The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Postage is one of our biggest expenses. Why not send a book of stamps or two to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140 next time you're at the post office? help out
[Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada]
expand

HDSP NV De-habilitation Program

I have served nearly 25 years prison/jail time in the United States. In fact, all but a small portion of my adult life has been spent behind bars. My California tour includes Chino, Soledad, Solano, Calipatria and Donovan. In Nevada: Southern Desert, Lovelock, Ely and, yes, Hight Desert State Prison (HDSP). As you can probably imagine, violence and drugs are common fare in most of these institutions. And while a few of these places were just plain filthy, others simply stagnate with the decay of deliberate indifference. I've done "hole-time" in all of them and certainly thought I'd seen it all.

Boy was I wrong.

Let me spell it out for you: B.M.U. (Behavioral Management Unit). Described by COs, Medical Staff and other institutional employees as the "Zombie Unit," the "Weirdo Pod," the "Freak Show," the "Psych Ward," and "Behavioral Mismanagement" and affectionately referred to by the prisoners as the "Beat-a-Motherfucker-Up" Unit at HDSP.

Absolutely and without a doubt, the worst of the worst. In the short time, 90 days, that I've been here within this restrictive unit I've witnessed unchecked violence, coercion, extortion, drug abuse, overdoses, 3 attempted suicides and "senior" officers feeding prisoners food which had fallen on the filthy unit floor before being placed on the serving trays and given to prisoners.

The most disturbing incident, by far, occurred on 24 December 2017, this past Christmas Eve, when an emotionally wrought prisoner, was locked in the shower for approximately 4 hours after stating to staff that he was having suicidal thoughts. During this time the prisoner was slamming his own head against the metal grating. I witnessed the COs laughing and encouraging the prisoner to bang his head harder and advising him to use the tiled wall at the back of the shower stating, "Bang it against the tiles, they're harder." By the time medical staff did arrive the prisoner was a bloody mess.

According to the HDSP BMU Manual: "The Behavior Modification Unit (BMU) will house inmates who have been housed in segregation for 90 days or longer, to assist in the reintegration into a lower custody level."

How I ended up here isn't much of a mystery. About 4 weeks after arriving at HDSP, while I was still in the "Fish Tank" I made the mistake of telling the case worker that I was appealing my jury conviction and needed request forms for the law library. At which point I was advised that I was being "sent to BMU." From that moment on, all access to the legal materials I require for my case have been denied despite numerous verbal and written grievances. In fact I spent the first 9 weeks in BMU confined in my cell without so much as a book to read. My only contact with the administration was the initial interview with the token mental health worker who advised me that "this rehabilitation program is the warden's baby."

Well, I'm here to tell you that as a person who struggles with PTSD, the constant and continuous confinement to a cell without any mental stimulation whatsoever can be devastating to an person's mental health and psyche. While confined in this unit I have experienced an increase in PTSD symptoms, ten times the frequency that is usual for me. Furthermore, I found it extremely unsettling that after completing the program, as a "graduation present," I was escorted into a small room filled with BMU staff members where I was threatened, berated, belittled and finally told to just "Get the Fuck Out."

I'm not sure what to expect next. The lack of access and communication with the outside, the restricted closed custody level 4 housing, the refusal on the administration's part to answer or address any grievance combined with limited family contact by phone has reduced me to an uncertain, fearful, panicky, hopeless, helpless mess. And, by the way, I have absolutely zero disciplinary history. Not a single "write up" for anything.

Fortunately another prisoner gave me your Under Lock & Key pamphlet. Hopefully you can get the word out on this de-habilitation program and the warden's dirty little secret.


