In 1987, the Guajardo v. Estelle case, modifying the correspondence regulations in the Texas prison system, was finalized. One of the results of Guajardo was prisoners with less than $5.00 in their trust fund accounts were considered indigent, and thereby entitled to five one-ounce First Class correspondences per week, and unlimited legal and privileged correspondences.
Circa 1998, Jason Powers, attorney at law, with the firm Vinson & Elkins, contacted me informing me the state had filed a motion to vacate Guajardo pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Powers solicited my assistance in defending plaintiffs' objection to State's motion. Obviously, the plaintiffs failed to prevail.
My concern regarding recent constrictions in indigent correspondence procedures is: Since vacating of Guajardo, indigent prisoner correspondence has been reduced from the 5 personal letters a week and unlimited legal correspondence, to 5 personal and 5 legal correspondence per month. This, when the indigent requirement has remained less than $5.00 since 1978, never being adjusted per the inflated dollar.
As such, I intend to commence a petition campaign directed at State Senator John Whitmire, State Committee on Criminal Justice, demanding not only that the 5x5 weekly indigent correspondence regulations be reimplemented, but that the standard of indigence required be adjusted to reflect a realistic inflated dollar. So fly this by your grievance writers and gauge their thoughts on the matter.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The reduction in indigent prisoner correspondence envelopes has a direct impact on prisoners' ability to stay in contact with family, fight legal battles, and engage in political education and organizing. The criminal injustice system wants to curtail these activities as a part of the goal of social control. As revolutionaries we support campaigns to expand access to correspondence, as we know this is critical to our ability to reach our comrades behind bars. We look forward to input from other grievance campaign participants about this new tactic in Texas.
Another campaign that is active in Texas is the right to access to a law library. We also recently learned that the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook has been banned across the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice as of October 29, 2015. Texas is continuing a long history of assault on oppressed peoples in that state, and the only way we're going to be able to overcome the new (and old) tactics developed (and re-instituted) daily is to overthrow the state apparatus that makes it possible. Obviously Amerikkka's government system has got to go.
I am responding to your call for campaign updates concerning the grievance petition for this state that another very talented, gifted, and capable comrade put together to address all of our concerns and conditions in Florida. I, personally, think it is a very ingenious, adequate, and brilliant piece of legal work, and believe it sufficiently addresses all of Florida prisoners concerns and problems they might have been experiencing with the grievance procedure in this state. My hat goes off to the 'rade who established this and I offer or extend a firm, tight, and clenched fist salute for hooking this piece up.
The first time I put this petition into effect in Florida was at Dade Correctional Institution in March 2014, about the officials there not acknowledging, not sending me a receipt, trying to ignore or disregard, and not answering certain grievances. The Asstistant Warden for Programs, Mr. J. Williams, called me out personally to his office and told me if I ever had any of these kind of problems again, to just come up to his office personally and if any other staff member asked or tried to stop me just tell them that he sent for me or told me to come up there and he would cover for me - and then he would personally hand deliver to me a copy of the receipt and log number or account for whatever the discrepancy was to make sure that I got a copy of it and received a response to the grievance. Needless to say, I didn't have any more problems or didn't have to do this anymore and all of my grievances were responded to in a timely and legitimate manner.
I also received a letter from the Office of General Counsel, for the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC), acknowledging receipt of said grievance petition and informing me that he was looking into my allegations and directing the grievance coordinator in Central Office (Tallahassee, FL) to investigate it.
Since that time, I have also shared a copy of this petition with various other prisoners for their review and use to solve, initiate, investigate or inquire into their problems with positive results. However, as you know, I have also recently just re-filed this petition again at my present facility (Wakulla Correctional Institution) concerning another issue and am currently awaiting their reply, response or reaction. Will, again, keep you posted and updated.
