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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 33]
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May Day Strike in Ohio Gained Small Reforms

Greetings to all revolutionary comrades who are captives in the gulags of these United $nakes of Amurderer. In light of the many struggles that have come to the forefront in these past few years I was dismayed at the lack of attention May Day received this year.

Inside the gulag called Ohio State Penitentiary, 30 days prior to May Day 2012 [this was originally published as 2013 - editor] several captives began planning what was hoped to become a massive hunger strike. This was to take place in C-Block where captives considered to be the most violent in the state are held.

The plan was to begin the strike on May 1 to coincide with the general May Day strikes taking place all over the world.

There were about 30 who had decided to go for the long run, but because some paperwork detailing some of our demands and our prospected start date was confiscated haphazardly by an escort pig, we decided on a whim to start a day early. This took the pig-overseers by surprise as some had taken that Monday off work anticipating confronting us at the onset of our demonstration.

So our core began a day early and we were joined by the rest on May Day, giving us a total of about 60 out of 140. By day 6 we were beginning to lose numbers but our point had been made: solidarity and organization can happen inside 23-hour lockdown, even on short notice.

Several pieces were run in the local newspapers. We had the attention of the bourgeoisie who responded negatively to a captive's article on how austerity has caused smaller food portions.

Our main demand was for the ending of the hopelessness of an indefinite classification to level 5-A & 5-B, better known as supermax, of "3 years or more." For so-called lesser offenses, one can receive this same classification for a period of "less than 3 years."

As we began to lose participants Warden D. Bobby decided to address the demands by adding good behavior incentives: extra phone calls, photos every three months, extra visit per month, etc. Basically they were saying that it is our negative behavior that keeps us here. They also began showing 3 new-release movies per week as well as offering lots more mental health and drug abuse programs.

As California has learned, not much changes without massive efforts and solidarity. This attests to our need for further acts of solidarity and organization for struggle, and the development of leadership backed by science to bring about a movement for change.

Thursday, May 23 at 11pm, 20 or so captives began flooding the ranges as backlash to the enforcement of an old rule stating "no loan, borrow, or trading" amongst captives. We remain on lockdown 23/7 while there is one person allowed out of our cell at a time for recreation. In an attempt to stop the passing and sharing of coffee, literature and photos, this captive's rec is terminated if caught passing. Because rec is a so-called guarantee, and it's our only out-of-cell time besides a shower, many rallied to address this. Some even swore to battle the captors if need be to prove their unwillingness to stop passing or give up rec.

A meeting with D. Bobby led to a promise to back off the rule and also give a few more behavioral incentives, and add a few more TV stations; pacification, no real change, and proof for the need of protests on May Day and beyond.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The persecution of prisoners who share literature and coffee is akin to the recent persecution of prisoners for participating in group exercise in California. These policies oppose peace and unity among the prison population. The criminalizing of the passing of literature also helps keep prisoners ignorant and supresses their ability to gain outside support. So we stand in solidarity with these comrades' struggle to oppose such repression. For our take on May Day in North America see our article "Big Fat Elephant in the May Day Dialogue," where we expose the double standard applied by those in the left-wing of white nationalism to workers in the First World compared to those in the Third World.

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[Hunger Strike] [North Kern State Prison] [California]
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Spreading News About Hunger Strike

I've been siting here in North Kern State Prison for the last 3 months waiting to see my counselor so I could get cleared for transfer to my next place of confinement. We don't get much action or anything here, reading material is always hard to come by. But the other day I got the chance to read your Under Lock & Key newspaper and I must admit I liked it, a lot!

Through the grapevine I heard about what was planned for July 8th, 2013, but to be real no one knew if it was true or not. Until reading your newspaper it was just a rumor, and today we know it's not, thanks a lot for the information.


MIM(Prisons) adds: It may seem like information about the hunger strike in California was widely available to prisoners based on the high number of participants, but this letter demonstrates the slow and difficult work involved in building such an action. Each pod, or sometimes each cell, is isolated from all others, and getting information about what's going on depends on the whims of the censors at each prison, who might get transferred, and what outside contacts people have. This is one reason we stress the importance of everyone getting their own subscription to Under Lock & Key. You never know when you will be isolated from your comrades, but as long as you can receive mail you will at least get some news from ULK. In addition, the more people subscribed, the more likely that one or two copies of the newsletter will make it past the censors in any prison.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Texas] [ULK Issue 33]
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Rats Undermine United Front Unity

I have now been put in a terrible dilemma. As I've tediously pursued a path of peace between all other structures, humbly accepted harsh criticism, and deeply entrenched myself and all those I'm entrusted to lead here in Texas in a now awkward ordeal. I've painstakingly strove to clean up my own structure's fumbles and reestablish a mutual trusted bond to the numerous others who speak of their fundamental views which essentially determine how the inner structures function.

