[Recently several prisoners wrote in to describe the religious discrimination against Muslims going on in Arkansas prisons. The Supreme Court determined that the prison must allow people to grow facial hair if this is a part of their religious beliefs, but the Delta Regional Unit continues to deny this right. Below, several correspondents explain their struggle.]
Prisoner #1: I am a Muslim and through religious beliefs I should be able to grow and groom neat facial hair. It was proven in the Supreme Court (Holt vs. Hobbs 135 S. CT. 853) that the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) policy was not the least restrictive means of preventing prisoners from hiding contraband and disguising their identities. I went through all proper procedures and paperwork to get a script saying I was able to grow my facial hair through religious beliefs. I was approved by the unit Chaplain for my script, but when it came to the next step of the Warden signing off on it I was denied due to him determining if I was sincere enough. What gives the Warden the right to determine a person's sincerity about their religious beliefs?
Prisoner #2: I am currently incarcerated at the Delta Regional Unit in Deumott, Arkansas. I have been in my walk of faith (Islam) sincerely for almost three years now. In the beginning I didn't think that I would suffer from so much ridicule for choosing this way of life, but still, I hold my head high and continue on my walk of faith.
Sometime and somehow, this ridicule and discrimination has to cease. I am ready to come together with a group of fellow prisoner to stand up for our rights as well as the things we believe in.
The current problem that I am having involves the ADC programming policy. A law was recently passed that allows prisoners to grow their hair and/or facial hair for religious purposes only, and Muslims seem to be the majority of those who are being denied their rights, along with me as well. I am currently in the middle of a grievance process because I was denied my script. I think the problem is religious discrimination.
Prisoner #3: Warden James Gibson and the Chaplain Chuck Gladdon are violating the constitutional rights of the Muslims and other prisoners under their care. The supreme court ruled in Holt v. Hobbs that the grooming policy was a substantial burden on prisoners' religion, by not allowing them to grow facial hair/beards. As to security concerns, the Supreme Court also said it was not the least restrictive means of stopping prisoners from hiding contraband, or disguising their identity.
The procedures are still burdensome because all the Muslims who apply for the right to wear a beard are denied automatically while the white inmates are receiving the right to grow hair or receiving a religious accommodation script from Warden Gibson and Chaplain Gladdon. Even after the Supreme Court made its ruling, this has not changed.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This denial of rights to Muslim prisoners is more than just religious discrimination. Because the majority of Muslims in Amerikkkan prisons are New Afrikan or Arab, targeting Muslims fits in with the overall system of national oppression that is especially acute within the criminal injustice system in the United $tates. Further, Amerikans like to equate Islam with terrorism in a racist attempt to denigrate entire nations. While the cultural practice of growing facial hair is not a particularly revolutionary battle relevant to the Maoist movement, this attack on oppressed nations under the guise of religious expression is important to expose.
Communists are working towards a world where all people are free to express themselves, without restrictions that come from the oppression of groups of people by others. However, we are also working towards a society where all people are provided education and scientific analysis around the false prophets and gods that religion proffers. We do not need faith in higher mystical powers, instead we need humynity to take responsibility for its own destiny and build a society where we can have faith in the ability of people to solve the problems created by people, as well as the problems we face in our material world.
Under socialism, all people will have the freedom to practice whatever religion they choose, but they will not be given the platform to proselytize for their religion and build a broader movement of mysticism. Science and scientific thinking will be the basis of education. Only this scientific method will ensure an end to oppression of all groups of people. For more on how religion was handled in communist China under Mao, ask for our religion study pack.
Salute fellow comrades, the fascist pigs have been in control for far too long, the fascist pigs have used prisoner against prisoner for far too long. It's time for us to hear the words of a great fallen comrade by the name of George Jackson who stated: 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 as we do now if you fail to act.
My fellow comrades, I humbly ask each and every one of you to please understand that if we want to successfully run a study group inside modern slavery, then we need to stand together in solidarity, because we out-number the fascist pigs. They just out-think us, because we are too busy fighting, raping, and killing one another, just to name a few things that we prisoners lend our hands to the pigs which stagnates us and keeps the pigs in control.
I am issuing a call to revolutionary change. Fellow comrades I know what I am asking of you won't be easy, but lets take baby step together and slowly put an end to all gang-related activities, so the fascist pigs cannot use it against us to justify putting us in control housing units or to censor our mail, etc.
Fellow comrades change first start with us, cause if we don't respect one another how can we demand respect from the fascist pigs.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this comrade's call for lumpen organizations to end the violence and come together in unity. In fact, when this writer calls for an end to "all gang-related activities" we would instead say let's turn these lumpen organizations into vehicles for activities that educate and liberate the oppressed.
