My security level was recently lowered and I was immediately assigned as an inmate orderly, to my chagrin. It is like a trustee who works on an assigned cell block, and I know of all the pigs' malicious intent of using certain prisoner orderlies as tools. Tools used to hurt other prisoners.
I got my block assignment and was given the usual lecture about all the things I could not do — basically anything that would ease my fellow prisoners plight/suffering. I politely related to this sergeant, while maintaining every intent to help those confined on this segregated cell block. I was not too long ago confined behind the door, so it was an obvious obligation to do so.
Anyway, that was Wednesday. By Sunday, another shift tried to enlist me as a complicit to starve an individual prisoner, to which I declined. But, the other orderly slaving with me agreed to help. Through intimidation I was able to persuade this orderly to do otherwise.
I warned the target of the pig's intent and, days later, the other prisoner about the plot against them. Well, this orderly informed the pigs that I was alerting all targeted prisoners. So the pigs tried, through aggressive body language, to scare me. The pigs claimed that I wasn't playing with the team, blah, blah. Took all my property and locked me down pending trumped up disciplinary charges.
A few days later, the other punk ass orderly gives another inmate an empty food tray. This prisoner did not take it lightly. The target became disorderly — and rightly so. This led to the individual being administered chemical agents. And he refused to tap out after several rounds of being gassed. Dude forced the pigs to run the cell extraction team, which beat this man stupid. Eight on one.
All because of a stool pigeon. Shit crazy.
Even more crazy, I receive a kite from someone who was my neighbor before classification made me an orderly. The kite informed that the day after I left the cell block, a white shirt and four officers popped up at the cell with a minicam. Long story short, the pigs were coming with the intent to inflict bodily harm. The veracity of the event was confirmed by an affiliate.
They missed me by one day!
My belief is this was planned because I was part of a core group which gave voice to the rampant pig violence towards prisoners.
"MIM had come to the conclusion from the degeneration of numerous genuine forces like the Progressive Labor Party in the United States that such especially difficult ideological struggle is a permanent fixture in the imperialist countries where the material basis for degeneration is much greater than in the oppressed countries..."
"Since it is unlikely that imperialism will be able to come up with too many more entirely new tricks, there will come a time in MIM's development where our principal task will be to unite those who can be united around our very confrontational line. Right now we are emerging principally from struggle against revisionism, imperialist economism and pseudo-feminism. When we have finished going into detail on our differences with others on the above questions we will focus on unity as the principal way to advance the overall struggle. We will prepare for a strategic length of time to do battle with imperialist economism, revisionism, pseudo-feminism, Trotskyism, anarchism and so on in a distinctive way. However, even in seeking unity, MIM will find itself in struggle much more often than many parties in communist history for a variety of reasons what MIM has said is rare to non-existent in the imperialist countries. So even as the labor aristocracy thesis becomes clear as day to us and 'old hat' it will seem fresh to many for some time to come." - The Journey Back to Maoism. MIM Theory 5, Diet for a Small Red Planet
So what do these passages mean? We're so bought off it's ridiculous! Worse still, as a result of our being bought off we're that much more susceptible to bourgeois manipulation a la ideological trickery. Therefore we cannot obtain a proletarian mindset without some hard study.
We in the imperialist countries have the distinct strategical advantage of not having to be in armed struggle at this time. And in connection to this fact we have a responsibility not only to the international proletariat but to our own oppressed that when conditions do begin to change and armed struggle actually becomes a possibility we'll be ready to not only lead, but lead right! We have the advantage of learning from and building on all the rational and empirical knowledge left to us by our predecessors, both the good and the bad; especially the bad! We have to learn from past mistakes so that we don't commit future ones, or worse still, repeat the old ones. It's too late in the anti-imperialist game for us to be messing up the way some of our leaders did before us. Have we learned nothing?! What part of "ideological struggle in the imperialist countries is a permanent fixture" are we not understanding? It's almost as if the revolution really is dead.
The fact that more and more of the oppressed nation imprisoned lumpen are beginning to finally wake up to the reality of imperialism is a good thing - a very good thing! However, the fact that most of these new lumpen organizations aren't taking the time to study and learn from the concrete lessons of history and movements passed speaks volumes for the dire need of these new groups to formally hook up with MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within (USW). It indicates the need for individuals to remain within USW much longer to develop theoretically before forming new single-nation revolutionary cells or parties. USW should serve as a place for the most advanced to sharpen their swords together until conditions do change within the prison population in general and within the prison movement in particular, before calling for the building of new organizations.
Comrades behind bars have all the time in the world to study and hence develop themselves and others theoretically. Therefore, those of us who are serious about revolution have no excuse for such low levels of theoretical development within our ranks, especially those of us working directly with MIM(Prisons).
