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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 23]
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FSP Prisoners Unite for Rec and Against Brutality

On cell block one, prisoners were being denied outdoor exercise. In 2003, prisoners won a class action civil suit (titled Osterback v. Singletary) where the court made the ruling that it was against the 8th Amendment to deny Close Management Unit prisoners outdoor exercise.

Still, we were constantly being denied. The prisoners were griping. Another comrade and I decided the conditions were right to direct the people. Thus we set out on a "grievance campaign," forming a nucleus of seven. We enlisted five other prisoners to each make two copies of exemplary grievances (that me and the other comrade pre-wrote), all with different language. This was necessary because the people themselves would not have spent one minute to place pen to paper.

Altogether a good 25 grievances were written by the core body. They were passed on for the people to sign and date, and for others to copy. A good 30 prisoners participated.

On the next designated day of outside exercise, the pigs went from cell to cell asking if anyone desired outside exercise. It was a small victory (however temporary), but it showed what can be accomplished if conditions are ideal and leaders take initiative to direct a movement.

More recently, during exercise time at the outside dog kennels, a prisoner was pulled from his cage and punched in the mouth while in restraints by a sadistic pig. The prisoner requested that the pig remove the handcuffs. The prisoner was then grabbed in a choke and his head was rammed into the cage, carving a deep gash in his head, and knocking him unconscious.

The pig then plotted with his co-workers that they would say the prisoner tried to slip the cuffs. They said that there is no surveillance cameras, therefore nothing can be proven.

Because of the incident they tried to take us back on the cell block, but we refused, and demanded to see a higher ranking official. When the white shirt came we stated the facts. Further, everyone united together and initiated grievance procedures for the victimized comrade.

Three months earlier this same pig bashed another prisoner's head in the wall twelve times and caved that side of his face in. The prisoner was taken to an outside hospital. This sort of police brutality is an everyday occurrence here at Florida State Prison. It has a history for it.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs]
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Lumpen Organizations: Organizations of the Oppressed Feared by the Police

This article was translated and updated by USW C-4 based on an article originally printed in Notas Rojas

Lately there have been news reports about the amount of L.O. related violence. The "solution" proposed is the presence of more police on the streets and barrios of the oppressed nations. In every state where lumpen organizations exist propositions are being heard to raise police funding by millions of dollars. Asking from a reformist perspective, why isn't that money used to create youth training centers for office/trade or education, and the only logical response is that the police, government and white-nation simply want to make life more impossible for oppressed nation people. Above all for Latinos and Blacks.

Lumpen Organizations are a logical extension of capitalist society

When speaking about gangs and violence let's not forget that the most powerful gang and most violent of 'em all is the U.$. government, and it's agencies of protection are the same entities that determine what is and isn't a gang. It can be said that the gang of "Amerikkka" serves as a model for street gangs which are less violent and less powerful. The similarities are obvious: they both defend territories they've taken possession of, many times with violence, they both take part in illegal trade of narcotics and guns for financial gain (and in the case of street-gangs for protection). In the U.$. there was the initiation of chemical warfare on the Black nation in the form of the crack cocaine epidemic which began in the 70s and 80s, also worth noting is the more recent uncovering of CIA agents selling high power firearms to the drug cartels of Mexico. The difference with respect to lumpen organizations and their members is that many times they don't have another option. The government on the other hand does it as a way to enforce it's politics to assure it's hegemonic control over the Third World as well as a form of making money. No one prohibits the government from continuing.

The irony of the matter is that government functionaries are fighting against something that represents the logical extension of the colonizer's society of the U.$. along with it's values and all. The power, the violence and the voracious ambition are all part of the patrimony of the United $tates. Instead of attacking the root of the problem, the pigs favor armed suppression of the youth. To truly solve the problem you have to solve the problem of the nature of society as a whole and destroy the model on which street gangs are based, the military and the government of the United $tates.

Whatever diminishment in gang activity there is due to mass incarceration and/or the augmented presence of pigs will only serve to quiet the issue for a short period of time and might even cause the transfer of the gang to a territory with less police. A real solution to the violence of street crime needs to include the abolition of the system that requires that some live in misery while others live in disgusting and exaggerated wealth, while the rich accuse the poor of not being "smart" like them as an explanation for the wealth.

The inequality of power is a necessary condition of capitalist/imperialist society. The solution requires doing away with this oppressive system. For those who are searching for a more immediate solution for society's problems like gang violence which affect their communities, the community ends up losing when they make it a priority to increase police presence. How many times must it be proven that the police are our enemies. They kill us without a care in the world. See our recent article on David Deacon Turner, former NFL player killed by the pigs.

Many people who witness the more visible violence, that of the LOs and not of the police, are siding with the pigs against the LOs. This is expected for many reasons, including the friendly relationship between the police and the press. The press doesn't occupy itself with exposing the abuses and assassinations by the police.

