Under Lock & Key Issue 3 - May 2008

Under Lock & Key

Can you do layout? Help out by laying out pamphlets and study packs to mail to prisoners. help out
[Campaigns] [Legal] [Censorship] [New York] [ULK Issue 3]
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NY Anti-Censorship Battle Wages

In 2006, a NY prisoner filed a §1983 civil rights lawsuit in the NY Western District Federal Court challenging the constitutionality of Prison Rule 105.12 and its application. Mitchell v. Goord, et al., 06-CV-6197. Prison Rule 105.12 is the so-called “gang rule” of DOCS, which is used more as a tool to punish prisoners for possessing written materials than to prevent organizational activities within an institution. The plaintiff had been placed in SHU three times for possessing written materials related to New Afrikan organizations on the outside he openly affiiliates with and deals with. He consistently argued he has a First Amendment right to correspond and associate with, be a member of, write for and about, and possess the literature of any outside organization he so chooses, so long as he doesn't organize or attempt to organize a prison chapter of any such organization within a facility without approval.

Upon learning other NY prisoners were being punished for possessing written materials related to the New Afrikan organizations he's a member of, namely the New Afrikan Maoist Party and its affiliates, and upon learning NY prisons were withholding, rejecting or trashing letters and literature form NAMP and its affiliates to NY prisoners, the plaintiff moved to have his lawsuit certified into a class action to protect the rights of those other prisoners and help them seek redress. The district court judge appointed counsel to investigate whether class action certification is appropriate.

It has been reported that NY prisons, like Southport, Auburn, Clinton and Great Meadow are withholding, trashing and rejecting letters and literature from NAMP and its affiliates to stifle their growing influence and support among NY prisoners. So, NY Prisoners who may have stopped corresponding and receiving literature from NAMP and its affiliates because of being punished for doing so, or because of fear of being punished, or who suddenly stopped hearing from NAMP and its affiliates; it's asked that you complain about this directly to the attorneys appointed in the aforementioned case. Also send a copy to the Collective Legal Services and the district judge - all addresses are listed below. Make sure you state that you support the class action certification of Mitchell v. Goord, et al. And if you hope to recover a monetary reward for any punishment or mail tampering you need to file a grievance now.

Contact:
William G. Bauer, Esq. - Lead Attorney
Erin W. Smith, Esq. - Second
Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
Two State Street
Rochester, NY 14614

Hon. Charles J. Siragusa - Presiding Judge
K.S. District Judge
100 State Street
Rochester, NY 14614

Collective Legal Services
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

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[Prison Labor] [Washington] [ULK Issue 3]
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Economic Investigation of Washington State Penitentiary

How many prisoners at your facility?
According to information online, the capacity is 1825, but there are actually 2,240 prisoners being held here.

How many of them work?
An estimate will show that around 250-280 work as correctional industries employees. About 150 of these work on the sewing complex. The sewing complex is making most of the clothes we, the inmates, are provided with. They also produce materials for out of state contracts. The rest work on welding, license plates and perhaps other work. They make all types of stuff, from bunks to tables and everything they need to equip a cell.

Another form of employment that they have for inmates is what they call "Inmate duties." They pay from 35-55 dollars per month, depending on what type of job you get. Basically, this kind of job consists of cooking, cleaning, serving the food, washing the clothes and anything that is needed to run and keep a place like this clean. There are probably another 250-270 inmates working these types of jobs.

Who do they work for?
As far as I know, everything at this place is supposedly run by the state.

What work do they do?
As I mentioned earlier, sewing and welding are the main industrial jobs. The rest are not considered jobs, but "Inmate duties."

How much do they get paid?
The industrial complexes pay up to a dollar ten cents per hour. The rest of the jobs go from $35 to 55 per month.

Now, up to this point it might not seem like a big profit is being taken, but there is. Who is profiting from all this? The working class in this country, which is not exploited as they claim. Considering that those industrial complexes are run by the state, this is how I would explain who is profiting from all this. In this place there are around 280 inmates who are doing correction industries jobs. If we assume that all of these 280 inmates are working 40 hours per week, we would have 582,400 hours per year of work by this group. At $1.10 per hour, 582,400 hours of labor in the industrial complex would cost $640,640. If now, we decide to do this job with the same amount of people, but instead of paying them $1.10, we pay the Washington state minimum wage of $8.07, then the labor alone would cost $4,682,214. They are saving over four million dollars by using inmate labor, just in this place alone, comparing to state minimum wage salary. But most of the state industrial jobs are well-paid jobs in the outside world. So, if you compare these kinds of jobs, we have another loop that I cannot resolve myself, but will likely account for millions of more dollars in cost savings. I would assume anybody would get paid from 13 to 20 some dollars on the outside for welding work. This could mean a savings of over $10 million.

So far, we are talking of the cost of labor assuming that the state will use all of its products, which is a lie because they have sent products overseas. Now, all this profit will get shared down to every single person who works for the government, especially the department of corrections and the state police. How will this be shared? Better medical care than civilians, better salary than civilians, and better retirement plans. Better exemptions in tax collection. They benefit in so many ways, from which regular civilians are excluded. That is the main reason they support more incarceration rather than trying to educate the prison population in making better choices, if you want to call it "making a choice" when you have been culturally bombed to act stupid.

So when you stated in your article about prison labor that "corporate America do not benefit or do not benefit as much as people have suggested," I believe you are wrong, especially when you look at the benefits of corporate America not as monetary benefits, but rather ideological. Even though there are monetary benefits. Let me ask the following question: Who opposes socialism and the road to communism? Who is in charge of destroying any community based programs for society? Who is in charge of blocking any type of political analysis that tries to make society aware of the necessity to change? Who is in charge of the bad propaganda about Mao, Stalin or Lenin? It is the same corporate America and allies who created the first and second World Wars. To them, the government is just the legal way to repress rebellion. Government bodies are just structures that are defined by how we use them. When Lenin took power, the philosophical structure of the government remained in place, but the practice changed, that is why I believe that you are wrong on this point.

And why is it that when you try to tell people employed by the government about a conscious analysis of history they most likely will reject you? It may not be as big as exploiting the national resources of Third World countries in monetary measurements, but at home they have no opposition because of the juicy salaries they are able to give to their war machine, which is from the DOC all they way up to the presidency. Everybody gets enough to live a luxurious life, when the rest of the world gets screwed.

And the big help lately has been the "cheap labor," the inmates who willingly and ignorantly help the government oppress the rest. So I do not think it is correct to say that the government and corporate America do not benefit from it. Inmate labor is too important for this system that the prison population will only increase in this country and in any other capitalist country.

MIM(Prisons) responds: After a discussion with the author we uphold that we have less disagreement than they seem to think we do. MIM(Prisons) never stated that corporate amerika does not benefit from the institution of prison labor or prisons in general. And we agree with the author that the bourgeois state serves to benefit the imperialists as a whole. We have only suggested that it is not corporate profit motives behind decades of prison boom, but rather the national and bureaucratic interests of the oppressor nation that the author describes above. We can even agree that prison labor is too important to the system for it to go away. But that is because it would become cost prohibitive to run the prisons that are already becoming too expensive for public tastes. This is in contrast to the super-exploitation of the Third World (in terms of labor, not just natural resources) that the imperialist countries could not exist without.

Other than asking what are the interests behind the u$ prison industrial complex, we are also looking at the question of the existence of a proletariat within u$ borders in our research on prison labor. Competitiveness on the international market for low-tech items such as clothing indicate that Washington's correctional industries pay a wage that is approximately competitive with the Third World, ignoring state subsidies and other trade irregularities that prevent a truly free competition. One such subsidy is the fact that prisoners are provided room, board and limited necessities before they are paid the $1.10 per hour. For this reason these wage rates are not directly comparable to the Third World. Regardless, these figures seem to suggest that there is legitimate exploitation of labor power going on here, and not just the transfer of surplus value between various labor aristocrats as occurs in most of the First World economy. But being a part of this greater social reality, and considering that most will likely be free u$ citizens again someday, we still see a predominately petty bourgeois consciousness among u$ prisoners. More are amerikan dreaming to be the next Jay-Z or Big Pun instead of trying to organize prison labor to seize the means of production for the people.

The calculations done by the comrade above are an excellent example of exposing the economic realities within u$ borders, and we encourage others to follow this example to create reports in their own state or facility to print in Under Lock & Key. Of course, if prisons didn't use prison labor, they would probably import furniture from China, not hire amerikan welders. This cost comparison would be harder to come up with, though certainly the prisons themselves have done it and decided that prison labor is cheaper. However, work that must be done on site would be paid the minimum wage at least, and would account for additional millions of dollars added to the estimate above.

