I would like to say thank you for the support you guys put out for us in prison. As much as we don't want to give leverage to these parasites, we have to realize what we're up against. By analyzing current events and the possibility of change to happen, we have to accept failures in order to gain grounds. The path we choose now will determine where we're headed. It can be seen everywhere that the old system ain't working. As much reforms are placed on the table, the crumbs are repacked and tried again. No matter how different it's made, it's the same old ideas. The boiling point has been exceeded and riots are getting more intense. This will happen when the people decide their own fate. A hero is not needed, only the spark which will light the way for others.
I emphasize decolonizing ourselves and making the connections between our oppression and imperialism. Being a person of color, I know where I stand. Therefore I do agree on the five pillars of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. I'm an anarchist and belong to a First Nation. The liberty tree branches touch certain ideas we agree upon. By coming familiar with other struggles outside our own lines we can connect the dots that lead to a common enemy. By placing the teachings of resistance in several minds, we can prevent it from being destroyed by placing it in one basket, which will help us prevail into the unknown future.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this comrade into the United Front for Peace in Prisons, especially as an anarchist and a member of a First Nation. We aim to unite all who can be united against imperialism. Sectarianism (prioritizing your group over the entire people) leads to divisions between Maoists and anarchists, which are unnecessary in our fight against our common enemy.
We also agree with this comrade's emphasis on educating many people rather than building up single ideological leaders. Building up the political competency of all of society is one of the keys to success of our revolutionary struggle. If we rely on a single leader, or a single party, for guidance, then we will inevitably be led astray when that leader is no longer around, whether by natural death or assassination. Spreading political study to as many people as possible helps protect our struggle and helps people to be masters of their own future.
One hundred years since the hystoric Plan de San Diego took place does yet another monumental and hystoric event develop; the publication of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán is a revolutionary nationalist book that focuses on the revolutionary struggle of the [email protected] nation against Amerikan imperialism. This book is in the service of all oppressed Raza within Aztlán and should be studied by those who are interested in liberating the [email protected] nation from U.$. imperialism, especially Raza who are interested in establishing a [email protected] People's Republic in what is currently occupied and oppressed Aztlán, i.e., California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
[email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán sheds light on the darkness that is national oppression, a darkness that has shrouded and enveloped Aztlán, by directing its luminous rays onto the shining path that has been paved for us by all the great people's struggles the world over. People's struggles in which the heroic Third World masses continue to prove not only their bravery in the face of disastrous imperialism, but the validity and effectiveness of People's War and the revolutionary ideology from which it sprung: Marxism-Leninsm-Maoism, principally Maoism.
[email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán enjoins us to vehemently attack national oppression and criticize the proponents of national oppression whoever they may be. This means that as revolutionary nationalists and the advanced detachment of the [email protected] nation it is our duty to be the first to openly criticize our own sell-out political and reformist leaders. It does no good to go about praising oppressors just because they have a Spanish surname, speak Spanish, or are Raza by birth, as doing so only confuses the issue for the rest of the [email protected] masses who look to us for theoretical and ideological guidance. As revolutionaries we must constantly blaze the trail in matters of political outlook and awareness and must never give in to complacency which inevitably brings about political degeneration. We must put an end to [email protected] nationalists masquerading as Maoists who in the name of Aztlán would raise the red flag only to oppose it. Communists from the [email protected] nation should therefore take a hard and uncompromising stand against these national chauvinists who with their sophistry would only set back the [email protected] movement for liberation and independence.
That said, real Maoists believe in uniting all who can be united in the struggle to free the nation. This is in accordance with United Front theory and practice as developed by Joseph Stalin, leader of the USSR during the Soviet people's struggle against German fascism, and Mao Zedong in the Chinese people's war of liberation against Japanese militarism and imperialism. As such and in making this statement it is recognized that there is a contradiction between uniting all who can be united and struggling not only against erroneous tendencies within the [email protected] movement and nation, but outright deviations and revisionism within the [email protected] communist movement as well. Maoists from the [email protected] nation should seek to resolve these differences and contradictions now, starting with the more advanced elements of the [email protected] masses, through the method of unity-struggle-unity. We should not wait for the national liberation stage to be completed before taking up this ideological struggle. This should not preclude our breaking with other [email protected] organizations on the basis of principled stands of scientific dispute as "the struggle bursts forth continuously." We should recognize that in such instances what we must do is not unite two into one, but struggle to divide in order to liberate Aztlán and make revolution.
We should also recognize that before the movement can really take shape through the power and strength of the [email protected] masses there must first be a consensus among all the revolutionary elements of Aztlán so as to consolidate the [email protected] national liberation movement; whether that be within a loose united front of various [email protected] and [email protected] organizations, or under one united flag with a single program, cannot possibly be determined at this time. What should be acknowledged however is that the revolutionary forces within Aztlán must begin the process of consolidation so as to continue to move the struggle forward. The principal way of doing this at this current stage of the struggle undoubtedly revolves around Under Lock & Key, the voice of the anti-imperialist movement behind prison walls. It is thus the revolutionary duty of Maoists and other anti-imperialists from the [email protected] nation to unite in order to begin the long and arduous process of liberation and decolonization de toda la gente.
The [email protected] revolutionary nationalist movement should be in firm unity with all genuine Maoist forces the world over as well as all revolutionary forces fighting imperialist backed regimes and lackeys. Clenched fist salute! A clenched fist salute is also extended to all Raza and camaradas currently locked in Amerikkka's prisons who have taken the qualitative leap towards gaining freedom and liberation for our people by engaging and struggling with Maoism; the third and highest stage of revolutionary science.