Enclosed is a Facility Notification of Disapproval of Under Lock & Key No. 45. The effort your group puts forth, and your commitment to your ideology are examples of dedication. But the continual rejection of your materials by the prison is costly to your limited resources. And my returning them to you without getting to read them is costly to me. You should receive a package from me containing materials the prison withheld from me.
I propose you cease mailing your materials to me. I am still going to contribute articles for you to publish. I have an issue of ULK that I've saved in order to show others who you are, what you represent, and so forth. I will use this to encourage them to work with you.
I have considered filing a lawsuit. But upon reviewing decisions in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, it is plain that the court sides with the prison system except in cases involving religious books. (The one non-religious victory: the court did rule in favor of a prisoner denied Ulysses by James Joyce because the prison permitted Playboy and the prison's claim that Ulysses was disapproved for sexual content is ludicrous and hypocritical.)
When it comes to political materials – especially radical views – the court is extremely conservative. The Fourth Circuit (which hears appeals from the nine federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) also has the dubious distinction of being the harshest toward prisoner complaints.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We are working with this comrade and a few others in Virginia to determine how best to proceed with the censorship against MIM(Prisons) in that state. We agree that the legal track record in the Fourth Circuit suggests that it's not worth the effort for a prisoner to file a lawsuit fighting the censorship. There is some precedent for organizations and individuals outside of prison having better luck and we do have some strong comrades like this one who can help with legal work. But we need an outside lawyer, knowledgable individual, or organization who can help spearhead the fight in Virginia. If anyone reading this has people on the outside who would be willing to work with us on this important battle, please let us know. And if you are in Virginia, be sure to tell us whether or not you are receiving your copies of ULK, and if you'd like to help with this battle.
In the end this comrade is right that it is only in the long battle that we can really win, when we take power for the oppressed out of the hands of the oppressors. But in the short term, making it possible for comrades to get study and organizing materials behind bars is of critical importance because this is how we can build the movement. Education is our principal task, and this education is hard to accomplish without the ability to communicate and study.
I want to inform you about a new torture tactic being used here in the Security Housing Units (SHU). Since August 3 [2 weeks ago] the staff have been doing what has been termed "security/welfare checks" which entails staff walking by every prisoner's cell every 30 minutes 24/7 and pressing a button that has been installed next to our cells. Due to the design of the SHU the sound everyone and everything makes is louder than it should be and at night we are woken up every thirty minutes due to staff opening/closing the pod door, which is extremely loud, stomping up the stairs to the top tier and back down, and making a loud bang sound when hitting the button next to our cells as they are hitting metal on metal.
During the day it's the same thing except the wand makes a high-pitch beeping sound when hitting the button. So 24/7 it's non-stop excessive noise that doesn't allow us to sleep longer than 30 minutes without being woken up. I feel like I'm living in a dream 24/7 as I'm always stirred and feeling the effects of being denied sleep and not being able to go through my normal sleep cycles. Anyone with common sense can see this is cruel and unusual punishment. The ironic thing is staff say it's to prevent suicides. Yeah let's make a bunch of excessive noise all day and night and not let anyone sleep longer than 30 minutes at any given time, that should prevent suicides. If it's driving relatively stable prisoners crazy I'm sure it's pushing those with mental health issues over the edge.
Also by doing this, even though it's misguided and unnecessary, the CDCR is admitting that the SHU makes people more likely to commit suicide if they need to check on everyone every 30 minutes. I have filed an administrative appeal on this to have it stopped or modified and plan to file a lawsuit if we are not allowed to sleep normally again. In the mean time I'm writing friends/family to call the prison/CDCR head quarters and complain about this, and I'm writing all prison organizations and public servants to make them aware of this new form of torture being conducted.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This sleep deprivation torture tactic has been reported on from San Quentin for some time, and we recently received word from a comrade on pending litigation on this issue:
"I am challenging a blatantly obvious psychological torture program put in play by Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of the gulag system in California, as a payback to the SHU guys for the hunger strikes. The CDCR had to throw us, death row, under the bus too, to make it less obvious who the target really is.
"There is a program whereby they come and shine lights in eyes, bang and yell, using a 'beeper' stick to hit the cell tray slots, every 20 to 30 minutes, all day and night.
"In my moving papers I proved it is utterly pointless as stated, as a suicide prevention program. Anyone knows you can commit suicide during the half hour between walks, and also in our unit it takes them over 20 added minutes to get the keys, get shields, and race in and pounce on a guy hanging by the neck. It is specious.
