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Under Lock & Key

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[Control Units] [National Oppression] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 18]
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Isolation for Symbolic Drawing

As of this writing I've been confined to a special management unit because, of all things, a drawing. The artwork however is not the problem, but what it supposedly represents. From a larger standpoint the censoring of such work is another form of passive cultural destruction. What they can't control they restrict. What they don't understand, they tend to fear. And of course the "they" I'm speaking of are those upholding Amerikan values of whitewashed virtues.

The drawing was one I chose to adopt because of its high symbolism and esoteric meanings. But because this symbol was first used by the Nation of Gods and Earths (Five Percenters), a branch of the Nation of Islam, which is deemed a "security threat group" within penal institutions in six states, I was also branded a threat. I have no affiliation with that organization or any gang. I don't adhere to the NOGE's or NOI's religious dogmas. I do however share in their militant outlook and agree, for better, with what they've done to reeducate Black youth to the realities of this system. Because of this they, and anyone even duplicating a representative symbol of such organizations, are deemed a threat.

I must assume the motivation behind the government labeling a peaceful, cultural religious organization as a gang can be found in a real warranted fear of this group's objectives. To name just a few: its obvious work in enlightening individuals about this police state, its very successful strategy in reducing the recidivism rate, and most importantly empowering youth to be leaders and conduits of true culture in their families and communities. These priorities, and numerous others, are something to fear, especially when privatized institutions can prospectively lose millions annually.

The programming of the masses through corporate-owned media propaganda has not been done haphazardly. Sensationalism, violence, stereotypes and desensitization through repetition of crime and cop shows has not only controlled opinion but has thoroughly turned people into mindless robots, keeping the rich in control, middle class happy and poor discontented but helpless. Any organization that exposes this government for what it is and directs its energies to providing and teaching what true responsibility is to a community, is one I'd gladly be a part of.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
We agree with this prisoner that the criminal injustice system has a real reason to fear any organization that is educating people about the prison system, working to reduce recidivism, and organizing oppressed nations. These organizations threaten their use of the prison system as a tool of social control. And it is true that the media plays a major role in promoting imperialist policies to the Amerikan people. However, this is not the only reason the masses are passive. Amerikan citizens are acting in their economic self-interest when they play the role of happy robot and accept imperialist policies. See our article Amerikkkans: Oppressing for a Living in ULK 2.

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[Organizing] [North Carolina]
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the Time to Act is Now

NAS told us "ghetto prisoners rise" and Bob Marley asked "How long shall they kill our prophets?" It's been going on for years, yet we have failed to grasp on to a sincere movement with righteous motives. When the Europeans landed here they drove off the inhabitants or enslaved them. Sounds familiar to the immigration issues of today. Then they enslaved over 10 million native Africans throughout the "new world." Sounds like the incarceration and slave laboring of the Black and Latino youth of today through prison industries.

Now they don't have to kill our prophets like Martin, Malcolm, and Hampton. They just imprison them on anything they can to stop a movement. Education is the key to unlock the doors that block us and communication is the keyring that holds it together. Ghetto prisoners rise, rise, rise, united we stand and divided we fall. When the CIA killed Ernesto "Che" Guevera, he exclaimed "go ahead, what are you waiting for, you will only kill a man." Meaning his purpose, and meaning for which he fights will still live on. If we stand idle we are with the oppressor. Nelson Mandela said "If you fail to help the oppressed you become the oppressor." Don't be my oppressor. Revolution starts with the mistreatment of people, not a revolutionary.

Their objective is to keep you deaf, dumb and blind. Ignorance is suicide, they run their agenda through propaganda, spreading rumors and lies through their media. Zach de la Rocha said "fear is your only god" but don't let fear put you in check. The time to act is now, unite. "Penitentiaries is packed with promise makers, never realize the precious time these bitch niggas is wasting." - 2Pac

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Texas]
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Chains of Another Kind

