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] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 42]

Step Up and Start Learning for Attica Commemoration

In response to the article in Under Lock & Key 41, "Summing Up September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity", I'd like to propose that this solidarity should be recognized 9-13 September annually, not just 9 September. The Attica uprising was initiated on 9 September 1971 and was quelled on 13 September 1971.

Those who aren't knowledgable of what caused the Attica uprising from 9-13 September 1971 should start learning. Our self-discipline to learn is the first step to standing outside these imperialistic boxes. Their box is abnormal and inhuman to the poor of all nationalities. Those in control units/SHU can contribute by conducting study classes on their gates (i.e. bars). Learn why the Attica uprising occurred and what made the courageous comrades make the sacrifices they've made without hesitation.

Comrades, to embrace solidarity, we are obligated to hold hands. Solidarity initiates within the individual. Solidarity cannot be reached globally when it's not achieved at least partially within self. This is a lifelong commitment. Although we may not be around to see the change — so what! We have a new generation that's looking up to us. They're the next generation of revolutionaries. We are to set the tone for them and this is done by revolutionizing our own thought pattern of selfishness. Selfishness and unity will never get along; they're lifelong adversaries.

So to win we want to join hands genuinely and let our adversary know we're unified in solidarity because we have learned what we're fighting for. We know what we're seeking, what sacrifices will be made, and the cause of our fight. We know why sacrifices have to be made.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is writing about the article we published in ULK summing up the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) annual September 9 commemoration of the Attica uprising. The organizers call on activists to take this day to promote the UFPP by building unity with fellow captives, and to demonstrate resistance to the criminal injustice system by fasting, refraining from work, ceasing all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities, and engaging only in solidarity actions. This past year the demonstration involved fewer actions than in the past and we are asking all United Front activists to consider what we should do differently in 2015. This comrade's call for education is well timed as this is something we need to be spreading now, well before September, if we want to build a movement of supporters and activists. Write in for the UFPP organizaing pack.

[Gang Validation] [Political Repression] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 43]

Prison Organizer Falsely Validated, Transferred and Fighting Back

I was the vice president of an organization called the Long Term Offenders (LTO) which was making a lot of progress with the people and producing drastic change within the prison itself. Before my position with the LTO I was receiving material from numerous groups and corresponding with multiple movements, but as soon as I got into this position and the watchdogs saw how the prison as a whole embraced our platform and supported our cause, which was in the best interest of the prisoners, the watchdogs began to keep a close eye on us, specifically on me. I caught wind that the administration was inquiring about me and I'm sure they received more than a few tips that "he's radical" or "he's always talking about the Panthers," from their in-house snitches.

The watchdogs began to monitor my calls and mail and saw that I correspond with a lot of liberation movements which they've labeled as "terrorist" groups. Then they began confiscating our mail (things I've received for years) saying it's promoting radical ideas about overthrowing the government which is a "threat to security" and not allowed.

In August 2014, the Security Threat Group inspection committee summoned me to their office inquiring about the Black Panther Party and Maoist material MIM(Prisons) sent me. I explained to them that I'm a facilitator, therefore I have an obligation to be well versed on a multitude of subjects. Because they weren't satisfied with my response, they stripped me of my clothes and examined my tattoos. They falsely labeled me as a "Blood" because of a crown I have on top of the word "King." They knew they needed something to justify any further action they choose to take on me, and by me being labeled as a gang member, that's all they need.

On 3 September 2014, I was placed in the hole under investigation because they confiscated the article I wrote for you all in another Ohio prison. They assumed it was me because of the content, but there were no names written or printed to confirm their allegations. The day they chose to label me falsely, they drew their weapons and aimed to kill mentally and physically, but I will not die a slave, I will live long as a revolutionary.

The watchdogs from Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation Center came to pay me a visit in the hole, hoping to scare me into submission by throwing threats about how they'd send me to another state if I kept "teaching/reading that bullshit" and they also claimed I was on the FBI terrorist watchlist because of my affiliation with "anti-government" groups.

