September 9, 2013 has come and gone, and while the turn out was significantly improved over last year, there is still room for much improvement. This is, of course, reflective of the general malaise which has infected the population concerning prison conditions and prisoner solidarity. But it is also the result of an inability to reliably communicate between units and custody levels here at High Desert (HDSP).
The turn out for this unit was approximately 8% but this may or may not be representative of prison-wide participation. There appears to have been significant participation from our brothers and sisters at Ely State Prison and our utmost respect and gratitude goes out to you all for standing with us. There have been some indications here at HDSP that there is a storm on the horizon and there is currently some discussion and preparation in anticipation. But we must wait until events begin to unfold before embarking on any course of action. This includes pushing September 9, 2014 harder and longer this year.
It was a good fast day for me on the most recent day of Peace and Solidarity, a powerful underground movement. I am in the midst of a lot of things right now and I may be getting transferred soon, I don't want to put the re-mailing cost on you, because I know that there are a lot of people who look forward to your paper. I am also enclosing a few stamps to help out with the financial element of the movement. I'll get in touch as soon as I move.
I was discussing the issue of declining membership with a well known organizational leader with tens of thousands of followers. He stated that you only want to write if it is behind your philosophy, and that you criticize anyone who does not agree with your strategy. He specifically mentioned the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. So your criticism, well intended or not, is doing more dividing than uniting.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is responding to the article in ULK 33summarizing our annual congress which reported that our number of subscribers has dropped in the past year. First, we want to be clear that subscribers are not the same thing as members. We reported in the same article that the number of active United Struggle from Within members has increased over the past year. But still, we want to see an increase in ULK readers as well and so this is a bad trend.
It is true that MIM(Prisons) is critical of other organizations. This is because we see political struggle and education as fundamental to building an effective revolutionary movement. The MXGM is a good example of an organization that we have reported favorably about in the past. But we need to be honest about where we see faults in the political lines or strategies of other organizations. We hope others will do the same for us. We cannot build real unity if we just ignore significant disagreements over political line and strategy.
Further, we work towards a United Front with all organizations who can unite with us on basic goals. This is an important Maoist strategy that allows different organizations to come together for common goals without sacrificing their independence or brushing real political differences under the rug.
We see these practices as principled. It may lead some individuals to dismiss MIM(Prisons) as too divisive, but we see the real divisiveness in those groups that refuse to publicly acknowledge political differences while privately gossiping or positioning themselves into power. We are willing to lose a few supporters who can't take open political discussion and disagreements to maintain clarity of political line.
I am sending my revolutionary greetings to you in Black & Gold. I am an enforcer of the Latin Kings and I am extending an invitation to all Latino inmates to join forces with us to protect one another against all forms of aggression and discrimination. We should build solidarity and unity in a united struggle against this system of oppression. We must fight for our civil and human rights. I am encouraging you to unite with the ALKQN in our United Front against the capitali$t Imperiali$t United Slaves of Amerika. We should join MIM(Prisons)'s United Struggle from Within and start study groups.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We welcome this comrade's support for United Front work against imperialism. This statement echoes the call to Build a United Front for Peace in Prisons, which was first initiated in 2011. A number of organizations and individuals have signed on to the United Front, and we encourage the ALKQN organization as a whole to take the leadership to a bigger stage and formally become a signatory to the UFPP. We believe that the politically conscious leaders of the ALKQN, including this writer, agree with the five principles of the UFPP: Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, and Independence. And for the leadership of large organizations such as the ALKQN to come together and declare to the membership that these are core principles of their LO will send a powerful message to individuals and other LOs across the country.
For those interested in joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons, 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.
We've had a recent death here due to use of excessive force. We've been dealing with that, getting outside sources to reach out to and filing complaints on the inside. I've had only one response from outside: the Houston Police Department's internal affairs. They've told us that our complaint has been sent to the state Inspector General's office. I was told yesterday that 20 or so men who filed complaints have been given some sort of case for filing. I have to look into that.
Our close comrades have been busy coordinating weightlifting and basketball events. These events allow us to increase our profile and spread our message of unitary conduct. This also encourages others to adopt the principles which make us comrades. So, maintaining that as a sustained front has been a priority. This is how we are able to locate minds who are receptive to USW literature and who are prepared to come into greater degrees of organizing. We're finishing up our basketball season this week. We are signing up rosters for a soccer tournament which will begin next week. And we are beginning to coordinate our 3rd annual unit-wide collective fellowship meal, which has always been a powerful way of advocating for unity across ethnic and racial boundaries.