Finally, one of the most important points we can take from this report is that this is all state run, as is most common across the country. As we argued in our article that sparked this discussion, Amerikans: Oppressing for a Living, the cost savings are going to reduce the need for taxes for all u$ citizens, while providing the funds for wages and benefits for those who work for the state and especially the departments of corrections and the police, as stated above. If these industries are also pulling in profits from sales overseas, again this money is presumably going to offset/subsidize state expenditures. It is a form of state capitalism that lays the groundwork for fascism quite nicely integrating the corporation into the state and providing direct monetary benefits to the general population for expanded oppression.

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[China] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 3]
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White Nationalism still reaching out to Tibet

Recent stirrings in Tibet bring up an opportunity to expose the white-washed history of that part of the world presented in the imperialist countries, and could potentially help build the multinational anti-imperialist movement in China. But there is much interference on the part of the oppressor nations that threaten genuine people's movements there.

The disproportionate attention paid to Tibet by the bourgeois press is a product of a decades long campaign by the CIA to destabilize China, dating back to when the country was a stronghold of socialism in the world. Today, China's rise towards an imperialist competitor keeps the Tibet card a useful one in the hands of a meddling Uncle $cam.

The imperialists are encouraging divisions within China, nothing new there in the last 50 years. But why are amerikkkans, in the name of humyn rights, waving the Tibetan flag and demanding change in China? More importantly, why are these same white people not waving the flag of the Lakota people who recently declared sovereignty from a state that actually committed large-scale land grabbing and genocide against them? Why are these same white people not crying out at the injustice of a system that imprisons young Black men at rates far above any other country in humyn history?

Last year the China scare was about toy safety, not Tibetan humyn rights. Amerikkkans fear Chinese toys, just like they fear Mexican labor and work hard to secure their share of stolen Aztlán by militarizing the border with Mexico and filling u$ prisons with Mexican citizens. Is it any wonder that only 10% of Mexicans have a positive view of the United States? (1)

As upper class Tibetan wimmin stated in 1960, "Those people in Tibet who talked about 'independence' always had some foreign connections. Why do so many British and American writers concern themselves with Tibetan 'independence.' Is it for the good of the Tibetans or for their own good?" (Strong, p. 113) This question remains very relevant today. And while we cannot give a good analysis, nor less offer short-term solutions, for the conflicts between Tibetans and Uighurs and Hans in China today, we can warn against those who have the historical honesty to condemn Tibetan feudalism, but will fuel the flames of conflict between the various peoples of China.

With the largest population of any country, China is still a predominately peasant society with a rapidly growing proletariat. The interests of these oppressed classes are the same; in opposition to the current capitalist regime and to foreign imperialism. Teaming up with foreign intelligence agencies to pit one group of oppressed against another does not liberate anyone. Anti-Han propaganda was the tool of the slave owners in the 1950s, and to this day remains beneficial to those who wish to exploit all the people of China.

Popular calls taken up by the white nationalists in relation to Tibet are those of local control and preserving the culture. New Age hippies claim to feel spiritual connections to the cultures of the Himalayan region with little regard to whether the people who live there are better off or not. It is hard to see what they find so appealing about the worship of god-kings, the starvation of serfs and the physical torture of humyn slaves that made up the social systems of Tibet and Nepal in the 20th century. But white people will vehemently defend the "right" of these cultures to stay frozen in time. In commentary on a BBC article on Tibet today, a Kanadian writes about the inherently peaceful nature of the people of Tibet, ignoring decades of history of struggle against starvation, oppression and torture. Unlike this Kanadian, we do not believe that races exist, nor that some are born more peaceful than others, we believe all people strive for peace and will resist when they are oppressed.

Today, the construction of the railway through Tibet is one topic of controversy, with opponents saying it will only help exploit the region and will not benefit the people. This is a likely outcome in a capitalist country that has fully developed into its role as the sweatshop and dumping ground for the First World. But isolation and localism is not the answer, despite the hippies' dreams. We do not wish to witness a repeat of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, which has led to horrible losses for the oppressed people of those regions on both sides of local conflicts.

A comparison to events in the Soviet Union also gives an interesting lesson in the differences in handling national conflicts between a socialist state that serves the people and an imperialist state claiming socialism but really exploiting them. The Dalai Lama claimed that amerikkka offered to finance a holy war against Communist China in the early 1950s (see Strong, p.45), similar to what the amerikkkans did in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union decades later. The defense of Afghanistan from the social-imperialist Soviet Union was a successful rallying cry for the people of the region, even with u$ backing. In contrast, the resistance in Tibet to a socialist China, serving the interests of the people, was never made up of more than a minority of aristocratic Tibetans and their slaves. Even the Dalai Lama opposed this interference by the CIA.

Defending the socialist legacy

The bourgeois press repeatedly mentions the "liberation" of Tibet in quotation marks. Yet if we do a very cursory comparison of China's role in the liberation of Tibet and the United $tates role in the "liberation" of Iraq we see that it is really the "liberation" of Iraq that is a farce. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) didn't interfere militarily in Tibet until they had the full support of the people in defeating the feudal clique, and even waited 8 months after defeating the Tibetan military to negotiate an agreement before stepping into Tibet proper. (Strong, p. 44) Large sections of the rebel armies even joined the PLA instantly, as they had been forced by warlords to fight.

The rebels in Tibet were carrying out a terrorist campaign on the people and waging armed conflict against the PLA in its struggle to maintain the social hierarchy of Tibet under the Dalai Lama. They were rebelling against the changes that were taking place in Tibetan society, changes that communists in China understood to be the natural resolution of internal contradictions within that society. It was that understanding that led to Mao's successful policy in Tibet and the PLA truly being a force of liberation in supporting the will of the people. It took another 8 years after the official "liberation" for the feudal government's power to crumble within Tibet, ending in the rebellion of 1959, which the PLA easily quelled with the support of the masses. Within a year of that battle the former serfs and slaves were active participants in local government, learning to read and write, organizing production both as independent farmers and collectives, none of which they had ever done in previous history. (Strong pp. 57-60)

In contrast, Amerikkkans claimed that they would be welcomed by Iraq with open arms, and yet 5 years later Iraqis have bombed the Green Zone multiple times in the last week, killing 3 u$ soldiers in the attack today. The Green Zone is where agents of the foreign occupation (or "liberation") are forced to cordon themselves off to feel safe from the people of Iraq. Amerikkkan soldiers must patrol outside the Green Zone and fear for their lives every time they drive down the street. Meanwhile, the country continues to be in violent chaos with economic security at the lowest it's been in decades.

The current Chinese regime only helps to promote historical amnesia in relation to the accomplishments of socialism in China. The politically lazy can look at the riot police in Tibet right now and confirm what they've been told about political totalitarianism in China since 1949. Even self-identified anarchists are choosing the former slave-owning god-king (whatever happened to "No gods, No masters!"?) Dalai Lama over Mao Zedong who encouraged the mobilization of millions of people with his call to "Bombard the Headquarters" during the Cultural Revolution. Once again, white nationalism trumps political consistency.

Freedom of Religion

One common complaint against the current Chinese regime is the repression of religious groups, or any large organization independent of the government. This is used by the bourgeois press to feed into the myth of the abolishment of religion under the Communist Party of China. One "Living Buddha" had this message for the people of the world:

Here in Tibet, people used religion to exploit other people. Living Buddhas thought how to get more lands and serfs and treasure. This is not the Buddha's teaching. When the big monasteries oppress the small ones, and the upper lamas oppress the poor lamas, this is not freedom of religion... We are now learning that only by abolishing exploitation can we abide by the teaching of Sakyamuni. It was through the Communist Party that the people got freedom of religion. Because of this I can now serve the people and follow truly the teachings of Buddha. (Strong, p. 96)

Material Conditions

Prior to the liberation of Tibet, the population was 90% serfs and 5% slaves, most of whom faced starvation, malnutrition, physical abuse and lacked any persynal freedoms. (Strong, p. 52) As the class structure was transformed under socialism, the production of grain and livestock both doubled from 1959 to 1970 following reorganization and the introduction of science.(3) Not only were persynal freedoms greatly expanded via the abolition of slavery and feudalism, but questions of life and death were dealt with in an effective way.

And we remember now how the lords told us tales of the Communists and the tales were not true... We began to know it when the PLA first built the highway. The lords said the highway was only for the good of the Hans. But the working people found the highway a benefit, and those who worked on the road got paid in money wages, as well as food and clothes and shoes, and they bought themselves golden ear-rings and mules. (Strong, p. 150)

This quote comes from a time when capitalism and trade had much potential for bringing progress to the region. This may not be true today, as the productive forces of the region were unleashed with the land reforms and reorganization following 1959. More likely, increased access to Tibet by the current Chinese regime will mean more stealing of resources and dumping of toxins in the region. But it does go to show that utopian isolationism is not in the best interest of Tibet, or any other nation in the world.