Comrades should also seriously study the ten point program of MIM(Prisons) as well as the six cardinal points of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons before attempting to create their own Maoist organizations as they can help to demarcate between real Maoism and phoney communist organizations. These programs should serve as a general guide to the type of organizing and organization we should aspire to. Revolutionary cells claiming both the mantle of Mao and Aztlán should be open to all [email protected] and should not be contingent on past street or prison organization, but on the deep seated belief that Aztlán is a territory of the [email protected] nation which must be liberated!
On that same note [email protected] Maoist organizations should have very strict admission policies as revolution is not a game or a lifestyle, but a matter of life and death and so only the most committed revolutionaries should be recruited. Comrades should also seriously study the Leninist concept of "better, fewer, but better" for this stage of the struggle. Lastly, comrades should enjoin the oppressed prison masses, in particular imprisoned Raza, to take up struggle and begin working with other lumpen organizations amiable towards revolution in the spirit and practice of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, as this is not only the most effective way of establishing peace in prison but of sustaining it. Peace amongst the lumpen is not only a precursor, but a prerequisite to victory on a strategic level.
The [email protected] and other prison masses must realize that Amerikan imperialism grows increasingly weaker every day, both on a domestic and international level because of its extended, hegemonic over-reach. Instead of gaining the imperialists a greater grasp on the far off and distant periphery this presence is instead met with fierce resistance and hate on the part of the resolute Third World masses. The masses must know that Amerikan imperialism is a paper tiger and on a strategic and long-term level its' show of strength amounts to nothing more than shadow boxing strictly for the benefit of those it would wish to subjugate and oppress; it is a concrete monster with feet of clay and wherever it chooses to plant its feet it gets attacked.
"No rewriting of history can change the fact that it has been the national liberation struggle which has handed imperialism so many military defeats" ("The National Question and Separate Vanguard Parties" in MIM Theory 7: Proletarian Feminist Nationalism)
I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and high spirits. I received the information on how to form a study group and a copy of Fundamental Political Line of MIM(Prisons) you sent. Thank you. It has been very helpful. I also received Under Lock & Key No. 45.
The study group I started only has three people involved so far. It's difficult because we are currently being housed in administrative segregation, so we basically have to yell back and forth to one another. But it's not all bad. Having to yell to one another might get others involved in our discussions because they might hear something that touches base with them.
The comrade in the article did some good things, like setting up a "poor box" and doing tournaments, but we feel that he stopped making progress when he waged a war against officers and a lumpen organization (LO). The comrade said that by a member of one LO breaking into the boxes of two other LOs, somehow his treaty was broken. I'm curious, did the comrade investigate the incident to determine whether the theft was sanctioned by the leadership of the one LO? If the theft was just an isolated incident then it should not have had any effect on the treaty. That's assuming, of course, that the treaty in question was a peace agreement reached between the leadership of each LO in that particular barracks or at that particular unit.
We believe that if it was just an isolated incident then the comrade should have let the leadership of the LO the thief belonged to hand down punishment. However, since the comrade is the leader of the UFAO, he could have called together a "committee" to determine how the situation should be handled. We feel that if the comrade would have just prevented the thief from participating in, or benefiting from, UFAO function, he would still be in population pushing the cause forward.
We've learned from the comrade a lot of positive things we might try out in the future, like the poor box, but we also learned to never rush a decision, especially one that could possibly result in a "war." We believe that all decisions made should be in line with the progress of our cause, and any decision reached should be a collective effort to ensure the best path forward is taken.
MIM(Prisons) responds: In our response to the UFAO article that this Arkansas study group is responding to from ULK 45, we asked others to share tactics for how to handle a breach of a peace treaty without resorting to violence if possible. Everyone's conditions will be different, and what works in some facilities might not apply to others. This writer's suggestion of approaching the leading members of the treaty-breaker's organization is one potential option.
Even though the specific agreements you adopt will vary, it's a good idea for everyone forming a peace treaty to discuss this question in advance, before an actual breach of the treaty happens. That way you'll already be in agreement about how to handle a situation like the one explained by UFAO in ULK 45 where the peace treaty was thrown out the window, a "war" was initiated for retribution, and the leader of the peace treaty ended up in solitary confinement.
We hope to continue this discussion of how to make our efforts to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons as fruitful as possible. Send in tactics that have worked in your peace-building efforts to maintain course when it seems to be going off the tracks.
9 September 2015 marked the fourth annual Day of Peace and Solidarity in prisons throughout the United $tates. This is an opportunity for us to commemorate the anniversary of the Attica uprising and draw attention to abuse of prisoners across the country. The demonstration was initiated in 2012 by an organization participating in United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) and has been taken up as an annual UFPP event, with people committing to participate in prisons across the country. Activities vary, from peaceful resistance and fasting to study groups and educational events. Some observe the event alone due to their confinement conditions and some take this opportunity to organize with others.
This demonstration is focused on the UFPP principles of peace and unity: We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence among prisoners, and we strive to unite with those who have a common interest in fighting the oppression of the criminal injustice system. On this one day we call on all prisoners to take up these principles and cease all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities, and use the day for solidarity building and education.
While we don't organize for just one day of peace and unity, this day of action expands awareness and broadens our base of support to build for peace and unity year round. In this way we build from smaller campaigns to broader goals and ultimately to a movement that can stand up against the entire criminal injustice system.
