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
[Control Units] [Texas]
expand

Following Policies or Following Whims?

After reading ULK 43 I decided to write for the cause. Seeing the article "Denied Recreation in Ad-Seg" written by a Texas prisoner made me want to expound on the same issues and expose the injustice in Texas prisons as a whole. From general population to Ad-Seg we all take the unfair shake of the hand; from the food on most units, to the disciplinary system, to the grievance system setup, to segregation placement and release. It's all kangaroo! And the chance for changing this seems highly unlikely. The "new" Willie Lynch and Jim Crow still has the masses blind, programmed and divided.

On this unit there are only two grievance investigators yet neither knows any answers to questions about grievances. Some grievances I've filed that have substantial evidence against officers or the system take 90 days to "investigate" and/or come up lost. Others come back with such a general response, it doesn't address the issues grieved. I have over ten grievances with the same response!

There's no need to really comment on the disciplinary system. Anyone who's ever caught a case knows how that turns out 99% of the time. I've never understood how the substitute counsel is supposed to be here to help us prisoners in such a matter when they are employed by the same agency that employs the captain who will find you guilty.

All of the conditions for management and release can be found in the Administrative Segregation Plan in the law library, signed by Director Rick Thaler on 6 March 2012. A lot of us are in segregation for some b.s., and once here they keep us here against policy with lame reasons or some non-violent infraction which has nothing to do with segregation placement anyway. Here are a few helpful things listed in the Administrative Segretation Plan.


I. Definitions A. At no time shall administrative segregation be used as punishment for misconduct. Punishment of an offender shall be assessed and imposed only pursuant to the provisions of the rules governing disciplinary procedures.

VI. Recommendations for Release B. General Procedures
1. The ASC may make recommendations to the SCC [State Classification Committee] for removal of an administrative segretation offender from administrative segregation who is between routine SCC reviews.
2. When considering the release of an administrative segregation offender to the general population, the SCC shall base the decision on whether the offender would still be:
a. A current escape risk;
b. A physical threat to staff or other offenders;
c. A threat to the order and security of the prison as evidenced by repeated, serious disciplinary violations


Grab a look at that policy, then ask yourself and others, does it take keeping a human being in segregation 3, 4, 5, or 10 years for any reason, provided their behavior is not continuously violent? I myself have been in segregation for almost 600 days now, for "possession of a weapon," that was not actually on me but in a cell where me and another prisoner were housed. Anyway, I'm labeled as a threat. I haven't done anything to anybody, haven't caught any violent cases either. When will I not be considered a threat? I'm not even labeled as part of a "security threat group," or escape risk!

To all of us in the struggle I just want to say keep your head high and strong. Learn the rules and know the game.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This author's experience shows that prisoncrats don't have to follow their own rules for responding to grievances, just like they don't need any substantive justification for torturing individuals for years. There are many who spend their time and energy trying to improve the protections for prisoners by enhancing prison rules. We can use this tactic to our advantage to make space for our organizing, but ultimately we wonder what's the big picture? The anecdote above is just one small example of the role of social control of Amerikkkan prisons which has been blatant for decades. And prison reformers have been trying to for decades improve these same prisons' conditions, while doing nothing to dismantle the economic system which requires oppression of groups over other groups. Prisons are a manifestation of that hierarchy, and capitalism is the economic system that we must destroy.

chain
[Migrants] [Texas] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Ensuring Prisons are Populated

When the U.S. border patrol concocted a plan in 2005 with the help of George W. Bush called "Operation Streamline" the idea was to get tough on immigration by arresting and prosecuting those who crossed the border, instead of simply deporting them or placing them in a civil detention center. According to a report by the Bureau of Justice (BOJ) more than 80% of immigrant defendants received a prison sentence.(1) This punishment was for crossing an imaginary line into territory that was, before the battle of Alamo, their country's land. If one looks at it from the side of someone who crosses illegally, held up to 15 months in jail, one must ask what the hell is going on with this new prison system. According to the BOJ statistics the more than 60,000 people convicted of immigration crimes in 2014-15 were primarily found guilty of one of two things: "illegal entry" or "illegal re-entry."