Those who take up the anti-Chinese banner calling for a return to theocracy for Tibet are supporting a backward step to feudalism for that country. Even people pretending to oppose feudalism but stoking the flames of nationalist conflict between Tibet and China are serving the interests of the CIA. Revolutionaries need to focus on the anti-imperialist struggle and avoid pitting oppressed nations against each other.

As MIM points out: "With China capitalist now, the possibility exists for Han Chinese to really exploit the Tibetans. However, the 'Free Tibet' movement wants to increase exploitation even more to make Tibet a semi-colony of the United $tates, England and the rest of the 'West.'"

See MIM's Tibet Page for more background info
Another recent article on Tibet from Monkey Smashes Heaven

notes:
(1) Global survey shows uptick in US image. Christian Science Monitor. April 2, 2008.
(2) US soldiers killed in Green Zone. BBC News. April 6, 2008.
(3) Hung Nung. Farming and Stock Breeding Thrive in Tibet. Great Changes in Tibet. People's Republic of China, 1972.
Strong, Anna Louise. When Serfs Stood Up in Tibet. New World Press. Peking, 1960.

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[Political Repression] [Censorship] [New York] [ULK Issue 3]
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Threatened for Filing Grievances

I didn't appeal the [censorship] due to the fact that I am short and this jail is known for playing set up games. I do ask if this can wait until I get out? I only have 6 or 7 months to go. They are on some other shit up here. I wrote a grievance at Upstate for opened legal mail while not in my presence. I went all the way to Albany with it. They told Albany that the legal mail didn't have a written return address on it, so they opened it to see if it was in fact legal mail.

And it's not only that but one day the doctors had to come in my cell to get me out because of my back. I went to the hospital that day. When I came back to the jail they put me in the infirmary. While I was in the infirmary 4 COs came in to my cell and asked me if I wrote a grievance dealing with legal mail. I said yes. They then asked me do I want to go home. I didn't say anything. He then pulled out a jailhouse knife and a search report and said, "I found this in your pocket, do you know that you can get up to 3 years added to your sentence for some thing like this." I told him that he knows that shit was not in my pocket. He then said, "I know, but that's what my report is going to say, if you keep playing jailhouse lawyer."

Monday I went back to my cell and when I got there the grievance was not in my cell, other things were gone to. I don't have the grievances, but I do have the number. They called it "Receive legal mail late" to cover for the fact that my legal mail was opened outside my presence. Since then I have been locked up I have been jumped by the pigs two times. The 1st time I filed a grievance and IG came to see me and nothing was done. The CO then tried to get me fucked up by putting other people's shit in my cell. I wrote a grievance and I got moved. The 2nd time I was put on the wall and my legs were kicked out from underneath me and I fell and they jumped on me. I fought back and got 1 year in the box, now I am here.

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[Political Repression] [Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 3]
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On lockup for filing lawsuit

Once again I'm back in ad-seg, this time my lock up order reads: "for allegations of staff misconduct." The smoke screen justification for locking me up they say is "to protect the integrity of the investigation." But it's clear that my current isolation is just retaliation for my jailhouse lawyer activities. Just recently in December the U.$. marshals were up here issuing service of a summons order for several high ranking Salinas Valley State Prison officials and some of the low level guns, to appear and answer the civil rights complaint I filed against them. They violated their own United Snakes constitution, in 14 different ways, against several of us beginning in 2005 all the way until 2007.

The complaint just passed district screening in November, therefore that initial battle was won. The officials violated the 1st Amendment, in regards to our freedom of speech, by requiring prisoners up here to participate in the threat assessment interviews, after any rumor of a threat on staff, or any other incident that was transpiring on the yard or at this prison. When some of us refused to answer any of their questions or sign any documents (they had put together a promise to behave chrono) we were removed from general population and isolated in the institution's Behavior Modification Unit (BMU) and stripped of all our so-called privileges such as canteen, packages, phone calls, contact visits and yard - indefinitely. Of course there was no rule or regulation in the Title 15 to support the administration's arbitrary actions. So they made one up and deemed it confidential, D.O.M. #55015, unlock protocol. Cold thing is the office of administrative law never heard of this regulation, but that wasn't a surprise to us because the officials kept switching up their methods of repression.

After they saw nothing was working to break our resolve (about 10 of us on the yard who took part in the resistance), the administration began libeling us. They issued out 128s indicating, by our refusal to assist staff in their investigation, that we were actively promoting "organized criminal/gang/disruptive group activity." These assertions were ludicrous as all of the individuals involved were from different geographical locations and there were both Blacks and Latinos who choose, as a matter of principal, that they weren't going to assist the pigs. This is a political belief - that's one of the 1st Amendment claims I presented, but on that one there's still research that needs to be done to see the extent to which our political rights apply in the prison settings.

I believe when it's all said and done they will definitely have to be held accountable for the 8th Amendment violation in denying us yard - fresh air and exercise opportunities for long periods of time. One brotha - struggling with us was denied for 2 years from 2005 to 2007. My celly was denied for 18 months. Me myself I was denied for the shortest period of time which was just a little over 6 months. Still and yet the Supreme Court deemed denial for even 6 weeks cruel and unusual punishment years ago.

As a prisoner in the 21st century there's a clear and present danger of losing everything that was previous gained through struggle in the prison movements of the past. If we would have the support of the majority or even 2/3rds, I don't believe the administration would have even attempted to push a line on us like that.

It's unfortunate, but many prisoners here are unaware of the oppressor's true reason for forcing the interviews and forcing us to sign the document. The interview in and of itself is a guise, to create suspicion and engender more disunity than there already is amongst the general population. The officials created a rule requiring everybody to come out of their cells one by one and enter the guards office - a dark room - and answer questions concerning any rumors or racial and gang conflicts, so on and so forth. This disguises and provides comfort for their informants.

By 95% of the population participating in this, it's clear that we're in a state of emergency as a people and that's just from a conscience perspective. From a legal perspective, when individuals sign that chrono, it's a waiver of rights and it absolves the administration of liability. It serves another purpose, for it's also a contract promising to behave. With your signatures it justifies them hitting us with indeterminate SHU based on a violation of that contract. The people who have us enslaved like this are wickedly wise and constantly look for new and improved ways to play us against ourselves. The people tend to lose sight of that and it pains me deeply to see the extent to which we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated. This is my reason for fighting through. I don't so much mind the repression, now based on what I know and now understand that the cause is in righteousness. With that said I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

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[National Oppression] [California] [ULK Issue 3]
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Kern Valley keeping Blacks on lockdown

Kern Valley State Prison is a new prison that hasn't been open even ten years yet and it is already dragging its prison population through the dirt. The Blacks have been on lockdown since October 2007 and I was just recently told (word of mouth) that the lockdown will be extended for four more months. Now understand, I said word of mouth vs. an official departmental memo (as CDC policy regulates).

As of now we basically have no movement at all, besides escorted movement to medical or court. We have no yard, no religious services, no reading material, no visits or nothing, and as I become more educated with litigation and the U.S. constitution I understand that they are in clear violation and someone has to hold them accountable for the things they are doing wrong.

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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 3]
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Brutality and medical neglect lead to death in Texas prison

I would like to give a brief synopsis of a matter that took place about a year ago in Huntsville TX prison, but somehow is just now surfacing in the public (prison) eye. A prisoner by the name of Larry Cox died due to medical shortage of staff in 2007, but the thing is not as it seems to appear. 48-year-old Larry Cox should not have been left to deteriorate on his prison cell floor, with a broken back and in his own waste, for two days last year, before being sent to the hospital to die.

This clearly shows the negligence of the prison officers as much as the prison nurses, who have no concern what so ever for a prisoner who disrupts the institution. In testimony before the Senate criminal justice committee Dr. Ben Raimer and a colleague, Glenda Adams - both with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston - suggested a mix of factors led to Cox's death, including the prisoner's poor health due to negligence of the medical office on the unit, his tendency to malinger, and his "violent behavior."

See, that violent behavior is what caused his death. Reason being, once you interfere with the rules and regulations of the institution, you create a reputation where these guards hold anger and frustration toward you to the point, as in this case, where they will allow others or even themselves kill you. How else would he have gotten a broken back? Assistance did not come to him until after the fact of negligence by nurses, doctors and the guards.

Two days is a long time on the floor. I mean, these guards passed out chow, mail, and did head count for over two days. They, as much as the nurses, are at fault. I know they saw him there on the floor asking for help. It was an easy task for one of those guards to have gone and advised his supervisors.

Later, Raimer and Adams both indicated that the death of the prisoner from Houston may have been aggravated by a shortage in medical staff, including a 50% shortage of doctors, 18% shortage in registered nurses. How about the guards and their evil ways? It all revolves around the same thing, a man's death. Cox died two weeks after he had a scuffle with the prison guards at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville Texas.