Surrounding us who strive for our established agendas are numerous confidential informants and rats who refuse to come out their cell cage and constantly inform to the authority on any of our attempts. Sadly these rats have been studying how we try to heal differences, and move past minor mishaps. Then when given the opportunity, these rats inject ploys which are specifically designed to cause immediate distrust and steps backwards, as it induces paranoia and causes all to erect the walls of defense.

All forward progress I have made has crumbled, as I passed items to another, the booklet on freedom of information, right to communicate, and a kite of explanation. The booklets made it to the other structures, but then the kite disappeared. I had drawn the assumption they had the kite (my bad).

I then moved to pass information to the structure's main spokesperson. Upon arrival of said material, he deduced I was playing and seeking to disrespect him, his creed, ethics, and morals. To avoid a verbal dispute I avoided all until it mellowed out. Then, when he approached me I verified yes, I apologized for the crossed wires, but the rats seen were at negative work and attacked both he and I by falsely filing to alter our medical diets, cell searches, and my legal requests to invoke doubt that I was attacking them, and make me think they were retaliating. This was a massive ploy instigated by the confidential informant rat. At the same time, one of them verbally threatened the rat, and mysteriously he got moved. But, due to the melodramatics the rat was orchestrating, and myself being under the gun, they believed that I initiated and instigated these ploys.

So, I and all I represent are at arms. I have tried to keep honest peace between us, but due to hard heads and extreme views of subordinates they kept the seeds of hate and distrust germinating.

I am designated the lead representative for mine here. All I've tediously striven to build with MIM(Prisons)'s guidance of United Front has been undermined. Now a vicious wedge has been shoved in between us and our ability to move forward. I have tried to speak, apologize for circumstances beyond my control, and offer all we can to resolve the problem. But this is the second time rats have attacked our struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Developing the ideas behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) was the first, easy task. The hard part is actually getting people to look past previous disagreements and conflicts to unite for a common interest. This comrade sheds light on one of the big problems our anti-imperialist organizers face behind bars: the same kinds of covert attacks that the revolutionary movement has faced for years from the government. While prison conditions have done much to bring LOs together to see their common circumstances, there is not much freedom to operate under such repression. It takes careful communication and education to build around these attacks. One thing that we can do to help prevent these problems is educate people about the COINTELPRO-like attacks that will happen to progressives, so that people are on the look-out and aware of what might be done by the pigs.

We want to hear from the various groups and cells that have signed on to the UFPP statement. How have you implemented the principles? What progress and setbacks have you seen? How can we build on each others' experiences? Often we learn more from negative experiences. So send your reports in to Under Lock & Key. We also still welcome statements of unity from groups new to the UFPP. Both help us promote the United Front and the struggle for peace.

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[Spanish] [U.S. Imperialism] [Control Units] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 35]
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La Cultura de la Tortura Amerikana Golpea al Inmigrante

El inmigrante proletario ha sido componente fundamental del incremento en el número de prisioneros en los Estados Unido$ en los últimos años. Debido a ello están sufriendo en sus propias carnes las tácticas de tortura que los Amerikanos utilizan contra sus propios ciudadanos. Un informe reciente muestra que la oficina de Inmigración y Aduanas de los EEUU tiene a más de 300 prisioneros en aislamiento en 50 de sus mayores cárceles, lo que supone un 85% de sus detenidos. La mitad son mantenidos en aislamiento durante 15 o más días y cerca de 35 de los 300 llegan a permanecer en esas condiciones más de 75 días(1).

Aunque estas condenas son relativamente cortas comparadas con las que ya se consideran habituales en los Estados Unido$, las experiencias vividas en ellas son particularmente difíciles para el inmigrante que no habla ingles y han sido víctima del trafico de seres humanos.

Los autores del articulo citado anteriormente relatan con tono cauteloso que los Estados Unido$ usan el aislamiento más "que cualquier otra nación democrática en el mundo." Esto solo indica que es posible que otros países utilicen el aislamiento todavía más. Una de las razones por las que no pueden obtener estadísticas sobre las prácticas carcelarias de algunos países es que éstos son regímenes títeres de los Estados Unido$ que se administran de una forma intencionadamente opaca para permitir formas extremas de opresión contra los pueblos oprimidos. No hemos podido encontrar pruebas de una nación mitológica que torture en confinamiento solitario a más gente que Amerika.

