The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
[ULK Issue 47]
expand

El 9 de Septiembre, Un Día de Solidaridad

El 9 de Septiembre, el día del preso, ya no puede seguir silenciado. Este día haciendo su gran apariencia el 9 de Septiembre, esta haciendo su camino lento pero fijo entre las organizaciones presidarias y otros movimientos macizos de costa a costa.

Cualquier preso suscrito a Under Lock & Key (Bajo Llave y Candado) o las otras revistas gratis a los presos pueden atestiguar a todas las cosas que recuerdan del día que los presos se pararon unidos para después ser tumbados para poder pararse año tras año. Para muchos que saben de las insurrección de Attica, solo al escuchar el nombre de Attica se resusitan los cuentos dichos de las protestas del oriente donde pocos hermanos de una mezcla de organizaciones se pusieron en una posición de pelear por algo y no caer fácilmente. Una protesta en la cual muchos presos políticos toman inspiracion hoy en su sed para tomar de las aguas de la libertad. Lo de Attica se convertió legendario.

Muchos presos han sido forzados sepultados en las tumbas de la bestia, mejor conocidas como las unidades de control por estar cometidos a mantener viva la memoria del día que los presos lucharon por una causa común, haciendo la historia. Estos presos, forzados a las tumbas de la bestia que hablaron desde el sepulcro al sistema de injusticia hicieron la fuerza silenciosa que vibró en las prisiones americanas.

En lo que pasó el tiempo, también pasaron los movimientos macizos, sus jefes y las organizaciones en cargo de servir los intereses de los presos. Las lineas de los partidos involucrados con conmemorar el aniversario de Attica se cruzaron y se exponieron. El sueño de reformas y rehabilitación atrazaraon a muchos a una posición sumisa a los intereses del enemigo del preso, el estado.

Detalles de las insurrección del 9 de Septiembre y ciertos individuos involucrados empezaron a significar menos y menos. Los hechos históricos, jefatura y goles se convirtieron en chisme de "por culpa de tu carnal, mataron a mi padre. El estado entiende la importancia de detener la corriente con la táctica de división y desde allí se marco la linea entre el preso político y el preso que solo quiere terminar su sentencia para regresar a lo que ellos ven que es la libertad. Este segundo grupo no querían tener nada que ver con el primer grupo, porque estos viejos presos políticos se vieron como demasiado extremos en sus ideas y objetivos. En el otro lado de la moneda, el preso político no quería tener ningún trato con este preso sumiso que empezó a parecerse al sobrestante del sistema que da privilegios y premios por el buen comportamiento al que no moleste el sistema. Hasta hoy en d¡a estas li¡neas son la contradicción principal entre las masas prisioneras y los pocos líderes políticos.

Attica sirvió como ejemplo a los dos lados de la cerca. El poder está en la unión. Con el respaldo de la gente de Attica en el 1971, el tiempo suficiente para los presos ocupar la yarda y unos cuantos dormitorios. En el enfrentamiento con la policía estatal los presos exigieron ser tratados con decencia humana.

El resultado fin fue el asesinato de muchos que sabían que lo único que perderían eran sus cadenas. El efecto de Attica le corresponde a todo preso. El efecto de Attica vive con el preso hasta hoy. Que el preso refresque su memoria con todas la insurrecciones posibles con la paz como el objetivo.

Este no es el tiempo para que los presos peleen entre ellos mismos. Tampoco, en los estados unidos, deberíamos estar preparandonos para una guerra armada. Tenemos que aprender que los presos no deben de cazar a otros presos con practicas explotativas que resultan en conflictos que traspasan las viviendas de prisión y afectan más que las facciones locales. El preso tiene que considerar las condiciones de toda la clase presidiaria de la que todos somos parte, y allí decidir en que dirección nos vamos a mover unidos.

Attica dió nacimiento a muchas grandes demostraciones e insurrecciones en los estados unidos. Recientemente en Texas, California, Carolina del Norte y Georgia.

El Día de la Solidaridad está plantada en la realidad que el preso en ciertos tiempos tiene que poner aparte sus diferencias con otros presos para poder mancomunar sus energías y recursos para las causas que contribuyen a derribar el sistema como es conocido. Y después de eso si quieren regresar a sus vidas parasíticas pues que se las arreglen con sus gentes.

El Día de Paz y Solidaridad 9 de Septiembre es el día de conmemoración del preso; el festejo del convicto. Es el día que todos los presos podrán cruzar las líneas de división que han crecido durante los años. El preso en este tiempo podrá festejar en su anticipación del entretenimiento, educación, aplicación y apoyo de una masa prisionera con voz que hablará contra la injusticia del sistema de prisiones americanas.

USW invita a todos que están comprometidos a los cinco principios de la United Front for Peace in Prisons (Frente Unida para la Paz en las Prisiones - UFPP) que participen en las celebraciones del 9 de Septiembre. Sometan arte de alta calidad a nuestra asociación de artistas en la lucha, para ser imprimidas y circuladas en tu prisión regando el mensaje de paz el 9 de Septiembre. Nuestros compadres MIM(Prisiones) ofrecen libros políticos gratis con cuales tu grupo puede estudiar o dibujar sus interpretaciones de la lectura. O pueden escribir una declaración ilustrando su forma de celebrar el 9 de Septiembre.

Estamos en la época de hablar y elevar la voz por los presos. Si el preso puede fortalezerse con sus experiencias compartidas como la de las insurrecciones del pasado, sus voces podrán hablar a los intereses alineados con los oprimidos del mundo entero y se puede comenzar a derrumbar el sistema estado por estado.