We have already received reports from a number of September 9 participants, which are summarized here. Look for more reports in upcoming issues of Under Lock & Key.
Comrades in Arkansas commemorated the day by joining USW and committing to stepping up their work in the coming year:
"Happy Day of Peace and Solidarity! Today my comrades and I celebrated by eating a chili spread and discussing the many ailments that plague prisoners as a result of our confinement. We also discussed the ways we might non-coercively combat the prison establishment from within. That is no easy task because at the first sign of unity the pigs are quick to lock us up and separate us. Not that we have much to lose considering we are being housed on administrative segregation (23 hour lock down).
"We decided to name our study group CRASH or Crazy Revolutionaries Against Social Hierarchy. We thought it fitting to name ourselves on this day to commemorate Attica. We would also like to join USW. We absolutely agree with all 6 points of MIM(Prisons) and would like to join other like-minded individuals and take a more active role in helping unify the oppressed against imperialism. All power to the people and let burn the renewing flames of the communist revolution!"
In Louisiana a new comrade devoted the day to serious study and fasting:
"I am writing to inform you that because of knowledge I received by reading Under Lock & Key I participated in my first commemoration of the September 9 Day of Peace Peace and Solidarity movement. Six months ago I was unaware such a movement even existed, especially since I was first exposed to the tragedy in, or rather at, Attica in the late 90s - the same time I was first introduced to the Souljah George. The organization I was/am a part of already in our protocols recognized Black August. But the September 9 movement was unknown to us.
"Even though I hadn't heard of the movement I still responded to your call to arms. I fasted from solid food the entire day and only had one cup of water after sundown. I also, after each prayer (as I am a conscious and conscientious Muslim), reread articles from ULK and expounded upon them to my neighbor who, incidentally, is the guy who was involved in the failed judicial lynching attempt of Lil Boosie.
"I also revisited The Wretched of the Earth by Fanon with particular emphasis on the preface written by Jean-Paul Sartre. And although it is a scathing denunciation of European imperialism/colonialism and a concise treatise advocating, or rather understanding, the use of violence to uproot that system, I still believe it was appropriate reading for the commemoration of this day. For as we know, the overall goal you wish to achieve and those I am aligned with will not be a peaceful act in the traditional sense of the word. The forces of capitalism will not go quietly into that good night."
In Michigan one organizer is spreading information about this history of Attica and the September 9 Day:
"I've been talking to a lot of prisoners about the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity but a lot of prisoners knew nothing about the Attica uprising by the comrades against the injustice department of corruption of the DOCs across the country. I myself fasted on September 9 for the remembrance of the fallen comrades, but the majority of prisoners in the Michigan DOC played games, watched TV, and talked shit about the 'new private food services trinity.' But they aren't for peace and solidarity."
While this comrade found most prisoners wasting time, the seeds of discontent are there with their discussions about the food service. These seeds can be nurtured with education and organizing to build a core devoted to peace and solidarity.
A comrade at the California Health Care Facility wrote in advance of the date about plans:
"For September 9 this year my comrades and I are organizing a hunger strike to make the pigs start cleaning our unit. We live in a controlled unit that doesn't allow porters, leaving the cleaning up to the pigs or custodians. But they never do it so we are forced to live in filth."
On September 10 we received the following update from this same comrade:
"Update on my September 9 hunger strike. The pigs conceded and cleaned the unit. On top of that I had 15 copies made of the grievance campaign petition and had two comrades join me in flooding the listed offices with them. I provided the postage for them all since they are stingy with the indigent envelopes here. I also led a small group in which we went over the history and importance of September 9 and enlightened a few who were unaware of the struggle. I broke my fast at midnight a few minutes ago so now I'm going to spend some time in contemplation and get some zzz's."
Another California comrade wrote about organizing at California Correctional Institution:
"For September 9 I attempted to raise the level of consciousness amongst the inmates here on a few issues:
"1) I spoke on comrade George L. Jackson's untimely death at San Quentin, and his particular struggle transforming the colonial and criminal mind into a revolutionary mentality. I talked about how he vied to unify the blacks and other groups. But, the reactionary system wasn't having it one bit. So as a result of his struggles in prison he was assassinated.
"2) I also spoke on Hugo Pinell, who was also slain unfortunately during Black August, and what he stood for in terms of solidarity amongst progressive people. I also spoke on Attica's uprising. Mao said, 'one spark can light a prairie fire.' And it definitely did.
"3) I spoke on how it is vitally important to end all hostilities amongst all groups of prisoners and beyond. In spite of the fact that hostilities will be fomented by the reactionary state. We must continue to vie for peace, harmony and love amongst each other no matter what. The enemy will stop at nothing to foil our efforts. It's part of the struggle to continue moving forward until our goals can be realized, and at that we can set more.
"Also, I spoke to them about the importance of maintaining a study group here even after my departure from prison. And that each and every one of them have an inherent obligation to conduct and maintain a study group amongst themselves so that they can continue raising the social and political consciousness of prisoners as a whole.
"I did what I could to commemorate September 9. The discussion was for 2 hours. It turned out pretty well. Most of the participants didn't have a clue about these historical events and about the prison movement in general. And of course, some had questions. About 12 people attended the group. Also, I did a thousand burpees myself to commemorate September 9. It was exhilarating and refreshing at 53 years of age, to continue to push forward in my 34th year incarcerated. Pamoja tutashinda uhuru sasa!"
