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Under Lock & Key

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Update from Stimulus Check Suit in TX

In Under Lock & Key 76 we published an article on how to file for the suit Clay v. Director of IRS Mnuchin No4:21-CV-08132-PJH if you did not receive the $3,200 stimulus checks while in a Texas prison during the pandemic. Here is an update from the initiator of this suit for anyone who has filed.

The IRS is seeking to deter and retaliate in order to lessen payments of rebate refunds by stating that a $5,000.00 penalty will issue if filer does not [withdrawal] the form 1040s filed to receive EIP. The filers need to send the IRS letter to the 9th Court of Appeals as instructed in ULK 76. Tell them to attach the letter.

They are doing this because the “fluid recovery scheme” is exposed so they can’t use it. Now they seek to use “retaliatory scare” tactics by this notice stating a $5k penalty and criminal charges for a 1040 that they don’t clarify why such is seeking benefit not entitled to or what deficiency is apparent.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Federal Correctional Institution Memphis] [Federal] [ULK Issue 78]
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Comrades in TN Observing their First Black August

“When prisoners come together around an issue that does not directly reflect their own narrow self-interests, then that is when there will be a real prisoners movement again. Until prisoners understand that simple lesson they are doomed to live with an increasingly heavy boot on their neck…” - Ed Mead

Greetings Comrades,

I had to write to you all to let you know that Under Lock & Key has taken root & blossomed in an area or shall I say a plantation here in Memphis, TN.

When I first arrived here there were five conscious souls here. However, after sharing and expounding on the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, with emphasis on Unity, the members of different street organizations have now agreed to observe Black August, including the Spanish brothers.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 78]
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Capitalism Spawns Betrayal

Betrayal of one’s comrades: what in prison is called “snitching”, is an aspect of capitalism. Capitalism creates the myth of an isolated individual. “Snitches” and “informants” are people who are convinced that they are acting in their own best interest at the cost of breaking their social ties. “Prison create snitches” not only because they want information to use against others, but because it is a proven method of “breaking” people.

Denmark Vessey, who was betrayed before an 1822 slave uprising, warned against trusting a slave who accepts gifts from a master. These gifts represent attaching values to “things” and not one’s bond with other human beings. They reflect the “fetish” of commodities; putting values into possessions at the cost of your human relations is cruel & deadly. Prisons found that snitches become a lot more violent, animalistic, & don’t care who they hurt – just to survive for the moment. Prisons had to create special yards just for them, which even according to their own data, were most violent, where new gangs were created as the snitches attempted to create some semblance of self-respect.

The Pelican Bay hunger strikers overcame the idea the system perpetuated. It re-established human solidarity across gang & racial lines. As opposed to the snitches the system used to keep people in perpetual solitary confinement. The idea of solidarity caught on with tens of thousands of state & federal prisoners, and many times more out on the streets nation-wide…(wake up) we can no longer allow the imperialists to use us against each other for their benefit!!!

Collectively we are an empowered force. The People’s Commission, consisting of: the Almighty Black-P-Stone Nation El Rukn Tribe, the Almighty Latin King Nation, & the Almighty Vice Lords Nation have been united in solidarity & nation building for 75 years. We call upon all street organizations in the American western hemisphere to do the same.

-All Is Truly Well-

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 78]
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Gunnas Stop

Have some respect! Not only for the women officers and staff of DOC, but for yourself as well. These ladies come here to work to pay bills and take care of their families, not to partake in your perverted fantasies. If you wouldn’t sit in a car or stand behind a bush and do it, don’t do it here! If you would they have QMHP for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, skinny, or fat, you can have a pinkie or a horse, it’s degrading to yourself and the female no matter her nationality. You wouldn’t want your female loved ones to be subjected to this, so why would you subject someone else’s to it? Do not submit to your lower passions because of your surrounding or time. Rise above your circumstances.

