The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Organizing] [Abuse] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Assassins with Badges

Another unarmed person was murdered in cold blood this month of September 2008 in Tucson Arizona by a police officer who believes he has a license to kill anyone in this county that he pleases just because he wears a badge. Police that murder unarmed people in this country are assassins with badges. These public servants who are hired to protect and serve the people of this great country, and are paid by the tax payers, have imposed themselves as judge, jury and executioners. And when they are taken to court and charged with murder they are acquitted by ignorant jurors who have been brainwashed by the ever constant cop shows on TV run by Hollywood on a daily basis. Society in general in this country has been misled to believe these cop shows that the police always tell the truth and that if they murder someone that they had "just cause" to kill.

I can go on and on about the countless murders that the police in this country have gotten away with in the past decade alone. But that would just be like beating a dead horse and expounding on the problem instead of the solution.

What is the solution? Marching like the honorable Martin Luther King Jr did back in the dayz? That worked back then, it won't work today.

How about blowing cops up like the Black Liberation Army did back in the 70s? No. Violence breeds violence. Besides it didn't work back then and it won't work now.

So what is the answer then? Sacrifice, revolution and the propensity for action. It worked in the Attica prison revolt in 1971 (though the system has slowly taken back all the rights given to prisoners since then). Prisoners lost their lives to make that happen. Sacrifice has worked in many instances throughout history.

You know we write to MIM. We talk that talk. Blah, blah, blah. Then we get released and we do nothing to help the oppressed peoples and we get caught up in selfish crimes against ourselves and our own people. It's time to step up. Are u down?

"A man who does not have a cause worth dying for isn't fit to live" - Martin Luther King Jr.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that now is not the time for violence in Amerika, but not because "violence breeds violence" rather because violence by the oppressed from a position of weakness, and without strategic planning and support of the masses, leads to the destruction of a movement and the oppressed within it. We call this sort of violence focoism and history demonstrates its failure. We would also argue that King's strategy of non-violence did not work in his day - he argued that pacifism and working within the system was the only possible solution, and that too has been proven a failure through history. We know that the imperialists will not give up without a fight, and that they will defend what they control with violence. Where we do agree is with the need for sacrifice and organizing both behind the bars and on the streets. We need to be clear that we are fighting for an end to the imperialist system, but in this country today this is a non-violent phase of the struggle.

chain
[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Brutality in Lockdown and No Grievances

This modern day plantation I'm in just came off a week long lockdown due to brothers acting some damn fools [Afrikan on Afrikan]. In that incident a few pigs got injured (so they say), it's funny how they claim to be injured when they was the ones swinging those sticks. In any event, the plantation was shut down then the nonsense started. Very, very small portions of food was given out, not to mention the already small portion that's given. Everyone's cell was tossed-up (they call it legal cell searches), which is crap because what does the entire population have to do with a 14 man (pigs included) incident?

During the cell toss-up these pigs just went along hand-picking brothers in their boxer shorts and handcuffed, taking advantage of them. The roughshod began and it ran for 3 and a half days of plastic buckets over the heads of brothers then striking the bucket with their sticks. They knocked the tooth out of one brother when he asked "why was they kicking his radio around."

These and many other racist tactics was done as a modern day paradigm for the Willie Lynch Theory! I say that because out of the many that I've spoken to, only a handful wrote out grievances, phoned family members, wrote lawyers, etc. The masses chose not to, in fear of retaliation! Some have open dates, others have parole boards coming up, and others just prayed for them!? That last one really got to me and it's a shame that someone would believe that the very god that they forced upon us can save us! I mean, we loved Martin Luther King Jr., but I respect Malcolm because he never gave a damn about the repercussions! By any means necessary! We must continue to uplift our people and stop waiting for some clown named Obama to bring change.

chain
[Control Units] [New York]
expand

Understanding Solitary Confinement

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

True solitary confinement - it's general concept, ultimate purpose, and all of its myriad applications - must be exposed to as many concerned citizens as is possible. Media, cinema, and corrections spokespeople have all contributed to distorting our society's perception of this shameful and torturous practice that has been a facet of this country's history since it's earliest years.

Amnesty International has defined solitary confinement as "all forms of incarceration that totally remove a prisoner from inmate society", elucidating further that "the prisoner is visually and acoustically isolated from all other prisoners as well as having no personal contact with them." But even this definition can forfeit the consideration of other variations of confinement that similarly and adversely affect the prisoners who are imprisoned in them. Professors Craig Haney and Mona Lynch concluded and supported with irrefutable evidence from the study they conducted that solitary confinement refers to a broad set of conditions, including single-celled control units where even some semblance of communication between prisoners is somehow feasible, double-celled control units that produce conditions of both isolation and overcrowding simultaneously, control units where prisoners are subjected to sensory overload as well as sensory deprivation, and control units that impose "small group isolation." The effects of solitary confinement in all of its manifestations within this country's prison system have been recognized by numerous authoritative analysts, as well as their impact upon society as a whole. Studies of this phenomenon, empirical and with scientific experimentation, have been conducted and recorded as early as 1790.

