The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Idealism/Religion]
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Religion is a Decoy

As I watch how imperialism, capitalism, and religion are destroying people's lives all over the world, it makes me think twice about supporting a cause which has no merit. I was once a supporter of the petty bourgeoisie, and a firm believer in religion and capitalism. Then I was thrown into the belly of oppression and I noticed how religion divided all those under the spell of supporting a system which brings death and destruction.

Religion is even now being used as a decoy to what's really going on. You have an imperialist holy war going on now, Islam vs. Christianity. But it's not really a holy war, it's a war for land and raw materials. I believe the Saudi's and United States care less about Islam and Christianity, it's more about oppression and exploitation of oppressed nations all over. The imperialists use the media as a tool to spread propaganda, calling anti-imperialists terrorist.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right that religion is used as a decoy to distract people from their oppression and from the truth about imperialism. Religion has been an effective tool of capitalism, and before capitalism it served the feudal oppressors and the slave owners. Oppressed people are told to accept their suffering and pray for redemption in an afterlife rather than fighting back against their oppressors. Over time the form of the god or gods to worship has changed, but the substance has never been there. We can not afford to wait for a mystical being to punish the oppressors and liberate the oppressed. And we certainly should not be taken in by religious propaganda that fosters hate of one religion (i.e. Islam) because it is more popular among the oppressed, as a justification for imperialist military excursions.

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[Organizing]
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Celebrating Everyday Freedom Fighters Behind Bars

Sitting back and just observing everyone who I have encountered while in prison, I would say one man comes to mind because he truly inspired me. Deauce is a true socialist and freedom fighter. Within the Arkansas Department of Corrections at the East Arkansas Regional Unit, we are housed in open barracks with about 75 prisoners to a barrack. Deuce looks out for everyone and helps anyone that he can assist. Regardless of your race he'll help you out. Whether it's help with writing a grievance, or you just need a radio to listen to the news or a movie, he'll make sure you even have food or coffee if you don't have money to buy commissary. Others call him hustle-man because he's always hustling up stuff for new prisoners or others in general. In my eyes he has demonstrated the true meaning of a freedom fighter. Watching him in action has encouraged me and allowed me to see how others react to a socialist in action.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This essay came in response to our call for people to write about the freedom fighters who have inspired them. And this is a good reminder that our actions every day have a big impact on others. Revolutionaries should strive to serve the people and demonstrate the principles of our ideology in practice. We can take people like Deuce as a good example of our starting point, but we need to go further and tie our work serving the people to our work educating the people about why we do this work, and why they should get involved too. Otherwise we can get bogged down by the charity aspect, leaving the revolutionary purpose behind.

A good example of this is the Black Panther Party's Serve the People Breakfast for Schoolchildren program. The BPP fed many children who otherwise were going to school hungry, a problem that interfered with their ability to learn. And while they were providing this food, the BPP also provided revolutionary education, turning these kids on to a way of thinking they weren't exposed to in public schools. Freedom fighters are found all around us, and we commend this comrade for calling out the value of the everyday work done by Deauce in serving the people.

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[Legal] [Campaigns] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 49]
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Advancing the Illinois Grievance Campaign

Upon reading ULK 46 I was once again reminded of the difficulties that us prisoners face trying to have our grievances heard. I would like to share with ULK readers a remedy for this issue that I have discovered.

Pursuant to Powe v. Ennis, 177 F.3d 393 (5th Circuit 1999); and Lewis v. Washington, 300 F.3d 829 (7th Cir. 2002), if prison officials refuse to hear your grievance, your administrative remedies are exhausted. You do not need a response to your grievance to pursue your issue in the courts. You need only prove that you filed the respective grievance.

This can easily be done. First, after you have written your grievance fill out a Proof of Service form stating that on such-and-such date you sent so-and-so a grievance regarding such-and-such issue. After you have filled out the Proof of Service form get it notarized at your facility's law library. Secondly make sure to make copies of both your grievance and the Proof of Service form to keep in your files. Finally, repeat this process at every level of your state's grievance system.

For example: In Illinois there is a three-step grievance system. I have personally used this method in the past (successfully). First, I filed my grievance with my counselor; next I filed it with my institution's grievance office; then I filed it with the Administrative Review Board. Each time I filed my grievance I also filed a Proof of Service form. By doing so I was able to show the Court that I had attempted to resolve my claims through the grievance process. This resulted in the court siding with me and denying the State's Motion for Summary Judgement. I am enclosing proof of this method's success for MIM(Prisons) to verify.

