going on in Abu Ghraib, President Bush stated "what took place in that prison doesn't represent the America I know." Unfortunately, for the more than 2.5 million prisoners and undocumented immigrants and the rest of us living in U.$. prisons, this is the Amerikkka we know, our family members know, and the anarchists and prison abolitionists know. Furthermore, prisoners have got to wake up and realize that the entire executive branch of the U.$. government seems to sanction torture in our prisons and all of the repression and disrespect that we endure on a daily basis from prison guards is unacceptable. It is imperative that prisoners continue to organize and to write about their experiences and complain to folks on the outside so that the public can realize what's happening to people in U.$. prisons. There are watchdog organizations that expose, ridicule and punish Internet and school bullies and there are laws against bullying. The prison guards are also supposed to observe these laws.

The conditions and practices that men, women, and children can attest to here in North Carolina are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In addition, most U.$. prisons practices also violate dozens of other international treaties and clearly fit the United Nations' definition of genocide. Aren't you tired of being told where to sit? What to eat? Who you can socialize with inside and outside of prison? What you can watch on TV? What you may read or what you can write about or to whom? Of being denied basic dignity based on race or class? Aren't you tired of your bodies being examined, exploited and used through dehumanizing and invasive strip-searches on the whim of a prison guard or a jailer?

Prisoners have got to continue to organize and alter the very core of every system that slavery, racism and poverty has given birth to, and particularly the Criminal Injustice System. The entire prison system must stop violating the rights of men, women, and children in North Carolina! We must effectively eliminate solitary confinement, the restriction of our civil rights, their devices of torture, family-run prisons, and all forms of sentences of "death by incarceration" or sentences that are overly burdensome, oppressive and too lengthy that financially benefit the government instead of victims of crime!

It's plain to see that many victims could be better served by working out an honest agreement with those disingenuous persons who have wronged them, and that prosecutors have a lot of undue power to decide whom to criminalize as well as what cases are or aren't priority. Of course these mutual agreements will not be ideal in every case, but failure to account for social context is such a crucial aspect of what's wrong with our current system. We need to put context first and resolve each dispute in its own way rather than just applying a rigid legal formula.

I think the call for universal basic decency and respect towards all living creatures as well as towards prisoners is a powerful message that's made more powerful when people share their stories of mistreatment. Each of our personal and individual struggles are one of many, but when we as prisoners stop focusing on the color of one's skin, or what he or she is in prison for, and all join hands, that's when we can get our freedoms back and that's when we can all win.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is right on when ey says that prisons do work. It's all about understanding the real purpose of prisons. Amerikkkan prisons are not meant for rehabilitation, they are meant for social control. The author speaks of the child prisoner who is "generating" $54,750 per year. This is another purpose of prisons: distribution of profits stolen from the Third World to First World workers. All those workers in the criminal injustice system are parasites, earning good wages to further this system of social control. Those wages come mostly from state budgets. And those state budgets are just a redistribution of wealth. Imperialist wealth. Which is taken from the Third World through exploitation of workers and theft of natural resources.

This redistribution of super profits is a side "benefit" of the criminal injustice system. The focus is social control, particularly of oppressed nations. That social control wouldn't be complete if prisoners were allowed to study, communicate and organize freely. In fact, there is a contradiction inherent in the United $tates prison system. Locking up people as a means of social control puts these people in close contact, with lots of time on their hands, which facilitates organizing and studying together. So the prisons turn to greater repression behind bars to try to stop these activities. That's exactly what this writer is fighting against. We must demand an end to solitary confinement, an end to censorship of prisoners' mail, and access to a real and effective grievance system. These are small goals in the context of the larger fight against imperialism. But they are goals that will bring real progress for our comrades behind bars. Progress that will allow the prisoners to organize and educate and build.