Los Amerikanos encarcelan a más gente que ninguna otra nación incluso excluyendo a aquellos que mantienen en prisiones de terceros países. Con al menos 100,000 personas en aislamiento de larga duración dentro de las fronteras de los EEUU, parece altamente improbable que ningún país pueda superar sus números. Podemos encontrar más pruebas si observamos el estado de las prisiones en la mayoría de los países del tercer mundo, las cuales son más transparentes con su información que cualquier prisión de baja seguridad en los Estados Unido$. Las excepciones a esta regla siempre son los países con gran actividad militar o de inteligencia Amerikana, donde normalmente son los propios Amerikanos los que gestionan las prisiones.(3)

El ciudadano de los EEUU Shane Bauer fue encarcelado con cargos de espionaje por el gobierno de Irán, el cual es independiente de los Estados Unido$. Bauer nos ofrece ejemplos de como sus condiciones en aislamiento se distinguen en lo positivo y en lo negativo de las de aquellos encarcelados en Pelican Bay SHU en California. Lo más llamativo es el tiempo total pasado en aislamiento, que en su caso fue de sólo cuatro meses. Comparándolo con el "democrático" sistema de injusticia de los EEUU, Bauer escribe sobre Iran: "Cuando Josh Fattal y yo finalmente nos presentamos ante la corte revolucionaria de Irán, teníamos un abogado presente, pero no se nos permitió hablar con el. En California un reo que se enfrente a la peor condena posible, con excepción de la de muerte, no puede tener a su abogado en la
sala. No se le permite acumular o presentar evidencias para su defensa. No puede llamar a testigos. Muchas de las pruebas, recabadas por informantes, son confidenciales y por lo tanto imposibles de refutar. Eso fue lo que el Juez Salvati nos dijo después de que la persecución soltase su discurso acerca de nuestro papel en la vasta conspiración Americano-Israelí: había montones de pruebas, pero ni nosotros ni nuestro abogado podíamos verlas."(2)

Cita luego una decisión de la corte de los EEUU: "el juez dictaminó que 'un prisionero no tiene garantía constitucional de inmunidad al haber sido falsa o injustamente acusado de una conducta que pueda resultar en la privación de su libertad.' En otras palabras, es perfectamente legal que las autoridades de la prisión mientan con el objetivo de encerrar a alguien en aislamiento."(2)

La célebre prisión Californiana de "Pelican Bay" informa de un promedio de tiempo de los reos en el SHU (Unidad de Confinamiento Seguro) de 7.5 años. Muchos de los que pelearon por la liberación nacional contra el imperialismo Estadouniden$e han pasado 30 o 40 años en aislamiento en prisiones a lo largo de los Estados Unido$. MIM(Prisons) no conoce informes de ningún otro Estado que utilice el aislamiento como herramienta de castigo hasta estos
extremos.

Las técnicas de tortura desarrolladas en las unidades de control Amerikanas fueron diseñadas para destruir el espíritu combativo de las personas y grupos sociales que desafían el status quo, en particular el imperialismo de los Estados Unido$. Treinta años después de su desaparición, la posesión de materiales del Black Panther Party (Partido de los Panteras Negras) todavía mete a la gente en problemas de forma regular, siendo incluso citados por una infracción del tipo "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad" (Security Threat Group). Éste es el termino Amerikano para los "crímenes de pensamiento".

Puede que estas técnicas se están desarrollando en centros de detención de inmigrantes como forma de disciplina para el proletariado Mexicano que los Amerikanos temen como una fuerza social de cambio. O puede ser un ejemplo de la cultura de una nación opresora extendiendo sus tentáculos hacia otras naciones. Sea como fuere, esta es una de varias formas de opresión que sirve para socavar el mito propagandístico de Amerika como nación que promueve la libertad.

Durante años, los Estados Unido$ han sido criticados por las Naciones Unidas como el principal Estado responsable del uso del aislamiento de larga duración como forma de tortura. Hoy, el Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos dijo, "Debemos ser claros: los Estados Unido$ están en clara violación no solo en sus propios compromisos sino también en leyes internacionales y normas que están obligados a cumplir."(4) Estas palabras figuraban en una declaración dirigida a los 166 extranjeros que llevan más de una década detenidos en la prisión de Guantanamo Bay, muchos sin ningún cargo.