Although this is not the ideal solution it is one that will allow prisoners to pursue their legal matters without being obstructed by the Capitalist swine.


Example Proof Of Service

Hereby comes [your name] to swear under penalty of perjury that on the date signed below I sent the [prison name] Grievance Officer a grievance dated [date] concerning the misplacement of my TV and Norelco Razor by prison authorities through the institutional level mail service.

Executed this ___ day of _____ [month] ________ [year]

_________________________________ [signature]

[get this stamped and signed by a notary public.]


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a helpful update to the country-wide grievance campaign and likely is a tactic that can be used in states other than Illinois. How "easily" this tactic can be employed depends on the conditions of one's confinement. As some prisoners are held in 24-hour lockdown, with no access to a law library, and the only receipt offered for filing a grievance is another beating from prison guards, they might not be able to easily employ this tactic. But for many prisoners, this might be a stepping stone from having one's grievances altogether ignored, to getting one's foot in the door in the courts.

Many people have requested copies of our state-specific petitions to demand grievances be addressed after running into problems with the grievance system. From all the petitions we have sent out, we've heard few updates about the progress on this campaign. It's important that we sum up our political practice and learn from it. And through this summing up we can determine how to best modify our practice to improve it. We call this ongoing summing up and improving of our practice "dialectical materialism." This is a scientific approach to our political work that enables us to learn from doing, and when we do this summing up publicly, through a newspaper like Under Lock & Key, we can apply these lessons across a broad base of organizers and be far more effective in the work that we are all doing.

So if you use, or have used, the above tactic, be sure to tell ULK if it helped you, or what you did to improve it. That way we can all learn from each others' practice to improve our own.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada]
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Nevada United to Fight Guard Brutality

I would like to let you know of a situation that occurred on 1 December 2015, at Ely State Prison in Nevada. A white corrections officer (CO) was taking a Black prisoner to yard in handcuffs. CO Edwards is a known racist pig, and while taking this prisoner to yard he slammed his face against the sally port door. When the prisoner went to his knees, CO Edwards then slammed his face on the ground. The reason given was that the prisoner "turned his head too fast."

The prisoner was taken to the hole. But it caused us to unite. Nevada has become a highly individualized state. No one wants to get involved with any struggle. But yesterday a comrade and I pushed the issue, and we got a large number of prisoners to file grievances. We filed them as AR340 misconduct complaints against the pig Edwards, which are supposed to be sent to the Inspector General's office.

It was nice to see us united. I will keep you updated on this issue.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is doing the hard work necessary to build an anti-imperialist movement: repeatedly trying to inspire others to come together to fight injustices. Even if the action is small at first, the unity around this one incident helps to build unity around bigger issues. People learn through action, even if that lesson is that the oppressors are far more powerful than us right now. We still have to take the opportunity to offer information about the criminal injustice system, why we take on these battles, and how they fit in to our longer term goal of putting an end to the oppressive system of imperialism.

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[Campaigns] [Cotulla Unit] [Texas]
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Cotulla Unit Warden Responds to Indigent Mail Step 1 Grievance

I filed a Step 1 grievance about the illegality of the restrictions on indigent correspondence. I cited Guajardo v. Estelle in my grievance. Below is the response I received from the Assistant Warden.

"The Unit Law Library operates in accordance with applicable policy. No action is warranted." - J. Alvarez, Asst. Warden
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[Idealism/Religion] [ULK Issue 48]
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Fight Religion with Scientific Materialism

We, captives in the dungeon of the United Snakes of Amerikkka, have to realize that imperialism and religion were some of the main reasons many oppressed nations stay oppressed. I say this because religion instills false hope and cannot be trusted to bring an individual truth. Truth is within us. It's not some dogma that's external. A lot of us look for happiness in goods, money, fame, etc. But those things are illusions. What's real is our consciousness and attaining a higher realm of consciousness.

Imperialists use religions as a way to divide and conquer. Religion is also used to create racism and slavery. I am talking about mental enslavement. Militaries are built to protect the imperialist religions so that they can keep you in a daze and exploit you and control you. When the Europeans sailed to Africa they used religion as a tool to pacify. And in turn the Africans were turned into consumer goods used to work the lands taken from the First Nations. So we can see how religion is good and bad. But man must know thyself. And all superstitions should be thrown away.