A big part of the problem is the failure of some of us within USW to correctly grasp the philosophy of dialectical materialism, which results in a failure to apply it to the prison movement, and as a result we have paralysis within the prison movement. The need for us to seriously study dialectical materialism is directly linked to our ability to put it to use; without a concrete understanding of dialectical materialism all will be lost. Is this an over-exaggeration? Of course not; it's a hard truth. Within our conditions MIM(Prisons) makes up part of our external causes and therefore is a part of the conditions of change with us being the basis of change. Based on what I'm seeing, or rather not seeing, there hasn't been any real change thus far. Are my words too harsh? If they are, then that's too bad. What is MIM(Prisons) here for if not to help us develop politically?
Related to this point is a prisyner's letter I just read in the revisionist Revolution newspaper of the Crypto-Trotskyists RCP=U$A. This article was filled with the usual, flowery verbiage of "much love to y'all beautiful people at the RCP..." and "Bob Afakean is my daddy" type nonsense, typical of their articles. Half the articles in Revolution don't really say anything, while the other half are filled with imperialist country oppressor nation chauvinist politics. Anyways, there was a California prisyner's letter featured that was speaking on the Pelican Bay Short Corridor new directive. This prisyner was writing in to basically agree that it was about time that the prisyners put a stop to the fighting and come together for change. However, towards the end of the letter this prisyner made a call for the Pelican Bay Short Corridor to separate themselves from the lumpen if they were to really have a shot at victory in their struggle.
Yup, leave it to the RCP=U$A to spread division in the guise of unity to the prison masses at such a critical time. But how, pray tell, is the Short Corridor to achieve its goals in their struggle (which is all our struggle) if they separate themselves from the prison masses? Not only does this prisyner's line attempt to separate the Corridor leaders from the wider prisyn movement, but it essentially makes the petty bourgeois argument that only individual groups of prisyners should be designated as political prisyners, and not the entire U.$. prisyn population. As if the Short Corridor prisyners were on a different plane than the rest of the population, or as if the short corridor weren't lumpen-based themselves. That RCP=U$A article makes it seem as if the mass of California prisyners were holding the movement back. Quite the contrary: without the prisyner masses the Short Corridor prisyners are like generals with no soldiers, or a gun with no bullets. Instead it is the prisyner masses that will push the prisyn movement forward.
My point here is that the RCP=U$A prints this garbage, and lots of prisyners just eat it up. And we at USW know where "new synthesis" (old revisionist hat) leads the movement to: oblivion.
Now assuming that a prisyner actually wrote that letter (and not just another revisionist weed, we all remember agent Quispe and the attempt to derail the Sendero Luminoso: strategical equilibrium) what does that say about the theoretical development of politically-conscious and class-conscious prisyners? And these are the leaders?!
We need real proletarian-based political development if we are to succeed in the years to come, and the only place prisyners are gonna find that is by working directly with MIM(Prisons). Our liberation as oppressed nations and as a class is inextricably bound with Maoism, not "new synthesis" politics. Don't believe me? Go ask the klan in the RCP=U$A where they stand with respect to the liberation of Aztlán, New Afrika, and the various First Nations. Watch how they dance and shuffle, deflect the question, and fake left in order to go right.
Still too busy to study theory seriously? Busier than the New People's Army in 1970? Good question: who or what is the New People's Army? Who was the Tupac Amaru for that matter? And what's the difference between lumpen and lumpen-proletariat? How is this question relevant to our own conditions? And what about Kautsky — who's his contemporary, and why should we care?
The tenet that the revolutionary vanguard be made up of professional revolutionaries is a Leninist tenet. Anything less than putting revolutionary politics in command means watering down correct political line. And correct political lines could only be put forward if there was an organization consisting chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity that would devote their entire lives to the movement subsuming the persynal for the good of the cause. We don't need no weekend revolutionaries and we don't need those just in it for the remainder of their imprisonment; we need better than that. "Better, fewer, but better." It's not enough to simply read an article in Under Lock & Key. The bulk of our imprisonment should be spent developing the mind.
Take the sample of the prison artists. How did they get so good? By drawing here and there, or only when there was something in it for them? No, they developed their skills via a passion for the arts, and as a result they're now pretty damn good. We now come to them whenever we need to send something home.
What about the legal-beagles? How did they get so good? They too developed their skills with a passion, a passion to make it back home. And as a result of that, some of them actually make it back home despite having the deck stacked against them. Unfortunately some of them don't make it out. But through the skills they've developed some of them make it their mission in life to file grievances, lawsuits, etc., in the name of the prisyner population. And who do we go to when we need legal advice or something filed?
Just as those people are great examples within their field and are derived directly from the prisyner population, so should USW and our allies aspire to become great examples within the revolutionary prisyn movement so that when the time comes we can be damn well sure we don't lead the prisyn masses into oblivion.
Comrades breaking away from USW in order to prematurely form their own organizations when their revolutionary skills are not yet developed are perfect examples of being ultra-left in matters of "one divides into two" dialectics and a form of adventurism as well.
Once again, are my words too harsh? Hell no! We're not yet in the stage where we should be seeking to unite all who can be united. We're still in the ideological struggle. The fact that I have to write this to say as much should prove it.
