If the wallz of prison life could talk I wonder what they’d say. From overseer to officer, from predator to prey. Solitary confinement, oppressive and inhuman, involuntary servitude Psychologically still in chains - Prison Boom! when it rains it pours. Price gouging and extortion, bleeding our families with inmate store. A revolving door, crippled from the lack of education Under Lock & Key, agitated and pacing, hoping and waiting, Political devil in disguise. Drug-infested prisons, breeds chemical suicide Pleading for a way out of this bottomless pit, Another murder covered up. Prison guard orchestrated the hit. Violent prison stabbings, dry tazed to death Poor ventilation, heat exhaustion, claimed his last breath. The ultimate test is to stand firm and bear witness, Because these wallz are speaking volumes, and if you’re wise, Listen…..
On 6 September 2023 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prison system mandated a statewide Lockdown due to the number of deaths related to drugs: a total of 16. They think that will stop the flow of drugs, but you and I know that it will not. You and I know that as long as you have officers that are willing, it will continue.
…Most here are having to do all of their sentence, and some have said fuck it, I will continue to get high. They don’t have to worry about going to jail, cause they are already in jail. But it seems to be that the only ones making parole are the ones that consistently stay high. Do you think that if more were making parole that would cut down on some of the drugs being used?
Choper reports from Bill Clements on the same day: The Bill Clements Unit has been continually operating at 20% to 30% short of staff for three straight years now. In Ad-Seg I have had my 1 hour out of cell 4 times in 2 years. We have had spaghetti sauce and beans 2x per day every day for 90+ days. Commissary always has an excuse why they don’t run and library runs roughly 6x per year instead of weekly.
The wardens and majors and rank walk through and focus on taking down pictures and string lines. Micromanaging the small shit instead of handling real issues like starvation and excessive suicide. There is no medical provider on staff here so don’t run medical. No mental health. Prescriptions run out long ago and nobody to refill.
Today we are on lockdown because they can’t control contraband: this itself is an admission of failure by staff. I mean you can’t manage 20-30% staff? WTF would they do with 100% staff? Their incompetence is killing, literally killing us. As in deaths. A lot of them.
A Connally Unit prisoner wrote on 25 September 2023: I am currently G5 custody level being held at Connally Unit in Kennedy, Texas at a Texas State Prison (TDCJ). We are currently on lockdown. I believe all TDCJ is under lockdown. Apparently they are cracking down on narcotics and any other form of contraband. We have been on lockdown since Wednesday, 6 September 2023. Correction, that was an annual lockdown. We had a restriction lockdown on 24 August 2023, and we have been on lockdown ever since.
Our last commissary day, the last time we actually hit, was on August 21st. I believe we are supposed to go every 30 days or so, at least a hygiene store and we haven’t had any of that! The first restriction lockdown was placed (not formally but rumor goes) because someone snitched gave TDCJ staff heads up about some contraband and people involved. Who and what I am not sure. I am not allowed out of the cell except for showers! Up until recently they was not running showers regularly.
We received tablets (all G5 custody) on Tuesday, 19 September 2023. Since then things have gotten way better! Showers run more regularly, food comes at reasonable times. We get cold water runs! The food portions are better than before. The fires have stopped! You know, I am not sure if visitation is now open. The terrors have since stopped though! What a relief. Ok, so the terrors began on the 1st day of restriction lockdown (8/24) I couldn’t see much and didn’t know what was going on but they raided (shookdown) a couple people’s cells in 8 Building L pod 3 section. We was never informed that we was placed on restriction lockdown or why. I found out gossip from another inmate.
Since day one, no showers, no cold water runs, no heat respite, (I don’t believe G5’s get any respite) small food portions and they would run late. It is extremely hot in Connally. It is even hotter back here. Connally Unit is a down south Texas max security unit. There have been multiple times I have passed out due to the heat, woken up with major headaches, bloodshot eyes, and chapped lips!
…They shook us down on September 9th, Saturday. They didn’t finish the whole building til 15th or 16th, which is about when we got our dearly beloved SSI’s back!!! The suffering ends, partially… When they shook us down – cell search – they took the whole section out cell by cell in cuffs, and placed half the section in one side multi-purpose room and the other half in another multi-purpose room.