Revolution will defeat imperialism before religion does. And not because of turning the other cheek. But realizing that this school of thought does nothing but enslave minds to support a corrupt system to oppress nations all over the world. So I conclude to say revolution will bring heaven here on this earth. But religion will bring hell and divide us all. Unite and fight imperialism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have a lot of unity with this comrade's comments on religion as a tool of national oppression. However, we do not agree that "What's real is our consciousness and attaining a higher realm of consciousness." Lenin wrote the book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism to refute the ideology of subjective idealism which remains popular to this day among those who want people to focus on raising their own consciousness while ignoring the external material world, as if self-improvement is a revolutionary act in and of itself. As Lenin explained, "the fundamental premise of materialism is the recognition of the external world, of the existence of things outside and independent of our mind..." Ey makes it clear that we must look at matter and not just consciousness as a part of the materialist method: "Matter is primary, and thought, consciousness, sensation are products of a very high development. Such is the materialist theory of knowledge, to which natural science instinctively subscribes." This is important because if we focus only on our own consciousness we will never be compelled to act to create material change in the world. This is essentially what religions tells people, but religion focuses the consciousness-raising on knowing a god or higher power. Both approaches will leave the suffering in the real world untouched.

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[National Oppression]
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Blinded by the White

In MIM(Prisons)'s response to "How to Unite with White Lumpen" in ULK 46, it is pointed out that white supremacists in prison generally do not make for allies in the anti-imperialist struggle.

It is necessary to distinguish between white supremacist and so-called white people. A white supremacist whole-heartedly believes the purported "white race" is superior to all other skin colors. Because of this supposed superiority, they believe it is moral and destined that they should rule, dominate, and oppress/extort/enslave people of other skin tones/colors. Naturally, these views are not scientific nor are they compatible with Marx-Lenin-Maoist ideology.

In prison I've encountered varying groups of white supremacists: Aryan Brotherhood, Odinists, Wotan, Christian identity, to name a few. Each group has two prominent things in common: 1. Non-white races are not equal and it isn't wrong to treat them as inferior subhuman species; and 2. These groups idolize Hitler and the politics of National Socialism (Nazism). Ironically, Hitler would have enslaved and/or exterminated most of these white supremacists just as he did "white" poles, Czechs, Russians, etc.

In the prison context my experience has been that the white prisoners who are not affiliated with any lumpen organizations are more open to anti-imperialist truth. Those who have been rejected, impoverished, put in institutions at an early age, and generally shit upon by Amerikkkan society have no allegiance to it. Don't be blinded by the white, but wisdom says don't look for gold in a sack of pennies.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer's assessment of the greater potential to appeal to unaffiliated white prisoners than those who are a part of explicitly supremacist groups. Different units and facilities have their own unique cultures (as in the article under discussion, the facility was reported to be controlled by the Black Muslim population, a unique condition indeed). It's certainly possible that Amerikkkans in Virginia prisons are friendly to socialist ideas at a higher-than-average rate. Whether they're devoting their lives to fighting against imperialism and oppression is another question altogether, and is not something MIM(Prisons) has noticed in our work.

We still think it is worth noting that we are talking about national oppression, not racism, and even the whites who have led very difficult lives have been raised on an unconscious diet of national superiority. It's not that everyone is consciously racist, but the white nation as a whole enjoys privileges that individuals don't even notice in day-to-day life.

White people don't notice that the cops aren't stopping them just for "looking suspicious", whereas cops regularly stop Black and [email protected] people for this reason, or none at all. White people don't notice that they're receiving better treatment in so many situations, just as a privilege of the nation to which they were born. At the same time, whites are taught that they deserve better (as they are taught that New Afrikans are more likely to commit crimes, Muslims are all terrorists, [email protected] are lazy, etc.) and those who want to fight on the side of the world's oppressed must consciously fight against this mis-education. That is what the article "How to Unite with White Lumpen" is about — unaffiliated whites, who supposedly are not conscious white supremacists, are very likely to get defensive in protecting their superiority on questions of imperialism and liberation of oppressed nations (i.e. on questions of reducing their national superiority). We're speaking in terms of generalizations and national tendencies discovered through studying history and practice, not painting every single Amerikkkan as an inherent, conscious and unchangeable white supremacist.

We say Amerikkkans working against the interests of the predominantly white Amerikkkan nation are "committing national suicide." We encourage them to do so, while not holding our breath waiting on them to take the plunge. We call on all people to join the anti-imperialist struggle and consciously work to end whatever national or class oppression they may benefit from, for the benefit of humynity and the world as a whole.

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[Legal] [Campaigns] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 49]
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Lawsuit on Inadequate Rec and Food Pending, Seeking Assistance

Texas Administrative Segregation Lawsuit help needed
Linked document is a letter from the prisoner
requesting assistance with eir lawsuit.

