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[Elections]
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Organize Against Imperialist Elections


Every four years Amerikans are given an opportunity to vote for a new representative to lead the country as president or re-elect the one who already holds office. This year Amerikans have two options on who to elect, either Obama or Mitt Romney. Weighing the options, who is it that will more likely bring change for the oppressed? In this case it's neither, both Obama and Romney are imperialist representatives and both share the primary concern of how to better serve the interests of capitalism/imperialism. So why should U.$. citizens vote for one oppressor over another? The answer is simple, they shouldn't!

The oppressor class will always sell high dreams and prospective futures to the oppressed to gain their vote. For instance Obama and the Democratic Party only recently proposed "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA). DACA pretends to offer non-citizens who arrived in the U.$. as children the opportunity for legal residence. But lets look at it for what it is. DACA is not actually a law but an executive order that can be revoked at any time by whoever is president. The qualifications for DACA are narrow and for those qualified they will only receive a temporary work permit. What about the others who applied and were rejected for one reason or another? Well they willingly gave up their information along with that of their families and will now be in the "ICE database" and could be rounded up and deported. It is a re-election tactic the Obama administration utilized as a ploy to get the Latino vote. But this is not in the interests of the undocumented.

deferred action for childhood arrivals

"People always were and always will be the foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit in politics until they learn to discover the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases declarations and promises. The supporters of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order until they realize that every old institution, however barbarous and rotten it may appear to be, is maintained by the forces of some ruling class and there is only one way of smashing the resistance of these classes and that is to find, in the very society which surrounds us, and to enlighten and organize for the struggle the forces which can - and owing to their social positions must - constitute the power capable of sweeping away the old and creating the new." - VI Lenin On the Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism

The electoral system is not nor will it ever be the means to bringing real change, as long as there is an imperialist as president there will be no progress for the oppressed. There are those who say Obama is a better choice than Romney because Romney is a racist Mormon and his extreme conservative policies will bring further devastation to Amerika or wage more wars. But weren't these the sentiments towards the end of the Bush administration? People got fed up with Bush's deportation of immigrants and warmongering agenda. They had hope in the first Black president. But we have seen Obama has gone farther than Bush in violating people's fundamental rights in "the war on terrorism." His 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) law gives the president full authority to detain anyone who the government deems a terrorist indefinitely, without charges or a trial, and the terrorist label can be vague and will more than likely be thrown around like candy.

Obama has deported more immigrants than Bush, he also ordered more drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan than Bush. Obama's warmongering resulted in 284 drone strikes on Pakistan alone. And under Obama's leadership the United $tates., along with Israel, threatens imminent war on Iran. Let's face reality, Obama and Romney will only serve the interests of the big bourgeoisie and maintain the status quo.

As prisoners we need to consciously participate in politics that serve our interests. In ULK 28 someone mentioned the penal system in Nevada; a prisoner anticipated reprisals by fellow prisoners for exposing the warden for culinary and laundry violations to the health department. These prisoners acting on behalf of the prison administration to attack this prisoner is counter and reactionary to what he was trying to do by bettering the quality of food and laundry for the prison population. This goes to show what Mao Zedong once said about lumpen: "brave fighters but apt to be destructive. They can become a revolutionary force if given proper guidance." We all know doing favors for the pigs like that mentioned above is going a little too far and would merit a negative reaction from the prison population.

Looking at it from a bigger picture, under Obama/Romney mass incarcerations will continue. The U.$. has the highest incarceration rate in the world today and let's not forget the police brutality that has swelled across the country since Obama's been in the office.

Our action of not voting for one oppressor over another should be consciously voiced. When I explained this to a fellow prisoner he responded: "well who else is going to be your representative nationally?" My answer to that was simple: "we can represent ourselves, we don't need yankee representatives!" The oppressed nationalities need their own independent representatives who will serve their interests, not sell them out, and institutions that help them rather than strip them of their identity and culture. Reforms or amendments will never bring about genuine change for the oppressed nations, only communism will.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The author above originally quoted Karl Marx as saying:

"Every few years the oppressed are authorized to decide which members of the oppressor class will represent and crush them in parliament."

However, this does not accurately represent the conditions in the United $tates where the oppressor nation has the majority say in who represents the government that oppresses and kills more people worldwide than any other country [UPDATE: white Amerikans ended up being 72% of the voters in the 2012 national election]. The people most oppressed by U.$. imperialism have no say in these elections that affect them very deeply.

Rather than encouraging prisoners to organize in their own interests, we challenge them to think more broadly, in the interests of the oppressed people of the world. This is important because the imperialist system has stolen tremendous wealth and brought it home to Amerika where all the citizens share in the spoils. While prisoners are clearly oppressed, they share in the Amerikan mentality of looking out for their own wealth at the expense of the world's people.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Elections]
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Democratic Presidential Convention Highlights Chicano Assimilationist

julian castro vendido
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro promotes
Chicano assimilation into Amerikkka
On September 4, 2012 the Democratic convention was held, almost every TV channel was broadcasting this. Like the Republican convention, the Democrats had speakers come out to make a short speech on why you should vote for their candidate. These conventions are a classic 'good cop, bad cop' game meant to hoodwink the oppressed.

This year's democratic keynote speaker at the convention was Julian Castro the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Castro is running for congress and is seen as an up and coming Democrat. Although he merely adds to the rest of the numerous defenders of imperialism, what is different and thus dangerous about someone like Castro is that he is a Chicano bourgeois politician who is now being propped up to fool the Brown masses, just as Obama was used against the Black masses.

