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Under Lock & Key

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[Legal] [Ohio]
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Fighting Envelope Denial in Ohio

Informal Complaint Resolution
Submitted to Warden: Mr. Hooks
January 1st, 2017

Complaint regarding: Appropriate Supervision/discrimination, to wit: A.R. 5120-9-04.

On November 17, 2016 the Ross County Correctional Institution mail room received twenty-five (25) embossed envelopes from a Mrs. [name omitted] that was addressed to be delivered to myself. However, on this occasion the aforementioned embossed envelopes were confiscated as contraband and were never returned to my wife or forwarded to me. A new policy, (75-MAL-01), has purportedly been instituted that bans all incoming embossed envelopes sent from the family and friends of those incarcerated at the Ross County Corr. Inst. As it stands, I [name omitted] am legally indigent, as I've been held to the monthly stipend of $10 for the past fifteen years, under the banner of court cost, fines and restitution and I can't afford to purchase embossed envelopes along with hygiene and miscelaneous laundry products. This new policy (75-AL-01) discriminates against every indigent prisoner on this compound and ultimately affects the quality of a relationship already deprived of hand-to-hand contact with friends and loved ones in free society, and the quality of tenure of incarceration.

Listed below are a variety of prisoners adversely affected by this new policy (75-HAL-01), who have no alternative means of purchasing embossed envelopes. Accordingly, we respectfully request the above mentioned new policy, be rendered moot and that the original policy, that allowed prisoners to receive embossed envelopes from family and friends be re-instated.

Please assist us in any way you deem appropriate.

Cc: Special Litigation Section
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530

MIM(Prisons) responds: Our job as revolutionaries is to organize people and bring them together. The primary task of U.$. prisons is to control oppressed-nation people, and to prevent them from organizing to change their conditions within this capitalist society. The above policy in Ohio serves no purpose except to exacerbate the already difficult situation of oppressed people to not only organize but also stay mentally and relationally healthy when locked up. This policy is one tiny piece of a much larger battle.

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[Organizing] [Spanish]
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Enfréntate a los Cerdos

A mí no me gusta meter la cuchara porque la mayoría de mi tiempo me la paso peleando el sistema, es lo que hago. No me gustan estos cerdos y no me gusta la forma en que estos aspirantes a presos les gusta hablar mierda pero en cuanto estos cerdos sacan su pluma y el reporte de mala conducta ¡se van a esconder bajo sus camas!

Soy una mujer transexual y ¡no le tengo miedo a estos cerdos! Estuve trabajando en la cocina y el cerdo más temido me tuvo en la mira y cuando puse una queja contra él, todos esos aspirantes a presos me dijeron que no me meta con él porque podría tomar represalias. Yo dije, "que se vaya al carajo!, Yo seguiré siendo yo misma." Y sí, tomó represalias pero yo también. En el manual de empleados del estado de Nueva York en la sección 2.12, dice que ellos no pueden usar lenguaje abusivo, agresivo o vulgar, así que cuando lo escuchaba quebrar esa regla, escribía una queja contra su culo. Tomó represalias al escribirme una papeleta falsa. Me dio 7 días encerrado y luego regresé a trabajar. Dos días después me corrieron del trabajo y me amenazaron con nuevos cargos si seguía escribiendo quejas. Dejé de quejarme contra su culo y escribí a la oficina del Inspector General. (¡sí, sí!)

Pero mi pregunta es esto: ¿Por qué chingados tienen miedo estos presos que tienen 15, 20, 25 años y más, a darle gas a estos cerdos? Pero cuando un camarada les debe $3.24 ¡están listos para acuchillarlo en la espalda! ¿Por qué cuando un cerdo te falta respeto te fajas la cotila como perro y le corres, pero cuando un camarada te falta respeto, de repente sí tienes huevos?

Te voy a decir porque es así. Porque ellos saben que un cerdo les va arrastrar al hoyo a puros putasos. Pero si te peleas con un camarada, esa madre nomás va a durar a lo mucho un minuto. Y luego te dicen, "Trate al piso o te volamos los sesos."