We came back to a Great Mess! Haha, I don’t mind the mess, I had to re-organize my belongings anyways. I wonder why they would ask us to place our things, all of our property, neatly on our own bunks, mattress like this and that, come back to our things mixed up?! Comical! One dude went hysterical, yelling at the laws and complaining about coffee spilled on all his property! Clothes, sheets, family pictures, etc. Then, here come the fires! Multiple inmates was angry, each with their own complaints. By this time the guards had given up on putting out the fires. Which is unpleasant, adding heat literally to the already hot building and smoke. Many times I had to cover up not to breath the toxic carbon monoxide! The section gets so full of smoke it’s completely black. I figured the best thing to do was place one fan by the door blowing outwards and a fan by the window blowing hot air in. I would have to place a wet towel on the door to keep smoke from coming in. Every day was something new, every day an issue appeared! Every day a fire was made, some two, some three at a time, two or three times a day… The last fire was put out by an officer, a sergeant.
Rhetorical Rhetoric composed in a symphony of tactical swears of Infamy, Musik filling idle Hands of youthful Revolutionaries, inducing Rebellion and Civil disobedience, against the Systematic Repression of Authorities, as we’re defiantly resisting political ploys of distraction targeting us in silent wars, with Ruses of Fake News, as the media glorifies Police as Heroes while they Kill the innocent without consequence or Justice, they’re the Evil we strive against, with every ounce of our beings, they’re straw dogs and paper tigers, a gang costumed behind authority we don’t recognize, for the only authority is God, the only one to Judge us, Enemies of the POLICE State, who demand allegiance to Arbitrary capricious laws by Riflepoint for Farcical Freedom that Does Not Exist in Enslaved Minds of Ignorance, Miss Me with the pitch of Nationalistic Propaganda for WE THE PEOPLE exist to Resist control tactics with self-determination and Freewill, A Resistance Refusing conformity to mainstream idealisms of a Government that does not represent us, or our constitutional Rights, we Are P.O.W’s, Prisoner’s of War, waged with law, which we must wield as Arms we Bear; fighting for freedom in these Modern-Day Concentration Camps, for if we Are ignorant of our Rights and laws that govern us we are powerless and Dead to rights, Authorities rather distract us, with devices of our own destruction perpetuating intolerance and fueling fires of prejudice that weaken our resolve of unity to Rise against their system of control, generating Revenue to keep the cell full in their Monopoly of Incarceration, while we complacently standby as their Human degradation oppresses our generations stealing our time, let Rebellion enter our Mind STATE, since we Are left Dead to Rights without any Alternatives, we Must beat the Drum of Anarchy, or we will never see freedom, nor will our children, one word wielded as war weapons at a time, Empowering the Mind’s of Masses united by common grievances that call us to fight side by side, putting aside differences, for the enemy of my enemy is my friend, sedition charismatically spoken by a leader inspires our Movement, one of counter-culture Activists cutting strings of delusion attached to our souls, by belief systems that no longer serve our interests, No longer will we obey as puppets dancing for malevolent puppeteers of Governments we no longer recognize; ones who rendered us Enemies of The STATE, with usurpation of our inalienable constitutional Rights, so there’s Nothing left but determined defiance, using their own plots, ploys, contrived Artifice and stratagem tactics as our own against them, in suits of Individual Capacity to Levy their Assets since their Immunity is an illusion, one we must mercilessly exploit, battling the system systemically, making us all wealthy, taking back what’s ours, they illegality makes them easy targets in the court, with Civil Rights suits, we hunt the Leviathan of the Prison Industry, that made us slaves and commodities on the market of Incarceration, with warrior Minds we can pry open the blinded eyes of injustice; Lex Talionis, Eye for an Eye, the solution of Revolution Kids, as Partisans of propaganda by deeds, “Gazavat” our sacred struggle, against State Entities of Oppression in the color of Law, we are Freedom Fighters, patriots, Guerrillas in concrete jungles refreshing the Tree of Liberty with our Blood.
MIM(Prisons) notes: We thought these lyrics fit well with the theme of Under Lock & Key 83. However, we of course measure our correctness through action with the international proletariat as the ultimate judges of how we performed.
by a North Carolina prisoner October 2023 permalink
“You must teach that socialism-communalism is as old as man; that its principles formed the basis of mostly all the East Afrikan cultures (there was no way to denote possession in the original East Afrikan tongues). The only independent Afrikan societies today are socialistic. Those which allowed capitalism to remain are still neo-colonies. Any Black who would defend an Afrikan military dictatorship is as much a fascist as Hoover.”
No one in history ever possessed a greater skill set for individual survival than the primitive hunter-gatherer warrior, yet ey was a deeply committed communalist who put the interest of eir tribe, eir village, and eir extended family above his own. The warrior believed that eir life was not eir own, but belonged to the people; and ey considered it a great honor to live a life of service to the people and if need be to sacrifice eir life in their defense. This is the warrior’s ethics, and it doesn’t matter which group on which continent we are talking about because such are the roots of humyn social evolution.