For this debate the voice that's most needed is that of the LOs and their members. After all, can we trust in the press or in a press conference by the police? Or that the press will lie about the LOs? The LOs and their supporters have reason to stay away from the yellow press; instead they should utilize other methods and mediums in building public opinion to speak for them. This is another of the millions of reasons why the oppressed need their own independent media. LO members are encouraged to write MIM(Prisons) to have their voices heard in ULK and to help develop an analysis of the lumpen by the lumpen for the betterment of the lumpen.

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[Asia] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 22]
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Book Review: A Vietcong Memoir


A Vietcong Memoir: An inside account of the Vietnam war and its aftermath
by Truong Nhu Tang
Vintage Books, 340 pgs.

Truong Nhu Tang (Tang) was the ex-minister of justice for the provisional revolutionary government of the Republic of South Vietnam during their war for liberation. Although Tang came from the petit bourgeoisie before taking up the struggle for national liberation he lends a first hand account of the fight against U.$. imperialism during what has come to be known in the west as the "Vietnam War."

In 1978 Tang became disillusioned with the outcome of the Vietnam victory on the political fringe (this started when his brother and other family were jailed for re-education). He went into exile in Paris, which he describes as an escape for the most part.

From much of the literature on the struggle for national liberation in Vietnam we get a view from the higher levels of leadership with books from Ho Chi Minh or Vo Nguyen Giap, which are very educational but lack a ground level approach to digging in to the operations and set backs of lower level struggles. Although Tang claims to never have been a "communist" he does say he was a nationalist revolutionary and held Ho Chi Minh in high esteem.

The book focuses on how north Vietnam and the communists, or "ideologues" as he frequently describes communists, took control of the south post war and were heavy handed in re-educating those who needed re-education. For revolutionaries studying different phases of struggle whether political, military, or the diplomatic front, this book will prove insightful as Tang is very descriptive in his memoir.

Most here in Amerika have seen on TV how many U$ soldiers died in Vietnam, or seen clips of the carpet bombing that the Amerikan B52 bombers did, perhaps the rare few have seen grainy documentaries showing some pile of dead Vietnamese or entire villages being touched and babies crying with their flesh literally hanging off from agent orange. Indeed most of us know the Vietnamese fought like hell barefooted with an AK47 in hand, marching through the jungle and basically wearing out U.$. troops through guerrilla warfare. There was an overwhelming amount of organizing at all levels including youth, students, religious groups, elderly, mass organizations, political groups, shopkeepers, even the intelligentsia. This raising of consciousness had begun decades before and Tang as a participant in much of this low level organizing gets into these efforts and shows the strengths and weaknesses in this process.

Tang traveled to Paris as a young man to study how to be a pharmacist. It was here where he started his political life, initially in the anti-war movement in Paris. He began to seriously study political science and colonialism. While in Paris he mobilized the Vietnamese community and sought to build public opinion around the the French occupation in Vietnam. During this time Tang abandoned his studies in pharmacology and his family cut off his financial allowance. His wife was pregnant and with him in France.

At this juncture Tang's political future was at a crossroad. This happens even here in Amerika where at some point one must make some decision in life about what direction one's life will go, and like Tang, many times one's friends, wife, husband, or family will not understand or agree with one's political beliefs and thus one must make that leap to become a revolutionary or be persuaded to just live one's life. Although Tang doesn't analyze or dig into this, as you read the book you see his predicament and see him leap into the thick of it. When faced with this, he and his wife decide it's best she goes back home to Vietnam to have the child while he goes on surviving any way he can, taking odd jobs while continuing his political agitation. It was here that he met the French Communist Party (FCP) members and intellectuals, and although he didn't quite agree with the FCP on their stance with Vietnam he began to develop his political ideas.

After receiving a master's degree in political science, Tang returned to Vietnam where he describes an environment of revolutionary fervor with almost everyone sympathizing with the Viet Minh. He goes on to hook up with a guerilla unit and went on an ambush of French forces. This taste of struggle for liberation sways Tang to get in on the fight for independence.

Tang describes how they began to form the underground resistance that evolved into the National Liberation Front (NLF). This happens in "Saigon," very much an urban struggle, so it proves to be insightful for anyone interested in organizing in a city in an underground group. Tang discusses his creation of numerous committees, mass organizing and the art of propaganda, and even takes you to the jungles where he had his ministry. He tells of how they would hear the bombs raining down, as the guerrillas scramble for the bunkers. Some succumb to what Tang describes as "internal convulsions" where one urinates or shits oneself involuntarily. Tang was living in a constant state of anxiety or combat fatigue, within this environment of constant harassment from opposition, bombings, and attacks, while still carving out a liberation struggle and tending to affairs within the unit or region, and maintaining his ministry while surviving on a handful of rice twice a day. This sacrifice was really something to read about. Imagine holding a study group on Marx or guerilla warfare while the bombs get you scrambling to a bunker, and all for no financial incentive as would be required by Amerikans, but just to free themselves. This was powerful.

