The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[United Front] [Idealism/Religion] [Colorado State Penitentiary] [Colorado]
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Breaking the Colorado Ad-Seg Cycle of Violence

Less than a week ago I progressed from Colorado's control units (or what our lying Governor called "restrictive housing") to the new maximum custody status. For a step into progress it feels like regression. Guards not only disrespect you blatantly, but come up with ways to make slick comebacks to our most basic requests. The deal is this: we are one foot out of segregation with one foot still in. If we mess up here, we will be sent back to the hole. And the guards are creating more hostile environments to get us to combat one another. Revolutionary education has never been more needed.

A few days ago, a New Afrikan and a Chicano got into a fight. The fight really wasn't more than a two-punch-it's-over type of thing; both individuals hit each other one time. But that triggered a wave of 30+ guards to our unit that at the time only had five people there! Two guards came in with shotguns that were loaded with rubber bullets, which do penetrate skin. This is new. Pepper spray was once used to end fights.

Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Rick Raemisch implemented new measures to rid the state of administrative segregation. But what this really did was create new titles for the same program. Only now, what little comfort we had is now all gone: food items off canteen gone, all tea, kool-aid, and other comfort items are gone. TVs now will be given after 90 days. So even if you've completed your punitive time from your other facility, it doesn't count when you arrive in solitary at Colorado State Penitentiary.

Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) has effectively created one of the most intensively repressive systems Colorado has ever seen. Mr. Raemisch has instated runaway wardens to create lockdowns and other tensions at these places.

In the United States of Amerikkka there is no such thing as rights, only power struggles. I've not seen a yard in a year. I've spent this time trying to educate myself so that I will be ready to educate my people when I finally do get to a yard. Colorado isn't a place where there are very many hard followed political lines. Unlike California, nations aren't necessarily separated. It makes Colorado a prime spot to build peace among people to pave the way for better living.

It angers me how many "spiritualists" fight demons in the spiritual realm while waiting for a higher power to step in. I feel that all religion, with the exception of militant political Islam, encourages people to just accept their society as it is and do absolutely nothing to change it. These same spiritualists should invest time in changing these conditions in the physical realm to free all oppressed people now, and who knows maybe it will bring about a better world. Those who, through fear or fucked up character, embrace organized religion in prison to cop out or find some sense of self, need to find some sense of reality. These places get worse until we unite and make them better. This requires structure, discipline, leadership and hierarchy. There is no other way.

New blood must be given to this system. Education is the key to make any situation better.


MIM(Prisons) adds: To create conflict and excuses for repression we see prison workers set up conflicts between different nations. Just like this fight between a [email protected] and New Afrikan, it could be over anything but the prison has an interest in promoting division between prisoners. This is just one reason why we need a United Front for Peace in Prisons. This United Front is building peace and unity among the oppressed in prison, and then turning that unity into growth through revolutionary education. Together we can take a stand against the criminal injustice system.

While we agree with this comrade that religion is used as an excuse to wait for a higher power to bring change, we do see a role for religious groups in the United Front. Those who truly believe in putting an end to people's suffering should step up and take a role in organizing against the oppressors. The liberation theologists in that were very popular in the 1980s in Latin America provide a solid example for this revolutionary organizing. They broke with the individualism of religions that calls all outcomes "fate" and leaves people to pray for a change that will only come through action. While Maoists are scientists who do not believe in the idealism of religion, we will not force these views on others who take up the struggle on behalf of the oppressed. We expect scientific thinking to spread to all people over time once the oppressed have been liberated and given a chance to learn and think freely.

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[United Front] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 42]
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Brown Berets - Prison Chapter of Colorado Join United Front for Peace

The Brown Berets - Prison Chapter of Colorado would like to join on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). We adhere to all that is listed and we see the need for the UFPP as a major building block not only to create a better culture, but to build better people.

Peace – We stand by this principle, because within our disunity and conflict the system will always prevail.