There have always been individuals, and in a sense there has always been individualism, but it wasn’t always regarded as a virtue. In primitive societies, it was seen as dishonorable – like lying or cowardice. There were few things that could get one thrown out of the collective and be made an outcast. Rampant individualism was one. To be cast out was worse than a sentence of death. We are social beings, and it is in society that we find fulfillment of any emotional needs. In prison, when the kaptors want to try to break us, they put us in solitary confinement.
Capitalism promotes individualism because everyone is set in competition with everyone else. People must compete for jobs, promotions, and for status. Every capitalist is in competition with every other capitalist. That’s why it is called a “rat race.” People suffer from “alienation” and seek some substitute for tribal belonging. People will join gangs and kill or be killed just to have this sense of belonging. Is joining the marines any different? People become ardent sports fans to have some group identity and wear their team’s colors and share their glory. Belonging is a need under capitalism: everything is commodified.
Bourgeois critics often make the charge that socialism sacrifices the interest of the individual for the collective; but are the individual and the collective really in contradiction? This is what Stalin had to say in his interview with H.G. Wells in 1934:
“There is no, nor should there be, irreconcilable contrast between the individual and the collective, between the individual person and the interests of the collective. There should be no such contrast because collectivism/socialism does not deny but combines individual interests with the interests of the collective. Socialism cannot abstract itself from individual interests. Socialist society alone can most fully satisfy these personal interests. More than that, socialist society alone can firmly safeguard the interests of the individual. In this sense, there is no irreconcilable contrast between individualism and socialism.”
Unless the individual’s interest is to do harm to the collective, to exploit its members for personal gain, or subvert its freedom, it is in the collective interests to give full play to the individual’s initiative and creativity. Mao’s famous call for individual freedom of expression in the arts of science was in contrast to certain dogmatic and bureaucratic tendencies that has arisen in Russia and China:
“The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science.”
Some would later complain bitterly that Mao had lured them into a trap when they were subsequently criticized for their ideas. But freedom of expression is not freedom from criticism. Ey never said to let the poisonous weed to bloom.
The democratic method is to allow people to speak their minds, but this is a two-way street. Others have the right to disagree and criticize you as well. The collective interest will best be served when people are above board and say what they think, at the risk that it will be picked apart and rejected by others and even ridiculed as rubbish by the majority. No one is obligated to tell you your opinions are great. On the other hand, your opinion might find favor and change everyone’s views for the better. That is the risk of free expression. New ideas always start with someone who thinks for themselves and may not at first be popular or well accepted.
In this way a revolutionary organization/collective pursues its inner collective democracy while maintaining unity in action. There is a time for free discussion and time for united action and this is the basis of democratic revolutionary praxis. The collective protects the rights of the individual who serves the interests of the collective.
The comrades of your collective should be like your family – even closer than that. Your very lives may depend on each other. The comrades will each have different strengths and weaknesses and should complement each other using their own strengths to help the others transform their weaknesses into strengths. Comrades should not be competitive with one another. Recognition and advancement are fine, but one should be happy to serve in whatever capacity the collective feels would be best. It is all about what we can accomplish together – whether one is high or low in rank is insignificant. To be a comrade is important.
In 1970 few of Attica’s captives made more than 6 cents a day and the state’s food budget was a meager 63 cents per day per prisoner, causing able-bodied men to go to bed hungry in, of all places, the United $tates of America! These same men were also only allowed 1 shower per week & spent 15-24 hours everyday locked in tiny cages as if they were some type of exotic bird. For prisoners from the New York City area it would cost loved ones over $100 in travel expenses to visit and 24 hours of time away from work, school, etc., leaving no realistic way for those struggling to provide help to their loved ones in the future if they did in fact decide to visit.