So I would like to encourage, promote, motivate, inspire, and advise all prisoners in the state of Florida who are experiencing any kind of problems with the grievance procedure in this state, or who are not having their grievances acknowledged, receipted, accounted for, and answered to please send for their copy of this much-needed petition. A firm, tight, revolutionary clenched fist salute to the author of this grievance petition in Florida.
MIM(Prisons) responds: You can write to us for a copy of the Florida grievance petition, which is also formatted for many other states. We encourage everyone using these petitions to send us your feedback and experiences. We need to know how this campaign is evolving on the ground.
On 20 February 2016, one day before we would mourn the assassination of Brother Malcolm some fifty-one years ago, Stillwater Penitentiary, in honor of Black History Month, welcomed three of Minnesota's most prominent African American leaders. Bobby Champion Keith Ellison and Spike Moss took valuable time out of their busy schedules and spoke on the topic of how they became who they are today. An appropriate topic considering the month, and the current state of affairs Black men find themselves in today.
I think before I provide my opinion of each speech from the men of honor, I should include the fact per our overseers, the benevolent Department of Corrections, we were shown Twelve Years a Slave, and also Django. Of course I couldn't watch Django, but Twelve Years a Slave, I watched. After the movie I wondered if the kernel of truth in the movie was supposed to be: all white men aren't liars, or just wait on the white man because he's coming to save you. I think the hardest pill to swallow was watching a movie from within a failed system, and being subliminally told that a slave's belief in a system that makes the slave a slave will save him.
Boby Champion, a Minnesota Democratic State Senator and fabulous orator, spoke about the obstacles he faced in graduating from Macalester College. Senator Champion's speech took us on a journey of perseverance and fatherhood. He based his success on staying out of trouble, and singing gospel in his group he established. It was Senator Champion's belief that serving the community completed the healing circle. I thought that was noble, and believed he was sincere in his belief that he served his community through assistance in our incarceration. Yet, I felt as I sat there he didn't talk about criminal justice, and avoided what I had on my mind, the death of unarmed Black men.
Next to hit the floor was the University of Minnesota graduate, Keith Ellison, Representative of the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives, fresh off his endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders. U.S. House Rep. Ellison, with little talk of his life, stayed on topic with a Zinn-esque perspective on Black History. I can only speculate on the reason he didn't talk about his life. Perhaps if he had spoken on his profession as a defense attorney, in turn the defense and assistance in lengthy prison sentences for those in the gymnasium would have become the topic of conversation. Although House Rep. Ellison was not as energetic as Minnesota Senator Champion, his topic fit with the theme; however, I still wanted someone to speak about current relevant issues.
Finally, Spike Moss took the stage and he didn't disappoint. Within his Civil Rights history lesson he baptized the crowd in cultural appreciation, and pointed to the lack of cultural markers as one cause for black men losing their minds. At some point his message shifted form uplifting to victim-blaming Black Lives Matter, and African men for being complicit in the death of the black community.
I sat in my chair and tried to figure out where Moss had gone wrong. How did an event about the ascension of Black men, successful men, to relative success, turn into a selective history lesson on the Black community destruction being the sole responsibility of those who have destroyed? The connection between drugs and guns is forgotten. I didn't understand. It's true that Black men sold drugs, shot guns and murdered innocent people in the Black community. This is equivalent to white folks paying Black mercenaries to destroy the community in which Black mercenaries live; when the Panthers were imprisoned and murdered, the drug dealer was given the community under police protection. If Spike Moss is willing to accept the fact drugs were placed in our community, then why is he not willing to accept that guns were too?
Black people don't know a Black drug dealer who own cargo ships, and Black people don't know Black gunsmiths or a Black gun store owner. Moreover it's through the lens of these facts a capacity to destroy a city is severely minimized. The Uzi machine gun comes from Israel, yet in the 1990s it was the weapon of choice. How does it get to Los Angeles? The FBI and CIA are involved.