Unity – The guards are a solid unit, and back up their own 100% of the time. It's time that all of us convicted comrades see past our internal structures when it comes to defending against mistreatment and abuse by the guards. We will back all convicted comrades 100%.

Growth – Education and deliberation, this is a way to develop revolutionary mindsets to set us on a path toward communist ideology. It only works with structure and discipline.

Internationalism – We stand with all oppressed people, their political struggles and their fights for freedom. We will learn of the historical basis for these movements and side with all nations combating U.$. intervention, occupation, exploitation and imperialism. Free Gaza!

Independence – Not only is it important to build institutions apart from the United $tates, we also need to tell the truth by showing examples as to why this is necessary. We support all secession movements and support all liberation struggles within U.$. borders. The military occupied government of this monstrosity we call the United $tates has gone for too long and we support all who wish to break free.

Long live independence!
Remember Wounded Knee!
Unite!


MIM(Prisons) replies: As this comrade writes, unity is something the guards have and we need to work on. But this doesn't mean we should back up all prisoners 100% of the time. Sometimes people who sensibly should be on our side will act in ways that are counter to the interests of the oppressed. We don't have an obligation to back them in these actions. Rather than backing people based on identity (i.e. all prisoners) we should back people based on the correctness of their political line and actions.

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[United Front] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 42]
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New Afrikan Uhuru Movement Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

I have incorporated the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons into the fabric of my organization here in the penal colony in the state of Maryland. We are the New Afrikan Uhuru Movement, and our aim is to elevate the level of consciousness of the convict class from that of a criminal mindset to a socio-political revolutionary consciousness.

We have adopted MIM as our educational ministry. Our educational curriculum is designed to render to each member, and civilian supporter, a contemporary approach to revolutionary ideology aimed at destroying this machine called capitalism. We are educating our comrades about the evils of imperialism, and economic exploitation and political alienation of the proletariat. We believe firmly in the dictatorship of the proletariat. We are resolved in the belief that the class system produced by capitalism must be destroyed. We believe that the western global aspiration of "democracy" is nothing more than a cover for hegemony.

Based on the implementation of the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons we have systematically reduced the level of violence and exploitation of prisoners against prisoners greatly. We have a long way to go but we believe that political education is the key to our liberation. Thank you for your continued support and count us among your extended branches.

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[United Front] [Will County Adult Detention Facility] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 42]
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Declaration of Unity for the United Front for Peace in Prisons

We, the members of GBW & Associates, and the residents of the Will County Adult Detention Facility who shall this day, and henceforth, willingly pledge their allegiance to this Declaration of Unity, and consequently to the United Front for Peace in Prisons, state that:

  1. The imperialist oppressors, having dominated over the poor, the impoverished, the weak, and the innocent, all to their great harm and injury, are deserving of no loyalty or fealty, and must be fought against utilizing every tool available;
  2. The principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, to wit, Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, and Independence, provide a core of unity among the oppressed masses in prisons in the United States; and
  3. These principles shall be adhered to by every person who reports to fight against imperialism and the tyrannical system of exploitation known as capitalism and the subsequent evils propagated by such system.

For the foregoing reasons, we hereby enter into covenant, and pledge to uphold the five principles, to defend the Declaration of Unity, and to promote the peace and welfare of all mankind.

We further pledge to defend and protect the poor, the weak, the innocent, and the oppressed utilizing any tools available; to utilize all possessed skills and talents to fight against imperialist oppressors; and to show our loyalty and devotion to any person reporting to do the same.

