Under Lock & Key Issue 12 - January 2010

Under Lock & Key

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[Political Repression] [Abuse] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 12]
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RIP Amare Selton

Amare Selton Beaten at Auburn Correctional Facility

New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) reports that Mr. Amare Selton (aka Ra'd) #93A3756 died on 9/17/2009. An Eritrean national, Ra'd was an active anti-imperialist who began working with MIM in the mid-1990s.

Comrades of Ra'd have communicated with the DOCS central office in Albany, local Imam's, the statewide Chaplain in New York City and staff at Attica Correctional Facility, including the head counselor. The only information anyone could provide was the date he died. They all claimed to know nothing else and that they could not obtain further information. We print the following testimonies to honor Ra'd - Rest In Power comrade!

A comrade who studied with Ra'd:

Some of our readers will recognize Ra'd as someone who was an active and well-developed participant in our study cell. Contributing to this eulogy reminds me that the first time i remember Ra'd, a Sunni Muslim himself, struggling with MIM(Prisons) was in an extended debate over MIM's eulogy for Saddam Hussein. And as someone who spent over two thirds of his time in various long-term isolation he wrote on mental health units and an article on solitary confinement that was circulated at national conferences addressing the topic.

While the DOCS refuses to release a cause of death, comrades can attest to the fact that he was not suicidal. He found himself placed in mental health units for "anti-social behavior" such as getting into physical altercations with staff.

The enclosed photo is from 2004 following an extended beating of Ra'd by CO's E. Rizzo, M. Woodward, B. Smith and Sgt. T. Mitchell at Auburn Correctional Facility. After facing harassment including having his water shut off and no one responding to his complaints, Ra'd barricaded his door to trigger a cell extraction in hopes of getting the Sergeant's attention. In his affidavit he describes the long series of beatings and abuse he faced as a result. Sgt. T. Mitchell dug his knuckles into his neck saying, "Does it hurt, you nigger, you piece of shit...does it hurt now, stinkin' nigger...you fuckin' nigger..."

A fellow prisoner at Attica wrote after Ra'd's death:

The article in Under Lock & Key on censorship is an accurate description of what is going on at Attica Correctional Facility. They stop our mail from reaching certain destinations.

I recently wrote two complaints on officers in Attica. One was for an officer literally threatening me that if i was in general population i'd be going home in a body bag.

And the second complaint was regarding an officer who was serving my Kosher meal and while i was at my cell door for my hot water, he purposely tipped the cup over scalding my left hand and my private parts. This officer smiled the whole time at me. Attica is the most racist and dangerous prison in New York State. Everyday we are subjected to assaults by staff.

Now there is a new corruption going on in Attica by a lot of correctional staff. When any prisoner is brought to special housing, which used to be known as solitary confinement, all their stamps, cigarettes and even porno books are being stolen and given to snitches and ass kissers. This is done so that the stamps and pornos can be exchanged for cigarettes. Cigarettes cost almost $10.00 in New York State and you have officers robbing us to support their tobacco habits.

When you drop complaints, officers come to your cell threatening you with physical violence if you don't sign off on your complaint.

Society labels us with the tag of criminals, and for many of us we deserve such a tag. But i have come to know that some of the worst criminals in the Department of Correctional Services are working for it.

A close comrade who lived alongside Ra'd in recent years:

O Allah, receive our brother and comrade Ra'd with open arms for he aspired to be a martyr. O martyrs receive your brother (Ra'd) for he is one of our beloved. O prophets smile at him and give him some sweet foods and drink and most of all receive us when our turn comes. Hopefully, as we fight back unshackled, uncuffed.

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[Medical Care] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Medical negligence leads to finger loss

Greetings to all who support what is right! My story goes like this: I recently noticed a friend of mine with a very large bump on his hand due to a brown recluse spider bite. I asked him, "what happened?" He told me that he filled out an emergency medical request form and informed medical staff of the type of spider and its location.

Well, no one responded to even look at it until 19 days had passed. I asked him if they were going to treat it and he said, "yes, they did." They had given him a couple band-aids and a small packet of ointment. Well, this morning I saw him again. They had to amputate 3 of his fingers because the poison from the spider bite had caused severe damage over such a prolonged period of time. However, if they would have responded sooner, then he wouldn't have lost his fingers.

A law came out some time ago called "The Plata Case" which entitles all inmates in CDCR to fair and prompt medical attention, as well as other medical treatments. For the most part, the staff are still negligent, and when they are confronted with that particular issue they say "due to budget cutbacks, we are short of staff!" They cling on to any reason to blame the budget so their job income can be more. A lot can be done to save my friend's fingers, but when I see the attitudes of the medical staff and the way they treat the inmates in a non-professional manner, it's obvious they are unloading their aggressions and animosities on the inmates needing medical attention.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Plata v. Schwarzenegger, docket no. 3:01-cv-01351-TEH (N.D. Cal.), is a federal class action civil rights lawsuit alleging that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) medical services are inadequate and violate the Eighth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This case was filed in 2001 and as of early 2010 the state is still resisting as a federal receivership has recently taken over the CDCR's medical care. MIM(Prisons) promotes long legal battles that are strategically chosen to create space for the oppressed to organize and to expose the system. Almost nine years of court and prisoners of the state are still losing fingers and worse unnecessarily. Now that the system is exposed, the other side of our struggle is building the independent institutions of the oppressed that demonstrate better ways to do things.

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[Environmentalism] [ULK Issue 12]
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Climate Reparations? You and what army?

Imperialism crushes the planet

From December 7 through 18, 2009, the UN-sponsored 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. COP15 was a gathering where world powers came together to discuss the impending doom of climate change and what they will, or won't, do about it. This series of semi-annual COP talks began officially in November 1994, and in 1997 the group adopted a document called the Kyoto Protocol, which is a supposedly legally binding agreement that targets an average reduction of 5.2% from 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) by the year 2012. In 2009, the u.$. offered to lower GGEs by 4% of 1990 levels, while the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wants developed countries to curb emissions by 25-40% of 1990 levels.(1) The u.$. is the only imperialist country in the world that hasn't signed the Kyoto Protocol, while other imperialist countries have officially agreed to the document, but have not obeyed it, such as klanada who raised their GGEs by 26%(2).

According to the Kyoto Protocol, the primary way the polluters of the world are supposed to reduce their GGEs is through emissions trading, what is also called "cap and trade." Based on their current pollution levels, governments grant a certain amount of permission to companies to pollute, the "cap," in the form of emission reduction credits. Companies that want to pollute more than the amount of credits they have can buy them from companies who don't max out their own. Hypothetically, companies who pollute more are paying the price, and companies who pollute less are benefiting. In reality, there are so many loopholes in the "cap and trade" that a 15% reduction of GGEs on paper can actually equate to a 10% increase.(3) Before the Kyoto Protocol, global GGEs went up 1.5% per year. After the Kyoto Protocol, they went up 3% per year.(4) The only reason this backwards strategy is even on the table is because of attempts to submit to those who worship the capitalist market as a god that can solve all problems.

The system of carbon emissions trading is also limited by focusing on one form of pollution only. There is an incorrect assumption here that everyone has equal access to polluting and suffer from pollution equally. As many parties at COP15 pointed out, whole nations face extinction due to climate change they didn't contribute to creating. Twenty percent of the world population have emitted more than 2/3 of emissions, and caused more than 90% of the increase in temperatures.(5) Plus, pollution from factories doesn't just contaminate the air with greenhouse gases, it contaminates drinking water and soil and has more local affects on the atmosphere as well, as evidenced by increased occurrences of asthma. So companies who are higher-polluting and are on the buying end of the emission reduction credits scheme create "hot spots" with lots of pollution of all kinds. These "hot spots" have been largely exported to the Third World where production for the exploiter nations is now centered. Even in the united $tates it is disproportionately ghettos and reservations that are ravaged by environmental pollution.

