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[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]

Our Unity vs. their Crisis

In today's prison society, prisoners are losing constitutional rights at an alarming rate under either the security rationale or the rehabilitation rationale. Yes, our United States Supreme Court has effectively shut the constitutional door on prisoners and individuals charged with crimes. A fair trial is now impossible as any misconduct by the prosecutor is considered "harmless error." Additionally, many individuals plead to charges they have not committed due to judicial extortion; "Take this five years or we're going to give you 99." It's all sad, but reflects the state of our society and country as a whole, and the corrosion of our criminal justice system.

In the newsletter, I read that many prisoner have begun food strikes; one wanting to commit suicide, the others want to sign a petition. The sad and unfortunate truth is, none of these work. Yet there is a way to be heard that is peaceful and has a dramatic effect.

Prisons are run by prisoners from laundry, food service, landscaping to maintenance of the institution. Additionally, many prisoners work in industries that manufacture anything from stop signs, chemicals to office furniture for the state and the prisons themselves. What if we were to just stop? Yes, stop supporting the imperial system that oppresses us at every level? Incarceration costs would rise exponentially overnight. Correctional officers would have to be hired to pick up where the inmate population left off. The cost of incarceration would be so great that states could not afford to incarcerate people en masse as they do today. Until the prison population itself makes a stand against the draconian justice and prison system, they will continue to lose the most basic and fundamental rights inherent to man.

My brothers and sisters, it is us, the prison population that runs and perpetuates the injustice of the justice and prison system and it is we who can peacefully break its back. The courts have failed us; the politicians have failed us; our country has failed us. Must we continue to fail ourselves? Must we continue to be dehumanized, degraded, mistreated and tortured so others may prosper and/or be entertained? It's time to see this realistically and stand together peacefully, to battle an unjust system as one. Martin Luther King once said, "The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he [or she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he [or she] stands in times of challenge and controversy." Are you a person of character who can stand as one or individually in the face of adversity? If we can't stand together as one then no matter what we do, we lose. Give some thought to this. All that's necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We couldn't agree with this comrade more that there is no real justice to be had by the class system of imperialism. We don't expect petitions to solve the heart of the problem, though we may achieve partial victories. And we've already cautioned comrades that hunger strikes without outside pressure and support tend to be ultra-left tactics that can lead to sacrificing of lives.

But as we explain elsewhere, petition campaigns are two-pronged. One prong is to improve our ability to organize by fighting winnable battles, and the other prong is agitational to expose the state's repressiveness.

The facts behind this comrade's proposal are solid, as we discussed in ULK #8 on prison labor. And the argument is particularly strong as most state's are facing extreme financial shortages. They cannot afford to run their prisons if the labor aristocracy must do all the work.

However, in most cases, the level of unity does not exist to carry out this tactic effectively. Another comrade who proposed this same strategy simultaneously complains about this reality. Again, this is where more agitational work comes into play, like petitions, lawsuits and even small fund drives that some comrades have led. These things establish unity among people on the issues. With that unity, we can begin to talk about mass actions, such as boycotts.

[Spanish] [Massachusetts]

Ra'd sigue vivo en nuestra lucha

por MIM(Prisiones), Marzo 2010, publicado en ULK #13

Gracias a todo quien continua pasarnos información sobre lo que pasó a Amare "Ra'd" Selton, y por sus pésames. Aunque es difícil poder hablar conclusivamente sobre lo que sucedió el septiembre pasado cuando murió en Attica, se ha hecho más evidente que el DOCS era últimamente detrás lo que sucedió. Como nuestra camarada explica abajo, hay una lucha constante para muchos entre sobreviviendo para luchar y manteniéndose sano bajo la represión extrema. Para más sobre este tópico lea el articulo Prisionero empujado al suicidio.

Para aprender del sacrificio de Ra'd es estudiar la estrategia, y como ser efectivo en organizar para la justicia. Como materialistas, reconocemos también que las batallas ganables no serán posibles todo el tiempo .A veces no es una cuestión de si podemos ganar, sino solo cuestión de si luchamos o no antes de perder. En tal caso, nuestras estrategias debe en hacer que estas pérdidas servir como ejemplos para inspirar y exponer la injusticia. Ra'd continua inspirar a los que le conocían.

