The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [United Front] [Texas]
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Call for Unity in Texas

Texas prisons are notoriously rough and primitive. Some inmates work in TCI (Texas Correctional Industries) sweatshops making products like t-shirts, shorts and detergent. We work for free and then the state sells us these products at a high cost through the prison commissary. Nonviolent prisoners earn good time and work time which is often not honored. We're caged in hot boxes with no air conditioning, and prisoners die each summer as a result. In addition to the new limits on correspondence, last September marriage by proxy was eliminated. Inmates can no longer marry their loved ones on the outside, meaning they can't get contact visits with them, or their own children. The list goes on and on.

The term divide and conquer still holds true today. TDCJ is glad the majority of us are fighting amongst ourselves, and are more consumed with television, radio and gossiping, than unity and change. Texas prisoners, do you like working for free? Do you like being a model inmate who's changed, but gets their parole denied year after year? Do you enjoy living in a negative repressive environment? If you don't, then let's drop the racial and gang nonsense. Let's quit worshipping the TV, our radios and commissary. Let's bring Texas prisons out of the dark ages and into the twenty-first century. Make sacrifices for the great good of all prisoners and our families. Oppressors only have control over their captors as long as the oppressed allow them to.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 38]
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Georgia SMU Prisoners Fight to Maintain Peace

Comrades here at Special Management Unit (SMU - long-term isolation) are doing what they can to protest and fight against the illegal housing that they are being subjected to. Prisoners here are going on hunger strikes and are suffering due to the lack of outside support. Further, the DOC has taken actions to keep outside inquiries from being made public and the news media is refusing to expose the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Georgia's SMU unit.

Prisoners are being transferred to SMU for refusing to participate in the so-called tier step down programs they've started in Georgia. The DOC is trying to force lumpen groups to be housed two men in a 24-hour lockdown cell, thus placing prisoners in physical jeopardy, in order to start a war. Just another attempt to enact the Willie Lynch mentality amongst these prisoners. Before, the prisoners enacted peace and brotherhood policies amongst and between the lumpen groups, and there was no tier step down program. So this program is to create strife amongst the brotherhood by building enough stress and confusion to destroy peace that prisoners worked hard to establish.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have received a lot of reports about the hunger strike in Georgia, and the struggles against SMU classification. The unity and awareness being built in Georgia prisons is definitely frightening the prison administrators. This is an important lesson for organizers: when we build for peace among the lumpen organizations our enemies will take this as a call to war. The United Front for Peace in Prisons is bringing together organizations and individuals in this important battle. Get involved today in building peace in your prison.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [Central Prison] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 38]
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North Carolina Prisoners' Preliminary Victory on Use of Force Lawsuit

On 27 March 2014, a Federal judge in the United States District Court issued an order requiring prison staff to record any use of force, should force be required on a prisoner.

Some other prisoners and I filed a lawsuit because the pigs at Central Prison in Raleigh used blind spots in the current video system to hide from surveillance so they could beat prisoners. We also informed the courts of the "lack of policy for proper method of investigation in any use-of-force incidents."

As a result, Judge Terrance Boyle appointed an expert (former corrections administrator Eldon Vail) to review the prison's surveillance system. Based on several problems he found, he made five recommendations.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) prisons adopted four of the recommendations but said using a hand-held video camera is not feasible and placed "undue burden upon Central Prison." However, on Thursday, 27 March 2014 Judge Boyle ordered the fifth recommendation be adopted. His order stated "...defendants are placed on notice that if there is not voluntary compliance and implementation of the recommendation, a preliminary injunction will ensue."

The pigs deny any abuse, saying they used minimal amounts of force required to deal with prisoners characterized as the "worst of the worst" among the prison system's population.

Still the state agreed last year to install more security cameras to cover previously unmonitored areas. But Vail's report said the new cameras still don't monitor all the blind spots where prisoners say the abuse occurs. Vail also reported finding lenses so out-of-focus and smudged with grime that it was difficult to make out what the camera was recording.

The recommendations made by Vail that must be followed are:

  1. Adjust each camera that demonstrates a pattern of "freezing" to improve motion detection sensitivity.
  2. Establish a written preventive maintenance schedule for lens cleaning, camera refocusing and replacement of faulty cameras.
  3. Install additional cameras to view the sally ports of each cell block in Unit 1.
  4. Modify the video surveillance retention policy and procedure to clarify the responsibility to provide notice to the video retention officer to preserve a video by the unit supervisor from the investigator's responsibility to request a copy of the video for the investigation.
  5. Change the use of force policy, SOP 4.100, to require that a handheld video camera operator respond to the scene of spontaneous use-of-force incidents and that a camera remain on until the event is over and [prisoner] has been safely placed in a cell.

This fifth recommendation means that during an anticipated use-of-force (any use-of-force) a hand-held camera will be used until a prisoner is no longer in contact with the pigs.

We are now getting ready for a pretrial conference. But we are one step closer to getting justice. We have at least made the prison safer. Now the pigs will not have anywhere to hide.