Also from California at High Desert CF we received a preview of September 9 plans from the organization Abolitionist From Within:
"As the leading member of the Abolitionist From Within (AFW) I do support MIM(Prisons) and embrace as a group the five core principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. While AFW may not agree with every political issue MIM(Prisons) advocates, it is the issues that we both support that bring us together in this revolutionary struggle. AFW recently had our first demonstration at High Desert State Prison (HDSP), bringing together a cohesive front in reflecting, fasting and uniting to honor those nameless and faceless men of Black August and Attica (1971) by coming together in solidarity. We brought up the issues of the day affecting us and we all offered solutions from each individual's perspective. It was a beautiful and righteous energy as we synergized, listening to each other, and offered the best of ourselves during this time. We will meet again on September 9 and try to agree on the best solutions in attacking and combating the issues that are inflicting us today from the first meeting."
These comrades followed up with a report on their September 9 activities:
"It's been a blessing to learn and grow from each comrade who has engaged in a solidarity demonstration with the movement, Abolitionists From Within (AFW). We came together for all the lost comrades and those that continue to struggle and unite to break the chain of injustice.
"We fasted September 8 to September 9 in a show of solidarity. Also we studied together reading books with study questions and we also read material from Under Lock & Key No. 45 and the September 9 Day of Struggle Study Pack. After reading, we came up with questions from the material and off we went back to our cells. We also shared the word with anybody who was willing to listen. Back in our cells i heard the comrades feeling like freedom revolutionary fighters and that's what's up! We stand in solidarity with the comrades who fought and died in the uprising at Attica. Continue to struggle with peace on our tongue.
"Here on 'D yard' there was nothing but peace today in solidarity with the movement and with the Attica freedom fighters. The movement prevented many young men from being swallowed by the prison culture and that's how I feel about the MIM(Prisons) movement helping us comrades who want change, so I say stay struggling and thank for your continued struggle with us prisoners. Revolutionary Greetings!"
In California Pelican Bay also represented this September 9,
"Today was a good day. No one had any canteen or nothing to make food, but we had good conversation about Yogi's death and how it was a benefit to the state. The hunger strike was brought up and I talked about how our hunger strike was a continuation of the struggles of Attica.
"It was hard to speak of peace when we are so close to the tragedy at Folsom, but folks here with me want peace; we have all voiced peace and how it helps us all in our own struggles. Doing the state's bidding by oppressing other prisoners is not coming from anyone housed around me. We know that the real contradiction lies in prisoners vs. the state. Hopefully other circles come to realize this or are weeded out because Attica gave us a concrete example of what us vs. them looks like. So did the San Quentin Six and the California hunger strikes."
This spring we sent out a request to all California USW supporters to give us updates on the status of the Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) at their prison, and to send us a follow up report following the September 9th Day of Solidarity. This status report has been overshadowed by the murder of Hugo "Yogi Bear" Pinell on August 12 at New Folsom Prison. Here is a report on the incident from one comrade:
"Today at around 1:00 p.m., with the help of police provocateur agents a riot ignited on B-Yard with numerous inmates involved and I regret deeply with anger and rage to inform you all that a true Black man by the name of Hugo Pinell was murdered by not only white inmates, but police as well. It was stirring up for weeks before the incident occurred that violence was to take place and Hugo was definitely the target! Due to disrespectful gestures of a white woman during visiting hours in the visitors room, which was supposedly settled verbally.
"No matter how old, Black lives do matter. The prison officials mockingly placed information directly to reporters/media about Hugo's past as far back as the 1970s, and how he dealt with pigs or whatnot. He's a human being who was (unjustly and spinelessly) murdered by agents and their spies. Only two warning shots were fired and while numerous stabbings were taking place no officers were hurt. Despite being attacked, Black inmates have been assassinated for assaultive gestures, not to mention actual violence.
"I know that Babylon and their stool pigeons been waiting to take down someone of Hugo's caliber, so it's not a secret. These cowards murdered this man. We must make our society aware of the fact that as incarcerated warriors of the struggle, we as a people are subjected to every form of torture, rape, mental anguish, murder/assassination at any given moment still to this day."
Another comrade at California State Prison - Sacramento (aka New Folsom) wrote more recently to explain his interpretation of what happened:
"The most profound and logical explanation is the most evaded and overlooked, and that is the whole situation is said to be orchestrated by Correctional Officers in retaliation for the animosity that they (COs) had towards the brother over historical incidents dating back to the days of Convict vs. Tyrant COs. The hostilities are fueled by institutional propaganda, some may claim that after all these years the white "Aryan Brotherhood" finally got revenge. However, that theory is ludicrous, due to the fact that they no longer really have loyal and active subjects. As hard as it is to foster a thought, that the guards are the bad guys amongst the bad guys (civilian thinking about prisoners) it is the actual, logical and only real answer."
The comrade goes on to describe a series of abuses being faced at New Folsom.
A couple weeks before Hugo's assassination, a third comrade at New Folsom told us,
"I see prisoners pass through here for needed medical attention who come from other yards. One of the "primary" signatories to the AEH, one of the primary leaders, has been released from the dungeon some time ago who has been here in the facility, and yet, despite his presence and authority, I have seen a semi-steady flow of camaradas pass through here after having been viciously stabbed. The latest one was both stabbed and sliced up with a box cutter."
This comrade called on politically conscious prisoners to acknowledge that the success of the AEH as it is being portrayed does not correlate with concrete reality, and that we must address this reality.
