Under Lock & Key Issue 22 - September 2011

Under Lock & Key

Graphic design skills? Help us with our new logo! help out
[Campaigns] [Organizing] [United Front] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

No Real Change, Hunger Strike Continues

Pelican Bay Food Strike - Isolation Sucks

On September 26, prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison will resume their indefinite hunger strike after 2 months of hiatus, during which they negotiated with the state. The strike began on July 1, sweeping across California, and was put on hold by organizers on July 21, after 3 full weeks of fasting. Multiple prisoner negotiators from Pelican Bay have confirmed that Scott Kernan of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) promised the 5 demands would be met, but that they needed 2 to 3 weeks to comply. That window of time has long since passed, and comrades are gearing up for what promises to be a longer stretch with no food.

In a statement from one strike leader announcing the September 26 restart, he stated:

I appreciate the time and love you all have given to us and you can believe that we will not yield until justice is achieved. We went into this trying to save lives, if possible, but we see now that there will have to be casualties on our side and we all know that power concedes to no one without demands.(1)

On August 23, state legislator Tom Ammiano headed a hearing on conditions in California's SHUs and on the validation process that gets people placed there. It echoed previous hearings that did not stop torture in the SHU. He promised he would push the issue further than it has gone in the past, but like the reforms given by the CDCR, this is too little too late as comrades who have faced decades in these torture cells take this struggle to the next level.

The Truth About the Negotiations

The strike didn't end over some beanies and calendars. Letters that came from the leaders after the message was sent that the strike ended were very clear that they were only giving the state time to meet their demands before they would restart the food strike. Those in D-Corridor and other SHU prisoners aren't done yet.

The initial story that came out of limited communications between the inside and outside negotiation teams was that the strike had ended, period, in return for beanies, calendars, proctored exams and a promise to investigate the major complaints of the strikers. The extreme limits put on the outside negotiation team, who were only granted access to the strikers on a couple brief occasions, allowed the state to control how the negotiations were portrayed. As a result, many across the state were let down by the misleading reports that first came out, because the strikers had pledged to strike until all 5 demands were met.

It has since come to light that Scott Kernan circulated a fake version of the five demands,(2) and that prisoners received notices that they had broken the rules by organizing against the abuse that they face and that they will face "progressive discipline" in the future for similar actions. The latter contradicts CDCR Spokeswoman Terry Thorton who stated on record, "There are no punitive measures for inmates refusing to eat."(3) In typical repressive fashion, the state responds to complaints of torture committed by state employees with outlawing any form of protest by the victims. It just goes to show that their efforts to maintain "security" have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with social control.

It's also important to note that the best public offer coming from the state right now is that they might move away from gang affiliation charges and focus on actual rule violations as justification for throwing someone into a torture chamber. Within U.$. prisons the First Amendment is generally ignored and any form of expression or organizing not sanctioned by the state is considered against the rules. But even this reform has been on the table for a long time with no action. According to the 2004 Castillo court decision, which took 8 years to litigate, the CDCR committed to providing logical justification that evidence used to put someone into SHU was criminal in nature. Yet nothing has changed, as the lead attorney on the case, Charles Carbone, asserted at the August 23 hearing.

As Carbone pointed out, with exasperation, we already went through the whole song and dance of having hearings around the SHU with Senator Gloria Romero and the United Front to Abolish the SHU years ago. Another testifier at this year's hearing made testimony in the 70s and 80s about the detrimental effects of isolation, but they still went on to build Pelican Bay State Prison. It is clear that the state sees the SHU as an important tool of social control and cares nothing for the destruction they cause to oppressed people.

Scott Kernan was very clear at the hearing that the CDCR would continue with the debriefing process, using confidential informants, and that they will not allow prisoners to appeal secret evidence used against them. He also said gang validations will likely continue to bring indeterminate SHU sentences. Kernan did not stick around for the public comments, and remaining CDCR staff were not given an opportunity to respond when a public commenter asked when the 5 demands would be put down in writing, after Kernan promised it would only take 2 to 3 weeks.

Lessons in Organizing

Through this process we are all learning how to organize in our conditions and what limits we face.

One of the successes of the California hunger strike was the demonstration of United Front to the masses, which inspired many to the possibilities of prison-based organizing. We do not know the details of how groups coordinated on the inside around the strike, but we do know that many groups would not be willing to sacrifice their independence to others, and yet they worked together. This example should be followed by those on the outside. We need to recognize the strength that comes in uniting all who can be united at any given time on the most pressing issues that we face. Coalition organizing strategies have held back support by not allowing a diversity of voices to come out in unity in support of the hunger strike.

Having outside pressure during a food strike is crucial to ensuring that the state just does not let prisoners die, as they are more than willing to do if there isn't too much noise about it. Outside organizations also played an important role in spreading word about the hunger strike that was initiated by some of the most isolated people in the whole state. But, ultimately, the state controls our communication with prisoners. Despite all the work put in by the coalition to develop an outside negotiation team, the only role the state allowed them to play was to announce when the strike had ended and ensure that everyone knew to stop. The state realized that a memo from the CDCR was not going to be convincing. Other than this, the negotiation team was not allowed any access to the prisoner negotiators.

In ULK 21, we made it sound like the strike was over for beanies, calendars and proctors and some empty promises of change. This was the information coming from the outside negotiating team and the best information anyone seemed to have. Frustration with the outcome immediately started coming in and we fear that disillusionment may have followed. But this is what the SHU is designed for. This is why SHU inmates can't call people on the outside. This is why the press is not allowed in California prisons. Misinformation would be much harder to spread otherwise. So overcoming these barriers is part of what we need to learn here.

We need to learn to build protracted and sustainable battles. There are no quick fixes, and prisoners can't rely on the mainstream press or outside organizations to come in and rescue them. Recently, Pelican Bay censored MIM(Prisons)'s study pack on organizational structure. They recognize the importance of such information for prisoners to really get organized and exert their rights. As much as they want to label us a "security threat group" for doing it, MIM(Prisons) continues to struggle for our right to support prison-based organizing. For it is the prisoners who have the drive and determination to make the changes that need to be made to end this oppressive system.

chain
[Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

La Huelga Continuá el 26 de Septiembre

El 26 de septiembre, los presos en Pelican Bay State Prison volverá a su huelga de hambre indefinida después de 2 meses de receso, durante el cual negoció con el Estado. La huelga se inició el 1 de julio, barriendo a través de California, y se dejó en suspenso por los organizadores el 21 de julio. Negociadores de presos múltiples de Pelican Bay han confirmado que Scott Kernan del Departamento de Correcciones y Rehabilitación de California (CDCR) prometió que las 5 demandas serían satisfechas, pero que necestiban 2-3 semanas par cumplir. Esta ventana de tiempo ha pasado hace tiempo, y los compañeros se están preparando para lo que promete ser un tramo más largo sin comida.

En el 23 de agosto, el legislador Tom Ammiano encabezó una audiencia sobre las condiciones de los SHU de California y el proceso de la validación que se coloca la gente allá. Se hizo un eco de audiencias previas que no paró la tortura en el SHU, pero prometió que empujara el tema más que había ido en el pasado.

La huelga no terminó sobre algunos gorritos y calendarios. Las cartas que vinieron de los líderes después de la mensaje que la huelga terminó eran muy claras que sólo daban el estado tiempo para cumplir con sus demandas antes de que recomenzarían la huelga de hambre.

Necesitamos aprender construir las batallas prolongadas y sostenibles. No hay ningunos soluciones rápidos, y los presos no pueden fiar en la prensa y las organizaciones ajenos para salvarles. Recientemente, Pelican Bay censuró el paquete de estudiar de MIM(Prisons) sobre la estructura organizacional. Reconocen la importancia de tal información para los preso realmente organizarse y ejercer sus derechos. Por tanto que quieren clasificarnos como un grupo de amenaza a la seguridad por hacerlo, MIM(Prisons) continua luchar por nuestro derecho a apoyar a la organización basada en la prisión. Porque son los presos que tienen la motivación y la determinación hacer los cambios que deben hacerse para terminar este sistema opresivo.

chain
[Organizing] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Lessons from an Imprisoned Panther

Marshall Law Eddie Conway

Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther
by Marshall "Eddie" Conway and Dominique Stevenson
AK Press, 2011
674-A 23rd Street
Oakland, CA 94612

This short autobiography by political prisoner Marshall (Eddie) Conway is not so much a story about the Baltimore Black Panthers as it is a brief history of prison-based organizing in the state of Maryland. Having spent almost all of his adult life in prison after being framed for killing a cop in 1970, this makes sense.

Panthers, Popularity and the Pigs

Knowing first-hand the extent of repression that was put on the Black Panther Party from a very early stage, the biggest lesson we get from the early years of Conway's political life are about how to recruit and organize in a country that is crawling with pigs. He points out that of the 295 actions that COINTELPRO took against Black Power groups from 1967 to 1971; 233 targeted the Panthers.(p.51) He later points out that while Muhammed Speaks was regularly allowed in prisons, The Black Panther had to be smuggled in.(p.98)

As the state clearly recognized the Maoism of the Black Panthers as much more effective in the fight for Black liberation than other movements at the time, they had agents planted in the organization from day one in Baltimore. One of the founding members in Baltimore, and the highest ranking Panther in the state, was exposed as an agent of the National Security Agency, while others worked for the FBI or local police.(p.48) Conway identifies the Panthers' rapid growth as a prime cause for its rapid demise, both due to infiltration and other contradictions between members that just had not been trained ideologically.(p.54) MIM(Prisons) takes it a step further in promoting an organizational structure where our effectiveness is not determined by the allegiances of our allies, but only by our work and the political line that guides it.