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[Polemics] [Theory] [Fascism] [First World Lumpen] [National Liberation] [Independent Institutions] [ULK Issue 78]
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Tasks of the Revolutionary

The task of a revolutionary, regardless of ones political/ideological or cultural leanings, is to make revolution. Revolution is all about change. The biggest change that a revolutionary must undertake is the equivalent to in the religion of Islam what is called Jihad. Jihad is not limited to what most Western religious enthusiasts have been led to believe, the meaning of Jihad goes much deeper than the concept of crusades or mere bombings. The biggest Jihad or battle that one can have is the battle for control over oneself.(als see MIM(Prisons)’s study pack on religion) To the revolutionary, this task is important because he/she has to become the change they wish to produce to the world.

A constant improving of one’s character with the righteousness of ideals that have went through the rigors of tests to be found or rather proved to be correct for the overall ordeal of advancement. Once again before this can be felt by the untapped but potential revolutionary or the dumb, deaf & blind brother/sister clinging to a culture intended to kill them, the revolutionary must make this change (revolution) within his/her own personal character. This is what should be used to provide an example for others of whom we are trying to reach. This also however leads us to the conclusion that people no matter the fact that we come from common ways of living & thinking, are still each different.

This statement doesn’t mean that I subscribe to individualism, because true revolutionaries think from the communal mindset. However, since we are far removed from that concept, we must find ways that are productive to lead one to the communal mindset that already exists in us naturally. The idea of individualism is one of the main obstacles to overall community change, because we’re not acting as organisms moving together for the betterment of the body (society). But that doesn’t mean that all aspects of individualism are wrong, for example, “each according to ability.” So while some may think of us all developing the mind of the commune will lead us all to thinking like the Borg from Star Trek (everyone thinking the same thing), I see it more like the Smurfs. Yes the Smurfs. They had a unified community, accompanied with everyone playing a specific role. This way shouldn’t just be relegated to one’s own political vanguard or the military brigade. We have to find some means of communicating these ideals to everyone. Since we all share a common enemy, all of our efforts have to revolve around crushing that threat.

If we relegate ourselves to constantly battling over which of the communal methods hold the stronger validity, we’ll all end up moving in our own directions & probably never initializing the changes that we are the basis of our citizenship within these groups. We’ll more than likely continue to develop the mentalities they would like for us to develop, which will ultimately reduce us to caricature. All opinions are not equal & there is such a thing as counter-productive revisionism. Our vanguard elements are going to have to develop the use of Democratic Centralism. This process however must be done without the bitterness & rancor that can only come from egoism. In fact egoism must be crushed, because great man personalities have no place in revolution. Revolution, whether politically or through armed struggle, is all about the altering of a society that is crushing the life force out of all of us, this is not an individual problem, once again it is communal!

Dialectical materialism is all about examining things within their total sequence & seeing the pros & cons in the struggles of the past. The obvious reason is to better equip ourselves from suffering the same fate as a result of the same failures of our previous brave brothers/sisters engaged at trying to crush the outside enemy culture & to utilize whatever methods may be useful to strengthen what we already have. A constant improvisation still needs to be done, but this doesn’t mean that we should stop studying people’s war. We have to study the principles of people’s war & learn to interpret them to fit our overall situation here. Most wars of liberation took place in the countryside of their respective lands. Our situation is different in that Amerikan settler-colonialism is modernized & at least 80-90% of Amerika is industrialized, so the nerve centers of this nation are indeed the cities. This means that hip shooting cops are all around us, thus making them easier to reach.

In the opening phases of our struggle for liberation, I feel just as Comrade Jackson felt, that the military proper must be kept hidden & separate from the political front. You see the role of a political revolutionary is totally different than the military who are engaged in armed struggle against macabre freaks. The guerrilla chief is tasked with communicating to his soldiers that they must protect their political peoples at their work. If we let our “voices” die to machine gun fire, no knock invasions, the anonymous tip, political incarceration & even the work of agent provocateurs & class defectors, then our dream of eventual freedom will more than likely die with those brave brothers/sisters. The guerrilla chief however must also have a thorough understanding of the true nature of fascism, the modern industrial state, the economic landscape etc. The reason is that if one group dies or is not as effective the guerrilla chief & his band of revolutionaries can still keep the revolution alive.