Castro's background is similar to many Chicanos today. His grandmother migrated to the United $tates in the first wave of migration after the Mexican Revolution in 1920. His mother was born in Texas and was actively a part of the Chicano movement of the 60s and 70s. As a first generation college student she joined the Raza Unida Party (RUP) and became one of its leaders.

La Raza Unida Party came about from the leadership of Crusade for Justice another Chicano organization of that time. It was in 1970 that Corky Gonzalez announced the formation of RUP. The Crusade for Justice was actively leading many Chicano struggles of this time period. At one point as Acuña described, "The Crusade for Justice leadership also wanted to form the 'Congress de Aztlan', which would build a Chicano nation."(1) The RUP meant to uplift the Raza's consciousness, take community control of social services in the Barrios, taking control of schools and development (building homes, parks, etc.) which all seems cool and "progressive." But without completely breaking with the oppressors politics these efforts were simply spinning wheels, like trying to ride a bike with no chain; you can turn the pedals all you want but the bike stays in the same spot.

The RUP had a left wing and a right wing, like all phenomenon there were internal contradictions that pulled this group in different directions, and without a clear path for liberation RUP was doomed from the beginning. The biggest error in RUP's program was in attempting to work within the framework of Amerikan bourgeois politics. RUP naively thought Amerika would stand by and allow a historically oppressed people, an internal semi-colony, to build a political party in the barrios, even though it attempted to do so within Amerika's political system. The state would not allow this, as organizing the oppressed for any progressive political activity poses a real potential threat. Once organized and educated this force can easily make a leap from working within the current system to working against the system. This is why people like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated even though they were not calling for socialism and pretty much worked within the confines of the Amerikan laws. They still had influence and the potential was too much, the threat assessment told the state what must be done.

RUP was heavily surveilled by the CIA (1) and so all the Cointelpro tactics were used to destroy this party. And ultimately RUP suffered from believing Chicanos could be liberated via Amerika's bourgeois politics or through reforms. The fault also lies in those more revolutionary elements within RUP for not steering RUP on a more revolutionary approach that sought the liberation of the Chicano nation by building for a socialist revolution on these shores.

So this is where Julian Castro comes from and thus this bourgeois nationalism is what shaped his ideas and lead him down the road to Brown capitalism or outright defender of imperialism. His assimilationist stance shined forth in his speech with statements like "[we need to] do our part as one community, as one United States of Amerika." This is typical language of a comprador who's job is to bring the other oppressed into the fold of the oppressor. His/her job is always to quell or smother the burning embers of resistance in a people and keep things as they are. The slave of old who lived in the massa's house would go out to the slave shacks and talk about how good the massa is, how good the slaves got it, maybe even given them a piece of bacon or the good meat with a promise for more so long as they hang on and be content or say some prayers. This is the approach Castro took in his speech, his focus - like the rest of the Democrats was on the "middle class," and at one point his petit bourgeois colors intensified as he yelled: "The middle class the engine of our economic growth!" The Brown bourgeoisie must have soiled themselves with excitement at hearing this parasite babble on.

Castro's interests are stripped of the more progressive aspects of 1970s political line of his mother, Rosie Castro, which he branded as outdated in an interview on Pacifica Radio. As misguided as the RUP may have been in their approach, they never spoke of leaving Raza behind, nor were they reduced to telling Raza to 'Pull themselves up by the bootstraps.' Rather they sought to include even the poorest Raza living in shacks and fought to better their conditions while Julian Castro has aligned with imperialism as he stated: "we know in our free market economy some people will prosper more than others." The idea that in a society there will be the haves and the have nots is not something we can accept. But Castro sends the message to the ruling class that he is okay with this and thus is not intending to threaten or challenge this status quo. This buys his seat in the imperialist shuttle of Amerikan politics.

The use of Julian Castro is just the latest attempt to get Chicanos and other Raza to become part of Amerika. But many Raza still remember the oppression we have faced, it is still too much for many to side with the enemy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census about 2.3 million businesses are owned by Latinos. Yet when it comes to voting in bourgeois elections only 60 percent of adult Latino citizens vote compared to 70 percent of Black adults who vote and 74 percent of whites who vote. At the same time approximately 500,000 Latino youth will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years. So I believe Julian Castro is the tip of the iceberg where Amerika will begin courting Latinos much more than they ever have in history, and not just any Latinos but preferably those with family history of activism as Julian Castro and his mother in an attempt to paint these parasites as "legitimate" in the eyes of the Chicano nation. But these Brown faces in high places will never be legitimate so long as they support the super parasites. Those who we see as legitimate are those working to liberate our nation, those working to neutralize the super parasite.

We see Amerika's open repression reaching fascist proportions in Aztlán, especially in prisons and on the "border." Most recently we saw along the Texas/Mexico "border" the U.$. instillation of a "mini navy" (4) where speed boats with high powered weapons are guarding the Rio Bravo and have recently baptized these new boats in Mexicano blood when they shot and killed a Mexican citizen on the Mexican side who was barbecuing in a picnic area with his family right on the river. Footage on the Amerikan corporate media this week shows families and children as the border patrol speeds off while cries erupt in this park. This open war on Raza comes without a peep from bourgeois politicians like Julian Castro, who, rather than condemn this repression in his speech, instead declares "Amerika will prevail" in his speech to massa.

