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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 55]
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Use Under Lock & Key to Educate and Motivate

The work of MIM(Prisons) through Under Lock & Key is invaluable to those of us searching for tools, methods and means for motivating the stagnant prison masses or even segments of the prison population. Because the work is informative and an avenue of outside support it is inspirational. Many of these individuals share very little mutual interests that motivate their actions except for their greed. Thus, to be able to spread a common literature throughout the cells and blocks is a basic unifying instructive instrument. The same way as prisoners are brought together to socialize by pop-culture media, I've seen that Under Lock & Key has the same potential.

Talking to egotistical and materialistic people is less effective than giving them material to absorb themselves without being defensive and having the need to assert themselves. But what adds to the effectiveness of the material is if it is wide spread it becomes more of a persuasive cultural influence. Because in a disorganized and dysfunctional state like Indiana basic buddy-cliques are dominant, the most effective way to stir the population as a whole is to infuse these buddy-cliques with the seeds they can use to grow. The material can be used to inject enthusiasm, but that enthusiastic fervor will subside and when it does individuals' adolescent tendencies will re-emerge because the ideas were never owned by the individuals. However, by quietly distributing the material and leaving individuals to ponder the ideas alone, they'll begin to own the ideas and the adolescent displays of rebelliousness for public demonstration are never given the chance to receive the reward of public attention; things will be based on substance.

Here I simply note the power of media and the need to use it to create and influence cultural ideas within cell blocks and prisons. There is a single source where the vast numbers of prisoners receive their ideas about society and what punishment should be. That source is drawn from the well of those who punish them. If we can use Under Lock & Key and MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle From Within efforts to become a source of pop-culture throughout cell blocks and create a new culture in prison that replaces the disorganization and dysfunction we'll be on the way to influencing the larger society.

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[United Front] [Principal Contradiction] [White Nationalism] [Theory] [ULK Issue 55]
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To Identify as White is to Identify as Oppressor

I would like to address the question if there should be a united front alliance with white nationalist groups.

I am all for aligning with other groups who face oppression and who share the same goals. When it comes to white nationalist groups first a few things must be clarified. First question is who and what is "white." White is scientifically not a racial group. Also do whites in prison and the world face the same systematic oppression as people of color? Lastly looking at history how has interactions between whites and people of color effected the non-white groups in a positive way?

The question on "who and what is white?" has an elusive answer especially right here in the United $tates. Since 1790, the United $tates has allowed only "free white persons" to become citizens; in the twentieth century as non-European immigrants applied for citizenship it became the responsibility of the courts to set limits upon whiteness. George Dow, a Syrian immigrant, was denied eligibility for citizenship on the basis that geography defined race; to be white was to be European. Dow eventually won on appeal, showing that Syrians were indeed Europeans based on geography and thus members of the white race. In 1922, a Japanese immigrant named Takao Ozawa argued that he should be considered a white person because his skin was literally white, asserting that many Japanese people were "whiter than the average Italian, Spaniard, or Portuguese." His case would go all the way to the Supreme Court, which rejected his claim to citizenship and the idea that race could be determined by skin tone: "To adopt the color test alone would result in a confused overlapping of races and a gradual merging of one into the other, without any practical line of separation," claimed one judge.

Using the science of the day, the court ruled that "the words 'white person' are synonymous with the words 'a person of the Caucasian race'." Since Ozawa was not a Caucasion, he could not be white. In only a short time later, in the case of an Indian immigrant named Bhagat Singh Thind, the Supreme Court betrayed its Ozawa ruling and declared that while all whites are Caucasian, not all Caucasians were white. Even scientists classified Thind as undeniably Caucasian, but the court insisted that "White" must mean something more. "It may be true that the blond Scandinavian and the brown Hindu have a common ancestor in the dim reaches of antiquity, but the average man knows perfectly well that there are unmistakable and profound differences between them today." To prove his purity, Thind invoked the Aryanist myth of ancient white conquerors setting up the caste system to preserve their race. "The high-class Hindu" he argued, "regards the aboriginal Indian mongoloid in the same manner as the American regards the negro." With all that Thind was denied citizenship. Within the category of "Caucasian," the court noted one could find a wide range of peoples including South Asians, Polynesians, and even the Hamites of Africa based upon their Caucasian cast of features, though in color they range from brown to black. For reasons not articulated the court decided Thind was not white, and therefore not granted privileges of the white empire.

