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[Organizing] [USSR] [ULK Issue 59]
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Drugs a Barrier in All Prisons (look to USSR on Alcohol)

In response to "Drugs a Barrier to Organizing in Many Prisons," first, it's not many prisons, it's all! When drugs are present, unity is not. Drugs break the whole down into a degenerate form of individualism. Under the captivity of drugs and/or alcohol, these people are no different than the imperialist sheep that keep us oppressed.

ussr anti-alcohol
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Get lost, moonshine liquor!

It branches out to affect families of these people. Prison is definitely an overwhelmingly negative environment, but should be a place for personal reflection and growth. I take every opportunity to absorb knowledge, bring those who are in my company up with me. It makes absolutely no sense to become and remain stagnant in here. It pretty much guarantees failure once they return to freedom.

Drugs in prison leads to other criminal acts, such as extortion, violence, etc. It goes nowhere! Lenin vowed that a socialist state would never produce or sell alcohol. Basically prohibition. Alcohol nor drugs were tolerated. Lenin knew the drastic effects they had on people, and the inevitable damage it causes to the unity of the people. Until people realize the extreme hindrance drugs are, unity will be out of reach. All myself and other comrades can do is do our best to educate others, to shed light on truths.

In all situations, we should remember Lenin's warnings:

"Illusions and self-deceptions are terrible, the fear of truth is pernicious. The party and the people need the whole truth, in big things and small. Only the truth instills in people an acute sense of civic duty. Lies and half-truths produce a warped mentality, deform the personality, and prevent one from making realistic conclusions and evaluations, without which an active party policy is inconceivable."

People constantly fall prey to ideological lies. They lack a sense of discipline and self-awareness. This exists not only in prisons, but in society. Society is overwhelmingly a slave-morality, following the masses — doing what they believe will satisfy norms, set forth by imperialists. Comrades probably feel like the "minority," but must always keep in mind that this "minority" is strong, rooted in truth and unity.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Lenin did oppose alcohol in the Soviet Union, both as a question of capitalist enterprise that was bad for the peasants and also as a health issue. On the question of monopolies he wrote:

"This is quite apart from the enormous amount of money the peasant communes have lost as a result of the liquor monopoly. Hitherto they obtained a revenue from liquor shops. The Treasury has deprived them of this source of revenue without a kopek compensation!"(1)

In studying the history of alcohol in the Soviet Union, we came across some writings by Anna Louise Strong from 1925. As she explained:

"The war with drink, like everything else in Russia at present, is not a thing by itself, but is tied up with the ideas of the Revolution. The bootlegger is denounced, not merely as a lawbreaker, but as a man who profits in the misery of others. The advocates of strong drink, when they venture to express themselves, are hotly denounced, not merely as mistaken, but as 'counter-revolutionists, poisoners of Russia!'"(2)

In 1925 the Soviet Union finally had a good harvest of grain after years of war and famine. This presented an opportunity for serious alcohol production. And one official argued that the government should encourage it and make money off the taxes. Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Part of the Soviet Union, denounced this position:

"Now after our long strain of war and famine, when national health is at a low ebb, legalised alcohol would be infinitely more dangerous than it was before," ... "He proposes to get rid of the bankruptcy in our budget. But he would drive that bankruptcy into the bodies and minds and souls of our people. The party cannot overlook such suggestions even in the conversational stage. We understand what you have in view. We have made many concessions because of our poverty, but such a concession as the surrender of our national soberness you will not get. This shall not pass."(2)

As Strong concludes about the Soviet Union in 1925:

"Drink is attacked as a problem of public health and national morale, rather than a question of individual morals. Repressive measures are occasionally quite severe and public demand is growing to make them even more stringent. But there is also universal agreement, in every article one reads and every official one talks to, that the final solution can come only by substituting an interesting cultural life for the lower pleasures of drink.