In defense of Spike Moss, because most, if not all of those persons in prison think he is a snitch for actively turning dealers and gang members in. It is only prison gossip and I have not verified it for the record, but in defense, not excuse of his "Negro of two minds position," I believe he's scared of the white man, and the unconscious mercenary Negro. I think his fear is justified. I am in prison with them, and from far off they resemble that thug that Jesse Jackson said "he was scared might run up behind him." But what must be understood, even a domesticated dog will bite his owner in the right conditions. Freud once said: "That which you fear, and are afraid of is that what you truly desire." In the case of Spike Moss, his double conscious mind actually inversed and he hates the thing he helped create; the incarcerated youth.
I am neither for Black Lives Matter, nor am I for Mr. Spike Moss, but believe they both represent positive activism, and have the betterment of Black people in mind, Therefore, I say "seize the time."
After the show I stopped House Rep. Keith Ellison and asked some of those relevant questions I thought the voiceless had a right to ask:
"Why did Hennipin County District Attorney Mike Freeman only charge the white boy who shot at the protesters with a single offense that at the end of the day will get dropped down to a misdemeanor offense? Because if that was some brothers, who done the same crime they'd be charged with a drive-by shooting, and reckless firing of a firearm in public place. They'd be charged not only with the victims that were shot, but with every potential victim, and every person in the area would have aiding and abetting charge. I know people right now in the gymnasium that Freeman charged and got a conviction with suspect evidence, and in the white boy's case Freeman gots the gun, witnesses, and him on Youtube."
I also told him: "It seems to me and a few of the brothers here that ever since Blacks started migrating from the south to northern cities, whites have saw fit to enact legislation, specifically to target our behavior and gave more time."
After listening to three of the most prominent African American men in Minnesota, it was hard not to feel like I was Platt Epps in Twelve Years a Slave. With a voiceover Malcolm X narrates from a speech he performed some fifty-one years prior, called "Message to the Grassroots." As my voice, Malcolm attempts to argue that African American men should not be dependent on the white man:
"And if someone comes to you right now and says, 'Let's separate,' you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. 'What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?' I mean, this is what you say. 'I ain’t left nothing in Africa,' that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa." (Malcolm X's speech "Message to the Grassroots," December 1963)
by an Ohio prisoner February 2016 permalinkWe were destined fa defeat
with the institution of enemy politics
causin our retreat
So we changed our stature
Realizin' cadre must be solid
then spread out to unite any
Checks and balances
scientific analysis at the onset
before any decided action
Not without total destruction
of the entire economic substructure
Then set about changing the culture
smashing out any lingering traces
of imperialism parisitic vultures
... on to our goal...
equality for humynkind...
Aristocrats will pay the toll
The name of our study group is Royal Descendant People Politically Intelligent Revolutionary Units. We encourage Peace and try to be problem solvers when it comes to New Afrikan on New Afrikan violence. We encourage people to think instead of just reacting. We get leaders to talk before violence starts.
We encourage Unity among different New Afrikan organizations. We will work with other organizations not New Afrikan for a common kause like going against Pork Khops (correctional officers) and their pig counterparts, the agents of the oppressive and exploitative state security and information gathering system. Our first duty is to campaign which is to spread our ancestors' and leaders' revolutionary kulture. We are democratic socialist chanting down capitalism and imperialism. When it's time to go against the real enemy we will unite with those who share a common enemy. We are working on bettering our communication system. People write but we have a hard time finding someone to print our zines and books. That's why I am reaching out networking to get support. Beside our education program we have a military training program which consists of eating right and exercise. We work mind and body.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We are always happy to hear from groups building unity and independent institutions of the oppressed behind bars. And this comrade demonstrates an important aspect of these groups: study. This organization seems to be well aligned with the United Front for Peace in Prisons's points of unity, peace, growth, internationalism and independence. We look forward to studying and building with them in the future. Others who have groups, even just a few folks studying together, should get in touch with MIM(Prisons) so we can provide materials to support your studies. And get plugged in to the United Front for Peace in Prison.