Revolutionaries in the prison movement should have a concrete understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and not a fragmentary one. We should be well versed in political economics and revolutionary theory. Indeed, this is our own strategical equilibrium. "Better, fewer, but better." There is no other way.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have laid out the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) to unite all who can be united at the mass level in U.$. prisons. We do this alongside the tasks Ehecatl describes for building ideological unity within USW. And this is a different practice than MIM had when writing the article quoted in the beginning of this letter. We find ourselves in a position similar to the Communist Party of the Philippines at the time (discussed in that article) who were also trying to lead a broad united front and a vanguard party at the same time. We learn from their mistakes and rectification campaign in order to maintain the independence and leadership of the vanguard within the UFPP, and separate party work from united front work.
Comrades in MIM(Prisons) and USW work hard to facilitate study groups for prisoners who are interested in developing ideologically and not just reading ULK. A new introductory course starts every few months, so write us to get on the list. For more on the question of forming new organizations, see MIM(Prisons)'s 2011 Congress resolution on "Building New Groups vs. Working with USW and MIM(Prisons)", published in ULK 21. And if you want to know more about the history of Ehecatl's criticisms of the RCP=U$A, check out our study pack on the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA). If we don't study, we will lose.
I refuse to lay down, in my struggle against the oppressor. Anti-imperialist efforts, settling for nothing lesser.
Striving together with my brotherz and sisterz — Utilizing knowledge, wisdom and understanding. "We're fighting for world peace!" Is what my comrades past and present is demanding.
Anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, fuck it! I'll be devoted to fighting against that old slave mentality that my older peers seem to keep holding.
We rise together and never fall. Nor stumble in sudden speech. So to the brotherz and sisterz down in this struggle — Without initiative and motivation you'll forever remain stuck with your slave mentality!
Like many of you who are reading this issue of Under Lock & Key, I was saddened to hear about the senseless killing of 20 young humyn beings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. They were babies, taken away from us far too soon. After shaking off the initial shock, my analytical Maoist mind kicked into overdrive. I went into my locker and I retrieved my July/August 2012 issue of Under Lock & Key 27. I would like to quote comrade Soso of MIM(Prisons) in her/his piece entitled "Trayvon Martin National Oppression Debate." "A recent report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement cited at least 110 Black people killed by Amerikan cops and security in the first half of 2012."
Is this report not alarming? Should there not have been public outcry? Did not President Obama state: "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon." Well then why the hell didn't he form a special task force then to address gun violence? Was not Oscar Grant enough? What about James Craig Anderson in Jackson, Mississippi? What about young Jordan Davis of Jacksonville, Florida, murdered in cold blood because his music was "too loud"? All these young men of color murdered by white men, however, for some reason their deaths did not solicit the same response. Five hundred murders on the streets of Chicago this year! One fourth were under age 18. President Obama barely mentioned the gun violence in Chicago during his campaign. Why?
Comrades, the sad truth of the matter is, a Black life is not equal to a white life in Amerikkka. And it is not just the lives of Black youth that are under-valued. Latino, Arab, Asian, all are viewed as less than, undesirable, or expendable by the Amerikkkan Injustice System. This problem is pervasive and saturates the racist news media. Now here comes new gun legislation and "new" task forces. Who do you think the alphabet boys are going to be carting off to U.$. penitentiaries? Not white bread gun fanatic NRA members, that's for sure. It's going to be us! The Black, Brown, Asian and Arab lumpen underclass.
I recently was listening to a Houston hip-hop radio show on KPFT (90.1 FM) called Damage Control. The host "young Zeke" said "if a Black man shoots a bunch of people in Amerika he is a criminal. If a foreigner does it, he is a terrorist, and if a white man does it he's classified as mentally ill - that's bullshit!" Remember comrades "to be aware is to be alive!"
MIM(Prisons) adds: Since this comrade wrote this reflection, there was an incident in New York City where an Amerikan womyn pushed an Indian man in front of an oncoming train and killed him. She's been widely quoted as saying, "I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims — ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up." The victim, Sunando Sen, was Hindu.
Erika Menendez was charged with murder as a hate crime, but has been ordered to have a mental health exam. Whatever Menendez's mental health, it is not like she said she killed Sen because he had brown eyes, or was too tall. She killed him because of his perceived religion and ethnicity, which are both proxies for national oppression. Sen would not have been murdered if Amerika did not promote hatred of other nations who try to free themselves from the grip of U.$. imperialism.
Just because most Amerikans aren't sophisticated enough to distinguish different religions and cultures does not make their national oppression any less real. Islam has been branded by Amerikans as the culture of a dangerous foreign enemy people. Armed resistance against imperialism has been strong across South and Central Asia for over a decade and it continues to spread. This is the material basis for Menendez's actions.
Some theorists that dabble in Maoism have hypothesized that nation is no longer principal in the age of neo-colonialism (simply defined as white power in black/brown face). But MIM(Prisons) still holds that the principal contradiction remains nation under imperialism today, even if it is not as black and white as it used to be. In the discussion around Trayvon Martin, we already said that George Zimmerman's Latino family does not preclude him from being associated with white supremacism. Similarly, we do not need more info on Menendez's background to state that she was clearly acting within the ideology of white supremacism. Neo-colonialism isn't just for those with political power anymore. There is a whole movement to enlist young men from Latin America to fight for U.$. imperialism in the Middle East.
