I have a lot of things to catch you up on in regards to the never ending struggle against the oppressors who run the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). I've been moved. I have been "mashing the gas!" on these oppressors: pressing them on their abuse of mentally ill prisoners, religious discrimination towards Muslim prisoners, and extremely poor quality food and unsanitary conditions at Estelle High Security Unit.
These folks have sent me to a unit where the food is excellent, known as "the friendly" Wynne unit. I'm still trying to reconcile the "friendly" tag with a place that holds an overwhelming number of elderly men who should be free! Or how "friendly" it is to have humyn beings locked in cells in which I can touch both walls standing in the middle of the cell. I'm in a very small dog kennel, but the food is good. This is still torture and my comrades on Estelle are still being beaten, and fed slop. I firmly believe this was a ploy to disrupt my operations.
A few of us sent grievance petitions to TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston, Chairman of Texas Board of Criminal Justice Oliver Bell, and other agencies, including legislators. All correspondences sent to any TDCJ upper level administrator were re-routed to the risk management office and central grievance office.
In the streets we call this activity "short stopping." TDCJ is doing all they can to thwart our efforts to expose the abuse and injustices being perpetrated against us. So we had to go around and through them. I hooked up with a like-minded comrade, he modified the grievance petition to fit our unique circumstances, and we did a mass mailing to legislators, media, prison activists, ACLU, and DOJ civil rights.
That was March 18, 2013. Three days later I was shipped. I'm told I may go back soon. At first I was like "shit." I hate Estelle and all the pigs who work there, but I love to fight them and I've been lighting their ass up. And now I have help. So warm the bus up! I'm ready for round 2, 3, 4 and 5.
On or around March 9, 2013 another comrade of mine attempted suicide on the Estelle High Security Unit. This comrade, who I have watched deteriorate mentally, was removed from his cell by Lieutenant Pope. Lt. Pope beat my comrade half to death, with his fists! My comrade was taken to a hospital in Conroe, Texas where he was placed on the intensive care unit as he clung to life. No one wants to hold these people accountable for their heinous crimes but I get written up for an extra sock!
I also must report, a Texas state representative Dr. Alma Allen (Black womyn) has proposed House Bill 877 that would create a grievance oversight committee separate from TDCJ. This is great news but I don't think it is going to pass. [As of December 2013, HB877 has been pending in committee since March 2013. - Editor] The chairman of the Texas senate criminal justice committee, Mr. John Whitmire, also the most senior senate member, says he doesn't want to create another bureaucratic entity. But the system is fucked up. On the real, he doesn't want "outsiders" observing the abuse and lack of accountability that is so prevalent in TDCJ. It is out of control. The grievance program is a sham. I have suggested they scrap the entire system and fire or re-assign every grievance investigator in Texas. These people are "oxygen thieves" who are complicit in heinous crimes against humanity. We will never be treated fairly nor have our grievances addressed in a just manner as long as this cronyistic, nepotistic, obstruction of justice filled grievance program is in place.
In reference to the pigs attacking a mentally ill man, well I'm still waiting! Remember this incident happened December 28, 2012. It has been 3 full months and no justice, just coverups and lies. I've even challenged the oppressors to a polygraph. Hell no they don't want none of that. I guess not.
Strategy for Grievance Petition and Abuse Issues in Texas
Texas hates negative publicity, period. So it is imperative to flood the media and internet with details of mistreatment, abuse, and serious brutal acts of violence aimed at prisoners. Always include name, date, time, who, what, where, when. Who to write:
1. Concerned Christians for Inmates PO Box 101094, San Antonio, Texas 78201-9094 210-737-2600
As a rule socialists and communists do not promote religion. However, these are some "Gangster" Christians why go hard in the paint to address prisoner abuse. They are going to make somebody answer the tough questions. And they are going to go the extra mile. They know no boundaries. If you have been the victim of serious physical abuse by TDCJ employees, copy all the dirty details and get at CCI ASAP.
2. Kathy Griffin Grinon - Host The Prison Show! KPFT - 90.1 FM 419 Lovett Blvd Houston, TX 77006 713-526-5738 JAM KPFT, A pacifica station.
Kathy is a former prisoner. She is super connected in the political realm and specializes in human trafficking and prostitution issues. She will expose these oppressors but you have to stay on it. She is super busy, but if you get her attention, look out.
3. Austin American Statesman Attn: Mike Ward - Journalist/writer 305 S. Congress, Austin TX 78704
Mike has written pieces on prisoner abuse and prison issues in Texas for a few years. Truthfully, he is just one more option. But if your story is news worthy, he will do an exposé. Media attention is like mothers milk to me. Learn to use it in your favor.
4. Senate Committee on Criminal Justice PO Box 12068 Austin, Texas 78711 512-463-0345
5. House Committee on Corrections PO Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768 512-463-0796
Hit these two simultaneously. The briefer you are the better. But pack your letter with details and heinous acts of abuse. Give it to them raw and uncut but use your intellect to articulate the wrong and ask for an investigation and accountability.
6. Have family or loved ones file formal citizens complaint with TDCJ-CID Ombudsman 936-437-6791 Find online: tex.gov.org
You can't file a formal citizens complaints with the Ombudsman, but your friends, comrades, and family can file on your behalf. Make sure to have details (who, what, where, when, how) and by all means include the pig's full name and rank. Ask to be kept abreast of the investigation and notified when resolution is achieved. This is important, be sure to follow up.
