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
[United Front] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

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.

chain
[Control Units] [Colorado]
expand

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.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

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!

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry]
expand

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!

chain
[Spanish] [Political Repression] [Theory] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

Nosotros Queremos Paz! Ellos Quieren Seguridad

El mayor propósito de la publicación #7 de Bajo Llave & Candado es el mostrar quién y quienes no quieren la paz. También nos enfocaremos linea ya - sostenida - por tiempo de que los presos no logran nada desuniendose y peleando entré sí mismos o con el personal de la prisión. Cada prisión que censura este boletín reconoce que la paz entre los presos va en contra de su meta la cual según llaman "seguridad," y además sostiene nuestra tesis presentada abajo.

El tiempo ha comprobado … que la deferencia ciega a los oficiales de las correccionales no les hace un verdadero servicio. El asunto judicial con la regularidad de procedimiento tiene relación directa sobre el mantenimiento de la orden institucional; el cuidado ordenado con el cual las autoridades de la prisión haces sus decisiones esta íntimamente relacionado al nivel de respeto con el cual los prisioneros observan esa autoridad.

No hay nada más corrosivo a la estructura de una institución pública, como una prisión, que aquellos a los que contiene tengan el sentimiento que están siendo tratados injustamente." Palmigiano v. Baxter, 487 F.2d 1280, 1283 (CA1 1973). Como lo notó el Juez Principal en Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. @ 408 U.S. 484, "Tratamiento justo…aumentará la oportunidad de la rehabilitación evitando reacciones de arbitrariedad." - opinión disentido de Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974)

Nuestros registros de rastreo hablan por si mismos. Por lo menos docenas de presos y ex-prisioneros han dejado esas vidas que alguna vez incluían ataques físicos a los policías, y a menudo peleas contras personas, después de haber tomado la lucha anti-imperialista mediante MIM. Desafortunadamente, nuestra información esta un poquito desertada pues solo podemos hablar por los prisioneros con los que estamos en contacto. Depende de un investigador ambicioso el demostrar estadísticamente que esos envueltos en el anti-imperialismo son menos violentos que aquellos que no. (o más así como las oficinas de correo de las prisiones a lo largo del país sostienen en este caso).

Mientras tanto, hay una abundancia de estudios que enseñan como todo tipo de programas educacionales y familiares ayudan a reducir la violencia y el carácter anti-social. (1) Desafortunadamente, en un sistema enfocado en el castigo y a condenar al ostracismo a grupos de personas, estos programas son usados para manipular en vez de rehabilitar. Las prisiones de EE.UU. que ofrecen estos programas lo hacen con el esfuerzo de tentar a los presos con una zanahoria. Tomando este enfoque individualista ellos no están verdaderamente invirtiendo en paz o progreso. Cuando las prioridades cambian y un preso pierde su trabajo, o ya no puede ver a sus seres queridos, entonces ya no existe el incentivo para ser pacifico. En contraste, una dedicación a la lucha por un mundo sin opresión no puede ser quitado por administradores futuros de la prisión.

Verdades:

  1. En décadas de trabajo el Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista nunca ha roto leyes burgueses. En años de trabajo, tampoco MIM(Prisiones) lo ha hecho.
  2. Miembros de MIM y miembros de MIM(Prisiones) siempre se les ha prohibido el romper la ley.
  3. La literatura de MIM nunca ha promovido romper la ley o tomar armas en contra del gobierno de los EE.UU. o algún gobierno u organización local de hecho.
  4. Cada publicación de Under Lock & Key, el periodico de MIM(Prisiones), anima a que los presos obedezcan las leyes y evadir conflictos físicos.
  5. La experiencia anecdótica provee evidencia de un modelo de violencia reducida entre prisioneros que se han envuelto en programas educativos guiados por el MIM y/o compañías organizacionales.