In Texas, where many arrests are taking place, it is costing the state $270/day to house immigrants, not including food. That's $98,550 a year! Former Attorney General Eric Holder announced reforms to the nation's drug sentencing laws in an attempt to reduce the number of federal prisoners held on non-violent offenses, but these actions are not tackling the bigger picture. The expanding pool of new prisoners has meant steady business for the two largest U.S. private prison corporations. Last year, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) received 30% of its revenue from federal contracts with the U.S. Marshall Service and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), a total of $546 million. The GEO group received more than 25% of its revenue for a total of $384 million and four of the CCA's board's senior executives are former BOP employees. In Pearsall, Texas, there is a jail that can house up to 1,800 men at any one time, sleeping up to 100 on iron bunks in dormitories. This isn't a traditional jail, but a piece of land surrounded by fences topped by razor wire and run by the GEO group.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis of new senate immigration legislation estimated that

"the additional prosecutions under the bill would lead to an increase in incarceration costs totaling about $1.6 billion over the 2014-2023 period ... Those costs would stem from the increased number of individuals prosecuted, the change in sentencing guidelines, and the rate of conviction. ... Implementing the legislation would increase the prison population by about 14,000 inmates annually by 2018. The total additional costs to detain, prosecute, and incarcerate offenders would total $3.1 billion over the 2014-2023 period..."(2)

In Arizona, three privately run jails have contracts that require 100% occupancy. The main incentive for private prisons is to make money and they lobby politicians to keep it that way. The United $tates is a country where private corporations profit from "lockup quotas." So in the eyes of capitalism "Operation Streamline" is full steam ahead.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Private prisons are indeed cashing in on national oppression in the United $tates. And the use of prisons to target migrants is a key component to the imperialists' efforts to keep the borders closed and hoard wealth for Amerikan citizens. Defining the act of crossing an imaginary line in pursuit of a safer environment or a higher wage as illegal and requiring imprisonment is just one more way that the Amerikan criminal injustice system ensures a system of social control over oppressed people within U.$. borders. And the private prisons have found a way to turn a system that is inherently built on taking a financial loss (the government has to subsidize prisons as they do not make enough money from prisoner labor to run themselves) into a profitable enterprise for imperialist parasites. Sadly, there is no problem filling these prison quotas, as the criminal injustice system shows no sign of cutting back on what has become the largest imprisonment country per capita in the world. We have written before about the private prisons economic push to lock up more migrants.(1) And in response to these conditions, more recently we have seen some migrant prisoner protests.(2) In the end we won't be able to defeat this system of national oppression against migrants and all oppressed nations without dismantling imperialism itself. Imperialism depends on closed borders to ensure luxury for a few at the expense of the rest of the world.

Notes:
1. MIM(Prisons), "National Oppression as Migrant Detention," Under Lock & Key No. 11, November 2009.
2. MIM(Prisons), "Prisoners Take Over Adams Correctional Center in Protest of Conditions," Under Lock & Key No. 27, June 2012.

chain
[First Nations] [National Oppression] [United Front] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Amerikan Land Must Be Redistributed to First Nations

I would like to give props to Loco1 of USW for the article in ULK 38, "Lasting Impressions." It eloquently expressed the realistic truth of non-whites rising into Amerikkkan political poverty and oppression, but ultimately becoming part of the Amerikkkan imperialist machine, and therefore part of the problem. They undeniably dance to the same tune as the kapitalist oppressors, which is the only way they can get elected into office in the first place. The oppression they become co-conspirators of far outweighs any good they may be trying to contribute to cultural progress, the revolutionary movement, or even reformism. President Obama's black face on the white-Amerikkkan agenda does very little to counter the injustices he inflicts upon the less fortunate. His priority is to please white-Amerikkka and contribute to kapitalism. Everything else is secondary.

