Under Lock & Key Issue 20 - May 2011

Under Lock & Key

Postage is one of our biggest expenses. Why not send a book of stamps or two to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140 next time you're at the post office? help out
[Education] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

MIM(Prisons) Puts Theory into Practice in Education

Unlike other social services in the United $tates, public education is the only one where the quality of service you receive is directly impacted by the assessed value of property in your locality. Besides limited busing, there isn't a way around the fact that poorer neighborhoods have crappier schools. When attempts are made to resolve disparities between districts, the rich districts do all they can to resist the change. The obvious methods of spreading the existing money evenly to all districts, and dividing kids evenly across all schools, are seen as taking money away from the rich districts. The rich districts don't think the poor kids deserve the same level of education if it comes at their expense. Poor school districts are predominantly Black and Latino. Very few white kids have to try to get an education in a school that lacks books, desks, teachers, and in some cases even basics like toilets and heat. In 1991 statistics showed that some cities have per-pupil funding for the poorest district equal to only one fifth of the funding in the richest.(1)

"[A] circular phenomenon evolves: The richer districts - those in which the property lots and houses are more highly valued - have more revenue, derived from taxing land and homes, to fund their public schools. The reputation of the schools, in turn, adds to the value of their homes, and this, in turn, expands the tax base for their public schools. The fact that they can levy lower taxes than the poorer districts, but exact more money, raises values even more; and this again, means further funds for smaller classes and for higher teacher salaries within their public schools." Kids
educated in poor districts can't compete with the education rich kids are getting by the time they are applying for college.(2)

In 1988, Eastside High School, in a poor and mostly Black and Latino district in Paterson, New Jersey gained some publicity and praise by former U.$. Education Secretary William Bennett and former President Ronald Reagan because the principal, Joe Clark, threw out 300 students in one day who he claimed were involved with violence or drugs. Clark often roamed the halls of his school with a bullhorn and a bat, and was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Two-thirds of those kids ended up in County Jail. Paterson even destroyed a library because it needed space to build a new jail.(3, 4) Joe Clark was an atypical high school principal, but his defense and support by the President and Education Secretary sent a clear invitation to other principals to adopt Clark's methods.

These facts show how public education is not intended to be, and does not function as, a force to uplift the oppressed nations within U.$. borders. Wealthy districts' protection of "their" tax dollars prove that they will not share their wealth without being forced to do so. The only way to equal education and employment opportunities for everyone is through socialist revolution, and eventually communism.

MIM(Prisons) has been steadily expanding our education efforts both in response to the lack of education afforded our readership, and because it is one of the most important forces we can utilize to advance revolution. Our primary task at this historical stage is to increase public opinion in favor of national liberation movements. And as we organize for revolution we must be sure we are following a correct path and not one that will lead to failure and setbacks. We determine this through our study of history and current conditions, and share these ideas with others through education. Much more could be done, and ultimately this effort should be picked up and spread by people on the inside, but we play a valuable supporting role.

One way MIM(Prisons) supports education behind bars is through our Serve the People Free Political Books for Prisoners Program. Prisoners who cannot afford to buy books can instead exchange revolutionary work for revolutionary literature. Our selection includes magazines and old newspapers from the Maoist Internationalist Movement; classic essays by Mao, Lenin, Marx, and others; history books about China under Mao and the socialist Soviet Union; materials by the Black Panthers and the Young Lords; and works by modern Maoist theorists. We encourage participants of the Free Books Program to share the lit with others, study it with them, and write to MIM(Prisons) with their questions or thoughts so we can better help them with their political education.

A more structured way MIM(Prisons) supports education behind bars is through the various study groups that we facilitate. There are two levels of introductory study groups that will help someone who is new to revolutionary thought, or who is already well-versed but wants to know more about MIM(Prisons)'s politics. Comrades who complete these courses, do not have a worked out line against MIM(Prisons), and are actively involved in some kind of writing work will be invited to join the Under Lock & Key Writers group. This group participates in a higher level of study and discussion, and participants use their knowledge to contribute articles to Under Lock & Key and other anti-imperialist projects.

In the past several years we have put together over a dozen study packs for comrades to use on their own, or in correspondence with MIM(Prisons). We especially encourage people to form study groups inside their prison using these study packs as a guide. Some study pack topics include: strategy (focused on MIM Theory 5), organizational structure, culture (focused on MIM Theory 13), False Nationalism, False Internationalism, fascism, and more. We send these study packs to people whose letters seem like they could benefit significantly from the process, and to participants of the Free Books for Prisoners Program.

We have also been in the long process of compiling a Maoist glossary to post online at www.prisoncensorship.info and to send in to our readers. It will be a miniature dictionary of terms for our struggle, defined from a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist perspective. Comrades who want to contribute to this project can write us for a draft version of what we have so far.

Although we have been developing, with much invaluable help from our comrades inside, useful tools to expand and spread revolutionary education, you can teach others without using even one of them. If you can read this article, you can start educating others about Maoism, our need for revolution, and how we can get there. Start by sharing Under Lock & Key with someone and discussing the articles. What did you find interesting? What did you disagree with? Why do you think the author made a particular statement? What was confusing for you? What new information did you learn? What are you going to do with that information? What do you want to learn about more?

Because education and study rely so heavily on the written word, we should be putting some energy into teaching others how to read. One persyn who knows how to read can spread political education to others exponentially. But someone who cannot read on their own is limited in their ability to fully grasp the difficult questions of making revolution. We are building our revolutionary leadership and need to help others lead by helping them to read.

MIM(Prisons) has been trying to develop our support for literacy programs. Comrades behind bars should take up this important task of teaching others to read, and let MIM(Prisons) know what we can do to better support their efforts. We are especially interested in hearing from people who learned how to read while locked up, and what helped them.

This issue of Under Lock & Key is focused on education because it is the basis of our practice at this time. Education and study are the only ways that we are going to be able to develop as leaders of the revolution toward a just society free of starvation, rape, war, and oppression of all kinds. Theoretical education improves our organizing and mass education work, which is the only way we are going to turn people on to the need and possibility of liberation, and in favor of efforts of the oppressed to liberate themselves.

Notes:
(1) Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities, New York, NY: Crown Publishing, 1991, p.56-57
(2) Ibid., p.121
(3) Ibid., p.162-163
(4) Education: Getting Tough, Time Magazine, 1 February 1988.

chain
[Theory] [Education] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Education of the Nation

Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings
by James Yaki Sayles
Kersplebedeb and Spear & Shield Publications
2010

Available for $20 + shipping/handling from:
Kersplebedeb
CP 63560, CCCP Van Horne
Montreal, Quebec
Canada
H3W 3H8

"THE BOOK IS ABOUT HOW THE "WRETCHED" can transform themselves into the ENLIGHTENED and the SELF-GOVERNING!! If you don't take anything else away with your reading of [The Wretched of the Earth], you must take this."(p.381)

Meditations on Wretched of the Earth

Like many of the books reviewed in Under Lock & Key, Meditations On Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth is written by someone who spent most of his adult life in a U.$. prison. That there are so many such books these days speaks to the growing plague of the mass incarceration experiment that is the U.$. injustice system. The content of many of these books speaks to the development of the consciousness of this growing class of people in the belly of the beast. While of the lumpen class, they differ from the subjects of Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth in both their incarceration and their First World status. And while great thinkers are among them, their ideas are reflected in the general prison population superficially at best. The need for the development of mass consciousness (one based in revolutionary nationalism, and an understanding of how to think, not what to think) and the project of oppressed people taking their destinies in their own hands make up the main theme of this book.

Wretched has greatly influenced many in our circles, and is itself a book highly recommended by MIM(Prisons). It is of particular interest in being perhaps the most complete and accurate discussion of the lumpen-proletariat that we've read to date. While not completely applicable to conditions in the United $tates, it is even more relevant to the growing numbers of displaced Third World people living in slums and refugee camps than when it was first written. For the most part, Yaki discusses Wretched as it applies to the oppressed nations of the United $tates, in particular New Afrika.

The four-part meditations on Wretched make up the bulk of the book. The introduction to this section is an attempt to break down The Wretched of the Earth for a modern young audience. In it the author stresses the importance of rereading theoretical books to fully grasp them. He also stresses that the process of studying and then understanding the original and complex form of such works (as opposed to a summary or cheat sheet) is itself transformative in developing one's confidence and abilities. At no stage of revolutionary transformation are there shortcuts. The only way to defend the struggle from counter-revolutionaries is to thoroughly raise the consciousness of the masses as a whole. "Get away from the idea that only certain people or groups can be 'intellectual,' and think about everyone as 'intellectual.'"(p.192) And as he concludes in part two of the Meditations, We often forget that our whole job here is to transform humyn beings.

