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[Prison Labor] [Organizing] [Limon Correctional Facility] [Colorado]
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Organizing Strikes for Lasting Change

I read with a smile the article in ULK 16 titled Mass Hunger Strike in California and it reminded me of a similar event in Colorado at the Limon Correctional Facility(LCF) facility in June 2002, when close to 850 of the 975 POWs refused to go to the chow hall for three full days. The first morning a few people ate but were quickly shown the error of that. The only ones who had our blessings were the diabetics and sick who needed to eat. Word came down from the Warden, put your complaints and issues in writing and I will personally address them.

That was done and a "few" minor things actually changed for the better. Over the next several days and even months the line staff flat-out told us that what shook up the LCF management team administration was the fact that 850 plus "inmates" stood together for three days. That was an act of defiance and passive aggressive rebellion almost unheard of in the Colorado DOC for almost 20 years. This is a system where the "inmates" regularly laid down rather than even contemplate doing without their TVs, coffee and ramen soups for a few weeks, or months. This is a prison system where about 30% or so are lifers doing life without parole or 40 calendar years before their first parole date.

The Colorado DOC has mimicked other states with the total removal or severe restriction of use of free weights, out door and indoor recreation time, and demolition of programs that actually help the prisoners. And once the administration saw there was no resistance, then the pay was cut by 50 to 80%, depending on what type of assignment you had. In June 2003 the CDOC not only cut the pay they raised canteen prices, and the indigent level. So although there is on paper, such a thing as being "indigent" and showing the DOCs obligation to provide a minimum of hygiene and writing material, the DOC "paid" everyone, every month, at least a few cents more than the indigent amount. So, even though the DOC most often debited this entire amount immediately after posting it on your prison account, under their interpretation of their rules, no one can actually be indigent. Therefore the DOC does not have to supply hygiene items or writing material.

The purpose of the above is to point out that sporadic and specific acts of organized non-violent protest are well and good to get momentary attention for a few minor particular issues or complaints, but in order for POWs across the U$ to truly become men and women worthy of what you seek and deserve, each of you have to educate yourself! Make that your number one goal.

We as POWs can have all the outside help, but we need to develop the inside help and come to grips with the reality we as a group will probably have to suffer through some very lean and mean times due to long term work strikes, but it is in these work strikes that we have our power! A few weeks won't hurt the bank roll of the profiteers, but several months of no product and the prison officials will be told by the politicians (who are controlled by those with $$) to give us what we need, deserve, and want, to get production back on line at all costs.

Sure we will be subjected to the strip cells and frequent strip searches and mishandling and/or destruction of our property, but you can prepare for some of that. Send out photos and documents that are important, stock up on certain items. Only order bare hygiene items and writing material for 6 to 8 months, leave the junk food alone. Maybe no phone calls unless an emergency.

Hit them where they harm us, in their pocketbooks. Above all, do not resort to violence or destruction tactics. Although this gets media and outside attention, it does not engender the type of serious attention we, as POWs, want or need because we need to retain legitimacy for our cause.

As was plainly pointed out by an old convict back in the 70s in Texas: "Them guards can only do to us what we let em do."

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[Censorship] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
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Activists in SHU Still Face Total Censorship

I want to send a fraternal embrace to everyone. I am writing from the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU). I write this letter in response to some stepped up repression that seems to have increased here starting last year in 2009. It is important to understand when these restrictions occur so as to see more broadly if such occurrences are random or a wider campaign. I have within the last year had "returned to sender" eight pieces of mail from MIM(Prisons). I was never notified from the prison, and I had no idea of these returns or rejections until MIM(Prisons) notified me of these refusals. I reach out to highlight this situation, this tragedy that is occurring to me so that these lessons may be used by a receptive ear, worked with in some way, and possibly overcome in the future.

Censorship exists, not censorship of some technological weapons or some type of recipe for a plague of sorts but censorship of ideas, banning of political theory that is not compliant with the state norm. I have always taken on legal battles, jailhouse lawyer activities, anything to right a wrong and resist an injustice system that was built on the land of my ancestors. For this prison resistance I am rewarded by the state with an aggressive push to keep excellent political theory from reaching me, from comrades being able to send a letter of encouragement or perhaps a book on political science.

I was receiving literature and Maoist books from MIM for several years while on the "mainline" general population and I delved into those works so many times that even though I am currently subjected to censorship of political correspondence from MIM(Prisons) I have a strong understanding of the society we live in and the need for political power. It is situations like what I am currently undergoing that really drive home the need to liberate oppressed nations. Here in the SHU, Raza cannot even learn or read about their ancient pre-Columbian languages as the state says this is gang related. Now political science, the ability to theorize and have ideas of a society outside of what currently exists, is denied us.

Occupation is done on many levels all over the world. In some countries occupation may be more subtle but if you look close enough the similarities are there. When the Japanese occupied Korea after the war the Korean language was banned; the Korean people could only speak Japanese. All Korean history and political literature outside Japanese imperialism was censored. We must learn from history; not just our specific history of our particular country of origin. A study of all histories will show that what is occurring here has occurred many times.