We must also learn from the lessons of the past. We are not free to create our own political parties that struggle for our nations, look at what happened to the RUP and Panthers and others. In Amerika although parties of the internal semi-colonies are not publicly banned, they are certainly banned behind closed doors in Langly, in Washington DC, and their other hideaways. We know this is true when we learn about Cointelpro and other operations to infiltrate and disrupt peoples parties or groups. And so we refuse to be fed snake oil from the imperialists or their allies and hasten the day when Aztlán and the other internal semi-colonies can be liberated from attacks by Amerika!


Notes:
1. Rodolfo F. Acuña, "Occupied America: A history of Chicanos," 6th ed, p.275.
2. Ibid, p.276
3. Center for Responsive Politics 2012.
4. 6-25-12, CBS nightly news.
5. 7-16-12, NPR, "Democracy Now."

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[Elections] [International Connections]
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Obama's False Promise to Raza

I recently read ULK issue 6 in which a comrade out of California discussed his experiences after the election of Obama. This brought back memories I experienced along the same lines, where at the moment it was announced that Obama was indeed the new president there was a roar of applause almost as if one were in a football stadium and your team just scored a touch down! This was in one of California's security housing units (SHUs) so this jubilation was coming from prisoners who are amongst the most "conscious", the most progressive, who are taken off the mainline for rebellious acts against the state. It was a sad sight to see potentially revolutionary prisoners get sucked into the age-old game of bourgeois politics.

I remember having a long beat with my neighbor at the time over the Obama sham and how Obama is like a Booker T. Washington, only worse. Booker T. Washington was used to pacify the Black masses for the Amerikan government but had no power outside the Black nation, whereas Obama is the Commander in Chief and has much more power than Booker T. Yet, like Booker T., Obama is used to corral the Black nation and many others into the realm of bourgeois politics. On the doorstep of imperialism, Obama's presence in the White House is used to "legitimize" the program of Amerika and the actions of the oppressor nation, and to sweeten the bitter pill of repression for the oppressed nations to swallow more quickly.

The upcoming elections have the imperialists once more dressing up Obama, having him show up for a photo shoot at an all-Black Baptist church, at a press conference for Latino rights, etc. But I'll make this real clear real fast - Obama is an imperialist and does not care about the Black nation. Latinos have learned from Obama being in office. Many Latinos were sucked into bourgeois politics, standing for hours in lines beside Black folks and voting for Obama. Now what do they have to show for it? They have over one million Latinos who had their asses deported! Over one million - that's more Latinos deported with Obama as president than with Bush II as president!

Obama and the Democrats feel Latinos have no choice but to support them because of the Republicans being so outspokenly anti-migrant, but this is wrong! Both are anti-migrant and only tolerate migrants when we are picking their baby spinach and heirloom tomatoes, or when we are cleaning their homes, watching their kids and washing their cars. They tolerate La Raza, the people, when it saves them a dollar. They let us work and then a day before pay day they call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on us as happened in the processing plants in the last couple years. It's an old con game that both the Republicans and Democrats use to bamboozle Raza and save a buck in the process. This is a rerun that the Chicano nation has been battling in Aztlán since 1848 and will continue until we liberate Aztlán.

Our liberation will not come from the Democrats or Republicans; it will not even come from any other party in the Amerikan bourgeois political elections. The imperialists will never permit Aztlán to be liberated. It will fight tooth and nail and sabotage any ballot box initiative even hinting about this and neutralize any leaders who built momentum to build any ballot box initiative in this direction. Our liberation will come from the Chicano movement and its struggles outside of bourgeois politics.

I am beginning to hear the same old tired talk about Obama again since the elections are coming up. I heard one Chicano talking about how he wrote his family and told them to vote for Obama so that the Raza will be better off than they would be with a racist Republican. So I got on the tier and asked him "what the hell has Obama or any Democrat during his term done for Raza?!" He had no answer as I figured so I explained how Raza has even suffered more with the Democrats but that they are in fact one and the same; a double-headed monster, a single beast.

The problem is many prisoners who initially take an interest in political science will watch these imperialist propaganda shows on the corporate TV stations and begin to parrot what they hear and swear up and down its true because they heard it on the "news." What they are not grasping is this "news" is controlled by the imperialists. They will not put out views that work contrary to their program, they will not inform us on revolutionary news and analysis, and they will not educate us to rise up as these news corporations are owned by billionaires who protect their bread and butter like a revolutionary protects his/her people. This is why we did not hear much when, on June 7th 2010, the U.$. border patrol shot and killed a 14-year-old Mexican child named Sergio Hernandez as he played on the Mexican side of a canal. This is why the killing of Oscar Grant didn't get proper coverage. Yet we see the same actions played over and over on TV when it's a country that the U.$. wants a regime change in - like the Middle East.

As author/journalist Juan Gonzalez has pointed out, the birth of the Amerikan newspaper was around the need to share information about the movements and behaviors of indigenous people and to rally the white settlers around their genocide.(1) The idea of objective journalism was a myth created much later in history, but the practice has been consistent.

Just as the news supported the control of indigenous and African people during the birth of this nation, the control of la Raza is at the forefront of TV news today. The mass deportations while Obama has been president are not done randomly. Aztlán is growing rapidly and with it Latinos continue to multiply. Seven of the ten fastest growing cities in the U.$. are in the area currently called the Southwest(2) and of these seven cities all are overwhelmingly Latino states. The future must seem very bleak for the oppressor nation. Thus they use their puppets to attempt to curb this "invasion" and "re-conquest" as conservative mouthpiece Pat Buchanan calls it.