Es allí cuando el poder será reinstalado a los más capaces de representar los intereses del conjunto entero sin miedo de realización o represión por sus partes como líderes. El día de paz y solidaridad del 9 de Septiembre preparará a todo los presos para el día que todos tendrán que decidirse si se van a parar por algo o caerse por cualquier cosa.

chain
[Organizing] [Education] [Florida] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

One Method of Organizing a Study Group

The study group that I started and lead is a very small one — only three of us. The most challenging aspect I have encountered thus far is attracting members. In Florida conditions are somewhat different from what I have read about in other states. First, our prisons are highly integrated, but as prisoners we are not, with like nations hanging out with each other. However, there is virtually no gang activity and any activity there is is highly localized and disorganized. Secondly, I am at a "re-entry" camp where 80% of the population has less than five years left to serve and the bourgeois brainwashing is in overdrive. And lastly, I am euro-Amerikan (which necessitates class suicide).

I found that by openly acknowledging that I am a Marxist/Communist, dialogue is opened with others. I have been branded "that godless Marxist bastard," an epithet I wear as a badge of honor. As a White revolutionary I must be especially fearless in this regard. The majority of prisoners that open dialog about Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) with me are so conditioned with misinformation and myth that they eventually give up rather than consider that what they have been told all their life is a distortion or outright wrong. Once they are able to consider what I say and/or the MIM literature I show them, then comes their metaphysical ideology.

In my experience gaining a study group member comes down to a three-step process. I make myself known as a MLMist. Then I must be able to overcome the hystorical myths and mysteries of communism — particularly as they concern Stalin and Chairman Mao. To this end the article "Myths About Maoism" published in Fundamental Political Line of MIM(Prisons) (pp. 20-28) is a good start. If they are willing to consider this different view of hystory then the third step is to move into an understanding of materialist dialectics (Marxism) to counter any metaphysical ideology.

MIM Distributors supplied me with the books Fanshen and Settlers. For my study group a new member reads Fanshen first. This is to give a sense of the meaning and power of political consciousness as opposed to simple "unity," and to further dispel hystorical myths about the role of the Communist Party in China under Mao. Next they read Settlers. This puts Amerikkkan hystory in a materialist dialectical perspective and demonstrates what is meant by a settler nation. It is an extremely powerful text for euro-Amerikans who have come this far in the study group.

Our group meets three times a week to discuss any questions on a topic that a member might have. We like to take current world events and discuss them from a MLM/Third World viewpoint. For us, the ULK Writers Group supplemental reading is very helpful. For example, the rise and gains of Maoism and the People's Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) in India has been a current focus.

If I had to name the major hurdle I face in educating a study group then it would be what MIM has called lumpen metaphysics — that conditioned ideology that continually rears its ugly head in debates, discussions, etc. In leading a study group one must be wary as that is a subtle path that leads to many wrong and irrational conclusions. As a project we are currently working on an essay for the ULK Writers Group on how to identify a lumpen metaphysical argument when it is posed so that its irrationality can be exposed via materialist dialectics. I only hope that all comrades will take an active role and critique it, helping to push its development further.

"Theory without practice ain't shit" and that practice starts with an action. My most fearless action, the action that started my practice of forming a study group, was to proclaim myself a communist and believer in Maoism as a better way of democracy. From that point forward I had joined the Struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Everyone should keep in mind that the tactics used by a comrade in one facility might not be what's appropriate for the conditions where you're at. While it seems useful for this author to be very public about their political views, for many other subscribers to ULK, that same act can easily get them validated as a member of a "security threat group" or otherwise harassed by prison administration.

We appreciate how this author laid out how they structure their initial recruiting, and how they are making use of materials we've sent to them. The "supplemental reading" they refer to is a packet of articles from the web on various news and theory topics, which is sent regularly to participants in our advanced correspondence study group, the ULK Writing Group. In order to join the ULK Writing Group, you must complete both levels of our introductory study group, have a high level of political unity with MIM(Prisons), and be a regular contributor to ULK. We encourage everyone who can't set up a study group wherever they're at to join our introductory study group — or do both!

chain
[Security] [United Front]
expand

Know Thy Enemy

With the growing calls and efforts to establish tangible peace and understanding amongst the litany of disparate "Lumpenos" that inhabit and coexist inside the many ghettos and over-bloated prison camps of the United $tates, and who suffer the same systematic cycles of inherent and inherited poverty, inequality, and oppression, the following is a poignant example of how no one wins but our common enemy when we allow what divides us to take precedent over what should unite us. As history has taught us, Uncle $am and his reactionary cronies will never miss an opportunity to capitalize, exploit and instigate misunderstandings and hostilities amidst the oppressed classes.

"The FBI capitalized on these recurrent tensions [between the Black Panther Party (BPP) in Chicago and the Blackstone Rangers] by sending Jeff Fort [the leader of the Blackstone Rangers] another anonymous letter. This time the bureau made the letter look as if it had come from a concerned citizen with official ties to neither group. [FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover approved the following letter on January 30, 1969:

'Brother Jeff,
'I've spent some time with some Panther friends on the west side lately and I know what's been going on. The brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there's supposed to be a hit out for you. I'm not a Panther or a Ranger, just black. From what I see them Panthers are out for themselves not black people. I think you ought to know what they're up to. I know what I would do if I was you. You might hear from me again.
'(sgd.) a black brother you don't know.'