"So I filed saying this is far too onerous to be a mere act of stupidity, it is a malicious torture of the SHU units only (including PSU, psych wards, all lock-up units). If this does not cause suicide, what would? Ha!"
This latest tactic of inhumane sleep deprivation reinforces our point that the settlement of the Ashker v. Brown lawsuit will do nothing to end torture in California prisons. As the comrade above points out, this is not rogue COs, this is facility policy. We received reports over a year prior about the new Guard One torture program. As one comrade pointed out at the time, most deaths in cells are due to medical neglect.
We view the latest behavior by guards at Pelican Bay as a form of retaliation against the prisoners held in SHU, to show them who is in charge and that torture is alive and well in spite of the "successful" settlement. Exposing this consistent mistreatment of prisoners in California is a must to counter the narrative that the modern prison movement has succeeded in transforming the CDCR, or the conditions they submit their prisoners to, in any way.
The acute threat of this form of torture requires an immediate response.
A concerted effort has been taken up by a number of groups supporting the California prison movement to contact the warden to demand an end to this torture.
Write to: Warden Clark E. Ducart Pelican Bay State Prison P.O. Box 7000 Crescent City, CA 95531-7000 email: [email protected] call: (707) 465–1000 ext. 9040
Prison administrators here in State Correctional Institution (SCI) Huntingdon have recently begun to deny all of the programming textbooks that have come in the mail for me, stating that the books contain writings which advocate, assist or are evidence of criminal activity, or facility misconduct. I am unable to properly appeal the publication denials to the facility's superintendent, who told me in person "You're not getting your fucking books." He told me that the decision by the Inmate Publication Review Committee (IPRC) is final, and his responses to my attempts to appeal publication denials reflect this statement. I am unable to use the facility grievance system to file complaints about my mail and incoming publications, which are meant to be handled some other way. I am unable to ask exactly what misconducts or crimes the books advocate, assist in, or are evidence of, and facility staff have been unable to specify.
I am writing to your organization to respectfully request any assistance, or information you may be able to provide which could help to right this wrong. These books are purely educational, and as such are entirely neutral. Disallowing them could not serve any legitimate penological interest.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter shows that education can never be "entirely neutral" under imperialism. Educational textbooks, while generally devoid of any progressive political content, still present a threat to prisons because of the opportunity they provide for educational advancement. Through this education prisoners may become more aware of the basis of the criminal injustice system and their own oppression, and it could lead them to seek out more revolutionary education. Keeping prisoners uneducated is a good way for the oppressor nation to maintain its privileged position.
Denial of books can also be used as punishment for a prisoner who is seen as a trouble maker. The fact that this comrade knows how to file grievances and is working to gain education may be the cause of these denials. Part of the system of social control in prisons is the use of arbitrary rules to contain prisoners who might be a threat because of their understanding of legal rights and their ability to fight for these rights.
For both of these reasons, instead of arguing about what constitutes "legitimate penological interests" we point out that the penological interest really being served by the Amerikan criminal injustice system is social control. Censorship is a key tool the prisons use for this end. And for this reason we focus some of our limited time and resources fighting against censorship. For this comrade we have provided a copy of our guide to fighting censorship. But what we really need, in many states across the country, are lawyers who can help us bring censorship cases to court to establish legal precedent. Of particular priority to us are those cases where the censorship is of explicit political material. Textbook denials like the one described above do happen, but they are far less common than the denial of Under Lock & Key and other revolutionary literature.
To the comrade who submitted the article "Texas Hides Grievance Manual" on a memo by Access to Courts Supervisor Frank Hoke, take these words of wisdom.
The grievance procedure was certified by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and Southern District of Texas in 1989. In 1999 the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) and Agency officials approved the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) and screening criteria. Pursuant to Board Policy (BP) 03.77,
"The resolution support manager shall establish and maintain the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) to provide guidance to employees regarding the offender grievance procedure. ... Instructions on how to use the offender grievance procedure shall be established separately from the OGOM for distribution to offenders and employees. Provisions for training, education, and implementation of the offender grievance procedure shall be established in AD-03.82, 'Management of Offender Grievances' and the OGOM." Signed by Oliver J. Bell, Chairman TBCJ
Note the last part in BP-03.77 "shall be established in AD-03.82." In AD-03.82, the Resolution Support Manager is responsible for oversight of access to courts, offender grievance and Ombudsman. Section I of AD-03.82 establishes the set criterion of emergency and specialty grievance. Furthermore, AD-03.82 Section IV A states: "Copies of BP-03.77 ... and this directive, as well as instructions on how to use the offender grievance procedure shall be available at each unit, to include copies in the law library." AD-03.82 Section VI A states: "The resolution support manager shall direct, administer, supervise, and manage the implementation and operation of the offender grievance procedure without interference by any employee."