The prison's independent inspector general, John Moriatry, who is in charge of monitoring the prison system, told lawmakers that on four occasions prison medical staff did not administer Cox's prescribed medication, even when he told them he was paralyzed and could not get it himself. A physician care assistant recorded that as a "Refusal to take medication."

Moriarty defended his guards stating that they hand-fed Cox painkillers, and one supposedly alerted medical supervisors that the prisoner needed to be transferred to a hospital. By then, however, it was too late. For two days Cox was left on a mattress on his cell floor, dying in his own waste.

No one was ever held criminally responsible. The two prosecutors involved, one with the Walker County District Attorney's office and the other assigned to the state's prison prosecutor's unit, recommended that "no criminal charges be filed," Despite the medical examiner's report and Moriarty's conclusion that criminal charges should be brought against at least five medical employees. But what about the guards at the Estelle unit?

This is some of what happens behind these walls of silence. We as comrades need to break this silence by using common sense and observation. We must mobilize the masses to go against this in prison and expose the corruption of this capitalist and imperialist government.

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[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 3]
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Segregation and Classification in Texas

I would like to congratulate you and your staff, MIM. My respects go to each and every one who finds themselves in the struggle.

I just finished reading some of the statements and ways of living by other prisoners in similar situations to myself in Texas. This injustice prison and freeworld system goes out of its way to get at target minorities and their peers, labeling us security threat groups. Some of these captives have never been in general population and get segregated from population as soon as they hit the prison system.

I am going on 2.5 years in TDCJ and out of that, one year has been spent in administrative segregation with 18 more years to go, with no record of disciplinary cases or proper counsel to represent me in defense or to prove otherwise.

When I first got segregated in April 2007, I was on Polunsky Unit. There, Building Major John Werner segregated me for supposedly stock piling weapons. He did not give me and several people who were also put in ad-seg for the same reason, any kind of proper hearing or any kind of counsel to represent me and help with my defense. Two weeks after, we got moved to different units so now we can not prepare a proper defense together and build a successful civil suit on the state of Texas for allowing unjust placement in ad-seg.

Out of all this I was placed in ad-seg with a label that will segregate prisoners for long periods of time - security threat group (STG). I went into the STG manual and did not find the fraternity I am associated with there. But still my review papers state clearly that I am an STG. I fought that through step ones and grievances and all I have been given is the run around. But on my I-169 review paper stating reason for ad-seg, it states "threat to the physical safety of others and/or the order and security of the institution." Once again I wrote a step one requesting evidence and witnesses and counsel for proper defense and was denied. I have repeatedly submitted grievances requesting information and review. I am currently awaiting an answer and if I do not get a proper and legit answer I shall do my duty as a revolutionary and file a civil suit.

I bring this up because it is not just I who is being played but several tens of hundreds of should be revolutionary comrades. The Texas system has a program that is called GRAD (Gang Renunciation and Dissociation) that one must go through in order to be placed back into population. The Texas Senate sponsored the program instead of funding educational programs. The majority of people segregated are Latinos (90%). Some of these men have no education or way of knowing if their rights are being violated.

Texas prisoners confined in ad-seg are deprived of virtually all human contact and mental stimuli. We are housed alone and remain in our cells 23 hours a day. But lately we have been housed 24/7 due to shortage of officers. We have no access to educational, vocational, or other rehabilitative programs and we are provided with only limited access to legal materials, visitation and other privileges.

What's more, Texas prisoners placed in ad-seg for gang affiliation are reviewed just once a year and because we are deemed members of a security threat group, the State classification committee has only one option, to continue confinement in ad-seg.

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[Elections] [ULK Issue 3]
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Election roundup - Democratic party expands the game beyond white men, but remains imperialist in the end

At the mid-point in the presidential primary race, with just over half of the delegates awarded, the Republicans have a clear nominee in John McCain, while the democrats are evenly split over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The battle for leadership of the most powerful imperialist country in the world is a three person race, and the election campaign in 2008 is a series of firsts in Amerikan politics. This is the first election where a woman has a serious chance of winning the nomination of a major party for president. It is also the first election where a Black man has this same chance. In addition, it is a rare race in that no incumbent president or vice president is on the ticket. Meanwhile, support for President Bush is at record lows, so low in fact that Republican candidates are barely mentioning his name in their campaign, much less being seen with him.

While this election provides for many interesting twists and turns in imperialist politics, it is still an imperialist election. There is no chance that an anti-imperialist will win the presidency, and so MIM(Prisons) still stands firm in the MIM political line "Don't Vote, Organize":

MIM's elections slogan can best be summed up as "Don't Vote, Organize." Oppressed people everywhere and the revolutionaries who work in their interest are not distracted by the billion-dollar smoke-and-mirrors campaigns of imperialism.

The majority of white Amerikans support or participate in the electoral system. The system overall represents their interests, though it favors the rich among them. Still, their choices are limited and they are constantly grumbling and protesting by not voting.

If some candidate throws Amerikans a bone—a tough crime bill with lots of new prisons, some protectionism against foreigners, a war or two—then they may get temporarily excited and go pull some levers. But their elections are not what changes the direction of the country. They rubberstamp the decisions made by international patriarchal capital, and they get paid to do it.

Revolutionaries act on the belief that people are bigger than individual votes, and that improvements within the Amerikan system are made at the cost of increased exploitation of the oppressed. Every day wasted on these elections means millions more death sentences for the oppressed. (reprinted from www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections)

Clearly this 2008 election represents an expansion of a historically white male political field to include both wimmin and Blacks. MIM(Prisons) has heard an alarming number of people who consider themselves anti-imperialists pulling for Barak Obama as Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Particularly, oppressed nation youth are getting excited about the first Black president. At the same time, many people consider it a "feminist" position to support Hillary Clinton for president because she would be the first biological womyn candidate. For this reason, we are going to address the specifics of the positions of these two candidates in this article.

Before jumping in to the details MIM(Prisons) reminds our readers of Condoleezza Rice. As U.$. Secretary of State under George Bush (and formerly National Security Advisor), Rice is arguably the most powerful womyn and Black person in Amerika. Clearly neither her identity as a female or as a Black persyn has led her to initiate any progressive (much less anti-imperialist) policies. Identity politics lead to the reactionaries winning as they put the right face on the wrong political line. This lesson is also clear for us to learn from half a century of history in the neo-colonial Third World, where both native and female faces have continued to carry out the economic policies of the imperialists.

White wimmin actually enjoy gender privilege relative to Third World men and wimmin (see MIM Theory 2/3), and so the introduction of a white biological female into the Amerikan presidential race was just a matter of time. The addition of a Black man (and a man of direct Kenyan descent at that) as a serious candidate is more of a surprise in a country where national oppression is quite alive and well, and where imperialist power rests on the oppression of Third World peoples. Even worse than the many imperialist puppets of oppressed nationalities in Third World countries, Obama is as Amerikkkan as Abu Ghraib. He is vying to become leader of the oppressors, not just a middle man strong-arming the oppressed. It is not nation that is decisive in the case of these individuals, because they have committed national suicide to partake in the exploitation of their nation of origin.

If Obama wins it could signify a shift in Amerikan politics where internal oppressed nations gain more oppressor nation benefits. These nations already enjoy enough of the economic benefits of imperialism to put all Amerikan citizens among the ranks of the labor aristocracy, benefiting materially from and having a direct financial interest in perpetuating imperialism. But the disparities between oppressed nations and the white nation demonstrate that national oppression is still alive and well within Amerika's borders. It is important to recognize that this situation could change and some or all of Amerika's internal colonies could join the ranks of the oppressor nation without fundamentally altering the nature of Amerikan imperialism globally. However, at this point there is no indication that national oppression in Amerika is going away, and Obama's weak rhetoric aside, it is unlikely the presidency of a Black man will alter this situation.

Regardless of the relative representation of wimmin and Blacks in the administration, if either a womyn or a Black man wins the Amerikan presidency, it will not lead to any significant shift in Amerikan imperialist politics. The leader of imperialist Amerika is still just that, the leader of imperialist Amerika. Neither candidate has come out against imperialism, and no candidate who takes that stand can win in an imperialist election.

Hillary Clinton

For Hillary Clinton we have to start with the question of gender because many men and wimmin in Amerika are citing Clinton's gender as a reason to vote for her, claiming that this is a feminist stand. It is interesting that the first serious (aka imperialist) female presidential candidate is the wife of a former president. The strength of political power within families in Amerika looks an awful lot like oligarchies in other countries, but yet Amerika calls it democracy. The Bush legacy of father and sons is certainly not the story of some genetically superior line of men who make great political leaders - they have money and power and connections that got them all into political office. The same is true for Bill and Hillary Clinton and all of the previous family legacies of political power in Amerika. Having someone in the family in office helps the next person get into a position of power. And Bill Clinton's name and legacy has helped further Hillary's career.