As of now our main problem is the fact that our vanguard & military groups have shifted their focus from revolution to clinging to the culture of anti-people crimes. The settler-colonial strategy is law & order which ultimately means prison – our tactic is perfect disorder which leads to the proletariat & the lumpen creating mass disorder to work against the beast (cops) & their vigilante supporters. In 1969, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover declared that “there will no longer be a Black Panther Party in the U.S.” The Black Panther Party was not the only revolutionary group & in spite of popular belief, they were not just a group working exclusively in the interest of Blacks. The Black Panther Party like almost every other revolutionary group, was a communist organization that utilized the principles they learned from successful communist victories, from examples such as Mao Zedong and his Red Book. They formed alliances with many other revolutionary groups and because the Black situation stood out more (& still does) they were thought to be the overall vanguard party to even other political & military vanguards. So the goal wasn’t to just fix conditions in the Black community. That was their primary objective, but they understood that if you just focused exclusively on the black conditions and fixing only our areas, we would have to ghettoize other segments of society that would equal Mexicans, [email protected], First Nations, etc.

To stop the progressive elements of unity among different cultural/revolutionary groups, the establishment caused the leaders of these groups to distrust their own members. This was done by the government from planting spies in these groups, along with wiretaps, surveillance, to out sending letters to leaders that were supposed to have come other leaders declaring war between the groups. The goals the establishment used largely worked and eventually several key leaders either went into hiding, left the country, or were even assassinated while the political prisoners suffered death legally and quasi-legally.

Of course progressive thinking was still held as an ideal in some people’s minds and this led to groups that eventually turned against the community even further by becoming gangs. Community Revolution in Progress became the goal for Raymond Washington and Stanley “Tookie” Williams or Brotherly Love Overriding Oppression & Destruction became the acronym for Blood. These were good ideas and could’ve worked if we had received the freedom first. The freedom I’m referring to must come first in the form of a free-dome because our situation was more psychological than physical. This means that our minds were created for the sole purpose of getting us to act against our even better interests. This shouldn’t be understated since the mindsets that we have now didn’t exist in communal Africa. These mindsets is what led us to industrializing this country which ultimately our labor was used as the down payment on the system of economics that determines one’s status in this country.

Without the mindsets that we adopted (through long usage) we would’ve long been better equipped at resisting. But since chattel slavery lasted for 400 years and we haven’t been free 200 years, how can we hope to win freedom, especially since once again we are still clinging to the ideas that created our mindsets in the first place? Since it is our design that gave beauty to the world, which should be easy to see since others are quick to pick up on our culture, even sometimes more readily than we are, we must go back to our own design. This could work for the betterment of not only us as a group however, this could be used as a basis to show others righteous examples that could ultimately lead to a change. But it must begin now. For us to delay what must be done today is like asking someone else to undertake to aid us in a liberation effort that must be engaged in by our own efforts.

Another problem working against us is our inability to understand the difference between reform and change. Largely the only righteous peoples who were working for us are the people who were attacked by the outside enemy culture. Anyone else was used because their stance wasn’t revolutionary. I’m not dismissing people like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks etc, but I know that the main reason why they are mentioned over people such as Malcolm X or Huey Newton is their view against the necessity not only of violence and the correct usage of armed struggle, but it also mainly rests with them telling us to escape from the culture that we embrace. Malcolm X’s image is only now used because at the end of his life he was said to have accepted whites. Part of that was true, but he never said they weren’t devils just because he converted to orthodox Islam. What he said was that in his view the devil (white man) could only be redeemed in his opinion through Islam because Christianity has not redeemed them from not only killing us, but also starting wars with other whites.

So people like Martin, through his practice of pacifism and his refusal to go against the culture of Amerikanism, resulted in him winning a few reforms which are only offered to us as tokens, these tokens however are not change. Change is why we are no longer looked at as second class citizens in a world where some are held above others based on racial & economic reasons. His Imperial Majesty who heavily inspired Bob Marley to later embrace Rastafarianism, said that “until the philosophy that the color of one’s skin is as less significant as the color of one’s eyes there will always be war.” The road to freedom means freedom, justice & equality for all regardless of one’s ethnicity, political views, religions, spirituality etc.