With money being a known issue for these poor Black and Brown prisoners, doctors at Attica Correctional Facility would offer these men money to be “volunteers” as subjects for exposure to a test virus.(1) Albeit, these men were made to sign informed consent agreements being denied access to real vocational & educational training opportunities and/or drug programs. How “informed” were they really? Only 1.6% of Attica’s operating budget was allotted to academic & vocational training. That is 1.6% out of 100%! So, malnourished, ignored, & hindered from life skills, “They’d need to fight the invisibility that comes with being poor… They would have to work just to learn!” (quoting imperialist Michelle Obama) And “a riot is the language of the unheard.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
What was falling on deaf ears were a list of 15 “practical proposals” by these oppressed prisoners, which could’ve been easily agreed to putting an end to this uprising. Question: Why not “allow all inmates at their own expense to communicate with anyone they please”? (Request #5) Why not “when an inmate reaches conditional release, give him a full release without parole”? (Request #6) Why not “institute realistic rehabilitation programs for all inmates according to their offense & personal needs”? (Request #8) Why not “educate all Correctional Officers to the needs of the inmates, i.e. understanding rather than punishment,” (Request #9) & so on & so forth.(2)
Instead government would rather send in armed troopers, policemen, Correctional Officers, Conservation Corps helicopters that would drop C.S. gas [orthochlorobenzylidene] that would hang suspended in the air causing tearing, nausea, & retching in anyone that inhales it. Instead, Governor Rockefeller via Executive Order No. 51, even after all inside were immobilized by the gas, would give the command: “Tell all your units to move in!” Cosigning the murder of hostages and prisoners alike. “Trooper Gerard Smith … saw a trooper approach a prisoner who was lying still on the pavement and shoot him in the head.”(3) “It was very painful to see all these old & crippled guys getting shot … They were in D yard because they had no place else to go.”(4) “Another prisoner who had been shot in the abdomen & in the leg was ordered to get up and walk, which he was unable to do. ‘The trooper then shot him in the head with a handgun.’”(5) “Guard Robert Curtiss also felt the fear of imminent death when a trooper kept knocking him over every time he tried to sit up. He shouted… that he was an officer, but still had to beg the trooper not to shoot him.”(6) “Ultimately … 128 men were shot – some … multiple times … 9 hostages were dead & … 29 prisoners had been fatally shot.”(7) Another hostage in critical condition would later die, pushing the total to 10 hostages killed. “The most tragic thing about the bloody riot & massacre … is that it could have been avoided. If the state had listened to warnings from correctional officers, if administration had shown a modicum of sensitivity in providing for the inmates – if the state had just listened, the revolt might never have occurred!”(8)
For this carnage, escalated by the state to a protest for civil rights and basic liberties, you must blame someone and so you charge 63 prisoner survivors with 1,289 crimes, and not 1 single trooper or guard was indicted. However, some of these survivors continued to fight & share their little light on the hidden truth(s) and via civil rights litigation would win their lawsuit against one man, Attica’s deputy superintendent Karl Pfeil. But, “if any defendant was found liable, the state was liable, and this was no small thing.”(9)
On 5 June 1997, they awarded one of the survivors “Big Black” $4 million in damages. The state would recoup for these losses by underhandedly paying hostage survivors and surviving family members from the workman’s compensation fund, knowing that these people could no longer sue under NYS law because they had elected a remedy the moment they cashed these much needed checks. This is after 2,349 - 3,132 lethal pellets from shotguns were fired indiscriminately in Attica’s D yard; 8 rounds from a .357 caliber; 27 rounds from a .38 caliber & 68 rounds from a .270 caliber, [not to include C.O.’s and other members of law enforcement] fully aware that not 1 prisoner or hostage had a single firearm.
You don’t show a modicum of remorse & pay everyone their just due, but instead you con and scam the dead in the name of budgeting. “40 years after the uprising of 1971, conditions at Attica were worse than they had ever been … by 2001 the Department of Correctional Services had cut over 1200 programs providing services to inmates that were there in 1991.”(10) I wonder how much more money they’d save if they cut out prison & kept the programs? There will be more Attica’s until Federal and State governments and the American people accept their responsibility to establish minimum standards of decency & respect for human rights in our prisons. We cannot afford to wait for new explosions." (Senator Jacob Javits) Instead of waiting for “new explosions” why not get rid of the powdered keg altogether… prisons!
In remembrance of Sept. 9, 1971 REST IN POWER
MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of ULK is inspired by recent scholarship by Orisanmi Burton, that centers around Attica. One of the points made by Burton is about the revolutionary vision of leaders in Attica and other contemporary organizing efforts, some of which included the same people. These were people who were members of or worked closely with formations like the Black Panther Party, Young Lords Party, Republic of New Afrika, the Puerto Rican Nationalist movement, etc.
One of the conclusions drawn from this is that the reformist demands listed by the comrade above were merely a campaign, with obvious and reasonable demands, that would appeal to the broadest sectors in this country. These reformist demands were not the be all end all goals for many of the leaders involved in these movements. They were winnable demands within a broader strategy for total liberation from oppression.