Un preso en Nueva York escribe:

Escribo para informarles y a mis camaradas de la muerte de mi mentor Amare "Ra'd" Selton. Que Alá bendiga su alma....Ra'd era mi pana, alguien que otro que le falta todo siempre admiró. Ra'd abrazaba a cualquiera que luchaba. Ra'd levantaba el ánimo a cualquiera que estaba triste. Si Ra'd observaba otro preso siendo asaltado por un guardia prestaría su ayuda como podía. Ra'd era un buen hermano, que Alá esté con él. Descanse en paz, ¡mantenga tu cabeza erguida Ra'd!

Otro preso en Nueva York escribe:

Estuve en el SHU con Amare en 2003. Es un verdadero rebelde con una causa. Que descanse en poder! El nunca fue el tipo suicida, era un guerrero, un luchador de libertad que tenía 25 años hasta la vida, así que buscaba la libertad por cualquiera manera, aun la muerte.

Tenía horas para hablar con y siempre expresaba su teoría Musulmana y su puesta contra el imperialismo y supremacía blanca, que coincidió con su muerte, lo cual estoy seguro fue a las manos de los puercos. Era una amenaza, por eso lo tenían aislado en SHU por periodos de tiempo largos.

Me conecté con él inmediatamente al conocerle porque tenía una pasión por resistir la opresión y la brutalidad a las manos de las guardias. Por eso, saber que fue matado por estos puercos me rompe el corazón. Estos puercos evitan el castigo como lo evitan en las calles después de matar un hermano/a negro/a o moreno/a que no estaba armado/a: se convierte en homicidio justificado. Esto no puede continuar suceder sin algún tipo de resistencia organizada. No se puede hablar de las resoluciones amigables ni pacíficos con esos puercos sádicos porque no lo respetan. Para ser honesto, no quiero morir en la cárcel. Soy más valioso en las calles, organizando, pero hay un límite a lo que puedo aguantar en este infierno. No soy reaccionario, pero ¡tenemos que demandar nuestro respeto de cualquier manera!

[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 14]

Fight the system: boycott work

Once again I find myself pushed in a corner with the swine in Huntingdon, PA. I've tried to get prisoners together and put in paperwork against these jokers, but many have no intent to do so. They'd rather bitch and complain and allow these chumps to keep doing what they do. But don't let another convict do or say something, or you might get stabbed or rocked with a lock in a sock. It's beyond my understanding and to be honest with you it makes me fucking sick! The prisoners would rather worry about the latest BET video or the stats of last night's NBA game. All the while, the administration is planning to take something else from us or plan on adding another provision to an already fucked up policy. What gives?

As I have said before, our cells are think tanks. We put our focus on shit that doesn't really mean shit. I'm not going to say take a guard hostage or stab a nurse. I'm saying to use our minds, stand as one, and do something rather than just talk about it. To really get their attention, hurt their pockets. Don't go to work. Do you realize that if everyone stopped working in the kitchen, they would have to figure out why, but more importantly they still must feed us? This would throw a red flag in the air. Stop going to work in the CI shops. Now, no clothes or soap is being made for the state.

I've given these ideas to many to think about. Then the new excuse is "I need my job cuz I don't have anyone sending me money." Ok, I understand. However, just say we as a whole stopped working, don't you think I wouldn't help a few soldiers out with enough to live off? I don't have shit but myself. Yet I have enough to get by and then some. I understand everyone's situation is very different, but in the same token, we are in the same situation, are we not?

All in all I'm plain ol' sick and tired of this chicken shit. Stand for what's yours. Would you allow someone to take something off you in the free world? So why allow it here? Everyone needs to get their shit together and realize this ain't a game. Sometimes I wish I was living in the era of the 60s and 70s. Back then convicts fought long and hard for theirs.

For those who are fighting strong, I'm with you! Even when I finally leave, I'll still help those inside.

[National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 14]

Solidarity in the fight against Arizona immigration law

First and foremost, I would like to salute all the comrades around the world that stood up and protested against Arizona's Jim Crow laws of segregation. Amerikkka's up to its dirty tricks once again. All was fine when they rode the backs of Latinos for cheap labor, but now that individuals are using their minds and starting their own small businesses, they (the U.S. or Arizona) want them out because they can't use (exploit) them any more. Never turn your back on a snake! Amerika was built upon corporate capitalism. If Latinos are all illegal then Christopher Columbus was illegal when he "came" to Amerikkka.

The Columbus anniversary is a celebration of mass murder, slavery, and conquest. He used religion and guns (after he was welcomed as a guest) against the Blacks and the indigenous in the Americas, mistakenly called Indians. All this was done in the name of white supremacy based upon the concept of "chosen people" and manifest destiny, and was designed to further cultural genocide and maintain mental slavery. Arizona is trying to put this back in full swing. They are capitalist parasites; blood-thirsty opportunists. People who would sell their own grandmother's burial plot. Amerikkka is a region of political injustice and great suffering. Columbus didn't discover shit, he came to America and exploited America with his illegal ass!!!

