Prisoners here in Georgia are being harassed by the wardens and their administration. Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has a new program it calls the Tier Program, and many prisoners are being thrown into the Tier 2 program for 9 months for petty disciplinary, reports, which is against the U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment banning cruel and unusual punishment.
Prison officials are also using food as a tool of cruel and unusual punishment towards prisoners. Only half of the population here in prison can afford to go to the store commissary. The prisoners who can't afford store goods are robbing those who go to the store. This creates violent conditions because 90% of the prisoners here are gang-related. And when the gangs go to war it goes down at every prison in Georgia. And some prisoners die in the gang wars. GDC created this problem so they can have a reason to lock all the prisoners down.
I put a 1983 civil suit on Valdosta State Prison here in GA and as a result Deputy Warden Orr tried to have me killed numerous times. On 7 December 2013 I was beaten badly with weapons by 15 prisoners, and I was sent to the free world hospital for 2 days. When I returned to the prison I was placed in lockup where all my property was stolen and the prison officials refused to replace my property. The Warden place me on Tier 2 program with 9 months in lockup as punishment for being attacked and seriously injured while my attackers went unpunished.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We are seeing a lot of reports of repression and resistance coming from Georgia recently. This comrade underscores the need for unity among both individuals and lumpen organizations. It is easy for the prison administration to pit prisoners against each other when they are focused on the fights between their organizations. But the real enemy, the one that is keeping everyone in prisons, denying adequate food, and throwing people in lockup, is the criminal injustice system. This is why we urge prisoners in Georgia to focus on building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. The UFPP's first principle is Peace: "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." This is critical to every prison, but in Georgia the recent reports suggest even more urgency to this point.
I could not help but to be moved by the article Ride or Die in the Nov/Dec 2013 ULK. That's where it is at. Organized groups recognizing their potential to solve the problems within our communities. This is something them folks (pigs) can't or won't do. Gangs are not the problem by itself. It is the ignorance of some of their members, mainly because a lack of education of their origin as an organization before the feds infiltrated and caused problems from within. As long as they oppose each other the establishment does not have to worry. Inside the Florida Department of Corrections (FL DOC) there are many examples of the oppression and violation of basic rights that lack of unity causes.
The state of Florida issues a pair of Croks (plastic sandals) for state issued shoes, despite 30 and 40 degree weather. FL DOC does not care if your feet are froze numb while they force you on the rec yard in the morning. Likewise with your hands, no gloves are issued or sold and some institutions do not allow prisoners to have their hands in their pockets to keep them warm. You are told to take your hands out your pockets by someone who is wearing a wool coated jacket, with woolen gloves, and a 100 dollar pair of boots.
Cheap artificial meat is being served to prisoners. This meat causes constipation and other health problems. Prisoners who choose not to eat it will have to eat beans on the regular as the alternative. The monthly menu FL DOC posted on the internet is a front for deceit. The chicken, turkey baloney, sausage, and hot dogs are the only meals that are partly real meat. I mean the chicken is real but everything else is processed and artificial. The meals served consist of the same thing they just have different names. The food is poorly cooked on a lot of occasions. The artificial meat TVP (texture vegetable protein) that was served some years back was stopped after prisoners in Florida worked with prisoners in other states to fight back. They knew TVP was was not sufficient to meet the dietary requirement, but the prisons will do anything they are allowed until someone stops them.
Prisoners receive a roll of toilet paper every 10 days, which is not enough for an adult. And upon expiration of the toilet paper you are told you will be supplied as needed. But how can you be supplied when there is none to supply.
These are just a few examples other than the regular harassment and abuse of authority. Anything that prisoners do other than kiss and lick boots is a disturbance to them. When writing up these issues the authorities answer the grievance with a statement about what the rule states, but it will not get enforced. I am speaking for those who can't afford toilet paper. So they are forced to hustle.
This violation of our basic rights, and of many rules of the prison itself, is exactly what happens when there is no unity. In Florida it is time somebody stands up inside prison and outside against their courts. I am trying to inform people of the United Front. Ride or Die. We need another "Attica" to happen here in Florida.
MIM(Prisons) adds: As with the original Ride or Die article, this prisoner provides compelling examples for why the United Front for Peace work is important. Lumpen Organizations in prisons can come together and provide the leadership for broad unity against the criminal injustice system. This unity will lay the basis for a strong anti-imperialist movement.
ULK 33 was a hit. MIM(Prisons) did a great job with the collection of articles published and the placement of artwork and poems. I personally have been silent because I've been running from that Green Wall drone force and ducking placement in the SHU.