Lastly any serious civil rights issues that have to do with prison conditions physical abuse by guards vs prisoners and religious discrimination, don't hesitate to write:
DOJ-Civil Rights U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section PHB 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington DC 20530
These pigs are liars! These pigs been tryin to set me up, for six months maybe eight. Motivated by sick fun, oppression, and their self-hate. Is it my intellect, my confidence, or the fact that I refuse to break weak? These pigs are attempting to sabotage my success, my future is looking bleak. These pigs never play fair, they have plenty of tricks. Refusin to feed me, tamperin with my mail, teasin me about my faith! This is how the pigs get their kicks! These pigs are playing with dynamite Takin for granted that tomorrow is guaranteed. But I'm a secret warrior and I yearn to be freed. I guess somebody should've warned them I don't play games, I play for keeps! A retired Iraqi veteran, a contract killer from the streets! The pigs are oblivious to my condition They don't even have a clue. These pigs are not held accountable for their actions, or the damage that they do! Will I rise and take their bait? Or will I be humble and abstain? Realizing the sun always comes out after the most severe torrential rain! Today I choose Political Activism! Love, happiness, and peace! A collective of soldiers from MIM Has helped to tame this beast!
If you can't criticize a country without being hunted down for ten years and shot to death, along with innocent wimmin and children, in your own living room eating shish kabob. If you can't criticize a pig for putting too much pressure on your neck with his knee, as you lie face down, unarmed on cement, without being shot to death in the back. If you can't speak up about your countries military terrorism without being exterminated in the process. It's violence!
If you can't write essays on the internet without being refused parole for doing so. Even though the families of dead captives, who were killed by solitary violence, are helped by your essays and remembrances. Even if that speaking up lessens further future suicides because the most violent, abusive pigs were removed. To be punished for this. It's violence for stopping violence.
Yet it's me being punished for being violent in this damn solitary cage. Even though I've never been violent.
I've never starved children to death by economic sanctions. I've never fired on an unarmed tied individual as he lay on his stomach on cement, or sat lashed fighting to a wooden chair. I've never pepper sprayed anyone. Nor have I dragged anyone anywhere and shot them to death. This hand has never injected people with poison, without their consent.
A lot of people call me worthless and crazy but you don't see me tracking them down and shooting them, and their wives and children, over leftover steaming bowls of kebab.
Did you see the celebrations for Osama Bin Laden's family's murder? Have you watched fat, drunken people exit a firing squad execution giving high fives and cheers for witnessing a murder? Have you ever watched 500,000 children starve to death because of your country's economy sanctions?
What about 15 million children starving to death worldwide annually because Amerikkkan capitalism/imperialism chooses to destroy excess grains and throw out the piles upon piles of MacDonald's fast food that's partially overcooked? Destroy food because no one will buy it. Can't buy it because they don't even know what money is.
You can't steal Third World resources and teach those in the Third World economics at the same time. But missionaries do a fine job teaching "the meek shall inherit the earth," as that very earth is stolen from under the bishops' students feet.
You can't destroy millions of captives and teach revolutionary politics and high self-esteem at the same time. Psychiatrists work perfect by teaching "you are inferior beings who lack what these pills provide." As these pigs turn us inferior.
Let us fear perfect solutions to imaginary problems as this is an age old formula for genocide. And let the oppressed unite as one and intimidate back! After all, it is us in the majority with history on our side.
Every ill-conceived notion and manipulative scheme to sabotage the success of the lumpen under class is embodied within the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
For the past 3 months a common front page headline article in the El Paso Times has been associated with a cheating scandal involving El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) "trustees" and various school officials and administrators. In truth, this scandal and scam has been marinating for years, not months. There is concrete evidence which shows TEA was aware that something was not right in El Paso but for whatever reason whether it be cronyism, nepotism, or a hidden political agenda, the scandal was kept quiet.
However, when the Department of Education and the Department of inJustice, represented by the FBI, got involved, a shocking scheme was revealed. EPISD educators and administrators were trying to game the federal accountability system by "disappearing" certain students who did not perform well academically and didn't score well on certain standardized tests. In some cases, EPISD administrators not only kicked poor performing students out of school, they did not offer them an alternative. Further, it was discovered that these crooked "trustees" would sic ICE agents on the predominantly Latino children, not just kicking them out of school, but deporting them out of the country! This ensured that they would not be around to tell it!
I mentioned that there might be a hidden political agenda at work here and there is. In 2011, during the Texas state legislative session, Texas lawmakers decided to cut $5.8 billion dollars from the public school budget. These budget cuts placed many school districts that serve minorities in dire straits; they just did not have the financial resources to teach the children or pay quality teachers. During this time Governor Rick Perry was eyeing a bid for the Republican Presidential nomination and in his best imperialist oppressor moment, he refused to accept any federal government stimulus money or allow Texas independent school districts to compete for money in a new initiative called Race to the Top. Perry outright lied to the media and said Texas educators don't need any federal money to educate children in Texas. The Federal government changed requirements and regulations for Race to the Top funds and allowed independent school districts to apply themselves for federal money instead of relying on racist, crooked-ass politicians like Governor Rick Perry to represent them. As a result of the rule change, Texas led all states in the United $nakes in applications for federal money geared toward education. Looks like old redneck Rick is out of touch with what his constituents really want and need. Or is he?
While Governor Rick Perry is fully aware of the lumpen's need for a quality education, it is not his intent to provide quality education for the lumpen under class. Better education would derail Texas's pathway-to-prison strategy. Do you really believe that Black and Latino men and wimmin have the market cornered on criminal behavior? Comrades, so many times it is our social and economic conditions that lead us to the penitentiary. MIM theorists have been telling us this for years!
