The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Rhymes/Poetry]
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Overcome


Cowards will hit you when you're in chains.
Anger fits you, coursing through your veins.
Inflicting violence when you can't fight back.
Demanding silence or the charges will stack.
Stop resisting, I've got mace!
Was sleeping, now on your face.
Throwing grenades when you are unarmed and compliant.
Snitches, puppets and police can't take down a giant.
Most are grimy, with much snake in their blood.
The rest, evil flowers beginning to bud.
Giving us bad water and rotten food.
What the hell put them in such a bad mood?
Don't think they can get the cuffs any tighter.
Of course they will have to chain up a fighter.
Excuse me, I've done nothing wrong, sir.
Under his saddle must be a burr.
Getting sprayed after being cuffed.
Wearing a badge must make them tough.
Everyone should apply a little resistance.
Make the pigs call "Officer in need of assistance."
Like a martye against ten, maybe more or less.
Just give as much as you take, simply do your best.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Serious Ideal


Sister China
1949
Chairman Mao caught her eye
Imperialism reigns
But soon will fall
Socialism will rise
And prevail
Hammer in hand
The vanguard will swing
The capitalist pig will be nailed
The lumpen will grow its wings
We stand and fight
Instead of flight
Until the proletariat is finally free

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[Texas]
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AMBI Statement of Unity

The name of this organization is the AMBI Foundation. The purpose of this foundation is to bring prisoners to full awareness internally. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a way of making prisoners believe that they have no rights, but, if brought to full awareness, real eyes will realize real lies. The AMBI Foundation is under the guidance of MIM(Prisons). We recognize, understand, as well as apply the five United Front for Peace in Prisons principles. Our foundation is based on them.

Peace - We believe in peace, because without it, there's no unity amongst inmates.
Unity - We believe in unity because only when we unite will we actually see change as well as growth
Growth - We believe in growth simply because it's power in numbers.
Internationalism - We believe in this because we fight for freedom from discrimination as well as equality, we must practice what we preach.
Independence - The system does not and will not serve us. AMBI also stands for A Movement Built Independently

Those are all important as it is the forefront of our organization.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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A lie ain't nothing for the state of Texas to Tell


Sitting in a Texas Pen
Fed like it's 1908
For we are given skimpy trays
So we have to lick the plate

They try to say we are well fed
I tell you that's a lie
Tortillas to hide our scrambled eggs
Make grown men want to cry

One hot dog on our largest part
Slot two slices of bread
The last three slots will stop your heart
So you might just wake up dead

I've eaten better homeless
And I'm not too proud to say
I've had more food out of dumpsters
Then what Stiles puts on your tray

I came here weighing 222
I now weigh 151
The only way that I'll get more food
Annie get your gun

No these are not my greatest words
But I'm about the starve to death
I've seen people feed more to birds
But in Texas, I'm out of breath

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[Legal] [Jester III Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 47]
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Indigent Mail Restrictions Silences Prisoners

The prison oppressors have maliciously transferred me to Jester III Unit here in Richmond, Texas. I have filed numerous grievance complaints and indicated filing a Section 1983 civil lawsuit, due to prison staff violating my Constitutional rights.

I had to wait about 15 days before I was allowed to write to you all, because the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) indigent program only allows me to mail out 5 personal letters a month. Once I have submitted the 5 letters, I'm forced to wait until the next 30-day period starts. I have filed a grievance, and hope a class action lawsuit is presented to the court so that I can join in.

According to Guajardo v. Estelle 432 F.Supp 1373, prison officials must furnish postage and stationary to indigent prisoners weekly, without a waiting period. By denying me communication with my family, friends and advocates, it hinders me from informing people of the extreme mistreatment I'm constantly subjected to here.

I respectfully request the recent issue of Under Lock & Key be mailed to my new address, plus any study material to help me teach the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (Independence, Internationalism, Growth, Unity, and Peace) within the prison environment. I greatly appreciate my beloved comrades' assistance and highly need support. I will write to you and other comrades in the struggle as much as is possible or allowed.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is all too common that laws are set, but that the problems continue because prison officials simply don't follow the laws. As this correspondent writes, there are already legal standards for how indigent correspondence should be handled in Texas. Yet the Texas Board of Criminal Justice modified TDCJ's correspondence rules in opposition to this law.