Persynal Life

Despite the seriousness with which he addresses his decades of dedicated organizing work, Conway expresses regret for putting his desire to free his people above his family. There is no doubt that oppression creates contradictions between someone’s ability to support their family directly and the system that prevents them from doing so. MIM(Prisons) is sympathetic with the young Conway, who put fighting the system first. Perhaps the most applicable lesson to take from this is for young comrades to seriously consider family planning and how that fits into one's overall plans as a revolutionary. It is just a reality that having an active/demanding family life is not conducive to changing the system.

Prison Organizing

This account of organizing in Maryland prisons is one example that famous events like the Attica uprising were part of a widespread upsurge in prison-based organizing across the country at the time. In a turning point for the prison movement, in 1971 Maryland prisoners began organizing the uniquely aboveground and legal United Prisoners Labor Union. The union quickly gained much broader support among the population than even the organizers expected.

While Conway notes that the young organizers on the streets often found partying more important than political work, he discusses deeper contradictions within the imprisoned lumpen class. At this time, illegal drugs were becoming a plague that prison activists could not find easy solutions to. While organizing the union, a new youth gang arose whose interest in free enterprise led them to work openly with the administration in "anti-communist" agitation among the population. As many gangs have become more entrenched in the drug economy (and other capitalist ambitions) competition has heightened the drive to conquer markets. The contradiction between the interests of criminal LOs and progressive lumpen organization is heightened today, with the criminal element being the dominant aspect of that contradiction.

Rather than outright repression, the easiest way for the guards to work against the union was to get less disciplined recruits to act out in violence. This point stresses the need for resolving contradictions among the masses before going up against the oppressor in such an open way. Education work among the masses to stress the strategy of organized action over individual fights with guards became an important task for union leaders.

Of course, the state could not allow such peacemaking to continue and the union was soon made illegal; leaders faced isolation and transfers. This eventually led us to where we are today where any form of prisoner organizing is effectively outlawed in most places and labeled Security Threat Group activity, in complete violation of the First Amendment right to association. There's a reason Amerikans allow the labor aristocracy to unionize and not the imprisoned lumpen. A year after the union was crushed, an escape attempt led to a riot in which the full destructive potential of the prison population was unleashed because there was no political leadership to guide the masses. That's exactly what the state wanted.

As a comrade in prison, intrigue is constantly being used against you by the state and you must takes steps to protect yourself. Conway tells a story about how one little act of kindness and his affiliation with the righteous Black Panthers probably saved his life. One major weakness of most LOs today is that they are rarely free of elements engaged in anti-people activity. As long as this is the case it will be easy for the state to set up fights and hits at will. Only through disciplined codes of conduct, that serve the people at all times, can such problems be avoided.

Many of the things Conway and his comrades did in the 1970s would seem impossible in U.$. prisons today. The government began aggressively using prisons as a tool of social control during that period of broad unrest in the United $nakes. Soon the state learned it had to ramp up the level of control it had within its prisons. This informed the history of the U.$. prison system over the last few decades. And with the vast resources of the U.$. empire, high tech repression came with a willing and well-paid army of repressers to run the quickly expanding system.

It is almost amazing to read Conway's story of Black guards, one-by-one, coming over to the side of the prisoners in a standoff with prison guards.(p.81) We don't know of anything like that happening today. As oppressed nationals of the labor aristocracy class have become commonplace in the U.$. injustice bureaucracy, we see national consciousness overcome by integrationism.

Also unlike today, where prisoners usually have to give any money they can scrape together to pay for their own imprisonment (ie. pay guards' salaries), profits from commissary in Maryland actually used to go to a fund to benefit prisoners and the communities they come from. But Conway tells of how the drug mob worked with the administration to eat up those funds, using some of it to sponsor a party for the warden himself!

The prison activists responded to this by setting up their own fund to support programs in Baltimore. That is true independent action, highlighting the importance of the fifth principle of the United Front for Peace. While all drug dealers are in essence working for the U.$. imperialists, this is even more true for those in prison who rely directly on state officials for the smooth operation of their business. Money is not decisive in the struggle for liberation; it is humyn resources: a politically conscious population that decides whether we succeed or we fail.

This review skims some of the main lessons from this book, but we recommend you read it for yourself for a more thorough study. It is both an inspiring and sobering history of U.$. prison organizing in the recent past. It is up to today's prisoners to learn from that past and write the next chapters in this story of struggle that will continue until imperialism is destroyed.

chain
[Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Still Waiting for Promised Changes from Strike

And so we begin a trickle of improvements here in SHU. A couple of weeks ago we received a memorandum stating we can now purchase sweatshirts, sweatpants and shorts starting immediately. Also prisoners go to committee every six months and so on our next committee if we have gone one year without a writeup we can be approved to purchase colored pens, pastels, art paper and be able to take one photo a year. They have also placed a few different items on the canteen list.

These changes may seem trivial, and in a way they are, but I also see the impact they will have on prisoners mentally. I for one am an artist and I sit here thinking of the art I can create, the revolutionary art I can do with colored pens. I also understand what a photo will mean to my loved ones, yet all of this stuff is really superficial.

The demand with the most meat is that of dismantling the debriefing process, which, according to CDCR officials, is still being "looked at." Even if the other four demands are granted, it is not enough, as we would not be asking for art paper and beanies, had it not been for the Gestapo-like policy of debriefing. If the debriefing process were not in existence the majority of prisoners would not be validated as gang members and associates and the SHU would not exist as we currently know it!

The world has seen the unmasked villain and so the state of California got a nudge to make this 'problem' disappear. They look for what they can do to appease the public and the world, pacifying the prison population, while at the same time maintaining the stranglehold on the imprisoned oppressed nations and keeping the revolutionary prisoners sealed off and isolated from the prison masses out in general populations of other prisons. This is seen in their granting of other demands and not touching their sacred cow - the debriefing process.

I don't see prisoners (especially those in SHU) accepting to spend life in SHU with the debriefing process as it is even if the state gives us photos. Many prisoners do not even have any money on our books to buy sweats or pastels! Most don't have anybody to even send a photo to so what good is it to the indigent prisoner? This decision to grant some demands is devious in its agenda. To properly analyze this "development" we need to look at who this will benefit?

There are in prisons the haves and the have nots, we all know both segments. In prison parasitism is magnified a hundred times. There are conscious or more progressive prisoners who look out for the less fortunate prisoner no matter who it is, and there are others who will only talk to those who have things. The state officials understand this and have employed a means of divide and conquer. On the one hand you have prisoners who will benefit from these crumbs and will be satisfied with the crumbs, and then you have the have nots who see no improvement along with the conscious prisoner who understands that conditions of the SHU, i.e. no photos, no color pens, art supplies, etc, are "symptoms" of the problem but the main problem lies in the SHU itself! Because once you take the SHU out of the picture, or even the debriefing process, all the 'symptoms' such as lack of beanies and sunlight go away. The state understands this and after we gained world attention they gave in and gave us these crumbs but did not give in to the most important demand around the debriefing process.

This effort laid a foundation and opened up contacts for many prisoners and showed the power that comes from such resistance. The footprint has been set and so I'm sure that path will not be forgotten, time will tell if all the demands are met or not.

Real change will not come so long as the imperialists continue their rule. Only when socialism reaches these shores will we see SHU conditions abolished. We can protest today for these abuses and tomorrow new repressive shoots will sprout up and we will be protesting those and on and on. Yet these battles are essential as learning experience and uplifting the political consciousness of prisoners, as well as to develop a current of mutual respect and support between prisoners and activists out in public society, while bringing an even stronger United Front for future efforts. To many so-called activists, prisoners are the last people on their mind, and sadly some don't care what happens to prisoners or care that prisoners are tortured by Amerika. Yet when prisoners begin to struggle and show their humynity it brings many to the prisoners' plight who have previously stood on the sidelines when it came to prisoners' struggles. So as of now the most important of the strike demands, the dismantling of the debriefing process, is still up in the air. So prisoners learn from past efforts while grappling about the future, as we have no choice but to keep struggling against this torture.

chain
[United Front] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

UF for Peace in Prisons Statement from USW cell

I represent a particular group of individuals who are revolutionary minds of the United Struggle from Within (USW). We believe in anti-imperialism and putting politics in command over everything. Our struggle is the struggle against oppressor nation vs. oppressed nations.

I support the five points of the statement of principles because it is necessary for the unity of all prisoners in order to change the oppressive conditions of U.$. imprisonment on these modern day plantations.

USW is a prison organization guided by MIM(Prisons) and MLM Theory, that believes in the concept and ideology of organization in order to empower the prisoner population. Growth and development is Our motto. We welcome any and all prisoners and groups who are determined to contribute to the works and struggle of this anti-imperialist movement in a protracted way.

We oppose studying persynalities over politics, and we also oppose the idea that violence against individuals builds a stronger movement. As revolutionaries struggling under Maoism, it is Our task to unite all prisoners, and objective to do so by first educating one prisoner at a time. Education, study and practice are the only ways that We are going to be able to develop leaders of the revolution toward a just society free of national oppression, starvation, incarceration, rape, and war. It is the only way We are going to turn people on to the need and possibility of liberation in favor of efforts of the oppressed prisoners to liberate themselves. This United Front statement provides Our organization with the basis to do just that, and therefore is hereby endorsed.