The National Question

As part four of the meditations trails off into unfinished notes due to Yaki's untimely death, he is discussing the need for national culture and history. He echoes Fanon's assertion that national culture must be living and evolving, and not what the Panthers criticized as "pork chop nationalism." He discusses the relevance of pre-colonial histories, as well as the struggles of oppressed nations during the early years of colonization, to counter the Euro-Amerikan story that starts with them rescuing the oppressed nation from barbarity. These histories are important, but they are history. Sitting around dressed in Egyptian clothing or speaking Nahuatl aren't helping the nation. It is idealism to skip over more recent history of struggles for self-reliance and self-determination in defiance of imperialism.

We don't even need to go back to ancient times to identify histories that have been lost and hidden; many of us don't even know our recent past. Recording the little-known history of the "wretched" of the richest country in the world is the first step to understanding how we got here and how we can move forward. We are working on this with a number of comrades as an important step to developing national (and class) consciousness.(1)

Yaki agrees with the MIM line that nation is the most important contradiction today, while presenting a good understanding of the class contradictions that underlay and overlap with nation. Recently, debates in another prison-based journal, 4StruggleMag, have questioned the relevance of nationalism as the basis of revolutionary organizing; taking an essentially Trotskyist view, but justifying it via "new" conditions of globalization.(2) Really the theory of globalization is just one aspect of Lenin's theory of imperialism. The author, critiquing nationalism, discusses that nations themselves were a modern concept that united many groups that were once separated by culture and land. This was true for the nation-states of europe that united internally and the nations of the colonial world that were united by their common oppression under european domination. It was in this colonial relationship, and specifically with the demands of imperialism, that nations solidified in dialectical relationship to each other: oppressor vs. oppressed.

Yaki disagrees with the reading of history that sees nations as a modern construct. He stresses the importance of recognizing that oppressed nations existed as people with rich cultures before europeans drew up national boundaries based on colonial land claims (ie. Egypt, China, Maya). While true, talking about "nations" that predate capitalism is similar to talking about the "imperialism" of the Roman empire. For followers of Lenin, empire does not equal imperialism. Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism; an economic system forced by the extreme accumulation of capital that requires its export to other people (nations) to maintain profit rates, without which capitalism will not continue to produce (one of its inherent contradictions and flaws).

When we talk about nations, we are talking about imperialist class relations; the relations of production and distribution under the economic system of imperialism (which is not more than a couple hundred years old). More specifically, we are talking about a system where whole nations oppress and exploit other nations. While different classes exist within each nation, these questions are secondary to the global class analysis in the period of imperialism. To answer the anti-nationalist author in 4StruggleMag who claims nationalism never led to liberation, or to internationalism, we refer to socialist China, the most advanced movement for the liberation of people from capitalism to date in humyn history. Even within the confines of this imperialist country, the most advanced movement took nationalist form in the Black Panther Party.

Any theoretical questioning of the relevance of the nation to revolutionary anti-capitalism must address the nature of imperialism. Within the United $tates the lines between oppressor and oppressed nation have weakened, particularly on the question of exploitation. This provides a material basis for questioning the relevance of nationalism within our movements here. As Yaki wrote, "here, in the seat of empire, even the 'slaves' are 'petty-bourgeois,' and our poverty is not what it would be if We didn't in a thousand ways also benefit from the spoils of the exploitation of peoples throughout the world. Our passivity wouldn't be what it is if not for our thinking that We have something to lose..."(p.188) But globally, the contradictions between nations continue to heighten, and there is no basis for debate over whether nation remains the principal contradiction.

As we said, nations, like all things in the world, are dialectical in nature. That means they constantly change. There is nothing to say that nations will not expand as implied by the globalization argument, but this will not eliminate the distinction between exploiter and exploited nations.

While we won't try to address the relevance of revolutionary nationalism within the United $tates definitively here, Yaki is very adamant about the need for an understanding of the internal class structure of the internal semi-colonies. And as different as conditions were in revolutionary Algeria, many of the concepts from Wretched apply here as Yaki demonstrates. "[D]on't We evidence a positive negation of common sense as We, too, try to persuade ourselves that colonialism and capitalist exploitation and alienation don't exist? Don't We, too, grab hold of a belief in fatality (very common among young people these days)? And, what about OUR myths, spirits and magical/metaphysical superstructure? In our context, We employ conspiracy theories, the zodiac and numerology, Kente cloth and phrases from ancient languages; We invoke the power of a diet and the taboo of certain animals as food products."

Those studying the class structure within the oppressed nations, New Afrikan or not, within the United $tates will find much value in Yaki's writings. Even in the introduction, the editors remind us that, at the very least, revolutionary nationalism was a powerful force in our recent history. For example, in 1969 Newsweek found that 27% of northern Black youth under 30 "would like a separate Black nation."(p.19) And in the 1960s communist teens from the Black Disciples organized comrades from various gangs to defend Black homes in other parts of Illinois from drive-by shootings by the White Citizens Council and their backers in local police departments.(p.16) In the same period, when Malcolm X was alive and pushing a no-compromise revolutionary nationalist line on its behalf, the Nation of Islam had reached over 200,000 members.(p.18) Shortly thereafter, a majority of Blacks in the United $tates felt that the Black Panther Party represented their interests. When we look around today and ask whether New Afrikan nationalism has any revolutionary basis, we cannot ignore these recent memories.

Class, then Back to Nation

In his essay, On Transforming the Colonial and "Criminal" Mentality, Yaki addresses George Jackson's discussion of the potential in the lumpen versus their actual consciousness, which parallel's Marx's point about humyns consciously determining their own conditions and Lenin's definition of the masses as the conscious minority of the larger proletariat, which as a class is a potentially revolutionary force.(3) He quotes a critique of Eldridge Cleaver's line on the lumpen, which glorified organized crime. The critique argues that organized crime has its interests in the current system, and it is a carrot provided to the internal semi-colonies by imperialism. MIM(Prisons) looks to organized crime to find an independent national bourgeoisie (such as Larry Hoover, whose targeting by the state is mentioned in the book's introduction), but many are compradors as well, working with the imperialists to control the oppressed for them. This is even more true where the state has more influence (i.e. prison colonies).

While Yaki's focus on consciousness is consistent with Maoism, we have some differences with his application. Yaki, and his ideological camp, disagree with George Jackson and the MIM line that all prisoners are political. The state is a political organization, serving a certain class interest. We say all prisoners are political to break the common misperception people have that they are in prison because they did something wrong. Yaki's point about the lumpen is that if they don't turn around, understand the conditions that brought them there and then work to transform those conditions, then they are no use to the liberation struggle, and they are therefore not worthy of the term "political prisoner." He argues that to allow those with bourgeois ideas to call themselves a "political prisoner" dilutes the term. His camp uses "captive colonial" to refer to the New Afrikan imprisoned by Amerika regardless of one's ideology. That is a fine term, but by redefining the commonly used "political prisoner" from its narrow petty bourgeois definition, we push the ideological struggle forward by reclaiming popular language. In our view, "political prisoner" does not represent a group with a coherent ideology, just as "proletariat" does not.

Yaki puts a lot of weight on ideology when he defines nation as a "new unity" as well by saying, "[t]o me, being a 'New Afrikan' is not about the color of one's skin, but about one's thought and practice."(p.275) While skin color is an unscientific way to categorize people, we would caution that there are in fact material factors that define a nation; it's not just how we identify as individuals. Saying it is only about thought and practice leaves open the possibility of forming nations along lines of sexual preference, colors, favorite sports teams - lines that divide neighbors in the same community facing the same conditions. On the flip side, it creates space for the white-washing of national liberation movements by denying the group level oppression that the oppressor nation practices against the oppressed. To say that nations are fluid, ever-changing things is not to say that we can define them based purely on ideas in our heads and have them be meaningful.

Yaki Offers Much Knowledge

The use of the term "meditations" in the title is indicative of Yaki's approach, which clearly promotes a deep study of the material as well as making connections that lead to applying concepts to current situations. It is not a study guide in the traditional style of review questions and summaries. It does provide a critical analysis of the race-based interpretations of Fanon, such as that in Fanon for Beginners, which make it a valuable counter-measure to such bourgeois work.

His stress on hard work to build a solid foundation leads him to an agreeable line on armed struggle in contrast to others we have studied from the same ideological camp. On the back of the book, Sanyika Shakur quotes the author as saying, "i'd rather have one cadre free than 100 ak-47's" after Shakur was imprisoned again, related to possession of an assault rifle. Shakur writes, "t took me years to overstand & appreciate that one sentence." Discipline is something the revolutionary lumpen must develop, and taking a serious, meditative approach to study can help do just that.

