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Under Lock & Key

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[Education] [United Front] [Texas] [ULK Issue 20]
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Lack of Education Limits United Front

Saludos y Respetos!

I received your plan for peace amongst the lower masses. It's in circulation.

My criticism is that, at least here in Texas, there's a lot of youngstas who have no understanding whatsoever of social relations. The comprehension level is totally shot. Your outlet and support is good, but here in this control block the average age is about 20 years old. Due to budget cuts, educational opportunities are being cut. Requests for education programming for the control block has been denied. Due to our custody level and administrative policy, we don't qualify for educational opportunities.

These fools can't even read, write, or do simple math. How the fuck are we expected to understand the writings of Marx, Mao or Che? I'm requesting your support in organizing a basics course of fundamental knowledge that is lacking in the daily interactions of our youth on a social level.

I totally support and endorse your propositions for peace. Tookie's outline is too basic. Where's the substance at? These fools need to learn basic literacy and problem-solving skills before entering the political arena.


MIM(Prisons) responds: What kind of oppressive system says that those who have been given the short end of the stick their whole lives "don't qualify for educational opportunities"? The system is set up to perpetuate the underclass status of large segments of the oppressed nations. This demonstrates the importance of MIM(Prisons)'s Serve the People educational programs for prisoners. We need donations, typists and other resources to continue to expand this important work.

As highlighted in this issue of ULK we have expanded our introductory study courses and are developing a revolutionary glossary, both with the goal of educating the uneducated. Yet many need more remedial training. We are researching this question and welcome ideas from comrades about how we can support that type of work. We do know that basic reading and writing cannot be taught through the mail, and United Struggle from Within needs to be enacting these types of programs on the ground. Education is an important part of building a United Front for Peace.

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[United Front] [Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 20]
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Peace Movement Destroyed in Infancy

Criminalizing a People
This letter is to inform you that the United Zulu Independence Movement (UZI) was destroyed and disbanded due to the draconian COINTELPRO-type efforts of the prison administration here in Missouri. For the past 6 months, which we are calling "6 Months of Terror!" the Missouri DOC have been sending the gang task force into general populations statewide to seize, harass, arrest, set up, transfer and jump on UZI members. Members are being pointed out by prison snitches and placed on gang file. They have also confiscated all of our literature, but cannot charge us with organized disobedience because, as you know, we have not promoted any.

The administration's view of UZI is so dark due to two major words within our radical title (United & Independence). They fear the unity of the lumpen, and they see the independent thinker as a serious threat.

I will keep in contact with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to let you know of our progress to rebuild.

It Don't Stop!
Zulu


MIM(Prisons) responds: UZI had been an active participant in pushing for a United Front for Peace in Prisons, working with MIM(Prisons) for just over a year before their demise at the hands of the state. We
hear they were doing prom- ising truce work between lumpen organizations in their region. As they allude to, they were very careful about the language used in their literature so that it could not be misconstrued to be something of a "crim- inal" nature or promoting forbidden behavior within the Missouri DOC. Despite all this, the DOC still saw it appropriate to brutally crush this peace movement, demonizing any attempt by oppressed nations to organize. We expect that more New Afrikan blood will be shed in Missouri as a direct result of this ob- struction of peace, and this blood will be on the hands of the COINTELPRO-type forces.

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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] [Organizing]
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United Front and First Nation struggles

I want to make a comment about the united front. I've been trapped inside this system for 15 years. And I've always been for my people and against our oppressors - the united snakes of lies. As you might know, us indigenous people have been subject to deception, murder, and assimilation. It's been a problem for my people - Dakota-Santec Sioux - since our first encounter with these snakes. And to this day it's still a problem for all indigenous people across this land we call turtle island. So until all the atrocities against my people have been righted, we will always be that thorn in the side of them snakes. Because we don't forgive or forget, we'll always remember the ones who have given up their lives for our struggle. For us, our wars have never ended, because as long as there's a breath in a few we'll always stand and fight for what is right.

I write that to let you know where we stand in the struggle. We will always be at war with the government of the united snakes.

Although we believe in the struggle, we also believe that the only ones who can fight our fight, is US (indigenous people), for history has shown that we can't rely on anybody but our own. For we are the ones who can truly relate to how much it means to us. And how we are effected by all the wrongs that have been done to us. Because I believe our struggle is different - we struggle for survival! We fight not only for sovereignty, but for preservation of our ways of life (language, spirituality, and our culture).


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer that the struggles of different oppressed nations are not all the same. The First Nations are in a struggle for survival as a small minority within a land dominated by an oppressor nation, while the struggle of oppressed nations in the Third World are battles of the majority against the minority. There are many differences, and these must be respected.

The goal of a United Front (for instance, the United Front for Peace in Prisons) is to bring together different groups against a common enemy without forcing those groups to subsume their struggles and beliefs into a larger organization. A United Front recognizes the importance of independence to its member organizations. Those groups need only unite around a common cause and principles but can take what actions they deem appropriate, and can continue to pursue their own organizing and other struggles.

We see the importance of separate nation vanguard organizations within the U.$., and so we agree with this comrade on the importance of indigenous people fighting their own fight. But we see the United Front as a crucial element of support for these organizations, bringing them together to fight their common enemy of imperialism.

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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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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] [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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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] [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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