Yo me ha peleado con estos cerdos más de 5 veces en los últimos 3 años y !me han dado 2 cargos nuevos sobre eso! El año pasado ya estuviera en mi casa, pero hay una línea que si se cruza, van a ver consecuencias. Convertí mis 10 años en 20. No estoy orgulloso por eso para nada. Y no voy hay diciéndole a todos. Pero a veces te tienes que defenderte a ti mismo. Si no defiendes algo, ¡caerás por lo que sea!

Así que, para todos mis camaradas, defiéndanse contra estos cerdos. No te estoy diciendo que les llegues a putasos, pero no les dejes que te hagan lo que quieran. Atácalos con pluma, huelgas, protestas, putasos o ¡como sea!

En las palabras de Malcolm X "De cualquier forma que sea necesaria."

Me voy con paz camaradas!

P.S. "Con los años he aprendido que cuando la mente ya está decidida, el miedo desaparece." - Rosa Parks


MIM(Prisiones) responde:

Este camarada nos hace recordar algo importante, en que no debemos de quedarnos sentados y dejar que el abuso nos pase. Y el criticismo a esos presos que se pelean con otros presos por puras pendejeadas, pero que no le entran con estos cerdos, está al punto. Al mismo tiempo, todos tienen que evaluar sus propias condiciones y decidir cuál movida será justa y que traerá menos sufrimiento y represalias. Necesitamos que más camaradas como este salgan de la prisión, !no hacer que su tiempo se duplique!

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
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Suit to Ensure Improved Disciplinary Process for Deaf Prisoners

I am hearing (deaf) / speech (mute from past strokes) / vision (blind in one eye and impaired in other eye) and W/C [bathroom] restricted/disabled. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was refusing to turn the closed captioning on the televisions for me and other offenders who are deaf, hearing impaired, disabled, or hard of hearing.

Also, being given disciplinary case knowing I was deaf, violating my due process rights by not passing a note. No written communication of what was going on during the disciplinary process so-called "investigations."

Now, thanks to Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), Mr. Brian R. McViverin and Ms. Barke Butler and three others, TDCJ is to have closed captioning feature on these dorm dayroom TVs from the time they are turned on to rack time. And any disciplinary cases I'm (or others of my type of hearing disabilities in accordance of the ADA) given, TDCJ must use special forms for me to read, answer, and sign/initial during the whole process. And anything spoken must be written down. If I see any lip movement and it is not written down, this becomes a violation of my Civil Action suit.

So, if you can, read this Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-02241 compromise and settlement agreement. Please let others know of this. I know I can not have been the only one that has had these problems with TDCJ.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This contributor shouldn't have had to go through the trouble of filing a Civil Action Suit in order to be afforded what is already guaranteed to em from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We here at MIM(Prisons) are disgusted by the behavior of TDCJ, which we see reflected all across the country in various forms. In a society that isn't run by profit and pigs, the courtesy of inclusion wouldn't require all the runaround and paperwork.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 57]
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Strip Searches Only for Harassment in Pennsylvania

There is no genuine or legal justification for still using strip searches in prisons today, except to breed homosexuality and cause aggressive sexual assaults, using it as a punishment to humiliate someone. I can prove without a doubt that times have changed/evolved and this strip naked prison rule is outdated. Modernized technology has invented what is called x-ray machines, which are used to search/see the body without forcing nude search. Prisoncrats provided prisons with sufficient funds to purchase and provide such x-ray machines. Prison staff, in their sadistic practices and policies to punish captives, refuse to use the x-ray machines for body searches.

Metal detectors are stationed throughout the prison, checkpoints forcing captives to walk through them, in their policy to confiscate any and all illegal metal objects. Captives are never asked if they are allergic to the radiation of the metal detectors or x-ray machines, which explains the prison staff's complete disregard for the physical or psychological effects on the captives.

