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[COVID-19] [Political Repression] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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San Quentin: Greatest Concentration of COVID-19 after Guards Refuse Masks and Put Hands in Prisoners' Food

15 May 2020 - During the 2 weeks that came and went since my last report, I’ve encountered quite a bit of backlash. Another prisoner and myself are always reminding these so-called “essential employees” here at San Quentin to wear a face covering. On 14 May 2020 during second watch food service we observed two “essential employees” NOT wearing masks. Upon pointing out the obvious, one (Alwhart) approached the prisoner’s cell who spoke up. Alwhart then threatened the prisoner, saying “Shut up and mind your own business if you know what’s good for you, PC piece of shit.” Alwhart mumbled something else (unintelligible) as he walked away to be confronted by another prisoner about the same thing.

Later, when yard release program was called, Alwhart arrived at the cell of the prisoner he threatened earlier and began the process. The prisoners are required to hand the “essential employee” the items they are bringing with to their assigned yards. The prisoner passed Alwhart a clear plastic ziplock bag containing lunch fruit, bread slices, antiseptic scrub (within its own clear ziplock labelled KOP) and a small ziplock containing a small amount of dry beverage. The first thing Alwhart did was open the clear ziplock, then he began stirring the contents with his gloved hand. As he stirred, Alwhart said to the prisoner he was clearly harassing: “I’m going to search the shit out of your cell too when you go to the yard because you need to learn to shut up.” The prisoner he just threatened for a second time said: “I figured you might go that route so I left you a note with copies of Title 15 3084(g) and 3287(a)(2).” The prisoner continued, “Your threats of violence don’t sway me a bit and you need to wear a mask or I’m writing you up for violating 15CCR 3271 and Marin County’s mandate that all”essential employees wear a mask at their place of employment at all times." Alwhart then threw the prisoner’s searched property back into the cell and falsely reported to the assigned tier officer (Costa) that the prisoner refused yard program. True to form, Costa packed Alwhart’s play and feigned ignorance about the arbitrary yard denial. Sgt. Guitierrez (who also does NOT wear a mask) tactically avoided paying any attention to the unbecoming conduct of the essential employees under his supervision. That’s to be expected. That Sgt. also refuses to respond to a CDCR Form 22 attempting to resolve the issue of the other disrespectful sows in his pen NOT wearing masks.

Some other prisoners in Reception and the death row tier are beginning to understand how the insolence and pig-headedness of these so-called “essential employees” is going to adversely affect the entire prison population. We (death row) are already on an unbalanced yard rotation schedule. There are no visits and no mental health yard program. Once any death row prisoner is tested positive for COVID-19, contact tracing would not require Dr. Bright to shine light on the obvious.


MIM(Prisons) adds: San Quentin has been making lots of news around the epidemic staff have brought there. This began when prisoners were transferred from the California Institute for Men (CIM) in an attempt to protect them from COVID-19. It turned out some were already infected and brought it to San Quentin. And as this comrade reported in April staff have continued to intentionally put prisoners at risk, even after it was clear that the disease had arrived at the prison, violating federal, state and local mandates.

As of 27 June 2020, San Quentin has the most COVID-19 cases within CDCR (614) and CIM is second with 514.

notes: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/population-status-tracking/

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[COVID-19] [New Afrika] [ULK Issue 70]
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They Need a Healer

After reading the article “34 years too long: The case of Political Prisoner Dr. Mutulu Shakur” in the San Francisco Bayview newspaper, Feb. 2020 issue, plus watching the news on the current events on the coronavirus epidemic, I can’t help but laugh and wonder; Is this pay back for locking up and killing our New Afrikan healers? As a young New Afrikan who grew up listening to and admiring the late Tupac Shakur, knowing that Pac came from a revolutionary background, when given a chance to study Dr. Mutulu Shakur deeper, I took it and was astonished that he co-founded the BAAANA (Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America).

It pisses me off how Dr. Mutulu was framed and is still locked up after serving his 30-year sentence unrightfully. Just as much as the killing of Dr. Sebz, America doesn’t want to heal individuals not without capitalizing on it. Now we’re in a period where all the natural healers are needed, and this epidemic of the coronavirus has individuals in the multitudes fearing for their lives. Due to the Surgeon General claiming there’s no cure and advise individuals to self-quarantine if they have symptoms that coincides with COVID-19. But where’s the natural healers now? In prison cells or 6 feet under the ground. For every action there’s a consequence and here’s the Imperialistic-Capitalistic world consequence for murdering and imprisoning our Brothers and Sisters.