The situation in California prisons in particular should be noted and learned from; the censorship we are experiencing has been employed in years past. This targeting of political organizations has been seen and felt on many levels, but today's censorship comes at historic times. It is because contemporary ideas and revolutionary theory in general and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in particular is essential for future struggles and because of the current "awakening" of oppressed nations people in prisons that CDCR has begun a program of censorship particularly in its control units, i.e. SHUs where it is no coincidence that the most politically advanced are held captive. Getting the independent press, such as ULK, in the hands of the imprisoned masses is of extreme importance.

The people are fighting to educate the political prisoners, uplift the consciousness of prisoners, and bring politics to the prison houses nationwide, and build the prison base for revolution. At the same time the ruling class sees the 2+ million potentially revolutionary prisoners behind bars and knows that every prisoner who takes up the struggle for a better society is another addition to resist their program. They understand that prisoners in general are becoming radicalized yet they know they can't shut down all so called "freedom of the press," so they spend their time and resources on what they feel are their prime target group or persons of influence which are what they label the people held in control units. By doing so they are basically isolating these comrades from correspondence, political literature or study material of any sort, even of basic contact with comrades on the outside.

This is being done to dull or attempt to dull the revolutionary edge in the prison population, starting in SHUs and expecting this dullness to permeate the rest of the population. The need for people who still have the ability to receive any papers, newsletters or literature from MIM(Prisons) to do so is of utmost importance, with vigor and hunger as if you will never get the chance again because once in a SHU you will be censored. The need to support independent press like ULK is on top of the priority list and should be done financially or any other way. It is times like now that I appreciate a crisp uncut publication like ULK; when only watered-down periodicals are allowed to reach me I see how precious ULK is.

I am embarking on another legal battle for the censorship here in Pelican Bay and i encourage others to do the same. United we will overcome this battle.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Organizing] [Western Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Need for Revolutionary Organizing

I'm in a very unique position in that I am part of a dinosaur breed of prisoners in the state of Maryland, and Western Correctional Institution(WCI) in particular, who gears towards Revolutionary Suicide. Now, it's sad to see that the people I'm surrounded by are worse than reactionaries. Equally unfortunate is the fact that after all the bloodshed and mayhem endured by our predecessors (e.g. Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Denmark Vessey, and George Lester Jackson), that instead of an increase in Revolutionary Suicide, there is an ever-growing decrease.

This plantation went on lockdown for the week of September 20, 2010 due to a fist fight between two gang members. Although I am not (nor ever been) a member of a gang, I understand lockdowns are a part of prison life. What I am not able to accept is that the same people who are members of the gangs openly embrace known rats and sellouts, yet hurt each other over nothing more than a temporary loss of temper over a word play.

During the lockdown, the pigs shut off the power to the televisions in our cells and our water. Would you believe that some of these clowns played with the pigs about our situation?! Others openly faulted gangs to anyone who would listen! These same people who are always quick to go against one another said nothing to the pigs, especially once the pigs turned off the power to our cells, including toilet. General George Jackson spoke clearly when he said how these feeble and pusillanimous clowns work openly with the pigs and against one another. They will "swallow a camel but gag on a nut. They accept a certain condition and [mis]treatment with apparent ease, but balk at the suggestion of returning the same."

No one complains when the prison goes on lockdown so that the pigs can all attend "Officer Appreciation Day" in the gymnasium.

As an attorney, I would like to think that out of over sixteen hundred prisoners in this prison at all times, that the ratio would be far greater than me only getting five people released within almost six years of being here. This is because everyone is playing the game with catcher's mitts on, without a thought of pitching out to help someone. I reach outside of this plantation to other plantations, with the hope of reaching out and relating to others. In order for you to grasp the irony of the sickness of the mindset of the fools I'm surrounded by you must understand that none of the so-called tough killers in these mountains defy the pigs here. The same pigs openly disrespect these clowns too many times to count each day.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We hear complaints from a lot of comrades behind bars about the lack of resistance to prison repression. Rather than complain, we call on activists to do something about this situation. Prisoners have an objective interest in fighting their abuse but many have been frightened into silence and inaction. Still others don't have an understanding of the system and so are easily used as pawns by the guards. We need to expand our education efforts and show the strength that comes from being organized. This is how we will develop more revolutionaries.

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[Religious Repression] [Prison Labor] [Organizing] [LA State Penitentiary] [Louisiana] [ULK Issue 17]
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Political Activism Killed by Religion in Louisiana

I have begun to receive ULK and I have not had any problems with censorship. There are not very many politically active people/groups here now, such as in California, so the mailroom is not hyperaware of radical political publications.

This was not always the case. Louisiana State Prison (Angola) in the 60s, 70s and 80s was a hotbed of political activism, primarily with the Black Panther Party. It was also considered one of the bloodiest prisons in America. Since the 90s it seems political activism/education has evaporated. This is mostly due (in my opinion) to the prison becoming admittedly more safe, the aging and death of the older inmate population (as the 60s and 70s were a universally more politically active time across America), and the current Warden. Warden Burl Cain has quite effectively turned the prison into a church, with even a 5-year seminary college funded by the Southern Baptists of America.