I want to respond to MIM(Prison)'s call for the various groups that signed on to the UFPP statement.
I signed on under the leadership of USW and since then have implemented the five principles in the following manner. In 2010 I took up the Rastafari Flag and grew out my dreadlocks and beard. After study, the RASTA movement showed me a perfect vehicle that allows for the incorporation of the five points of the UFPP, and it attracts people from all walks of life.
The Peace is principal and practiced every place that I step. When I meet prisoners I attempt to affect the space positively by being open to conversation with people outside my nationality, sex and class. What this means is I rap with Mexicans, Asians, Arabs, Europeans, etc., on a range of topics. I include homophobes, homosexuals, transsexuals, and lesbians in rapping sessions. I even talk to correctional officers, nurses, cooks, plumbers and cleaners when they are open. What this allows for is information gathering.
The RASTA Mon believes in the universal connection, so what I use as an umbrella for people to stand under in unity is the "one love" concept. This is attractive to a lot of people in here because society has put many of us on the shelf. When we are introduced to the idea of networking amongst each other around how to change living conditions, a conversation begins. Very few people will fight the weed smoking, dreadhead rasta man with the bag of books in his/her hands journeying around the world, but many will join because they know the movement is fair. I just use the 5 [five pointed star] as a way to introduce the 6 [six pointed star].
I've initiated the conversation that we all are convicts. Peace was established when fifteen guys asked me to speak at a meeting held for all convicts addressing the issues at this joint.
I'm anticipating holding a study group here to apply the educational factor of Growth. When a lot of these guys see me they admire the young man of intelligence and become totally open to learning. I tell everybody my motto is growth and development. In order for any true change to come about one must grow out of the termite ways and the key to change is only found through education. This alone implements the third principle.
As for Internationalism, the Rastafari movement has been recognized as one of the most internationalist movements that there is. I teach what I've learned about other nations through the movement. When you begin to talk to a person who would have never guessed you'd know about their native land, the conversation quickly begins to turn into a lesson from the people of another land. I just simply listen at this point.
And last but not least, Independence. Everywhere I've been since 2010 I've become both the Rastafari minister and/or the recreational clerk on the M.A.C. body. I simply go to the chapel, show movies about the struggle around with the brothers/sisters in relation to the movies, and play conscious music as we do workshops developing the tools, products and resources necessary in order for our cadre to affect the conditions.
The progress has not yet been seen by me on this side due to the setback of constantly having to split in order to dodge the iron fist, and a poor line of outside contact which my cell depends on for communication. Where we often have our relatives relay peaceful greetings to one another, sometimes a wife, girlfriend, mother or brother becomes upset or overworked without pay and the line is disturbed.
The way for us to build on each others' experiences is to share them, and be honest. Often times we prisoners want to exaggerate the circumstances, putting it on thick. Keep it 100%. Act like you want somebody to understand what you are sharing so that they can go apply your technique and move the struggle in a forward direction.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade shares some useful tactical approaches and philosophies for building united front across differing groups and individuals. On the ideological level Rastafari does have some congruence with our own work, in particular in the realm of pan-Africanism and African liberation. But these characteristics are a product of the oppressed people who developed the movement rather than the ability of its religious principles to address the material needs of the oppressed. Similar to other religious movements founded by the oppressed, Rastafari shifts the focus from immaterial religious characters to leaders of their own people and to themselves. In these ways these ideologies make a move towards materialism. But Maoism takes it farther, dismissing the lineages and prophecies of the past in favor of studying the material forces that exist within each thing today that will determine its future development. Part of historical materialism is looking at movements of the past, and taking lessons of what works and doesn't work to apply to shaping a better world today. At the same time we seek out where we agree with those of different ideologies to forge united fronts that can push the forces of history forward faster.
In Ironwood, apparently new regulations have come down from Sacramento ordering staff to remove all signs from the doors depicting race. There were signs on the prison cage door indicating race: blue was for Black, red for Mexican, white for white and green for other. Now the designation for race is Security Threat Group (STG).
There was a recent lockdown (a melee between Sureños and New Afrikans) in one of the housing units. A status report stated that the investigation has been concluded and prisoners who are not members of the affected STGs will resume normal program. In the body of the report the affected STGs identified were Bloods, Crips and Sureños. The next day only whites and "others" were released for program. When asked about the non-affected Afrikans and the non-affected Mexicans, we were informed that because the non-affected prisoners shower in the same showers as the affected prisoners that makes them associates. So effectively all Afrikans and Mexicans are locked down (according to "race").