That the Supreme Court could reject a white-skinned Japanese because he was not Caucasian and a brown-skinned Caucasian because he was not white reveals that white people have made race what it has always been: an unscientific and inconsistent means of enforcing social inequality that further rules the machines of global white supremacy. This machine is what gives birth to capitalism and imperialism and other oppressive factions. So basically whiteness is whatever white people say it is. So by white nationalist groups even identifying themselves as white places them in a privileged position in the global white supremacy machine. It is no secret why someone would want to identify as "white," especially in the United $tates where there is undeniably a caste system based on skin color. With whiteness comes privilege and a sense of entitlement. Yes, I know there are white comrades who are being oppressed also but it is not solely based on their skin color or ethnic group. They are basically collateral damage of the capitalistic and imperialistic system that comes from global white supremacy. White people make up around 11% of the world's population yet at least 82% of the world's population is in some fashion being oppressed by the global white supremacy machine. Are white nationalist groups really ready to give up their whiteness to stand for true revolution even if that means in the process whiteness will no longer exist?

History shows that those of us who fight for revolution have aligned ourselves with white groups and white individuals who claim they seek change too. In the midst of this, problems usually occurred. Most notably is with William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison, a white man, can be labeled as a true revolutionist of his time. As an abolitionist he spoke out against slavery and demanded full racial equality even before the Civil War. He also publicly burned the U.$. constitution, calling it an "agreement with hell." Garrison seemed like the white nationalist who wanted to join the fight but he still couldn't escape his sense of privilege and superiority. This moment came when Frederick Douglass, Garrison's protégé, told Garrison that he wanted to start a newspaper. Garrison, fearful that Douglass would draw black readers away from his own paper and hurt that Douglass would even think of competing against him, discouraged the plan. Another white abolitionist in Garrison's camp, Maria Weston Chapman, even doubted Douglass could have the mental capacity for such a task. Douglass went ahead and started his newspaper which ended his friendship with Garrison. Garrison, though he wanted to help, could not see that the revolution was not about him but about the millions of people being oppressed. He still had to be a white guy about the whole situation. He took his sense of privilege and entitlement and wanted to discourage another in his attempt to add to the cause. So can white nationalist groups align themselves with the United Front without trying to make the fight solely about their ego? Can the United Front hold the fight when aligned with white nationalist groups without having fear of offending white people when truths are spoken against capitalism, imperialism and global white supremacy when it puts the collective of white people in a negative light?

Lastly how have groups who are predominately non-white benefited in the past when coming into contact with whites? Historically the relationship between non-whites and whites has been one of colonization, genocide, slavery, imperialism, and destruction. Though all non-white groups and cultures did not live in idyllic golden ages before the coming of white people, these elements weren't consistent, nor were they typical, until the advent of white culture domination. This has been the consistent relationship of white people with the world. So history shows the consistent nature of white people when coming in contact of non-white people has been one of predatory and exploitative relationships.

Now some will say I'm being racist by stating these facts but consider the fact that people of "hue" hence humans have been the most tolerant and accepting people you'll ever encounter (sometimes to our detriment) and this premise of exclusion came from white people themselves. It is only us who are confused about where they stand. Now yes there are those white individuals and groups who attempt to confront and resist these norms. Those who have attempted to do so in earnest have learned these lessons the hard way. White people who actively resist whiteness (and all of its norms) are out-casted, disowned, and reviled by other members of their own groups. This is what defines the community and collective identity and not the individuals who know that "treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity."