This has had an enormously detrimental impact on the prison population. There is no longer any prisoner solidarity (beyond the individual self-serving prison clubs and organizations) or any real political movement. Most (though not all) prisoners now play the religion game as a ticket to move up within the prison society and garner favor with the administration. In fact, to essentially get in any position of prisoner power - such as a club president or to work for the prison magazine The Angolite (which came to prominence under Wilbert Rideau) - you must be an active professed Christian.

The true harm in all of this is that there is no real rehabilitation or education within the prison now. Louisiana does not have parole for people sentenced to life and 90% of the 5000+ prisoners here at Angola will die in prison. This is a proven statistical fact even admitted by Louisiana DOC. The only option for lifers in Louisiana is the possibility for a sentence reduction by the pardon board. This is not a legitimate option though. It is extremely rare (once every 10-15 years) that they recommend a lifer for a sentence reduction and the governor signs it.

In the farce of this hopelessness, the warden has pushed the panacea of religion both to fight hopelessness, as well as the idea that if you garner enough favor and play the religion game well enough, you will be lucky when you go before the pardon board. The warden has made moves to place himself as an "advisor" to the pardon board to give recommendations as to who should be given a pardon (sentence reduction) and who not. This means you either toe the warden's line - be Christian, not exercise your rights, make no waves, become an informant to show you are "reformed" - or you essentially have no hope whatsoever of ever being granted relief by the pardon board. This includes those prisoners with lesser sentences who go before the parole board. The pardon and parole boards are one and the same.

All of this is a preamble to my real reason for writing this letter to you. I am attempting to re-energize a political base among the prisoner population. The most possible form this may take is by labor unionizing. Angola is one of the last great prison farms (18,000 acres for crops and cattle), along with places like Parchman in Mississippi. A good many of the prisoners here still perform agricultural labor. This food is primarily sold for private profit, not fed to us. This prisoner labor saves the state (and earns it) million of dollars, while prisoners receive little or no "incentive pay" or wages. Field workers earn 4 cents an hour or less, half of which (up to $250) must go into a "savings account" the prisoners may not use (except for a few narrow reasons) even if the prisoner is a lifer and will never get out to use his "savings." This money sits instead, in perpetuity, earning interest in DOC bank accounts for the state.

The only practical political force prisoners here may exert is by unionizing. Not only to work towards better living/working conditions in prison, but towards more just sentencing laws. Unionization as well creates a solidarity movement younger prisoners may never have experienced before which can prove fertile grounds for Marxist/Maoist education. It would be fitting to see such an agrarian Maoist movement take hold and grow here. Unionization and the educational benefits of a labor movement create the grounds for producing politically aware cadres, some who will remain in prison, but many who may return to their communities to expand the movement.

Consequently, it is my hope to recruit and develop a dedicated cadre of individuals here to research the possibility of a prisoner labor movement and further that idea by education and activism.

I have already circulated the introductory letter you sent to me describing MIM(Prisons)'s platform, as well as the first issue of ULK I have received. I further plan to enroll in your Maoist study cell. I have read and studied Marxism-Leninism for many years but am not as familiar with Maoism or how such Maoist principles may differ in form or function from Marxism. As I have always generally understood, Marxism-Leninism applied to an industrialized (to a large degree) proletariat, where as Maoism was an agrarian movement. I'm sure this may be a huge oversimplification. For that reason, I wish to educate myself more, with your help.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We support this comrade's efforts to organize prison workers. Rather than a proletariat or peasantry, the U.$. prison population's relationship to production puts it squarely in the lumpen class, as we explained in a report on the U.$. prison economy. Prison labor is used to save the state money, as this comrade points out, in its excessively expensive project of imprisoning this class of people that capitalism has no use for. Therefore organizing prisoners to heighten the contradictions of the state in fiscal crisis is of great value. And there is no doubt that this organizing serves an excellent educational purpose as well.

Maoism is an advance on Marxism-Leninism that still bases itself in the revolutionary class of the proletariat but also sees the peasantry as a key ally to the proletariat in countries like China where the system is semi-feudal and the population is so dispersed in the agrarian countryside. While we can't just take this theory and apply it to farming in the U.$. where conditions are very different, the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) is still very relevant today. The dialectical materialist method teaches us to learn from the best that history has to offer (MLM) and apply it to our conditions today just as groups like the Black Panthers and Young Lords did with the lumpen before us.

The history of prison labor organizing at Angola pre-dates the Panthers, and according to one blog, during a strike in 1951, 31 prisoners cut their Achilles tendons so that they could not be made to work on the farm. Acts like these distinguish those who really have "nothing to lose but their chains" - one definition of the proletariat. Religious brainwashing can be effective at diffusing such resistance, especially when there are bribes involved, but the oppressed will gravitate towards Maoism as it represents their interests as a people and not just short-term individual interests.