After 2.5 months in the hole they transferred me again, claiming I was a "threat to the order of operations." I've been here almost a month and have already started where I left off and have begun building the movement! There are a lot of street tribes here (Bloods and Crips) but few know they come from the Black Liberation Movements (BLM) or their original goals and purposes. I need to be able to reach these cats on that level so if possible could you send me materials on gang history and their connection to the BLM. When I was in the hole, the watchdogs confiscated all my reading material so I need you to help me recuperate from my losses.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is experiencing the repression that so many prison (and street) organizers face when they start to become effective in educating and organizing the people for revolutionary change. This was the focus of our last issue of Under Lock & Key. As this example demonstrates, the gang validation system is a tool of repression. It often has nothing to do with the gangs they claim are security threats or with preventing crime or violence. This is because they are not allowed to throw you in the hole just for being Black anymore. The liberal left demands that the tools of oppression must evolve for those in power to stay in power under imperialism.

We condemn gang validations and long-term isolation aggressively because they are two of the biggest weapons being used against the imprisoned lumpen. And both of these weapons are contradictory to the principles of this country's founding documents. The government want to fool the public into thinking prisoners are criminals and that is why they are being treated this way. But this repression is directly related to how the state handled the BLM of the 1960s and 70s, and to how they handle oppressed people fighting for basic rights all over the world. It is all about maintaining the imperialist system, where a minority prospers.

[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 42]

Success Comes with Unity

We are all comrades in this lifelong fight
and the only chance we have is if we unite

Education is key so learn and teach
without frivolous barriers that limit your reach

Brothers without guidance show them the way
those with beautiful speech teach them what to say

We all have a role to play in this movement of life
against this imperialist government that don't give us no rights

Not everyone is expected to pick up no guns
but no one should neglect to give up no funds

Even if you can only afford to give up a one*
donate it because without money no war can be won

It's time to stop playing games with what we believe
and start implementing all the things that we read

We can obtain all the things that we need
all we have to do is Unite, Educate, Organize, and Succeed



Thoughts of a Civilized Savage

Think Outside the Box

They get mad at my thoughts
But how can they get mad at the way I think?
When they've placed me in this environment to do just this
To think about the choices
To think about the decisions
To think about the past
To think about the mistakes
To think about the consequences
To think about life
To think about death!
My thoughts seem too radical
They seem too harsh
They seem insensitive
But they don't seem fake
Because they are real
Because my reality is real
I think about the joy
I think about the happiness
I think about the love
I think about the pain
I think about the coldness
I think about the hurt
Because I was left alone to think.
Can't cry because it hurts too much
Can't laugh because it ain't funny
Can't talk because I don't trust nobody to listen
So what do I do?
The only thing I'm used to doing, think
Think about the future
Think about the plans
Think about revenge
Don't be mad because this is what you wanted
You wanted me to think
But it didn't turn out like you wanted
Because you created a smart, calculating righteous monster
And its all your fault
Because you didn't think
Of all the possibilities
That came with thinking!

[Organizing] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 42]

Debating Violence in Prison Battles

I am a prisoner activist within the Colorado Department of Corrections, which sees me as a difficult, dangerous individual, and isolates and represses me in a police-style unit. Within the United States there is a response to prisoner activism of repression by prison administrators. This repression may involve some type of physical clash between prison staff and/or their prisoner stooges, and a prisoner activist. I put this forth as a counter to your point explicitly discouraging prisoners from engaging in any violence, as this position is not based on the reality of prisoner activism in U.$. prisons.

Prisoner activism here typically takes the form of formal institutional advocacy. Yet white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism have never reformed themselves. And the struggle against these forms of oppression is a struggle for survival and self-defense. The prisoner activist struggle in the United States is a struggle against genocide.

MIM(Prisons) and its publications explicitly oppose the use of armed struggle at this time in the imperialist countries (including the united states). But this is not based on the reality of prisoner activism in this country, where there is an ongoing protracted intractable race and class conflict. I look to Under Lock & Key for guidance in my individual/personal prisoner activism.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer sets a good example of working with us in unity around prison struggles while debating our disagreements on questions of strategy. In this case the disagreement comes down to a question of the stage of struggle. We believe that violence will be necessary to overthrow imperialism, because, as this comrade says, "white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism have never reformed themselves." We will need to dismantle imperialism forcefully; those in power won't just step down peacefully.

But we can also see through many historic examples that revolutionaries who took up armed struggle too soon were quickly repressed, killed and/or imprisoned, and many times the movements lost more ground than they gained. We call this premature armed struggle "focoism," because it generally fails to first gain the support of the masses and build a strong revolutionary party and base. However, it is also possible for communist parties to make strategic errors in taking up armed struggle too soon before conditions are ready.