I saw slight similarities (of course on a whole different level) between prisoners within U.$. gulags who may be in a constant state of alert, harassed by guards or even at war with a backwards element of the prison population. And within all the chaos that environment can bring, with storm troopers raiding your cell at 2:00 a.m., or putting you on potty watch, or confiscating all your literature, not allowing literature to enter the prison, going to the hole, maybe getting shot, etc. And within all this madness many prisoners continue their studies and struggle to liberate themselves and their oppressed nation. I think many would also find strength and inspiration in learning how many prisoners also develop under such overwhelming odds within U.$. prisons.

There were times when Tang would be arrested and described how he was tortured with electric shock by the pro-imperialist Vietnamese government. I would have liked to hear more of how the Vietnamese prisoners organized, as it is well known that even under French occupation the Vietnamese prisoners saw prisons as "Schools of Liberation" and had their own culture and living guidelines within prison. They had study groups and developed the masses into revolutionaries. It's too bad Tang didn't go into all this but it seems his prison stays were not very long, the longest being ten days. It appears his connections to the Vietnamese bourgeoisie, having a brother who was a high level air force fighter and another who was a high level banker seemed to get him out of prison very fast.

After the war ended and the last helicopter fled the embassy Tang describes the situation as chaotic. But again he was there struggling to rebuild his homeland. It was during this time that many were told to report for re-education and Tang himself says he drove his brothers down to be re-educated. He even led some of the re-education classes and engaged in criticism-self-criticism. However, once his brothers were taken to a re-education camp for the long term his stance on the post-war situation changed. Tang's two brothers were high level military, one being an officer, and although one of his brothers was released (through his efforts and letters to government leadership) one was kept in camp. It was at this point that Tang withdrew and resigned from politics, eventually moving out to a country farm and later sneaking out into exile in Paris.

It is clear his actions were subjective and he notes that many people were not political but nationalistic in their ideas. He argues that the post war government was too heavy handed. From what I read it did appear the NLF was pushing a more nationalistic line rather than a revolutionary nationalist approach. I think that if the NLF had focused their organizing efforts more on raising the people's political consciousness rather than focusing on a nationalist line they wouldn't have had such a hard time post war.

I would have liked to hear more on China and the Soviet Union at that time as Tang was part of a Vietnamese delegation that toured these countries. But he doesn't weigh in on the Soviet revisionism, rather saying Vietnam stayed neutral on the "Sino-Soviet" dispute as he calls it. He does say Vietnam cozied up first to the Soviets but later alluded to his dislike of Kruschev, especially his anger at being left for two weeks in a Russian hotel when he was supposed to be touring the country.

A reader will find this book insightful for the winding paths that were taken to build a movement full of committees and coalitions, underground parties and guerrilla networks all with the end goal of defeating U.$. imperialism. After reading this book I appreciate more the efforts of MIM(Prisons) and what they do to raise our consciousness.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The Vietnamese struggle was a heroic one that is still at the forefront of the global anti-imperialist legacy. After they defeated the imperialists, the most advanced political thinking of the time did not take hold in Vietnam's leadership, preventing socialism from developing. But as the reviewer discusses, there is still much to learn from this book about the successful struggle and organizing, especially under such horrible repression by U.$. bullets and bombs. We point readers to a book review of Ho Chi Minh: A Life for a more complete picture of the history of the revolution in Vietnam, and the political line of the post-revolution government.

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[Police Brutality] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
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Another Black Man Murdered by California Police

As a followup to R7's July 2011 article Assassination Nation, I note the international practices of Amerika in extra judicial killing. But the reality of the matter is that we do not have to even look internationally in that I recall the assassination of Oscar Grant by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) pig Johannes Mehserle who only received a two year sentence that did not even include actually seeing the inside of a California Department of Corrections prison. Too many times right here in the so-called land of the free, people from oppressed nations are assassinated by the agents of law enforcement as was the case of the July 10 2011 assassination of former professional football player David "Deacon" Turner who resided in Kern County, California.

On July 10 2011 Turner, a 56-year-old Black man, went to a mini-mart gas station to purchase himself a couple cans of beer, which is not a crime. However, upon exiting the mini-mart he found himself accosted by Kern County's finest sheriff's deputies who claimed as their justification for the harassment that they allegedly received a report that an adult was purchasing alcohol for minors.