With this in mind, terms such as "punitive segregation", "restrictive housing", "segregated housing", "special housing", "administrative segregation", "disciplinary confinement" and "control units" have all been used to designate constructed environments that employ what are essentially conditions- whether in part or whole - of solitary confinement. Despite their differences, all of them serve similar ends in that all of them employ torturous conditions as punishment rather than rehabilitation.

I have been a prisoner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services prison system for approximately fifteen years to date. I have spent at least two-thirds of those years confined to the system's special housing units (SHU) for lengthy and continuous periods at a time. Recently, former New York State Governor Eliott Spitzer signed a bill into law that provides for mentally ill prisoners who have been sanctioned with disciplinary confinement penalties exceeding thirty days to be removed from conventional SHU's and placed in newly constructed "therapeutic units." The majority of these "therapeutic units" are actually conventional SHU's amended with rooms designated for therapeutic group programming and individual therapy sessions. The rooms are fitted with "cubicles" that amount to small single-occupancy cages, to restrict prisoners contact with program instructors and each other during "therapy." Whether this arrangement is a genuine and sufficient departure form conventional SHU to ward off mental deterioration fostered by the conditions of the various forms of solitary confinement seems to have escaped adequate forum for public debate.

One of the worst SHU's I have been confined to, by my estimation, is the notorious F-Block at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York. I remained there for just over a year.

In their State of the Prisons report on conditions of confinement in 25 New York correctional facilities, published in 2002, the Prison Visiting Committee of the Correctional Association of New York described the SHU at Great Meadow CF as "... one of the most unsettling we have experienced. Many of the inmates were mentally ill and confined in cells behind thick metal doors or bars covered with Plexiglas to protect staff from "throwers." Most striking was the pervading sense of chaos and the way in which inmates with mental illness are isolated, cut off from human contact and caged in barren, concrete walls. Animals in zoos are kept in more humane conditions... the more stable inmates spoke of the constant yelling and noise on the unit, the stench of feces and sweat, and the lack of ventilation." Although the SHU capacity had been reduced since the time of that report, the conditions aforementioned were certainly prevalent even during my confinement there in 2004 and 2005.

With the draconian measures put in place by the Bush administration as a device of its purported "war on terror," and a look to the conditions under which prisoners designated as enemy combatants are being held in at the detention complex in Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. government, I do not see that the use of solitary confinement is being diminished at all. Rather, I foresee that it will expand and morph into forms less conspicuous but more insidious, cultivated with and nurtured by the incitement of mass hysteria and the greed of profiteers.

After clarifying the general concept, myriad applications and ultimate purpose of solitary confinement, this information must be conveyed to the concerned active citizenry. The concept, applications and purpose of solitary confinement serve to control and inflict suffering upon a segment of the population through isolation and deprivation. It does not nor has it ever served to rehabilitate or improve the condition of society.

sources: "Regulating Prisons of the Future", by Craig Haney & Mona Lynch, 23 NYU Rev. L. Soc. Change 447 (1997).
"State of the Prisons" Report, June 2002, by the Correctional Association of New York.
"Enemy Combatant" by Moazzam Begg (the New Press, 2006).

chain
[Theory] [Middle East] [National Oppression]
expand

More Debate on Saddam Hussein

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

[The writer who criticized MIM's article, "War criminals kill Saddam Hussein" responds to our criticisms of his letter below. Some parts of the original letter are left off in the interest of brevity.]

To MIM:

I am in receipt of your letter, entailing your response to my initial letter commenting upon the article featured in the April 2007 issue of MIM Notes entitled "War Criminals Kill Saddam Hussein." ...

The criticisms in your letter were both appreciated and mostly straightforward in style and language. However, they failed on a number of points which I will enumerate as follows:
1) Your statement, "... So the reader's claim that the author is not aware of Iraqi history is clearly due to his own poor attention to the original article..." was false. I never stated or meant to imply even that the author was not aware of Iraqi history in general. Rather, I suggested that the author's knowledge of the history of Hussein's Baathist regime's government specifically is insufficient. Otherwise, how could the author describe Hussein as a martyr for Third World independence- especially after admitting that Hussein killed thousands of communist-minded Iraqis (an admission for which I commend the author for here)? Research of the record of Hussein from the time that Hussein carried out those killings up until the time he himself was killed will reveal that he never renounced this act or any of his counter-revolutionary acts, held himself accountable to the people of Iraq for such acts, or sought to reform himself thereafter. Never. If you can find even so much as a quote of Chairman Mao whereby he at least insinuates the merit of eulogizing leaders who behaved and died as Hussein did, please do share it with me; otherwise, it is just bad "radical chic" propaganda.