In 2009 a new document came out of the COP talks, called the Copenhagen Accord. It was crafted by the u.$. in negotiation with other imperialist consumer nations and some major neo-colonial producer nations.(6) The Copenhagen Accord is pathetic in that it's not legally binding and is basically an outline of some generic judgments on climate change (essentially, "it's bad"), and a simple form where countries write in their emission goals for each other to examine. The u.$. is trying to legitimize the existence of the Accord by obtaining as many signatures on it as possible. Hillary Clinton's tactic to accomplish this goal is to withhold aid from countries who do not sign. Yet, the aid proposed, not even guaranteed, is just $100 billion from all developed countries combined. To compare, President Evo Morales of Bolivia released a document requesting developed countries pay a minimum of 1% of their annual GDP into a UN fund for underdeveloped countries.(5) For the u.$. alone, this would be a $144 billion annual contribution according to its 2008 GDP.(7)

Another solution being pushed at COP15, presented by the climate negotiator Miguel Lovera of Paraguay, is for more countries to give money to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD is an international fund to pay poor nations for saving or replanting forests instead of cutting them down for timber or cash crops. Obama called REDD "cost effective" because instead of reducing u.$. emissions, they can buy their way out of public pressure by giving money to REDD. Yet, REDD is just a formula to give money to people who already have money, who can afford to clear cut a forest in the first place. In the words of Camila Moreno of Friends of the Earth in Brazil,

REDD is a mechanism designed to avoid deforestation but we know, and they say, indigenous people do not deforest because their life depends on the forest and they live with the forest. So the whole point is that REDD is designed [for] the guy that has the chainsaw, or the money to buy the chainsaw, or the big bulldozers and can say "Okay, I'm going to do this. How much you pay for me not doing?" (8)

The Copenhagen Accord and REDD are the two major deals that were discussed in the mainstream "left" press regarding COP15. Both serve the economic interests of the oppressor nations, and neither will significantly affect climate change.

Many speakers correctly recognized capitalism as the main cause of climate change, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accurately noted that to have true environmental protection, we need to go from a capitalist economy to a socialist economy. In oppressed nations where pollution is dumped and forests are destroyed, if the polluters are pushed out by national liberation struggles, eventually they will run out of places to pollute. Therefore environmentalists must build and support national liberation struggles in an internationalist effort to reduce greenhouse gases and defend natural resources of the oppressed.

Environmentalism as Mysticism

Many of the speakers and representatives at COP15 were referring to an inherent responsibility of humyns to protect "Mother Earth." As materialists, we know that all ideas and moralities are created by humyns, and MIM(Prisons) does not believe in or support mysticism. On the other hand, we are communists, and believe in ending power of people over people. So then, what is revolutionary environmentalism? To further explain, we will quote from page 32 of MIM Theory 12: Environment Society Revolution:

It is no more wrong for a human to dig up something useful from the earth than it is for a meteorite to strike a planet somewhere in space. The moral question is the question of human relations first. The idea that it is wrong to exploit, oppress and kill a human being is a human idea, and like all human ideas it occurs only on the basis of class and gender relations. From the oppression and exploitation of some humans by other humans, the oppressed and exploited have developed a morality that condemns this, and we develop a practice to end it... [W]e do not at present believe there is a basis for calling the "destruction" of the Earth as a planet itself immoral, apart from its relation to humanity and, possibly, other life.

Tuvalu is a small island nation in the Pacific ocean about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Along with most other islands and many coastal areas, it will be submerged under water by the end of the century if the global temperature exceeds a 1.5 degrees Celcius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, rise above pre-industrial temperatures. "Genocide" is defined by the United Nations as "the acts that lead to the disappearance of a people" and the u.$. plays a direct and leading role in this oppression. It is not so much the island of Tuvalu itself, as the Tuvaluan people whom we need to advocate for on this issue.

Reparations & Refugees

Although the official deal that came out of COP15 is a commitment to more of the same from the imperialist countries, the event was unique in that it was the first time that much of the Third World united demanding reparations, and the imperialists had to directly say "no" to these demands. The G77 is a group of over 130 underdeveloped countries, and was the largest united front to enter the talks. Although the G77 didn't ask for direct payment from imperialist nations, they called for a 60% reduction of current GGEs of the imperialist countries by 2020.(8) With a limit on global carbon emissions, such a reduction grants more "atmospheric space" for exploited countries to utilize to meet their own people's needs.

On the topic of direct transfer of wealth as reparations, the UN estimates that it will take at least $500 or $600 billion per year for underdeveloped countries to sustain their people without the development of outdated and heavy polluting industries. This number is backed by another study that came out of London. Even surpassing Evo Morales' call for 1%, Martin Khor, executive director of South Centre think tank, estimates that it will require at least 2% of the GNP from rich countries, which totals about $800 billion per year.(5) Stemming from our understanding of exploitation and the transfer of wealth from the Third World to the First World, we support the demand for reparations in all forms.

However, the united $tates has explicitly stated that they will not pay their dues. As u.$. climate negotiator Todd Stearn clumsily explained,

We fully recognize that our historic role in putting emissions up in the atmosphere and we also fully recognize our responsibility to be part of an overall global effort to help poorer countries, both with the regard to the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change and the need to help them develop on a sustainable path, which at this point in our collective history means low-carbon path. Reparations to me conveys of culpability, guilt, that kind of thing. And I don't think that's a legitimate way to look at it. (9)

Aside from the problem we have with Stearn's attempt to lump the rest of the world into amerikkka's "collective history" of exploitation and genocide, we ask, what the hell is "responsiblity" and "recognition of a historic role" if it isn't also an admission of guilt? We know we will never get a logical answer to this question, so instead we ask the Third World and revolutionaries everywhere, how will the u.$. pay for its past and continued contribution to climate genocide?

To show exactly how the imperialist settler nations see the rights of First Nations peoples to land and liberty, and by extension of all oppressed nations to the same, we will quote from part of a speech that Naomi Klein gave at COP15. Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. This anecdote tells about when she accompanied First Nations representatives to discuss klanada's debt to them with a credit rating agency called Moody's:

I was with the very powerful First Nations spokesperson for the Haida, named Gujao, and Arthur Manuel, who is a former chief for the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation in British Columbia. And Arthur had decided that one way to get Canada to acknowledge the debts that it owed to First Nations people was to meet with the credit agencies that give Canada its triple-A credit rating, which is the highest possible credit rating, and explain to Moody’s that actually Canada carries a huge unpaid debt in the form of the lands that it stole, without treaties, from First Nations peoples.

...[A]rthur and Gujao presented all the documents, the writs, the legal rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada, that proved their case that this land was stolen and that they were owed billions in unpaid debts. And they said, “Canada is not a great place to do investment, because what if we called in these debts?” And it was very interesting, because the guy from Moody’s nodded, and he said, “You’re right. We’ve been following these court rulings, but we have decided that you are not going to collect on these debts. So it is not affecting our credit rating.”

And that’s a very important thing for us to remember, because debt is political. Right? You can make your argument. And when we make these arguments, frankly, no one even bothers arguing with us, because it’s so obvious. The science is there. The legal treaties are there. But really what they’re saying is, “You and what army? How are you going to get this money out of us? You are not powerful enough to get the money out of us.” (2)

It is historically proven that any serious measures taken to acquire adequate repayment for destruction caused by imperialism, or even efforts to protect what few forests we have left, will be met with guns.(10) They are even willing to kill their own: in 2005 an amerikan-born nun was murdered by land grabbers who were connected with endangered hardwood trade with the u.$, Europe, and Asia.(11) Some groups have already recognized the need for armed resistance to protect their livelihoods, such as indigenous peoples in the Amazon who protect their forests with spears, and those in Kenya who use guns.(12, 13) The Communist Party of China proved through their liberation struggle the tactics necessary to win warfare against an enemy who has more numerous and powerful weapons. To catalyze the process, we encourage them to study the CPC's military guerilla theories and practices.

In addition to demanding reparations, some speakers are calling for an opening of borders, and permission for people who are refugees due to climate change to be allowed to relocate to territories that are less affected. It is yet to be seen if the imperialist countries will fulfill this request, but considering the fat wall that's being built through Aztlán, and how the wars in Darfur are portrayed as religious wars in the u.$. media, when in fact they are due to fighting over water shortages because of climate change, we doubt they will take a progressive stance on the issue.

Amerikan Consumerism

While a majority of amerikans accept that global climate change is something that is occurring due to humyn activity, and most think the government should do something, with recession looming the majority said economic growth should be given priority over the environment. The Gallup Poll from March 2009 was the first time that amerikans favored economic growth over the environment in 15 surveys asking this question dating back to 1984. The trend showed a general decline in environmental popularity leading up to the final victory of economics this year.(14)

It is a simple fact that justice and amerikan consumption levels are mutually exclusive. To have justice everyone would have access to such consumption, which would require 6 Earths worth of resources. A decrease in consumption is a major fear of the capitalists right now as they struggle to keep financial markets from crashing, so TV personas have begun crying about the Third World trying to destroy the amerikan standard of living. While the desirability of amerikan lifestyles is a question of subjectivity, the need for its elimination is objective based on the question of climate change alone. For decades, imperialist overproduction has been backed by such overconsumption. In contrast, a socialist economy does not require overconsumption and does not face periodic crisis leading to humyn suffering.