These are chains of another kind
I see locked on a souljah's mind
Got em killing for no purpose
So he feeling that life's worthless.
Raised in another struggle
Pray for better days but still trouble
I wonder will he break free from tha enemy
N see that a king is what he can be
We all victims of this white man's oppression
locked in by his trick words n hard lessons
I see kids grown up with no dads n moms
and in other countries they getting killed by bombs.
Drugs got tha hood on lock, how can we change
Mothers giving birth to babies with dead brains
Fathers living life in these pins
N this is all cuz tha color of our skin.
Browns, Blacks, Yellows, N Reds
No matter what, if ya ain't white, they wanna see ya dead
Open up ya eyes so you can see tha truth
and never stop trying ta turn seeds to fruit
I shed tears more than what you would think
but I shed em on tha paper with ink
I hope you listen, cuz even thou there's diamonds that glisten
we still got pictures of kids missin
Now give thought, right now as we speak
there's a kid in this world who got nothing to eat
People spending mills on cars n claim to be stars
when others dying everyday from tha fact that they starved
This is chains of another kind

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[Censorship] [Varner Supermax] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 18]
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Keeping Rules a Secret Makes them Easier to Break

First and foremost I hope this letter reaches you. Officer Sherry A Conrad over in the mailroom has been opening and reading my legal mail. She has also confiscated every legal document I have tried to send to you, along with the letters I've written to you about her. I used the prisoner grievance system against her and ever since then she has used retaliation against me. She has written 3 major disciplinary reports on me about my mail; one of these major disciplinary reports was concerning a letter I wrote you. I appealed this major disciplinary but Warden Jimmy Banks has violated my due process rights and refused to answer my appeal.

Under Lock & Key was also confiscated and sent to the Unit Publication Review Committee for "illegal discrimination, violence, verbal or sexual abuse or inflammatory attitudes towards any racial, sexual, age, handicapped or individuals or groups." I appealed the decision of this committee but it also has been refused to be answered. Now Warden Jimmy Banks and Law Library Officer Ms. Smith are refusing to make copies of my legal documents so I can mail them to you and the United States District Court to file a claim against them.

I've also requested the Administrative Regulation and Directives of the Arkansas Department of Corrections so I could send them to you and the court but I've been denied access to these by Warden Jimmy Banks. Warden Banks does not want us to have these Administrative Regulations or Directives because he or his officers at the Varner Super Max Unit do not follow the Administrative Regulations and Directives. So many of our rights are being violated by Warden Banks and his officers, it's not even funny.

This is the good ole south, "the good ole boy system" and they will do everything it takes to keep the public, media, or any other group or organization in the dark about how prisoners are being violated in the Arkansas prison system. The prisoners in Arkansas will not stand or stick together, write grievances, or write the public, media or any other groups or organizations out of fear of major disciplinaries or retaliation used against them for doing so. If a prisoner writes a grievance, public officials, media or groups or sticks together to take a stand against the ADC, they are placed in the Super Max under false charges, written major disciplinaries that will keep them from being released, are placed in the hole without any of their property, and the list goes on and on.

If a prisoner keeps on doing these things to stand against the ADC then the officers will use all kinds of force on the prisoner and make the reports look like the force was justified. I have been held in the Varner Super Max for one year under false banding together, escape, possession of tobacco, and possession of cell phone charges. Now they are using retaliation against me by confiscating my legal and personal mail and writing me major disciplinary reports for the mail they confiscate when I've broken no administrative regulation, directives, policies or rules. They are also refusing me law books, legal copies, and administrative regulations and directives that I need. I've been told by the Warden himself that I'll never be released from Varner Super Max into population.

I know many prisoners who want to write your organization but they have seen everything that has happened to me and others who have written letters about the ADC and they are afraid. I refuse to just lay down and go quietly away. I try to stay in the law books, and follow all rules, policies and regulations. A lot of prisoners come to me for legal advice and I try to help all I can. I'm working on filing a big claim of many violations against Interim Director Ray Hobbs, Warden Jimmy Banks, Officer Sherry A. Conrad of the ADC in the United States District Court.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This account of retaliation against prisoners who fight censorship and other illegal actions in prisons should strengthen our resolve to get Under Lock & Key in the hands of all prisoners who can receive it. We know receiving ULK can be a risk, which is why it is important that our subscribers share. But if you're not organizing, then nothing's gonna change. Those on the outside willing to help with these legal battles can aid us both in fighting censorship and exposing the criminal injustice system. As long as the state is not following its own rules, there will be countless legal battles to take on.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Texas]
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Oil in the Wheels of Injustice

Trapped in a jungle of degradation, where my worst enemy is my own people. No one standing for what is right. Stuck in this mass illusion that everything is okay. Content on what is offered by the injustice that is thrown your way. When will you realize that you are a cog on this system of injustice, and without you, it can not run.