Turner was subjected to search, to which he voluntarily submitted, and after which he asked if he was under arrest. The deputy stated he was not, so Turner exercised his supposed right to leave and picked up his bag and turned to leave. However the pig was upset that Turner chose to exercise his right to leave and not partake in any non-custodial interrogation so the sheriff deputy struck Turner from behind with his baton and the second sheriff's deputy drew his pistol and shot Turner in his abdomen. Turner died at the scene.

The mini-mart has surveillance equipment with multiple camera feeds which were seized by the Kern County sheriff's department. Then Kern County sheriff Donnie Youngblood released to the local news media a segment of video feed that shows Turner exiting the mini mart and initially being accosted and searched by the Kern County sheriff deputy. It includes the search and subsequent brief verbal exchange, which lines up with the witness statement that Turner asked if he was under arrest and the deputy told him he was not. The video also shows that Turner exercised his right to be on his way and the sheriff deputy running up and striking Turner multiple times with his baton. However, all of a sudden five seconds of the video is missing during which David Turner is assassinated. The sheriffs department claimed that the camera feed malfunctioned!

Sheriff Donnie Youngblood claimed that David Turner attempted to hit the sheriff's deputy in the head with the bag that contained two cans of beer, yet the video feed does not show Turner do anything that could be construed as aggressive and the non-law-enforcement witnesses stated to reporters that they did not see Turner do anything aggressive towards the deputy. Yet the sheriff's department ruled the assassination to be within departmental guidelines.

What further raises concern about the assassination is the fact that when the sheriff's department was compelled to release video feed from another camera, it also was missing a five second feed that matched the initial video feed released, yet each camera had independent motion sensors. I just wanted to point out that assassinations by the U.$. government and their lackeys are not just happening in other countries, they are also happening in California and beyond with impunity.

Just as the U.$. government issues its spin, Donnie Youngblood is also issuing the tried, tested and patently untrue spin. It includes the official alteration of video evidence so as to minimize and cover up another assassination matching that of Oscar Grant, many others across the state of California, and beyond.

Since official assassination is tolerated by the local, county, state and national citizenry such will continue to take place. As with every practice perfected on citizens here, it is exported to the rest of the world. As R7 points out, the inner city campaign of control through terror occurred in the so-called city of brotherly love.

It is said that Amerika is the land of the free but I see it as the land of the lost souls that tolerate state-sponsored terrorism and deception.


MIM(Prisons) adds: A closer study of the history of Amerikans in relation to oppressed nations in North America and around the world reveals that they actively support and participate in the Assassination Nation that they are (see J. Sakai's Settlers for an excellent history proving this very point).

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[Organizing] [United Struggle from Within] [Hunger Strike] [Two Rivers Correctional Institution] [Oregon]
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Food Strike Spreads to Oregon

In mid June of this year my cell block (unit 7) at TRCI conducted a food strike and a canteen strike. We agreed that we would not come out of our cells during meal times for 4 days. Also we agreed not to purchase canteen for one month since they use the profits for themselves in a lot of ways and as you know, the best way to slay Goliath is to hit their pockets. We were contesting a few different things. For one, this is the only prison in Oregon that will not allow group photos and we have to wear jeans, long sleeve blue shirt (no sunglasses or hats!) All of the other joints you can have 4 people in the photo, shirts off, in shorts, with sunglasses and a hat on if you so desire! For two, they were trying to change our TV program package to very basic cable. There was a couple other reasons we decided to demonstrate also, but I'll pass on that for now.

Anyway, the food strike went on for 4 days and the whole unit minus some old 72 year old guy participated.

The authorities were pissed! Almost one month later they came and snatched me and 5 other guys off the unit and threw us in the dungeon under the guise of being "key" shot callers in the food strike.

Here I sit with the max sanctions, 180 days in the hole, 24 days loss of privileges upon release from seg and a $200 disciplinary fine. All of their "evidence" results from confidential informants. Of course I am appealing, but their appeal process is a joke. However, I aim to take it to court as soon as my appeal is denied.

I have spread and continue to the word about your publication/organization and my comrades and I are always spreading information to help hinder the very ones who oppress us.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are pleased to hear reports like this one about prisoners coming together to fight for common goals. And we do not know the full story of the demands these protesters put forward, but we will point out that the photo and TV situation described above is not high on the list of demands from the anti-imperialist movement. These problems are neither torture nor repressive towards political organizing and education, and those are the primary areas of our focus for protests. While it is important to develop demands that will unite a broad group of prisoners, we do not want to water down the goals of our movement to the extent that these demands lose their value. We work towards this unity of goals and prisoners through the United Front for Peace in Prisons and we look forward to working with these comrades in Oregon on future protests.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Hunger Strike a Shot Across Bow of CDCR Battleship

The recent mass hunger strike got the prisoncrats' attention even though the prisoncrats seek to downplay or minimize the success of the strike by spoon feeding the media. In particular, their Sacramento Bee spin doctor stooge accepts the official representations which contain very few facts mixed with the typical misleading, provocative and confusing innuendo so as to perpetuate their coined myths.