I knowledge that if the United $tates didn’t do the evil wrong doings to the New Afrikan community and strayed away from the natural way of life, as a whole we would be better off like the majority of the continent of Afrika. Now Amerikkka is going into her rapist tool box and do what it does best, which is blood suck whoever has the cure dry then dispose of the evidence.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammed wrote about the Fall of Amerikkka and said the worst is yet to come. How shit is looking now, the worst is just beginning to happen to Amerikkka the great. As the New Afrikan nation is in motion to free our Brothers and Sisters from the belly of the dying beast. Our next move is in the separation of this failing nation and watch the fireworks. Amerikkka is in a desperate need for a healer, or a savior which will only come from US. Who are the Fathers and Mothers of civilization, Supreme beings.

FREE DR. MUTULU SHAKUR!!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We also foresee challenging times for the United Snakes empire coming out of th coronavirus crisis. This creates opportunities for real change, and real change of the economic system will come when oppressed nations begin delinking from the imperialist system as this comrade says.

We must caution against taking our critique of the imperialists too far into pseudo-science. There are many promoting “all natural” cures to coronavirus to make a quick buck these days. It’s not just the U.$. President pedaling dangerous unproven solutions. Certainly, if soldiers like Mutulu Shakur were not targeted by the state, New Afrikans and the world would be better off. And by seeing through Shakur’s vision of a socialist future, we will be much better prepared to handle pandemics in the future, by putting the people before profits.

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[Organizing] [Cummins Unit] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 70]
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New Location, Old Conversations, New Technique

Revolutionary Greetings,

This letter is to inform you that I have been transferred. My transfer was long overdue and now after those long years in Ad-Seg I should be getting released to population soon. I am now housed in a two-man cell after spending the last three years in a one-man cell because that’s the way the other units in Ad-Seg is set up. So that also is an adjustment I’ve had to make to my work-out/sleep schedule.

This is another of the Arkansas units that’s known for rampant drug trade and use, so I’m trying to prepare myself for combating the mindset that comes along with that among my fellow prisoners. I have been here now for two weeks and have not heard any revolutionary conversations, let alone any political discussions that were based on concrete research or facts. No one is talking about unity or anything of that nature.

I started a conversation with another prisoner about the going-on in Iran. I told him that I assume Chump assassinated Iran’s commander to initiate a war because of the upcoming “elections,” and the prisoner I was talking to started taking a defensive stance and the kapitalist mindset came out. You know the justification, “Oh, the economy is better than it has ever been!” When I asked him at what price has the economy got so great he got in his feelings and told me I sound like one of the Trump haters that have been trying to come up with anything to get him out of office! I then just changed the subject to the San Francisco 49ers taking the Super Bowl this year but he didn’t like that any more than the political discussion! Ha.

The point I was trying to make about who actually pays the price for Amerikkkan prosperity was completely missed and I was reminded of something I read in the essay “Intro to Neo-Colonialism” by Kwame Nkrumah, which we are studying in the University of Maoist Thought (UMT). Nkrumah states “In fact neo-colonialism is the victim of its own contradictions. In order to make it attractive to those upon whom it is practised it must be shown as capable of raising their living standards, but the economic object of neo-colonialism is to keep those standards depressed in the interest of the developed countries. It is only when this contradiction is understood that the failure of innumerable ‘aid’ programmes, many of them well intentioned, can be explained.”

The reason I brought the issue of “aid programs” up is because in the course of the conversation my fellow prisoner’s only grievance about Amerikkka was that these other countries (Iran, Russia, etc.) look at Amerikkka as weak, because after we go to war with countries in the Middle East we send them all kinds of “aid.” I started explaining the system of neo-colonialism and how none of these other countries are fooled into believing that the Amerikkkan government provides “aid” to these countries we’ve invaded out of righteous motives, but he couldn’t grasp my point.

It just goes to show how deep kapitalist ideology indoctrinates its multitude of “patriots.” Amerikkka has given you a life sentence in their machination of mass incarceration, but these dudes are still willing to argue for the monster’s “honor.”

It’s hard for me to see any future victories over a kapitalist system that is so inextricably woven into the fabric of our present day society that I can see why it’s so easy to become agreeable to the multitudes and just go along with the way the system is. Not myself personally, but so many others that I think should be on the side of the oppressed. It makes me question my own abilities in comparison to a Mao. Their essays and policies are so far-reaching and deep, and here I fail at getting a point across to a fellow oppressed prisoner, or as they say I can’t even preach to the choir!