The Chicago office explained that the purpose of the letter was 'to intensify the degree of animosity between the two groups' in the hopes that Fort retaliated against the BPP leadership."(1)

The degree of the system's stratagems against the oppressed class can be gauged and better understood by the following FBI memo written by the Sergeant in Charge of San Diego, bragging to FBI Director Hoover about the detrimental effects accomplished with the COINTELPRO scheme:


"Excerpt from an August 20, 1969 report summarizing the 'accomplishments' and plans for the BPP/US COINTELPRO in San Diego:
'Shootings, beatings, and high degree of unrest continues to prevail in the ghetto area of southeast San Diego. Although no specific counterintelligent action can be credited with contributing to this over-all situation, it is felt that a substantial amount of the unrest is directly attributable to this program.'"(2)

I hope that all of the above will help to enlighten the "Lumpenos" to the devious and dangerous nature of this beast, and to provoke conscious and productive thought and dialogue across racial, geographical, and ideological lines. What unites us is greater than what divides us, and the only winners of our ignorant misdirected hostilities is the beast. It devours us all.

Notes:
1. Curtis J. Austin, Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party, University of Arkansas Press, 2006, p. 205.
2. Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States, Boston: South End Press, 1990, p. 133.


MIM(Prisons) adds: These historical documents are a very good reminder of the importance of the United Front for Peace in Prisons principle of unity. We need the oppressed to come together to fight our common enemy. The imperialists have far more resources, and an extensive spy and disruption network in place. At this stage in our work, when we are significantly weaker than the imperialists, we must counter their disruption with good security, and by refusing to help them foment fighting amongst the lumpen. Don't judge people based on labels, rumors or second-hand information; judge based on actions. All who are on the side of the people will show this by putting in good work in the anti-imperialist struggle.

chain
[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Seize the Time on September 9

Revolutionary greetings to all kaptives inside the gulags of the united snakes of a-murder (U$A). Because of the constant oppression we face by the fact that imperialism won't let up as long as capitalism exists, we must continue to create effective ways of fighting capitalism, ultimately bringing an end to all forms of oppression and the system (capitalism/imperialism) in its entirety.

Prisons and prison guards (pigs) are mere extensions of the system and operate as a form of social control against the upward mobility of oppressed nations. However, kaptives here, in the past, have done quite a bit in the way of agitation and resistance to some of the injustices carried out by these pigs. I have personally been surprised at what even the slightest bit of unity amongst kaptives can/has gained in the form of concessions from the pigs. But i have also been dismayed at how quickly unity can dissolve back into parasitism and apathy, when not nurtured, and followed up by those kommitted and dedicated to educate and uplift.

Again, September 9 is soon upon us. Three years ago a lumpen organization (LO) that was a part of United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) initiated the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity. This is to coincide with 9 September 1971, when pigs and their overseers stormed Attica and slaughtered 32 kaptives (and 10 of their own pigs). Kaptives had besieged the prison after demands to improve living conditions had not been met, and the murder of comrade George Jackson at San Quentin on 21 August 1971. Comrade George was a formidable force in pushing the anti-imperialist movement amongst kaptives, all the way up until the moment he was slaughtered.

Organizers call on kaptives to take this day to promote the UFPP by building unity with fellow kaptives, and to demonstrate resistance to the criminal injustice system by fasting, refraining from work, engaging only in solidarity actions, and ending kaptive-on-kaptive violence/hostilities.

MIM(Prisons) said the number of reports were down in 2014 compared to the previous years, where they'd seen a growing interest and more involvement by kaptives on this day of protest. It is due both to the significance of the work put in by our comrades at Attica (and elsewhere), and the fact that imperialism is still krushing the upward mobility of the lumpen and oppressed nations, that we can not slack off on our duties organizing, agitating, campaigning, educating and building our own independent institutions to remedy our problems.

We are 44 years and many kaptive uprisings later, but the oppressive conditions remain the same. And, as back then, Maoist study groups are being formed; calls to unite kaptives are being heard; and of course oppressors are still oppressing. So let us both memorialize this day and use it as a catalyst to push leaders forward — as we "seize the time" because we have had E-NUF.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Write to request a September 9 study pack to help understand the history of this day of struggle and build for Peace and Solidarity in your prison.

chain
[Organizing] [United Front] [Tecumseh State Correctional Institution] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 46]
expand

Mother's Day Protest Against Permanent Lockdown

At the end of 2012, Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (Tecumseh SCI) made a drastic change. The administration decided to use a very poor excuse of violence to lock the entire yard down. I believe five fights happened in 24 hours, nobody got stabbed, cut or really messed up. They used this as a reason to lock the entire yard down. Everyone was only allowed to come out of their cells to eat meals, shower, and make one phone call per day. After months of this and many grievances, day room time became available, but any outside facilities like gym, ball courts, or ball field were slowly added on a rotating schedule. One hour you could go to the gym with your unit, then come right back; a couple days later maybe an hour at the ball fields then back. We no longer were confined only to our cells but could pretty much be in the day rooms all day except of course during count. Eventually it shifted to let us use the recreational facilities once per day, like ball field Monday morning, gym Tuesday afternoon, ball courts Wednesday morning, ball field Thursday afternoon and so on.

Recently they started a "wellness league" in which people who stay out of the hole for one year, and refrain from misconduct reports for 6 months to a year could be allowed to "walk the yard" for a few hours each day. This sounds good but there are administration loopholes. Like if their snitches got in a fight and went to the hole, as soon as the snitch got out of the hole they would be back out walking while the other person would be in the hole another half year and then have to wait another year just to be qualified to be on "wellness league." Of course any petty write-up would keep you off wellness league, and it was a cold day in hell if any homies could make it onto wellness league. And everyone else not on wellness league was stuck on dayroom and could access a "mini yard" attached to their building which was basically a fenced in half basketball court. That was life for a while.