The concept of nation is based in social conditions, not in phony ideas of genetics as race is. So while Amerika was a nation built on a racist ideology, it is in constant flux, like all things are. Similarly, nations can be transformed through assimilation. And even as separate nations exist in the United $tates, different segments of those nations will have different interests at different times. Those who use identity politics and simplistic expectations to negate the national contradiction ignore these ever-changing and interacting forces. In the United $tates the national contradiction is at a bit of a crossroads, but internationally the contradiction is stronger than ever. This is why the internal semi-colonies would be smart to stay on the right side of history and stand against imperialism as their ancestors did.
As we've discussed elsewhere, there is ample evidence that most "mental health" problems are social problems, which can be addressed with a re-ordering of the society we live in. By ending national oppression, ending militarism and ending the competitive individualism of capitalism where people get left behind and become alienated from society, we can prevent the types of incidents that happened in New York and Connecticut.
Well comrades after months of trying to get the grievance department to produce a grievance that they insisted was returned, the truth has come out! In June 2012 I was housed on C-wing on Estelle Unit High Security which is located in Huntsville, Texas. At the time, my cell and many others were infested with roaches, every meal was served cold, and the smell of sewage was extremely pervasive. I and a fellow comrade filed a Step 1 (I-127) grievance.
Unit Grievance Investigator Mr. Allen Hartley lied to me, his co-worker Ms. Monica Nichols, and numerous other TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) employees and insisted that he returned my Step 1 with response on August 22, 2012. However, I never received it. A TDCJ employee told me that Mr. Allen Hartley has a "special relationship" with the prison administration on the High Security Unit in which he has agreed to destroy any offender grievances which may shed a negative light on the High Security administration.
On October 22, 2012 I sent a grievance petition courtesy of USW-MIM(Prisons) to Senator John Whitmire who happens to be the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee in the Texas state legislature. I requested that the senator have someone investigate my "mysterious" disappearing grievance. I also addressed the cold-substandard meals served on the entire unit, rampant racism among officers, and administration, as well as the collusive and conspiratorial relationship that exists between unit grievance investigator Mr. Allen Hartley and Assistant Warden Steven T. Miller and Major David M. Forrest (bonfire Klansman extraordinaire). The USW Grievance Petition does an excellent job of articulating the true nature of the problem here in Texas. Our due process rights are being trampled on and we can't get fair and unbiased resolution of our grievances under the current system (period).
Comrades I am glad to report that the food service department at Estelle Unit - High Security has been issued "Hot-Carts" which really keep our food hot/warm! The portions have improved a little and so has the quality. We even get salt and pepper once a week. This may not be fantastic in some prisoners eyes but it is progress. I believe it was a collective effort by a small group of motivated comrades who got tired of being treated like sub-humyns.
In reference to the grievance problem, the central grievance office wrote me and stated that the grievance in question has been "lost." They offered me the opportunity to re-submit the grievance. However, they failed to address the main root of the problem and that is Mr. Allen Hartley's blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution! This is not the first time that these prisoncrats have played this game. This is an ongoing problem. Their actions have rendered the grievance process ineffective. So with that being said, I have filed a complaint with the Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division - utilizing the grievance petition as my guide.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We currently have grievance petitions for many states. Write to us for a copy and if you are in a state not currently covered by the grievance campaign, we will send you a template for the petitions and you can look up citations and policies specific to your state for reference. If you do this research and send us what needs to be rewritten for your particular state, we will gladly send an edited, accurate copy back to you.
I've recently been engaged in an ideological struggle with a fellow Chicano and potential anti-imperialist ally concerning the current state of captivity of the Chicano nation by the imperialist United $tates, it's liberation, the oppressive and exploitative reality that Third World people are subjected to on a daily basis, and of the unique place the lumpen of the internal semi-colonies exist in all of this. Needless to say, we've been discussing some highly political and philosophical questions and topics not necessarily confined to the existentialist school of thought, but rather questions and topics more closely tied to the very existence of Third World people in an imperialist dominated world. We've also touched on the psychological baggage better known as alienation which imperialism itself ties to the individual, whether in the First World or the Third. These discussions have been had not within the context of mere conversational purposes, but for the explicit purpose of waking up a potential ally not just to the reality of our own oppression as Chicanos, or of putting the reality of our oppression into complete context for him; but so as to wake him up to his own productive power as a revolutionary force within the belly of the beast.
After struggling with this individual on a molecular level and trying my hardest to consistently put the correct political line forward; then banging my head on the ideological bourgeois brick wall which this individual vehemently represented every time he opened his mouth, I understandably felt frustrated and decided to terminate any and all further political struggle with this persyn, being that he didn't really seem to want to struggle with objective answers and analysis from a revolutionary nationalist perspective; but rather seemed content blindly defending those cherished Amerikan values or "sugar coated bullets" which we've all been spoon fed from birth.