Así como el armamento de alta tecnología no pudo ganar la guerra de los Amerikanos en Afghanistan, las técnicas más sofisticadas de tortura de las modernas unidades de control no pueden acallar el ultraje extendido de las masas que viven bajo el dominio imperialista. Las oportunidades para hacer conexiones internacionalistas en el movimiento de prisiones dentro la fronteras de los EEUU no hace más que crecer a medida que más y más gente de
fuera de esas fronteras son atrapados por el sistema.


Notas:
1. Ian Urbina and Catherine Rentz. Immigrants Held in Solitary Cells, Often for Weeks, New York Times, 23 March 2013.
2. Shane Bauer. Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons, Mother Jones, 18 October 2012.
3. Cora Currier and Suevon Lee. The Secret Prison
ProPublica gathers the best reporting on detention and rendition under Obama, 16 July 2012.
4. Stephanie Nebehay. U.N. rights chief calls for closure of Guantanamo prison, Reuters, 5 April 2013.

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[Spanish]
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Huelga de hambre resumira: demandas de presos de California Tendran que ser cumplidas antes del 8 de Julio

Recientemente el estado de California ha creado lo que ellos llaman el programa "Step Down", el cual nosotros en el SHU de Pelican Bay hemos rechazado. Las huelgas que barrieron las prisiones Amerikanas en el 2011 se iniciaron con la intención de obtener cinco demandas, las cuales el estado no ha concedido hasta el día de hoy. Este Julio se cumplirán dos años desde que la población presa se movilizó por primera vez en torno a estas cinco demandas y el Estado aún sigue fabricando excusas tras excusas y dando vueltas en círculos arrastrando las cosas con promesas y más promesas.

Hemos llegado a lo más profundo para tener algún poco de paciencia que todavía nos quede como personas que han sufrido por años y en algunos casos décadas bajo la tortura brutal del Estado. Y aún así, esta paciencia fue tomado como debilidad, así como todos los opresores toman la paciencia o los buenos gestos que vienen de los oprimidos. Hemos tratado de resolver este asunto con el Estado brutal mediante el diálogo, y mediante acuerdos, sin ningún resultado. ¡Ahora entendemos que como todos los esfuerzos por la dignidad y los derechos humanos esto tomará una gran lucha!

En todos partes del mundo donde la gente luchó la opresión fue mediante la lucha, con actos de sacrificio y desinterés en alguna manera. La ley de dialécticas comprueba que la lucha, el sacrificio y sufrimiento producen justicia, libertad y paz. Una se apoya en la otra en una unidad de oposiciones y una contradicción perpetua y esta es la contradicción en la que hoy los prisioneros nos encontramos y que creo la condiciones para que las huelgas del 2011 salieran a la superficie.

California, como todas la cárceles y prisiones imperialistas, han dependido del tratamiento brutal para poder controlar a sus prisioneros. Es el vivir dentro de una sociedad capitalista que crea estos campos de prisión, estos campos de concentración que capturan a nuestra gente, que capturan a nuestra juventud y nos tienen viviendo bajo una fuerza ocupada, colonizada no solamente físicamente sino también mentalmente. La suerte de nuestras naciones dentro de las prisiones deben de lo que hagamos hoy.

En las últimas décadas el movimiento por los derechos de los presos ha estado estancado en un punto y coma, muchos han sido comprados con la ideología burgués insignificante donde todos buscan el salir adelante y hacer dinero, demasiados buscando el escasísimo en las drogas o el alcohol, muchas veces escucho a los presos hablar sobre "hacerse ricos o morir tratando," pero como dijo el fallecido Prez, "necesitamos liberarnos o morir tratando."

La pregunta es, ¿Continuaremos encerrados en condiciones opresivas o nos levantaremos finalmente y demandamos nuestra dignidad? Más y más de nuestra juventud entra en estos campos de concentración formandose de tras de nosotros y caminando en sincronización al matadero conocido como el SHU o el Hoyo. El estado nos ha arrebatado tantos de nuestros "privilegios." Nuestros seres queridos también sufren por tener que viajar largas distancias para visitarnos, y tener que pagar precios atroces por llamados telefónicas y productos caros, y con todo eso lo seguimos aceptando. Esto ha ocurrido por demasiado tiempo y nuestra paciencia se acabó. Estamos envejeciendo, nuestra salud esta empeorando, nuestra cordura está en peligro bajo estas condiciones crueles y decrépitas que parecen no tener fin. Sin ver luz al final del túnel, seremos nosotros los que tendremos que encender la chispa que creará nuestra propia luz al final del túnel.

