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[Middle East] [Elections] [ULK Issue 33]
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Egypt Protests Demonstrate Power and Perils of Mass Protests

mubarak morsi the same
After a year under the elected rule of President Mohamed Morsi, in June and July the Egyptian people once again took to the streets to protest a government that was not serving their interests. Back in 2011 the Egyptian people successfully took down Hosni Mubarak and forced the country's first elections for President. As we wrote at that time in ULK 19: "The Egyptian people forced President Mubarak out of the country, but accepted his replacement with the Supreme Council of the Military — essentially one military dictatorship was replaced by another. One of the key members of this Council is [Omar] Sueliman, the CIA point man in the country and head of the Egyptian general intelligence service. He ran secret prisons for the United $tates and persynally participated in the torturing of those prisoners." But the Egyptian people were not fooled, and they rightfully took to the streets to force further change this summer. Still, we do not see clear proletarian leadership of the protests, and instead the U.$.-funded military is again stepping in to claim the mantle and pretend to represent the people.

Morsi is widely considered "Egypt's first democratically elected president." Prior to the elections in 2012 the country was led by an elected parliament and an unelected President, Hosni Mubarak, a former general who took power after the assassination of his predecessor in 1981. But it's important to consider what "democratically elected" really means. Democratic elections presume that the people in a country have the ability to participate freely, without coercion, and that all candidates have equal access to the voting population. Most elections in the world today do not actually represent democracy. In many countries dominated by Amerikan imperialism, there are elections, but we do not call these democratic, because it is not possible for candidates without lots of money and the backing of one imperialist interest or another to win. When democracy gets out of imperialist control and an anti-imperialist candidate does participate and win, they better have military power to back them up or they will be quickly murdered or removed by military force (see "Allende in Chile" or "Lumumba in the Congo"). We should not just assume that people participating in a balloting exercise represents democracy for the people.

There are some key political reasons why Morsi won the presidential election in 2012. Representing the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi was well educated and spent several years getting a doctorate in the United $tates and teaching at University in the 1980s. He is certainly not one of the 40% of the Egyptian population living on less than $2 a day.(1) The Muslim Brotherhood has long been a well organized activist group, which despite being banned by the government from participating in Parliamentary elections was allowed to organize on the streets as a counterforce to progressive anti-imperialist parties that faced complete repression.(2) Demonstrating the advantage it had over other banned organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood put together the most effective electoral campaign after Mubarak fell. It is telling that the runoff in the presidential election was between Morsi and Ahmed Shafiz, the prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, and the vote was close. Essentially the election was between a representative of the status quo that had just been overthrown, and a candidate who promised to be different but represented a conservative religious organization.

The military has once again stepped in to the vacuum created by the mass protests demanding the removal of President Morsi, pretending to be defending the interests of the people. This position by the military is no surprise after Morsi, in August, stripped the military of any say in legislation and dismissed his defense minister. The military selected the leader of the Supreme Constitutional Court to serve as interim president after Morsi stepped down. Morsi still enjoys significant support among the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who continue to take to the streets to demand that he be freed from military prison and returned to power.

The Egyptian military actually has a long history of institutional power. In 1981, after Mubarak took power, the military expanded with the help of Amerikan aid. This aid came as a sort of bribe, as up until the 1977 peace accord Egypt had been attempting to lead an Arab resistance to Israel's occupation of Palestine, a cause the people of Egypt continue to support to this day. Since then the military has remained one of the top receivers of U.$. military aid, second only to Israel itself, until 2001 when Afghanistan became the largest. The armed forces in Egypt used this economic power to take up significant economic endeavors entering into private business with factories, hotels and valuable real estate.(3) It is clever leadership that allows the military to divorce itself from failed leadership of Egypt time and again while acting behind the scenes to ensure that only those individuals they support, who will carry out their will, gain the presidency. This is not a democracy. And the leadership of the armed forces will continue to serve their Amerikan masters, not the will of the people, as General el-Sisi is once again claiming.

