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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Gender] [Special Needs Yard] [California Institution for Women] [California] [ULK Issue 61]
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PHRM Needs Bridges to SNY and Trans Prisoners

I am a transsexual female who has been in these trenches 37 years, have walked close to 30 yards and several SHUs, EOP, DMH. I want to add to Legion's presentation regarding SNYs (ULK 58, p. 19) and how they came to proliferate in Cali, and with regard to the people who walk SNY.

When I first came to CDC in the early 1980s, there were four formations that governed all the maximum security yards: Black Guerrilla Family, Nuestra Familia, Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood. Notwithstanding the wars among them, there was order and discipline within each, and the tone of the yards was one of respect and honor, an old or original tradition. There was a lot of fighting and killing at San Quentin, where I did four years in the Adjustment Center (AC) SHU. Extreme warfare proliferated as the formations fought each other, especially in AC, where Comrade George executed pigs and reactionary enemies and was martyred in 1971. It was the same AC I stepped into in summer 1982 — nothing had changed: extreme warfare through the bars (there were no solid doors, though there are now) and tiger cages instead of AC yards. In 1985, a white sergeant was speared in the heart through bars and died on the tier, which was attributed to BGF. That's when CDC went bonkers and conceived the Pelican Bay SHU monster to deal with everything (opened in 1989). It was also because of the killing of this sergeant that all SHU pigs had to wear protective vests, beginning in 1986. (Years later, alias Crips did a mass stabbing attack on yard pigs at Calipatria, and now ALL pigs have to wear vests.)

CDC's idea of an extreme control environment was a strategic mistake. First, because it could not and did not break the spirit of those who count, but reinforced their endurance. Second, it created a massive vacuum on the yards as all the OG formations were swept up and stuck in Pelican Bay SHU; soon, independent factions popped up on the untended yards, and compared to previous, the yards went haywire, like kids at a carnival. There was no discipline, no respect, no honor; SNY yards opened and grew as many stepped back from that mess. Now, wherever there is a General Population (G.P.), there is an SNY or two. Third, all of this cost CDC millions of more dollars than average, with nothing gained. Fourth, under the extreme oppression of Pelican Bay SHU, the consciousness of the formations heightened and they united against CDC. And fifth, the courts eventually let the formations out again.

A lot of the people who went from G.P. to SNY in the heydays of chaos were not bad apples but were just more serious about doing time, that the G.P. was so ruined it would've been futile to try to get it back on track.

As much as the G.P. has progressed, however, it still has some backward baggage to sort out. Trans prisoners cannot be on the G.P. because of threats of death, BECAUSE they are trans; only that. There are some progressive prisoners on G.P., the Kata, who do not persecute us. In fact they politically educated me in Pelican Bay SHU in the early 1990s. (A kata is a martial arts stance that Comrade G. practiced in his cell and disliked the pigs to see him in. Here, it connotes a revolutionary position and cadre.) But the general practice on the G.P. towards trans prisoners is transmisogyny and gender oppression; reactionary. To promote a prisoner's human rights platform, that platform must include the vested interests of all oppressed prisoners and have representation of all interests, including trans, and must extend into SNY and women's prisons. The G.P. has yet to address its position towards trans prisoners publicly.

I am with the Red Roses Transsexual Political Party (alias 36 Movement), which I founded. We are a political resistance movement, with critically vetted members. We do political work to challenge CDC's genocidal treatment of us as trans women with administrative complaints, lawsuits, and educate trans prisoners for unity and resistance. We consider ourselves a part of the Prisoners Human Rights Movement (PHRM) founded by the united G.P. at Pelican Bay SHU. Our voice needs to be heard, our situation on the G.P. hashed out. PHRM needs to extend into the women's prisons, where contradictions have peaked, with a series of suicides at the California Institution for Women.

There is no question that we are in a new era of doing time, across the whole landscape. The biggest difference is the new collective consciousness of who is the real enemy in terms of our fundamental vested interests, produced by the overbearing of the state on the oppressed. The current unity of the OG formations — and especially the Kata, as BGF and other New Afrikan unity — illustrates this.

Unfortunately, SNY is beset with wars among factions, and there have been some killings. I would advocate the PHRM shoutout to SNY factions to call a cease fire and work out a Peace Accord, to acknowledge a higher need for unity against their conditions, such as, they can't get into any self-help rehabilitation groups unless they debrief. PHRM's voice will resonate with those who count on SNY.

Red Roses urges all trans prisoners to acquire political consciousness and join the 36 Movement to resist CDC oppression as a united force. We are political, not criminal, politically educate ourselves and do for self and support each other for our collective good. Stop squabbling. We are being killed on the yards, as Carmen Guerro, who was killed on this very yard, and others (rest in peace). The 36 Movement is one for all and all for one. Let that be your motto.

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[United Front] [Louisiana]
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Inspired by UFPP in Lousiana

Myself and a few more wish to organize on the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) in an old issue of Under Lock & Key 52 we came across. Peace first, because the oppressors have utilized petty conflicts to keep the people divided into classes. Unity second because as a unit we all come together 1 mind 1 goal: the destruction of oppression. Growth Because of its necessary role in our development into a true revolutionary society (and if our movement is not growing we are obviously decaying). Internationalism because we recognize that the U.$. programs the lumpen with materialism so that oppression can thrive through pillaging poor people, and with internationalism we recognize the worldwide struggle. Independence to determine what is best for us and building program that serves the people righteously.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Join these comrades in Louisiana to take up the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) five principles. Think about how they apply to your work, and what you can do to implement them in organizing against the criminal injustice system. See page 3 of every issue of ULK for details on the UFPP principles.