In 1793 political scholar William Godwin criticized the whole idea of a national education system. He states in his inquiry concerning political justice that: "the project of a national education ought uniformly to be discouraged on account of its obvious alliance with national government. Government will not fail to employ it (education) to strengthen its hand and perpetuate its institutions...Their view as instigator of a system of education will not fail to be analogous to their views in their political capacity..."
We have taken a quantum leap here. We are not just talking about the flawed system of mis-education in El Paso or Texas as a whole. I am telling you that there is a serious flaw in the national education system in the United $nakes and this should be enough to convince a comrade to study Maoism seriously.
But I'm not done with redneck Rick yet. I want to reveal a couple more facts about what he has got cooking in Texas. Comrades, with a prison system that is overflowing with Blacks and Latinos, what particular slot is redneck Rick trying to get the poor lumpen underclass to fill? Moreover, what particular slot is this pig's poor education system trying to get them to accept?
Recently, 600 independent school districts in Texas took the State government to court stating they were not being given adequate funding to educate children, and that this neglect by the State amounted to a serious violation of the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled in favor of the school districts! Furthermore, it was found that Texas's inability to provide adequate funding for schools was unconstitutional.
Governor Rick Perry has recently been making trips to California attempting to lure businesses to Texas citing Texas's low tax rates and easy-going regulations for large corporations. Nevertheless, Perry ignores the cries of the lumpen for adequate funding for education. His actions speak volumes: "My allegiance is to the imperialist corporations, I could care less about educating the lumpen under class, they might wake up to my real agenda!" I suspect these are the thoughts of Governor Perry.
Today, February 22, 2013, activists from Houston, TX prepare to travel to Austin, Texas, the state capitol, in order to lobby and protest in reference to the $5.8 billion that was cut from education in 2011. The battle cry for the lumpen in Texas seems to be "If you don't fight for what you want you deserve what you get!" As the great James Brown would say "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud!"
MIM(Prisons) responds: As we reported in an article in Under Lock & Key 30 on national oppression in education, on average, Black and Latino high school seniors perform math and read at the same level as 13-year-old white students. Money available for school districts with a majority of the students from oppressed nations is far less than what is available for white school districts, and segregation is on the rise again in Amerikan schools. So we are not surprised to see this story about Texas denying money and education to oppressed nation children. The court decisions in these cases have gone back and forth, and we can't count on them to rectify the problem.
While the differences in funding between schools based on national composition is damning, this is just a symptom of the problem. The campaign to increase school funding is dominated by the petty bourgeois labor unions who utilize oppressed nation children in their campaign for higher pay. As this prisoner points out, the schools will still be run by the government and deliver the education they want. This will not address the needs of the oppressed or create anti-imperialist change. We need to use the school situation as a tool to educate youth about national oppression and the need to join the fight against imperialism. Just as we run independent study programs for prisoners across the United $tates, the youth need independent education programs that teach them what they need to know to create a better world.
On December 28, 2012 at approximately 8pm, I and many other prisoners housed here at Estelle Unit High Security witnessed a heinous act of violence. Four TDCJ employees viciously beat a mentally ill Black prisoner whose hands were cuffed behind his back. Some prisoners wrote grievances, and some wrote their family members to complain about the inhumane and barbaric behavior of the officers. In the months and weeks that followed I have witnessed one of the most devious and calculated programs of retaliation that I have ever seen anywhere.
Lieutenant Deward Demoss who works on this High Security Unit has undertaken the task of targeting prisoners who spoke out against the beating. He has instructed the officers under his supervision to write fabricated and bogus disciplinary reports on specifically "pre-chosen" prisoners. Then Lieutenant Demoss goes further by violating prisoners' due process rights by faking investigation and hearing entries on paper work. The coup de grace is when Lt. Deward Demoss actually runs court on the prisoner who has been "set up" by this modern day Agent of Repression! Yes, comrades, this is an example of the type of pig Ward Churchill and Jim Vanderwall warned us about.
However, all is not lost. Many prisoners have responded to this unethical and criminal behavior by writing numerous Step 1 and Step 2 grievances. Letters have been sent to the ACLU, state legislators, and the media. Prison officials have even knocked out the local Pacifica Radio affiliate, KPFT, to sabotage prisoners access to the fearless free voices on KPFT who champion prisoner issues. Stay tuned for more reports from the front lines.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is not the first time Deward Demoss has been called out in Under Lock & Key for his work at Estelle prison. We know the problem isn't really about one individual, replacing Demoss will not change the fundamentally oppressive criminal injustice system. This prisoner is correct to call out the responses of filing grievances and publicizing the violence and subsequent retaliation. The pages of Under Lock & Key are open to all who work to expose injustice in their institutions. We encourage everyone to take an example from this prisoner and build both publicity and resistance to the repression. And then we must take it one step further and educate all involved about the role individual oppressors and actions play as a part of the imperialist system as a whole. Through this education and organizing we can build the anti-imperialist movement.
The Economics of Integrity By Anna Bernasek Harper Collins Publishers NY (2010) 195pp
This book is a perfect example of a culture obsessed with subjectivism and idealist philosophies. The book demonstrates the lack of integrity of people (bankers, stock brokers, etc.), claiming that it was the main reason the economy crashed in 2008.
In the prologue we read: "my father, a native of Czechoslovakia, risked his life to escape from communism in 1949..."(p3) Here we go again with the vilifying of communism well past the "cold war." The author even points to the subjectivism and individualism mentioned above, saying "This book pays tribute to the spirit of this nation, a spirit of optimism and idealism."(p3) And no wonder, a nation that's imperialist would send the message to its parasites that there would be food for all, just wait till we steal it from Third World, poor, semi-colonial nations!