In his essay, Malcolm X: Model of Personal Transformation, Yaki concludes, "We can go through the motions of changing our lives... but the test of the truth comes when the prison doors are opened, or, when otherwise We're confronted with situations which test our characters." (p.118)

Yaki was a New Afrikan revolutionary and a Prisoner of War. As part of the post-Panther era, Yaki reflects realistically on security questions, pointing out that it's too late to start instituting security measures after Martial Law has been enacted. From reading this book, everything you can gather about Yaki builds an impression of seriousness and commitment to our cause. In this way, this book is more than just a useful study guide for understanding and applying Fanon's ideas; it is an exemplary model for revolutionaries to help develop their own practice.

chain
[United Front] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

NJ Avalon Crip Signs On to UF Statement

I fully support the United Front and the five principles, because these five principles should be lived out within lumpen organizations. What the United Front means to me is this is one form that we can use to better ourselves as a whole, as well as liberate our minds to become better people so that we can help better others. I also feel that the principles are important because within U.S. prisons the prisoner-on-prisoner oppression is at an all-time high and I feel that I must do all I can to help put a stop to this madness.

- A New Jersey Avalon Crip

chain
[Education] [Black Order Revolutionary Organization] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Da Revolutionary Transformation

"It is up to us to organize the people. As for the reactionaries in China, it is up to us to organize the people to overthrow them. Everything reactionary is the same; if you don't hit it, it won't fall. It is like sweeping the floor; where the broom does not reach, the dust will not vanish of itself."(1)

In taking on the charge of fighting a national revolutionary struggle and building an anti-imperialist movement, those leading that movement - a vanguard party made up of internationalist proletarian leadership - have the principal task of educating the backwards masses so that they may come to understand the nature of their suffering and oppression.

The Black Order Revolutionary Organization (BORO) has taken responsibility of being part and parcel of the education and organization of the lumpen and prisoners in the United $nakes, alongside and in fraternity with MIM(Prisons) and the United Struggle from Within (USW), and those lumpen and organizations that work with them.

In our brief history of revolutionary organiz- ing, BORO’s tactical experiences have taught us is that we must struggle vigorously to teach prisoners in a practical way, understanding that a great percentage of U.$. prisoners are victims of mis-education by the colonial school system and practically none have any history of political struggle/activism.

In fact, because of their ignorance of the true laws of hystorical and social development, most prisoners disdain politics and political struggle, and instead have been heavily influenced by idealism, namely religion and metaphysics. There could also be a myriad of other reasons to explain this particular phenomenon, but that is not the purpose of this essay.

The purpose of this essay is to discuss how do we transform the lumpen colonial-criminal mentality into a revolutionary proletarian consciousness. As revolutionaries and aspiring Maoists, we do this by employing the science of revolution — Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, a dialectical and hystorical materialist education.

The first thing we try to teach prisoners is that even though we are in prisyn, we are still defined by our relationship to the means of production, not by our religion or what state or neighborhood we come from. As a comrade demonstrated in ULK 17, "in Marx's theory of 'social relations of production' lies the question of ownership, that is what 'class' owns the tools and what 'class' uses the tools. In this imperialist society the lumpen neither own nor use the tools. We are excluded from production and live under the heel of capitalist relations of production."(2)

The above point is critical to transforming the colonial-criminal mentality into a revolutionary proletarian mentality and is a part of the critical examination of our lives in relation to society in general, and the revolutionary transformation of it, in particular. It's also one of the most difficult steps to take for many prisoners, because it requires that one be critically honest and unreserved in the examination of their lives and critique of one's philosophical understanding of the real world and how it really works. Many of us are afraid to admit our parasitic roles in society. But even these should be critically examined within the context of the society that helped produce us as a class, and not as individuals.

It is idealists who "focus exclusively on conflicts within the individual, which are held to be constant across time and space. However, by not even noticing the presence of class struggle, which is the principal driving force in human action, they are unsuccessful in even explaining, much less changing, human behavior. Contradictions within the individual are reflections of contradictions in society, not autonomous from those contradictions. We define a person's character not in terms of the aspects of the individual as related to each other, but rather in terms of the individual as related to society through the individual's participation in it. An individual's struggle to resolve internal contradictions is dialectically related to other individuals and the struggle of human society as a whole to resolve conflicts in society."(3)

We must continue to provide prisoners with revolutionary educational materials that challenge them to critically study and understand their position in society and how to change it. No effective revolutionary organization can be built in the United $nakes without a powerful base inside of the penal colonies, undocumented workers and ex-prisyners. No effective revolutionary movement in the prisyns can be built without strong ties to a revolutionary movement on the streets. This is the dialectical relationship that exists between those on the inside and those on the outside of U.$. prisons.

If we want to brush away the dust that is capitalist-imperialism, then we must continue to push forward the development of a united front against imperialism. He who does not fear the death of a thousand cuts will dare unseat the emperor!


Notes:
1. The situation and our policy after the victory in the war of resistance against Japan, August 13, 1945, Chairman Mao, Selected Works, Vol IV, p301.
2. Lumpen United Front: It's Basis and Development, Cipactli of USW, ULK17.
3. Maoism on Human Nature, MCB52, MIM Theory 9. Available from MIM Distributors for $5.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Something Has Got to Change


As I envision the oppressor
The one we've come to blame
The one who has united us by numbers
And no longer respects our given names.
Who's willing to stand for our cause?
We're trapped in this thing together
And sho' nuf, united we will fall.
That's why we lift each other up
No matter the nationality or rotten speech
Together we should stand in this struggle
No matter the differences, we're all unique.
Defend what you want to accomplish
yet alone, it should be peace.
Something has got to change my people,
the oppressor has made us weak.

chain
[Theory] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Criticism and Self-Criticism in Revolutionary Practice

Criticism in the positive usage is the examination, analysis, and evaluation of the comparative worth of one's acts, practices, policies and/or ideas by others. Self-criticism is, of course, the same principles applied to oneself, but also refers to the organizational practice of critically examining and re-examining its own policies and/or the policies and practices of its members. Criticism and self-criticism are wholly necessary to human progress.

Criticism in its positive usage corrects mistakes in practices and of thought, and resolves differences among individuals and makes for smooth-running, well-functioning organizations. We should put forth the slogan "Unity-Criticism-Unity" to show how individuals come together and unite under principles, but in the actual working out of these principles differences arise for various reasons, which work against the accomplishments of the declared ends, and against cohesion of the organization. When these differences arise there must be criticism in which those with differences interpenetrate, modify one another, and form a new more perfect unity on the basis of having worked out contradictions that were inherent in the old unity.

Cause of Error

The differences which arise that disrupt unity can generally be found to have their basis in these categories of human error:

1) Opportunism; opportunism is defined as that tendency for an individual or individuals to make a decision or commit an act that is favorable to his/her own self-aggrandizement and at the expense of the collective or the movement as a whole. Opportunism stems from selfishness. When opportunism arises, either in an individual or in an organization it is to be severely criticized, and if necessary, the individual or individuals should be expelled from the organization or ostracized from the movement.

2) Subjectivism: the second type of error that disrupts unity and impairs revolutionary progress may be found in the general category called "subjectivism." Progress is always our purpose, but subjectivism can be distinguished from opportunism often only by the merest of hairlines. It generally has to do with personality flaws; One makes a decision or commits an act that is based on one's personal feelings, desires, resentments, jealousies, prejudices, etc. Such subjectivism may possibly stem from any number of sources: child trauma, subliminal conditioning, religious superstitions, etc. When such subjectivism pops up to impede the functioning of the individual or the progress of the organization, it is imperative that it be dealt with. The consciousness of many must necessarily be stripped of the old pernicious ideas and values imposed by the bourgeois culture. However, those traits and personal idiosyncrasies which are not particularly harmful to the individual or the cause, but are largely a matter of style, should not needlessly be criticized.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We refer comrades to Mao's essays On Contradiction and Combat Liberalism for more on the importance of fighting opportunism and building unity through the resolution of contradictions.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Light of Liberation

When we come to the point of the threshold of enlightenment, we pause for the embarking, take a deep breath of redefining air, close our eyes, place one foot across the threshold, and keep progressing forward.

As we cross over to reform, our minds race with stimulating thoughts of resurrection. Our third eye blinks once, twice, thrice — opens. Through this new halo of light we can see the struggles of humanity.

Our hearts diastole — conjuring of courage. We sought then solidarity — collective force of "the people."

All the teachings of the past great revolutionaries preceding us serve as instructions. Their words became our voice, so we spoke the language of "the people."

We clench our fist, and give salutation. DETERMINATION! CONSOLIDATION! REVOLUTION! LIBERATION!

chain
[United Front] [Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Peace Movement Destroyed in Infancy

Criminalizing a People
This letter is to inform you that the United Zulu Independence Movement (UZI) was destroyed and disbanded due to the draconian COINTELPRO-type efforts of the prison administration here in Missouri. For the past 6 months, which we are calling "6 Months of Terror!" the Missouri DOC have been sending the gang task force into general populations statewide to seize, harass, arrest, set up, transfer and jump on UZI members. Members are being pointed out by prison snitches and placed on gang file. They have also confiscated all of our literature, but cannot charge us with organized disobedience because, as you know, we have not promoted any.