A pesar de las verdades enlistadas arriba, nuestros programas y materiales son rechazados rutinariamente a los presos a lo largo de los EE.UU. A finales del 2007, lanzamos nuestra página de internet donde hemos grabado 509 incidentes de censura. La mayoría de esa censura es para MIM(Prisiones). De estos, 11 dicen STG - "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," 34 dicen "Seguridad" en general, 14 dicen una amenaza de "violencia," y 26 dicen de nuestra amenaza a la "ley" como la razón de la censura. Además, 164 tomaron lugar en California, donde todo el correo de MIM fue prohibido porque supuestamente "aboga el tomar el poder público mediante lucha armada y derribar las administraciones de las prisiones "quitandoles el control."(2) Mientras que las luchas legales recientes de un camarada en California han traído a la luz un documento que inválida esta prohibición, esta aún se sigue aplicando en muchas de las prisiones donde MIM(prisiones) tenía una multitud de lectores. La mayoría del resto de los incidentes de censura caen bajo varias categorías de "inaceptable," "no permitido," "no autorizado:, "rechazado" o no se daba ni siquiera una razón.

Security Threat Group (STG) o "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," es la palabra de moda adquirida en los años 1990 que se aplica a organizaciones políticas y callejeras por igual, muchos según llamados "profesionales correccionales" afirman que MIM(Prisons) es un STG. Pero exactamente, ¿para quién somos una amenaza a la seguridad? Copiando el lenguaje del precedente marco de jurisprudencia, se usa frecuentemente como "perjudicial a la seguridad, buen orden, o disciplina de la institución o […] que facilitaria actividad criminal." El problema con el fraseo de la decisión de esta corte es que muchas prisiones interpretan que significa que si tu le dices a prisioneros que presenten demandas, escriban a la prensa, que se unan a organizaciones o entablar un juicio en respuesta a la tortura, abuso físico, falta de cuidado médico, censura, etcétera, entonces tu estas amenazando el buen orden o disciplina de la institución. (THORNBURGH v. ABBOTT, 490 U.S. 401 (1989))

Revisiones de esta y otra jurisprudencia demuestran que bajo capitalismo en America, prisioneros realmente tienen derechos y la interpretación dearriba es una violación a ellos. El real significado de esta ley sería permitir a administradores de las prisiones a censurar materiales que fomentan real e inmediatas amenazas de riesgo y seguridad, tal como planear atacar a alguien más en la prisión o contrabandear armas. El caso más reciente condenando encerrocratas por prevenir a prisioneros recibir materiales que promueven resistencia legal, fue justo el año pasado cuando un camarada en Wisconsin, ganó su pleito en la corte federal.(3)

En algunos casos la administración de la prisión ha interpretado la ley de la misma manera que nosotros lo hacemos, pero todavia afirma que violamos esta al representar una amenaza de riesgo y seguridad. El boletin de prohibición de California, citado arriba es un ejemplo de esto. En estos casos además, no estamos de acuerdo hasta el punto de llegar a involucrar a las cortes burguesas.

El memorándum de Octubre del 2006 del Director del CDCR Scott Kernan prohibiendo publicaciones de MIM (supuestamente no todo nuestro correo) tiene completamente inexactas declaraciones en este, tales como el citado arriba. Si fuera posible demostrar que MIM fomento o violó la ley sin mentir, uno de los abogados del estado ya habría hecho esto. Su defensa favorita en muchos estados es esconderse detrás de las paredes de la prisión, en vez de mentir como Scott Kernan lo hizo. Por eso es que oficiales del estado necesitan ser públicamente responsables en cualquier sociedad que alega democracia en cualquier forma.

Desde oficiales de corrección hasta el director, desempeñan el papel al pie de la letra del burócrata intentando defender su institución corrupta, y para poder actuar en el nombre de trabajos lucrativos. Nosotros admitimos ser una amenaza a los trabajos de oficiales corruptos e instituciones abusivas, como cualquier consciente ciudadano debe ser. En esta edición leerás historias de planes frustrados de paz, violentos montajes, y riesgo de pago para los C.O.s. Varios de los sindicatos representando a los así llamados oficiales de paz, son algunos de los mas fuertes en el país y su principal herramienta de influencia es la seguridad personal. Ellos dicen "estamos poniendo nuestras vidas en juego para proteger tus mierdas, es mejor que nos paguen bien." Por lo tanto la inherente motivación por más violencia, más motines, más miembros de gangas "validados" y más máxima seguridad y prisiones supermax. Todo esto significa más dinero en sus bolsillos.