We captives of the Pennsylvania state prisons ask for legal advice in our desires to sue the Department of Corrections for forcing the strip search policies. We live during advanced technologies and modernized minds, which dictates, strip searches are outdated, violates religious rights, breeds sexual predators, and are methods used to harass, humiliate and harm captives. Not to mention strip searchings are methods used identical to the times of slavery.

If for no other humane reasons, prison strip searches needs to be abolished, eliminated, minimized, because state prisons have been provided with the necessary machinery and manpower to secure prison grounds and facilities. The time is here. We the state captives in Pennsylvania prisons ask any and all judicial scholars and students of civil law, for legal advice, and to petition the courts to abolish all prison strip search policies.

There is the questions raised about prison security being vulnerable, and breached, if the strip search policy is eliminated. Such positions, beliefs or arguments are simply said to continue this long practice of psychological slavery in prisons. When in fact, x-ray machines detect any metal or foreign objects and contraband. Therefore, since state prisons have x-ray machines and metal detectors on facility grounds, it shows any need to search a subject can be done without the need of such said subjects being forced to disrobe, strip naked. Which means, if the metal detectors and x-ray machines they have are not successful to secure the prison facilities, then their machines are obsolete and obtained falsely.

However, if such machines and technologies are vital and essential to the security orders of running the prisons, then strip searchings are deemed obsolete and performed falsely. It is our contention, challenge, calling, that because x-ray and metal detector machines are used, that shows strip searches are no longer needed or necessary. Which proves strip searching are being used simply as a form of the prison's psychological punishments.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections state prisons has implemented a new policy against sexual assaults/harassments, called the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This PREA policy exposes its own ineffectiveness and prejudicial punishment, under the disguise of prosecuting sexual harassment and/or predators. To prove that this new PREA policy has been designed to minimize and eliminate sexual assaults in all of its manifestations on prison grounds, strip searching would also be minimized or eliminated as a means to sexual assaults and sexual harassments on state prison grounds.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer makes an important point: guards use strip searches as a form of gendered power that humiliates and degrades prisoners. But we don't agree that this abuse of power causes guards (or prisoners) to become homosexual. And even if that was possible, it's patriarchal society that teaches people to use gender for power and abuse which is the problem. There is no evidence that any sexual orientation is more predatory than any other. We need to focus on the real enemy here: the patriarchy which trains people to enjoy the abuse of gender power.

Prisoners are in a unique position in that they face gender oppression as a part of their imprisonment. This is true of both male and female prisoners. Strip searches are a good example of this gender oppression. This writer raises a good point about the abuse of power, and specifically gender power, that happens every time there is a strip search. This degrading practice is not for security, as this writer clearly demonstrates.

Identifying this form of oppression and calling it out for people to see is the first step in fighting back. The idea of using PREA to fight strip searches is an interesting approach. We'd like to hear from others who are fighting strip searches about what tactics are and are not working. Ultimately gender oppression in prisons isn't going away while we have a criminal injustice system serving imperialism. The patriarchy is an integral part of this system. But we can sometimes win smaller battles against these forms of humiliation and degradation.

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[Legal] [Organizing] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California] [ULK Issue 60]
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PLC Report from Corcoran SHU

Revolutionary Greetings,

This is my report about how the Prisoners' Legal Clinic here in the Corcoran Ad-seg/SHU is going. As a Clinic Coordinator, I've been responsible for showing inmates how to read and study the Title 15, which allows you to know what rights you have as a prisoner, and learn how to file a box. You'd be surprised to know, a lot of inmates don't understand the basics, but we've had minimal success. The accomplishments have resulted in (1) inmates getting their property in an orderly fashion, (2) getting allowable items that were granted from the hunger strikes, (3) receiving our program of yard & showers that we're being denied for lack of staff, (4) and being assigned a regular counselor to come by once a week to see if we need any assistance and making sure we get our NDS privileges (phone calls weekly or monthly & canteen draw of $165.00 instead of $55.00).