MIM(Prisons) compiles and distributes study materials through our Free Books for Prisoners Program. We are open to printing pamphlets made by our subscribers so long as they fit into a revolutionary Maoist agenda.
We facilitate Maoist and anti-imperialist prisoner organizing through United Struggle from Within, and help writers develop their skills and politital line through our correspondence study courses. Our advanced study group, the ULK Writers Group, is where the vanguard of the Maoist anti-imperialist prison movement gathers to write articles, pamphlets, and even books. Work through these organizations to ensure your work is the most effective at fighting oppression.
You asked for updates regarding the grievance petition in Nevada. I have actively spread this petition (along with the food petition) around throughout the state, making well over 200 copies of this complaint and petition. However, from experience, only those who I personally engage, having in-depth discussions with, sign it. Out of the approximate 200 I mailed throughout the state, I received only 11 back.
I have had limited success with grievance campaigns, that is, getting fellow inmates to file grievances on particular issues, such as the inmate assault grievance I've enclosed. However, the response from any grievance is less than desirable.
Currently, it is taking more than 2 1/2 months to receive a response to an informal grievance, when per AR and OP they have only 30 days; 3-4 months for a first level grievance response when they have only 45 days; and up to 6 months for the second level grievance, when they have 60 days to respond. I am still waiting for a response to my security threat group (STG) grievance challenging the Nevada Department of Corrections's (NDOC) STG policies, which was due 18 December 2015.
No matter when the grievance is returned the response is the same. The grievance is denied. I and other comrades have actually been called liars in response to our grievances.
Our current stance, in provocation from the pigs here in Nevada is to simply follow the outdated illegal worthless grievance process only to reach the courts. Comrades in Nevada currently have grievances in on the following issues which they plan to take to court.
A religious equality complaint helping certain nature-based religions fight discrimination
Racial segregation within the NDOC
The diet and food preparation/service
The grievance process
The NDOC STG policies
The access to the law library
The treatment of transexuals
My cellmate and I, aiding many individuals in the fights mentioned above, as well as two separate complaints filed, one of which is for the STG policies, are now facing blatant retaliation. We have been denied access to the phone by unit pigs for almost 6 weeks despite regulation which says we should have access once a day; we have been denied showers and yard on multiple occasions; and our food portions have become so low as to be obviously meant to starve us. And our cell has been searched repeatedly with my communist materials being thrown away, posters/fliers/literature being ripped off the wall and thrown away, and all of our hobby craft being confiscated and disposed of. It has become so bad that we both have such a belief that we are being set up that all of our property is packed away and we are waiting to be moved to the hole. This is all in response to grievances being filed. But as I explained to the pigs in our last confrontation, no amount of harassment will stop me from standing against them.
The second issue my comrades and I have come up against is confused and misguided lumpen who are being led astray by a couple black supremacist capitalist who are claiming to be MIM members. These individuals are running a store where they are charging people time and a half for goods, and for whites and hispanics they are charging double time. So we have had to confront this issue, and while being clear that we do not speak for the MIM, that we as communists do not support any form of racism, be it white supremacy or black supremacy as all racism is a product of class society and leads only to divisiveness and distrust, and that no communist would ever run a store in which he charged time and a half or double time. And that drew racial lines as a means of determining rate of exploitation. Many people had become confused by these long-time "communist revolutionaries" who preached communist theory, but acted capitalist. We have since addressed it and most now see it for what it is. One is word, one is action, communists support word with action, while these individuals were playing at being communist revolutionaries while they were/are in fact the largest extorters in prison because even other stores here run by other inmates charge only time and a half. We took a very quick and decisive position against these extorters after giving them ample opportunity to explain their actions. And now their actions are being seen for what they are.