As one example of this overconsumption, The New York Times reports that on average, amerikans consume eight ounces of meat per day, which is twice the global average.(15) At least eighteen percent of GGEs are associated with the livestock cycle, and at COP15 Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, advocated that if we stop eating meat once per week, it will reduce GGEs by 3, 4, or even 5%.(8) This is just one example of how amerikan lifestyles will necessarily change under the Socialist Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Meat will be rationed, and cars will (largely, if not completely) be replaced by public transportation and bicycles. While this may not sound like the ideal lifestyle for some, it is even more true that amerikans stand to lose life, not just luxury, by postponing the replacing of their culture with an ecologically sustainable one. On an individual level, MIM(Prisons) is opposed to lifestyle politics as a replacement for revolutionary work. Not only are the consumer nations unwilling to follow suit on a large scale, but the system of capitalism depends on ever-increasing production that must also be profitable. Organizing large scale
changes in culture and consumption patterns will require a system that puts humyn survival over profits and such changes will not be accepted voluntarily by the First World before it's too late.

notes:
(1) Democracy Now! 8 December 2009 http://democracynow.org
(2) DN! 11 December 2009
(3) "How to Cure the Copenhagen Hangover" by Links http://links.org.au/node/1426
(4) DN! 22 December 2009
(5) DN! 9 December 2009
(6) "5 common mistakes in the coverage of the Copenhagen Accord" http://www.grist.org/article/2009-12-22-5-fallacies-in-the-coverage-of-the-copenhagen-accord/
(7) Wikipedia page for "United States" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States
(8) DN! 18 December 2009
(9) DN! 16 December 2009
(10) "Peruvian police fire on unarmed indigenous tribes' oil and gas protest" http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/05/amazon-tribes-police-protest-deaths
(11) "Farming the Amazon" http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/last-of-amazon.html
(12) "The real Avatar story: indigenous people fight to save their forest homes from corporate exploitation" Amazon Rainforest News http://www.amazonrainforestnews.com/2009/12/real-avatar-story-indigenous-people.html
(13) "Arm Sengwer Indigenous Peoples with guns to guard their lives and property" https://www.fpcn-global.org/node/118
(14) http://www.pollingreport.com/enviro.htm
(15) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html

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[Medical Care] [Gender] [New York] [ULK Issue 12]
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Gynecology: legacy of gender oppression

Medical Apartheid

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present
by Harriet A. Washington
Doubleday Press, 2007.

I would like to contribute to ULK by adding to every issue a book of the month club to bring consciousness to those already down with MIM. My first book is called Medical Apartheid. It is about J. Marion Sims, a doctor (mad man), who operated on Afrikan wimmin here in the u.$. without anesthesia. He used at least 9 people to hold these sisters down against their will while he took out their ovaries. This caused a medical condition known as Vaginal Fistula, and earned him the moniker of "the father of gynecology."

The people who benefited from his experiments are none other than Caucasian women at that time. Caucasian women make up most of what MIM calls the gender aristocracy. While the patriarchy represents male power over the oppressed female gender, the gender aristocracy are those who support the patriarchy because they benefit from it despite their biological sex.

There is a statue of Sims erected in Central Park honoring his inhumane acts. Those of us living in NYC need to explain the true her-story of what he did to our children who may visit this statue on a field trip. We need to teach them her-story from the perspective of the real gender oppressed, not those who pose as "feminists" and attack the oppressed peoples.

It is important that our people become enlightened about this practice, which was just one example in this book of what we had to endure just for being Afrikan in the united $tates. From the times of slavery to examples in the 1990s, Afrikans have been used as guinea pigs and targeted for racist experiments. It is the gender oppressed who are especially targeted: wimmin, children and prisoners.

The author discusses "iatrophobia," which is the continued fear of doctors that Afrikan people experience under patriarchal imperialism. This fear is based in real life experience, but it also contributes to decreasing our access to needed medical care.

This book is very sad and will open a floodgate of tears for its readers. Hopefully through promoting books like this we can reach our brothers and sisters who wear blue, red, black and gold to stop thinking white!

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[Middle East] [ULK Issue 12]
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U.S. bombing of Yemen brings attack on Amerika

December 17, 2009 - U.$. President Obama orders u.$. military strike in Yemen killing as many as 120 people, most of whom were civilians including at least a couple dozen children.(1)

December 25, 2009 - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is alleged to have attempted to ignite explosives on a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit. The explosives failed to ignite.

December 28, 2009 - Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claims responsibility for the attempted attack by Abdulmutallab as a response to u.$. attacks on Yemen earlier that month.(2)

January 7, 2010 - Obama gives a report citing multiple failures in u.$. intelligence related to the attempted bombing. Politicians express outrage that such a thing was allowed to happen.

Regardless of what facts may still come to light in this case, Obama would have to be completely racist to believe that the oppressed nations are incapable of organizing counterattacks to the slaughter he has ordered across the Middle East.

There are billions of humyn beings in this world whose lives are threatened by the united $tates. The idea that amerikan intelligence can track them all and prevent every attempted attack as the u.$. makes thousands of new enemies every day is nothing but wishful thinking.

While Obama has called for better organization and coordination between u.$. intelligence agents, other politicians have promoted the plan to spend over $1 billion on new technology, including body scanners that can see through clothes. Former secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff was making the TV rounds promoting the products that he stands to profit from as a private consultant.(3)

The amerikan politicians have made it clear that they are not outraged that amerikan lives were threatened, but rather that the oppressed would dare threaten white supremacy. There is an easy way to prevent attacks like this recent attempt - keep the u.$. military and its proxies out of Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and everywhere else the imperialists are attempting to murder people to keep wealth accumulating in the metropolis.

Al-Qaeda cells have been consistent in their demands since before 9/11/2001 for the u.$. military to get out of the Middle East. So far, amerikans have proven more interested in increasing sales of defense technology and imposing oppressive regimes on other countries than stopping attacks on u.$. soil. (4)

notes:
(1) http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cruise-missiles-strike-yemen/story?id=9375236
(2) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8433151.stm
(3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102821.html
(4) Amerika has learned nothing from September 11th. Read what MIM wrote on that day in 2001

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[Medical Care] [ULK Issue 12]
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Health Care Universe Excludes Most People

Stop Medical Oppression in Prisons
There has been a lot of talk about "health care reform" in the u.$. this year. Like other government-led reforms, there is no progressive side to this debate. It is between the wealthy libertarian individualists who want to retain the power to pay lots of money for highly specialized care on demand, and wealthy labor aristocracy activists who want to make sure the wealth of health care is shared out among Amerikan citizens. Neither side represents the interests of the world's oppressed. When they talk about "Universal Coverage" they are never talking about more than 15% of the world's population.

As we approach the end, the anti-climatic outcome of all the hyped media and political hoopla supports the theory that it was nothing but a distraction. This is a much safer debate than what would come out of discussions of Obama's expanding war on the Middle East and Central Asia. But we will indulge this topic for an issue of Under Lock & Key because we think our comrades have some interesting things to say about health care that is being left out of the amerikan dialogue, particularly in relation to the disproportionately incarcerated nations.

The connection between wealth and health

Under imperialism, the wealthier a country is the better health care the population can expect to receive, which results in a healthier population (measured by things like life expectancy and lower rates of key mortality indicators for children and for some common diseases). This is not just based on individual wealth, or ability to pay, but on national wealth that is accumulated by those that exploit other nations. Infrastructure such as water sanitation, hospitals and medical schools are all concentrated in the First World. This is a material benefit of imperialism that is not directly about income.

Wealth also brings its own health problems in imperialist countries. Where people are "free" to eat at McDonalds and KFC whenever they want, and where it is actually cheaper to eat this food than to buy fresh vegetables, obesity and related diseases are a growing health problem, a problem poor countries can only dream about. Wealthy countries have the money to solve these and other health problems, but capitalism perpetuates illogical systems like subsidies for the Amerikan corn industry which let Amerikans buy unhealthy foods for less than they cost to produce. For this reason, overall health is something that all people can expect to improve under socialism, including the labor aristocracy and imperialist oppressor classes. Capitalism is inherently inefficient at meeting humyn need, even in the rich countries.