I'm a powerful Black conscious man, so I yell out Black Power and I fully support my Latino comrades in struggle and solidarity. And we demand justice or there will be no peace!

In struggle

This article referenced in:
[Rhymes/Poetry] [California] [ULK Issue 15]

The Animal Factory

The gaping jaw of the
prison industrial complex beckons,
grinding away basic human decency

Men forced into a blast furnace
of warehoused existence,
the ore of humanity smelted away
until only the dross remains
...all that defines one as human...obliterated.

...the remains of a once caring human.

Treated worse than rabid animals,
for are they not graced with a peaceful
Animals are not stripped, forced to
parade around naked, mocked and
humiliated, flashlights beamed into
every orifice.

Animals are not caged in a
claustrophobic atmosphere, living
amidst a breeding ground of hatred
and rage.
Animals are not forced to survive
lives of mind-numbing tedium,
interspersed with moments of
chaotic violence.

Corrections & rehabilitation?
Corruption & retribution...
... closer to truth
human-form enters one end,
animal-form expelled out the other.

Take heed society, for these animals,
these human animals, shall one day
walk amongst you.
They are your creation,
created by societal apathy and
political fear-mongering,
created at your factories...

...the animal factories

[Rhymes/Poetry] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 14]

Their goal is menticide

They thought that this would break me
They tried to tear me down
Confinement made my mind get stronger
You should hear me now
I wasn't hip to all their tricks
They had me stuck before
I had to grow but now I know just what it's hitting for
Their mission is divide and conquer
Their goal is menticide
We must protect our minds from them
Don't let them get inside
Cus if they do
then they'll use you to do the dirty work
Unconsciously they'll make you be the bringer of the hurt
Unity's ingredients are power, strength and love
And if we come together we will surely rise above
Divided, we are midgets with no hope to ever rise
But together we're a giant who can choke them till they die.

[National Oppression] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 14]

No access to law library in High Desert

I'm writing in regards to a letter I had read asking for us prisoners to provide art in order to convey the message of injustice in prison. As you know in prison there are many unjust actions that occur on a daily basis so there is a lot to draw on. However, one of the many recent hardships brought upon us Mexicans (specifically northerners) is a mass validation sweep in High Desert State Prison on 8/4/09. 58 northern hispanics were taken off the mainline without due process and stuck in Ad-Seg (Z unit). Now we are all diligently striving to appeal these false fabricated lies on our people but administration has found a new way to hinder our progress by preventing us ample time to go to the law library, making it difficult to get Title 15s, make copies, etc.

[Control Units] [Northeast Correctional Complex] [Tennessee]

Extra time on lockdown during election years in Tennessee

I am a prisoner at Northeast Correctional Center. For 17 months I have been on max (solitary confinement) for assault on a prisoner with major injuries. It was a gang fight, and a bunch of us ended up on max. With an assault charge they are supposed to hold us for six months to a year. But here in the rebel state of Tennessee they got what they call election day, the day they sign a new government into the state office. That takes up to a yeer, the year when the government changes, the wardens around the state of Prisons of Tennessee change also, which also takes up to a year. Being that election day is around the corner, the warden here where I am housed has decided to hold us prisoners until the government has changed and the wardens have changed. We will be housed here until 2012 with a whole bunch of time here on max and a bunch of problems, from racial slurs to profanity, these COs try to keep us prisoners out the box, and you have some prisoners who can't control their tempers and quickly lash out, which leads to more write ups and more time in max. I feel that this is wrong.

[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Texas]

Race and Abuse in Texas Prisons

The Texas prison system is fucked up. We were the last state to get telephones in the units. Our governor called phone privileges pacifiers. We inmates have so few privileges it is sad. I believe we are the only state that doesn't pay the inmates to work. we get "good time credits" but the good time credits don't count if you are an aggravated offender or if your custody level is high.

Texas definitely endorses slavery. If you refuse to work they take away what few privileges we do have. I have now been in this cell for three weeks without drinking water. If I want any water I have to get it out of the toilet like I am a dog. Grievances don't work here because when we get them back they all have the same answer on them "officer denies allegation no further action will be taken at this time."