So can white nationalist groups abandon their whiteness and sense of privilege? If so then yes United Front can align with them in some fashion. Based on historic events it should be controlled and constantly evaluated. Also whites need not to hold hands with us and smile but reach in their own communities and take the fight to their own who actively and by default participate in the global white supremacy machine which governs capitalism and imperialism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that to identify with whiteness is to identify with an oppressor nation, and we therefore say that Amerikans must commit nation (as well as class and gender) suicide through their actions, in order to join the side of humynity.

The example given of Garrison and Douglass is a fine anecdote, but it is just an example of a couple of people. So we would caution our readers to not draw broad conclusions from isolated examples. And there are books out there, like Settlers: The Mythology of a White Proletariat by J. Sakai and False Nationalism, False Internationalism by Sera and Tani that do broader historical analysis of the relationships between the oppressed nations in the United $tates and various groups of "revolutionary" or "progressive" whites.

Both of those books are looking at imperialism, or at least its emergence in the United $tates. Imperialism's identity is found in the conflict between the oppressor nations and the oppressed nations that resist them. While ideas of superiority based on phenotypical characteristics (appearance) certainly did not originate with imperialism, it is with imperialism that nation becomes principal. Therefore, we would reverse the author's premise that the "[machine of global white supremacy] is what gives birth to capitalism and imperialism and other oppressive factions." Marx and Lenin explained the evolution of imperialism on economic terms, while the culture and ideas that came with it were a reflection of those economic changes. In other words, which came first, racism or capitalism? There were seeds of racism before imperialism, but national oppression (the material manifestation of racism) solidified as a system under the economic conditions of imperialism. The ideas of racism, so central to our society, are a product of this system of national oppression that evolved with imperialism, not the cause of it.

In the struggle against white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism, a united front does not require agreement on every position, or even for all parties to "stand for true revolution." In the context of the prison movement, white nationalists might be serious about the struggle against long-term isolation because their leaders are very likely to face this torture. In this case, we'd suggest we should unite with these groups to work on that campaign. In this issue of ULK we have some examples in which such temporary alliances for common interests as prisoners have succeeded.

The question of how oppressor nation and oppressed nation revolutionaries should relate in this country is a whole other question brought up by this comrade. We will only address it briefly to bring up some general points for further analysis. The urge to unite with white people in the United $tates is a recurring theme due to the fact that the white nation has been a majority population by design since the founding of this country, and it's hard to fight battles as the minority. As we know, those numbers are projected to change in the not-so-distant future. But even when euro-Amerikans become the minority, will most oppressed nation people be anti-imperialist? In current conditions they are not, though great potential remains. As we are currently in a non-revolutionary situation, we think it is a reasonable organizing strategy to avoid white people and white organizations altogether. There are plenty of oppressed nation people yet to be organized, and single-nation organizations have proven most effective in U.$. history at building revolutionary movements.

As conditions become more revolutionary, if forces in favor of revolution remain the minority in all nations in the United $tates, those who avoided whites before may be tempted to address this issue again. The Panthers organized with euro-Amerikans from a position of strength, so that they largely avoided those euro-Amerikans harming their movement, especially in the early years. Yet, Huey Newton found New Afrikans in a position of weakness due to their minority status that led to his proposal of the theory of intercommunalism. Fred Hampton's Rainbow Coalition and Huey Newton's Intercommunalism demonstrate a strong tendency in the Panther leadership to approach euro-Amerikans as potential allies in the anti-imperialist united front similar to how they approached other nations.

From Malcolm X to Stokely Carmichael to the Panthers, New Afrikan revolutionaries have pushed whites to organize their own. But how do they do that? Some white organizations tried to mimic the Panthers, but this was only viable in small pockets of lumpenized whites. Other groups have provided support structures to oppressed nations, where the focus is on organizing whites to serve other nations. But we need something in between, where white people can be leaders, applying and learning from the scientific method of building a revolutionary movement, but at the same time serving other nations in ways that are against the interest of their own. We don't think whites can organize on the same basis as the Panthers, because they are on the opposite side of the principal contradiction. But we also don't think relegating whites to the kitchen is allowing them to develop politically, and is therefore setting back progress. This could be done on the basis of accountability and self-criticism. It could also incorporate shared self-interest in opposing environmental destruction and war. But a truly revolutionary current among euro-Amerikans will likely not gain much traction until the oppressed nations have progressed the struggle to a stage that is more advanced than it is today.