Up until the argument between a Mexican and an Afrikan on 30 November 2013, the nationalities on this compound got along. Communication has resolved the issues and things are back to normal except for the administration milking the lockdown. The influential people are reminded of the word that came down from their folks up the way and have been striving hard to maintain the peace.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Group punishment is one of the unjust practices that prisoners who have been organizing around humyn rights in California have demanded an end to. And it goes to show how the state systematically oppresses people based on their "race" in 2013.
The last paragraph of this report is particularly important as it exemplifies the hard work that has been put in by members and leaders of various lumpen organizations across California to create peace and build unity in the fight against the criminal injustice system. We are happy to hear that even while the prison is trying to divide prisoners and set them against one another, prisoners are working to maintain peace. We encourage prisoners everywhere to get involved in the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) which was initiated in 2011 to build peace and unity among prisoners to advance our struggle against the criminal injustice system. This prisoner's letter demonstrates the first principle of the UFPP, Peace: "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."
There are two wars waging in oppressed communities throughout the United $nakes: a war by the imperialist-oppressor nation to keep poor and oppressed communities in semi-colonial bondage, and a war between lumpen street organizations. The battlefields are the reservations, barrios, ghetto cities and prison plantations. Many of you have defined the war between us and the dominant nation incorrectly as "racism," but what is really going on is national oppression. And, in order to defeat and destroy national oppression a "nation" must engage in a national liberation struggle with the end result being national independence. But this is getting ahead of myself.
Many of you who belong to a street organization, misnomered a gang, know the history of your group and can trace yourselves back to when your organization fought against injustices being perpetrated against some segment of your community. And you know that many have deviated from your origins and laws. At the same time, a lot of you are struggling to re-define and re-direct your organization back to their original purposes — serving the needs of the people.
Conversely, we all recognize or should recognize that the conditions of our communities and nations are a direct result of our colonization by those who settled this country. The poverty, misery and suffering, the drug addiction and violence are all because you are not in control of your own development and destiny. Those who don't rule, get ruled.
My question to you is 1) who ultimately bears the responsibility to see that peace exists in our communities? 2) who bears responsibility to see that we have adequate housing, medical care, education, etc? 3) who benefits most from our communities being saturated with drugs? 4) who benefits most from all of the violence in our communities? 5) who benefits the most from all of us being incarcerated?
Know that the state and federal government have been discussing changing federal laws that would declare gangs and gang nmembers to be domestic terrorists. Why would they do that? Because those in power know that you have the actual and potential power to change this society, that you have the actual and potential power to liberate your nation. You can put an end to police brutality, homelessness, hunger, war, etc. Yea, you have that power!
"The police, and those that they truly serve and protect, do not want us to respect the actual and potential power of our young people, they do not want us to glimpse, through our youth, the power that lies within each of us. If the crips and bloods can bring peace to our communities, and the police can't or won't, then why do we need the police? If the Disciples, Vice Lords, Latin Kings and other street organizations can serve and protect our children and elders, and the state demonstrates that it can't or won't, then why should we continue to depend upon it and profess loyalty to it? If the power to end violence exists within our own communities, then we should be looking for ways to increase our power, and we should be looking for ways to exercise it."(1)
Ain't nothing wrong with being in a street organization, because after all, a "gang" is a group of people with close social relations that work together. The problem is that most street organizations are moving in the wrong direction. They're engaging in the wrong social practices which are retarding the growth and development of our people.
Through the media and other outlets, the negative images of gangs are filtered (like that bullshit Gangland), so that our people will see street organizations as the main problem existing in our hoods, and they'll ask for more police presence and harsher prison sentences for those identified as gang members. But gangs didn't create the current problems. The state fears that you'll become conscious and active and solve the problems.