Notes: 1. Dr. Michael Brandriss, Interview Transcript, Aug. 18, 2012, Criminal Injustice: Death & Politics at Attica, (Blue Sky Project 2012). 2. Richard X Clark, Testimony, Akil Al-Jundi et al. v. The Estate of Nelson A. Rockefeller et al., October 25, 1991, 131;133. 3. Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water p. 183 (Vintage Books)(2016). 4. Ibid. @ p. 184 5. Ibid. @ p. 185 6. Ibid @ p. 186 7. Ibid @ p. 187 8. Ibid. @ p. 260 9. Ibid. @ p. 477 10. Ibid. @ p. 567
On 26 July 2023, Niger’s Presidential Guard arrested President Bazoum and declared the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP). On 27 July the military joined the coup in support of the new government. The coup has been denounced by the U.$., France, European Union, ECOWAS, and others. ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, is an organization of the comprador-bourgeoisie of 15 West-African states including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and southern border of Niger. ECOWAS has threatened to invade Niger and restore the former government. Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and others have voiced support for the coup. Burkina Faso has declared that they would view an invasion of Niger as an act of war on themselves. What is to explain this web of contradictions and interests?
Since Niger’s independence in 1960 there have been a total of 4 coups. This has been viewed by bourgeois media as the inability of Niger to create a stable democracy on their own without the “aid” of the imperialist masters. This line coming from France is especially hypocritical as the one party system in Niger during 1960-1974 was in large part France’s doing, with the banning of parties such as the Mouvement Socialiste Africain-Sawaba (MSA). In reality, the independence Niger gained in 1960 is wildly exaggerated. Niger’s status as a French colony since 1922 has led many to believe that their liberation from this status represents a complete independence, as is enjoyed by the likes of France and Amerika. On the contrary, France and Amerika combined have over 2,500 troops stationed within Niger’s borders with billions invested in the construction and maintenance of military and drone bases. This is because Niger contains vast uranium reserves which are vital particularly in France’s energy supply. “Areva” was, before 2016, a state-owned French company operating in nuclear energy. Through a series of acquisitions, Areva became a major player in Niger’s uranium industry.
“AREVA’s two subsidiaries in Niger, Somaïr and Cominak, benefit from a number of tax advantages: exemptions from duties, VAT and even fuel taxes, which they use in massive amounts. A ‘provision for the reconstruction of mines’ also lets them set aside 20% of their profits which are therefore excluded from corporate taxes. In 2010, the two subsidiaries extracted a total of 114,346 metric tonnes of uranium in Niger, representing an export value of 2.3 trillion CFA francs (over 3.5 billion euros). From that sum, Niger was only paid 300 billion CFA francs (approximately 459 million euros), or 13% of the exported value.” (1)
On top of this, Niger uses the West African CFA franc which allows France significant control over the economy. This exploitation has produced revolutionary views among the people that the new government is seeking to pander to. The CNSP government gave an order for the French diplomats to leave the country and has echoed the anti-French sentiment in popular protests. We uphold the revolutionary anti-French sentiment of the people of Niger while also recognizing that this is a common tactic and method of the bourgeoisie in order to adopt and assimilate national liberation movements.
The purely economic exploitation of Niger is the form which imperialism takes that distinguishes it from colonialism. Because the market says that this trade is fair, and the market is ingrained in people’s minds as eternal, people assume that this is just the way it is and Niger will need to find some way to operate more successfully in the market. In reality, the terms of this trade benefit France at the expense of Niger; but Niger has no political-economic power to assert its own interests. The imperialist exploitation of their land and resources combined with the devastating health effects of uranium mining has produced a strong anti-imperialist movement which Amerika and France are attempting to deal with. Niger is a majority peasant country, which means that its anti-imperialist movement is of the new democratic type involving the national bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie, peasantry, and proletariat, with the peasantry as the major reserve. The event of 26 July, as a coup led by pre-established powers, was a movement with the national bourgeoisie at the spearhead. If Niger is going to see liberation, the national bourgeoisie must be replaced by the proletariat at the vanguard.
The 4th Republic of France (1944-1958) retained its colonial rule over Niger. The contradictions of this rule collapsed the 4th Republic and forced colonialism into advanced imperialism. Rather than direct political rule, the 5th French Republic had to cede independence to its colonies and retain only economic control. The so-called independence of Niger is a facade. The instability in Niger and the consequently frequent shifting of power from one faction to another is the unfolding of the contradiction among the national bourgeoisie and the comprador bourgeoisie (and oftentimes factions within the two class forces as well). It will only reach its next qualitative stage through revolution: not power struggles of one section of the comprador regime by another. This is only possible through a dictatorship led by the proletariat of Niger in a new democratic united front alongside the peasantry, the progressive national-bourgeoisie, the petty-bourgeoisie, and lumpen-proletarians who have decided to join the revolution.