Well Mother's Day this year the shit hit the fan. A last minute non-violent protest was set in motion. I say last minute because if a protest has any planning here the yard gets locked down cause snitches tell administration. So the protest started, simple walking around the yard refusing to lock down until our petitions and major complains were heard. However near the start of this a few prisoners got into it with a couple pigs. Of course we all complied when they said "get down." We cooperated when asked to show our IDs and when we were told we could get up we got up and continued marching to our protest.

Some protesters got locked in the gym so a plan to break them out to join the protest was set in motion. A short while later staff fired a live round with no warning into our group, going through one captive and hitting my good friend, and they both fell onto me. Our group was totally shocked. No chemical agents were used first, no "less than lethal," no pepperballs, and the guy who had the shot go through him was bleeding bad. We put a tourniquet on his wound to slow the bleeding, then as one huge group we carried him to medical, left him in front of medical and moved halfway across the yard so they would come out and get him.

Once he was safe the tension broke, the call went out, and the prison literally started to burn. Every single faction was on the same team, us versus the pigs. Staff got chased to the tower, everything that could be burned was burned, bulletproof glass burned, fences came undone, people got shot with less-than-lethal and lethal ammunition alike; only one more live round was fired that I know of. The entire prison banded together, offices burned, treatment files burned, office desks burned. If the glass couldn't be broken it was melted to allow access for other captives. We had total control of a whole housing unit, the gym, and half of another housing unit. We had the facility until the next morning when finally we surrendered.

Now, for the press, the administration is trying to say this was planned for months, because it was so exact in its execution, and that we burned down walls only to get "targeted individuals". Yeah right, they are saying we did all this so we could get two people? How ridiculous!

Our new director is from the Washington state prison system. He is the only one with a clear head. He says (in a memo sent to the whole prison) that he couldn't believe we didn't do this sooner with the lockdown and all, and never in his life has he seen such unity to get something like this done. The warden and even the governor now believe that the facility should permanently stay on lockdown, forever, allowing at most minimal day room time and mini yard time if you qualify for wellness league. Everyone else is to remain locked 2 per cell (was 3 per cell for a while until housing unit 2 became livable again) for 24 hours a day getting 20 minutes, twice a week for showers and telephone calls. I mean 20 minutes total, to shower and use the phone, once every 3 days. It's so fucked up out there.

Down here in the hole we live better than the people on the yard. We get at minimum 3 showers a week and at minimum mini yard 5 days a week. I assume I will be down here for a few years, hell a simple fist fight (my first in the prison) back in 2012 landed me 13 months in isolation. This one's gonna be years. And I'm not the only one. Some 240 people are getting charged. I don't even know how many of us are now stuck in the hole but we won't be going anywhere any time soon.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Prisons in the United $tates are populated with an inherent contradiction. As tools of social control targeting oppressed nation lumpen, the people locked up are easily shown the need for resistance and organizing against the criminal injustice system. The powder keg of oppression and abuse in many lockdown units is easily set off when people get together to turn their anger and pain into resistance. This contradiction between the imperialists' desire to control oppressed nations, and the actual conditions of confinement breeding resistance is just one example of how oppression creates conditions for social change.

Protests like this one in Nebraska are steps forward in unity and resistance. But as this comrade describes, no real change resulted, and the active folks are now in long-term isolation. As revolutionaries we need to figure out how to turn the righteous anger of the masses into organized protests that can help achieve meaningful change. Sometimes in prison we won't get anything more than a bit of publicity and a temporary outlet for anger, but we can do some things to increase the chances for success. This starts with building unity and educating people well before actions are initiated. We can run study groups behind bars, discussing the basics of political theory and then applying what is learned to conditions in the prison. And we need to build independent media to report on actions in prison from the perspective of the prisoners, so that we don't leave it to the pigs to interpret our actions to the public as "riots." This preliminary work will also help with follow-up after a protest. Even if something like what this writer describes is set off spontaneously, it will be important to have discipline and unity both during and after the action if we're going to effect any change within the system.

And for revolutionaries it is important that we help people see that we won't ever win this battle until we dismantle the criminal injustice system entirely. We need to draw the connection between the prison system and imperialism. While our current work focuses on prisons, we can't lose sight of the system that is behind the criminal injustice. Our education work needs to include these connections as we help raise the awareness of all potential future protesters and revolutionaries.

chain
[U.S. Imperialism] [Middle East] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Imperialist Hypocrites

Iraqi-American oncologist and kapitalist Rafil Dhafir is serving a 22-year sentence in Amerikkkan prisons.(1) Being a wealthy kkkapitalist did not prevent the united snakes from convicting Mr. Dhafir for his charitable contributions to the people of his native country in violation of economic sanctions during the U.$.-led attacks of 1991 and 2003. During that time Mr. Dhafir was an outspoken public opponent of the U.$. war against Iraq.

Mr. Dhafir continues to experience harassment inside the white man's dungeon. Last year, just before Ramadan, he was moved to isolation and had privileges revoked for several weeks for an "investigation" of allegations that were eventually proven to be maliciously made and utterly false.

But hypocrisy is a common trait of the imperialists. It is common knowledge that the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and other occupied territories are illegal. They are in violation of United Nations resolutions as well as treaties brokered by the united snakes.

Yet as far back as 1982 the united snakes knowingly sent tax dollars to I$rael. Billions of dollars in U.$. economic aid went to fund those Jewish settlements. From 1978 through 1982, Israel received 48% of all U.$. military aid and 35% of U.$. ekkkonomic aid.(2) The united snakes gives grants, low-interest loans, and weapons free and at reduced prices to I$rael. Additionally, citizens such as Alan Dershowitz, Arthur Goldberg, and hundreds of thousands of others regularly send charitable contributions to I$rael that are used to fund these settlements, knowing these settlements are a major cause of conflict in the Middle East. Amerikkka claims that peace in the region is "vital to our security interests." If this is true then why aren't the supporters of I$rael charged and convicted for economically supporting these illegal settlements?