The public is gullible and must be constantly educated to see through muddy water. Such has been the case for years because of the assumption that government officials and law enforcement allegedly have their safety, security and best interests at the forefront when it's really all about the money or budget. The CDCR purveys to the public that the most dangerous and supposedly most hardened prison gang leaders called for the hunger strike even though they also claim that the modus operandi of gangs are violence and intimidation which is totally contrary to the utilization of a passive non-violent form of protest which requires self restraint and determination.

The secretary, Matthew Cate, stated in a CDCR prepared statement that "hunger strikes are dangerous and ineffective as a means for prisoners to attempt to negotiate." Yet, the administrative appeal process is also dangerous and ineffective as each level rubber stamps the arbitrary decision of the prior level. Even when the decision was obviously in error and a threat to prisoner health and safety, they refuse to accept responsibility and accountability.

What the secretary has not said is that the hunger strike by masses of prisoners have in fact overwhelmed the prison medical department with additional medical expense to an already overburdened prison healthcare system. The strikers pose a more significant problem for the prisoncrats' budget than the shooting and gassing of violent prisoners in prison uprisings or even non-violent prisoners who are also shot, gassed/sprayed and beat with zeal as prisoncrats claim they were a threat to institutional security [see grievance campaign].

Prisoncrats, as any conscious prisoner should know, could not care less about the health of prisoners. They do care about the expense of providing constitutional mandated medical care. Therefore we should question the prisoncrats' claim to have had plans since January to review and change some policies, which were only revealed to us after weeks of food strikes.

Prisoncrats tend to take full advantage of the divide and conquer concept and are at their best when they are able to pit the lumpen divisions against each other for amusement or distraction which is why one should be suspicious of any claim by the prisoncrats to want to eliminate what they have for years encouraged and perpetuated in the penal system to justify the excessive prison budget.

The mass hunger strike may have only lasted 20 days, but it was like a shot across the bow of the CDCR's battleship by an enemy they can not justifiably target with all their massive violent resources and infrastructure. Yes the mass hunger strike got the prisoncrats' attention and their immediate response was to again expand the censorship of information prisoners receive so as to keep us unaware of what's going on. However, it also got their budgetary attention via their healthcare pocketbook.

The hunger strike also got the attention of the CCPOA which realizes that such strikes benefit the SEIU who are gaining more clout in the prison system and custody staff have effectively been rendered impotent as they do not have a real or effective contingency for dealing with non-violent forms of protest that they can not counteract or employ violence to suppress and to that extent the mass hunger strike was a success.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
Many are writing in disappointed with the outcome of the California hunger strike so far. But as this comrade points out, the strategy of the hunger strikers was effective in a number of ways. And as the CDCR is given a "brief grace period," as one of the strike initiators called it, we are regrouping. There are many who just found out about the strike as it was happening. If the CDCR continues to drag its feet on making any real changes, as we all expect they will, we should see an even stronger and more widespread response from prisoners across California and beyond. Of course, CDCR is regrouping as well, and we must guard against efforts to trick prisoners into thinking they do not share the same conditions and the same enemies.

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[California]
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Responses to Grievance Petition

Of all the agencies and offices I filed the California grievance petition with, only the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation bothered to respond. They only issued form letters disclaiming any responsibility for further investigation, and simply redirected me back to the same dysfunctional process that I had complained of!


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is clear that the U.$. Department of Injustice and the CDCR won't back up their words to give administrative remedy to prisoners with actions when they discover the process isn't working. In fact, it's to their benefit if the grievance system is broken so that they won't have to actually deal with the problems that arise in the prison system. This ensures their control over oppressed nations peoples.

The prisoner who received these defeating form letters asked for more copies of the petition in the same letter. S/he recognizes that the response from the bureaucrats isn't the be-all-end-all goal of the grievance petition. We want to show that if we ask nicely for a solution, we will be given the brush off. We also want to use this petition to recruit others into doing political work, even if it's just sending out the petition to a few administrators. Hopefully this action will be a simple beginning to a long history of contribution to the struggle against oppression.

We currently have grievance petitions prepared for California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas. If you're experiencing obstructions of your grievance procedure but your state isn't currently covered by the grievance campaign, consider modifying it to apply to your state! Write in for more info, or to get petitions.

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[Control Units] [International Connections] [National Oppression] [Political Repression] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 21]
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SHU is War on Aztlán


[Editor's note: We want to remind our readers that USW is open to anti-imperialist prisoners of all nationalities, just as the strike is being led by prisoners of all nationalities. MIM(Prisons) agrees with the line put forth here, because it is by building movements for national liberation
from imperialism that we can best conquer the oppressive system we currently live in. And any genuine national liberation movement supports the liberation of all people. We want to be clear about this because there have been reports of the CDCR attempting to fuel divisions among the prisoners on strike along long-standing organizational and national divisions as they always do.]