MIM(Prisons) responds: These dangerous and abusive conditions at HDSP expose the Amerikan prison system for its complete lack of rehabilitation. If the criminal injustice system really believed that prisons are an effective tool to prevent crime, it would not put people in conditions that make their survival on the streets nearly impossible. It would be offering programs to help people learn and change their behavior, and prepare them for life outside. This is just one of the reasons we see the Amerikan criminal injustice system as primarily a tool of social control.

chain
[Religious Repression] [Civil Liberties] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 63]
expand

Judge to North Carolina Prisons: Humanism is a Faith Group

As of March 2018, the North Carolina prison system must recognize humanism as a faith group, allowing its adherents locked within the imperialistic belly of the beast the opportunity to meet and study their beliefs, a federal judge has ruled. The American Humanism Association, and a prisoner with a life sentence, sued state Department of Public Safety officials in 2015. Prison leaders were accused of violating the religious establishment and equal protection clauses of the Constitution by repeatedly denying recognition. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle (Eastern District NC) wrote that prison officials failed to justify treating humanism differently from those religions already recognized within the walls of oppression. Humanist prisoners have the same Constitutional rights to study and discuss their values as a group — non-theistic.

Since Judge Boyle's ruling, some individuals have reported to Convicts of Righteous, Reform and Liberation (CORRAL), that they are faced with harassment — cell property searches up to eight times a day, water being turned off, mail delayed, and structure issues. One of our board members spoke with the "admpigs", providing a copy of this ruling. And we have been able to establish some middle ground.

CORRAL is a united group that non-violently addresses issues affecting those incarcerated. MIM has been instrumental in our quest, and we are proud to be in association. We developed our study group and board. We have three chapters. "Imperialism must be defeated", so we do our part. Our motto: "Conscience stimulation, comes from education — which propagates liberation!"

MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a progressive victory for prisoners in North Carolina. One of the strategic areas our movement focuses on is defending the Constitutional rights of affiliation and association of prisoners of the United $tates. This is particularly good news in the context of protecting the rights of humanists to come together and discuss their values and beliefs. The first line of the Wikipedia page on humanism reads, "Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition." While there are many forms of humanism and many insightful critiques of it, in general it is a belief in progressive change at the hands of humyns.

Source: Gaston Gazette
chain
[Censorship] [Organizing] [Marquette Branch Prison] [Michigan] [ULK Issue 63]
expand

Censorship Victories in Michigan; Battle Continues

"Cast away illusions, prepare for struggle." -Mao Zedong (1893-1976)

Comrades:

I am writing to update you comrades on new developments regarding my censorship battle at this prison. After 2 long and hard-fought battles with these reactionaries and their censors in the mail room, I finally received the latest ULK 60 a couple weeks ago.

Specifically, when I transferred back into this gestapo prison in October 2017, the censors were rejecting all ULK issues and MIM study materials sent to comrades under MDOC policy directive 05.03.118 (NN) (4) and (6), and giving us false pretense or rationale for its rejection, solely because of the political (revolutionary) content of the newsletter, contrary to PD-05.03.118 (D) which clearly states that prison censors are prohibited from rejecting incoming mail "solely because its content is religious, philosophical, political, social, sexual, unpopular, or repugnant."

Their excuse or pretext for rejecting MIM periodicals was because they claimed it advocated or promotes "violence, group disruption, or insurrection." See, "notice of package/mail rejection" and "administrative hearing report," enclosed herein is an example of the totally bogus rationalizations they use for censoring ULK.

The prison censors, particularly mail clerks J. Sanford and M. J. Dollar, had censored every MIM ULK issue sent to me and other comrades since October 2017. Not only were the issues improperly rejected, but the censors failed to conduct mail rejection hearings in a prompt manner as required by PD-05.03.118 (WW). More, I doubt if they were even notifying you (MIM) of the censorship or the reason why the newsletters were rejected, nor an opportunity to an appeal. Per MDOC policy, the prison censors must mail senders/publishers a "notice of rejection" anytime that an issue is rejected, which is a requirement under PD-05.03.118 (VV) so you can exercise your right to appeal the rejection to the warden.

Your right to be notified is a "due process" right, under the Fourteenth Amendment. Just for future references, if the prison censors fail to notify you of the illegal publication ban on your materials, your organization can sue for damages, including, but not limited to: (1) the suppression of your free speech; (2) the impediment of your ability to disseminate your political message; (3) frustration of your non-profit organizational mission; (4) the diversion of your resources; (5) the loss of potential subscribers and MIM supporters; among other violations under the First Amendment's free speech and free press clauses. It's easy money, since these reactionaries are voluntarily bagging it up for you, why not take it and help fund the revolution?!