Well, as I said I was touching base to let you know about my transfer and my current status on getting ready to get released to population, and I also wanted to give my thanks to my komrades in the study group and the study group facilitators for helping me get through my time in Ad-Seg, and the growth I’ve experienced.

If it wasn’t for this study group, among other things, I don’t think that I would’ve made it through with a sound mind. So thanks again and I look forward to struggling into the future with UMT and MIM(Prisons).

UMT coordinator of MIM(Prisons) responds: Before writing our response, we asked another comrade from UMT to respond to this article. We suggested a potential angle for responding.

“The main thing I was thinking to respond to (which does not need to be the thing you respond to, you can respond however you see appropriate) is that this persyn was not coming from a place of unity in the conversation with the other prisoner [more on the meaning of "total unity" below - Editor]. Ey was trying to make a point, or win a debate. That technique is useful if there’s an audience of people who are coming to their own conclusions about the debate, hearing both sides. But for an individual conversation, I think we have to come from a place of total unity in order to help people see political distinctions. Again, you can respond however you see fit, I just wanted to offer that as an idea.”

In response, our UMT comrade sent some feedback:

"With respect to the article, I’d have to disagree with your statement that the author was not coming from a place of unity. It is very difficult for me to see how ey could’ve found a better way to struggle with that persyn according to what I read.

"The fact that ey even attempted to engage that persyn in a political discussion is proof enough for me that ey was attempting to unite with em. Furthermore, what is political struggle with someone like that if not a debate? While I don’t believe in showing people up who I’m trying to build with, I also don’t believe in being subtle or sugar-coating reality for the sake of sparing someone’s feelings. That would be liberalism, would it not?

“I once read a MIM article in which the author stated that a good teacher doesn’t assert the correct principles, rather they teach the correct principles. This is the model I always try to uphold when it comes to political struggle and I hope MIM(Prisons) still upholds it as well.”

I think there is a very subtle distinction between unity and discussion, versus division and debate, that i am still learning how to bring to fruition in our work. Of course there will still be moments of disagreement with our comrades, which is perfectly healthy to political growth. And there will be moments of frustration and conflict within a revolutionary organization and movement. I believe the goal in these recruiting conversations is in minimizing the conflict, while hashing out the disagreements, and holding the other persyn in high esteem and unity throughout.

With people we’re recruiting, there is some baseline unity that we can build on. Either you’re both prisoners, both have a deep hatred of capitalism or inequality, or you are working on the same campaign or project. Or as our UMT comrade says above, you are in a conversation at all, so there’s unity. That level of unity is a good starting place, for sure.

If we’re talking about helping people shift their deeply-held inaccurate beliefs which are reinforced by bourgeois propaganda daily; and empowering people to make a difference in their locality and the world; and asking people to take on the magnificent and difficult and self-sacrificing task of building revolution over the long-term while not cooperating with the pigs for their persynal benefit in the short-term, etc… then I believe a deeper unity is needed in order to break through all those barriers to catalyze this profound shift.

As advocates for the liberation of the world’s people from the oppression of capitalism and imperialism, i believe we have an obligation to learn how to communicate with people in a way that we can be most effective. And I’m not saying to throw out accuracy and facts for the sake of false unity. It’s about having discussions with (potential) comrades with unity as primary, even in spite of disagreement.

One way to picture this subtle distinction may be to pause at any point in a conversation and honestly ask yourself “is it blatantly obvious we are on the same team right now? or is it more like we are on opposing teams?” And ask yourself these questions from the other persyn’s perspective, and from an observer’s perspective, too. If the answer to this inquiry is that in that moment you are more in opposition than on the same team, then that’s what i’m talking about.

Another barometer to measure whether we’re coming more from unity or division, is to look at how do these conversations resolve? Are they resolved with greater unity and understanding, or, like in this letter we received, is the result that the persyn totally didn’t grasp the message?

One appropriate time for debate is in a conversation where you are distinguishing whether you even want to be on the same team with a persyn or an organization. These private debates can help clarify for ourselves our own view, the views of others, and help decide the best steps forward in terms of working together, or not.

Another time and place for outright debating is in public discussions. When others witness a debate, it helps the viewer clarify their understanding of the people in the debate, and helps clarify what views they are most aligned with. Under Lock & Key is a great public forum for these types of public debates.

And again, I’m not talking about letting things slide, or ignoring disagreements (that would be liberalism).(1) I’m talking about having conversations with people we are trying to unite with, coming from a place of deep listening. We have to, in a way, “allow” others to believe what they believe, in order to help them see something different. Not agreeing with them, but listening to them.