Already, many people who are of voting age have only seen 2 families in the White House in their lifetime. With Hillary Clinton as president, this will be true for a significant block of young people. That Amerikans are willing to overlook this is a testimony to the complacency of the labor aristocracy who really don't care about democracy as long as they have candidates representing their economic interests.

It is not hard to demonstrate Clinton's imperialist credentials. Anyone voting for Clinton because she is a womyn, is really just playing imperialist identity politics without regard for actual political positions. Or more likely, is fine with Clinton's political positions as they represent imperialist Amerika - a country that most Amerikan citizens are decidedly in favor of perpetuating. Rather than restate the facts, here we print from the MIM website, an excerpt from an article from September 2007 (Why George Bush prefers Hillary Clinton, http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections/elections091207.html):

First it was the conservative intellectual publication "National Review" that said it wanted Hillary Clinton as the most conservative of the Democrats. Then Cheney made an overture to Clinton by saying he wanted to leave the office in the condition he found it. Next Karl Rove helped Hillary Clinton consolidate a lead in the polls by attacking her alone.

These events are all linked together. It has nothing to do with who the Republicans feel they can beat or which Democrat they want if the situation for Republicans is hopeless in 2008.

Backing Hillary Clinton shores up the Bush regime, plain and simple. The reason for this is that Hillary Clinton shares Bush's positions, especially on those questions most often raised for potential impeachment proceedings.

• On the Iraq War, Clinton voted for it. Obama, Kucinich, Gravel and others would not share that with Bush.
• On the weapons of mass destruction justification for the Iraq War, it was Rumsfeld who sold biological weapons to Saddam Hussein under President Reagan, but it was Bill Clinton who turned the question into a lying basis for armed strikes on Iraq and subversion of the weapons inspection process. Only Clinton and Bill Richardson would have to defend the stands of the Clinton administration.
• On the attorney firings question, Hillary Clinton has already stated publicly that she agrees with Bush on the right of the president to fire the attorneys, and she did not specify how many times.

Further on the question of freedoms in Amerika we have this from MIM (September 2, 2007:
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections/../pirao/security/security090207.html):

Hillary Clinton is for the evisceration of the Bill of Rights. She separates questions of credit and medical information from other information concerning "terrorists," which she is so sure are "terrorists" that they have no fourth amendment rights:

"So much of what we know about terrorists, and the successes we have had in preventing and thwarting attacks and tracking would-be perpetrators, has been through information technology. We track terrorists across continents through their cell phones. We monitor terrorists and their supporters through Internet chat rooms. We had phone intercepts that should have given us advance notice of 9-11 if we had been paying attention.

"Now although our Founders couldn't imagine data mining or terror cells, they did anticipate differences of opinion between the executive and legislative branches, and even within them."

It's completely idiotic, because of course the British considered the American Revolutionaries terrorists. So she soft-pedals the question of security versus liberty the way the founders did not. She follows up this bit of her speech with how executive power needs a bipartisan basis. It's not what Washington or Lincoln said: those were oppressor Americans. Hillary Clinton is an Amerikan, because for her even what the founders said was too much.

Barak Obama

In many ways Barak Obama presents a much more interesting candidate for president than Hillary Clinton. Clinton may be biologically a female, but the gender privilege she enjoys makes this irrelevant, and her existence as part of a family of presidential power, and as a part of the white nation, as well as the entirety of her political history, make her a clearly mainstream candidate for president. Obama, on the other hand, is the son of a Kenyan man and a white Amerikan womyn. He grew up on the fringes of the Black power movement (according to his own account in his book Dreams of my Father), and spent years organizing among the projects in Chicago. Obama is not a typical Amerikan presidential candidate.

Obama is the candidate that many people considering themselves progressive and even anti-imperialist are supporting. He can say that he has stood against the Iraq war from the start, unlike other candidates. On issues like prisons Obama has some progressive sounding positions. For instance, on his web site we find: "Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated." Despite the ridiculous claim by some that Bill Clinton was the "first Black president," he brought us the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, huge increases in police and a continuation of the prison boom throughout the nineties. If the united $tates still imprisons more Black men than apartheid South Africa at the end of an Obama presidency, the smashed hopes of oppressed youth politicized by the idea of a Black president should strengthen the anti-imperialist camp.

Barak Obama is fundamentally an Amerikan imperialist candidate. He may be willing to shift around the spoils of imperialism a bit if he becomes president, but he will not tolerate a threat to Amerika as the premier power of the world. Obama's web site features a quote on his views about the Amerikan economy: “I believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other's success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.” So Obama recognizes the common economic interests of Amerikan citizens, and clearly takes up the imperialist position of defending these interests.

Just because he wants to pull troops out of Iraq doesn't mean Obama is anti-militarist. Obama is clear that he will use the Amerikan military to defend the Amerikan economy. Again from his web site: "The excellence of our military is unmatched. But as a result of a misguided war in Iraq, our forces are under pressure as never before. Obama will make the investments we need so that the finest military in the world is best-prepared to meet 21st-century threats." And he wants to expand the imperialist military: "We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines."

While warning against expansion of the occupation of Iraq to an invasion of Iran, Obama has called for u$ troop redeployment to Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Meanwhile, one of Obama's high-profile foreign policy advisors is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who's book detailing plans for continued amerikan hegemony foreshadows the current occupation of Afghanistan to secure access to the Caspian Sea. Brzezinski was a strong backer of the Shah in Iran, and later supported military occupation of the country to maintain stability after the Shah's fall. The amerikan imperialists will disagree on where to invade and who to befriend, but they never disagree on whether to be imperialists or to promote amerikan domination over the rest of the world.

Obama also stands firm on supporting Amerika's imperialist allies such as Israel (from Obama's web site): "Barack Obama has consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. He defends and supports the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and has advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. He has called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defense systems."

And finally Obama will defend Amerika's borders to keep the spoils of imperialism for the Amerikan citizens first and foremost (from Obama's web site): "Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry." As long as Amerika exploits the people of the Third World and brings those profits home to benefit Amerikan citizens, Amerika will need to protect its borders to keep the exploited masses from seeking out a better life and better financial opportunities. Obama will keep those people away from the benefits of profits taken from their labor and the resources in their countries. This is part of Obama's defense of Amerikan workers. The labor aristocracy might get a pay raise from Obama, but that's nothing more than a different way of splitting up the imperialist pie.

Lenin on Elections (from State and Revolution):

"To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people in parliament — such is the real essence of bourgeois parlimentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics." (chapter 3, sec 3)

Who are "the People" according to Lenin

"People think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy." (chapter 4, sec 5)


Don't vote, Organize!


Reprinted from [url=http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections

We]www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/elections

We say to everyone who agrees with us that there is something very wrong with this system: don't vote, organize!

All our lives Amerika teaches us that we live in a democracy. Part of this so-called democracy includes everyone having the right to vote so that we can decide who will have the power to make decisions about local, state, Federal, and international issues. We have been taught that this is the greatest and most democratic country on earth.

Some of us learn that this democracy does not work for kids growing up in the projects where basic education is not a right that everyone has. And in neighborhoods where people are shot at by the cops for being Black or Latino, democracy starts looking like it is only for some people. We also need only look at the criminal injustice system and see the disproportionate conviction of Blacks and Latinos to know that this so-called democracy is not for everyone.

When we look around the world at all the countries that Amerika invades, or countries in which Amerika installs puppet dictators, murdering or overthrowing popularly elected leaders, this democracy doesn't work. And when we look at countries where Amerikan corporations use the cheap labor of the starving people and steal the natural resources because puppet dictators have enacted laws saying this is OK, we know that's not democracy for the oppressed.

People in these countries did not vote for Amerikan imperialism to invade their country. They did not vote for Amerikan imperialism to install a puppet dictator. They did not vote to allow the CIA in to kill off the revolutionaries and keep the dictators in line. And they certainly did not vote to starve to death, to die from preventable diseases, to die in labor because the medical facilities are only open to people who can pay, or to die fighting a war against the imperialists over whether wealthy Amerikans get to exploit their country or whether they themselves can take control. When we see all of this we know that democracy is only for the few.

We live under an imperialist government. This government receives donations from multinational corporations as well as political lobbying groups that have lots of money. The corporations, the CIA, and the military industrial complex are all very powerful parts of the government that don't answer to anyone and they force the "elected" officials to answer to them. As long as these institutions of imperialism exist, an individual elected to president, senator, representative or governor is not going to make a difference.