One would expect that with economics in it, some portion of this book would discuss political economy. Not the case here, but with vulgar economics the author separates the political from the economy, when in fact the two are intertwined. Instead we are told "to be true to that spirit [optimism and idealism], my focus isn't on what went wrong. I am not primarily concerned with scandals, fraud and cheating."(p5) Again, "the economy isn't some dirty game where all the players are only out for themselves, trying to make their names and their fortunes."(p5) Wow! A guest commentator on CNN, CNBC spewing this bullshit, shouldn't be a surprise anyway.
The author basically negates the whole point by saying she is not concerned on what went wrong. The problem is that the whole damn game (capitalism) is in for itself. With one company/corporation trying to maximize their profits how can they not be out for themselves? But with such phrases as "...integrity unlocks enormous opportunities for wealth creation..."(p5), and "It is shared assets that make us wealth."(p13), or "for without integrity, the economy would not function"(p13), we shouldn't expect much of an analysis.
The author goes on to propagate the notion that integrity prompts companies to profits, not exploitation. She gives examples like milk production, taking money out of an ATM, Toyota, LL Bean, and banks. Besides some interesting factoids about these corporations (Of the world's official gold holdings (March 2009), Amerika holds 27%, Germany 11%, IMF 11% (p67). The top 3 brands and their wealth is as follows 1) Coca-cola - 66,667 (U$) 2) IMB-59,031(U$) 3) Microsoft -59,007(U$) (2008 brand values (millions)) (p124).), the book is a joke.
What the author fails to realize is that integrity does not create wealth in itself. Surplus value is the source of wealth. Not from First World world workers but from Third World proletarians who are paid less than the value of their labor for their productive work. Hopefully the author can come to grips with classes and national oppression more easily than pseudo vulgarist economy. What this simply amounts to is an apology for the loss the parasites in the U.$. felt during the 2008 meltdown.
In August 2012, thirty-four South African miners were murdered by the police at the Maricana Platinum mine owned by Amplats (Anglo Material Platinum). These humyn beings were attempting to convince Amplats to pay them a livable wage. This is a serious "crime" to the money hungry Anglo who still looks upon the South African as a farm animal or dog.
We refer to ourselves as internationalists. However, many times we get so caught up in our own local struggles in these slave pens of oppression, we forget that there are comrades world wide who want and need a dictatorship of the proletariat. Our international outlook teaches us to keep a trained eye on the geo-political, social, economic, and fascist military climate across the globe.
In November 2012 nearly 120 Bangladeshi textile workers were burned alive. These human beings were working at the Tazreen Textile Factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Labor activists took pictures of the various clothing labels being worked on at the Bangladeshi garment factory. It was prominent throughout the debris. Walmart immediately feigned ignorance claiming the factory was a third party and they were unaware of any dealings with the factory. This was discovered to be a lie. In June of 2012 the factory had asked Walmart for money in order to improve safety conditions at the factory. It was found that there were not any fire exits, and the most shocking fact, other than the deaths, is that Bangladeshi textile workers are paid 18 to 20 cents an hour.
Let's take a look at MIM Theory 10. The labor aristocracy article entitled: The White Working Class: Gross Parasitism, by MC12, pg 48:
"Defining the value of labor power is difficult. It has to be at least a subsistence wage in order to reproduce the working class so that capitalists have more workers. But in the era of imperialism, things have changed. On the one hand, in many oppressed nations we find that the proletariat is paid less than the value of their labor power, measured as a bare subsistence. That is, in many countries the wages paid to workers are not enough to sustain them physically, so that they rely on other means of subsistence, such as family farming or other informal economic systems - and they die or are sick more. For that reason, imperialist multinational corporations (IMCs) never employ all the potential workers in a poor country. Those who are not employed by the imperialists need to work to supplement the wages of the paid workers. This is the system of super exploitation, and it generates superprofits, as Lenin described in Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism."
Comrades, do you realize MC12 wrote that piece 17 years ago? It is as relevant today as it was then, and maybe even more so.
Walmart is establishing a pattern of deceptive and unethical business practices and for some reason the department of injustice has been turning a blind eye to their blatantly criminal behavior. In December 2012 journalist David Barstow of the New York Times wrote a piece entitled "Walmart, Bribes and Mexico." The piece detailed Walmart's conspiracy to bribe the mayor of Teotihuacán, Mexico. Teotihuacán is the site of some ancient pyramids, a bona fide cultural historical place. But Walmart wanted to expand by any means necessary even if it meant violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, there has been evidence that shows FBI investigators never notified the Injustice Department. Oh, the cat is out of the bag now but Walmart is doing everything possible to hush up the vast Mexican bribery scheme.
February 18, 2013 on the Washington mall in Washington D.C., the largest climate change rally ever in U.S. history was staged. The main focus was convincing President Barack Obama to stop the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline would run from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and it would transport a product known as tar sands oil. Tar sands is one of the most volatile, noxious, toxic, and environmentally damaging oil products known to man. Greenhouse gases are doubled, sometimes tripled, in reference to the production of this volatile product. Chemicals like Benzene, a known carcinogenic, must be mixed with tar sands so that it may move through the pipeline. I don't even want to begin to describe the natural disaster or threat to the environment that will occur if one of these pipes were to rupture.
Imperialist multinational corporations that deal in fossil fuels (i.e. oil and gas) have conspired to create an entity that funds the denial of global warming. In mid-February 2013 journalist Suzanne Goldberg of the Guardian did an exposé on Donors Trust, a right wing fund raising monster which specializes in funding groups which publish information denying global climate change. The key to the deception is this: Donors Trust right wing financial backers remain anonymous.