Notes:
1. The Nuclear Resister No. 177, 5 June 2015, p.11.
2. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, Cambridge: South End Press, 1999, p. 10.

chain
[Organizing] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Attica Prisoner Remembers 1971 Uprising

August is approaching rather quickly and before I address the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity, I want to address the making of such a day of global recognition.

Black August is the representation of struggle. Black August is a clear representation of the resistance exhibited by the oppressed who fought not to return the deed of enslaving their unfortunate captors, holders or those who sought their demise; but, rather, to end the slave economy. Black August is the awakening of the poor of all nationalities to stand up and fight to end the oppression we encounter on all levels.

This fight doesn't entail the necessary requirement to pick up guns. Violence only begets violence. To bring peace, unity, growth, internationalism and global independence, we are to share our experiences to come up with a solution to prevent these unfortunate encounters from being transferred to our youth. The key is communication and patience. Black August is for all who seek programs of productive change to participate. We welcome all who are indeed sincere in change to engage in this growth.

Our commemoration of the 9 September 1971 Attica uprising should be a somber day of triumph and, more importantly, solidarity. The Attica uprising ignited not too long after the untimely demise of our beloved revolutionary comrade George Jackson, who was shot to death by tower guards in the San Quentin maximum security prison on 21 August 1971 — one year and two weeks after the death of his little brother Jonathan "Manchild" Jackson who was gunned down on 7 August 1970.

Much sorrow is attached to the Attica uprising, for the physical loss of so many brothers. The purpose of the Attica uprising was for better conditions of prisoners (i.e. education, cleaning areas, an end to racial discrimination, etc.). The courage these comrades displayed never will be forgotten. It is up to us to see that their memories are honored, and the first step to this effort is learning and then teaching those who wish to learn.

I currently reside in Attica and I teach as much as I possibly can regarding the law and history. It's the key to our liberation and only us (united soldiers) can be held responsible for the new surge of our youth entering the prison system at such young ages. We are their keys to betterment, provided we aim for better conditions ourselves.

During Black August fast till sundown. From September 9-13 fast as well from sun up to sundown in true solidarity of our comrades.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As we see in other articles about the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity, there are many ways to organize and recognize this day. Some will choose to fast, others will choose to engage in education towards greater unity, still others will spend the day in quiet contemplation and study. What you do will of course be determined somewhat by your conditions. But whatever your action, be sure to emphasize the building of peace and unity. In general, we don't agree with this writer that "violence only begets violence." We know that the oppressors won't put down their guns and stop killing those they oppress without physical force. But our current stage of struggle is a peaceful one. We echo this comrade's call to cease all violence on this day, and instead build between the groups that might otherwise stay apart. Talk about ways you can work together against the common enemy of the criminal injustice system. However you commemorate the Day of Peace and Solidarity, send in a report on what you did to Under Lock & Key on September 10 to be included in the next issue.

chain
[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Medical Care] [California]
expand

Basic Needs, Property Denied: Grievance Process Needed

I thought I'd share how it works up here in Ad-Seg. I trip on how I've been going at it since the end of September. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, from request forms, to 22 [inmate request] forms, to 602 [inmate appeal] and no good results. The appeals here are quick to catch a mistake and return it. First off, I am not a lawyer, second I'm a CCCMS mental health prisoner. But that does not mean anything here.

Anyhow, I wrote Sacramento, letting them know that I never wanted to do a 602 but it concerns my back brace and prescription glasses. And they're in my property at the property room. I had to pay for those 2 items in state and I needed them so I was OK with that. Now I'm just asking for what's mine and it's a need. I use a cane and have a vest. I bought some glasses from another prisoner who wanted hygiene, but I'm not supposed to do that.

Nobody listens here and the 602 process is meaningless. I don't know what else to do.


MIM(Prisons) responds: California was where the demand for grievances to be addressed began five years ago. It has since been taken up by comrades in a dozen other states. The focus is on petitioning state and federal officials responsible for the care of prisoners. In doing so, comrades are attempting to rally prisoners together as a group to defend their basic rights, like the ones the writer above describes; basic medical care and property rights.

But there are reasons why the arms of the injustice system are so unaccountable. Their central task is to control certain populations, and they must be given leeway to achieve that task. If their task was about justice, then obviously injustices like the ones above would not be tolerated. So we must rally together to ensure the rights of all are respected. Yet, ultimately, we must build a system that serves the interests of those who are oppressed and exploited by the current imperialist system that dominates our world. Petitions will not prevent these ongoing abuses.

chain
[Spanish] [Cuba] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 48]
expand

El Objetivo del Imperialismo Estadounidense Buscando Aliviar Tensiones con Cuba: Conveniencia Económica

Los E$tados Unido$ y Cuba recientemente acordaron restaurar sus lazos diplomáticas después de medio siglo de hostilidad, tomando pasos para finalizar uno de los últimos enfrentamientos en el mundo de la Guerra Fría. El anunciamiento del Presidente Obama, hecho en coordinación con el Presidente Raúl Castro, declaró que estos países alejados por largo tiempo volverán a comenzar cooperaciones en una serie de temas económicos y de viaje y el restablecimiento de la embajada Amerikana en La Habana, la cual fue cerrada después de la revolución Cubana en 1961.

