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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [United Front] [Texas]
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Call for Unity in Texas

Texas prisons are notoriously rough and primitive. Some inmates work in TCI (Texas Correctional Industries) sweatshops making products like t-shirts, shorts and detergent. We work for free and then the state sells us these products at a high cost through the prison commissary. Nonviolent prisoners earn good time and work time which is often not honored. We're caged in hot boxes with no air conditioning, and prisoners die each summer as a result. In addition to the new limits on correspondence, last September marriage by proxy was eliminated. Inmates can no longer marry their loved ones on the outside, meaning they can't get contact visits with them, or their own children. The list goes on and on.

The term divide and conquer still holds true today. TDCJ is glad the majority of us are fighting amongst ourselves, and are more consumed with television, radio and gossiping, than unity and change. Texas prisoners, do you like working for free? Do you like being a model inmate who's changed, but gets their parole denied year after year? Do you enjoy living in a negative repressive environment? If you don't, then let's drop the racial and gang nonsense. Let's quit worshipping the TV, our radios and commissary. Let's bring Texas prisons out of the dark ages and into the twenty-first century. Make sacrifices for the great good of all prisoners and our families. Oppressors only have control over their captors as long as the oppressed allow them to.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [California] [ULK Issue 38]
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Planning for September 9 Solidarity Day

Like in past years, I will begin to plan a few months ahead of time for the revolutionary festival of September 9. This day is a special one which marks the day when the United Front for Peace in Prisons was given its first concrete example in these dungeons. I attempt to have educational study materials available on this day, which usually includes poetry, short stories or articles, and of course some art if possible.

In the past I helped read articles and poetry on the tier which reflected on prisons and what it means to be prisoners. So many times people forget that what we experience is unbridled oppression and instead think that we somehow brought it upon ourselves. This backwards thinking only helps to solidify our own mental captivity! This day helps to refocus our attention of who we are as people and what is the path forward for the next year in our struggle for humyn rights in these dungeons.

I have heard different ways of observing this day, from having an open line on the tier where folks get a certain "air time" to share their ideas on what they feel will move the humyn rights struggle forward. Others talk about creating conscious rap to be performed on the tier. The main thing I hear is folks being ready to promote peace in prison. It is a time to help to heal the people outside of state influence.


MIM(Prisons) adds: September 9 will be the third annual United Front for Peace in Prisons solidarity demonstration. This demonstration coincides with the anniversary of the Attica uprising. On this day prisoners should create ways to work towards greater peace among the prison population. We will cease all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities regardless of set, race, custody, gender, religion or other division. Some will fast, engage in solidarity organizing, and carry out educational work. Start planning now for your September 9 solidarity day.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 38]
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New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

The New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood (NAMB) is a collective committed to the study and propagation of New Afrikan Political Philosophy. We see the lack of political consciousness amongst the masses of New Afrikans, along with the multiple and diverse aims of our semi-colonized nation. Therefore we see it as our duty to take the much-called-for initiative so that the New Afrikan liberation and independence movement's aims and objectives do not die out in vain in this or the next generation. We, as students to communist thought, understand that the beginning of national liberation starts with mass political education. Hence, our current organizational structure is that of a study group, which we intend to develop and multiply inside and outside of prison. NAMB stands with the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). The principles of the UFPP are important for the following reasons (but not limited to):

The prison environment can become a violent place to dwell. But our enemies want just that. It is counter-revolutionary for the lumpen proletariat to waste our time, resources and energy fighting our comrades in the struggle. We must transform our thinking and in turn transform our environment. We must make prison a "school of revolution," where we invest into each other, by using such terms as "Each one Teach one" so that we create in ourselves and for ourselves, leaders of our communities.

Reckless warring and fighting will not aid the lumpen organizations. That's why the first principle of peace is so important. Unity is the key! The enemy divides the lumpen into smaller and smaller illusionary sections, and we play into it. We internalize divisive thinking, not thinking about the ill-effects this capitalist thinking has. We must unite!

Unity will in turn produce Growth (the third principle) in ourselves and in our collective. And this growth and unity are weapons against the capitalist imperialists who seek to continue their exploitation of the people.

The New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood supports and stands by these principles of the UFPP. From our Conservative Vice Lord and Mafia Insane Vice Lord upbringing we have come to know of our national liberation struggle, for the nation of New Afrika. And coming to this awareness, we have recognized our national allies in the First Nations, Latino/as and all those who are in the Third World that face the same oppressive enemy as us. We understand that national liberation of our semi-colonized nations will be counter weights in the international war against capitalist-imperialism, and so we support all nations and all fronts and parties to this battle. For this is in the spirit of internationalism.

