The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 19]
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Organizing the Lumpen is Hard

lumpen united front

Organizing the imprisoned lumpen within the United $nakes is certainly nothing easy. However, speaking technically and from a materialist perspective, it should be relatively easy. As First World lumpen we face much more oppression than our oppressed nation counter parts who have ascended to the ranks of the petty-bourgeoisie/labor aristocracy. Therefore, when conducting a proper class analysis within the United $tates it is the law of contradiction that tells us that those most oppressed in the economic sense by capitalism's contradictions in society will be the scientifically designated revolutionary vehicle. Having no proletariat to speak of within U.$. borders, besides perhaps the migratory workers, the next best thing or class of people resembling a revolutionary vehicle becomes, in our case, the bourgeoisified lumpen.

Therefore, as any good communist should know the heart of social change, the very meat and marrow of it all within U.$. borders rests with the lumpen. And so in knowing all this there is still a question to be begged. Why is it so damn hard?!

The lumpen as a class is the direct product of the capitalist mode of production and has its ideology rooted and embedded in the bourgeois philosophy of "me, myself and I." It is this backward bourgeois thinking which we must first focus on defeating. Victory on the ideological front should be our first real goal. The more people we win over on the ideological front, the more successful we'll be in accomplishing all other tasks. This is the principal contradiction that needs to be resolved with respect to organizing the lumpen.

ULK as an ideological weapon is a good tool in helping us to win over the prisoner population in a conscious way to not only their own class based cause, but more importantly to that of the truly oppressed and exploited, the international proletariat and peasantry, i.e. the Third World masses.

ULK and now USW, with the direct ideological assistance provided by our Maoist teachers at MIM(Prisons), are currently spreading Maoist thought amongst and throughout the prisoner population. With all this said and being done therefore it should be relatively easier to organize the imprisoned population.

So why is it still so damn hard?

The answer once again to the aforementioned and repeatedly asked question is: ideology.

Case in point, take the California Department of Corruption for example, the biggest warehouse of people in all of the United $tates. The imprisoned lumpen within this golden gulag might very well be one of the toughest nuts to crack for USW and so it should serve as a case study for MIM(Prisons).

The CA Dept. of Corruptions is the very focus of many of the internal contradictions of Amerikkkan imperialism peculiarly personified in national oppression and class warfare. For that matter just about any Amerikkkan prison is a perpetrator of these superstructurally demanded operations. Killa'fornia however differs from most other states in the way in which the lumpen organizes itself. It's not merely a matter of organizational differences as compared to other LOs, in other states rather a difference in ideology of each nation-based LO. Perhaps this is why state repression is so intense, as well as carried out over and beyond the call of duty by prison administrators here.

Just as your average Amerikan foot soldier believes that fighting Islamic anti-imperialists is their number one job as "freedom loving Amerikans," so does your average pig on the street, as well as those working the prisons, believe that the biggest threat to internal security and class interests inside "the homeland" is the lumpen.

While on the California "mainline" it is easy for a USW comrade to bang their head on the ideological brick wall of backward-bourgeois-individualistic thinking when attempting to organize the lumpen for their own interests. Failed attempts to facilitate peace treaties between LOs or failed attempts to organize peaceful protests over real issues doesn't say much about a comrade's effectiveness while working within these conditions. Being that prison is only a microcosm of its given society, and knowing that the contradictions of the former are only equal or greater, for the most part in the most extreme sense, than that of the latter, deems that that principal contradiction that needs to be resolved in order for us to begin successfully organizing the lumpen is that of ideology. The difficult thing here is to persuade the prisoner population to become class conscious; the rest is relatively easy.

"The correctness or otherwise of the ideological line and political line decides everything. When the party has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns then it can have guns; if it has no political power then it can have political power." - Mao Zedong

What applies to parties can usually be applied to individuals.

Some comrades in USW and MIM(Prisons) might believe that the important thing here when building class consciousness throughout the imprisoned populations is in getting lumpen organizations to adopt a proletarian worldview. If we do this however, all we're really getting is a revisionism of sorts because individuals won't really bother to struggle politically with themselves, they'll just "toll the bell" so to speak. Of course we'll always try to attract as many followers as we can, but only if they're all able and willing to lead.