Moreover he did not die in the struggle for the national liberation of Iraq. Remnants of his executive and military apparatus fought and perished (including his sons) while he took cover. The image of Saddam Hussein leading a heroic fight against the U$ and Brit invaders simply does not fit the real person or actual curse of events. If you fight an invading force that seeks to occupy and oppress your nation only so that you can re-establish a rule that is equally if not more oppressive, it is NOT a struggle for liberation- it is power struggle between two oppressive forces! Only those who fought and continue to fight against the occupation with the desire to establish a state that is just and beneficial for the people can be referred to as struggling for national liberation. He did not "stand up" to anyone- he was captured while cowering in a hole. He neither fought for nor died for the liberation of the Iraqi people. Stop calling him a martyr.

[MIM responds: Hussein died because he refused to allow u$ imperialism to determine Iraq's future. If he was willing and able to provide the imperialists with what they wanted they would not have waged a war to kill him. He stood up for Iraqi independence and was killed for it. HIs motivations are irrelevant to a scientific evaluation of history.

His status as a martyr is also an objective observation, not necessarily praise for the man. His martyr status was acknowledged by the BBC and New York Times as well, and they certainly don't support Iraqi liberation. See the discussion below of the Zogby poll indicating Arab perception of Hussein for more evidence that he was a martyr for the Iraqi people regardless of whether our writer or MIM likes it or not.]

2) Your statement, "What we're criticizing the stupid liberals for was failing to recognize that Arabs ranked Hussein as the fourth most respected world leader, tied with bin Laden..." is almost as confusing and troubling as the original statement in the article. I did not choose to ignore the "fact," but was simply stressing the point of Hussein's prior service as a U.S. lackey (who never reformed but simply reacted to circumstances he helped to create) excludes him from being considered a revolutionary or martyr for Third World independence. But the statement is as misguided as a Scud missile nevertheless. The article reads:

The stupid liberals on National Public Radio (NPR) said that Arab reaction to the hangings indicated the "confusion" of the Arab people, instead of the chauvinism of white liberals. According to Zogby, Egypt went from 74% negative opinion of the United States to 98% negative in the two years between 2002 and 2004, because of the u$ invasion of Iraq. (3) The overall survey of Arabs showed Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden tied for fourth as the most respected world leaders.

Now are you saying the NPR conducted the survey poll, or are you referring to the same Zogby poll that is cited by the Washington Post? Maybe I am just as stupid as those liberals and cannot comprehend plain English. I now that such survey results would have served the Bush administration quite well in whipping up anti-Arab fervor to keep the war machine going. And of course considering the rogue's' gallery of what constituted leadership in the middle east (or the world for that matter) back in '02-'04 - Mubarak, Jordan's Abdullah, Bashir al-Asad, and Ariel Sharon to name a few- one can hardly accept such a rating without some exasperation (wonder who ranked first).

I do not consider myself to be an American. I am a citizen of this country by birth, not by choice of patriotic allegiance (or even sentiment). Since I was not born in the 1960's, I was not afforded the chance to protest Hussein's murdering of the communists. But I can and will continue to use the fact that he was u$-funded against both him and the u$. In fact, I was using it against him and the u$ in debates before he died, even while he was still in power.

[MIM: All of the data cited is from the Zogby poll, which demonstrated the divide along the principal contradiction quite well. While most Amerikkkans see Hussein and bin Laden as enemies, they are largely admired by Arabs. So here we have science playing out again in facts. Not only was it a fact that Hussein fought for independence from u$ imperialism at the end of his life. That fact is reflected in the fact that he is admired by Arabs as a group; a group which happens to be oppressed by u$ imperialism. (Jacques Chirac of France, Gamal Abdel Nasser former nationalist leader of Egypt, and Hasan Nasrallah of Hezbollah in Lebanon were the top 3 leaders).

Our reader suggests that the results of this study play into amerikkkan anti-Arab sentiments. Well, yes, by definition they only reinforce the attitudes of amerikkkans, which are based on their opposition to the independence of the oppressed to begin with.

We too criticized Hussein as a puppet of u$ imperialism while he was such. But we attacked him for being an arm of imperialism, the number one enemy of the world's people. Once he was no longer serving his imperialist masters this changed.]

3) Your statement, "Clearly our reader has not done much research into the current conditions in Iraq nor compared them to Iraq in the past..." was inappropriate, a distraction from the real purpose for my mentioning that quote of Mao. I am very well informed and aware of the horrible and extraordinarily oppressive conditions created and perpetuated by the invading u$-led coalition/mercenary occupation forces, thanks to NPR, PRI (Public Radio International) and publications such as your own. Let me state first and foremost that I oppose vehemently u$ imperialism (and all imperialism and capitalists) and the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that I support and commend the Iraqi (and Afghan) people who adopt armed struggle against the occupation forces.

My point in citing that quote of Mao was to outline the revolutionary principle of paying "close attention to the well-being of the masses." Mao was not referring to material aspects only. Nevertheless, it is a revolutionary principle and only a slain revolutionary can be regarded as a martyr for Third World independence. However, the fact remains that even before the first Gulf War Hussein used the distribution of resources in Iraq arbitrarily to oppress dissenting groups (including the communists, Shiites, and Kurds) and to consolidate his own power base while enriching his cronies. I agree the u$-led embargo and invasions have made conditions worse. But never forget that Sadr City was a festering slum prior to the invasions, and that before Abu Ghraib was used by the u$ as a torture factory in Iraq, it was used for the very same purpose by Saddam Hussein and his regime [MIM adds: who were at the time were also working for the u$].