Aunque la Revolución Cubana fue un golpe contra del imperialismo Amerikano, el cual mantuvo bajo llave a la economía Cubana, Cuba se volvió dependiente del estado capitalista de la Unión Soviética después de la revolución de 1959. Para entonces una nueva burguesía había subido en la Unión Soviética y se había alejado de su orientación socialista hacia el estado capitalista. En vez de construir socialismo en Cuba, Castro y su gobierno terminaron por construir una colonia satélite de la Unión Soviética.(1)

El rechazo Amerikano de asociarse con Cuba fue una reacción al exitoso alto de la denominación Amerikana de parte de la gente Cubana y una concesión a los tantos inmigrantes Cubanos ricos que se fugaron a los EE.UU. después de la revolución, en vez de una postura política seria. Los imperialistas Amerikanos no han dudado en asociarse con gobiernos y países que son fuertemente anti-Amerikanos cuando los beneficios económicos de la relación son imperiosos.

Los recientes cambios de póliza forjan lazos económicas significantes entre los dos países permitiéndole a instituciones financieras de EE.UU. abrir cuentas con contrapartes Cubanas, facilitando restricciones en la exportación de equipo agrícolas y telecomunicaciones a Cuba, permitiendo que los ciudadanos Amerikanos usen tarjetas de crédito y débito en la isla. El mayor alzamiento a corto plazo de los cambios vendrá por remesas, las cuales permitirá a los parientes de Cubanos mandar $2,000 al mes a sus tierra natal, que del limite presente de $500. Las remesas son la fuente más grande de ingreso económico de la isla. En efectivo y productos (aparatos y ropa), cuentan por 5100 millones de dólares al año en ingresos, casi el doble de lo del turismo que cuenta por unos 2600 millones de dólares.(2)

Los beneficios inmediatos para el país son obvios. El gobierno Cubano reportó que el crecimiento económico para el 2014 fue al rededor de 1.4%, y que aproximadamente 40,000-50,000 Cubanos emigraron en el año pasado. Por razones económicas, Cuba está hambrienta por efectivo, y su mayor socio de comercio, Venezuela, está enfrentando una crisis económica debido a la reciente caída de precios del aceite. Los analistas dicen que la posibilidad de perder la ayuda Venezolana tal vez jugó un papel en el alcance del acuerdo con los EE.UU.

Abundan Oportunidades de Negocios

La restauración de lazos comerciales beneficiará a la economía EE.UU., permitiéndole a compañías unirse a otros países que han operado por décadas en Cuba y hecho sus propias incursiones capitalistas, como Canadá y estados miembros de la Unión Europea. Agricultores Amerikanos, ya ayudados con el levantamiento parcial del embargo a productos de agrícolas, tendrán nuevas oportunidades de exportación. A pesar de las fuertes regulaciones y limitaciones estrictas, las exportaciones de productos agrícolas Amerikanos a Cuba crecieron de 4 millones de dólares en el 2001 a 547 millones de dolares en el 2010.

Grupos que van desde la Agencia de la Federación Agricola Amerikana (Amerikan Farm Bureau Federation) hasta la cámara de comercio de los EE.UU. apoyan fuertemente el levantamiento del embargo porque ven a Cuba como a un mercado de exportación significante. Las oportunidades abundan en otras partes, como en la telecomunicación, la reventa, el turismo, y recursos naturales. "Cuba necesita todo lo que hacemos en los Estados Unidos," dijo el director de relaciones del gobierno de Caterpillar, Inc. La compañía espera pronto instalar una concesionaria en Cuba. "Hemos estado pidiendo una póliza nueva hacia Cuba por 15 años." Compañías de hospitalidad Amerikanas también están deseosos de hacer negocios en Cuba cuando puedan. "El minuto que sea disponible, estaremos allá," se reportó que dijo el Jefe Ejecutivo Oficial de Choice Hotels Internacional, Inc.(3)

Todo esto es evidencia del sistema capitalista en Cuba. Las compañías Amerikanas quieren acceso a este mercado que corporaciones basadas en otros países han estado disfrutando por años.

De Yanqui a Imperialismo - Social Soviético: Negligencia de Alternativas Socialistas

Con la revolución de 1959, Cuba buscó desmantelar la hegemonía económica que los EE.UU. tenía sobre el país. La nacionalización parcial de ciertos sectores de la economía, seguida por confiscaciones completas de propiedades de propietarios extranjeros, fueron enfrentadas con fuerte oposición de EE.UU., pues muchos ciudadanos Amerikanos mantenían grandes inversiones allí. El tres de enero de 1961, el Presidente de EE.UU. Dwight D. Eisenhower rompió relaciones diplomáticas con Cuba después de que Castro culpó a la embajada Amerikana en La Habana de ser un centro de actividades contra-revolucionarias en el país. En febrero de 1962, el Presidente John F. Kennedy proclamó un embargo en la mayoría del comercio de los EE.UU. con Cuba. La economía Cubana en ese tiempo estaba en serio peligro. Las plantas industriales, confiscadas después de la revolución y ahora en un estado destartalado, necesitaban los materiales principales para seguir operando. Partes para los equipos de las fábricas y vehículos motorizados hechas en EE.UU. ya no estaban disponibles. Las cosechas eran pobres, y la racionalización de alimentos inició en marzo de 1962. En contra de este foro, Cuba firmó un acuerdo de comercio con la Unión Soviética por 700 millones de dólares, seguido por un crédito de 100 millones de dólares y un acuerdo de entregar una gran porción de azúcar dos años atrás. A mediados de julio de ese mismo año, miles de consultantes económicas y militares iban en su camino hacia a la isla.

