The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 40]
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Texas Prisons Kill People with Heat

Mouth Sewn Shut
"The mission of the Institutional Division is to provide safe and appropriate confinement, supervision, rehabilitation, and reintegration of adult felons, and to effectively manage or administer correctional facilities based on constitutional and statutory standards" - Texas Government Code 494.001

For those of us housed within the prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal inJustice (TDCJ) we know this statement is nothing more than well-worded lies!

Recently the University of Texas - Human Rights Clinic came out with a report "Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons." The report pretty much proves what many of the lumpen already know: conditions inside Texas prisons in the summer violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. TDCJ keeps telling the public they have policies in place to combat the heat. However, Brian McGiverin, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said during a news conference on the topic, "Fourteen inmate deaths are strong evidence the prison agency's measures don't do enough to beat the heat's health risks." He continued, "The response that their policies are adequate today is ridiculous."

Senator John Whitmire, the chairman of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, had this to say on the topic: "But I can tell you, the people of Texas don't want air-conditioned prisons, and there's a lot of other things on my list above the heat." The "other things" were education, health care, and rehabilitation programs, but never has this racist pontificator said he was committed to ceasing the senseless murder of Texas prisoners by TDCJ employees! Whitmire, who has been in the Texas senate over 30 years, continues to turn a blind eye to the systemic abuse and discrimination of prisoners housed in TDCJ facilities. We suffer from racial discrimination, religious discrimination, sexual assaults, vicious beatings and abuse, and Whitmire continues to play good ol' boy politics.

For complaints on specific prison issues I found a strategy that's been working. I've been having family members file Ombudsman complaints via email. They can file formal public complaints on a wide range of issues and these complaints must be placed online for the public to view. We have been experiencing a lot of success! All that PO Box 99 shit to Huntsville is a waste of paper and time. Do it online and put these assholes on Front Street.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is just one example of the rampant abuse of prisoners in Texas and across the country, that is well documented and exposed in ULK and on our prisoncensorship.org website. But we aim to do more than just expose the brutality of the Amerikan criminal injustice system. Our goal is to organize and educate to make meaningful change. In the short term we fight battles like the campaign to have prisoners' grievances addressed so that we can create better conditions for our comrades behind bars. But in the long term we know that no Amerikan politician is ever going to fundamentally change the system of injustice. It will take the oppressed joining together to demand change to put an end to imperialism before we can hope to end the criminal injustice system. Get involved in this long-term fight today!

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[Abuse] [Religious Repression] [Texas]
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Federal Judge Exposes Discrimination Against Muslims Held Captive in Texas Prisons

Hang DOC KKK
In a much-anticipated ruling, Federal District Judge Kenneth Hoyt struck down Texas Deparmment of Criminal inJustice's (TDCJ) attempt to terminate the Brown vs. Beto consent decree. The Brown vs. Beto case goes back to 1969 and it stemmed from a federal action brought by a TDCJ prisoner, Bobby Brown, who fought hard against the racist oppressors in Texas who would unmercifully beat any prisoner who declared himself a Muslim. At the time Brown was a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and it was members of the NOI and Fruit of Islam who provided material support, legal support, and physical security to Brown and other Muslim prisoners who were victims of religious discrimination and racial hate. It is noteworthy to mention that even in the year 2014 over 95% of the Muslims in TDCJ are New Afrikans (Black). There is a racist dynamic to Texas's ongoing oppression of Muslim prisoners.

The Brown vs. Beto consent decree was put in effect in 1977 and it provided a wide array of rules and policies geared toward destroying any obstacles to Texas prisoners' right to practice Islam if they hoose. In 2012 under the auspices of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, TDCJ and the state of Texas petitioned the court in an effort to terminate Brown claiming they had policies in place which provided ample opportunities for Muslim prisoners to practice their faith. This was a lie and a ruse concocted by the racist oppressors to show onlookers an illusion of freedom. In reality, TDCJ has established rules and policies which infringe grossly upon Muslim prisoners' right to practice. We are monitored as if we all are potential terrorists; our visitors and volunteers are harassed and overly scrutinized; TDCJ Correctional Officers regularly disrespect the Muslims and bait them in physical and verbal confrontations. This is the reality on the ground!

However, the main point Judge Hoyt made in his ruling was that TDCJ has purposely constructed rules which made it impossible for Muslims in Texas prisons to practice. Moreover, he stated the agency has established a practice throughout the system where they show preferential treatment to Christian prisoners while marginalizing, ridiculing, and obstructing Muslims from practicing their religion. All this amounts to a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Judge Hoyt ruled that Brown will remain intact and told them to make the necessary changes ASAP.