China and Russia have made statements regarding the situation that have led some to believe they are allies of Niger, or at least not explicitly opposed to the coup. “Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia called for all sides in Niger to show restraint, and for the fastest possible return to legal order.”(2) Aljazeera reported on a supposed Wagner Group statement that was explicit in support for Niger: “What happened in Niger is nothing other than the struggle of the people of Niger with their colonizers.”(3) “The Chinese government intends to provide good offices, play a mediating role so that a political resolution to the crisis in Niger could be found with full respect to countries in the region,” the ambassador said at a meeting with Niger’s rebel-appointed prime minister, Ali Lamine Zeine. (4)
Can Niger throw off Amerika and France by allying with China and Russia? Certainly the hystory of the struggle of the oppressed shows that the tactical utility of the contradictions between the oppressors is indispensable to the revolutionary struggle. But without scientific leadership these complex contradictions cannot be managed and alliance with one or another imperialist will result in a change of oppressor and not the overthrow of all oppression. We believe in the strength of the people of Niger, and the CNSP government may succeed in cutting french monopoly in the interests of the nation. This will heighten the contradiction, leading to the preconditions for war and contributing to the world conditions for another Great Inter-Imperialist World War as Niger struggles for allies. Imperialism, rotting alive for more than 100 years, is in a dubious position to survive such an event.
by a North Carolina prisoner September 2023 permalink
The No. 80, Winter 2023 edition of Under Lock & Key hosted an article titled “Sacrifice Behind Bars”, wherein a comrade expressed very heavy sentiments that I intend to magnify and address from a revolutionary perspective. The details of his mention were strikingly consistent with the circumstances and characters of the North Carolina prison system enabling an apparent conclusion that our obstacles as lumpen are, indeed, collective. To that extent I consider it necessary to re-evaluate our responsibilities as revolutionaries from within; as they are comparable to our revolutionary history as Marxist-Leninist-Maoists.
The central theme of the comrade’s message can be boiled down to one question he posed: “what are you willing to sacrifice?” The comrade illustrated his legacy of sacrifice to which he is honored and should know he’s not alone in that identical regard. However, for the new-coming comrade who may not understand his conviction yet and is attracted to his energy and posture; for the seasoned comrade who may be becoming burned out; for the growing comrade who may be struggling with understanding this political line; and for the critic, we must unify on the collective understanding of why sacrifice is necessary and how to measure the particular type of sacrifice to be offered for our revolutionary objective.
The author of that article asks the question of sacrifice to comrades on the streets and comrades within alike. Demonstrating his willingness to actualize guerrilla tactics amidst similarly situated individuals who have been compromised in exchange for goods supplied by the opposition makes it apparent that a revolutionary united front is diminished in that environment, to say the least. Essential to being compromised is the viewing that an individual – or a class – is not only without, but is desperate, moralless and to whatever degree, gullible. With respect to comrade’s mention of such individuals, we should not haste into judgment nor spring into belligerence without careful and scientific observation of our own perspective. It is not sound to conclude that it is an immaculate practice of social science for the opposition to infiltrate a mind that has never operated outside of its conditioning by that opposition. “Boy they got you good” etc. is not technically true if that person is underdeveloped morally, politically, and intellectually. Even if that person is from where you are from and have been through similar experiences. If you are a conscious revolutionary – conscious in the sense that you are aware of and intuit the frame of thinking employed by Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong – then you are unique: especially coming from capitalist-imperialist Amerikkka. That’s nothing to pride yourself on in arrogance nor egoism, its to empower your desire to fulfill your responsibilities to those unconscious. Therefore, to be ‘revolutionary’ in its most rudimentary expression is to redirect the impulses to be inhuman as you usher in humanism.
If one is morally sound, intellectually competent, and has a desire for general welfare of others, then from those perspectives that one is enriched, if he/she/they have not sequestered the abstract and subtle impetus of the capitalist-imperialist nature of his/her/their cultural (and political-economic) domicile then even with the above virtues, in those contexts, what will be is a repeat of what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels called in The Communist Manifesto ‘reactionary socialism’; the remnants of feudal socialism. This is to the extent and in the regard of issuing counter-narratives in sole order to arouse sympathy in those who aren’t as ‘enriched’ as you to behave in a way that secures your sense of comfort. The motivations are not comparable in that example and the circumstances are as night and day by juxtapose. However, by principle and mentality its enough to say that one could be more creative from a revolutionary vantage point.