Revolutionary minds can learn from Loco1's political view. However, it draws concern when Loco1 talks of redistributing the lands fairly: "you get what you need. Nothing more, nothing less." Subsequently following a successful revolution this act alone would shift the possession of land for one colonizer to another at the expense and exploitation of the indigenous peoples. Very little of what I've read from the MIM organization has ever gotten to the heart of land claims, which should first and foremost be redistributed back to the First Nation original owners. Many indigenous will be part of the revolution. Non-natives seem to think they are entitled to this land as spoils of war, with complete disregard to the First Nations' claims. Communism is supposed to eliminate oppression. This act would contribute to it, but with power shifting to the hands of a different ethnic and political class.

A complete overthrow of Amerikkkan power should give the land back to those it's belonged to since the beginning of time. This soil is the Redman's tribal ancestral roots and the creator's gift to our people. This includes Mexicanos. Whatever land, if any, is eventually "redistributed fairly" should be at the sole discretion of its tribal owners. Period. (And it's important that non-natives understand this.) Land would be distributed considerately and compassionately as they feel necessary and see fit. Unless, of course, the communist victors then choose to redirect their war towards the First Nation peoples with the intent of keeping them on reservations and stealing the land by force. That would make them no different than this current Amerikkkan imperialist swine.

In the article Loco1 spoke with the voice of New Afrikans but I think he should rethink his ideas for land grab from the indigenous point of view, who have suffered the biggest atrocities and injustices in history.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a letter that we forwarded to Loco1 for comment. Having not received a response we will address this question now. It seems we have great unity with the writer above, and we appreciate this point and inquiry. While Loco1's original point was more about combatting Amerikkkan exceptionalism, which justifies Amerikans having more than everyone else, the lack of mention of First Nations land claims is certainly a valid critique. It is an ultra-left error in that it is looking towards the ideal future of communism (from each according to their ability, to each according to their need), before addressing the more immediate task of national liberation.

This is an issue that comrades address in our new book, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. Though [email protected] themselves are indigenous to this land, claiming all of the southwest United $tates could be seen as a threat to First Nations, including the largest reservation in the United $tates of the Navajo nation. MIM has long been friendly to the Blackbelt Thesis as well, and has printed maps showing both of these territories. We agree with revolutionary [email protected] and New Afrikan movements that land is central to the question of national liberation. As nations within what is today the United $tates, a failure to claim and liberate their own territory is a failure to liberate these oppressed nations. The same is true for all First Nations.

The drawing of new boundaries today is more of an agitational exercise than an actual political reality, except for most First Nations. So we expect First Nations to continue to be at the forefront of determining future border issues. Their weakness, of course, is in their numbers. So it is an important warning that the comrade above issues to ensure that a national program of one oppressed nation does not impose itself onto that of another. Not only is this necessary for building a just world, it will be necessary for a successful anti-imperialist project. Any efforts by an internal semi-colony to liberate itself without regard for and cooperation with the efforts of the others will lead to no true liberation and will end in it being a puppet to the imperialists rather than being free of them.

There must be a united front of the internal semi-colonies against U.$. imperialism. And once imperialism is overthrown, in imperialist nations there will need to be a joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations to take power and determine how society can best be run in the interests of the formerly oppressed of the world. Exactly how they address the land question between themselves, as well as with the existing oppressor nation on this land, will be determined in the evolution of that struggle, which will certainly bring about many more changes in the process.


Related Articles:
chain
[National Oppression] [Security]
expand

Southern Poverty Law Center Misses Point on National Oppression

Southern Poverty Law Center logo
I have been engaged in halting some rather disturbing developments with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC would like to consider themselves the penultimate authority on "hate groups." Their reputation has come into question numerous times — most recently by branding African and communist/Maoist philosophical revolutionary organizations "hate groups."

In 2014, former professor of sociology at Portland State University, Randall Evan Blazak, and current professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Pete Simi, went to the SPLC headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama. They travelled there to meet with SPLC pundit and media hound Mark Potok, at a meeting that included a few other academics and freelance investigative reporter Bill Morlin.