Despite this reality that there was a series of conflicts leading up to Hugo's murder, the outpouring of calls for both justice and continuing to build unity among all prisoners are coming in from across the state. This is a disciplined response, where the prisoners in California are thinking strategically about how to react to this tragedy. That in itself is no small feat, which should be recognized.
We received a call from a comrade of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter down south, who represented some older brothers there. We also heard back from a comrade we quoted in our last update on the AEH in ULK 42, from January 2015. His story of O.G.s building with youngsters in a bus ride from Pelican Bay caught many people's attention. He wrote on 13 August 2015,
"I had written to you in October 2014 about... how the Agreement to End Hostilities project was going so well, and now this... We have achieved so much with methods of non-violence amongst the prisoner population... The core reps must meet at the round table to find a solution."
A comrade writing from Calipatria had a similar analysis to those above, with a more or less positive spin on the status of the AEH,
"Having been around the system and noting that the same process of targeted assassination via drone strike or other means, people whom correctional staff feel that they can use to try and spark a breakdown in the Agreement to End Hostilities are used and in this case it is only obvious that prisoncrats had involvement in selecting a target of such renown that it was figured that riots would occur all across the state. The idea was kicked around and so far in most cases sobriety of consciousness have been maintained.
"Isolated incidents have occurred that could have blown up into mass conflicts, which it has been becoming obvious to some prisoners in recognition of plots by agent provocateurs who consistently strive to have us going at each other in manufactured proxy wars so that prisoncrats could justifiably perform acts that cannot otherwise be officially sanctioned.
"The significance of the murder of Hugo (Yogi) Pinell is not lost on prisoners of conscious whose main question tends to be: With all the history, how was the plot allowed to be accomplished when there should not have been a single prisoner unaware of his presence and of his significance to all prisoners? Men of consciousness can reflect on the teachings of Sun Tzu relative to knowing the tactics and practices of the enemy...
"Prisoncrats without a doubt recognize that the introduction of non-violent protests by other means have opened the eyes of prisoners who assumed that the only way to obtain results were by violent means. I suspect that “race” is not as viable an instrument of power among the prison population as a result of the AEH, throwing a wrench into the works of the prisoncrats. So we must be aware that they will not limit themselves to one tactic to try to create new conflicts along various divisions."
So while the reaction to Hugo's death could have been a lot worse, there is a lot of work ahead to learn from this, as we address the injustice that occurred and strengthen the prison movement moving forward.
Other than New Folsom, we got reports from several other prisons on the status of the AEH, and we hope comrades keep sending in their reports. From Corcoran, we received:
"I'm here in the COR SHU 1L building, which is considered the short corridor. We New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalists (NARN) have placed our ads in the many news outlets (SF Bayview, Turning the Tide, Prison Focus, The Rock, PHSS Newsletter) informing all that the NARN Collective Think Tank in Corcoran SHU's mission statement is the agreement to end all hostilities, and as far as we know it's being honored everywhere that's received its message. It is our only hope at obtaining our political objectives in this struggle if we all come across the racial lines and bring about a mass united front as we did with the hunger strikes to show our solidarity hasn't changed. On the 4B yard (where I am) we hear that all the building's inmates are programming together, as in exercising on the yard in the cages and looking out for one another with basic necessities, as much as we can do in the SHU."
A newer comrade, from a different building in 4B at Corcoran had just got information about September 9 organizing and jumped into action. However, he laments,
"we are the ones who divide ourselves in this place. In this SHU we are integrated with general population (GP) inmates as well as those in protective custody (PC). By in-house politics, GP inmates are not to communicate or interact with those on PC status and needless to say the limitations of being locked down only limits our conversing with those few in our pods.”
This just demonstrates that even getting the full picture of what's going on at one prison requires more reports from the ground. But it is safe to say that there are still divisions preventing basic communication, which is a barrier to the goals of the AEH. No one expected a declaration of peace to just be verbally accepted and automatically translate into action. Building peace is a process, and the first step is crossing barriers that have no useful basis. Then we can expose the more serious contradictions that require more effort and creativity to really address.
Pelican Bay represented this September 9th,
"Today was a good day. No one had any canteen or nothing to make food, but we had good conversation about Yogi's death and how it was a benefit to the state. The hunger strike was brought up and I talked about how our hunger strike was a continuation of the struggles of Attica.
It was hard to speak of peace when we are so close to the tragedy at Folsom, but folks here with me want peace, we have all voiced peace and how it helps us all in our own struggles. Doing the state's bidding by oppressing other prisoners is not coming from anyone housed around me. We know that the real contradiction lies in prisoners vs. the state. Hopefully other circles come to realize this or are weeded out because Attica gave us a concrete example of what us vs. them looks like, so did the San Quentin Six and the California hunger strikes."
Another comrade there reported on the status to the Agreement to End Hostilities,
"As we're all aware, in order for an end to hostilities to become a reality, all prisoners should promote it or encourage it to other prisoners who are just arriving to the system. In my location (Pelican Bay SHU), all have adhered to 'ending hostilities" even though it's been evident the pigs have tried to crack it by putting certain prisoners in compromising circumstances, such as opening the wrong cell when one comes back from yard. It's done in a manner that's obvious. I've witnessed this happen at least 3 times in a year, but with no incidents as all are adhering to the AEH!
"Although September 9 is a historical day in California prison history, we now have July 8 which we can reflect on to see our efforts transcend expectations.