The administration's view of UZI is so dark due to two major words within our radical title (United & Independence). They fear the unity of the lumpen, and they see the independent thinker as a serious threat.

I will keep in contact with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to let you know of our progress to rebuild.

It Don't Stop!
Zulu


MIM(Prisons) responds: UZI had been an active participant in pushing for a United Front for Peace in Prisons, working with MIM(Prisons) for just over a year before their demise at the hands of the state. We
hear they were doing prom- ising truce work between lumpen organizations in their region. As they allude to, they were very careful about the language used in their literature so that it could not be misconstrued to be something of a "crim- inal" nature or promoting forbidden behavior within the Missouri DOC. Despite all this, the DOC still saw it appropriate to brutally crush this peace movement, demonizing any attempt by oppressed nations to organize. We expect that more New Afrikan blood will be shed in Missouri as a direct result of this ob- struction of peace, and this blood will be on the hands of the COINTELPRO-type forces.

chain
[Education] [United Front] [Texas] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Lack of Education Limits United Front

Saludos y Respetos!

I received your plan for peace amongst the lower masses. It's in circulation.

My criticism is that, at least here in Texas, there's a lot of youngstas who have no understanding whatsoever of social relations. The comprehension level is totally shot. Your outlet and support is good, but here in this control block the average age is about 20 years old. Due to budget cuts, educational opportunities are being cut. Requests for education programming for the control block has been denied. Due to our custody level and administrative policy, we don't qualify for educational opportunities.

These fools can't even read, write, or do simple math. How the fuck are we expected to understand the writings of Marx, Mao or Che? I'm requesting your support in organizing a basics course of fundamental knowledge that is lacking in the daily interactions of our youth on a social level.

I totally support and endorse your propositions for peace. Tookie's outline is too basic. Where's the substance at? These fools need to learn basic literacy and problem-solving skills before entering the political arena.


MIM(Prisons) responds: What kind of oppressive system says that those who have been given the short end of the stick their whole lives "don't qualify for educational opportunities"? The system is set up to perpetuate the underclass status of large segments of the oppressed nations. This demonstrates the importance of MIM(Prisons)'s Serve the People educational programs for prisoners. We need donations, typists and other resources to continue to expand this important work.

As highlighted in this issue of ULK we have expanded our introductory study courses and are developing a revolutionary glossary, both with the goal of educating the uneducated. Yet many need more remedial training. We are researching this question and welcome ideas from comrades about how we can support that type of work. We do know that basic reading and writing cannot be taught through the mail, and United Struggle from Within needs to be enacting these types of programs on the ground. Education is an important part of building a United Front for Peace.

chain
[Abuse] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

More on Worsening Conditions at FSP

I was recently moved to the gulag of the state and it's real tuff here. They're shorting people on shower soap like it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Food portions done drop majorly, but not too many people write anything up or do anything about it. If you not standing on door for shower you will not shower, which is not worth going to anyway because you only get 30 seconds. When laundry comes on Mondays, if you're not up 4-5 a.m., you will not get to change clothes. To top things off, you can't flush your own toilet, so sometimes you sit in that stink for hours. Just to wake people they flush them in the middle of the night. This shit crazy, but people lay down to it.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In California we're seeing years of work grieving to the administration, while writing to outside media like Under Lock & Key, leading to a growing unity among comrades in some of the roughest prison conditions. We encourage our comrades in Florida, and elsewhere, to launch a coordinated grievance campaign to unite their individual voices and become stronger.

chain
[Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

July 1 Pelican Bay SHU Food Strike to Protest Inhuman Isolation

I'm writing to enlighten you of the new millennium oppression going on in Pelican Bay short-corridor. Since 2006 over 210 prisoners are being housed here unjustly by IGI (the gang task force) AKA "Green Wall" which is known to utilize prisoners who will debrief against other prisoners. Their inhuman treatment towards prisoners who will not lie and become false informers for IGI "Green Wall" helps keep the short-corridor program of oppression functioning.

We have been placed in short-corridor Group D, falsely labeled as gang members and housed here isolated for non-disciplinary actions. We are not allowed Group D privileges; the short-corridor has its own set of rules structured by IGI. They have no oversight and are allowed to be inhuman towards prisoners who don't believe in their devilish propaganda! We understand we are in prison, we are serving our time disciplinary-free, all we are asking for is fairness. Below are just a few of many reasons why on July 1 2011 the short-corridor and SHU will go on a food strike to protest our inhuman isolation.

  1. If we must be placed in this short-corridor let it be for disciplinary actions we have done.

  2. IGI must stop the abuse of their power to manipulate/intimidate prisoners to falsely accuse other prisoners of being so-called gang members to justify their inhuman objective.

  3. We must be allowed to receive all of Group D privileges, especially us in the short-corridor who have not done anything to warrant inhuman isolation.

  4. We must be allowed to at least send our family members a picture. It's been over 18 years since I have sent my family a picture, and other prisoners go even longer!

  5. We must be able to talk to family on the phone. It is important that we have family support and help on personal rehabilitation.

I would like to ask if you can help us spread the word and on July 1 2011 have a candlelight vigil in support of us and to show solidarity in our struggle, or any other such act that may be able to help bring attention to our conditions.

chain
[Culture] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

V: United Front Example on Television

V second generation

United front organizing is never easy, but once established it is the most effective way for various, weaker, sometimes opposing factions to come together and make their weight felt to defeat a stronger, common enemy. The television show "V," which airs Tuesday nights on the ABC network, portrays a somewhat good example of a united front. Of course not everything portrayed within this show is according to the Maoist strategy of United Front, but it does a decent enough job of introducing those who are unfamiliar with the concept to warrant checking out.

The show centers on a seemingly friendly encounter with space aliens who visit planet Earth. The space aliens first arrive bearing gifts of advanced medicine, superior technology and their trademark logo of "we come in peace." The show also focuses on a small, infant underground movement of humyns committed to unmasking the seemingly friendly space aliens for what they really are: hostile space invaders or intergalactic imperialists who have in all reality begun an undercover invasion of planet Earth, which most humyns either don't realize is taking place or are too busy being bought off to admit.

The united front portrayed in this show was started by an FBI agent assigned to the anti-terrorist unit; a liaison to the space alien delegation; a rogue priest; a space alien who's committed species suicide by coming over to the side of the humyns; and a so called "terrorist" who's wanted by the "international community" for supplying Third World liberation movements with weapons and guerrilla warfare training.

As a matter of fact, FBI agent Erica Evans was first tasked with capturing the wanted "terrorist." However, once she finds out what the space aliens are really up to by spying on underground anti-space-alien organizations with methods straight out of COINTELPRO, combined with her own near-death experience with the intergalactic imperialists, she decides that it's time to form an opposition to the invaders. So along with the alien species traitor Ryan Nichols and the rogue priest, they begin to seek out and court the wanted "terrorist." Despite the FBI agent's hate for this "terrorist" she knows that if this anti-space-imperialist movement is gonna be for real, then the humyn species is gonna need all the tactical assistance it can get, even if that means hooking up with her enemies.

This rag-tag band of individuals eventually unites to re-establish the then-defunct Fifth Column, an anti-space-imperialist movement originally founded by empathetic space aliens who committed species suicide in order to protect the prior oppressed species whom the parasitic space imperialists enslaved and wiped out.

In real life, the historical Fifth Column were Nazi infiltrators in several European states such as Poland, France and even the USSR, leading up to and during WWII. Their main objective was to sabotage and wreck government and military institutions for the purpose of softening the ground in preparation for Nazi attacks. The real Fifth Column was most notably brought to light by the Soviet Union's purge trials of 1937-38 which Stalin ordered to smash the fascist traitors. The Fifth Column depicted in the TV series is an anti-space-imperialists movement instead of pro-Nazi.

In the most recent episode the insurgent rogue priest known as Father Jack has become conflicted by the humyn death and collateral damage, so much so that he begins to endanger the movement by refusing to adhere to the Fifth Column's version of democratic centralism when it comes to the group's mission. Instead of kicking him out of the movement, they subject him to a sorry excuse of party criticism and then keep him around based on his laurels.

In countless other episodes the importance of the individual and the individual's needs are stressed to the point that it leaves the impression that if any one of the Fifth Column leaders doesn't get his or her way then the movement will suffer irreparable damage to the point that its very existence will be put in peril. While leaders are certainly important to any movement this show takes the meaning and importance of a leader to a whole different level.