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[Censorship] [Minnesota Corrections Facility Oak Park Heights] [Minnesota]
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Fighting Minnesota Censorship Games

Okay, so yesterday I received a "Notice of Non-Delivery of Mail or Package" of a publication you sent to me that was stamped out of California on 20 August 2019. It did not properly follow MN-DOC policy or any law, even though DOC Policy Number 103.220 specifically says all employees must follow *ALL* United $tates Laws.

Up to this date, I have only received one issue of Under Lock & Key (May/June 2019, No. 68) and mail with information on "Poetry Writing Guide", "Second Introductory Letter", "Writing Articles" and "Invitation to Join Introductory Study Group 1(27)".

I have not received any other "Notices of Non-Delivery" for anything else. So if you have sent any other materials you should be aware that not only have I not received it, I never received a notice that you had attempted to send anything to me, which consequently means you most likely did not receive any notification of censorship.

This facility is and has been illegally retaliating against me for filing a civil suit against the mail-room staff and prison officials. And even though in all Supreme Court rulings they have held that I cannot be punished for filing a complaint about prison conditions to the Courts, I was given disciplinary segregation for filing a lawsuit in the Tenth Judicial District Court, in Washington County, Minnesota. This facility constantly opens my legal mail without my consent, and refuses to send sealed legal mail to Equal Justice Initiative Center for Wrongful Convictions, The Legal Aid Society, The Innocence Project, The Exoneration Project, The Lewisburg Prison Project, and will open the sealed envelope, tape it shut, and send it back to me with one of their "Notice of Non-Delivery" saying it was "Sealed in violation. NOT legal mail as addressed." The names of the mail-room staff responsible, along with the officials involved are: S. Henry, N. Leseman, Lt. Jason R. Hills, Assistant Warden of Administration Sherlinda Wheeler, and Warden Jeffrey Titus.

I just recently had to deal with these same people illegally censoring the newspaper "The Abolitionist" published by our comrades Critical Resistance. The mail-room sent me their little "Notice" and just like the one for your mail, it said "Risk to security of facility" and offered absolutely nothing else as to what in it allegedly was a "risk." So I appealed and sent a letter to Critical Resistance explaining the issue. In response to the first level appeal, Lt. Jason R. Hills claimed that "the publication contains things in violation of DOC Policy" and failed to cite anything else as is required by law. I appealed again, and have yet to get a response.

But Critical Resistance did respond, letting me know that they had not been notified by the facility, and sent a second copy of the newspaper. And guess what? Nothing in the publication violated policy at all. I sent a "kite" to Lt. Jason R. Hills with all the titles of the articles and asked him to please enlighten me as to which one had supposedly violated "DOC Policy." Obviously, he did not respond.

Anyways, if you could please take action on your end, we can hit them from two fronts for this illegal censorship and retaliation, and if you could notify Minnesota Public Radio, and other news outlets in Minnesota as to this illegal conduct, I believe it will prove as an ultimately versatile United Front against these people actively attempting to oppress and repress me. I only have numbers/addresses for the St. Cloud Times, Kare 11 News, and Fox 9 News: St. Cloud Times: 320-255-8757, 320-255-8775; Kare 11 News: 763-546-1111; Fox 9 News: 952-944-9999.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have sent this comrade more mail than what is noted above, which was apparently censored. This includes several political theory magazines. And we received no notification of this censorship. This violation of policy, and in fact violation of law, is common in prisons across the country. Prison administrators routinely deny mail without bothering to follow their own rules about notifications and required justifications. The censorship is typically targetting political literature, but has also extended to dictionaries, bibles, and textbooks. Retaliatory censorship is alive and well in Amerikkkan prisons.

This comrade is setting an excellent example of both documenting the problem and fighting back. When we receive notifications of censorship we always alert the affected comrades behind bars. And we need prisoners to do the same for us. In addition, all rejections need to be appealed. And if you can send us your appeals and information on the censorship, we can follow up with appeal letters from our side.

