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[United Front]
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We Must Advance the United Front for Peace!

I've just finished reading ULK 19 and the formal announcement of the United Front for Peace in Prisons initiative, of which my organization is a supporter of and contributor to. And what makes this initiative fundamentally different from others which preceded this is that it was planned, struggled over and totally put together by the different lumpen organizations and individuals without the interference and influence of the bourgeois media and leaders. So it is ours to push and develop.

Why do we want and need peace? Because we are the ones doing the dying, suffering and long term prisyn sentences. Because we will never be able to determine our own destines until we can truly know and understand who are our real friends and real enemies.

Being serious about ending oppression means being serious about studying the world around us and learning from history.(1) When we examine the past peace efforts, we find that the lumpen leaders involved in them, for the most part, while demonstrating the right words, still had not effectively destroyed their colonial criminal mentality. And thus, were easily manipulated and co-opted by our bourgeois capitalist enemies.

Using Wallace "Gator" Bradley as an example, he went from high-ranking Disciple, to playing politician with the reformist Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, to having dinner in the White House with President Bill Clinton.

If we truly believe in what we say, then we all have to be accountable for the success and the failure of these efforts. We must be highly disciplined and forever vigilant and conscious of the fact that certain elements in our society or social environment do not want to see us succeed.

Understand this comrades: The war against us is real. And the only doubt about that is within your mind, and in the routine and nonchalant way you go about responding to the war effort.

If you have a critique of our efforts, want to help move them forward or feel your groove is not represented, then step up. Don't talk shit!

The persyn who stands upon the corner of the path and points the way and does not go is just a pointer. And a block of word can do the same.

Notes: See ULK3, Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 20]
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Statement of Unity from the Makavelian People's Party (MPP)

As a lumpen organization we are committed to creating an active peace between all lumpen organizations, both within prisons and on the streets. To this end, we agree to uphold the Statement of Principles set forth by MIM(Prisons) and other organizations in the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

Officially,
Prince Capone, Chairman of the MPP-Seattle Chapter
Comrade Booby, Chairman of the MPP-Prison Chapter

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 19]
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Announcing the United Front for Peace in Prisons

[This statement was drafted by members of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons, United Struggle from Within, the East Coast Consolidated Crip Organization, and the Black Order Revolutionary Organization, with input and review from other organizations and individuals working on peace and unity in U.$. prisons. If your organization wishes to join the United Front, you may submit your own statement of unity/support to Under Lock & Key.]

If the last 40 years have proven anything to us, it is that Amerika wants us at war with each other and locked in their prisons. The idea that banging is what we're just born into, as if we have no power over our own lives, is no longer acceptable if we want to survive. For the next generation to repeat what we have been through would be genocidal. We embrace internationalism because we recognize that most of the people in the world face potentially genocidal conditions under imperialism and that there is strength in numbers. This is a call for peace, unity and understanding amongst the many prison organizations currently in opposition to each other and individual non-gang affiliated comrades alike to take on an approach that utilizes the strength of our numbers in revolutionary struggle.

We have awareness that there's nothing cool about the hardships we as gang members and petty criminals put ourselves, our families, our communities and each other through. If we have to struggle and if we have to sacrifice then it's more logical that we put our strength and resources collectively against one target - the oppressor.

Too many of us are already in jail. To engage in reckless behavior that could get us locked up or locked down only helps Amerika control us. Tupac Shakur, who also helped draft a code of principles to unite lumpen organizations, referred to the Thug Life stage of his life and his music as the "high school" phase for ghetto youth. By the time he was locked in prison he was growing and expanding beyond Thug Life, while recognizing it would always be a part of him. He referred to this as his "college" phase, saying that some people never get out of high school. Our comrades often draw parallels between the intellectual growth of college students and prisoners. But prison should not be where certain groups of people must go to learn and grow.

A parallel example is found in the ideology of the Almighty Latin King Queen Nation, which describes its followers passing from the Primitive Stage to the Conservative (or Mummy) Stage to the New King Stage. The Primitive Stage is usually characterized by gang-banging and reckless behavior. The Conservative Stage steps away from previous recklessness, distancing oneself from the whole organization. "The New King recognizes that the time for revolution is at hand... A revolution that will bring freedom to the enslaved, to all Third World People... The New King is the end product of complete awareness, perceiving three hundred and sixty degrees of enlightenment. He strives for world unity. For him, there are no horizons between races, sexes and senseless labels. For him, everything has meaning, human life is placed above materialistic values. He throws himself completely into the battlefield, ready to sacrifice his life for the ones he loves, for the sake of humanization." (Kingism: Three Stages from The King Manifesto)

Despite our different paths of evolution over the years, all of our organizations share a common history that arose from the need to defend oneself and one's community in a society that has always kept us as outsiders. It is sad that we must find ourselves in the most horrid of oppressive situations (i.e. control units or death row) before our organizations can begin working together in our common interests. The purpose of this united front is to incorporate that commonality as part of our continued growth. Unity evolves from the inside out. Once we've begun to grow as individuals, our first task is to build unity within our group around the principles of the united front.