Le hemos dado a la prisión hasta el 8 de Julio para cumplir con las demandas del 2011, si no se cumplen, nuestra huelga de hambre continuará ese día. Demandamos ser tratados como seres humanos, no continuaremos siendo torturados. Lo que aprendimos del 2011 fue la represión que vendrá de una protesta no-violenta y muchas ideas han nacido de esto. Aprendimos muchas lecciones desde la última huelga. Lecciones que nos harán mucho más fuertes la próxima vez. Hacemos un llamado a todos los oprimidos para que utilicen el 8 de Julio como grito de huelga y día histórico para llamar la atención a tu sufrimiento, a tu tortura y condiciones agobiantes. Así, les pedimos que todos unidos entremos el 8 de Julio en huelga de hambre en unidad por todos los presos, no solamente en Estados Unidos sino alrededor del mundo.

unidos podemos lograr lo que sea, mientras activemos como uno. Tenemos que recordar que nuestros opresores actúan como uno cuando crean leyes tan severas y botan la llave. Actúan como uno cuando a palos nos rompen la cabeza y nos someten a condiciones tortuosas. No importa sus antecedentes formación o nacionalidad, sus botas y palos se sienten igual en nuestros cuerpos. Así también usemos todos los presos esta unidad en un frente unido en el cual cada calabozo forme sus propias demandas el 8 de Julio para mejorar las condiciones donde sea que te encuentres.

Todavía quedan algunos meses para que llegue esta fecha, y es mejor tener tiempo para preparar la mente y estar listos. California ha iniciado a desarrollar zonas de paz en todas la cárceles y prisiones donde los presos y a no se pelean entre ellos mismos, oprimiendose los unos a los otros. Ahora, en vez de guerrear entre nosotros, los presos en California están buscando maneras de mejorar sus condiciones de vida. Estamos promoviendo la paz y creando zonas de paz en todas la instituciones. Están con la mirada fija hacia en verdadero opresor y desarrollando una cultura más revolucionaria en todas las prisiones, cárceles y centros de detención juvenil. Solamente creando un ambiente más revolucionario es como el verdadero cambio puede llegar y no solamente en nuestras condiciones en la prisión, sino también en nuestras relaciones en los los unos y los otros detrás y dentro de estas paredes de la prisión. Hay que crear estas zonas y mirar a aquellos que también están cautivos como luchadores en contra del mismo opresor.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [Central Prison] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 33]
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NC Prisoners take 23 to Court over Assaults

Sitting here I thought I would touch base and let you know that the pigs in Raleigh got caught red-handed. I'm in an eight-plaintiff lawsuit against 23 defendants, including the former and present wardens at Central prison.

Last year they put a guy in a wheelchair. Pigs were aware that the cameras didn't record or even have the capacity to record in certain areas and would put prisoners in restraints and then beat them down. They broke several of my ribs.

We are working on getting new cameras and a video retention policy, which currently they don't have. I have been working like hell to get a light shown on these corrupt pigs so as the hunger striker said in ULK 24, "Let's Rock!!"

The case is: Stanley Earl Corbett et al., v Warden GJ Branker et al., U.S.D.C. Eastern District of NC Western Division, No. 5:10-CT-3135

Defendants

  1. Warden GJ Branker
  2. Warden Kenneth Lassiter
  3. Sgt. James Reed
  4. Sgt. Mildred Prado
  5. Off. Doyle Holloman
  6. Off. Melanie Lancaster
  7. Off. Timmie Hicks
  8. Off. Samuel James
  9. Lt. Michael Norris
  10. Lt. Brent Soucier
  11. Off. Moore
  12. Off. Press
  13. Off. Summerlin
  14. Off. Arthur Marsh Jr.
  15. Off. Oates
  16. Off. Bidwell
  17. Off. Lassiter
  18. Off. Marcel Colleymore
  19. Off. Tyson
  20. Off. Alexander
  21. Off. Jared Welch
  22. Off. Ben
  23. Off. Hunt


MIM(Prisons) adds: We commend the prisoners who came together to organize this suit against difficult odds in a state where law libraries do not exist. Yet, demanding cameras to address this one instance will do nothing to stop the inhumane, physical abuse that is meted out at a conspiratorial level. Abuse like this has led to multiple hunger strikes and other demonstrations in recent years in North Carolina prisons.