Anyway, comrades, I thank you for the three copies of MIM Theory. I have been passing them around to a number of individuals. I would also like to add, I applaud issue 48 of ULK. I have not seen a single issue of ULK or any article, book, etc. ever cause so many to debate and discuss issues. While this issue was dealing with religion, I saw those debating it discussing race relations, subjective and objective realities, the racial orientation of communist principles (i.e. why MIM and other communist groups focus so much on blacks and hispanics and discount, ignore, or openly hate whites), etc. So this is perhaps the greatest issue of ULK we have yet to see because it has given us so much to discuss and develop amongst ourselves. While it was meant as a "religious" issue, we found it to be so much more! Great work!
Enclosed is a grievance, and over 10 people filed the exact grievance. All of us received the same response. I started this campaign with another comrade, and both of us have now been threatened with hole time for "petitions."
Update from 2 March 2016: As I explained in my previous letter, the pigs are retaliating against me and my cell mate. I detailed how the pigs destroyed my cell, etc. Well less than a week after this incident, the pigs once again searched my cell. This time they were in the cell from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. while we remained handcuffed in the shower.
They broke much of our property ranging from my glasses to my TV, threw away thousands of our legal papers, photo albums from our friends/family/children, and threw a stack of legal work in the toilet. When we returned to our cell, all of our property was dumped on the floor, mixed together, etc. We demanded that the Sergeant be called with the camera; this was denied. We requested a grievance; this was denied. It took us 3 days to finally get the grievance.
This attack however only made us more determined in our struggle against these pigs. Enclosed is my response to the Prisoner-Led Study Group Questionnaire.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade provides a very good example of putting theory into practice, and adjusting for local conditions, by taking the grievance campaign and making it relevant for eir situation. Further, we commend the actions taken to clarify that people claiming to stand for communist ideals are fakers if they are not putting those ideals into practice. We do want to clarify that MIM(prisons) doesn't "hate" white people. Rather we hate the system of national oppression that puts the white nation in a position of power over other nations. But we embrace as comrades any white people who join the revolutionary struggle to overthrow white supremacy and global imperialism.
After coming across a Jan/Feb 2015 issue of ULK i felt overwhelmingly compelled, as coordinator of NAAB (N-double A - B) to align my organization with the program, position and principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP). Political ignorance abounds within the confines of the Florida Department of Corrections and this neo-plantation is no exception! We stand in solidarity with the UFPP on the principles of unity and growth. We recognize and acknowledge some of the ideological antagonisms that exist between our organizations but as freedom-loving people we also acknowledge the need for anti-imperialist groups to stand in revolutionary unity for the common good of oppressed people worldwide. This is our official statement of solidarity. The lines of communication and dialogue are now open.
[This statement was enclosed with the letter above]
New Afrikan Anarcho Bloodism (NAAB): A Guidepost
The concept of NAAB was born out of a dire need to re-introduce all Damu's 2 progressive Revolutionary ideals. It is comprised of and reconciles the best and most relevant aspects of;
the NAIM ("New Afrikan Independence Movement")
Anarchism (Black Autonomy Propagandized by Komrade Lorenzo Kom'Boa Ervin and,
(The concept of) Blood (Bangin on oppression in all of it's forms).
Revolution 1st begins Within (The Mind) so the aim and purpose of NAAB is to cause progressive thought in the Minds of all Damu's. All conscious Damu's should know that Blood is at War solely with Oppressive Powers and never with the people. All Real Right Damu's are in Active and Self-less Service 2 the people. We command the respect, admiration and love of the people by seeking 2 progressively refine all of our way's, words, actions and deeds.
NAAB gives us direction, purpose and the means to achieve these objectives.
"White Privilege II"
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, feat. Jamila Woods
Released January 2016
This song calls people out about attending protests and tweeting, or being silent, instead of "actually getting involved" in fighting racism. The song is very introspective and what might sound like Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) dissing other artists is actually about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis themselves. Macklemore criticizes emself along with others for making money off a style that came from Black nation culture and acknowledges that "I've been passive." "It seems like we're more concerned with being called racist than we actually are with racism."(1) Ironically, the free song will make money for someone even if it's just through bringing more traffic to iTunes or YouTube, but that doesn't mean Macklemore isn't saying something correct.