In prison we aren't really talking about taking up a military battle, but the analogy to violent engagement before conditions are ready is applicable in a general way. We see that prisoners who are quick to engage with their fists/weapons, end up in isolation, beaten, or even killed. These engagements don't generally win anything except possibly the respect of peers with whom the person no longer has contact.

This doesn't mean we tell prisoners to lie down and take abuse. Every situation is different and we can't possibly judge what each individual is facing and how they need to respond to survive. We can say that many people write to MIM(Prisons) talking about how they used to resort to their fists first and now they use their pen and voice and are much more effective with this new approach to fighting repression. It takes patience and discipline to make this change, and it's not easy when faced with both pigs and their lackeys provoking and even attacking.

Rather than debate the appropriate response to each dangerous situation, the broader point is agreement on our strategic stage of struggle, and the reality that we can't win a military/violent battle right now. We just don't have the strength yet. And so we need all of our comrades to stay alive and out of solitary to engage in education and organizing.


(No) Debido Proceso de Validación y Programas de Renunciación

Uno de los aspectos más dañinos en las prisiones de EE.UU. hoy en día son las unidades de control. Unidades de control y aislamiento solitario son las armas más grandes en su torturante arsenal. Llaman a las unidades de control SHU, SMU, CMU y varios otros nombres dependiendo en que estado está uno, pero todos trabajan para emplear tortura a los capturados retenidos.

Cuando miramos a la historia del sistema de prisiones de EE.UU. encontramos que las naciones oprimidas siempre han sufrido mucho adentro de ellas. Presos en los Estados Unidos han sufrido trabajo sin pago, linchamiento, golpizas, fustigaciones y asesinatos por mencionar algunos. Aunque mucho de esto continúa - a veces más ocultado y cubierto que en el pasado - hay otros métodos nuevos de opresión nacional que se están usando en esta nueva era de dominación amerikana. Yo sospecho que pos-Obama (supuestamente llamada "pos-racial Amerikkka") seguiremos viendo más de estas formas ocultadas de opresión que infligen el mismo daño, pero que vuelan bajo del radar del ciudadano común del primer mundo. Esto hace sentir cálidos y cómodos a los liberales y les permite creer que el "progreso" es obtenible en el centro imperialista.

un tal método empleado contra los presos en calabozos americanos es el uso de unidades de control. La unidad de control es una cámara de tortura moderna, pero no se puede anunciar como matador letal de mentes negras y morenas porque los liberales podrían alzar sus narices a semejante revelación. En su lugar, al público se le dice que las unidades de control solo se usan contra los incorregibles, salvajes, extranjeros, pandilleros o los terroristas sensacionalizados.

¿Quiénes Están Encerrados en las Unidades de Control?

Como a nuestros ancéstros a quien se les habrá preguntado cual fue la razón por las cadenas en los tobillos, la marca de su dueño en la cara, o el lazo en su pescuezo, nuestra respuesta, como la de ellos es que les nace a los abusadores buscar la forma de limitar todos los rebeldes y revolucionarios que se oponen a la opresión nacional. Últimamente, esto es lo que logra a uno caer en la unidad de control.

Por supuesto que estamos luchando en contra de una nación opresiva sofisticada y poner presos en unidades de control está envuelto en idioma florido. Nos dicen que es por "actividad pandillera" o "amenaza a la seguridad y bienestar de la institución." A veces hasta me dicen que estoy "activamente comprometido en una conspiración criminal que amenaza la institución, personal y otros presos." Para la mente no entrenada, esto puede sonar como justificación para tortura. Este asesinato de carácter no solamente en falso, pero nada justifica tortura. ¡Absolutamente nada!

Fue solo después que empecé a escribir artículos que alzaban las voces de los presos y empecé a hacer apelaciones y demandas por los presos que me apuntaron para meterme en "la unidad de vivienda segura" o el SHU (en ingles). En breve, cuando comencé a resistir la represión del estado fue cuando fui aislado incomunicado. Antes de esto, me permitían cometer crímenes menores y pelear contra otros presos, hasta que empecé hacerme políticamente consciente. No estoy solo.

La mayoría que trabajan para avanzar y organizar su nación, levantar la voz por otros, o que se ocupan en ser abogados presidiarios irá a una unidad de control. Esta práctica es común en la sociedad colonizada: Los que resisten y tienen influencia política serán encerrados bajo un opresor colonial.