As we work to build unity with others, we must remember that rumors are tactics of pigs and snitches. Too many people have a habit of talking shit and creating disunity, as if it's a game. Comrades should know when to speak, where to speak, what to speak, to whom to speak, how to speak and when to keep absolutely silent.

There have been a number of attempts to unite various sets and cliques under one banner for a positive cause. But when such efforts are led by the criminally-minded these causes are only served superficially and the organizations continue to work in the interests of the greed and power of the few.

In the United $tates we are surrounded by wealth and excess, which breeds a sick love for their system of exploitation. Yet success for much of the oppressed nations is still handed out like winning lotto tickets, whether as a boss on the street or a ball player or other entertainer. And therein, we become oppressors of our own community, nation and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, our oppressed peoples as a whole are not allowed to determine their own destinies as nations.

The easier way out of the ghetto is to become overt oppressors by joining the white man's army. The imperialist wars of aggression are wars against the oppressed nations of the world. We are killed and injured in these wars to help kill and control the oppressed people the world over. To join the military of the oppressor (United $tates) is to betray and sell out our collective peoples.

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.

We cannot wish peace into reality when conditions do not allow for it. When people's needs aren't met, there can be no peace. Despite its vast wealth, the system of imperialism chooses profit over meeting humyn needs for the world's majority. Even here in the richest country in the world there are groups that suffer from the drive for profit. We must build independent institutions to combat the problems plaguing the oppressed populations. This is our unity in action.

We acknowledge that the greater the unity politically and ideologically, the greater our movement becomes in combating national oppression, class oppression, racism and gender oppression. Those who recognize this reality have come together to sign these principles for a united front to demonstrate our agreement on these issues. We are the voiceless and we have a right and a duty to be heard.

United Front Statement of Principles

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 19]
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United Front for Peace in Prisons - Statement of Principles

United Front for Peace
The basis of any real unity comes from an agreement on certain key ideas. This statement does not grant authority to any party over any other party. We are mutually accountable to each other to uphold these points in order to remain active participants in this united front.

  1. 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.

  2. Unity WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity.

  3. Growth WE recognize the importance of education and freedom to grow in order to build real unity. We support members within our organization who leave and embrace other political organizations and concepts that are within the anti-imperialist struggle. Everyone should get in where they fit in. Similarly, we recognize the right of comrades to leave our organization if we fail to live up to the principles and purpose of the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

  4. Internationalism WE struggle for the liberation of all oppressed people. While we are often referred to as "minorities" in this country, and we often find those who are in the same boat as us opposing us, our confidence in achieving our mission comes from our unity with all oppressed nations who represent the vast majority globally. We cannot liberate ourselves when participating in the oppression of other nations.

  5. Independence WE build our own institutions and programs independent of the United $tates government and all its branches, right down to the local police, because this system does not serve us. By developing independent power through these institutions we do not need to compromise our goals.

How to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons?

  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.


Campaign info:
Build a United Front for Peace in Prisons
This article referenced in:
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[United Front] [ULK Issue 19]
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Ex-Capo Joins Peace Agreement

I am an ex-Barrio Azteca prison gang capo (leader), now acting on an individual level for any peace movement like yours. Congratulations for taking your valuable time in creating this important movement. I see nothing wrong with it, but may I ask, where are the Aztlán lumpen organizations at? Is this movement only a Black power peace movement? I see no Aztlán reformers acting as contributors. Am I the only Aztlán reformer in your peace movement?

...I honestly think this great movement needs backup accords and contracts that can assure the support of other organizations wherever they call homebase, especially for voting, protest or problem solving, etc.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The United Front for Peace in Prisons is something that has been the undercurrent of letters from comrades and dialogues that MIM(Prisons) has been part of for many years. The formalization under the proposed statement of principles has been in the works for over a year, with a number of participants from different nationalities and lumpen organizations.

It should be remembered that development is never even. Certain regions, organizations and nationalities may be quicker to develop in political consciousness. If you don't see your voice being represented, shout out like this comrade did.

MIM(Prisons) has always been an internationalist organization (it's in our name). So you won't find any favoritism here of one nation's development over another. We've had contacts from every major lumpen organization write in in support of something like what we have developed. But for the most part those organizations are very decentralized, and our contacts are isolated individuals. This United Front is one common expression of those isolated individuals, including the writer above, from various regions, groups and oppressed nationalities.

But the United Front is not governing body. We believe it is up to comrades on the ground to draw up any necessary accords and contracts to develop real peace on a mass scale. Conditions will vary, and agreements will too as a result. The United Front will be a forum to share those experiences and successes, to help and encourage others. It will also serve as a medium to struggle with our political allies who have not yet joined in these efforts.