Dig this: "One of the main reasons for the rampant crime that occurs in the colonies is national oppression. The colonized live in areas where there is unemployment or underemployment, crummy housing with high rent and poor education. The colonized kill and fight over the money that secures necessities... this reality afflicts the nationally oppressed in the most harmful ways. The nationally oppressed do not hold state power nor the economic power to compete with the oppressors... so the rampant crime in the colonies is not due to self-hatred but national oppression and capitalist culture and policy."(2)
So you see, "Our problem is not that there are gangs in our communities — our problem is that our communities are colonized territories that suffer from arrested development caused by the U.S. settler-imperialist state. Thus, we have no need to attack gangs — that is, ideally, we have no need to attack any organized group of our people that work to free the process of our collective development. [my emphasis] What we must do is make sure that all organized groups in our communities have this as their goal — and so long as we deal with members of our communities (i.e. members of our families), the means that we use should be education and persuasion, rather than physical force. However, even if stronger means are called for, they should be means created and employed by forces within our own communities and not those of U.S., local, state and federal governments. The transformation of gangs into progressive groups within our communities is part of the process of acquiring group power that will enable us to control every aspect of our lives. Our problem is that too many people in our communities — old and young — lack the identity, purpose and direction required of us if we are to acquire the kind of power that we need to truly free ourselves and begin to pursue the development of our ideal social order."(1)
The betterment of our conditions must begin with self, with you making a conscious and disciplined commitment to transforming yourselves and your organizations. Prestige bars any serious attack on power. Do people attack a thing they consider with awe, with a sense of legitimacy? This is an aspect of the "criminal" and the "colonial" (slave) mentality: continued recognition and acceptance of the legitimacy of the colonial rule, to continue to feel that the colonial state has a right to rule over the colonized.
If we take control of our communities and the power to control every aspect of our lives, then we can ensure that the lynchings end. You can put an end to there ever being another Oscar Grant, Sean Bell or Trayvon Martin lynching.
Soldiers, Riders, Gangstaz — protect your community, clean it up, build it up, feed it, educate it, and let no one do it any harm. That's gangsta, but revolutionary!
Ride or Die! Unite or Perish! July 2013
MIM(Prisons) adds: This statement from BORO is a good explanation of why the United Front for Peace work is important, and is demanded by the people. While we are building the United Front for Peace in Prisons we must also work towards a United Front on the streets, where the lumpen organizations come together to fight our common enemy: imperialism. We have seen examples of strong unity and educational advancement in many street organizations. The UFPP works to set an example in prisons that can be taken to the streets.
We have instituted self-government for peace among every form of affiliation. Our dorm was labeled the worst in the state. I'm proud to say that our way of governing ourselves has been highly successful, as we are nearly four months without a stabbing on A side, and 6 on B side. We are for peace.
To become effective we are unifying the revolutionary minded from among the ranks of all brotherhoods in order to create a board/counsel. We understand that only through unity can we be effective in the fight against the oppressive imperialist pigs. From us, we intend to infect all of South Carolina Department of Corrections and bring forth many more voices and arms. Our voices will be heard. Our struggle will become their bane.
The majority of the population is hungry to learn. We have classes of various topics: law, history, religious, physical, combat, etc. We believe in education, as knowledge is power. We encourage all and welcome any who seek earnestly. We accept no racial discrimination, nor do we tolerate any concepts of racial superiority.
As for internationalism, it is something we know little of. We fight against oppression, period. The founders of this organization all have communistic views and intend to provide truth to all who have ears to hear.
Our statement is simple. We are similarly situated in our beliefs to the united front. We fight the same fight. We see no limitations. Unity, Equality, Peace, Prosperity, Devotion, Growth & Development.
October 18 - The Utah Supreme Court overturned an injunction that had barred almost 500 people that Weber County claims are members of a lumpen organization known as the Ogden Trece from associating with each other. Members were banned from driving, standing, walking, sitting, gathering or in any way appearing together anywhere in a 25-square-mile area that covered most of the city of Ogden. It also imposed a curfew between 11pm and 5am for these folks. This ban has been in place since 2010.
The Supreme Court threw out the injunction on a legal technicality, because the county failed to properly serve summons to members of the organization. The county posted notices on a Utah legal notices website and in the Ogden Standard Examiner, a local newspaper. The court found this to be insufficient notice. Members of the organization also challenged the constitutionality of the injunction in denying their right to associate, but the Court did not rule on this challenge.
The Deputy Attorney for Weber County made a case for the injunction: "Case loads on average going from 16 per month on something like graffiti down to four. So we can show a 75 percent drop in criminal street gang activity." This is an interesting definition of "criminal street gang activity": acts of graffiti.(1) Clearly the police and courts are determined to go after this lumpen organization, which they call a "public nuisance," civil liberties and rights be damned.
We see a lot of parallels between validation in prison and identification as a member of a street organization in Ogden. According to the Ogden Gang Detective Anthony Powers, the police keep a "gang database" to document who belongs to a street organization. There are eight possible criteria, and anyone meeting two of them is entered in the database. A musician in a group that includes people believed to be Ogden Trece members was included in the injunction because he has been seen around with these folks.(2)
We only have news of this from the mainstream press, but we regularly see this same repression of oppressed nations both in prisons and on the streets. The trick of labeling someone a member of a lumpen organization is used to lock prisoners in solitary confinement and keep them from having contact with other prisoners. It's often used to target politically active prisoners. On the streets, whether in Utah or any other state, we are seeing that Amerikans, who are often willing to suspend constitutional rights for prisoners, are similarly unconcerned about this same practice on the streets.