The conditions continue to be much better here at Connally Unit in Kenedy, Texas since I filed that lawsuit on the recreation/lockdowns/food. But of course that could be reversed at any moment so I continue to push it and continue to use it as a tool to organize/mobilize the prisoners to take group action.

We are working on a mass grievance campaign at the moment, to follow up on some of the issues that are in the lawsuit but the administration hasn't adequately addressed. It's really pretty minor stuff, as the main thing was them cancelling rec every day, and they have stopped doing that. But I feel like you're either moving forward or you're going to move backwards, you know? And the real value in a group action like a mass grievance campaign is what it does to raise the consciousness of the group.

There is definitely a lot more interest since people here have seen that we CAN fight back. But the general consciousness level was so low here and the prisoners were so beat down and demoralized that it will take a LOT of work to develop any widespread activist mentality.

I'm going to enclose a copy of a form letter I typed up and sent out to about ten civil rights organizations already. It's pretty self-explanatory. Just trying to get some more support on this lawsuit. And I know your funding is very limited plus you aren't lawyers there, so you're not going to be able to help directly. But I'm sending it on the off chance that someone there might know a lawyer with sympathies towards the cause who might be willing to do something.

Like I explain in the letter, we don't necessarily need actual representation. This is a pretty straightforward case and they are going to want to settle at some point. Obviously they are — that's why they immediately started running rec again once I filed it. They know the records are going to show they were just flat out lying about these so-called staff shortages. But with a lawyer putting additional pressure I think we will get better terms on any settlement and a settlement will happen quicker.

I want to get these improvements locked in with a legally binding written agreement asap so that I can move on to other projects. So if you do happen to know a lawyer or have any other ideas for what you might do with this letter, please keep our struggle here in mind, okay? Thanks.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The pdf linked to this article is a copy of the author's letter ey sent to ten civil rights organizations. The letter outlines the conditions in Connally Unit regarding an egregious lack of recreation time and lack of adequate food. The author is asking for a lawyer to intervene in order to push the lawsuit to a quick settlement. If you are able to assist this struggle, please write to MIM(Prisons) and we will put you in touch with the leader of the suit.

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[United Front] [Vermont] [ULK Issue 47]
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The United Lumpen Front for Peace & Unity in Virginia Prisons

[A comrade in the Virginia prison system sent us a proposal for a United Front among lumpen organizations in that state. When we sent some feedback on the statement we got this response explaining that so far it has been difficult to build support for the united front. The author also explains why this statement is focused on New Afrikan lumpen groups. MIM(Prisons) did not substantively edit the peace treaty except to remove one point of conduct prohibiting sagging pants. In discussion with the author we agreed that this is divisive on a point that is not critical to the united front. - MIM(Prisons)]

The inspiration for this peace agreement is the Agreement to End Hostilities that the imprisoned comrades put together in California back in 2012. Unlike the California prison system, there isn't a legacy of revolutionary formations in the Virginia prison system. There is virtually no code of conduct, no guidelines of discipline, etc. amongst the general population and even within the lumpen organizations here. Pretty much "anything goes." So the peace treaty is an attempt to establish a "Central" code of conduct or guidelines of discipline that all organization affiliates could accept and embrace, which will then establish unity and have us all moving in one accord.

When I say "us", I am referring to New Afrikans because as Huey Newton stated: "there can be no black-white unity until there first is black unity." And as it presently stands, there is virtually no black unity in the Virginia prison system as it pertains to the "struggle." So, before we can work towards black-white/black-brown unity, we first have to establish black-black unity.

I am sad to inform you that it was not a success on a large scale, although a few individual members from various lumpen organization embraced the peace treaty. I grant you permission to modify the peace treaty as you see fit. It is only an idea, and as with all ideas, they evolve over time and blossom into something transformative and revolutionary.

The United Lumpen Front for Peace & Unity in Virginia Prisons

The basis of any real and lasting unity amongst all lumpen "tribal" or "street" organizations inside Virginia prisons requires an agreement on the following points and guidelines. We must hold each other accountable if any one of our comrades fail to uphold these points and guidelines.

Points of Unity & Peace

  1. Peace: We organize to end the needless and petty disagreements, conflicts and violence between ALL lumpen organizations in the Virgina prison environment. Our captors (the pig administrators) use Willie Lynch style divide-and-control tactics so that we fight, oppose and oppress each other instead of using our time and energy on challenging and changing unjust and inhumane prison conditions. If we want to change our conditions, defend ourselves from racist oppression and regain control of our own lives and destinies, we must establish lasting peace in all Virginia prisons and organize across lumpen "tribal" and "street" organizational lines for our own survival.
  2. Unity: We must achieve power by uniting, bonding, and struggling side by side with people in other lumpen organizations who face the same oppression, the same genocide, and the same enemy for our own common interests and survival.