With this in mind, you must be prepared to struggle with me in combating censorship in the future, just in case the censors get back on bullshit. It's only so much that comrades can do from inside the bowels of the imperialist beast where the terms of the struggle are defined by our oppressors. The facility head (warden) was upholding the improper rejections and subsequent appeals, knowing damn well it's illegal to ban publications solely because of its political content.

What this all boils down to, in the final analysis, is that they don't want us to learn political theory and critically recognize the situation that we find ourselves in, or the root cause of our oppression. They want us "politically dead," so that they can better control us and not have to worry about us transforming the criminal (lumpen) mentality into a revolutionary mentality and ushering forth the "new man" (within ourselves) to succeed the old, as both Malcolm X and Comrade George showed us we could through the process of study and self-reflection. The reactionaries and prisoncrats know that this sudden shift of revolutionary consciousness by the lumpen prisoners would create a "new situation," one that would no doubt threaten their control over us and make it possible for us to unite and move forward en masse against our oppressors, as Huey said, "with implacable fortitude."

My friends, you recognize the fact that the arbitrary censorship of ULK, a critical organizing tool that meets our educational and informational needs, is nothing more than a counter-revolutionary strategy by the prisoncrats to get ahead of the "revolutionary wave" and put down the new radical prison movement that is emerging. But, dialectical materialism teaches us that nothing can prevent this revolutionary process. The new always leap forth to succeed the old. In the words of Fanon: "The repressions, far from calling a halt to the forward rush of national consciousness, urge it on." So, understand the arbitrary censorship and political repression that a lot of us lumpen are facing, or will face in the future, by these reactionaries and their prison censors only expedites matters and moves the struggle forward to its ultimate conclusion. Therefore, cast away illusions and prepare for struggle against the prisoncrats' reactionary agenda to suppress political education among lumpen comrades (prisoners).

No doubt I will continue to battle censorship when it occurs on this end, but this must be a shared responsibility. We have to coordinate from both ends and concentrate our fire on this fascist agenda. There is pressure that can, and sometimes must, be brought to bear on the prison censors. Sometimes political pressure, in the form of telephone or email campaigns, should be exerted on the warden and the director about the censorship, demanding that the issue be corrected immediately or that the current prison censors be removed from their positions in the mail room. I believe we can wage a far more effective struggle against censorship this way. It will, at very least, give us a tactical advantage.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As some of our readers may have noticed, over the past year we've been able to step up the fight against censorship from the MIM(Prisons) side. Wherever our comrades behind bars are taking the initiative to appeal or protest censorship, we are also submitting letters of protest. We will always send you a copy of these letters, which are going to prison administrators and other relevant personnel. We agree with this writer that these censorship battles are most effective when it is a shared responsibility both from behind bars and on the streets.

So if you're fighting censorship of ULK or other mail we've sent, be sure to let us know so that we can support your battle with protests of our own. We won't always win, but we regularly have victories. And the outrageous rejections, as well as our victories, are reported in the "Censors in their own Words" articles we publish periodically in ULK and on our censorship reporting webpage. If you get notification of censorship, either from your prison, or from us, do your part to stop the prisoncrats from removing revolutionary education from the prisons by filing a grievance to protest the censorship. Put them on notice that you will not be silenced!

chain
[Gender] [Cimarron Correctional Facility] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Sexual Harassment in Oklahoma

Summertime mid-July 2017 — Oklahoma's worst prison in the country Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma. I got the chance to be moved off a security threat group unit (STG) where four gang members was killed in one single day all stabbed to death on one unit in one single incident in 2015. I got to move to the honor dorm where you are required to have a job either on the unit or on the yard, somewhere like the kitchen, laundry, or the library. All of the jobs was said to be full, but this facility had just lost its contract for its maximum security units. Most of the max inmates was moved to other max facilities and some put back in population on this facility, and after the max was empty it needed painting. I was chosen to help, I had experience in painting.