The long legacy of socialism and communism teaches that in building revolution and nation-building, the people, led by a vanguard party, must develop independent institutions that will "serve the people" - both by providing for their needs and in a form of public teaching of "learning thru practice." Independence, the last principle of the UFPP, is one of the building blocks of national self-determination, without which an independent nation cannot stand!

These 5 principles can be drawn from by all lumpen organizations inside prison and also even incorporated into the communities where our organizations are based. It's "nation time" comrades! It's time for us to think and live outside of our individual selves and dedicate our lives, minds, spirits, energy and resolve to making the world a better place! And that can only happen if we all have a place to live free and openly express ourselves. But, freedom only comes to those willing to die for it.

Almighty!
All power to the people!

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 38]
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E-NUF Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

Greetings to all revolutionary comrades who are kaptive in the gulags of these United Snakes of a Amurderer (U.$.). I write on behalf of E-NUF, an organization we formed to develop revolutionary consciousness in those held kaptive, and to compel direct action to agitate the enemy.

Here we issue our formal statement of unity with the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We recognize the importance of all the principles. It is through growth and unity that we can have peace amongst the kaptive lumpen irregardless of nation. And it is through the creation of independent institutions that we can develop internationalism.

We recognize our existence as being a part of the lumpen class. We believe when we unite as a conscious class the contradictions existing between the exploiter class (imperialism) and the oppressed (ourselves) become clear, exposing our true enemy. Through unity we can develop the best strategies to fight our way out of the grip of imperialism.

As kaptives we seek to ignite the spark first within our class. Revolutionary power to the kaptive lumpen.

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[United Front] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 38]
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Goodfellas Build UFPP, Promote Multinational Organizing

My fellow comrades and I follow the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, however it is a nonstop struggle to open the eyes of the people here. That was the reason I started the lumpen organization (LO) that I am a part of now. I am being held in Supermax for direct action that I took to stand up to the swine for manhandling my comrade.

I am a comrade who happens to be white, and I started the LO to have multiple races in it. I am looked upon as a different breed because there are no LOs doing that. I base the foundation off of revolutionary communist principles. After studying Marx, Mao, even the Panthers, Huey, G. Jackson and the G. Jackson brigade (most of whom happened to be white), I took the oath to live by as well as die by this. I will hold my fist up till the very end. In fact I intend to die for the cause whenever that day may be, but I try my best to lead by my actions.

Yes I am hated by many. The swine truly hate me, I mean deeply. In fact, I have been told by the top brass, or white shirts as we call them, that they will kill me. They have beat me a few times while I was handcuffed and maced; most of this was at the slave camp in Lucasville. It's a free-for-all on prisoners there. The pigs harrass us for fun and indeed they get rewarded and get promotions. There have been so many coverups there, including the murders of many prisoners.

The LO I started is Greatness Over Other Desires Fellas Equals Love Loyalty And Solidarity. We are called GF or Goodfellas for short. They are now trying to kill the LO. I was the one who was giving the info and teaching them, and now they got me locked in Supermax. My main aim was and is to bring the indepth race issue to the forefront. It's a major issue here in Ohio prisons, as I'm sure in all prisons.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The United Front for Peace in Prison principles this comrade mentions are Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. They are printed on page 2 of every issue of ULK. Below are some basic steps all groups can follow to get involved in this United Front.

  1. Study and uphold the five principles of the united front.

  2. Send your organization's name and a statement of unity to MIM(Prisons). Your statement can explain what the united front principles mean to your organization, how they relate to your work, why they are important, etc.

  3. Develop peace and unity between factions where you are at on the basis of opposing oppression of all prisoners and oppressed people in general.

  4. Send reports on your progress to Under Lock & Key. Did you develop a peace treaty or protocol that is working? Send it in for others to study and possibly use. Is your unity based on actions? Send us reports on the organizing you are doing.