This multi-prong attack on the censorship can sometimes win small victories. Occasionally we will actually get the mail in. But even when we lose the appeals we put the prison on notice that we're paying attention, and this sort of politically-motivated censorship won't just slide by without protest. And getting other organizations to stand up and protest too is important to building the strength of our voice in this battle.

Fighting censorship is only a small part of our larger fight against imperialism. But as our movement gains strength the criminal injustice system will use repression of all sorts to try to stop us. It's particularly important that we fight censorship because this is the primary way that comrades behind bars can stay in touch with the movement beyond their cellblock. Without mail, prisoners don't even have access to study materials. So we take this struggle seriously. And we call on lawyers and paralegals on the streets to get involved. We need legal support to help with these battles.

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[United Front] [Lieber Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 69]
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Throwing Peace Signs, Building Unity in SC

When I think of unity, I think of "together." It doesn't matter your sex, race, religion, organization, age, or where you're from. Unity is putting all our differences aside, coming together to focus on the bigger situation. Like the saying "there's strength in numbers." If we're constantly battling against each other, how can we ever focus on the root of the problem?

I'm currently incarcerated in Ridgeville, South Carolina at Lieber Correctional Institution. I'm not a part of any organization, but I've learned about a movement going on throughout the yard, promoting "peace" as well as "unity." An older brother told me about the movement from my cell door, and he explained that you shake hands with 2 fingers, meaning "together" and "peace." Then I moved to another unit, where brothers are throwing up the peace sign passing by in the unit, and hollering out "peace" from across the unit. Now, I find myself peacing up brothers, and after reading ULK 68, I find myself peacing up brothers more than I used to. After reading ULK 68 I was impressed with the movement, and was eager to promote peace as well as unity, considering myself a leader, as well as being looked up to, as respected.

I began telling brothers about ULK, MIM(Prisons) and USW movements, and I'm dying to receive a copy of the next newsletter. To educate myself, as well as share to educate other brothers as I was educated by another leader about this movement. I'm in the process of putting something together on the oppression going on right here at Lieber, so I promise you'll be hearing from me again soon. Thanks, as well, for voicing our concerns, conditions, and struggles behind these walls, that the public never knew, knew and didn't care, or didn't believe what goes on back here.

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[Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [ULK Issue 69]
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Redirect the Gangster Mentality

A quick thought on the topic in ULK 68, overcoming the gangsta mentality. I'll say first that like most of U this topic and the well-written articles by all the contributing comrades was very personal and thought-provoking to me. Reason being, I entered imprisonment 8 cycles ago as a 20-years-old die-hard gang-banga. I was ignorant to the brutal truths of the world and basically I was lost in the sauce. In all the ways imaginable I dedicated and sacrificed self for the "turf," Naybahood," and my "cuzzins."

At 21 I blew trial, narrowly missed Texas's legal murder machine (death row), yet wasn't so lucky to miss the alphabets (LWOP). Initially while in prison I went on mental auto-pilot. Physically existing yet emotionally dead. I continued to build my reputation by further acts of self-destructive behavior until I was quickly placed in administrative segregation (Ad-Seg).

It was here where I initiated my journey and courses of auto-didactic education. Through constant trial and error, learning, practicing, and relearning I've matured and with maturity and education (direction) I've learned to redirect the gangster mentality towards more productive revolutionary actions. The education acted as a fan to the fire that had been simmering. Understand, every gangster, or criminal, is a rebel to some extent. However a committed revolutionary is a notch above simple rebellion. This is why juvenile facilities and prisons are breeding grounds for radical revolutionary potential.

Like comrade and beloved ancestor George Jackson said, "That's the principal contradiction of monopoly capital's oppressive contract. The system produces outlaws." The so-called "criminal" is by nature a rebel and an outlaw, yet generally this type of individual lacks the direction and vision that should be provided by a vanguard group. However, this particular type of persyn is highly susceptible to internalizing revolutionary concepts and when/if this persyn ever commits themselves to the cause of the community of the world they will be a productive weapon for revolution.