There are many conversational tactics and methods that can be used, and the effectiveness of specific language will vary persyn to persyn, culture to culture, situation to situation. Rather than a formula of things to say, i think cultivating one’s authentic commitment to developing with others is what signifies to them a deep level of unity, no matter the words. Developing this commitment (even in spite of our own persynal frustrations!), as well as the tactics that are effective, is a lifelong practice. You can use this approach with anyone, even people who hold differing views. And i think this approach is a precursor to people even listening to facts or points being made, which is a precursor to deeper unity, growth, and recruiting.

Comrades in Maoist circles have disagreed with this approach, and have said it’s too much focusing on subjective opinions and tone. And to that i would throw MIM’s “where’s the beef?” taunt back in our own face. Where’s our success? Where’s our results? If we’re outright debating people we’re trying to recruit, and simply trying to show them that they’re wrong, is that working?

I fully agree that viewing the world with the most accuracy as possible brings us power, which leads to effectiveness, and liberation. Sharing accuracy with others is extremely important to our work.

And I believe it’s subjective to behave as if we live in a post-subjective society, and that the most efficient way to liberate the world’s people is to go on unnecessarily dividing with people who could otherwise be our comrades. We can’t teach people to think scientifically by pretending they are already fully objective scientific thinkers.

While working toward a cultural shift where people can see and hear facts delivered in any tone and in any manner, i believe we also need to acknowledge that our culture isn’t there yet. It would behoove us to communicate with others with an awareness that this is the culture we’re speaking into. And in my view, there’s no harm to trying on different conversational techniques. Interacting with others from a place of profound unity (rather than just saying words or speaking one’s mind) is one i would recommend trying out.

I would even argue that being an objective scientific thinker isn’t about thinking scientifically 100% of the time – we are humyns after all, and part of being humyn is having subjective thoughts and feelings. Being objective isn’t about squashing those impulses, it’s about training ourselves to notice when we are approaching a question subjectively, and training ourselves to put that aside. Even long-time revolutionaries are subjective about things! We’re just also committed to developing our objective muscles. We can’t expect that quality of listening from people who have a lifetime of practice in all subjectivism all the time.

I don’t claim to be an expert in this technique, and i can definitely see how on the surface it sounds like liberalism or being wishy-washy. I believe it has been validated by all the seminal works i’ve studied on “how to relate to people” from Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed to studying about Mao’s long march. That this view is in a minority in our organization is even further evidence of my lack of expertise in bringing this shift to our work. And, of course, maybe i’m wrong! Maybe head-on debate between individuals, in private, is the way to build unity, our organization, and our revolution.

I could go on even more trying to explain it, probably writing an entire book here. Instead i would love for comrades to try it out and let us know what they discover. If you come from a place of profound unity, deep listening and compassion in a conversation where you disagree with someone else, did anything shift in your relationship or organizing work with this persyn or people?

Note:
1. Mao Tse-tung, Combat Liberalism, 1937.

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[COVID-19] [ULK Issue 70]
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Another Way to Thin Out the Death Row Population at San Quentin: The Pestilence Pilot Program

So here we are in San Quentin’s death row experiment. The latest twist as we go head first into the COVID-19 pandemic may be described as a new method of execution. Many may not know most prisoners here die from something other than the “official” method of execution or that all sorts of ailments permeate the aging population. But saying the elderly here are now more at risk than before the outbreak would be an understatement.

As this report begins there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases among the death row population at San Quentin. There is however one confirmed case of the virus within the ranks of SQ staff. With visits suspended, the only remaining vector for COVID-19 is CDCR employees. They may bring it in to us without even knowing they’re infected or spreading it. So it’s only a matter of time until it spreads.

Despite knowing they are the only possible vector, SQ custody staff are not wearing N95 masks when “security” reasons require them to be within 6’ of death row prisoners. Instead of halting the spread by taking precautions, the higher ups set up a “window dressing display” that consists of pretending to be complying with Newsom’s shelter-in-place order by implementing a rotating yard schedule for death row. Half of East Block’s death row prisoners go to their 7 different yards one day, then the others (which includes 1 of 2 tiers in Donner Section) go the next day. That may sound like it facilitates “social distancing” but where prisoners are celled and which of those 7 yards each is assigned to, is not balanced in any way. One day we see upwards of 35 prisoners on some yards. The next day some yards have only 3 or 4. Again, don’t forget there are no COVID-19 cases among prisoners while the only vector is conducting those yards release/returns with close proximity to all of us, without N95 masks. That means the rotating yard schedule is in no way conducive to stopping the spread of COVID-19 among death row prisoners (or any of the other staff for that matter).