A respectable USW leader,
Loco1

chain
[Culture] [United Front] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Soulja Boy Dissed by Amerikan Rappers

Fuck the Troops Soulja Boy

Millionaire popstar/rapper Soulja Boy stepped out of line in his latest video, and was reprimanded by Amerikan hip hop fans this week for his lack of patriotism. Under pressure he quickly apologized and took up the Demoncratic Party line claiming that he was only criticizing the two long wars, implying that the U.$. economy would somehow be better if the U.$. wasn't exerting control over the economies of the Middle East thru military occupation. This is what he originally said in the song Let's Be Real:

Fuck the FBI and the Army troops
fighting for what?
Bitch, be your own man.

While this was just a couple lines out of tons of bullshit he's spit, they're pretty strong words. Not known for being politically outspoken, there's no doubt his inspiration comes from the countless radical/nationalist MCs who came before him and influenced his thoughts and rhymes. He even outdid his adversary Ice-T who said "fuck the FBI," but never fuck the troops. The troops ain't nothing but the police for oppressed people in other countries; the CIA abroad is the FBI at home. Fuck oppression! Fuck 'em all!

While it was good to hear someone like Soulja Boy put out such strong anti-imperialist words, especially with all the 9/11 talk these days, it was discouraging to see the response and who's responding. There have been multiple diss songs and videos made in response to Soulja Boy, by hip hop artists in the military, at least some of which are from oppressed nations. The response wasn't just strong and swift, it came from his own fans and more generally from fans of hip hop music. In Under Lock & Key issue 10 we questioned whether hip hop was still a culture that represented the oppressed, and when you see these videos you really have to doubt it.

One Black male MC sports a shirt reading "America the Beautiful." His politics echo those of the white militias made up of ex-military people that are very critical of the government, but have much love for the country and respect for the troops and the privileges they fight for us to have. All of the artists seem to find that requisite "hardness," that is so integral to the gangsta rap persona, in their identity as U.$. soldiers. One threatens to waterboard Soulja Boy and pull out his finger nails.

The fact is, the pro-U.$. troops lyrics aren't that far from a typical gangsta rap song. The United $tates is the biggest gangster in the world, so that makes sense. The boys in blue are the biggest gang on U.$. streets. So we see gangsta rap too often reflecting and reinforcing the ideology of the oppressor, rather than challenging it.

In other Soulja Boy news, he is supposedly working on a remake of the film Juice, where he will play the role of Bishop, originally played by Tupac Shakur. On September 13, we commemorate not just the fallen soldiers of the Attica uprising 40 years ago, but it is also the 15th anniversary of the death of self-proclaimed thug and rapper 2pac. Pac was unique in keeping his music both gangsta and for the people; a fine line most can't seem to walk, and perhaps impossible today when gangsta rap is mostly a caricature. Unlike Soulja Boy, Tupac never apologized for shit, and he said some things that got people riled up. There is little doubt that his real connection to oppressed people in Amerikkka lead to his untimely death.(1)

While Soulja Boy's three lines don't compare to Tupac's legacy, in those lines we may have seen him connecting to the oppressive conditions he grew up in — a glimmer of truth. While the U.$. military is disproportionately Black (18% of military vs. 11% of general population), it is also disproportionately middle income.(2) The poorest 20% of the U.$. population was the most under-represented income group in the U.$. military in 1999 and 2003.(3)

Since the Vietnam war, Blacks have increased their over-representation in the U.$. military from a factor of 1.14 to 1.40.(2) This shows the effects of integration without providing Black youth with quite the same opportunities as their white counterparts. The increase in Black military recruits seems to correspond with an overall bourgeoisification of the Black nation. Not only were there fewer Blacks (per capita) in Vietnam than Iraq and Afghanistan, but Black power and linking it to the struggle of the Vietnamese against U.$. imperialism was widespread, and fragging of white officers and even all out fighting between Blacks and whites on bases was not uncommon.

As the Black nation becomes more bourgeois, the pressure to Amerikanize increases for Blacks of all socio-economic standings. To the poor and oppressed who see no hope in U.$. imperialism, we echo Soulja Boy's words, "Bitch, be your own man!"

chain
[Political Repression] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Remember Attica and What We Need Today

[The following is a compilation of reporting and analysis from MIM, MIM(Prisons) and USW comrades to commemorate the Attica uprising.]

Attica prisoners rally
Prisoners stand together at Attica after seizing control of the prison.

This week, September 9 - 13 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of the Attica uprising where over 1200 prisoners acted as one, organized as a collective and occupied Attica Correctional Facility in New York State. The uprising ended in what a state commission described as "the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War", "[w]ith the exception of the Indian massacres in the late nineteenth century[.]"

In 1991, MIM Notes ran a special supplement to commemorate the 20th anniversary, which documented that historic event and its legacy. That same year, prisoners in New York, New Jersey and Maryland boycotted all programming on September 13 to "give honor to the martyrs and warriors who suffered, and are still suffering, under the suppression of the American prison system."

The demands of the Attica prisoners in 1971 included things such as allowing New York prisoners to be politically active without intimidation or reprisals, an end to all censorship of mail and media, more educational and work opportunities that pay minimum wage, and release without parole conditions. In addition to these righteous demands, the prisoners connected their struggle to that of the people of the Third World. From History Condemns Prison Reform by MC11:

The Attica prisoners in 1971 were not asking for the sort of reforms liberals then and now are so anxious to implement in order to make themselves feel better. The Attica prisoners recognized the criminal justice system as a powerful weapon in the arsenal of the capitalist class, and they wanted to turn that weapon on their oppressors.

"We have discovered... the frustration of negotiating with a political system bent on genocide," the prisoners wrote in a statement smuggled out during the week following the massacre.

"Killings are being committed not only in VietNam, but in Bengla Desh, Africa and South America. Is it not so that our Declaration of Independence provides that when a government oppresses the people, they have a right to abolish it and create a new government? And we at 'Attica' and all revolutionaries across the nation are exercising that right! The time is now that all third world people acknowledge the true oppressor and expose him to the world!!"(1)

Notes: 1. Berkeley Tribe Vol. 6, no. 8. Oct.1-7, 1971.

In the lead article of the MIM Notes supplement, a prisoner mentions that Attica marked the rise of a strong prison movement during the early 1970s. In the last year we've seen strikes in Georgia and California where thousands of prisoners participated across many prisons. Yet, it seems the prison movement has a steeper mountain to climb to get to the point that the struggle reached in those days.

state troopers seize Attica
After 4 days New York State troopers seize control of the prison, shooting 2000 rounds, killing 42 people, injuring hundreds and denying medical care.

Looking back on Attica and those past rebellions, one sees the start and finish of a period where the contradiction between prisoners and the state was at the forefront. The struggle during that period led to some progress on the side of prisoners in the form of temporary rights, concessions and free world support for captives. But more importantly, we saw collective organization on a mass scale throughout the U.$. prison system that united prisoners around their common suffering and abuse. This unity and struggle pushed the state back some. At the same time, it also led the state to develop a plan for permanent long-term isolation prisons, as well as policies that push psychotropic drugs on prisoners while programming is once again taken away, reinforcing the futility of prison reform. Even when the state faces significant resistance these days, it comes in the form of lawsuits in their courts, and hunger strikes where they control communications and negotiations very tightly. We're still in the stage of playing their game by their rules.

It was just two years ago, on 17 September 2009 that United Struggle from Within comrade Amare (Ra'd) Selton died in Attica. Selton was a regular contributor to Under Lock & Key and MIM-led study groups, and often ended up in confrontations with prison guards. We do not know the exact circumstances surrounding his death, but MIM(Prisons) holds the State of New York responsible. He is one of many comrades who have disappeared after being sent to Attica in recent years, indicating the legacy of repression that has not lessened.

In MIM Notes, MC67 interviewed Akil Aljundi, one of the Attica Brothers that filed suit (and eventually won) against the State of New York following the murder of 32 of his comrades and 10 hostages, and the brutalization and denial of medical care to hundreds of others. MC67 concludes by asking what lessons should be drawn from the Attica uprising, to which Aljundi responds:

"Never trust the state. Always be prepared to look for the worst to happen. Be firm in your demands. Be clear in your objectives. But also realize that the state can be vicious."

chain
[Asia] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Book Review: A Vietcong Memoir


A Vietcong Memoir: An inside account of the Vietnam war and its aftermath
by Truong Nhu Tang
Vintage Books, 340 pgs.

Truong Nhu Tang (Tang) was the ex-minister of justice for the provisional revolutionary government of the Republic of South Vietnam during their war for liberation. Although Tang came from the petit bourgeoisie before taking up the struggle for national liberation he lends a first hand account of the fight against U.$. imperialism during what has come to be known in the west as the "Vietnam War."

In 1978 Tang became disillusioned with the outcome of the Vietnam victory on the political fringe (this started when his brother and other family were jailed for re-education). He went into exile in Paris, which he describes as an escape for the most part.

From much of the literature on the struggle for national liberation in Vietnam we get a view from the higher levels of leadership with books from Ho Chi Minh or Vo Nguyen Giap, which are very educational but lack a ground level approach to digging in to the operations and set backs of lower level struggles. Although Tang claims to never have been a "communist" he does say he was a nationalist revolutionary and held Ho Chi Minh in high esteem.