Some might think that if you remove the barrier of lumpen organizational structure, i.e. the LO itself, that this act in itself will automatically gain us troops to the tenth degree because the lumpen will then be that much more progressive.

True, some individuals who either willingly leave their LO or are forcibly removed from their car do indeed become progressive in one way or another. Some delve into mysticism wishing for forgiveness and a better tomorrow, others become class conscious and take up the struggle of ending oppression in all its forms. For the most part however they just keep on doing the same old shit. "Same shit, different day," as they like to say.

Just as we can only build socialism one country at a time, we can only revolutionize the prison population one persyn at a time; and just as the theory of simultaneous world revolution is an incorrect one, so is it incorrect to think that we can revolutionize whole LOs all at once or anything close to that.

I say all this to make the point that the one organizational barrier for the most part isn't the end all be all when it comes to preventing the prison population's revolutionization process. Some comrades might know what I'm talking about if you're housed in an environment where there are no real prison politics to speak of, that is to say you don't have to worry about another prisoner trying to pressure you to conform to socially accepted and required norms.

A PC yard shows you this when you see people who have left one LO on the mainline only to join another one on a SNY, playing the same games and reconstructing the same old hierarchy and policies that got 'em to a PC yard to begin with.

It's almost as if the prison population must be shocked out of their zombie-like state of existence before they can exhibit some type of real progressiveness. Feeling this way can surely discourage some comrades from doing the necessary work which the USW has been tasked with. Unfortunately we are forced to work with what capitalism has bequeathed us.

The battle to push people towards scientific-socialism is a most ruthless war waged by the class-conscious and is fought against not only backward individuals but against an entire network of ideas (superstructure). This is exactly why the Chinese Communists had themselves a "Cultural Revolution," because they knew full well that organizing the prison population in this or that direction would never be enough. You have to teach the prison population not only what has to be done but why it needs to be done. For this we must all bear responsibilities!

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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North Creek

I went from rice and deer meat
To bologna and carrots
Four wheelers and Honda XR motorcycles
To a stinky Bob Barker mattress
Grew up chasing girls and a good time
Still growing up - still doing time
Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
To the abolition of classes, the abolition of state power
country music to a dead solitary silence
promising amerikkkan middle class future
To a socialist, communist, bourgeois hater
From a needle to knowledge
Knucklehead to 'never again'
Sally forth from juvenile detentions, prisons, boot camps
only to come back again. and again. and again.
Used to pine away - love sick puppy
over my ex-girls
Now seeking a socialist revolution
and a non-patriarchy, non-sexist world
Faith in God - Gone - turned atheist
Trust in my country - lost - I hate it!
Belief in the people - found - turned non-escapist
A cause worth dying, for - became - most hated
I stand alone now with a couple of friends
Solitary insane, I'll not pretend
Basically I'm just a man now with minimal needs
Mouth silent, eyes bloodshot
The sun sets and rises as my tired soul bleeds

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Add On


I am a universal Builder
Building universally
for in the universe
Be
Allah's university
Adversity's not stopping me
Domestically or commercially
for you see
It works for me to come to thee
Righteously
Poetically
In this form
Universally strong
Living right not wrong
Against the norm
For I've weathered the storm all along
Builders build
Adding on
To life
Three dimensional existence
Hear me now
Bare witness
I've witness'd the relentless
Struggle against this life sentence of persistence
My insistence
To teach the masses resistance
To oppression
Suppression
Mental anguish
Depression
I stopped stressing
Paid attention
Learned to see my struggles as a learned lesson
If not a blessing
For builders which build without question...