The SPLC wants to use universities and academics to "study, research and report" on activities of "hate groups" under the direction of the SPLC without using or even mentioning that the SPLC is involved. Mark Potok openly stated that when groups or individuals find out the SPLC is involved, they "quit talking" and "coverup". The SPLC is doing whatever it can to obtain information on the people's revolutionary organizations. Evidently they now look at these organizations as one of the main sources of racial terror.

Beware of any academic "studies" or research organizations attempting to contact anyone under academic auspices. They amount to nothing more than spies for the SPLC. Our business is our business — and none of theirs. Back in 2000, I forced then Professor Randall Blazak out of the organization we co-founded named the Oregon Spotlight for turning local anti-racists in to the FBI and SPLC.

All of us, no matter our creed or methods must come together and secure our information. Please alert everyone you are able. The SPLC works closely with all pigs and acts as a clearinghouse of information. As a private organization they are not subject to "Red Scare" laws and can act under the cover of U.$. law.

I am fighting this from prison. I hope others join in. We do not need a "fifth column" amongst our ranks.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We can't speak to the specifics of Blazak or other professors' specific work but in general what this comrade reports is true. First, the FBI lists them right on their website stating, "The FBI has forged partnerships nationally and locally with many civil rights organizations to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems. These groups include such organizations as the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Disability Rights Network."(1) Second, the Southern Poverty Law Center has incorporated into its "hate group" work the fight against what they call "Black separatists" and included among the groups they target are the Nation of Islam, the Black Riders Liberation Party and the New Black Panther Party.(2) This approach to identifying racism by pretending to be color blind makes clear the failings of the concept of race. It is national oppression that underlies the system of one nation dominating another that is inherent to imperialism. Racism is the ideology that arises from national oppression to identify certain groups of people as inferior based on supposed biological differences. When an oppressed nation fights back against this system they do not have the power to oppress other nations, and so calling them out for "racism" or "reverse racism" is missing the importance of power in oppression. By taking on the task of identifying racism among the oppressed the SPLC are focusing their battle on the people instead of focusing on the oppressor. This objectively hinders the struggle of the oppressed and aids the imperialists.

Within the people's movement we should always be vigilant in pointing out incorrect political line and practicing criticism and self-criticism, but we should not make broad declarations equating the oppressed people's organizations fight against national oppression with the racism of the oppressor nation fascist groups.

Finally, we want to echo this comrade's words of caution for interacting with academics, and include any media or any unknown people for that matter. We should engage with others on our terms and not open our doors to open-ended research, interviews and investigations.

chain
[Organizing] [Hunger Strike] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Peace and Solidarity Challenge September 9

I want to comment on the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity. This idea is the greatest, but fasting for the day is pointless. We have to focus on the name of the day: peace and solidarity. The best way to do this is to print a challenge to all who want a change in this hellish world. The challenge is for the change-seeker to go to an "enemy" and commit an act of kindness. No act is too big or too small. If you see someone in the struggle in need of some support, be that support. The number one reason for mistreatment in prison is lack of solidarity amongst prisoners. When pigs know they'll only have to deal with one race or a certain number of prisoners they feel comfortable committing the acts of mistreatment.

If prisoners moved as a unit against mistreatment and injustice these pigs wouldn't behave how they behave. I'm not saying, hey everybody, let's hold hands and sing Kumbayah, but we need to start supporting each other in order to have a livable life. The line has to be drawn so the pigs understand this is how things are going to be and we will no longer be divided on certain issues. When we fast, to me it shows strength and dedication, but to the pigs they couldn't care less. We have brothas dying while fasting to support their cause and the pigs couldn't be happier. Fasting has become ineffective.

