I would like to comment on one recurring theme I've observed in recent issues of ULK. I've noticed a willingness from prisoners who seem to accept a prisoncrat's word that they cannot appeal the censorship of your - or others' - literature. I have yet to encounter a prison system which does not have a process for screening books, magazines, etc. While they may be loathe to follow those procedures, we need to force them to at least go through the motions of properly reviewing our literature, as once that review is completed, then we can take our complaints to the local federal courts. While they don't always afford us the relief we deserve, sometimes we do prevail, and if nothing else our lawsuits are expensive to defend. At some point the attorney general's office will tire of defending policies which don't comport to the state's own regulations. If we continue to give up at the first sign of resistance, we will never accomplish any of our goals. Those who are unwilling to defend their rights deserve none.
MIM(Prisons) responds: There are no rights, only power struggles, so we agree with this comrade that it is important that everyone step up to fight the censorship battles that are preventing revolutionary material, or any other mail, from getting in to the prisons. Unfortunately many states do have "unappealable" (per policy) censorship. For example, in Texas the [email protected] Power book was recently banned. Per Texas policy, this book is effectively censored forever. We are pushing comrades in Texas to take this to court to not only get the book in to prisoners in Texaztlán, but to attempt to change this policy across the board.
We are not so optimistic that the attorney general's office will tire and give up, and in fact we know that even in victory the courts and the government are likely to just change the laws on us rather than let us win. But we do agree that these battles are sometimes winnable, and it is persistence that pays off. At the same time, everyone taking up these legal battles should use their fight as an opportunity to educate others about the struggle, and why we are facing so much censorship of anti-imperialist educational material. In this way, even if we lose in the courts, we have made good use of our time by helping others to learn from the fight and building resistance outside the legal realm.
As a former wyte supremacist, a revolutionary, and an Odinist I am equipped to expose the invalidity of the wyte supremacist myths associated with Odinism. Odinism (also known as Asatru) is a polytheistic religion; meaning there are multiple Gods and Goddesses. The religious text of Odinism is the Poetic Edda. The Edda is made up of different books similar to the Bible called Lays.
Several wyte supremacist organizations point to the God Heimdall as being the father of the wyte race in light of Voluspa, St. 1; Lokasenna, St. 20; and Thrymskvitha, St. 15. However, closer examination will shatter such claims.
First, although Heimdall is cited as being the father of the three classes of men (freeman, noble, and slave) (1) nowhere within the Edda is he cited as being the father of men. Lee M. Hollander notes in his translation of Voluspa, St. 1 that the description of Heimdall being the father of all "hallowed beings" most likely refers to the Gods rather than man. Furthermore, in Voluspa, St. 17-18 we are told that Odin, Hoenir, and Lothur came across the lifeless corpses of the first man and womyn (Ask and Embla). Odin granted them Soul, Hoenir gave them sense, and Lothur granted them being and blooming hue.
Therefore, Heimdall is clearly not the father or man - let alone the wyte race. Anyone who claims he is is distorting the Edda to fit their own subjective agenda.
Secondly, the description of Heimdall as being fair-haired and "whitest of the Gods" is not completely accurate. He may very well have blond hair and be wyte. Yet he is most definitely not the "whitest of the Gods."(2) Baldr, the son of Odin and brother of Thor, would have to be considered wytest of the Gods because his name literally translates as "white."(3)
Finally, the mentioning of three classes of man does not support claims of wyte supremacy within Odinism. It is true that one of the classes listed is that of slave. However, nowhere throughout Rigsthula does it specify a certain race as belonging to any particular class. The ancient Germanic peoples - along with the Vikings - were known to have possessed wyte slaves as well as non-wyte slaves. In ancient times slaves were customary in many cultures.
However, the class system described is one of feudalism and is therefore not practical in modern capitalist society. Furthermore, as communists, we recognize that the concept of classes is oppressive and an integral aspect of imperialism. Therefore, the mentioning of classes is irrelevant in modern times except in the historical role that it plays within Odinism.