Of course, the Department of Public Safety turns around and accuses ULK of promoting violence and lawlessness, having censored every issue we've put out since November 2011. As the rampant abuse and corruption of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety comes to light, we have comrades struggling against these abuses on many different fronts including censorship, grievance procedures and physical brutality, as well as education and recruitment on the inside. And despite all the censorship, as one reader points out, it seems interest in Under Lock & Key only continues to grow.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Economics] [Theory] [ULK Issue 33]
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Latino Patriot or Fascist?

It should be very disturbing when young Latinos from so-called "War Zones", and Texas urban centers — infested with drugs, gangs, prostitutes, pimps, young men from broken homes, raised by the State, in foster care, or juvenile prisons — can look you in the face and speak with prestige about U.$. political systems and social institutions, giving the impression of "legitimacy" when referring to U.$. democracy, freedom, justice, and "social mobility".

This past week the local news station for the San Antonio area aired a special report about a strengthening Mexican economy. The report talked about Mexican consumption reaching levels unprecedented in history, Mexican buying power, and this consumption being fed by U.$. products and production. It included images of bourgeoisified Mexicans holding up a sign with an image of a U.$. flag that said "Made In The USA". This report aired as President Obama visited Mexico and Centro America. One Latino patriot started singing "I'm proud to be an American, Where at least I know I'm free," sparking heated debate across the viewing area.

Another moment of patriotic sentiment was recently expressed when an article was published in the San Antonio Express Newspaper. Ex-State Representative, and self-proclaimed "Hispanic," Henry Cisneros (D) revealed a "philanthropic and humanitarian aid" initiative for the State of Chiapas in Mexico, backed by U.$. financiers. The article stressed the extreme poverty and economic woes of the region. Mr. Cisneros was quick to exaggerate a connection between his own ethnic roots and the City of San Antonio, Texas, as a backdrop for the plan expected to build "international bridges" and raise the living standards of Mexico's "wretched." These "Mexican-Americans" I'm surrounded by were quick to point out the article as an indicator of U.$. international efforts at "nation building," and how our political system here in the States allowed a "Mexican-American" to become a representative not only for the "raza" in Texas, but all the way in Chiapas. What the article didn't mention, and nobody seemed to notice, is that Chiapas is partly under "rebel control." The EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) and the Mexican Federal Government are engaged in low-intensity warfare for the land, hearts, and loyalty of the citizens of Chiapas and most of Southern Mexico. Could it be that Mr. Cisneros is being used as a Brown face for U.$. imperialism? Could the U.$. humanitarian aid be a cover for undermining the insurgents' efforts to gain legitimacy by building infrastructure inside the barricaded "rebel zones" in Chiapas? Wake up people!!!

The strongest argument these Patriots have is: if our living standards are raised, buying capacity strengthened, and struggles of life eased, what's the problem? If a "Mexican-American" can be elected into office, representing Latinos locally and internationally, what is so wrong with our political and economic systems? They say we need more [email protected] in office, and that we need to exercise our rights to vote, and take advantage of every opportunity available, before we point the finger hollering "oppression!" That's the attitude of these fools.

I owe my political development to MIM(Prisons), but I'm just not advanced enough in my understanding of capitalism and imperialism to effectively challenge these views raised when I criticize U.$. domestic and foreign relations. When i speak about communism as an alternative, the programming is reflected by smart remarks about oppressive regimes that sprang up after communists seized power in countries like Cuba, Korea, and Vietnam. China is referenced as a communist system in their minds. The word communism raises so many fears and scares folks away. I don't know how to raise arguments to fight all the negative stigma surrounding communism. I don't know how to effectively strike at the image of legitimacy and prestige seated deep in the consciousness of these herd-minded sheeple (sheep-people). Lumpen prisoners need to understand where their real long-term interests are at. It's not with the maintenance of the Empire, or replacing the conservative white politician with a liberal [email protected] Please help!


MIM(Prisons) responds: First let us quickly address the title to this comrade's essay, as many throw around the term fascist in their letters to us, but we print it here in line with our very specific definition of the term (see our Fascism and Contemporary Economics study pack for more background info).(1) As we will explore more deeply in our forthcoming book on the First World lumpen class, the combination of wealth in this country and the precariousness of the lumpen class makes for a potentially radical, but potentially pro-capitalist, pro-exploitation political base that would team up with the most brutal imperialists. It is for this reason that we take seriously the task of reconnecting the lower class of the oppressed nations with their radical anti-imperialist histories and interests.

Ultimately communists are educators. Some who read Marx mechanically will say that communism is inevitable, period. However, Marx's theory that communism would replace capitalism was based in the idea that the masses of people would, for the first time in hystory, gain a scientific understanding of society and how to guide it to meet their needs. This requires a conscious effort of people to study, understand and teach others. Without that we remain trapped at the whims of social forces beyond our control, determined by a powerful elite who only teach us to be good consumers.