I've also filed a few written letters that have helped a few people get back to court, and allowed them to also be able to go to the law library once a week without having a case pending, which was the only way before. At this time we do not need any legal materials as we have enough at our disposal. This is a positive endeavor here, and this concluded my report.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The Prisoners' Legal Clinic is a serve the people program, made up of prisoners in the United $tates who are fighting injustice in the anti-imperialist movement. Through the PLC legally-savvy comrades offer legal assistance to others in their prison in exchange for some political work. And behind the scenes MIM(Prisons) provides the resources and support needed by our Clinic Coordinators. This program helps support necessary legal struggles of prisoners while also making the connection between these struggles and our broader political organizing. Write to us for more information if you want to coordinate a Clinic where you are at.

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 61]
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Pornography and Patriarchal Culture Imprisons Some While Others Profit

The May 2017 issue of the Family Fun magazine (owned by the media conglomerate Meredith Corporation) has produced and distributed an advertisement that meets the federal definition of child pornography. The ad shows a boy duck-taping a prepubescent girl to a garage wall. The image does not depict any nudity or sexual activity, but this does not matter under the law, which defines "sexually explicit conduct" to include "sadistic or masochistic abuse."

[One prisoner] found out the hard way. He is serving a 97-month federal prison sentence, to be followed by a lifetime of "supervised release" and registration as a dangerous "sex offender" for having received a similar but less explicit image. "All I remember about getting it was that it was in some ZIP file," said [the prisoner]. "I didn't think anything of it, as there was no nudity or anything sexual about it. But the government has destroyed my life."

"Then a friend of mine in prison saw this ad for Capri Sun," [the prisoner] said. "It is worse than the image I was sentenced for in every possible way. It shows clear and unambiguous active bondage; the girl is younger; her legs are spread; and there is a masochistic smile on her face." [The prisoner] wrote Kraft Heinz, the President, congress and as many civil rights and legal assistance organizations as he could. [The prisoner] continued, "Although the Capri Sun ad is tasteless, sexist, and more than a little disturbing, I don't think anybody should go to prison over it. Yet I am in prison and the rest of my life is destroyed for receiving an image that is mild by comparison."


MIM(Prisons) responds: Although we couldn't find a copy of this magazine ad, we don't doubt that this and many other magazines and so many other capitalist advertisements include pornographic images. Even billboards feature girls who look like they are 10 modeling skimpy clothing with a sexy pout on their faces. It is this patriarchal culture that puts pornography out in everything we see. And it is this culture that teaches people to enjoy pornography, coercion and sexual assault. Essentially capitalism is creating rapists while pretending to be shocked and offended by them.

People who get locked up for sex offenses are right to claim a double standard. That doesn't make what the sex offenders did right, it just makes society so very wrong. And as a result we're left with a criminal injustice system that gets to pick and choose who they want to prosecute. No surprise we end up with a disproportionate number of New Afrikan and [email protected] men locked up for these crimes.

It will take a revolutionary culture, and many years of fighting to eliminate the patriarchy, before we can truly eliminate pornography and sexual assault from humyn society. We will need to not only revolutionize our culture, but also re-educate everyone who has been inundated with patriarchy from birth. And those who internalized it to the extent of acting out violent sexual assaults and other crimes against the people will need even further re-education and rehabilitation before they can safely re-integrate into society.

For now, whether you are locked up justly or unjustly we urge you to take a hard look at your views about gender, how you treat people and how you view people, and consider how this is conditioned by patriarchal culture. We welcome all revolutionary activists to take up the struggle, regardless of your past, but we all need to be conscious of the effects of the patriarchy on our actions and beliefs.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Anchorage Correctional Complex ] [Alaska]
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Alaska Punishes Grievances with Segregation

Another pretrial detainee and I were rolled up and put into punitive segregation for the grievances, appeals and letters that we wrote to the Alaska DOC commissioner and our state's Lieutenant Governor, in standing up for our rights here at Anchorage correctional Complex (ACC). Detainees here are afraid of the retaliation brought upon those that stand up for their rights.