We will have this freedom even at the cost of total war. We come to the conclusion that violence to us may be the only recourse. This violence shouldn’t be tied to romanticism, it’s about us altering the conditions that are restricting our passage to freedom. I humbly and passionately respect all the sincere people who gave their life and ideas to produce men like me whose goal is to move further than when they left off and that’s even for those of whom I disagree with. I recognize that passion leads to different outcomes and different results, as long as they were intended to benefit us as a whole than whether I disagree or not I still have the fact that their life force was used to alter the conditions that is for the betterment of our lives as a whole. My stance as a whole is rooted around us globally enjoying freedom, justice & equality. I realize the imperial process is only complete if the parent imperial nation - USA - is strong so I’m all for bringing Amerika down to her knees. Anyone who sincerely has that as a goal I embrace, white or Black I embrace, but it must begin now.

Long Live Guerrilla Chief George Jackson!

Long Live All those Who Don’t Fear Freedom!


Plastick of MIM(Prisons) responds:This comrade here has given us a core learning element of leading the masses by example – a new socialist world and a new human being will have to constantly remove the old world’s reactionary culture and habits.

One thing this comrade has mentioned that we are in disagreement is in regards to fascism. Originally, the comrade has spoke of fascist Amerika which has been changed to settler-colonial Amerika by this responder. We define fascism as a new strategy by the bourgeois dictatorship when it can no longer rule the way it has ruled before. We believe that Amerika is likely to turn fascist through a political-economic crisis which is integral to capitalism-imperialism. However, we believe that the current state of methods such as police killings, imprisonment, and exploiting the majority of the world for superprofits and high level of consumption has always been the way that Amerika has ruled. When this social-democratic strategy of sharing the piece of the imperialist pie to the oppressor nation (Amerikans) ceases to work due to an ever deepening of the crisis, then fascism will indeed come. Up until now, Amerika has maintained relative strength, and Sun Tzu taught us to attack when the enemy is helpless.

Long Live George Jackson!

Long Live All those Who Don’t Fear Freedom!

Plastick

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Religious Repression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Grooming Victory in Texas, But Censorship and Release Problems Continue

I’m writing because I’ve had two or three letters from you denied here at Wynne Unit, they say “the information contains messages of hatred and statements that could start riots”. Of course, I disagreed and wasn’t given the opportunity to appeal it by the Texas Director’s Review Committee.

Secondly, place this in your next issue: I won a §1983 Suit in Texas dealing with the beard and hair policy. Specifically you can wear goatees, dreads, and braids than “they’ve now said one big braid”. The case log is Newman v. Marfo 4:19-CU-00352 and, now I have a retaliation claim which is Newman v. Bowers 4:22-CU-01649 because these officials are still giving cases creating a related injury and causal connection due to this being directly related to my, as well as our, protected conduct guarded by the 1st Amendment Constitutional Right.

Please post this because we only suffered in Texas prisons because the residents are weak and have no real hope and don’t acquire the will to believe we have the power to fight legally without physical contact but, by our minds. I also started another claim for another resident for abolishing the 1996 clause that says if we meet the standard for release, they don’t have to let us go; signed by former President Clinton and Joe Biden. So, when Biden duped blacks to break all those records getting him in office why didn’t he unsign it?

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[Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Targetted Censorship & Abuse with Impunity

Hey fellas,

I got a correspondence letter from y’all a couple of weeks ago that was denied for “contents which would incite a disturbance”. First, I asked if the letter was “Media Correspondence” and the chick said “yeah”. So I’m like “Who denied it and why was it opened without my presence?” Of course, she didn’t want to give no name – neither hers or of whoever denied it. So I refused to sign. I did try to appeal, but after refusing to sign I’m sure they just threw it away. So I don’t know if you’re acknowledged as a media correspondent or not, or if they got you some kind of watch list. I know what policy says and if they do it again I’ll grieve that ass hard. I’m sure you been banned ever since you got those Texas Pack’s out. They won’t let that in, or any regular mail you send. But it’s too late.