¿Por Qué el Estado Tiene un Proceso de Validación?

Nuestro opresor debe inventar formas de meternos en unidades de control, y en California se usa el proceso de validación. El proceso de validación intenta prestar un aire legal a la tortura y opresión nacional alegando que aplican un proceso justo y sin prejuicio para validar alguien como un "afiliado de pandilla." Decir que este proceso no tiene prejuicio, es como decir que dejar al zorro que cuide la gallinera no tiene prejuicio.

El hecho que el proceso de validación sigue usando cosas tan ridículas como una tarject de cumpleaños, un dibujo Azteca, o un libro escrito por George Jackson como evidencia de actividad de pandilla comprueba que no hay nada justo o sin prejuicio de este proceso de validación. Los casos del tribunal que supuestamente pararon a la prisión de usar estos artículos demuestra el fracaso que es el sistema de injusticia y como es una extensión de el estado. Nuestras victorias nunca vendrán del tribunal del tribunal del "amo de esclavo."

El sistema de validación ayuda pacificar los presos con el pensamiento que hay un proceso legítimo que están llevando para parar la tortura. Que de una forma u otra con paciencia y obedeciéndolos, podríamos salir del SHU. Claro que esto es absurdo. Nos vamos a quedar en el SHU hasta que nuestro opresor sienta que no vamos a poner resistencia, hasta que sientan que nos quebraron. A veces quieren entrenar a sus agentes y tratan de capturar a todos se asocia con nosotros en la línea central, como si fuéramos carnada. Pero mientras sigamos resistiendo su opresión, no nos dejaran asociarnos libremente con la otra gente. El proceso de validación solo funciona para continuar nuestra opresión nacional.

El Proceso de Renunciación es Más Opresión

Cuando vamos al comité en los SHUs de California, nos dan una forma con el titulo "aviso de expectativas del CDCR." Esta forma da una lista de supuesto comportamiento de los STGs que incluye entre otras cosas "participación en ejercicios de groupos STGs, usando gestos, saludos de mano, posesión de arte con símbolos STG." Tengan aviso que no nos informan cuales son los símbolos STG.

Básicamente, no podemos socializarnos con nadie, porque nos pueden acusar de comportamiento STG. No nos dicen quienes están validados como partes de los STGs ni tampoco nos dan ninguna información de lo que es comportamiento STG. Simplemente nos dicen que no debemos asociarnos con STGs o participar en su comportamiento. El estado decidirá si nos estamos comportando propiamente y permitidos a proceder en el programa de renunciación. Suponen que ellos son los expertos.

He escuchado que han puesto en este "programa de renunciación" algunos, pero el estado esta escogiendo selectivamente a quienes coloca en este programa. En mi opinión es un programa de pacificación y no voy a participar en el. La participación disfraza la opresión de el estado, a la misma vez les permite a ellos tratar de forzarnos a hacernos culpables, de confesar culpabilidad, aunque sea ser culpable de lo que ellos juzgan tener pensamientos incorrectos.

Noticias recientes de una demanda de clase civil federal que disputa pólizas y condiciones en el SHU de Pelican Bay son bienvenidas y algo que todos deberiamos seguir. Ashker et al. v. Governor of California et al., No C 09-05796 dice que el ser sometido a más de 10 años en el SHU es cruel e inusual castido y que el proceso de validación es una violación al debido proceso.(1) Pero aquí esta el culatazo: Si has participado en el Step Down Program (Programa de Rununciacion) tu no estás incluido en esta acción civil. Entonces ya estamos viendo como el nuevo programa de renunciación está sirviendo al estado, haciendo más difícil para que los presos puedan disputar sus condiciones.

Mi comportamiento no es más incorrecto hoy que el primer día que me capturaron y me encerraron en el SHU. El estado no me va a soltar del gancho y no voy a renunciar mi resistencia contra la opresión. El proceso de renunciación continúa la misma opresión que el proceso de validación empezó; atenta justificar lo que ellos le hacen a las naciones oprimidas.

¿Que Terminara la Validación/Programa de Renunciación?

El programa de renunciación no solamente es casi igual al proceso de validación, pero aquí en California muchas prisiones siguen usando ambos métodos, por eso necesitamos acabar con los dos.