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 18]
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Who Is You

Black Champion

From me to you
Look man, y'all crackers need to lay low
'Cause y'all are fucking with a kid who got knowledge coming
Through pipes like drano
MIM organizing revolution, 'cause that's what we're here for
I know y'all didn't expect to see us blow like c-4
Uplifting the Black folk always been my m.o.
So I don't ever want to see this movement end
That's why I move from the middle
Pen in my hand pointed straight for the paper
The white man is the devil, so it's only right that I target 'im
Yea I'm revolutionary minded, but my body built like a gorilla
So it's hard to maintain especially when the system against you
Man don't nobody really understand what we been through
Or how it feel to be locked up in a world where the odds are not with you
A white man kill a black man then everything smooth an' cool
But let a Black man kill a white man then his blood becomes a pool
Plus these sick muthafuckas might show it on the nine o'clock news
Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood an' what did the Amerikkkan justice do?
Beside lettin' that soft ass officer loose
And they wonder why the new generation move around in a group
An' never hesitate to shoot
Black tee, black pants an' some all black boots
We bring Black power to the people just like Huey P. Newton
An' the Panthers would do
Even Martin Luther King had a dream for me an' you
He said that only brotherhood an' unconditional love
Would get us through
A lot of brothers say they are hungry for knowledge,
Then here is your food
They label us a menace because we show an' prove
The Black kids learn more from the streets then they do the school
The white man call us nigga because we don't follow his rules
So they lock us up in cages just like the pets in the zoo
So it's only right that we better ourselves
And learn to stand on our own two
Because in order to build an organization
You have to know who is really you
My brother

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Gender] [ULK Issue 19]
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Call for More Gender Struggles in USW Work

In making a determination of what organizing strategy and tactical approach will be most effective in achieving the revolutionary goals of a political vanguard, we must first conduct a dialectical analysis of our strategic objectives. Thus, we begin our examination with an overall look at our political line. What are our general positions and our main objectives? Which of these should be given priority? What tactics will best advance the struggle for liberation, justice, and equality?

In the United $tates, the most oppressed groups are prisoners, First Nations, and sexual minorities/wimmin. Therefore, it is these specific groups to which I give priority and focus here. [We have excluded the author's analysis of First Nations to focus this article. - Editor] How can we better organize these groups? What tactics have worked in the past?

The Congress Report 2010 by MIM(Prisons) makes no mention of wimmin or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender, Queer) prisoners, or of issues and projects specifically affecting these groups.(1) As a transgender revolutionary feminist prisoner, and a USW comrade, I feel that the absence or exclusion of these oppressed groups from the discussion is of significant concern. Whenever MIM(Prisons) is confronted on the issue of gender, it merely refers to the old back issue of MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism. But what is being done now, today, in regards to gender oppression and the advancement of revolutionary feminism within the ranks of MIM(Prisons)?

The concept of principal contradiction comes from dialectical materialism, which says that everything can be divided into opposing forces.(2) The revolutionary feminist struggle against patriarchy is by no means secondary to the principal contradiction in the world today between imperialist countries and the oppressed nations they exploit. Sartre has observed that: "if the feminist struggle maintained its ties with the class struggle, it could shake a society in a way that would completely overturn it."(3)

The struggle for gender equality also includes transgender wimmin and other sexual minorities. The situation of transgender prisoners, particularly, is so vexing to prison administrators that the National Commission on Correctional Health Care has drafted a position statement titled "Transgender Health Care in Correctional Settings," which reads in part: "when determined to be medically necessary for a particular inmate, hormone therapy should be initiated and sex-reassignment surgery considered on a case-by-case basis."(4)

Transgender females, especially in prison, are often discriminated against and sexually abused in much the same way as biological wimmin, but far worse. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) has introduced a much needed piece of legislation, the Prison Abuse Remedies Act (PARA), which would end the widespread impunity enjoyed by prison officials when inmates are raped on their watch. It would change the worst parts of the PLRA, which makes it virtually impossible for prison rape survivors to seek redress in court.(5) Attorney General Eric Holder and Justice Department officials are dragging their feet on implementation of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission's recommended "Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Detention," the deadline for which passed in June 2010.(6) In the meantime, more than 100,000 adults and youth continue to be sexually abused each year while imprisoned.(7)

In failing to discuss these issues, MIM(Prisons) has missed a great opportunity to revolutionize these oppressed groups and link their struggle to the overall anti-imperialist movement. This is a strategic and tactical mistake on our part, in my humble opinion.