So, in addition to writing to you and four other outside groups united in our struggle, I need to, today, brief 5 other comrades who want to coordinate functions of their own under our banner. I mentor a young development of 2 others who are new to our collective. And I need to get at least 10 others some recent commentary to keep them in the loop. I absolutely need to delegate more. But even that is a process in itself in this environment.
While all of this is going on, I've had to mediate a situation where a young comrade had a conflict with a white guy. Because the white guy was so much bigger and older, Black families were upset. Because Blacks got involved and the white guy used to be associated, white families are upset. So, you try to keep the peace while pride and ego come into play. The whole time understanding the stakes involved, the potential for escalation, and knowing that the Mexicans are watching Triple C closely right now, judging how I conduct myself in the affair.
I realize always that lives are on the line. I do the work so that these men and their children can gain more power to determine their economic, political, and social condition. So much of that work involves meeting cats where they are at, and working to provide solutions to immediate needs; doing that while communicating one big picture, and while demonstrating methods of achieving evolved conditions of living.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good example of the day-to-day ground work that revolutionaries engage in to build the movement against imperialism. While exercise, in and of itself, may appear unrelated to anti-imperialism, this is something that can be turned into a solidarity activity, especially in prison where even such basic activities are greatly restricted. We have reported on similar organizing in California prisons. This comrade is part of an organization that is in the United Front for Peace in Prisons which is focused on building peace and unity within the prison population. Wherever we can break down divisions between groups and build unity to fight our common oppressor we will contribute to a stronger anti-imperialist movement overall.
Book Review: The Chinese Civil War 1945-49 by Michael Lynch Osprey Publishing 2010
This is one in a series of "Essential Histories" published by Osprey: "A multi-volume history of war seen from political, strategic, tactical, cultural and individual perspectives." On the positive side, the book includes a lot of excellent revolutionary art and some useful historical facts that demonstrate the political positions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the failures of the Guomindang (GMD). But overall this book is not recommended because its pretended objectivity leads to a lack of valid political analysis. The author goes to great lengths to paint both the CCP and GMD as equal evils fighting for control of China.
Lynch frequently falls back on psychoanalysis of political leaders when the facts are difficult to explain. For instance, several times he claims Stalin feared a communist China and so tried to keep it divided and get Mao to compromise with Nationalists, but no evidence is offered, beyond Stalin's advice to Mao, which Mao did not take when he thought it was inappropriate for the conditions in China.(p76) Further, there is an entire chapter devoted to psychoanalysis of Mao and Chiang Kai-shek. (For a more political, and less psychological, account of Stalin's history we recommend MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue.)
There are some valuable facts in this book. Lynch points out that Nazi Germany supplied most of the GMD weapons until 1936. And goes on to offer a good explanation of the reasons behind the CCP alliance with GMD in 1936, which was driven by the CCP to fight the Japanese invasion and end Nazi aid to GMD. This effectively weakened the GMD while also focusing on the principal contradiction in China at the time: the Japanese invasion. Lynch also does a good job explaining the CCP's strategic ties to the United $tates to get their support against Japan. Many purists criticize Mao for meeting with Amerikan leaders and allying with the GMD against Japan, but to Lynch's credit he gives a reasonable account of the strategic value of these actions.
The book describes in detail the strongly peasant-based armies of both the nationalists and communists, and Lynch notes that the nationalists had to coerce participation from the peasants, but he doesn't explain why the communists didn't have to force participation.(p21) This is an important point in the correctness of the CCP political line, and a key to Lynch's failed analysis of the politics of the revolution. In fact, the title of the book, "Chinese Civil War", indicates that the author fundamentally missed the revolutionary nature of the CCP's struggle. Lynch admits that even defeated soldiers joined the CCP to later become dedicated PLA soldiers, but then he claims the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was unscrupulous in recruiting methods without offering evidence to back this up.(p25)
Calling the peasants "helpless victims" of both the communists and nationalists,(p63) Lynch gives extensive examples of nationalist brutality to soldiers and peasants. The one CCP example is of interrogation of CCP soldiers suspected of betraying the movement. The author quotes Mao on the value of informing on your comrades in spite of persynal feelings of friendship.(p68) Lynch seems to find Mao's position distasteful, but communists know that we must always put political line first and not be liberal with comrades just because we have persynal feelings. Further, a staunch supporter of the U$A, Lynch never mentions the use of torture by imperialist countries even when not at war. Interrogation of people suspected of military sabotage can be criticized from Lynch's armchair, but his equation of this with the GMD torture of their soldiers and the general masses is outrageous even by his standards.