  5. Keep educating your members. The more educated your members are, the more unity you can develop, and the stronger your organization can become. Unity comes from the inside out. By uniting internally, we can better unite with others as well. Contact MIM(Prisons)'s Free Political Books for Prisoners Program if you need additional materials to educate your members in history, politics and economics.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [New Afrika]
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New Virginia Organization Embraces United Front for Peace

Thank you for sending me the essay titled Let's 'Gang-Up' on Oppression by Owusu Yaki Yakubu.(1) Having become a "reformed" gang member, this essay was extremely enlightening and solidified what I already knew: that the government fears the unification of gangs and their unified opposition against oppression. They also fear any gang member or other lumpen street elements developing a socially conscious, politicized, and revolutionary mentality.

I became politicized in the early 90s during my second year of captivity. I took a long and hard look at myself as a so-called "gang" member and I came to realize that I was being manipulated by the powers-that-be, through the process of psychology and socialization, to commit genocide against my own people. So I cut my gang ties and came to embrace Revolutionary New Afrikan Nationalism.

In his essay Owusu speaks about the New Afrikan Independence Movement. The article titled Terminology Debate: Black vs. New Afrikan, in No. 35 issue of Under Lock & Key, also speaks about New Afrikan Nationalism. I am in the process of starting an organization called My Brother's and Sister's Keeper (MBSK), which embraces Revolutionary New Afrikan Nationalism as its political mass line, or guiding principle. This ideology calls for the establishment of an independent socialist New Afrikan republic in the Southeast (USA), specifically in the Black-belt, the destruction of the North Amerikkkan imperialist state, the liberation and unification of Afrikan nations worldwide, the construction of a New Afrikan society, and the building of a new world order.

A New Afrikan is an Afrikan born in north Amerikkka. The name and concept "New Afrika" reflects our identity, purpose and direction. "New Afrikan" reflects our identity as a nation and a people - a nation and a people desiring self-determination. "New Afrikan" reflects our purpose as we desire freedom, self-determination and independence. By stating we are New Afrikans, we clarify we want to be independent from the Amerikkkan Empire. We want land and national liberation. We no longer want the ruling class of the amerikkkan Empire to determine our political, economic, socio-cultural affairs. MBSK sees that a people who do not control their own affairs is subject to genocide. When we control our own destiny we can determine our political, economic and socio-cultural affairs in the interest of our survival and development. "New Afrikan" also speaks to our identity because that's what we are. Our nation is primarily a racial, cultural, social fusion of various Afrikan ethnic and national groups - Iwe, Yoruba, Akan, Ashanti, Fante, Hausa, Ibo, Fulani, Congolese and several others - into a unique people. Even though our homeland was in Afrika, our people developed historical, economic, and spiritual ties to the New Afrikan National Territory, which consists of the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana. These states together are part of the historical Black belt birthplace, and the North Amerikkkan homeland of the New Afrikan nation. The struggle to free this land is called the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM). To state we are New Afrikan recognizes our continuing aspirations to "free the land." "Free the Land" is the battle cry of the NAIM. When we say "free the land," the New Afrikan national territory is the land we are talking about freeing.

"New Afrikan" also recognizes our direction to build a new society based on new values. We want to create a revolutionary, progressive, humane society where exploitation of humans by humans is eliminated and all can live in dignity, peace and respect. As conscious New Afrikans, we work now to transform ourselves and our nation from decadent death-style of oppression to lifestyles of liberation.

MSBK embraces and upholds the United Front for Peace in Prisons statement of principles. we oppose any Willie Lynch-style divide and conquer tactics the fascist prison authorities (pigs) use to cause division amongst the revolutionary ranks and amongst the races or oppressed nations.

The essay Let's Gang-Up on Oppression re-affirms what we already knew: that we need to develop unity within and amongst lumpen street organization and re-direct their aggression and radicalism to wage the real war: revolution.

Again, I thank you for sending me your material. I made copies of the essay and the UFPP statement of principles and passed them out among the younger brothers here affiliated with lumpen street organizations.


Notes: 1. Let's "Gang-Up" on Oppression: Youth Organizations and the Struggle for Power in Oppressed Communities (revised) by Owusu Yaki yakubu. This version can be requested from MIM(Prisons)

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[United Front] [Abuse] [Valdosta Correctional Institution] [Georgia]
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Guards Set Georgia Prisoners Against Each Other

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.

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[United Front] [Abuse] [Florida]
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Ride or Die in Florida

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.

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[United Front] [California] [ULK Issue 36]
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Applying the United Front for Peace Principles to the Rasta 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.

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[United Front] [National Oppression] [Ironwood State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 36]
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Building Peace and Unity as Prison Promotes Racial Segregation and Group Punishment

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."

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