Por lo general, Amerikanos en su totalidad se benefician de sus posiciones de poder sobre los oprimidos. Ciudadanos Estadounidenses de clase media se benefician por ser miembros del grupo de gente quienes pueden ser policías o que pueden consiguen trabajos similares como opresores en el sistema de injusticia criminal, y se benefician de los servicios que los policias proporcionan manteniendo lineas entre los grupos sociales.

Esto no es solo una motivación individualista de un pago más alto, esto es además una conciencia nacional que es necesaria para crear la mentalidad de "Nosotros vs. Ellos," que es necesaria para dirigir prisiones de la manera que ellos lo hacen en los Estados Unidos. Un ejemplo esta conciencia surgió durante el reinado de terror de Guiliani en la ciudad de Nueva York en los años 1990s, cuando el New York Times reportó que la mayoría de residentes blancos estaban conformes con la conducta de la policía que ellos veían, mientras que nueve de diez de Negras sintieron que "la policía se dedicaba en la brutalidad contra Negras."(4)

Estas normas nacionales de "ellos contra nosotros" fueron creadas por los colonizadores blancos y esta profundamente dentro de la historia de arrebatos de tierras y comercio de esclavos. Después del tiempo esto forzó al oprimido a ver el mundo de una manera similarmente dividida, dejando a los opresores con dos alternativas; ellos pueden retractarse y usar esto como una justificación para su propia brutalidad o pueden disminuir la contradicción. Nuestro análisis de imperialismo y la contradicción principal predice que Amerikanos no pueden disminuir la contradicción, y hasta ahora hemos probado tener la razón. Y eso es porque prisiones de Estados Unidos llegaron a ser un pequeño mundo perversamente violento de la sociedad Amerikana.

Mientras que creemos que policías y oficiales correccionales en general tienen intereses conferidos para oponerse a nuestros esfuerzos para promover paz, estamos actuando en un Frente Unido con algunos empleados del enorme sistema de justicia criminal quienes están mas interesados en llegar a casa con sus familias cada noche, que consiguir una chance de pago y nuevos juguetes de alta tecnología para jugar. Esto es poco probable en lugares como California donde la historia ya ha mostrado que les pasa a los empleados de las prisiones que hablan contra estos intereses. En una nota asociada, MIM(Prisons) no amenaza las vidas de las personas ni induce gente al suicidio, ni lleva a cabo asesinatos.

Muchos empleados de las prisiones afirman que MIM(Prisons) es una amenaza porque animamos a prisioneros a organizarse. Miramos a la historia otra vez, y ayudamos a sofocar esos temores tomando una mirada a dos de los mas grandes ejemplos de prisioneros organizadose ellos mismos: Attica y Walpole. En la rebelión de Attica en 1971, no fueron asesinados oficiales correccionales hasta que la Guardia Nacional entró y baleó a muerte a 11 empleados junto con 29 prisioneros. Hasta ese punto los prisioneros de Attica habían organizado una sociedad dirigida democráticamente dentro de las paredes de la prisión, incluyendo cosas tales como su propia comida y servicios médicos, mientras que estaban negociando con el Estado en nombre de todos los prisioneros. A los guardias se les dio trato superior todo el tiempo.

Un par de años más tarde, prisioneros en Walpole se les fue permitido dirigir la prisión ellos mismos cuando el sindicato de los guardias se fue a la huelga. Ellos crearon servicios similares como los prisioneros de Attica, y en realidad incrementaron la eficiencia de operación de la prisión con los guardias y burócratas fuera del camino. Esto mostró que tan pronto como a principios de los años 70s, que a los guardias de prision se le pagaban altos salarios por hacer nada. Desde entonces la población de la prisión se ha incrementado ocho veces, haciendo engordar la labor aristocrática con trabajos de salarios más altos a lo largo del camino.