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[Campaigns] [New Jersey]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, New Jersey

NJpetition
Click to download PDF of New Jersey petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.



Commissioner, NJ Dept of Corrections, Whittlesey Road, PO Box 863, Trenton, NJ 08625-0863

Chief Ombudsman/woman, NJDOC, PO Box 855, Trenton, NJ 08625-0855

US Dept of Justice, Civil Rights Div, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, PHB, Washington, DC 20530

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 55]
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Nevada Further Restricts Grievance Process in New Regulations

I am writing to update you on comrades' struggles against the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) grievance process. I have been fighting against the inmate grievance process as employed by the NDOC for over a year now. Last week, the caseworker came to my door and informed me that all of my grievances had been rejected as improper grievances due to a new Administrative Regulation (AR740) regarding grievances, which among other things states that:

  1. Inmates cannot state more than one claim per grievance,
  2. Inmates may file no more than a single grievance in any 7 day period,
  3. Those who violate these rules will face disciplinary action.

On this date, the case worker had over 300 grievances which were denied as improper. The NDOC has implemented this revised AR740 to circumvent inmate grievances so that they do not have to address our concerns.

I, and others, will of course, continue our struggle against the NDOC grievance process. If you or anyone else has any ideas on a path we should take to get this issue to court, I would appreciate it.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We do have a Nevada grievance petition for use by prisoners to fight the violation of First Amendment rights based on the AR740 rules. We will need someone from Nevada to volunteer to re-write this petition to cite the updated rules. But the bigger problem is that these rules were changed to essentially limit the ability of prisoners to file grievances, which of course is required if we're going to demand these grievances be addressed. This sounds like a case that needs to be taken to court, and perhaps would interest one of the legal advocacy organizations in Nevada. Short of that we are stuck fighting within their (arbitrary) rules.

This regulation change underscores our message that we're not going to beat the criminal injustice system at their own game. We can sometimes use their own rules and laws to gain small victories, but in the end the courts and prisons are set up to perpetuate the injustice system. We can only win by organizing independent institutions and dismantling this system.

Write to us for a copy of the old Nevada grievance petition if you can help update it based on these new regulations.

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[Organizing] [Denver Women's Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 55]
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Victory in Colorado Womyn's Prison Fight for Rec

I would like to update you on my lawsuit I was preparing against Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) due to one egotistical officer in recreation: Lieutenant Ross.

I think MIM(Prisons) printed my story, but due to Denver Women's Correctional Facility (DWCF) not allowing us ULK anymore I can't be sure, but I did get feedback from several readers.(1) And now DWCF allows us to go outside and walk during any weather like the men do.

So thank you for printing my fight and thank your readers for writing and supporting me. I have not had to put forward the lawsuit, but I am thankful for the MIM(Prisons) grievance petition. I sent it to the Executive Director. So thank you for the form, it really helps putting the fight against CDOC in better written terms than I would have been able to do on my own.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade provides an excellent example to others. From eir work fighting injustice and consistency in providing updates about the progress in this battle, to staying in touch in spite of the censorship of ULK going on at DWCF. While a victory to get all-season and all-gender access to rec is just a small battle in the overall fight against imperialism, it will allow activists in DWCF more opportunity to talk and study with others and to stay healthy. We hope everyone there will take advantage of this opportunity to build for the next battle, which may need to be a fight against censorship so we can get revolutionary materials in to our comrades at this institution.

Note:
1. a Colorado prisoner, "Why Won't Wimmin Fight for Their Rights?", July 2016, ULK 52.
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[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 55]
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Left-Leaning Unity with Radicals and Reformers

You encourage all groups in prison to set aside their differences and come together (collective action). As always in my letters to you, I believe the socialist effort will not be successful unless it makes contact with most or all of the radical/reform groups and encourages collective actions between them.