A people's salute goes out to all who find themselves under lock and key in Amerika! I wanted to write and send a brief update on the conditions here in Pelican Bay coming from one of the participants of the hunger strike (HS) that began two weeks ago, on July 1 of 2011. I figured the historic precedent that the HS has accomplished thus far is worth noting as the cause of the non-violent protest is one in which many people find themselves in across Amerika. The material conditions that have forced prisoners to deny themselves nutrients and sustenance are not exclusively bound to Pelican Bay, California. Whenever imperialist lackeys run a country they will also be expected to round up the most rebellious and potentially revolutionary populations and bury these people alive as these are the ones who pose the highest threat to the ruling class.

The fact that the protest is in regard to torture chambers known as the Security Housing Unit (SHU) in California, a state that has more prisons than any other state in a country that has more prisoners than any other country, should be examined more closely for what it means to oppressed nation prisoners in general but to people of Aztlán in particular. The fact that the state of California, which is geographically in Aztlán, has initiated what amounts to a war on the people of Aztlán by setting up more koncentration kamps (prisons) in Aztlán than anywhere else in Amerika, along with incarcerating more Latinos in California than any other oppressed nations, and the fact that Latinos are now the largest population of captives held in Federal prisons, and the fact that most of the prisoners held in California SHUs are Latinos, all show that oppressed nation are under attack via the injustice system, and that prisoners from the Aztlán Nation are particularly targeted in Aztlán. California is also the state with the largest Latino population in Amerika.(1) Thus the scope of what is taking place should be seen for what it is - the assault on Aztlán is real and should be met as such.

What is occurring here at Pelican Bay is an attempt to break the will and desire to resist state repression plain and simple. The SHU was opened in 1989 and this facility was designed to isolate and deprive people of the most basic "human rights." Things like human contact, a cell mate, the ability to eat salt in one's food, the ability to correspond with friends and family via the mail, the ability to have natural sunlight or even to be able to read political literature have all been stripped from prisoners in the SHU. Brutality here has been documented for decades. Beatings and physical torture have even been brought to the courts to no avail. Recently the U.$. Supreme Court has ruled that California prisons constitute "cruel and unusual punishment." They are telling the state of California to clean up its act.

Medical services are even used as barter. One prisoner was told if he wanted medical treatment then he should "debrief" (snitch on another prisoner). This is the depraved culture that has thrived here in SHU. This is a world where prisoners who are most often poor Brown and Black people are subject to a whole plethora of experimental depravity which in some cases would probably have Mengele raise an eyebrow.

It is well known that solitary confinement causes very real psychological damage even if used for a few weeks, yet here in SHU prisoners have endured solitary for years and even decades in some cases. Human rights groups have condemned solitary confinement, yet the SHU continues this brutal practice. Once here in SHU the only way back to general population is to snitch on others (even if it is false accusations), die, or parole. Keep in mind the vast majority sent to SHU have not committed any crime or physical acts but are labeled a "gang member or associate" and thus locked in this control unit for one's supposed gang affiliation, i.e. one's beliefs. They are locking one in a solitary confinement cell, sometimes for life, for what amounts to thought crimes!

Placement in the "hole" or SHU is frequently due to political affiliation of prisoners who are members or may associate with revolutionary groups or lumpen organizations that the state labels as "gangs." In their play on words, any attempt at oppressed nations to organize in a way that is not state sanctioned, is a gang. Similarly, they call uprisings "riots" in a derogatory way, to hide the real causes behind them. But many times people aren't even members of any organization and are falsely accused by others who are trying to get themselves out of SHU. In either case, prisoners held in SHU conditions overwhelmingly qualify as political prisoners.

The world would gasp should they find out the thought police are goosestepping in lock step here in Pelican Bay, jack boots and all. The Gestapo in Nazi Germany rounded up communists and others and placed them in kamps and jails under "preventative custody." And now the imperialists' first line of defense keeps oppressed nations in neo-kamps (SHUs) under "validation custody." This is what the lumpen face in the United $tates; this is our apple pie in the home of the incarcerated, land of the oppressed.

Yet, prisoners have always defied the lash, because as Mao said, where you find much repression you'll find much resistance. This is the dialectical materialism that manifests itself and blossoms, even within cinderblock gardens, in the form of our united resistance.

The first of the five demands issued for the hunger strike here at Pelican Bay is to end group punishment. This happens frequently where one prisoner breaks a rule and that whole group or ethnicity will be locked down or penalized in some way. We are talking about one person doing something against prison rules and two or three hundred people are then locked down for months over it. This is common practice and is meant to pit prisoners against prisoners.