Amerikan individualism bad for Amerikan health

Despite spending the most on health care of all countries in the world (both overall and directly out of pocket), compared with other First World countries, the u.$. has one of the lowest percentages of its population covered by health care and has some of the worst health indicators when compared to those same wealthy countries.(1) The u.$. doesn't even make it in the top 40 countries for life expectancy. In the u.$. the health gap between rich and poor is far wider than most other First World countries.(2,3) And overall Amerikans live shorter lives than people in every western European and Nordic country except Denmark.(4) These numbers are all skewed by oppressed nation populations in prisons, ghettos, barrios and reservations where health care statistics are often comparable to the Third World. An example of this is the 50 year life-expectancy gap between Asian males and Black males in the u.$.(4) Other examples are in the reports from behind bars accompanying this issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK12 - January 2009).

Countries that provide health care have higher taxes than the u.$., but they also have no persynal medical bills, and generally have overall better health than the u.$. That Amerikans believe that the proposed "universal" medical coverage in this country would be a bad thing for Amerikan citizens is a wonder of political pundits and advertising. Individualism in Amerika is a disease that leads people to value extending the life of an 80-year-old man with terminal cancer for an extra month over preventing the deaths of 100 people from diabetes and cardiac conditions.

The way countries generally fund health care for all their citizens is through taxes. The same way most countries, including the united $tates, provide education, fire, road, sanitation, and other basic infrastructure services. This is most certainly not socialism. It is just capitalism taking care of its own citizens to the extent necessary to perpetuate capitalism. In First World countries this is a pretty high standard of living; in Third World countries this is often barely enough to sustain a workforce.

In the health care debate within Amerika there has been some confusing rhetoric about what will cost the government and the people of this country more money. In terms of keeping its well-off citizens happy for a price the imperialists can afford, ignoring Amerikan single-minded individualism and forcing through some sort of "universal" health care plan is probably in the best interests of this country. However, universal coverage for Amerikan citizens is basically off the table as an option, thanks in no small part to very heavy lobbying and financial contributions from the Amerikan health care industry. By the end of September almost $300 million was spent by health care industry lobbyists.(5)

The failures of the health care system in imperialist Amerika serve as a good example of why capitalist individualism is an impediment to the health and welfare of even its own citizens. But we communists are not interested in reforming health care in imperialist countries to better serve imperialist citizens, because there is no significant net improvement in humyn health to be had in that struggle.

Saving millions of lives through changes in health care is easy; it is only those who benefit from those deaths that stand in the way. Just like every other debate over taxes, Amerikans are fighting over how to spend the superprofits stolen from the death and suffering of the Third World. Real health care improvements cannot occur in the exploited nations until they have liberated themselves from the imperialist economy that enforces this relationship.

The myth of universal health care

For the oppressed people of the world there is no such thing as universal health care. The life expectancy of the oppressed is alarmingly lower than wealthy First World citizens. In early 2009, the World Bank estimated that 11 million children die each year from lack of health care, sanitation, food and clean water.(6) These are the most basic of health care needs.

Relatively cheap solutions to common problems could prevent far more deaths and suffering than any of the proposals for reshuffling superprofits in the united $tates. By dealing with these simple but massive problems first we would vastly increase our healthy population, which could better address the more complicated health care problems others face. But such an approach would require a system that serves humyn need. Not even a system that serves the need of every persyn in the elite 15% (i.e. all Amerikans) can unleash such powerful forces.

The premature deaths and chronic illnesses of Third World people are a direct result of imperialist occupation and exploitation, serving as a tool of population control, both in numbers and in ability to take effective anti-imperialist action. Amerika sends billions of dollars in "aid" to foreign countries, and just a small fraction of this could provide clean water and sanitation and prevent rampant and debilitating diseases that exist only in Third World countries. The 1.5 million children who die each year from diarrhea could be saved with clean water and sanitation and cheap medical supplies, and 2 million who die from pneumonia need only existing vaccines and inexpensive antibiotics.(7) The Amerikan government rushes to send military aid and troops to ensure access to oil and stable pro-imperialist regimes, but can't be interested in spending a small fraction of that money to save the lives of these children.

Imperialist exploitation of the labor of people in the Third World is made possible by direct military intervention and funding for military regimes that are puppets to imperialism. And this has dire consequences for the health of the exploited around the world. For instance, Amerika's 20-year battle for control of Iraq has included sanctions and then military action that destroyed the infrastructure and health care in that country. From just the sanctions alone deaths among Iraqi infants and children under 5 doubled in 1991.(8)

Amerikan imperialist companies that provide health insurance for their Amerikan citizen workers don't even consider offering any kind of health care for their Third World workers, and those are the people most in need of health care. Workers in Haiti can expect to live only 62 years and in India only 64, and they have a high chance of dying of easily preventable diseases, but the Amerikan corporations many of them work for offer no help.(9) And while the Amerikan corporations, government and people are benefiting from the imperialist profits (often in the form of inexpensive goods & services) made off of the Mexican workers, they're not even discussing extending "Universal Coverage" health care to them.

Health Care for the people

The best example of health care truly serving the interests of the people existed in China between 1949 and 1976 when the communist government dramatically improved the health of the people. They did this by focusing on preventive care, sanitation, and education, combined with a massive campaign to get health care out to people in the countryside previously unable to access doctors.

Four basic guidelines for the organization of health care were developed at The People's Republic of China's first National Health Congress in August 1950:

  1. Medicine should serve the workers, peasants and soldiers
  2. Preventive medicine should take precedence over therapeutic medicine
  3. Chinese traditional medicine should be integrated with Western scientific medicine
  4. Health work should be combined with mass movements

Before 1949, life expectancy in China was just 35 years and the illiteracy rate was 80%. In 1979 life expectancy rose to 68 years and illiteracy had declined to less than 7%. As a part of the dramatic improvements in health, the Chinese infant mortality rate was reduced to a lower level than in New York City. Looked at another way, China achieved a drop in death rate per 1000 from 28 in 1949 to 6.3 in 1978.(10)

Essentially China achieved health for its population comparable with much wealthier countries by the end of the 1970s by focusing on serving the people rather than serving the profits of the wealthy. Building such a system of health care came only after the forceful removal of imperialist powers from China and the destruction of the former institutions of rule.


Notes:
(1) From the World Health Organization's World Health Statistics 2009 report: Globally in 2006, expenditure on health was about 8.7% of gross domestic product, with the highest level in the Americas at 12.8% and the lowest in the South-East Asia Region at 3.4%. This translates to about US$ 716 per capita on the average but there is tremendous variation ranging from a very low US$ 31 per capita in the South-East Asia Region to a high of US$ 2636 per capita in the Americas.
(2) Harvard Magazine, July/August 2008
(3) 2009 World Health Survey from the World Health Organization
(4) The Independent, July 17, 2008 report on American Human Development Index study
(5) CNNMoney.com, September 13, 2009, Health Care Lobbying: The Political Power Machine
(6) World Bank Press Release, Feb 12, 2009
(7) UNICEF, World Children's Report, November 19, 2009
(8) British Medical Journal, 1992 Feb 22;304(6825):455-6
(9) World Health Statistics 2009, from World Health Organization. Compare to the u$ at 78 years and France at 81.
(10) The Health of China, Ruth and Victor Sidel, 1982

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 12]
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Revisiting RCP Revisionism

Revolution #183 : Special Issue on Prisons and Prisoners in the U.S.
November 15, 2009
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA


Calling me an African-American
like everything is fair again, shit
Devil, you got to get the shit right, I'm Black
Blacker than a trillion midnights
—Ice Cube from the song When Will They Shoot?

Many years ago MIM had disregarded the so-called "Revolutionary Communist Party, USA" (rcp=u$a) after it repeatedly served as a mouthpiece for the CIA in relation to People's War in Peru, the invasion of Iraq, and supporting regime change in Iran.(1) Our predecessors had spent decades drawing sharp lines between the Maoist line and rcp=u$a's revisionism. In recent years, Monkey Smashes Heaven has continuously exposed the rcp=u$a's phony Maoism. To date we have not spent too much time on the subject except in some discussions of Iran and a high level document entitled "Maoism Around Us" that was not printed in Under Lock & Key. We believed there was no reason to prioritize doing much more when so much was already out there on the subject that we could point to.

However, the fact remains that most of our readers do not have access to the internet, and therefore will only be aware of this longstanding battle against revisionism if they have been reading MIM Notes or MIM Theory for some time. This month the rcp=u$a published an issue of their newspaper dedicated to the topic of u.$. prisons. This caught our eye, and reiterated the need for MIM(Prisons) to continue to draw the line between Maoism and revisionism.