Think about it. If you could start a dialogue with other groups then you would gain the chance to educate them about how mass imprisonment is a standard feature of any capitalist government. Imprisonment is the favored control method for the masses. As long as people are propagandized to believe capitalism is good, you will have thousands of laws to control the lumpen and minorities -– hence, prisons.

Per the September 2016 newsletter of the Coalition for Prisoners' Rights (P.O. Box 1911, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-1911), it was reported that the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted Peoples Movement (FICPM) had a conference on September 9 in which over 500 people attended, of which people from over 30 states were in attendance. The FICPM wants to organize the 65 million people who have been screwed over by the U.$. system as a political voting block. This group has the possibility of actual success.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are two separate points we want to address in this letter. First the question of what will be necessary for the socialist effort to be successful. This comrade believes that we can succeed by bringing together the radical/reform groups (presumably within the United $tates). Where this author says we would be able to educate these groups on a deeper understanding of the relationship between capitalism and prisons, we agree that doing this on an individual basis is possible and has been proven with success on the ground. Some people enter the reform groups because that's all that they're aware of at the time. When they seek a more thorough way to address the world's problems, they may decide to switch to revolutionary organizing instead. We aim to be available for these people, ready to work with them when they're ready to switch.

But as far as winning over whole groups, this hasn't worked out successfully when tried in the past. And we understand this phenomenon in the context of our class analysis, because the vast majority of people within imperialist countries are bought off and actually support their imperialist government. They may protest a few policies, but they are very much opposed to revolutionary change in the interests of the world's majority because that would have a negative impact on their persynal financial situation in the short term.

Because of this, we see socialist revolution coming from the oppressed nations, both internationally and within U.$. borders. For the most part we anticipate it will need to be imposed on imperialist countries (like the United $tates) from the outside, but there is an important role for revolutionaries living within the belly of the beast. We must do all we can to weaken the government and also support the revolutionary struggles of oppressed nations globally. We can break off as many allies for the struggle as possible. But we shouldn't be unrealistic in our expectations of what we can achieve behind enemy lines.

With that said, we do agree that building unity with progressive organizations on the streets is a good goal. We set a baseline goal for this unity around either a political action or a political line. For instance, we work to build unity around battles against the criminal injustice system with all who will support these battles, regardless of their political positions on other issues. For the anti-imperialist struggle we build unity with all who truly oppose imperialism.

But coming back to our first point, we do not think that groups that, for instance, promote recycling, are actually opposing imperialism. They are just helping to put a pretty pseudo-ecological face on capitalism (also termed "green washing"). So when someone tells us to unite with all "radical/reform groups" to achieve our goals of building socialism and opposing imperialism, we have to call this out as a request that we sacrifice revolutionary politics in the name of false unity. We don't actually have unity in the fight against imperialism with those reform groups that are trying to make imperialism a bit kinder, but whose strategy keeps the overall system in place. It's important that we define our political principles and understand who are truly fighting on the side of the oppressed people of the world.

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[Work Strike] [Abuse] [Organizing] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Sacramento] [California] [ULK Issue 55]
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Labor Strike Against Daily Body Searches

Today we Raza and Natives/others kicked off the new year by exercising unity here in C Yard by not going to work or education at work center (head quarters) of this yard. Other factions decided not to participate because they care too much about the 5-10¢ paying job they currently have (Lumpen Aristocracy?).

This campaign we currently put into motion is to stop the form of harassment these pigs use thru daily body searches, i.e. x-ray body scan, strip search, etc. before we go to school/work and before we leave. We know that we can stop at least the x-ray scan from taking place for we will continue to refuse the x-ray scan and therefore work/education. This is the recent flow here.

Persynally I believe that we should shut down all movement but still go to Yard, programs and accept our food. Just make the pigs do all the work. That is the only way to make these pigs fly. Even then, these forms of campaigns are at a beginner step and might not be fully successful. We should still engage and get a feel of the opposition. The only way we know how to deal with an opposition is thru the motion of our resistance. It is then that we'll know what we're up against and to what extent they'll go. Not only this but we learn on how to combat the beast. New views and forms of tactics come from this. It is what we call the dialectical-materialist theory of the unity of knowing and doing.