The memo you described was not issued by Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ). So it is null and void, being it amends AD-03.82 and BP-03.77. On Page 1 Chapter II of the OGOM titled "Authority" it states: "AD-03.82 'Management of Offender Grievances'. Establishes agency expectations and the fundamental groundwork for the effective operation of the Offender Grievance Program. The administrative directive is more specific than board policy and supports the grievance process by providing a basis for the offender grievance operations manual."
Notice that the Access to Courts is not the agency that is responsible or authorized to make policy or amendments to policy or revisions. The Access to Courts is violating the Liberty Interest Protections in AD-03.82, being that Frank Hoke is not authorized to amend oversight policy or the OGOM. These revisions unauthorized by Oliver J. Bell have not been tested for constitutionality and changes AD-03.82 in violation of Texas law and Texas constitution articles 1, 13, and 17. Please read the article titled "Right to Assist others with Legal Work" in ULK 42 and you will see why they are doing this. Law library staff violate privacy rights, copying letters, which they send to Access to Courts for review. An Access to Courts violation has occurred which impedes, hinders or denies these rights. There has been no change in AD-03.82 or BP-03.77. Hoke's memo will only go in effect if we allow it. This is an unauthorized confiscation of OGOM without reason of safety or security justification. See Corby v. Conboy, 457 F2d 251 (1972). Always keep the pigs within the "pen," or they will eat up your rights and liberty and defecate corruption, that will abolish the smell of peace, and make the path of unity impossible to walk.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The knowledge of the invalidity of this practice within Texas prisons is certainly something we can use in our fight to remedy this repression. Prisoners in Texas should take the information above and apply it to their struggle to get the grievance manual put back into facility law libraries across the state. If someone puts together a sample grievance, petition, or other organizing tool then we can distribute it as part of our Texas Activist Pack.
But we also know that just because something is illegal or invalid doesn't mean that the state will ever actually be held accountable, or be made to follow law. This is evidenced in prisons all across the country, and on a broader scale by the illegal settlement of Palestine by I$rael and the many illegal atrocities committed by the United $tates and imperialist corporations all across the world. Those with power will do whatever suits their interests. A grievance campaign might help us win small victories. But we can't be deluded into thinking that if we just point out to them that they are breaking the law they will change their behavior.
Mumia Abu-Jamal explains this well in the book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. In the Preface, Mumia hammers home the point that law is what a judge decides in the moment; that they make it up as they go along. In a discussion about what makes jailhouse lawyers go crazy, Delbert Africa explains to Mumia,
"It drives they ass crazy 'cuz they cain't handle the fact that the System just make and break they laws as it see fit! How many treaties they done signed with the Indians? Ain't a one of 'em they done kept! Some of 'em broke 'em befo' the ink was dry on 'em old treaties! Them the same folks who run this System today! If they couldn't keep a treaty with Indians when they first got here, what make you think they gonna keep they so-called law today, especially when it come to me and you, man?"
Mumia pushed Africa to explain further why this makes jailhouse lawyers go crazy, and Africa responded,
"They go crazy becuz, Mu, they really believe in the System, and this System always betray those that believe in it! That's what drive them out of they minds, man. They cain't handle that. It literally drives them out they mind. I see 'em around here, walkin' 'round here dazed, crazy as a bedbug!"
Mumia follows this conversation with an anecdote about a jailhouse lawyer he knew from death row who insisted his appeal would be granted because his argument was so "black and white" that the judge "gotta" go for it. But as Mumia explained to this brother,
"They do what they wanna do, man! Just 'cuz it says something in one case, they don't have to go by that case, man. I agree with you, that you got a damn good argument — and you should prevail — but I don't go for that 'gotta' rap!"
While we want to hold our oppressors publicly accountable as much as we can, these struggles are more about highlighting inadequacies of the injustice system and agitating for others to join our struggle against capitalism and imperialism. When we do win a legal battle, we take it as an opportunity to build space for more revolutionary organizing. We ultimately need to wage a protracted, long-term struggle (that eventually will be an armed struggle) against this oppressive legal and economic system under which we attempt to live. In the meantime, we agree with Mumia that "the law ain't nothing but whatta judge say the law is."
As of right now the konvicts here at U.S. Penetentiary (USP) Big Sandy are on lockdown due to a racial riot. This is what the pigs want. I blame the pigs for setting up this atmosphere by creating tension amongst the konvicts by applying oppression along with repressive tactics. Instead of the konvicts challenging the pigs, they attack each other. But I also blame us komrades here at Big Sandy for not agitating and mobilizing the masses.