The book focuses on how north Vietnam and the communists, or "ideologues" as he frequently describes communists, took control of the south post war and were heavy handed in re-educating those who needed re-education. For revolutionaries studying different phases of struggle whether political, military, or the diplomatic front, this book will prove insightful as Tang is very descriptive in his memoir.

Most here in Amerika have seen on TV how many U$ soldiers died in Vietnam, or seen clips of the carpet bombing that the Amerikan B52 bombers did, perhaps the rare few have seen grainy documentaries showing some pile of dead Vietnamese or entire villages being touched and babies crying with their flesh literally hanging off from agent orange. Indeed most of us know the Vietnamese fought like hell barefooted with an AK47 in hand, marching through the jungle and basically wearing out U.$. troops through guerrilla warfare. There was an overwhelming amount of organizing at all levels including youth, students, religious groups, elderly, mass organizations, political groups, shopkeepers, even the intelligentsia. This raising of consciousness had begun decades before and Tang as a participant in much of this low level organizing gets into these efforts and shows the strengths and weaknesses in this process.

Tang traveled to Paris as a young man to study how to be a pharmacist. It was here where he started his political life, initially in the anti-war movement in Paris. He began to seriously study political science and colonialism. While in Paris he mobilized the Vietnamese community and sought to build public opinion around the the French occupation in Vietnam. During this time Tang abandoned his studies in pharmacology and his family cut off his financial allowance. His wife was pregnant and with him in France.

At this juncture Tang's political future was at a crossroad. This happens even here in Amerika where at some point one must make some decision in life about what direction one's life will go, and like Tang, many times one's friends, wife, husband, or family will not understand or agree with one's political beliefs and thus one must make that leap to become a revolutionary or be persuaded to just live one's life. Although Tang doesn't analyze or dig into this, as you read the book you see his predicament and see him leap into the thick of it. When faced with this, he and his wife decide it's best she goes back home to Vietnam to have the child while he goes on surviving any way he can, taking odd jobs while continuing his political agitation. It was here that he met the French Communist Party (FCP) members and intellectuals, and although he didn't quite agree with the FCP on their stance with Vietnam he began to develop his political ideas.

After receiving a master's degree in political science, Tang returned to Vietnam where he describes an environment of revolutionary fervor with almost everyone sympathizing with the Viet Minh. He goes on to hook up with a guerilla unit and went on an ambush of French forces. This taste of struggle for liberation sways Tang to get in on the fight for independence.

Tang describes how they began to form the underground resistance that evolved into the National Liberation Front (NLF). This happens in "Saigon," very much an urban struggle, so it proves to be insightful for anyone interested in organizing in a city in an underground group. Tang discusses his creation of numerous committees, mass organizing and the art of propaganda, and even takes you to the jungles where he had his ministry. He tells of how they would hear the bombs raining down, as the guerrillas scramble for the bunkers. Some succumb to what Tang describes as "internal convulsions" where one urinates or shits oneself involuntarily. Tang was living in a constant state of anxiety or combat fatigue, within this environment of constant harassment from opposition, bombings, and attacks, while still carving out a liberation struggle and tending to affairs within the unit or region, and maintaining his ministry while surviving on a handful of rice twice a day. This sacrifice was really something to read about. Imagine holding a study group on Marx or guerilla warfare while the bombs get you scrambling to a bunker, and all for no financial incentive as would be required by Amerikans, but just to free themselves. This was powerful.

I saw slight similarities (of course on a whole different level) between prisoners within U.$. gulags who may be in a constant state of alert, harassed by guards or even at war with a backwards element of the prison population. And within all the chaos that environment can bring, with storm troopers raiding your cell at 2:00 a.m., or putting you on potty watch, or confiscating all your literature, not allowing literature to enter the prison, going to the hole, maybe getting shot, etc. And within all this madness many prisoners continue their studies and struggle to liberate themselves and their oppressed nation. I think many would also find strength and inspiration in learning how many prisoners also develop under such overwhelming odds within U.$. prisons.

There were times when Tang would be arrested and described how he was tortured with electric shock by the pro-imperialist Vietnamese government. I would have liked to hear more of how the Vietnamese prisoners organized, as it is well known that even under French occupation the Vietnamese prisoners saw prisons as "Schools of Liberation" and had their own culture and living guidelines within prison. They had study groups and developed the masses into revolutionaries. It's too bad Tang didn't go into all this but it seems his prison stays were not very long, the longest being ten days. It appears his connections to the Vietnamese bourgeoisie, having a brother who was a high level air force fighter and another who was a high level banker seemed to get him out of prison very fast.

After the war ended and the last helicopter fled the embassy Tang describes the situation as chaotic. But again he was there struggling to rebuild his homeland. It was during this time that many were told to report for re-education and Tang himself says he drove his brothers down to be re-educated. He even led some of the re-education classes and engaged in criticism-self-criticism. However, once his brothers were taken to a re-education camp for the long term his stance on the post-war situation changed. Tang's two brothers were high level military, one being an officer, and although one of his brothers was released (through his efforts and letters to government leadership) one was kept in camp. It was at this point that Tang withdrew and resigned from politics, eventually moving out to a country farm and later sneaking out into exile in Paris.

It is clear his actions were subjective and he notes that many people were not political but nationalistic in their ideas. He argues that the post war government was too heavy handed. From what I read it did appear the NLF was pushing a more nationalistic line rather than a revolutionary nationalist approach. I think that if the NLF had focused their organizing efforts more on raising the people's political consciousness rather than focusing on a nationalist line they wouldn't have had such a hard time post war.

I would have liked to hear more on China and the Soviet Union at that time as Tang was part of a Vietnamese delegation that toured these countries. But he doesn't weigh in on the Soviet revisionism, rather saying Vietnam stayed neutral on the "Sino-Soviet" dispute as he calls it. He does say Vietnam cozied up first to the Soviets but later alluded to his dislike of Kruschev, especially his anger at being left for two weeks in a Russian hotel when he was supposed to be touring the country.

A reader will find this book insightful for the winding paths that were taken to build a movement full of committees and coalitions, underground parties and guerrilla networks all with the end goal of defeating U.$. imperialism. After reading this book I appreciate more the efforts of MIM(Prisons) and what they do to raise our consciousness.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The Vietnamese struggle was a heroic one that is still at the forefront of the global anti-imperialist legacy. After they defeated the imperialists, the most advanced political thinking of the time did not take hold in Vietnam's leadership, preventing socialism from developing. But as the reviewer discusses, there is still much to learn from this book about the successful struggle and organizing, especially under such horrible repression by U.$. bullets and bombs. We point readers to a book review of Ho Chi Minh: A Life for a more complete picture of the history of the revolution in Vietnam, and the political line of the post-revolution government.

chain
[Theory] [MIM] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Henry Park Obituary: MIM Comrade and Devoted Revolutionary

UF People and Quotes

Henry Park, a revolutionary leader and member of the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), died on May 17 2011. His death is a loss to the communist movement. We take this opportunity to remember MIM's important contributions to revolutionary thought.

MIM was an underground party, whose members were careful about anonymity and security and so did not identify themselves publicly by name. Henry Park went public with his identity several years ago in an attempt to defend himself from significant repression by the Amerikan government. He did this after MIM broke into cells and the central organization ceased to exist. The article Maoism Around Us discusses this question of cell structure in more detail and explains that MIM(Prisons) built itself on the legacy of the MIM Prison Ministry.

After the dissolution of the central MIM organization, Park continued to write prolifically and uphold the original MIM at the etext.org hosted website. As efforts to silence him grew, the etext.org domain was shut down without explanation after hosting radical writings for about a decade. This was a serious blow to the spread of Maoist theory and analysis on the internet. In 2007, "Among all self-labeled 'communist' organizations in the world, MIM [was] second, behind only the People's Daily in China [in internet readers]." This remains a lesson for those who are afraid to draw hard political lines in the sand in fear of losing recruits. MIM never claimed to be bigger than other "communist" groups in the United $tates, only to have much more influence than them.

Henry Park, along with the other members of MIM, was in the vanguard starting back in the 1980s in correctly identifying the labor aristocracy in imperialist countries as fundamentally counter revolutionary, and doing the difficult work of spreading this unpopular position which was rejected by so many revisionist parties falsely claiming the mantel of communism. MIM also correctly identified China after Mao's death and the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin as state capitalist countries, no longer on the revolutionary path, while so many other self-proclaimed communists continued to follow these countries down the path of capitalist degeneration. Park published some important research on both countries' regression to capitalism that are available on our resources page. Along with the view that the Chinese Cultural Revolution was the furthest advance towards communism in humyn history, these principles were the foundation of MIM(Prisons)'s cardinal points.

There are some who will falsely claim the legacy of Henry Park or who will attack him with persynal or ad hominem claims, now that he is not alive to defend himself. We encourage all revolutionaries to carefully study tough theoretical questions for themselves rather than just taking the word of an individual or organization. One of the reasons MIM did not use names was to avoid a cult of persynality that so often arises around public figures, leading followers to avoid doing the important work of studying theory, instead just taking the word of the individual on trust. This cult also exists within organizations where members accept the word of their party rather than thinking critically. Even with MIM's semi-underground, anonymous approach, Henry Park was brought into the light by recurring persynal attacks on his character. One of the things MIM taught so many of us so well was how not to think in pre-scientific ways, where rumors, subjective feelings and individuals are more important to people than the concrete outcome of your actions on the group level.