Desde el principio vi la necesidad luchar para que cierren el SHU> Desde la primera huelga de hambre yo supe que si no se cierra el SHU completamente, el estado nos tendrá peleando el mismo problema bajo nuevos nombres por décadas via pleitos legales y huelgas. Esto nunca nos logrará a nuestra meta. Necesitamos mantener todas las justificaciones para el uso de encerramiento solitario en nuestro mira. No importan la razón porque alguien este en encerramiento aislado, siempre será tortura, y siempre debería ser opuesto.

A la misma vez hemos hecho mejoramientos a las vidas de muchos presos y algunos hasta han salido del SHU y por esto estoy feliz. Como sea, programas de renunciación y validación nos van a seguir teniendo presos hasta que consigamos hacer que la resistencia a la opresión sea una cosa común y corriente. Cuando huelgas de hambre ocurran más de una vez cada diez años, y protestas pacíficas pasen con más frecuencia que una limpieza general, aun talvez entonces acabaremos con los programas de renunciación y validación.

MIM(Prisiones) agrega: La mayoría de los civiles dirían que controlar la violencia pandillera es algo bueno, y esa perspectiva es exactamente lo que el departamento de correcciones y rehabilitación de California (CDCR) depende para implementar sus programas de validación pandillera y programa de renunciación que asumen que todo grupo clasificado como pandilla se ocupan en actividades criminales y cualquiera en contacto con la pandilla tiene que ser miembro.

Vamos a dejar de lado la realidad que el ejército Amerikano y la fuerza policiaca es la pandilla más grande en la historia del mundo. Si hay alguien organizado en actividad criminal y terrorismo son ellos. Que cualquier agencia Amerikana reclame estar contra actividad pandillera sin criticarse a ellos mismos es una broma. Las entidades identificadas como pandillas por el CDCR incluyen grupos de estudio de correspondencia como el William L. Nolen Mentorship Program. En Texas, Bajo Clavo y Llave es citado como un grupo de amenaza contra la seguridad, a pesar de ser un periódico. El Centro Nacional de Investigación Criminal Pandillera publicó un reporte que incluyó al Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista como una potencial amenaza a la seguridad de las prisiones. Es obvio que el título de pandilla no lo usan para razones criminales, sino más por razones políticas.

Varias organizaciones cuales no son necesariamente revolucionarias también están apuntadas como pandillas, sea que rompan leyes amerikanas o no. La verdadera amenaza no son las actividades en que los grupos se comprometen, sino el nivel de organización y unidad que muestran. Títulos de STG y programas de renunciación criminalizan la asociación, no el crimen en realidad.

El gobierno amerikano hará todo lo posible para proteger su hegemonía internacional. Controlar cualquier población subversiva entre sus bordes, especialmente sus semi-colonias internas, es alta prioridad, sin importarle como lo disfrazan con títulos elegantes y procesos administrativos.

Notas: 1. Para recibir noticias de la demanda de Clase Civil Federal escribe a: Pelican Bay Class Action, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, 201 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood Shores, CA 94065.

[Spanish] [Theory]

La Politica y el Arte deberían tener un estilo nacional

La convicción de Mao que la cultura China era grande o quizá un logro único e histórico fortaleció su sentimiento de orgullo nacional. En la otra mano, su objetivo explícito era enriquecer el Marxismo con ideas y mérito aspirados del pasado de la nación, y así rendirle como un agente de transformación revolucionaria más potente, y finalmente occidentalización, sin reemplazarlo con alguna forma de nuevo - tradicionalismo con vestido Marxista." - Stuart Schram

La sinifaccion del Marxismo es la adaptación y aplicación del Marxismo a condiciones Chinas. Ese era el principio de la idea de Mao Zedong, y ese fue el fundamento bajo cual Mao Zedong buscó no nada más liberar a China de feudales, compradores, y el control imperialista, pero por el cual avanzó al Marxismo-Leninismo al más avanzado tercer estado de ciencia revolucionaria. Cuando Marxistas tradicionales no visualizaban potencial revolucionario atravez de Europa y Amerika consideraban a Mao "Solo un líder campesino con poco conocimiento del Marxismo," lo que realmente estaban expresando era su duda en la habilidad de la gente China en hacer lucha de clase por que se suponía que estaban "alrevez" y por lo tanto incivilizados, a pesar de que la sociedad China tiene miles de años. Cuando el imperialismo Japonés llegó a China, la renombrado Manchuria y la llamaron suya, Mao desafió y exitosamente aniquiló esa demanda. Liberación nacional para la autodeterminación, era lo que Mao percibía correctamente como su tarea hystorica para empujar a China hacia delante en el esfuerzo Chino para la dignidad nacional.