After some time however and his insistence that I read one of his bourgeois science books (college edition) for meaningless mental exercise, aka intellectualism, I begrudgingly agreed on one condition. If I was to read his bourgeois science book then he was to read and study my Marx; he agreed.
After a couple weeks and after answering the occasional philosophical question from him this persyn surprised me by revealing that he'd been grappling not just with the Marx book I'd sent him, but with the topics we'd previous discussed. Discussions which began with evolution and religion but which quickly spiraled into heated philosophical and political debates ranging in everything from the origins of the humyn species and society, to super-profits and everything in between. And it was during this time that I suddenly realized something I'd obviously lost sight of.
It wasn't that he necessarily disagreed with my political beliefs because of some inherent class bias as a First Worlder. Rather he disagreed with the proletarian worldview exactly because of a First World ideological bias that defined his worldview. And one does not change one's worldview easily.
It's therefore important for revolutionaries that are new to the anti-imperialist game to keep in mind that anytime we engage in political discussion with the philistine, we're going up against 500 plus years of colonization, not just in the material world, but in the ideological field as well; as social consciousness is both consciously and unconsciously bourgeois in the era of imperialism. We must fully understand that none of us are born with the slightest inkling of the communal/communist/proletarian worldview, rather, it must be cultivated. What's more, political struggle in the ideological realm just like struggle in any other realm is essentially a matter for dialectics to resolve in which battles are won one at a time until one factor or another gains dominance and emerges victorious.
Therefore, it's equally important to remember that whenever we're speaking politics we're in essence engaging in a struggle over political line between the oppressed which we represent, and the national and class enemies whose mouthpieces are not always readily apparent, but inconspicuous, especially in a First World society such as ours where we have not just open and closet Trotskyists who are peddling revisionism on the prison masses in the guise of "revolution", but honest comrades who inadvertently and thru no fault of their own push an incorrect line due to a low level of political development and understanding. Therefore, we must ensure that this polemical struggle isn't simply narrowed down to and carried out through out the confines of the open national and class enemies of the oppressed nations, but continuously carried out throughout the class conscious in keeping with Mao's dictum of continuous revolution. Continuous revolution, or continuous struggle, being the only method available to defeat not only old and reactionary ideas which are at the service of the bourgeoisie, but new age and mystical ideas as well, which aren't really "new or mystical at all, but simply repackaged bootlegs of the bourgeoisie and status quo who seek to entrench themselves and the enemy line in the revolution in order to ruin it from within.
Revolutionary thought during this stage of the struggle must have a shock and awe type value characteristic of the new defeating the old in which every spectrum of life is held up to the light of revolutionary science, declare it's rationale, or surrender it's right to existence. If so-called revolutionary thoughts and synthesis don't offer or illuminate the best path forward then they too must cease their right to exist and clear the way for something new, or rather something tried and true, i.e. Maoism. Thus it is no surprise that Maoism serves as a two pronged "-ism" (philosophical and political) which leaves the bourgeois-minded agape and in existential doubt as to the state of reality and their place in it. Now, this may simply be old hat to the battle tested revolutionary, but twas not for me, as I myself found this point made ever so clear through polemical practice. Indeed, just as communist parties that are engaged in armed struggle are more politically developed than those that are not, so is the individual engaged in polemics.
Simply reading one Marxist book doesn't make one a Marxist, and simply winning one individual battle doesn't win the war. It was foolish of me to expect the potential ally mentioned in the beginning of this report to be won over to the side of the oppressed simply because he himself is objectively oppressed. My overestimation of the revolutionization process with respect to this individual was itself a failure on my part to properly utilize the dialectical method; as nothing in this world develops evenly.
Bourgeois ideology was and remains the dominant ideology within said individual, and my initial failure to fully grasp this point is proof positive that in all aspects of life there is always a struggle between two classes, two lines, and two roads, and thus will be the case until the end of property relations. My initial failure to win him over to the side of the oppressed is objectively a victory for the bourgeoisie and further drives home the point that education cannot be separated from transformation; but some seeds have been sown and the revolutionary sprout is slowly beginning to break free from over 500 years of colonization. It seems this persyn is slowly beginning to take up an interest in revolutionary politics; a direct result of our interaction. A small political win, in a small political battle for a correct political line, which on a world scale is perhaps equal to the rising forces of the oppressed and repressed revolutionary forces which have begun to seriously re-develop within u.$. borders.
It is the politics of the oppressors that have put us in here and thrown away the key, and it will be the politics of the oppressed that will set us free. If there is anywhere in the United $tates where politics should take center stage, it is in the prisons and jails; concrete proof in the most literal sense that there is an ideological struggle actively going on between the oppressors and the oppressed, in which the oppressor nation obviously has the upper hand.