On September 9 and beyond we have the opportunity to create our own peace. There was a movement called "pay it forward." In that movement you just did a good deed for someone with no expectation of a reward. You let the person know "I want nothing, just do for someone else what I've done for you." So we take from that and mold the peace and solidarity movement similar to it. On our end we'll call it the "peace and solidarity challenge." This can be big as, if not bigger than, the worldwide "ice bucket challenge." The Klansman pigs don't expect enemies to get along. Through our cause not only will we get along but we'll support each other when needed. All the world thinks about prisons and gangs is that we kill each other and inflict harm on one another. We can show our little brothers, sons, nephews, daughters, nieces, sisters, and cousins that the enemy is not each other. We're all going through the same struggle. "Peace and solidarity" is the only way out.

September 9 — Join the Movement!

chain
[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

Finding Unity in Texas through ULK

I found a copy of Under lock & Key 39 and saw that right here in Texas concentration camps there are likeminded brothers struggling in other facilities in the same predicaments. Resist! Resist! Don't get discouraged! I am among you and our numbers are slowly growing.

This very morning I got the various gangs to quit talking bullshit by speaking to my likeminded neighbor about what I've read and studied from ULK 39. These white gang members normally talk over me and try to drown me out, but my voice is loud and I want to be heard by all; Black, Brown, Red, and white. Everyone finally got quiet and me and my neighbor talked. For about 45 minutes we talked about organized prison protests in California, of the 30,000 prisoners hunger strike, and the fact that in Texas you can't get more than two to agree to do it and they give up after commissary.

Then a Mexican brother got into our conversation and told me about MIM and MIM(Prisons). I told him I had found ULK 39 in my cell. He said it was his and they move him around every two weeks because he's a "threat to security." He then shot me ULKs 38 and 37, several Prison Action News publications, and the Texas petition to have our grievances addressed! I've been doing something similar for several years. It's really helped a few people out. There is a right way and a wrong way to write step one and step two grievances. It's the most asinine case I've ever run across, but if you use their own game rules against them most times you prevail. There are small victories. They just circumvent new policies with bogus practice.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The Texas activist pack is available to anyone in Texas who wants guidance on fighting to get grievances heard, and it also includes information on how to fight the medical copay as well as the restriction on indigent mail supplies. Just write to us for a copy. It's a big packet of information so if you can send a donation to cover the cost of printing and mailing, that would help us send more lit to other prisoners in need!

chain
[Education] [Control Units] [Oregon]
expand

Forming Prisoner-led Study Groups in IMU

I was discussing the difficulty of forming a study group in Intensive Management Unit (IMU), which is Oregon's Security Housing Unit (SHU), with a comrade (we are both in IMU) and we have figured that we two can at least do a study group with the two of us. We are hoping that you guys will be able to help with the literature. We are wanting to study "The Communist Manifesto" by Marx. If that is not a possibility we are hoping for "On Contradiction" by Mao. I don't believe my comrade is on the Under Lock & Key (ULK) list, but if you could put him on the mailing list and send us both copies of Marx or Mao or both or whatever is available. His info is enclosed.

We are, of course, willing to do political work for trade. Besides the essay enclosed, I am also working on an essay about "The Chicago Anarchist Trial" of 1886, in which the in-justice system fixed a trial and put four revolutionaries to death. My comrade is also working on a separate essay about revolutionary nationalism. We will send them in when they are completed.

On the invoice it was asked to answer those four questions, so here we go.

1. The most valuable thing I learned was about the "labor aristocracy." I had some prior knowledge, but the concept was expanded greatly in my mind.

2. I can't say that I disagree with the idea of a "white working class" as "labor aristocracy." But I am just trying to assimilate this fact with my previous revolutionary theories.

3. I would like to learn more about dialectical materialism and social sciences in general.

4. What most relates to the day-to-day struggle is to stop seeing the U.$. working class as potential revolutionaries. They are part beneficiaries from imperial exploitation.