Superintendent Jesse Self, Assistant Superintendent Sondra Thomas, Lieutenant Jason Hamilton, Segregation Sergeant Tania Enyard, and Standards Sergeant G. Helms have all participated in violating pretrial detainees' rights at ACC. Grievances take four-plus months to be processed, if they even get processed. Many request for interview (RFI) forms never see an answer either. Requests through proper channels like RFIs, grievances and appeals go to the ears and eyes of the deaf and blind officials that condone these atrocities of injustice to happen. If one makes too many, or too loud, complaints against the officials in charge about the conditions here at ACC, they are relieved of all legal and personal property and put into punitive segregation for up to three months, without due process.

I have been in punitive segregation for only three days and I had to practically beg to get law library access once, for an hour. Under Alaska law we are to be allowed law library access at least seven hours a week. I may end up writing more grievances and appeals from punitive segregation than I have written total in the last two years. Of course, that depends on how long they keep me here in punitive segregation.

On your grievance campaign, I rewrote the copy that you sent me and I will try to get a version of it sent your way. I have not heard back from any of the officials that I sent it to. I sent, on my behalf, copies to Alaska DOC Commissioner Dean Williams, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, and the Department of Justice in Washington DC.

So many Alaskan pretrial detainees and prisoners do not know that their rights are being violated under both the U.S. Constitution and the Alaska Constitution. The guards run over them and their rights, stomping them into the ground. I am not legal knowledgeable, although I'm learning more all the time. I am trying to put together a lawsuit on my own behalf against officials of Alaska DOC. I have read enough to know that administrative remedies must be exhausted, and the lawsuit must be written correctly to be kept from being screened out of court. I have the grievance and appeal process down fairly good, it's the court filing that I was working on before being put into punitive segregation. I'm not beat, they have only slowed me down.

I share your publications with anyone and everyone that I can. I can't keep much in my possession anyway, so I write down what I'm interested in and pass on your publications. Thank you for the informative publication.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [David Wade Correctional Center] [Louisiana] [ULK Issue 57]
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Isolation and Torturous Conditions at David Wade Corrections Center

To whom it may concern, this is a plea for help from all prisoners housed in David Wade Correctional Center (DWCC) located in Homer, Louisiana.

Warden Goodwin is locking us inside these torture chambers for years with no educational activities, no corrective-rehabilitative programs, and no counseling for mental health. The lawmakers' and courts' intentions were to send those convicted of a crime to prison as a punishment, not to be oppressed, tortured in a cell 24-7 with nothing to do for years with nothing to better themselves, also with no TV or radio to have contact with the outside world. The lawmakers' intent was that prisoners receive correction and rehabilitation so as to return to society as productive, tax-paying, law-abiding members. By prisoners not being able to better themselves behind these walls, that is what makes us the highest incarceration state of the U.S.

Warden Goodwin is forcing mentally ill prisoners in a cell together 24-7, only coming out for a shower, and in turn these prisoners are hurting each other and raping each other. The policy #035 stated no maximum ext-lockdown inmate should be housed together but they are at DWCC where if you do not go in the cell you will be pepper sprayed. And not knowing what to expect or having any idea as to the length of confinement is added stress and particularly traumatizing, compounded by simplistic practices. The courts have also held that housing mentally ill prisoners under conditions of extreme isolation is unconstitutional, see Wilkerson v. Goodwin 12-17-14 [This case addressed long-term/indefinite solitary confinement, not specifically for the mentally ill - ULK Editor]. There has been much research that demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement is most dangerous to the mentally ill. Thus, we become disturbed with mental anguish that compels us to grab and adopt to other means and channel our pain, many are cutting themselves and going on hunger strikes. These are only a few experiences of prisoners. We need help, we need change, expose this torture!

Help us today, make a call or fax our governor and head of DOC. Ask them to close the torture chamber confinement unit at DWCC:

James Leblanc, Secretary of Corrections 225-342-6740 fax: 225-342-3095
Governor John Edwards 225-342-7015 fax 225-342-0002

MIM(Prisons) adds: As we have discussed elsewhere, isolation in prisons and mental illness reinforce each other under the current imperialist prison model. Too often people in these institutions are seen as lacking as individuals, when it is a system that creates this crisis in mental health. That is one reason we have continued to focus on the campaign to end the torture that is solitary confinement in the U.$. injustice system.