In the Lay Havamal Odin commands his followers to be kind and hospitable strangers (St. 2); not mock others (St. 30); look out for the well being of others (St. 40,48); not argue with fools (St. 122); and that no one is so good as to be beyond corruption, nor is anyone so bad as to be beyond redemption (St. 133). These commandments - along with the Nine Noble Virtues (Strength, Honor, Courage, Joy, Independence, Loyalty, Realism, Perseverance, and Heritage) actually oppose racism. Odinism/Asatru is, in reality, a communal religion. Thus it is compatible with communism.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This correspondent is defending Odinism as a religion compatible with communism, and condemning those who use it as a platform for white supremacy. Communists have long been saying that for people truly practicing what their religion teaches, often those ideals are compatible with, and best achieved, through developing communism. It is good to point out to religious people when their actions run counter to their ideology, as we may be able to unite around those who hold the equality of all humyns as an important principle, or those striving for peace, as this comrade is.
That those religions have not even come close to ending oppression on the scale that dialectical materialism has, is evidence of the ineffectiveness of these religions to reach their own purported ideals. That various religions all across the world (from Odinism to Christianity to Islam to Buddhism) are construed as platforms of domination, shows how these ideologies play out in the real world. Rather than looking for truth by choosing which ideology makes the most sense to us, we compare practices with practices to figure out how to reach our goal of a world without oppression. Odinism's ideals may be compatible with communism. But Odinism is not a route to communism.
This comrade attempts to dispute white supremacy by making arguments about who was the whitest of the gods and the "father of the wyte race." As scientists we prefer to point out that humyns evolved into being on this planet. We were not put here by gods. And so there is no higher source of truth or basis for considering some humyns superior to others.
It is good that this comrade recognizes that classes are oppressive, but our struggle against class oppression is not just against "the concept of classes" as ey writes. Rather our struggle is against the reality of class systems that are oppressive and integral to imperialism, and to historical class society. Slavery was not simply customary, but rather the system of slavery required a class of people, slaves, who were used to do much of the most difficult work. It was not out of tradition that people held slaves, just like it is not just tradition that leads to the oppression of the proletariat under capitalism. So the mentioning of classes is not irrelevant in modern times, it is critical that we analyze the class system and fight against it. We can not eliminate it by not mentioning it.
Stuck in the muck
because the economic system
assuring that no one gives a
unless it's to make a
Like a game of duck duck goose
but once chosen before it can rise
the goose is snatched by a
After waiting so long
being oppressed by the strong
And the goose sick of the muck
purified through applying
dialectics to history
grew strong as a moose
cut self from the noose
and taught others
who also began to care
and life was no longer about a
nor games like
duck duck goose
all choosing at once
the common good
and the resolving of
I was brought here on a boat, took away from my kind They had me shackled in some chains, but couldn't lock up my mind Stripped me of the vision, and told me follow the blind I gave 'em blood sweat tears, and they ain't give me a dime
They wanna see me in a cage, and wouldn't allow me to vote I'ts cold sweat and nightmares of my neck in a rope I see they took away my job, and replace it with dope Assassinate the revolution and replace it with hope
No more Black Panthers, cops flood the strip And the cars plus jewels, turn to chains and whips Just a slave to the game, with the name of pimps Rebloodicans at war with the democrats
They wanna stop all the crime? Who told you that? No jobs, no schools, no control'n that Sending troops thru your land, who showed you that The same person selling' dreams, that a hold you back
I'm at the most racist prison in Georgia, Hays State Prison. I am currently on lockdown in the Tier 2 program (long-term solitary confinement) and the other day they shook down a prisoner's room and found two knives. Being that this is a lockdown the Unit Manager Reids and the Lieutenant Jones were pissed because we're not supposed to even have a way to get a knife, plus sharpening them. And there are 7 or 8 cameras in the dorm, so they can't hide this like they used to back in the days when there were no cameras.