To move unit to unit you are subject to be pat-searched or strip-searched. These searches are routine by any officer, and are documented supposedly. On arriving to the entrance of the units that was to be painted my group of about 8 prisoners was stopped and told to line up for a strip-search. We formed a line and went one by one in a tiny bathroom where one officer had I thought one of the worst jobs that day seeing other men's nuts and butts, but I guess I was wrong.

When it was my turn I was already reluctant because a few of the guys came out the bathroom complaining about how weird it was. I get in the bathroom everybody knows the routine, take off all your clothes hand them to the officer he hand searches them and puts them to the side or holds them in his hands. You are to lift your nuts, turn around bend over squat and cough at the same time. I did all of those things but the officer had this lustful look on his face. He told me to let him see my dick again he then bends at the waist where he is very close to my piece and told me to pull back on it. I was beyond horrified.

You know how your back goes straight when you're either scared or mad? I asked him what type of shit he was on and told him I don't get down with that shit give me my fuckin clothes back. He smiled and handed me back my clothes. I dressed so fast I forgot to put on a sock.

The following day I thought surely the same officer would not be doing searches. WRONG. He was waiting on us by the bathroom with one hand on the wall the other hand on his hip tappin his foot. Once again when it was my turn I was somewhat scared and regretful for going back. Scared because I can act out of control sometimes, but I was somewhat confused and caught off guard. When I entered the bathroom I told the officer I'm not strippin out he could send me back if I have to. He said OK put your hands on the wall and starts a pat-down search he gets to my dick and grabs it and holds it and ask what it was. I yank away and tell him my dick weirdo let me out of here and push past him.

I was embarrassed and afraid to tell anyone at the time but when I did, what I thought was going to happen did. He denied it, the facility heads believed him and not me the prisoner and to this day I'm being retaliated against, threatened and punished by this facility's staff.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As this writer knows, it can be embarrassing, upsetting, and terrifying to come forward and talk about sexual harassment and assault. And it's an added challenge when it's not the gender norm that we're comfortable with, like when male guards molest male prisoners. This comrade is exposing something that goes on regularly behind bars. And the idea that reporting to the prison this, or any other type of abuse, will help the individual's situation is largely a myth. Congress even passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act to supposedly address this problem. But even that is just resulting in retaliation for many. Gender oppression and sexual assault of male prisoners is a big problem that is all too often ignored. It doesn't matter if the harasser is male or female, it's an abuse of power.

chain
[Gender] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Female Guards Win Sex Harassment Lawsuit

[This writer enclosed a People Magazine article: Sexually Harassed by Prison Inmates, January 1, 2018. About two female COs who work at Florida's Coleman prison. They won a class action lawsuit regarding sexual harassment on the job, against the Department of Justice last February, with a $20 million settlement.]

I have an article that I got from somebody that I would like to share about a six-year battle against sexually-harassed women staff at FCC Coleman outside Orlando, Florida. For me, women that work in correctional centers should know what they're getting themselves into working in all-male facilities.

I know that some guys can't control themselves when they see women COs. Some do perverted shit that I can't even approve of because that's not who I am as a brother who is trying to end my criminal way of thinking. But I can say that women who sign up for the job know that they did not apply at Disney World or Six Flags, so they should be prepared for the torment that they know this job is capable of doing.

Even though I don't agree with some prisoners who pull out on the women COs, I just feel bad for what this system of injustice has done to my fellow brother's mental state. Because there are some brothers who are never going home at all and some who got a significant sentence, and they feel like they're a long way from home. So this situation is a double-edge sword because you have to look at some of these guys' mental state and situation, because some are not going home at all, which can influence other brothers' behaviors.

And I cannot put all the blame on my fellow prisoners, because I have seen for myself women COs let prisoners whip out on them and they wait or show some skin till that brother has finished. And there has been COs, men and women, turning tricks with prisoners. So I've seen both parties at fault in these circumstances.