These "people-incorporating-genocidal-slavery" have upped the ante once again. I was targeted by these nefarious boars simply for my political views. On Oct 14, 2012, two ogres searched and seized my property i.e. all my essays, my books, and all my Under Lock & Key dated as far back as 1995. At the biased in-house tribunal two articles from ULK were presented to me: 1) a 1991 Attikkka issue explaining the situation before and after the rebellion of 1971. 2) The July/Aug 2012 issue which calls for "all prisoners to show solidarity and demonstrate a work stoppage from Sept 9-12, 2012." Keep in mind I never passed this publication about nor did I participate in a work stoppage. I have no prison job. Also, the article mentioned above was for Sept 9-12, 2012. I was keep locked pending investigation on Oct 14, 2012. That's 35 days later.
Anyway, I was charged with a Tier III rule violation of 104.12 (demonstration) which reads: "an inmate shall not lead, organize, participate in or urge other inmates to participate in a work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in, or any other action which may be detrimental to the order of the facility."
At the farce hearing I presented the question: "where in the facility was there an actual work stoppage?" The response was: "There was no work stoppage." My second question was: "when did I urge other prisoners to demonstrate and when did the alleged work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in take place?" The response was: "you never participated in nor was there ever a work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in." With no further questions I objected to the entire circus of a hearing only to receive six months SHU time anyway. This whole ordeal is due to me possessing ULK publications, although they can't actually state it at the hearing. Furthermore, the hearing disposition reads: "although no actual act of demonstration occurred I believed you attempted it." Only after a cell search 35 days later, and after an incident that never took place, do I receive such a bogus charge. Go figure.
This isn't the first political witch hunt in which I was erroneously charged with demonstrations and it won't be the last! These ruthless gulags pride themselves on oppressing the free thinkers like me, especially Attikkka! Keep sending me the Under Lock and Key.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We have heard from a number of comrades that the article calling for a Day of Solidarity on September 9 led to heightened censorship and punishment of prisoners. We know that there are restrictions on the types of organizing permitted in many prisons and we are looking closely at the language used in these types of articles to make possible the widest distribution of ULK without sacrificing the content of the publication.
A comrade from another trench spoke once on leadership and what it means to h: "The answer is that like it or not, people who collect information, analyze and then make decisions on what is true and not true, are leaders. People who do not are not leaders."(1)
Sensory deprivation in solitary confinement creates an inability to make decisions because information flow is very nearly cut off. Another way this bourgeois imperialist society stops leaders in their tracks is by making one's decisions, after analyzing information, seem off, to seem crazy or "mentally ill."
"Another problem relevant to revolutionaries is they have a more intellectual tendency to describe reality independently of the socially acceptable way of so doing. The individual is one who feels manipulated and controlled by outside forces, and is aware of the limitations of his individuality and room for maneuver... he gives himself importance, and does not care what others think, or at least feels that to care about that won't help him to live. He tends to see himself as good and others as wicked."(2)
Prisoners, prison abolitionists and anti-imperialists of all stripes are familiar with the above mindset. It is a mindset that's a prerequisite to successful prolonged struggle against entrenched anti-people systems. Hegemonic propaganda that pigs use to uphold the superstructure inculcates the majority of citizens to turn on non-mainstream individuals. I'm positive some reading these words will be shocked to hear the above quote is the bourgeois definition of schizophrenia.
Comrade Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense of the Black Panther Party, was labeled mentally ill by prison administrators, cops and non-revolutionary whites. His leadership ability of disseminating truths gleaned from study posed such a threat to capitalist hegemony that he had to be discredited by the label "crazy." In prison, pigs forced Newton to visit a psychiatrist. He had this to say:
"From the minute I entered his office I made my position clear. I told him that I had no faith or confidence in psychological tests because they were not designed to relate to the culture of poor and oppressed people. I was willing to talk to him, I said, but I would not submit to any testing. As we talked, he started running games on me. For instance, in the midst of our conversation he would try to speak in psychological questions such as 'do you feel people are persecuting you?' Each time he did this I told him I would not submit to any sort of testing, and if he persisted I was going to leave the room. The psychiatrist insisted that I had a bias against psychological testing. He was correct."(3)
Mental illness is just a form of social control. Just the same as "corrections" and "spreading democracy" are forms of social control. I believe the prison system uses mental health jackets, and society in general tags people as "just plain crazy," to break revolutionary's self-esteem, leadership skills and family connections. When something as large as koncentration kamps throws its weight into convincing people's mothers, fathers and sisters that said person is nuts, it's a short walk away from these individuals actually becoming insane with lack of "free-world" support.
Their tactics are to divide and conquer by pasting "schizophrenic," "depressed" and "anti-social" tags on the foreheads of revolutionary genius. They psychotropically castrate and lobotomize mind-washed leaders into their people's own genocide.
I could leave prison by consenting to swallow my own destruction. I could leave solitary if "all I did" was snitch for them. Most of my family's gone because they believe I'm insane. Forty-six letters sit unmailed because I lack postage. After filing two lawsuits, the Prison Litigation Reform Act bleeds 60% of the $25 a month my dear poor grandmother sends. She could have retired this year, but with all her grandsons in chains.