Instead of rectifying the problems in Texas state Attorney General Gregg Abbott is ordering an appeal of the judge's ruling. So there is an overt collusive effort by the Attorney General and the Executive Directory of TDCJ to violate Muslims' U.S. constitutional rights. This is the type of violation the Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division is supposed to protect U.$. citizens from suffering, yet they have hesitated to get involved! It reminds me of that young Black man who got beat in the face with a hammer by Georgia prison guards. We must come to the understanding that these imperialists, whether they be white or Black, Democrat or Republican, do not have a vested interest in the lumpen underclass who are trapped in Amerikkka's Gulags.

I can not tell you how many grievances I have written citing Religious Discrimination and they have come back with that same old bullshit reply: no policy violated, no further action warranted! And the entire time these racist oppressors were violating my constitutional rights! This once again highlights the corruption and hypocrisy of TDCJ! This grievance program in Texas is a sham and a farce.

I urge all of you reading this piece to join United Struggle from Within, and fight these racists! Expose the abuse, murders, and violation of civil and humyn rights. We must make a collective push to call for an all-out investigation of TDCJ and the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee as they too are culpable in the rampant, systemic, and pervasive abuse of Texas prisoners.Comrades, I want you to understand that racism is a byproduct of capitalism/imperialism. Unifying in order to smash imperialism provides a serious blow to racism. Texas as a whole is an imperialist stronghold and the overt racism that exists throughout the state is a testimony to that!

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[United Front] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 40]
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United the Power of the People Can Defeat the CDCR

USW SNY

I'm checking in from RJ Donovan Correctional Facility in California, where the conditions of confinement are getting harder and harder to tolerate. Here there are a few comrades in the administrative segregation unit (ASU) from both sides of the prison system, mainline as well as Special Needs Yards (SNY), studying and struggling together to overcome the oppression of being punished for submitting inmate appeals.

The pigs that run this unit are giving the prisoners who stand up for their rights half issues of already substandard meals. They also move us from cell to cell at least five or six times a month, and always into a cell with someone who is mentally challenged and disruptive. Some cells are painted with human defecation and urine, and the staff doesn't bother to clean them or provide any cleaning supplies. Some comrades have been physically attacked and have had their personal property passed out to the rats and snitches.

While these are not infrequent unconstitutional violations here, most of the prisoners are afraid to speak up. The theory and actions these officers display is truly terroristic in nature, and the officials allow them to act with impunity.

So I have made it my mission to lead as well as organize and participate in a campaign to stop these abuses here and wherever my feet touch behind these walls. These abuses range from stealing our personal property to creating false charges against us, from denying pens and forms to withholding our mail and yard time, while they sit in the dayroom and eat the state issue items missing from our lunches and dinners.

On a better note, our study group is up to ten in just one week as the brothers of all races and both sides hear us dialogue about the commonality of our situation. Like the brother in ULK 33, I too am SNY and I know there are good strong comrades over here on this side. What people don't understand is that a lot of youngsters have a theory that older brothers "are like leaves on trees" meaning the older ones have to be knocked off so new leaves can grow. This is wrong thinking and a self-defeating tactic.

It's hard for me to understand how some people are fighting to end oppression and hate, knowing the role that the media plays in it all, and then they allow a designation of SNY by the statesman architect of hate and repression to separate us because we'd rather leave our organization and have a chance at parole than stay and end up taking a young brother's life.

I spent 15 years in the prison system of the 80s and 90s. I've done my dirt, put in my work. I'm not an animal who just follows his base instincts. I'm a leader and I'm standing for all these brothers who put their faith in my leadership. A true leader will never send one of his warriors to do battle while he stays behind. Further I stand on the ten point program established by the Black Panther Party and we hold the principles of Under Lock & Key to be of the utmost import.

I truly believe in what the Black Panther Party said when they stated that the power of the people is greater than man's technology. But the people's power has to be organized. As the Vietnamese people, who began their war for liberation with only bows and arrows, we must begin ours with pen and paper. And just as they defeated the most powerful military on earth, with determination, internationalist politics and organization by all oppressed people inside and outside these walls we'll be victorious as well.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have published a number of articles on the debate over SNY prisoners and we stand with this comrade in arguing that solid anti-imperialist comrades can be found on SNY yards. We look at someone's history of political work and political line rather than the label that the administration gives them. This comrade's call for unity is in line with the United Front for Peace in Prisons which brings together individuals and groups behind bars to build peace and unity against the common enemy of the criminal injustice system.