That is why I said this is a double-edge sword situation, but the sword is sharper on our side because of lawsuits like this, which open the doors for more corporal punishment and stricter rules in a place where we barely have any say so. This case has showed me the oppressor is coming up with new ways to keep my fellow prisoners in solitary confinement, and to take advantage of some brothers' fragile mind state. Because to me these women knew when they applied for this kind of job, being so-called law enforcers of the worst humans in confinement, that we are labeled as what should they expect. So that is how I feel about this article.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We share this writer's view that prisoners are put in shitty situations that can lead them to mental health problems and behavior that they would not have considered on the streets. It's also unacceptable that people working in prisons toy with prisoners, using their position for their own sexual pleasure.

We have little sympathy for people who choose to take jobs in prisons, as these institutions are just tools of oppression. We do recognize that many prisons are deliberately located in destitute rural white areas, and so many times job options are slim. But we do still have free will, and a lack of available does not excuse people from taking jobs that pay them to carry out oppression and abuse daily.

That said, we don't think there is any situation in which anyone should just expect to be sexually harassed. Even in prisons or the military, institutions that are fundamentally corrupt and serving imperialism, there is no need for wimmin to suffer sexual harassment. This is the same argument made of actresses in Harvey Weinstein movies, beauty pageant contestants, and people wearing short skirts: "you know the consequences and you're choosing to get sexually harassed." No, these people are choosing what clothes to wear and what careers to pursue, and those choices shouldn't include sexual harassment.

The degradation of wimmin is a part of the system of patriarchal oppression that is intimately tied up with capitalism. As is the degradation of prisoners who are acting out against these COs due to their damaged mental state. These are things we won't be able to eliminate while capitalism exists, but that doesn't mean we should pretend people just need to accept it. We are building towards a society where all people are equal and no group of people has power over another group. This includes eliminating all forms of harassment and oppression.

chain
[Gender] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Selective Application of Sex Offender Label

The U$A uses the sex offender label to put folks in certain stages, legally. So the KKK uses that against you to not give you a job. So your life will be messed up. Being a captive we get hit with it every day. If you look at the United $tates of Amerika, some of everybody is a sex offender. Our own president is 1 of the biggest sex offenders of all. Once that label be upon you everything is hard. You can't be around your kids or some jobs. They use this control to keep the oppressed in line. You can get locked up, catch a charge. Then the next thing you know you are a sex offender. I hate to see somebody else's life messed up.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The ability to buy and sell people and sex, inherent in a capitalist economic system, leads many to behave in ways that are extremely anti-social. Those who have been subjected to the worst of the gender conditioning our society has to offer are much more likely to commit sex-crimes which perpetuate the harm caused by male chauvinism and capitalism.

It really says something that the best response the state has for dealing with the people who have submitted to its patriarchal conditioning is to slap a label on them and just ruin their lives. It's the same with the "felon" label, and even more extreme.

We need to address the root causes of anti-social behavior (which stem from society itself), as well as rehabilitate those who have committed anti-people crimes. Without state power, both of these tasks are extremely difficult if not impossible. For our perspective on how to address this problem in the immediate term, see our article [LEAD ARTICLE FOR 61].

chain
[Organizing] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Don't Write Them Off: Re-Educate Misguided Youth

I would like to address the Delaware comrade who wrote "Maintain the Trust in the United Front" article in ULK issue #55. I'm currently housed at High Desert State Prison in Nevada. I'm in my 20s and I'm in a level 1 PC unit. I'm not a snitch, a drop out or a sex offender. I was arrested and convicted of pandering, 2nd degree kidnapping, and felony possession of marijuana. I was basically forced to "PC up" because one of the original charges included sex trafficking.

I agree that snitches can't necessarily be trusted on a scale where you'd conduct normal operations with them, but I believe those who snitch are uneducated and most of the time made the choice because they were young and afraid. If you're too closed-minded to educate these young comrades and reform the way they conduct themselves when dealing with the bourgeoisie then how can you consider yourself a revolutionary? You should judge a person by their behavior and not their past. If "dry snitching" or hanging around the swine is a habit of theirs then most likely they can't be trusted. Just remember not all of us were raised in an environment where "the code" was instilled in us at a young age.