MIM(Prisons) supports the interests of the masses of Egyptian people as they ally with the interests of the world's majority who are exploited by imperialism. We praise their ongoing activism in taking to the streets when the government is not meeting their needs. But we can learn from history that deposing one figurehead does not make for revolutionary change. Fundamental change will require an overthrow of the entire political institution in Egypt that is dependent on U.$. imperialism. And while President Nasser offered an independent road for Egypt during the anti-colonial era following WWII, true independence requires the full mobilization and participation of the masses in creating a new system based on need and not profit.

It is a truth in humyn history that those with the guns and power will not voluntarily step aside, but they will make cosmetic changes to try to fool the masses into complacency. We call on the Egyptian people, who have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice for the movement, not to be fooled and not to allow electoral politics to drain their momentum. The military is not on your side, and neither are any of the branches of the existing government. Seize the power you have demonstrated in the streets and build for fundamental, revolutionary change to a government that actually serves the people and not the elite.

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[Elections] [New Afrika] [ULK Issue 33]
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Election Begs Question of the Road to Dual Power in New Afrika

map of kush region
Chokwe Lumumba — lawyer, activist, Vice President of the Republic of New Afrika, and cofounder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) — was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi on 4 June 2013 with 87% of the votes. Accounting for 80% of the population, Jackson is the second Blackest city in the United $tates. Mississippi is the Blackest state with 35% of its voters being New Afrikan.(1)

Even though the rate of white voter turnout was more than twice that of New Afrikans, and some 90% of whites supported the other guy, Lumumba came out victorious.(1) All of these facts support the decision of the MXGM to focus on building a base of power within New Afrika in Jackson, Mississippi. However, elections themselves cannot be a tool for liberation or independence, and the only cases where MIM(Prisons) might promote them would be for tactical victories. This election was part of a strategic plan that MXGM released almost a year ago.

This plan states:

"The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) firmly believes that at this stage in the struggle for Black Liberation that the movement must be firmly committed to building and exercising what we have come to regard as 'dual power' — building autonomous power outside of the realm of the state (i.e. the government) in the form of People's Assemblies and engaging electoral politics on a limited scale with the express intent of building radical voting blocks and electing candidates drawn from the ranks of the Assemblies themselves."(2)

The idea of the oppressed nations building organizations that are independent of and not funded by the state can be a controversial issue in this country. While there is nothing illegal or inherently threatening about organizing independent from the state, Amerikans rely on repression in order to prevent the self-determination of the oppressed nations. If the oppressed nations are to break free from imperialism's choke hold, it will threaten the luxurious lifestyles of the average Joe the plumber who lives off the wealth of oppressed nations abroad. We saw one example of this mentality among Amerikans when recent issues of Under Lock & Key were censored in North Carolina specifically citing as the justification the fifth point of the United Front for Peace in Prisons — Independence.

While "independence" is a fairly broad term used to define a thing in relation to another thing, "dual power" has a much more specific meaning to Marxists. Independence on its own does not constitute the establishment of "dual power." When MXGM uses the term "dual power" they appear to really be talking about parallel strategies of community organizing and electoral politics.

The condition of dual power actually exists when there is an emerging state coming up against an existent, and dying state. This, of course, is the product of class struggle, the motive force of history. In discussing Engels' ideas in defining what state power is, Lenin wrote:

"What does this power mainly consist of? It consists of special bodies of armed men having prisons, etc., at their command. ... A standing army and police are the chief instruments of state power."(3)

Dual, of course meaning two, would imply that you would have two different political structures with their own police, army and prisons, etc. in order to have dual power. Such a situation would mean that a civil war had begun. When Lenin first coined the term in 1917 he was speaking of the emerging Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies that would seize state power later that same year.(4) Certainly this is not the condition in Mississippi today.