On the plus side, Macklemore doesn't say anything supporting mass surveillance or the expansion or legitimization of the federal government's power ostensibly to protect Blacks. Macklemore doesn't explicitly oppose Black nationalism. Notably, Macklemore says that "white supremacy isn't just a white dude in Idaho" and that it "protects the privilege I hold" — taking issue with the idea that Euro-Amerikan domination and oppression are just about something inside somebody's brain among the white trash, rural people, or Republicans. Macklemore also raises that people's actions — or their inaction — taken so they won't be called "racist" are compatible with doing nothing that contributes to ending racism. As Macklemore might or might not know, in 2016 there is still a huge problem involving post-modernism-influenced efforts that emphasize changes in speech and thought, and perfecting those in increasing detail, over taking concrete action to end repression. Simply participating in a protest or saying some approving words about a well-known movement could become part of maintaining a non-racist or anti-racist identity with which one can be satisfied — a step toward contentment. Without development of knowledge and of the motivation to apply it scientifically, it could also be premature catharsis and a substitute for revolutionary work.
Also on the plus side is Macklemore's passing critique of petty-bourgeois "DIY" (do-it-yourself) culture that sometimes purports to be isolated from exploitation, corporations, finance capital, and imperialist oppression. "The DIY underdog, so independent. But the one thing the American dream fails to mention is I was many steps ahead to begin with."
Macklemore also mentions those who would praise eir song "Same Love" ("If I was gay, I would think hip hop hates me") because of its support for gay people, but disdain Black hip hop and claim "it's your fault if you run" in the context of police shootings. Macklemore implicates emself in the treatment of Blacks as inferior. "If I'm the hero, you know who gets cast as the villain." It is true that many in the United $tates and the West have rejected anti-imperialist ways of advancing gay people's rights, consider Muslim and oppressed nations to be incapable or less capable of change on gender questions without Western intervention, and cannot imagine how Black nationalism, [email protected] nationalism, First Nation nationalism and other oppressed nation nationalism would help with gay and lesbian liberation.
A voice that's not Macklemore's toward the end of the song mentions "a very age-old fight for black liberation." Unfortunately, there is no mention of Black nationalism specifically. There is no mention of the Black Panther Party, which at one time was Maoist.(2) The name "Black Lives Matter" shares an acronym with "Black liberation movement," and there are many around or associated with #BlackLivesMatter who claim to be for Black liberation. There are many, though, who are against even using the term, and there are others who explicitly reject Black nationalism, Black nation self-determination, Black nation independent institutions, and Black nation-building. If Macklemore wanted to be controversial, ey could have at least mentioned Black power, Black nationalism, the BPP, Huey Newton, or Malcolm X, but Macklemore doesn't manage to leave the realm of a kind of political correctness despite asking "Then I'm trying to be politically correct?" if ey stays silent. (Maybe eir verbal support for Black nationalism will come with "White Privilege III." Probably only if Blacks themselves start popularizing present-day nationalist struggles, for white rappers to tag on to.)
This reviewer would suggest to Macklemore that, from the point of the view of the oppressed, sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something when it comes to non-lumpen white Amerikans such as emself who usually would do nothing to upset business as usual, including Democratic Party business. Contentment and apathy are bad things when there is really a potential to help the oppressed, but it is clear that when Amerikans become militant or excited it is normally for the worse. Militant integrationism and militant labor aristocracy politics are not better than nothing from the viewpoint of the international proletariat.