Sacrifice of any sort is rooted in the intention for a net-positive future occurrence. Therefore, the theoretical objectification of that sacrificial act bears no weight on the immediate circumstances one experiences. To add on to the comrade’s thoughts, what you are willing to sacrifice depends on your measure of awareness of what is to come of it. The knowledge of the accuracy of what is to come is based on your ability to identify with the material circumstances – emphasis on the conditions that define them – of that situation as it relates to your theory, essentially, of the world. From a revolutionary perspective ‘the world’ includes others, so when we speak of practice, i.e., sacrifice, it is necessarily unbalanced without theory.
If the masses, even in the prison setting, are viewed to be slumbering it is not for the revolutionary to wake them with a cacophony of political rhetoric, especially if their slumber is characterized by the fanaticals of capitalist production. So, we do place a high emphasis on practice. It is that practice must be guided by theory. Lenin stated:
“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.” (V.I. Lenin, What is to be done?)
In his Selected Works Mao Zedong stated:
“Theoretical knowledge is acquired through practice and must then return to practice.” (Mao, On Practice: The Relation Between Knowledge and Practice, 1937)
Mao did not differ with Lenin in this regard, he magnified the principle of Lenin’s point. In real time this means to structure revolutionary practice in a manner that conveys the core principles at work in an action bound language that is interpretable to and for the observer all while being disciplined enough not to exaggerate your behavior as to make the demonstration unrealistic. The standard by which one can scale his/her/their proposed action is in one’s ability to become one with the reality of the situation; being cautious of personal biases and having rational and isolated conclusions about each component of the embodying manifest circumstance. The sum of this process is the base from which to determine what means of action to deploy. To that extent, we in prison have to be realistic without compromising our theory (i.e. political line), some of us have immense anger issues and if that is true for the proposed actor in a revolutionary demonstration then if the action to be had does require a use of force we must consider if that one is sufficient or not for the action. Use of force does not always mean complete annihilation or insurrection. Whatever is decided upon, the objective is to be clear and decisive. The actualizer must be disciplined enough to actualize the task without going too far and thereby jeopardizing the precision of the demonstration. Lenin and Mao actually had a revolution, so this frame of thinking is sound, its relevance here and now depends on our willingness to truly get with the program, i.e., Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
The answer to the comrade’s question to the world of sacrifice, should be proportional to the details of your circumstance and the individuals and lives it would effect; from a revolutionary perspective. Only a matter of intelligence compels the conclusion that revolution is sustained by an environment prepared for it. The blaze does not come before strenuous economic, political, financial, social, cultural, and theoretical preparation. Let us take the time we DO have and align ourselves with the correct theoretical knowledge.
North Carolina IS in the building. We have recently birthed a movement – S.W.A.P. (Serving With A Purpose) – which I am proud and honored to be a founding member of. S.W.A.P. is a N.C. prisoner-led organizational base empowered by the literary guidance of MLM and in unity with the United Front for Peace in Prisons; a United Struggle from Within initiative. Our halls of learning are open for all sisters, brothers, and non-binary comrades to partake in our programs and we are dedicated to organizing with comrades abroad on the basis of theory and practice – being MLM distinguished. We currently do provide a bi-monthly newsletter called Voice of the Lumpen, by which comrades may submit articles to be published, we host a penpal mentorship program with at risk youth both in facilities and those on the streets, we provide a jailhouse lawyer legal program called “Blue Skies Legal Initiative” where comrades can learn how to utilize legal provisions in a manner that furthers our political line, and are developing more programs as time progresses.
I am continuing the fight in the struggle. I am recently lied on by the oppressors’ corrupt gang unit here saying I was organizing an unauthorized group activity and that I’m a leader of the White Panther Movement. They also said that I was trying to organize a riot and take over the prison from the guards because I try to unite and educate. They don’t like it. So I am in solitary awaiting to be placed in SHU here in the corrupt Ohio Concentration Camps.
I am filing grievances against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections, because while in SHU we cannot order no books – not even legal books. Then last time I was placed in solitary they lost my legal book “self help litigation manual” and now they won’t allow me to re-order it at my own cost.
So the inspector has put fake tickets saying I threatened him, false. So know I am truly at war here.
Now in solitary they won’t allow no porter to my door to pass me a reading book or nothing. The library lady won’t bring me nothing either. So I’m in it.
Greetings, To all the “Warriors”, “Soldiers”, and “Comrades”, a new day is at hand. Those that have been subjected to “colonial rule” are rising up and ousting the “puppet regimes” installed by the enemy.
The brothers and sisters over in Afrika are saying “enough is enough!”. Those Afrikans over in France are also rising up! It’s only a matter of time before the Black, Brown, Red. and Yellow souljahs here on these shores say “Down with the imperialists and their flunkies!”.