FDR 25 is a kkkontrol unit policy which I have filed suit on. A policy deputy director for administration Mike Haddon states:
"The policy you are requesting is FDR 25, Intensive Management Unit, it states 'mail, other than first class, privileged and/or religious shall not be allowed for inmates on intensive management and includes newspapers, books, magazines, pamphlets, brochures, etc.' This policy's release could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the Utah Department of Corrections hence it is protected. If this information were to be released into the system, inmates could use that information to fight policy. We do not let that chapter out to anyone who isn't in law enforcement. Your request for a copy of the 78 page policy is, therefore, denied."
A policy that prevents people from collecting information, receiving information and analyzing said information, coupled with the unconstitutional fact that the Utah DOC doesn't provide a law library per supreme court ruling Bivens, halts the ability for captives to "describe reality independently" of that policy. Since only pigs can know that policy, we can't fight it.
Even if I could know it and struggle with it and beat it in court I'd just be labelled "mentally ill," more so than I am now. And this is the purpose of sensory deprivation and mental illness: halting revolutionary leadership and maintaining the status quo. Stopping information and throwing dirty jackets on truth.
Who does bourgeois psychiatry serve by destroying oppressed peoples? The oppressor nation. What types of people are being killed off in these concentration camps? The oppressed nations. What population turns a blind eye to this reality, or even worse, that the Third World is parceled up and packaged for First World consumer consumption? The oppressor nation. What nation must be organized to defeat the oppressor nation? And if we wish to succeed shouldn't we discern friend from foe?
"The job of psychiatrist [and those that subscribe to bourgeois psychiatry] must be abolished [and reeducated after repenting oppressive policy, genocidal injustice and terroristic 'spreading of democracy'], if only because it is corrupting to the truth to have a profession of people [or nation] making money by constructing various vague illnesses [vague reasons for war or psychotropics/institutionalization] that people have. Instead, all oppressed people and progressive-minded people must take up the science of controlling their own destinies."(4)
MIM(Prisons) adds: Just as physical violence is used against the oppressed as a means of control and installing fear, so is psychological violence. So when we think about promoting safety in prisons, we cannot do that without addressing psychological violence as well. Often that is the predominate form of violence used against revolutionaries. Our approach to this must be twofold in terms of helping comrades survive the torture they currently face in U.$. gulags, and to put an end to that torture altogether to really ensure people are safe. It is for this reason that we reviewed and distribute portions of the recently revised Survivors Manual from the American Friends Service Committee. Our Serve the People Programs, such as our Free Political Literature for Prisoners Program and University BARS study groups exist for all prisoners, but are especially important for keeping those in isolation engaged, active and sane. All comrades should support these programs with money and labor, while comrades on the inside should keep the issue of long-term isolation at the forefront of the general struggle for prisoner rights.
I recently read about the "agreement to end hostilities" and seen this as an essential step forward for prisoners but a step that will include many more steps in the future if prisoners are to truly take back our humynity not just in California but in prisons across the United $tates. Although I support the original five demands and will continue to do so along with any future demands for justice I felt the need to add to the dialogue and perhaps bring some other ideas to the scene. What I noticed from the five demands and many other proposals being kicked around is the absence of the very core of our oppression - the SHU itself. What we have learned since the initial strike was that many civil rights groups and people around the world see the SHU itself as torture, all or most of what is being asked for i.e. contact visits, phone calls, cellies etc. can be granted were it not for SHU. Even things like validation and debriefing etc. become easier to combat when the SHU is out of the picture so it is the SHU itself that becomes the kernel of our oppression in regards to the prison movement in general and the current struggle we are facing in Pelican Bay. This is why any proposals should have at the forefront the demand to close the SHUs! How can we talk of justice or prisoner rights without calling for an end to housing prisoners for any reason in these concentration camps? It's like saying "you can water board me but can we listen to a better radio station while you do it?" No other country is doing what Amerika does with the SHU on this scale but it is ultimately up to us whether we steer the prison movement on a real path of transformation or limit any changes to what amount to mild reforms.
Many struggles throughout history that dealt with prisoners gained far more than what has currently been proposed in our situation. A couple of situations that quickly come to mind are the Puerto Rican revolutionary group Macheteros who were arrested in the 1960s for acts against Amerika in their quest for independence. Well it came out via Freedom of Information Act years later that the national security advisor was on record saying the Macheteros should be released because of the protests and support and how these protests do not look good for Amerika in the eyes of the world. This is on record and the Macheteros were released. They were released from prison and linked to bombings and other acts against the U.$. Government
Another group of prisoners were the Red Army Faction of Germany who were in prison for acts against the government; bombings, cop killings, murders of politicians, etc. When this group was arrested they were housed in a specially constructed area of the prison - kinda like the short corridor - and were in solitary confinement and not allowed to come in any contact with any other prisoners but through hunger strikes and supporters out in society raising awareness about their treatment they were finally granted yard time with each other and better treatment after a year or two of constant struggle. My main thrust here is that if those who were assassinating government officials, judges etc., in an attempt to overthrow the government were able to overturn the isolation and draconian treatment surely we can as well!