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[United Front] [Campaigns] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 58]
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Nevada Call to Action and Unity

Over the past few months the United Struggle from Within - Nevada, has been hard at work, alongside groups such as the Reetboys and PLF/MISM, in a show of prisoner unity, building up a grievance campaign. Together, these groups, with their different ideologies, continue to lead a struggle for unity and peace within the NDOC.

We have had great success, and we now see open dialogue between and among groups which had previously been at odds with one another. This unity is coming in despite of our language, national, religious, philosophical, and/or ideological differences.

The USW-Nevada, alongside the PLF/MISM, Reetboys, and others, are now calling on prisoners at High Desert State Prison (HDSP), be you in general population or protective segregation, to stop the hatred and join in our current and ongoing struggle against the level system as it is employed at HDSP. Especially as it relates to the lack of programs, the inability to earn good time/work time credits, get parole, or be released. Prisoners housed at HDSP are being denied the very same opportunities given to every other prisoner at every other prison within the NDOC.

The grievance campaign has been ongoing, and over the past 2 months we have seen some 100+ prisoners file grievances on this issue. The response we have received has shown the attitude of the HDSP authorities. Namely that education, programs, and work are a privilege, not a right. This is being said despite the mission statement of director James Dzurenda, which states the following:

"The Nevada Department of Corrections will improve public safety by ensuring a safe and humane environment that incorporates proven rehabilitation initiatives that prepare individuals for successful reintegration into our communities.

"Vision – reduce victimization and recidivism by providing offenders with incentive for self-improvement and the tools to effect change.

"Philosophy – we will pursue our mission with integrity, act in a professional and ethical manner, be responsible for our actions, and raise the department to the highest standards.

"Goals – operate the department according to the best practices. Ensure the best use of department resources, educate stakeholders and customers, improve communication."

The actions being taken at HDSP, where the overwhelming majority of prisoners are denied work credits, programs, and any advancement within the level system itself, are contrary to this mission statement, the best interest of society overall, and the welfare of the inmates housed here.

Every day that we allow this to continue is another day that we will be forced to stay in prison. HDSP is denying us work time credits, which costs us 5 days a month, as well as education, which costs us 120 days for a GED, and 120 days for a high school diploma. While every other prisoner in any other prison within the NDOC earns these days, we at HDSP must do more of our sentences. For example, if you have a 12-48 month sentence, you will get out in approximately 912 days by working and getting both your GED and high school diploma. However, at HDSP, even if you do not receive a single notice of charges, the same prisoner would be forced to do every single day of that 4 years. Meaning the same inmate is required to do 548 more days on his sentence for simply being housed at HDSP. This number increases when you consider the days that can be earned by completing programs not available to prisoners at HDSP. Think about this number!

The United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP), a movement underway in Nevada, alongside the United Struggle from Within, the PLF/MISM, Reetboys, and many national groups have joined together in a single voice to call for unity, and an end to prisoner-on-prisoner violence, and to join together in a struggle for change. Join this struggle for change.

The grievance campaign will continue into a civil complaint. We will attempt to get it certified as a class action filed on behalf of all inmates, but in order to do this we need every inmate to file the grievances, and then file the individual 1983 Civil Complaint. Towards this goal, we are including examples for each level of the grievance process, and will make available to all who have completed the grievance process an example 1983 Civil Complaint.

We have not only completed the grievances, but letters have been sent to the director and the warden of HDSP. We have also been able to, via a whistle blower, get our hands on OP516, which describes the level system, but is marked "no inmate access." We will make this available as well.

We will end this here, but before we do we would like to say that in order for change to occur we must stand up and fight together for that change. The reason that things have gotten as bad as they have is due to cowardice. We have become so individualized that we covet what little we have, and fear retaliation. When is enough enough? Let us build up a voice and fight, as a single, unified body, for what is just!

Contact USW-Nevada through MIM(Prisons), for more information about prisoner issues and the continued struggle: MIM(Prisons), PO Box 40799, San Francisco, CA 94140.

AR740 and the Grievance Process

Nevada has implemented an unconstitutional grievance process. This grievance process is outlined in AR740. It states that an inmate may file no more than a single grievance in a single week, and that no more than a single grievance issue may be raised in a single grievance. This, of course, is unconstitutional, and should be challenged. But we are still required by law to adhere to the grievance process, no matter how unconstitutional it is, if we want to get to court.

We know that many prisoners have trouble with the grievance process. We will go over the basic process here so that you will know exactly what to do.

Step one – Start to write kites to your caseworker, unit SCO, and every job position, requesting placement in work, or to join programs. Save these responses, and a copy of the original request to show proof.

Step two – Get an informal grievance from your floor officer, be he/she a porter or a bubble office. Also get at least a grievance continuation form. Fill out the grievance using the example given herein.

Step three – Fill out your name, cell number, institution, etc. and then sign and date the grievance. This should be done first so you don’t forget. The same needs to be done for the grievance continuation form. Leave the grievance number area blank.

Step four – Using your own words, write your grievance.

Step five – Tear off and keep the last page of the grievance and grievance continuation forms.

Step six – Put the remaining pages, folded together, in the grievance box.

Keep track of your days. They have 45 days to answer your informal grievance. If you have not received a response on day 45, proceed to your first level grievance.

When filing your first and second level grievances, follow the same instructions as above, but attach the copies of the grievance, and any responses you have, with the grievances.

It is important to proceed through all 3 grievance levels. You have 45 days for the informal, 45 days for the first level, and 60 days for the second level. Make sure you keep a copy of every kite, grievance, etc., you have. You want to build up as much evidence as possible, so always have your unit officer sign your kites, and keep a copy. Every week you should send out as many kites as possible requesting job placement or program participation.

Grievance Example

I am grieving the application of the level system as it is employed at HDSP as it relates to programs, work, and educational opportunities. This grievance is based on my due process and equal protection rights based on the future of HDSP to offer me any ability to earn good time/work time credits which is available to all prisoners within the NDOC but those housed at HDSP.