MXGM recognizes their electoral efforts are limited, and considers them one pillar of their strategy of building political power in the region that is separate from their work to build autonomous structures (People's Assemblies).(2) But these People's Assemblies are not parallel to the Soviets in 1917 or the liberated zones in China in 1948 or even the countless regions in the world today where power is held by emerging states (see Palestine, India, Colombia, the Philippines, etc).

Within the context of oppressed nation territory, there is an argument to be made for engaging in electoral politics as a step towards building one's base. While the Lumumba campaign has a clear connection to revolutionary nationalism, it is not based in proletarian ideology. Revolutionary nationalism can come in different class forms. The lack of proletarian ideology leads them to succumb to populism. Populism threatens New Afrikan independence because of the economic pull of U.$. imperialism. With "economic development" as part of his political platform, it seems hard for Lumumba to avoid playing the role of bribing his own people with superprofits won from imperialism. This is one reason it is hard to justify supporting electoral work except to make tactical gains.

The MXGM economic program, the "third pillar" of their Jackson Plan, focuses on cooperative economics and building green economies. Such a strategy does not confront the structure of capitalism, but is a concession to petty bourgeois idealism. As long as capitalism exists people are either exploited or exploiters, so all efforts should be on exposing the need to end that system rather than white-washing it with co-ops and eco-friendly operations. There is no example in history of building new economic systems that effectively challenged capitalism without first establishing true dual power. Therefore if dual power is not feasible in our conditions, these economic strategies become reformist at best. We are better off struggling to maintain our political independence at this stage.

While running for and being elected Mayor limits Chokwe Lumumba politically, the public release of the Jackson-Kush Plan a year prior means that his landslide victory represents a majority of New Afrikans in Jackson who are at least open to the idea that political independence from Amerika is in the interests of their nation. Establishing that fact in the eyes of the New Afrikan masses is one small victory on the road to New Afrikan liberation. But electoral politics are a feeble bridge. The more people rely on it to reach liberation, the sooner it will fall out beneath them. Unless the bridge is strengthened with correct revolutionary theory, it will be doomed to leave the New Afrikan masses on the wrong side of history.

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[Elections] [National Oppression]
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Prisoners Used to Boost Rural Census Counts

Lots of attention is being given to counting prisoners in the political arena, why?

Because census counts add prisoner population numbers to the community where the prison is located, more and more incarcerated inner city residents are being used to strengthen the economically weak areas of rural Amerika. More prisoners means more jobs, more government money and more political power.

Prisons, which were once eschewed have become a boom for many small towns. Cheap land and willing residents make these isolated communities the perfect location for this country's growing number of human warehouses.

Census numbers determine such things as highway funding, fire stations, hospitals, medicaid, foster care, rehab-services, schools and parks just to name a few. Most of these benefits will never be seen by prisoners. Prisoners are a lucrative commodity in the census game.

State officials are quick to cite the benefits of prisons in economically depressed communities. Government aid, indigent medical care, energy assistance, and revenue sharing are just a few of the selling points.

The majority of the nation's prison population is either Black or Latino. Locating these unwilling residents in a small, predominantly white towns fundamentally shifts the balance of political power through the redistricting process. It is not just federal money that follows us out of our community, it is political power as well.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This prison-based gerrymandering is a problem that has been extensively documented by the Prison Policy Institute who explain: "The Bureau counts incarcerated people as residents of the towns where they are confined, though they are barred from voting in 48 states and return to their homes after being released. The practice also defies most state constitutions and statutes, which explicitly state that incarceration does not change a residence."

Unlike the PPI, we don't prioritize the fight to change the Census Bureau policies. The push for reform is insidious in the implication that we can improve capitalist democracy to make elections and government programs actually serve the people. But this is a good example of the hidden forms of white power that are executed through the state to this day in 2013. While oppressed nations are disproportionately disenfranchised of the vote in Amerikan democracy, white communities use these prisoners to skew financial resources away from the oppressed nations to themselves. This, of course, is only possible because of national oppression earlier on in the process where law enforcement targets oppressed nation communities, while drug use in white communities goes on with little interference. Such types of oppression and manipulation are inherent in a capitalist system.