Many comrades write in praising the virtues of Maoism and we take this as a sign that we are doing something right in connecting the struggles of the oppressed in this country to an ever developing proletarian ideology. But we must be real, only a handful of our readers are seriously grappling with the questions facing Maoism today. And those that cannot distinguish Maoism from the right opportunism of groups like the rcp=u$a have not yet grasped it.(2) So let us begin.

"African Americans"

Did they say "African Americans"? Following the Black Power movement of the 60's there have been debates among revolutionaries between the terms Black Nation and New Afrikan Nation. But the rcp=u$a is still writing about "African Americans."

What's wrong with this terminology? Well, nothing really if you believe that Black people are amerikans as rcp=u$a does. Some have suggested the term African Amerikan for our enemies of African descent; another term for Uncle Toms. You see, to Maoists, amerikans are oppressors. To be amerikan is to be the enemy of the proletariat and the struggle of all oppressed people. Rcp=u$a in contrast calls for the leadership of the multinational labor aristocracy to lead the revolution in the u.$.

We must acknowledge that the rcp=u$a came out in support of (actually it was more like giving permission to) an independent Black state in their Draft Program. They did so, while maintaining that the "other" oppressed nations in the u.$. must be part of their "multinational proletariat."(3) In other words, they were offering a special neo-colonial deal to the Black nation.

One letter writer in this issue addresses the rcp=u$a's predecessor, the Revolutionary Union, in their handling of the question of the Black Nation:


From the beginning, the RU’s scientific attitude impressed me. The RU’s analysis of the Black national question stood out from that of other organizations. My friend and I had read Lenin’s and Stalin’s writings on the national question, and like many people in the movement at the time, we were pretty sure that Black people in the U.S. were a nation. However, we didn’t have a very deep understanding. The lines of groups like the Black Workers Congress and the Communist League either proceeded from the point of view of the Black nation itself rather than from the international proletariat, or were bizarre attempts to shoehorn the Black national question into Stalin’s definition of a nation with little or no “concrete analysis of concrete conditions.” The RU came at this question scientifically. Guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, it analyzed the history of Black people in the U.S. from slavery, through Reconstruction, and on through the great migration to the cities in the 20th century, and developed not only a scientific explanation of this question, but a program for the revolutionary movement and for the future socialist society."

We quote at length here so as to capture the full content of the writer's point. She writes in typical rcp=u$a style, hyping up the "analysis" and "science" without actually giving you an analysis. She implies criticisms of Stalin, but offers no explanation of the alternative.

On this topic, in their title article rcp=u$a writes:

"The concept of the targeting of Black people and Native Americans as a 'pariah class,' dating back to the early days of the U.S., and the overall way in which white supremacy has served to blunt class-consciousness in the U.S. since then, has been drawn on and further developed by Bob Avakian in the important work, Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy."

They pick up the tactics of the white communist movement dating back to at least the 1930's of talking hard about the special oppression of Black people, while pulling them away from developing an independent movement for self-determination. Maoists have long upheld the thesis developed in the book Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat that there is no progressive class-consciousness among amerikans.

Letters from Prisoners

The rcp=u$a prints a number of letters from prisoners and former prisoners in this issue. They have a disclaimer saying that the views in the letters are not those of Revolution, yet fail to criticize anything in them. This is a textbook example of rcp=u$a liberalism in practice right in their so-called Maoist newspaper that is supposedly providing the great leadership of Bob Avakian that we all need in order to get free. They regularly use the "masses" to say stuff that they don't want to take responsibility for.

One example of this is the prisoner who mentions, "The so called 'Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo' that called for the theft of half of Mexican land." As referenced above, the rcp=u$a has refused to acknowledge the right of Mexicans and their descendants to independence in Aztlán. But they like to print stuff like this to give the impression that they do in order to lure revolutionary nationalists into their ranks.

Rcp=u$a gives lip-service to the principal contradiction under imperialism being between nations, but their revisionism is exposed in their applications. Another example is plain as day in a discussion of Islam:

"When I first tried to understand what Bob Avakian was talking about with the two outmoded ideologies and systems, Islamic Fundamentalism and Imperialism, I said "Damn!" this is something. And Islamic Fundamentalism, I really didn't understand what that was until I started reading Revolution. The oppression of women, backward ideas, fighting to go back not forward, reading what was in the paper really helped me. This is not a national liberation struggle or something good. It's not part of any solution for humanity. And, imperialism is not only no better, it's even worse. We need to put communism and real revolution on the map. This is something way different from Imperialism and Islamic Fundamentalism. Where are you going to find out about this, not in the Daily News or the New York Times, or these other movement newspapers. People, and not just people locked up, need Revolution and Avakian's leadership. I felt I can explain it to people. It's clearer now."

Uh, what? Actually, The New York Times is all over this shit painting Islam as a threat to feminism everywhere. Where are you going to find out about this? How about from Condoleeza Rices' speeches when she was head of the State Department? They were given at the same time that the rcp=u$a was pushing the same line of woman's liberation through regime change in Iran by organizing marches and rallies across the u.$.

Or you could go to frontpagemag.com and read fascist David Horowitz who fought it out with Bob Avakian over who was going to control the discussion of "Islamo-Fascism." Horowitz has an out for using this term, he doesn't claim Maoism so he can define fascism however he likes. As Maoists, MIM agreed with Dimitrov that fascism is "the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and the most imperialist elements of finance capital." There are no imperialist Muslim countries, thus, no fascist Muslim countries.

As mentioned above, not all of our readers get Maoism right, but we don't print their letters uncorrected. One letter printed in Revolution #183 claims that after reading the newspaper for awhile, "I began to see that this capitalist-imperialist system is fundamentally based on the exploitation and oppression of the vast majority of humanity at the hands of the few within the ruling class who own and control the means of production." Not surprisingly, readers of Revolution come away with the white nationalist dogma that in the u.$. we are all united against the handful of rich who run the world, and rcp=u$a concurs.

The same writer stressed that the fight for abortion rights are vital. An accompanying article in this issue on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment reads: "This devastating development has shocked and angered many who put their hopes in the Obama presidency to bring change from years of war, repression and Christian fundamentalist onslaught and who now feel thrown under the bus instead." Thrown under the bus by whom, RCP? If anyone was deceived, it was by the so-called Maoist party that campaigned to get Obama elected to combat the rise of the bogeyman of "Christian Fascism!"

The gender aristocracy rallying to protect their rights to sexual pleasure and promiscuity is not exactly a battle for the international proletariat. But right opportunism says to let the gender aristocracy set our gender line so that we can be more popular. This approach to gender was so disgustingly obvious in rcp=u$a's approach to homosexuality. As long as gay rights was a minority issue they promoted homophobic literature targeting queers for their sexuality while promoting sexual liberalism for heterosexuals. It wasn't until after the issue began to strike a popular chord, and discrimination against gays became unacceptable that rcp=u$a followed suit. Nice "vanguard."

Back in the day, MIM promoted the sterilization of all men in order to eliminate abortion while avoiding the obvious campaign of the anti-abortion movement to control the sexuality of wimmin. While rcp=u$a debated with the Christian right about how they like their wimmin (liberated vs. barefoot and pregnant), MIM took a shot at male supremacy. More importantly today, the pro-choice movement has dovetailed nicely with the pro-war movement targeting countries that oppose abortion and sexual liberalism. But rcp=u$a has harped against Iran for years, promoting the overthrow of the anti-amerikan government there, so this is not a contradiction for them.

One more interesting note on the gender question: The rcp=u$a article reads: "If the Senate passes a health care bill that effectively prohibits abortion, women will be cast back to the days when only the very rich could determine the course of the rest of their lives." In other words, wimmin would be coerced into having sex that leads to pregnancy. MIM has long said that all sex is rape, and this is probably the closest the sexual liberals at rcp=u$a have come to recognizing this. The problem is that they deny the existence of the gender aristocracy and the reproductive health benefits that it receives by virtue of living in the First World. Even in cases of unplanned sex, birth control is accessible after the fact without abortion. So the rcp=u$a rhetoric is just another example of their exaggerated demagoguery.

A final letter writer catches them up with a direct quote from "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," another self-congratulatory rallying cry from the rcp=u$a. "For a revolution, there must be a revolutionary people among all sections of society but with its deepest base among those who catch hell every day under this system." No, the revolutionary people are found among the exploited and oppressed and we don't need the exploiters and oppressors to join us before we can be successful.

Whether Barack Obama or Bob Avakian, persynality cults have no progressive role to play in the First World today. The oppressed need to move beyond trying to pick the right candidate to vote for.