Off of your sweat, muscle, tears and knowledge, these wheels of injustice keep turning. You are the oil that keeps it going. Without you it can not run. It would shut down like an engine full of sand. Like a person lost in darkness, reaching for something he can not see. The injustice system would be lost.

What do you fear? Better living conditions. More privileges. Getting paid for the slave labor that you do now. Think! The system in place is not for you but against you. It is for itself. You get no reward from it. It is designed to keep us divided. No unity, and we fall for it. The system is laughing at you and you don't even know it. Open your eyes. It's not us against us, but us against them.

Stop living the fantasy life. You call yourself hard, but when it comes to standing against the system, you go soft. Things can change if you want them changed. All it takes is a little sacrifice. It's not a white and black thing. It's us against them. In numbers we can be a force that can be heard. It takes sacrifices, but in the long run, it's for the best. Don't be a coward, stand up for what is right. Unite! And you can be the future to make these injustices right.

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[Culture]
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Language use in ULK

I received your writer's guide for Under Lock and Key and appreciate the very informative July/August and September/October issues of ULK. I strongly agree with your views regarding dialectical materialism and communist philosophy. I also relate to the social struggles of oppressed peoples everywhere. But I would like to express my legitimate concerns about political satires and proletarian language.

Because of a socialization effect, most oppressed people in this country believe that western values are superior to other social values and world views. What i believe this means is that because ruling class values dominate the societal infrastructure (i.e. religion, education, economic, media), they have lots of influence on cultural values, norms, attitudes and other meaningful symbols that shape human behavior, transmitted from one generation to the next.

What I'm saying is that most oppressed people in America are not politically or socially conscious about other world views or the ideologies of other social systems. Therefore people must be introduced to new ideologies gradually to begin to understand that they're living in an individualist, racist and fascist western bubble. I believe the most effective way to educate people is by educating them in a system they're already familiar with. I personally don't disagree with political satire and proletarian language. I just believe that when you're trying to attract a new or wider audience to your views, it has to be something culturally accepted. I believe if potential readers don't understand the reasons for satire and proletarian language, they won't take the material seriously.

Those are my thoughts, and I choose to write to the mainstream audience for the above reasons, I am fully in the struggle, and I will continue to educate myself, teach, and learn from other people.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
We welcome discussion like the above about our use of language in Under Lock and Key and other literature. This comrade correctly points out that people in Amerika have been educated within a culture that has taught them both language and history. What this comrade doesn't mention, that is an even more powerful force for Amerikans, is the wealth and comfort that Amerikans enjoy just by virtue of their accidental citizenship. The culture of Amerika is a product of this privilege. And it is true that many Amerikans are going to be turned off by the language that we use.

But we have to keep in mind that we do not see the majority of Amerikans as our audience. We are targeting a small minority of oppressed, specifically prisoners. And this oppression helps people see the reality of the imperialist world they live in in a way that most Amerikans won't because they have no reason to want to see it. While we could definitely attract a wider audience by toning down our language, this would require us to also tone down our political line, and effectively give up our goals altogether. And we are not willing to stop calling Amerika imperialist or kowtow to the democratic party, to gain more supporters. We are saying things that no one else in this country is saying, and it's important that this political message get out there, even if only a few people will listen right now. We speak the truth, and know that most Amerikans will not listen.

MIM(Prisons) uses language to make a political point. It is not satire when we spell Amerika with a 'k.' We are making a political point about this country and the politics of imperialism. We use "womyn" to make a point about gender and our opposition of seeing wimmin as derived from men.

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[International Connections] [ULK Issue 18]
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Dazzling Hearts and Minds in Amerika

The Trapped Miners Rescue Spectacle in Chile

It is October 13 2010 and I am visually and sonically inundated with blow-by-blow descriptions of the Chilean miner rescue operation. TV, radio and newspapers have whipped themselves into a frenzy reporting the rescue of 33 miners from a collapsed mine in Chile. With a couple of months' lead time, courtesy of the drilling process, this event has received more build-up than a Superbowl. Naturally, everyone is glad the miners are coming out (miner 14 hit the surface a minute ago), but it seems to me this is an extreme case of media overkill that is designed to serve as a distraction from Mass-Murder Incorporated's (M-M Inc., the Amerikan government) worldwide killing spree, if not from the mine operator's greedy rush for profits that caused the accident in the first place.