In the imperialist countries this is not just a question of "waking up" or educating people, as there is an economic interest in maintaining the system that gives us all the material wealth that we enjoy at the expense of the Third World. So we are focused on building minority movements while splitting the unity of those who would oppose a transformation of society to a more just and sustainable mode of production. When we have people sitting in prison so twisted in the head that they are singing patriotic songs about Amerika "where at least I know I'm free," we know we have room to expand our influence.

The question of how to reach these potential allies is of utmost importance to us. One piece to addressing this is training our existing allies theoretically. The forthcoming book, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán, will give comrades an example of how to push Maoism in the context of Aztlán. This will be especially helpful for those narrow nationalists who won't listen to you tell them how great China was under socialism. However, we must also study Chinese socialism, because they accomplished things no other society has to date; Chinese socialism led the way up until 1976. A new bourgeoisie rose to power within the "Communist Party," which remains the name of the capitalist leaders who have led China down a disastrous road for the last 37 years. We have many good books on China and MIM Theory 4: A Spiral Trajectory, which takes a look at some of the other socialist experiments of the past.

Of course, most will not jump right into theoretical study, which is why our education work requires agitational work. It is up to those of us with the theoretical knowledge and understanding to translate the most pressing contradictions in our society into simple, stand-alone ideas that can be repeated over and over to the masses in a way that will resonate, build understanding and support. The mission of Under Lock & Key is to be an agitational tool among the prison masses. This is where we try to put forth our theory in short pieces that will make people think critically and act.

While the majority of the world has a clear interest in ending imperialism, in the United $tates we have to be more creative. We focus on prisons and other state repression that seriously threatens a minority of people in this country. For the oppressed nations we can also draw connections to their people's histories and how imperialism impacts those places as this comrade did with Chiapas. And for the majority of Amerikans who aren't affected by those things, we still have the destruction of the environment and the never-ending threat of war that are inherent contradictions within capitalism, easily remedied by ending the profit motive. As long as we are guided by the correct theory, we can try all sorts of agitational tactics and test them in the real world. It is through this practice, and sharing our experiences with each other, that we can learn what works best.

Note: Fascism is "a movement of mixed elements, dominantly petit-bourgeois, but also slum-proletarian and demoralized working class, financed and directed by finance-capital, by the big industrialists, landlords and financiers, to defeat the working-class revolution and smash the working-class organizations." R. Palme Dutt, Fascism and Social Revolution: How and Why Fascism Came to Power in Europe

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Prison Fakes Violence Threats to Prosecute Activist Prisoner

On April 22 I was on the dorm in my cubicle doing my exercise, and the STG and safe prisons officer came in and ordered me to step out into the hallway. I stepped out, somewhat baffled, thinking that they were about to tear my house up because of a grievance I had written over the weekend. That's exactly what they did.

Forty-five minutes later I was called down to the warden and sent to the major's office. Once I went, the captain showed me my grievance and asked me if I had written it. I told him I did, then he pulled out about seven request forms that are called I-60s, and told me "you wrote these too, didn't you?" Then he started reading them, there were threats of harming officers, threats of blowing up the unit, and sexually explicit statement directed at a female sergeant. Now none of this was in my writing, but I was accused of it. We went back and forth over this stupid ass incident and then they let me go back to my dorm.

When I walked into my cubicle I saw that my bunk was flipped over and my personal property and legal papers were scattered everywhere. I went back to the major and told him to see what his subordinates had done. He came, saw, and went off on the safe prisons guy, who lied and said that the female sergeant had flipped my heavy ass bunk by herself. Twenty minutes later, another officer told me to pack up my stuff, and before I could finish, they told me to go to the infirmary. At that point I already knew they were about to lock me up.

Now remember, we are talking about bomb threats and killing officers. But instead of handcuffing me and escorting me to infirmary and then Ad-Seg, they let me roam free to do it myself. At that point, I already knew it was some type of conspiracy. A retaliation for writing grievances on two officers. The first officer had two grievances (sexual harassment and sexual misconduct). The second officer had one grievance (sexual discourteous conduct). Now for them to retaliate would be a violation of their own PD-13 and 22 rules of their agency's policy. Also, it is a violation of my First Amendment rights. This has led me to begin the process of a civil suit.