Be it enacted this tenth day of October: In the year of the common era two thousand and fourteen, by the unanimous consent of the undersigned GBW & Associates, residents of the Will County Adult Detention Facility.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This statement comes from a group of jailhouse lawyers specializing in prisoners' rights advocacy and litigation. Recognizing that they have skills specifically important to the legal arena of our anti-imperialist battle, these comrades have built an independent institution of the oppressed. This sets a good example for everyone: you should get in wherever you fit in. If you are an artist, get involved by creating revolutionary art. If you are a writer, submit articles for Under Lock & Key. If you are bilingual, help out with Spanish translation. And for everyone, constantly study and learn. Join the MIM(Prisons)-led study groups, and form your own local study groups. We can provide literature and study guides, but it's up to you to get involved, contribute work, and build independence.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 42]
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3BKingdom Joins UFPP

The Black Blood Brotha and Sistahood known as the 3BKingdom is a government of guerrilla revolutionary freedom fighters whose long-term objective is to be Black leaders over our destinies. With this objective in mind we know and understand this cannot be done without a revolution. The 3BKingdom uses knowledge of self and people to recruit people who were known for gang banging, educating them in order for them to become revolutionarily conscious, and making them true revolutionaries fighting for a true cause instead of being puppets for the establishment, killing and beefing with one another for nothing at all. As we continue to grow we understand that it is important that we make alliances with organizations who stand on similar principles in hopes to network and broaden our views to strengthen our solidarity amongst the masses so we can succeed in the revolution. We are against the establishment and we pledge our alliance to the united front to turn these concentration camps into guerrilla revolutionary freedom fighter training camps. I hope that you all accept the 3Bkingdom into the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

There are a few of my brothers here who have participated in your study group and it has received great reviews, so it is our decision to make all our members, once they pass a certain level of their studies, join MIM study groups.


MIM(Prisons) adds:We want to team up with United Front members to develop educational programs. We need local comrades to teach basic reading and writing first. Literate comrades can join our correspondence courses to develop their political studies. Once there is someone with some political background to lead local study groups, we can provide study guides and books. Your group can also develop its own study guides around what topics you are studying and submit them to us for possible distribution to other study groups. Let's grow together.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Militarism] [Colorado]
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Building Unity Against Militarized Guards

Picture a 6-man goon squad, in full riot gear with a gun, a barrel of tear gas, and an electric riot shield. And now realize that this tactic is used on us prisoners any time we get out of line for any reason. This particular incident happened over a flooded cell, broken state TV, and covered window. Not only was a comrade gassed, the pigs shot him two times with 30mm rubber bullets at close range.

What we're seeing first hand is the militarization of prison guards, but it's also an attack upon our psyche. The gas, the riot gear, and the shock shield are all visual reminders of the pigs' control and what is supposed to result in our subservience. This action can take place at any time the pigs feel a threat to the order of the prison. What threats could we possibly cause behind a steel door in the presence of 6 fully armored and armed guards? When these situations happen the pigs turn off the vents so when they get gassed we taste it too.

I often spend long hours thinking about why such an awful use of force is ued for something so benign. In MIM Theory 5 it is said that one can't go on increasingly repressed by fascism forever. And while premature armed struggle is a hindrance, doing nothing at all is even more detrimental.

We spend more time fighting over small and insignificant bullshit, and we let the pigs take advantage of our disorganization. We fill our time checking our paperwork or fighting petty beefs, and the more we do this, the more important it becomes, until eventually it becomes a belief system that causes our own subservience. We need to look past what the DAs tell us and pay attention to what is happening right now.

There are many prisoners who love the United $tates, those who do not understand the evil it causes abroad, nor domestic slavery it's done here. For those who are struggling, keep engaged. It's our duty to fight injustice and racism, and unite. Unity is a deep concept. It's a constant struggle to help someone who's not from your own and it means reaching out being the first one to overlook what keeps us at one another and lets the pigs run all over our rights. If you're not doing something you're feeding the problem. Educate, teach, unite, fight back.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade underscores some important points that are part of the United Front for Peace in Prison. First there is the principle of Peace; we fight for peace while the prison guards stir up and perpetuate violence. "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."

Second there is the principle of unity; we must build unity even when it means taking the first step to overlook differences. "We strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."