The second demand is to abolish debriefing and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Debriefing is used to force people held in SHU to give up names and activities of others in order to leave SHU - even if the information provided is false. The accused cannot even present a good defense as the informants are not identified and often times the accusations themselves are considered "confidential." Active/inactive status is when after six years if one has no new activity one may be given "inactive" gang status and released to the general population. But this is rare since anything qualifies as "activity." For example, participating in this hunger strike will be considered new gang activity.

The third demand is that the CDCR complies with recommendations from a 2006 U.S. Commission which called for an end to isolation. The fourth demand is to provide adequate food. The food here would make a racoon's stomach turn. Often we don't know what it is we are eating and we get no salt, so all food is bland. For punishment often times we get boiled beans with no salt, and this has gone on for years. The fifth demand is to expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU prisoners. This means those of us who must stay in SHU will be able to have educational courses, art supplies, and the ability to make a phone call, which some have not done for 30 or more years.

These points are basic things that should be given, especially to people who have not broken any rules to be placed in SHU in the first place! What is happening here in Pelican Bay SHU amounts to crimes against humanity. To have people in solitary confinement in some cases for decades is incredible, and it's incredible that this has gone on so long and that for the most part the public has been silent over this. Well, today the light is shining on these torture chambers and Pelican Bay prisoners will no longer be silent while taking the lash.


Notes:
1. The New York Times Almanac 2011. p. 285.

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[Theory]
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Pigs Cannot Make Revolution, but the Third World Masses Can Smash U$ Imperialism!

RCP=U$A chair Bob Avakian once again sets his sails towards billowy clouds in the May 29, 2011 issue of 'Revolution' newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the rcp=u$a, in which the party leader once more makes the case for a socialist revolution in the U.$. with the labor aristocracy at the helm. He puts forth this idea in a talk broken down into series of articles titled: "Birds cannot give birth to crocodiles, but humanity can soar beyond the horizon." He states that: "...in imperialist countries in particular it is only with major qualitative change in the situation - that is, the eruption of a revolutionary crisis and the emergence of a revolutionary people in the millions and millions - that it becomes possible to wage the all out struggle for the seizure of power..."

To begin with, it is important that we point out that socialist revolution will not reach the bastions of imperialism until the Third World proletariat and peasantry rises in the billions to first eject the imperialists, subsequently defeating the compradors and then mobilizing itself to smash the imperialists on their home turf with the help of the oppressed nation lumpen of the internal semi-colonies. These oppressed nation lumpen who are currently situated within the internal semi-colonies, i.e. barrios/ghettos/reservations of amerika and it's prisons, are the only people in the U.$. with any kind of revolutionary potential whatsoever!

So we don't know where all these "millions of millions" of revolutionary people that Avakian loves to harp about will be drawn from, unless he's counting on the labor aristocracy to take up arms and call itself "comrade."

Something else worth nothing here in the chairman's flawed war thesis, if you could even call it that, is that this economist/opportunist deviation is not just owed to the RCP's failure to acknowledge the outcome of a proper class analysis, but also, because of their erroneous line on the self-determination rights of the oppressed nations. The rcp-u$a's line is that all nationalism is bourgeoisie, hence reactionary. More pointedly they don't think there's any nations within the United $tates that need liberating, with a possible exception for the Black Nation.

The party leader goes on to talk about how important it is for the struggle not to settle into "protractedness" because according to Avakian "that would very much be a recipe for defeat." The chairman then makes some completely ludicrous and out of context comparisons when he describes how the Maoist concept of a protracted Peoples War is no longer a viable solution in the Third World and certainly is not suited for U.$. conditions. Well, he's certainly right that in regards to the United $tates this is not a viable solution. However, with respect to the former, Avakian attributes this to a lack of "finiteness" in the struggle, instead, pushing for one big decisive battle. I assume here that Mr. Avakian is referring to the now defunct Maoist struggles of Nepal and Tamil of which the rcp=u$a has been very critical.

The fact that the rcp=u$a would denigrate various revolutionary Third World struggles as "too much of things unto themselves" (which is also a common rcp-u$a criticism of the Chinese Cultural Revolution) is a straight up disrespect to the Third World masses dying daily at the hands of imperialism and it's comprador cartels, as well as delegitimizing to the real science of revolutions: M-L-M.

No Mr. Avakian, the fact that the Nepalese and Tamil struggle has not brought the proletariat victory has nothing to do with the failure of the Maoist concept of a protracted peoples war, rather failure in these struggles can be directly linked to revisionist leadership of the rcp-u$a sort!