In fact, as long as we live under this imperialist system the only people who can even run for office are the people who already have the support of these wealthy, powerful organizations. It takes a lot of money to run an electoral campaign. So even if you had wonderful ideas and a brilliant plan that you thought all of the people of this country would support, it would not matter because you couldn't get elected unless you were independently wealthy (like Ross Perot), and if you were independently wealthy it came at the expense of the international proletariat and you probably have no interest in the oppressed (like Ross Perot).

PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE VOTING?

Many progressives organize around elections because they believe that this is the way to make change. These people genuinely want change, both inside and outside of this country. But they are convinced that there is no alternative for action and they believe that democracy works.

Living in this country it is tempting to believe in voting. It is easy to ignore the plight of the rest of the world and just focus on problems at "home." And if you really think narrowly and you are a part of the very large white middle class, you might vote for the president/senator/representative who does not want to cut Medicare so that when you retire you will be better off than if the other guy wins.

The fact is that there are differences between candidates, but these differences are very minor and generally come down to tactical tweaks in domestic policy issues that benefit one section of the middle class or the other. For all the people who believed that Clinton would be better for gays, this should be obvious. For all the people who thought that Clinton would be better for the poor, the imprisoned, the victims of police brutality, a quick look at the increase in numbers of cops and prisons under Clinton should also make it clear that the Democrats are not really different from the Republicans.

WHAT ABOUT LOCAL ELECTIONS?

A lot of people who agree with us that voting for a president, representative or senator does not mean anything, still organize around state level elections. They believe that by working on a more local scale, they will be able to exert slow steady pressure for change. A recent conversation with a woman who is very active in local electoral work makes this clear. She kept pointing out the great work done by a woman in the state senate. When it was pointed out that this state Senator has never taken a stand on imperialism and the gross things that Amerika does around the world the woman responded that "of course she hasn't because that would cause her to lose her legitimacy". But we don't even have to look so far away at international policy, we can see that these same officials don't take progressive stands on prisons and instead vote to build more prisons and put more cops on the streets to put more Blacks and Latinos in prison.

It is possible that in elections to city hall, some small battles can be won locally that won't mislead people into believing that electoralism works within the non-democracy of Amerika. For instance, if there were several candidates running for city hall who supported putting up public bulletin boards all over town and making public space available for revolutionaries to hold educational events, it might be worth supporting them. But we should never confuse these potentially winnable battles with support for candidates who operate at the state or continental level and who support imperialism both in words and in practice.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

Many people believe that the advances made in the past century for women, national minorities, and others in our society were the result of the electoral power of these groups. But in fact, most of the progressive reforms won in this country in the past century were the result of organizing and agitation outside of the electoral arena. Just think back to the Black civil rights movement and remember the role the Black Panther Party played, outside of the ballot box, in forcing the government to make concessions out of fear of this armed revolutionary organization.

Unfortunately there is no tidy little alternative to the bourgeoisie's vote. The vote is so appealing because it only takes a few minutes in a ballot box once a year (or once every 4 years). But real change does not come easy. MIM and RAIL are working to educate people about the effects of imperialism and to organize people for the only way in which progressive change is possible: revolutionary struggle. This means that we fight winnable battles against things like prison repression, police brutality and other reactionary policies. But at the same time we organize for a larger movement against imperialism.

Even before winning the revolution there is a lot that this movement can achieve. MIM(Prisons) is struggling against censorship across the country on a daily basis. Every battle we win is getting educational materials to those who need them most to build a strong revolutionary movement. Even as the battles continue to pile up, our work on this front creates the breathing room for us to build as a movement on other fronts. This is just one example of the ongoing struggles we can take up and win right now that are vital for actually creating the possibilities for real change in the future.

Don't vote for the imperialists! Organize against the imperialists!

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[Spanish] [Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 3]
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Apoya las platicas de paz de la prision Pelican Bay

traducido por un prisionero de Washington
fue escrito en May 2006

En 1989, el departamento de correcciones (DOC) abrio la prisión estatal de Pelican Bay (PBSP). Su primordial indicada por la construcción fue para reducir violencia en la prisión por medio de segregar preguntos líderes de bandas y miembros. Pero contrario a su declarardo proposito, la violencia en la prisión ha aumentado rapidamente y dramaticamente. El sistema prisionero de California es más violento ahora que como era antes de la apertura de PBSP. Por ceirto, esta es la más peligrosa y mortal sistema de prisión en el país, como las estatistcas claramente afirmarán.

En Febrero 2001, California presencío uno de sus más violentos disturbios raciales aquí en PBSP, donde aproximadamente 38 Nuevos Africanos (Negros) prisioneros fueron puñalados. Un mensaje fue entregado a mi el siguiente día de un grupo de hermanos quienes habían estado en vueltos en el disturbio, pidiendo mi asistencia en resolver este conflicto/guerra racial. He estado encerrado en la casa modulo de seguridad (SHU) aquí en PBSP (reclusión solitaria), asi que me encuentro en una posición de hablar con ciertos prisioneros influyentes Mexicanos y blancos.

Esa noche, escribí al director Ayers, explicandole a él que me gustaría iniciar platicas de paz designada a resolver este conflicto. La siguiente mañana, fuí escoltado a la oficina del director. El estaba interesado en mi propuesta. Mientras estaba ahí, el preguntó que podría él hacer para facilitar este proceso de paz. Le dije a él que yo necesitaba hablar con un número de prisioneros, y él le dije a su personal que proveeieran mis esfuerzos. Fuí capaz de traer todos los grupos relevantes a la mesa, un plan de paz fue adoptado y un alto a la violencia fue impementado.

Nosotros sabíamos que allí había un número de guardias asociados en PBSP, como también banda institucional de investigación (IGI) modulo de administración en Sacramento, junto con la asociación de paz de oficiales de corrección (CCPOA, unión de guardias de prision) quienes no querian que esta tregua tomará lugar o tomará posesión. Verdad hasta la forma, ellos sabotearon nuestras platicas de paz con mentiras y propaganda negativa. Porque nosotros fallamos en movilizar afuera, bases de soporte, nosostros no pudimos poner en tela de juicio las mentiras y distorsiones que se estaban diciendo.

El departamento de correcciones le dijo a los politicos y medios de comucación que ellos no nos necesitaban para resolver este conflicto. Ellos saben que eso es mentira, nosotros somos los unicos que podemos resolver esto. Cuando digo "nosotros," quiero decir esos prisioneros Nuevo Africanos, Mexicanos y blancos presentemente encerrados aquí en el SHU en PBSP en la facilidad-D, modulos 1, 2, 3 y 4. Bastantes de nosotros estamos entre 40-65 años de edad y hemos estado en confinamiento solitario desde 20 hasta 40 años. Yo personalmente he estado en aislación por 27 años. Nosotros somos los unicos quienes poseen el respeto y la influencia para terminar este conflicto.

Podríamos haber resolvido este conflicto racial hace cinco años pero el CDC no quiso que nosotros alcansarámos esa meta. Como un resultado directo, el conflicto se ha salido de control. Desde 2002, han habido al menos 500 disturbios de rusa adentro de las paredes, y aproximadamente los mismos incidentes individuales de puñaladas reacionado con este conflicto. Arriba de 200 disturbios raciales tuvieron lugar solo en 2005. Peor aun, desde 2001 el conflicto se ha desparramado dentro de la comunidad afuera de las paredes, especialmente en el sur de California y ahora la comunidada está envuelta en el conflicto. Claro el CDC no tomará responsibilidad por la ascendencia de este conflicto, pero los hechos continúan, fue el CDC quien saboteo nuestros esfuerzos para terminar esto, y ahora esto ha envuelto todo el estado de California.

Nosotros no podemos permitirnos la espera de que el CDC o el gobierno termine este conflicto, o permitirles que nos prevengan de terminar esto. La escalasión de este conflicto es un ejemplo más alla del CDC y su neglijencía criminal. Como una clase de convictos veteranos, estamos alcansando a la afuera por su asistencia en resolver este conflicto con tu ayuda, podemos poner un final a esta guerra.

Hemos desarrollado un plan que consistiría de un esfuerzo en conjunto. Lo que necesitamos de usted es que obligue el CDC que nos permita iniciar discusiones en una resolución de paz. Al presente no nos permiten juntarnos y dialogar una tregua. Preentemente estamos buscando voluntarios afuera que sirvan como facilitadores y cordinadores. Los facilitadores asistirán esos directamente envueltos en el proceso, porque el estar en aislación limita lo que podemos hacer. Esto es porque es muy importante para nosotros tener asistencia afuera. Los cordinadores son organizadores de base que serán responsable de movilizar el soporte de comunidad en apoyo de nuestra cumbre de paz. Si usted está interesado en ser un facilitador, puedes contactarme a la siguiente dirección:

Abdul Olugbala Shakur s/n J. Harvey
D-4-112/ C-48884 (SHU)
PO Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532
Pelican Bay State Prison

Tambien tenemos una petición que estamos presentemente distribuyendo de nuestra cumbre de paz.