Wimmin and the LGBTQ community are oppressed groups and potential revolutionary classes nearly on par with oppressed nations, particularly within the criminal "justice" system, and MIM(Prisons) must raise their level of importance on the list of priorities at least to the level of national liberation struggles and prisoners' struggle. This is in line with the Maoist theory of United Front and the expansion of the anti-imperialist struggle among lumpen organizations, as well as internationalist solidarity. Wimmin and Queers of the world, Unite!

Notes:
1. Under Lock & Key, September/October 2010, No. 16 (San Francisco; MIM Distributors, 2010)
2. See "Strategy and Tactics in the Belly of the Beast," ULK 13
3. Jean-Paul Sartre, "Simone de Beauvoir Interviews Sartre," Life/Situations: Essays written and spoken. (New York" Pantheon Books, 1977) p93-108.
4. See "Should State pay for convicts sex change?" T.I.P. Journal, Vol 10, no1, Spring 2010 (Wheat Ridge, CO: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc., 2010), p3.
5. Lisa Stannow, "JDI Applauds Proposed Reforms," T.I.P. Journal, vol 10, no1, Spring 2010 (Wheat Ridge, CO: Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc., 2010), p.5.
6. Action Update, April 2010, Just Detention International, www.just-detention.org
7. Ibid.


PTT of MIM(Prisons) responds: In a discussion of what the principal contradiction is in the world today, and what role feminism plays in that contradiction, let's first clearly define what a "principal contradiction" is:

"There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions." - Mao, "On Contradiction"

Ending oppression is our goal. The struggle towards this goal in our current society is our "complex thing." It has many contradictions which are interacting with each other throughout the course of its development (we say gender, class and nation are the main three). Determining which contradiction is principal in the world today gives us a guide for how to organize and what issues to organize around. We determine which is the principal contradiction using a materialist (based in material reality) analysis of history. The principal contradiction is principal (and not secondary) because of the way its development will impact the development of other contradictions. We do not choose it, it is shown to us in history.

Establishing a principal contradiction is not a matter of deciding which struggles most affect us on a persynal or subjective basis. The principal contradiction is not the most subjectively important contradiction; it is the one we need to focus on because history has shown that it will bring the best results. As sympathizers with all oppressed peoples in the world, including wimmin and LGBTQ people, we hope to reach communism as fast as possible to minimize humyn suffering. But based on our study and analysis, we say that nation, and not gender, is the principal contradiction at this time in history, and we need to organize to push the national contradiction forward.

For example, and contrary to what Queen Boudicca claims, oppressed nations are far more oppressed by the criminal injustice system than biological wimmin. In 2009, men were 14 times more likely to go to state or federal prison than wimmin, while Black men were 6.5%[this incorrectly read percent] times more likely than white men.(1) The gender gap is bigger than the national gap, but in favor of oppressing biological men. To argue that bio-wimmin are more oppressed you're gonna have to base your argument somewhere else.

Our comrade does present here examples of the unique oppression faced by wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners in the United $tates. Yet, the form of solutions proposed are reformist at best and at worst the demands of the gender privileged. We must not focus on these examples of oppression in isolation, as a replacement for a scientific analysis of how development of the gender contradiction will affect other contradictions (namely nation) and our overall goals, as Queen Boudicca does.

Historically laws against rape have expanded, not combatted, gender privilege. Similarly the development of leisure time related medicine has largely benefited the gender privileged at the expense of the oppressed. The use of drugs related to depression and mood is a means of adapting to an oppressive system, or being forced to submit as is more clear in the prison environment. That said, we would encourage comrades to utilize antidepressants as a last resort if they are unable to put in work without them. The initiation of hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery could play similar roles as psychological aids to cope in an oppressive world. But when we are considering strategic battles on behalf of the oppressed, shutting down control units, for example, will have a much bigger influence on mental health while also developing the anti-imperialist struggle for prisoners as a group.