While nobody in any California prison is not at risk, death row prisoners at SQ are intentionally being put at risk when exposure is avoidable. Oh, by the way, as for those who may reason death row prisoners don’t deserve to be safeguarded from COVID-19, consider the fact that when we start taking up space in hospitals and precious spaces are being used up when this pandemic really takes off, you can thank the disrespectful sows and their lack of urgency regarding this national emergency for that.

[Update, Addendum] On the morning of 29 March 2020, it was announced over the P.A. system that medical quarantine is now in place and there will be no yard program. The reason for the quarantine is not yet confirmed but it only applied to death row. One corrections officer, on 30 March 2020, did supply a simple answer to the question about why there was a medical quarantine – a breakout of influenza not COVID-19.

Shortly after April Fool’s Day the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines recommending everyone leaving their homes for essential travel to wear a cloth mask. That decision was made due to evidence that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 can be contagious 48 hours before exhibiting any symptoms [and many people are contagious and never end up showing symptoms at all - editor]. Unfortunately, instead of following CDC guidelines, the disrespectful sows employed by CDCr assigned to warehousing its death row population continue to snort in protest, refusing to wear a protective mask of any kind. Sicker than that, or at least close second, is the fact custody staff assigned to in-cell food service continue to be in willful noncompliance with California Heath and Safety Code 113969 Hair Restraints (see also 15CCCr 3052 (a)(f)). Consider the fact COVID-19 can be spread by asymptomatic carriers coughing, sneezing, talking or just breathing; common sense dictates – come on this isn’t brain surgery! These disrespectful sows walk handcuffed prisoners by the arm anywhere they go. So much for social distancing – no mask plus no 6’ social distancing equals: there’s no math involved!

Here’s another part of this Pestilence Pilot Program to be dissected: According to 15CCR 3274 Inmate Count and Movement “At least one daily count shall be standing count wherein inmates shall stand at their cell door, or in a dormitory, shall sit… during the designated count time.” So, if we just ignore 15CCR 3271 which requires “The safe custody of the inmates confined…” Demanding close proximity in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic where CDC and California Health & Safety is being routinely ignored by the CDCr employees; it’s just another day at the office for the disrespectful sow counting inmates in between counting sheep (that is, if they’re not watching TV, playing cards, shooting baskets in the trash can or eating). Even among themselves, no masks, no social distancing, no respect and no common sense! Now here’s the funny part: any prisoner not standing at the cell door to be counter (and exposed) gets a Disobeying A Direct Order Rules Violation Report. Again, let’s not consider 15CCR 3274, oh, and that the cells are only about 10’ x 4.5’. Unless the bars are blocked or the prisoner is under the bunk, one can be seen and accounted for. That old ostrich with the head in the sand trick can’t be done!

And with that, the higher ups’ newest window dressing display features distribution of a 27 March 2020 memo telling inmates “all individuals [who] enter a facility… showing any symptoms of respiratory illness are not permitted to enter” and “[w]e are doing all we can to keep everybody safe” and they “will continue to follow CDC guidelines for responding to COVID 19.” (But not really.)

On 7 April 2020 the rotating yard schedule started up again. The only change is which side of East Block goes with the 1st tier of Donner. It’s a “same shit different day” scenario. There continues to be disproportionate numbers of prisoners on the group yards, which is not conducive to facilitating social distancing. When it was suggested that group yards be ran in a manner similar to SMY (Small Management Yard or walk alone “W/A”) it is met with mock confusion and resistance. There are around 100 prisoners assigned to W/A but there are only 31 cages (SMYs). So, to give all assigned to W/A a chance to go out, a list is made each morning by an assigned officer going cell to cell until the number of prisoners wishing to go meets the number of available cages. The next day the assigned officer begins the list where it became full the previous day. There is no reason the group yards should not be ran in similar fashion during the COVID-19 National Emergency. As employees should be wearing masks as recommended by CDC guidelines and the (A) Warden Broomfield 27 March 2020 memo claiming SQ employees must “Follow [CDC] guidelines for responding to COVID 19” shouldn’t allow common sense to be swept under the rug. Getting into compliance with CDC guidelines and limiting the number of prisoners allowed on each of the 7 group yard to 30 makes sense under current conditions. Unfortunately, making sense proves to not be high on the SQ administration’s list of priorities.