MIM responde: Esta declaración de mision respalda lo que MIM por largo tiempo reportado - el Departamento de Correcciones de California está detras de violencia de prisioneros y conflicto entre naciones en la prisión. Ellos formaron esas divisiones y ellos sabotearon los esfuerzaos de los prisioneros de alcansar una resolución pacifica. El CDC y su interes en promover guerras entre bandas dentro de las barras es claro - teniendo los prisioneros divididos y peleando uno contra otro los previene de juntarse para pelear el sistema de injusticia. Y esos pleitos le da al CDC justificación para toda clase de represión y encerramientos. Por cierto, ellos justifican la existencia del modulo casa de seguridad (SHU) el cual clama de encerrar los "validos" miembros de banda.

Esta es la misma cosa pasando en las calles - el gobierno Estadounidense ha jugudo un papel poniendo pistolas y drogas en las calles para ayudar a prender la creación de organizaciones peleando una contra otra en comunidades oprimidas. Esas organizaciones necesitan boltearse hacía una autentica defensa personal en el interes de su nación, contra su verdadero enemigo quien perpetua el sistema de opresión nacional en Amerika: el gobierno imperialista Estadounidense. Las organizadores de Pelican Bay estan poniendo un buen ejemplo para la gente dentro de las rejas y afuera en las calles, y nosotros trabajaremos con ellos para llevar el esfuerzo al siguiente nivel, más alla de la justicia y hasta la unidad de esfuerzo de justicia.

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 3]
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Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security

Comrades have recently brought up the axiom that fear leads to ignorance and that vanguard leadership is a matter of applying science with guts. It is the science in command that is primary here. Whether it is fear, love or rage, emotion cannot be the basis of our strategy and practice. Similarly, emotive rallying cries and hype cannot be the primary recruiting method of a vanguard organization.

The problem of fear often comes up in relation to those who have privilege that they are afraid of losing (the classic carrot and the stick). It is also used widely among the most oppressed and exploited when it is instilled as a fear of death and torture of friends and families. Among the lumpen who have little privilege to speak of, whose family structure has been destroyed by oppression and who has already faced torture as an individual, the basis for fear is very limited.

An arguable strength of the imperialist country communist movement is our ability to produce scientific analysis with complete independence. This is because our wealth and privilege can actually diminish both fear and class consciousness in a minority of cases. Some of the most dedicated activists in the oppressor nations often have a sense of fearlessness. This is probably necessary to make it over the long haul without turning back to the comfort of one's class privilege.

In both cases of fearlessness we have seen the outcome where people don't take security seriously. Most even scoff at the security practices put forth by the Maoist movement. Others act as if they have too much "important" work to be dealing with to take time worrying about security measures. Translate this to "I'm too lazy to deal with things that are going to make my work harder or take a little longer. I'd rather focus my time on the things that give me glory or that I somehow find some persynal pleasure in." This is subjectivism.

When we work with people who don't even spend one minute a week thinking about security we are potentially sacrificing our own security, and more importantly, the security and integrity of the whole movement. Such people have no role to play in a Leninist cadre organization. Security is not something we study in addition to theory, it stems directly from it.

Contrary to the bourgeois theory of history, bravado and individualism do not decide the course of events. Envisioning oneself standing strong and alone against the great oppressor may be a powerful subjective motivator. But to build ones political practice around such a fantasy is not going to win many battles.

Being serious about ending oppression means being serious about studying the world around us and learning from history. It means developing a strategic understanding of how the oppressed are rising and will succeed and therefore having confidence in the fact that we are acting with the tide of humyn history. If we have this understanding, then it is very obvious to us that we are more effective in contributing to this tide when we are not locked in an isolation cell or buried six feet deep.

Anyone who doesn't believe death or imprisonment are real threats needs to read some history. We may be better revolutionaries without fear, but not without prudence. For those who know the risks but don't care, you need to study history even harder as well as dialectical materialism until you can understand your own power.

There is a related point to make here in regard to the "security" concerns of correctional officers and prison administrators. The most common reason for censorship of our literature in u$ prisons is that MIM(Prisons) is somehow a threat to security. As long as we can agree that "security" for the CO's means less violence and fighting with guards and between prisoners, then our point here can be applied by them as well. While it may be true that our literature tends to attract some of the most defiant prisoners who are likely to physically defend themselves against a guard, our literature literally teaches people not to attack guards, or even violate any rules that would just bring down more repression, even when we are not explicitly stating that.

Overall, we don't expect this line of argument to convince a system that is set up to oppress specific segments of society. But, certainly some individual prison administrators are honestly interested in maintaining the peace without any ulterior political or racial motivations. The rest just keep oinking for more control units and more hazard pay.

Rashid has taken prison officials to task on this with his "The Don't Shank the Guards" handbook (1), which has been censored in a number of states despite a stated purpose that COs should agree with. This handbook provides a similar strategic orientation as MIM(Prisons) does for prisoners who desire to improve their situation. Where this pamphlet fails is in its pandering to the economic interests of amerikans and its call to unite with the "masses" of the united $tates. This line leads to a strategy of putting amerikans first, which oppressed nation prisoners have a slim chance of ever being accepted into. If they succeed then they have only betrayed the oppressed people of the world. MIM(Prisons) puts forth a line that neither promotes shanking the oppressor, nor standing side-by-side with him in political struggle.

But Rashid agrees with us in having strategic confidence and a group approach to struggle: "Having been raised as we are with the idea of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," getting even is deeply ingrained in us, but in a society based upon inequality, getting even carries a high price and is, in fact, impossible: At least it is impossible by individualistic retaliation."

It is exactly such individualism that we need to combat on this side of the fear question in relation to security. Remember, it is also the FBI infiltrators who will have no fear in going up against the state with a few guns, because they know when the bullets start flying you're gonna die and they're gonna be rescued. So fearlessness does not mean going toe-to-toe with an army you cannot defeat. Sun Tzu taught us the idiocy of that centuries ago. And that is exactly what comrades are doing by throwing security out the window. They think they're invincible, they think they're hard, or they're just too lazy to deal with security questions.

"O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands." - Sun Tzu

With the New York State legislator passing a law that forbids "seriously mentally ill" prisoners from being put in SHU (yet to be signed by Governor Spitzer), we can see a clear example of what Rashid is talking about when he writes, "[Riots, flooding cells, setting fires and shanking guards] have only provided prisoncrats with ammunition to demonize us and turn public opinion against us and concern away from prison reform issues and the way we are treated." Some editorials and discussions online among COs and other amerikans indicate the limited scope of this legislation. It is being used to highlight the abuse of CO's instead of prisoners. It is being used to bolster support for the need for SHUs and the need for more high-security mental institutions. And it is creating justification by saying that "we are taking out the prisoners who can't handle the SHU mentally, but everyone else deserves to be there, just look how they are acting out." We had previously criticized the limited scope of this legislation, and passed on campaigning in support of it. Now we are seeing it's use by the state to not just rally support to its side but also to divide the movement against control units.

While amerikans are crying in outrage about all the prisoners who are going to "fake" mental illness to get out of the SHU now, MIM(Prisons) is still saying that the SHU is torture that creates the mental states that exist within it. The humyn mind is but a reflection of material reality. And decades of experience tell us that people who have been in long term isolation often end up throwing excrement at guards as one of the only forms of action they can take on behalf of themselves. Call it mental illness if you want. But we know the cause and we know the cure. If prison officials aren't willing to eliminate the cause, perhaps they will at least let SHU prisoners communicate with MIM(Prisons) so that we can help them understand the futility and even counterproductivity of such actions.

Notes:
(1) Contact Rashid c/o Art Attack, PO Box 208, Herndon, VA 20172

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[Censorship] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 3]
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White Lit Passes VA Censors

Assalamu Alaykum,

As you will see form the attached Personal Property Request Form, I have now been granted permission by the prison admin to receive your newsletters for one year. Therefore, they shouldn't send it back to you, as they did on 12/19/07 due to "no approval."

I also received a copy of the notice your legal council sent to W.D. Jennings on 12/10/07. You and your council should know that Major K. Chris and the admin at ROSP have not limited those nefarious and racist acts to just your newsletter (per DOP 803.2 #13 [MIM(Prisons): This policy reads, " Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang signs, language, clothing, jewelry, codes or paraphernalia, gang participation, or other gang-related activity or association"]), but also to magazines such as Vibe, XXL, King, Smooth and others. They have also gone so far as to use this all encompassing rule in disapproving personal pictures sent to inmates by family and friends.