In recent episodes they've also shown how the Fifth Column's small-scale focoist adventures have now inspired many other humyns across the globe to band together and form a larger mass organization of the same name to launch spectacular focoist attacks on the space-imperialists. Little by little however the Fifth Column has begun to land serious blows to the space invaders proving that a united front, though an uneasy and still developing one, does work. While we don't encourage the focoist approach of armed struggle without consideration of the imperialists' strength, the humyns on the show are at a tipping point where the space imperialists' sinister plans would have severe dire consequences if not immediately stopped.

In the original "V" series of the 80s, "V" stood for victory and the mass of humynity eventually came together to launch a protracted guerrilla struggle against the oppressor space imperialists. When that series ended the viewer was left doubting whether the humyns prevailed.

Who knows how this updated version of the series will turn out. In a realistic approach the humyns need to first get their shit right, and instead of launching their spectacular focoist attacks, they need to begin the long arduous task of building public opinion against the invaders to bring the bulk of humynity together for when the real battles begin.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Fuck Uncle Sam


Hatred, power, envy and greed -
with not a thought of your fellow man
is the moral quota they try to breed.

Material existence at the cost of whole nations
and despite the desolation they cause overseas
they still find the need to oppress
and bring the war back to you and me.

With their foot on our necks what is the lumpen
to do but rise up and revolt against the tyranny
these capitalist pigs so mercilessly
rain down upon me and you.

Threatening us with terroristic tactics they try to discourage
us from educating ourselves and our fellow oppressed
they label us a threat and lock us away
just for what we read
labeling you a threat to the government for trying to liberate
and set our people free.

But they are the real terrorists, exploiting
weaker nations and killing over oil
their world revolves around chaos, and their evil
empires are built on blood-soaked soil.

chain
[Political Repression] [Security] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Forced into SNY for Political Organizing

MIM skull
[MIM(Prisons) has long defended a line that combats the divisions that the California Department of "Corrections" has tried to institutionalize by separating large numbers of people from the General Population (GP) into Sensitive Needs Yards (SNY). In a previous letter this comrade joined us in calling for SNY and GP alike to contribute to the struggle, while not hiding h lack of regard for SNY prisoners. Today h story serves to demonstrate why allowing the pigs to tell us who is our friend and who is our enemy is a backwards way of discovering the truth.]

I'm in the hole (Administrative Segregation Unit) once again, the material you sent found me when I needed it the most. This time around I'm found under an ISU/IGI investigation which will most likely result in me being sent to the other side (SNY). Surprising? Not really, I saw it coming since the day I committed myself to the United Struggle from Within (USW), in the form of either validation as a guerrilla revolutionary or the assassination of my character behind these walls through the SNY program that leaves a lot of brothers and sisters credibility out and in the cold away from the warmth of prisoner society's acceptance.

It's crazy how it happened all so fast. I blinked and at the drop of a dime my whole life turned upside down. It started October 16, officially with an unjustified unclothed cavity/cell search that I refused to submit to because the officer first claimed that they were hitting my cell randomly, then later said because me and my cellmate were exhibiting suspicious behavior when I was on the toilet taking a shit and my cellmate was on the assigned bunk asleep. I understood the nature of the situation that the corruption officers were creating. Someone dropped a dime on me, so I looked to get a paper trail.

By searching my cell they were committing a constitutional violation against search-and-seizure safeguards granted to prisoners such as notification of cell searching party (corruption officers involved), confiscation of personal property, and the right to appeal without retaliatory actions being taken against one. I made the choice to get the incident documented to bring to the attention of the administration here at Killer Kern, and I paid for it in the worst way possible. But still I stand revolutionary minded putting USW theory into practice outside of the study group's environment. Refusing to let the dragon win, I fight them with my pen and continue to force them to show their brutality on paper and physically.

After refusing to submit to their commands I was placed in wrist restraints and escorted to the facility program office cage where I spent the next few hours resisting the Sergeant and Lieutenant's request for me to submit to an unclothed body search. At this time the corruptions officers searching party (the Kern Valley A yard jump out boys) were back at the cell, searching, confiscating, and disposing of my property and attempting to pay me back for my resistance. They came across a kite [prison letter] that I had hidden inside a medicine bottle waiting to be delivered to it's destination. I will say that I slipped up! Cause I did.

The kite was in regards to a business arrangement that I had going on and gave details about involved individuals who were to participate. The kite was supposed to be delivered that same morning, but due to the unexpected visitors it wasn't and I thus forgot about it in the commotion of three COs at my door with their cans out ready to spray me while on the toilet for nothing.

I knew what was up, but didn't act quick enough and therefore allowed intel into the hands of law enforcement. And they had a ball with it immediately reading the kite loud enough for my neighbors, who were members of my LO, hoping to create the confusion that they did.

I spent three days in a small holding cell, cold, cuffed and shackled, taped in a dirty jumpsuit, with no linen, and a mattress that I was allowed only to lay on from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. with no covering on it. Sleep-deprived with lights on all night attempting to sleep with restraints, I was deprived medical care, and denied high blood pressure medication. I was smelling like shit without a shower, and forced to eat cold meals without any eating utensils or a cup to drink from. I felt the firsthand experience of torture at the hands of the department of correction (corruption) until I had three bowel movements to prove that I didn't have anything concealed in my ass.

Once my bowel movements showed negative results for contraband (not an explosive device or a gun, or a knife, but simple contraband) they released me back to the yard, and to the cell I went.

Not even three hours after my arrival I received a kite about the matter of the disclosure of intel in the confiscated kite. It wasn't "Cuz how you holding up? Can we assist you any way?" or none of that. But with everything falling the way it did, I understand. Because a week prior to the incident, individuals of various groups were getting popped with phones. And all were cats who were making the dead presidents, but removed from the front lines. There was a leak and Investigative Services Unit (ISU) was getting more fat than a fat guy in an all you could eat buffet.

I was brought up on charges of being that leak. And if the shoe was on another person's foot, I would've really pushed for an old school lynching. Treason is a no no, but here it is in the accused, getting kites now from OGs on the bricks, and weeks later I find myself up against the wall with those who I've actually shed blood for, explaining that I ain't no fucking rat and did not intentionally drop intel into the hands of law enforcement. Time drew on with me and those that be, doing just as the pigs planned us to, as we were on lockdown due to a war with the Blacks and the "southern Mexicans," over a drug debt, a phone, and miscommunication that caused an eight-on-twelve melee between Blacks and Browns, and one Black to be stabbed eleven times.

The option came around to me after the verdict came in that I was guilty of loose lips. I could either clean up some green (guards), get cleaned up, or handle the individual who would clean me up. For those who can't read between the lines clean up in this situation means to stab something up good enough that the message (whatever it may be) be sent clearly.

Now it may seem like nothing, but I'm not new to this shit, I'm true to it. I ain't no crash dummy, I've got a close release date, and a lot of life to live. I ain't stabbin' no pig without no chance of getting away, and I damn sho' ain't about to be a pin cushion. So I got the hell out of dodge, and didn't blink doing it. I'm an SNY, I recognize that some will understand, but most won't and I am no longer who they seen me as. But my time was limited as any real active revolutionary is on the line abroad the people who are and love the same exact thing that they claim to hate. Straight up!

Politicizing amongst the LOs is a difficult task when the same ones you advocate for are advocating against your existence for individualist purposes. I bump heads with the big dawgz about policy even when certain radz advised against it because of my youth and their popularity, and I got exactly what they said it would get me. An early death in the prison game.

I sit in ASU now on my third month for investigation into my security concerns that I raised truthfully on a 602 appeal form. The ISU/IGI agents attempt to sell protection like they are some type of "Green Wall" protection agency. I'm told the more you cooperate and inform us into the details of drugs, cellphones, crooked cops, and criminal activity, the more we can help you. Since when does the lion help the lamb?

I attempted radio silence with MIM(Prisons) until I could get my §1983 lawsuit put in, because my mail is being highly monitored, censored, withheld and returned.

But it seems that faith will have us together married until death do us part. So I'm back like Jesus from the dead, not really back at all, reborn into the characteristic of a USW on the other side of the fence.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is one more example of our point that not everyone on SNY yards is a snitch or rat as the pigs would like us to think. A bourgeois approach to security allows the bourgeoisie to win out. By bourgeois, we mean an individualist, rather than a group approach. We oppose studying "persynalities" instead of politics. And we oppose thinking that violence against individuals builds a strong movement.