[MIM: So our reader admits, h real purpose for quoting Mao was to draw a line of ideological purity rather than to assess the actual material conditions of the masses. We agree with Mao's revolutionary principles, but we are not assessing Hussein for induction into a communist party. Rather we are assessing imperialism as the number one enemy and killer of oppressed people. You think their fascist puppet states are bad, wait until they come in with their cracker foot soldiers and economic sanctions.

Our reader claims to support the liberation forces in Iraq but still wants to oppose Hussein and the Baathists. Would our reader have supported the Japanese imperialists against Chiang Kai-shek while supporting Mao's People's War. Because that wasn't Mao's line, nor would the communists likely have won the war of liberation taking the strategy our reader suggests.]

Now the MIM discussion that filled out and closed the letter really missed the mark. I cannot be classified in any of the components of the "wrong side of the contradiction" you describe. It appears that you made some very wrong assumptions about me due to your interpretation of aspects of my letter and your blinding desire to defend a statement in the article that was inappropriate. Also, my letter does not mention anything about Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, or the occupation of Afghanistan. Let me dispel some of those assumptions right here:

1) Your statement about "fake Maoists" seemed to be intended to include myself. Well, I am not and never have been a Maoist. Do I have to be a Maoist to respect some of the ideas or work of Mao, or of those who tried to implement his ideas (like the Black Panthers), or to quote Mao- even to debate with a "real" Maoist? ... I am a muslim who believes that muslims must strive to establish an Islamic government amongst themselves derived from the Islamic sources of guidance- to enforce the shari'ah (Islamic law) and preserve the safety and integrity of the muslim community. Moreover, I believe that muslims have a right if not a duty to wage armed struggle against anyone (especially the imperialists) who prevent them from accomplishing this.

[MIM: As explained in the article, it is addressing a much greater context of people trying to side against the oppressed (in Afghanistan, Iran, etc) and the imperialists at the same time; the class position of the petty bourgeoisie. Some of these people even call themselves Maoists.

The letter writer fit into this discussion as an example of what we referred to as "pushing a purity line." Our writer continues to push the same line in this letter. As we said, we'd rather ally with an admitted idealist than someone trying to pass idealism for Maoism. Our writer is a muslim, but h also seems to claiming a materialist analysis of history and class struggle in h letters. So we have criticized h positions from a materialist perspective. You do not have to be a Maoist to struggle for truth and liberation. ]

... If Mussolini did not have the finance capital to carry out his fascist agenda but still harbored and espoused the same fascist way of thinking does the lack of finance capital make him any less fascist? If so, enlighten me. The racist anti-Persian rhetoric Hussein used to influence Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq War of the '80's suffices for me as a reflection of his fascist tendencies, for now.

[MIM: Maoists use a scientific definition of fascism that includes finance capital and this debate is the perfect example of why this is crucial. There are many revolutionaries and internationalists who manage to fall into the trap of talking about fascism of the oppressed independent of imperialism (the writers renunciation of h amerikkkan citizenship indicates h might be in this camp).

During WWII the communists allied with the liberal capitalist countries to fight fascism, as that was perceived to be the principal contradiction. If we agree that fighting fascism is primary and we believe that fascism exists independent of imperialism, then we might ally with the u$ against a Saddam Hussein or the Taliban. MIM believes this is absolutely incorrect and that the principal contradiction is between the oppressed nations and imperialism at this time.

As stated in our previous response to the reader, we agree that the Baath regime could have been considered a fascist arm of u$ imperialism during the time in question when thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered for their beliefs in Iraqi independence. We would not call him an "Arab fascist" as the writer does, as this implies support for the Islamofascist line of the imperialists and their white nationalist allies. ]

...It is not opposition to descriptions of men like Hussein as martyrs that creates confusion and disunity amongst the various elements of the oppressed in this struggle. Rather it is the description itself tat causes such confusion and disunity and undermines the struggle overall.

The resolution of contradictions in achieving unity of the masses seems to lie in dialogue and practice. This is the ultimate purpose of my initial letter and this one. I am still very eager to learn more about Maoism and to discover the means of solidarity with other revolutionary-minded persons and movements. Despite my issue with the article aforementioned and discussed, I commend MIM for its courageous and poignant journalism and literature. I thank you for your persistent efforts to expose the oppression of prisoners here in the u$ and abroad. Please respond to this letter if you like, and provide me with a list of books you have available for purchase as well as the issue of MIM Notes that features the article that critiques my initial letter of commentary.

[MIM: The resolution of contradictions among the oppressed can best take place in struggle against the oppressor. That is why it is of primary importance to distinguish who is the oppressor and who are the oppressed we are trying to unite.