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[Prison Labor] [Abuse] [Arkansas]
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Grievances in Arkansas

Here in Arkansas state prisons we have a terrible grievance procedure. The administration and pigs call it an "informal resolution" and it is a joke. I have enclosed the front page so you can check it out.

In Arkansas we receive no pay for the jobs we perform, but at Christmas time the state places a big $6 on our books, averaging out to about 1 1/2 cents per day. In the mid to late 90s I ran one of the unit's cabinet shops and would often work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for that $6. Purely slave labor in my opinion.

Here they shut out our lights at 10:30pm and turn them on again as early as 3am, leaving them off only 4 1/2 hour, and this is usually done 7 days a week.

The food we get us usually not fit for human consumption. Very often the hamburger meat and chicken are spoiled, but most of us can't afford to go to the commissary store and must eat it.

Our grievances often get "lost" or "misplaced" if they have factual info about a staff member, especially if a few individuals write them.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This problem with grievances is not unique to Arkansas. For this reason United Struggle from Within initiated a grievance campaign this year. If you are filing grievances about any issue and they aren't being handled properly by staff, consider becoming a part of this campaign and spread it to your people inside.

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[Spanish] [California] [ULK Issue 18]
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Derrame de Petroleo del Golfo: Es Capitalismo, ¡Estupido!

Manos por América, que maravilloso, concepto conmovedor. Desde Santa Mónica, California hasta las playas de Alabama. Americanos unidos en un atentado para enseñar su desilusión y coraje al Petróleo Británico compañía de petróleo (BP), tanto como su amor por el medioambiente, específicamente a la costa del Golfo.

Han sido más de dos meses desde que BP causó el desastroso derrame de petróleo en la región de la Costa del Golfo de los Estados Unidos y todavía los imperialistas y capitalistas grandes no saben cómo parar uno de los desastres ambientales más destructivas en la historia humana. ¡Los americanos están enojados! Una de las cosas que los americanos odian a ver lo más es cuando el toque del imperialismo tiene un impacto en la costa "suya". Que enorme golpe financiero para todas esas personas viviendo en o cerca de la costa del Golfo, ni mencionar toda esa pobre vida marina indefensa - cómo se atreve ese BP venir aquí y imponer sus maneras descuidados y maniáticas en América - ¿no tienen ninguna vergüenza? los americanos no querían ese petróleo de todos modos, ¿verdad?

En realidad, los americanos sí quieren que BP perfore para petróleo.

Siendo los parásitos sobre la humanidad y el globo que son, ellos definitivamente quieren que BP perfore para el petróleo en la costa del Golfo pese a lo que digan. Son tan sedientos por petróleo como un garrapata de la sangre. Es en parte por qué instalaron el Sha de Irán hace años atrás. Es porqué invadieron a Kuwait y atacaron a Iraq durante la Guerra del Golfo, que resultó en rompimiento de record de derrames de petróleo marinas a ese tiempo contaminando las ciénegas en Iraq. (BP ha superado ese record en el extremo ahora.)(1) Es porqué América invadió a Iraq la segunda vez y colgó a Saddám. Y es en parte por qué ahora tienen sus miras fijos en Irán por un cambio de régimen. Así que por favor, a todos ustedes sedientes glotones Americanos, evítenos sus sentimientos. Ustedes querían este petróleo tanto como, si no más que sus grandes capitalistas y empresas de energía.

No es como si BP fuera una entidad externa y completamente ajeno a América que de algún modo simplemente forzó o manipuló la única superpotencia del hemisferio occidental y empezó a perforar a su propio deseo. Ustedes querían ese petróleo cuando ustedes decidieron a deshacerse de ese viejo cansado Chevy y mejorar a un decadente y caro 2010 SUV de todo terreno. Ustedes querían ese petróleo cuando decidieron mantener sus casas a un cómodo 73 grados por todo el año aunque ustedes viven en California. Ustedes querían ese petróleo cada vez que compraron toda esa otra ociosa e innecesaria porquería que no necesitaron que requiso petróleo para fabricar, empaquetar, enviar, etcétera. Y finalmente, ustedes probaron que ustedes querían ese

petróleo cada vez que uno de sus niños regresó del extranjero en un saco de cadáver, o sometieron al Tercer Mundo a su yugo de opresión, muerte y destrucción.

Todo está excelente y magnífico cuando el derrame de petróleo ocurre en otra parte, en un país que ustedes están muy flojos a siquiera intentar de pronunciar correctamente. Los Nigerianos han estado viviendo entre derrames de petróleo por más de 50 años, que asciende a más de 550 millones de gallones derramados, gracias a empresas de petróleo extranjeros que prestan América y otras países ricos.(2) 50 años, y todavía nada ha sido hecho sobre los ecosistemas destruidos ni medios de vida humana. Para aquellos que hacen campaña para parar la perforación fuera de orillas en los Estados Unidos sin seriamente restringir el consumo del Primer Mundo: eso solamente traducirá en más contaminación y destrucción en Nigeria, el Sudan y por todo del Medio Oriente donde vidas humanas y ecosistemas están considerados menos digno por los chauvinistas gritando "¡no en mi patio!"