Lynch condemns the CCP as being non-humanitarian for their strategic military calculations to abandon some villages they had controlled when threatened with invasion from the GMD.(p28) This is a particularly underhanded criticism when Lynch fails to point out the significantly better conditions in the villages occupied by the CCP. How can it be a humanitarian failure if the CCP wasn't, in the first place, improving the conditions in the village and far superior for the peasants compared with the GMD?
Further in this vein of attacking the CCP's tactics during war, Lynch does not like the CCP's decision to exercise strict control of Harbin once they won that city. But he does concede that in 1947 the CCP successfully stopped an outbreak of bubonic plague, which he admits was a remarkable achievement.(p37)
We do get some very useful facts about the CCP support among the general Chinese masses: "A key factor in the PLA's harassing of the Nationalists was the amount of help they received from local civilians, who destroy telegraph and telephone lines and tore up sections of railway in order to disrupt GMD troop movements."(p36) But Lynch doesn't attempt to explain why the masses spontaneously supported the CCP because this does not fit with his overall theory of both the CCP and GMD coercing the people.
Lynch expresses surprise that Mao gave his commanders free reign to adjust military tactics since he was the "ultimate military authority."(p43) This apparent contradiction is actually a good hint that Mao understood the importance of evaluation of local conditions to determine tactics. For revolutionaries there is a difference between line, strategy and tactics, one that Lynch fails to grasp. Line is set by the communist party and is meant to be carried out by everyone until it is proven incorrect. Strategy is informed by line and dictates general orientation to implement line. Tactics are determined by combining strategy with local conditions. It was correct political line for Mao to allow his commanders to determine military tactics. (See MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet for more on this question.)
Ultimately Lynch attributes the CCP victory to the GMD's failure in military tactics and "morale" with little mention of the political line of the CCP. He does concede that GMD did not live up to expectations as a party of the people as it was originally envisioned by Sun Yat-sen. The GMD under Chiang became a party of the political elite as evidenced by 90% of their money coming from Shanghai.(p84) "It was Chiang's strategic and political and economic failures that [made possible Mao's victory]."(p88) In the end, Lynch doesn't even consider the correctness of the CCP political line, resulting in the support of the broad mass of the Chinese people, as the driving force behind the victory of the revolutionary forces.
I have now been put in a terrible dilemma. As I've tediously pursued a path of peace between all other structures, humbly accepted harsh criticism, and deeply entrenched myself and all those I'm entrusted to lead here in Texas in a now awkward ordeal. I've painstakingly strove to clean up my own structure's fumbles and reestablish a mutual trusted bond to the numerous others who speak of their fundamental views which essentially determine how the inner structures function.
Surrounding us who strive for our established agendas are numerous confidential informants and rats who refuse to come out their cell cage and constantly inform to the authority on any of our attempts. Sadly these rats have been studying how we try to heal differences, and move past minor mishaps. Then when given the opportunity, these rats inject ploys which are specifically designed to cause immediate distrust and steps backwards, as it induces paranoia and causes all to erect the walls of defense.
All forward progress I have made has crumbled, as I passed items to another, the booklet on freedom of information, right to communicate, and a kite of explanation. The booklets made it to the other structures, but then the kite disappeared. I had drawn the assumption they had the kite (my bad).
I then moved to pass information to the structure's main spokesperson. Upon arrival of said material, he deduced I was playing and seeking to disrespect him, his creed, ethics, and morals. To avoid a verbal dispute I avoided all until it mellowed out. Then, when he approached me I verified yes, I apologized for the crossed wires, but the rats seen were at negative work and attacked both he and I by falsely filing to alter our medical diets, cell searches, and my legal requests to invoke doubt that I was attacking them, and make me think they were retaliating. This was a massive ploy instigated by the confidential informant rat. At the same time, one of them verbally threatened the rat, and mysteriously he got moved. But, due to the melodramatics the rat was orchestrating, and myself being under the gun, they believed that I initiated and instigated these ploys.
