The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Texas]
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Abuse and Neglect in Texas Prisons

I have been imprisoned for 12 years. Believe me when I tell you that Texas prisons are not paying prisoners for the hard labor, and this is just one of the many problems they have. Two of the biggest problems are poor medical care and lack of control over the correctional officers.

Let's start with medical. Most of the staff are poorly trained, only here for the pay and benefits. I have personally witnessed RNs and doctors do things that would start a malpractice law suit in the free world. I have seen prisoners have heart attacks, and it took medical 10 minutes to get to them. All the while staff stood over them doing nothing. A co-workers in the kitchen had a hernia, medical department scheduled him for surgery 9 months down the road when he was discharging his sentence in 6 months. He walked around constantly in pain and couldn't sleep. One of my cellies was a seizure patient. Because the medical department could not get his medicine balanced he had more seizures than normal. Doctors prescribe the wrong medicine and prisoners get really sick. I could go on and on.

Because there's no outside oversight these types of things keep happening. Now to the correctional officers. They have the mentality that the uniform gives them the right to talk, treat and do as they will to prisoners. they do just that on a daily basis at all the units in the system. Some will cuss at you, even when you give them respect, because they know nothing is going to happen to them. On two different units I've seen prisoners get gassed, handcuffed, beat until they are bleeding and can't walk, all over a piece of contraband, or because the CO didn't like how the prisoner responded to a question.

Female COs tell supervisors a prisoner said or threw something at them, just so they could see the prisoner eat up, and then stand there laughing. I saw a prisoner in handcuffs, when he initially went to seg he was fine, when they brought him back out 10 minutes later he was bleeding from the nose, eyes were bruised, and limping. Found out later that night that he was beat with a walkie-talkie and pushed down the stairs. Medical was told he fell. This came from a CO. Two weeks later that supervisor was fired.

You constantly see bogus disciplinary cases because an officer doesn't like a prisoner, and wants to see them receive some type of punishment. Most of the time it's recreation, cell or commissary restriction, loss of good time, and loss of class depending on the case. These bogus cases create a lot of problems especially when it's time for a parole review.

There has got to be something that can be done to bring some type of constant oversight from the outside to make sure the state is held responsible for what the staff does. Until this happens the prisoners are basically sitting ducks for abuse. We were sentenced by a judge to do time, and to rehabilitate ourselves, so we can return to society as a free and productive citizen. That can't be done when you have out-of-control correctional officers constantly causing you trouble.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer that the prisons only pay lip service to rehabilitation while actually making it very difficult for people to return to society as productive members. The criminal injustice system is not about rehabilitation or even punishment, it is a system of social control.

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 10]
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Save Hip Hop

I just finished reading the latest Under Lock & Key issue 8 and, comparatively speaking, the articles and overall issues seem much more focused than the days when ULK was only a sub-section of MIM Notes. As to the topic of ULK 8 [prison labor and economics], I find myself agreeing with the line drawn by the ministry. In addition, though I can never stress enough that the progress to be made among the prison population, especially among the prison population (whether in regards to labor, health services, or any other abuse of inalienable rights) lies in the political unity and education of the existent Lumpen-Proletariat Organizations within the prison system itself.

As a 32 year old, young Hispanic male, having been raised in the inner city and having spent nearly half my life in the system, hip hop has been a reflection of my (and mines) existence for as long as I can remember. It has been blasted by everyone, from the working moms and pops to the bourgeois conglomerates; from the so-called community leaders to the bona fide revolutionaries of old. It was an expression of struggle and strength, and a message of perseverance and preparation. It was a passing fad that was eventually manacled, manipulated, and monopolized by the evil designs of capitalists who not only see the promise of a dollar, but the perpetuation of our demise.

There is too much to be said of hip hop (its history, present state, and future) than can justly be compiled into one issue of ULK alone. For far too long it has, in my opinion, been neglected by the revolutionary community as a whole. As Frantz Fanon said in regard to the lumpen, the same applies to the culture of hip hop and rap - the revolution neglected, the reactionaries didn't, and so where hip hop should (and could!) be serving as a spearhead of revolutionary spirit, it has been fashioned into one of the greatest bulwarks against revolutionary progress.

Hip hop is an art, it is music, and just as any art it is most relevant to the mind. It is a culture, and as such it is even more directly relevant to the minds of those who embrace it, not just as a form of entertainment, but as a painting of their own reality - the reality of the ghettos and slums the world over. Hip hop is international, and in most Third World countries it can still be experienced in its most free and pure form. And hip hop is a weapon, a weapon of the people, that has been turned against us.