The world waits with bated breath as one miner at a time rises to the surface with a digital clock ticking off the time of his ascent to the second and, of course, a count of each miner rescued replete with video footage of tearful reunions with family and friends. What if it were so for those unsuspecting people blown up in their homes by the predator drones Amerika operates with impunity worldwide, but it is not.

As I watch the miners coming out of the ground one at a time, I can't help but think about how many people the Amerikan government is simultaneously putting in the ground. I wonder how many people were murdered in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the drones over the course of the rescue operation? How many Palestinians, Iraqis, Somalians and Yemenis? Do they not deserve a ticking clock and body count? Certainly, but there is little feel-good factor in being confronted with a second-by-second ticking body count of the murders we are responsible for as the good citizens and share-holders of M-M Inc. No, no, we can't have that.

But why not? Why does the mainstream media ignore the big stories, the real stories? Why isn't there a body count of every human on this planet murdered by Amerikan-made weapons systems? Why not show the video footage of every single drone attack, replete with men, women and children dying in agony? This would be a stellar moment for Amerikan television corporations. Real reality TV! Maybe, when fed enough reality Amerikans will then treat themselves to the reality of the Amerikan version of the Nuremberg Trials and the Spandau Ballet. Now that is a reality most of the world would love to see and exactly why Amerikans will never see it.

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[Abuse] [MORGAN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX] [Tennessee]
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Victim of Injustice System

In the last 2 months I've fallen victim to the injustice system in prison. The first time was a sexual assault by a staff member. I'll not get into that because I'm still dealing or should I say trying to find ways to deal with it. My other incident, I was working in Admin as a counselor aid and was assaulted by a corrections officer. We had had words previously because the job I had did not require me to do what he told me to do so he felt I was "walking on him."

Well he was sitting in the counselor's office and he was talking to the man I worked for. He was getting up to leave and I was shutting the door behind him and it hit his boot. He turned around and lunged at me so I threw my hands up in a blocking, defensive manner and he grabbed my pinky and ring finger and jerked it and twisted it which broke it.

My boss called for me to get medical attention (costing me $5) so I've got 5 x-rays and doctor's notes on this incident. I have filed numerous Grievances on this core officer. The paperwork I filed was "too late" or "lost" so it was thrown out and I was placed in protective custody due to the incident. And since it has happened I've been treated worse than an old smelly mutt. It's sad how much the injustice system can get away with here in the united $tates these days. I've tried going an alternate route by getting one of the neglected forms with response and mailed it to my lawyer.

A lot of my things have come up missing, they are constantly in my cell searching for items that's not there. I've been trying to file a civil suit of negligence against the state and TDOC since this occurred but I'm having the hardest time from a control unit (23/1) and little if any help.

Since this assault my time has gotten really hard. It's a struggle every day. Trying to use the phone, the excessive force used to and from the Dog Pen (recreation). A week ago a corporal shoved and spit on me for filing a grievance on him. I got to be on guard with them. They have done all they can do and more. A man can only take so much but it will only satisfy them to see me act out in violence on them so I'm taking every precaution to their games. It's quite sad they stoop this low.

I wish there was another way to reach out. I know I'm not alone and we keep our heads up and keep on fighting from behind bars. I am trying to keep it cool and recruit all anti-imperialists and encourage them to start standing up for themselves and others. We're not alone in this war.


MIM(Prisons) adds:
Stories like this one are a big impetus behind the grievance campaign that MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within(USW) have initiated in prisons across the U.$. We are fighting to get grievances, like the ones this comrades has filed, handled fairly. Write to us for a copy of the petition.

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[Political Repression] [National Oppression] [Tennessee]
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We Are Our Only Obstacle

Prison politics are one of the most corrupt manifestations brought into existence by Amerikkka. They are slavery and Jim Crow in one warehouse. These are warehouses for their legal (illegal) systems of "convicted" slaves. Every one of us who are conscious are political prisoners.