Los prisioneras funcionando pacíficamente sin supervisores impactó a los puercos, quienes entonces empezaron a correr rumores acerca de motines dentro de Walpole. Los motines nunca sucedieron, y de hecho hubo a fin a toda violencia y violaciones durante la semanas en que los guardias de la prisión estuvieron ausentes, y por algún tiempo después. Esta clase de rumores continuos no es única a un grupo particular de guardias malévolos. En vez de eso, ellos estaban representando el mismo interés heredado de esta clase de gente. En los últimos 15 a 20 años en California, ellos han tenido éxito en crear una atmósfera de disturbios y violencia. Unicamente la minoría lleva a cabo su-mismo-interés en paz, porque esta es una amenaza a sus trabajos como clase.

Desafortunadamente, podemos esperar mucha violencia de los opresores antes de que podamos esperar un honesto juicio de lo que esta pasando en estos reservados calabozos. La gente quiere paz ahora. Comunidades que están siendo ocupadas, encarceladas y bombardeadas quieren un inmediato fin a la violencia.

Huey P. Newton dijo que le corresponde al opresor decidir si satisfacer tales demandas del oprimido pasan de una manera pacifica o de una manera violenta. Frantz Fanon dijo que la violencia es parte del desarrollo humanista y nueva conciencia entre la gente. Aún si Fanon esta en lo correcto, toma mucho para presionar a las multitudes hasta el punto de violencia como Huey lo indicó. Esto es obvio con la tanta gente que ha pasado más días en sumisión pacifica que estos quienes no. Resistencia violenta de la gente surgirá como esta sea necesitada por los que monopolizan violencia a través de su propio poder.

MIM(prisons) únicamente entabla y promueve medios legales para combatir injusticia. Cuando el personal de las prisiones reprime cada salida educacional y legal para prisioneros para reparación de sus quejas, entonces se hace claro que clase de estrategias están promoviendo. En esas prisiones, predecimos que habrá violencia, y ellos no pueden culparnos de esto porque ellos nos han mantenido fuera.

Esto es igual a lo que decimos de todas las luchas por justicia alrededor del mundo. Creemos que la violencia es necesaria para acabar con la injusticia porque la historia ha mostrado que el opresor nunca para de oprimir de una u otra manera. No queremos fomentar violencia, estamos simplemente declarando nuestra conclusión leyendo la historia. En cada caso de guerra revolucionaria, dependió del opresor decidir si la violencia fuera usada o no. La historia muestra que lo mismo ha sido verdad en el movimiento de los derechos en la prisión; la lucha por los derechos de los prisioneros ha llegado a ser únicamente violenta cuando el Estado ha iniciado la violencia.


Apuntes:
1. "Desde 1990, la literatura ha mostrado que prisioneros quienes asisten a programas educacionales mientras ellos están encarcelados son menos probables a retornar a prisión después de su salida. Estudios en varios Estados han indicado que el índice de reincidencia ha declinado donde prisioneros han recibido una apropiada educación. Además, la clase correcta de programa educacional lleva a menos violencia por prisioneros involucradas en los programas y un ambiente más positivo en prisión." Journal of Correctional Education, v55 n4, p297-395, December 2004.

Vea además The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Estudios claramente han mostrado que participantes en educación dentro de la prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen índices de reincidencia de 20 a 60 por ciento más bajos que los no participantes. Otro reciente y mayor estudio de prisioneros encontró que participantes en programas de educación eran 29 por ciento menos probables de terminar de regreso a prisión, y que participantes han ganado un salario más alto en libertad."
2. El texto completo de esta carta esta disponible en nuestro sitio web a lo largo con ciento de toneladas de otros documentos relacionados a la prohibición de California: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/ca/ (si tu eras un preso de California probablemente ya la has visto.)
3. Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C US District Court Western District of Wisconsin. Disponible pronto en nuestra página de archivo.
4. Hayden, Tom. Street Wars. The New Press, 2005, p.108.