From the days of "get free or die trying" to today's mantra of "get rich or die trying," it is apparent how deep the federal government has affected the core of our production. The government's counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO), under any other name, is still very much involved in countering the produce of intelligence harvested by the oppressed. The east coast - west coast drama that brought the murders of Biggie and Pac (not to mention the nameless bodies laid down in-between) did not occur by chance. The rise of the South and overall materialism and sexploitation permeated throughout today's industry did not occur because it was the "natural" course of hip hop. These things manifested because before hip hop was ever projected to the masses through the mainstream, it was mass inflected through its very own blood stream.

Nas - hip hop's Street Disciple - said hip hop is dead. The ALKN says that the rising of the dead is the spiritual awakening of those who have been sleeping in the graveyard of ignorance. Therefore hip hop can be resurrected and it must be. As the fans continue to bob their heads in a trance and the artists continue to be used, as the record labels continue to sell out the vibe, the revolution and hip hop must re-unite, or die trying!

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[Prison Labor] [Colorado]
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Poor and Tired in Colorado

I got your latest ULK #8. I think they couldn't find a reason to deny this issue. In this issue you had a section on prison labor. Colorado pays 60 cents per day. After taking DOC's 20% cut we get 48 cents for slaving for Governor Ritter all day. This is just another way the state of Colorado keeps us poor and unable to call our families. Poor and tired the Governor Ritter way in Colorado.

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[Organizing] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 9]
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Inspired to join the struggle in Maryland

I just received my first issue of Under Lock & Key (May 2009, #8). Wow, I'm sold. I'd love to be a comrade in the struggle.

The article titled "Remove the Profit Motive" by the comrade out in California has me sending my money out to my family. I'm becoming indigent as my first step to join the movement. Now I see why they keep building prisons. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I'm going to spread the word here and educate as many as I can while you educate me. This imperialist country spends billions on lost causes while millions are starving and homeless. Please send me literature that will help me to better understand the movement. I'm ready to do whatever I can for the revolution.

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[Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Texas]
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Build Unity and Non-violence

This is your fellow brother in the struggle for equal rights. I am sitting here reading your latest ULK 8 about state by state labor data, and I would love to commend you for another exceptional publication. I never knew so much kickbacks, and in house cooperation was going on from state to state. I completely agree with all the brothers who help to inform unenlightened brothers such as myself. I try desperately to inform a lot of the other brothers. The harsh treatment and neglectful respect for one another continues to tear unity apart.

It has gotten so bad that I hardly stand by a fellow brother because all they do is talk about sex, drugs, violence and gang banging. I left that lifestyle alone almost 3 years ago and I try to keep myself away from that environment. I try to talk and show your publication off but not too many want to read it.

I took a stand of non-violent protest against all injustice becaues what you say is right. I believe violence will not solve these problems that are going on. Here on my plantation in Texas, within the last 8 months these officers killed 2 prisoners and fractured, or cracked one African-American frontal lobe of his skull. I was threatened by a Sgt saying "your grievances don't work so stay out of the way."

I have been denied my religious service of Islam multiple times and there is no help in sight by the administrators. There are times when I come in from my work detail "field squad" manual labor and they have pork for chow. I am a muslim and can't eat pork so they give us 2 slices of cheese instead. I was forced to go out and engage in manual hard labor in my boots which were hanging on by a thread. Both of my boots were torn off and barely together when a C/O and Sgt said it will be a case if I don't turn out for work. I was forced to endure twigs and other stuff puncturing the bottom of my feet to comply with regulations.

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[Political Repression] [California]
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Prisoner Punished for Seeing Things Greater than Himself

... All of [my grievances against censorship are] of course used against me. In my annual review report it was written that, "He does display some twisted thinking with moral reasoning... When the topic goes too close to personal issues, [XYZ]'s defense is to move the discussion to grander political issues." The institution that I'm in would have me believe that my being incarcerated had all to do with poor decision making skills. How I wish it was that simple.

When I look at my community I can see that everyone I knew had a family member who was doing or did time. Going away to do time was deemed normal, and I don't say that to minimize my own actions. You do better once you know better, but yet here I am attempting to learn better but they're refusing me that knowledge. Why? Because knowledge turns into wisdom and wisdom is authority.

