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Under Lock & Key

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[Medical Care] [Ridgeland Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 49]
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One More Doctor Replaced

There is some good news. Remember the doctor Robert Sharp mentioned in the ULK 40 Hailey Care article? He was terminated from Ridgeland Medical and rumor has it that he's in Florida. A lot of effort was expended in trying to get him out, however much work needs to be done still. It seems the history of slavery, Willie Lynch, and other institutionalized oppression still have an effect on a certain class of people here in South Carolina.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We've been reporting on the deficient medical care in this South Carolina prison for nearly two years. By our count, they are on at least their fourth incompetent doctor in that time, and we have no reason to believe the medical care was any better before that time.

While it can be a useful battle to organize around, in the end removing "Doctor" Sharp, or any of the doctors in question, won't solve the problem of inadequate medical care at Ridgeland Correctional Institution. Reformists spend all their energy trying to get a better doctor, or a better medical director, or a better president, or whatever. But inadequate medical care for prisoners likely isn't Sharp's only offense to humynity. There are more forces at play than just Sharp's bad judgement or malice. And there are more Sharps than we can count, other doctors at other prisons all across our country providing similar or even worse treatment. There are likely more Sharp-type doctors working in U.$. prisons than not, and when they are removed from their job, they just go to a different facility and are replaced by a similar "doctor." As was explained in the Hailey Care article, the inadequate medical care is even sponsored by the Governor of South Carolina.

On the other hand, revolutionaries aim to change the entire social and economic system. We want to eliminate the conditions that breed people like Robert Sharp, Nikki Hailey, and all their predecessors. We want to provide actual medical care for everyone in society, including prisoners. We want to create a communist society not based on capitalism or national oppression. Today we work on small reforms and education, to set the stage for the day when we will need to take up arms against the state in order to end the various oppressions inherent to capitalism.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 47]
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Arkansas Study Group Responds to UFPP Discussion

I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and high spirits. I received the information on how to form a study group and a copy of Fundamental Political Line of MIM(Prisons) you sent. Thank you. It has been very helpful. I also received Under Lock & Key No. 45.

The study group I started only has three people involved so far. It's difficult because we are currently being housed in administrative segregation, so we basically have to yell back and forth to one another. But it's not all bad. Having to yell to one another might get others involved in our discussions because they might hear something that touches base with them.

The material we used in our first study group was ULK 45. After passing it around we discussed some of the articles. One of those articles was "UFAO Links Up with UFPP [United Front for Peace in Prisons]."

The comrade in the article did some good things, like setting up a "poor box" and doing tournaments, but we feel that he stopped making progress when he waged a war against officers and a lumpen organization (LO). The comrade said that by a member of one LO breaking into the boxes of two other LOs, somehow his treaty was broken. I'm curious, did the comrade investigate the incident to determine whether the theft was sanctioned by the leadership of the one LO? If the theft was just an isolated incident then it should not have had any effect on the treaty. That's assuming, of course, that the treaty in question was a peace agreement reached between the leadership of each LO in that particular barracks or at that particular unit.

We believe that if it was just an isolated incident then the comrade should have let the leadership of the LO the thief belonged to hand down punishment. However, since the comrade is the leader of the UFAO, he could have called together a "committee" to determine how the situation should be handled. We feel that if the comrade would have just prevented the thief from participating in, or benefiting from, UFAO function, he would still be in population pushing the cause forward.

We've learned from the comrade a lot of positive things we might try out in the future, like the poor box, but we also learned to never rush a decision, especially one that could possibly result in a "war." We believe that all decisions made should be in line with the progress of our cause, and any decision reached should be a collective effort to ensure the best path forward is taken.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In our response to the UFAO article that this Arkansas study group is responding to from ULK 45, we asked others to share tactics for how to handle a breach of a peace treaty without resorting to violence if possible. Everyone's conditions will be different, and what works in some facilities might not apply to others. This writer's suggestion of approaching the leading members of the treaty-breaker's organization is one potential option.

Even though the specific agreements you adopt will vary, it's a good idea for everyone forming a peace treaty to discuss this question in advance, before an actual breach of the treaty happens. That way you'll already be in agreement about how to handle a situation like the one explained by UFAO in ULK 45 where the peace treaty was thrown out the window, a "war" was initiated for retribution, and the leader of the peace treaty ended up in solitary confinement.

We hope to continue this discussion of how to make our efforts to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons as fruitful as possible. Send in tactics that have worked in your peace-building efforts to maintain course when it seems to be going off the tracks.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 49]
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The Awaken


Rising from the ashes like a phoenix
Emancipated from the fetters of oppression
O, the beauty of freedom!
Imperialism is the absolute adversary
And capitalism the daunting sin
I was branded a rebel
Because of my revolutionary stance
This was a nightmare
From which my only escape
Was to awaken

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Embrace


I ask that you embrace
the tides of the times
we are no longer confined
with binds on the mind
once we embrace
united front, scientific thought
and study for line
the long arm of imperialism
is no longer strong
when through theory and practice
we arrive at the decision
to take up arms
which is a must
if we are to defeat
imperialism's parasitic lust
with too much greed
we fail to heed
even the most basic of humyn needs
so turn the tides of the times
study correct line
and overthrow imperialism
hystory is on our side

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[Abuse] [Rhymes/Poetry]
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Overcome


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

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Serious Ideal


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

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[Texas]
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AMBI Statement of Unity

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mumia reflects on Ed's perspective on jailhouse lawyering,

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

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

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Resistance


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

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

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

Whose arms are
extended
beyond retreat

Imperialism
is dying…

Fed up?
Get on ya feet!

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