For example, vigorously upholding certain aspects of Martin Luther King while pooping on Huey Newton and even Malcolm X is not better than nothing. Joining the outrageously chauvinistic and labor aristocracy-influenced Progressive Labor Party — which opposed Black nationalism when the BPP was around and still being ferociously repressed — and continuing in 2016 the PLP tradition of criticizing Black and other internal semi-colony nationalism isn't better than nothing. Talking about the Black nation occasionally, but all but rejecting Black nationalism (and supporting it only nominally), and making mealy-mouthed innuendo against Black nationalists as a group, isn't better than nothing. Insinuating that all oppressed-nation nationalism is narrow nationalism, while advocating for U.$. exploiter class/individual unity and economic and political interests, isn't better than nothing. Rejecting Black nationalism in the name of "multiracial" unity for more super-profits in the parasitic United $nakes isn't better than nothing. Talking about white supremacy and then actively denying the existence of Euro-Amerikan national oppression of Black people isn't better than nothing. Talking about oppression of Black people only to hitch people to U.$.-centric social-democracy or a fascist party isn't better than nothing (in other words, voting for Bernie Sanders isn't better than doing nothing). Trying to rile up the labor aristocracy and the U.$. middle class as if they were revolutionary, instead of petty-bourgeois exploiters prone to supporting fascism, isn't better than nothing. Stirring up exploiters to march in the streets to jail some bankers, without giving up their aspirations to control and obtain more benefit from finance capital and imperialist state power, isn't better than nothing. Attacking Third World peoples in various chauvinistic ways while flattering and pandering to the already-chauvinistic and racist labor aristocracy and gender aristocracy, of highly privileged U.$. so-called "workers" and globally privileged Euro-Amerikan females, is not better than nothing.
Amerikkkans who are already going around the United $tates and the world disrupting movements against U.$. imperialism certainly should recognize the privilege they exercise in doing so, instead of, for example, denying that viable alternatives to what they are doing exist. Both white people and non-white people should understand how Euro-Amerikans, including Euro-Amerikan settler nation workers, are privileged as settlers, oppressors, and exploiters.
There is less utility, though, in whites dwelling on their particular privilege as individuals with skin privilege, certain family history, etc., rather than the privilege of their group in very broad social relationships of global national oppression and exploitation. Suggesting listeners also "look at" themselves, Macklemore talks more about emself as an individual, than about Euro-Amerikan labor aristocrats as a group. Focusing on race and variation in individual privilege could draw attention away from national oppression by whites and the labor aristocracy privilege that U.$. citizen workers have in common. Ideas about inequality within U.$. borders have long been used to make the political and strategic consequences of global international inequality seem less important. Ideas about white privilege and individual self-reflection often don't address how the vast majority of U.$. citizens are exploiters of Third World workers. Often these calls to anti-racist activism end up as an exercise in that white privilege on a global scale.
Euro-Amerikan acknowledgment of privilege could be a welcome step toward ideological reform and taking responsibility for police and criminal injustice system violence and other wrongdoing, how whites have benefited economically, nationally and socially from imprisonment and control of non-whites, war, national oppression, exploitation, and their consequences. But this recognition would have to be more than halfway, not partial, or it may end up obscuring and legitimizing the majority of a typical Euro-Amerikan's privilege under the guise of moving toward helping non-whites.
At this point in history, the oppressed generally don't need unscientific leadership or militant do-something impulsive actions. That may not leave Euro-Amerikans much to do if they decline to study their position, and the position of the U.$. population, in an actually comprehensive way. They can be cautious about accepting any prevailing narrative. They can be wary of potentially following any Amerikan leader into fascism and destruction. Labor aristocrats will do what they need to do in anti-war or anti-single-war movements, and other movements, to remind politicians to act in their interests and spend more super-profit tax money on them as allegedly anti-Iraq-War Obama did. We don't want a broad anti-racist call to action to end up inspiring more Amerikkkans to fight for their own global interests.