Raza need to see Republicans and Democrats as one and the same. We need to educate Raza so that we become our own liberators; national liberation will never come from the ballot box. We need to educate our families, friends and barrios, this needs to be done house to house and persyn to persyn one letter at a time via snail mail if need be, but it is the only way to ween Raza off of putting faith into bourgeois politics.

We can look today at the many [email protected] elected officials and yet the Barrios continue to be occupied and under siege! We continue to be used as target practice by those claiming to protect and serve. Like our Third World counterparts in Afghanistan who suffer "night raids" we also get our doors kicked down in the middle of the night and the barrel of a gun stuck in the face of our children. When the Afghan villagers hear the helicopters they flee to the caves as they know all too well the predators lurking in those chinooks, just as we rush to avoid the spotlight when we hear the ghetto bird. It is a safari in the barrio and we are the prey. The people of Afghanistan are far more oppressed than anywhere here in Amerika yet we face the same oppressor.

The Great Leap Forward of 1958-59 in China was a special period in China's revolutionary history. The essence of which was to build communes. Today in the imperialist controlled media the Great Leap Forward is distorted as a situation that "killed millions" when in reality it was a socialist economic and social development to enhance people's power in the countryside. Here in Amerika we are nowhere even remotely close to that stage of development as Mao's China. But just as early in the Chinese revolution the peasants formed people's communes, I see a future here in Amerika where the people begin to form revolutionary committees. These mutual aid teams will be anchored mainly in the barrios and ghettos but eventually spread out to all areas where the oppressed nations reside. These committees will work to provide the people with independent outlets outside of the capitalist state in order to get the people to begin exercising people's power.

We of course are not at this juncture yet but it is a goal to work toward in our communities, in our barrios and within our lumpen organizations. We need education. Without learning and developing we will continue hoping the Democrats make things better for us and continue being hoodwinked. Now is the time to rebuild the Chicano movement! The past struggles of our gente are not forgotten nor will our martyrs have gone in vain or laid down only for us to stand in a line to vote for an imperialist!

Long live the Aztlán nation!


Notes:
1. while discussing his new book: Juan Gonzalez & Joseph Torres. News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. 2011.
2. The New York Times Almanac, 2011. p. 273.

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[Elections] [Culture] [ULK Issue 17]
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Professional Sports = Passion of Decadence

SF Giants fans stomp out car
When people react this way to a Black man being murdered execution style by the pigs, the city of Oakland blamed it on "outside agitators."

1 November 2010, The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, and in addition to the tens of thousands of fans in the stadium, an estimated 12 million people watched the game on TV (not counting the millions watching in sports bars, restaurants and other public venues). As in other winning cities in years past, the city of the winning team erupted into “joyful mayhem,” as the San Francisco Chronicle calls it, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets in drunken celebration that included property destruction, traffic disruption, and violence.

In classic bourgeois press form, pretending neutrality, the SF Chronicle’s headline article today was titled “SF Giants Series Celebration is Joyful Mayhem” and stated: “On Market Street, the celebration quickly turned wild and unruly, with an estimated 7,000 revelers in the streets, some jumping on cars, rocking Muni buses, tossing beer bottles, lighting fireworks and blocking traffic at Seventh Street.” A much smaller article, hidden on the Chronicle website, also mentioned “In the Mission, there have been reports of fires, broken windows and an alleged stabbing.” Compare this with the same newspaper’s January 8, 2009 report on the Oscar Grant protests. The article was titled “Protests Over BART Shooting Turn Violent” and gave a negative review of the protest which “mushroomed into several hours of violence Wednesday night as demonstrators smashed storefronts and cars, set several cars ablaze and blocked streets.”

We see that the same street violence is condoned when it’s in the name of professional sports. Police wandering the streets after the World Series were friendly, often clapping and cheering, and shutting down streets to help out traffic while enabling the celebration. During the Oscar Grant protest the cops showed up in riot gear and attacked the crowd.

While we’re no fans of imperialist elections, the World Series victory happened the night before election day and begs the comparison: people are more passionate about baseball than they are about the political future of their country/state/city. This is no surprise to those of us familiar with the decadence of Amerikan imperialism. Amerikans don’t need to worry about politics – the government is working in their interests to secure resources at the expense of Third World peoples to maintain wealth at home.

Sports passion includes a remarkable number of fans cheering “we did it!” and “we won!” as if they had anything to do with the team that won the game. In reality the SF Giants, like all professional sports teams, are made up of players from across the country, who are paid a ridiculous amount of money to wear a jersey for this team. Their allegiance to the city lasts only as long as the paycheck continues. In fact people point to statistics about the Giants' last World Series victory 56 years ago when they were based in New York as if that team had something more in common with the SF Giants than the font they use for their logo.

MIM(Prisons) would like to take all the sports passion in Amerika and turn it against imperialist violence or world hunger. We’d even call it progress if people get off the couch and play sports rather than get drunk watching millionaires play. Perhaps the improved circulation would help people think a bit more rationally about politics and the relative importance of professional sports.


Related Articles:
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[Elections] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
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California Ponders Marijuana Legalization

The November 2 elections promise some shuffling of the imperialist representatives in government, but as usual with elections where the choices are limited to different flavors of imperialist leaders, there will be no real change. One ballot initiative that did catch our attention is Proposition 19 in California which would legalize and regulate marijuana.