They have to report this to the Warden and log it in the log book for everyone to see. They were so mad at this prisoner that they took it out on the dorm by keeping the dinner trays outside the dorm for an hour and a half. Other prisoners in the dorm made a statement to the dorm saying that we all should refuse these trays and make them go get us new hot trays instead of those cold ones outside. Everyone agreed and when the officer came in to pass out the trays (a racist officer) everyone started screaming "We don't want those cold trays! Go get more trays." When the Lieutenant came in he threatened to give out a DR (disciplinary report) to any prisoners who refused to take a tray.
The goal is to not take the trays. If one person takes the trays then no one will get new trays, and we refused our tray by choice. But if no one takes the trays then they have to go get new trays. They have to feed us. So things were going good, the first 5 rooms refused, until Lieutenant got to the 6th one. He took his tray, then two more rooms did after that. Others were refusing but like I said when one takes a tray it's pretty much a failed mission.
My Brother in the room with me and my two other Brothers next door said they was going to get their trays since a few took theirs. They didn't want to go unfed on a weekend where we only get fed two times. I told them "Hell naw! Just because the others took theirs that don't mean we give up an fold! If we got to go hungry and starve just to let the white man know we as Blacks and as prisoners won't go for anything then so be it. We have to sacrifice for the greater purpose."
True, my stomach was touching my back. But I was ready to starve just to show the white man he does not rule me mentally. But unfortunately when the trays got to my two Brothers' room they took them. Then they were in front of our door and my roommate grabbed me one and passed it to me. At first I was going to refuse, well I wanted to, but seeing the tray with food I gave in.
While we were eating, the Lieutenant came to our door and said "Good boys. Y'all keep being good." That made me feel so bad and embarrassed. I let the white man win another war. He made me feel so low like I'm a mutt and he told me to sit, I obeyed, and he rewarded me with a bone and said "good boy."
I was mad at myself. I should have refused the tray even if it means I'm the only one refusing. At least I will feel good about myself and what I did for my self-respect. But I didn't. Another Black man falls to the worst side of a white man. Why are we so weak-minded? Why can't we Blacks stick together against oppressors? Why do we fall for their Willie Lynch tactics?
"My Brother is my Brother and I am my Brother's keeper." "2 Black minds are stronger than one, and one strong Black mind is better than none." I guess I needed that extra mind to motivate me to go further with the protest. And when it didn't I folded, because of feeling alone, vulnerable and hungry.
That day I told myself that won't happen again. If I have to starve by myself then I will. Our ancestors went through much more worse than this. I won't fail them again.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade provides us a good example of self-reflection and learning from our mistakes. Even the best revolutionaries won't be perfect all the time, in fact we will make many mistakes. But the key is always keeping an open mind to learning from these errors. And also learning from the successes and mistakes of others. This was essentially what the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was about in China: encouraging people not to blindly accept what their leaders said and instead to be critical of incorrect actions and political line, and to learn from mistakes. During this period in China prisoners were offered an opportunity to learn from their errors, undertake serious self-criticism, and return to society as productive members. Although we don't currently live under a Socialist government which is encouraging and enabling these progressive practices, we can still learn and grow, as this comrade bravely demonstrates.
Solitary Supermax has become me Senses numbed, mind gone crazy Losing it, lost it, am lost Freedom you say? How much does it cost? May I pay in this sweat drip from my brow Years alone or my tired soul? You must tell me how But don't even whisper, "Accept the way this system is" Not a chance you greedy imperialistic pigs Open the Mexican border, leave the Middle East alone Downsize these concentration camps, let my people go! Money, money, that's all you're about Amerikkka's guilty, the gavel comes down.