So, I and all I represent are at arms. I have tried to keep honest peace between us, but due to hard heads and extreme views of subordinates they kept the seeds of hate and distrust germinating.
I am designated the lead representative for mine here. All I've tediously striven to build with MIM(Prisons)'s guidance of United Front has been undermined. Now a vicious wedge has been shoved in between us and our ability to move forward. I have tried to speak, apologize for circumstances beyond my control, and offer all we can to resolve the problem. But this is the second time rats have attacked our struggle.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Developing the ideas behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) was the first, easy task. The hard part is actually getting people to look past previous disagreements and conflicts to unite for a common interest. This comrade sheds light on one of the big problems our anti-imperialist organizers face behind bars: the same kinds of covert attacks that the revolutionary movement has faced for years from the government. While prison conditions have done much to bring LOs together to see their common circumstances, there is not much freedom to operate under such repression. It takes careful communication and education to build around these attacks. One thing that we can do to help prevent these problems is educate people about the COINTELPRO-like attacks that will happen to progressives, so that people are on the look-out and aware of what might be done by the pigs.
We want to hear from the various groups and cells that have signed on to the UFPP statement. How have you implemented the principles? What progress and setbacks have you seen? How can we build on each others' experiences? Often we learn more from negative experiences. So send your reports in to Under Lock & Key. We also still welcome statements of unity from groups new to the UFPP. Both help us promote the United Front and the struggle for peace.
Recently a fellow prisoner told me he had heard that Nevada was the only state in which a CO had never been killed. Knowing that I have more than 3 decades in this system, he asked if this was true. I looked back and had to admit despite hundreds of assaults, attacks, hostage situations, takeovers, etc., I could not recall one CO being killed, ever.
Up until Nevada State Prison (NSP) closed (2011-12) it was the oldest prison still in use in the united states. The building in which the first experimental execution with gas occurred (on a cat) still stands as a testament to the gravity of the statements above.
In the early 1980s NSP received attention on "Good Morning America" as the most dangerous prison in the continental united states. This was true for prisoners only (apparently), who've died by the score.
I arrived in 1979 and the two dominating prison-formed organizations were well established, all other groups were extensions of existent street organizations. These two prison-formed orgs were based on racially charged genesis mythologies of defense from other prisoners.
The COs tended to "turn a blind eye" to, or participate in, prisoner-on-prisoner violence out of fear of retaliation or through "negotiation." Prisoners also turned a blind eye to, or participated in, guard-on-prisoner violence/oppression in return for concessions, creating an environment which thrived on the victimization of prisoners facilitated by guard/prisoner cadres. This relationship still exists in Nevada, though less visible.
Many prisoners have been killed, assaulted and raped at the hands and/or instigation of COs, myself included.
The point of this is that, historically, Nevada prisoners organize on one of two opposing platforms: 1) persynal defense/safety 2) profit. Some combine these two and others degenerate from the former to the latter. This approach inevitably results in a contradiction of defense vs. predation with the consequence of a self-perpetuating condition of disunity among prisoners, due to the self-replicating nature of these positions.
In Nevada this is an entrenched proxy of the prison political landscape which must be dismantled.
Alongside the two groups above, there have formed new organizations whose lines continue to define fellow prisoners as enemies or potential victims. In such a climate, racial polarization is inevitable in the defense camp and predatory capitalist expansion is inevitable in the profit camp.
These philosophies embrace, advocate and promote a prisoner vs. prisoner paradigm, a mirror image of the Amerikkkan/prison paradigm used to oppress the masses and to prevent organizing among prisoners. By making prisoners impotent, it facilitates their continued oppression and the violence and exploitation visited upon them, their families, and community by the state.
It was against this background that SAMAEL emerged in defense against the state and it is against this background that Nevada prisoners are oppressed today. It is time for Nevada prisoners to wake up to the reality of our mutual conditions. We reject the prisoner vs. prisoner paradigm out-of-hand and refuse to cooperate, facilitate, or participate in our abuse, oppression and genocide, or that of others. We are calling on all Nevada prisoners to join us in:
Organizing for our mutual defense against our mutual enemy, the state, by opening dialogue and forming alliances with all fellow prisoners to address conditions of confinement as a single body.
Ending all inter-tribal disputes by adopting the agreement to end hostilities as proposed by the PBSP-SHU short corridor collective. This should include all facilities in Nevada and all custody levels in these facilities striving to expand this initiative beyond prison walls and into our respective communities.