Why is HDSP denying me any ability to program when Director Dzurenda has specified in his mission statement that: "The Nevada Department of Corrections will improve public safety by ensuring a safe and humane environment that incorporates proven rehabilitation initiatives that prepare individuals for successful reintegration into our communities." The mission statement then goes on to say the vision is to "reduce victimization and recidivism by providing offenders with incentive for self-improvement and the tools to effect change."

None of this mission statement is being applied at HDSP. In fact the level system denies prisoners any ability to program, educate ourselves, work, or any other means by which we may better ourselves, which, as stated by Director Dzurenda, is the goal of NDOC. Furthermore, not only are you endangering society by failing to offer rehabilitative programs to the 3,500 prisoners at HDSP, you are denying me due process and equal protection.

Every other prisoner, on every other yard, irregardless of level, is given the opportunity, even encouraged, to participate in programs. Meaning a prisoner serving a 12-48 month sentence on any yard other than HDSP, who works and programs, which is available to every prisoner, will do approximately 912 days of the 1460 days sentenced. The very same prisoner, housed at HDSP, receiving no writeups his entire sentence, will be forced to do the entire 1460 days. Meaning, HDSP is making prisoners do 548 more days on a 12-48 month sentence for no other reason than he is at HDSP. This is an unconstitutional violation of my right to due process and equal protection because any other prisoner, with my exact sentence, will be released earlier than I will, for no other reason that I, being housed at HDSP, am being denied the same access to programs available to prisoners on every other yard within the NDOC.

How can the NDOC justify telling prisoners who are begging for rehabilitative treatment that they do not deserve treatment, that this is a privilege, not a right? The warden and caseworkers at HDSP are refusing to help prisoners better themselves and are thus directly responsible for the recidivism rate, violence and crime that occurs at HDSP.

Why does HDSP see fit to deny drug addicts or sex offenders treatment? How will the community react when they find out HDSP is refusing to treat its prisoners, who are begging for treatment, and then releasing these people back into their community?

The fact is that HDSP houses approximately 3600 prisoners but work, education and rehabilitative programs, are available to only approximately 470 prisoners. That leaves 3130 inmates without any access to work, education, or rehabilitative programs. Which in turn means that I, and these 3130 prisoners, are being denied access to the very programs offered to every other prisoner within the NDOC.

Remedy Sought

  1. I want HDSP to offer rehabilitation programs to all 3600 inmates at HDSP.
  2. I want HDSP to review the mission statement of Director Dzurenda, and act accordingly.
  3. I want HDSP to stop punishing me and other prisoners for simply being at HDSP, and recalculate my days to include the 5 days a month due to the lack of work/programs at HDSP.
  4. I want HDSP to employ active, proven rehabilitation programs as a means/requirement for advancement within the level system, and not as a privilege.

For the remaining answers, on levels I and II of the grievance process, utilize this example, but formulate your response based on their responses to your grievances. Do not become disheartened by the denials. They will fight us on this.

Some further ideas for grievances

Others and I are also currently grieving the following issues. All of us should challenge them. They are, but are not limited to:
  1. The lack of proper hygiene supplies. 1 roll of toilet paper and 2 bars of soap a week is not sufficient. Furthermore, every other prison makes soap readily available, with 2 rolls of toilet paper.
  2. No cleaning supplies, and lack of time to clean cells.
  3. Toilet timers. No other prison requires inmates so long between flushes, especially when locked down in a cell, with another inmate, 22 hours a day.
  4. The grievance process. The new requirement of 1 grievance a week is unconstitutional and forces us to choose what issues to address. It thus directly effects our ability to access to the court.
  5. Supervisor Graham, and the law library. Supervisor Graham routinely denies access to the courts by refusing to make legal copies, confiscating legal work, and has written at least one false notice of charges.

If you know of, or can think of more issues, please feel free to contact the USW and let us know.

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[United Front] [Gulf Correctional Institution Annex] [Florida] [ULK Issue 57]
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Building Peace and Unity in Florida

solidarity

I'm writing you this letter in regards to trying to build peace and unity between the prisoners here at Gulf Annex. Same thing the guards don't want to happen here because there is power in numbers. I represent Growth & Development and recently one of my brothers had gotten into a fight with a Muslim over a petty issue. As we met up to find out what was the problem and try to work things out peacefully the guards broke up our little circle making comments like "you pick them I spray them." Sad to say we all laid down and went to our dorms.

Luckily we came to agreement to peace treaty, but if the pigs had it their way they'd be happy if we just killed each other. Sorry to say Florida prisons are probably the worst in the country when it comes to unity. Prisoners are quick to jump on each other over nothing, but won't stand up when they witness fellow prisoners being beaten, messed up, while in handcuffs.

ULK and have been passing them around. I have been trying to pass them to those who want to educate others, but I can only reach so many with issues I have. So I'm urging prisoners around the compound to subscribe to ULK so we can reach more prisoners in other dorms. Over the next couple of weeks you will be hearing from those wishing to have their own subscription. It's time for a change in Florida prisons and educating ourselves through MIM(Prisons) and ULK could be the start of something that will unite us. Now a couple of my brothers say they've wrote MIM but yet to receive a subscription. It can't be the pigs because I've received everything y'all ever sent me. So if anybody writes please send them a subscription.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 57]
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Abolitionists From Within Platform and Organizing Report

afw

Recently AFW sponsored a handball tournament on C Facility at High Desert State Prison. I had the honor organizing this event, alongside of XYZ the founder of AFW. When my brother asked me to help him organize this event, I was more than willing to oblige. XYZ was willing to use his own money to pay for prizes for the winners of this tournament. It's unselfish acts like this that change the world. The fact that the brother had an idea to bring this facility together in a show of solidarity, unity & peace is what impressed me, and I had to be a part of it.