"As for state manufacture of vodka, about which rumours from time to time arise, the words of Lenin himself laid down the government's attitude. When the new economic policy was under discussion and the question was raised in the conference of the Communist party how far they were prepared to go in making concessions to the peasants, Lenin outlined the policy as follows:

'Whatever the peasant wants in the way of material things we will give him, as long as they do not imperil the health or morals of the nation. If he asks for paint and powder and patent leather shoes, our state industries will labour to produce these things to satisfy his demand, because this is an advance in his standard of living and 'civilisation,' though falsely conceived by him.

'But if he asks for ikons or booze—these things we will not make for him. For that is definitely retreat; that is definitely degeneration that leads him backward. Concessions of this sort we will not make; we shall rather sacrifice any temporary advantage that might be gained from such concessions.'"
Notes: 1. V.I. Lenin, Casual Notes, 1901, in Collected Works Vol 4. 2. The First Time in History, Anna Louise Strong. VIII. The War with Alcohol.
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[Organizing] [Special Needs Yard] [United Front] [California]
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Biggest Divide in California reply

Revolutionary greetings, and salutations my brothers in struggle. I received ULK 58 about 2 weeks ago here in Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU). I also received the CA USW Primer 1st Edition, January 2017. Read it cover to cover, and it had some very good, as well as informative topics and info. I'd like to respond on the article about, "The Biggest Divide - Not Race or Gang". I am an Special Needs Yard (SNY) prisoner.

I seriously doubt the two sides will ever be able to come together, as far as programming together on the same yards. Personally I have no problem with General Population (G.P.), and there are a lot of things I miss about being there. Things have changed a lot on the G.P. side since they have let validated L.O.s out though. As you say: "Not to fan the flames I'll leave that alone." I will say this on a personal level. I do have great respect for every soldier over there who are pushing the MIM theory and line. So I send mine to you comrades. Stay up, stay strong, and keep that "can't stop, won't stop attitude."

MIM, I do understand what our cause is pushing for as far as coming together goes. The only chance I see of that happening is if the G.P. side reverted to the old way of about 2 or 3 decades ago. That is to say letting those of us back on the yard who retired, laid down, stopped reporting, but never debriefed, and our paperwork is clean of sex offenses. Not only that but through the different L.O.s' contact with guards that are in some of their pockets, letting them know of those of us who have conducted ourselves in a convict's code of conduct on this side as well. Meaning we haven't become the C.O.s' rat bitches. Comrades — if they did allow us back — would only be a small amount of us. Maybe a handful on every yard.

Ultimately I would go as far as to say that I am a real small minority that would be willing to take that chance to unite under the above aforementioned standards. There is definitely a very long way to go on that issue. As you say, it's also a trust issue. Yes the Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) is what I want. But if the comrade that wrote that article has ever been in prison, you understand the issues that keep the divide, and there are many of them. Personally I have no issues with my brothers of the past. None. They haven't given me reason to be hostile, or have any grudge against them, but there are others on SNY that don't feel the same way for whatever reasons they have.

I have something to say now about the reason I'm in ASU. When I was 6 months to release, I got fed up with the K-9 searching 2-4 times a week, so I refused to come out. I got soaked with O.C. spray. Of course whenever C.O.s either assault us, or spray us, or shoot us with block gun, or bullets, unjustifiably, their go-to "off the books" thing is, "the inmate assaulted or battered me." I - comrades - did not assault that coward. I'm the one who was assaulted by O.C. spray.

The day this took place, I.S.U. didn't even go talk to him, or take pictures, because there was nothing to photograph. He lied, and broke protocol by crossing the threshold of my cell, with no supervisor present. What makes me mad is him putting his damned boot on my back. He hit me with his metal baton like a lil girl. Excuse my expression, wimmin comrades, I mean no disrespect. Anyway I filed an excessive force 602 appeal — staff complaint — on him. Some inmate told me, "Oh man you're asking for it now." Ha! It's because of those kind of inmates that are afraid to file on them is why they get away with what they do. I have that right. Brothers died so that we can file paperwork. I remember that, when I feel lazy, 'cause I hate doing paperwork, 'cause it's frustrating and tedious. Anyway comrades that is my spill. Keep the positive work you do going forward. I'll sign off with a revolutionary salute to all of you comrades at MIM and USW. One day brothers. One day in the distant future you will see, if not you, yours, and our kids will see our world as we struggle for it, to be under one dictatorship, united. Trust and believe. It's destined to come to fruition. Believe that!