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[United Front] [Education] [Organizing] [Black Panther Party] [California Correctional Institution] [California] [ULK Issue 55]
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CCI Study Group Puts Theory Into Action, Organizing Unity Celebration

I'm once again checking in from California Correctional Institution (CCI). In 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale planted the seeds of the Black Liberation movement in Oakland. The seeds they planted rapidly spread to the rest of the United States and now years later we're fighting for the same things as the Panthers.

We still follow the same theme of Black nationalism, armed militancy, intercommunalism, and answering the call to join the revolutionary struggle. Even today, I can still see and hear the voices of comrades such as Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Gwen Fontaine, Fredrika Newton and Lil Bobby Hutton; their teachings, thoughts, practices. And they still resonate with significance and power through the pages of books.

The spirit of the Panthers have been spread so deep into the roots of Black life and into the fabric of every African Community in America, that it's just natural for us to want to stand up and fight when we hear the call. In our homes, schools, hoods, jails, and prisons. That's the revolutionary legacy, and the spirit these comrades planted in us.

This yard we're on is considered an Ad-Seg kick out yard. But in our efforts to educate the people we've begun to create something better. This yard is becoming a place where cadres are born. We have created programmes that serve the people: we have political study groups, we have a GED study group, in which we are helping comrades get their GEDs, and we are helping individuals with their college classes as well.

I am very proud of the comrades on this facility of all nationalities. Because we're not just talking we're doing, pushing hard for a truly united front and serving the people. We have just submitted the paperwork for a banquet. That will be used as a Unity Celebration, where we will all meet and share our thoughts on the issues of today, and share a little political knowledge with each other.

The only issue I see is that the room only holds fifty people, so not all of the groups can fit in this room, so we're planning to have another on the yard the next day. We don't want anyone left out. We are here to serve the people, educate the people, and to help liberate the people, all the people. My rules are if we focus on what we have in common and less on our differences we'll be able to learn better, who we are, and what we're about.

We all want the same things. We all have the same goals, and we all want to create positive change in our world, and in our communities. A community by way of definitions is a comprehensive collection of institutions that serve the people who live there. CCI C-Facility is where we are living right now. So this is the community we're serving.

It is the duty of all revolutionaries to make the revolution. This is obviously rule one. But this is a way of denouncing, in the context, all the so-called revolutionaries who not only did not seek to make the revolution, who managed secure income, talk the revolutionary shit, but who torpedoed the efforts of the people to liberate themselves and that must not be. As Huey said, revolutionary theory without practice ain't shit.

Power to the People
a servant.
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[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 56]
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Building Peace Through ULK

I randomly bumped into a homie who I had previously met a few years back. We got to conversating and eventually got to swapping materials (books, magazines) and we each offered to exchange a "political newsletter." It turned out that we were both referring to ULK; each of us not knowing at the time that we were both corresponding with MIM(Prisons) and we were talking about the exact same newsletter (ULK 52).

An interesting fact to note is that we were both able to overcome past "beef" that we had against one another. Beef that had manifested in an administrative segregation barracks during 2015 as a result of our poor/squalid isolated living conditions. Our beef was evidence of the negative side-effects that ramify into violence and verbal insolence/disrespect/threats between captives, all being things consequential of our long-term solitary confinement that is deliberately facilitated by the pigs.

We both (me and this said comrade) peeped game and realized that the police want us to have discord sown between us (captives in general, but also specifically between me and this comrade) and I immediately took personal measures to end the pettiness and hostilities –- for unity's sake. By squashing the trivial/frivolous "childsplay," and setting aside our pride (which has always been a real challenge for me), we wound up developing a very strong unified bond and comradeship that is likely going to carry on into the free world. We passed knowledge back and forth, to fortify one another. I was stoked to be able to aid and assist this comrade as much as possible.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Often Under Lock & Key is censored by prison administrators for encouraging violence. We hope the administrators are paying attention to this letter as it clearly demonstrates what we've been saying all along: ULK actually encourages peace!