There are plenty of enemies on mainline and there are friends to be found in SNY. How we associate and how we build allows us to determine which are which, not rumors or labels given out by the enemy.

chain
[Control Units] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

SMU Used to Prevent Activism

I am in the death trap called Special Management Unit (SMU). They have held me within the SMU program since 2008 with little or no communications with the outside world. The enemy understands the effectiveness of outside resources and communications so they strive to limit and/or control it using tactics that go against their own policy and program statements. We know these policies are for public consumption to create the illusion that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) protects public interest and is operating on an egalitarian level. These people fear collective progressive thinking. They want us programmed - living as the walking dead, and spreading the chaos of disorganization and the poison of anti-progressive action as we go. To effectively do this they have built the SMU program across the country. It is a death trap and an anti-progressive machine that is building and creating reactionary mind sets. The psychology behind 23 hours a day lockdown for a few years is to bend and twist a soulja to their will.

Most of the SMU population is gang- or organization-based. Most say once they hit population again they are laying it down, and following the rules. No one I've run into talks about building an anti-program machine to combat the SMU or the BOP. None of the gangs or organizations have created a progressive way to reach out and show unified efforts to survive this death trap. It's a death trap because without unified progressive action on our part the enemy gains an edge and uses our disunity and disorganization as a tool to continue to control us.

We become brainwashed agents of the oppressors and turn a homemade sharpened revolutionary anti-oppressor weapon against another oppressed captive man/woman. I've seen GD and the Bloodz war, Crip against Crip sets war, Mexican gangs against other Mexican gangs war, but none commits to warring with the key holder. All say "fuck the pig," but none has used action aimed at fucking up the pig. When I say action, I am talking about hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action. Action with purpose and filled with resolve.

Let's unite in more than our sufferings!
Power to those who don't fear freedom!


MIM(Prisons) responds: If this writer’s call for “hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action” is a call to take up weapons against the pigs, then we would disagree with h analysis of history and current conditions. At this time in the imperialist countries the conditions are not ripe for armed struggle. Engaging too soon will undoubtedly bring defeat.

Yet we agree with this writer's analysis of the SMU program as a tool to suppress revolutionary activism. The whole prison system is set up to encourage sets to fight each other instead of the system. This is why we have put out a call for groups to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

chain
[United Front] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Statement of Unity from the Makavelian People's Party (MPP)

As a lumpen organization we are committed to creating an active peace between all lumpen organizations, both within prisons and on the streets. To this end, we agree to uphold the Statement of Principles set forth by MIM(Prisons) and other organizations in the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

Officially,
Prince Capone, Chairman of the MPP-Seattle Chapter
Comrade Booby, Chairman of the MPP-Prison Chapter

chain
[Censorship] [Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

We Must Fight ULK Denials

I am writing this article to encourage and support my fellow prisoners to appeal the publication denials for Under Lock & Key. Don't give up in our fight for our rights. By not appealing the denial you are also stopping other prisoners from a chance to receive the above mentioned newsletter that many enjoy reading.

I am housed in the "close custody" section at a high security prison farm in Texas. We are always having our rights taken away here on "close custody." Don't know about General Population (I've never made it there, due to the constant harassment of the officers in charge here) however, I am sure that just like any other prison, things are not too much different.

I'm restricted to a two-man cell, 24 hours a day with no movement. Everything comes to you. What a privilege, right? I don't feel so privileged. We are allowed recreation only when staff feel like coming to their jobs to work. If you're not on recreation restriction, you may go to rec once a week. If you are a prisoner on rec restriction, and most are here on close custody, then you may see the "yard" once every two months. We receive the same excuses that I'm sure all prisoners have heard, "we are understaffed and short-handed." Although, lately it has been due to the "fog" which they say is a security risk. The rec here on "close custody" is separated into six cages, under a concrete roof. How exactly does the fog pose a threat in this situation? To me it is just another way to take away our rights by sweeping another excuse under the "security risk" rug. Which brings me to my point that we have to continue fighting for our rights.

On 25 February 2011 I was notified by mail room staff that my publication of Under Lock & Key was denied and I wouldn't be receiving it. The reason given was "page 10 contains material of a racial nature." Now who's rights are being violated? What happened to "freedom of speech" in America? There was also a box checked that reads: "It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to breakdown prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots or security threat group activity." Sounds like another excuse swept under the "security risk" rug. Don't you agree?

Although imprisoned, we do still have rights, but only the ones we continue to fight for. When asked, "do you want to appeal this denial?" always appeal, if not for yourself for the others on lock. You cannot win if you don't fight.

chain
[Africa] [Middle East] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

No U.$. Intervention in Libya

U.$. sucks Arab oil
On March 19 2011, the United $tates, playing the role as leader of the united nations forces, began bombing areas in Libya. What we know from the imperialist media is that small pockets of opposition to the Libyan government are attempting to rebel and attack the current government.

While we observe these developments in the Middle East in general, but more particularly in Libya, we must first understand the history as well as the current relations of production in these governments to really grasp the conditions and contradictions on the ground. It's good to understand the world and pay attention but it's better to know the truth and be able to sort through the BS that blurs reality and works to shape ideas to the imperialist program.

Libya, like much of the Middle East, has long been eyed by Amerika because of its vast oil reserves. Libya was colonized up until after World War II when it then became a semi-colony that was under U.$. and British influence with a monarchy under King Idris.

In the 1960s the Middle East, like much of the world, felt a whirlwind of revolution and liberation struggles that swept the globe. Libya also caught this upsurge of anti-colonial fever, and King Idris was overthrown by military officers in 1969. Moammar Gadhafi was the leader of this coup.

Although Libya changed its name to the "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" it is not currently a socialist country. There are revolutionaries within Libya but for the most part they do not lead any of the struggles we see in U.$. media. The incantation of imperialist propaganda is that the Libyan people are going to overthrow Gadhafi and that the majority want him out, but this is false.

Just as the U.$. used the south Vietnamese to massacre Vietnamese freedom fighters, just as the U.$. used the contras to massacre their country men the Sandinistas, and the Afghan against Afghan, Iraqi on Iraqi, so too are they now using Libyan to destroy Libyan. I wonder when the masses of the world will ever unite to take on the true oppressor?

Let's be clear Gadhafi did not come to power through a socialist revolution, although he did make some concessions and reforms, particularly with tribal alliances. For the most part what is practiced in Libya is a form of state capitalism where revenue from oil fuels the economy. Nonetheless they should not be met with imperialist intervention nor should the united nations be used to dictate their air space as another Iraq under Sadaam Hussein.

The opposition that the United $tates seems to cozy up to the most is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya which is known to be funded and trained by the CIA. This group, which was founded in 1981, has been based on the border of Egypt and Libya and seems to be the main vehicle for propping up a U.$. puppet government in Libya should the Gadhafi regime fall.

But let's get to the heart of the matter in this U.$. intervention: the main reason for this attack on Libya is oil! It's ironic how the so-called "united nations" have their hands in this intervention when within their very own documents, specifically the 1514 Declaration, they claim to grant self-determination to colonized nations and peoples. Yet here we are watching them deny self-determination. Not that we expect these imperialists to act in any way that isn't exploiting the people, but it shows those who are unaware of their parasitic aims what they're really about.

With the largest oil reserves in Africa it's no surprise that this nation is a target of the United $tates. We have seen this played out in Iraq where the no-fly zone was set up as a prelude for outright war and occupation. As I write this I'm sure backroom deals are being banged out between the imperialist countries on who gets what and at what price. Until these business agreements are worked out we probably won't see "troops on the ground" from the United $tates.

We see in the U.$. media accusations of Gadhafi being a "mad dog" but why was he invited years back to the United $tates? We all remember the jokes of him pitching a tent on one of Donald Trump's properties. The same bad things were said of Sadaam and Bin Laden but we see old pictures of both of them smiling with U.$. politicians at one time. Just to be clear, none of them were pushing for a socialist revolution. It is the pattern of being business partners with the United $tates, and then when the United $tates can't exploit these leaders to the extent that they want those same business partners become "mad dogs" or better yet "terrorists."

As Maoists we say no to imperialist intervention! We say no to the exploitation of the people around the world! We say hands off Libya! We hope for the masses of Libya to use this situation to create a socialist revolution to discard all oppression! End the intervention!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Many legitimate wars for liberation start with "small pockets of opposition" fighters, so it is hard to use numbers to judge a movement from afar. What we can see is that whether monarchist forces, CIA-backed "pro-democracy" parties or Islamic fighters, all of the "rebel" voices in the press are supporting imperialist intervention in Libya. This is what tells us they do not represent the masses of Libya. No to U.$. Imperialism! Unity within keeps the imperialists out!

chain
[Spanish] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Anunciando la Frente Unida por la Paz en Prisiones

Esta declaración fue redactada por miembros del Ministro de Prisiones del Movimiento Internacionalista de Maoistas, La Lucha Unida por Dentro, La Organización Consolidada Crip de la Costa Este y la Organización Revolucionaria del Orden Negro, con contribuciones y repasos de parte de otras organizaciones e individuos trabajando por la paz y la unidad en las prisiones estadounidenses. Si su organización desea juntarse a la Frente Unida Ud. puede someter su propia declaración por unidad/apoyo a Under Lock & Key (Bajo Candado y Llave).