But this is just the beginning. We are finally ready to take this to the masses, where the ultimate form and the level of participation will be determined in practice. Our task now is to popularize the principles across the U.$. prison population, and eventually, the whole lumpen class.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 19]
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Organizing the Lumpen is Hard

lumpen united front

Organizing the imprisoned lumpen within the United $nakes is certainly nothing easy. However, speaking technically and from a materialist perspective, it should be relatively easy. As First World lumpen we face much more oppression than our oppressed nation counter parts who have ascended to the ranks of the petty-bourgeoisie/labor aristocracy. Therefore, when conducting a proper class analysis within the United $tates it is the law of contradiction that tells us that those most oppressed in the economic sense by capitalism's contradictions in society will be the scientifically designated revolutionary vehicle. Having no proletariat to speak of within U.$. borders, besides perhaps the migratory workers, the next best thing or class of people resembling a revolutionary vehicle becomes, in our case, the bourgeoisified lumpen.

Therefore, as any good communist should know the heart of social change, the very meat and marrow of it all within U.$. borders rests with the lumpen. And so in knowing all this there is still a question to be begged. Why is it so damn hard?!

The lumpen as a class is the direct product of the capitalist mode of production and has its ideology rooted and embedded in the bourgeois philosophy of "me, myself and I." It is this backward bourgeois thinking which we must first focus on defeating. Victory on the ideological front should be our first real goal. The more people we win over on the ideological front, the more successful we'll be in accomplishing all other tasks. This is the principal contradiction that needs to be resolved with respect to organizing the lumpen.

ULK as an ideological weapon is a good tool in helping us to win over the prisoner population in a conscious way to not only their own class based cause, but more importantly to that of the truly oppressed and exploited, the international proletariat and peasantry, i.e. the Third World masses.

ULK and now USW, with the direct ideological assistance provided by our Maoist teachers at MIM(Prisons), are currently spreading Maoist thought amongst and throughout the prisoner population. With all this said and being done therefore it should be relatively easier to organize the imprisoned population.

So why is it still so damn hard?

The answer once again to the aforementioned and repeatedly asked question is: ideology.

Case in point, take the California Department of Corruption for example, the biggest warehouse of people in all of the United $tates. The imprisoned lumpen within this golden gulag might very well be one of the toughest nuts to crack for USW and so it should serve as a case study for MIM(Prisons).

The CA Dept. of Corruptions is the very focus of many of the internal contradictions of Amerikkkan imperialism peculiarly personified in national oppression and class warfare. For that matter just about any Amerikkkan prison is a perpetrator of these superstructurally demanded operations. Killa'fornia however differs from most other states in the way in which the lumpen organizes itself. It's not merely a matter of organizational differences as compared to other LOs, in other states rather a difference in ideology of each nation-based LO. Perhaps this is why state repression is so intense, as well as carried out over and beyond the call of duty by prison administrators here.

Just as your average Amerikan foot soldier believes that fighting Islamic anti-imperialists is their number one job as "freedom loving Amerikans," so does your average pig on the street, as well as those working the prisons, believe that the biggest threat to internal security and class interests inside "the homeland" is the lumpen.

While on the California "mainline" it is easy for a USW comrade to bang their head on the ideological brick wall of backward-bourgeois-individualistic thinking when attempting to organize the lumpen for their own interests. Failed attempts to facilitate peace treaties between LOs or failed attempts to organize peaceful protests over real issues doesn't say much about a comrade's effectiveness while working within these conditions. Being that prison is only a microcosm of its given society, and knowing that the contradictions of the former are only equal or greater, for the most part in the most extreme sense, than that of the latter, deems that that principal contradiction that needs to be resolved in order for us to begin successfully organizing the lumpen is that of ideology. The difficult thing here is to persuade the prisoner population to become class conscious; the rest is relatively easy.

"The correctness or otherwise of the ideological line and political line decides everything. When the party has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns then it can have guns; if it has no political power then it can have political power." - Mao Zedong

What applies to parties can usually be applied to individuals.

Some comrades in USW and MIM(Prisons) might believe that the important thing here when building class consciousness throughout the imprisoned populations is in getting lumpen organizations to adopt a proletarian worldview. If we do this however, all we're really getting is a revisionism of sorts because individuals won't really bother to struggle politically with themselves, they'll just "toll the bell" so to speak. Of course we'll always try to attract as many followers as we can, but only if they're all able and willing to lead.

Some might think that if you remove the barrier of lumpen organizational structure, i.e. the LO itself, that this act in itself will automatically gain us troops to the tenth degree because the lumpen will then be that much more progressive.

True, some individuals who either willingly leave their LO or are forcibly removed from their car do indeed become progressive in one way or another. Some delve into mysticism wishing for forgiveness and a better tomorrow, others become class conscious and take up the struggle of ending oppression in all its forms. For the most part however they just keep on doing the same old shit. "Same shit, different day," as they like to say.

Just as we can only build socialism one country at a time, we can only revolutionize the prison population one persyn at a time; and just as the theory of simultaneous world revolution is an incorrect one, so is it incorrect to think that we can revolutionize whole LOs all at once or anything close to that.