It's ideas like this that change the world. Wasn't it the great Martin Luther King that had an idea that blacks & whites could co-exist together in peace? I dare not compare the Civil Rights Movement to a handball tournament. However, peace was the goal in both of these ideas, and peace is a principle that we all should strive for.

You know, this isn't the first time XYZ asked me to perform an unselfish act. September 9th 2016, as a show of solidarity, I refrained from certain things, and went out of my way to do something I normally would not do. By doing this I learned something about myself. So I knew by helping with this tournament, a lesson about self lay in wake. I learned that I have a knack for organization and I also enjoy bringing people together on positivity. XYZ don't need pats on the back because he knows who he is. But I have the utmost respect and admiration for the Brotha because he is the example of how ideas can teach and reach people in profound ways.

Great Minds Talk About Ideas.
Small Minds Talk About Other People.
P.S. Congratulations to HBO & Mad Face for their Victory. And thanks to everybody who participated.

Abolitionists From Within

Platform

  1. The Party remained a reform group, not a revolutionary organization (while in prison).
  2. We will remain at peace while practicing humility and working for legislative solution (while in prison).
  3. We shall advocate an obedience to the California Code of Regulations Title 15 (while in prison).

Party Principles

  1. Denounced Black-on-Black crimes.
  2. Struggling for a better community.
  3. Struggling for racial equality (inside these walls).
  4. To uphold all points in United Front for Peace in Prisons' statement of principles.
  5. We endorse nothing, but take the chances for everything in attempting to abolish the system (prison, SHU, penal code, etc.).
  6. Raise the banner of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Comrades

I come to talk to you of those who stand in the shadow of their own scaffolds. I come to you an avowed revolutionist. But I incite no one to rest. The convicts have no rights which the COs have to respect. The Constitution is a dead letter to the convicts of the United States.

We Need To Unite

MIM(Prisons) adds: Follow this comrade's example and write to us for our September 9 organizing pack and get ready for this year's Day of Peace and Solidarity.

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[United Front] [United Struggle from Within] [Hunger Strike] [California] [ULK Issue 56]
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CALIFORNIA: Challenges and Reports

PIRU BLOOD

The decentralization of the prison population in California has helped make the voices of the oppressed harder to get out, as county jails step up repression in face of growing prisoner populations. At the Martinez Detention Facility in the Bay Area gang enhancements are being trumped up as a form of national oppression against [email protected]:

"We here, at MDF, Contra Costa County Jail, that are of Latin descent and not southsiders, are being held in Ad-Seg status now since 2010. And now even more unjust treatment is being added to us, gang enhancements just for being housed on this module, even if we don't ask to be housed on this module at time of arrest/booking. Classification, Administration and the District Attorney's office is using this module as an apparatus to get harsher sentences from the courts." - April 2017

Meanwhile, resistance has grown down south at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. A hunger strike began on 13 April 2017. As we go to press updates are a couple weeks old, but we know that about 30 people participated in the strike and that some passed out and were sent to outside medical facilities. The prisoners list 13 demands, including the end of long-term solitary confinement, restrictions on phones/visits and dayroom access.

Within the CDCR we're still seeing the unfolding of contradictions being created by the release of many from the SHU, who were once influential but are now older and less known, into a population that is younger and often in disarray. The Agreement to End Hostilities came out of the SHU almost five years ago, and it remains in a state of uncertainty. Many are still working hard on it, but it has not been universally upheld in these last five years. As a comrade reported in March:

"There were two recent riots here. One on the 3A yard here at Corcoran, the other at SATF Corcoran, on 3C yard. No one severely hurt, but it's hard to organize with situations like that."

There were contradictions between many of the forces behind the original agreement and sectors of the prison population that still need to be addressed. USW comrades in California are still working on these contradictions to push for a more united peace. This should be a theme as we prepare educational campaigns for Black August and the Commemoration of the Plan de San Diego, which should both feed into this September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity. Send in your reports on these campaigns and the conditions for peace where you are.

Finally, we're getting a lot of requests for info about Prop 57 from readers in California. One comrade recommends contacting:
Initiate Justice
PO Box 4962
Oakland, CA 94605
The latest from CDCR is that if you are eligible you will be hearing from your counselor this summer.

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[United Front] [Russia] [Organizing] [Spanish] [ULK Issue 57]
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El Enemigo de Mi Enemigo

Con respecto a la pregunta de las alianzas del frente unido con grupos nacionalistas blancos, hay sus pros y sus contras al trabajar con otros grupos. Ya voy escribiendo a MIM(Prisiones) por unos años y disfruto leer el ULK. Soy prácticamente mi propia armada con un solo hombre. No les pido a otras personas que hagan cosas que yo no haría por mismo.

Me encuentro en una Penitenciaría Federal en Tuscon, Arizona. Este es un pabellón para agresores sexuales, desertores de pandillas, Custodia Preventiva. No me encuentro aquí por elección propia. Soy un agresor sexual registrado por exposición indebida en un bar. Incluso aún cuando se retiraron los cargos, me obligaron a registrarme y ahora me encuentro todavía peleando el caso en el estado. Me encuentro en una prisión federal por cargos que no se relacionan con el cargo estatal. Este pabellón no tiene las mismas políticas que otros pabellones tienen. Sí tenemos políticas, pero no al extremo. El salón chow se encuentra divido por razas, pero te puedes sentar donde se te dé la gana. Lo que estoy tratando de decir es que, yo podría dejar este pabellón e ir probablemente a un pabellón activo, y que me asesinen por ser un agresor sexual registrado, aún cuando se retiraron los cargos. Esa es la política. Ahora, hay un montón de agresores sexuales y homosexuales, ratas y desertores. Todos tienen una razón para estar aquí. He estado en pabellones activos y muchas veces, en realidad la mayoría de veces, una persona pone su vida en riesgo por alguien que no es más que una mierda o un drogadicto. Ya no uso drogas y no me drogo en prisión.