As for sex offenders, why would you judge a man by a label given to them by the bourgeoisie? Often I find that these men labeled "SO" are well-educated, intellectual and humble characters who could be considered dangerous to the government! If these comrades can be educated in revolutionary theory they can be helping hands in the progression of the united front's movement. We will find our strength in numbers, intellect and unity under a mutual interest. Don't allow the oppressors to further divide our class and turn us against each other. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I also agree that the bourgeoisie perceives our class as ignorant and frowns upon any comrade labeled "criminal", but in their eyes it doesn't matter if it's a sex offense or a theft-related charge. The only thing we can do is prove them wrong by striving for perfection, self-discipline, cleanliness, and physically and mentally training on a daily basis.

chain
[Organizing] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Debating Unity with Anti-Revolutionaries

Steadfast Revolutionary Salutations! I received ULK 58 and found it to be the gasoline which the machine required to continue to stride forward. Kan't Stop Won't Stop!

The piece "We Can't Write Off Whole Groups from the UFPP" truly hit home for me as I've been vigorously debating this very topic with my comrade in arms over the last couple of years! I am a Muslim of New Afrikan DNA/background, virtually raised in fedz system ('92-'09). My comrade in arms is a Cali native, steeped in typical fratricidal mores, yet striving to be catalyst for structural growth! We've had some quite spirited dialogue on SNY politics.

Over my recent prison sojourn, I have been forced to re-examine previously-held views and/or biases toward others, based solely upon convictions. As I've told many cats here: if we believe the U.$. system to be unjust, then how can we accept convictions in their corrupt kourts of injustice at face value, and call ourselves revolutionaries or progressives?

By the same token, there must be a "People's Tribunal" in place which properly investigates the background(s) of those claiming revolutionary authenticity! A "mistake" in judgment whilst under influence, a statement given under duress, or as a juvenile, a case put forth by suspect persons, etc., etc. could be examples of "how"/"why" a cat has a particular conviction or jacket and must be analyzed accordingly.

We also ask, how can anyone claim to be "People's Vanguard" yet not stand for the most vulnerable of our oppressed nation citizenry? I.e. children and elders! How can the People's trust be earned and their support given if we do not, at minimum, give justice to the molesters of children, or abusers of our Grandmamas? As a Muslim, I find peace of mind and yet, I am under NO illusions that simply donning a kufi, making Salat, or fasting shall make U$ klansmen stop killing my kind in particular, poor folk in general! I realize that I must organize, myself and others around our klass commonalities and the politics of oppression! Need to stand up!

It is becoming quite clear that the enemy has used his misinformation/disinformation campaigns, along with his "tools" (those who serve pig-interests and destroy OUR klass unity in the process) to where we no longer have basic codes of morality!! We of the revolutionary/progressive ilk are very few and far between here in Oregon. However! We are steadfast in our devotion to struggle in unity, as it relates to resisting ALL oppression and/or racist violence directed toward us! However, the molesters of a child! or elder can never be our komrade(s)! Nor any that fraternize with them... Did "Che" not hold tribunals for the vermin/anti-revolutionaries?

In closing, we ask, if a former criminal tells pigs (snitch) on his confederates, then years later embraces revolutionary ideology and identity, is his/her past to be held against revolutionary authenticity today?


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises some very good points about dealing with crimes against the people. First, the point about not trusting the government labels of people is key. We know the pigs don't hesitate to create divisions among the oppressed through any means at their disposal. Labeling a revolutionary as a child molester is well within their tactics. So we can't just let the state tell us what to think about people.

On the other hand, this comrade is also correct that we can't just let it slide when people do commit crimes against the people. For this we need a people's tribunal that can independently judge what really happened, and then we need a real system of people's justice that can both punish and rehabilitate folks. Of course these things are much harder to set up when we don't hold state power. But we can implement some good practices in our local circles. We can create internal structures to fairly investigate charges against people claiming to be our comrades, so that at least our organizations address these issues when they arise.