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[Education] [Release] [Recidivism] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 60]
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Rehabilitation Must Push People to Their Fullest Potential

Seven out of every ten parolees will be arrested sometime after their release. Nearly half will return to prison someday. The plague of recidivism hangs over every releasee's future like the scythe of the grim reaper coming to cut short their potential beyond the concrete walls, iron bars, and razor-wire of the perpetually proliferating injustice system. The very dehumanizing experience of imprisonment itself plays a significant role in criminal conditioning. For many, it is the influencing factor of imprisonment that detrimentally affects them the greatest. Many learn from those mistakes of their past and some don't. For those with the ability to endure the physical and psychological terrors of "doing time," the lack of skills acquired leaves them with few options other than crime for economic survival after release and leaves the parole board wondering whether or not it made the right decision in granting parole in the first place.

More often than not, it is overlooked as to what may have led to someone's imprisonment and what may be done to help them overcome the struggles or obstacles in their path and in order for them to have a successful reintegration into society. The feeling of defeat is often a temporary condition, but there is never a better measure of what a person is than when they're absolutely free to choose. Removing the individual's choice leads to a lack of inspiration and motivation to overcome one's struggles, and they eventually give up hope. Giving up is what makes the temporary condition of defeat permanent. Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.

In prisons the use of manual labor is considered by several states to be rehabilitative for those given the duty of performing labor that could be done by an advancement in technology through farming equipment. In all actuality, this manual labor is of no use to the prisoner and further hinders true rehabilitation. More money is put into prisons, county jails, and other state penal institutions than there is put into the actual rehabilitation of the prisoners. The addition of more educational programs throughout the state penal institutions would serve a greater good and present people with more opportunities for a successful reintegration into society. "Hoe squad" and "regional maintenance" are a hindrance to the efforts to rehabilitate criminal behavior and thinking modification efforts of the individual prisoners.

Forcing a prisoner to perform such tasks of manual farming and regional clean-up to replace that of existing farm equipment and jobs that are the responsibility of our city labor forces, and without an incentive for possible job placement upon release, serves no greater purpose to the individual prisoner and proves to be more dehumanizing than rehabilitative. It has been declared by many that we can change our circumstances by a mere change of our attitudes, but when placed under duress with no choice in the matter there becomes no room for progress. In regards to rehabilitation, it should and must be the objective of our state government and legislature to seek out better avenues by which to lower our states' recidivism rates, and use education as an avenue by which to rehabilitate our states' prisoners. The person everyone wants returning to their community is an educated, empowered taxpayer who has the skills to help make our society safe and healthy.

As an ex-convict, I understand the limitations placed on our states' prison populations by the use of "hoe squad" and "regional maintenance" as a form of rehabilitation. The value of post-secondary correctional education programs prove to be very beneficial. As this article is written, I am in progress of putting together business plans for an outreach program entitled "A New Leaf Outreach Program" aka "My Brothers' Place" that will serve as an avenue by which convicts / ex-convicts and parolees / probationers, as well as the community, may come together and organize our knowledge — not denying one another the opportunity to teach what we know and learn what we may not know — and bring about a solution to our society's problems.

One may choose to be a part of the problem or choose to be a part of the solution. Regardless of one's past mistakes, one always chooses to be a part of the solution. Once you are challenged, you find something in yourself. Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records. Success is based upon how one rises above his defeats.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer explains well the importance of education for prisoners and the uselessness of many of the "jobs" programs that currently exist. This failure of the work programs is specific to the criminal injustice system that seeks to control populations rather than educate and rehabilitate.

In communist China under Mao we have examples of prisons where people were sent for genuine rehabilitation and education. These prisons integrated work programs for the prisoners, to help them contribute productive labor to society and learn skills they might use on the outside. When prisoners were released in China it was after undergoing intensive education, which included reading many books and discussing these books with others. This process of study and criticism/self-criticism helped them see why their actions that harmed other people were wrong, and giving them a sense of purpose to their lives that did not involve harming others.