Well, here I am comrades, inside of one re-education camp of America. A place where they attempt to teach me that my community is fine, the system works, it's me that has the problem. They want me to get out and worry about myself. Get all the nice things that money can buy, so that I can sit in luxury and watch my people suffer inside of poverty. They can keep attempting, because I will not reform. I will fight the battles in my reach to continue our progression, and that will be until victory or death.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good example of how bourgeois society pushes individualism on people, and how psychology serves that purpose. The so-called "corrections" profession in amerika would have you believe that they are doing the objective work of punishing those who did "bad." But to those in the system, it is much clearer what is really going on. And when people start to develop consciousness of how the system works, the system does all it can to keep people thinking in narrow individualist terms.

Individualism serves the capitalist system where few prosper and many suffer. The system is threatened when the oppressed masses act as a united majority instead of as individuals going up against powerful institutions all alone. The individualist world outlook has repercussions that go much further than the u$ injustice system. It is crucial for all aspects of maintaining a system where a few nations benefit off of the many. That is why we struggle for a socialist society, where re-education camps actually encourage people to look at the systematic level and see things from a perspective much greater than themselves. Only by building on the accumulated knowledge of our whole society can we progress to a more peaceful, harmonious world.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 9]
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Mao's Combat Liberalism Very Relevent in PA Prisons

I am writing to let you know that I received Under Lock & Key November 2008 (#5). It seems like the prison might have kept the newspaper for a while like they always do. Anyway, it is very enlightening and helpful. The "Combat Liberalism" essay by Mao Zedong really did touch home because here at SCI Camp Hill SMU there are a lot of prisoners that claim to be political prisoners and against oppression and these degrading, diabolical establishments. But when they see plainly a fellow prisoner being harassed or oppressed through their meals, mail, showers, or yard or something, they all just fall back and say "well it's not us, so it's not my business." This is nauseating. I mean it's to the point where they witness the officers here assaulting a fellow prisoner, again these so-called political minded prisoners against oppression to these diabolical establishments do not do a thing but just fall back and submit to this wickedness and repeat their same hypocritical mottos. As long as it is not happening to them they're fine, cool But let it happen to one of them, then they're up screaming "oppression" and "we as a people."

The fifth type and eighth type from Combat Liberalism are totally on point and we see these just about every day here. The fifth: "to indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels, vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of entering into an argument and struggling against incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress or getting the work done properly." And the eighth type: "To see someone harming the interests of the masses and yet not feel indignant or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue." These two types again stood out and touched home.

The officers here keep coming onto the SMU pod here and poisoning people's minds and keeping individuals bickering and fighting amongst themselves, it's insane. There is not much unity here, thanks to the officers divide and conquer tactics. But who am I to say all of this - they've labeled me an irrational delusional psychopath!

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Contaminated Water OK by CDCR

Today I received a response to my Administrator's Appeal (602) on the contaminated water here, from the director of California Corrections and they denied it of course, stating that the levels of arsenic in the water here are not high enough to pose a threat that'll put our (the prisoners') health at risk enough to grant the prisoners clean drinking water. But I say it's bullshit!

I first found out about the high levels of arsenic in the water here at Kern Valley State Prison from the Institution TV Network. They had released a CDC memo stating that the prison's water was contaminated with arsenic and lead levels that are over the EPA's legal limit, and some people who drink such water may be put at risk of having cancer. [Prisoners at Kern Valley have been fighting this battle for over a year.]

[In other news]...Early this week the pigs got mad at me because I'm aiding and assisting this brother to get paid off. The pigs fucked up and put a level 4 prisoner in the cell with a level three, and the level 4 attacked the level three, so I put him up on the game of getting free money from these pigs.

They tried to play me and my cellie against each other by tearing up his personal property and belongings, then leaving my things as they were. We just laughed at the shit though! We see what they were doing from a mile away, and the struggle goes on. They can't stop our forward motion or development.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Once again, state employees are trying to promote violence in state prisons and comrades of MIM(Prisons) are avoiding conflict, while struggling for justice. The CDCR claims to censor MIM(Prisons) because we are a threat to security. If prisoners can no longer be manipulated by staff into fighting each other then the security of the institution is at risk according to the CDCR logic.