On 9 April 2020 the Director of the Center for Disease Control again announced that all employees (working in essential business) should be wearing cloth masks at all times. The CDCR22 [grievance form] sent to "AS of Specialized Housing (Death Row) remains non-responsive and CDC guidelines regarding masks continue to be ignored just as all other CDCR22’s on this and related topics have been since at least 29 March 2020. At this point in time the visiting restriction rules out the possibility any future infection to death row prisoners came from any source other than a CDCR employee not in compliance with CDC guidelines. Security cameras would reveal a few medical and custody staff do wear masks. It would also reveal most do not. Could this be an example of too little too late? It’s definitely an example of CDCR staff endangering themselves and others in their custody. Death Row prisoners at San Quentin cannot spread COVID-19 among themselves until CDCR employees spread it to them first.

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[Civil Liberties] [COVID-19] [Calipatria State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 70]
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Prisoners Win Phone Rights During COVID-19 Restrictions

Abolitionists From Within (AFW) is back at you all with a little update on the struggle here at Calipatria State Prison A-Yard. CDCR and its C.O.s here have a corrupt culture of denying prisoners our rights. An issue was brought to my attention about prisoners in A2B class not receiving they phone calls during this time of war. The institution has been on a modified program to further promote social distancing in response to COVID-19.

Where there is oppression, it breeds resistance. The people must stand and the young mwenzi stood up and at the end had something to smile about. Privilege breeds complacency, so some mwenzi stood with hate in their eyes. I just love to see the peoples shine so i smile with the young mwenzi. C.O.s tried to take our constitutional rights from us because the prison officials were acting and behaving in a prejudiced manner toward the A2B class making aggravating remarks, dividing A1A against A2B, done in a retaliation for complaints by prisoners filed against guard misconduct. So we made that pen bleed back to normal program (everybody gets phone calls). Power to the People!

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[Non-Designated Programming Facilities] [Special Needs Yard] [California] [ULK Issue 70]
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We Can Choose the Next Phase of CDCR Prison Culture

On the subject of non-designated yards, the fact that the state’s actors have sanctioned this social experiment where the labels that the state themselves created are now being altered by their creators means that the G.P./SNY dual system has run its course and failed miserably.

It also means that prisoners have to be re-educated on the history of prison labels in California, understanding that at one time all prisoners went to any yard where there was space and they fit the classification points criteria. The only prisoners who got sent to special yards at that time were the wealthy, the law enforcement convicted prisoners, and those media vilified infamous. These yards held low numbers of prisoners and weren’t easy to get to, or gain reliable information about. However, once the state actors came up with 50/50 yards, SNY yard, it created new problems that would not only affect prisoner sub-culture in prison but an even huger problem on the streets due to the criminals’ new option not to play by the old rules of the GAME that is not a game.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all on the who’s who level, on the G.P. nor SNY lines – there are snitches on both sides, rapists on both sides, hustlers on both sides, politicians on both sides, killers on both sides, thinkers on both sides, lumpen orgs on both sides. What needs to be analyzed is why are we still judging one another based solely on convictions when we have seen 13, White Like Me, we’ve read The New Jim Crow, Blacked Out Through White Wash, The Black Panthers Speak, Locked Up But Not Locked Down, A Taste of Power, and Dark Alliance, etc.

WE know that all the courts care about is convictions and not truth or facts. We know that many people who go to trial get railroaded and made an example of. We know that many of us were forced to make deals based on the public defender’s inability to provide adequate defense and we know many prisoners are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to decades behind these walls. Yet we keep judging our fellow prisoners based upon convictions from a corrupt system that works to justify its high percentage of convictions and deals, plea bargains, bails, etc. As one of the GODS that’s locked inside of this INJUSTICE system I refuse to take our open enemy’s word about another oppressed prisoner, nor will I act on behalf of the STATE and harm another prisoner based on what happened as a result of the United Snakes Criminal Injustice system. Where I judge is based on the individual’s personal conduct and willingness to act when the time demands action or when I see them deal with difficult situations – if they’re rational, measured, and are they using reason-based decision making or not.

Comrades, we’ve got to think about what unity would bring us that is impossible if we continue being separated based upon STATE TITLE and LABELS. The question to all you self-styled revolutionaries is: can people change? Does experience and education reform an otherwise broken individual? Can we inspire the Blind, Deaf and Dumb to wake the fuck up and unite on some active social dynamics that is mutually beneficial to all commonly oppressed prisoners? Will we educate the next Revolutionary that will make change a reality? Or are we just pen and paper revolutionaries?