I say all this to make the point that the one organizational barrier for the most part isn't the end all be all when it comes to preventing the prison population's revolutionization process. Some comrades might know what I'm talking about if you're housed in an environment where there are no real prison politics to speak of, that is to say you don't have to worry about another prisoner trying to pressure you to conform to socially accepted and required norms.

A PC yard shows you this when you see people who have left one LO on the mainline only to join another one on a SNY, playing the same games and reconstructing the same old hierarchy and policies that got 'em to a PC yard to begin with.

It's almost as if the prison population must be shocked out of their zombie-like state of existence before they can exhibit some type of real progressiveness. Feeling this way can surely discourage some comrades from doing the necessary work which the USW has been tasked with. Unfortunately we are forced to work with what capitalism has bequeathed us.

The battle to push people towards scientific-socialism is a most ruthless war waged by the class-conscious and is fought against not only backward individuals but against an entire network of ideas (superstructure). This is exactly why the Chinese Communists had themselves a "Cultural Revolution," because they knew full well that organizing the prison population in this or that direction would never be enough. You have to teach the prison population not only what has to be done but why it needs to be done. For this we must all bear responsibilities!

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[United Front] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 19]
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The Subjection of the Incarcerated

I read in the September/October 2010 issue, an article written by a prisoner in the Pennsylvania structure. He said, "[guys in this jail] are only concerned with BET, sports, 40 cent ice cream tickets and who's sucking whose dick... they don't stand up for shit except count time."

I believe these statements are very correct. Not only for the Pennsylvania structures, but all penal structures throughout the United $tates. I've read every single article in that issue by many different prisoners throughout these structures. I can relate to every last one of them, and I'm pretty sure that all prisoners within the system can relate to every single article just the same.

These structures differ only so slightly, only by name, location and modeled design, but their inner mechanisms pretty much work the same way. Everyone complains of the disunity and betrayal between their fellow prisoners. Noone wants to stand up against the powerful structure that has the ability to deploy swarms of guards equipped with body armor shields and pepper spray to counter any resistance from its 'subjects.' Even though we outnumber them, in the end, they still seem to come out on top. They seem unstoppable, victorious, and mighty. Prisoners give these "warriors" seemingly honorable names such as "The Goon Squad", "The Turtles," "The Team," "The Run Down Boys", and "The Squad."

Riots and uprisings are quickly squashed with no positive results, other than more lockdowns, revocation of good time and parole, restrictions on telephones and visitations and all other privileges of the prisoners that were provided by their "structure." I relate and share in the suffering and pains of every one of my comrades.

Psychology

But do you know why there is so much disunity between prisoners? Do you understand how the human mind works? Do you understand what I mean by the term structure? Do you know how dangerous and manipulative your institutional psychologist or "psych" could really be? Do you know why all modern prisoners must be built and structured into many individual pods? Do you know what your mind frame is being subjected to, by the master psychologists and anthropologists who designed and masterminded the inner workings and mechanics that make these structures work so differently from those of the 70s and 80s?

In the world of psychology, there's a basic and very fundamental term known as "Classical Conditioning." Classical Conditioning means any type of learning through which an organism learns to associate one event or object within the environment to which the organism or person responds with another. For example: when we see or smell delicious food we are tempted to eat, or feel hungry. Or when we see a very attractive person, we become sexually aroused, thanks to certain hormones that are being secreted within our bodies.

These natural responses to events or objects in our environment are our Classical Conditioning. It is in our nature to respond in this way to these types of stimuli. (Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936, Conditioned Reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex.) [ULK Editor: Classical Conditioning is actually the replacement of the natural occurring stimulus (like the smell of food) with an unrelated stimulus (like the ringing of a bell). Pavlov famously made dogs salivate with this method by ringing a bell. The idea that anything that triggers a physiological response is "natural" is often used to imply that humyns are hard wired to respond this way. On the contrary, most, if not all, of our sexual arousal is triggered by socially conditioned responses (see Operant Conditioning below). A scientific approach would be to overthrow the patriarchy and then see what triggers sexual arousal in humyns. Things that trigger sexual arousal under communism and under the patriarchy would be good candidates for "hard wired" responses. Similarly, the smell of certain fast food might make some Amerikanized humyns salivate while making other people nauseous.]

The next most basic and fundamental term in the world of psychology is known as "Operant Conditioning." Operant Conditioning means a type of learning in which the consequences of behavior are manipulated so as to increase or decrease the frequency of an existing response or to shape an entirely new response. For example, in order to be paroled and released back into society, you must respond with good behavior throughout your incarceration. Or, if you break the law, the response of the controlling authorities will be to convict you and then send you to prison.

The most notable researcher of Operant Conditioning is a psychologist by the name of B.F. Skinner. In his book, "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" (1971) Skinner quotes "free will is a myth and a person's behavior is always shaped and controlled by others - parents, teachers, peers, advertising and television." In this book, Skinner argues that society must systematically shape the behavior of their members for the larger good.