As I said before, I am in IMU or SHU and so face different challenges when it comes to group study. I am really hoping ULK 45 will address the special circumstances that are part of the SHU study groups, and how to deal with and get around those challenges. But, if you can help us with the literature we will report back on how our SHU study group works out!

chain
[United Front] [Organizing] [Macon State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 45]
expand

UFAO Links Up with UFPP

Mouse Trap
I'm writing concerning the ad in Under Lock & Key I read for the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). It was baffling, as it had every concept, principle and law that is in my Family's code. I am the Father of the United Family Against all Oppression (UFAO) and we would like to support the UFPP.

About 150 of us are currently at Macon State Prison and 20 of the Family are in other camps. I'm currently in the hole for going to war with the officers and the Bloods for breaking a peace treaty. I extend my hand in assistance to stop imperialism and oppression through paperwork or blood.

When the officers see Bloods, Crips, GDs, Muslims, Vice Lords, Piru, coming together, they don't know what to do. One day we were in the rooms meeting and no one was hardly on the floor. They came in telling us to lock down for no reason, just because they had the authority.

I had to use the scientific method in coming up with a peace treaty. I went around surveying the people of different parties about what makes them fight and kill each other. It's not the color no more, it's about different creeds stealing and tricking each other. So I came up with the antithesis to it, which was to give out prizes at chess and basketball tournaments. It had other things such as a poor box in each dorm where the UFAO is at, which is for everybody.

Nothing happened in the dorm I was in until the Bloods stole out of the box of the GDs and Muslims and they broke the treaty. So, me being the General didn't approve of it, so a war broke out. Because once you say you're revolutionary, your word and peace treaties mean a lot in my eyes.

I am also asking for guidance and support because people are getting free, going home, and I don't want the impression of a gang or drug lord. I'd rather finish what Assata Shakur, Martin L. King, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass and other great leaders left off on. I'm open for all political and friendly advice. My goal is to support all oppressed people no matter their affiliation, and under a treaty with people with affiliations in gangs.

We as a whole must unite and become one family to end the criminal label that the United $tates put on us, to disguise what their gang is doing. Because they have abandoned and malignant hearts when it comes to power and wealth. And I'm going to stop the real terrorists at all cost.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade for pushing for peace on their unit, and for pointing out that the imperialists are the real enemy. It makes sense that in organizing the lumpen for peace, we will still see lumpen tendencies arise, like the one our comrade described above about stealing the poor box. Even though we're bringing people together for revolutionary reasons, we are still heavily influenced by our capitalist culture and indoctrination. We need to make it a priority to bring thorough revolutionary education to all the comrades we're working with, in order to combat this lumpen mentality of getting up on the backs of others, and undermining our struggles for peace.

Prisons are a volatile environment. And we're building for peace in prisons. It's somewhat ironic to enforce a peace treaty using physical violence. We should take this incident as a lesson that while we're discussing how to begin a peace treaty, we also need to discuss how we can hold others accountable to the peace treaty if they break it. Is a prison war the only possible method of accountability?

If anyone needs literature to help educate others about the role of the United Front for Peace in Prisons in our overall fight against our common oppressor, then write in for back issues of Under Lock & Key. If you've been able to develop a sound peace treaty and have experimented successfully with how to hold others accountable when they fall out of line of the treaty, then please send a report to ULK so we can grow stronger as a movement.

chain
[Religious Repression] [Idealism/Religion] [Texas] [ULK Issue 48]
expand

Take off the Religious Blindfolds

"Religion is what keeps the poor from killing the rich." - Napoleon Bonaparte

It seems Napoleon had a firm understanding of the opiate of the masses. Imperialism has been using religion as a tool of oppression for hundreds of years. It isn't any less apparent today inside the U.S. prison systems. In some cases, units offer 2-3 times as many religious classes as educational courses.

Most religions, especially Judeo-Christian ones, champion punishment, often unjustly, under the reasoning of "because I say so." There's no objective investigating, and nothing is circumstantial. This propaganda is flooded into the prison system to create the mindset that prisoners are bad people and do not belong in society. This also helps the people in the free world who do not see us as deserving of human rights. So they allow the imperialistic oppression to continue. Criminals shouldn't be punished, they should be rehabilitated.

