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...
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
The basis for unity among lumpen is class. The lumpen are the disenfranchised who derive from the economically depressed areas - the Barrios and ghetto projects - and are for the most part oppressed nations people. The lumpen are known to the oppressor nation as the 'criminal element' which is code word for persyn of color. The lumpen usually come from a lumpen organization that the oppressors call a 'gang,' or survive as some type of parasitic hustler. Although we do make choices, often times in imperialist society our choice to engage in crime is a logical one due to the national oppression we endure.
As communists it is our job to fully understand the laws of social development, and the lumpen are an essential part of these laws today, especially here in the imperialist stronghold. In Marx’s theory of ‘social relations of production’ lies the question of ownership, that is what ‘class’ owns the tools and what ‘class’ uses the tools. In this imperialist society the lumpen neither own nor use the tools. We are excluded from production and live under the heel of capitalist relations of production. The propertied class has monopolized the productive forces. The lumpen play a crucial role in Amerika in the creation of new productive forces that will come into contradiction with the decaying social relations of production. The current economic crisis is helping to streamline this process.
The lumpen is a class, regardless of what nationality one comes from; we all have similar relations to the tools of society and the distribution of society’s wealth. It is a group that experiences the same oppression and is fighting the same imperialist monster.
It is understood that as national oppression exists it is thus only natural for there to also be national liberation struggles to combat the unevenness in this society, and for revolutionary national struggles to work to bring safety to the people who live in a constant police state in areas of the oppressed nations. This is the correct stance in the face of any oppression. But we can't get caught playing the same dog-eat-dog game that the imperialists play on us and our fellow lumpen. We need an Aztlán Liberation Front that is in unity with the lumpen.
The lumpen in Amerika must begin to realize that we are a class and lumpen fighting lumpen does nothing to liberate any oppressed nation. On the contrary, lumpen-on-lumpen crime will only strengthen the imperialist vice grip on our necks! This is why unity amongst the lumpen is the first step to liberation of all oppressed nations in the United $tates. We don't have to agree on everything, but we must have unity and work together with the full realization that we are up against not just the same monster but one that happens to run the world militarily.
It is essential for the lumpen to come together in a united front in order for liberation to ever be a reality on these shores. Without the critical element of the united front, liberation struggles of any kind are simply idle talk and will not produce. The function of the united front for the oppressed nations and ULK should be 1) to practice peoples' power within the prison system and thoroughly politicize the U.$. prison system, and 2) to practice peoples' power within the Barrios and ghetto projects out in society and thoroughly politicize these oppressed nation areas. These functions should be done with the idea of preparing these grounds for future insurrection.
Lumpen Unite with the International Proletariat!
The basis for unity between the lumpen and the international proletariat is again class-based. The lumpen are connected to the international proletariat by their common oppression by the imperialists and their popular resistance to this oppression. What we must keep in mind is the imperialists think and act on a global scale so we must do the same. Just as many have used the saying "don't show up at a gun battle with a knife," we don't want to show up with a "not in my backyard" mentality when the imperialists show up with an international colonization mentality. We must think of the big picture and on a grand scale of things. Of course we must first work in a particular area, as MIM(Prisons) works primarily with the prison population, to start from one area and eventually expand to include larger or multiple fronts of struggle. All our efforts should be with the intention of chipping away at imperialism.
Regardless of one's oppressed nation, it really is the same struggle against the same opponent. Currently this is seen unabashed by the imperialists' mega-prison system housing millions of Brown, Black, Red and Yellow people. It is seen in people of color hunted down in urban communities by the police and shot dead as if there were safaris in the inner cities. It is seen in the unequal treatment that has been festering in Amerika for over 500 years, the lynching of the body and the lynching of the mind. Therefore, it is not just understandable or justified but damn right necessary for these oppressed peoples to struggle for national liberation. Until New Democracy is achieved, as Mao spoke of, and we finally achieve equality for all in all aspects, the oppressed nations should continue to struggle for self-determination.
