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[United Front] [Organizing] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Theory] [ULK Issue 35]
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A Message to Street Organizations: Ride or Die! Unite or Perish!

urban lock & key

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

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)
2. Essay: Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth, by a New York Prisoner, MIM Theory 9, 1995. Available from MIM(Prisons)

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.

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[United Front] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 35]
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South Carolina Prisoners Coalesce to Join UFPP

from R.A.V.E.N. (Revolutionary Advancement, Victory, Equality, Necessity)

After reading the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles, I realized how similar our goals and views have been. We have only now taken a name to join the United Front.

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.

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[MIM(Prisons)] [United Front] [National Oppression] [Utah] [ULK Issue 35]
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Utah Street Gang Injunction Demonstrates Parallels Between Prison and Street Battles for Oppressed Nations in the U.$.

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.

What really worries the state is when lumpen organizations come together for peace and to promote national liberation struggles. This was seen in California during the recent hunger strike, in Florida during the September 9 Day of Solidarity last year, and in the many lumpen organizations and representatives signing on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

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.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [United Front] [ULK Issue 38]
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Mensaje de The Aves

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!

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[United Front]
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The Voice of Liberty Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

Mission Statement: Libertas est naturalis facultas ejus quod, cuique facere libet, nisi quod de jure aut vi prohibetur.

Liberty is a person's natural power which permits one to do as he pleases.

Voices of Liberty (VOL) has organized to:

Break the silence about oppression.

Announce officially that we strive for unity and peace.

Proclaim our independence from the United $tates government and all its branches, right down to the local police, because this system does not serve us.

Educate comrades to bring an improvement of the mind, and to coach, cultivate, direct, enlighten, guide and prepare them to live above oppression through education and upholding the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

VOL fully supports MIM(Prisons) and upholds the five principles of - Peace - Unity - Growth - Internationalism - and - Independence.

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[United Front] [Security] [Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 35]
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Report on United Front for Peace Work in Texas

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.

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[United Front] [Campaigns] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 35]
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Peace and Solidarity Protest in Nevada

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.

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[Campaigns] [United Front] [Hancock State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 35]
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Peace and Solidarity Fast in Georgia

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.

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[Organizing] [Theory] [United Front] [ULK Issue 34]
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Subscribers Declining Because of Too Much Criticism?

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 33 summarizing 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.

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[ALKQN/PLF] [Campaigns] [United Front]
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LK Leader Calls for Unity

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.

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