I did all I could and spread the word in the Allred law library – shit was a hit. They (TDCJ) call it inciting a disturbance, but we all know that it’s all the information we should be entitled to have to fight the negligence, abuse, and misinterpretation of state and federal laws. This unit has a loooong history of violating its own policy and civil rights with impunity. The grievance department, to medical and everything in between, is set up this way. People like me who are in the know and work to expose the corruption are either shipped elsewhere, or if they don’t have outside help, are “rolled” off the unit with an ass whoopin and/or false charges. They do this to protect the “overall safety and security of the institution” that they have going.

I’ve only been here since February 2022 and have been either a witness or victim of every violation but murder. My biggest gripes were that the P4s (safe keeping G4) are religiously discriminated on and refused worship services unless they are of the mainstream faith. The trans-women have no privacy screens to cover their breast in the shower areas. Exposing them to voyeurism when there is no “exigent circumstance”. P4s are stuck in the cell during the peak heat of the day, even the hottest of days, everyday. Respite, and respite showers do not exist during such times. Cold water is only offered if they are lucky enough to have a janitor there to pass it out. The cops sure as hell ain’t doing it. It’s fucked up. I just got off that custody but I still feel for ’em and want to help cause I’ve never seen such animosity and neglect towards a population. There are only a little over 30 P4s on the unit, almost 1/2 are trans women. They should be protected, but instead are targeted. That’s bout all I got for now.

Please hit me back when you can.

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Censorship of TBCJ, TDCJ Policies, Procedures and Rules

Dear MIM:

I’m writing to advise of a need for you to publish in your next issue a NOTICE FOR ALL TEXAS PRISONER ACTIVISTS concerning censorship of TBCJ-and-TDCJ policies (n.b.:The State-level Prison bureaucrats of Personnel) against the prison population and outside communities. This censorship practice is designed to keep the public relations of peoples who are incarcerated in ignorance and from having incarcerated people’ loved ones and friends in a DISADVANTAGED PHASE-AND-STATE-IN-NATURE when attempting to learn the proper information and steps to address the situations and problems arising outta the medical-and-mental health or prison conditions. The prison population needs to know of this. It seems that only certain information we’ve made/or ordered to be omitted from being accessible or available at the central-level and unit-level law library room Department’s list of in-stock holding items on their shelf.

The following is the list of items that the central-level and unit-level personnel does not want us to learn about with respect to TDCJ procedures and rules:

  1. Grievance Operations Manual
  2. Operations for Mailroom Manual *
  3. WSD Recreation Program Procedures Manual
  4. Departmental Policy and Operations Manual
  5. Food Service Procedures Manual
  6. Safe Prison/PREA Operations Manual
  7. Access to Court Procedures Manual *
  8. Substance Abuse Treatment Operation Manual
  9. Sex Offender Treatment Operations Manual
  10. Unit Classification Procedures Manual
  11. TDCJ Intake Procedures Manual
  12. TDCJ Records Detention Schedule
  13. TDCJ Property Procedures Manual
  14. Operational Review Manual
  15. Unit Classification Plan *
  16. Restrictive Housing Plan (n.b.: This Plan is not the same as The Manual) *
  17. Security Threat Group Plan
  18. TDCJ Volunteer Services Plan
  19. TDCJ Suicide Prevention Plan
  20. Operational Strategic Plan
  21. TDCJ Administrative Plan for Capital Improvements by Donor Groups
  22. Chaplaincy Department Manual *
  23. Safe Prison/PREA Plan *

Comrades! The Procedures/Operations Manuals and The Plans are not the same. The manuals will provide the prison population all the ins-and-outs and references of all federal and state statutes or laws pertaining to the subject-matter in question. Starred items above are items made-and-available for the prison population to inspect and review.

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[Drugs] [Prison Labor] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 78]
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Kill The Bossman in Your Head

Queridos Compañeros and Camaradas,

(Dear Comrades and Fellow Travelers)

A report from South Texas: In the wake of another mass shooting in nearby Uvalde, the pigs and their masters are engaging in the usual finger-pointing and recrimination but one thing is clear: the cops are cowards who are quick to shoot unarmed people, but become conveniently “policy-orientated” when they are faced with a disturbed young man wielding an AR-15 assault rifle slaughtering defenseless children.

