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Under Lock & Key

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[SAMAEL] [Control Units] [United Front] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 32]
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Expanding the California SHU Struggle to Nevada

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)
  6. 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!

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [United Front] [ULK Issue 31]
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The "Slave Mentality"

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!

Join this United Front for Peace!

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[United Front] [Organizing]
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Comrades, Maintain your Commitment to the Movement

Huey Newton Unity Fist
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.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 29]
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California Hunger Strike Representatives Promote Peace Agreement

On October 10 a peace accord went into place across the California prison system to end hostilities between different racial groups. The Pelican Bay State Prison - Security Housing Unit (PBSP-SHU) Short Corridor Hunger Strike Representatives issued a statement in August, and hundreds responded on October 10 with hunger strikes to continue the struggle against so-called gang validation and the SHU. The original statement calls on lumpen organizations to turn to “causes beneficial to all” instead of infighting among the oppressed. Recently leaders in Pelican Bay State Prison reasserted that this applies to all lumpen organizations in CDCR, down to the youth authority.

The campaign to launch a peace treaty by influential leaders in Pelican Bay is not new. In 2000 prisoners worked with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to organize peace talks, but those efforts were sabotaged by the CDCR whose class and national interests conflicted with those of the prisoners. It is inspiring that comrades find now to be an opportune time to initiate the process without the state, which is in line with the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons initiated by MIM(Prisons) and USW in 2011.

We share the PBSP-SHU Collective’s view that peace is key to building unity against the criminal injustice system. Prison organizations and individual prisoners across the country have pledged themselves to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) principles and are building this United Front in their prisons, communities and organizations.

We know this won’t be easy, but there is a basis for this unity and peace. As was written in the original announcement of the UFPP:

“We fully recognize that whether we are conscious of it or not, we are already ‘united’ – in our suffering and our daily repression. We face the same common enemy. We are trapped in the same oppressive conditions. We wear the same prison clothes, we go to the same hellhole box (isolation), we get brutalized by the same racist pigs. We are one people, no matter your hood, set or nationality. We know ‘we need unity’ – but unity of a different type from the unity we have at present. We want to move from a unity in oppression to unity in serving the people and striving toward national independence.”

The ending of hostilities between large lumpen organizations has sweeping implications for the possibilities for prisoner organizing. USW comrades in California should work to seize this opportunity however possible, to translate the peace agreement into meaningful organizing in the interests of all prisoners.

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[Download and Print] [United Front]
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Fliers to Promote the United Front for Peace in Prisons

Both fliers are double sided featuring the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. The first one is two fliers per 8.5"x11" piece of paper and is recruiting students to volunteer with us. The other is just the 5 pts and is four fliers per 8.5"x11" paper as quarter sheets.

Educate to Liberate United Front fliers
Download, print, cut and distribute.

United Front for Peace 5 points flier
Download, print, cut and distribute.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 28]
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Dept. of Public Safety Opposes Efforts to Stop Fighting

North Carolina's so-called Department of Public Safety has joined a number of state agencies in openly sabotaging efforts to prevent prisoners from fighting in their facilities.

MIM(Prisons) and our readers in North Carolina have received multiple notices of censorship of Under Lock & Key 27, most of them citing page 3, which contained the Call for Solidarity Demonstration on September 9. In their doublespeak, they justify this with reasons such as that it promotes "violence, disorder, insurrection or terrorist/gang activities" and that it "encourages insurrection and disorder." This was in reference to a call for 24 hours with no eating, working or fighting, where prisoners only engaged in solidarity actions and networking to build peace.

Many other states censored Under Lock & Key 27 for threatening the security of the institution (including New York, California, Wisconsin, and Illinois). Wisconsin Department of Corrections later claimed that ULK 27 "teaches or advocates violence and presents a clear and present danger to institutional security." So there you have it. Prisoners coming together, for whatever cause, is a security threat to them. Making it clear what they are trying to secure, which is the prevention of the self-determination of the oppressed nation lumpen. This has nothing to do with the persynal safety of humyn beings, which the Call for September 9 was clear in promoting.

Folsom State Prison in California went so far as to say that ULK 27 was censored for "advocating civil disobedience in prisons." Even this claim is a stretch, unless fasting and not working for a day, a Sunday no less, is disobeying the law in some way. Texas seems to think so, as they censored many copies of ULK 27 with the consistent reason that it "advocates hunger strike and work stoppage." Well we know Texas is big on unpaid labor in their prisons. And we suppose it's not breaking news that peaceful civil disobedience is a crime in the eyes of the state of California.

Despite the more honest justifications given by some state employees in California and Texas, safety and security concerns remain the number one reason given by states to censor MIM(Prisons)'s mail to prisoners. To call these agencies on their bluff, MIM(Prisons) proposes that organizations within the United Front for Peace who are working to build off of September 9 focus on promoting safety in their agitational and organizational work. From the countless painful letters we get from U.$. prisoners who fear for their life everyday in these places, we are pretty sure that working together we can do a better job of creating a safe environment than they can.