Under capitalism and imperialism, it is impossible for us to determine whether hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery are objectively medically necessary for all time or just useful as a crutch for people who are justifiably maladjusted to an imperialistic world. Sex has long been defined socially and not biologically for the humyn species. Under communism, when gender oppression is eradicated, and gender ceases to exist, will people still want to change their biology? These are questions we cannot answer until we get there. For now we encourage everyone who has a poor self-image and an unsatisfactory sex life to recognize these as products of capitalism and join the struggle toward world liberation.

There is a thorough analysis of how the gender struggle impacts our struggle for communism, and it is contained in the 208 page magazine titled MIM Theory 2/3: Gender and Revolutionary Feminism. While not new, it has a more updated assessment than Sartre, specifically in regards to the gender aristocracy. Queen Boudicca claims to have read and to uphold MT 2/3, but misses a main point that the struggles of First World wimmin generally lead to more national oppression here and throughout the world. Examples include the lynching of Black men as a trade for more gender privilege for white wimmin; the forced drug testing on Third World wimmin directly leading to an increase in the availability of birth control for First World wimmin; and the failed pseudo-feminist movement which has had no positive impact on the gender struggle for the majority of wimmin. It is true that we recommend MIM Theory 2/3 as the best starting point for why nation trumps gender as the principal contradiction.

Although nation is the principal contradiction in the world today, it still may be possible to organize wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners under the MIM umbrella against their own material interests as Amerikans. We believe that prisoners hold the most revolutionary potential within the United $tates, which is why we organize them. If Queen Boudicca is subjectively inspired to organize wimmin and LGBTQ prisoners specifically, then we would support h organizing these populations around MIM line. There are many roles to play in our struggle toward liberation and communism, and MIM(Prisons) can't fill them all. As a revolutionary feminist organization, MIM(Prisons) aims to end gender oppression as part of our struggle for communism, and we would welcome any group into the united front against imperialism that is willing to accept the political leadership of MIM Thought.

Queen Boudicca accuses MIM(Prisons) of not publishing articles about the issues she raises. Yet we have printed letters from this author in ULK, and dozens of other articles addressing gender issues from a uniquely Maoist perspective. In particular, our article from ULK 1 discusses how imprisonment rates of Black men make them more gender oppressed than white wimmin in the United $tates today. And ULK 6 is focused on gender and tackles everything from gay marriage to pornography to the effect of prisons on the family structure.

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[Abuse] [New York]
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Suit's Used for Oppression

I am writing to inform my comrades about a torture "suit" that the state of New York has mimicked from California's state penal system. The suit was designed for sex offenders, NYS DOCS isn't using it for sex offenders. They're using it as a form of oppression, degrading, exploitation, and violation of prisoner's 8th amendment.

The "suit" is a jumper with a zipper in the back, no pockets, no front fly, and a master padlock on the back of the neck. If you don't wear the "suit" you'll be what they call "four-pointed." This is where they shackle you to a start-up desk. They put handcuffs on your wrists and shackles on your ankles for two hours.

It has been proven that New York State DOCS does not have a policy for this "suit." Everything about this "suit" says "you're New York State Slaves."

I've been very violent due to seeing the pigs illegally place comrades in this "slave-suit." I've never had to wear the "suit," but a close comrade of mine had to wear it for 30 days. He refused to wear the "suit" and be paraded around like a slave. The only comrades being forced to wear this "suit" is the Blacks and Latinos.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is one more way the New York State prison system perpetuates brutality against their incarcerated population. Get involved in the struggle to fight this brutality!

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 19]
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Class Hatred


Class hatred's what i'm spewing,
because class hatred's what they're doing
"The beginning of all wisdom,"
that's what Lenin said
The beginning of the end,
that's what i say.

Take a look around and realize your role
Take a look around and put the shit on hold
Become the vehicle of expression
and make your weight felt
Too much practical knowledge to practically ignore.

Fuck a cop in killa Cali!
Is that all you saying?
Fuck that!
Our histories got much more weight than that!

Power to the People!
And all that good shit
Fair distribution & fuck the land sent!
From each according to his abilities,
to each according to his needs
For a world without oppression,
this is what we should strive for,
this is what we need
This is what we should fight for,
not against each other.