In an attempt to reduce support for Prop 19, on 30 September 2010 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that changes the punishment for possession of less than an ounce of pot to just a fine. This reduces the potential impact of Prop 19 and should cut down on the number of people in prison for marijuana possession. But even arrests and convictions without a prison sentence have negative repercussions, so Prop 19 goes farther in limiting the reach of the state in terms of possession laws.

MIM(Prisons) supports any laws that will cut back on the number of people locked up in prison or otherwise controlled by the imperialist state. We know that drug laws (like other laws) are disproportionately prosecuted against oppressed nations within U.$. borders, resulting in huge numbers of Blacks and Latinos behind bars. For this reason we would support legalizing all drugs to take power away from the imperialist government and its criminal injustice system.

In 2009, just over half of the drug arrests were for marijuana (848,408 out of 1,663,583).(1) Marijuana arrests are growing as a proportion of total drug arrests in the U.$., up to 52.6% in 2009 from 39.9% in 1995. This is driven by arrests for simple possession, the percentage of arrests for marijuana trafficking has not changed much over time.(2)

Adding to these statistics on marijuana arrests is compelling information on the disproportionate use of marijuana laws against Black men in California. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice reports:

"African Americans, just 6% of the state's population...comprise a staggering 45% of the 1,600 Californians imprisoned for marijuana, including more than half of those locked up for marijuana felonies. Blacks are nearly 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than other races, a racial gap only slightly wider than for other crimes. But after African Americans enter California's 'Black marijuana system,' disparities multiply more than for any other offense. Seven in 10 Black marijuana arrestees are charged with felonies, compared to one-fifth for other races. Blacks convicted of marijuana felonies are 3 times more likely to be sent to prison than Nonblack marijuana felons. The upshot of these accumulating discriminations is that Blacks wind up being imprisoned for marijuana at 8 times the rate of Hispanics and 18 times the rate of Whites. At older ages, the Black-Nonblack marijuana imprisonment gap soars to nearly 4,000%... No other offense (including violent, property, and other crimes) and no other drug (including heroin, methamphetamine, and crack) even remotely displays the huge racial discrepancies in imprisonment for marijuana."(3)

The new law would not completely eliminate marijuana arrests and prosecutions, primarily because it restricts the legal age to 21 and only allows possession of small quantities, but they would be greatly reduced. In addition, the federal government has promised to challenge the constitutionality of Prop 19 if it passes, and to enforce the federal laws in California regardless. Of course we can't look at these laws in a vacuum, the criminal injustice system will not cut back on the police force or shrink the prisons simply because one law changes. Cops will just find other reasons to arrest people, and those people will continue to be disproportionately Black and Latino.

Even worse, cities like Oakland will likely be using the new tax revenues to restore its recently cut back police force. The city stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries if the law passes, as it is home to Oaksterdam University, which will be licensing large growing and distribution centers under the new law. The financial interests behind Oaksterdam University bankrolled the introduction of Prop 19 to the November ballot. Los Angeles campus chancellor Jeff Jones pointed out that support has come primarily from the jobs and tax revenue angle. He says that focusing on imprisonment rates gets little support from Californians.

While the imperialists run the global drug trade, here the state is partnering with corporate interests to take over the local industry, which has been the domain of the lumpen class. Following the national liberation movements of the sixties many in the ghetto who didn't see the Amerikan dream through integration were able to find an income through the drug economy. By the 1970s, Italians, Jews and others who dominated black markets, in particular drugs, had long been integrated into white Amerika. Whites left the inner cities for the suburbs where they could become richer more easily by joining a growing financial sector, allowing for Black and Latino gangs to take over profitable street crime in their own areas. Organized crime, led by the CIA, backed the most individualistic and destructive emerging groups, while repressing Black and Brown power movements and flooding these neighborhoods with cocaine.(4)

Faced with economic crisis today, white Amerika wants these jobs back. And the state is leading the charge, hoping to reach a new tax source to close huge shortfalls in paying their bureaucrat employees - especially their pigs, who account for 85% of city spending in Oakland (police & fire combined).(5) But whites aren't forming a new mafia (at least not exactly). Instead they formed a new university to train and certify workers in the industry and they have joined labor unions to ensure wages of $25.75 an hour with pensions, paid vacations and health insurance.(6) In contrast, reports from the 1990s showed that most in the drug game in the inner cities made around minimum wage and worked long hours (needless to say with no benefits).(7) So the state hopes to shrink the workforce in drug sales and production, pay a few trained workers a nice sum, and increase their share of profits from the sale of marijuana to pay cops and other state employees. In the process, the economic crisis will be passed along to the lumpen who will become ever more desperate to make ends meet. This will lead to more violence and problems, and make the need for self-determination more dire in oppressed nation communities that lack legal job markets.