Notes:Case 5:13-ct-03201-BODE's 182, and 198.
News article from www.wnct.com March 27, 2014
News article from www.charloteobserver.com by Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press, 3/27/2014
Letter from Elizabeth G. Simpson, Staff attorney, NC Prisoner Legal Services, 3/31/2014


MIM(Prisons) adds: This update to the ongoing legal battle in North Carolina is good news for this carefully planned and hard fought legal battle. We know that often we cannot win when fighting abuse by employees of the criminal injustice system in their own courts. But sometimes the courts have to pretend objectivity and, when presented with facts that show the NCDPS is violating their own laws and policies, we can win some improvements to conditions. While the courts won't be where we make revolutionary change, for now we can use them as one tool to struggle against abuse. We must always accompany these court battles with publicity and education about the case, using them to expose both the brutality we are fighting and the injustice when the courts rule against us.

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[Censorship] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 38]
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Illinois DOC Continues Illegal Censorship of MIM(Prisons) Mail

In approximately 1.5 years, between 2 February 2012 and 1 December 2013, there were 50 reported cases of censorship of material sent by MIM Distributors in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). The censored material included copies of MIM Theory and Under Lock & Key, along with informational zines and personal letters.

Out of those 50 reported cases a staggering 78% (39) of them were censored with no reason being given as to why they had been censored. This is typical of the IDOC.

If they do not like a given topic they will ban it without giving any reason why. This is a continuing violation of prisoners' constitutional rights. The only way to combat this injustice is by filing grievances and 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 civil suits.

Resist! Rebel! Defy!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Many facilities in Illinois have enacted total bans on our mail. Get involved in the campaign to fight censorship in Illinois. We need legal help both behind bars from our jailhouse lawyers and from lawyers on the streets.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 38]
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E-NUF Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

Greetings to all revolutionary comrades who are kaptive in the gulags of these United Snakes of a Amurderer (U.$.). I write on behalf of E-NUF, an organization we formed to develop revolutionary consciousness in those held kaptive, and to compel direct action to agitate the enemy.

Here we issue our formal statement of unity with the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We recognize the importance of all the principles. It is through growth and unity that we can have peace amongst the kaptive lumpen irregardless of nation. And it is through the creation of independent institutions that we can develop internationalism.

We recognize our existence as being a part of the lumpen class. We believe when we unite as a conscious class the contradictions existing between the exploiter class (imperialism) and the oppressed (ourselves) become clear, exposing our true enemy. Through unity we can develop the best strategies to fight our way out of the grip of imperialism.

As kaptives we seek to ignite the spark first within our class. Revolutionary power to the kaptive lumpen.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 37]
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Revolutionary Diary


What it's like
The reasons why
The things a persyn must do
or die
You'll never understand
The strength it takes
To embrace my fate
Time and time again
Being spit at for what I am
You'll never understand
You curse me to hell subtly
Telling me not to fight this system
Don't file lawsuits against it
Then you say you love me
You'll never understand
Everything about you is a contradiction
Sick consumer puppets of imperialism
Parasitic existences mind washed into believing in
"corrections", "terrorism", white male supremacy
You'll never understand
I'm on my third lawsuit
My fifth year straight solitary
Took me a whole generation to discern the compliment
Each time you spit at me

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[United Front] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 38]
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Goodfellas Build UFPP, Promote Multinational Organizing

My fellow comrades and I follow the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, however it is a nonstop struggle to open the eyes of the people here. That was the reason I started the lumpen organization (LO) that I am a part of now. I am being held in Supermax for direct action that I took to stand up to the swine for manhandling my comrade.

I am a comrade who happens to be white, and I started the LO to have multiple races in it. I am looked upon as a different breed because there are no LOs doing that. I base the foundation off of revolutionary communist principles. After studying Marx, Mao, even the Panthers, Huey, G. Jackson and the G. Jackson brigade (most of whom happened to be white), I took the oath to live by as well as die by this. I will hold my fist up till the very end. In fact I intend to die for the cause whenever that day may be, but I try my best to lead by my actions.

Yes I am hated by many. The swine truly hate me, I mean deeply. In fact, I have been told by the top brass, or white shirts as we call them, that they will kill me. They have beat me a few times while I was handcuffed and maced; most of this was at the slave camp in Lucasville. It's a free-for-all on prisoners there. The pigs harrass us for fun and indeed they get rewarded and get promotions. There have been so many coverups there, including the murders of many prisoners.

The LO I started is Greatness Over Other Desires Fellas Equals Love Loyalty And Solidarity. We are called GF or Goodfellas for short. They are now trying to kill the LO. I was the one who was giving the info and teaching them, and now they got me locked in Supermax. My main aim was and is to bring the indepth race issue to the forefront. It's a major issue here in Ohio prisons, as I'm sure in all prisons.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The United Front for Peace in Prison principles this comrade mentions are Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. They are printed on page 2 of every issue of ULK. Below are some basic steps all groups can follow to get involved in this United Front.

  1. Study and uphold the five principles of the united front.

  2. Send your organization's name and a statement of unity to MIM(Prisons). Your statement can explain what the united front principles mean to your organization, how they relate to your work, why they are important, etc.

  3. Develop peace and unity between factions where you are at on the basis of opposing oppression of all prisoners and oppressed people in general.