All of this occurred within the greater context of a society where everyone was given a role, and expected to participate in transforming society. We can't expect the imperialists to implement such a progressive system because it would be counter to their use of prisons for social control and impossible in a capitalist dog-eat-dog society. But we can, as this writer says, build together to be part of the solution. We can build our own educational programs, study groups, and organizations independent of the oppressor. This is our job right now, as we build to ultimately take down this corrupt and unjust system.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Drugs] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 59]
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Arkansas DOC Covers Up Deaths from K2, Frames Comrade

On 15 September 2017 my neighbor died smoking K2 and after the pigs saw I was the last person to speak with him they locked me up under investigation. The first interrogation was conducted by the Arkansas state pig and it seemed as if all was well. The next week another death, same cause. Then my neighbor's mom appeared on the news saying she was gonna get to the bottom of his death (apparently they told her he had a heart attack), and bring a lawsuit before the court.

So when the internal affairs came and conduct their interrogation the pressure had been put on ADC (Arkansas Department of Corrections) and the woman resorts to some dirty ass tactics as soon as I walk in. She starts by telling me she's been doing her thorough investigation and listening to my phone calls, and that she knows about my girlfriend that I tell that I love her and then call my wife and turn around and tell her the same. I ask her if it was some type of threat she was implying because what she was talking about had nothing to do with my neighbor's death. She then starts her backpedaling and starts questioning me about $ I had moved in the "free." That's where I decided to end our conversation.

Right before the time period for investigation ran out I received a disciplinary for possession of contraband even though I was never in possession of anything and it was at this point I realized ADC had their scapegoat in the form of myself. That week topped off with another death, same cause. That's 4 deaths from K2 in this prison within 90 days (there was one about a month before my neighbor).

I was found guilty in kangaroo court, given 30 days punitive and 60 days restriction on phone, visits, commissary. A few days later, the Arkansas state pig comes back. The only reason I could see was to fish for some more circumstantial evidence and bring some type of formal charges to cover ADC's ass. I've been in the hole for about 40 days now and as far as that situation, that's where things stand.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We just completed a survey of drugs in U.S. prisons, in which we found K2 to be the new dominant drug across much of the country. See our article on the K2 epidemic in Texas, where a similar rash of deaths have occurred.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Gender] [Special Needs Yard] [California Institution for Women] [California] [ULK Issue 61]
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PHRM Needs Bridges to SNY and Trans Prisoners

I am a transsexual female who has been in these trenches 37 years, have walked close to 30 yards and several SHUs, EOP, DMH. I want to add to Legion's presentation regarding SNYs (ULK 58, p. 19) and how they came to proliferate in Cali, and with regard to the people who walk SNY.

When I first came to CDC in the early 1980s, there were four formations that governed all the maximum security yards: Black Guerrilla Family, Nuestra Familia, Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood. Notwithstanding the wars among them, there was order and discipline within each, and the tone of the yards was one of respect and honor, an old or original tradition. There was a lot of fighting and killing at San Quentin, where I did four years in the Adjustment Center (AC) SHU. Extreme warfare proliferated as the formations fought each other, especially in AC, where Comrade George executed pigs and reactionary enemies and was martyred in 1971. It was the same AC I stepped into in summer 1982 — nothing had changed: extreme warfare through the bars (there were no solid doors, though there are now) and tiger cages instead of AC yards. In 1985, a white sergeant was speared in the heart through bars and died on the tier, which was attributed to BGF. That's when CDC went bonkers and conceived the Pelican Bay SHU monster to deal with everything (opened in 1989). It was also because of the killing of this sergeant that all SHU pigs had to wear protective vests, beginning in 1986. (Years later, alias Crips did a mass stabbing attack on yard pigs at Calipatria, and now ALL pigs have to wear vests.)