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[Middle East]
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Savage Inequalities for Palestine

With the ongoing fighting in the occupied territory of Palestine (Gaza) the death toll rises on both sides. However, there's a savage lopsidedness to it as the Palestinians take the toll of death. Even more savagely is its children and civilians taking the carnage of indiscriminate bombs being dropped by Israel.

In the face of this fighting, U.$. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a press conference in which he more or less stated that, "there can be no meaningful peace without the disarmament of Hamas." Not only is this hypocritical but who in their right mind will lay down what arms they have when faced with an enemy that not only has a standing army but an air force, navy, special forces and drones which lend an uneven hand to the fighting. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) have stated that they will not stop until all of Hamas's underground tunnels are destroyed.

More to this unevenness and inequality is the rhetoric spewing from I$raeli and Amerikan media that Hamas is terrorist and is causing the suffering of the Palestinian people. As if Hamas was the one dropping hundreds of bombs from helicopters and jets. Israel is a settler nation and therefore will stop at nothing to see the destruction of Palestine and the ceasing of resistance from the people.

The resistance of the Palestinian people is not without precedent. History has shown what nations that occupy a territory will do: slaughter and genocide of the occupied nation. All media pundits say that I$rael has the right to defend itself, however what about Palestine?


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that oppressed nations have the right to defend themselves against imperialist agressors. Though we would go even further and say that those oppressed nations don't stand a chance at independence until we can take on the imperialists themselves. The imperialists will not allow individual nations self-determination and independence, even if those nations try to exist without threatening imperialism. Cuba provides a good example of this. But imperialism is building its own demise by putting the majority of the world's people in the camp of oppressed and exploited, with a material interest in overthrowing imperialism. One at a time nations will gain independence, and united these nations will take on imperialism globally.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Culture]
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World Cup Distinguished Chicanos from Amerikans

Although the World Cup has been over for some time I feel compelled to comment on Mexico's national team.

When Mexico beat Croatia to make it to the round of 16 there were "disturbances" in Los Angeles. As Los Angeles has a high concentration of people who see themselves as Mexicans and not Amerikans, this goes to show that there is a separate, oppressed nation in the United $tates.

But this disturbance alone doesn't prove this. As J. Stalin said, "A nation is formed only as a result of lengthy and systematic intercourse, as a result of the fact that people live together from generation to generation. But people cannot live together for lengthy periods unless they have a common territory."

Mexicans in the United $tates, and especially in California, are distinct from Amerikans as well as from their relatives in Mexico. As Latinos are becoming the largest population in the United $tates it's even more important that a national party be formed to better serve the Latino nation, as the United $tates is incapable and incompetent to serve the needs of the Latino people in North America.

Note: MIM Theory #7, p. 49.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that there is a separate nation within U.$. borders that is comprised of the primarily indigenous people of what was northern Mexico, and includes many descended from immigrants from Latin America as well. Though it is far more complicated than just some World Cup festivities, this comrade is correct that we can see evidence of the separate nation in many areas of culture. We have come to call this nation the [email protected] nation, and this is the subject of a book that is scheduled to be released at the end of 2014: Chicano Power and the Struggle for Aztl├ín. Write to us to get on the list for a copy of this important book.

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Abuse] [United Struggle from Within] [Oregon]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Oregon

Oregon Grievance Petition
Click to download a PDF
of the Oregon grievance petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC)
2575 Center Street
Salem, OR 97301

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*PDF updated May 2012, July 2012, July 2014, and October 2017*

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[Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 39]
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Response to Texas Petitions Falling on Deaf Ears

I read over the letter from our Polunsky comrades. This is what I recommend. Often it helps to attach an I-60 with your Step 1 grievance and ask the Grievance Officer for the processing number of your grievance. If you have this number you will have a direct reference to track a grievance. This helps discourage grievances being "misplaced." It's also handy when you write Administration Review & Risk Management (ARRM) about the unit not addressing that particular grievance. For important and serious grievances it is useful to start them like this:

I file this grievance to exhaust all administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act to bring forth action under section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code.

It basically says: I'm going to sue you! It's not a guarantee but such an intro may make the grievance officer take it more seriously.