Putting it down on the underground,
above ground
United in a Movement,
a United Front.

Black & Brown, and white too,
if you're progressive,
for that matter, Black & Brown
if you're progressive.

Because we can never go nowhere
if we don't get together
United in a front;
hence progressive.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Damn Me?!

There's this confusing aspect I've never quite been able to understand about christian morality. You see, I've sat alone for three years in the solitary superman control unit sensory deprivation dungeon. Where every emotion is sharpened a hundred fold but every avenue to share or express this feeling is cruelly taken away. Except mail. And my pen.

So it irks me to receive these fancy gilded colorful christmas cards from total strangers where they tell me they love me but damn me to the depths of hell in the same breath. Because I'm a sinner my soul is in limbo and its time for me to repent and prostrate myself to the all might glorious one, or burn!

But I love you. Brother. Take care.

Is this what a motherfucker needs? Maybe if you all got together out there and started chanting and holding hands these walls that hold amerikka's 2.4 million political prisoners would crumble and we could join you with a psalm.

Well?

We're waiting...

Of course, maybe because we are top notch "sinners" in your books the last thing you want is for us to be released. Does that thought frighten you! Is it a whole hell of a lot easier to pray for someone's soul than it is to minister to their torturous mindfucked life? Because, in reality, christians and "criminals" are both mindwashed masses. I'd be surprised if one could exist without the other. The former needs the latter to lord over and condemn. And preach to from afar. (The further the better - no?) and what would a "criminal" do without the piles upon piles of guilt, shame, sense of inferiority and hurt his brother christian bestows? In shiny christmas cards.

The time has come to turn the tables.

Your religion and those U$ concentration kamps; your steeples and the judges pulpit; the church and the courthouse are one and the same. Tools of oppression. Both are filled with bigotry, racism and egotism. The priest and the judge. The gangster, the killer and the dope dealer. Who are the real sinners here? Who's the bad guy? The true gang?

I heard once that to interact with the true insanity in a person one has to be aware of the fact that craziness likes to jump ship. Meaning a crazy person has the ability to make you feel like you're the one that's nuts. And I'd say the same applies to unjust systems in power. They have a way of mindwashing you into a nazi or a 'mexican-border-fascist-crazed-minuteman.'

So father-elder-sister-brother our struggle is a fight to survive. Day to day. Minute to minute as human beings. Your creed and country are killing us as you pass around the collection plate and mail form letters to us to ease your consciences. Our struggle attempts to raise our fellow captives self-esteem and heal; not guilt-trip and destroy as your church does, the living, right here and now, interest us. Not some idealist bourgeois bullshit afterlife.

It is your imperialist system that must lay down and prostrate and ask for mercy. And not from the almighty or some winged man. But from your fellow man you'll kneel in supplication.

And I"m going to go there. I must.

Why are we the ones hated? The prisoners. We who sit and study and starve to death. And why are they the ones supported? The soldiers. The ones who drop bombs on innocent people for a paycheck. Maybe because all we do is keep beds full and a handful of you employed we're inferior? At least compared to those that keep your gas tanks full and new amerikkan colonies occupied we are. no?

But I digress.

Brother christian, I'll wish you a merry christmas also. And I send my love. But please note I'm not parting with some "beefed up scare tactic ultimatum" that might leave you in tears tonight fingering your pistol. I understand that your kind, who keep medical science in a moral chokehold and evolution out of the elementary schools, are escapists and weak. I know a person who's a citizen of earth's most 'murderous-racist-atomic-imperialist-hypocritical' nation feels a need to bury the old head in the sand. I feel you. I used to hide beneath the needle myself.

I just ask you keep your demons to yourself. Please. Never once did I try to push my dope on you. So give me the same respect.

And as you stand bent over with your head in a stale hole. Know the rest of us have woken up and changed the CD. That bass beat you hear as you lose consciousness isn't the stars and stripes.