I’m not really in the habit of blaming the consumers of this toxic system called “democracy”, but these poor children were already the “walking dead” after only a few years in the classroom. The lame-ass governor and the fascist Ted Cruz and their clique call it a “massive system failure”, but those who have been paying attention will immediately see the system works exactly as it was designed to operate: the state of Texas is the NRA torchbearer but ranks dead last in mental health treatment. In fact, the single biggest mental health care facility in the state is Harris County Jail.

Those who are waiting for a legislative solution better stop dreaming and open your eyes to the reality nobody is going to save us or free us unless we liberate ourselves and that can only happen if we organize and think and act strategically with our comrades and fellow travelers. It all begins with educating ourselves and arming ourselves with the necessary facts and tools to accomplish our goals and make the world a better place.

Here in Texas among the prison class it’s a real challenge to create solidarity as the cell blocks are constantly flooded with mind-numbing substances along with the disputes and rivalries and materialism that comes along with it. I’ve made very little progress in my effort to “kill the ‘bossman’ in your head” – not actual physical violence, but to actually banish the word “boss man” from our vocabulary when addressing these pigs.

I’m attempting to show the direct line from slave plantations through “convict leasing program” all the way to the modern system of mass incarceration, and how the term “boss man” helps keep us linguistically and psychologically in bondage. So we need to banish the term, thought, idea of “boss man” from our hearts and minds if we ever want to be free.

So my Juneteenth Freedom Initiative direct action is only days away and I will be peacefully protesting the lie that "slavery was abolished when in fact it’s alive and well in forced prison labor programs all over the United Snakes of America. As you can see from the enclosed denial forms, almost all your subsequent mailings have been denied. I am appealing the censorship and will keep you posted. At this point I am largely in the dark with regards to progress in other facilities, but I ask your assistance in helping me to challenge this censorship. In the meantime, I await further info/instructions.

PS: It is increasingly clear to me that so-called “Aryan” white supremacist groups are expanding and enjoying cover from prison officials. We need to focus on this and build Brown and Black alliance/solidarity along with white fellow travelers (very few of them), but I’m sure they are around. But my point is, these Aryan reactionaries are tools of the state and should be viewed as such. Recent headlines about “Right-Wing Domestic Terror Threat” are propaganda designed to increase even more police/surveillance state apparatus that will be used to control us, not them. That’s how they justify this shit with headlines to “combat neo-nazi terrorists” when in fact the plan all along is to keep their foot on our necks.

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[Revolutionary History] [Idealism/Religion] [Economics] [ULK Issue 78]
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Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación, Salvador Puig Antich, and The Labor Aristocracy

The Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación (MIL) was an anti-capitalist group consisting of both anarchists and communists that was active between 1971-1973 in the fascist state of Spain under Franco. The group was unique in that, unlike most revolutionary organizations, it was not centralized. MIL did not believe that a centralized group could be revolutionary. They insisted that a centralized group was synonymous with a party and that a party could not achieve social revolution because a party, by necessity, seeks to gain state power and then strengthen its position. The strengthening of state power – any state power – weakens the revolution.

MIL Line and History

MIL was internationalist in scope and honored the memory and history of various class struggles around the globe. Including, but not limited to: the Iberian class struggle, the Revolution of 333 Days in Hungary, the November Revolution in Germany, and the Bavarian Council Republic. They also had ties to anti-capitalist organizations outside of Spain, especially in France. In addition to it’s internationalist practices, they also collaborated extensively with other revolutionary organizations in Spain (most notably the GAC and OLLA).

The main element of MIL’s revolutionary action was the expropriation of funds from the capitalists through armed agitation. They would spread the expropriated money around the anti-capitalist movement to help further other clandestine operations as well as support worker’s struggles, families of prisoners, and victims of the police. A good chunk of these expropriated funds were invested in the library that MIL helped create called the Ediciones Mayo del 37. The purpose of this library was to publish and distribute revolutionary texts that could help raise the political consciousness of the working class.