As the Maoist camp has been openly discussing for a long time now, there is great confusion in the International Communist Movement around this idea that we can forego alliances with the oppressed when they don't have a developed communist ideology. This isn't about Saddam Hussein and defending his honor. We take up this debate to push a scientific analysis of how to build United Fronts among the oppressed. Others would rather push alliances with the oppressor and call it communism or peace activism.

The Iraqi people will create much better images of resistance to follow than Hussein's Baath regime. Some already exist.]

chain
[Legal] [California]
expand

Prisoners Denied Right to Public Records

Greetings from one of the realms of concrete and steel within California's massive prison industrial complex on the central coast in the sleazy valley. In my efforts to re-obtain copies of some records that have been improperly seized I have presented numerous written requests to prisoncrats who tend to ignore such requests.

If or when a prisoner seeks to present such matters on administrative appeals they are customarily mysteriously lost or screened out by the appeals coordinator who acts as a risk manager who systematically rejects administrative appeals on any manufactured ruse he can phantom with impunity, so after going through such headaches one tends to seek alternative means of accomplishing his endeavors.

The California legislature enacted California government code section 6250 which in the pertinent part states "that access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state." This being a right and not a privilege when you look a bit further 6252 definitions sub (c) "persons" include any natural person, etc. sub (d) "public agency" means any state or local agency. Sub (e) "public records" include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics, etc. sub (f) "writing" means any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying….any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored. Sub (g) "member of the public" means any person…etc.

The definitions nowhere state that a prisoner is not a person so the provisions should be equally applicable for a prisoner as it applies to anyone else one. Now pursuant to 6253(c) "each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall within 10 days from receipt of the request determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records…" sub (d) "nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit an agency to delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records…"

When considering the mandatory language of 6253(d) one would conclude that the legislature did not intend for any state agency, including the CDCR to have the right to delay or obstruct anyone from the obtaining of non-confidential public records. In fact 6258 "proceedings to enforce right to inspect or to receive copy of record" state: "any person may institute proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief or writ of mandate in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce his or her right to inspect or to receive a copy of any public record or class of public records under this chapter…"

All of this is quite clear and simple language, right? I challenge everyone to look up the public records act commencing at California government code section 6250-6276. Nowhere does it say that anyone can adopt regulations that are not applicable or conflict with the public records act provisions. Section 6253.4 reads "agency regulation and guidelines which authorize every agency to adopt regulations stating the procedures to be followed when making its records available in accordance with the section". In fact at 6253.4 (b) "guidelines and regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be consistent with all other sections of chapter and shall reflect the intention of the legislature to make records accessible…"

How then can the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation simply ignore a prisoner's public records act request? When one presents the matter to the court for consideration, the state court would then take the position that the petitioner has failed to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to 15 CCR 3084.1 because he is under the jurisdiction of the department! Yet no where in the provisions of the public records act do I see where it states that the provisions of Cal Gov. C. 6250 does not apply to persons under the jurisdiction of the CDCR or revoke the right to access public records.

It is wrong to compel a prisoner to submit an administrative appeal regarding obtaining a non-confidential information needed as of a result of a federal court order that directed the plaintiff to add some other specific information to an amended complaint within a specified amount of time. Prisoncrats know this and purposely seek to cause the prisoner to not comply with the federal order so as to indirectly cause an action to be dismissed for non-compliance with the courts directive. Well luckily I was able to make some of the required corrections without a complete copy of the administrative appeals. This problem serves to further expose the injustice that prisoners are subjected to in the pursuit of the legally guaranteed rights. Not to mention that a 602 can take over 6 months administratively.

chain
[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California]
expand

Visitation cut off at Salinas Valley State Prison

I am writing to let you know that these fucking pigs are at it again. Yesterday and today these pigs turned away at least fifty people from coming in to visit they're incarcerated loved ones. I myself was waiting on a visit yesterday and today. However since we are on lockdown at the moment there is no possible way for me to know whether my visitor did indeed come. If she did, then she would've come all the way from New York for nothing. Protocol for these pigs requires that they notify us inmates if they refuse our visitors entry into the facility, however that almost never gets done.

We here at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) have been having many difficulties with our visiting for the past couple months, it is now beginning to come to a boiling point.

Our recent troubles mostly began a month and a half ago when rumors first started flying within the inmate population that there would be new visiting guidelines implemented. The main guideline affecting us at this moment is one which states that from now on all previously approved visitors must re-submit every two years. Now when rumors of this new implementation were first whispered, I as well as other inmates wrote and inquired to staff about it. Somehow visiting staff nor any other staff seemed to know anything about anything.

All of a sudden at the eleventh hour about 65 inmates on the yard received notices that some of the people on their approved visitors list were due to re-submit by July 9th or risk being taken off of their visiting list. Now they say that visitors were due to re-submit by the 9th of July, however no one was official notified until the last week of June and everybody knows it takes an average of 30 days or more to be approved. These pigs know damn well that even if visitors re-submitted before July 9th it still wouldn't have given anyone enough time to be re-approved by the deadline.