chain
[Organizing] [Franklin Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 38]
expand

Organizing Against Apathy and Collusion in New York

Franklin Correctional Facility is a medium classification prison that does its best to oppress. Rules are broken on a constant basis by this administration. Their need to control every tiny moment and movement really displays their fears of us ever getting on the same page to take action. I'm not speaking riot, just trading info and court actions when it comes to confronting their gestapo tactics. The physical beatings in front of others by guards has placed fear into many hearts so that writing a grievance is taboo.

As an Orientation Facilitator, I used to inform those coming to this prison what to expect and how to protect themselves. Someone snitched on me and I was fired.

I wrote a total of 42 grievances but it was never enough for me. The next step was to meet the oppressors face to face, and I became the Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) Chairman, and that's when the fireworks started. Contempt and hatred for me was freely displayed. I stayed on my horse until I was set up with a misbehavior report that sent me to the box.

When I got out I tried to get back to the ILC but was always stonewalled. My so-called peers refused to assist me, claiming it would hamper their agenda and they don't want any trouble. In other words they are comfortable and satisfied. Sellouts is what I call them. In order for any progress to take place snitches and sell-outs must be contained. Corrections depends on them for their services. The "I don't want to get involved" types complain and bitch but don't take any action. 1,700 prisoners reside here and about 20 will lay a pen game down. Law library sucks because the workers want to get paid to do nothing for you.

The prisoner organizations are so controlled that we are not allowed to advertise how to become a member. We are told what to spend and where to spend. I say let's organize and write Corrections in Albany, but my prisoner peers say we don't want to cause any trouble. How can people who weren't afraid to break the law be afraid to write in defending yourself or make a point. Even if you don't know how, ask someone. Make the pen your gun.

The capitalist company Corcraft runs sweatshops in this prison to make officer and prisoner clothing. Guys can't wait to work for them because it pays the best in comparison to 10 to 20 cents an hour for other assignments. Commissary prices continue to increase.

Any time I attempt to band us together in writing grievances and Article 78s someone snitches on me. Microphones are placed in the library, chapel and other places we congregate. How can any movement get generated when dudes snitch or are going home soon? I have done all I can, but fear and the lack of education gives corrections an all-systems-go for future oppression in a big way. We are losing in this injustice system and a lot of us don't care to know how to win. Organize!


MIM(Prisons) responds: Our work in the criminal injustice system in Amerika involves a constant battle between those who see the value in uniting to fight the system, and those who are taken in by the bribery offered by the prisons in exchange for complacency or snitching. This contradiction exists throughout the prison system in this country, but in some states we are winning more unity and strength while in others the anti-imperialist forces are still a small minority. New York state still does not have a grievance campaign while prisoners in twelve other states have already stepped up to push this important work forward. There was an important action last year in Auburn Correctional Facility in New York, where prisoners joined the food strike in California.

Activists must evaluate the conditions in their state and their prison, and then determine what they can do to most effectively educate and organize other prisoners. In some states this may involve mass protest, in others we are still at the point of building study cells and educating whoever is willing to talk with us. Wherever your struggle is at, MIM(Prisons) can provide material to help with the educating and organizing.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry]
expand

People Say...

They don't care.
They're not involved or don't want to get involved,
but they are.
Their involvement just masquerades as indifference or inattention.
It is the silent "acquiescence" of the millions that supports the system,
your silence becomes approval,
for it does nothing to interrupt the system.
People use all sorts of excuses for their indifference.
They appeal to god as a shorthand route for supporting the status quo.
They talk about law and order,
but look at the present system,
look at the present social order of society.
Do you see god?
Do you see law and order?
There's nothing but disorder,
and instead of law and order there is only the illusion of security.
It's an illusion because it is built upon a long history of injustices;
racism, criminality and enslavement and genocide of millions.
Many people say it is insane to resist the system,
but actually, it's insane not to.

chain
[Education] [Virginia]
expand

I am in Charge of your Destruction

My roommate is serving a life sentence. A few years ago he became eligible for parole but each year he is denied with an admonition to "obtain your GED before your next parole hearing."