Park's life is notable for his unending commitment to fighting for the rights of the world's people, even at great persynal sacrifice in the face of state repression. Many who take up revolutionary struggle in their youth give it up when they gain some bourgeois comforts, trading revolutionary organizing for a well paying job and a nice house. Park never wavered in his work for the people, and in his vision of a communist world where no group of people would have the power to oppress others. Mao Zedong said "To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai." Park's death is weightier than Mount Tai and his work lives on through the continued application of MIM Thought.

[Read thousands of articles by the original MIM in our etext.org archive]


Related Articles:This article referenced in:
chain
[Police Brutality] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Another Black Man Murdered by California Police

As a followup to R7's July 2011 article Assassination Nation, I note the international practices of Amerika in extra judicial killing. But the reality of the matter is that we do not have to even look internationally in that I recall the assassination of Oscar Grant by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) pig Johannes Mehserle who only received a two year sentence that did not even include actually seeing the inside of a California Department of Corrections prison. Too many times right here in the so-called land of the free, people from oppressed nations are assassinated by the agents of law enforcement as was the case of the July 10 2011 assassination of former professional football player David "Deacon" Turner who resided in Kern County, California.

On July 10 2011 Turner, a 56-year-old Black man, went to a mini-mart gas station to purchase himself a couple cans of beer, which is not a crime. However, upon exiting the mini-mart he found himself accosted by Kern County's finest sheriff's deputies who claimed as their justification for the harassment that they allegedly received a report that an adult was purchasing alcohol for minors.

Turner was subjected to search, to which he voluntarily submitted, and after which he asked if he was under arrest. The deputy stated he was not, so Turner exercised his supposed right to leave and picked up his bag and turned to leave. However the pig was upset that Turner chose to exercise his right to leave and not partake in any non-custodial interrogation so the sheriff deputy struck Turner from behind with his baton and the second sheriff's deputy drew his pistol and shot Turner in his abdomen. Turner died at the scene.

The mini-mart has surveillance equipment with multiple camera feeds which were seized by the Kern County sheriff's department. Then Kern County sheriff Donnie Youngblood released to the local news media a segment of video feed that shows Turner exiting the mini mart and initially being accosted and searched by the Kern County sheriff deputy. It includes the search and subsequent brief verbal exchange, which lines up with the witness statement that Turner asked if he was under arrest and the deputy told him he was not. The video also shows that Turner exercised his right to be on his way and the sheriff deputy running up and striking Turner multiple times with his baton. However, all of a sudden five seconds of the video is missing during which David Turner is assassinated. The sheriffs department claimed that the camera feed malfunctioned!

Sheriff Donnie Youngblood claimed that David Turner attempted to hit the sheriff's deputy in the head with the bag that contained two cans of beer, yet the video feed does not show Turner do anything that could be construed as aggressive and the non-law-enforcement witnesses stated to reporters that they did not see Turner do anything aggressive towards the deputy. Yet the sheriff's department ruled the assassination to be within departmental guidelines.

What further raises concern about the assassination is the fact that when the sheriff's department was compelled to release video feed from another camera, it also was missing a five second feed that matched the initial video feed released, yet each camera had independent motion sensors. I just wanted to point out that assassinations by the U.$. government and their lackeys are not just happening in other countries, they are also happening in California and beyond with impunity.

Just as the U.$. government issues its spin, Donnie Youngblood is also issuing the tried, tested and patently untrue spin. It includes the official alteration of video evidence so as to minimize and cover up another assassination matching that of Oscar Grant, many others across the state of California, and beyond.

Since official assassination is tolerated by the local, county, state and national citizenry such will continue to take place. As with every practice perfected on citizens here, it is exported to the rest of the world. As R7 points out, the inner city campaign of control through terror occurred in the so-called city of brotherly love.

It is said that Amerika is the land of the free but I see it as the land of the lost souls that tolerate state-sponsored terrorism and deception.


MIM(Prisons) adds: A closer study of the history of Amerikans in relation to oppressed nations in North America and around the world reveals that they actively support and participate in the Assassination Nation that they are (see J. Sakai's Settlers for an excellent history proving this very point).

chain
[Spanish] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

CDCR da Palabrería, La Huelga se Extiende

Tres semanas dentro de la huelga, CDCR ha dado su repuesta oficial lo que se puede resumir, "La vamos a investigar." El 15 de Julio CDCR les hace una propuesta a los huelguistas de Pelican Bay que termine la huelga sin prometer cambios. Los presos rechazaron la oferta y continuaron con el hambre, que calificaron de "humo y espejos" y de "insultar". (1) Estas personas están dispuestos a morir por los derechos fundamentales que ha sido negado durante años, décadas, para muchos, y CDCR llega a la mesa con nada

Nuestras preguntas han recibido las mismas repuesta del Director sobre, "Operando en acuerdo completo de la ley . . . mientras proveyendo por el tratamiento humano y ético de todos los prisioneros." Aun más indignante, el Director afirma que CDCR proveen, "la capacidad de hacer programas con todo seguridad y participar en su rehabilitación." ¡La huelga está ocurriendo porque no hay programas ni rehabilitación!

Los que están en contacto con los huelguistas nos informan que algunos en Pelican Bay quien habían dejado el ayuno han regresado a la huelga en repuesta a la negligencia de CDCR. También hemos recibido palabra de 4 camaradas que están en el Instituto para Hombres de California en Chino que ellos acaban de comenzar una huelga de hambre en solidaridad después de recibir noticias desde MIM(Prisons).

Otros reportes recibidos recientemente incluyen uno en lo que United Struggle from Within organizó camaradas en Kern Valley State Prison por una huelga de hambre de 24 horas en solidaridad. En High Desert State Prison, donde los marranos servían doble porciones de comida para impedir una huelga, unos cuantos camaradas rehusaron la comida desde el primer de julio hasta el tercero. Secciones enteros de California State Prison - Corcoran todavía están de huelga y los médicos están viniendo regularmente para pesar los prisioneros.


notas:
1. California Prison Focus

chain
[Abuse] [Mental Health] [Dade Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

FL Grievances Forbid Helping Others

I am a prisoner currently incarcerated in the Florida department of corrections. At this time I'm being held at Dade Correctional Institution, in the mental health dorm transitional care unit.

This unit is for prisoners who have had, or who have developed serious mental health problems. This place is supposed to provide treatment such as counseling, one-on-one therapy, groups, etc. And it does that, but only to a bare minimum.

I am writing this because the prisoners here are being neglected. Not so much the ones who have good sense left, such as myself, but the severe cases of the prisoners who are so far gone they've lost touch with reality; the ones who are truly mentally disabled.

I've been writing grievances about this neglect, but the FL DOC has this rule that if the incident does not affect you personally then you cannot grieve the issue. This makes no sense to me at all. Some of these inmates are gone, and cannot grieve when they are done wrong.

There's an incident here that I continue to grieve of a prisoner who sleeps in the cell across from mine. This comrade has nothing in his cell except his being and a set of blues. He has no mattress, blanket, sheets, nothing. This guy doesn't talk at all. He makes noises sometimes that have no reasonable meaning but that's about it. He's lost to the world and he is mentally unstable. He cannot ask for these things, and he definitely cannot file a grievance. So this prisoner must continue to live like this because of some stupid rule that the DOC made up about this not affecting me directly.

There are a lot of prisoners here who are being literally warehoused. There are guys here who haven't taken a shower for months. They don't ask so it's not offered.

This is a mental health dorm. The staff are suppose to be helping these prisoners who cannot help themselves, and instead they are ignoring them.

I, fortunately, cannot be ignored. My mental health issues developed from doing long periods of time in close management settings (control units). I admit I became weak in a way. I picked up a bad habit that eventually turned into an addiction: self mutilation — I'm a cutter. But I am not beyond bouncing back. I do time how I want to do time. And that's the way I'm comfortable right now so it is what it is. I've got good sense though, trust that!

I'm going to continue to write up everything that I see these pigs here do, and I'm writing everything they're not doing up too. Someone will eventually listen. They cannot run a mental health unit like this. I'm going to keep on fighting for our rights until something is done.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Health care in prisons across the U.$. is terrible so it's no surprise to hear about the lack of even basic care in these Florida Mental Health units. We are also not surprised to hear the effect that long term incarceration has had on this comrade, leading to self mutilation. This is a good example of capitalism causing so-called mental illnesses. In reality, we should call these torture illnesses, as they are a direct result of torture in prisons. For more information about imperialism and psychology request a copy of MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Revolution.

This article referenced in:
chain
[National Oppression] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Studying BPP History Earns STG Label

I write this to inform you that the COINTELPRO is still alive and active today under another name, and is used to continue their tactics of divide and conquer. If you are a Black Panther or have a tattoo of a panther, or if you are interested in the history of our beloved fallen comrades, you are now considered a security threat group (STG) [in Texas]. So now they are targeting the majority of Black prisoners as "gang members." After 14 years on the same unit under many different officers, now all of a sudden I'm labeled as an STG. This is based on books one reads and notation that one might write for a broader understanding. In other words our freedom of expression of political beliefs is now viewed as inflammatory and a security threat.