Comrades this is why I refer to these IMCs as our most formidable enemy and greatest threat. When you have the money and power as well as the intent to engage in a misinformation and disinformation campaign that has the potential of contributing largely to the destruction of our planet, you are the greatest enemy to Maoism. Without a planet there will be no revolution. This all ties into our anti-imperialist struggle. So now we must apply historical dialectical materialism and figure out who is behind this conspiracy. Once we identify the threat, we must make plans to disarm, disable, and eradicate the threat.
Since Donors Trust keeps their donation rosters secret we must ask ourselves what group of individuals or state would benefit the most by disseminating quack science information which discounts global warming or denies climate change? The state of Texas is #1 in oil production in the United $nakes. Activists in east Texas have been engaged in a long-standing fight to stop the Keystone Pipeline from passing through a private citizen's property who was not told that tar sands would be the product transported across his land. Keystone offered the citizen a "sweet cream puff" deal: "We will pay you half of what your property is worth. Or if you say no we will pay you nothing, take your shit, and claim imminent domain!" So not only do they think of sinister ways to shape and mold your thinking, if you say "no," they just take what they want anyway.
Comrades, my days of idealism and romanticism are long gone! President Barack Hussein Obama will not stop the Keystone Pipeline. Activists in Oklahoma, Texas, and all over the U.S. and Canada better prepare for a dramatic increase in fascist repression and oppressive tactics by the state which is working hand in glove with the imperialist multinational corporations.
It is time for us to educate and organize like never before. Answering comrade Ehecatl's, call to study Maoism seriously (ULK 30 Jan/Feb 2013), we must think of innovative means and strategies to reach out to our comrades in Bangladesh, South Africa, Greece, and Europe who are sick and tired of having the boot of imperialism on the back of their neck.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Overall, the environmental threats of imperialism, especially those like the Keystone Pipeline that really hit home, will make greater inroads with the labor aristocracy than issues of labor repression in the Third World. While it is true that people in the First World will suffer from environmental destruction along with the rest of the world, we should keep in mind that even with environmental destruction the suffering is pushed on the Third World as much as possible. As described in MIM Theory 12: Environment, Society, Revolution, in the article "On Capitalism and the Environment", "Pollution, like all else under capitalism, is unequally distributed. On a world scale, waste from the imperialist countries is dumped in the neocolonies." This is all part of why we say the national contradiction is principal, and why we see majorities of people in the First World allying with imperialist interests overall. As such, we disagree with USW88 that the people of Europe have the boot of imperialism on their neck. The white nationalists, from the social democrats to the fascists, portray the principal contradiction as the people versus the corporations. This line leads to a focus on local interests, which in the First World are the interests of the oppressor nation.
So when we promote internationalism, we are talking about proletarian internationalism, that is anti-revisionist in that it draws clear lines between our friends and our enemies and whose interests are being served. Opposition to the Keystone Pipeline must include this internationalist perspective, or the opposition movement will consider it success when the crude oil extraction moves from their own back yard, literally, to the Third World.
As all oppressed nations within the U.$. injustice system know there is no such thing as justice or rehabilitation, let alone rights!
In prison is where we see fascism getting out at its harshest.(1) Recently governor Jerry Brown spoke about how prisoners' lawsuits are costing the tax payers (parasites) money.(2) We should know better than this as it's a coverup to implement more restricted measures in prison. Not only is he seeking support to curb lawsuits but now Brown wants to implement policies limiting what prisoners can actually sue about. Like an enemy telling his combatant he can only shoot at the ground. Perhaps the recent events of prisoners waking up has caused prisoncrats to put a gag order on us. If tax payers really want to save money they should realize how much more officers (pigs) get paid for working in the SHU (ASU, PSU) than working in general population.
As a comrade wrote in ULK 30 about a case concerning the suppression of Black Panther literature, (Tani Toston v. Muchael Thurmer et al. no#10 cv 288) "The ruling is a joke and more about suppression and control." Here in California the state apparatus is gearing up for repression and suppression of our so-called "freedom of speech." This time they are attacking our right to redress a grievance. Prisoners should be aware of the consequences this plan can have on our fight against repression. Once this policy is implemented it'll be much more difficult to rectify issues we face. Of course when push comes to shove the state will not hold back to silence the resisters, as the Attica prison rebellion has shown us.
Time should be taken to study and realize the hows and whys. Giving them an inch will only do us harm and further sink us into the hole of doom. Combating the issue of censorship should be one of the top issues we fight right now.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Jerry Brown knows how to rally the Amerikan tax payer against the imprisoned lumpen. Not a difficult task we might add. The federal government already passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act in 1996, which severely restricted prisoners' ability to file lawsuits. Yet Brown claims California still can't afford the lawsuits that make it past these restrictive measures. He claims lawyers are just scouring prisons looking for problems. Well, MIM Distributors was officially banned from sending mail to prisoners locked up by the CDCR for years, a ban that still comes back to haunt us every so often, by bureaucrats who didn't get the memo that it ended in 2008. Yet no lawyers came out of the woodwork to fight for our constitutional right to free speech (Brown claims these constitutional issues are easy money). And we've got a long line of prisoners with serious grievances, of not just censorship but physical abuse and neglect, who would love to talk to these lawyers looking for this supposed easy money. We'd be happy to put them in touch.
The president, commander-in-chief of the greatest empire on earth, the U$A, gave the yearly "state of the union" on February 12, 2013, as required by the U.$. constitution.