In regards to the officers who confiscate personal property and then destroy them, I'd like to direct our comrades to the Texas Grievance Guide, in particular the part concerning filing criminal charges against officers. If an officer takes a prisoner's property without giving a confiscation form stating the reason for confiscation, then that is legally theft. It is also a violation of your civil right to due process (which is also a criminal offense). Of course you will need some kind of proof that the item existed and was taken. Get prisoners to write affidavits and reference any camera numbers (if there are any). The criminal charges may not stick because pigs don't eat pork, but it may give them a wake up call and make them think twice.

I agree that our grievance petitions are having no effect with the people we are currently sending them to. I feel it more beneficial to send them to ACLU Texas or the DOJ. Our grievances and complaints are systematically neglected and denied. It is an Orwellian system, a labyrinth of closed loops, a facade. We need to push for the TDCJ Independent Oversight Committee which will place our grievances before an unaffiliated organization with the ability to monitor TDCJ to ensure that it abides by statutory law and its own policy.

We shouldn't hope sending the grievance petition alone to the DOJ or ACLU is enough. We must promote and campaign this proposed bill to our freeworld friends and family. I see no other way to break these closed loops.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Write to us for a copy of the Texas Grievance Guide. While we agree with this comrade that a TDCJ Independent Oversight Committee would bring progress for Texas prisoners in their fight against abuse and injustice, this too is not enough. We must learn from history that reforms like this one are followed by DOJ tricks and adjustments to work around the new policies and continue the same old abuse and repression. While we should still fight for these reforms, and use the battle to educate and unite people both behind the bars and on the streets, we must do this in the context of the broader struggle against the criminal injustice system. We should never mislead people to think that one reform or one house bill will make the change we need to see to create a true system of justice.

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[Censorship] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 39]
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We Interrupt This Program: Censorship of TV and Radio in Prison

In today's world we're seeing the courts and media minimize the fact that U.S. prisons are run by criminals worse than the so-called worst confined within them. They have attempted, and have succeeded to a degree, in demonizing the prisoners being tortured and thereby desensitized the general public on that subject.

This is why it also seems the jury in the court of public opinion is still out regarding what process is due, and how the experimental implementation of political censorship known by its official misnomer "Obscene Materials Regulations" is already in progress on San Quentin State Prison's (SQ) four death row Security Housing Units (SHUs). The normalization of censorship in all its forms continues right before our eyes in SQ and beyond.

Consider how an invasion force imposes their will upon their victims preserved alive. One of the first things it does is knock out all means of communication. After installing a puppet governing body it then promotes its own agenda through the mass media. The San Quentin Antenna Cable System (SQACS) can be described as a one-sided propaganda bomb with a signal jamming warhead. It is a weapon of mass corruption in the hands of terrorists embedded in the Calincarceration Corrupted Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and other affiliates using the CDCR as their puppet to lord it over in the micro-societies of prison. Their fee for this is deducted from your paycheck, education, and social services for the disabled and elderly.

The SQACS (AKA SQTV) consists of expensive technology similar to that used by cable providers. Most cable companies receive their programming via satellite and then rebroadcast it on frequencies that boxes atop your television can receive. SQTV also consists of 14 converter boxes and several DVD players. As you may know, these devices require your TV be on channel 3 or 4 to operate. However, the SQACS rebroadcasts each on a different frequency. It even rebroadcasts free over-the-air digital signals on different frequencies in QAM (cable mode) and the UHF band.

Not only are the 14 now obsolete converters a huge waste of electricity (they've been on 24/7 nearly 5 years!) they also block free over-the-air broadcasts on the VHF channels they're rebroadcasted on. Contrary to popular belief prisons don't make money for the state. Only those working at prisons make the money and since the SQACS wastes YOUR money and not theirs, they don't care - especially when it can be used to give them job security.

Public broadcast stations KQED and KMTP are just two stations multicasting from Sutro Tower that are currently being blocked/restricted by the SQ administration under the guise of technical difficulties. I argue it is actually intentional because these provide programs such as World News, Democracy Now, and even documentaries denouncing the horrific practice of long term torture by indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons.

San Quentin is by no means the only California prison using this technology to censor over-the-air broadcasts that don't fit their oligarchy's agenda. Radio stations received via these systems at various SHUs have reportedly cut out as the hunger strikers were being commended for their peaceful protest. The broadcast was then turned back on when the CDCR representative began demonizing it.

As stated in the essay "Free your mind; reversing the effects of prison censorship" by S. Muhammad Hyland, "The bottom line is simple. The institutional restrictions on revolutionary political material are in place for a reason: to keep us from learning how to go about securing our freedom, and destroying the system responsible for our lack of success in Amerika."