Aunque fue un mejoramiento sobre el estado neo-colonial que tenía bajo EE.UU, la nueva alianza que Cuba forjó con la Unión Soviética fue apenas simbiótica en naturaleza. Esta relación con deudas-pendientes también afectó a Castro en su manejo para diversificar la economía Cubana atravéz de industrialización, cual al último comprobó ser sin éxito. Históricamente, la cosecha mas valiosa de Cuba ha sido la caña de azúcar. Bajo la tutela de EE.UU, más de la mitad de la tierra de cultivo era dedicada a esta cosecha para exportarla a los mercados de EE.UU. Poca cambió después de la revolución, y la azúcar contaba por casi dos tercios de todos los réditos de exportaciones. Esta gran dependencia en una sola cosecha continuó a obstruyendo la economía Cubana. Cuba necesitaba azúcar para cumplir su tratado de comercio con la Unión Soviética y sus aliados, y como resultado, su diversificación agricultura y su habilidad de alimentar a su gente sufrió. La economía de Cuba se mantuvo estancada, y se volvió muy dependiente en la ayuda Soviética. Eventualmente con la caída del bloque Soviético, Cuba fue herida económicamente severamente.

Además, la ayuda material dado a Cuba fue inferior en calidad, y no estaba equipada para las necesidades y condiciones climáticas del país Caribeño. La abrogación temprana de revolución violenta por todo Latinoamerica de Castro lo puse en desventaja y debilitó las relaciones de Cuba con la Unión Soviética. Los Soviéticos por su parte acortar la ayuda económica cada que el gobierno de Cuba cruzara la raya, como fue el caso cuando Cuba se opuso a la invasión y de Checoslovaquia por la Unión Soviética y sus países en 1968. Después de una ronda torciendo en brazo económica, Castro tomo una estancia más neutral.

A diferencia de una aparente cooperación económica de la Soviética-revisionista, la linea de China comunista en esa época en consideración a la ayuda material y financiera socialista estaba basado en cooperación mutua y aconsejó que debería hacerse a la medida de la necesidad de ambos países con la meta hacia una economía auto-suficiente. De ninguna manera debería de ser condicional y llevar altos intereses, lo cual perpetúa el cielo de endeudamiento en el país recipiente. La ayuda de material debería de ser de primera calidad y no anticuado tecnológicamente. También deberá servir sus condiciones materiales. Implementaciones agrícolas Soviéticos exportadas a Cuba, por ejemplo, causaron mucho daño en los campos de caña de azúcar.

¿Principios Socialistas?

En el último discurso sobre el tema de normalización de relaciones, el Presidente Raúl Castro dijo que Cuba "no dejará sus principios socialistas." A pesar de su aserción nosotros contendemos que él y Fidel ya lo habían hecho desde 1961. Ellos aceptaron la falacia de que uno no puede tener producción sin incentivo, instituyendo varias medidas agrarias y industriales del estilo Soviético, como la implementación de incentivos de trabajo y diferenciales de sueldos para alzar mejor las cuotas de producción. Viendo las implementaciones de Mao Zedong de los incentivos morales para recompensar los logros de producción por encima de lo normal de la fuerza laboral en China, pudieron haber sido una alternativa viable a esta. La lucha de clases también fue puesta al margen con su enfoque en rendimiento económico como medida del éxito del país en construir socialismo, la cual constituye un fracaso de deshacerse de la teoría de las fuerzas productivas - una póliza que ha llevado a muchas revoluciones socialistas a sus perdiciones revisionistas.

Esta es una razón crítica por el cual la Revolución Cultural en China representa el mayor avance hacia el comunismo en la historia: teorías y prácticas capitalistas no van a desaparecer así nada más bajo el socialismo y deben de ser combatidos activamente. De otra manera una nueva burguesía se levantará desde las fuerzas proletarias anteriores y intentarán tomar el poder en contra de los intereses de las masas. Esto pasó en la Unión Soviética, y su trato a Cuba demuestra claramente como los capitalistas del estado ignoraron las necesidades de la gente cubana.

Desde que Raúl Castro tomó el control de su hermano Fidel en el 2008, el gobierno Cubano se ha tomado una serie de reformas económicas tentativas para mover al país de un estado capitalista de cuadro a un sistema capitalista totalmente desarrollado.

Manteniendo Solidaridad con Cuba en Perspectiva

Habiendo soportado siglos de repetidas intrusiones imperialistas, Cuba se les ha ingeniado para alcanzar un grado de independencia y soberanía sobre sus asuntos. Apoyamos el derecho de auto-determinación de Cuba, y aplaudimos el notable éxito del gobierno Cubano de proveer servicios educativos y médicos a todos los segmentos de la sociedad Cubana. La estancia anti-imperialista de Cuba en una serie de asuntos se mantiene fuerte, y en una confrontación con imperialismo, Cuba se merece nuestro apoyo. Más sin embargo Cuba no es socialista, y la gente de Cuba sabe que su gobierno hasta este punto de su historia no es un gobierno revolucionario, sino un pragmático. Es nuestra esperanza que la gente de Cuba experimenten un florecimiento de conciencia revolucionaria y que se organicen por sus derechos en los años venideros conforme la intrusión capitalista pone a su país en la mira para futura explotación económica.

Notas: 1. Para más historia de Cuba ver el capítulo 5 de MIM Theory 4: A Spiral Trajectory: The Failure and Success of Communist Development. 2. "Cubans Differ Over Impact, Focus on Economy," Wall Street Journal, 19 Diciembre, 2014. 3. "U.S. Firms Examine New Ties," Wall Street Journal, 18 Diciembre, 2014.
chain
[Organizing]
expand

Righteous Anger is Not the Same as Hatred

It is glaringly clear in my mind the total incongruity of thought within the ULK 43 article "Pigs Kill in Oregon", including the non-sequetur involving disunity, which is pointed out, and the mindless disunity and consistent antagonism toward other prisoners this writer conveniently labels as "rats" about ten times.