We're rocking the anthem of international socialism round these parts. The international!
Let no one build walls to divide us,
walls of hatred nor walls of stone.
come greet the dawn and stand beside us,
we'll live together or we'll die alone.
in our world poisoned by exploitation,
those who have taken, now they must give!
And end the vanity of nations...
we want no condescending saviors
to rule us from their judgment hall...

And comrade christian...comrade!
nighty night.

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[Legal] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [ULK Issue 18]
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Next Steps for an Effective Grievance Campaign

I received the Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC) summary from October 2010. First off, I have to say that this is a good format, with various people sharing ideas and expertise. This format will definitely push the legal struggle forward.

Concerning the grievance petition initiated in California, while i'd initially thought the campaign was a good idea, i have to say that i had my doubts concerning the effectiveness of it. Its entire success hinges on mass participation and not just on 10 or 15 individuals getting involved. Even then i think its effectiveness is a longshot unless of course you're already involved in a legal battle within the judicial system, as presentation of responses entered into evidence as exhibits would help to prove to the court that the handling of grievances by prison officials has some serious faults, which we know they do.

Instead, I like the comrade from California's idea of suing CDCR and attacking its entire appeals process. We can ask that a truly independent institution take over the entire appeals process, or be created if need be. I think this is very much a winnable battle were it to enter the judicial arena. Copies of the grievance petition from prisoners who've already completed the campaign and have received responses should be forwarded to the PLC for forwarding to whomever should decide to initiate and fight the legal battle.

I also have here a copy of a §1983 "Findings and Recommendations Recommending Defendants' Motion to Dismiss be Denied" which was filed by CDCR officials in California against a prisoner in which the pigs tried to have the plaintiff's §1983 dismissed due to supposed failure to exhaust claims. The motion was dismissed and the court found in favor of the prisoner plaintiff. While I do not know of the outcome of the case, i believe this motion is worth a look. As soon as i'm able to obtain copies i will forward them to the PLC for review and dispersal.

For now, however, here is relevant case law pertaining to the exhaustion requirement:


Jones v. Bock, 127 S. Ct. 910, 918-19 (2007)
McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198, 1199-1201 (9th Circuit. 2002)
Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741, 121 S. Ct 1819 (2001)
Porter v. Nussle, 435 U.S. 516, 532, 122 S. Ct 983 (2002)
Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003)
Ritza v. Int'l Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union, 837 F.2d 365, 368 (9th Cir. 1998) (per currium)
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 126 S. Ct. 2378, 2383 (2006)

The following case law was cited to the plaintiff's favor:

Moore v. Bennette, 517 F.3d 717, 725 (4th Cir. 2008)
Aquilar-Avellaveda v. Terrell, 478 F.3d 1223, 1225 (10th Cir. 2007)
Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 684 (7th Cir. 2006)
Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006)
Boyd v. Corrections Corp. of America, 380 F.3d 989, 986 (6th Cir. 2004)
Abney v. McGinnis, 380 F.3d 663, 667 (2d 2004)
Jernigan v. Stuchell, 304 F.3 1030, 1032 (10th Cir. 2002)
Foulk v. Charrier, 262 F.3d 687, 698 (8th Cir. 2001)
Powe v. Ennis, 177 F.3d 393, 394 (5th Cir. 1999)
Underwood v. Wilson, 151 F.3d 292, 295 (5th Cir. 1998)
Mitchell v. Horn, 318 F.3d 523, 529 (3d Cir. 2003)
Brown v. Croak, 312 F.3d 109, 113 (3d Cir. 2002)
Miller v. Norris, 247 F.3d 736, 740 (8th Cir. 2001)

These next citations are concerning requirements for the establishment of law libraries in prisons. I got these out of The Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook 4th edition 2003:

Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817 (1977)
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996)
Benjamin v. Fraser, 264 F.3d 175 (2d Cir. 2001)
Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 242 (3d Cir. 1999)
Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517 (9th Cir. 1991)
Corgain v. Miler, 708 F.2d 1241 (7th Cir. 1983)
Cruz v. Hauck, 627 F.2d 710 (5th Cir. 1980)
Shango v. Jurich, 965 F.2d 289 (7th Cir. 1992)
Lindquist v. Idaho State Bd. of Corrections, 776 F.2d 851 (9th Cir. 1985)
Cepulonis v. Fair, 732 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1984)
Marange v. Fontenof, 879 F. Supp. 679 (E.D. Tex 1995)


MIM(Prisons) responds: In assessing the effectiveness of our campaigns we have a twofold approach. One goal is to win small battles that increase, or maintain space for, the free exchange of political ideas and the freedom of affiliation. Our second goal is to train the oppressed in mass action and power struggles.