Crecí en el oeste, desde Montana a Arizona, en el corazón de la nación Aria, un ejecutor de la Hermandad Aria con el viejo refrán, si no es blanco no está bien. Fui un niño ciego pero un buen soldado. A los 41 años soy ahora mi propio hombre. Nunca he abandonado a mis hermanos pero ya no peleo más esa batalla de odio. Hay sus pros y sus contras al trabajar con otros grupos.

Tengo una pregunta: ¿No hay Maoístas que sean agresores sexuales o soplones? ¿Los Maoístas escogen trabajar con otros grupos o intentan convertir a otros grupos al maoísmo? Es algo diferente el trabajar con un grupo distinto para lograr la misma meta. Soy un individuo en un grupo y mis metas como individuo no son siempre las mismas que las del grupo. Mi meta es la libertad de un gobierno opresivo y corrupto, y no importa si es EUA o Rusia, opresión es opresión, corrupción es corrupción y esto debería detenerse. Todos pertenecemos a grupos diferentes, incluso a los grupos que sienten la necesidad de oprimir a otros.

El enemigo de mi enemigo es mi aliado. ¡El Frente Unido por la Paz!

Esto no se trata más de política o a qué grupo pertenece una persona. Yo soy un Hermano Ario independiente y apoyo al Ministerio Internacionalista Maoista de Prisiones y a la lucha de personas encarceladas. (No me gusta usar la palabra preso o convicto o cualquier otra palabra para prisionero que se usa para tomar el poder personal de una persona. Estas palabras hacen que las personas se sientan sin poder, sin esperanza, y eso no es verdad). Somos personas, humanos. Tenemos familias, amigos, al igual que el resto de personas.


MIM(Prisiones) responde: Esta es una carta interesante sobre los frentes unidos porque viene de alguien que representa a dos de los grupos con quienes, a menudo nos dicen, nunca deberíamos aliarnos, lo cual levanta preguntas de la otra parte. Primero, con respecto a la pregunta de agresores sexuales, este escritor demuestra porqué el confiar en la etiqueta estatal de “agresor sexual” es tan malo como confiar en la etiqueta estatal de “criminal”. Debemos decidir por nosotros mismos cuales individuos son aliados y cuales son enemigos.

Sobre la pregunta de nacionalistas blancos y aliados, este escritor todavía se encuentra en su grupo pero al parecer, tiene desacuerdos considerables con ellos si apoyan a ULK y MIM (Prisiones). Este es un ejemplo excelente de unir a todos los que se puedan unir contra el sistema de injusticia criminal. Sabemos que la hermandad Aria se encuentra básicamente en oposición a la liberación de naciones oprimidas. Al igual que el Partido Comunista de China sabía que el Kuomindang se encontraba esencialmente en oposición al comunismo. Pero en China antes de que la revolución fuera un éxito, hubo la oportunidad de construir una alianza contra el imperialismo Japonés, la contradicción principal en su momento. Y nosotros tenemos una oportunidad parecida de construir una alianza contra el sistema de injusticia criminal dentro de las prisiones. Ciertamente, que a una escala menor que la del frente unido en China, nuestro enemigo común en las prisiones ofrece la oportunidad de alianzas con grupos que serán nuestros enemigos, en otras batallas. Además es posible que ganemos algunos de estos tipos de estos grupos que, como este escritor, piensan que “la opresión es opresión…y debería detenerse”.

Este camarada menciona Rusia, tal vez como un ejemplo aleatorio. Pero hablando de Rusia y la opresión, es algo que se está convirtiendo en un asunto delicado en los Estados Unidos actualmente. Este fervor anti Rusia, como siempre, se encuentra ligado al nacionalismo americano. Se usa para atacar el régimen actual de Trump de forma que amenace al mundo con un inter imperialismo e incluso una guerra nuclear. Rusia fue alguna vez parte de la Unión Soviética, que bajo Lenin y Stalin fue socialista. Pero después de que murió Stalin en 1952, el país adoptó rápidamente el capitalismo estatal. Y el capitalismo es un sistema que crece con la opresión y corrupción. Pero el renacimiento anti Rusia en los EE UU no se debería confundir con anti imperialismo, sino más bien es nacionalismo que se mueve alrededor del poder imperialista más grande y peligroso en el mundo – los E$tados Unido$.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [ULK Issue 56]
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Thoughts on Unity and Alliances

I believe that having alliances with lines that are military minded is somewhat dangerous to the united front. First and foremost, I do believe in armed struggle, but building public opinion on imperialism and moving toward communism as the ultimate goal to end all oppression is key. Some lumpen orgs or nationalists might criticize MIM(Prisons) on their line. But truth be told we must study the history of the Cultural Revolution in China, which gives us the best way to move toward socialism, ending in communism. It also allows us to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Amerikkka targets lumpen orgs, and nationalist groups. So alliance with a militia group might jeopardize the united front. And once the imperialist policies place everyone in one basket who they feel are a threat, they will place them in prisons or worse eliminate them as what happened to many BPP members in the late 1960s. So, I must say comrades, that MIM(Prisons)'s approach with study groups and challenging all comrades to study history and dialectical materialism prepares us to use public opinion to change the minds of the lumpens and all those who are oppressed.

What good is guns if you don't know who the enemy truly is? By enemy I mean, just going up against amerikkka's army is not enough. The enemy is the system which must be changed. Guns with no vision or discipline is suicide to the united front. The best weapon in the struggle is unity, and armed struggle is also important. But each one teach one is the method to awakening the masses on how capitalism destroys lives.

Once the American people become self-reliant and help their fellow man and stop supporting this economic monster (capitalism-imperialism) then hopefully through public opinion and democratic centralism we can achieve the goal we all want which is communism.