Here is an example of choosing a small winnable battle by utilizing a United Front theory in practice among prisoners of Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC), organized to overcome the oppressive penal system about the human right to wear facial hair. In January 2015, the U.$. imperialist supreme court ruled that ADC could not prohibit prisoner Gregory Holt from growing facial hair for religious reasons. Prior to this ruling prisoncrats argued that prisoners could hide contraband in their hair or beards. With the above court ruling, prisoners had to apply for a religious accommodation script in order to sport a beard. In the spirit of revolutionary change, the prisoners within Arkansas collectively organized and filed 5,600 applications requesting a religious accommodation. Also there were 607 grievances that protested that all prisoners should be allowed to wear facial hair. Because of the surge of prisoner requests and grievances ADC asked the board to remove the restriction, allowing all ADC prisoners to wear beards. Beginning 14 January 2016 all ADC prisoners were allowed to wear facial hair. It just goes to show the power of a United Front, when prisoners put their differences aside to accomplish a common goal.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good example of the power of united action, even in prison where the people have so little power. One element of a United Front that is critical to anti-imperialists is revolutionary leadership. While it is possible for people to come together under even reactionary leadership to effect change, it is revolutionary leadership that makes it possible to consolidate the lessons of the organizing work and push forward from a basic unity around one issue to a broader unity to build a movement that can take on the criminal injustice system. This comrade's example of the fight to wear a beard is a very good starting point. It is an issue that unites many, and beard restrictions are generally religious repression covering for national oppression, disguised as a security issue. We can expose how this repression fits into the broader problem of national oppression, which the Amerikan prison system reinforces. As people see their power to come together to effect change, and understand the system behind the individual problems they are fighting, we can gain more supporters and activists in the anti-imperialist struggle.
There is no justice for the Black man in the United $tates. "All black people, wherever they are, whatever their crimes, even crimes against other blacks, are political prisoners because the system has dealt with them differently than with whites." - George Jackson
The only way to receive justice is to fight. The comrades in prison will have to fight from a different position. They would have to build cadres to take on different tasks. All collectives through a mass line will organize the masses around the problems of their particular prison. Every cadre should have different responsibilities.
For example, there should be a cadre responsible for studying the psychological warfare that is implemented by the correctional officers and finding ways to combat it on a peaceful level. Another would study prisoners' rights and be ready to challenge all violations. A cadre would write down all injustices that are manifested by the officers and pass information on to the cadre leaders. A cadre should be in contact with outside sponsors that can help our struggle by bringing to light our problems to the public. All cadres are just components to the machine. These are only examples.
We must continue the fight, especially on these plantations. However, we have to be on point and tighten our security to protect ourselves from agent provocateurs who claim to be on our side but are actually on the side of the oppressor. Be mindful of those who are always showing up at all the religious services, hoping to identify radical prisoners who may speak at these gatherings. These agents are only there to ear hustle so they can report back to their masters (prison administration). You will be able to identify some of them through their actions. They're always preaching about Black history and Blacks uniting, but they are never doing shit to protect the rights of the prisoners. They speak out against those who are true vanguards of the people and try to turn the masses against these warriors by spreading false rumors in hopes to destroy these men's work and characters. Please do not be fooled! They will stop at nothing until their mission for massa is completed. They are not only working against their own people, they are against the entire prison population! You will see them trying to cut in or befriend every group, organization, or nationality to learn what they can about them. Be very mindful comrades.
There have been many strong Black revolutionaries who have died in prison for the chimurenga (struggle) and they must never be forgotten. Comrades like George Jackson, Hugo Pinell, William Christmas, Howard Tole, James McClain, W.L. Nolen, and the many unknown but dedicated warriors who have fought and never gave up until their deaths, should always be loved and remembered. These brothers taught and trained others to carry on the torch so that the struggle will continue behind these walls. And in response many of them have suffered and remain in lock up (SHU) since the 1990s, 80s, and even the 70s because they refuse to denounce George Jackson!
Majority of the comrades are locked down in long-term isolation (SMU, ADX, and Pelican Bay), not because they have incident reports, but because they are carrying the torch and fighting against the injustice of the Federal and State prisons that our fallen Freedom Fighters gave their lives trying to destroy. We are not terrorists! We are revolutionary Freedom Fighters striving to free the people (Black and white) from the bloody claws of the imperialist monster. All committed liberators should join among their own kind and work together in solidarity. Let's use the comrades that paved the way as examples and continue fighting together, united with one clenched fist! Can't stop! Won't stop! Long live the guerrillas!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade provides a good example of how to think about organizing tactics. We start from the assumption that the only way we can get justice is to fight for it, and then we must think about how we can be most effective in this fight. One key element of our organizing should be building unity, as this writer points out. We can build unity with all who oppose the criminal injustice system, but at the same time, we strive to put forward the most advanced political line to help raise consciousness and build a revolutionary movement. The United Front is an integral part of this movement, but not all participants will be revolutionaries themselves. This is ok, as we seek to unite all who can be united in the fight against the criminal injustice system.