"To sum up, in my area the AEH is adhered to and a lot of class conscious conversations are constantly being addressed. Everything pertaining to prisoner rights and the abolishment of solitary confinement is a hot topic where ideas are matched, and debates and polemics are welcomed with respect. Our lives are affected by all our actions. It just helps more when we're all on the same page. I cannot say that a grand meeting will be held on September 9 or anything else. We do have class consciousness, but not all are receptive to political/revolutionary discussions. Being that my unit is very small, I will probably be the only one participating in a solidarity fast on September 9. My revolutionary solidarity goes out to all other USW comrades."
Leading up to September 9 we received a joint statement from the United KAGE Brothers and the Prisoners Political Action Committee out of Pelican Bay, which was a pledge to end hostilities on the inside and out.
From California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi, one of the comrades who has spent more than 10 years in SHU reported in July,
"Yes, the Agreement to End Hostilities campaign has been popularized in my area. I'm aware of it based on observation and active participation in our class struggle to abolish solitary confinement, which has me directly engaged with the people involved. Therefore, I'm able to confirm, there hasn't been a single issue of violence on the group yards here at Tehachapi SHU, which have been in effect for over a year now.
"The Agreement to End Hostilities is being reinforced on the issues that we're organizing around and what it will take for our efforts to not only be sustained, but being successful. The understanding of this, is realized by prisoners on several fronts, such as, individuals from various formations exercising together and aiding one another on the political, social and economic contradictions that manifest.
"On a final note, we prisoners at CCI Tehachapi have been boycotting CDCR's 'How to make a slave' step-down program since May 11, 2015. Please be sure to publicize this fact!!"
In Kern Valley State Prison we received reports of active building across different groups in the spirit of the AEH. In particular the Nation of Gods and Earths and the Rastafari groups there have been leading progressive efforts. One God reported on a 30-day event including many lumpen organizations (LOs) called Project Build. He states,
"The People/masses/folks support the Agreement to End Hostilities based on the fact that in this particular facility there are 20 (currently) self-help groups as well as Bakersfield College... As for development of a sort of treaty, that has not been put into effect due to the individualists who will rat to the pigs for an extra phone call or to go out to a 'Regular Day Off' yard. Those who are aware of the need to end hostilities are toeing the line. Those that aren't are socially condemned by those who do not fully comprehend, and slowly re-educated by those who see them for the unconsciousness they give off. Communication is key."
This reinforces the sentiment that lumpen organizations (LOs) are on board for the AEH, and those who violate it are isolated individuals, or individuals with connections to the state. At the same time the LOs are not monolithic organizations and we must not be idealistic about declaring "Peace achieved!" We have much to celebrate as we mark 3 years of ending hostilities in California this October 12. But there is much work to be done to address the existing contradictions that are lurking beneath the surface. As comrades above acknowledge, it is not just agent provocateurs creating trouble, though they are very real, and easily influenced and bribed. To believe that it is just agent provocateurs is to idealistically ignore the contradictions among the people that must be addressed. There are antagonistic contradictions among the imprisoned as well, especially in a situation like California where some LOs have very entrenched economic and power interests. Addressing both types of contradictions must continue in order to see another 3 years of peace and achieve the goals of the prison movement in improving the lives of all prisoners.
We've been working hard to express the need to end all hostilities amongst all ethnicities. Us New Afrikans here in the belly of the beast known as the Corcoran SHU have just completed a beautiful BAM (Black August Resistance/Memorial) and we came together to struggle today [September 9th] for the purpose of unity. We exercised in a group that consisted of ourselves, a couple southern Hispanics, and a northern Hispanic. Our study habits still consist of revolutionary literature, economics, politics and some history where our cultural and social interactions are similar without division.
We don't have a short corridor anymore here in this concrete tomb, so with people arriving from the mainline just to do a SHU term we can educate them on the importance of the agreement to end all racial hostilities, and stay on guard because the fascist oppressors will always try to sabotage our collective struggle. A lot of these youngsters who come in here don't have a clue about the Attica uprising or Black August Memorial, and how could they when all the teachers of New Afrikans struggles are still anguishing behind enemy lines. The importance of us getting out of the SHU is to educate our youth about their history.
Today we had a group study session on the importance of revolutionary internationalism, which is the ideological expression of global revolutionary scientific socialism in service to the oppressed underclass of the world. We feel that revolutionary internationalism is the ideological vanguard of global liberation and source of theoretical development in coordinating disparate national revolutions. Also, keeping the permanent struggle of ideological mental warfare going in order to eradicate backwards and unprincipled thinking, or incompatible ideas or activities, and proving the correctness of the revolutionary party's views.
This weapon in which we speak is part of the dialectical processes that are ongoing and endless, until the principle contradictions of the oppressed and the oppressor are eliminated. Once this takes place you will see the transformation of the cultural values, practices and relationships of the people prepare and condition themselves for a revolution against the oppressor state. The outcome is uprooting and destroying the old oppressive rationale and mindset of colonial society and bringing into being new values which move the people outside of the colonial mindset and into that of the emerging revolutionary society. We can accomplish this through the agreement to end all hostilities. So we strive to do so. It's a long out-dated situation that produced no winners, and only losers, and that has also further pushed us into oppression. We realize that now, and since it's not too late to correct it, we struggle collectively to do so.
by a Pennsylvania prisoner September 2015 permalink
Why can't we all get along? What is the problem? In my experience, all I see around me is prisoner against prisoner. There is no real unity. Fellow comrades, this is a major problem! I don't know about other state systems, but here in Pennsylvania it is a constant issue. Prisoners are tearing each other down instead of building each other up. Bickering, fighting, back stabbing, degradation and even genocide is a common theme among prisoners at all the prisons I have been held captive in.