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[Spanish] [New York] [ULK Issue 9]
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Líder en Prisión Toma Acción

Actualmente soy un teniente de los Hoover CRIPs en las prisiones estatales de Carolina del Norte. He estado trabajando hacia el establecer mejores relaciones con facciones rivales de los CRIPs en prisión, con las esperanzas de traer solidaridad entre mi nación. Estoy trabajando hacia un nuevo concepto y he ganado mis seguidores. Me gustaría vencer los estereotipos y propaganda para que nosotros, como una organización con publicidad, podrámos usar nuestra imagen para enseñar que la liberación se obtiene atraves de la educación. La busqueda por la verdad es a veces desanimante y si el adquirir sabiduría fuera facil todos la tendríamos.

Me gustaría ver que me organización ayudará con acabar con el racismo, classismo, sexismo y la oppresión. En ves de perjudicar nuestra estanza como un grupo de minorias, nosotros debemos comprometernos a nunca mas servirle a un sistema contento con explotarnos como una comodidad. Me gustaría vernos en la lucha por los derechos civiles y el humanitarismo. No es trabajo fácil el traer estabilidad del caos, pero he ganado segudores con mucha inspiración del movimiento y sobre entendemos que la lucha es más grande que mis problemas personales - más grande que una raza, creo o genero.

MIM(Prison) Añada: Nosotros applaudimos el trabajo de este comarada en traer juntos a grupos de rivales y lo animamos a el y a otros a trabajar hacia la unión, entre cualquier y toda organización dispuesta a trabajar hacia paz verdadera para nuestra gente. Esto significa no solo grupos o facciones de CRIPs rivales, sino que a todas las naciones o organizaciones oprimidas. Cualquier gente oprimida peleando en contra de otra gente oprimida es una perdida de energía y essencialmente es trabajar para el imperialista. Como este comarada señala, la pelea es más grande que asuntos personales.

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[Spanish] [Florida] [ULK Issue 11]
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Lucha Vietnamita Contra INS, Prisiones, y Persecución por ser "Ilegal"

Yo soy un inmigrante Vietnamita. Yo he estado en Amerikkka desde el 1985. Yo vine para este país cuando era un niño. Mi padre murió, asi que yo crecí en una casa adoptiva. Mi vida no es color de rosa, yo tuve mis altas y bajas. Esta es la segunda vez que he estado encarcelado. Mi vida esta cambiando mientras cresco.

Al terminar mi primera sentencia, yo fui recogido por INS (inmigración). Me dieron un día de corte, y un juez federal ordenó que me deportaran mientras esperaba por una visa para viajar, yo fuí enviado a diferentes carceles. Yo conocí personas que llevaban 5 o 10 años esperando, solo para ser deportados. Alguna gente no puede regresar a su país natal debido a persecución, y tampoco pueden ser puestos en libertad porque cometieron crimen en Amerika. Todos nosotros debemos pagarle nuestra deuda a la sociedad.

Pocos años despues, yo fui puesto en libertad con varias condiciones: yo tengo que reportarme mensualmente para pagar por una visa anual; pagar impuestos; y regresar a mi pais natal una vez tengan una visa preparada para mi. Yo tengo hijos que nacieron aquí.

Yo trabaje y mantuve un trabajo. Algunos de los trabajos que yo hice eran rigurosos. Solo los llamados ilegales y no-ciudadanos trabajan dichos trabajos. Trabajos que los Americanos no hacen, y todavia se ponen a llorar de que nosotros los ilegales y no-ciudadanos estamos ocupando posiciónes de trabajo.

Todos los meses yo vi el INS venir y barrer el area, chequeando gente para ver si tenían visas de trabajo. Esos que no tenían visas, eran recogidos y arrestados. Algunos eran tirados en prisiones federales por re-entrar. Familias están siendo rasgadas por estas razones. Algunos regresan porque tiene familiares aquí. Ellos regresan porque quieren ver sus hijos, hijas, madres, padres. Algunos familiares son muy viejos para viajar, o muy jovenes para entender.

Reciéntemente Oklahoma ha pasado una ley nueva llamada House Bill 106U. La ley especificamente atacó "ilegales" o no-ciudadanos en Amerika. Nosotros somos detenidos por ninguna razón, para que ellos puedan cuequear tarjetas de identificación. Si alguna companía contrata o le da cobijo a "ilegales," habrán multas y encarcelamiento. Algunos negocios pequeños cierran sus puertas porque "ilegales" temen trabajar.

Nosotros estamos siendo castigados por romper la ley, y castigados de nuevo por la corte federal. Nosotros somos culpables de no ser ciudadanos Amerikanos. ¿Algunos de nosotros no tenemos una voz. Algunas veces yo me pregunto, tendrá amabilidad algún valor en Amerika?

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