Si los últimos 40 años han demostrado algo a nosotros, es que América quiere que estemos en guerra contra nosotros mismos y bajo clave en sus prisiones. La idea que nacimos entre las pandillas como si no tuviéramos el poder sobre nuestras propias vidas, ya no es aceptable si queremos sobrevivir. Sería genocidio para la próxima generación si repitara lo que hemos experimentado ya. Abrazamos el internacionalismo porque reconocemos que casi toda la gente del mundo potencialmente enfrenta condiciones genocidios bajo el imperialismo y hay fuerza en números. Esta es una llamada a la paz, a la unidad y a la comprensión entre todas las organizaciones de la prisión que en este momento se encuentren en oposición uno al otro y a los camaradas individuos sin afiliación a las pandillas que tomen un enfoque que utilice la fuerza de nuestros números en la lucha revolucionaria.

Estamos enterados de que no hay nada bueno sobre los apuros que nosotros, como pandilleros y criminales pequeños hacemos a nuestras familias y comunidades, y a nosotros mismos. Si es que tenemos que luchar y si tenemos que sacrificar entonces es más lógico que pongamos nuestras fuerzas y recursos colectivamente contra un blanco - el opresor.

Demasiado de nosotros ya estamos encarcelados. Que participemos en comportamiento temerario que nos puede encarcelar o ponernos bajo candado solamente ayuda a América controlarnos. Tupac Shakur, quien también ayudó a redactar un código de principios para unir a las organizaciones lumpen refirió a la etapa de la Vida de Ladrón de su vida y música como la fase preparatoria para la juventud del barrio. Por el tiempo que estaba encerrado en prisión el ya estaba creciendo y ensanchando más allá de la Vida de Ladrón al mismo tiempo reconociendo que siempre sería parte de él. El refirió a esto como la fase universitaria, diciendo que algunos nunca salen de la preparatoria. Nuestros camaradas muchas veces hacen correr paralelismos entre el crecimiento intelectual de estudiantes universitarios y prisioneros. Pero la prisión no debe ser donde ciertos grupos de gente tienen que ir para aprender y crecer.

Un ejemplo paralelo se encuentra en la ideología de la Nación Todopoderosa del Rey y Reina Latino, que describe a sus seguidores pasando desde la fase primitiva a la fase conservativa (o Momia) a la fase de Nuevo Rey. La fase primitiva usualmente está categorizado por la pandillera y el comportamiento temerario. La fase conservativa da pasos fuera de la imprudencia previa, alejándose de toda la organización. El Nuevo Rey reconoce que el tiempo para la revolución está a mano. . . Una revolución que traerá libertad a los esclavizados, a toda la gente del Tercer Mundo . . El Nuevo Rey es el producto final de estar completamente consiente, percibiendo 360 grados de iluminación. Se esfuerza por la unidad mundial. Para él no hay horizontes entre razas, ni sexos ni marbetes sin sentidos. Para él todo tiene significado, la vida humana está puesta sobre valores materiales. El se tira completamente dentro del campo de batalla, listo para sacrificarse su vida por los que quiere, por la humanización (Reyismo: Tres Fases del Manifiesto del Rey)

A despecho de nuestros senderos diferentes de evolución sobre los años, todas nuestras organizaciones comparten una historia común que surgió de la necesidad de defenderse a uno y la comunidad de uno en una sociedad que siempre nos ha mantenido como personas de afuera. Es triste que tengamos que encontrarnos en las instituciones más horrendas y opresivas (unidades de control o fila de muerte) antes de que nuestras organizaciones puedan empezar a trabajar juntos en nuestros intereses comunes. El propósito de esta frente unida es para incorporar este conjunto como parte de nuestro crecimiento continuo. La unidad evoluciona de dentro para fuera. En cuanto comencemos a crecer como individuos, nuestra primera tarea es construir unidad dentro de nuestro grupo alrededor de los principios de la frente unida.

Como trabajamos para construir la unidad con otros, tenemos que recordar que rumores son los tácticos de puercos y ratas. Demasiada gente tiene la costumbre de hablando mierda y creando la desunión como si fuera un juego. Camaradas tienen que saber cuándo se puede hablar, dónde se puede hablar, qué se puede hablar, con quién se puede hablar, cómo se puede hablar y cuando quedarse absolutamente callado.

Ha habido varios intentos para unir varias camarillas y pandillas bajo una bandera por una causa positiva. Pero cuando ciertos esfuerzos están guiados por los quien tienen la mentalidad de criminales estas causas solamente están servidos superficialmente y las organizaciones continúan a trabajar en los intereses de codicia y el poder de los pocos.

En los Estados Unidos estamos rodeados por riquezas y excesos que engendran un amor enfermo por su sistema de explotación. Aun el éxito para mucha de las naciones oprimidas todavía se reparte como boletos ganadores de la lotería, sea como un jefe de la calle o un pelotero u otro artista. Y en eso nos convertimos en opresores de nuestra propia comunidad, nación, raza y el resto del mundo. Mientras tanto, nuestros pueblos oprimidos en su conjunto no se permiten a determinar sus propios destinos como naciones.

La manera la más fácil de salir del barrio es en convertirnos en opresores abiertos al unirse al ejército del hombre blanco. Las guerras de la agresión de los imperialistas son guerras contra las naciones oprimidas del mundo. Somos matados y lastimados en estas guerras que ayudan a matar y controlar la gente oprimida alrededor del mundo. A juntarnos al ejército del opresor (Estados Unidos) es traicionar y dar por vender a nuestra gente colectiva.

Reconocemos completamente que si somos conscientes o no, ya estamos "unidos" en nuestro sufrimiento y represión diario. Enfrentamos al mismo enemigo común. Estamos atrapados en las mismas condiciones opresivas. Vestimos de la misma ropa de prisión, vamos al mismo hoyo infernal (aislamiento) somos brutalizados por los mismos puercos racistas. Somos una sola gente, no importa tu barrio o pandilla o nacionalidad. Ya sabemos que "necesitamos unidad" - pero unidad de un tipo diferente de la unidad que tenemos en el presente. Nosotros queremos mover de la unidad en opresión a la unidad al servicio de la gente y nos esforzamos hacia la independencia nacional.

No podemos desear la paz en una realidad cuando las condiciones no lo permiten. Cuando las necesidades de la gente no son satisfechos, no se puede tener la paz. A pesar de su inmensa riqueza, el sistema del imperialismo escoge ganancia sobre satisfaciendo las necesidades humanas para la mayoría del mundo. Aun aquí en el país lo más rico del mundo hay grupos que sufren por culpa del perseguimiento de ganancias. Tenemos que construir instituciones independientes para combatir los problemas plagando a la población oprimida. Esto es nuestra unidad en acción.

Reconocemos que lo más unidos políticamente e ideológicamente, lo mejor nuestro movimiento se hace en combatir la opresión nacional, la opresión de clase, el racismo y la opresión de género. Ellos quien reconocen esta realidad se han juntado para firmar 4 estos principios para una frente unida para demostrar nuestro acuerdo de estas cuestiones. Somos los sin voz y tenemos el derecho y el deber de ser oído.

chain
[Control Units] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Federal Employee Threatens Prisoner for Fighting Torture in Court

Today the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director, Harley Lappin, did a phony inspection of the Special Management Unit (SMU). He walked into the unit, posed for photographs for the upcoming propaganda campaign, then made a beeline for C-range (disciplinary glassed housing). Mr. Lappin stopped at my cell door, looked at the door tag bearing my name and stated, "you started it, but I'm going to finish it!" Several individuals, including Warden Rathman, accompanied Mr. Lappin and witnessed his threat.

I accept Mr. Lappin's threat as retaliation for filing a civil action (D.D.C. 10-1292) due to the continued torture of prisoners in these SMUs (psychological warfare via prolonged isolation) which was declared illegal back in 1970, Ex Parte Medley, 134 US 168. I will defend myself at all cost!

The SMU has a history of viciously attacking prisoners with use of force teams to torture them into compliance with their psychological torture regiment. Attempting to cope, some are forced to take psychotropics. It is evident Mr. Lappin views himself as above the statutory law, but he is not above the people's law!

chain
[National Oppression] [Campaigns] [Gang Validation] [California] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

False Validation Campaign in California

I am writing to you concerning a lawsuit which my defense team members are currently preparing on my behalf. It protests my false prison gang validation as an associate of the Black Guerrilla Family on December 31, 2009.

It is my position that this validation is solely motivated by retaliation and racial profiling due to my ongoing campaign to stamp out corruption involving some "Green Wall" correctional staff within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) who are currently engaged in organized crime, which is a clear threat to the safety and security of all CDCR institutions.