They claim Jesus once said to "turn the other cheek." Pacifists rarely enact change. Religions for the most part promise a better afterlife which gets people to overlook and ignore what's going on here and now. They preach that if you sit on your hands and keep your mouth shut, it will be better after you are gone. I'm sure the imperialist pigs have no qualms about expediting your departure. Amerika loves this "shut up and take it" mentality; it's what the country was founded on. Every day, I see prisoners take verbal and physical abuse from the institution and do nothing because they are "trying to be good Christians."

The lumpen need to take off the blindfolds placed on their eyes by the church, synagogue, or mosque and realize materialism is the vehicle to a better life of freedom. Meaning true freedom from oppression in this current life they're living, not down the road after they're dead.

chain
[Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Latin America]
expand

Narcoland Book Review

Narcoland book cover

Book Review: Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers
By Anabel Hernandez
2014

Anabel Hernandez exposes the biggest drug organization: The U.$. and Mexican government. Business men, and all branches of the government. Although she doesn't dig deeper into the Amerikan agencies like FBI, DEA, DHS, ICE, etc., she does point out to the involvement of the CIA in the drugs-arms trade in Central America during the civil wars focused on destroying the communist movements.

Unlike other "conspiracy theory" books, Hernandez backs up the facts in her book with evidence and information newly open and available to most. Recent scandals of money laundering by banks like HSBC, HSMX, Bank of Amerika, etc only reinforce the evidence Hernandez presents in her book. The main criminals are those who benefit from this politico-social-economic capitalist system.

As someone that grew up in the poorest section of Mexican society I can say that this book is the most revealing one I've ever read regarding the sad situation in Mexico, especially when speaking of the so-called "War on Drugs." Besides highly recommending this book to everyone and especially my co-nationals; I want to make sure that everyone is aware of the stupid idolization some people fall to. These "drug-lords" are part of the system too. They are working together. As Roberto Saviano puts it in the book foreword,

"Narco-land is not only an essential book for anyone willing to look squarely at organized crime today. Narcoland also shows how...capitalism is in no position to renounce the mafia. Because it is not the mafia that has transformed itself into a modern capitalist enterprise - it is capitalism that has transformed itself into mafia. The rules of drug trafficking that Hernandez describes are also the rules of capitalism."

People in the poor countries, like Mexico, get pulled to crime out of necessity, no arguing about that. But once some of these people get ultra-rich, or just rich, they become part of the problem. These people have billions of dollars not just millions, and rather than use this to educate and arm the people, they use it to buy private planes, yachts, mansions and party and celebrate with the elites at the businesses and governments.

In one way these drug lords are depicted as "bad" by the capitalist government, and society. In another they are admired and discretely shown as a roll model via brainwashing to the youth and uneducated, in the movies (Scarface), TV series (Breaking Bad), and so-called documentaries (Gangland), among many other sources.

Hernandez says "It has to stop [the Mexican drug-political system], and the only ones who can stop it are ordinary citizens... It will only end when Mexican society unites agains this immense 'mafia.' That means overcoming fear and apathy, and above all the tacit assumption that things can not be any different." It's up to us to be more political conscious and do what we must. Whether "Drug-Lords" or "capitalists," they are the same ideology. Meanwhile kids are hungry and lack clothes and education, the most basic needs.

Book also available in Spanish, as "Los Señores del Narco," de Anabel Hernandez.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This book review makes an important point about class analysis and identifying our friends and enemies. While the First World lumpen, individuals who may get pulled into small time drug dealing, are a class that as a whole we can hope to win to the side of revolution, the drug lords have moved out of this class, if they were ever a part of it. They function as a comprador bourgeoisie, profiting off the suffering of their people and working hand in hand with the imperialists. Just because the drug trade is supposedly illegal does not change this reality. And as this review points out, the governments that have outlawed drugs are among the biggest players in drug dealing. What is legal and what is criminal under capitalism is about politics, not about justice or humyn rights.

chain