This article referenced in:
chain
[National Oppression] [California Correctional Institution] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Gang Validation for Doing Aztec Art

I am doing an indeterminate SHU program for being validated in the last place I was at. And the reason they validated me is because I was doing a lot of Aztec art as well as Aztec tats, which they didn't agree with because they considered it to be associated with the “big boys.” So they locked me down. But what they fail to realize is it's all part of our culture. Yet to them it's based on association, so they see a direct link to prison politics. So here I sit on the shelf locked down in this crazy and very sad place where it's all about no movement whatsoever.

chain
[Abuse] [Kentucky State Reformatory] [Kentucky] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Beating as Retaliation for Filing Grievances

I was brutally beaten by seven correctional officers (COs) in December and was transported to the hospital as a result. They almost killed me. My hands were restrained the whole time while they maced and punched me in the face continually. I was kicked in the stomach and elsewhere.

This is the second time that I have been sent to the hospital for officer brutality. The first time was when CO Goins cut my hand wide open and I had to get stitches. I have been forced to endure constant harassment, degradation, malicious behavior, discrimination, etc. All of this has happened to me as a result of "retaliation" for the many grievances that I've submitted for CO Goins stealing my jewelry out of my property bag. When I started grieving this and other matters, other officers joined him in retaliation against me.

There's a lot more to this matter but this letter is just to reveal some of what I've gone through and am experiencing. This beating took place six months ago, but the campaign of harassment has been going on longer.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Unfortunately brutality is not an uncommon response by prison guards against prisoners who try to fight injustice and illegal guard abuse through the grievance system. This is why United Struggle from Within initiated a campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. There are currently petitions for California, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, and we need help to create petitions for other states. Write to us to get involved.

chain
[Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

HDSP USW report: Pigs Bribe Prisoners Not to Strike

Here's an update on what's going on at High Desert State Prison: A second Correctional Officer was busted for bringing in drugs and phones. Boby Joe Corby was arrested for accepting $10,000 for that. And we just had an Afrikan national overdose on heroin 3 days ago.

The pigs here were feeding us double the amount of food to prevent us from going on the hunger strike - it only lasted a couple of days (July 1 - 3).

I have been doing a lot of organizing to unite the nations captive in these U.$. warehouses. A lot of my homies tell me I am crazy because I want to revolutionize my mentality, as well as my fellow brothaz, from criminal to revolutionary, to stand up and fight for true freedom.

chain
[Economics] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Georgia Probationers Are No Third World Workers

smash the border pinata

A popular story in the bourgeois press this week gave an interesting side-by-side comparison of the lumpen in the United $tates to the Third World proletariat. The story came on the heels of new repressive practices targeting Latinos in the state of Georgia with immigration laws beginning July 1 of this year. For fear of deportation and imprisonment, both of which restrict their ability to work, migrant labor crews made up of Mexicans and Guatemalans are steering clear of Georgia. As a result fruit is rotting in the fields.(1) The story exposes the extreme parasitism of this country that cannot even harvest its own food. Amerikans are so rich and spoiled that the labor market cannot fill jobs paying above minimum wage if the work is too hard. If the labor market were free and open the jobs would fill up instantly, but Amerikans oppose this vehemently as they cannot maintain exploiter-level incomes without closed borders. In these times of economic crisis many of these parasites would have you believe that they are "struggling to put food on the table." As they let food literally rot in the fields, we see that just is not true.

To solve the relative labor shortage, the governor of Georgia turned to the population that sits somewhere between the foreign-born and the Amerikan in terms of citizenship rights — prisoners and the formerly incarcerated. Generally defined as the permanently unemployed, excluded from what Marxism calls the "relations of production," the lumpen class includes most prisoners by definition. There is a degree of continuity between the lumpen on the street and the imprisoned lumpen, but many get out of prison to join the petty bourgeois class that dominates this country.

One article cites the Georgia Department of Corrections as claiming that unemployment for all probationers in the state is only 15%, but the Governor's office reports that it is 25%.(2) While much higher than the overall rate of 10% in Georgia, this is still lower than most estimates for young Black male unemployment, and therefore suspiciously low considering that most job applications in the United $tates require you to declare whether you have been imprisoned or convicted of a felony, and this information is used against the applicant. Just looking at the 25% number might suggest that 75% of Georgia probationers have a greater continuity with the (employed) petty bourgeoisie than with a lumpen underclass. Yet recidivism rates in this country over 50% indicate that many of the alleged 75% with jobs will not be staying in the workforce for long. The majority of parolees will not remain in the workforce, but will cycle in and out of jail, prison, rehab, hustling and short-term employment.

While many former prisoners of the United $tates will never live the Amerikan dream, their ideology reflects that culture more than that of the working people of the world. One farmer in Georgia did a side-by-side comparison with a crew of probationers and a crew of migrant laborers and the migrants picked almost 6 times as many cucumbers.(1) Apparently the probationers didn't even bring gloves, and we assume most had no experience with this type of work, so there was certainly room for improvement. But the whole crew didn't even last a full day before quitting. The reports are vague about how many probationers actually lasted more than one day of work, but it was evidently a minority in this small sample.

In response to recruitment efforts for these jobs among U.$. citizens, one Black womyn in Georgia was reported to say, “The only people that would even think about doing that are people who have nothing else left... An educated black person does not have time for that. They didn’t go to school to work on a farm, and they’re not going to do it.”(3) We call those "who have nothing else left" the proletariat, and those who "[don't] have time [for hard work]" a parasitic class living off the labor of the proletariat. By virtue of living in the United $tates alone, even the lumpen have access to many resources through the highly developed infrastructure in this country: welfare programs, religious and charity organizations, and just living off of the excess and waste of the general population. Overall they are not driven to take the hardest jobs, and U.$. capitalists must look to the Third World for labor, even for production that is tied to U.$. soil and therefore pays exploiter-level wages. (Legally the jobs start at the minimum wage of $7.25, while piecework incentives allow the fastest pickers to make $20 an hour at one cucumber farm.(1) Of course, when only migrants without papers are working and the press isn't around it is common for agricultural work to pay well below the legal minimum wage.)

During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), in a country where a professor or shop owner was far poorer than the unemployed Amerikan, the Chinese had to actively combat the type of thinking epitomized in the petty-bourgeois womyn quoted above. Millions of petty-bourgeois Chinese went to the countryside to work and be re-educated. Many youth went happily, excited about building a new China, while many cried the whole time and went on to write books about it to explain to Amerikans why the GPCR was so horrible.

There are righteous reasons why a population of unemployed Blacks would be resistant to working at hard, lower-paying jobs while Amerikans around them are making much more for sitting around in air conditioning pushing paper, and we don't expect that to change under capitalism. That is why all U.$ citizens will require re-education to become productive members of society, from the poorest lumpen who despises working for the white man to the richest CEO whose income could support a large village.

chain
[Organizing] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Debating the Violent Nature of the Lumpen

After having the pleasure of reading ULK 20, I would like to opine concerning some of its contents. While I found numerous articles to be informative and inspiring. I really want to focus on the letter entitled SMU Used to Prevent Activism and the subsequent response from MIM(Prisons).

The letter was written by a federal prisoner, and, among other things, he expressed discontent with the fact that many gang members in the BOP who have been subjected to the SMU program have been broken by it and failed to carry out strategies to thwart the oppressive system. Furthermore, most of these gang members are quick to engage one another in physical combat; however, reluctant to attack the real enemy with similar ferociousness. The prisoner then gave a call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action" aimed at the "pigs."

MIM(Prisons) responded by expressing a disapprobation of the call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action," saying that, at this time in imperialist countries the conditions are not ripe for armed struggle. This opinion was based on an analysis of history and current conditions.

Though I concede that overall the masses in america may not be ready for armed struggle, I don't believe the class of people that the prisoner pointed out (i.e. gang members in prison) should be discouraged from physically assailing those holding them in captivity. In prison, the oppression that one experiences is a lot more cruel than what people in society endure. And many of the gang members have the potential to formulate the vanguard needed to lead to coup. They already know how to unite, possess warrior spirits, and have displayed defiance toward the government, even if just through criminal behavior.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about the Boy Scouts here. We're talking about some of the most murderous and gladiatorial individuals america has ever created. One way or another, these gang members are going to fight violently. Not only because of their natures, but because the harsh conditions of prison life will cause them to. And I think it best that, rather than continue exterminating each other, they federate and become america's Frankenstein.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We disagree with this writer's assumption that members of lumpen organizations are violent by "nature." It is the imperialist system that forces the oppressed into organizations for self-defense and preservation. People's "nature" is not innate, it is created by their environment. And even imperialists can sometimes be retrained and become useful servants of the revolution. So we should not assume that members of lumpen organizations will always have to be violent and must channel this violence somewhere. We should give these comrades more credit and instead help them learn how to channel violent inclinations into productive avenues to fight their real enemies in the criminal injustice system and the imperialist government.