In communication with Mumia Abu-Jamal, in Mumia's book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A., Ed Mead explains this phenomenon well:

"[The courts] may order that you have more peanut butter on the main line but they're not going to do anything significant or fundamental in terms of serving the public interest. And that is the limitation of jailhouse lawyering, you can get yourself out but there will be another one to replace you. You can get a friend out; there will be another one to replace him. You can file a prisoner rights suit but they'll just not enforce it... or if it's enforced, after a while it just dissipates, like a puddle of water evaporating and nobody really notices that it's gone."

For those issues that people notice are dwindling away, such as the restrictions on indigent mail in Texas, what role can lawsuits play in ensuring these rights are protected? Our correspondent would like to join on to a Class Action suit on this issue, and surely there are plenty of Texas comrades who would be interested in something similar. Ed Mead breaks it down:

"[T]he courts are a part of the State's apparatus of repression... and the State is the means by which one class suppresses the interests of another class. And since the police and the prisons are a part of that and the courts as well, none of these enforcement mechanisms are going to abolish themselves. Once you get beyond the point of litigating over 'we want more peanut butter on the main line,' if you're looking for substantial issues, then the courts aren't the place to go...

"And the way I look at it is that the prison is the factory that turns out the product. And that product is angry people who are released to the streets full of rage, which gets taken out on their family members, their neighbors, and the community. And to try to treat individual products that the factory spews out, it's spewing them out faster than you could possibly fix the problem. You need to focus on shutting the factory down. And the courts aren't going to be of any assistance in that."

In the context of our anti-imperialist organizing, we see lawsuits as having two functions. First, they can be a way to organize people by bringing them into political struggle, and demonstrating the limitations of the injustice system. Second, when successful, lawsuits can help to make space for this revolutionary organizing. Lifting the severe restrictions on indigent correspondence would definitely be better for people who are submitting articles to Under Lock & Key, participating in our correspondence study groups, or just keeping their ULK subscription active. And we're sure that most of our comrades behind bars don't just write to us! But even if this restriction were lifted, as it should be, there would just be some other injustice being thrown our way. Or eventually the law would be "forgotten" and we'd have to go to court over the same thing, again.

Ed Mead is a former prisoner, jailhouse lawyer, founder of Prison Legal News, and long-time revolutionary. Ey presently publish the newsletter The Rock and recently had eir autobiography published by Kersplebedeb. With Ed's vast and long-time experience in the anti-imperialist prisoner-focused movement, ey has this to say about putting our legal efforts into a broader context of struggle: "The main thing is to put jailhouse lawyering in a context of class struggle. And when you put it in that context its limitations become abundantly clear."

Mumia reflects on Ed's perspective on jailhouse lawyering,

"For this one man, jailhouse law was a doorway into other realms of social reality, where the courts, for all their pomp and ceremony, were largely irrelevant to the larger social struggles rippling through society. What Mead learned was that jailhouse law was simply a means; it was not an end. It had, in Mead's view, severe limitations."

To move beyond these limitations, we expand our scope. While this legal system fails us, we instead aim to set the stage for communist revolution on these shores. We have various campaigns and projects centered around this goal, which we report on regularly on this website and in Under Lock & Key.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Resistance


Resistance
is protracted struggle
When the goal is to
eradicate imperialism
the elite don't want
to budge

Force is a necessary tool
use it when
the people are ready

We will know they
are ready because
they will see
the weakness of
the regime

Whose arms are
extended
beyond retreat

Imperialism
is dying…

Fed up?
Get on ya feet!

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Are We There Yet?

MIM theory has made me
a scientist
previously I wanted to Attack Now!
but I'm no longer anxious
in order to make a move
the times must be right,
but the times won't be unless we study
analyze - stop the bickering and unite
so lace your boots and recruit
turn your cell into
a scientific study group booth
our clip is fully loaded
our day will come
but right now it's time to get ready for it

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 46]
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Fight Snitching through Revolutionary Unity

It seems that the pigs who run this gulag are getting more and more clever every day. We need to stay on point to their tactics and be awake to the corruption that surrounds us. We all know that the administration will do whatever it takes to shut down any organizational movement of prisoners that threatens them. It has come to my attention that all around us are eyes and ears, even when we think we are speaking in confidence to a supposed comrade. The pigs have resorted to using the most oppressed of all of us as puppets for them. The administration has begun using an "informant for hire" network to bring down any type of unity between prisoners. A large percent of us already completely rely on support from the administration to feed us, and provide other necessities. The pigs withhold vital services from prisoners, forcing them to obey their "masters." In exchange for constitutional rights, and necessities that they can get nowhere else, prisoners infiltrate cell groups and other organizational efforts between comrades, then report their findings back to the Corrections Officers. This has become a common scene in Pennsylvania prisons.