More than 65 people on the yard have had their visitors entry into the insitution denied, and furthermore they were never duly notified before or after the fact. They all had to find out from their own visitors days later via the phone and in some cases weeks later thru the mail. Total bullshit!

Now today there are new reports of these pigs callousness. It's like they're just making up their own new and special rules every other weekend. They have been changing the color which visitors are permitted to wear on a regular basis. In addition to prohibiting solid blue and solid red, which we all have know about for a long time, they recently added solid brown and solid green tops and bottoms. Today they denied a woman entry because she had on white pants. They are also now stating that there is to be no blue or red of any kind on any piece of clothing at all, no matter how minute. This is perposterous!

To add insult to injury these pigs don't even have the decency to communicate with our friends and family in a civilized or respectfull manner. They always speak to our families in a disrepsectful tone. And if our loved ones try to argue that point, then these pigs always have the same response, "Don't like it? Then you could leave" or "That's it, you're not coming in today." Now remember, these are grandmothers and mothers, fathers and brothers, with children in tow. More than half the people coming every weekend are coming from Los Angeles, San Diego and other parts of Southern California or further away in Northern Calif. It's one thing to deal with us in a certain manner, it's an entirely different thing to disrespect our families.

People are also being denied entry onto the grounds due to a new metal detector in the visitor processing area. If, after going through the metal detector three times, an individual is not able to clear it, then they are being denied entry for the day. We all know that women are not allowed to wear bras with metal wire, so nobody does, however now if the bra has a metal clip or button they are being forced to cut the metal off of the clothing/bra if they want to come in. I was told of a grandmother having to do this in order to come inside. She was forced to cut the metal clip off the bra and then tie it back together.

I will be 602ing this weekend's actions and hopefully everyone involved in these incidents will be held responsible. It would be of great importance and help if you could help us out by calling the institution head wardens office and anybody else who might be able to draw attention to these matters. Call and or write, bug the hell out of em.

Send protest letters to:


M.S. Evans, Warden
31625 Highway 101
Soledad, CA 93960

Send MIM(Prisons) a copy of your letters.

chain
[New Afrikan Black Panther Party] [Theory] [California]
expand

Combatting Wrong Ideas from Huey Newton Late in Life

This article was written in response to a prisoner who submitted an article about Huey Newton supporting Newton's political line from the later years of his life. MIM has written extensively about Newton's correct political line during the days of the Black Panther Party and also criticism of his line from later in life. See https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/bpp/index.html for writings by the BPP and MIM's articles on them.

Greetings and my best to you. I read your piece, "Huey P. Newton - revisited." I found it extremely interesting although at this point the depth of my knowledge of Newton's writings is still insufficiently shallow, so I'll limit myself to those issues you raised.

Newton and those around him were by far the most theoretically advanced within the settler empire at that time. Although they were not infallible, and it is from their mistakes, as well as their successes, that lessons must be drawn. There is an abundance of material written and practical experiences to draw from. From the quotations that you drew from in your piece, you emphasize in a favorable light, Newton's mistakes rather than criticizing them constructively in order to foster the advancement of theory and practice.

I wasn't aware that Newton was a steadfast adherent of the theory of "the negation of the negation." This is interesting considering that Newton was not only a student and practitioner of Maoism, but well versed in his works. You see Mao had a different take on this. In his 1964 "Talk on questions of philosophy" he said, '…Engels talked about the three categories but as for me, I don't believe in two of those categories. The juxtaposition, on the same level, of the transformation of quality and quantity into one another, the negation of the negation, and the law of opposites, is 'triplism', not 'monism.' The most basic thing is the unity of opposites. The transformation of quality and quantity into one another is the unity of opposites quantity and quality. There is no such thing of the negation of the negation. Affirmation, negation, affirmation, negation. Slave holding society negated primitive society, but with reference to feudal society it constitutes in turn, the affirmation. Feudal society constituted the negation in relation to slave holding society, but it was in turn the affirmation with reference to capitalist society. Capitalist society was the negation in relation to feudal society, but it is in turn, the affirmation in relation to socialist society…'

Mao was asserting that the transformation of quantity and quality into one another is not a separate process, but another aspect in the same process in the struggle of opposites, i.e., the law of the unity of opposites. In particular regards to the negation of the negation, I've struggled with this for some time and I'm convinced Mao's line on this process is an accurate reflection of objective reality.

Dialectical materialism reveals to us that all objects and phenomena are not only in motion in relation to other objects and phenomena, but of greater significance, it reveals to us that all objects and phenomena are in a reciprocal relationship, interpenetrating and exerting their influence on one another's development in a perpetual process of internal qualitative transformation. I'm sure that you're well aware of this already, but it's necessary to review as it is relevant to our discussion.