Censorship is crazy here. They ban books by Mao, Lenin and Stalin. But we can get books on genocide, ethnic cleansing, Adolph Hitler, and the K. I have actually seen a book called The Hitler We Loved and Why by Christof Friedrich and Eric Thompson. Friedrich is a Nazi sympathizer and should have been imprisoned for his active role in genocide. I am including an article from the Austin American Statesman on the redundancy of the censorship. The article is titled Variety of Books Banned in Prison.

Medical conditions here are no better. Back in January I was being treated for H. Pylori virus. It is a virus that lives in well water. The system has prevented us from filing a class action lawsuit on it. They claim that we could have got it in the free world. While I was being treated for H. Pylori half the unit along with myself came down with the Novo Virus. The officials said that we got it from the food. What I can't understand is why only half the unit came down with it and the other half didn't.

Now I want to take a little time talking about racism. It is not just corporate white colonizers that are the bigots. But it goes on in every nationality. We need to set aside skin color and look at the bigger pictures. Communist leadership and rule was formed to go against imperialism and capitalist bullshit. It is not a movement against whites. From what I understand, Marx, Lenin and Stalin were all white. There are too many people of the Latino and Black race who are caught up in the imperialist and capitalist movement for it to be only the whites to be put down like they are in some of the articles. When it comes to the U$ imperialists the only color that I can see is green. So stop hating on skin color. The only way we can make a change is to put race aside. Remember, we are all red inside.

MIM(Prisons) responds: While we share this reader's call for unity among all people fighting for communism, we do not agree that whites should be equated with other nationalities within U$ borders. The reality of Amerika is national oppression, and whites enjoy the role of oppressor. Historically, being Amerikan has been defined by pseudo-scientific ideas of race. As other groups become more integrated into the amerikan nation, the idea of race could become less significant, but Amerika would still be the oppressor nation.

We don't believe in race, so we would never say that whites can't join the revolutionary struggle, but when we talk about whites as a group we have to recognize their role as an oppressor nation. Whites do have to work against their national interests to join the revolutionary struggle. Similarly, all free U$ citizens have class/economic interests that they must work against to join the revolutionary struggle.

[Spanish] [California]

Inmigrantes, migrantes y ciudadanos estadunidenses

Los Estados Unidos es el crisol de culturas del mundo. Un poco de todo y de todos habita esta tierra. Mejor dicho, es la tierra de la oportunidad ¿pues qué más se puede esperar, no? De norte a sur, de este a oeste, gente está haciendo hasta lo imposible para llegar hasta esta tierra de lamento. Por supuesto que es la tierra de las oportunidades, claro, de la oportunidad de ser golpeado, derrotado, pisoteado y escupido por todos lados.

Mientras la gente del Tercer Mundo o de los países empobrecidos están bajo la falsa percepción de que este es el lugar idóneo para estar y progresar, haciendo cualquier intento necesario para llegar hasta aquí; la agencia militar del ICE se sienta desde arriba de la cerca de púas y espera el momento oportuno para brincar sobre sus espaldas y, o bien, permitir la explotación de su trabajo o enviarlos de regreso a su desastroso ambiente del cuál están huyendo.

Siendo un individuo nacido aquí en estos Estados (Des)unidos, viviendo entre los mismos imperialistas, mi opinión sobre el tema de la situación fronteriza o del encarcelamiento de otros camaradas de otros países—que desean mejorar su situación por tomar un poco de lo que estas serpientes imperialistas han tomado de ellos—puede ser tomada como la de una persona que está mirando desde afuera.

Pero confíe y créame, que soy un hermano mirando desde adentro. No soy ciudadano U$, tampoco soy amerikkkano. Mi padre es descendiente Samoano y mi madre es descendiente de África, punto. Soy inmigrante junto con todos los individuos en este país desunido que no es indígena. Colón y su escuadrón llegaron de Europa huyendo de malas condiciones y buscando una oportunidad para mejorar sus condiciones y escaparse del hambre capitalista de la reina. ¿Dónde estaba el ICE en ese entonces? En el mismo barco del Mayflower que trajo el primer cargamento de esclavos africanos, probablemente él era el hijo de puta que manejaba la nave. Cuando uno piensa sobre la fundación de los E.U. como un país desunido se debe pensar en los inmigrantes y salta-fronteras de esta tierra. Todo desde los ingleses, los alemanes, los franceses, hasta los holandeses y irlandeses fueron los que llegaron a esta tierra infringiendo a los nativos.