This is another reason why we all need to unite and take care of our brothers and sisters in need, so they are not forced to rely on the pigs for their livelihood and daily bread. We are all in this together, despite our individual crimes, backgrounds, or status. We all should have one common goal, to break these chains that bind us. I believe this is what self-sufficiency truly means — not having to rely on our oppressors to meet our basic needs. And since we all share this common goal shouldn't we view all other prisoners as the same as self? After all, we are meant to be one united force, but all that abounds is discord, disunity, and views towards other prisoners.

This is a call to all fellow prisoners to unite as one force, lend a helping hand to prisoners who are down and out. When we don't do this, we are violating the very basis of communism by placing ourselves above other groups of humyns — the poor and needy! We must do whatever it takes to crush the fascists and pigs that oppress us! So we must reach out and help those who are unable to help themselves, and stop feeding them to the mongrels.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Many people write to us complaining about snitches and the hopelessness of organizing. This comrade does a great job explaining how we can have an impact on these individuals and what people can do to change their circumstances, rather than just complaining. This sort of rational and creative thinking is what communists need to bring to every situation. Look at a problem from all sides and come up with ways to attack it. We call this materialist thinking, and it's not easy, especially when we're bombarded with anti-science ideas, and feeling crushed by day-to-day oppression. We hope this comrade serves as an inspiration to others who are facing serious snitching problems to think about how you can help these snitches to join the cause of the revolution.

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[Gang Validation] [Civil Liberties]
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Fighting STG Status Using Courts and Elections

As a leader of United Struggle from Within (USW) and the Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC) I have a lot of problems organizing with the lumpen proletariat because they don't want any trouble with the pigs and I have been transferred 10 times in this 8.5 years of my imprisonment, but the struggle still goes on! The Security Threat Group (STG) status is moving to every state complex in the empire.

I was reading Under Lock & Key No. 41 and it was saying in many articles by comrades that they are being put on STG status for no reason and they can not put up a defense and they aren't getting any yard time. This is both constitutional violations and human rights violations. The 8th amendment violation of cruel and unusual punishment; and the 14th amendment violations without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states:

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
Article 5: No one shall be subject to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6: Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners approved by the UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955 and approved by the Economic and Social Council by resolutions 663 (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977:


Exercise and Sport
21. (1) Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits.
...
Information to and complaints by prisoners
35. (1) Every prisoner on admission shall be provided with written information about the regulations governing the treatment of prisoners of his category, the disciplinary requirements of the institution, the authorized methods of seeking information and making complaints, and all such other matters as are necessary to enable him to understand both his rights and his obligations and to adapt himself to the life of the institution.

(2) If a prisoner is illiterate, the aforesaid information shall be conveyed to him orally.

36. (1) Every prisoner shall have the opportunity each week day of making requests or complaints to the director of the institution or the officer authorized to represent him.

(2) It shall be possible to make requests or complaints to the inspector of prisons during his inspection. The prisoner shall have the opportunity to talk to the inspector or to any other inspecting officer without the director or other members of the staff being present.

(3) Every prisoner shall be allowed to make a request or complaint, without censorship as to substance but in proper form, to the central prison administration, the judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels.

(4) Unless it is evidently frivolous or groundless, every request or complaint shall be promptly dealt with and replied to without undue delay.


A lot of prisoners don't understand that they have a lot of political power if they know how to use it, like getting our families, friends and associates connected to the prisoner advocate organizations in their states because political power to change conditions of prisons has to start with us first because we are the ones doing time. Our people and citizens have power in their voting blocks with issues that can demand change in prisons' operations. Prisoners have to put their interests first.

People vote their Senators and Representatives into office at election time and they can vote them out of office as well. These are the people who are supposed to represent the interests of the people in the state legislature and the federal Congress. But if people don’t bring their issues to them how can they properly represent them? We prisoners must become politically conscious of the system of local, state and federal government.