Comrades should brainstorm ideas of how to launch a campaign to change the conditions that the state creates that lead to unsafe conditions for prisoners. Often unsafe conditions for prisoners are potentially unsafe for staff as well. Either way, an effective campaign to make prisoners safer should bring around new recruits.

Can we get enough stories of comrades working to help each other out and improve each other's well-being to make ULK 29 an issue focused on creating safer prisons in the U.$? And you artists out there, any ideas on how to promote issues of safety and security that speak to the prison masses?

Let's see what we can do with this. And look out for each other in there.

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[Middle East] [Africa] [Asia] [United Front] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 28]
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Cultural Imperialism Triggers Global Protests Against U.$.

map of protests against anti-Muslim film
White markers indicate locations of protests against the anti-Muslim film produced in the United $tates. See notes below for link to live map.

15 September 2012 — Tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities and slums across Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe and Australia have demonstrated in recent days in response to a film made in the United $tates attacking the Prophet Muhammad. Protests primarily targeted U.$. embassies and other symbols of imperialism including an Amerikan school, a KFC restaurant, and a UN camp.(1) The latter was one of many locations where authorities shot at protestors with live ammunition. Many have died so far. Some common unifying symbolism of these actions has been burning of Amerikan flags and chants of "Death to Amerika!"

The first protest that got the world's attention was in Libya, where U.$.-backed forces recently overthrew the decades-old government there. Timed to occur on the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United $tates by Al Qaeda, rebels grabbed headlines by laying siege to the embassy, killing as many as a dozen people, including the new U.$. ambassador. Since then protestors have attacked imperialist embassies in Tunisia, Yemen and Sudan without firearms.

While incumbent U.$. President Barack Obama has been making plenty of mention of his role in the assassination of Al-Qaeda's former leader Osama bin Laden in campaign speeches, hundreds of protestors in Kuwait chanted outside the U.$. embassy, "Obama, we are all Osama." Osama's vision of a Pan-Islamic resistance to U.$. occupations and economic interference in the Muslim world has reached new heights this week.

The Amerikan media has tried to play it off as a small group of trouble makers protesting, while Amerikans are shocked that they can be blamed for a fringe movie they have never seen and think is a piece of crap. At the same time, Amerikans seem very willing to condemn the protestors as ignorant, violent, low-lifes — just as the movie in question portrayed Muslims. But the trigger of these protests is far less important than the history of U.$. relations to the people involved. The most violent reactions occurred in countries that have all been under recent bombing attacks by the U.$. military, two of them for many years now, and the other had their whole government overthrown. Cocky Amerikans won't recognize that the ambassador was targeted as the highest level representative of the U.$. puppet master in Libya.

MIM has held for some time that Muslim organizations have done more to fight imperialism in recent years in most of the world than communists have.(2) And while there are plenty of ways communists could theoretically be doing a better job, they are not. As materialists we must accept and work with the people and conditions we are given. And we do not hesitate to recognize that Islam has brought us the biggest internationalist demonstration of anti-imperialism we've seen in some time.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Everglades Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Seven LOs, Religious Groups Rep in 9/9 Day of Solidarity

On 9 September 2012 at Everglades Correctional Institution, FLDOC, individual members of The Blood Nation honored the soldiers of Attica by doing one or more of the following: fasting, boycotting the canteen/commissary, accepting chow hall trays and dumping them, and explaining why. Also participating individually were one or more members of the following (in alphabetical order): Black Gangsta Disciples; Crip Nation; Insane Gangsta Disciples; Almighty Latin King Queen Nation; Nation of Islam; Spanish Cobras; Shi'a Muslim Community; Sufi Community. My apologies to anyone I missed. It was a small step at a spot with no history of unity, but even a single drop of water in a dry glass makes it wet. Respect to those who made the sacrifice, those who joined us midday, those who expressed interest the day after. I'm as human as anyone, but let's TRY to remember who the enemy is!

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[Download and Print] [United Front]
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Promote Prisoner Day of Solidarity - September 9, 2012

september 9 2012 day of solidarity

Supporters on the outside can use these two-sided, quarter sheet fliers to let the people know about the Day of Solidarity being organized across U.S. prisons for September 9, 2012. Just click the image above to download the PDF, print them out, cut them up and hand them out. Don't leave it to the bourgeois media to report on and define this movement.

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[United Front]
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Warrior's Order joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

Myself and the Revolutionary Order I am co-organizing would like to formally join the United Front/USW. We recognize the 5 principles as essential and they are also woven into and throughout our structure.

We are WOMMB (Warrior's Order Mobilized for Maximum Building) and we're focused on personal/social liberation and personal/social re-building, beginning with ourselves and fellow prisoners. Our methods and curriculum will center on rites of passage and initiatory values and structures. We aim to awaken the population, instill discipline, build character and destroy the bourgeois/slave identity. There are codes of conduct to voluntarily follow and a host of topics to be studied and mastered.

I will enclose our communique and 5 point plan/mission statement so that you will have a complete understanding of our position and goals.

We are seeking a relationship/partnership of solidarity, mutual assistance and collective planning and organizing. We would like to know more about MIM(Prisons) and how we can be of service.

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