We call on all individuals and organizations to study the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles, join the UFPP, and build unity in your prison.

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[United Front] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 40]
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United the Power of the People Can Defeat the CDCR

USW SNY

I'm checking in from RJ Donovan Correctional Facility in California, where the conditions of confinement are getting harder and harder to tolerate. Here there are a few comrades in the administrative segregation unit (ASU) from both sides of the prison system, mainline as well as Special Needs Yards (SNY), studying and struggling together to overcome the oppression of being punished for submitting inmate appeals.

The pigs that run this unit are giving the prisoners who stand up for their rights half issues of already substandard meals. They also move us from cell to cell at least five or six times a month, and always into a cell with someone who is mentally challenged and disruptive. Some cells are painted with human defecation and urine, and the staff doesn't bother to clean them or provide any cleaning supplies. Some comrades have been physically attacked and have had their personal property passed out to the rats and snitches.

While these are not infrequent unconstitutional violations here, most of the prisoners are afraid to speak up. The theory and actions these officers display is truly terroristic in nature, and the officials allow them to act with impunity.

So I have made it my mission to lead as well as organize and participate in a campaign to stop these abuses here and wherever my feet touch behind these walls. These abuses range from stealing our personal property to creating false charges against us, from denying pens and forms to withholding our mail and yard time, while they sit in the dayroom and eat the state issue items missing from our lunches and dinners.

On a better note, our study group is up to ten in just one week as the brothers of all races and both sides hear us dialogue about the commonality of our situation. Like the brother in ULK 33, I too am SNY and I know there are good strong comrades over here on this side. What people don't understand is that a lot of youngsters have a theory that older brothers "are like leaves on trees" meaning the older ones have to be knocked off so new leaves can grow. This is wrong thinking and a self-defeating tactic.

It's hard for me to understand how some people are fighting to end oppression and hate, knowing the role that the media plays in it all, and then they allow a designation of SNY by the statesman architect of hate and repression to separate us because we'd rather leave our organization and have a chance at parole than stay and end up taking a young brother's life.

I spent 15 years in the prison system of the 80s and 90s. I've done my dirt, put in my work. I'm not an animal who just follows his base instincts. I'm a leader and I'm standing for all these brothers who put their faith in my leadership. A true leader will never send one of his warriors to do battle while he stays behind. Further I stand on the ten point program established by the Black Panther Party and we hold the principles of Under Lock & Key to be of the utmost import.

I truly believe in what the Black Panther Party said when they stated that the power of the people is greater than man's technology. But the people's power has to be organized. As the Vietnamese people, who began their war for liberation with only bows and arrows, we must begin ours with pen and paper. And just as they defeated the most powerful military on earth, with determination, internationalist politics and organization by all oppressed people inside and outside these walls we'll be victorious as well.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have published a number of articles on the debate over SNY prisoners and we stand with this comrade in arguing that solid anti-imperialist comrades can be found on SNY yards. We look at someone's history of political work and political line rather than the label that the administration gives them. This comrade's call for unity is in line with the United Front for Peace in Prisons which brings together individuals and groups behind bars to build peace and unity against the common enemy of the criminal injustice system.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [United Front] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Segregation is Torture, Unite to Fight Common Enemies

I've been relocated to Ad-Seg which is, of course, the hole. Life in here is as bad as it's ever been. It's been a while since last I was in Ad-Seg and the sad reality is that not too much has changed. A lot has gotten worse. We're kept in our cells for twenty four hours a day. We're given "yard," that is in 10 feet by 10 feet cages which are known as dog kennels, every third day for two hours. It fluctuates but that's pretty much the program. We're given showers every third day as well.

The worst part about being locked in confinement is the overwhelming oppression. The lack of sunlight and movement really does a number on one's mental state. Which is why they monitor us so closely here. We're counted every half hour and they have a crew of psych doctors constantly making circuits around the tiers. From what I understand the suicide rate is pretty high here. So they keep a close eye on us. I've been locked up back here since early May and I'll be here until later this month (June) or early next month. The sad part is that even though I'll be getting out there are a lot of brothers back here who won't be getting released for a long time. A lot of them are youngsters too.