Those of us who are conscious with revolutionary theory should be educating others. Teach the konvicts why they exist in the condition that they are in. Help them to understand that they are victims of an economic system. All crimes can be traced to socio-economic conditions. We are at war politically, socially, economically and culturally. We must educate the prisoners so that they will understand the true function of the prison system and know why are we here. This is especially true for the New Afrikans.
Black men comprise over 40% of death row inmates. There are at least 2.5 million people in Amerika's institutions and over 50% are New Afrikans. 24.7% of New Afrikans live below poverty while only 11.4% of whites live below poverty. New Afrikans serve 20% more of their sentences with crimes similar to whites. Amerika is number one when it comes to the world's prison population, but is number forty-three when it comes to the world's education. Why is this?
We must figure out a way to reach the konvicts here so that we can begin to challenge the injustices that are being inflicted upon us. I've met komrades who use the excuse of getting sent to isolation if they take the initiative. The revolution is not a dinner party. It's supposed to be suffering. We are at war with a vicious paper tiger. This is why we call it a struggle. I understanding the meaning of a clandestine army but damn! We can't keep using this clandestine strategy as an excuse to action. That's some coward shit.
I understand being clandestine if you're doing the people's work, but sitting around playing chess, smoking weed, drinking, and just being idle and doing nothing isn't clandestine. Jumping on other konvicts isn't the peoples work. That's a form of individualism as well as being reactionary, unless it's in self-defense. That's why the Black Panther Party was first started: to defend themselves and the community. This prison is our community and it's our job as vanguards to defend the community. We cannot forget the legacy of George Jackson and the other komrades who fought and died for the people. Their spirit is in us and we must carry on the torch. The dragon has awaken. Can't stop! Won't stop!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade provides some important facts about the reality of national oppression within U.$. borders. The disproportionate lockup of oppressed nations is part of the system of imperialism that continues to oppress internal colonies within U.$. borders. And we echo this writer's call for the oppressed to stand up and take action. Even if it's just forming a study group, or sharing your Under Lock & Key with others. There is much education and organizing work to be done. MIM(Prisons) can support your work, write to us to get involved and put your time behind bars to good use.
I went back to ULK issue 42 to sort out some disputes with the other prisoners and gangs housed in this institution. The problem is that we can't seem to get it together. Mainly those claiming to be a part of an organized entity. Some members say they are for the cause to unite and fight against oppression (within the prison). What drew me back to this issue was the topic of the issue Building Peace with the United Front which speaks about the base of bringing the misled and disorganized together. Yet, in my situation, it's a constant contradiction. Nobody wants to play their part or abide by the agenda and constitutions set out for them. So I am asking you: as a current member of the contradictory organization, do I stay, proclaiming my loyalty, or do I move on? Please help me with this issue. The only thing that I can see me staying for is the true comrades, but I didn't become what I am for the few individuals. I chose my way of life because of the movement. Now I am stuck deciding what is best for me. Well it's been nice sharing my issues with you. I just ask that you give me your best opinion from what you have read.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is an important question that many folks who are part of lumpen organizations raise as their political consciousness grows. There is often the possibility of educating and building from within an organization, helping to bring the level of political knowledge and organizing work up for the whole group. But sometimes this is not possible, and you find yourself inside an organization that refuses to advance whether this is because of mis-leadership or the conflicting goals of the members. When this happens it may be time to leave the organization and start something new. We should not hold on to blind loyalty when this binds us to reactionary organizations.
This is the difference between scientific leadership and cult leadership. A cult demands blind loyalty and creates a situation that allows for abuse and oppression within the group. In contrast, MIM(Prisons) would tell people they should leave our organization if they believe it has taken a reactionary path. Of course, one should only do so after struggling within the organization to correct its errors. In other words, push the contradictions within the organization to conclusion before just giving up. And while doing so you might study Mao's "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People."
This comrade asks "what is best for me?" But we would instead ask "what is best for the oppressed people of the world?" If you are in an organization that is not fighting on the side of the oppressed, and is not willing to listen to you when you push them in this direction, then you are wasting your time with this group. If you take action and break with the organization in order to take up the revolutionary struggle, any other progressive individuals inside of this group might be inspired to join you. It's important that you be clear that is it not lack of loyalty that causes you to break with the group, but rather the importance of your goals to serve the people.
I am doing time and slave labor on the Wynne Unit in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). This is an industry unit. Millions of dollars worth of commodities are mass produced by prisoners who receive no type of worthwhile compensation. These items consist of vehicle registration stickers, license plates, mattresses that range from Sealy Posturepedic to college dorm and prisoner beds. Signs are produced for a wide range of functions, and there's a computer recovery warehouse that refurbishes used and discarded units to be sent to high schools and hospitals.