The pigs stick together, so why can't we? These fascists get off over our disunity. It makes their day when they have the excuse to further degrade us by placing us in segregation and control units, where we are stripped of more of the precious little freedom we have left. These pigs oppress all of us; we are all in the same sinking ship. Don't you think it is time to put aside our petty differences and unite as one force? How can we focus on defeating this oppression we suffer and endure on a daily basis, when we are so focused on adding to our own and each others' oppression by oppressing each other?
Come on, family, the time is now. We must unite to really make a difference. Unofficially, jailhouse statistics show that out of all prisoners imprisoned in the United $tates, 89% of us seek only to see each other fail, and be defeated in every way possible, and are for themselves, and only themselves. 10% of us don't give a shit either way. Only 1% of us truly care about and are committed to win the battle over oppression. This is sad! We can change those statistics! MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within are the key to this change and our victory. My motto is and always will be: resist! resist! resist! I will not rest until that mantra rings out in one united voice. Then our oppressors will realize the meaning of their own motto: We can be the real and true United We Stand!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We commend this comrade for the call of unity in the face of struggle. But calls alone will not solve the problems we face, it will also take real action and examples set by leaders. This was the purpose of the September 9 day of peace and unity. As is seen in reports back from comrades who participated this year, it is through both education and practice that we can build greater unity among a population that has been trained to fight one another. We must look at what battles we can fight in our own prisons and neighborhoods, and bring people together for these common goals. Through these struggles we can demonstrate the nature of the imperialist system behind all of the oppression, and focused on keeping the oppressed powerless. Through practice we will build unity and educate the oppressed, training new leaders and developing a movement that can take on the imperialists as a part of the liberation struggles of oppressed nation peoples worldwide.
Comrade, either you're misinformed or an ex-member of these renegade groups you speak of. First, you said ULK should make the newsletter more informative to political theory of education and building community. Comrade ULK created their newsletter as a platform for its readers to supply and share information. The newsletter is very informative and it lets all kkkaptured brothers know what's popping prison to prison, and that you're not alone in the struggle. If you feel something's missing from the newsletter that's your opportunity to supply it. Share the knowledge and lessons from your political education classes with ULK so they can share it with everyone in the trenches.
The reason ULK should continue to teach organization, is because there's brothers in the dark who think that what they're doing is right because it's all they know. In California African gangs have no organization. You mention the BGF putting a worldwide ban on gang banging. In California BGF is considered a prison gang by the pigs. Gangbanging doesn't mean you're a bad person. I've been in prison 11 years and things are very racial here in California. So what might solve a separate problem in New York might not work in California or Florida. There'll never be one fix for all. There has been too much blood shed between different organizations. There can be no peace without war. The fear of war motivates people to keep the peace.
You're aware things may never be resolved, but are you aware that the tone of your words says "why try to resolve?" and "don't even try to resolve because it's a losing battle." Which is your feelings about fighting censorship of ULK.
Your beef really seems to be with gangs and not how ULK does their thing. If you're not the leader of 3 Blood Kingdom you don't know if he opposes peace. Your actions are of choice. They don't define your belief. When supporting something you're still living in the now and have to deal with your current situation.
This brother is part of an organization that makes him a target. He'll need to protect himself the best way he knows how. Even if he denounces his membership he'll be a target for having been affiliated. Those who are never affiliated are targeted by those who are. You're a target either way and will have to protect yourself or get run over.
In the movie "Selma" they did peaceful protest and were still attacked. The lesson here? Do what you must to survive. Nobody's born a gang member. You choose to be one due to your circumstances. Comrade, talking down on gang members is a form of oppression. Let's build these brothas. Each one teach one.
Comrade you speak about rule 33_501.401 fac(3)(g) being used to censor your ULK. ULK doesn't support rioting, insurrection, and disruption of an institution. They support things like the September 9 Peace Day. What ULK does is print the going ons in prisons state to state. The news shows violence daily. Does that mean they support it?
You choose to not grieve the censorship under assumption you won't prevail. The pigs are betting on your pessimism and they're winning. Freedom of speech is a right. ULK exercises that. If you aren't going to fight for what you believe in why expect ULK to?
You say the pigs are the puppeteer, well off the head and the body will follow. It's time to stop venting and start inventing.
Vent: to relieve oneself by vigorous expression Invent: To create or produce for the first time
Where there's a will there's a way. If you're willing to look you'll find a way. If there's no road to success create your own.
I didn't say all of this to attack you, but with hopes of inspiring you to go get what you want. Peace and Solidarity.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade's assessment of the importance of understanding the roots of violence and the inability of pacifism to stop violence. We also call on all lumpen groups and their leaders to join the United Front for Peace and work to advance not only their own organizations but others as well. At the same time, this writer is correct that we must work from where we are and not from idealism. As every issue of ULK demonstrates, we are about promoting organizing for expanding the peace, including the September 9 Day of Peace and Unity.
I'm writing to y'all from the Special Management Unit (SMU) in Jackson, Georgia which is about ten minutes outside Atlanta. This is my second correspondence to MIM(Prisons) and the type of prison I'm at seems to be a focus of yours. It is classified as a "Tier 3" SMU, housing the "worst" 190 captives in the Department of Corrections, which boasts an insane 70,000 prisoners throughout the whole state.