Funny thing is that while I sit in prison and know first hand that what he says is crap, I couldn't help laughing at the contradictions in his speech. Let's start off with this: "...kept the promises we made." Well, let's go to the obvious and talk how the U.$. broke most, actually all, of its treaties with the First Nations. They promised them a specific amount of land and agreed to leave them alone. But then the U.$. took more land thereby shrinking the "Reservations."
The pre$ident said this is the "greatest nation on earth." Third World nations and oppressed nations within the U.$. know this is BS. This nation was founded on genocide and continues its tradition of destruction and death with wars in the Middle East. Keep an eye out for the United $tates's next deployment of aggression and occupation on other nations or, as they say "humanitarian missions."
Obama talked about "Peoples' government." As a settler nation, this Euro-Amerikan population has no legitimacy to rule, govern or even be on this continent. This is not a government for all people, but a select few who rule over the rest, while buying off most Amerikans to complicity (i.e. the labor aristocracy).
Obama spoke about "respect[ing] the fundamental rights of people." If the United $tates had an ounce of respect for rights they wouldn't have the largest percentage of its population in prison of any country in the world; 2.3 million locked away, most Latino and Black. Singling out certain nationalities for imprisonment is not respect, but oppression. If the United $tates respected fundamental rights of people why did it invade Iraq? No proof of weapons of mass destruction were found. Why does it sanction torture? Why is the white nation in Amerika better off than the oppressed nations, not to mention Third World nations?
Finally Obama talked about "fundamental rights of democracy [and] the right to vote." He never mentioned anything about prisoners and how they can't vote. This is a clear example of a deliberate policy of outcasting certain people.
Obama's speech offers lip service to the ideas of equality and representative government, possibly tricking the colonized into thinking there is some hope of making this democracy work for them. But Amerika remains an imperialist nation whose wealth is built on the exploitation of the Third World peoples. Those who sweat and die to supply the cushy lives of Amerikan citizens do not get a vote in this "democracy."
[Below we have excerpted sections from a letter by a USW comrade sent to Turning the Tide. While the comrade does a good job responding to this gross misrepresentation of MIM line, we have added comments in brackets to clarify a few points.]
I was surprised by your latest issue of Turning the Tide (TTT). More specifically, Michael Novick's article entitled "PART's Perspective: On Contradiction and the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People." Quite a brazen title by the way, as the point of the original essay penned by Mao was to point out the correct way for the Chinese Communist Party to help resolve contradictions among the people, and between the party and the people in light of the incidents in Hungary; as well as a critique of Stalin's shortcomings with that matter and to help forge unity with the masses.
I'll just give you a review of the entire article, in which Mr. Novick attempts to illuminate the prisyn masses with regards to the differences between TTT's political line and that of the MIM camp currently represented by MIM(Prisons), United Struggle from Within (a MIM(Prisons)-led anti-imperialist mass organization for prisyners), the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement and the Leading Light Communist Organization.
To begin with, i hold MIM(Prisons) in very high regard, not just because they hold the correct political line on everything politically meaningful under the sun, but because i owe my own political development to them.
My first point of contention with Mr. Novick's article is when he erroneously makes the statement that MIM's position concerning the labor aristocracy is that it is a permanent labor aristocracy. That is a false statement. MIM has never made the statement that the Amerikan labor aristocracy is a permanent labor aristocracy. Not only is that statement metaphysical and anti-dialectical but in complete contradistinction to the hystorical process and MIM line. Yes, the so-called Amerikan "worker" is indeed part of the labor aristocracy, and not proletarian as revisionists of varying stripes would contend. The Amerikan "worker" forms a part of the labor aristocracy; a sub-stratum of the petty bourgeoisie. Whenever they addressed this issue MIM continuously made it a point to say that the imperialist country working classes were (and still are) a pro-imperialist labor aristocracy at this time. Furthermore, the concept of the labor aristocracy goes all the way back to Engels when he described to Marx how the English proletariat was becoming more and more bourgeois. Lenin, as well as other Bolsheviks, also formulated on what basis this labor aristocracy was formed, which is of course super-profits stolen from the colonies. It seems to me however that those who continue to negate the existence of a labor aristocracy, and instead dogmatically cling to the hope of an Amerikan proletariat, do so either out of sheer ignorance or, more dangerously, for the purpose of revisionism. To continue to advocate this false thesis in the imperialist countries is to, as a "logical conclusion," advocate for multi-national/class unity in the fashion of Trotsky and his successors, i.e. the erroneous line that leads one to lean on and wait for the white working class to wake up and come to the oppressed nations' rescue.
Novick is also incorrect in his statement that "MIM sees women and prisoners as elements of US society where there is prospect for revolutionary development." Well, half wrong anyway. The MIM never saw, nor does it today see, First World wimmin as elements of U.$. society in which there is any real group oppression to speak of which would provide a prospect for revolution. The MIM recognizes First World wimmin, primarily white wimmin, as gender-privileged. They are not at all part of the revolutionary vehicle precisely because being privileged economically (among other things) makes them gender privileged in relation to Third World wimmin. Or in MIM's own words: "After looking around MIM came to the conclusion that like First World labor, First World women are mainly oppressors, not oppressed people."
We must also disagree with Mr. Novick's assertion that exploitation exists within the First World outside the realm of commodity production in which waged labor "produces" surplus value. Exploitation is defined as producing something and not being paid for the value of what you produce.
[MIM(Prisons) interjects: MIM line has consistently held that the white nation is not economically exploited. Later this line was expanded to assert that there is no exploitation occurring in the United $tates except within migrant and prisoner populations. To talk about "exploitation" of the planet, as Novick does, is to redefine the term that we use in a Marxist context. He does this in order to falsely imply that we have no concern for ecological destruction, one of many examples where Novick is misleading to dirty our name.