It goes without saying that if everyone decided to lay it down the powers that be would have a serious problem. Yet sadly enough out of the 2,200 prisoners housed here, the number would more than likely be in the double digits only. You have those who don't want to lose their clerk job where they might get a few perks every now and then. Some in the craft shop would put the craft shop first. I do understand why people want to protect their "jobs," but how much longer are we going to stand by and be forced to witness the constant abuse of power?
I have been locked up in segregation unjustly. I've seen my brothers lose their lives which may have been prevented if the COs acted as if they gave a damn. Although we all know they don't. So, we rise early every morning, we are told to work "or else", and god forbid you try to utilize the option to go to school because you are expected to be at work before sunrise even if you are trying to educate your mind and work on your attitude.
It's no secret that the TDCJ's main concern all the way around is money. Ironically our "great state's" prison system is in the negative on funds but will not hesitate to lock someone up over a bullshit parole violation or something nonviolent like theft. And we are being punished daily by the COs and administration who use their position as an opportunity to abuse other human beings and get away with it. Our so-called grievance system is a laugh-out-loud joke, just like TDCJ's good time and work time fiascos.
The reality is that if just one third of our prison population would spend some of those phone minutes on educating our outside support rather than crying about more money for holiday packs and new shoes every 6 months, we might see some difference. Let people know how they can help, without making TDCJ's commissary richer. I like candy and sodas as much as the next guy. What I don't like is getting treated like dog shit just because I'm trying to resolve a problem. The indigent mail issue, the medical copay, the good time, work time and assaults on inmates by guards are but a few of our long list of issues that are not just going to disappear. We will not go quietly into that good night, and we will not back down without a fight.
El movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos ha llegado a estar a la cabeza en la lista del FBI como grupo domestico-terrorista en los Estados Unidos por rehusarse a cooperar con el gobierno. Las personas de este movimiento adoptan una independencia artificial como una nación y se rehusan a presentar impuestos, llevar cualquier tipo de licencia, o tener una tarjeta del seguro social. La pregunta es, ¿Donde coloca el movimiento anti-imperialista a estos individuos y como se compara su planteamiento de liberación a el del Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo?
Esta reportado que más de 300,000 personas se declaran ciudadanos soberanos en los Estados Unidos, y está pronosticado a ser uno de los movimientos con más rápido crecimiento en la historia de E.E.U.U. (1) Así que esta es una cuestión razonable el preguntar si estas personas se dirigen a algo o no.
Parece que el movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos es actualmente una mezcla de grupos oprimidos de la nación, burgueses nacionalistas, y mezquinas organizaciones burguesas a través de los Estados Unidos. Por ejemplo, las organizaciones que afirman ser ciudadanos soberanos están los grupos New Afrika, como la nación Moro, la nación Mawshakh de Nuurs, y la nación Washitaw, ambas Islámicas y Hebraicas. Luego están allí los Blancos nacionalistas, responsables por publicaciones y transmisiones de programas para el movimiento: desde la Embajada del Heaven, el Grupo Aware, La Republica de Texas, Rightway Law, Freedom Bound International, Y Amen-Ra BTO Inc.; y personalidades como David W. Miller, Charles Weisman, Alfred Adask, George Gordon, y Brent Johnson.
La Clase Torpe en Búsqueda de Respuestas
El rumor de ciudadanos soberanos en prisión fue escuchado primero por el autor en el 2009, promovida por una variedad de torpes prisioneros pretendiendo ser poseedores de carnet y miembros de abogados encarcelados y del Gremio Nacional de Abogados. Ellos afirman poseer el misterioso conocimiento, el cuál utilizado en cortes de E.E.U.U. resultaría en riquezas de acuerdos financieros, también como el potencial de una salida prematura para prisioneros quienes hayan aprendido el oficio para descifrar el código descrito como redención.
Los torpes en los Estados Unidos, por lo general siempre están buscando un surgimiento, pero raramente consideran a que costo resurgirán. Éllos, en general creen que si pueden aumentar su economía clandestina pueden liberarse a si mismos. Este punto de vista es producto de la relación del capitalismo de los torpes perteneciendo a semicolonias internas. Los torpes están excluidos de la próspera economía imperialista global, dando todavía pruebas de esa riqueza por estas economías clandestinas que además proporcionan una ilusión actuando afuera del sistema. Parece que la popularidad del movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos en las prisiones pueden ser explicadas de esta manera; con la diferencia de que esta, actualmente pretende estar basada en la ley.