El derrame de petróleo no era solamente la culpa de BP ni fue solamente la culpa de Obama tampoco. Es capitalismo, estúpido, y lo más pronto que lo empieces a entender y comiences a hacer algo para asegurar que los derrames de petróleo como lo de la costa del Golfo no sucedan otra vez, como por ejemplo ayudando a derribar el imperialismo, lo mejor estaremos.

Este tipo de desastre habría tenido muy poco o cero posibilidad de ocurrir en la Unión Soviética anterior (1917-1953) o la República de China Socialista (1949-1976), porque esos países comunistas no habrían tenido hacer el extenso perforación que el Primer Mundo parece estar enganchado con. ¿Por qué? Eso es exactamente por qué los países comunistas implementaron algo llamado "economías planeados" para cumplir con necesidades humanas. Con el conocimiento de hoy de los efectos de capitalismo sobre la ecología de la tierra, una forma de producción socialista sólo aprobará la producción de cantidades necesarias para los necesidades de sus pueblos, tal como comida, ropa, refugio, provisiones médicos y otros necesidades para comercio y venta. Estas economías planeados estarán puestos al corriente trimestralmente, anualmente, o como necesitado. Pero ahora, Americanos exigen más y lo quieren barato. Y los imperialistas tienen que producir más de lo necesario para continuar sacar provecho.

En las sistema económica Maoísta, ya que la producción es por necesidad y no por la ganancia, la seguridad de repente se hace "manejable." Bajo el capitalismo, cortando esquinas aumenta beneficios, mientras amenaza a la vida humana. Aunque mucho estadounidenses está legítimamente enfadados, se sienten incapaces de hacer nada. Los oficiales de BP parecen intocables, sin embargo en una economía planeado socialista Maoísta, los responsables de las operaciones que amenazan la vida se llevan a cabo a la mayor rendición de cuentas, incluida la pena de muerte.. Mientras los oficiales de BP son millonarios, los oficiales comunistas en socialista China ganaron mucho menos que los intelectuales, aunque llevaban mucho más responsabilidad. Permitir que los pocos sacar provecho de la destrucción del planeta, que depende toda la vida, será el legado más duradero del capitalismo que las generaciones futuras se rascarán la cabeza.

Podemos esperar muchas desastres más golpear a los Estados Unidos, como lo han estado golpeando el Tercer Mundo desde hace décadas, en los próximos años como los imperialistas se vuelven más desesperados para explotar la Tierra de sus recursos materiales y dejar a un lado todos los escrúpulos cuando se aprovecha cada vez más a las reservas de minerales y de combustibles fósiles de los EE.UU. El apetito insaciable de consumo del Primer Mundo debe ser detenido con el fin de mantener un planeta que valga la pena construir el socialismo en.

Notas:
(1) Threats to the environment posed by war in Iraq. Science in Africa, March 2003.
(2) Gambrel, Jon. Gulf spill a familiar story in oil-soaked Nigeria. Associated Press, July 5, 2010.

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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 17]
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KKKlinton Strikes Again

Twice now in two years, the pigs at Kkklinton have allegedly restrained a convict and murdered him. In the early morning hours of 3 October 2010, Leonard Strickland, a 44-year-old Black male in general population was killed. Of course these cowards will be fighting each other, cutting, stabbing and yet there's no resistance to these corrupt corrections staff.

Just last night, while returning from the SHU shower Sergeant Marcil and CO Stuart told me that the prisoner died of an overdose or bad heroin brought into the prison that weekend. Officer Decoteau told me that it was the plastic bag treatment, meaning that once again they've placed a bag over a prisoner's head. I have spoken to another prisoner who had this done to him.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The NYS DOCS has accused Mr. Strickland of assaulting staff and admit that he died shortly after being subdued by staff. The autopsy results are expected in a couple weeks. We hope our comrades in New York will help us investigate what really went down and start developing means to ensure better protection of the imprisoned population as a whole. This protection starts with the mobilization of a conscious prison population who are watching for abuse and will unite in protest of these acts of brutality.

This article referenced in:
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[Legal] [Censorship] [Arizona]
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Advice on Censorship Fight in Arizona

I am a Jailhouse Lawyer of the High Rolla Jailhouse Law firm. I was appointed by the chief Jailhouse Lawyer of the Jailhouse Law Firm to aid and assist the MIM(Prisons) Legal Clinic. I have reviewed the Prisoner's Legal Clinic letter dated October 4, 2010. Upon review I have taken the opportunity to offer my legal experience to assist MIM(Prisons) in responding to the statement made by the Director of Arizona's Department of Corrections.

According to the Director of Arizona's Dept. of Corrections, he states Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 369 (1974) was overruled and your reliance on that case is misplaced. The Director of Arizona's Dept of Correction further states that there is nothing that gives rise to a publisher's right to appeal a decision to exclude its material on an administrative appeal level and you are not entitled to a forum within the prison system.