I was found guilty of disciplinary based upon a so-called handwriting specialist, employed by my accusers, and by false witness testimony. In other words: they painted the picture to suit their cause, I am being viewed as some type of monster, especially since we just had a major explosion here in the city of West, Texas.

And just five days ago on 5-3-13, another inmate back here in segregation with me was falsely accused of having made a statement about blowing the unit up. Found guilty, he is being shipped to maximum high security along with me. Now I may not be the smartest criminal on the face of the earth. But I'm damn sure not the dumbest. What kind of moron writes a grievance and puts his name on it, and then writes several threats, and sends them off, knowing that everything is going to go to the warden?

Anything to slow me down, they tried. The whole court system down here in Texas is on some "good 'ol boy" type mentality. They're all scratching each others' backs. From municipal, all the way up to Federal. It's crooked down here.

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[Political Repression] [Abuse] [Perry Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 33]
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South Carolina Stops Grievance Challenge Process

I have been here five months now and I have yet to leave my cage with the exception of being moved from different dorms. These pigs move me around to different segregated dorms once they get whiff that I am helping brothers litigate.

As of April 30, 2013, Ms. Ann Hallman of the Inmate Grievance Branch has changed Grievance Policy GA-01.12. She says that we cannot write an Inmate Grievance Coordinator (IGC) up because they unprocessed our grievances. We can no longer challenge the violation or status of our complaints. Basically she gave all the IGCs the authority to continue to violate our rights dealing with the grievance procedure.

Comrade Huey told us to always keep your eyes on the pigs, that is why I see ahead of time the nonsense that's about to explode like a nuclear bomb. I have repeatedly shown brothers that "pushing paperwork works." All it takes is a pen, paper, dedication, spirit, and effort, still yet all you hear is talk, talk, more talk and "snitching." We must come together in united action against the system.


MIM(Prisons) responds: South Carolina is a state where the USW grievance campaign has not yet reached. Initiated in California, this campaign has spread to many other states, with petitions now customized for Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas. This is a battle for grievance reforms within a fundamentally corrupt system. But the grievance system is the primary way that prisoners can legally fight for their limited rights, and often these rights are tied up with survival and freedom to organize and educate others. We agree with this comrade that "pushing paperwork works" to achieve these goals, at least some of the time. We must defend these rights as a key tactical battle in building the anti-imperialist movement within the criminal injustice system. Write to us to get a sample copy of this grievance petition to customize for your state.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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SNY Prisoner Finds Unity in CA Goals

Just so you know, I'm in support of any list of demands, regardless of who presents them. And I support the ones you have outlined in your February 8th letter, especially the one that calls for an end to our torturous conditions. In fact, this is one of the issues I am about to under take with regards to our outdated and disfunctional ventilation system.

Just to give you some insight, when I arrived here in June of 2012 with temperatures that were averaging 90 degrees, which made for cell temperatures that exceeded 95 degrees due to the disfunctional ventilation. After conducting my own investigation, I learned that Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) does not have swamp coolers like most other prisons here in California have. No, they built this place with low grade air circulators, which are now 25 years old and are out of date especially in light of what is now called, "Global Warming." Last year we all experienced the highest temperatures ever recorded!

Now I must explain the second portion of this equation, how when RJD converted this yard to a level 4 Special Needs Yard, they covered the bottom of our cell doors, which normally had a 2" to 3" gap to allow for a natural flow of air; that gap is approximately l" now. Thirdly, RJD was one of the 1st of the "270" [the name of the design style] prisons built in California, and when they built it they did not put exhaust vents in our shower stalls, this has allowed steam and humidity to collect in our dayroom area, which in turn gets picked up and circulated into our cells. Additionally, all of the newer "270" designed prisons are equipped with three huge exhaust fans that are mounted on the dayroom ceiling. In any event, this old and out-dated system is creating a very dangerous living condition. I guarantee you, if everyone were to knock out their cell windows, front and back, at a cost of $90.00 each, they would get right and fix these air handlers! I'm going to assemble, and file a writ of mandate in hopes of getting the courts to make them replace these air circulators. In my exhausted 602, they admitted that they need to replace them but, that there was no money in the budget, and that statement alone might be the rope I need to hang'em in court! If not, the only other solution is kicking out windows.

Alright, I won't take up all of your time with the problems that we're experiencing here, but, I will tell you to take note of an article that was done by Paige St. John from the L.A. Times, Dated March 19, 2013 9:41 AM, which clearly illustrates what's going on here at RJD with regards to our medical and mental health care, check it out, its a good read. the article is entitled, "Experts say three prisons fail to provide adequate health care."

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