To expand on this further is to understand that we humans will never know the secrets of the "Beginning" or the "End" as Newton insisted, because for objective matter there is no beginning or end, only an endless process of transformation. This has been born out through scientific experiments. So long as we humans are in existence as a species, with each new transformation of matter, especially those brought about by humans, new questions (and consciousness in general) will reflect and arise in correspondence to these new transformations, and more knowledge will continuously be gained, further penetrating the nature of matter and its secrets.

This is reinforced with the law of conservation and transformation of energy which was first discovered in the 19th century, thus confirming Descartes 17th century principle that the quantity of motion in the world is constant. This law and other discoveries have demonstrated that all the various forms of motion of matter - magnetism, chemical energy, heat, mechanical energy, light, solids, liquids, gases, … all transform into one another under given conditions "without" any loss of energy, i.e. matter.

Engels provided us with an accurate description of this process in his "dialectics of nature,": "… If we change heat into mechanical motion or vise-versa, is not the quality altered while the quantity remains the same? Quite correct. Change of form of motion is always a process that takes place between at least two bodies, of which one loses a definite quantity of motion of one quality, while the other gains a corresponding quantity of motion of another quality (mechanical motion, electricity, chemical decomposition)…"

The law of conservation and transformation of energy has successfully demonstrated that matter can neither be created from nothing, nor can it be reduced to nothing, it is infinite. There is no beginning and there is no end, just an infinite process of transformation. This is significant in that it not only "excludes" an external motive force as the source and creation of matter and its motion, but it likewise, reinforces an emphasis on internal contradictions (unity of opposites) as the primary source of matters motion.

You quoted Newton in his "Intercommunalism" as saying: "…and then we will move to an even higher stage. I like to think that we will finally move to a stage called 'godliness,' where man will know the secrets of the beginning and end and will have full control of the universe - and when I say universe, I mean all motion and matter…"

Not only is Newton incorrect on this point for those reasons already expounded upon, but it is also here that Newton departs from scientific materialism and takes up a metaphysical position.

In opposition to scientific materialism are the proponents of metaphysics and idealism, who contend that the source of all matter and its motion is the result of external forces and influences. The metaphysicians live in a static and mechanical "Q-Ball" universe where "A" hits "B", and "B" hits "C", and "C" hits "D", in an endless succession, and the motion of each is the result of the others exertion.

If not an endless procession of internal transformation, what set "A" - or in this case, all matter and the universe - into motion?" When Newton promotes the concept of a "beginning" and an "end," he's removing the opposing forces inherent in all matter as the primary source of motion and promoting an external motive force as creating and setting into motion this "Beginning," which simultaneously swings the door wide open for superstition, a divine creator, god(s), etc, a consciousness not only separated and divorced from matter, but existing prior to it. No doubt this is unintentional on Newton's part, but nonetheless, it's an abandonment of scientific materialism and an adoption of metaphysical idealism.

In particular, reference to the quotations you provided from Newton's "On the relevance of the church," it is essential to understand that the motion of matter proceeds through stages, periods of relatively slow quantitative development, which at nodal points results in rapid qualitative transformations. As we're well aware of, the source of this motion, quantitative and qualitative, is to be found within matter itself as a result of the struggle of opposing tendencies inherent within it.

It is the stage when quantitative developments transform into something qualitatively new that the old contradictions struggling within the quantitative stage have begun to resolve themselves and give rise to new contradictions, that qualitative transformation arises.

Using a concrete example that I'm sure you're familiar with, think of slave holding society of antiquity. The principal contradiction inherent within this stage of economic development which propelled society forward giving it motion, was that between the slaves and the slave holding state (not excluding the conflicting interests of other social classes which developed out of this principal contradiction).

In various forms, sometimes manifesting itself through the conflicts of other social classes, this struggle carried on for multiple centuries without ever changing the essential nature of its production. It was still an economic system based upon slave production with a corresponding social system. That is, it was still in its "quantitative" stage of development.

Although the contradiction between the productive forces on the one hand (the instruments of production and those who do the producing), and the relations of production on the other hand (property relations and the social system that develop in correspondence to it), intensified to such a degree that the continuity of slave holding societies could no longer be sustained. These contradictions began to resolve themselves through self-consuming internal eruptions and wars with neighboring states, thus giving birth to qualitatively new contradictions in the process, i.e. feudalist production and the struggle between the peasantry and nobility as well as every other social class in between. A new stage of economic development in human society had come into existence.

Getting close to the point at hand, in this struggle between the slaves and the slave holding state, it was the slaves and lowest classes that represented the most progressive and revolutionary aspect within society struggling to transform and push society forward whereas the opposing tendencies were the state and aristocracy who represented the most "Reactionary" aspect of society as they only reacted to suppress those progressive forces below in an attempt to preserve their material existence as a social class.

Could we imagine Spartacus advocating the "need" and preservation of the slave owning state for the sake of progress that would come as a result of this struggle between the slaves and the state? Not only is this tautology at its finest, its essentially reactionary irregardless of its packaging. It would amount to perpetuating the oppression and misery of the slaves for the progress that would come to the slaves as a result of their oppression and misery.