Even in a country where there is no proletariat, we should uphold the principles of People's War. Spurts of anger leading to violence against the pigs does nothing more to liberate humynity than killing another thug. We need to build understanding and support for proletarian struggle in the broadest ways that we can. If we do not win the hearts and minds of these "gladiators" then they will just as quickly be used by the state against us.

chain
[Censorship] [Green Bay Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Wisconsin "Security Concern" Excuse for Censorship

I am currently fighting censorship by the Wisconsin Department of Corruption. I have many outside contacts who are willing to do legal internet searches, type up legal briefs and make copies of legal documents for comrades here in prison. Due to this, the WDOC has found themselves trying to restrict the flow of free legal help coming in to the prison. This help jeopardizes their industrial prison complex and jeopardizes the identity of their snitches. The WDOC is now using a "security concern" excuse to deny me any correspondence that "pertains to the personal legal information of another inmate." This violates the law and their own established policies and procedures. The WDOC believes they are above the law. The WDOC is more concerned about keeping the identity of their snitches private, although they will never admit this. I will continue to fight against this and all censorship in this injustice system.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Illegal denials of mail are just one of the tactics used by the criminal injustice system to make our struggle more difficult. Persistence from comrades like this one is key to the few victories we do win. And this persistence will be necessary over the long haul as we build a movement to take on the larger imperialist enemy to put an end to the oppression and exploitation of capitalism once and for all.

chain
[International Connections] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Great Amerikan Chauvinism within the Oppressed

"Amerika the beautiful." This is the image of the perfect killing machine that is instilled in Us from youth, even as the Amerikans oppress, exploit and super-exploit our people in the Third World. This is what we're taught. It's bad enough that we have to deal with great Amerikan chauvinism coming straight from the oppressors but now we have to deal with it from within the oppressed as well.

Just the other day as the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat squared off for supremacy in the basketball world and the "national anthem" took center stage, blood-boiling hoops and hollers of "that's right!" and "U$A baby!" could be heard throughout the building. And I'm sitting here thinking, really?! That's right what?! "That's right" that these fucken pigs got us locked up? Or "that's right" that these motherfuckers are out there reeking oppression, death, destruction and exploitation throughout the Third World? Cause that's all I can think of whenever I hear that oppressive and repulsive war-mongering song.

Actually, I also think of how our anti-imperialist comrades in the Islamic Third World put it down on these sorry ass pigs showing them that, no, Amerika isn't all it's cracked up to be. For if that were true then these sorry ass pigs wouldn't be getting their asses blown to smithereens on a daily basis.

Serio, these fools in here really got shit twisted, but I suppose it's no surprise that the bourgeoisified lumpen picks up and holds tight to the ideology of the parasitic coupon-clippers, as they themselves clip coupons. Therefore, it's no surprise that the lumpen tend to cheerlead when the oppressor's military trots the globe seeking to extend its sphere of influence. They are better defenders of the Amerikan way of life than the Amerikans themselves, and surprisingly reactionary.

Instead of cheerleading for these punk-ass Amerikans, wishing, wanting and thinking that we are Amerikkkans too, we should start recognizing the fact that these Amerikkkans want us locked in their prisons for life while slowly fading out of existence. Instead we should realize the devastating toll which our being imprisoned takes on our collective nations.

Instead of doing the oppressor's bidding the world over, we need to realize the crucial role which we in the barrios/ghettos in the internal semi-colonies can play in bringing down U.$. imperialism from within. We need to start recognizing the fact that we too are the hope of the oppressed.

So until all that happens, the only time you'll ever get a "that's right!" from me will be when I see that Amerikan death toll count rise in the middle east.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Those who cheer for the U.$. military are a small minority in this world. The oppressed nations in this country, who have historically been the subjects of Amerikan violence, would be smart to return to (or stay on, as the case may be) the winning side of history. It is alienating to live in a country that celebrates domination and exploitation through violence. But as the Third World unites in cheering for the armed defenders of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, India and elsewhere, we become closer to the end of imperialist oppression, a time when unnecessary deaths of all peoples can be prevented.

chain
[United Front] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Peace First, Then Unity

Allow me to first salute and extend my comradely blessings to those who have evolved in realization that unification and commonality is the one and only true efficient vehicle for our struggle towards liberation. However, being that this is my first entry this article will be contributed to the topic of unity and peace.

As I reside in the Maryland prison system, I can only speak on the assessment of this region, and a lack of unity and peace amongst the prison class has established a stronghold throughout the many institutions. We have an environment littered with opposing groups which historically have common origins that share the same vision and cause. Somewhere along the timeline they have gotten away from a political platform geared towards revamping the conditions of the lower and lumpen classes of society. They have swayed away from the real opposition, which as a result has plagued the prison community by creating these mentalities and groups of mass destruction. That is why I support and believe that the collective conscious minds need to manufacture a united front to combat the fatuous and self-destructive mind-state which has been a detriment for too long.

Nevertheless, from what I've evaluated, I believe before we can consolidate to one unit we need to focus on peace. Without peace amongst the many power structures there can't be unity. In order to establish peace there must be a certain height of maturity amongst the leadership in these regimes to conceive the significance and dire need to unify and stand for a common purpose. Personal growth and development must be acquired for one to widen their lens to envision the benefits of this objective. Only once this level of growth is reached between the leadership can they exert their influence and pass down the educational curriculum necessary to manifest/cultivate a paradigm shift emulating a united mission. Only then can we extirpate (root out) the infantile foolishness, the individualistic agendas, and breed a sound social atmosphere. Of course I've given thought that there may be renegade members within the groups who refuse to adhere to the cause, but I'm a firm believer of operating with an iron fist, and we need to weed out those who neglect to contribute and continue to destroy. Some may associate this statement with radical theory. But I believe considering the words can't produce the same results as action.

Moreover, once we build on this foundation of peace we can then move in the direction of unity. It is imperative that we have unification, because without the strength of unity we dis-empower ourselves. Every movement which has gained its liberation derived from uniting the people for a common cause. We injure our purpose by our ignorance and succumbing to the psychological tactics of divide and conquer. While our ignorance continues to serve as strength and energy to this system which governs us all, we will continue to wallow in this cycle of repression. So, yes I do believe peace and unity are the essence of true liberation, and probably the last remaining alternative for improvement. I admire this attempt for international unity, this alarming call for a united front, and as a member of The New Man Corp, you have my support.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Alone Strong


I sit doing ten years for a gram of dope
Witnessing Johannes Mehserle get probation for murder
I sit watching men starve to death
Witnessing guards who can't even alight a flight of stairs
Because they're too fucking fat
I sit in a country that told me to stay in school
and educate yourself
In a cell where they won't give me a book
I was told in my youth to just say no
to drugs
And now that I refuse their psychotropics
they refuse me parole
They told me to love thy neighbor
like you love yourself
and now I watch my country men shoot Mexicans
swimming the border
I sit in the land of the free
rattling my chains
waiting
I see the hypocrisy and the bitter twisted lies
Do you?
I sit alone
7.4 million strong
knowing nothing more than to carry on
nothing more than my country's wrong
knowing nothing - nothing's at all wrong
Do you?

chain
[ALKQN/PLF] [Organizing] [Theory] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Response to "Time for Peaceful Revolution"

As a member and a strong representative of the ALKQN, I would like to thank ECC.1:1 for understanding/recognizing that the Time for Peaceful Revolution article printed in ULK 17 left more questions than answers.

This particular attempt for a peaceful revolution reminds me of a specific religion claiming to be the most righteous group, but then turn around and bash another religion, spending all their time and energy preaching hatred.

As the Nation Man that I am, I'm obligated to correct and respond to the Komrade's article, in an attempt to enlighten and educate those that do not have a proper understanding of the ALKQN. Because a real righteous person will not only strive for perfection, but will also take time to help, hope or pray that the next person will get on the right path.

I am very well aware of, and advocate, revolutionary criticism. I encourage all types of criticism from all walks of life. However, in order to give a positive or negative criticism, it is important that one has the correct knowledge of the subject they are criticizing, and from reading the komrade from New York's article, it's obvious that not only does he not know the true purpose of Kingism, but he also failed to build on a peaceful revolution.

The ALKQN was founded in 1940, not by Lord Gino Gustavo, but by (RIP) King Gentle. The five principles/points of the Holy Crown are Love, Honor, Obedience, Sacrifice and Righteousness. The purpose of the ALKQN is to promote prosperity and freedom through love and understanding to all oppressed people of the world; to train our people to become aware of our social and political problems and of the conditions that we are subjected to live under as a third world people; to provide the aid and way in our search for peace and unity; and to promote and encourage educational and vocational learning in order to train our people in the art of survival.

In the early stages of Kingism, the title was just Almighty Latin Kings Nation. It wasn't until the sixth decade of the twentieth century that the title ALKN changed to Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation. The ALKQN is a global organization with chapters all around the world, and to say that New York was the first state to recognize and acknowledge our beautiful sisters as Queens is just false. Diana Rodriguez, who was born and raised in Chicago, played a major role in the 60s for the sisters in the struggle and the Nation.

Although this Komrade expressed personal feelings, which created more confusion then solutions, I do believe some good came out of this publication, because it definitely caught the attention of many Komrades in New Jersey's Department of Corrections. It is definitely time for peaceful revolution, because through violence alone we as lumpen organizations will only achieve but so much and get but so far in our quest for liberation, peace and justice.

Today's struggle and oppression is not so much as it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s. In that time we faced a more physical oppression, with police brutality and so forth. Not to say that police brutality does not exist today, because it certainly does. However, in today's materialistic society, we face a more psychological aspect of oppression. And after being pushed and beaten so many times, one just pushes back with the use of violent defense. But when faced with psychological oppression, how can we expect one to fight back when one isn't mentally strong enough to resist such an oppressive tactic? And for this very reason, we must create a peaceful revolution, and education is the key that will liberate us from our mental shackles.