In beginning to grapple with our oppression and find the best method of resistance we must first understand the origins of our oppression. One cannot move forward with a correct game plan without knowing ones opponent. When a boxer is about to fight a formidable opponent what does he/she do? Well they watch the videos of the opponents fights in order to understand the opponents strengths and weaknesses thus preparing oneself for a proper offensive. We must also do our homework on this current anti-SHU struggle, things like where the SHU came from, why is it used so much by Amerika - more so than in other countries, who controls such a system? We must identify our opponent if we want to more forward.
We know the SHU and all prisons are a part of the "state" apparatus, but who controls the state? The ruling class is not including the people (the poor people) it is the rich who run things. These rich, or capitalists, have developed into what Lenin defined as "imperialism" which is simply capitalism on steroids, it is economic exploitation on a global scale. So the state and thus prisons are run according to what is in the interest of this ruling class. Prisoners in general are not profitable to this ruling class as most prisoners derive from what Lenin defined as the "lumpen proletariat" which is basically the underclass or can better be defined in the United $tates as simply the "Lumpen" which are prisoners, the unemployed, those caught up in crime, etc. Most lumpen don't work or pay taxes so to the ruling class the lumpen are just taking up space and not helping the wheels turn in the economy. But more importantly, the lumpen are a potential revolutionary force as this is the natural order of repression inviting resistance. Whenever one is being smothered the natural reaction is to struggle to breathe. Our acts of resistance in the 2011 strikes clearly proved this to be true.
There are many phenomenon that occur that are long held communist principles that may be practiced today by many prisoners without ever knowing their origins. We must use these tools to gain victory in our current situation, one such tool is historical materialism which is used to transform things in the material world. It does this by understanding historical events and processes which created a specific reality. In our current struggle in order to change or transform our torture conditions in SHU we would first have to understand the process of what brought the SHU itself to be created. When we understand it was the state and ultimately the ruling class which created the means to throw away vast swaths of the population and smother any embers of resistance then we'll know we won't change things simply by picketing around a prison or filing a lawsuit because we are up against something more sinister than simply "tough laws." Marxism is a method not dogma and so it is fluid and continues to find new responses in its interactions with the material world, so it will continue to be applied to different phenomenon. Although asking the state for changes is cool and must be done, the more crucial change must come from within one's own approach to our oppression, we are deprived of so much but the most vital opportunities are low hanging fruit, these being opportunities in the theoretical realm. The truth is we can't "change the system" and by system I mean capitalist Amerika which runs prisons and SHUs, it is all in the state apparatus so it is one and the same - in prison lingo it is one "car." We can't change the system we must rip it out by its roots, dismantle it in order for true change to occur. To really believe we can change this system is to take a stance as the democrats who think change comes out of the voting system via reforms.
The task we have ahead of all of us held in U.$. prisons is a real uphill battle that is in sync - even if we don't realize it - with many other struggles aimed at the U.$. empire not just in the United $tates but globally. While our effort is different in many ways, we should face this effort like a guerrilla war. Rather than a passive state, guerrilla warfare is a combination of defense and offense in our pursuit of victory but our initial victory should be to unmask the brutal dictatorship of the state and deny it the ability to operate cloaked in secrecy. Let us strip it bare and display its most grotesque parts to society. In doing this let every dungeon where conditions have peaked to intolerable proportions raise the banner of resistance in regards to material conditions, in this way we will expose the contradictions in "American democracy" while obtaining small gains to our conditions. What occurs in our living conditions is worse than what we even realize. Even though most have grown accustomed to SHU, it is not norma. People are social animals. Our entire existence as people is to interact with others, our senses demand this, it is a dialectic which exists on reacting to people and the environment and when all sensory input is deprived it works against our very being, i.e. it destroys us, dehumanizes us.
Lastly, although I would of course always like to hear editors of publications ramble about what some have referred to as "commie rhetoric" I would much rather hear a prisoner's perspective on communist principles or how they apply to the prison movement in general or the anti-SHU struggle in particular. But one cannot discuss "prisoner rights" without discussing prisoner oppression and thus what is behind prisoner oppression (capitalism). Today's society profit is put ahead of the people as far as education, food, land, etc and thus crime rises then our next natural step is finding an alternative society where prisons and SHUs are not used as concentration camps. The only society that would really truly change the system is a socialist system — to deny this is to deny history.
On 9 September 2012 at Everglades Correctional Institution, FLDOC, individual members of The Blood Nation honored the soldiers of Attica by doing one or more of the following: fasting, boycotting the canteen/commissary, accepting chow hall trays and dumping them, and explaining why. Also participating individually were one or more members of the following (in alphabetical order): Black Gangsta Disciples; Crip Nation; Insane Gangsta Disciples; Almighty Latin King Queen Nation; Nation of Islam; Spanish Cobras; Shi'a Muslim Community; Sufi Community. My apologies to anyone I missed. It was a small step at a spot with no history of unity, but even a single drop of water in a dry glass makes it wet. Respect to those who made the sacrifice, those who joined us midday, those who expressed interest the day after. I'm as human as anyone, but let's TRY to remember who the enemy is!