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Under Lock & Key

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[Legal] [California]

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.

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

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.

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

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 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.