The lawsuit idea suggested here might be more effective in meeting our first goal in relation to establishing a legal process for prisoners to have their complaints addressed under the current injustice system. But, ultimately, a real prison movement needs to mobilize large numbers of prisoners into participating in struggling for humane treatment and the freedom to fight for a better world. Without struggle there are no so-called "rights."

While the petition campaign has still been limited in the numbers reached, we are working to better streamline our support for USW campaigns, including the grievance petitions in states where these campaigns are active. We need more than a couple articles in ULK to launch a successful campaign. We need more regular USW cadre who are willing to take these agitational points to the masses on a regular basis. Get in touch with MIM(Prisons) today to get copies of the petition, or to contribute to building a legal case around this battle.

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[Middle East] [ULK Issue 18]
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Imperialist Blockade of Palestine Serving Interests of Zionism

Five months after an emergency relief envoy destined for Palestine was attacked and diverted by I$raeli settler pigs, who killed international relief volunteers aboard a Turkish tanker in international waters, the Amerikan puppet zionist regime announced it had begun allowing international aid to reach the Palestinian people yet again.

Desperately needed human aid such as food, clothing, medicine and construction materials comprised of cement and steel were stopped by zionist occupation forces due to supposed safety and security concerns that armament and explosives were being smuggled among the aid into the oppressed nation of Palestine. These allegations were of course proven untrue, however, the settler state still imposed an illegal ban on international aid entering Palestine as well as an import/export economic blockade.

This "economic blockade" as the settlers and their imperialist masters call it (really just another genocidal weapon, i.e., "excellent weapon of extermination") further destroyed the already pathetic economy which the Palestinian people have been forced to accept by the imperialists and their running dogs. Factories have been at a stand still since May forcing people out of work and most businesses have been shut down. Even agricultural plots which the Palestinians directly rely on to help feed their families have been denied to them. Jewish settlers steal produce from these plots and then destroy that which they cannot carry. The setters then contaminate the land with raw sewage.

So while the Palestinian economy has been destroyed and the international aid which the Palestinian people have been forced to turn towards is turned away, many might wonder exactly how is it that the Palestinians survive? A BBC reporter wondered too, so he took to the streets and found Palestinian markets selling Hebrew products and Hebrew products alone (Leave it to the invincible hand of free market capitalism to recognize where capital has fled and then magically re-organize). However, nowhere in sight was international aid or a re-surging Palestinian economy to be found. This is in direct contradiction to Zionist claims that the ban on aid and economic blockade had been lifted.

When I$raeli Foreign Minister Palmor was asked by the liberal bourgeois media why the supposed expired ban was still in effect despite claims that it's been lifted he resorted to typical oppressor nation rhetoric. Palmor unabashedly stated that the Palestinian people only had themselves to blame for the situation they now found themselves in. Furthermore, this PIG had the nerve to go on and explain that it was the Palestinians own terroristic behavior that caused all this to begin with. As if the Palestinians were the ones to make war on the Jewish people, evict them from their lands and subject them to 62 years of oppression and genocide. Oh wait, those were all zionist acts against the Palestinian people. Of course anytime the oppressed stand up and fight for their rights the oppressors quickly label them "terrorists." The real terrorists here are the backwards looking imperialists and their lackey supporters who refuse to acknowledge the rights of nations to self determination, while they love to talk about "equality" and "freedom."

Well, we in the USW say fuck your equalities and fuck your freedoms! The only freedom and equality we recognize is that of the oppressed.

Palestine and it's people must be defended!

Notes: BBC World News 11/11/10 and 11/12/10

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