Look at yourself, are you capitalistic?
Do you wake up, look in the mirror and decide
it's okay for Haitians to try to survive
off vanilla extract and mud
as long as your profits continue to rise?
When you see a gun on your HD TV
does it remind you to ship off a batch of AKs
to Venezuela to ensure the ghettos stay fighting
and the "commies" don't find solidarity,
because it's bad for business?
Are you so caught up in your marketing schemes
you search for the prettiest, poorest, youngest girl
to pose as needed because food and pride can be bought?
How greedy are your ideas
of squeezing out the most profit you can
from outdated fossile fuels
when you deny plans for reusable energy sources
in favor of war against poor people on Black Gold land?
When you boil your eggs in the a.m. do you smile?
knowing you payed as little as possible
to that farmer
knowing he must sell or die
in need of medications you own?
When you look in that same mirror
in the morning
and you say to yourself
"I'm not that bad, I'm no capitalist"
do you realize that in your complacency
by doing nothing
to stop these atrocities
you are worse
because you know it's wrong.
I am reaching out to you all out of sheer respect. There is not enough of this in our (Black folk) community. Secondly, shout out to the entire USW, MIM, the conscious Blood, Crip, Gangsta Disciple Black Guerrillas, Chicano and global prison movements for y'all efforts to advocate and assist in the struggle. You all, I view as brethren, you who are not amongst the delusional.
Our (Damu, Cuz, Gangsta Disciple, Black Guerrillas, etc.) war shouldn't be amongst or against each other because none of us, the above factions, didn't arrive out of happenstance. Poverty, disfunctional homes, no fathers, Willie Lynch syndrome, ignorance, oppression, the need for camaraderie and illegal/legal servitude created the machines we operate. Our mission is to teach the youth and uneducated people around us the real cause of the revolution. Whether it be just transforming itself. We have to educate our brothers; not just with codes, hand language (gang signs), and crime; but knowledge, wisdom and understanding, to actually fight for a purpose.
The upper class black folk has lost their fire and direction. Since the oppressor's foot has been raised from their necks to their backs, they no longer "care" to fight or contribute to our cause. Dissension is the beast that no longer bothers them. It is going to take for us all to inspire, infuse and move the masses. And it starts with those of us within these quasi asylum institutions and concentration camps our oppressors hold us captive in. I am not talking about making an alliance, I simply mean coming together in solidarity. Jessup Correctional Institution and other prisons around the world are the way they are because we all, who have the power to control ourselves and inspire others, won't take a stand and we continue to accept being in separation.
I can't say all the things I really want to because the administration might place on me the Mumia Gag Act like they have Mumia Abu Jamal. Snitches, rats, informants, toms and division dictates the quarters we are all confined to. Divide and conquer has ruled over us far too long. We know the problem, enemy and war waged against us, so now we have to help solving it.
I work to inspire all brothers to act in the revolution. No matter your banner, you all have many soldiers who look up to you and men who will follow you, the leaders of the lumpen organizations, to the fiery depths of hell. Why not compel education upon them? Self destruction has ruined us for years, and in turn we become enforcers of the government when we continue to let the men and youth we all call our so-called homies, cuz, and comrades rep with a destructive state of mind. Take much time to ponder what I said. Remember, blood makes us related but loyalty makes us family. I leave as I came, in struggle.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer's call for unity amongst lumpen organizations fits well with the United Front for Peace in Prisons. There is tremendous potential power in this unity, as is demonstrated in the California Agreement to End Hostilities and series of hunger strikes to fight long term isolation and group punishments. We hope others in Maryland will step forward to build unity with this comrade and the various groups behind bars.