As for snitches, there are different levels of snitching. But I will not allow a person in my circle who I know has the tendencies to crack under pressure. I mean those individuals who work for the prison administration, receiving goods in order to cause chaos. They would go so far as telling prison officials that you are sharing revolutionary material and having your books confiscated.

Even on the outside you have to be careful aligning with rats who will jeopardize the united front in order to demoralize and cause dissociation. But as long as those who represent the militant side of fighting oppression can agree that we must use strategy and wait for the right time to strike the imperialist monsters, I'm all for it. But if militants feel as though focoism is their aim, I'm all out. Educate the poor and oppressed first, to show them the real enemy. And there needs to be a change in habits and consciousness so that we will not allow materialistic ideology to control us.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises a good point about the risks of allying with those who are engaging in military actions now. We agree with em that focoism is not the right strategy. But the value of a united front is that we can disagree on this point of strategy in terms of the right time for armed struggle, but still unite in our fight against imperialism. We can work with these organizations while struggling with them over these points if such struggle seems fruitful. We do not need to have complete agreement on points of strategy in order to work together in a united front. We would also want to keep these groups at arms' length for the simple fact that advocating armed struggle now is a known tactic cops use to wreck a movement from within.

But beyond the question of uniting without complete theoretical agreement, this writer is arguing that it is too risky to unite with focoists because their premature military action could bring down the whole united front. This is certainly a risk we need to consider. Groups within the UF have the autonomy to act independently of the group, and so some may engage in actions that others disagree with. While we wouldn't automatically exclude focoists from a UF based on their political line, this comrade is correct to warn that we need to stay vigilant about actions that present a risk to our work and to our organization.

At the same time, resistors of all stripes, even those who aren't focoist, bring down repression from the state. Even anti-imperialist academics and people working in electoral politics are harassed, and murdered, by the state when their words are too effective. One could also argue that the frivolous security practices of other groups will jeopardize the UF. We have to find a balance between putting ourselves out there, and getting the work done.

We can't make up easy rules to answer to this contradiction. Instead everyone has to evaluate alliances based on the circumstances and current situation.

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[United Front] [White Nationalism] [ULK Issue 55]
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White Nationalism and the Prison Movement

Prisoners Unite

Issue 55 of Under Lock & Key is taking a deeper look at building the United Front for Peace in Prisons at the margins. We've already spent a lot of space debating the role people on Special Needs Yards (SNY), especially in California. While that is an issue we will need to continue to address, here we focus first on white nationalist lumpen organizations, that are more likely to be on the mainline, and how anti-imperialists might relate to them. We also have a few pieces looking at the question of sex offenders who are generally seen as pariahs. That topic is a subset of the SNY discussion. In this article we will focus on the white nationalist question, and the question of oppressed nations allying with whites in general. In many cases handling this question properly will have a big impact on our success, because there are a lot of white people in prisons and many of them team up with white nationalist orgs.

One commonality across these examples is the need to consider how people end up where they are. We print an example of someone taking sex offender charges out of expediency, and ey points out that many such charges are flimsy. In some cases sex charges are politically motivated bad-jacketing. We will also see many examples of people taking up white nationalism, to protect oneself and also just out of a youthful ignorance, something many in prison can identify with.

So there are a few principles of dialectical materialism that we should apply in our analysis of groups which are often considered pariahs of the revolutionary movement: 1) dialectics differs from metaphysics in that metaphysics believes a thing has an essence; 2) dialectics in contrast sees everything as always being in a constant state of change; 3) and we can best understand that change by looking at the contradictions within that thing, while also considering the external contradictions that may influence it (them). To put it another way, no one is born a white supremacist or rapist, and just because someone's actions were that way in the past doesn't mean they have to be in the future.

What is White Nationalism?

Elsewhere in this issue we talk about white nationalism as an ideology that is a product of imperialism. Another point we must stress when talking about white nationalism is it is the majority ideology among the oppressor nation under imperialism. Most of this issue will be dealing with extreme examples found in imprisoned lumpen organizations. But there is a whole range of white nationalist ideologies, and the lumpen organizations are not necessarily the most extreme. Because the imprisoned lumpen are in the trenches, they must be more scientific than the more privileged wings of the white nationalist movement, and their motivations are often quite different.

In our current political climate in the United $tates, "white nationalism" is a hot topic. It is being used to criticize President Trump and those around em. But most of this criticism is coming from the perspective that former President Obama was not a white nationalist. The split between the left wing and right wing of white nationalism is about how to best manage the oppressed, even when that is not how they think about it. If we recognize that the current imperialist order is one that puts whites in a position of supremacy, then we must conclude that any position that works to preserve that system is white nationalist. Or we may say Amerikan nationalist to avoid confusion when its proponents do not appear white. But even though some internal semi-colony people are sitting at the table, globally, white supremacy in the form of Amerikan hegemony is alive and well.

Initially, the question of how and when to strategically ally with white nationalists is a broad one, as it refers to how we might ally with the majority of people in North America. But within that majority there are different classes and political tendencies. And white nationalist prisoners may be at the top of the list of likely allies from that group.

Another argument for the importance of working with the white lumpen is the Marxist analysis of the lumpen as a particularly dangerous, wavering class. If this country is heading in a more fascist direction, white nationalist lumpen youth and former military will be the first bases of recruitment for the fascists. This concern applies to the lumpen in general, but the national split makes it a harder sell for the internal semi-colonies to take up fascism. As always, our strategy is to win over all who can be won over, not to set false limitations based on identity politics or preconceived assumptions.