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[Elections] [ULK Issue 31]
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Obama's Rhetoric in State of the Union

The president, commander-in-chief of the greatest empire on earth, the U$A, gave the yearly "state of the union" on February 12, 2013, as required by the U.$. constitution.

Funny thing is that while I sit in prison and know first hand that what he says is crap, I couldn't help laughing at the contradictions in his speech. Let's start off with this: "...kept the promises we made." Well, let's go to the obvious and talk how the U.$. broke most, actually all, of its treaties with the First Nations. They promised them a specific amount of land and agreed to leave them alone. But then the U.$. took more land thereby shrinking the "Reservations."

The pre$ident said this is the "greatest nation on earth." Third World nations and oppressed nations within the U.$. know this is BS. This nation was founded on genocide and continues its tradition of destruction and death with wars in the Middle East. Keep an eye out for the United $tates's next deployment of aggression and occupation on other nations or, as they say "humanitarian missions."

Obama talked about "Peoples' government." As a settler nation, this Euro-Amerikan population has no legitimacy to rule, govern or even be on this continent. This is not a government for all people, but a select few who rule over the rest, while buying off most Amerikans to complicity (i.e. the labor aristocracy).

Obama spoke about "respect[ing] the fundamental rights of people." If the United $tates had an ounce of respect for rights they wouldn't have the largest percentage of its population in prison of any country in the world; 2.3 million locked away, most Latino and Black. Singling out certain nationalities for imprisonment is not respect, but oppression. If the United $tates respected fundamental rights of people why did it invade Iraq? No proof of weapons of mass destruction were found. Why does it sanction torture? Why is the white nation in Amerika better off than the oppressed nations, not to mention Third World nations?

Finally Obama talked about "fundamental rights of democracy [and] the right to vote." He never mentioned anything about prisoners and how they can't vote. This is a clear example of a deliberate policy of outcasting certain people.

Obama's speech offers lip service to the ideas of equality and representative government, possibly tricking the colonized into thinking there is some hope of making this democracy work for them. But Amerika remains an imperialist nation whose wealth is built on the exploitation of the Third World peoples. Those who sweat and die to supply the cushy lives of Amerikan citizens do not get a vote in this "democracy."

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[Elections] [Puerto Rico] [ULK Issue 29]
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Voting is a Pro-Imperialism Strategy

obama demon clown
In the shadow of the recent presidential election, MIM(Prisons) takes this opportunity to explain some of the many reasons we don't participate in elections under capitalism. We reiterate the MIM slogan: Don't Vote, Organize!

Granted, communists might participate in local elections when they find an opportunity to make change that will better facilitate their organizing work and goals, but these instances are few and far between. Consider someone running for City Council proposing to facilitate the distribution of free literature and posters in a city, while their opponent wants to outlaw the distribution of communist literature. We might join this battle on the side of the free speech advocate because it is very important that we have the opportunity to organize and educate people. Because the legal power of a City Council is pretty limited, these battles tend to be clear cut and we can support one candidate without jumping on the imperialist bandwagon.

In contrast, Congress and the President are fundamentally reactionary just by nature of their role in the capitalist system. It is their job to support and promote imperialist policies of global aggression.

Sure, there may be surface differences between imperialist candidates. One might deny the existence of global warming while the other offers platitudes about how we need to help the environment, but neither can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions because doing so threatens the profit system. Or one might advocate shipping all migrants back home, while the other wants to grant green cards to people already in the United $tates. That's something with a real immediate impact on the lives of the oppressed. But the U.$. has a long history of bringing in migrant labor and the kicking them out, particularly from Mexico. And ultimately, both of these candidates will have to support enforcing the imperialist borders, and exploiting cheap Mexican labor.