I was recently responsible for disciplinary and employee discharges against three corrupted CDCR prison staff at California State prison - Sacramento, Salinas Valley State Prison, and High Desert State Prison.

Since my false prison gang process, me and my defense have come across strong evidence. Some corrupted "Green Wall" staff are very prejudiced and racist, sanctioning use of the false validation process for some Black, Brown and white prisoners, to pursue false prison gang investigations. Many prisoners have strong evidence of being wrongfully validated for reading materials on their culture. Institutional Gang Investigators have taken a race-based shortcut and assume anything to do with African or Mexican culture can be banned under the guise of controlling gang activities.

Any California prisoners who have relevant information on the false prison gang process should write to MIM(Prisons), to get involved in this case.

My purpose of this lawsuit is to shed light on this abuse of power and human rights violations, including torture tactics through criminal activities and organized crime.

chain
[Control Units] [Education] [Florida] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Turning Control Units Into Universities

As we already know, control units are torture chambers where prisoners spend from 22 to 24 hours a day locked up in a tiny cell for long periods of time with a blinding light burning all day, with no educational or other kinds of programs and without proper medical and mental health attention. We are forced to live in here with the pigs oppressing us every day. These conditions are meant to break prisoners' mental states and spirit. They are oppression tools. Here I've seen prisoners give up and lose all hope, lose their mental states, harm, and even kill themselves. There's no doubt that these horrifying places affect the majority of prisoner's mental health. However, we can and should turn these torture chambers into our universities, for the betterment of ourselves and our oppressed comrades.

The first time I was placed in a control unit (here in Florida they are called close management units or CM) I did 2 years locked up in a tiny cell 24 hours a day. In my first few months I was wasting my time bullshitting, fighting and reading mind-killing fiction books. I was blind about the struggle - our struggle, oppressed against oppressor. Then, one day, a comrade handed me a book called "Last Man Standing" by Geronimo Pratt, a top member of the Black Panther Party. That book alone sparked the revolutionary in me and since then I haven't looked back. Then I met George Jackson, Mao, Lenin and Che among others. That's when I started shaping and organizing my ideals. When my family asked me if I needed money for canteen, I told them no. Instead I asked them to send me books on or by the above-mentioned comrades and I started studying full time.

Along the line a comrade gave me a copy of Under Lock & Key and I loved it. That boosted me up on the prison struggle. I started corresponding with MIM and after a while I began writing articles for them. The comrades at MIM(Prisons) supplied me with good and much needed studying material and I kept working hard on behalf of the struggle - our struggle. I've learned to discipline and organize myself in a way that I never thought possible. As I grew mentally and expanded my knowledge of the struggle, I shared it with others and helped awaken their consciousness.

I had access to nothing except what MIM(Prisons) sent me and my only opportunities to get out of my cell were when I had to see medical or mental health personnel and when we had recreation in a tiny dog pen and showers 3 times a week. Nevertheless, I refused all these. I thought - and still think - that by going to these I was throwing away time that I could use to study and put in work for the cause. I exercised and took bird baths in my cell. I studied even when the lights went out. I used a little bit of light that came in through the back window from a light pole that stood outside the building.

The pigs were used to going around doing their checks and seeing prisoners cuddled up in their beds doing nothing or just staring into space while talking to themselves. In fact, they like to see this because they know that they are breaking the prisoners' minds and fighting spirit. But they hated it when they walked by my cell and saw me sitting on the floor with all kinds of books, dictionaries, papers and pens scattered around me. They couldn't crack me, let alone break me, and that chewed at their insides. I wouldn't give them a chance. I was, and still am, going to fight them until the very end. If I can't fight them physically I will fight them with pen and paper by spreading the word of struggle and helping other oppressed people wake up consciously.

When I was close to being released to open population I told myself that if I started getting off track and losing my discipline I would return to CM on purpose to start disciplining myself all over again. When I was finally released in late 2009 people who knew me before wouldn't associate with me much because they couldn't relate to my new mindset. Fortunately I was able to wake some of them up and have them join forces in the struggle.

In my first prison, after my release from CM, I quickly formed a study group of nine comrades, of which the comrade who first introduced me to MIM(Prisons) was a part. However, the prison in which we were was extremely racist and oppressive and the pigs started targeting us. For being the group's spokesperson they considered me the leader and for that alone they ransacked and destroyed my personal property every time they got a chance, threatened me, then placed me in solitary confinement on false charges. Finally they transferred me to another prison.

At my next prison the pigs already knew about me, so as soon as I got there the searches and property destruction continued, but that didn't discourage me nor did it put a dent in my confidence. In a matter of weeks I had another study group going. But then, not even a year after my release from CM, I had an altercation with another prisoner who was a snitch for the pigs and was returned to CM where I currently find myself.

I have come to the conclusion that open population is not for me. It only takes too much of my study time. Study time that I need for when I get released back into society. Besides, in CM I don't have the pigs in my face all day. In open population there's a great chance that I harm one of them badly and catch more prison time. So I've decided to do my remaining 14 years in a solitary cell. This might be helpful for me, but it is not for everyone because not everyone understands and appreciates it like I do.

If you have no choice but to be in a control unit, don't waste your time bullshitting. Don't let these damn pigs break you. Turn the torture chamber in which you find yourself into your university. Read, study, and educate yourself. Subscribe to Under Lock & Key and other MIM(Prisons) material. If you don't have much material to study, whatever you do have study it over and over. You will be surprised by how much you can learn from reading the same thing over and over. I still have the first Under Lock & Key I ever read, which was given to me by that good comrade 3 years ago, and I still read it every once in a while. And every time I read it, I learn something new.

So comrades, wake up and get to studying. Show the pigs that you won't allow them to break you and that you are willing to fight, learn, struggle, and turn their torture chambers into your university. Just don't turn it into your mental and physical graveyard.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We're glad to see our work having such an impact on comrades in prison and we agree with the recommendations given for those in isolation. But keep in mind that control units exist in order to keep those who study away from the masses. A one-man university is nothing compared to running study groups and organizing sessions with a group of people. For those who are forced into isolation, Under Lock & Key is your connection to dialogue with the larger prison movement.

chain
[Education] [California] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Educational Warfare

The Prison Industrial Complex is a form of what I call "educational warfare." It is not a war that the PIC itself has enacted, but one which it carries out, quite effectively on its already captive masses, in collusion with the larger psychological warfare agenda of the governing neo-colonial system. The prisoners languish inside, trapped in a deplorable state of ignorance. Mental boundaries often go no further than the few city blocks of their own neighborhood's horizons. The illiteracy of the many would be laughable if it were not obvious that, for the most part, it is not self-induced. With no expectations that the captors will relent, for it is not in their interest to do so, the captives must endeavor to enlighten themselves in an organized manner.

With an annual nine-figure budget, California Department of Corruption and Debilitations spends a paltry 1% on education and that being mostly focused on hands-on trades. Most offenders who flow in and out of the revolving doors are short-termers. Those who do request the few educational programs available are placed on a waiting list and end up arriving in a program too late to complete it. They are released having a basic educational benefit of nil. A few can learn plumbing, electrical, or carpentry in order that they can be used in skilled peonage supporting the infrastructure of the cage that houses them.

It is no secret to officials that studies have proven the more a prisoner is educated the less likely they will become a recidivist. It is also confirmed knowledge that higher levels of learning translate into decreased levels of physical aggression in said individuals. That alone is a threat to prison officials who thrive on prisoner violence because they are given a financial boon in the form of hazard pay when such incidents occur. Not to mention politicians who thrive on incidents of violence to terrorize their constituents into voting one way or another. The only conclusion that one can arrive at is that it is desirable to those in charge to have a segment of the population destitute of their rights, politics, economics, social development, higher learning, organizing skills, and the value of true freedom.

It stands to reason that the forces who desire the true good of society must consider the importance of educating prisoners. Educated prisoners, when released, have not only more confidence, but they also possess greater opportunities of obtaining gainful employment. This will give them the potential to aid in restoring economic value to families and communities. Educated prisoners increase the pool of those who can become politically active to affect lasting societal change. Educated prisoners increase their chance of avoiding legal trouble and if faced with such, unjustly, may have better tools to avoid imprisonment. Educating prisoners will decrease crime and violence as minds expand and deepen. A society is judged by how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable, and is only as strong as its weakest link.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Though all that this prisoner explains is true, the imperialists don't see benefits from educating the oppressed. That is why we run a Free Political Books for Prisoners Program, and conduct political study classes with our comrades behind bars. For many prisoners this is the only education available, and we have seen great advances in understanding and organizing as the result of our programs. By expanding the understanding of the oppressed we heighten the contradictions that must be resolved to end this oppression. Only a society that has eliminated the profit motive of capitalist economics can grant all people the same rights and opportunities.

chain