It is for this exact reason why one should not attempt to "overcome" the "gangster" mentality. Instead redirect that mentality. Remaining disciplined will be a struggle yet the strong will carry on. It is no wonder nor coincidence that during the history of the inner-city survival groups within black colonies each has had a period of political consciousness. This occurred while many damus and rip-ridaz were held kkkaptive by the police state. One may note such consciousness taking form and awakening and more politicized formation(s). Gangster Disciples elevate to Growth and Development and there are many other examples. One must encourage would-be comrades to elevate the formation that is already dear to them by taking the communist road. As the comrade Pili expressed "I realized how my varrio will always be my varrio, my homies always my homies ... But to liberate Aztlán it will take more than being a rebel."(1)

The message to the lumpen should be to mold themselves through political education into the highest functionality of their persyn, and become the guiding light to elevate their org, nationhood, etc. through active revolutionary tactics. This road has worked for me persynally in my own journey as well as during teaching moments. A rev doesn't have to be a saint nor priest. A rev need only to possess an amount of awareness and conviction accompanied by the knowledge to pursue the most productive means to victory.

Gratitude to all the ancestors, present comrades, politikal prisoners and any and all who've ever sacrificed to further the reality of liberation. Peace and respect to u all from I ur comrade in struggle.

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[Theory]
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Revolution Begins in the Mind

As the vanguard of the countless oppressed people struggling from behind the walls of Babylon, I feel personally accountable to voice my opinion in terms of the revolution. Revolution deals with revolving, or a turning over, of your mental concept. In other words, it begins in the mind. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire says, “almost always,” during the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, or sub-oppressors. Their ideal is to be men, but for them, “to be men is to be oppressors.”

Imperialism is violence in its natural state. The lumpen being conquered and mentally colonized has adopted a psyche of Western individualism and shuns Afrikan collectivism. So when we speak of “gangster”, it is all actually nauseating mimicry and pseudo-gangsterism at best, it is still a Greco-Roman phenomenon.

Mafia is an acronym developed around 1859 about an Italian criminal society referred to as “Camorra.” Guiseppe Mazzini was an Italian revolutionary and director of the Illuminati, whose last name “Mazzini” gives us the first letter of the acronym MAFIA. One may be compelled to learn how did the New Afrikan become so proficient in a culture so foreign to our historical traditions? The answer can be identified as a result of intense psychological operations. Mao said “when the revolution fails, its the fault of the vanguard party.” “True revolutionaries are guided by great feelings of love” according to Che Guevara. The true definition of love is doing the right thing to and for one another.

The New Afrikan community suffers from spiritual penury and prostrates at the altar of the oppressor, expecting some form of remedy for our malady. There is a statement in the Twi language of Ghana “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” Fellow comrades we must realize the depths of our untapped potentials.

Then on a personal note, i’m from the Southside of Chicago and I watched last night on A&E a documentary about a young sister from the very neighborhood I reside in, and it was truly disturbing. This is not to cast any aspersions on anyone, because I was at one point lost to myself, which personally to me is an even graver fate than being locked up. Even though innocent of said charge, I am still responsible for the deplorable and wretched conditions pervading the New Afrikan community all across the United Snakes. A willing participant in a self-destructive lifestyle, with selfish ambitions motivated by the illusion of capitalist gain, while helping annihilate my own people through chemical warfare.