Amerikans Need to be Imprisoned

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is what constitutes the most profound difference between the Marxist and the ordinary petty (as well as big) bourgeois.
- from "Lenin on the Struggle Against Revisionism", p.31


... right up to the very wholesale deportation or internment of the most dangerous and stubborn exploiters - putting them under strict surveillance in order to combat inevitable attempts to resist and to restore capitalist slavery - only such measures can ensure the real subordination of the whole class of exploiters.
-from "Lenin on the Struggle Against Revisionism", p.41

Regarding our lines on prisons in general, the rcp=u$a supports a line that political prisoners make up a small portion of the population and focus on the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier as examples. MIM's line has been that all prisoners are political. In other words, the system is set up to control certain populations, while the real criminals that are murdering people en masse make fat paychecks and live free. This issue of Revolution on prisons by a self-proclaimed communist group leaves out what their approach to prisons would be (they mention the need for an "earth-shaking revolution"). They sidestep the two line struggle within the Maoist movement between mass re-education camps in the First World and a dispersal method of sending the former exploiters to the global countryside as they did on a smaller scale within China. This discussion would be too scary for their populist amerikan readership.

As revolution will come to the heart of imperialism last, MIM has long discussed the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations over the oppressor nations as we work to break down the backwards ways of our imperialist past. The rcp=u$a, like all white nationalist so-called communists, sees no reason for such a dictatorship.

In the system that communists are fighting for, much of the First World will face potential prison time in order to right the centuries of injustices that this system is built on. Prisons will serve to develop productive members of a society that serves people's need, rather than as a warehouse of torture and wasted lives.

Covering for the bourgeoisie

Practice has shown that the active people in the working-class movement who adhere to the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie, than the bourgeoisie itself. Without their leadership of the workers, the bourgeoisie could not have remained in power.
- from "Lenin on the Struggle Against Revisionism", p.74

While we have no exploited working-class movement in the imperialist countries to speak of, this quote from Lenin still rings true in terms of the usefulness of what he calls "bourgeois socialism" in neutralizing those who want an end to oppression. During the Bush Jr. regime the rcp=u$a were constantly crying that "christian fascism" was taking over the country. They led the "World Can't Wait to Throw Out the Bush Regime" campaign, which was the radical wing of a many year long campaign to get Obama into office. Rcp=u$a of course would never openly support Obama as that would totally discredit them as communists. But they do openly support the 90% of the u.$. population that they claim have an interest in socialism.

As the radical branch of the Democrats, rcp=u$a works to unite these same people for their own interests. When they see their interests in a neo-colonial u.$. president who will expand the occupation and slaughter in Central Asia for amerikan economic interests, the rcp=u$a balks and pretends that the people are confused. This is all part of their game to maintain their radical facade to continue to be an effective recruiter of youth for the Democratic Party.

In 1902, VI Lenin published "What is to be Done?", which set the theoretical stage for the split of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks were the communists led by Lenin who eventually led the successful revolution of 1917. In "What is to be Done?", Lenin opens up by criticizing one of the Menshevik tendencies for right opportunism and economism.(4) He describes how he had to expand the essay to deal with all aspects of a group that wasn't even speaking the same language and often playing both sides of an issue. This is a great description of the rcp=u$a's approach to theory. Of course, rcp=u$a economism takes on a whole new meaning among the exploiter nation in this country, where economic demands actually mean increased exploitation of the proletariat.

History of Struggle vs. Revisionism

While Maoists effectively split from Avakian's revisionism in the 1980's, our conditions leave us at a disadvantage compared to Lenin in that many still see the rcp=u$a as representing Maoism because their populist politics gives them a greater public face in many areas (inside u.$. prisons is one exception to this).

Despite volumes of criticisms of the rcp=u$a's revisionism from the left, they have publicly responded to the Maoist Internationalist Movement only once. It was in 1994 to respond to a paper presented by MIM at a conference, "it argued that white workers as an economic-social grouping in the United States are not exploited, are part of the process of exploitation of the workers of the Third World and have no revolutionary interests. This is a wrong and counterrevolutionary idea." Clear as day, right? Too bad, the rcp=u$a back tracks on this line and implies certain things about the white nation more in line with MIM when it is dealing with the oppressed. The RCP's fear of Maoism comes through in their discussion of supermax prisons where they cite vague statistics, but fail to reference the most thoroughly documented list of control units on the internet because it is produced by comrades affiliated with MIM(Prisons).

Combating revisionism is usually a frustrating task that eats up time that could be spent building the movement. While we hope to not have to spend much time on this particular group in the near future, we know that the struggle against revisionism is continuous. And ultimately it is one part of building a strong movement.


notes:
(1) See the archive of the Crypto-Trotskyists page from etext
(2) While Lenin warned that there is no shortcut to identifying revisionism, MonkeySmashesHeaven has a pretty good cheat sheet for our times. see: Clues to help you find out if someone is a revisionist
(3) 2001 MIM Congress. Resolution on the "Draft Programme of the 'Revolutionary Communist Party, USA' May 2001"
(4) For a full discussion of "right" and "left" errors see MIM Theory 5: A Diet for a Small Red Planet.

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[Medical Care] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Forced drugging in prison

I shudder to think that our "public servants" are expunging the minds of united states citizens with drugs, and that the courts are so inept as to resort to such insidious devices as forced druggings. Psychotropic drugs are nothing but a slow poison! It's a threat to one's life, health, mind, and religion. The courts may think they have a legal right to expunge the minds of freeborn citizens, but it's not only a flagrant violation of our rights, it's also attempted murder. Therefore I've elected to protest this atrocity with a hunger-to-starvation strike until this evil poisoning stops or I die. I would rather be dead than see myself slowly deteriorate to such a horrid degradation of life.

I've been informed that if I attempt this they will obtain a court order to force feed me through a tube running in my nose and down my throat while I'm strapped to a gurney. Then they will inject the drugs into me with a needle. Therefore, to save my mind, my health, and my life, I feel I have no choice but to plead almost anything that the courts and DA wants from me to stop this poisoning of my mind, body, and soul. It's ironic that this war on drugs is used to discredit some drugs and people, and then to force some horrid drugs on some people and call it lawful.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade makes an important connection between the various uses of drugs by the state. While many prisoners are suffering from physical ailments because they are denied health care that people on the outside have easy access to, others have no problem getting their "meds" that are often forced upon them to control their brain chemistry. Both situations attest to the terrible waste of life that the system perpetuates.

Also see an earlier report by another California comrade in Under Lock & Key 5: Using psychology to drug political prisoners

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[Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prisons don't give a damn if we die

I think that things are going to get a lot worse for prisoners. I say this because people are dying left and right down here. These so-called doctors refuse to provide adequate health care like they are supposed to. I am 23 years old with a 40 year sentence. I constantly have to go through struggles just to receive medical help. I was diagnosed with leukemia a little over a year ago and I have days that I am in serious pain that I wouldn't wish on one of my foes. Do I get the assistance I really need? No. I hope things get better. Not just for me, but for all the other brothas and sistas in prison, because from what I'm seeing and experiencing, these people don't give a damn if we die.

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[Medical Care] [Soledad State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Delays in medical care in California continue

As populations continue to rise in California state prisons, health care has deteriorated. Overcrowded is an understatement. It's literally standing room only. Inmates have no chance to receive adequate medical attention here at Soledad CTF-South or any other CDCR institution. Doctors are overwhelmed with prisoners on a daily basis. And even though the feds are overseeing the medical department in CDCR, the CDCR continues to pile on the prisoners, making it impossible to receive primary care. And by the time you write a grievance and get any response, you are forced to live with the medical issue, whether it be pain or discomfort.

Constitutional rights are being violated on a daily basis. Weeks and months can pass by before any remedies, once a grievance is submitted. It's like they are punishing prisoners who merely exercise their rights to submit a complaint. Is there any agency that can help? Most agencies require that all remedies be exhausted before they step in, but these remedies take from 3 to 6 months. CDCR knows this; it's why they are able to continue to violate the rights of prisoners who fall into the category of patients with "non-life threatening conditions." But non-life threatening conditions can turn into life threatening conditions if left untreated for months at a time and sometimes cause long term effects. The feds need to step in ASAP. All prisoners whose constitutional rights have been violated should be compensated. This prisoner abuse must stop.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Ironically, prisoners are actually the only people in the united $tates guaranteed health care by law. Nonetheless, prisoners still suffer vastly disproportionate cases of HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and many other chronic diseases as well as drug addiction.