The Arizona Dept. of Corrections Director is partially correct and partially wrong. Basically what the Director is telling MIM(Prisons) is that it does not have an entitlement to use the prison grievance system to appeal administrative decisions. The Inmate Grievance System is a forum within the Department of Corrections for prisoners to avail themselves of if they are dissatisfied and wish to appeal an administrative decision. This system is for use by prisoners, not publication companies. The Director is correct, in that there is no case laws that gives rise to a publisher's right to appeal on an administrative level. If MIM(Prisons) wishes to challenge the administrative decision of the Director to exclude its publications, the proper forum would be for MIM(Prisons) to file a §1983 Civil Rights action in Federal Court, or to provide the prisoner with the appropriate arguments, case laws and legal authorities and have the prisoner himself file the appeal by going through the Grievance System and then the Administrative Law Court.

However, MIM(Prisons) should notify the Director that it is fully aware of the fact that it does not have the right to appeal on an administrative appeal level. MIM(Prisons) should notify the Director that it is fully aware that it is not entitled to a forum within the prison system. MIM(Prisons) should notify the Director that it was only making an effort at an informal appeal or request for the Director to reconsider its decision. Because contrary to what the Director stated Procunier v. Martinez 416 U.S. 396 (1974) is still applicable in part. Just as prisoners have a first Amendment Right to receive and send mail, so does publication companies and publishers. When the complaining party is the prisoner, then Turner v. Safely 482 U.S. 78 (1987) is the applicable standard, however when a publisher complains that its first amendment right has been violated then Procunier v. Martinez and Thornburgh v. Abbott 490 U.S. 401 (1989) is the appropriate standard.

I say all that to say this, if the Director cannot show that the restrictions placed on mail received by a prisoner is rationally related to a legitimate penological interest, then the Director's reliance on Thornburgh v. Abbott and Turner v. Safely is unsupported and misplaced, then the correct standard would be Procunier v. Martinez. The United States Supreme Court clearly held in Thornburgh v. Abbott, that prison officials could reject incoming mail if it was deemed detrimental to security, but if no such penological interest is involved, the Director can not rely on this case nor Turner v. Safely to justify its restrictions on incoming mail. The question is now "Is there a legitimate penological interest to justify its restriction of the MIM(Prisons)'s Under Lock and Key??" The only way to force the Director to answer this question and identify the penological interests involved is to file a §1983 Civil Right Action against the director making him accountable to the Federal Courts. The prisoner has the additional alternative of the Prison Grievance System which we know is unreliable. At this moment my advice and suggestion to MIM(Prisons) is to challenge these censorships from a different angle. From my research dealing with a recent line of cases i.e. Beard v. Banks 126 S.C.T. 2572 (2006), Overton v. Bazzetta 539 U.S. 126 (2003) Ramirez v. Pugh 486 F. Supp. 2d 421 (M.D. Pa. 2007), Brittain v. Beard, 932 A.2d 324 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2007). The Courts seem to be interested in whether the regulation challenged promotes rehabilitation. Recently the term "Rehabilitation" has been used by prison officials to uphold prohibitive regulations and thus far have been successful. It would be a strategic legal maneuver to argue that such restrict regulations actually discourage rehabilitation, and expert testimony from a psychologist or sociologist would help to support this argument. This would be a more strategic angle to strike from.

MIM(Prisons) also was inquiring about cases concerning prisoner's rights to read newspapers as well as write for them and concerning inmate to inmate correspondence. Well I do not know right off top a specific case that involves prisoners rights to read newspapers as well as write for them, but there is a case that states "prisoners may not be punished for posting material on the internet with the assistance of a third party," I don't think it's what MIM(Prisons) is looking for though.

I do know as far as inmate to inmate correspondence is concerned, that the United States Supreme Court held in Shaw v. Murphy 532 U.S. 223, 121 S.Ct. 1475 (2001) that a prisoner who was working as a prison law clerk claimed his First Amendment rights were violated when he was disciplined for statements he made in a letter to another inmate in which he gave legal advice. He was disciplined for violating a prison policy prohibiting insolence and interference with due-process hearings. The court found that inmates do not possess a special First Amendment right to give legal assistance to other inmates. If they did possess such a right, it would mean enhancing the usual protection given to inmate to inmate correspondence. Thus his letter, regardless of its content, was subject to the same regulations as all other letters sent between inmates. At least as far as South Carolina is concerned inmate to inmate correspondence is only allowed if the inmates are immediate family members or if the inmates are involved in a joint legal action and the correspondence is related to the legal action only. SCDC Policy 10.08 Section 18.