  4. Send reports on your progress to Under Lock & Key. Did you develop a peace treaty or protocol that is working? Send it in for others to study and possibly use. Is your unity based on actions? Send us reports on the organizing you are doing.

  5. Keep educating your members. The more educated your members are, the more unity you can develop, and the stronger your organization can become. Unity comes from the inside out. By uniting internally, we can better unite with others as well. Contact MIM(Prisons)'s Free Political Books for Prisoners Program if you need additional materials to educate your members in history, politics and economics.

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[Control Units] [Colorado]
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Wake up, Stand up and Speak up Against Control Units

There comes a time when a person in oppressed conditions must wake up, stand up and speak up about the conditions that we find ourself in. I'm being held in a minimum facility that's being run like a super max and I realize the social and psychological effects that this has on a person. Twenty two hours trapped inside a unit with no interaction with other prisoners, except in passing and chow, living in a dorm unit that doesn't have enough seats for everyone to watch TV, not enough restroom stalls, and the numerous mental states that a person has to deal with while living in this boiling pot of confusion, depression, and aggression.

A director of Colorado's Correction Department, Rick Raemisch, spent the night in an isolated cell as an experiment and he said it left him "feeling twitchy and paranoid." He also said he suffered mental anguish after spending only 20 hours in solitary confinement on 23 January 2014. Some of our brothers spend 20 months in these confined conditions, and some 20 years. Most people who get tossed into solitary confinement already have mental problems and these places are dumping grounds for the mentally ill.

There was a prisoner here in the Nebraska state pen who did most of his time in confinement. He told the staff that he had mental issues and that he needed help before he got out but they refused to help him. He told the staff that if he didn't get any mental health programming or help that he just might get out and kill someone, but they didn't help him, they just made him do his full time and tossed him back into society. Within 30 days he went and killed 4 people. This is just one issue out of many and our problems run deeper than just mental health and substance abuse treatment. There are issues that need to be addressed like political interest, job skill programs, and community development. The prison overcrowding issues needs to be addressed as well because this overcrowding is causing prisons to put these institutions on a modified lockdown status which is why our minimum institution is run like it's one big Ad-Seg.

So let's wake up, stand up and speak up, about these issues and conditions. Much love and respect to the brothers on the east coast, fighting in the belly of the beast, stay strong to my family in the Midwest and down south and to all my comrades on the West, go hard till ya go home.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Colorado Executive Director of Correction Rick Raemisch wrote an editorial in the New York Times about his experience in solitary confinement that this comrade describes. In this article he quotes Terry Kupers on the psychological effects of long term isolation.

He admits that "I would spend a total of 20 hours in that cell. Which, compared with the typical stay, is practically a blink. On average, inmates who are sent to solitary in Colorado spend an average of 23 months there. Some spend 20 years." But he still tries to justify the use of solitary confinement as targetting the "worst of the worst", those who "act up" when in reality it is often those who are politically aware and organizing that get slammed behind the isolation door.

Not only does Colorado have formal control units, but they also have Restricted Privileges units which are on lockdown 22 hours a day. Further, Colorado prisons, like those across the country, continues to refuse to address prisoners' grievances, a battle taken up with a grievance campaign in that state. We are not optimistic that Raemish's words will translate into fundamental change in the Colorado prisons. Until we eliminate the basis of prisons as a tool of social control, even the best sentiments of one executive director will not have a significant impact on the system.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 38]
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Stand Up


Throw a fist in the air for Fred, George, and Marx
Oppression we override all it takes is heart
This is for my comrades who recognize the trap
This a unified movement far from a rap
Let's seize the time the government we overthrow
And eliminate spies informing on the low
All nations we together as one
With our lives on the line freedom shall come
Nothing is given, it's taken and demanded
It's a war with the oppressed left standing
Organize your mind focus on the war
Dumping on the pigs, peace to Assata Shakur
The struggle on the rise this I truly see
This is dedicated to the people who standing on their feet
It's a war going on nobody is safe
Birthing solid troops who don't bind, fold or break
The past is present and the present is the past
Oppressed against oppressor forever we clash
21 guns comrades truly honored
Too many sold us out I call 'em transformers
All power to the people who fear nothing on this land
We learn from the past with an organized plan
United Blood Nation riding with the Panthers
I'm standing on mine with revolutionary standards
In this war blood must be shed
Either them or us that's what Denmark said
I pledge allegiance to the struggle my life is dedicated
My words uplift for those who motivated
First and foremost all my true brothers stand up
We will never fall cause we always stand up!

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Man or Lamb?

Pyramid


Once there was a time you could tell me any lie;
I was at the bottom of the pyramid believing there was
someone, something, watching and judging from up in the sky.
Now I am the eye above the suspended eye and am no
longer susceptible to their oppressive lies!
Their lies and stories of dread and fear no longer
have their delusional hold on me. Sure death brings a final rest,
but I now also see that life is to be lived completely free.
Stand up, live free, lift your eyes up high!
You no longer have to fear their devious lies!
We get one life to live and you can choose to live it free!
You don't have to be the scared little sheep that they want you to be!

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