The revolution fails because people always talk yet never do that of which they speak, because they suffer from cognitive dissonance. I’ve learned to say little and do much. Most of the comrades focus on outer factors, but yet never take stock of their own internal mind state. We are in a war and we are fighting for our very lives and all the lives who will move forward in our righteous struggle. We are trying to out “man” “the man” because cultural imperialism doesn’t simply state the existence of tribes, it reinforces and divides them. All the serious comrades need to ask themselves a question “Are you helping to win or are you contributing to a loss?” There are only two positions. It’s time to shit or get off the pot!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Building on what this comrade writes, we ask our readers, what can we do to build this revolution that begins in the mind? We offer educational materials, study groups through the mail, and support for prison-based study groups. But that’s just support work. The real education work is happening behind bars. By building a grievance campaign and spreading the word about that work, comrades are educating while also offering an example of organizing work. That’s just one example. Our work ranges from cultural (art, poetry, theater, music) to direct organizing (building peace between lumpen organizations, leading campaigns, fighting abuse), and always with an element of educating. We need creative minds coming up with new ways to build this revolution.

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[Education] [United Front] [ULK Issue 69]
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Build Cellblock Schools as Independent Institutions

education over violence

Peace to all the Gods that's stuck in these chains. I would like to speak power to the truth. I'm a young God in prison, but I feel there is a need for U$ Afrikans on these prison yards to focus more on building up a school than to focus on these prison politrix. What will the curriculum be in this school??? Knowledge of Self (KOS)! Why?? Well my son, that's a question asked most by the 85 and less by the 5ive%. It's a necessity for U$ to gain this truth about ourselves and all of our stolen greatness, to remind ourselves who you really are: "Original Man."

Because the majority of U$ are living in a bunch of lies, believing the blood suckas and what we've been taught by them; the trick-knowledge, weak wisdom, slick-understanding enslaved our mind frames believing since I was born and came from the trenches I have to depend on the United $nakes government for GR, Section 8, SSI, EBT, etc. to live and function as a citizen.

Wake up, that's wrong G. See this issue we focus on the topic at hand, which is "Independence." That's 1 of our 5 principles in the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Correct and Exact. So we don't need no government assistance in building up a school, we just need brothers who are dedicated to show up to cipher, getting these lessons Father Allah gave U$ Gods. It's all about chain of command with the system. If custody sees brothers coming to cipher they should have no problem getting our cell doors unlocked for school. Word is Bond.

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[New Afrika] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [ULK Issue 69]
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Assbackwards Politrix: New Afrikan Order?

There's this old reggae song that says "They always use one of us to bring us down." That totally fits the assbackward movement that is going on in the New Afrikan community at California Department of Corrections and "rehabilitation" (CDCr).

It's completely redundant and pitiful for these watered-down O.G.s and paperback shotcallers to be instructing their own kind to be attacking each other in 2019, following the politrix [of powerful L.O.s outside the nation]. New Afrikans have enough trouble expressing their Uhuru (freedom) from being oppressed by this racist system.

We have come too far to start going assbackward to start helping the pigs with ridiculous rules and regulations out of fear. The same exact shit Afrikans have been fighting against for the past 40 years is now taking effect to control the entire New Afrikan Community.

The New Afrikan man/woman has the right to go wherever they please. This ain't no sugar-coated dictatorship. Unity and Peace starts with all of us respecting each others' manhood and personal decisions. This is no reality check that the Latino and the Caucasian is the enemy. No! The oppressor is the enemy and anybody working with him.

It's funny because most of these smacks got life telling young Afrikans they gotta do this they gotta do that. How bout you got 90 days to take off on the pigs since you trying to politik, coward?

All it is is a way for us to start going backwards all over again. I smell bacon! These cats are scary and they'll do anything for some zoom zoom and wham whams (AKA cellphones and dope). Going nowhere hella fast whatever faction you represent; Blood, Crip, etc, etc. All of them started as positive, constructive organizations to better the New Afrikan community.

We're New Afrikans because We were stolen from Afrika and brought to a new land. We broke from slavery with a new perspective to be free and to manifest our own destiny. G.P. wanna tell SNY what to do or how to live but ain't none of them politikin against the pigs. Ain't none of them taking off on them either. They're still using one of us to bring us down in Kalifornia.

Hotep! Umoja
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