As communists we should always maintain focus on our goal of international communism rather than degenerating to simply Brown capitalism or Black capitalism, etc. This is why our unity must be with the international proletariat in mind as this will be our moral compass. Some may say or think "If I can liberate my people in this or that country why would I care about countries in another part of the world?" Well, as I've said before, we are all up against the same monster that cannot be defeated by one group of people, and even if one could somehow liberate one group of people, the imperialists worldwide would smash this isolated nation. We saw it happen in Grenada.
When Marx and Engels put together the theory of communism, it was with internationalism in mind as they saw even back then that the bourgeoisie would not sit back and allow the people to begin liberating themselves. We must always work in unity with the international proletariat in order to rise from lumpen to true revolutionary. Only then will we liberate our people.
La Lucha Continua!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade did a good job of stressing the importance of internationalism in the united front, and in particular pointing out that the international proletariat must be our moral compass. The question we need to ask though is to what degree the imperialist country lumpen's interests are united with the international proletariat, and therefore how they fit into the united front as a class. What this comrade wrote about the need to support everyone's national liberation is true for any oppressed nation in the world, but we face particular challenges due to our material conditions.
MIM(Prisons) sees the lumpen in the United $tates as a bourgeoisified lumpen, in that the whole country benefits from imperialism in the form of basic needs like food, clean water, electricity, etc. as well as in the form of cheap consumer goods. The latter allows the lumpen to own small amounts of capital, creating a spectrum of wealth where a minority in the lumpen organizations are at the level of national bourgeoisie due to their relations to production, distribution and ownership. Even for the relatively poor majority of the lumpen class, a combination of state welfare and the drug game have allowed for access to the material benefits of imperialism the proletariat do not have.
We are watching closely the efforts of the white nation to take away welfare and local drug markets from the lumpen, as well as jobs from the undocumented. Even if these trends are successful, we see compradors among the lumpen and a popular desire for and belief in the Amerikan dream. While the lumpen are a class forced into criminality, there is a class consciousness and culture that derives from this criminality that is individualistic and parasitic. As this comrade alludes to, there is a transformation that must occur to replace the lumpen mentality (in particular its capitalistic elements) with a proletarian one. No national liberation struggles can succeed in this country without tackling this great challenge.
In addition, a growing lumpen class due to imperialist crisis will also touch the white nation. As we wrote about in ULK 14, a declassed white population is the makings of fascist foot soldiers. History has shown this to be the case for oppressor nations. So we agree with the author's alternating use of lumpen and oppressed nations in most cases, but disagree when s/he says the lumpen have the same interests regardless of nationality. Only if the oppressor nation lets go of its white privilege would this be true. This is an even stronger reason why a thesis that the lumpen in general in the U.$. are a progressive force does not hold true.
Give us rest, give us time To sort out why our country doesn't realize Torture laws and racism exist And there's more to life than Those Seinfield reruns you missed As long as you have a Mazda Miata With a full tank and a pack of smokes You couldn't care less about 500,000 dead Iraqi children Less names to intrude on your child's Santa Claus naughty or nice list!?! folks? A dead man hangs from an air vent As a bunch of cowards laugh at him But this man's dying breath Pleaded for me to seek justice for him And the justice will multiply a thousand fold Because my strength is endless I've chosen to pick up a revolutionary cause And the world's vendettas Against my supposed country I'll carry the progressive red flag And your overweight greedy amerikkkans Will finally understand the meaning of sad It's a true emotion that bubbles from within Totally opposite than your sugar come down And more human than your bullshit "sin" Ring around the rosey and pop goes the weasel Is that spittle on your lip Mr Vegetate? Dialectics is jet fuel to your racist diesel Give us rest, give us time To sort out this mess we've made of our lives Give us a chance to pay for our crimes You have our bodies, some of our minds What more do you want? More pain and some fines! Take his rigid body and cut it down Call him worthless, call him clown I called him friend, his mother's son Look at his face, look what you've done