CDC's idea of an extreme control environment was a strategic mistake. First, because it could not and did not break the spirit of those who count, but reinforced their endurance. Second, it created a massive vacuum on the yards as all the OG formations were swept up and stuck in Pelican Bay SHU; soon, independent factions popped up on the untended yards, and compared to previous, the yards went haywire, like kids at a carnival. There was no discipline, no respect, no honor; SNY yards opened and grew as many stepped back from that mess. Now, wherever there is a General Population (G.P.), there is an SNY or two. Third, all of this cost CDC millions of more dollars than average, with nothing gained. Fourth, under the extreme oppression of Pelican Bay SHU, the consciousness of the formations heightened and they united against CDC. And fifth, the courts eventually let the formations out again.

A lot of the people who went from G.P. to SNY in the heydays of chaos were not bad apples but were just more serious about doing time, that the G.P. was so ruined it would've been futile to try to get it back on track.

As much as the G.P. has progressed, however, it still has some backward baggage to sort out. Trans prisoners cannot be on the G.P. because of threats of death, BECAUSE they are trans; only that. There are some progressive prisoners on G.P., the Kata, who do not persecute us. In fact they politically educated me in Pelican Bay SHU in the early 1990s. (A kata is a martial arts stance that Comrade G. practiced in his cell and disliked the pigs to see him in. Here, it connotes a revolutionary position and cadre.) But the general practice on the G.P. towards trans prisoners is transmisogyny and gender oppression; reactionary. To promote a prisoner's human rights platform, that platform must include the vested interests of all oppressed prisoners and have representation of all interests, including trans, and must extend into SNY and women's prisons. The G.P. has yet to address its position towards trans prisoners publicly.

I am with the Red Roses Transsexual Political Party (alias 36 Movement), which I founded. We are a political resistance movement, with critically vetted members. We do political work to challenge CDC's genocidal treatment of us as trans women with administrative complaints, lawsuits, and educate trans prisoners for unity and resistance. We consider ourselves a part of the Prisoners Human Rights Movement (PHRM) founded by the united G.P. at Pelican Bay SHU. Our voice needs to be heard, our situation on the G.P. hashed out. PHRM needs to extend into the women's prisons, where contradictions have peaked, with a series of suicides at the California Institution for Women.

There is no question that we are in a new era of doing time, across the whole landscape. The biggest difference is the new collective consciousness of who is the real enemy in terms of our fundamental vested interests, produced by the overbearing of the state on the oppressed. The current unity of the OG formations — and especially the Kata, as BGF and other New Afrikan unity — illustrates this.

Unfortunately, SNY is beset with wars among factions, and there have been some killings. I would advocate the PHRM shoutout to SNY factions to call a cease fire and work out a Peace Accord, to acknowledge a higher need for unity against their conditions, such as, they can't get into any self-help rehabilitation groups unless they debrief. PHRM's voice will resonate with those who count on SNY.

Red Roses urges all trans prisoners to acquire political consciousness and join the 36 Movement to resist CDC oppression as a united force. We are political, not criminal, politically educate ourselves and do for self and support each other for our collective good. Stop squabbling. We are being killed on the yards, as Carmen Guerro, who was killed on this very yard, and others (rest in peace). The 36 Movement is one for all and all for one. Let that be your motto.

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[Principal Contradiction]
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Chicano Power a Good Tool to Combat Civil Rights Strategy

I was going over some points about integrationalism from a magnificent work by RADS called [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. What I read talked about the rise in the percentage of Chicanos joining the military. (Between 2000 and 2004, Latinos went from 10.4% of new military recruits to 13.0%, pg. 132.) It goes on to talk about the key of the struggle of the oppressed nation is: "National liberation!" Not an integrationist approach into an entity with the whites who make up the majority of military troops. (My emphasis)

I believe that the "civil rights" theory of sharing what whites are privileged at or enjoy, tho' may equal some form of equality, will not equal liberation from oppression of the people.

The overall goal is to overthrow imperialism and their exploitation of the proletariat and their oppression of mankind, not to have a "civil right" to also be able to exploit and oppress and have a piece of the imperialist pie. In the end game we must obtain communism through socialism.