And we can study the history of revolutionary societies that implemented real systems of peoples' justice. The best example we have of this is communist China under Mao. Under the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat in China prisons really were focused on rehabilitating those who had committed crimes against the people. Thorough investigation was conducted of these crimes, and a lengthy process of criticism and self-criticism was implemented in the prisons. There is an excellent autobiography about the prisons, written by two Amerikans who were caught spying for the Amerikan government and locked up for years. They came away with praise for both the prison system and the revolution in China.(1)

Notes:
1. Prisoners of Liberation by Adelle and Allyn Rickett. For a copy of this book send $10 or the equivalent in work to exchange.
chain
[Organizing] [United Front] [Macon State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

The Contagious Disease of Backbiting

I wrote this piece because I was being irked by brothers talking to one another. I made a copy and posted it inside the dormitory as I always do. I also posted "Incarcerated Minds" by a California prisoner (March 2016).

Backbiting is a disease that is tearing the fabric of our brotherly threads of unity. Let's keep it all the way 100. When one possesses commissary, tennis shoes, cigarettes, drugs, cell phones or just a swagger that another desires and has no means to obtain it or lack a hustler's ambition to go and get it, one will begin to spread a venom in the community. This venom begins to seep into the heart and mind of the speaker until he becomes tainted, corrupted and eventually a hater. He hates himself foremost but will try to contaminate thy neighbor as though you are the culprit in his wicked heart.

He will attempt to turn people against you! He will "shake salt" on your name. He will snitch on you, do anything within his will power to aid in the destruction of you. One must be mindful of their thoughts, because they will become your words and eventually your actions! Get up off your punk ass and be your own man! Do for yourself and just maybe that fortunate comrade will aid you in your journey to become successful. A grown man talking about another man is weak! And the one who listens to and condones this trash talk is no better for not operating on the heart of that brother and extracting this cancer out of him.

You are fake if you smile in a man's face and then when he leaves you call him lame or a pussy or whatever terminology used to describe your emotional hatred. This is the William Lynch theory in full effect 300 years later, just as he predicted. Planting dissent within our brotherhood. Our duty is to contradict that theory by uniting amongst one another and doing the total opposite.

I know that it is an extremely arduous task because I'm a proactive man of unity in peace, but when all of us are dead or in jail from this contagious disease that will cause us to rob, kill and destroy one another.

We represent Gangsters, Bloods, Crips, Lords, Pirus, Aryans, Goodfellas, Muslim, Brown pride, even Christians, but everyone of us suffer from the same struggles: incarceration, homelessness, poverty, police brutality, poor education, addiction, etc. Before we can come against each other we need to come together and overcome these struggles of capitalistic imperialism.

Peace to the revolutionary voices of insight. We will combat this capitalist devil through peace and unity. Through camaraderie and communism. The power is vested in the people; We are the people.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This essay really highlights one of the five points of the United Front for Peace in Prisons: Unity. And the writer is not only criticizing those who backbite and gossip, but ey is also doing something about it. Posting articles is a great way to try to get people thinking about something new. It can be less confrontational than attacking these folks directly to their faces. Though sometimes calling out behavior when it happens is also very effective. We want to hear more about the things people are doing like this to build peace and unity behind bars. Follow this comrade's example and send in your reports for the next issue of ULK.

chain
[Release] [Gender] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Released Sex Offender Struggling to be a Feminist on the Streets

In a recent MIM(Prisons) Re-Lease on Life newsletter there was an article on what it is like to be a communist and on probation. In September 2016 in a ULK there was an article about sex offenders and status within the prison. This article will complement both, talking about what my experience has been like over two years as a communist post-probation.

The current revolutionary communist party versus the party branch I have been loyal to and committed to during my 10 years on probation, jail, prison was reluctant of taking me back. The reason why I only was allowed as supporter/sympathizer status was a defense mechanism from the COINTELPRO and now 9/11 days, where the ruling class or reactionaries could use my case if they found out to discredit the party.