Continuing with this bourgeois-centric analysis, the party leader then goes into some detail concerning the crucialness of public opinion building and cultural work in general when it comes to preparing the "masses" for revolution. However, and this is where you have to watch him, he gets sneaky and besides already counting the labor aristocracy as proletariat, he attempts to smuggle broad sections of the petit-bourgeoisie into the revolution and eventually the dictatorship, thereby killing the dictatorship of the proletariat before it's ever even born. This is what he says: "there is also, very importantly, the problem of the development of the necessary political and ideological conditions for the initiation of this struggle for the seizure of power - and the organized expression of the political and ideological influence of the vanguard - among the basic masses but also, to the greatest degree possible at every point along the way, among other strata of the people as well, in order to have the best possible basis for carrying forward the struggle for power once it has been launched and not, in fact to be contained and crushed, but to have the best possible basis to 'break out of encirclement.'"

It is true, historically speaking, that once socialist revolutions had begun and proletarian victory was within reach, hoards of the enemy class have come over to the side of the revolution. However, it has never been the intent of the vanguard to focus their efforts so ferociously on the enticement of parasites as Afakian and the rcp-u$a so incessantly advocate for. It was however and remains so the principal task of the revolutionaries, to unite all who can be united, i.e. the truly oppressed and exploited.

If sections of the bourgeoisie so wish to either, (a) commit class suicide and join the revolution or (b) see that victory is inevitable for the proletariat and it's allies and decide it better to be on the winning side of the war, then so much the better. But neither Marx nor Engels, Lenin, Stalin or Mao ever sought to actively recruit pigs who were not dedicated to the revolution and neither should we.

If anything, the "middle" and "broad strata" would only be too happy to swell the ranks of the imperialists armed forces and smash the internal semi-colonies to pieces; they know which side their bread is buttered on.

Indeed, seasoned readers of Kautsky's, I mean Afakian and the RCP's vile distortions of M-L-M have come to understand that whenever Avakian and company casually, indirectly or directly throw out the terms "middle" and "broad strata" what they're really trying to emphasize is the reliance and inclusion of the bought off traitorous sections of the population into and with the revolution. Notice how they consciously exclude the true element of change from the equation the Third World masses.

The rest of the chairman's article basically rehashes some of the points already made such as work in the cultural sphere prior to and during the seizure of power, the importance of the "one, two, knockout blow" to the bourgeoisie which serves to counteract the problem of "finiteness." And of course, he can't emphasize enough the reliance of the revolution on the "middle" and "broad strata". And oh yea his deep lamentations that white people have been turned against the oppressed by way of propaganda, and all that's needed for their return to the side of the revolution is arduous public opinion building.

It is fitting that Bob Avakian's piece is concluded by his making companions between Mao's China, pre-liberation and the United $tates today, drawing parallels between the middle strata of the revolutionary base areas in the Chinese countryside (the better off peasants) and the decadent labor aristocracy which the rcp-u$a knows and loves today.

Truly, Bob Avakian is delusional.


MIM(Prisons) adds: For more on this topic check out other articles on the rcp=u$a and our analysis of the labor aristocracy in the First World.

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[Censorship] [New York]
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Continuing to Fight ULK Denials

I am writing this article in response to the article in ULK 20 entitled "We must fight ULK denials."

Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers of ULK, we have to take a stand against the oppressors. Not by rioting, physically fighting, or boycotting but by means of communication. The same way the officers banned together we should put our differences to the side and unite as one!

I have 17 years in the special housing unit (SHU) mostly for fighting the oppressors physically and with my pen's ink. I've caught two new bids for going at it with the oppressors. One bid was a 2.5 to 5 years and the second bid was a 7 year flat 5 year post.

What I did is not important, but why I did it is, I did it because too many comrades were being violated. We have the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment.

Also I don't know about the rules in the Texas DOCS, but here in New York state when we're locked down (which I am right now) we're given 1 hour out of cell recreation everyday of the week. So what should happen is whether everybody gets along or not, whoever is in this "close custody" should grieve the issue. The oppressor might fuck with five of those grievances but they won't fuck with everybody's grievance. It will be too suspicious.

Every ULK I get the mailroom got something to say about it. With ULK 20 they said the articles on pages 3, 10, and 13 (continued from 3) posed a threat to the safety and security of the facility. Those articles were entitled "Light of Liberation" and "NJ Avalon Crip signs on to UF Statement." So once again they've taken our right of freedom of speech, the 1st Amendment and swept it under the "security risk" rug, just like the other comrade stated. So let's stand together as one and "take" our rights back.

So remember comrades, yes we're imprisoned but we still have rights!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Unity in the fight against oppression is a key element of this fight. As this comrade says, we need to put aside our differences to join forces against a common enemy. Filing grievances is a good way to get this fight going, and we have initiated a grievance campaign to help prisoners fight grievance denials. Write to us for a copy of the letter and petition.

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