While MIM(Prisons) supports the passage of laws that result in fewer people in prison, we are under no illusions that even full legalization of drugs in Amerika will solve the drug problems here. As we have seen with alcohol, legalization of a drug does not make for safe use. Amerikan culture is alienating and leads to rampant legal and illegal drug abuse. According to a World Health Organization survey of 17 countries across the globe, the U.$ leads the world in users of both legal and illegal drugs. Drug use is correlated with wealth of a country with the richer countries having a higher percentage of drug users.(8)

It will take a revolution to create a culture that allows people to feel valuable, safe and empowered and not in need of the easy escape that can be found in drugs. After the revolution in China, the Maoist-led country basically eliminated drug addiction through community-based campaigns. Drug addiction, particularly to opium, was a widespread problem imported by the British. But after the revolution there was a strong focus on helping drug addicts get clean, and on giving everyone useful work and education as well as health care. This campaign, combined with a strategy of wiping out opium growing and distribution in favor of much needed food crops, virtually eliminated the drug problems in China by the early 1950s. Only with a government that serves the people rather than working to enrich its imperialist masters will we be able to eliminate drug abuse and the criminal injustice system. As we work towards such a system we will support laws that result in fewer people in prison, but we know the impact of these laws will be minimal at best.

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[Elections] [Texas] [ULK Issue 6]
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Response to ULK Obama article

Thank you for responding to my letter and sending me the copy of your newsletter. I found the articles very informative and inspiring. I also enjoyed the many letters from the various prisons around and was surprised how many of them spoke to issues I myself am concerned with.

I would like to point out here my agreement with the article about Barack Obama. I think the very prophesy of that article is already coming true. He promised "change" for Amerika, but look at the people he surrounds himself with. Look at the cabinet posts he has appointed. It is the same old inside Washington D.C. bunch, the same powers behind the scene supporting the same oppressive imperialism that keep the poor poor and abused. The hope that many felt would come by the election of a Black man to the presidency is raped by the realization that Amerika actually elected a "half-white man" to the presidency.

I am new to Marxist, Maoist philosophy, but I feel in my gut what these stand for, and I consider myself a thinking man. I am starved for information, so please keep me on your mailing list. And any books or literature you could send to help me understand more, will be greatly appreciated.

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[Elections] [National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
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Misplaced rejoicing in prisons over Obama victory

A few weeks ago during the presidential election, towards the end of the evening, once it became apparent that Barack Obama would become the heir to the throne of U.S. imperialism an eruption of applause and of hooting and hollering took hold of the dungeon I am housed in. With all of the damn racket going on, I would have thought that the "three strikers" law had finally been defeated, but no, instead the source of all the ruckus was the materialization of an almost unfathomable dream for so many of my Black brothers and sisters, a Black man becoming president of the United States of Oppression. The night's celebrations almost seemed dignified. However, to quote another former member of the ruling class "what does it matter what color the cat is?" "what does it matter if the cat is black or white?" "what matters is if the cat will catch mice." (Deng Xiaoping)

In a way, I welcomed the mighty cheering and truly undue attention, it provided me with yet another opportunity to engage my fellow prisoners. The following morning during morning chow I just happened to sit with three of my Black brothers. During the course of our meal my fellow prisoners were ecstatic with almost an euphoric glow of pride and accomplishment. They went on and on with how "it's on now" and talk of how things were going to be different now that Obama's the new Pres. elect. I asked them what, that besides the obvious (a Black man becoming president), is there really to be happy about? I asked them what would Obama really be doing for them? What would Obama be doing for me? Would Obama be doing something for our families and the people of the U.S. internal colonies? What would Obama be doing for the people of the Third World, the truly oppressed, the people? Absolutely nothing at all. Obama will not open the prisons. Obama will not help me get out. Will Obama help my proletarian mother with free health care, or even affordable health care for that matter? Will Obama pay my mother's rent to the slum lord? Is Obama going to provide me with a free and real education? Will he help me to help myself to better serve the people? Will Obama begin to steer the U.S. away from its decadent, exploitative, capitalist, imperialist, war mongering ways?

No, Obama's not gonna do a motherfucking thing but sit his ass in that Oval Office and continue the U.S. dangerous and destructive quest in its search for capital. So what the hell is everybody so happy about? Now, for a second there I thought my ass was toast being that I'm a Mexican. They might have just looked at me as being racist or that I was simply talking out of my neck. However, to my complete amazement, they did nothing but sit there and think about the words that we're coming out of my mouth. This gave me some semblance of joy, because at the very least, I think I gave them something to think about. However, a few seconds later they continued with their praises for Obama.

Even if I didn't completely get through to them, I think that at least I gave them something to think about, even if they initially rejected what I had to say I will continue to engage my fellow prisoners into deeper thought.

It is truly unfortunate that so many and so much of our potential revolutionary base is so blinded and so distracted by the razzle dazzle and lies of our oppressive system.

For those of us who are somewhat educated and informed concerning the truth about socialism and communism and of the climes of capitalism it is our duty and our obligation to voice the real and engage our fellow prisoners into deeper thought, theory and practice. If the groundwork is never done and the ground is never broken, then how can there be a base for a foundation of a socialist and communist movement? How can there be real change if the system is never changed, only its leaders? For those of us who are convinced that we are 'soldiers' ask yourself, who's soldier are you? Are you some common criminal's soldier? Do you fight and work for greed, power and lust of recognition? Or will you be the People's soldier? Will you fight for the peasantry and the proletariat, the People?

Like MIM likes to say "MIM can't do it all," and reading MIM Notes or Under Lock and Key isn't enough. We must help ourselves and find ways to make things better.

So will you become a true soldier and wave that red banner of revolution? Become the People's soldier, become the vanguard. Away with this oppressive system and all that it entails. Away with capitalism, imperialism and stupid petty divisional differences such as gang rivalries and race riots. It is time for the proletarians of our world to unite. Lay waste to the oppressor and all its minions.