The idea of another "other" somehow possibly discrediting the party makes sense. Especially if it was front line news that a socialist party, that has already been attacked throughout its history for all sorts of untrue accusations, was now "exposed" as harboring sex deviants. This would possibly make other party members uncomfortable. And it would appear to other groups that the party was not being a radical feminist communist party.

But my situation became a non-issue, probably due to members forgetting. I joined the same branch I was part of in the past. For a year I jumped into environmental work, anti-war work, feminist work, and helping with a homeless bill of rights. I also jumped into the leadership of an ex-prisoners' organization, as well as with Samizdat Socialist Prisoners Project. Also working on a memoir of my thoughts as a thought-criminal.

When activists and revolutionaries of all stripes found out about me having a background, or of my crime, I did not shy away from acknowledging it. I told them I did not have a victim, that it was a sting by local cops. I am doing what I think communist sex deviants should do: work towards eliminating the capitalist state that creates schizophrenic and contradictory mores and norms in the first place. I was the guy that did prisoner liberation work in my area.

After a year, someone calling themselves a feminist found out what I had done and lambasted me on Facebook. As a white, male, sex offender, atheist, and communist I had to refrain from attacking a female feminist to avoid seeming like a white sexist and chauvinist. So I left the feminist group along with other feminist groups I was a part of.

But it did not stop there. There was nothing I could say to defend my actions or defuse the situation especially on social media. Only two or three people, who were hardly activists, were attacking me, questioning why someone like me should be in a feminist group. They found a paper I wrote about being in college as a sex offender, and did not interpret it correctly as I am no longer entitled, deviant, and uber-sexualized.

Throughout a week of turmoil, many comrades and friends defended me saying that I have never hid what I have done, and no opponent of me reached out to me to defend myself. My comrades pretty much asked if a sex offender's best place is in a feminist group attacking the chauvinism, sexism in the days of Trump, Weinstein, and Brock Turner. Currently after two months, I still have not participated in any feminist-related event.

These opponent feminists are a possible example of carceral feminism. The carceral feminists are people who believe the best punishment is a thrown-away prison key. They have allied with conservatives on this issue. If I had my chance to defend myself, I would say I am more committed than any of the carceral feminist armchair activists. I would tell them how most of my close female friends, sexual partners, and even my girlfriend have experienced rape, sexual assault, etc. and they accept me. The one to two years off of probation, jail, and prison have been very rocky and it is hard to figure out my voice and place in the revolutionary struggle. I hope many of the released do not return to a life imposed on them by the bourgeoisie, but partake in liberating a prison world.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade's experience speaks to the universal struggle of former prisoners, and more specifically to the question of how revolutionaries should work (or not work) with people convicted of sex offenses. To clarify, ey is working with some organizations that we have significant disagreements with, but that doesn't change the relevance of what ey writes.

This is a case where someone who was convicted of a sex offense is not disputing the accusation. Instead, ey comes to the conclusion that the right thing for someone who committed gender crimes to do is to fight to end the system that creates a culture of gender oppression. This we very much agree with.

We did not see the social media debates with and against this persyn so we can't comment directly on what people said when arguing that ey should not be allowed into feminist organizations. But there are several problems we see with this incident. First, attacking someone on social media rather than taking criticisms directly to em and eir organization does not do justice to the seriousness of this political debate. Also, pushing someone out of an organization before hearing eir side and investigating the issue thoroughly just does the work of the government by dividing the movement.

As Maoists we believe that people are capable of change, and so when we learn about errors people have made we ask for self-criticism and an analysis of why those actions were taken. Those who not only make sincere self-criticism but also demonstrate through their actions that they have changed should be given the opportunity to contribute to the revolutionary movement.

Sex offenders are generally pariahs, both on the streets and behind bars. All people with a criminal record face extra scrutiny, criticism, and ostracization when they hit the streets. It's important that revolutionary organizations don't play into this. We shouldn't dismiss former captives who want to be activists. Instead we should set up structures to help them get involved and support their work. And for those who have committed crimes against the people in the past, we can help them better understand not only why these actions were wrong, but also to transform their thinking to best avoid hurting others in the future and how to build a society that doesn't foster those crimes in the first place.

chain