A lot of prisoners don't know that this is the time for change in the prison system, the prisoner advocates movement is very strong right now, and states' governments are seeking ways to save money because it cost states a lot more money to run maximum prisons then lower security prisons. Prisoners are truly going to have to learn their Constitutional rights, because in order for a person to have any kind of rights they are going to have to learn them first. Then you can protect them.

It's a damn shame that the Afrikan nation's ancestors fought and died for their rights and in the 21st century the Afrikan nation has become ignorant of their rights and struggles that we have been going through for the last 400 years of oppression and exploitation. This subject matter of STG can be put in the form of a petition and then filed as a class action lawsuit against these corrupt DOCs for not having a system of redress for being placed on STG status, etc. Prisoners are going to have to stand up for their rights and fight this evil and corrupt system of the prison DOCs across the country, because this same STG system is put in place everywhere.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The 8th and 14th Amendment claims this comrade refers to were the heart of the recent lawsuit in California that ended in a weak settlement. So on the one hand this is right on track, but on the other the PLC must study and learn from what happened in California to do better in other states.

By knowing our legal rights and understanding the law, we can challenge abuse and corruption, both through grievances and then in the courts when the grievance system fails. This particular campaign against STG is important to the ability of the oppressed to organize and escape extreme torture, and is therefore an important one to continue. The legal battle is only a small part of our current strategy because the legal system is a part of the criminal injustice system overall and so it will never provide justice for the oppressed. Any legal victories we do have will likely require mass organizing before hand, and will definitely require mass organizing to enforce afterwards.

Ultimately, we won't change the system through the courts. Similarly we don't focus on elections because we know that the imperialists won't allow people in positions of power who really work in the interests of the oppressed. And the majority of Amerikans do have a vested interest in the existing system of oppression: they support "tough on crime" measures and don't want to see prisoners' conditions improved. So even if relatives of prisoners all try to vote for change, they are unlikely to even find good options on the ballot.

Amerika uses prisons as a tool of social control, and the lumpen who are targeted for this repression are a minority among the mostly privileged classes within U.$. borders. For this reason we will never fundamentally change the system by working within their elections and their courts. We can take up tactically winnable battles, like these that are connected to the basic rights promised in the U.$. Constitution. But we should not mislead people into thinking that anything short of a revolution is required for liberation of the oppressed.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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I Wanna Believe

I wanna believe that education is more valuable than incarceration, but it's hard when prison yard outnumber campus quads in every state across the nation.
I wanna believe....
I wanna believe that black lives matter to all and not just the blacks who live it, but I can't erase the vision of black men murdered by white police with no punishment because their families' pain is so vivid.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that confederate flags don't represent real oppression and race hatred, that we as a people can rise above the stereotypes that we perpetuate to keep us from becoming wasted.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that we can open our eyes and recognize the Kings and Queens that Africa birthed, surviving this genocide with pride and living out the prize of realized and mastered worth.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that my people didn't hang from trees and get sold on blocks, that our babies' heads weren't stomped while slave masters prayed to God not to let their savage souls rot.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that we only do drugs to escape a reality too hard to accept, and that it's deeper than just a high when you've lived your whole life with neglect and a heart full of regret.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that times have changed and life isn't only getting worse, but a white man just took a .45 and murdered nine people praying inside a historically black church.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that kids can live free without the fear of being shot while coming home from school, that we can teach our babies something more useful than "hands up, don't shoot" rule.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that being in a gang means more than flagging a color and throwing signs, that we know the foundation was to oppression and stand for our communities not to show that we're blind.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that the brothers behind the wall are doing more than getting high, playing ball and lifting weights, and that they spend more time studying the law trying to see how many loopholes exist in their case.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that losing another brother only helped to make me stronger, that every struggle I've faced and conquered has left me with lessons that I can embrace a little longer.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that when I'm done my words will forever rest in your hearts, and that if you hear my pain and sincerity I've done my part.
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe, I really do, but I've never had a reason to,
so to me believing is deceiving
and if I believe I'm afraid I'll begin to grieve anew,
belief is faith and faith is hope
while hope is something I've never really had,
so if I hope and believe in faith
how do I know I'll never again be sad?
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe...
I wanna believe that love is something we can all achieve, and I really want love but even more than that I just wanna believe!!

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