MIM adds: In addition to the questions about what Obama will do for prisoners and oppressed nations within U.$. borders, we have to always ask the bigger question: will he change the militarist imperialist nature of Amerika? If not, even small reforms within U.$. borders will not represent any kind of victory over capitalism and global oppression.

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[Elections] [ULK Issue 5]
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Black prez in white amerika

Over a decade ago Tupac said we weren't ready to see a Black president. Yesterday, amerikans elected one. As we wrote about previously in an article on Obama's candidacy, neo-colonialism is nothing new. Africa has already had half a century of Black presidents. As a minority diaspora in the belly of the beast it is no surprise that it took much longer to see one in the united $tates. And it should be no surprise that given such a situation he has less independence from the imperialists than a president in a small African nation with little economic development.

The biggest lesson we can take from the Obama election is that we are surrounded by amerikans (surprise). And we say that in the context of amerikans being nationalists and members of an oppressor nation (think nazi Germany or apartheid Azania).

When George W. Bush ran against Kerry we said, "another day, another imperialist candidate for president." But we tended to agree with those saying that a Bush presidency would help to polarize the world and turn people more strongly against u$ imperialism. You might argue that we were right.

But the shortcoming of that history is the significant rise of anti-Bush sentiments among amerikans. This gave them a way out. Islamic groups like al-Qaeda held amerikans responsible for the actions of a president who a large plurality of them voted for, while too many so-called “communists” have played the role of neo-colonial peacemakers between the oppressors and the oppressed.

The anti-Bush united front blurred the lines between radicals in the u.$. and the Democratic Party. This process was helped along by those calling themselves Maoist accepting leadership roles in this movement. (We'll watch as this movement dissolves proving that they do support a different kind of imperialism, in this case one with a black face.)

But yesterday marked the moving of the poles. Suddenly, the millions who mushed themselves into the "radical left" because they disagreed with Bush are back in the white house with amerikan flags waving. It's not that they ever put their amerikan flags down or were ever radical at all. But they allowed and even promoted radical sounding rhetoric to rope some of the more radical and energetic activists into the Democratic Party, including oppressed nation youth.

Now all that has changed. Obama can't pretend he opposes the occupation of Iraq or be wishy washy on the fence anymore. He has to end it or stay the course. In that way the Bush - Obama 1-2 punch might be the perfect lesson in bourgeois politics. For all those years people said Bush was an evil, horrible man. Then dream prez Barack Obama comes in, and nothing changes. Lesson learned?

New Afrikan or Afrikan Amerikan

Comrades have already pointed out that Obama wasn't winning the white vote, putting into question our statement above that amerikans elected a Black president. (1) Not only did the Democratic Party benefit from the armed struggle against u$ imperialism while the Republicans were in the white house, but they also bet correctly on a growing oppressed nation electorate in the u$. In both cases, any progress should be attributed to the oppressed and not white amerika.

With the u$ hot war in Pakistan under way and the new president elect fully in support, we already have concrete evidence that this presidency is gonna be a lot like the last 43. Yet many Black people agree with Tupac that the new president is heaven sent. Blacks overwhelmingly opposed the war on Iraq, when white amerikans supported it. (2) Will they back Obama's war on Pakistan?

Oppressed nations should treat the Obama presidency as an opportunity to make demands from a president who claims to understand where they're from. The most astute New Afrikan leaders are rotting away in isolation cells in the united $tates. Some elders are facing trial for alleged crimes over a quarter century old. If Obama claims to care about people who aren't white he better stop the extreme repression being dealt out to any Black, Brown or Red leader that stands up for their people.

Obama united amerikans, reminding revolutionaries what we're up against in this country. He also united amerikans with oppressed nations within u$ borders (not to mention in Africa and elsewhere). It is yet to be seen whether Blacks and other internal semi-colonies are aligning themselves more completely with the oppressor nation from which they benefit financially or will step up to the opportunity to expand the voice of the oppressed. As the economic crisis advances, the oppressed would be smart to bet on self-reliance and self-determination. When the most oppressed and exploited come to tell amerika that they can't steal their wealth anymore, we'd like to be on the right side of history.

The oppressed youth in the united $tates need vanguards that unflinchingly uphold self-determination and anti-imperialism. White politics and non-profits have done too much to dilute the revolutionary energy of oppressed youth into dead-ends that do not serve oppressed people globally or promote any real change.

notes:
(1) Fox News exit poll summary. http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/05/fox-news-exit-poll-summary-599974112/
(2) A year and a half after the invasion 42% of whites thought it was a mistake, while 76% of Blacks did. see Gallup Poll. Iraq Support Split Along Racial Lines. Sept. 14, 2004. http://www.gallup.com/poll/13012/Iraq-Support-Split-Along-Racial-Lines.aspx

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[Spanish] [Elections] [Washington] [ULK Issue 5]
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Barack Obama y la nación oprimida de aristocrasia laboral

Ahora que Barack Obama ha asegurado la nominación del partido Democratico de los Estados Unidos, es importante que nosotros informemos nuestra nación oprimida de jovenes que esta siendo controlado por las mismas fuerzas que controlan George Bush, lo cual son corporaciones multinacionales, grupos de presión politica y capital patriarca internacional.

Es aparente que Barack Obama será el siguiente presidente de los Estados Unidos considerando la emoción del pais sobre el y la indispocisión de la nación de separar John McCain de George Bush.