Another important aspect of MIL was its support of women’s struggles against patriarchy. They claimed that any group that did not support such struggles were not revolutionary, for it was impossible to fight against capitalism and remain blind to the oppression and exploitation of women in capitalist society. Therefore, any organization that did not support women’s struggles were purposely ignoring their plight, and thus, could not be called revolutionary. Furthermore, MIL advocated revolution across all aspects of society: social, cultural, sexual, familial, and political. Revolution is not partial to any part of society; revolution effects society in its entirety. MIL did not consider itself a vanguard of the revolution – in fact, they opposed the very idea of a vanguard. Which is why they engaged in armed agitation rather than armed struggle.

“‘Armed agitation’ is wholly different from the strategy of ‘armed struggle’, in which a specialized group acts as the vanguard of the movement by constituting the nucleus of a future army…serving as the military wing of a clandestine political party…or by carrying out the most spectacular actions and using its position to attempt to influence and direct a mass movement…on the contrary, the groups that carry out armed agitation understand themselves to be simply a part of a bigger movement, increasing that movement’s capacity for communication, self-defense, and self-financing by organizing and funding clandestine printing, attacking the forces of repression, and expropriating money from capitalists…They also seek to generalize their practice rather than centralize it, distributing weapons among the lower classes and encouraging the horizontal proliferation of armed groups.” (1)

The core reason why MIL was opposed to armed struggle and the philosophy of the need for a vanguard was because they believed that nobody but the proletariat could liberate the proletariat. The idea that the proletariat needed an external group to lead or liberate them went against everything that MIL fought for and believed in. The members of MIL did not think of themselves as heroes of the people. They believed that their role in the anti-capitalist struggle was to act in ways that would help the working-class become politicized and then liberate themselves. As mentioned previously, the way that MIL thought best to achieve their purpose was through the expropriation of funds. By the time that MIL dissolved in September 1973, they had expropriated 24 million Pesetas from capitalists.

Ultimately, MIL dissolved itself after it had reached a point where the members could no longer consider their actions as revolutionary. Although MIL opposed specialization they found that they had become an organization that practiced specialization. They had done so inadvertently by continuously engaging in armed agitation without developing a political line that could explain and support their action to the masses. Just as theory – political line – needs to be supported by practice, so too does practice need to be supported by theory. The lack of one diminishes the other.

Initially, a Congress was held by the members of MIL to seek a solution that could save the group. In the end, they decided to dissolve; in part because their actions had failed to inspire the proletariat to engage in open class warfare. They decided that, at that time, the working class was not sufficiently politically conscious and that their main objective should be to politicize the masses through propaganda until the time came when armed agitation was necessary.

Salvador Puig Antich

The most famous member of MIL was, by far, Salvador Puig Antich. Salvador was born on 30 May 1948 in Barcelona. He began rebelling against authority figures in his youth and was once expelled from school for punching a teacher in defense of another student. Although he was involved in the worker’s struggles in his youth, he did not engage in revolutionary actions until he joined MIL during the summer of 1972. He participated in his first bank robbery on October 21st of the same year (acting as the getaway driver), and the action resulted in the expropriation of 990,200 Pesetas from the Laietana Saving Bank. Shortly after that Salvador began to carry a gun and go into banks himself.

He was a committed anti-capitalist who identified as an anarchist. Although he didn’t join MIL until it had been active for a year, he quickly became a prominent figure within the organization. He authored several texts that were circulated among the members of MIL. The purpose of these texts was to formulate discussion about various topics relevant to the organization and the revolution.

On 25 September 1973 Salvador was in a shootout with the police. During the altercation he was shot twice and one officer was killed. After the incident occurred he was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries; when he was determined to be in stable condition he was transferred to Modelo prison to await trail. On 9 January 1974 he was given the death penalty.

Although capitalists have attempted to portray Salvador as a degenerate criminal, the truth cannot be denied: he was a true revolutionary. He never denied his actions and always maintained that everything he did, he did in the name of the anti-capitalist struggle. His every action, his every thought, was centered toward the abolition of the state and the state apparatus. He never capitulated. He stayed true to the revolutionary struggle until the bitter end.