What's odd is the fact that none of the prison staff has had any formal training in "gang-related activities" by or with any law-enforcement agencies, and they all reside in southwest Virginia where gang activity is non-existant?!

Most of their true reasons for the disapprovals is actually based on racial bias and ignorance. The racial bias comes as no surprise, as it is a daily practice to see/hear various C/O's spew racial epithets at inmates, with impunity. The ignorance comes from the fact that if they can't understand it, then it must be gang-related.

That is why W.D. Jennings will never give a detailed explanation for these blatant violations of our First Amendment rights, because he would have to expose himself and his agents lack of intellect and the laws of this land! The only language they would overstand is a civil action brought against them by an organization like yours or possibly just a threat of such an action.

Your newsletter provides inmates with the type of information the VA DOC would rather we didn't know. For us to be aware of our rights means they wouldn't be able to continue to violate those rights. They probably aren't even (or weren't) disapproving your newsletters at all VA DOC prisons until it became an issue addressed by your organization, as is the case with our magazines.

I'm now preparing to file a civil suit regarding our magazines, because even though they've disapproved a number of my Vibe and Smooth mags based on "gang-related tattoos and jewelry"(?), I just received a GQ (Jan. '08) with an article specifically on the "CRIPS" in LA. (with full page pics of gang members dressed in blue attire flashing gang signs), which should never have made it to my cell. But, because GQ is viewed as a "mainstream white publication" with a white man on the cover, I'm positive not one person opened it up to "review" its contents!

So, I hope and pray your org will do what it takes to end these racist and draconian practices of the VA DOC, as it is negatively affecting all of us incarcerated in these gulags. At any rate, I hope to be reading your newsletter soon, and I pray you can help bring some resolution to our plight.

MIM(Prisons): This report supports others coming from Virginia that any literature deemed to be “Black” is being censored at Red Onion State Prison. Comrades in Virginia state prisons should take note of the apparent need to get pre-approval for subscriptions. Comrades should go through the required steps to submit a Personal Property Request Form, so that the pigs cannot justify censorship for bureaucratic reasons.

However, it is clear that every piece of literature we send to Virginia is now being censored, including many of our letters, which are being treated as “publications” contrary to the departments own 803.2 procedure. The only mail that is being confirmed received is legal mail related to this censorship battle, which is being received up to 2 months late (a violation Sizemore v. Williford, 829 F.2d 608, 610 (7th Cir. 1999)).

We must agree with this comrade's assessment of the administration in Virginia. Our legal council has put in a commendable effort to get to the bottom of the problems we are facing in Virginia, but W.D. Jennings has yet to give us one meaningful response to our council’s requests that they follow the law.

We are currently actively searching lawyers who can help us bring a civil action against Jennings and the Virginia DOC. We are also requesting that others who are being censored get in touch with us and send us documentation of your own censorship, which we will document on our website and use as evidence in building our case.

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[Censorship] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 3]
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Oregon Censoring the Wrong Newspaper

12/9/2007

MIM,

What's good? Check it out. I just had my review for the publication violations for MIM Notes that I sent you last month and the violation stands. They're reasoning is that due to the fact that my comrades are reporting the very real abuses that are occurring Under Lock & Key in the California institutions of incorrection and throughout the U$ in general, that this information has the 'potential' to threaten the safety and security of the institution and therefore, to alleviate this concern, they will not allow those particular copies of MIM Notes into the institution. I don't think I need to tell you what kind of precedent this will set, especially since the Under Lock & Key section is specifically set up to allow us incarcerated to express our concerns regarding the reality of our existence in these gulags. With that being the case, the institution now has a ready made excuse to violate not only MIM Notes but any other political literature you comrades send. Again, all these prisonkrats are doing is verifying everything that's said about them in your literature [MIM(Prisons) adds: In their own efforts to protect their political interests the oppressors dig their own political grave. That is what the censors have mostly failed to understand.]. Still, I'm getting real tired of this bullshit.

I am enclosing 3 articles from the local metro section of the Oregonian, which is a 'newspaper' that is allowed in this institution everyday. Given the fact that rapists, child molesters and your general so-called "weirdos" are targets of all types of abuse ranging from extortion to murder within this prison environment, I would think that the information in the Oregonian has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the institution, unlike MIM Notes which these authorities cannot point to a single incident instigated by anything written in that paper. In fact, MIM teaches that all prisoners are political prisoners under the present system of imperialism. So one who'd adhere to what he learned in MIM Notes in all actuality would not be riled up by the Oregonian articles, whereas your average prisoner who does not receive MIM Notes but reads the Oregonian would find the 3 enclosed articles inflammatory indeed. But oh! I forgot. Under Lock & Key deals with police and CO misconduct. We must protect the unnamed COs and police who abuse their authority, while the so-called "scum" named in the Oregonian who will more than likely (potentially) end up in one of this state's institutions will have to fend for themselves. Of course, that poses no threat to the safety and security of the institution. What a crock of shit.

12/17/2007

Yo, check it out, comrades. I just received your letter dated 12/8/07. Most peace on following up on the review process. I was finally able to gain access to ODOC Mail Policy. Under OAR 291-131-0010(9), Inflammatory Material is defined as:

"Material whose presence in the facility is deemed by the department to constitute a direct and immediate threat to the security, safety, health, good order, or discipline of the facility because it incites or advocates physical violence against others."

As I mentioned earlier, none of the rejected/violated Under Lock & Key articles can be shown to have actually incited or advocate such action.

The rule continues:

"No publication shall be considered inflammatory solely on the basis of its appeal to a particular ethnic, racial, or religious audience. No material shall be considered inflammatory solely because it criticizes the operation, programs or personel of the Department of Corrections, the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision, or any other government agency."

So this is what we have. MIM Notes, which is a political news source protected under the Constitution, contained commentary concerning the operation of department of correction facilities in the state of California and the very extreme unprofessional behavior of its personnel, of which these commentaries were critical, and of course that is the duty and responsibility of any citizen, to express criticism of injustices and illegal acts, especially when done by those who are entrusted in positions of authority by our government. After all, how else do we begin to address and correct problems if those problems and the source of the problems are not criticized and exposed?

In addition, the criticisms leveled did not advocate physical violence against anyone, nor did it incite such action. The commentaries, according to the designee who performed the administrative review, upheld the publication violation based upon his finding/opinion that the commentaries were inflammatory and hence a threat to the safety and security of the institution based upon the "potential" for the alleged inflammatory material to incite violence against DOC personnel. However, this decision is in violation of OAR 291-131-0010(9). So I have appealed the designee's decision to the functional unit manager. If he/she does not overturn the decision, I will appeal to:

Mail Administrator Randy Greer
Central Administration
2575 Center St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-4667

where it is already on file that this mailroom here at SRCI and its officials go out of their way it seems, to clearly find excuses to prevent MIM's publications from being received by prisoners here.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisonkrats across the country are claiming that our literature is a threat to security because of our articles about censorship and other repression within prisons. But if prisoners are going to commit acts of violence due to censorship and repression, wouldn't the prudent thing be to get the prison employees to follow their own rules to prevent such outrage? As this comrade writes, our literature gives prisoners the ideological understanding that allows them to put such frustration into more productive outlets and actually reduce violent interactions. But rather than do their job and improve safety, the prisonkrats shoot the messenger and encourage the reading of literature that will divide prisoners thru violence and abuse.

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 3]
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Struggling and Studying in Missouri

I am writing to inform you that I received the back issues of MIM Notes that you sent me. The papers were informative concerning the issues affecting some of the Souljahs within these slave plantations. Some of the stories motivated me to attempt to put together a study group. We shall see how long this lasts. I say that because I'm the only individual with literature and these guys in the Missouri Slave System are only concerned with what type of material things they have. Don't get me wrong, there are a few revolutionary souljahs who still hold the spirit within, but the numbers are dwindling.

I've managed to organize a few uprisings here in the ASU of the Southeast Correctional Center that caused these hyenas to change a few things. As a result, I've been beat by the goon squad, labeled as an agitator, and my mail has been "disappearing" somehow. Yet I remain strong and rage on!

These hyenas have taken away our phone calls here in the ASU and they've taken away the razors, preventing us from contact with family and grooming ourselves. We don't know what's to come next, they might take away the 3 hours a week recreation in the "dog cages" outside. Soon, I pray that the souljahs and sistah souljahs here in Missouri catch on and rise up.

I'm about to file a lawsuit with the District Court in protest of the "blanket ban" preventing Missouri inmates from receiving free books. Any info on this issue will be appreciated. They feed us romance novels and rob us of substance with this blanket ban in an attempt to keep us deaf, dumb and blind.

Listen brothas, sistahs, souljahs and sistah souljahs, keep the fight going, our time is now. If we don't fight for us, who will. Like I've said, I will continue to form this study group and create as many uprisings as I can.

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