Even if we try to explain that we are only picking a candidate based on their position on one question, how do we justify giving support to someone who backs the existence of the prison system that locks up the most people per capita in the world? Or someone who supports invading Third World countries to ensure their puppet regimes are friendly to Amerikan capitalist interests?

There is no real choice under imperialism. The majority of the world's people suffer under the rule of Amerikan imperialism, but they don't get a vote in the elections. Amerika has streamlined the elections to just two parties, with very minimal differences between them. And the majority of the Amerikan people, bought off with imperialist superprofits given to them as a birthright, are perfectly fine with these "choices." Both candidates represent the material interests of Amerikan citizens. It is the imperialist system that ensures sufficient superprofits from exploitation of Third World people to keep the First World citizens so well off.

The election of President Obama four years ago should have been the best possible lesson for "anti-war" Amerikans. Many so-called progressives got behind the Obama campaign, excited to finally have a Black man in power, and believing the minimally progressive rhetoric they heard from Obama. But putting a Black face on imperialism didn't change imperialism. Before Obama was elected we wrote about his campaign as a good representative of imperialism in ULK 3. Under Obama, Amerika has continued its role as global oppressor, invading Third World countries to install or support U.$.-friendly governments, enforcing strict imperialist borders at home to keep out the oppressed, and maintaining the largest per capita prison population in the world.

The State of Puerto Rico

While we didn't campaign around any electoral politics this year, nor vote, the results can be interesting to us as the largest scale polling of the Amerikan population and its internal semi-colonies. While the exploited people of the world did not get to vote for the President of the Empire, historically oppressed nations with U.$. citizenship did. As we work to expand our analysis of the internal semi-colonies' relationships to imperialism, we can look at elections as a relative, if not absolute, measure of assimilation. The most explicit example of this came in the 2012 plebiscite on the status of Puerto Rico among Boricua voters.

While inconsistencies in the format of previous plebiscites make it hard to decipher trends with a cursory assessment, it does appear that a majority rejected the current commonwealth status of Puerto Rico for the first time. The government is counting the statehood option as the victor with a 61% majority of those choosing an alternative to the commonwealth status. But really, only 48% of those who voted chose statehood, with 26% of voters choosing sovereign free association and 4% choosing independence.(1) About 22% didn't select a new status. Since 46% voted to remain a commonwealth, it seems that many of them chose a new status as their second choice. Originally the two votes were to occur separately, which would make interpretation of the results easier.

The option of "sovereign free association" was new in this plebiscite, and seems to reflect the more bourgeois nationalist among the neo-colonialists. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want more freedom to act independent of the U.$. while keeping the financial benefits of U.$. social services that they receive today as a commonwealth.

The 2012 plebiscite did have the largest turnout yet, with 79% participation.(2) This adds a little more weight to the small shift from a plurality favoring commonwealth to a plurality (at least) favoring statehood. At the time of the last plebiscite, in 1998, MIM reported strong assimilationism among the Boricua population due to economic interests tied to accessing the superprofits obtained by the U.$. from the Third World.(3) While MIM never believed that the meager 2-5% vote for independence was genuinely representative of the Boricua people, neither is true self-determination on the immediate horizon despite nationalist rhetoric from many political parties. A survey of the desires of Boricuas for self-determination is not valid until real self-determination is actually an option on the table. Unfortunately real self-determination won't be possible until Boricuas are organized against Amerika and its lackey leadership in their homeland.

Some have hypothesized that the economic downturn helped increase the statehood vote as Boricuas felt the crunch and wanted closer economic integration into the United $tates. This makes economic sense. So it'll take much more extreme crisis before economic demands become revolutionary for the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates.