It makes me feel so bad seeing all of these good young brothers in here sacrificing themselves for no reason. The LO violence here at Calipatria is back in full swing. There was a riot recently between the Mexican/Chicanos and the Blacks. The foolishness here in Cali continues. It's time we wake up and get our shit together and stop fighting against each other and start working with each other. Only then can we make progress. The sad truth in Cali is that racial divisions are deeply embedded in us. It's been this way since the eighties and who knows when we'll overcome it. But overcome it we must. So I call on all those LOs with any influence to reexamine the big picture. We are all in the same boat and it's in all our best interest to unite. As the saying goes united we stand divided we fall.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade reminds us why we have a campaign to shut down prison control units. Short term isolation is enough to dramatically harm people's mental and physical health, and in the United $tates prison system many prisoners are locked up for years in isolation units like this prisoner's describes. The call for unity is well placed as we agree with this comrade that oppressed groups coming together is the best chance to fight against the oppressor. This principle of unity is particularly important to the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We encourage all our readers to organize for unity and peace for the September 9 solidarity demonstration this year, when our peaceful unity and protest can be a starting point for future united actions and peace agreements among organizations and individuals.

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[Control Units] [United Front] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 39]
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Colorado Organization Builds for Peace, Activists Locked up in Segregation

I am chairman of New Aztlan - the Young Brown Berets which works to promote the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We are an anti-imperialist group which focuses upon militancy and revolutionary doctrine; our main audience is Chicanos and Native Americans, united in struggle to expose racist agendas in the injustice system. The term Young applies to those in our group who range from 18-30. We attract a lot of non-gang members and de-active members alike. We stand in the pursuit of self-determination, bridging the gap of racism and uniting all people for the cause of dignity, human rights, and national liberation of all conscientious people. We've opened up our work with all minority and resistance groups of all colors.

Due to political retaliation by the guards in Colorado prisons, I've been moved to solitary confinement, in Colorado's highest security prison. Recently, the DOC headquarters told the public that it will put an end to administrative segregation (Ad-Seg). The 23 hours a day spent in total isolation with a TV to babysit us is no longer going to happen. Yet, all it did was to create an even more complicated form of isolation. Ad-Seg has turned into maximum security, with 3 levels to progress into the general population. Class one writeups which carry potential street charges are now given for fights, and other actions that can be perpetuated at any time by any guard.

STG-affiliated members can be sent to Ad-Seg for no reason other than the notion of a perceived threat. Unity of any type threatens the prison system and any prisoners caught taking any action will be subjected to the cruel imagination of the guards. I was denied soap and all hygiene items including a shower for 21 days, all due to my proclamation of my membership as part of a community. It's ok, it's worth the time I've spent alone, in fact your ULK was revealed to me while I was in Ad-Seg.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The United Front for Peace in Prisons builds for peace and unity amongst the oppressed, with an anti-imperialist platform. As more and more organizations like this across the country sign on to the United Front, we are working to implement these principles on the ground. We know that in the early stages many who take up this struggle will face long-term isolation as they become very real threats to the violent, predatory ways promoted by the U.$. prison system. Yet, as more courageous leaders step forward a critical mass will be reached that make the state's tools of repression less effective. We offer study groups and individual study materials for our comrades behind bars, programs that are especially important for those locked up in solitary confinement with no other contact with the outside world. We urge our comrades to make good use of their time behind bars to study and build, whether in isolation or general population.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Gender] [ULK Issue 40]
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From Unity to Collective Liberation; Learning to Unite Against Gender Oppression

Just recently I finished studying a book from PM Press by Chris Crass titled Towards Collective Liberation. This was one of the best political/activist books I've read, and it has been vital in helping me clarify my political vision and goal for creating liberating and transformative change within myself and the world.