These people are so very corrupt. Just a few hours ago, the pigs, mostly Black, took the Muslim boy out of the cell next to mine for a "meeting." Those meetings go on in a side room somewhere and usually they end in brutality. When they were bringing him back they were beating him as they dragged him toward his cell. It's on camera if the cameras in the cell house actually record.
When they got him into his cell I could hear him choking and trying to scream. Also, I could hear what sounded like fists or feet hitting skin. He was in handcuffs and shackles. I'm Aryan Nation and my loyalty is to my people, but I've got the sense to know that if they'll do that to my neighbor they'll do it to me. My modus operandi (M.O.) is brutal violence toward police and other convicts. So when I spoke up and said that if they didn't stop torturing that man where I could hear it I would stab or cut every pig that came to my door at every meal, they stopped beating him. This type of stuff is the norm at Jackson SMU.
I want to emphasize the importance of unity behind these walls. We divide ourselves by race and gangs and the pigs throw gasoline on the fire. Just today a Black officer called me a "fake white supremacist" for sending a Blood (Black guy) some books and magazines.
I've picked up on some undertones in MIM literature that targets whites as the enemy or people responsible for the oppression behind the injustice system. It's not just whites anymore; it's Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc. The prison injustice system is a mindset that can't be defined by race. We've got to point the finger at the mindset, not the groups of people that we want to blame.
Every prison I go to I preach unity and people respond, because if the Aryan Nation is willing to unite then nobody else has any excuse. Race is the biggest problem in the South; it's what divides us the most. I've done time in the Midwest and those prisons have overcome racial division. We may eat at separate tables there, and play sports on separate courts, but when it's time to come together for our rights there are no racial, religious, or gang lines.
I don't know much about Maoism but I know about the struggle that your ministry is fighting against; I've been living it for almost eight years. I've written to y'all to try to inspire unity amongst everybody, not just the non-whites. I passed on the only ULK I've received so I don't remember your mission statement, but I do understand a little and I support y'all and respect what I do understand. Please continue to send me ULK. I'll write after every issue just to put my views in on the struggle. Also, I'll be sending in 10-20 stamps as a donation very soon.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Just as oppressed nation people have integrated into Amerika economically, they have integrated into the police and prison staff, as well as other parts of the criminal injustice system. The United $tates even had a Black president; it's obvious that oppressed vs. oppressor is not split on "color" lines. Still, there is a history and present reality that shows Amerikkka is vastly a white oppressor nation.
For those who have integrated into the oppressor nation, we no longer refer to them as New Afrikan; instead they are "African-Amerikkkans." Our opposition to oppressors is not limited to just those of European descent. But we see that national oppression happens with an oppressor nation on top (the predominantly and historically white Amerikkkan nation) and others on the bottom (oppressed nations) and so we do make scientific generalizations about these nations.
We're with this comrade that our unity also can't be limited by identity politics. We don't exclude potential comrades just because they're Amerikan, and we don't trust potential comrades just because they're not. Those who do come from an oppressor nation will need to commit nation suicide and work against the interests of their nation. Those who come from oppressed nations need to show that they are not trying to simply integrate with the oppressors, like the Corrections Officers this comrade refers to. Those integrators are our enemies just like the Amerikkkan oppressors are our enemies.
I'm always striving for perfection and giving the next man good advice when they're going through shit because it's getting worse by the day. My heart is so pure now because I don't think for just myself; I'm doing it for the dudes around me. I'm gonna stay at it as long as I got life in my body because I truly understand that unity is power and once we all conquer that then we mastered a good thing. It's a must we stay true to each other and move against the system as one. By us doing that it would be brought to the world's attention the things we go through on this side of the gates.
The reason I have rooted myself in this idea is dudes that have a long sentence to serve. We must stick together to make things easy for those types of guys and I want to make a difference so the young generation that have been coming to the prison system can pass the unity remedy down. The organization that I'm building is called "Stand Firm With Unity" and the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons are planted in my heart.
1. Peace: the first step to make things perfect, and that's something we all must have within to show the next brother that we need that in our heart to accomplish our goal. 2. Unity: the foundation to become one. It's very important to move as one because it's the only way that we will see results on making changes in the prison system that we are trapped in. 3. Growth: in order to speak wise words and show wise action to another person we must first make changes in our own life because the best teaching of all is to show it in your actions. 4. Internationalism: it will be an amazing thing once we do the things that are right for us in each state and to stand firm to each other on changing the prison system. 5. Independence: we must understand that the system is not for us. It's not here to make our life easy. It's made to make us submit to them.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We welcome Stand Firm With Unity to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). We also welcome them (and all UFPP signatories) to send us reports on how organizing around these five points is going on the ground. What has worked to get people on board with the united front? Showing peace and unity in one's actions is good for setting an example of the UFPP; send in your reports on how you've actually done this in your facility and the results you've seen.
We also want to ensure the concept of internationalism is well understood, as it's one of the main characteristics that sets the UFPP (and MIM(Prisons)) apart from other similar attempts (and organizations). We not only want to do what is best for prisoners caught up in the Amerikan criminal injustice system, but we also want peace and justice for oppressed people throughout the entire world. In the United $tates, everyone (even prisoners) benefits from the imperialists' theft of resources and labor from all across the globe. If we lose perspective of this, we'll work to fix our oppression while making conditions worse for the majority of the world's people. This is how reformism and a lack of internationalism has played out in the past. Learning from history, we know we need to keep the conditions of the majority of the world's people in the front of our minds in order to not sell them out for our own benefits.