Chicanos and New Afrikans Vote

Trends in Black voter participation in the last two presidential elections indicate that the neo-colonial effect is real as Blacks have come out at higher rates, with Black youth being the most active voter participants. While Latinos were also brought out by Obama in the last two elections, Latino youth voting and "civic engagement" has lagged behind Black and white youth, yet they were twice as likely to participate in a protest than their counterparts of other nations according to a 2008 report.(4) In 2008, Black voters closed the gap with white voter participation, which averaged around 10% in the previous five presidential elections. This year, Obama brought similar rates of Blacks to the polls. In the same period, Latinos and Asians have diverged from Blacks in their voter participation, who they have historically lagged behind already.(5) For Latinos this divergence corresponds to an increase in the percentage of people who are not citizens, and therefore can't vote. We do not have data showing whether the same is true for Asians. While the non-participation may be enforced, rather than by choice, the Pew Hispanic Center also found in a recent survey that most Latinos identify with their family's country of origin and not as Amerikans.(6) There is little doubt that the vast majority of Blacks identify as Amerikan. The connections that Latinos and Asians have to the Third World are a significant factor in their political consciousness and how they perceive the United $tates, their relationship to it, and their participation in it.

Prison Reform?

Similar to supporting someone for City Council, discussed above, propositions are another relatively clear-cut realm of elections where we may organize around a particular issue. To look at more concrete examples of how this usually plays out, we turn to two propositions this year that addressed California's prison population: Propositions 34 and 36. Proposition 34 was presented to abolish the death penalty, which sounds great at first. But in this case, death row prisoners actually recognized that the law was opposed to their interests in that it would prevent them from proving their innocence in court. They launched an active campaign to oppose Prop. 34 and it did fail. The weakness of the proposition was inherent to the limitations in the system to address justice in a real way.

Proposition 36 is a reform to the Three Strikes law, and it passed. MIM(Prisons) welcomes the prospect of less people going to prison in California, and supposedly even current prisoners being released earlier. Yet, Three Strikes itself still exists. The reform will right a few egregious wrongs, but leaves Three Strikes, not to mention the whole criminal injustice system, in place. Even abolishing Three Strikes altogether would be merely a quantitative change in the oppression meted out by the injustice system, without changing the substance of it at all. Prop. 36 was promoted by those who want to reduce state spending on prisons, and clearly promoted the use of Three Strikes for the majority of prisoners it has been applied to. To campaign for Prop. 36 was to promote this position or to say that this is the best we can hope for. It did not serve the interests of the prisoner class as a whole, but threw some carrots to a few.

Since there are only so many hours in the day, to spend them on organizing around these small changes means slightly less suffering in the short term, and much more suffering in the long term as imperialism marches on unchallenged. Reforms do play an important role while organizing in our current conditions, but we choose which reforms to support very carefully, weighing how they impact our organizing efforts against imperialism, what class interests they serve, and how they relate to real conditions on the ground.

Electoral Politics and Strategy

Our line is that imperialism cannot be reformed. Our strategy is to build institutions of the oppressed which are separate from imperialism in order to build up our own power, while agitating around issues that highlight the horrors of the imperialist system that exists. At times campaigning around an electoral campaign could be a useful tactic in that strategy. But strategically we are not trying to get elected in a popularity contest, or be on the winning team. We are struggling for liberation and an end to all oppression!

As M-1 of dead prez put it on Block Report Radio the morning after the recent "presidential selection": "I'm not thinking about today. And I'm not thinking about four years from now. And I'm not thinking about smoking marijuana. I'm thinking about 50 years from now being able to be the self-determining people who are raising a nation that's based in stability." Spoken like a true revolutionary, this is the type of thinking that we promote to develop an anti-imperialist political pole within the belly of the beast.

Telling people to vote for one imperialist candidate over another is suggesting that we can make significant change by working within the system. As we already explained, the scale of the election and the scale of the change is key: for a local city election the impact is much lower and our opportunity to actually explain to people why a particular local law is important to communist goals is much greater. But in a national election, telling people to support a candidate who is fundamentally pro-imperialist, both in words and deeds, is misleading.

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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 Latin@ 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.


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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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