More so than former military, the white lumpen have connections to the struggles of the oppressed. And it is the massive prison system in this country that we can largely thank for that. The modern prison system is an inherent part of the modern ghetto, which has been lumpenized. While segregation is stronger today in many cases in the ghettos, it is weaker outside of the ghetto. This translates into a stronger class divide within the oppressed nations. The extent of this divide in the white nation is something that requires more research. But from the information we have, white prisoners are much, much more likely to integrate into petty-bourgeois society rather than be caught in a ghetto-like situation upon release. But as long as they remain in prison, whites do experience that ghetto life and the most brutal repression that we have in this country.

Young Patriots, White Lumpen Revolutionaries

One of the best examples we have of white lumpen youth forming an anti-imperialist organization was the Young Patriots Organization, which started in Chicago in the late 1960s. Soon the offshoot Young Patriots Party spread the movement to other parts of the United $tates. Their example demonstrated both the potential and limitations of such an organization. As long as there are pockets of whites that face similar conditions to the oppressed nations, as they do in prison, a revolutionary organization that can speak to and organize white lumpen will strengthen the cause of anti-imperialism. However, the Black Panthers, in particular Bob Lee and the leadership of Fred Hampton, played a very hands-on role in the development of the Young Patriots. In general history does not lead us to expect revolutionary white organizations with correct political lines to take hold in North America without good examples from the internal semi-colonies.

Even after becoming established, the Young Patriots were very limited by the reactionary nature of their own nation. The Patriot base was displaced southern whites who ended up in urban ghettos; a much smaller group, but parallel to the New Afrikans who made the Great Migration. When the Patriots returned to the south they were not received well. Two of the members were killed shortly after returning to the south, because of their organizing.(1) In other words, we are looking at exceptions to the rule where there are pockets of whites who are both separate from the oppressed nations but still living very similar lives and in proximity to them. When Peggy Terry of the Young Patriot-associated organization Jobs or Income Now (JOIN) ran for vice president, with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver as the presidential candidate in 1968, they received a mere 28,000 votes in California. In contrast, the openly racist George Wallace campaign got 500,000 (almost exclusively white) votes.(2) And finally, for most of their existence the Patriots had more spies watching their organization than they had members.(3) This security issue is something others have pointed out with white nationalist lumpen organizations in prison that can be swimming with federal agents.

Often the Panther rhetoric spoke of the Young Patriots as representing "white power" in a way that was parallel to the Panthers' "Black Power" and Young Lords' "Brown Power". While we generally disagree with that line, the Panthers later called out all other white groups as "fascists" with the exception of the Patriots. The Patriot culture flew in the face of the rest of the white anti-war and student movements, including their confederate flag logo. We might draw a parallel to the Lucasville prison uprising in Ohio in 1993, where it is reported that swastikas, lightning bolts and words like "Supreme White Power" appeared alongside graffiti throughout the prison saying "Black and White Together" and "Convict unity."(4) These white identities, historically associated with power over New Afrikans were transformed in these unique circumstances.

Racism as a Tool of the Oppressor

MIM(Prisons) is cautious about presenting racism as merely a tool of the imperialists to divide "the people" as that is the line of the revisionists who claim that the majority of people in the imperialist countries are proletarians that must be united in their common class interest. As the practice of the Young Patriots demonstrated, this is not the case. However, in prisons is where we see the greatest potential for a class unity with whites that is progressive in the United $tates. And in prison, it is certainly true that racism is a tool that is actively used by the administration, even if often times white nationalists are too willing to play the role of keeping other prisoners in line for the state.

Of course, not all white prisoners are part of overtly racist lumpen organizations. Former-Black-Panther-turned-anarchist Lorenzo Komboa Ervin documented the history of the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana, which was transformed from a completely Ku Klux Klan-dominated facility to one where New Afrikans built power in alliance with white prisoners. Ey argues that the anti-racist whites, often imprisoned for anti-war activities, were able to re-educate other white prisoners where non-white prisoners would not be able to.(5) This is an example of the importance of white-specific organizing, though not on the basis of an outward white nationalism.

We must reach people where they are at in a segregated society. We saw this with the Panthers in Chicago who were viewed with great skepticism by the white residents of Uptown, but were welcomed by the Young Patriot leadership. We saw this in Lucasville, where the New Afrikan leaders picked Aryan Brotherhood member George Skatze to stand with them as a representative of white prisoners because of eir history of settling disputes between whites and New Afrikans.

"At some point on this first day George saw a black inmate (Cecil Allen) talking through a bull horn to a small crowd of other prisoners. George went up to listen. To his surprise the man on the bull horn pointed to George and said, 'There's nobody going to be talking to you guys but me or this man right here,' meaning George Skatze."

Accepting their request for help, Skatze later "approached the whites, who were sitting in the bleachers. Putting his arm around a black inmate George said, 'If the guards come in here they're going to shoot us all, no matter what color we are.' We asked George who that black man was. He said, I don't know; I had never met him before."(6)

Veteran of the first wave of the California prison movement, Kumasi describes one scene in the late 1960s where hundreds of prisoners circled around the yard chanting, "Power to the people! Death to the pigs!" Approaching the group of white gangsters on the sidelines ey framed the situation as "are you going to be with us or with the pigs?" And since the reality reflected eir statement, they sure didn't want to be seen as siding with the pigs. As the whites started to join the ranks of the protestors, Kumasi grabbed one of their hands and raised it in the air as they faced the warden. In a segregated society this sort of representation of different nationalities can have powerful effects.

Kumasi has a number of stories about organizing across nationality. Similar to today, the California system was very segregated back then. Various white power and nazi gangs existed, as they do today. The united fronts Kumasi forged with these groups were not long-term and could be quite impulsive. It was really the strength of eir own organization that pushed others to come along. A justification of the line that building up one's own national unity helps build up the united front. Because the movement for change had reached such popularity and support among New Afrikans, it was easier to get the [email protected] to join up (who had not yet been divided between north and south).