Este fue el deber hystorico de Mao como revolucionario. ¿Cúal será el nuestro? Para los nacionalistas - revolucionarios de la nación Chican@ es la adaptación y aplicación del Maoismo a las condiciones Chican@s.

"En esencia, sinifaccion involucraba para Mao tres dimensiones o aspectos: comunicación, condiciones y cultura. El primero de estos es el más claro y menos controversial. Al llamar a un nuevo y vital estilo y modo Chino, placentero al ojo y oído de la gente común China, Mao tocaba un punto valido pero previamente abandonado, que si el Marxismo es de ser entendido y aceptado por otro pais que no sea Europeo debe de ser presentado en lenguaje que se les haga inteligible y en términos relevantes a sus propios problemas. Pero ¿Cómo, desde el punto de vista de Mao, era la recepción del Marxismo en China determinado por la mentalidad (o cultura) y la experiencia (o circunstancias concretas)? Sobre todo, ¿Cómo iban los dos la cultura de la gente China, y las condiciones en el que vivian, ser formadas por el nuevo poder revolucionario puesto en 1949? ... Mao busco definir y seguir un camino Chino al socialismo. En seguir esta vision, él sin duda tomó el Marxismo como su guía.... buscando inspiración al igual, así como abogó en 1938, de las lecciones y valores de la historia China."

La adaptación y aplicación del Maoísmo a condiciones Chican@s de esta y por ninguna manera nos niega nuestra hystoria o realidad, al contrario la afirma y demanda que se nos tome en cuenta. Mao dijo que el Marxismo es una verdad en general con aplicación universal y la ciencia en práctica que ahora se ha recapitulado en la historia lo ha comprovado en verdad. Así que ahora que conocemos que el poder de la ciencia revolucionaria el cual es Marxismo - Leninismo-Maoismo trabaja, la pregunta se movió de ¿Qué forma de lucha toma la liberación nacional Chican@? a ¿Cómo empezamos a implementarla? ¿Cómo nos adaptamos y aplicamos el Maoísmo a las condiciones de la prisión? y luego ¿Cómo aplicamos este entendimiento al barrio, Cómo una organización comunista con vanguardia Chican@ se mira detrás de las paredes de la prisión? ¿Cómo sería en las calles?

Todas estas son preguntas que sólo se pueden preguntar y ser contestadas por Chican@s en el proceso de la lucha.

La nación Chican@ esta actualmente en una junctura crítica de su hystoria extensiva. Estamos empezando a alcanzar un punto en el que o nos moldeamos con el resto de America Latina, dirigir nuestro esfuerzo hacia la liberación nacional y nos paramos de hombro en hombro con el Tercer Mundo, o vamos a desaparecer junto con el imperialismo. Como en el pasado, hoy la decisión es nuestra. ûContinuaremos mandando a nuestros hij@s a morir en el periferio por una bandera y tierra que no es de ellos, o los prepararemos para pelear el imperialismo y liberar a Aztlán? Tenemos el compulso revolucionario. Patria o muerte!

[Asia] [U.S. Imperialism] [Culture] [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] [ULK Issue 42]

Seth Rogen Tries to Capitalize on Imperialist Lies Against DPRK

guardians of peace hack sony
A few months back a damning article was posted on about Western media propaganda. The article written by Alyx Mayer is a materialist dissection of journalistic attacks on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The analysis given in the article debunks the many rumors and other propaganda we're all acquainted with, such as the mass choreographed wailing at Kim Jong Il's funeral out of fear of reprisals, a universal male haircut like that of Kim Jong Un's, or a famous singer being executed by a firing squad, are just a few of many that we have heard broadcast on major media networks.(1)