Now that we are familiar with the terms Classical and Operant Conditioning, we will lean more towards the Operant Conditioning within the walls of these structures because Operant Conditioning deals strictly with the manipulation of human behavior.

Operant Conditioning in Prisons

As of right now, I'm confined to solitary confinement, in a single cell for 23 hours a day for a total of 570 days. My original time was 90 days for a "shank" or "shaped weapon" that was allegedly found in my cell during a shake down at a time when we were having a lot of stabbings within our structure. When they brought me down to the hole, they tried to give me a cellmate, but I refused. Due to this refusal, I was issued a ticket, which was then reviewed by a hearing examiner, who gave me an extra 30 days in the hole for "refusing to obey a direct order." Every day, the guards would order me to take a cellmate, but I refused. Within one month I totaled 570 days, and counting.

One must be thinking, why is he putting himself through all of this unnecessary punishment? Why don't he just take a cellmate and get out of the hole?

The truth is, I'm actually avoiding extra punishment, not physically but mentally. The hole is a behavior modification mechanism within the structure that employs a form of deprivation to manipulate human behavior. It is not meant for two human organisms to occupy for any period of time. But due to overcrowding in all of the Pennsylvania's structures, people are being forced to cell up and co-exist with each other under these harsh conditions. A man needs privacy and time to himself in order to cope in the best way he can during this time of extreme deprivation. But instead prisoners within my structure are forced into these conditions. Under these conditions cellmates are known to fight with each other for something as minor as using the bathroom at a certain time of night. Whereas in general population if the same two individuals were cellmates an unorthodox or out of timed bathroom break would never have been a problem.

After their fight these same two prisoners are then forced to kiss and make up and endure each other's differences as well as their deprivations. Under these conditions, stress and mental anguish are always present. This type of stress results in bad health and hair loss. It is much healthier to remain in solitary where one doesn't have to deal with the next man's deprivations as well as his own. I see and hear cellmates argue and fight each other every day from where I'm at. A lot of the cellmates do not get along and "pull stunts" to force the commanding shift officer to move them in with someone more suitable.

Another form of Operant Conditioning used to manipulate behavior employed by the penal system is food. Though food is a necessity for the human organism and is classified as Classical Conditioning, when used in behavior modification - it becomes operant. For example, in the hole, we get fed less portions of the meals than those in general population.

The food, that all of us prisoners consume is laced with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Our tongue has four distinct taste sensations: bitter, sweet, sour and salty. The fifth sensation is called the umanmi, which is triggered by the substance glutamate. When this fifth sensation is triggered by this glutamate substance, it stimulates the other four sensations on the tongue's taste buds, creating a strong urge for more glutamate substance. Try eating a handful of salt and vinegar potato chips and then bite into an apple. Which product will you crave more?

To supplement the effects of monosodium glutamate in the lunch and dinner meals, the penal system provides the prisoners with a commissary that has food available upon purchase in its inventory. The prisoners are now led to purchase items on commissary to supplement their chemically induced hunger at night after the prison feeds him/her their dinner. Ninety percent of the prisoners I know can't live without ramen noodles every night. So now the prisoner becomes dependent on the commissary.

Then, penal systems will provide the prisoner with privileges, but only if his behavior is in compliance with the rules. The prisoner is allowed to have a radio and a television set with cable in his cell. Then there are the phone calls, the visits, parole, the weight room and the yard. But let's go back to the television set. A TV is major time killer. You could do your entire bid in the cell just watching TV. The TV is a major stimulus if you want to control the weak prisoner. Most people in the hole say "I can't wait to get back out and watch TV., I've missed 3 episodes of Jersey Shore (or whatever program) already." Even I miss the television and a good honey bun every now and then.

The manipulation of Operant Conditioning can be so powerful, many prisoners take abuse from their structure's establishment in order that they may make parole and go home to their families. Within my structure, the prisoners are forced to take programs and work jobs that start at 19 cents an hour, otherwise they won't make parole. Would you stay in prison for 10 years, or adjust your behavior and go home within 5 or 4 1/4 on pre-release.

These individuals who are trying to go home, as well as the weak prisoners, are then placed within the same housing unit along with the strong, long term more militant prisoners - who, by the way happen to be our comrades in the struggle. With these different individuals with different goals in mind, any type of unity or grouping together for one common cause is gonna be difficult.

Whenever the penal system changes a policy that we are in opposition to, only a few will be able to stand up while the majority of these strategically placed so-called convicts will turn their backs and endure the abuse in order to be released from prison or maintain possession of their privileges.

We can't shut down the kitchens, because a majority of the prisoners who are working there are parole mandated. They would rather deal with the abuse and go home. Hunger strikes are iffy. A riot these days will consist of no more than 300 people, which is easily contained as soon as they seal off the individual pods or units and lock the prison structure down. Then they turn us against each other by offering the unfortunate and the "have nots" a radio or television set, in return for spying and telling on their comrades' movements.