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[Organizing] [Hoke Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 17]
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Fighting Back Works

I would like to comment on the story written by a Pennsylvania prisoner titled "Stand Up For Real Causes," printed in ULK 16. First let me say the situation you describe is all too common. Unfortunately, I'm currently a ward of the North Carolina department of corruptions and housed at Hoke Correctional Institution (aka Toke Correctional). My point is this, these cats here are the most passive dudes I ever jailed with. I'm from Jersey and unfortunately I spent 9 years and 9 months in prison in NJDOC and the shit I see go on here in NCDOC would not go down there. Like you, I've tried to get these so-called convicts to stand up for change and correct some of the unjust B.S. here at Hope Correctional.

On Feb 2, 2010 this unit changed custody levels from medium to minimum custody and to a medical institution with little modification. Unfortunately, I was one of the few prisoners who were allowed to witness the transition from medium to minimum custody, and I believed all the lies the administration told us. The first thing they told us was that we would be given transfers to other facilities which would grant us custody level promotions with the privileges of work release and home passes if we stayed and trained the new incoming prisoners on how to run the kitchen and occupied certain jobs until they could be filled. Well, lo and behold, we were tricked and suffer daily. Prior to the custody level change this facility held 260 prisoners and now they have us packed in like animals. Single cells were made to house two men in quarters designed for one. 24-men units are now 48-men units with only four shower heads and we are only allowed to shower from 3 pm to 9 pm.

I tried to get a few dudes to come together to file grievances on this issue but only three of us actually filed. The admin simply used an old memo by a former governor about a water drought which ended two years ago. We lost on that issue.

Since we changed over, the food service can't seem to order or cook enough food to feed the whole population. Every day the kitchen runs out of food. Every single day! Everyone complains and cries to each other but no one is willing to stand up for change. I went to the operation office and asked for 200 grievance forms and they gave me 300 without a question. I put myself out there once again and went to each block to hand out grievance forms about the food. When it was all said and done, only 8 grievances were filed and once again they counted on us not to unify.

There are many other examples I could express, but like I said, these prisoners are so passive, all they care about is being able to watch lame ass weekly TV shows. If they took the TVs in every day room these clowns would write the Governor.

What really gets me is I witnessed what unity can do in NJ state prison. I've seen tyrant Sergeants get reassigned. I've seen change come when we stand up and unite without violence.

Just a few months ago I wrote ULK about the pigs here waking us up every 30 minutes to assure we were alive, and not only did I write to MIM(Prisons), I also filed a grievance on this issue. My story was published in ULK July/Aug story titled "Sleep Deprivation to Control Oppressed. My efforts were not fruitless. As a result of my grievance and persistence this policy was changed and they no longer deprive us of sleep in GP or the lock up unit (H-Block). When this injustice occurred I advised everyone on the lockup block to join me to change this policy, but once again I was the only one who raised hell and even then the result was change, so I know it works.

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[Spanish] [California]
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Wyclef: Presidente de Hip-Hop por el imperialismo?

Cuanto tiempo más siguieran matando a nuestros profetas,
mientras nos mantenemos a un lado observando
algunos comentan que solo es parte de ello:
tenemos que satisfacer el libro.
¿No ayudarás a cantar
estos cuentos de libertad?
Por que todo lo que tuve:
cantos de alivio, ...
-Bob Marley, del Canto de alivio.

Wyclef Jean, el músico haitiano y una vez, miembro del grupo Hip-Hop, Los Fugees, ha anunciado su candidatura a la presidencia de Haití. El comenta que fue forzado hacerlo ahora por la destrucción causado por el temblor en Haití en enero, y clama que fue reclutado por la juventud haitiano, lo cual dice sobrepasa el 50% de la población en este país. Parece haber tomar prestado de la campana de Obama con su calificación principal de que él es "nuevo" es decir, "cambio".(1)

En ULK10(Bajo Cerradura y Llave), MIM(Prisiones) señaló como Hip-Hop se ha convertido a una cultura global por el imperialismo. Era el título "Hecho en América" que lo hizo tan popular alrededor del mundo, en donde la población del Tercer Mundo ha sido manipulado para ver su propia cultura como hacia atrás y fuera de modo. Así como los imperialistas han usado Hip-Hop para reclutar juventud de la nación oprimida en los Estados Unidos para matar a la juventud de la nación oprimida en el Tercer Mundo, ahora están usándolos para empujar un nuevo títere estadounidense en el pueblo de Haití.

Lo que Wyclef hace con el Hip-Hop es lo que la aristocracia de identidad ha hecho con su marca de liberación de mujeres en el Medio Oriente. Pese ser un hombre de cuarenta años, quien gana $18 millones al año, el alega que de alguna manera representar a los intereses de la juventud haitiano a causa de su puesto en Hip-Hop.(2) Que seamos claros, un niño desde los barriados de Cité Soléil tiene intereses muy diferentes a los de Wyclef Jean, así como una mujer muslímica en las montañas de Afganistán tiene intereses muy diferentes a los de Paris Hilton.