Keep in mind that it has taken the government years to process the current cases that it is attempting to enforce in California mandating population reductions. California continues to resist the orders as people continue to suffer and die from lack of care.

MIM(Prisons) does see long legal battles demanding rights that the oppressed need to get free as an appropriate strategy at this time. In fact, it was the strong prison movement of the late 1960's and early 70's that brought the class action suits that required the state to provide any level of care at all to their prisoners. But as most of those comrades also acknowledged, the state does not have an interest in the their health and the little progress achieved over years of struggle could be achieved many times over in a much shorter time by changing the system itself.

In the past, the FBI has tried to promote itself as a savior for Black people from racists in the south, when in reality they worked hand-in-hand with the local KKK groups. Similarly here, the feds have been involved in the California prison system for some time, but as this comrade reports, the conditions have not changed. We can take advantage of differences between our enemies without looking to the oppressor as our savior.

notes:http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee/c208/briefing_documents/Healthcare%20briefing%20paper31.htm

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[Medical Care] [Waupun Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prison lax on spread of H1N1

I'm in the Wisconsin prison system at Waupun Correctional Institution. This is a letter concerning one of my fellow prisoners.

You guys already heard about the H1N1 flying around the country. There are 3 prisoners in Waupun Correctional who have confirmed H1N1. Now with my fellow prisoner in particular, he has been sick all day and on 11/6 supposedly the guards called down to HSU and they said they can't do anything about it.

Now this fellow prisoner has been lying on the floor throwing up in a garbage can since 2pm, that I know of (it could have been longer). Second shift comes on at 1:45pm. They checked on him at 2:30pm and that was the last time they checked on him until 4:45pm count. I go get my meds between 3 and 3:30 every day. I went to get my meds and told the 2nd shift Sgt. Congel, and he said they couldn't do anything about it. Now after 4:45pm count the guards pass the mail out and they just walked past his cell without even looking in. I know this because I'm right next door to him.

It's been 15 minutes, 5 to 5:15pm and the guards still didn't come. They are only 40 feet away at the desk. Finally at around 6pm they came and got him and he hasn't returned yet. It is now 9:15pm.

To me this is way wrong, the guards don't do shit about this and they don't care about us! The only way we can catch H1N1 is if a guard brings it into the prison! Is this the way we have to live? Just because we are in prison doesn't mean we aren't human beings. Trust me if there is a lawsuit I'll be the first one on the stand going against these bitches.

This is not justice, all these guards care about are their checks. This does piss me off very much and I wish I could do more.

p.s. My last issue was denied because they said it had gang stuff in it.

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[Medical Care] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prison Health Care System is Inhumane

Health Care is a Straight JacketI was unable to finish reading ULK10 because I was motivated to begin this letter as a contribution to issue 12: Health Care. The front page article "Brutality Leads to Death" by a Texas prisoner describes an almost identical incident that happened here at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF, in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).

On September 13, 2009, a prisoner's death occurred here in ASU Housing Unit 6, Cell 128. This prisoner died of a drug overdose, which is being blamed on one of the PM med nurses who was apparently fired and escorted off the grounds. At the same time, they are investigating another prisoner suspected of selling drugs to the prisoner. It should be noted that this unit has video surveillance security cameras.

The fact is, on August 4, 2009, a federal judicial panel found that the entire California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was in violation of the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners, that the prison health care system was inadequate and constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and that denial of adequate medical care caused at least one unnecessary death per week. In addition to the federal take over of the prison health care system, CDCR was ordered to reduce prison overcrowding by 40,000 prisoners within the next couple of years.

The most recent prisoner death can only be viewed as a criminally negligent homicide, caused not by the nurse or prisoners, but by the inhumane conditions and treatment we are subjected to every day in these disciplinary segregation units. Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and thrown in an empty cell without basic human necessities, are denied prescribed medications on a regular basis, and are ignored by custody and medical staff when they bang on the door and scream "man down" in the case of a medical emergency.

I have been confined in this ASU for nearly a year, because I "refused to double cell" with a non-compatible, sexually violent predator, a known rapist! As a Jailhouse Lawyer, I am currently pursuing two federal civil rights lawsuits for inhumane treatment, denial of due process and sex discrimination under patriarchy.

The relevance of the ongoing legal battles, deaths of prisoners, and prisoner resistance in relation to the larger anti-imperialist struggle is not lost on me. With all the hoopla about Obama's health care reform proposals in the liberal corporate-controlled media, one can't help but read between the lines and separate the real from the BS.

Let's keep it real, this health care reform will not include prisoners. Additionally, right-wing Republican legislators in congress are already raising a ruckus about inclusion of immigrants. Why not talk about the California prison health care crisis in these national debates? Or the billions of dollars being wasted in the imperialist Iraq war? Money used to commit mass murder to protect the rights of U.$. oil companies should instead be used to solve the economic and health care crises caused by capitalist greed and medical neglect in this country, and in the prison industrial complex! Revolution, not reform, is the only way to stop the oppression, mass murder, and health care neglect under U.$. imperialism.

The program of MIM(Prisons) promotes the "elimination of all oppression - the power of groups over other groups" and "independent institutions...to provide...medical care." Additionally, the MIM Platform states "Abolish the Amerikan prison system...prisoners who do not represent a violent threat to society will be relased." These are steps in the right direction. And so is the struggle against patriarchy and gender oppression!

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[Medical Care] [State Correctional Institution Muncy] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 12]
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Basic Healthcare threat to security

Here at SCI Muncy prison for women the medical department is a complete joke and employs morons. In order to get any type of treatment you have to be half dead. I sign up for sick call numerous times and every time I see them they tell me they have to check my chart. There is not that much checking that even an obsessive compulsive person would do. Nothing ever gets done. I am in RHU, which is segregation, since April 10, 2007 on bogus misconducts. Medical comes to your door in RHU and everyone hears your medical problems. They don't check you at all, and diagnose you through a door and charge you $5 every time you are seen. And nothing ever gets done.

I have arthritis in my spine and RHU staff took my mattress from me since August 24, 2009. They have me sleeping on a metal bunk bed with no mattress. They also had medical take my back pain medicine away. I signed up for sick call to get an order for a mattress and my pain med back, they told me security overrides medical and they can't. They have x-rays of my back which shows arthritis in my lower lumbar and they refuse to order me a mattress. I kept signing up for sick call for over 2 weeks and only thing they gave me was my pain med back.

I also have asthma and since I been in the department of corruptions I had an order for no Capsicum (mace). Two weeks ago security asked the doctor to remove that order so they can spray me with mace when they need to. This doctor removed that order and never checked me for my asthma before he lifted it and I still have asthma and an active order for my inhaler. He is an idiot. He told me "well, they asked me to." Are you kidding? They have EBID which is like a stun gun. It's ridiculous here. Spraying mace at an asthmatic can be deadly!

I'll be in RHU till I max in 2014. I am hoping I don't get any type of sickness while I'm here. The RHU Lt. has to approve medical to give us any type of orders before we get it. Whether we need it or not, the RHU Lt. has to approve it first. And if we seriously need an order and he says no, we don't get it. He won't even let medical order us lotion. We can't get no lotion in RHU. Imagine what our skin looks like!

I'm having problems with my teeth. The dentist don't even see us. A dental hygienist comes up and her answers to our dental problems is gargle with salt and warm water. She won't even order salt and we only get 1 small packet, if we are lucky, with meals. They only give us 1 tube of .85 oz of toothpaste per week and we can't get orders for more. That tube don't even last 2 days.

And the food? It's such a small amount that I lost over 100lbs in a year and became malnourished. My hunger pains start 3 hours after I eat a meal. Sick call only ordered me a vitamin with iron and and a calcium pill and now they discontinued the order because of the RHU staff. The food hasn't gotten better, as a matter of fact it's worse. They try to perpetuate a fraud by saying it's a "healthy heart" menu, meanwhile everyone who has no money and orders commissary or is in RHU loses an abundant amount of weight and looks anorexic and sickly. I've lost a lot of my hair because of not being fed properly and sick call orders me tar gel shampoo. What is that gonna do? That's for dandruff! 9 times out of 10 I am refused medical treatment and the one time I get treated I get something that does not treat my ailment.

The prison health care system is getting worse and worse. When I first came to SCI Muncy prison I was supposed to get hand therapy because I had surgery. You know what their therapy entailed? Seeing a physical therapist 1 time at the prison for 10 minutes. And she tells us what to do and we have to do it ourselves. I was going to a physical therapist twice a week before I came here. And so because of that my hand is fucked up.