The prisoner wrote about the disunity and lack of education and then goes on in a paragraph after that to display a disturbing level of that same disunity and lack of education by launching into a long rant on "f'ing snitchery." It seems that this individual is trying to blame all their problems in life on the perceived myriad "snitches" around him, even to the point of somehow blaming the fight his friend got into and then was supposedly shot for, on snitches, displaying a rather delusional hatred and irrational deduction.

My point is this: the writer is displaying, almost throughout the entire article, the same sort of hatred, disunity, impulsive and spite-filled rhetoric which are all the primary thinking pattern and behaviors behind gang mentalities and the worst disunity behind Amerika's prison walls. There is a clear disconnect in this person's reasoning. Now, don't get me wrong, in the case of people who genuinely and perniciously "snitch" on others, or those who spy on others as agents of the state or for personal gain, I have as little use or tolerance for them as the writer.

But the point is that I don't see anywhere in the article, aside from the lip service paid in one paragraph, any demonstration or advice for the actual practice of unity. The writer complains, for example, about guards targeting people who refuse to sit at chow hall tables "belonging" to other groups (gangs) - great unity! - but makes no mention on how this may be overcome through any unity of the prisoners themselves. It's all the "snitches'" fault there's no unity or education?

Also, what exactly are they getting snitched on for so much? A planned insurrection? At any rate, such "focoist" action will only make things worse. And instead of making scapegoats of others, perhaps this writer could devise ways of approaching the purportedly overwhelmingly hate-inducing snitch problem in his prison by considering some tactics besides hate-mongering and blame-shifting. Like, for instance, trying to figure out why that's going on to the seeming level the writer makes it out to be, maybe getting inside their heads, and trying to constructively draw the "snitches" away from their behaviors and such by addressing their fears or convincing them that the people they tell on are really on their side — instead of, as this writer does, target them for wrath and redundant invective.

I refuse to subscribe to this kind of hatefulness — against anyone or anything. It's self-destructive and un-constructive to any positive ends. Hate and invective like those displayed are almost invariably products of fear, and fear is an irrational emotional response to the unknown or a threat. This is not scientific, rational thinking and I reject it unequivocally. Other articles in this issue are commendable examples of effort in unity and reason, these are the types of writing I wish to see much more of in ULK, and are of the sort more likely to foster positive and constructive thinking patterns and effort among readers. Keep the childish, bile-filled hate speeches out.

Even the constant references to guards as "pigs," "swine," etc. is un-constructive and ignoble in my opinion. We can oppose oppression without reducing ourselves to the same level of intolerance, hate and bigotry as our oppressors. We can effectively deal with it in logical, reasoned, intelligent and mature terms. Maybe, just maybe, if every humyn being can begin seeing another not as an "it" — that "it" being a "snitch," "rat," "pig," "jerk," "punk," "criminal," "saint," etc — but as a "thou" who holds the same great potential as every other humyn being, be they white, Black, male/female, etc., then we can use all that energy spent in otherwise hating each other for endeavoring to try to bring us all to an understanding that we are not just individual units separated from a common whole in nature, and making all those former "its" realize that their oppositions to the "thous" is futile, destructive and hurtful also to themselves. And maybe some of those "rats" and "pigs" will quit their negative pursuits and join the rest of humynity in real solidarity. That's the kind of work I consider solid. Hatred only begets hatred. Let's try that line.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Overall this writer makes a good point that we should be doing all we can to organize people for greater unity, and in a situation like the one described in the Oregon prisoner's ULK article, where so many prisoners seem to be working with the guards, it's possible that some of them could be won over to the side of their own people.

But this writer is suggesting that we can have unity with all people. While that's certainly the ideal that we always strive for, we also need to be scientific about who are our enemies and who are our friends in our present moment. We cannot just pray for unity with all humyns because we are the same species, absent an analysis of our current conditions when there is systematic class, nation and gender oppression in the world. Appealing to the pigs' humynity is a waste of our time, just as it is to appeal to the bourgeoisie to voluntarily give up their money and power in the interests of all humankind.

In Under Lock & Key we generally don't print articles that are just complaining about the dire conditions or general oppression without offering a solution or talking about organizing work. When this is missing from an article we will add it to our response. And so in that sense we agree with this writer's general call for scientific articles that build unity.

We don't share this writer's condemnation of use of harsh language for our enemies. The Black Panther Party started using the term "pigs" to help disempower the cops and empower the people to fight back. As the Maoist Internationalist Movement explained in an essay on tone:

"The middle-classes otherwise known as the petty-bourgeoisie constantly ask MIM to 'tone it down.' The classes in-between the imperialists and the property-less known as proletarians are inclined to believe that there is a neutral educational tone appropriate for all communications.

In reality, a neutral tone is not appropriate when your friend is about to fall off a cliff. You better yell in excitement: 'Look out!' According to the petty-bourgeoisie and the imperialists, there is no reason within the status quo to be yelling or using a harsh tone. In contrast, we see an emergency situation in reality, a reality so bad it needs to be overthrown. Hence, we communists seek to match our tone to underlying substance. ...

The oppressed and exploited have a lot to be angry about. The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political organizations do not suit them and sometimes the result is pseudo-rebellion through street-crime. Often times the spirit of these pseudo-rebellious people is in the right place, but they don't see political leaders with the right tone."

chain