On 2 March 1974 Franco’s fascist state executed Salvador Puig Antich via garrot vil [editor: a chair that is used to strangle people to death]. He was 25 years old. Even though MIL did not develop a sufficient political line and dissolved after only two years of revolutionary action, it should by no means be forgotten. Both MIL and Salvador Puig Antich have influenced countless people in Spain to engage in revolutionary struggle. And, importantly, MIL advanced the theory of the Labor Aristocracy in a time when few did. Even today few recognize that in places like the United States of America, the proletarian class has ceased to exist and a new class has risen in its place; a parasitic class that benefits from the exploitation of the working class in the Third World. This parasitic class is the Labor Aristocracy.

MIL on the Labor Aristocracy

The same day that Salvador was executed Oriol Solé wrote the following from Modelo prison:

“In the United States, in Europe, under the rule of the superpowers, the proletariat has disappeared. Society has engendered a new social class that creates surplus, accumulates capital, and at the same time grows bloated on the surplus generated by millions of wage workers in the poor countries. A new class that builds itself a paradise paid for with the blood of the exploited poor of Africa, Asia and Latin America.” (2)

MIL’s line regarding the Labor Aristocracy was spot on, but several of their positions were flawed. For example, MIL viewed a vanguard as synonymous with a party and argued that any party would seize state power and strengthen its position. They held that no party could be revolutionary because the point of revolution is to abolish the state and the state apparatus.

This is an anarchist view and cannot lead to revolution. The anarchist believes that you should abolish the state and its apparatus immediately. While their concern about a new power oppressive power arising is a valid one, the communist recognizes the impracticality of combating strong class enemies without a state power and acknowledges that an intermediary stage between capitalism and communism is necessary – this stage being socialism. The socialist stage gradually diminishes until the state no longer exists. Only then can communism been achieved.

Another flaw is MIL’s view regarding the vanguard. They did not believe one was necessary and actively spoke against the creation of one. However, history has shown us that not only do vanguards work, but they are necessary to carry out a revolution. Three such examples are the centralized vanguards led by Mao, Castro, and Lenin. All of which carried out successful revolutions. Without their vanguards, those revolutions would not have occurred.

Yet, even with obvious flaws in their political theory, the MIL should not be thrown on the ash heap of history. Both MIL and Salvador Puig Antich are famous in Spain for their revolutionary legacy. But they are little known elsewhere. We should remember Salvador for his revolutionary actions, beliefs, and ultimate sacrifice. He lived for the people and he died for the people. Likewise, we should not let the MIL fall through the cracks of history. In the two short years of its existence, its actions shook the foundations of Spain, and surprisingly, it did so without killing. The only death attributed to MIL was that officer killed during the shootout with Salvador. MIL directly contributed to the worker’s struggles and did not seek to control or direct the proletariat for personal gain.

Every anti-capitalist revolutionary should remember Salvador Puig Antich and MIL and celebrate their legacy every March 2nd – the anniversary of Salvador’s death.

  1. Salvador Puig Antich: Collected Writings on Repression and Resistance in Franco’s Spain; by Ricard de Vargas Golarons; translated by Peter Gelderloos; pg.16
  2. ibid; pg.159

MIM(Prisons) adds: The story of MIL becoming specialized when they opposed specialization echoes the lesson of Jo Freeman’s The Tyranny of Structurelessness. This essay is included in our study pack on organizational structure, for those who want to dive deeper into the Maoist line on this topic.

While MIL grasped the economic realities of the imperialist countries at an early stage of history, like many others they failed to answer the question of how to organize for the end of oppression in these conditions. This has been a question that many similar groups in the First World took to similar conclusions, leading to dissolution. MIM attempts to answer these questions by recognizing the fact that armed struggle is not viable against a strong imperialist state, and the need to be a mass-based movement. We cannot expect huge or flashy actions at this stage of the struggle, and we must build the infrastructure and educate the cadre for when conditions change. Time is on our side.

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