In the crooked fascist state of Tennessee's prison system, or concentration camp system, racism is thriving. The brotherhoods and KKK members are allotted opportunities to study their facades of a culture, miseducated backgrounds. While unequally Afrikans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, etc. of the so-called "minority" groups are classified as STG members when we seek to become more informed about our cultural backgrounds and their legacies. It's a constant battle in the heart of capitalism.

I, myself, have struggled with these oppressors for more than 5 calendar years about them attempting to classify me as an STG member. I've even gone so far as to clearly tell these savages that I'm a revolutionist not a senseless gang banger.

They verbally assault me and the comrades of like mind, hoping to provoke an attack from us because they can't stomach seeing us unite as one mind, one body, one soul. But these fake Nazis do it and it's cool because most prison officials are in one way or another believers in their theories. We must remember this so-called bible belt is the home of the Confederacy and it's confederate concepts of racial superiority along the ideals of Hitler and his Nazism.

Since I've been at this prison, in the north eastern corner of Tennessee it has been no less than 4 white on Black stabbings where the white males who had the blades where treated better in apprehension than the Black/diasporic Afrikan victims. Whites use violence to solve their problems and simply get shipped, minus the acceptable few who are urban oriented. I don't find this a coincidence. While if the Blacks or other "minorities" resort to violence to solve our issue/problems they resort to placing us on max for at least 18 months to 5 years, privileges taken, family communication taken, and then we'll be shipped to another compound after our stretch behind the walls that are behind the walls.

This whole theory alone sounds insane if you ask any conscious human being. If you snitch behind these walls you get privileges unlike the ones who keep silent. And the cowards that do the snitch thang need their tongues cut out and tied around their throats by all revolutionary means. Our cultural celebrations are treated with mockery yet they'll attempt placing you on meds and classifying you as insane/incompetent if you complain, but only because there is no unity amongst the oppressed.

They fear unity, for they know in it there is a power unstoppable. But we must, ourselves, believe it before we can achieve it. We are our only obstacle!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We hold that all prisoners are political prisoners, regardless of their consciousness, because they are in prison for political reasons. Barack Obama can bomb families in Central Asia and walk free, living a luxurious lifestyle while a Black man in an oppressed neighborhood with a little narcotics in his pocket can spend years in prison for possession. That's political.

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[Abuse] [MORGAN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX] [Tennessee]
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Guard Brutality Unpunished in Tennessee

This prison is a 100% white employed prison. As you can imagine, there is a great number of racially motivated incidents that occur here. Earlier this year in May, several correctional officers beat a Black prisoner and broke both his arms and gave him brain damage. In response to this beating, many Black prisoners (who were not on max security) responded by attacking several COs and beating them. The local media reported this incident as "inmates rioting against COs and sending 8 of them to the hospital." However, the media failed to report that the beatings of the COs were in response to the lynch mob type beating of a Black prisoner.

The head pig in charge of this beating is named Sgt. Bennett. He single-handedly carried out many beatings of Black prisoners and his only form of discipline for beating the prisoner in this incident was being stripped of his title as a Sergeant and demoted to a Corporal and being placed on third shift. Meanwhile the prisoners involved in the beating of the COs all face additional time added to their sentences and placement on max security for years on end. The pigs who nearly killed a Black man are still employed here at this prison.

I have been incarcerated over 9.5 years and 8.5 years of that have been spent on max security segregation and this is one of the only incidents that I've ever seen in prison in my time where prisoners came together for a common purpose against the prison officials. What amazes me is that the very human desire to fight oppression has seemed to die within the prisons of Tennessee. I have read several accounts of how prisoners in other states have stood up for a common purpose against oppression, yet the prisoners in Tennessee lack the desire to fight oppression. They all complain verbally but if someone such as myself files a grievance on behalf of us all and tries to pass it around for all to sign showing support, 98% of them will refuse to sign because they fear some form of retaliation when the truth is, nothing else can be done to them that hasn't already been done. These pale faced pigs have stolen the very essence of our people which has made us great and allowed us to survive... a will to fight.


MIM(Prisons) responds: While we agree that the race of prison guards underscores the racism of the criminal injustice system, we're under no illusions that having Black and Latino guards would change the system. The problem is the system, and the guards are just serving that system. Some may be more brutal than others, but they are all pigs in the eyes of the people.

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