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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To know yourself

How can I be true to self, when I don’t even know myself?
I have all this knowledge, but it’s collecting dust on the shelf.
Man, I need some help,
But what’s the point when I have a teacher and I don’t value his wealth?
Am I conscience that I am in the belly of the beast?
Or did the imperialist induce me dumb and asleep?
Am I so far gone that I cannot be reached?
Is my third eye too calcified that I can not seek?
That New Afrikans can have better opportunities to increase?
And free all political prisoners plus the great sheiks?
Even if it cost me, my family to not deal with me when I am released?
These are the questions I ask myself to see if I’m still mentally deceased, and if I am; may the Allah in me drown me in the knowledge of self so I can be a valuable piece.
To aid & assist all my brothers and sisters in this beautiful struggle for New Afrikan peace.
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[Prison Labor] [Organizing] [North Carolina]
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North Carolina Labor Battle Advice

I hope these words surmount the many communicational barriers that have been put in place to suppress my voice. I'm currently being held at North Carolina's supermax facility. I came across issue 66 of ULK and I read where the prisoners of Pender razor-wire plantation are being exploited and seeking guidance and assistance in redressing this issue.(1)

North Carolina is home to 32 Correctional Enterprise plantations that exploit prisoners for their labor in the name of rehabilitation. As the komrade mentioned, these plantations are profitable enterprises that range from producing janitorial products to a metal plant in Polkton, North Carolina that makes industrial sinks for schools and contraband lockers for the police. Each of these 32 plantations produces goods to be sold to tax-supported entities such as municipal and county governments. So yes it's a fact that prisoners are being exploited and you seek guidance on how you and others can organize to redress this issue.

First and foremost, you must purge the fear you admitted to having, komrade. As the beloved komrade George Jackson stated, "Don't fear the specter of repression, for we are already repressed." The fear of reprisals is what keeps us in bondage. Yes we're held captive by concrete and razor-wire barriers, but it isn't the physical chains that keep us oppressed and exploited. It is the mental chains of ignorance and fear that impede us from liberating ourselves from under the rule of the enemy. Fear is our greatest hindrance. We have been conditioned to believe that the enemy's retaliation will be so brutal that any thoughts of standing up are neutralized by this fear. Nelson Mandela said it best: "In prison, no improvement happens without a reason."

However, you are correct that you must have assistance. You cannot fight this Hydra alone. North Carolina isn't known for its progressive political activity within these razor-wire plantations, nor are there any notable revolutionaries or political prisoners. Being the deputy minister of defense for the White Panther organization, which is an arm of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter, under the umbrella of the United Panther Movement, we have been on the front lines and working diligently to transform these slave pens of oppression into schools of liberation.

There are outside supporters here that are very loyal to the prisoners of North Carolina. They provide us with a local newsletter, FloodGates, to serve as a platform for us to network with others and express ourselves. They also organize outside protests and mass call-ins. As of now, we are focused on redressing the new JPay restrictions. You can receive the FloodGates newsletter by writing:

FloodGates Publishing
PO Box 15401
Durham, NC 27704

MIM(Prisons) responds: In ULK 66 we asked for input from other folks in response to the writer from North Carolina who asked what they can do to fight back against the extortion of money, both through their labor and petty fees. This writer offers some good thoughts about building a network both behind bars and on the streets. We work for Under Lock & Key to also serve as a resource to help with this organizing.

As we've discussed in our recent updated "Survey of U.S Prisoners on Prison Labor" in ULK 62, prisoners are mostly working for the state.(2) The examples given by this writer confirm that this is the case in North Carolina as well. This labor is subsidizing the state budget, but it falls far short of covering the cost of imprisonment. So we don't describe prison labor with the term "exploitation" which, in Marxism, means transforming labor power into goods to be sold for a profit. The goods being produced are for state institutions, and just offset the costs to run these institutions. There's no profit involved.

Instead, we say the prisons are extorting this labor. Basically the prisons are stealing it from prisoners, not giving them a choice about work, and paying only a pittance. Still, there's no profit.

Prisons are about social control and national oppression, not profits. The prison movement needs to focus on the anti-colonial battle, and the struggle against prison labor can be a part of this. We support the struggles many of our comrades are fighting against prison labor, because we are against extortion and imprisonment of the lumpen class and oppressed-nation peoples. This is one of many ways to weaken the criminal injustice system.