Con estas promesas de riquezas, estatus, independencia y dominio de sí mismo, torpes prisioneros no son culpados por ponerse en fila para recibir lo que ellos han sido mentalizados a saber, así siendo liberados. Sin embargo, ellos son advertidos que no todo lo que brilla es oro. Lo que vemos en juego, es la principal contradicción que define la clase torpe en nuestra sociedad: las tendencias individualistas surgen a costas de otros que son requeridos de una clase excluida dentro de una economía capitalista, y la necesidad de una acción colectiva para vencer estas condiciones y alcanzar una libertad verdadera. Aún vemos organizaciones como New Afrika promoviendo las ideas de ciudadanía soberana apropiandose de las ideas de movimientos de liberación nacional también. Pero en vez de que peleen por liberación nacional de New Afrika, ellos definen su nación en maneras oportunistas como si una nación es algo que cualquier grupo de gente puede crear solo de aire ligero. Reconocemos naciones como fenómeno científico, que existe en el mundo real y son definidos como un grupo de personas con una cultura, territorio, lenguaje y economía común.
Es importante que torpes prisioneros empiecen a escoger las cosas correctas, las cuáles ellos personalmente hayan analizado examinado, investigado, y reverenciado en realidad en el método de materialismo dialéctico. Torpes prisioneros tienen una problema en las áreas de estas ultimas cuatro palabras claves: analizado, examinado, investigado y reverenciado. Este fracaso es la causa principal de las circunstancias materiales que lleva a las divisiones entre torpes prisioneros individualistas contra comunidades de prisioneros auto suficientes luchando por liberación dentro del movimiento a la independencia nacional. Además, con frecuencia los torpes prisioneros consiguen algo, o se enteran de algo por otro prisionero y ellos solo corren esto propagando algo que ellos desconocen y mal informan a otros. El movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos se ha beneficiado de esta tendencia.
¿De qué se trata ciudadanos soberanos?
Torpes prisioneros en la nación opresora de origen blanco, probablemente pueden describir una historia más clara de este movimiento, comenzando en algún lugar en los años 60s para desafiar la legitimidad de las leyes de impuestos y del mismo gobierno de E.E.U.U. Esto es incierto si la mayoría de prisioneros oprimidos en la nación pueden describir los grupos fundados de Oregon y California, como el Posee Comitatus, el cuál esta basado en una rigurosa y absurda supremacía blanca.
La filosofía del movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos está basada en la teoría de que el gobierno de E.E.U.U. está operando una fraudulenta entidad comercial que esta insolentada y endeudada con naciones extranjeras. Muchos grupos del movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos están de acuerdo con esta idea en que el gobierno original de E.E.U.U. de la America Colonial estaba basado en la ley común Británica como un gobierno de ley. Después de la Guerra Civil supuestamente se desarrollo un gobierno de facto secundario a estos gobiernos anteriores de colonizadores, comunes en el estado.
Cuando ellos dicen de ley, ellos quieren decir legales y por lo tanto legítimos. En contraste, de facto significa que existe, pero este no es oficial. Esto es común, referirse a un gobierno de facto después de una guerra civil para implicar que las cosas no han sido solucionadas, ni el orden ha sido restaurado. Lo que esa orden es por supuesto, es una cuestión política en símisma. La dictadura sobre los capitalistas en el sur, por los capitalistas de los estados norteños después de la guerra civil fue una era progresiva que marcó el fin de la esclavitud y forzó la integración de colonizadores blancos, aunque mucho del progreso en integración fue más tarde regresada al pasado por la fuerzas reaccionarias y demostró un total fracaso. Por lo tanto, la cuestión de legitimidad del gobierno de la post-guerra civil en los Estados Unidos tenía una clara conexión a este movimiento reaccionario en desarrollo por la supremacía blanca en Norteamérica. Mientras estas fuerzas ven los derechos de independencia y estado como un medio para mantener su privilegio nacional, las semi-colonías internas son atraídas a luchas de liberación nacional (y por lo tanto otras políticas de control local) como medio para terminar la opresión nacional que es el otro lado de la moneda dialéctica. Para tener una nación opresora, tu tienes que tener al menos una nación oprimida.