I was not aware how this system of divide-and-control creates and utilizes divisions along the lines of gender (sexism), sexuality (homophobia), ability (elder discrimination), and nationality (anti-immigrant rights) to maintain its ruling-class dominance. This lack of awareness of these systems of oppression along the lines of gender, sexuality, ability, and nationality caused me to be completely numb to and disinterested in any struggles for justice and equality as it relates to gender equality and reproductive rights, LGBT rights, elder rights, and immigrant rights.

Prior to reading Toward Collective Liberation, I would not have come close to embracing any struggles remotely dealing with feminism or LGBT rights, partly out of fear of being viewed by my heterosexual male peers as weak, feminine, or even gay. I now see how such a concern is in and of itself sexist and homophobic in nature and is indicative of my own internalized values of sexist/heterosexist male superiority. All women and LGBT people are human beings deserving of our respect and collective support as they too struggle for equality, basic human rights, and the right to live their lives freely, without hindrance, slander, ridicule or discrimination.

Having been in prison for 20 consecutive years, I bear witness on a daily basis to how these same divide-and-rule tactics manifest themselves even behind these prison walls. The penal system uses behavior modification and psychology against us, especially those politically active prisoners engaged in a protracted struggle against all forms of oppression. Such psychological tactics are inflaming/instigating hatred and violence amongst the different "races"; the use of prisoners who covertly collaborate with the penal administration; treating prisoners who are willing to collaborate with the penal administration in far more lenient/favorable ways than those who are not; using collaborating/informing prisoners to spread rumors detrimental to the character and reputation of natural leaders so they will not be trusted; and most noticeably, the use of Security Housing Units (SHU) and Administrative Segregation (AdSeg) as tools of repression to isolate all prisoners deemed to be influential.

Of course, there are many divisions amongst prisoners that can clearly be seen in these modern-day gulags:

  1. Division between much older and experienced captives who view younger, less experienced prisoners as reckless, lacking a "code" of ethics, and not willing to listen to instruction; and the younger, less experienced prisoners who view the older captives as washed up, institutionalized, and behind in the times
  2. Division between those who classify themselves as gay/bi-sexual who are resentful towards those classified as heterosexual who openly alienate them; and those classified as heterosexual who look down upon prisoners classified as gay/bi-sexual with disgust and hostility
  3. Divisions between those who are part of religious/cultural organizations such as Christians, Muslims, Rastas, Catholics, Gods and Earths, Atheists, etc.
  4. Divisions between nationalities and even within nationalities
  5. Division between lumpen street organizations who are convinced that it is more "gangsta" to fight each other rather than fight for change in the circumstance or environment, against oppression and exploitation, inhumane living conditions, extortion, substandard food, etc.

And many more.

The "Agreement to End Hostilities" initiated by those courageous brothers of the Pelican Bay State Prison - SHU Short Corridor Collective and the "United Front for Peace in Prisons - Statement of Principles" developed by MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within, and other types of progressive collective moves taking place in various prisons across this Empire, are just glimpses of the type of unity and leverage we can achieve with a multi-national, inter-organizational, cross-gender alliance if we develop a multi-dimentional analysis of how the penal administration utilizes our differences to keep us divided and at each others' throats instead of working together for our own common good.

What the penal authorities hate most is that after decades of oppressive and inhumane living conditions, the arbitrary use of SHUs, AdSeg, and this "lock 'em up and throw away the key" mentality, the progressive, revolutionary elements within the various penal colonies will always raise their head. They see within the progressive, revolutionary elements that which will expose and defeat them: the commitment, determination and resolve to oppose and ultimately abolish the criminal injustice system.

At the same time, they can see and feel their own powerlessness, for their power ends at the point when we all come together to lift our heads, take the reigns of our lives into our own hands, throw off the old guard, and collectively struggle to provide new guards for our future security.

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