A USW comrade has this to say about organizing in California today:

"There has been times when we've done alliances with white nationalist groups in prison. Any time we had a common goal, say shutting down SHUs, or removing informants off yard, assistance with legal work and what not.

"The only way for this to function is by creating a different set of politiks/policies than those used amongst the other LOs. As long as it does not interfere with the LOs' goals to end oppression. It is my opinion that even when dealing with oppressor nation LOs we must keep a move ready to be made once achieving certain goals due to the history the oppressor nation LOs have and because of their values as humans. We wouldn't like to see the LOs of the oppressed be set back a step or two after gaining ground. I think that even unity of some form can be achieved with pariahs — taking into account what they've done and what they are willing to do to not only redeem themselves but to benefit the struggle even at the cost of sacrifice. There is a place, space, form and energy for everyone in a struggle. It is our responsibility to organize, learn, and organize again."

What these histories demonstrate is that in cases where the white nationalists aren't completely in bed with the pigs, they tend to see themselves as prisoners and the pigs as their foes, like everyone else. And it is the unity around demands for all prisoners, ones that are nationality-neutral, that we will see opportunities for united front. So while national unity may need to come first, class unity will always be important in the prison movement.

White nationalism in general, whether of the left-wing or right-wing variety, is based in an alliance with imperialism. But there are examples in history of portions of the white population in the United $tates who may have overt racist overtones without the attachment to imperialism. Or at least with a mixed relationship to imperialism. And in many cases this racism is more motivated by fear of the other, or just self-protection than it is any deep investment in racist ideology itself. The AB comrade who wrote "The Enemy of my Enemy" seems to be an example of this white nationalism based in youthful ignorance. And the experience of the prison system has given em the opportunity to learn about the lives of the oppressed, and to live that life emself. George Skatze from Lucasville was also an example of this, someone who stood with New Afrikan prisoners and literally put eir life on the line in the struggle for prisoner rights and then later at the hands of the state when ey was one of the comrades who did not make a deal with the state to avoid death row as some of the charged prisoners did.

While others suggest we fight racism as a way to end oppression, we say to fight oppression to overcome racism. And in some cases oppression itself will overcome racism, by uniting those once divided by ideas of race. Our ideas are a product of our material conditions, and in participating in the transformation of our conditions our ideas change.

Notes:
1. Amy Sonnie and James Tracy, 2011, Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times, Melville House, Brooklyn, p.100.
2. Ibid., p.63.
3. Ibid., p.89.
4. Race Treason Behind Prison Walls, 2006, Oak Root Press, St. Louis, p.17.
5. Ibid., p.5.
6. Ibid., pp.18-19.
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[United Front] [ULK Issue 55]
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Temporary Alliances from History

There are some good examples of united fronts between oppressed and reactionary groups in the history of the United $tates. Some of which ended up serving the interests of the oppressed and some which ultimately hurt the oppressed. We find a few of these examples described well in the book 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance available from PM Press.(1)

First the case of the fight between the British and the emerging United $tates of Amerika.

"In 1812, using the pretext of Native raids along its northern frontier from British territories, U.S. forces attempted to invade British North America. Here again, Britain's colonial policies proved effective; an alliance of Native nations (who had their own interests in full implementation of the 1763 Proclamation [which prohibited settlement west of the Appalachian mountains following the French and Indian War]) and European settlers succeeded in repulsing the U.S. expansion."(p. 29)

As we have seen since 1812, the victory of the United $tates in the Revolutionary War did not serve the interests of the First Nations. So the First Nations definitely chose the right side in this battle, even though the British surely had no real interest in supporting the rights of the First Nations beyond what was necessary to gain their support. This is an example of identifying the principal enemy and building alliances against that enemy, even if those alliances are with groups that would be enemies in other circumstances. This united front is similar to the alliance between the Kuomindang and the Chinese Communists in the war against Japanese imperialism. Ultimately the Kuomindang betrayed the Communist Party, but at the time Japan was the principal enemy and fighting together in a the united front was the right choice to achieve the ultimate goal of establishing a socialist state.

Another example is found in the U.$. Civil War, which was used by Afrikan slaves to fight for their freedom. It was not a case of whites going to war to help end slavery, but Afrikans were in a position to force this issue to the forefront.

"The beginning of the U.S. Civil War in 1861 posed various problems for the northern Union ruling class. Not only was the war for the preservation of an expanding continental empire, but it also opened up a second front: that of a liberation struggle by enslaved Afrikan peoples. With a population of four million, the rising of these Afrikans in the South proved crucial in the defeat of the Confederacy. By the tens of thousands Afrikan slaves escaped from the slavers and enlisted in the Union forces. This massive withdrawal of slave-labour hit the Southern economy hard, and the Northern forces were bolstered by the thousands."(2)

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Afrikans in the South correctly identified a shift in their principal enemy. It was no longer time to ally with Union forces. With the ending of the war these slaves were about to lose their bargaining position as fighters in the Union army.

"Towards the end of the War in 1865, those Afrikans who did not escape began a large-scale strike following the defeat of the confederacy. They claimed the lands that they had laboured on, and began arming themselves – not only against the Southern planters but also against the Union army. Widespread concerns about this 'dangerous position' of Afrikans in the South led to 'Black Reconstruction'; Afrikans were promised democracy, human rights, self-government and popular ownership of the land. In reality, it was a strategy for returning Euro-American dominance...."(p. 40)

This shift resulted in a better deal for former slaves than they would have got by just passively sticking with their unity with the North. But it shows the need to complete the New Afrikan war for liberation from the United $tates to achieve the basic goals of the Afrikan soliders who freed themselves from slavery. Different conditions will require reevaluation of who is our principal enemy and what are appropriate united front strategies at the time.

Note:
1. Gord Hill, 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance, PM Press, 2009. Contact PM Press at PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623.
2. No page number available for this citation.
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