Este es el más grande momento decisivo en la historia de los Estados Unidos, porque Barack Obama tiene el potencial de transformar la nación oprimida en este pais en una aristocracia laboral al costo del Tercer Mundo. Esto fortalecerá el imperialismo Estadounidense y debilitará la revolución en un sentido porque entre más y más Negros y Latinos ganan beneficios de la nación opresora, esas naciones oprimidas estarán menos servicial para pelear por el proletariado internacional. Esto a la larga transforma los inmigrantes en el grupo revolucionario numero uno en este pais y el grupo más servicial para pelear por el proletariado internacional.

Aunque Negros y Latinos representan la mayoría de esos encarcelados en carceles y prisiones hoy, verdaderamente creo que el sistema criminal de injusticia como también la policia drasticamente incrementarán sus campañas para encerrar más inmigrantes, y eventualmente los inmigrantes serán la mayoria de esos encarcelados en el bordo de los Estados.

Por cierto, estamos mirando esta tendencia desplegarse a como hablamos. Inmigrantes son el segmento más rapido de crecimiento de los estados y el sistema federal penitenciario. [Casi todas las estadisticas sobre encarcelamiento no separan enmigrantes de "Hispano" en general, haciendo esto difícil de confirmar pero esta creciendo la evidencia que esto es verdad. Existe un aumento significante en construción detenciones federales a lo largo del bordo tras cada ves más leyes draconicas de inmigración y reglas en años recientes. Mientras tanto, la población general de prisioneros ha continuado aumentando, pero algunos sistemas estatales han empesado a recortar. Nosotros recibimos más contribución y investigación en este tema.]

Los prisioneros Estado Unidences son actualmente el segundo más grande grupo revolucionario en este pais. Un muy importante, y algunos incluyendo yo argumentará que este es el más grande punto de vuelta en la historia de Estados Unidos y historia del mundo, y nosotros debemos poner una perspectiva apropiada en este momento crucial de historia. Es aparente que estamos dirigidos hacia ocho años de Barack Obama como presidente de los Estados Unidos y tengo un presentimiento que los siguientes ocho años (2008-2016) será el tiempo más importante en la historia de los Estados Unidos y el mundo.

MIM(Prisiónes) responde: Pensamos que este prisionero ofrece algunos comentarios valiosos sobre la nación oprimida dentro de los bordo Estado Unidence juntandose con la aristocracia laboral. MIM ha estado diciendo por años que las naciónes oprimidas son una parte de la aristocracia laboral, entonces no estamos de acuerdo que tomará Obama ser presidente para causar esta transformación. La realidad de vida en Amerika es que todos los ciudadanos se benefician de la economía de este pais imperialista y eso incluye las naciones oprimidas dentro. Por lo tanto, el interes de clase de naciones oprimidas dentro ya esta con el imperialismo. [Mira MIM Teoria 1 y MIM Teoria 10 para más detallada economia y analicis politico de clase dentro de los bordos Estadounidenses.]

Miramos naciones oprimidas dentro como potencial revolucionario por sus intereses nacionales. Pero estamos de acuerdo con este prisionero y su punto en general que el gobierno Estadounidense podría empujar hacia adelante la condición nacional de naciones oprimidas internas para elevar sus intereces nacionales para alinearlos con el imperialismo. La historia de Estados Unidos tiene bastantes ejemplos de naciones oprimidas juntandose con la nación opresora, pero esos grupos eran blancos de diversos paises, como los irlandeses [mira Colonos: La mitologia del proletariado blanco escrito por Sakai.]

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[Elections] [National Oppression] [Racism] [California] [ULK Issue 5]
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Obama changes nothing, Amerika is still racist

I would like to expand on some very pivotal issues, starting with Senator Barrack Obama. I am 100% not fooled by Obama’s tactics. I’ve come to see that Mr. Barrack Obama has been trying to capitalize on his skin color and his short time in the projects to trick the oppressed people of this nation into believing he is one of us. The thing that me and Senator Obama have in common is our skin color. Barrack Obama is part of the bourgeois political line. He’s not for the people, he’s only for using the oppressed people for his own political gain.

It gets me angry when I hear people say Amerika is no longer a racist country. They are quick to use Barrack Obama to justify that statement, saying they are not racist because an African Amerikan is running for the White House. This is what I want to know: if it’s true that Amerika is no longer racist, why is it that if Barrack Obama starts talking about the empowerment of oppressed people in this country, he wouldn’t stand a chance of becoming President? This country has not changed, it only found better ways to operate its white power structure.

The new Ku Klux Klan are the Boys in Blue (police) and they are fully protected by the Korrupt Government. If you ask me, I think that half of the Amerikan police departments should be sitting in prison, on death row for the murders that they commit every day in the ghettos and barrios. Brothers and sisters, have you ever asked yourself, why do the police get away with just a slap on the wrist after committing a brutal murder? They claim to care for the children, but yet they take the parents away from them, by using lethal force, and false imprisonment tactics.

Back in 2007 the California corrections system changed its name from California Department of Corrections to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This is a big gimmick. They did that in the attempt to fool the public into believing that the prisons are trying to help prisoners get ready for parole. But that’s nothing but a big front. Nothing has changed, they are still operating on old tactics. They want us to stay blind so they can continue to control the minds of the prison population.

This country is built on lies, corruptness, imperialism, racism, capitalism, etc. I am a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, and I will not subside my resistance to this Abu-Grahibization (torture).

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