Since our definitions of "exploitation" are so vastly different, it seems pointless to debate who is even exploited. However, what Novick is attacking is the line that the dominance of service workers in the First World is evidence of an exploitative relationship with the Third World. We say this because if you cut off the First World from the colonies they will not be able to produce for themselves what they need to survive, because they're mostly cops, politicians, paper shufflers, sales clerks, bartenders, etc. The opposing thesis is that Amerikan workers are so much more productive than Third World workers that the small productive sector can easily meet the needs of all Amerikans. This productivity also explains the vastly higher wages paid in this country according to this chauvinist view.]
Mr. Novick is further wrong in his contention that we, i.e. the MIM camp, "assume privilege and oppression are absolute phenomona, unchanging and mutually exclusive." Quite the contrary, as dialectical materialists we certainly know that nothing is absolute (except for the struggle of opposites) or unchanging, as motion itself is an expression of change and particular to the law of development. If such an absurdity of which Novick here speaks of were true then MIM(Prisons) wouldn't be taking the time to help develop the imprisyned lumpen of which the rest of society has long since cast off into the abyss.
We furthermore recognize that there is indeed an obvious intersection in nation and class contradictions within the United $tates. In a sense this is what MIM(Prisons)'s work is all about; working with the oppressed nation lumpen, in particular so that we may not only build towards liberating our people, but so that we may liberate our class. This will be our contribution to the International Communist Movement and oppressed people of the world. So, contrary to Novick's statements, we do in fact recognize and acknowledge that the interpenetration of opposites is particular to the law of development. However, there is a dialectical process, and as such a process of stages of which phenomena must go thru before change is complete; a lengthy process at that. Mutually exclusive phenomena do not just magically transcend from one stage to another. If only Mr. Novick would take the time to read MIM literature more carefully then he would know this.
The First and the Third World are currently locked in struggle. This struggle is representative of two mutually exclusive classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. This is the fundamental contradiction on a world scale. Furthermore, this contradiction has manifested itself into antagonistic form, which has manifested into the principal contradiction on a world scale, which is oppressor versus the oppressed nations. Now, objectively speaking, what side of this contradiction are we on?
First World "workers" and Third World labor are two exclusive phenomena, not just because the former feeds off the latter, but because both hold two totally different positions with respect to the global relations of production and to the worldwide means of production as well. What Mr. Novick presupposes to explain with his chauvinist use of dialectics is that the First World labor aristocracy and Third World proletariat are essentially the same no matter the imperialist powers and the populations they serve. Mr. Novick says that privilege and oppression exist throughout class society, even among the exploited and oppressed, and that there is no perfectly oppressed class or sector whose hands are clean.
[MIM(Prisons) adds: We should point out that we see the oppressed nation lumpen in the United $tates as a middle force in that it has interests both opposed to and in support of imperialism. Novick seems to want to define everyone in this way, as potentially supporting or opposing imperialism. But we see the vast majority of Amerikans as clearly on the side of imperialism.
As our comrade points out, Novick throws around words like "dialectical" and "contradiction," while denying the very essence of a class analysis that is based in dialectical materialism. He asserts that it is absolutist to state that, overall, the labor aristocracy has a material interest in imperialism while the proletariat has interests opposed to it. This is consistent with the idealist view behind the strategy of groups like Anti-Racist Action who go out and confront the most overt racist elements of society. They attack racism, which is a symptom of national oppression that is at the core of the imperialist system. They focus on the realm of ideas, rather than making a materialist class analysis and getting at the root of the problem.
At the same time Novick is willing to identify enemy classes in the Third World, as in his discussion of South Africa. It seems he is selective in which classes get the benefit of the doubt.]
In addition to the above, Mr. Novick then uses the argument that there is currently a "class fall" being experienced by many in the United $tates and Europe, and that U.$. whites with less than a high school education are experiencing the loss of more than five years life expectancy is proof positive that the labor aristocracy is in all actuality going thru the re-proletarianization process. Funny, Trotsky had similar things to say during the Comintern of 1916 in his defense of Western Europe's newly rising labor aristocracy and his racist refusal that the revolutionary ebb was moving to the east. Unfortunate to say that we're not really surprised to hear such nonsense, as the TTT position on inter-communalism is the theory of Trotsky himself.
[MIM(Prisons) adds: Novick seems to slightly exaggerate a recent study that showed a 5-year decline in life expectancy for white wimmin without a high school diploma, but only a 3-year decline for men in that group. The average decline for all whites without a high school diploma was around 4 years.(2) Certainly a significant and unusual decline. But let's look at this population closer.
The percentage of "non-hispanic whites" without a high school diploma in 2012 was down to 7.5% according to the U.S. Census. In 1990, unfortunately, the census does not have this category. However, the percent of "whites" without a high school diploma was 21%. This percentage decreased to 12% for "whites" by 2012. This "whites" category includes many Latinos, who skew these numbers. We don't know if the paper in question addresses this issue because it is not available to read in the public domain. But any way you cut it, the white population without a high school diploma has shrunk quite a bit since 1990. That is no doubt partially due to that group being disproportionately elderly, as the older someone is the less education whites got when they were young.
As this group shrinks, it becomes more concentrated among the elderly and the very disadvantaged. It does not surprise us that the least educated 7.5% of white Amerikans face conditions that lead them to have declining life spans. The United $tates is a very individualistic society, leading to such great disparities that even in the richest country in the modern world there are whole populations that suffer great disadvantages. And as the article reporting on this study points out, there are epidemics of drug abuse and unhealthy eating in the United $tates that are correlated to low educational achievement.