We must unite and stand with those who wish to overthrow the puppets and install a government for the people and by the people.
A Memorandum issued by the PREA Auditors of America was recently posted in all dorms and other areas here at Dillwyn Correctional Center where incarcerated people frequent advising us of the following:
“The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) will be conducting an audit for Compliance with the United States Department of Justice’s National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) for Its Adult Detention Facility.”
The scheduled dates of the PREA Audit are from September 26th-28th, 2023.
The Memorandum further advises:
“Any person with relevant information pertaining to this compliance Audit may * confidentially * correspond with the Auditor via the following address:
Ron Kidwell P.O. Box 193 Palmyra, Virginia 22963
“CONFIDENTIALITY. All correspondence and disclosures during interviews with the designated auditor are CONFIDENTIAL and will not be disclosed unless required by law. There are exceptions when confidentiality must be legally broken. Exceptions include, but are not limited to the following:
If the person is an immediate danger to him/herself or others (e.g., suicide or homicide)
Allegations of suspected child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment
In legal proceedings where information has been subpoenaed by a court of appropriate jurisdiction.”
The Prison Rape Elimination Act or PREA was passed by the U.$. Congress and codified into federal law as Title 42 U.S.C.A. section 15601. It was passed in response to the high incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence incarcerated people were subjected to in prisons across the country.
Despite the language of PREA, it does not stop, prevent or reduce the rape and sexual violence of incarcerated people. As an example, the rape and sexual assaults against women at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California in the years before 2022 was so bad the prison was called the “rape club” by incarcerated women and prison staff alike. Even the Warden of the prison at the time, Ray J. Garcia, took part in raping and sexually exploiting women at the prison.
The real purpose of PREA was to create a set of national standards (also called PREA standards) by the U.$. Attorney General that state and federal prison systems can give the appearance of being in compliance with in order to gain accreditation and federal grant money from the U.$. Department of Justice.
PREA Audits as they are currently conducted do not work and will never work for the following reasons:
As the above quoted Memorandum reveals, prison officials are given advanced notice their prisons will be audited for PREA compliance. This advanced notice sets in motion a scheme whereby prison officials began the process of cleaning up and beautifying the prison before PREA auditors arrive, both literally and figuratively. I have witnessed time and time again how in the days leading up to the audit, incarcerated people are instructed to paint walls, plant flowers, and wax and buff the floors. Guards and prison staff begin acting nice and treating incarcerated people with a little bit more dignity and respect. A special meal is sometimes serviced to incarcerated people either on the day of the audit or on the day before. In some cases, a prison may go on an unexpected lockdown where incarcerated people are locked in their cells on the day of the audit. All of this is done to placate/pacify incarcerated people so they’ll be least likely to give the PREA auditors a “bad report” or, in the case of the unexpected lockdown, to prevent them from giving a report altogether.
In order for the PREA audit to be truly effective, they must be conducted without prison officials having prior notice of the date and time of the audit.
In addition to that, incarcerated people must be allowed to communicate freely with auditors in a confidential setting. This is often not possible because PREA auditors are accompanied by brass and are deliberately led on a prearranged course throughout the prison that keeps them out of contact with incarcerated people and out of the housing areas where incarcerated people live and sleep.
Incarcerated people must not be retaliated against for making complaints about having been raped and sexually assaulted by prison staff. I know of many fellow incarcerated people who have been harassed, threatened, moved to another housing unit, transferred to another prison, and written bogus infractions in retaliation for submitting PREA complaints. This sort of retaliation chills other incarcerated people’s desire to submit PREA complaints which allows their abusers to escape accountability.
Lastly, the only real solution to ending the rape and sexual violence of incarcerated people is to abolish the Prison Industrial Complex. If there are no prisons, then there can be no prison rape.
All Power to the People Who Don’t Fear Freedom!
MIM(Prisons) responds: We actually think we can do a lot to eliminate rape for all people before abolishing prisons. Prisons are a tool of class struggle. In the control of a communist government, prisons would be revolutionized to serve the people. There would be an end to the torturous practices so common in capitalist prisons of isolation, heat, lack of health care and physical and sexual assaults.
Unlike prisons, rape and sexual violence are forms of oppression that cannot serve the people. While the path to eliminating any of these things remains long and challenging. Previous revolutionary societies have made quick progress in the realm of reducing and almost eliminating many forms of gender oppression. So we call on those who want to put an end to rape and sexual violence to join us in the struggle to end imperialism and replace it with a system in the hands of the international proletariat.