On the other hand, it would be revolutionary for the slaves and lowest classes to advocate and struggle for the destruction and transformation of the slave holding state, because only through the destruction of this particular mode of production could the possibility of something new arise.

Although not as conspicuous, this is tantamount to Newton's position on the church and his avocation for its preservation, "…we believe it needs to exist…religion perhaps, is a thing that man needs at this time because scientists can not answer all of the questions…"

We need to understand that scientists will never know all of the answers because with each new transformation of matter, new questions will continuously arise. But more to the point, to promote the preservation of a phenomenon that hinders knowledge and foments ignorance, is to promote the preservation of the status-quo, prolonging the resolution of those current contradictions and the development of something qualitatively new. Despite good intentions, in essence, this is reactionary.

And although the two are inseparably interconnected and influence one another's development, we must distinguish between something's "form" and its "essence." A label doesn't determine the nature of a process anymore than a paint job on a car determines its make or model. The nature of a given phenomenon is not determined by its external appearances or the labels we attach to it, but by the objective necessity existing within it and the laws which govern the direction and development of its motion. Although the form in which a particular phenomenon manifests itself will vary depending upon the conditions in which it develops and interacts.

The same applies to the church. Within given conditions the church manifests itself in progressive forms - such as clothing drives, food programs for the poor, etc. But we must never lose sight of its reactionary nature and promote its preservation.

In regards to focoism (foquismo), to fully comprehend the incorrectness of this strategy, it is necessary to understand the relationship between consciousness and matter, at least in a rudimentary way.

Matter is primary and consciousness is secondary. Objective matter is not dependent on subjective consciousness for its existence. Matter can, and does, exist without consciousness - ideas, thoughts, theories, plans, ways of thinking, policies, etc. Although subjective consciousness can not exist without matter because it is matter that is reflected in our brains through our five sense organs giving shape to our consciousness. Without matter there can be no consciousness. In fact the brain itself is nothing more than a highly developed form of complex matter with the ability of cognizing the external world around it.

Obviously people living under somewhat different material conditions will develop somewhat different ideas and ways of thinking that more or less correspond and reflect their material conditions.

Without the necessary objective conditions (widespread poverty, oppression, etc) the development of the subjective conditions (revolutionary consciousness) will be limited and not develop beyond the point necessary to sustain a thorough revolutionary transformation. There is a dialectical relationship, an inseparable struggle, between our living conditions and the political consciousness of the people. In society, the objective and subjective conditions are not only interdependent on one another for their development, but they influence one another's motion and development as well, in a reciprocal relationship. When objective conditions deteriorate, in search of solutions to their deteriorating material conditions, people become more receptive to political education (subjective preparations).

We can think of the objective conditions as the fertile soil necessary for the subjective conditions to sprout and flourish. Although of greater importance, objective conditions by themselves (poverty, oppression, etc) will not automatically give rise to the subjective conditions (a revolutionary consciousness) anymore than a fertile field will automatically give growth to a flourishing crop. The subjective conditions must be cultivated and nurtured within the people, like a farmer cultivates and nurtures a crop. And only through this process can a successful struggle develop.

The error of focoism is that it places a primary emphasis on armed actions as a means to ignite the population to rebellion without first "sufficiently" cultivating and nurturing a revolutionary consciousness within the population. Moreover the focoists go so far as to contend that if the objective conditions do not exist they can bring them into existence through armed actions and a revolutionary consciousness within the people will automatically develop in correspondence to these actions and the states repressive reactions. As the author of "Blood In My Eye" wrote, "…should we wait for something that is not likely to occur for decades? The conditions that are not present must be manufactured…"

This strategy has proven time and time again to fail, within and outside of U.S. borders. It has turned the very people it was intended to mobilize against the adventurers themselves. This is because a supportive revolutionary consciousness had not been developed within the people first. With particular regards to the U.S., this was not possible because the objective conditions were lacking on a large scale.

As politically advanced as Newton and those around him were, one of the mistakes they made was practicing focoism, which Newton himself acknowledges in the quotation you provided, "in conversation with William F. Buckley Feb 11, 1973." And although Newton recognized that this adventurist approach was incorrect, others around him continued to push this line, theoretically and in practice.

Their operating above ground the way they did was adventurist in that the conditions for them to do so successfully were not (and are still not) in existence. They not only unnecessarily exposed themselves prematurely to internal and external enemies while they were still in a weak embryonic stage, they couldn't possibly maintain the support necessary to survive being that the objective conditions necessary for massive support did not exist on a large enough scale.

We see this same adventurist approach being repeated today with the NABPP-PC. Never mind that their class analysis is incorrect, their location of operation is adventurist in that "everything" that is written must pass through the hands of the enemy, which is the equivalent of allowing the pigs to sit in on central committee meetings. To believe that democratic centralism can be practiced effectively from a jail cell is not only naïve, it compromises others. Rather than subject themselves, and many other comrades to unnecessary heat and avoidable set backs, in the interest of developing a movement with a correct political i.e., they should relegate their work and resources to MIM.

chain