To maintain lasting unity, we must establish a mutual love and respect between all lumpen organizations, and maintain an open line of communication so that we can peacefully and strategically handle any conflicts or disagreements that may arise. This is especially needed in Virginia prisons because of how our captors (i.e. pig investigators) use snitches/informants to pass rumors that divide us and keep us oppressed. The reactionary pig administration uses such tactics because they see the end of their control within our unity.

Proposal of Guidelines to Achieve Peace and Unity Amongst Lumpen Organizations in Virginia Prisons

We must establish a committee made up of two people from all lumpen "rival" organizations. This committee will facilitate an open line of communication and networking between all lumpen organizations, and at all times work to maintain peace and unity in the event conflicts and/or disagreements arise. Therefore, those people appointed to this committee must have considerable respect and influence within their respective organizations. This committee shall meet once a month (or as needed) to address grievances, resolve conflicts and disagreements, and discuss strategies on how we can best fight oppression and improve our living conditions in a collective manner. In addition to the above, in order to create structure in our prison environment based on discipline and militancy, and draw a clear line of distinction between us and our common enemy, this committee should establish the following rules for all lumpen organization members:

  1. People from different lumpen organization should strive to eat together in the cafeteria, walk the yard together, work out together, study history together and smile and show love and respect for each other at all times. This will allow us to build a bond based on Black-on-Black bulletproof love and unity, and allow us to see each other as allies and comrades instead of rivals and enemies.
  2. Stop laughing, joking, playing, and engaging in casual conversations with ALL prison staff members. Don't initiate any conversation with them unless it's for the purpose of trying to get personal matters taken care of. If prison staff members speak, then it is up to that individual prisoner to choose to speak back out of courtesy, or not. This draws a clear line of distinction between us and our common enemy and will cause our oppressors/captors to take us seriously and have much more respect for us than at present. This also builds unity because it will give us the sense that we are doing something collectively.
  3. Stop throwing your hoods up, peacing each other up, stacking, etc. in front of (or in clear view of) all prison staff members. The wise should always move in silence and we should never expose who we are, what we are, or who our comrades are to the pig administration.
  4. No one should engage in the creation or passing of any rumors or gossip. The pigs use rumors and gossip to sow seeds of dissent and distrust amongst the oppressed. If a comrade attempts to create or pass any rumors or gossip it must be immediately reported to a committee member.
  5. Every accusation made against a comrade should be backed up with true facts and not based on assumptions or poor intelligence, information, or understanding.
  6. Everyone who has a minimum of ten years left to serve must attend the law library, study and learn the law, and work on their own case, or assist another comrade on their case.
  7. Workouts (exercises) at least three times a week should be mandatory for everyone with Black lumpen hood/tribal organizational ties. All Black lumpen hood/tribal organizations were birthed out of the Black struggle and the need to protect and defend our neighborhoods, ourselves and our communities. We must be in the best physical condition to effectively defend ourselves, our comrades, our people and our communities from racist oppression and white supremacy.

These guidelines are a work in progress, therefore they can be amended/modified to fit your specific environment or area for maximum effect as long as they adhere to the two points of peace and unity.

"Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us, give up your life for the people." - Comrade George Lester Jackson

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Why talk and not say shit


v1. The president participating, dys-educating my Black people
The condition is missing for us to live equal
Say we all the same but restrained for what we look like
It don't take a genius to see it don't look right
Obama just a puddle surrounded by pitfalls
A puppet in the game playing by his master's rules
Are we living in the land of the free
Or are we free as they want us to be
The constitution is breached
His words are lies, plans are unspoken
Intentions are clear to keep the cream class growing
Why you gotta cut education
And not this fucked up system
Locked brotha's up for false accusations
Claim you leading the nation
Revamping enslavement
Campaigning, talking and ain't saying shit

Hook: why you talking x3, talking and ain't saying shit

v2. Why when Haiti had to suffer the quake
Those who survive had to suffer and wait for the united states
No water no help or food
For weeks and they made it look good on the news
It's the rules of the game to keep them under the shoe
No money no help unless they benefit too
The president is irrelevant to speak the truth
I'd rather speak than to keep this thing on mute
Profit is the only topic when help is called on
Freedom is not an option cuz the law is all wrong
Manipulating the race saying equal we all are
People we all are
Police brutality, to specific formalities
Time to wake the streets and those sleeping wit it
Cuz dudes talking and ain't saying shit

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