This issue of Under Lock & Key is focused on disabilities in prison. The use of control units to torture people, leading to physical and mental health problems is very much related to this topic. Long-term isolation is creating more and more disabled prisoners, by destroying their health. And then prisons are perpetuating this problem by failing to provide adequate care for the problems they created.

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[Economics] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 62]
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Pennsylvania Spends on Prison, Cuts Other Services

I want to write about my thoughts on prison reform and rehabilitation specifically in the state of Pennsylvania. Prison reform? Criminal "justice" reform? As long as the criminal justice system and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) remain lucrative industries those things will never happen!

To have any type of reform, I believe people should be held accountable for their misconduct (judges, prosecutors, governors, secretary of corrections, correctional officers, etc.) but that's never the case in Pennsylvania. Here in Pennsylvania, these rural areas in particular, the PDOC is a refuge for the unqualified and uneducated, who don't desire anything better for themselves.

Pennsylvania's state budget is crumbling due to the amount of overtime received by COs and to the excess state employees hired in the PDOC. Governor Wolf announced that he wanted to lay off 900 unneeded state employees and close a few jails because of the budget strain. However, Governor Wolf was opposed (almost violently) by the rural population. Their argument wasn't about the "criminals" that could possibly go free; they were concerned about not finding employment anywhere else. Overwhelmed, Wolf decided to only close one prison (which wasn't in a rural area) and retain the state employees (COs).

Instead of doing what he originally saw fit to do, Wolf was forced to cut back on the Meals on Wheels program, raise the state tax, and allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays amongst other things. As you would figure, all of those cutbacks didn't even begin to alleviate the budgetary stress. Why? Because those things weren't issues.

The fact still exist that there are too many state prison officials being hired and Pennsylvania needs to cut back on this senseless hiring, but Gov. Wolf was pretty much bullied out of action. All of this factors into the lack of prison and criminal justice reform, for if there was someone who could educate the tax payers who honestly believe that their "hard earned" dollars are "keeping their community safe" instead of funding a correctional officer's workers' compensation scam, educate them about where their money is actually going and what needs to be done. If a majority of the tax payers knew the truth about their money, about the funding of our oppression, suppression and torture, I believe that they would be more inclined to demand criminal justice and prison reform.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer provides a good exposure of the interest that prison guard unions and other prison employees have in maintaining or increasing the number of imprisoned people and the number of prisons in the United $tates. And also the political power these workers can exert when their jobs are threatened.

But we have to put this information in a larger context. Prisons are a very small part of state budgets, so it's not the CO overtime causing the Pennsylvania budget to crumble. In the Pennsylvania 2016-2017 budget, 8% went towards prisons.(1) It is good that the budget crisis in Pennsylvania is leading to considerations of closing prisons, but the response by COs and others benefiting from jobs with the prisons is the same we see across the country. Nonetheless, we need to be honest that shutting down a few prisons won't make much of a dent in the state budget.

While we would also like to think that people faced with information about oppression and torture would oppose it, we don't think the terrible conditions in Amerikan prisons are such a big secret. Many Amerikans are vocal in calling for even worse conditions, arguing that prisoners deserve whatever happens to them. And there is little outrage when stories of corruption among prison guards come out. The financial rewards all Amerikans are getting by living here within this wealthy imperialist country has created a population that supports imperialism and its criminal injustice system. While the oppressed nations within U.$. borders do generally come down against the oppression and corruption, the Amerikkkan nation, especially in rural counties, can be counted on to throw its support behind the system.

Note:
Penn Live, July 8, 2016. PA spends more on prisons than colleges, report says. http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/07/pa_prison_budget_tops_higher_e.html
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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 58]
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Notes on Advancing the Struggle Outside

What I'd like to discuss is organizing the streets. Not directly about how to organize the uprising of the masses, but how prisoners can communicate about the necessary revolution within prisons. How can the public, organizations/organizers, and activists be encouraged to lend support (action) to the prison struggle? While these are important questions, they are only the second half of the equation. The first half is: what must be done by us behind bars before the public can be induced to struggle with us?