Rejecting all racial, gender, sexual, religious and custody divisions as counter-revolutionary distractions. The enemy does not limit its capabilities based on these distinctions and we must stop allowing these distinctions to be an exploitable weapon against us. Our weakness is their strength.
Ending prisoner-on-prisoner predation. While Nevada prisoners are victimizing and exploiting each other, the state is fomenting and capitalizing on this disunity to further abuse and oppress us. Do not assist this process through inaction or abuse and oppression of fellow prisoners.
Breaking silence: when a CO mistreats you, grieve it. Put it on paper and into a public forum. When a CO mistreats a fellow prisoner, step up and back their play. Put it in writing and get it into a public forum. The COs back each others' play without question and we must do the same. We will only be oppressed further by enabling them with silence, and they are exploiting this reluctance to speak up. Every voice counts (see addresses below)
Back up the California comrades. It is not just their struggle — many prisoners in Nevada have been segregated/tortured for decades and their voices are not being heard. We must speak for them because all prisoners are united by captivity, suffering and oppression.
Nevada prisoners must unite against our captors and stop enabling and assisting in our own destruction.
Expose abuses to:
NV-CURE, 540 E. St. Louis Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89104 Jonathan Smith, Chief, Civil Rights Div U.S. Dept of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Washington DC 20530
MIM(Prisons) adds: Also send your reports on abuse to MIM(Prisons) for publication in Under Lock and Key!
I refuse to lay down, in my struggle against the oppressor. Anti-imperialist efforts, settling for nothing lesser.
Striving together with my brotherz and sisterz — Utilizing knowledge, wisdom and understanding. "We're fighting for world peace!" Is what my comrades past and present is demanding.
Anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, fuck it! I'll be devoted to fighting against that old slave mentality that my older peers seem to keep holding.
We rise together and never fall. Nor stumble in sudden speech. So to the brotherz and sisterz down in this struggle — Without initiative and motivation you'll forever remain stuck with your slave mentality!
At the heart of the triple C Creed it is about practicing exemplary science. Don't just talk about it, be about it. We've had too much talking. Too many jack-leg preachers. Too many fakers and haters acting like they know it all. Meanwhile, we keep losing young Black lives at alarming rates. We keep losing family to drugs. Our men keep vanishing from our communities to feed this insatiable carceral beast.
Here is the fundamental science: when we act we achieve! Over the past year we have acted in unity to exemplify our collective strength. We joined a nationwide grievance petition. We campaigned for a non-violent resolution. We organized with the Islamic community and an on point social network. We conducted round table discussions. Many brothers enjoyed our track and field events, and we conducted a mass rec grievance campaign so that we could hold these events. We ended with a unit wide collective fellowship meal.
In 2013 we are refocusing our efforts on our primary function of sharing information. If you look back over the trajectory of the African history in this land you will see that every time we gained knowledge and acted on it we advanced. This must always be the comrade's conscious focus. Acquiring and distributing intelligence. We understand that roughly 95% of prisoners won't put in the effort to do this, and it may well be true that 4% of the ones who do will only seek to acquire certain knowledge for personal profit and gain. OneLife intends to focus its developmental efforts on that critical 1% who will both actively seek to inform themselves as a part of their daily routine and exercise due vigilance in passing that intelligence along to others in a sustained, structured way.
Our vanguard development understands the importance of knowing what is going on in Syria, Mali, or Nigeria. Understanding our u.s. economy, how it impacts other world peoples, and what is our place and power of potential in determining the greater scheme of things. We want to learn about specific political actors, the actual function of their office, and how specific policies impact our lives and the lives of our families and communities. Then we want to learn how to affect these processes. The 1% must lead such struggle. This is what is meant by movement. Any single campaign or event is pointless without solid comrades who are committed to sustained struggle.
As I've said before, you don't have to be with OneLife to be serious about this movement, but you do have to be consistent. If your word ain't shit, neither are you. Comrades preach what they practice, knowing it's not about them. It's about the people. Real lives are at stake based on what we do or don't do.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this leaflet as an example of what organizations that join the United Front for Peace in Prison are doing on the ground in their prisons. This group has declared its agreement with the UFPP five points of unity, and is striving to implement them by organizing and educating others, and fighting winnable battles for change. As they point out, you don't have to be with their organization to be in the movement, but you need to be doing something.