More recently, the DPRK propaganda campaign has become a top story in the U.$. media as a group called Guardians Of Peace (GOP), who the FBI accused of being from the DPRK, made public a massive amount of data from Sony computers including emails, movie scripts, videos and persynal information. Sony was scheduled to release a comedy by Seth Rogen called The Interview this month that was a blatant anti-DPRK propaganda piece. Some of the emails leaked reveal that the U.$. State Department and the RAND Corporation think tank advised Sony on the content of the film, and appear to endorse the assassination of Kim Jong Un as the best way to enforce the regime change they desire in the northern Korean peninsula.(2) DPRK officials had already declared the movie "an act of war" this summer because it depicts the CIA hiring assassins to kill their head of state, Kim Jong Un. The United $tates has been behind the assassination of heads-of-state in Iraq and Libya, and the overthrow of a handful of other governments in just the last few years. We can't imagine any other interpretation of this movie coming out of the U.$. corporate media. Still, Amerikan patriot Seth Rogen, producer of the movie, said it shows "how crazy North Korea is." Crazy-jacketing has been an unfortunately effective tactic for imperialist propaganda, often utilizing cultural differences to tap into the racist ideologies of the oppressor nations.

A recent GOP statement read,

"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)

"Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."(2)

Theaters responded by saying they will not screen the film, leading to Sony temporarily cancelling the release of The Interview. But the backlash has been large, with the majority view in U.$. media, social and corporate, being that Sony punked out. The message is construed as a demand for integrity of artistic expression. But materialists acknowledge that all art has political content, while the bourgeoisie works to obscure this fact. They then use the idea of artistic integrity when it works in their favor, as in this case. The focus on artistic integrity over political content meshes well with the individualism of bourgeois ideology. Overall, this has demonstrated the success of the anti-DPRK propaganda machine among Amerikans' consciousness, despite the utter lack of integrity in claims made against the DPRK as exposed by Alyx's article.

It comes as nothing new that western journalism completely distorts the truth. It deceives its own population by slandering other nations' governments it does not have under its influence. The United $tates does this to serve its own interests, that is to create a favorable image both domestically and internationally.

Hypocrisy is one of the many faces of U.$. imperialism. U.$. laws prohibit the media or journalists from reporting anything that's slanderous (not true), but it seems this is only pertaining to slander against itself. Alyx Mayer explained it clearly:

"As long as you're writing about the DPRK you have a license to print anything. What already frighteningly little journalistic integrity the bourgeois media can be said to possess is nowhere to be found on matters concerning this country. DPRK bashing is assured to drag in the page views and advertising revenue. ... Let this be a case study on the lengths that imperialist media will go to slander its enemies."

The latest drama around The Interview is certainly bringing in the page views and advertising revenue.

While The Interview is given a pass by many because it's supposed to be an outlandish comedy, the anti-DPRK propaganda is connected at all levels of the media. Within the first week of September, PBS network ran an hour-long documentary focusing on images smuggled out of northern Korea porporting to expose what life is "really" like in this isolated region. They show images of homeless children rummaging through garbage looking for food, and stores filled with products (sodas, bras and other clothing) for display only and not for sale. It gives an image of DPRK propaganda controlling their citizens' all around lives without any room for freedom of thought or choice. One can only guess where exactly DPRK citizens do get their livelihood materials if the warehouses they showed weren't selling products. Images of blackmarkets were shown where people can buy foreign DVDs, flashdrives filled with banned movies and TV shows at local flea markets, but is this the only place where the masses shop? An elite circle is said to be living in the nation's capital for which a nicely dressed female in traditional Asian clothing gets into an imported expensive car and even her chauffeur is well dressed but nothing else is said about this elite clique. This documentary is mostly put together by defectors and viewers can see the clear distinction they are trying to portray within DPRK society. A tier system of homeless children starving while an elite wealthy clique drives around in wealthy imported cars while warehouses of abundant drinks and clothing aren't accessible to the population. Now if that is the message they are trying to convey, then why not do a documentary in the United $tates or any other First World country that doesn't have international embargos? Or do one comparing the people who make computers in Asia and those who use them in the United $tates and Europe?

The documentary includes lengthy interviews with defectors from DPRK living in Seoul (the capital of the portion of Korea that has been occupied by U.$. imperialism for over half a century). One defector, a middle aged man, claims to have been held prisoner under suspicion of being a spy. He claims that he was beaten and tortured while captive. He said a wooden stick or plank was placed behind his knees and was forced to sit down, every time they did this to him he would hear his knee caps crack. Now wouldn't this be physically damaging? I would assume that those noises would be indications of broken knee caps and yet this man was without crutches or a cane. He was completely independently mobile. He even said soon after his release from prison (after no evidence of him spying were found) he fled DPRK soon afterwards. Another defector, a female in her early 20s, claimed her father got her whole family out of northern Korea because he wanted a better life for them to grow up without being controlled. She eventually joined a TV show in southern Korea, the content of which is a combination of a talent show and speaking out against DPRK. "All within this show are DPRK defector youth" slandering their former homeland for the benefits of being on TV and joining the ranks of the bourgeoisie, a TV program probably sponsored by the Republic of Korea government in the south. Bourgeois perspectives can only fool other bourgeoisie and those that are ignorant.