Let's be realistic – people are self-centered. Very few people put much, if any, effort into matters that don't directly affect them (or have a strong potential to do so). By effort I mean attention, thought, energy and so on. It's an habitual characteristic throughout capitalistic societies. So our first priority is to consider, how can we convey to them that the prison struggle affects them directly? This is best done by making the struggle personal to them. Once we personalize something it becomes important to us (my gang, my family, my favorite song or what not), and we place greater significance on it. Remember, you're in prison. Society's view, in general, is: you deserve whatever you get, at best, or you're worthless and don't merit any consideration, at worst. Society disdains "criminals" and we must overcome this obstacle. Our ideal way is to help them "see" the deprivation and cruelty from our position inside the beast.

After they've personalized our struggle, our first big obstacle is over, we can move on to encouraging their support. It can be easily accomplished in the same way lumpen organizations (LOs) recruit: conversations and written communications, conveying the idea, principle, reason, goal and our conviction (more important than the rest) of its (the struggle) rightness. You can explain until your tongue's swollen, but even the most logical or reasonable arguments will fail to penetrate anybody's heart without the flame of genuine conviction. As the proletariat must be taught their historical role, so do potential activists, organizers, and the public, in regards to the struggle.

After overcoming these inconveniences, it's time for us to work putting action behind our words: pursuing joint studies, research, collaborative analyses, letters to individuals or organizations, social (in the community or online community) initiatives and so on. Into the trenches we bring them, baptized by fire, and out of the trenches we come united. It isn't enough to simply point and shoot. It's more of a golf lesson, together we teach them to swing. With this understanding fully established in our minds, it's time for some practical concerns.

How or who do we contact in order to spread knowledge about the struggle? Start with people you know. I also suggest looking into the organizations that already exist: Critical Resistance, News & Letters, Solitary Watch, the Brown Berets, to name a few, but there's more. Since you're reading ULK, you should start there, but don't stop there. Contact the others (many are in the PARC directory, see page 3), contribute to them if you agree with their mission, because we're all more likely to help those who help us. Eventually, you'll expand from one or two contacts to three or more, finding people who will do the ground work you can't do physically.

Is it a waste of time, energy and resources? No, not at all, because no major struggle is won without wide mass support. This includes Latin America's freedom from España, slavery in the United $tates, wimmin's suffrage, UFW (United Farm Workers) or civil rights movements. As in those situations, in the prison struggle authorities will offer resistance (censorship, segregation, etc.) to prisoner activists' efforts, so don't get discouraged, and be prepared. Here, success is an eventuality, not just a possibility.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this author's outline of necessary steps to organizing people on the streets. We just want to comment on one point, regarding how to find people to work with through the mail. This writer suggests people look at organizations that already exist to find folks to do ground work and movement building with, and also to write to people you already know.

The benefit to reaching out to people you already know, who aren't yet involved in anti-imperialist or prison organizing, is that you can potentially bring new people into the movement. When doing this type of work, always keep security in mind and try to assess political agreement separate from disclosing the political work that you actually do. Tactics for assessing how open someone is to being recruited, and how to get them to actually take up work, belong to a different discussion.

A good thing about reaching out to organizations directly is that they are full of people who have already been turned on to politics. Organizations likely have a structure for handling incoming mail from prisoners. For better or worse, because it also may mean they already have a lofty workload.

But a primary consideration when reaching out to organizations is to think carefully about the political line of the organizations you are attempting to work with, and get with groups where you have political agreement. Overall, it is political line that determines our strategy, and correctness of this line and strategy will determine the success of our struggle in the long term. MIM(Prisons) has some significant disagreements with some of the groups mentioned above on very fundamental questions of political line. We encourage people to study their material and decide for yourself what is right and what's the best way forward for our movement. You can write to us for literature to study on the many political lines out there and why we think Maoism is the best way forward for the oppressed people of the world.

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