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[Organizing] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 69]
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Notes on Advancing the Struggle Inside: Unity – Colorado Unity

against all odds
by a Colorado prisoner and El Independista

First and foremost, we would like to thank ULK for being a platform to spread the message of prisoner united fronts and solidarity within these dungeons. ULK has been a big part of helping in reeducation and enlightenment. To us revolutionaries, who are the tip of the spear here in Colorado, ULK is a great tool. We hope this brief update gives encouragement to all of us conscious of our battle against capitalism, its social-control mechanism – mass incarceration – and use of prisons as modern day slave camps.

Here in Colorado, with hard work and much determination, many different groups have come to the realization of subversive tactics the state and badge engage in to divide and conquer. Exploiting gang rivalries, perpetuating violence by manufactured conflicts through "set-ups" of STG members, and at times, nation unrest. After years of watching the badge laugh it up, get pumped off the live action, replaying videos of their puppet mastery, enjoying their own pithy commentary for amusement, pursuing judicial redress (criminal convictions) for violence they made possible and encouraged, freely and gleefully using chemical warfare, tazers and non-lethal weaponry (for some reason these always seem to be headshots, although this is strictly against written policy!) — with the help of many different group leaders, violence between rivals, L.O.s has stopped, almost state-wide.

For us at the spear's tip, some critics recriminate and admonish – we've gone down in flames, being removed from population to areas sufficiently isolated; all our privileges (telephone, canteen, TV, visits, etc.) removed, subject to out-of-state transfer. The badge resort to textbook "cointelpro" tactics: spreading misinformation, rumors, delaying or stopping mail. Worker pigs, "porkers," trying to revitalize dessicated STG-conflicts to take the spotlight off of them. Any means necessary to escape the repercussions. But, out of the ashes has risen a mighty phoenix, one that has sent a cold chill down our oppressor's back.

We've demonstrated that real leadership is based in action, not handicapping our people, but rather in providing the knowledge, tools and freedoms to act. Setting examples of sacrifice, tenacity and hard work. Understanding that the struggle to change minds is hard even with the truth staring some in the face; some would rather desperately clutch at what's most familiar and be a stubborn hindrance to those of us conscious and progressing the movement. That is human nature, it will take patience. No matter how many obstacles, as long as you keep the big picture in your mind nothing else matters. Those of us answering the call must cherish that we will never know the comforts of the meek. It is a long, hard road, but we can be proud we are doing our part and did not look away. If we are not willing to risk the usual, we will have to settle for the ordinary. This would very much please capitalists and their contributors, were we to become subjugated.

Self-determination is our only path. Take up one cause (i.e. removing capitalism), make that one cause your life, think of it, dream of it, live on that cause, let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that cause, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. One or many defeats in battles do not constitute loss of the war; remember the big picture. Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. Of the latter there are two kinds who will tell you that you can not make a difference: 1) those who are afraid to try; and 2) those who fear you will succeed where they can not. (1)

We suggest, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong stumble, or where and how a doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marked by dust, sweat, blood; who strives valiantly, who knows the great enthusiasms, the greater devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least, fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be among those cold, sententious, timid souls who have never known victory nor defeat.

To those who, like us revolutionaries here in Colorado, understand and struggle for a united prisoner movement: We tip our hats to you all. The fight is hard, and well worth the effort, sweat, blood, deprivations and temporary setbacks. Change is happening, change is coming.(2)

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[First World Lumpen] [United Front] [ULK Issue 69]
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Gangster Mentality Can Transform to Revolutionary Communist

Is it possible to defeat gangster mentality in ourselves? The short answer is: Yes. There is plenty of solid individuals who have turned their back on the thug life and criminal thinking. But, is that what is needed when building a revolutionary cadre organization? Instead, perhaps we should attempt to harness and direct our vision of revolutionary social force into a hammer to first shatter the old imperialist system. And then from the ashes and rubble shape a new and better society that will serve the masses free of exploitation.

As members of the revolutionary cadre organization, each of us has to be a leader, a teacher, an activist, a soldier and represent the future by our conduct. Individual members must take the initiative to bring together various organizations for a united front. For this to happen our members have to think beyond their neighborhood, set or clique. All of us are already soldiers of battles that take place right under the nose of pigs. The system does not care if we kill each other. Actually they encourage warfare between lumpen organizations. When we fight each other we do their job for them.

Fight the imperialist system by making peace in prison and on the street. Educate the young, think on an international level, and lead by example. Evolve from a gangster into a hardcore communist revolutionary. Consider your time fighting for your neighborhoods as basic training for the real battle yet to come.

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