I'm sure the Komrade from New York is trying to point out the fact of the ever growing problem of police collaboration, which is a major problem in our quest for progress in any lumpen organization. However, I would like to add that one must not live life with resentment, as it is a proven fact that it can eventually take a toll on one's life.

In conclusion, I accept all feedback for a peaceful revolution. I believe all lumpen organizations should come together in unity and stand firm in our quest for peace, justice, freedom, progress and prosperity.


ECC.1:1 of ALKQN/PLF responds: To the representative of the ALKQN-NJDOC sub-region and furthermore to all members of the lumpen organization (LO) in question, the following "feedback" is for all of us, as natural allies, together, to chew on and digest:

First and foremost I want to stipulate that it is the essence of the following statement around which future dialogue should be provoked throughout this nucleus of ours. In the above response the representative states that "it is important that one has the correct knowledge of the subject they are criticizing, and from reading the comrade from New York's article [see ULK 17 for said article, titled Time for a Peaceful Revolution, which was written by a third party and criticized by both the above representative and myself], it is obvious that... he [does] not know the true purpose of Kingism..." The representative goes on to address certain characteristics of our organization such as the stated purposes of our organization as listed in our organization's Chapter Constitution; the principles listed therein, as well; and a bit of history concerning the constantly debatable year of our founding and just exactly who or whom founded the same. This statement should be used as the stepping stone for our developing discussion due to the perpetually subconscious question mark so many of us "representatives" have in relation to such things as our "true" history (accounts vary depending upon where and by whom you were coronated). Similarly, and more importantly, we lack a clear and concise political line drawn from the KM/C(King Manifesto and Constitution) and upheld by some form of a centralized body made accessible to the entire organization itself, as opposed to the conceptual authority on a national level that today, for all intents and purposes, seems to be more illusory than real.

In the above response the representative (and I use this title respectfully) brings up the more violent, defensive tactics of the (North Amerikan?) struggle of the 50s, 60s and 70s, in the face of their (perceptually) physical oppression of "that" time. Without getting into the stark and violent physical oppression being inflicted upon the people of the Middle East (Third Worlders who constitute "our people" as dictated by the KM/C and therefore constitute the very real, physical oppression we are experiencing, as a whole, right now, today...) I will attempt, for the most part, to construct my address around the (assumably) ideological justifications of the above author's advocacy for a "peaceful revolution" as a representative of the LO in question, and do so from the starting point of a very interesting section of the KM/C itself which, I might add, by the way, was written to serve as nothing more consequential than a "guide."

For (s)he who knows and knows that (s)he knows... the section of the KM/C titled "Fearlessness" is almost a verbatim, word-for-word quote of Mohandas Gandhi (see Gandhi, Selected Writings) who was the progenitor of "Satyagraha," or non-violence — the "peaceful revolution," if you will. But does this mean that we, as members of the LO from which the KM/C was written, should all of a sudden and wholeheartedly adopt the methods of Satyagraha? No! And the reasons are multifaceted. True, an in-depth research of the KM/C will discover a plethora of influences, all related to "revolution" in one form or another. Remember, the KM/C is but a "guide," a field-manual, if you will, of sorts. And for those of us passing before the Turning Wheel of Change who think we know what Gandhi's message fully entailed, but don't (and who would assume a certain indication as a result of the above revelation), here's another quote of his, and one to dissipate any illusions, for these are his words as well:

He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. (ibid)

Ahora, let's take another revolutionary/historical influence. While Gandhi was indeed a pacifist by all means, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an advocate of armed struggle, bar none. And where exactly does any portion of his particular philosophy fit into the teachings of the KM/C? How about within and throughout the very core of the KM/C itself? In reading Guevara's Socialism and Man in Cuba one will not only find the New Man - New King reproduction but the actual blueprint (pre-, pending-, post-revolutionary war consciousness of the individual) for the class-based three stages of "Reyismo": primitive, to conservative, to either an accomplice to the anti-King system or a New King (or Queen), which in even more political terms is read as lumpen-proletariat, to proletariat, to either labor aristocrat/national bourgeoisie or Third World internationalist/revolutionary. But does this mean that we should all of a sudden and wholeheartedly (blindly) adopt the methods of, say, "focoism," Che's theory that the masses will be inspired to overthrow the oppressor's regime at the guerilla's declaration and launch war against the same? No!

What then, exactly, does all this mean? Gandhi or Che? Armed struggle or Satyagraha? Violence or non??? Neither. What it means — and this is the culmination of my address to, and call for, further dialogue amongst the Subjects of Decision to whom this appeals — is that 1) yes, "the time for revolution is at hand... a revolution of the mind, the revolution of knowledge, a revolution that will bring freedom to the enslaved;" but that 2) this "revolution of the mind," this "revolution of knowledge," is neither simply just a polar shift from one extreme to another (i.e. violence to non-violence) nor evident in the rising of ones GPA, per se, but an actual, dynamic, radical and revolutionary change in our world outlook to the "Almighty Eye" that now sees through the lens of dialectical and historical materialism; and 3) that this, that or any other form of "revolution" to be applied at any given time or place (all things considered and compared) should and must be determined not by any one particular representative, capítulo and/or region of the Federation alone, submerged within the context of their own reality, but by an organized body of professional revolutionaries, a vanguard party of the intelligentsia, the political cadre studied in the science of Marxism and found throughout the entire Nation/LO in question, as a whole.

Revolution is both ever-pliable and omnipresent, so such questions as "violence or non-violence" should not be asked in search of a cure-all method or application of resistance but, at the very least, should be considered based upon the objective and subjective conditions of any given situation, place and/or time of the entire movement, as a whole, in flux. Yet, before we can even begin to ask "when and where," we must first ask "by whom and how" should such decisions be both determined and detailed for either the execution and or debate of all those considered, and in accord? The principal question then boils down to this: a Leninist vanguard-style political party within the LO in question (and this could mean any LO in question) or a continuation of confusion, uncertainty, mis (and a lack of) communication and both the overwhelming atmosphere of counter-revolutionary conduct and the ever discouraging counter-revolutionary calls from those "above."

The debate has already begun within our particular LO alone (as well as within others) and is active in a number of states. To those of the ALK(Q)N who are familiar with Leninist party-building and his work titled What is to be Done? the call for your sanctioning power, the weapons and shields that are your words and ideas - the power to create - is being sounded. I look forward to pushing this conversation forward with more of you within the pages of Under Lock & Key (ULK).

And so I close, with a bon-apetite, and both a special appreciation for the response made by the representative above and a complimentary mint to top things off, served up by Chairman Mao himself, so as to give those first-time ULK readers something further to consume:

We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war, but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [Security] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Malcolm X


Who did what
who called the shot
I just don't know
all I know is that it shouldn't have been so
Malcolm should have lived until he was a
thousand years old
or even more
some say it was the COINTELPRO
of that I'm sure
but what made negroes
gun down our hero
and turn around and practice non-violence
towards a savage who threatens our very existence
while Malcolm was plotting a resistance
against the nemesis
these imbeciles was plotting against
the shining prince
they're worse than Judas
because Judas had a conscience
so he hung himself after his treacherous action
but after the treason
these Judases are still breathing
why don't they just die
and make us rejoice with joy
non-believers disguised in Black skin
sabotaging the struggle that they don't believe in
so they use their skin to deceive men

niggas killed Malcolm X
and niggas will probably kill me too

You got to be naive to believe
you can determine friend from foe
just based on skin color alone
and not by the content of the character
I see the niggas
but where my brothers at
Bob Marley said that they sold Marcus Garvey
for rice
Then they ambushed Bob Marley in the night
They say the eyes never lie
but experience tells me that they don't
always tell the truth

niggas killed Malcolm X
and niggas will probably kill me too

Huey Newton was still an asset
yet slugs put him in his casket
while agent provocateurs
that deserve death
remain in our midst
misfits in positions of leadership
navigating the lives of the less fortunate
the blind leading the blind
now we can't find our way out
of this maze
that got us trapped
and strapped with gats
that we only aim at Blacks

niggas killed Malcolm X
and niggas will probably kill me too

I'm analyzing this self hatred
wondering why this Black life of mine
ain't considered sacred
in a blink of an eye
a nigga would lay me dead on the pavement
but if my pigment was white
a nigga would think twice fifty times
before he contemplates homicide
I've stared into the eyes of these boys
who claim to be real men
and I've seen the fear that paralyzes
that make them throw away their weapon
when the cops hit the intersection
we're conditioned for submission
so the prisons are full of Blacks
who hate Blacks
and back stab each other
because they're petrified of the real nemesis
life sentences and these fools
are complacent with just being
jail house celebrities
all is vanity
buy up the commissary
and live good in the penitentiary
while we're becoming
liabilities to our families
where's the sanity?

niggas killed Malcolm X
and niggas will probably kill me too

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [Florida] [ULK Issue 22]
expand

Q-Wing


For
the alleged
criminally insane
obsessed, possessed
and repressed
so-called
most "incorrigible"
inmates
protective custody
security risks
where
death awaits
all
those whose warrants
have been signed
if not stayed...
Where
ole' sparky
(the electric chair)
resides
where men
resist
are brutalized
refuse
to be dehumanized
or
give up control
of their minds
where their
dignity and perspective
in some cases
is relegated
or impaired
to an extreme
appreciation
or acceptance
of the unjust
where some
men are broken
commit suicide
take overdoses
hang themselves

chain