The ones who designed the program structure, the parole structure, the commissary and privilege rights (the "brains") are the college educated psychologists who we will never see. They are the ones who created this form of behavior modification.

Because of this, a division is wedged in between our factions, causing a chain reaction of adversary and conflict amongst ourselves. The ones who have a little bit of money, shun and look down upon the one who is broke. Even if the one who doesn't have any money on his books had lived more prosperous in the streets. The young prisoners take our older comrades for granted because they are old. Thus creating a huge intellectual and traditional gap between the two.

Phillip Zimbardo is a psychologist most notable for his work on social roles. A social role, as defined by Zimbardo is a "socially defined behavior considered appropriate for individuals occupying certain positions within a given group."(P.G. Zimbardo, "Pathology of Imprisonment" (1972) 'Society,' 9, 4-8.) The Stanford Prison Experiment is an experiment in which Phillip Zimbardo simulated a prison experience. College students were randomly assigned to be either guards or prisoners. The guards, wearing uniform and carrying small clubs, strictly enforced harsh rules. The prisoners were stripped naked, searched and deloused. Then they were given prison uniforms, assigned numbers, and locked away in small bare cells. The guards quickly adapted to their new role, some even to the point of becoming heartless and sadistic. One guard remembered forcing prisoners to clean toilets with their bare hands. And the prisoners began to act debased and subservient. The role playing became too real - so much so that the experiment had to be ended in only 6 days.

That was just an experiment, play acting. But you see once an individual becomes wrapped up in a certain social role how far it can lead. Zimbardo conducted this experiment back in 1972, but we are in the real thing today. Once these guys adapt to certain roles and behaviors, the result is what we see being acted out today.

One day, a guard burnt one of our comrades for a meal right here in the hole. Only 7 of us held our food trays and refused to return them in protest of the injustice that was carried out. Those that gave their tray back all stated that they didn't want to get a ticket, that they were trying to get out of the hole as soon as possible.

So, what are we left with? The answer is simple - it's knowledge. My comrades, prison is a mental struggle, it always was. We must evolve mentally. Study psychology, get good at it. Study political science, get good at it. Study anthropology, get good at it. We must evolve and turn our cells into think tanks. Learn and understand how the penal system structure controls and manipulates human behavior.

Stop taking psychological medication in any form, be it a sleep inducer or antidepressant. For when you are released you will be subjected to withdrawals whenever deprived which may lead you into narcotic abuse. If you can't sleep, read and learn meditation and breathing exercises, heal yourself.

If you're depressed, meditation and inner calmness works wonders on the mind. The structure is a very powerful establishment designed and put together by some very smart college educated veterans, who get paid a lot of money to make sure that the prisoners advances are easily thwarted.

When we are able to show and prove that our solution is better, the younger ones will follow and we will grow in numbers in time. For now, my comrades, we are all in the same boat. Let's not be upset with the younger ones or the ignorant who refuse to unite. The manipulators who control these structures have made sure that the consequences will outweigh the rewards by far.

The weight of the structure sits heavy on those who need to get home to their families. The younger ones are easily manipulated, just give them a television and some food, and the jail could burn to the ground for all they care. As long as the power don't shut off.

For the rest of us, my comrades, if we continue to apply ourselves and stick to our disciplines, in time we will grow in numbers. Understand the importance of the right knowledge for the right battle. This is a psychological war. Learn the fundamentals of psychology, please.

Prison today is more like a mental hospital. With the number of the mentally ill growing in numbers every year, psych meds dim the intelligence of the individual, making him/her slow as the years go by. Understand what you're really being subjected to within your structure. Learn to adapt and adjust, be independent.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This analysis of prisons using classical psychological tools is useful for revolutionaries because it helps to uncover the methods and goals of those who design and run the Amerikan criminal injustice system. This comrade is right that the system is built to discourage and prevent organizing and unity. It's not that prisoners who are passive are inherently evil, they are just doing what the system is pushing them to do, and resistance is no easy task. Similarly, brutal COs are not just evil individuals. They are playing a role like the students in the experiment. This role cannot be abolished until capitalism itself is abolished.

For our comrades who do stand up against all this, we must know that the struggle is long and difficult. But as this comrade points out, we will grow and unite others as we stick to our message and discipline. For more on MIM(Prisons)'s position on psychology, check out the magazine MIM Theory 9 or our article Mental Health: a Maoist Perspective.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Gender] [ULK Issue 19]
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Call for More Gender Struggles in USW Work

In making a determination of what organizing strategy and tactical approach will be most effective in achieving the revolutionary goals of a political vanguard, we must first conduct a dialectical analysis of our strategic objectives. Thus, we begin our examination with an overall look at our political line. What are our general positions and our main objectives? Which of these should be given priority? What tactics will best advance the struggle for liberation, justice, and equality?