I think many get lost in the sauce of "civil rights" stimuli and become confused about how we should end oppression and genocide of our folks.

Not only is it our duty to refrain from getting caught up in the "civil rights hype" and use the materialist method, but also what comes with the territory of staying true to our politics is that we must also correct those of the stock who do fall for the civil rights approach when trying to escape or put an end to imperialist madness. This same stock I speak of are some of the same folks who could also make up some of the potential to join the ranks of the people's army.

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[Organizing] [Macon State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 59]
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September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity: Lessons and Future Plans

[9 September 2017 marked the sixth annual Day of Peace and Solidarity in prisons across the United $tates. On this day we commemorated the anniversary of the Attica uprising, drawing attention to abuse of prisoners across the country through peaceful protests, unity events, and educational work. This demonstration was initiated in 2012 by an organization participating in United Struggle for Peace in Prisons and has been taken up as an annual UFPP event, with people participating in prisons across the country.

In ULK 58 we printed some reports about September 9 actions. While we were inspired by those who stood up and protested, educated, and organized around this annual commemoration, we saw relatively low participation this year. As a result we have asked the leadership council of United Struggle from Within to consider whether this is the right action to focus our energy on in coming years. There are many ways to organize and we should not get stuck in just one path because it is what we did in the past.

We call on all readers to submit your thoughts on the September 9 commemmoration. Should we continue next year, or if not, do you have an idea for a campaign or action we should take up instead? We will pass your comments on to the USW leadership council.

Below is one more report we received on September 9 organizing from Georgia. - MIM(Prisons)]


This history lesson was posted on the dorm wall for two weeks preceding September 9 in Macon State Prison in Georgia:

[email protected]* Sept 11th, we got Sept 9th!

Sept 9th marks an important date in the history of mistreated prisoners across the U.S. It is the date of what is referred to as 'The Attica Rebellion.' Here's a synopsis of the event and I pray to the revolution gods that my recollection serves me correct. Unity in Peace.

Sept 9, 1971 prisoners at Attica Correctional Institution in the state of New York got tired of prison guards harassing them and abusing them mentally and physically, so they decided to take a stand. The prisoners negotiated with the prison commissioner and when he refused to meet requests, the prisoners, for the betterment, health care and food, then turned to a full scale riot and eventual takeover of the prison and staff. The men spoke over a land line to then-governor Nelson Rockefeller about the conditions of confinement and he too refused to meet demands. On Sept 13th after a four-day standoff governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered local law enforcement and the National Guard to take back the prison with deadly force. About 50 deaths in all from around 30 prisoners and 10 guards with hundreds more injured and disabled and disfigured to this date.

This is a tremendous day in our fight for justice and courage and a loss of many lives. Always remember Sept 9th as a sad but heroic sacrifice made for the betterment of you and me.


MIM(Prisons) adds: A beautiful aspect of the Attica Uprising was how the prisoners interacted with each other. They ran the facility themselves, and there was peace on the yard. They were able to feed themselves, deliver meds, and even did count, all without the overseers breathing down their necks. For more of the history on the Attica Uprising, send in $2 of work-trade for the September 9 study pack.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 58]
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Bricks of Corruption in Arkansas

I'm a voice for the people of struggle and oppression and victim to society's pollution: the Arkansas Department of Corrections. A place they proclaim is for rehabilitation, but where does rehabilitation create racial discrimination, falsified disciplinary reports and staff misconduct, because of your skin tone or affiliation?

Two months ago a riot broke out in the barracks where I resided. I was not an active participant of the unstructured event of ignorance, but I, along with several other minorities of the Hispanic and African descent, were targeted and effected by the criminal injustice of the institution and its staff. We received the administering of non-lethal weapons and chemical agents with some excessive force, placed on an emergency transfer to a maximum security facility, only to be wrongfully convicted by the introduction of fabricated lies and reports by the pigs' so-called integrity.