We know that street organizations, just like prison organizations, are a natural result of imperialist society in the United $tates. The oppressed nations are going to come together in self-defense, and in the absence of revolutionary leadership they will join whatever group meets their needs. While lumpen organizations are fighting one another and targeting their people for street crime they are helping the imperialists. This is why we work so hard to build a United Front and bring these groups together for the betterment of all oppressed people.
Where I come from is The Avenues And every corner that you turn you gotta know how to choose Cuz life is ruff, only the strong can survive Many of my homeboys since I've grown up have died 43rd and Figueroa till Cypress and Division The culture has fallen, the killing has risen Dogtown, Clover, Frogtown, and Toonerville Puro Chicanos and their own blood they spill Then Glassel, Eastlake, Brick City, and more We all are Mexicanos, living in a war Killing each other and in jail claiming Sur El tiempo es ahora to unite in the neighborhood Y quien no le gusta - aqui para Don't talk behind my back dimelo en la cara I speak this way so we can learn A true veterano's only concern First la familia then the neighborhood Check the youngsters and teach them real good Exactly wut it means to be in a gang Cuz you can walk that walk and talk that slang But only with a gun in your hand are you brave Put another Mexicano to fill the grave Si eres chingon y valiente Fight with your hands en caliente If he beats you down you can still shake hands The same way our ancestors fought in the land The ones who made it gacho fue el gabacho And the system that they made is the one that gots you Fighting each other killing your own race Then give you 25 to life and laugh in your face Not time served, you'll serve time Cuz you were stupid enuff to kill your own kind It's from The Avenues, please don't lose your mind Don't kill your own kind!
I do all I can here to educate prisoners in the science of revolution. I share Under Lock & Key, I pass MIM(Prisons)'s address around, I conduct study groups, I raise consciousness and awareness while showing solidarity. Yet, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials are agents of repression using all kinds of divide and conquer tactics against these efforts.
The other day I was conducting a study group in solitary confinement and the pigs were using disruption by instigating a racial argument between two Black prisoners and a Mexican prisoner. I tried to keep the peace and unity among prisoners, but the pigs are constantly breaking the unity and provoking racial conflict. I tried to intervene by telling these three prisoners to stop arguing about insignificant things and to set aside their differences and come together in unity, solidarity and cooperation. Then two of the Black prisoners started caling me "wet back." I just had to terminate the study group at that moment to prevent further altercations and racial conflict among these three inmates. I had similar experiences in the past when I tried to educate fellow prisoners; sooner or later the pigs manipulated the situation and use these ignorant inmates to turn against me and start calling me racial slurs.
Look comrades, I have to be very cautious when I give your address to some of these prisoners because some of them are agent provocateurs, snitches, double agents, pretenders, informants and just brainwashed. So be aware of this matter. I just don't let these pigs get to me with their dirty tactics of divide and conquer. Some comrades over here are willing to learn, others are just playing games, and others are just brainwashed and it will take too long to make them conscious of revolutionary knowledge so I rather concentrate more on those comrades willing to learn and to assimilate Maoism into their thinking.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This report from a United Struggle from Within (USW) comrade is an example of United Front work among the imprisoned lumpen. This is the more tedious stuff that dedicated comrades must engage in over years and decades before getting to more glorious examples like 30,000 prisoners refusing food on the same day in California. So we want to recognize all who, like this comrade, keep working and not letting the pigs get to them.
It's true those who follow the pigs' manipulations are ignorant, and someday they will probably recognize that and feel great shame. But this story itself is an example of a teaching moment. By setting a good example, others learned something that day about the roles of the pigs because of the efforts this comrade made to build unity. And it is by consistently providing examples like this to the masses that ignorance is overcome. When an individual overcomes their ignorance and opens up to new ideas, those are the people who should get your persynalized attention to develop their theory and practice.
Finally, we are aware that many people write us with bad intentions. Some have requested that we not send materials to such people. But this allows the very people we are trying to avoid to manipulate us into censoring ourselves. And in the current format of our work, there is no certain way for us to identify all pigs. As we have written in articles about security in the past, we must judge people based on their actions, and only give out information on an as needed basis. So we are very conscious about what information is public and what is not, and we will spread public information as widely as we can. As we recently wrote, comrades should not mistake Under Lock & Key subscribers for USW members. Just because we send someone mail, does not tell you anything about our assessment of that individual's political reliability.