Macklemore raps about whites protesting and "seeming like you're down" as having an "incentive" to do so, in order to be liked and accepted. Oppressors do have an incentive to co-opt movements or use them for career reasons, but the oppressed have an incentive to fight. There's nothing wrong with incentive itself, contrary to mistaken notions that all activism should be altruistic. The notion that whites should have selfless pure motives in participating in or supporting a movement around killings of Black people could actually be an admission that whites don't have an interest in the movement contrary to ideas about Black people's struggles positively intersecting with white worker, and white petty-bourgeois individual so-called liberation. Either whites have an interest in opposing police and vigilante brutality or they don't, and most don't.
More important than whether somebody has "incentive" or not is whether ey is standing in the way of Black nationalism or not. Macklemore's lyrics suggest a tension between "do something" and "don't do it for you." Labor aristocracy and petty-bourgeois types would add, "Do it, because it's in your own interest." There is an alternative to more-involved labor aristocracy activism or more-energetic integrationist activism, and that is to support anti-Amerikan Black nationalism and movements and institutions that are independent of Democratic Party and white exploiter interests and politics. Short of that, Macklemore's expression of "we are not we" (as opposed to "we are not free") is to be preferred to whites' falsely identifying with Blacks, claiming to be one with them, and derailing their movement via "All Lives Matter" sentiments.
I am currently writing to you from inside the walls of Georgia's Hancock State Prison where I am housed in its Tier II program. I am writing in hopes that I can be one of those who receives Under Lock & Key issues because I have a supreme respect for its message. I really value its information and am in hopes that I can help in spreading its message to the unconscious minds that fill these prison cells to its fullest capacity.
Also I would like to study and learn as much about Maoism, as I have taken his views as mine thus far. Me and three of my comrades have been rotating the few issues available among one another, and have taken to your 6 points and 5 principles as the foundation of our Guerrilla Union. We all come from different sides, but through awareness of the truth taught by you comrades of MIM we've put these titles aside and are now striving to build a strong unity under Maoist teachings and play our part in the struggle towards a socialist/communist society. Whatever must be done will be done on our end. This paper would do a lot for us.
Keep spreading the word cause with us it starts inside but continues when we return to the streets. Please keep me in mind, for I am a sincere comrade, and once again your paper would mean a lot to my strive. Your brother in the struggle, UHURU. Let's get free!!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is on the same track as thousands of other prisoners across the United $tates who have discovered that Maoism isn't just words written by some long-dead persyn from China, but a living philosophy that can be applied to current conditions of oppression around the world. This should be no surprise, even to the imperialists if they are paying attention. Maoism is merely the practice and application of scientific thought, or as communists call it, dialectical materialism. We learn from history and apply those lessons to advance our theoretical understanding.
Prisoners, who are among the most oppressed people within U.$. borders, can see from their everyday experiences that the oppressors aren't giving up their power without a fight. This is just one example of why Maoists understand the need for a dictatorship of the proletariat after the people overthrow the imperialist governments. We need a system that can enforce the power of the people, even when the oppressors try to claw their way back into power.
And once we have established a system of government that is serving the interests of the majority of the world's people rather than the minority, history teaches us that we still can't rest easy. It's not just the old bourgeoisie of capitalism who will present a threat, but the new bourgeoisie that will arise and hope to seize power from within the party and government. This drive for persynal power and wealth is a remnant of capitalist culture that won't disappear overnight after a socialist revolution.
It is these lessons, among others, that prisoners must study to help build an organization that can eventually join the oppressed nations of the world in successfully ending the reign of terror of the imperialists. Thankfully MIM(Prisons) distributes many of these materials and helps run study courses on vital topics. Write to us at the address on p. 1 to get involved!
To fight oppression
We advocate secession
Lest we fall, we unite
And stand tall
We heed the call
To revolt, in mass
All or one, one for all
To fight oppressor class
Procrastination long past
Now their reign
It won't last
Oppression we slew
Liberation, in full view
We're made strong
Brings vast improvement
We study in group
We unite in troup
We are cadre
Benevolent, your padre
Heed to call
Together let's stand
Alone, we stumble, then fall
Heed the Call