In the United $tates, the most oppressed groups are prisoners, First Nations, and sexual minorities/wimmin. Therefore, it is these specific groups to which I give priority and focus here. [We have excluded the author's analysis of First Nations to focus this article. - Editor] How can we better organize these groups? What tactics have worked in the past?

The Congress Report 2010 by MIM(Prisons) makes no mention of wimmin or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender, Queer) prisoners, or of issues and projects specifically affecting these groups.(1) As a transgender revolutionary feminist prisoner, and a USW comrade, I feel that the absence or exclusion of these oppressed groups from the discussion is of significant concern. Whenever MIM(Prisons) is confronted on the issue of gender, it merely refers to the old back issue of MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism. But what is being done now, today, in regards to gender oppression and the advancement of revolutionary feminism within the ranks of MIM(Prisons)?

The concept of principal contradiction comes from dialectical materialism, which says that everything can be divided into opposing forces.(2) The revolutionary feminist struggle against patriarchy is by no means secondary to the principal contradiction in the world today between imperialist countries and the oppressed nations they exploit. Sartre has observed that: "if the feminist struggle maintained its ties with the class struggle, it could shake a society in a way that would completely overturn it."(3)

The struggle for gender equality also includes transgender wimmin and other sexual minorities. The situation of transgender prisoners, particularly, is so vexing to prison administrators that the National Commission on Correctional Health Care has drafted a position statement titled "Transgender Health Care in Correctional Settings," which reads in part: "when determined to be medically necessary for a particular inmate, hormone therapy should be initiated and sex-reassignment surgery considered on a case-by-case basis."(4)

Transgender females, especially in prison, are often discriminated against and sexually abused in much the same way as biological wimmin, but far worse. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) has introduced a much needed piece of legislation, the Prison Abuse Remedies Act (PARA), which would end the widespread impunity enjoyed by prison officials when inmates are raped on their watch. It would change the worst parts of the PLRA, which makes it virtually impossible for prison rape survivors to seek redress in court.(5) Attorney General Eric Holder and Justice Department officials are dragging their feet on implementation of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission's recommended "Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Detention," the deadline for which passed in June 2010.(6) In the meantime, more than 100,000 adults and youth continue to be sexually abused each year while imprisoned.(7)

In failing to discuss these issues, MIM(Prisons) has missed a great opportunity to revolutionize these oppressed groups and link their struggle to the overall anti-imperialist movement. This is a strategic and tactical mistake on our part, in my humble opinion.

Wimmin and the LGBTQ community are oppressed groups and potential revolutionary classes nearly on par with oppressed nations, particularly within the criminal "justice" system, and MIM(Prisons) must raise their level of importance on the list of priorities at least to the level of national liberation struggles and prisoners' struggle. This is in line with the Maoist theory of United Front and the expansion of the anti-imperialist struggle among lumpen organizations, as well as internationalist solidarity. Wimmin and Queers of the world, Unite!

Notes:
1. Under Lock & Key, September/October 2010, No. 16 (San Francisco; MIM Distributors, 2010)
2. See "Strategy and Tactics in the Belly of the Beast," ULK 13
3. Jean-Paul Sartre, "Simone de Beauvoir Interviews Sartre," Life/Situations: Essays written and spoken. (New York" Pantheon Books, 1977) p93-108.
4. See "Should State pay for convicts sex change?" T.I.P. Journal, Vol 10, no1, Spring 2010 (Wheat Ridge, CO: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc., 2010), p3.
5. Lisa Stannow, "JDI Applauds Proposed Reforms," T.I.P. Journal, vol 10, no1, Spring 2010 (Wheat Ridge, CO: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc., 2010), p.5.
6. Action Update, April 2010, Just Detention International, www.just-detention.org
7. Ibid.


PTT of MIM(Prisons) responds: In a discussion of what the principal contradiction is in the world today, and what role feminism plays in that contradiction, let's first clearly define what a "principal contradiction" is:

"There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions." - Mao, "On Contradiction"

Ending oppression is our goal. The struggle towards this goal in our current society is our "complex thing." It has many contradictions which are interacting with each other throughout the course of its development (we say gender, class and nation are the main three). Determining which contradiction is principal in the world today gives us a guide for how to organize and what issues to organize around. We determine which is the principal contradiction using a materialist (based in material reality) analysis of history. The principal contradiction is principal (and not secondary) because of the way its development will impact the development of other contradictions. We do not choose it, it is shown to us in history.

Establishing a principal contradiction is not a matter of deciding which struggles most affect us on a persynal or subjective basis. The principal contradiction is not the most subjectively important contradiction; it is the one we need to focus on because history has shown that it will bring the best results. As sympathizers with all oppressed peoples in the world, including wimmin and LGBTQ people, we hope to reach communism as fast as possible to minimize humyn suffering. But based on our study and analysis, we say that nation, and not gender, is the principal contradiction at this time in history, and we need to organize to push the national contradiction forward.