La esperanza de los imperialistas es que la cultura de Hip-Hop sirva para endulzar este nuevo régimen de títeres en los ojos de la juventud Haitiano. En un país donde los niños se alimentan de pasteles de lodo para mantener sus estómagos llenos y menos del 3% de la población votó en elecciones títeres el año pasado por que el partido popular Lávalas fue prohibido de participar, unas cuantas canciones dulces de Wyclef probablemente no serán suficiente.(3)

Aunque no se les fuerza a comer pasteles de lodo para combatir dolores de hambre, mucha juventud de la nación oprimida en los Estados Unidos fueron atraídos por la campana de Barak Obama. Hay una relación directa entre el primer presidente negro de los EEUU y Wyclef, quien desempeñó para una audiencia en su mayoría negra a la fiesta de la inauguración del Presidente dado por el canal de televisión de entretenimiento Negro (BET) para Obama, donde se ha reportado que serenó a Colin Powell con la "Canción de alivio" por el músico rebelde jamaiquino Bob Marley. Colin Powell precedió Obama en dar un rostro más negro en la Casa Blanca. Sirviendo como Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, donde se le recordara más por haber mentido sobre las así llamadas "armas de destrucción masiva" para justificar la invasión de Iraq, la cual continua hasta hoy día. Es mal que Wyclef usara las palabras de Marley para dar serenata a tal asesino.

Bob Marley era el punto de marca en atentos de asesinato por milicias de mano derecha colectados con el régimen títere del U.S. tratando de atener poder en Jamaica en 1976. Al último, se parece que fue asesinado por la CIA sí misma(4). Como Haití, Jamaica es una isla en el Caribe habitado por los que eran esclavos africanos dominados por el imperialismo de los EEUU. Compare a Marley al músico Haitiano Wyclef Jean (el cual le gusta cubrir canciones de Bob Marley) el cual salió en MTV y apoyó milicias de la derecha que pelearon para forzar la salida del presidente Haitiano Jean-Bertrand Aristide, matando a muchos civiles que les estorban. Más pistas al porque diría cosas semejantes incluyen reportes que el tío de Jean ha sido embajador del régimen títere US en Haití, y que el tío pública un periódico que apoya los ataques sangrientos en la gente de Haití cometidos por las milicias.(5)

Siguiendo el secuestro del Presidente Aristide por los Estados Unidos en 2004, la caridad de Wyclef Jean fue reportada como el primer grupo permitido entrar en el barriado central de Cite Soliel, apoyado por millones de dólares de la agencia estadounidense de desarrollo internacional (USAID). La misma USAID que el presidente estadounidense Bill Clinton ha usado para socavar la soberanía de Haití por años. Jean forzó a los haitianos a tumbarse frente a la ocupación mientras las tropas de la O.N.U. apoyadas por las milicias de los EEUU y Haití asesinaban a la resistencia en los barriados de Haití (6).

Los imperialistas secuestran, encarcelan, y matan a los líderes de la gente y después usan sus imágenes para descaminar. ¿Qué desesperados se han convertido que sus títeres ahora vienen envueltos en las imágenes los que han atacados y asesinados? Es posible que estén desesperados, pero son inteligentes.

Originalmente la voz de la juventud de la nación opresa, Hip-Hop tiene una fuerte papel doble jugar a través del mundo hoy. Pero más y más, si viene de los Estados Unidos — compra con precaución. En las décadas recientes, la riqueza aumentada que América proporciona a hombres negros ha venido desproporcionadamente por la industria del entretenimiento. Hombres negros regularmente aparecen en cubiertos de revista, con fotos de sus cuerpos retocados, vendiendo productos de belleza, un papel considerado como el dominio de la mujer blanca. Esto se ha desarrollado al fenómeno reciente del hombre negro, anteriormente la víctima principal del sexo privilegiado de la mujer blanca, haciéndose lo que llamamos el privilegio de género. En vez de atraer a los opreso de género como mujeres, Hip-Hop atrae a la juventud del género opreso. El Departamento de Estado ha elaborado a partir de esta, una vez justo, rebelión a menudo El departamento del estado ha sacado de esta una vez justa rebelión, a menudo personificado en Hip-Hop, a construir el concepto de una cultura de juventud global.

Hip-Hop es una frente mayor en la imposición moderna de la cultura imperialista en la cultura de los opresos. Mientras esto no impide que Hip-Hop juegue una papel progresiva, los que rechazan la cultura del occidente resistirán la influencia corrupta del imperio con mucha más facilidad. Con una fuerte historia de resistencia a la intervención imperialista, estamos confidentes que la gente de Haití, le va a tratarle con frialdad con este intento de instalar un títere vestido en la ropa de Hip-Hop.

Notas:
(1) August 5, 2010 Interview on CNN.
(2) Katz, Jonathan. AP Interview: Wyclef Jean's vision for Haiti. 6 August 2010.
(3)Hinton, Charlie. Wyclef Jean for president of Haiti? Look beyond the hype. SF BayView. August 2, 2010.
(4) Potash, John. The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders. Progressive Left Press, 2008. p.183.
(5)It's not All about That!: Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti by the Haiti Information Project
(6)Kevin Pina interviews the most-wanted man in Haiti: Amaral Duclona by the Haiti Information Project

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