The DOC has policies that are supposed to protect our rights against injustice, but how is it equal or efficient, when grievances and disciplinary appeals come up missing, unanswered or rejected for a variety of reasons and excuses, making it hard to embrace freedom because you're victimized by the bricks of corruption? There has to be a better way to serve the people in creating unity against all aspects of discrimination and false accusations, enslaving us to the institution due to a lack of knowledge, legal and politically. I'm seeking advice from ULK and also any available study materials and books you can offer to advance my knowledge into political organizing and structured movements against the oppressor.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer asks for help but also offers a very good answer to this request. Building unity should be the main focus, and studying political organizing and history to learn from the past is an excellent way to get started. Prisoners initiating unorganized and perhaps poorly-planned demos shows that there is much discontent. That anger needs to be channeled against the criminal injustice system, and by building unity behind bars we can start this process. We invite this comrade, and anyone else interested, to join our correspondence study group. Just write to us and let us know you're interested.

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[Medical Care] [Drugs] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUII] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 59]
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Corizon Running Drugs to Control AZ Prisoners

Drugs in prison is a sensitive topic in the convict world. Being that I live in it and that I am STG'd out here in Arizona, I will refrain from speaking/writing about the illegal kind as here in solitary they are not as prevalent as they are out there on the yards. I will not lie though, and say that they are non-existent here, as all convicts know "where there is a will, there is a way." But what I mean is that there is no one all strung out or in debt and so forth.

The number one drug here is the pills that the contract medical provider, Corizon Health, Inc., is giving to everyone, i.e. the legal kind. These prescription drugs that come in the guise of treatment are what reigns supreme here in SMU. You don't even have to wait for visit on the weekends like on the yard. No way not here, here they are passed out on the daily, twice a day, even three times a day to some. These drugs are prescribed by so called "clinicians who use an evidence based approach to treat conditions such as yours which includes maximizing formulary medication use while providing safe and effective treatment," to quote Corizon staff verbatim. This is actually impossible as you cannot eyeball someone and use that as your evidence. That is just a guess, and not an educated one.

Now that they have taken actual pain medication, which is only gabapentin, a pill to treat nerve damage, Corizon staff have been directed to prescribe psych drugs in replacement. So instead of further treatment that include MRIs, EMG treatment, physical therapy, or a range of other options, they are taking away a drug that works, to prescribe you an anti-depressant for pain management as if the depression from you being here was causing you pain and not the stenosis in your neck, AC joint separation, nerve damage, etc. This psych med is like the commercials that you see on TV where the side effect is diarrhea, headache, etc.

The system gives you these legal drugs instead of approving further treatment because MRIs cost money, and outside care visits cost money. So they want you on psych meds to have you walking around like a zombie or not so depressed from being STG'd and housed in solitary. Even the law firms and organizations representing us in Parsons v. Ryan are aware, yet choose to do nothing. Corizon staff and Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) staff actually tell you to seek outside legal representation, like a dare! But while all we want is to be treated for our injuries and not drugs, ADC will not step in nor will our so-called legal team. Instead, our drugs at this unit are more habit-forming and more highly accessible than the illegal kind, and will continue to be supplied by our very own med provider Corizon, and all legally.

ADC will just allow this to continue to take place and protect their mule, Corizon, just like the drug cartels in the motherland. This is ADC's "plaza" and Corizon will continue to funnel drugs all over the state of Arizona, not through tunnels, planes, boats, or on foot but right through the front gate with a badge and a greeting, service with a smile!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer brings up an important point about drugs in prison. The problem isn't just illegal drugs numbing minds and harming bodies, it's also legal drugs being prescribed by the prison medical teams to keep the population pacified. This pacification happens through the action of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, which can dull all emotions, and also through addictive drugs like pain meds. Instead of treating the real problems, both physical and emotional, that are caused by years of living in the harmful conditions of Amerikan prisons, prison medical staff just treat the symptoms, if they offer any treatment at all.