He has been in prison 20+ years so why hasn't he obtained his GED? Is he ignorant? Lazy? Stubborn? No, each year he submits a request to attend school and each year his request is denied because "classes are reserved for inmates with five years or less remaining on their sentences." Persyns with life sentences will always have more than five years remaining.

The parole board Chairpersyn and the Education Director refuse to compromise. Each states emphatically, "I am in charge and this is my policy."

The imperialist/capitalist mindset views power as a goal in and of itself because imperialism is built upon domination, subjugation, and starvation of "those other people."

Socialism/communism views power as a means to a worthy goal. The view is toward the community or collective, and power is used to help each persyn find his or her place of function or service within the collective. A communist who sees a worker on the roadside with a flat tire will stop and show the worker how to change the tire. The imperialist will stop and flatten the other three tires, then punish the worker for being late to work by docking the pay.

In American life we see many selfish abuses of power. For example, almost 100% of persyns released from prison are at the lower end of the American socio-economic scale. Yet their criminal convictions will make them ineligible for low income housing. And if they have a conviction for a "sex offense," they are pretty much prohibited from living anywhere except landfills and moon craters.

Criminal convictions in American "society" restrict employment to generally the most menial and lowest paying jobs. Yet imperialist judges demand fines, court costs, and restitution payments begin immediately. Usually there are additional monthly fees for parole and for court-ordered treatment programs. Plus, the former prisoner's drivers license is suspended or revoked until these payments are made, effectively hindering the mode of transportation to seek or maintain employment.

Deification of the individual ego and crushing the down-trodden are lauded achievements in imperialist nations. The only treatment for these symptoms is decapitation and removal of the minds that develop and implement politics designed to keep the impoverished in poverty.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer provides some excellent examples of how the criminal injustice system (CIJ) works to keep the lumpen class down. And as this article notes, the CIJ is an integral part of the imperialist system, serving an effective role of social control. The author outlines the ultimate solution to this problem: overthrowing imperialism and implementing a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat. But in the short term we can also fight these repressive policies through independent institutions of the oppressed that build the anti-imperialist movement. Two of these that are directly relevant here are our educational study groups and literature for prisoners, and our Re-lease on Life program. Both work within the current legal system, the first to provide educational materials and classes to prisoners motivated to study, and the second to help prisoners stay out and politically active once they are released. Write to us to get involved in building these programs.

chain
[Abuse] [Religious Repression] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
expand

Fighting Sanitary Conditions, Grooming Court Victory in Texas

In the William P. Clements Prison unit in Amarillo, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is now selling us 50 sheets of low quality paper on commissary for $1.80. Here in the extended cell block, High Security A.K.A. Segregation, we have showers in our cells. They only come on 15 minutes per day. We are only issued a clean towel 3 times per week: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. So we go Saturday, Sunday and Monday on the same towel.

Here's the problem. Once you are done with your shower the spray covers at least 1/3 of your cell. If you use this towel to dry all this grey water up you no longer have a towel suitable to dry your body off the next day after a shower. If we get caught with a second towel for use in this purpose we receive a disciplinary case for extra necessities. I personally grieved this issue and it was denied because policy states we're only allowed one towel at a time. This is a sanitary issue.

These are just some of the injustices we see here in the Texas department of Criminal Justice. On another level though Texas inmates just won a small victory when the federal courts ruled TDCJ was violating our religious rights by making prisoners of certain faiths shave or cut their hair, like Rastafarians, Native Americans, Muslims, Amish, and Jews. We are still waiting for the change in grooming policy but we won.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Compared to some of the brutality, long-term isolation, and medical neglect, lack of a clean towel may seem like a minor issue facing Amerikan prisoners. But it is these minor issues that really illustrate the irrationality of the prisons in this country. Why would it be a disciplinary case for a prisoner to have a second towel to keep his cell clean? How could this good hygiene practice be dangerous or otherwise problematic? Prisons withold small "privileges" like this as an arbitrary form of punishment. There is no educational or reform purpose. There is just a long list of such actions adding up to unsanitary, disrespectful, unstimulating, and counter productive living conditions (when prisoners aren't being beaten, tortured, starved, or otherwise physically abused).