The question is, are these 7.5% of white Amerikans a potentially revolutionary population? Others have tested this hypothesis, and the evidence seems to point to no. There is much more evidence that poor whites are the mass base for fascism. That's not to say that 7.5% or even 15% of whites couldn't support anti-imperialism. It's just not going to be that 7.5% that Novick refers to as evidence that whites are experiencing a "class fall" in the United $tates.]
Again, what Mr. Novick keeps willingly blinding himself to here is that there is a qualitative difference between the First World and the Third, not just in wage differentials, but living standards and government services, all of which are representative of real life material interests which chain the supposed First World "proletariat" to the imperialist fatherland. This is why a dialectical outlook, as well as a concrete class analysis, is of crucial importance to the revolutionary movement. Only by maintaining the first and conducting the second will we be able to discern real friend from real foe, something Novick and company are apparently unable to do and so have aligned with both nation and class enemies to the internal semi-colonies and Third World proletariat and peasantry.
The next paragraph in question is just so utterly ridiculous that i was initially taken slightly aback when reading it. Seriously, "MIM isolates prisons from the social contradictions they enforce"?! Please, Mr. Novick or any other associate of TTT, if you're gonna go into the "differences" between the MIM camp and yourselves, do us all a favor and inform yourselves properly on that which you seek to criticize. It's just so hard for me to believe that someone as politically educated as Mr. Novick professes to be (or should be, rather) is going about spewing straight up lies.
The Maoist Internationalist Movement and its spin-off organization have long since held that the massive Amerikkkan prisyn system largely developed as a form of social control to maintain in check the superfluous lumpen populations of the Black, Brown and First Nations following the failed national liberation struggles of the 60s and 70s. What Novick is saying is nothing but BS! MIM(Prisons) is the only organization in the United $tates that is actively working to politically develop the oppressed nation lumpen so that we may become the subjective motivating force for the liberation and self-determination of the oppressed internal semi-colonies that are New Afrika, Aztlán, Boriqua and the various First Nations that are corralled onto the reservations! They, and they alone, have been doing this for many years now. And where, pray tell, has the rest of the Amerikan left been in the middle of all this? As Mao taught us, there must be a constant leadership with the masses in an endless spiral of perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge and revolutionary practice, so on and so forth. Or simply put, "from the masses to the masses."
Another outright lie presented by Novick is his statement that MIM's view obscures class and colonial contradictions in the U.$. Likewise, Novick's statement that U.$. society is turning into a carceral state is itself misleading in more than one way. Ironically enough, this sweet one-liner itself obscures class and colonial contradictions by making it sound as if we're all in this together (read, white, Black, Brown etc. "working class" unite!) Trust us, for those of us from barrios and ghettos of Amerika, the prisyn-like methods of daily life are nothing new. Furthermore, they don't represent any "new stage in the basic colonial nature of the state and society" but are instead a part of the foundational building blocks of Amerika and the white settler-state that has made its home here; they are essential to the imperialists and we resent the fact that Mr. Novick wants us to believe that the white settler is somehow now on the receiving end of this oppression.
As if all this wasn't enough, Novick once again shows us his Trotskyist colors when he criticizes "cross-class" alliances, in particular the United Front method of organization. You know, the same method that brought us such victories as the defeat of fascism in WWII and the liberation of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Leave it to the Trotskyists to damn to hell all unholy alliances not deemed morally pure enough for their pie in the sky ideals. Furthermore, Novick makes it appear as if the struggle in South Africa was a People's War waged for national liberation, somehow influenced by MIM. The disaster in South Africa had nothing to do with a communist-vanguard-led United Front, but rather, everything to do with its lack thereof.
[MIM(Prisons) adds: As we wrote in ULK 30: Ironically, MIM was on the front line of the movement in the U.$. in the 1980s supporting the revolutionary forces in South Africa that opposed the neo-colonial solution.]
Please refrain from making such false remarks about MIM, cause they ain't gone nowhere but to the belly of the beast from where they'll help destroy Amerikan imperialism.
Long Live the Legacies of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao! Long Live MIM!
MIM(Prisons) concludes: Of the sections we left out, there were some accusations that would not be principled to make in a public forum like ULK. But we must agree with the USW comrade that Novick deliberately misrepresented MIM line in this article in order to attack our movement. MIM has never feared criticism, and that has not changed. If Novick had actually addressed something that we wrote or published, rather than these straw men and lies, then we could all learn from such an exchange. Instead Novick has muddied the water. And that does not serve the anti-imperialist movement, whatever your political line.
Years ago we lamented the inability of many of our readers to distinguish our line from those of other "radical" and even reformist organizations of all sorts. This is knowledge that the masses must have at some level before we can build a strong movement. We're glad to hear that someone wrote to Turning the Tide to ask how they differ from MIM, but as we can see, that is not always the most fruitful approach. Comrades should be studying literature from various sources, especially sources that they think sound good to them. You should compare and contrast these sources to better understand their differences. MIM(Prisons) is very clear what our dividing line points are, but most groups aren't so clear. And they can often be deceptive. If you want our perspective on a certain organization, go ahead and ask. We do have reviews of a number of them. One thing that the original MIM published and promoted widely was a pamphlet entitled, "What's Your Line?" which identified the various political lines in the communist movement and what groups fell into what categories. To expand that project to the prison movement and the contemporary organizations that exist today would be a great step in expanding everyone's understanding of politics and where they stand. So we encourage comrades to send in their reviews and struggles like this that they have with other groups so that we can expand these resources in the future.