I had surgery in my foot as well. They removed a tendon and when I came here I was in a wheelchair. They took my wheelchair away and made me walk this campus while I was in excruciating pain and fell down numerous times. I was told to hurry up, and I was threatened with misconducts for being too slow. I have problems with my eyes, my left eye's vision is distorted. The eye doctor ordered me to go to an outside doctor. The RHU Lt. told them no, I can't go, and they canceled my appointment and refused to reschedule it. RHU staff also refused the doctor to do a physical on me. I haven't had a physical in over a year. We can only see the dentist for a checkup once every 2 years. They can't afford to provide us with medical treatment but they keep sending people here. This prison is so overcrowded it's ridiculous. The prison health care system is terrible. But that's the department of corruptions for ya!

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[Gender] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 12]
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Medical Science Skewed Under Patriarchy

Greetings komrades,

I received ULK July, no. 9 and I disagree with part of your response to the prisoner that wrote on gender. You stated that the prisoner's characterization of women as "very emotional" beings is actually a good example of sexist views.

However this is a topic I have long ago done research in. Medical science in fact states that men think with the left side of their brains which is the logical and reasoning side, and women think with the right side of their brains which is emotional and sentimental. Thus this is not a sexist view but a medical one.

This means if medical science is correct then that would mean that female officers are more emotional than male officers, which of course doesn't make them more dangerous than male officers. Both male and female officers are illogical because the system which they adhere to is illogical. It is also an established fact that some of these hoochies that been dogged one too many times by males on the streets who become guards all of a sudden, because they lack the education to gain better employment, will exercise their piggish authority over male prisoners with a wrath, just because they can.

However that's not to say that male guards don't do the same when they remember that their lunch money was taken away one too many times in high school by thugs, thugs similar to the ones they now have authority over.

To summarize, the job of Gestapo in any U.$. concentration camp sucks, but women guards should never be allowed to work in men's prisons. They're just slightly more useless than their male counterparts. When something serious pops off they all run for cover in fear for their lives. Courage is not a criteria to become a correction pig. "A man who controls his emotions controls his destiny. The one that doesn't is unstable in all his ways."

MIM(Prisons) Responds: Although it may be scientifically too soon for us to say that men and wimmin are completely alike, we must remember that all studies about nature vs. nurture (in this case brain chemistry vs. socialization) are done under hundreds of years of patriarchy. It is impossible to determine how humyns ultimately behave with no outside influence, because we are very deeply affected by the culture we grow up in.

At this point in time under the patriarchy, it is counter productive for revolutionaries to make sweeping proclamations about innate characteristics of men and wimmin. This debate is a distraction from the real issues, and plays into enforcing gender stereotypes. However, this comrade gets it right when he says that "both male and female officers are illogical because the system which they adhere to is illogical." No matter the emotional tendencies of any persyn, they will behave in illogical ways when put in an illogical position. In order to prevent the wrath of any CO, we need to eliminate the illogical job in an illogical society. This can only happen by eliminating capitalism and the profit motive, which will in turn get rid of the prison system.

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[Gender] [Southport Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 12]
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Gender Oppression and Health Care

I am the author of the article “Psycho-sexual Warfare vs. Political Prisoners” that appeared in Under Lock & Key (September 2008). There are a few issues that I forgot to include in that article that a lot of comrades could learn from. We all know that guards regularly pay for access to prisoners' sexuality in a variety of ways, but there is another “prison game” that goes on behind these walls involving the dehumanizing and exploitation of prisoners by the medical staff. Let me explain.

Here in the Southport Correctional Facility, which is the oldest SHU in the state of New York, the medical staff including nurses, provide medical treatment to prisoners based on non-medical factors like money, looks, favoritism and sexual favors. There is a group of nurses who only provide medical treatment and attention to their so-called “jailhouse husbands” which they select based on how much money the prisoner has, looks, and the willingness of the prisoner to comply with brainwashed behavior by providing sexual favors such as masturbating in front of the nurse, hand jobs and even to a lesser degree blow jobs.

This might sound minor and even funny to some people, but let me explain why this form of psycho-sexual warfare “game” might be the most serious of them all.

There is a group of about 10 nurses here in Southport, including nurse Jil Jilson and nurse Angela Gorg who actually go around this prison picking and choosing which inmates they want to exploit and receive sexual favors from, as if they are picking which slave to own, and whatever prisoner they decide to choose, will be the prisoner that they give top priority to when providing medical attention and treatment.

Now, sit back and think about this for a second. There are 800 prisoners in Southport, each of these 10 nurses have their own “jailhouse husband” who they give top priority to when deciding who to provide medical care to. That means only 10-15 prisoners out of 800 prisoners actually have their medical needs addressed on a daily basis. All of these nurses work closely with guards and top ranking officers to gain access to prisoners who meet the sexual, exploitation and brainwashing objectives.

This also means that over 90% of prisoners will have their serious medical needs go unaddressed for a long period of time because they don’t meet the “criteria” of these gender oppressors which also means that over 90% of these prisoners will have their medical conditions worsen over time and some even suffering permanent injuries due to the deliberate indifference of these nurses which is supported by top ranking prison officials and medical staff.

This is a deadly game that is played in most prisons and is another form of exploitation, manipulation and coercion that these gender oppressors use to further degrade prisoners and reinforce their which supremacist ideas.

I currently have a federal lawsuit pending against top-ranking staff in the Southport medical and dental department, which I hope will fully expose these type of psycho-sexual warfare/gender oppression games.

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[Spanish] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Batalla legal parte de la pelea contra imperialismo

Usted ya saber que los cerdos han puesto MIM en su lista negra de censura otra vez. Aunque los veredictos de la corte dicen que la censura sea solamente contra el material en cuestión, y no en las creencias politicas del publicador. Sí, estos cerdos están felizes y orgullosos de su abilidad de poder bloquear las hechas MIM provea para nosotros. El chrono que dieron nomás dijo MIM, no MIM Notes o MIM Theory, nomás el grupo que odian. Aunque no es nada nuevo porque ellos siempre han odiado ser expuesto como fascistas, como sus mascaras de funda de almuada son cosa de seguridad de gobierno y es otra forma de defender hegemonía burgesia.

Yo estaba pensando que después que MIM gane la batalla legal en contra de Corcoran's attaque personal en sus ideas, las otras publicaciones que ellos odian ganarán libertad de ser bloquiadas, basada en el publicador.

Yo solamente quiero que ustedes camaradas sepan que nosotros todavia estamos peliando la tyrania y nosotros sabemos que ustedes también. La pelea continua. Yo siento que el imperialismo de los estados unidos esta en sus ultimas piernas y que todo el odio y enemigos que han hecho los están alcansando. 50 millones de Africanos Americanos, 40 millones de Latinos en Amerika, 20 millones de Asianos, el yanqui Ku Klux la van a tener bien duro, conquistando todo esto. Y 400 millones de Arabes, 1 billón de Chinos, 1 billón de Indios. Estos marranos que pensaron que ganaron un nuevo estado, cuando Geroge Bush uso el militar E.U. para pelear su pelea familiar con Saddam, están puestos para un grosero despierto y perecerán en su desgracia y enferemedad de chauvinismo.

Yo me acuerdo de todas las jactares de como iban a cruzada y quemar cruzes en Iraq y conquistar, pero ahora, 3 trillones de dolares despues todo lo que tienen es Uranio vaciado veneno, 4,000 muertos, yo no sé 30,000 heridos? Y un billete para tras a su nido.

Así como nos has enseñado. La revolución será realidad cuando el militar de ellos sea extendido de más en su campaña para colonizar y dictar. MIM, tu tienes que escribir un articulo sobre los hechos de las reservas de asiete mundial y tocar en el limite de tiempo cuando este derrumbe imperial vaya a pasar, para que la gente este preparada de tomar su destino, su propia responsabilidad en sus manos. Así que como el manifesto communista dice, donde el desarrollo libre de cada uno son las condiciones para el desarrollo libre de todos.

MIM(Prisiones) responde: Este es un buen comentario amarrando censoria a la situación mundia de sobre extensión imperial. En repuesta sobre la demanda para un articulo en las reservas de aseite mundial, nosotros necesitamos a nuestros camaradas, que están en las calles y detras de las barras, que tomen el trabajo de escribir los articulos que son necesarios. Nomás dando nos ideas no es lo suficiente asi como nunca tenemos suficiente gente para cubrir todos los eventos importantes mundial. Hasta en prisión, nuestros camaradas son inventivo para encontrar materiales investigativos necesitados.

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