Prisoners will come together to fight for these minor issues, as we see with this court victory for religious expression with haircuts in Texas. It is our job as revolutionaries to take these small battles and use them as educational opportunities to show others how these issues fit into the broader system of imperialism where prisons are used as a tool of social control.

chain
[Control Units] [Abuse] [Mental Health] [California]
expand

Pantries, Poisons, and Gassings: Abuse of Mental Patients in Security Housing Units

It seems that change in our society is only brought about by those of our populace who are considered to be radicals, so this piece is written for those radicals who are compassionate enough to care and who will take the necessary efforts to make a lasting difference for those of us who are held and tortured in Security Housing Units (SHUs), which are specifically dedicated for those prisoners who are supposed to be under the care of an institution's mental health system. These american gulags are also known as "Psychiatric Services Units" (PSUs).

These specially dedicated SHUs are rarely, if ever, visited by outside prisoner rights organizations, to my knowledge; and the prisoners housed therein are simply forgotten. These prisoners have no representatives and no means to voice their concerns and so the atrocities accumulate unchecked.

Aggressive and sadistic prison guards have been known to pepper spray an individual until they cannot breathe due to the accumulation of micronized capsicum (pepper essence) absorbed into their lungs after the guard empties onto the individual several canisters of the corrosive irritant chemical weapon. This is not third party hearsay, I know of it personally, for it has happened to me. Of course nothing is done about it when you have the foxes guarding the henhouse.

Think a prisoner can obtain justice through the prison's administrative grievance systems? You had better think about it again, no way. And the courts, including the federal courts, will not entertain themselves of the issues of complaint where the completion of the administrative appeals process has been denied by a corrupt prison administration; it has been made law, a statutory prerequisite otherwise known in litigation circles as a "procedural bar." It creates gross injustice and perpetrates unchecked human abuse which is tolerated by our society, it is a blatant indication of how cruel and vicious we have become as a people.

Even more sinister is the presence of food pantries created within each of the blocks of SHU/PSU units, which are independent from the main kitchens where mainstream prisoners receive their meals. These food pantries are not under the control of licensed food service employees and are in fact totally controlled by the guards assigned to that block. Those prisoners who are targeted by the "system" quite often find themselves physically sickened by the meals they are served, meals which stink with rotten foodstuffs. Milk cartons are served bloated with full-blown contamination.

The milk is a favored vehicle to get an inmate victim to ingest a "knock-out" drug and get raped while he is unconscious. This is a fact; it has happened to me twice. Also milk is utilized in these modernized dungeons as a tool to get unsuspecting targeted prisoner victims to consume psychotropic substances which has the effect of a "truth serum" and is used as an aid in covert interrogation of all prisoners suspected by debriefer informants and snitches. And, for the same purpose targeted prisoners are placed in cells with low pressure or dysfunctional ventilation systems which are used to force irritant gasses, pepper spray or other toxic obnoxious chemical weapons through to be inhaled by the occupant of that particular cell. In addition to the above abuses, the usual torture routine includes the air cooling system on full blast in mid-winter, and the heating system turned full up in mid-summer.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We appreciate the risk that our comrades take to get reports of such horrible abuses to Under Lock & Key. Information like this is important to get out because, as this writer points out, very few people are looking at these prisons or monitoring the treatment there. But Under Lock & Key is more than a tool of exposure, it is a rallying point for activists and leaders to bring together others and work out strategies and tactics in our fight against the criminal injustice system. We should read reports like this one and be outraged. And then we should turn that outrage into action, working to educate others and build support for our fight to put an end to this system of injustice.

chain