MIM(Prisons) adds: Unlike most U.$. prisons found in rural areas, San Quentin is right in the Bay Area where, as this comrade points out, there are many sources of progressive information on television and radio. It is quite damning that the state finds it necessary to censor these channels, which anyone just outside of the San Quentin compound can watch and listen to just fine. It speaks to the truth that prisons are all about social control. And it underscores the importance of not just having control of our own independent media, but also fighting for our First Amendment rights to distribute and share that media. Distribution networks are constantly threatened by bourgeois interests, from eliminating public bulletin boards, to the attempts to prioritize corporate website traffic on the internet, to blocking television and radio stations within prisons. Under Lock & Key is perhaps the most censored news source in the Amerikan Criminal Injustice System, and we are always engagedin ongoing battles in many states. We need more jailhouse lawyers and legal help on the streets to help with this fight.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Control Units] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Back in the SHU II D.R.

Fuck Social Control


Grade A to the East Block from S.W.A.C.
Struggling with all my might
No official record of a 10 30
Nobody has flown a kite

I'm back in the SHU II D.R.
I'm talkin bout CDCR noise
Back in the SHU II D.R.

Been away so long they hardly knew my face
No parade or welcome home
Bought a good guitar could not afford clear-case
T.V. coming on state loan

[Chorus 2:]
I'm back in the SHU II D.R.
No sun on the out alone yard, boyz
Not in the SHU II
I'm in the SHU too
Back in the SHU II D.R.

[Verse 3]
Now the Ukraine psych doctor Anderchuck
She brings me peace of mind
No psycho pills make me scream and shout
But Jasmine's always on my mi mi mi mi mi mi mind [so it's on!]

[Solo/riff, repeat chorus 2 (lines 1, 2, 5) verse 3]

Yo California shut the SHU down north and south
U$A from east to west
You just gave them property that I'm allowed
No guitar but all the rest

Just like in the SHU II D.R.
Can't settle for C.D.C.R. ploys
Back in the SHU II D.R.



Go to:
http://www.guitaretab.com/b/beatles/24462.html for the chords. If you haven't figured this out yet, "Back in the SHU II D.R." is a parody of the Beatles hit song "Back in the U.S.S.R.". Isn't Paul in town? Send him a copy.

Notes:
"Grade A" is a privilege status. "S.Q.A.C." is San Quentin Adjustment Center. The out alone yard mentioned in chorus 2 consists of dozens of cages under a huge metal canopy which blocks all sun except what pierces through rust holes in it. Jasmine is the brand name of my guitar. California's SHUs are getting more like the Security Housing Unit II for death row ? the SHU II D.R. known as East Block. And in many ways it's all the same... only the names have changed... and every day I feel I'm wasting away... Alright now.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [California] [ULK Issue 39]
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California SHU Battle Part of Anti-Imperialist Struggle

"It shows that circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances." - Karl Marx in the German ideology

Can we say that a new phenomenon is brewing behind these walls? We can all see the new level of political consciousness in California prisons, where prisoners are resisting the repressive policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in a more collective manner. Change has been slow, but progress is evident. The root of this is us prisoners with a little political and legal education to enlighten others and at the same time inspire others to participate in progressive action.

The California hunger strikes weren't spontaneous demonstrations against injust human rights violations in the Security Housing Units (SHUs), but rather carefully laid out plans to get outside attention and assistance. It was years of suppression that brought a few together to gather many in a common purpose that serves all of our interests. Some men are mentally broken while others carry on in these SHU conditions.

This is but a simple dialectic; or two sides of a contradiction forming a unity. On one hand we have those who deteriorate under these conditions and seek any way out, while on the other hand we have those prisoners who adapt and at the same time find ways to better themselves by educating themselves in law, reading good books, or picking up hobbies to keep themselves occupied. It is through these individuals who know the conditions in the SHU who are capable of creating campaigns for abolishing its policies, especially the gang validation policies that so many prisoners fall victim to.

Exposure and propaganda play a vital role on our behalf. This is where USW comrades come in, not just as advocates for human rights, but as advocates of an overall anti-imperialist campaign, as everything is connected to the imperialist system. The SHUs within CDCR are an aspect of imperialism, utilized for social control. And the oppressive conditions within are nothing more but to assert more social control behind prisons. It is through current events that this new phenomenon is manifesting a wave of politically conscious prisoners creating new circumstances. More validated prisoners are leaving the SHUs but more are taking their place. It is possible that one day through a collective effort the gang validation will be dismantled entirely and a SHU cap may be part of our future. I think it is.

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