Muchos soberanos proponentes, como los Whitten Printers, violan la Decimocuarta Enmienda hasta el más mínimo común denominador. Ellos argumentan que ésta fue creada por el gobierno de facto en orden para nacionalizar esclavos negros con derechos comparables a los derechos constitucionales inalienables de colonizadores blancos y ciudadanos del estado, llevándonos a la pregunta de que si ellos están leyendo los mismos libros de historia como el resto de nosotros, luchando por autodeterminación. Estos ciudadanos soberanos afirman que ellos no están sujetos al proceso de nacionalización para llegar a ser ciudadanos federales bajo le Decimocuarta Enmienda del gobierno de facto, porque ellos no fueron esclavos, ellos no son negros y ellos nunca firmaron algún acuerdo o contrato con el gobierno de facto. Básicamente, ellos son reales ciudadanos sujetándose a los tiempos pasados de las colonias Británicas. Eso no es inteligente!
Críticos de la teoría de ciudadanos soberanos afirman que esto fracasa suficientemente para examinar el contexto de la jurisprudencia de la cual ellos citan e ignoran la desfavorable evidencia, tal como la Federalista #15, donde Alexander Hamilton expresó la opinión de que la constitución puso a cada uno personalmente bajo la autoridad federal. Y como la Decimocuarta Enmienda misma dice, en parte:
"Todas las personas nacidas o naturalizadas en los Estados Unidos, y sujetas a su jurisdicción, serán ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos, y sujetas a su jurisdicción, serán ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos y del estado en que residan. Ningún estado aprobará o hará cumplir la ley que restrinja los privilegios o inmunidades de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos; ni ningún estado privará a persona alguna de su vida, de sus libertades o de su propiedad sin el debido procedimiento de ley; ni negará a alguna persona dentro de su jurisdicción, la igual protección de las leyes.(2)"
La validez de la deuda publica de los Estados Unidos, autorizada por la ley, incluyendo deudas contraídas por el pago de pensiones y recompensas por servicios prestados para sofocar insurrecciones o rebeliones, no serán cuestionadas.(3)
Todos los prisioneros oprimidos en la nación tienen que estar enterados de estos hechos antes de que ellos mismos permitan ser reunidos en apoyo para un movimiento como el de ciudadanos soberanos. El movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos es un movimiento de la nación blanca opresora cuyo interés esta directamente en conflicto con ellos mismos. Ellos quieren preservar el imperialismo a costa de tu independencia y tu autonomía. Liberación nacional de los estados imperialistas esta en el interés de todos los torpes prisioneros, y la mejor manera de llevar a cabo este objetivo es el que todas la semi-colonias de los Estados Unidos apoyen las luchas de liberación nacional de los oprimidos.
Tenemos además que recordar camaradas, que el movimiento fascista en Italia y el movimiento Nazi en Alemania estaban atrayendo principalmente la mezquina burguesía como también a grupos y parte proletaria con retórica contra el estado, los banqueros y grandes negocios y a la vez con algunas absurdas ideas religiosas que son mezcladas y confundidas con mucho patriotería. En el evento de más crisis imperialista, si los imperialistas son presionadas a tomar un enfoque fascista para dirigir a la gente y a la economía, los ciudadanos soberanos y movimientos similares estarán listos para hacer masivos movimientos que suministra soldados de pie para tal proyecto. Las personas oprimidas del mundo tienen que combatir esto con internacionalismo proletario y materialismo dialéctico y salir libre de la ignorancia que nos permite ser absorbidos por las falsas pretensiones de tales grupos.
MIM(Prisons) agrega: Queremos dar a Loco1, apoyo por trabajar en esta critica del movimiento de ciudadanos soberanos (El o Ella) fue uno de un número de compañeros quienes nos han escrito acerca de esto. Y como un líder muy activo en USW le pedimos al principio por falta de información y conocimiento por donde empezar.
Aunque limitando el acceso a información ayuda a prevenir unidad ideológica a través de grupos encarcelados, este articulo va a mostrar gran importancia en el sistema. Loco1 fue capaz de encabezar esta critica recursos limitados al alcance de sus dedos, pero usando un enfoque analítico.
Algunos de los recursos de los ciudadanos soberanos y movimientos similares de anti-gobiernos derechistas están basados en un recurso de autoridad, donde ellos citan un montón de casos de ley en un esfuerzo para convencerte de que ellos saben de lo que están hablando. Pero esta dependencia en jurisprudencia misma es idealismo. Esto es similar a quienes buscan respuestas en antiguas religiones, como si hay un secreto allí que justo necesita ser encontrado y que resolverá todos nuestros problemas. Esto es tentador, es un tema que vende muchas películas y libros, pero esto no es realidad, las contradicciones que hacen esto y como las cosas están en movimiento, es así como podemos entender la realidad. Ninguno ha sido liberado por el papeleo de los ciudadanos soberanos, porque esto son solo palabras sobre el papel, y palabras en papel no pueden liberarte mágicamente de un sistema real que esta hecho de millones de personas.