For example, and contrary to what Queen Boudicca claims, oppressed nations are far more oppressed by the criminal injustice system than biological wimmin. In 2009, men were 14 times more likely to go to state or federal prison than wimmin, while Black men were 6.5%[this incorrectly read percent] times more likely than white men.(1) The gender gap is bigger than the national gap, but in favor of oppressing biological men. To argue that bio-wimmin are more oppressed you're gonna have to base your argument somewhere else.

Our comrade does present here examples of the unique oppression faced by wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners in the United $tates. Yet, the form of solutions proposed are reformist at best and at worst the demands of the gender privileged. We must not focus on these examples of oppression in isolation, as a replacement for a scientific analysis of how development of the gender contradiction will affect other contradictions (namely nation) and our overall goals, as Queen Boudicca does.

Historically laws against rape have expanded, not combatted, gender privilege. Similarly the development of leisure time related medicine has largely benefited the gender privileged at the expense of the oppressed. The use of drugs related to depression and mood is a means of adapting to an oppressive system, or being forced to submit as is more clear in the prison environment. That said, we would encourage comrades to utilize antidepressants as a last resort if they are unable to put in work without them. The initiation of hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery could play similar roles as psychological aids to cope in an oppressive world. But when we are considering strategic battles on behalf of the oppressed, shutting down control units, for example, will have a much bigger influence on mental health while also developing the anti-imperialist struggle for prisoners as a group.

Under capitalism and imperialism, it is impossible for us to determine whether hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery are objectively medically necessary for all time or just useful as a crutch for people who are justifiably maladjusted to an imperialistic world. Sex has long been defined socially and not biologically for the humyn species. Under communism, when gender oppression is eradicated, and gender ceases to exist, will people still want to change their biology? These are questions we cannot answer until we get there. For now we encourage everyone who has a poor self-image and an unsatisfactory sex life to recognize these as products of capitalism and join the struggle toward world liberation.

There is a thorough analysis of how the gender struggle impacts our struggle for communism, and it is contained in the 208 page magazine titled MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism. While not new, it has a more updated assessment than Sartre, specifically in regards to the gender aristocracy. Queen Boudicca claims to have read and to uphold MT 2/3, but misses a main point that the struggles of First World wimmin generally lead to more national oppression here and throughout the world. Examples include the lynching of Black men as a trade for more gender privilege for white wimmin; the forced drug testing on Third World wimmin directly leading to an increase in the availability of birth control for First World wimmin; and the failed pseudo-feminist movement which has had no positive impact on the gender struggle for the majority of wimmin. It is true that we recommend MIM Theory 2/3 as the best starting point for why nation trumps gender as the principal contradiction.

Although nation is the principal contradiction in the world today, it still may be possible to organize wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners under the MIM umbrella against their own material interests as Amerikans. We believe that prisoners hold the most revolutionary potential within the United $tates, which is why we organize them. If Queen Boudicca is subjectively inspired to organize wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners specifically, then we would support h organizing these populations around MIM line. There are many roles to play in our struggle toward liberation and communism, and MIM(Prisons) can't fill them all. As a revolutionary feminist organization, MIM(Prisons) aims to end gender oppression as part of our struggle for communism, and we would welcome any group into the united front against imperialism that is willing to accept the political leadership of MIM Thought.

Queen Boudicca accuses MIM(Prisons) of not publishing articles about the issues she raises. Yet we have printed letters from this author in ULK, and dozens of other articles addressing gender issues from a uniquely Maoist perspective. In particular, our article from ULK 1 discusses how imprisonment rates of Black men make them more gender oppressed than white wimmin in the United $tates today. And ULK 6 is focused on gender and tackles everything from gay marriage to pornography to the effect of prisons on the family structure.

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[United Front] [Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 18]
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To Unite or Not to Unite, That is the Question


With whom shall we unite?
As Maoists,
and as materialists,
one focus in this imperialist country should be on the economic interest of its various segments in order to determine with whom we should or shouldn't fight.
Tactically speaking,
An enemy of my chief enemy is as fate would have it a friend to me.
Sometimes permanently,
many times temporarily,
it depends on their particular ideological and political stance you see.
The grave consequence of revisionism in the heart of imperialism is a subtle yet vicious schism between imperialist country so-called communist workers and the revolutionary practice of proletarian internationalism. Such division born of revisionism threatens the success of one revolutionary socialist mission. It puts us in a dire position which psycho-socially translates into an unhealthy state of nihilism and terminates any possibility of an anti-imperialist united front. It puts one's enemy forces in a position to win but to begin with as dialectics teaches, it is the internal contradictions within our own camp that is the determining factor in making our foes into the triumphant champs.
So these contradictions must be speedily resolved.
They must be solved and we must consciously involve ourselves in their resolution beyond the limited subjective confines of our egotistic idealistic minds.
In short order,
we must refine our scientific use of the materialist method of analysis if we are to successfully persist in the massive work of building an expanded revolutionary united front.

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