We revolutionaries have a weapon to guard against such superficial propaganda, and that is our world outlook. How we read and interpret the world is based on dialectical and historical materialism. Let us take a good analytical look at what is being reported in today's media. Even books that are being put out with a little political content must be compared to facts. The bourgeoisie has the habit of reporting certain international stories without facts on nations they oppose, whether it's DPRK, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela or any Middle Eastern country not in cahoots with U.$. imperialism. But like Marx said in 1867,

"Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome. As to prejudices of so-called public opinion, now as aforetime the maxim of great Florentine is mine: Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti. (Follow your own course, and let people talk)."(3)

Propaganda and criticism have always been bourgeois tools aiming to demonize the proletarian ideology. But as Lenin said,

"The Marxian doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is complete and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world conception which is irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction or defense of bourgeois oppression."(4)
It is the bourgeois media's purpose to vilify anything that threatens their domination; facts are unimportant with its propaganda. It is a fact that police in the United $tates can murder Black people with impunity, while Black people who defend themselves will be punished severely. Similarly, Amerikans defend their right to threaten the lives of heads of state while simultaneously justifying war because other countries feel threatened by Amerikan posturing. There are objective inequalities in these examples that the bourgeoisie attempts to hide, but that are not lost on the masses. As materialists we must take these reports on DPRK, or anything in general, with a scientific microscope, let us draw distinctions on the bourgeois perspective and our own.
"Draw two lines of distinction. First, between revolution and counter revolution... Secondly, within the revolutionary ranks, it is necessary to make a clear distinction between right and wrong, between achievements and shortcomings... To draw these distinctions well, careful study and analysis are of course necessary. Our attitude towards every person and every matter should be one of analysis and study."(5)

Independent proletarian news outlets are necessary to raise class consciousness in our society but also expose everything corrupt and illegal, of U.$. imperialism, with scientific criticism.

[National Oppression] [Maryland]

Stats Show National Oppression in Maryland Prisons

I'm incarcerated in a Maryland State Prison where 76.2% of prisoners are Black (15,386 of the state's 21,194 prison population). Blacks are 18.9% of the state population according to the 2010 census statistics. The state is dominated and governed by white so-called liberals. The laws are enforced unequally, the courts are inherently racist, and the prison population illustrates the disproportionate number of Blacks locked up. Maryland is another Ferguson, Missouri, especially the city of Baltimore where 72% of the Black prison population comes from.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons within the United $tates are used as a tool of national oppression. It was the revolutionary nationalist movements of the 60s and 70s, most notably the Black Panther Party, which terrified the Amerikan government and led to a dramatic rise in imprisonment rates, focused on oppressed nations. As the book The New Jim Crow documented, from the police to the courts to the prisons and back onto the streets systematic national oppression demonizes oppressed nations as an excuse for this imprisonment. We would not just call the courts "racist" though, because racism is an attitude, and we think this goes much further than just attitudes. National oppression is systemic in the courts, and a fundamental part of imperialist economics in general.

[United Front] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 42]

EZLN Prison Chapter Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

My comrades and I of Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) Prison Chapter seek to consolidate with the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We comprehend the importance of growth, unity, and peace within the struggle and are moving to expand political consciousness amongst the oppressed. As of now we are separated and divided within the sensory deprivation chamber and often face blockaded correspondence due to "material that threatens the safety and security" (usually that "material" describes state oppression and advocates peace). However, such restrictions cannot deter our commitment towards the development of political consciousness and ultimately collective liberation.

The war on the oppressed is perhaps at its peak right now. The tyrannical ring leaders have recently unleashed a blitzkrieg of "long-term" isolation on the mass majority of those who are already in isolation. And here in Oregon they're moving to expand their deprivation empire. Only through collective organizing and solidarity can we find peace within.

-Subcomandante Carga