From the capitalist perspective, in the short term providing inadequate health care and getting people addicted to pacifying drugs is an effective way to control costs and control the prison population. But in the long term this makes no sense, even for the capitalists. Health problems left untreated will only get worse as people age, and become more expensive to deal with. Further, releasing prisoners addicted to pain killers or other drugs does not lead to productive life on the streets.

This only makes sense in the context of a criminal injustice system that wants to maintain a revolving door of an expanding prison population. One that doesn't care if prisoners live or die, as long as they stay passive. While it may be true that cost is part of the reason good treatment isn't provided, Amerikans are happy to spend lots of money on prisons in general. Spending all that money is justified because the prisons provide an effective tool of social control, targeting oppressed nations and all who resist the capitalist system. The drugs given to prisoners behind bars are just one part of that control.

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 58]
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Importance of Effective Communication

When it comes to organizing people in society from within a prison, we find ourselves confronted with many obstacles. Seeing as no major struggle is won without wide mass support, it becomes imperative that we (prisoners) overcome the obstacles placed in our path to cripple our efforts to reach the masses about the prison struggle. In order to gain the masses' support from behind bars we must first reach them and grab their attention. The first obstacle we face as prisoners is censorship.

Unfortunately, censorship is a reality for prisoners more than it is for anybody in society. Authorities can frustrate our efforts in so many ways that you have to admire their ingenuity. Mail can be "lost", thrown away, never delivered or delivered to the wrong person, held under investigation for weeks and so much more. With so many ploys at their disposal it seems a daunting task for us to confront. Luckily for us appearances aren't everything. True, once the letter leaves your hands there is almost nothing you can do to ensure it makes it to its destination. What you can do, though, is maintain detailed records. It's simple, and takes minimal effort, and is an effective way of holding the authorities accountable. Once you have a record established of who, what, where, why and when you mailed something, you can make a case for mail tampering.

What should your mail log have at minimum? First, who you wrote. Second, what you sent them. Third, where you sent your mail (office, school, home address, etc.). Fourth, your general (no need to go into details here) reason for contacting them. Finally, when you placed it in your facility's mail here, you want full date and time if at all possible. On my mail logs I have an additional space or two for which shift and which officer I turned my mail in to. Of course, you may decide to add more details, the above is only a basic formula. Censorship may still happen but you'll be better positioned to confront it. Don't forget, make duplicates of your records, at least two.

Following censorship, the next greatest obstacle is communication. Not just communicating our struggle, but effectively communicating it. Anybody can write a letter full of expletives, angry words and denunciations of cruelties and deprivations. Angry letters will normally push someone away from your cause, where a sensible, well-composed and measure-toned letter will at the very least garner a polite decline. Angry letters rarely garner any response. Sometime before you start reaching out to organizing the streets, you'll need to organize behind bars. My advice is to form a committee or council.

Here in Colorado, we have a small committee (just 3 members) in which we discuss, formulate, criticize and launch our ideas and efforts. Most progress in the prison struggle began with organizing behind bars, reaching out to the streets, effective communication, creating solidarity and achieving a goal together. A formula for success: A.E.H. (Agreement to End Hostilities), movements to end long-term solitary confinement, more humane treatment and so much more.

For us organizing the streets, mobilizing the masses isn't a very difficult task. Censorship and effectively communicating our plight, vision and end goal is the most difficult. Censorship is the authorities' go-to obstruction tactic and besides maintaining records, lodging complaints or lawsuits, there is not much in your control to discourage them. On the other hand, effective communication is wholly in your control. What's the point in overcoming censors if you can't present your case when the opportunity arrives? You already know the answer, but I'll still confirm it – there's no point. Organize yourself first. Mail logs, duplicates of all letters, documents, essays and such. Communicate in an intelligible manner with personality, and don't get disheartened at rejection. Often times it's only a question of pitching the right pitch to the right person.

Note: Prisoners may request Constitutional Rights of Prisoners from their facility's law library as loan material. Related information as well as litigation guidance related to disciplinary matters may be purchased from Prison Legal News, PO Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 83460: "The Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual," by Dan Manville, 2nd Edition, for $49.95 + $6 s&h.

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