La única diferencia entre ellos y muchos inmigrantes del tercer mundo es que éstos no pueden permanecer mucho tiempo bajo el sol sin quemarse, ni tienen ojos rasgados ni pelo crespo ni saben lo mínimo acerca del comunismo. Ellos son blancos. Ellos nada más buscan el crecimiento y desarrollo imperialista de su raza blanca, y la destrucción de la gente del tercer mundo y el espíritu comunista. Ahora, no estoy jugando la carta racista aquí, así que no lo tomen como si, pero para poder tratar efectivamente este problema necesitamos dirigir el hecho subrayado de la ideología imperialista blanca y el concepto de supremacía blanca. Desde el principio de la expansión colonial, el hombre blanco a estado delegando una campaña en la cual él es el hombre superior del planeta tierra y todos deben arrodillarse frente a él y su semilla, alabándolos siempre. En su campaña le ha declarado guerra a todas las naciones que niegan reconocer esta supuesta superioridad y intentan no sólo suprimir estas naciones sino suspenderlos de su existencia (i.e. las primeras naciones de Norte América). Cuando los esclavos africanos empezaron a escaparse del rebaño de sus dueños y comenzaron a causarle tremendo dolor a la señorita libertada, los europeos pronto respondieron con la KKK, que al cambio intentaron de desanimar a los africanos a que huyeran por medio de ataques terroristas. No es muy diferente hoy en día excepto que dejan sus batas blancas y suásticas en casa. Cuando piensas en la agencia de ICE y a lo que se dedican, lo único que les falta son las batas blancas.

Permiten que la gente de países pobres entren al país saltando fronteras, les permiten que trabajen en los campos de algodón, o bodegas, y después en cuanto de pronto ya no necesitan de la mano de obra barata los mandan a un nuevo “campo de control social” o los mandan fuera de los Estados Unidos y de regreso a su país asolado por la guerra imperialista.

O se ama o se odia, o se acepta o se niega. La única manera de eliminar el problema fronterizo es acabar con el imperialismo y su ideología que lo mantiene vivo.

MIM(prisiones) responde: Mientras sobre todo correcto, este camarada falla en distinguir entre la ciudadanía de un país y la nacionalidad. Estamos de acuerdo que, en este país, para estar al lado del opresor uno debe renunciar cualquier la pertenencia a la nación yanqui. También estamos de acuerdo que hay varias nacionales en Norte américa y muchos de ellos sufren de la opresión de las nacionales amerikanas y kanadiences. Esto es señalado en el rechazo de derechos propietarios, aprisionamiento masivo, guerra química por medio de narcóticos, el alto paso de muertos por enfermedades prevenibles y terrorismo policiaco de la policía estatal.

No obstante, siendo un miembro de una nación opresiva en Norte américa no significa que no seas ciudadano. La diferencia siendo en que, como ciudadano puedes trabajar legalmente y ganar mala paga, a pesar que ya es bastante más difícil conseguir el puesto para uno que para los blancos. Aunque migrantes a veces pueden ganar mucho más que otros en el tercer mundo, ellos enfrentan explotación aquí en los e$tado$ unido$, y otras formas de opresión que muchos ciudadanos legales no necesitan temer.

Estamos de acuerdo con la idea de que este compañero no es un ciudadanos de E.E.U.U. debido a la posición de prisionero del Estado.
Miramos hacia prisioneros y migrantes adentro del país como fuerzas revolucionarias potentes porque no disfrutan de plenos derechos de la ciudadanía. Aparte del hecho de que más y más presos son inmigrantes, esta es la conexión que hace que el tema de los migrantes sea muy importante para los presos de este país. La lucha de liberación nacional será dirigida por los que entre los oprimidos que tienen un gran interés frente al imperialismo.

La analogía entre I.C.E. y la KKK está sumamente a la medida, aunque diríamos que "los Minute Men" son el comparativo más directo. Pero ICE se diferencia en que sus agentes son muy bien pagados por lo que hacen, no solamente voluntarios de su nación. Los dos juegan una parte en el manejo de las naciones de esta gente explotada para el beneficio de su nación.

Una nota final sobre las definiciones, una pregunta que ha surgido en la discusión de este tema es cómo se utilizan los términos "migrante", "inmigrante" y "no ciudadano". Como se mencionó anteriormente, los no ciudadanos son personas sin derechos de ciudadanía legal, y en los prisioneros de E.E.U.U, mientras que por lo general legalmente a los ciudadanos, se le podría incluir en este grupo o al menos considerados ciudadanos parciales. Los inmigrantes y los migrantes no son ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, un inmigrante es alguien que se muda a otro lugar para vivir. Los migrantes son personas que viajan de un lugar a otro con el fin de encontrar trabajo. Puede que no tengan un hogar, pero a menudo no tienen una familia que envían dinero y prefiere estar con ella.