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[Gender] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 55]
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Sex Offenders Reconsidered

I was sitting on tier speaking with a brotha on an intellectual note on topics in your ULK 52 issue. The thing is neither of us ever seen your publication (any of them). After we were done another brotha handed me issue No. 52 on his way to see the Sergeant over some writeups he got when they hit his room. He told me "you'll like this!"

Now before we explore my reaction to your publication you have to know the ground on which I stand and the position I'm coming from. I'm a sex offender. Believe it or not, not by choice, but in the state of Nevada I knew that signing a deal would be the only way to see light again. Trial would be death.

I read your issue from front to back. The whole time I was reading it I wanted to write to you and tell you how I was waiting for something like this to approach me. Then, I got to the last page and read the upcoming themes. In No. 55 I read "Would unity with pariahs such as snitches or child molesters ever be appropriate?" Reading that prompted me to switch my motive to speak on this first hand. But before I can do that you need to know a little about me.

I was raised very well with a loving family. My academics always were "en punto." National Honor Society — all that stuff. I spent 9 years in the military. Leaving my family several times so spoiled brats could remain safely at home with theirs. I have an Associates Degree, I'm semi-fluent in Spanish, I'm halfway through obtaining a paralegal certificate from Blackstone, I'm a writer, and I'm Black.

I will not defend child molesters or snitches but I want to shed some light on sex offenders in general — since I am one. I have five kids so I know the need to protect my babies. Then I found myself fighting for my life on the very subject that I said I would kill someone over for messing with my babies.

I had and have a different outlook now by my circumstances and by removing my bias. After it was evident I was coming to prison I decided to help other sex offenders (SOs) fight their cases. I obtained a client, a pisa, who couldn't speak English well. I fine-tooth-combed his discovery. There was no evidence but much hearsay. Despite my help and a paid lawyer he received a kidnapping and sexual assault charge with a teen.

Sounds like a typical innocence story right? Well, I have more detail that I can't tell you but I believe he's innocent. There are more people in here with similar innocence claims all over the world but I wanted to get to a point in response to your issue No. 55 question.

Prison has a caste system and SOs find their way to the bottom. We are the lowest class in society and outside of society. I don't like calling myself a sex offender. In fact, I'm not, but I'm labeled as one because my charge says that I am. My circumstances of my charge won't allow me to admit to being one. But it doesn't matter what I think or say. I've noticed, in my time around other SOs that they (most of them) made a mistake or a bad choice. I'm not talking about rapists, but still, I've met some very good people.

I've lived a very good life. I always been hard working, trustworthy, reliable, smart and loving. I've learned a lot in the military especially from visiting foreign countries. Cambodia and Iraq taught me a lot. Before now I never been in trouble with the law. When I didn't have I still gave. And I still do. I run store in my unit but it's not for me. The profit takes care of who I choose, who I believe is the less fortunate. If somehow I can make one person see that sex offenders are human, I made a difference. I would like to be a force to help unite all. The sex offender label shouldn't disqualify people in a movement bigger than us because if it does — would that really be socialism?


MIM(Prisons) responds: "Sex offenders" in general are seen as pariahs who can't be touched, and certainly can't be part of a progressive movement. But as this comrade points out, people are labeled as sex offenders by our enemies, and we have no reason to take their word for it. How many people behind bars are unjustly sentenced or even innocent? Why do prisoners know this is true for people convicted of other crimes, but condemn all convicted sex offenders on the word of the criminal injustice system?

Our society encourages rape. Movies, music, advertising, porn, it's all pushing coercion and sex. Rape is coerced sex, and in a patriarchal society it's impossible to set up a relationship where both people are totally equal. There are differences in income, social status, beauty, educational achievement, etc. etc. All these things have become part of what people find attractive and we are indoctrinated to believe these inequalities are sexy.

We don't let people off the hook for knowingly committing violence against other people. But we also know that people are a product of their culture and we need to push for the re-education of people if we hope to build a society where all people truly are equal. Because of this, we must also judge people based on what they do, and not a label put on them by the criminal injustice system. We agree with this writer that people make mistakes, and that they can change.

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